Of a school, a racing series and an implausible dream...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Indulging in rumour-mongering is one of the guilty pleasures we all enjoy – those who snub this ‘disgusting’ and ‘cheap’ habit feel smug and those who do partake in it, well, their pleasure knows no bounds.

Anyway, one more thing rumours do is that they give us a more often than not interesting topic to discuss with our friends – they are responsible for kick-starting many lazy afternoon conversations over the phone, or even a boisterous, pointless natter over beer-mugs among friends in a pub. And that’s generally because people do tend to have an opinion. The rumours, then, give us something to chew upon, something to kill time with, something to ensure our life stays as meaningful or meaningless as we want it to be.

And one such rumour is responsible for this post. And my gut says it will probably turn out into speculation on an extremely fanciful scheme. More on that later.

Babai called me sometime back and told me St. Patrick’s are probably thinking of making the +2 section co-ed. My instantaneous reaction was, “WHAT. THE. FUCK?” Seems people at the SPOBA have lost their marbles. Or is it the SPAI (I still can’t forget how they ruined our last official day in Class X. Almost.). Retards that they are, they will definitely extend this ‘cooperative effort’ to the other junior classes. And then?

Nothing. When I thought about it later, I realized that the school would be more or less OK. With the girls coming in, probably the number of 90-pluses will increase (albeit the equal increase in the number of dumb, dumber, dumberer females-which will restore the average). And probably being seen together in random places downtown in school uniforms will be less scandalous for those who want to move their love-life into a higher gear. But my question remains. WHY? Ever heard of the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”? Of course you have. How daft of me. They should definitely encourage inter-school interaction through any number of events – like those dance parties they used to have years back, but sleeping with the enemy (sorry about that) is a strict no-no. Please. See some sense. STOP THIS.

One more thing struck me. It shouldn’t come as a surprise after all, but still. If the school thinks it wants to be innovative, to be a trend setter, it should invest in my grand scheme. With all the right moves, I’m sure we will get all the visibility, the popularity and the reputation we could ever want. Or need.

They should start the SPS GP Challenge, which will be a racing series for the under-18 class. This could be held during the winter break. Standard go-karts could be made the norm, with 4-5 HP 2-stroke engines, a barebones chassis with (a trifle expensive, I agree) slicks bolted on to them. Or we can use engines from the stupid lawnmowers which have rattled our brains out while we were in 9th and 10th. The steering racks could be welded together in some local foundry. Stop smirking. I know it’s not particularly high-tech, but it’s not at all about the technology – it’s about nice, old-school racing, wheel banging and trying to ram each other off the racing line on the corner entry and exit segments. And I think I am safe in the assumption that the most balls-out racer will take home the Gulmohar leaf trophy.

Of course, all this is very well, but what about the racetrack? Don’t stick your stinky sock into my pine-fresh dream studio yet. We have one right inside the campus!

If you don’t believe me, continue reading. If you do, do the same as well.

The Start/Finish line will be in front of the large manual bell(which we fooled around with occasionally); the machines then accelerate up to the large oak tree(with the 2-tonne pitch roller under it); next comes a medium right past the canteen and the disused building behind it. Just as the curve straightens, there’s the Triangular Section (Traffic duty….thoo) with a hard 90 degree right – hard on the brakes here, and this is one of the overtaking zones, a section which will be extremely critical to the lap times. My favourite part comes next, a delightful high-speed section at full throttle, past the senior school, towards the junior school, as the cars, sorry, karts fly past the middle school building and the parking lot. This brings us to another stand-on-the-brakes hard right. And then, it’s smooth sailing all the way – it’s all about finding the best possible line and straight-lining the final section, past the school auditorium and back to the main straight and across the line.

