Sunday, August 30, 2009
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: After PoA and GoF, JKR comes up with that. And to top it all, she took almost 3 years to write it. 700+ pages where nothing happens. Sirius dies, Cho is made a crybaby from an awesome hot girl, Dumbledore cries and Harry pretty much shouts throughout. The big surprise in the end- we always knew it. In the wise words of someone, I don't remember who, "(S)he who has nothing to write, writes a lot." For a long time, and maybe to date, I believed that I could have written a better OoP. On a personal note, reading this book was what was my first night-out. I kept reading, and once I was done, I realized it was morning. That's the fondest memory I have of it.
2. CBSE's AISSE results 2003: Having sent most of the school, all of the teachers and Yours Truly into a frenzy by my legendary pre-boards performance, I have to concede that Expectations were Great indeed. CBSE thought otherwise, apparently. In a year when 42 (that's where the relationship began?) students got over 90% from the school, Lefty's name was the one conspicuous by its absence. An 80 in Angreji and a 78 in Hindi put paid to my dreams of getting the 8400 cheque, though the 6000 one was pretty cool too.
3. Nihilanth 2008: Before anyone starts getting wrong ideas, let me clarify that I am referring only, and I repeat only, to our and more specifically my lamentable quizzing performance during that time. I'd expected a couple of podiums and most of the finals, but that was sadly not to be. Dela, Sunky and Kaka did us proud in the General Quiz and SriP and I piggy-backed on Rapu to make the Lit finals, but that was all. Admittedly PTV, Rapu and I were really unlucky in the General Quiz while our teams also missed out by the narrowest of margins in the BizTech and Sports quizzes, but still...
4. Fanaa: Aamir Khan and Kajol playing the leads for the first time. Self doubled up with excitement. This should be a real treat. Turned out to be one of the greatest dipassointments. Hours and hours in the godforsaken house. Dragging and dragging on. And then some more dragging on. I couldn't listen to their brilliant track for days, for fear of being reminded of the movie.
5. UEFA Champions' League Final 2009: United vs Barca. Easily the best 2 teams in the world. I had seriously contemplated going all the way to Rome to watch this one. Luckily I didn't. Only one team played like Champions that day and dipassointingly, that team wasn't the one I love. Records would show that Barca won this one, but football was the loser that day, despite some classic Spanish free-flowing play by the Catalans. One almost cries when one thinks of what could've been.
6. ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2003: India's dream run to the final. Sachin in sublime form. And Ganguly said, "We'll bowl." And Zaheer opened with a wide, or was it 2? And the Aussies hit. And they hit. And they just kept on hitting. The PM down under was to remark later, "Only the fear of the Kangaroos could have made the famed Indian batting line-up choose to field first." The match apparently, had been lost even before it had begun.
7. Amartya Sen in PanIIT 2008: I was poised with my notebook open, pen quivering and ears cocked to take in some invaluable gyaan from the man himself. The Man showed himself to be all of his 75 years. He babbled. I'm sure he had some very enlightening things to say, but he babbled. I couldn't make anything out. It was only out of respect that we decided to sit out the entire speech.
8. The One where it could have been: The only F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode which had the dubious distinction of making me bored. The only one which I didn't watch completely the first time. Out of great loyalty, I did watch it eventually, but it was dipassointing nevertheless. I wished it could have been something else.
9. Asparagus: From all I'd heard courtsey W. Somerset Maugham in the delighful short story, The Luncheon, I was expecting nothing less that Ambrosia. I got a vegetable. Better than most perhaps, but definitely a vegetable. I had Asparagus roll again recently. The only thing remarkable about it then was the dispropotionate price and quantity.
10. Emma Watson in HP#4,5,6: She was a cute little thing in 1, pretty in 2 and va-va-voom in 3. Why it had to stop there is what I ask myself almost everyday. I'm guessing it was God's way of punishing the unfair sex for claiming Raj Thackeray as one of it's own.
11. Bharatpur Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary: It's supposed to be the largest in the world. And the entire family jingbang had gone to see it. Our respective Ricksha-wallahs showed us one white bird after another, and I'm guessing they were all the same, and kept assigning different unpronouncable names to each of them. We were told that there was a tiger 'going round and round' to try and keep our enthusiasm levels up, but the stomach prevailed. Mami's "Why did we turn around?" went down in history as the Angry Young Lady's dialogue of the century. The lunch that followed thankfully, was awesome.
I think that's dipassointing enough for now. I might add a couple of ammendments later. Hate to leave you on a dipassointing note though, so good kind soul that I am, I'll just remind everyone that 3 weeks from now, HIMYM and BBT will resume with their new seasons. May the Force be with us till then.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I've been at C for two months and ten days now. It's been an eventful time- busy for the most part, obviously. It's also been a very quiet time on a personal note. Barring an incident here and there, Lefty has kept his head down and adhered to the general norm. if my presence here has created any sort of flutter, then I must say it has been successful in eluding me. In these two months, I've mainly done what psychologists will tell you most adolescent spend ther entire adolescence doing- fit in. Find my place. And stay there.
