Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best of 2006

Not a bad year, after all. Added one line to my CV (professionally). And changed another. Marital status went from "Married" to "Married with a son".

Since everybody is doing it, I thought I might as well join in. Deciding the Best of 2006, that is. So, I will just take some of the topics I usually write about and arbitrarily choose the best that I came across in the last one year.
Since I was grounded for part of the year and prejudiced for all of it, any pretensions at objectivity are best avoided!

Cinema
* Lage Raho Munnabhai: For just one line, actually. "Gandhi to note ke upar aata hain, bhai. Lekin Jayanti kaun hain?"

* Khosla Ka Ghosla: For being the Most Real-Life Depiction of Daylli. "Khosla-saab, aap to South Delhi waale ban gaye..."

* Omkara: For Langda Tyagi.
(Disclaimer: I have not seen The Departed yet.)

Food
* Mutton Barra Kabab at Minar (GK I Market): In the city of kababs, this manages to come out right on top with exactly the right amount of crispness (but not burnt) at the edge of the bone and the right amount of juiciness (but not uncooked) in the meat.

* Gandharaj Bhetki at Oh Calcutta: Fish flavoured with a fragrant variety of lemon. With a smattering of ginger and green chillies. One second… let me wipe the drool off the keyboard.

* Page 3 Murders: Kalpana Swaminathan’s murder mystery starring a female detective (Lalli) with the backdrop of a sumptuous banquet was quite brilliant, if not for the detection but for the elaborate description of exceptional food, complete with history, recipes and reactions. Slurp!

Sports
* Zidane vs Brazil: Unfortunately, I am unable to forget that move in which he received the ball with his back towards Ronaldo. He turned and in one movement, tapped the ball over Ronaldo’s head with his left foot, trapped it with his right and moved ahead. I must have read some 100,000 words on Guardian’s website about Ronaldo’s weight problem. He proved it to me in 1.2 seconds.

* Sourav Ganguly vs Greg Chappell: Just when ESPN and Ten Sports were finalizing their contracts for getting the former captain into the commentary box, he came back. As India’s Great White Hope against pace bowling! And made a 51* which made more headlines than Sehwag’s 309. When last heard, Greg Chappell’s cronies were claiming that the dropping was intentional… apparently to increase Sourav’s hunger. Moral of the Story: Never mess with a Bengali! (Ask Ratan Tata!)

Humour
* The Great Indian Laughter Champions: I always consider Kingfisher as a travel option (despite being a lot more expensive) for the simple reason that they show recordings of Raju Srivastav, Naveen Prabhakar and gang on the in-flight TV. Specially recommended – Raju’s sketch on how an antacid tablet takes directions inside a tummy suffering from indigestion.

* Lo Kallo Baat: A desi version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Anchored by Saurav Shukla, it had cameos by little known comic actors and after a few warm-up episodes, they came up with some really good extempore stuff. Specially recommended – Ad-libbed spoofs of popular songs when the end credits rolled.

Books
* John Wright's Indian Summers – The reticent former coach turned out to be a fabulous raconteur, an elephant as far memory is concerned and of course, a much better coach in hindsight! The biggest draw of the book probably is his steadfast refusal to name names so one is left trying to decipher the “a former Indian captain from Bombay”, “a selector from Eastern Zone” or “India’s biggest liquor baron”… Go figure!

* Sacred Games - Vikram Chandra's wrist-sprainer for being the most definitive, most representative, most imaginative guide book to India's Maximum City.

Blogs
Posts actually. The last few months was actually the first time I (along with the entire planet and their cousins) read, enjoyed and kept coming back for more blogs.

So here are my favourite posts of 2006! No explanations are given, none are needed either!

* Why I Love the Barjatyas – Dilnavaz
* Happy Birthday – Dipanjan
* Oh Bombay – Udayan
* Close Encounters of the Head-butting Kind – Suprio
* Balle Balle in Delhi – Sidin
* Project World Cup – GreatBong
* Mr and Mrs Arora - Issac
* Why I wanted a daughter? And why I am glad I had a son – Mad Momma
* Bor Ashbey Ekkhuni - Rimi
* The September 6 Kid - Yours Truly

The last (rather pompous) addition is out of a sense of wonder that I am having so much fun with a person who cannot speak, is bald and loves to stay naked. Blowing air into my son's face and watching him smile has been the most satisfying thing I have done last year.
If on Sept 6 '05, somebody had asked me whether I would ever give away my Calvin & Hobbes collection, I would have laughed. Exactly 365 days later, I had somebody to whom I would not only happily give my C&H albums to, but would throw in my Ray DVDs and Feluda novels as well.
I think 2006 will go down in my life as the year I left Bohemia to become a citizen of Utopia. The Year of Changing Priorities.

Wish you all a great 2007!
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