Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Every once a year, a night would turn into a day.
None of the rules would apply to that night, no ultimatums to get to bed, no study hours to be adhered to, no 'lights out'.
There would even be a cake to be cut, to be eaten.
And toffees.
There would be music, friends, and an inviolable licence to stay awake all night. Even to play.
Then there would be the greeting cards. The new diaries. The new almanacs.
The special shows on TV. Maybe even some movies late in the night.
Maybe even a new dress.
Everybody would be there, smiling, jumping around as if life had just begun.

Once every year, I reminisce on those days as a little kid, and try to relive the feeling. The allure of that night and the bubbly elation without even knowing what it is we are supposed to be so happy about. The innocence that pervades memory before you understand time, before you understand life.

It's that time of the year again.

No matter how much we would like ourselves to believe otherwise, it's hope we live on. And this is the one night that, more than any other, exemplifies our amorosity with hope. We all know tomorrow's just another day, we know our lives won't suddenly liven up in the morning, our secret wishes won't promptly manifest themselves on our world, our jobs won't miraculously get exciting the next time we go to office, our worries won't just fade away just as a number fades away across our calendars, but just the same, we wish ourselves a happier and more prosperous year than the one we just had. And believe we will. No matter how young you are or how old you are, however much you might have seen in life to negate this hope, you just can't stop a little bubble from rising inside your heart at the prospect of facing the new year, at the prospect of the unexplored, at the prospect of the new. It's just who we are.

There will be a moment tonight which will belong to nothingness in time, one neither a part of this year nor the next, a tiny void that carries my hopes for everything that lies beyond. I am not dancing, I'm not singing, I'm not even smiling, but I am hoping. So I can slip into it. And live forever.

My December

Decembers come, Decembers go,
As if they never knew me

Never to come back to me again,
Never to know me again

Stranded where they've always left me
I'm left wondering where they're off to

Whether they found me interesting,
If I made a difference

If they would ever cease to leave me behind,
If I would ever get my own December

Little knowing that
As I deliberate its secrets,
Time deliberates on me.

Friday, December 19, 2008


is like an eye forced to stay awake,
unforgetting, unforgiving.

is like a conjurer's trick,
unconceivable, undeniable.

is like the silence of the night,
undying, unliving.

is like a voice in the distance,
unperceivable, unignorable.

is like a mad man hurtling towards his destruction,
unrestrainable, unsalvageable.

is like a promise to nobody,
unmade, unbroken.

is like eternity squeezed out of a moment,
unending, unbeginning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Somebody else

I've come a long way, only to realise I'm not myself anymore. Haggling for perfection among conversations with unspoken words, unending waits and unfinished windows, I've forgotten myself somewhere along the way. I've fallen behind trying to keep up, observing life from a distance and living memory's dreams in lieu of reality. I've grown weary of myself, of these unclaimed emotions, these obsessions with reason and understanding, these vain lives inside lives, of all that ties me down to myself. This isn't what I wish to be, nor is it what I ought to be. I'm done confining myself to the question mark.

I want not what I know, I know not what I want. I wish to escape myself, to let myself go. I wish to lose myself so someday I'll be able to find myself again. Big words. Maybe, maybe not. The world won't change for me but I can for it. And maybe I will. Maybe give the heart precedence over the mind, for once. Maybe give in to the otherness of life. Be all I never was. Be all I never knew. All you never knew.

I want to be somebody else. Maybe I can, maybe I can't. I wouldn't know. But then again, weren't we all somebody else once?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Of rebellions and mediocrities

I'm not in the mood to write, let alone write something 'publishable'. Well, actually, I'm in the mood to write, but not the kind I want to publish or even put out into words. I want to write something I don't feel like writing right now, something radically different to the kind of words that are right now fighting their way through my head to get out. I don't want to let them out, and I want to send out different ones in their place. A really hard thing to do and, in fact, something I've always thought of as impossible. I could attempt it, against convention, against feelings, but the absence of the muse would ensure a failure. So, what do I do? Torn between an obligation to myself and a metaphysical authority that claims control over my creative pursuits, I choose (immodestly, if I may add) myself. I certainly don't feel like writing this right now but I'm going to. Maybe, if I'm successful, it will go down as the beginning of a well-documented rebellion against the muses, otherwise will serve as a relic of a failed, and little known, rebellion against the muses.

Right then, the door's locked and the long, random playlist on winamp is already on the way. Let's begin.

