Back when I took Blogging U’s many courses, one assignment was about setting up a page on the blog, about a few of the blog’s best posts so far. I named mine as ‘Upturned Archives’.
So head over to it right away, because I’ve refurbished it with a newer set of posts in the list and also a featured image (of which I’ve got the size terribly wrong, but making it right is just a reallllyyyy loooonnnggg process so I’m just going to leave it up instead).
“I’ve never played for a draw in my life.” – Sir Alex Ferguson
And that’s how Manchester United have been playing in their last three matches. They come to win, and no less. Granted its not a perfectly polished outfit yet, and there are chinks in the armor and there is a lot to prove, to ourselves and to others as well, but its closer to perfect than we’ve ever been in the last couple of years.
If you don’t think that the games against Tottenham and Liverpool were the best games we’ve seen from United in this season (and most of the last season too), then you don’t know much about Manchester United, or football.
If you didn’t see these two matches, then let me sum it up for you.
Think of a sports team. Any team. But it has to be one you care about, one you have a connection with, one that’s close to your heart. It could be any team. It could be your college team, or it could be the current world champions. Got a team? Good. Now imagine they’ve been the best in their particular field for a really, really long time. Imagine they’ve been winning league after league, tournament after tournament, championship after championship, cup after cup, for the last ten, fifteen, twenty years. Imagine them at the top, the world at their feet. Imagine the jubilation, the aura, the halo of ‘invincibility’ about them. But there’s no such thing as invincibility, really. Harsh, but true. Now imagine your team losing. And its not just a loss that is a minor dip in the graph, followed by another one of those all-familiar never-ending spikes. Its a loss followed by a dozen more. And then a few. No more aura, no more halo, no more jubilation. But then change is the only constant in life and then things change at the team. And it takes time but you finally see your team resembling the team you saw during ‘their years’. You finally see the team you’ve missed for too long.
That’s how it felt watching Manchester United maul Tottenham Hotspur on the 15th of March and subdue Liverpool on the 22nd of March.
Below is a little analysis of the current state of affairs at Manchester United, English football and other little things that I may want to say about the same so all those who aren’t into football and ‘Understand Football/Soccer’ isn’t on your ‘Things to do Today’ list, then look away right now.
Tottenham didn’t exactly have a terrifying line – up coming into the match against Man Utd, but then even though United did, they were proclaimed the underdogs. The only way this can be explained is by the golden word, ‘form’. The Spurs were in form and were very much battling gallantly for a spot in the top 4, as were United, only less convincingly. Three matches later, United are now the in – form team in the top 4, along with Wenger’s Arsenal. The battle for 4th place is still open, mathematically, and as much as I would love Manchester City to slip and drop below, I don’t see that happening. As for Manchester United, I very much see them fighting for 2nd place now, and, owing to any errors Chelsea and Arsenal may make (the latter will invariably make one or two), for pole position too.
Speaking of math, here’s the Premier League table, as of the 11th April, 2015:
With about half a dozen (or a little more) games to go for every club, the title looks mathematically available to a lot of clubs, but factor in form, injuries, upcoming fixtures, and a gazillion other psychological, physiological, historical and environmental variables and you’ll realise that it really looks possible for any one out of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United to take the title, with Chelsea holding almost too many cards for anybody else to do anything, really. However, if United can get through the upcoming fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea with victories, I can really see them challenging for the title and it could well go down to the final fixture.
United are undoubtedly the better side when put up against Chelsea or Manchester City. City’s form has been very poor lately and Chelsea are not only faced with injuries and potential suspensions (Matic and Fabregas are both one booking away from a match-ban) but have struggled against almost every team in the last few months. Even against an extremely poor United squad back in October last year, Chelsea only managed a 1-1 draw where United were by far the better team in terms of possession, tackles and shots on target.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were very adept at snatching victories in the dying stages of a match and ‘Fergie time’ was there for just that reason. Sir Alex himself gave it a uniquely cheesy name:
“Its getting tickly now, squeaky – bum time, I call it.”
Its that time of the season again.
All player images above are taken from various fanblogs on Tumblr, and I don’t own them in any way.
So I was nominated for the Liebster Award, my first ever award in cyberspace, by Saakshi at randommusings. Thank you very, very much Saakshi! 🙂
Now, down to the rules.
My nominator, randommusings, has left it up to her nominees to choose between answering the same questions that she was asked, or listing any 10 facts about ourselves. I’m going to go with a bit of both.
