Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The return of Malgudi

The late nineties witnessed some great entertainers on the only television channel in India. Lifeline, Buniyaad, Fauji, Ramayana and the Mahabharata were some of the serials that culminated in high TRP ratings, thanks to enthusiastic and curious family members at home. The serials were successful since Doordarshan was the only mode of visual connection to the outside world available at that point of time. It is altogether a different matter that these teleserials were of very high quality with deep meanings and good moralistic values. There was a lot to gain from the small media and it served as an inspiring influence in the daily lives of the common man. As Mahaa..Bhaa..rat resounded in living rooms, the traffice in the outside world ceased to exist, what with everyone lying in the comforts of the living room to watch the effects of virtue over evil. It was quite a big event for everyone to see the mythological tales retold by grandparents over the years on the television. The barbers were perturbed by this sudden revolution, as in a short span of time after this, each of them procured television sets to get back their sunday customers.

If Ramayana and Mahabharata caught the attention of each and everyone, there came unannounced Malgudi Days, directed by Shankar Nag. The simple and effectively written short stories written by RK Narayan was essayed beautifully into teleserials spanning many episodes, maintaining the same feel as one gets after reading the book. The serial was shot at Agumbe, about 200 kms from Bangalore. It is easy to get carried away when one is directing such a serial, but Shankar Nag knew exactly what had to be done, and got all the basic elements of direction to absolute perfection, as episode after episode witnessed an enthralling mixture of high quality setting juxtaposed with brilliant acting and delightful sketching (courtesy: RK Laxman). Master Manjunath, as Swami, wearing the Khadi cap was the talk of the town for many many years later. Agumbe, with the small population, and urbanised rural village setting served as an ideal place to bring to life the countryside of Malgudi. The houses, the characters, the roads, the shops, the countryside, the post office, Albert Mission school, the playground, Memphi hills, Sarayu river and other such important landmarks were infused with life. These places served as a perfect backup to amply support RK Narayan's vision. It was the simplicity of the star cast along with the basic rusticity that caught on with the viewers. There was nothing of the sort of bigger-than-life image portrayed in the serial, the unnecessay gloss and sheen so much seen in today's serials was totally put away with. In fact when Shankar Nag approached RK Narayan with the idea, RK Narayan was not at all convinced with the idea and gave him the rights for only a few episodes. Later, after seeing some episodes, he voluntarily gave him the rights to recreate the settings on the small screen. The serials were discontinued after the sad demise of one of India's most upcoming directors, and together with it an end of an era in movie making.

It is more than 15 years since the last episode of Malgudi Days was made, and today after such a long span, I read articles that Kavitha Lankesh has taken this arduous task of continuing with Malgudi days. It is not an easy task to go ahead with the rich legacy left behind by Shankar Nag, but being a reputed director, definitely one can expect quite a lot from Kavitha Lankesh. It remains to be seen how well Malgudi can be recreated by her.

To stay in tune with the latest in Malgudi, visit here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

R K Narayan

I have always wanted to compose a writeup on people who have influenced my life, and with due respect to my parents and friends, I would like to start off with the most acclaimed Indian author of all time, RK Narayan, the man for whom simplicity meant everything.

RK Narayan has had a great influence in my life, thanks to my father, who imbibed in me the virtues of reading anything and everything. RK Narayan had this uncanny ability to observe people, and come up with stirring short stories that left an indelible mark on the minds of the readers. It is not easy to interweave plots and connect people through day to day situations. This is what makes RK Narayan get close to people. He would never juxtapose his writings with complex vocabulary and sentences. It was plain and easy going, as if two people are having a daily conversation. The "common man" found it easy to identify with the characters created by the great man. He brought Malgudi, a town created by him to the forefront of the literary world. It made people sit back and ask questions "Where is Malgudi? Is it represented on the world map?" Such was the powerful influence of his imaginary world that it could pull people to a gripping sense of reality. RK Narayan in all his interviews has always maintained Malgudi to be a universal town, though he did say that he was inspired by the two of the oldest residential areas in Bangalore - Malleswaram and Basavanagudi. Now, Memphi Hills, Sarayu River, Nallapa's Grove, Kabir Street, Lawley Extension and many other landmarks are permanently affixed in literature and more importantly, in people's minds.

