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Saturday, December 31, 2005

This and That Bloggettes:

These are little stuff that, were they to be published in an opinion journal or magazine, would have been called tidbits or snippets or finger-eat-readings. Of course, some of them are long enough to be merited an Order of Individual Blog Post honour! Since I have either dealt with them in individual blog posts in detail (as in the case of Saurav) or are not timely or critical enough to merit a full blog (yes, really, Orhan Pamuk case is getting a bit tiresome, dearie!. Or some are in the developmental phase that I would like to underline what's worth following on the international news radar. The earlier one, Oh Captain, My Captain! was the first of these bloggettes, as I would like to term them. Read on...

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Saurav Ganguly affair like Mohd. Azharuddin's, Ajay Jadeja's, Manoj Prabhakar's and much before that Mohinder Amarnath's and not too late in the past, Nayan Mongia's never seems to end. Of course, they can't end it. At least, the press wouldn't let it end. Else how do they fill up the space? Antickpix had remarked in the comments section to my previous blog on this topic that perhaps my article musta been reserved for after-Pakistan than now. After all, he feels that the purpose of my blog is defeated. Saurav is back! I don't think so. I still hold to my statement: Saurav must have opted out of the "Stake Your Claim" racket rather than making a huge hullabaloo about the whole thingie and meet Pawar and strengthen his case. My shout in the post was not about Ganguly's inclusion or exclusion from the team, but how a Loch-Ness is hiding inside More-ji! How past never seems to leave us Indian! Calcuttans may have gone on cracker-ing the celeb. My lowdown on the upshot of "Mission Saurav Inclusion" is this: Saurav must be pretty careful. By giving him a ticket to Pakistan, they have played an Azadi game. The Train to Pakistan is a veritable booby. How? Remember that 90s series where Kris Srikant was the Captain and he achieved what till then no one had achieved in recent memory! Square a series in Pakistan. And yet, when the Indians came back, he was not only stripped of captaincy, but axed from the team. Since then, the only couple of times Kris wielded the willow were 1) the Bi- and Multi-lateral over-35 ODIs and the recent Essilor Lens ad! And yet, another man who was equally dubious in the series, an erstwhile captain, opening partner in crime, the man who actually stole the Audi Car from Srikkanth in the 85 B&H WSC - inspite of not producing anything spectacular in individual matches to outshine Srikkanth or to actually do a Lara or Symonds or Pietersen or Lee or Warne to win any crucial match single-handedly - Ravi Shastri went on to be retained in the team. Because he was smart enough to play a dogged innings to wrap up a timely century to save his gluteus maximus. The same is going to happen to Saurav if he is not careful. How do you think Sachin survives these days? We have spoken about this in the L'Affaire Saurav article. My Ramp-up to this dope: Take Saurav's record against Pakistan. 7 Matches with 200+ runs at an average that is in the none too impressive 20s to warm the idiomatic cockle of the hearts! Actually it is a jathetic poke... er pathetic joke! And he has come at the expense of someone who survived the late 90-s and the beginning of this decade due to the clemency of his Dada! Saurav Dada has come in at the expense of Mohd. Kaif. And the other beneficiary of Saurav's munificence, Yuvraj, is preferred ahead of him! Dramatic Irony? Poetic Justice? Reasons enough Saurav must produce out of the world stuff. Stuff to claim back his opener slot in ODI; stuff enough to get back his patta for the 3-down slot; stuff big enough to whack the s**t out of the Frog Dance Moron of Indian Cricketing Chairmanship who goes on to say something very different each day about Saurav: alternately pandering and breathing pan masala spit. So, Saurav watch out. They are digging a bigger grave for you. As the Bard would say "Honor you at the trifles to Deceive you at the highest!" Time will tell whether Saurav is the Gladiator in the Arena or Kheema matter for Pindi Express - the man who Bends it Like No-one Else Can - Akthar! Or even Umar Gul, the latest Aquib Javed. It is the stuff of legend that Aquib Javed took about 70 odd wickets in ODI and 80% came against India, in Sharjah!

