Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh I say old chap , Taarif Karni Paregi , what !

I followed a fair amount of the T20 on radio. It was covered live by a Hindi/Urdu FM station here. They had a set of Indian / Pakistani commentator - pairs doing a bilingual English / Hindi job. My favorite team did a very good job of covering the cricket - and provided splendid entertainment besides . Small snapshot :

Characteristics :
- Calm , composed and more Pucca than the Queen.
- Given to mixing up players and teams every once in a while
Sample :
- “Now , Maharoof made a fine Fortay Plus when Sri Lanka batted faehst. Oh , I am sorray it was Mubarak who made Fortay odd , and made them very swiftlay one might add ; Maharoof in fact did not bat at auwhl…(Pause) Or did he ? (Pause) No, I can confaehm that he did not…”
- “And with that ,.twentay ouevuhs have been bouewled and at the conclusion of twentay ouevuhs Indiaeh have made a hundred and eightay for , I do beg your pahdon , New Zealand have in fact made a hundred and eightay for five”
Frequency :
- Mixes up teams / players about once in 6-7 overs

Characteristics :
- Something of a dialectician , employing the Thesis- Anti Thesis -Proof route to make his point
- Excitable and with a marked predisposition towards saying “Taarif karni paregi”
Sample :
-"Aur yeh catch Rasel dwara……(animated / several decibels louder) DROP !!!!! Rasel yeh catch nahin le paye , yeh ek asaan sa catch tha …hala ki taarif karni paregi ki Rasel ne poori koshish to zaroor ki lekin nasafal rahe aur main samajhta hoon yeh Rasel dwara koi khaas fielding pradarshan nahi kaha ja sakta hain lekin taarif karni paregi …..” etc (*)
Frequency :
- Says “Taarif karni paregi” about once in five minutes

(*) His partner’s rejoinder : “Oh absolutelay nowht….!”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Experience. Sponsors First.

After several fits and false starts in that direction , NDTV24x7 finally arrived at that Holy Grail of credible, hard hitting investigative journalism : product information.

The final question in a Sachin Tendulkar interview last night went something like this : "Sachin , why would you recommend Sunfeast to our viewers ? "

I missed Sachin's reply : as I was already at the grocery buying my nice pack of Sunfeast.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rainty 20 Day, Dream Away

A new survey conducted recently has revealed rain to be the biggest attraction for paying spectators of sporting events. According to the survey ,a whopping 83% of those polled say rain puts them in a philosophical frame of mind which they say helps negate some of the crass materialism all around .

At Durban Thursday evening , large groups of spectators were seen soaking in the atmosphere , many cheering on the downpour as it washed out the India-Scotland fixture. Said Mahesh Sangalikar who has flown down from Mumbai to watch the series. “You see, I have spent around Rs.10 Lacs (around US$ 40,000) on this trip , so naturally I am very happy.”. His wife Manju added that she loved nothing more than the feel of rain on her head as she sat drenched in the stands. “It’s a wonderful feeling ..the thrill of staring at the covers on the pitch for hours on end is a truly special one.”

Most spectators seem to agree. The play call-off announcement was greeted by a massive cheer that rang across the stadium. People were seen joyously hugging one another even as they reluctantly made their way back home. Martin Van Rip Offheimer sums it up : “We could enjoy the rain at home I suppose but it’s definitely more fun when you’ve paid a lot of money to enjoy it at the stadium !”

They were not so lucky the following evening as play repeatedly interrupted rain during the India-Pakistan encounter. Said a visibly peeved Patricia Schoonderbeek : “Frankly , this is ridiculous ! No sooner do we begin to enjoy the rain than the players come on back to the field. We’ve paid good Rands for the cricket so its disappointing that the cricket should get in the way”. Things came to a head on Saturday at Johannesburg as a section of the crowd took to the streets in protest against the non –rain interrupted match that had finally unfolded. Riot squads had to be called in though it all eventually petered out without any untoward incident. Many felt this was the one damp squib in an otherwise satisfactory tournament.

Sources say the findings have not come as a particularly big surprise for administrators who have more often than not got it spot on while planning games during the rainy season. On the rare occasion when they might have botched it up a bit , chance has inevitably come to the rescue by ushering in unseasonal showers.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

James Joyce’s Ulysses

What is the purpose of life ? Why are we here ? Is there an afterlife ?

These are the sort of thing we don’t have a clue about . They inspire awe.

I have a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses on my bookshelf . It’s a clean white copy with beautiful cover art. Its bright glaze finish is cool and soothing to the touch , the ampleness of its volume evokes a reassuring feel of solidity.

James Joyce’s Ulysses inspires awe

I’ve had a go at it many times - and I have never had an effing clue . Not one.

