Aug 28, 2003

Red A-Dare

They told me I should look out of the window for Mars
Now was it North-East or South-West, and near which of the stars?
I shivered, and I shuddered, into the late hours
Might this go the way of the Leonid showers?

Beckoned by the wafting aromas of the soup bowl
I decided to call off the nightly prowl.
Dodging Red-gazers, their 'scopes cheek-by-jowl
I happily left Astronomy to the owl.

Though she hasn't been receiving any special coverage, Asian Games medallist Anju Bobby George (who's training with World Record holder Mike Powell) has been doing well in the women's long jump circuit, and is considered to be among the top 10 athletes in this sport today. She has her attempts at the World Championship later tonight, I think, and here's to hoping that her performance is more than just noteworthy.
A newly installed carrom board at work sees some of us taking time off to strike a few coins now and then. I've played a few games when I was a kid, and can associate lots of angry moments with it: all the people I played with then were much better than me (blame it on them having the advantage of age) and the frustrations of not being able to pocket the easy coin is a memory that continues to simmer.

However, those tough lessons have made their mark, because my co-participants then were always kind to me and taught me the rebound, the shots-at-crazy-angles, and didn't have the easy routes of thumbing etc. I didn't become a great player, but I found that I can play a decent supporting role. My record so far in the two full games on the new board has been honourable. The first game we played, we lost 28-29 but not before we came back from something like 11-28 down. The second full game saw my team win 31-24. Not too bad.

The usual arguments over the rules led to a search for them on the Web, but the different sites (hosted by international federations) are hopelessly contradictory. But the people I'm play carrom with are not really obsessed about the technicalities, and their skills don't dwarf mine, so I can get away with my honour and temper intact.

UP, UP and A Way

One of the recurring (and unfailingly funny) joke concepts in The Simpsons comedy series involves the blessed-only-with-short-term-memory Homer doing something that causes him physical pain, and then doing it again, and again, and again and so on, while muttering Oowwwww all the time. The politicians in Uttar Pradesh remind me of this a lot.

Whether it's the BJP coming back again with Mayawati after she famously plunged her Bahujana Hitaya dagger into their backs in Parliament, or their notorious but innovative power-by-rotation agreement or Mulayam and his tango with the Congress at the Centre and State, UP politics is as spirited as ever, with almost every possible aspirant to the kursi having got a chance to warm it with his/her gluteus maximus over the last few years. The photos of the last decade look like the shifting colour combinations of a kaleidoscope: all perms. and combs. are possible. Of late, there has been an argument over statements like "Mumbai always bounces back" with some saying that "Mumbaikars have no choice: their stomachs demand they go back to work, bomb or no bomb". I feel the real phoenixes are the members of the UP Vidhan Sabha, not even one of those crazy toy balls rebound and richochet as much as these chaps.

But I must confess to be a little surprised at Mayawati (here's one lady who should've been born (or is it behen born?) to a Gujju sorority) giving up the chair so soon. I don't see the master plan kicking in yet. Why would she renounce so easily, especially with the BJP not really forcing her hand (as far as I can see)? Did she think the BJP-appointed Governor would not let the SP in? If this is a gaffe, then she is in good company with her old friend Mulayam's move during the break in the UP Lok Sabha elections. Anyway, it has given rise to another unlikely and apparently indigestible recipe featuring Kalyan Singh, Tiwari-Pal and an alphabet soup of parties that takes the whole concept of the abbreviated names so far that I saw a Hon. Member from the ABCD party.

And if this had been a sketch from Monty Python, someone would have walked in saying: "Stop it now, this is getting too silly even for us".

