Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Desperation

No, this is not about the average (by his standards) Stephen King thriller.

This is about the desperation of writing something. Anything that can remotely resemble a post.

This is also about drunken nights and groggy mornings ... and numerous tuneless renditions of "Mauja hi Mauja" ... and some bizzare hand / feet / paunch movements passed off as daringly different dance moves.

Yes, the party season is here. The time to feel older than you are and act younger.

Like a lot of things, it starts with the alcohol. After about half a lifetime of consuming the amber stuff, your liver just shrugs indifferently at any fresh influx and simply gets on with its job muttering mild profanities. Sadly, your brain does not behave the same way. For some obscure reason it wants to drop all pretensions of sobriety by addling your logic, fuzzing your memory and slurring your speech.

So when you next catch yourself in the middle of an embarrassingly vulgar depiction of male bonding on the tunes of "Beedi Jalaile" while your wife is watching with increasing shock / horror, do not contemplate the Agra asylum. It happens to the best of us. And it really does not matter if the label is Black and not (mother have mercy) Green.

The other problem is of the expanding middle. The only thing worse than cavorting with a room full of fat friends is noticing the fact that you have the biggest paunch of them all. And the fact that you don't even have the heart to think of New Year resolutions.

No wonder, some people spend this time of the year avoiding people like plague, staring at their Goa photos from 99-00 and sighing a lot.

Well, life goes on as well-meaning people never stop reminding us. Now if only I can figure out, where mine went.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three movies and a funeral

Laaga Chunari Me Daag
After the competent "Parineeta" (never mind the hilarious 'tod Shekhar, tod" last scene), Pradeep Sarkar delivers an absolute turkey. Actually, some Star Plus serials are little better. Rani Mukherji doing an eerily perfect Sukhen Das imitation, is stuff nightmares are made of. In hindsight, we know what Badki should have done instead of selling herself to anonymous amorous strangers in big bad Bombay. She should have gone to Cal and joined Nottyo Company, instead. And am I the only one who does not like Jaya Bachhan's (perpetually pinched eyebrows) second innings? And don't even start me on Anupam Kher. Fresh cow-dung is what I would call his performance. The only one coming through with any semblence of reputation intact is Konkona. One ends up feeling sorry for her being in such a mess. Abhishek & Kunal were better off having an affair between themselves rather than going for the girls.
Jab We Met
Just when you think, Socha Na Tha cannot happen again, boy-meets-girl is too formulaic and done to death, Imtiaz Ali surprises you again. The first half of the flick waltzes along with a breezy freshness that has little to do with the lead pair. Its the bloody script, stupid. The dialogues are extremely funny in parts, pedestrian in bits and above average for most. You expect the film to fail miserably with the second half, and for about 25-30 minutes it does hover quite close to the precipice. I mean, a screeching Kareena and deadpan Shahid is far better than a deadpan Kareena and screeching Shahid. Thankfully, normal service is resumed soon after with an unintentionally hilarious performance from Tarun Arora, who is forced to bathe and visit sugarcane fields while Kareena is being stolen from him. Overall, worth a watch. Aap itne se convince ho gaye, ke aur kuchh bolu?
Saawariyaa
Unadulterated overrated overhyped pathetic self-indulgent crap. In case Mr. Bansali wanted to pleasure himself with his hands, he should have had the decency to do it in the privacy of his bedroom (presumably having bedspreads, curtains, blankets and carpets in various shades of blue). The kids, Ranveer & Sonam, look comprehensively lost in the middle of an utterly bewildering set. And one can't help but sympathize with them. At least they make an honest attempt, never mind their limited expressions. The person solely responsible for this dodo, is one with the initials of SLB. But then again, maybe I don't understand Russian literature. Actually after watching this ridiculous excuse of a masturbation, I don't want to.
Om Shanti Om
Tired of reading my stuff? Read this one instead. And yes, I loved this mindless montage too. Maybe more so, because I saw it right after "Saawariyaa", but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. Yes, the in-jokes rock and so does Farah Khan. The most innovative end credits I have seen. The spot boys in a Merc and the executive producer on a cycle was cool, no? And I counted 31 + SRK = 32, did you?
Afterthought : Just because the movie is so deliberately over-the-top, nobody detected how bad SRK was in the movie. All his mannerisms /terrible hamming etc. can be passed off as "fitting into the character / movie". But then, we always knew he was somewhat histrionically challenged, didn't we? They still go to watch him, don't they?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Questions in my head

Does Sharukh Khan use Botox only for his tummy? Otherwise why are other parts of his body doing rubber-doll impersonations?

