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Talking tennis and politics…

My morning tennis schedule has gone for a bit of a toss of late for various reasons.  First, the borewell motor at the court broke down and it took almost a week to repair it, and just as I have begun to get into the tennis routine again, now the borewell has run dry. It’s all rather frustrating as I do look forward to a couple of sets to get my day started on an energetic note. I hope the club does decide to deepen the well or figures out an alternative.

The good Dr. Arun Padaki, who hadn’t been playing for almost a year and half (or maybe longer) had just got back to playing again too, post the new year. His resolution, I suppose! Smile It’s always fun to play with him – his game is good to watch, a throwback to the Ramesh Krishnan era, almost, and it’s nicer still to find that I seem to be more competitive playing against him. My first serve is still rather hit-and-miss, and I haven’t figured out how to up the pace on that. But the rest of my game seems to have improved somewhat over the past year. I wish I had taken up tennis more seriously when I was younger. Still, as the one hobby that I have sustained for 4-5 years now, it’s been rather satisfying and hopefully, I can keep it at for much longer.

On an unrelated note, with borewells running dry all over the place, and with our general lackadaisical attitude towards water conservation, I fear it won’t take any longer than 10-15 years or so before Vandana Shiva’s predictions on water wars become a geo-political reality. At a personal level, while I have been having some success in approaching my goals with a greater sense of purpose and energy, on a more macro note, I have become rather pessimistic about our future prospects.

I am inclined to think that as a country, in the next 15-20 years, we are going to reach a situation where we will be faced with a choice to break up in the Balkan fashion (hopefully, not as violently) or somehow knit ourselves together like the United States did two centuries ago. I fear it could well end up being the former. And then there are all the socio-economic challenges that, pig-headedly we refuse to address seriously. The scale of malnutrition, if the Naandi foundation’s report is anything to go by, is such a tragedy. Water, food, environment – who gives a damn. Instead, we fight over the definitions of caste based reservation for even something as a body like the Lokpal, which is so far removed from the original idea and intent of reservation. And everybody wants to be an OBC now – which is such a farce. And you have people like that irritating Mani Shankar Aiyer talking semantically about the “C” in OBC being Class and not Caste, and I suppose similarly so for the C in SC. Then there’s the idiocy of the idea of a Dalit Christian and a Dalit Muslim. Rather than gradually eliminate caste from the Hindu lexicon, we now start exporting it to the other religions too. And someone will be telling our two-faced news icons on a talk show “Isn’t this beautiful – does anything else better illustrate how India is a melting pot for all religions”. Clap, clap, clap. We create rifts even when there are none.

We don’t usually talk politics at the tennis court, but one early morning when I had arrived rather early to the courts, it was still dark enough that the three of us who were there could do nothing but wait by the courtside talking shop. And it so happened that Raj wanted to know my point of view on India’s prospects – I suppose he imagined I would be considerably more gung-ho, but while I am considerably more enthusiastic about our near-term economic prospects, with this sort of broader pessimism, I ended up sounding like an alarmist to him instead! He didn’t quite agree with me, needless to say.

We so sorely need a third national party with a non-divisive ideology, and a media house that can raise the standard of discourse we are subject to.

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And I have been doing….

Tennis times have started again. Been playing for about a week now. Every single time I have mentioned tennis in these pages, within a week after that, I have stopped playing. Nevertheless, like a pigheaded dense incompetent who doesn’t know what’s good for himself, I am here to say it again! 🙂 Feels good, always nice to wake up early.

The off-site was good, and the best thing that came out of it was that I got to know that one of my colleagues actually lives quite close to where I live. He had playing tennis in this local club, which is how I got back to playing tennis again. And almost as good, we have even started car pooling on most days. One car off Bangalore’s roads! Hooray!

The busy times at work continue. Most of it good, some of it necessary evils, and the odd avoidable trash I shouldn’t have taken up in the first place. The usual, in other words.

Having renewed my seventymm membership after a brief 3 month sabbatical, I am already beginning to regret it. Am yet to rent out a movie this month from my 4 in a month quota. At this rate, I am going to fall back again pretty quickly, and then I will be forcing myself to watch movies just so I don’t feel like I am paying 100 bucks per rental. And then I will be cursing myself ‘cos I am watching for the sake of it. Well, maybe it won’t come to that. We shall see. Last movie seen – School of Rock. Rating – good.

Of the many restaurants A & I have been to in Bangalore, I think “Taste of Rampur” is close to tops. Though it’s not really the ideal place for a teetotaller veggie, the veg items on the menu are very good. Their Shahi Paneer is the best I have ever had, their biryani is pretty good too, and the raitha they give with the biryani is magnificent. The place also has this nice relaxing feel to it. We were there again this Sunday for our anniversary dinner. I was quite grumpy all the way there, but the moment we got in, the pall lifted and I was in fine spirits again. Try it, if you haven’t.

Once – a fluke, but twice???

Federer loses to Canas again. Wow! I can almost imagine the rest of the tennis world salivating as they check the videos. With the clay court season looming, things are only going to get tougher for Roger.