Aug 25, 2003

Anyone (and these days, anything) whose name deviates from normally observed spellings is automatically suspected of having met the numerologist: take Jayalalithaa, Suniel Shetty and Kkusum as members of the exampli gratia set. We can give Preity Zinta the benefit of the doubt as she seemed to be a deviant even before she came into the spotlight. But I've always wondered what the "righteous" Shobha (now augmented with the "Extra-a Innings") Dé had to say in her defence. A few days ago (don't remember where I read this, must be The Times of India, for the TOI has been quite into these things: Pune TOI features one of their town-favourites Anupam Kapil each week who gives us the requisite gyan on these things) I read that "she found Shobhaa more visually appealing". She didn't really acknowledge any other reasons for the nomenclatural change. Yeah right, Ms. Dé. Wish you (or the adviser in the background) had found Shhhoba or Day more aesthetic, would have made it fun to Ssshush you each Day.
Wild card horse

I haven't seen a single film with Abhishek Bachchan, but I cannot stop thinking that he will eventually make it big. I don't know if he has the talent, or something extra special to make this happen, but I always feel favourably for him and hope that one day he will enjoy an amount of success that some of his peers already have. There's no explaining my sympathy towards the (on second thoughts, it just struck me that I have watched him in Om Jai Jagdish: nothing special) ChhoTa B, for I'm not a huge fan of the Big B (like this fellow). But to borrow a phrase from one of Daddy's films, I think he may be a lambi race ka ghoDa. For starters, I wish they'll stop giving him dance steps that make him look gauche, especially in comparison to his co-stars.

He made his debut when his father wasn't having the greatest time of his life, but was slowly inching his way back, so Abhishek hasn't had the full force of the Bachchan heritage behind him. Also, he really hasn't been bankrolled by the Family unlike the Roshans. I saw an interesting short from an MTV interview with the Junior B who responds to a numerologist who apparently says that he should drop his last name by saying: "That's all I got now! I've been hanging on just because of my last name!" and then more seriously that his last name was given by his grandfather and his father had worked hard to add worth to this name, and no, there's no way he would lose it.

Aug 23, 2003

Coming soon:

* Malayala cinema-um nyaanum

* Thoughts on Iruvar

* Where the lines between reality and dreams blur

On the other hand, another Leeds test match and England v South Africa is very keenly poised once again.

And for once, there is something grabbing the tennis news more than the fact that Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes almost played together: hopefully Paes will get better soon. Very few sportsmen in India are as universally loved and admired.

Where there is complaint, there must be praise. India came back to thrash Pakistan in the Champion's Trophy, and they pumped 5 goals back in 20 mins. Highly surprising, but this is one sport where we have consistently dominated our neighbours, and I think the team believes it can always win. Shades of the 1982 showing at the Trophy where present coach Rajinder Singh was involved in another memorable defeat of the rivals, en route to the 3rd spot. We have a chance to match that, for an Aussie gift means that India play Pakistan for the 3rd place tomorrow.

If they don't win, then India would've had another typical tournament, the template for which reads:

* India achieves excellent pre-tournament showing, raising hopes of the Great Hockey Resurgence that the country has been awaiting for 25 years now.

* India then contrives to lose its first match.

* It has to play catch-up, scraping through some of its matches.

* If we have to play Pakistan, we win the encounter.

* We have to await the results of other matches on the last day, huddled with calculator in hand, for a playoff for a decent place: mostly the results do go in our favour.

* We don't win the playoffs, the final blow, leading to recriminations to re-surface that were temporarily suppressed after the Pakistan victory.

* There is a lot of bad blood, usually conducted through the media, spilling over to the airport. Eventually, the coach loses his job. Some senior players may be temporarily sacked too.

Let's see if the old script is called into action this time also.

This time's BCL finds
A long pending visit to the local British Library yielded:

* Freedom Song by Amit Chaudhuri, which I've always wanted to try

* An illustrated biography of John Cleese. I have heard of John Cleese's huge reputation, but haven't really seen much of his output, except for a few episodes of Fawlty Towers. Of his film roles, I haven't seen any of the famous ones like A Fish Called Wanda, only a few appearances that seemed rooted in Basil Fawlty. Of course, like many British comics of his generation, he made his reputation with Monty Python, something on my longterm TODO list. I have read a few sketches, but I'm sure they're even better on screen. Interesting tidbit: his father was actually named Cheese, then changed it to escape from being at the receiving end of many a joke. The book will hopefully shed some light on another aspect to Cleese's life: his interest in psychology (I've seen him appear on a few psychology related productions of the BBC shown on the Discovery channel).

