Sunday, June 27, 2010

Surrendering to Nostalgia

Thank God i am not a critic for if i was one i would've used words like 'Bland', 'Painfully slow'and at best given it the rating of 'Watchable' for this wonderful story which the director Aparna Sen pefers to call, "A love poem".

The Japanese Wife, the movie had many such moments that made me feel home.i loved the movie for the moments that have been carved meticulously in this story by Kunal Basu.And these moments now seen in a movie helps me to recollect the story and the characters with a sense of affection so rare to develop in the kitsch movies that are being churned out these days by the Indian film industry.i actually read the story once but saw the movie twice to get the vivid original moments and feel the pleasant atmosphere the movie provided.

One could go on to debate about this unusual love story which was unconsumated till the end but i could not get myself to doubt the eventuality of one.
Starting as pen friends these two introverts one from Sundarbans and the other from Japan land up as husband and wife.But this marriage is one unique one and defeats all out of the box marriages that we see these days happening ...under the sea or in caves.Because all these marriages for one thing sees both the partners available for each other and together physically.Whereas in this marriage, a unique bond is forged through letters.And just like a good husband Snehamoy performs his duties towards his ailing wife Miyage through letters.While she like any devoted wife reciprocates all this with the gifts which have nothing but a wife's sense of service and love to convey.i could sense that devotion in the socks that she knits for him or the shawl that she sends for Snehomoy's Mashi ( Maternal aunt) as Mashi explains amidst laughter that has a hint of pride for her Jaapani Bau (Daughter-in-law).
Miyage in Japanese means gift as the narrative of the story tells me.

Nostalgia grips me as i see the village resound with cries of rustic kids as the film opens.The resounding cries of these sweet ,simple and barely clad kids are those of excitement and curiosity as the postman is on his way to deliver this huge box which has arrived from Japan for the Maths teacher Snehamoy.And as the movie progresses the lush visuals and overpowering landscapes of Sundarbans speak for themselves as these are characters in themselves.Snehamoy explains to his wife  Miyagi in his letters about him sitting for hours at the banks of the river Malta listening to the lapping of the waves.In his own words which is Bangla English, he says,"... as if my is mother is talking to me." These conversations and many others that he has, feels so natural to me and honest too and left me feeling very affectionate to both Miyagi and Snehamoy.

Moments in the movie take me down memory lane as i see :
~The cycling postman
~The earthily splendid local medicine man scratching his hairy breast pontificating proudly armed with his knowledge of English between sips of chai (Tea) and condescendingly translating the symptoms in English.
~The self deriding matriarch, the Mashi who chews pan and is so caring and so lovable not only to Snehamoy but also to the widow and her child Paltu whom she has given shelter to.
Maushami Chatterji has in fact startled me in this as Mashi by making it, i feel, one of her best performance.
~The wizened old homeopath.
~Those stolen glances between Sandhya the young widow and Snehamoy.( In the original story however she is simply referred to as the young widow)
~And later how Sandhya passes the maach (Fish curry) onto his paatta (leaf on which food is served) which silently declares her inward possession of Snehamoy.
~The sweet conversations between Paltu, Sandhya's kid when he gets tea and snacks for his Kaku ie Snehomoy which elucidates a bond developing between the two.
*And the most close to me the rousing sequence when the Japanese kites are flown high in the Bengal skies by Snehamoy.
In fact all those scenes relating to kites made me go back in time and I couldn't help but remember Lakhan once again fondly and very sincerely.Because i know how much it would've taken for him to prepare MANJAA ( the kite thread treated with glue and powdered glass to make it fit for combat) for me.

The list could be as exhaustive and i could go on and on.Maybe for the time being it would suffice to say that The Japanese Wife who had a cute pet dog named Haiku and who later was left all alone to fend for herself with her cancer and her living miles apart loving husband sending her Ayurvedic,Unani,...and all kinds of alternative medicines that he could afford, left me very emotional in a profound manner.
Especially when on Snehamoy's death Miyage arrives to the village, head shaved, wearing a white saree and that Shanka (Bangle made with conch shell worn by Bengali housewives) in her wrists which Snehamoy had sent her along with vermillion explaining her of Bengali wife customs.

