Monday, December 24, 2012

Better things ....

They say that when it rains it pours. Combine that with the good things happening to good people bit from my last post and you have the makings of a December to remember.

Now almost everyone who knows me will concede that I am the peace-loving, harmless, couldn’t hurt a fly even if he wanted to sort of bloke. Anyone who knows me very well will conceded that despite what everyone else thinks, I am the violence loving harmless sort of bloke. Well what can I say? Appearances are deceptive. But shhhhh dont tell anyone.

My predilection for watching physical combat all started when we discovered the magic of the WWF on cable television (  And then sometime in 2006 my Dad and I discovered Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) through the airing of Pride Fighting Championship. And just as wrestling blew me away as a young kid in 1992, MMA positively changed my view of the sporting world forever. With limited airing of Pride events on our sports channels and the eventual downfall of the Japanese organization when they got taken over the up and coming US based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I had to resort to the internet for my fix of real fighting. And I’ve been watching monthly PPVs ever since. In fact I thought I was the only one crazy enough to be doing so in India all these years.

Now the fastest growing sport in the world, the UFC has taken MMA to new countries and we in India finally have our daily dose of no holds barred combat through the launch of a new sports channel. In a bid to attract more viewers, the channel had a contest where viewers had to list their favourite moment from the upcoming live PPV. I strongly believe that participating in most of these widely advertised contests is a colossal waste of time given that you are competing against tens of thousands of fans. But if there ever was a contest that was a blind folded walk in the park, this was it. In a country obsessed with cricket, cricket and more cricket and with a strong following for soccer, Formula 1, tennis, hockey, badminton and chess, MMA probably wasn’t even on the radar of 99.9999999999 % of sports lovers.

And yet, rather annoyingly, there they were. At least 15 - 20 other MMA fans logged in as the event went live and it was an online slobber knocker till the show ended as each of us did our level best to get our hands on the promised prize of autographed UFC merchandize. Autographed by Rich 'Ace' Franklin nonetheless. Which probably means nothing to all my 3 readers, think of Rich as the MMA equivalent of Steve Waugh. A bona fide legend of the sport. A few days later I received a message from the channel congratulating me for having won the contest! Woo hoo baybeh!

I had to wait for a bit to get my hands on my prize though. And what a prize it is. The UFC encyclopedia is just 390 + pages of unadulterated brilliance. With detailed write-ups on every past and present fighter and two page articles on each and every event that has occurred in UFC history, this book is a MMA fans wildest dream come true. As I slowly and carefully flipped through the pages, I felt that I was in sports heaven. All those hours spent in front of my laptop watching, learning and analyzing the subtle nuances of jujitsu and other forms of martial arts while the rest of the world was out living life king size, finally paid off.

And so Im waiting for my holidays to get over so that I can get back to my daily work life grind with the knowledge that I am going to be coming home every evening to the book that has now taken centre stage in my 60+ book collection. Sorry 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Sorry Yes Prime Minister. I will have to finish you two later. You've been replaced by the perfect book for winter nights. And summer days. And given its size, I think it will last me till the onset of our rainy days as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good things

They say good things eventually happen to good people (Warning: I’m taking extreme creative liberties to the extent of stretching the truth by classifying myself as one of the good people here….)

Now 2012 hasn’t been the most electric of years, even by my not too elevated standards. There was a bit of office travel to foreign lands, a few memorable weddings, one huge family get together, a massive inter-state bike trip, the rediscovery of my passion for guitar playing (matched only by my complete lack of guitar playing skills and even worse voice), an absolutely epic cosmic scrabble session and a whole lot more. Ok, so you’re comparing your 2012 to mine and thinking 'Man he did all that in 11 1/2 months and he says he hasn’t had a great year ....' but let’s not go there.

Now I’ve been reading superhero comics for nearly two decades (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Thor, Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, JLA, Fantastic Four and any other character / group you can name) and I’m probably the biggest comic book nerd around. Well what can I say, looks are deceiving. This year in the middle of another ridiculous 16+ hour daily work routine week I received party arranging phone calls from some truly wonderful friends (who aren’t even reading this blog, ok wait I take back the nice bit) regarding my birthday. With that work routine I barely had enough strength to whip myself up a very late dinner before crawling into bed every night and I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to celebrate my birthday which fell on a weekday. Besides turning 25 wasn’t a big deal anyway.

Fortunately they wouldn’t take no as an answer and I said to myself, what the hell, I should try my luck and asked for a theme cake - a Green Lantern one. Keep in mind that I never have been a birthday person. Fast forward to a few days later and all my worries about a massive client submission, the lack of meaningful content, the piling pressure from everyone due to the lack of content all vanished as the clock struck 12 and I saw the cake. Like a little kid looking under the Christmas tree and finding the gift that he had asked Santa for, I just stood there speechless. It didn’t matter that Didi's cake tasted much better (character introduction : Didi - My twin from the other end of the country who arrived into this world all of 2 minutes before me. We celebrated our birthday together this year). It didn’t matter that 1/27th of the cake found its way into my ears and nose and I suspect some of it is still lodged in there. In fact for the rest of the day nothing mattered as I had a smile plastered on my face. Best. Birthday. Cake. Ever. (Sorry Mom!)

And so for the first time I’m looking forward to my next birthday. I think I'll have a Flash birthday cake. Like the one below. So what if I will have to wait for another 11 months for a good thing to happen....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two double O

Drum roll please. The trumpets. 

It’s finally here! 6 1/2 years after having kicked this blog off with a massive bang that shook the very foundations of the blogging universe, I am finally on my 200th blog post. Woo hoo! (Cue gentle smattering of reader applause....)

Ok, to say that it hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of writing would be a massive understatement. I haven’t made any progress on my books since March and to make matters worse I think I’ve stumbled upon another brilliant idea that needs to be put down on paper which makes it a grand total of 3 books now. I don’t even get time to blog, where on earth am I going to find time to write, polish and publish 3 books? Sigh!

I did have big plans to change my style of writing in an attempt to kick start the moving in ever so slow motion blogging train but as all you loyal readers can see, nothing came out of it. So from a massive 63 posts in 2009 (that’s just over 5 posts a month) I’ve dropped down to an average of a post per month in 2012. How the mighty have fallen. Sigh!

The great thing about having your own blog (besides giving you a platform to showcase your substantial creative and literary skills though in my case the substantial part is debatable) is that it acts as a mirror to your life though you realise it only in hindsight. If I did have sharp readers, they would dutifully point out that the recent lack of posts is hence an indication of a larger problem in my life that I need to address. Thankfully my loyal readers haven’t been known to top the IQ charts (What? I know all three of you and come on let’s be real .....) Ok so being honest is probably going to lose me a chunk of my loyal reader base but I don’t like to lie either. I have this feeling that I’m digging a massive hole for myself here. Sigh!

I’m tempted to go the publicity route and make bold claims like 'I will shut this blog down if I am not able to revive this one time hotbed of creativity and humour' but I suspect that everyone will say the sooner the better. So while popular people with mediocre blogs get thousands of readers, this mediocre person with a blog that ought to be popular but has a grand total of three readers will rise like a phoenix from the ashes. The glory days will soon be upon us and the 400 post mark will be ....

Note - Readers, this is where your loud round of applause positively drowns me in emotion. Errr readers? Hello? Anybody there?

Note to self - 200 posts! Self high five!!