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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life is a Saving Grace - Treasure It!!!

Last month, I bid adieu to one of the most important and charismatic individual in my life. My Grandmother passed away 18th of September, a day I will never forget for many reasons, one of which was the sheer amount of respect her holy corpse was able to receive. The whole episode was like a beautifully assembled pack of cards pulled down by the weight of time in a matter of seconds. 15 days before this, she was on her way to a pilgrim site, Naimisaranya in Uttar Pradesh; she perhaps already knew this was going to be her last visit to a holy site and then it would be her ultimate call up to the heavens. The reason I say this is because of something that happened on the day of her departure to the site. 

My brought up and the values instilled in me by her and my Mother are culturally and traditionally orthodox, touching the feet for blessings before leaving the house is some sort of a mandate; but I never believed in it. My gut always told me, if I believe in it, I should do it, else there is no point. And hence, I often am forced to do so; but having noticed my reluctance, my Grandmother stopped asking me to do it. But the day before she left to Naimisaranya, I visited her to say bye; and even on that day, before leaving I did not bend down to touch her feet and take blessings; and at that point, at that very moment something happened that will stay with me for the rest of my life. When I said "Bye Ammamma", she looked at me with teary eyes and said, "Come here, touch my feet and take my blessings, who knows if I will come back from this trip or not, I am old and getting ready for the big journey as the days go by". That to me, is the biggest moment of my life; something I will wear up my sleeves every time I bend down to touch the feet of an elderly. But has it changed the way I think about the whole thing? No. 

My Grandmother has seen not one, not two but three of her beloved Men fall to the graves in the last decade. Including her, the four big pillars of the Mahakali family are no more, but they left behind their moral sense of responsibility and a deep well of excellence that could by itself overpower an ocean of wisdom. The virtues that my family and more specifically my Grandparents have instilled in me form the fundamentals of my daily being. But the question today is, how important is my belief in these virtues? Is the belief in a virtue more important than the virtue itself? Introspecting this idea yields me different questions.

Could it be how rational thought destroys our soul? Could it be about the triumph of irrationality and the power that is in that? You know, we spend a lot of time trying to organize the world. We build clocks and calendars and we try to predict the weather. But what part of our life is truly under our control? 

What if we choose to exist purely in a reality of our own making? Does that render us insane? And if it does, isn't that better than a life of despair? But then, what would be the true purpose of the life of our own making? Would we have a desire to excel? Would we be able to justify the true purpose of our being? 

But rationality and irrationality is purely subjective. Also what's better is only a matter of how deeply you apply your thoughts to it. If being happy and content is all that you want in life, then isn't living an insane life in a world of your own, the perfect thing for you. The problem with us is that we don't know what we actually want, and when we do, we hate to accept them and instead conceal them in some virtuous thoughts. What matters is not the virtue but how much you believe in this virtue because at the end of the day the only person you are answerable to is your own self.

So I say, live your life so the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their views, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. Let us all, and I mean this generation of us all, make our ancestors proud again; let's keep our differences aside, let's show them all who live their life in hatred, conflict and cynicism, how family as an entity and society as a change are strengths.

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. And then at the end, when your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. I literally mean, Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

LeBron James - An Expensive Hate Tag

As the ECF drew to a close this morning and the Heat shut the curtains down on the Celtics and possibly on the big-three era, I for one realized how an arrogant, gigantic, and legendary in the making, LeBron James rose against all odds and averaged close to 35 points and 11 rebounds a game in the Conference Finals to almost single handedly take the Heat into their second consecutive championship finals starting on Tuesday. Let's forget the Heat for a moment and just focus on LeBron here. I will be honest. Yes, I wanted the Heat to lose or let me put it right, I wanted LeBron to fall. As soon as the memory of James’ 45-point, 10-rebound, five-assist season-saving performance wriggled into the brightest hours of Friday morning here in Hyderabad, it was no longer about Game 6. That was no longer good enough for me and for most LeBron haters. He had to win Game 7. I was waiting for him to fall today again, but like a true warrior as he stepped up the game when most needed and played another tiring, emotionally nerve racking 48-min game, I told myself, enough, I can't pretend to hate this guy anymore and that too, just for the heck of it and maybe because our dear friend Ramesh is obsessed with him, that ain't no sportsmanship.

