Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush: It's Shoe Time!

What a pick-me-up on the news yesterday. The whole family laughed deep and loud from our bellies after a long-time.
Iraqi journo Muntadar al-Zaidi (Saab singing "Tu mera hero hai..." to man on left) let loose two good ones but Monkey Man dodged both. Damn. Maybe someone else can try elsewhere. A new trend has begun!
(Can you imagine what Bush will now feel before taking the podium at any press conference? As if he wasn't shifty-looking enough already.)

Anyway, here's the video. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mumbai: 26/11

Arundhati Roy with another gripping read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/12/mumbai-arundhati-roy. (Thanks for the link, Sir Fahad.)
Ms Roy mentions something that hit me and my folks here in Kashmir during the long hours we followed the TV broadcasts. Here's an excerpt:
"Over three days and three nights we watched in disbelief as a small group of very young men armed with guns and gadgets exposed the powerlessness of the police, the elite National Security Guard and the marine commandos of this supposedly mighty, nuclear-powered nation. While they did this they indiscriminately massacred unarmed people, in railway stations, hospitals and luxury hotels, unmindful of their class, caste, religion or nationality. (Part of the helplessness of the security forces had to do with having to worry about hostages. In other situations, in Kashmir for example, their tactics are not so sensitive. Whole buildings are blown up. Human shields are used. The U.S and Israeli armies don't hesitate to send cruise missiles into buildings and drop daisy cutters on wedding parties in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.) But this was different. And it was on TV."

Exactly. This sort of an 'encounter' would be over in half a day here in Kashmir. Hostages/civilians be damned. Blow up the damn block if you must. But it's easier to just set the building on fire, if you ask me. Okay, let's do that.
Then. Ms Roy makes a mention of one Arnab Goswami, which was a pleasant surprise in a bitter sort of way. This man has infuriated me from the time he's been given that front-runner role for TIMES NOW. (Blehh.) Frothing and foaming at the mouth any time there's a big, dramatic news incident. Check him out in any of TIMES NOW's news broadcasts of a terror attack or a kid stuck in a well, or when interviewing a subject he doesn't like. I've seen him go into scary, straining falsettos of diatribe when he's primed for it. And spouting personal opinion instead of reporting objectively. Well done, Goswami. Where did you learn journalism?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Recap of the near past.

Long time no blog. Here's a quick recap.
First off: It gives me great pleasure to wish my dear BB a very happy belated birthday dated the 4th of December. As he has himself mentioned, BB has finally turned 21 and can now start drinking Red Bull and other poisons at parties. Menny, menny congratulations, Jimmiya. Will wait for full debrief of the debauch party you must have had.

Here's Jimbo with his gorgeous daughter Zara, who unfortunately is spending a lot of time with him and is thus developing some similarities with the Pater.

Secondly: Had a fun trip to Assisi (halfway up to Brausuna), for a couple of weddings. Huge numbers, great hospitality, simple and wonderful food. Burp.

Thirdly: Eid al Adha came and went. (So did the two sheep we had with us for said occasion. One day they were loved domestics, the next they were barbecue.)

Love the live transmission of Hajj and the gorgeous booming "Labbaik Allah humma labbaik" prayer. Also, must mention how I was foolishly trying to spot Badi Pupho and family among the millions there.
NB: Eid Al Adha is the Eid of Sacrifice and the backdrop is the story of Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) to Allah. Very lovely tradition. Please Google it.
The spirit of this Eid entails that we sacrifice that which we are attached to, which is why we should try and rear the animals ourselves for a few days and then offer them at Eid. It's always a little tragic at the final moment but that's how it is.
For this Eid we had a studly ram called Baa Baa and another little fella called No Name right here at Doda. Got chokey at the final moment because you're supposed to look at the animal just then (sacrifice, okay????), but it was done.
As per the rules of Eid al Adha, at least two thirds of the meat is to be distributed to family, friends and more importantly, the poor and needy. Which means we had a lot of meat coming in from everyone else and we had a lot of meat to distribute across cities, towns and villages. Most challenging logistical enterprise.
And Finally: Our school opens for admissions tomorrow. My Ma and I are starting a 'finishing school' here in Doda. For grown-up kids who've had schooling and college, but, because the education system here is so bleddy good, they really aren't ready to get jobs anywhere. We're throwing in a mix of English fluency, etiquette training, open discussions on current affairs and general knowledge, a little confidence building yadda yadda yadda and hopefully we'll soon have a bunch of polished young ones come out say silly things like, "Excuse me. The world is my oyster."
Insha'Allah.

Update concludes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lookit!

Thank you, thank you, CatsJellicle, for sharing this link.

'Observing Ramadan' from the Boston Globe's 'Big Picture' section. So very nice.

About time to leave, you think...

...when you get smacked by a truck driver?

Today, while inching along and balancing precariously in bumper-to-bumper, horrorific traffic near Dairy Circle on my Old Reliable, I got attacked by a monster.
There I was, trying to ride in a straight line with my very large and heavy brother seated behind me, shoulders and back aching with the effort (not to mention under tremendous psychological pressure because in spite of the abominable traffic I didn't want to weave and ride out of line or 'break any rules') when this speed demon in a big truck starts honking like a madman right behind me. Please note there was no place to go ahead, WE WERE IN A TRAFFIC JAM for God's sake! But apparently I was cramping his style and I could hear a continued barrage of screams and cusses from behind. So I ignored him and continued my careful balancing act. When suddenly this beast vrooms up alongside, sticks his scrawny neck out his window and to my great shock and horror starts yelling at me, pointing and shouting stuff at me I had done him some personal wrong (like laughed at his clothes or something). I swear he was almost frothing and foaming at the mouth and I wanted to reach out and give him one tight slap, like MTV. Except I didn't.
I asked him to shut up and try driving straight, and this was possibly the last straw because stud muffin then swerves dangerously in front of my bike, leans out of his window and... hits me on the helmet! Then races away, nearly killing people on the fly. Aiiiiyayyayyayai!
If anything can knock the wind out of me, it's people's rudenes, and here I was subject to just so much of it as one can take in a lifetime.

I mean, what, what, what? What the hell was this?
Like a loser, seething in anger and still unable to digest what had just happened to me, I pulled up next to a traffic cop (in spite of my chequered past with this set) and in a very uncomposed and disturbed, damsel in distress state ( I know, shameful, but I was actually shaken and very out of sorts at that point) narrated what had happened. I asked him to get the next cops to hold up the damn truck (already visualising myself pointing at the loser in court saying, "It was he!" and the jury- which we don't have in India, I know- saying, "Guilty on all 300 charges of attempted murder"), but Traffic Cop just asked for the vehicle number and said he would register a case of 'rash driving' against him.
Well, what else?

Hmmmph. I'm leaving. It never used to be like this.

