Sunday, February 08, 2009

Like a blessing come from Heaven ...

"... for something like a second / I was healed / and my heart was at ease." An epiphany? The menu proudly states that the steaks are made “specially in our modern Electric Griller” (said menu having been largely unchanged in form or content for the last 45 years). The fish meuniere melts in the mouth at the precise moment one reads that line, the two stimulii catalysing a smile that must surely fit the popular concept of “beatific”. So I knelt there at the delta / at the alpha, at the omega / I knelt there like one who believes.

Suddenly, all the niggling irritations dwindle. The parts of the world that were out of focus fit together with a discreet click (imagine a Rolls Royce door shutting. Imagine, furthermore, that the man shutting it is Reginald Jeeves).The brow, suddenly realising that Life is Not Half Bad, that in fact it would be not entirely incorrect to claim that Life is (taking it by and large, seeing it unalloyed and seeing it whole) Quite a Good Thing, becomes rapidly unfurrowed. The wolf at the door and the ghoul on the shoulder slink away to pack their bags and consult their Bradshaws.

Good my ladies and gentles, for some months now I have been sore beset by life in general and by one Nazgul in particular. I have been foolish enough to let aforesaid Nazgul and his Dire Machinations prey upon my mind. But I have now triumphed over my woes (and foe) in much the same way that Truman won over his critics, to wit, by outliving them (outliving professionally, that is). It may be premature to say that I shall now step high, wide and plentiful, but my general outlook is now far closer to that of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis ( the Earl of Twistleton to the adoring populace Uncle Fred to his favourites) than to that of Marvin the Paranoid Android. My hat is quite distinctly cocked on the back of my head and I would, if I could, Scatter Largesse to the Multitude. Right. Time to cast the eye (now more measuring than beady) over what the world has been doing while we were not around to console it.


Roger certainly needs consolation. Poor mutt, he cried when he lost. Not Done, in my book, but I can see how Rafael Nadal-Parera can have that effect. Poetic justice in a way. FedEx now knows how Andrew Stephen Roddick must have felt for all those years when only one man stood between him and the title of best tennis player on Planet Earth. The sad part is that despite Nadal’s incredible athleticism and accuracy under pressure, Federer didn’t lose on the court. He lost in the mind. This was most evident at the French Open last year. It happened again in the fifth set at Melbourne. Federer cried out of frustration, not disappointment. Sweet Kerrist on a fibreglass kerrutch, how many times does one have to beat this man before he admits he’s beat? The problem is that Rafa never accepts that he’s beat. Not for a single point, dammit, not for a single shot. In the second set, he ran past his backhand corner to retrieve a Federer forehand that would have been a winner against any other tennis player in the world. Then he ran back to his forehand AND RETURNED the put-away from Federer. Fed had to play a third shot to win that point. That sums it up. Ole, Rafa!


In other news, I have narrowly escaped death or at least dismemberment by the simple expedient of never having been to Mangalore. I’m normally peace-loving, discreet and prudent to the point of cowardice. One thing that really irritates me, however, is women being hassled. If this gets to the point where they are physically assaulted, this mouse will roar. Fat lot of good that would do anybody, of course. I’m not the kind of chap who looks good wearing his undies outside (spandex) pants, so if I reacted in that kind of situation, all I’d achieve would be my own rapid spifflication. Still and all … I sadly fear that if Mangalorisation becomes a widespread phenomenon, Pureed Babu might be on the menu of some not-too-finicky canine. (I’d like to think I could take a couple of them down with me, but life rarely follows my story-lines)

(Update: apparently Mangalorisation happened today in Gangotri Bar in Madiwala, Bombay. The sweet smell of progress. Maybe in a few decades we’ll even grow to like it.)

