Monday, June 28, 2010

New Design

Hello. Welcome, O lost traveller in the online woods. And for those of you who have made a habit of getting lost and ending up here, a most hearty welcome. So, you would have noticed a few changes in the general appearence of this patch of land in the online woods. I guessed it would not hurt to repaint the whole thing in a different pattern and so, here we are.

If the wine you serve is old, the bottles had better be new. Following in that line of thought, I revamped this blog to a vast extent, changing the template and background, all using the new template designer.

So. You like it? Or was the previous one better? I chose the previous one because it was simple, bright and easy on the eyes. The new one keeps with that formula for most of the part. I first tried out a template which had a bookshelf with brightly coloured books, but popular opinion seemed to be against it. So keeping with the spirit of democracy, mutualisation and what-not, the new template is a field or pasture with a lot of grass (hehe). Symbolism for life etc.

So feel free to comment and tell me how the new design looks. Bouquets and brickbats are accepted in equal measure. I don't know how to create a poll on my blog, so you will have to comment on this post. Yea, I know. Deliberate plans to get someone to finally comment on my blog.


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Marathon Match

There is a tide in the affairs of men, says Old Bill, which when taken leads to great fortune. The thing is to take the tide at the highest point. You will be in the depths if you miss that boat. Well, I missed that chance when Robert Green made a howler against the States at the World Cup. But I intent to park my own ruddy ass on that boat this time if no one else does. Life has given me a second chance in the form of the Isner vs Mahut match. Another ideal opportunity to crack lame jokes at those gentlemen's expense.

1. Samuel Beckett sued the All England lawn Tennis and Croquet club for plagiarising his story line and enacting it at Court 18.

2. The Pope decrees that Matthew 24:35 be amended to include the Isner vs Mahut match.

3. Year 2060 A.D- My grandkids come up to me and ask "did you have the Isner vs Mahut match even when you were a kid?".

4. Federer and Nadal played in an epic 6 hour U.S Open final but nobody watched because everyone was still at the Isner vs Mahut match.

5. Isner and Mahut played for so long that their apparel contracts ran out and they had to strip.

6. Isner and Mahut played for so long that Court 18 at Wimbledon is now a clay court.

7. Isner and Mahut played for so long that Mahut grew an inch.

8. The French celebrated Mahut's match joyously because his run at the Wimbledon lasted for more time than the French football team's run at the World Cup.

9. Aliens invading the earth in circa 2178 retreated back to their planets cautiously when they discovered that earthlings had already discovered time warp.

10. Mahut ran around for 11 hours but still could not get a 69.


Added on June 27.

John Isner was thrashed 6-0 6-3 6-2 by an unseeded Thiemo de Bakker in the second round. People all around the court wanted to know whether it was the shortest match at any Grand Slam.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stupid dreams of childhood

You may find this hard to believe, but once upon a time I was not as awesome as I am today. Yes, I used to be a kid. In that period, between the ages of five and 13, I harboured dreams I would laugh at right now. You too can laugh at them from now on.

1. Vegetarianism. The times when I avoided any kind of meat as if it were the plague. Killing animals? Gawd! Eating dead animals? OMG! Well, you know, I was a kid.

2. Becoming the prime minister of my country and making it the best in the world. By best, I mean THE BEST. Every kid probably has day dreamed about such a scenario. But, I tell you, mine were vivid. Again, I was just a kid.

3. The dream that one day cute, cuddly carnivores like lions and tigers would live in perfect harmony with cute, cuddly herbivores like deers and rabbits.

4. Using the game of football to settle international disputes. That was your cue to fall off your seats.

5. The next Batman. Need I say more.

6. I once wanted to be alive for 250 million years after I read somewhere that a supercontinent, like the Pangea, would be formed in that time.

7. Ambition: Super scientist-cum-action hero-cum-awesome football player-cum-rockstar. Talk about small dreams.

8. You know what happened when Harry Potter came out. Sigh.

9. DECIMATE THE U.S HEGEMONY!!! Being born and brought up in a place which had a strong presence of the Left helped.

10. I wanted to be an adult.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Week into the World Cup

A week into the World Cup and I am like a child who has been promised candy but has not got it yet. Face it. The World Cup has been, at best, bland after the first week. Though it got better as the days progressed and the future looks promising, I am not yet the candied kid. A few teams like Germany and Argentina rescued the tournament from being utterly crass, but the disappointment persists. A few matches have gone by and it is time to take a look at what happened.