Aug 22, 2003

Chanda sooraj laakho.n taare.n
Hai jab tere hii yeh saare.n
kis baatpe hotii hai phir takraare.n

Khii.nchi hai lakeere.n is zamee.n pe par na khiincho dekho
beech mei.n logo.n ke deewarein

Duniya mei.n kahi.n bhi dard se koi bhi
taDpe to humko yahaa.n pe
ehsaas uske Zakhmo.n ka hoke
apnaa bhi dil bhar bhar aayei.n roye A.nkhe.n

- Gurus of Peace featuring Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and A.R.Rahman, from the album Vandé Mataram

I personally don't think that India-Pak collaborations like the above in music, films, sports etc will help make any difference to resolving the political issues (it takes one simple emotive spark to push things back to the brink), I wouldn't discourage these either. What I wouldn't do, though, is to hype these things and take Laloo-Noor diplomacies to unrealistic conclusions.

A punch at the pint

Ireland passes stiff (no pun intended) laws against drinking, Irish President Mary McAleese calling her fellow countrymen's attitude to drink "unhealthy" and "sinister" ( which means 8 out 10 Irish are sinister :-) ).

This is very interesting: it's like cutting down half their social life. When I was a wee lad in Dublin a few months ago, the eerie silences and loneliness on the streets on normal weekdays after 7.00 pm was very unsettling at first. It struck me that if I ever was in a crowd in Dublin in the evening, I had to be in a bar (which is not a very rare commodity there). Not even attempting to drink Guinness rightfully brought a scorn to the faces of my hosts. I didn't make the pilgrimage to the local Guinness factory (so no free samples to taste), but I couldn't go all the way and back without stepping into one of the holy places. I walked near Temple Bar but I went in to the nearest pub (on the last day of my visit) accompanied by European colleagues celebrating the beginning of the St. Patrick's Day weekend. I had a red lemonade there (apparently another local curiosity) which made sharp contrast to the mugs of golden and black liquid swilling around. What is it like inside? : it is noisy, musical, smoke-filled and ok, ok, spirited.

It's not (just) cricket

Prem Panicker, opinionated cricket columnist for Rediff, now has a blog of his own: here, and he talks about life, movies and a lot more apart from cricket.

Aug 21, 2003

Finally something I've been looking for: a Transliteration for Tamil into English. My ignorance of the fact that something like ITrans exists was removed by reading George's latest post where he pillories old punching bags: post 90s Lata Mangeshkar and Sonu Nigam.

BTW, to complete this post, here's the Tamil to English transliteration table. To take an example, I would have to say aayutha eJuthu or Ayutha ezuthu. (Actually Aayutha ezhuthu itself refers to a letter in the Tamil alphabet, which ITrans shows as q.)

All very confusing, for I also don't know how to represent the half-consonant or half-vowel that appears frequently in Tamil (for e.g, the last "u" in ezhuthu is not a full-fledged "oo" as people might think, just a polite begin-as-if-saying-oo-and-halt "u".

Ringing the bejewelled bell

Another set of thoughts revolving around dear old Mani Ratnam saar: those that can seem strictly worthwhile to triviamongers. It hasn't gone unnoticed that MR doesn't repeat actors very frequently. Where Balachander had his Kamal & Rajni, Raj Kapoor had his family, Prakash-Manmohan-Hrishikesh had the Big B, Mani Ratnam hardly repeated any main actor more than 3-4 times in his 17-odd films.

