Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Heading for the mountains

Don't know if I mentioned it in my profile, but I love the mountains. Ajitha and I have had that old seaside vs mountains debate for a long time now and we have agreed to disagree on the subject. But being in Delhi helps my cause, the mountains being a lot easier to access than the beaches.
So we do try and make trips to Himachal Pradesh (or Uttaranchal now) often as we can. It was a lot frequenter for me once upon a time, when work hadn't taken precedence and there was a lot of free time over the weekends in general. Since it isn't, in a sense, the occasional visits to the mountains have actually become a lot more exciting. Where it was once just a case of packing the bag and, almost mechanically...clinically...going to the ISBT, reaching wherever, doing the usual things, it's now a more eagerly awaited business.
So, we are headed for Dalhousie tomorrow. Sadly, it's one of the better-known places and a place I have made to in the past. But then free drive down and free acco are reasons enough to nod the head excitedly and get all excited. Which is what I did. But Ajitha and I do plan to spend a chunk of our six-day leave in Dalhousie and then make our way to someplace else. Let's see where we reach.
While in Dalhousie, we plan to hit Khajjiar and Chamba (at least) on our own, which should help us bring in more variety to the picture. Both places are supposed to be stunning, and an afternoon at each should be good for the nicotine-snuffed lungs.
But Dalhousie promises to be quite a cool experience on its own. For one, we get to stay in this really quaint old hotel, built almost entirely of wood. It's a two-storey thing and is built right in the heart of the place. Plus, the forests are barely 15 minutes away from most parts of Dalhousie, if my memory serves me right. And the hills, of course, are all over.
Anyway...this is just the preview. We return on or around November 1st. If there's stuff to write about, I will.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Old Trafford again

I have been a Manchester United fan for many years now.
Don't really know why...seriously, seeing that none of us who have spent our growing up years in India (or on Doordarshan) ever had any access to international football. Yes, the World Cups were telecast live 1982 final onwards and for a time — if my memory serves me right —they showed the Serie A extremely late at night. But apart from that, zilch.
Therefore, I think it had mainly to do with my flip through the pages of history as it were and hearing about Busby's babes and Bobby Charlton and George Best and such like stuff that got me hooked. Hooked enough to feel happy if United won and at best indifferent if they lost. Arsenal? Who knew they existed before Nick Hornby released Fever Pitch? Liverpool was there with Ian Rush up front and I remember a live telecast of a Champions League final between them and Juventus. Juventus quickly became my team then. They had Michel Platini for Chrissakes!
Anyway... to come to the point, through all my years of football watching, never have I felt remotely excited about European football. English football least of all. Italy was a favourite for some time after the Juventus Experience, but after that, nothing. Heck, I had discovered Latin football by then. And therefore, being employed with The Indian Express, it's always a most tiring exercise when the European season is in full flow (as it is 360 days a year). Because my editor and most other top men in the office thrive on European football.
I feigned excitement for some time, but gave up after that. I made my point to my editor. Was excused.
But nothing changed in office. It remains the same to this day, and as I write this, a couple of us are waiting for the Man U vs Arsenal match to get over. Why? Because we have to carry an eight column report afterwards.
Incidentally, it's being played out at Old Trafford, where the bit of action that came closest to matching the Latin excitement happened last summer. It was that wonderful bit of fisticuffing between Van Nistelrooy, Lauren, Vieira, Gary Neville, et al. I loved it. Except that the Brits, and the others who find their way to Britland, are far too delicate to really do it the way, say, a Venezuela vs Peru match might throw up.
Otherwise, I wait for a Premiership game — even one of United — about as much as I do for say the equestrian events during the Olympics.
Which brings us to an article my editor granted me permission to write when the office qwas going crazy with Euro 2004 earlier this year, and I sat in my corner with brows furrowed and the earphone from my walkman plugged deep into my ears.
Have nothing more to write (they are still 0-0 70 minutes into the game). So will publish this with the Euro 2004 story pasted below. Ignore the typos; not bothering to edit them out.

Shattering the Myth of the Premiership
It’s just not good enough and has been shown up, says Shamya Dasgupta. Are the TV channels listening?

