Friday, August 31, 2007

Sania-watch: Round 3!

Through to Round 3!

I watched the 2nd round match from the middle of the second set last night, and it has to be said, I am very uncertain about our girl's chances against her nemesis-of-the-year, Anna Chakvetadze. Anna's beaten Sania thrice already this year, even when she's been playing really well. The semi-finals at Hobart, the semi-finals at Cincinatti and the finals at Stanford. Ouch .

Sania lost her way a bit at 4-1 up in the second set. Up went the unforced errors. One match point after the other ate dust. *Cringe*Cringe*
I hope Sania is tighter in her next match. She has to be. We love you, girl, but keep it within the lines, please.

Watching intently.....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Muslims Against Terrorism

And interesting reads on that: Here

Hyderabad Horror, about

I have nothing new to say. God rest the souls of the innocents who died again.
Just wanted to drop in a link here to a nice article I found while reading up on the blasts. This article was written after the Mecca Masjid blasts back in May.
If only, Mr Bobby Ramakanant.

Within minutes of the incidents, the internet was seething with anti-Islamic diatribe, spurred on by a helpful media with their easy use of incorrect-but-easy-on-the-tongue contemporary slang: Islamic terrorism [what???], jehadi/Islamist groups, Muslim terrorists etc ad nauseum.

It pains one. That's all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Our girl is through to the 2nd round.
US Open-wise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cranium Sunday

Date: Aug 26, 2007
Venue: Chez Haji [my place]
Time: 1500 hrs onwards [as per invite]
Personalities present: Shro, Thirtha, Laura [being old school/college friends]
Others [being ex-office-mates]: Chris, Jude, Nandos, Ruth, Dr Iqbal
And assorted family [being one brother]: Ozz
Food items: Chip and dip, cheese crackers, doughnuts, spinach croissants, mushroom croissants, samosas, pastries [assorted], ice cream [untouched]
Beverages: Hard hitting drinks, chai
: Here

Shro, Laura, Thirtha and Self had a friend's engagement lunch the very same day revelries were planned at my place, and the idea was to rush back from said formal occasion and play it cool. We were all thoroughly overdressed for a simple friends' get-together and were jointly worried about what the world would think of us if we couldn't get back and change in the nick of time. Laura, being a smarty-pants, made us take a quick detour on the way back to my house - we stopped at her digs and she changed into regular jeans and whatnots. We reached my place just before 1500 [stipulated time given in invite to feel free to enter my house] after another pit stop at Sweet Chariot, Koramangala, for essential bakeries and not-so-essential bakeries.
I needn't have worried about being late because except for Iqbal, no one was on time. And that gave me enough leeway to order the friends about the house, making them clean my digs for me. Also, Self and Shro changed into comfy home clothes leaving only Thirtha in her fancy-shmancy outfit to face the ridicule of the impending company. Unfortunately, this never happened.
Sir Iqbal arrived in first place, followed shortly by Ruth who took the silver. In third place and sharing the bronze were Charlies' Angels - Chris, Jude and Nandos. Once all guests were packed in like sardines in the living room, preliminary hard drinks were served. Tropicana's Strawberry Twirl, Sprite and Coke were big hits apart from aqua minerale.
The main theme of the jamboree was to play Cranium. And so it started.
Team 1: Old School+ Ozz, Team 2: Charlies' Angels, Team 3: The Intelligentsia - Doc Iqbal, Ruth and Self.
Tension ran high, tempers flared as did nostrils, and various cuss words were thrown about the room, albeit in hushed tones and under breaths. [Except Ozz who let slip a loud one, much to his consternation.] The spirit of competition was intense and cruel. It would be a survival of the fittest.
All the above is bullshit. The game started and ended on rather giggly notes, with everyone being everyone else's best friend, making cracks and in general displaying none of the spirit of do-or-die that is so essential in situations of friends getting together to play board games and hopefully see some killing and bloodshed.
The game had its high points as each team tried to outdo the other with brilliant displays of thespianism, artistry, musical ability, cunning, intelligence and plain ol' Lady Luck.
Memorable Highlights:
1. Doc guessing 'Jetpack' from the vantage point of Jude's posterior, while her teammates couldn't from a forward perspective.
2. Team 1 unable to get to Start for the longest time.
3. Team 2 and 3 flinging mud at each other on the way to Cranium Point 1, and also thereafter.
4. Ozz letting out a shocking cuss word, followed by blushes and embarrassment but only on his part. Everyone else found it hilarious.
5. Soulful rendition of 'London Bridge' by Laura.
There were other fine moments but I forget them.

