Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday Musings 119 - 21 years

21 years
It will be a while before the commentaries and opinions extolling the world cup victory will subside. Every small cog in the giant victory machine will be dissected, every small decision that led to the victory that might have worked only as a quirk of fate will be eulogised as a strategic masterstroke and even the minutest of the significance of this victory on the nation, society, team (the neighbours aunt, her pet and his cousin) will be magnified many times over. To be fair, this hysteria is well deserved. Man does need a reason to forget his woes.
Lest one mistakes me as a cynic, let me clarify, that the strand of thought that has caught my fancy this week is far from it. It is actually a sublime piece of inspiration that to my eyes has either been overlooked or at best may not have been given enough attention to.
Sachin Tendulkar has attained divinity in the cricketing world is now stale news. Almost every correspondent worth his journalistic salt who interviewed him post this victory asked him ‘’How does it feel to finally win the world cup after 21 years in this business?’’.  One does not need to be a astrophysicist to know what he would have answered. However, apart from the predictable script of i-am-thrilled-elated-this-was-what-I-was-waiting-for he said something profound and beautiful. He said ‘’I had kept the dream alive’’.
Consider this for the man for whom there is nothing left to achieve or conquer. Calling him a genius is mocking him (Of course one cannot call GOD a genius, can you?). He is beyond a genius because he is the benchmark for genius now, the gold standard on which geniuses will be measured. He has secured his place firmly and permanently as a legend. Even a man of his calibre, his genius, his stature had an unfulfilled achievement to deal with. And how does this larger-than-life super achiever deals with an unfulfilled desire – well guess what – he decides to keep his dream alive. I always thought that recourse was for lesser mortals!
The second and the more mind boggling part of this story is that even he had to wait for 21 long years to fulfil this desire/ambition/aspiration – whatever you call it. Now, if blessed with all the talent that he does, with Gods on his side and the heavens having blessed him, with destiny delivering him and fate protecting him (these are some of the explanations that one hears when one tries to unravel the phenomena called Tendulkar)  - he needed 21 long, painful, excruciating years and 6 heart breaking outings at the world cup – then heavens protect us ordinary souls. I am already gasping for breath. Have I even nourished an ambition continuously for 21 months – truly, genuinely and done all that it takes?
So here is a rapid fire round. What is my world cup? and how long am I willing to play with excellence to win it? Am I willing to give it a shot for 21 years with the same passion or will I give up in between? Do I even understand the perseverance to last with a dream for 21 years? As I said I am gasping for breath. Hopefully you have better stamina.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Monday Musings 118- Of a Cup and thereafter

118- Of a Cup and thereafter
So India does it again after 28 long excruciating years. A large number of those who came out on streets were not even born then, others were toddlers, adolescents or early adults. As my better half succinctly puts in her unique style which is perhaps rooted to her being the better half, that the last time India won the world cup she was three and half, this time its her daughter who is three and half. If we go by this simple mathematical prediction, then it does not augur very well for the third win.
Everyone will have something to say about this win as one must. There is no doubt that beginning late last night the country has practically erupted to express their joy on winning the coveted title. That it came after 28 long years only makes it special. That now India is number one in all forms of the game makes the subcontinent’s domination complete. That there is nothing more for the God (read Tendulkar) to achieve is rather a poignant realisation – what will he play for if not for the pure love of the game?
Some individual achievements or team achievements around us have amazing powers. They can uplift entire societies, inspire an entire generation, sow the seeds of defiance against the humdrum of ordinariness – it may just prove the proverbial inflection points in the lives of many as history has time and again proved.
Most of us live very ordinary lives in the sense that our sphere of influence is limited. But the quest for glory in human beings, however repressed or unarticulated or unrealised it may be, continues to trouble him everyday. Since by the nature of things only a handful of us get to liberate ourselves from the shackles of this ordinariness, the sight of achievement and that too this grand, is bound to remind even the most phlegmatic of his own desire for fame, glory or achievement. Glory is an aphrodisiac that most of us cannot resist. So when we find a bunch of young, brash, on your face middle class Indian boys, beating the hell out of every other cricketing nation, we feel vindicated in our desire to aspire more than our current means. In the celebration of those 11, we find our souls celebrating the victory, not only as citizens proud of its nation, but as I see it, more as individuals who want their own lives adorned with as much glory – and since that may not be possible anytime soon, they immerse themselves in the celebration as if THIS was the victory that they were waiting for. No wonder, Indian streets witnessed not an expression of happiness yesterday night, they witnessed hysteria.
I believe India has got its ‘Ýes we can’ moment and it will have its echoes beyond the sporting world. It will inspire a whole generation to dream beyond what their current means allow them to. It does not matter which space of life they occupy – sporting or otherwise, this will provide a fillip for their quest for excellence. Those young lads did not only get us the cup, they may have got us something more precious – Audacity of HOPE – making us believe in our own dreams. There is always something or other in the circumstances that we find ourselves in, that may make our chances bleak in our own eyes, but this victory will reignite the one thing that is so central to our quest – belief. I am in no doubt, that for this generation this is going to be their Ýes we can’ moment.
1983 not only sowed the seeds of the awakening of Indian cricket, but also of the aspirations of its people to want more. It will be interesting to see what seeds 2011 will sow.