Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi - Random opinion...

..that doesn't matter in the big scheme of things.

It had been a while that I had gone for a malayalam movie. Mostly because of the difficulties in moving one's own lazy ass to take the effort. Plus I am feeling awesomely bleh most of these days for most part of the day. Perfect state of mind.

Ok, so first things first. The name - Just so lyrical.
Bullets - Two gorgeous ones at that. Do I need to say more.
Posters - kickass.
There are some, no, many stunning visuals through out the movie, and so credits to Mr. Gireesh Gangadharan. But I also think that it isn't so totally unexpected, firstly because Sameer Thahir himself was an accomplished camera guy before he moved into direction and so he might have made sure of them, and then because it would have been criminal of the cinematographer if the visuals were any less beautiful, even after getting such an exciting canvas as a road movie in your hands that throws in a lot of possibilities.

Rex seemed the natural choice for composing the score for such a movie. I cannot think of anyone who would have done justice to that, among the current crop of Malayalam composers that is. And you know how thankful I am that Rex did a solo job and that they didn't think of roping in the Avial band as such for the music or anything? I mean, the tunes would have sounded awesome all the same, but all the songs would have suffered with Tony singing all of them.

I have an issue with the plot. It takes too many unnecessary detours and is too unconvincing. There are just too many loose ends. To start with, the firebrand left-wing idealistic leader for a college guy is a cliche. And in the plot, the sidekick character who seem to have no life of his own but to assist the hero, the curious murder of the Syam guy, that absurd incident with the lorry stalking Suni's bike and almost killing him, the militants wanting to kill Assi on the night Qasi reaches her home (seriously, they waited all that time to finish her off and couldnt have killed her already the moment she arrived?), this can go on. The whole romance side track which is the main reason for the skewed storyline, comes off as a forced attempt to make a reasoning for them riding that far. I mean, its like if the scriptwriter thought that the only objective that would justify that sort of an adventure would be the hero's intent to unite with his estranged love. No seriously, I felt it would have been much more enjoyable if they had done away with that completely, and instead focused on the great affair of the ride itself - the places, the ride, the hurdles, the people they meet, the lessons learnt.. but yes I have to admit this is like treading on the Motorcycle Diaries territories and that the movie would have become more of a documentary but at least it would have been honest.

With the above paragraph,  my intention was definitely not to pan the movie in its entirety or anything. I am the average minimally demanding viewer who overlooks a lot of incoherence and loopholes in the plot if the movie kind of hooks you to it. Like Ustad Hotel for example.  Its just that I believe this was a very interesting premise and offered many possibilities, for a movie. As far as my limited knowledge goes this is the first road movie made in Malayalam, and they had the opportunity to make a memorable film to start the genre with. On those fronts it disappointed me quite a bit.

All that being said, it gives a good hard poke to the wanderlust in you. Movie wins.

Dudhsagar Falls Trek, etc.

I’ve been meaning to put a lot of travelogues in here. I would start writing them in my mind after the journey is over, and in the best case, some scribbles would make way to my pocketbook, mostly on the way back on train (and this too mostly on Maveli Express, since most of my journeys originate from Mangalore) when you are really in the tired, content and retrospective mode, and invariably my laziness would always get the better of me to actually type in stuff.
So one of these weekends I was bit by the travel bug again, and we travelled in total about some random 1000 kilometres in three days. Documenting the whole journey in words is too much pain, especially so considering this constipated-for-words predicament that I am now perennially in, so I will recount the best part of it, which was our second day, the trek to Dudhsagar Waterfalls – partly because my travel mates had asked to do it, partly because I feel a first-hand account would be useful to people who are actually planning to visit the place (whatever be the odds that this actually comes up in a search result), and more importantly, to inspire people to experience it. The latter is too ambitious for an intention, and counts perhaps too much on how I can transfer the experience to words - I will come to this in the end.

Here is the wiki link, if you are into that sort of thing. Research, I mean.