ONE more big tournament gone and more evidence (glaring as a finger in the eye) that there is far more to European football than England and the Premiership. And that our (the public, the broadcasters) obsession with the Premiership stands in the way of our seeing the better football played elsewhere on the continent.
It implies two things: One, that the typical English footballer is less skilled than his Spanish or Italian (or, indeed, Portuguese or Czech) contemporary. Point proved by England’s record in international competitions. ‘‘38 years of hurt’’ was a much-seen banner at Euro, referring to the last time the national team won anything.
And two, that the foreign players who come to England to ply their trade find that while their skills are a cut above local fare, their talents diminish in comparison with other countries’ stars. For evidence, see Thierry Henry.
Till Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene, the biggest English names were Beckham and Owen, whose status today owes more to the British press working overtime than to actual on-field exploits. Which is why England’s performance in Euro 2004 as only a logical consequence of what they went to Portugal with.
To see just how good — or bad — the Premiership is, tune in, next month, to any of the matches from the Spanish Primera Liga. You will see more skills in 10 minutes there than in an entire Premiership match.
Compare a Manchester United-Liverpool game to one between Barcelona and Valencia (or even Bilbao v Sevilla). The first will be a feast of hard tackles, long balls, passes out to the wing for the return cross and a header home. The focus is on passion and physical strength. The other will have feature long-range shots, short passes, a skilled midfielder weaving his way through the opposition defence, step-overs, pirouettes, back-heels.
Which one would you choose?
The generalisation above of the Premiership omits, of course, the skills of individuals — Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp. The Arsenal trio and their support staff appear kings in front of the Wolves and Southampton defences, their skills stunning the opposition into submission. But take the game to them, as a few teams have done, and they can be sussed out.
It works the other way, too. Ever wondered why France, with teams in both the Champions League final (Monaco) and the UEFA Cup final (Marseilles), fared so poorly at Euro 2004? Because Jacques Santini picked a team made up almost entirely of players from the big clubs (Premiership, Serie A, Bundesliga) and omitting players from the domestic leaders. Of the 23 in the French squad, only seven played in the domestic league, of whom only Barthez was a starter.
Which is a bit like our channels showing the overhyped Premiership. The reason is, obviously, ad revenues and TV ratings. The Premiership simply attracts more viewers than any other league.
In the end, it’s all a bit cyclical really. If television were to go to South America and Africa, so would the Abramovichs of the world. Then, Ronaldo wouldn’t have to score his goals in the Bernabeu.
The problem’s with belling the cat. Till that happens, Henry will stay King.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Still Holden after all these years

Haven't often felt the inclination to write to writers on the Web. But this article a friend of mine sent me a link to deserved one. Don't know if I made my point, though. But here it is...

THE LINK: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43680-2004Oct18.html

Dear Jonathan Yardley,

Hi. Feel the introduce myself first: I am a journalist with an Indian English-language newspaper called The Indian Express. Writing to you after reading a piece you wrote on October 19 in The Washington Post.

Now, while I realise — and I can see that you have pre-empted — that your discussion of Salinger, Caulfield and Catcher will serve to off-put a number of readers, and I am sure you have received a few mails already, I feel the need to add to the pile. Or invade your desktop further as it were. [Note: Frankly, I don't think many Americans would have written in, because while Catcher remains an American classic, my reading of the America as we have it today suggests not many people would have read it in the last few decades and might not even be aware of Catcher or Holden]

Anyway...to get to the point: Umm, well, to say it straight, I don't agree with you on most counts. Though I thought I would having checked the headline: J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly. I agree totally with that, but I also believe that it shares the same problem that, say, Clockwork Orange has, or Natural Born Killers has, or even, as you do mention, James Dean pictures have. Ag(e)ing, that is. Catcher and Holden have to be encountered and countered strictly between ages 14 and 20. After that, well, they don't quite serve what Antoine Saint De-Exupery or his Little Prince does.

But, I will contradict you on where you call Holden "self-regarding and callow" in a critical way. Well, what's wrong with that? Who ever thought Holden was super? Holden's greatest achievement was in being self-regarding, callow, phon(e)y too. And being downright ridiculous.

You also write: "The combination of Salinger's execrable prose and Caulfield's jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil". Gaaah! 'Execrable prose'? Blimey! You might not like Catcher now, when you are older. But heck, this man also wrote Franny and Zooey and some masterly short stories which were published under Nine Stories. 'Jejune narcissism'! Yes. And how! And why not?