[It must be mentioned that during all of this, the Turkish GP began and we watched on mute even as the game continued. This could account for a lapse of concentration on the part of some players.]

Charlies' Angels couldn't face the thought of the impending defeat that was being meted out to the by the Intelligentsia, and so they suddenly decided to up and leave. A quick photo shoot was held in the hall and Skinny friends left in a haze of tears and dust.

The game was called off and instead, chai was called for by the remaining revellers. Laura actually called for coffee. And Ruth had plain ol' black tea with no sugar or cream. Egads. The rest of us enjoyed hard-boiled, milky-yet-strong sugary chai as is available in roadside dhabas.

A session of chatting and much laughter followed. Laura was in fine form and, as is her wont, giggled more than she spoke. She acted out various scenes for our benefit [we were playing the role of her rapt audience], most notably her father's drunken dance at sister's wedding. Well done!
In time, even the Old School decided to leave and Ruth departed along with them. [Sir Iqbal took down various email IDs before their departure and promptly forgot them later.]
He stayed on to watch the end of the race, had serious heartrending conversation with the Self on the nasty state of affairs worldwide, and bonded with Ozz on the subject of Ferrari.

We couldn't allow him to leave without a proper din-din, and on arrival of sister, Domino's pizzas were called for [the delivery was late so we got a heavy discount - yay!] and an enjoyable meal was had.

Thusly ended the day that was.

Funny guys

Haahahaaaaaaa. Found this through Frythool.
A fitting reply to Facebook.


Ms Mirza is up to Number 27 in the WTA single's rankings.
Her doubles rankings are also at an all-time high of 20!

Today is Sania's first match at the US Open. 11am at the Grandstand.

The Reds

Hmmph. Ferrari managed a one-two at Turkey this Sunday. Alonso followed a while later in 3rd. Full summary here.

Extremely tragic moment of the race: Hamilton's sensational tyre-burst. And he still pulled in 5th. Very good.

The rest of the season has suddenly become interesting again with the Ferrari-McLaren gap narrowing in. It could swing either way now in the 5 remaining races.
In the Team Constructor standings, Mclaren is at 148 and Ferrari is just 11 points behind at 137. And the Driver Standings are Hamilton- 84, Aonso- 79, Massa- 69 and Raikkonen- 68. Close as all-get-out! Should be fun.

Can't wait for Monza. Go McLaren!

[All pics bummed off]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Coming soon: Ramadan, 1428 AH

Ramadan is just a few days away now. Insha'Allah, it will be a good one. This year, being 1428 as per the Hijri calendar, the month of Ramadan will start around the 13th of September, which means we'll have Eid-ul-Fitr around the 12th of October. Good weather. Yay!

Found a nice Gregorian-to-Hijri calendar converter here.
According to this, my birthday was 27 Rajab 1402 A.H. Check yours.
Very good. Now that the chinkaras have been avenged, let's throw him inside for a few more years for running over human beings. You know, our kind.
When's that judgment going to come across in that case? What is the window period in this country for a person to actually be sentenced for his crime. Not intent/possible crime [I'm a Sanjay Dutt admirer, okay?], but an actual occurrence. Like, say, events which leave dead bodies in their wake. Hmmph.

And now, on a very mature note: Salman Khan should be jailed just for his sideburns. What's with them? They're almost as long as he is tall. Gaaaaak.

Is the Left right?

I don't know.
As things stand with the nuke-deal impasse, I obviously don't know the merits of the case to swing either way.
All I know is:
-Do I like anything to do with nuclear power? NO. Deep inside of me, I still think it's a horror that shouldn't have been discovered in the first place. Don't give me some rot about it being the source of all energy in the future, please. What's wrong with hydel- or solar-power and windmills? Even the aesthetics are better. Why not spend billion and billions of dollars, Euros, pounds, rupees or whatever-have-you to work in this direction? Beats me.