So, after the game, sitting on the sofa, reading the newspaper I had this unusual sense of disgust within myself. I was forced to take an objective viewpoint and began questioning how one man can attract so much undeserved hatred and criticism. Was it something to do with the strong, palpable hate I have for James or was it something else; I wondered. And I bemoaned, perhaps this is a love that was to spring from my deep hate I have for him. After all, our greatest collective hate should explain our widespread love, and there is no better example than my renewal of love on James today. As a sportsperson myself, if I love Sachin, Nadal, Barcelona, and Messi, there is no way in the world I could pretend to hate this man any longer. I was always awed by his ability but he made me fall in love today, all over again and for only the second time after Ronaldinho seduced me with his quite stunning magical ability on the football field.
James is one of the best players in the league and, in my opinion, when it is all said and done, could be one of the greatest players ever to have played the game of basketball. And yet, at this moment, LeBron James is the most hated athlete in American sport if not in World sport (although, I believe Mourinho takes the world plaudits). If we did not love sports, we would not hate LeBron James as much. He has not sinned against society. He has sinned against competition. And this sounds backward, but it's true: If he had sinned against society, we would have an easier time forgiving him, the likes of Mubarak and Kasab having to get away from people ranting by spending time in air-conditioned jails is a sick modern era's example. We all sin against society at some point but in sports, competition is everything.

Let’s pick on what James had to offer and where we, and I for one, went a bit overboard and out of control with critical assessment. I don't mean the hate is unjustified. Or justified, for that matter. But let's pause for a second, put the hate on the stove to keep it warm, and think about this. Why do we even hate him, why?
  • Because the 2007 Final series was a rout by Spurs on the Cavaliers? I remember rooting for Cavaliers and James playing his fourth year and his first finals played an exceptional season until the final. To be pointing fingers at him for a dismal Finals performance is no way justified. And one has to remember, James was 22 at the time of the series and he was the single reason Cleveland were in the finals. Think about that.
  • Because LeBron spent seven years in Cleveland and Cavaliers made many half-hearted efforts to keep LeBron happy? An old, fat Shaquille O’Neal, and a non-motivated Antawn Jamison isn't good enough to keep many superstars with a team. When the best player you play with is Gibson, you know you won't be keeping your superstar for long. So, can we blame him for leaving Cleveland? I guess not.
  • "The Decision" as they labeled it and the high profile announcement – LeBron could have chosen a better way to exit Cleveland than with an hour-long special on ESPN. But then, maybe he was compelled by people around him, maybe there was a contractual obligation, I do not know. But one thing I probably could do, Feel for him. Maybe on another day he wouldn’t have done it and maybe he regrets it doing as much as many of us hate him for it. Having said that, I believe, and he would too I guess, "The Decision" was a mistake. But how long are we going to talk about it.
  • And the utterly infamous, "Yes. We. Did." campaign. The Miami Heat fans cheering, as other fans were angered, and NBA analysts scratched their heads. It created an unprecedented amount of hype around the newly-formed Miami Heat squad. And it was that hype that led to peak the “hate” when Heat lost the 2011 Finals to a spirited Mavericks. So, would we hate him for that? Maybe. In sport, nothing goes unnoticed
  • For all you know, the All-Star game is a joke. So last year when the papers did the rounds that James wasn’t gutsy enough to take the final shot, I laughed. I kept it to myself. But I thought, this is the heights of cynicism that any sportsman can be subjected to. In reality, the game was for ratings and fun, and if somebody takes a dig at you for your performance in such sort of a game, then you know you have already won.
But then I also believe and if James is paying attention, he should realize by now, the other guys do matter. The guys on the bench matter. The yuppies and pappies paying too much money to sit courtside matter. The guys who got cut from the team matter, and the guys who played college ball but couldn't get a sniff of the NBA matter, and the guys who sat on the bench for their high school teams matter. Without them, LeBron James is just a guy doing cool stuff against nobody in an empty gym, for nothing.
And maybe that is at the heart of the hate. Maybe that is everything and the only thing -- the one truth we all must believe in if we're going to be modern-day sports fans. LeBron tried to circumvent that truth. He went for a shortcut. It's a sports sin we can't forgive, and won't forgive, unless Thunders whip Miami in the Finals this year, then LeBron James will have served his penance. If we could let go Luis Figo moving to Madrid from Barcelona and Sami Nasri moving to Manchester City from Arsenal, why can't we let go off this.
In our minds, LeBron James tried to beat competition. It's the one victory we never want to see. Ring or no ring, in my opinion LeBron James is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He is posting numbers that can be compared to very few players all-time. The man has Goldberg's body with Carter's athleticism. Chances are he will never satisfy his haters or silence his critics because everyone has their opinion. But hate him or love him, you definitely can't say you've ever seen anything like him.
Sports-viewing is, at its essence, escapism. LeBron hasn’t yet let us escape. And we hate him for that. When he is on that court there is no better sight in the sporting world. Hail LeBron. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lionel Messi - ITV4 Documentary