Is Sreesanth for real? I mean, sledging Hayden and Symonds? What exactly was he thinking?

Who paid for the Marine Drive beautification consisting primarily of a random assortment of circumcised male member look-alikes? Us?

How did Hindustan Unilever let go of this enormous co-branding opportunity? I mean, just imagine : Surf Excel presents "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag".

Who is watching Naach Baliye? And when is Raakhi Sawant suing her silicone doc for damages related to unsatisfactory performance?

Where is Himeish uncle? Has some kind-hearted soul finally managed to bump him off?

What's wrong with Rajpal Yadav and Priyadarshan? Don't they watch their own movies?

Did Shoaib actually compare himself with Imran? And hit Asif when he guffawed? Oh, hilarity !!

What do Kareena & Saif talk about when they meet for the hush hush dinners? The merits of Asian Paints Royale over ICI Dulux Velvet Emulsion?

???

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The damp patch on my wall

Its been a while since I spent the entire afternoon staring at the damp patch on the wall. That would mean I haven't been falling sick that often.

Its been my favourite pastime, when I have fever, since time immemorial. Staring at the ceiling, trying not to think of the slowly building headache and wait for sleep (which never arrives on cue) while the mind churns useless memory bits.

The memories of another day ... the snatches of uneven conversations ... the bitter aftertaste of the last fag ... the strains of forgotten songs.
________________________________________

The day breaks fresh and new, as if the whole world is celebrating with you. Niru rolls to the other side of the king-sized bed, trying his best to avoid the sharp rays of the sun even in his sleep. After a while, his mind gives up the fight to hold on to the last remnants of sleep and he cautiously opens one eye to survey the damage. Sumi’s eyes are still shut but that in itself is no guarantee. He peers closely for telltale signs of tears and almost lets out a loud sigh of relief. Looks like she is actually sleeping.

So far so good. With one last wishful look at the gentle curve made by Sumi’s right thigh and neatly manicured leg, Niru silently slinks off the bed and locks himself in the loo. Is it time already to dig into the happiness box tucked safely in the waterproof packet inside the flush? “Becoming too greedy, you idiot”, Niru scolds himself absently while his mind starts the dreaded flashback routine on what exactly went wrong with his life last night.

Yeah, the forced sex was a bad idea, even more than hitting her to keep her quiet. But it must have all started with that bloody bitch Sonali calling up at 1 am to ask for money for her dad's operation. That too, when Niru can't find one bloody drop of alcohol in the whole bloody house. Where the hell do all those Bacardi bottles go? "Sumi must be downing some with her evening tea," Niru would have sworn, in case he did not know his wife better. Has she found a secret bewda lover to go with her dopey husband? Niru almost burst out laughing with the sheer beauty of the idea. “That would really take the cake, won’t it?”, Niru chuckles, as he opens the loo door softly, tiptoes to the bed and starts the search for his mobile phone.

He ultimately finds his Nokia E63i under the cupboard with its battery holder hanging open. Must have slipped off his pocket. Or did Sumi actually throw the phone at him? The details were kind of hazy at this point, but he vaguely remembers trying to kiss Sumi to make up, while she was shouting obscenities at him. “And what colorful language, that Sati Savitri mother of hers would be real proud of her,” Niru mutters, as another bout of hysterical laughter threatens to overpower him.

Mobile barely fixed, and it’s the time to fix that bitch Sonali. What does she think to call at 1 in the night, with some sob story about her dad's kidneys? That last time’s champagne was a big mistake. And giving her jewellery stolen from Sumi’s locker only made it worse. “Now saali thinks she owns you,” Niru shakes his head in anger. Damn her starry airs and her soft mouth and the things she does with it, damn it all. Time has come to tell her where she belongs, if only she will pick up the bloody phone.

“What is the point of having a mobile in case you don’t pick it up?”, Niru wonders while neatly side-stepping what must have been last night’s baingan bharta made with real love and tender care by his loving wife. Almost drops the phone in sudden panic at the thought of Sumi waking up and walks fast to the other room to clear his head.