-Do I like the US Govt and its policies? N-O. Pronounced "Nohhhhhhhh!!!!!!" And this is where I am all for the Left approach. Don't get into bed with the US, because the next morning you'll find she'll have disappeared and left no loose change on the dressing table for your services.
I know, crass film scenario is jarring but that's what I think of when any deal with America is in the offing. Getting screwed.

[PS: While posting, I had to choose where I wanted the image: Left, right or center? Hyaahahahaa.]

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Uh-oh. Not just before the US Open. No yo-yoing now!
Very good.

The inside story

How the trouble really started.

BRAD: Oh. I thought you said you ADAPT very well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sania -watch

Sania through to Round 2 at New Haven. Here.
Also, seedings released for the US Open where Sania is seeded 26th and plays Estonian Kaia Kanepi in Round 1.
Federer is seeded 1 of course.
The Men's Singles Round 1 draw looks pretty tame with the only interesting match being Novak Djokovic v. Mario Ancic. Same on the Women's Singles front: one possible interesting match between Tamarine Tanasugarn and Sybille Bammer. Okay, maybe it won't be that interesting.

Good going, Kapil

"The more things change, the more they remain... insane."
Michael Fry and T. Lewis, Over the Hedge

All the ongoing brouhaha about the new rebel league, the ICL, beats me. I think it's great that the aging, bureaucratic behemoth - no, no, not the UN; I'm talking about the BCCI- is finally being asked to pull up its socks and do a few rounds of the field to warm up for some competition. And that, a little outside the sphere of dirty politics and safari-suit-officials, good players from all over will get a chance to go out there and make a damn decent living out of the thing they are best at and love doing: playing the game.
When great names like Kapil Dev, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohd Yousuf are treated like so much short change and sullied in press releases, you know something's very wrong with the way things are being run. The BCCI and PCB are both behaving like sulky adolescents [and seem about as attractive] what with disregarding these names, lashing out at the players who opt to play for the ICL and the worst, the door-slamming routine all teenagers in angst demonstrate: disallowing these players to be a part of the national cricket team. The Big Boys have finally been caught doing what they were doing all these many years for the betterment of the game- nothing- and it's bloody embarrassing for them. Reaction: "Muscle power. Ostracize the rebels!" What ho.
Here's my question: If a player wants to associate himself with any number of organizations, to earn more and play more, why shouldn't he be able to?
It's no secret that the state of sports in India is quite pathetic, even the mothership of all games: cricket. Farcical selections, unprofessional training and ignoring real talent on flimsy grounds known only to the 'suits' in the Government-run boards is a regular story for aspiring but disillusioned sportspersons.
Why not let private, professionally-run leagues like the ICL enter the arena [not just cricket either. It would be great to see such leagues come up in all sports], create more playing and earning opportunities for deserving players and all of this at a very good economic compensation to both sides? Because in the end, of course the ICL is also going to want to make money. And probably will. Or, it won't.
In either case, let the games begin.

It's nice to see big names from international cricket jumping on the ICL bandwagon already. And 'nuff said about these players being old fogies or out-of-form-has-beens. I'd pay good money to see my proven favorites any day over the current crop of long-artificially-colored-hair-strutting-jewelery-laden cocky young 'uns who haven't proved anything yet except they somehow got in to the national team.
Here's a list of the has-beens I'm itching to watch play: Inzy, Mohd Yousuf, Razzaq, Lara, Fleming, Zulu. Hah.

This is the ICC's stand on the matter, by the way. Pretty sound, wot?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy New House, Boo.

Date: Friday, 17th August, 2007.
Venue: Boomsa's new digs
Occasion: House warming

General consensus: Wowza!
Pics: Here
Party animals: Aashi, DJ, Sharmon, Appu, Tina, George, PP, Gautam, Ameet, Mr Prash, Chitravaani, and many others I do not know/remember.

