Sunday, July 29, 2012


In continuation of the last post on the 2012 Olympics, I could not help myself posting this video I saw today morning. A rush of emotions went through my body and I was drenched in pure bliss.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Bigger Games !

I am a sports loving person. I like to stay fit and for that, I indulge myself in various sporting activities. I also do enjoy watching sports but not purely for entertainment or for mindless fan following. I enjoy watching it because I love some games and follow them closely to get amazed by the new feats achieved by the sports-persons involved in them. For Example: I love playing basketball and had been following NBA since a long time. By that I mean since the times of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I am fascinated to see how the standards of this game have come up over the years.

Without getting much into what I do, let me focus more on the actual topic of this post. The latest buzz word in town right now is the mother of all sporting events, The Olympic Games of 2012 in London. It’s one of the oldest mega-event of sports which is truly international enduring the highest standards. Getting an Olympic gold is the epitome of all competitions for a sportsperson. It’s the holy grail of medals in a sportsperson’s life. There is no doubt that these games have become bigger and grander over the years. One of the reasons is that more and more money has been pumped into these games over the years by sponsors which definitely raises the standards of the games and the participants. Because of the increase in the magnitude of these games, security has also become another issue to be dealt with around the games (both for participants and the audience).

Now, I am neither a socialist nor an idealist. The above mentioned two aspects of these games this time had been disturbing me for a while so I thought of venting it out here.

I totally agree with the need of security around events of such magnitude but at the same time I feel there should be some humanity and sanity involved while arranging for it. On the contrary, the things I had been reading in the news sound much more like tyranny to me. News like deploying a ground-based air missile systems in residential areas, deploying acoustic devices which emits pain inducing tones to disperse a mob, deploying 3,500 extra UK military personnel for Olympic security after a private security firm failed to deliver its agreement. It really makes me sad reading all of this. Are we not perpetrating a culture of fear amongst the masses with all this?
I don’t want to compromise the security of anyone but I think there should be a limit to all this. I mean there is even a wiki pagededicated to the security around the games. To me, it looks more like preparing for a battlefield or a military zone than Olympic Games. If we are really living in such a scared world, then it makes me think whether we really need such games? Rather than concentrating on such games why not use our efforts and energy to first make this world a better place to host such events. All this security hoopla makes me think that we are trying to take medicines for a disease without actually diagnosing it properly and hitting the root cause.

The other aspect of the games which disturbs me is the amount of money involved. Like I mentioned above, I totally accept that it is needed for raising the standards of the game and also the local economy.  But then again, I read some disturbing news around this topic, especially an article on the current state of venues in Beijing prepared forOlympics last time. Except the main stadium much of other venues are almost nonexistent or unusable for the benefits of local people. I mean is it really worth putting in so much money for something which would be discarded at the end?

My major source of concern with the money issue is to see some big sponsors endorsing the games and athletes with businesses which have nothing to do with sports. A big burger company chain and the biggest supplier of aerated sugar drinks are one of the biggest sponsors for these games. I hope you must have figured out the name of the companies yourself. I always used to chuckle after seeing pictures and logos of these companies at sporting events and used to say to myself, oh – what a paradox?! I also used to wonder why the mainstream media never talk about such things. Then finally last week, I read one such article stating how big and paradoxical role these companies are playing to sponsor such sporting events. I mean how you can justify a burger company and a sugar drinks company promoting a sporting event when it has been shown again and again how unhealthy those products are for people. Will those athletes actually consume those products to stay healthy and competitive for such events?

It is not just the immorality showcased around such sponsorships but like the article also states it is way how the Olympic copyright bans are being forcefully imposed on normal people. I also understand that the companies throwing so much money for sponsorship would like to gain the most from it but there should be a limit to the greed. A complete monopoly on even the Olympic logo is quite disheartening for me. Are we really not losing the actual spirit behind such an ancient sporting event by overindulging in sponsorships?  The most appalling for me was this story of banning an 81 year old woman, knitting Olympic jersey for dolls only for charity. I hope that a healthy debate is carried out in the future on such topics by the organizing committees to keep up the spirit of the games. Otherwise, I think we are very close to organizing prelims for the Hunger Games in the future.