So while dwelling on my kite memories which makes me forget time and listening to this lyrical love poem i can only have more respect for Aparna Sen who ''With her skillful art of cinematic surgery'' finds, ''The perfect heartbeats for her narrative."
 Now i am in a fix because i can't tell if the story by Kunal Basu was a good read or the film by Aparna Sen was marvelous?
So in order to calm myself down i say,"Thank God i am not a critic" or else i would have made unneccessary attempts at comparisons which critics normally do and never find the screenplay as good as the book.
And i happily dwell in those moments and have nothing to say but,''Love Poem indeed !''

Image Courtesy:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Soulful Saturday

So if Friday evening was well spent in suspense then Saturday night was no less with a well balanced Chinese meal and lots of inspiration.The second option taken, we settled into our couches with plates and cutlery and this amazing film by Clint Eastwood already rolling and showing the previews of other movies.
That's another thing cool about DVD'S that it keeps you well informed through teasers and you already have your next list ready. Although i feel youngsters like my son have no patience for all these previews as most of the stuff they already know thanks to the internet.In any case INVICTUS the movie was my son's selection for us as a must see movie maybe a few months back as we had missed the theatres when it was running in town.

This Biography, Drama, History and Sport had so many endearing scenes that i got goose pimples each time emotions were displayed.Whether it was the animosity of the white and black security guards for each other in the start of the movie or the close encounter of Nelson Mandela aka Madiba played by Morgan Freeman and Francois Pienaar, Captain of Springboks the South Africa's Rugby Team played by Matt Damon.You could see the captain's awe for the leader as they looked into each other's eye.Definitely the climax of the movie the World Cup match has to be the most emotional but there were many such scenes which leave you nothing less than being inspired and that sense of warmth that banishes malice from your thoughts.You feel that greatness and that power to do good.And that i should say is the mark of an exceptional movie that you would love to watch again with family and friends.

i felt transformed as the poetry was recited in Pienaar's thoughts through Nelson Mandela's voice as he stood in the tiny cell imagining how Mandela would have been in that meagre cell.That's how i had my reconnoitre with this Victorian Poet William Ernest Henley. Invictus which is the latin for unconquered/undefeated is the title of that poem that inspired Mandela to" stand up when all he wanted to do was lie down ."

                                                  William Ernest Henley

                                         ''Out of the night that covers me,
                                         Black as the Pit from pole to pole
                                           I thank whatever gods may be
                                            For my unconquerable soul.
                                         In the fell clutch of circumstance
                                        I have not winced nor cried aloud.
                                        Under the bludgeonings of chance
                                        My head is bloody, but unbowed

                                       Beyond this place of wrath and tears
                                        Looms but the Horror of the shade,
                                         And yet the menace of the years
                                         Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

                                         It matters not how strait the gate,
                                    How charged with punishment the scroll,
                                           I am the master of my fate:
                                           I am the captain of my soul. "

It is really hard to point out what is so inspiring in the story.If it is the words of Mandela when he says that to be able to inspire sometimes you need the inspiration from others .Or is it the words of that Victorian poet himself whom i met only through this film.Cause in his own words when Mandela says," Rainbow Nation starts here.Reconciliation starts here.Forgiveness starts here too." he is truly very inspirational himself.
The film has many memorable dialogues and the one i found the most touching was when Francois Pienaar says to his girlfriend when referring to the upcoming match, ''No.Tomorrow's  taken care of, one way or another.I was thinking about how you spend 30 years in a tiny cell and come out ready to forgive the people who put you there."

In my earlier blog on roads i recollected a few poems including one of my favourites by Sam Walter Foss and i feel so glued to it that it shall feature again on this blog of mine.The fact of the matter being that following Friday the very next day i was introduced to yet another MASTER. Strange while i dwelled on the new entrant to my collection  i realised both having a deep connection in a way that both had to say the same.Both inspire and talk of Liberation.
While one talked about liberating oneself from the shackles of 'calf mind' that bind us to be as we are- rigid and unquestioning to precedents, the other had to convey the liberation from these shackles.As no prisons in any part of the planet can imprison and break the soul which is unconqureable. And it is the same soul that resides in all of us.Even the wobbly calf.

                                                                   THE CALF PATH
                                                                     Sam Walter Foss
                                                          One day through the primeval wood
                                                      A calf walked home as good calves should;
                                                          But made a trail all bent askew,
                                                          A crooked trail as all calves do.

