Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

Basic Instincts

Whenever I look at people (including myself), I see so much pretense; so much distance from who and what we truly are on the inside; there is such a big difference between what we feel and what we express, its astounding, sad, funny; ofcourse at different times. But more than anything, its a turn off to see it. Hence, its quite beautiful to see the natural or basic or instinctive side of us. Which to our credit we do exhibit (even in this world driven by consumerism). I know so, from myself, more than anyone else. Its strange, its almost like I am often disgusted with myself, yet am consious enough to rectify myself at times. Quite a contradiction.

I personally believe, the basic human desires bring out our true nature. Being physically pushed to our limits, be it in terms of hunger, sex, security or survival; I think our fundamental nature is expressed. Since it is rare, I find a certain beauty in it. My interests, likes and dislikes are inherintly related to this perception.

This brings me to a person who has inspired me ever since I have known him to exist beyond a famous personality. Still I have never met him and hence percieve everything about him via the not so credible medium of media. His personality, actions etc that I percieve have inspired me no ends. All this because, I think he is, in our times an expression of something which we as humans, basically are. This person is Michael Schumacher. It saddens me that he announced his retirement. I felt some sadness for the few seconds that followed after he announced the same. I wondered where I will find motivation. Comments like, "I still feel goosebumbs when I put my vizor down"; "I am as excited as ever to test the new car"; "I race because I love to"; "I am here to stay on top, I dont want to be a medium driver"; actions like the infamous Monaco parking incident; Schumacher Hill collision in 1994 and Schumacher Villeneuve collision in 1997 etc to me express him as a two year child who feels happy every time you bring him a toy and who is not introduced to concept of sharing an extra chocolate he might have. Schumacher to me is as raw as that; as natural as that. Its almost like he has not been introduced to the concept of sharing his 'chocolate' by socially driven parents. He wants everything and will do anything to get it. You can notice the training of attending press conferences and the doctored sentences in them. But when he is racing, in a car going flat out through Eau Rouge at 200 plus mph; thats the true Schumacher; a relentless baby who wants it all; a human in its basic elements fighting for basic desires (survival of the fittest in this case).

Footballers when they celebrate a tear their jerseys, scream, dont know where to run, dance, kiss, hug etc. They almost dont know what to do. The scene after a goal reminds me of a bunch of wild animal herd celebrating victory in a battle of survival. That is raw, untempered. Schumis expression in 200 Suzuka after crossing the finish line of zig-zagging the car for about 100m reminded me of that. He didnt know how to express it. And he was obviously emotional then. His famous jump on the top step of the podium. I am sure, it wasnt a planned jump first time round. Its his expression of his emotions. Above the rest.

Mind you I am not defending his actions nor justifying them by saying they are human and hence accept them. All I am expressing is a perspective. Sportsmanship, fairness is a concept introduced by modern man. This was foreign to our earlier generations; when we began to evolve and were still struggling for basic desires. In fact, as expressed in the analogy above, to me, a raw untempered human baby still embodies the same instincts, same desires and thus expresses them in analogous actions.

We all strive for that, in so many aspects of our lives; but are afraid of being caught being politically incorrect. Ah well, its good; coz if it were common; Schumi wouldnt have been rare.

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Michael and Monaco 2006- A Perspective

I have tried to get as much information on the incident involving Schumacher in Qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix. Many of the experts including greats like Keke Rosberg, Damon
hill have not minced words while talking up that incident. They have been
very critical with comments like "If Schumacher cant control the car at
10mph, then he should not have a Super license" etc. Now, Ferraris defence
was simple, Schumacher was trying to put in a lap time to ensure pole
position (and to his credit was faster in Sector 1 but also to be noted
was slower in Sector 2 by .190 secs) and hence as he was trying to make up
time, he was faster in his approach to the Rascasse and braked harder and
then the incident followed. There have been reviews of the race, which
praise Schumachers stunning pace but they continue to say something like,
"He drove 78 laps without making a mistake at Rascasse"...doing a poor job
at hiding their cynicism. It difficult for me to be objective seeing as how I am
a Schumacher fan and a Ferrari supporter, but I will try.

I remember watching qualifying in one of the races in 2004, when Kimi on
his hot lap completely lost it in the first corner (those were the days of
one lap one driver at a time qualifying). I remember Chris Goodwin (the
commentator on ESPN STAR) mentioning this with a sense of pride on raceday
that Kimi lost it because he was went into the corner 15kmph faster than any
of his laps in the race weekend. And ofcourse, he started last and ended up
in the points, driving a flawless race (no mistakes in Corner 1). I hope
my point is clear. These guys try these things; They sometimes pull ti
off and sometimes fail to do so; its one of the reasons they are there in F1:
the pinnacle of motorsport.

