Archive for June, 2012

A day without the internet

Nostalgia is usually referred to the fond memories of quite a distant past in one’s life but in a world where technology and gadgets seem to set the pace and purpose of our lives, I tend to become nostalgic of a very recent past. It was a time when internet was not yet a word found in the dictionary and being “Mobile” was a liberating state, often because of the two-wheeler, that allowed you to hop from one place to another. In that bygone era, I could hum a favourite number to my heart’s content as I enjoyed a cool shower in the bath without being rattled by the out-of- the- tune ring tone of the mobile. I also could drive my car relaxing in the serene pleasant morning weather without being jolted out of my wits by the SMS alerts. While on a holiday, I could enjoy a trek to the remote mountain shrine without having to look for an internet access point to check my official mails and merrily spend on my credit card without being reminded of the burgeoning amount I owe each time I swipe the plastic. Those days seems now to belong to an alien planet but the desire to revisit such a life remains pretty strong.

And when the internet connection at home was not working one Sunday morning, I thought my deep longing for freedom from the virtual world was about to be realised. But by the end of the day, I was in total disarray and disoriented with the lives around me that the very thought of another day without internet access sent shivers down my spine. Because on that fatal Sunday, I could not do the following:

1. The customary Sunday Skype chat: No internet also means a communication break-down with friends and family members who are spread across the globe. With Skype I could video chat with each one of them for hours on end and topics would range from the silliest to the more meaningful ones and none really cared to hang up as no one really paid for the service. And when I was not signed-in on Skype, I had upset a plethora of people that ranged from a niece who wanted to share the picture of her fiancé and get instant approbation from me to my mother who is keen to keep track of the Sunday menu at his son’s home situated some three thousand kilometres away.

2. A presence in the Facebook :  Your earthly existence has no meaning if you do not have a presence on the facebook and if you are not signed-in your fb account, it could trigger a panic reaction among your contacts. From a mild SMS message to trans-continental calls on to the mobile to confirm that nothing has gone untoward, the enquiries that were made to me on that Sunday easily surpassed the entire personal messages that I have so far received in the year. And when your wife and daughter are also vanishing on the fb, you have the added responsibility to assuage the feelings of their anxious friends and it would call for all your convincing skills to rise up to the occasion. I would never again face a scenario thrown up by not being in facebook!

3. Online ticket booking : Sunday is the time when you check-out the best options for your holidays and book the cheapest tickets available before they get dearer or worse still, sold-out. With internet off the air, an opportunity to plan and budget your trip was gravely missed on that Sunday, the last one before the day of departure.  And when your family come to know of your faux pas in making timely arrangement for their holidays, the Sunday could verily turn into a sorrowful day with each one reminding you of their prophetic statements “I told you so”.

4. The online games of the children:  In a house where there are no PlayStation or X-boxes, online gaming are the much sought after recreation, more so on a Sunday.  And when there is an insurmountable road-block to fulfil such trivial desires, I too felt very hapless. Next time there is an internet break-down, I am afraid that I may have to shell out wads of currency to get that black thing with lot of consoles connected to the TV.

5. Old movies on Youtube:   When you can watch the movie released yesterday on the television, there is no way you could watch decades-old films and relieve your memories of yesteryears other than, of course, on the Youtube. With anything from silent to black and white pictures loaded into it, it is the ultimate blessing for the movie bluff and when on a Sunday you are denied the pleasure of watching your childhood superstars gyrating to bygone foot-tappers, you wish you were working on a Sunday.

And other less important things that I missed out on that fateful Sunday were the online money transfer, the official mails from colleagues who worked the previous night, the customary log-in to my  WordPress account to check from which part of the globe people visited my blog etc etc.

Oh internet, how indispensable you are to the modern man!

Yours

Narayanan

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June 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm 1 comment

Sheer Anand!

As India hosts the 44th Chess Olympiad, a tribute to the all time great Indian Grandmaster, written a decade ago!