Now, there are two main routes by which you can reach the falls from Madgaon. One is via Castle Rock, and the other one via Kulem.
The one via Castle Rock is the more popular one – Castle Rock is a small village located in Northern Karnataka, the part that shares its border with Goa. It is about 70 kms from Madgaon and I assume, 7.84 kms from Dudhsagar (DDS) Railway Station (this was the distance written at the Railway Station) - means around 9 kms from the actual falls. If my assumption about the distance is correct, this is the shorter of the two routes. You could reach Castle Rock with your own vehicle (not so sure about the buses plying between Castle Rock and Madgaon), either catch a train and alight at Dudhsagar Railway Station or choose to trek the distance to the falls by rail. There are trains plying on the route – again, not sure of them all, but you will need to make sure prior hand that it does stop at DDS. Alternatively you could make use of the many freight trains that travel in the route.

The alternate route is from Kulem Railway Station. Kulem is a small town, part of Goa, located around 40 kms from Madgaon, and around 11 kms from the falls. This is the less popular of the routes, perhaps because the distance to the falls is more or may be because that the freight trains from Kulem that pass via the falls don’t stop at DDS (since the track goes uphill). You could search for passenger trains that stop at DDS from Kulem, or rail trek the 12km to the falls.

We intended to take the shorter route, but mistook the Kulem route for the shorter one. And I swear we don’t regret it one bit, now that you think of it.
We started from Madgaon on a rainy Saturday morning, aided by google maps and navigation which I hold as inarguably Google’s second best contribution to mankind. Goa is majorly known for its beaches and churches, I felt it is much underrated as a monsoon destination, (when the North Goa literally shuts off), at least that was the impression I got based on my preconceptions as we travelled through the beautiful landscape, looking all the more beautiful when drenched in rain. 

Okay, perhaps those pictures dont justify my description of the beauty of the place but they were the ones I could manage from the backseat of a running Scorpio.

The road started getting narrower, the vegetation on either side of us more prominent and the number of people/houses on the way scantier as we neared Kulem. We finally reached a railway station which read Callem, and took it for our destination, assuming it to be a typo on Kulem, and would have started our trek from there (in which case we would have been dead from exhaustion by the time we reached the falls) but were saved by this lady who explained to us that both of these were two distinct places and that we still needed to go about 10 kms further in the direction of Vodlem in the board below to reach Kulem. The place names can be a bit confusing, because there were three places named Kulem, Callem, and Kalay in the vicinity of each other.
We finally reached Kulem, parked our vehicle, asked for directions and a couple of people appeared skeptic at our intention to rail trek the distance to the falls. “Chalkar Jayenge?!” One guy actually gave us pointers to bike to the falls for 600 bucks/person - They lead you to the base of the falls. All the people we interacted with during the journey firmly reiterated my belief in the observation I have made after all my journeys – the more farther you are from “civilization” and the hustle bustle of the towns, the deeper you go down into places, the more helpful and genuine the people are.

So, armed with a backpack consisting of food supplies (couple of packets of bread, and some biscuit packets) and around 4 litres of water, we headed out to the railway track to start the trek. We had a packet of salt and a bottle of an irritating-smelling deodorant as a precaution to leeches which we expected to find on the way. When we started the trek we found that the track passed right through a forest (part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park), and we weren’t really prepared to face random wild animals on the way, and even if we were to be, it was too late to retreat back then.