A very excellent place has been procured by Boomsa as her new digs. One located ideally in the very middle of the city [for all practical purposes] and where I shall now be able to crash often and anon after my wild, debauch, drunken nights on the town. Erm, yes, well WHY NOT?
Boomsa has also procured a beautiful boy-cat known as Joey, who is good-looking as all dammit. Of course, he hasn't yet achieved a fraction of the cool quotient so obvious in Bonzo, the Elder. He'll get there eventually, but Bonz shall have a certain edge over him.

The party was much fun, with the excellent concept of BYOB working yet again. Titla brought in some good vino, I don't know which. I took in some stronger stuff like Coke [500ml] and Sprite [500ml]. Was a bit woozy later, but I can hold my drink when I need to.
Food items came in with the help of frantic calls from the cell phone of an Aashi.
Much fun and laughter ensued at various points of the night. The jokes are too bad to recount here, but there were many. DJ was notably on fire. Sharmon learnt how to operate my camera, or at least he figured out how to press The Important Button. There followed thousands of his self-pics which I have had to delete. It took me nigh on 4 days to do so. :)

Titla and I decided to leave by 1-ish, being two gorgeous, single women driving home to nether regions of Bengaluru and wanting to feel safe in our heads. The ploy worked. We escaped unscathed. [We also managed somehow to stop over at Sugar 'n' Spice at the Taj Residency and pick up pastries for items at home, in the midst of such harrowing circs.]

All in all, a fabulous night and much gladness in our hearts for Boomsa's new home. Yay.

Postscript: I missed seeing Boo's roomie, a Sushma, since I was inside Boomsa's room terrifying Joey as she moseyed out. But never fear! I shall see her yet.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yay! Sanju is out for the anon!

So sue me. I really like Sanjay Dutt. And am very glad he's out for a bit.
And check out the pic above for irony.


Sania climbs up one spot to 28th in the singles' WTA rankings.

In other news, Federer isn't doing too badly either.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Independence Day, 2007

L-R: Nosh, Donna, Li'l Donna, Aloks, Hilaaldi [Rukmani], Tits, Pinaki, Kamal, Don

Which only means that it was a holiday in the middle of the week and I had yet another oppurtunity to spend the day with the Insaneguptas [Aloka, Pinkai and Tits] and mad friends: Baawa Nosh, Don Bhai, Donna, their daughter Li'l Donna, Hilaaldi and Kamal.
Luched at a restaurant called Malgudi on Outer Ring Road [not great at all, service esp bad that day]. Then moved on to Ivy's Unwind Island and had a great time there. Flies notwithstanding. Superb Iced Tea, hot fudge brownies with mocha ice cream and delicious apple pie. Sluurrrrpp.
Highlights of the afternoon:
1. Establishment of Raavana's sterling qualities and aesthetic appeal.
2. Establishment of Hilaaldi as Ravaana's sibling.
3. Small talk about a dainty Vietnamese lady and a big Nigerian man.
4. Fortune-telling by a parrot trainer [Aloka is going to live to be a 110 years old, and Rukmani's good times have started.]
5. Li'l Donna gets public support for her Saturday co-ed outing.

That was that.
Posted by Picasa

Hello, beauty!

No, no, not me.
Just look at this gorgeous girl. This was taken by a kind Sharath during our trek in the Hunkal woods. Just when we were leaving, this pretty-face materialized on the porch of the living qaurters of the workers at the estate. And I took some pictures of her and showed her- she was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to see herself! God, look at that smile. Masha'Allah.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yawn.... And again.

Oh, look. Just when we were missing some sordidness.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I like!

I just went through to a very interesting blog- Umar Lee's - and found some real eye-openers on Muslim opinion around the world. Like this post and the hundreds of comments it got. Saddening to see some schools of thought, comforting to hear the sound of reason.
I thank Satyre for her link there.

Sania watch continues [click]

WTA singles ranking improves to personal best and career high of 29 [915 points].
Sania is also up to 25th [with 1321 points] in the doubles rankings.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Welcome, Satyre. You are linked.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I am mad, mad, mad. Meaning angry.
Because for some inexplicable reason, I am made to feel embarrassed because I have strong opinions about religion. And politics. And people. And everything. Yes, I have very strong opinions, but I also listen to reason. Meaning objectively listen and assess. [Except when it comes to George Bush].

