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Iyer Olympics

Posted by anandrr on August 17, 2008

This morning I watched about the only thing I’ve watched at all this Olympics (Free Tibet!): Phelps winning the 100m butterfly. It was a thrilling race, Phelps way behind at the turn and edging out the Serbian guy with about 1/100 second to spare, and you could really tell where his training and endurance took over around the 75m mark when he just started powering forward while the rest of the field began to lag off just a tad.

I was reminded of that a couple hours later as we prepared for our annual Brahmin ritual of Avani Avittam, where the men all get together and participate in the annual changing of the thread. Ever since I was yeh high, I’ve been fascinated by this stag event, they come out in force dressed in their whites (but only waist down!), and hang out for a couple of hours allegedly participating in religious rites, but really just hanging out without the women around for a few hours every year. The early morning ritual takes place at home where we prepare for the event by meditating for a while chanting this mantra over and over again 1008 times. At home, Dad first has to lead brother and me through the initial ritual before he settles down and gets to it himself. So you have three people sitting down to barrel through the 1008 renditions of Kamokarshit Manyurkarshit. With my super-concentration and speed I was well ahead at the turn, and Dad had to take a break mid-meditation to attend to my brother who started really late, but in these matters endurance and training will tell. Dad has been at this for well over 50 years, every year without fail, I have only had about 20 chances, and squandered over half of them by being away from home, so at the end, you could tell when I started flagging, lost count, had to start over at the last known mark, and generally broke under the pressure, while Dad cool, calm and composed powered ahead and won by well over a minute and a half.

Next year, we try again.

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2 Responses to “Iyer Olympics”

  1. […] Avani Avittam, phase II of the famous Iyer Olympics […]

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