Friday, July 31, 2009

Tennis it is!

I would say that the only sport that even compares with Tennis, let alone even be close to it, would be football. Sure, you've All american sports which Americans play and are crazy about. Baseball may have a huge fan base. American football may be very widely broadcasted, with Superbowls and what not. All these sports have their representation at the college level.
Badminton is the fastest game in terms of the equipment used for play, with serves striking the 300kmph mark. It's hard to fathom how one could even 'perceive'(register) a shuttle cock travelling that fast and next thing you know, you missed the return in the blink of an eye:P. I've played Badminton a long time ago. I can safely say it is a game of subtleties. One must be able to move his ass, and fast! Although it does not seem like the player is covering any ground, believe me some serious adrenalin is pumping, and hard!
Athletics does not fail to capture. Usain Bolt and his golden boot. His world record setting run at the biggest stage. Contenders we thought them to be. But Gay and Powel were wiped out with glee! Isinbaveya's feat deserves mention. I seriously cannot stomach the training that goes into those hips and legs. What's even more staggering is the ease with which she clears 5 m perpetually. Boxing and Ali. Fraser. Tyson and his gimmicks. But he always got the job done.
Golf and Formula one. Big money. Big sponsors. Tiger Woods is probably the most recognisable sportsman in the west. But here in India, i'm sure he is mostly unknown. Cricket is a religion here. Sure it has history.
History, one of the parameters necessary to gauge a sport and the "Aura" about it. When East Bengal and Mohun Bagan play their derby in Salt Lake, celebrations are in order in the form of Hilsa and prawns! Ronaldo's big move to Real. Big money. His skills are second only to Messi. A neutral always roots for the weaker team. Who wouldn't remember Gerrards Heroics in 2005 when the tables were turned. That unbelievable strike from that far, always curling away, yet finding the back of the net. Germany in the Semi finals of the '06 W.C. Dreams were shattered. It meant so much to Ballack. The emotions. The reckoning.
The reason Tennis is above the rest is simply the Zeal of the game. If one were to watch the fantastic movie 'Match Point', he'd realise the importance of a service let, or the ball catching the tape and falling on the other side.
Two faces of a coin. Both have equal chances of being 'called'. The net chord could be a saviour or it could kill. History is in tennis.Fred Perry,Rod Laver, Borg, Sampras and now Federer. Nadal vs Fed. The greatest rivalry there is.
The only thing about Tennis, that puts it way above the league of other sports, is that we're not actually rooting for a tennis player, wanting him to win. We actually are him. Literally and figuratively.
And, the greates thing is, I'd rather say Nadal won, than say Federer lost!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Peas in a pod.

All was set for take off. Traffic control had given him the go ahead, and he was number two on the runaway. His co-pilot John then checked the suction gauge, transponder, fuel gauge and Radio. Check. All was well. They were ready to hit the skies.
Three minutes later, they received clearance from ATC.

This was nothing new to Captain Ochim or his co-pilot. Oc having trained in the finest flying school in Britain. He had the distinction of doing sorties with R.A.F personnel. He was a mighty proud man. His Dedication was legendary. In flying circles, he was known as the Hawk-eye. The precision and control with which he 'tamed' his machines in the air, was often the talk for hours together in parties which he often graced with his lovely wife and kids.Oc was content with what he had. Life wasn't easy. He used to work two shifts in a Public Library to make ends meet. And yet, he barely managed. Flying School was where he was headed. Pilot he was destined to be.

Ten years later, he had done it all. He made good money. Decent enough to make his wife and kids happy. He was a content man, siphoning happiness from the smaller things in life. After a hard day's work, he'd just want to watch a movie with the kids, a cold beer by his side. Flying and family. The two things that mattered the most to Oc. He couldn't be away from his Family for long. But his hands would itch if he wasn't behind the controls of a Plane for long. Two peas in a pod.

Another routine flight. Today, he was testing a cessna for a friend. The plan was to fly over the desert for a few hours. Test the plane for possible flaws.
John hit the primer and master switch. Oc pushed the throttle. The engine roared into life. The wheels were set into motion. Slowly gathering momentum, The plane hit the take-off threshold a few hundred metres from the end of the tarmac. Thousand feet above the ground, they made a sharp left, and drifted towards the Great Canyon, into the setting sun...
Twenty minutes into the flight, John made a routine check on all functions. They were talking about having some nice meat later for dinner. Little did they know that they were going to be 'meat'. Without warning, the propeller gave away, and they were headed in a spiral downwards. All was lost. They hit rock bottom. John was dead. Oc had lost all senses waist downwards.

Oc awoke with a start, hoping it was all just a blurry dream. One that didn't mean anything.
Instead, he awoke to the worst possible palpability. Sometimes there is only one pea in a pod, he realised, as his wife Lily set down a glass of juice on his table, and wiped away the salty tears from his rough cheeks.