Monday, August 20, 2007

Candles in the Wind

On the 16th of August, it was 30 years since the day that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley died of a drug overdose. Hype about this anniversary arose to a maximum with news channels such as CNN providing constant coverage of the events surrounding it. There was so much of Elvis singing, Elvis dancing and Elvis acting. This got me thinking about Elvis, his music, his moves and his life.

In 1997, also in August, another great icon of our times, Princess Diana passed away tragically in a car accident after being hounded by the paparazzi. In tribute to who she was and to her life, Elton John sang his second version of "Candle in the Wind" at her funeral. Yet, it was never as moving as when he first sang it for the american beauty, Marilyn Monroe, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1962. He was right, you know. Elton John was right. All these icons, or stars, or whatever they are called, they are all candles in the wind, living short but eventful lives.

You don't even need to travel over land and sea. There are so many examples in our small isle as well. No one will ever forget the enigmatic Vijaya Kumaranatunga, screen idol, singer, politician, who was gunned down by an unknown assailant in 1988. The voice of H R Jothipala, the works of Premakeerthi de Alwis, the face of Richard de Zoysa, will forever be etched in the minds of Sri Lankans.

What is it about these people that make us remember them with such passion? What is it about them that makes people dress up just like them, sing their songs, watch their movies, year after year. We make documentaries, we create exhibitions, we keep memorials. Year after year. They are never forgotten, never allowed to rest. Their lives are still constantly discussed, pondered upon, snooped about. It's as if they are part of our lives, as if they are people that we knew from our childhood. But the truth of the matter is, some died even before we were born.

I think there are so many qualities in them that made them such icons. Their personalities are vivacious and attractive. They look good and most important of all, they had talents and personalities that no other human will have for another century.

Something I also think is that, the way they died played a big part in what they became at the end. Almost all of them died tragically. Tragic death of a superstar always leaves us aghast and in disbelief. I still remember my refusal to believe that Princess Di has passed away even though I was listening to the live coverage. We feel sad because these people touched our hearts with their immense talents. We feel that something so wonderful cannot have perished, and even that, so tragically. We feel sadness and sympathy, for the one who died as well as for ourselves. Through them and their talents, we saw something great and good, and we mourn for that.

Have you ever thought what it would be like IF they had lived? If they had lived to be 50 or 60 years old. Would we have still venerated them as we do in their deaths? Would Elvis ruin his life completely (he was half way there) and end up like Micheal Jackson? Forgotten, despised, joked about? Would Marilyn Monroe just wither away and become old like Elizabeth Taylor? Would Vijaya Kumaranatunga turn out to be "just" another politician who would be the ruin of us?

The answers to those questions will remain unanswered forever. Although a yes would seem like a likely answer for most of these people, you never know if they would have done what Audrey Hepburn did. Remain just as enigmatic throughout her life. Maybe Pricess Diana would have grown into a Queen of her own, maybe Vijaya Kumaranatunga would have being the best head of state Sri Lanka saw after D.S. Senanayake, maybe we would have still heard those famous words ring over the loud speaker at a concert hall:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building"

May all of them rest in peace!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Care to Meet the Witch of Portobello?

This post is long overdue. It was sometime ago that I had finished reading Paulo Coelho's latest, "The Witch of Portobello". I don't know exactly why I took so long to write about it, but here I go.

This story is the story of Athena, or Sherine Khalil. Always led by inituition, even as a child, Athena belongs to a universe of her own. Is it fair of me to say that? She was definitely not "normal" as standards go in society, but she had qualities that made her stand out wherever she went. Born in Romania and abandoned by her Gypsy mother, Athena is adopted by her Lebanese parents when she was just a baby. Due to increasingly violent political situation in Lebanon, her father decides to move his family to the sanctity of England. There, Athena grows up and marries at a tender age of 20, while dropping out of college. Following her heart by believing that it is time for her to have a child, Athena gives birth to her son at the age of 21. Yet, the situation at home gets more stressing by the day. Her husband, works tirelessly to keep the money coming to support the young family, while Athena rebels against her husband since she is not getting the attention that she needs. Finally, this tension ends up in a divorce.