The route was beautiful – the monorail was flanked on both sides by pristine forest, and thankfully we encountered no wild animals on the way. It rained all the way through our trek, and we were all soaked to the skin within the first 10 minutes. The rain actually helped, since we never sweated even once, and walking on the tracks can get really weary after sometime – there was no other option but to keep to the track since except at some places there was no way on either side of the tracks to walk on. The heavy rains had created mini waterfalls out of small streams all along the way, so during most of the trek we were treated to the sound of falling water. There was also thankfully no fog along our way.
We were able to calculate the distance travelled and remaining thanks to the marker milestones that were placed by The Railways at every 200m. We occasionally encountered workers who were doing maintenance on the track, and I duly unleashed at all of them the only Kannada sentence that Multi (who had arguably picked up some basic Kannada during his PUC years at Bangalore) had helped me structure – “Dudhsagar illinde eshtu kilometre ithe?” Not that we needed to know the distance, since the markers were always there, but you know, just for the heck of it.
After a while on the way, and a couple of food breaks and rests later, we met with two guys who introduced themselves as forest officers, which we didn’t buy at first, but had to when they produced an official-looking ticket machine and gave us tickets for entering the forest. They turned out to be kind gentlemen and gave us directions. They showed us a muddy parallel road a little down below us to the left, which also led to the falls, they said, this was the motorable road that led to the base of the falls (probably the one which we would have taken if we had travelled by bike from Kulem). Travelling on the same with a car was impossible, they explained, since due to the rains the points at which you had to cross the river on the path had become a bit deep.

We continued along the trek, and came across our first of the five tunnels on the way. Contrary to what we had imagined, the tunnels had enough space for one to stand beside even if a train were to pass through them while one were inside it. This is not advisable though, because as we found out during our return, the noise level can be deafeningly high.
We passed more tunnels, and soon sighted what seemed to be like a small railway station of sorts - which means a couple of house-like structures and a board, that is. I had seen this one up while googling, and though google said the place name was Sonalem, the yellow board proclaimed “Sonalium”. Desperate, we knocked in and asked the only guy we could find there if there was any way we could get five teas? Negative, he said, and told us there was no way you could get tea anywhere in the near vicinity. We encountered a couple of batches of guys on their return journey, who were visibly dejected when we told them Kulem was at least 9 kms away.
We went further along, and were soon rewarded with the first glimpse of the falls. Yes, the much famed view with the bridge in the foreground, narrowly visible as a blue line in the mist - Majestic. The first of the many Masha Allah moments.  This is the best I could salvage with my phone camera during rain, and in any case, for that close yet detailed shot that one gets to see in the forward mails, you need to have an SLR cam or a decent point and shoot at the least.
The thought that our destination was just around the turn made us cover the last two kms in no time, and by this time we could see a lot of other people. We got through the last tunnel before the falls and there it was – a sight more spectacular than we all had imagined at all. The good monsoon had helped in no less proportion to embellish the grandeur of the falls. We all gaped at each other for a good minute, spell bound, before breaking into a war dance that would have made any aborigine proud.

The falls is multi-tiered, and the railway bridge stands across the strip of land on either side of the falls, directly facing the falls. The falls in the first tier, just near to the railway bridge, causes the water to hit, explodes into a million droplets and hits you as a travelling aerial wave that soaks you.
I cannot describe enough the feeling when you stand on the bridge, facing the falls, and trying hard to catch a glimpse of the falls in between the spraying of the water droplets. Arms spread sideways, eyes closed, I stood, humbled and let myself the moment sink in. The droplets hit me wave after wave drenching me all over again and again, and it was as though they washed out all  the thoughts inside you one after the other like from top of a stack, with a growing sense of content, and all that was left was the basic underneath sensation that I was alive. And you realize how fulfilling a feeling it is. You are alive, you are experiencing that moment, and that is enough to be thankful for.
I am sure many people felt the same as me, because the place seemed to bond people in a strange way. On top of the bridge every random stranger you met exchanged smiles with you; maybe euphoria does that to people. And so did all the passengers of the Amaravati Express which happened to pass through while we were on the bridge. 
We spent around half an hour on the bridge, and then retreated to this small establishment where they sold tea and some assorted snacks. Tea, finally! After some more time of gazing at the falls from the other side of the bridge, we decided it was time to leave. We waited near the tunnel for some time for any freight trains going in the direction of Kulem to pass through, but none came. A guy who looked like he belonged to the place told us there was a train at 4:30 PM to Kulem, and we walked in the direction of DDS Railway Station. There was a very big crowd already gathered on the railway station for boarding the Goa Express, which was the last train to Castle Rock. The Station Master told us there were no train going in the direction of Kulem at 4:30, and that though freight trains did ply between in the route, he would not be able to guarantee when and if one would come at all (since they doesn’t follow a time table), and that it would be good for us to board this last train and either
- Alight at Castle Rock and ride our own luck in trying to get a taxi and then go via road to Kulem (around 35 kms)
- Alight at Londa station, a fairly big town, about an hour’s journey on train, and then get a taxi to return to Kulem ( around 60 kms)

