Putu the Cat

Fear me, if you dare. Meow.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Putu's IWE XI

In tribute to the Indian XI for winning a Test (Putu's stopped watching, but is clapping enthusiastically anyway) here is the team Putu will send in as soon as Dalmiya decides how much money he's willing to pay this feline SuperSelector.
In batting order:


1. VS Naipaul: While dogged by controversy and demands for retirement, this swashbuckling batsman, while undoubtedly past his prime, remains a bankable opener. Though not one of Putu's personal favourite, a smart cat knows who's in with the board, and gets paid that much extra for not questioning hierarchies
2. Vikram Seth: One of Putu's favourite batsmen, both for his incomparably elegant style and his ability to stick in there under pressure and notch up really impressive triple centuries. A natural top-order batsman.
3. Salman Rushdie: Style over substance, say some. Substance abuse, say others. But on his day, an aggressive, innovative matchwinner, and probably the most popular batsma in the country. Though excessive attention to celebrity endorsements remains a problem. Rumours that his selection has been influenced by his wife's decision to keep the manager as a pet are wholly unfounded.
4. Hari Kunzru: Another media favourite, this promising middle-order bat and medium-pacer brings a cool, collected mind, a mean leg-cutter and an incredible hunger for runs with him every time he comes to the crease. Combines the ability to pick quick, steady singles and hit the occasional loose ball out of the ground when batting, and usually picks up a couple of wickets as well. Though young and relatively untested, he could be India's all-rounder of the future. Questions about his eligibility (the Indianness of his origin is somewhat questionable) are usually started by jealous rival teams
5. Amitav Ghosh: Would have made it as a specialist wicketkeeper, but it helps that he is also arguably the teams best batsman. his dogged refusal to seek the spotlight is possibly the only reason for his place in the middle order. COnsistently rescues the team from tight situations, and is the rock on which the whole team stands. His recent appointment as Captain was met with universal approval, except, it is rumoured, among some of the more senior players in the dressingroom.
6. Jhumpa Lahiri: Young and scarily talented, she's building up an immense reputation, and you will find a queue of endorsement seekers and autograph seekers at her door every day. Immensely cool and composed test batsman, and rumoured to be the captain of the future.
7. Arundhati Roy: Lethal strike bowler, capable of generating genuine pace. OFten in trouble with umpires because of her habit of breathing fire both on and off the pitch, but her fearsome ability to intimidate and outwit batsman makes her an automatic choice for any team. Also a brilliant finisher with the bat in the one-day game, though she has a distressing tendency to hit four sixes in succession and then give the bowler a simple return catch.
8. Amit Chaudhuri: Useful medium pacer, slow but determined lower-order bat. Has the ability to bowl the same line relentlessly, frustrating batsman to tears and leading them to throw their wickets away.
9. Ashok K Banker: A somewhat controversial choice, but made the team for his scary ability to generate spin. A handy bat, too, and often indispensible in the slog overs, though prone to silly run-outs.
10. Shobha(aa?) De: Roy's strike partner, and almost as deadly. Displayed sizzling pace and an incredible ability to swin the ball both ways in her earlier years, and while she's adopted a more conservative, less flamboyant style now, the middle stumps just keep falling.
11. Chitra Banerjee Divakarni: Gifted leg-spinner, generates a great amount of both turn and bounce, and is never scared to give the ball a great deal of flight. Gets hit around the park occasionally, but never fails to entertain.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Happy Birthday

