It’s For Real!

And I never have a punctutation, let alone an exclamation mark in my post titles, so you know it is.

It’s finally happening. Years of struggling and going unnoticed, and it’s finally happening. It’s taken, what, ten years, to get this far? To get as far as… coverage. I could cry.

Women’s cricket has made it to TV. It’s not a World Cup match either, women’s cricket, on its own accord , has made it to the telly. (Too bad I’m about ten days away from my last school exams ever, meaning super important tests, to be able to watch it completely, but that doesn’t take away the momentousness.)

All images from today’s game courtesy CSA’s Twitter.

The BCCI had agreed to stream the first few T20Is on its website, which was all nice, but the performances couldn’t just be ignored, not when they’re this good!

So today, folks, I proudly (would have liked to) bring to you, South Africa women vs India women, live from Wanderers, live off my telly (but I can’t because if I watch it, I’m headed towards an F grade. Not happening.) but the facts that you (probably) have a TV set (or an Internet connection) which you can put to good use, and the match is finally being broadcasted, means I don’t even need to do this.

Go on, head to the real thing, it’s really heating up (and I know, because you can’t stop me from checking the score every fifteen ten minutes), so happy watching, it’s live now!

PS: Still so happy.

I Can’t Hear Myself Think

I don’t know if that’s physically possible, but I’m feeling it right now.

My ears are ringing out of sheer shock. I have not heard a band play louder. (But then again, it may be argued that I haven’t had a chance to see Muse live. Yet.)

So every once in a while, miracles do happen.

(A little recap for context) After coming to know at 3:30 PM that British grunge/alt-rockers Wolf Alice were in town and playing a gig in the city at 7 PM, I had a long two-hour theatric on why I should be going.

It touched upon everything, a very versatile and diverse argument, I must admit.

I’m the science student, I’m paling because I’m in here studying, (absolutely irrelevant to a night gig– unless we’re talking about “darkening” due to pollution), how with me soon to be a full-time computer science student, I may just die before I get a whiff of life (… I don’t know if this is true, but I do not want it to be. Can anyone vouch for that?) how we’re not risk takers and are just not game for life, and why does it matter that we’re booking a few hours, and not a few days, before the gig?

Mum was particularly concerned about leaving my sister to study on her own for a few hours (and being unable to reach her because her phone’d Ben in aeroplane mode).

Anyway, I won’t bore you with gory details (according to my English teacher, I’m guilty of that often… to be fair, it was a chapter involving murder. But to get to the point now.)

Somehow, things worked out, and I have now bright prospects of a career in acting.

I went for the Wolf Alice gig.

Mum wouldn’t let me go by myself, but she did end up tagging along. She ended up spending her time taking a good long hour’s walk around pavements!

As for me, I was in.

Wolf Alice came on at 7:30, their set lasted nearly jour and was a good mix of new old stuff, though leaning on the side of songs off their latest album released on 29 September 2017, Visions Of A Life.

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Early on. (I’ll admit, phone photography isn’t the best, but is that the point of a live gig?)

The band was in the city for an Amnesty International awareness event, on violence against women online.

There seems to be some sort of trend, bands touring here for a cause (remember Coldplay and the Global Citizen fest, anyone?)

But anyway, it wasn’t amazing to see that they have a pretty neat following here! I could estimate around five hundred people, maybe more.

They have so much energy, they rock out like crazy. Second best new(ish) band I’ve seen! (After Royal Blood, of course. Seeing them live would be super cool, though!)

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Ellie Rowsell was tireless as the band kept belting out track after track, with just the occasional pause to interact with the crowd. Speaking of engagement, bassist Theo Ellis was incredible: the guy didn’t have a dead bone in his body!

Jumping around, inciting the crowd, grooving as he played his bass, he was in his own element.

There was only a slight hitch in the middle when guitarist Joff Odie’s guitar temporarily went dead as he helplessly tried to shake some sound out of it and ended up swinging it around for the rest of the song, annoyed, till he could make a swap for the next song. (My best bet for why he didn’t doc that before is preset sounds and settings.)

Personally, there was only one thing I wish was better, apart from which the band was perfect: they rock hard, take that from me. They’ve blown my ears out. Every hair on my arms was reverberating with the loud music, it was almost a wonder to me that the band was so comfortable, the speakers being right behind them. They were owning it.

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One of my personal favourite of this band’s gimmicks is towards the end of You’re A Germ, when Ellie’s vocals descend onto a manic, deranged laughter. It’s beautiful, and it’s perfect where it is in the song. But live, the intensity was a bit lower, and the laughter sounded kinda mechanical.

