Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bollywood At The Olympics

Gymnastics at the Olympics is always fun to watch. Its just brilliant watching these young girls do gravity and anatomy defying moves with hoops (that i cant even move around my waist) and batons (that i dont even attempt to understand) and ribbons (which i only use to make gifts pretty looking). And the fact that these jumps and twirls and leaps and landings are all done with a smile is even more fascinating.
But there is something more brilliant than watching a gymnast strut her stuff. Its watching a group of them do it in absolute sync and perfection right down to the millisecond - the group artistic gymnastics. It was sheer awesomeness what those teams did on the floor. They moved in perfect sync, without missing a beat and without losing sight and grip of hoops and batons that went flying and bouncing all over the place. These girls seemed to move as if by magic (at least to my easily awed mind it felt like that).
They danced on everything from traditional chinese compositions to the theme song from The Gladiator. The audience oohed and aahed in beat with the music. The Russians were flawless and the Chinese a close second. But my favorite team came in sixth. I loved them not for their performance but because they took Bollywood to the Olympics.
Believe it or not, the group from Israel performed their routine on a jazzed and remixed version of Dhoom Tana from Om Shanti Om. When the music started it seemed familiar. And then with my jaw dropping every second (with amazement) and a huge grin spreading across my face (out of sheer glee) i sat back and enjoyed 5 young Israeli girls prancing to Dhoom Tana in their final performance at the Beijing Olympics 2008.
Im still amazed and tickled! :D

Friday, August 22, 2008

Midnight Cravings

Some foods just taste better post mid-night.

Chocolate Cake/fudge
Ice cream
Cheese spread and bread
Home made Rajma/Chhole
Alu paratha

Basically, any food that is not considered to be healthy eating (with maybe one exception on the above list) in the day time tastes twice as good at night. Ice cream is yummier and the hunger pangs are settled perfectly with a nice cheese sandwich. And there’s just something about licking chocolate fudge off your fingers while snuggled up with a book in bed at 1 am.

Of course, there is also something about my maid’s expression at the assortment of plates and bowls next to my bed the next morning (not to talk of my sister who blames me for her addiction to night time scavenger hunts into the refrigerator)!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bad Movie Made Worse

Is there anything worse than watching a bad movie?


Listening to a bad movie being narrated to you over the phone!

I had the misfortune of being on the phone with a friend taking a bus journey, the driver of which decided to regale the (trapped)passangers with 'Yeh Dil Aashiqana'. I mean, it being 11pm at night not withstanding, this is not the kind of movie you show a group of people in order to make time fly. This is a movie you show when you want to rid your bus of the passengers (by making them throw themselves out of the bus) and get a chance to keep all the luggage.

So, here i was talking to my friend when suddenly he starts choking and spluttering. After about 3 minutes of cursing the driver and speakers attached over seats, he begins sharing his sensory experience. So i know how Yeh Dil Ashiqana begins (with a really weird song), i know that the hero is on a blue bike (that becomes red after a while) and the heroine in a snazzy car. The hero is good looking and cannot act to save his life. The herione dresses in small to tiny clothes (no surprises there). I know that the girl trips and lands lips first onto the hero's face, leaving a perfect lipstick transfer, which she then continues to wipe off with her scarf (i hope it wasnt her skirt, that scarf). I even heard a couple of dialogues which i'm assuming were being mouthed by the alleged bad guy (thanks to the threats about money and izzat).

At this point in the narration, i decided to take things in hand and started singing some bad songs myself (mainly Yeh Dil Ashiqana), much to the trauma of my friend (that explains why i'm not on the phone anymore and typing this out!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Update: Vijender Kumar sails into the semi-finals (Boxing, 75 kg category).

This victory ensures India of a third medal, bringing the total number of medals won in the 2008 Olympic games to 3, something that hasn't happened before.

On a more cynical note, this also ensures DD sports continued viewership.

Ps: Has anyone noticed how DD sports has jazzed up their Olympics coverage after Bindra won his medal, and even more after our boxers made it to the QF's?

Wrestled In A Bronze

Wrestler Sushil Kumar becomes the second individual medal in the Indian contingent in the Olympic Games 2008. He has wrestled his way to a bronze medal, 56 yrs after Jadhav won a bronze in the same sport.

I must say that it feels good to see an Indian player on the podium. And what it makes it even more special is that this is a player who is truly dedicated to his sport. His is not a face we see endorsing sportswear or detergents. His is not a name we see linked with filmi bimbos. His is not even a name that sports editors in our country might have been familiar with.

But after today, his will be the name associated with an Olympic medal.

I think this should serve as an example to the other more sought ofter sportspersons in our country. Adulation and contracts are not the only thing that define a sportsman. In fact they are the last things that should do so. What should stand with you is finding satisfaction in winning and bringing glory to a flag and not a bank account.