If you are a football fan... do yourself a favor... watch this video... I may be biased at times... but this one is a special special dedication to the world of football... and what it has given us... the little genius... and the best player of his generation... three time world player of the year - Lionel Messi.

I donno if he the best player ever... he sure has the goals and the applauds and the individual honors... but for me its always Ronaldinho at that level... he was magical... sheer genius... For those who are not aware of my love for Ronnie, here is a piece from my old posts -

But Messi has something that Ronnie did not... the hunger... the desire... and the appetite for more goals and more trophies... just that little discipline.

Here is a documentary on the little genius hailed as the best ever - Messi

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life Goes On...!!!

Time is a fickle friend. It passes by, no matter what you want. You may want to hold on to it, make it slower, but the clock ticks on. You may wonder how this time shall pass, but worry not, it shall.

The terribly unromantic thing about life is that it goes on. It may seem like the world is ending or you may be so happy that you could just die. But you probably won't. It'll pass. Like most else in your life, as my fav dialogue goes... This too shall pass.

The human spirit is resilient. More than we give it credit for. Not the cliche spirit like titled by newspapers- the Mumbai spirit and so on. Nope, the very spirit inside you and me. It faces the most difficult times and then adapts so quickly, it seems like it was all a dream. We underestimate our endurance. For better or for worse, we can take far more than we imagine!

I wondered how this time will pass. But it did. I'll meet you again soon... very soon!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Love for You will NEVER Die :):)

Sport in all form was my first Love... and I think it's better to make it the only Love... and FC Barcelona is all that I am and I want to be... Love for you will never die... a proud Cule

Forgive... but Forget??

Forgiveness is a tricky game. In each one's life, there comes a time when we ask for or are asked to forgive someone who has hurt us. It hurts most when that person is who we love the most. And sometimes, in the name of this love, we forgive. Or do we? Do we truly forgive and forget? Or does the hurt haunt us from time to time, having made a permanent crack in our armor?

I know someone who once made that in retrospect can be called a mistake. He did not willingly hurt anyone but at that moment, took decisions that hurt the woman he loved. When he realized his mistake, he asked her to forgive him. And she told him, she would if he chose to come back to her. She would forgive and forget. And she is the only person I know who truly forgot. In the many years hence, they have been through thick and thin. But never did she ever in a fit of rage or in a weak vengeful moment, throw it back in her face. They moved on to a healthier relationship, with far more trust and understanding than before.

I don't believe most of us are that magnanimous. I am probably not either. The ghosts of my past come back often to shake me up and remind me that nothing is permanent.

But wouldn't it be so much better for our own selves if we could let go? If I could let go? If we could move on... truly forgive and forget. The shackles that bind us, hold us back from loving with abandon again would break. And we could once more fly away to a place where skies are blue and love truly is forever! Or is there a place like that? I wonder!