Sunday, January 31, 2010

1047 : The wanderer !!

My sister can never truly understand, my fascination with roads and driving….and I can’t seem to explain it in any simple words, always fail so very miserably :-)

I think (I guess!!) it might have something to do with the fact that my spirit still likes to wander, searching for a clutch (aha! the poetic twain meets!!), wants to be unfettered - if that is indeed true, then my driving instincts seem to have more to do with the quest of the soul, than of the journey or the destination !!

1046 : Music 56 : Pankhon Ko from Rocket Singh (Corrected Lyrics and English Translation) – Salim Merchant (singer) and Jaideep Sahni (lyrics)

(Credits : I picked up lyrics from  a few mistakes which I have corrected :-))

This is a lovely hummable song, and I listened to it more carefully because spousey drools over Mohit Chauhan, she is totally enamoured by his voice….and then WE DISCOVERED THAT IT IS SUNG BY SALIM MERCHANT…..spousey (and I too) still dont believe it !!

To be fair the lyrics have a few gem of lines, and Salim(Mohit) is outstanding as usual.

 Pankhon Ko - Bollywood Hindi Song Lyrics

Movie: Rocket Singh - Salesman Of The Year (2009)
Music Director:Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
Director: Shimit Amin
Lyricist: Jaideep Sahni
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Sharon Prabhakar
Song Title: Pankhon Ko
Singer(s): Salim Merchant
Release Date: December 11, 2009

Pankhon Ko Lyrics and (my feeble attempts @ Translation)

Pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do
Dil bole soya tha ab jagne do
Dil dil mein hai dil ki tamanna sau
Do sau ho chalo zara si tapne do
Udne do ho o ho
Udne do ho o ho oh

(When will my) wings will be graced by the wind,
My heart hums, lets wake up from the slumber,
Every heart (like all the others) has a million latent desires,
A million or two (whatever), lets let them swelter, sear and sizzle,

Fly away….
Fly away….

Hawa zara si lagne do
Soya tha ab jagne do
Pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do

A little bit of the wind grazing past me,
Can awaken me from the slumber,
(When will my) wings will be graced by the wind

Dhoop khile jism garam sa hai
Suraj yahin yeh bharam sa hai
Bhikri hui rahein harazon sau
Thamo koi phir bhatakne do

The (sun’s) ember is dancing, can feel the fuzzy warmth in my blood,
That it (sun) is somewhere close, is such a mighty illusion,
The shards of the maze (of roads and paths) are a few hundred million,
Pick a few, and let yourself wander (on them)

Udne do ho o ho oh ho
Udne do ho o ho oh

fly away…
fly away…

Hawa zara si lagne do
Soya tha ab jagne do
Pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do

A little bit of the wind grazing past me,
Can awaken me from the slumber,
(When will my) wings will be graced by the wind

Hu hu hu…
Udne do hoo hooo o oohh ooo
Huuu huuhuu…
Hawa Zara Si Lagne Do
Huuu huuhuu…

Dil ki patang chahon mein gothe khati hai
Dhel toh do dekho kahan pe jati hai
Uljhe nahi toh kaise suljhoge
Bikhre nahi to kaise nihkroge

My free heart, (just) like a kite, flutters and plunges within the shadows,
Give it (just) a tiny little tug, and watch (amazed) how high it can soar and fly,
Unless (you get) untangled, how will you(r) (life and truth) unravel (itself),
Unless shattered, how will there be luster and shine (for either the diamond or you)

Udne do ho o ho
Udne do ho o ho ohho

Hawa zara si lagne do
Soya tha ab jagne do
Pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do

A little bit of the wind grazing past me,
Can awaken me from the slumber,
(When will my) wings will be graced by the wind

Hu hu hu…
Udne do hoo hooo o oohh ooo
Huuu huuhuu…
Hawa Zara Si Lagne Do
Huuu huuhuu…

1045 : Chili’s @ Powai : Latest (and last) update

My sis suffered a severe food poisoning attack, post her salad @ Chili’s, 2 days later, she is still recuperating….and it pays to remember, that her gastric system can usually digest rocks :-)

One word of advice, my friend, AVOID…..

(Dumbasses @ Chili’s  just lost another (possible) loyal customer set.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1044 : The Bestest career advice ever !! (From Rajiv Gandhi Farm)

I think this will soon be part of my wormhole philosophy…;-)



1043 : Maybe this is how performance appraisals should be decided (From Rajiv Gandhi Farm)


1042 : Venti Verb Verbiage (from Rajiv Gandhi Farm)


1041 : A painting at the Corinthian


1040 : Rajiv Gandhi Animal Farm @ Pune

While  @ Pune, we took time off to visit the Rajiv Gandhi Animal Farm (Zoo). To be fair its a clean, well maintained zoo. Its better than the Byculla or Borivali zoo…..worth a visit in these urban times – though its kind of sad to see animals @ zoo in captivity.

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1039 : Play area @ The Corinthians

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1038 : The Corinthians Pune

Last week, Sri, Smi and us had driven down to Pune to chill out at The Corinthians Pune. This is located a few kms away from Pune.

What I liked about the place
- Sparkling new and decent attention to detail
- Large rooms
- Outstanding garden (though it is small)

What I hated
- Crappy service
- Crappy food
- No warmth and concept of hospitality

Will I go there again? Probably yes, just that this time, I wont expect a 4 star experience. Do I recommend, others go other? Yes, if only to enjoy the property.

How must does it cost? At 7k a pop, its not exactly cheap.

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1037 : Closure (or why it might be important?)

My manager moved on after working with us for over 5 years. I did take time to implicitly and explicitly tell him, how much he meant to my life, and how he has changed the way I work.

That for me, was more important than any other part of the relationship (while it lasted). I call the process of signing off as “closure”. Signing off does not only refer to “good byes”, it could also be as regular as everyday.

A good night kiss to your loves ones, a hug for your mom whenever you meet her, a peck for the sister when you are leaving her place post dinner…a simple thank you to the server at the restaurant after he has served the food…..all of these are “closures”.

A “closure” is more important in my head than all the acts preceding (or succeeding) it. For two reasons
1. Its your only real chance to scream back at uncle universe and let him know what a particular experience meant to you - thank the people and the elements that make them, for the experience.
2. A “closure” is also like a “clean” system shut down, it allows you to restart the next time without any hiccups and be ready for the “new” experiences.