Think about it. The guys in town will kill to be a part of the race, whose entrants will have been rigorously screened by time-trials, and selected from (hopefully) hundreds of other aspirants. The girls will also probably fancy a guy in a racing suit and a helmet a wee bit more that your average Dick. The mothers would have something better to bitch about to each other than their children’s grades and their love interests. I have no doubt that the standard of racing here will be superior to the standard of the football they play in the Salt Lake Stadium and also to the performances of the Kolkata Knight Riders (sorry Shahrukh). If all goes well, the money will flow in as well. TV coverage would probably work it’s way up from the Asansol Cable Network to no less that Star Sports (I’ll take TEN Sports as well, thank you very much). It will, god-willing, be a top draw event in Eastern India. It might catch the eye of individuals and corporates who would like to support good talent instead of being part of stupid poverty-alleviation schemes which usually benefit no one. If it were to become the pre-eminent racing championship in India, then it would become the breeding ground for the future generation GP2 and…wait for it…Formula One race drivers … the possibilities seem endless to me(though you won’t be wrong in thinking that I’m too carried away at this point)…

Who knows, the next Formula One World Champion might probably be in Asansol right now, busy with Mr. S. Chattterjee’s math homework.

Tera Emosanal Attyachaar...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

“Kal mera bebaaak tha,
Aaj magar kamzor hai..
Khud se aankhein hi na mil paayein.

Aankhon ka hai dhokha,
Aisa tera pyaar
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar”

What the hell are these lines doing here?

I’ll tell you. During one commercial break in the middle of the Roger-Rafa final at the Aussie Open today, I randomly switched to MTV where the DevD trailer was being aired – and I couldn’t help but connect these lyrics to Federer’s surprising breakdown in the post-match presentation ceremony – OK not the ‘Aankhon ka hai dhokha, aisa tera pyaar’ part, but the rest of it!

It was understandable – he really, really wanted to equal Sampras’ record and doing that in the Rod Laver arena in front of Rod Laver himself and other legends like Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Tony Roche and Andreas Gimeno would have been perfect. Everything leading up to the match looked just right – he had been in supreme form through the quarters and semis, he had a good two and a half days off after his easy-peasy semi-final and he was desperate to add to his impressive trophy cabinet his fourth Norman Brookes Cup . He had every right to think that he would be able to do it. So did Sampras, Laver, Borg, Pat Cash, John McEnroe and some other former greats – they had all put their money on the Fedex.

Except that it wasn’t to be. El Matador had other ideas. Rafa ne de hi diya ‘lafa’! The guy never ceases to amaze me. It baffles me how he managed to have so much in reserve after the epic Verdasco Semi-Final. Playing against Nadal is, in many ways, similar to playing against a wall!

But I’ll talk exclusively about Nadal in my next post. In the presentation ceremony, after collecting the Runners’ Up thaali, Roger started, “Hi guys!! I…..God….it’s just killing me…”, and started sobbing uncontrollably! The Emcee then said that they’d hear from the new champ, Rafa and called him up to the mike. Poor Rafa for a moment didn’t know what to do! He accepted the trophy, lifted it and then…went back and put an arm around Federer, prodding him back towards the mike! That was when Federer somewhat collected himself, “I think I will try again. There’s no way I could have the last word here. This guy deserves it.” He moved away and resumed crying. Then Nadal, who seemed genuinely sorry to have shattered Federer, was effusive in his praise for the Swiss great: “I'm sorry for today, Roger. I really know how you feel. But remember – you are one of the best players of the history and you are going to improve the 14 of Sampras. It is always a pleasure to play you and best of luck for the rest of the year.”

Everybody went weak, teary-eyed and appreciative at this great display of comradeship between the two, but it evoked mixed feelings in me… I think Federer, by breaking down like that completely ruined Nadal’s moment of triumph. The poor guy couldn’t celebrate his victory properly... It’s extremely nice of Nadal to have said such soothing words to Federer after that…he might as well have ignored all that and celebrated boisterously instead. Which wouldn’t have been improper at all. He’s such a modest and sensitive chap, Rafa.

Federer, with his experience of having featured in 18 Grand Slam Finals and won 13 of them should have done better. He’s still only 27, has a long way to go and many more finals to play. The demons of winning every match that he unknowingly created over his years as the undisputed World No.1 are finally getting to him, it so seems.

I’ll end with a few lines from another song – Coldplay’s Viva la Vida :

“I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
‘Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!’

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.”

Of course, things are not this bad for Federer, but it sure looks as if that’s the way he’s thinking!!! C’mon Roger, BE A MAN! Show them next time out! And one more thing : Stop crying.