Requests

My readers are such lovely people. They know that I am just goofing off under the pretense of being busy. So, they do not hesitate to ask of me what they want. Here is gentle reader, Jeff:

Dear Mystery Man,

I see from CM that you are (a) hip and (b) someone who appreciates music. Perhaps you can help me with my quest to find some good South

Asian hip hop / rap. When I was in India last summer I got hooked on Juggy D, who had a hit album. But other than Rakim’s “Truth Hurts” and

the occasional Rishi Rich remix, I don’t hear that much over here.

My Desi coworkers are much more into Bollywood showtunes, and the WASPs don’t know who Jay-Z is. Help!

Jeff

Well, Jeff, I am so hip that I know that all the kidz these days are on MySpace! And that’s where you will find PakMan and Jay Sean and Rishi Raj and tons of others. Just follow the links. The music itself is available easily enough through the internets [you should be hip enough to know how] or desitunez4u or desihitz or here etc. Of course the big name is Bohemia aka Ra Da Punjabi Rapper [might I add, of CM fame]. But the truth is that my readers are way hipper than I am and they will leave recommendations in the comments. So, discover and send us a note back on what you find worthwhile. Lastly, sorry about your workplace.

The next request comes from gentlest of all readers like thabet, nitin, & zack about this. I was going to have some fun with pointing out the archetype of warrior-weapon but I don’t have my joseph campbell handy. After all, mythic warriors from Beowulf to King Arthur to ‘Ali to Khalid b. Walid to Arjuna to Aragorn to Dick Cheney have all had a named weapon of [mass] destruction [quizman can supply the names of these glorious weapons in the comments, no?]. Now, just leave aside the delicious irony of Ghaznavi or Ghauri being ambassadors of culture, why would the Pakistani state want to name their missiles after them? Friends, all this and more is indeed covered in my dissertation. I beg of you all two more months on that request. And yes, Nitin, I need the next one to be named Qasim. I need it.

They Know Not Cricket

“Cricket as Art”. An amazing Radio 3 presentation by Darkus Howe on CLR James and Cricket. Must listen. [via CT].

There is a gorgeous paragraph in Beyond the Boundary that I can merely echo:

Our house was superbly situated, exactly behind the wicket. I doubt it for some years I knew what I was looking at in detail. But this watching from the window shaped one of my strongest early impressions of personality in society. His name was Matthew Bondman and he lived next door to us … He was generally dirty. He would not work. His eyes were fierce, his language was violent and his voice was loud. For ne’er-do-well, in fact vicious character, as he was, Matthew had one saving grace, Matthew could bat… Matthew dropped out early. But he was my first acquaintance with the genus Britannicus, a fine batsman, and the impact that he makes on all around him, non-cricketers and cricketers alike. The contrast beetween Matthew’s pitiable existence as an individual and the attitude people had towards him filled my growing mind and has occupied me to this day.

Ghafoor could bat too. He delivered milk to the colony, on his bicycle. Two canisters, weighing 40 lbs each, balanced on each side of his bicycle. He woke up at 3:30 for his round, finishing them by 8 or so. By 8:30, he would meet us at the grounds. Wrapped carefully in a jute sack were his immaculately pressed whites. He would change out of his dhoti and replace his pug with a CA cap that I had given him a while ago. To my young eyes, he was as close to a superhero as possible, transforming from a dhodi [milkman] to a cricketer with the straightest bat I had ever seen. Class and caste dissolved within the boundary. I know that he hid his cricket playing from his family. After playing a full game, he would take the pats on his back, change into his dhoti and set off on another 4 hours of milk-routes.

I wish I had time to write about CLR James’ book. But, after hearing the program, I am more than determined that my next project will be somewhere within the boundary.