This is usually the time when I'm supposed to compare the situation to my first few days at R- and how it was different from here, what I did, what I didn't do etc etc. Relive the good old days. Share a few anecdotes. Look back and smile. However, I won't. Mainly, because I'm not exactly sure of what my initial days there were like. I know Sajal was there with me, and we met Sumedh pretty quickly. After that, whatever I tell you would just be the Rashomon Effect (allow me a pause here while I go enjoy Nihilanth all over again). Some things stick out though, and there are differences between here and there which don't need a genius to figure out. While beginnings anywhere are unfamiliar and any n00b is the newly hatched chicken finding it's way about the strange new world that seems so different from the comforting shell that it had called home for so long, R provided the distinct comfort of knowing that the egg was never too far away. 4-5 rather uncomfortable hours were all it took to traverse 150 km on rickety buses, in precious company, and reach familia. While these visits grew less frequent with time, and home began to have double connotations, one was always practically a phone call away.
How different it all was here. While there was no fear of Ragging, a dreaded word in that era, and prior experience of living in a new place to keep you undaunted by anything, home here was light years away. No more packing your bags whenever any whim possessed you, no more boarding the familiar buses because you needed to get your clothes washed and definitely no more going to Noida to have 4 good meals. I'm never sure what was more unsettling, the physical distance or its cognizance.
You can imagine then, how welcome the decision would have been to say to one and all here that 'I'm leaving on a Jet Plane'. It had been two months after all, punctuated only by the brief yet lasting visit that Mamma had paid to the City of Joy. Plus, it was only a matter of days now before some of the other Lords would head off seek their fortune in foreign lands and any kind of rendezvous would become, if luck permitted, an annual ritual at best. Languid hours of companionship at the Farmhouse were most certainly a thing of the past, there was just this one opportunity for some semblance of one last hurrah.
The precious 45-hour visit could not have begun on a better note. One day prior to the moment of departure, Amul and Ashwini, my former room-mate, landed up at C. Their Visa interview was in Calcutta, and it'd gone off as well as could be. They'd both been cleared to pursue further studies at Ohio State University and a bright future beckoned. We spent a happy evening talking of this and that, recalling some madcap memories and getting gyaan from my current room-mate on the Dos and Don'ts of US. The next day, I inaugurated those 45-hours with a visit to Park Street to meet the two once again, before we finally parted. From there, to the airport. To another more awesome airport. To home.
I spent most of the weekend, relaxing with the folks at home. Fooling around, talking and more talking, exchanging some news that had not been exchanged over the phone, looking at the newest set of photos that had been developed and the customary look around the house to try and spot the changes that had taken place. There were lots of laughs, plans were made for a holiday that is very looked forward to, I even managed to squeeze in the first weekend of EPL matches between the conversations. It was home all over again- great food, the familiar comfort, the loving folks- my family, my home.
There were a lot of au revoirs lined up, and I fulfilled each of them. I met Rakshit and Sagar, spent an evening with Sajji and Chirag and was even generously treated by the now 'Bald and Dutiful' PTV. There was lunch at Mausi's where I caught up with my cousins. The only commonality to everything was that time seemed to fly. And fly very fast. In no time at all, I was back at the awesome airport, alighting the flight that would take me back, the short 120 minute haul that would end this shorter 45-hour journey.
Through most of the trip, one thought had been going around my mind in various forms. I'm far away from home now. This was the first time I wasn't there for my birthday. Srishti's card caught the joy of my turning 22 and the pain of doing so alone, in the unique yet delightfully apt way that she has come to master. This was also the first year I wasn't home for Rakhi. I doubt I'll be there for Diwali, I'll almost certainly miss Mamma's birthday and I'll probably greet 2010 with a very different set of people than the ones I'm used to while ushering in the new year.
While C seems more familiar by the day, there are still impending uncertainties that plague me. The road ahead is an alien place, yet one that I must embark upon. I don't know if I should take the highway, the by-lane or the path less travelled. There are questions that I ask of myself, there are doubts that refuse to be cleared. At the same time, there are expectations that stack up against them. There is promise, there is belief. There is hope. And all I know is this- whatever I'm missing is only so that I can have all that and more in the times to come. It is irony- and I don't know if it's kind or cruel, once more. I'm spending 22 and 23 away from home so that I can spend 24 and the ones to come right there. The crackers I light here will be to resound my faith in lighting future lamps in the dearest company possible. Not just for me, but for most of us, this is a determined effort to make this particular arc the lesser segment in the circle of life. Call it a strange quirk of fate, call it a divine paradox but in the end, C'est la vie, mes amis.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Laughing out loud
Back in the Farmhouse one day, I was engrossed in a (somewhat) deep discussion about how I'd changed in the four years in college. What I'd started liking/disliking, what I'd discovered about myself and the et cetras. I think the discussion lasted about 10 minutes before we decided to move on to more important things, namely AoE. Incidentally, that was one of the things on the aforementioned list. Blogging or writing, to be more general, was another. Yet another was a love for SitComs, which I considered so significant that it even found a way on my B-school application forms a couple of months later.
