Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


An Alien Heart

This is an article that is self-aware. It acknowledges the fact that it's a written piece of work; acknowledges that it has an audience, or hopes it does; recognises that there is hence, a writer involved. This is not a work of fiction, except for bits edited to make the writer look less insane, less prone to the judgement of critics. This is an article that thrives on the prospect of being self-serving, narcissistic, self-righteous, and some more of those self-followed-by-a-hyphen words that the writer can't think up now, and yet, it's scared of being too naked in the eyes of its readers, especially when they can turn out to be people the writer knows. There's only so much of the truth you want people to know, despite it being an indirect medium of passive confrontation.

Second paragraph: the readers are probably wondering what the hell this article is about. It's about a lot of things that people of this age go through, the writer presumes, and things the writer has visited quite often through his previous work because he was too much of a coward to confront the people involved regarding those matters. There's the eternally ubiquitous Misery, his parents Sadness and Love, his brother Doubt, his sister Hope, his children Solitude and Masochism and Pain. There are other relatives and sub-relatives that are more fickle. The writer apologises for the predominant use of masculine pronouns, but the writer is male and currently has a grudge against the opposite gender for reasons that will be made clear shortly.

As we delve further in, approaching the third paragraph, it's going to be more about how misunderstood this writer is. Oh my, big surprise there. Aren't all writers misunderstood? He's an artist, after all. Boo freakin' hoo. This writer was lying down in bed forcing himself to not drown in his latest bout of misery when he came up with the idea to write this gem. Let's back up a bit here: recently, for the last five months or so, the writer has been waking up with this strangely panicky heart, almost as if it was going to beat right out of his chest, thrashing against his rib cage. Yes, we all know that sounds highly melodramatic, but that's just how the writer feels every day when he wakes up. It would take an immense amount of will power each morning to force himself to get up, out of bed and into daily life. Surprise, surprise. The self-proclaimed 'artist' now has so much Pain in his life. What is he going to do next, cut off his ear? Hang himself? Use his dad's shotgun to blow his head open? This writer is such a cliché. The pages are stained with the fruits of his oh-so-amazing originality, aren't they?

So why is he so intertwined with Misery? Well, for one, he just wasted four hundred and fifty words of an allocated maximum of one thousand talking about nothing at all. He's thinking if it was too big a build-up, if he should go back and edit it, shorten it, but that isn't something you'd know, now would you? But he doesn't, he's too lazy to edit it. Though, subconsciously, he suspects, it's maybe because he believes he's so good he doesn't need editing.

Enough tangents: we're near the six-hundred-word mark and if he doesn't get whatever's eating at him soon enough, he'll have to do the editing he so despises. But it's so hard to compile so much Misery into so few words. He feels he could write novels based on just that. What does he say first? How concise should he be without being misunderstood, as always? Should he start with Love? The women? Maybe that's the best place to start, as readers will know, he's consistently written about them and how much Pain they've brought down on him.

At this point he's thinking how to not make this into a misogynistic foray into self-pity, but if he is a self-pitying misogynist, there really isn't much to be done about it. The writer has always believed he's treated women well, with respect, with as much love as he could muster (Should he start using parentheses for random thoughts now?). Then why do they treat him continuously like dirt, with platonic love, with betrayal? Sometimes, he doesn't even have any right to feel betrayed. Yet, it hurts, it hurts so much, and he has no claim to that Pain whatsoever. Their departure is constant, towards the less-deserving, and they cripple him.

Then there comes the concept of belonging. His head is filled with paradoxes. He wants to belong, but sometimes, he feels he would have it no other way. There's so much Solitude he has to encounter, mountains of Loneliness (first cousin) and Depression (third cousin twice removed), it's suffocating at times, but there's comfort and freedom in this tiny place that is his own, where, if not beautiful, he feels a little accepted.

Eight hundred and thirty words. He has to finish soon before his editor starts chopping it down. There isn't much else he can add. He doesn't like this world, and the way it works but he realises he's the odd one out here. It's all relative and he's just ended up on the wrong side of the line. He couldn't even write properly: the intro is too long; not leaving enough space to moan about what makes him special, what makes him important enough to be accepted. Regrets.

