Friday, March 31, 2006

Cleaning out my closet

Sometimes you just have to thank those retrospective, soul searching moments; those times when you're alone in the room thinking about the things that matter to you most whatever they might be. Some ponder about the intricacies of life and love, some think of world peace, some just resolve for the billionth time to do better in studies and some give it all up and sing 'the game of life is hard to play, gonna lose it anyway..suicide is painless' and think of ways to put that in practice.

One such moment, I was lying on my bed, my eyes set upon the ceiling where I saw the complex weavings of a huge spider web supporting a reasonably large spider family. I'm not arachnophobic but I know too well the story of Spiderman and his coming into being. For lack of desire to serve humanity or even a Mary Jane I decided that I could not take chances with freakish radioactive accident and that was when I decided that time had come to finally clean my room. For anyone living alone in a hostel that's a monumental decision, like pressing the red button or popping up the question with consequences as dire. But determination to do worthless things is one quality I have abundant supplies of which when fuelled by the unbeatable enthusiasm to pull off the strangest of acts becomes an unstoppable force. Meaning to say, I motivated myself to do it.

The first and foremost problem was I had no broom. The bigger problem was asking around for a broom from my wingmates. Soon amused cries like 'NCJ (that's the name I go by) is cleaning his room!' and 'See pick(underscore)nik (normally it's your name that go into your yahoo ID, for me it is the other way round-drawbacks of being too innovative) has a broom in his hand!' could be heard across the hall. I tried explaining in vain that it was not a Gudi Padwa ritual and my decision and the auspiciousness of the day was a mere coincidence. At this point of time I must add that our hostel has provided us with the facility of housekeepers who clean up the rooms every week, and do a good job I must say. But I have been ignoring their services, at first with the thought that my room didn't look that untidy and later thinking that those people would curse me if I let them enter my room. Just a few weeks back one of the housekeepers had asked me to get my fan cleaned regularly to avoid trouble; I had aksed him to clean it as I noticed a considerable loss in speed due to the added weight. I wasn't taking any chances after that.

So I took out everything form the comfortable dumping sites I had tucked things into. Right from the huge monitor carton stacked on the top of the cupboard, the unused travel bag with all my old clothes, the huge pile of newspapers and magazines and old notebooks stashed beneath my bed and the numerous paper bags and plastic bags stuffed with stuff form the neanderthal age. Had I not changed my room two years ago, I would have found out some dinosaur eggs too but I left that age in my earlier room. For about two hours, I took out everything and expressed amazement at each of my finds. Snippets--

  • A dinner coupon dating back two years.
  • A single shoe one of which was stolen in train by I presume a one legged beggar.
  • Some 3-4 nailclippers, 25-30 pens none of which worked of course.
  • 2 walkmans of no use sadly in this iPod age.
  • A huge stack of my freshie time audio cassettes with Blur, INXS, Oasis, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Deep Purple etc. adorning the covers which reminded me of the days gone by and simpler choices.
  • My skateboard covered by newspapers and notebooks.
  • 2 tennis balls, 1 TT ball, a leather ball, 2 pairs of football socks, 2 shin guards.
  • A miniature bicylce pump, of all things in the world.
  • My original certificates which I feared lost.
  • A keyboard, an 80 GB HDD, 2 power cords (how the heck did these things come in?)
  • Receipts form probably all the monetary transactions I have ever undertaken, including ATM slips indicating all the highs and lows of my bank account.
  • Adaptor for a car stereo system, something I wanted to chuck into the Powai lake.

Apart from these there were used tubes of probably all toothpastes I have ever used, cover packings of all the soap that I ever came across and whole lot of cobweb and dirt. I was feeling sick towards the end, being allergic to dirt. But then I am still to come across a perosn who isn't, someone who smears dirt all over his face and says out loud 'I'm loving it'. The dustbin, which is a reasonably large one was overflowing courtesy my hard work.

