Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vishy and VVS - simple champions!

We have a new world champion in chess. And I feel so proud that the title is in the hands of a fantastic champion. Viswanathan Anand has single-handedly put India on the world map of chess. I cannot forget the number of times his name has hogged the headlines for his wins around the globe. He has taken on the best of them in every corner of the globe for 25 years! Imagine, 25 years of concentration!Most people cannot get past 25 months! Hats off to this champion player and making India so proud. Imagine, WORLD CHAMPION. Wow! This great achievement sends inspirational goosebumps down my spine!

Of course, the other genius - VVS Laxman. MY GOD! That's my reaction to the man's displays of genius on a cricket field. Yes, the game of cricket has a far greater fan following in India, compared to chess. But, the number of genius' in the game, is rather small. VVS for me, is sheer genius. He makes the game look so ridiculously easy. I mean, how can somebody be so calm, completely assured, and still play some strokes that are nothing short of magical? It is beyond me as to how this man is able to lift his game to such levels, especially when people have written his epitaph for the millionth time and, when he plays against the Aussies. There must be something about the Aussies that he likes - it just can't be the pace of their bowling or their fear towards him. He just takes them on, in a way, that belies aggression, but is still merciless. I can never forget that 281 that he scored at the Eden Gardens against the Aussies in 2001. That was a seminal innings for me and taught us (not just cricketers, but Indians at large), that we are capable of routing the best in the world.

And today, 200 not out in Delhi by VVS! Same class, same magic, same genius, just getting better with age - something like old wine I guess.

What intrigues me is the similarity between a Viswanathan Anand and a VVS. Both are genius material in their respective spheres. Both hail from normal, middle-class backgrounds in India. Both have nurtured their talents over many years of training and exposure to world arenas. Both have won against the very best in the world, in the most trying of circumstances. Both of them are the best to watch when on song - irrespective of other champions & other people's records, these 2 are sublime to watch. When both of them play their game, I don't feel like doing anything else, simply because, I don't want to miss their magical contributions. It is like sitting on a Saturday afternoon on a hammock, listening to your favourite music, reading your favourite book, and getting merged with nature (assume for a second, that you are on the countryside) - natural, free-flowing, complete & uninhibited talent on song! Classical, too!

Most of all, they are simple south Indians. I am not making any regional statement here (I am all for uniformity); but, at the end of the day, if they get their normal idly or sambar, that is enough for them. But, how many simple south Indians borde such magic?:). That in itself, should be a theme for another blog.

Hats off Vishy! You make me proud as an Indian -world champion! I hope to get your autograph someday in life & a photograph with you, so that I can tell future generations about the first world chess champion that India produced - say it with pride.

And VVS, when you retire, I will get hold of a DVD of all your famous centuries against the Aussies. I just need to relive the word genius, again and again.

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