Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More gems : bad movie reviews

I am literally floored by the quality of the reviews.

Sadly the same thing cannot be said about the movies :))

The Clan of Cave Bear (1986)


The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

And I also came across a quaint little hypothesis -

"That any given movie will most likely hurt bad when it tells us it was based on, inspired by, or ‘faithfully’ adapted from a story by : Edgar Alan Poe, Brahm Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, or (most recently) Michael Crichton."

Considering the fact that Stephen King continues to remain my absolute favourite author, I find this hard to digest. But then again .......... maybe the reviewer does have a point.

King Kong Lives !!!

Came across this amazing review of one of the worst ape movies ever made. Hilarious stuff ! Now, what was Linda Hamilton (yes, the stone-faced mother of John Connor from the Terminator series) doing in the middle of all this "wholesome" entertainment is anybody's guess.

Cannot help but share this with Samit, the great (who, let me admit, in spite of being a fan, I don't know from Adam). Specially in view of his this post.

Trying to unearth some other gems from this site.

The cricket memories have to wait, I guess.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

22 yards in 21 inches - Part I

Does everyone remember the first cricket match they saw on TV? I certainly do. It was a winter morning in New Delhi, when Ravi Shastri, a relatively obscure left arm spinner plucked out of the Mumbai Ranji team (some say, not without justification, only because SMG wanted him) came out as a nightwatchman against Willis and Botham and scored 93. The year was 1981 and and I was hooked.

In those pre-historic days without cable tv, there was just good ol' DD to introduce you to the collective charms of Dr. Narottam Puri, Kishor Bhimani, Ravi Chaturvedi, Akash Lal and Anupam Gulati. The language was archaic, the coverage sometimes bordering on ludicrous, with the camera focussing on the wicketkeeper rather than the fielder chasing the ball and the breaks were not commercial but the rather more conventional off-break and leg-break. But just maybe, the cricket was much closer to the heart.

So rather than defending those romantic notions about black and white televisions, white flannel and batting without helmets (and generally sounding old and utterly boring) what I will try and do is to piece together some arresting visuals I remember from those days. It is not in any order of significance, its just what I remember.

A struggle between two ultra-defensive captains as to who will bore the crowds more. India winning the Mumbai test quite unexpectedly. SMG scoring a rather painstaking 172 in the second test at Bangalore. Arrival of the original dashing opener, KM Srikkanth. Ravi Shastri playing that gutsy innings in only his second series. GR Viswanath (222) and Yashpal Sharma (140) sharing a quite sublime partnership in Chennai in what turned out to be GRV's swansong.

In those golden (hmph !!!) days of test cricket a draw was the most likely outcome for any match. I remember people getting mildly surprised when a test actually produced a result. Let alone a result, it was difficult to complete an innings each in lots of cases. And obviously the preparation of those flat bat beauties had a lot to do with our great captain being mortally afraid of losing a series. One really felt for Kapil, bowling his heart out in those conditions. And those lovely late outswingers ... how come no other Indian bowler has come even close to reproducing those gems. And how come people like Mukul Kesavan are bemoaning the current sad state of test cricket. Has he forgotten this series?

What else but the world cup ! The crowd invasion after every match ... Kirti Azad turning out to be the killer bowler against England .... Sandeep Patil and Kapil holding their nerves in that tense semi-final ... Srikkanth cutting, driving and pulling Holding, Roberts, Marshall and Garner with such mighty disdain in the final and still scoring only 38 in what will ironically be the highest score of the match.

Balwinder Sandhu bowling the delivery of his life ... the banana swinger which Greenidge shouldered arms to ... Richards cracking 7 boundaries in his 33 ...... Kapil running back 20 yards to catch him off his right shoulder .... Amarnath bowling Dujon with his dollies .... Kapil lifting that cup ... Chika smoking in the Lord's balcony.

So how did this bunch of no-hopers run away with greatest prize of them all? How come, Kapil never ever reached that pinnacle of his batting prowess again ... the cliff he so effortlessly climbed in that famous morning at Turnbridge Wells. And how did so many people get out to the collective wiles of Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath? Well some mysteries will always remain unsolved.

