Spatiotemporal heterogeneities

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just for the records, the first basketball mail (5th April, 2007):

Supriya Syal was my batchmate at NCBS. She had put up a note in Jitu’s
lab, which said, “When in doubt go to *****, and ***** will tell you go to
Google.” Googling as a word had just about entered our lexicon then. Since
then, as we’d say in Bongland, “A lot of water has flowed in the Ganges.”
Well, a lot of more important water has flowed in the Cauvery too – things
have changed, and when you take all that volume, and divide by the flow
rate (assumed reasonably constant), what you deduce is that a lot of time
has passed. That’s the long and short of it (Sigh!). In this time the
other virtual tool that has almost evolved to the level of a verb is the
art of Wiki-ing. So now it’s like, “When in doubt go to *****, and *****
will tell you to go to Google, and Google to Wikipedia. So when yesterday
I found I know next to nothing about basketball, I googled, and from there
on to Wikipedia. So now I’m a master of the theory, and though I’m far
from doing the experiment, I’ll put in here a couple of quotes from Wiki,
to enlighten the uninitiated.
“Basketball is a sport in which two teams of five active players each try
to score points against one another by throwing a ball through a 10 foot
high hoop (the basket) under organized rules.”
Gee, you’d say, that you knew! But organized is right!
“In early December 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education
student and instructor at YMCA Training School[1] (today, Springfield
College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, sought a vigorous indoor game
to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the
long New England winters…. A soccer ball was used to shoot goals.”
So that clinched it for me. If I had any pangs for breaking the tradition
of football mails, and like cement companies these days which are wont to
sell software and hair oil, if the call of the day, the need to diversify,
hadn’t done enough to assuage those pangs, this did it. Here was the
soccer connection. And see it’s pretty much the same. There are two teams,
and the philosophical equivalent of the goal in the basket, and you defend
yours and try to put one in their nets. More Wiki knowledge – there are
fouls and violations, though a lot more stringent than football. And for,
of course, it’s not a good habit to commit fouls against, or to violate
people (um…hmm, ahem…rules), the other team gets the ball – there’s
something like a throw in. You violate a rule, that’s a violation, and you
violate a player – like maul a person, or surreptitiously run your hand
against a thigh – and there’ll be people to cry foul. Simple really!
Gautam has already given you the history. After the close contests with
the Yelehanka Bulls yesterday, the final finally was between the Jakkur
Rockets and the Hebbal Lakers. And so it started, plonk on the dot of…um,
18:02, maybe! It was like a revelation – like how Keats felt ‘On first
looking into Chapman’s Homer’ types! I was reading this book the other
day, in which the author says, “Recklessness in a man is like revenge on
his woman!” If that be true, this sport seemed to me like vendetta on the
entirety of womankind. They walk, and they trundle, and they streak past,
and shoot – both yesterday and today we saw some dream runs which arouse
something like awe – like Anupratap and Jiggu and Madhav and Sandeep. The
sheer momentum itself is enough to make the stomach of a comparative
weakling like me churn. I mean, I could never take it – I’m sure, if
Mehrab, and Madhav, and the rest of them run at me like that, I’ll cower
on the ground and go, “Mercy, mercy! Here’s the ball, spare my life! I
have little children…” Okay, maybe that’s a bit much! But that tells you
of the mettle of our players. “Their's not to make reply, Their's not to
reason why, Their's but to do and (horrors!) die,” Tennyson wrote of the
Charge of the Light Brigade. Poets they say can see far into the future,
and quite obviously it was this uncanny knack for being oracles that
caused him to write thus, for he was talking about the match today – in a
minor thing like a battle in Balaclava, the visionary could see the
Herculean contest in 2007 - only Time lying a century and half thick can
fog up the prophesying machinery of the best of soothsayers, for this was
not quite the charge of the ‘light’ brigade. But forgive him that one
erroneous adjective.
The Hebbal Lakers beat the Jakkur Rockets 46-36 today, the 4th of April,
2007. But it was far, far closer than anything that scoreline even
remotely suggests. 10-4 up in the first quarter, the Rockets fell back in
the next two, primarily thanks to the Magnificent Madhav, and just when at
