Palomar valley

Our car came to a halt in one of the designated parking lots.

Peeping from inside the car, I managed to appreciate the foggy clarity of the valley outside. It was drenched with sunlight but I knew that sunlight was competing with the effects of high altitude and chilling winds. From the touch of the cold window pane, I could make out the elaborate comouflage of the nature outside. I stepped out onto the clean, black tarmac of the parking lot. Cold breeze, filtering through myriad trees, bushes and flowers on the surrounding mountains sent a shiver down my spine. The calliphany of the songs of the birds, floating in the air with the breeze, exploded through the deafening silence which permeated the atmosphere. In the front lay an amazing sight. Miles and miles of vast empty grassland sparsely dotted with occasional lonely trees punctuated on all sides by enormous mountains. It was quiet. Extremely quiet. So quiet so that even the flow of water far out somewhere in the grassland could be heard clearly. The silence of the vast empty land was broken only by the low chirping of blue mountain birds. The atmosphere was filled with some kind of extreme sloth. Even the strands of grass did not stand erect but chose to sway towards one side as if under somekind of a trance. Sun shone with all its fatherly warmth on the tips of those strands and made their surfaces glisten with a crystally shimmer. The lush green trees which marked the boundary of the immense wasteland stood silently, patiently, with bowed heads, trying to absorb what I was witnessing. Nature in its immense glory.

Believe me, if you could not see what I saw, could not feel what I felt, the flaw is in my limiited ability at being able to describe the undescribable.


Federer Mania

I guess this was expected sooner or later. Considering how big a fan I am of Roger Federer, it was only a matter of time when I wrote a small piece as an ode to his genius.

I heard of the man during the course of Wimbledon '04. Even at that relatively early period, pundits of the game had started hailing Federer as one of the best natural talents ever to grace a tennis court. Remembering the old saying that 'where there is smoke, there is fire', I decided to follow the slam and the man. Needless to say, there was something special in him but the one aspect which really impressed me was the clinical precision of his methods. Like an experienced practitioner, the man never ever gave any indication of his emotions. It seemed to me that he had everything figured out and there was nothing at all, atleast on the tennis court which could surprise him. He ended all his matches with a small smile, a courteous handshake, a ceremonial wristband throw, and a climactic clap of his raised hands. I liked that lazy, confident arrogance which seemed to say, 'I know the result. Its just a formality'.

After that wimbledon, I have followed his matches most diligently and am happy to say that even a die hard believer in his abilities like me has been surprised by the meteoric rise that the man himself has registered in the last 3 years. From a cold killer, he has now become a silent, calculating, winning machine. And with this, he has developed a repertoire of shots, which is unparalleled in history and some of which are really beyond the wildest imaginations of the craziest sport player and fan. His version of the game has now transcended the game itself. Its more like music. A Don Bradman setup such records in cricket which might never be surpassed but his technique could never be termed perfect. A Tiger woods might go on to become the greatest golfer ever, but he sometimes lacks the humility which should accompany success. A Michael Jordan will be remembered as the best basketball player ever but he was also nasty sometimes. Federer is all of these men and more. He combines perfection with humility, a combination extremely rare to find.

For those who are not yet a fan of this man, just a look at some of his records,

Federer won all his matches against the next 10 ranked players from October 2003 to January 2005

He has won 24 straight finals. The second best in history was 12

During 2004,05,06, he lost only 8 matches, winning 180 odd.

He has won all the grand slam finals he has reached which is a record.

He has won 52 straight matches on hard court. The second highest was 35.

He has won 37 straight matches on grass and is eyeing the record of 42 this wimbledons

He is already half way through the tally of 14 grand slams of Pistol Pete and he is only 24

All of the above is quite surprising, but I like him for his rendition of the art that he has made of Tennis. I adore him for the almost spiritual exhilaration which I feel while watching him play.



To a reader blessed with a reasonable amount of Intelligence Quotient, the facts that I have a lot of time in hand and that I am inconsiderate and profligate enough to squander this entity, which to many, represents the most valuable possession possible but which, if endowed in abundance over someone like me can only result in its criminal abuse, should manifest themselves quiet readily upon his glancing over this piece, which has to its credit, neither one of the chains of logical reasoning which made many an illustrious careers, in fields as diverse as mathematics, philosophy, physics, investigative detection and professions of these sorts, most notably that of the victorian sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, nor does it have the emotional punch which might bring that tear at the corner of your eyes, nor does it claim to be comic, but in essence, is written just to test the sole capability of the writer in conveying his ideas in as long a sentence as his ability allows and the limits upto which a reader might go before turning dizzy, insane and possibly extremely hostile, the latter effect which is affected by the simple fact that it is not at all easy, making sense of all the blabbering which went into the last few lines and to deal with the realization finally that it was all, indeed, never intended to make any worldly sense, is very understandable but I hope that the reader will be able to recover from this taruma and shall read my other blogs which surely mmake much more sense.


Plight of an English poet

I was watching this program called dirty jobs on discovery when I started wondering, what could be the most despicable and painful job in the world. It did not take me long to zero-in on the poets who squander their complete lives trying to rhyme those wretched emotions which have this uncanny habit of popping up in any and every line of any and every discussion with words which you will never ever use in a decent, sane discussion but which turn out to be the last straw in this unabashedly rhyme-starved world. These poets lose much of their hair and sanity in the search of this fool's gold. To top it all is the obligation that it all has to make some freaking sense. No, not to everyone for then it will be too easy and mundane. The poem should be screwed-up enough not to be too transparent and logical enough to make sense if a reader having a reasonable I.Q is ready to scratch the bottom of the barrel in search of meanings and interpretations.