                                                      Since then three hundred years have fled,
                                                              And I infer the calf is dead.
                                                            But still he left behind his trail,
                                                          And thereby hangs my moral tale.
                                                           The trail was taken up next day
                                                         By a lone dog that passed that way;
                                                         And then a wise bellwether sheep
                                                        Pursued the trail o'er4 hill and glade
                                                     Through those old woods a path was made

                                                         And many men wound in and out
                                                      And dodged and turned and bent about
                                                       And uttered words of righteous wrath
                                                        Because 'twas such a crooked path;
                                                       But still they followed--do not laugh--
                                                           The first migration of that calf,
                                                  And through this winding woody-way stalked
                                                       Because he wobbled when he walked.

                                                           This forest path became a lane
                                                        That bent and turned and turned again;
                                                          This crooked lane became a road,
                                                       Where many a poor horse with his load
                                                          Toiled on beneath the burning sun
                                                        And traveled some three miles in one.
                                                             And thus century and a half
                                                         They trod the footsteps of that calf.

                                                        The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
                                                           The road became a village street;
                                                           And thus, before we were aware,
                                                             A city's crowded thoroughfare.
                                                          And soon the central street was this
                                                               Of a renowned metropolis;
                                                           And man two centuries and a half
                                                            Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

                                                          Each day a hundred thousand rout
                                                            Followed the zigzag calf about
                                                         And o'er his crooked journey went
                                                                The traffic of a continent.

                                                         A hundred thousand men were led
                                                       By one calf near three centuries dead.
                                                        They followed still his crooked way,
                                                         And lost one hundred years a day;
                                                           For thus such reverence is lent
                                                           To well-established precedent.

                                                           A moral lesson this might teach
                                                      Were I ordained and called to preach;
                                                          For men are prone to go it blind,
                                                          Along the calf-paths of the mind;
                                                          And work away from sun to sun,
                                                          To do what other men have done.
                                                            They follow in the beaten track,
                                                          And out and in, and forth and back,
                                                          And still their devious course pursue,
                                                             To keep the path that others do.
                                                           They keep the path a sacred groove,
                                                            Along which all their lives they move.
                                                           But how the wise old wood gods laugh,
                                                               Who saw the first primeval calf !
                                                             Ah ! many things this tale might teach-
                                                                But I am not ordained to preach.                                                                                                                                                                                    .                                                                        
So two poets, one American and one English and two movies, one a thriller and one an inspirational drama later the coming week actually saw me recovering from some unsettling moments that had left me doubtful.
Now i agree when Nelson Mandela said that just living by example may not work and sometimes we have to get assistance from the work of others.And it neccessarily may not be someone who is a great artist or a great writer.It could be someone who has been crushed for ages and yet is a master of his unconquerable soul and a captain of his fate.And on one look it could even be a wobbly calf who started a trail .For being masters of our own fate it is upto us to decide whether to follow that crooked trail or develop that trail into a bottleneck free smooth highway.
And i say to myself, " Forgiveness liberates the soul.It removes fear that is why it is such a powerful weapon.  Reconciliation starts now! Forgiveness starts here too."


Image courtesy:


Friday Night Meaty Bonanza

The last weekend as my husband and i made a beeline for the tickets to the media hyped Raavan we were disappointed but not upset with Housefull by the time our turn came.This because we had options available sitting right at home.So we loitered here and there and came back loaded with Popcorns and Diet coke and decided to give it a go one by one at the 3 options.And since the mood had set for Raavan we chose this psychological thriller and were glad  that we were unwittingly denied the multiplex.
So Shutter Island took us by surprise and we were more than startled with the climax.
We were sort of glued to this drama set in 1954 in which right till the end we believed Teddy Daniels (Leonardo Dicaprio) in his investigation as a Field Marshall trapped in this remote island (Shutter Island) from which there was no escape.We were gripped with his sleuthing till the end as he went on his search to uncover a modern yet heinous crime on humanity. Has to be that way in a suspense thriller and this one had the tagline,'Someone is missing". So we expected the gore scene in the end in which we would see brains split open to make the dangerous and psychopathic inmates of that prison island being turned into zombies.But...the Friday night movie kept a suspenseful and thrilling surprise.
Happy that this got a thumps up from both of us as we marvelled at Martin Scorcese and his team of very talented actors.And since we debate most of the times opinions  were divided on being loyal,That is , we both had our own views.While i was faithful to Dennis Lehane's art of great suspense thriller my husband was in awe of Martin Scorcese's brilliance at directing.Not that i am not Mr Scorcese's fan or am i a critic of sorts but we had to debate to keep the after taste alive till Saturday.