In short, we were very much screwed. The Goa Express had only a stop time of about 2 minutes at the station, and there were already a lot of people swarming around. Walking back all the way was an option, but we were too tired for it. Also, thick fog was settling in, the route would be pitch-dark, and we didn’t know what else expected us on the route during night. A worker at the station guaranteed us there would be freight trains plying in the direction of Kulem, and another passenger who was a local concurred. So when Goa Express did finally come at around 5:30 we were too confused and undecided to take the trouble to board the train amongst all the din.
The Goa Express left, and by some miracle scooped up everyone but us on the station, all within about two minutes or so. We were pretty much the only ones left at the station then, and dejectedly walked to the signal board just after DDS Station where we all sat, huddled inside one umbrella, waiting for the miracle train to appear, even considering spending the night there in the open at that sequestered place. After waiting for a long time, the signal turned green, and to our dismay a freight train passed again in the direction of Castle Rock. We snapped, and decided to walk back all the way, come what may. When we passed the DDS station again, we again saw the worker guy who advised us to wait, and he strongly advised us against crossing the forest at the time, and guaranteed that a train would come sooner or later. Confused again and now resigning ourselves to whatever that may come in the way, we waited at the railway station for about 15 minutes, when the station master suddenly came and announced that he was expecting a freight train in the direction of Kulem in another 5 minutes.
Elated, and with new found strength in our legs, we ran for our lives to the signal board again. And there it was, the light beam, and I can think of only less moments of being more overjoyed than then.  We waved frantically to the engine driver (who was about to stop at the station anyways), and when he stopped, out of sheer relief I wanted to go inside his cabin and hug him, er.., in a non-homosexual way, of course. Some guys already aboard the train advised us to wait for the guard’s cabin to arrive, where in there may be space for everyone to stand but we were in no position to wait, and we all climbed up the engine cabin, and stood in the narrow walking space to the cabin. It was about 7:30 PM, and our miracle train had finally arrived.
The train stopped for a good 5 minutes at the station, and then started moving very slowly, and this was another new experience to pin on to the day’s adventure. It was getting dark, and from the train I realized how stupid it would have been had we decided to walk the way back. The only light was the flickering of hundreds of fireflies from in between the trees. The train moved very slowly, and I wished it had arrived a bit earlier, so that we could have enjoyed the ride and would have had a better view in the daylight. We reached Kulem at around 8:30, and reached our room in Madgaon at 10.

Later the next day, on the way to Jog Falls, while we were relishing the previous day’s experience in the car, while opining about how to best describe the experience to a third person, Faji said what I believe is the best way to describe it, which is that “There is no way to describe it. The best you can say to someone is to pack your bags, go and experience it for yourself. Its worth it.
That is what I have to say too. It’s not just my handicap in expressing something completely to words, but I believe even the best documenter would advise you the same. Choose a monsoon time; take your backpack and go. Railtrek from Kulem, experience the falls, and if you are lucky, get stranded too on your way back.


One goal yesterday. AWWW YEAAA BABY!
May not happen again, so let me savor this.

We were one goal down, it was about time, everyone was tired (I was at about the point of impersonating a dog, lolling its tongue out and panting), the Pants Team were about to celebrate their first victory after back to back defeats, and it all happened too soon. There was some space, so I took a shot from the right side of the box, and it went in.

How does those players go all swagger and non chalant when they score a goal ? Some unknown force released bursts of energy in me and my celebration, now that I think of it was close to Gerrard's after his third goal vs Olympiakos. Yes, THAT goal.

