'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Anecdotal Evidence

In the last post here, I mentioned the dicey-ness of going by anecdotal evidence. Yday, I reread a very interesting discussion that happened at Anand's 'Locana' long ago. And now I recall a much earlier event that had crossed my mind when I read the Locana discussion(another trigger for this memory was that I saw the Cuban women's volleyball team in action on a sports channel. Were they powerful!):

1992. The Soviet Union has just imploded. The US is in a major triumphalist mood and merrily bullying former Soviet satellites. Cuba was a special target. The Indian Government, perhaps under American pressure, cancelled a shipment of rice to Cuba. The desi communists were outraged at this 'breach of faith' and started a drive to collect funds to send a shipful of rice to the indomitable little Caribbean island.

In our then circle was an academician who, when not busy pondering the deepest mysteries of mathematical physics, used to be a very articulate spokesman for various leftist causes. Well, better than 'articulate' would be 'stentorian' (a word I learned just a couple of weeks back while 'mugging' for GRE). So we refer to him here as 'Stentor'(*).

Coming to the point, Stentor was a vigorous fund collector for this Cuban business. He used to lecture everyone how although Cuba was a friend (memories of Castro hugging Indira Gandhi at a Non Aligned (sic) Meet were still fresh), the people of India were unaware of the plight that had befallen that country, and how it was our duty to help them out and so on...

As noted above, it was 1992. The Barcelona Olympics were going on. We were watching the athletics events on TV. Women's discus throw was being shown. Among the participants was a Cuban by name Maritza Marten, the visual impact of whose two meter plus stature was equaled only by her own oak-like heft. As she wiped the field with the competition and we watched in awe, one of the chaps suddenly yelled out: "Hey guys, Stentor is trying so hard to send rice to this 'Tun Tun'!".

(*) - The original Stentor was a herald from Greek mythology, who challenged and lost to the god Hermes in a 'shouting match'. The contemporary one has probably not met his match yet - nowadays one often sees him in action on the telly, shouting down folks in debates.


  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger Two Minds said…

    Had a hearty laugh, Anamika.

    Two 'technical' flaws in the punch line:
    1. Tun Tun must have been of those higher dimensions because of red meat and certainly not because of rice?
    2. Most of Cubans are more of Mr, Castro's order than TunTun's and hence they do the rice?

  • At 6:05 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    thanks,two minds.

    castro himself is a physically imposing figure. i doubt if he needed the rice either.


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