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Showing posts from 2011

Ramblings on boxing day

The Border Gavaskar series between India and Australia are always marked by a series of verbal volleys, something the Aussies politely disguise as mental disintegration. Much of it has been quelled by Rahul Dravid’s Bradman oration.

Mental disintegration worked when Australia had a battery of immortals to back their talk. The Indian Summer of 2001 reversed the tide, when an unassuming VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid rewrote Indian cricket history. For many years, an Indian win in Australia was always regarded a bonus, not something even a true fan would have denied. The 2003-2004 series, though partly overshadowed by Steve Waugh’s swansong, was the first well fought series played on Australian soil. It gave us the enduring image of Rahul Dravid pumping his fists in the air after winning the Adelaide test.

After India conceded the trophy in 2005, the 2007-2008 series was labelled as a clash for the throne. Instead, what transpired went beyond the limits of the code of conduct. The Sydney tes…

Here’s to the crazy one

It is said that almost everyone remembers where they were when an icon passes. To understand why Steve Jobs meant so much to this generation, one would have to see why this generation needed a Steve Jobs so desperately. Unless you count Michael Jackson as someone worthy of being an overriding icon, whose fan base transcended continents and generations, but sadly robbed himself of the title with his terrifying and incomprehensible tumble from grace toward the latter part of his life, Steve Jobs was the numero uno icon for this generation.

We like our heroes larger than life. When they give status quo the finger, couple their genius with a tinge of irreverence, and enigmatically change the world in the bargain, they cannot help but breathe rarefied air. For this generation, Gandhi will always remain an ideal. We weren’t around to witness seminal events such as the landing on the moon, the 4-minute mile, or Woodstock (‘69 that is). But thankfully, the digital revolution delivered our gene…

The many walls that Rahul Dravid scaled

Of all the things that Rahul Dravid can stake claim to, savagery is not one of them.
Yet, a few weeks back, he found himself on unfamiliar turf. If the sight was a tad bewildering, what ensued a little later was even more startling. In what can only be termed as a momentary lapse of reason, Rahul Dravid turned into an unwieldy mixture of Gilchrist, Sehwag and Jayasuria, striking  3 sixes in a row.  The wall, age 38, being called upon to scale another wall – his first, and last t20 international.

Great players allude to a trait, a style of play that becomes inseparable from their very being. While Laxman’s style is intertwined with sublime artistry, Sachin’s synonymous with mastery, Dravid excels at rigor. His innings are an essay in concentration, a sermon on effort and a testimony on patience, all woven into one. He grinds bowlers down until they stop bowling and start praying. In the last 15 years, his presence at the crease is reason enough to hope. A ‘not out’ against his name give…

The Sistine Chapel that VVS Laxman built

In those days, time was measured in intervals of 40 minutes. That was how long it took for a period in school to get over. In those days, school kids didn’t know what cell phones were, let alone carry them to school to check the score. In those days, kids would run to the school canteen to check the score. On this day, every person that cared about cricket was prepared for the inevitable – the final frontier to be breached. But something went awry.

Each time the kids ran to the school canteen expecting the match to have been dutifully completed, they went back a bit disappointed. Some closure would afford them chance to go back to concentrating on their studies. Thankfully, none of that happened. For each time they went to check, a certain Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman held fort and refused to retreat. Over the next two days, India completed an improbable victory in what is arguably one of the greatest test matches to ever be played.

Of all Indian batsmen of note to have ever graced the g…

When a place becomes a part of you

It begins unceremoniously, like any other habit that you have allowed to creep into your life and find a safe harbour. It begins like any other day, one that doesn’t work too hard to embed itself in the recesses of your memory. You halt and ask for a cup of coffee.  It tastes like nothing you’ve ever had before (or does it?). It provides you what most of your other trivial pursuits don’t - satisfaction.
The next day, you find yourself in the same place, ostensibly at the same time, ordering your cuppa again. This time, there is a gleam of recognition in the eyes of the one who serves you. Unknown to you, some 100 others feel the same. Again, it provides you what you try so seek untiringly  day after day– recognition.
You can never tell when that day will come, when after much deliberation, you are deemed worthy of a regular. Your face is no longer another one in the crowd. Suddenly, satisfaction and recognition are not strangers anymore. It has crept upon you so unseeingly that you cann…

Making and keeping friends on facebook

The Oxford dictionary’s definition of friendship reads like this - a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Of course, one may safely presume this was before the advent of facebook and orkut. Scour your friend's list and you chance upon everyone from bosses, exes, current squeezes, colleagues, siblings, parents and grandparents. While social networking has played a part in redefining friendship, it does pose problems from time to time.