I think the prime problem with your thesis is that you have based far too much of your assessment on what people have said and felt about Catcher down the years. You rely far too heavily on that. It's like, you should really have approached a thesis on 'Why people think what they do of CITR and where they go wrong'. You are criticising a man and his work based on public perceptions of the man and his work. It's not so much what you found, having gone back to the book many years after you read it first, than all that you absorbed in the years in between.

Also — and I say this knowing full well that I am writing to a man about 20 times more qualified — I think you missed the point somewhat.

But thanks a ton for writing what you did. Found something worth thinking about, about a book I haven't seen anything interesting coming out on in ages.


Shamya Dasgupta

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On Ishiguro and James

I am currently three-quarters into my first Kazuo Ishiguro novel — A Pale View of Hills — and I can safely confirm that I have never been as impressed as this by anyone's first novel (both in terms of sequence and in terms of me reading them) in recent memory. I'm obviously not talking about Salinger or Douglas Adams or Lewis Carroll, et al.
I have a tendency of not being too swayed by recommendations, even if they come from people more qualified than me or people I trust on matters as these. Blame it on a history of being misled by reviews and stuff. That's why I decided to start with Ishiguro's thinnest novel I had access to (fortunately his first as well); even if it weren't great, I wouldn't have lost much. But I am now quite sure I am going to leave everything else and hit the other two Ishiguros Ajitha has. No way anything else is going to be prioritised.
Why do I think he is superb? Mainly because of his language. I don't know how many people enjoy it, but I am a big one for conversational writing and movie-making. I love his feel for the language and I love his feel for story-telling. And — I will post a blog again after finishing the book — I am sure I will find a few more appreciative things to say by the end of the book.
Why is the blog headed 'Ishiguro and James'? Because I usually pick up two or three books together, leave a majority of them unfinished, and continue in this vein. This is important, because I have never before looked forward to reading something as I was when it came to C L R James' Beyond A Boundary. I have been looking for it everywhere; on the Net, in second/third-hand bookstores, libraries...everywhere. Never found it. My sister was away on vacation to England, and I sent her frantic messages to try and track down the book. She brought back a rather new (1998, and therefore disappointing) edition, but it was still 'Beyond A Boundary'! The words were the same, right! So that's what I am reading simultaneously with Ishiguro.
It doesn't usually work like this though. really looking for a particular book. I remember Ajitha searching high and low for Poppy Z Brite's 'Swamp Foetus'. She tracked it down on the Net, and we now have the same book at home, republished as 'Wormwood'. Or is it 'Woodworm'. The way it usually works for me is finding a book in the bookstore or at a friend's. Buying it, or borrowing it, or whacking it. That's usual. But I have never searched as high and as low as I have for 'Beyond a Boundary'. And now, despite being as impressed by it as I thought I would and should be, I can't seem to get Ishiguro out of my mind.
Coming back to Ishiguro; he has to be the greatest thing to happen to English language writing since Douglas Adams. If anyone hasn't read him, start. And finish.

With the Raj

I have to admit that I often skew well towards not being so journalistic when meeting some of my boyhood cricket heroes. It does happen with non-cricketers too, but how many really big heroes do we meet sitting here in India? You know, the names I grew up with.
When watching cricket was a purer experience; I watched, like most of us, without thinking much about negatives. Just the game and me. Almost as if it was being played out for me. I was the only one doing the analyses. Later, usually when no one else was around, picking up the bat and copying the shots they played. Totally pure, stupid though that sounds.
It's basically a meeting with Raj Singh Dungarpur on Sunday evening that got me all swayed. I had gone to meet him about the controversy surrounding the BCCI elections really, not a hero worship trip or anything. You know, the 'seamy side' and stuff like that. And, well, 90 per cent of the time we spent was in discussing Jagmohan Dalmiya and Inder Bindra and A C Muthiah and other such jerks.
But then, there was Raj Singh Dungarpur I was with. And I had to bring in some talk of cricket down the years and institutions like the Cricket Club of India and things like that. Not because I had to. Only because I needed to. For myself. Here was a crook sitting opposite me in the Taj Palace lobby...telling lies, yes papa. Contradicting himself. Making a general fool of himself. But then, it was still Raj Singh Dungarpur.
The not-plaebian demeanour, the slightly patronising smile, the arm on the shoulder from time to time. The use of those Victorian phrases that went out with Lady Mountbatten and The Englishman. The "I wanted for you but I left the lobby because you were not there on time, please wait another twenty minutes" crap! (I was five minutes before time, his watch —as we found out to his embarrassment later —was off) It all added up.
And, well, I asked for his autograph later....
And, well, the story has since been spiked.

