Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Cane Dewey"

For most of my life, I've been a big fan of American professional wrestling and what I'm about to put down is, in my opinion, the best ever interview in professional wrestling history.

August 1995--ECW Television Show Transcript

"I'm going to take you back to a very deciding point in my life--a time when I believed in something. A time when I thought that my face and my name made a difference. Do you remember the night, Tommy Dreamer, because it's embedded in my skull, it's embedded in my heart and it's embedded in every nightmare I'll ever have. As Terry Funk took a broken bottle and began slicing and dicing Cactus Jack, the pain was so much that, I'll be honest with you, Tommy, I wanted to say, 'I quit, Terry Funk, I give in, I wave the flag and I'm a coward--just please don't hurt me anymore.' Then I saw my saving grace. You see, Tommy, I looked out in that audience, my adoring crowd, and I saw two simple words that changed my life.

'Cane Dewey.' Somebody had taken the time and the effort and the thought to make a sign that said 'Cane Dewey.' And I saw other people around, as every moment in my life stopped and focused in on that sign and the pain that shot through my body became a distant memory--replaced by a thought which will be embedded in my skull until my dying day! Cane Dewey. Cane Dewey. Dewey Foley is a three-year-old little boy--you sick sons of bitches. You ripped out my heart, you ripped at my soul, you took everything I believed in and you flushed it down the damn toilet. You flushed my heart--you flushed my soul--and now it sickens me to see other people make the same mistake. You see, Tommy Dreamer, I have to listen to my little boy say every day, 'Daddy, I miss Georgia,' and I say, 'That's too bad, son because your dad traded in the Victorian house for a sweatbox on Long Island. Your dad traded in a hundred-thousand-dollar contract, guaranteed money, insurance, respect and the name on the dotted line of the greatest man in the world--to work for a scumbag who operates out of a little pissant pawnshop in Philadelphia.' You don't expect me to be bitter? Tommy, when you open up your heart, when you open up your soul and it gets shit on, it tends to make Jack a very mean boy. And so, I say to you--before I take these aggressions out on you, to look at your future and realize that this hardcore life is a lie, that these letters behind me are a blatant lie, that those fans who sit there and say, 'He's hardcore, he's hardcore, he's hardcore,' wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, you selfish son of a bitch!

But I want you to understand, Tommy, though he's hurt you time and again, Raven wants you to understand that the hatred I have in here is not for you. No, no--far from it. You see, Tommy, I'm not doing this because I hate you--I love you, man! I only want the best for you--but when I hear that WCW called up your number and you said, 'No thank you'--well, it makes my blood run cold. As cold as that night in the ECW arena. And so I got a moral obligation--you see, Tommy, I'm on the path of righteousness and righteous men wield a lot of power. So if I've got to drag you by your face to that telephone and dial connect and say, 'Hello, Eric, it's me, Cactus, and though I know I've burned my bridge, and I'll never be taken back with open arms--I've got a wrestler who would gladly trade in his ECW shirt for a pair of green suspenders.' And Tommy, just think of that sound in your ear when Uncle Eric says, 'Welcome home, Tommy Dreamer, welcome home.' "

Monday, April 30, 2007

For Some Reason, I Have An Exam Tomorrow...

since august 2005, i have written forty-four exams at the national law school (the forty-fourth being today). not wishing to go into the merits of my performance in this last one in particular, i figured that the subject of exams would make an interesting issue to talk about.

why do people get the way they do during exams? what is it about writing independently in a time-crunch with or without material at one's disposal that makes one inevitably "feel" like exams? and why, even after forty-four of these days, is it still such a big thing?

there's a million ways i could put down my views on exams but i'll channelise it into five types of exam-related issues, just so that i'm not here all day.

the first of these is to do with superstition. everyone has exam superstitions, some fairly shared, some too private to reveal. i've never been a fan of superstition in any context, working on the principle that "merely because a phenomenon provides a certain effect does not mean it was created just to supply that effect" (yes, i did it! woo! i'm willing to lay a wager that that's the first time someone's quoted david washbrook on a once-a-month blog like this). and usually, superstitions with me used to be restricted to stuff like my mum forcing me to have a bowl of curd before exams. but having vowed to steer clear of anything healthy while i'm in bangalore, i figured i'd be superstition-free. right?

wrong. in preparation for an afternoon exam at two, i must sleep between five and six the previous evening, then for seven hours at night and for half an hour between eleven and eleven-thirty the next morning. breakfast at eight. don't read anything at breakfast. bathe around twelve. wear something different for every exam (it's not purely to maintain a hygiene standard, i have a friend who wears the same thing to every exam). while wearing shoes, both socks must go on together. lace the right boot, then the left. no wallet, only loose change for lunch money. if sitting alone on a desk with two chairs, sit on the right. and a few others besides. the funny thing is, i'm certain that these aren't half as ridiculous as what some other people must do.

