Saturday, March 15, 2008

A dash of blue

The thrillingest thing!
I had no idea they even KNEW we existed, but evidently they do! Our humble garden, or rather Radha Aunty's excellent shrubbery, which is the same thing, has been flattered, exalted, ennobled by the presence of a Tickell's Blue Flycatcher! Yes, yes, but I have photographic proof.

Clearly digiscoping is not my talent but of the lot I have just two, may be three pictures that are reasonably clear. Yes they do come to gardens but of all the gardens, in all the world...!

This place buzzes with Red-vented Bulbuls, Tailorbirds, sunbirds, White-headed Babblers... but never before have we seen a flycatcher. Perhaps this little patch is gaining a reputation. The word, I fancy, is going around that there are lemon bushes here, and flowers, flies, juicy worms, and the odd predatory cat to add spice. Alas, this is not the first time I have let such hopes soar when vagrants come a'callin'. Why let that stop us be aux anges.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alila seve*

This post is for my mum; on her behalf, almost.
She is deeply upset about this IPL–ICL stand-off and is doing all she can to make the underdog, the Indian Cricket League, a success. She watches every match, convenient or no, so this is my bit to her cause.

BCCI’s bullying tactics of course are abominable. That they feel threatened by a new league is understandable. I do think it is smart of them to move so quickly, to put everything in place rapidly, to create such a buzz around their own league. The IPL has big bucks, big names, official status, glamour, clout – everything that gives them assured success. Which makes it even more surprising that they should stoop to choke their competitors so unfairly, denying them playing grounds, threatening to ban players, forcing young talented players make hard choices: to pick between playing some cricket and making some money while they can, or warming BCCI benches waiting for calls that never come. Why shouldn’t BCCI allow its players to play in other leagues? Why shouldn’t they use these platforms to scope out young players? I don’t see the ban lasting very long, though – there is room, I believe, for both leagues.

Anyway, the ICL season started this week and games begin in Hyderabad this weekend. The schedule is here. Luckily, they’re being aired on Ten Sports as well as Zee Sports and the first few matches have been good fun.

I have a grouse with the ticketing, though. In Hyderabad, the Lal Bahadur Stadium is located advantageously enough to tempt many people into wandering in, just to looksee. I would be. But Rs 500 or 200 per head is prohibitive, given there are ten matches scheduled here within the next month. So there is absolutely no way you can make a habit of swinging by on match day and enjoying a thrilling two hours before heading off to dinner. Short-sighted of the organisers – they do want full stadiums, don’t they?

The link to ICL’s website is here.

* Kannada for ‘the squirrel’s contribution’, from the episode in the Ramayana when the squirrel carries pebbles and building material for the bridge to Lanka.

Monday, March 03, 2008

pull? yank?

How come I've never before seen this testimonial to our best-loved traditional sport? Bollywood's choreography standards have fallen, I tell you.
Now just remains for me to see Naseeb with English subtitles, "Catch, catch, catch..." what's angrezi for "jakdo, jakdo, jakdo"?