Not satisfied by all this, I decided to go one notch higher. I took out an old brush and decided to clean my sneakers -- a pair of shoes Reebok would disown if it chanced to see it prior to the wash. Not only that, I took all my football jerseys, fresh from the humbling defeat in the finals, for an elaborate wash. All this at about 10pm in the night. The bathroom that had the misfortune of being witness to this frantic action turned brown from a clear white shade. I myself was amazed to find the amount of dirt a pair of football socks can absorb or the colour change that even a simple water wash can effect on a jersey. It was a great learning experience albeit a very demanding one.

After all this hard work I finally came out clean. And I hope the room cleaners won't have any snide remarks to pass once I open my doors to their service this Sunday. Now, I am eagerly looking for a new mission to undertake.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Strangers in a strange land

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Besides the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Opening lines of 'The Thought Fox'. Replace blank page by keyboard and you're in my position. I have this habit of waking up at weird hours. Too early for a movie, too unsettling for a book, too strange to go watch the NZ-Windies test match alone in the lounge. So I try and keep my eyes closed, hoping that somehow I might fall asleep. Until then, there is a chain reaction of thoughts that casacades into the mind, joined together by the slightest of links. But, I guess, that's how the thought fox moves. So I put down a few links of the chain, hoping that it would speed up my journey to the dreamworld. It could make anyone reading drowsy too, but that's a risk I'm prepared to take.

I wake and see the time--4.15 AM. Why do I always have to wake up at such weird hours? What do I do now? Weird, wait that rings a bell. Today in the tumtum (for the uninitiated, it's an internal minibus type transport service) there was this foreign exchange student taking photographs. That is the busiest time and the tumtum is jampacked by students with some hanging on the doors just to get to lectures on time. I guess he found this image really amusing, like all foreigners do when they see the local train or the BEST bus for the first time. I couldn't restrain myself from starting a conversation

'Photographic evidence, eh?'
'Yeah, this is my last month here, so I'm trying to take back all the weird things I see.' (Weird yeah. For you.)
'You know I just caught somehow publicly picking his nose, that's a gold shot'

I couldn't stop laughing. I would have told him that nose picking is a national pastime here, but then so is hanging on the edge of buses a national necessity. The tumtum stopped to pick up some more, until 4-5 people had adjusted themselves by the door and no more could be taken. I made an observation--

'Just gets better'
'Yeah, you took words out of my mouth'

And then he took 2-3 more snaps. That was the end of conversation as it was the end of journey. It got me thinking about the things these foreigners find weird.

Just yesterday during the halftime of our main GC football match, a similar incident had occured. Naturally tired of running around for 25 minutes and having more than my fair share of being pushed around, I reached for the Glucon-D pack for the 'instant energy' it promises. It was with one of the two Frenchmen in our team. He was pouring out the powder rather conservatively, taking great care not spill out anything or take more than what's warranted. I, with my increased energy requirements, took the pack and poured a heap of powder in my hand. He looked and me, dropped his jaw, like I had deprived half the Indian population of the staple diet they should get. I couldn't help laughing, and laugh is one thing you should not do when you have any powder close to your mouth. I ended up blowing half thing away, on my face and jersey. I wanted to quip, 'Hey look I'm a white man too', but my better senses prevailed.

Somehow I can't get past nose picking though. What's with it that makes it so repulsive. Even that episode in Seinfeld, which has covered every such thing in the world, Jerry loses his girl when she catches him picking his nose at a traffic light. He tries to convince that it's not a crime with a typical Seinfeld quote like--

"I guarantee you that Moses was a picker. You wander through the desert for forty years with that dry air. You telling me you're not going to have occasion to clean house a little bit."
After all his attempts fail, he ends with a speech near an elevator for all to hear--

An' what if I did do it? Even though I admit to nothing, and never will. What does that make me? And I'm not here just defending myself but all those pickers out there who've been caught. (Elevator doors open) Each an' every one of them, who has to suffer the shame and humiliation because of people like you..(Everyone but Jerry is now in the elevator. Jerry's still addressing them) Are we not human?! If we pick, do we not bleed?! (Elevator doors shut. A few people in the hallway are looking at him, he turns and addresses them) I am not an animal!