Is the closure only with people you have had good times with? I actually think, we should also close with people who have had issues with us. Its good to walk upto somebody and say, “Mister, I hated you while I was working with you” – that admission might itself be worth the “closure”.

If you are good with closures, I believe you shall die more happily and easily….when your life passes by in those last few gasps, there will be no braces to end, and no open transactions left to commit….they shall all be “closed”….and if this final argument, does not convince you of the power of “closures”, I don’t think anything else ever will. I rest my case.

Related post at 1016 - Mention not !! and 1015 - Saying the obvious

(I learnt this by induction. I knew a few folks who looked content and peaceful with life, when I went closer to them, I realized that the one thing they all excel at is “closures”. Try and look around in your own life, and maybe we can confirm this theory out).

1036 : Best Places to Work - SAS

This time around Dr. Jim Goodnight’s SAS tops Fortune’s best places to work list. I have a buddy who worked at SAS 10 years ago, and he still swears by the place.

Its amazing how seemingly simple things make an organization world class. Day care, fitness centers, good work, healthy food, respect for family time – and you have a bunch of happy motivated employees and then you have a super achieving organization.

And yet, most organizations totter around and never get this simple trick right.

My 3 observations

1. I think key fault lies in allowing individuals to be larger than the corporation. You can never allow an employee to put his interests before the firm’s, the minute you allow that, then all kinds of social malaises (politics, sycophancy, lick my bum…..and the ilk follow).

2. Also never ever for a day allow a person who is not respected enough to remain in the organization

3. Lastly, if the desire to slow down kicks – move the employee to sidelines, so that they don’t hamper others from running fast.

In summary – a firm is composed of teams not individuals – so keep your individuality at home; the firm is always much bigger than its parts;….and never allow slow movers to impede the rest of the firm.

BTW, Dr. Goodnight, do you have a spot in your team which serves Wall Street?

1035 : Movie 42 : Rocket Singh

Rocket-Singh-1 rocket-singh

Caught up with Rocket Singh yesterday. Its a fairly honest and engaging movie in the first 2 hours, the last 30 minutes completely sucks.

Watch it for its
- Honest clean movie
- Realism in parts, especially Ranbir actually looks and behaves like a Surd
- Capable supporting cast
- Very interesting plot build up
- Music esp. background score

What I hated
- Totally damp squib in the last 30 minutes
- Sloppy editing towards the end bits

Overall a 8/10, definitely worth a single watch.

1034 : Chili’s @ Powai revisited (restaurant review)

So I was brave enough to visit Chili’s again, after our horrible experience last time. Read more at

This time around with sister and buddy. I must say the dumbasses (I mean the folks @ Chili’s and not my pretty pretty family :-)) still don’t get it. What can you expect out of a place
- Where servers speak English but have no courtesy, manners and warmth.
- Where your soup costing you 200 odd comes in luke warm, instead of steaming hot
- Where water is a precious commodity and is only served to those dying, the rest can always survive dehydrated.
- Where those who accept the “orders” have no idea what the dish actually is, “Sir, am not sure, but might contain beans”. Aha!!
- Where the salsa sauce tastes as if it were just rescued from the garbage pail.
- Where my sis who is a confirmed foodie, who can eat a duck raw and survive, had to fall back on fruit salt (ENO) post her salad.

I believe (and now wish too!!) that this places soon dies – and is replaced with a Rajdhani or a Redbox (Sizzler joint @ Lokhandwala)

Last time I rated it 4/10, my new adjusted rating is 1/10. How low can you stoop Chili’s….way to go ))

1033 : An incomplete poem in 3 stanzas

Me, familiarity breeds contempt,
She, if something is meant to be, it will last,
Me, absence makes the heart grow fonder,

(Give a couple of years for this poem to complete itself. Father Time is usually the only true witness of our lives :-))

1032 : My favorite passage from James’ Frey A Million Little Pieces

For those who want to know why I was raving about James’ Frey A Million Little Pieces, this is one of my favorite passages from the book. Read on.

After Lecture, Joanne is waiting for me outside the Hall. She says I am with her this morning and we walk through the Halls toward her Office. The Halls are bright and I do not mind. When we walk inside, she sits down in one of the comfortable chairs and I sit on the couch. She lights a cigarette and I light a cigarette. She leans back, settles in, speaks.
You think about our conversation yesterday?
No. Why?
Because I'm not going to change my mind and I'm not going to bother thinking about changing my mind.
James, you are an incredibly Addicted Person. You have been told by qualified Doctors that any drug or alcohol use is going to kill you. In all of my experience, I have never seen anyone stay sober and survive in the long term using anything but AA and the Twelve Steps. They may last a week or a month or in the best cases a year, but without the necessary support, all of them start using again and most of them die. Is that really what you want? I'd rather have that than spend my life sitting in Church basements listening to People whine and bitch and complain. That's not productivity to me, nor is it progress. It is the replacement of one addiction with another, and if I'm gonna be Addicted to something, it's gonna be something I like. AA is not a replacement addiction. It is a support group based around the Twelve Steps.
You can look at it however you want, but when someone stops doing one thing every day and starts doing another thing every day, that seems like a replacement addiction to me.
She takes a deep frustrated breath.
Would you rather be Addicted to something that makes you a better person and makes you healthier every day, or something that's going to kill you? You can try whatever tricks you want, taking my position or reverse psychology or whatever else you got in your bag, but I'm not gonna believe in AA or the Twelve Steps. The whole thing is based on belief in God. I don't have that, and I never will.
It is based on a belief in a Higher Power, not God.
Same thing.
God, in our Society, is a man with a long flowing beard who sits on a chair in Heaven. You don't have to believe in that. A Higher Power can be anything you would  like it to be or anything that gets you through the day. It could be the Sky, it could be Buddha. It could be the Force from Star Wars. AA does not try to push any one Higher Power or Religion or particular belief on you.
Let's get something straight before we talk about this anymore.
Whether you're saying Higher Power or you're saying God, you're saying the same thing.
I think that's too general a statement. It discounts the diversity of the World's Spiritual Thought.
From where I sit, all Religion and Spiritual Thought are the same thing. They exist to make People feel better about living, to give them some kind of moral code, and to help them feel better about dying by promising something better when their life ends, provided they follow all of God's Rules.
Is something wrong with that purpose?
I think it's bullshit. I don't need something that doesn't exist to tell me how to live.
How can you be so sure that something Greater than ourselves doesn't exist?
How can you be so sure it does?
Because I have faith in it.
I don't.
She pauses, takes a deep breath, speaks.
What do you think faith is?
I think for a moment. I speak.
Faith is the belief in something that can't be proven to exist.
Have you ever considered it?
And why don't you have it?
I think God is something that People use to avoid reality. I think faith allows People to reject what is right in front of our eyes, which is that this thing, this life, this existence, this consciousness, or whatever word you want to use for it, is all we have, and all we'll ever have. I think People have faith because they want and need to believe in something, whatever that something is, because life can be hard and depressing and brutal if you don't.
You may be right, but what about accepting the idea that faith can make your life
better. I know my faith makes my life better, and whether what I believe in exists
or not, because I have faith in it, I get the benefits of that faith.
I'm not going to ever have faith in God or anything like God.
Do you have faith in love?
Meaning what?
Do you believe in love? .
Do you believe it can make your life better?
Do you have faith in anything else?
You believe in friendship?
Very much so.
Anything else?
What's your point?
You can't prove love or friendship exist, but you still have faith in them. I'm asking you to try and apply the same principle to something greater than yourself.
I can feel love and friendship. I can see and touch and talk to the People I love and
the People I choose to make my friends. The idea of God doesn't make me feel anything and I can't see God or touch God or talk to God.
Have you ever tried to open yourself up to the idea of faith?
I've read the Bible. It didn't ring true to me. I know People who consider themselves close to God, but I've never understood their feelings. I've spent time in Churches, and I can appreciate their beauty and majesty, but nothing good has ever happened to me in a Church.
What does that mean?
Exactly what I said.
Is there something you aren't telling me?
Nothing that has anything to do with what we're talking about.
She stares at me, I stare at her. She speaks.
I want you to think more about this and try to come to terms with it. I want you to stop intellectualizing it and try to open yourself to it.
I've never believed in God, not even as a little Kid. I'm not going to start now.
Think about it.
She stands and I stand and we walk to the door and she opens it.
There are going to be some alterations to your Program, which Ken will talk to you
about this afternoon. Come back and talk to me when you're ready.
I walk out and I walk through the Halls.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1031 : Are you all fucked up ? (A million little pieces by James Frey)