Good Gawde writes about his disillusionment with the Mumbai he grew up in.
Let's talk about right here right now. I've been in Bangalore since the infantile age of 15 so that takes care of my growing up years, I think.
Back in '97 it was a lovely, quiet, cool (climatically and otherwise) place.
And today it comes to this. Rowdies on the road bonking law-abiding, smaller-sized citizens on the head and getting away with it.

Tchah, I tell you, it ruined my day of fasting it did. More's the pity.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Really now.

F1 season heading to another frenzied end with one point separating McLaren's Lewis Hamilton from Ferrari's Felipe Massa. If the stewards this year continue to behave as they have so far, viz. abominably, no surprise if the Reds come out on top.

Bah. Read this CNN article.

(PS: I hate CNN. But still.)

Koffee with Kimi

Kimi let slip a funny the other day.
“You don't have to be Einstein to understand that this is not the right way to fight for the title,” said Raikkonen. “It's not over yet, but now it will take a miracle, like one that makes lightning strike twice.”

Erm. Kimi, you also don't have to be Einstein to undertsand that there is nothing miraculous about lightning striking twice. Lightning strikes a thousand times, a million times, has been doing so since the world came to be.
I think you mean lightning striking the same spot twice. Hmmm. Yes.

(Very much like Preity Zinta on KJo's show. "Skimmerish," said the intelligent Zinta.
Tee hee.)

Sorry, sorry. I like Kimi, even. Am just being catty.

Who Speaks for Islam?


Extracts from very interesting Gulf News article I found just now:

"In this five-part series, carried every Friday during Ramadan, Gulf News publishes excerpts from the fascinating conclusions of the largest ever opinion survey of the world's Muslims, carried out by Gallup. 'Who speaks for Islam?' by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed was published by Gallup Press.
What do the world's one billion Muslims really think? What does the silent majority of Muslims want for their lives, and in their politics? Why are the aspirations of the vast majority of Muslims in direct contrast to most of the world's impressions of Muslims?

1. "The religion of Islam and the mainstream Muslim majority have been conflated with the beliefs and actions of an extremist minority.
The vital missing piece among the many voices weighing in on this question is the actual views of everyday Muslims. With all that is at stake for the West and Muslim societies - indeed for the world's future - it is time to democratise the debate."

2. "- Dream jobs: When asked to describe their dreams for the future, Muslims don't mention fighting in a jihad, but rather getting a better job.
- Radical rejection: Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustified.
- Religious moderates: Those who condone acts of terrorism are a minority and are no more likely to be religious than the rest of the population.
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T.: Muslims around the world say that the one thing the West can do to improve relations with their societies is to moderate their views toward Muslims and respect Islam.
- Clerics and constitutions: The majority of those surveyed want religious leaders to have no direct role in crafting a constitution, yet favour religious law as a source of legislation."

3. "While Sharia is widely depicted as a rigid and oppressive legal system, Muslim women tend to have a more nuanced view of Sharia, viewing it as compatible with their aspirations for empowerment. For example, Jenan Al Ubaedy, one of 90 women who sat on Iraq's National Assembly in early 2005, told the Christian Science Monitor that she supported the implementation of Sharia. However, she said that as an assembly member, she would fight for women's right for equal pay, paid maternity leave, and reduced hours for pregnant women. She said she would also encourage women to wear hijab and focus on strengthening their families. To Ubaedy, female empowerment is consistent with Islamic values."

4. "A growing number of Muslim women are choosing to cover their heads, while others do not."

5. "Though no society is free from racial prejudice, Muslims take great pride in what they regard as Islam's egalitarian ideals.
For example, a Moroccan World Poll respondent says what he admires most about the Muslim world is Islam's message of racial equality. "I have a high regard for Islam's values and teachings and the non-racial attitudes of Muslim people." The Quran emphasises the unity of believers around a shared faith, regardless of ethnicity or tribe."

6. "- Faith and family are core values in Muslims' lives, and Muslims regard them as their societies' greatest assets.
- Jihad has many meanings. It is a "struggle for God", which includes a struggle of the soul as well as the sword. The Islamic war ethic prohibits attacking civilians."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prof. Maimoona Murtaza Malik & others

DISCLAIMER: Post on religion and related topics. Aaaargghhh! Steer clear those of you who will have nothing to do with either. Go to the tags that say 'nonsense' instead. There's so much of that on my blog. :)
Folks who have any knowledge/interest on the following may please comment. Else, please refrain. Thank you, thank you.

It also must be added that a great deal of the charm and attraction the following personalities and their shows hold for me has to do with the beauty of the language. I am a sucker for well-spoken and well-used Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, which I think are the most beautiful languages in the world and when you throw in the heady subject matter of Islam, I'm quite hooked.


Allors! Here we go.

1. Professor Maimoona Murtaza Malik
I am a big fan. Of this lady and certain other speakers I have been following of late.
I have been watching the graceful, classy, very well-read and eloquent Prof. Malik on QTV's Ramadan ladies' special, Khawateen Time, as regularly as I can. And she leaves an impact, she does. I am going to try and be like her. Haw haw. (Khawateen Time is a call-in program, apart from having one topic of discussion a day. Have tried calling in with no success. Have a few quick questions off the top of my head that I'd like sorted out by a scholar like her.)
Prof. Maimoona Murtaza Malik exudes calm and grace, and as a clincher, talks with such a voice of reason and understanding as makes me want to pick up many books and start learning more. (And she wears lovely abayas...!)
For her DVD's, you can check out her section on Sahulat Bazaar. I've already ordered some stuff.
Aside: Controversy has to surround a good thing. Arguments on various public forums (fora?) about whether Prof. Maimoona Malik is Sunni or Shia. I ask, how does it matter? *rolling eyes*

2. Dr Israr Ahmed
High on my Favourites List is one Dr Israr Ahmed. Oh my Lord, he's very brilliant. He's got a huge bank of knowledge, and what an orator! He doles out poetry by the ladleful, he spews beautiful Urdu, Farsi, Arabic and English quotes like an... err, I can't give an appropriate simile - what else spews poetry so admirably? Caught his lecture on shirk recently and it made my blood run cold. Time to get in line, Saab.
[Booming voice: "Man salla yuraa'ee, faqad ashraka..."
etc. Nice edits too by QTV, with reverb effects, to drive home the horror perfectly! :)]
The thing about Dr Israr Ahmed. He is certainly not what I would call calm or quiet a la Prof. Maimoona. He has a big voice, filled with expression and drama. But he is not a poser. The subject matter of his discourses is such that his style of oration is very suited to it. So, for realism and sincerity, and of course, for being so appropriately moved by the right things, he gets my vote.
Trivial trivia: Dr Israr Ahmed was very close to Allama Iqbal. In fact of point I believe he was almost considered a son to the great poet.
Aside: I read somewhere that Dr Israr Ahmed has courted controversy in the past over his comments on Shia Muslims, as well as for his statements on 'global Jewish/Zionist hegemony'. Can't say anything about this since I haven't seen or heard for myself.
In general, on the former, let's just say I don't subscribe to intra-Islamic rifts at all and as for the latter, well that's an open book.

