Thursday, December 17, 2009

.... And God Spoke

“It’s a big problem ruling the world you know” God lamented with a heavy sigh.
“Here, Chandra!”, he yelled at the bartender who came running towards him with a wry smile. After all, Chandra was tipped well by this customer whose bar had a wooden board near the cash counter which read ‘Customer is God’.

“Pour me another round of one small whiskey, and yeah soda” God ordered. His fellow drinkers, Gods themselves, but of their respective worlds listened in rapt attention. The evening was young and fine and the juke box played Frank Sinatra, who was carelessly humming “Fly me to the moon.. lemme play among the stars”

And then God continued, “People do stuff they aren’t supposed to do, they are screwing up my entire design. I mean evolution has been pretty much according to the script so far, all going as per the structured analysis plan. Now things have gone real bad”

A fellow drinker who was sipping on a Bloody Mary interrupted, “Dude! You are taking a lot of stress, and just being hard on yourself, People can take care of themselves; you have been a very able administrator. People in your world idolise you for the neighborhood heaven’s sake! You have ensured education, abstract thought, poetry, literature, science and even computer awareness are inculcated and are in place, and people in your planet are all for peace, they don’t just kill each other like before, do they?

“No man”, God reflected and he placed the whiskey glass in the table, “it’s the softer issues that’s Fuc .. er. screwing up my planet now” he exclaimed animatedly

“Softer issues? That sounds so… never mind. what happened dude?” people are becoming psychos! They are fuc,.. er.. screwing up their lives. Take for instance, the life of lil Somu, he was born cute with a dimpled cheek in a small town whose name i dont remember, in a middle class vegetarian Indian family. He played with marbles all his childhood, saw cartoons and was shy to talk to girls. the way I designed him , there was no chance this kid have written a blog like that when he grew up to be 16”

“Blog like what?”

And then God opened his laptop and clicked open Somu’s blog. The Blog title was, “the random objective ideas of the opinioned mind” Somu had written about how he believed every individual was open to his set of rationale opinions, how one had to live for oneself amidst the ungrateful world full of stereotypes, to how he thought the more sex and in its all manifestations and positions was a way to understand ourselves and seek the higher self, and stuff like that”

All drunk Gods looked puzzled at this piece of screed, “what does all this mean, you mean somebody 16 really thought of all this. this is... Blasphemy?!?”

The chief God clarified “Its not Lil Somu’s fault, its Ayn Rands, she is full of shit. People who read her talk like shit. Look at the blog world, people write such complicated posts about relationships, introspection and work n all. About certain objectivism and why they broke up seeking the independence from the dissatisfaction arising from their inability to co-exist and their right to argue. Total shit man. Hate reading that. Yawn”

“Phew, Sad and complicated” All fellow drunk Gods agreed in unison

And God spake
“Let Ayn Rand alone, another chap full of shit is Osho, that chap writes so much influential shit makes people’s lives more complicated. Any idiot who talks of an utopia must be kicked in the arse. Why don’t these people realise that the structure I made is on inter-dependence and not independence, huh, I am drunk, let me not get emotional..,” God got emotional

“I’d rather people make statements than arguments. These Ayn Rands maketh the 18 year old kid think like a 50 year old, and maketh a 50 year old fool around like a kid.. my design! my design!,, all gone for a toss. Look at Sachin/Sehwag/, you think they read Ayn Rand? Their mind is so uncluttered. They kick ass baby” and God broke down..

“I mean our eco-system, food chain, all work around one concept – Co-Existence. Ayn Rand and Osho are two big manufacturing mistakes of mine. Wish I made more Sehwags.”

“Dude, you are being unfair. People from your planet have the right to choose what they want to choose, No?”

“Yeah I know just my opinion, sigh, anyways, Chandra, Bill Please” God paid the bill and tipped Chandra an handsome amount and Chandra seemed happy. and God began to move. He jokingly remarked “I am ok with agnostics and scientologists, even atheists, but Ayn Rand and Osho cult give me a bad digestion”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Electric 'Bahu'

Life was lifeless. It was all black and white with dead trees and desolate buildings. There was a sense of desperation in the Meghdoot building near Shivaji park area. All the hard earned money was being wasted into the elusive something that digested in 2 hours and got flushed the next morning. The wallet was getting lighter as the tummy got plumpier taking in another bout of unhealthy yet expensive restaurant food.

Bruised with the 80 buck Veg Biryani and battered by the 70 buck Dal Kichdi, the meek and the weak finally revolted. Enough was Enough! A decision had to be made! We couldn’t get wives, or cooks, for the egg headed land lady said “You cannot keep gas/burner in my meghdoot building and yeah no girls allowed.” So we finally went to Chroma, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, and asked the smothering servicing chap “Can you show us the electric cooker?”

We looked at the Cookers at Chroma and decided we would check out Big Bazaar before we made the big decision, Chroma is a big ticket place and they keep pen drives and ear phones in the cash counter like how your ‘khiranna’ shops kept Alpenlibele and how cigarette shops kept halls/peppermint. In short, they are high end, expensive and ‘its always wise to go to big bazaar and check out prices there once’ we reflected.