I wonder if the person photographed would defend himslef so convincingly. Moses was a picker..how do these people come up with logic like this. There are so many times such convincing random logic is used. Like this one when Susan is about to break up with George and a conversation takes place (amazingly in the same episode as The pick)--

GEORGE: It'll be different this time.
SUSAN: I need someone a little more stable.
GEORGE: I'm not stable? I'm like a rock. I take these glasses off, you can't tell the difference between me and a rock. I put these glasses on a rock. You know what jumps into most people's minds? Costanza!

SUSAN: People don't change.
GEORGE: I change I change. Two weeks ago I tried a soft boiled egg. Never liked it before. Now I'm dunkin a piece of toast in there and I'm loving it.
SUSAN: I'm not a soft boiled egg.
GEORGE: And I am not a piece of toast.

SUSAN: I just don't think we have anything in common.
GEORGE: That's okay. That's good. You think Louie Pasteur and his wife had anything in common? He was in the fields all day with the cows, you know with the milk, examining the milk, delving into milk, consummed with milk. Pasteurization, Homogenization, She was in the kitchen killing cockroaches with a boot on each hand.

SUSAN: Why were there so many cockroaches?
GEORGE: Because. There was a lot of cake lying around the house. Just sitting there going with all the excess milk from all the experiments [grins]
SUSAN: And they got along?
GEORGE: Yes! Yes. You know. She didn't know about Pasteurization. He didn't know anout Fumigation. But they made it work!


Now who would have thought of that! This works, I'm feeling sleepy again.

Till, with sudden sharp hot stink of fox

It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A very filmy story

Today the millionth person asked me if I had seen RDB. My answer in the negative drew a gasp and was followed by the rather pertinent question 'WHY?' So I decided to let it all out now, can't tell this every single time I'm asked such questions. It's gonna be a long and sentimental one.

My conscious memory takes me back to 1990, when I was 6 years old. Our holidays used to be spent at Nanaji's place in Darbhanga, a sleepy small village town in North Bihar. Infact the holidays were so long that staying at home seemed like a holiday. We had a VCR back there and it used to be pretty busy, and I along with my cousins and brother were the ones responsible for keeping it busy. I think we averaged some 3 movies a day and the periods were well distributed. Nanaji and Nani chose Shammi Kapoor, Devanand, Meena Kumari Madhubala films (I distinctly remember Main Chup Rahoongi, for the rather strange name.) Mamaji, Mom and Mausi chose Big B, Vinod Khanna,Firoze Khan (for some strange reason this guy was my mom's favourite I'm told) and Jaya Bhaduri et al movies. We were left with the intriguing choice of choosing new movies. Anyone who has been through the late 80's early 90's can vividly recall the types of movies that used to come those days, a time when Govinda, Chunky Pandey, Neelam, Kimi Katkar etc. reigned supreme. So we made them watch Street Dancer, Love '86, Zahreelay, Nakabandi and what not. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them-- what else can a brainless 6 year old enjoy? Dishum-Dishum, Naach-gaana and all that crap.

It wouldn't be wrong to say that I was addicted. Nothing else can explain watching Ajooba, Toofan (because it had Big B) and then following it with a movie in which Neelam sings 'Patjhar Sawan Basant Bahar' (boy that was some addictive song!) Or thinking that Kishen-Kanhiayya was a masterpiece and shouting when Aamir Khan hit the winning six in Awwal Number, a feat I could not watch him perform in Lagaan--my loss totally. I admired Sanjay Dutt in and as Thaanedar and still remember the great contraption beginning in Appu Raja where Kamal Hasan made me laugh. This phase continued till 1994 where I think we had exhausted the VHS shop's stock. We were recommened movies based on the number of good songs, murder scenes etc. I distinctly remember a movie called Aa Gale Lag Jaa, which was hyped as the return of Urmila-Jugal duo after playing kids in Masoom and had 11 murders which were committed by a ice-knife. Sorry no spoilers.

