Bend It Like Beckham

Now that there is a sports fever on (that is to say, now that I have written a post recently about sports players), let’s continue talking about sports related things.

I saw “Bend It Like Beckham” again. It is one of those feel good movies. I don’t know what is it about sports, the movies become engaging (Chak De India, Dangal, Bhag Milkha Bhag, Lagaan, Hoosiers). I think possibly it is the competitive element. Or possibly rising against the odds thing. Not sure(Million Dollar Baby?).

Bend it like Beckham is not a particularly great movie. I think the director had in mind very clearly that they wanted to make an entertaining movie. And it is. The film is from UK. Jasminder(Jess) is a teenager who likes to play football(soccer). Her sister is getting married and her parents want her to behave more like a lady- you know all those Alu Ghobi and round chapatis. They live in Hansford. Jules(played by Keira Knightley) who also lives in Hansford notices Jess playing in the park and offers Jess an opportunity to play for the up-and-coming girls’ football team from the county- subject to the coach’s approval. They form a bond, both fall for the coach. Well, there are things like love triangle, culture clash, generation gap, homosexuality, etc. But all are just touched lightly. The mothers of these two girls each disapprove their daughters preference to football over other ladylike things. The Indian mother wants her daughter to learn to cook and the British mom wants her daughter to wear something more fancy than a sports bra.

The strengths of the movie are the light entertainment, the acting by the leads- Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and others. There are some soft moments like the sisters discussing love- one of those moments where I noticed use of color- (both are wearing lavender/purple). Plus like many(good) teenage movies it is additionally sweet because of teenagers and their problems.

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The sport is lucky to have them

I like Roger Federer. He is one of my most favorite players. Steffi Graf was possibly my first favorite player. Then Tendulkar. But possibly I like Federer more than Tendlya. Other players I admire a lot are Akram, Hingis, Dravid.

Of course there is Nadal, Murray, Kohli, etc. In fact, when I went for a day pass/ ticket for Aus Open (2007, I think), I saw 3-4 matches- one Hingis, other Sharapova, and the third a gents’ (I forgot the players). On a lighter note, when you have seen the Swiss Miss and Sharapova in a day it is ok to forget about other players. Of course, both of them are very cute. And in the evening when we were back home, my friends asked me why I did not wait for clicking a photo with Saniya (There were selfies even then. Anyway, she is a good baseline player in doubles. But, well, it’s not that I don’t like her or other players, it is just that I am not so passionate or emotionally attached with others.)

Coming back to Federer, I think I like him more or less for same reasons I like Tendulkar. He excels at his game and he is such a fine gentleman. About the game, well, both of them have grace and elegance. Of course, all these qualities were there in case of Dravid as well. One of the things I think these two have more than others is their ability to pace their inning. I have seen Tendulkar score ones and twos for longish period when I was expecting a boundary. And without the viewers consciously noticing it, they take the game away from opponents. Of course the opponents must be noticing that the match is slipping from their hands. But I think the opponents were never sure about exactly when it started, how it started and how long did it go on before they noticed it.

Plus they have an elegance that comes just because of efficiency of movement on field/court… an efficiency generated elegance you noticed as a kid when you saw your mom/ grandma cooking. But if we go into that kind of detail or if we start talking here about Tendlya’s square cut or Federer’s forehand or single handed backhand, we will definitely run out of space if not time. So we will pass on those details.

They also reinvented themselves and their shots… not that anything was particularly wrong with their technique. But when opponents targeted their weaknesses(age, height, backhand), they turned those things into strengths (Tendulkar- not in the photo below- played hook shots and Federer turned his classic single handed backhand more powerful).

They have been the best promoters of sports.

Another thing is that these guys are passionate.

Here is a nice article: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/tennis/the-last-days-of-a-beautiful-game

I hope they don’t take this article down. It is one of those things which matched quite a lot of what I think.

A couple of photos below:

Both of them are successfully attempting almost impossible or ‘un-imagined before’ shots: Federer’s tweener against Djokovic and Sachin sending a Brett Lee bouncer to the boundary. I googled the Federer tweener just now, but Tendukar’s photo appeared in the times of India when India were touring Australia and he was being targeted quite a lot.

Federer-Tweener.jpgTendlya.png

The title of this post is a paraphrase of a comment (“The sport is lucky to have him”) by a TV commentator about Federer during Aus Open 2018 final award ceremony.

Sideways, the movie

Saw a nice movie recently. Sideways

It’s one of those unexpectedly good movies. IMBD’s movie page says:

Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California’s wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

A lot of discussion in the movie was about wine tasting, etc. I am a teetotaler and don’t know much about wines, but I can say that the discussion/ writing was good. The movie is from 2004 but I had not heard of it before. So it’s a pleasant surprise for me.

Naipaul and F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Read Naipaul’s: India a Wounded Civilization again after a gap of 3-4 years. I had purchased it when it was available in a clearance sale in Melbourne’s city library. The book was cataloged first in 1983 and last borrowed date was from 1987. Maybe it might have been borrowed later than that and the entry card was missing. Anyway in clearance sale, it had cost me one dollar. But it is one the best books I read and have. May make you go on defensive because it is a biting criticism.

