Monday, May 26, 2008

I Still Love The Game

While riding to work this morning I passed by a Basketball Court. Three schoolboys were practicing the shots. As I passed by, one of them flung the ball towards the ring and I saw it spin in the air…it was the sort of moment that runs in slow motion in commercials…all I could see was the spinning basketball heading towards the board and everything else was blurred…the ball made the shot but I missed…

I missed being a 6 year old ambling around the Basketball court with a mini-size Basketball in hand, hardly able to handle it, oblivious to the fact that her future coach was telling her mother that the kid is too young to be enrolled with the club at this point…

I missed the time when I got my first pair of sports shoes, replete with these fancy lights at the ankles…lights that you could remove and keep aside when you were doing serious sports and put back in the shoes when you wanted to show them off…

I missed dressing up in a T-shirt, skirt and complete the attire with the sports shoes, then holding my little sister’s hand (even younger than a too-young me) and capering to Shivajinagar Gymkhana (SNG) for our daily practice – exercises, games like Dog-and-the-Bone and Dodge-Ball using the Basketball, man-to-man passes, dribbling and prayers…

I missed the time I was introduced to other girls at Saraswati Kanya Sangh (SKS) after I was enrolled there…8 years was old enough.

I missed standing in the queue and chatting eagerly about the day at school while we took turns to go dribbling or waited for the ball to be passed to us by one of the senior girls…I missed looking at the senior girls with admiration and long to be on the court playing a full-fledged match like them…

I missed waking up at 5 in the morning to gear up and cycle to the court and practice till 8, come rain come shine, and return only so I could squeeze school in the remaining hours before 5:30 PM and go back to the club…

I missed running 15 rounds of the court twice a day, day in and day out and then following that up with other warm up exercises before we dove into practising the shots – board shots, running shots, free shots, three-pointers…and of course strategies like two-man runs and three-man weaves…I missed winding up the day with a 45-minute game…

I missed all the gossip and the politics that an all-girls club could possibly handle…yet, now when I think about it, it does not matter anymore who said what – I hardly remember all that – what matters is that we played the game together…

I missed waiting for my name to be called out as they announced the teams for upcoming tournaments and handed me the kit…any number was fine by me…any number as long as I was getting to play…I missed hearing the fixtures being announced and strategizing about who the strong players in the rival clubs were and how we were going to handle them…

I missed being scolded on the court in the middle of the match by our coach – the perfectionist…mistakes were not tolerated…I missed seeing the smiles when we won, the tears when we lost…

I missed being in the school team, travelling to cities like Satara and Solapur with my schoolmates…I owe my independence to those and similar trips…I missed the fun we had while travelling together in Maharashtra Express – almost 24 hours of a journey…I missed how everybody took so much care of me when I had a minor fracture in my left ring-finger…warmth sweeps over me just to remember it all…

I never made it to the National level in Basketball, never won any specific titles. I was just a part of the winning teams. But it gave me immense joy to be out there in the middle of all the action and playing the game. It has taught me a lot – discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship…it has given me a lot – moments of joy, friends and memories.

To this day, I cannot hold a Basketball in my hand without a smile sweeping over my face for all that I experienced in almost 10 years of cumulative Basketball training. And it continues to bring joy to my life…

I love wearing my sports gear and getting to the courts as sunshine washes the place with its brightness, I love warming up for the practice, I love to run with the ball dribbling by my side, spinning happily…

I love to fling the ball towards the ring, see it spin in the air…like a moment that runs in slow motion in commercials…

And I love it when my teammates shout ‘Good Shot!’ if I make it or ‘Buck Up’ if I miss it…I love everything about this game!

The fact remains that (and I am borrowing words from Jordan because no one can say it better) -

Even when I'm old and grey, I won't be able to play it, but I'll still love the game.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thank You For The Music

Does anyone remember the Sony Ericsson Walkman Phones advertisement that used to air about 2 years ago…it used to go –

I love the rain (a pretty girl walking in the rain)
I love my long commute (a guy in a crowded train)
I love the company (a lady jogging alone in the park)
I love it loud (two guys listening to music in a park as two girls pass by)
I love shopping (a guy dancing away in front of a shelf in a supermarket)
I love to unwind (a boxer lilting the tune)
I love being a substitute (a football sub on a bench)
I love working late (a lady in office)
I love losing myself (a guy freaking out by the roadside, his car parked some distance away)
I love missing the last bus home (a guy walking home when he receives a call)

The word love in each case was the Sony Ericsson logo (which I totally love!).



Ever since I saw that advertisement, I had wanted to buy something from the Sony Walkman range.
So I bought a Sony Ericsson W300i Walkman phone last year. I bought a pair of MPS-60 Neodymium speakers with it. (The set can be seen in the ad when it says I love it loud). And boy! Was I happy about the acquisition or what! The Sony guys know their stuff and they know it well. The quality of sound on any of the three sound machines – inbuilt speakers, earphones or the MPS-60 – is unparalleled and it is a thing of sheer joy to hear music on any of them. The earphones fit right into the ear canal and then do you feel the bass or do you feel the bass! It is an out of this world experience…a music lover’s delight!
In January this year, my office shifted to a location that is 4 times the distance as the old office. The new facility is on Outer Ring Road in Bangalore and the ride to this place is unnerving at its best. I like to ride my bike and I wouldn’t really have cared for it had the fellow riders had not been compulsive honkers too! And if people thought rules had more to them than sounding good on paper. It is the others on the road and their road sense (or the lack of it) that agitates me. And I came close to becoming another victim of road rage a few days into this new facility. In fact I started hating the new office, Bangalore and the world in general.
In the nick of time, I remembered this Godsend W300i. I cursed myself for not having used it all these days. So I transferred a few of my favourite songs to the phone and my ride to office has never been the same again!
Now, most days, I dance my way to office and back. I sing my heart out. I see sullen faces staring at me from the windows of their expensive cars while I grin my way to work…I couldn’t care less anyway. I arrive at work with a beat in my step and feel so energized I could take over the world. I want the traffic to be jammed. I want the road to be longer. I want to listen to the song one more time…I love riding to work! I am a little disappointed as the ride comes to an end. And I wait for tomorrow :) …so I can ride again…and dance and sing again.
I remember the ABBA song Thank You For The Music a lot these days. Music is truly my lifeblood. And the iron supplement is W300i (what a geeky analogy!). Now I join the clan and say -
I love Bangalore Traffic Jams…imagine me with earphones, sitting on a grey Hero Honda Pleasure, a multitude of lights around me…praying for the signal to not turn green so I can hear one more song…