....to me. Putu is a year older today. Putu will not tell readers Putu's age, and assumes that such questions are unseemly. But it is that time of the year that Putu indulges in a little bit of nostalgia. For those of you who've written to me asking me a bit about my life, I'm not going to tell-all. But here are some basic facts. I was born under a bed in what I was later told was a nice comfortable cushioned box. My mother, the redoubtable Ms Leni Bose, who is still alive and healthy, and a true matriarch, brought me up with an iron hand. Her one weakness however was a neighbour of ours, Mr Prasenjit, whose untimely death as a result of a midnight fight threw my mother into a fit of depression. My family, who have all called to wish me, includes Mr Bhojohori Manna, a handsome young gentleman who is unfortunately somewhat coming to terms with his sexuality, Mr Bolohori Manna, an equally virile young man, who came to terms with his sexuality a while ago, Miss Bhutni Datta, my aunt, friend, philosopher and guide. Putu has always believed in the philosophy of non-discrimination as enshrined in our glorious Constitution- that we shall not discriminate on the basis of case, gender, race, sex, sexual orientation and so on. Unfortunately, Putu's own family has never quite followed that principle, and Ms Bhutni, who is well, rather, 'wheatish' in complexion (well, okay, let's be politically incorrect, she's black. There, I said it. She's black), but has lovely green eyes, has always been somewhat mis-treated. Now that she's older, wiser and leads a quiet solitary life, those around her are beginning to appreciate her quiet dignity. I love her a lot and wish she was right here on my birthday.

Ni Hao Ma Mr Tarentino

And that is all the Mandarin Putu knows, if that is Mandarin at all. It seems that the next time Putu wants to kill Bill, it will have to be in Mandarin. The maverick director Quentin Tarantino has announced that the next movie he's making will be entirely in Mandarin. Apparently he's planning to make two versions of the movie, one with English subtitles, and the other badly dubbed into English as a tribute to the original 'chopsucky' movies. According to Tarantino: “My next movie is gonna be another kung fu film that’s gonna blow your asses off. "

And in movie related news, controversial Dutch director, Theo Van Gogh was assassinated in the early hours of the morning yesterday. His movie about a Somalian Muslim refugee, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is a member of the Dutch Parliament and calls herself an 'ex Muslim'. The movie, titled Submission, is a semi-autobiographical account of her life after she was forced into an arranged marriage, raped and brutalized. Ali, a right wing politician, has openly denounced the Islamic faith and called on Dutch Muslims to integrate more fully into society. Of course, what is truly troubling is that now both Muslim fundamentalists and Muslim haters are going to rejoice at this episode.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The second coming of Condie Rice

As....the female Darth Vader. Given that election fever is in the air, Putu will blog a few more election/entertainment type thingies. Anyway, so the American cartoon Boondocks is threatening to take over from where the Simpsons left off. Funny, irreverent, critical of the Bush administration, the cartoon strip appears in nearly 300 newspapers a cross the US, and now, a TV series has been commissioned as well. It recently got into hot water over the use of 'n-word' in a strip mocking the Apprentice, but his refusal to engage in the usual flag waving patriotism after 9/11 had been banned by a few papers like the NY Daily News. You can check out more Boondocks toons here.

Oh, and while you're at it, you could try giving Bush a brain?


Monday, November 01, 2004

It's all about knickers, doh

Really, the USP of the new Bridget Jones' movie, is not its startingly feminist director, or the weight that Zellweger puts on for the role, it's the news that she Fed Exes her underwear to avoid airport security. Woah...what exactly in your underwear would get the metal detector beeping Ms Jones?

Moshing against Bush

Eminem's new video for Bush encourages voters not to vote for the incumbent president in tomorrow's elections. Full of hard hitting (but not terribly original) lyrics such as "Let the President answer on high anarchy, strap him with an AK-47, let him go fight his own war", "No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil" and concluding with "If I get sniped tonight you'll know why, because I told you to fight." The video ends with a black screen and the words "Vote November 2".

From Butter Chicken to the Buddha

Is indeed a long way to travel. Which is precisely what Pankaj Mishra has done, and if William Dalrymple is to be believed, he's travelled it rather well. Mishra's latest book, An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World covers "an intimidatingly wide sweep of territory and moves rapidly from the period of the Vedas to that of the Enlightenment, then onto to the world of Osama bin Laden, stopping en route in the company of such diverse figures as Mahavira, Hieun Tsang, Hobbes, Nietzsche, Marx, Schopenhauer, Borges, Sayyid Qutb, Swami Vivekananda, various Buddhist missionaries and a mixed bag of Naga sadhus and gun-wielding Islamists." Phew. But Dalrymple also argues that Mishra is successful precisely because of who/what he is not- a part of the Stephens'/Doon mafia and so he can write about the grim realities of life in provincial Bihar and UP with an authenticity that those inhabiting East Coast universities cannot. Ouch.