“Focus bugger, focus, don’t lose it now, you’ve been through worse in bloody B-school.” he thinks furiously, just able to keep his slowly rising panic in check.

Now where are we? Eye drop for the red eyes, check. Mouthwash to clear the smell of stale booze, check. Unshaved look to hide the generally haggard appearance, check. 2 Pudin Haras for the rising bile, check.

And loads of water, loads of water. Now, if only you can find a bottle of mineral water in this damn house, when you need it. Niru contemplates shouting for Sumi, but decides its not exactly a good time.

“Must get her flowers today, those yellow whatevers from the Hill Road shop ... and some chocolate never hurts.” And in case one is lucky, she might be actually willing tonight. “Must say she wasn’t looking all that bad after the latest liposuction,” Niru thinks, while buttoning up his shirt. “And must come home sober for dinner. It might be baingan bharta again.”, this time giggling helplessly.
Entering office with a suitable jaunty air is the key and the sunglasses always help. Firing Sonali is also a great idea. She might even be willing to give it for free, to get her job back. “The world’s is coming back in control, and I’m the dude.” Niru hums to himself as he nods to the watchman holding the door open.
“Good morning, sir”. That's a new voice.

“Now that new receptionist is a serious piece of shit,” Niru wonders, trying a suitable superior management smile. “She must be given some opportunities to be close to senior management as a part of her grooming process”.

The cabin smells of stale flowers. One more point to blast Sonali.

“Sir, you have a conference call at 10:30 IST with Singapore”, the cute receptionist opens the door a fraction.

“Where the hell is Sonali?”

“Taken the day off, Sir. Father unwell.” the new receptionist sounds reasonably overawed in the presence of the big boss.

“Bloody excuses”, growls Marketing Director Niranjan Sen, while gently swivelling in his chair. “With so much damn pressure, I must take a serious look at the work-life balance.”

“Get me a coffee will you, sweetie. And what was your name again?”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Who is John Galt?

Well, who the fuck cares?

Definitely a much more interesting question is, "Why do Bongs smoke?"

The question hits you hard when you see 4 smokers cramped in a cubbyhole hardly bigger than a bombay loo and puffing away like mad in this supposed green building somewhere in Northern Europe. And 2 of them from you-know-where, faithfully recording their attendance every hour.

Mostly you will hear them argue that its all about peer pressure. When you grow up watching the male half of your family blowing rings at each other at every given opportunity, what else will you do? A boy who does not smoke in Bongland, is generally a fictitious entity. They immediately lose admittance to all these vital sorority rituals which are part and parcel of growing up in Cal, e.g how to light a fag with exactly one matchstick under a fan, how to cup one when the first person you see after lighting up is your mom, how a burn happens only after 3 seconds of contact with flesh, how to blow one perfect smoke ring within another a la Barun Chanda in "Seemabaddhha", how the first fag out of a fresh pack has to be put back upside down always and saved for the last, etc. etc.

Yeah, so much pressure. No wonder the poor souls crack and bow to the inevitable ... burnt lungs.

My personal hypothesis is that bongs smoke to look intellectual. They think it gives them a personality, unique, fashionably anti-establishment, a little risque and one which will build a hopelessly attractive air of vulnerability about them. A personality type, which will bring unknown girls screaming to their doorsteps, all set to bathe themselves in this bottomless well of intellectual depth.

Don't laugh. Some people I have known have actually believed this. Some still do. An active imagination always helps. One person, when asked to explain his quite unexpected success with a member of the fairer sex, put it all down to the fag held fashionably in his left hand. Another, invoked that ultimate bong intellectual hero, Pradosh Mitter and his Charminar while trying to explain the raison d'ĂȘtre of his chain-smoking.

Its funny how the things which are archetypal bong (or at least are considered to be), like culture, fine arts, books, theatre, quizzing, football tend to associated in our memories with cigarette smoke.

Well, it must be just me.

The hour approacheth. Let’s find the other bong.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

An ode to Rembrandtsplein

There was this one time when I learnt ..

