26 September, 2007

My team, My country, My world cup

When India meets Pakistan in a world cup final, the contest, for all the hype and the nerves, never goes down to who blinks first, for that rarely matters. Most often it is who blinks most. And true to its word, amidst all the flurry of eyelashes batting against each other, in a match that had phases ranging from ‘excellent start’ to ‘defendable total’ to ‘Imran on the rampage’ to ‘cant lose from here’ to ‘where did the huge gap between runs to defend and balls to bowl dissappear?”, it was a oversight by the last man standing for the losers, that his improvised stroke ended up in the hands of the fielder. Obviously, Misbah Ul Haq never knew (he didn’t get the sms I received yesterday) that in ‘every corner of the world, there is a malayalee’!

It is ironical that India has won a ‘world cup’ at the only instance in living memory (I wasn’t around when we won it before) in which the team wasn’t sent with the fanfare, with cricket bats autographed by the players of the 1983 coup, with the team selection played out as ‘predict the team’ contests by the newspapers in advance and over-debated on news channels, with Pepsi ads and its access to the team dressing room. With Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Saif Ali Khan trying to become one of the 'men in blue', with Shankar Mahadevan claiming allegiance with his corporate sponsored songs. with a good luck dinner by the President of the country, and with thousands of loyal fans waving goodbyes to the aeroplanes in which the team flew away till it disappeared into the skies. Oh why, it wasn’t even a World cup till India actually beat Australia in the semi final. Till then, it was just the T20 world cup, if you can get the difference!

Ironical indeed that even without being in the disastrous form the team was in, approaching the last few legitimate world cups, India wasn’t even counted among the favourites. The event was so insignificant in public perception that three of those who would make any Indian all-time cricket eleven, opted out of the tournament citing without really giving reasons, and none of us really seemed to mind! So insignificant that in the first week of the tournament, the media was more obsessed with the non-playing captain’s resignation than the playing captain’s strategies.

But all that was to change. Change so drastically that the pretty young things that make up CNBC TV18s newsroom spoke, more often than not, in cricket-language on the day of the final, the day after the final, and pretty much the day after the day after the final (We’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see what they have for the day after that). All their newsreaders wore Indian team jersey’s to commemorate the victory, and Mythali Mukherjee made up, atleast in shrieking, for Mandira Bedi’s absence, atleast to the few geeks who are subjected to her all day. (oh btw, did I tell you I get to watch TV at office all day) Even ‘the Hindu’ set aside almost half of its front page for the picture of the Indian team with the trophy. I cant even imagine how the Malayala Manorama would have commemorated its favourite son being the one to hammer the last nail in the Paki coffin, even if that was the only noteworthy thing he did all day.

So India has won a world cup (lets say I don’t mind calling it that)! And boy, aren’t we proud? But should we really be? Did it really matter that the Indian flag being carried around with so called ‘pride’ by females in sports bras (mind you, sponsored by India’s biggest company)? Did we mind - I ask you again, DID WE– mind that the Indian National anthem was not played completely to tune at the start of the match (In case you heard the notes of the first ‘Jaya He’)

Well on the other hand, India has just won a world cup. And in all probability, it wont again, unless the ICC comes up with yet another new format of cricket, and catches our media sleeping. So lets just savour the moment, pretend to own the team, (of course, thanking the BCCI for not depriving us of that pleasure), ignore miniscule issues such as what tune the national anthem is played in, and feel proud to be an Indian. In true Indian fashion!

22 September, 2007

Im The Only Gay Eskimo

(never mind the topic... just another song thats so addictive! and anyway, Im so starved for topics)
Well, A canary was resting on the road on a cold morning. Well, call it bad luck that a cow was walking along the same road. And call it fate that the cow jus wanted to relieve itself. But can one explain that the cow went and excreted right on top of the sitting canary?
Anyways, it did. but, then, the canary didnt really seem to mind because it was starting to feel warmer now. In fact, it was feeling much better that it felt like singing. So it starts whistling.
Thats when the problem starts. A fox roaming around in the dead of winter, derived off easy prey, noticed th humming coming from inside of the mound of dung. And the fox, being the wise animal he is, realises it is just a canary singing inside. To cut the story short, the fox un-dungs the canary and has a feast!
Now, Moral of the story : Not everyone who gives you bullshit is an enemy, and not everyone who saves you from bullshit is a friend!
(overheard at a meeting yesterday)

13 September, 2007

Blogging when you're bored a.k.a Im an asshole

Ay Ess Ess Aych Owe Ell Ee, everybody say, Ay Ess Ess Aych Owe Ell Ee, asshole.
Im an Asshole. Im an Asshole. Im an Asshole

Ok now dont be deluded. Its out of sheer boredom. But let me share how surprised I am that so many people seem to be be bored these days! Like, there seems to be far too many people saying the same thing at the same time for it to be dismissed as passe. There's most of my colleagues saying the same thing. And come to think of it, about the job that I harped I could never grow bored with! Theres so many people on blogosphere. Well, to keep this simple, I get the feeling something like J K Rowling's Dementor effect has grabbed the country!

