Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who did you say? The Doctor?

Knock knock
Who's there?
Doctor who?

So as the rather lame knock knock joke tells you I've recently been fascinated by Doctor Who.

I remember as a kid I was introduced to the Doctor Who series of books by SR who used to live right behind my house. In fact I'd have to give credit to my two great childhood friends SR and MP. Both of them always had a lot of books-their relatives used to bring books as gifts just as mine bring shirts. And also my sister. She was brilliant academically and had a huge number of books she won as various prizes. I learned to devour books because of these two factors. Sadly, I'm not in touch with SR now and only intermittently so with MP. Ah, well, such is life.

Anyway, as you probably know Doctor Who books are about a Time Lord called the Doctor who travels across time and space in his beloved time machine cum spaceship TARDIS to have awesome alien adventures. He usually has a companion with him, mostly a wide eyed girl who eventually saves the day. Hang on, she doesn't save the day, but provides some insight which helps the Doctor save the day. No one can say the series is not about the Doctor!

Now another offshoot - I recently got myself a HD media player. This handy device has a 500GB storage and can directly connect to my TV so that I can watch all movies and TV series that I used to watch on my laptop on my TV. Very convenient and very easy. Its a recommended buy.

So how did this acquisition lead to my revisited fascination with Doctor Who? Well a colleague, well ex-colleague, had the first three seasons of the BBC produced series of the inimitable time traveler! I got the CDs, transfered them to my super cool media player and I'm set for a week of sheer laziness, curled up infront of the TV and cursing my decision to keep the fridge in the other corner of the room instead of within reaching distance from my vantage point. I've traveled with the Doctor from nearby solar system planets to faraway galaxies, from the ancient times to the very edge of the universe when all stars have died out. I've seen the Earth being devoured by the expanding sun and an ancient mechanism that trapped the Devil in orbit around a black hole. I've seen humanities greatest perils to humanities greatest victories. All. in.the.TV.series.

And now season 4 is being downloaded, and I'm stocking the fridge and trying to maneuver it closer to where I sit (aaarghh my back!). Come join me on more adventures. Drop by my apartment, but remember its BYOB*

*Bring your own beanbag


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Greens of Life...

Tee up

Have you read Heart of a Goof by PG Wodehouse?

It's a set of nine stories all based on the life and times and the travails of golfers. In true Wodehouse fashion he weaves parallels between life and golf with golf winning over in terms of importance. It's been a while since I last read it but I remember closing the book with the widest smile possible and the intense desire to go and play immediately to get immersed in the parallel universe of putts, drives, greens, bunkers and roughs.

Unfortunately it was around 3 in the morning so I couldn’t really action this desire.

Also, not having ever properly played before was also a rather minor hindrance.

I recently read another novel set around golf. It’s called ‘The Amateurs’ by John Niven. The tone of the book can be ascertained by the quote that the novel starts with:

He rallied, my tears being in unsurpassably bad taste,
and said, 'Look here, it's only a game.'
Trying to speak softly so the children wouldn't hear,
I said, 'Fuck you!'

It’s story of a man’s struggles in life to improve his handicap. Oh, and there’s also the small matter of his cheating wife and her lover conspiring to murder the lover’s wife by hiring the man’s brother!

Another amazing alternate universe created around the golf course. Such books are so good. In fact they remind me of my initial obsession with tennis. I would sleep at some 2 in the morning and then get up at 5 to go early and get the court. I'd spend hours looking at coaching videos on the internet in faint hopes of improving my game. Videos like this: How to serve

That obsession has toned down to the extent of being gone now, but I guess it never does go for golfers. And that makes it very interesting - the nature of the sport is one that just as you're losing hope and planning to break all your clubs, you connect one drive just the way the golfing Gods willed it to be connected. As the ball soars high and long, your heart is pulled in two directions - exhilaration and "Damn, now I'll have to come play again"

Ask me, I know. We used to go to the driving range almost every weekend when RB was in Bangalore. I guess we were able to get off golf because we never managed to go beyond the driving range to the main golf course.

Ok, this post is getting rambling so I shall tell you the two main points that I started writing with:

1. Golf - Good
2. Golf related stories - GOOD

Personal note:

Yesterday, I saw the actress I had been really impressed with in the play Dancing on Glass (here), Meghana Mundkur at the Corner House nearby. Furthermore I was with a friend who actually knew her and went and chatted with her. But I was too shy to go and compliment her.

Note to self:
You should be ashamed of your reticence


Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Cup is getting pretty darn expensive...

I'll just come out and say it. I need an extra 'World Cup bonus'on the lines of the 'mehngai bhatta' that people in the 80's used to get. I've never followed a football (wanted to write soccer here to get a few purists tearing out their hair. Then desisted - these soccer fans can be quite crazy. Dangerously crazy.)World Cup with so much dedication and perseverance. Not to mention the economic hit. My monthly budget lies whimpering in a corner in tatters.

I've been going out almost every second day to this place screening a match or that place with the best football fans or this friend with a 42 inch LCD TV. And all this going out doesn't come cheap. You're always with some people following the football tradition of watching matches with your favourite healthy beverage and fresh foods (yeah, right). And try as I do to sit in a corner without troubling the waiter too much, these guys are trained to spot attempting freeloaders like me and to impale us with tremendously guilt inducing stares.

And then they hover around glancing at you and the empty table in front of you. The glances get progressively threatening and accusatory with every free kick awarded in the match. Eventually just as they confer with their manager and award a free kick of their own, you succumb and order something. And do NOT think that the prices have not been padded up with the World Cup in mind. Yesterday, at the biggest game of this World Cup (Argentina - Germany) I happened to be at my local watering hole. This place is popular but it has its ups and downs and I've seen it overflowing and empty in a span of two -three days. What I mean to say is that it is my regular place where I know the people and the way they charge. Yesterday, they stopped me at the gate - "Cover charge?". Of course I didn't pay it, being a regular and all (and, you know, being from Delhi. Rules are for losers). But even this place was getting into the World Cup money making way of things.

Hence I propose the following:

1. FIFA should allocate a certain (substantial) part of their funds for free distribution to people bordering on destitution due to their World Cup spendings

2. The government should reduce all taxes on eateries and pubs and all other places showing the match. And the benefit has to be given to the people who visit the place.

3. Employers should change work timings to accommodate late night matches. Efficiency metrics should be relaxed for the duration of the Cup.And for another two months to allow for people to normalize

4. More movies to be released, parties to be thrown, events to be organised starting at the end of the Cup. I am already dreading the withdrawal symptoms once the Cup ends. (C'mon, tell me the truth. Didn't you feel all disoriented when there was no football for two days between the Round of 16 and the quarter finals?)

5. Special camps with trained (preferably pretty) psychiatrists to deal with the post-Cup trauma.

These are my simple requests. But we need to make a national, nay international movement to get these perfectly reasonable requests, nay demands met. Send all your support in the shape of cheques to me and I shall take the lead in starting this movement.

Power to the fans!!