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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Missed the whole of the Champions League final yesterday--a monster headache being the culprit coupled with the uneasy knowledge that I had to get up at 5 am to receive my aunt & Gran at the pristine Dadar station.Awoke fresh and immediately surfed the spectrum of the telly to learn that FC Porto had vanquished Monaco 3-0 and had thus become possibly the worst team in history to wear that crown.

Got out of the house with my sister to be greeted amusedly by cheery dogs (who must have thought I'd taken up exercise on medical grounds or something ). Disappointing them, we left for the bus stop where we found that collectively we did not know a) the bus number b) the frequency of the buses c) whether the bus itself stopped . Twas but an easy decision to hail a cab ,hit the VT and boatd the train to Dadar.

For the first time, I failed to be at the door of the platform of the person ( before the train stopped)who I was receiving for 2 reasons a) Dadar platform is wholly unlike the Habibganj velodrome at Bhopal or the Saharanpur dirt-trail, which allowed me to give rein to my handy middle-distance track prowess, and b) My aunt and gran ( owing to some last-minute travel plans ) were arriving in coaches about 100 metres apart. Since my sister was given the job of tailing Gran ( a la Matthaus tailing Maradona in the 86 final), we managed the task successfully and thought our difficulties for the day were over when a "mamu" halted my progress to the taxi stand and asked me to open the suitcase I was lugging. My counter-attacking skills to the core, I urged him to show me his ID Card first. Finding him importunate, we pried the thing open only to find what we expected to find along.Bidding him farewell, we headed home and was on the verge of making a meal of the snacks that I was being fed, when I ruefully headed for office.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Completed my first legal rendezvous in the cavernous crime-ridden city yesterday --the interaction was itself most mundane but the manner of arrival was not. I had specifically instructed the driver about the location and ascertained his ability to get there ( before dozing off ) when like most overzealous Bombay denizens,I found a good hour later that the chap had overreached himself and had not the foggiest notion of where was supposedly a prominent place. Worse, he insisted on taking directive notes from his crony on the mobile who steadfastly maintained that the location was in West although every imagineable clue pointed the other way. So after my forced research on the various microcosms within Hill Road, we accepted defeat and asked a " mamu" for help, while he was busy keeping an paternal eye on some dharna.All's well that ends well--managed to reach the dratted place only to find that the relevant person was on leave. Spoke to other lady members who just about had time to glance up from the Marathi periodical they were studying. A saving grace, though, the condition of the files there makes me feel proud about the cleanliness of my room and hence I was able to leave with self-righteous gratification at the end.

Finished the last few cataclysmic pages of " True History of the Kelly Gang" --a first-person sotto voce narration of Ned Kelly a convicted outlaw of the 1870s, according him redemption and respect in the eyes of the sceptical public. The book is without grammatical constraints, tenses and speech restrictions--reads like a unstinting thread of proclamations from Kelly's point of view, and hence exonerates him of myriad accusations. I don't know, I found it gripping and engrossing although mysteriously I found the "uniqueness" of the narrative trite.A recommended read, especially as the world over, we are turning to writing " what if " kinda stuff.

Agassi's gone--he certainly seems an anachonism now, how he's changed from the pesky upstart he was when we saw him in 88, fighting tooth and nail before he ran out of gas in the final set to Wilander, losing 6-0 in the semis.My dreaded Federer-Kuerten match is growing close,and of course Monaco take on Porto today. I think Bombay FM-listeners will support Monaco --tension kyon lene ka, Monaco khaane ka.


Monday, May 24, 2004

Yuva may well go down as the most reviewed film in history--reviews reviews everywhere and nor any word of sense--all the rags I read on Sunday had to give their patently biased opinion on how Mani Sir this and that--consensus that it was a cut above the rest but still flawed --this sounds like sour grapes to me.Might be time to check out the version by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ( tough name ) although Mani Sir maintains the resemblance is passing --thank God Calcutta is not Mexico City.

The French Open starts today--Federer versus Kuerten in R3--cruel, especially when Guga is nowhere near the form that has brought him 3 titles.

Mustered up all the will power in the world not to hit the office on Saturday--yakked for a couple of hours with Nikhil, an old friend based in Bangalore, and then after a tonsure headed down to the British Council. Was on the verge of cursing my luck & withdrawing from the scene on finding the portals closed when a Good Samaritan directed me to the next building where the Library was. Leisurely leafed through 2 issues of the rather innocuously named "People Management" and the overrated " Wisden" before settling on a Peter Carey book. Was tartly told by the person at the counter that only members with Family Cards would be issued Music CDs--sad but true. Am almost through with the " True History of the Kelly Gang" .

