Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why Ken Block is not a circus joker

This is an era of posers. The people who can pretend to be good and pull off a few moves to their credit. The people who can gauge your nonchalance towards the real. The people who can lie to themselves. Surprisingly, because the percentage of such people is steadily growing thanks to the moronic nature of social media and your alter egos on the web, posing has become mainstream.

You may not be liked by the people at work with because you didn’t bother to ask them about the utterly nonsensical deep quote they posted yesterday night. You may not be considered to be ambitious because you do not cry those eyes dry when you err. But eh, that’s not the point. The point here is Ken Block.

Well, coming to the jokers – the jokers are probably one of the most talented artists out there. Making people laugh is not a joke – especially when you cannot speak a word. I know. I know. Rahul Gandhi has that unfair advantage because ‘sab jaante hai uska baap kaun hai’. But on a serious note, the joker has to have a repertoire of tricks up his sleeve, the tricks which he has mastered. Well, he has to master them because you have to pull out a trick to match the mood and constantly read the crowd and not waste a moment on the trick itself.

You might be thinking that apart from the headline, I have mentioned Ken Block only once and gone all about posers and jokers. Am I trying to establish a correlation between the three? Hell yes, I am. Yes, I cannot even properly drive a car. But being born in India, I have the divine right to judge. Like we tell Sachin how to play out the nervous nineties.

And I pass that judgement for my own reasons. Ken Block is an immensely skilled driver. No two ways about it. The kind of car control he displays is flabbergasting and kind of stunts he pulls off is mind-blowing. But then that is the catch. He, methinks, is a master of stunts. My definition of a great driver is largely influenced by my Youtube education in Group B rallying. The way the Vatanens and the Mikkolas ran riot in those death traps is the mark
of a real driver.

The pedigree of a driver, methinks, is defined by the ability to sustain unrelenting assault of pure pace over a distance where your body wanes out towards the end but you still do not cut pace. And here is why Ken Block’s Race of the Champions or RallyCross wins do not count for me. The ultimate proving ground for him is WRC where he has failed to succeed at the highest level more often than not.

No doubt the Gymkhanas are a visual treat, a wow thing for those who do not feel the nuances of the art of driving. And I am immensely pained when a young kid comes up and says, I will be a great racer like Ken Block. Has it all boiled down to what a good show I put up?

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