The problem is much more acute for an english poet due to some very important factors. For eg. which is the one word that you think represents the most important and recurring emotion in the poetic hyperspace?............ Why, its 'love'. And which are the words which would rhyme with this all pervasive emotion. Now you have started scratching your head. This is the plight I am talking about. The best you can do is probably 'dove' or going to the extreme, 'skies above' and the buck stops there ('shove, glove etc. are termed too dry and it would take a real heartless foolish poet to use them in his poems). Its almost as if the makers of the english language had some personal hatred against the poets of the future. Compare it with the hindi language. The hindi equivalent of love is pyaar which can be conveniently rhymed with zillions of words like ikraar, intezaar, bekaraar, sarkaar etc. (And believe me, all those zillion combination have already been beaten to death in the hindi movies). If you atlast run out of all these combinations, Hindi has provided you with the freedom of making up your own non-sensical words so that even the most talentless poet can rhyme 'pyaar' with 'vyaar' and 'ishq' with 'vishq'. This fact has a very strong impact on the society in general. When a little johnny goes up to his father and says that he wants to be a poet, the father conveniently kills his innocent ambition by the words- "Why johnny. You know how tough a life these poets lead? Even of you are ready to face those hardships, will you ever be able to find rhyming words with love, heart, cry, eyes?" And little johnny reluctantly sees reason in this charade and drops all his plans of becoming a poet and starts concentrating on sports (presumably the easier field). On the other hand when a pappu asks his papa the same question, the papa can only look to pappu's bleak future in dismay as he knows that even pappu, with his limited IQ, can rhyme words in this hopelessly romantic Hindi language. And the Indian sports arena suffers another setback.

I believe that this very important factor has lead to the development of a class of poetry in English which does not have rhyming words as one of its prerequisites. You can basically write a prose on the economic repercussions in socialist russia, punctuate it with a large number of unnecessary commas, colons and semicolons, break it into different lines and submit the final product as a poetry in the International poetry competition and stand a good chance of winning the first prize in this hopelessly rhyme-impaired english world. You cannot do the same in India. Upon doing this, you stand a good chance of being reviled as uncreative, boring and many a times even blasphemous. Why else did you leave the comforts of the discovered territory and venture into the unknown and the wild?


Rang de Basanti

Well I finally saw it. After receiving such good reviews from people about the movie and getting comments like "I" would particularly like the subject and the treatment, I finally saw it tonight. It is 4:24 in the morning and I am writing this blog instead of going to sleep because the movie was based upon a subject which I value very dearly and contrary to expectations, I did find some flaws in the treatment of the movie.

The movie is based upon the transformation which is brought about in the lives of 5 young men after they come to learn about the sacrifices of indian freedom fighters upclose. This transformation then leads them to kill the defence minister as they hold him responsible for the Mig. crashes which have become routine lately.

The first and foremost irony which the movie depicts very successfully is the fact that we as youth of this generation are sadly unconcerned about the idea that India is. Looking at the growth that India has been registering lately (although it effects a small minority), it becomes difficult to decide whether this is not the country which was in the visions of those who died for her independence. On the other hand, the rampant corruption, the disgusting politics along with many other such factors make me believe that surely a Chandrashekhar Azad died for something better. The sad part is that all of this is conveniently ignored for daily chores by all of us today.

The depiction of the lives of Azad, Bhagat Singh, Ram in the movie is more history than innovation and improvisation although its effect on the protagonist is handled pretty efficiently by good direction. The director somehow forgets the fact that India is still a democracy wherein it is just not possible to order a lathi charge on peaceful demonstrators in the glaring presence of today's stifling media. The situation looks more like an autocratic society. Same is the case with the ending of the movie wherein the killing of the young men who had surrendered gives an indication that the director is trying to pull the strings too far in order to get his point through. If not from a moral conscience, the material, and political repercussions alone can dissuade a democratic government from taking such a step.

Finally the most important question. Was the killing of the defence minister justified? I have always believed that such corrupt politicians belong to the social strata which comes way below that of a despicable pig. I have always believed that such people have long lost their right to live and are now only a burden to the society which the societ would do well to throw off. But practicality does not rest on beliefs. Frankly, I don't find anything wrong in the idea of killing those who are guilty of such hienous practices but the justice should be dealt to all and not just one person. The problem with this theory is that even if you identify all those with tainted linens, their number is so huge that killing them may first of all be practically impossible and second may induce a kind of anarchy in the society. Recently I had a very nice discussion with one of my friends on this topic and I was almost led to believe that such a solution although swift and emotionally fulfilling may lead to instability in the society in the long run. I hate to admit the fact but I have come to support this argument in some measure. The solution maybe lies in democratically fighting the disease that is politics. Finally I would like to put forth the following points and conclude this topic:

1. We know that something is terribly screwed up in the Indian society.
2. We know that the most educated section of the society is the one which is most removed from any concerns about the situation.

In such a situation, how practical is the democratic solution? For me the light only comes from the solution potrayed in the movie. As they say: "It sometimes requires a bang to wake up the sleeping"

About Me

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Like a particularly notorious child's tantrums, a mountaneous river's intemperance, a volcano's reckless carelessness and the dreamy eyes of a caged bird, imagination tries to fly unfettered. Hesitant as she takes those first steps, she sculpts those ambitious yet half baked earthen pots.