I took this conjecture a little further ahead by attempting to list down the total appearances of notable actors and actresses who had appeared to the accompaniments of mumbled dialogues, great soundtracks, slow-motion dance sequences and brilliantly shot scenes (to the best of my knowledge):

Four: Revathi (Pagal Nilavu, Mouna Raagam, Anjali, Iruvar), Arvind Swamy (Dalapathi, Roja,Bombay,Alaipayuthey)

Three: Nasser (Nayakan, Bombay, Iruvar), Janakaraj (Nayakan, Agni Nakshatram, Roja),, V.K.Ramaswamy (Mouna Raagam, Agni Nakshatram, Anjali)

Two: Prabhu (Agni Nakshatram, Anjali),Madhubala (Roja, Iruvar), Manisha Koirala (Bombay, Dil Se), Prakash Raj (Iruvar, Kannathil Muthamittal), Madhavan (Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Mutthamittal), Mohanlal (Unuru, Iruvar), Mohan (Idaya Kovil, Mouna Raagam), Karthik (Mouna Raagam, Agni Nakshatram), Tinnu Anand (Nayakan, Bombay), Delhi Ganesh (Nayakan, Iruvar)

Notable Singles: Anil Kapoor (Pallavi Anu Pallavi), Kamalhassan (Nayakan), Nagarjuna & Girija (Geetanjali), Raghuvaran (Geetanjali) Anjali (always meant this: thanks Harish for pointing out), Rajnikanth (Dalapathi), Mamootty (Dalapathi), Pankaj Kapur (Roja), Prashant, Anu Agarwal (Thiruda Thiruda), Gautami, Aishwarya Rai, Tabu (Iruvar), Shah Rukh Khan,Raghuvir Yadav & Preity Zinta(Dil Se), Shalini, Khushboo, Vivek, Sukumari (Alaipayuthey), Chakravarthi, Nandita Das & Simran (Kannathil Muthamittal), Amrish Puri, Shobhana & Bhanupriya (Dalapathi), Satyaraj (Pagal Nilavu)

So Revathy and Arvind Swamy top the list. If one were to consider Arvind Swamy's offscreen contributions to Iruvar, he might go up the list. For that matter, Revathi might've done the same too (she has voiced a few characters on screen).

I learnt a few things and remembered a few forgotten cameos along the way, ultimately using the IMDB entry to fill in a few holes. If I've left out someone or some appearance, let me know.

Aayudha Ezhuthu (untitled as yet in Hindi) will add a few more first-timers (Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi in addition to the others in Hindi & Tamil) to the list, while Simran makes her second Ratnam film in a row. More significantly, Madhavan will have completed a hat-trick, no other person has done this AFAIK. I haven't mentioned some of the other character artistes, or the Mani Ratnam pioneered guest song appearances.

What about the most notable absentees from this list? Sivaji Ganesan for sure (will never happen now, sadly). Amitabh? Aamir? And how about Suhasini! And one wished Kamalhassan and he could get down to making a movie again, something that almost happened last year.

Enough trivia timepass for now.

Aug 19, 2003

Chhod do yeh kadhai!

All around the world, there are people clamouring to be left alone, in various shapes, sizes, in various degrees of politeness, people want you to leave them alone. People like:

* the child in first standard who is asked by idiotic guest-pests who she likes better: her mother or her father

* the bigger kid in twelfth standard who has no damn clue which stream to opt for, especially because he has the yen for one and the marks for another

* the modern-day worker who doesn't have future plans to mention in a self-appraisal sheet

* the newbie politician who didn't know what he was signing that day in North Block

* the talented teenage midfielder who's pestered to take up computer classes instead because it will improve his career prospects

* the young girl who's finished college and now gets ogled a lot at... by matchmaking women

* the software engineer on when he's going to the US of Aaiye

* the star whose wife may not be everyone's idea of a pinup

* the man-who-made-a-mistake-once and would like to get over it, only if you would let him

* the men and women love reading their books, are not making a fashion statement by reading them in public and don't want to show the title of the book they're reading to every curious passerby who doesn't share the habit

I'm sure there a few more: can't think of them right now.