The others that could be debated about the movie are these two dialogues from this movie.
1.Warden: "We wage war,we burn sacrifices we pillage and plunder and treat at the flesh of our brothers and why?Because God gave us violence to wage war in his honor".
2.Teddy Daniels: " Which could be worse,to live as a monster,or to die as a good man.?"

And definitely we had to painfully pause the movie as one of us took turns on our loo breaks.Thus it was good we did not suffer till Intermission as would have happened in Raavan.Futher i am doubtful if Raavan would have given us true value for money and precious time as this.
Now are we the kind who get easily impressed?
Was i unneccessarily spooked with this track the same way i was with the OSD of Jaws or Omen?

In any case the movie had a bonanza for me as it had many tracks that were soothings and too good.
So Drama,Mystery,Thrill,Suspense and Music not neccessasarily a pot-pourri of 12 spices and 13 tastes (barah masala terah swaad) like our bollywood movies but it was  scrumptiously delectable.

Image courtesy:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Namma Chennai Roads

It's funny now when i am thinking about roads why these lines intrude my thoughts.These lines which although were beautifully composed but was parodied upon in many laughter shows happening at the same time in the country. i can almost hear the distinct but very unique lisp which recited these for a pen commercial:
                                   "  Zindagi hai to khwaab hain
                                   Khwaab hain to manzilein hain
                                    Manzilein hain to faasle hain
                                     Faasle hain to raaste hain
                                   Raaste hain to mushkilein hain
                                   Mushkilein hain to hausale hain
                                    Hausale hain to vishwaas hai
                                      Vishwaas hai to jeet hai"
Of course the punch line spoilt it all when it was followed by...Kyunki ...fighter hamesha jeetata hai. THIS time i shall make no such attempts of translation for the simple reason that some words are just too perfect in their original form and any such would dilute the ethos of the message.Moreover i prevent myself in creating yet another one that sounds like a transliteration rather than an appropriate translation.
Maybe this was not used for a proper commercial.Maybe if these lines were recited before a cricket match between India and Pakistan it would have saved Javed Akhtar of the so many hilarious parodies and inspired the home team of a well deserved victory.Whatever!
 Maybe i just remember these beautiful lines because it talks of roads leading to destinations/goals.

Maybe i think of these lines because i am thinking about roads which satiated my wander lust when i was a newcomer and which shall soon don a new name.Wonder what is more important than the road themselves (which metaphorically stand for life itself ) that our leaders are deciding to change the names of these roads.In a way are they making roads any more glorious or do they have some hidden agenda?

True it is that roads do have a sense of history attached to them.The Grand Trunk Road was originally 'Sadak-e Azam' and was initially built by Sher Shah Suri says our history books.But we know it better as the British renamed Grand Trunk Road.So when this particular writer cries out,' Erasing History From The Chennai's Road Map' on the decision of the local Corporation of renaming the roads in Chennai i can only but second him in his thoughts.

So i gather that while celebrating the spirit of Chennai, our leaders and  the authorities that yield easily to their whims and fancies, want the names to change and adorn the names of the scholars who though certainly have contributed to literature and culture but have nothing to do with the conception, laying , building or improvement of these roads.Is it then justified when we sacrifice one for the other who in actuality was the creator of these passages that helped connectivity?Why can't new structures have these new names instead of erasing the existing ones?
If done with clear intentions this may seem to be a sound proposal only thing personally i have an intuition that some copy cats have no such original intentions but are are only following a trail that was created by someone else in some distant land in the country.
 In time roads all over the country will follow suit and the aftermath of this hectic renaming left and right after the chosen local scholars would only see public as clueless as before. Incidently this should not start name wars of some kind.Cause each group, region, community would want roads to be named after their chosen scholars who have represented them in their art and intellectual creativity.

i would rather that improvements are done on getting rid of potholes and creating commuter friendly roads and connecting the remotest villages with strong roads that don't get washed away with the first showers of  heavy monsoons...or get flooded in a way that commuting becomes an ardous and accident prone task.

