Sunday, July 23, 2006

Boxed in ?

I was watching the second season of The Contender series on AXN. For those who don't know, it is a reality television series which follows a boxing tournament. I remember watching a few fights the last time around, too. The primary reason I was watching was that I was bored and had nothing else to do. But then, I do enjoy watching some of the fights.

Like everyone I like the fights where the contestants push themselves to the limit and just ram each other like crazy. The speed at which they land their punches and parry blows is just incredible. Besides, their footwork is something that is just too cool! It's just pure adrenaline. Being a TV show, the producers of the show try to introduce some drama into the whole thing by focusing on the fighters' activities before and after the match. A few emotional moments with their families (read kissing and hugging wives/girlfriends/fiancees and talking to kids), a few minutes where their coaches try to pump them up and all and interviews after the match and stuff like that. Obviously I don't care about all this drama bullshit. Give me the fights and I'll be happy. But then I'm not the one producing the show.

So, I was watching it and my father came by. He looked at it and made a statement. He said that boxing and similar sports are just totally unnecessary in the civilized world. As in he saw no sense in humans smashing up each other. I liked watching it and immediately wanted to counter it. But all I could say was a weak "It's also a sport, just like any other sport." Apart from that I just couldn't find anything. But then I thought about how every sport was just some kind of entertainment and most of it was actually quite pointless. Actually I just went into the whole 'life is pointless' routine. Yeah. I go into it quite often.

But then, in other sports you don't actually go and friggin bash up someone to win. Though I know that there are various techniques and strategies involved in boxing, it is about beating the shit out of the other guy and defending yourself while he tries to do the same, ultimately. The sport(?) has its roots some thousands of years ago. But back then, it was predominantly slaves fighting among themselves to gain the favour of their masters. It just evolved to the current form where everyone fights everyone.

I thought about the gladiators fighting to death in the huge roman arenas and amphitheatres with huge crowds cheering them on and the king watching them from his throne. It is interesting to notice that things haven't changed much at all in so many centuries. There is still a spectacular arena (god knows how many millions went into building them) with the boxing ring in the middle and a huge crowd of spectators. Only, people fight with padded gloves, headgear and other protective accesories. And it is not a duel to death.

We've made amazing progress in terms of technology, science and living standards. But then, the raw animal instincts and a few basic human traits like the will to establish our superiority over others, etc will never leave us. We have devised various means to suppress them to a large extent but they still exist. The basic gamut of emotions is still very much the same as it was a thousand years ago, I guess and it'll probably never change.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Magic Moments

A lot has been said about how a few moments shape our lives and destiny. Over the last few years of my life I've witnessed a lot of events that reiterate this fact. The moment could occur anywhere. It may be in our own backyard or in front of millions of people. But it happens. And then things change. All in a matter of a few seconds.

There are times when you meet a new person and you're just having a conversation when suddenly both of you share a moment. It could be anything, a joke, a smile or that little fraction of a second when you meet the other's eyes. That moment tells both of you that you are going to hit it off well. Those few seconds could well be the foundation to a lifelong friendship.

Talking about friendship, let me move on to relationships. There is that moment, the inevitable moment which could break the beautiful relationship that has been going great since several years. You would probably do anything and everything to get one more chance but the moment is gone and what's lost is lost. And there are those amazing few seconds when you realise you've found the one for you, the person you want to live the rest of your life with.

The moment you know you've passed the hard exam, the few seconds after you've been selected in the job interview, the moment when you lose your head and do something that you'll regret for life, the fraction of a second that breaks a person's well established hard-earned trust in you, the moment when you fall for someone, that brilliant volley that tells you it's your day, the flash of brilliance after which nothing can stop you, the moments after you have won the world cup. They change everything. You are a new person after that. The world is a different place after that.

Yesterday I saw the world cup final between France and Italy. It was such an agony to watch Zinedine Zidane, the greatest football player of the last decade, known for his professional patience and calmness, do something utterly ridiculous and unnecessary, only to be sent off. The whole world was stunned. He would not be allowed to receive his silver medal after the last match of his illustrious career. It was the moment of sheer madness and frustration that took his exit from the international arena from the greatest heights of glory to utter disgrace. I was very disappointed. One question that came to my mind - Why Zizou? Why?

But then it's all about moments, those that make or break our lives. The few seconds that govern all the events that unfold after that. They're magic moments, indeed.