3. Mufti Muhammad Akmal Qadri:
Then there's Ahkam-E-Shariat, hosted by Mufti Muhammad Akmal Qadri, whom I've respected since some years now when I first watched him at home in Jammu. (That was the month of Ramadan as well, and my first truly satisfying one, come to think of it.)
Ahkam-E-Shariat is a lovely program, which as the name suggests, deals with practical matters as looked at by Shar'ia. Regular folks like you and me can call in and ask Mufti saheb to clear any doubts we might have in the clear light of the Holy Qur'an and the hadeeth. Which, let's face it, is the only way for Muslims to look at things. And in between replying to all queries, he touches upon a new topic each day, and in great detail.
Once again what is most admirable about Mufti Qadri is his personality. The male version of Prof Maimoona Malik in terms of grace, level-headedness, stright-talking and quiet.

How I prefer calm, reasonable and intelligent religious discourses of the Prof. Maimoona-/Mufti Qadri-kind to cocky, derisive, condescending speeches that I often find being aired on other channels.
The voice of reason, understanding, clarity and grace is the need of the hour. This is the true picture of Islam that should be showcased to the world, and I speak especially of the impact on non-Muslims who migt be tuned in (by mistake or otherwise). As if Islam isn't vilified enough by the media at large, when we have big names, loud rants and big publicity following cheap production values, it doesn't throw an accurate or too-good light on us.
Unfortunately and surprisingly, it is these playing-to-the-gallery speakers on Islam who are high on the popularity charts. How the masses love them. Gaaah. Wherefore education? Oh, well. Moving on.

RAMADAN:

Sahih Bukhari Hadith 3.123
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."

Obviously the month of Ramadan does special things to one, spiritually speaking, and this Ramadan in particular I have been very affected. To pick a current analogy from Obama: It is time for CHANGE.
And that's coming up in short order, insha'Allah. I head back home to Jammu and Kashmir and do things that really matter, help with the folks and in general prepare for The Afterwards. This is a very big deal to me and ideally should have been from the very beginning, but there's no time like now to make amends.
Onwards then...

I am so looking forward to this next phase.
"As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths."
(Al-Ankabut, 29:69)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Five For Five!

That's right. Straight sets even. Superb, Roger Federer.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Haaalow!

Excuse me, Boomsa. I am missing you. Come back.
Okay, bye.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Carrying on a tag's legacy


Found this tag on Good Gawde's page.

1) Look at the list and mark in orange those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Mark in a bright green, the books you really love

4) Reprint this list in your own blog.

----------

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible/ The Bhagavad Gita As It Is

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte's Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery


93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute


97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Be afraid.... Be very afraid.


Of this young lad's dangerously low riding swimming shorts, I mean.
Half the time I'm watching the swimming, I'm praying feverishly that his modesty remain intact. Sheeeesh. But, what a champion. *polite applause*

Best part was after his eight-for-eight golds, he said, "I kind of just want to see my mom." Hyaahahahaaa. That's sort of sweet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moooahahahahaaaaa...

Was reminded today by Pinkah about this insanely funny cow video, and how we had enjoyed it back in 2005, at DigiCaptions.
Presenting "Cows With Guns." Enjoy.

Hyaahhahaa @ 'Bad Cow Pun'.



Credits:
Music by Dana Lyons
Copyright 1996 Lyons Brothers Music (BMI)
(http://www.cowswithguns.com)
Animation by Bjorn-Magne Stuesol
(http://www.shagrat.net)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One good deed a day... Or should I?

And so it is. Lightning has struck twice. Every time I go out of my bleddy way to do a good deed, it blows up in my face in the most unbelievable manner. (Okay, not every time. But two big shockers is a lot.)

Let me hark back to my Mumbai days, where I lived for all of one month - December 2007. I was taking the morning train as usual from Andheri (home) to Lower Parel (near work digs). And more often than not, being one of the earlier stops, I'd get about 5 to 7 inches of seat space between corporate type ladies reading the Economic Times and college gals and other assortments, which I used up very gratefully. Lulled by the slow train into a semi-doze, I was whiling away the minutes and mentally preparing to claw my way out, visualising a way out as it were; this is probably the toughest part about riding on a Mumbai local.
Came a stop and a flood of women entered the compartment. As is the norm, with a lot of gentle nudging, tsk-ing, shoving, squashing of toes and other acceptable forms of Mumbai train etiquette, the ladies were arranging themselves in all the available gaps they could find. One lady established herself in front of me. I shifted back and assumed a ramrod straight posture to make more space available to both, the party of the first part: me, and the party of the second part: newly established lady. And that's when.... eeeks. My insides started an uncomfortable churning thing that had nothing to do with digestion. I began feeling extremely uncomfortable and not happy with myself. I felt I had to DO something. You see, the lady in front of me looked very preggers. She was youngish, not yet 30, with an otherwise slim bod except for her very cute protruding tummy. I estimated her to be at 6 months gone or so. And here I was, sitting pretty while a pregnant lady was balancing herself precariously using the rails and the hand-holding suspended thingamajigs that all trains have. Anyway. So.
Now by this time I'm getting increasingly antsy. You see, motherhood and pregnancy and all the beautiful miracles that come under that umbrella affect me very deeply. *sniff* (I would of course be equally ready to hand over my seat to elderly women, or frail, sickly, swoony anorexic types who suddenly couldn't breath, others injured/bleeding profusely or in a similar predicament, SO DON'T BE JUDGING ME!!!)
So now I'm thinking, "She's pregnant but how do I KNOW? What if she isn't? Won't she kill me if I'm wrong? But what if she IS pregnant? How dare you sit there with your young, fit, strong bod and let her stand by in her delicate state...?" And so on and so forth for about 5 dreadfully long minutes. (All this while I'm also checking her out scientifically to satisfy myself that yes, she is very much carrying another precious life inside of her.) Finally, I can't take it anymore. I steel my guts and prepare a face to meet her face etc. On the point of tipping over, since I've made up my mind to stand up and offer her my seat, I ask her (very casual, like so), "Hi. Are you pregnant?" And just as my toes are about to propel up the rest of me, she looks embarrassed and smiles sweetly and shakes her head and.... *sob! KILL ME! KILL ME!!!*, she says, "No." Aaarrrghhhhhhhh!!@@@#$#!!#!!!!!!!
Noooooooooooooo..... Don't be NICE to me, I want to screech. I am a horrid, horrid, nonsense person and I put you on the spot and made a fool of myself and you have every right to give me withering, dirty looks, but you just smiled and looked away as if it was your fault. Naaahiiiinnnnnn. That was not a good day for me. I felt like shit for at least a week after.

Moving on. Many months since.
Today's episode in the life of the Saab is another case in point. August 2008, Bangalore.

