Indian Premier League

I am guessing it must be a quietly jovial day at the headquarters of Zee Telefilms when Subhash Chandra finally figured out how to mint the stupidity of millions of fanatic cricket lovers in gold. Alas, his plans with the Indian cricket leagues hit the greedy roadblocks of BCCI , but he had nevertheless shown the imagination strapped bunch of clowns at the hem of Indian cricket how to truly turn this beautiful game into a money making machine. Thus was born the Indian Premier League. And it sucked.

It sucks in the same way Britney Spear feels like molten iron is being poured into your ears. It sucks with the same foulness of a Garfield mocking your intelligence. And it sucks in precisely the same way an Ekta Kapoor feels like she has just installed a juicer-mixer-grinder in your skull which is working overtime at preparing a homogeneous concoction of your gray matter. And there is a reason why it sucks so much.
Warning: Politically incorrect content to follow:

The reason IPL (or T20) must necessarily be bad is because its so popular. Its catering to what Watterson called the Lowest Common Denominator of humanity. And the Lowest Common Denominator of humanity is a sorry mass of stupid homo sapiens. Their demand for non-complex, instant gratification has reduced music to the shambles it is in today. Their inability to appreciate anything even remotely sophisticated has led to the downfall of smart/sensible Television and Cinema. Our generation has seen the demise of the likes of Naseeruddin Shahs and it has forced the reasonably talented A.B. to dance to the tunes of talentless hacks like Himesh Reshammiya. We have witnessed the steady incursion of mediocrity in everything. Everything we have touched, has turned to dust. And we are happy. Because now it can be mass produced, cheaply, and efficiently. And it is just clever enough not to put us to sleep and just dumb enough to be universally palatable. Yes, we have achieved great audiences but we have lost the soul in our efforts. And the same is true for IPL or T20.

To put it mildly, the Twenty-20 format is a joke. The format is too heavily laden in the favor of the batsmen and kills any sort of competition between the bat and the ball. And the seeds of this were sown before T20 itself. The game of cricket began on the path of demise when the no-ball rules came into place. When the power-plays came into place. When the bouncers were prohibited. Suddenly with the bite taken out of a bowler's arsenal, we had stupid talentless freaks like Dhoni straddling around, waving their bats in inebriated frenzy and still managing to keep the scorekeepers busy. I would have loved to see the likes of such modern cricketers face the sweet music of 150 kmph deliveries aimed at their terror stricken eyes. Oh, how much I would have loved to see a few more broken bones and fractured rib-cages. That would have separated the boys from the men. But no, we had to go one step further and start this mind dump of a format called T20. And the last hopes of a game lover like me who just wants to see a level playing field were dashed by the money grubbing corporations.

People would say, "So what ? its a hit". Well, obviously its a hit. That's what pains me really. Because while good art can still survive amidst mediocrity through individual efforts, a game as institutionalized as cricket will find it difficult to breathe when the institution itself is bent upon destroying it. And the public can hardly care less. As long as it has its share of crying Sreesanths and angry Harbhajans and dancing cheerleaders. That's another thing. Importing cheerleaders. Its just sad. I mean, I cannot care less about the moral police (I hate them) but this is not what cricket was meant to be. As inappropriate as cheerleaders are in cricket (from a historical perspective), importing them says a lot about us Indians. I really do not have words to describe how sad it makes me. Its like saying, the game is no more good enough. It has to be supported by sex. Because that's what it is. Sex. Cover up all you want but I would be damned if I do not see through it. The swinging balls are not good enough anymore. We need the swinging bellies. The unadulterated, honest cover drive doesn't appeal to us anymore. We need a bunch of Russian bimbos to get our adrenaline going. We need a complete soap opera on the field. We have even started terming the game as 'evening entertainment'. With all due respect: MY BLOODY FOOT !


Bob Dylan

My tendency to indulge in periodic episodes of obsessions saw me compulsively listening to the works of Bob Dylan and reading about his life and history. I have noticed that I do not tend to get impressed with the brilliance of music as much as its melody or the competence of its accompanying lyrics. The fact that a piece of music is complicated doesn't really impress me as much as a piece that sounds nice to hear. And if the music itself is spartan, then the lyrics have to be great to leave an impression. And this is where Bob Dylan rules so much. You have to listen to some of his earliest pieces to understand what I'm saying. And by early, I mean his piece from the early to mid sixties. The fact that he still composes music and remains the oldest person to have released a chartbuster ('Modern times' at age 65) just goes on to show that his creativity has not dimmed with age.

