Category Archives: Nonsense
I have never been so motivated to write a negative review of a movie which is being hailed otherwise all over the world. And considering the fact that I am a big fan of this genre of movies and a fan of the previous installments of this FF series, my objectivity need not be questioned.
So I went to see Fast Five at IMax just because I had not had the I-Max experience before ever. Anticipating good action sequences and special effects, I went for a late night show. But what I ended up subjecting myself to was pure and unadulterated mediocrity and one that lasted for about 130 mins.
Now when I say that this movie is really bad, not only do I just mean that it is REALLY REALLY bad,but there is another more subtle reason. This is one of those movies which had a good mainstream director, good budget and already a measurable benchmark set in the previous movies. But the end product is what you might find from an amateur filmmaker who has no idea how to write a script and put the large budget to good use. And THAT is why I find it really bad. That it had all the resources and still managed to suck so bad.
I don’t even know where to begin. So let me begin with the first sequence of action. As Roger Ebert put it,
…steal cars from a speeding train by driving a truck beside the tracks, cutting the side out of a freight car with an acetylene torch, flipping the cars onto the truck bed, tilting the bed, letting them roll to the ground and then driving them away…”
The actual action sequence is actually lamer than what Ebert makes it sound like. In the scene, Paul Walker does a lot of acrobatics and stunts to get off a moving train and on to a car (driven by Vin Diesel) before the train gets on a bridge after which he may be forced to jump into the river running deep below. So he gets on the car just before the train hits the bridge but the momentum of the car takes them over the cliff and down into the river anway, thus making the whole action sequence redundant.
Come to think of it, the movie is replete with redundant scenes which do not amount to anything in the end. About 1/2 the movie is filled with such scenes. The whole planning of the heist, including assembling a ‘team’ (when half the members dont even contribute anything to the final outcome) and chalking out how to access the vault (when they really dont ‘access’ it in the end). There are also scenes where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker go in search of a faster car in order to beat the CCTV cameras in the heist site. They get a new car and show a bunch of scenes where they are practicing the run through the heist site but they still cannot beat the cameras. So later in the movie, they decide to use cop cars for the purpose ‘to camouflage’ their escape. And in the end, the way they eventually pull off the heist, they are not even avoiding to be caught, making all the previous planning scenes redundant.
The film tries to develop along the lines of a stereotypical heist movie. That is until the point where it suddenly decides NOT to be a heist movie. Sample this gem. Paul Walker says this somewhere in the middle of the movie:
“As a stealth mission, we will be in and out before they even know we are there.”
After watching the movie to the end, I am convinced the makers of Fast Five define ‘stealth’ as (Ebert) :
“…take two mid-size sedans, chain them to a bank vault and haul it behind you on a high-speed chase through the streets of Rio de Janeiro while being chased by the cops.”
I am not exaggerating here. In the end, The Rock takes his hummer and crashes into the concrete wall, thus breaking it. Then Paul Walker and Vin Diesel rip the vault off the safe room and haul it all around Rio. That is so ‘stealthy’ no? Totally making use of all the planning that went into the heist. But really, is it a heist anymore?
Some other notable instances of unwatchability: All the hot girls that are shown in the preview as the mandatory association with fast cars and the racing scene are shown for exactly the same duration in the movie as well. No exaggeration here either. And while portraying the racing scene in Rio, the characters decide to put a car-for-car bet on winning a race. Only thing, the filmmakers completely SKIP over the race part. Totally awesome no?
For a movie series that has made its name with action scenes arising out of car chase sequences and races, this movie features exactly 1 race and 1 car chase sequence. The inconsequential race lasts for less than 60 seconds (and it should have lasted even shorter considering the fact that they were trying to race for just 1/4 mile at super fast speeds). The car chase sequence is the last scene and it lasts for about 7-8 mins. The only other action sequences are the opening redundant train-car thing and a couple of ambush sequences of The Rock’s contingent (lasts for about 8 mins total). So that leaves you with about 110 or so mins of redundant planning and cheesy one liners.
The acting and the characters leave a lot to be desired. Vin Diesel looks like he is trying to be a wannabe Vin Diesel from the first movie. He tries too hard to sound and look invincible and totally awesome with his final-word-type dialogues. Paul Walker makes his presence felt by flashing his nice smile at the camera every time he agrees (like he has a choice) with Vin Diesel’s confidence-oozing plans. Jordana (Mia) shows us how you can jump 50 feet into a makeshift favella home and still escape uninjured - even while being pregnant.
Perhaps it is The Rock’s character that is the most hilarious and unnecessary. Seriously, his character has absolutely no influence in the movie’s story line, apart from a brief disrupting of their plans. And he seemed to be competing with Vin Diesel for cheesy and incongruous one liners and punchlines. The other female cop who supposedly has a tragic story to tell about how she lost her husband to the drug lord and that making her motivated to fight him seemed to be putting too much effort into her acting. It would have been better if someone just put up a message on the screen that read: “Ok. This female cop here has lost her husband to the drug lord. So she is motivated to fight him.”Oh and she is supposed to fall for Vin Diesel. But the chemistry between them is totally repulsive.
There are so many more sequences I can keep talking about. But I am getting tired of recollecting such intense mediocrity. And the worst part is that it has been getting extremely positive reviews all around. IMDB has it at 7.8. Roger Ebert gave it 3 stars praising the attention to detail in the story. ( I want what he was smoking when he wrote the review). I just found the movie retarded. Period.
Go watch it for yourself and feel retarded too. And hopefully you will do that BEFORE reading any review at all.
Before I say anything, let me get the context perfectly clear here. I am right now in the USA and have been here for the past 1.5 years. I woke up today morning and on my news feed, I saw that MCC’s Cul-Ah had been going on since Monday. This brought back all the nice memories of the Cul-Ah! that I had been to when I was in my PUC. So I decided to give it a read. This post is a result of the profound WTFness that I experienced subsequent to reading through those articles. READ ON…
For the uninitiated, Cul-Ah! Is the annual cultural fest that is conducted by Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, at their own campus. Usually they hold it in the month of January and this year too was no exception. This fest is considered to be one of the best fests in the city and is in high demand. (Hmm…I wonder why..). Perhaps the fact that MCC is a girls’ college with a continued reputation of housing the best chics in the city has something to do with that popularity. Anyways, I got to know about this year’s fest through this and this article on DNA.
So this year, MCC has gone on and made the effort to theme their fest. The theme chosen is “ELEMENTS”. According to Andrea, general secretary of Mount Carmel College students’ union,
Our college is completely eco-friendly, and hence we came up with this theme. Considering that this year is the year of ‘biodiversity’, we have begun a number of campaigns in the college that encourage students to be more eco-friendly and to save the earth. For Cul- Ah, therefore, we chose the five elements of our planet to define and categorise our events.
