The repeated appeals of Romesh Mahajan, Project Director of the 30-bed Red Cross de-addiction centre on the Gurdaspur-Sri Hargobindpur road, to the administration to provide him a generator have fallen on deaf ears. His letter written to MP Sunny Deol, too, has evinced no interest. His contention is that addicts who come for rehabilitation are already on tenterhooks. The repeated outages only add to their misery. Mahajan says ex-MP Vinod Khanna was kind enough to give a grant from his MPLAD funds. However, much to the dismay of Mahajan, Khanna had to be hospitalised following cancer and hence his grant could not see the light of day. “My priority has always been to make the life of patients comfortable. However, in summer months things go awry when the power board comes up with repeated cuts. This makes the life of my patients difficult. I once again request our MP to sanction a grant of Rs 3 lakh so that we can purchase a generator set,” said Mahajan. Is Sunny Deol listening?
Football’s giant leap into an art form
The dichotomy is too glaring to be missed. A backward Gurdaspur has certainly embraced the nuances of modern day football. Interest in the T20 cricket world cup was at a high. In the soccer world cup, it got elevated a notch higher. Both the fan and the fanatic remained glued to the TV, watching keenly the deft maneuvers on the field. FIFA has done well to take the gift of the game to every possible nook and cranny of a world torn between tradition and Twitter, between the archaic and modernity. The cup was a competition played between ambitious and hungry teams. Match-fixing is a word alien to the world of soccer. Indeed, football was a passion at play. The Russians may have continued to bombard Ukraine but for the duration of the tournament, nobody cared. The ball had replaced the missile. The occasion was big, so was the stage. It was a celebration of sport, a celebration of life. In some encounters, the game took a giant leap from being a mere sport to a rare art form. The results seemed to be insignificant. What mattered were the tactics and techniques deployed by teams to outwit each other. It was a delight to see the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Saka, Sterling, Mbappe, Casemiro, Cody Gakpo, Richarlison and Harry Mcguire writing poetry on the field. Lokesh Vimal Shukla, a Pathankot sports teacher, hit the nail on the head when he said that “the beautiful game was all about ordinary men having extraordinary sporting gifts.” Shukla reminded us that we are so neck deep into the end-results that the fun, frolic and the thrill associated with winning and the fine tragedy of losing have been lost on us. Agreed, the result may be important but winning and losing are purely incidental. For just any appreciation, the canvas must be much larger. We have to value the effort a player makes to hoodwink a goalkeeper while taking a penalty from a distance of 11 meters. We should not see the missed chances of Messi, we must see his genius as he body-feigns the goaltender before caressing the ball into the netting with sublime grace. When Ronaldo unleashes his breathtakingly brilliant skills upfront, we are momentarily transported into a different world, a world full of magic realism. The line between reality and fiction gets blurred as we savour his effort. It is indeed a dream come true to see him time and again wrong-footing the custodian. We must understand that years and years of painstaking practice has gone into the player’s effort to score. The Cup has proved that football is contagious, infecting one supporter, then another, then the next until it becomes an epidemic. The championship has taught one thing for sure. That life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. Sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can. Ask any Moroccan player, or for that matter any Croat, and he will vouch for this.
(contributed by Ravi Dhaliwal)