Sunday, December 02, 2007

My Opening to Page 3 -- Ankush's new Book !

It was during the late nineties that I joined the not-so-exclusive club of listless-Delhi-to-Gurgaon-commuters. During those days we had the unprecedented luxury of an employer provided bus which would at reckless and breakneck speeds, ferry us between Gurgaon and Delhi. To distract me from the near death experiences during this roller-coaster-esque ride to Gurgaon and back, I decided to carry some reading matter with me. That is when I discovered Page 3.

The Times of India served the purpose of the above mentioned reading matter. This particular publication had been picked for two reasons. Firstly, I thought that the regular perusal of a newspaper ( the TOI being a newspaper ) would broaden me as a human being, and secondly, it was extremely convenient to pinch the neighbour's copy on my way to work. So there I was, one day, trying to catch up on the latest political developments, whilst being violently jolted from side to side, when my eyes fell on Page 3. I immediately knew that it was the one. It was the only way in which I could ever get my picture into some sort of publication, and if I should fail to do so, the rest of the voyage of my life would be bound in shallows and miseries.

There however was a slight problem. To get my characteristically facile smile flashing on Page 3, I had to be someone, or actually know someone. I am sad to report that despite my sincere efforts, I magnificently failed on both counts. As a result, over all these years, no Page 3 happiness has ever graced my unfortunate life. I am therefore now, extremely happy to deplane the news that at last, the silver lining has appeared. There is hope. I now shall ( most probably ) not be denied my rightful place under the Sunday Supplement anymore !

The news is that my good friend and the possessor of a gigantic brain, Ankush Saikia has unleashed his first book. The book is called Jet City Woman and the prosaic details for the book can be found here. The cover of the book looks like this: (Click to zoom)

Ankush of course, has been previously short-listed for his very clever writing in the Outlook/Picador India Non-Fiction Competition. The short-listed entry is called Spotting Veron and was one of the better travel essays that I had read in some time.

This time around he has published a complete novel. It is an intense, funny, sad and engaging coming-of-age novel set in New Delhi and in north-eastern India. The author also maintains a blog, documenting the happenings and events around his first book. I would therefore urge my scant readership to go visit the blog and also buy the book and in the process, promote my brainy chum.

The Readership, at this point of time, must be raising its collective questioning eyebrow, and asking "Whats in it for you chump ?" Some must be also asking "And what of the Page 3 tish-tosh that you were waffling about ?" The combined answer is -- long awaited Page 3 domination ! Allow me to soberly outline the whole process.

  1. Hordes of impatient readers converge in bookstores and start buying Ankush's book like there is no tomorrow.
  2. Ankush, as a result, is showered with an insane amount of biscuits, doubloons and accolades.
  3. Ankush starts getting invitations to extremely trendy parties and fashion shows.
  4. He, in a moment of foolishness, invites me to one of these parties.
  5. I appear on Page 3, in the Sunday Supplement, wearing a violently pink shirt and carelessly holding a drink, in a photograph titled -- Ankush and friend.
  6. I achieve elusive happiness !

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This makes...

Priyanka Chopra's raising-Mother-Teresa-from-the-dead look like the theory of relativity... Seriously !

Friday, September 07, 2007

On Watching Hyderabad Blues - 2

Me: You know what sweetie ? I really did not like the movie....

G.: Why ? It is a tolerable movie. Is it not ?

Me: No it is not that. The point is, that I really cannot relate to all this stuff... This family thingy... you know ? All this sipping tea on the balcony; All this baby planning, and all that stuff.. you know ? That is not really me. It is not my type of storyline. Not my kind of movie. I just am not able relate to all that stuff...

G.: Aaah.. I see... Not the kind of movie you identify with... Let me see... The kind of movie that you would identify with, would be about a guy, who spends all his time at home watching TV, or surfing the net. So, this guy's wife gets very angry. Really angry. So, this wife ends up brutally murdering her husband with a shiny meat-cleaver. Get the picture ? Now does that sound like a movie you could easily relate to ? Huh ?

Me: Yeah... probably... What ?

Friday, June 01, 2007

About Afternoon Naps at the Workplace

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lazy man with access to a voluminous free lunch must be in want of a quick nap in the afternoon. Although I have deep appreciation and respect for the above mentioned want, I would like to warn one and all against yielding to such an urge when one is in the workplace. It is an indulgence fraught with peril, as I have very recently discovered. I am aware of the fact that the robust section of my scant readership would collectively ejaculate a scornful "Pah !" at my marked pusillanimity, but I would like to warn the robust section that such a cavalier attitude is in fact, utter foolhardiness. Allow me to describe the the dangers surrounding the whole exercise.

All skill practitioners of the afternoon-nap-at-the-workplace fully realize the importance of being sufficiently horizontal for the successful execution of the activity. The new-fangled ergonomic chairs at the workplace however, do not agree with one's desire to be horizontal. They actively oppose any such effort on the part of the aspiring napper. This inflexible stance on the part of the stiff chair then necessitates the lifting of the feet onto the desk, while sitting on the chair. This approach, in one fell swoop, neutralizes the inconveniences introduced by the obduracy of the chair. The chair however does not take this whole scheme too well. Having been relegated from it prior position of power, the alienated chair, in an act of existential angst, decides to tip over with a raucous clang. Due to this sudden development, one is left with one's feet on the desk and the rest of the anatomy suspended in mid-air. The astute reader will have realized that such a juxtaposition between man and desk cannot be maintained for a protracted period of time. So, one falls down, while one's feet are still resting on the desk. During the descent, one's head catches the edge of the laptop. Also, in an act of self preservation, one tries to grab at something which might break the fall. One therefore grabs the keyboard. The keyboard however, magnanimously decides to join the descent.

