The evolution of tradition - The New Indian Express

The evolution of tradition

Published: 18th November 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 15th November 2012 03:18 PM

Heart and craft

When a person is instrumental in changing the face and sound of music by mastering the art of sculpting, assembling, tuning the instrument according to the needs of the times and the great maestros he is “selling” instruments to, he acquires the status of no less than a guru. Delhi-based Sanjay Rikhiram, son of world-renowned instrument maker Late Bishan Dass Sharma, has given the greatest musicians of the world the instruments they perform. He does it with utter responsibility towards music. Rikhiram has given Pandit Ravi Shankar a unique sitar for his frail shoulder; Niladri Kumar the Zitar; Amaan Ali Khan the E-rode (the electric form of the sarod); Pandit Bhajan Sopori his very unique santoor with the special drone strings for playing the meend; and Anoushka’s son Zubin a mini sitar. He is passing the art of instrument making to his sons. 

Mind before Mmedals

Medals are won in the mind before they are aimed at over a dream. Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang needs immaculate mental focus. In 2006, Narang got associated with Vaibhav Agashe, a motivational guru and sports psychologist. Agashe, a former crime branch officer, helps Narang’s mind wander from the goal–winning a medal. Narang spent the crucial 45 minutes with Agashe, playing “secret video games” before going for his final medal-winning shots. “It was a crazy moment. Narang was under immense pressure. I had to avoid acknowledging it through my body language. He is an intelligent shooter and does anything to perform better. He wouldn’t mind going for the bio-feed at any given odd point of time. I would strap his fingers with tapes in order to check his impulses and reactions on the monitor and he would continue shooting.”

Stick with it

Sometimes frustration over the “system” or the lack of it turns a coach into a guru. Arjun Awardee and former hockey skipper Jude Felix Sebastian is one of the many coaches who feel defeated and saddened by the giddying downfall of the sport owing to commotion at the administration level for decades. In 2009, when he was in Singapore for a plum coaching assignment, Sebastian decided he must do more than complaining about the sad state of affairs. He set up a hockey academy to train under-privileged children from St. Mary’s orphanage in Bangalore’s Cooke Town. “It was always on the back of my mind. Among the people ready to help were former players like my friend Shanmugham, Vipin Fernandes, Dhanraj Pillay, Lynn Aiyappa and many others.” Today, he has 70-odd kids training under him and has a tournament to help his own trainees compete.

Diet another day

For  the two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar, buffalo milk was the only power potion and beverage until he learnt that Bangalore-based nutritionist Ryan Fernandez had more options to offer. Kumar is a vegetarian and prefers a steady supply of beet root juice and potassium rich foods like peaches, nuts and bananas when he is training or competing. Fernandez guided Kumar over a strict diet chart. He dabbles with diet problems of performing athletes and the “urban aam aadmi” with help from trainees. He builds nutrition and supplementation strategy around the athletes’ genetics, biochemistry and sport. Fernandez says, “Athletes are the most disciplined with their diet plan. Their pursuit is self-motivated from a very young age; they follow nutrition plans to the last dot. We roll out an Olympic nutrition plan that has various components.”

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