The season when the team came down to earth with a thud. The friendly series against Pakistan in which the teams played out two well-mannered draws obviously did not prepare the Indian team for what was to come. The abiding memory of the Ind-WI series will be SMG losing his bat against Marshall in the Kanpur Test. It really set the tone for the series which had so many other moments to cherish .... WI 157/5 at Kanpur recovering to 454 through their unlikely batting heroes Dujon and marshall ... SMG equalling the Don with that blitzkrieg in New Delhi ... Mahinder Amarnath putting up an international telephone number (001000) with his scores .... Kapil with his unbelievable bowling at Ahmedabad .... SMG leg glancing Wayne Daniels to go past Boycott and the highest test score ... India still managing to lose the test within four days ..... Desmond Haynes out handled the ball in Mumbai ... SMG out first ball at Calcutta ... someone shouting "Guest Artist" from the Clubhouse stands ... WI again recovering from 213/8 to 377 courtesy the man they used to call Supercat .... Holding bowling 5 unplayable balls to Vengsarkar in one over and then clean bowling him with his 6th ... Andy Roberts 200th test wicket is SMH Kirmani's middle stump flying towards Dujon .... SMG coming at No.4 in Chennai to avoid Marshall ... that idea backfiring with India sliding to 0 for 2 .... the birth of "strokeless wonder" NS Sidhu .... if only people knew how he his going to make up for those missing strokes with his motoring mouth later on .... the double century to erase Bradman and Vinoo Mankad from the record books.

What struck me the most in this series was the wide gulf between the teams. I mean the sustained hostility those four horsemen of apocalypse could generate every single day of that series and which none in the other team could match. And the way they blew apart the much vaunted Indian line up .... after all M/s Gavaskar, Gaekwad, Vengsarkar, Amarnath, Shastri, Kapil Dev wasn't so bad on paper, was it? It has to be the familiar argument of "lack of spine against genuine pace", then. And that favourite remedy being offered " let's make bowler friendly fast wickets in India to train our batsmen for the challenges". Pray how will we win the home series' then?

[To be continued]

Thursday, November 10, 2005


It took me a lot of time to just write the first sentence.

Why is it always the hardest part? Why can't the first thought flow like a river, like you can bet it flows for Terry Pratchett and Stephen King? Is it because our thoughts are way too jumbled and we can't separate the signal from background noise?

Fun to think about your mind resembling this vast black sightscreen (like the ones used for day/night cricket matches) and thoughts like millions of random light bulbs going on and off. Its hard to focus on one thought and its difficult to hold on to that one bright spark which you need to write that one brilliant line.

The Marine Drive breeze carried the scent of home. Not the physical one, which now houses my ageing parents. Not that one which still has one cupboard full of my old clothes and books. Not the one where the air is still damp with expectations of their son returning one day and reclaiming his place in the household. No, not that one at all.

It wanted to take me to the place where I seldom go. The one in which I can run to school without being out of breath. Where the grass is always greener on my side and not the other. The place which still holds all the smells of my childhood. The place where I can be the greatest left arm bowler India has ever produced for one lazy afternoon. The one in which she is still thirteen.

Well, the breeze had to try real hard for my attention. The blaring horns and the traffic snarls were not helping its case much. It must have caught me at an unguarded moment because I rarely let down the guard now-a-days. Oh no, letting down the guard was not a good idea at all. After all, who wants to show all those bruises to the world? All that hurt and desperation and rage will not make a pretty sight either.

Going home ! That's all I could think of after the initial wave of euphoria.

For me, home will always be that purple coloured cupboard which used to house my dad's drawings. More precisely, those three strips of markings with yellow crayon in front of it which only I could equate with cricket stumps. Or was it that half-broken badminton racquet which used to double up for tennis? Or that red diary in which my biggest secrets were kept. The one which had her writing in big letters "I will never marry you, even if you are dying, because you are a liar." Are those things still there in that house, lying somewhere, waiting for me?