1. What made you start your blog?
I have always loved reading and writing. Essays were the easiest thing for me to do in school, when most others would be having a difficult time writing beyond the second or third paragraph. Fiction drew my attention when I was young, and has held on to it ever since. I realised that I had a knack for making up stories in my head so I decided to put them down on paper one day. After my Board exams last year, I had a really long vacation ahead of me, before college began. I decided I wanted to do something with this hobby of writing. I wanted to put it out there. Blogging, I discovered, is a great platform to write. The fact that there are people around the world actually reading what I write is an added bonus and incentive.
2. What is your favourite dish and which country does it come from?
I DO NOT know fancy, sophisticated cuisine. My family has always been a healthy-home-food kind of family, if you know what I mean. And we’re Gujjus, so we love our food to no end. There’s this sweet dish my mother makes, I don’t know what its called in English but in our language we call it doodhpak. It is basically milk, sweetened and a lot of other condiments are added in it and finally you add rice to it. I don’t have a picture of it but trust me, you chill it, and its absolutely heavenly. We usually make it as a dessert during lunch but when that’s there, I don’t eat anything else. Nothing at all.
3. Coffee or tea?
Though I live in India, and you may assume that tea is da bomb here and people regard coffee as a western abomination (that is true to a certain extent), I’m a coffee person. Insomnia runs in the family and genetics is catching up to me, so sleepless nights are the norm around here and therefore coffee is a saviour on a daily basis.
4. What is your next travel destination?
I would like it to be someplace exotic but I guess its my study room cause FINALS!
5. One sentence which describes you.
Procrastinator with potential. I can be very lazy. And I’m good at pushing deadlines that I set myself but when I put my mind to something I can do it very well and very fast.
I have to come to love football. I may not be very good at it, and I certainly don’t have the physique for it, but I love the game nonetheless.
I would like to explore the world some day. I know that we all say stuff like this and that day hardly ever comes but I really want to go out somewhere, maybe not the whole world, but see all those wonderful places that I’ve only seen on digital screens.
I really like photography. I don’t have the equipment for it but I want to practice and learn more about this wonderful art.
I play the flute and the keyboard. Not many know this about me. I was inducted into both at a very early age. I learnt the basics about the flute in basically three months in what was a crash course before the school annual day back when I was in Senior Kindergarten. I was to have a solo performance. Since then I’ve had the honour to learn from three-four disciples of the maestro Shri Hariprasad Chaurasia, and at one point, from the maestro himself (albeit for a very little while). I learnt the keyboard too at around the same time I learnt the flute and I’ve made a number of performances with it in school annual days to other competitions and functions around Mumbai. As for the flute, two of my biggest performances were at the Bandra Fest back in 2009/10 and one at a huge auditorium in Vile Parle, Mumbai I don’t remember when.
Listing facts about oneself is tough. I can’t think of any at this point. Okay, I’m going to go with a silly one for the 10th and final point. When I was younger, I was completely enthralled by Spiderman. He was and still is the superhero who is closest to me. One reason for that is, ahem, I actually used to think I had his powers. You could ask my school friends and they’d tell you how I used to try to convince them that I can walk up walls and shoot webs out of my wrists. Silly. Okay, I’m going to move on before my cheeks get any redder.
Here are my nominees:- [Also, feel free to use the questions I have answered, or list 10 facts about yourself]
Param Sawant – I know you’re not into accepting stuff like this and I know you’ll me kinda mad at me when I tell you I nominated you but I’m still going to nominate you.
Suzi – I love her blog’s name, the story behind it and her blog’s header, among a lot of other things about her quaint little blog. Check out here blog if you’re into DIY crafts and upcycling, or just like to make stuff out of things you were going to throw away, like I do.
Kmandu – Hopping on over to her site quells my desire to travel a bit. She’s on a road trip across the Americas and how she manages to do that, with her 3 poodles, while enjoying it, taking awesome pictures, and blogging about it is a mystery to me.
Its good to slow things down every once in a while. It can be fun too. If you’re that kind of a person who likes to let your foot of the pedal after a long run, stick your head out of the window and enjoy the wind brushing by your face, like a little dog.
And then you pull your head back in and your foot back on the pedal and swear back at the drivers who just called you things that you’d rather not write on your blog.
I don’t slow down as often as I should. And yes, even a 16 year old who hardly has any workload from college needs to slow down. And he did yesterday.
My college is a great college. Its got a ground that along with the surrounding small road is probably the size of a few colleges of very unfortunate students. And that’s just the ground. So, it goes without saying that the college is very spacious. However, like anything that exists, it has its lows as well. One is that it has practicals for Physical Education.
