Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Men in Blues?

-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=5132aa90-dbbb-486a-b0f2-82aaeb2813ee

Bollywood merging with cricket seems to have an adverse rub off effect. The onscreen drama of hard ‘hitting’ ordeals and tears has sadly manifested itself on field. The IPL saga unfortunately seems to have had repercussions amongst the uni-colored team causing them to literally dwell in blues. While nothing can justify the ‘slap’ stick episode that occurred post a tensioned filled match, it certainly tends to make one ponder about the dire consequences that prevail due to this glamorous merger.

The unpleasant incident of Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth has sadly made the Indian team a laughing stock for the world. Especially when not so long ago they were on back slapping terms. The ‘historical’ antics of the two players can be traced back to the earlier matches where they were pitted against the Australians. While it has caused exasperation for the BCCI none can eliminate the possibility of being instigated from the opponents and stressing the saying ‘it takes two hands to clap’. The only difference being that this time players of the same team are at logger heads. While both have clarified their cordial stance through the media as being like family members, it makes one raise a pertinent question of whether quick bucks are creating rifts amidst the mountain of nationality and pride for the country.

It was shameful to see a fiery Harbhajan and a weeping Sreesanth on the grounds and the latter being consoled by his counterparts. Politics and differences are inevitable between team members yet it is shocking to see it come across before their opponents
(In other games) who secretly must be rejoicing in their own manner.

The concept of IPL seems to be extracting the spirit of sport slowly by its whopping amounts of millions and billions. Unlike the Ranji trophy where money isn’t the prime factor and the game purely involves the inspirational element along with playing solely for the country. In short, the focus is being stressed on sport here and a question of pride. Acquiring a winning streak involving a lump sum amount at stake becomes the main aim in the IPL equaling it to the cut throat competition between profit making business houses.

Should money alone be a motivation for such self destructive tactics? Is it worth the cracks that are seeping in slowly in the smooth surface of the Indian team? Will it destroy the team spirit and the joyous moment of the uni colored team after tasting a victory against other countries? Will the concentration and high pressure come in the way of the team members or the passion for the game?

Many seem to have caught on to the IPL trend of being an honor to play amongst the reputed players. It is even said that being amidst sports person from other countries will minimize the animosity between players of various teams. It can be very well rationalized as a mere stance of professional and the pretext of a ‘healthy’ sport being played between the multi colored. However is it at the cost of creating rifts and bad blood amongst the Indian team?

Sportiveness should exist even while playing International cricket and doesn’t necessarily require a la football type of ‘clubbing’. Neither does it require high stakes to instill this crucial element. In fact the darker shades of IPL seem to cast a cloud on the clarity of concentration towards playing for the country and place all their eggs in one basket or should we say one club?

Time will tell if multi colored or rather money ‘colored’ stance will drive the men to go deeper in ‘blues’ or get out of it.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

‘Atonement’: A tale of redemption

-By Swetha Amit
A quick flash of lightning can often lead to a downpour of events characterized with deception and also to the destruction of several lives. Sometimes it even robs one out of their clear insight to an extent leaving them blinded by their first impressions forever. Such blemished thoughts lead to the imprisonment of their souls by a painful past in turn enticing the present and future of those affected by their marred thinking.

The literary piece of ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEvan is the story of one such instance which takes the readers into the lives of an upper class English family and their journey into a quest which remained unfulfilled.

The book starts off with the thirteen year old Briony who is immersed in her word of words which is depicted in her play called ‘trials of Arabella’. Her quick mind which portrayed the talent of a young budding writer proved to be her own downfall. Her fluttering imaginations soared like a little bird finally finding its wings and independence after an arduous trial. Unfortunately her wild cognitive stance turned against her as it eventually cost her own sister by a certain occurrence on one hot summer afternoon.

The sight her sister Cecilia disrobed and jumping into the fountain leaves her staring in amazement. Adding to the complexity of the event is her childhood friend and son of the humble housekeeper staring with stoned silence. Briony’s suspicion of Robbie being a sexually repressed person deepens as she reads the latter’s letter to her sister consisting of sexual overtures which was inadvertently done so. The sight of the couple locked in a passionate embrace in a library and convinces Briony of her sister being physically assaulted. Further instances during the later part of the evening change the lives of all as Briony finds her cousin raped in the lawns of the mansion. Enraged and blinded by fury, the adolescent throws false allegations on Robbie as the one responsible. Watching the lad dragged away to his pitiable plight and her sisters pleas of woe, a grim and satiated expression is what is planted on little Briony as she remains a spectator to the same.

Few years down the line depicts the World War 2 situation where Robbie is a soldier after spending three years in prison. Cecilia who hasn’t forgiven her family works as a nurse and has kept in touch with her love. Time gradually reveals the truth and realization dawns upon Briony about her disillusion. Filled with remorse and regret, she spends rest of her life attempting to make amends by breaking the cold barrier built by her sister, melting the wrath and wound imbedded in Robbie and uniting them forever. Whether Briony succeeds in attaining atonement or not forms rest of the narrative.

