Thursday, June 28, 2012

[Game] Football Chronicles

After a godknowswhatkindaday I watched the GODLY soaps and I was about to hit the sack at 10PM. That certainly was unlikely time to go to bed, but nevertheless (remember the godknowswhatkindaday?). That was when my brother called me and insisted that I should watch Spain Vs Portugal. My hubby, the great, already planned well in advance and slept from 7PM until 10 PM so that he could sit through the match!

10 PM we called dad, and asked if he and my brother could come home and we'd watch the match together! And he said – YES! By 12 PM we had the esteemed guests Dad and Brother at home. I made scrambled egg sandwiches, they brought chips and coke! And we made the match watching a ritual! This was the first semi-final of the 2012 Euro Championships and it deserved this respect don’t you think :P


Spain plays a defensive way, well we would have seen that during the World Cup. It was amazing to see the passes that they make, and keep possession of not only the football but their cool head. Though statistics showed 57% possession of ball by Portugal during half time. It was sheer pleasure to watch Spain play. (Like a red flower that triangulates here and there making petals – pathetic imagery, I agree)

*Yawns here and there and tries to shoo that sleep away*

A few minutes into the game. Arbeloa (Spain) missed a big chance of the night after he shot over the bar. The men trio were super enthused – yeah they supported for Portugal when I stood up for Spain. Brother told me a so and so newspaper had said “Ronaldo Vs Spain” which was apparently why he watched the match. A while later its a beautiful encounter : Ronaldo shoots high up in the air after he was fed beautifully in the middle.

*Notices that perhaps bro is right. There are reasons why Messi, Ronaldo, Sachin have their pedestals. He plays WAY too well. Standing motionless half the time, he manages to pitch in the right time*

The scoreline read 0-0 at the end of the first half with Portugal showing more aggression up front. Both teams showed some quality football but is yet to see any worthy goals. That’s when the men announce they want some Tea. Super crazy all of them are, and 1.30 into the night, I am boiling milk trying to make tea. God, what do you call this?

About 20 minutes after the start of the second half, Xavi went for the goal but was denied by Patricio. The game draws to the extra time, and all four of Portugal’s defenders are on a yellow. Soon Ronaldo drives a free kick into the wall. Alvaro Arbeloa gets a hand on it, and gets a yellow card. Ronaldo takes another free kick, but he did not miss by a little this time.I know this is all wrong on Arbeloa part...what was that.. erm.. Hand of God :P

*The sleep is gone for good*

Both Portugal and Spain failed to score after 90 minutes of the game. The match now enters extra time. Both the teams should be thoroughly tired now, I assume. I cannot dodge a ball for more than 15 minutes straight. Poor things, hmm, what people do in the name of passion! Cutting things short nothing much happened in the extra time, but for the fact some Booth (ghost!) entered into Spaniards and made them play more aggressively towards the end; attempting 3 goals, all of which were thwarted effectively by the Portuguese.

*Thumping in my heart is not heard, it is outdone by TV commentary. Thank god for that*

Making it 0-0 at even at the end of extra-time and moving into Penalty shoot out :-

  • Alonso walks in for the first spot-kick, MISSES, saved by Patrício.
  • Moutinho for Portugal. He is stopped by Casillas.
  • Iniesta, SCORES. 1-0 Spain
  • Pepe scores for Portugal, 1-1.
  • Pique, SCORES, 2-1 Spain.
  • Nani for Portugal, high to the roof of the net. 2-2. (He didn’t look like he was gonna score anywayss! So no excitement there :P)
  • Sergio Ramos for Spain, chips it into the net. 3-2 for Spain.
  • Bruno Alves, MISSES, hits the top bar. This could be the end of Portugal.
  • Cesc Fabregas scores. Spanish players flood the field. Spain is off to the final!!
Whoo hoo!! ;-) Beeee-utiful!

I can’t wait to watch the finals now whether its Vs Germany or not, and you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

[Book review] The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

Better late than never at appreciating India’s cultural diversity on my blog, here I begin…

Having known a few lovely Bengali girls at work/Training; Having loved a few beautiful Bengali actresses - Sharmila Tagore, Sushmita, Bipasha; Having adored the Bengali mammoths Uttam, Feludas and Satyajit Ray. I think the book satisfied my interest on the North East India.

