Saturday, 4 June 2016

Part of me died today

Slowly the death of Mohammad Ali is sinking into my consciousness. He was an integral part of one's world view and innate existence for about 53 years since he shot into fame by knocking out Liston. He exuded total confidence in his talent and was so poetically articulate. His intelligence was indeed of a high order though he hardly crossed class 10. It took a lot indeed to rise above the apartheid ridden life he had to face
 in his early years. Indeed he was a multi faceted genius.

Yes indeed a dear part of me has died today. Death is a gradual process which does not come the day we are clinically dead. For most as we grow, parts of us keep dying starting with the demise of parents, near ones, icons and idols we worship. We basically are a summation of all the people in our lives who have contributed to the creation of our psyche and physical being. The list of such people may be long. But the same 20/80 principal works here. So there are a few who have made a profound impact in our lives. Each time any of them leave a part of us dies.

Ali had something ineffable and magical about him. He really made a difference to millions of lives. He strode like a colossus on the world stage inspite of his Parkinson. He was no ordinary mortal who would have been ravaged by the debilitating disease. He sheer genius struck all. He transcended the sport boxing which catapulted him to global fame. Indeed for one brief shining moment there was the lyrical grace of a butterfly which uplifted our drab lives.

Ali shot into fame in the 60s which was indeed perhaps the last golden decade for us. 60s gave us so many gigantic icons like Kennedy's, Beatles, Ali, Martin Luther King, Doors, Rolling Stones, Rod Laver, Gary Sobers, Pele....especially for people like us born in the fifties, those two decades will always be our best. With future shock, since the 60s the rate of change is getting progressively telescoped. Hence the mind space impact of the 60s was much more indelible. In most fields the superstars who emerged after the 60s appear puny by comparison.

Since then we live in devalued times. Also with hyper competition there are too many competitors and the marginal value of the more recent entrants is lower. With proliferation of media, technology there is too much of offerings competing for our limited mind space. Hence in this clutter very few can rise head over shoulders over the rest in order to capture our attention. Yes as capitalism matures all heroes are also commoditised without any soul and unique humanness which can occupy our soul mind space.

Most of the heroes today a extremely plastic and sugar coated. We too in view of the mass factory production of heroes, know that these are throwaway heroes who will not lasts the test of time. Newer models pop up every few months which replace the earlier models. Heroes now are not built to last like Ali. 

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