Had just finished fabulous lunch with the Insaneuptas and Co. at Nanking, Sigma Mall (aside: had the best crab ever... Overall meal experience gets 9 on 10) and was heading homewardly on my sputtering ride.
Reached the traffic junction down past HOSMAT, just before hitting the approach to the Army Quarters and Vivekanagar (you know, the junction one where the Mahindra service station is), and stopped at a red. A few other cars were stopped ahead of me, some waiting to turn left towards Airport Road, some right towards Lifestyle etc. I was calmly waiting to go 'On Straight On', like a true Cottonian. Suddenly, as is the wont near traffic signals in Bangalore, all the cars in the left-most lane started making a godawful racket, honking and cussing and gesturing at Car 1 waiting to take a left. The young man in the driver's seat of that Car 1 was being a doll and following the rules and staying put because the traffic light visible to him was showing red. But from a little behind where I was, the traffic light on the other side of the road(where he couldn't possibly see it) was signalling green for the left lane. Which is why everyone else was showering him with the choicest abuse and honking and pissing me off in the process. So, Heroine Sabbah decides to help everyone by going out of her way and putting the young man out of his misery. I vrrrooomed up confidently to him, snapped up my helmet visor and said cheerfully, "Hi, they're all making a racket because the traffic light's actually green. Back there." (Self pointing to traffic light behind.) Young man does not know what to do, he says, "But this light shows red." Advocate Sab persists with her case and says, "Yes, but it's probably faulty. These guys are honking at you because they can see the left is green. You can go. Cheers!" So he says, "Thanks," and takes off turning left..... and noooooooooooo....!!!!!!
Before my very eyes! A traffic cop with standard unhealthy paunch and half-asleep-obnoxious-expression emerges from the foliage on the left turn and stops him! He charges him with flouting the rules and breaking the law and all such things. I can only imagine the young man's confusion at what has just happened. With mouth agape I'm watching this unbelievably ridiculous turn of events. I'm still at the traffic lights waiting to go on straight on. But I can't take it anymore. I swerve off my route, take the left and stop next to the cop.
The young man is still stunned and looks quite emotionally wounded. And now the most unreal scene starts to unfold. Here I am trying to explain to the paunchy, inept cop that, "No, no, this guy was stopped at the red and everyone else was yelling at him to go, and the other light was showing green and he didn't want to go and he's innocent like anything and wait...! I TOLD HIM HE HAD TO GO," etc etc etc. Hah. Fat chance the cop registered anything. He looked at me with utter laziness and said, "You go, maydum." Nawwwwwww.....
I of course start apologising to young man and his wife/gal pal, and they smile sweetly at me and say, "No, not your fault," "This happens," etc. I try hanging out and explaining to the cop again, but he just totally disregards me and tells me to be on my way. Young sweet couple shrug and wave me a "No problem, you carry on," and me and my broken heart, feeling extremely guilty and stupid and very angry, make our way home (having to take a wide detour because I had turned left etc etc). And what really gets my goat is I'm sure there were folks in the cars behind Innocent Victim who had a good laugh at what happened to him on account of their nonsense. Sheesh.

So there.

That's what happens when I go looking for sawaab any which way I get it. Grrrowl. I'm mad. As in, pissed off with what happened.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Boo bloody hoo. Deal with it.

So, this morning as I was going through my all-time favourite news publication, the classy, sober, completely accurate Times of India (*sputter*cough*choke*gag*), I came across an unbelievably silly article on a page titled 'View From Venus' (clenching fists and gritting teeth) that brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart.

I lie. Nothing of the sort happened. If anything, it merely induced another episode of me rolling my eyes heavenwards which is so often the case when I read this shite daily.

Anyway. Let me put down the intro para of this fascinating article.
"Young, single men are fed up with being typecast as immature, insensitive and sex-obsessed, with a survey finding that the majority believe in having a soulmate, aren't scared of commitment, and say real man can cry."
.....
Well, boo hoo.
Jeez Loiuse. Can I throw up now?
Vot, men? We think it's true. Make us believe it isn't. Go on then. Go on.

The source of these gems of wisdom was an online poll on AskMen.com.
Let me take my milk and cookies and retreat to the TV room as I cackle over another amusing Sunday morning.
(And let me think about real men crying, finding soulmates and shying away from even thinking about other women as they gaze lovingly at their one and onlys. Tee hee.)

Haaaaaaahaaahaaaaa. Men are fed up, it seems. Guaaahahahhaaaahaaaaa....
Join the club.

Cartoon courtesy cartoonstock.com. And when I say courtesy, I mean I borrowed it without asking.

Monday, June 23, 2008

And another one




Utter nonsense

I cannot write poetry,
On account of being too prosaic.
(But, at least it doesn’t get any verse.)

*blink*cough*








PS: Cartoon taken from funnyman Doug Savage. Check out his Savage Chickens.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New funniest blog

Here's a hilariously good blog I've come across in the past week: Bengalooru Banter. The subject matter is just the name suggests.
Read for much fun, smart-ass cartoons and also if you want to learn Kannada slonguage.
Young Writer#1 led me to this very funny blog. Thanks you.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oops.

Kimi sees red.
Because Hammie didn't.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Maybe, baby.

Spoke with Glaahaaa after ever so long a few nights ago. For the most part we were talking absolute nonsense, which is how we normally communicate. In between the gibberish and laughing I learnt that she has had quite enough of Mumbai and is definitely back to Bangalore in a few months from now, after wrapping up a good year and more of excellent training at a pet grooming salon (of which I have made mention in a previous blog). Glaahaaa is going to do good things in the near future, but most importantly, she is coming back. Yayyyyy! Fun times again!
Now the reason I write this is, Glaahaaa mentioned to me in a fit of feminine fury (alliteration again) how she's just about had it with the single life and how she had that very day made up her mind to get married within the year. As in, by 2009, Glaahaaa has promised she will be a Mrs Someone in addition to being herself.
Now I found this declaration extremely eerie because I too had been thinking about this whole 'single deal' earlier the very same day and had in fact decided on something entirely different. Namely, that I was really much, much happier this single way than in erstwhile times of horror, and that in all likelihood I wouldn't want to look at marriage again. EVER. And yes, so I want children very badly, to an almost painful, obsessive degree, but oh, well, I'll resign myself to the Madonna, Brangelina or other celeb-style serial adoption process. Except I won't be visiting Rwanda or Cambodia. I'll stick to someone more local. It's a better plan. And more common-sensical.
So. There it was. She said that and I said this and how very strange that it all happened the same day.
(Must make mention that I sneakily tried to talk Glaahaaa [once again] into having extra babies and letting me take care of the lot, but she saw into my subtle, cunning maneuvering and scoffed. Glaahaaa claims she won't have kids. I'll see about that...)

Erm, I think the point of this post is I love children and I want mine. Like now.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


how do I neglect thee?
let me count the ways.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And they did it!

ManU took home the UEFA Cup last night/this morning. A double with the EPL and CL cups in the bag. But a shame that the game came down to penalties, which I find unbelievably unfair and inappropriate as a means of deciding a final.