So the busy Big Bazaar lady showed us the cooker brands,

She : “Panasonic Rs 3500 it can boil vegetables too”

We: “No, Something Cheaper Next”

She: “Morphy Richards 3000, it comes with warantee”

We: “No. What kind of name is Morphy Richards? Next Please”

She: “ Bajaj, Philps all 2500 Range, am sure this is the kind you are looking for ”

We: “Anything Cheaper?, How about this one???” we pointed at a cute looking puppy cooker, which definitely looked at us with an affection and that vulnerable look which sang, “take me home with thee, O master”

We: How much is she?

She: “Its Koryo. Its 899 bucks”

899 bucks, our eyes popped out with a delightful glint, “And why? Is it bad?”

“No Sir, its a Chinese brand” he said

Now, not all Chinese brands are not trustworthy, Chinese are masters of Rice making. People from there have made rice for centuries and have created Bruce Lees and Jackie Chans. Koryo sounds like Chinese for awesomeness and attractiveness (kung fu panda style). Look at Morphy Richards, sounds so british, what are the Englishmen good for? Nothing? Interestingly, Have you heard of Britanian cuisine like Italian or Mexican or Indian. I, for once had an English Breakfast in Leela palace Bangalore and all they gave me was some bread and tea and muffins. And they charged a fortune for it. Phoney. Like Morphy Richards. Like British. Go Koryo Go!

So anyways, we packed this little bahu and brought her home.

She cooked Rice. Tirelessly. And yet with a smile. You could sense it. All I had to do is mix the rice with all sorts of readmade mixes and powder my mom had armed me with. I am saving money. Load of ‘em. Mr. Buffet, Here I come with my white rice for your last buffet supper.

Korya made Steamed Corn. She made boiled peanuts (it’s a south Indian delicacy where you add salt and whole groundut with the shell and result tastes like magic). She made Hot Rasam (MTR Rasam Mix). Just a matter of ratio proportion. Korya did it all.

She made Pop Corn too, now our chakna (side dish for alcohol) problem is over too. Koryo, indeed is that Bahu who can solve any problem and run the daily soap for 3 years with high trps… sob sob

So here is my small tribute to Koryo. You thing of beauty, you are my joy forever! Muah!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

...the original Tami flu, a medicine called Laughter

Being a Tamil speaking person is something I take immense pride in. When my non-tamil colleagues play the Vijayakanth/T.Rajendhar/Rajini YouTube videos and make the clichéd “How do you guys watch this crap” and laugh like possessed souls, I only tell myself “Buggers, you don’t know what you guys have missed by not being a Tamil”

And I couldn’t be more correct.

I sympathise with other fellow countrymen (non Tamils) on how they never had been exposed to the rich comedy culture that we were born into. Starting from the famous Crazy Mohan-Kamal Hassan combination that’s filled with so much humor that every second missed is 2 jokes vanished into thin air. (Of which one made you ROTFL and the other one made you LOL, not much difference actually). They basically created magic.

We tamilians, have lived a life sweetened with Nagesh, Goundamani, Sendhil, Vadivelu and Vivek, all adding to our laughter quotient and enriching our lives with smiles that would have in another part of the country been busy frowning/(or Slapping oneself) at movies that cry Pyar, Dil, Ishq and Mohabbat and never seemed to stop. These pyar movies manipulate you trust me.

Anyways a small tribute to all those who made us laugh

Nagesh was a self made Chaplin, a man "with a smile-perhaps a tear." His “Server Sundaram” and “Ethir Neechal” were poignant and when I saw them as a kid, they did leave a lasting impression in me, and still does. Genius. May his soul rest in peace.

Goundamani and Sendhil were our Tom and Jerry, while your heart went to Sendhil, the cute little sidekick. Your mind goes all applause for the Goundamani. Nobody can be as perennially pissed as Goundamani. The way he kicked Sendhil, hurled innovative abuses and managed to dominate the screen for so many years so effortlessly is amaaazing! (hey there is website

And then came the Vivek zone, Wit, Pure Wit. Vivek was Stand Up Comedy stuff. the insight humor, that made you think and laugh. ‘Run’, ‘Minnale’, ‘Saami’ is the kind of peformance which will remain etched in our shorter memories for encores. His best is yet to come though.

And then my favorite Vadivelu, the master slapstick comedian. He has invented a new genre of comedy which needs more coverage, I wish like how A R Rahman got famous, some random Andrew Lloyd Webber notices Vadivelu and eventually gives him a well deserved Oscar. And am not even exaggerating. Watch “Winner” with a straight face and I’ll give up writing this blog. Thalla Vadivelu will just “swwwwwwwwinnnnng in the raaaain” and glue you to his comedy clip a 100th time.

It’s worries me when I think who will succeed Vivek and Vadivelu, The emerging comedians Santhanam and Karunas are ok and really are not made of the same material as the above mentioned legends.

