June 27, 2010

FIFA sporting action


I love World cup football. It is like a festival every four years. I love the action, the colours; I love the sheer energy, the hair styles, the passion, the overflowing audiences, the excellence.  Yes, the excellence.

I also love the vuvuzelas....would like one for Sankranthi kite-flying!

I have been staying up till 2 am to watch the late-night matches. Cheered for Ghana against the US (winning a bet with Gautham on SMS!), and what a win they had! Last night I watched Argentina vs Mexico...and also saw good old Diego Maradona in a new avatar. The guy's got style, whatever he does. Remember watching his antics in 1986 in Ashoknagar, with Mohan mama, Vijaya aunty, Rahul, Paru Prashanth, Sammi, Sai...the whole gang, and shouting and cheering, over cups of chai and beer!


 Here's something about Maradona and 1986:

Diego Maradona dominated the World Cup in 1986 like few players ever. Argentina won the event, of course, and Maradona was the awarded the Golden Ball as its best player. That was just a small part of it.

In a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over hated England, he scored twice in the disparate fashions that perfectly define him.

There was the “bad” – the illegal, self-described “Hand of God” goal when he purposefully punched the ball in. And there was the “good” – a spectacular, darting 50-yard run that was voted greatest in the history of the World Cup and hailed by many as the “Goal of the Century.”

And that was just one game.

In front of the media he was controversial and colorful and charismatic. He never backed down. He backed everything up. There was simply nothing like him."

It is strange how one associates certain events with a certain time in life. For me World cup = 1986, Mohan mama, Maradona. It will remain that way. I think every time I watch this great sporting event, I re-live that moment in 209 Ashoknagar.

June 18, 2010

On a photo-shoot with Lakshmi Prabhala

Floral mosaic patterns and Koranic verses on the inner walls of the Ashoor Khana.
During the 1908 Musi floods, the Ashurkhana was flooded up to 6 feet and the mosaic artwork washed away. In this picture, you can see the paint below, and the shiny, intricate mosaic above.


Sunday 13 June, I went for a photo-shoot to Charminar with my photographer-friend Lakshmi Prabhala (who I met through this blog). She had decided on a not-so-well-known place she had not visited before. This was the Ashoor Khana, a place of mourning, which is frequented by muslims during Moharram. Just 10 minutes from the Charminar main road, is a gate that leads to the Ashoor Khana. One walks into a compound through a large green gate, and sees old buildings along the compound. It is quiet, despite the hustle of Charminar traffic outside, and there is an old world charm about the place and the poeple who are in charge. Met a genteel young man with the Hyderabadi tehzeeb; he's the 9th generation to be taking care of this place.

The Bade Shahi Ashoor Khana was built in 1594 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shahi, ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. It is a classic example of Indo-Iranian architecture, and is a house of mourning in memory of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

Lakshmi Prabhala's detailed writeup is here, along with her signature photographs.

Also visited another Ashoor Khana in Dabirpura. It was pouring cats and dogs, but we managed to go in and have a look.

June 02, 2010

Weather watch: Monsoon 2010

10 November 2010: It seems as though rainy season is not yet over! It rained on and off through October and beginning of November came a cyclone and so rainy weather. Today has been somewhat sunny. Prayers more than answered!

26 August 2010: Has been raining every other day. Downpours, usually in the evenings and nights. This year, we know what it is to use umbrellas...we had one, we bought one more! The other day, again on a photo-shoot with Lakshmi, we reached the Edi Bazaar to see Purani Iidgah and it started to pour. We quickly took pictures, hopped back into the auto, and came back through pouring rain. Somewhere, something is happening right, for which I am truly grateful.

19 August 2010: It continues to be a great monsoon. Two days back, the skies dumped rain on us. It has been so good that one doesn't think about rain...we are just taking it for granted! This hasn't happened in the last several years. Thanks, God.

23 July 2010: Yes, it has been a normal monsoon! In fact, yesterday's paper said AP has excess rainfall already! It has been raining every other day. Last night, big rain. Good for the garden...yesterday evening, Nagesh came and laid out the lawn. The place looks so good. One step at a time, but we are taking those steps. And heavens are showering down their blessings. Thank you, God.

20-27 June: Dry spell. Blue skies, but clouds come during the day. Last 2-3 days have been very humid.

19 June 2010: Last Sunday (13 June), I went to Charminar for a photo-shoot with Lakshmi Prabhala. Saw two Ashoorkhanas (places of mourning). I would never have gone to these places but for Lakshmi. Maybe a post on this. But here, I want to record that it poured while we were there, and we got soaking wet. It was fun. During the week, it has been consistently cloudly with intermittent showers. Last night it rained well too. It looks like a proper rainy season, as it used to be when we were children.

11-12 June: Yes, it has been raining on and off; roads have puddles on them; clothes don't dry (I don't mind one bit!); and it is cloudy all the time. Varuna Deva...please keep at it. We like you.
10 June 2010: It rains for about 10 minutes at the typical Hyderabadi rain time...the school-leaving time. Vijay has taken the car to OU for his book release function (the ASRao book...it is finally done!). I go on the scooter to pick up Maloo, jacket and all. Then Kobita and I, and the children drive to Hermitage complex to see the cartoon poster show on the occasion of the World Environment Day. Some of the posters were brilliant, most of them depressing.

It pours again in the night, lightning, thunder, the works. Vijay takes us out for dinner to celebrate his book. Post-dinner, we drive to Necklace Road to celebrate the rain.

1 June 2010: I go to the Mango show in the public gardens with Maloo around 4.30 pm. It is cloudy when we start from home, but I think, "It is only 1 June. Officially, rainy season will begin on 7 June. These clouds will go away..."

But, no...there is a a HUGE downpour. Lightening, thunder (I jump up and grab Maloo's hand!)...and the rain comes straight down, thick and steady. Rains for about 45 minutes.

I pray that we will have a good monsoon this year.

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...