Monday, December 27, 2010

Criticism

Hello all. Its been a while since my last post and I hope the interval has been kind to you dear reader as it has been to me. Well, I am sure the header of this post must have attracted your attention. In our colorful lives we must have faced some hard ends, some really unfair feedback and some undeserved treatment. Life must have left us hard done by on a few occasions. It is inevitable, but that wisdom is only an afterthought. When we are in the middle of some harsh turns life does beat us. And that dear folks is what this post is all about. But please, make no mistake; this isn’t going to be a dreary, pale, sad, gloomy post fretting out the imbalances in life. What I am endeavoring is, to make light of certain situations, just an effort to make us feel lighter and face unfair criticism better.
There might be a question on my capacity to write on this post. I am sure I have not faced as much as many of my elders would have, but still, yours truly has had some real entertaining situations to face. You know the thing with me friends? Me and trouble are best friends. ‘T’ follows me where ever I go :-). So I guess that’s enough qualification for me:-) Now, dictionary defines Criticism as “A serious examination and judgment of something”. We humans are born critics. It is in our blood to judge others and we call it (conveniently) the ‘Sixth Sense’. We claim the difference between us and an animal is this capacity to judge, review and react accordingly to any situation. But what have we become in the process of judging others? Where has it led us, this habit of being judgmental and critical??
Dear readers, there used to be two separate things, Fair/Constructive criticism and unfair/Destructive criticism. But tell me honestly, do u think the former exists anymore? The word criticism has become synonymous with unfair criticism so much so that there is no longer any that is fair. Being brutally honest, I have been at the end of some real serious lashings. Hardly have my efforts or actions deserved ├ęclat, even when they deserved some. I have always been labeled the verbose, hot headed, radical, impatient young fellow. Every opinion of mine has been criticized in one way or the other, rather harshly by my own peers. I have been pushed to a corner on numerous occasions. But I have always had people to guide me out. Therein lies the key, I believe, to succeed.
My father keeps telling me just one thing, Raghavan when you have talent and skill and when you are right in what you say and do, no one in this world can bottle you or keep you down unless you let them. A wise man’s wise words! But now, the point I was trying to make is that, any criticism or any feedback can affect you only if you let it. Now let me take you all on a different, seemingly un-connected ride. Let us divert from this base that we are journeying on. Let us drive a bike now. Literally and figuratively.
Ever driven fast on a bike between two converging vehicles friends? Preferably two huge buses? Well I hope you will bear with me when I construct a driver’s point of view here. Pulling off a high speed, high risk maneuver such as this is anything but easy. A lot of elements have to come together to do this. First you must be able to listen to your bike. Will the bike be able to get you through? When you do get a positive response from your bike, then your role starts. Zipping through two converging vehicles is unbelievably tough. It requires extreme concentration and judgment. You need to evaluate the speeds of both the vehicles and must decide on the speed in which you have to drive. You need to be in proper positions strategically to pull it off. You ought to be in the perfect gear. One gear stroke less and you could end up crashing to either vehicle; one gear more and you could end up losing valuable thrust and face a farcical ending. So extreme intent, high caution, perfect speed, accurate judgment and a real rush of adrenaline and courage can help you pull off the maneuver that could last a maximum of 5 seconds. In those 5 seconds multiple emotions will shroud you. Fear, thrill, anxiety, excitement and finally a sense of victory.
At the end of this move you will, as a rider smile and will be happy about yourself. But sadly dear reader, your enthusiasm might not be shared by everybody. Take your own parents for instance, I will not bet too much on any parent vouching for this move. You might have done a tremendous job, but then your parents will definitely reprimand you on this.
This ladies and Gentleman is what we call criticism. Unfair criticism! What seems right to us may not always be right. What gave us real thrill and what makes us feel commoved might in all probability make others upset. And you ultimately end up receiving some flak for actually having done something really well. Ironical??
Well I hope u have gotten a point here. If you had read between the lines I have sub consciously left a message above. For those who didn’t get me, well all that I am trying to communicate is this; there is no right way or method to face criticisms. No perfect key to unlock it. There is just one thing we must remember when facing some serious critic, What might have been a job well done might not have been the same to others. But that really doesn’t mean u should worry. Critics are like air, they will exist forever. Worrying about them or their seemingly unfair feedback will take you nowhere. You need to be able to understand a coin always has two sides.
Kind of getting preachy amn’t i? Well, I guess I have just about managed to communicate something across. Might not have been something that none of us know, but then certain universally known messages are worth bringing to the fore often. My aim is just to make an endeavor, to print something on my reader’s mind that he can carry on for a little while. Who knows, maybe the next time you do face a bad critic you might remember this post :-) 
PS : I asked my colleague to do some proof reading, know what feedback I got?? “Rags, there is just too much of the word ‘criticism’ in this post. And I think this is not such a good post, its too lengthy too.....don post it…
Well….. I have posted this afterall... somebody said something on not worrying too much about criticisms?? :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Calvin & Hobbes


