RIP Lusk, Surtees, and all the others who've left us. And SHUT UP, YOU HEALTH AND SAFETY RETARDS.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It’s been a tough year for motorsport – chiefly because of the high-profile deaths that have brought back into sharp focus the proximity to death these superstars face every time they put their machines into gear and gun their engines.

Chief among the casualties have been Jeremy Lusk - Metal Mulisha rider, Freestyle Motocross superstar and Henry Surtees – F2 driver, son of the legendary John Surtees. Another recent headline-grabbing incident was Felipe Massa’s crash during the qualifying session of the Hungarian Grand Prix. And there must be several others I've missed.

These superstars who straddle the worlds of adventure sport and motorsport have come on board and given the best years of their lives to their chosen sport, knowing full well that their next stunt or race could turn out to be their last.

Which is why this stupid furore that’s been raised by these armchair ‘experts’ over the safety protocols existing in these sporting disciplines and whether they are enough to ensure the absolute safety of the people involved in it, right from the drivers and riders to the girls serving beer in the hospitality areas is totally infuriating. However, not for a moment am I suggesting that a Robbie Maddison should wear a fluffy magenta tutu while performing his backflip.

All I am saying is, ‘LEAVE THESE PEOPLE ALONE’. What more can the FIA do? Limit speeds in Formula One to 2.2287 km/h? Make the X-Games a video-game contest? Mistakes are made. Shit just happens. There is no way one can protect himself against the fickle ways of chance. Each of the people involved in these high-risk sporting events are the best out there. And they are certainly not irrational or stupid or unreasonable. If they think about doing something, it’s because they think and, more importantly they know they can. Whether they will, or whether they go out in a fireball of metal and glory is something they just have to check out for themselves. And they also have to perform the onerous task of filling out gazillons of health and safety forms.

An accident is something that is always waiting to pounce on even the most benign of human endeavours. You can slip in your bathroom while taking a bath and singing ‘Start me up’, bang your head on the faucet and be as dead as a doornail instantly. If you want to protect yourself against this eventuality, don’t take a bath. Ever. But in that case you will end up choking people around you to their deaths, your body is going to be infested with all micro-organisms known to man and you’ll die a slow, painful and, worst of all, malodorous death. And nobody will be applauding you as you go out with a whimper.

Take the bathroom option instead.
In the tribute show put together by ESPN for Lusk, a segment talked about the kind of injuries these athletes have had to endure during the course of their career, and some of the responses were – “I had the entire left side of my torso ripped off”, “The handlebar went through my gut”, “I lost my kidney”, “One of my testicles was ripped off”.

So why do they still do it? These guys also have families – Jeremy is survived by his wife, Lauren. Is it worth risking it all when you can lose the people you love the most?

Of course it effing is. These people risk it because they don't know how to do anything else. They tread the fine line between daredevilry and lunacy day in and day out because they have to. And they aren’t endorphin-addled teenagers going mental with all the horsepower under their right foot or wrist. They are supremely skilled, extremely meticulous in their preparation, and they have a support team that does everything to ensure their safety. But they can’t accident-proof themselves. And I also think they don’t mind dying while doing something they love doing. It’s all worth it.

So, the next time you hear of such a death due to a horrific accident, feel a little sad for the dude who screwed up, and all the people who were behind him. But don’t, for a moment insult his memory by thinking he’d been stupid. He was being perfectly rational. It’s not like he had a choice. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to change anything he’s done in his life, if he were given a chance.

RIP Lusk, Surtees and everyone else who’s no longer with us. We’ll miss you guys. The loss is ours, and only ours.


While I'm eagerly waiting for 'Relapse 2' and 'Detox', I'm listening to 'The Marshall Mathers LP' and 'The Chronic'. Fall Out Boy is also good fun to listen to. All this peppered with the occasional Aerosmith, U2, Springsteen, Sting, Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam song.

Sheer Uselessness

Monday, August 10, 2009

Again, this is one of those intelligent Facebook-Notes enterprises, which I shall use to fill my blog up. I suck. Big time.

There are a lot of artists I’d have wanted to select for this. But I realized I had no other alternative. His music occupies the rarefied zone of my subconscious. No, I'm not 'putting pseud' here, but this is something I just can't put a finger on. For me, Slim Shady is the first and last option, despite the fact that choosing The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, U2, Aerosmith or some other such band would have been a lot more conventional(and the answers would have come more easily) and I like those bands just as much.

But when has a Shady fan ever done ‘sensible’?

Anyway, here we go:

Pick Your Artist:

Eminem (Marshall Bruce Mathers III)

Are you a male or female?