Well, Im bored, just like Nags, and Lemonade, and then so many others who'se names I cant remember amidst all this boredom, and I come up with this ultra boring topic "Blogging when you're bored" This is what happens......

1. You write as if you you were taking vengeance. You go on drooling and drooling, and drooling, the only tangible effect being, earning the ire of the few readers who still bother to check in. So you start jabbing at the keys, and then deleting after about three paragraphs of utterly boring stuff, only to feel bad about it, going back to typing trash and well, somewhere down the line, writing about the fact that you had written more trash than you had guts to publish, and make a big song about how you are 'literally blocked' and how you struggled to shield the readers from its contagious effects and all that crap!

2. The only topics that come to your mind are the 'duh' topics. Like lets say, the ads I see on TV. oh, btw, I didnt tell you, At my job, I get to watch TV all day. Well, atleast thats the sexy part of the fact. The not-so-sexy part is that its just CNBC thats shown! Well, but India's investing youth know to make the best ot of the little available. One day on orkut, someone came up with the topic, "Who's the sexiest babe on CNBC?". And believe it or not, we had 72 replies in one hour!

Thank God for small mercies, because otherwise its just listening to some company's CEO or the other. And then, theres the ad's. Now dont you go 'atleast theres the ad's', because they just show the business ad's, and then some others just meant to keep you awake.

Theres those lousy girls screeching 'wow' (WOW) every five seconds, till Kajol comes with her 'ready to use' high speed internet solution. I often wonder how come Kajol materialises whenever there is a telephone connection problem, even in people's bedroom's. Well, I guess its the otherway round. Whenevr Kajol is around, all other providers' airwaves get jammed. Or is it really that?

Then of course, I must tell you about this abhorable ad in which a pretty young thing carries some boxes out of her office to her waiting car, when another young thing (male) scolds her for doing it all herself, like only a just-married or just-to-be-married would do. After listening to the tirade in silence, she proudly announces to a bystander "He's not my husband. He's my stock broker". Oh, tell me isnt that depressing? 6 months of stock broking, and I havent even made a start!!! or wait, what wife would go around saying that like that?

I wont even tell you about some of the other ad's, like the Radio Mirchi one, which has the only effect of getting everyone looking at the TV searching for the source of the disturbance in the office. Good achievement, but not when you've just woken someone from a noon time nap!

3. You find an amazing companion in google search. I type in Bored, and it assures me its got a cure. Go to Bored.com. Well, the site seems pretty interesting, with stuff as varied as jokes to results of a Lost wallet experiment! And if it doesnt work, theres another 73400 standby solutions.

Well, I found a joke. ja, a Bush joke. My favorite category of joke! Copied for you.

So, Donald Rumsfeld is briefing George Bush in the Oval Office."Oh and finally, sir, three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq today." Bush goes pale, his jaw hanging open in stunned disbelief. He buries hisface in his hands, muttering "My God...My God"."Mr. President," says Cheney, "we lose soldiers all the time, and it's terrible. But I've never seen you so upset. What's the matter?"Bush looks up and says..."How many is a Brazilian?"

other attractions at the site include website destroyer (oh wait, dont destroy my poor site, or maybe I should check wether it actually works first) deathday predictor, and a long list of names you could call a loved one (now, that should be time pass)

4. Theres youtube always. But you get tired of listened to Gaither Vocals and Beatles, dont you? And Salma Hayek isnt exactly stuff you could search for in the office! Well, today I did see a video of a cheetah chasing a deer. The perfect chase, such a beauty to watch. Till a sardarji comes running, overtaking the cheetah, cradling the deer in his arms, and running away with it. Now, THAT WAS FUNNY!

oh well well well... I guess its getting too late, and yeah, I owe you an explanation for the tirade in the beginning. Listen to the asshole song. Youll never regret it!

08 September, 2007

Music et al!

