Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A little bit of this and a lot of that

Oh yes, this year's ending. I begin to thank whoever remembers to flick the calender each day, only to be interrupted by the thought of having to face another year soon. Suddenly, the person in-charge of the calender looks like a bulls eye my quiver can't resist.

Some people, make that most, never seem to appreciate the magnitude of restraint it takes to do something. Even the short and cynical guy can at times be hopeful that there is a face in the crowd that can see what a struggle it is. What is done is, more often than not, praised till the skies dry up. What isn't done, however, is barely recognised. What isn't done, when it so easily could have been done.

Sachin Tendulkar has retired from ODIs. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this feeling of the world-crumbling-around-me-for-I-do-not-recognise-it-without-one-of-the-surest-signs-that-has-been-around-since-I-bothered-to-look-over-my-shoulder isn't new. When Michael Schumaher retired, I wept. I sat smug in college for an entire day, blaming everything from a squeaky chalk to a lime juice with less-than-normal sugar for why the world looked darker than usual. And then again, six years later, a familiar feeling. Only this time, it was amplified a million times, thanks to the knowledge that I will not, for whatever reason, be subjected to that insurmountable joy once again. Fans of Shahid Afridi (*points and laughs at any such person*) might know this feeling.

The dashing guy that I am of hopes and dreams, yet another task was fully completed over the course of this week. Sadly, however, the results weren't premeditated. 

An incredibly crude joke I made in Shanghai might have made the night at that table, but the knowledge that that particular punch line had landed on the ears of six people from four different countries is only exponentially multiplying the cringing.

While time tested patterns are running their course and refreshing themselves, I sit in my same old corner wondering what I did differently this time to avoid those patterns and how, despite what seemed like best of my efforts then, they still managed to repeat themselves. 

Friday, 30 November 2012

A stagnant stream

Suddenly, everything is just stationary. Life stopped moving ages ago, mind you. The mind isn't as active as it used to be and the heart has let it become that way. The will to fight back exists, but laziness has a killer upper cut.

It's beautiful. There's this floating person watching this person in a bubble, struggling to get things in order, getting his feet tied up over absolutely nothing and ducking down just in time to let the big things swoop past him.



It's a pity that stories are told. It's a pity that the effort taken to tell them is monumental compared to the laziness that prevents one from reading it.

May be some stories need to be weighed individually and not against a history that has seen sparkling examples. Laziness though, is effortlessly universal.


It is not stationary because I am waiting for some one great thing to happen that will sweep the flooring from below me. Neither am I saying that the things that have happened/are happening are of little consequence in the bigger picture. Some of them are huge pivotal moments. Just that I couldn't care less or I wouldn't miss much had they not happened.

"Life has to fall apart so you can try and rebuild it to your liking (which of course isn't possible as it is only going to fall apart again and you're supposed to draw solace from the fact that you've done something during the course of this rebuilding.)"

Meanwhile, the anticipation has taken a tumble from the cliff. For good, may be.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Why Ferrari is not entirely in the wrong

First off, I am a huge fan of Formula One and Ferrari. The first ever sight of F1 I remember watching is that of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari taking out Jaques Villeneuve's Williams at Jerez in 1997. Ferrari was, is and will be the reason I have anything to do with F1. That said, I believe I am objective enough to look at this sensitive issue as a by-stander.

So, the facts.

The Italian Navy men are held in Indian soil right now. They are out on bail. They have been charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen. The matter is sub judice. The Indian authorities want to try them according to Indian law. Italian authorities argue that they should be tried back home as the incident happened over "International waters."

Ferrari has decided, in its usual anti-establishment display of passion (patriotism, in this case), to run its cars in the Indian GP with a flag of the Italian Navy, where it usually sticks a flag of Italy.