No fault of Rowsell’s, I can’t  imagine recreating that manic laugh every gig, and that’s what studio recordings are for, right? You go for a live gig for the experience, the emotions, raw and unfiltered, not polished or perfected over four takes.

But you can hear the manic laugh, and the rest of the song for yourself and decide!

The gig lasted roughly an hour, and it was one of the best hours of the year for me!

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(Do I sound like a music journalist here?)

Man, after seeing these guys live, my will to be up there on stage doing just what they’re doing has gotten even stronger. It’s back to my beloved piece of wood an month’s time! I’ve got a lot to catch up on.

This band rocks out almost like bands did in the nineties! And that’s a good thing.

We like them ‘cause they’re pure
We like them ‘cause we know they’re cool

(My little play on You’re a Germ’s lyrics,
He likes her ‘cause she’s pure
She’s likes him ‘cause she’s heard he’s cool

Minus the creepy connotations.)

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Lessons learnt?

Don’t ever pass up the gig. And don’t ever underestimate the power of a good argument. And the good bands will eventually come to a city near you– with their dedicated group of globe-trotting fans! Sure saw a lot of those today.

I have quite a few video grabs from the gig, from songs I am ore familiar with. Trust me, I’m a fan, I love these guys, but i haven’t been listening too much this year— not to much of anything, in fact! Catching up to do.

I can’t upload them, however, WordPress on my current plan doesn’t let me. Oh well. What’s YouTube for, right?

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(The videos were mostly for my sister, who did definitely pitch for me good; I don’t suppose mum would’ve agreed if she hadn’t been so thrown off by my sister’s support for my case, but I did mostly try to enjoy the  live experience.)

So with this gig and thousand-word review, (was it really a review? Perhaps not) I’ve ticked two things off my bucket list!

Now it’s back to integrating. The next time I upload pictures, it’s may  of a two-page long sum.

Integration… I currently can’t really hear myself think, and perhaps that’s a good thing!

Until next time!

 

Here Comes The Stage

I had no idea until 3 PM.

Wolf Alice are in town. I’ve been at school till 3, I get home, blissfully unaware and then check the newspaper.

Band I really like is playing in town. According to the paper, the festival begins at 3. I check the time: 3:30 (it’s now 4:30).

Crap.

I have to get to town.

I have my tests coming in a month.

Bands never come to town. Or anywhere within a 1000-mile radius. I’m a hypocrite to complain, because I just went for a blues festival half a week ago, but there’s a difference when a band you like is coming to your OWN CITY. You covet the gig. You have to go.

I have to go.

I have to go.

Mum won’t take me. Mum won’t let me go.

She doesn’t have a point here, I won’t concede.

I talked to a friend, I talked to dad, he said find a buddy.

We have exams in a month.

I call a buddy.

Buddy stays close by.

Buddy’s a partner-in-crime. (Hi, buddy!)

Buddy’s helping me sort out my appeal.

Of course, it’s hard to convince your parents to let you go for a gig because your friend stays close by. Especially when their real problem is that I’m going sort of close to my exams. I won’t concede a point there, it’s invalid and I’m perfectly capable of making up that time studying till 3. I do it every day.

Point is, Wolf Alice are in town , and I have to go.

What are the magic words?? Wish I knew what I could really say, it’s true I live far away, and the Catch-22 situation is that neither will they then let me off on my own (not from 7 to 9 in the night, anyway), nor can I convince mum to drag herself along.

I know it’s short notice, but who said life needed to be planned? (Amn’t I living walking proof of that? Even the fact that I blog wasn’t planned…)

But that’s besides the point right now. I’d love some of that leeway right now…

Wolf Alice come on at 7. I need to get to the gig before that. I need to leave by 6. It’s 4:45.

I need something convincing. I need magic words, heck, I may need some drama (thank you buddy).

Advice would be great, least ways, here comes theatre.

The stage is calling me. (In more than one way).

Sleepslave: Like A Sponge

People always say, go explore, but remember your roots, carry your culture.

Don’t lose your values.

I think I don’t want to lose my ‘u’s– there’s a British English stickler for you!

Another thing I don’t want to lose, whose loss I am currently lamenting, is my sleep… Unfortunately, whenever I try to binge-sleep, something comes up.