It's early morning. Wonderful weather, not too cold, not too warm either, thanks to a distant sun. Not much traffic bothering my feet which, for a change, rest in peace while driving. I'm not alone in the car, but that's about as much as we're going to delve into that matter for our present purposes. Mediocrity, no, something even worse if I dare to call it so, emanates from the stereo. And out of nowhere, I start sounding the horn, for no apparent reason. There are no cars ahead of me on the road that I want to communicate with but that doesn't stop me. I keep doing it at regular intervals, without reason. And, that's all this incident is intended to convey.

And it wasn't just that morning that I did it. The obsession with the horn didn't begin that day, nor did it end then. In fact, I found out I'd been doing that for a long time before I started noticing it myself and decided to get to the bottom of the mystery. Not going too much into the perfunctory details of that tale of analysis and deduction, we'll arrive at the eye-opening realisation. As usual, it was a surprise that ceased to surprise me once it wore out, which, pretty quickly, it did. And, as if purely out of habitual compulsion, I go, "Oh, yes, I should've known! How could I miss it?"

Enough drivel. I was sounding the horn to block out the mediocrity the radio was giving me. And not just for myself, for everybody else around, and, supposedly, the whole world. Yes, that's right, armed with a horn that wouldn't even always function satisfactorily, I had set out to change the world. To purge it of the mediocrity that has become modern music. As if I could block out those sounds by simply making one of my own. Pathetic, I know. Call it whatever you might, that was what it was.

Common sense tells you, and me, I could've simply turned the radio off and let it go or put on a CD of my choice and spared you all of this, and more (or less, depending on the way you look at it) importantly, spared myself of resorting to all these -------- (for lack of a better word) tactics. There's only one thing I can say to all that. Life doesn't always let you do what you think you ought to do, and on the rare occasion it actually lets you do that, you don't feel like doing it and don't. Some sort of masochistic pleasure, I guess.

I've never been one able to appreciate the terpsichorean cadences of modern music and hence accept that my perspective on this issue might be dimmed a bit because of that, but still, I don't see the justification for such abysmal songwriting tuned together into... Now would be the part where I go on a rampage and offer a scathing criticism of the kind of, and quality of, music we're forced to listen to these days but well, I don't need to cos I know you get the point. Once the cat is out of the bag, there's no point dawdling around. I'll save all of the other lines for another day and just type out the conclusion which actually seems out of place without all that preceded it and hence brings what would seem to be an abrupt ending, which I'm prepared to concede. Not every rebellion starts perfectly, it only has to end so.

I'm not the type who keeps saying you can't change the world on your own, because I believe you can, but I prefer to ask myself one question before initiating anything of that sort and that's what generally stops me most of the time. Is the world yours for you to try and change?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


All it takes is a moment. A word. A silence.
And you're lost, searching for yourself among the crevices of life.

There are some moments that define your future, some that retrace your past, some that just take an eternity to pass. This isn't one of them, it's all of them.

The world around you is a travesty, and all of a sudden, a pantomime. Time begins and ends, morphing everything around you except you. Words no longer reach your ears, they no longer escape your lips. Everything has ceased to be. All you're left with are faces, faces that no longer recognise you as one of their own.

You can't see. You can't hear. You can't feel.
Drifting through nothingness, clinging to your non-existence, unsure of everything that ever was, you see it approaching. There are no more upsides, no more downsides. No more left, no more right. Just a straight line. Just a straight, undeniable certainty.

You wonder why. Why it is the way it is. And not the way it is not.
How it all came to be just this and nothing else. There was supposed to be more to it, more than just this. You deny the tears in your eyes and try to wish them away. And then, from the bottomless depths of that inescapable pain, it hits you, squarely to the moment, light as a rock, heavy as a feather.

Living is just a habit.
And after a while, just as with every other, you forget why you made it in the first place.

Friday, November 14, 2008


A denial.
An empty room.
A periodic beep chipping away at the mind.
Blurry blinds, a shadowy ceiling.
Floating words, talking walls.
A broken dream.
A dawning consciousness.

A splash of hot water.
Droplets on a mirror.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

150 words on Evam's "Doubles, Triples and Quadruples"

150 words are never going to be enough to properly review (a subjective opinion, of course) any play, let alone one as eclectic and kaleidoscopic as Doubles, Triples and Quadruples still I take it up, candidly convinced of the impending failure, because it's not always that you find failing at something more gratifying than succeeding at it. So then, let the word count begin.

Doubles, Triples and Quadruples is not a play, and to call it so would be to strip it of its essence. Played out in seemingly disparate segments punctuated with interludes where each of the actors address the audience directly "not hiding beneath the veneer of a character" anymore, it's not so much a play as it is an experience. And throw in a few interactive exercises involving the audience and you have a new breed of play where the didacticism of the stage form is replaced by a more accessible embrace of the audience. Not that the audience doesn't like to be spoken down to, but where would we all be if there wasn't some change every once in a while?

