FEDERER’S RETURN TO TENNIS

The much awaited ATP 1000 Monte Carlo Masters marked the beginning of the clay court season leading into the Roland Garros but for Federer fans, the tournament would stage the return of the former World No 1. The cameras focused on the Swiss, after his 2-month long break due to a knee surgery which saw him miss out on many of his favorite hunting grounds on hard courts.

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He eased past the first 2 rounds beating G. Garcia-Lopez (6-3, 6-4) and R. Bautista Agut (6-2, 6-4) with the precision of a Swiss watch. The hopes of a Federer-Djokovic semifinal clash dashed to the ground when World No. 55, Jiri Vesley sent Novak Djokovic packing in the second round of the Tournament.

Federer was now pitted with the heavy-built Jo-Wilfred Tsonga who had quietly made his way to the quarterfinals through his powerful trademark tennis.

The Swiss took the early advantage by sending an exquisite backhand down the line to take go up 2-1 in the first set. The French came back later for the equalizer. The 7th game at 3-3 proved to be the deciding point in the first set with a well-timed approach shot giving Federer the break, who later took the first set 6-3.

The second set saw Tsonga play with much dominance and authority .Federer did try to lengthen the set by breaking him in the sixth game, but could not quell the Frenchman’s fire as he took the second set 6-2.

The finesse of Federer against the hard-hitting Tsonga got the crowds going as they cheered every point in the third set. With the rallies getting longer, no player was ready to heave the first sigh. At 4-4, Federer leading 15-0, passed a majestic return to pave the way for a break to lead 5-4 and serve for the match. 2 points away from victory at 30-15, Roger lost his way to concede a break to Tsonga to make it 5-5. Poor selection of shots and a predictable approach-to-the-net play saw Federer losing the break to Tsonga to go down 6-5.The Frenchman calmly served out to win 3-6 6-2 7-5 and record his sixth win over Federer to make it 11-6 head-to-head.

Tsonga now goes on to play fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the semifinals.

Federer, ever optimistic, had only positives to speak of his game, “It was a good match. It was nice to play an intense match. I’m happy [with] how the body reacted. So many good things this week. It’s all positive for me.

“Number one, it’s good to play a tournament after having had surgery. Number two, it was good to play one match. It was good to have a match with a rest, then to play again. Now it was good to play back-to-back, yesterday and today. Then it was good to play 2 hours 10 [minutes] today.”

The third set proved to be a reminder that even for a consummate pro like Federer, pressure situations can prove too much handle unless one has some games behind him.

It would not be long though before we see Roger playing his best tennis, presenting the innumerable tricks up his sleeve (the much awaited Sneak Attack By Roger – SABR on clay courts), that earn him the title of the Swiss Maestro.

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Have we become slaves to Technology?

The dark clouds hovered above and I sat in my couch joyfully watching the breathtaking final of another major tennis grand slam. I had been looking forward to this day since the past two weeks and I could not allow anyone spoil it. Suddenly, bang. The prophetic misfortune had hit me. A strong gust of wind had snapped the power line down the road and I was left wretched in the darkness of the day. I was furious and disturbed. “Why can’t we have simply the perfect technology which can work under any condition, no matter what?” I asked myself. Why do we have to submit to nature and not be allowed a life of our own choice? This is a simple question, but perhaps it is the very reason we today ask ourselves “have we become slaves of technology?”

Human spirit has been an indomitable one. An urge to conquer all that is within its range is its driving instinct from birth to death. This iron-willed human endeavor has led to all major human developments and is responsible for the changes that we see today, but perhaps it is time we observed ourselves in the mirror which history holds up to us and give a deeper thought to our actions. Greed is what that has led to wars amongst humans from time to time. The intoxicating pill of lust and power was swallowed and it was not long before all hell broke loose. The above, reasons as to why the demand for technology was created and why it still remains so tightly attached to our world.  The topic in discussion here demands more depth for it is a direct attack on the faculties of human nature.

Our hearts and minds today are controlled by technology, thus we stand under the category of slaves at the mercy of technology. When man created technology, it was considered the greatest feat of mankind for it was considered the product of intelligence bequeathed to us by nature, but perhaps our obsession has led to our demise .Today we commonly see people indulged in their own little worlds which technology creates for them. They are entombed in the virtual world where they are bound by the invisible shackles of so-called connectivity. Over-dependency on anything is vice .Where once we were the masters of technology, we have been trapped in its deceptive beauty .The eagerness to see the future through the eyes of technology has robbed us of the joys of living in the present. Where technology was developed to unite the world, today we see it as the source of invisible boundaries. One cannot fail to notice how young parents today leave their children at the mercy of electrical gadgets. Technology has made terms like care, concern and compassion, just that, nothing more than a bunch of letters in a dictionary.

Technology has succeeded in conquering the minds and hearts of many a man. A person is supposed to use the superior faculties endowed by nature to understand fellow humans .A human being is not a brain, a heart, a mouth and body but is a composition of all these highly sophisticated faculties which gives him the honor of calling upon himself as the most complex organism of the world. Technology might convey our thoughts through messages but will never recreate the depth of human voice, emotions and the power of body language. When humans treat fellow beings not as ends but merely as means, we break the string of attachment which ties all humanity and blurs our very existence in this universe.

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Man is mortal .This has no proof but is only observable by the very state of surroundings around us. When we feel that things are beyond understanding of the human brain, nature is proclaimed the divine adjudicator. The spectacles which nature offers are non-paralleled from what we recreate through technology. The cooing off a nightingale on a starry night offers more serenity and solace, irreproducible with all the sound features technology offers than listening to recorded sounds on the internet. These are but gentle reminders of our relationship with nature, beckoning that we must accept what nature has as gifts and not as our rights. The image which nature conjures through its many astounding processes are still beyond human understanding and perhaps their very beauty lies in our inability to comprehend the message .The cipher is the message alone. There is no wonder camping and hiking amidst the folds of nature still remain one of the best methods of refreshment and seeking peace, which is absent in city life.