They call it Stream-Of-Consciousness .

Strange !

My best attempt has been the time I managed Page 1 without being swept away by a great stream of unconsciousness

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crystal Balls to Twenty20

The cricket money is chasing increasingly shorter versions of game. Time was when matches were played over an indefinite period. An Eng-Aus match in the 1800s apparently ran to nine days and ended only because the Aussies had to catch their boat home - the absence of a well developed in flight entertainment system meant there were no planes in those days.

We- unlike average match durations - have come a long way since.

The 20/20 WC began yesterday. (Had Gayle lased a few overs longer it would probably have concluded yesterday as well). Three hour cricket matches ! What a spectacle and what a sight ! Lights , sexy cheerleaders , colours , sexy cheerleaders , Slam-Bam-Thank-You-Ajit runfests , sexy cheerleaders ….. Whoa ! It will go down a storm. As the philosopher has said (or was that a PowerPoint presentation ?) , this is the age of instant gratification - no wicked smirks please – and it can’t seem to get instant enough

Looking ahead , this is the evolutionary ladder that I just saw on my crystal ball (bought at at an instantly gratifying sale ):

Ten 10 cricket :
Five overs of Powerplay , boundaries shortened , bowlers docked points for each wicket

Five5 cricket :
Three overs of Powerplay , boundaries shortened further , wickets to cost bowlers match fee percentage , bowlers declared endangered species

Three 3 cricket :
Two overs of Powerplay , boundaries at 20 yards , bowlers awarded special constitutional privileges

One1 cricket :
Four balls of Powerplay , boundaries at 15 yards , bowlers used by vets to treat cases of depression among mules

Zero O cricket :
Match decided by the toss

Minus One -1 cricket :
Same as One1 – only , each team now plays for the other

Huh ? That one doesn’t sound very plausible. Let me check up on that crystal ball.

Uh oh , problem . Its a kookabulla.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Thursday – I Will NEVER Survive Summer Of ’69

The missus and I hit a club for probably the first time since the offspring’s arrival. Or rather , it hit us. The last time we’d visited this Asian nightclub , the Sri Lankan house band there had been really good. Things change . This band’s changed. New look , new line up , new output.

Bad output.

Now , I am as staunch a feminist as any but I draw a line at I Will Survive . The ease with which Madame Crooner turned this admittedly minor irritant into a major crime against humanity would rattle even the most battle hardened of bra burners. And when the rhythm guitarist / backing vocalist (whose off-key harmonies were always war clouds on the horizon) took center stage and unleashed Bryan Adams , it was made amply clear just how the very worst of my life these days really are .

The outing to this club had one very desirable outcome : it ended.

We stumbled some distance across town to a Brit Pub. The average table occupancy was around 30% . The average age of the customers was around 96 years which made me feel rather rum (the better half’s throat was feeling the beverage all evening anyway). Nothing like being youngest in a crowd – especially when you can’t remember the last time that happened ! One of the regulars joined the guitarist on stage and sang – quick , pinch yourself - Love Me Do. And , given the evening that had unfolded before this , we love him did. What’s more , I clean lasted Comfortably Numb , even going so far as to last it with a benevolent smile. In all fairness , the guitarist was decent. The Guinness was excellent.

Friday – Ram Gopal Varma ki UGH

Next evening was Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. Hand it to Ramu : the man has intestine enough to tag his name for posterity to a piece of utter rubbish. This monumental three- hour waste of time , popcorn and cola calories compares to Sholay the way grapefruit compare to scooter mileage. Ramu is now in serious danger of outdoing M.Night who took around five years to get from Sixth Sense to nonsense. For Varma , its now Satya to nothing in nine. Buckle up Ramu : we’re behind you - though probably not in front of the ticket counter next time around.

Saturday – in which Aleem gives it to those ones (and those ones accept it well)
And thence on to Lord’s. Where Foreign Finger sowed the initial seed of instability and the players thereupon proceeded to lovingly tend it to its natural fruitation. Yet another Finals story in the annals of Indian cricket. Not to read too much into an ODI series (especially in light of the Test series victory ) but an undeniable KLPD all the same. Having preferred - out of sheer superstition - to stay put at my desk over the choice of popping across with my colleagues to the building next door to watch the final five overs of the previous game , having subsequently lounged back in smug satisfaction at this act of willing fate to set up the series for a weekend decider and having spent Saturday morning expending copious quanta of Joie de Vivre , this was a KL that took a bit of recovering from.

Hmm , what could be worse ? Babban playing for India as Heroo threatens to jump from the Lord's media centre and Ghungroo sings I Will Survive ?

Possibly , possibly.