Ye gods. Whatever.


Outrage. Disgrace. Shame!
Shame on the MIM and a louder, stronger shout-out to the media to perhaps feel some of that shame themselves for once again giving the proceedings a tainted religious hue. [I will explain. This is a long, bilious post.]

Yesterday's nauseating events at the Press Club of Hyderabad during the release of Taslima Nasrin's works in Telugu [who cares what, really] did two things.
One, it reiterated to the whole world that, "Look here, this is what we were saying all along. These Muslims are unbelievable. They really are taking things too far."
Two, it played right into the hands of a constantly-waiting, uneducated media, frothing at the mouth for more dirt on a faith known as Islam. All because a handful of very deluded, unlearned men, ranting and raving like so many Nazi Skinheads or Bajrang Dal activists, claimed their incontrollable outrage in the name of all Muslims. And the ravenous media lapped it up, using allllll the cliches and stereotypes one now expects when anything Islam-bash-worthy happens. *makes violent retching noise*

The facts:
1. Taslima Nasrin was invited to release the translations of her works in Hyderabad.
2. She did so.
3. There was no outrageous attack on Islam, no inflammatory speech and no reading of any derogatory material from her books [if indeed her books have such content].
4. After the event wound to a close, some men[led by our well-chosen, popularly elected, esteemed MLAs] broke into the venue and started their shameful, uncouth, violent histrionics. To wit, a group of full-grown men went berserk and started throwing various items- bouquets, flower pots, even chairs were attempted- at a defenseless Taslima and an oldish man who was visibly hurt during the hurly-burly, bravely standing shield between the deranged macho men and their intended victim. There was no incitement, there was nothing that could have sparked the Fire of Fury in the attackers.
5. Live footage of the attack is really embarrassing to watch - poor, sulky Taslima and poor, brave old man.
6. The mental mob then lay down its credentials: they represented "all of the 20 crore Muslims in India" according to an MP of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, an abomination I saw for the first time yesterday. [Enjoy your moment in the limelight, you horrific blight to humanity.]
7. This self-same Owaisi was then seen on all news channels staunchly defending and praising the attackers, and once more *cringe*cringe*cringe* bringing in 'Islam' and 'Muslims' into all of the ugliness.

The Outrage and Opinion:
To Owaisi: You b@##$%#! Isn't it enough the whole world is having a ball at the expense of our religion already? Must you paint your perversions with the brush of Islam? No, you do not represent us, the 20 crore Muslims in India. No, it doesn't make a difference that Taslima Nasrin is not Indian, that she's in exile, that you feel she's a disgrace to Islam because she doesn't like following it, that she writes about things that are hard for you to stomach. She might have been a Puerto Rican nun for all we care - the fact remains that this was a lady whom you let loose on, unprovoked and in the most abominable manner. And then you justify your actions under the banner of Islam. Aaarrrggghhhhhh.

