Before I go on to register the thrills of the past weekend I have to extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of Mumbai Explosions. Terrorism in any way, shape or form, can not be condoned. It is a sad moment for the people of India and it is in this moment of sorrow that we need to keep all our political differences aside and embrace our neighbours in an unequivocal show of support. I pray to God that all injured in this incident return to good health and all those who have lost a loved one find the strentgh and patience to bear the loss. Rest in peace departed souls. For updates and details visit the Mumbai Metroblog
Although this incident has put a sour twist on the proceedings of the week, it certainly was not the way it was summoned. The past weekend saw Toronto indulge in some of biggest fesitivities of the summer. The famous Toronto Street Festivals and the Molson Toronto Grand Prix were further complemented by the elaborate street parties that ensued once Italy won the cup. Yours truly was fortunate enough to partake in all the activities with the regular gang.
The weekend began with preparation to bid adieu to mother on what would eventually prove to be a very busy sunday. To offer a true flavour of the Toronto summer, I took mom to the Corso Italia street festival which offered the choicest of italian foods, wine and desert as well and music and entertainment. There was dancing on the streets as the St Clair Aveneue between Dufferin and Landsdowne played host to a number of budding musicians as well as pros like the Samba Squad. It was evident that mother was thrilled with the proceedings of the evening, something that she mentioned she might not indulge in NY due to security reasons. She spent the saturday catching up with friends and family in town and left sunday morning. Like every other time when mother departs, I felt misreable, my gut wrenched and my heart sank. However its all for the best, we are both evolving in our own worlds which can only come in contact for a brief time period, at least for now.
The grief was short lived as not much later I ended up at the Canadian National Exhibition to witness my first grand prix. My displeasure with my current job is no secret. However its the remuneration and some benefits that keep me going. Benefits like twice a week bagel breakfast and lunches on the house, like the fortnightly Baskin Robins ice crean treat and not to forget having our own race car in the champ car series. I thus got 4 VIP passes to take myself and 3 friends to witness our driver, the 2005 winner of the Toronto GP, Justin Wilson in action.
Its one thing to watch these races on TV but believe me its a whole new feeling to be sitting in those bleachers watching cars at unreal speeds whiz by you 86 times. The sound, the stress and the cheers and chants, the humidity and the heat all add to the flavor of being at the event. That and the lovely ladies that we fondly refer to as racechicks. They all add to the experience. The most astonishing thing and something that took me by complete surprise was the sound of the cars. At ever shift on the course one could hear an explosion and feel a jolt of energy rip through the car as the added gas accelerated it to and even more unbelievable speeds. It was all so unreal. Sadly Justin had some car trouble and couldnt repeat his 2005 performance. Better luck next time buddy.
From CNE we rushed to meet the rest of our crew at the historic Toronto watering hole called the Wheat Sheaf. The bar was so packed for the game that people were sitting on the floor and late comers like us had to watch the whol game standing. The biggest anomally, specifically for Toronto, was that the pub was a stronghold to French fans. Every time Henry kicked the ball, everytime Zidane dribbled it through the opposition, every time a Vieira created a play, the whole pub with its 100 or so strong audience would burst out in OHs AHs and cheers. Although I was indifferent towards either side since my teams were already out of the running, yet France's onfield performance seemed more impressive to me than Italys. And although he got nailed for it, but was that a great head butt from Zidane or what. That too was an explosion of raw energy from Zidane's head to Materazzi's chest. Cheers to Zezu, hes my new hero! May every head get to butt into someone like that. The funny thing is that his head didnt hurt and the only pain evident in his eyes was that of leaving the field before the game was over. Ah well, not all stories have happy endings, and so Italy won.
The good side, or bad side for some depending on where you live, was the throngs of Italians and Italian Soccer fans that descended on Little Italy and Costo Italia.Although I was barely there in the flood of Italian colours yet I could feel that this was one party that was going to go into the wee hours of morning, an hour I may not be able to wee out.
As another weekend approaches so does other plans. Toronto in the summers is the place to be. Till next update.