The United Nations has this to say about the International Year of Biodiversity:
….that humans rely on the diversity of life to provide the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials needed for life… this rich diversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities, such as the expansion of cities and farming. International Year Of Biodiversity is aimed at raising awareness about the loss of animal and plant species and organizing action to halt it.
Looks like a responsible thing the fest organizers have done. Starting a number of campaigns and getting their main fest to be themed that way to create awareness for the ‘Year of Biodiversity’. Just ONE small problem I came across:
The Year of Biodiversity was LAST YEAR, 2010!!!
Yes, yes..this is the point where you go WTF???!?!!!??
I mean, seriously, what were the organizers thinking? I can imagine people messing up on some small aspects of the fest, but screwing up the very premise behind the main Theme of the fest, now you gotta be really messed up to do that!
I am now trying to reconstruct the discussion that I believe, took place, during the planning of the fest (in 2010).
Chic1: Girls! We gotta do something different this time. Something that will capture the attention of everyone for a very good purpose.
Chic2: Save the Planet!
Chic3: Oh my God! That is soooooo original! Lets totally do it!
Chic1: Wait! Save the Planet doesn’t sound fancy enough. Lets give it a different name.
Chic2: Hey look! This year is ‘Year of Biodiversity’! We can use that as an excuse to get this totally original idea on to our theme! This is so awesome no??
Chic1 and Chic2: Yay! This is going to be the best fest ever!
Chic4 (with mega-inferiority complex issues): Excuse me girls… err..hmm… but I was just wondering.. ummm.. since we will be holding our actual fest, like, next year, you know, 2011, don’t you think we need to consider that also?
Chic1: Did we ask you your opinion?
Chic4: Err…I was just saying…you know, that you had to consider…
Chic2: Are you suggesting that we don’t know how to do this?
Chic4: I am sorry.
Chic3: Yeah! Who the f*** cares anyway? As soon as they see something even remotely associated with Save Nature stuff, they will think we are doing a very responsible thing.
Chic1: So where were we? Ah yes! So lets make the theme as those 5 elements that make up nature. Earth, water, fire, air and space.
Chic2: Oooooooh! I so love Captain Planet! Go Planet! This is sooo good!
Moving on, we now come to the events. The events are categorized with respect to the different ‘elements’. Here is the idea behind the classification:
Fire will include high energy events like dance, mad ads and mock rock, whereas music and poetry are in the category of Air. Water, with its characteristic intelligence, will include events such as quizzes and pictionary that test your intelligence and creativity while events such as vegetable carving, cooking without fire and flower arrangement fall in the category of Earth.
And here is the clincher, really. If you were wondering what they came up with for the ‘element’ of Space, this is what the Gen-Sec, Andrea, had to say (brace yourself for the profound WTF moment):
All these events will be conducted in the element of space, which in this case is MCC.
You know… if you really wanted to find an excuse to somehow include that 5th element, I am sure there was a less retarded way to do so. Let me reconstruct the discussion that led to this:
Chic1: Ok, now that’s a great idea. Year of Biodiversity, and ELEMENTS! I think we are onto something totally awesome here. Now how can we structure these events so that all the 5 elements are covered?
Chic2: I think the best way to do that would be to classify the events among 4 of the elements and treat the 5th element as something that will encompass all the other 4! I am so awesome no??
Chic3: So for example, we can put our events in Air, Space, Fire and Earth, while saying that we are holding our fest under Water. And then we can say that this is symbolic of how global warming is going to get all places under water soon if we do not do something about it! Isnt that a great idea? We can also use the Global warming excuse to put Fire as the 5th element saying we can die of heat and stuff.
Chic2: Oh my god!! There are so many options here! Lets draw lots!
Ok. So enough with that. Lets now consider the actual events and their classification. Honestly, I really don’t know where to start. Fire is supposed to represent High-energy events? When exactly did rewriting a rock song in a funny manner (Mock Rock) become a ‘high energy’ event? And so poetry and music events are classified under Air? Oh I get it! The vibration of air is required to create any sound and so music events come under Air. What about poetry? Oh I know! You need air to breathe while you create poetry! Epic!
So Water has ‘characteristic intelligence’? Hmm..lets see. Googling ‘characteristic intelligence of water’ yields results describing the Goldfish and the Portuguese Water Dog. I am sure the organizers found a way to link both these innocuous animals with their events. So quizzes and Pictionary are supposed to test your intelligence and creativity? Ok..so then why is the Kannada quiz in Air and not Water? You suggesting Kannada quiz does not require any intelligence or creativity? (Kannada Rakshana Vedike anyone??)
In fact, here is my alternate proposal for classification. Fire is generated by sparks. So a spark of the mind is related to the Fire element. Spark of mind also gives rise to creativity and intelligence, as seen in lit events such as quizzes and such. So classify all ‘intelligent and creativity’ based events under Fire. Then look for the real dumb and retarded events. Like Antakshari, where only the dumb get excited playing. You can classify such events under Water. Why? Because water destroys fire, the spark, the same way the dumb cancel out the intelligent!
“I am so awesome no??!!!?”
It is fairly obvious what has happened. The organizers somehow want to tag their fest with some kind of a socially-responsible message. And once they do that, they had to find ways to relate each and every event to the theme somehow. And so they come up with these ridiculous ways to connect their fest with the ‘Save the Planet’ message. And they know nobody is going to really question it or think too much about it as it is, by default, supposed to generate a feel-good factor. This whole thing, I have to say, is a perfect scenario to explain the idea of Subjective Validation.
Moving on, lets look at the Twitter account that MCC opened up to publicize and market their fest. Not a bad idea as a lot of people use Twitter and word gets spread around faster through it. There are 12 tweets in the account, the last of which was on Jan 3. Now I am not going to comment on the inefficient usage of the account. Instead, the followers of this account tell a very good story. (At the time of posting this) There are 21 followers, some of whose descriptions are as follows:
- I’m a 17 year old girl. I Love Music. Met Jesus when I was 11. Living life in His grace and love. Servant, Daughter, Sister, Friend. =)
- hi im **** a.k.a chikku.. im a huge fan of linkin park and edwars cullen.. i love playing different sports….well thats it for now… cya later……:-)
- everything must be proportionate. your chicken and your rice must both last till the end. one must divide the bites of chicken evenly among bites of rice
Well, I guess I am done with the organizers and the college. I have nothing against them really. I am sure they had a great fest and a lot of people had a good time. Come to think of it, I clearly remember to have had a memorable time when I went to Cul-Ah! 2003 edition when I was doing my PUC at St. Joseph’s PU College. But all that aside, I really cannot tolerate mediocrity. And hence this post. But I am not done yet. So far, I took care of the college. Now let me turn my attention to the newspaper- DNA.
Substandard or unethical journalism is something that really gets on my nerves. I have written about them before here and here. And I continue to see this even today. The DNA journos Merlin Francis and Vidya Iyengar have written the two articles that I have quoted here. In each case, I would like to know what the journos treat as their standard.
