2008 - Spain - Sports

Rafael Nadal won the French Open, Wimbledon, and now the Toronto Masters.
The Spanish National football team won the Euro 2008.
Carlos Sastre won Le tour de France 2008.

Phew! What are they eating for breakfast? Super Paella or something?

Wonder what they will do in the Olympics!

Profound Thoughts

Kolkata is plagued by power cuts these days, and during those times there is practically nothing to do... and as we all know, the idle mind is the devil's workshop... so these profound thoughts and observations are a direct result of Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation's inability to produce adequate power. Samples, not only mine but others in my vicinity, in random order:

  • In Kolkata, specially buses, there is no concept of a singular lady. There is only the plural: Ladies! Even if there is only one of them trying to de-board, the conductor still cautions the driver: "Ladies"; or "Ladies, ek jon" (translation: Ladies, one person). Haven't tried to correct them. It's like "Xerox": no one says photocopy here. it's 'xerox', even when done on a Canon or a Panasonic.
  • The worst ads are those by "saria" (iron rods). All of them feature a celebrity with the iron rod in their outstretched hands. Be it Sanjay Dutt, Mithun (here in Kolkata he is still the rage), Prosenjit (national award winning actor) or Sourav Ganguly. Oh man, the creative geniuses behind these ads need some serious help.
  • We need to introduce CAT style entrance exam for politicians. To prevent overage participation, a hundred meter run (target: in 14 seconds) would also be part of the exam. This should take care of 70% of our politicians.
  • DB and I were seriously considering the options of buying an island each near India and proclaiming ourselves as the Kings! The discussion went till the point we reached United Nations, but then, power supply was restored :( India just lost two new neighboring countries!
  • Oh, btw, it's Aro's birthday today. And I have promised Prashant that my gift to Aro this birthday would be a matrimonial ad in this Sunday's TOI Delhi on his behalf. Let me go ahead and execute this. I can almost audiolize (did I just make this up? If we can visualize, why can't we audiolize?) the conversation between Aro and me, between the numerous phone calls he would get on Sunday, cursing me and promising me that he would take revenge. Can't wait, really. Once in a while I do enjoy these sadistic pleasures. Happy birthday, Aro :P
Long live power cuts!

Investment of a different kind

The buzzword is "invest in art". So I did! But this time the investment was not for me. I invested in a child's future! Here's the story:

My friend Prashant, and in recent times Aro and Tushar, were involved in various activities of the ASK Sankalp project. The motto of the project is "Ensuring normal childhood to working children in brass industry of Moradabad". Recently they organised a painting competition for children at Moradabad. Prashant decided to take it further and showcased select paintings from the competition for sale on his blog. The condition was the interested person should be ready to buy each painting for Rs. 500/-. I chose the painting by Sadim of class III which had nothing to do with the theme of the competition: child rights / child labour / rain. Instead, it covers the bigger picture: India, her flag and the national anthem. I like that vision!

Prashant had collected Rs. 10,000/- (with pledges of a few thousands more) in a few days, which is almost double the target and should cover the non formal education expense of two kids. While I was in Delhi, I accompanied him and Aro to the ASK office in Gurgaon, and delivered the cheque. It was very interesting to chat with such passionate and focussed people as Dr. Khan and Bindiya about their work. Hope to be actively involved with their projects in future, and turn ideas in to reality.

Of all the 500s I have spent on fancy clothes, food and beverages in a fancy restaurant, or accessories to go with my laptop, this 500 makes me proud!



Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... well, isn't that always the case when you meet old friends, after a long time, and have a blast? The occasion was Dibakar's (popularly known as DB) office opening anniversary, and I was so full with the tonnes of biriyani, chicken tikka masalas and the gallons of carbonated drinks we had, I almost skipped dinner.

Today, I played football after at least two years, and at least a decade later at the same slushy ground (it's still slushy the exact same way) where I used to play as a kid. And with couple of old playmates in the team as well. It was a eight-a-side "Senior" vs. "Junior" match, and we, the seniors, totally turned it in to a one sided affair. We beat the kids 6-0, and I scored a hat trick! True to old habits, some of us carried a ten rupee note each (cell phones and wallets are not carried to the field), just to celebrate after the match. Remember we hadn't spoken about this, it's just a old habit from the last millenium! So after the match, we pooled in and treated both the teams to soft drinks and biscuits (that's all we could afford with the ten rupee notes). One of us dumped his wasted shoes in the garbage bin, one of us lost his pair of shoes, and both walked home barefoot. Finally, after letting the entire neighborhood of the score, returned home.

I have a swollen ankle, which is getting an alternate hot and cold compress. Also getting an Iodex treatment for the ankle and it's wrapped in a crepe bandage. I am walking with a limp. But who's complaining?

"The return of the native"

So, I had to come back to Kolkata! Couldn't meet a couple of friends in Delhi, which I regret. But really, was too busy there in a blurry way. Next time, friends, I promise to meet you guys first!

The train schedule was revised the day before, so I checked trainenquiry.com and got the new schedule. I planned to catch the Metro from Dwarka Sector 9 to New Delhi station (approximately 55 minutes). Aro and I went to Pizza Hut for a quick lunch before he was supposed to drop me off to the Metro station. But he got stuck in some bank work, and I forgot a very important item - charger, at home, so he drove me 10 minutes to the Nawada station, bypassing all the Dwarka stations (8 stations) saving almost 15 minutes.

Note: After assuring me that the T-shirts he stole were all out of shape and discolored and what not, Aro gifted me with a T-shirt of his own. And he did return my suit that was with him. However, just when we were about to leave the house, he HAD TO change in to one of my T-shirt, which I should add, didn't look discolored, nor out of shape (the wearer did look grossly out of shape). Damn that scheming mind!

In the train, I played a version of the Snake-Ladder game, only this time for berths! I chose Upper berth while booking, since they are the best place to have - you can climb up and lie down any time you want, and sleep till you wish. However, when I boarded the train, the lady in the lower berth wanted to shift to my berth and give her berth to me! I reluctantly agreed. However, another lady, destined for the other upper berth, later wanted to swap berths with me! Again I oblige! So, I guess, after all this match-the-following-seats combination, everyone was happy, which is most important!

The train had to take a detour and hence was delayed by over an hour and half, because a bunch of losers thought all the problems this country has will be solved if they could block the train line.

Anyway, I reach Kolkata, have lunch at home, and catch up with Ma. In the evening, catch up with my childhood friend (it's high time we had langotia yaar in English) who has come for his vacation. Ended up having dinner together over laughters and hilarious recollections of the many misadventures we have been part of or privy to. As is the common joke in our neighborhood, a book should be written about them, with chapters dedicated to each protagonist!