Each of the segments depicts the characters at decisive moments in their lives, featuring some well crafted scenes and lively, witty writing that highlights the quirks of human nature, bringing out the humour and emotion in what would otherwise be just another of those unnoticed moments that pass us by. Be it the newly wedded couple arguing pointlessly at the threshold of their marital bliss or the disgruntled, materialistic young man who is inadvertently confronted with his Oedipus complex or the familiar strangers who finally discover each other thanks to a goodbye, everybody is at a point which could chart the rest of their lives.

The performances by the actors in the segments are, needless to say, more than adequate and they deserve to be commended for that but it was the interludes that were the most captivating of the lot. Sure, some of them were hilariously done and had the audience in splits but there was more to them than met the eye. Art is not just about the artist expressing himself but also about him exploring himself through it and these interludes help each of them do exactly that. As one of them put it, it's always easier to "hide beneath the veneer of a character than to come out in the open and bare yourself to a bunch of strangers every night" which is why it makes the play a truly enriching and cathartic experience for all the actors involved and for the audience for being a part of it.

There are many memorable characters, many memorable lines and many memorable performances in this play but none of them is as momentous as the simple door frame that adorns the minimalist backdrop of the stage all through it. It is the motif that ties all the disconnected segments of the play together, sometimes as an active component of the plot, sometimes as an innocent bystander, but nonetheless ever present, reminding us all that happiness in life is never too far away and that to find it, all you need to do is walk through the door.

Monday, September 29, 2008

For Blue

At last, time has broken its own spell,
The words have fallen into place,
And so have the mists they sought to quell,
Here ends a phase, my friend without a face
A relief masks a guilt squirming deep inside its shell,
After all, isn’t an abyss only as deep as its surface?

Busy crowds are where the idle dwell,
Giving in to work’s workless ways,
Maybe I was the task that never went well,
But there’s an unheard voice that says,
Time’s always lost only to be made up in the farewell,
After all, what’s life if not an eternal embrace?

Friday, September 26, 2008


What if love had a heart? Would it know pleasure from pain?
What if words had a voice? Would they still speak so much?
What if time had an age? Would it learn how it felt to be human?
What if dreams needed sleep? Would they wake up to reality?
What if the smile had a face? Would it always look so beautiful?
What if darkness was blind? Would it be able to find itself?
What if tears had eyes? Would they be able to see their pain?
What if pain had a mind? Would it learn to cure itself?
What if a loss knew how to win? Would it someday be able to win?
What if death had a life of its own? Would it make it any easier to die?
What if every answer had a question? Would it answer itself?

What if black was white and white was black?
Would it be any different?
What if I were you and you were me?
Would we still be the same?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In pursuit of a memory

He was about four years old.
Every day, by the time his grandfather was back from college, he would be dressed up and ready, eager for the evening walk, his daily adventure. His grandfather would take him out for a walk and they would go to the park nearby, visiting all those stores on the way, meeting all those people his grandfather knew.

They would walk the calm streets, all the way to the park. His grandfather would sometimes stop to talk to people they met on the way and he would wonder how much everybody smiled at his grandfather, all the while gripping his fingers like his life depended on never letting go. They would go to the park and sit beneath his favourite tree. He loved to play in the park with the other kids but he loved more to be with his grandfather, to talk to him, to pester him to tell him stories and then answer all the questions he would ask.

There would be tales of wonderful lands, of gods who could change their faces at will, of greedy and selfish men who were punished, of good men who would sacrifice their lives to battle evil and save the world. Then there would be the questions. How big was the world? Could he see god if he wanted to talk to him? Where did all the good men go when they died? Why were evil people evil? How could he grow up sooner?

And he got an answer for everything.

How could he know so many stories?
How could he know everything about everything?

That was what he wanted to become when he grew up, his grandfather. Exactly him. To know exactly how much he knew. He would always ask him how he knew so much and his grandfather would always give him the same answer.

Books, he would say.

The park has moved on, the streets have, and time has, but those conversations still thrive, among timeless tales and the trivialities of the world's life, and the little mind still feeds off the wiser one. Nineteen years and scores of those little rectangles later, the old man still knows everything about everything and I'm in the darkness still, chasing the shadow of the wise mind I once marvelled at as a four year old.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On being angry

Anger isn't probably the ideal word to start a blog entry with but there you go. I've always loved ire and the more malleable irate but for today, let anger get its spotlight. I know it deserves more than always being upstaged by more "beautiful" words and being camouflaged by contrived pieces of language and anyway, for once, I find that I love the rawness of it.

"I'm angry."
That beauty again.

