Monday, July 31, 2006

Short sentences, shorter skirts and Sawant.

Daughter of an ACP. Also daughter of a wannabe. First acted when still in school. Been there ever since. Small roles, small outfits. Talented in dancing, no doubt. People took notice - her clothes. Can't act for noughts. Flirts with controversy. Raises eyebrows among other things. Rakhi Sawant.

"Why?", you cry. "Why not?", I ask. "Why not?", says the media. News-space wasted on her. Another article, no harm.

Where were we? Ahh, Rakhi. Colourful personality. On screen, shows only one. Brown. Father left home. Doesn't like Bollywood. Nor her profession. Understandable. Mom's proud. Daughter learnt to dress at six. Learnt to shed most at eighteen. Not bad. Brother trying to make a mark. 'Hot money', his first movie. He's director. Hereditary problem I guess.

Back to Rakhi. Item girl. Convenient tag. Gets her work, for sure. Gets dumbwits drooling. Mission complete. Cash flows in, so do offers. Most being stage shows. More dumbwits; more of less clothes. Situation gets out of hand. Security called in. She's whisked away. Same story next show. Different outfit. Police watch with contempt. Crowds, with craze. As always, I'm amused.

Mika the creep. Convenient tag. Wrong thing to do. Wrong girl too. Turned out to be a national broadcaster. A self-proclaimed sex bomb. Detonated beautifully. Now a women's rights activist. Because she's concerned. Valid case. Inexcusable mistake. Great gossip material. Greater publicity. Still, a very valid case. But then, stay mum. Don't marry controversy and the press.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Vehicles, traffic and the rush to get nowhere first.

I've learnt a new way of inculcating the virtue of patience in my life. It's a big time-waster as you will see, but virtually unavoidable too. So I thought, I might as well bring out the best in every situation; something like perceiving the glass half full. Most importantly, you are in the same soup as me. So why not enjoy the taste while we can.

Traffic jams, you will agree with me, are as much a part of life as Emraan Hashmi is of unnecessary kissing scenes. For me, the former being more tolerable. It's something about being a driver that makes us impatient. Nanoseconds matter to an otherwise who-cares-about-time society. Even James Bond would have been put to shame, that's the level of hurry. There's a trend, if you care to pay close attention: anything on less than four wheels will squirm its way ahead even if there's place for just a fly to fart; the others install horns that blast like sirens announcing a world war and get some sadistic pleasure out of it. It follows the unmentioned law that 'the power of the engine is directly proportional to the volume of the horn'.

So what must one do at one of these eternally long outings? Sit back and enjoy the break, thats all. If someone on the road starts using language that explains reproduction in a crude way, smile at him. It takes a lot of frustration off you while insensitively passing it on to the guy. Come to think of it, there's actually no reason to get all worked up. If it can get you anywhere [out of that *#^%*@ place], I'll join you in cursing the sun, moon and potatoes. The other day, there was this one chap who insisted that Manmohan Singh was responsible for the traffic jam, not having acted out his promises for a brighter India. Intelligent stupidity.

It's better than a paid course in anger management, with all those 'son of a gun's trying to curve their way right in front of your vehicle. And when, finally, it's your chance to get to the other side of the junction, the traffic signal goes red in the face. Another long wait, another lung-full of blessed smoke; all this while, motorists are inching ahead as if that gain of one metre would change their life forever. At such times, don't take a deep breath but calm yourself down. Tell your mind it's good that atleast your vehicle didn't ditch you and break down right in the middle of the whole mess. So dwell on the positive aspects of life [and traffic] - it will give you a renewed respect for the not-so-good things that come your way.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's time we made some noise about noise.

That kills the purpose, doesn't it? What I meant is, we must campaign on a personal level, something like a protest, against noise pollution. That's because ear drums have lost all respect in society. Seems stupid; well, its not. Noise is affecting you more than you know it.

Tell me, what do you consider a typical evening. Assuming what our standards are, it may be having dinner with the TV tuned in to one of the twenty odd movie or serial channels we are charged for. Worse, a 'singer' attempting to exercise his/her vocal chords and covering the bad patches with conveniently loud instruments - something accepted as music these days. For the wilder kind, it may be a trip to the pub or a happening disc. If not these, it may be Himesh blaring through our earphones - those perpetual companions for some.