Congratulations to Sir Alex Ferguson. A fitting end to the old Scot's season, where he had made it his goal (look, Ma, a pun) to win the UEFA Cup in memory of the Busy Babes of the Munich tragedy of 1958.
And so to last night.


Twinkletoes Ronaldo was in the thick of things again. A brilliant header to start things off, and then a ridiculous miss at the end of all things, when the match went to penalty shootout. Felt terrible for John Terry who slipped while taking his shot and missed the goal that would have won his side the Cup. Poor sod was inconsolable. Even Avram Grant's sweetly available shoulder couldn't alleviate the Chelsea champion's pain.


Since we are talking penalties and goalies, let's be honest and point out that Edwin van der Sar is a far, far superior goalie than the clumsy Cech. He is too. Only fitting that he turned out to be the hero at the end of the drama-filled night. I mean dripping with drama.
Right from some very interesting spats between the players, to blood-spurting collisions, almost-but-not-quite on target shots, and the usual spills-and-thrills overacting that soccer brings, this was a match to remember.



The match started off very well, with ManU uncharacteristically trading in short, quick passes (lessons from Barca?) and dominating ball possession in the first half. It always looked like ManU would penetrate eventually and score first, which is exactly what happened in the 26th minute. Ronaldo sent home his 42nd goal of the season and the match got an added burst of life. The Chelsea Blues immediately raised their game and an equaliser was imminent. Chelsea had a few great shots on target which Luck alone deflected on to the woodwork, keeping ManU a nose ahead for a while. But Chelsea were always on the hunt. Enter Frank Lampard (who else?) as always, present in the box when time came to get things done. In a heart-wrenching moment, Lampard managed a skiddy nudge past van der Sar and Chelsea pulled out a fabulous equaliser from its hat.

The second half came and went in a goalless frenzy, ditto extra time, and then it was down to to what is every fotball player's/viewer's/fan's worst nightmare: Penalty shootout.

Gaaaaaah. (I am passing over stupid, arrogant Drogba's behaviour and sending off because everyone else in the world will write about it. New nick: 'Did-yer Have To?' Drogba)

As if the match itself didn't have enough drama, the penalty shootout was a notch higher. Ronaldo missed after doing a strange dance before taking his kick. It was alllllll over, but but but. Poor Terry slipped on his run up and MISSED. Ye gods! We were into suddent death.



ManU's sub Anderson stepped up to the mark and slipped his shot in. So did Chelsea's sub Kalou. Scores even at 5-5. (Scene at home: The Elder Haji sibling, second Haji sibling and youngest [fourth] but tallest Haji sibling, sitting in a row biting fingernails, followed by toenails).

ManU veteran Giggs stepped in.... and goal! Chelsea sent in their experienced striker, Nicolas Anelka, to do his thing. Monsiuer Anelka walked up looking nonchalant. Lazy kick (or so it seemed) and VAN DER SAR dove and what a save!!!!!!!! It was all over! ManU crowned UEFA champs!


Thank God it ended when it did, though. At one point I was all ready to take after Cousin Bob's example and develop ulcers. Sudden death was turning into slow, teasing death for everyone watching the match. I imagined the sudden death stalemate would go on till break of dawn at least, when Mama and Abba would walk into the TV room and discover three dead Haji sibling bodies with heart in mouths. (See the word play? Notice how I managed to intersperse 'sudden' with 'slow, teasing' and thus change the meaning of the phrase, almost as if by magic? Vaav.)


Anyway. Manchester United won in the end, and it doesn't matter how, they did win. Tough luck to Chelsea, good game throughout. My point is it was worth it. Even dragging Self to Orifice today and maintaining a semblance of professional normalcy. (Which really isn't saying much.)


Important points to make:

1. Ronaldo may well be the young cutie-pie of the team, but Rrrrio Ferdinand. Vaav! Whatte.

2. Penalty shootouts are a lottery.

3. This is the only Red team I support.


Also, while reading through various websites, came across this article on the Sky Sports site which had nice comments from readers. Surprisingly no venom-spewing diatribes from miffed fans and no chest-beating gloating from the victors.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In other news.

Good Gawde has just reminded me that I haven't been keeping my vast readership up to date with various developments in my life and my very important opinions on events transpiring across the world. I thank him. All four of my readers also thank him. Especially Ma. And Pa. ;)


First things first. Get well soon, BB. That stomach trouble you've been having is causing trepidation across the globe. Your legion of admirers is on tenterhooks, biting their finger and toe-nails in an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety. Bu chuss yehai dapan ki tsu gess gasun jald nish jald theek. Booz-thha? Shaabaash.


And now on to more public topics. The Turkish GP yesterday. What a fantastic race! Finally a really exciting watch after oh-so-many races.We've had few and far between. The Brazilian GP to wind things up last season in October was a thriller. Then the season-opener in Melbourne this year was entertainng. And after a couple of boring months, yesterday's great race in Istanbul. Well done, little Massa. And Hammie, just when I had lost all hope in you, you took it up one notch and drove a damn good race. The 'Surpise!' three-pit-stop strategy almost worked. Very well done. Kimi stormed in third, close on Hammie's heels. Poor Heikki. Had an unlucky race but some nice overtaking moves all along after his 'flat' start. And Alonso.... *sigh*... Let us take a moment to daydream about this wonderful Spaniard. He was tres bien as usual. And coming up next is the wonderful Monaco GP. Woo hooooo!


On to the IPL now. Started off with a bang in Bangalore, and the tempo's been good ever since. Bangalore's team is by far the biggest joke this tournament's thrown up. Mmmppfhfhppphhhh. *That's muffled laughter*. Tired and Test-ed, is what the Royal Challengers are all about. The Saab is gunning for Dhoni's Chennai Superkings and Delhi's Daredevils (a lot of which has to do with Akshay 'hubba-hubba' Kumar being their posterboy.... I am not ashamed of this fact. I can't help it.) Other teams that look good are of course Warne's Jaipur lads. And Kolkata has a few very bright sparks in the form of Saurav Da and an impressive bowling line-up: Ishant Sharma, Umar Gul, Dinda and possibly, Shoaib Actor, no, no!, Akhtar. (Thanks to Sir Khurram Abbas in the Amreeka for this moniker.)


And then! Soccer. ManuU have romped home with the Barclays English Premier League cup. Whatte! Waiting for Moscow where they'll hopefully make it a double and win the Champions League as well. Chelsea were kicking up a happy storm last night when they saw a faint light at the end of the tunnel with their goal against Bolton. If Man U drew, that would be it. As it turned out though, the Wanderers pulled out a gorgeous equaliser themselves and Chelsea was left undone. Ronaldo had a foot in this winning match as well, and thanks to Rooney, Giggsy pulled off a nice second goal towards the end of the match. And that wrapped it up for the Reds.


In other news, looks like Barack Obama's going to be it. Unless the law suddenly changes and it turns out Dubya can run for another term. In which case it's probable that America will reinstate him as Prez. Ho hum.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vaaav. Whatte story!

