The Art of the Making of Meta Olympia

Meta Olympia was a dream hatched to get some crazy and incredibly talented people to plot away and create something special while all the way having a whale of a time. A project that aimed to bring art, science and sports together in a very unique way. In a meticulously constructed world far off in space, where science skewed sport, sport became art and stories emerged from the mix. It was a free thinking evolution of an idea that germinated in the fertile imagination of a very close friend of mine and developed into a gorgeous and fun exercise for everyone involved in it.

For me too.

This book is an anthology, a primer, a historical record, a wild rambling exposition, a portfolio of the gorgeous artwork and a chronicle of the contests and stories it provided. An attempt to capture the narrative and art that ran through Meta Olympia and the stories in it and behind it. In 300 stunningly laid out pages, it attempts to tell the story as it happened and what transpired.

I was lucky to be involved in it. And am honestly astonished at the gorgeous package that this book has turned out to be.

(Thanks Chris, for the ride!)

Note: Free download available as an iBook here.

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to the book by me:

As with a lot of what Chris did and does, it was with the the infectious sense of collective creativity that he drew me in. With the gorgeous visuals and artwork adding to the excitement of it all. Meta Olympia screams of the fun every single one of us involved with it were having in that nether-worldly sports league on Mars. Artists, writers, sports nuts, fans and science freaks all scheming, plotting and conceptualizing as we worked furiously on bits and pieces of the narrative. And relishing pushing the limits of our own creativity. And having shitloads of fun.

Always fun.

 “Years have gone by and I’ve finally learned to accept myself for who I am: a beggar for good soccer. I go about the world, hand outstretched, and in the stadiums, I plead: ‘A pretty move, for the love of God.’ And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.”

     -Eduardo Galeano – poet, philosopher, artiste and raconteur of soccer.

The pages that follow will show you how much fun we had. Not giving a damn which planet it was all happening on. And how pretty every single move made in Meta Olympia was.

Take a few steps off the edge of the cliff and enjoy the ride as much as we all did.

Nightwatchman, for a Night

BISW

An excerpt from “Nightwatchman, for a Night”, published in “The Best of Indian Sports Writing“, an anthology of Indian sports writing:

The K.S.C.A stadium had materialized magically – almost overnight – in my life. Growing up in South Bangalore, the part of the city it is located in was almost an alternate universe to us back then. Mahatma Gandhi Road only played cameo roles in a child’s mind – Brigade Road, Christmas lights and store window Santas knee-deep in white cotton snow. Visits to movie theatres like Lido, Rex, Plaza and Galaxy – the magical screens that shimmered with epic movies like The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Guns of Navarone, The Day of the Jackal and Enter the Dragon. These visits culminated – most of the time – in mouth-watering ice-cream specials at Lakeview. Aah, the Cassata, the Merry Widow special…

Those were the wondrous days.

Cricket was just budding in the imagination. Devoid of television imagery, it was embroiled in a web of incomplete stories, myths, rants, theories and smorgasbords of opinion inflicted on us by fathers, uncles and grandfathers. You always found them clustered around giant glowing contraptions that served as radios, faces knotted up in concentration, ears cocked at the crackly signals being beamed in from god knows where. Sometimes, things got scary – people snarled, shouted and bared their teeth. These were divided families – divided by the tactics and strategies they espoused and dispensed to the hapless captain, who was fortunate to escape the cacophony. They stood united in their support of the state and national team, but were willing to disown each other in a flash over a bowling change or field placement.

But in Bangalore, there was no risk of familial bonds fracturing amidst the stress of these cricket matches. None whatsoever. For, peace was always lurking around the corner. When fathers, uncles and grandfathers united; faces softened, understanding and reassuring smiles broke out. Their voices turned gentle and conciliatory. Even the mothers and grandmothers looking on exasperatedly at the hordes in front of the radio would sit back and smile affectionately.

For he was at the crease.

………

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Bird on the wire

Excerpt from a book review published in Mint Lounge, November 9, 2012
Cohen

“I suppose it’s violating some Socratic imperative to know thyself, if that’s who it was, but I’ve always found that examination extremely tedious…. I don’t find it compelling at all.”

We can consider ourselves fortunate that Sylvie Simmons paid no heed to this professed ambivalence and apathy towards self-examination. Perhaps the master of the elliptical and the sly wit was just putting her on. But she didn’t bite.

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, the new sprawling, generous and ultimately exquisite portrait of the life of the Canadian master of words, is the result of her persistence.