Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In search of something...anything!

This is not a call for inspiration. I have stopped doing that. This is, for all intents and purposes, a plea straight to my mind.

Stop. Stop this madness. I can barely take your every day tantrums, but when you step up your aggression and hold me ransom, I simply can't take it. Stop searching everywhere for inspiration. Stop looking at people and thinking if they're fit to be a muse. If they are, you'll know. Stop telling me that muses can't rescue me.

It might not make for a pretty analogy, but this mental menstrual cycle is exhausting. Like clockwork, I'm hit by this angst. First, there's the laziness in mood. Then comes the simple refusal of the brain to think up new words. Your 'skills' need serious rethinking if you're subconsciously using the same words to describe an event the second time. The worst hasn't even arrived. By now, it seems like inspiration has all but been deleted from the world. People stop being interesting. Their movements, their messages, their tactics don't trigger your mind.

Like an avalanche showing a new face of the mountain to the world, the mind reveals a nasty devil. Everyday things don't seem boring. Everyday things don't seem interesting either. The mind recoils into its corner and shuns anything and everything. The nothing-is-interesting-or-boring state is a fucking cancer. It strips you of words, emotions, feelings and worst of all, of thought.

I honestly do not know a foolproof works-every-damn-time solution for this. To wallow and allow it to take its course takes a massive toll. This needs to stop. A strong sense of resolve, however, is as useless as a machine gun in outer space.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ayrton Senna and me...

I wasn't there at Imola in 1994. I wasn't even watching Formula 1 at that time. One of the things said about Ayrton Senna is that every F1 fan remembers where he or she was on that fateful day. I don't.

I started watching F1 in 1998. Towards the end of the '97 season, I had caught a glimpse of a red car bang into a blue and white car. The commentators were losing their minds. One was saying it was suicide and the other said it was irresponsible. I was 9, I didn't understand those words. I had started to read the newspapers just around that time and the morning after, I saw it in bold letters, something about a man being punished for his selfishness and losing a title.

Through the next 4 months, I watched every bit of F1 highlights i could lay my eyes on. These were the days of DD at home, mind you. I hung around a neighbour's house whenever I could, the kid from that house used to play cricket with me and he had cable television. I went through newspapers, the ones that hadn't been sold off any way. I learnt a few things, discussed it with any patient ear.

I came to know that the man in the red car was Michael Schumacher. And that he'd banged into Jacques Villeneuve so that he could put him out of the race and hence stake claim to that year's championship. I could see why people called it irresponsible. Putting another man's life in potential danger to win some shiny cup? Please!

But the man made me watch F1 the next season, I wanted to know what this mad man would do the next time around. Through the next 7 years, Schumi has allowed me to access feelings that I might never have otherwise. He went on, during that time, to become the most successful driver in the sport's history. One evening though, after an epic race in Monza in 2000, I heard that name again. Michael had just equalled Ayrton Senna's record for race wins. That day, I saw my champion cry.

I couldn't understand why. Surely, over the course of a sport, records will be broken. Why should, I thought, this guy, the guy I had come to revere the most, cry his heart out by the mere mention of equalling someone's records. I started to leaf through F1's history books and I'm glad I did.

To this day, I haven't watched a single race of Senna's. I didn't watch him mesmerise the world driving in the wet in Donington Park. My heart didn't race to its heights and almost stop when he did what he did during the qualifying session in Monaco in 1989. I wasn't there, wringing my wrists when he led *that* race in Suzuka. I didn't stand by the rest of the world as he challenged The Professor, Alain Prost, to the leader's position in Ron Dennis' McLaren team. I wasn't watching when he took out Alain Prost from the Japanese GP in 1990, going on to win the title that year. I wasn't there either, when he openly accused his team mate of being in the pockets of the then FIA president.

I was, however, there when Schumi crashed in Stove's corner in 1999 and fractured his leg. I was there weeping when he came back just a few months later to do his best to encourage his team mate, Eddie Irvine, to fight for the title that year. I was there when Mika Hakkinen did that overtake in Belgium. I jumped like a little girl when he won the title in 2000, when he showed me, and the rest of the tifosi, what it meant to be in the Ferrari family. I was watching Hungary GP in 1998, San Marino GP in 2004, Belgian GP in 1998, all those times when he was utterly and purely dominating everybody else.

I was also there when he parked his car in Rascasse in 2006, when he was booed by Indianapolis in 2005, when he gladly took the race from Rubens Barrichello in Austria in 2002, when he almost punched David Coulthard in Belgium in 1998, when he almost put the same Rubens through a wall in Hungary in 2010. I was also there, watching and having my mind torn apart, when he made a brief comeback to the sport for 3 years.

And that's precisely my issue with celebrating Ayrton Senna's legacy. While I understand that living and appreciating only the times we live in is incredibly myopic, I also understand that history can ignore certain perspectives. Some of them, most of them, are lost to us because history concentrates only on aspects it chooses to.

I have always only heard of Ayrton Senna from the history books, from TV presenters of that time, from journalists who have had heartfelt conversations with Senna and those who were there at Imola in 1994.

What might have happened had the suspension not collapsed at Tamburello and claimed Senna's life? He might have gone on to win a few more titles, surely. He'd would have glorious battles with Schumacher, winning some, losing some. He'd have probably resorted to the kind of tactics he did with Prost. May be they would have been team mates under a masterful team owner like Ron Dennis or Jean Todt. I could have been a fan of Senna's. I could have also witnessed him, wither away in his twilight years, like I saw Schumacher. The sport could have gained a lot had Senna lived through that day, but he didn't. He died, too early, I'd agree.

The could have beens are probably mind boggling. 20 years later, I have come to agree that what Senna did in his lifetime, for both the sport and for the world, completely outweighs what could have been.