Although she is presurrised by her parents to move in with them, Athena takes responsibility for the situation and moves into an apartment with her son, while starting to work at a bank. Her life is strenuous and monotonous until she meets with her landlord. This landlord belongs and accomodates a group of people who believe that music and dancing has improved their lives. Athena, who went to the first meeting out of curiosity, is absorbed into this world, because she discovers that dancing takes her into a trance and afterwards she is able to bring joy and productivity into what she does. She introduces this to her collegues at work and the management at the bank notices an increase in productivity. This allows her to go to the Middle East because the management believes that she will be able to induce productivity into their branch there.

Athena's mystical journey starts there. She meets a Bedouin who teaches her calligraphy, and through that writing, patience. Afterwards, she travels to Romania in search of her birth mother and is introduced into a world that worships the "Great Mother". She comes back to England, a woman who has found her past and her true vocation. Finally, she becomes popular as the "Witch of Portobello", because once she goes into a trance, she is capable of prophesying the future.

Although this is not my favourite Coelho book, it nevetheless left me amazed and thinking about everything that is mentioned within its pages. Apparently based on a true story, it captured my interest into subjects that I was hardly knowledgeable about: The worship of the Great Mother, witchcraft, etc. Behind all these, is a clear message that is poignant through all of Coelho's books, follow your heart, always be true to who you are despite what everyone else may say. My post does not end here, I need to say a few more words about the mystical journey that was the story of Athena.

I have heard (well, read) many times about the worship of the Great Mother. It is said that after millenia of male dominated religions, the worship, or the cult of the Great Mother is now again in arising. They believe that the Mother was born in the void, that was there before the birth of the universe. She is everything. She is the Earth (she is also known as the Earth Goddess, maybe that is where the term 'Mother Earth' originates from), she is the wind, the clouds and the rain. She is everything and everything is one. She is manifested in all of us. She was there before the first man took his first step and she will be there when the last walked the earth. She was known as Gaia to the Greeks, as Isis to the Egyptians, and Durga to the Indians. She is mentioned in all the old civilizations in some form, the woman who is all compassionate and a mother to all. Yet, as man established himself on this earth she was slowly forgotten and replaced by male gods.

Athena was able to touch the spirit of the mother, or, of the universal wisdom, when she went into a trance. Her path to this mystical journey was through music and dancing. Yet, it can also be induced by other methods, such as meditation. Many Buddhists have claimed this through the centuries, and some do still. They travels to different planes of consciousness and is empowered by a knowledge that is unusual to laymen.

Athena was able to help many from what she learned through her journeys. I recently heard of a story of a woman in Sri Lanka who has developed her skills in meditation to such a level that she is able to commune with the Gods and help those who are in need, especially those who are and will suffer from Cancer. This for me, stands out as a big coincidence. Here I have read an extraordinary story in a book by Paulo Coelho and now I hear of this lady who is capable of doing the exact same thing as Athena, although by different means. They belong to different religions, yet they speak of the same experiences.

In the old days, these women would have being labelled as Witches and persecuted for their beliefs. In Western cultures, this is still the case. The catholic church and especially european countries, during the end of the medieval period and at the beginning of the modern era, hunted and killed many women who they believed to be witches by burning them alive on stakes. This year, the government of Scotland, issued a statement to all the descendants of those who were thus killed apologizing for its deeds centuries ago. What was the reason for this manhunt, this shameful massacre of women in the most gruesome of manners? It is the fear of the unknown, the same reason behind all prejudice and discrimination, the fear of the "magic" that these women were able to incant, their mystical practices, languages and beliefs. Society fear and look down on those who dare to break the rules. This rings true in Athena's own words. The words that she uttered when she stepped up to receive sacrament at sunday church after her divorce, and was refused.

"A curse of this place!" said the voice. "A curse on all those who never listened to the words of Christ and who have transformed his message into a stone building. For Christ said : 'Come unto me al ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. Well, I'm heavy laden, and they won't let me come to him. Today I've learned that the Church has changed those words to read: 'Come unto me all ye who follow our rules, and let the heavy laden go hang!"

