And while on twitter, I saw this tweet.
Now, I don't know Kobe. But I knew of Kobe. I do not follow Basketball per se but I do know of his name. And Magic Johnson, Pippen, Iverson, Malone, Shaq, and lately, Lebron James. I know of these guys as athletes that have worked hard. For years. Relentlessly. With an ethic that is impossible to match!
And because these guys are in America, they are so much under scrutiny that they can NOT fuck up even once. I have always had mad respect for such people. I mean despite all the success that you get, how do you maintain a sane head? I've seen film stars and cricketers here in India and their head is so up their backsides that they can't see anything but themselves!
And because these guys are from communities that typically do not get as many opportunities as others, even more respect for these guys. I mean they did not crib about the disadvantage that they were faced with. They did not falter along the way. They did not digress. They kept their aim and continued to work on it. Year after year. For so long. Even when they missed the mark, they would've got sad but would have come back to the grind. And then worked their way up!
So, when I read last night that he's died in a crash, along with his daughter (who was all of 13), I was sad. Not heartbroken per se. Not devastated. But plain old sad. I started to read about who he was and where he came from (it's funny that you read about a person when they die; and not when they are around).
And while I was reading and as the news was spreading, the tributes and comments started pouring in. From people that I respect and follow (investors, businessmen, celebrities, marketers, etc.). And it started to sink in what a big deal the guy was! His life was a life that gave hope to so many like him. He gave joy to his fans. His friends had the most heartbreaking reactions - can tell what a guy he must have been!
To make matters worse, he went with his daughter (and another father-daughter duo). More than Kobe, my heart goes out for the two young girls that were probably going to be playing at larger levels. It is plain unfair. Life, is unfair. And, may I say, a bitch!
And is fucking funny. You know how? I'll tell you how.
A few days ago, Clayton Christensen passed away. The guy was a big inspiration to all the great movers and shakers of our times (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, etc). Again, I did not know much about him, except reading the iconic book that he wrote. And this speech (also read this if you are keen). And of course, his influence was limited to the business community (though the impact those business people have made is immeasurable), the eulogies were muted, professional succinct, devoid of emotion.
Kobe's are another world. He belonged to, like I say, the masses!
Can I even compare the two people? How do you measure one person's life against another? What about all those thousands that die every day? Some 50 people have died infected with coronavirus died cos of no fault of theirs. I don't even know how many people have died in India protesting against CAA / NRC. What about all those innocent people that were in that Ukrainian plane that Iran shot down?
It's unfair. It's pointless. And it's meaningless. And, it's fucking funny.
Want to know another funny story?
Well, on Saturday I wrote this long tome about the shortness of life. In it, I talked about how our lives are short. While I wrote it, I did not mean that we'd die abruptly at the age of 41 or 13 or whatever. I meant that in general, the 70-80 years that we get to live here are not enough to explore it all. There's so much to do. But when shit like this happens, you lose faith. I mean look at his daughter. She was training to be an athlete. And probably putting in so much hard work and effort and all that. To what end? She did not even get a shot at it! If there is indeed God above, may I ask him / her / it, what was Gianna's reason of existence?
And here's another funny thing.
For some reason, thanks to Kobe's accident and the emotional outbursts, I am more determined than ever to make my life count. I called up my parents (they live in a different city). I spoke nicely to my friends (that I haven't spoken to in a while). I knocked off so many things from my to-do list that its, well, not funny.
I am more determined to not succumb to the vagaries of life. It's been tough last few
I am more determined to do more. And get more people to do more. Thing is, this difference between Clay and Kobe, while unfortunate, is such a telling one. An artist, an athlete, a performer, a speaker, someone that belongs to the masses, inspires the world far more with their action (and inaction) than a businessman.
I am more determined to not while time on things that are not important to me. For, I don't know what is my expiry date. For, time is all we have.
I am more determined to become more human. Which means I am going to ensure that I am a lot more present for people that get joy when I am around them. Of course, I can count the number of such people on just half the fingers of my left hand (may be not even that).
That's about it I guess.
Kobe, you left too soon. Thank you for your life. Thank you for inspiring me. And others. You are in a better place.
PS: You know what would be the funniest? That I die tomorrow without doing a single thing that I've planned to do with my life!