Is freedom of expression a negotiable in a Democracy?
Is freedom of expression a negotiable in a Democracy?
Mention the track at Greater Noida and the first image that springs to mind is the vast expanse of land (very Shanghai-ish!). Huge expressways that zip you to Buddh International Circuit, a race track for us normal folks, if you will!:)
Manicured, landscaped edges, well-marked directions, massive car parking for every stand within the stadium – unadulterated joy.
The only two flaws, I can think of (1) lose sandy dust of Greater Noida - a horrendous nightmare post Sunday race, when 95000 people and perhaps another 30,000 cars exited the stadium. We were enveloped (literally, physically and mentally) by a thick haze of dust cloud all around us, making for zero visibility. I am no scientist but I'd say it’s a deathly combination - mix of dust, pollution and vehicle smog, so tough to breathe.
(2) The pit exit. Far too dangerous, must be changed for 2012. It may get a bit hairy during the race
Some memories of the race track, the stadium, the stands, the paddock - the track is far steeper than it looks on tv. I can only empathise with the people who sat in the North Stand for instance who had a steep climb to make to reach their seats! Fortunately, for us our parking was very close to our stand and I didn't have to walk up much. I did, however, while on my exploration on Friday, walk about, from a level below the paddock to a level above the pitlane. That was steep. Huffed and puffed all the way! But had to simply do it for the thrill of it
Friday afternoon was unadulterated pride and joy. ‘Pride’, for witnessing, an epic international gigantic stadium, with India debut-ing in the World of Motorsports.
‘Joy’ for seeing Massa’s scorching pace of 1:25.706 the fastest lap in P1. Massa not only left his arch rival Lewis and Red Bull champ Seb behind, he had his own team mate Alonso eat dust when he hit the chequered flag! Such a promise Friday held out for Sunday, for a Ferrari fan like me…I was clearly expecting a repeat on Saturday and on Race Day, 30th Oct 2011
In the midst of the races on Sunday a follower on twitter, asked me about DRS, while I did explain in the short time before the Race began, I do want to touch upon the Drag Reduction System
DRS was designed to facilitate overtaking, because no matter what the rule makers have tried, it seems that once the car gets within a second of the car it is chasing then it is impossible to overtake them. The fans have been crying out for more overtaking for years and last year;s dry races were not exactly thrilling to watch.
There are the purists who say that this is all bad for the sport and that F1 is pandering to the masses while ignoring the hard core fans. But how could they have enjoyed the races how they used to be? I find it mystifying myself - as far as I am concerned, in 2011 we have great racing, good strategy and interesting stories after each race.
We didn't have these dry races before. Wet races were/are exciting. Feel strongly the need for more overtaking and fixing the dirty air problem. We now have a formula that works great and has fixed all this, yet there seems to be a lot of people still unhappy. Maybe F1 has had too many drastic rule changes over the years that it now has an identity crisis- maybe people's perceptions of F1 is governed by when they started watching it?
I personally think DRS and other rule changes for this year are going to make for great racing and the best season in years! I just hope the FIA continue to tweak it so that we get more races like China and none like the dreadful Abu Dhabi finale last year.
Seb claimed his 13th pole of 2011 F1 season in Delhi on Sunday Oct 30th 2011. It was also Red Bulls 16th pole victory. What a record!! Well done!
McLaren's Lewis was 2nd quickest in practice sessions but started out 5th as was given a 3 place penalty (for being black-is the accusation?) dropping him behind Webber, Alonso and team mate Button. A pity really.
This race proved nervy for Button, suffering from poor grip thru this season. Button had used up all 3 sets of soft, opting for a single run in Q3, his quick lap was initially under fire as he sped thru yellow flags while Massa was busy going off! As this incident was unfolding, Buttong avoided the penalty by the sheer skin of his teeth
For Massa of course, the race season hasn't boded well. Don't know what's the planetary alignment for him and Lewis and why the 2 gravitate so towards each ther ( Massa and Hamilton could well be driving in the desert and they would find a way to crash into each other) such is their magnetic pull for the other! Massa from Friday, had been pounding kerb 9, and every-time he flew into the kerb, I was ready with my camera! O the dust he left in his wake definitely posed a bother for the oncoming traffic ...who surely would have cursed him:)
I don’t have much to say about Fernando Alonso. He has Schumi’s ambition and hunger, he is driving like a maniac possessed. I maintain what I tweeted, no TV camera can even get close to showing the extent of Alonso’s ambition, his ability to stretch possibilities with every single point. You can hate Alonso as much as you will, we at #Ferrari love him! He is definitely our ace for the next season!