Once again i am reminded of yet another one and this one by a popular humorous poet during the early days of the good roads movement, Sam Walter Foss.His statement in the entire poem,'The Calf Path' becomes moral when he says,"For men are prone to go it blind
         Along the calf paths of the mind,
         And work away from sun to sun
         To do what other men have done.
         They follow in the beaten track;
         And in, and out,and forth,and back."

The road like i said before symbolises life and associated with life, the freedom to live life as we wish to live.So when on the one instance we have  great poets like Robert Frost in his reflective mood telling us quietly in,  'The Road Not Taken', " ...I shall be telling this with a sigh
              Somewhere ages and ages hence:
              Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
              I took the one  less travelled by,
              And that has made all the difference."

On the other hand i have me, an ordinary person feeling nostalgic and wondering if Pilkington road, Phipps road, Constable road would mean anything less to me if their names were changed to the more scholarly sounding Tamil names.For 20 years back when i came to Chennai with my husband and a four month baby, these roads with their European sounding names led me everywhere i needed to go.Be it a stroll for my baby sitting snug in his pram or buying provisions.Be it the hospital or my child's first play school.
On these age old roads lined heavily with lush age old trees i met many lovely people, made new friends while walking and later happily drove along with family and friends.For me these European sounding names mirror so many wonderful moments and thus reflect many memories.My memories will remain the same and in them the roads too with their European/English names.

i may be sounding stiff but i feel that more emphasis should be placed on improving existing roads and the interstate system so that it becomes easier to wander when we want to escape a hectic city life.However since roads continue to be a major part and also represent the essence of our culture i guess i should stop whimpering and learn to accept the change.My immediate concern at the moment being that if i tell the auto fellow the new name will he be able to take me there or will he ask me for the old name?
Never mind! i say to myself as i  try to evoke that same sense of exhiliration, that same sense of light heartedness as Walt Whitman in his,'Song Of The Open Road' evokes...
"Afoot and light- hearted i take to the open road,
Healthy,free,the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever i choose.
Henceforth i whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road."

And thus this freedom that he talks of, i extend this freedom to the freedom that i have for myself to remember all those familiar roads with familiar names as i experienced them when i was a total stranger in this new land.
My personal discoveries on these roads...will and shall remain with me as well as their names and it does not matter to me if Harrington road shall now be known as Bharathi road...and so will others because from my experience in these 20 years Mount road is still known as Mount road even when it's name was changed to Anna Salai.

Now the best song an everlasting classic on Roads always is this song by John Denver.There is another one though another classic by Beatles called,'The Long And Winding Road' but this one will always remain my favourite .So here it is 'Country Roads Take Me Home' by John Denver.

Image courtesy:



Friday, June 18, 2010

This Time... For The Spirit

 This sudden interest in Stadiums was actually sparked by one programme on Fox History & Entertainment Channel where i chanced to see the programme called 'Building The Ultimate' which features building stadiums for the they have a series actually. It includes Aircrafts, Tanks, Submarines etc.
This particular one featured as i said earlier, Stadiums and building the ultimate one for the future.Later a blog by another fellow blogger on this particular Stadium that she took all the interest in, added fuel to the fire that had just started inside me.Only that this fire was to see and know more of and about these, "Modern Day Cathedrals".
She talks about the Allianz Arena in Munich which is the magnificient pulsating homeground for FC Bayern. and  this as well as the programme on the TV  germinated this blog of mine in which i try to educate myself in a way that it should stay clear in my head.
 Maybe now i can try and understand my son's sheer thrill of visiting and actually playing some inter university matches in the Waca Stadium in  Perth Australia.Today i can sense his awe, his religiosity when i am marvelling at the skills of the human hand and the genius of the human mind.