(Data point: There’s a blog purportedly by Dr. V.S. Acharya, Home Minister of the State of Karnataka in the Union of India. This is the gentleman who reportedly said that the parents of the girls attacked should have been more careful. We could all express our regard and appreciation on his blog, but I fear his innate modesty might cause him to "moderate" our comments)


Some Indian bloggers have their knickers in a twist over a legal action that didn’t happen. (Does that make it a legal inaction or an illegal action?) Quite pointless, like a number of televised debates. So you think the TV channels shouldn’t have shown the security operations during the Bombay attacks? What were the security bosses doing, then? As I see it, with the possible exception of the NSG, EVERYbody - and this, let's face it, includes most of US - had their heads up their rectums to some extent (perhaps because the shit had hit the fan?) I think we all agree that some of our elected representatives were well past their own (presumably, respective) colons and may even have crossed their oesophagii. It’s not fair to single out Du-h Dutt for special criticism.

When all the channels were culpable to some extent, why do so many people love to hate Ms. Duh-tt? (When I last checked, there was no Facebook group titled “Can u please get Rajdeep Sardesai / Arnab Goswami / Srinivasan Iyer off air?”) Could it be because she was the only Managing Editor who rushed to the spot, planted herself in front of the camera and shoved her mike in the most places? Do they not realise that she leads from the front and cannot allow her juniors to go to dangerous places (like In Front of Guns or In Front of the Camera)? Could it be that, despite her acumen and her objectivity and her succinct analysis (“As you can see, there’s a person in white at that window on the 9th floor” – would we ever have worked that out for ourselves?), despite her (gasp!) Padma Shri, there are some Indian television viewers who just don’t like her? Strange concept that, well-nigh unbelievable, of course EVERYbody loves her, but perhaps it’s worth investigating, psychos are everywhere, they could even be dangerous, one might be well-advised to get gag orders against them, it’s all in the interests of a free press and we know how much we need THAT.

One school of thought holds that the central character is more about the gag reflex than about gagging free speech, but what do I know. In any case, how many people in this country READ blogs anyway, let alone any single specific blog? You think it would make an iota of difference if ALL of us spewed venom about her? Get a life! What I can’t figure out is why she bothered. She should be serene in her superiority, knowing that her Padma Shri places her in the exalted company of Hans Raj Hans, Sania Mirza and of course Pa’s Favourite Girl.


Rimi said...

Stomping "fundamentalists", how we adore them. Re. the Reason Why The Dutt is Reviled, though, I think you're missing a vital point. Bring yourself online, Uncle J, and we shall Discuss This Further.

Gamesmaster G9 said...

Now, now. Don't you know that REAL men cry? Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of Roger's book (seeing how we are unable to emulate him in any other respect).

Anonymous said...

Why attribute a statement to a person, when he has not made it?
Criminal commies!

bongopondit said...

"their bags and consult their Bradshaws"

Bradshaws !!! Wondering if are they still in existence ? This is the second time in the last 3 days I came across a reference to them: Qas watching the old mini-series of Around the World in 80 days (still to be-Bond and ex-Python man donning the main roles), the book features prominently in some scenes.

Jabberwock said...

Respectfully beg to differ with tennis analysis, good sire. This idea of Federer losing his battles to Nadal purely in the mind rather than on the court is a greatly overstated one. Of course, there is more than a grain of truth in it - it probably applies to the fifth set of the AO - but it doesn't take into account how difficult the Nadal match-up is for Roger (outstanding defensive skills, powerful left-handed forehand with top-spin directed at a one-hand backhand). And it implies that the only thing Roger needs to do to beat Rafa is to get his "mind" together. Somewhat patronising, that.

The Roddick analogy isn't too apt either: Roger has only lost to Rafa in GS finals, while Roddick, even at his peak, was perfectly capable of losing to any number of hot-streak players other than Roger. (Besides, he's never been in the overall class of player as these two - not even close.) But I won't quibble much about that!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Rimi, consider it discussed.

Ani, what would an old sod like me know about Real Men anyway?