I could go and on and on about the races, such is my passion for this sport, but will conclude this post. A word must be put in for the Jaypee group guys! The much touted India Formula 1 GP success is indeed more for them, than for the Mayawati Govt or the Centre. Well done guys! The GP is not the sole sporting offering from Jaypee, soon they will be throwing their doors open to an international cricket stadium – and boy o boy! Cricket and F1 combine can’t go too wrong now, can it?:) Jaypee group made the inaugural F1 Grand Prix of India a cracking success. So from me, it's a heartfelt thank you for putting on a great show.
I can hope and wish fervently that the passion burns bright amongst the local population – motor racing is no fun when all you do is annoy the locals. So hoping all the land disputes are settled amicably, the locals well and productively employed and absorbed within mainline existence, while the rest of Indian fans throng to see the next year’s race.
A reality check - while the rest of the world has given up on the idea of making profits from any other sport (barring Inida on cricket) I have a fair sense that Jaypee Group may actually do a Harvard case study to demonstrate how they cracked the sports business model to deliver profits from the Indian Grand Prix!:)
India, take a bow, you have made yourself world proud! From a mound of earth, a great facility has been created. It'll get better from here!
National Geographic says two people around the world die every second. There couldn’t be a more natural part of life than death, yet, we run and hide from the subject as if it’s going to make it go away. It’s the equivalent of sticking our fingers in our ears, closing our eyes tightly, and humming a song loudly to stop anything approaching us.
The Upanishad titled “Death as Teacher” says “Birth is but the beginning of a trajectory to death; for all their love, parents cannot halt it and in a sense have ‘given is to death’ merely by giving us birth
How can we best be prepared for this parting, termed Death? In its wake, one experiences deep depression, a sense of grief, sadness and even anger. Some resort to the isolated road, or use drugs, alcohol to numb the loss and some have family and siblings to be sad together with, grow stronger with, and deal with the loss.
Advice is free flowing at such times, but the ear is not willing. And anyway- free advice is hardly ever heeded to, right?
The huge question that stares one in the face, will life ever be normal. How could this happen to me/us. Why did it have to happen to us? What wrong did we do to anyone? Yes, universal questions.
But heck Death is not a punishment. No. An eventuality, yes. A certainty, yes. Perhaps even a gift, at times.
Sure the photographs, albums get displaced, the clothes get given away, the rearranging of life beyond superficiality, gotta be addressed. Yes displacement disrupts normalcy. Big time.
My quest is not to understand this ‘post-death’ phase. I am hoping to deep dive into why so many of us, are not prepared for this eventuality called Death. Why do we run scared of something we know for sure is a cent per cent occurrence? Why do we fear it so?
The initial argument is perhaps, not wanting to see the loved one in discomfort or pain, hence you want the individual to get well. Despite knowing the status is getting bad to worse, we still hope for a miracle of recovery. Sure this is optimism, positive thinking. But don’t most live in a dogged denial, negation - of *the one* eventuality? We simply do not want to bell this one.
So, what are we afraid of here? The pain and suffering the loved is going through? But that will only reduce, peace will make way. Their agony? Cannot be, right? Because that will eventually make way for calm.
So, could it be the sadness of them departing, leaving us “alone” behind that makes us sad? So possible. The one about to move into the next phase of a new journey is sad because he/she cares, just as much, as we do. It’s this unseen strong force that weds us into a bonded close relationship. It is this very unseen force that makes us crumble with a fear of loss. And perhaps that is why we remain afraid, mortally afraid.
So, we are afraid?
Afraid of a life without that loved one? Afraid of lack of companionship? Unconditional love? A bond that means so much, is about to snap? Then, it is about ‘us’? And not really, about the person who is dying, right? We are afraid that our status quo is/will be disrupted. Change is never good, is it?
And if that be the case, it once again proves, doesn’t it, Love is selfish. Rooted in “I, me, myself”, unbending and uncompromising? So, my conclusion - Are love and Death, 2 sides of the same coin?
In our fear of dying, we seem to have forgotten that it is a natural process that is part of life. Plato believed that death would free the soul, so that it could reach perfection. And even a determinist cannot claim that we don’t have the choice to decide over our life, even if in that view we have no sway over the events in our life. The right to Death should be as fundamental as the right to life!? For another day.
