Friday, November 30, 2007

Oggie Oggie Oggie, Oi Oi Oi

Two words that take a substantial amount of cheer out of my life are "Transit" and "Airport". You might as well have said Arun Lal and Rameez Raja. What is it about airports that is so depressing? Douglas Adams usually had a few things to say about the inherent moribundness of airports the world over. Its difficult to put a finger on what exactly it is that is so off-putting.I personally think its the damn carpet. It tends to loom. And the Duty Free shops would be a close second. Which particular duty these shops are bereft of, I am not sure.

And if you put Air India into this mix, it becomes a deadly concoction. For all the bravado about Best West bound airline (so they say), new generation aircraft and lowest fares (THEY LIE), Air India still is a relic of an outmoded belief system alongwith peers like the Premier Padmini taxis in Mumbai, Vikrams in UP and Ambassador cars in the parliament. Will probably do a detailed post on them later. A lot of bile is waiting to be spewed. But today's not that day.

Spent the better part of a day last week in transit in airports and flights en route to Australia. It was a terribly hectic trip, but I must say Melbourne impressed me no end. It is exactly what Mumbai isnt. Sprawling sidewalks, acres and acres open spaces, a clean and picturesque river and lots of parking. They say that the best cities are those which are friendly to pedestrians. Melbourne scores very highly in this regard.

Had a fantastic time doing a guided tour of the MCG. A charming host, quite elderly, erudite and witty, was our guide and took us around the stadium, its various rooms (including the long room), museum. After the latest reconstruction in 2004, the ground presents a stunning picture.
I have been to a watch a few test matches at the Wankhede and compared to the MCG experience, its about as enjoyable as the war on Iraq. I think there is just one reason for that. Cricket Australia respects the spectator where as BCCI does not. For BCCI the word spectator equals Idiot. Also spent some time by myself on the W H Ponsford stand watching the game that was on between New South Wales and Victoria (Nathan Brancken and Stewart Clark on display). What would'nt I give to be back for the Boxing Day test.

Also walked around the Rod Laver Centre (Aussie Open Venue) and Albert Park (Grand Prix track). All in all a day well spent.

MCG as seen from Hotel


Grandstand View

Cinemascope View (Bracken Bowling)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The joys of Rediff Comments

One of my lesser known "guilty pleasures" happens to be browsing through the comments section of any old article published by that doyen of NRI oriented websites - Rediff. It generates, among other stuff, an amazing amount of bile, candid observations on the nature of race, religion, purity of blood (or lack thereof), caste and in one bizzare instance the size of the captain's balls (sic).

The comments are refreshingly candid, brutally critical and written in a manner calculated to make you smile and wince at the same time. Here is an example of an extremely astute piece of observation from an old timer no doubt.

RE:Kumble has guts unlike sachin
by Yogaguru on Nov 12, 2007
01:18 PM

In cricket the size of the balls of a captain is
important.Sachin adjusts the balls all the time while he is batting.He suddenly
ducks sometimes to adjust the balls although there was no bouncer at that
time.Do you remember folks?

Such felicity I have not seen since the days of Wodehouse and Waugh. And here is another classic example of astute observation and remarkable pithiness.

Take Half the Indian Populationby Reporter on Nov 12,
2007 02:13 PM

If USA takes half the Indian population, not just the students, India
will be free from over-population and excess competition for
limited food and natural resources. We don't care for brain drain. We have
excess supply of brain here: which itself is not optimally used

Joy unfolds exponentially.