The settings for his short stories are derived from simple characters and people who we come across in daily life. Two elders talking in the corner of the street, a coconut seller arguing with a customer and an old woman crossing the street would so easily be transformed into a short story, transporting the reader to realms of high quality literature and more importantly with a stirring message. As RK Narayan himself mentions, his inspiration for his stories came from observing people in his street in Mysore. His ideal day would be a walk for about a couple of hours where he would meet a multitude of people each having their share of news, that would bear a connotation that deemed fit for his short stories. He would not spend more than a couple of hours in a day with his writing. The rest as they say is history.

RK Narayan did not have a rosy entrance to the literary world. He sent his manuscript to many authors across the length and breadth of the country. His writings also found a seat on the table of Graham Greene, with whom RK Narayan shared a great relationship in the future. Graham Greene happened to read his book on a rainy day and was tremendously impressed by the simplicity of his writing. The book happened to be Swami and Friends, and again, the rest as they say is history. Swami and Friends is a delightful and entertaining story of a young boy named Swami, and his tryst with his friends Mani and Rajam, their fights and patch up, their emotional relationship and their common understandings and minor fissures. This book is a true replica of any school going boy's lifestyle. The final chapter of the book is truly enchanting and touching. His many other works similarly delve deeply into human relationship and its importance. People could associate an autobiographic style in his future works. It would be so easy to talk about his works, but I would save that for later.

RK Narayan throughout his life has been compared to many great authors, but to me he was a man who could understand and capture the essence of life from an Indian perspective in the most simple way. He is an inspiration for many young people and his writings have the ability to transcend all generations. His death(in the year 2001) has left an irreplaceable void in Indian literature, but his short stories and novels with its unique characters are truly immortal and will live in the hearts of the readers forever.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Religious Conversion

Innumerable controversies seem to hound the topic when it comes to conversion. Is it a state of mind or is it something more complex? I have often wondered and reflected upon the merits and de-merits of religious conversion. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions are beset with issues of conversion. It also creates a topic for further conversation with fellow friends and beings, when someone takes the step of conversion. The gossip mills work overtime to find the exact cause and reason for this step.

I have often wondered how knowledgible are we to judge a religion. Take the instance of a person who converts from Hinduism to Christianity. On what basis does this transformation take place? Has he gone through all the vedic scriptures? Has he mastered the Bhagavad Gita? Has he studied the Upanishads and the other sacred verses? On the other hand, how much of the Bible is he comfortable with? The obvious answer to all these questions would be a NO, for it is no joke to master all these sacred scriptures. What is not there in Hinduism that is there in Christianity or for that matter, what is not there in Christianity that is present in Hinduism? Every religion talks of morality and righteousness. Why then the man-made difference?

The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalitha had banned religious conversions by force. But, of course, she had to withdraw the Bill after her loss in the Assembly elections. Why do "learned" people have to lure others through monetary benefits forcing them to embrace their religion? Will it serve their cause? It is frivolous to see people fighting over the pros and cons in the name of religion. Politicians obviously have a reason to fight over such things considering the vote-bank politics they have to deal with. After all, a politician lives and breathes politics.

Today, we see these issues surfacing in many places. There are certain places where you don't expect to hear such issues. But sadly, even the holy pilgrimage centers of Tirupathi and Tirumala are not spared when it comes to religion and politics.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Train Journey

The downpour was making life difficult for the people at the Bangalore railway station to find their way through the crowded platforms. The station was immersed with people clustered at all points. The reservation counter bore a resemblance of a first day first show movie, with people clamouring frantically for tickets. Every platform had its share of a sizeable population waiting for some train or the other. It was all the more difficult for the station master to find platform ticket violators. On ordinary days, he used to catch about two hundred people not buying the platform tickets, but on a day like this, if he could get even half that number, he could consider himself to be lucky. He was sweating profusely and the beads of perspiration from his forehead fell on the tickets as he examined each one of them. The hawkers and vendors were having a rough time too, as in this confusion, the last thing on the minds of the people was to eat. The Higginbothams stall was like any other day crowded with avid book readers. Novels, comics, fiction, thriller and other books lined up the shelves tempting the travellers to spend some time at the stall. Even young children took this opportunity to buy books that would enable them to read during the journey, and some of them for the sole purpose of earning a good name from fellow passengers. As usual, the badam milk counter had only two or three takers, and he was in no hurry to make business, as he gossiped with fellow vendors. The porters were having a busy day carrying luggages from one platform to another, and from one end to the other, and of course, busy having arguments with the amount of money they had to receive. There was also a sizeable crowd standing in front of the numerous Television sets, and watching some moving objects on the screen with an undying spirit and effort, the reason which none could fathom.

