Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vuvuzela - an overdose of culture

Life was simple during school days. There was only Olympics that happened once in four years. For all the hype around Indian medals in Asian Games, these games hardly attracted much attention till Delhi hosted them in 1982. As for Winter Olympics, I didn't even know that such a thing existed when I was in school. Commonwealth Games too passed without making much of a dent on my childhood memory.
Now there's Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, Commonwealth, Asian, and as if these are not enough, there is Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, IPL, Champions League, Formula 1, Hockey World Cup and yes, FIFA world cup. So much to remember.... :-(
Each game promises to be bigger and better than the previous one. And the organizers pull out all stops in the opening and closing ceremony. Either they are getting repetitive and/or monotonous, or I am losing memory, but after all these years and all the ceremonies that have come and gone, only TWO instances remain etched on my memory.
The lighting of torch in Barcelona 1992 and closing ceremony of Moscow Olympics 1980. In Barcelona, the simplicity of that unforgettable act just took one's breath away. No gizmos, nobody ostensibly flying across the stadium, no laser beams. Just a bow and a flaming arrow and a hush of tense anticipation in the stadium. Take a look, in case you have forgotten (or if you were not born then!)

Source - Youtube
As for Moscow, the mosaic showing tears flowing down Misha said it all. The mosaic trick has been tried so often later on, but none have had the effect that Misha had. Again, take a peep into history.

Source - Youtube

Cut to South Africa 2010. The only thing that is staying in my head after two days is the incessant drone of these blasted (pun intended) Vuvuzelas. I think it is an overdose of this 'cultural' thing. Unnecessary hype around a piece of plastic.
1. They sound monotonous after about 45 seconds. Tolerating them for 90 minutes is a torture. And they are also a weapon of mass distraction.
2. I read that they are also a health hazard, given the decibel levels that they can belt out.
3. Most of all, I think there is hardly anything 'South African' about them. Plastic trumpets producing the most hideous bleating sounds have been produced in every small town in India and sold in fairs for less than 5 rupees. Not just in India, but I am sure every country has its own version of Vuvuzela. In Marathi they have an onomatopoeic name - Pipaani. My daughter, nephews and nieces would easily account for about 50 of them so far.
I hope that by the end of FIFA 2010, I will remember the tournament for something better than Vuvuzelas. Something that is really South African.


Vinay said...

Vuvuzelas were traditionally made of wood. Plastic vuvuzelas are just a commercial aspect of the vuvuzela.

Traditionally, the use of the vuvuzela is different from what it is done today. And that over use itself is a reason for many disliking the instrument.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Vinay - Thanks. Well, that's a common story, isn't it? Tutaari was made of metal, Pipaani is made of plastic!
By the way, what were Vuvuzelas traditionally used for?

BullsEye said...

Ohh I agree with you 100%..Where is the Anthem singing, The drums, the beats..The Vuvuzelas are killing world cup, they need to stop.

Pushkaraj said...

@ BullsEye - Talking of anthem singing, I find it most irritating when the vuvus are bleating even when the national anthems are playing before the kick-off.