South Africa vs Mexico- Opening match of the tournament was literally a tale of two halfs. South Africa, to be frank, was almost horrible in the first period, their game quite amateurish, while Mexico dominated proceedings creating chances and converting none. In the second half, a sublime strike by the sublimely named Tshbalala put the hosts ahead only for Mexico to strike back. On the whole a decent game. Bu World Cup quality? Na.

France vs Uruguay- The second match saw a floundering France barely managing to keep up with Uruguay. France has reportedly been plagued by infighting and rivalry within the team and it showed on the pitch as Les Bleus looked very short of ideas and zest. Uruguay, led admirably by their two forwards, Forlan and Suarez, did a lot of running but ultimately lacked the penetration to trouble Hugo Lloris in the French goal.

South Korea vs Greece- I missed the match because I was playing football at school. I think playing was definitely more exciting than watching a drab Greek tragedy as a hard wroking and efficent South Korea completely over ran the European qualifiers.

Argentina vs Nigeria- The world switched on its T.V sets to watch the world's best player, Lionel Messi. And he did not disappoint. He troubled the Nigerian defence with swervng runs and was denied thrice by an excellent VIncent Enyemu in the Nigerian goal. Argentina looked quite a champion team in its demeanour and style of play as Nigeria was left gasping for breath.

England vs U.S.A- England took on the USA!USA!!USA!!!(as The Guardian calls it) in one of the most awaited matches this world cup. England is most often a big let down, but they started positively with a goal in four minutes. In the fourty fourth munte Robert Green, Enlgand's goal keeper, showed the world that British PEtroleum was not the only British thing prone to leaks as he let Dempsey's tame shot slip out of his hands in to the goal. The match then became a midfield battle with not many chances, until Altidore troubled the England goal mouth. Green redeemed himself by making a fine save. England were once again a big let down.

Algeria vs Slovenia- Another of those matches which led many to call this World Cup the most boring in recent history. Somwhere in the last five minutes, I found myself woken up by the raised voice of the commentator signifying Slovenia had scored through a goal keeping error.

Serbia vs Ghana- Was far above the previous matches in standard of play and entertainment offered. Both teams created and missed chances until a handball and sending off gave Ghana a goal from the penalty spot. The witches could not work their magic and Ghana easily scratched out the itches.

Germany vs Australia- Undoubtedly the best match so far by many a mile. The Germans were simply scintillating with amazing runs off the ball and some pin point passing. Aussies had no idea awhat was going on, which was worsened when Tim Cahill was unfairly sent off. Germany seriously looked the goods and is touted to go a long way with their youngest squad ever.

Netherlands vs Denmark- The Oranje was a team everybody looked forward to, except the Danes. Reputed for their dashing stylistic game, they promised a treat. It did not turn out quite in to a treat, as the Danes pegged back the Dutch, not allowing them much space. In the end, a freak own goal and some fast running gave the Dutch a deserved victory. The Dutch played like the Germans and the Germans played like the Dutch.

Japan vs Cameroon- A match between two distinct styles of football, the pacey, diminutive Japs prevailed through an opportunistic strike. The Africans failed to exert themselves until late in the match and paid the price for it.

Italy vs Paraguay- I am not insomniac. I am perfectly capable of falling asleep by myself and do not need to watch Italy play to do so. So I skipped the match.

New Zealand vs Slovakia- Yet another drab match. Brightened up by the Kiwis' late goal.

Ivory Coast vs Portugal- Another much awaited game and did provide decent entertainment. I half expected Drogba to play with a ten kilo metal cast and leave at least three Portugese players incapacitated but that was not to be. But still, a good match. Either side could have scored, but they were a bit too generous to their opponents.

