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Thursday, June 24, 2004

And there, I've scaled the icy heights of tourist regalia by taking my ( unaccountable) first dekko at the Taj--in whose memory all those paeans were hung to dry earlier. This was as a part of the many-splendoured exercises that the managers were put to as part of their strenuous schedule , and hence was befittingly planned at 6 AM in the morning. So I hit the sack after deciding on the basis of the far on offer that watching Germany capitulate to the Czech Republic or for that matter the inscrutable Dutch run rings around an overrated Latvijan side made little sense. So after setting the two mobile phones for an alarm call and the hotel help desk for a rooster wake-up at 5 AM, worse, waking up and then langurously drawing the ineluctable conclusion that I need another set of alarm times, finally the bus load of turistas reached the place.
Strangely, a battery operated bus ferries people till the entrance after which the eager viewer is frisked to the bone. Luckily we had a pair of excellent guides who made the imagery and the vividness come alive while dispelling many notions about the legend.The tomb itself has two gates on the side--one mosque and a guesthouse flank the monument.
The tomb is a masterpiece and even a layman can grasp the painstaking attention to detail and the quest for perfection--all in all, a fine work of art and some memories to cherish o a trip that has been quite time-tied and stretched.
Apparently, Shah Jehan had other grandiloquent plans that death beat him to, and thus this celebrated icon lives on--a tourist delight !!


Monday, June 21, 2004

I find myself in the city ( sic) that has sung the most enduring elegies of conjugal love ( and almost consequentially has India’s largest mental asylum at close call) and is possibly the nation’s proudest icon of culture and grandeur. Agra is just as any other place, dusty, smelly, of cow moos and tooting horns, of importunate and impecunious rickshaws, of bright-eyed fruitsellers.

I am on the verge of repudiating a insistent viral attack, that is hitherto braved a fusillade of antibiotics and other cures. It must be because the epicentre of the onslaught is an increasingly enervated immune system. Till then, the mind wanders, unable to focus and driven to distraction and weariness.

The Ameen Sayani radio programme has inexplicably gone off the air leaving me to face the torrent of abuses and attacks, and still some of the music played redeems the enormity of scope that the medium has to offer.

Proving my penchant for the zeitgeist and “with it” countenance, I now proceed to pen my thoughts on the first of the Harry Potter films-The Sorcerer’s Stone. I felt utterly betrayed as this flick could have hit home with any of these-the down-in-the-dumps demeanour of a societally discarded orphan as the protagonist, the first frills of excitement at learning for the first time that somebody cared-as the letters started to fly in, the buzz and the thrills as the allocation of School Houses happened, the will-never-quite-make-it disquiet of a Ron Weasley, the magic of learning something new and the first encounters with power, among others. Instead the director chose inexplicably to ignore all this and show in painstaking detail the wiles of Quidditch, the romp in the dark eliciting nary a shiver in the forest, and most unforgivably giving us an insipid, spineless, absolutely unlovable Harry.
Maybe there are certain elements in a book-the sinuous undulations of the plot, our experiencing the cast with our interpretations and analysis, our pace of absorption and bonding with the characters, and mostly our untrammeled freedom in getting into the skins of the characters, living like them , feeling like them, breathing like them-and all this is cruelly denied by the manic compulsions of a auteur impelled to create a spectacle for us that is spell-binding, memorable and perhaps being true to the work is a small price to pay.

The Euro 2004 has gone true to type in confounding the brazen predictions of the couch potatoes-Holland has been handily beaten, Portugal is struggling, Italy is squeaking and all is well with the world. I heard a smart-alec at the Nagpur airport mouth his odes to the comparative merits of Zi-Zou & Becks to his admiring friend, I should have strangled him but due to certain physical compulsions ( carrying two heavy bags ) and civic banalities, the dude lives on somewhere in Bombay. Is there no such thing as a sports/literary fatwa ??


Thursday, June 17, 2004

It was an event waiting to happen and the fact the Matsyagandha tragedy has occurred within seconds of Lalu taking charge should not obfuscate perpetual flaws and frailties that embody our Railways. The picturesque locales of the incident only heightened my anguish at the brush with death, as the cruel beauty of Mother Nature reared its head once more. Not so long ago, the Rajdhani met a similar fate in Bihar, which means that we have to shore up our safety nets on a war footing--at any cost. If all of us are aware that the antidiluvian bridges and hedges cannot pass muster, then the public can be told that some routes are cancelled till they are repaired. I'm sure the public would agree, except that every constituency will cry foul to its MP/MLA & therein lies the problem.