It lasted only for 5 minutes, but whatta feeling.

Festival Notes.

Disclaimer : All the movie synopsis are reproduced verbatim from the Delegate Handbook.
I'm not going to elaborate on each movie because
1) I dont know how to ?
2) Too lazy for all that pain.
Anyways the description in the handbook, which I put in, is accurate and gives out the point.

La Pirogue (The Pirogue) - 2011
Moussa Toure

Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue. Like many of his Senagalese compatriots, he sometimes dreams of new horizons, where he can earn a better living for his family. When he is offered to lead one of the many pirogues that head towards Europe via the Canary Island, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing full-well the dangers that lie ahead. Leading a group of 30 men who don't all speak the same language, some of whom have never seen the sea, Baye Laye will confront many perils in order to reach the distant coasts of Europe. Handsomely shot in fairly conventional style by a mixed Senagalese and French crew, La Pirogue is a well-crafter melodrama in classic-issue movie mould.

I walked in to a full house crowd eagerly waiting for the Der Mull im Garten Eden (Polluting Paradise) at Kairali. There was not even an empty seat in sight, and it was too late to consider other options. The crowd started getting impatient at the delay in start, and the announcement that due to some technical glitches (What a cliche), instead of Polluting Paradise, the French movie La Pirogue would be shown was met with angry shouts from the crowd. I had to settle with the comfort that the steps could offer for my first experience in the festival.

I am baffled why the movie only has only a 6.9 yet in IMDB.

L'enfant d'en haut (Sister) - 2012
Ursula Meier

12-Year old Simon lives in the industrial valley below, with his jobless sister. Everyday, he takes the ski-lift to the opulent ski world above, stealing equipment from the rich tourists to resell to the local kids back down. As he partners with a crooked British seasonal worker, Simon loses his boundaries, which affects the relationship with his sister. Confronted with a truth they had both been escaping, Simon seeks refuge above.
The scene that has stuck with me, and in a way defines the movie - when Simon empties his pocket, lays all his earnings in front of his mother to let him sleep by her side that night.

500&5 - 2012
Raghu Jegannathan

A Rs 500 -note; five characters; their trysts with the currency bill.

My choice of movies to see was purely based on my instinct, because for most of the ones screened in the festival, unless they were really old or that of an acclaimed filmmaker, there weren't proper IMDB entries or ratings per se (not that IMDB rating is the yardstick of any movie, but the rating gives you a general idea) so all of my picks were left to my own instinct and luck. I went through the handbook they gave, read the premise, and decided to see it or not. This movie was an example of how much that strategy can backfire.
I'm not much at fault really. "A Rs 500 -note; five characters; their trysts with the currency bill." - It certainly sounds like a good premise to develop a story around. Prior to the film, the crew of the film was introduced, including the director and some of the cast, and the show was supposed to the global premiere of the movie. 
I should have read the signs. More than half of the seats were empty.
I couldn't sit through it. There were supposedly 5 subplots, the first of which, the one I managed to sit through, was well, ridiculous. Half of the people who had dared to attend left before the first subplot was completed, and I followed suit in between the second one. The acting was amateurish and bad, and nothing you expect from a film which is premiered in a film festival. Perhaps I am not in a well deserved position to judge the movie, since I didn't even sit through the whole thing. I appreciate the attempt though. Least I can do.
Perhaps I am being too harsh. Would you not curse the cook if they gave you one of the best two courses of meal you ever had, and gave you decayed dessert afterwards ?

So I went, to wash down the bitter taste, to the book fair, again and I think you know what happened next.
[The Football Men (Simon Kuper), El Diego: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Footballing Genius (Diego Armando Maradona) and മഞ്ഞവെയില്‍ മരണങ്ങള്‍ (Benyamin).]

