By: C.P. Belliappa
Soon after purchasing the book – ‘When God Bowls A Googly’ – by Ashwath Aiyappa, I flipped the pages and read the ‘Dedication’ to his parents Raghu & Anitha Madappa, and to his late grandfather I.I. Kuttappa. I found it profound, thoughtful, moving, and poignant.
‘When God Bowls A Googly’ appears a thin volume with 190 pages. But it is actually a 300 plus pages tome under normal printing norms. It looks slender because of the small font size and the close line-spacing. This is just a minor observation. The publishers – Magenta Press have brought out the book splendidly, maintaining high quality publishing standards.
Reading ‘When God Bowls A Googly’, reveals the deep wisdom, intelligence, experience, knowledge, understanding and advice that are packed in this book by the young author. For a young person to write such a philosophical book is extremely rare and highly commendable. Ashwath was a gifted writer with profound understanding of human behaviour. Anyone who reads this book will realize the in-depth research Ashwath has done in bringing out this volume. He has correlated science, philosophy, spirituality, humanity, and love to express his understanding of trials and tribulations of humans. He has not only analysed the problems but has also offered sound advice. One important aspect that comes across is the openness with which Ashwath has dealt with his own strengths and weaknesses. In his own words, ‘…my biggest weakness was that I cared too much about cricketing success.’
Ashwath’s passion for cricket, right from a very young age, is central to his thinking, and is the main focus in the book. It’s through cricket that he analyses human psychology. He says in the book that ‘love’ for what one pursues is far better than ‘passion’. He succinctly explains how passion could bring out undesirable actions and reactions by an individual; whereas, love brings joy irrespective of the results. I liked his fusion of science and spirituality by an apt example: Energy (science) + Joy (spirituality) = Enjoy. Ashwath clearly explains how enjoying the process of achieving a goal is far superior to the goal itself.
The quality of writing and the clear expression of thought are admirable in Ashwath’s book. He has read a great deal and formed his own opinion on a variety of complex human issues. As I mentioned earlier, and as many have already expressed, for a young man in his twenties he had the wisdom and clarity of thought that most realize only when they are in their fifties.
I am certain, Ashwath would have written many more books. He would have been a friend, philosopher and guide to many youngsters (and grown-ups). In fact, his achievement in cricket was substantial, but he felt he fell short because he had aimed high. That, he analysed himself, and came to terms with his ‘failure’ (it’s not a failure), tells a great deal about his sterling character. Ashwath has left this remarkable book, which will motivate and guide young people who feel they have ‘underachieved’ in spite of their hard work. This book tells the reader how to fight the inner demons and succeed, and more importantly, enjoy the process, rather than the outcome. He teaches how if one enjoys what he or she is doing, be it a job, sport or a hobby, happiness and success will follow.
Ashwath single-mindedly pursued the sport he loved. He talks at length of the mental agony he went through when the selectors overlooked him. His association with well-known philosopher of our times, Sri M, helped him extricate himself from the anguish and dark thoughts. He began to look at the positive aspects of life, and successfully overcame his wrongly perceived short-comings. It takes great courage to reconcile and move on to other avenues. Ashwath made this transition and was on the threshold of being a deep thinker who could very effectively articulate his thoughts. His book, ‘When God Bowls A Googly’, will resonate his thinking. Tragically he is not with us.
I am wiser for having read Ashwath’s book