Thursday, March 31, 2011

That special match last night!

My throat is sore from screaming too much & and my palms are sore from clapping too often!

I have new respect for Nehra - for delivering a good performance when everyone doubted whether he deserved to be there.

I have new respect for Raina's composure - dude, I had to pee twice in two overs just watching you play and you were there. In the middle of it all.

I have new respect for Sachin's shoes - I can't imagine being them; imagine if people went around calling you God's shoes; the sheer weight of a billion hopes would wear you down.

I have new respect for tiramisu as a dessert - for getting India a wicket every time I took a bite.

I have new respect for Afridi - that was a good-spirited post-match speech way too mature for his young age of 20 (what, we're not sticking to that story anymore?)

Clearly, Manmohan Singh is not a person for photo-ops. He couldn't have looked more bored.

I dreamt of Mumbai last night, with people merry-making on the streets; with loud fire-crackers waking up those old folk who didn't bother staying up for the game; with its empty offices the next morning where people don't show up because they assume its a holiday when India beats Pakistan in a World Cup. And then the camera (my dreams are cinematic) zoomed in on Wankhade Stadium & there were drums rolls, colourful wigs, a thousand flags, cheers & a packed house waiting expectantly. It's been so long since these people believed in anything.

Friday, March 25, 2011

And in the spirit of the season....

The agony of that wait
Both hands on the head
The sinking of the heart
And then a glimmer of hope
Perhaps a benefit of doubt?
Perhaps not?
Holding back a cheer
But letting go of a clap
As the world moves in slow motion
The fate of a billion
Reviewed by one third-umpire!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The worst days at work are made of this:

* I'm half-way through with making changes in a spreadsheet when Excel crashes & I have saved nothing.
* I fill-in an online form & the "Save/Submit" button at the bottom has turned a dissmal grey & my mouse does not have the power to save or submit all the information I've painstakingly typed out.
* I make a presentation in a new version of powerpoint but when I open it from a laptop with another version of powerpoint, all my pretty pie-charts are climbing on top of one another.
* I forget the Lotus Notes password I changed only a moment ago.

And people still think the Financial Crisis was tough on bankers!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Kathakali Dancers of Kumarakom

One of the coolest moments of the trip was when we got to see the dressing room of the Kathakali dancers. I have studied Indian classical dance, but this was my first exposure to Kathakali in particular. It's unique in many ways; its much more colourful, theatrical & larger than life as compared to a Bharatnatyam; even the music makes louder & more dramatic use of percussion; the focus being on story-telling as much as the raw art of dance itself (I think modern day Bollywood may perhaps be the closest cousin if it could qualify as classical).

And while I don't think the performers we saw were the best in the business -- they were tourist sell-outs actually rather than enthusiasts of the art -- but the experience of watching them put on their "show face" was a treat by itself. The painting of the face & wearing of the elaborate costume is a long laborious process & is symbolic of various themes (the male hero is green-faced; the villians are red-faced; and so on). It was shocking to see how much the whole costume actually weighs; it must take a strong man to dance with that skirt & head-gear.

I would love to watch a more "real" Kathakali performance someday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A week in the backwaters of Kerala

We landed in Kochi on Saturday & took a taxi to Kumarakom the following morning. After driving past hundreds of Mamoothy billboards & numerous cafes called "Malabar Palace", we reached our resort facing the beautifully tranquil Lake Vembanad. There was a constant (but slow & peaceful) traffic of fishing boats & house-boats sailing past our villa & we saw postcard-like images of the rustic life on the backwaters. On Thursday, we boarded a house-boat to Allepey. As we sailed past the lush green, we realised that this is how life should always be: surrounded by loved ones & with complete peace of mind. The coconut palms & clear skies are just a bonus.Special thanks to our boat-man Biju who turned out to be a great cook & gave Kabeer a new career aspiration ("I want to be a boatman, mama"). He also rocked the lungi.

The town of Kottayam was the exact opposite of Kumarakom; it was bustling with activity & felt like Laxmi Road in Pune on a Sunday afternoon. There were red ST buses; roadside hawkers; cars, rickshaws & bicycles; and a thousand pedestrians all using the same narrow "highway" under the blissful delusion that there's ample space for everyone. God, how I love Indian cities!