Monday, July 7, 2008

The glorious uncertainty of sport

Well – What a match it was last night between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal!
Superlatives flowed so easily by Vijay Amritraj who himself was, apparently (only because I did not see him play), very stylish and sublime.
This match was by far the greatest sporting match that I had witnessed, even if it was on television.

Superb, supreme, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, awesome, delicate, deft, sublime are but a few words that come to mind! BBC has been showing the McEnroe versus Borg match in the rain delay and I think this will put an end to that.

It was not the fact that almost everyone was expecting an epic, but the fact that it became one as soon as it started was what shocked me! While expectations are one thing, we have very often seen one opponent demolishing the other in any kind of sport where there is such intense rivalry, most recently between these two protagonists themselves in Paris at the French Open.

We as spectators of the rivalry that, I hope, will survive in the years to come and hopefully only get stronger, have been privileged to have been able to watch this spectacle between these two tremendous gladiators. At one point in the 4th set, it was impossible to choose between either of them. This is, by very far, the best match that I have had the pleasure to watch. And boy, was I glad!

I am also not sure of the tag that Rafa had been called by – underdog, pretender etc. Pretender – who is anyone kidding? Pretension is only by mere mortals who want to unseat an emperor. Rafa has earlier at Paris, demolished Federer so systematically that sometimes, one tends to be reminded of Andy Roddick, who gets so mentally harassed when he is playing Federer, is Federer getting a taste of his own medicine?

Who won the match was incidental and both the players will have to live with this fact that they will always be talked about “that match at the Wimbledon finals”. Roger has to love with the fact that he did indeed come second on his favourite surface.

It will now get even more interesting that since Rafa has mastered this particular surface and has this piece of silverware in his cupboard on a surface few Spaniards win on, it is Hard Courts that he will begin to target for the other 2 silverware that is missing – As Roger said in the award ceremony in 2007 at the same hallowed ground when he won – this kid will win everything there is to win. He is young and strong and mentally so focused that he will have to bear the burden of spectators like me hoping for a career slam, if not the Grand Slam.

Reams will be written of this match by people more accomplished by people who can certainly write much better that I can ever claim to, but this was too good to miss out penning about.

Oh – what I would give to be at the ring-side of another epic of Roger vs. Rafa at Wimbledon…..

Wishing both of them for more riveting contests in the future.

Thank you Rafa and Roger for giving me and the other teeming millions, the pleasure of this stupendous bout.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Relationships and Compromises - A conundrum

Had written this earlier – different shit from what I usually write! Please do bear with me!

Why are human relationships so difficult? I am not just referring to a relationship between partners, but every single one of them – with friends (doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman), with parents, with siblings, with co-workers, with bosses (and this certainly differs with the sex of the boss and either can be difficult or easy).

Every relationship needs care and has to come from both the parties involved and my personal take on why relationships are difficult is that it is because of our system of beliefs that we are brought up with, initially by our parents and later on predominantly with friends.

This has a lot to do with the fact that each person is different, has different needs, aspirations, and goals in life. I might have become cynical, but I think that they will never match with anyone else, ever. All we need to do is ensure that we at least make an effort to walk part of the way to meet the other person and it can never happen if the other person refuses to do so – lets not fool ourselves, but everyone one of us has a certain amount of a narcissistic streak in us, which leads us to believe that “I” am most important. This is not even a function of age of the individuals involved – in fact, if truth be told, as ones children grow older and become responsible (there are exceptions), the streak becomes even more prominent – maybe it is the fear of death and the realization that “I” have not got enough of what “I” thought “I” should have achieved. This is what makes them even more difficult because I believe that individuals are less open to change in the latter part of ones lives.

So what happens next? We compromise with our own set of beliefs hoping that the other person also will do the same with theirs and try and move ahead. Funny thing is we end up thinking that this is precisely what “I” have done for the majority of my life – so when will this end? The answer is simple – NEVER. We humans are social animals and no one likes to be alone – we tend to want people around us all the time – why else would we want to invite people when someone is born or gets married or dies? We need support and that very support system comes with baggage which we call compromise.