This is going to be the conclusion but it's difficult to find something succinct, yet potent and poignant enough to be worthy of an ending. Everything has just become so emotionally expensive and his heart doesn't have enough wealth left to make any more hefty withdrawals. A process of minimising interaction, perhaps? He's preparing himself to enjoy the next five minutes of pleasure he'll get from having completed a piece of writing that maybe, just maybe, has fully expressed his feelings. In complete solitude, of course. There isn't much that survives in this autoclave heart.

He wishes, sometimes, that Don McLean would write a song for him. 1028.

By S. N. Rasul

Gadgets of the Game

Soon after the 2007 UEFA Champions League final, a British sports journalist lamented how football was the sport most influenced by luck; he was clearly referring to how Liverpool conceded a goal against the run of play due to a possibly inadvertent deflection and went on to lose the game' perhaps succumbing under the pressure of having conceded that goal. He went on to talk about how cricket was a game which was not much influenced by luck giving the example that an umpire might erroneously give a batsman out, but it is unlikely that the rest of the nine batsmen of his team would suffer the same fate. Initially his arguments seem to be fully logical. But anyone who regularly watches cricket matches would know how wrong those arguments are.

Settled and in form batsmen at the crease are like bank balances - they ensure you can build a mammoth total or chase down any target as long as they are not dismissed. Dismissal of such batsmen often leads to the rest of the wickets falling like a row of dominoes. And if that dismissal was given incorrectly, it only goes on to indicate how fate had handed over the momentum to the fielding team when the other team was dominating. Similarly, when a bowler's appeal is incorrectly turned down by the on field umpire, the element of luck unfairly seizes the momentum from the fielding team. In order to eliminate the unfair intervention of luck on a cricket field, the ICC has recently favoured a marriage between cricket and technology in the form of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). The 2011 World Cup semi finals and final will provide the litmus test for the UDRS.

The UDRS consists of a ball-tracker (in this case Hawk-Eye), a super slow-mo camera, a 'clear' stump microphone and Hot Spot:

Snicko: This technology uses two equipments, the slow motion camera and the stump microphone. The slow motion television replay is played alongside the shape of the sound wave recorded by the microphone to determine if the cricket ball touched the cricket bat on the way through to the wicketkeeper. If there is a sound of leather on willow, which is usually a short sharp sound in synchrony with the ball passing the bat, then the ball has touched the bat. Other sounds such as the ball hitting the batsman's pads, or the bat hitting the pitch, and so on, tend to have a fatter shape on the sound waveform.

Hot Spot: It is an infra-red imaging system used to determine whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad. Hot Spot requires two infrared cameras on opposite sides of the ground above the field of play that are continuously recording an image. Any suspected snick or bat/pad event can be verified by examining the infrared image, which usually shows a bright spot where contact friction from the ball has elevated the local temperature. The Hot Spot cameras are thought to provide among the most accurate images of the contact between ball and bat, or pad, using infrared thermal imaging.

But these can be very expensive: $6000 per day for the use of two cameras and $10000 for the use of four cameras. Unfortunately this technology will not feature in the UDRS basket for this World Cup, because the manufacturers are reluctant to supply the sensitive cameras actually developed for use in jetfighters, tanks and warships. Hot Spot has two main advantages over its competing technology, the Snickometer, which is a sound-detection based system. The Snickometer often produces inconclusive results indicating contact (potentially any combination of bat, pad and ball) only, whereas the Hot Spot clearly shows exactly what the ball strikes.

Hawk Eye: It is a complex computer system which tracks the trajectory of balls in flight, analysing leg before wicket decisions, where the likely path of the ball can be projected forward, through the batsman's legs, to see if it would have hit the stumps. Due to its real time coverage of bowling speed, the systems are also used to show delivery patterns of bowler's behaviour such as line and length, or swing/turn information. Batsmen also benefit from the analysis of Hawk-Eye, as a record can be brought up of the deliveries batsmen scored from.

In order for the game to be devoid of human error, the UDRS needs to become part and parcel of every cricket match. And it is time the avaricious administrators of India loosened their fat purses and started paying for the UDRS.

By Nayeem Islam
Source: Wikipedia


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star