I saw the entry of Shahrukh Khan, after watching him in Circus. I saw Juhi Chawla enter cinema as the ex-miss India. I remember the exchange between the two in Darr when Juhi says to Sunny about SRK 'Ye to college me bhi jhempu tha'. The use of the word 'jhempu' still makes me laugh everytime. I remember Shilpa 'long legs' Shetty dancing with SRK in Baazigar with a hip-zip on her shorts in the song 'Kitaabe bahut si padhi hongi tumne'-- felt rather strange at that time. I remember too many things to be listed here.

But before I go on to tell how it all snapped, I must thank that period for introducing me to the world of good Hindi cinema. Ardh Satya I remember vividly and the scene where Om Puri switches the table light on and off and pours out his inner conflict is one of the best ones I have ever seen. Infact I quote this movie when someone tells me about RDB and the dialogues where Om Puri says 'Mujhe chunna tha napunsakta aur porush me' and next scene he goes to the police station and says, 'Maine usko maar diya' portray this same sentiment in such an effective way. Then there were Lekin and Albert Pinto ko gussa kyun aata hai which grew on me as I began to understand, and Jaane bhi do Yaroon which of course is my favourite. I loved Ek ruka hua Faisla until I saw 12 Angry Men and was infact rather disappointed that some the good movies I had seen were rip offs from Hollywood. I liked them nonetheless. Almost all Amol Palekar and Sanjeev Kumar movies too, especially Angoor. I still do.

Then came 1994, the year Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was released. There was mass hysteria everywhere. All families began making plans to watch this family movie. We were unaffected by all this and infact the only movie we had seen in movie hall together was Jurassic Park and I loved it. Never needed to watch anything else. But I presume there were social responsibilities to keep. Mom, Dad me Bro and me tagged along with some 3-4 other acquaintances and their families and together we all went to this great show. Somehow I couldn't handle it-- the overly acted melodrama, the girly-girly song and dance sequences, dog as umpire with family playing cricket, the mass crying when Renuka Sahane fell off the stairs, the happy sobs when Salman and Madhuri got back together and above all the dog emerging as the hero of the movie. Something snapped. I am reminded of that scene in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf where Liz Taylor goes snap, snap, snap, snap-- it drove me insane. To add to that, the discussions almost killed me and girls in class singing 'Munder pe bole kaga' and trying to copy the dance steps in class and picnics almost had me puke. I vowed never to watch such mass hysterical movie again.

From then on, every year a movie with a chic shortform came up and drew large crowds-- DDLJ, DTPH, KKHH, KNPH and God knows what else. I wasn't to be a part of the crowd. Circumstances forced me to watch Akele Hum Akele Tum in a hall against my wishes and that strengthened my resolve to shun movie theaters. Since then I have only watched Spiderman2; so I guess it's been pretty successful. I still have nightmares though, of girls in my class dancing the steps of 'Mera Piya ghar ayaa O ramji' at a class picnic. I wake up and thank my fortune that those days are behind me.

As an extension I almost never watched movies on television unless they were extra special like the Hitchcock week or maybe a Terminator, not to bother about the Hindi ones. I deepened my interests in sport and watched everything from NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL before classes to tennis and golf and football and rugby union in evenings and late nights. For this I must thank my parents who never came in the way of these interests I had, even when it meant staying awake to watch Sampras vs. Safin at 2.00 AM and then wake up at 7 to watch MLB. Doing well in school didn't hurt much either. The bottomline was that I was happy.

I agree it's totally my loss. I try and compensate that from time to time by going on a movie spree, which means watching 3-4 in a week, some very good ones I must say, and then go a fortnight without watching one. But then somehow I can't motivate myself to watch a 3/1.5 hr movie but can happily sit through a 5 day Test match. I think 200 bucks on a movie is not worth it but then I spend some 500 on a cricket match. Just the way my mind works.

End of a long and rather abrupt story. Mental scars do take a long time to heal. Overdose kills; it killed my interest.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The jinx continues..