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Fernando Alonso: I remember this bloke about 4 years ago. His debut was with Minardi. There was this race where it was a do or die for David "the undying" Coulthard. What the heck! He was in the Championship race. And the Scot was getting frustrated. Try as he might, he could not overtake the minnow in front of him. And he was furious, shaking his helmet-ed head and his bunched up fist... getting furious at the marshals for not blue-flagging the car in front of him... radioing expletives to his team at the pits... Imagine what you would do if this happens for like 18 laps... and the guy in front of you wasn't even a top-10 runner... the guy was a debutant in a Minardi! Well, the young turk in front of him had other ideas. He was in the clear. Coulthard may be fighting for the championship, but as long as the former was not a backmarker to Coulthard, he had a right to defend his position. Well drubbed the gravel on the grass, upstart! That was Fernando Alonso. The year, I guess, was 2001. And 2 years later, he won his first Grand Prix at Hungaroring! and almost earned a hard-fought duel with Schumi at the Spanish Barcelona Grand Prix. The home-fans squealed in manic delight that day. And 2 more years later, this guy has shaken up the entire paddock area 2 further years in advance. Well, the news - for those not following F-1 world when there is no race - is Alonso has already signed up to move over to McLaren for 2007. And the 2006 season has not started. Would not start until another month or two! A lot of questions are being raised over this Paddock Poaching for Driver Line-up 2007 by Ron Dennis when there is no apparent need to. At least, Alonso-Dennis combo need not have announced it now. So if Fernando doesn't due to some reason win as many races in 2006 as he did in 2005 or cannot retain his Championship (there's already breaking news that Schumi has set early season testing times ablaze at Fiorano circuit), question marks are going to be raised. And what of Montoya or Raikkonen at McLaren. Is this Ron's way of shaking Kimi for not winning the Driver's Championship? Or is this a way of rattling Montoya who until the other day, before the emergence of Alonso out of Renault testing service, was the fieriest and angry young driver of F-1? So who goes out? Who stays in? A lot of commitments are going to be put to test in what seems a difficult year for F-1 : 2006!

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Breaking News on the F-1 front: Hockenheim in recent financial trouble is already the only true-blood German Grand Prix. Nurburgring, although technically is in Germany and even closer to Schumis' home-town of Kerpen than Hockenheim, is considered a European Grand Prix hosted by Luxemborg Racing Authorities and the State of Luxemborg. And those folks are adding salt to the already wounded pride of Hockenheimers by offering to sharing the financial burden. Internal German take-over? What with BMW stepping in directly into the ring! On that count, we have a new team for 2006. A Japanese team that is not Honda, not Toyota... Of course, Taku Sato is in the driver line-up with another newbie. All Jap line-up. Sony took over Hollywood. Will Japan take over F-1 too? Max! Bernie!! d'ye both hear? Or will, when he retires, Schumi be the hier-apparent to Max and Bernie's stranglehold on the business part of F-1? Already we hear this week that Luca di Montezemolo - the honcho at Fiorano (Ferrari Headquarters) - announcing that Schumi is Ferrari's eternal future, hinting that even after quitting competitive racing, Michael would be active either as Manager or as Technical Chief or whatever Michael desires. Good thing that Rubens has decided to move over at the long last! But sad thing, everyone who moves into Ferrari talks rose before taking the tack Eddie Irvine took 5 years back. Losers grumblers, eh? That's it from F-1 paddock this week. You can check my dedicated brand new blog Little Shop of Formoola One Musings for regular updates and more detailed and specialized posts!

