Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Barbie Tale for Boo

One day, when dinner was done, and there was nothing nice on TV, and Baby Boo's dad was fidgeting with the DVD player for lack of something better to do, Baby Boo tugged at his sleeve and said, "Tell me a story." Now Baby Boo's daddy was a nice guy, and usually was very accomodative in most matters like whether to play or not, whether to watch cartoons or some weird animal-life feature, or whether to wait for sweets till after lunch or go for it straightaway, if there was one thing he really disliked, it was telling stories. But Baby Boo loved stories, and had gradually been able to wean out every single story her dad knew, and all this in the four short years of her life alone. Daddy knew he had a tough life ahead. He was outa stock.

He gently remonstrated with his daughter, "But Boo, I've already told you; I have no more stories left."

"Make one up," mamma said. "You're pretty good at that anyway." And she didn't smile.

"Grummmmunnnnunnnummm broooodummmmmbunnndrleee," Daddy said expansively to the DVD player, and, with tears in his voice, turned once more to Baby Boo. "Wouldn't you like Mamma to read one out to you? She looooves reading stories, especially at nighht, after the day is done."

Baby Boo rounded her eyes, pouted, and shook her head, and her curly locks swung to and fro. Ooon-hoonh. Daddy half smiled, half shrugged, picked up his daughter gently in his arms, and stalked off to the bed. "Don't blame me if it sucks," he said.

I still don't know why, but Baby Boo looked back at Mamma clearing the mess Daddy made before the DVD player and giggled.

And Daddy lay Baby Boo's head on the pillow, brushed her curls from her face, smoothened her curls, and told her this story.

"Once upon a time, there was a Barbie princess, and she lived in a beautiful castle filled with beautiful people and beautiful things. She was the only daughter of a very loving father, who was, evidently, the king of the land, and he loved her with all his heart. She had everything that a little girl could wish for, and she was the happiest child in the land.

"She was also amzingly lovely. Every day, when she would get up, the entire castle would come alive, smiling and bright and happy, because the castle, and everything and everyone in it, loved the barbie princess more than life itself. More than sheer beauty, however, it was her soul that won everyone's heart. She was kind to everyone, and smiled happily at all who came before her. She also had a very giving nature. She would share everything with anyone who wanted any of it. No wonder she never lacked friends. The Barbie princess grew up quickly, and with every passing day, she grew lovelier and gentler, and soon the day came when the king had to think about getting her married.

"Quite understandably, he hated the idea. The barbie princess might have been an icon of perfection to the entire world, to him, she was his Baby Boo -- Like you are my Baby Boo," Daddy said gently. Baby Boo smiled, and the dimples in her cheek made Daddy's heart hurt with warmth.

"So, he thought and thought, and after he had sat on the idea for a good month, he announced that Baby Boo would be married to a king or prince, and that too, of her choosing. "Let there be a swayamvara," he announced loudly."

Baby Boo perked right up and asked, "What's a swayamvara, daddy?"

"That's where a lady gets to be held responsible for her life's biggest mistake for the rest of her existence," said Mamma in a calm voice from the hall. baby Boo had no idea what that meant, but she knew it was meant for Daddy. She giggled and, looking expectantly at Daddy, waited for an explanation.

Daddy snickered briefly. "The swayamvara was held in a huge hall, and all the young kings and princes who wanted to marry the Barbie princess assembled there. The princess was to choose one of them, and they were all excited and nervous. Each one sized the other up, and prepared himself to make a good impression on the princess, because they all knew she was very beautiful and very good.

"At last, Princess Barbie came into the room, and she looked lovelier than ever before." "What was she wearing?" asked Baby Boo, who always was for attention to detail.

"Umm ... she wore a ... let's see ... she wore a nice, long red ghaagra, and a lovely red embroidered blouse, and a beautiful dupatta made of the finest silk in the world." "Shoes?" asked Baby Boo. "Sure," said the sage. "Velvet shoes with nice little heels." Baby Boo giggled happily; her picture was complete in her mind. Daddy's eye twinkled naughtily.

"And then suddenly, from out of nowhere, came a huge monster! He had huge red eyes and a forest of stubble, and his face was pock-marked. He carried a great tree trunk in his huge hand, like a club, and he wore a .... a bedsheet around his waist, and his hairy legs were dirty and caked with mud and he STANK!" Baby Boo stopped smiling and looked up questioningly at Daddy. "Wrong genre, no?" her eyes said.

"Sounds familiar," said a voice from across the hall.

-- To be Continued.

Monday, May 26, 2008


And now at last that T-20 has come and shown us how to sell
Something strange, though packaged neatly, let me also briefly dwell
Upon a dream game I would love to see played out upon my screen;
Something which I think should loop in many more eyeballs by the scene.

Identification, people, that is key to adoration true,
And if the junta can see themselves every time they see of you,
You are, I guarantee, quite truly unerringly on your way.
Sell soaps, snacks, cell phones, or whatever, folks will swing along your sway.

A forty-over match played out in stadiums lit like the sun,
Where Khan and Dada, Warne and Preity, play and act in unison?
Who are you fooling? This ain't cricket, people don't identify,
And that is why your moolah rake-in doesn't truly satisfy!

Here's Khan uncle busy endorsing a team built for a yuppy crowd
And Kingfisher peddling airline ads to rickshaw guys and street-side louts.
With snazzy uniforms and dashing players from across the globe,
Where is the nondescript, the common? Identification? Not a hope!

So here's my prescription, study it, read it, write it, get by heart:
G-10, a new force slowly dawning, stretching, rising this crow fart.
Ten players only, and all local, playing for their local side;
Supported by the local hoochies in the local countryside.

Simple rules, and simple audience; simple too will be its ads:
Local hotels, raddi wallahs, y'know, the local business-lads.
In streets shall our matches be played with a yellow tennis ball;
It's four at Lallan's shop, and sixes are beyond the lassi stall.

Local teams play local teams, all across this land I love
And inter-city matches due in stadiums, with lights above!
And now, the big-wig companies can pitch in too, should they so wish;
New uniforms for all the players, gourmet food with sweet side dish!

And let their ads rub shoulders with the ads of local investors,
First come-first served, but seating preference, reserved for players' anscestors.
And slowly, as match after match is won and lost, the cities vie
With each other to represent their state in the final tie.

The game now gets truly professional, with local skill and global cash
As experts from each local city come to coach the local lads,
It is a match up of the gully, city, state, and country, men;
And all the world shall watch in awe, our performances in G-10!

No politics, no religion, no celebrities, only play
Shall shine, and all the stars of cricket, play for streets on which they stay!
So yes, we shall have Sachin, Kumble, Dravid, walking hand in hand,
Playing as West Zone against the South Zone, say, in Eastern Eden Land.

There will be players, and the local lads shall stand among the great,
Amazing will be the involvement across the country, as each state,
Each city, town, and village feels the sense of oneness with a team,
And pure performance, true criterion, skims off from all the milk the cream!

Illiterate grannies, ragged urchine, auto wallahs, coolies too,
Shall cheer as one with business magnates, local dons and poe-lis too.
Brew genuine fame, create new legends, play a game the country plays,
And you shall have a good show going, on Sundays, though, and Saturdays.

This is the L-One plan, O players, plan the L2 and L3,
And if you like the idea, then come and confer quick with me.
Make much of me, and treat me, pay me well, and, Oh, just may be then,
I will give you the rights, the permission to play my Galli-Ten!