Sekar had no intention of returning to Madras after a fantastic long weekend in Bangalore. But he had no choice as he had to get back to work the next day. As with software companies, he had a release scheduled in the next couple of weeks, and certainly did not look forward for the coming days. He was sure that he had only one destination during this time, and that was his air-conditioned nauseating cubicle that could easily turn off any human being in the world. He would have to explain a hundred things to his project manager of why something was working in the way it was not expected to be, and then supporting his findings with ridiculous justifications. But as of now, he had to worry about getting back to Madras hale and hearty, which seemed more difficult than working on his project. He had half a mind to get back home and come by the evening train, but he knew things would be worse then. So, half-heartedly he stood in the queue, if one had to call it that way, and waited for his turn to penetrate the narrow gap between the shutters guarded by a solitary ticket checker, to enter the platform. As he stood wondering, Ramu, his brother came from behind and patted him on the back, then giving him a bottle of water. He hadn't packed lunch as he was already stuffed from the afternoon meal, though his mother had insisted vehemently.

"Anna, thank God you had booked the tickets. How I wish we could book the platform tickets online! What a crowd", gasped Ramu. "Why don't you go home? I can take care of myself. Go and study for the exams!", said Sekar. Sekar meanwhile reflected inside the futility of exams and marks but dared not make such statements in front of his brother. He knew that any of those statements, and Ramu would take this opportunity to shift the blame entirely on his brother if he messed up the exam. "What are you thinking?", shouted Ramu. "Nothing. Come, let's get in", said Sekar. Both of them had to shout at the top of their voices to sound above the incomprehensible voice blaring from the loudspeaker, the incessant chatter of people, small children wailing and the hawkers and vendors shouting. They finally got into the first platform, and after about half an hour of running around, climbing up stairs, walking through narrow pathways, and more importantly finding the space among a sea of people to walk their way through, they ended up in the designated platform, waiting for the Brindavan Express. Sekar in the meanwhile, had checked up his pocket atleast fifty times to make sure that his wallet was embedded in his pocket safely. What with pickpocketeers hovering, it was never safe to take things easy.

The train arrived at the platform at almost the right time. It was supposed to halt in the station for the next half an hour. Sekar had arrived much before the time of departure anticipating the crowd at the station. He always hated the end of the holiday season. It was fun to be involved while preparing for the holidays, but as the holidays dwindled to progess into a working day, life became horrible and monotonous. That was exactly what Sekar was going through right now. The crowd, the station, the train and every other thing seemed irritating to him. He had half a mind to take to a secluded spot and get away from prying eyes. He finally found his compartment and took the seat near the window. Though it may sound childish, he always prefered the window seat to get a whiff of fresh air. Ramu lingered on for some more time before Sekar told him to proceed home and get back to studies. "Take care of appa and amma", said Sekar. Ramu nodded nonchalantly and proceeded to the subway to fight his way back through the crowd.

As Sekar sat in his seat, he wondered who his fellow passengers would be. There were two seats beside him and three in front of him. From experience, he expected the seats to be filled with one or two bachelors and a family of four, which invariably comprised of some old people. He wondered why families with young girls never travelled in trains or buses. He heaved a desperate sigh and took out his favourite RK Narayan book Swamy and Friends to read it yet again. He was never bored to read it time and again, and always felt that the simplicity of the great author can be matched by none. He noticed some people getting into the train. There was an old couple finding their way in the compartment. He was sure that they were going to sit next to him. He was very surprised when they sat in a row four rows ahead of him. But experience had made him a good teacher, and he prided on this fact as two bachelors came and sat next to him. The train gradually filled with all the seats taken, except for the three seats in front of him. He expected that to get filled by a family of three at the next station. The train was about to depart in a couple of minutes and he thanked the rain Gods. It is very difficult to approach the station when it is raining, but once inside the train, nothing can be more fun than rain outside.

The train approached the next station, and he did not care to observe who was seated in front of him, as he sat engrossed in the novel. He could still not withhold from not seeing who was in front of him and slowly looked up from the novel expecting to see a family of three. How perfect the guess was, except that the third member of the family was a beautiful young girl of maybe his age group. Suddenly, to Sekar, continuing with Swamy and Friends seemed to be a boring proposition. He tossed the book aside and appeared to be staring at the window. He stole a brief glance at the girl. She was wearing a blue churidhar, with a lighter shade of the color adorning the dupatta. She had a pleasant countenance with flowing hair and her eyes had a dancer's fit. A slim gold necklace fitted her neck to a nicety. She removed her sandals from her feet, placed it under the seat, and sat with her legs folded, looking outside the window. He had half a mind to start a conversation. He looked at her and a "Hi" almost slipped out of his mouth, when the ticket collector interrupted with a gruff voice, "Tickets please". Everyone took out their tickets and the ticket collector made a brief check. Sekar strained his neck just enough to see her name on the rolls. Aarti-Female-22 clearly caught his eyes. Nice name, he thought. He decided that he would introduce himself to her as soon as the ticket collector left the scene.