The breeze was definitely waiting to take me home. And this time I was ready. Was the lamppost ready when my Ikon crashed into it at 60 mph? Even in case it was, it sure did a great impersonation of acting surprised.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dream on

Sometimes the urge to chuck it all and run away becomes so overpowering. Getting rid of all the trappings of the materiallistic world and chasing your dream. People talking about you in hushed tones with barely concealed admiration. Your views on any topic under the sun being taken as gospel. Your guts being being compared to Rocky Balboa’s.

Wish I had the guts. Wish people will just stop saying "What the hell are you doing with your life?". Wish I knew what else am I supposed to do. Wish I could stop my thoughts from withering away. Wish I could remember my dreams once I woke up.

While the Great Indian Middle Class around you is fullfilling its Great Indian Dream in this Great Indian Century, it’s a little dumb to admit that you don’t have a dream. Dreams which can be taken seriously, that is. Like, do you expect people to pay for reading what you are reading? Or better, giving you a job of watching nondescript cricket matches between West Indies and Zimbabwe and commenting on the tactical fallacy of using Correy Colleymore as a strike bowler?

Am I getting confused between dreams and business models? Well, blame it on the dot com bust. Those were the times when putting up scanned photos of various idols on your website and expecting NRIs to do e-darshan constituted a great business plan.

Sigh ! Fat chance people will throw money by the bucketfulls at such brilliant ideas anymore.

Where does all this leave me? Why, exactly where you found me, sitting on the desk, trying the pretend that I have a dream after all.

A dream that someone will actually understand this drivel and offer me a joint.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Close encounters of the different kind

"I find Tweetie positively repulsive", she said. " Give me Wolverine any day."

For once I was stuck for words. Like here I am, brought up on the understanding that all girls like Tweetie, soft toys, Enid Blyton, Mills and Boon and chocolates. And here she was, turning all that on its head.

Blame it on my bong middle class background. Somehow, I was always under the impression that the things I absolutely adore (like, for example WWF), are what makes all nice girls (well most of them ... with whom you want to go around with, anyways) shriek in disgust.

So was I dreaming when she explained the anomalies in the batting average of Jacques Kallis against Australia? I mean, I did not even imagine that anybody else in this world apart from me (well .... maybe Stephen @ cricinfo) knew about it. Just the presence of all those people at On Toes (yeah ! some people still go there) stopped me from screaming out in sheer joy.

The dark interiors of the pub only heightened the sense of surrealism. What started as a nice retro trip in the lines of "lets have some beer and listen to good music, what?" was fast degenerating into a tequila ("I can do them without the lemon, so watch me baby !!") showdown. The kind of showdown, in which people stop bothering about who was winning pretty soon.

And then there was Mr. Red Shirt who kept giving us dirty looks from the next table. Well, can't really blame Mr. RS. Our resident sex maniac B was practically staring down RS' girlfriend's cleavage. The poor girl had been trying hard to escape attention by squeezing herself between the table and the wall column, while B continuously positioned himself for a better view. I thought of quietly telling S about it. Decided against it when I saw him trying to hit the waiter with the lemon wedge.

So I can't be blamed for wondering whether I had just dreamt up that conversation about subtle differences between Marvel and DC universes. And with a girl you have just met. A girl in whose eyes you could drown. A girl who knows who Jean Paul Valley is for god's sake.

Tearing my eyes off the dynamic duo RS and B was proving a great challenge, though. B was dancing dangerously close to the next table by now. "Summer of 69" was never meant to be dance number and all that air-guitaring close to his girl was making RS distinctly jittery. S had thankfully stopped playing cricket. However, considering the fact that his head was buried in T's perfumed coiffure, one could not realistically expect support from that quarter.

At the end, the choice between preventing B's imminent bash-up and discussing the psychological underpinnings of Triple H was a no contest. Specially after she declared that she needs some fresh air and we should step outside for continuing the conversation.

The Juhu breeze, shared Gold Flake Kings, Norse mythology, Green Lantern and Area-51 somehow landed us in her place. Not trying to say that other, more elemental thoughts involving naked entwined limbs did not cross my mind at any point. Well, what other thoughts could you get while discussing (rather objectively...with references and all) whether Magneto managed to make it with Rogue. However, all those thoughts were firmly clamped down as I refused to fall prey to the beast called instant gratification. On second thoughts ... well, first things first.