And rightfully, Tamil Nadu is the first market in the entire country to have two 24 hour channels dedicated to comedy. That they have are among the top channels, is a proof enough on their significance (Source:TAM).

On close observation of these channels, I found that kids were the biggest consumers of these 2 comedy channels. They watch it all the time. It’s a very satisfying insight. The future is watching Comedy. The future is going to be fun guys, we’ll have funny kids while other kids go to school and busy build six pacs like their hero.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The four lives...

“There are four lives you lead” my father articulated in his usual gentle tone, we were in middle of a regular Saturday evening telephonic conversation which mapped from his new diabetes record surpassing the earlier 350 mark, my lunch menu to my love life, and to what his students told him in the class and so forth.. The aimless discussion drifted to an unexpected focus as the old man continued “and you must ensure you do justice to these four lives”

“Four Lives?” I was curious for he sounded like Rajnikanth in an intro song

“The social, the official, the family and the personal life” he said,

And then he explained on how all of us tend to skew more towards one and ignore the other three, “There are people who are always family and work, and leave out on friends.. and then there are others”.. I wondered what he was hinting at...

“And if you ask me the personal life is the most important" he concluded, "The life you live for yourself. The world that is you and not shared by anyone. Its your inner code, richness of your thought and integrity, the books you read, the music you listen to. It is your idea of spirituality and religion It’s what keeps you calm amidst the chaos" ...... "Unless you give yourself a liberal allocation to this inner life, you would never respect yourself”

He had made his point. My father never thrust his opinion on me. Sometimes i wish he did.

But then, I knew what I lacked! :-)

Monday, August 31, 2009

August Round Up

*Ok firstly copyright rights belong to Jayanth for the round up idea*

I have posted 9 posts this month, i am inordinately overjoyed cos i am in touch with one part of myself, Hope i better this next month. With better posts or even worse ones

Went to Chennai for a day, dint meet my friends, but bought lots of seedai, murukku and cashew pakkoda at krishna sweets in the airport. They were hidden in the room and clandestinely completed in 3 days.

Met my old roomie, was good catching up with the proud sardar

Pasanga is the best movie of the year, while kandawamy was a torture;
Kaminey and Love Aaaj kal, i liked both of em

Saw Batman Begins and Dark Knight (for 5th time i think) back to back with beer in hand, Saw Iron Man for the first time in HBO (Whattey Movie!), As per classics, saw "from here to eternity" and "pathways to glory", very very good movies

Work has been ok, freshers have joined, great fun pulling their legs, advicing and taunting them. Otherwise my work, like me, is stagnant without a purpose

Taught at a college for first time. Nice time as mentioned in the blog.

Have been too much into gtalk.. made a nice friend in mumbai, Need to make more of em. Need to meet more friends. need to cut down on gtalk, we are slaves of habit.

I feel my sense of humor is in trouble, i need to save it. Wodehouse save me!!! Vadivelu is my only source of comfort right now.

I missed my GF for ten days cos she was busy with her sisters wedding, She will call me tomorrow. Am a slave of habit, like i told earlier. (Good habit i mean)

Forgot Avani avattam. Heck i dont even have a poonal. My mom asked Why i dint have a poonal. I told her i am not keeping well and there is a lot of swine flu happeinig around. Succesfuly diverted the topic.

Went for a swine flu test at bandra, after a genuine suspicion. Those idiots wouldnt test me cos the govt allows only to test critical cases. I was wearing a mask and fought with the doc wearing a mask, seeking justice, both of us still dont know how the other actually looks.

My bro performed Ganesh Chaturthi pooja, by playing the Ganesh Pooja CD in his PS3, and i was given the duty of ding-dong'ing the holy bell (pooja mani), i got bored after sometime, gave the bell to bhabi and slept for 5 hours. She fed me kozha kattai and ulundhu vadai. May Ganapathi bless her.

Had quite an enlightening chat with my father over the phone, will blog about it. My dad is my ultimate teacher, except when he asks money for the education loan.

Yay! I finished my education loan!

Need to stop blogging about work life and rather write more about better things, for that i need to experience a lot more, I feel like a mass of cow dung at times, that's drying up.

September looks promising with a Hyderbad, Chennai and Bangalore trip in cards, Going to Chennai this weekend. Yay!

It might be a quite an eventful month for personal life.. hope its for the good. The Slog overs of the game has arrived, And in walks Sachin!!!

Thanks for your time, Happy Septemeber rowdies, rascals and pickpockets!!!

Mak boy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Former : Latter

Religion is to God
Education is to Knowledge
Goal is to Awareness
Marriage is to Love

We lose the way dealing with the details of the former, that we seldom remember the latter


Mr Chandru (name changed) was quite a character, he worked in the media for more than 10 years and was a planning director for an ad firm in UAE He took a sabbatical for 5 years, learnt music, visited countries and learnt yoga.. An old colleague of Chandru insisted he come back to media and act as an independent consultant for the firm he was heading. And so, he was back in action. I had to meet him and had to update him on certain planning related stuff.