First up, with Merlin Francis. This is the dude who has got the Gen-Sec of the fest to quote that the Year of Biodiversity is this year. And he just took it for granted, making zero effort to check the factual accuracy of what he was quoting in his final article. All he needed to do was spend 15 seconds to google ‘Year of Biodiversity’ and he would have everything he needed. But no! Why? Well, I guess the standards differ, don’t they?
And now, with Vidya Iyengar. Call me a stickler for accuracies, but I really have a zero tolerance for inaccuracies in newspapers. The Fashion Show event is listed under the category Earth in the article.
The theme ‘Earth’ will be reflected in a fashion show that will sport rich, Indian ethnic wear.
However, in the actual brochure, the event is listed under Fire. This may look extremely trivial to some. But there is no guarantee that the above line was not just made up to suit the article. Maybe it was the fault of the organizers who fed in wrong information to the journo. Or perhaps, the organizers messed up their brochure (in which case, I would not attribute any wrong doing to the said journo). But these factual inconsistencies are not excusable in any form.
However, there is an even more WTF thing involved in these 2 articles. The General Secretary’s name is said to be Andrea D’Silva as per Vidya Iyengar, while it is Andrea D’Souza as per Merlin Francis!! Now, seriously, who f***ed it up? Poor Gen-Sec. You have my sympathies!
And I guess I am done. I am feeling good. Having said that, let me also add that I would like to thank all those involved in this awesome mess for providing me ideal fodder for a blog post! Please keep it coming…..
UPDATE: The MCC folks have left a few comments below (along with the inevitable brickbats). Read them for their response and how all the facts did NOT go into the newspaper article. Also, since I am exercising my freedom to criticize people here, I also realize that I am open to criticism as well. I will not be deleting any comments here, even if they clearly show me in bad light. I will probably not be responding to them.
I have decided to write a series of posts based on the idea of searching through some of the Indian popular news and gossip portals and summarizing some retarded headline. But this is already done in many damn places. So what I have decided is to include the even the best of the more awesome “comment section” featuring the most intellectually gifted that India has to offer! And of course add some “comments” to these “comments” myself! So here is my first in what I hope to be a long series of posts:
THIS just friggin’ made my day! All the stress of the past one week just seemed so damn distant after reading it! Mind-f***in-blowing!! Here is the headline:
“Govt banishes ‘vulgar’ shows to after-11 slot”
Apart from the total ambiguity, pointlessness and moral-policing involved, the interesting part is WHAT shows qualified as ‘Vulgar’. Get a load of this. So far, 2 shows have been categorized as ‘Vulgar’: Raakhi ka Insaaf & Big Boss. Make no mistake. I have never seen these shows. But I am fully aware of what they are.
I am not going to pass judgment on the quality of these shows as I would prefer puking after getting drunk to watching these shows when I am sober. (Oh wait! I just passed some judgment there! Ah f*** that!)
Anyways, lets cut all the crap and look at some of the ‘details’ the news item.
The ministry’s order points out that show hostess Rakhi Sawant uses abusive language and participants in both shows “are shown quarrelling and hurling abuse at each other”.
So if quarrelling and hurling abuse at each other qualify as ‘vulgar’, whatever happened to MTV Roadies and the whole bunch of other shows? Ah well! Thats different isn’t it?? It is a civilized world this MTV and all. So lets not point fingers at them. Also whatever happened to all those “Debates” and “We the People”? There is definitely lot of quarrelling involved there. And surely more anger as well.
But nevermind all that! Lets just roll with some of the awesome comments that I found in that website on this article.
1. “There is no clearcut definition of VULGARE. . .jokes against handicapts? not respectful to elders? cheap erotic?. . .everything which is uncommon is vulgare.” —– Raj Kumar Daruwala
>> Dude I totally agree with you. There is no clear cut definition of VULGARE. In fact, that word just doesnt exist!!
2.” Both Channels are part of NDTV…which is run by an islamist terrorist and communist PRANAB ROY…………” —– Neohorizons
>>> Umm…Can I invite you to be the next Quizmaster when I want to hold a quiz?
3. “Ashmit the blue movie king is desperate to cast Pamela in his next blue movie along with her sister . Pamela aunty should send her secsy sister into Asmhit movie as Indians deserve to see better .” — Nautanki
>>> F*** me! Pamela is an Aunty?? Can I star as the nephew in one of ‘those’ movies then?
>>> Yes yes. K serials are so damn good that people should even emulate what happens in those serials. Then we will surely have a fully moral society. And perhaps make Ekta Kapoor as GOD. Oh wait! There is one more comment before I agree with you completely.
5. “I thought k serials were worse… People got married 20 times in it.. sometimme to brother of current husband and all that.. so much for incest” —– Ag
In response: “Do you know the definition of incest? In christianity incest is not allowed.” –Peter
>>>> Peter dude, you just opened my eyes! You are the epitome of all that is logical and right in this world. @ Ag: You win for the only worthwhile comment in the article.
Breaking News: India to start Kho-Kho WORLD SERIES on the lines of Baseball WORLD SERIES. Winners to be crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS.
In a major development to one of the few aboriginal Indian games that are still played, the newly formed Kho-Kho Federation of India had decided to conduct a Kho-Kho WORLD SERIES on similar lines of the Baseball World Series in America. The tournament will feature 8 city based teams which will be operated on the basis of a franchisee. The structure and the format of the series will be very similar to the World Series informed the President of the Federation.
The primary motivation for such a huge step was supposedly the frustration surrounding everyone involved with regard to the poor publicity and recognition that was offered to the game. A bunch of Kho-Kho enthusiasts decided to bring about some much needed change and so set about determining the best way to draw attention to the age old sport.
“We were thinking. What is the easiest and most effective way to publicize a sport that nobody cares about? The answer was not difficult to find at all! All we have to do is to become World Champions and then everyone will take notice of us and the sport will then grow!” said Kumar Vaidyanathan, one of the Kho-Kho enthusiasts.
When asked to elaborate further, Sai Kumar, another excited Kho-Kho player explained, “You see, this is best understood with an example. Do you know why Baseball is so popular in the US? It is because every year, one of the US based teams is crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS for winning the Baseball WORLD SERIES! This generates a lot of enthusiasm and excitement among its supporters and motivates the other teams to try for the position as well. This cycle keeps repeating and the popularity of the sport continues to grow- primarily because one of the teams in the tournament is going to be given the title of the World Champions! Similarly, we are going to establish a tournament wherein some 8 teams from various cities in India will compete for the title of World Champions! That way more Indians will take note of the game and it will get a much needed boost!”
When pointed out that you cannot become World Champions if only one country is playing in the tournament, Mr. Vaidyanathan replied, “That is the wrong perception! Look at the United States. They have so many games that are based on this format. Basketball with NBA, American Football with the NFL/AFL/Superbowl, Ice Hockey with the NHL, and Baseball with the World Series. In each case, the winner is treated practically as the World Champions!