Have a possibly dangerous appointment with a legal eagle tomorrow


Friday, May 21, 2004

What's common to Rangeela, The Sixth Sense & Boys Don't Cry ??
Well, these are the last movies I've seen in a theatre.
Came quite close to this yesterday when I watched Mulholland Drive on the telly. Had the lights dimmed ( OK, OK, I switched 'em off ), got the ac roaring , sank into a comfy chair and watched the movie which had rather a quirky and interesting narrative--a person conjures up an alternate life, a dream within a dream, Hollywood caricatures etc.I finally remembered where I had seen the name Mulholland only this morning when a particulatly nasty bump caused my head to jar the roof of the cab--my one-time favourite tennis player Mats Wilander married a lady by the name of Sonya Mullholland, a South African model at the time & the Sportstar had published an engrossing interview with the engaging couple then.
Of course, once the movie ended, I harked back to the coarse crass world of football where I watched my once-favourite team ( Hmmm, why don't I have any current favourites, except Pascual & Suarez ?) of Valencia easily hold off Marseille--if ever parts made up more than the whole, this is a team perpetually starved of stars and has old fossils like Mauricio Pellegrino, Amadeo Carboni & the once -comparable Jocelyn Angloma who make defending such a pleasurable visual spectacle and who do their job with so much elan that they appear to delight in filching candy from toddlers.

Looking forward to the long weekend, not that my stern resolve of not working on Saturdays is on the verge of consummation.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

So we have it , two members of the "minority" at the helm of the nations's affairs--both scholarly & erudite. Both paragons of virtue and piety ( some would suggest of naivete ), too refined to be bothered about the dregs of the Lok Sabhas, and exemplary in their domains.
Where Mr. Kalam has managed to state his wont eloquently and articulately, will Mr. Singh cope with the obsequious mendacity that epitomises the GoP ?
The Sardarji jokes are already doing the rounds. It's interesting that the man has never won a LS election--indeed, nice guys finish last, and that's the terrifying bit--how is this man going to placate and pacify those most servile and meretricious of old men, in their ill-disguised power hunt ?Politics is of, by and for the c.c.

Just as I was getting used to the preposterous notion of Bombay not having power cuts, the deity of power, perhaps Ambani, proved me wrong and the city was engulfed in darkness for about an hour on Tuesday. Yeah, yeah, that's fine, let''s just have less of this bilge about the utopian conditions of life here.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Spent the whole of the weekend marvelling at the fortitude and tenacity of the parents, who braved the bovine intransigence of self in endeavouring to create a human habitat at my place in Colaba. Admittedly, they've done a swell job--my picturesque curtains, all kinds of wooden and metallic contraptions like door hangers, a new-look living room ( which is more central than polarised ) and an air-conditioner that I've justified on the tenuous grounds of increasing my productivity ( read: two more hours of FM ).

The weather today is miraculously tolerable and I pine for the unfettered joy of the kids practising on the CCI tennis courts behind my office.

Was visited by a summer trainee , who is working on how the strategy of my hoary function aligns with business strategy. Am flabbergasted on how quickly my state-of-the-art knowledge has dwindled and deteriorated in a trice, leaving me a shadow of the avaricious and unabashed tyro I once was. How time flies !!

The stock markets have crashed and the scrips have plummeted as in the Patiala cycle-stand, and the brokers have gone berserk in their anguish at losing their ill-gotten gains. The sly ones --you know those stupid, risk-averse types are already practising their " I told you so " expressions. What price progress...

Federer is getting better on clay--beating Coria, Hewitt & Moya on their preferred surface is a portentous sign that the guy means business, but I still think that I know my favourite Open far too well to accept that he'll wrest the crown from a plethora of dangerous floaters. I think Capriati may well look forward to penning her eventful life in a book and make good while her star shines.

Had a great experience on Sunday when I took my first ride in a sidecar ( that elegant thingummy wedded to the two-wheeler a la Sholay ). I was closer to "ground realities" and for once was able to stretch out and not smash into something metallic or electric. It could have been a more harrowing ride on say,GST Road in Madras or the Dhankavadi road in Pune. I still got more than I bargained for when the rider insisted on narrating how the sidecar was a technological advancement invented in WW2 as a surreptitious way to carry a machine gun, all this while careening down a highway at about 50 kmph ( which must be about 30 kmph more than the rated speed for the hamara Bajaj )


Thursday, May 13, 2004

It's a free ride and it's only begun--the days have begun to segue into one another leaving me drained and enervated--the work is multi-faceted and requires many Dilbertan attributes ( I am still grappling with the raison d'etre of Catbert, the evil HR Director )

The Government has changed--the public has spoken--meri awaaz suno, am ruminating over the fact that if Balram Jakhar , Shivraj Patil have lost, then is it a mandate or the three-dimensional juxtaposition of the scattered sentiments of a confused electorate ??I'll let sleeping dogs lie, politics is by , of and for the criminal classes. I'll just wrap my security blanket tighter and fret over my disconnect with most things--and incite the more truculent of my band to say harsh platitudes over my insouciance.