Anon, perplexity happens. Would you care to elucidate?

Pondit Moshai, the REAL home of the Bradshaw is 221b Baker Street. Where I have seen the edition for 1902.


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Tzoy Orzoon, saar, your comment requires an exclusive response.

I would not claim that Fed loses ONLY in the mind.
Nadal's game has already reached a sublime level of power and accuracy that can take him past just about anybody. When you add his (sometimes underestimated) tennis brain and above all his incredible physicality, you have a potentially unbeatable combination.

What I meant was, Fed can only create a contest if his mind is strong enough. He's the only man right now (unless Verdasco maintains that level) who can pose a realistic challenge to Rafa, but ONLY IF his mind is strong enough to carry him through 5 hellish sets.

I agree with the point you make about Roddick's relative superiority, or lack thereof, back in 2002-03.


Gamesmaster G9 said...

Don't you think you're dismissing Andy Murray too easily. Now, THAT boy has a great brain.

Jabberwock said...

He's the only man right now (unless Verdasco maintains that level) who can pose a realistic challenge to Rafa...

JAP: despite being a huge Rafa fan, I disagree with this bit. Even if Rafa continues to be the clear number 1 this year, I don't see him ever reaching the levels of domination that Roger did in 2005-2006 (i.e., win-loss records like 82-4 and 92-5 for a calendar year): there will always be other hot-streak players who can beat him - especially on hard-court - on a given day, in a given tournament. The same way it was for Sampras or for any other "normal" number 1 player from before the days when Roger raised the bar to stratospheric heights.

Back in 2006, Roger had a surreal 92-1 record against all other players on the circuit, but lost 4 out of 5 times to Rafa. This didn't make Rafa the better player for the year, because his overall record against the other guys was much inferior to Roger's.

To reiterate my earlier point, tennis is all about match-ups and Roger's game doesn't match up too well against Rafa's. So while Federer may be a superior player overall to someone like Djokovic, in my mind Djokovic will always have a better chance of beating Nadal on a given day.

Sorry for rambling like this!

What's In A Name ? said...

You are spot-on when you say that bloggers hardly can make any difference in a country like ours. But this provides us with a free-ranting space where we can at least point out/highlight/satirize/criticize all that's "so wrong" with US, and sometimes share with fellow cyberites the little joys of life like music,films,books etc.
We only hope that the Muthaliks and the Thackerays don't join their forces to gag us good, at least on blogosphere.

km said...


Thomas Friedman, your next book just called.

eve's lungs said...

Wow - even Duh- dutt can see thru your act JAP .

ys said...

Whew... so happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel switched on again - yet to read the post!!

ys said...

Yey! See this :) in relation to Indian women being bothered and how blogs mean to help! (hna, that means I was too tempted to postpone reading the post :P)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

WIAN, while on the topic of gagging, you forgot Duh Duh(tt).

KM, could I claim a royalty?

Eve's Lungs, what act would that be?

ys, slow down, take a deep breath. Good. NOW, what did you want to say?


Lazyani said...

Good to see you back sir:)

Though I feel that your point about Roger is bang on, I would ,however, wait till the Wimbledon, last years' result not withstanding, before drawing a final line on the discussion.

ys said...

:) Accepting that I am unable to make sense to you, I will only read this blog from now on and keep the comments to myself! Saves efforts on both sides.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Well, that was quite a chandelier of lights at the end of the tunnel.

Being a major Federer-fan, the crying bit was a mirror of my emotions as well. Nadal gets a grudging doff-of-the-hat for his undeniable tenacity and cannot-be-denied-anymore-talent. But maybe Federer's greatness can be qualified: "the best ever, but never against the Spaniard"?

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

LazyAni, SS, I agree the jury's still out. And will remain so till the man retires. Meantime, Jabberwock pointed out that Murray beat Nadal in Rotterdam.

ys, nothing personal, just that "nasty" is my default mode.