Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Playing midfield

Was talking to "Paolo" a few months ago about getting back to playing football (or soccer for all you Americans). I hadnt played it in a long time, especially after my knee injury, and felt really good playing it after what seemed like ages. Watching Euro 2004 was a bit of a strain, especially since my legs got itchy seeing all that fancy footwork from the likes of Zidane, Figo et al.

For some reason, I played very few soccer games during my college days back in Chennai - it was more cricket and basketball. Guys like Pedo, Bhillu and Avishek were regulars on the ACTech football team and used to practice regularly.

So the discussion invariably lead to what positions we played at. Paolo, much like his idol Maldini played defence, while I would like to think I played as a sweeper ala Beckenbauer. Paolo's riposte to this was "Ah, jidhar ball jaaye, udhar gol maare! You can literally score for both teams!", which had both of us in splits. But Paolo being the nice guy he is, clarified that the phrase actually personified midfielders! Ever since, the midfielder has come to personify someone unsure about something and happy to go either way (in a charitable way), and someone who will play for both sides (in an uncharitable way)!

Was walking in Aldrich Park (the central park around which UCI is built) this morning, ruminating on some stuff. I enjoy company, but there are some times when I just need some time on my own, all alone - this was one of those times. It's been two long years here, and to say that I look forward to going home and seeing my folks would be an understatement. I have seen the changes in me and around me. I thought I was a thinker back when I was in college, but having come here, that skill has been sharpened a great deal. Out here I make ALL my own decisions and face the consequences, be it as simple as buying a can of coke or something as tough as planning a skydive!

I have made my share of mistakes and have learned from them. There have been "twice-bitten" cases, but I can rest assured that the third occasion does not/will not arise. I have tried assimilating whatever advice folks pass my way. Most of the time it's been helpful to a large extent, although there have been times I have ignored the warning signs and plunged headlong only to hit the bottom of the pool.

There are certain issues where I have played attacker, and some where I have been content to play midfield (in a good way ofcourse). Like I said in an earlier post, it's all about what one really wants. A chat earlier this weekend with a friend from Chennai also got me (and him) thinking about the pros and cons of the PhD. I definitely want to finish my PhD from a good school, that's for sure - for now I dont know which one it will be! For now I do believe that I dont want to be second-guessed on this one. I may not have a 5-figure salary (bordering on 6) right now, which undoubtedly will be a disappointment to some folks, but five years down the line I have faith that this investment of time/money/patience and a whole lotta other stuff will pay its dividends. It's all about keeping the faith and not losing hope, and also being honest with yourself.

"Bill Gates", "Chris Rock" and I had a very interesting discussion over lunch the other day up in San Jose. Have known them from my college days, thru Infy and now in the US. The last time we met was on Elliott's Beach as the sun set on a fab evening - I think we hung out in and around the beach all day! 3 folks, about as similar as you can get, but with totally different outlooks on life. Bill and Chris both have steady jobs (thankfully), and naturally their folks are on the lookout for a suitable spouse. Bill and "Nancy Drew" have known each other since the first semester of college and have been thru thick and thin together. Both parents are ok with the match, but then the chief protagonists are still unsure, so it's pretty much a roadblock there. Chris, despite all the jokes is pretty worried about the next India trip for whatever surprises it may throw up! The M-word is a non-no nowadays! Ultimately we conclude it's all about holding on/out for what we want, which neednt necessarily be the same as what our parents want for us. But then at the end of the day it's up to the individual to decide whether to pursue something, or just let it die a natural death. Like the adage goes, you can bring the horse to the water-hole, but u cant make it drink! There are a zillion things which might have meant a fair bit to us a few years ago, but today they're just bricks in the wall!

I'm content to otherwise play midfield on the M-issue and a host of others. I have more than enough on my plate, and handling a few more tensions isnt worth it! I got the surprise of my life a few weeks ago, and whatever people may say about omens (reading Paulo Coelho a fortnight ago doesnt help matters!), it's 'better' (using that word with a lot of care/apprehension) to think beyond the present on omens and the like. I guess even the people who kid me about things (some over the past 4-5 years about DESTINY) do realize that everything has a 'darker shade of pale' too! But yes, there has been a bit of a paradigm shift in the way I have analyzed the situation on second/third/n-th thoughts! It reminds me of the discussion I had with a friend the other day about the rules (she called it the 'gospel') we live by. Her gospel seemed simple enough - there is no gospel! She claims she realized this over the years, as her views on different things in life changed with age. I wouldnt analyze things too radically, but I guess our views on things change gradually (for better/worse), but yet certain core values remain the same. She refuses to agree with me on that, counter-arguing that it's against her 'gospel' to have core values! To each man/woman his own!

And so that's that....a pithy patchy post...

What's buzzin...
Blue Oyster Cult...


Arun said...

Didn't know u had a friend called "Paolo"!!

Soultan of Swing said...

Paolo claims to be the perpetual defender :P