Selling Women's Soccer

This isn't a blog really. And really not in keeping with the whole intention behind hitting the blog-world. It's an article I wrote, a review, for Biblio - A Review of Books. Rather liked what I wrote; always such a pleasure when you are given such a lot of space to fill. If you don't know the feeling, check with a newspaper friend you might have. The book was one of the more interesting to have come my way and was right up my alley in the sense that the subject was one very close to my heart. So I let fly...and here's what I came up with.


It was Sepp Blatter’s statement a few months back that gave you time to stop and think a bit about women’s football all over again.
No one thought women’s football was going great guns or moving up the acceptability ladder. Truth be told, not much has happened on or off the field since Brandi Chastain’s bra-flip (after scoring US’ World Cup winning goal against China in 1999), and so much else happening in women’s sports in general across the world. Women’s football tended to slip out of public consciousness.
Blatter, the FIFA chief, said one fine afternoon — not drunk or looking any funnier than usual — that the only chance women’s football has of making it big in TV or elsewhere is if the players show a bit of skin. You know…. What’s with thigh-length shorts and tees anyway? The ball and the goalposts are incidental, you have the bods, make it more beach volleyballish? Strip down. Move up.
To quote him (January 2004): “Women’s soccer needs different sponsors from the men’s game. Fashion, cosmetics — those would be the possible partners. More must be done with this. Tighter shorts, for example. Let the women play in more feminine uniforms than men. Pretty women are playing football today. Excuse me for saying that.”
Now, while a few footballers from England, Canada and the US feigned indignance at Herr Blatter’s gall, strangely enough, there wasn’t too much of an uproar from the scores of NGOs and other bodies dealing with women’s issues. No clue why. Was it because ‘Sepp Blatter’ on Google now showed a story on women footballers right on top of the list? Or was it just something everyone, collectively, chose to gloss over? A couple of editorials about ‘Sepp plays foul’ or ‘Sepp’s gone offside again’ are all we got.
Of the retorts, while some expressed outrage, uneducated responses came from players like Swiss captain Evelyn Zimmerman, who could only say “those shorts are uncomfortable” and a few others, who asked for Blatter to make similar demands of the men.
Norway international Lise Klaveness made somewhat more sense: “If the crowd only wants to come and watch models, they should go buy a copy of Playboy.”
Which brings us to Soccer, Women, Sexual Liberation – Kicking Off a New Era. In the Olympic year, the contemporaneity of the collection hits home. The Games, down the years, has been a veritable ‘Sports, Women, Sexual Liberation’ saga and with the world as it is at the moment, 2004 had more than its share of stories of women’s liberation, especially from countries across the Islamic spread.
While the book itself concentrates on football; tracing the evolution of women’s football from around the world, discussing the myths associated, raising troubling questions and providing enough answers, the thread that goes through the book isn’t only about football. It’s to do with women in general, sports in general, and women in sports per se.
The back flap reads — just to explain the editors’ considerations — “Women’s soccer…has been subject to scant scrutiny. Little has been written about its history or about how its growth reflects important trends in world, such as feminism, commercialism and globalism.” It goes on to say: “This collection…examines its progress, and the challenges and problems it has faced. It shows how women’s football has made a significant contribution to female emancipation in many countries. It traces the sport’s evolution in the face of resistance, rejection and prejudice, and describes women’s struggle for equal rights in a male-dominated world.”
The Olympic equivalent that comes to mind straightaway is that of Nawal El Moutawakel. The name is incidental, the story universal. Of how it takes a superhuman effort for a woman in male-dominated societies to cross hurdles and shatter glass ceilings. At Los Angeles in 1984, Nawal became the first African, the first Moroccan, and the first Muslim woman Olympic gold medallist.
She wasn’t the first Moroccan woman to run in shorts. In fact, she was at an advantage because she studied at the Iowa State University in the US. But she caught the cusp of a movement and rode the wave.
Nawal is today the sports minister of her fast-progressing country and as part of her job, she is trying her darnedest to bring more women into sports, and more importantly, work on the mindset of the society as a collective. Speaking to me last year, Nawal had said, “Nowadays, women take part in every other sports in most parts of the world. But the veils remain. In Morocco, as in the rest of the Arab world, we have very strong taboos. My real aim is to achieve success in this area, using sports as a tool. I know I can’t move mountains, but barriers can be broken.”
Cut to Athens 2004 and a series of Nawal-like stories have made it to the dailies across the world. Well, not Nawal-like really, in the sense the people we are talking about haven’t struck gold. But when an Iranian woman – in her burqa – makes it to the shooting range, or when a Pakistani 16-year-old plunges into the swimming pool, or a Bahraini, an Iraqi and an Afghan woman wear body-suits and dash a 100 metres, you realise that a few hundred miles have been covered.
Coming to Soccer, Women… the common thread running through the book is of hope. Of optimism. Yes, the studies tell a grim tale. History hasn’t been positive. As co-editor J A Mangan writes in the prologue: “Women’s advance in modern sport has been too frequently characterised by condescension and confrontation, denial and defiance, proscription and persistence, and too often, by necessary forced entry and grudging accommodation.”
But while the collection we have at hand is one of a series, the basic problem is that it treats itself far too much like a series. If we are talking of women’s football and all the problems it has had these years in carving an identity for itself, we will have to move out of the First World. Of the 14 pieces, not one discusses the Muslim world. Where, believe it or not, things are improving.
