29 July, 2006

A war I didnt know of

Last Sunday even I became aware of the ongoing war. Well, now you cant say I spend 2 hrs at church for nothing, can you? Nevertheless, it came as a rather rude shock. A war? Without me hearing of it? Me, who used to be considered as a quiz buff or whatever else it is you call someone who religiously attends every quiz around.

Well thinking of it, these days my reading of the paper never went beyond the sports page, and mind you, I start from the back. So, hurt, with that stupid feeling that rants in the head saying you didn’t even know about the most read thing in the papers (of course Zidane’s head war is now a thing of the past), I decided to get as wise as I could about the war.

And I must say, this was the best week to start on such an endeavour. OK, accept it, any week in which Mr. Bush gets the attention of the world press is a funny week. But this time he had a lot of us starters confused. (more confused than him?) For now, what the papers so chastely called as “the four letter word” did not essentially have to begin with an ‘f’. Well, that’s an achievement, even for the president of the US of A. And he didn’t stop there. The next day, he was found rubbing the shoulders of the only female who was invited to the meeting. My, what a week for the press. The Germans will think twice before electing a woman as chancellor next time. So, with the comic effects from Jay Leno and the analysis from the most respected political authors today, I learn that Bush is not only a war monger (a dumb one, at that), but also a rewriter of history (literally, he has the Americans believe that they went to Iraq for Weapons of Mass destruction, just because they uncovered two 80’s chemical trucks.)

Back home, there was much more to ponder about. It seems that the nuke deal is the biggest trap we’re all are falling into, considering that the Senate has approved with an overwhelming majority. After all, they wouldn’t approve something unless the dice was heavily loaded in favour of them. God, when are our diplomats going to start thinking on their own two feet. Arundhati Roy was conspicuous by her silence. After her opposition to the nuclear tests. Well, atleast I can plead ignorance on the intricacies of the functioning’s of thermal reactors without having to take sides.

Well, only one thing comes to my mind. In 1991, the doctor was cursed even more. And now? They’ve made him Prime Minister.

In politics, its difficult to take policy decisions that make sense.

22 July, 2006

Sweetheart, your back

Relieved . That they returned my other half . And honey, youre just as lovely as you were when they took you away. Well, u cant help it, But when was the Govt known to do something which justified both urgency as well as common sense. And why the hell do they have that hopelessly incompetent Shivraj Patil there? When almost everyone had decried his acceptability long while ago. Or is Mrs. G really deaf. She anyway seems to hear only herself.
So thats an incompetent bugger trying to protect our great country from terrorists. And what does he do? Remember Bush in Farenheit 9/11. He just sat there moving his jaws. Pretending to continue reading the story to some school kids. As though there wasnt anything else bothering him!!. And then Mr. Patil, he puts on his golf shoes, and does the most wierd thing imaginable (and must I say the easiest).
For you, Ill do this, Im not voting next time either. After all, the great Indian democracy cant throw up someone who can atleast protect it from bloodshed. Im growing sick of even talking about it.
When are these old men going to comprehend that well things have to be done at times. And if not them, who else. Or is power only about the perks it brings you.
Well anyway, you're back. and thats all I carre about.
just thought about the Ronan Keating song 'If tomorrow never comes'

13 July, 2006

Now What?

Some years ago, well, not that long ago, but when Centre court at Wimbledon had not yet been mystified by a sorcerer who would later be their most familiar guest and known as Roger Federer, the King of grass, Pete Sampras was asked, “Now what?”. More than 11 Gran Slams in an era where competition was taken for granted, and proving himself the genteel surgeon on grass, that would be a question he would have prepared himself for. The reply was philosophical. “When you have reached the top of a mountain, what can you do but descend”.

Years later, now, well into retirement, when his prematurely ageing legs are almost sure to fail him, he might be realising that had he lingered a while more, he would have spotted a young Swiss slowly trudging up another mountain, far steeper and higher than his.

Roger Federer still hasn’t reached the summit of Mt. Impossible. That is the stuff of dreams. But he’s a long way up there, and more importantly, he’s on the right mountain.

Maybe, you may say, Roger doesn’t have a worthy rival. No Agassi, no Ivanisevic, no Becker or Lendl. But then, wait awhile, his so-called competitors are in no way lesser to those in the past decade. We’ve seen Roddick and Hewitt play tournaments of enviable tennis. And then they come to the last frontier.

The last four Gran Slam finals Federer played, you couldn’t say he wasn’t challenged. No, they, Agassi, Baghdatis and Nadal proved that the man was mortal, and not carved out of a Greek legend, as was rumoured to be. They pinned him to the baseline, made him sweat, forced out marginal errors and tweaked out a set from the master. And then, when the world started to relax, satisfied that at last, they could now watch a match along with elegance rather than simply elegance on the last Sunday of each Gran Slam, there was the angel turned into a ruthless killer, who killed, because he had nothing better to do, and ruthlessly, because well, for all you know, he was feeling hungry. Agassi, 6-1 in the 4th, Baghdatis, 6-2 in the 3rd, and Nadal, 6-3 in the 4th. And the dream final melted down to a no match at all.

Now he struts around Centre Court. Well, why shouldn’t he? After all he bothers to religiously take the long trip there every year only because they wouldn’t deliver the trophy to his home, wherever that is.
He wears a blazer while walking on to Court. And nobody complains. Mike Bryan, king of a parallel world explains why. “One, because he’s Roger, and two, because he’s such a humble champion”. Humility. A king’s rarest quality. And that’s what he is. King, on court. And simply Roger off it.

So now, back to the question, Now what? Well, Sampras had 8 Slams when he was 24, and we know how long he took, and how many obituaries the rest of us wrote before he reached his fourteenth. That Federer will meet the same fate seems to be a distant possibility, but then, sport continually astonishes us with what everybody calls as reality and who knows what his stars, that is, if he has stars dictating terms, hold. And we have hope in the form of a young Spaniard named Rafael Nadal. One rivalry Federer’s not particularly relished, at least till Sunday. Two finals on the trot. A win each. Each winning on their most favourite and losing on their least favourite surfaces. Now we can wait and watch them negotiate on turf that promises to be neutral, the hard courts of the US and Australia. Hopefully, next year, by the time they lock horns on clay, we will still not have arrived at a clear answer. Maybe, though God forbid, he would simply have gotten bored and started trying out squash, to go along with some modelling. Or maybe, the Mallorcan would have run away with this rivalry.

If none of these happens, the AELTA will do well to retire the prize money for the Wimbledon champion, and engage some of the best Japanese scientists to create a machine that will do to a tennis ball what a Rolex watch does to time, and mind you, no less; Then, they can consider playing two tournaments, one for the runners up trophy, to be awarded to the best of the 127 remaining, and then one for the champion, Roger Federer, who will match his wits with the machine.

And I think I already know who’ll win!