Sunday, January 20, 2013


Time and again history has showed how while trying to pursue esoteric ideals and goals have led behind them a wake of false impressions, inspirations and perhaps ultimately disappointment. Since history is always written by the winners, it is quite difficult to shake it off and see things for what they probably really were until someone at least suggests there could be another side. This is because the beneficiaries of the actions of the person in question "play up" the person and his actions without a hint of reconsideration if everything is done the way it is supposed to. Once it falls, they want the person in jail and want their money back. 

Sir Winston Churchill was undoubtedly one of the greatest figures of the last century. It was under his single-minded focus and determination that the second world war came to and the mass civilian extermination was finally stopped. However, he suffered from depression and to some degree alcoholism. The only reason he was given a single handed control over the troops of the british empire was because he brought results to the beneficiaries who gave him that power.

John Nash's case was somewhat in the same lines, a brilliant man whose mental condition wasn't  of much importance, until he went cuckoo beyond repair, because he was of use to someone.

It's like when i said I will go to Melukote with a broken clutch wire and once i come back i will just replace the clutch if it burns out half way, because it was of use to me at the time; an expendable clutch was beneficial to the purpose of successfully completing the trip. If my dad asked me to go to a shop on a broken clutch wire, i'd argue it'd damage the clutch. Well, it's not the best comparison, but you'll get it if you read it a few times.

Why i am mentioning all these is because, lately there has been another sort of milking of the human talent for beneficial reasons. Sports. Which was originally intended to be the celebration of the best a human being can be at physical activity (or mental, if chess) and hence being rewarded for the commitment and performance through rigorous training; it has now become a struggle to keep rewards coming their way by any and all means. The tables have turned. It has become a struggle to win by being better than the others, not because you are, but because you have a team with you that can make you be so.

The reason i am disappointed is because, i was a great admirer of cycling, I followed the tour de France for some years along with a friend of mine and see in amazement how cyclists were almost superhuman in their feats of covering distances along mountains flats, timed stages in rain, sun and wind. We always went with more vigour to our weekly cycling tours on sunday mornings to Chamundi hills during the weeks of the race and a few weeks before and after as the fever slowly crept in and faded out. We always calculated how your maximum heart rates is 250 minus your age and wondered whatever made Lance Armstrong's beat at 220 effortlessly for almost the whole race while i being 20 or 21 at that time couldn't get past 170 even if i saw a ghost. I always knew that people doped at that time, but i always thought it was done by people who are trying and that only men with a pristine conscience and the utmost respect of the sport could win and have the face to accept a medal for it. In retrospect, it was one of the most foolish beliefs i had held. Having said that, i do give it credit for helping me take up cycling seriously as a means of staying fit. I thank Mr. Armstrong for that. But, i feel, as a human being (and not a sporting machine), if you are faced with a choice to go to a high altitude and training in a thin atmosphere  which forces the body to produce more red-blood cells, tapping the blood into a bottle and injecting it into yourself during competition OR doing all that but donating the blood to hospitals for people in need. I say that because the true sportsman, having reaped the long term benefits of high-altitude training in terms of lung function and endurance, should consider what he can do more than just winning in a race which is now being termed as the "moving pharmacy". 

I do know that he has done a lot of things for his cancer foundation and i really understand the impact of that and appreciate it. But there are two things which can summarise this what i am trying to say here.

1. He was played up since it was beneficial to a lot of companies to have their names on his shorts when he crossed the line first. If you and i did drugs, we'd be fired, lose our families and be put in rehab. Now that he confessed, he has been stripped of his medals and the companies want their money back.

2. That doping and in extension drinking is a perceptive term. 

It depends on how people, or you and i perceive it. If a tramp is seen drunk out of his senses, he is said to have an addiction. The booze baron of India and some celebrities across the world are seen drunk all the time and indeed in the most general sense, no big event involving rich people ever happens with only orange juice and mineral water and such events happen all the time but nobody every say they might have an addiction problem. They're seen as "high society""having a good time" and even admired for the comprehensiveness of the bars they host in their very home and as a consequence of that, our judgement of alcohol or drug abuse depends on who's holding the glass or the syringe. That makes our judgement fundamentally skewed.

Will any winner of a sporting event be seen without suspicion ever again?

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