To a certain extent, I must admit, shamefully, that I do not differ. I would be scared of people who talk of gods, who walk with angels, and who are able to predict the future. I would be skeptical and will keep a distance from those who dance unusually, who talk in a indiscernible language. I would be scared. Maybe that is why, our ancestors considered these women to be the instruments of the devils. Because they were scared. Yet, I also believe that it is our stupidity and our misfortune to think and believe that we know everything. That everything that society imposes and a religion preaches is correct and just. I believe that we are wrong, we do not know everything. This world, and whatever that makes it go around is so much bigger than us, it is so much wiser than us. All its mysteries and all its knowledge will never be comprehensible to us. We will never be able to explain everything, through science or whatever means. Because science, a product of human intelligence, has the same quality that we humans posses, the ability to error. So we must believe that there are things outside what we have being taught, what we have being made to believe and follow. Things that it is better not to rebel against even though we may not understand it. Once, a great man said that we must think and analyse whatever we encounter, we must not accept something just because someone says it is so, because society imposes and requires that of us. We must analyse it ourselves and believe what is right. That man was Lord Buddha, who, through his belief, attained enlightment.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sir, Yes Sir!!

This is how my dog Maxie travels in the car. In the backseat and in the middle! :) And no, he doesn't look like Yoda from Star Wars :))

The Enchanting Kingdom of Guge

I am enthralled by Tibet, and I think I will forever be. I have dreamed of living in Tibet, but the cold and the food are the only obstacles I have to face (And they are big obstacles). So this documentary about a lost kingdom in Tibet really captured my heart.

In Western Tibet there once was the marvellous Kingdom of Guge. It's capital city is the town now known as Tsaparang. There are hundreds of caves, houses in ruins and palaces at the top of the hill. When the Imperial Palace of Lhasa lost its power, Guge arose to the occasion by housing Tibet's sovereignty and the protectors of Buddhism. Guge lies in Western Tibet and was a landmark on the Silk Road. Between the 9th and 17th century, Guge thrived with the best thinkers, best artists and the one of the most prosperous economies that Tibet has seen in its History.

Yet, this wonderful kingdom suddenly came to an end at around 1600's A.D. No one actually knows the real reason behind this. Since there is no written record of how it came to an end, archeologists have ventured into the country side to gather information from folk lore. They now believe, that the last king of Guge had many rifts with his own brother, the chief abbot. Towards the end of the Guge Kingdom, the sect of Yellow hats, from which the Dalai Lamas are descending, have become the chief priests within Tibet. It was their belief that the Head Monk should be the head of state (as it is now with the Dalai Lama being the head of Tibet). While this was the idea of the Chief Abbot, the King had ideas of his own. During this period, two Christian missionaries from Portugal ventured into Guge with the notion of spreading the message of Jesus. The King welcomed them warmly and was willing to listen to their doctrine while the buddhist monks saw this as a definite threat. The Chief Abbot pleaded with the Ladakhis in Kashmir and they invaded Guge. After months of war, the Ladakhis won over Guge and the King and all the Royal Dignataries were killed.

In the completely abandoned ruins of Guge there is one particular cave that is ghastly for the explorers who discovered it. It is filled with skeletons, hundreds of skeletons without any heads. Archeologists and Historians now believe that these are the remains of the royals of Guge.

The Murals in the caves, temples and palaces of Guge are considered as one of the best in the world. They depict the lives of the people of this once properous and enchanting kingdom that enabled Buddhism to survive during a dark period of Tibetan history.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Howdy Superman?

And here I was just telling my mother a couple of days ago that I hope no family with the surname "Bond", would ever name their kid "James"... Boy, I didn't even know how crazy some parents can be! :)

Pat and Sheena Wheaton from New Zealand, were fighting with the government of NZ because they wanted to name their son "4Real"!!....... 4Real!! Just imagine having a name like "4Real"!!! I mean, I am speechless... And they wanted this name apparently because they couldn't believe their son was "for real"!!! *Urrrrrrrrgh*....

But the good news is that they lost the battle! *phew*... The policy is that you have to have a sequence of letters for names in New Zealand! :-... Ok well, something saved the poor baby from being called "4Real", we have to be thankful about it, but guess what they named him then? SUPERMAN!!! :) (don't you feel like banging your head on a wall?)

Yup, if you dont believe me, just check the net. This is "4Real"!! :))

Monday, July 30, 2007

In Brilliant Disguise

The last two lines of Brilliant Disguise by Bruce Springsteen goes as follows:

God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he's sure of

Now if you actually listen to the song, it doesn't make much sense. Although it is a brilliant, brilliant song, I failed to distinguish much of the words. Yet, if you go through the lyrics, it is a song about a man who speaks of his insecurities and doubts in his relationship/marriage. He doubts his wife's intentions behind being with him, he cannot believe why a woman like her would be with a man like him. He questions whether these feelings that she shows are for real or whether they are a brilliant disguise. Yet, towards the end, he doubts himself.

