November 15, 2008

Tikku's Race.........

Today, November the 15th was my 4 year old daughter’s Sports Day at school. When we landed up at the school at 830 AM, I was not sure what to expect in terms of her involvement in the programme. A week back I was given to understand that she was participating in a group song (Nanna Munna Rahi Hoon). I would have rather that my daughter participated in something that was more central to the day’s activities. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when she announced, once we reached the school that she was participating in a “Mix and Match race”. That sounded more like it and all of a sudden there was an air of expectation within me.

By the time her “race” was announced, a few of the younger ones had completed theirs and without exception, each one of them was fun, enjoyable and most importantly, an opportunity for the assembled parents and grand parents to see the world in new light. The absolute joy in the eyes of these children, the NOT over-the-top competitiveness, the camaraderie, the “sporting spirit” which was being very naturally upheld was, to my jaded eyes, an absolute revelation.

And then Tikku and 6 other participants paraded into the arena. I had managed to sneak my way to a vantage point by then and I had a front-on view of the race. I had a couple of minutes to try and understand the sequence that had to be played out by the little ones, which was to be something like this:

1. You pick one of a pair of socks from a box placed at the other end and bring it back and deposit it into an empty box at the end from where you start the race.

2. Do this a couple of times and ensure (with the help of wild cheering and fervent praying by the family) that you have transferred both the pairs into the box (which started out being empty) placed at the starting end.

3. Run (very optimistic because by then there was enough by way of proof that kids lose interest and energy in the pointlessness of this exercise) and collect a folded towel from the other end.

4. Transfer the pairs of socks from the box to the towel, put the towel along with the socks (this was a subtlety that was lost on some of the angels) into the box, close the box (tragically this was also a nuance that was lost on a few) and run to the finishing line.

5. The participant to cross the finishing line the first and to safely hand over the box to the official at the finishing line would get the Gold and the next two, the silver and bronze, respectively.

By this time, I had worked myself to a frenzy trying to fix some odds on Tikku’s performance. I also need to mention here that from then on, I had eyes only on my baby who was in Lane 2. Some of the thoughts that were running in my head at this point:

Oh God, she is so small. compared to the other amazons. She is going to be outstrided

Why is she not focussing intently ( I had visions of 100 M sprinters preparing for an Olympic Final)

She is so distracted that she is not even going to realise when the whistle blows that the race has started

Then I heard a squealy whistle and the race was on !!!!

Tikku had a terrible start. To make matters worse for me, I realised that with she was holding on to her jeans with one hand (she later patiently explained to me that this is her trademark style and had nothing to do with an ineffective elastic). This, in my layman’s perspective was not only impeding her speed, but more importantly, was bringing up ghastly visions of Tikku having to abandon the race midway because of a misbehaving pair of trousers (reminiscent of Madonna in some live concert).

By the time she turned around at the end of Lap 1, she was struggling in fifth position, out of seven participants. Probability of “EVEN” a bronze was going up in smoke. I started thinking of ways of consoling her at the end of the race. She finished Lap 2 and I kind of realised that she had clawed her way upto to 4th. I also realised that I was cheering her wildly from the stands. We were now coming to the end game and all she had to do was to collect the towel, rush back to the box where she had so expertly placed the 2 pairs of socks, unfold the towel and stuff all back into the box.

At this point when I scanned the rest of the field, I realised that Tikku was in medal contention. I have no idea what trigerred this turn of events, but there was my Sweetest, closing the gap with a level of serenity that was reminiscent of Micheal Bevan at the death. She was calm, collected and she was magic with the towel. Before the rest realised, she, almost by sleight of hand had transferred everything into the box, closed the clasp and was beyond catching distance. As for me, I was in a trance. Things happened in a blur after that. She received her medal and was obviously feeling very satisfied with the way things had turned out for her.

At the end of it all, I realised quite a few things that we tend to forget as we get along in our lives.

1. More important than the start is the finish. You can always better your overall performance by finishing strongly.

2. Remain focussed on the job at hand. It does not matter how you are placed competitively as long you are giving it to your best shot.

3. Pace yourself. Life is a marathon and not a 100 M dash.

4. Remain poised in victory (all the kids made me realise this).

5. It does not matter if you have “won” or “lost”. What matters is the conviction that you have given it your all.

6. Back yourself. YOU are the best in the best in the world to do that.

Thank you Tikku for helping me realise all of these. The child is indeed the father of man.


4 Responses to “Race”

  1. Bennita Says:

    Thank you Gani for this fabulous ball by ball account. On hearing of the addition of a gold to Tikku’s chest of silver (I mean her solitary silver medal in last years sports competition), I was extremely disappointed to have missed the momentuous occassion. However, your vivid description of the days events have made me visualise the “race” and learn a few more of life’s lessons………Thanks

  2. sooooooooony Says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmm….. Gunny seems to have managed time for the momenteous event as well has write with such eloquence..

    Bennita………. u r goa house refurbishing is not worth……..missing tikku’s event…..going by gunny’s nail biting commentary…

  3. Sanjeev Says:

    It looks so different from the anger and frustration venting that I do in my race in life…. I will introduce more fun.. Incidentally have you read Fish Omnibus. It is all about fun at work.

    Gani- Maybe you should write a book?

  4. Bennita Ganesh Says:

    Sanjeev, Gani is working on the first draft of the book. Guess who is the protagonist?

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