The question we need to ask ourselves – is it worth all the trouble? There is, unfortunately, no answer that will satisfy everyone. Everyone’s capability to handle compromise is different. Love is what drives us to compromise and falling out of love drives us to, eventually, end the relationship.

We need to be able to make a decision on what is more important – salvaging the relationship or satiating our ego. This, my friend, is never easy because you are fighting with the self.

Brno, Czech Republic

Brno was bloody cold – while subconsciously I knew that it would, but as Joey says in Friends “The cold had reached my special place!”.

So I was on a due-diligence trip for my organization and the work, though, not taxing took hours and then to add to the misery no one really speaks English and the customer though, thankfully, at least spoke broken English and that helped! This only meant that I had to talk slow as hell!

So anyways, reached here on a Sunday and had the whole week there only thankfully I had company this time, a German colleague (MS) of mine who flew in on Monday morning.

The organization for which we were doing the due-diligence was in a mall and in the evenings we would take off and go to a coffee bar, which had a really contemporary look and feel to it, which took me by surprise as I was not expecting it at all, considering that the Czech Republic was a communist state about a decade and a half back. There was this guy who the two of us suspected, was gay, and served us everyday we went there. In fact MS actually forgot his cigarettes one day and the guy very coyly came to our table and handed him the cigarettes and I just teased MS the whole trip and was laughing at him all the time we were in Brno.

The trip was going just fine, except that I had a fight on email with someone my superior in the organization. More on that later.

Anyhow, so Brno is this really small town with a popular university. So the general population was young and white and as I said before I was sticking out like a sore thumb as I was the only dark skinned person in the whole town.

The town in itself is very stark – from what I have read about communism, the general architecture was very bare and necessitated. There was nothing that I saw that was stood out for its architecture. However, I have taken some pictures for your pleasure.

I, however, just love the concept of a town square that every city that I have visited in Europe has. It is simply awesome. It means that there is breathing space in the centre of every town and, more often than not, there are usually no vehicles allowed so everyone is on foot or cycling. I mean, coming form India, we rarely walk in India, simply because of the scores of people that we have apart from which, our cities are just not planned.

As I was in Brno, so close to Christmas, I had the opportunity to go to the Christmas market and have hot wine – well – its just so bloody delicious and, might I add, bloody potent! MS and I had 4 each and waking was an effort. Food though is just the same across Europe and if you are vegetarian on a small trip (which means you will stay in a hotel) God help you!

Oh, before I forget, the trams – even though I did not get a chance to ride any of them (my hotel was about 30 seconds walking distance from the client location) looked so archaic, though charming!

Last but not the least, in India, we are extremely aware that Skoda (originally a Czech Company, before Volkswagen bought them out), the car manufacturer, manufactures the most technically advanced cars. In Czech Republic, Skoda cars are as common as the bloody Tata Indica is in India and I was laughing at this fact. Just goes on to reinforce the cliché that what is precious for one, might not be for someone else.

Then, the hard-disk of my laptop crashed and boy was it embarrassing – the customer did not find it funny – fortunately I had already sent out all my presentations to MS and I used his laptop for presentations.

So that was that – finished my work and took the last bus out of Brno and stayed the night at the Prague Marriot at the airport – a really nice and ultra modern hotel and flew back to India the next day by Lufthansa, which is a truly horrid airline considering the flights to India don’t even have bloody personal TVs – I mean even local Indian airlines have them!

So that’s the story of my Brno trip…

Long time, no see!

Well it has been an eternity since I have written anything – so will try and fill in gaps today of all the shit that I have done through these trying months! Believe me they were trying, but then that had nothing to do with my writing – just was a lazy bum!

Welcome back and get ready for a ride with me for the truly good, bad and ugly shit that I have been through!