Our present situation can be compared to the man on a high paced treadmill who has reached tipping point and might tumble at the smallest increase of speed. We have discovered avenues for knowledge in every field and our quest to understand nature still continues, but perhaps we have lost the reason for indulging in this project. It is time we looked back and analyzed our actions and consequences. Avenues for development have expanded exponentially with each field of research creating its own field and so on ad infinitum. We mar what already has been given to us and then through the use of technology try to improve the case in hand. It is nothing less than the case of going two steps back and one step ahead. It was this never satisfying hunger which led to destruction in the first place but instead of forsaking technology or reducing its use, we aim to develop newer technology to counteract the process. The case of world-War 2 is a glaring example of the above statement. This was also the period of maximum advances in technology. Even today billions of dollars are spent in military funding, only to encourage technological advancement. This technological development is specifically what damages the fabric of nature and human life. The greatest weakness of human nature, its thirst for power and luxury has allowed technology to penetrate through and become one with our lives.

 

Technology undoubtedly has captivated human mind more strongly than any other revolution, but perhaps it is time we reassess as to what the purpose was for its creation. If we continue to tread this path of human devastation, that day is not far when we become nothing more than robots, pumping materialistic value to the strongest abstract concepts which nature had granted us- love, hope and sacrifice. The mire of technology is sucking this generation and perhaps it is only through the helping hands of the wise shall we be able to plant and nurture the seeds of humanity within our hearts.

A man who has no inner life is a slave to his surroundings

AN ESSAY ON:

THE MAN WHO HAS NO INNER LIFE IS A SLAVE TO HIS SURROUNDINGS (QUOTE BY FREDERICK AMIEL)

I looked out of the window to watch the trees speeding past me and the glorious sun setting down with its orange hue spread across the farmlands. The solitude and the warmth of the scene left me at the disposal of my thoughts. Times like these where calmness and tranquility prevails , present to us the opportunity to ponder over our feelings ,our thoughts ,the events which have shaped and defined us ,the blend of these conscious feelings is what Frederic Amiel refers to be our inner life. The saying of Amiel is one magnificent pearl which the sea of philosophy treasures and so carefully hides, only to be uncovered by the wisest of mortals.

Joseph Butler, a great English philosopher believed in the existence and presence of a mental faculty gifted to every human being which he referred to as conscience. He advocated that every creature of nature possessed this ability to contemplate his own actions or retrospect any act that he might have performed .This I believe forms the central core to the term “inner life “.Along  with this, all the doubts which the mind holds, all the future actions which he proposes and the consequences which he mulls over is what encompasses a person’s inner life .It can be defined in abstract terms as being a  definitive set of morals or principles which act as a compass during all times of duress and happiness, but inner life is not all about the might of the mind .

Life is meaningless without the existence of the most vital part of human life, the heart .The power of the mind although subtle very often leads it to overpowering the mind. A person whose mind and heart does not constitute such feelings or emotions can be rightly said to be a victim of all external happenings around him and devalues the greatest gift which God has given us -the life of a human being.

We often remark on how the quality of a person’s life is determined by the hard work he puts in or the amount of resources bequeathed to him but the greater factor which seems as an invisible hand directing our life is attitude. In the words of the great Carl Jung, attitude “is the readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way.” Attitude, without doubt, is one of the important factors governing success in one’s life .Our perception, or way of sensing things around us and the set of thoughts our mind factory produces at perceiving a particular situation, is dependent on our attitude. Attitude is what allows a person to cross seemingly insurmountable barriers and leave an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of one and all.

The example of Sergei Bubka, the Ukrainian athlete who broke his own record 35 times is in itself sufficient to gauge the power of attitude. Had he run his life according to the whims and fancies of the society and the people around him, one can be certain that he would never have been able to muster the strength, courage and the determination to achieve the unprecedented.

Be it the mountaineers who have conquered Mt Everest or the adventurous who, every day, explore the unknown, each person who wishes to leave a trail in this magnificent world of opportunities and challenges goes through the tough process of nurturing his inner life and polishing his attitude. It is as if nature beckons men to try their mental might and use her as a whetstone by facing the trials and tribulations which it presents and thus help themselves to be that shining diamond which awaits each one’s destiny. People who have obtained completed dominion over fear, live a satisfying inner life for they have mastered their mind and the” external surroundings” no longer deter them from accomplishing their ambitions. It is complete faith in one’s abilities which allows him/her to follow the dreams which although contrary to the norms of the society, are led by optimism which stems from their inner life.

The success stories of the greatest and the most contented people on earth have always been traced to their childhood. Hence, one is tempted to say that if one’s inner life is shaped by the influence of the society around him and by the ideology of the company he keeps, then how does one define inner life? Shouldn’t people who have been brought up in the same environment and have had similar upbringings have the same quality of inner life? No, for I believe the wiser person is the one who is able to introspect over his mistakes, learn from them and constantly look for means and methods on improving his inner life. An insightful person never squanders an opportunity to gain wisdom from the minutest of incidents.

At the end, I would just like to resound the captivating moral deduced from the cockroach story by Sundar Pichai, where he demonstrates that one should not react but respond.   The life which we create for ourselves is a sum total of our thoughts, biases, and perceptions. When we respond, we allow the surroundings to be a part of ourselves. This union between the two is what Frederick Amiel advocates. The day one decides to break free from the shackles of isolationism that is the day he would truly appreciate his very existence in this human world.

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