The monsoon has finally come to roost, a full two weeks late and I have paid a heavy price for my incessant taunting of the rain gods and intransigence by contracting a viral fever. And yet, I cannot stop as my schedule is packed tight till the end of the month.Trying every trick in the book and then some to weasel out time, and failing, honourably so.


Friday, June 11, 2004

A typically eloquent and mystical post from the great R.
My own take is a)It perhaps is not so iniquitable to have a feeling of longing or incompleteness, in various facets of Life; simply because it is this very fatuous futility that gives rise to overt, trenchant action.
b)The other side is of course what I have been maintaining for over a decade now--it seems verily improbable to expect to eke out a well-rounded bohemian mien that is underpinned on a lifestyle that is itsrlf so very banal & hackneyed. So this manifests differently in different people--some seek to excel through arduous effort in this game, some marvel at the ones who appear to have gone off the rails, with varying degrees of "success", and some carry out onerous chores of desultory vacillation, never sure of where they are or where they are going.

A stray beam of light at the luncheon break where I was told that I may present on the vicissitudes of District HR today but that has since evaporated and I may be forced to find my way again on the morrow.

The Fabric of Reality has since delineated the difference between Virtual reality & Image Generators on the topic of sensory perceptions/illusions. It's engrossing , whatever else it may be.

The venerable Laloo has asked his moniker to be altered on official records to Lalu--as long as does not ask for more "rum" at Parliament.

Was listening to " Confluence" yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised to hear it as the " One minute please" tunes of someone whom I called, and was slightly disappointed when the person came on line--I wish I had asked him to pipe down and let me continue on that melody !!

Am terribly tongue-tied today--have committed innumerable spoonerisms.Sometimes this happens and how I envy those who can speak clearly without expending effort--I mean like Azhar.

Read the article on how Anjali Bhagwat was not recognised at the Olympics Flame charade at Delhi, and someone thought she was from the Press. Truly amazing and humiliating, for her, and us !

The radio stations are in full throttle about the rains, but Varuna is unmoved ( I refuse to accept that pusillanimous philandering Indra coudl command anything ). Have been advised to get my galoshes and oars ready--Row, row , row your boat gently drown the steam, oops, gently down the stream.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Have assiduously discovered same facts of corporate life--Nobody receives Fax messages, (unless the recipient is waiting at the end of the tether like a hungry dog after a bone), and the fax messages float harmlessly to the bin; Nobody reads e-mail, weighed down as we are by the deluge of material that assails us incessantly; Nobody listens to one another, too full of what we have to accomplish and what we have yet to complete. What is the purpose of all this ??
Dashed if I know--who do you think I am --J Krishnamurthi ?

The Ameen Sayani programme is really growing on me--I'd say that the old dear is a tad less contemporary than I'd like, but eminently listenable and enjoyable. He sometimes does get caught out endeavouring to put words in the interviewees' mouths but does extricate himself commendably and competently.

The Fabric of Reality has finished with trashing the precepts of Inductivism, Instrumentalism, Solipsism and Positivity--lest this sound like a philosopher's tome, I shall state that it's crammed with physics and arguments. Pretty decent reading it so far and am happy that it caught my eye at the library.

The weather has turned cloudy and it is rumoured to have rained in the wee hours--never trust a Bombaiyya. The spectre of surplus work already weighs on my frail shoulders as I contemplate the whole of the next week spent travelling and then off to a training programme in Agra. Hmm, we are headed for choppy seas, even if the Euro were not round the corner.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The legal eagle who caused all that frenetic work earlier has thrown down the gauntlet--the faint beginnings of a contretemps. He has stitched up the insolence to send me a letter casting aspersions on all kinds of organizational misdemeanours, and I am forced to scurry for cover.

The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that Gaudio was a wretchedly undeserving bloke who made good.Wimbledon beckons and I hope Tiger Tim delivers.Cjlisters has opted out and who could care less, a wonder that a person of her talent can even think of winning a major, but after Myskina, my lips are sealed.
The accursed USA flounders on, I hope we get our quadrannual dose of fun in the elections --the person with the lesser number of votes winning in a bicameral poll. Atleast in India, one has to rig the place or booth capture to win !

Began a book called the Fabric of Reaiity of David Deutsch, though most papers whisper gibberish on the fabric of realty.It claims to decode metaphysical truths in the language of physics and science--tis very promising so far.