oprahbookclubc-743564 million

I just finished reading “A million little pieces” by James Frey. Its easy to debate whether it is fictional, or semi-fictional or autobiographical (for the record the official classification is non-fiction autobiography).

Whatever is the classification, this should be categorized as an OUTSTANDING tome. Its a brilliant piece of literature.

Honest, in your face and extremely well written. I am almost an addict (omigod, omigosh, oh fucking feather….of what….sex??? drugs??? alcohol??? puffs????….well, lets say, the finer things in life and I share a passionate affair, and leave it at that :-)), and I can almost relate 100% to the James Frey character especially his

- Fury
- Rejection of AA
- Rejection of God and a higher power
- Complete disregard for a system of learning or improvement
- Not holding anyone but one’s own self for where he/she is currently in life. (My favorite statement is “I am a victim of my own duplicity and compulsions”….no one else, not one single other soul is responsible for my frigging failures.)

Its a 500 page Rs. 295 steal. Its a book for the collection. Read it every few years for its brilliant prose, and of course it might give you a glimpse of a few tricks to survive life. 

Go for it, a 10 pointer.

Makes me want to write again :-)

(and '"Being Fucked Up” is definitely now going to be included in my everyday lexicon :-))

1030 : Off the curve or in it?

Spousey and I were driving back from Pune and had this long chat about what I have termed as “being in or out of the curve”.

“Being in the curve” means being perfectly normal, and feeling normal and fitting with the normal statistical distribution of the world around you. Chasing success, money, women….having a spouse, children, expecting your children to be successful…and the whole rigmarole….get the drift?

I am self-confessed out of the curve guy. I don’t fit the normal distribution by a variation of over 6 sigma :-) I would assume.

So is being in the curve, good or bad, it is desirable or not?

As with all existential questions, the answers are not simple.

Everything we aspire for in the world – whether good or notorious comes from being “off the curve.”. Al Capone was off the curve, Osama Bin Laden is off the curve, so was Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs is, Albert Einstien was…and so was Phoolan Devi.

Deviant behavior and hence greatness comes from being off the curve.

What do we aspire for ourselves and our children?
- Fame
- Wealth
- Success

or better still
- Peace
- Happiness
- Personal Greatness

and on the worse side
- a rapist, a psychopath, and anti-civilian terrorist
- a deserter
- and everything else wrong in the world….

None of the above comes from being in the curve. You cannot become an Osho or Sri Sri or Jesus by being in the curve.

And yet?

We all clutch the curve, including the ones outside it, like me….(seriously, I do feel envious and sometimes very tempted to retrofit myself into the curve…but then I know, I can never fit in there…an earthbound misfit, I :-))

And we all aspire the 6 odd (example) attributes mentioned above in some form or shape.

Is there a big inherent paradox in our lives?

(Don’t look at me…..I don’t have an answer. This question has bothered me for many years, and yes, it has no one single answer.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

1029 : Continuous vs. spiral sine curves

Slightly philosophical…actually boringly statistical :-)

Most viewpoints I have heard of, rationalize life and its ups and downs as a continuous process – which means at any given point, life is decent mixture of the good and the bad (or what we think is the “good” and the “bad”….or better still, what we choose to be “wanting” to be part of out life, and what we choose to “avoiding” in life”.)

The key word in the above (wordy) sentence is “continuous”. I tend to look at it very differently. I actually think life is set of “spirals” and the ups and downs are actually deep enough troughs like a sine wave – both in the “good” and the “bad” direction.

A prominent example is Tiger Woods who had it “all going” for me in the positive sense, and then a small trigger, pushed the whole equation into “all not going” territory…..he switched from one extreme of the sine curve to another in a matter of a day - literally.

Why does that happen? – My personal experience leads me to believe that “good” or “bad” feeds off itself. So if you are doing good at a job, your family life beings to look up, your health gets a little fitter, and everything seems in order. Tomorrow you get detected with cancer, your family is distraught, your career goes on the backburner and your health is obviously not fine. In a matter of days.

On the “negative” side - I have stared down an empty barrel, felt my walls were closing onto me, felt like my health was not going to last, my dream squashed in front of me……and all of them looking like they were clubbed together – though in fact they were independent events.

