Tuesday, November 30, 2010

welcome to the nineteenth century

my sms' automated word-finder does not recognize the word - damn.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rajni jokes

Is it just me, or is there a desperate apologetic note in the lame Rajnikant jokes?

I got a joke today regarding Oscars being nominated to the Rajni awards - and it reminded me of that Lalu and Japan joke  - Lalu retorting to a troupe of Japanese delegates, telling him they can make Bihar like Japan in three months, that he can make Japan Bihar in three days - and I was wondering if the joke was really on the Japanese who cannot understand where Lalu comes from, or just Lalu.

In those who see the northie snub here, I think Rajni is only one among many super-celebrity hacks with little talent  across industries. It's just the relentless lame jokes being forced down my throat.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

From Don Quixote

...a story known by heart by the children, not forgotten by the young men, and lauded and even believed by the old folk; and for all that not a whit truer than the miracles of Mahomet.


Of course, it is to be remembered that the tale was written four hundred years ago, at the time of the crusades or, at least, immediately after them.

Depite the hype...

The Beatles were really quite good.


You just cannot hear some people out.
They will never stop.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kazi, man-mauji

A pastor who claimed that Facebook was a ''portal to infidelity'' has revealed that he had threesome sex with his wife and a male church assistant.

The Rev. Cedric Miller's secret past was exposed after he ordered church leaders to delete their Facebook accounts or resign.

He blamed the social networking giant for causing married couples to have illicit affairs and igniting ''old passions''.

Full story: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pastor-who-banned-infidelity-facebook-had-threesome-with-wife-church-aide/714427/

Something remembered from Kesavan - 'Stridency is loudest in the face of guilt and complicity.' (Actual construction might differ as not quoted verbatim but from memory.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

thanks for the statutory warning

An intelligence long suspected

It was Aniruddha’s birthday and we had been invited as a couple. It had been a few months since the day I had bumped into Sandeep, now twice the size and all but bald, and just as I jokingly asked him whatever happened to that girl he was dating from preschool, she joined us, pushing Aniruddha ahead in a pram. ‘What do you think?’, he gathered and squeezed her to his side, ‘She is the mother of my child now!’
Nidhi had to work late that night and I turned up alone an hour late. They had booked something like a conference room for the party, a large hall, darkened at one end, where a projector spilled their story on a wall –of growing together from school-bus to Anirudhha – as the ladies sat on sofas and chairs, and dutifully clapped now and then. I paused at the steps: the space was packed with suits and dazzling saris with kids racing and lacing between them like bees. I understood now what he meant when he had emphasised twice on the “something formal”.
 ‘I am wearing a shirt, dude’, I half-joked. Over jeans and sneakers. He smiled tightly and with a brisk pat on the back, returned to fawn over a huddle of bosses.
‘He’s very nervous about the promotion’, she smiled apologetically, ‘He should have got it last quarter, you know.’ I nodded.
‘Where’s Aniruddha?’
‘Oh, he was running a mild fever. So I put him to sleep in another room.’
I walked to the front and leant against a pillar to watch. A passing waiter brought me my whiskey. Three fat wives who could only belong to the middle-aged honchos I had seen him sucking up to, were spread in the middle sofa , bedecked and sporting enormous beehives, ignoring and cackling loudly over the slideshow. Some of the younger wives spread around them smiled and chatted between themselves, some sat alone, blankly staring at the screen. All of them wore an inordinate amount of jewellery for a kid’s party, but tasteful – all of them were very pretty. A particularly young woman, who reminded me of a girl I had once known, rocked a sleeping infant across her shoulder.  
Krithika came hurrying, still the harried wife – dabbing at her perspiring face with the end of a sari or a dupatta, scurrying to the kitchen every five minutes, and apologizing about Sandeep’s last minute cancellations – underneath the makeup. I braced myself when she paused one her tracks suddenly, expecting her to turn around, something forgotten, and come rushing into me. But she remained rooted at that spot, by my side, watching the photograph like she had never seen it before. Them together in a school snap, the boys standing and the girls seated.
She blinked and turned and saw me watching her. She laughed embarrassedly and shook her head. ‘Is there anything left to know after twenty years?’, I asked. Anirudhha was born on the very day they had first met: the undiminished magic of their great love.
I don’t know what it was but I felt something change in her then. A slowness entered. She turned to stare at the photograph again. A stillness. ‘Sometimes you can spend a lifetime with a person and still not understand him’, she spoke flatly.
A slide clicked in place, the light on her eyes shifted. I turned to see the very snap Sandeep had kept framed over his desk, curls and lips. ‘I was a hopeless romantic then. I really believed us when we said we were different, that we had learnt from the sad mistakes we had seen our elders live in, that we would never become like them.’ I watched her profile, lit like a Vermeer from the reflection on the wall, and realised how young and beautiful she herself was. A group crossed before us, bustling and laughing, their gaiety hard and coarse like a callus, casting a shadow on her. When they, and it, passed, she was looking at me, for the first time in the eye. Something had changed – between us.
‘When are you two getting married? You are almost a couple already!’ She laughed.
I hesitated and looked away. ‘Not now. We are happy as it is.’ As always, I was pretending that it was me who was tarrying; paraphrasing her.
‘Spoken like a man, Gaurav’, she spoke evenly again, ‘You want to love but not be bound.’
It stung like vinegar. I watched the whirr of another slide click into place and then turned and told her. ‘It’s her. She does not want to.’

