Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Believe in Miracles!

This week, I was thinking of focusing “my belief in miracles,” on two core points—the earlier than expected release of my book, Pabulum, and the last minute tickets to the “Unforgettable” concert. A friend’s inability to attend the “sold out event” translated into my husband and me going for the Show. What can I tell you about the event? It was pleasurable at times, but there were enough occasions where my insides coiled, and I threw up internally.

The journey of miracle took a detour: I got a sweet note with a query inside the shell of request doused with surprise. “Why haven't you written on the Olympics yet? Nothing”:-(

I have been meaning to share my views on the Olympics but could never pick out that one aspect that I wanted to write about. To me, the Olympics are more than just competitive games; it’s like this miraculous psychographic research where each victory and loss yields rich, robust data.

A few weeks ago, we were at a dinner party at a friend’s. Anyway, one thing led to another and before we knew it, some fervent discussions transpired between our comrade about India's lack of participation in the Olympics, China's noteworthy feat, and America's obsession with #1.

Here are my twocents: Like the rest of the world, I too am in awe of Michael Phelps. He truly is a miracle in the swimming pool. I enjoyed watching him glide through like a finless dolphin, BUT it bothers me how the American media discounts every other athlete's contribution. Agreed, Phelps has set new records, etc. etc. etc.; however, is it fair to limit the glory to just the gold medalist? Isn't that an appalling example to set for the young, naïve minds? Either be the best or don't be. Newsflash: not everyone can be the THE BEST; it’s the #2 & #3 that gives #1 its golden meaning, if you will. Anyone who aspires and strives should at least be given some acknowledgment. A team is triumphant with combined effort and not due to one person's endeavor.

On a separate note, it's miraculous to me how China has managed to efface the struggles of a developing country. What outstanding presence and performance--an all-rounder if you will. The Chinese parents are driven in a non-academic way. They send their kids to gymnastic camps from the age of three, and it shows! Not just the people but also the city of Beijing looks resurrected. The Chinese government and the populace care about being the best overall and that is a miracle for a developing country.

I am aghast at the South Asian apathy to sports. Why don't our Indian dreams envision a non-academic world for just once? We are a nation obsessed with beauty and brains. We are on the world-level plinth of universal beauty pageants; every one knows of our scholarly capabilities, but what about sports? Please, don't use “cricket” as an excuse for sports all the time. Granted its fun, but why can't we broaden our horizon for once? To me, like portly baseball players, stout cricket players are an eye sore. Even at the Olympics, we miraculously won a few medals here and there, but it bothers me how callous we are towards it.

We are a nation of “intellectual extravaganza”. If we put our mind and heart to something, lo & behold, there is no one stopping Indians. Is it the issue of lack of government support or the Indian mentality of equating success with the overall percentage in the “board exams”?

Sometimes over the weekend, my friends and I go to Brooklyn Bridge or Central Park in the mornings. It is a magnificent time to work out and probably the only time of the day I am willing to soak in the never-ending madness of Manhattan. Anyway, on more than one occasion, I have pointed out to my friends that there is never a South Asian to be seen at any of these outdoor places. You see White, Black, Latino, and East Asian kids playing baseball, trotting, or relaxing in the strollers but never South Asians.

Why are we, as a race, so blasé in physical activity? The seed of significance of athleticism seems to be lacking. True miracle would be if Indians acknowledged the existence of non-stereotypical professions and the government/society embraced it openly by creating the right opportunities. Only then can we compete truly on a global level.

More until next time.

Copyright © 08.21.2008

“I often take exercise. Why only yesterday I had breakfast in bed.”—Oscar Wilde


Pradeep said...

Physical body in Hindu philosophy is like a clothing for the soul or a box preserving a jewel. It is not to be taken too seriously, although we do recognize that a sound mind requires a sound body. After a man dies, he leaves his physical body behind. I suspect these concepts we have about the physical body may have contributed to our apathy towards sports. I have a different complaint! Why is society, in general, and the Western society, in particular, so obsessed with sports?

Sandhya Sinha said...

countries like india could do that if we had social structures and securities for living and indulging. :) well written. keep it up.

Anonymous said...

If winning is a virtue, losing is also an art of its own type.And we seem to have specialised in this art-- even historically.Be it losing in sports or for that matter the country as a whole.
Well wrtten and thought provoking for those who have fire to excel and win.

Anonymous said...

very well written. makes me sad thinking about india's performance.