The “feeding off” spiral stops when
- you  take 2 steps back  and make truth with the situation (both good and bad…you recognize, life cant be this good or this bad)
- there is nothing left to feed off (your health, job, family, wealth….whatever f-symbols….are all gone).

Why narrate this long story?

I actually think – and hope (aha the proverbial bitch)  that I am just coming off a big negative spiral. The last 18 months have been tough on me. Though I was conscious and constantly taking two steps backwards, at times the spiral is like a tornado, can warp (and wrap) you in. After all, I am a fallible human being….I was sucked in.

I think the spiral is slowly breaking – it will be a couple of years before I hit the other (positive) trough of the sine curve.

I also keep telling myself that this endless see-saw will ceaselessly continue – and that I should remember in this perpetual  game of zenith and nadir – that the next nadir is always very close, never more than 60 seconds away.

Friday, January 22, 2010

1028 : Smile and the long mile

I walked into a serious meeting day before with a big beam on my lips. The lady with whom I had a meeting, asked me “why such a big smile?” (Why so serious ???? :-))))

I was actually giving her a warm good morning smile, which she misconstrued as the “funny” smile, or so I assume.

My lovely sis keeps tells the niece, “Smile and good things will happen to you through the day.”.

Guess what I offered the lady as an explanation for my big wide beam?

Guffaw :-)) I don’t think she got the joke though.

1027 : Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

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Finished this tiny book by Victor Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. Victor who is also doctor and psychologist, wrote this as a sort of memoir of his experiences at a concentration camp. He has focused on how priorities change for us humans when we are faced with larger than (usual) life challenges.

I found it a very interesting read. It does share a perspective which might impact your view of the world.

Not the best of written books (blame on the translation) and not the most engaging, but definitely worth reading for some of the insights it shares, plus it is tiny, less than 150 pages.

Rating 7/10. Recommended read.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

1026 : Is the hour getting late? Ask the Watchtower.

But you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour is getting late.

These lines from DMB’s All Along The Watchtower are stuck in my head in an infinite loop since morning. Must admit, that feels very eerie…. my life does freakily enough mirror my music :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1025 : The long and short of it is …sweet !!

Someone once told me “your life is deemed short” and he said it in all poker seriousness. (Who….A doctor?….a fortune-teller?…..a sooth-sayer?……a witch?……lets say, it was the friendly neighborhood fatalist :-)) ).

Years later, I tend to see the merit in the point, my life might indeed be short, as a matter of fact it might be “very short”, but its sweet for certain :-)

(inspired from a DMB phrase).

1024 : Pretty Woman

Yesterday, I was telling someone how pretty she looked, and she actually did :-). I realize that doing this in a non-personal zone – office, mall, school could be a dangerous territory, and I do understand the perceived risks which come with such a statement.

To me, calling someone pretty is just as simple as telling sis how fantastic her mulled wine is. Simple, harmless, honest, and essential to let the other person know how much that thing means to you and the world around.

Of course, I would say both the “wine” and “pretty” comment to only someone I at least reasonably know – not to a complete stranger – but my point remains – I believe “saying the obvious” can sometimes mean a lot of good karma in the universe.

More at 1015 - Saying the obvious

Monday, January 18, 2010

1023 : The decade of provisional existence

Its 2010, and just yesterday in 2000, I was working at a small startup – but enjoying myself thoroughly. In 2003 – I was down to my last dollar, and staring down a barrel. In 2005, was back on track with a decent job to back.

2009 was terrible, almost was staring down barrels again.

2010 is for new beginnings and kissing life and eventually growing up. A time to live, another time to continue dying.

A decade of love, penury, hurt, loneliness, fun, joy, of not growing and yet of moving on – in short a decade of the cancerous :-)

What will the next 10 years be?

1022 : Running fast, running away ….

I ran about 10 kms yesterday, after a hiatus of almost a month. I realised that nothing clears your mind like running, its almost like a “quick format” – clean and feeling better. Running is my “urban” meditation.

Must get back to the schedule sooner than later :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

1021 : Poison is your best friend

Related to 1019 - What does a pack of cigarettes mean-

Whatever you choose to be your poison, love them and nurture them. Why? They feed your soul (not just your cells), they show you a glimpse of paradise (without the raisins :-)) in those slim moments…..and yes, most importantly, they will eventually help you die (ask Socarates).

My poisons, top of the list include
- My mom’s coffee (More at Post 541 - Perfect kaapi (coffee) as per my mom…)
- Sis’s mulled wine
- Spousey’s and my own chai
- Anything that is red, is made from grapes and comes in a bottle :-)

(Of course, we are only talking “food” poisons here, else this would include some of my fav books and music – at the least).

1020 : Knowing and yet getting overwhelmed

Change, death, movement and loss are all essential parts of my life – have seen them at close quarters (just like all others) and have lived to tell.

Each of them brings a new beginning – a set of “precious” things you lose, and a set of “precious” things you re-acquire – essentially its a re-baselining of the “precious”.

A few far reaching changes are hitting my life, and I am completely overwhelmed, unable to easily reconcile with the new possible truth.

That my friend, is called, inertia (and in poetic terms – “a prayer for the dying”).

1019 : What does a pack of cigarettes mean?

I don’t smoke, but some of my best buddies do – and I have tons of respect (and fascination) for the stick as a poison. ( I am almost like Robert Pirsig – read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, if you want to know what I mean).

This quote is from RockNRolla – where Johnny, the abused and (supposedly dead) rock artist speaks : (they are referring to two props, a box of Virginia Cigarettes, and a beautiful painting which is with them, but not belonging to them)

Johnny: You see that pack of Virginia killing sticks at the end of the piano?

Pete :Yeah.

Johnny : All you need to know about life is retained within those four walls.

Johnny : You will notice that one of your personalities is seduced by the  illusions of grandeur. A "gold" packet of "king" size and with a "regal" insignia. An attractive implication toward glamour and wealth, a subtle suggestion that cigarettes are indeed your "royal" and loyal friends. And that Pete, a lie.
Your other personality is trying to draw your attention to the flip side of the discussion. Written in boring, bold, black and white is the statement, that these neat little soldiers of death, are in fact, trying to "kill you." And that Pete, the truth.
Beauty is a beguiling call to death and I am addicted to the sweet siren of its pitch. And that, why, and I love the crack, and that is also why I can not,.. give that painting back.