Should Ferrari have involved itself in the issue? As a sports team, definitely not. Sports and politics should be kept away like an angry mother-in-law and wife. Sports is called that precisely for a reason, it's entertainment. But that's the thing with Ferrari. As someone who's followed its evolution in the last decade or so both on the F1 circuit and in the automobile industry, I can safely say that Ferrari is more than just a team in Italy.

In the hinterlands of Maranello, Ferrari is a promise. The families of that little town have worked with the company for generations. The mere sight of a Ferrari puts a smile on their faces. There is passion right there. The F1 team of Ferrari is but a fragment of Ferrari's business worldwide. F1 is just a marketing tool for its cars.

That, however, gives them no right to associate themselves with murderers. Make no mistake, the two Navy Men are murderers, in international waters or not.

Ferrari needs to have understood that misplaced passion is as sanctimonious as any action out there. But, as an entity it needed to show its support to its authorities, authorities that want the Navy Men to be extradited to Italy.

No one in their right minds would think that Ferrari, by displaying the Italian Navy's flag, supports the actions of the murderers. There's something fundamentally flawed with that person if they think so. What Ferrari has done is to show support to Italian authorities. It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Two sides to everything

Words are often misused, limiting their effects. I’m a journalist and I throw around words like a used tissue. Words like depressed, disturbed and disappointed for instance are so overused that the gravity they carry is often misrepresented. But at times, as misfortune would have it, there just isn’t a better word.

For instance, I for one am deeply disturbed and at the same time mildly elated with the protests in Madras that have been incited by the allegedly anti-Muslim film. While it is odd for a single event to evoke contrasting emotions, this incident is right up there with the crazy ones. For instance, there is a high possibility that most of the protestors might not have watched the film at all (Neither have I). The film, as far as I know, is available only on Youtube. Not that protests have a high record of logical backing, but this one might just top the chart in terms of its ridiculous aims. They want President Obama to first apologise for the film and then order the hanging of its director. If pigs took to the sky when a black man became US’ President, there’s a good chance they might have to cross the thresholds of the solar system for this to happen.

To open the newspaper in the morning and to see your city’s roads ravaged, vehicles burnt and buildings smashed at the behest of nothing but stupidity is incessantly disturbing. I have never for once pegged my city’s people for such actions. Be that as it may, given that a big chunk of respect has eroded on one hand, there’s a sense of pride that has bubbled to the surface, for all this while, I had a feeling Madras never really cared much for anything.

When the Sri Lankan govt was rampaging through the traditional strongholds of the LTTE, the Tamil folk across the sea made silent protests at the usual places, letting the city’s people go about their everyday jobs. Every December 6th, one is warned to be a bit careful about going out, especially in Muslim-dominated areas. Never in my two decades of living here have I heard of anything untoward happening on that day. However, the city has seen its fair share of mob fury. Shops have been looted when political leaders died and buses have been burnt when a school kid died by falling off a bus. But those actions, at least as far as I can see, have a little bit of anger, something I can empathise with, behind them. Not to belittle the emotions of the protestors, the film might have insulted them, but what good is damaging a few CCTV cameras outside the American embassy going to do to ease that pain.

On the other hand, things have been unnaturally quiet for the past two decades. It was only when the Tsunami struck was the city collectively worried about something. People feared for their lives, locals approached the beaches with a little trepidation for a few weeks following the Tsunami and the memories of that Sunday morning still haunt many a fisherman. But apart from that, zilch. The first Anna Hazare movement saw a few hundred gather at an abandoned building in Adyar, but very few bothered to show up during his consecutive fasts. Something closer to home like the Kudankulam reactor hasn’t managed to make many of the Mamas and Mamis of Madras put a finger on their noses.

Which is why, when the protests in question actually took place, a little part in me was a bit joyous. There was a tinge of satisfaction that this city could feel something, that when some if its citizens suffer - albeit allegedly in this case - the people don’t leave them to rot whilst going about their daily routine. The city doesn’t shove something under a carpet and go about its business of giving a damn about its downtrodden.
Having lived within 20 metres of a wine shop pretty much all my life, I have seen many drunken men sleeping on the platform beside their own vomit. I have also seen a guy bring a van full of food to feed some of the homeless every Sunday morning. This city cares about its people, be it the overtly rash bike-rider who’s just encountered an accident or a near-blind senior citizen waiting to cross the road.