It’s all about the developed world, so why won’t it be positive? Why won’t there be hope? Or optimism? Admittedly, the success stories give us a model to work with. Gives us a picture of one side of the story. But is it enough?
Optimism is good. If anything, the Olympic Games is in-your-face evidence of how women’s sport has developed down the years. But if we are going to be discussing sexual liberation of women in the context of football, a collection sequenced USA, Canada, China, Korea, India, Denmark, England, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, Africa: Senegal-Nigeria-South Africa and Brazil is far from complete. It deals with countries where the women’s game was never encouraged but where, eventually, things turned around. Or, as the case might be, things are in the process of turning around.
Yes, there is the token Asian-African presence. But it appears too obligatory. If we are going to discuss the developed world, let’s keep it to that. If we are going to bring in India and Nigeria, let’s go the whole hog.
Without going into the merits and demerits of each study — while clarifying that all of them do a fair job of going deep into the heart of the matter in their respective countries and present a fair picture of the development (or lack of it, more often) of the game therein — it’s best to look at the overall picture. The problem a lot of writers here face is the lack of published material or empirical studies of women’s football in their countries of choice. But despite that, the snapshots are detailed.
What we are looking at really, as Mangan mentions in his chapter Managing Monsters, is “the crucial issue to be confronted in the future, to a greater extent beyond Europe and North America than within them, is the role government — national and local — will need to play in the 21st century. Both state and public sector organisations have an obligation to ensure essential social services including educational and leisure opportunities for involvement in sport.” He carries on, correctly, “Soccer, Women…reveals disquieting tendencies in both northern and southern hemispheres to abrogate these responsibilities — in total and in part. It is equally clear that action to halt this tendency will only be made when women have a voice — individually and collectively — on state and public sector decision, and have a presence at local and national levels. This must be a priority for the future.”
Success — relative, because outside of North America, women’s football hasn’t been able to match the popularity of men’s football yet — in the Scandinavian countries is encouraging. The studies were instructive because it is easy to imagine that Sweden, Denmark and Norway are fairytale countries, where problems are duly dealt with and everyone can fight for and get their dues. One assumes that women wouldn’t have had a problem finding acceptance on the football fields there. But as Kari Fasting’s essay on Norway and Jonny Hjelm-Eva Olofsson’s piece on Sweden clarify, it wasn’t so easy. And then again, Anne Brus-Else Trangbaek’s tale of the ‘ten-year struggle’ of women’s football in Denmark makes you wonder at the disparity in issues between these countries and a place like India. And we are not even attempting to consider the Muslim world.
India, though technically non-Muslim and unorthodox, is a deeply conservative system. Orthodoxy and conservatism seep out of every pore of this ancient nation. The movie Bend It Like Beckham — used in the study as an entry point — is a good indicator of exactly how things are in a traditional Indian home. However, BILB being based in modern-day England, the feel-good ending shouldn’t be construed as a generalisation.
In Indian sport, success (just taking part most often) for women comes at a high price. Social acceptance, not finding an appropriate ‘match’ and general apathy being only one part of it.
Women’s football never really took off in India. Boria Majumdar conclusion — that “the popularity of a film (BILB) which shows an Indian woman excel in football, is a telling comment on the changing mentality towards women’s football in the country. BILB is proof that all is not lost for women and the years to come may present a different scenario” — might not be optimism correctly placed. Simply because zilch is about how much women’s football finds space on the agenda of the All India Football Federation or the Indian Football Association.
Movies like Mother India, Insaaf Ka Taraazu, Mirch Masala and Mrityudand have also been successful, but the position of women in Indian society hasn’t changed much unless we base our theories on the faux metro atmosphere.
As for Latin America, we might have gained from a study that went beyond Brazil. While Sebastiao Votre and Ludmila Mourao surprise us by confirming that it was only around the late 1970s that women footballers found acceptance in Brazil (thank heavens for the beaches in Rio de Janeiro), a bit on Columbia, Uruguay, Argentina, etc could have been equally interesting. The three nations just mentioned, and also Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, etc are completely football-crazy nations. As is Brazil. If it was difficult in Brazil, comparatively less hypocritical than the other nations, the stories from the rest of the block were bound to be equally poignant.
The saddest part of the story, though, is that the future just may prove Blatter right. If television is the yardstick for acceptability — and audience-appeal the means to that — women’s football may have to pay a high price. In terms of the commodification of women’s bodies and the trivialisation of the spirit of football. Negotiations between sports administrators and television networks usually end with major compromises. And it’s sport that is usually compromised.
In the context of Blatter’s January Slur, it was Canadian women’s team coach Even Pellerud who made the most sense: “If FIFA or soccer nations are not able to sell the product (women’s football), maybe there’s another problem than how the players look. Maybe there should be better marketing people.”
Which is basically the crux of the matter. Television needs to see the money. If it does, then the chain reaction will ensure the advancement and development of women’s football across the continents. The question is: How far are we willing to go?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

