Oct 25, 2012

India's Got Talent... And Then What???

I have been following the latest season of India's Got Talent on Colors. Some of the talents exhibited have left me spellbound and awestruck. Not to mention the wannabe 'I have Talent too' kinds who leave me wanting to surf channels.

Some of my favourites include the aerial acts performed by Circus artists Tania and Mukesh, the top-view act put up by the group that calls themselves Talent Scan, Acrobatic Boys and their super cool stunts, Toshan Nongbet - the Opera Singer from Shillong and Air Group that left me in the dark, literally :). These and a few others, including the archers and the magicians, were absolutely brilliant.

It is a pleasure to watch these people personify talent, without any frills attached like in the movies. Everything happens for real without any special effects, stunt replacements etc. It actually makes me want to whisper 'India's Got Talent' at the end of each show!

However, there's a flip side to all this. This show and several similar other ones play a huge role in showcasing the wealth of talent our fellow Indians have. Though it makes me proud I am also left wondering why we have been unable to harness these talents and skills and 'take it to the next level'.

Almost every judge on every reality talent contest aired on TV uses the cliched term 'take it to the next level' while commenting on performances. Sadly though this only translates to doing even better in the next episode of their show. I am left wondering why this next level is limited to the airtime of these reality shows and never beyond that. When there is so much talent why do we not see it being represented internationally? Why do we end up applauding ourselves secretly? Why are we not screaming out loud about the numerous talents we can proudly boast about?

During the Olympics, there were articles about how China has rigorous and inhuman training schools for little kids to learn and master Gymnastics. We need not be as medal-hungry as that. However, it hurts to see how we are wasting a whole lot of talent. It hurts to see how we yearn for miracles to happen at the Olympics. It hurts to see that we return home counting our medals on our fingertips while others have gone way past three digit figures. Is it not ashaming, given the billion mark that we have crossed??

What is it then that leaves us behind? Training? Fitness? Sponsorship? Talent itself???

I am sure we all agree that we have a power packed storehouse of talents amongst us. What is missing really is recognizing it, harnessing it, nurturing it and literally, taking it to the next level.

Archery is something that is prevalent and associated with India right from the mythical eras of Ramayana and Mahabharata. What makes it impossible for us to earn some confident wins then at the Olympics? Why do we have to have our fingers crossed and wish for Lady Luck to play her part each time an Indian archer sets his arrow off the bow?? In one of the talent show episodes, I watched a group of amateur archers wowing the judges and audiences with their bow and arrow antics. They were nearly brilliant and got mixed responses from the judges. They may eventually get voted or buzzed out of the show. But their talent remains. Is someone watching? Someone who can help them take it to the next level?

Most of the participants come from small villages. The boys of Acrobatic Boys belong to a small town in Haryana. Each of their parents are daily wage labourers. Earning enough for two square meals for the family is itself a challenge. It is impossible for these helpless parents to empower their children with professional training in a sport as elite as Gymnastics. However this ambitious and determined group has come together and somehow formed a team that learns gymnastics and helps others learn it too. Very basic infrastructure coupled with the desire to excel has kept them going so far. They dream to flip and vault at the Olympics some day. But is that possible? Circus artists Tanya and Mukesh twist and turn like they have no bones. They have spent years captivating audiences at Gemini Circus. But will they ever get an applause at the 'next level'?? Are we playing blind to the very obvious fact that these bundles of talent can potentially win India medals at the Olympics? The Chinese were termed inhuman for what they are doing. What do we have to say to what we are doing?

I have my fingers and toes crossed for magic to happen. For some bottled genie to help these dreams turn into reality.

The obvious genie would be our Government. But sadly though its full of self obsessed demons and monsters. Expecting genie-like magic from them is too far-fetched an expectation. I think it makes more sense to leave them clear their own mess and for us to do our own thing.

Maybe huge brands can spot upcoming talent and sponsor them to train better and win accolades. I am sure creating a Saina Nehwal or MS Dhoni is more rewarding than using an already established Saina or Dhoni to flaunt their products.

Maybe the judges on these shows could do their bit too. Maybe the celebrity stars who make special appearances on these shows to promote their latest flick and appreciate talent (in that order) could do their bit to make their appearance literally 'special'. Parting with hard-earned money may not come easily to anyone as an individual. So it would be unfair to expect that these stars make monetary contributions to encourage talent. But maybe they could pick on a couple of talents and decide to be their brand ambassadors for free. May not bring them life-long product supplies. But it could mean the world to our caged talents. Publicity for these small starlets could attract bigger organizations, creating an opportunity for monetary backing too. I am not saying money is everything, however we cannot deny the fact that it is the money that can help buy better training, better fitness and more importantly a chance to compete as equals with others across the world.

In our own way we could possibly help by popularizing these talents as much as we can. A recent example I could think of is PSY's Gangnam style. He is all over the internet, language playing no barrier. It would be unjust for someone like me to comment on dancing, given the fact that I was born with two left feet. But I would still risk it and go on.  I am sure any real dancer would agree that PSY's dance moves are not the prettiest of moves. Without the music and the lyrics you would have possibly passed off his moves to be clumsy and weird. What makes it a hit is the that it's simply catchy as a package... catchy enough to be the the latest 'most viewed video on YouTube'. Very similar to the Kolaveri craze we experienced couple of months ago.