Reading Weekend Wodehouse--that's for the buffeted soul.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ooops !!
Just when I thought I knew all Life's answers, they changed all the questions !!

I was only half-conversant with the arcane modalities and esoteric instructions on learning to blog ( egged on by the reliable R from the sidelines ) when the blokes who own the site have decided on a new-look front and upset my well-crafted plans to come to terms with the nuances of modern science. Anyway....

Ah yes, the jury is out that we shall have a hung Parliament ( This is strange, I always thought the masses wanted the Parliament to be "hanged" )--more undeserved maligning our equine friends--interesting for a lay-man who will ponder or is this just an arithmetic exercise ( in futility ?) or some facets of Policy, agenda merit attention too.

Caught an expose' on the previous life ( sic) of Mallika Sherawat in the Sunday edition of the Indian Express.Fortunately, it did not read like a tabloid washing dirty linen in public--it was more a pensive affirmation and articulation of "facts" such as the girl is from a Delhi Public School, is married and from an affluent household of Civil servants, not the scion of a bucolic family in the hinterland, as claimed. Can the person act ??I don't know.

Had driven down to Pune yesterday, met with limited success. On the way home, the driver who had ignored my sleepy entreaties to read the signs, turned the wrong way and nearly brought me back to Pune after driving way past Chinchwad. Thoroughly annoying, especially when all you want is to slumber on .

So, Murali has roared past Courtney Walsh at the aweepstakes--I am quite sure that Test status can be unashamedly be revoked from the beleagured Zimbabwe team.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Trudged all the way to the aforesaid Reliance WebWorld outlet at Flora Fountain.
Holy cow, someone must have been reading this space because
a) Broadband still appears lofty to me ( this is my interbal locus of control etc )
b) There IS WATER at the Flora Fountain
c) The Reliance damsels and lads have switched to the Rahul Dravid school of customer orientation--suave, courteous

Moreover, they even have a Customer feedback form ( which of course merrily eschews all known facets of Marketing Research that I had heard of ).

If this is the impact my humble epistles have on a behemoth like Reliance, I can only dream on and fantasise that if the evil R had helped me get this thing started earlier, I may even have prevented the Iraq invasion
( Joking , joking, the R has been a Heavensend , an apostle of light and wisdom )

More morbidly, I get the gradual feeling that I am being watched--now that I have incurred the wrath of the Ambanis and the Arabs, my future hangs by a thread.

Was delighted beyond measure to catch up with two of my oldest surviving schoolfriends ( surviving= living in India ) on Saturday. Sameer, whom I have known since 1985 and Anil since 1992. We shared an interesting meal at Rama Nayak ( whose expose follows) at Matunga. It is a veritable wonder that all of us found that each had not really changed--despite half a dozen changes of location and family situations. We blabbered on in Anil's 24th story flat in Sion reliving the good old days in Madras.Hope to meet up with these guys more often now that all three are expats in Bombay.

Now we shift the scene to Rama Nayak, one of the more narcissistic refectories that I have had the privilege of dining in. Apparently, the scene is, one is required to buy a token , pay the money and wait for the powers that be to let the starved beings enter the altar of refreshment. Surprisingly, instead of the single-step processing that the likes of McDonalds swear by, this sagacious bloke follows batch processing. Now the most stupid of grub analysts would conclude that people like to chew the cud at their own pace, not finish their meals in shepherded multitides. So the outcome is, one waits inside the bally place hungrily awaiting some victual culmination. And then, the tables and benches are so narrow that a person of my proportions strives and sweats to get in ( needless to say after the meal one gets bigger and wider and the level of difficulty increases ). Yet, it has an admiring clientele borne by the newspaper clippings proudly proclaiming to be Bombay's first Udipi joint.

Matunga is more Madras than Madras--tawdry film posters, tacky shop signs, lots of pickle packets at outlets. The first time I saw it.

The folks have moved into the Panvel abode ( an own house, at long last !). The expected bickering and bantering on furniture positions, TV angles is still on.

Just a line on "Madame Bovary", Flaubert's opus--it's a simplistic tale but the author manages to engage the reader into taking the side of the protagonist ( which an indolent blurb-viewer may not have done )--replete with loads of detail and minutae, I find it perplexing that someone could describe a situation or a vista so very eloquently and completely--so different from the shotgun conclusions that today's writer draw with every phrase, every sentence.


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