Now where does that leave our dear friend irate? In my head, of course. And, for some inconceivable reason, fate always follows it there. Irate fate. One of those phrases that are hard to get out of your mind until you do something about/with them. I don't even remember if I coined it myself or picked it up from somewhere but it reminds me of a failed exercise about an year ago, a tacky, convoluted peice of poetry that has since been confined to the archives. Where is it, I don't even remember what it was called. One of these days, I'm going to have to reconfigure my archives and make them more searchable. There. I'm not about to rewrite it now and so would be prone to reproducing the very imperfections that have rendered it unpublishable for so long but then, you know, people do outrageously stupid things when they're angry.

Love of love, or hate of hate,
How do I relate to this inanimate state?
Unable to placate a debate that never seems to abate,
Powerless to liberate myself from a checkmate this intricate,
I prostrate before an irate fate and contemplate,
Is it hate of love or love of hate?

Compassion for words and exhumed baubles aside, I had fancied a bit of raw writing today with a particular something in mind when I started out but you see, anger is a master of the art of subversion. You might not be able to fathom the extent of damage I have done to myself by "wasting" (I know I'm greedy but sadly, that only makes me greedier) a raw, imperfect piece when it could've been so much better but I know how much the hangover's going to hurt. Stupidity by itself is a not-so desirable yet often harmless trait but when it consorts with the disruptive chicanery of anger, it's known to act not so stupidly, after all. The irony of it. Anyway, innate stupidity aside, I can't risk losing another of my imperfectly developed ideas to its guiles and hence, for all practical purposes, wish to stop here.

Now, why wouldn't I want to stop writing here? My mind's already somewhere else, in another state (geographical, not metaphorical), tripping in a past, in another state (metaphorical, not geographical), dripping with nostalgia. One of those memories I composed one early morning on an orange, secluded beach has just revisited me thanks to the retrievable piece of music I invested it in.

Anger goes rather well with memory and that's where I'm going to take it.
Inflaming memory's memories has always been one of those undeniably addictive pleasures of life.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ode to a hebdomad

Once in a while, we all have a hebdomad that breaks out of our life, rising above all that went before it and all that come after it, and I just had mine.

[Pardon the occult jargon, I didn't want to call it just a 'week' and place it on the conveyor belt of the production cycle of life and let its memory to be heartlessly trampled by the week that follows it.]

Now, where do I begin? Describing this marvellous 'hebdomad', that is.

There might be a few people from a particular geography of the web that might presume that this is about a particular number. It's a part of it, yes, but I'm a bit more than someone who just hinges his memories of a great week on an inconsequential number. So, first let's get it out of the way. That evening, after a few unsuccessful premature attempts to check my number, when it finally opened up and I laid my eyes on it for the first time, I admit, for reasons that were purely independent of the event itself, it felt good, so good you wouldn't even believe there was such goodness left in life anymore.

You see, life has a way of being lifeless without what went before it. And this feeling, this good feeling that I was experiencing then was the result of a displaced sense of importance, of the love for the nostalgia of the past that went before it and not the gloriousness of the future that it was supposed to point to. For years, I've seen sundays come and go, with a number tagged to each of them, disappearing down dusty lanes of memory without meaning or substance. And finally, finally, there came along a number that redeemed or, atleast, reaffirmed a tiny bit of faith in what went before it.

Alright, there you go. Enough ranting. I enjoyed it because of a sense of redemption in my past, not in anticipation of the future. It holds no meaning to me, not any more. The moment's passed and the past's been laid to rest. Catharsis, of a milder order. Period.

Moving on, conversations are what generally define the quality of a day or a week for me and this one had a few of them. Not even as many as an average week would boast of but there were a few long-lost talks thrown in here and that was more than enough. Short at times, spread out at times, but memorable as always. You don't get much of that everyday, you see.

WALL-E. How many movies have had the good fortune to be featured in two consecutive blog entries of mine? None till now, if my memory hasn't defected to the other side of senility (yet). I was gonna write a much detailed review of WALL-E and all it meant to me but then as always, it fell through. It didn't meet my standards (the write-up, I mean). Well, then, so I'll just try to wrap it up quickly here.

It wouldn't be hyperbole if I called it one of the best movies I've seen in my life yet I wouldn't give in to the temptation of saying that. That phrase has lost its value with the amount of recommendations we dole out these days. It has heart, and art, a rare combination these days. (I wonder if that line's as cheesy as I think it is.) WALL-E's everything you can call a movie. Artistic, witty, mushy, romantic, imaginative, moralizing, dramatic... All it requires is an open mind to take it all in.