All these, and many other things (excluding Himesh), are a good way to unwind after a day of brain-eating incidents and suicidal atmosphere. Its not about being against these; its about whether these deserve the absolute importance we assign them. And, ironically, noise is the silent killer lurking in the background. You wont even know when it has taken its toll. You'll just see the symptoms of what we today have come to know as the 'modern (wo)man'.

Picture this: a person made to sit in a silent room with no communication (yeah, that cellphone), no entertainment or anything modern for about twenty minutes. No, this is not me painting a toned-down version of hell. Most probably, that person will feel lost. Very lost. Not because there's nothing to do. Its just that (s)he is so accostumed to noise 24/7 that this would feel weird. Very weird. Hearing loss is the least damaging thing noise does to a human.

Its concentration loss. Humans have accepted noise (a world of difference from 'sound') as a normal part of life. If it's not there, we go cuckoo in the head. If it is, our privacy is subtly invaded. Silence is, more than rarely, connected with awkward moments, inactivity, boredom, hurt, pain and so on. For some, peaceful moments filled with happiness are when the discman/fm channel is so loud, you can't hear your own thoughts, worries. No doubt the most hapenning holiday destinations are quiet places. And then we say, 'That place was like heaven!'. Very true; now ask yourself why.

The world over, institutes are studying the change in natural pattern due to increased noise pollution. For example, swallows in urban areas have forgotten their natural song. Some were even known to imitate vehicle sounds. 'So what', you say. Try to digest this: 'The bird honked at the first rays of sunlight'. Just another case of onomatopoeia going wrong?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006 - Part 3

Well, after the good and the bad news comes the in-between. There's so much talk that falls into this category.

Last things first: Zidane had the best farewell match a player could ever ask for. How many players do you know announce their retirement and then reach the finals? Ah, the headbutt. I say thats an even better way to leave the field for the last time. No sarcasm, people. Enough has been said and lip-read the world over. So the best player of this generation has hung up his boots after being made to put them on for one last time. Joining him will be Lilian Thuram, another French great.

Carlos, the eighty-centimetre-circumference-a-thigh bazooka, has retired too. Known for his freaky free-kicks and giving 'defender' a flexible meaning, he ended his international career with many criticising the way he didnt mark an opponent. He will go down in history as one of the best on the left flank. Not to forget the 'banana' kick he made famous.

Luis Figo would have liked a better finale to his international game. But he did lead his country to the penultimate stage after a gap of 40 years - unfortunately lost there too. Nobody seems to be barking about his headbutting. Maybe because it was so subtle. Or maybe because the referee lost his head too. Whatever it was, another great player leaving an illustrious career. Pauleta will join him, being the highest goal scorer for Portugal.

Oliver Kahn will be missed between the German goalposts. Effectively one of the best goalkeepers of the past decade, he didnt quite enjoy this Cup final. But he did get to have one last shot in the game for the third place. It will be difficult to find a goalkeeper of his calibre.

Apart from these individuals, theres Italy. The domestic scene is boiling in hot debate and controversy as the international one is basking in glory. Anti-thesis, this. It proved they have it in them to get on both sides of the line - that too, doing it well. But tell me, which country's domestic scene (regardless of the sport) has no corruption? Dont say cricket in India; youll have to have an IQ lower than Buffon's jersey number to say that.

Goalscoring in the Cup finals was a disappointment, according to the organisers. They have woken up to the importance of having a high-scoring game. Did well to realise crowds love to watch goals being scored. But theres one problem. These are not ignorant cricket fans from the Indian subcontinent who curse the sun, moon and the stars if one dot ball is played. Football fans go crazy watching sublime control of the ball and tackles too. So widening the goals or some other move to get more goals on the scoresheet will not make much of a difference to the overall outcome.

I guess thats it regarding the World Cup. It would take a lot more space to just keep mentioning incidents and players, let alone opinion. Overall, a truly wonderful and exhilirating experience.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006 - Part 2

And now the good news. Records kept getting broken, mostly because statisticians care to document everything. Did you know that though Serbia and Montenegro went out in the first round with their pants pulled down, they went on record with the longest team name this year? You may say, 'Who cares'. Then there's Mark Roberts, a streaker, who has scored 2 goals (non-World Cup, ofcourse)- the highest for a non-playing individual. Coincidentally, the second time was against an appropriately named goalkeeper, Hans-Jorg Butt. Now you care.

