Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Sports"

I have to say that I don’t particularly care about any sports. If all sports/sportsmen were to disappear from the world tomorrow, I’m not sure that I would notice any lack. I used to think I was fond of football, but when you came down to it, my enthusiasm lasted two series – the first being the 1982 World Cup, which I followed with overweening enthusiasm. But that was not so much from love of the game… to be honest, it was because I desperately wanted to imitate and perhaps even impress a favourite senior uncle, who was a mad-keen football fan (as befitted someone who had spent a large part of his life in Calcutta). Another reason was the thrill of staying up really late at night watching the matches with my uncle – my dad disapproved very much of my late hours, but I knew he would say nothing while my uncle, whom he greatly respected, was around. The third - but internalised - reason was that I wanted to be treated like my boy cousins and not expected to be "girly" (fat chance of that, but I was young and hopeful then!)

The second was the 1986 world cup – and boy, was I in love with every player or what! I knew the names of most of the players from the top teams, and could put face to name for the majority of them, too. Germany, Argentina, England, Italy, Brazil… I couldn’t make up my mind about which of the top players from those teams I admired the most. I cant begin to tell you how torn I was between feeling total sadness for Gary Lineker and total joy for Diego Maradona when Argentina beat England in the finals. And how I regretted having switched loyalties to Maradona when his “Hand of God” confession came out. Poor ol’ Gary!

For a few years I thought I was interested in cricket, but it was more about the individual cricketers than the game itself. This realisation took a longer time coming, because of the general cricket madness exhibited by everybody around me – friends and family inclusive. There were people who could quote cricket statistics for every cricketer from any cricketing country, going back for years for every match, and what was more, they appeared to think that this was interesting to everybody… a delusion I never really understood.

Anyway, once my teenage hormones had calmed down a bit, I suddenly realised that I didn’t care for Gavaskar or Azharuddin or Imran Khan or Jonty Rhodes or Sir Viv Richards or anybody else really. Also that test cricket was unutterably boring and one-day internationals were interesting only because they lasted a day. Basically, I didn’t care what happened in cricket unless India was winning, preferably beating Pakistan and South Africa to a pulp. But even that marginal interest dwindled down to nothing once the betting and bribe-taking scandals came to light, forever confirming that the cricketers were just greedy grasping bastards who cared nothing for the game, their fans, their own reputation or that of their country.

It’s not just cricket. It’s any sport. I don’t understand how playground games can be elevated to such heights and its players idolized and adored and paid insane amounts…and mostly to let down their team, their fans and their country just when it matters the most.

I don’t understand sports. I don’t care to, either. There are better things on which to spend time and money, especially if you’re not actually playing the sport yourself. Feel free to disagree.

SO proud to be Indian, especially after this


Why oh why do they take such pride in such ridiculous - and rather gross - records?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've found him again! I've found him again!

The guy who used to have a blog called "Horn OK Please" (now defunct), whose sarcastic, WYSIWYG writing about India was simply addictive... I've found him again! He blogs at Out There Somewhere.

Yeah yeah, it's probably kinda sad to be this thrilled at rediscovering the blog of some guy I dont know from Adam, and who knows me even less from Eve (being as it's 99.999999% certain that he doesnt read my blog) - but that's the way things is, folks! The point is - I've found him again, yaaay!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A day of bloody mayhem?

So, it’s Friday the 13th tomorrow. Why is Friday the 13th alone considered frightening, a day on which gruesome things might happen and homicidal maniacs go berserk? Why not Tuesday the 13th, or Wednesday the 13th, or Sunday the 13th? Is it because of the movie “Friday the 13th”?

I didn’t learn about the “significance” of Friday the 13th until I saw the movie, when I was in the 7th standard, I think. I didn’t know it was a horror movie. Yeah, call me stupid, but that’s how it was. I can’t actually remember with whom I saw it, and I've no idea how I was allowed to see it (shouldn't it have been an adults-only rating?).

I do know that I was all excited to be going for a movie, and I CERTAINLY remember my horror at the first killing (about five minutes into the movie, I think) and then all the subsequent murders - the body of a guy in a bright blue-check shirt was discovered when it swung upside down into the surviving girl's face (or something like that). I vividly remember the end when the last girl to be alive is pulled into the water by a corpse, because I actually screamed. It was meant to be a dream, but I’m not sure. That was my first ever slasher movie, and I’ve never been a fan of that genre.

But to get back to Friday the 13th... any ideas about how the superstitions began? Surely it wasn’t just a crappy 1980s Hollywood movie that started it - or should I not go into the basement or the garage or anywhere dark and lonely tomorrow, just to be on the safe side? (The one place I’m not afraid of going to tomorrow is work – every day is a horror show anyway.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Impulsive decisions are sometimes the best ones – as long as they’re not to do with spending ill-afforded sums of money, I suppose.

As anybody who’s been listening to UK news reports (or reading anything to do with the UK online) will know, parts of the country have been having more snow than anyone has seen in the last 20 years. Schools have closed, roads have blocked, traffic has stopped and even grit for the roads has been run out of.

Most of Shropshire too has been affected by most of this chaos – bar the heavy snowfall/blizzards/Arctic conditions and lack of grit, that is. Shrewsbury, as always, has been completely unaffected by snow. Oh, there was some snow on a couple of days, but the precipitation has been mostly in the form of rain or, sometimes, sleet. It’s difficult to panic about blizzards when it’s bright and sunny outside, but the local weathermen, newsreaders, school authorities etc did their level best to do the headless chicken, in line with their counterparts in those areas of the country that actually were affected by heavy snowfall.