(Read this piece again, its not just well written – it also has a great definition of what “art” is.)

1018 : Movie 41 : RockNRolla

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Caught up with Guy Ritchie’s RockNRolla yesterday. If you like Snatch, Boondock Saints….then this is straight up your alley.

Same wry look at the underbelly for London/UK, and the humor and fun of the movie is in the characters and their interaction. The dialogues are outlandishly creative and addictive.

I saw it without subtitles so missed a few bits where accent was too heavy, but still had a rolling time watching this one.

Some thumping background score – almost perfect.

A 10/10 in my head, straight into your DVD collection, you can see it twice back to back – its that good.


If you like all of this, then you should not miss In the Loop, thats a couch buster. You might just break your couch laughing your stomach out. More at 646 - Movie 29 - In the loop (British Comedy)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

1017 : This could be heaven for everyone

Last week, travelling through an alien part of this world (to me), I was sitting in a car, being driven from point A to point B. I was too preoccupied with something that needed to be closed out on that day.

As our car came to a halt, at a signal, my eyes which had been firegazing out, saw the a man without legs sitting on the “footpath”. He was sitting on a jute sack, with 2 jugs and few sacks resting behind him (functioning as pillows)….probably a sum of all his worldly possessions. His eyes were swollen, his hair disheveled, and his clothes torn.

Poverty and grime are not strangers to my part of the world, and hence apathy runs deep in all of us (including me).

What struck me, was this person was uncontrollably sobbing. He was alone. This is middle afternoon, probably 35 degrees C outside….and here is this man without legs, surrounded by his worldly possessions, sitting in the middle of a busy intersection and sobbing.

As it always does in these situations, the thought crossed my mind, we could easily have been juxtaposed, and it would not mattered a dime to this weary world !!

And by then, of course, conveniently, the car had started moving again. The earth constantly rotates around its axis :-)

1016 : Mention not !!

(related to previous post)

I was having dinner last week, with someone whom I had met for the first time. He noticed that for every roti, every beer….every single thing the usher was doing I was beaming wide, looking at him straight in the eye and saying “thank you”.

He said “Amit, you do say “thank you” quite a lot”.

I told him exactly I wrote in my previous post.

I don’t thank because I have to, I thank because I want to. I want to silently tell the universe that I really appreciate the usher, his parents and the whole ecosystem around him and me – because he served me, my today’s bread. In all probability, I shall never ever see him again, but to me it makes a lot of karmic sense to not just thank him, but also internally realize how important his presence has been for my dinner experience today.

I wonder where and when (and why) did we remove the “feelings” out of the “magic words”.

1015 : Saying the obvious

A week ago was with my sister and a few others. Quite unexpectedly, I was tasked with going down and getting some munchies. I decided to walk instead of take the car.

She jumped in, offering to walk along with me. Am assuming it was her 15 minutes of trying to connect with me (a sweet gesture, that one), shorn away from the urban noise that constantly surrounds us.

We both dote on each other, and yet we don’t meet often. The little instances when we do meet, she makes me invariably feel special and completely cared for, almost as if, I was the best human being around – almost as if, if my nephew grew into someone like me – she would be delighted and happy, and that I must admit, is a rare and precious feeling, at least, for me.

The walk actually stretched through 30-40 minutes and we spoke through this. Two adults holding hands and walking past shops, and talking gingerly about “our lives and times”.

She never avers telling me how I make her the best breakfast experience. Somehow this crept into our conversation on that evening, and…..(conversation sort of recreated)

Sis : I really miss your goody breakfast, come home this weekend and make it.
Me : I will try, (feeling modest and shrugging), but I use the same eggs and bread as you, how different can my cooking can be.
Sis : It is really the best.
(some more conversation on that topic, before we get into senti and emotional territory….)
Me : You know, culturally we don’t hug each other often, we don’t tell each other how much we value each other, we don’t tell others what we love about them, like you just told me about the breakfast. Its a simple thing, nothing deep, but it makes me feel good to know that “my cooking” means so much to you.
Sis : You do that a lot yourself don’t you, I noticed you hugging Ma and telling her how she makes the best coffee in the world, after each of the 3 cups you had today (laughing).
Me : (sheepishly laughing) I seriously think she makes the best coffee in the whole world.
Sis : I know you mean it, but you also say it – you make it explicit.
Me : Yes, I always believe that if I don’t tell her today what that cup means today, tomorrow might be too late, and I really believe that, life can go kapoosh in an instant…..No matter what happens tomorrow, I want her to know today, how much that cup means to my personal happiness – and that she is singularly responsible for that “moment of joy.”
Sis : Not many of us do that.
Me : Yes, and we are culturally not encouraged to do that. We don’t praise our little ones when they do good things, neither do we thank our “big” ones when they do something for us. Its culturally okay for us to assume “business as usual” and assume things for granted.
Sis : I agree completely….
Me : ….and for me, a thanks, is not a “box ticking thanks”, its actually a silent assimilation of this moment of joy, which you or someone created for me. Its a genuine little prayer to the larger universe - “I like this moment, it makes my life worth living.”
Me : ….you don’t have to “say a thanks”, a tap on the shoulder can mean the same, a peck can mean the same, a clasp of the palm can say it….whatever works.
Sis : ….we don’t often tell others how good everyday things are. If there is one mistake in the food, like salt is missing, we shall all highlight it, but we shall never praise “business as usual” and say, that today’s dal-rice tastes great, just like everyday.
Me : Precisely my point….and yet, making that single cup of coffee, requires the same amount of love and effort as the 2000 other ones amma has already pushed into my blood. And to me, it is also just as invaluable as the 2000 previous ones.
(and the conversation meandered around….)

Get the drift?

I believe with all my heart (and head), that life is very short, and terribly fickle. If we don’t tell people “things”(which could initially appear very obvious or plain jane to us) like signing off an email to your sis with “luv” – of course, I care and love her, but writing it down, and saying it with real feeling at that “moment” is necessary, because remember – that might be the last time I ever get to do it.

I peck my spousey’s hair and head probably 20 times a day. Everytime I do that, I tell Uncle Universe – “I love this moment”.

(and all along, you rowdy fuckers thought – I did not have any EQ at all :-) guffaw))

1014 : Steel cuts steel

(Related to the previous post….)

If I look around the room, and I don’t find 8 out of 10 people are substantially better than me, I do invariably end up asking myself, “Am I in the right room?”.