Karagre Vasate Lakshmi
Kar Madhye Sarasvati
Kar Moole Tu Govindah
Prabhate Kar Darshanam
This Sanskrit shloka explains the Divinity that resides in our hands that create, hands that work along with the intellect to become creators of substance and style in a manner that should stand the test of time.
And i wonder with all the research and studies and the best of minds at work if these 21st century Cathedrals will still stand as good as The Colosseum arena/amphitheatre in Rome built in the 1st century AD which offers not only the tourists a unique experience but also solutions to our 21st century builders as they crack their grey cells to build the ultimate.

Today as these structures are being redesigned, to hold even concerts, the game remains just one aspect of the overall experience that a stadium has to offer. Designing one, the engineers and the architects are focussing on special features and new services to attract and cater to a wide variety of people who attend the events there.
The Allianz Arena itself like many others have shopping complexes inside along with entertainment plazas, lounges and restaurants.

The Texas based NFL Team's new arena is supposed to be NFL'S largest ever and first in the U.S to surpass 1 billion dollars to build. i believe that apart from other innovative aspects the stadium will have 180 by 50 foot video boards hanging above the playing field to allow the fans to experience and catch more details and every expression, every smallest move.
Some... designing... this!
And more is yet to come when the enterprising human mind is on it's way to integrating stadium complexes into a mix of residential, commercial, retail dining and entertainment places. So i gather that more than the sport these structures are going to be spots where tourists like me would like to go and marvel at the design and the just get so overwhelmed by the visions transformed into reality.Also to get awestruck with all that hard work, all that dedication, all that research that went into creating such structures where not only entertainment is the key word but safety too is realised be it from fire or other hazards or NOW most importantly providing appropriate exits to minimise fatalities in case a stampede situation arose.

With FIFA World Cup going on and the sounds of vuvuzela horn along with Shakira's Waka Waka constantly around, my thoughts are on all these stadiums dotting South Africa where major upsets will take place. So i googled on all these stadiums and what i find will, for my use be chronicled now in this blog. Not for anything else but to have little facts for myself to feed my very own Stadium Mania.Just wowing at huge stadiums with retractable roofs to allow air and sunlight for the grassy turf will not do.Just gasping at engineers building grassy turfs which rolls to the outside for natural grass to grow and then rolled inside the stadium will not be enough for me.i want to see and know what all there is now and this is how i get to know and retain.

1.Peter Mokamba Stadium - Polokwane : Named after the inspirational leader much revered for his fighting spirit, Peter Mokamba.
City: Polokwane
Capacity : 45,000
Built : Jan 2007-2010
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 4 group matches
Polokwane Stadium

2. Loftus Versfeld Stadium - Tshwane/ Pretoria
One of the oldest stadiums in South Africa this stadium was the venue for South Africa's national team Bafana Bafana's first ever victory over a European side when they beat Sweden 1-0 in 1999.
City : Pretoria
Capacity : 50,000
Built : 1906
Renovated : 2008
Resident Club : Mamelodi Sundowns
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match
                                                                 Pretoria Stadium

3. Mbombela Stadium - Nelspruit
Mbombela is a siSwati word which literally means " Many people together in a small place".siSwati is one of the 11 official language in South Africa.This stadium is in close proximity to the famous game parks giving spectators an added opportunity to see the wildlife during days when they are off football.
City : Nelspruit
Capacity : 46,000
Built : Feb 2007-2009
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 4 group matches
                                                                   Nelspruit Stadium

4. Royal Bafokeng Stadium - Rustenburg
Reflecting natural features with it's saddle shape this stadium is named after the Royal Bafokeng Community which is an administrative entity presiding over the world's richest platinum mines.
City : Rustenburg
Capacity : 42,000
Built : 1999
Renovated : Nov 2005-2010
Resident Club : Platinum Stars
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match.

                                                              Rustenburg Stadium

5.Soccer City Stadium - Johannesburg
The design of this stadium is inspired by the iconic African pot known as the CALABASH.The stadium looks breathtakingly beautiful in it's aesthetic appeal when all lit up after sundown.
City : Johannesburg
Capacity : 94,700
Built : 1987
Renovated : 2006-2010
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 quarter-final and The Final.