As I went about my usual rigmarole, Chandru interrupted “This trp, grp, frequency is all bull shit in the larger perspective of life, you know” he began, “I have seen a doctor yawn in an ICU room and brood about how thankless his job is, you know” I was puzzled why he brought this topic in but I let him speak. I soon realized, this was going to be the story of the day.

“Ok lets go for a smoke” he stopped me.

“Do you smoke?” he asked.

“No” I replied, “I do drink but” I told just to ensure he doesn’t think am too much of a innocent kid.

“I think you should smoke too, when you are 40, you realize you ought to have had more fun.” I was blank.

So as he took a deep puff of the cigarette, he resumed his monologue

“You know research is all humbug...

Its like this, a researcher had whiskey and water on Day 1; he had a bad hangover the next morning. So the next day he had vodka and water, he still had a bad hangover next morning, the third day he tried rum and water, the hangover still seemed to be there. And so he concluded, ‘since I had water all 3 days and I had hangover all 3 days, water causes hangover’”

I laughed in agreement. What he said was true, When you look at correlations and patterns, common sense takes a kick, many a time.

And then the topic shifted to mythology, Mr Chandru seemed to be an authority in Mahabratha and Ramayan “See, Krishna gave this bhagvat gita gyan to Arjun in the battle field right, lets do some numbers here, there are 700 verses, each verse atleast requires 2 minutes to recite, so make that 1400 minutes, (that’s 24 hours) does this mean when the war was happening around them, these 2 were busy discussing the truths of life for 24 hours non stop??, who are they bull-shitting?? And the kurukshetra war had 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 horses and 109,350 foot soldiers (source wiki), what the hell was Indian population then? The entire Kurikshetra battle field cant hold more than 10,000 people even now.”

He then told me about how the actual Mahabarath was a literal porn, “you wouldn’t find such cheesy porn even in the internet these days.” But the version we get to hear is all sugar coated and totally censored.” He then narrated an anectode of how a bird carries a sperm from the guy and drops it in the river, which a fish takes and deposits in the lady to finaly create the author Vyas. That was news for me!

“If they show the actual uncensored Mahabarath in TV now, the TRPs will sky rocket” I quipped wisely. He chuckled.

And with more such gyans of this and that, and after a mild argument, which he settled with a “Don’t get too worked up, there are plenty of opportunities for that in life!!!”

I went back wondering what to take home from the day. This guy just made mockery of research,. Ofcourse research isn’t all that bad, without looking at the past, and understanding what we really are (which is research) one cant move into the future.

And as I map my thoughts that night, “What is intelligence, Is making inferences from the past and present and predicting the future, intelligence? or using one’s instincts (the unique 6th sense) to know whats the next big thing called intelligence. I somehow am slightly biased towards the intuitive intelligence, the idea being the difference between a trend setter, and a trend follower"

This chap made me think, afterall!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

A day at the b school..

I had been to a b school the other day to give a gyan workshop on measurement science and media basics. I had to travel from dadar to mira road (around 50 Km), change a train at bandra, to eventually reach the place. After having a specially made south indian lunch at a colleagues place that included cabbage, sambhar, papad, a paneer preparation, sweets, butter milk and the like, I proceeded to the 4 hour session. I was nervous and sleepy. Especially after a lunch like that, you really don’t want to be talking to some b schoolers who can throw jargons at will and give that business-like look, which I fail to read.

After some smiley talk with the Hod, I entered the session, 54 students applauded in unison and one chap held the microphone as he gave a clichéd “we have distinguished personality with us bit" and gave me bouquet. I was chuckling inwardly, “Wait dude, am not distinguished, I came here because my company people asked me to and maybe there was no one else available” but the inflated ego dint blurt it out, I just told them don’t call me sir and started the session without giving any introduction about myself. Not even my full name. ‘You guys think, am some big shot, so be it’ I reflected, as I spoke of things that they might want to hear.

As the session rambled, I could notice a bunch of the last benchers in the world of their own, with no interest in whatsoever I was telling them. They somehow figured out ‘this guy is bull shitting’ and got back to their own world of chits and comments about how my nose looked maybe. The nice looking girls and the spectacled guys in the first 2 rows were all enthu and bombared me with questions. I had no complaints. I found my audience.

The colleague of mine, who accompanied, started asking questions to the last benchers based on what I was teaching. He was class monitor like. I felt uncomfortable. I told him in the loo to not torture the poor kids. I was a last bencher always, or atleast the one who never focused in the class. Whenever someone was trying hard to teach to me, I only felt the teacher was acting as a hindrance to my cause. If someone asked questions, one had to focus to avoid embarrassment, hated it! If someone isn’t interested in your session, it isn’t your fault. It’s just that the other person has better interests or better things to think of.

After a nice talk with some really worried, recession-hit students after the session got over, I told one girl who wanted to be a brand manager in a travel based company “Don’t put any pictures up there with respect to your career, be shallow, something will work out”, It wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She gave a helpless look. But I was right. I spoke of an intuitive wisdom. Who the hell knows whats in store. That girl might turn out to become my boss one day. I proceeded to another colleagues place to have some snack, play with his nieces and take the 2 hour journey back home.