For those of you who do not know what Calvin and Hobbes is, well it is a comic strip. Perhaps the longest running and the most successful comic strip ever. It was published from 1985 to 1995 in newspapers.10 YEARS!!!? This strip still runs in over 45 countries and in more than 60dailies. And undoubtedly it is my most favorite comic strip. My day may start without a coffee, but it never starts without a daily read of this strip that appears in Hindu n DC in Chennai

In essence this strip is about a 6year old boy and his toy tiger. To the world the tiger is just a stuffed doll, but to the 6yr old, hyper-active, super naughty, brilliant minded Calvin, the tiger is a real one. He lets the tiger talk to him, advice him; sleep with him and Calvin's only play mate is the tiger.



Calvin and Hobbes is a thing of a genius. It was written by William Patterson. To kids the strip is what it claims to be, A comic strip'. But for grownups, once u remove the prejudice of thinking comics are oly for kids and take a look at the strip, u get to realize thrs more to it than meets the eye. There are so many lessons that calvin offers to the world. There are so many emotions friendship, love, affection, Honesty, fun, sorrow much much more. A friendly comic strip makes me laugh everyday till my eyes end up in tears.

One can easily relate to Calvin in numerous ways. How many of us have patronized non-living things?? It can be our bike, it can be a foto of our loved ones, it can be a key chain. To associate ourselves in an even broader prospective, it could even be GOD! What appears just a stone to atheists appears as the Almighty to theists. How many times have we stood or knelt before an idol of our favorite gods and prayed in earnest. And how many times have heard the reply too??



Calvin and Hobbes capture that essence. The belief is what makes us what we are. the strip is a lovely metaphor. A standing testimony to the fact that life is more beautiful when u believe in positive emotions. I would request u all to become younger and get addicted to the strip.

Here is a link that can help u fraternize with Calvin

And for those who say u r too old for this stuff, I will oly say this "Growing old is inevitable, but growing UP is optional" ;-)

Cheers folks
PS : In case someone needs the full set of this comic strip, contact me

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

What is genius if it is not the wizardry that magically alters our perceptions of things/events?
What is greatness if it does not, at its apotheosis; redefine the possible and the impossible?
What is bewitching sorcery if it is not the ability to turn sand into silver, the mundane into the breathtakingly celestial? 



What is unmatched (unmatchable) talent if it is not the judge's gavel that ends all arguments?
And, what, oh what, is Sachin Tendulkar if he is not the greatest batsman of our times, an enforcer-beyond-compare with the bat, a doer of things that have remained unmoved, unmovable from the dreams of even some of the greatest post-War batsmen, never seeing the light of reality?

There comes a time in life of great sportsmen when the wings of their genius carry them to heights where the only company they might find is their own. In less than two weeks since the Australians landed in India this season, Tendulkar has left the atmosphere of the mortals and soared into stratospheric heights.

