Sunday, October 3, 2010

....Ayodhya.....

This word keeps amusing people. I somehow am more amused than most of you. No, I did not demolish the mosque. Neither do I have any interest in seeing a mosque being rebuilt, nor am I going to pray if a temple is built there. The reason is, the place is very close to where my parents come from. My father's village is around 25 kms and my mother comes from a place around 30 kms from ayodhya. No wonder, I have grown up listening a lot of stuff related to the place, the issue etc.

The so much hyped (obviously by the media) verdict came on the 30th of September and to be very honest I couldn't have been more satisfied with what I saw. The verdict, for me was spot on. The reaction was also pretty good. Though there was a reason to it, which I did not find a mention of, anywhere. One of the biggest reasons why all the political parties were so much restrained about what they were saying is probably the media itself. Had it been 1992, the electronic media almost non-existent, things might have been very different. That, India has ‘moved on’ , has become ‘more mature’, might sound very good, but can be debated at length to be sure before being proud of. As an example, one of the channels showed one of their reporters asking some random 'dudes' and 'dudettes' on some city streets about the whereabouts of Ayodhya. Most of them didn't know where it was! If this is called having moved on, I personally, can only laugh about it. Not knowing something which has dictated the politics of your country for almost 2 decades is nothing to be proud of (my views, you may differ). Closing your eyes to an issue is not "having moved on", in my dictionary, at-least.

I am a very big fan of the thought that ”we” don’t represent India. How can a person sitting at his home watching an English news channel represent India? How can a person reading a blog on his/her laptop represent India? If he/she thinks so, I am sure he has no idea about what India is. I say this because I hear diametrically opposite views when I talk about this issue to people in my office or my circle and when I do the same with my relatives living in villages. So, what I believe is that acknowledging the fact that a certain belief exists(whether right or wrong) is very important. It’s very similar to dismissing an organization completely as if no one believes in it. I am sure if you know everything about RSS from what media has shown you, you will not agree that it has more than 5 million members and what all activities it undertakes.

Getting back to the point, the verdict, in my view was a very balanced one. Such issues can only be solved in a way where everyone gets something and compromise on some other things. It’s a debate which has no end, unless you are not India. No one can be absolutely right or wrong in these issues.

When I see the views and personally think over it, here is what I find.

For the Hindus: A place believed to be the birthplace of lord Ram by Hindus, has to be taken a proof enough that it is in fact a holy place for them. That he was born there or not is irrelevant. No fact associated with faith can be proved in a court of law. If that starts happening the secular nature of the law is itself questioned. So if that is true and with the other beliefs such as that of a prior temple at the same place, Hindus do have a point there.

For the Muslims: A mosque was there, which was brought down in 1992 in an act which the law holds as criminal. Whether the mosque was built over a temple or not 500 years back is again a point which is not very important. Islam is no more than 1000 years old in India (at least in a significant number). A religion which itself is not more that 1000 years old can not be expected to have religious symbols dating prior to that. And as a matter of fact, most of the Islamic history has been full of religious violence and conversions, demolishing a temple to build a mosque would not have been a very rare thing then. So, if we get into questioning the legitimacy of those structures now, it would almost be questioning the faith itself, which once again I find to be against the secular part of our constitution.

Basically the point is, everyone has a valid point, and getting clear winners out of it is only next to impossible. Justice Khan quotes from a prior Supreme Court verdict:


'As far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical facts and claims. Reliance on borderline historical facts will lead to erroneous conclusions.'

I guess this is the best possible solution we could have had and the parties interested should now actually “move on” as the media says.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weightlifting

I have wanted to write on this, probably since I started liking it, but somehow never have. Today I will. The motivation also comes from the fact that the team I built from scratch is for the first time going to be devoid of any of the founding members. And it would be nice to share my experiences and feelings, which might help and motivate them.

I will tell about my experiences and related things. But first things first. What exactly is weightlifting? Contrary to what many believe its very different from bodybuilding or powerlifting. It's an olympic sport, requires power (strength and power are different things), speed, flexibility in the body, a solid technique and above all a herculean mental strength. If your max. lift is 100 kgs, it requires everything to be perfectly aligned to repeat it on the stage. It required twice the everything to make it 101.You have to be focused and have to dedicate yourself to training to add that 1 kg to your arsenal. I have learnt so much after weightlifting that if I start talking about it, the rest won't come and more so it would almost be impossible to appreciate it if you yourselves have not experienced it. So let's start with my experiences.