Her pad was somewhere in Santacruz. Could not really make out the area due to tequila induced haze, but managed to stumble in after her nevertheless. All the while trying hard to remember whether I was carrying any rubber in my purse. Memory, normally so efficient, can be such a bitch sometimes, under the influence of certain Mexican cactus extracts.

Crossed the living room on the way to what I hoped was the bedroom. But was soon stopped in my tracks by the vision of another girl wearing a shirt coming out of the loo. Yes, I have seen girls wearing shirts before, but normally they wear something below it also. Now, I should admit here that the person in question may have been wearing something underneath that shirt but I could not just ask her that, could I? Not when she screamed after seeing me tottering in. I managed somehow to duck back to the living room, while my companion tried calming her roommate down. She was pretty efficient by the sounds of it. Though, must admit I was moderately intrigued by statements such as "Its not what you think, really", "He likes comics, too", "You know how On Toes is, you can lose your mind there" etc.

I was a little (well .... as compared to a lot) disoriented when she finally came back to the living room and the alcohol in the system wasn't helping much, either. So imagine my shock, when she produced a Smirnoff bottle and said "vodka is really nice after tequila, wanna try?" I mean its not as if I could say no to that offer, right? So ended up getting rightfully sloshed, while trying to keep track of the Age of Apocalypse and other assorted timelines. She was also sounding quite happy and was finally showing signs of drunkenness. "Thank God", I thought, "she is human after all".

Even then, she caught me off-guard with her casual comment "You have never liked Storm, have you?". I protested mightily, declaring my undying love for Ororo Munroe, her flowing hair and outlandish outfits. To that she said something really unexpected, "I always thought my eyes were like hers."

I desperately bit back my smart comments about how Storm's eyes changed colour when she was using her powers and just continued looking at her. I mean I might have read all Justice League comics cover to cover, but I sure knew when to keep quiet.

And then she smiled. Ohh ! I could have given up my entire RD Burman collection for that one smile.

As things turned out, I didn't need to.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Chronicle of a hangover foretold !!!

Open my eyes and wish I had not. The drumming in the brain (on the beats of "Saaiyan Dil Me Aana Re" if you please) reaches a crescendo. The back of your mouth feels like an arid desert. Just keeping your eyelids open seems to be an olympian effort.

I drag my limp body to the sink and stare at the wreck in the mirror. Takes a while to clear the haze with cold water and soap suds. Try desperately not to think about the previous night. The taste of lead in the mouth refuses to yield to toothpaste. Just how many times can a guy promise to himself not to drink like an ass again?

Hangover. The dreaded word. The single most important reason for my absent days in office. The secret tormentor of my mental and physical well-being. The classic tale of the dreadful "morning after" being able to erase all memories of the beautiful "night".

For some people, the "hangovers" overwhelm the "highs" by about 50:1. Hell, I don't know about others, mine certainly does. How do I get these Godzilla size hangovers? Previous explanations from my "concerned" friends have covered the whole gamut of "You and your bloody bong genes", "Who asked you to drink so fast, you asshole?", "Did you even THINK of having some water?", "For fuck's sake, DON'T mix your drinks", "What else will you get after drinking so much, a bloody sandwich massage by horny Chinese chicks?" etc. etc.

For the life of me, I have still not understood what exactly happens to me after the high wears off. How does my head feels like its going to explode any moment. How my tummy behaves as if Russian acrobats are performing some deadly summersaults there.

Actually, believe it or not, my hangover actually starts while I am drinking. And no, it has got nothing to do with general drunkenness. By virtue of long practice I have managed distinguish exactly between "high" effects and "hangover" effects!. "Hangover" effects normally start with a mildly throbbing headache, progresses through steady dehydration by regular visits to the loo and end up as a "who parked that motorcycle with the engine on inside my head" apocalypse.

And all I will say to those purveyors of sure-fire hangover cures, CUT THE CRAP.