You are asking me about the validity of this process? Screw validity! Just look at how crazy and excited the fans get when they realize that their city based team are the WORLD CHAMPS!! Even if they only beat their neighbouring city teams! Do you know how much this can do to Kho-Kho in India? So much revenue will come with increasing popularity and the sport will grow tremendously!”
“So you are saying that one Indian city based team will be crowned as World Champions because they beat another Indian city based team?” asked a curious reporter.
“Thats exactly how it works!” replied Mr. Vaidyanathan. “Just as is done in America, an Indian city based team is going to be crowned World Champions Kho-Kho for beating other Indian city based teams!”
“Yeah. I totally agree. The way the World Champions tag is justified in baseball is by saying that the best players in the world are playing in the World Series and hence they are entitled to the tag. Similarly, even we are getting the best players in the world to play in our tournament and we believe that the winners of this tournament deserve to be called World Champions!”, echoed Mr. Kumar.
Satish Rai, another Kho-Kho enthusiast quipped in, “Our players will eventually become as famous as Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. They deserve that much recognition.”
One reporter immediately stood up and asked, “Who the f**k is Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees?”
Satish Rai gave a mischievous smile and continued, “You see thats the whole point. Nobody outside the USA has any idea about the existence of Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees! But all these people are ‘World famous in the USA’! Same way we are going to create a tournament which is going to elevate Kho-Kho players who are presently in some gully or village to become ‘World famous in India’!”
The initial bidding process for the 8 city based franchisees was largely dull as the format and the structure of the tournament didn’t strike a chord with businessmen. However, after hearing that the winning team will be given the title of WORLD CHAMPIONS, there has been a hectic bidding war between the business empires for the rights to own them.
One business magnate, who didn’t wish to be named, said “It is a very important thing this. It helps us to associate ourselves with a team that will be crowned World Champions! That is the pinnacle of branding for any company anywhere in the world! Of course Cricket is already a lot more popular in India. But think of it. Which company can associate itself with a team that can be called as the World Champions? Even the main sponsor of the Indian cricket team cant claim that as India have not been crowned World Champions since 1983. The IPL only crowns the winning team as IPL Champions. So this is a golden opportunity for any company to be able to sponsor a team that could possibly be called as the World Champs! No wonder there is so much competition going on for that.”
The Ministry of Sports also released a statement conveying its full support to the tournament. “We strongly support the idea that Kho-Kho become popular in India. This is a very quick and sureshot way of helping it gain more popularity-both in the short term and long term. In fact, the Government is now commissioning a committee to look into the possibilities of using the same idea for other not-so-popular games such as Lagori, Gilli Danda, Goli, Kunte Bille, Dabba ( a variant of Hide & Seek) etc. This will encourage children to excel at their sport with some kind of assurance that they can make a living out of it.”
SUPERSTAR Rajnikanth wasn’t available for comment.
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Own Goal has renewed his contract for the upcoming season after putting pen to paper just hours before the game against Fulham. The evidently delighted Ferguson could not hide his enthusiasm and revealed that he had always expected Own Goal to sign up for one more season even though his contract was due to expire by the end of the month.
There was speculation linking him with a move away from Old Trafford but the prolific goal scorer said in an interview just after the Fulham match that he had always wanted to stay at Utd and attributed his decision to the support the fans showed him throughout last season.
“You know you are good when you score goals for your club on a regular basis and in very crucial situations. But its only when the fans show their support and love towards you do you feel wanted and appreciated at the club” said the United player who seemed to have mastered the art of consistency.
Sure enough, the Man Utd fans have reciprocated the feeling by chanting Own Goal’s name repeatedly after their side were put ahead in the final 6 minutes by (who else??!!?) a vintage Own Goal goal. The chanting grew even more intense when Fulham equalized and the fans turned to Own Goal to help them get all 3 points at Craven Cottage.
Speaking after scoring his first goal for United in the new season, Own Goal described his preparations for the match. “Obviously I was lacking in match practice before this (the Fulham match). So I decided to make a guest appearance the previous day for Bolton Wanderers and help them get off the mark against West Ham.”
That match practice eventually proved very crucial as Own Goal helped secure at least one point from the match.
“Obviously I would have wished to win it. After I had scored, I thought Nani’s penalty should have sealed it but then it happened to be one of those days when things dont go well for your team as a whole.” said the dejected goal scorer.
Asked if he would make guest appearances for United’s main rivals-Chelsea, Arsenal, City or Liverpool- Own Goal was very clear cut in his reply: “Well I would be lying if I said I dont like to make guest appearances. It sometimes feels good to have other club fans cheering you as well. But even if I do make a guest appearance, I will ensure that the goals I score for rival teams will be totally inconsequential. I will probably score a goal when the team is already winning by a big margin or losing by a big margin so it wont make any difference anyway. Lesser restrictions will apply for lower ranking teams. I did this last season and I will repeat it this time too. So that way my loyalty to United will always be preserved.”
However, Sir Alex Ferguson was all praise for him in spite of the dropped points. “I’ve been telling from the beginning that Own Goal is a very important part of my team and my plans for the season. He is a good lad who can score goals and get us points in very crucial situations. Its like doing what Macheda did against Aston Villa but Own Goal had been doing it week in and week out. “
“I am very happy that he has decided to extend his contract with the club which is the greatest just because it has a vast history and all. Other clubs who may be the reigning champions but who are not worth supporting just because they dont have any history have to now acknowledge our most powerful weapon- Own Goal.”
Own Goal echoed the importance attached to him by Ferguson by pointing out that he was the top scorer for the club after Wayne Rooney last season.
“Sure Wayne got a lot of goals. But that should in no way prevent football fans to see who their second top scorer was. I would have got even more goals but many goals were eventually awarded to other United Players even though they just gave me the assist. “
When a journalist pointed out that his name was never mentioned on any goal scorers’ statistics table, Own Goal was visibly frustrated and said that he would take up the case with FIFA to include his name in all goal scoring compilations.
Experts are already pointing out that his contribution last season to United’s push for the title, though vital, was always in the presence of Wayne Rooney and hardly ever in his absence. But looks like Own Goal has already proved his critics wrong by scoring with Rooney not even featuring among the subs.
“Who said I cant score without Wayne Rooney giving me the assist? I can score on my own many times you know” said the United frontman.
We will only have to wait and see how United’s potent weapon of last season will fare this season.
All of us have our own addresses. If an Indian is asked where he lives in their city, the response ranges from Bandra to Basavanagudi, from Gurgaon to Gorguntepalya, from T.Nagar to Thodesandhipalya (Ok that last one was made up). And if you are familiar with the area given as a response, you ask “Where in Basavanagudi?” or “Where in Thodesandhipalya?” (You really dont have to answer the last one). And if you are familiar with even the second response, you keep narrowing the location until you have convinced yourself that the other person is your long forgotten neighbor.