The book delves deep into the complexity of human nature which depicts an uncanny resemblance to that of a spiders’ web. It also portrays the strikingly contrast emotions of individuals in certain parts. Reasoning of certain instances is exhibited in a way that draws astounded reactions from its readers.

Appearance can be deceptive is a famous saying. What we see may actually differ drastically from what it actually is. Before we leap to conclusions it is essential to find out the real reason behind such happenings as the failure of the same could result in losing our near and dear ones. Realization of this impertinent folly results in the necessity to make amends which at times may be too late. Nevertheless it ends in one trying to atone for their foggy misconceptions instead of awaiting the clearance of the same into a crystallized version similar to that of the morning dew.

Blindly following our distorted perceptions is similar to falling into a quicksand that we are forever struggling to get out off. If only they let their thinking exhibit the lucidity of the spring season instead of being blurred by a mist of that of a cloudy day will such ruefulness be avoided?

Very few get a golden chance for this opportunity of redemption while there are those unfortunate ones who spend their lives in perennial atonement.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't go up in smoke






-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=b8507415-9602-487a-ab57-bdcef0fd71f6

"I will huff and puff till I blow your house down”. These lines of a popular fable: ‘Three little pigs” that was narrated to us during our childhood are still embedded in our minds.


Going back to the narrative, it was the weak foundation of the stack of hay and the sticks that led to the entry of the wolf into the lives of the first two pigs. Unlike its former counterparts, the third managed to pose a tough exterior of a bundle of bricks that marred the entry and instead its strong will power and shrewdness ultimately lead to the destruction of the vily villain.


What seems like a mere fairy tale surprisingly draws parallels to the lives of millions and a monster that people are battling against. Unable to weather storms and pose a strong exterior like those of the bricks, many have succumbed to certain vices and weaknesses. This has unfortunately led to the seepage of a monstrous element of the "wolf" into their lives; one form of which causes people to puff and huff-it is none other than the deadly cigarette.


‘Smoking is injurious to health’ is an oft quoted warning. With the current trend of fitness and health consciousness prevailing, it is surprising to see many taking a casual puff for varied reasons. Peer pressure, inquisitive stance of the budding adolescents, the dreaded "fitting in" syndrome has precipitated the chain reaction of many to ultimately turn into chain smokers. Not to mention the act of emulating their favorite celebrities/elders in the family; certainly adds fuel to the fire on a literal basis.


Craving to go on a ‘high’ leads to putting ones near and dear ones in despair and perennial ‘lows.’ Sometimes the obsessive tendency to battle our stress and woes makes one want go so ‘high’ that it eventually creates an irreplaceable distance between those who were once close to our hearts. Is this all worth it especially when this new found companion does nothing but back stabs us by creating a hole in our hearts? Or should we say lungs?


Robbing us out of our diligence and causing us to become irritable, moody, and temperamental, we end up as strangers to our own selves and others’. One can also not ignore the fact that a careless stance of a burning cigarette thrown in a huff may result in our precious ones/things to go up in flames and leading to destruction of our domesticated abodes.


The initial false state of euphoria seems to have instigated the inability to give up this addictive behaviour of humans. Instead it has clung on to them like leeches determined to extract every ounce of blood to quench its deprived state in turn depriving individuals of their survival instincts. Addiction to substance abuse has sadly led to many abusing their personal, social and professional lives. Their healthy personalities are converted into nothing less than ruins similar to that of an ancient archaeological site of the historical era. The only difference being that the latter is a matter of pride in its ruined state.


Several studies have shown the cause of cardiovascular diseases to stem from the unhealthy puff of a cigarette. Despite education and the vast information being available which just a click away, one chooses to strike and click their fingers on a lighter instead.


While it indeed is an arduous task in battling an overgrown vice, the ‘impossible’ factor certainly isn’t anywhere in the vicinity. All it requires is a tremendous will power equal to that of a firm foundation that holds a sky scrapper with grit and determination.


Imbibing morals from our childhood stories such as the above mentioned one can be a vital learning lesson. Just as the clever pig derives security and safety from its red brick home, one can obtain the same if we develop and build our exteriors with sturdiness instead of being fragile like hay/sticks. Instead of allowing these flaming ‘wolves’ to blow us over, our hindsight should lead such monsters to huff and puff until they go up in smoke.


Such narratives were told and retold as bedtime tales only to drive away the nightmares and be assured of sweet dreams. One should indeed adopt a strong stance to restrain from such nightmares to trespass into our lives in reality. After all we do not want the easy entry of the wild wolves to destroy our homely abodes do we?


Written for www.msn.co.in

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