In other news,

A couple of minutes back Jitendar Kumar lost his QF round at the Olympics 2008 in Flyweight Boxing. This, on the heels of Akhil Kumar’s loss is not good news for India’s medal tally. And this definitely increases the pressure and expectations from Vijendar Kumar who has his QF match in a few hours time.
But on my part, even if Vijendar doesn’t make it to the semi finals, our boxers need to be applauded. After all, for the first time in several years, India still has some involvement in the games even though it’s the 12th day.

So I really hope that whatever the outcome of the next match may be, our media and the people appreciate the efforts put in by these sportsmen who have fought their way to be where they are. I hope that they get the support and encouragement that is now crucial if they are to be mentally and physically fit for London 2012. And I hope that they themselves value their efforts and continue to fight for the glory.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Retired Hurt

It makes you wonder doesn't it how serious our players are about fitness and training.
Monday 11th Aug: One gold medal and one injury.

Gold, Adulation and Then What?

(Warning: Long Post)

Abhinav Bindra has made Indian sports history by being the first individual to win a gold medal at the Olympic games.

News channels went giddy with excitement and every channel had the same 60 secs of video on loop, showing a calm and smiling Abhinav on the podium receiving his medal.

Everyone spent the morning in front of the television or online, wanting to be part of this historic event.

Anyone who can be interviewed about this is being. So we have MS Gill, our sports minister congratulating himself on national television for Abhinav’s medal. This is being touted as a shining moment in our history and one that is full of pride and honour.

Bindra is the latest champion on the block. He is the new headline. Adulation and praise is being showered from all directions in the form of words, money and even life-time free rail travel!

It is definite that Abhinav Bindra will come home to a hero’s welcome.
But the question now is, will he be maintained as the hero he is being made today?

How many of us knew about him and his prowess with the rifle before today? Ok, so probably was mentioned as winning the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2001 and gotten mention with his Commonwealth games gold medal in 2002. But I’m sure that in the visual clue round of a quiz show, there wouldn’t have been many to identify him correctly.

Today money is being showered onto Bindra for his achievement. Everyone is giving more than the other to this young shooter. Suddenly he is their blue-eyed boy. But where were these people (with their cheques) when Abhinav’s family was spending their own money on building him a shooting range in their house? Where were the sponsors when Abhinav attended competitions across the world?

In all of this, it is Bindra’s parents who are to be congratulated and appreciated for their efforts and support. In a country which recognises only cricket and cricketers, to have supported their son’s talent and ambition and to have funded it is rare. And for the most part, those who do aspire to shine in the field of sports, away from cricket, do not have the means to do so. Where are the supporters then? Where is the funding? Where are the facilities?

The Breaking News is that this is India’s first gold medal in 28 years and the first individual medal. Has anyone thought to wonder why? Why is that in this country with a population of more than a billion we have failed to train even one person to win at the international arena?

It is this apathy that disgusts. I don’t know if the men’s hockey team didn’t qualify because they weren’t good enough or because they were trying to make a statement. A wake up call to those who only see the money and glamour of cricket and fail to realise that in the field of sports, cricket is only one game played by a handful of countries (and the god-forsaken T-20 by even less) while other sports like tennis, badminton, weight lifting, shooting, hockey, swimming etc are more international and probably deserve more encouragement and support.

It is sad that it required a gold medal to get the recognition and support of our government. I don’t know whether they choose to ignore, or are just too stupid to recognize that gold medals are not waiting to drop into the hats of the untrained. When will they appreciate the fact that training and support and facilities are more important for our players than having more than a couple of dozen government officials accompanying them to the Olympics just so that they can come back saying that we tried our best but next year we will win.

So today Abhinav Bindra is India’a poster boy. I just hope that he doesn’t get rolled up and relegated to the back of the cupboard to gather dust.

Today, a gold and adulation. Then what?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Swan Song

Everyone has that one shining moment in their careers that defines them. For the scientist it is that elusive, path-breaking discovery, for the student it is acing a competitive exam, for the writer it is finally being a bestseller, and for the actor is that performance that makes him and his character synonymous. For Christopher Reeves it was Superman, for Sir Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter, and the Godfather can only be Al Pacino.

And now, Heath Ledger will be, forever more, The Joker. In a performance that sends a shiver down the audience’s spine and makes them gasp and shudder, Heath Ledger has his defining moment. He brings the Joker to life in a way that has never been done before, playing the psychotic, schizophrenic, maniacal killer to perfection. From the rapid eye movements to the quick flick of the tongue to the sinister voice, everything makes the Joker larger than life and very real.

The Dark Knight maybe a Batman movie, but it really belongs to Ledger and the Joker. He makes the movie worth its while. He gives it the punch and the evil. He gives the performance of a life time, unfortunately an abruptly shortened one. It’s almost like he is mocking the audience from the screen and reminding us of the brilliant actor he was.

With The Joker, Heath Ledger has ensured he isn’t forgotten. A final, brilliant performance – his Swan Song if you will.