                                                                   Johannesburg SC

6. Ellis Park Stadium - Johannesburg
Named after a Johannesburg city councilor JD Ellis who approved a full 13 acres of the land for this stadium,
now this one has what is called state-of-the-art media facilities in addition to others some worth knowing.
a) accessibility to disabled fans
b) a new pitch
c) top notch audio visual set up to keep fans updated
d) team whirlpools
e) top class VIP area for dignitaries
City : Johannesburg
Capacity : 60,000
Built : 1928
Renovated : 2008-2009
Resident Club : Orlando Pirates FC
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match and 1 quarter- final.
(But i sincerely hope after seeing all that study on crowd management while designing stadiums, that the renovators and designers remember that stampede that happened here on 11th April 2001 which left 43 people crushed to death.)
                                                              Johannesburg Ellis Stadium  

7. Free State Stadium - Mangaung/ Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is poetically known as 'City of roses' owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held here.
This stadium is a joint home to Premier Soccer League and Bloemfontein Celtic.The Celtic fans are known as Siwelele a Sotho (Sesotho) term.Again Sotho is a Bantu language and one of the 11 official language of South Africa.
City : Bloemfontein
Capacity : 48,000
Built : 1952
Renovated : 2008
Resident Club : Bloemfontein Celtics
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match.
                                                              Bloemfontein Stadium

8. Moses Mabhida Stadium/ Durban Stadium - Durban
This stadium will hold one of the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.This stadium is unique in it's design which is conspicuous by two large arches which are 100 metres above the stadium roof.The design is inspired from the South African flag and the arch represents the unity of this sports loving nation.The stadium is a 'Jewel in the crown' of Kings Park Sporting Precinct.
City : Durban
Capacity : 70,000
Built from 2006-2009 on the previous site of King's Park Soccer Stadium ( King Senzangakhona Stadium)
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 semi- final.
                                                                 Durban Stadium

9.Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth Stadium - Port Elizabeth
This stadium set on the shores of North End Lake will host a match for Third Place and a quarter-final amid a total of 8 matches during FIFA World Cup.
City : Port Elizabeth
Capacity : 50,000
Built : Nov 2006- July 2009
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 quarter-final and a 3rd place match.
                                                                 Port Elizabeth Stadium
10.Green Point Stadium - Cape Town
One of the most artistic venues for one of the two semi- finals for the FIFA World Cup, this stadium is a stone's throw from the ocean and the backdrop of this stadium is the enchanting mountains of Cape Town.
City : Cape Town
Capacity : 70,000
Built : Oct 2006- end of 2009 on the previous site of the old stadium which carried the same name.
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round, 1 quarter-final and 1 semi-final.

                                                                  Cape Town Stadium

 This is my simple way at looking at the ultimate structures which throb with the exhilirated cries of victory or get silenced by extreme disappointment of the fans when their favourites win or lose.
i feel that although the history of a country may change but the buildings do not.They continue to get renovated to accommodate more.Standing as a mute witness to the narrative around them, they come to become the Meccas by the heroic acts or morbid Citadels of the barbaric or heinous crimes committed.In a way those who control them, live in them or manage them or even fill them up on various events, impart a new meaning to them.History changes and they represent something else.
The Colosseum which saw the dying gladiators and the last Christian martyrs now has become a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment and only last year in April it was illuminated in gold when  capital punishment was abolished in the American state of New Mexico.

Now whether it is the Millennium Stadium at Wales or the lattice like Bird's nest in China or any of these that i have chronicled today, i salute all the white collared and the blue collared people who toiled relentlessly to create effectively functional as well as aesthetic buildings as these.
These structures which connect the solitary human being and the crowd, the everyday and the heroic...will i in my lifetime ever understand the full meaning of what they are trying to convey?Are these now architectural marvels or commercial adventures? For what i see on the television and the glossy pictures at the moment, it seems they are telling me," We aren't just built to contain entertainment.We ARE the entertainment."

And yes! as  Waka Waka fills the surroundings now, in my mind's eye i continue to associate stadiums with the spirit of conquest.Whether it is ...of the structure... the sport...the dreams and the hard labour to achieve those dreams. For is it the design that makes it memorable or is it the impossible feats performed  here that place these at a pedestal ? What is it that fans like my son bow down to or kiss the ground for?
 From all i know of the the hands that craft and the intellect that visualises there is something yet above all this and that is the spirit...the spirit which wants to rise against all odds and just emerge whatever we do.

Image courtesy:
Additional Resource : Sports Star and Sports World magazines June 2010 issues.