Sunday, June 25, 2006

World Cup Weekend

Yesterday, Art Gurfunkel was playing at the Kenwood concert in the Hampstead heath. Although I had an option of going for picnic to the Heath behind the concert from where you can enjoy yourself, while Mr. Garfunkel serenaded you from nigh, the lure of watching Argentina play Mexico was in the end, too strong.

Started in a tiny bar on Flask lane, where the pubs have recently been prevented from allowing al fresco dining and then down at the George in Belsize Park, past Downshire Hill Road, where the unfortunate Alan Chappelow, photographer, write and recluse, who took the last pictures of George Bernard Shaw, was found murdered. Close to the Bombay Bicycle Club where we dined with Steph and down the road from the Freemason's Arms where Joe stared at the "Niche" behind the door, while Jasmine and I stared at the scantily clad women, and Bijoya looked on bemusedly.

Watching England at home will be my modus 0perandi, as jostling for a square inch of space hasn't, so far, been my favourite way of taking in a football match. Besides, as a relative neutral I might clap an Ecuador goal or two, which they say can be harmful to your health in these parts. Still think the Brazillians have enough up their sleeves to win this cup.

The images of the world cup so far...

The Nike Ad with Rooney
Less Violence, but it's there...
Its about the fans, stupid
Best of Brazil 1 and 2

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thought for the Day.

Thought for the day: we need a "Human Responsibilities Charter" - without which Human Rights has no meaning. What are rights without responsibilities? And what rights should people enjoy, who are profligate with their responsibilities?

I just set up for all this serious writing... have a look, for more on the Human Responsibilities Charter.

Friday, June 23, 2006


An old, overweight man was stumbling around, unsure of his footing, a stranger to his surroundings, getting bullied by people half his age and getting pushed around despite his standing. He was fatter than he remembered being. His name was Ronaldo. He was trying to do things he was sure he’d done before, but they wouldn’t come to him and his body wouldn’t respond. Then, by a stroke of luck he found himself within easy sight of goal and he remembered how it was done. The first one was easy. It needed to be. His memory started coming back to him in bits and pieces, much like Jason Bourne. Towards the end of the match, his body still not really responding, like a sports car that suddenly discovers it’s a truck, he received a pass with his back to the goal. Although he was still moving in slow motion, the muscles had their memory and without really engaging his brain, they harmonized beautifully to send the ball into the corner of the net. Thus bringing him level with The Bomber, Herr Muller. Then from some distant past he found that grin, that lit up the entire stadium.

This is no fairy tale. Ronaldo will not be half the striker he was 4 years ago. But if Brazil collectively have taken on the responsibility of getting him over the line of world cup immortality, then they’re on the threshold now and may get there soon enough. May be then, having put that ghost to rest, they can concentrate on winning the damn cup. Which on today’s performance they looked a lot more capable of doing than before this. But the goals are starting to come. The samba is finding its rhythm and the beat-master, Ronnie Jr. is starting to exert himself.

Lets hope Ghana doesn’t prove to be a booby trap.

Another interesting fact, from 2002… Brazil’s feat of winning 7 out of 7 games, every game won without extra-time or penalty shootouts is a heck of a record by itself. Last achieved by… you guessed it, Brazil, 1970. Underlining the importance of 2 world class strikers – Rivaldo was still scoring at the highest level then. And that may be the biggest mountain for Brazil to climb – their midfield and passing and build up is naturally brilliant as evidenced today, but their finishing is languishing with Ronaldo’s memory right now and needs a massive revival.

End note: Graham Poll for the next Republican candidate!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Gentlemen, calm down.
This is a stunning video of the lyrebird - the link to which i found in Tom Coates' blog - it has to be seen & heard to be believed.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Summer is here, a time for greeting the sun and letting it stream into the house like a gush of forgotten happy memories. Like bathing in a waterfall. The cross winds blowing through the house remind me of the seashore - of sand and the wind blowing through my hair. I can smell the salt and the spray if I close my eyes... but this is Hampstead not Goa or Puri. The Heath beckons - time for picnics and hampers, for walks and wanderings. Talking of which we wandered back from Cricklewood last night after a hearty dinner at our favourite Ethiopean restaurant - Abyssinia. You always forget how close things are actually are, when you get used to trains, cabs and buses. Although the 30 minute walk in the middle of the night was completely up hill, it did help settle a rather elaborate dinner! The injira is undoubtedly the greatest invention since sliced bread. Although of course, it probably pre-dates it.

Summer is also the time for visitors, and Sara, with a smile like the sunshine and Karuna enjoyed bookended mornings lazing in the nothingness of a free hour and basking in the comfort of friendships that can be taken for granted.

Another old friend we went to see was musicman Mark Knopfler, with Emmylou harris, in concert. The concert itself was great, though not brilliant. Emmylou Harris was a revelation - to me - and Jon Allen, who opened the show had a couple of memorable songs. But of course we yearned for Dire Straits and got our kicks out of Romeo & Juliet, So Far Way and the final encore, done as an accoustic duet - Why Worry. Although it was a typical Fathers Day concert (you know, the ones which are advertised as the "perfect gift for fathers day") and we were among the youngest there.

Its now Sunday morning, and the World Cup is underway. A month of collective breath-holding and agonizing, exhilerating, rabid following and climactic denoument. The beautiful game always has a winner. In a month it will be all done and dusted and we'll all have some thing to look back upon, with relish, remorse or rancour, but it will be over and decisive. Wouldn't it be nice if all things in life could be structured to be so emotionally drenching, so intense and yet so structured and so eventually conclusive? There's a thought for you!

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