1013 : Who the f**k is John Galt?

You don’t really appreciate the fineness of John Galt’s Utopia, till you have really had an unbridled orgy with the animal called dis-utopia. I have had more than my fair share of those rabid carnal sessions in the recent months :-), and its has only helped me further my understanding of  John Galt and his utopian chimera, much more innately than a 1000 page book could ever help me understand.

In so many years of my perennial search for “meaning”, Rand’s “relentless pursuit of a (personal definition of) beauty” is the closest that I have come to understanding life from a philosophical sense. I have always felt that a life lived without that unrelenting desire to reach a personal zenith (not to be confused with worldly measures such as ambition and success) will have to include a hell lot of tottering and meandering.

A few close friends and loved ones definitely believe, that this “mad pursuit” of John Galt’s Utopia is a surefire recipe for eventual fall from grace and an unhappy end.

I must honestly admit, sometimes(in scalpel driven moments of introspection), I feel they are (were) right. I can clearly see the “Times – They surely are changing.” – the world around me is getting more and more successful at making pariahs out of the Galts.

1012 : Far and removed

Sometimes what you think of labeling as your “own”, can seem very alien and removed. Like returning to this blog after a hiatus of 10 days, or like being scathed by an old irritating wound :-)

In both cases, I would like to believe, I would like to make a comeback.

Here you go again :-)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

1011 : The culture of dreaming

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My growing up years, included an idol diet of Jack Welch, Bill Gates (and Balmer and Allen)..I remember as a 15 year old wanting to build a world class organization.

My infinite attempts at starting up (and miserably failing :-)) were all attempts at that direction.

I think we had the best shot when we were at MyZus. I remember in 99-2000, reading two definite books Lisa Endlich – Culture of Success (Goldman Sachs) and Hard Drive : Making of Microsoft Empire by James Wallace.

We wanted to fashion MyZus along these lines – and we realized culture is essential.

Both of the above books will definitely inspire you to do the best for your startup, and if not there yet, it will make you want to die to have a chance to work at MS or GS.

My fascination with Microsoft was also due to me being a tech geek at that point, and with Goldman Sachs was because I grew up surrounded by IIM folks who used to swear by a GS placement.

I am currently at a place, where culture is being built, I would recommend that the Lisa Endlich book be gift wrapped for each of the employees. Its a book more about how culture (no matter how screwed) builds a world class organization, and less about GS in itself.

And I just started re-reading it again in the past 2 days. Its a breezy read, highly recommended  - both of these books.

Of course, if today I were to make a new list of places to admire, it will contain (in no particular order)

- Apple
- Goldman Sachs
- Innocent Drinks
- Starbucks (losing culture though….???)
- Google
- Whole Foods
- Microsoft
- Zappos (now bought over by Amazon)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

1010 : One hand to ruffle, the other to shuffle

I was at my wormhole’s loo yesterday, and saw someone trying hard to “do the thing” and shuffle his ipod at the same time.

The only thought which crossed my mind was “ If you are really trying to change the song, then buddy that song must be terrible, if you want to change it midway during your thing .”

A true music lover as you shall ever find :-)

(Was he listening to
“Dont mess with my toh toh”
or Beatles – “I want to hold your hand” and humming “I want to hold my wand”
ah….the possibilities are infinite)

1009 : Lost Opinion on the other alternative

Lost Soul, commented back on my “search for an alternative” (after 3 idiots debate). I have edited his (am assuming its a he based on the style of writing….) response and posted it below, because its long enough and deserves a read.

On a lighter note, a movie that inspires so much debate can’t really be that bad. (I just posted this line to give my sis a “positive tick”, she has been riling me for the past 2 days, just because I said the movie sucks. She obviously liked the movie, and the way it works in our family is, “we have to disagree”, but “we also have to agree”… :-)

Lost Soul’s comments below  (definitely worth a serious read as a counter point)

I don’t say that the education system sucks in India, but it needs to grow in tandem as the needs of the new generation grow. The forced mathematics that we studied makes us Indians the most brilliant ppl with most demand as IT professionals. This would not have been possible without the education system. I am WITH YOU on mostly the all the points mentioned above except some that I would take on later. Let me take the previous questions that I raised.

1. Wasting a degree - Of course it would help the sales executive, but this example was not aimed at those who look at an MBA as an extension of their existing career but ppl who look at MBA as an switch from the existing stream to something else. An example would be a person who did Mechanical engineering at IIT - Chennai and now is studying at NYU Stern to be an I-banker. I am still struggling what help would be mechanics to him in I banking. Probably calculating stress on his head as an I banker :D. If he really wants to be an I banker probably a CA degree will help him more out than the eng. degree. I do buy your thought that knowledge always comes handy but then I think probably with eng. he should also learn Law, Medicine, Accounts but the more relevant the higher education the more it going to benefit the person himself. The whole idea is to be focused on the profession a person selects for himself for his life rather than meandering here and there as Chetan Bhagat spiraling from an IIT eng. to IIM I banker to a writer. Believe me things are worse in normal colleges forget the IITs. There is a complete chaos in the colleges. If you ask an MBA aspirant why he wants to do an MBA, 90% would be saying I do not wish to pursue technical so I think MBA is an only option.

2. Green Pastures - I read this article just 2 days back before commenting on your article.
I don’t give a fuck if Aswath Damodaran makes millions or teaches corporate finance. We can’t afford to think that when our own colleges including the IVY league universities are starving of resources. I do understand the financial implications and all the globalization fundas but I hope you would agree that you won’t feed a neighbors child if your own child is starved. I strongly believe a society grows socially, financially and laterally on the heads of the learned and brilliant people which alas we are losing a high rate. It is only the brilliant minds that create opportunities for the common people. If Narayana Murthy would had followed the same strategy after his IIM A degree to run to the greener pastures, you would had been settled in Silicon Valley with a big Villa and a BMW and I would had been repairing computers in some remote town of India :D.