So, another aspect of the wonderful week done with. What else was there? Hmmm. I think I've spent more time than expected on this and my mind's losing track of what I had set out to outline. Yes, another one. Something about a caravan. There are very few who would get what I'm talking about but then, that's the point of it all.

What would be a great story if it didn't end well? And since I have already started out by calling this one great, it would logically follow that it did end well, wouldn't it? Right, it did. So well, in fact, that it was the one that prompted me to start writing this. Square one. Freedom. Rebirth. To name bits of it.

I'm a schemer (yes, Mr. Ledger, I am), and these blog entries are my schemes. You wouldn't understand the bits of it you weren't meant to. Why, you may ask. No reason, I might say. Maybe because, for me, details are trivialities. Or maybe, for the irreasonable reason that there isn't much mystery left in life anymore.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Does everything need to have a title?

"In a moment of murderous rage, the rain pounds against my window, splattering across the glass, threatening to engulf me in a film of suffocating stillness but then, wakes up to gravity and slips away tiredly along the surface, conceding defeat."

Interesting lines. Wonder how I came up with them while trying to drive in a torrential downpour, unable to view the road ahead of me. I typed them down in my mobile as soon as I parked the car at home, gleefully, I should add, contented that the trip to the medical store in the deluge had been not so useless, after all. Normally, on a normal day, with me in a normal mood, all such lines go into the vault, the database of disconnected pieces of crafted language that I sometime later, in a fit of inspiration, would try to weave together and produce a blog entry or a poem or a flash video or whatever other piece of 'art', as we might call it. But tonight, I'm in no mood to weave, no mood to contrive and above all, honestly, in no mood to think. A tryst with a few picturesque words and, unfortunately, fewer wordy pictures over the past couple of days has left me exhausted. And writing, no matter how distasteful and embarassing it might be to admit for us writers, is a painful process. So then, let's cut down on the pain tonight, shall we?

Wall-E's out. After a long, eager wait and a resultant weary resignation, that is. Damn Pixar. Yet, we all know what's gonna happen now, don't we?

Darren Aronofsky's new flick, 'The Wrestler' is due to premiere in some film festival this Sep 5th. I know I won't be able to watch it till a year or so when the DVD gets out in stores but what I'm more interested in is Clint Mansell's composition for its score. And for those who haven't heard it from me yet, Clint Mansell is god. People usually hark 'Lux Aeterna' when they hear his name (I was once one of them) but, The Fountain contains better written pieces of classical compositions than any of the ones from Requiem for a Dream or any of his earlier works (barring 'Lux Aeterna', which is a piece of divine brilliance that he may, in all probability, never produce again in his life). It's an album that's pure brilliance, complementing the movie in every sense, every single track exuding ceaseless emotion. Nothing else I've ever listened to in my life comes close. I've been playing it regularly for over an year now and still, everytime I play each track, I unravel something new.

And now, I think I should stop writing before I start talking in cliches. The rain has subsided, I hope. Yes, I can venture out into my balcony and savour the night's balmy radiance for a moment before I collapse into the waiting arms of Morpheus. Oh my god, who talks like that? And who writes like that?
[I tend to use a lot of commas, don't I? Banville's fault, to an extent, I'd like to say. And maybe, even Pynchon's. ;) ]

There's a certain pleasure in writing a blog entry while you're half asleep. It's like getting the best of both worlds, in a true sense. But still, there aren't any awakwardly constructed sentences and spelling errors. Oh, my obsessions.

I think I'm rambling. Oh, but then, don't we all?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

To be written

12 33 am. I'm just back from a rainy night's drive. Pure, unadulterated ecstasy, if ever there was one. I'm tired. I have very few hours of sleep available to me before I wake up to the day and I would give a lot of things to be able to get off this chair and slink away into the night but this has to be written.

In a few hours, I might get on a train. After a long, long time. New music's being pumped into my player and my book is ready.

Somewhere, somewhere, a window waits for me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Déjà vu

I was there. Though I never actually had been.

I got down at the gates and surveyed the milieu. It was late in the evening, the time around which trees start fading away into grey outlines that sway with the breeze. There was the huge wall that ran all around it, just as I had been told. Walking in, there was a sense of nostalgia for all that was there, the imperious gates, the desolute grey edifices, the tall trees and the beaten paths that ran through them. It was all there, nothing I'd ever known but still, somehow, I knew I knew. Exactly as you told me it would be.

Memories lay in wait, fettered in time, waiting to be set free. Unfinished parleys drew me to places that spoke of shadows that had once been, of a dreamy smile that once stole time. I knew not what I knew as I traversed your past, alerting it to my arrival, revising it to my existence. Amid secrets that weren't secret anymore and bygones that refused to stay bygone, I stood smiling, contemplating clocks and chances, as I knew you had once done.

