Thursday, September 20, 2007

Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka?

The blog alarm went off. I have been off blogs, both mine and others, for a while. As I sit down with my trusted cup of coffee at seven in the morning feverishly typing a few words to construct something other than poetry, some highlights come to mind worth sharing.


I am sure I must have mentioned this at some point in my blogging career, but back at Texas A&M, I had started, nurtured and grown a literary club called Literati to fill the void I felt having been actively involved in lit events including quizzing, back in India. For over two years, that became an important part of my life and others who were part of it remember it fondly till date. For the past four years, no such activity had taken place here. But a seed has been planted. We have started a small quizzing club here on Redmond campus which meets biweekly. As part of that effort, I conducted a cricket quiz yesterday. That pretty much explains my absence. Setting a quality quiz takes time, setting it while you are employed (my first such experience :-)) takes a lot more out of your daily schedule. However, it was all worth it in the end. The response was terrific and it was good to see others relative amounts of craziness for the game in others as well. Hopefully this endeavor will last long.

While my guitar urgently creeps?

I am good with percussion and a sense of rhythm. My tabla learning helps me with that. However, when it comes to such concepts as pitch and notes, I fall short. I can pick things by ear up to an extent, but that extent is limited. I have always wanted to do something unto that end. I wasn't keen on learning how to sing, so an instrument always felt like a good way to go. This best laid plan was waylaid for many years. Until now. My wife gifted me a guitar for my birthday, and my lessons start next week. That should be exciting. As a side note, I have always wondered why guitarists are considered cool, especially when you are in college. Poor old tabla players have no visibility if you can't match Zakir's flowing locks. I can't remember the admiration factor being high because one played the tabla instead of the guitar. So, I suppose I am on the coolness route now, about twelve years late.

Six-pack _______

There are two distinct categories of men: one who complete the above phrase with abs and the other with beer. More likely, the twain shall never meet. SRK has defected to the former group for his new movie release OSO (Om Shanti Om for the uninitiated). Which beats me: why would an actor known for his romantic roles work so hard to reinvent himself having crossed 40? The look is alright and I am sure he had to work on getting there, so perhaps he has earned himself the witty "re-introducing Shah Rukh Khan" caption that comes on the screen in the trailor of "Dard-E-Disco". Worth the crunch? You tell me!

Parth has left the building

After working almost four and a half years in a single little building, I have now moved to another newer, nicer place on campus. It is amazing how familiarity and attachment builds up even though it is your work place, not your home. In many ways, my old building was the focal point of the campus for me. All roads led in and out of that place and everything was relative to it. Now, the co-ordinates have shifted. I am on the fourth floor with a window office that overlooks a bridge over a freeway. It is a terrific view while I can watch pedestrians cross over, traffic weaving in and out of the freeway, and the rapidity of movement on the freeway itself. To top it all, even the sunsets are great to watch. The place is nice and bright and inviting. The only thing I miss is access to a table tennis table close by. I was meaning to put some photos up, but the resolution that the camera on my phone produces is pretty ordinary. The pictures I took did not show up so well.

20/20 vision?

The madness is underway with the 20/20 world cup. It is a new form of cricket and hence will always be interesting. Peppered with interesting events like Yuvraj's six sixes and the tie between India and Pakistan (what's with the ridiculous bowl-out to settle that? ), this will satisfy the slog-hungry viewer. Someone dispute this, but isn't the big hitting numbing after a while. I feel like someone is playing out the slogout game on cricinfo. Why not just get a bowling machine and ask it to pitch deliveries? Spare the bowlers. I don't think I am bought off, but I guess people's attention spans and ability to appreciate a good game of cricket have gone down anyway. So 20/20 is here to stay.


Vi said...

1) I used to play Literati on Yahoo Games obsessively (it's basically Scrabble). No time since entering college. :(

2) Guitar -- cool! I'd love to learn an instrument--any instrument--or have continued with my carnatic singing classes. I miss the influence it had on my life.

3) No comment; though I do like SRK

4) Invest in a camera -- it'll be well worth it!

5) Sports - definitely not my forte.

Seems like you've a busy life there - not blogging is excusable :)

Niranjan said...

Noticed a recurring theme of change in this post :-)

I did see the 6-6s by Yuvraj on 20/20 (on youtube). Not much of an avid cricket watcher, but 20/20 with the shorter attention span that it requires seems very interesting.

Thot the SRK pics were more of an exercise in graphics, or at least I'd like to believe they are.

Pallavi said...

wow thats a lovely gift from ur wife! but still u shudn't give up tabla altogether. I dont know how guitar became cooler..:(..tabla or percussion for that matter will remain undefeated..:)..

Parth said...

@Vi: I remember that Literati game. There was another one (not yahoo) where you had to form as many words from a given set of letters within a given time. I got addicted to it for a while. I am a SRK fan, have been for years. I was more interested in the thought process behind this. I didn't think it was necessary. As for the camera, I do have one (responsible for the multiple photography posts on my blog). Just that I didn't have it in office.

@Niranjan: Good catch. I didn't notice a theme existed :-) I think you hit the nail on the head for the 20/20 version. I need my cricket to be cerebral and challenging, so perhaps it doesn't appeal to me. The best part of the game are the subtleties.