However, in the USA, things, as always, are a little different. Say you approach an American living in New York City, one of the largest cities in the world. And you ask him where he stays in New York. The most likely response you are going to get is “Oh I stay in Perry Street” or “My house is on Graves Avenue” or “I live right by Richmond Lane”! You see, the address of a house in the USA has just two things on it that help you to locate it in a given city: the house building number and the street where the house building is located. Thats it! So in an area of about 800 square kms, all you have with you to locate one single house is the name of the street its on??!!?? That surely helps doesnt it??? Its equivalent to saying “My house is next to my neighbor’s house” or “I am my father’s son” etc. It doesnt tell you anything useful.
Yes we all know there is this invention called GPS which can take you from anywhere to anywhere with just the street name as input. But seriously, what if you dont have one? Let me elaborate on this a bit. Imagine you have just arrived in New York City and take a cab to get to your apartment. You tell the cab driver “Take me to 4800 Eastland Drive” and just expect to be dropped off in front of your house? Well if the cab driver does just that, then either he has an awesome memory or his house is within a 2 block radius of your house. But then what happens if neither of the above “totally-possible” situations prevail? Then I guess you have to start looking for a map. Imagine this. You are in a cab and the cab driver spends the first ten mins just figuring out which part of the city he is supposed to be taking you!
Not implying that this is the only way things happen around here in the US. But seriously imagine something like that happening in India. I mean, you go and ask a Bangalore Auto Rickshaw dude to take you to 8th Cross Road, WTF do you think he is going to do? Of course he is going to look at you like you were born a retard and stayed that way for good!
Perhaps one of the direct consequences of American addresses having such small number of characters in them is seen when you are trying to fill out a form online- like an application for the college, GRE, TOEFL or any other thing that is based out of the US. You see the website creators make this sincere and totally pointless effort to restrict the number of characters in which you enter your address. So when your address goes into describing just your house number and street name, there really is no problem. However, unfortunately for all us Indians, this poses a problem. Especially if your address involves your house name, house number, Cross Street number, Main Street Number, Layout, Stage, Near some landmark, Block and lastly Area name- as is the case with most Indian addresses- you are in for a small problem! And it is really amazing how I have learned, over the years, to express words in much smaller forms without failing to convey its intended meaning!
Getting back to ground reality, more and more people are having GPS in their cars and it is available for dirt cheap prices at WALMART. But that still doesnt justify having only one street name to describe the location of your house in a mega metropolitan city. ( You might argue that the Pin code narrows it pretty well but seriously who knows about the postal code apart from the post men?) I sincerely hope I dont have to go through any circumstances involving hunting for ONE street name amidst hundreds if not thousands in a city.
Feel totally free to get fully emotional and sentimental about the American address systemand pass judgment on my assessment of it- but make sure you do that on your own blog.
This is some thing that I witnessed a while back at a friend’s house. I would have preferred to make a comic strip out of this but then my laziness (as always) got the better of me. So here is a small conversation that took place.
Guy 1: What are you doing?
Guy 2: I am installing Linux on my computer.
Guy 1: Why does it take so long?
Guy 2: There are a lot of things you have to do yourself in Linux thats why.
Guy 1: Ok.
Guy 2: Have you ever installed Linux?
Guy 1: No never. But I am still confused. Why use Linux at all? Isn’t Windows sufficient?
Guy 2: Its a lot complicated than that. You wouldnt understand.
Guy 1: But I want to know. Why do you use Linux instead of Windows? What are the advantages?
Guy 2: Ok here is the thing. You can see Windows files from Linux but you cannot see Linux files from Windows!
Guy 1: Wait! I dont understand…
Guy 2: What dont you understand?
Guy 1: I mean…if you wanted to see Windows files, why see them from Linux? You can see Windows files from Windows itself right?!!??!?!
Guy 2: Its not like that…
Guy 1: I mean think about it. If you are going through all these painful and time consuming process of installing Linux in order to see Windows files through Linux, dont you think you are just wasting your time? If I wanted to see Windows files, I will access them through Windows itself!!
Guy 2: *Facepalm*. Make that *Epic Facepalm*
Ok Ok. The World Cup has improved drastically in both quality and entertainment value in the past one week in strong contrast to what we had witnessed in the Group Phases. There has been some free flowing football, some close finishes, some good scorelines, entertaining football, and of course then there are the Dutch. But more about them later. First up, lets get fully judgmental and talk about the matches that took place.
URUGUAY 2:1 KOREA: Ah well, though I didn’t expect too much of quality in this, I have to say, just watching Luis Suarez play around with the ball and especially with that sweet sweet finish that was the second goal, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he makes a move to a UCL playing team in the transfer window. Having said that, failure to utilize clear cut chances (including a couple of one on ones) on part of Korea just made them to deserve the result.
USA 1:2 GHANA: Ah! How I was rooting for Ghana in this match! This was one captivating game with either side playing some free flowing attacking football! Oh wait sorry! The USA ended up playing Soccer in a Football World Cup! No wonder they lost! Also, Ghana’s Goalie- the Kingson dude- was very easily the most awesome guy in the entire stadium that day. Save after save after save was the only reason why Ghana still remains in the World Cup. He was such an awesome keeper that the fact that he is also the 4th choice goalie for Wigan Athletic doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
GERMANY 4:1 ENGLAND: Most entertaining game of the Knock out phase and The less said about this the better. So many things have been said about goal line technology and how that goal could have prevented the German counter attack etc etc. But none of that is going to change the fact that England played crappy football all through the World Cup and simply deserved to go home. Having said that, I shall, without any hesitation, concede that Miroslav Klose was simply a different footballer that day and made some really useful plays (in contrast to my earlier opinion on how badly he played in the Group Stage).
ARGENTINA 3:1 MEXICO: Argentina again show why they are the team to beat and still continuing to prove why they are the most entertaining team to watch. I have nothing new to add here except that I had wished to see more of Kun Aguero that day.
PARAGUAY 5:3 JAPAN: Boring game with some pathetic finishing and settled fast with penalties. Wish I could have just seen the penalties and saved myself some quality time.
SPAIN 1:0 PORTUGAL: That is what you get for just relying on counter attack and let the Spanish pass the ball to death. There is bound to be a goal somewhere there. And I have to say that Spain won against Portugal INSPITE OF Fernando Torres. As per my earlier opinion, Fernando Torres continued his journey towards becoming the Emile Heskey of Spain and I believe has become successful to a large extent. But thanks to people like David Villa and Iniesta and Xavi who actually make that extra effort to score goals, Spain still stay on and play.
