Saturday, June 12, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 - Schedule In Indian Timings

If you want the schedule of the matches being played at World Cup, you just need to go on to the site and find it. But obvious, you may say. Now, I will never confess to being technically challenged. Why - the discerning reader may ask? Because I am not, Yo! What I did was I logged on to Google, typed in the keywords and I couldn't find it. I then decided to go on to the FIFA Official Site and there it was, neatly mapped out. There is also a neat little link that converts the timings to your zone. Ah, the things technology can do for you. If you are really keen, there is also a pdf document which you can download. It is in South African timings so just add another 3 and 1/2 hours to get our timing.

I missed the opening ceremony, Shakira and the first match between SA and Mexico. I was at the gym, then headed home, took a shower, had dinner and was contemplating watching the inside of my eyelids when I thought of checking the action on ESPN. Hmmm, France Vs Uruguay at 11.50 pm. I continued to surf channels and was still awake when the match started. Suddenly, I could feel some of the old excitement coming back. I hardly knew any of the French players - Anelka and Ribery sounded vaguely familiar but I wouldn't be able to swear in court. The Uruguayan players drew zip, zilch, nada. Where was Thiery Henry!!! Anyway, the match started and I was glued to the action. I think by match standards it was okay. Unlike cricket though, the action was constant and fast paced.

Well, half time came up to find both sides goalless. I decided to call up Appa (Dad) and relive the old days when all of us used to sit up late to watch the World Cup. I first went and made a cup of coffee which was what we would normally do at half time (then it was tea actually). As expected, he was awake and watching the match. We went on to judge how France seemed to be a physically fitter and stronger team while Uruguay seemed to be facing co-ordination issues. This triggered Appa off. He stated his opinion that unlike the old days when there was so much more play making and flamboyance, nowadays the plays were much more organised and staid. According to him, England and Brazil always were clean teams with less fouls but Germany, Italy and even Argentina were pretty rough and ready kinds. He reminisced that Maradona was so good, despite being short and stocky, he could move so fast and it seemed like the ball was glued to his feet. Now all this would have been pretty interesting except that this is the same raag he gives every World Cup. I started cribbing that he was boring me and that I shouldn't have called only. He chided me saying that it was not his fault if I remembered everything. On this happy note, we decided to end the call while predicting that the second half would continue to be similar to the first.

The second half was better than the first. Many more yellow cards, one red card which France really tried to capitalise on and the arrival of Thiery Henry. Alas, it turned out to be a goalless draw. I hope the matches today and tomorrow turn out to be better. I need to stock up on some essential supplies - beer and chips :)I'm only worried about sleeping late on weekdays cause the matches end at 2:00 am. I guess this is why they call it the World Cup fever.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Heat Is Hot - In Delhi

Sorry, that was a bad play on the lyrics of the song by Glenn Fray - The Heat Is On. Just the right words for the climate in Delhi though. Whew! Chennai seems cooler man. Really. It can’t be nostalgia for sure that is making me remember it that way. During my last stint in Chennai, my landlord had installed an a/c unit in the bedroom and I used to make a beeline for it as soon as I stepped in. I was a bachelor then so I could lounge around in bed and only get out to surf the net or cook some food. I didn’t have anyone telling me to do this or get that. Disclaimer - I am a better man now ;)

After experiencing the heat of Delhi, I have learnt a few things. The thing that wears you down is that the heat never lets up. Just like the winters where it remains cold for days on end, the heat too gets to you after a point of time. Get into your car in the morning and the first rivulets of sweat start trickling down. If you happen to leave your lunch box in it, you definitely don't need to heat it. During the day, it becomes very difficult to step in and out of office. The air you breathe is so hot that you feel like choking. When you reach home sweet home, you can’t walk barefoot as the floor is nicely heated up. There is heat oozing from the sofa, the mattress and the cupboards. Feel like washing you face? Don’t open the tap lest you get scalded (we normally fill buckets so the water is relatively cooler). The other thing is that along with the hot wind comes a lot of dust. The maid normally dusts the house twice a week but recently that doesn’t seem to be enough. There is always a layer of dust by the time you return home.

People also tend to fall ill a lot. Cold and fever are common, so are bouts of vomiting and stomach upsets. I was out in the sun for two hours and had to rush to the nearest loo. In the short time my parents were over, my Mom had a bout of vomiting. Both of us recovered in a short span but it was yuck very unpleasant. We actually had to cut their trip short (why we called them over at this time in the first place is another story ;) The other day one of our fears came true when the landlady handed over the electricity bill. Whoa, the figures Rs 3840 leapt out of the bill and did a merry jig in front of my eyes. Till then, I had never seen a bill of more than three figures. Appetite is another thing that goes for a toss. Here I speak for myself as the average Delhiite does seem to have a very healthy appetite and come to think of it, they seem to be carrying along just fine.

The last few days have been a bit cooler though. The Met department had got it right that the monsoon is coming and there have been a few brief showers. The rains in Delhi always leave me a bit disappointed. In Kerala and to a somewhat lesser extent in Bangalore, it rains for extended periods. Chennai and Mumbai have shorter, slightly furious bursts that leave you drenched before you can find shelter. In Delhi however, there is a lot of hoo-hah before it rains. I have faced it many times while walking from one office to another. The wind springs up and blows like crazy. It makes little twisters and dust devils and you have to cover your face. Then the smell of rain hits you and you feel like a few drops of rain have fallen. You put your hand out expectantly and look up into the sky for deliverance but nothing comes. You wait for another ten minutes and still nothing. Damn, you turn around and head back in. After an hour, you head out to your car and lo, the few drops of rain that fell in the time you were inside have become crusty with all the dust that was blowing around. Good luck driving home mate. There has also been a time or two when I heard thunder and stepped into the balcony but phooey nothing to show. It was only last night that there was a brief but solid spell that even left the road wet . Of course today is much cooler thanks to this. A few spells like this should see us through June. July is when the rain is supposed to really kick in - lets see to what extent. Then the good weather till Oct and then the cold......

Drawing inspiration from Bing Crosbys song - Let It Snow, I can also look positively at the summer and point out a few good things

- A cold beer tastes even better than before
- Clothes dry in a jiffy
- You have an excuse for everything
      - ''Go buy groceries. No Darling its so hot"
      - "Why didn't you do this? Sorry Boss, its so hot"
- Shorts and skirts, spaghetti tops are in fashion. Like one of my friends said - Boy it must be getting really hot. The dresses are getting smaller every day.
- A cold beer tastes even better than before (did I say that before?)

See, there is a silver lining to everything. So go ahead, get a tan, get a beer, get a hat but try and ‘chill out’.