@Pallavi: I am not giving up on the tabla. This is more an addition to my repertoire. Also, perhaps my comment about the coolness factor was a little harsh. I started a music group in Texas A&M which was a phenomenal experience. The only reason I was on it was because there weren't any other percussionists. So, I could make it in with my limited talent :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back...and can see why you've been depriving us all of the interesting posts - what with a new guitar and a cricket quiz..Sahiii!!:)

my husbands been trying to lure me to move into a condo much above the ground level, and the fear of heights is holding me back. after this cool window view u painted, I might just give it a try:D


RTD2 said...

I don't know whether to be happy for you or sad for you that you get to/need to see sunsets from your new office :) Maybe you can take your guitar and camera to the office and get a picture of you playing the guitar against the sunset at the window - that will add to the coolness factor :)

adheet said...

You're right that interest for 20/20 is on the rise. It's worth noting though is that the records are not official; scoring 50 in 12 balls is only worth bragging rights, it doesn't increase Yuvi's career strike rate. Bowlers capability isnt tested; Joginder can bowl 3 or 4 overs. Can he consistently bowl 10 good overs in an ODI?

Perhaps 20/20 is part of people needing "short and fast" versions of everything, without the basics or attention to detail. Reminds me of interview candidates who use strrev() when asked to reverse a string!

In the end though, entertainment value wins...and 20/20 has it. Who said cricket isn't entertainment? :)

frissko said...

cool...requires some energy to start a lit club, organize quizzes et al...(i too miss all the literary action that happened while at college, but i just stop at missing them:)...

totally agree with the still remains (my kid-cousin-sis talks abt her band's guitarist while the keyboard player is never mentioned!)...gud luck with your lessons...

and yea, i had virtually stopped following cricket and 20/20 has grabbed my attention, and i am sure i am not alone:)...

Anoc said...

welcome back into the realm of nightwalkers and limbodwellers. Your forays into real life are excused since you put up a nice post.

Twenty20 has been fascinating for me - now i can actually tell the difference between offspin and legspin. and coverdrive - or was that overdrive?

Parth said...

@Sparsh: I think the key element there is that one doesn't expect to have a view from an office (thanks to Dilbertization of the mind), so this was a welcome change. I'll certainly put up the pictures on some occassion.

@RTD2: The coolness factor might increase fractionally, but that isn't going to get me anything. On the contrary, if I start making those guitar sounds at work, my colleagues might be tempted to approach me with a baseball bat :-)

@Adheet: Your strrev() example had me laughing for a long time. I absolutely concur. In some odd way, the game has so little consistency required that a team like Australia can be defeated for once. That is because their opponents don't have to perform consistently for a very long time. Anyhow, let's see what happens on Monday. While I'd be happy if India wins, that will institute a different craze in India. BCCI officials must be rubbing their hands in glee at the potential pot of gold

@Frissko: Get back in man. Frankly, being a paritipant is so much easier. There are yahoogroups like quiznet that you can be a part of sitting in your living room. I do think that trying something like Literati requires time and commitment and effort, but that is not evenly distributed between organizers and participants. As an organizer, I am very keen that more people attempt what I am setting.

@Anoc: Thank you for the pardon. I am breathing easier now :-) I suppose you are the 20/20 target audience then. My love affair with cricket is going to come to a dramatic flashpoint soon as God (a.k.a. Tendulkar) comes close to his retirement date. It will be a tumultuous upheaval, and I ensure you some blog posts will bear the brunt of it.

Radha said...

lol @ "Poor old tabla players have no visibility if you can't match Zakir's flowing locks."

The 20-20 is turning out to be everything that the ODI world cup promised to be....with the Ind-Pak final and all. Well, people were cynical about ODIs when they were first introduced. Many thought the test matches are the only "real" version of the game. But then at the end of the day, whatever sells more advertising spots works!!

And thanks for the bollywood heads-up; I had not heard about Dard-E-Disco!! Must check it out !! :))

Parth said...

@Radha: I agree that what sells is what persists. I suppose I will still follow the format, but my first love still remains test cricket.

mystic rose said...

liked reading this medley very much.. :) Well planned quizzes are a lot of fun! I have done that, only a couple of times tho!

why do i have two blogs?
one is partly fiction(if you look at older psots, I have a lot of fiction in there, drama, suspense) , surfacial stuff, as indicated in the blog description, and the other is closer to my heart...

Lotus Reads said...

why would an actor known for his romantic roles work so hard to reinvent himself having crossed 40?

I think it has to do with the big "4-0". Many men (and women) have this urge to do something youthful around that time. I think it has to do with the fact that at 40 you start to realize that youth is no longer a friend of yours and by developing a six-pack or buying a Harley Davidson, you try and hang onto it (youth) for as long as you can.

Lotus Reads said...

Sorry, forgot to say, how cool about the guitar! Enjoy!

Parth said...

@Mystic Rose: Thanks for the clarification. It makes sense :-)

@Lotus Reads: I'll confirm your theory in about 11 years time with you :-) Hope the guitar experiment works out for me.

Abhishek Dhasmana said...

Now that I am in India and have access to all the channels about filmy gossips, here is scoop on what SRK had to say about his six-pack abs:

* His son thought he was "fat" .. he actually narrated a story where his son kicked someone in school for calling SRK fat but not an @$$hole...

* the other reason seems to be that he is playing a "film star" in OSO and he had to have abs to add realism to it (a la Aamir Khan)

# Guitar is goodness!

# 20-20 was boring initially but the last 4 matches did it for me ... though I still think we should not have too many of them in a year.

# 4th floor window office ... I am jealous ... enjoy the view!