Monthly Archives: September 2006

Of Rain and Football…

I have revealed my fondness to deal with facts in many of my previous blog posts. The following are also facts:
1) I have played a maximum of 50 hours throughout my childhood.
2) There have been many instances when I haven’t played for years together at a stretch.
3) I was always discouraged to go out and play by my parents. There have been many instances when I had to lie to my parents as to why I came home later than usual when all the time I was having the time of my life in some playground playing with my friends.

Like I said, these are facts. I have not tried to exaggerate anything here. And right now I will continue to state facts. It was only after my 2nd puc that I began to play. I found this bunch of guys of my age who were playing football near my home in a playground. I was driving my vehicle that time. Usually I don’t stop for anything when I am driving. But by then, I had become this crazy football buff that I couldn’t resist. So I stopped and went and asked them if I could join them. They said they didn’t have any problem. And there you go, that was when I started to play again.

Soon I started to go there frequently and so I got to know them better. But still I never really got into the game. How do you expect someone who has hardly played anything till then in his entire life, to play something like football very well? I was sad at playing football. I was very easily the worst player among all those who came there to play. I scored a few own goals, let the ball go through my legs, handled the ball conceding penalties, mis-kicked the ball on more than one occasion, and well- I did a lot more. And I knew that every day that I went there to play football, I would end up doing the same or perhaps something worse. But then I didn’t stop going. Whatever I was doing, whatever pathetic football that I was playing, as far as I could see, the only thing that mattered to me was that I was still playing football. And as long as I was doing that, I didn’t care as to how I was playing it. I was just happy to go there everyday and run around the ground marking forwards and denying them the chance to score, or just running around and hoping that I somehow get the ball and that I may get to make a crucial pass which may end up in goal. It has happened on a few occasions. But then, I was happy with what I got.
And while all this was happening, I realized that I wasn’t really playing that frequently at all. And then when I came to the hostel for my college, I hardly played. I managed to get into some arbit game of football now and then, but nothing concrete at all. I was quite disappointed with all that. 2 years had passed and I hadn’t played anything.

And then enter 3rd year and I knew that this would be different. I was going to live with a whole different group of friends altogether. And these were the ones who played football regularly.

And I played football. It was not so much as to how I played than the fact that I was playing. I was running around madly tiring myself quickly but nevertheless I kept on running. I was sweating and panting with only half an hour into the game. I said to myself, “ What hell? This is what I play for!” And so I continued to run around. I played approximately about 2 hours continuously. I was tired. And I was happy.

And so I played regularly. At least 3-4 times a week. There have been instances when I am playing and I look up to the sky. And I see lots of clouds. And then I pray for the heavens to open up. And on more than one occasion, it has rained. So there I am, running around the ground. There I am sweating myself out. And then, it rains.

Those who have played some sport in the rain will be aware of the sensual pleasure it gives to the one who is playing. The first sense of the rain falling down on you, the subsequent downpour, the experience of getting drenched in that rain, and all the time, you are doing something that you should have done way back in your childhood. That, man, made me happy. That was what I live for. That, was why I still believed that happiness exists on this planet.
And now everytime they go out to play, I make sure that I go play as well- irrespective of whether I have a test the next day or not. And I don’t have any repents if that has cost me anything till now. Because you see, I am just making up for all the times that I had lost. Who said that it is in your childhood that you play the most and enjoy the most? Who said that as you grow older, you get more worried and so you can’t live and enjoy like a kid? And who said that those who haven’t played in their childhood have lost a lot?

Well, I can tell you this much. I am 20 years old and I am now coming to know what it means to play. And I am happy. I don’t care if I played less than what a dog plays in its first year of living, I don’t care if all that I have won in sports in my entire life was a 3rd place finish in a tricycle race in my UKG, I don’t care if my parents robbed me of my childhood by brainwashing me that the only thing worthy on this planet is studies and that playing is something only bad kids do, I don’t care if everytime I go out to play I happen to score an own goal, I don’t care if I happen to break my wrist when I fall while playing and I don’t care a damn everytime I see some 8 year old kid playing better football than what I do now.

All I know is that I am on the ground and that I am playing football. And I also know that sometimes it rains and that I love to play in the rain. And so as long as I happen to keep playing football, and as long as there exists even a slight possibility of rain, all I know is that you will find me happy- like a kid.

