Sunday Stuff: The Home Team

One of things I discovered for myself during the ProKabaddi League, is, that when I own a sports team — any sports team — it will never be because I can afford the team or because it is the best team in the league. It will always be my home team, irrespective that it is affordable or the worst team. For the life of me, I cannot imagine cheering for an “outside” team when my home team is playing, even if I owned the “outside” team. Many will explain to me that league matches have nothing to do with where you belong; for me it means a lot. A few years ago, I was told what a home team means, and that is why, while I am not a huge football (soccer, for Americans) fan, I am a huge Arsenal supporter. For ProKabaddi, I was surprised by many who “switched” sides for pink T-shirt trivial reasons.

*

I’ve tried very hard to understand how “irrespective of who wins, the game is the winner” and I have failed. If you talk of Kabaddi, specifically, yes, it was important that people understood and loved the game and took active interest in it. It is after all, the first season. But we had eight teams participating in the league. I’ve never heard this thing said about IPL (OK, except for one commentator) or the EPL. Here’s how it works in my head: teams play the game to win; so at the end of the league, one team wins the game. The game doesn’t participate, so it cannot be a winner.

IMG_20140831_234851 - Version 2

My team lost the finals. The other one won. So, now, who won? The other team or the game? Can we go to the winning team and say, “Hey, you know what, actually you didn’t, the game won.” There can be only one winner, right?

*

My team lost the finals. While it is a very good team, they lost the plot today. They just did not play to their potential. That is why they lost. The opposite team was formidable, but not undefeatable. My team had beat them in the first match of the league and tied the second match. To say that the “game won” is to take something away from the winning team and give something back to the losing team. Unacceptable.

*

It’s amusing to see how some folks will sneak in barge in to the spotlight meant for real heroes and appropriate them. When larger stages aren’t available, folks seek a smaller stage. But a stage it will have to be.

*

I am not a sore loser. My team was beaten fair and square. On this day, the other team was a better team.

*

My peeves, however, are rational.

 

 

God’s Greatest Gift

The greatest gift from God to a human-being is the ability to forget.

Many years ago, these words, in the most beautiful handwriting, with true emotion and the sense of belonging were delivered to us. In an inland letter, written in ink, with controlled emotion and a steady hand. It was a condolence letter, but it could have been an average letter from a brother to his sister or to his brother-in-law.

But, he was wrong, my uncle, who wrote that letter. The worst quality that God has given us is memory. We never actually forget. We just cast veils on a memory and try very hard to ignore it. We drape it with events of the present and a potential future. And we drape it again and again with what trivial events we can find – but I am unable to forget. We have found ways to relive ourselves of the most difficult of situations. Our ability to forget is not one of them.

I cannot forget.

I remember you. Not in every waking moment, but when I am alone — I am with you. And you are with me. And, while everything is still fine in this world, the only thing I miss is hugging you.

God’s greatest gift is, perhaps, not the ability to forget — it is the ability to remember.

 

Onions & Potatoes

There’s a way we are. And there’s a way we want others to see us. Onions and potatoes. One is so different from the other. In looks, taste, and many other ways.

We are onions masquerading as potatoes. Vice-versa is not true. We like to think we have a rough evenness about us, a small spot here and dimple there, but there is a sameness of the surface that is easily recognised, known and comfortable.

Most people will see us the way we present, and once in a while, someone will attempt to see under the surface. They’ll peel us to understand us a little better. The flesh is different from the skin, and they think that they know us better because they can see what lies beneath. Usually this is enough for most people, to see us raw. A few dig deeper. To no avail. It’s the sameness they encounter, for the potato flesh is even, right down to the core. We are satisfied with this excavation; it is, after all what we presented: a potato.

IMG_20140822_192308

We are onions, essentially. Layers and layers of us tightly covering each other, leaving no space to breathe even, as if someone or something might find a way between the layers. An unfulfilled dream is a layer. A lost love is a layer. An unanswered question, an accepted abuse, a missed opportunity, an unavenged insult, are all layers. We hide them. One over the other; one over the other. A feeling of respect, that one moment of utter love, the mother’s cuddle; the pride in the father’s eyes. The friend who once was but isn’t now, the first girlfriend we will never forget. All of them layers in our lives. Even if we present ourselves as a potato; we are onions, really.

Deep within, the core of the onion and the flesh of the potato are the same.

Our lives are onions, yet we spent an eternity living as potatoes. Our presentation of our lives, which we once carefully crafted for the sake of others, denies us the essence of who we really are.

Each experience of our lives, so wonderfully onionised and available to us; all we want is to potato it into a homogenised flesh of common beige.

We will one day, question our lives.

Sunday Stuff

It’s one thing to notice. An altogether different thing to point out. Pointing out takes effort. There’s bliss in knowing what we have observed. Letting the world know that we have noticed is secondary. How does it work? Do we care less about the world or does the world care less about us? What about you? Is it enough for you to notice or would you like to say what you saw?

*

I still like my phone, but it is misbehaving a bit, now. I have to work out what makes it go.

*

Family is underrated and overrated at the same time. It all boils down to how we see them. Our own lenses or borrowed ones. Which reminds me, my camera is breaking down. Parts are becoming loose and some have even fallen off. I will not, however, change my camera, till it absolutely conks off.

*

It is ok, perhaps to care less. It is definitely not ok to be careless.

*

5606: Green & Pink

After this post has been published I’ll be doing some routine jobs which I do not enjoy. But I have a plan to make them fun. I’ll let you know how that works out. It’s a thought. Not a promise.

*

I have seen the meaning of love change. And with every change it becomes grand. It doesn’t become definite, however.

*

That’s it, Sunday is done with.