If someone has the potential to be great, sometimes not just great, but capitalized, italicized, mouth-wide-open GREAT! and chooses not to do anything about it, or does nothing out of it from being content with being recognised as talented, is it really a crime? It does mean loss of fame and publicity, but the recognition of having what it took, even briefly: isn't that good too? For every Shane Warne, there was a Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.
Warriors of Heaven and Earth is a Chinese film that has a couple of significances: one, the soundtrack is by A.R.Rahman and two, the guys making the movie had a Blog to record their experiences. (Link: courtesy of Gopal)

Aug 18, 2003

Resumé of a few days

Over the last few days I have been:

* Sneezing and coughing like nobody's business

* Making decisions when to bunk work, when finally to go to the doktore and mostly what to eat next

* Steaming idlis with varied results of hydration

* Boiling potatoes like a teetotalling Russian

* Watching the world go by lying on my back

* Checking my ears when the television stopped speaking to me

* Poking and tapping the television

* Re-discovering old audio cassettes

* Led astray by my Imagination that pumps into delirious overdrive when I'm a little feverish

* Trying to catch up on my waiting correspondence

* Giving many thanks to my friends at work for covering for me

* Watching Fargo and a repeat of the well-written Notting Hill

* Wistfully watching myself shell out more money for books in Book Exhibitions: this time to buy O Jerusalem! and Is Paris Burning by Collins & Lapierre (Thanks Sammy, I thought I'll buy a copy for myself)

* Finished reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and feeling a little exhausted after reading chapters the size of watermelons

* Catching up again on the nuances of Predictive and Shift-Reduce parsers from my well-worn copy of the Dragon book

* Meeting variegated relatives

* Spreading cheese on bread, boiling water for a few things

* Unable to put down the story of Israel's struggle for the City of Peace

* Reasoning what I can salvage from the soundtrack of Boys

* Celebrating Independence Day Sun-TV-style watching unending programmes on film people

* Learning that Prakash Raj's Special Jury Award wasn't for a single film, but for his work in 8 films in 3 languages

* Watching India make a traditional opening to a major tournament squandering a 3 goal lead, and then gheraoing the umpire

* Watching India win at last

* Watching the pitch produce a result in England's favour, but not before inspiring two tons and two six-fers

* Joining the Yanks in learning that power cuts can hurt

* Wondering, wondering

Aug 11, 2003

Given the usual media habit of slotting people, they usually have names for generations. The American Baby Boomers, the Generation Xers, Generation Y, Generation Next and so on. The kids of these days are the Internet Generation. Not wanting to be left out, I think my generation would be the TV generation, atleast if I was representative of it.

While reading someone's life sketch, I came across a quote by that person. When he was asked what he was like as a kid, one of the ways he described himself was that if his house caught fire, the first thing he would have made a dive would have been the TV. I know exactly what he is talking about. My TV obsession has become a little better these days, but a long time ago, it was a major source of annoyance for people around me, for it wasn't every day one could leave me alone at home to watch He-Man or Hercule Poirot. Result: sulking kid being dragged around shopping centre. My parents being a little old-fashioned in their child-rearing wouldn't offer any bribes, so I had to bite the bullet.

All this nostalgia because I have recently found that some popular Tamil serial has moved from its daily 7.30 pm slot to 9.00 pm. My parents watch only two soaps at night (when I overlap), the other at 9.30 pm. But this change will mean loss of independence from 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm. It's not as if I have something to watch each night at 9.00 pm, but it does mean I don't even have the option of a channel surf in that period. It makes it difficult for me to watch Harsha Unplugged. Since my folks don't demand the remote otherwise, it would be very unfair for me to quarrel over this. I know of some others who spend time from 7 to 11 in front of the TV. I will consider myself lucky in light of that evidence and find one more book to cover the slot.