3. Why so much pressure towards GPAs - I understand the joy of being first and sorrow of being also second. I understand the joy of getting an "Outstanding" and the sorrow of "Very Good" in my appraisal process. This explains that I love competition. I would not want to be second best in the field I love. Let us understand that interest comes naturally to a person and no matter how much I pursue a person to follow something else he/she cannot focus on that field. If I have my natural fair for then I would give in my 110% for it and one day by practice I would be as excellent in my field as someone who is good at rotting and has excellence in it. I may not get a Merc, a large house but I would be happy doing what I do for the most part of my day. A few days ago a neighbor met me in the lift and asked me in front of his son if 93% is bad or not and expecting me to say bad. I would not say tht. I in my neighbors place would encourage him positively to take interest in those subjects, try to learn that but would not EMOTIONALLY BLACKMAIL and EMBARASS him in front of strangers to perform or perish. I believe a person has his own unique abilities which should be nurtured rather than running a rat race (Though I am trying to find mine yet).
Co-incidentally this is story published only today in DNA.
I do not say competition killed these 3 children, but not allowing them to compete in the fields they would love to, killed them. All they wanted was to follow their dreams and excel in the field they wanted to choose as me and you who chose an engineering career.
I do understand that you and I will be rational towards our children in the coming future but 3 idiots have been positively shown this on screen which is why people have loved it. I do not go the watch the movie to see delivering babies via vacuum cleaner. No one would attempt to do so also. Celluloid is always been exaggerated, u see any damn movie and it has to. IF I want to see a normal person whose rotting has got him to places, then we have plentiful of examples in daily life.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

1008 : Vishnu Sahasranamam

My mom used to play the MS Subbulakshmi version, quite often while I was growing up. The drone of it used induce peace and harmony into the mornings.

Memory is a very strange animal, gets excited by the most unusual of muses :-), in this case its the number of the post.

1007 : Refugee Blues by WH Auden

I was listening (yes you heard me right) to this poem, recited by Shehnaz Patel. She makes this already soulful poem, so much so more meaningful, you can almost feel the pain.

Lovely meter, and extremely taut as a rendition of the poem.

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

1006 : On your turning away (A modern ghazal in a C minor rhapsody)

Then, a plaintive photograph in which I saw you,
In retrospect, as it always is,  I was blown away,

That, first kiss was an experience of bliss,
The understated youth in me was torn away,

The “stale” air around us recoiled at our curling up,
On the blowing wind, we decided to rapidly float away,

An inflated promise of being forever and together,
The expanding balloon was already afloat, up and away,

As years went by, the boat did roll and rock,
The then term for it was , this is sailing away,

A slippery leaking roof and a heavily fractured ego,
Our weary guess - maybe its the age giving away,

Then, an acrimonious accident, a modern mishap,
Albeit, we had by then, decided to spend the night away,

Now, a torn photograph silently flutters in the wind,
Is this is what they call as fading fast away?

(- title will sound suspiciously similar to Floyd’s On The Turning Away, and it is !!)

1005 : Dead Man’s Clothes

How to deal with
a dead man’s clothes
I do not know.

You cannot wear, too soon,
a dead man’s clothes -
it might seem that you were waiting for them.

You cannot let them remain
at the dead man’s house, either -
it doesn’t feel natural
to maintain relationships
with the dead.

If you gave them away as charity;
traces of the dead
might approach you
in unexpected places
draped upon unexpected bodies.

Yes, you might destroy
a dead man’s clothes -
but your hands will quiver,
reluctant to destroy a dead man
again and again.

The dead man’s clothes
are not like his clothes
but like the dead man’s skin.

(Irandavanin aadaygal, Manushyaputhiran translated by Lakshmi Holstrom
- from the book Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry, The Rapids of a Great River, Pg 176)

1004 : The real alternative (continued from my previous post)

If I do ever have kids, here’s my list of 5 must dos for them around their education and life.

1. I will choose an abode (residence) and school which gives them lots of open space. Without physical space, I think the mental outlook itself starts getting constricted (ever wondered why most of us in Bombay are so cock sure and opinionated?)

2. I will make a home (which is in my control) that surrounds them by all of the good things in life – sports equipment, music, science tools like a microscope for example, technology like a camera. If a child wishes to, she shall pick these up on his own as naturally as she learns to potty. Seriously, especially if he see his own parent do it (no, I did not mean “potty”, instead meant if she sees her mom using a camera, she will pick it up too….like my friend Prashant and his son Arjun.).

3. I will reduce transactional interaction with my child to a minimum, and instead invest only in the formative interaction. (This is a very strong belief in my head…..even as a child and even as an adult, I completely detest when someone tells me what I should do in everyday life, like “brush now”, “drink water now”… irks me completely. Thankfully my parents were completely off me from the transactional sense).

4. I will make sure my child is not at all protected from real life. I don’t want him/her not to know that we live in a dog eat dog world, which also strangely produces magical authors like Salman Rushdie. I want her to see life as it is, and not as I want her to see it. (That’s also my primarily reason for driving around the country, I want to see the country for myself as it is, in the buff… :-))

5. Last thing, I will teach her is, “passion” is a function of love and longing. You cannot be passionate about poetry one fine morning. It comes with years of association. I will teach her, that its okay to have multiple passions, its okay to choose one of them as a career, its okay to not have passion for few things we do everyday, passion can be developed….and yet, its important to remember that without that “passion” or that zeitgeist, she will never see the finer edge of life….and as I said before, she has to deal with love and longing to have passion in the first place.

1003 : The search for an alternative

Lost Soul makes this point that “3 idiots” is a scathing indictment of our education system, and it is necessary to re-examine our present system with an open mind.

In the past few months, numerous times this conversation topic has come up (esp. with Mr. Sibal prancing like a monkey around a hoop), and I have always resisted speaking my mind because of an old world resolution (hic!!) I made some time ago – but that (hopefully) does not stop me from writing my views on the blog wall.

So here goes.

As a prima facie stand – I think there is very little wrong with our education system. Seriously, it requires a little tinkering, but then who does not? If I had kids, I would like them to go through this very same “system”.

Question is, what is the “system”? Is the content (books, assignments), is it the methodology (feed versus force to think), is the last mile delivery (teachers and administrators), is it the competition (students climbing over each other to get into a college), is it the wasted degree (why do an engineering and work as a sales exec)…..

All of it cannot be clubbed as the system, and even if it is, definitely all of it cannot be all wrong….I hope you get the drift.

Lets look at it one by one
1. Content – I think the content is necessary and correct. We need to know our history, sciences and mechanics…and we need to rote the basics of it. Without rote, I would have never imbibed the 3 laws of thermodynamics, infact without rote, I would have never learnt the alphabets. My opinion is, basics and foundation, need to be learnt so well, that they  become second nature to you….once they become that, you shall constantly enrich them with real world relevance… for example, 2nd law of thermodynamics does not apply only to chemistry, it applies to your and mine real life as well….but to see that you need to know the 2nd law and its nuances well enough.