Was planning to write a review but it reminded me of something from the series FRIENDS I connected with it- given below. I will write a review later maybe. Now feeling sleepy. By the way, Freedom at Midnight mentioned below was also from the same sale and I did not read it. Gave the copy to someone.

Here is something I had written on 7th June 2007.

पांडेजी (या जी मधल्या ‘ज’ उच्चार नेहमीच्या पांडेजी किंवा ‘जियां जले’ च्या ज सारखा नाही. नज़ाकत मधल्या ज़ सारखा.) हा माझा एक roomie. त्याने माझे मी इथे विकत घेतलेले माझे एक पुस्तक –  Freedom at Midnight वाचले. आणि त्यातले details मला सांगून वाईट bore केले. मी ते पुस्तक अजून वाचले नाही त्यामुळे. ते पुस्तक संपवले आणि मला म्हणाला “कुछ और दो पढने के लिये.”  मग मी त्याला Naipaul चे India A Wounded Civilization दिले. मी नुकतेच संपवले होते. आणि मला आवडले होते. मला एखादी गोष्ट आवडली की ती दुस-याच्या गळ्यात मारावीशी वाटते. (याला चांगल्या भाषेत share करणे असे म्हणतात) आता पांडेजी ला देताना मी सांगितले, यात भारतावर खूप टीका आहे. पण तरीही चांगले आहे. वाचतो म्हणाला. आता माझा स्वतःचा वाचायचा speed म्हणजे दिवसाला ४-५ पाने. त्याचा २५-३० किंवा जास्त. दोन दिवसांनी मला म्हणाला, “साला २ दिन हो गये. सिर्फ २० पन्ने हुए. बहुत criticize किया है. Heavy भी हैं.” मी विचारले, Wodehouse देवू का एखादे? मग मी त्याला Calvin and Hobbes चे एक पुस्तक दिले. त्याने आधी कधी वाचले नव्हते Calvin and Hobbes. मग म्हणाला, खूपच छान आहे. (इतर लोकांना काहीतरी पहिल्यांदा देण्यात- त्यांना माहीत नसलेली गोष्ट- मस्त feeling येते. मला स्वतःला professor व्हायला खूप आवडले असते. एखाद्या अवघड विषयावर माझे lecture ऐकत समोर mesmerize होऊन मुलं बसलीयेत – (आणि joke करायचा म्हणून – मुली) हे चित्रच खूप सुन्दर आहे.) असो. मग पांडेजी म्हणाला, अब पढ लेता हुं Naipaul की किताब. मी त्याला सांगितले “की नही. का किताब.”. मग एकदा वाचत असता असता मध्येच पुस्तक फेकून देण्याची pose घेत जोरात ओरडून म्हणाला…भारतावर खूपच टीका केली आहे etc etc. आता पुस्तक फेकून देणे, आरडाओरडा करून पुस्तकाच्या against emotions व्यक्त करणे- माझ्यासमोर? हे म्हणजे…Monica नाही का Chandler ला म्हणते, “trying to turn me on by making a mess? Know your audience!” तसे झाले.

The Hidden Life Of Trees

Today I finished reading the book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World

This is not a book review as such. I purchased the book recently. It is a pretty new book(at least the English edition) and when I purchased it the kindle edition was not available. Now a couple of months later, there is one. (And hardcover is cheaper than paperback.)

A few months back, I read about it- probably on twitter, not reviews. But just that people liked it and how it’s one of the best books outside their work area they read recently type of thing.

The author manages a wild forest in Germany and talks mainly about trees in terms of beeches, firs, oaks, etc. The author is politely insistent that we should protect the natural wild forests and let them be.

On one hand I could say that I came to know only a few new things from the book and on the other hand, I could say that every couple of pages there was some new insight.

David Attenborough and others have made evolution, biology, wildlife, and nature, in general, quite accessible. But still I learned quite a few things from the book. For example, I did not know that when seeds fall from the tree nearby on the ground, the new trees cannot grow rapidly because they can’t get much sunlight and the big trees- mothers- don’t let them grow rapidly but save them from dying by supplying nutrients to them via roots. It’s good for the youngsters. And also surprising was the fact that in forests, there is no grass on the ground. Because hardly any sunlight reaches the ground. As soon as I read it, it was so obvious. Grass grows on plains, not in natural forests.

The book is very easy to read- there is no scientific terminology overload. Thing are told very simply. I like trees and in junior college I hated Botany. Nice statement, wasn’t it? In fact, Botany, along with Industrial Electronics and Metallurgy has been the top hated subject in my career. Surprisingly, after engineering I got interested in biology. But during junior college, I hated Botany thoroughly- those things like xylem, phloem, conquest of land and what not. Probably I hated the Latin names and terminology and once it was detached from the subject- once I started looking at it with curiosity- I kind of got interested. Just to be clear, I don’t go out of the way to read those books. But this is one of those books which are not restricted to students of the subject.

Another aspect is that the love shows. It is very clear that the author is in love with the subject. And any book written with such love comes out to be good.

So go ahead and read it. I am more or less certain you will enjoy it.