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Johnny Depp: Since the day - about 8 to 9 years or even more - I first saw the movie Edward Scissorhands, I have never lost an opportunity to admire Depp's acting. Of late I have been analyzing his work style and subtle approach to handling roles, he never fails to amaze me. In my 30 years of movie watching, I guess, this is one fellow who has really made me spout sweeping statements. Just this day, after belatedly watching Finding Neverland, I realize Depp is the finest actor of this generation. I have been taken in goosebump zone by Val Kilmer's facility with varying choice of roles and the handling of them (Independence, Top Secret, The Doors, Batman...the list is long!). I have occasionally wondered at the a-la Zen calmness that Keanu Reeves brings to his approach to his roles; I have been occasionally (initially) misled to consider Di Caprio as a potential (nah! Not Titanic, but The Man in the Iron Mask), but I was pretty disappointed by his portrayal of the hyped Aviator movie. And so with Hollywood's true successor to the blue-eyed boy seat left vacant by Paul Newman - Tom Cruise. In spite of repeatedly forced into watching The Last Samurai, I conclude that his range is limited. Of course, now they are all talking Orlando Bloom and Jude Law and others of the ilk. And my friend Radio Krishna says Javier Bardoe and Ed Norton are gunning at Johnny's heels now, but Depp still beats them all by streets and autobahns. I have seen him now in Edward Scissorhands, Deadman (directed by Jim Jarmusch of the Coffee and Cigarrettes and more recently the Cannes 2005 winning Broken Flowers fame and on whom alongside Terry Gilliam I plan to post a blog shortly), Finding Neverland and a couple of other movies; and there is a certain silkiness of approach and subtlety of undertanding he brings to the characters he plays. Even a movie like Pirates of the Carribean (which incidentally stars Orlando Bloom alongside) an apparently comic role in a bravado cult movie-line, he brings so much to the role. He makes is all his movie. When it's a Johnny movie you are never out of Deppth!

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Kerry Packer: The last week has seen the biggest event of perhaps the most catastrophic year of this millennium heretofore! The cricketing moghul who turned the world upside down in the Rand-era by introducing the ODI World Series - otherwise eponymously known as the Packer Series until it was officially accepted as a game worth considering blood brother to Test Cricket - died at the age of 68. It was a watermark but very sweeping sad moment. How else would the world of Lance Kluseners and Jayasuriyas and Yuvrajs and Kris Srikkanths have survived, if not for this invention! The Kiwis have tried their own share of Max and 20-20 series... and they have failed to uproot the fascination a ODI has till now. Salute the Great Gatsby of Modern Cricket, Late Kerry Packer, ladies and gentlemen! I shall try and post a dedicated blog later to this genius. I guess, juxtaposed next to his contribution, Sir WG can take a flight to moon and get back leisurely (if he wants he can stay there. It ain"t windy up there!)

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Orhan Pamuk: It is getting a bit of tedium, this Case of Orhan "the Turk" Pamuk. The Turkish author - famed for his works My Name is Red, Snow, The Black Book et al. - perhaps the only of his ilk to have come from a bigoted and beleagured Turkey that is fashionably teetering on the edge of ambiguity vis-à-vis its entry into European Union membership, has been basking under the wrath of millions of fanatical Turks, who have been castigating him in all possible ways regarding his comments on the Turkishness of the National Turk Army (in a recent October interview to a German Press); who have been baying for his blood a-la Ayotollah for Rushdie's blood back in the 90s, for his apparent opinions upon the 1915-22 killings of 1.5 million Armenians and heck of a lot of Kurds at the hands of the Ottoman regime. First they went abuzz and paranoid and psychotic and mob-hysterical about his February comments to a Swiss paper about the Armenian alleged-Genocide. And then they issued some sort of a fatwa on him. Then they made a date for his trial in October. It was postponed.

They pushed it to December 16th. Now they have pushed it further to February. Grounds of adjournment and stay and postponement range from "non-availment of proper orders from the Justice Dept." to Outcry of the Western media. Ha! My Conspiracy Theory is this... I think, on a purely personal side it is turning out to resemble a purely sales-pitch by pro-Pamuk press and his retinue of small-scale industry (read publishers, agents and of the plumage) to keep him eligible for Booker, Nobel and whatnots. On the other hand, at a larger public scale it seems like an advertisement riot by the Turkish government to keep itself in the news constantly as the gather support for their membership. To project a "cry for freedom of expression" from media and artist community and then provide it (hopefully shortly) to a cued-timing, whereby the Western countries and the E.U member countries heave a sigh of relief; and Turkey can score a few brownies in its bid for EU membership. Of course, Greece is watching! They are not going to sit tight. As I write this, I truly adore My Name is Red and recommend it as a good laugh read. Have just started reading Snow. I would put Pamuk in the same scale of Italo Calvino in his ingenuity and on par with Eco in his plotting. Well, Dan Brown is a fake although he has better claims to pace and tempo in comparison with Pamuk.