Yesterday, though, the weather forecasts promised that Shropshire – and even Shrewsbury – would see 6 inches of snowfall accumulate overnight, starting at 10 pm. (To people who get 6” snow in 6 minutes, let me say that it is still inappropriate to mock at the excitement over this prediction. Thus far, it’s been difficult to build up 6 inches around here even after scraping the snow off every available surface - cars, lawns, kerbside, and so on - and stacking it up.)

Anyway: 10pm arrived, and there wasn’t a flake to be seen – that is, except for the flake who is my husband, whose faith in the forecast stayed unshaken.

Plenty of rain, though.

11pm - More rain.

12am – Yet more rain.

Half-joking, I suggested to Pete that the only way he was going to see snow was to look for it elsewhere. He took me at my word (Pete: “There HAS to be snow in Shropshire. The weatherman can't have been wrong!”. Me: Prolonged eye roll) and five minutes later we were zooming off in the Range Rover like a modern, modified English version of Don Quixote and his Indian Sancho Panza, in search of snow.

I bet the original Sancho Panza didn’t try to keep his Don Quixote amused with puns, though – “Snow good, Pete, just admit the weather guy was wrong”, “Maybe it’s all falling in snow man’s land”, "Oh well, it's a sno-show" and so on. Oh, how he laughed.

Three miles out of Shrewsbury, however, the rain had turned into sleet. Another 5 miles, and it was actual snow. Three more miles on, and we were nearly in Church Stretton, the very beautiful, very expensive, very exclusive heart of South Shropshire, being blinded by a flurry of fat snowflakes. It was actually snowing hard, as per the weatherman’s prediction. Church Stretton looked magical, its expensive houses with their expensive hedges and expensive long drives all shrouded in fresh snow, giving the impression of a posh Christmas picture postcard. We drove around slowly for a bit, enjoying the white stuff, until we discovered that we were heading for the hills. Snowy, slippery, unlit, twisty and treacherous hill roads didn’t seem like the cleverest option in the dead of night, so we headed back towards Shrewsbury.

Three miles out of Church Stretton, the blizzard thinned out.

Five miles further on, the snow turned back into sleet.

And as we drove into Shrewsbury, it was raining, as per usual.

Question: Why, when the Eskimos have a thousand (or a million, or even a hundred) words for snow, which is probably the only weather they know, do the English not have a thousand words to describe rain?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Art"

What wouldn’t I give to understand the concept behind those works of modern art that sell for millions in auctions, and are valued at unimaginable sums of money, and yet seem to be junk or at the very least a joke on all so-called connoisseurs… works like a stone wrapped in an embroidered cloth, a room filled with crumpled newspaper, a red dot in the middle of a bare white canvas, a jumble of body parts in psychedelic colours… etc…

What wouldn’t I give… let’s see… Hmm.

- Money

- Time

- Consideration

- Thought

- Any more space on this post


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Regrets"

I don’t think I regret anything I’ve done, really (other than bullying my sibs when they were younger)... it’s the things that I haven’t done, couldn’t do, and can’t and won’t be doing that I have regrets about.

Oh well, since I believe in principle that nothing should be wasted and practice? practise? as much of that belief as possible, by extension of that principle, I believe in reincarnation too (why let souls go waste, any more than anything else?).

So, next time around, I hope to get to do all the things that I regret being unable to do this time around. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t turn into the vengeful kind of “careful what you wish for, in case you get it”...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dharumi will live forever

When I read about Tamil comedian Nagesh’s death, I had an urge to watch his performance as the poet Dharumi in the 1952 movie “Thiruvilayadal”. Nagesh is extremely loud but extremely funny in this and many other movies, and I think his comic performances with veteran comedienne Manorama in various movies are absolutely the funniest. Modern comedians like Senthil or Vadivelu are not a patch on those two, separately or together.

Thiruvilayadal was one of the movies that I remember watching my grandmother watching... nodding in appreciation at Avvaiyar’s advice to young Lord Muruga, patting her cheeks in religious ecstasy every time any “God” appeared on screen, totally enraptured by the divine “plays” staged by Lord Sivaji – I mean Lord Shiva... It was almost as entertaining watching her watch the movie as it was to watch the movie! (I kind of like religious movies, anyway – all those miracles and “special effects” accompanying the Gods, the trial by suffering of the devotees and their redemption and so on. I don’t suppose any devotee of the Lord evoked such roars of laughter from the watchers, even as they empathised with his suffering as a poor and struggling poet, as Nagesh in his role as Dharumi.)

Anyway, nostalgia led me to watch some of Sivaji Ganesan’s histrionics in the movie as well – was there ever an actor who so consistently and splendidly overacted in every scene? The way he refused to entertain Parvathi-as-Dakshayini’s entreaties to accept her back was so over-the-top arrogant, it was almost too painful to watch. And I guess Sivaji dancing the “Thandavam” was about the most agile he ever got. It was pretty impressive, I’ll say.

But as far as I’m concerned, the piece de resistance was his absolutely delightful performance as the fisherman – I don’t suppose he meant to delight anybody in a less-than-dignified way
but the way he walked towards the villagers was so hysterically funny that it left me giggling for the rest of the day, every time I pictured it in my mind thereafter. I’d forgotten just how camp and exaggerated his walk was, although I guess it was meant to be manly and impressive. It didn’t help that he was wearing a very truncated dhoti that ended up something like stylised shorts with a swingy bit in front.

NB: (The way he behaved with Parvathi – I forget her name as the fishergirl – was very unfunny, though, because it was nothing short of physical harassment or eve-teasing in today’s world. Very uncomfortable to watch. But I suppose it can be condoned in a way, because the movie was from yesteryears, and it was meant to be divine "comedy".)