Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday ka Sizzle

Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err with her
On some other fur?

Elinor Glyn wrote 'Three Weeks' which was the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in 1907.

Above is a doggerel inspired by her most sensational work, Three Weeks.

It was so amusing I couldn't help but put it up here!

1999 - the year I stopped watching cricket

I was in Karachi in 1999, preparing for my IBA entrance test which meant that I had ample time on my hands to watch ALL the matches of the Cricket World Cup. I was at my grandmother's house and with all cousins over for holidays there was a big, festive gathering which sat down to watch each match. Over tea, snacks and Cadbury fruit and nut chocolate, we discussed the merits of our team versus the rest of the world. 

And what a team it was! A solid fast pace 'killer' bowling attack in the form of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Azhar Mahmood, and Abdur Razzaq. And an equally solid spin attack with the veteran Mushtaq Ahmed and the spin maestro & pioneer of 'doosra', Saqlain Mushtaq. Moin Khan was the perfect keeper. The batting line up had veterans like Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmed and of course Inzi. Lending support to the veterans were Saeed Anwar, Yousuf Youhana and the young Shahid Afridi. What a team! 

It was one of the first (and last) Cricket World Cup in which I followed all the matches, kept a tab on scores of teams, and even made notes of high scoring batsmen and top wicket takers. [Saeed Anwar was one of the leading run scorers in the tournament while Saqlain Mushtaq was among the highest wicket takers.]

Steve Waugh & Wasim Akram before the final.
Our team did surprisingly and amazingly well. The loss to Bangladesh was avoidable but just three losses to the final wasn't so bad. And what a super victory we had over New Zealand in the semi-final! There was no doubt in my mind and probably in the minds of almost all Pakistanis that we were bringing the World Cup home.

The final was a total anti-climax and with a few exceptions, probably one of the most disappointing match I've ever witnessed in my life. It was like our team was drugged or under a spell. When the batting failed, there was hope that the bowling attack will rip the Aussies apart. But it was not to be and we lost, miserably. It wasn't the loss that hurt as much as the manner in which we lost. Every effort seemed half-hearted. It was as if the team had come prepared to throw away the match. 

I don't know why we lost. Maybe the team was suffering from a bad hangover. Maybe they all got off from the wrong side of the bed or a black cat passed in front of the team bus just when they were stepping out to play. Or maybe someone, the captain perhaps, decided to throw away the final to earn an extra buck. 

Whatever it was, 1999 was the last year when I took cricket seriously. 

And in the present circumstances, it seems like a great decision!

Image: Google

Friday, February 20, 2015

Of Rooms and Views

Inspired by the title of the novel, A Room with a View by E.M.Forster  (which was a part of my February reads in the Grand Reading Plan 2015), I came up with some past, desired and present views. 

From a room with a view of sky, sea and sand (Ko Pha Ngan Island)
A view I greatly desire from a room (Laguna Beach, LA)

The view right now.

Note: All pictures are by the author of the blog. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reading Ghalib

I finished reading the biography of Mirza Ghalib titled, Ghalib - The man, the times by Pavan K. Varma. I also went through the Diwan -e- Ghalib simultaneously which made the read very enjoyable. Over the weekend, I'm going to watch the television series Mirza Ghalib, made by the poet-director Gulzar and starring the super talented actor Naseeruddin Shah. Gulzar also had a bust of Ghalib commissioned and installed at the poet's haveli in Delhi. Read more of that here.

This is one of my favourite artwork based on Ghalib's poetry by Abdur Rahman Chugtai. Ripped out of a diary, its been a part of my life since many years and occupies a prominent place in my writing area. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

a post-crash confession

In the middle of the afternoon today, I crashed.

It wasn't a physical crash although eventually I did crash in front of my telly and watched a christmas chick flick which incidentally gave me a great idea for my new lamps which are technically not new lamps but a gift from my aunt who is giving away her stuff but in a way they are new.

Why did I crash? Why does one crash? In my case it's usually a combination of pending things to do and things that I AM supposed to do and things I PLANNED to do. When I'm unable to meet the latter, postponing the planned activity day after day after day, frustration builds up and then at the most unlikely moment (which has NOTHING to do with the planned activity), I snap. 


Emotional snap = morose face and zero response to anything including phone calls from close friends. Also, ignoring hubby.

Mental snap = Self pity, mostly!

Physical snap = Lethargy which usually leads to long periods of time in front of the telly. 