Great read on formula1.com: The Senna-Mansell photo finish at the Spanish GP, 1986.
(Pic bummed off same site. Couldn't find this image elsewhere, although be honest, I didn't try too hard.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

This new cricket buzz...

The ICL series has come and gone in a heartbreaking fashion. I will of course, not mention the events that brought the series to a close. I tend to block bad memories out. (Damn and blast.)

IPL just taking off. Let's see how this goes. As of now, all I can pray for is that Shah Rukh Khan stop inviting Arjun Rampal to matches with him if he's going to act like an absolute jackass. Which is what he's been doing on both occasions so far. (Mr Rampal, what's with that hair? Were you too busy sucking up to Shah Rukh Khan to notice he finally chopped his embarrassing attempt a whiles ago? Or are you trying to oull a Milind Soman? Because that would be truly hilarious... )
And, SRK: Vivek Oberoi? Seriously?
Anyway. So the Kolkata Knight Riders are two for two, and Bangalore finally managed a win tonight. In thrilling Mark Boucher-ish fashion.
We shall watch with interest to see if all the hoopla is sustained.
In the meanwhile, Life carries on.
And Boomsa is walking a little way away from mine. To Secunderabad. Maudlin, painful, silly post to follow on that. Which won't even begin to cover it.
I mean, I know and up and left for Mumbai last December, but does that mean anyone else can? NO....
Bwaiiiii, Anupam.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hah. Great.

ICL India beat ICL Pakistan. Hah. Schmah.

That movie they all talk about

I rewatched Casablanca the other night. I had watched it once before when I was much younger, and had come away feeling not very impressed. This caused immense pressure on my soul as an already-confused teenager. "Why," I thought, "does everyone rave about this film in the manner they do when it really isn't all of that?"
Such were the traumatic questions I subjected myself to in addition to more obvious troubles of raging hormones and finding of feet at that pivotal time known as teenagery.
So, in order to wipe the slate clean, to form a new, better-informed opinion about this hyped-up classic, I thought I should watch the movie once more, bringing all my so-called critique and knowledge of cinema to the table. I fancy myself able to spot a good movie when I see one and I know this is a hundred percent accurate because it is true for everyone. If you like a movie, it's a good movie to you. Hence proved. (But, seriously...)
So I watched Casablanca. I watched it in an atmosphere most conducive to movie-watching: Alone, with the lights switched off and no disturbances, all my attention on the acting, the music, the dialogue, the look of the film.
I watched Humphrey Bogart do his cynical Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as the lovely Ilsa, the interiors of Rick's Café Américain, the whole anti-Nazi, pro-Allies thingamajig etc and all those things that I knew to watch out for and which were always repeated time and again in various reviews or nostalgic walks down the memory lanes of Hollywood.
In the end, as it was all those years ago, I came away unimpressed again. I mean, look, I've been hearing this is one of the greatest romances of all time. One of the best movies ever made. I beg to differ. It's an okay film. And that too on the strength of the fast pace of the story, a good supporting cast (esp Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault), and some very snappy dialogue. (Again, mostly from the quarters of Captain Renault.) Also, film noir always looks slick.
First things first. I did not like Humphrey Bogart. Forget that he's ugly and speaks funny... No, wait, let's not forget that. That may be it! I think Bogey is the biggest reason I didn't like the film all that much both times. I know I didn't much take a shine to his character from beginning till the end, even when the script tried to embellish his nature with references of his gun-running to Ethiopia, his assisting the Spanish Loyalists, when he helps the couple in his casino and his final sacrificial move at the climax of the film. Bah humbug. (Which is almost a word play for Humphrey Bogart.)
I can tell you right now that I kept thinking to myself, "Ilsa, surely you can do better than this?" I mean Ingrid Bergman deserved a hotter guy. Which Paul Henreid/Victor Laszlo was. So really, no heart-wrenching tragedy when Rick says toodle-oo to Ilsa. (Matter of fact she didn't seem too hurt about it either.) The thing is, in a movie touted to be a great romance, you'd ideally want the lovers to be together. Whereas in this case, I was gunning for the lady to run off with anyone else or at least stick to her dishy husband without so much as a glance in Ugly Bogey's direction. 'Twas never meant to be. I didn't see any crackling chemistry between the two actors even in their flashback montage. And that song, As Time Goes By, didn't do it for me either. Fuggedaboutit. I will write off Casablanca as an average film with my favourite bits being the ones where Claude Rains as the oppurtunistic, slimy, yet likeable Captain Renault makes his appearances.
I can understand why Casablanca was such a big deal in its time. The film was released in 1942, when the War was at its peak. People would have probably jumped out of their seats, cheering and clapping in the scene where the La Marseillaise drowns out the German patriotic number Die Wacht am Rhein. I mean, in its time the film's anti-Nazi motif would have certainly moved a majority of the film-viewing public. But there are countless movies which convey even that sentiment better. To conclude, I watched the movie waiting for the magic of romance to take over and that never happened even once during the film. What did happen was that I was glad the leading lady took off with Blondie instead of Bogie. (I was even hoping Ilsa'd throw a few snide comments Rick's way, about how stupid she was and what was she thinking etc.)
Oh, well.
Over-rated movie of all-time: Casablanca.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

It was a Sunday I had waited for, for a very, very long time. Two days almost. I woke up at the crack of dawn, around 12:30pm, buzzing with excitement at the impending high-action drama that was to follow. High-action on the part of my favourite sports persons, not me - I was only going to be adjusting the body into a comfortable supine position most conducive to telly-watching.
Cooked a quickie pasta lunch for the Sister since she has strange food cravings every fortnight or so and simple daal-chawal just doesn't cut it. Finished Facebooking for a bit and got down to business.
I had a packed schedule to adhere to. Beginning with the Bahrain GP.Expectations ran high and there was a palpable tension in the air of the Haji household as various family members seated themselves in accordance with their F1 loyalties. Self assumed comfy left corner slot in the McLaren stand. Cousin Suhail and Br Ozz occupied opposite right corner slot, being the Ferrari faction. Sister and mother looked disgusted and left because we made them turn off 'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani' and switched to Raceday.
Feeling glad that BMW did so well in qualifying, I put my faith in ze Germans thinking McLaren and BMW would sweep the podium. After all, two little red spots on the radar could be overcome, non? NO! Goddammit.
Lights on, lights off, Go, Go, GO! Except Mr Hamilton remained stationary, while the rest of the field whizzed past. Massa took over P1 right from the first turn and so it remained till he came home with the top podium place. Iceman Kimi made it a comfy Ferrari 1-2. Sigh. Hamilton added to his already incredible start by trying to mount Alonso's Renault from behind (see pic)! What was this? Delayed vengeance for last year? Gadzooks! Ferrari had a thumping victory, BMW walked in tall and proud to take the lead in the Constructor's and all of a sudden Self was feeling very hard done by. Good on you, Heikki, but McLaren's been looking dodgy in these past two races.
Moments of the race:
1. The start that ended it all.
2. Impressive BMW driving and speed throughout.
3. Hamilton's screw-up with Alonso. ("Racing incident" indeed. Hmmph.)
4. Superb driving from Fisichella in the Force India team, and the great battle between him and Hamilton for three or four laps before Hammy finally managed to over take him. And really, Lewis, there was no need for your juvenile hand gesture to Fisi. Why the hell should he have moved? You were racing.
5. The Button and Coulthard tussle.
6. Fisi finishing one place ahead of Hamilton. Haw haw.
7. Superb racing by Alonso, again.