"Hi! Good its raining today!", resounded the bachelor sitting next to Sekar, looking at Aarti. "Yeah, else it would have been miserable sitting here", voiced back Aarti.
"By the way, my name is Anup", said the bachelor.
"I am Aarti".

Wow, What a way to start a conversation, wondered Sekar and was kicking himself for not taking the initiative earlier. Every guy in the world is a different self as soon as he sees a girl, and if it is a beautiful girl, chances that he can change himself completely is all the more high. Now, how could he butt in when these two are talking.

"Are you from Madras or Bangalore?", asked Anup.
"Oh! I had come here for the holidays. I have been in Madras right from birth."
"Madras is a nice place. I really like it", said Anup.

Obviously, wondered Sekar. Why won't he like Madras now? Where was all the humidity and stickiness in Madras?

"Are you working?", asked Anup.
"Yeah. I am working for a software firm", replied Aarti.
"Oh! Me too".

Sekar wondered why Anup acted as if that was the most important coincidence in the world. Every year hundreds of thousands of people are getting employed in every other software company that it gets surprising only if two people do not come from the software industry. Such conversation between the two went on for some time, and Sekar had to bear this chatter. In the midst of the conversation, a railway vendor carrying coffee came upto them. Immediately, Sekar pulled out a five rupee note and helped himself with a coffee. Anup offered to buy coffee for Aarti, and Sekar felt like a fool in front of her. He decided that nothing was going the way he wanted it to go and so he returned back to the book. He couldn't read a word in the book, and his mind was constantly being drifted to the conversation between the two. Suddenly, Aarti looked towards Sekar, flashed a beautiful smile and said, "Can I have that book if you don't mind?" "Oh! Sure, not a problem", said Sekar. "Thank God, alteast I spoke to her".

Things were quiet as they neared the station. Anup and Aarti exchanged their email address. Aarti, once again flashed that smile of hers and gave the book to Sekar with a "Thanks". Sekar took it with a smile that was hidden. All of them got down the train, and headed in different ways. Sekar walked to the bus stop, and as he stood waiting for the bus, opened the book. Inside, on the first page, was scribbled a ten-digit mobile number, along with an email address and a message "Call me up!".

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Beggar

He smacked his lips at the sight of the bisi-bisi bondas piled up on the huge plate with a curvature that was perfect for storing these items. Vadas, bondas, bajjis, boondi and other extravagant oily stuff filled the shop. Everyday, Ramu sold about 500 rupees of the crispy and oily stuff in the four hours of his business. He came at 5 in the evening and left at 9, but by that time he made sure that he did not have to dispose off any left overs, for such a situation never arose. The beggar turned in to the store everyday and he got his share of some bondas and bajjis, and as with such items, he was never contented with his share of the booty. He always stuck around after he got his share hoping that Ramu was gripped with an overwhelming sense of generousity to part with more items.

The oil sizzlers were generally distributed based on who wanted to eat where. The question to the customer was normal - illa parcela? (Here or parcel), which meant whether he wanted to taste his ware in the shop or wanted to take it back home. Some people might wonder at the difference. If the customer wanted to eat it in the shop, it would save him the burden of wrapping the whole thing with an additional polythene cover. Packing it was cumbersome in the sense there had to be separate covers for the main items and the green chilly chutney. The extra spice to these bondas and bajjis always came from the green chutney. Ramu was very clear in his rules. A customer could demand as much green chutney as he wants for a bonda or bajji. He was linient in serving them with an additional spoon or so to spice up the main dish. The price for these commodities rose at a consistent rate depending on the inflation. How he determined inflation and its effects could never be fathomed. His customers had no choice but to pay up the extra price in procuring his specialities. He did not care for arguments and his staunch attitude always won his cause in getting the extra money. The rates were not adjusted to suit the nature of visitors. Be it Kappan, who was a mason in the nearby building or Rajan, who came to the shop in a car, or the young boys in the neigbourhood who came after an evening of cricket or football, the price was always the same. He would not budge from his position until they parted with the last paisa. In spite of all that, he always shared a special rapport with a set of people. He would never do anything to hurt their sentiments, but of course, he had a special knack of dealing with such people. He would make sure that they felt he gave that extra importance to them, but at the same made sure he did not lose any money in the bargain. According to him, relationship and money were like a rupee note and a coin. Both of them can never come together. He took chances with neither.