I got into weightlifting accidentally. I was probably returning from some class when Mohit met me somewhere and told me that some people were required to join weightlifting so that a coach can be brought in, and as he was very interested, he insisted that I just give my name, come for some days, and when the coach is there, just leave. Ironically he left and I remained. :P
So that year, which was my 2nd year, finally 3 people participated from our college in the Inter IIT sports meet. Myself, Bhutani and Satish bhaiya. There I had a chance to meet IIT kgp legendary lifter :) Deori. He gave me the idea and encouraged me to make efforts of developing a full fledged team by the next meet.

Not wasting much on the background stories, lets get on with the real thing. My first event, and I was as nervous as anyone could be. I had probably started weightlifting 3 months(or lesser) back and was competing there with no experience whatsoever. I had never ever even witnessed any weightlifting event and knew nothing. Only during the meet did I get to know the politics and the tactics which is used. I stood no chance for any medal and was asked by the coach to just relax and give my best. Easier said than done. When I was sitting in the warm-up room, the scenes in front of me were no less than a horror film. Likes of Srikanth (whom I really admire and have asked for his help so many times) were doing warm ups without any effort with more weight than my max. lift :p. The first lesson for youngsters is here to be learnt. No matter what others are lifting you should focus on your performance. What others are doing is something which should be kept in mind during the training phase and as a target. But when you are there in the competition, what you have to do is re-do what you have done in the practice room. You have to lift the maximum you have done and may be in the last lift attempt something greater, that too if its creating the difference of a medal. I have seen so many falter just in the heat of the moment, raising their lifts and then getting cleaned up.

I did finish a distant fourth in the event, to my liking :) and a surprise for many. It was a nice experience. After that I played at the state level, won a medal but seldom talk about it because it was more of a default medal owing to the absence of good lifters. In the next inter-IIT, we had a team. :) Myself, somu (Somdutt), Akhtar, saharan (Amit) and sardar (Mandeep). We gave a good fight. Somu had a good chance but nervousness took him. Akhtar was the star for me with giving his 200% and improving upon his best. Saharan and Sardar also performed well and that these people are going to bring medals in the future was very visible. I faltered in the famous last lift (with me hiding the face :P after the lift ) and finished 4th once again :(. I was attempting something which I had never done before but didn't work out in the end. But that was also the time when my knee injury was in the worst phase. You should always give due respect to your body and know its limits.Over exerting might look good one day but an injury can ruin everything you have been working for. I still remember the day when I skipped a couple or warm-ups and got to a heavy squat directly. The knee suddenly started paining and then it never got right.

Just a video of my that last lift (you are allowed to laugh after this one :P) and ya, turn off the volume, or else your neighbors might not take it in the right spirit :D

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After this in the even sem. hardly any practice was done, we did decide to do it, but then until the motivation is not strong enough, its very difficult. To add to all this, my injury was still there.
Just after the summer vacations we had the state level. That was probably the best day in my weightlifting career. With almost no practice and the knee injury still there I was able to give a decent performance winning bronze in what was a good competition. . Competing at the state level gives a very good exposure and its a real confidence booster to see yourself competing amongst the best. Winning or not winning is immaterial and it is this exposure which I liked the most. The quality of the videos is not that good, sorry for that.





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We did practice hard after that. It was my last year but I still competed, and so have somu , saharan and sardar. I really appreciate that and would want that to be the usual practise in the weightlifting team. The inter-IIT meet at madras was a dream come true for me. Somu and Saharan bagged medals, sardar missed but got the push to go harder and eventually achieved it the next year. Akhtar's performance was exceptional and he had made improvement which no one had expected. I am sure if he had made up his mind to continue in the final year we would have seen one more medal coming our way. Anyways that was the last competition I participated in and got the well deserved :) farewell. I unfortunately on the personal front missed again thereby making the inter-IITs a tragic story on the personal level. But that has hardly bothered me because my larger objective has been fulfilled. You can see the videos of my failures here and learn from them. :P. I had not done the required things, had just flown to madras a day before. Did not have my lunch and dinner properly on the previous day, and it all reflects in the end.



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I just want to tell all the newcomers that what you are seeing today is not very old. This team is the newest but arguably one of the most successful, and there is a reason for that. We have not followed what others have done. We have made our own rules, our own objectives, set standards for ourselves and then dedicated ourselves for it. The people who want to play for certificates and stuff should be thrown out. The reason to join this team should only be one.

Miss you all.