Ok, I get it to a certain point. He has all these feelings and he is in doubt over them. They say that "The Boss", wrote this when he was going through the ending of his first marriage. And unlike the passion and romance of love that most romantic songs talk about, this is a song that speaks about all the insecurities and doubts that every couple has to go through. But, I just don't get the last two lines.

If he is so sure of something, why is he doubting it? I mean, if that was indeed the case, god definitely should have mercy on that man. And I am sure that I am missing something important being said in these two lines! :(

So, I am asking all of you - if you have any enlightening thoughts about exactly WHAT these two lines should mean, please do leave a comment! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

To the Boy Who Lived...

... and to the woman who brought him to life!

It's over... It's finally over. The great saga that was Harry Potter, recently came to an end. With the publication of the final and seventh book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", the story of Harry Potter and his adventures was over.

I started reading Harry Potter with much doubt. The first of its kind, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", came out and there was much hype around the world. Everyone was reading the book and there was much acclaim for it. But I, stubbornly refused to dwell on this matter. As far as I was concerned, it was merely fantasy. It had something to do with a boy wizard and I was not going to be a part of this craziness. Fantasy stories about children, were, for children. That was my argument and therefore refrained from even reading a letter from it.

Then something magical happened in 2002. I met a friend of my father's who was also a keen reader. We were discussing about good books to read and he suddenly asked me whether I have read "the Harry Potter book". I gave a sly smile, a smile that in my head meant "oh, you gotta be kidding me, I'm a grown up", and replied saying "Of course not, its just a fantasy world meant for children". He looked at me and replied, "Trust me, that is what I thought at the beginning, but I gave it a chance and it was a wonderful book"!

Now me, I have a greater tendency than most to be persuaded and in some cases blindly led, by those I respect. And I respected my father's friend greatly. So I thought, if he can give it a chance why can't I? So I conveyed my wish to my sister and managed to rouse her interest enough to go and buy the first book, as I was merely a campus student at that time and had no money of my own.

It was one of the best decisions I have made, my decision to give this fantasy book a try! It was a wonderful, wonderful book!... It was a magical book, this fantasy world that is filled with wizards, witches and magic. It was a world which can be believed!

The greatest thing that I love about Harry Potter is its outward and inward beauty. What I mean by outward beauty is the beauty of the wizarding world that it represents. The author, J K Rowling, creates a world for all of us that is so complete in every manner. It is not a story about a wizard who performs spells and magic. It is world where there are wizards and witches, a world where it is shown how these wizards live their lives alongside muggles (humans who do not have magical powers). It is a world where you run along with these wizards in their quest for justice, where you meet giants, trolls, half giants, dragons and centaurs. Where you meet and sympathize with the house elves in a world where they are discriminated by the wizards for being lesser magical creatures. It is a world where you encounter invisible cloaks, photo frames that contain not still pictures of people but actual moving people, wands that choose their wizards, broomsticks and cars that can fly. A world where you meet ghosts and inferi (the dead) and dementors who feed on your misery and guard the wizard prison of Azkaban.

Yet, the inward beauty is the core of this great children's epic. These wizards and witches are merely men and women who have the ability to perform magic. With all their magical powers, they are human in every possible way. They are normal children who go to school, to Hogwarts; who have to stay in school and finish their O.W.L (Ordinary Wizarding Level) examination and graduate. Who love to play games, even if it is Quidditch. The human spirit is emphasized in these people in its most magnificent and worse ways. They have feelings, feelings of belonging, love, friendship, hatred and doubt. That is the power of Harry Potter, the ability it presents to us a world which we are able to associate ourselves with and be mesmerised by it.

But the greatest element of this story is its message as I see it. It is a story about love. The greatest spell or charm in the world is not what you point your wand and incant, but the feeling of pure love. It was his mother’s love and sacrifice for him that saved Harry Potter from the Killing curse of the Dark Lord and hence earned him the name “The Boy Who Lived”. It was this sacrifice of Lily Potter that lived within Harry, as a charm, running with his blood and protecting him. It was what defeated the Dark Lord, Lord Voldemort, or simply, Tom Riddle, over and over again. Although Tom Riddle was one of the greatest wizards, he did not understand love, family and sacrifice. He never understood why exactly this mere 11-year old, this normal boy, this boy who had no special talents, who was just an average student and wizard, repeatedly beat him and ultimately vanquished him. He never understood the pureness of Harry’s innocence or his heart or his friendships or his parents’ love. He did not understand the absolute power of that love, from his parents and his friends, and the sacrifices that people make willingly for that love. His pure ignorance and disdain for it is what brought about his destruction. This, I believe, applies to all of us. That love, in the end, conquers all. That those who understand love, truly triumph, they win and they are the ones who are capable of bringing more love and peace. That it is the magic that we all possess, the magic of love.