Having tried all possible homely remedies starting from the regular ........
a) Strong black coffee (a sure shot way to acidity and general increased consumption of Gelusil)
b) Bath with ice cold water (a cold in case you are lucky, and a fever in case you are not)
c) Wrap your head in a wet towel (Cold + sinus / tonsils)

to the mildly incredible ............
a) Big breakfast (will definitely make you puke, in case you have not already)
b) Bread (to soak the alcohol in the stomache , he he he ..... will make you skip breakfast and lunch)
c) Cold Milk (supposed to be a cure for acidity ... actually makes it worse)

and to the totally crazy ones ....
a) Drink some more (will surely get you to the hospital)
b) Sleep it off with some pills (a candidate for stomache pumping)
c) Go watch a horror flick to keep your mind off it (you might be arrested for puking on the lady next to you)

.... I can say only this, none of them even comes close to working !!! The only way to cure a hangover is to survive it somehow and hope your liver lives to tell the tale. And then there's always the next weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Use your illusion, too

Life goes on around you in an unfocussed blur. The sands of time passing through the hourglass. Maybe you’re the sand, maybe you’re the hand which turns the hourglass upside down when the sand runs off.

Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do

All these pop-philosophy still does not explain why I woke up today with grandfather’s song in my head along with the light hangover…. I can visualize the scene even now … After at least 20 years … The chirruping birds in the Calcutta fog … The steaming cup of milk in front me which I was supposed to consume because its good for my vision (!!!) … And my grandpa reading the Geeta in its original in his sing-a-long voice…. "Yada Yada hi dharmasya … " etc ..... Funny, when you try to remember Geeta, that’s the only line, which you seem to remember ..... Blame it on Amar Chitra Katha … They started glamorizing Indian mythology much before Ramanand Sagar and BR Chopra ever put their minds to it.

And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you … I don't know how

Are we as Indians going back to our roots … Vishwa Hindu Parishad would certainly make you believe so … So would the promoters of Aastha and Samskar channels…. While the other channels can continue to talk ad nauseam about the brothers Ambani and webcams fitted in tubelights, M/s Asaram and Morari Bapu is hell bent on providing some spinach soup for the soul (we are vegetarians, remember!) … Certainly looks inexplicable … Why are perfect yuppie-types so glued onto Satsangs and Vaastu … Why does your next cubicle neighbour go to tarot card readers every Saturday…. Why are people so genuinely moved when they read the words "you have a golden heart but people do not understand you" in their astrological predictions for the day ….. Is all this a part of the overall root-searching story? … Do we Indians have roots which are seeped into our primordial fears … Is the great Indian sub-conscious really so atavistic in nature?

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

What are we Indians? A genetic soup of Aryans, Mongloid and Australasians? … Explains a bit of our continuous confusion as to where to go … Do we embrace materialism in all its glory … Go crazy buying I-pods, nokia 6660s and plasma television .... Or go the other way ……. Chuck the cushy jobs to open NGOs taking care of Mumbai’s street-children, Goa’s pedophilia victims and the like ….. Are we comfortable doing anything at all …… Or do we need to be continually comforted that we are doing the right thing and that we are happy about doing the right thing and that we are making others happy by being happy about doing the right thing …. So much angst and so little time, oh what are we gonna do ….

Today was gonna be the day
But they'll never throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you're not to do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now

And all the roads that lead to you were winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
I don't know how

Vaguely remember Geeta saying something about you not being responsible for your own actions … That somehow, the cosmic cycle of Karma is going to determine what becomes of your deeds and you have nothing to do with it … That you are this mindless automation who does things for the joy of doing … Does that explain why I got that song in my head in the morning … Like I was somehow trying to convince myself that I have got nothing to do with the hangover I am suffering from…. Its all a result of some big cosmic joke ….. Well, maybe …

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

Are you the sand …. Are you the dancer dancing on the sand during a sand storm … or are you the hand … the hand which turns the great cosmic wheel of Karma … is it our destiny to be confused about our destiny …. Or is it our mind playing tricks with itself ….

