Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Bond With Green!

Even the fabled Stoics of 3rd century B.C would not have able to uncouth this emotion, this joy, this unmatched fanatism. Nothing unites Koshur nation more, than a Pakistan victory in cricket. And do I dare ask, why? The answers are easy and in millions. Born in a family where cricket was treated as a religion, I grew up to the stories of Zaheer Abbas and Asif Iqbals. Every event in Pakistan's diminutive history had a narrative, either through my Grandfather or my father. From last ball six, '87 test series, the '82 Imran Khan heroics, Zaheer Abbas's decimation of B Bedi, Majid Khan's tearing a leather ball to Fazal Mehmood's dapper looks; the whole enchilada was discussed over and over again. Jinnah was our leader, the saviour.

One very funny incident from my fathers childhood my grandfather used to narrate often. It so happened that in early 60s my grandfather had an official trip to a border post somewhere near Akhnoor. Father was accompanying him. My grandfather with his officials and some armymen were surveying the area. Father gave a slip to them, when they were in some deep discussion or may be just brutally tired in the Akhnoor heat. The barbed fence which separates the two estranged neighbors laid nearby. My father slipped his slender hands through the jumbling wires and a grabbed a piece of soil, from across the border. We still have it with us, preserved.

During the '71 war, my father and his friend would stand atop the terrace in Jammu and shout slogans with Green flags waiving, when a Pakistan Jet flew by- unmindful of the wrath from the other hindu neighbors. The emotions over grow us, often!

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's famous speech in UN general assembly was played often on my
fathers favorite Phillips recorder. It gave me goose bumps, it still manages to do so!

The love and affection for Pakistan comes naturally to us, we are fed upon it. Our stories
are entwined with it- and the Stoics wouldn't know, why!!

Driving Miss Daisy.

Just finished with 'Driving Miss Daisy'. Well its not tough for me to like this movie. Set in 50s- the era of erudite Cadillacs and warm palatial curtains, this movie has wonderfully entwined narratives. The cinematography was high class. I felt little difficulty in understanding the strong southern accent, but Morgan Freeman as 'Hoke' more than made up with his expressive eyes- he literally talks through them. Miss Daisy played her part with great elegance and flair as well. What really impressed me about this movie was that though the moot point of the movie is quite sentimental at one hand, the racial prejudice prevailing back then, yet the movie is not overtly serious. It has its share of nice happy moments. The director deserves accolades their, for keeping the perfect stasis. As for the human emotion, for me it was the scene where she sits on her brown oak curule chair- after her first brush of dementia. Hoke asks her if she could see through his eyes, and in a moment of quiet, sublime finesse she holds his hands and says, " Hoke, you're my best friend." The whole scene is beautifully done .

Friday, March 16, 2012

Who qualifies to be called 'Great'

Who qualifies to be called 'Great'? a term often used disproportionately. On a day when a truly remarkable sporting feat was accomplished; the post is not pointing to Sachin. He is a Great. Period!
I may or may not like him, for various reasons (I would still pay to watch Yuvraj Singh rather than Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar), but that aside and not an antecedent to this discourse. The question asked... here is - Is being Great, a relative term. As Einstein once was asked, how would you define relativity.

- "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity!"

Should we necessarily measure greatness with teams success- in a team sport! I will quote an example. Pardon me for using a sport other than cricket as an anomaly, for I just want to make my point. Does Roberto Baggio (who made pony-tail a rage in early 90s) become a lesser great for his teams failure in '94 football WC and does Brazil's success in '02 WC procreate Ronaldo a true great. Though if seen Baggio's football in '94 for its sheer joy was way ahead to what Ronaldo produced 8 years later! I think Ronaldo produced his best football at world stage in '98- the convulsion did him but in the finals. Why I'm alluding to this is because its very rare to find a great player in a great team/side. It happened with Viv Richards in late 70s and 80s, it most certainly happened with Sir Don Bradman with his invincibles of 40s. But the combination is very rare.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dilip Kumar.

"The earliest memories of Dilip Kumar that I've go way back to my early childhood. Brought up in a family where movies were discussed at every field day; over nun chai and early supper of winters, Dilip Kumar was regarded a legend by everyone; to the point that on any mention or blink of Dilip Kumar, my father and my uncle would scream at us to stay quiet- such was the awe and respect. My grandfather was more a Raj Kapoor fan. Which I understand now, why! Raj Kapoor was a showman of impeccable stature; his vision of cinema was a head trip; doozy and full of fantasy. Dilip Kumar on the contrary was a method actor- which he brought into his movies as well. As is widely believed, Dilip Kumar ghost directed many of his movies. I wouldn't disagree with that rumor entirely. Though its very difficult to pick his best work but if you put a gun to my head and say name one, my choice would be Aadmi.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Wind Will Carry Us.

A highly evocative piece written by David Walsh in Toronto Film festival for Abbas Kiarostami's, The Wind Will Carry Us.

Here is the poem written by Forough Farrokhzād, Irans most famous 20th century poetess.