A Vizsga (The Exam) - 2011
Péter Bergendy
The revolutionary push of autumn 1956 has been stifled and Hungary is enveloped in an atmosphere of fear. And so, Agent Jung, posing as a private teacher, has to undergo a test of loyalty administered by his superior and friend Marko. Living and working in an environment where the spies themselves are spied upon demands a fair amount of vigilance and an ability to make quick judgments, which contributes to the sustained tension and also the dynamics of an otherwise small-scale firm. This classic story of a tragic phase in Hungarian history fluctuates between a generic mix; a personal drama, and a documentary of period conditions. The latter is portrayed with an emphasis on secret police practices without ever overlooking the emotional dimensions. And as friends spy on each other, can relationships be maintained? Can normalcy be restored ever?

I had actually zeroed in on Kim Ki Duk's Piata to be seen in this slot, and thanks to IRCTC and their stupid reason for a website, I was held up and reached half an hour early to the screening at Sreekumar - which, on any other day, would have been enough for me to get a seat. What met me there was, the spectacle of a queue, which coiled all the way from Sreekumar to Thambanoor Bus Stand, and I am not even exaggerating, mind you. Might have something to do with it being Sunday afternoon, but I think it was because of Kim Ki Duk as well. I didn't know he was such a crowd favorite, though. I have seen only Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, and even though the movie contained too much symbolism for my understanding I had ended up liking it. But this was certainly unforeseen.
Waiting at the end of that queue was stupidity, and I returned back to Kairali. And I am happy that I did. Gripping movie.

On Connait La Chanson (Same Old Song) 1997
Alan Resnais

Odile is frustrated with her dull marriage to Claude. Camille, her sister is working for a doctorate for a doctorate in a mysterious subject and suffers from panic disorder. Their lives take a turn when three men enter the picture. Nicolas, an old flame of Odile, returns to Paris to buy an apartment for his family. Simon is a history-freak and romantic radio-playwright also falls in love with Camille, hiding the fact that he is an estate agent working for the unscrupulous. Marc, the boss of the agency also desires Camille.
Marking Resnais' triumphal return to mainstream French Cinema, this film deals with the typically -Resnisian themes of time, place and memory. Resnais adopts Dennis Potter's lip-synch to music device by weaving popular French songs from the past fifty years into dialogue, creating comical effect.

The first musical I might have seen. (Embarrassing, is it ? Well, I'm no movie buff.) The projection was only on a small portion of the screen. And that was a let down.

Infancia Clandestina (2011) - Clandestine Childhood
Benjamin Awila

Set in 1979 during Argentina's military dictatorship, Benjamin Avila's stylized, semi-autobiographical memoir follows the travails of a fifth-grader who is forced to live under an assumed identity in order to protect his resistance-fighter parents. At first, all seems to go well for Juan/Ernesto. He is enrolled in the local school and quickly makes new friends. But the precarious balance between undercover life and the everyday travails comes to the fore when he falls in love. In a series of vignettes, Avila weaves together the parallel lives of Juan and Ernesto, as a first kiss between young sweethearts is followed by underground meetings, and childish roughhousing gives way to bullet cartridges stashed in boxes of chocolate. As the family prepares for its confrontation with the forces of repression, Juan finds himself between the responsibility and the ordinary childhood he yearns for.

Powerful, powerful movie.

I remember wanting to write more on the experience, but did not I say I suffer from that verbal constipation ?

Here are some snaps. Some have been worked on to weird effects. They have been taken with an obscure camera, so..

Mobbed. Seen is KB Ganesh Kumar, Minister for Forests & Environment, Sports and Cinema and Idavela Babu, Vice-Chairman, KSFDC.

Pensive - Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Booze inspired speech.
"THIS, is the Open Forum, people"
More in-house entertainment.
The Movie Introduction.


The Weekend Rant...that's just one week late.

The less said about the game the better, for me. We shipped in like 6 or 7 goals, and I could be the reason for at least 2 or 3. If Jewel bhai had not come on and joined it could have easily been the double of that. He is a pro, and the kind of reassuring presence any team's defence would love to have. Someone like a Puyol.

