Monday, February 28, 2011

Man of the match

The match between India and England was a cracker of a contest. Both teams did extremely well to snatch tie from the jaws of victory. Whenever one team tried hard to lose the game, the other team tried harder and came out on bottom. There were some skillfully dropped catches, most accurate misses of direct hits and spectacular misfield. The third umpire not wanting to be overshadowed by players gave a contentious decision that provided fodder for the likes of Durkha Butt and Ar-drab Goswami to run a one hour debate on whether Sharad Pawar had anything to do with it. All in all, it was a game that will go down in history as one of the most incredible matches, witnessed by thousands of politicians who got free tickets. :P

It was not just politicians but also thousands of fans all over the world who were cheering for their favorite team from their homes. Among these thousands were four guys from Chennai who were cheering for Sachin and India from their dwelling in Madipakkam. Among these four guys was one guy who single handedly almost steered India to victory.

And that guy is writing this blog post now.

Hear me out before you label me jackass, which you anyway will do after hearing me out.

At the end of first innings India scored 338 runs. Ravi Shastri with the help of all his experience and common sense which he doesn’t have came up with an expert advice that ‘England needed 339 runs for victory and needed to bat really well to win the match’. We were so impressed by his ingenuity and acumen that we decided to switch off the tv and spend the evening hanging out rather than marvel at his brilliance. After all, Indians had the match safe in their bag.

But when Ravi Shastri is at the commentary box “something’s got to give in”. It did. When we returned home and checked the scored, England required just 58 runs off 48 balls or something with 8 wickets in hand. India was staring defeat in the eyes. Then something happened that set Indians on course to victory. I began to strum my guitar.

Every time I pick up guitar, pandemonium breaks loose. Dogs go scurrying for cover. Neighbors lock up their windows and stuff their ears with cotton. My roomies who have no place to go to hide themselves except bathroom, which they feel is worse than the cacophony, hurl opprobrious names, abusive words, rotten tomatoes and unclean underwear at me to stop me from creating soul-stirring music. But I was undeterred. I carried on strumming even though the sound that emanated from guitar was more like a disgruntled groan of a constipated cow. No sooner I had started to strum passionately than fell a wicket. So did a lizard from the wall.

I don’t know if it’s a common phenomenon but we guys are extremely superstitious when it comes to cricket. Once when my roomie went to bathroom Sachin hit a boundary. We thought it was a good omen and locked him up in the bathroom. He was released not until Sachin got out some thirty minutes later because we felt locking him up wasn’t a good omen. :P

My roomies were now egging me on to play guitar as they thought it was a good omen. We all have our moments of glory. This was mine. Spurred by the fact that I now had an audience who would lend a listening ear, even though their heart wished I were in a mental asylum, I began to strum faster and harder. Wonder of wonders, another wicket fell the very next delivery. Now everyone was convinced beyond that I was the lucky charm.

For the next twenty minutes I treated my roomies to an entertaining and enthralling performance during which span England lost four wickets and were almost knocked out.

When India got back into the match and looked like scoring a comfortable victory, my music became a nuisance again. My roomies felt India wouldn’t require my service any more and asked me to quit playing in a few well-chosen words that would have made any Chennai auto-driver proud. :-P

After I stopped playing, the tail enders of England hit three massive sixes and managed miraculously to save the game. The match ended in a tie.

Now, you tell me.. don’t I deserve the man of the match award for my smashing performance? ;-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blah Blah Blah

I was returning home from office by train, foot-board traveling as usual. I boarded the train at Sanatorium station. The train came to a halt in Chrompet and I got off to make way for others. As I stood waiting for the train to start, a young man who wanted to board the train walked up to me and asked me a question that I felt pummeling him to a pulp. He asked, "Sir, Is this ladies compartment?" How could an educated guy -well,he looked like one - who spoke in English not deduce that a decent guy - I look like one at least - wouldn't get into a ladies compartment? Thank god none of my friends were around. That would have been enough for them to pull my leg for this lifetime. It would not be surprise if they present me a pair of bangles for my next birthday. Now, what's the name of the bloke who said 'there is no such thing as silly questions.' If you ever run into him, tell him from me that he is a cuckoo.

