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2007 September 9 [Sunday]

Chak de

Movies being the way they are (except the rare oldies like chupke-chupke, Butterflies are free, or even Bheja fry :-)) this is perhaps the first time I liked a movie enough to start blogging about it a week ago and finally finish it today :-).

I liked it for many reasons, chiefly for the way it portrays women and sports. Feminism, often portrayed in a negative light, in Indian movies is a cliche when ironically many worship Durga, the ultimate form of feminism ranging from white, black and shades of grey. But typically in our movies there is no black or even shades of grey, with greater importance attatched to the cliched self-sacrificing, kitchen-slaving, slim, fair and beautiful Bharatiya nari waiting to fall in love and live happily ever after. As far as sports (or sportsmanship) is concerned, few would know what that means, often limited to getting admissions via a sports quota or minting the moolah, a la Tendulkar. As a kid when I started learning karate, for self-defence and the mental/character strength and discipline it inculcates, many friends(?) used to tease S and me, the only girls in the whole school to join martial arts, which stopped with time... but I shall keep that for another post.

Team-spirit juxtaposed vis-a-vis women and a dash of feminism is symbolised via "ChakDe India" - based on Mir Ranjan Negi - about a gritty women's hockey team that is split by (personal) differences, selfish attitudes, (huge) ego clashes and conflicts of state/region, diversity & ethnicity. At the start of the movie we can see all of the above very clearly. However as it progresses the girls grow and learn via their coach and through the other players that life is not all "I, Me, Myself". A lot of values being portrayed there are pertinent in our real lives. Whether its the workplace or the volunteer world, each individual is uniquely different and yet has to remember that he/she works for _one_ organisation with a common goal. The girls learn to ignore negative traits, set aside personal preferences, and work effectively as ONE team with team-spirit, which is so rare and a tough act to understand and implement but definitely not impossible to achieve. They exhibit a win-win attitude which can only emerge when the team works as a team and stays a team. The coach manages to instill this and more in his protegees after some hard knocks and they overcome many odds to go on & win the world hockey championships. Chak de, after all !!

2007 May 28 [Monday]

long road ahead

Despite having (slowly) ramped up my training I find my reflexes have slowed down over time and just hate it when my wrist suddenly locks-up in a really bad way... last year's leg injury was less painful in retrospect.

I am trying not to over-do it as each day is not the same and keeping a tabs on every progress and/or failure can just backfire. The basic is balance + speed in Karate, but not at the cost of focus, so getting this combination right means I need to split them and take a step at a time. My focus is (definitely) off by a few inches and that is so depressing.

With training, I hope I can learn to respond quickly, accurately, and seemingly without thought. To be at the peak, I need to perfect my balance, speed, reflexes, power, co-ordination, focus, physical and mental discipline.

Co-ordinating hand, eye, brain with body reflexes is not so easy and I tend to look back in time nostalgically, when I first trained as a teenager, just hoping to remember some survival tips. Just writing this tells me I am at the bottom of the pyramid.... a long road ahead indeed!!

2007 May 2 [Wednesday]

Random thoughts

I truly suck at keeping a web-diary log. I had started this entry last week (with A's intended arrival) and never did finish penning all my thoughts and then there is the unfinished draft on UW.... *sigh*

One all-nighter at the airport threw my sleeping patterns into a state of perpetual flux... or is it the 24x7 jabbering and trying to catch up on 4+ years in a week.... :-) Eitherway, Ma will hate the silence at home when we all leave, Ami next and me this week. Here's looking forward to running up huge bills in long-distance calls...*sheesh* !

After much mulling (and procrastination for years) I decided to finish some unfinished business - resume my martial arts training. I always regretted leaving it mid-way when I was 12 years old and despite weighing heavily on my mind for so many years I dunno why I never did anything about it.

During these years I managed to keep in touch with the basics, did yoga and trained at home whenever I found time, just to retain the edge so to speak. Its not good enough and deep inside, I missed training under a Sensei. the discipline, focus, self-control, patience, peace and stillness of mind that comes with it. I am keeping an open mind and decided not to be rigid and learn only one form (Karate). Probably I should try learning other arts like Taichi, Shaolin Kungfu. More than the physical benefits its the mental training that counts here so I would appreciate comments/experiences from anyone reading this, especially if you have trained in Taichi, Shaolin Kungfu or any other soft style arts.