Two smiles. Disconnected by time, connected by a moment.

Monday, July 7, 2008

4 hours, 48 minutes. Plus a moment.

There was wind. There was rain. There was a blue sky too.

There are moments in a sport's history that will someday later come to be known as the ones that changed it forever, the moments about which people will someday proudly proclaim, 'I was there!', and tonight, there were two unassuming gentlemen at the Centre court at Wimbledon scripting one such moment, changing the face of the sport forever. Two maestros outdid one other in turns, like wizards conjuring up spells of genius with their racquet-shaped wands, two contrasting styles at a stalemate. One never gave up, the other never gave in. Fate hung by millimetre-thick threads while sporting brilliance never seemed more than a shot away.

And then, a lash of the forehand sent the ball crashing into the net and it came down onto the grass, lifeless.

6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7.

Wimbledon erupted, and a twenty-two year old Spaniard collapsed on the other side of the net, ecstasy rolling down his eyes. Rafael Nadal had finally conquered Roger Federer. On grass. At Wimbledon. Words I have waited an year to type out. Rafael Nadal was Wimbledon Champion, and that was where the world ended. There were no more balls to be hit, no more runs to be made. He didn't know what to do. Appropriately. For four hours and forty eight minutes on centre court, amid rain delays, gusty winds and with one of the game's greatest legends on the other side of the net, he made the world believe he was something more than just human and it was apt that the glorious moment that it all culminated in showed more than any other that he was just a man. Everything rushed into his head, every single time he had ever held a Tennis racquet, everything he'd sacrificed, dreaming of the day he would hold aloft that golden trophy on the lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Not the father, not the uncle, not even the Prince and Princess of Spain could do anything about the tears. They belonged, rightly so, to the grass he had dreamt of as a little boy in Majorca, the same grass on which he had just fulfilled his sporting destiny.

On the other side of the net, Roger Federer was experiencing something painfully new, the feeling of being the runner-up at Wimbledon. For five years, he had ruled the All England Club like few had ever done before him but this time, as he later acknowledged with a calm smile on his face, he tried everything but it just wasn't enough. There was very, very little separating the two today and the match could've easily gone either way but in the end, it was Nadal's unremitting energy and stamina that produced the very, very little extra that the game needed to produce a winner.

It was perhaps fitting that this game took place at the home of the modern game. Fueled by what is fast becoming one of the greatest rivalries that tennis, or any other sport, for that matter, has known, the sport had been elevated to another level, producing some of the most breathtaking tennis that has been seen in a long time. We would be compelled to go back twenty eight years in time to find something that rivals the beauty of this match when Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe produced something similar in terms of the rivalry and quality. The same match that contained the momentous tiebreak in the fourth set which McEnroe took 18-16. But Borg held on to win that epic match, staving off waves of brilliant shot-making from McEnroe to make it five Wimbledon crowns in a row. The next year's final featured the same duo but this time it was McEnroe who took the crown, capping off a great rivalry with the Swede, ending his five year reign. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

It may well have been that this year's Wimbledon title had been won, or lost, at the French Open final. It's been a well-observed trend over the past few years that Nadal has been getting better on grass than Federer has on clay. And when, this year, on his third attempt at the French crown, Federer could muster only four games while being annihilated in what was one of Nadal's most clinical displays of clay-court tennis, he could've lost more than just that match. Whatever Roger may say, however vehemently he may deny that Wimbledon is not Roland Garros, he offered little today to prove it. No matter the surface, Nadal to him is the puzzle he can't seem to solve, the untiring bundle of energy that negates his strokemaking like no one ever did before, the guy who makes his genius look all too human at times. Look at the facts. Out of thirteen break points, Federer converted one, only one. Not the Federer we know, is he? When was the last time he committed twice the number (52, to Nadal's 27) of his opponent's unforced errors? And when did you last see him scream on court, egging himself on and anguishing at lost points? And when, oh when, did you catch Mirka Vavrinec exhort him from the sidelines?