The book does not explicitly mention it, but just to kindle your curiosity let me ask you if you know about something called as Crown Shyness?

 

Lata

Yesterday, I listened to a few of Lata’s old Hindi songs after quite a while. She is just magical. Too many people have written about her. And I don’t think I will add anything new here.** She has a great range. She can change scales and the mood in a moment. It seems as if her songs would be equally great even without music. Only a few actresses appear singing while Lata is in the background for them. Probably because the expressions don’t match or are not equal. Of course, Nutan, Kajol, Madhubala, Vyjayanthimala(?) come quickly to my mind as exceptions. Who else? So, many times actresses seem redundant. But then sometimes there are surprises. For me, Madhubala’s expressions in the song ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’ elevated the song to a very different level. And even though I would have liked ‘Piya Tose Naina Lage Re’ without her as well, the NavWari Sari clad Waheeda made it even more irresistible. Of course, someone like Madhuri can make a not-so-special song like Didi Tera Dewar special.

We, as evolutionary beings, must have started appreciating music much before we started talking. This seems quite obvious. Structured music created by humans must have come very much later in time, though.

We all have music within us. That way we are not ‘fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils’. The depth of music appreciation in individuals may differ. But I am sure we all appreciate music in some form or other. I am also sure that we can never precisely put that appreciation into words. Because even though it is very generic trait, it is very personal as well. And the truly musical moments which we experience are flitting, if that is the word.

Music touches you. Well, other things- nature, books, silence, painting, poetry, and other forms of art can touch equally intensely. But I will claim that across the human race music is the most common of these.

For me, as a hobby, reading comes before music. Both have moved me equally at times. But I spend more time reading books than listening to songs. And in the area of music I consider myself a novice. I cannot listen to music while working. Not have I traveled or walked with earbuds in my ears playing music.

 

**One of the reasons I write is to give way to those things which I say. Writing helps me clear the mind; it helps structure the thoughts. A few times the writings that you read are not structured really. But because that unstructured entity is out, my mind’s channels are now open to go beyond that. Another benefit is that writing helps you form opinions. It helps you solidify, consolidate. It shows you the lacunae (a forgotten word from biology; don’t remember when I had used it last) in the thought/ argument process. At least it is that way for me.

I may not say anything new here. But it is important that I say it. Actually, you could argue that most of the experiences and thoughts are pretty universal. In fact everything has been said, done, experienced before. And yet I am new. And if time is a circle then even I am not new, neither is the moment. But the important thing is that I say, do, live those experiences wholeheartedly as if those are new and non-repeating. There is no other way.

I love this entry from Einstein’s Dreams: Einstein’s Dreams- Suppose time is a circle

Does It Constrain You?

I went for a Sunday morning walk with friends after a long time (after a gap of 3-4 months). DK said, we- the people in IT- become lethargic. The comment was pretty bold but probably not totally valid although I haven’t thought about it much clearly and even the discussion that followed was not very serious one. These discussions are mostly casual anyway.

While the discussion turned to other topics and switched gears, the main points behind that comment from DK and Abhijit’s perspective were that we don’t look outside the sphere of IT, and we are constrained by the field. Now, you must have discussed similar things often. The expression ‘constrained by IT’ was mainly about thoughts and social behavior. Of course it is not about the field of IT. I have seen a lot of people being limited in their thoughts and social behavior by the areas of their profession.

My way of dealing with these things is this:

I stay away from the terminology of IT in non-work areas. When I am alone- like currently when I am writing this- the terminology may creep in. But when I am with others- even with people from work- I avoid the IT language to the extent possible. You will never find me saying something like: vendor lock-in when talking about fruit merchant, a feature not a bug, etc.

Discussing things in the terminology of the domain being discussed is something I try to do as far as possible. Sometimes it is conscious effort but it is quite enjoyable. It is said that the language you use influences your thoughts. Just try it out. Whether you are in IT or not, try to use some a terminology, symbols, language which is somewhat closer to the thing being discussed than the one you are comfortable with and see what a mildly enjoyable thing it is. I think one of the factors (probably not a prominent one) is that your brain is refreshed because you express your thoughts differently.

Another way to deal with the ‘constrained by IT’ thing is to be a little humbler. Of course, it is not just about IT. But I think even though most of the IT jobs are about people and teams, the people in IT deal more with computers and structured ways than many other more social jobs. And so when they come across, to give a typical example, a PSU bank clerk- an SBI aunty, they find things irrational. Just calm down. There is no guarantee that when the chips are in their favor they- the SBI aunty, in this example- will be humble, too. Or even polite. But it is never about them, is it? It is always about you.

Don’t ignore other ways of life. Don’t get absorbed into those ways but people- including you- live their lives in very different but basically same ways. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with your way of life but so is the case with the others. Your problems are not vaporware but, similarly, others’ problems are real, too.

I know this sounds preachy. So here is an old but light refreshment.

A developer to his tester friend: I asked her to marry me. Earlier she said no. But on skype, just now, she said yes.

The tester friend advises: Take a screenshot, quickly, because some defects are difficult to reproduce.

Was kinda sweet, wasn’t it?

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