Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Jugglery

Recently came across this Twitter Thread about fathers and their constant (and mostly losing) struggle to “have it all” (Link). While still at the early stages of this struggle, something about the theme really resonated.

We keep talking about the having a Work-Life Balance – the El Dorado of the modern corporate “culture”, the promised land, also our biggest illusion ever? Work-life is not a balance but more akin to jugglery, trying (desperately at times) to not drop the balls.

But why does the balance go kaput? Because of work emergencies, urgent submissions & exigencies! According to Oxford Dictionary, an emergency is “a sudden serious and dangerous event or situation which needs immediate action to deal with it”. How many of us work in situations where this dictionary definition of emergency comes up? So, why does “work emergency” keep constantly intruding into people’s personal spaces? Responding with a "No" is difficult, because in a country with a billion plus population, you can be easily replaced by a thousand others at half of your salary! 

So the struggle continues but never give up the fight. But as the thread concludes, remember the old adage “Work, no matter how stimulating and rewarding, will never love you back”. And its just an enabler for life and not the other way round! We need to keep juggling, but also prioritize which balls to keep up in the air for the longest.

P.S. And the thread also has lots of (super-cute) cartoons of a father and his little girl! 

Friday, February 14, 2020

MovieNotes: Le Mans: Racing Is Everything

After Tour de France, comes out another sports documentary series from my Amazon Prime watchlist. Another mega-event based in France – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The folks at Amazon have christened it the "Mount Everest of sports". It certainly is a different beast from conventional events – an endurance race where the winner is decided by who runs the most in a 24-hour period rather than who finishes the fastest. And uniquely it also is a driver relay race where teams of three drivers take turns driving one car over a 24-hour period. 

The 6-part documentary covers the 2015 event and focuses on six teams who have started the grid – Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Toyota, Rebellion and Aston Martin. Even within these, not all cars get the full share of the limelight. While the race is showcased, the show also provides a good lesson on Le Mans – its history, why it was started, how it has evolved over the years, the ever-present dangers on the track, technical aspects of racing at different times of the day and night, design of cars, different categories going on simultaneously, presence of amateurs. In short, a good 101 for the racing buffs. 

With the increasing role of electronics in the cars, drivers are now being sourced from the gaming world! While traditional drivers still dominate, Nissan was running a car which was driven by drivers who had honed their skills in virtual racing. On the other hand, the likes of Mark Webber, a multiple F1 race winner also practices on simulators. Certainly, the lines are blurring between gaming and racing. With increased digitization & better data access on the one hand and climate concerns & focus on sustainability, motor-racing might be the first sport to shift to esports from current physical model. It will certainly reduce the dangers quite a bit. 

Although a bit over-dramatized at times, this was a compelling watch. 

Previously on MovieNotes: Eat.Race.Win

Monday, February 03, 2020

Road To Tokyo: Episode 11

Presenting the first episode of 20202 in the “Road To Tokyo” series. The Games are approaching vast, although we have the new element in form of Coronavirus interfering on this path. Meanwhile, here is the progress since Episode 10.

Quotas Earned
Neeraj Chopra is back and after a prolonged injury lay-off has sent his javelin sailing past the Qualification Mark in his comeback appearance. A genuine medal contender at the Games. 

In Other News
Badminton – The stars are sliding back in rankings. Currently Sai Praneeth, Srikanth & Sindhu Singles and the pair of Satwik Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty are in contention for a direct berth. 

Golf – Rashid Khan, Aditi Ashok & Diksha Dagar are on track to qualify for the Games.

Table Tennis – Both Men & Women failed to clear the last hurdle in the Team Qualifiers and now must wait till April for the next set.

Tennis – Sania Mirza made a winning return to the Doubles Tour, but had a injury setback in the Australian Open. Her progress will determine the Indian presence in Tennis.

Boxing - Nikhat Zareen got her chance for a trial where she was beaten by Mary Kom. But the contest left a bitter after-taste! Meanwhile, the Olympic Qualifiers have been postponed be a month and shifted from China to Jordan because of coronavirus.

Volleyball – both teams are out of contention.

Total Count – Sports - 6, Events – 25, Entries -36, Participants – 63.