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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


After four gru-ell-ing days spent under the aegis of a gimlet-eyed Canadian/Australian trainer at Gurgaon, I hit Madras dimly aware that the weekend would be spent up to the gills with work.
Trudged up to the office and was exhilarated to find the doors securely locked. Did the equivalent of throwing my hat into the air and was on the verge of skipping back when sanity prevailed and I took the very Indian route of the side-door. Sure enough, it was a holiday ( Guru Nanak Jayanti ) but the usual suspects were already hard at it. Gone are the days when I could have muttered a sullen word and retraced my steps. Hence, ploughed through the day during which I was also given to understand that most folks would be going for a picnic from Saturday morn on and only three of us would work on that day too. Bad to worse !
Managed to finish earlier than usual on Sat though--a blessed relief to the battered mind and the bruised soul.
Finally found a Saravana Bhavan, which true to its patent retro-elitism was safely tucked away in a thicket inside the Shanthi theatre. A grand meal--great food, attentive service--Culinary Heaven. Of course, it doesn't need me to build on the profound goodwill it enjoys--deservedly so . The only quibble that I could think of was the rather tepid attempt to serve Mughlai ( ouch !) and Chinese cuisine.
Madras auto-drivers are as rabid, insouciant and divinely confident as ever. Contemptible scoundrels--every one of them. I mean, which other breed would endeavour to overcharge all the people all the time by such insane missives such as--I charge more because--It's the time of night/day/morning/evening------- It's raining/hot/wet/windy---- Petrol prices have increased/Roads are bad/Passengers are bad ----You weigh too much ( While this, sadly is true, they meant the luggage )---
Spent the Sunday with my gran and uncle at a place the journey to which I was forewarned but not forearmed about. Took the physically-easy but fiscally-tougher route of a Call Taxi. The ride was composed mostly of the Lonely Planet's description of Idaho ( or was it Iowa ?)--5 % Dirt Road and 95 % Countryside. I am made of sterner stuff though so survived hardily enough.
Saw a Liverpool-Arsenal match to the gory end--the Gunners losing through the last kick of the game. There are problems galore now, Ljungberg not in form, a patchy Cole, an overworked Vieira, the anemic and enervated Reyes and Fabregas both finding that the EPL requires a body too and not just a gossamer talent, Lehmann very erratic. Yet I persevere .... Beauty shall conquer the Beast
And hey, what do we have here ?? The cocky Aussies seem to have quietly buried their ambitions of scoring more than four an over in Tests. I think that more noise can be made on this. The Kiwis fought to the last ball, but the absence of Tuffy, Bond and Cairns renders their attack stingless. Among the other Aussie delusions of grandeur have been the Rotation Policy ( learn from Pakistan ) and the Hellenic ambidextrous monsters that they sought to inflict.
Contrived to find a colourful Daffy Duck Bag granted by an overly munificent air hostess. This is meant for kids, but methinks she unearthed the , uh, entelechy. Couldn't shove the thing into my bag on touchdown soon enough. Log kya kahenge --yeh samaaj ki zanjeerein. Phew !


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