From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Naggon motherships and spaceman Spiff

In life on September 30, 2006 at 7:08 pm

1. A voice cackles in his radio. “Enemy Fighters at two o’clock”. The taciturn response “Roger, What should i do until then?”

2. The valiant spaceman Spiff is led by his captors to a secret dungeon to be debriefed. Little do they realize that our hero doesn’t wear briefs *evil smirk*

3. Looking at his dinner…”Can i have a different plate mom?, somebody puked on mine”

4. “Life should be like TV. All problems should be solved in 30 minutes with simple homilies. Weight and oral hygiene should be the biggest concerns. We should all have powerful, high-paying jobs and fancy sports cars. Women should alwayswear tight clothes and men should carry powerful handguns. Life overall should bemore glamourous, thrill-packed, and filled with applause”….*deep thought*…”Of course,if life was really like that, what would we watch on TV?!”

and the biggest pearl of wisdom…

5. “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want…

Every now and again, I dip into voluminous tomes of knowledge to extract life-lessons…and rarely do you come across as many as in this work of excellence…”The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book”. Thanks S. Been a long time since I laughed this hard while flipping pages, except when leafing through brochures at the Honda showroom and looking at EMIs payable.

Been an eventful week what with Navratri and all the associated joys of loudspeakers and loud gujju music accompanied with hundreds of gaudily dressed individuals jostling shoulder-to-shoulder moving in some semblance of rhythm to the pious tunes of “Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf Sasuri…” . Of course, it can’t all be song and dance, so there was my first major presentation to the president of HR. Also, I now have my own hunk of metal to contribute to all the greenhouse gases and global toasting (no, not a honda, but from the quintessential indo-jap small-car maker…the swift. Will undoubtedly have more to say about it once I’ve had the chance to do more than use it as temporary accomodation while idling in traffic. And if things go completely awry (read: if S has her way), might even end up with a name for it.

For now, gotta go get started on that electrified barbed wire fence made of titanium alloy around my ride…

bulwark: support, buttress, mainstay

In sachin, sports on September 22, 2006 at 5:29 am

Earlier this week India were in a position that the ‘experts’ announced to be ‘back-to-the-wall’ with two must-win games in order to qualify for the finals of the DLF cup. Lot of hoopla about the tremendous pressure of the knock-out games. But doesnt it automatically follow from losing league games that you aren’t good enough to actually win the tournament?

I was blissfully unaware of all of this (shocks you to know i don’t follow every ball bowled, live and in repeat telecast?, i’m weird that way. will wake up at 4am to catch an ashes test match but can’t be bothered by the formulaic one-days we’re usually involved in) when a member of our office staff came to the client’s office i was at to drop off some documents and mentioned nonchalantly that we were sixty odd for five. Piqued my curiosity enough to have a look at the score-card. #10 was out there with one of the young turks. Treating it as a ‘set-piece’ as they call it in soccer, I just wondered how he’d deal with it. Said to myself that here was a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thinking that his aura depended on his scoring a big hundred in this situation. I’ve spent too much time playing this game to know that there are too many factors not in your control that determine your performance. But I was certainly willing him on to take charge and to control the innings to get the most out of the lower order. Later saw that we’d ended at 160 odd and he’d scored 40% of the runs (he has on average scored that amount of the teams runs over the duration of his career) and been runout at the non-striker’s end in the most unfortunate circumstance (ball deflecting off the bowler’s hand after a straight-drive from the batsman)

The point? All runs aren’t created equal. Its all very well to go out there belt the bowling around when the track’s hard and flat and the outfield’s grease. Its when there’s something in it for the second-class citizens of the game; the bowlers, the men separate themselves from the boys. Statistically speaking, the 65 won’t have much of an impact on a record with more international centuries than that. He knows it. Just like the noughts won’t make a dent in the averages of the likes of Sehwag, Dhoni and Yuvraj in all fifty other games they’ll play this year on tracks like strips of concrete. Its that willingness to dig in and play what might not be your natural game just so the team score can advance to something resembling respectability. Compare that to a Dhoni who came, swatted three fours and left with a swish of his brylcreemed locks…no harm done to his ‘swashbuckling-attacking-batsman’ image but utility to the team…zero. Sachin would get many more rave reviews by playing with complete abandon, scoring crisp and aesthetic 30s and 40s and taking what the track gives him than taking upon himself the task of keeping India in the game.

Its probably why the likes of Ponting, Mcgrath and co still rate him far above the rest donning blue…probably because they realise more than most that while there are people on the India teamsheet who can hurt them on their day, aberrations much like the vagaries of the weather that you plan for by carrying an umbrella, there is only one true opponent that they need to fear, the guy who’s willing to look ungainly in defense on two-paced pitches (and therefore leave himself open to being ‘expertly’ dissected by the ‘experts’ on how age is having a say about his reflexes) only to make sure that his team bats that much longer to score those additional dozen runs that might make all the difference. They know they’re not up against a batsman, but a cricketer. They know India’s (only true) Batting Mainstay is a worthy opponent, whether in form or out of it.