Describe yourself:

How do you feel:

Describe where you currently live:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Your favourite form of transportation:

Under The Influence

Your best friend is:
The Flyest Material

Your favourite colour is:
The Sauce(That's the closest to red I got)

What's the weather like:

Favourite time of day:
3 AM

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
No Apologies

What is life to you:
Same Song and Dance

Your current relationship:
Crazy In Love

Breaking up:
My Fault

Looking for:
Medicine Ball

Wouldn’t mind:
Bagpipes from Baghdad

Your fear:
When the Music Stops

What is the best advice you have to give:
Stay Wide Awake

If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Jimmy Crack Corn

Thought for the Day:
Just Lose It

How I would like to die:
Like Toy Soldiers

My motto:
Run Rabbit Run

Well, that's done. So you can do something useful. Chew on these lines from 'Till I Collapse':

Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out - am I high? Perhaps
I'ma rip this shit till my bone collapse.
Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth.
Till the smoke clears out and my high burn out
I'ma rip this shit till my bone collapse.

Totally, Em! We'll be screaming for you till the very end.

Random 1

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Malvika Singh in The Telegraph(Calcutta) today, in her column, writes:

The strange reality in India is that whenever an individual performs, delivers or acts outside the borders of status quo politics, the rest in the larger ‘club’, who have not made it, pounce on the person, usually surreptitiously, in a desperate effort to destroy the credibility and dignity of that individual. This happens in politics, in business, in the service sector, everywhere. If you are under attack and being abused, accused and more, it means you have arrived. That is the insane way in which India celebrates its best and its brightest. Examples from the realm of politics are Manmohan Singh, who was deemed ‘weak and malleable’, Sonia Gandhi, who was damned by the Opposition for decades, and Rahul Gandhi, who was pooh-poohed as an incompetent ‘heir’. When the trajectory changes, critics become sycophants.

I have to say I agree.

And I shoved down two slices of bread smeared with a combination of barbecue sauce, mustard sauce and a little bit of salsa.

You haven't ever done this?

But then, have you ever thought of cutting off your left arm and then beating yourself to death with it?

For old times' sake

Saturday, August 1, 2009

‘And this time, it's going to be brilliant’, were my thoughts when I disembarked from the train and was mighty chuffed to find everything so ‘in-sync’(for want of a better expression) – that car, that front seat, that stereo playing the same old CD, passing that Green-and-Yellow gate on GT road, that Kolkata Knight Riders’ Billboard(:o), etc.

And yet there was this voice at the back of my head which said, ‘Stop it – this rummy feeling isn’t going to last for long. Before you know it, it’s gonna be gone’. Understandably, I scoffed at even the slightest thought of the hols ending. Three months is a long, long time yaar. Now I have to go and vote as well, first thing in the morning. Will it be the Reds or will it be a Trinamool whitewash (err, greenwash)? Why am I thinking of all that bilge? And so I filed away that unsavoury thought somewhere far, where it wouldn’t be able to needle me.

It’s surprising how easily one can get back into that old way of doing things. It’s no point living in the past – I know someone who’d sneer and say these exact words. Well, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to live in the past. The past lives on… in you. And you don’t take a couple of days to ‘acclimatise’ to the change. You know how to deal with it. I trudge into the dining hall first thing in the morning, which has the TV no. 2 tuned to Times Now/NDTV 24x7/BBC World and that familiar genial man sitting in front of it, sipping his morning tea, and then downing whatever he can find in the fridge or in the loft. The lady in the kitchen reacts testily –‘Your cholesterol levels are going to get you!’, to which all he offers is a sheepish grin. A 13 year-old bloke emerges from the bathroom in a towel and yells – he’s getting late for school.

And I’m back there. In the afternoon at 2, I go to school to pick the brother up. Familiar faces smile and wave – the juniors, the teachers, the guards at the gate (Traffic duty, boss :D) and the usual question ‘Kemon aachish/Kemon aacho/How are you?’.

In the evening, I make a couple of phone calls, zip down to Polo Ground/Apcar Gardens/Burnpur Club/somebody’s house(whichever is convenient) and kickstart those adda sessions which seem neverending, until there’s a missed call from mum at, say, 10:30 pm at the earliest.

I come back home, shove dinner down my throat and then flounce off into the study. I switch on the PC, resume the inactive torrents and transfer the completed ones onto my laptop for viewing later on. Then I watch some TV, after which I switch on the AC in the bedroom and read whatever it is I’m reading at that point in time.

And then drift off to sleep until next morning, for which I can’t wait. That’s because I’m going to take out my two-wheeler at 5 am and go someplace with my bros. Or do something our group feels like doing, like having a gang over at our place to watch some movies or duel it out in Gran Turismo on the Playstation or indulge in the usual guy-talk (cars/sports/films/THAT girl).

These are my life’s little pleasures.

It’s been rightly said (here I go again, cockface) that people seem to get nostalgic about a lot of things they weren't so crazy about the first time around. How effing true is that!

That’s why I’m typing this out, while sipping Diet Coke, biting into the last pieces of that chocolate cake Mama made, and listening to ‘City of Blinding Lights’, which I feel is weirdly suited to the tone of the sentimental hogwash that you’re reading right now.