They say change is the only permanent thing. I think there are somethings that will never change, such as the way I devour cream biscuits. Not that I'm only one who loves licking the cream instead of biting along with biscuit, but it's just that I don't mind doing that wherever I am. Not even in the meeting room. Last time I busied myself with this intricate act, I didn't realize that my team mates stopped discussing and turned their attention toward me. For reasons unknown to me, all of them broke into giggles and laughter, as if they caught a glimpse of a gorilla in a zoo eating a biscuit thrown at it. Hmpf! If that was so distracting, I shouldn't have been offered one in the first place.

For the next few weeks, I'm not going to read any books, watch any movies, practice guitar or indulge in bathroom singing, because the cricket extravaganza has begun and all my waking hours will be spend watching cricket, highlights and arguing with friends over what Dhoni should have done after winning the toss and so on. Perhaps the reason why cricket is the most popular sport is because anyone can become a cricket expert. Even Mandira Bedi. It's funny how these people dish out their advices without batting an eyelid as to how Sachin should correct his footwork and so on. What kind of half-wits watch these program? I guess more than Mandira's gyan, it's her wardrobe - or the lack of it - that attracts the viewers. Cricket isn't gentleman's game anymore.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wodehouse Mania!

One of my regrets is that I went through the first twenty two years of my life without reading a Wodehouse book. Heck,I hadn't even heard of that name. I happened to come across his name first in an internal blog. It wasn't even a post but a lengthy comment by my buddy R who was waxing grandiloquent about him. I made a mental note of him and just as it happens to all things mentally noted, it was forgotten.

Another couple of months passed without Wodehouse. Fate, in the shape of my friend H, stepped in one day and decided to change my life forever. H handed me a small book called 'Adventures of Sally' because he had misplaced the book I had asked him. The author's name stuck a chord and I condoned him for failing to bring along Scott Adams.

The book didn't make for an interesting read(I loved it on the second time). The plot wasn't engaging, long sentences made reading a challenging work and the language - 'Old bean', 'he shook his onion' etc. - seemed so weird. Even though I didn't enjoy reading, I stuck with it and completed it. I thought that would be the first and last Wodehouse I would ever read, until I encountered Bertie and Jeeves.

I don't know for the life of me why I bought 'Right ho, Jeeves' during my next visit to bookshop but I'm glad I did. For the next few days I was smiling, grinning, giggling, laughing, guffawing, chuckling, sniggering and what not. I fell in love with Bertie, the good-hearted blunderer, and wished I had a guy like Jeeves to save me whenever I find myself in a soup. The character names cracked me up - Pongo Twistleton, Gussie Finknottle, Tuppy Glossop etc. In short, I was having fun. After that there was no looking back. My passion for books grew exponentially. Wodehouse and I became matey. Uncle Fred, Lord Emsworth, Aunt Agatha, Aunt Dahlia and others became an integral part of my life.

His language is impeccable. It is hard not to be astonished by his mastery over the language. Reading Wodehouse will definitely elevate one's language to a higher plane. His humour is free from disgusting double enterdres and libidinous remarks. The plots are simple and one knows that all will be well in the end, for in the world of Wodehouse nothing bad ever happens, but getting there is never boring.

If you have never read Wodehouse, I'd recommend you start with Bertie and Wooster series. You'll definitely be tickled by Bertie's blunders and Jeeves ingenuity in pulling him out of trouble. Don't expect to take a liking to Wodehouse on your first read. Wodehouse is like wine. The older, the better.

P.G.Wodehouse never fails to amaze me. I concur with Douglas Adams that he is the best comic writer ever. No other author has made me laugh out loud till my sides ache as much as Wodehouse. If I am in a happy mood while reading him, I become happier. If I read him when in blues, he never fails to bring roses back to the cheek. What more can I ask of a friend?