Other exciting occurrences during that evening were extraneous to the actual race. A sudden shriek from the materfamilias jerked our attention to the fact that the inverter was spontaneously combusting and that disturbing smell of burning wires was spreading through the domestic territory. In addition to this, and for dramatic effect, thin wisps of evil, black smoke were emanating from said inverter. In a frenzied manner, all of us family members started yelling our opinions on the matter and speculating on the best method to combat this hazardous phenomenon of flaming electronic devices. For a longish time nothing of any actual use was proposed until better sense prevailed and it was decided to nip the problem in the bud. Or plug. We used our 'kaanoon ka lamba haath' personified by Ozz, who stood on tiptoe on a chair, grappled with the main switch and finally managed to kill the inverter. With the result that all the power in the house was also killed. Hence ending our mouth-agape-viewing of the Bahrain GP. Truth be told, I didn't give a bloody damn any more. I learnt soon, from various taunting texts and jibes that Ferrari had reigned supreme and McLaren indeed 'had gone red in the face'.
*Shakes head*
Cut to an hour later, helpful electrician had restored power and semblance of sanity to household and the TV was ready to entertain us again.
Onwards to Hyderabad where the second of three ICL finals was taking place. With great enthusiasm, the entire Haji family plus Cousin Suhail forgot past divisions and sat down as one to cheer on the Lahore Badshahs. The Lahore Badshahs had to win, 'and of course they will today!' was the general consensus.
Nyet. Nothing doing. Scores level in the last over. Both teams at 130, and the match was to be decided by a bowl-out. Ha ha, say the Hajis. The Pakis are so good at bowling, it's a cinch. (I myself was having internal, horrified flashback of T20 India-Pak bowl-out...) And so it went. The Hyderbad Heroes kept their heads at a time they needed to. Their bowlers did what presumably all bowlers across the world, from indoor drawing-room cricket, to gully-cricket, to net-practice to international level cricket bowlers are supposed to do, viz. hit the stumps. The Lahore Badshahs screwed it all up in the end. Zero out of three hits. The Heroes got a healthy three out of four hits and it was all over. Poor Inzy, having to apologize over and over and over for his team's infuriating performances. Ah, well, still can't help loving them. 'Hai jazbaa-e-junoon toh himmat na haar' etc.
Saving grace: Abdul Razzaq won Man of the Series, a trophy woth Rs 1 crore and a cheque of Rs 40 lacs.
In the meanwhile I learnt that ManU had just barely drawn with Middlesborough, giving Chelsea a very good chance to take the top spot of the EPL. Grrr. Rooney came in with a late equaliser or else it was another huge upset in keeping with the day's events thus far. So now Man United are only three points ahead on the table at 77.

Later on in the night (the damn Sunday just wasn't getting over), I managed to catch Rafael Nadal lose the Sony Ericsson final, 6-2, 6-4, to Davydenko. I mean, I like Nikolay, but I wanted Rafa to win, okay???
A few hours later, in the middle of the night, Sister, Ozz, Suhail and self were playing spades. Girls versus boys. We drew at one game all after a sensational landslide victory in the first round. It was not a good feeling.

All in all, this Sunday was a write off. As Skinny rightly mentioned, I was in a 'talk to me and I'll kill you' mood.

Pics stolen off: formula1.com, EPL site, ICL site, espn

Friday, April 04, 2008

Guess who's coming to town?

One of my favourite bands in the world - Indian Ocean. Here they be, sitting around, chatting pleasantly like a group of mellow gentlemen.
First heard them at Vasantahabba 2002, back in the good ol' days when such things used to be. Boomsa and I were the only leftovers from our overnight group of revellers and Indian Ocean were the closing act for that year. They played just as dawn was breaking around us at the very gorgeous Nrityagram amphitheater. Wowza, I was immediately smitten.
Am specially besotted by the bassist Rahul Ram. He is a little bit of too-cool. I think it's the beard and Commie headband. Not to mention the insanity. Check him out in this video, Bandeh, which was on the Black Friday soundtrack.

These guys are raw, earthy energy on stage. They're playing tomorrow at the Grand Ashok and I mean to be there. Wheee! It's been a couple of years since they did a gig here in Bangalore (that I know of). It was at St Joseph's Commerce College. Tickets for that concert were only INR 50 and there still wasn't what I would call a decent crowd. Good videos of the band are pretty hard to come by and haven't seen their music being publicised anywhere either. They have a very word-of-mouth, hardcore fan following. Shame. Because when I say 'follow', I don't mean literally. Love them to bits when they're accessible but what good does it do them?

Here's a nice subtitled video of their song Maa Rewa. Maa Rewa being the River Narmada.

*smile*

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Be a sport

Have been in a very satisfied frenzy these past few days. Sporting encounters of all sorts are making one's ho-hum life all the more exciting.
To start with, the baby rebel Indian Cricket League has gripped me by the vitals on account of a certain Lahore Badshahs being part of the arrangement. This team takes one back to the wonder years of Pakistani cricket. Led by the big bear Inzy, coached by Moin Khan, and featuring all former Pak players I love, from Azhar Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohd Sami, Saqlain, Imran Nazir, Naved Rana, Hassan Raza, and so on and so forth. Why these brilliances were left out of the Pak national squad no one will ever know. And Pak's current dismal form is a result. So, the Lahore Badshahs are my favourites and the Lahore Badshahs are undefeated. First semifinal tonight v Kolkata Tigers. Who are going to lose!!!
And then. There's the football that's keeping us entertained. Not the bizarre American travesty where grown men wear body armor and tight pants and carry around a strangely-shaped object that they refer to as the ball. Tell me, whence foot and wherefore ball? What is wrong with those guys? The proper name of the game should be Running-Around-Handling-Leather-Thing. Eww.
Anyway, we're talking about the English Premier League AND the Champion's League. Weekends and weekdays accounted for. Man U sits pretty on top of the Barclay's board - with the even prettier Cristiano Ronaldo creating magic with Rooney. What eye candy. What legs. What fantastic skill. I love them.
Last night's Arsenal-Liverpool match was a ripper. Shame about the 1-1 draw, but Gerrard is really something else. What a game though! PS: Hleb should have been given a penalty, but the referee was really too far off and at a weird angle to see what went down. Hah. Bollocks! He was about ten yards away and had a ringside view, damn him!!! In a fair world, the final scoreline would have read Arsenal 2-1. "Fly Emirates!"
Onwards now. The Bahrain GP action starts tomorrow in the practice sessions. Hope floats on McLaren. Praying certain other teams go RED in the face after retiring/crashing/injuring pit crew and having mechanical problems.;) And that BMW continue their surprising good form. So far it's a McLaren-BMW one-two on the Constructor's. *stands up and applauds German engineering*
A little bit of tennis going on as well. Great Nadal-Blake match last night at the Sony Ericsson Open in Florida. Rafa looked down and out till the middle of the second set and then.... VAMOS! He was back, and took the match decisively in the third. Roddick-Fedex coming up too, though that's almost certainly going Fedex's way (however much people make a fuss about Roger losing his edge, that chink in his armour etc). To put things in perspective, Andy has lost 15 of the 16 times he's played Roger. Also, Serena-Kuznetsova match today. Serena, by the way, annihilated Justine in the quarters. Wha-hey!
Trivial Trivia: Uber-cool Boyd Tinsley of DMB (the violonist, duh) spotted several times at the Open.