In my night, so brief, alas
The wind is about to meet the leaves.
My night so brief is filled with devastating anguish
Hark! Do you hear the whisper of the shadows?
This happiness feels foreign to me.
I am accustomed to despair.
Hark! Do you hear the whisper of the shadows?
There, in the night, something is happening
The moon is red and anxious.
And, clinging to this roof
That could collapse at any moment,
The clouds, like a crowd of mourning women,
Await the birth of the rain.
One second, and then nothing.
Behind this window,
The night trembles
And the earth stops spinning.
Behind this window, a stranger
Worries about me and you.
You in your greenery,
Lay your hands – those burning memories –
On my loving hands.
And entrust your lips, replete with life’s warmth,
To the touch of my loving lips
The wind will carry us!
The wind will carry us!

                                            Omar Khayyam's poem-

They tell me the other world is as beautiful as a houri from heaven!
Yet I say that the juice of the vine is better.
Prefer the present to those fine promises.
Even a drum sounds melodious from afar.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rahul Dravid- Tribute on his adieu

"The curtains finally draw upon 'The Wall'- arguably India's most reliable number three, right  across its cricketing history. Rahul Dravid carved out of a niche for himself amidst slightly more gifted contemporaries- a Sachin or a Laxman or even a Ganguly. Though Rahul Dravid may not have had an array of shots as these gifted men had, yet its to the credit of this south Bangalorean that he calls his day with such fabulous record.

I remember his first test century at The Wanderers in Jan '97 against a menacing Proteas attack. India had been annihilated at Kingsmead by Donald and co. However on a soggy and murky Johanesburg first day, Dravid unleashed some of the most attractive pull shots  I've ever seen played against Donald and Pollock. And then who can forget his back to the walls epic knock  in '01 against an all conquering Steve Waugh's Australian XI at Eden Gardens. His rearguard action with VVS that day is etched forever in the folklores of Indian cricket. There were so many instances when due credit wasn't given to this shy Bangalorean, but like a true sportsman he always got about his job with no controversies. Perhaps history will remember him as one of the last very few gentleman to have adorned the Indian blues. I've never seen Rahul Dravid swearing on anyone. As his other great contempo Sachin said, no tribute is enough for this legend.
9 march 14:45

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Color Of Paradise, Rang-e-khoda.

The beauty of this movie 'Color Of Paradise' lies in its simplistic demeanor. The world through its lead character- a blind child. He is filled with compassion and has unlimited abilities to reach out to the world around him. This is where writer director Majid Majidi's cinematic brilliancy comes into play. His ability to let the audience experience both the visually impaired and visually unimpaired worlds without ever abandoning one for the other is simply remarkable. We can see and feel both, the beauties of the boy's surroundings, and his own world where touching and hearing replaces seeing.

There were three powerful scenes in the movie that left a lasting  impression on me. 

The first is when the blind child's grandmother tells her son that it is he, for whom she is worried, and not her grandson. In a metaphorical trope, she tries to elucidate her son on unconditional love. The mysticism involved in the scene and the spiritual air to her words draw huge appreciation.

The second scene that evoked emotives in a rare outpouring of elemental understanding, was when the boy explains to his carpenter teacher, of how he doesn't understand why he was born as blind by God; for how he reaches out for HIM everywhere till the day HIS hands touch Him and tell Him everything, even all the secrets of his heart. It's hard to hold onto your tears, and not for once did I stop them. 

The third is the last scene of the movie- where the light of God touches the boys hand, thought to be dead by his wailing father. That one powerful invoking shot rendered me speechless, and I drowned myself in deep contemplation of this marvelous movie for hours together. Majid Majidi is a genius!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Best ODI innings:

As many cricket pundits argued that Kohli's 133 the other day was the greatest ODI innings ever played, hence I will list up my own greatest ODI knock. Well there are quite a number of great knocks and it is difficult to just name one or two. However if I've to choose one innings my choice would be Inzimam's 60 off 37 odd balls against NZ in the '92 World Cup semi-final. And the reasons are simple. The stage was big, the stakes were high and odds were heavily against the young Inzy.

On that sunny Auckland day, Inzamam played like a assailant: like a bushwhacker - and the capacity crowd at Eden Park could only applaud in awe. I remember when Inzy walked in, Pakistan's asking rate was ever climbing- like a monster over a porcupine, thanks to a quaint 40 odd by Imran Khan: he took a million balls. A certain commentator behind the mike said, 'it's almost impossible'. However greatness defies all calculations, it defies all cliches; for it carves its own way. Inzaman disdainfuly smashed the Kiwi dibbly dobblers around every corner, around every nook. Balls dissappeared into the stands. Some of the shots he played off his legs were unbelievable. Inzamam's good luck was that Javed Miandad was at the other day. The wily fox had been through many such crunch situations. I remember Javed walking upto Inzy every now and then, coaxing and encouraging. Some days are unforgettable, some moments inerasable, some cricketing knocks deific.The Gods were with Inzy that day- I'm certain about it.