Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Land of Thousand Fountains

Two friends were at a sacred spot in the midst of mountains popularly called as The Land of Thousand Fountains. Fountains sprouted from the ground for no reason and created a spectacular sight. Despite this, few people treaded the place because it was high up in the midst of mountains.

"Why is this place called so?", the first friend asked his companion.

"It is said that, several years ago, a man with a very pure heart walked this place. Every odd place, where his feet touched the ground caused a fountain to sprout."

"Do you believe that story?"

"Come with me."

They walked close to a fountain.

"Touch the water"

The man felt the water. His instincts told him that it would be cool, but he found it bland.

"It's bland"

"Think of a moment in your Life when you were very angry. Then touch the water"

The water was hot now. Almost boiling

"Wow"

"Now think of a moment in your Life when you were peaceful. Then touch the water"

It felt cool.

"How is this possible?"

"No one knows"

"So what happens when my heart is as pure as the sage who walked this place?"

The other friend was silent for a long time.

"It is said you will see a large placid lake in which not a ripple moves."

The questioner became silent as well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Victory

There is a certain ugliness about victory these days - because we celebrate not for having had an opportunity to stretch ourselves to the limits, but because we knocked out the opponent and stood on their chests. There is a morose situation about victory, because we make one group hang their heads in shame, while the other group celebrates because they were able to do that. The victory came because we were identified with the team, person or nation - not because of the opportunity to exhibit our talents in an intense playfield.

The specific match in question - went right down to the wire. Up until the defining moment, the match was either team's. If we had frozen the match at that point in time and called it a day, over a billion people would have been dissatisfied - because there was no result. But, in terms of two talented teams pitting their skills in an arena, we couldn't have had a better match as we had yesterday.

The way we exist today, we need a competition to bring out the involvement and talent of people in a way we probably cannot see otherwise. Bringing out monetary incentives is fine as well. In the end however, the way we treat "winners" and "losers" is so unfair, because the "winner" does not exist without the "loser". We do not appreciate the skill that is generated out of thin air in response to a situation that seemingly provides no way out. I had the opportunity to witness the match with my colleagues in my organization. There were so many happy faces when the result was generated. To think that these would have been gloomy faces on the quirk of one moment is amazing. My mother told me yesterday that she nearly had heart palpitations when three sixes were hit in a single over. It pricked my heart as well when that happened, and it raised the flurry of questions at that time. Unconscious identification with the "nation" - and the question "Will I really be happy if we won today?"

May be we should change the way we celebrate. We are celebrating the end instead of the journey. The victor doesn't exist without the vanquished. We should celebrate the sport instead of the decision. And that can happen only if we realize that these divisions of teams and nations are only contextual and not permanent. That the competitor is not a "rival" but an "ally" who helps you push yourself to a point you wouldn't otherwise.
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