Friday, July 14, 2006

On Drug Addiction...

I live many lives. All of us do.
Truth be told our lives differ from one moment to the next. Our approach to each of these lives, however, remains more or less constant. We face every moment with anticipation, anxiety, uncertainty, confidence, disbelief and a host of other contrasting emotions.

One moment you're imagining yourself in bed making hurried love to some random person you just met at a bar, the next you're talking to your mom on the phone telling her you're sleeping over at your best friend's house because no one can drop you home. How intoxicated are you in the middle of all this? High enough to justify a one night stand but sober enough to talk your mom into letting you stay?

In the 22 years of my life I have been a different person in every memory that I can call my own. Everything I am as of this moment is a mixture of everything my brain can recollect.
To put it very simply, We are what we remember about ourselves at any given moment in time.

Let's one up ourselves on this life defining philosophy by scratching the surface of the above statement.

What we remember about ourselves at any given moment is greatly influenced by what we desire.

For example, When you first see an engineering-college-rock-band member running his fingers on the fret board like a geek on lsd... you are most likely to think about the time you held a guitar in your hands for the first time. Those unsure fingers full of nothing but potential. If only you had had the time, it would have been you on stage and not this random, fuzzy-haired, skin and bones drug addict.

For some inexplicable reason our focus changes.

Your internal justification mechanism tries to convince you that you're meant for greater things than just playing a musical instrument, and also that you're better off because YOU don't do drugs. This reaction is an intrinsic argument of sorts where you seek refuge in the confines of an allegedly higher moral ground so that you can stifle the thought of a reality that could have been. However, the part of you that's there standing, mesmerized by the movement of the fingers (use of drugs notwithstanding) is conveniently shattering all moral argument. You tell yourself there's a price for everything.

That's where the damage is done.

The next time your friend offers you a drug, any drug, you take it. One, then another. Your head spins. You close your eyes. You're falling. Into what, you can't see. From where, you don't know. There are moments of intense energy. They go faster than they come. The randomness of your cognition makes you laugh at the senselessness of your thought process. You've been converted. You don't accept this thought.

All you ever needed was a reason. What you don't know is you are the reason.

It troubles me to see all of you. Writers, lovers, musicians, leaders, scientists... all these things you could've been but will never be. "The was that never..." Yes, that's what you are.

What you will do is crawl into a room with padded walls and live there until you're ready to be normal again. Normal enough to walk between those who haven't been to the place you have. They will look at you with sympathy, but from a distance. They don't have time to listen to your tale of survival, they are preoccupied with their own. And whenever you smile, you know they get a sneak peak into your broken spirit.

I have been to rehab, twice. The first words the doctor said to me at NIMHANS still echo in my slumber till date..."Rehab is for quitters."

Every now and then I look into the mirror and tell myself just that... "Rehab is for quitters..."

I have clarity on the underlying meaning of that statement now. I was a quitter when I took the damn thing up. That first joint. That first drag. No wait, that first touch. Yes, that first touch when I catapulted my inhibitions into oblivion for that fraction of a second. A moment of insane curiosity, perhaps. Whatever.

Like I said at the onset, life may change with each passing moment but our approach to it remains more or less constant. Addictive intoxication has a defining effect on this "approach" that makes us what we are. The uncomfortable laziness you spot in most of your marijuana smoking friends. The complete lack of self-respect when your sugar-chasing buddies ask you for money. That girl who sleeps with men in exchange for salt-shakers... I could go on but this will only get more unpleasant.

You're probably between 18 and 30. These are the best years of your life. Waste them if you must, but not on drugs. And as cliche as it may sound, it's the first joint that does the damage. Because the moment you touch it, you've breached the line of the forbidden.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On The World Cup Final...

There are times in our lives when we must accept defeat.
It was my turn last night.

To call the France-Italy final thrilling is an understatement. If you have an iota of adrenaline in that body of yours, you spent three hours last night clenching your fists, dropping your jaws, jumping like jack, moaning like whores... the works.

To call it fair, would be an insult to sportsmanship. Players of both teams cemented there place in "football's most shocking tackles." Please exclude Gatusso on account of his honesty, spirit and sheer love for a good challenge. No Mr.Canavarro, for all your brilliance in the finals, your credibility must be put to test after yesterday. There are times when the means don't justify the end.

To call it fantastic, I would have to be Italian. To call it disappointing, I would have to be French.

But to call it memorable, I would have to love football. And for the benifit of my credibility, let's keep it this way.

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The match strategy was a no-brainer. It was always going to be a clash between the Azzurri wall and Zidane's prowess. The Italian defence jumped, dived, tackled and stole the ball at every opportunity they got. These 'opportunites' were mysteriously limited to everyone who's name was not Zidane.

I think the Italians got it wrong. They walked on to the field believeing if they stopped Zidane, they could stop Les Bleus.

Umm... Stop Zidane? If Pele was the master who conjured goals for Brazil and Maradona the challenger who battled his way to the back of the net, then Zidane is definately the mystic who's touches could give you and me a reason to score.

To add insult to injury, Zidane put a cheeky penalty past the world's most expensive goalkeeper in the 10th minute of the match.

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Italy equalized with a brilliant header from Materazzi in the 17th Minute. It was 1-1.
The halftime scoreline was no different.
Game On.
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As an ardent French supporter and a close follower of the team strategies, I knew Domenech would outsmart Lippi. France have been visibely better in the second half of most matches in these finals. Think Togo, Think Spain.

And so it was. The French set the pace in the second half, passing brilliantly and creating chances. They came closest to scoring with Zidane's header in the 80th, brilliantly saved by the Neo Nazi Buffon.

Italy had a couple of chances on the counter attack but nothing to write home about except Pirlo's free kick, perhaps.

At some point in time substituions were made.
Del Piero and Joaquinta on for Italy. Darra and Wiltord on for France.
I'm sure the Italians remember Wiltord, who scored the golden goal in the Euro 2000 finals.

90 minutes. Still 1-1. Extra time.
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The first period of exra time got over. Five minutes into the second, most of us were mentally readying ourselves for the penalty shoot out.

But what happened next was an unforseen aberration. A moment of madness, perhaps.
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For me, France lost the match the moment Zidane was sent off.
I cannot narrate, in words, the magnitude of disbelief I felt when I saw the replay of the incident.
I did not want Zizou to go off, but I understand that such behaviour is not permissible within the realms of an allegedly non-contact sport.
(Whisper: Louis Figo... Are you listening? I'm typing this in tiny font so that not too many people get to know about what you did against The Netherlands)

France, and I, was devastated. For a moment I almost thought of Zidane as just another man, capable of reaction.

France lost 5-3 on penalties. I couldn't sleep. Throughout the day today, I kept thinking of what happened in those few seconds.

When I came home in the evening, my brother mentioned that what Zidane did was, apparently, on account of racial comments.
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I guess Materazzi proved to be a better tactician than Lippi. What Lippi couldn't achieve with a combination of his team's skill and sheer willingness to play dirty, Materazzi achieved with a few, carefully chosen slurs.

Way to go Nazi Materazzi. I'm sure the joy of winning the World Cup surpasses any guilt that may have arisen from your disappointing display of sportsmanship.

As for me, I'm on my way to an arms and ammunition dealer and I have a one way ticket to Italy.
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