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A Day At Chennai

Question: What do you get when you take a big bunch of really enthusiastic 20 odd year olds, put them on a journey to the biggest Metro in south India, add a few dashes of waiting, a tinge of hunger, a little lack of sleep, some dragging of luggage, and amidst all this, somehow put Me to add to all the anarchy that was already in place?
Answer: You get my trip to Chennai; and the realization that the above question is a gross understatement of what exactly happened there.

The journey to Chennai is best forgotten for all the right reasons to forget it. It included standing for over 3 hours even before “The Journey” had even begun. Next in line was the entry into the bus. Ok, there was no hassle in entering the bus. Just that after entering, I realized that the manufacturers of the bus had unanimously decided to maximize the number of seats that can be crammed in a bus of the usual size. And to be frank, they had actually done a good job at that. How was I to know that soon I would actually be changing the bus into a bus, which was manufactured by people who had made up their minds to come out with the maximum number of seats that can be shoved into the bus, without regard to the fact that the legs are also part of the human anatomy? And as all of us boarded the “New” bus, we realized that it is best not to let our actual feelings and opinions be known to others. So we all kept quiet. And we slept.

Well at least that’s what we tried to do. Some were successful, some weren’t. Those who were successful, I believe, had some prior experience in making sure that they shift the positions of their neck and skull at regular intervals so that they don’t wake up in the morning not being able to feel their own brain. I was one among them. Unfortunately not many were aware of this very precious funda. So some tried in vain to sleep amidst the entire “happy crowd” singing Anthakshari. No not that these other people were sad or anything. Just that most of them were really tired and would have appreciated some good uninterrupted sleep. But that was not to be. So either they didn’t sleep at all or had an hour’s sleep as a result of the sum total of all the 135-seconds sleep that they were able to manage to dig up from their sleep reservoir at arbit intervals. Anyway we reached Chennai at around 9:30 in the morning. And then I was told that I had to walk about a mile carrying the entire luggage that I had got from my home! And that weighed not much-just over 30 kilos!

And the first thing that you realize as soon as you step in Chennai is that God made sure that people really know the true meaning of the term ‘humidity’. I was dragging my luggage, which bore more resemblance to an obese corpse, with whatever energy I had managed to save by my precious sleep. And somehow I made it into some place that I was supposed to go.
And I didn’t exactly feel that I was at home. Probably I was not supposed to feel at home. So there I was, having traveled more than a kilometer dragging my fat luggage along and I was told that I had about 15 minutes to freshen myself up and get ready to go the place which had been the very purpose of my visit. Ok I am all excited to go there and witness something big and I put all my enthusiasm in trying to brush and wash my face with some soap I had bought along the way. And somehow I succeed. And then I come down to be told that I am almost late and that I am to hurry up to that place.

What about breakfast? I had a Samosa worth 5 bucks in some cheap place and that was it. How was I to know that that was all that I would be having till about 6 in the night? Well later I would realize that there were people in a worse state than what I was. People who hadn’t even had that one Samosa. And that way I considered myself quite lucky. And after all the anguish that I had been through, I finally reached that place that I was supposed to go and I reached it about 10 minutes late- only to be told that the whole thing would be delayed by about 2 hours. But then I was to sit there and do nothing but wait and wait and after all the waiting was done, all I had to do was more waiting.

And during all those time, I was with my close friends (read as fellow sufferers).We were all united in protest of the denial of the most basic human right- the right to eat! But of course we all had the courtesy and dignity to keep the protest a silent one-lest anyone come to know of our desire to eat and thereby chuck us out of the hall. I spent those times pulling my friend’s legs over her not having eaten anything and not having slept properly for a long time. (I really feel I should have told her about the cake I had for my cousin’s birthday)

And then at around 12:45 PM, it happened. No. I didn’t have food. But something better happened. And it lasted for about 5 hours. And it is something that has kept me wishing for more. All those suffering, all those pain that I went through in getting myself to sit in that place suddenly seemed to be all worth it. How was I to know that things would only get better and better from then on? How was I to know that what happened in those five hours would go a long way in determining my future? I just now said that it was all worth the pain. Now I will go one step ahead. I say that what happened there demanded all the things that I went through. And I am happy that I was there to see all of it take place.

That night I left for the Chennai Central railway station. My train was not due until the next day noon. And I didn’t have any place to stay. I just needed to spend one night in some place and I couldn’t find any. So I spent it at the station itself. And in the next blog post you will hear about my adventures with things ranging from deficiency of food to newspaper beds to non-existent criminals and bag lifters. Like you will know, it all happened in One Night @ the Chennai Central.