And so I sat for almost three hours, staring at the telly, watching the Top Gear team travel through Rwanda, some bits of the television comedy Web Therapy (which is a great find!) and finally a chick flick. Between the time dinner started and the chick flick ended (roughly ten minutes), I directed all my angst at the remodelling of the lamp shades which I don't want remodelled anymore. And while having dinner I kept thinking I'll probably end up dreaming about the whole fiasco (which, in reality, isn't that big really) and wake up miserable the next day when I heard about the massacre in Nigeria. 

And my snap! moment kind of melted into a little pool of water. The same one in which one is supposed to drown in the Urdu proverb (chullu bhar paani). 

Here I was, twisting my insides over a bloody lamp and there were people in Nigeria, who not many days back, were killed mercilessly and some actually drowned because they were trying to escape being killed by militants? It was like a jolt of electricity. A major wake up call for me. What am I doing? Why am I focusing all my energy on something which is not going to, in any way, change the direction of my life?

So I took a deep breath, smiled at hubby dearest and thanked HIM. Things might not be perfect all the time but they are pretty good and that, I think, will do just fine for now.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Love Stories are Evergreen

Following is a synopsis.

The son of a farmer is in love with the daughter of a wealthy landowner. From a young age (read around 8yrs), he fancies the girl and is very fond of her. The girl also has feelings for him but she doesn't display them very much. The little she does, at times, is enough for our hero and he spends his days and nights dreaming of her. But where there are roses, there will also be thorns. The son of an even wealthier land owner is good friends with our heroine and obviously becomes a rival of sorts. 

Time passes and our hero leaves for the city to pursue higher education and becomes a (wait for it...) poet. Of course, ALL his poems are based on the heroine or around his love for her. One day, one fateful day, he runs into her, just like that, at a street corner in the VAST city. They make small talk and then he pours out his heart to her but suddenly he spots a ring on her finger. Engaged? His beloved? To whom? (hint: an old childhood rival. No hint required really, it was so glaringly obvious!).

BUT even though she may wear the ring given by another man, it is our hero she loves deeply. And she proclaims this love by kissing him right outside the house of her fiancé. Of course, no one happens to be drinking tea in the garden, or looking out of the window to see if the weather is rainy or sunny and thus the kiss remains a secret between the two. Nothing changes after this episode as the heroine refuses to break the engagement and yet, proclaims to be in love with the hero.

Heartbroken, our hero leaves for abroad and no one, not even his parents have a clue where he is. During this time his fame rises and everyone, including the wealthy landowner (father of the heroine), is proud of him. One fine day our hero comes back and everyone is over joyed. The heroine immediately sends him an invite to attend a lunch at her palatial home where she promises him a surprise.

And when our hero reaches the lunch, she acts as a match maker and pairs him with a girl half his age (who he had saved from drowning when she was only a babe) to make up for her marrying the childhood rival. The young girl is thrilled on meeting the great poet and falls in love immediately.  The finance' (childhood rival) suspects the heroine is in love with the hero. She denies and he pretends to believes her lie and since he's a gentleman and won't harm her (or the hero) he goes hunting (to vent out his anger on hapless animals) where he (very mysteriously) dies in a shooting accident.

Everyone is devastated, especially the heroine's wealthy landowner father. Turns out he isn't wealthy no longer and his daughter's marriage was the only way to save him from disgrace. So when everyone leaves for the city for the funeral, he stays back and conveniently burns the house down, with himself in it.

Time passes. Our hero appears to be happy with his young finance' but she falls in love with a younger guy and leaves him. And the very day they break up, an old friend turns up at his doorstep to tell him about the heroine's death and hands him a letter from her. 

This is from the novel Victoria written by Knut Hamsun in 1898. All resemblance to a Bollywood or Lollywood film is very creepy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Severed Head starts off the GRP 2015

Books should have themes. I choose titles carefully and the titles in some way indicate something deep in the theme of the book. Names are important. The names sometimes don’t come at once, but the physical being and the mind of the character have to come pretty early on and you just have to wait for the gods to offer you something. You have to spend a lot of time looking out of the window and writing down scrappy notes that may or may not help. You have to wait patiently until you feel that you’re getting the thing right—who the people are, what it’s all about, how it moves. I may take a long time, say a year, just sitting and fishing around, putting the thing into some sort of shape."

Iris Murdoch - The Art of Fiction No. 117, the Paris Review

A depiction of one of the principal characters, Honor Klein, with her Samurai sword.  "She had been standing before me, still holding the hilt in a two-handed grip, and looking down at one of the severed napkins."

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