Awright, some easy, not so mind-blogging loud-thinking of things that amuse/bemuse/surmise/surprise me at the moment.
Oh Captain! My Captain - What do you expect? Walt Whitman? Nope. Dead Poets' Society Robin Williams? Search Me. Rahul Dravid, the man of the Indian Cricket at the moment? All out!
Nothing to do with Dravid nor Ponting! It just happened in the middle of my watching Ramana just yesterday. There's no stopping Captain Vijayakanth! He's determined to make himself seem theoretically eternal. Since one Late MGR started and succeeded, there has been no dearth of aspirants to Politics. One man who in Tamil tinseldom perhaps has kept away from the gutter and sewage of India, nevertheless uses nationalism and patriotism to commercial (seeming) success is 'Action King' Arjun. Now back to Vijayakanth. The heroine asks him a question about the Chief Secretary of Tamilnadu. The guy just has to name it. Instead, he goes on a statistical binge, putting on screen every bit of details from how many times a man copulates in Tamilnadu to how many women have reached menopause. May be exaggeration. But the statistics list runs something akin to that. And this is becoming a pattern so much that I guess Captain, as he is fondly self-styled and habitually alluded to by his fans, is using it as a campaign to show to the movie-manic vote-casters of TN politics that he has all the figures (does that include the 16 and 17 yr old 'of fair complexioned' clevage showing bimbos he casts against him?) in his finger tips, worthy enough to rule the Dravidian and other migrant population? (Off the topic, for statistical minded people, recent figures prove that 30% of the country is made up of migrant population). He did the same thing, if my memory serves right, in either Aezhai Jaadhi or Sethupathi IPS, where that infamous scene of spelling out the profits one can make from the noon-meal scheme's AN EGG PER CHILD for nutrition comes to mind. And you may have more to say than I do.
One thing is certain, if we draft him into cricketing world (which is no different from politics anyway), he can at least make-up for the non-appearance or non-discussion of statistics on Doordarshan Live Coverages of Cricket India matches, if not replace Jaggi Dalmiya. Am sure I.M.Bindra would approve. At least our MAC Scorer and statistician who has been hailed as the best scorer and statistician would like to take Captain's help, when the PC conks out or Network fails! And now... when Captain comes can Youth be far behind? After all, there is none better than Captain (he has outdone Shivaji, MGR, NTR and Rajkumar) in terms of projecting his youthfulness, which requires a lot more megabytes with the inside info I have from the celluloid world, that I shall dedicate a whole blog to youthfulness and Tamil films! But, just remember Captain may soon lose that status to Aamir Khan (won't that guy ever age, asks my mother!). And who else... inspite of age, one guy always looks young and his voice sounds the same 16 yr old who burst upon Kiwis back in the 80s!
From Captain to so-called Higher Mortal - Sachin, who else!. Note, not Sachein... no Vijay! Even if Vijay is a component of Vijaykanth... and Vijay's movie of the Little Master's name has done 200 Days recently. Now, we all know how they make these movies run more than 100 Days, don't we? Anyway, I have a huge growse and you all Tendulkar fans out there are gonna hate me. I don't care, really. I mean... if the Team India is being built with 2007 World Cup in mind and Chappell Dravid Bindra co. believe that non-performers must go out or unfit players must prove fitness... what makes Sachin special. He was special, no doubt. Like Sehwag was, Dhoni currently is... Lara was, Mark Waugh was, Kevin Pietersen and Flintoff are... and the list goes on! I adore Sachin when he is on song. But, have you ever noticed... Sachin is like Sunil Gavaskar, not in stature I mean. His centuries have never really positively contributed to India's WIN. On the other hand take Dravid or Ganguly. Dravid stays through, century or not, ensures things are settled. Ganguly's centuries have always been big ones (even if people say they come against smaller teams. I can refute that statistically). Sachin, to me, frankly speaking is over-adulated. He is just not a thorough-bred stayer. He cannot win matches single-handedly or take away a match off the opposition for a longer period like Lara does or Jayasuriya did. He probably did - but the occasions are far and few. And what has he done to stay in the team for the last two ODIs against Sri Lanka in the on-going series when after first two ODIs (a century and a above 50 something), he has drawn blanks? At home, we have this favourite analogy. When you play carrom after a very long time, the first couple strikes find incredible angles and pockets on the tee... but once you're warmed up, your mediocrity shows. Sachin is not SACHIN anymore. He may look young and sound young, but high time he quits decently and starts contributing in a different capacity. It is one thing to believe we have a few good years left, but to prove it with the same consistency as halcyon days is another thing. If you analyse Sachin's last 4 years you will see that in one part of the year he does 3 or 4 big scores, then through the rest of the year he totters around the whole series with just one big score and sub-average performances where the way he gets out are worse than Agarkar's... and due to those 4 big scores in a year, he does 1000 runs. And because he averages 1000 runs, the sub-average performance is clouded from our eyes. If he is special because he scores, then his failures must be graded by the same specialness too. We can't raise and lower the bar according to convenience. For some people standards of success or failure must be kept high because the nation has spent so much time, money, energy, drama, emotions on them. So, I feel Venu Rao and JP Yadav didn't even get enough chances to prove themselves. In the 3 innings he got to play, Venu did decent for someone new. How much did Sachin do when on debut? It took about 5 months for him to settle too. Because he was 16 and precocious, he was excused. By the same yardstick a lot of 16 and 17 year olds must be treated. And why not dump Yuvraj? Is he the Yuvraj of Indian Cricket? He hasn't done anything except crop his hair! He has not contributed with bat nor ball or field. So why haven't they dumped Yuvraj or Sachin? And Ajit Agarkar will stay in the team the next year because of 2 performances in this series. The big travesty! If blooding youth is the idea, why Agarkar? Zaheer has got laziness and attitude problems! Balaji is unfit, Nehra (as usual) is not well... so get them younger. If Sreesanth, why not others? Am sure there are 20 other pacers better than Agarkar at the moment. And who do they bring back at the expense of Venu Rao? Md. Kaif. Who hasn't done anything critical to Indian batting or bowling since those 2 or 3 centures. Seriously, I don't know much about JP Yadav. But Venu (with his bigger and heavier build) is as flash and livewire as Kaif or Yuvraj! Cricket and Films, I tell you, have truly replaced the two big national legacy - Religion and Politics... What else, when Cricket becomes religion and Films are breeding grounds for Politicians!