Debutant teams put on a great game. Bad football can be like an eight year-old telling a joke. Beckham let go of his Mohican haircut. For once, he attempted to play real football, only football. So we were spared those tortures.

Ironically, there was more red-card provoking action on the field than in and around the stadiums. And with not much going unnoticed, it proves the referees enjoyed a successful month. Other than one guy who had to be in the midst of a high-intensity match where, barring the goalkeepers, all fought like bitter siblings. Here, another record was broken - most cards (considering colour or otherwise) in a World Cup match and overall too.

The stadiums, the crowd - awesome. The football, even better. Some games were so close, they may have outshone the finals. Nail biting finishes may have left some with sore fingertips. After all, thats what the sport is about - taking off your shorts when you win the Cup (read mafia don lookalike Gattuso). This Cup saw stratergy and tactics getting as much success, if not more, as talent and skill. Players who performed well will be smiling happily knowing that clubs will be making a beeline to sign them on.

A great experience overall. Will be remembered for quite some time, not all positives though. As always, what's the fun if there's no controversy?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006 - Part 1

The FIFA World Cup has come to a great finish, with a lot of surprises springing up and over-enthusiastic fans collapsing, grieving the loss of their favourite teams. As is the norm, the bad news first. This tournament has, directly or indirectly, disappointed millions in Germany and many more around the globe.

England. They came, they saw, they concurred - their team is not worth the World Cup final. Wonderful support in the form of faithful fans, beautiful girlfriends and wives (the only positive, I must say), their chances of winning the Cup were hyped. The height of it all, other than Peter Crouch, was Rooney being made to sit in oxygen chambers to speed up his recovery from injury. Without him, they thought England was doomed. With him, Portuguese Ricardo Carvalho's groin was.

Teams slated to reach the finals limped out in the quarter-finals itself. Brazil were hot favourites to lift the Cup; lifted the French's hopes of a second title instead. The players looked nowhere close to their menacing best, the way they play for their respective clubs. Buck-teeth Ronaldo looked like a fattened calf, though he was not overweight. Other disappointments were Ronaldinho, Kaka, Adriano, Carlos, Cafu, Emerson ...... you get the idea.

Then comes Argentina. Sorry, there went Argentina. They played beautifully, passed with style, won convincingly and attempted the penalties like my school team. Surprisingly, the only Argentinian to play in the finals was Camoranesi - for the Italians. Can't blame them though; the Germans were plain lucky in a match that clearly didnt belong to them.

Female fans were busy wiping away tears and botched eye-liners after Beckham, C. Ronaldo, Kaka, Ballack, Messi didn't go through to the finals. But the Italian team is supposedly making up for all the pretty faces missed on the field. A negligible portion of the world female population not affected till now is the one that considers Patrick Vieira hot.

Other sections of society disappointed by the World Cup are the legal Sex-workers. Analysts predicted a mad-rush at local brothels, with all the macho, roudy football (male) fans pouring in from around the world. They say football and sex go hand-in-pant. But it hasn't quite been like that. The only balls some of them got to see were the Adidas Teamgeist. So prostitution being a legal profession in Germany didnt really set pants unzipping. Life does have a cruel way of laughing at

Monday, July 03, 2006


She stands there, stares you in the face
'Impossible', that's what she seems to say
You wilt before you could brace
Yourself to confront this day.

All the toil goes down the drain;
No light at the end, there is no tunnel.
Darkness descends, then comes the rain,
Someone just pricked the lively bubble.

She is known by most as LIFE -
Maybe because she sucks it out of you.
Ready to pounce at every silly mistake
To make you suffer the consequences too.

First comes a thought, followed by another
Making it look like thought to be.
She is all so precise in choosing a target
Not once is she not to the T.

When all alone, she comes a-visiting
With a basket-full of tempting food
For the lion deep inside awaiting
To be instigated when in a bad mood.

It's all there within, she knows
Enough to make you feel you've lost it
While she has overwhelmed you on all sides
Pushing you into a bottomless, dark pit.

Down, down, down you go until
You fall up into His arms of love.
Maybe it was worth going through it all
It was His plan, He who's up above.

You were seen being tormented by her
Of course, she wasnt sent by Him
After all, could such a loving Father
Ever think of clipping the wings of a Ceraphim?

......She stands there, stares you in the face
'Impossible', that's what she seems to say
But now you know better
You smile at her - and then walk away.