And when something as precious as religious sentiments are hurt, the people fight back. They should. 

Friday, 31 August 2012

The lack of it

There is a point to waiting, but it is not this. There a strength in patience, but it is not this. There is a virtue in holding back, but it is not this.
There is a person in this equation, he is not me.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Today has been one of those I'd like to recall sometime late into the future. It's been that kind of a day when dreams are shattered and reforged into something much more spectacular. It's been a day when something that was long overdue saw fruition, only, there was no amount of rational bracing that prepared me for what happened.

Today was one such day when the stars looked brighter, the moon looked milkier, the humidity made me sweat beads of joy and life as such was put on the spotlight. It's amazing how something you've wanted for well over three years finally happens and you're stuck there, having nothing to do, nothing to say, your brain freezes and the moment just lingers, tapping its fingers on the wood hastily, waiting for you to respond. And what do you do? Put up a performance so stoic, it'd make a deer on headlamps look like a log.

Today has been . Today has been immeasurably brilliant, monumentally satisfying and I'm secretly hoping for a repeat. 

I'm writing this down because I know for sure that my stress addled brain has lost all concepts of memory retention.

Today, this day, 24th June 2012, Ferrari won the European GP in Valencia with the Scumbag Spaniard on P1, Kimi Raikkonen on P2 and Michael Schumacher on P3.

Friday, 20 April 2012

And the sun shines!

Twitter killed the blogger. Yep.

For once, I'm not whining. I'd even hazard a walk on the chirpy side and say life's a big cup of vanilla ice cream at present. Little has changed mentally, however. The coming of some fragments of joy have been interspersed by the usual mind-numbing queries. But after I don't know how long, the former is trumping the latter, considerably.

Work has been interesting in the past two months. It hasn't been too different to be honest. May be the way I look at it and treat it has changed. If so, I'm not sure how that happened. May be an inevitable end has a role to play in one's approach to the end itself. The fact that you hope an issue ends a certain way does affect your perception of it I suppose.

On a normal day, I'd be brooding over this and trying to figure it out. But not now. Now, I'm cheery, chirpy and I sound like I've swallowed a bowl of sunshine for breakfast. If this is what bare-minimum levels of contentment would do to a person, I'm not sure I want it.

It's all going to crumble down to the default state soon anyway.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Just move on already

There is something I don't understand about us Indians. What is it about terming everything under the sun as offensive? Do we actually get offended? Or do we just want something to outrage about? Being offended, I think, is a very strong reaction, not very different from hatred. Question someone on them painting something as they 'hate' and they're quick to downgrade it to dislike.

If it's not some stereotype in an American movie, it's some obscure village in Serbia you've never even heard of, banning a book you probably didn't bother to read other than those recital competitions in school. Nobody wants to outrage at a certain Indian stand-up fellow being typically racist about everybody in the world (hey, he's doing it about everybody, so it's not racist,) but you want to go hammer and tongs at some random dude who probably bet with his mullah friend that he can make it to the national papers by issuing a fatwa against a form of exercise.

I am not asking you to outrage less and not waste your energy and all that. Saving your energy is of no concern to me. But if you do want to scream at someone at the top of your lungs, scream at the person who gave food to the semi-nude tribal wanting to see a dance, not at the cameraman who filmed it. If you want to get offended, be so at your politicians who have effectively voted themselves into power and done nothing for you, rather than tweeting the hell out of how Kolaveri is an insult to Tamil film lyrics and all that jazz.

Do what you want, I'm nobody to tell you not to, but when stupidity is mooning you, you've all but joined the stupids if you don't outrage about them.