Said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me

Losing your illusion

Don't remember when it struck me for the first time. Maybe it was late October, maybe early November. Who gives a damn, anyway? That is when I first realised that my life is almost over. Yeah, I know the way it sounds. What I meant was that, each day I am preparing to die, I am just one more day closer to death. Shit, this is also not what I actually wanted to say. But it reinforces my point, I have lost the ability to describe my feelings, too.

There is nothing to look forward to any more. Maybe, its just me. I have spent my life so far, in a fond and utterly irrational hope ..... that the great thing which is going to elevate my life above the level of mundane, is waiting at the next corner. Its really quite an experience when you find out that your life is a straight line, without any corners ... you are just an ordinary guy leading an ordinary life. And tomorrow sucks.

So what ... did I hear? There are around 6 billion ordinary people in the world leading perfectly ordinary lives. I know, but the difference is, my friends, none of them are ME. Self-pitying bullshit? I might agree. But can't help feeling sorry for those pointless days, weeks, months, years leading up to this. Where time seems to move around you in fast forward ...where one day is just like the other .... where you think about yourself in third person .... where there is no Oz somewhere over the rainbow. Some day at XL I wrote these lines, "Life is passing you by ... you can smell the rot in your bones" ... and felt great. What self-importance! What moving poignancy!! When it actually comes down to rotting of your bones, you become immune to the smell. Maybe again that's just me.

Is that all there is left to life ... watching newer and more mindless movies, watching pointless cricket matches and booze ... there is always booze and the ability to act the fool. And fool people by false impressions of hidden depths in your conversation. Sound knowledgeable .... that’s what I have always been good at. The only thing you guys don't know is that how hollow it sounds even to myself. I mean who is this person leading my apology of a life, who is this guy sounding so learned about "how alcohol is absorbed in your bloodstream", who is this guy who just drank that bottle of beer with such obvious relish, just who the hell is he? Can't you guys make out that he's just a fake trying to act like one guy who he used to know. A guy who used to actually take interest in things and without any reason. How can the guy get away with such blatant superficiality. But then again you don't know that other person, right?

Am I going to spend the rest of my life (heck it does not even sound like much of a life anymore) just pretending to be someone else, acting myemotions, doing my duty for my family, friends and society.Going to office by 8:29 local, coming back by 8:08 leaving everything else to auto-pilot? Someone just tell me where the hell is ME in that, what has happened to what is supposed to be MY life? Like I told someone so wisely someday "I think you are expecting too much out of your life" .... Hell can't I just expect a LIFE and not this dull drudgery, this inexorable rolling towards inevitable death. Can't I just be somebody? Can't I be just me??

Well, enough nonsense. Maybe you will understand, maybe you won't. What is absolutely certain is that nothing is going to change. Like I told someone, "the bad news is my life so far has been a spectacular failure, the good news is there are only 40 or so years left". That's the only dream left... maybe the end will be a relief.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The decline of the sub-continent ....

Around this time last year, Indian cricket was at their (arguably) all time high after managing to perfectly ruin Steve Waugh's farewell party at Sydney. What was supposed to be red-hankie waving crescendo of a Australian white wash over India turned out to be a run-fest by an unusually reticent Tendulkar and a usually brilliant Laxman. And with Kumble (of the steely glare and gritted jaw) making sure Australia lived on tenterhooks all through the fifth day, it was by far the biggest wet dream come true for all Indian supporters.

To generalise a bit, India's refusal to bow down to the great Australians led by greater Waugh was to be the beginning of the rise of the Indian sub-continent teams. The Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan teams which were regularly had for breakfast by the Pommies, Kiwis and Aussies at Headingley, Dunedin and Brisbane were supposed to stamp their dominance on the world stage. The sheer batting class of M/s Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Sehwag, Laxman, Youhana, Inzamam which was so much in evidence to their respective supporters suddenly became apparent to the cricket fraternity (including those jingoistic English writers who still think Grame Thorpe has better technique than Brian Lara). Kumble, Pathan, Vaas, Shoaib, Sami, Murali seemed to be almost an embarassment of riches in terms of bowling talent.