Why not call Fast Food Centres a Mess too?

The most immediate problem with fast food as I see it is that it encourages messiness in all aspects of consumption. A burger drips butter down your wrist, while the cucumber is trying to escape from the trapdoor below. The toppings on pizzas know all about gravitational acceleration. Atleast bhel puri plates have the humble piece-of-cardboard to help scoop up the mixture, but the pani in the puri loves spurting out, especially if you're a novice at it.

As we know from experience, no one bothers a bit about hygiene, nor do I pay too much attention to it. But if only someone would invent a less messy way to eat these things.

On teaching

I've been teaching for a few sems back in COEP with my friend Nikhil, and have been very happy to see quite a few people from the batch that just graduated (or will graduate) also pitch in their services to volunteer for some of the classes. The Computers department is very under-staffed, and this provides the students the excellent opportunity to interact and learn from the experience of their immediate seniors, while making decent use of whatever time they spent at the Dept. Now, it has always been fashionable to claim one never went to classes, in fact it was highly infra dig to go near Depts. In the past there was some justification for doing so, because the quality of teaching was never consistent, tended to be mundane and monotonous, and there was no real incentive to attend lectures. All resulting in the traditional last minute cram during the preparatory leaves prior to the exams. I wonder if by this recent move by alumni to engage lectures, we can actually make it fashionable for students to say they attend classes, especially if they actually get value for their time.

I don't want to seem boastful, but Nikhil and I definitely pioneered the two-in-one concept, where there is a pair of people teaching the same subject together. It divides the responsibilities well, improves the student-teacher ratio, and one can point out mistakes and problems easily. It makes life easier, we found. I only wish the students in all the classes of the Comp. & IT Dept who receive the benefit of their seniors' time will try and make good use of this opportunity, something we ourselves didn't have much of.

More on NDTV

Turns out I went to air with the where-is-TWTW question too soon: saw a promo for The World This Week. Also, I forgot to express my appreciation for NDTV mentioning the cameraperson on each story as part of the report captions: that is a good touch and is a befitting appreciation for the usually anonymous photographer who often has to do the job in difficult conditions.

Aug 9, 2003

NDTV's programming

When NDTV branched off, they promised weekend fare that would not be restricted to mundane news bulletins, much in the style of the BBC's programme list. They have come up with a selection of new ideas that are worth adding to the Saturday and Sunday viewing sheet.

The most well-known one is probably Walk the Talk consisting of Shekhar Gupta (probably the most respected senior editor today) walking about with a guest (just finished watching Uddhav Thackeray). Gupta asks the questions (even the uncomfortable ones) that we want to hear. The only grouse I have is with the duration, ought to be of 60 minutes.

Eye to Eye (or is it I to I) is an interesting concept, but I didn't like it very much, because it basically consists of a well-known figure who plays both guest and host, asking questions that (s)he answers (him|her)self. It seems a little contrived to me, and not sure who comes up with the questions!

Indianama is hosted by Tavleen Singh, who took a peek behind the purdah of Rajasthani royal society at Jodhpur, revealing that not much has changed even today, the opening of palaces to tourists for money notwithstanding. For the rani of Jodhpur openly professed admiration for sati, saying she would not prevent any sati if the widow in question consented without being under duress. Her daughter was resigned to the fact that major decisions of her life such her marriage would still have to be within the maryada of tradition. Indianama is something I'll watch out for. It comes on NDTV India.

24 Hours, featuring Radhika Bordia, this week followed a documentary crew for a day as they filmed their intended six-part series Vision of Faith on the Kumbh Mela at Nasik, uncovering the massive confluence of water, pilgrims, tantras-and-mantras, tantriks-and-mantris, a thick veneer of politics in the akhaaDas, organizational successes and a latrine supplier who built 20 of them in one day following the request of his guru.