the second has to do with mental preparation. i'll cite mick foley--the ultimate authority. this is before the '96 boiler room brawl taping. he said that he had to resist the urge to feel stupid inside that big boiler room with only one cameraman as a spectator. before the '99 empty arena match, he had to resist the temptation to yell "cut!" and go backstage for a little more motivation.
call the analogy silly but i've often thought that there's a lot in common between a staging of a well-done play or scene and an exam. sitting here now, i feel depressed that there are far too many people who study with me who yell "cut!" during exams. if you'd raised that with me at two this afternoon, i would've been manically tapping my feet on the floor (or punching myself on the side of my head, as i used to in school) trying really, really hard not to be one of those people. and really, really scared that somewhere, somehow, i was becoming one of them. someone told me last week that, simply put, exams are just about studying for the paper and going and writing the thing. it may be a wild oversimplification but only because it assumes mental preparation.

thirdly, there's question-peeking. the only tuition guy i've ever been to used to tell me that the biggest way exam-takers psyche themselves out is by getting a hold of the exam paper and looking through the questions first and then going back to start attempting the questions. all that does is that it splits that all-important mental capacity between the question you're attempting and the questions you've seen. if you've seen something you don't know, you'll think about it and waste time. if you've seen that you know everything, you'll ease off and take too much time over stuff you already know. when the tuition guy told me this, i was stunned that people actually do this during an exam. i'd sub-consciously developed this habit of covering everything on the paper apart from the question i was attempting. it's got to the point where if i even catch a glimpse, i'd look away instantly. that catch-a-glimpse-and-look-away theory doesn't apply to everything, though. and as i say this, there's a seinfeld conversation between jerry and george about cleavage and solar eclipses that's making me laugh out loud.

four. solitude. there's so much about an exam routine that the exam-taker must go through himself. it's you who has to know one thing from the other, it's you who has to write and it's you who has to take the credit/blame for the outcome. it's inevitable that you'll be alone. and loneliness (it's an uncharitable way of saying "solitude" but it's more appropriate word here) can do really crazy things to people (see, i told you). there's very little correlation, however, between solitude and success. or at least not in an environment such as this. there's a fair share of community studying, lots of courses where people strategise to divide and conquer. and there'll be good exam-takers who'll study in groups, there'll be good exam-takers who'll work things out on their own and there'll be good exam-takers who combine both. i've grown up in an environment where any lack of academic self-sufficiency has been sternly looked down upon and, i guess, by default, i've become someone who takes notes, knows course content and generally can find his way around academically, with none of this being driven by a lack of faith in other peoples' abilities to cover for me (i also suspect that i've always seen my parents handle their tasks at the workplace all by themselves and, in fact, repeatedly emphasising to me how proud they are of their ability to be self-sufficient in that regard. maybe the tendency is genetic. in fact, that's actually something i would love to know--whether work habits in general and exam habits in particular do load the dice genetically in favour of certain people. i wonder if anyone's ever researched this). here, however, the community study angle is quite unique and it's difficult not to get caught up in because, the tighter knit the community, the greater impact it has upon the individual's habits. and when there's nothing to do at eleven on an exam evening, the urge to knock on the next door and see what they're doing is pretty much irresistible. and i suspect, coming back to the group/individual study discussion, that it's the people who go looking for groups to study with but eventually end up studying alone (or vice versa) who get disoriented by the process of finding their optimum study orientation and don't do quite as well.

lastly, there's imagery. it might be a little offbeat to say this, but i get the distinct impression that the reason why exams become such an important occasion isn't purely limited to how much they have riding on their outcome--there's loads and loads of imagery inside the exam-taker's head that contributes to demonising the process. and by imagery, i mean all forms of imagery, however dissipated. it could be the apprehension of how news of a bad paper would be received by friends/family, it could be a song stuck in your head that makes you react a certain way, it could be a comment someone made just outside the exam hall, it could be the association of the idea of an exam with some particular kind of imagery. i find it most convenient, most times, to associate an exam with a time trial-type situation where there's an obstacle course and the clock is ticking and every question constitutes a checkpoint on the trial. three hours for a thirty-mark exam reduces to ten marks' worth of questions per hour which further reduces to five marks for every half-an-hour and therefore, when the first three questions on the paper are worth two marks each, mentally, i'm preparing myself to be halfway through the third answer after half-an-hour. and so on.

i do realise that i've barely scratched the surface. but i've also written four exams in five days, my performance in none of which fills me with tremendous amounts of optimism. so maybe just scratching the surface is enough when it comes to exams.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wishing It Was Different...

the words i'm going to put before you aren't my words. but they are.

read on.