Amitav Ghosh’s “The Hungry Tide” is a the story of Kanai Dutt, a translator turned Entrepreneur and the American cetologist with Indian origin, Piyali Roy; in the forays Sundarbans’ delta. The story evolves as the strangers meet in the Indian railgaadi travelling towards Lusibari and later their roads diverge – his to Lusibari to check on a package which is late uncle had left for him before his death – and hers to where she plans to immerse herself in the study of river Dolphins.

Beginning her journey with a government boat driver who beguiles her and tips her in crocodile infested water, her rescue comes in the form of a native illiterate fisherman – Fokir, who helps her (dramatically?) out of the murky water. She then decides to embark on her research with him, she faces language barrier as either one speaks a different tongue. Although they have a language barrier between them, Piya and Fokir are powerfully drawn to each other, sharing an uncanny instinct for the ways of the sea.

The lengths to which a marine biologist/ cetologist would traverse is portrayed beautifully. The search for Orcaella brevirostris or the Indian river Dolphin, is incredulous but leaves the reader with a LOT of indigestible technical information. Also invariably hues of the Tide country, its behavior during high and low tide – its niche involving crocodiles, murk and royal Bengal tigers are impressively etched. So that is a LOT of information for you to muster! Amidst the information hammock I found this folklore/myth very interesting -

Dakkhin Rai makes a pact with Dhona the honey collector in his Dhonas’ dreams – He agrees to give seven fleets full of honey and wax in turn for Dukhe, a poor shepherded boy. When the fleet reaches Kendokhali cha Dhona fills seven of his vessels with honey and wax after which he asks Dukhe to go and collect firewood, which Dukhe does inspite of knowing he will be left back by the company. The fleet promptly leaves without Dukhe as planned. Dakkhin Rai makes an appearance before Dukhe in the form of a tiger. Dukhe is terrified, he remembers his mother telling me to call for Bon bibi when in peril, he calls for Bon bibi – she along with her brother Shah Jangali defeat Dakkhin Rai and render Dukhe in safe hands.

Kanai comes unwittingly helpful as a translator between Piyali and Fokir, as expected. He is an egoistic know-it-all who flirts and irks the audience more than your average stereotyped-Indian-entrepreneur. He leaves to his hometown to inspect a piece of inheritance his uncle, Nirmal, left for him where he retrospects on the Morichjhanpi massacre incident of 1978-79. This incident where the Marxist Communist party is said to have evicted numerous Bengali refugees, is subdued and largely left for the audience to make up. However, the incidents left a large impact on me. Powdered with quotes from Rilke, those portions are pleasing to read.

The other secondary characters – Nilima, Kusum, Moyna, Tutul are strings of the same piece of fabric, hence don’t stand out like a sore thumb. Though there is lack in character of Piya’s parent and they remain a hallucinated image to you. As you move closer to the end, the muted emotions of Fokir kill the audience from making a relation to him. How and where the trifurcated roads of Piyali, Fokir and Kanai ends is the essence of the book all in all.

You like emotions as opposed to clingontheseat thrillers, there! Then go for it!

Rating 4 of 5

P/s I have discussed NO aspects of the story line, just in case you read it, I don’t want this review to be a spoiler. BUT, how effective is a review with just the outline of the story? First review, please suggest me options to improve! Thanks!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blank Pages

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 28; the 28th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'BLANK PAGES'.

6.35 AM Pandharpur Govt Misson Hospital

A puny head peeped out between the limbs of the soul where he stayed for ten whole months.*WAIL* He cried and made his presence felt. His father prancing before the operation theatre as cinematically as possible gave out a heave! He had a “SON”! He was a father!

In a matter of months, the little one soon grew at an alarming rate and a name keeping ceremony which was close knit function decided and named the baby - Pāndurang as per the parents vow to the Lord that graced the banks of Bhima river and Pandharpurs’ Vitthal temple.

Pāndurang S/o Venkatan was thus introduced.