So it finally seems to shape out that the position where I can play with the least number of blushes is defence, at last. Well, who'd have thought ? When I reached the ground there was this old chettan who was coaching a kid. He joined our team, and he put out a performance that defied his age. So after a while his advice to me was this : "Use the best of your abilities. Six pack clearly doesnt seem to be one. You've got long legs, lad. Use them". I didnt ask his name, but the chettan tried to give me lessons in going forward to support your nearest team mate who has the ball - be present in a free position to receive the ball to give him options.

The interview was, well, meh. I should be surprised if they call again. Anyways the guy was quite nice, and didn't make much of a mockery of my knowledge, or lack thereof. It was very discomfiting experience anways, to be honest. I didnt think I'd say this, but blatant lying is the hardest part. And the B.S we make up.
"How much do you rate yourself in WCS ? Java?"
If total honesty were a the part of interview agenda I'd have frankly said, "Dude do I sound like someone who suffer from excess self esteem?"

Another awkward part is when I don't know the answer, and I make random incoherent noises expecting him to smugly tell me the answer but he doesn't, and what does he do ? He devilishly waits for the "well.."'s "er...."s will grow up into the answer he expects.

The interview was scheduled for 3:30 and they called me at 5, (do I have a choice but to wait ?), so my Life of Pi plans had to be cancelled. Anyways I found that they were playing this German movie Wintertochter (Winter's Daughter), at the Goethe Zentrum. I made it just in time, and there were some odd 15 people gathered already at this comfiest tiny amphitheatre you can imagine. [Could spot some firangs too. Germans ? I dont know.] Which turned out to be very good, by the way. Rightfully has some 7/10 cumulative ratings on IMDB too. Nice.

Oh depressing game man. To lose to Swansea is one thing, but its the manner in which they lost that hurt more than the loss. There simply wasnt any intent from anyone, just some blokes passing the ball around aimlessly ("Oh I dont know man, you take it"). It hurt more than those times when the norm was that we'd be the better team on pitch and still the losers on the scoreline. I hate Mancs and United for all I know, but have you seen them when they are in a losing position in a match ? They dont give up. They give it their all. All that coming back from goal downs can be a fluke. Its just the mentality that's accepted there.
Going down without a fight like that - Not acceptable. I saw the game on TV, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for the people who actually pay that much money for season tickets (already one of the costliest in the league anyways) and see this.
No, I am not among the WengerOut brigade and dont think if I ever would be.  He genuinely loves this club, and I want him to succeed once again, to may be see can still stand tall against the Sheikhs and the crazy Russians. I want him to change though. Like you know, be a bit more flexible tactically ? Sell deadwood ? Spend some money on reinforcements wherever needed? Try to hold on to your best players ? Not play Gervinho ?
And then after the match what do I see ? Man U coming back twice to win, RvP scoring the winner. Meh.

I am at the Book Fair, finally. I told that part of my mind which still wanted to hold on to the "no-more-buying-until-finished-with-all-the-pending-ones" resolve that I'd just go, look around, and come back. The moment I stepped in, as RvP would have said, the little boy inside me shouted "Buy!". It was beautiful. I was like a 6 year old let to run riot in a chocolate shop. What do I pick ? Books, lakhs of them.

At the end of some lazily and well spent two hours, I ended up with a English Short Story Compilation, Anne Frank's Diary (Finally! Been planning to buy/read this for a long time now), മയ്യഴിപ്പുഴയുടെ തീരങ്ങളില്‍ (Mukundan) and a short story collection of Kesavadev.

There was a small makeshift stage near the fair, and a book release function was about to soon start. I saw this really beautiful lady who was running around. I asked the DC Books guys who was organizing it, and they told me  (after gaping at my ignorance of course) that she is a well renowned dubbing artist, named Bhagyalakshmi. The book was her autobiography, named "Swarabhedangal". Here's an article on the book, and a video of the function.