NETHERLANDS 2:1 SLOVAKIA: And of course there are the Dutch. Grinding out cheap wins consistently via producing some totally retarded football is an art and the Dutch seem to have mastered that. Get a load of this: With the exception of 5 times, the Dutch NEVER passed the ball FRONT in the opponent’s half of the pitch in the first half! (It was 12 in the 2nd half). It was as if they were playing with normal football rules in their half and with Rugby rules in the opponent’s half-( you know that rule which states that you cannot pass the ball FRONT and can only pass BACK or SIDEWAYS?) Not that they didn’t try. Its just that the pass mostly ended up being either intercepted or going out of bounds. If you think I am exaggerating, just watch the replay of that match and COUNT for yourself. THAT is how fucking lame the Dutch are playing!
BRAZIL 3:0 CHILE: And that is why I am so looking forward to Brazil belting the Dutch ass! Brazil, on the other hand, played football which actually involved completed front passes in the opponent’s half as well. And contrary to popular belief, the boys from Brazil do NOT seem to have abandoned the Sambha style of play. At this point however let it be made known that I am NOT a fan of Brazil and do not intend to see them lift the World Cup.
On a side note, I want to make a comment about how the English FA are reacting to the lame performance of their team in the World Cup. With regard to the decision on whether to keep Capello or to fire him, the FA seem to be toeing the we-need-to-fix-the-real-problem-not-the-symptoms line of reasoning while favoring to keep Capello. They imply that developing a good youth system is the answer to the problems etc etc. There is a fundamental flaw in this line of reasoning. I believe that the intended consequence of this youth system development is the production of really good players as such. My question is this: When you already have players with the capacity of Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Cole (J and A), etc, what are the odds that the youth system will churn out players who are even better than this crop? If the manager cannot get this bunch of world class players to produce good results, what makes the FA think he can do any better with a different bunch of players? A change of tactics (if not manager) is of the essence. There is no freakin way somebody like Wayne Rooney can just randomly decide to lose form. If he doesn’t get the ball, WTF is he going to do just running around?
This post had to be done before it was too late, (where too late = end of FIFA World Cup). So I will get right to the point. This is a not-so-SHORT REPORT CARD on the Group Phase of FIFA World Cup 2010. Also, this is an extremely judgmental post. If you don’t like to see your favorite players or teams being mocked, ridiculed or judged, then feel free to skip this post and browse the rest of the blog. But if you are one of those people who wants to have a look at a very unforgiving, yet fair judgment of the quality, flair and entertainment (or the lack thereof) in the matches that we have witnessed, then by all means please read ahead.
First up, make no mistake. This World Cup has sucked balls so far! Any of you nimrods who think otherwise have, I can guarantee, never followed any of the European Football leagues. You know- the ones in which all the Football players play week in week out all through the year? Not like just showing up once in 4 years to play a bunch of matches in a month and hope to be declared World Champions! There has been a total and glaring lack of quality in the football that has been played in almost all of the Group phase matches. Apart from the clear lack of goals, most of the games involved just dull passing and hopeful long balls into the box. And most of the intended shots on goal ended up as just that- intended shots on goal. I literally lost count of how many times the players tried to take a shot on goal from outside the box and the ball just ended up either hitting a defender who was like 3 feet away or went sailing comfortably some 10-20 feet above or away from the goal posts.
And screw that Jabulani football! If I am not mistaken, out of the 48 matches that took place in the Group phase, just 1 match (that’s right just one!) produced goals from a direct free kick! And that too it was one of the last matches where the Jap dudes Honda and Endo sent one free kick each curling past the goal keeper and actually INTO the net. This is in contrast with literally all of the other free kicks being perfectly aimed at the row of people in the stands who are at least 20 rows above the cross bar. I am convinced that the blame lies mostly with the ball as practically all the best free kick takers have been unable to keep the ball down. (Or maybe they should take a lesson or two from the Japs.)
Now lets get a bit more specific and talk about teams. Spain and Brazil started off as favorites and it took all of 1 match to played by each of them for them to be stripped off that spot. Spain, I strongly believe, expected to be awarded 3 points against Switzerland just for showing up and passing the ball around. Brazil, having consciously renounced the Sambha football, I suspect, forgot that they still needed to score goals to win a football match. England, on the other hand, were still trying to figure out how to make use of World class players such as Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and Cole (both J & A) to muster an actual shot on target ever since Gerrard scored that opening goal against the USA in the 5th minute. Germany promised some real entertainment after that opening display against Australia and then quickly decided that they were giving all their fans and viewers too much to be to be happy about. And those of you who are firmly behind the Oranje Netherlands better admit the fact that the Dutch have played some of the most boring and dull football among all the teams. The fact that they have produced results from all their games better not be mistaken for some kind of a strong showing in the football sense. After all, Denmark, Japan and Cameroon are not countries you pride winning 2-0, 1-0 and 2-1 against if you are aiming for the title.
Italy, on the other hand, had apparently forgotten that they were playing in the World Cup Finals and instead continued to play each match as some kind of a practice match! They realized their mistake somewhere half way through their match against Slovakia, after which they produced what turned out to be BY FAR the most entertaining and gripping match of the entire Group Stage! If it meant that Italy had to go out in order to produce that awesome match, then so be it! Which now brings us to France! I just have two words: IRELAND Schadenfreude. And as far as Portugal is concerned, well, apart from that 7-0 drubbing of North Korea (which really doesn’t count btw), they haven’t really scored a single goal have they? Sparing a thought for the USA, who eventually ended up playing the wrong sport (Soccer) against Ghana (which played football) in the Last 16, I have to say I felt awesome to see them getting knocked out by an African team! Which finally brings me to Argentina. And simply put, this is the only team that seems to make any effort to play football in ALL the matches. And I sincerely hope they go on to win the World Cup.
Getting a little more specific, lets talk about the players who have made any or no difference to the matches played so far. For a long time now, I have strongly been against the continued presence of totally redundant football players, most of them in a forward role. And this World Cup, if anything, has only proven me totally right! I shall start with the most redundant of them all, namely an Englishman named Emile Heskey. He is simply put the most worthless, useless, unproductive and shameless football player in the entire World Cup. Come to think of it, I don’t even know if he starts for his club (whichever that is). Next comes any Italian striker you can think of. Less said about them the better. Then come the likes of Klose and Anelka. Though I am strong Chelsea supporter, I still don’t approve of Anelka’s inclusion in ANY team! And also, one good kick or one headed goal doesn’t absolve any of the above mentioned players’ inability to perform consistently. Also, it seems to me that Fernando Torres is making every effort to jump in to the bandwagon of unproductive strikers.
On the other hand, we have had some real scintillating displays of football by the likes of Messi and the rest of Argentina. On the same plane comes David Villa and Luis Suarez. But I have to say, among all the people who have stood out, the one that really caught my eye was the Argentine Sergio Kun Aguero. The Athletico Madrid playmaker created some of the best moves for Argentina in the last two group matches. He is being strongly linked with Chelsea and Juventus and he ending up in either place will be pretty awesome as far as I am concerned!