Brazil vs North Korea- It was the highest ranked team vs the lowest ranked team. And what pissed me off was that the commentator on ESPN kept reminding me of this fact. The commentator was extremely patronising of Korea, praising in hyperbole every tackle and every pass they made. It was sickening. The guy seemed to think that North Korea comprised of players playing in wheel chairs against the Justice League. The game ws quite entertaining. The Brazillians realised that there was no point in leaving anybody to defend after five minutes. North Koreans had already decided that there was no point in sending any one to attack. The Asian Rooney, as the Korean press called the star forward in a red shirt was hardly as good as Roney (a senior of mine at school who plays decent football). The Koreans defended extremely well until Maicon's magic (or luck) finally gave the Samba Boys some respite and was followed by Elano. The Koreans managed to score in the end, a testament to their spirit. Surely, they aren't the bad folks the Western media makes them out to be.

Honduras vs Chile- A game which threatened to slip in to new found levels of drabiness. Livened up by some enterprising Chile attacks. Ultimately, Chile was too hot to handle for the Central Americans and Palacios brothers.

Spain vs Switzerland- The game which made the most headlines. Spain, boasting stars of amazing calibre, fell 1-0 to the Swiss, an opportunistic goal by Gelson Fernandes sealing the issue. Credit to the Swiss for defending as if their lives depended on it and to an excellent Diego Benaglio under the bar.

South Africa vs Uruguay- The second round of group games began. The host were beaten all ends up by Forlan and Uruguay. Nothing more, nothing less.

Argentina vs South Korea- The Albiceleste was out to rock again and Leo Messi came up with the goods. Though he failed to score, he carried the team forward with that amazing skill. Higuain scored the first hat trick of the World CUp as Korea could only marvel at the Argentine game.

Greece vs Nigeria- At the outset, a drab, boring match. But it was everything except that. The match is best described as a thriller novel, with all the characteristics of a Sheldon or Archer. Nigeria dominated the first half, going one up through a lucky free kick. But some where in the thirtieth minute, a Nigerian dude called Kaita got sent off for trying to kick a Greek dude in the balls and finding only the thigh.At any rate, it was for kicking. The game turned and how! Rehhagel took off a defensive midfielder and brought in the irresistable Samaras and the Greeks were on the hunt, like an Athena. Just before half time, their toils were rewarded with a goal. The Nigerian goal keeper, Vincent Enyemu made at least four world class saves, befor spilling a shot and allowing Tzorisidis to score. In the end Nigeria slipped to defeat because there was Greece everywhere.

The Greeks have such awesome names. My personal favourites were Sokratis Pappasthopoulos, Kostas Katsouranis and Avraam Pappadapolous. Nigerians were not that bad, contributing to the name game through Danny Shittu and Dickson Etuhu.

France vs Mexico- The French suffered the shock of their lifetime by losing 2-0 to an enterprising Mexican side. Raymond Domenech is one step away from being as crazy as Maradona. At least Maradona's team is winning. Dopey Domenech once left a player out his squad on astrlogical grounds. As France missed the reassuring presence of Zidane, questions are bound to be raised as to why the new Zizou, Samir Nasri was not even included in the squad.

Germany vs Serbia- The sexy Mayanti Langer wanted to see how the young German side would cope under pressure and she got her wish. Miroslav Klose got sent off in the 37th minute by a referee who was too eager to flash cards. Serbia scored against the dazed Germans immediately. Germany regrouped and created a few chances and even earned a penalty only for Podolski's shot to be saved. The second biggest shick of the tournament.

Slovenia vs U.S.A- A ripper of a match. One of the best this World Cup as U.S.A justified their world rankiing of 14 by coming back form two goals down to draw the match. Great performance from both sides.

England vs Algeria- For an England supporter like me, there was only three words on the tongue. They were England, was and shit in that order. A hugely disappointing match, when almost every England player switched off. The only decent players were Ashley Cole and David James. Rooney was not even as good as Roney while Gerrard and Lampard looked lost as the stunnig club form was nowhere to be seen. Two or three years ago, a defensive error by Terry was something museums would pay millions for, but now it is too common to even befit a couple of exclamation marks. Capello baffled everyone by playing Heskey till the 70th minute and replacing him with Defoe in the same formation when clearly that formation was not working. Nobody but Capello knows why Joe Cole did not make an appearence. A big blow for England. They now need to beat Slovenia by a good margin to top the group, but nobody is betting on it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is gonna happen?

The World Cup kicks off tomorrow and I'm all excited. I can barely sit. It is like I have ants in my pants. So, I was thinking. What will happen in this one month period starting tomorrow? That spark of thought turned in to a wild fire, and before I knew it, I had a pen and some paper and was making a list. Here goes.

