Monday, May 22, 2006

Arsenal !!!! - Read if u wanna go ahead and ruin ur day

This is for the die hard football arsenal fan..and definitely not recommended for people who even remotely like barca. This piece is a pure let out for my frustration and agony..agony that began with that stinking victory for barca, a personal tragedy and a system for rewarding merit at work, that resembles a govt job more and more.
The setting was just perfect. Middle of the Week, middle of the month. and going by past record should have been able to get out of office by midnight. Hoping against hope i had gotten a brand new set-top box(which by the way managed to make me a cool 4000 bucks lighter) at home. and I did manage to surprise my mom by coming home at 10.00. all ready set and go..
There can only be one clear favourite..Arsenal. But i had nothing against barcelona..not until that fateful 18th minute. The game had begun in right earnest and things were looking good with a few thumping srikes on the barca post. The catalans were looking shabby and with the gunners blazing, my 4000 rupees seemed to be well spent. Eto'o was no where to be seen and neither was ronaldinho. little did i know what the wily eto'o was scheming for..a pass that bounced off as in a pin ball machine, etoo racing forward ...lehmann... and etoo dives, the ball slotted in by Guily.
A goal..quickly regaining composure what is a goal for arsenal a ball at the feet of henry???..but it was not meant to be imbecile for a referee and the goal is disallowed i rejoice a bit more..but what the ref does next, stunned the daylight out of the the commentator in his lovable Irish twang spat out "It is ruuubbish..this guuy doesnt know what e is doing".
The spectacle, that a hundred thousand fans at the stadium and millions worlwide had come to expect, was dead. Destiny didn't have even a decent fare well for Pires. and that set the tone for things to come. Barca, u expected us to turn over and play dead, aye???
The contest dragged on and never did arsenal show the lack of a man..after all Henry is like two. A few volleys later, a set piece and the gentlest of a goal from Sol campbell. the stadium was going bonkers, the "under dogs",the "david"..u can call them whatever were winning after all. again the commentator "they are voolnurable". yeah my friend u r right barca is vulnerable.
The first half seemed to be just another day in the park for the gunners, even a man down. The second half and status quid pro quo. The spaniards were looking edgy and the substitutions began. and somewhere down the line they managed to get it right with larssen who managed to induce A semblance of order into the catalan gameplay.
Minute 70. The fatigue began to show on the heroes of the day, but were not going down yet. The gut wrencing feel of the inevitable however was omnipotent though. the gunners fabled defence was now withering ever so slightly. Reminding me of the Old man and the sea. The catalan sharks were attacking in waves and it was not football anymore. But it all broke down one wretched moment, when etoo was on the right side of the ball and the linesman was sleeping. An offside goal which the "champions" celebrated. In the words of the commentator " there is a sense of injustice in the air". Arsenal had hope till then. But that pin prick through the heart brought it all down and the inevitable happened.
But in a way it all was for a little good. Henry stays back at arsenal, I no longer like barca or ronaldinho. and we won more fans than them. Hope!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

The last day!!!!

A hectic month in the office. Chennai scorching more than ever. Sleep deprivation. Nothing much to write home about. Amidst all this , somewhere down the line, i hit "Z" on my keyboard and it appeared in the browser adress box. Purely unintentional. And then something happened, a really trivial thing on a normal day,. but not today. the toolbar prompts http;\\
with work taking up my mind space and orkut taking up my freetime, my lil blog had slowly started gathering moss in some god forsaken place in some google server somewhere. I look back on the posts that i had written so sincerely and it all came flooding back. The Pondy trip and the way i had left it hanging in the balance. come to think of it, i really had a lot to write home about, but then anything new would require closure to the past and so here goes the final chapter in the Pondy saga.
I still remember clearly the glaring light that shone through the window, but me blinking in the bed wondering why i was still feeling cold. I gather myself and the chores pass of in a haze. the climb down to the reception quickly brings me back to my senses. We check out of the hotel and on our way ask for the restaurant, only to be shown to a hole in the wall behind the reception. Nevertheless, we settle down and ask for the menu. Everyone really hungry now. Time 10.00 - and i was thinking "so much for sunrises". We open the menu only to be greeted by illustrious names like "Black label", "Johny Walker" etc etc..NAh!!not the time ..not the place.
Out on the road, under the glaring sun, on empty stomach. we ride around for a while before stumbling upon a eatery. As the ad goes "Thodi si pet pooja..kahin bhi kabhi bhi". Breakfast done. i chart the route for the day. Nothing too demanding, a trip to the Chunnambar river on the cuddalore road. With me playing navigator, it is not long before we find out that we have overshot the resort by a good kilometer. Beating a quick retreat, we locate the resort.
And to say the truth, the first impression was not good. A shack made from concrete, a ticket counter for a boat ride and a boat that could seat 10 maybe?? now that we had come this far, we only had one option - take the boat ride. the "leisure" boat was packed with ppl like a PTC bus in chennai, the water too close to the edge of the boat for comfort. But the sight of a man standing in water that was neck deep right in the middle of the river was comforting. A silent sweaty ride later we arrive at an island. Cut of on the sides by branches of the river and the sea forming the beach. Something out of a picture postcard. We wanted to dive in, but then logistics and the thought of the ride back to chennai held us back. A gentle stroll through the beach, and a few refreshing sights and some blind point-and-shoot snaps later we slowly made our way back to the boat. only to see that there was none. It sank in slowly that a boat doesnt wait for ever we had to wait for the next "trip". Too dazed to keep track of time, the only thing that was crystal clear was the growing rumbling from within. A sleepy boat ride back and a quick ride to pondy we were just in time to get in to "Rendezvous" before they downed shutters for the noon. A not so relaxed lunch later. We began the agonising journey back home. Time 4.00
Next stop alambra fort. A breezy 40 kms from pondy. this was for me one of the highlights of the drive. The fort as such is non existent. All that remains are whatever that nature and man have deemed fit for nothing. The fort was one of Tipu's strongholds..or so said the rusted plaque near the fort. The britishers had part destroyed it and whatever was left was taken by time. and the killer blow came from the tsunami. A few enterprising villagers swarmed with some fresh toddy and a boat ride on the sea. The fading light forcing us to decline. It was already 6.00 and we were not even half way thru.
I switch places and get my shot at the road. Immediately flooring it, i start riding like there is no morrow. i realised that i was going berserk and i did not care. the dusk brought with it, an irritating amount of flies, which seemd to have this knack of getting into my eyes thru the helmet. And the glaring headlights did not help either. I watch painfully as the traffic increases as we reach mahabalipuram and the the kms go down. The final halt at the road side inn. A quick bite later, we join the long caravan of vehicles making a beeline to the city. I sink into my own thoughts. and anil into his. This time at the thought of the city. And as the city lights grow bigger and brighter all i can do is take a deep breath and sigh!!!!