Pandu grew up to be his grandpa’s favorite! His grandpa out of sheer curiosity had interested the five year child with a fountain pen and his diary. Pandu found the pen extremely messy, but steadily chewable – he found the diary smelly and disgusting – his maiden encounter with manuscripts and his vehement distaste for the same had just begun…

“Venkataa” he heard his grandpa calling out to his dad. “Haven’t you thought of putting the little one in school yet?”

“Yeah appa, I have already spoken with Ramanujam sir and the Principal, he told me to leave Pandu in school come Vijayadasami. He had even given this ‘Letter of Recommendation’” his father said, waving some written-paper into air “well.. it’s not all that easy to get into Bhimas’ school you see..”

He hated that white thing his father dangled. It has decided his fate...

4.40 PM Bhima Boys school, Pandharpur
Being in tenth standard and rarely living up to the expectation and high standards his school set, he lived only for the one season - the Sports meet. He loved Ball-Badminton more than Hockey and Hockey more than Tennikoit, the animal in him was unleashed when he was in the sports field; on the contrary he hated homework more than exams and exams more than lectures. His second most favorite day was the last day of exams, when he knew there would be two solid months of gilli, cricket and unstoppable fun!

But today, was the least favorite day of his – announcement of results. He knew he would not make it to PUC that his father wanted him to take, he would not become the Mathematics teacher his father wanted him to be, still he couldn’t stop the pounding his heart made as headed towards his friends. He borrowed the evening newspaper and saw his number, as expected, was not there.

His head went whizzing. Printed paper has won over him again…

Reaching home, he wiped the stream of sweat from his brow. Sneaked into his father’s study, did the unthinkable – He stole. Twenty whole freaking Rupees from his dad’s shirt and decided to run away from home to some godforsaken city. He walked steadily at a speedy pace towards the railway station which was seven miles always from his house. By the time reached the railway station, he was ravenously hungry – he happily settled for a set of masal-dosas. Settling his bill he knew he had less than 12 rupees.

 “This is unbelievably atrocious you doofus” his father was fuming “what cheek you have to put your foot again in this house? Pandu, you are SO shameless. You can even think of making your appearance after your indecent stealing act?”

 “Did I not grow you to be a well-mannered kid? Why did I even bear you?” his mother dramatically beat her stomach and wailed “The opposite house Ramu has passed, won’t you be able to do at least that much for us?”

He remained quiet. His grandfather came to his rescue fought against his parents and took him to the kitchen. “You must be hungry Pandu”, said he, “eat beta. And why is that you came back? That too to the devil of your father?”

“Thatha, the ticket collector said twelve rupees was not enough to even go to the next station, so did the bus-conductor.” His grandpa laughed loudly! He joined in, his mood loosening a bit and wore his guts out.

His father intercepted their laughter in the kitchen. “Why am I not surprised. Shameless and happy too; LISTEN you little scoundrel” he hollered, “Tomorrow you are joining the Land registration office for work. I knew something like this might happen, so I had back up plans for you. You better get your things ready and get some sleep”. “Here” – he handed out an envelope, “Your appointment to join as an Office boy”.

Two printed papers in one day? SHIT. This was TOO much.

4.25 PM, Commissionerate of Land Revenue, Pandharpur.

“Saar, you have a visitor” announced the office boy Mani.

Pāndurang looked through his glasses and said “Show them in”.

The visitor was a frayed old man, as he had expected - the brides’ father, who has come in the name of making a contact, in the truest sense he was nothing but an inspector investigating his case which was him, he thought.

“I am Shaambavi’father, I hope I am not disturbing you beta…”, the old man said and gave a sideway glance to his placard, it read – “V. Pandurang, Deputy Thasildar”. Mission accomplished; he would now have a government employee for a son-in-law, how lucky!

“Disturb? No mamaji, not at all”, he responded with a courteous smile.

*Ting* he called for the office boy dutifully. Two strong coffees, mani.

“No no babu”, he cried, “I am so full, I just went by this way so I thought I would see you. I will come and see father by this weekend. I better take leave now, the last bus leaves by 6 PM”, and he left.”

