Month: June 2011

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka

A short account of my impressions about Tejas will come as soon as I get an idea of what it does, which might take very long. So right now I will be writing a review of this book I read about somewhere as a must read for cricket fans. That time I was not that much into cricket (read pre-World Cup time). How a hardcore cricket person like me lost touch with the gentleman’s game is another story altogether. Then recently during the holidays, I heard about a person called Sidin Vadukat writing for Cricinfo. That entire afternoon I split my sides laughing at the masterpieces that he had composed and considering that it was a day I was feeling low, I owe him for cheering me up. He also praised this same book and being indebted to him, I felt that I should buy this book. So I did and just now finished reading it.

Somebody has described this book as “A crazy ambidextrous delight” and it is spot on. A crazy story is exactly how I would describe it. It is a fascinating insight(?) into the world of a cricket team that I loath with all my heart, Sri Lanka. And if you remember that 54 run bowled out or Mendis running through the entire team or the semifinal of 96 or the scary sight of a small target appearing daunting at the prospect of facing Murali, then so should you. “Gamesmanship” “sportsman-spirit” bull-shit aside, it is hurting to see the team that you love lose. As someone said, “Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser”.

Alright I am drifting from the topic so back to it. As I said it is about Sri Lanka in general, more about Sri Lankan cricet and especially about a quest to find the greatest spinner in history. No this is not about some talent-hunting reality show, it is about a search for a bowler whom the narrator believes is the greatest spinner to grace cricket, a genius who could do things with the ball that the supposed greats could only dream of. This genius was capable of bowling some of the most exotic deliveries like the Double Bounce ball (which spun twice) and that too with either hands. He was also capable of perfectly mimicking the bowling actions of anyone. Many of the greatest achievements of Sri Lanka seemed to have started from him, most notably the Great Lankan Opening Batsman’s utter disregard for technique and still becoming one of the greatest players in their history and undoubtedly cricket history. He is also attributed to have introduced sledging to the otherwise meek Sri Lankans.

The aforementioned narrator is a severe alcoholic and is dying and wants this quest to find this bowler of mythical proportions to be his last contribution to the literary world. He is a part of a dysfunctional family with a son who ran away to become a rock star and brothers with whom he is not on good terms. His only allies are his neighbour who is a statistician The story follows the search in a rambling manner with diversions and detours but without losing the grip on the plot. There are several anecdotes about players, and as it has to happen the great Turbaned Indian Commentator does pop up. The book has a very good ending where I really got confused about what was fact and what was fiction. On the whole a very enjoyable book where you are introduced to some really nice characters whom you get to like even with their quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Unputdownable? Maybe not. Must read? Hmm, if you are a fan of cricket, then yes. Enjoy this rollercoaster account of the enigma that is Sri Lankan cricket.


What??? Next week???


…and behold, out of the blue, The Call comes.

I was calmly sleeping my holidays out when suddenly I was woken by someone saying Tejas is calling. What Tejas, I ask. The company that will eventually employ you, replies the person and I finally realise that it is me mum who woke me. A short conversation later, I realised that I have been asked to drag my lazy self to Bengaluru or Bangaluru or whatever by 20th June. Ohk… but that is like only a week away. And though one of my friends seems to own IRCTC (I am looking at you Amar), even he will find it difficult to get tickets at such short notice. But then they tell me to fly there. And I agree. And the tickets are booked for 19th June. And Bam! I am leaving home.

So after all my drivel about the holidays stretching like for eternity, it has come to a rather quick end. As I write this, it is finally sinking in that I am less than a week away from flying away. And like the fledgling that flies away when it finds its wings, I am flying away too. After a fantastic 17 years at home and school and an unbelievable 4 years for the first time away from home, I am going in search of my life. The nest remains open for me and come back I will whenever I can.

 Come 19th and I am finally on the road. Not in the way we use it in Malayalam! But more nicely:). This is a nice time to borrow from a master. As He said so will I:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. 

Hope my journey on it is as enjoyable as my journey leading up to it. My next post will most probably be as “R&D engineer at Tejas Networks”, so there!

Till we meet again…

And the days go on…

The mercury around these parts seems to not drop less than the 40 degree mark and I have therefore one more excuse not to venture out of the house :). The set-top from Sun has gone bust and therefore I am stuck with only a few channels, and however much I enjoy seeing ManU getting beaten, it is getting rather tiring. So I am stuck in front of the comp. But as my father has work to do on it, my time on it has been cut short to a 10 to 6 window. Thus I am now quite a pro on Hearts (thank god I never knew how addictive it can be while in college) and my virtual pro on FIFA has started getting all sorts of traits and attributes so that he may soon turn out to be a personification of his name – Damn Trikki 🙂 (Please excuse my indulgence :p).

With the actual football season over, the only things going on are the Euro qualifiers and the transfer window. Liverpool seem to have already spent 12 mil+Eggnogg on one 20 year old. Hope he turns out good and capable enough to knock Stevie off the team. All sorts of rumours regarding players are flying around and this being just my second window as a hardcore fan (earlier I was just a casual fan of L’Pool and did not pay much attention to other details), its rather exciting and I spend more time on the Offside and Kopblog than anywhere else. As every fan around the world is hoping, hope we get a good winger and a solid left back and then we are good to go to get back onto our perch 🙂 and back into Europe. Lets see what happens and of course in King Kenny we trust.

The days seemed to have been dragging along rather slowly but it has already been 2 weeks since I reached here. As I mentioned before, they have been a rather lethargic set of days but I am not complaining. I am expected to join Tejas Networks on July 11 and therefore have around one month left here. I had planned many things to do during these “last” holidays but so far nothing is working out. But again I am not complaining as I did not expect them to :). And the days go on in a pattern…

In Limbo

The past week has been one in which I have been unbelievably unproductive even by my own standards. Most of the days have been spent sleeping or playing FIFA and the most strenuous activity that I have been participating in is engaging in shouting matches with my sister. Usually I read books when I am free, but these days I am not even doing that. I began a book about Vedanta, maybe influenced by the Upanayanam ceremony I recently had but haven’t got ahead too much with that. I begin to do crosswords but stop after a point losing my patience. I drew a few pictures but got bored of that too. I tried making quiz questions, reading the newspaper, reading Wikipedia, reading the status updates on Facebook, reading the Buzz updates, searching for updates about Liverpool, listening to music and even attempted to learn to make Sambhar :). But none of these are helping me while my time. Except for the sambhar part, I used to do the others for the last 4 years and those 4 years passed even before I blinked my eye so why am I finding it so hard to do those things now?

I have by now mentioned most of my friends so many times that my family know about them very much. So the next time we meet, my family may ask Achumama about cars, Ubuntu about IRCTC, Shakku about the rates of soda and kadala, Gman about TI, Firdu about Karikku, Varma about desp kavithas, Mannan about his latest acquirements, BJ about animes, Jay about Synopsis, Ku about Bombay and on and on and on. Missing everyone a lot. Can’t wait to see you people.
So back I go to what I was trying to do, which is to not die of boredom and hostel-sickness 🙂