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The Ambler Warning is one kitsch I managed to read (though not in one sitting) in one bated-breath in a long while. I had to labour through Archer's latest False Impressions (am tagging to Samanth's review of the book) and did not think unputdownable about Crichton's State of Fear (although is it highly recommendable as a read); thought of the allegedly legendary Da Vinci Code as inferior even to Brown's own Digital Fortress and repudiate anything by Brown as nothing more than a distant pollutant particule cousin of any of Umberto Ecos; and refused summarily to even read beyond the blurbs of the last two Cusslers and Forbes lest I get into a comatose for recognizing good reads. Ambler is apparently Ludlum's last individual novel. So they keep purporting. How many more? I mean, with a mother of mother-lode of talent such as Robert Ludlum's you need not have to pull all those sackfuls of wool to ensure sales of his works, however posthumous the publications may be. If co-authored books such as The Moscow Vector could sell, Ambler definitely will take care of its 1 millionth copy. My personal paean for The Ambler Warning is due to various factors. It is a better book than what is considered to be his best yet - The Bourne series. Subject matter is similar. An individual's quest for himself and his identity, caught in a political stabilization web. Well, finally Ludlum has conclusively taken the step other authors have made in a financial hurry: towards the Bamboo Curtain that is slowly getting the world under its slow but sure and large dragnet - China. Nice thing, Ludlum was not alive to see the Iraq operation of the US and Saddam fiasco, else he would have joined the band in wasting his time in writing umpteen journeyman fiction versions of Three Kings (in support of the movie, I must say, it is a fun watch!). But back to Ambler. For stats, it is 480+ pages. Four Parts. Sweeps the world from Langley Base in US to Hongkong to Parrish Island off US to Taiwan off China to Paris and Davos in Mitteleurope! It moves from a search for an individual's identity - not to mention his totally changed face (remember the ol' time Desmond Bagley novel in which this guy goes to sleep in England and wakes up in Oslo to discover to his horror that he's had a face-off and has to remember to drive on the wrong side, er... right side in Norway of the road?) - to a huge plot by the US to keep healthy-minded South East Asian political leaders from living and hence transforming the world to a peaceful place. Behind all these is a bunch of followers of Mr. Ashton Palmer - a once highly-tipped hier to the US Gubernatorial position and now a Professor of Politics, incognito of course! - a sort of quiet maniac who wants to do a Ramana (a-la Captain Vijayakanth in the eponymous movie) to ensure the Machtpolitik, Realpolitik and Geopolitik supremacy of the foremost upholder of democracy in the Universe - United States of America. A brilliant, at one-go, unput-downable crescendo of a finish in Part Four, spanning about 100 pages. Just Buy It. Worth its Rs. 250/- (an edition by Orion Books for Sale in Indian Sub-continent only).

Friday, December 16, 2005

L'Affair Sourav and the Frog Dance Man

After watching the natak and the tamasha of the last month over first the ouster of Jaggi Dalmiya, second the ascendency of Sharad Pawar, third almost Kreon-like usurption of chairmanship by Kiran More, fourth the carefully orchestrated press conferences opened with unseeming regularity, akin to the Minardis coming out for early qualifying in Formula-1, by Niranjan Shah followed by the Medea-like pronouncements of Kiran More, fifth the ease with which Greg Chappell slipping into the Chanakya-seat of politics left vacant by John Wright, am not amused, bemused, surprised and shocked (not necessarily in that order) at the treatment meted out to Sourav 'Dada' Ganguly.