34-22, the conclusion seemed a bit like settled, they came right back to
make it as close as 36-34 (to the Lakers), when Madhav scored a
three-pointer which was a two-pointer, and that caused some bad blood. At
this stage these things cascade, and so there you have it, 46-36 to the
Lakers. And while I perhaps amn’t the best person to illustrate the finer
nuances of the match, special mention must also be made of Rockets player
Sandeep, who scored twelve two point baskets, with some lithe leaps, and
then an almost feline underhand lob against the floodlights in a flurry of
arms, almost like a woman in an Indian miniature offering a lamp to the
skies. The analogy though ends there, and nor do cats really lob
basketballs against floodlights in a flurry of arms. Pragati gave me the
scoresheet at the end of the match – so nice of her, though I wasn’t sure
about what exactly I was supposed to do with it – only a casual inspection
seemed to show a greater spread for the Lakers along both axes (all
scored, and at all times – special mention must be made of Aparna, who was
on for just five minutes). So I did some basics stats with it, and the
casual inspection proved wrong. See the attachment for more details, if
you’re thus inclined.
A note on a different note. I bring up the tail in a long list of cousins
– and of course all the previous ones have exerted a lot of influence on
my being. For instance say, Cousin A (9 years elder) introduced me to Enid
Blyton at 6, then Agatha Christie at 12 etc. Cousin B (+7 years), was
different. She went to Delhi about the time I was a young and
impressionable 13, and she 20. When she came back, I remember I asked her
half out of the innocuous naivety of being 13, and quarter out of
politeness, “Didishona, Didishona, what did you see in Delhi?” I don’t
know, you usually expect people to say “The Qutb Minar” or “India Gate” or
something, at most, “JNU was so nice”. Well, Cousin B looked at me, sighed
and with the slightly resigned tone of the pro talking to an amateur said,
“Legs, Roghu!” (Roghu’s me).
“Legs!?” said I (Only these days I’d say, “Legsa!?”).
“Yes, a lot of people, of either gender, with very, very nice legs, and
willing to flaunt them too, quite unlike dear old Calcutta! Legs are a
thing of beauty, you know…”
As I said, early adolescence is when you’re most like a metal (malleable
and ductile, they taught us at school), and a profound conversation like
this would leave its indelible mark in my appreciation of human anatomy.
This found reflection in some reactions of the audience today too.
Athletes, one tends to regard as sculptures, aesthetic, but beyond sex
appeal – but given that, the general mood seemed to favour more legs,
purely as things of beauty. ;-)
Okay, so that’s it – I didn’t quite interview the players afterwards (“Is
khush avsar par aap kaise mehsus kar rahe hain?”), but usually, the answer
to that one is set – “I’d like to thank my parents (for all the
‘support’), my girlfriend/boyfriend (for being there), God (who made me
what I’m today) , and the fans (for all the support, being there, who
made me what I’m today)!” You can shuffle that around a bit, but broadly
it’s going to be the same. So we thank all the parents,
girlfriends/boyfriends, God/gods, and fans of both the Lakers and the
Rockets. And because the journalist has some onus as the first drafter of
History, I have to remember Deepa, Raagi and Ajay in my first basketball
piece. Alongwith old veterans like Mathew, Upi and Sam – they did a lot to
keep the game going at NCBS when it hadn’t yet culminated into contests
like this.
Well played everyone! We enjoyed it thoroughly, and thank you!
PS: 1. Recklessness in a woman is like temptation to her man! (Sigh!)
2. So 600 rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade, and 300 of a
heavier brigade prepared for the gory (as Sudha’d say) in a recent movie.
300 of course is 600 halved. And divide 300 by 60 you have 5 – the number
of active players in basketball. 60 is the number of
seconds in a minute, and minutes in a degree or hour. It all makes
sense…doesn’t it? Um…
3. Look I’m very sleepy…I cease to make sense to myself - have to
turn in now.


Blogger i149 said...

roghu my dear old horse, i love your blog... in fact, i wait with bated breath, much rubbing hands together in anticipation (together with the word 'aha!') and all that. but i think you should change your blog's format. text spread across two inches of the computer screen, with the vast majority of the page width dedicated to other things is not nice. amongst other matters, it reminds me rather disquietingly of 'the shillong times', a sad newspaper which cannot be disparaged enough.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Chalsie said...

Good words.

6:28 PM  

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