As you watched the match today, there was an impending sense of collapsibility about the champion, no matter what instinct suggested. Nadal broke him early to take the first set but trailing 1-4 in the second set, there had to be something special about the Majorcan to topple the Swiss and there indeed was. Federer's serve was broken twice and Nadal had the second set wrapped up in 46 minutes. With Nadal serving at 4-5 in the third set, rain forced a delay for the first time, probably coming to the defending champion's aid. And after play resumed, he fought back strongly and took third and fourth sets on tiebreak, neither unable to break the other’s serve. The fourth set tie-break produced the most exhilarating tennis of the match, Federer having to dig deep to save two championship points for the Spaniard, in the end taking the tiebreak 10-8. But later in the fifth set, Nadal's energy started kicking in and he started stretching Federer's serves more with each game and in the end, he broke Federer in the fifteenth game of the set to serve for the championship at 8-7. Federer fought with all his might, dragging the game to deuce before conceding a championship point and then manufacturing what was probably the return of the match to bring it back to deuce again. But then, a magnificent serve brought Nadal his fourth championship point and another unforced error from the champion ended his five year reign, giving the Spaniard his first ever Wimbledon crown.

So, what does Nadal’s win mean for men's Tennis? There will be zealous proclamations of a 'changing of the guard' and questions raised about the 'end of a reign' but it doesn't take too much of common sense to see that it's not the case. Federer is far from a spent force and Nadal is far from unbeatable. But this will change a few things for sure and Federer will know them better than anybody else. His aura of invincibility has finally been broken but actually, it may not have come at a better time for him to reassess himself if he seeks to capture that French Open title that has eluded him for so long. If there has been a single factor that has worked against him in debates of "the greatest of all time", it has been the absence of a real challenge from his rivals unlike the other greats Sampras or Borg who had clear challengers like Agassi and McEnroe snapping at their heels all their time. And now, Roger has that, a true challenger in the guise of Nadal. If he seeks to put at rest all those theories that he has been largely untested by real competition, this is the time. His game on clay is still notches below Nadal's and he has to work a lot to get there but he now knows that it's the Nadal in his mind that's bothering him more than the one across the net. Next year's French Open and, not to mention, Wimbledon, may well be the dawn of a new era in men’s Tennis thanks to this fierce rivalry. Tennis stands to be the winner no matter what the outcome.

Nadal put things into perspective in the presentation ceremony when asked if it was a special win because he beat Federer to win it. He said, 'He has five Wimbledon titles to his name and I have just won my first.' That should settle it. But for tonight and the history that accompanies it, there won't be a more fitting and deserving Wimbledon champion than this young man. John McEnroe would agree.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Ever felt a moment grab you by the scruff of your neck and drag you all the way through the screaming quiet corridors of your life? Through those flashy freeways, the dusty, crowded lanes, the beautiful, dewy green lawns, those scary, dark alleys, those mud filled potholes... And then wake up somewhere you've never been, only to remember that you don't remember anything that preceded this wild, hopefully isolated, incident? Wondering what set off this chain of epiphanies, what dragged you that far, what blotted your memory so it wouldn't betray what it knew? And then, be hit by a thousand realisations all at once? That you're high, unable to know what sent you up there? That you're grinning your heart out to yourself, painfully? That your eyes are hanging from the whirling, kaliedoscopic roof on top of your swirling head? That your feet have started flying off windows you never knew were there before? That your hands don't have a body anymore? That you're shouting your ears off to get out the ball of blue energy bouncing around inside you? That you're looking around blindly for a sense to re-awaken your senses, to enlighten your blunted memory?

Switch off the headphones, slide them off your ears.
The world shall right itself.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Sign of Four

Right now, I have a lot of things to write. But I know that by the time I devise a way to put them all together in one piece, I'll either deviate into writing something 'more serious' [sic] or get too bored with attempting something on such a huge scale and leave it unfinished, thereby inducing a well known side effect-'an unpublished entry'. And so, in keeping with my endeavour in trying to keep the 'devising' bit out of my writing, I'll keep it more straightforward.

Subject 1 - All right, first things first. I have finally, finally gotten my hands on Nabokov's Pale Fire. Though it isn't mine to scribble in and revel in possession(it's a library book), it still is the book I probably wanted to read more than anything else in my whole wide, little book world and tonight calls for a celebration, which means a faster reading of Pynchon's Vineland. Not to take anything away from Pynchon here. In fact, he's so damn good that I was actually thinking about attempting a comprehensive review of the book which, might not be a big deal for most books but is for this one. [I'm not known for making bets but here's one- I bet 99 people out of 100 will put down this book before they reach the twentieth page. Challenges are invited.] He's crammed more of America into this book than most authors do in their lifetimes. I'd heard a lot about him before reading this but now, nothing's enough. Ah, by the way, there was this unwritten blog entry that was supposed to deal with the quintessential American novel and-behold!-American symbolism in Kamal's Dasavatharam. Sorry to disappoint you here but I promised myself earlier I wasn't gonna digress too much. Maybe some other night. Tonight's for Nabokov and Pynchon.

Subject 2 - Coldplay's new album rocks. It absolutely does. Thanks again Martin. Don't forget to tell the others.

