Not exhaustive, and in no particular order:

  • Ice cream over chocolate.
  • Lord of the Rings over Star Wars, but….
  • Obi Wan Kenobi over Gandalf.
  • PoA over GoF.
  • Snape over everyone else.
  • Coffee over Tea.
  • Adidas over Nike.
  • Bjorn Borg over Federer.
  • Natalie Portman over Keira Knightly.
  • Madhubala over the rabble.
  • Chandler Bing over George Costanza.
  • Oranges over apples.
  • Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G: Prelude over the Fur Elise.
  • Calculus over Linear Algebra.
  • Tutun-tutun over calculus.
  • Han Solo over Mal Reynolds.
  • River Tam over Cameron.
  • Terminator-1 over Terminator-2: Judgment Day.
  • iPod over Zune.
  • Fedora over Ubuntu.
  • Google over Apple.
  • Peanuts and Calvin &Hobbes over xkcd and PHD comics.
  • Led Zeppelin over Pink Floyd.
  • Pasta over Pizza.
  • Jogging over the gym.
  • Autumn over Spring.
  • The Sea over Mountains.
  • Foundation over Dune.
  • ‘And Then There Were None’ over ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ and ‘Murder on the Orient Express’.
  • On that point, Agatha Christie over Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • ‘Lost World’ over ‘Jurassic Park’ (The books).
  • Sony Ericsson over Nokia.
  • Intel over AMD.
  • Cherry blossoms over plum blossoms.
  • Malligai (jasmine to the saner) over roja (rose).
  • “May the Force be with you” over “Live long and prosper”.
  • Porsche over Ferrari (almost always).
  • Scuderia Ferrari over McLaren (always).
  • Nikon over Canon.
  • Donald Duck over Bugs Bunny (This is the one that started it all.). Also, in general, Disney over any other animation studio. Except, in certain instances, Pixar.
  • AoE over any other non-Flash game.
  • Manga over anime.
  • Watchmen over V.
  • Batman over Rorschach (Interestingly, I got the spelling right on the first try.).
  • WordPress over Blogger (Kind of obvious).
  • Firefox over Chrome (need you ask?).
  • Haddock over Thompson and Thomson.
  • The Jackal over the next ‘great’ villain in fiction.
  • 42 over phi.

The Faded Red Shirt

Nineteen ninety-eight was, for many reasons, one of the landmark years in my life. There was the transition from shorts to pants in school. There was the change of position from second in English to the topper in the same.  There was the introduction to integers, which scared the hell out of me. Yes sir, ’98 was a definite leap into the world outside.

The summer of ninety-eight was also the season of the first World Cup I followed from the first match. My footballing experience was limited to breaking the window in the living room, knocking off the tea-cup from the coffee table, giving myself a hard time by bouncing the ball off my then-insanely tall brother’s legs onto my stomach, and general gambolling on the once lush green park outside the block. Not many people joined me. India was, and still is a cricket crazy nation, but I was gifted with my brother’s basketball, volleyball, tennis racquets, table tennis bats, badminton racquets, game of Life, chess set, Hungry Hippos (yes, I still played it, so eat me), and football, of course, apart from his cricket bats (in the plural, ladies and gentlemen). There were quite a few other things I inherited, including the miscellaneous Lego pieces that got jumbled up and distributed among three huge boxes, but let us stick to the physical sports for now.

Where was I? So, when the World Cup  was supposed to kick off, I had already caught the fever for international sports that raged in my family. I had already worn out my Maradona belt (which is surprising, since my family supported A Selecao, no idea how to get the funny French ‘c’, all the way), though I am not entirely sure I ever outgrew it, and needed something new to proclaim my allegiance to the sport. My ever uneasy eyes turned to the TOI we used to get then, in that more innocent age, and I saw the Great Coke Challenge, as I now like to call it. It was pretty simple. ‘Describe, in 50 words, what you like about football, and WIN!’ The eleven year old I was, I took the task to heart, and since it was little more than writing practice, I got all the encouragement I needed. The top prize was a kick-off ball from the World Cup. I do not remember the second, but the third, which I did win, was a Coca-Cola key chain, and a red Coke t-shirt. For those of you who are raising eyebrows at this moment at the sheer genius of  the eleven year old who could write something good enough to send to a competition and be received with more than mere laughs, nya-nya-nyaaaah! For the rest, yes, my brother helped me more than a little bit.

The shirt was beautiful. If Seinfeld loved Golden-Boy, there is little you could say that would describe how I cherished this one. Man U and Liverpool fans would have died for it, and the rest would have been awed by the splendour and vibrancy of the colour. There were problems, though. It was many sizes too large for me. And so it went to my brother, as his share of the spoils. I was quite happy with the key chain, having just got a new cycle, and itching to try out the new lock I had installed. Eight years ahead, I would get to know the frailty of the ring around the wheel.

The shirt was worn once. The day it was washed, my white socks turned pink, and I was glad I did not have my beloved Popeye t-shirt in the wash. And just like that, the colour went away. It was a pity. I could not wear the shirt for the first game, let alone the finals. But I did finger my key chain with the air of a person who had accomplished only half the goal, an assist that went perfectly, but a strike gone awry.

I grew into the shirt, but I never did wear it. It is kept somewhere in the recesses of the cupboard, a reminder of the craze that enveloped the house that time. I took it out in ’06, but put it back, resisting the urge to scream and shout as I used to.

The key chain fell and broke sometime in the first three years of the decade. It lived a long, full life.

Experiments in Chick-Lit

I finished Little Women without opening the freezer even once through the reading. Then, true to Litta spirit, I read the afterword, and went on to read the wiki articles on Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism and Abolitionism. I would go on, but the list drags a bit.

One thing that struck me as odd was how critics praised the book for being true to real life. And sure enough, Ms. Alcott had based it on her own. Jo struck me as a particularly well-chiseled character. Apparently, the author never intended for her to get married, but on being pressured to do so, set her own standards and appalled a lot of young girls and old women in the 1860’s.

This was all very well, but what struck me was how unrealistic most of the other characters were. The girls were given foibles to endear them to the reader, but the parents were grown up Goody Two Shoes’. The girls all grew up to be fine young women with fairly modern ideas, but then almost completely following their parents on the path to Heaven.

Now, as far as chick-lit goes, there are definitely that have been better planned and better written. Jane Austen, who Tejo wishes never graced the already stuffy halls of pre-Victorian English, made a better job of disguising her characters. The language may have been more tortuous, but the books were infinitely more believable. In contrast, Ms. Alcott’s thinly veiled campaign for feminism sounded like a guide to get to the next best thing to Utopia. Her arguments favouring charity to the poor gentry show that though she has suffered much, she really had no idea how the ‘beggars’, who, according to her, ‘get by’, really suffer.

One point in favour of the book, though, is the language. I never had much stomach for Dickens, except for that delightful piece of work called The Christmas Carol, and I expected a very similar kind of treatment from this book. It would do well to remember that, for all their egregious digressions from the English language, Americans do write in a more practical way. That, and the occasional touches of humour that lighten up the suffocating gravitas of the novel.

I do wish I had a Wodehouse at hand right now, but as I possess neither the book nor the funds to procure one, I will have to settle with seeing Joey cry before Beth dies. Should I have mentioned spoiler alert?