The beggar watched the proceedings from across the street. He waited from morning for his share, and the wait was accompanied by heavy grumbling and growling, the proportionality of which were determined by hunger and anger. Hunger because he had to answer his stomach, and anger because he could never control the proceedings. Whatever little money he got from the visits of rich merchants to the Shiva temple was lost in his quest for wine bottles. Thankfully, he had no wife and children to bear the brunt of his anger. He was a lone man sailing in a rudderless ship without any sense of direction living life in its present and without any worries for the future. Some passerby children threw stones at him, but so many undetermined years of life had left him with a thick skin and the stones hardly scarred his already scarred body. He cared less for the past and all the more less for the future. He somehow survived on the temple prasadam daily in the afternoon, some snack in the form of Ramu's generosity, coffee from Ramaiyya's tea gaadi and an evening dinner spread in drunkenness. His morning began when the sun was almost at the highest point, and when the temple was ready with the afternoon lunch. His devotion to Shiva was not bound by a sense of spirituality and religion but Shiva had an impact on his life through the daily temple offerings. He was contented to lead life this way and never once felt compelled to change his daily routine even marginally. It helped him keep track of Maha Shivarathri and Pradosham through the temple priest and these days were beset with extra items from the temple.

The beggar was a familiar entity in the locality and there were people in the neighbourhood who were kind enough to give him their old clothes, some left over food from functions at home, and sometimes moved by his disarray were willing to give him special items too. He had no special liking for anything, and accepted anything and everything with a sense of gratitude. There were people who tried to help him out in the past, but because of his drinking habits, he always messed up the opportunities. Rumours had it that he lost a lot of money in his business, and due to some strange reason was disowned by his family in the north. He later travelled south and tried to settle here, but could never rise up from his penury. Nobody knows how much truth was there in these statements, but people loved to believe something which was dramatic than that was something plain. He never cared to explain the truth. Nobody had seen him speak in years. He was a muted spectator to the vagaries of life. He was happy to be in a trance and he felt that it was this trance that has carried him through all these years. Nobody knew whether to pity him or feel angry at him.

Today, he had an overpowering desire to have a second helping of bajjis and bondas. He came near the shop more than a couple of times. He did not know how to ask Ramu for more of his stuff. He was never accustomed to it in life and this was something new. Ramu was busy with his customers and did not bother to notice the hesitating approach of the beggar. He was tempted to put his hand on one of the delicacies and run away from the place forever. But, his conscience did not permit him to cheat a man who had given him his daily evening snack for the last many years. He also had no heart to leave the temple and surroundings, and was cross at himself for not being able to control his temptations. He went back to his abode. Abode definitely was not heavenly, what with a blanket and a stick supported by some basic utensils and clothes. He could so easily have wandered to some other place. He knew his rantings were going to take him nowhere. He waited for divine intervention. Then, he saw a rich man entering the temple. He was hoping for evening alms that would help him procure a feast at Ramu's shop. He was ready to forego his drinks for the night. After about half an hour, he came out of the temple, walked past him and got on to his car. He knew that his luck had deserted him, when a hand suddenly popped up and placed on his plate five rupees. The merchant had seen him from the car, and with a sense of recognition, came and placed the money on his plate. The beggar's happiness knew no bounds and the smile that filled his face filled the merchant with a pang in his heart. He was deeply moved and cursed the fate that was bestowed on such lesser mortals. The beggar immediately got up from his seat and ran towards Ramu's shop to buy what he had been wanting to taste for the last couple of hours.

The merchant, meanwhile pondered well throughout the night with a sense of uneasiness. He walked back next day to the temple, and he saw a crowd lined up at the intersection. He broke through the crowd, and his eyes swelled up in tears as he could not understand this reunion.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


It is not uncommon to generalize certain things when they follow a pattern. When things tend to fall on expected lines, there is no point in raising our eyebrows. So, what is the general criteria of generalizing? Where is it that we can draw a line and say confidently that such and such a thing strikes a certain cord? There are certain things that can be determined easily from experience, and others from careful reasoning. Each of them should have a reasonable logic in justifying your conclusion.

