Monday, January 31, 2005

If Life Was a Game

"Dream big". I'll never forget that line. We were standing on the football ground. We'd lost in the last minute of the game. I was cursing myself for the time I'd blazed over the bar. If I'd scored then, we'd have won.....we were getting the usual dressing down from the coach....and I was promising myself that I'd win the tournament. We were down on points, but we'd get back....

The next few games were crazy. We won everything. I was scoring like a machine, but there was something that was bothering me. I didn't really know what it was at that moment. Never even thought about it much, but there was something that was definitely playing on my mind. The day before the finals, it struck me. I injured a chap I was practising with. It was almost instinctive. He tackled me and as I was going to ground, I kicked the back of his knee hard, with studs up....it wasn't really deliberate and to all around, it seemed like an inadvertent thing that just happened as I was falling. It had been extremely deliberate when I had started doing this.....the refs, being the incompetent lot that they are at that level, never saw it. The players I fouled never really thought anyone could be so cynical.....I always got away....I'd perfected this art of fouling a player as I fell.......

But this time, when I saw him lying there writhing, I knew what was wrong. I was obsessed. I was too intent on winning. And I wasn't really enjoying the game. Earlier I used to experience an exhileration whenever I played the game. The passion, the intensity, the will to win, they'd all been there, but this was different. It was no longer about the game, it was just winning......at all costs...and I was missing the rest of it.....it didn't really matter.....

Why am I saying this? Well, we lost those finals (though we won the next year). And I remember what followed. I didn't stay for the prize-giving. As captain I should have, but I didn't. I left and didn't speak to anyone. I locked myself in my room for the next 24 hours. Didn't speak to my folks either. I was devastated. The next day though, I spent 2 hours in the company of a really special person. It was something I will never forget. The match didn't matter any more. I really enjoyed myself and the phase had passed......

It's much the same in life. We're taught to dream big. And we always get the dreams wrong. And in the course of chasing them down, we lose sight of everything that really matters. Ever noticed how the memories you really cherish are the seemingly "small moments". And the things that pick you up are the "small things". Are they that "small" then?

I'm not advocating that we should give up materialistic goals or anything like that. I'm a realist. I know better than to spew BS like that. But I do know that we're taking things too far. Way too far. Do we have the time to actually look at the things around us? Most of us are so "busy" that we don't even THINK of these things. When we inadvertently come across something like that, we acknowledge how great it was. But the next moment, it's back to the same old rat race......just like it was with me......the next year, things were the same. I fouled more and was on the verge of cheating, some would say, and we won...... It was a pyrrhic victory (though no1 debated that we deserved to win) in more ways than one (reasons I shall not go into), but in hindsight, it's taught me a great lesson. Dream big, yes, dream big....but get the dreams right. What is "big" may turn out to be something totally different from what you had imagined.....

Most improtantly though, feel the ride. It's not about the good times or the bad times.....it's about life itself.

6 comments:

Sumit said...

Brings back memories of past.. Sometimes we do lost sight of millions of small but important things and end up feeling miserable still...

ironhide said...

hi jhonny boy,
I came across your blog while looking for my bro on the net.I found one of your posts on some blog asking for Sivaram Kowta.From there to your blog and from there to a member of your fans list.

Are you the junior sivaram keeps talking about who went to L ?
jayaram

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Sumit Yep mate....we do...you';re so right there.

@Jayaram, yep dude, I guess I am that chappie....man, I wanted to chat with him....any way I can reach him? Or can you ask him to contact me? My number is the same as it was earlier.

ironhide said...

hi johnny,
well i guess you could write to him on his mail ids
sivaram@kowtas.com,or sivaram.kowta@gmail.com.
On yahoo he is sivaramkowta@yahoo.com

will tell him that I met you too..but i couldnt find a direct email..you can mail me at jayaram@students.iiit.ac.in

btw what is your real name? iirc you had called him up just as he was joining cal,i remember him mentioning then that it was junior from BIT who was now in L.

I was not a fan of poetry,but your work is really great,I have been reading your blog atleast once a day and more times than not,I have found a poem that I can relate to,that expresses my mood perfectly.

so long then

Anonymous said...

Hi, first of all - am so glad I finally came across someone who said he didn't like "the Alchemist". Am quite irritated with people who "dig" the "right authors" and think they are a cut above the rest because..
About being materialistic - how do we know how much is enough? And with 10 hour work-days being the norm, do u have a choice but to keep up with the other rats in the race?

Darth Midnightmare said...

Hmm....very true. You never can say how much is enough. I totally agree. But I do think it is TOO much when we fail to see the things that really matter. That's the point I'm really trying to make. Sure, I still want my Beamer. But not "at all costs". As that MasterCard ad goes, "There are some things money can't buy"

As for authors, bang on. But Alchemist is not really a book I put into this "pseud" category.....the author whom I REALLY put into that category is Ayn Rand....