3 Nobel prize nominations for literature affirm his stature as a brilliant master of poetry in as clear a set of terms as is probably possible, although Dylan probably doesn't give a damn about the Nobel. He didn't give a damn when his song 'Like a Rolling stone' was voted the greatest song ever. He didn't give a damn when he was being hailed as a prophet, a messiah of change, as the revolutionary voice of his generation. He didn't seem to give a damn about what his fans thought of him. He didn't give a damn about the press or the government or the society. And he doesn't seem to give a damn now. And I like this quality in him. He has chosen to deal with the absurdity of the world with silence and detached contempt.

Coming to his lyrics, I must say, its probably the deepest I have seen in popular music. To say that I understand most of what he meant to say would be a simple confession of my stupidity and arrogance. So I won't do it. But what I do undertand is breathtaking in more ways then one. Consider the following lines from his song, 'Mr. Tambourine Man':

'Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.'

Its the most beautiful expression of freedom I have seen. Its simply divine. To analyze it would be doing injustice to the pure feeling permeating the words. Here some lines from his song, 'Its alright ma, I'm only bleeding':

'Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool's gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.'

Or his lines from another of his song:

'In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.

The cloak and dagger dangles,
Madams light the candles.
In ceremonies of the horsemen,
Even the pawn must hold a grudge.
Statues made of match sticks,
Crumble into one another,
My love winks, she does not bother,
She knows too much to argue or to judge.'

Dylan continues to produce songs and averages 100 concerts per year. His style of music seems to have changed. His priorities seem to be different now. His eyes look a bit tired but they still have that expression of amusement at how stupid the world around him really is. I was watching a press interview he gave in '65 and it was funny to see that smile of contempt. That muted, condescending expression. And I saw his interview from 2004 and I felt that not much has changed in either Dylan or the world in his eyes.


Mr. Tambourine Man

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand,
Vanished from my hand,
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping.
My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet,
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship,
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip,
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin'.
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

-Bob Dylan


Leaning for life

So we went on this motorcycle trip but I do not want to bore you with the dreary details. There is one experience that I would really like to share though. I am sure that experience would stay with me for a long time to come.

It was a beautiful mountainous road, perfectly paved, with the green hill on the side with blooming yellow flowers and the deep valley on the other. Several thousand feet down below, the rocky stream was visible and its quietness stood testimony to the brilliant depth. The sky was blue with patches of white fluffy clouds and the sun shone benignly over the black tarmac weaving through the exquisite wilderness. The road curved and dipped and rose and danced as it followed the contours of the terrain. And I had a motorcycle.

The curves were marked for speeds in the range of 30-40 miles but it would have been such a criminal waste if I had followed the guidelines. Do you know how it feels when your speedometer is reading 80 and you see the complete curve ahead ? You could brake and let the steam off but then you would have to be rational. And I hardly am. I downshifted a gear and turned the throttle to induce controlled acceleration and steadily started to lean. More and more. To the extent the my toes were centimeters away from the hard, unforgiving surface. And my face was probably a foot above the yellow line that separated the oncoming traffic. And I could see that yellow line moving past me. Faster and faster. Curving into the corner. Faster and faster. And the oncoming traffic was whizzing past me so close, I could smell the grunt of their tires. And it was all so quiet. Like an eternity soaked in vacuum. It was all so still. Like a painted bird on a painted ocean. And it was all so serene and pure. Like the smell of Rajnigandha and a foggy morning. At this point you don't really have half measures. A hesitation to lean could easily send you flying down the valley. An inclination to break could hurl you into the oncoming traffic. Everything has to work with clockwork precision. And I somehow managed to do it every single time.

I am not really proud of a lot of things but that memory certainly makes me happy. The feeling is hard to describe. Its the adrenaline rush associated with a gamble of such high stakes. Its the satisfaction at having played the game to your capacity and on life's own terms. And winning. Or at least putting up a respectable performance. It might be stupid in a lot of eyes but the emotion is difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced it firsthand. Its liberating. Its spiritual in some sense. It elevates you, if only for a few moments, above the pandering suffocation and all permeating stupidity and widespread randomness. For those few moments, nothing else matters.

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.