Then. What else?
Oh, yes. The domestic sports scene. Since my brother Ozz is done with his II PUC exams, him and me make a formidable twosome as we head to the gym every night in our sports gear. We engage in great duels across a table-tennis table. It has to be said that Usman runs me over, destroys me, dances over my remains every night with cringe-inducing scorelines along the lines of "21 to nothing". That's number of games, not points. I have taken him to deuce only once. And have reached 18 or 19 on occasions I can count on the fingers of one hand. *Blush* Anyway, I don't care about that. "We play the game because we love it!" I mean to say, I really don't mind losing to him. I'm a loser.
On the bright side, you should check out my muscles now. Glutes that would make a sit-up champion envious. Streamlined calf muscles and biceps. Happy ache in tricep area. Working on abs and only time will tell. Love handles are fast disappearing. (And when I inhale deeply and hold my breath, I look quite something!)

And the movies I've been watching! Ruthie is my movie dealer. She has a kickass DVD rental shop near her digs and I go and get the latest movies from there. Plus she has her own sources for getting me unheard-of but very good Korean, Thai and other foreign language films. I'm on to a good thing here.
Acquired The Sea Inside yesterday, which is quite old. Must go watch now. Javier Bardem beckons.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hwhat the deuce.

Now, this sort of thing pisses me off.
Also pisses me off when governments decide that secularism means you can't wear a headscarf or a turban at your school/college/workplace etc.
And when everyone everywhere uses words like Islamist/fundamentalist yadda yadda yadda.

Damn and blast.
Note to self: Must stop watching back-to-back Family Guy episodes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And on the other side of the fence...


Is Pakistan saved for a new reigny day? A look-see through the eyes of one Kinky.

Hmmmph.

So. Ferrari won Sepang. Massa spilled himself messily somewhere along the line. Heikki came in an impressive third for McLaren. Hamilton crawled in 5th and Alonso babe (who's hitting the headlines again with subtle hints about a year-end break-up with Renault) came in a wonderful 8th in spite of his pitiful Renault.
I am writing off this race. Where were the thrills and spills, I ask you? And no rain either.
Kimi drove brilliantly start-to-Finnish (hahahahahaaaaa, Saab, you're funny!) and won. Yawn. Remember the good old days when this lad was with McLaren Mercedes? Vaav. McLaren still on top in the Constructor's but really, what a silly race. Bahrain better be better.

BMW, well done again. This year's podiums are all opened up. And Toyota..? Well, well, well Mr Trulli. *polite applause*
Force India, we're waiting.

Anyway. Hmmph.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sania-watch

Got my hopes up again as Sania Mirza is playing well in the initial rounds of the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells.
Ms Mirza has defeated a very strong Shahar Peer in Round 3 and is through to meet Daniela Hantuchova in Round 4. Will she, won't she? Most probably not. But really well done in any case.

Excerpt from the official Pacific Life website:
"Defending champion Daniela Hantuchova eased to the win on her 'home' court, defeating Jie Zheng 6-4, 6-2 to start off the night session. The Slovak, who won her first Tour title here in 2002, will next play India's Sania Mirza , an upset winner over No. 9 seed Shahar Peer, 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-3.Hantuchova assessed her fourth round opponent: “She's a big hitter. You never know what to expect. It's going to be a tough match, but again, I hope I'll be playing on my court, and there anything can happen. But I know I'm going to enjoy it and I'll see. I will just do my best and see what happens."

Other big names that have got through so far: Davydenko, Canas, Fedex, Hewitt, Youzhny, Davydenko, Stepanek, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Davenport, Bartoli...


NEWS JUST IN: Hantuchova sailed past Sania 6-1, 7-6. She plays Sharapova in the quarters next.

Anthony Minghella and that movie I love

Anthony Minghella died today, aged 54.

Which reminded me of The English Patient, one of my all-time favourite movies. We have the North-African-Arab connect, we have deserts, we have impressive dialogue, fine non-American actors (Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Colin Firth, Naveen Andrews), great cinematography and background score, and above all, a painful love story. Any movie that makes me sob loudly is thumbs-up. And I cried bucketfuls with this one.
Note to self: Must read Michael Ondaatje's novel. Still haven't.
Quotable quotes from the film, and maybe the book:
1.
(Almásy writing): "Betrayals in war are childlike compared with our betrayals during peace."
2. Almásy: "I fear Madox knows about us. He keeps mentioning Anna Karenina."
3.
Almásy: "Swoon, I'll catch you. "
4. Madox: "I have to teach myself not to read too much into everything. It comes from too long having to read so much into hardly anything at all."

5. Hana: "There's a man downstairs. He brought us eggs. He might stay."
Almásy: "Why? Can he lay eggs?"
Hana: "He's Canadian."
Almásy: "Why are people so happy when they collide with someone from the same place? What happened in Montreal when you passed a man in the street? Did you invite him to live with you?"
6. Katharine Clifton: "Will we be alright?"
Almásy: "Yes. Yes. Absolutely"
Katharine: "'Yes' is a comfort. 'Absolutely' is not."

Also liked Minghella's Cold Mountain (primarily be on account of Jude Law, Renee Zelwegger and some very impressive landscapes). And the Talented Mr Ripley. Not so much Breaking and Entering.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Non sequitir

Apropos of nothing, two of my favourite songs in the world, both featuring on the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack. (Which is also my favourite TV show, along with House MD. So now everyone knows I am not a doctor.)
The first one, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, I heard a couple of years ago at work. Along with the Grey's video. Left me nice and glum.


And then there's this one I picked up just a few days ago. It's an interesting video off YouTube.
This a Joseph Arthur composition, In the Sun, but I love Michael Stipes-Coldplay's version. Here we go (the actual song starts at about 01:30):



Alternate videos: here and here.

*Wiping tears*