Caught a neat radio programme on FM yesterday--a tribute to the incomparable Mohd. Rafi with Ameen Sayani recounting what the composer giants had had to say when the great man died. I had not heard too many songs earlier, yet I found them hauntingly beautiful.I must resolve to hear more of this and less of Mujhe Naa kahena nahin aata ( my first reacton was-what a fantastic way to begin a training ptogramme on assertiveness )

The Euro is around the corner and a good friend of mine has said Russia will win--that has set me thinking and I will recheck the relative strengths before a prognosis is ensued.As usual the tenuous murmers of work at the time make their enfeebled way. Damn !!

I was told that karmic cycles may vary but the monsoons in Bombay do not--I stand utterly mystifed at the complete absence of a drop of moisture. Like Hanuman, I tell myself, I don't know my own strength.

Anchored a Product Knowledge Workshop on Agarbathi today--it was a CBT ( Computer based Training ) . The readers may be excused for grimacing as they are fully aware of my distinct lack of propinquity to both Computers and Agarbathis--but such, such is life !


Monday, June 07, 2004

Finally, the slugfests at the French Open are over, the dust has cleared and we will return to normal English at a Slam
Candidly, two of THE worst singles finals that I;ve seen--Myskina vs Dementieva was a tragedy, one playing exactly the way I played doubles all those years ago, safe than sorry, like a cat wet in the rain-this was Myskina by the way, Dementieva has an Olympics silver but played like a scalded pup, it was a sigh of relief that the match ended in less than an hour--even Natalie Zvereva atleast tried against Graf--abysmal !
This was an ameliorative treatise becalming the fact that I had stated in one of the previous blogs that the Russian girls are not yet ready to win at a Grand Slam.

I still have not figured out what transpired between Coria and Gaudio yesterday--it seemed eerie, I think Coria tanked the fourth set quite openly,and even parts of the third. I'm not sure that he was quite fit enough , and it was petrifying to see Gaudio play that badly in the fifth. I've had this notion that something is quite creepy about Coria for some time, maybe his staturs, game; although I'd maintain that he deserved to win it this year. The French has this habit of making a guy wait till he;s ready in all respects--am sure he'd win it the next year--all in all, some great singles matches.
Obviously, I remind the reader that I thought that a dangerous floater would triumph , and I stand vindicated. One out of two ain't bad !

Pascual & Suarez swept the doubles and my favourite team didn't even break sweat except in the quarters.
Malisse & Rochus were rightful winners against a very good Llodra & Santoro--by far, the best final on display.

Spent the weekend reading Hotel du Lac --it's a nice Victorian easy-paced read about an aging writer--her companionship with a quaint old woman, a mysterious la femme fatale with anorexia nervosa and a mature businessman who proposes marriage. Very free-flowing ( sorry, Captain Cook ) and strong images of character, biases and apprehensions. Recommended read, definitely !


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Hey, hey, hey--seems such a pleasure when I got to see my long-awaited Kuerten-Federer match on Saturday--far far away from the insidious maelstroms of the office and in the right frame of mind. A great experience as Guga gave F nary a chance. In fact, this year's French Open seems unusually open--most of the seeds have had their teeth rattled by the Argentines--who let us say it sooner rather than later have been opportunistic. The Indian interest was alive and kicking in Bhupathy & Mirnyi although the other combos have bitten the red dust a tad too soon.Surprise, surprise, the Williams sisters are out too so we could well have a new champion , and Good Heavens, my fav doubles gal Suarez is in the quarters too. Saw Henman play possibly the best I've seen him play against a nonplussed Chela, I hope H will not add to the long list of B+ playets whose swan song ( more a dying gasp, really )has been the French Open--Stich, Medvedev, Leconte..

On the same night showed the tenacity to actually finish a murder mystery--Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell--twas most readable and not in the grippy page turner mould--human insight and all that esoteric stuff which the ( self-effacing) HR Pro will not deign to expostulate upon. I've also begun Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner--a hotel setting a la The Everest Hotel, Time Stops at Shamli.That's a swell way of beginning a tale, narrative-wise.

Had been to Pune on Monday for work and yet again the driver contrived to lose his way--I have a thing or two going with nutty drivers .

I announce solemnly that after ignominious rejections, increased blood pressure and a stray expletive, I am now the proud owner of not one but two credit cards. Money--easy come, easy go !!


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