Religion: None

In life on September 18, 2006 at 2:06 pm

One man somewhere quoted something, and in another part of the world, a woman was shot dead. No telling how many more will be by the time the whole ‘the pope dissed islam’ fiasco blows over. Now, this is the kind of thing, my brain cells would steer waaaay clear of…by that I mean anything to do with the R word. Now, I’m way underqualified in terms of ability to comment but wasn’t the whole point of religion to help us humans deal with the insecurities and other associated crap that comes from being..well…human?! I reckon that its caused more problems than it ever addressed. And for those who’re puffing out your righteous cheeks to say how its the infinitesimally minor delinquent element that ruins it for the rest of us, you haven’t seen mobs of seemingly ‘normal’ people pelt rocks at an apartment building with a name that could’ve been mentioned in certain holy books. Nor have you seen the landscape dotted with bonfires, except that those are homes that have been set fire to by their neighbours. And when you see a girl barely in her teens running as fast as she can with her l’il bro in tow, with blood streaming from her nose, the sheer terror in her face only too apparent, you just wonder if being pagan barbarians might actually be an improvement.

bear eats packer!

In opinion, rant, sports on September 13, 2006 at 3:41 pm

Over the weekend and the early part of the week, Roger Federer won the US Open…ya thats a surprise, Australia beat WI in cricket…yaaaawn and the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers…yeah ok WHAT?!

Since images of the game from North America called football that’s played by clutching the footlong seed-shaped ‘ball’ in your hands aren’t beamed to tubes this side of the equator, online sources of information would have me believe that the motley bunch from the windy city blanked the green and gold packers (26-0). with number 4 as their QB! in Lambeau Field (Packer stronghold in the heart of Green Bay)! Holy mother of ###!

A team that had trouble getting on the board did that to a team that had for all of the last decade, beat them with disdain! Something’s not right with the world! Brett Favre (the #4) suffered his first shutout in his decade long career. (This is the guy that appears in ‘There’s something about Mary’ right at the very end as Miss Diaz’s long lost love).

Ok, for some perspective, imagine Kenya coming to India, beating India in the Chinnaswamy with jammy at the helm…yeah…its like that…except unlikelier

The throwback to Monday night primetime sports television reminds me what a seamlessl marriage entertainment and professional sports have in the US. There are mainly three major sports with varying popularity depending on the state you’re in; Basketball, Baseball and Football. The season for each scheduled so they clash with the other. In fact, one starts up just when the other reaches its ‘World Championship’ climax. The duration and formats tuned to perfection to last just long enough to hold the user’s attention with the right number of commercial breaks (mainly to give you a chance to do precisely two things: take a restroom break, refill on beer + assorted high-carb deep-fried snacks) The networks have programmed the average american so well, that it was discussed in consumer behaviour class how the water levels in any given city tank show a step-function decrease, each coinciding with commercial breaks in the middle of a game. Of course…not the best news for the companies pumping in millions to buy those ad-spots. If you happen to be at one of these games, there’s freebie give-aways, lucky seat no. draws and aaah…the cheerleaders.

Compare that to the experience of watching the likes of Mohinder Amarnath and Maninder Singh babble away about “aur ye shaandar shaat…cccchar run!” interspersed with vajradanti ads that ensure you return to live coverage to see one team celebrating, what, you can catch that in the papers the next day. Of course, then there’s the pre-game shows with Mandira Bedi and more nauseating nonsense. But then you decide to catch the action yourself and you’re faced with queues lasting 3-4 hours as they frisk you for that safety pin that you might use to hold the stadium full of 40,000 people hostage. Not to mention large uncovered sections of concrete that serve as seats for the majority.

The difference simply lies in power of the ‘supplier’ versus that of the ‘buyer’. Like the guest speaker in Advertising class said “Am sure all cricket-lovers hated the world-cup coverage, but we knew you had to come to us, we’re a monopoly”. If abc started showing ’51 ways to bliss with origami’ before a football game, the people would just load their 4X4s and go camping…

My Music

In life on September 10, 2006 at 7:59 pm

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

Early morning, April 4th
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love…

One song that’s unfailingly sent the adrenaline or whatever chemicals cause your blood to course through your body at a slightly faster-than-usual rate. What’s missing in the typed rendition of the song is the voice that can only be Bono and the humming at the end of it, that’s well, ethereal.

People talk about their taste in music by reeling off genres, Progressive-Alternative-Punk-HipHop-Reggae-SleazeFest-DisguisedPorn etc. Ok, the last two might not be actual genres, but when you rely more on the visual than the sound to identify music..you gotta give them different names.

I’ve never really known what my genres are, just that certain songs and bands I could listen to for hours on end, some as interesting background scores as I labour through assignments/work, mainly anything remotely productive, some to rouse from semi-comatose states resulting from excessive amounts of sleep-deprivation or alcohol or both. And yeah, sometimes just to let the vibrations coming off the windows and other assorted paraphernalia wash over you…therapeutic almost.