Even with all these concerns in mind, I still look forward to the Games in high spirit and hope to see some records slashed! At the same time I would like to wish best of luck to the India Olympic team!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A stroll in DU ..... Part 4 - The Experience

Anyone who knew me back then and got to know that I was admitted to St. Stephen’s, did not quite believe me in the first place. After telling them that I really made the cut, they all said very bluntly that I would be the biggest fool in the world if I don’t join it. I was somehow still not convinced if I should go there. Then, my father told me an untold story, his story. My grandparents came from a very humble background. They struggled hard to settle after partition in India. Thus, my father grew up within limited means. He told me that back in the days, for his graduation, he had also got admission at St. Stephen’s (in sports quota). But he went there just for few days and joined another college after that. He said, he did not felt very comfortable in that environment. He was ridiculed there because he could not speak high class English. Coming from a humble background, he could not gel up with the kids of the top brass. There were a couple of more reasons for which he had to move to another college. But that spark was still there in his heart for all these years. He wanted to see his kids one day to study there. Since, I was lucky enough to get through the college of his choice, he asked me to just go there, get enrolled, get the ID card and decide later if I wanted to attend its classes. Then, I finally understood why he asked me specifically to fill Stephen’s admission form. So, for my big man I finally decided to join it.

And so, started my short journey at Stephen’s. The new students were invited a day in advance than other colleges for orientation and a lunch. I was quite amazed to learn that. The day started with an assembly and a welcome note by the then principal, Dr. Wilson. It was my second interaction with him after the interview. His introductory speech just blew me away. I was already in awe of that person but after that assembly, my respect for him just kept increasing. And I made a point to attend each and every assembly possible which he addresses. Actually, the first year students had to attend it compulsorily but I went to them not to satisfy the rule but to actually listen to the guy. It was a treat to listen to him. The personal experiences which he shared during his speeches were the things I cherished the most. Even though he is no more with us today, still my love and admiration for him holds on like a rock, firm.

After the assembly we had to deal with some administrative work. It was then followed by the gala lunch. The dining hall was pretty huge with long laid tables and benches. All the students were served lunch along with the teachers. The white bowl of chicken curry and its taste is still fresh in my memories. I was a non-vegetarian back then. The day ended with meeting our class mates and introducing ourselves to each other. I was quite impressed by the first day. I had not expected such reception.

Then came the ragging part. It wasn’t as intensive as I had expected it. I heard the local resident student faced it more in the evening than day students like me. But it was a great phase to learn about our seniors and make connections and relationships which sometimes last for a lifetime. Slowly, I was learning my way into the college. The different canteens, some of them designated for students of a particular department. The sports and extra-curricular activities which this college had just blew me off. They even had a Hindi Shakespeare Society!! I got enrolled in a couple of such societies, played basketball with the top players from the sports quota on the college courts. I was really enjoying my time and getting an experience of a lifetime.

Before I knew, the official college festival, Symphony came with a bang! Things got more interesting. The activities, the concerts, the fun, the people just took over me. I was slowly realizing the qualities of this unique place and why it stands out from the rest of DU. My respect and admiration grew after getting first hand experiences. Even people among friends and family started seeing me in a different light. Cousins begged me to get them the official college apparel at any price. I felt privileged to study at that place and truly understood its importance.

But like all good things come to an end, this experience was also short lived. I got a counseling call from an engineering college and got through there as well. Finally, I took the hard decision to leave the fun of DU and the comfort of my house to study what I really wanted to in a far off city. It was easy to leave but I still cherish every moment I spent at Stephen’s.

More than anything, I lived my old man’s dream which left me more satisfied than ever.