To the media: Have a care, journos. A little homework never harmed anyone, si? Here are some basic goof-ups and incorrect stereotyping that you've perfected to an art.
Lesson 1: Fatwa= opinion [NOT as is widely and popularly accepted, 'death sentence'].
Lesson 2: Islam = NOT a religion that preaches terror/violence. Root word 'Salaam' viz. 'peace' [as in Salaam alaikum]. Even if one did not give you the meaning of the Arabic root, one could hope that a basic respect be given to all world religions and it be quite understood that no faith preaches violence, killing, atrocity or wrong-doing. Why must you then repeatedly and wrongly use terms like Islamists/Islamic fundamentalists/Jihadis/mullahs/ Muslim extremists etc?
Lesson 3: Jehad/Jihad = To strive/struggle in the cause of God. It does not mean 'Holy War' or 'justified killing'. Don't use it alllll the time.
Lesson 4: Jehadis and terrorists are not interchangeable terms, thank you. If I strive to overcome some evil in myself, say trying to stop lying, I am a jehadi. Ergo, jehadi is not equal to terrorist. Simple, ja?
Lesson 5: Haraam= Absolutely, totally not allowed. Drinking alcohol is haraam. Suicide is haraam. Killing the blameless aged, women, children or any innocent person is haraam. Make of 9/11 and every other incident we hear of in Iraq nowadays what you will, those men can't claim to be Muslims. [My opinion, remember.]
Lesson 6: Muslims all over the world [I'm talking educated, civilized, real Muslims who have some knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah- not brainwashed illiterates, paid part-timers and chest-beating frenzied men who don't know better] hate what is happening to the name of Islam today. The media has never ever shown this overwhelming point of view. What with your minute-by-minute opinion polls, your wide-ranging documentaries, your impassioned lambasting of the horrors of terrorism, how come it never ever comes across that you BELIEVE that Muslims globally abhor the actions of terrorists, suicide bombers, spies, smugglers, underworld dons and the whole smorgasbord of evil that is now irrevocably connected with Islam? We don't like it either, get it? The few hundreds (or thousands) committing atrocities must never be assumed to be representative of the whole. How about you convey that repeatedly?

Another point:
Noted Muslim celebrities in India gave sound bytes yesterday (at least) expressing their disgust: Javed Akhtar [brilliant as always], Shabana Azmi [ho hum], Nafisa Ali. Ask me, a well-known scholar, a qualified mufti would be a more suitable mouthpiece for expressing Muslim outrage than fillum-ishtaars or Page 3 personalities , who, let's face it, aren't very strong in practice.
Unfortunately, we never see the established Islamic authorities/the educated ullema speak up against such outrages. This is a worm that has eaten across all the Muslim/Arab world. Be it Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, terrorism, the governments of all Muslim nations continue to sit mum and twiddle their thumbs, doing nothing. PATHETIC.

Some background to the whole brouhaha:
1. Ms. Nasrin is in India, exiled from her homeland Bangladesh on account of some old men feeling strongly that her book, Lajja, was insulting to Islam, Muslims, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and thereafter issuing fatwas (Remember! 'Opinion'), death threats and pronouncements in the name of an aggrieved religion.
2. Lajja is none of the above. I have read, or rather, tried reading it. It was quite a pain to get through even the first few chapters and is one of the very few books I have left unfinished. Not because I was offended by the content but because I was bored to tears by it. According to me it was not a good book simply because in very long, excruciating portions it read more like a report on damages caused during the Bangla riots, and the mention of random names and unknown places for pages together failed to grip me. There was an attempted storyline in there somewhere but I lost the threads of that amid all the name-dropping.
3. I feel very strongly that the people who issued the fatwa haven't actually read the substandard book.
4. The book doesn't have anything anti-Islamic in it per se, it is just an account of the maltreatment of the minority Hindu population in Bangladesh during the riots that ensued post the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India [Whole new can of worms. I shan't even go there]. It so happened that the tormentors were the majority Bangla Muslim populace. What is so unbelievable about that?
5. As in all riot scenarios, the weak are always victimised, abused and in general, teated in such a way that 'majority' and 'minority' have no meaning anymore, the only thing that matters to anyone who can see is 'humanity'. Or rather, the lack of it.
6. Nasrin's book just put together many instances where people went rampaging, killing, raping in the name of their religion. Wronging others. Again in the name of their religion. These malefactors happened to be so-called Muslims. In the same way that when the Gujarat riots happened, the aggressors happened to be Hindus. And in the same way that the good old Serbian ethnic cleansers [I'm talking Bosnia] happened to be Orthodox Christians.
My point is that evil does not belong to any faith or religion. Tyrants, terrorists, reprobate persons cannot lay claim to any faith in the midst of their heinous actions.

Oh, look at me, I'm as bloody boring as Taslima's book. Enough. I am done.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh, come on, boys. Keep it clean.

Sania-watch continues

Well done again, Miss Mirza. Here!

Dear Daddy

Happy birthday to you.

Couldn't make it last time....

...but I want to try again.
Unsuccessful first attempt at scaling hidden peak. Ve shal go vance more.
Posted by Picasa

Have fun, Shobs...