Consider the example of our cricket team in the late nineties. The Indian team could never win its matches when Sachin Tendulkar was stiffled. It was a one man army breathing life into the team. The victories and defeats were by and large determined by the way he played the game. It was easy for us to generalize Indians cannot win without Sachin Tendulkar.

Consider a movie in which Shahrukh Khan is the actor and the Johar/Chopra family member directs the movie. Most of them were romantic flicks with 'absorbing' storylines. That prompted us to say Shahrukh Khan is Rahul in a Johar/Chopra movie.

They are just examples and it does not require a doctorate degree for us to say that all politicians are the same. Their main motto is to indulge in votebank politics through outrageous schemes that helps only their cause. There are many factors that can be attributed before we generalize and arrive at a conclusion. Of course, generalization can have its own exceptions. There can definitely be no denying the fact that though All X are generalized to be Y, there can be some X that are Z.

As my friend and I were discussing in the library, and as we pondered over different issues, he delivered a punchline Maga, the bottomline is this: Never marry a girl who has done her Masters in the United States. I was immediate to retort back Come On, you can't say that. What do you say about so and so? He was quick with the reply All Generalizations have exceptions. We closed the topic and my friend had the last laugh!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Self-Inflicting my Namesake

As I started reading through Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, I had this strange feeling come over me time and again. All that I had in mind about the American dream was clearly defined in the book and weighed by its pros and cons. It is a stirring write-up on chasing the American dream that can wake you from your slumber. Life throws us a lot of challenges, both simple and complicated, and it is upto us to rise and perform, take decisions that can be sometimes satisfying, and sometimes disturbing, and walk through it as if you were never affected by it. It is not an easy thing to do. It is never easy to answer your heart as the questions surface and resurfaces time and again.

The Namesake is a deeply moving, touching and stirring (though I feel like using another hundred adjectives to describe it) novel about an Indian couple who are staying in the United States. It deals with their lifestyle, their urge to be with their family members that gets suppressed, their endurance and tolerance to the new identity that is created there, and at the same time to retain the Indianness within them is deftly handled in the book. They have to live with mails and phone calls to connect back home. All the good news and bad news pours through the phone. They beget a son Gogol alias Nikhil, and his tryst with the Indo-American image leaves him thoroughly confused. He is not attached to his Indian roots and he loves anything and everything that is American. Even during his annual visits to Calcutta, he compares the diverse lifestyle in India with a clearly defined one in America.

This story is not about which culture is better, nor about highlighting the pros and cons of each of them. It is a story of what an Indian family undergoes in a foreign land. It is about their emotional surges, their inability to do anything when it comes to a problem back home and all other issues that really makes us cringe in fear. It is difficult to maintain a tough composure while reading this book and it is easy to put yourself in their shoes if you are staying abroad.

The book really makes you think what you want in the long run, and whether anything is worth sacrificing at the cost of your country. It is not easy to embrace something that you are not comfortable with, and The Namesake explores the dark interiors of this unimaginable reality. This book takes you to your roots and it is upto to hold on to it tightly! To sum it up, The Namesake delivers.

Twists and Turns

There are few games that can match the excitement of football. This world cup has certainly been fascinating and brilliant. The top teams qualified to the second stage, and the quarter-finals had some interesting contests and now the semi-finals awaits. It is also fun to make predictions at the start of the tournament and see how the saga unfolds. The quarter-finals lineup was lip smacking. Look at the play-offs

Germany v/s Argentina
England v/s Portugal
Italy v/s Ukraine
France v/s Brazil

The first and the last match had all the ingredients of being touted as the Final, but nevertheless each of them ended up much before the finals. It was interesting to predict who would win each of the battles. Atleast as far as I was concerned, I thought Germany, Portugal, Italy and Brazil would battle it out in the next stage. I was good for three matches, but Brazil gave me a disappointing result. Who would have expected Brazil to be so sloppy on the field? It was distressing and disturbing, with all the top guns being a pale shadow of their normal selves. Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were clearly marked by the French defense. France, to their credit played amazing attacking football. Zinedine Zidane proved why he is one of the best in the world, with his skillful dribbles and unimaginable passes to the forward. Even against Spain, he came up with perfect execution of flawless exhibition. Talking of the finals, I expected it to be a Brazil v/s Germany match, but with the ouster of the world champions, I would redefine my prediction to France v/s Germany. Who knows, next week may present with a totally different final, and what with Italy playing brilliantly and Portugal supported by a superb coach. Only time will tell about my yet another prediction. Till then let us drool over the dribbles!