In the course of a few unforgettable days from the time he took the great Shane Warne apart at Chepauk and turned what might have been a gripping, close series into a no-brainer, to the day he authored the momentous Operation Desert Storm at Sharjah before coming up with another gem to steer India to a trophy triumph, to the last match of the recently concluded series against a hapless Australian side where he scored a defiant yet majestic 98,  the little giant has drastically altered our perceptions, redefined a few things in cricket and ended one seemingly endless argument.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let us say this now without a semblance of doubt: if there is a greater batsman than Tendulkar in contemporary cricket, then he is well hidden from our eyes, perhaps showcasing his gifts on Mars or perhaps in some other distant galaxy! 



Brian Lara may still be the owner of all sorts of records, a five hundred in first class cricket and a 400* in tests. Shewag's effortless brilliance may be breathtaking. Ricky Ponting, when in mood, may be able to take any bowling apart, Kevin Petersen might leave bowlers all around the globe breathless, but nobody, really nobody, can do what Tendulkar does as a matter of routine: make the best of bowling look pedestrian; redefine for awed spectators and television viewers what a good ball and bad ball is. For, no batsman since Vivian Richards departed from the scene has taken so many off so many good deliveries as has Tendulkar.

Which bowler in contemporary cricket can say, confidently, truthfully, that he can bowl a ball that will, on any day, in any situation, demand the greatest respect from the little master? Yes, there are moments when Tendulkar may be tied down. There are moments when a part-time bowler might get him. But, more often than not, what is awesome bowling, what represents a big challenge, to many of his contemporaries, is nothing but fodder for the great man.

Much has been said - and written - about the Tendulkar innings that helped make the final against Australia at Sharjah in 1998 and also his 200 not out against south Africa in 2010.. To many good batsmen, even to a few great ones, it might have been the innings of a lifetime. But the little man's lifetime in international cricket is filled with such gems and they just keep coming series after series, match after match. At the end of the day, we'll be spoilt for choice. The good thing is each of us can have his pick!

For most Indian fans though, a peak moment of sorts happened in the 2003 World Cup. Only one match, and more likely, only one shot existed — the brief but exhilarating plot of a layered rivalry struggling to retain its edge, a World Cup stage, a super-quick beast steaming in, and the repartee — the slightest movement, the obscene bat-speed and the six over backward point. Tendulkar needn’t have bothered with anything else…even the Player of the Tournament. I hope you all realized what I am referring to, in case you didn’t, it was the slap over cover for a six off Shoaib Akthar, the Pakistani speedster.



On the face of it, it is a strange fact of life that some of the greatest human achievements, among them the truly epochal, seem to lack the element of surprise. When Michelangelo was done with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, surely those who first set their eyes on the timeless work of art might have felt a sense of awe and wonder. But few who were aware of the real measure of Michelangelo's genius might have been surprised that he had created something as breathtakingly beautiful.

While there can be no real comparison between high art and modern sport, the feeling is similar when an outstanding sportsman raises the bar higher than ever before, as did Sachin Tendulkar today, when he scored his 49th Test century(!!!!). From the moment he set out to play his first Test innings in Karachi in November 1989 as a baby-faced boy-wonder, Tendulkar was expected to do what he has done till date and much else besides

In short, Tendulkar is the world’s sporting colossus. To find comparisons, you have to cross borders — geographical boundaries, dividing lines represented by eras and borders between vastly different sports.And god knows even if we do search for an equal genius, we may never find a match.

Celebrate his genius now, revel in its incandescence now. In other lands where cricket is played, they build monuments for far lesser men. So let us celebrate Tendulkar’s genius, in victory and in defeat. Sometime in the not too distant future, we may not have anything quite like it in the Indian cricket team and World cricket,  to celebrate. 



In my world, anyway, there is nothing in Indian sport now (perhaps ever) that is quite as worthy of celebration as the genius of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.