So now lets choose the best and the worst of what the FIFA World Cup 2010 has had to offer in the group stages:
Most Entertaining Team: ARGENTINA. By far the only team which made a sincere effort to play attractive football without yielding to the temptation of defending deep and wasting time when in the lead.
Most Boring Team: NETHERLANDS. Anyone disagreeing has some really really low standards regarding Football entertainment.
Most Entertaining & Gripping Match: ITALY vs SLOVAKIA. The 5 goal thriller went right down to the last second corner when Pepe could have still put Italy through to the next round but used the wrong foot to put in the corner kick.
Most Entertaining Player: SERGIO AGUERO. The Argentine playmaker played less than 2 matches but if his skill and pace are anything to go by, he is pretty much the next big thing in Football history for sure.
Best Goal: Fabio Quagliarella’s goal for ITALY against SLOVAKIA. The Napoli frontman’s shot on goal from outside the box is the stuff of Champions. Keeping his cool at such a high pressure situation and taking the shot with a “Screw-all-you-Italian-losers-I-will-do-this-shit-myself” body language, he saw the ball sweetly sail just under the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Best Howler: Quite a few contenders with Serbians Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Vidic’s awesome handballs along with Mark Schwarzer’s fumble against Serbia (Last I heard, Arsene Wenger was already looking to bring Schwarzer to Arsenal! ) but the winner is clearly ROBERT GREEN of England because of which they finished 2nd in the group and ended up facing Germany and then get raped 4-1.
Most Disappointing Team: ENGLAND. As I write this, England just got raped 4-1 by Germany. But even before this, England hardly looked like a team that was going to pose any threat. Rooney hardly got a worthwhile touch, thanks to some archaic strategy that only Don Capello seemed to understand. Scoring 2 goals in 3 matches against 3rd rate teams and claiming to be Title contenders is the same as India narrowly beating teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and then getting royally humped by the Aussies in Cricket.
Most Disappointing Player: FERNANDO TORRES. It takes real effort and skill to consistently mess up every single clear cut chance created regularly by the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Villa. And Torres seems to have mastered that art.
Most Disappointing Match: PORTUGAL vs BRAZIL. Yes I know Kaka wasn’t there nor was Robinho and a draw would see both teams through. But this was still the lamest, most retarded match in the entire group phase. CR7 could have done better to show he can actually score some goals but alas not to be.
So there you have it. My not-so-short assessment of the Group Stages of the FIFA World Cup 2010. My judgment of players and teams is based solely on their performances in the Group stage. It should not come as a surprise if it turns out to be the complete opposite in the Knock out stages. I will be making a separate report card for the Knock out stages. So if you strongly feel the urge to comment on this post by saying how I will be proven wrong about the players and the teams, then first realize that I have spoken about that possibility myself. Then feel free to comment. Till then, keep watching FOOTBALL (not Soccer)!!!
The process of ANY Hindu ceremony inevitably involves waking up at least 4 hours (or in the Vatu’s case, 12 hours) before your usual wake up time. So now you know where the Vatu’s problems started. Waking up early in the morning and being expected to stay hungry for over 5 hours after waking up was not exactly high on the Vatu’s agenda. But, as with the way things were going for him, the Vatu knew better than to argue this time around. And thus started the day when the Vatu would eventually make the transition from Vatu-ism to becoming a Brahmachari.
The “ceremony” started off with the same self righteous Shastrigalu (priest) with the same 2 sidekicks continuing where they left off with the “Pleasing of the Gods”. This time, the GOD referred to a small fire or HOMA as it is called in Hindu circles. The ceremony immediately ensuing the Vatu’s awakening (from sleep that is, not the spiritual thing) involved pouring miniature amounts of ghee and oil onto the fire every time the Shastrigalu ended a sequence of necessarily undecipherable sounds with a prominent and loud “SWAAHA!”, at which point even his 2 sidekicks would join in with a loud “SWAAHA!” of their own. Three very distinct things seem to take place with the sidekicks every time they joined in with their own loud “SWAAHA!”.
- It appeared that saying “SWAAHA!” was as close to exciting as they ever got.
- Their lives seemed to get some meaning and purpose every time they chanted SWAAHA!
- Their self esteem seemed to undergo a delta increment, which I believe was a direct consequence of 2.
But now back to the Vatu. The Vatu was also expected to undergo the process of Mathrubhojana, which loosely translates to “dining with your mother.” This happens to be an event wherein the Vatu and his mother are expected to have their breakfast served on the same banana leaf. Also, the Vatu is to be actually “fed” by his mother with her bare hands. The idea behind this process, I believe, lies in implying that this is going to be the last meal that the Vatu (child) shares with his mother. The Vatu did eventually agree to undergo this seemingly ridiculous procedure, largely due to his hunger breaking tolerable levels.
Now there is one aspect of a thread ceremony that every single guy wishes to avoid. This is the shaving of the head. In olden days, this involved shaving the entire head except for a small round patch of hair at the very top and centre of the head that was to be left untouched. This would render a half-ponytail kind of a look to the Vatu. However, with the passage of time and the demands of modern society and the preferences of young boys of this age, this criteria was relaxed to just a few strands of hair taken from right above the forehead in such a way that it is hard to spot anything out of place. My own thread ceremony involved this and so did the two previously mention dudes’ and most of the other boys in the family. At this point, it is relevant to reveal some more facts about the Vatu.
The Vatu is widely acknowledged in the family to possess hair of the highest quality. And the Vatu likes his hair. He totally despises people meddling with his hair in any form, including just running their fingers through his hair. The Vatu also delays visiting the barber shop because he likes to keep his hair (it is also sometimes attributed to the Vatu’s inherent laziness).
The Vatu was then promptly asked by the self righteous priest to shave his entire head for the half-ponytail look.
Practically the entire congregation present there went WTF??!!??!? The Vatu just presumed that the priest is only suggesting the option of reverting back to the practices of olden days, as a show of good faith. And hence, quite a few of the family members spoke to the priest (whose self-righteousness level had increased significantly) to convey the fact that it is not a practical suggestion as the Vatu is likely to travel around. But much to the surprise of all the family members advocating the loss of fewer strands of hair, the priest just refused to budge from his initially stated position. At this point, more family members began to join the cause for loss of lesser hair while some sadistic and hypocritical aunts simultaneously teamed up to counter it. Their argument was essentially based around the age old “we-should-not-give-up-our-customs-and-traditions-even-if-they-don’t-mean-shit-today” diatribe. But amidst all the shoutings and counter-shoutings of family members of the female kind, the Vatu just went even more WTF??!?? The reason? The self-righteous priest with a pronounced smug, had just resorted to direct and open blackmail about his preferences! He had simply declared that unless the Vatu shaves his head fully with just a half pony tail dangling from the centre of his skull, he the priest would stop the ceremony and just leave!