"anyone subject to the madness and distortion fame brings with it is less likely to yearn for someone to write a controlled, sanitised account of their life than you might imagine. why bother, if the result is planned from the start to be only one further twisting of their reality, another funhouse mirror, even when it is one constructed to flatter them? for most subjects, the appeal of being benevolently misrepresented quickly pales, because it offers no real antidote to the slush of nonsense, half-truths, carelessness, lies and misunderstanding that surrounds them. often, after a while, they hanker instead for silence, or some truth.

it's not even necessarily that they want, or expect, most people to understand their life and its strange predicaments; it is perhaps just that it would be nice for there to be something reliable and honest from which anyone who truly cared to could form an accurate opinion. i think people who are famous and over-examined often just also want to see some truth about themselves simply for themselves so that for once, when they see or hear themselves reflected back in their own direction, they can at least recognise some of what they see or hear. in this respect, being famous is perhaps like being in a canyon with an unreliable echo: whenever you shout, the echo you hear is of the same voice but different words, or the same words but a different voice. sometimes it would be nice just to hear something you recognise as yourself...

i think that in the long run, it's the little lies that somehow do more damage, because you're defenceless against them. these aren't the grand libels and slanders. they're the tiny untruths, the endless small misstatements of where you were and what you did and why you did it and what happened and who you are. if you try to point out a little lie, no one usually listens and, if they do, often they'll think you mad for making a fuss about something so unimportant. they are the grains of sand eroding a building; if you live inside its walls for a lifetime, you see the destruction they cause, but to everyone else they're just dust in the air. but these are the lies that tell the person being lied about that everything they believe is subtly wrong; it is the little lies that can, in the long run, undermine your faith in reality and your relationship with the outside be famous in the twenty-first century is to pelted with little lies, day after day. to be famous in the twenty-first century is to find yourself trapped as a character in a book with an unreliable narrator, forever trying to shout from the pages to explain how it really was. how could you not sometimes wish for it to be different?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

MY anon

He'd think back to times gone past
To rose tinted memories, improbable dreams he knew wouldn't last
Of unbearable pain and of blades that cut deep
Of bleeding foreheads that made it impossible to sleep
Doubts would persist, scars wouldn't go away
And then he'd think of why it had all gone astray

He talked of God and of the stars above
Of hope and of faith but he never mentioned love

She would recollect all that had happened before
How she had cried, sitting on the floor
Of broken promises and of love stories marred
Of how she couldn't reach out, how it became too hard
There was no moving on, no battles lost and won
Just the pain and heartbreak of a job left undone

She talked of God and of the stars above
Of hope and of faith but she never mentioned love

But now the days seemed shorter, the air felt heavier
Time had numbed them, the universe seemed a blur
They retold secrets, stories of when they were ten
And rediscovered what joy it was just to talk again
Debating art and law, conversations about "your" favourite song
Nothing to lose but each other, just as it had been all along

They talked of God and of the stars above
Of hope and of faith but they never mentioned love

He'd loved her instinctive caring, he realised he still did
She'd loved his boyish sagacity, she realised she still did
Time had made him calmer, happier
Time had made her wittier, snappier
Lessons had been learnt and there was a new reason to try
We needn't always agree, not every question has a reply
They wondered where they stood, what if push came to shove
They had talked of everything, everything but love

Yet not once did he complain, never did she fuss
They knew it would happen, for "they" were "us."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why Now?

an outstretched arm
an unheeded alarm.

an eerie premonition
an assembly that should have followed the vision.

another voice in the dark
another wantonly ignored spark.

someone heard a scream
someone should have awoken from their dream.

who would have thought anything of that annoying question?
who would have been grateful for that thoughtful mention?

we are the silent children
we speak but no one listens.

even free verse SHOULD rhyme.

I'm not sure if there's a point to this story but I'm going to tell it again.

My photo
I've been wilfully caught up in the self-defeating quest to get to know myself for years. I've never expected anything beneficial to result from such a quest. I tend to evoke extremely polarised reactions from people I get to know in passing. Consequently, only those people who know me inside-out would honestly claim that I'm a person who's just "alright." It's not a coincidence that the description I've laid out above has no fewer than, title included, eleven references to me (make that twelve). I'm affectionately referred to as "Ego." I think that last statement might have given away a tad too much. Welcome Aboard.

IHTRTRS ke pichle episode mein aapne dekha...


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