The Worst Time To Write

The worst time to write a post, or anything for that matter, is when you don’t want to write. Yet, somewhere within us, the compulsion to write takes over, defeats us, and makes us write. And we end up writing something that we aren’t proud of — and in any case something that we shouldn’t have written, in the first place.

The struggle is between the defined writer inside of us and the undefined whole-us that we are — all-encompassing. The writer within us is the rebel within, experimenting, the one who knows what we should write and what we should not. But the writer is subservient to the whole-us. This meta-being that is us, directs the writer within us. Write; don’t write; write this; write like this. This gigantic composition of experiences and emotions, that we are made up of, however, develops sluggish tendency over time. Lethargic. Dragging the weight stolidly, the accumulated mass moves with little grace or finesse.

That’s when the lean writer within, seizes the opportunity. Like an out-of-training-school ninja, the sword starts slashing with vigour and excitement. Aware that the punitive reaction will be slow in coming, it spits out words, before the whole-us can respond.

And the damage is done.

The words are out and the post is published.

Maruthwã-Mala

I have often heard people, exclaiming how minute and insignificant they feel in the presence of an ocean or a mountain or any such imposing natural entity. I have usually agreed with these people, who say things like, “I feel so insignificant,” or “I sense the great challenge before me,” and such variations, and I have agreed with their statements, only, because I could not clearly express what I felt.

IMG 9969  Version 2

I have never felt insignificant or any such feeling when I have stood before a mountain (my favourite), looking up to it. I have always felt a calling. Like, a parent, slightly bent, beckoning. When it is an ocean, I have felt a teasing invitation to play. Let there be no doubt, that their size and expanse are daunting and that specific feeling is not alien to me, neither do I attempt to diminish the weight of their scale.

[Flashback] And here we are, it’s not yet dawn and I am climbing the Maruthwã-Mala hill. All through the trek, I felt a homecoming and less of a vertical challenge. My shallow lungs and city-bred styled calf muscles conspire to give up; yet the mountain (yes, it’s a hill, but I’ll call it a mountain) almost seem to embrace me at every step. The teaching parent. Catch me. At each step, showing me the wonder that a perspective allows, like a parent would, to a child in its arms – pointing to the available vista.

Ignoring spent lungs and stiff muscles, I made it to the peak.

There, when I sat at the peak, I was, at first, amazed at the experience that this top-of-the-peak feeling offered me. When I gathered my wits, secondly, I was amazed that I made it up here (to understand this, you have to know me personally; this was no mean feat, by my standards.)

Then, there was an embrace. No hands, no touching, no bodies enveloped in each other. Years of loving the mountains and the hills as I have passed them by, driving on the highways as I created my own adventures, seeing all of them, sending them flying kisses, as I passed them by. As I drove through them. Through the incisions that we created to build roads around their contours. We cut through them for our convenience. Their love for us, however, has not diminished a bit.

I have always loved them for standing tall and giving meaning to the phrase, “I’ll be there for you.” Empty space around me, on that peak, I hugged all the mountains. Everywhere.

And in that one moment, I knew, what “holding your ground” meant. We are insignificant to these elements of nature if we think of ourselves as bodies. We are their compatriots if we think of ourselves as souls. With the ones we truly love, we don’t see their bodies, do we?

I came home, on top of Maruthwã-Mala today.

*

This post was written, in a notebook on the 8th of December 2009. I was “disconnected” so this post was handwritten on paper, in a ‘paper’ notebook. It has been replicated here, with some edits. The essence of the post remains intact. I could not take photographs, since I did not carry anything electronic with me. Maruthwã-Mala is a real “hill” – here’s a photograph. The one in the post is representative.

 

Goodbye July; I’m in August Company

I wrote yesterday that today’s post might not be easy, because I wrote yesterday what I should be writing today. I don’t know how easy this post is going to be, however, I find that this day is throwing up emotions with amazing contradictions. They aren’t easy to resolve. At once I feel relieved that the challenge is concluded, at the same time, there is sadness that it is. There is no compulsion to write now, and I wonder if I will reward myself too much by taking a long break.

The chair that we build of our laurels is deceptively comfortable.

As I go through the posts of the month, it is a roller coaster of a ride. I did thoroughly enjoy this challenge I set for myself. Of course I went through some of my earlier posts too, but I do not want to talk about them, lest I start writing something that seems like a farewell speech, delivered, reclining on a chair of the past.

I feel I am in a stateless state. I don’t feel the compulsion to write about something. I don’t feel the compulsion to write anything at all. At this time, this post seems like a formality. It just needs to exist. There’s soothing Hindi film music from the 60’s playing in the background. Before I started writing this post, I removed all the clutter from my desk. I completed all tasks and marked them as done. My mind, surprisingly, is equally free of any tinsel. Space, emptiness, and clarity are dancing a graceful ballet. The acquired compulsion has crumpled to dust, blown away. This post has become a mere ritual that has gained importance, sheerly by virtue of the position in which it will exist: the bookend on the right end of the shelf. The finishing touch of the aesthetic.

In the last decade, such a moment was never experienced: I’ve experienced immense pride after a post that I thought was well-written. Or the gleeful delight after a humorous post; the laid-back satisfaction of experiencing a meaningful blur after an abstract. But, this? No, this is a new feeling. It feels like the dead-centre of all the extreme emotions that we experience when we click “Publish.”

For the many experiences that aren’t ours as yet, and with determined irreverence to the milestones, publish, we must.

*

I thank you all for encouraging me to complete this challenge. I’ll let you in on a secret. I took up two more challenges the same day, I started this one. I haven’t done justice to the other two. Perhaps, I shall tend to them now. I shall hold your encouragement close to my heart, as I face them.