Yes now even you, the reader, can go WTF??!!??
So as you could have expected, the Vatu did end up having his head shaved and did have a small patch of hair on the top of his skull with some hair dangling around more than the others. This seemed to feed the priest’s ego and arrogance as he continued to direct the proceedings with more vigor and attitude. ( Of course, all this time, the sidekicks were just fantasizing the day when they would be in a position to make someone lose more hair just by blackmail!)
However, the remarkable redundancy the priest seemed so keen to exhibit did not end there. He took the Vatu on a trip to show him the sun. That’s right. He helped the Vatu to spot the sun on a cloudless day at 11 in the morning! (Go Figure). The priest “explained” that the Sun contained GODS and so it was important to look at the sun during an auspicious event like a thread ceremony. This was later followed by the priest ‘educating’ the Vatu about the relevance and importance of chanting the Gayatri Mantra. This essentially included a story about how a small boy was able to make an idol of a Goddess move from one place to another just by talking to it while old priests couldn’t do it themselves (the explanation being that the small boy used to chant the said mantra a lot). However, the issue of why the Vatu would ever be interested in moving the idol of a Goddess in the first place was never raised.
Coming back to the ceremony itself, after donning the sacred thread, it was now time for the “enlightenment” of the Vatu by revealing the sacred Gayatri Mantra to him. The Vatu’s father was expected to do the honors with the priest guiding him (read directing him) all the way. The actual revelation process involved making the Vatu sit on top of his father’s lap while his father whispered the erstwhile mantra in his ear! And as the Mantra was being revealed to the Vatu, all the “guests”, who had so far been involved in intellectually stimulating activities such as passing comments and judgments on people they meet only on such occasions, were called into action and they promptly obliged by throwing yellow powder-flavored raw rice grains (also known as Akshathe) at the Vatu with purposeful missile throwing actions. Of course, the Vatu was no more a Vatu as he had stepped up a rung on the Brahminical ladder and was now officially declared a Brahmachari (celibate till marriage).
YAY! I guess…..
Of course the end of the Upanayana only meant the end of the Upanayana. It did NOT imply the end of the pursuit of redundant practices. And so the Brahmachari found himself in front of a large banana leaf meal, expected to finish every bit of it after having gone through the pre-meal ritual of water-sprinkling and food donation to God (Go Figure). Surrounding him were fellow Brahmacharis including the dude who felt at home donning the Adige Bhatru (Cooks’) Uniform and carrying out their activities. The first meal the Brahmachari has must be in the company of fellow Brahmacharis of the family and Yours Truly was expected to be one of them. But rest assured, all precautionary measures were taken for my notable absence during the lunch ceremony.
And finally, the Vatu-turned-Brahmachari found himself done with all the inane rituals and simply ‘escaped’ to his home nearby. But alas, his father who spotted his son’s absence and MY presence, gave me the ultimatum to drag his son back to the ritual arena- if it came to that- as some of his office colleagues had decided to show up exactly at the lunch time. And so I found myself convincing my cousin to show up back at the ritual arena, which thankfully he did oblige, thus saving me a possible tricky situation to cope with.
More random family introductions followed for the Brahmachari with most of the conversations following the following pattern:
Brahmachari’s Father (extremely excited): This is my <insert random family relation position> who shows up only on occasions like these.
Random Relative: Do you remember me? I had seen you last at your naming ceremony or <insert other random relative>’s marriage! You were so small then! Look at you now! All grown up and all!!
Brahmachari (thinking and faking a smile): Somebody please put me out of my misery…
Eventually, the Brahmachari found his way back to his house for a much deserved break, courtesy a bike ride from Yours Truly. After some insightful conversation into the working of the hindu practices amongst ourselves, the Brahmachari’s father came home with more of his colleagues who had showed up a little later. After more random introductions, there was an uneasy silence that was hanging in the room when the Brahmachari’s father decided to introduce me in the following way:
“This is Akshay. He is….errr….umm….err…..” “I am the Brahmachari’s cousin” I finished. The father continued “He is doing his Masters in States!” I gave a Hello smile to everyone present there who returned the gesture. But then one person decided to go further and make an ass out of himself. Out of nowhere, he quipped “So you are with Samsung is it?” Well first I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to convey but then I realized the true WTFness involved. You see, I, being a hardcore Chelsea supporter, was wearing a Chelsea jersey which as you may know carries the logo of SAMSUNG in the front and the number 8 and the name Lampard at the back. And this douchebag kinda presumed that I was somehow “with Samsung”. I immediately clarified saying “No no this is just a Football jersey. I am still studying” which I believe he never really quite understood.
But perhaps, the most remarkable piece of conversation that took place during the entire thread ceremony was between the Brahmachari and his father towards the fag end of the day when almost everyone had left. This conversation perfectly epitomizes the present state of the stereotypical Indian nuclear family with regard to keeping in touch with other family members. The Brahmachari’s father came rushing into the door with a clear purpose in mind and appeared to be in no mood to be disobeyed. He found the Brahmachari and immediately instructed, “Come down now itself. X is waiting for you!”
Brahmachari: (WTF???!??) Who is X?
Father: X is Son of Y.
Brahmachari: (WTF???!???!!) Who is Y?
Father: Y is my <Insert Generally unknown Kannada Family Relation Terminology> who you get to meet only on occasions like these! Now come down and meet X.
Brahmachari (thinking): WTF??!!??
I, of course, was just left speechless! But more was to come from the stereotypical Hindu religious ceremony. My cousin and I later learnt that there had been an altercation between the Adige Bhatru (cooks) and the organizers of the ceremony regarding the (lack of) quality of the lunch and breakfast. And the altercation had apparently taken on the physical component as well with one of the organizing committee members (read random short tempered relative) (almost) slapping one of the cooks for bad mouthing the Brahmachari’s father! This having taken place at the ritual arena, both my cousin and I missed watching it first hand and regretted not having spent more time at the arena.
Random Observation: There was this one 50-odd year old dude who (I had never seen in my life before) just showed up at the ritual arena, looked around, sat for a while, ate lunch and then promptly left! So to put it in the cliched form, He Came, He Ate, He Left! The surprising aspect was that apparently this dude was actually invited!
And thus ended my encounters with a typical Hindu religious ceremony. 2 days where I witnessed the most inane and redundant of what Hinduism has to offer in terms of practices and customs. 2 days when I saw how judgmental and hypocritical relatives tend to be. 2 days when I met some of the most awesome characters my family has to offer (including and especially the two recurring dudes). And as far as the Brahmachari is concerned, well, it took him all of 2 days to pay a visit to the barber and have his half pony tail shaved off, thus revealing a uniformly bald skull. And it was also later revealed that the Brahmachari had initially made a deal with his parents that he would obey them completely for a duration of 4 days for which they would have to give him whatever he may ask for. Last I heard, the Quid Pro Quo was still yet to be determined.