Monday, November 14, 2011

8 days a week

For 5 days every week, I try to balance the conflicting demands of oscillating work, ridiculous traffic, my reinvigorated reading habit, a season of a particular TV show (currently Season 4 of Spiderman: The Animated Series but shhhh don’t tell anyone) and God knows what else. Sometimes this gets extended to 6 days. If Im really unlucky it stretches across all 7 days. Which is why I like my weekends neither shaken nor stirred.

Come Saturday morning and my plan for the weekend is to have absolutely no plan at all. That way I can curl up with a book for as long as I want and not feel guilty about it. Or I can treat myself to endless episodes of my new found favourite – Dr Who. Or I can take an afternoon nap and put my phone on silent mode and sleep like I have never slept before. Or I can dig up an old Carry On movie and enjoy the campy humour. Basically a little bit of everything that doesn’t really amount to anything. This weekend however, was different.

Growing up in the 90s in Cochin meant that your comic reading was restricted to
a. Asterix & Obelix
b. The Adventures of Tintin
c. Archies series
d. DC and Marvel comics but that was only for a select lucky few

Now I’ve read the complete collection of both Asterix & Obelix and The Adventures of Tintin several times and to be honest I was always more of the A&O fan but the Tintin comics weren’t really that far behind. And now Tintin has made a rather dramatic entry into the movie world. I’m not one who enjoys too many movies these days but I did thoroughly enjoy watching Tintin & Captain Haddock (with the beloved Snowy of course) lay the foundation for what is going to be one very entertaining movie franchise. Of course Thomson & Thompson are as funny as ever. An added 100 bonus points to whoever added the Captain Haddock line – You two timing troglodyte (which is my favourite word of all time)!

Everyone who is a sports fan knows of Lance Armstrong’s incredible battle against testicular cancer and how he came back to win the gruelling Tour de France an incredible seven times in a row. However it was only after I started reading his book It’s Not About The Bike did I realize how easily life can turn upside down in an instant. Lance doesn’t deep dive into his struggle against cancer but he takes you along on his physical and emotional roller coaster ride that will make you question the way you live your own life. As he struggles and fails, you realise that he is after all human. And then he rises. From the deepest of lows Lance rebuilds his life and in turn inspires you. His battle makes you realise how inconsequential your life’s problems actually are.

Ive been a wrestling fan since 1992 and I’ve seen quite a bit of it to say the least. From mainstream wrestling that was the WWF / WWE and WCW on TNT (remember the days when Cartoon Network used to switch to the TNT movie channel at 9PM and once a week they used to air WCW on Indian television) to the underground cult phenomenon that was ECW (thanks to the internet). However my exposure to the hotbed that is Japanese wrestling has been limited to a few matches and it took a review of an event called All Together in Budokan to get me to revisit it. Now Japan has had a particularly tumultuous year and the main promotions got together for one night only to put together a wrestling card that would donate proceeds to the organizations helping in rebuilding the country. The Japanese wrestling industry is very competitive and hotly contested and the Indian equivalent of All Together in Budokan would be to have all of Bollywood’s actors and actresses coming together to act in one huge blockbuster.

And so I spent the weekend watching wrestlers who I don’t know putting up a stellar show that brought happiness to the fans in the sold out Budokan stadium (and those of us in front of our laptops) while listening to Japanese commentary (of which I could only identify the names of a few moves). It was enjoyable to hear the commentators go Shyyyning Wizardo (for the move Shining Wizard) and Byainbustaaaaah (Brainbuster) with the respectful Japanese crowd oohing and clapping in appreciation (a far cry from our rabid cricket fans in India) and soon enough I too was oohing along with them. Of course all of this would not mean a thing if it were not for the hard working Japanese wrestlers who work a very stiff (read realistic) style that made me cringe as I watched them tear into each other. I couldn’t understand one bit of the language, I didn’t know the wrestlers names but I most certainly enjoyed the storytelling.

Which was the story of this weekend now that I think about it. Now to get back to my 5 days of drudgery.

P.S - At the end of the show, the three biggest wrestlers in Japan (the champions of the corresponding organizations) stood outside the stadium after having worked their butts off with boxes in their hands to collect further donations from the people leaving the stadium. Will SRK, Aamir Khan & Salman Khan would do something like this for our country? Think about it.

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