1. The Bafana Bafana, aided by ten thousand vuvuzelas and some really bad refereeing decisions, makes the round of 16.

2. England go out in the quarterfinals AGAIN!!! You guessed it, penalties!!!

3. Cesc Fabregas, after spending a lot of time with half the Barcelona squad, a.k.a Spain national team, decides to move to the Catalan club. He says that it is his dream come alive and in his heart he has always been a Barcelona player. Especially when he was 16.

4. Maradona blasts Messi and Milito for "being useless in training", while Javier Pastore and Ariel Grace are said to be the real strengths of the team. This follows a 6-0 victory in which Messi and Milito scored three each.

5. Messi is proclaimed as God by pundits and journos. Pele says people tend to exaggerate so much these days while Maradona continues abusing more journos. Incessant coughing, identified as an attempt to butt in to the conversation, is heard in the background. The cough is later traced to Ronaldo.

6. Rooney kicks five people in the balls, bad mouths the ref and drives his knee into some bloke's chest and thus gets sent off. The British media blames the opposite team's physio because he had got some dust into his eyes and closed that eye alone.

7. The Oranje play fantastic football again, beating the crap out of opposition until finally they go out in the quarterfinals, inexplicably losing, in all probability to some team like....South Africa!

8. North Korea demands that no one be allowed to watch any of their games as it is offensive to their culture and tradition. After some persuasion from FIFA, Jong agrees to let his team play if FIFA agrees to a plan he formulated. The plan is , on the previous day the same match is played in an empty stadium and N. Korea wins and the match is re-enactred pass by pass on match day.

9. Wayne Bridge is caught in a compromising situation with Toni Terry. He secretely arrived at South Africa in the garb of a North Korean team staff. He is reported to have quoted Matthew 7:12 in Pulp Fiction style before commencing activities with Toni.

10. A host of players would be raring to emulate Zidane's final act on a football pitch. Didier Drogba head butts Ronaldo after the Portugese star snipes that "he would rather NOT have Drogba's mom".

Enjoy the World Cup! They come only once in four years.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The problem with poetry

I was aghast, when going through the scribblings and rantings of many of my classmates, to find that an overwhelming majority dealt with poetry. Few things can be more bone chilling to a prosaic person like me than the realisation that my class was populated by a hoard of minor poets. Now, you may think that I harbour some intense anti-poetry agenda, and you could not be farther from the truth. In fact, I adore poems, as long as the publisher guarentees that the poet has been dead for at least a hundred years. As a result you will find me poring over 'Daffodils' and 'To Autumn', but I draw the line at that. Poetry, like wine, certin brands of cheese and buildings, improve with age. Therefore, no connoiseur would dream of filling himself or herself up with stuff on which the ink is still fresh.

In the olden golden days, poets where chaps who shut themselves off from the outside world in their own cottages, which they left only for the purpose of being thrown out of publishing houses to which they had attempted to sell their wares. Thus, if a respected gentleman were to be trapped in a remote island for eternity with only a poet for company, he would rather build a wall and talk to it.

The poetry bug appears to be catching on, like an epidemic. More and more victims are reported each day, with many of the respected and loved ones going down the drain. Gone are the days when 'published posthumously' was a proud tag on a book of verse. Times are such that anyone waking up on a fine morning can dish out a few lines on the blue sky and the black roads and make a couple of fortunes. As a result, young people all over the place are throwing up steady jobs to devote themselves to the new profession. It is a horrible sight to wander out to the junction on a Sunday afternoon and find one's progress positively impeeded by swarms of young poets brought out by the warm weather.

Imagine if Charles Dickens had been a poet.

"Marley was Scrooge's partner
But Scrooge was definitely the meaner.
One day Marley died
But Scrooge never cried.
Scrooge kept both names on the board
For the dead man he adored."

Of course, finding the root cause of the problem is a tough task. A long time ago, when a Tom, Dick or Harry ventured to immerse himself in the perilous proffession, you could talk sense into him. There was that one thing which served like a strong fort in front of an advancing enemy. "What about rhymes, Tom?", you could ask. "Dick, just imagine having to spend your life attempting to find words that rhyme with 'cosmic' and 'symbolism'". When Harry asked why you objected, you could reply "Think of those dark times when you have used up 'May' and 'Gay', 'Fool' and 'Cool' and 'Moon' and 'June'. You may live a few months with 'Intution' and 'Confusion' and 'Cricket' and 'Wicket', but that time too will pass". The next day, you get notifications on Facebook telling you that the above mentioned friends had removed themselves from the group 'I love Poetry'.