SE7EN: *ing Anil Kumble

It's always quite strange seeing Anil Kumble picking up so many wickets. Yeah, I know it was the Chepauk, it was where Kumble and many others (Harbhajan, Hirwani, et al) have picked sackfuls of wickets in the past. But then, when it's the Australians at the opposing end, you always tend to feel that they would have worked out some way of avoiding eventualities like these.
And that is after taking into account the fact that they just can't play spin.
The argument, of course, can't explain why Harbhajan picked 32 the last time the two sides played in India. Except probably that he was brand new at the time and therefore an unknown of sorts.
But Kumble's show today is especially intriguing because the Aussies, and the English to a lesser extent (and obviously with considerably inferior ability and locus standi), have tried their darnedest down the years to humiliate the man. "Play him like a medium pacer", they went to town saying.
And it worked bloody well. Newcomers — usually Kumble's bunnies — didn't get out to him as often as they used to. It was just all in the mind. An average bowler in any case (yes, despite his 400-odd), Kumble was reduced to a Gavin Larsen-like wicket-to-wicket bowler. Nothing more, nothing less.
What changed it, to my mind, is the spell he bowled in Melbourne earlier this year, picking six. What else, tell me, explains his figures in the final Test in Sydney? There, Kumble picked eight and four! And strangely — because the Australians usually don't get too psyched by stuff like this — they appear to have carried the Melbourne-Sydney memories with them here.
That's probably what earned him his seven wickets here.
And I maintain that Kumble is not, repeat not, a good bowler.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Setting things up

Not a proper blog or anything. Just to be able to see something in the space we just registered.
Have no idea why we are setting it up. Just that a friend set one up recently and has been using it quite obsessively since. Usually trust him on things like these, so thought it might be an interesting sort of thing to do. Keeping a diary, or just jotting down basic thoughts don't happen too often on pen and paper anymore, blame it on work and keyboards.
So a blog seems a fair way of solving the problem. Ajitha and I (Shamya) plan to update this once in a way. Have no idea how others can access it, but that's not dreadfully urgent or anything. Long as we can put up some stuff from time to time and can read them whenever we want....
Are we supposed to introduce ourselves here as well? Dunno. Will save it for some other time. And we will keep the blogs coming.