Saturday, May 03, 2008

Daddy's day out

“The kind of knowing you get from experience”, writes Joe Kissell in this post, “is qualitatively different from what you get by reading about something or hearing a story. This is why people travel instead of just reading travel books. However much you may trust other sources of information, they can’t provide what your own senses can. And just as some foods are worth eating even though they don’t taste good, some potentially unpleasant experiences are worth having.”

“From Descartes, who said, “I think, therefore I am,” through phenomenologists like Husserl and Heidegger, who tried to create a rigorous science of experience, philosophers have time and again reaffirmed the importance of one’s own experience in understanding the world. Yet it is a tacit principle of modern western culture that only pleasant experiences are worth pursuing, that any experience you can’t reasonably expect to enjoy should be avoided if possible. This attitude effectively puts the evaluation of experiences in other people’s hands, but other people will never experience things exactly the way you will. You may enjoy an experience someone else does not, and even if you don’t, you may appreciate the value of collecting that knowledge for yourself.”

That’s more or less how I felt too, yesterday, when I let myself be convinced by my daughter’s persuasion, to watch the cricket match at the Chepauk. Though I have been to the Chepauk several times in the past, the last time I went there was around 1980. Since then, I have dreaded the thought of even going there, getting put off by the prospects of navigating my way through the crowds, bearing the sweltering heat and humidity and finding the transport to get me back home. The pleasant thoughts of watching exciting cricket were always outweighed by these negative ones, and the couch potato always settled down in front of the television in the comfort of one’s home.

The transport issue was solved when daughter suggested that we could take the local train to Chepauk and use the same mode to return, as someone in authority had thoughtfully arranged for a train at midnight. The heat and humidity were tolerated admirably and the navigation through the crowd successfuly managed.

I must say that it was a great experience. The noise was deafening and the atmosphere at the ground electrifying. I realized that nothing can equal the pleasure of watching cricket live at the ground/ To settle for the sanitized version one is offered on television was a poor and unequal compromise. To avoid going to the match, fearing the crowd and the traffic, was to deny oneself the joy that comes with it.

It is so, too, with many other things in life.

1 comment:


thanks for these blogs. having come upon chennai history and then these more (or less) serious ones, i write to say i'm floored.