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Love is...

From Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup

... it's one of the tranquil pastimes of lvoing: he reads (newspapers) as if his life depends on what is there. The book she has been reading lies on her breasts, open face-down at a page where she has come upon a sentence, a statement, that seems to have been written for her long before she came into existence and came to this space in the time of her life. she has read it over again and again, so that is is written, read, on the air around her, around him and her, on the sky looking down upon them. 'I decided to postpone our future as long as possible, leaving everything in its present state.'

Monday, November 08, 2010

Salut Laxman

The old phrase - we don't know when to start, we don't know when to quit. Most cricketers retire horribly. Denial of course is one of the foremost reasons... but I do not intend to discuss that.

This is the last stage of cricket that I am probably following. I do not enjoy organised sports on television at all anymore and much of the cricket that I follow is to do with the lot I literally grew up with. I have a very vivid memory of the news headline which announced the inclusion of sixteen-year old Sachin in national squad and see him speak for the first time, gauche and with that horrible fuzz on the lips that is the bane of male adolescence, in a brief clip. 

Sachin is, of course, having the most glorious run right now and we can assume that this is the beginning of the end. A run denied to the other greats who have, in brief patches of the "golden age of Indian cricket", even eclipsed him - Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly. A little of this is the timing of the lady luck also though everything goes to the man. During the last stint of his career, the great Kapil out swinger just never came. A year (or a couple) down the line, in an exhibition match I remember seeing him swinging it by a yard. If only, it had come to him back a year ago.

 Which bring me to records, something he is shattering seemingly for eternity or as far ahead we can envision it with current stock of cricketers.
There is nothing I know of Hammond and Hobbs other than their records. The little of Bradman that I know beyond his records is from the Bodyline series. In cricket, a seventy in time can be more vital than a double century (or even Gooch's horrible triple ton) when everything is on song... a five wicket haul depend on a wicketless, but more importantly, runless spell from the other end... but all this sadly gets lost in the dust of re-laid pitches year over year. All that survives is records.

I belong to the old school which judges the five-day format as the true test of cricket. In that sense, I feel that the one cricketer who has really come on his own in this year - a genius of the golden generation who never quite rose to the rank of the fab four - is Laxman. Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand.  

There are Sachin detractors and apologists - most of it is unfair. The one reason why there are endless debates on the "truly" greatest someone of all time is that greatness comes in flavors. Who we ultimately pick from a pool who have achieved greatness in different forms (some like Sachin straddling more than one form)  is ultimately which single definition we want to strain all these forms in. 

Sachin is one of the greatest in many senses, but he is not god.  There are no gods and whom we call gods are those we revere bribe and feat but not exactly.... like. Every tale of a hero, needs a tragedy. Like superheroes, our heroes need a fatal flaw to be human to us. Sachin is perhaps the all-time greatest as far as records and consistency go but there will always be space at the top for the Laras who might have not been as consistent but who batted for a third-rate team and singlehandedly carved some of the greatest innings ever; for Bradman who batted without protective gears and in an era of different sensibility; for Gavaskar who came when there was no Gavaskar before him and a few others.

Laxman's career, like that other hyderabadi great, has been chequered. He has half the centuries Dravid has and a third of Sachin's. But Laxman as the man who came good when it really mattered and clinched tests for India, consistently, needs no apologists now.  To paraphrase Sambit Bal, he created symphonies, again and again, when sirens went all around. His fatal flaw – that weak bat dangling four feet from the body when the sirens haven't sounded yet.

The fact that Laxman was denied a century today does not matter. As I said, he will end up having a third of Sachin's centuries and his greatness never be attested on that basis. But with this year, for me, he would be at par with Sachin (and Dravid) as the greatest test batsmen of this golden generation. 

There are things which can never be captured in records.