Damn it! He pounded the desk. Government job. He hated every minute of the paper work he was forced to do, he hated the Stamp papers more than he hated his files and vice-versa. Now, his marriage would be built on this faulty and pretentious foundation called Government job. He was nearing thirty, too old to push aside marriage. His head still whizzed.

10.00 AM, Vanavani Bhramin Community Hall

Shaambhavi was at her feet, greeting guests and seeing to that they are attended to. It was the first year birthday of their daughter, Vijitha, the girl they sired after eight years of childlessness. Ten years goddamned years. Today, it was his priceless daughters’ Ayushhomam, a havan performed for longevity. He felt proud as he saw his daughter play with her cousins almost 10 times her age!

He eyed Shaambhavi. Eleven years since their marriage, she was still looking as pretty as a lotus flower. Her only negative point was that she was literate and riddled him with epics and vedas, but on the other hand she was smart enough to chose the function-hall wisely enough to save money. It was a Bhramin Community Hall and only 40% had to be paid, she had told him.

He was contentedly reviewing his weightily married life, when some fool announced - “The girls are growing fast eh Pandu, soon you would be finding a school for them, looking out for recommendation, teaching nursery rhymes. Make sure you will give them a good education, will you? Time sure flies, doesn’t it?” That's when all his relatives pitched in and advised him high and low about education and what nots. He had a pounding headache.

Who was the dumb ass who started this topic? Who was the… *He fainted.*

8.30 PM Home.

He knew he had mouths to feed, but he can’t be faking his whole life like this. He popped an over dose of his sleeping pills - Death would be cowardice but yes, better than a bloody fake life. He knew he had matters to settle, once and for all. Prancing towards his father’s study, he sat at the desk that faced a long Teak window and started penning furiously…

Sunday, September 12th 1969.
Dear Father,
I know, I should not have been born in this family. But fate decided so. Sometimes, in life we can decide against the norms. Why is that father, you never paid heed to my distaste for education? Why? You thought you were doing good to me?  No. You never did. I wanted to be a P.E instructor teaching games to students. But here I am – a loser. A bad corrupt government official who hates every day of his life.

That day when I ran away from the house, when I couldn’t get tickets, I wanted to die right in front of the train; sadly fifteen years was a feeble to age to make that decision. I wish I had done that earlier. It would have saved a lot of hurt and agony. But better late than never, as you say.

Why did you get me married to Shaambhavi? You knew I rejected girls until I was thirty just because they were literate, you lied to me that Shaambhavi had done only her 8th when she was a graduate. How COULD you lie to me like that? Not that I dislike her, but I surely would have had a convenient life with someone much less educated.

What always mattered to you were education, money and pride; not me, my interests, or anything that remotely concerned my feelings. I thus, take part from the most unconcerned soul that existed in the whole vamsha. Let my next birth be a blessed one with much understanding blood connections.

With respect,

Monday 8.30 PM, Four doors of Yamapuri.
“Chitragupta, probably was not afraid of paper works”, he thought, dazed at his amusing identification. “Last dose of humor before heading through the South door to hell”, he added to his thought, “Hell undoubtedly; he had made a his wife a widow, stranded an old mans soul, left a child fatherless – his crimes were innumerous. He wanted to kill his soul for the blasphemed writing. How can pen something SO easily, which will plunge like a dagger in his loved ones? With the little theism left in him, he fell to his knees as he saw Him.

"Chitragupta namastubhyam vedaksaradatre" he chanted and prayed for “Blank pages”.

Tuesday 7.35 AM, Home.

She looked at the diary which lay on the study by the window. The previous nights rains had completely drenched it. She saw the entry on September twelfth, almost nothing was there, mere illegible scrawny lines and sodden empty pages except for a faint "Dear Father".

Dear Father, she bit her lip and chocked, this would have certainly been a loving letter that he had written for his father. She was certain about it, SO very certain. She was mildly jealous of her father-in-law for taking precedence in his thoughts over her.  “How lucky her father-in-law was to have such a loving son”, she thought.

Missing him exceedingly, she wiped the then faint words with her tears. Holding the battered blank pages tenderly to her bust and cried even more. LOUDLY, bitterly, and with love.  

The rains poured again and trying to compete with her tears. . .


References :

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