.. someone’s idea of a rocking weekend is hiring bicycles for 2 days

.. one unintended benefit of cold weather is that your fags go a long way

.. blackout is not something which happens to other people

.. lateral games are really easy after the first whiskey shot

.. cola can be had neat without diluting it with alcohol

.. a dance is never just a dance, its mostly unconsummated foreplay

.. the risky thing about blackout is not that you don’t remember anything

.. that “I’m starved, wanna grab a bite?” is a killer pick up line

.. that Burger King has made McDonalds irrelevant

.. who dares wins, is not just a TV program hosted by out of work ex-cricketers

.. beer after whiskey is risky because you tend to show off that you are not drunk

.. beds have magnetic fields

.. "Have a great weekend" means “I don’t want to see you in the morning”

.. the risky thing about blackout are the quite colorful artificial memories people would take the trouble to cook up for you

.. sleep cures all

and finally

.. your liver is what makes you live.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cloudy

Yes, that's the color of my mind for the last few days. The desperate longing for something which is just out of grasp. The sheer inability to dredge up some happy memory from the past which I can cling to.

I get into this mood so often, that I have stopped questioning it or trying to find a reason.

The warm breeze keeps blowing from the sparkling Arabian sea. The fishing boats keep bobbing up and down as if their strings are being pulled by some invisible puppeteer. The lovers are still holding hands while they bake themselves in the hot sun. The coconut trees, swaying their heads await the distant sound of approaching monsoon. The cab drivers are still playing "Kajra Re" in their battered Premier Padminis and wiping their sweaty eyebrows with dirty rags. College chicks in flashy clothes are running across passing cars on busy Pedder Road and the Mahim signal is still perpetually jammed.

Apparently, nothing has changed in the city. One day blending into the other as it has always been.
________________________________________

Rakesh crosses the road in a hurry, barely outguessing the Corolla driver who gives him a piece of his rustic Haryanvi mind. Two steps to the paan-bidi stall, three swipes of the sweaty left hand through the dry matted hair and a small Gold Flake, lit from the lighter dangling from the lamppost. Avoiding the rainbow-colored spill of indeterminate liquids with a jaunty leap, he switches the fag to his left while checking the fake Citizen hanging from the right wrist. Just about 10 minutes, what Malik Sir, the owner of his courier company would call fashionably late.

"Bilkul theek hai!" Rakesh thinks, "Let Priyanka saali not get any fancy idea into her pretty head." So what if Rakesh missed his station, day-dreaming about the bright orange streak in Priyanka's dark hair? "Jyada bhao nahin." he mutters absently, almost burning his best navy blue trousers, with the fag carelessly cupped between left thumb and forefinger.

She is waiting as always at the last table to the right. How does she manage it every time, even during peak hours, he has never ceased to wonder. "Has to be the haarami head waiter.", he thinks, the one who's hungry looks are currently licking Priyanka's cleavage while she drinks her daily quota of cold water. "Saali nautanki! ", he feels the first pulse of anger rising up in him, as Priyanka gives the waiter an innocent wink, "and these engleesh low-cut tops, doesn't she have anything else to wear?".

The anger dissolves suddenly at the sight of her dark eyes and the corner of her mouth lifting in the smile which he knows so well. The mild throb in head remains, almost indistinguishable from the hangover from last night's Bagpipers. Priyanka checks her watch pointedly, Rakesh grins sheepishly, all his bluster about being fashionably late forgotten. The youngish boy comes and starts cleaning the table energetically almost on cue, and Rakesh orders two Paav Bhajis just to get rid of him.

"Paisa hai jeb mein?", she reminds him quietly. Rakesh suddenly can't remember how much cash he is carrying and somehow couldn't care less. Lifting Priyanka's hands to his lips, he delivers a small smile of his own. The sunlight reflecting off the broken window-panes frames them for a moment. "Jeb bhi hai khali, dil bhi hai khali", he tries desperately to paraphrase Anthony Gonsalves, shuts up at the sight of her arched eyebrows. "Idiot.", She melts into a quite melodius laughter.

From the next table, I take out the gleaming black ghoda slowly and point at Rakesh's back. So this is what the famous shooters of Bombay have been reduced to. Tapkaoing courier boy lovers, so that the out-of-work bar dancer remains faithful to her seth from Ghatkopar. "Roop mahal, prem galli, kholi no. 420!!", I hum, squeezing the trigger gently.

Excuse me, please.

Monday, March 12, 2007

55

Tagged. To write on the 33rd birthday.