The Moratorium on Brains

Now this is something that really goes a long way describing the kind of world I am living in and the kind of world I want to live in. This took place just a few days back at my Fluid Mechanics lab.

Now my batch has got these 3 teachers for the lab course, all of whom are amateurs. No I am not trying to degrade them- not yet at least. Now to summarize the situation of the lab, it will be sufficient to say that there are not more than 3 people in the entire class who really know or have any desire of knowing what is going on exactly in the experiments. I have no qualms in stating that I am one of those 3 people. I do not consider it a crime to do the right thing or to be interested in the right things.

So here I am in the lab surrounded by people who are just waiting for the bell to ring so they can get out and lead whatever they choose to call as life during their free time. And I submit the experiment that I had conducted last week. While computing the value for the required parameter, I found that I had got a large difference in the values of the parameter found out graphically and analytically. And I had discovered that the reason was not some error in the reading or in the calculations. It was something more fundamental. It was in the very derivation of the formula. In the end, I realized that the vast difference was due to the assumption of a convenient value for the power of a certain other parameter. And I realized that whatever result I was getting through graph was not wrong in actuality. It was actually through the graph that one should interpret the result. At the time of me discovering this, I had a very memorable moment actually comprehending the beauty of the concept.

And so I let the values stay in the record book. And I submitted it to the instructors. And I had put in extra efforts to write the record. I hadn’t copied a single word. I made it as neat as I could do it. And in the end it came out quite well I should say. I was happy with myself when I gave that record.

And so after some time, the teacher calls me and asks me to explain the difference in the values. I begin with lots of enthusiasm. I really felt happy to narrate her the amazing experience I had when discovering the subtle concept. And to my shock, all the 3 teachers are just staring at me as if I am out of my senses and that i am somebody who cant understand the subject. I was trying to make them see the beauty of the situation. But all the response that I get is that I should have “manipulated” the graph to fit the values of the analytical results!

I quickly replied-“ Mam, I could have manipulated anytime and got the value of the analytical result. But I just left it as it is. I did not want to manipulate the readings.”

And then she reminds me that I had been asked to manipulate the readings in the graph on a previous occasion as well. I try to convince her that the very way the experiment is conducted is not right. But all I find is that I am talking to just some sort of human forms who have everything human except the ability to reason. I make an effort to help them see the situation as it was seen when the experiment was conducted 4 centuries ago and what the person tried to convey. I was trying to make them realize that the very purpose of a laboratory course was being defied. But the only response I could muster from them was that I was being asked to change the graph to fit the values.

And in the end it came down to authority and position. I was sidelined and was awarded 7 on 10. 7 on 10 while others who had copied the entire stuff they had written and had no clue about what was in it ended up getting 8 and above. And when I asked the teacher as to how come I was given fewer marks, all the 3 teachers could do was to give me that smile which very proudly declared that I was in a world which did not allow one to think by themselves. And that I was not expected to be any sort of exception. It was as if they were reminding me that I was not required to think by myself and instead that all I had to do was to just follow what has been taught till now even if it contradicted whatever some great man had found out centuries ago by thinking different from all the others around him.

And this is the kind of world that I am living in. And all I can see around me are more people who have realized that thinking is not required or those who are trying to make others realize that thinking independently is something not to be done in this world today.

And so from now on, I will do what is required to get whatever value I am supposed to get as per analytical formulae. It will kill me everytime I do it. But I will do it. Because you see, that is the only way of surviving in this world where reason has been deemed redundant. I might as well start copying everything that I write and I might end up getting the same marks, probably more. But I wont do it. Not because I don’t trust others( that is a fact, but that is not the reason). It is because what I write will not be of my own thought or of my own creation. It is someone else’s. And I don’t feed on someone else’s creation. Each creation is the triumph of that one person who made it happen.

And whatever I do is MINE. Irrespective of whether this world recognizes it or not. I had read a question in a book for which I have high regards. It asked: “Who is John Galt?” I ask something else.

Where is John Galt when you need him the most?

This whole blog is not meant to be understood by all those who read it. All those who read it and either cant understand it or are not able to appreciate the magnitude of the situation, have no purpose on this planet. It’s not that I don’t care what you think of me. It’s just that I don’t think of any of you.

My time will come. Then I will let all of you out there know what I mean by leading a life and what it means to actually live.

The Moratorium on Brains will not last forever