So India have lost another match in which I was present at the stadium. I am yet to see India win a match in my presence. The one ODI that Indian team did manage to win at Jamshedpur against SA in March 2000 coincided with my ICSE Physics exam and I couldn't be there. Rest 2 I saw and 2 others I almost (don't ask me to explain 'almost', it's a painful story) saw, they lost. I thought things would be better once I change the venue, didn't work out :(

Speaking of which one of my friends Krishna, who is as enthusiastic if not more to watch India play, has a similar sort of record. The 5 matches he has watched at Bangalore, India have lost 4 and 1 has been rained out (correct ain't I?). He has one win under his belt though--the India SA ODI at Wankhede last November.

We had this discussion on our newsgroups about a year back, and here's is what one of the profs had to say--

One of the most interesting discussions in a while. One thing seems to be clear. Keep jha_nikhil and krishnar away from stadiums, perhaps even away from the TV during matches. I read about Infosys Narayanamurthy or some such biggie also suffers from the same syndrome or impact or something on India's fortunes, and this was just from watching the matches on TV. I say we take no chances in the coming 1 dayers. Keep any suspect guys out.


A year on, and things don't seem to have changed much. I thought we would cancel each other's misfortune out if we went to the match together. Needless to say, it has backfired. And how!

What do I have to do to watch India win?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wankhe-Day

I had watched everything live cricket had to offer. The ODI's, the practice matches, India 'A' vs. Australia match, a few Ranji matches --all at Keenan stadium. I even watched inter school matches at various venues mostly as 16th man cum scorer of the school team, watched tennis ball tournaments and flood light plastic ball tournaments; managing to play in some too. Today, I finally completed the journey. I saw the fourth day's play at Wankhede today.

If things had gone my way, I should have been there at the weekends too. Instead Saturday was taken up by a stupid guest lecture which I almost bunked to watch the match but realised that I had Sunday to bank upon. Then Saturday night I got the news that our hostel football match, which I thought started from 5.30 actually was scheduled to be at 3.30. Since it's not often that I get the chance to play in the first team, I had to choose playing football in the mid afternoon heat. I didn't exactly set the ground alight, far from it, playing left mid, but for the record we came from a goal down to win 5-1 ( a very nice record too, that's why it deserved a mention.)

Today finally I decided it was enough. I somehow copy pasted and 'compiled' my seminar report, and presented it to my guide early morning itself and was prepared to bunk all lectures to go watch the match. Fortunately the afternoon lecture was cancelled and I thought I would just stick around for an hour or two. Unfortunately a lab was announced in the meanwhile. I was too determined to leave the match by then. So I decided to use the super-sub rule (no it's not allowed in real life) and my good friend Annie agreed to do a lab he had already done a week before for me. Words cannot express my gratitude, but thank you mate.

So we (Rajeev and me) finally got to the North Stand just in time for the post lunch session. There is no need to state it but the experience was so much better than the overpriced cement stands of Keenan. After watching Dhoni in a Ranji match back home, this was the first time I was seeing him in India cap. almost as an anticlimax, he missed chances and a few college students, who are quoted as 'North Stand' in the news, started booing him. Speaking of which I have a few clarifications to make.

***

Boo hu hu?


All this booing talk is a bit unnerving. The stand was more or less packed except the portions directly in the sun and the only people who were shouting were not more than 30-40. By the look of things they were pre-acquainted and their idea of a fun day out at a cricket match seemed like hurling abuses at everyone and anyone. So people who say North Stand was chanting 'Flintoff is a bastard' and 'Hoggy is a doggy', please to be letting go of that idea. A bunch of revelrous college kids does not constitute a stand. They were also shouting things like 'Dhoni ch****', 'Yuvi ch****' when these two dropped catches or stumpings and then got back to praising them when they did something worthwhile.

It was method to counter boredom by them I guess. Once they got bored abusing each other, they took to heckling three English ladies who had wrapped themselves in saris and then moved onto the players. In utter disregard of the slightest of manners, they were also chanting abuses that involve mother and father in front of so many concerned parents and kids. One 8 year old kid sitting beside me even nudged me to ask what that meant. Shameful really. It's not that we don't use abusive language, but we know the difference between an inter hostel cricket match in front of college crowd and an international match in a stadium.

This lends this Saching booing incident very little credibility. I can now imagine what kind of people did that and I don't think booing from a bunch of rowdy college kids means that a player of such standards should start having sleepless nights. Overblown I must say.