Secondly, I dont know how many people noticed that along with the many
Monaco videos available on Google there was a video of Schumacher geting pole position at
Monaco in 1996. I noticed an interesting thing in that video. After the
second sector he was (approx.) .2 down on Damon Hill and at the end of the lap he
was (approx.) .5 up on Hill. In other words, in the third sector, he pulled out about
.7 on Hill. Simultaneously, the commentator mentioned that the third
sector was getting quicker than the second for everyone due to changing
grip conditions. I dont know why that is the case exactly, and if that
case were to hold true in 2006, but my point is simple, it is foolish to
claim that because Schumacher was down on the second sector, he wasnt going to
get quicker overall, and hence not up the bar for Alonso; and as a result
he did what he did, sabotaged everyones last and potentially fastest hot
lap.

Thirdly, many current drivers have said, "Had he broken his front wing,
the incident would have been deemed fair." Essentially, Schumacher couldnt
even crash properly. I can not explain how it would have become a fair
incident if he delibrately went into a wall? Also, would other drivers be
questioned similarily. If Kimi had done this and he was not in chance with
pole position, would he have been similarily dealt with? I doubt it. But
then thats speculation, so lets steer clear of that.

Lastly, assuming there is some foul play and Schumacher did do it
delibrately, what does it tell us about him. He is willing to pull others
down to ensure he is on top. Is that such a bad thing? And Is the rest of
the world including all of us (and those in the F1 paddock who claimed
Schumachers fallacy) kidding itself into thinking that there isnt a
component of that feeling somewhere in us. Heck, I have cheated in exams.
Now thats using unfair means. I have also not shown the answer to fellow
classmates, knowing if he answers accurately, he might score more than me.
Maybe I will be sent to the end of the line when I am at the gates of
Hell. But point still stands, that this is a fairly common trait(assuming
that there are some people out there who have indulged in similar selfish
acts). And not everyone is given a similar punishment. Being fairly common
doesnt justify it, but then, atleast everyone should be similarily dealt with.
You shouldnt be discriminated against, if you are Michael Schumacher.

Put another way, as Sir Jackie Stewart himself recently said in
an interview with ESPN STAR, that this sport (F1) continues to attract a
certain type of personalities. Inherently aggressive, egoisitc, undying
will and hunger which knows no end and a never ending quest for speed.

I would think this would be why you love this sport and these drivers. I
do (and for many reasons whose purity cant be put in words).

In good faith.

Monday, May 29, 2006

 

Rules and Experiences

I figure rules have evolved as a result of search of ease in daily acts of life. For example, traffic rules. The chaos, but for these rules would no doubt be too uncomfortable for the majority of the population who are too accustomed to them and closed to any form of change. Unfortunately, as we experience an undesirable consequence of these rules or norms are also counter to the very basis of their existence. They often inhibit one from achieving high effeciency. For example, a red light at 1:00AM when there is literally no traffic. One may wonder as to if a balance between the two exists and can the judgement of this balance be left to people to call as and when the need arises?

People very quickly develop rules and apparent truths of life based on experience and ease of actions and their explanation. For example, one person who has suffered an accident for speeding at night will forever claim the neccessity to follow the rules while another who has experienced higher effeciency will claim breaking the rule to be the way to go about things. In my experience, on too many, the larger far greater arbitrary picture is lost and rules are based on micro experiences. This line of thought though doesnt take us further on the question of rules vs. no rules as being the way in life.

Maybe people should be relied upon to make momentary judgement calls for themselves. By this I do not mean rules dont exist. They exist more like guidelines. And not like the guidelines of a beurocratic organization where guidelines is a subtle word for "follow or else...". They are not all imposing and leave room for case based judgements. But as I write, it seems implausible to me; this scenario. Maybe I have had too many 'bad' experiences which make me not trust people enough. The main issue here would giving up control. Because now the control would lie with many people. The world around us would be tough to cognize. We would be in a place where the traffic on one day could be driving on the right side, but due to rain, be on the left side the next day (if there is a slope on the road ...my imagination....I apologize). To me it sounds both fun and uncomfortable. But unfortunately, the inertia due to experiences of people makes it hard for me to imagine how one can make people see this (according to me a broader and more general) perspective. But then again, I have poor imagination!!!

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