So, there’s the above mentioned band that created this masterpiece in tribute to Martin Luther King except that they’ve acknowledged how the line should be Early evening, April 4th since thats when he was assassinated. It doesn’t stop there though, how they managed to capture the most powerful emotions that us humans can possibly experience onto thin discs of highly fragile material, is beyond comprehension. (U2)

And then there’s the band that was the stereotypical rock band of the 70s. Alcohol, Drugs, infamous backstage ‘groupie nights’. When it was almost like an honour badge to have members of your band hospitalised with alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. But to be at your peak, and then to lose one member to the above and having your drummer lose an arm in an accident would finish off most bands. This one not only came back stronger, they also stuck with the same drummer! The movie on their story shows how an emotional band took the stage on their comeback tour and then proceeded the rock the daylights out of the crowd. (Def Leppard)

There are other bands, brilliant ones, with sensational songs…here’s my top ten..or what i can think of at this moment:

10. Ye hai meri kahaani – Strings
9. Brilliant Disguise – Bruce Springsteen
8. Coming back to life – Pink Floyd
7. Deuces are wild – Aerosmith
6. Vindicated – Dashboard Confessionals
5. Bad – U2
4. When love and hate collide – Def Leppard
3. Hysteria – Def Leppard
2. Where the streets have no name – U2
1. Pride (In the name of love) – U2

inhale

In life, work on September 8, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Bright sunshine. Fresh-cut grass. Not the noon kinda bright where you sense that trickle of sweat run down your armpit into the waistband of your trousers. This is more the early evening sunlight that’s not quite as hot. Then there’s the expanse of green, not lush or gently billowing in the breeze…but more the index length tufty kind thats spread evenly across a clear tract of land, preferably oval in shape. And the rhythmic thuds…spaced evenly…going from soft thuds to distinctly crunchy as the spikes find gravel ending in a muffled grunt. This followed by a solid wooden sound, not dull, more like a bullet leaving the muzzle of a long bore rifle. One of the simple pleasures of life…missing that quite desperately in this city that seems to only look for excuses to f*** up its already clogged roads with ridiculous processions that are an assault on the senses and yes…sensibility.

Had a full week with the new engagement starting up (meant less in a matrimonial context than in an armed combat sense). This is the one that’s been on the anvil for almost a month now, but it happened when I was being asked to *gasp* model in the financial sense for my first project. This one’s more process-related and hence involves lots of talking to people and also listening. Whole bunch of interviews, some gyaan-giving to the newbie, some ‘   excel’ing to manage project plans and the week’s whizzed by.

Caught up with one of the brethren from G6, impromptu plan…couple of drinks at the Sports Bar, burgers at McD and scoops of chocolate, the malted fudge and bavarian kind…ideal combination I think. Updates on whats been happening since last we met and how things have been since the days we overtipped the B&C staff after having exhausted their tequila supplies. Wonder when all the members will be available at the same time for a good ol’ binge and completely nonsensical bantering.

Right-arm swing with some seam, Right-hand top/middle-order bat, Hair Bands, Booze with buddies…that’s what i’m talking about…

perspire and grow thin

In work on September 3, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Just when it felt like life was mostly about scratched bumper to scratched bumper traffic and the endless ‘religiously approved’ traffic snarls with bunches of people going into epileptic fits of ecstacy accompanied by 15000 watts and jet-engine decibel music. The only distinction between those scenes and any seedy dance bar being the idol in tow that supposedly makes the whole exercise a worthy one. Bloody annoying if nothing else.


Coming back to the point, had the firm’s annual ‘offsite’ gathering in Lonavla this weekend. So brilliantly located is this resort ‘Upper Deck’ (
www.upperdeckresort.com), that you can’t complete the last leg of the journey in your own vehicles but have to get into the resort’s four-wheeled Scorpios to get up the stream-bed that doubles as the ‘off the beaten path’ path. The discomfort of the bone-jarring ride up the slope disappeared the moment the vehicle rounded the final turn. It was that orgasmic feeling you get when you bite into a morsel of minced lamb with sauteed onions where the flavors seem to explode in your mouth. except, it was all visual…the term panoramic has seldom been as breathtakingly justified as that view did. Miles and miles of rolling green hills, not so steep as to look threatening, all covered with what looked like a velvet green tablecloth with the odd outcropping of trees. The glint of reflected sunlight made you wonder if there were ropes of tiny diamonds hanging in different places, mini-waterfalls created as a result of the monsoons. If ever there’s been a risk of moi lapsing into ridiculous poetry, this was it.


Fairly chilled out weekend with table-tennis sessions, long breakfast/lunch/dinner sessions with lotsa anecdotes, gyaan sessions, treasure hunts and the awards for the year being handed out to be followed by loud music and dancing…oh haan..and booze..kinda slipped my mind there…

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