The Prince and the Pauper

Life is a matter of a chance. It is something that happens to you while you are busy planning it. On so many occasions yours truly has found himself on the top of the game, but yet hasn’t managed to hit the spittoon. I have been so near yet so far on countless occasions. The lacerations of failure have been more mental than physical. The wounds go deep into the soul and the pain is unbearable. The world is not a fair place but that doesn’t stop one from trying, does it? It is the innate optimism that gives yours truly the courage to survive, and ironically it is also responsible for prolonging his ordeal. But, life has taught yours truly well to anticipate surprises. It’s not always that the luck eludes an individual because the wheel of fortune despite its natural bias has a hidden element of surprise. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in our society and the only thing that matters is ‘success’, by hook or crook. ‘Failure’ is like a slow death and those who embrace it are ostracized for ever.

It is said that ‘fortune favors the brave’, but in the contemporary context a more apt saying would be: ‘fortune favors the opportunist’. Yes, yours truly has finally learnt the art of opportunism. I have become an opportunist of the highest order. Despite all the malice and cunning that flows through yours truly, the sense of virtue and righteousness still reigns supreme. My ardent readers must know that yours truly is still shy of becoming a reprobate, a quintessential parasite. According to the conventional definition, an opportunist is someone who grabs on to every possible opportunity that comes his way. But, I must tell my ardent readers that it’s not opportunism, but desperation of the worst kind. Opportunism, oh my ardent readers, is more about weighing one’s options. It’s also about manipulating and creating circumstances that create worthy opportunities. Opportunism has nothing to do with boot licking or sycophancy on the face of it, but it’s rather about making people experience a sense of superiority so as to make them yield what otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Opportunism is about creating a sense of mirage which, if not executed properly, can serve to be a double-edged sword. Opportunism is more about putting oneself at a point of vantage rather than jeopardizing the chances of others. But, the quintessential parasites often fail to discern these nuances and end up paying the price for their insolence.

Oh my ardent readers, yours truly has a great confession to make! Yours truly has another weakness, other than Cinema and Writing, something that yours truly can hardly resist. I have been a great motorsport enthusiast all my life. Yours truly’s Formula 1 dream goes back to the late 90s when he had once inexplicably got glued to the TV set on a fine Sunday afternoon. Since then the dream had lived on and had become yours truly’s greatest obsession. The obsession got a bit subdued with the retirement of yours truly’s idol, Michael Schumacher, back in 2006. Even his return couldn’t resuscitate the same sense of excitement, but the day yours truly heard about the confirmation of the Indian GP, he felt the same sense of frenzy that he used to experience in the good old days of Hakkinen-Schumacher rivalry. As the race weekend approached near yours truly’s anxiety reached its pinnacle as he got busy making the necessary preparations for the big weekend. Sometimes the preparation is not limited to making itineraries and arranging the paraphernalia, but it also requires a kind of mental and psychological make-up. And that, my ardent readers, is the toughest part. Yours truly could hardly sleep as he struggled to keep a check on his frenzy, but like any resilient parasite—not to be confused with a quintessential one—he endured. Resilience can often turn out to be more rewarding than one can imagine. Yours truly did finally manage to reap the benefits. The three-day Formula 1 experience at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) turned out to the single most fascinating thing of yours truly life. Yes, my ardent readers, there was zip, there was zap, and there was zoom! The enthusiasts were greeted at the circuit by the deafening sound of the Formula 1 engines.

The three days at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix provided yours truly with completely different vantages. While the first day had yours truly stranded among the ruck in the Natural Stand South, the second day saw yours truly climb up the ladder to the Classic Stand North. It was the on the third day that yours truly experienced a sense of imperial majesty as he was presented with an opportunity to experience the race from Premium Stand North, the stand next to the Grand Stand. It was the opportunism that came to yours truly’s rescue after an average show on the practice day as yours truly deliberately refused to say ‘no’ to the exchange offers that came his way on the second and the third day. The saving grace on the first day was undoubtedly the bike-ride to the Buddh International Circuit, as rest of the day’s proceedings failed to impress yours truly. The greatest turn off by far were the exorbitant food prices in the stands. The second day was all about the barter that catapulted yours truly to a point of great vantage just above the turn number 3. An Angel offered to swap his tickets with yours truly in a bid to spend the day with the other members of his clan in the commoner’s Stand. I could sense the wheel of fortune acting of its own accord. Needless to say, yours truly accepted the irresistible offer with rapturous glee as gesture of respect to the whim of the wheel of fortune. The third day saw yours truly managing to negotiate a Force India flag from a bunch of young, highly enthusiastic Formula 1 fans outside the gate number 10. Being fully aware that the lightening doesn’t strike twice at the same place, yours truly was having a tough time dealing with his innate sense of optimism. Riding high on luck, I was hopeful that a better deal was just round the corner. My ardent readers, the lightening did strike twice at the same place and in a much intensified manner! The apparition of yet another Angel was too overwhelming even for someone of yours truly’s optimism. This time round the barter was even bigger as it presented yours truly with an opportunity to be as close to the elusive Paddock as someone of yours truly’s mediocrity could imagine. The opportunity was not to be wasted and was used to full effect by yours truly and his companion, whom yours truly had ditched on the inaugural day in a bid to actualize his F1 dream.

After a fun-filled race day, the dreamlike experience was finally over. It was a long walk back to the mediocre existence that yours truly had almost forgotten about under the effect of a newly found opiate. The sublime had once again made way for the mundane, but it did leave yours truly with a great sense of fulfillment and an even stronger belief that ‘One Must Dream Big’ because it doesn’t take long for the wheel of fortune to make a ‘pauper’ out of a ‘prince’ and vice-versa.
Posted by Murtaza Ali at 12:09 AM

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About A Potpourri of Vestiges

Murtaza Ali is an independent film critic, sports writer, and content developer based out of Delhi. He is the author of the movie blog ‘A Potpourri of Vestiges’. He has been writing movie reviews at IMDb.COM for over four years. He is also associated with F1India.ORG as a content editor. Cinema is not only his passion, but also his greatest obsession. His all-time favorite movie-makers are Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Luis Bunuel, Andrei Tarkovsky, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Fritz Lang, Sergio Leonne, Francis Ford Cuppola, and Martin Scorsese.
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