Subject 3 - This is a bit old by subject 1's standards but last week, Lucas Podolski scored against Poland. Twice. Of all the things that could've happened. Oh.

For the sake of clarity here, let me elaborate. Podolski is a Polish-born striker who plays for Germany and I'm referring to the Euro 08 league match between Germany and Poland. Now, you see the irony? To his credit, he didn't celebrate after scoring. And the expression on his face right after tapping the ball home into the net, is what made me write this. Of course, he voluntarily made a decision to play for Germany and everything that happens ensues from it but still, I hope Germany aren't drawn with Poland again. Atleast as long as Podolski's around. And if they do, I pray to hell he doesn't score. There's too much pain in this world already.

Subject 4 - Have you ever felt that you feel like carting your life away to a whole new place only so you can get more out of the place you are in?

Hmmmm, I'll not write more on this here lest I get into a frame of writing people are more than familiar with. I will not. I will not. I will not.
Oh, for god's sake, Dheeraj, have an open mind.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The sixteenth dream

"Those who are dead are not dead
They're just living in my head..."
- "42" [Coldplay/Viva La Vida]

A dream that was once a reality now languishes in memory as a dream, never to be real again. But then again, what is life, if not a dream woven out of innumerable dreams like an ocean that doesn't know where one drop begins and the other ends?

Maybe one day, again, I would show him my report card and a broad smile would appear on his face, there would be another pat on my back, another 'Fantastic!' in the air as an old grey cassette player by the side sang "Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon...". I didn't know then what I had done to make him so happy. But then, I never knew a lot of things. I don't know when that cassette player stopped working and we bought a new one, I don't know when I stopped caring about report cards and I don't know when the word 'fantastic' ceased to be just a word. The ignorance that is all that remains of a lost life.

Today is the sixteenth. Next year, it will be the seventeenth. But then, it would be another day. Another dream.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I speak with the strength of all that is weak
All of those that live in life’s shadows
Never standing up for what they seek
Fearing the light, stifling all that grows

Those that wither away, trying to belong
Vainly denying that the world’s not for the tame
Forgetting life’s laws are written only for the strong
Not for the faint voices that ramble without an aim

If only life knew the powerful from the powerless
And took it upon itself to set the balance straight
Perhaps then a tirade wouldn’t be worth the stress
And spare the wordless from the fangs of fate

I hate the strong no more than I love the frail
But I side with the weak for all that has rendered me sore
Nor do I speak of it as an excuse to fail
For, being weak is a weakness, nothing more.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The week that almost was, Damon Albarn & his guns, and more.

12 23 am. Damon Albarn's up and crooning about some girl being a gun. Maybe it's time for a change in the music. Some randomness should suffice.

It's been a good week, this. In the past seven days, I've resigned from my first job, watched my first ever Champions League final, watched the three old Indy Jones flicks, managed to get my mobile number on an ad in the classifieds that entitles me to atleast a handful of calls every hour, played my first competitive cricket match in over two years, watched Sachin get more animated over a dismissal than I'd seen him in over 14 years, let A R Rahman disrupt my music listening habits yet again, started [but not finished] three poems and a couple of articles, travelled about 100km on a bike under a cool afternoon sun and among various such pointless things, inexplicably ended up reviewing my week in my blog.

I suspect too much of 'chanelled' writing is getting to me. I've been saving up lines, storing them, weaving and interweaving them to produce a coherent mass of words and then stowing them away for one big blaze of glory. Maybe I could do with less of that. And more of this.

I had this irrepressible urge to write about the Champions League final but I somehow managed to wriggle out of it. There was this (great) idea I had to write a piece about the contrasting fates of Ronaldo and Terry, both undisputable heroes for their respective sides in regulation time of the final and all through the season, both penalty-missers in the shootout. I think it would've turned out very well. Why can't I finish it now? Hmmmm, some pieces come with an expiry date and this one did. The moment has passed and it isn't coming back. Oh well, maybe the rough draft might be of use somewhere else, sometime else. Huh, there it is. My well-publicised greed with words.

1 17 am. Wonder why it took me so long to type all those simple lines out. I should work on writing faster. Ah, what are the chances. For all my playlist's randomness, Damon Albarn's crooning yet again, this time in his Clint Eastwood-obsessed simian incarnation, about a gun. But this time it's more meaningful. He's on about establishing peace using guns.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Stir from your stupor.
See through. Hear out. Feel.
Think for once. Ponder.
Breathe in.
Spin out of yourself.
Out of the circadian cadences.

Close the blinds.
Free the impulse.
Memory is momentary.
Consequences are always only random.
Wish away.

Nothing is worth being done over and over again.