Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Does it or does it not look like a potol?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Animesh, our holding midfielder, has lofted the ball from the middle of the park in the general direction of the opposite goal – a pass conceived less with intent than in hope. Bunty, playing right forward and closest to the ball, gives frantic chase down the right touchline, though his marker is yards ahead of him. Bunty has no right to think he can get to the ball first, but he doesn’t know this. The race is on.
From my right wingback position, I sprint down the touchline to provide support. But the striker and his marker are already too far ahead; it is obvious that I will never reach in time to offer any meaningful assistance. I check my run.
Now our left forward checks his run too. He waits at the edge of the box hoping the rebound comes his way. The other players are as in a trance, helplessly watching the action unfold. But the supporters of both teams are going wild – this is more like it, this is the sort of thing they came to watch.
But wait – at least their goalie is alert to the danger. He races off his line and reaches the ball almost at the same instant as Bunty and his marker. Bunty is still a foot behind his marker but he flings himself feet first at the ball. The goalie clutches at thin air as Bunty, at full stretch, lifts the ball over him. He went for a cross, didn’t he, the crazy fool? Didn’t he realise that no one had matched his run, that his cross would not find anyone on the end of it? Because surely it must be a cross. Bunty is far too close to the goal-line – at zero angle, almost. He has no right to go for goal from that angle, but Bunty doesn’t know this either.
The ball loops, curls and – agonisingly slow, as if it is moving through a viscous fluid – dips and nestles in the back of the net. The spectators go wild. Bunty is still on the ground, clutching his knee in pain, but we pile on top of him in our celebrations.
That is how I remember Bunty’s goal from that match one year ago. But as I realized today, my memory is not all that reliable when it comes to dramatic moments on the football pitch. To be precise, it is prone to mock-heroic exaggerations. I recall blocking a goal-bound shot in the same match. As I remembered it, that block was an feat of reckless courage, an act fit to rank with deeds of valour like Horatius holding the bridge and suchlike.
But today, Rahul Varghese showed me a video of that match. See the video (24 seconds), and you will realise why it dismayed me. (Watch out for Nivedita’s anguished “What is this?!” at 0:15. That bit is fun.)
In the immortal words of Calvin, reality continues to ruin my life. It’s a good thing that they don’t have Bunty’s goal on video.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Arthur put Dire Straits on the stereo. Fenchurch pushed ajar the upstairs front door to let in a little more of the sweet fragrant night air. They both sat on some of the furniture made out of cushions, very close to the open bottle of champagne.
– No, – said Fenchurch, – not till you’ve found out what’s wrong with me, which bit. But I suppose, – she added very, very, very quietly, – that we may as well start with where your hand is now.
– So which way do I go?
– Down, – said Fenchurch, – on this occasion.
He moved his hand.
– Down, – she said, – is in fact the other way.
– Oh yes.
Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer – which is not strictly relevant at this point since the record hadn’t yet got to that bit, but there will be too much else going on when it does, and furthermore the chronicler does not intend to sit here with a track list and a stopwatch, so it seems best to mention it now while things are still moving slowly.
– And so we come, – said Arthur, – to your knee. There is something terribly and tragically wrong with your left knee.
– My left knee, – said Fenchurch, – is absolutely fine.
– So it is.[…]Arthur held her left foot in his lap and looked it over carefully. All kinds of stuff about the way her dress fell away from her legs was making it difficult for him to think particularly clearly at this point.
– I have to admit, – he said, – that I really don’t know what I’m looking for.
– You’ll know when you find it, – she said. – Really you will. – There was a slight catch in her voice. – It’s not that one.
Feeling increasingly puzzled, Arthur let her left foot down on the floor and moved himself around so that he could take her right foot. She moved forward, put her arms round and kissed him, because the record had got to that bit which, if you knew the record, you would know made it impossible not to do this.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Speaking of which, after five years together in hostel, I thought I knew my college friends inside out; I thought I was familiar with all their little obsessions and eccentricities. Not so, as I discovered on this trip. For example, we all knew that Abira was a cleanliness freak, but we used to think Aastha was relatively normal. Until she revealed that she travels with two combs – one for clean hair and one for dirty hair. This prompted Kisku to make the gender-sensitive comment of the month: “Girls have so many issues, man!” To which Aastha said, “I don’t have issues, ok? I just have a few minor concerns.”
Speaking of parties, the most popular accessory for late-night beach parties in Goa is a pair of Mephistophelian horns which glow crimson in the night. They endow the wearer with a certain aura, though the battery is weak, and the glow fades away before sunrise. But in Goa, a lot of things last for just one night.