Let me throw in my bit of contribution to the nostalgic singing of the halcyon days of The Prince of Bengal and the apocalypse that he did not forsee, coming from the Frog Prince of 1992 World Cup Kiran More. In fact, I am a bit let down, if at all, by Sourav for not forseeing things of the future. The pedigreed man that he is, Ganguly must have actually dealt the Coup de Grace by refuting the offer in the team in the first place, after having just the other day proved he is a match-winning bowler, then going on to score the hundred and then showing he still is the unofficial King Arthur of Indian Captaincy. Let tongues wag that Sourav's record as the most successful Indian Captain hides behind the fact that he won against meeker teams; let tails sprite themselves up in air that his centuries and big scores have come against weaker teams. Still, why didn't the others score. Why did no other captain succeed where he did? The same was said of Azhar. Sometimes I think Sachin is a better politician or at least a diplomat. He is adept at the art of projecting himself as a sentimental victim worthy to empthaise with. Poor Sourav was the faithful Kumbhakarna to Ravan Dalmiya while Sachin is the eternally smart low-key Vibhishina who takes refuge with the alternate power-brokers. Of course, he has resurrected himself as the virtuous Ram who tugs at the heart-strings of every mother and mother's son of Bharath. Let's not get sidetracked in sentiments or extended metaphors. The fact of the matter is, from the 1992 Frog Dance days to the 2005 Chairmanship time, More has carefully moved from chiaroscuros and bas reliefs to digitised anime. He has rightfully served reminder of his street-fighting doughtiness that was evidenced first against Javed Miandad on 4th March 1992 when India met Pakistan for the first time in a World Cup match in Australia. Of course, Javed and Imran's tigers had the last laugh by lifting the coveted trophy.

Again, to get some facts right. 1989... India-Pakistan series in Pakistan. First ODI, Pak beats India in a curtailed match. ODI 2 washed out. ODI 3 washed out, ODI 4 Pak wins the series 2-0. And three people made their debuts then. Very forgettable. A young Tendulkar and not too old Salil Ankola and Vivek Razdan. Of course, after a banging 5-wkt haul test debut, Razdan faded and Ankola hung around for a while in and out thanks to his Sonu Nigam looks. I don't find much difference between a singer who looks good and wants to act and a cricketer who looks good and wants to bowl. And what of the eternal pet Ajit Agarkar. Where does he hail from, dearie? But what we are missing here is... the Mumbai factor never ceased its continuum in Indian cricket. Only by a steady progression it has become a Maharashtrian factor, thanks to the Rashtriya passion - the Sena - Rashtriya - Bhartiya combine that brought back Maharashtra and Mumbai back in contention in the national scheme of things when their cricketing roots slept for a while. It has been a while any serious cricketer of repute has come from that part of the world. And to think that not only have Tamilnadu been meted out bad treatment at the national level of selection, but also Delhi has carefully been kept at bay. Of course, Tamilnadu is anyway on the Bay... and they have to carefully deal with Delhi, being the centre that can hold. One look at the Delhi-Mumbai encounters can tell you the story as much as Mumbai-TN duels, which comparatively are far and few. We have anyway our own TN-Karnataka skirmishes to deal with. So Razdan went out. Coincidentally, Vivek grew up with the MRF Pace Foundation in TN and studied at Guru Nanak College before graduating to play for India Pistons in the TNCA First Division League. So... too many connections that only make logical his dumping. Of course, all these had nothing to play in his non-playing. But back to More and more Maharashtra...