And here are a couple of snaps (the best my retarded phone camera could manage), since I am getting verbally challenged, by the day.

Srikumaran Thampi presents a copy of the book to Sibi Malayil. The lady in between is Bhagyalakshmi.

Balachandran Chullikkaadu delivers the Book Introduction address
 So long.

Weekend Rant.

I reached in time, to find out that no one else had. Lesson learnt : 6:45 AM means no less than 7:15 AM, as Vishnu himself tipped to me later. I waited in front of the RCC, helped by the coffee, not wanting to remember the times I came here last, which was some months back with blood donors for Shallal. Some of the scenes flashed by, filling the forms, the wait in front of the donation room, the hope in Alikutty Uncle's eyes,..

The ground, of red gravel, was muddy and swampy at parts due to the heavy downpour the previous night. Within half an hour everyone who had replied in affirmative to Vishnu's mail had reached, and we found some area sandwiched between two cricket matches to play on. A guy came and tried to issue threats if we were seen attempting to trample on the main cricket pitch, covered with a tarpaulin sheet, prepared for some game scheduled for the day.

Aswin was seen fuming at the team split, which left us again as the much weaker side. I mean, nobody really cares much for the result on a Saturday morning game, but such an imbalance in the sides' strength kills the game off as a healthy contest. Also their team had Govind, about whom I had only heard of till then, as the younger brother of the Infy Team Captain, Anandettan. We were playing with only a very small portion of the ground to ourselves, so the goalposts were only 6 footsteps wide. The game started, and I ran like a headless chicken in the middle for sometime, unsure as to what position to play in. I found it difficult to pick anyone upfront to pass on the occasions I had the ball too. (Reason to follow.) They had like three forwards almost lazily idling around our goalpost all the time, and most of the time the moment we lost possession in front, they countered swiftly and all the time it was a case of Viswa against two or three of their attackers. There was this guy whom I was seeing for the first time (ex-Infy ?). People dont care two hoots about offside rule in a muddy ground in an 8-per-team game, so he made a nest and chilled out near our box, feeding off the balls coming on to him. Pippo Insaghi would have been proud.

So after a while the guys who were playing on the side of the ground closer to the entrance had finished their game and we moved. By now Aswin stepped up, and asked me to play in defense along with Viswa. That helped, since I was running around puzzled. I chose to man mark Insaghi, along with other defensive duties. This went on for sometime, and to an incredible sense of victory, Insaghi grew frustrated and retreated to centre. It may not be that I was able to stop his supply, but I know for a fact most of the people gets irritated like hell when they are marked individually. At least I am. But hey why would anyone man mark me?

Viswa is the central defender in Infy team, and though he was clearly limited by some extra fat in his body, it was lesson for me to see that rather than frantically trying to clear the ball away from danger, he was actually using his clearances to feed players up front.

Ok that’s it. I’m feeling way too lazy to type all the details. And I am feeling lazy to remember all that.

Govind is an exceptional player. He simply eases past players, using both his feet well in controlling the ball. He doesnt exert himself much, as in he doesnt race around the pitch, but the technique makes up for it.

I think we ended the game evenly. Nobody really kept track of the score after some time. At the end of the game, Aswin came and told me I played with my eye on the ball all the time. Instead he told me to hold my head up and play so that I could spot teammates to pass to. And then his customary Iniesta impersonation :“Stop. Think. Pass

Tired. Drawn. Exhausted. I could even feel the chilled orange juice as it trickled down my gullet. An unbelievable sense of fulfillment filled up inside even when it started aching in muscles I didn’t know they existed in my body until then. That feeling you get at the end of giving something your all. Best bath ever, after that.

Really sad I couldn’t complete the play. I was totally charmed by it. It was the stage adaptation of Vayalar Rama Varma’s poem, “Kuchelan Kunjan Nair”. Should see more of theater. If anyone of the ninety six thousand followers of this blog knows any link where I can read the whole poem, let me know.

So much for the weekend rant.
Give me a hug, lethargy dear.