Although the ego massage of being called a "Sir" was definitely good, there was an inward sense of troubled pleasure. I felt bad for all the teachers to whom I had given gross/funny nicknames. I went back home, met an old friend who had come from kolkota, and a couple of creative guys from advertising, went to a pub in bandra, nice beer, and slept like 2 AM placing the bouquet in one corner of the bed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

News Prprpr! My name is Con!

As Sharukh Khan stresses on the fact that he was frisked, tortured in the Newark airport, one cant help notice how many times “just because my name is khan” appears in his press and TV interviews. As news channels splash this bit as headlines and news papers give it a liberal 1stpage, you and me, we have been made a ch***thya!

Why such a stunt? Was this entire stunt paid or free? Did a consultant make pie charts and suggest you this? We all know you are making a movie on how Muslims are being tortured in USA (are they any happier in India?), and that the entire premise for this karan johar saga would be revolving around your name being “Khan”, Sharukh Con suddenly acts like a messiah, as if he is ready to take on the US government. Mr. Karan Johar gives interviews supporting Sharukh.

Bollywoods obsession with free PR is irritating, remember when Aamir Khan was doing something in Narmada issue? And remember Rang de basanti was running in theatres?

Like my all time favorite Vadivelu says “Idhellam Room Pottu Yosipaangalo”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Settling in Mumbai

We all start out with exotic dreams, to be film stars, rock stars, sportsmen, super cops and lottery ticket winners, we want to live in that exotic island with blue beaches and bickini babes, It’s an exciting thought, until suddenly you realize (or someone wakes you up) you are reaching your 25th year and that you are none of the above and that given the choices you have made, your karma like every other person you know is… to Settle.

Yep. Settle in Life.

You suddenly see your colleagues talking about rates of the 1 bhk and 2 bhk. About home loan interests, and one of 'em even forwarded a “Home Loan Calculator” with the subject as ‘awesome link’. The link works like this, you type in how much loan you need and the calculator in turn says how much EMI you’ll need to pay the bank for next 20 years. Times of India splashes one page ads on ‘Never Before Recession Rates’, 1 square feet at 4999/- only. They call this the 2006 rate and people are excited. “All the money is in the real estate”, they declare triumphantly.

None of this excites me. It makes me uncomfortable.

Mumbai city is like a pyramid, with the tip of the pyramid being the South Mumbai. People from the larger bottom part of the pyramid (North Mumbai which lasts till almost Gujarat), move towards the elite south (famous for Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Kasav) as they get their promotions and dowries.

While the South Mumbai is the commercial hub (where the office is), the working class get their houses in Central/North Mumbai, travel for more than an hour to reach to the office. And the rates funda goes like this

Office to Home 30 min -> 1 bhk -> 50 lac+, 2 bhk -> 1 crore+

Office to Home 1 Hour -> 1 Bhk -> 30 Lac+, 2 bhk -> 50 lacs+

Office to Home 1.30 hour -> 1 Bhk -> 20 lac+, and hey 2 bhk costs 35 Lac+

Even house rentals are going to be in similar proportions, You get a 1 Bedroom flat for a rent of 20k if you are to travel half hour to your office.

Now most of the mumbaikars I know would marry and then buy the 2bhk at 35 lac, and travel 1.30 hours a day. They are excited about the additional bedroom for the next 20 years, and are least bothered about the additional half an hour up and down for the next 20 years.

Their life becomes the morning 8:05 train fast local and the returning evening 7:45 train Borivalli local. They discuss the train stories incessantly with you and its not hard to notice how much people talk of the train in their daily conversations. The Mumbaikar train friendship stories are legendary. People exchange breakfast and sweets. Invite one another to the functions and weddings. Its beautiful in a way. If you are ok with that kind of life that is.

Now lets do some calculation, 2 hours a day= 1 month a year

(meaning 2 hours/day = 60 hours/ month = 720 hours/year = 30 days/ year)

So simply put, our friendly colleague is going to spend 1 month of his year, just going and returning from the office. Gosh! Scary! And considering the 20 year loan period Almost 2 years in the 20 years goes in the train.

Lemme tell you this, I’ll never choose a life like that. Time is too precious. Too many things to do. Too many places to see.I don’t have the patience.

And heck why do we need to settle, a wise friend of mine once said “Only Dust Settles”. I’d much rather be a trailblazer, who never settled his base and who never travelled not more than 20 min to his work and never settle in the same city for more than 3 years!

And whats the obsession with the additional bedroom. My father is of the opinion that smaller the house, more closely knit its members. And I believe in that. A bedroom is more expensive than we think.

I think we have to blame our perceptions for this, we quantify happiness and qualify money.

Any Opinions?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Question : How does Mumbaikar A wish Mumbaikar B a Happy Raksha Bandhan?