So to politics, truly! What's politics without a bit of cricketing, if cricket can smack of politics? From Sachin and Solkar to Volcker... and Agarkar to Natwar and Iraq! And what does Andy say? "Oh you know, I just paid Surcharge. The main payment was Natwar's!" And is Natwar so dumb or the Press is screwing it up to highlight only those statements that could sell? The Press quotes Natwar saying "If Volcker doesn't know who I am, how can he accuse me?" Well Mr. Singh, Volcker only said he didn't know Natwar Singh was one of India's Ministers. True enough. I don't know which portfolio is going to change hands when. And I am an Indian who has seen 4 and half elections now. How daft can Natwar Singh become! Or is this the latest Sardarji joke? Oh let's see what Sonia-ji does. Food for Oil, India for Iraq... US for Everything. Perhaps one area where India and US are on even keel. Both in the same shit, shame scam!!
And finally... by the Sea... no, not to do with our abjection on the knees to the rains in Chennai. Did you know? The sea at Bessie Elliots Beach has receded by 50 mts. Now is that good or bad? I mean, has it gone back to where it was before tsunami or has it gone further? I am going to ask my friend Mr. Vincent D'Souza of the Adyar Times to do some fact-finding on this.
Nevertheless... the sea am talking is The Sea. By John Banville. The man who loves his words as much as he hates his critics. The man who famously said "Frankly, I am gratified to see myself vilified, and the jury being vilified," he said happily over lunch recently. "It cheers me up. I must have done something right to annoy so many people." It is being honest. But then again, this is becoming a habit. Remember Vernon God Little and its author who said "Now I can pay back my debts", when asked what he was going to do with the x-thousand pounds? I am still smarting from How The Hell Can They Give the Prize to Oscar and Belinda... and that was the previous millennium.
Gosh! This is getting disgustingly annoying too. The publishing committee, apparently, was disappointed with Banville's success because it was least popular and had only sold 3000+ copies prior to Booker announcement. And statistics show that the book now stands at 9000+ copies. I ask: if the idea behind choosing a Miss World/Atlas/Universe from one of the small-time countries in those respective paegents is (everyone knows it is true now!) to capture newer markets for the Loreals and Oriflames, then why not a non-descript book or unknown author or not so much a selling book. It helps the publishers. Fair is fair. It is commerce. And there are people cross at The Sea winning it because Saturday, a book by Ian McEwan, didn't even make it to the last 6 super-nominees and yet it is a hugely popular and highly selling box-office book! What logic is this? Is the box-office collection for a book or movie any indication for its quality? Again I come back to Kollywood. Where are you going to put the Rays, Rituparnos, Fellinis, Truffauxs, Eisensteins and others in comparison to Ghilli and Dhool and Sami? Poor Banville! Am on his side. And am yet to read the book. Doesn't matter, the world loves underdogs and so do I. But I can't yet get over the fact that the Indian press sucks. No originality, no pride, no backbone. These days they are incapable of getting origial ideas, original articles. Look at The Hindu. The Last Page is full of reprints from western media. If you read your NYT and Herald Tribune and Guardian Unlimited each evening, you know what will fill the back pages of The Hindu tomorrow. And Express and DC on Sundays. And they are still vilifying poor Pinter for being awarded the Nobel. Hey, he doesn't deserve Nobel, ok. In a positive sense. Left alone, he is better off. Don't make the man uncomfortable by recognising him suddenly after all these years for his Jew-ishness, for his love of cricket, for things in his life that have nothing to do with his writing. Schmucks, leave him alone.