Dear Shobie
We're missing you aldreddy. *Huggs*
Have much fun in Bombay, doll. Meet exciting people [fillum stars] and don't snub them, throw yourself at Akshay Kumar [remember, he takes the trouble to wax himself. Ouch.] and don't forget to make a weekend trip to Pune and meet Sanju Baba.

Will call often and, as per routine, please don't pick up on the first attempt. I shall do the same at my end. Henji.

PS: (Enjoyed like anything at Take 5, especially when you wet yourself. Your camera smile is inspiring. I shall practise in front of my mirror everyday.)

To the common man: Shobhie is the nut in the picture above [extreme left with big red bag]. She left us, Bereft in Bangalore, and headed to Bombay on the fateful morning 6th of August, 2007. Moday morning blues like yenything.
She's a darling and we hope she has a mad, mad time and is part of more interesting stories in the near future.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Beyond Compare

Sunday, August 5, 2007: Gayatri Vihar, Palace Grouds, Bangalore hosts a live concert- "Beyond Boundaries" - with ghazal meastros Ustad Ghulam Ali and Padmabhushan Jagjit Singh. I was there [wooohooo!] and enjoyed a lovely evening with the two greats. One is obviously of a higher caliber than the other, as Jagjit himself admits, and in this pleasant understanding of what's what, the music flowed.

The show was supposed to kick off at 6 pm, and audience memebers were requested to dress formally. So obviously a huge chunk of Bangaloreans traipsed in well after 1845 hrs, dressed in cargos, dirty jeans, scuffed sneakers, three-fourths and other horrors.
The seating arrangements were godawful- the venue was basically a big shamiana with rows and rows of plastic chairs. For our tickets worth Rs. 600/-, we were hoping to be in a nice enough place to be able to comfortably view the performance but unfortunately we were quite ways behind and managed to NOT see any of the stage. We had to make do with the big-screen projectors. This being a ghazal concert, what was important was that the sound quality be good and thank the Lord, it was. Great audio throughout the show.
(Except when the caterers just outside the shamiana took to collectively rattling their cutlery, or when the rumbling from the nearby Freedom Jam made itself heard. At which point Ghulam Ali paused mid-song to say, "Iss aafat ko guzarne do.")

At 7 pm, Jagjit Singh took the stage and we had a lovely two hours' worth of his most popular numbers. He took us through the best of his repertoire: Mein nashe main hoon, Yeh daulat bhi le lo, Baat niklegi toh phir, Kiskaa chehraa, Kal chaudvin ki raat thi and Sarakti jaaye hai among others.
The audience was lapping it up, singing along with Baritone Jagjit in most places. He threw in a few pleasant variations on some lines but for the most part stuck to the script and the crowd had a fun time feeling full of itself thinking, "We know our ghazals so well."

Jagit Singh wound up around 9 pm and made way for the fabulous Ustad Ghulam Ali. There was a touching moment or two on stage when the dear old men started hugging each other, smiling and pulling one another's cheeks like so many 4-year-old kindergarten girls. Pleasantries done with, Ustadji took the stage.

And then........ *drumroll*

For the next two hours, we sampled the brilliance that is Ustad Ghulam Ali. He dazzled the remaining audience and how! Ghulam Ali took on each new piece as a separate work of love, slowly guiding the audience, explaining the difference between a ghazal and a nazm, giving a short, pleasant preamble to each number, giving due credit to the poets, and, when in the song itself, explaining the Urdu shaaiyiri to the crowd as needed.
The gorgeous rolling deepness of Ustad's voice, his ease with the language, his genuine love for the form were all evident during his performance. The audience were loving the poetry, of a much higher quality than Jagjit's engaging but simple lyrics. Each sher was followed by a resounding cheer after the spilt-second it took them to understand what had just passed. Unlike Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali gave us a variety of ghazals not many in the crowd had heard before. It was right up the alley for those of us with a genuine love [if not understanding] of classical music and shaayiri, a guided tour with arguably one of the best ghazal singers in the world. I had goosies for a good part of his performance, along with a silly smile and much contentment at the crowd's pleasure.

