Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Formula 1

The one thing I am looking forward to is the beginning of the 2007 Formula 1 season. The 2006 season was enthralling and will I am sure be remembered as the year Micheal Schumacher showed us what he is capable of, I mean in a good way. Personally, I feel that the last race of 2006 at Brazil was one of Micheal's best drives...even better than some of his drives to the top step of the podiums. Ferrari started only towards the middle of the season and after that it was just playing catch up to Renault. But to their credit Micheal and Ferrari gave us a thrilling season that was just marred by the engine failure that Micheal picked up...else Ferrari would have been a worthy champion at the end and Micheal could have signed off in style as an eight time world drivers champion. Well it doesn’t matter, cause Micheal will always remain an icon and the sport will have to wait a long time for another personality.

Some people say that Micheal cheated and his hunger to win meant stretching the boundary lines between fair play and cheating...but, it is this flawed Micheal that gave us a personality to root for...or against. I dont want to see F1 with dour and sour faced Alonso's definitely. I mean this Alonso guy is always bitching and moaning when he doesn’t complete a race or somebody else finishes ahead of him, blaming everyone from his fellow racing drivers, to his team mate to his team. When have you seen Micheal or for that matter Kimi Raikkonnen (another driver I admire hugely) do that. I mean if anybody had to whine and complain, it had to be Raikkonnen. For the past few years McLaren has been giving him crappy cars that either dont have the pace or if they have the pace, they dont have the distance on them. After the engine expired or there was a mechanical fault, what did Raikkonnen do...he just went and downed a few vodka's.

No doubt that Alonso is a good racer, but he cannot be great yet...let us see how he does in the McLaren now and if the 2007 McLaren is as temperamental as it was over the past few years, Alonso would have to work really hard to even get to the chequered flag. Great drivers are those help in developing the car and create a driving machine that is consistent over a long period of time. That is what Micheal did with Ferrari, when he moved form Benetton to Ferrari, the latter were at an all time low and had not won a championship in over two decades. Micheal and the team worked on it for over four years till they became champions and that purple streak lasted for the next five years. Deservedly Micheal can be hailed a champion or a great F1 driver. These days the word 'great' is being bandied about too much, it doesn’t hold any meaning anymore.

I always though Kimi to be a better driver than Alonso, purely on the speed Kimi achieves and the relentless manner in which he attacks each lap. Formula 1 is at the apex of technological innovations and is at the forefront of motor racing. Here the man and the machine is supposed to be pushing at the boundaries of capabilities. This may bring with it the uncertainties associated with racing that includes expiring engines and aerodynamical failures...but that is the price one pays for pushing technology to the limits and beyond. That is the most exciting part of a Formula 1 when too much emphasis is placed on winning races and championships, there is a natural tendency to be conservative. Kimi I believe is a true racer in which he pushes himself and the machine to the ultimate point...and there lies the true essence of motor racing. 2007 season will be a strange with no Schumacher around anymore, but I hope Kimi in his red Ferrari destroys Alonso in his McLaren and restore Ferrari to where they belong and puts Alonso where he belongs.

Let the racing begin.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Seeking heaven...

The year 2006 draws to a close and along with it comes the dawn of another year. Not that the passing of an year holds any more significance than waking up to another day... 'cause personally I dont give a damn about these passing milestones that people around me keep tom-tomming about. I mean ya, we might go out 'n kinda get drunk and ogle at other women, talk about how crappy the job scene is, bitch about a few people who aren’t around us and hog on the food that is served...I mean more or less we do the things that we generally do when we hang out with others. We maintain a semblance of political correctness depending on the crowd we are with...but no big deal.

I didn’t want to write about what 2006 meant to me or if 2007 is going to bring me nirvana...'cause am sure, life will still be as beautiful as it was till now and I will still try 'n be myself...which means I will remain the bastard I am. I just wish I could muster up enough energy and drive to concentrate on my writings.

Lemme just try and jot down a few lines about some of the sports personalities of 2006.
In the world of sports, there have been a lot of sporting icons, who defined and epitomised greatness by their single minded devotion to enhancing the craft with which they identified themselves. These are those greats who have stood the test of time, competition, fame and everything that today’s world of hype and hyperbole bestowed on them. In today’s competitive world, where sporting excellence is accompanied by commercial interests...these few people have strode over their individual sporting arenas as colossus who wrote their own scripts and left in their wakes pretenders - amongst whom you would find highly skilled practitioners, but who remain just that practitioners and pretenders.