I am a highly emotional person, though the emotions show for the really weird reasons. One thing that never fails to stir the senses within is shows of patriotism. Okay, patriotism stirs almost everybody. Whats weird about me is that it doesnt have to be my country. Just any country's nationals doing something, typically the singing of patriotic hymns with emotion, for their homeland! Notable among them was Celine Dion singing 'God Bless America' on the first Anniversary of 9/11. And in case you didnt know already, for me, international football matches start with the singing of the national anthem by/for the teams. (An interesting observation here - During WC '03, only a pitisome handfull of Indians cricketers looked interested when the Jana Gana Mana was played. Though, two of them went a step further and emulated their Australian counterparts by keeping their palms on their chests. Talk about ignorance!
Well, a little while ago, I was youtube'ing for 'Casablanca' (which is one of the many movies I badly want to see, God knows when). And there was this scene in Rick's Bar, where the Nazi's are singing their national anthem, and Bogart, feeling overwhelmed with patriotic fervour, asks his buglist to sound the notes for the 'La Marsellaise'. They then team up to sing the anthem in brave defiance of the German anthem, culminating in a singing war between in the bar!
A malayam poem has some evergreen lines that goes, 'When you hear of India, you should feel goosebumps, And if it is Kerala you are hearing off, the blood in your veins should gush!" This were lines written when the the freedom struggle was at its pinacle, and served the struggle well. But it is depressing to thing that after we got what we fought for, we really dont care about using it with pride! But thats not for today.
Today, overcome by the beauty of the French national anthem, I went a surfing for that, ended up surfing for the anthem of most of the countries Iv remember, and winded up judging that the Star Sprangled Banner, is perhaps the best. Yeah, the American national anthem. Even though I am as much an America basher as most of us who've only seen them hegemoniously be frontrunners everywhere would be, I couldnt help feeling touched by this performance by the combined armed forces academies choir! Without superstars, without extreme vocal effects. Just the song, like a song, imo, should be. The song, at its best. I literally found myself clutching my cheeks in awe.
As to other national anthems, I have always been a fan of the arrangement of the German anthem, which almost sounds like a hymn! Little, wonder considering that in its land lies the laboratories of some of Gods best gifts to humanity, Ludwig VanBeethoven, and George Friderik Handel. Though I vaguely remember the music for this anthem is attributed to Mozart, an Austrian. Okay, I know Im going into deeply boring territory now, but if you ever go after National Anthems, scout for the Soviet anthem (which many claim to be the best), and even the Argentine one.
But the best video I stumbled upon today was this. An Englishwoman singing the Jana Gana Mana, much better than we ever did in school. Sometimes, it takes a foreigner to make you feel proud of your nation!
PS: Today may very well go down as one of the days I never forget in my life. Ill explain! Iv always had a long list of exotic career ambitions, none of them having anything to do with what Ill do for a living. One of them was singing Handels 'Messiah' in a good choir, which is arguably the composition with the most mass appeal, if not the best classical composition of all time. And needless to say, like, most of the other items on the list, this was more a wish than a possibility. But tell you what, early this year, by the grace of God, I got the opportunity to join the Madras Musical Association, and the first concert we did was Messiah. After about five months of practicing every tuesday evening, today we are performing. And man, will I not savour every minute of it. See you next week!

05 September, 2007

You'd think I was bored with being bored

Yesterday, like every other salary day, my ATM was a stop on my way back home. And yesterday, like most other salary days, the ATM was out of order. Well, not one to get put off by that, I trudged up to the bank to confront the manager (again, like I did last month) poor guy, he was packing up after another day at seven in the evening, and there I was with the old complaint.

No wonder he retorted by saying that it was only when I needed it that the ATM was going out of order! say what....

Actually sometimes I do wonder whether everyone else makes a big deal about such small inconveniences. Like, Iv been using a Hutch special card to call mom at a discounted rate. Now, its a pain in the neck actually using the service. And it didn't help my spirits that their toll free number to reach a live consultant was non existent (or so it seems) nor was the automated system which is supposed to tell me my account balance answering!

So I call up the regular Hutch number and get the usual excuses. So i ask to talk to the manager (and I know a thing or two about how things work in a call centre) and it seems he is busy in a meeting! Now would you believe, every time I ask for a hutch manager, I always get the same response. You would think that if they spent so much of time in meetings, customers wouldn't have problems!

Neither is it helping that Iv read TRAI regulations well enough to know that all these are actually 'offenses'. And it hurts even more to know that now Iv got them on the hook, with all the laws lined up against them, so Iv got to actually move my ass and go in for the kill.. Or atleast, do something apart from crib about it. Oh God, you'd think I was bored of being bored all the time!

Moving on, I was just surfing through youtube and chanced upon some videos made on Novak Djokovic (well, its pronounced just the way you did, never mind, anyway) Well, Djokovic, if you dont know, is considered as the practical joker of the ATP who, it seems, took over from where Dmitry Tursunov (if you read the last post) left off.

And he was imitating his fellow players on the tour like Nadal, Federer, Roddick Sharapova and the whole lot of them. Now I always have a thing for mimicry artistes. We seem to have many in Kerala. In fact, it became such a pastime with almost everybody that you could say it was a modern day art form, for its popularity. The favorite was an unlikely actor called Jayan, but soon followed impersonifications of Mohan Lal, Mammooty, later on, polliticians, like VS Achuthananthan, and when i was last there, even the bishops were caricatured on TV shows and sitting rooms!

Well, watching Novak, I couldn't help feeling that these people, they are so keen in observing small things about their models. Like, the way, Maria Sharapova fiddles with her hair before every serve, or Nadal with his, erm.., underwear (btw, I wonder why his mom never asks him to go and get the right size!). The way Roddick feels around for his shoulders whenever he prepares to face serve, or takes off his baseball cap only to put it back on from the back, after every point. And the way Federer greets the crowd after every match he wins (oh comeon, that's almost every match he's played)

Okay, so continuing with my wanderings, I find web surfing amusing for many reasons. One of them is being able to witness fights of all kinds (mainly ethnic).. Like, I was watching this video on Ana Ivanovic who is a serb, and the comments were mainly about wether she was a Serb or a Croat. And it mostly ended with th serb abusing th Croat's lineage (both collective and personal) and th Serb claiming, you can abuse all you want, but she's Serb!

Even better are the American racial fights. Maybe some day ill put up a few transcripts. Today, somehow I feel inclined to let this remain a boring post