Answer: Happy Raksha Bandhan, Behen Ch**d!!! :-D

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mean, Median and Me

I’ve always been an average Joe, you could call me an average Arun, considering the we have one Arun thriving in every square mile. I may rise above, I may descend down, but I eventually get back to the average position, the straight sweet line which you use for reference. It’s like a sinusoidal wave; a trough and a crest and in between I rest.

The idea being am always the guy who took pride in this comfy equilibrium position. The fulcrum looking at the extremes see-sawing in a detached amusement and amused detachment. You could call me the 80% guy. While 95% made me insecure and shy, 70% embarrassed me and again shy. And when I get the 80 am like, yeah baby, that’s me.

‘The nothing spectacular about me, and hey wait am not that bad as well’ is a mode of living I would advocate for majority of my people. Amidst the people in pursuit of the trophy and the ones who play the role of the weakling and get kicked out of the first round, the average joe gets to the finals and smiles and applauds the winner, even semi final would do. Heck even quarterfinal would. Let the achievers make the big money, I’ll read about in the papers and make funny comment about how you need to pay more taxes.. or take it in another tangent and talk about how we get obsessed with tangibles like money ahead of intangibles like camaraderie and peace.

In my 14 years of school education, that I completed 7 years back, countless would have been the times I scored the 10th rank. It happened like a rule. No matter what the class strength was, Arun gets the 10th rank. I took pride in this specific rank, Sachin had 10 written in his t shirt. I reflect with pride. And also the 10th rank guy is the sort of guy who is the potential, he never poses a threat to anyone but he has the potential you know.

I guess the trend still seems to be continuing, the threshold of the average has gone up. You could call me the 85% guy, but my boss still wonders “why the hell is this guy not doing better”, “he isn’t proactive” “too laidback” “he wants to run home””too much time passing”.”gives too much gyan” “he is in his own bloody world”. yes sir! I am all that, I agree and that’s why you gave the not too satisfying appraisal. And hey I was merely sticking to my 80% rulebook ;)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Music as i understand..

The new Ipod nano coming into my life has been a welcome change. The old one, a cute white shuffle, gifted by the sweet lady in love was hardly used thanks to that missing charger cable. But the new one, a video nano, which I got as a prize, she is a beauty! And it has revived my musical sense. Such cool mp3 players sing to your soul. They find their way through your cochlea and strike a chord with the sinews of the heart.

And lemme confess am no expert in assessing music, but given the ear, cochlea and the heart and ofcourse the ipod, I thought I would explain what I think about music and also raise my grouse against the music composers of today.

Music like anything else has beginning, middle and an end. But our composers hardly seem to care beyond the first stanza, They give the song a sehwag like start. And then midway the song squeaks and merely leads to the end, which again yawns and stops.

Let me give you a recent example, am just returning from this movie love aaj kal, decent attempt I should say.(Deepika! Deepika!), but what stayed on my mind and lingered long after the movie got over was this song, “Yeh Duriyaan”. I like the way the singer in sadness serenades the initial lines and hopefully says “Fanah ho sabhi dhuriyaan”. Wow! I liked that line. I run back to my laptop. Download the song. Load it onto the ipod and here I am listening to it.

The song begins with a stylish whistle, and the nice bit I mentioned earlier. Now what happened! I suddenly feel too many unnecessary instruments coming into the composition. Like a sudden symphony kind of an arrangement and then from nowhere a peppy flute for a pretty long time towards the end (this bit reminds me of some song of rahman) and to make things worse few carol singers yelling something in english, Come on! where is the connection. “There is no flow in this presentation” An angry boss would have exploded and laid you off. All these pieces make sense separately, but together, No! This is manipulation. It’s a commercial hit riding on a beautiful start.

I think many Hindi songs follow this trend, Tamil songs too. Harris and Yuvan, Awesome start and that’s that. I guess that’s what software music can achieve. The composer can layer in a lot of instruments and is too absorbed in showing it off. Doesn’t every carnatic raga have a beginning, middle and end. So would Hindustani or classical I presume.

And then there are songs like Saawariya from Swades, a normal low profile start, but the way it builds up, Gayathri Joshi seems to be liking Sharukh more with every line, Woah! the second stanza is better than the first and the final one just took me to another plane..“Jabse mili sajna, tujhse najariya”, nobody can sing those lines with their eyes open, she must have sure prepared herself for this late onslaught!, what a song, Who is this singer? Alga Yagnik?

I think Illayaraja orchestrates the better compositions. I just finished with “Mandram Vandha” from Mouna Raagam and “Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru” from Thambiki endha ooru (yes the one where superstar walks and sings)

Each song has a life, one line leading to the other, I, the listener, am waiting for the next line am actually looking forward to it. Music ought to be a mere facilitator in the entire scheme of things .

I cant remember the second stanzas from Rahman’s ghajini songs or his compositions for Shankar movies (I like uppu karuvaadu and yen vittu thotathil!), but do clearly remember the middle and end portion of Kadhal Rojave, Pachai Nirame or Kannamoochi yenada. While the former is merely notice worthy, the others engage you all through.