***

Coming back I learnt that super-sub thing had run into trouble. Someone had identified my friend as having done the lab earlier. But like a true fighter he took care of the situation and this meant officialy I completed my lab. And Annie won the man of the match as a super-sub.

All's well that ends well. Just hope that India win the watch today so that I have something more to talk about.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The greatest day for a sport lover

How could I not write about this day! I did not eat properly, until a few moments ago, did not sleep my weekend quota of 14 or more hours, did not even play football. Just sat and gazed at the TV screen, for some 12 hours running. And now had to write about this. Full report follows:

One-Day Mataram

All the superlatives must have been exhausted by now. The single greatest match in ODI history, if you are not a bowler type that is, and it's yet to sink in. I've pinched myself blue, cried myself hoarse, tired of typing and chatting about it with friends, been on a mental high for so long now. They said ODI's made the test matches faster: this ODI must be the first one to be affected by the 20-20 version then. Losing a WC semifinal under such tragic circumstances can never be compensated, but for SA this could be next best option to take revenge. Down 2-2, conceding record total of 434 with a mauling by the unstoppable Ponting and the 'choker' tag looked all for the taking once again. But, Gibbs had other ideas and it was rather fitting that Gibbs came to the fore. The dropped catch of Steve Waugh must have hurt him every day since, but today when Bracken dropped him it was his turn to say ,'You've just dropped the Standard Bank trophy son' (good one Deva) . And I would quote this innings from the reformed Gibbs as the symbolic answer to all those who have the common rhetoric for not watching cricket 'I lost faith after the match fixing scandal' . Well too bad, 'cause we're not missing you.

The lounge was a place to witness. People had already started pouring in once they heard of Ponting going berserk. Dejavu it was, for the WC final memories are too recent to be forgotten. I missed the major part as I was watching England play and sleeping, switching effortlessly between the two. Then F1, which will be discussed later, was also preferred and a late surge by Kumble also widely appreciated. But, once Gibbs and Smith got into the act, and how, priorities were decided. It was amazing to watch such a lage number of people cheer SA and jeer Australia and do that for the entire match. Everyone wished Gibbs get a double but I guess enough records had fallen already. Once he got out the infamous choke loomed large. Van der Wath calmed some nerves along with Boucher (and also inspired a song from me- 'Maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me, 'cause afterall, you're my Van der Wath' :D ) but like SA always do, they left us guessing till the last over. Hall got out unecessarily on the 2nd ball and we were in familiar territories, 1 wicket remaining, 3 balls to go 2 to win. Thank God, Ntini was much smarter than Donald and when Boucher scored that boundary there was chaos. On the pitch, in the stadium, in the lounge, in my mind. I believe we lost a sofa in the post match celebrations.

The greatest ODI ever. Ever.

EDIT: Just an afterthought after writing the F1 part. Before the new qualifying rules came up, there used to be an hour of qualifying time where all cars would try and get in their fastest laps in 3 tries. There was this technique, if you can call it, of sending a car right behind that of a team mate's to make use of the vaccum that's created to sort of 'suck' the car that's behind and get faster times.Putting that analogy into cricket SA would have never dreamt of getting 400 against Aus but once OZ did that, SA were sort of 'sucked' into to do that, amazing. And by the way, Mick Lewis had a reputation of being the best bowler at death in the academy as the commentators pointed out. Ha!

Formula Won!

I'm more of an anti-Schumi (Hill was my favourite and I will never forgive him for that shameless trick, also for trying it again against Jacques: am an old time F1 fan) than pro Kimi supporter. So quite naturally I wasn't happy with the way things were at the start of the race, Schumi at pole and Kimi at the back. But the one stop formula worked liked a charm and not for the first time Kimi got a podium place from the back. The race itself was awesome. Loved the moment when Alonso came out of the pits, inline with Schumi and both went wheel to wheel and Alonso pulled away. That was the end of the race for me. Rosberg is the man for the future though. After spinning off at turn one it really took an amazing performance to take on one car after another and then beat them with scorching slingshots. Would have done his father Keke, past championship winner, very proud. The final result with Kimi on podium, Alonso holding Schumi and Juan Pablo and Button in the points was the best I could hope for in the circumstances.