This man More says Sourav was chosen for his all-round ability. Then why forego a bowler. And a lot of people know that Kaif is more a test-temperament cricketer than Yuvraj (which incidentally is Prince in the Indian language, though not of Kolkatta). And if the logic is Sourav played well, but we are looking to fill the opener slot and we don't want Sourav at No 6 because we have another Prince now, why not put him up the order? Oh! What will the world think if we put him as opener and drop Gambhir out of the 15 and Sourav out of the 11? After all, Sourav was India's captain, he is a seasoned-campaigner who cannot be put on reserve, but Gautam is just new to the game of dumping, he won't mind being thrown about! And what of Wasim Jaffer? Oh, he has scored tons of runs in the Ranji with an average of 89. So? You remember Raman Lamba, Bhaskar Pillai, Robin Singh... the list of people scoring tens of hundres of runs in a Ranji season is endless given the fact that the Mumbais and the Delhiites play in a weak section of the draw filled in numbers with Vidharba and Sourashtra or Himachal Pradesh and J&K. And after all, to refresh the memories of that eventful 1989 Indo-Pak series where Tendla made his debut, one Mr. Ajay Jadeja opened the innings and with unfailing consistency scored at 45% strike rate in the ODIs. If Gambhir gets out playing across the line early and Wasim Jafer than was dumped out because of his half-cocked batting style, how bad can Sourav the man who has scored the 4th highest aggregate in both forms of cricket be? And today because Jafer has lot of runs behind him the last two seasons, he is good eh? Then put Yere Goud in the middle order. He has been the hub of Railways' Ranji campaign the last 3 seasons successfully. Nope. Wasim Jafer, Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar are from Mumbai, Sharad Pawar is Mumbai and More is Maharashtra...

Wow! Wah Huzoor More-ji... Then why bring Sourav back at all? There is a lot of lip-service in this deal. And let us not forget where Gautham Gambhir hails from nor which zone and state he plays for. But then, it is only logical. Virendar comes from thereabouts too! So how can there by more representations when these days, in the name of rota and allocation and quota and reservation and roulette, even huge international teams like Australia and S.Africa and England end up playing in Bikaner and Agartala and Kohima! Oh that? It is the Calibans getting back at Prosperos of the world. Post-colonialism Cricket. Lagaan-ing. Englishmen? How else can we beat them if we don't play their warm-up matches in areas that could warm the cockles of their intestines with bad food and cockroach rooms and bumpy roads? You see, Indians, am proud to say (because am bored with the cliche "I am ashamed to say"!), have low self-esteem, lower diplomacy, high sycophancy, higher lack of self-belief to go out and shoot straight.

A Little Digression. Have you noticed the planning Aussies do with their schedule? Very smart. Every series starts with a couple of diplomacy matches where they let couple of their sharp-shooters (on-field of course!) humiliate the visiting team before the latter gets acclimatised, then demoralise them with Pigeon-ing and Punt-ing (aka sledging with the help of Fourth Estate) and then play a couple of tests (where they really fight aggressively) and put some key players on either psychological or physical injury list. And then disrupt the Test match frame of mind and rhythm with an intrusive and tough-ball B&H Series... then get back to continue the Test Matches. They of course have such a depth of bench that they have different players for two different types of games, if required. Why won't they win with such careful orchestration and planning. Battles are won in the mind. And that is what brings us back to L'Affaire Sourav.

Sourav Ganguly brought back a team in disarray, a board in Macbethian shame of match-fixing thanks to the Three Witches (aka Cronje, Azhar and that bookie whose name I forget), a country desolate in the habit of sinking to the level of the lowest opposition. Let it be said that he established for India an unenviable record of losing the Finals of ODI serii! Don't matter. He created what you proudly today claim Team India, Sahara Parivar, the Pepsi Men in Blue, the Huddle-Bubble Hindustani spirit that Rahul "Agent Smith-look" Dravid has taken over. Of course, I have nothing against poor Rahul. But it is all Olympian... the plans. There is always a pattern to the destinies and cross-destinies in the Greek Mythology. From Zeus to Seuss, they are all macabre people. It used to be Dalmiya and Ganguly, it is now More and someone else... It used to be Wright and now it is Greg. Under Ganguly it used to be the Shiv Sundar Dases, Deep Das Guptas, Saba Karims... it is now the Gambhirs and Yuvrajs and JP Yadavs... All this points to one thing. We love to play our cricket off the field. After all, cricket these days is a mind-game. Ask John Buchanan, Bob Woolmer, Tom Moody... and then again ask also the Laxmans and Dinesh Kaarthicks and Venugopala Raos and the Badanis... Isn't this the land that made Shatranj ki Khiladi! And chess is politics (you ask the Russians about it!), politics is Congress, Sharad Pawar is (or was?) Congress... the next of kin to the Raj... but there is 'more' to this than meets the eye. Don't be surprised there is a little more at the ICC Meetings at Lords sooner than later. The true Macbeth is out there. A little medium at large. Beware the ides of March, for it all became apparent on that eventful day - 4th March and the juggernaut rolls, nought-ing even the jaggis of Indian cricket.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quid Pro Quo... that is Life with a Big L