Ok next song please…!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

flop blog :-(

This blog of mine is a flop. When the total number of views is mere 43 of which I am pretty sure my contribution is 30, you ought to realise we are dealing with a waste of the internet space here. I won’t be surprised today if I get a 5 day notice to stop this jibber from Give me one more weeks time please, I will vacate with my family and the bed bugs too.

One reason I could attribute to this disaster is a problem I often find fight myself with of late. Its called ‘Lack of identity’. Identity Crisis. Ok the root cause for this mild dissatisfaction goes like this,… you visualize yourself to be a certain someone, a cool person with a certain sensitivity and joie de vivre expect your life to follow a certain path.. that kind of path with lots of nice flower gardens in your pathway.. meeting pleasant people.. Smiles..Camaraderie.. you want to be appreciated and celebrated for just being the average joe..but all that ever happens is the contrary. You are ready to be patient, willing to be optimistic.. and you find there is no purpose in being so. You are out of fuel.

Not that life throws a sudden shock at you. No Sir, its not an event.. It’s a process. The daily routine conquers you… your learning ceases, Stress of the personal and work. Your smile wanes. Mind is occupied with eternal problems. You consume alcohol because she tastes good and growns on you. Hangover irritates. You are caught in a bloody routine called the present.

Look at my earlier posts for instance, they are not funny, but, definitely trying to be funny (which irks the reader more) They are neither informative nor intelligent. They are trying to convey something but unable to because of certain lack of something. A Soul perhaps.That’s the same quandary am facing too.. lack of a soul.

I am too preoccupied with this blasted routine that I have no time to listen to my conscience.

A Change perhaps is the need of the hour, to retain the glory of the past , by glory I mean,.. To observe the normal with amusement, to give room to more perspectives, and not to kill the young chap in you..


Saturday, June 6, 2009

An evening at the Movies..

PVR, Phoenix Mills is awesome. Even a stupid movie in those huge recliners would make the overall experience nice. I saw the recent fast & furious there and slept comfortably. And, with this assurance in the back of my mind, I decided to go for the Star Trek. I have never followed the TV series or ever been a sci-fi fan. ET and Hitch Hikers to the Guide to the Galaxy were my only exposures to the outside world. The world where people flew as they drove Space ships and had big ears attached to large heads. I generally prefer normal humans going about their lives kind of movies. Some action, some comedy, some romance and item numbers don’t hurt too.

Anyways, I liked Star Trek. It was spectacular I thought. They managed to absorb this cynic into their movie. Tremendous achievement. I would rate it next to Wall-E and Dark Knight in the recent favorites. Everything was correct about the movie. Script, VFX or the message. The Climax was not powerful, but that’s cos they raised the expectations for a splendid one. Its like how a cricketer scores 100 in all the league games and screws it up in the finals. You shouldn’t blame him.

There was a particular scene I liked in Star trek, where Spark meets himself in the future. I was amused. The Older (and Wiser) Spark tells the young Vulcan that using logic was not the only way to take decisions, and that instincts and emotion should guide you or something to that effect. Profound thought, indeed. But what amused me more was the idea of meeting oneself in future. Meeting oneself in his past.

What would you tell yourself if you met your younger version 50 years from now? Today, What would I tell the Arun in school? What would I tell the Arun in College? The choices we made or the lessons I learnt.

Guess the pace, at which the present moment is taking us, we would sure reach the future speedier than our parents did. Maybe the difference being we are running, while our folks took a stroll. Before we realize we would be a bunch of oldies who had forgotten the simple things, done with the rat race and maybe running alone in each ones tracks.
I really would want to meet myself in the future. Would I be bald then?

These were the thoughts running in my mind as I returned from High Street Phoenix, Came back home to see England lost to Netherlands. Love it when England lose. I slept in peace.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wonder Years

The Final words  of Kevin in the last episode of "The Wonder Years"....

Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back...with wonder.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Accidental Workaholic

The Accidental Workaholic

Solitude, like, being caught in a group of non-like people… is a painful experience. 

Especially, when you sit alone and don’t feel too good about yourselves. Guilt of this and that.. be it unfinished work, things to do(like gyming, walk, write,.. ), books to read, .. and then this perpetual dissatisfaction of what am I doing to shape my future? Mind cant stop torturing the soul. But at the end of each of these introspective ‘atyaachar’ sessions, comes a fine conclusion to justify it all .. I have No Time. I cant do anything as a result. Thus the mind consoles the soul.

Why No Time? Work ate into it. All of it.

I never liked to work. My mind thought of all possibilities to avoid work. I invented reasons, short cuts and excuses. That’s how I have always lived. I worked to avoid embarrassment. For nothing else.  Always thought a person who took pride in how hard he worked was an idiot. My friends reflected this philosophy so life was good. With great laziness comes great pride. If all of us were lazy, Recsession would have never happened.