Can only hope for better things to follow.


Henry, Rooney:Premier League

I even managed to watch some good football on this action packed day. ManU began their match against Newcastle with 2 great goals within 20 minutes. Rooney got both of them and looked good for more. Already I was telling stories of the 6-2 battering they had given the Magpies some 4 years ago. But that was not to be. The final score reamined 2-0 and the 20 minutes that I watched, mattered. Had to choose cricket of course, was spoilt for choice.

No such problems with Arsenal vs. Liverpool though. Henry started off with an exquisite finish to start off things but the match really got exciting in the last 20 minutes. Gerrard had a long, swerving shot spilled by the goalkeeper only for Luis Garcia to put in the header. At that point Liverpool looked good enough to split points or even win. But 2 minutes starting form the 82nd changed it all. Xabi Alonso was rather unluckily sent off for a 2nd bookable offence and then there was this childish mistake by Gerrard, still not sure what was he thinking. Near the Liverpool goal he got past 2 Arsenal players and then backpassed the ball for the goalkeeper only for it to go straight to Henry standing all alone and finish it effortlessly with glee, like a child unwrapping his Christmas gift. Pires came close to making it 3 with another Henry special, but 2 was enough for the night.

Testing Spells

I could not follow much of the 2 ongoing tests thanks to all the things I already mentioned. But that doesn't mean they were devoid of great action.

First Bond took out Sarwan and bowled Lara first ball, taking 4 wickets in his fiery spell. That made Windies cruble form 118-0 chasing 290 to a situation where they need 45 with 2 wickets in hand. My plan is to stay awake till 3am to watch Bond finish it, and to put an exclamation mark on this wonderful day.

Kumble, on a high after his 500 wickets the previous day, first batted sensibly to give India the lead and then took 3 crucial wickets to put India in with a chance. Dravid was unlucky to miss out on a century after a typical gutsy knock and Irfan showed the world's greatest allrounder that he too is getting up there with yet another rear guard action. So many reasons to bunk class tomorrow.

What else could you want in a day?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The feet of God


[I couldn't sleep until I wrote this one.]

I've always wondered why movies are such popular 'hang-out' joints. Why they are considered the perfect places to have a 'nice time', regardless of the movie that's being shown? More than that I've wondered why can't anything else take their place. The answer lay in front of me. Our Lecture Theatre [LT] screened the UEFA champion's league quarter final matches on the big screen, from 1 AM in the morning and it was jam packed. People had to sit on the floor and no one complained. A huge success.

I see no reason why this can't be as successful a venture outside, with or without entry fees. Agreed watching cricket at a pub or someplace else could drag on for non-purists, but football doesn't pose any such problems. People go to the movies to get thrills, be entertained, 'awakened' and come out and discuss the goosebump moments. They don't realise that it takes months, sometimes years to prepare those moments. Perfectly enough so that they can be engarved in the memories. Takes, retakes, editing- it's a long list. Live sport is spontaneous. The brilliance, the skill, the drama, the tension , the agony, the ecstacy is all real time. Ronaldinho doesn't take a billion retakes to come up with sublime moments in a crunch match in front of fifty thousand people, Henry does not take months to come up with the perfect script to come up with a winner. It just happens instantaneously. Don't even get me started on the unpredicatability element. If you wish to get inspired, get inspired by real people in real situations.

Which is why I think it would be a good idea right now to come up with a sport multiplex or even theme pubs like in the west. The ones already there are too elitist, in the lobbies of dark 5 star hotels. Enough digression already.

Needless to say I watched both these matches. To say anything about Ronaldinho and his heavenly skills and control with the ball and his amazing big match game would be like dropping just another tiny, microscopic drop in the ocean of praise he already is floating in, deservedly so. Anyone who doesn't watch football won't need a minute to judge who's playing the most different,exciting game in match he plays in. Those who do just sit back and soak it in. Those who play a bit try and absorb, learn, get inspired but come out and realise that even conceiving doing that would be going into the realms of the impossible. How he got past those four defenders with his unearthly dribbling and then chose the near post with the far wide open, getting the goalie to misjudge his jump is plain unbelievable. I play left wing whenever I get the chance and at this highly amateur level I can assure you that it's the last idea you could fathom in your mind. Yet he had the confidence to execute it, and execute perfectly is truly mesmerising.