They still haven't re-introduced The World This Week, which would be a good move, given the enormous brand it became in the early 90s. They now have a Hindi version of We The People with Pankaj Pachauri (I don't like his style very much, it is too accomodating and blasé). Their old shows, like Limelight and the ever-inconclusive The Big Fight continue to roll on. And IMO, they should get a variant of Good Morning India back.

And in passing

NDTV has a lot of new correspondents manning the various cities, many of them seem to be fresh-faced graduates with little experience in presentation, some of them unable to provide a précis of the situation. Wonder if this will affect the channel in the future. But NDTV is trying to do an Outlook, in attempting to get news scoops, inside stories, leaks, exclusives and purdah-faash type articles, in addition to their usual set of human-interest tales. They had most of the National Film Awards leaked out, and now they're talking about the results of the Arjuna Awards.

But the guys at NDTV have usually had very innovative sets and production values, especially with the graphics. The designs on the accompanying visuals, summaries etc. look very classy, especially on NDTV India.


We all have friends, but there are a few that are in the top echelons, the people one likes to be around with and doesn't find their presence too suffocating, atleast on most occasions. These days, with friends in my age group working or studying or doing something that keeps them occupied throughout the day, one has to make a special effort to *meet* up. There are different ways of friendly contact these days: email, instant messaging, a brisk walk after lunch, the afternoon coffee and so on. Each has its own relevance and order of importance. Having never lived away from home, I don't know how that experience of making companions is, but my friends have usually been from school and college. Curiously, I can hardly remember any close friend who ever lived within walking distance of my house, all through my life. So it was never easy to drop in casually while passing through, unless one made a concerted plan beforehand. (This changed a little when I was in my 11th-12th.)

And in the school days before the internet making contact through keyboards the most preferred form of communication, my best friends were the ones I could take a long walk with. In my personal hierarchy of relationships, the ones that rank highly are usually the ones that I've taken long, interesting, sometimes-silent-sometimes-talkative walks with. Around the streets, parks, school compounds, walking in tandem, mentally in-step. Some of my best memories of that period were courtesy such fine walking companions. And if one had an option of freezing the frame, perhaps those would be some of the top contenders for a permanent pause.

It's a question of matching frequencies, I guess, which is not the same as agreeing on all things. In my COEP years, strolls were replaced by a more sedentary occupation of lounging at the BC with the many people who would have made good walking companions too, I should think. Atleast the mental state that developed was similar to the leisurely walks I took in an earlier phase. To paraphrase Elaine's famous yardstick of choosing her men as "spongeworthy", I think I seem to have a yardstick of my own to rank my acquaintances: "walkworthy". Would I want to take a walk with them and not find it an effort at the end of it?

Aug 7, 2003

The University Challenge quiz starts today with the Indo-British episodes...
Perhaps those who read this blog don't realize this, but I usually employ a few rules while posting on my blog. I usually try to avoid any references to my readers (a rule that I broke while beginning this post), I don't want to get a swollen head (or depressed acceptance, depending on my current stats and mood) as to imagining the group of people that read these pages.

Also, I usually avoid anonymous references to people, especially if I know they read these posts. I know this kind of self-censorship isn't wholly necessary, but I don't feel like hurting anyone's feelings. But I can make one favourably anonymous reference to celebrate getting a mail from a long-lost friend who I know almost for sure doesn't read this, despite my many exhortations. So if you happened to contact me recently and are reading this post, well, then I'm not referring to you!

I make this anonymous reference because it gladdened my heart in a week that had these train of thoughts:

* Anymore of this, and I'll end up with a face that either is as sad as John Wright's or as morose as Graham Gooch

* What a horrid song, but why do I want to hear it again?

* I must be firm and put my foot down. What's the worst that can happen?

* Damn, damn it... Who do they think they are? Feel like telling them to go to hell.

* I f I make the mistake, it is only fair I pay for it, right?

* Life sucks, get used to it...

* Another case of things biting one in the...

* Ok, now things have to get better...