Michael Schumacher. Tiger Woods. Roger Federer. Shane Warne. Ian Thorpe

These are few gentlemen who lit up their areas of sports and tread a new path and became master practitioners of their chosen areas of specialization. These men sought boundaries and horizons and plundered through, breaking traditions, records and hearts of other mere mortals who tried in vain to keep pace with them.

Tennis is elevated to the stature of a Rembrandt painting, when you see Roger Federer execute a near impossible forehand cross court that finds the spot just an inch from the baseline, a Tiger Woods put that traverses a curvaceous path towards the hole or Schumacher’s deftness and control of a machine taken to the limits of its capabilities. When sports is taken to a realm of artistic brilliance, they illuminate a path that till then was not visible to other exponents.

These few men tread to a different tune…a different drummers beat, that rang only in the recesses of their minds where they fought against…not their fellow competitors, but against themselves...against the limits of excellence. Seeking heaven, seeking perfection.

As Richard Bach wrote, heaven is not a place Jonathan…heaven is perfection.


We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Nor the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

Czeslaw Milosz (b. 1911)
Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Lillian Vallee


El remanso de aire
The still waters of the air
bajo la rama del eco.
under the bough of the echo.
El remanso del agua
The still waters of the water
bajo fronda de luceros
under a frond of stars.
El remanso de tu boca
The still waters of your mouth
bajo espesura de besos.
under a thicket of kisses.

Federico García Lorca (1899-1936)
Translated from the Spanish by Lysander Kemp

Friday, December 08, 2006

...this sadness will last forever

Sometimes we come across something...that touches you and makes you feel really thankful for being alive.

One of this was the song 'Vincent' sung by Don McLlean as a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. I happened on this ong very late in my life and was introduced to it by a very dear friend of mine. We were enjoying a smoke and a tea at his house after having dug into one of the most delectable of chicken curries that I have savoured. Was feeling bloated at the middle and the general air was of a python who lies immobile after having devoured a small deer...we call it hoggage. Well, as we sucked in the nicotine, Meci started humming the strains of a delightfully tragic song that I was coming across for the first time. It sounded so melancholic that I wanted it immediately. I guess he had a feeling that I would like it too..well that is another story.

It took me about one more week after that night to download it from the net, though I managed to get the lyrics the very next day. Vincent was one of the most haunting, sad and melancholic song I have heard in a long while. But it is not all that depressing either. In his lyrics, McLean references Van Gogh's different paintings to understate the lonliness that Van Gogh felt in his time as he and his paintings were not understood during his lifetime. It was while in an asylum that Van Gogh painted 'Starry nights' a series of paintings, which McLean uses as a start to the song. The following lines are so beautiful that it haunts you, as you try to make sense of what Vang Gogh must've gone thru before he decided to end it all,

Now I understandwhat you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they did not know how
perhaps they'll listen now
For they could not love you
but still your love was true
and when no hope was left inside
on that starry starry night
You took your life as lover's often do
But I could have told you,Vincent
this world was never meant for
one as beautiful as you

At the age of 37 in a fit of depression he shot himself and died with so much sadness in him. He is supposed to have done over a thousand paintings and drawings in his ten years as an artist with most of his best works been produced in his last two years of life. His last words were said to be "...this sadness will last forever"

Vincent - Don McLean

Starry starry night
Paint your palet blue and grey look out on a summer's day
with eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodiles
catch the breeze and the winter chills
in colours on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they did not know how
perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
swirling clouds in violet haze
reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
colours changing hue
morning fields of amber grain
weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they did not know how
perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you
but still your love was true
and when no hope was left inside
on that starry starry night
You took your life as lover's often do
But I could have told you,Vincent
this world was never meant forone as beautiful as you

Starry starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
framless heads on nameless walls
with eyes that watch the world and can't forget
like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
a silver thorn a bloody rose
lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow
now I think I know
what you tried to say to me and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free
they would now listen they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will