For those of you who have not even tried to read Harry Potter, I would like to say: Please, please please please, give this a try. The first book is a small book. It would not take much of your time to read it. And if you don’t like it, it wouldn’t have wasted so much of your time and you do not have to continue with the rest of the books. But I think that most of you will love this. That just like me, you would hold that first book in your hands and rejoice in the magic and the miracle that lies within those 223 pages.

Lastly, it is with great admiration and gratitude that I would like to say thank you, to Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Your adventures and your lives brought much life and wonder into so many around the world. We learned so much through the triumphs and turbulences that you had to go through. Finally, my warmest gratitude goes out to J K Rowling. I marvel at the wonder that is your imagination. Thank you so much for sharing your world with all of us! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Get Rid of Your Ghosts!

A post by one of my favourite authors (he is one of my favourite persons too), Paulo Coelho in his blog, has the following article. I cannot just leave it there expecting people will visit his blog and read it, it's too good to pass by and I thought this story deserves as much publishing as it can get :) So here it is, and I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me :)

Note: Ok, I know that the picture of "Ghost Busters" is not entirely appropriate for this post (if you read till the end, you will know), but I tried to search for a pic of a Ghost and I got scared by the results I got, and I am definitely NOT going to put a picture like that on my blog! :) And I need a picture too, hence - Ghost Busters - they anyhow help you get rid of ghosts so it's kind of appropriate right? :)


Getting Rid of Ghosts - Published by Paulo Coelho in his blog

For years, Hitoshi tried in vain to awaken the love of the woman he believed to be the love of his life. But fate is ironic: on the very day that she finally accepted him as her future husband, she learned that she had an incurable disease and would not live for very much longer.

Six months later, when she was about to die, she said to him:
‘Promise me one thing: never fall in love with anyone else. If you do, I will come every night to haunt you.’

And then she closed her eyes for ever. For many months, Hitoshi avoided other women, but fate continued to be ironic, and he discovered a new love. When he was preparing to remarry, the ghost of his ex-beloved kept her promise and appeared to him.

‘You are betraying me,’ the ghost said.

‘For years, I offered you my heart and you rejected me,’ replied Hitoshi. ‘Don’t you think I deserve a second chance of happiness?’

But the ghost of his ex-beloved was not interested in excuses and came every night to frighten him. It described in detail what had happened during the day, the words of love that he had spoken to his fiancée, the kisses and embraces they had exchanged.

Hitoshi could no longer sleep and so he went to consult the Zen master Basho.

‘It’s certainly a very intelligent ghost,’ said Basho.

‘It knows everything down to the last detail! And now it’s ruining my relationship because I can’t sleep and during intimate moments with my fiancée, I feel somehow constrained.’

‘Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of the ghost,’ said Basho.

That night, when the ghost returned, Hitoshi spoke first, before the ghost could say a word.
‘You’re such a clever ghost, I’d like to make a deal with you. Since you watch me all the time, I’m going to ask you about something I did today. If you answer correctly, I will give up my fiancée and never take another wife. If you answer wrongly, you must promise never to appear again, or else be condemned by the gods to wander for ever in the darkness.’

‘Agreed,’ replied the ghost confidently.

‘This afternoon, when I was in the grocer’s shop, at one point, I picked up a handful of grain from a sack.’

‘Yes, I saw you,’ said the ghost.

‘My question is the following: how many grains of wheat did I have in my hand?’

The ghost realised that it would never be able to answer that question and, in order to avoid being pursued by the gods into eternal darkness, it decided to disappear for ever.

Two days later, Hitoshi went to Basho’s house.

‘I came to thank you.’

‘Be sure to learn the lessons your experience has taught you,’ said Basho. ‘First: the spirit kept coming back because you were afraid. If you want to rid yourself of a curse, simply ignore it. Second: the ghost took advantage of your feelings of guilt. Whenever we feel guilty, we always unconsciously long to be punished. And finally, no one who truly loved you, would force you to make such a promise. If you want to understand love, first learn about freedom.’