But then, like the snake in the Eden Gardens comes a certain person called Edgar Lee Masters and invents vers libre. The rest is history. He told everyone that they need not have rhymes. He urged them to leave out rhymes all together. And thus was born poetry sans rhymes. If my good friend Percy Bysshe was living now, he would have had to rewrite 'The Cloud' thus if he wanted to pull in a dollar a line.

"I pour water over flowers.
I go to the sea and rivers to get it.
I give them shade, so that they can dream.
My dew wakes up the buds as the Earth continues
To revolve around the Sun in an elliptical orbit according to Kepler's laws.
I am also capable of snow
And some rude, loud thunder.

A sleeping population has awakened to the reality that it can make money in heaps by chopping down prose into bits and inserting the relevant punctuations. What is to be done? Mr. Masters left this world long ago, making it impossible to exact any sort of revenge upon him. The only consolation is that, if we all were to become poets, then the phenomenon will die out by itself, because poets seldom buy other poets' stuff.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Second Sem \m/

You saw that thing which just went whoosh! Don't worry that was just my second semester at I.I.T Madras, which broke speed limits left and right to land me at the beginning of a three month vacation. Here I am, left to recollect my thoughts and memories of that awesome four month period in the comfort of a cosy chair.

A general feeling of awesomeness about the past four months persists strongly inside me, but as I search in the haystack of memories, I find it hard to pinpoint the needles of awesome moments that made my second semester a rollicking one. The sem provided me with a lot of memories and experiences which shall be with me for a long time.

The semester started of in January, and January to us I.I.T folks means only one thing- Saarang. Saarang, the cultural extravaganza (literally and figuratively) held annually by my college, attracts the best talents from across the country. Saarang guarenteed four days of amazing fun and four days of amazing fun it delivered. For more details on how Saarang was refer here. Saarang, for me was mostly about the girls. I.I.T is a place, to quote a dear friend, where a chick gets a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 just for being a chick. It was into such a barren desert that Saarang came as a refreshing shower. And how! If you had seen the campus one of the four days you would not have recognised the place from Adam. It got transformed, metamorphosised into something completely new and, not surprisingly, refreshing. Hot girls descended on the place in droves bringing a wide smile on my lips. Heaven, albeit momentary!

The semester passed into other months, namely February and March. A "peaceful" semester, with a realtively small workload gave me and my buddies plenty of time to indulge in the vices. It reached a crescendo in April, with the hostel nights. We rocked Tapti (my hostel) night, inebriation style. It was a day when anything liquid around the place came in dark, cold bottles. On a hot and thirsty night we turned from water to something which had colour in it and more than mere hydrogen and oxygen. Hours were spent performing the bottomless bucket act until gradually several of those buckets had malfunctions and decided to eject majority of its contents. Thus ended the best night of the semester. It was a night I would love not to forget but unfortunately I do not remember much of it.

Ohh..I almost forgot. Football Schroeter. In the month of February or March (I do not recollect) we tasted the pleasures of organised football in the form of the football tournament as a part of Schroeter. Our hostel team, despite having decent talent and calibre did not make it past the group stage. It was dissapointing, yet to fun to turn out in the hostel colours, albeit last year's. We had a pretty good run in the friendly matches though winning one or two and losing only one to the eventual winners of Schroeter.

Second semester probably had the biggest impact on my lifestyle, completely revolutionising my daily time table, especially in April during the week preceeding the end semester exams. Nights were made into days and days into nights. Sleep all day, party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It is fun being insti junta. Wake up at ten in the night, stagger off to the DCF, a few smokes on the roof, ogling at a computer screen for hours at a stretch, the five o' clock trip to tarams, breakfast and finally to back tot he department for class or examination. Well, at least I got to eat breakfast everyday. Though it was the only meal I often had the entire day.

Its a three month holiday now. Internship reminds me how work can actually be taxing. Seems like hard work will finally kill me.