Sunday, January 26, 2014

Last year

I have been meaning to write for quite some time, but I never found the patience to find a subject.  Trivial happenings make for good discussion, and sometimes, the serious topics fizzle out.  And then I thought, I never think when writing a blog post.  It just happens.  In any case, the writing sucks.  So, I thought, at least, let me continue the habit of writing something and worry later about the wherewithals of submitting the post for a Booker or Pulitzer.

We saw a bunch of shows last year.  Newsroom was fantastic.  I liked the idealistic portrayal of the newsroom characters.  Aaron Sorkin brings the idealistic nerve in his characters to the fore with panache.  It makes for good viewing.  My wife tells me not to drool incessantly as soon as Olivia Munn comes on screen.  But then, she is awesome.  Yeah, even Olivia Munn is awesome.

Then, my wife queued up The Wire from the library.  When you get past the first few episodes, you begin to understand why President Obama loves the show, and why his favorite character is Omar.  The Wire is not about flamboyance, and the ending always fuels you into wondering why the makers didn't go for an alternate ending with better consequences.  As they say, reality bites.

Of course, the year belonged to the final season of Breaking Bad.  Generally, as you go deep into the new season of any series, it starts to fizzle out and you're almost begging for its end.  But, Breaking Bad breaks the myth of conventional story telling.  Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul are two amazing actors, and I just wonder why it took so long for Brian Cranston to pick up a Golden Globe.

Towards the end of the year, we started watching M.A.S.H, the series from the seventies.  The humor and word play associated with the show is like no other.  I am not sure if the popular sitcoms of today can rank anywhere close to the humor associated in M.A.S.H.

And as long as you have HBO, you can watch the random movies that pop up every now and then.  We watched Descendants yet again.  I think we would have watched it thrice(at least - because we watch it every time it's on TV) last year itself, apart from a couple of times the year before that.  George Clooney is an amazing actor.  The movie is set in Hawaii. There are subtle things in the movie that makes you bring the best from within yourself.  George Clooney's wife is in a coma after suffering a water accident.  The eldest daughter knows her mom has had an extra-marital affair.  She criticizes her in front of her younger sister.

So, her father quietens her with a quick retort.

"Alice, don't spoil your mom for Scotty."

Even though he knew his wife was having an affair, he didn't want to spoil the relationship between a mother and daughter.

My wife and I felt that was amazing.  It was subtle, yet the whole situation felt very profound.  It was beautiful.  He didn't want to influence the relationship in a negative way.

In the usual family circus, almost everybody is talking behind everybody's back.   Don't talk with him.  She did this.  He behaved rudely with me.  The blah, blah, blahs and nonsense are pounding constantly.

That felt like a big takeaway from the year.

As far as sports was concerned, Rafael Nadal had an amazing year.  He is certainly the greatest of all time.  Just the way he approaches the game, the amount of hard work, sincerity and dedication he puts into every single shot is a huge learning experience for people like us.  And on top of all that, he has always conducted himself with humility and grace.  French and US Open titles with a fantastic hard court season last year, after coming back from a long layoff; these things are possible only by Nadal.  If you substitute Rajinikanth playing the exact same shots like Nadal on a tennis court, people would have rubbished them as physics defying and impossible.  But, that's Nadal - mind blowing and defying all laws of physics on the tennis court.

And, Murray finally won the Wimbledon.  When Djokovic saved those three match points, I really thought Djokovic was on the verge of performing his Houdini act again.  But, not to be.

So, Sachin Tendulkar retired.  I wish he had done that right after the 2011 world cup.  I wish that hundredth hundred had not become an obsession.  All said and done, he is one of the greatest servants of Indian cricket.

It was great to see the Aussies win the Ashes against the English men 5 - 0.  What a whitewash!  England never had the aura to be called a great team.  The English team never had out-of-the-box thinkers.  It always felt like a team which was cramming everything, and then spitting them out on the day of the exam.  Totally bookish and boring team.

Anyway, the year is done and dusted.  I hope 2014 brings all the happiness, excitement and luck to all of us.  It's always fun looking forward and hoping for the best.

In Breaking Bad (Full Measure - Season Finale of the third season), Walter and Skyler White are house hunting and when Walter feels that his wife is apprehensive of their financial position in their choice of a good house, he says,

"We've got nowhere to go but up"

That quote best summarizes how I feel about 2014.