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ah, the Spoilt Brat!

He needs to be feeded, he needs to be carried around and he will even bite you!! May I introduce to you my dog, Maxie!!

These days I am alone at home. Well not entirely alone, my grandmother is there and of course my two dogs are there to keep me company. One of them, Piyasena, is out of the house most of the time these days, simply because it is a busy time with women. So its just Maxie and me at home.

Due to the fact that my mother is not at home, it is perfectly understood that Maxie is to be given maximum attention. He is missing his best loved care taker (my mother) and left alone at home when I have to go to work. So, he believes that it is his god given right to be spoilt as he wishes when I am at home.

The latest habit of his is to make me feed him. He refuses to look at his dinner or lunch and walks by as if not bothered about it at all!! Although I try and coax him to eat, he will put on his best airs. So now, I have to sit next to him and feed him mouthful by mouthful. Believe me, I am not doing this because he is being rather cheesy about the whole matter, I simply ignore him in the past when he puts on a show like this, but I cannot have a thinner version of him when my mother gets back, or else, all hell will break loose!!

At night, before I go to sleep, I am SUPPOSED to take him with me to my room to sleep on his rug. The orders given to me were to make sure that he is not left alone, in the dark, in the living room, where, poor him will have to get up in the middle of the night and find his way to my room!! So when I try to make him walk to my room, he absolutely refuses, puts all his strength in NOT moving one step!! So finally I have to carry him!

These days, he has managed to get himself an ear infection. Under the prescription of the vet, an ear drop needs to be put in both ear twice a day! This has become such a traumatic experience for me, and I dread even thinking about it! First of all, its impossible to catch him. Being a part of a poodle and endowed with a certain amount of intelligence, he has come to identify the bottle carrying the ear drops and runs away as soon as he sees it! Say that I finally get him cornered, I hold him tightly and just as I am about to put the ear drop, he shakes his head! I give him a slap on the head and scold him and try again and this time he bites me!!

I dare not complain all this to my parents as I am perfecty certain about the answer I will get: "You must be mistreating him, so that's why he is acting this way"... Now you tell me, what am I supposed to do? :)

But I must admit, all these complains of mine are simply because I love him and even adore his spoilt manners! Although I scold him terribly when he does these things, in my mind I am smiling at what a darling he is! Its not like I get licks on my face when I carry him to my room or his exhubarant joy at seeing me coming home or him following me everywhere I go! For all his spoilt ways, he is the best dog in the world!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When Billie Beat Bobby

Once there was a boy named Bobby and a girl named Billie. One day, they decided to play a tennis match and Billie beat Bobby.

At a time when there was a notion that Womens' Tennis was not upto the par of Mens' Tennis, the match played between Billie - the great Billie Jean King - and Bobby Riggs in 1973 meant so much more than a mere Tennis match.

Bobby Riggs became a tennis champion in 1939, at the tender age of sixteen. Yet, his career was not to flourish very much further. In 1973, he challenged the then World Number 01 in Women's Tennis, the great Billie Jean King, who had recently won the Wimbledon Championship. This challenge was to proclaim to the world that women can never be as good as the men, they were just weaker, they belonged to the kitchen and the bedroom - they were just women. He went as far as to say that if he was going to be a male chauvanistic pig, he is going to be the number one male chauvanistic pig!

The days leading upto this much anticipated match were filled with much hype with men siding with Bobby and most women siding with BJK. During a television interview Bobby rattled on and on about the supposedly said "superiority" of the male species and how easy it would be to beat Billie Jean King. In the end, when BJK was asked about her opinion, she merely smiled and replied "You shall see, wont we?".


On September 20, 1973, the Houston Astrodome buzzed with excitement. The pressure was not only working on the minds of the players, but the audience as well. The match drew the largest crowds for a live match ever and an estimated 50 million television viewers.

It was a walkover for the 29 year old King, who beat the 55 year old Bobby Riggs in straight sets. 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. It was a brilliant day for women all over the world.

Billie Jean King was present at the Wimbledon Finals in 2007, where for the first time, winners from Men's Singles and Women's Singles were given equal prize money. The 2007 Women's Champion, Venus Williams thanked her for being a campaigner in the move for equality.

Once there was a girl named Billie and a boy named Bobby. They changed everything.