Now, I can either write about the faint lipstick smear on the Classic Milds slowly burning itself in my ashtray. Or about how good 3 Absolut shots are, in dispensing with the painful formality of choreographed foreplay.

But then, I don't remember all that much about last year.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wah! Bharat!!

Call it an insane flight of fancy, but the announcement of the Indian team for the World Cup, reminded me quite curiously of Mahabharata. No, not the Veda Vyas authored mythological epic - the one full of incredibly graphic descriptions of wild sex, hot extra-marital affairs, suppressed carnal desires, numerous attempted rapes and general all-round fun, like all good religious books are supposed to be. But the immortal Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron version of it, which had Satish Shah’s corpse playing Draupadi (don’t ask!).

Why? Well, there hangs a tale …

Just humour me for the moment, will you and join the ride …

Just build up a picture of Yudhishtir in your head. You must have met the sample in your school days, the amazingly proper pain-in-the-ass Class Monitor who does everything by the rule-book, including the latrine breaks. And the one who agrees with whatever the teacher says, without question. His only vice is a sense of inflated self-worth, which leads him to believe that he deserves more respect from the world than he is currently getting. And he gambles everything he has on that belief, including sending his elder brother Karan to the enemy camp. Too bad he has a battle to fight, he can’t think beyond the last time he played second-fiddle and hated it. Someone please dial 123 for a shrink

Karan, on the other hand is a seriously screwed up specimen. His world came crashing down around him, with the discovery that, the guy who brought him up, is not his father at all, but a small-time middleman out to earn a fast buck. The one who did not bat an eyelid while disowning him. Now the poor soul does not know who is father is and is pissed at brother Yudi for stealing the one thing which was dear to him. It’s hard for him to learn new tricks (something as incomprehensible as running between wickets or stopping singles within the ring) at this age, but then, he can’t survive on a year’s supply of Sona Chandi Chaywanprash, can he?

Karan’s one time partner, Arjun is also suffering. It’s either his back, or his elbow or (mostly) his middle stump. They just don’t seem to hold up and breaks down at the slightest hint of pressure. Add to this, the weight of expectations which he carries being the best in his team and you have a disaster waiting to happen. He’s tired of mouthing excuses about how he cannot be a curly haired teenager all his life, but no one listens. The famous hand-eye coordination which used to be his hallmark is now barely enough to lift a can of Pepsi to his mouth. The eyes which could not see beyond the eyeball of the target is now fixated on retirement benefits. Maybe he will show us just who he is one more time and maybe, just maybe Pepsi cans would fly.

The case of the heavyweight in the family is also peculiar. Bhima can carry the entire load of his aged brethren on his ample shoulders, but his strength strangely deserts him outside the boundaries of Indraprashtha. No wonder, outside his home turf he is perceived as little more than a long-haired caricature, trying desperately to be cool with generous helpings of Brylcream. The huge hits over the boundary as well as the human turbine routine with the yorkers are little more than an occasional curiosity, spread thin as they are in between funny attempts at swinging the heavy mace without contact with anything substantial.

Arjun’s son Abhimanyu has learned all about the swinging ball (not swinging by the balls, mind you) in his mother’s womb. He also boldly goes where no one has gone before, the dreaded #3 spot where his senior and more experienced family members have screwed up spectacularly. You can blame Indian Oil Extra Premium for his delusion, but the kid never knows when he is out of gas. One would have thought a break from the grueling schedule of getting hit out of the park would have led to some self-introspection, but here he is back again, dying for another thump. This time his case may be terminal.

With all this dysfunctional family shit happening around you, you can’t fault Chief Selector Bhishma for turning celibate. He keeps wondering whether all this is worth it. Doesn’t help one bit that people are blaming the sudden and inexplicable downturn in his favourite pupil’s fortune on Mayur Suiting, which paid for his school building. At least he managed to show Nakul / Sahadev, the door. Effigies can keep burning in Northern parts of the country, but you can’t always depend on energetic fielding to tide over non-existent technique outside off-stump.
Shakuni Mama, in the meanwhile is happy rolling dice and mouthing platitudes about "youth", "long-term planning" and "constant experimentation". Anybody else wonder, whether he is actually working for the other side?

Dhritharashtra, being blind, can only hear the running commentary while his empire crumbles all around him like his sugar factories. The only consolation is this new deal with SET Max which comes packaged with Draupadi in noodle straps.