Go well, ALL
You are the genesis of Life
yet I fear you the most
Swollen river rapidly moves
thunderous sea howls aloud
Meeting the mighty ocean
in a celebration of creation
You are the reason I am alive
yet I fear to plunge on my own
For an entire day I worship you from afar
watch your moods and pay obeisance
My heart is awed by your vastness
the changing sky above stirs my soul
The sun gives way to dark
many questions come alive
The fading light promises secrets deep
The silence makes the roar of your surf soothing, at last
Wonder what lies beyond that horizon
where the toy ships dance in the dark
I sense a familiarity, a deep intimacy
of cleanliness and purity found only in darkness
You help me reach deep within
to find truth and beauty in my soul
Are the dark knights your angels
or do they tread safely and cautiously
Do you get bigger and stronger
or does life take on a new meaning from here?
Where do you meet your creator
at the horizon?
Or, Are you the Creator?
Sometimes I ask myself why do I feel such a misfit in my own nation. I love India lots, yet, on many occasions; I feel I don’t belong here. Perhaps it’s my expectations, perhaps it’s my desire to see India grow and develop in a certain way, and perhaps it’s the gnawing ache of unfulfilled dreams shown to me by our freedom fighters and the political class?
Then again, I say to myself, this is My country, my territory, my home, my property, all my loved ones are right here. It is my duty to do everything in my might for her, or at the very least help in the process of change, protect her, worry for her, make her look and feel better; if not me, who will? Who will?
After 65 years since Independence, there came a brief period, (a couplea years ago) that shone brightly, where I held my head high and said with pride I am an Indian. Like a shooting star the brilliance faded as rapidly, and left the flash effect of light behind, which many assumed wrongly to be the halo for India Shining
Tch tch, we are not there. We are far from there. There is so much work to be done, so much toil to be put in, so much to be corrected, so many paths to be constructed, before we can all pause to enjoy a dekho of satisfaction for this sweet land called India
64 confused years of nation building, have passed us by. Do we feel secure in our nation? Have we taken much for granted? Do we value human lives? How do we protect these lives? How do we re-invest back into our daily existence, without ploughing back into this land called India?
We enjoy a certain level of freedom today, which many have taken for granted, which is made possible only by the sacrifices of the many generations of Indians before us...
I love India and I am even prouder to be an Indian! BUT... I am disillusioned, I sense my broken dreams.
The beautiful picture I had painted of my future, years ago, is now marred by the influx of poverty, slums, unhealthy living, jostling for space, lack of education, lack of self-worth, small hearts, large ego’s, dis respectfulness towards elders, more importantly, dis respectfulness towards self!
I begin to doubt my own identity.
How can I belong to this nation called India? A land so sacred once upon a time, a land belonging to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, a land fit for Gods, a land rich in its natural make up and acquired lineage, a land that has parentage and heritage…how and where did it go so wrong.
I cry silent tears of despair. I weep with frustration.
Have we become so myopic that we cannot see our dimming futures? Have we become so dark that we enjoy killing goodness? Have we become so selfish that if I can’t have it, I won’t let another either. Regressive does not translate for the future, unfortunately.
I find it hard to answer when I sometimes question myself, "Why do I care?"
For whom do I bleed, bust a nerve, work tirelessly and un-endingly; while the rowdy’s march the streets and the intelligentsia sit around and debate endlessly?
Why do I cry these tears of frustration, of sadness, of despair? Why have I yet, not left the shores of India, when I know I could probably earn five times or even more of that amount outside?
There could be only one answer: I love my Country.
In times of war, I will gladly lay down my life to protect my home called India. In times of peace, if there is something called peace, who is marching alongside me, to keep this nation’s spirits high, who is working hard and tirelessly to responsibly change every day little things for a better tomorrow, who is watching guard over our young, so that they become equally ferocious in their pride of this nation, as they will certainly be, of their homes and futures?
I do not need the media, or the politicians, or someone who has deserted his own parents, to tell me what patriotism is, nor the significance behind my own Flag or my Anthem. I do not need those people to march alongside me, seeking a separate flag, or a separate state anthem, when words like ‘harmony’ and ‘compassion’ are lost out in this race for greed of “I, me, myself”, where paper tigers outweigh real doers.
No, I am not blaming the migrants for invading my city, nor am I blaming one city dweller for giving up and coming to another city; but rather, the policies for allowing them in and not creating enough infrastructure or opportunities to absorb them all, to ensure a robust life for all. Religion cannot be the reference point for everything.
Is the place of my birth, where I truly belong? Why am I losing faith in this land where I grew up and have grown to love? Why do I sense I am one against a force of many who think similarly of war, destruction, selfish pride, why do I feel so outnumbered and alone?
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Its time. To look inwards. Course correct. Place India above “I, me, myself”
Please do not make me feel like an outsider in my own country. Love for one’s country cannot be ambiguous. Ask yourself, do you honestly love India, a little more, than you do yourself? Its then, we can hope to have a country of proud nation builders.
Happy 65th , India.