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Dirtscapes

Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

On Vacation

Saturday, December 31, 2005
To my scant readership,

Am currently on vacation in Bengalooru (or the land of No Devanagari, only gol-gol writing...sorry writingu) for a couple of weeks. Will be posting my impressions with some super low-res pix from my mobile phone in another week's time.


posted by Tapan at 6:37 PM

Chirp Chirp

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Recently read a newspaper article calling Greg Chappell (along with Sonia Gandhi) one of the most influential persons in India.

WTF?!!!!

Influential as far as Indian cricket goes. Fine. But on a ‘national’ level? Am pretty sure even he wouldn’t have imagined he would be called so, a year back. But now, he’s done it.

Blame our media’s fixation on the wonderful game of cricket, if you have to blame anything at all. Anything that’s involved in this sport, is evidently on a national level, with front page headlines screaming out the vaguest and most trivial cricket related news like menopausal banshees. Cricket is after vital to the very well being of our country, our mindsets, and our sense of self-worth.

Oh, Is it now?

Is it really worth all the hype?

Don’t we ever get tired of the way the our ‘National’ eleven keep on playing to lose time and again, with carefully interspersed ephemeral wins which are just about enough to prevent the entire country from getting knocked into clinical depression? Losing is not bad, but the way they lose most of the times is downright depressing. Without a fight, like lily-livered lemmings.

Don’t we ever get tired of the relentless display of their ‘Make-Hay-While-The-(Chappellesque)-Sun-Shines-Moment’ faces every time you dare to switch channels? Pimping every ****ing product imaginable with perfectly wooden aplomb? Barf.

Don’t we ever get tired of the fact that we never have been the undisputed champions of a game (like Australia’s in recent times) which is played by a handful of countries?

Don’t we ever get tired of the tacky commentary being dished out by faceless, neurologically challenged has-beens, doling out imperious advice to players who are light-years ahead of them even when they play with both hands tied behind their back. Rule of thumb? The tackier the news channel, the crappier the quality of these commentators and the post-match analysis reports. Add a couple of suitably presented ‘non cricket related ladies’ and it’s TRP heaven. A Diana Eduljee I can understand. A chick who knows her stuff, and is truly passionate about the game, I can really understand. But this? Teriyaadi. Teriyaadi. Teriyaadi. Who gives a flying **** as to what these sages say?!!! Maybe they could have shown us a little bit of what they are claiming to be all about now, in their glory days. To criticize somebody constructively, I believe you have to be on an equal or higher footing than the object of your ‘suggestions’. Which totally rules these stalwarts out.

Don’t we ever get tired of the way our boys play overseas when faced with true, lethal pace? The deer caught in the headlights stuff? And then a while later, when those foreign teams come and play on our dust bowls here…we snatch a couple of victories, draw a series, the media gleefully masturbates all over them, and it becomes the resurgence of Indian cricket all over again. Right. Till the next tour abroad that is. A couple of unavoidable losses there, and the breast-beating starts all over again.

On all accounts (jam packed stadiums for every ODI, barely series-old players being proclaimed ‘hotties’ thereby exploding in the print and visual media - to name just a couple), the above questions have a single resounding answer.

No.

Maybe it’s India’s tropical climate, with no winter depression stuff. Or maybe it’s just the undying optimism of the common man. Or maybe we are a nation of masochists. Hats off to the resilience of the Indian cricket fan. Sacrificing a whole bunch of productive days just to see our boys excel as usual, takes dedication and blind faith of the highest order. I have just one thing to say. Make the cricketers’ pay strictly performance-oriented. If you play to win, you eat. Else nada. Needless to say, the endorsements will automatically dry up if you keep on playing with nothing to lose. And then maybe, just maybe… the Indian cricket fans might get treated with a little more respect, and get both their money’s and their emotions’ worth. Nothing like a distended vision of Utopia to brighten up a dreary Sunday afternoon, what?

posted by Tapan at 1:50 PM

Pop Goes The Weasel

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
i·dol n.

1) An image used as an object of worship.
2) A false god.
3) One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
4) Something visible but without substance.

Now that a television show with the above word as part of its name is doing a second season, it’s time to really figure out what exactly is hoping to be achieved here. I can’t imagine what the first time winner must be feeling. Poor guy…would have aspired for a whole lot more than what he’s probably got here. Not even a year to savour his life changing moment, and it's time to say good-bye to the 'title'.

Let’s see –
1) A music contract, spawning an album which didn’t exactly set the nation on fire.
2) A classy self congratulatory music video, with people queueing up to see him, touch him, get an autograph, photograph, whatever - like they were paid to do so(Right on target there eh?).
3) And of course, idolatry - imagined and otherwise.

If this is all it takes to be called a nation wide cult figure, I’m as confused as a Pro*C Programmer. The guy can sing – very well I might add, but did he really get what was made out to be? Or deserve for that matter?

When was the last time an Indipop album really made you queue up at 4 a.m. in the morning to buy it, braving hordes of other Indipop thirsty fanatics frothing at the mouth for their next fix ? Think Hard. Yes Yes Gopi, tell tell?

NEVER.

N-E-V-E-R.

NEVER.

The first wave of Indipop came in the mid-late 80s, with that memorable half hour capsule on DD called ‘Pop Time’. Gaudy carboard cut-out discotheque type sets. Even gaudier costumes.
Inane lyrics. Inane music. (“Boogie Me. Hai Re Baba Boogie Me…”)

Then came MTV. With a few gems here n there, but overall?
Slightly better production values. But we were still stuck with our good old friends namely - Inane lyrics. Inane music. (“Main bhi Madonna. Aha Aha.”)

Then came the great Punjabi Invasion. If your surname was representative of a region within a 5000 km radius of Punjab, you were good enough to cut a music video. The few really good Bhangra singers had a real lot of sudden, overnight competition. The Non-punjus just submitted to the music, since understanding the language was a bit of a problem. Munda, Kudi, Sadda, Todda, Bhangra, Giddha were all I could pick up. One non-Punju line I loved most though was “Aaayyyy…Kem Chho? Hee Hee Hee. Maja Maa Chho? Hee Hee Hee.”

Then came (and by all accounts, still persists) the recent “remix ka daur”. The most frustrating. Every freaking channel is plastered with videos of scantily clad, artificially bronzed, cosmetically enhanced ladies who dance like female praying mantises in heat, with vocoderized voices butchering timeless classics, whose time has come to boot. A lot also threw in some hideous Miami meets Mankhurd rapping to thoughtfully garnish the already steaming turd fests. But guess what still persist? Inane lyrics. Inane music.

Which leads to the reality TV shows who promise you the earth, the moon and a constellation in between. My question is - why have an IndiPop album recording contract as the grand prize? A more logical prize would be a deal to sing for the composers who judge them, for Bollywood songs. In a nation where a massive majority of all popular music is film music, how much sense does it make to pump funds into creating another waste of shiny plastic that no one is gonna buy or listen to in a couple of months’ time? A career in Bollywood would be a far better proposition. Monetarily as well as professionally.

For all my bluster, point 4 of the definition in the first para might have been the original point of these shows anyways. Ahh TRPs…what will thee make them drag in next?

posted by Tapan at 12:02 AM