No wonder he is looking at us for charity ... lets switch on our TV sets and start praying !!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The gulf between bat and pad

This is what I posted on desicritics.

Specially relevant after yet another spectacular and inexplicable collapse of reputedly the best batting line up in the world at Capetown. As Sambit Bal says in
Cricinfo, "India might still go on to the win the match. But if they don't we know where they let it slip."

With every sports writer on the net fixated on the concept of Best of 2006, time to do something different. Time to analyse what happened to the batting powerhouse that was India. How the team which was effortlessly piling up 500+ totals in 2003 and 2004 plumbed to four spectacular last day collapses against Pakistan (twice, Bangalore / Karachi), England (Mumbai) and SA (Durban). And when was the last time you saw India save a test match by batting out the last day? (Actually, you might not have to go too far, Wasim Jaffer and Dravid spared the blushes in Nagpur against the English in March 2006, but what came in Mumbai after that was sheer madness).

So lets try to figure out what's happening. No Ganguly, Kaif, Yuvraj in the analysis as they have been at best fringe players in this period.

Sehwag : Last 20 matches, 35 innings, 1576 runs @ 47.75 with 4 centuries and 4 fifties. Not bad on first sight. But take out the four big innings (173, 201, 254 and 180) and the average falls to 26.48 over 31 innings. Sehwag has always been a hit or miss player, but his misses seem to be overwhelming the hits at the moment. Has he been caught out by the International bowlers? His pattern in his recent dismissals, mostly caught behind / caught slips / caught third man would suggest so. Can he change his game to counter this? Maybe going down the order to #6 would give him some time to ponder on this.

Shot to think over : Airy drive outside off-stump against the moving ball. N'tini has your number, mate.

Jaffer : Last 15 matches, 27 innings, 940 runs @ 33.57 with 2 centuries and 6 fifties. Strangely enough, Jaffer has been more consistent than Sehwag in this period (in spite of Sehwag's higher average) and has surely shown he belongs at this level. Strange shot selections after getting set have always been Jaffer's bane in the domestic circuit and he seems to be falling prey to the same disease here. While he has not been bad in his second chance at this level, the sheer expectation from a #2 in the batting order is much more. And no more of THAT pull shot, please.

Shot to think over : Square cut on deliveries too close to the body resulting in catching practice for second / third slip.

Dravid : 20 matches, 34 innings, 1735 runs @ 57.83 with 5 centuries and 11 fifties. Clearly the standout performer over this period, but hasn't he been doing that for some time, now? The over-dependence of the batting line-up on Dravid is evident in the hue and cry raised over his small scores in the SA series. The sheer burden of the captaincy is not adding to his joy and is sometimes reflected in his batting. Is it just my imagination or has his stance become more open leading to uncustomary flirting outside the off-stump? I have a feeling too much one-dayers are to blame for this. Is Rahul listening?

Shot to think over : The one-day special, steer to third man. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Tendulkar : 15 matches, 23 innings, 747 runs @ 33.95 with 1 century and 4 fifties. The form slump which has become the national obsession. Is it the tennis elbow, is it the sprained back, is it the ageing body or is it the mental cobwebs? Whatever it is, this Sachin is someone we do not know at all. The one whose feet are moving in slo-mo, whose first attacking shot unerringly picks out the fielder positioned just for this purpose, the one who gets bowled comprehensively in 1 innings out of 3. A straight drive still sparkles sometimes, but the wunderkid terrorising the bowlers all over the world seems to be history. A more mature Sachin playing within his limitations? The thought is hard to bear, but can you really think of any other Indian batsman replacing him even in this form?

Shot to think over : The ever-so-slightly cross-batted flick to mid-wicket on balls on the middle-stump. The shattered stumps are a sight Sachin fans could do without.

Laxman : 15 matches, 25 innings, 903 runs @ 43.00 with 3 centuries and 5 fifties. The perennial under-achiever managed to keep up the tradition in the period under review by alternating between sublime and pedestrian. With Laxman you are far more interested in "what could have been" rather than "what happened" and its really up to him to physically lift himself to the greatness which he has been promising for so long. After all, does he want history to remember him for only that one innings?

Shot to think over : The lazy waft outside off early in his innings. Now why do you want to play that shot, when you can send the next delivery crashing to the mid-wicket fence?