Monday, June 22, 2009

Mixing Cricket and Political Terror?

-By Swetha Amit
It is said that the true essence of anything is snatched away when diluted with some other flavour. While it is seen in the case of perishable goods, one cannot ignore this aspect with regard to current affairs as well, especially when it comes to areas like Sports, Politics or Art.

It is no mystery to millions that Pakistan has been subjected to dire straits on a constant basis. What with the terror activities resurging at an alarming rate, this neighbour of India no doubt has received a lot of flak. To an extent where hatred has developed in the minds of many and quite a few have shown their disdain towards Pakistan with respect to Cricket. The beginning of the T 20 World cup exhibited several individuals writing off Pakistan, be it as an underdog team or one which didn’t deserve to win.

Yesterday’s victory after 17 years undoubtedly has brought in a cheer for a country which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons possible. Not to mention their own civilians who are lurking in the jaws of death, continuous bombings and are on the brink of barbarism. With such catastrophe, one would cease to look for a silver lining amidst the dark cloud which Younis Khan and the men of green have invariable done with immense grit and determination. It was a pleasant feeling to receive some good news about Pak for a change. Not many have let that incident about Sri Lankan players being attacked slip their minds. Therefore it enhanced a feel good spirit to see both the teams in the finals play the sport with fervour despite the runners up losing a few wickets in the earlier part of the game.

While some have graciously accepted this victory, there are quite a few who unfortunately have exhibited their displeasure. This denotes a case where the sporting factor is enticed away. Why mix Cricket and Political terror? Why displace one’s anger towards a group of extremists and fundamentalists on the 11 players who are in no way involved in such atrocities or for that matter against a whole nation? Inhabitants in that country face the same feeling of fear and terror and linger in a hope of seeing a peaceful nation. Terror, racism exists all over the world. Why shoot all the arrows of animosity in one direction alone?

One can sense that displeasure would have surpassed the normal levels had India lost to Pakistan in the finals. While it is understandable to feel disappointed on seeing their favourite team lose, one should learn to take the game in a sporting manner. True sports lovers are the ones who take winning with pride and losing in their stride instead of bashing a team for the wrong reasons. It’s all about the game eventually, which calls for an appreciative applause for a good innings. The phrase ‘You win some you lose some’ isn’t coined without a purpose. Meanwhile, it’s time to relish the real flavour of Cricket and smile as we see a country celebrate its winning streak.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Streaks of immaturity

-By Swetha Amit
What began as a casual conversation ended up as one that instigated thought provoking questions within me. After the exchange of the usual pleasantries and polite inquiries, the topic somehow took a turn that delved deep into the human psyche. Being a Psychologist, human behaviour, thoughts, actions, words uttered never fail to evoke fascination and curiosity. A few experiences narrated by those conversationalists made me realize how common such instances were and probably occurred in most people’s lives including mine.

One of them chose to narrate an incident in a social set up. Apparently amidst a group of friends, discussions taking place range from tongue in cheek remarks to intense ones which give rise to pertinent points of heated arguments. And if it is not ended amicably, it could result in a lot of resentment and bad blood, especially when unwarranted labelling happens. Such was the case with the person above.

Things apparently got out of hand when a sensitive topic was discussed to which this person decided to end it with a certain amount of assertiveness. To which the reaction was labelled as being impish and needed a lot of ‘growing up’. Yet strangely after a few weeks, the same man who labelled him as reactive behaved in a similar manner in another scenario as a pretext of being assertive. What puzzled my friend was the fact of why such behaviour was termed immature when the same individuals ended up doing the same thing at a later stage. And yet they seem to think their act was anything but childish.

Another instance narrated to me took place in a household set up. A file consisting of important documents was misplaced due to which my second friend obviously exhibited signs of being flustered. The feeling was understandable as those were official papers and she was answerable to her boss. To which her parents remarked stating she was acting like a seven year old instead of empathising or helping her search for the file. After a month or so, when her father faced a similar situation and she remarked the same, he retorted stating that it was important enough to cost him his job.

The above two instances no doubt occurs among millions around the world. Such can evoke amusement or exasperation. It is strange to note how people who call others ‘immature’ or ask them to ‘grow up’ are actually the ones who behave in the same way. While certain reactions during tense moments are humane, why label others when we aren’t perfect ourselves? Why sound hypocritical and double standard while doing such things? Why make somebody feel miserable when you commit a similar sort of behaviour in front of them at a later stage?

Nevertheless it made me wonder why people indulge in such things. Is it a case of being able to advice others and not follow it yourself? Or sort of recognizing your own similar shortcoming at a sub conscious level and displacing it on to others as an ego satisfaction? Or merely being an unwarranted critic? Strange are the ways of human behavioral dynamics. Perhaps this is what makes Psychology interesting yet mystifying at the same time.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

'The Color of Paradise':An eye-opener

-By Swetha Amit
Life comes in varied colours. How humans perceive them in different shades is what makes it interesting and mystifying at the same time. Some view it as a spectrum of the rainbow. While others view it in black and white interspersed with shades of grey. It’s surprising to note certain not so privileged individuals’ ability to view it as a reflection of paradise even if fate did not seem fair to them. These are ironies which make one marvel at such optimism and pity those possessing the grey shades of bitterness and pessimism.

Majid Majidi's‘The Color of Paradise’ is a simple yet endearing story of a visually challenged motherless boy and how destiny unites him with his father. The film starts off with 8 year old Mohammad waiting for his father eagerly to go home for summer vacation. As the boy reaches the village, he is received with immense affection by his grandmother and his two sisters. Little does he realize that what should have ideally been a carefree life ends up as a nightmare of feeling unwanted and unloved?

His father ashamed of his blindness decides to get rid of him by putting him up in a carpentry workshop far from home. And with a selfish motive of marrying a woman in the village much against the wishes of the grandmother. However fate takes an ironical turn when he ends up losing everything he wanted. As he returns to take Mohammad back home, a miraculous venture enables him to realize the true treasure destined for him for life.

The Color of Paradise exhibits the heartfelt emotions of the characters in a way that the viewers cannot help but go moist eyed. Few scenes stand out in this aspect. The beginning scene portrays the father’s reluctance to take him home and is met with a vehement refusal by the school authorities. Another one where the father pours out his frustration to the grandmother stating his ill luck from his childhood of having lost his father and then his wife. And being burdened with a blind son who will be unable to take care of him during his twilight years. One cannot help sympathise with the man for having gone through a lot. Yet resent him at the same time for his ruthless treatment meted out to Mohammad.

Another scene is where Mohammad has tears streaming down his eyes as he narrates in an appalling manner as to how he longed for his father’s love and affection. One of the instances where his miserable plight is portrayed as he reveals his inability to lead a ‘normal’ life.

The movie spells irony all over as one makes several inferences. What the father is unable to see in spite of being blessed with a good sight is seen with great clarity by his blind son. Mohammad viewed life as beautiful and in bright colours despite the fact his world appeared in a stark shade of black. This was depicted in his optimistic view of winning his father’s love eventually. While his father dwelled on grey shades by mulling over his losses.

It was strange as to how the father tried to get rid of his real source of happiness which he failed to see by being ‘blinded’ by selfishness. And yet it was the same person who was returned to him by destiny while the rest of his folks were lost into the jaws of death. Even when he’s washed away into the stream, he realizes that while his entire life is washed away in bitterness. Yet fate decided to bestow kindness on him and a second chance as a ray of hope waited ashore.

A simple tale may not necessarily exhibit ’special effects’ with modern technology. Yet it leaves one with a sound moral which indeed makes one realize that life is truly a colour of paradise.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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