I mean, what? That was how I was when I first heard we were going to have them. We didn’t even have them in school. In the 10th. In ICSE! And that’s saying something. So they make us do sit-ups (squats, if you want to call them that), long jumps, 100 metre sprints (in the time it takes you to stop panting after the sprint, Usain Bolt could have circled the globe, like, five times) and throw this one tonne iron ball in a fun little game called shot put. And if it isn’t already interesting, this is where it becomes just that: there are two practicals, one per term. Like after barely one month, we’re going to be able to jump longer, run faster and throw harder. Dammit, I haven’t been able to improve in the physical department that fast in all the sixteen years I’ve lived. If you could do that, you’re a living legend. Or you were doping.
I did fairly well the first time around, but the second time, which was yesterday, I didn’t care that much. So I got a little lax on the sit-ups (more so because they really make my thighs pain and then I can’t sprint as well as I could have without them) but I did run hard and I did throw the one tonne iron ball farther than I think I did last time.
We had to go to college for an hour yesterday just for the practicals and then I had to go fetch my younger sister from her drawing class about half an Usain Bolt minute away from college. But I had about forty minutes to waste before her class ended. And going home and then coming back didn’t make sense. So I decided to take the opportunity to do some of that slowing down I’ve not been doing enough of.
My description on Twitter says I enjoy the little things in life. And that’s just how I was when I took a very slow walk. The right earbud in my very expensive but apparently over-priced earphones is non-responsive so I was forced to look at things, and people while on this walk. And I happened to catch some pretty interesting things.
Not to get too morbid or anything but I stumbled into a dead crow stretched on the pavement right across from a dead rat. I like to think they had a duel to the death. For unknown reasons. But they’re knights of their respective species.
You wouldn’t be ill-advised to take a little break now and then. Even if its just for about half an hour, like the one I took. Provided your heart and head are both in the break while the rest of your body is in it.
But don’t get carried away too much or you’ll be sitting wrapped up with a sweater, cooped up in bed, because you had something cold to drink and caught the flu, like me. Also wearing a pair of gloves (not because you’re cold but because they’re really comfy).
At the expense of being very blunt, I’m going to say that writing can be very tough. Getting someone to read what you’ve written can be even tougher.
I don’t mean to disconcert those just starting out in this very competitive but equally rewarding field that demands you to be constantly spewing out word after word, page after page. Hell, I’m just starting out in this field too. And at first, this fact probably disconcerts all. I hope it does. You are constantly reminded that you need to find inspiration and put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, whichever works for you) and this, sort of prompt, pushes you to write. Fear isn’t bad until you allow it to be so.
However stupid or illogical it may sound, inspiration is everywhere. Not all of us find inspiration in the same things, people or places, obviously. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to mean complete ideas of what you should, must or want to write. That would just be plagiarism. No, inspiration can mean different things to different people. Two things that mesmerise and intrigue me to no extent are clouds and the sky, its hues, shades, the fact that it is basically endless. I find a lot of my ideas when I’m just staring away into the sky, admiring the patterns that the clouds make, some thin and wispy, others thick and bulbous.
And that’s all well and good, but there are no local inspiration stores and at times it disappears as swiftly as it came to you. And that’s why you have to create inspiration. And that’s obviously easier said than done. I ain’t got no philosophy to that because it is as elusive to me as it is to you. Probably more.
Sometimes I catch myself backspacing a lot. Or scratching out what I just wrote, if I’m using pen and paper. And it’s not always because there was a mistake or I wrote a word in the wrong tense or anything. Its because there’s this little thing inside all of us called The Critic, whose job is conveniently described in his name. And he’s arguably the worst critic of all physically existent as well as non-existent critics. Trust me, he’s the worst. I can’t seem to emphasise that enough. I’ve been at the mercy of that critic for a long time but his words slowly mean less to me although they are always taken into consideration but never shown the way to the heart. We must all show this critic his place and keep him there.
Recently I’ve been a little off with all the fiction writing and all and I thought it was because I wasn’t giving it enough time or I didn’t have inspiration. I found out that, yes, I wasn’t giving it enough time but the inspiration was there all along. I even wrote down lots and lots of ideas down in my notebook or in the note-taking app I have. Why I couldn’t materialise that is a lot of factors actually: I was out holidaying and returned just before Christmas after which I had to complete pending college work while also studying for my tests (which just got over today (yayy)).
So, today I was just staring into the sky, because I have nothing to do for a few days now since college is temporarily closed for us 11th graders, and I got to thinking about why I’ve been writing relatively less fiction lately and I came up with this idea of sharing what I’ve learnt about writing over the short number of years I’ve been writing.
This is intended to be motivating and uplifting when you’re fishing for words to put on that blank page or generally when you’re looking down the barrel of another barren, wordless day. Or anytime, really. Reminding myself of these things definitely motivates me.