Musing on the point in consideration some time later, I realized that I'd always had a fondness for sitcoms. It was just never that pronounced or never brought into the fore in as explicit a way as it was in college- 5 epistles in 8 sems, need I say anymore? TV at home had mainly meant sports and cartoons, but as I thought back, it occurred to me that there had been sitcoms slipped in here and there. The first sitcom I recall following avidly was Mind Your Language. It used to air on some channel (probably BBC) at 2130 hours Tuesday night. Mamma, Srishti and I used to enthusiastically look forward to it, codenaming it, and not very cryptically, MYL. It was followed by Murder She Wrote at 10, and we were not allowed to watch it. Packed off to bed we were, trying to make something out of what was happening in the episode from the distorted sounds we got to hear through the door in the next room. Small Wonder was the next sitcom that caught my fancy. I managed to watch the entire series in English, in Hindi and then again in Hindi before I ultimately moved on to bigger and greater things.
I'm not sure if this was before MYL or after, but I remember avidly watching Dennis the Menace- not animated, black and white, and probably aired on Sony. It was dubbed like most other 'imported' shows of the 90s. They used to show I Dream of Jeanie on the same channel sometime later. Another brilliant show. I think it was black and white to begin with too, and later became coloured. Some of my cousins used to watch Bewitched, but I never liked it too much. And then of course, there was Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad. Not a sitcom, but I just had to slip that in. I always considered it 'the' thing in awesomeness. That guy used to get into the comp and fight viruses. What more can an imaginative geeky kid want?
At some point, Zee started telecasting Silver Spoons, Who's the Boss and Different Strokes- dubbed again, of course. I usually missed the first because it coincided with my cricket playing time. Who's the Boss, I used to catch snippets off. I always found the young girl cute and she sure did a brilliant job growing up to become Alyssa Milano. Different Strokes was the one that I followed. I came to know that they've started showing re-runs on Zee English now.
After our move to Delhi, the cable-walah decided to oblige us with Nick, and more importantly Keenan and Kel. Awesome again. It was around then that I started watching Full House too. I think it's good that I managed to watch it while I was still at home. I have a feeling I wouldn't have liked it so much had I started it in college.
You will, of course, have realized, that this list lacked more than a few big names by the time I'd entered college. Hence my earlier admission of discovery. 2-1 changed me from someone who was only vaguely aware of what F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was to someone who has the Rembrandts' title song as one of his many ringtones. Re-runs, re-re-runs and some more re's followed. I went home, and Srishti proved that this affinity was apparently genetic and managed to watch the entire 250+ episodes twice, or was it thrice, in the short period of a week or two. I accompanied her, obviously. By then, I'd adopted the simple and therefore effective policy- a sitcom a semester. Had I been a Boy Scout, I would have received many a badge of good work as more and more of the Lords of the Farmhouse discovered, thanks to me, that they too, had a thing for sitcoms. Coupling, South Park, HIMYM, BBT, That 70s Show, Two and a Half Men etc entered our lives, our conversations and some of our GPAs and left us more happy and content beings.
All in all, I'd say that there are 2 things in sitcoms that appeal to me. There are people who'd rather spend their time watching movies. It's not that I don't really like movies. It's just that I'm a lazy bum. Movies require commitment. 1.5 to 2 hours. Sitcoms allow you 20 minute windows. It's up to you to watch one or even 10 episodes at a go. Plus, each episode is complete in itself, which is not something that a series can boast of.
The more important thing is that a sitcom sends me to some kind of a comfort zone. When I'm watching an episode, be it on my lappy or on TV, I'm at home, at G-81 and at my current (and air-conditioned, mind you) room at C all at the same time. I'm relaxed, irrespective of whether there's nothing to do or too much to do and I really shouldn't be wasting time on frivolities. For those 20, 40, 60 or more minutes, I'm not just lying down at an odd posture with the laptop lodged somewhere on my torso. I'm both engrossed in the story, and somewhere deep down, in my own world where incidents relating to the time when I'd watched that particular sitcom earlier enmesh me in a net of fond reminiscence. That particular moment finds its own little place in this world, to be recalled unexpectedly at a point in the future. For those 20, 40, 60 or more minutes, God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. For those 20, 40, 60 or more minutes, I just sit back, with back support, and let Chandler Bing, Jeff Murdoch, Stephanie Tanner, Eric Cartman, Barney Stinson, Steven Hyde, Sheldon Cooper or any of the many familiar lovable characters crack me up.Bliss.
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