Messi shone the little while he played, but it was all about Ronaldinho in that match. The scoreline read 1-1 at the end, with Barca going through on aggregate, thanks to a late contentious penalty. Those who saw the match don't need a scoreline to know of the story.


Henry on the other hand has very simple technique in comparison. Simple yet highly efficient. It all came down to that goal he scored last leg at Madrid, that sublime solo effort to put Arsenal through. He came pretty close doing the same in this game too, but he had already done enough. Scorching pace, simple dummies, a slow run;fiercely accelerated suddenly and a clinical finish. Just plain brilliant, signature Henry. Hleb gave him great support and should have got a goal, but then so should have Raul from the other side. In the end the better team went through.

On a personal note I tried some minor tricks today and failed miserably. My back heel was intercepted by the opponent, I almost pulled off the play-to-win Nike advert trick, only to have the ball bounce and hit my hand for hand ball and my swerving shots went way above the cross bars. But a man is allowed to dream, ain't he?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's hard out here for a pimp !?!

People who know me wonder why I haven't mentioned Jon Stewart and his Oscar show as yet, being the huge fan that I am. I do all the hard work of downloading Daily Show clips, reading the transcripts in case I missed any and then suggesting and insisting that people watch that show. Most of them like it and I'm glad that there are still people in this 'f.r.i.e.n.d.s' obsessed microcosm who can laugh when somebody else tells a joke.

So yeah, I watched the show. I haven't seen any of the movies nominated yet but I bunked a class and saw the ceremony for Jon. He was far less ruthless than on his show. The point being that he wasn't on his show, though still he managed to sneak in a few jabs. Overall though I was uncomfortable seeing him in this role, I rather like the no holes barred Jon tearing apart everyone in his Daily Show.

One of the few times he looked in prime form was when Ludacris came to present the best song in a movie oscar. 'He is very famous, you don't know him. Go upstairs where you children are downloading illegal music form the internet, they'll know him very well.' After that there was this rap song, never a fan of that genre, 'It's hard out here for a pimp' performed by 36 Mafia which finally won the award. Jon sneered and said, ' For those of you keeping scores at home, it's Martin Scorsese nil and 36 mafia 1.' That was more like it. There were some signature Daily Show spoof reports and I thought I heard Colbert in one of them though but then I recalled that he now has his own show.

The go-back-to-the-theater theme dragged on a bit. Montages after montages, a tired Jon rightly pointed out that maybe it was time for the Best Montage Oscar. One amusing thing was that when they were showing the film-noir montages I kept on shouting Double Indemnity, The Third Man, Touch of Evil, The Manchurian Candidate, Sunset Boulevard etc. when the clips came up and people around were rather perplexed by the amount of black and white movies I have managed to see. What they don't know is that it's the only thing I watch these days.

Rest I was happy that one of my favourite directors, Altman got the lifetime achievement award. I celebrated that by watching M*A*S*H once more.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Take your pic!

Forget about NGC's best snapshots of the year. Take a look here:

Poor old son of a bitch

Photo courtesy A-7. A stray pup finds it's way into our hostel, somehow manages to creep into the lift and is transported to the 7th floor. Seventh heaven for him. Dogs can't fly, but they do get high. And a very appropriate description by Giddu here.

Hail all!

Photo courtesy B-2. Andy is Hitler's reincarnation. Not for long, look closely at the open door. Dressed to kill.

Dalai Lama vs. Hitler

B-2 again. This one one had me in splits. Das as Lama and Andy as Hitler. Lama vs. Hitler...just how did you think of this? :))

Waah, dost ho to aise. Us kutte ko chor kar.

UPDATE: The last 2 pics were taken a day before mid-sems. See what midsems can do to us :)