Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Some thoughts on Phil Hughes.

(I am late in posting it here but I posted this as an answer to this question on Quora. The question is "How did you feel after hearing the sad news of the demise of young Australian cricketer Phil Hughes?" )

It felt like being punched in the stomach. And later I was shocked beyond belief. I have never felt this way for any sport-related injury and maybe never will again because somehow now I have come to accept that there is a one in a million chance that someone can actually die not only playing cricket but facing a bouncer. I mean, yes there have been cases like Raman Lamba but I thought that to be a freak incident. This one seemed like a seminal incident to me in some ways. I hope I am wrong. 
A bouncer in cricket is not merely a delivery intended to make it difficult for the batsman to score but it is a weapon to intimidate. It often is a ploy which extends far beyond that particular delivery. You have had fast bowlers proclaiming that they wanted to see blood on the pitch. But they surely didn't want to kill anyone. But now they know that rare it may be, someone can die. In the aftermath of the incident, I have often wondered how it will change the face of fast bowling. 
A few months back, without any second thoughts, I would have said that the most exciting thing to happen in last couple of years was Mitchell Johnson's accurate and relentless intimidation and subsequent annihilation of English and South African batsmen. Now I am feeling slightly guilty for feeling that exhilaration. There were some bruises, some broken bones but at least nobody died. I have high hopes from this generation of Indian batsmen and was so looking forward to facing them against Johnson this December. Now I am not so sure. Will Johnson be as willing? In the light of everything which happened, can he be? 
Like many others, I was reminded of my own cricket playing days and in particular of one incident. I was a so called fast bowler with no promise at all. But matting wickets can often bring out the devil out of any trundler and as it happened, one delivery hit a batsman on his gloves and then the chin on which he got a bad cut. The ball ballooned up and my first instinct was not to go check the batsman but to catch the ball. Normally, it would have been a standard practice. But now I feel so guilty. So many times as a bowler I felt angry on being hit and wanted to respond by a bouncer or worse, a beamer just to send the batsman packing. I now feel so relieved that apart from that cut on the chin, I was never able to hurt anyone. It was not for the lack of trying, surely. And that is such a creepy, dirty feeling. For me, that somehow puts into perspective what Sean Abbott must be going through and just how unfair it is to him. 
So, I am terribly sad for Phillip Hughes. I am sad also because of the deep introspection it prompted and am also sad because just maybe, a tearway fast bowler will think twice before bowling another bouncer.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ship of Theseus

(The blog has been long neglected and truth be told, learning itself has been long neglected. So making a faux-resolution that I will be more frequent in postings from now on. Posts might be most cheesy at times but hopefully, there will be posts. 

Starting with a post about my thoughts on the famous Ship Of Theseus paradox. I was supposed to write it as a part of a contest and am reproducing it here.) 

In my opinion, whether it remains the same ship or not is loosely a matter of definition. How do you define dichotomy? Indeed, how do you even begin to recognize it? Isn’t even establishing its existence somewhat akin to dividing the world into strict black and white areas and thus leaving no room for shades of grey? And then if it’s true, shouldn’t all branches of philosophy reach closure; all such questions be put to rest?

But even that definition to my mind is a simple matter of convenience. So while I think that it still remains the same ship, it is so not because of strong conviction but merely because considering so is convenient to me. One might disagree and claim that his conviction in the opposite idea is stronger than mine and I might be tempted to debate. But isn’t debating it again a matter of seeking dichotomy? And being a non-confrontational person in general, it is convenient for me to avoid it. Thus it remains the same ship. It might be proclaimed as ignorance or general vacuity itself but who is to say that the other idea if proved correct won’t be extrapolated? Again one might say that the scope of the question is rather narrow. It is only about the ship. But if it is only about the ship, then does it really matter? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Swarocean- Mori Araj Suno

If I wanted to beg for something from God, I would play this song. If I wanted to rebuke Him for not listening to my pleas, I will play this song. And if I wanted to understand Him and reconcile with my fate, I will still play this song.  And if perchance I was an atheist, surely this song would have convinced me to be otherwise.

This is the Coke Studio version of the song sung by Tina Sani and produced by Rohail Hyatt. Do listen to it once. 

What makes the song even more poignant is that it was written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz sometime around 1977-1984 when he was exiled by the fundamentalist military dictator General Zia-Ul-Haq. So, the words are still very much relevant and ring true. 

I have no musical education whatsoever and am thus deaf to ragas and when I first listened to it, there were no subtitles. So I was left with massive holes between my understandings of words. But the composition still seeped to my bones and has been there ever since. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

(Recently I have put some posts on Quora blog Swarocean  which I am going to henceforth cross-post here. The blog is about songs which are not very well known but are rare accomplishments in their own rights. Unheard tunes, in different languages, but each make a sound which kick up a familiar feeling somewhere. That the world emanates from you.  That feeling of अहं ब्रह्मास्मिMusic, indeed knows no boundaries.  But close your eyes and feel that the music makes you limitless as well.)