Sadly nothing seems to have changed one year later. Aussies beat Sri Lanka 3-0 (in Sri Lanka), India 2-1 (In India) and Pakistan 3-0 (in Australia). India and Pakistan seem to have spent so much of their collective energies in battling each other that they could barely get up for the Aussies.

Actually, the apparent paradox of sub-continent teams having such abundant individual talent and so little collective results can be analysed from any of these angles:
1. The Hayden angle - sub-continent players play for themselves and their records and not for the team.
2. The Boycott angle - sub-continent players lack discipline. They need to be whipped by their moms regularly.
3. The Sunny angle - There is no such problem which revamping of domestic cricket and more Mumbai batsmen in the team cannot solve.
4. The Dalmiya angle - Its all a conspiracy by racist ICC.
5. The Ganguly angle - At least we are the second best team in the world in terms of whining about pitches (England still remain the undisputed numero uno).

Jokes apart, is it something mental? The sub-continent teams just seem to fizzle out at the most critical part of a cricket match after having the upper hand. Blame my opinion on watching the recent Aus-Pak series, where Pakis reigned supreme for about a day and got soundly thrashed for the rest 2.5 days in each of the tests. (My arithmetic is not so bad, no test actually lasted beyond the fourth day).

Whatever it is ... right now the things are not hunky-dory at all for sub continent cricket. India looks capable of beating only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (well maybe the West Indies) on current form ... Pakistan must be still shell-shocked .... Sri Lankans really don't have the firepower to consistently win test matches outside the sub-continent.

So what ... does that mean Tendulkar will open a vada-pao joint after the failure of "Sachin's"? Will Sehwag make an educational film about his happily married life? Will Zaheer Khan start acting in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi? Will Harbhajan live off Priya Reddy's income? Will Kumble open a tutorial class for engineering entrance? .... the mind boggles at the possibilities .... My bet is as long as there is Bangladesh (and if Dalmiya is lucky, Kenya, UAE, USA, Holland and Hongkong), there is always hope. And maybe the new "Harsha Bhogle" does not have to resort to a career at All India Radio, after all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The weather, swades, media and everything ....

Anybody wonder whats happening to the good ol' bombay climate? I mean ... when I came here some 5 monsoons back, the climate / weather thing was so much more predictable. 2.5 months of rain and 9.5 months of summer. And take a look now ... there's actually a winter, maybe soon we will have spring and autumn also. Think of it .... we can't even laugh any longer at all those people buying the fall collections at Globus and Shopper's Stop in 38 degrees centigrade.

Weather apart ... saw a pirated VCD of Swades (too lazy to go to a theatre) ... the flick does well in patches ... but seriously can't comprehend what the raving ("this is even better than Lagaan") is about. I can count the genuinely moving moments on my fingers and none of them are exceptional (actually its kinda expected in this sort of a movie). Maybe I heard too much about the movie before seeing it. Anyways, what the movie makes you realise is, how cut-off you are from 70% of India's population.

The sheer incredulity with which most of us greet the fact that India in reality is not restricted to Inorbit Mall or Fun Republic is genuinely fun to watch. The last time I saw this feeling at a mass scale is when NDA lost the elections. There were these countless hordes of people who had the look of absolute incomprehension on their faces. They thought some landless labour from Bihar stole their "India Shining" dream from them. And look at them now ... how many of them actually remember Vajpayee?

There is this small germ of a debate in my head. Do we (as consumers) shape the media or does the media shape us? All those (that would include all my friends, I suppose) who are going to jump and say "Stupid, its obviously the media shaping us, what did you have for breakfast etc. etc.?" .... I tell them only this ... what are those poor sods at market research doing in that case? In case we are blindly shaped by whatever we watch, listen to or read then what is the point of trying to find out "What consumers really want?" as Business World wants us to do every month.

BTW, I hear that the Business India owner has turned out to be a major defaulter to OBC (erstwhile GTB). Now we all know why all those articles in that mag were sounding like company pamphlets (they must have been bought, estupido !!!). Ohhhh ... to have the luxury of saying "I told you so" is the most pleasurable sensation of all.

And this is a good site for sci-fi/fantasy stories.