There was a day I decided I could afford to sleep in. No alarms, no internal reminders (which, trust me, work like a charm. If it’s in the back of your head that you’d need to get up at six the next morning, your body will inevitably wake you up at a time alarmingly close to what you’d wanted… If you go back to sleep though, it absolves all responsibility!
This has worked for me for a 3 AM shift too, so I can vouch for it! Except perhaps when I’m dead tired.)

But that particular morning, I decided I’d sleep till 10, at least.

8:30 AM

There’s a knock on my door. (It actually works to wake me up, so mum’s never had to drag me out of bed. My sister’s another story, though.)

I ignore it, after all, I’m sleeping in, remember?

It is mum. She comes over and shakes my shoulder. I’m already on my way back to sleep by now.

“Listen up,”

Listening, but I’ll process later. Mmm, good night, sweet dreams, please don’t draw the curtains.

I magically go into vampire-mode at night. I’ll grunt at a single LED if  you keep it before me in the dark! Yes, I’ve bumped around many times. I’ll learn, I guess.
I’ll learn to navigate in the dark better.

“Your school phoned asking about you.”

Mmm.

Mm― wait, what?
I processed that too quickly for my own good health.

School phoned? Why?

Why did you have to tell me this when I’m trying to stay asleep??

“I just thought you should know before I forget. Anyway, I’m leaving, you can sleep if you want.”

If black, sleepy eyes can look evil, they sure as hell are in this instant.

‘I can’ isn’t a choice anymore. ‘Can I?’ is the question.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

I’ve had a very similar morning, with the exact same explanation and proceedings, the only difference being in one part:

“Listen up,”

Mmmm. D’you mind, I don’t like the light.

“You need to complete your math test and submit it today. Just thought I’d remind you, I’m leaving, don’t stay in bed after 11.”

Or, “You’ll need to pick up your report card from school this afternoon.”

(falls on the floor and remains there)

Some people have trouble absorbing calcium into their body. They’d understand what I go through.

Somehow, no matter how long I try to sleep, I just can’t assimilate it into my body!

It’s like the night before an exam, when you’re picking up a new and easy (read: neglected) topic, but the next morning, it’s been wiped. They say kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing.

I’d agree with the first half: just a small squeeze, and they lose it all, no retention!

What would you like to retain with you if you went globe trotting?

The Heat Is On

I know, after my last post, I’m not even supposed to be here. I wasn’t planning to, the idea was to keep my phone off all week. Or more.

But today is 5th February, and as close as that is to my exams, I have actually been waiting for this for, what, seven months? However long it’s been since the end of July.

Today begins the (for me, and hopefully a lot more people too,) long-anticipated India vs South Africa women’s ODI series. It’s not inconsequential. The winners get to qualify directly for the 2021 Women’s World Cup! No qualifiers cup like last year.

Unlike a lot of other cricket boards, the Indian board hadn’t had any cricket lined up for ever national team for seven months. It’s true, the girls have welcomed the period, there being a lot of fatigue and injuries in the team, but it does seem a bit too long. But they’ve put up with a lot more in past decades, so oh well.

In the meantime, we have had some pretty interesting clashes around the world, the women’s Ashes and the New Zealand White Ferns triumphs in and away from home have been amazing to watch.

But when a team that was pretty dominant last year, with a very impressive win percentage throughout the calendar year, the World Cup finalists from the 2017 Cup, who lost the finals by but a margin of 9 runs, finally returns to the international circuit, don’t you think it’s a LITTLE exciting?

An opponent in the feisty South Africa, whom India only narrowly beat in all their encounters last year (save one), makes for a super-anticipated clash.

In all honesty, it’s a real bad time to be out of the cricket loop, with so many interesting series coming up!

There are both, the men’s and women’s India-South Africa ODI series going on right now in South Africa, the Tri series in Australia between Australia, New Zealand and England, and the upcoming White Ferns-West Indies clash in March. (I spent all afternoon (Okay, more like ten minutes) syncing both the Black Caps and White Ferns’ annual schedule, or as much as has been planned, to my phone.

It’s an altogether different amount of time I spent trying to figure out how I’ll be able to watch them all… not a good time to be having exams, I guess!

But New Zealand cricket is how I relax. I’m a fan, I’ll find a way!)

Now, what I’m here to rant about.

This is such an anticlimax.

The only reason I switched on my phone today was to watch (parts of) the Ind-SA women’s game.

I check all the usual sites, I look for unconventional sites, and I turn up blank.

I thought they were broadcasting.

After all the interest women’s cricket garnered in the World Cup, it should’ve been a default next step.

