#06 Beanbag Musings

In my dream the intertwined circles open and each colorful ring fades into oblivion. Much like the rain clouds that have floated away taking the tail end of the monsoons with them. Rain, that was a noisy and playful companion through some of the most exciting competitions the sporting world had to offer, fades away too…I feel bereft without both of them.

Diving, gymnastics, equestrian, judo, bouldering, fencing or indeed any of the events that I hadn’t even heard of, had something addictive about them. Even without knowing the technicalities of most games I enjoyed watching every sport. The transcendence to seemingly impossible physical and mental heights by athletes made for riveting viewing. 

These games have managed to pepper my mind with little snippets of memories that promise to stay with me to spice up quiet moments with some sentimental reminiscing. 

I’ll remember an athlete urging a motley crowd to clap in unison as she started her runup for a triple jump.  Where earlier the applause would have been thunderous in its encouragement, now it sounded feeble within the mammoth structure of the near empty stadium. The vacant black and white seats mimicked a chess board without any pawns. But her strides were magnificent, her smile, beatific. She was focused and a picture of perfection as she charged down the run up, seemingly unaware of the strange silence prevailing and produced an impeccable jump. She again turned and waved to a crowd that wasn’t there and punched the air in jubilation.

I wonder how sportspeople have coped with all the changes around them. I cheer for her from home too, breaking the silence of a languid Indian afternoon with my claps.

I’ll remember the sight of athletes face-timing with family members. The exhilarated jumps, fist pumps and laughter, a pet dog sauntering into the frame, tail wagging furiously. We are witness to very personal moments and it seems intrusive and almost voyeuristic. But these are unprecedented times.

I’ll remember athletes putting medals around their own neck and picking up their bouquet from trays held proudly by a worthy guest of honour. No congratulatory handshake or hearty pat on the back.

I follow stories of courage like those of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team athletes. Twenty nine of them, each one there after overcoming great personal trauma and challenges. Sending a message of hope and solidarity. Carrying the Olympic flag, representing no country, wearing no patriotic colors and no prayers of millions backing them, yet they play. There is, in them, a display of calm composure of a thumping heart encased in the strait jacket of discipline.

There have been stories of breakdowns and comebacks, humility and camaraderie. Tears of joy, anger and frustration merged into a fountain of victory for humanity when these Games commenced. With Tokyo 2020, we were united with the best and it made us better in some intangible way. 

The new Olympic motto, aptly encompasses the reality of reliance by adding the final word, ‘Communiter’ to Citius, Altius, Fortius… Its slogan for more than a decade. A clear sign of the altered reality we are living in.

The human spirit has prevailed against many odds and in some ways we are all morphing into beings that want to be “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”

I was contemplating a phenomenon that seems to be gaining momentum in these times. The idea of feeling burdened by excess choices and an ever-increasing list of attractive but impossible to accomplish items on it. There are just too many things to do and too little time to do it… Quite serendipitously then, these lines….

“We all know that even if we break the speed record for speed reading, the number of books we read will only ever be a minuscule fraction of the books in existence. We are drowning in books just like we are drowning in TV shows. And yet we can only read one book –  and watch one TV show – at a time. We have multiplied everything, but we are still individual selves. There is only one of us. And we are all smaller than an internet. To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries. To live on a human scale. To focus on the few things we can do, rather than the millions of things we can’t. To not crave parallel lives. To find a smaller mathematics. To be a proud and singular one. An indivisible prime.”

An excerpt from ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig

It would be interesting to read your thoughts about the topic of this month’s Musings, do share ☺ 

See you next month! ☺

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