But then as College got over and I joined my Job. It was a Dream Job considering I dreamt of working here at one point of time. But then, In the dream I had like Sir Luther King, I never knew I had to put in hours and hours of night outs (à avoiding sleep à end of dreaming).. Its fun no doubt. All those charts and excel sheets and presentations. Every presentation is like a iece of art to me (till its reviewed by the superiors and every centimeter is changed) .

 The worst thing to happen to a not-so-self-assured man is flattery. Problem with flattery is.. it brings in some sort of assurance. “Good Job Arun!”, “Nice Presentation” or “Don’t worry, Arun, will finish this by tomorrow morning and send it across to you”.. those blasted smartly coined blend of words from your boss or when the client calls and says “We are going to decide our future with XXX based on your insights”.. You end up working to satisfy them. Flattery was one major reason I am all flab around my abdomen area today.

Imagine when you don’t get flattery and all you need to do is to prove yourself to some jack who is no-one to judge you but ends up cos like those MBA concepts conclude Customer is the King … and that kind of work, my friend, is the worst kind of work to do. Trust me. Thankless.

Am sure, Success has little co-relation with the amount of work you put in. What the hell is success anyway? Isnt it something you define?  Why should work come into the picture???.. uh.. let me keep this for another blog..

But here are few lines from the primary school yet most poignant poetry ever written called Leisure by WH Davis. I used to relate to this even in 4th standard. Guess few things never change.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

(and it ends like this…)

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”

What a visionary philosopher WH Davis was…


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Second Post is dedicated to AR Rahman.

My Second Post is dedicated to AR Rahman.

I write this with a sense of ownership. It’s like I have stakes in that golden globe they gave him. I look around proudly with an angelic look of “I knew it always, sir. Long before some jury”. I knew this man who I affectionately called Thallaivar (Tamil for ‘The Super Leader’) would grace the rest of the world with his tunes some day, someway.

Slumdog millionaire was an ordinary album for Rahman’s standards. Smart Publicity, Marketing Money and resulting hype the Brits/US people gave to this movie made it a contemporary classic and Rahman known to the world. But Hell, He has wasted his brilliance in atrocious movies like ‘Parthale Paravasam’ ‘Yuvraaj’ and ‘Taj Mahal’.. Its only Poetic Justice he gets an award for Slumdog. And I am not complaining.

I recollect say till some 7 years back, I used to enquire the friendly cassettes shopkeeper on when Rahman’s next tape was releasing. Rahman regularly composed for movies directed by Mani Ratnam, Baradhiraja, Rajiv Menon, Shankar and few Bollywood movies too. Being the earliest to get Rahman’s tape and to hum the new tunes before my friends did, was how I prided in being the Rahman Fan.
But today, thanks to the MP3 format, cheaper storage devices, broadband internet and apple ipods, everybody seem to be listening to the tunes before I do and distributing it freely around. It irks me. But then am not complaining.

Now I cant tell you what my top 5 Rahman songs are, I simply cant. Unless some Mathematician proves 5 = 1000 and gets a Nobel for his study. Its improbable and silly, I mean.

But then what I can tell you is Rahman is brilliant when his songs have a depth and melancholy about them. Rahman’s music is as true as lost love. When the love’s lost and all that lingers is her memories.. Like Anbe Sugama in Parthale Paravasame, Poongatrile/Ae Ajnabee in Uyire/Dil se, En Kaadhale (Duet)… This brand of music is what only Rahman can do. The songs will take you to a level which my written English cant explain. Neither yours.

He has charmed me with Pachai Nirame (Alaipauthey), Smayie (Kandukondein), Strawberry Pennae (Minsara Kanavu), Madhuriaku Pogadhadi(ATM), Yuhin Chala (Swades), Dating (Boys) And hey the recent Masakalli too… Something in these tunes relaxes you. You tell yourself World is not a bad place afterall.
His Sufi-like compositions in Kwaja(Jodhaa Akbar), Arziyaan(Delhi 6) or Chanda Suraj(Vande Mataram) talk to you at a spiritual  level... There might be better composers in each genre, Illayaraja does better melody, His pauses are more intelligent than Rahman's..There are better Sufi composers.. Nusrat Fatehs of the world..but Rahman composes all genres of music in its essence making him a true musician.
Adding to the Rahman Special playlist.., Who can forget his love songs...His numerous solo and duet love songs.. like Sonaalum Ketpadhulai(Kadhal Virus), Adhisayam(Jeans), Telephone Manipol (Indian) ..which make you blush like that yahoo smiley.. and end up making a romeo out of sing to your girl friend, only to be told “Stop it and don’t create such noise”.. “Huh” my repartee comes..“Am sorry madame, I am an audience who has stakes with Rahman, I am not his singer, lyricist or piano player.. Am his audience. The Most blest of em all.”. Period.

Rahman, like Sachin, has left a huge impression in the generation that I grew up and growing in. They are common Indian Man's stress buster .  Its exciting to think I’ll tell the future what glorious tunes, Rehman treated me to.

PS: Hope he wins the Oscar, though it really doesnt matter.