When the dust settles, one realizes that one still has his feet on the desk, while the rest of the person is uniformly dissolved in a concoction of cables, keyboard, chair and floor. One also finds the pretty girl in the adjoining cubicle peering into one's remains, and making polite queries regarding one's general health. Muffled laughter is heard in the background.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Holy Moly !

Twenty-eight villages in the Indian state of Haryana have banned cricket following India’s World Cup exit. "We all have taken this decision and those who go against it will have to face social boycott,” said a spokesman for one of the villages. "We will stop playing it. We will play kabaddi, football, volleyball and wrestle instead."

Priceless !!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Greg Chappell says Bite Me -- The Translated Interview

Oh yes ! It has happened. The sixth-ish or seventh-ish ranked team which was expected to end up in the  first-ish or second-ish position by a billion-ish feverish fans has proved itself not to be really good enough to qualify to the top eight-ish.  In the wake of such an unexpected turn of events,  the Great Indian Yellow Media ( which already has pitched in with some of the most incisive and investigative reporting on the tragic Bob Woolmer affair ), decided to rest their perspicacious gaze on the Indian Team's benign coach, demanding an explanation for the tepid performance on the part of the blokes in blue. The Indian coach, in his customary bonhomie, has come back with his oft repeated "Bite Me !".

For the benefit of the members of my scanty readership who have not been able to discern the more robust undertones of this cockles-of-the-heart-warming exchange, I in my habitual generosity, have translated a few selections from the conversation itself.

Who should take responsibility for this defeat?
I think it's a collective responsibility. We didn't play well enough and it is a disappointment that everyone has to share.
It is all your fault ! Is it not ?
Bite me ! The monkeys in blue are to blame. I am of course, as I always have been --- perfect !

Would you like to continue as coach?
This is not the time to talk about that.
Time you called it a day eh ? (Smirk smirk) !
Depends on how much money they offer me in the renewed contract actually. (Smirk smirk)

Over the last 17 matches overseas, India have only played 50 overs on four occasions. Why is that?
We haven't played well enough.
Have you even been noticing that we have been batting like a bunch of bungling monkeys for some time now ?
Yeah I did. So ?

But it's a period stretching over one and a half years...
We haven't played well enough, that's it.
And your coaching and planning during that time has not really bought home the biscuit has it  ? 
Bite me !

Aren't you shirking your responsibility?
No I don't think so. I am not employed by you people, I am employed by the BCCI. Obviously, I will have to face up to them and give them a report and give them some indications of what I think. But I don't think this is the forum for me to say anything.
You know what old chap ? All this "bite me, bite me" is getting a trifle tiresome. Are you going to act apologetic or not ?
Muhahahahahahahaha ! You chaps would really like that, would you not ? Well honestly, I do not intend to do any such thing. Not worth it actually. During my finger raising tenure, I have realised that you guys, at the end of the day, are rather fickle and ineffectual. So .... you guessed it ! Bite me !

You said you are answerable to the BCCI. But aren't you also answerable to one billion fans in India? Shouldn't you say something to them?
We didn't play well enough.
Come on now ! Could you at least act a bit contrite ? Please  ?
Bite me !

Why didn't we play well enough?
Well I don't think India has won a tournament overseas since 1985. There is a bit of history to it. There are obviously some reasons. I am not prepared to go into them at this stage.
That is pretty much enough ! You have no clue as to how to coach a side do you ? 
Well... honestly no. I am not really good at coaching and all that. I am here for the money and the politicking . That is where the real fun is. Actually I also had no faith in this side anyway. They are a bunch who have not managed to win anything over the last 20 years. So what did you guys expect ? I was pretending to coach a bunch of imbeciles who had no chance of winning anyway. So I did not bother. 

This is still India's worst performance in World Cup history. Is there a need for serious introspection?
I think there is a need for a serious introspection, but I don't think it should start today.
But we were the finalists last time ? Remember ? We were pretty good then ! We only lost to the Australians in the last world cup !
Well, you did not lose to Australia this time did you ? And yes ... It really is not my fault.

Are you going to go back with the Indian team or are you worried about your security?
I don't think any comment about that is going to help the situation. I'm quite confident that systems are in place to look after security of the team and the individuals involved.
Do you think that the those bone-headed Indian fans might knock your house down too ?
Naah ! Those idiots cannot do that. My house is in Australia.

You took over the team in July of 2005. How many points would you give yourself on a scale of 10?
Again, that's a very difficult question to answer. I'm happy that I've done the best job that I could do. Eighteen months is not a long time to build a team. If you look at any sport, it takes a long time. To put a number from my point of view, I don't think I am the right man to make that assessment. I am happy with myself. The coaching staff and the support staff did they best that they could do. It wasn't good enough.
Care to share a few thoughts on being a complete loser ?
Naah ! I am a bit tired of this whole conversation thing anyway. I think I will go and practice my sulk-behind-the-glass-window thing. Oh wait ! I nearly forget!  For the last time,  bite me !

Monday, January 15, 2007

I am not dead...

Just terribly busy !