Just enjoyed a delightful tea session at home ( walnut-cream-mango cake, courtesy the delicious Ria), with a beautiful and spunky writer named Madhuri Banerjee. Her virgin book is titled, " Losing my virginity and other dumb ideas." More about the book after I read it tonight. It is selling very well.... but it desrves to sell even better. Madhuri took three months to write this one. She's already on to her second one. And she's doing a special book for me as well. All this frenzied writing between looking after her three-year-old (an iPad addict! At 3!!!). Madhuri resembles a Raja Ravi Varma painting - which is what I'd told her when we first met.She's bright, fun and very clever. I have suggested a 'Virgins Only' Facebook Club to her - what do you think? Any takers??
This appeared in Bombay times today...
Thank God it’s over….!
What’s the bet I don’t have to specify “what’s over” and that everybody reading the heading will know what exactly I’m referring to.For dummies who haven’t got it – it’s the IPL. Call it the law of diminishing returns, but something vital was missing this year. And that something was addiction. Any sport that does not generate passion (“If I don’t watch this match, I’ll die!”), has failed in its main objective, which is to hook loyal fans. And hook them so bad, they are willing to put their lives, wives, husbands, kids, food… even loo breaks , on hold so as not to miss a micro second of the action. The last time cricket generated such frenzy in India was during the World Cup Finals. It has been downhill since then. There was zero hysteria during the IPL Finals. At least in Mumbai ( perhaps because the home town team had crashed out). But that shouldn’t matter all that much to lovers of the game. Well, right after the win, I was at the International airport to collect my daughter. The TV screens were flashing cricket news and showing clips of the awards’ ceremony. Most people were indifferent, asking one another in an idle way, “So, boss… who won?” and not waiting for an answer. Even recent controversies ( Gambhir’s injuries and more) did not light any fires. As to which B-Team will piously play test cricket for the country ( heck! We all know those guys are compromise candidates and sure as hell would rather play for big bucks than Bharat Desh, given the chance), the mighty Board needs to wake up and smell the coffee. To what extent can you flog a game and its star players without fatigue ( physical and psychological ) setting in? If it’s only about the money, more’s the reason to stop and assess the excess-factor which is killing the game. Even those energetic, skimpily -clad Cheerleaders have lost their novelty. Nobody ogles them any longer. Commentators in badly tailored kurtas tried hard to pump up adrenaline levels this year by cutting cheesy jokes and making the format more interactive via Twitter. But ‘illey’, nothing worked to break through the apathy of viewers. Empty stands told their own story. Give us ( and those over- worked cricketers) a break, guys… you’ll be doing cricket a huge favour! Let’s get the mojo back into the Gentleman’s Game before cricket itself dies.
Ah… the airport scene. Have you noticed one recent phenomenon? The number of wheel chair passengers seems to have gone up dramatically in the last couple of years. Does that mean more invalids are traveling abroad these days? Naah! I have watched perfectly sturdy people demanding the service… and getting it! No, they aren’t senior citizens with any visible health issues. On board, their mobility levels are just fine. And the minute they get out of the terminal building, they forget their ailments and jump out of the wheelchair enthusiastically to greet relatives. So, how come they need assistance only during the long walk from the aircraft to the exit? Airport authorities need to put in a couple of new processes to filter lazy bounders from genuine patients. It certainly looks as if the system is being taken advantage of by people who simply don’t wish to exert themselves! If they are well enough to undertake a hectic tour of Europe without collapsing, they are well enough to walk out on their own like everybody else.Standing outside the terminal, I felt I was at the Olympics for physically challenged people going by the procession of wheelchairs emerging from the exit. Sorry… this is not an insensitive remark. Try queuing up behind a long line of such types during peak hours at immigration counters and tell me you don’t feel like dragging out a few of those privileged, perfectly fit people from their wheelchairs and saying, “Walk the Talk!” Or, stay home.
Poor Bips may have been unfairly targeted by Customs’ officials, even though she disarmed her tormentors, by giving them a big thumbs up later for doing their job well. But we still need to get our perspectives right. If high- end jewelry attracts a stiff penalty, are designer handbags and shoes less expensive? Most of the Customs’ guys are exceedingly well- informed and brand savvy. They know their Gucci from a Pucci. Perhaps Bips bought her goodies at throwaway prices during a heavily discounted distress sale? Or they were luscious gifts from a besotted admirer??? Lucky girl…. she waltzed away after paying a measly 12k. Ooohhhh – the power of dimples and curves!