by Alfred Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vest the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers;
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breath were life. Life piled on life
Were all to little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle-
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me-
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads- you and I are old;
Old age had yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Just feel wistful and done with the past. And to think that the past year has seen vicissitudes of time, as they say, and vexations of heart as well as stimulations of mind and to feel that it has been a full year (or a year-ful?) of newer people, newer experiences, newer sorrows... not bad. I have a rich vein of newer emotional curves to draw upon as I embark on a newer road - the road (I Have) not taken, as Frost may say! But what is happiness compared to sorrow. In Happiness We Forget Ourselves, we delight and the world delights with us. In Sorrow We learn. I would rather have sorrow than be happy. An Artist Needs Sorrow As An Alcoholic Needs Liquor. Without the pain and the sorrow and the anger and the fury and the jealousy and the burning envy, art cannot have power. There may be beauty in "emotions recollected in tranquility", as Wordsworth said; but it would end up like the Pre-Raphealite poetry. Read only as academic stuff. Put Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil, Buchner's Danton's Death, Suskind's Perfume, Lord Byron's flamboyant and Shelley's burning poetry and Sarah Kane's plays alongside your Pre-Raphealites and the Wordsworths and Keats and all those soft-puppies of art... you will see there is a greater passion in the former's aching urgency to capture the moment than the latter's measured pickings of painted metaphors and images.

Done with the past... though not content. A Ship Does Not Sail On Yesterday's Winds! I leave those paths I have tread and look forward to explore unchartered territories. I leave behind a Penelope who no more has use for me, who is through with me and has sought to leave in letter and spirit leaving behind mine own Telemachus! Yes, that is official and final too, the last couple of days have been horrid and it has come to a real head. I leave behind ... no am not too sure of that! And today someone asked me "if there was anyway he could have a Masquerade t-shirt". I said the only one I have is mine and he can have it. I would like to leave it with some good soul, for "Alas! what boots it with incessant care/To tend the homely slighted Shepherds trade,/And strictly meditate the thankles Muse,/Were it not better don as others use,/To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,/Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?" as Milton states in his Lycidas! This is no maudlin post. It surviveth... even as the strong, in the words of Louis L'Amour, shall survive! It being the Spirit. But somethings do need to be spelt. And that is the true trade of Honesty with a capital H. Started with a quote, shall end with a quote... about Honesty by the big B, Billy Joel!

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


.........................Vacant shuttles
Weave the wind. I have no ghosts,
An old man in a draughty house
Under a windy knob.

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last
We have not reached conclusion, when I
Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last
I have not made this show purposelessly
And it is not by any concitation
Of the backward devils
I would meet you upon this honestly.
I that was near your heart was removed therefrom
To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.
I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
Since what is kept must be adulterated?
I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:
How should I use them for your closer contact?
These with a thousand small deliberations
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
With pungent sauces, multiply variety
In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
Suspend its operations, will the weevil

--- Gerontion, T.S.Eliot

Today I really feel futile. I think my theatre has failed. I accept my failure. I have failed to create human beings and better people with my theatre. No matter how many actors or techies or artists have been created by me... I have failed to create a human being. I shall not do anymore work. One last solo piece in May. After that, I shall quit theatre. No more commitments. I am spiritually and technically out of Gowri's play. Probably I shall honor my commitment to those two roles. I am trying to get alternatives for myself. Have messaged concerned people to the effect. I disown myself from all those institutions. I go to sleep with a really heavy heart, succumbing to sleep because my eyelids droop and refuse to cooperate to keep open. Finis. :-((