Maybe we could play our part by identifying talents that deserve to be nurtured and publicize them by helping them attract eyeballs on the Internet. With so many social networking tools at our disposal, all it would take is a a few clicks here and there. Once it becomes a craze online, the rest will only follow.

The more people viewing these talents will only help spread the word, attract potential sponsors and make it catchy too. And who knows... we may see the Carribean boys celebrate their next T20 World Cup Win Party with some acrobatic stunts and magical illusions :)

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Oct 10, 2012

Will It Make It To The List?

With movies like The Bucket List, Dasvidaniya and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara doing the rounds for years, you will more often than not come across people listing out their personal Bucket Lists - on either one form of social networking or the other. Blogs to the effect of '10 things to do before you die' have been the in thing for a long while now.

I have always been inspired to publish my Bucket List... but have somehow not bothered to take out time for it. Maybe I am lazy, maybe I am not managing my time well enough, or maybe I am hesitating to publish my only item on the list that I would want to do before I die - 'To prepare my Bucket List' (and obviously live to see it materialize!) :P

I am not quite up to getting this list published as yet. I need some more nudging and pushing. I also need to spend some time and prioritize my wish list - just to make sure what I desire the most gets due attention before the cliched 'bucket' is kicked!

For the moment, I am listing out random thoughts that are screaming out loudly enough to ensure they make it to my coveted list. Maybe I can refer to this list later when I get down to preparing 'The List'.

Make My Trip
I wish to travel to every corner of India and if I am done with that, then possibly nearby countries and eventually the rest of the world. I want to meet people of all kinds, eat all kinds of vegetarian cuisine, experience all the must-do's and must-see's of all the places I visit, take loads of pictures (it's been ages since I had photo updates on FB :P) etc. Basically this one's about realizing the freedom of being able to experience everyone and everything that has been created around me.

Chit Chaat
Another of my wishes is to satiate my appetite for Indian chaats, leaving no plate unturned :P. From all the details I have collected so far Indore's street food and chaats seem to top the list. So for the moment the plan is to travel down to Indore for a day long chaat experience and catch the last train back home :)

Are the Roads Ready for Me???
This has been a long pending wish. I wish to play Roadrash... real time!!! Several strings attached though. I should be allowed to drive as I please on roads and terrains of my choice. I should be allowed to switch between a whole array of automobiles that should be available at my disposal. I should be allowed to drive and ride at speeds of my choice. I should not be held responsible for all the bloodshed I cause en-route. I should be allowed to choose the people who would trespass my route so that I enjoy the bloodshed I cause (I barely knew I had a 'wicked me' hidden within :P) !!!

Trucking Along
This one's a more sober wish if pitted against my Realtime Roadrash wish above. I wish to drive a huge truck on an empty road. The truck must be fully loaded with goods to make the drive a tough and slow one. I don't know why I fancy this idea but I want to do it. Maybe I'll know why, when I do it eventually. I did forget though, to mention that the empty roads should have a couple of dhabas that dish out lip-smacking homely food. This will help me complete the whole truck driver experience :)

Winged Wish
This one is a rather simple and relatively achievable wish. I wish to fly a helicopter and am also OK with flying as a passenger. I'd rather leave the technicalities to more experienced hands to ensure I live to see my other wishes materialize :) I want to fly around places I visit by road otherwise and get a birds eye view of all those places. 

Super Powers
I so badly wish I am blessed with some superhuman powers to set right a few things and a lot of people around me. It hurts to feel helpless in daily situations where some 'strangely blessed' people get away with their ways. Whether it is a government servant not doing his duties, or a corrupt politician busy filling his coffers, or an educated idiot breaking traffic rules on the road, I wish not to feel helpless the next time I come across these kinds. I would like to have some superhero-like powers to be able to teach them a lesson. For starters, maybe, I should have the option of picking them up and hurling them onto some other planet... without a return ticket attached!!! 

Get Published
A very far-fetched wish this one. I would possibly surprise myself if this one materializes some day. But I still would like to fancy the idea of getting published in this lifetime. After all, 'Thoughts become Things'!!! :) I want people to purchase my paperbacks off bookstore shelves and I want to see my husband smile at them  with pride. He has been instrumental in getting me to dream big and get this one on to my wish list. Seeing him see me realize this wish means a lot to me, even more than getting published itself :)

Big Applause
Another crazy wish I have is to be able to get a stadium full of Indian cricket fans to cheer for me like they do for an India-Pakistan match. I am ready to practice a bit of cricket, try some rare shots like the Dhoni Helicopter or the Sehwag Uppercut or any other cricketing gimmick that will get the audience to roar in applause and cheer for me. I have no clue why I wished this one up, guess the self-obsessed narcissist in me got me to do it :)

I guess I am done for now. I think I should rather spend some time looking for brass lamps that I can rub out a Genie from. I am very sure it is going to take a Genie of sorts to get most of these wishes to materialize :)

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