In one single move, facebook offered parents what they were seeking all their lives - being friends with their children. Remember how corny it sounded when someone went around parroting ‘my dad’s like my friend’? How their premonition has come true. It  sometimes also turns friendships into an ego battle. You talk, you chat, you gossip, but wait for each other to send a friend request. And those guys who tell you to add them on facebook. Do I look bereft of all company that I can’t …

Why the boob tube needs a boob job

Some 20 years back, I returned home to find thermocol strewn all over the living room. Unbeknownst to me, a new way of life was in the offing, one that had more than 2 channels and where lifeguards with red swimsuits saved the day. To relive that feeling, think back to a time when you scurried back from school to catch Small Wonder and Wonder Years and a little later, Home improvement and It’s a man’s world. And you wondered how children in America were kissing mouth to mouth with such aplomb.
Before we were enslaved by social networking, television time was not easy to come by. In my case, it was simply the case of too many people vying for one solitary device. Grandma never veered off from sun tv. My sister never veered off from bold and the beautiful and santa barbara. In between all of this, I was supposed to find space, even though I didn’t understand what the heck I was supposed to be watching. And then Baywatch washed everything over.
Of course you’ve been there. Of course, you’…

A Tam Brahm’s guide to marriage

Over the years, the tam brahm has been stereotyped in more ways than one. Most of the stereotypes are true and nothing to be ashamed of. If we were all alike, there would be nothing to write, nothing to gossip about, nothing that will make us stand apart from each other. Here are a few observations about the state of marriage for a tam brahm.
First, in a tam brahm wedding, very few people are actually interested in the wedding. What they are really interested in is who is going to get married next. If you are single and in your twenties, you are doomed. Inevitably, you will find these maamis , who act as scouts and whose lifetime goals consist in finding out the following:
a) What’s your age? b) When do you plan to get married? c) Are you going to the USA? d) Are you traditional? e) Are you dating?
Somehow, they will find out. And before you know it, a suitable suitor will be flashed in front of you. Your time starts.... now.

Second, if you are a boy, you should be a software engineer. Any …

The chaos theory of Pakistani cricket

This must surely go down in the country as one of the most unproductive weeks. In the sub-continent, where cricket is akin to a blood group, every match is analysed to oblivion. Step into the chai shop and they are talking of whether it should be Nehra or Ashwin. Step into the swankiest restaurant and see the well-heeled people acting like their true selves. Go to the saloon and you would think the barber could stand for chairman of selectors. And this is not even on match day. So when the Indo-Pak clash became imminent, everyone went agog.  Agog over where to watch the match. It isn’t about cricket anymore. It’s about the booze and the food and the venue and the crowd and the bets.  As the match winded down, an inexplicable sadness descended upon us. The match everybody was waiting for was over. Never mind that India won. Who knows when this moment will appear in our lives again, throwing us into a collective tailspin? When offices declared a half day. When people stood up wherever t…

The moron of morons on Indian roads - nominations

Our roads aren’t complete with the numerous morons that dot them and ensure early onset heart disease and shorter life spans. So here are the nominations for the Indian road moron hall of fame:
1. Yo man dude: Yo dude is of the belief that he is god’s gift to women. Never mind that she is seated in a BMW, he believes that he can sweep her off the uber comfy seats and ride away with her into the smog filled sunset. Hence he accelerates and tries to catch her attention. Hence he goes from 0 - 60 in 15 seconds, only to come to a screeching halt at the next signal. Moreover, yo man dude doesn’t find it stupid to attempt a wheelie in the middle of a busy road, jeopardizing the lives of others. May he find an attractive nurse to wrap bandages on him when he ends up strapped to a hospital bed. In the same vein, we don’t wish him a speedy recovery.
2. The wanker honker: You cannot escape this species, however hard you try. It is their second nature to have their hand on the horn, even when the…

So long Ricky Ponting. And thanks for all the bad memories.

One of cricket’s finest ODI innings ever played was one every Indian fan wishes was never played in the first place. For on March 23, 2003, a certain Ricky Ponting took it upon himself to single-handedly annihilate a billion Indian dreams. For solace, we keep returning to Sachin’s masterclass from the same tournament where he greeted Shoaib with a six and treated the rest with disdain. To me, the 2003 world cup ended there. I want to blank out that final. All thanks, again, to a certain Ricky Ponting.

To an Indian supporter, praising Ricky Ponting is akin to siding with Pakistan in an Indo- Pak encounter. But Ricky Ponting could have all too easily been a fallen hero, someone who burned out far ahead of his time. Cricket is littered with such tales of supreme talents that placed mammon and the bottle before the game, when all they while it should have been the other way round. The fearsome Andrew Symonds comes to mind,  his career having derailed over the last couple of years…