Zen and the art of shooting

So I was at this resort near Nandi Hills for a day-long workshop on Saturday (actually it was a three-day workshop but my session was only on Saturday so I went there only for one day). One of my colleagues and fellow-teachers had brought along an air gun and at a time when students were busy doing some homework we had given them, we went off for some shooting practice.

First we used cardboard pieces and drew targets on them. I remember taking some four or five rounds at it. First three times I shot way to the right of the target. The following time I decided to correct for this bias and aimed a little left of the target. However, it turned out I had overcompensated and I ended up shooting left.

This was the first time ever in my life that I was shooting (barring toy guns when I was a kid). The first couple of shots I was just getting use to the feel of the gun, the posture, etc. What I found tricky was that there were two viewfinders through which you had to look through simultaneously (genius design – to eliminate parallax error). And then you had to concentrate, focus and shoot.

My first few shots I figured that I thought too much about shooting. I took aim, and then held the position for a while till I was convinced that I was aiming right. Then I would get distracted (damn you, ADHD) and then I would have to try and concentrate again. This would happen a few times until I would go impatient and shoot randomly, and thus miss the target.

After a few rounds of shooting at the cardboard, we moved on to shooting a fruit. Four of us took two cracks each at the fruit, and I was the only one who didn’t manage to hit the fruit at all. On both shots I missed by a long way. I had that sinking feeling I always have when I’m trying to learn something as part of a group and end up being clearly the worst in the group. That’s a frequent feeling for me nowadays.

So for the last round where we used an empty Bacardi carton as our target (the aim was to hit the face of the Bat logo on the carton), I decided to adopt what one of my friends called the “Zen method”. “The first time you take aim, just shoot. Don’t over think”, he said. I had some reputation to salvage.

We all took two shots each at the carton. I did what I was told. As soon as I had taken aim, I shot. I ended up hitting the bat logo once on the tail and once on one of its legs. Here is a photo taken as soon as I had shot the tail (red circle; the other shot on the bat is a colleague’s). The Zen method worked!



PS: I think this is the first time ever I’ve put up my photo on my blog. So all those of you who read this but don’t follow me on any other social medium – you finally know what I look like.