To experience and to be established in the indescribable and the indestructible joy of the self- which is beyond the grasp of the senses, the mind, and the intellect – is envisioned as the supreme goal of all our spiritual journeys. To facilitate man to achieve this extolled state, great personages has, from time to time, chartered many paths of austerities and penance, devised various methods of rites and rituals and codified them into great religious traditions . The faithfuls who unflinchingly followed their tenets were vouchsafed of a glimpse of that bliss and its very source.  And those who thus tasted its nectarine essence went on to also describe it as the supreme unsullied truth which is but pure consciousness.   Just as the sun cannot be separated from its heat and light, all these three attributes- of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss- are integral to that ultimate knowledge of the self. An experience of the unalloyed bliss is not possible without being established in the fullness of truth and being in total integrated awareness. Thus the three dimensions of its nature is divinely expressed as Sath-Chit-Anand,  Anand being the quintessential bliss.

Such an oceanic bliss is reserved only for the highly evolved souls but for many of us, ordinary mortals, sports and games are more easily accessible sources of joy.  Children as most happy when they are playing and adults take delight watching their favourite players in action and all enjoy the excitement and thrill of a keenly fought match. When many of the out-door sports excite our senses and give us that adrenaline rush with every twist and turn of the contest, there are other games which challenge our cerebral faculties and the joy experienced in playing and watching them are more sublime and hence truly elevating. The game of Chess is the emperor in this category where intellectual prowess, analytical skills and strategic thinking, all need to be simultaneously marshalled and deployed to outsmart and outwit the opponent with every move on the square. And when Vishwanathan Anand displays a complete command and dominance over the world’s best brains in the game, we get a glimpse of his brilliant mind and with every emphatic win at the highest level, he confers immense pleasure and joy, so true to his name.

Vishy Anand is a phenomenon that defies any analysis and he completely and fully is a self-made master. In a country which has never before produced a player of any consequence in the game, Anand was to become the first Grand Master from India and that was just a beginning of a glorious saga. He has taken on all the great players of his time, including the two Russian chess icons, and has beaten each one of them. From being the only one to dominate in all the three formats of the game to winning the world championship title five times ( so far), Anand’s achievements are simply mind-blowing and are the stuff that dreams are made of that inspires an entire generation to pick-up the nuances of the game. When all these stupendous feats are accomplished without the moral backing of a gaming history back home, Anand stands as a lone colossus of unparalleled achievements. The unassuming and composed nature just adds beauty to this towering personality and his demeanour at the pinnacle of glory is a lesson in modesty. Anand is as much a joy to hear and listen to as it is to watch his game.

But in a country that has a single-minded obsession to just that game of the willow, Anand’s historic contests and win in Moscow got drowned in the noise and scandals of the IPL. When the world keenly watched and dissected his every move on the board, back in India, there was scant coverage and media buzz about the event and a general public apathy and ignorance about the battle being played out for the world championship title. Even after the win, the enthusiasm and thrill among the masses was found awfully inadequate and hardly reflected the monumental nature of the victory.  When we are unable to differentiate between the manufactured thrill fuelled by semi-clad cheerleaders dancing with aging film stars and the genuine crowning glory of a sporting legend, there indeed is a deep malady and a crisis of character that demands immediate attention.

Chess is a game that is played in over a hundred countries of the world and if at all there is an Indian sports personality who is recognised and admired the world over, it undoubtedly is Vishwanathan Anand. But for a country that hardly acknowledges any sport other than cricket, a game played in about twelve countries (and that includes Canada and Netherlands!) and hardly qualifies to be termed an international sport, Anand and his achievements are just footnotes to be referred only in the passing. In any other nation, such a person would have been projected as its most priced procession and would have become its face for the world. But we would brook none of these.

The nation is known and remembered by the contributions of its citizens and if we fail to recognise our true legends and honour them for their excellence, we may soon be left with only mediocre to cheer for.

Yours

Narayanan

Watch:

A R Rahman scores the music

44th Chess Olympiad Anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l85BI4KfBAo

June 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm 1 comment


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