But no, it’s not being streamed, it’s not being televised. Please tell me if I’m wrong, I wouldn’t mind wasting a whole rant-post if I could still get the highlights.

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Every once in a while though, I do get this. Thank goodness for twitter!

Come on, if no one else will do it, I should! All I need now is a good camera and an intercontinental flight ticket. Asking for much?

 

But from my, ahem, sources (I’ll always have those!) Indian captain Mithali Raj has won the toss and is batting first.

India are currently 135-1 in 31 overs, having lost opener Poonam Raut early on, for 19 runs. Ayabonga Khaka, who took her wicket,  is the only South African  bowler to have taken a wicket yet.

Opener Smriti Mandhana (of a hundred in India’s WC opener against England fame) is going steady on 79 off 89 balls, with 8 boundaries to help along the way. Skipper Raj is at the other end on a 31 off 52, 2 neat fours.

Now wouldn’t this make for a wonderful watch??

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Not only is that grammar awful, but so is its contents!

 

Searching for sources to follow a game can be exhausting. Drinks break has been called!
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Bless the ICC, I guess.

Just spoke of blessings, here comes a curse for the Indian team!

Mandhana’s just gotten herself out, Khaka nailing her second victim of the day, and the game goes on!

(I’m happy, honestly, I am. I’m getting the game in some form. And I really am trying to study too. Just in five minutes.)

Underground Again (Gotta Save The World)

Hamlet’s got a problem again.

The world’s at stake, and guess who must get off their butt to save it again: yep, none but I.

I’d love to keep you all posted, but this time’s Mission is just too Top-Secret to even be using my phone, everything depends on this. To blog or not to blog is the question, but we both can see the clear answer here.

So I’ll be gone two months. I promise I’ll make it out alive, and you will hear the story. But only once it’s been declassified. Only once the world is at stake.

I’ve done it before, I can do it again, no sweat, (you can relive the action though, it’s here: Saviour Of The Universe.)

* gasps for a big gulp of air *
So wish me luck! Got a planet to rescue, I’m going under again.

See you when I’m back!

(No, I kid you not, this is true. I’m not trying to excuse the fact that I’ve really got to study for the last exams I’ll ever write in school, nor am I trying to think of how the next time I blog, unless the Resistance is defeated, will be when I’m 1. An adult  2. Not in school anymore.

I’m only just a secret agent who needs to save this planet. You all included! Really!)

Eclipsed

Also known as burned thumb photography, do excuse any shakiness!

(In all honesty, I do not want to delve into how the burn happened. It’e embarrassing.)

I got some pictures from the lunar eclipse yesterday, although I remembered that there was one only too late… I missed the blood moon, and there isn’t going to be one till 2028! Oh well. I got something.

The first lot is from home, there were some branches in the way, so I was having trouble getting the camera to focus on the moon instead—not that I really could have with the limited zoom my camera offers, anyway!

But feast yer eyes!

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There you see the eclipse! This was in the last half-hour.

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Finally! Got it to focus! Sort of.

 

After this, good sense got the better of me and I got the terrace keys.

I met a lady up there who wasn’t from the city. As I got busy with the lenswork, she asked me from behind, was I into photography? I replied that I’d only just begun to get interested in it. Then she began talking to me.
Not a big fan of city culture, she.

She was lamenting the loss of the stars, and I agreed with her that you could hardly see but a faint glimmer of starlight out here these days. Light pollution’s increased.

She proceeded to show me her nature photography.

She’d captured a few sunrises and sunsets on her phone. I suggested her get a camera, since she liked photography so much. She replied that if she did, it would probably be the next day before she got around to taking pictures, with all the preparation that was needed!
That’s why I’m working on my running speed and on skillfully manoeuvering corners and turns instead! It’s an obstacle course-race to the cupboard; eclipses won’t wait!

She said she’s a big fan of the moon. “I’m always taking pictures of my moon”, she sang. She showed me atleast fifteen photographs of the seaside moon! (Not that I don’t live on the coast myself, but this is city stuff.)

All through this little talk, here’s what I got.

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Almost gone!

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And then we were done. She’d had her share of city-moons, she was headed back to town. Not that any place is too particularly safe from our menace, but the city was much too much for the nature lover in her.

I stayed back for some more terrace photography.

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City skyline.
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Light pollution, I see you there…
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Light pollution can make even a construction look decent…

Here was one last thing I clicked. It was only really a shadow on a wall, but it looked so much like an artistic mural, I had to capture it!

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Don’t worry, moon-entusiasts: There it is in the sky!
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And all done. Until the next one!