Unfortunately, all of the audience was not deserving. As with all big gatherings, there has to be an Embarrassing Group. I had had a nasty sinking feeling at the beginning of the show itself when I saw the very obviously cavalier, non-serious set of people coming in for the show. And the foreboding came true during the performance.
After Jagjit Singh finished his segment, a lot of our overfriendly, noisy, culturally-deficient Bangalorean friends left since the popular hit ghazals they were familiar with were done. Good riddance. Unfortunately a lot of annoying, brash items stayed behind, talking loudly to each other during songs, walking up and down the aisles, taking calls on their cell-phones [good grief] and other indecorous behavour.
If this wasn't bad enough,we had unbelievable audience members somewhere in the very front [and therefore the freebie/ uber-rich ticketholders] repeatedly disturbing Ghulam Ali during his performance. He actually had to stop in the middle of his songs and ask them to stop goading, taking videos, talking/whistling, clapping out of turn etc. Also, as if this was a college band performing cover versions at a cafe somewhere, some freak kept on shouting his farmaaishes to Ghulam Ali. "Oh, God, do you realise who is up on stage, you twit?" The cringe-factor went very high for me, personally. I wanted to tear those people from their places and boot them into the rain outside. What was more infuriating was that none of the organisers stepped in to take preventive action. Terrible. I can only apologise to the maestro for the (mis)behaviour of the hooligans left behind to mess up the evening.

Ustadji took in all this unpleasantness in his wonderful stride ["Yeh toh inke pyaar ki daleel bataati hain"], kept the audience entertained with jokes and anecdotes and wound up his performance with his very famous numbers Hungama hai kyun barpaa, and Chupke chupke raat din. The 11 pm axe was hanging around everyone's necks or he might have carried on for a while more. Unfortunately, things had to come to a close and they did wit a sweet farewell from Ustad saheb.
At around 11pm I made my way out, for the most part a very happy girl, but also, with slightly murderous thoughts directed towards the Embarrassments.
Posted by Picasa

What's going on, boys?

Another great run for McLaren at Hungary, but as usual, a cloud came along to spoil the silver lining's party. No Constructor Points for Team McLaren on account of some shady business during the Qualifying. Bleehhhhhh. Well done, Lewis. Alonso.... Promise us more drama at Turkey?
Before the whole world and its uncle jumps in to fling mud at Alonso, though, have a look here.
Look like there MIGHT POSSIBLY BE another side to the story. Mayhap young Lewis was a little bit to blame himself? This is not to say that Alonso doesn't have a habit of getting headlined in the most awful stories. One must admit, the guy has a knack.
In any case, I adore both drivers though I have no idea how they still manage to work around each other. Slight awkwardness at the office, what?
Great run by Raikkonen as well, but overtaking was always going to be next to impossible on this circuit. [Thought to self: Why, oh WHY did he switch to Ferrari?]

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Well done, Sania.

Sania Mirza is on a roll. After an iffy performance at Wimbledon [just back from injury etc], she's moving up and how. She's the fittest she's ever been and if she would only work on that serve of hers plus reign in on the unforceds a bit, she's going to get nicely dangerous.
Well done at Stanford and San Diego, Sania. Seed-toppling is very nice [for us].
Have a personal soft spot for Mirza because her match at the Bangalore Open [where she won the doubles finals, 2006] is the only tennis match I've watched in person. Also, I think she's a smarty-pants. I'm going to keep track of this kid.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bonzo has a new friend

His name is Party Pooh. He's a nice guy to have around simply because no matter what you do to Pooh [like take his head in your teeth and shred it to bits], he'll always smile stupidly back.
Bonz takes turn loving and hating him. I caught him here at a particularly weak, mushy moment when he was just nodding off and I naughtily Placed Pooh under his "Protective Paw." [Transliteration like yenything.]
My plan is, when Bonz grows up and starts having friends over for beer and poker, I'll pull out these incriminating snaps and ruin his social life. Mooooaaahahahhahaaaahaaaaaaaa.....
Click header for more pics.
Posted by Picasa