2. Is the methodology wrong? I actually think, unless you force the basics, you can never get the next level of thought to be built on top of it. For example, if a person were to learn English as a language, he has to force learn the basics, he really cannot be taught to think or innovate at that point – only once he is familiar with it for over 5-10 years, if he has it in him, can he innovate….thats actually a function of the person and not the methodology.

3. Are the teachers the weak-link? Could be….but what more do you expect out of a society, that looks at teaching as a profession of second choice. Honest question to each of us, how many of us would willing choose teaching? (Don’t give me the crap argument that it does not pay well..even in the US, teaching does not pay as well as mainstream….Aswath Damodaran could make millions if he was part of Wall Street – he still chooses to teach at NYU Stern. Why?)

4. Competition. Lets not even talk about this, I think its the best part of our system, we tinker with it and we screw our children up. If you want a child to be a real world soldier, then nothing prepares him better for life than our schools. Of course, the school is not right for someone who wants to do poetry or theatre.

5. Wasting a degree….I think its idiotic to assume any knowledge is wasted. My mum always said, “acquire knowledge, you never know when it will come in handy” (Now you know I am a thair-saadummm Iyer !!)….but seriously, if you are an engineer doing sales….you can apply the structured thinking to sales and definitely be more effective, just as an MBA doing tech comes in with a sense of “wonder” and “excitement”, something we usually don’t see from engineers…..get the drift?

Having spoken of some of these issues…how many were even remotely addressed by 3 idiots. I would say none…not even superficially. All 3 idiots did was offer a moronic juvenile generalization, especially coming from the tacky Aamir, some of these sounded even more inane.  3 idiots to me felt like the misplaced self-help book like The Alchemist or Who moved my cheese, the books are “good”, thats primarily because you cannot disagree with such a feel good book, there is nothing to disagree, and yet conversely, nothing to take away or apply in real life.

My point is, agreed, there are problems, but they are deep rooted cultural and value based. They wont change by a movie or a book, they will only change, when each of us starts looking at schools/colleges at “basic education” and nothing more. If you still want to learn poetry or build an airplane, you have to do it out of school.

My fav statement remains, “I am what I am because (and inspite) of my schools and colleges.”. I chose to choose…..I think there is a basic paradox in the statement “why can’t schools teach us to think?”, if you were to be “taught” to “think”, then what use is that “thinking”?

Having said that, I still feel 3 idiots is the most half-baked, yet well made movie, in recent times. I agree with completely.

Rancho was a crack-jack idiot….in fact he was equivalent in potency to all the 3 idiots put together. The title of the movie is only about Rancho :-)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

1002 : The hour is getting late….(Music 56 : All Along the watchtower by Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix/DMB)

Let me first clarify my stand on Dave Matthews Band. I have been listening to DMB for over 10 years now, and have always been very familiar with 40 odd of their popular numbers.

In the past 4 months have managed to lay my hands on their entire studio and live albums – which is a total of about 25 albums.

The end result is now I have all their songs, and for the popular numbers, I have as many as 12-15 versions of each of them. Like I have 8 different versions of crash…...and so on.

Clarification over.

I must have been hearing “All along the watchtower” for over 15 years now – the acidic edition of Jimi Hendrix, followed by Bob Dylan and then DMB.

The Jimi Hendrix version is acidic (as I already mentioned before), the Bob Dylan version is lame, the DMB version (standard live edition…they dont have it on a studio album, or so I believe ) is manically creative…..and then you now hear the extended live versions.

For example, I have one in which DMB plays it with Santana – a 13 minute edition – starts with a 3 minute slow prologue, then the song starts and proceeds slowly – until DM screams “No reason to get excited” – followed by a loud bass drum thump and an insane guitar riff – and then the next para starts, until DM reaches the line where he says “The hour is getting lateeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”, the word “late” stretches for over 9 seconds and is followed by an explosion of sounds and guitar, and a completely uncontrolled crowd reaction.

If you like the song, there is no way you cannot get goose pimples when you listen to this line in this version(no matter how many times you have heard this before)…..makes you want to be there to hear it live.

After having heard this song from DMB, I struggle to hear the Dylan or the Hendrix version without thinking “how boringly creative”.

More history on the song at

I found correct lyrics only at….

All other sites have wrong lyrics. Have reproduced the lyrics below for easier reading.

"There must be some kind of way out of here"
Said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief
Businessmen they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line
Know what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited"
The thief, he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
But outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl


Jimi_Hendrix_BBC_Sessions_album_cover_19986 dmb1

Friday, January 01, 2010

1001 : Made in heaven


I attended a Parsi Wedding on 29th (near Afghan Church @ Colaba). It was for a dearest dearie (interesting tautology !!).

For the record, I hate attending conventional marriages, yes, you heard me right….I HATE conventional marriages. Hate is a strong word, but that is what it is for me.

Where I struggle is, the fact that the whole premise of the enterprise is “box ticking” by one and everyone involved….it almost gets impossibly ridiculous. You go for these weddings because you are invited, you are invited because you have to be invited, the photo circus is conducted because it has to be done, the food is awful (since it is usually industrially produced….and I still love the traditional hand-made food….no love, no taste….!!)…..its a doomed and meaningless ritual (at least in my head).

But this Parsi wedding was different, very different. How????
1. Every single person in the wedding, seemed to be putting his best foot forward. Dressing sense was awesome (not rich!!, but awesomely “in”). A community which takes pride in dressing and decking up, must truly be evolved in some ways at least.
2. Dearie and husband were on the stage hugging and laughing….they seemed enjoying themselves. Post the mandatory photo-ops, they walked around joking laughing hugging lugging at every single person in that wedding.
3. Booze flowed, and so did the fun. (Whats a marriage without being soaked in red blood wine!!)
4. Seats were laid in round table, and multiple groups of conversations and family had already formed.
5. Food was being served in a “sit-in” versus the usual-fuck-all buffet (the saddest innovation known in dining services…..kills the joy of any meal. )
6. Old and young were reaching out to each other, dancing, chatting.
7. Food was outstanding, served with love and coercion (yes, thats a positive word today) by the servers (would have been so much better had it been served by family).

All in all, I loved the wedding. Its an experience, I dont want to forget. Marriages are supposed to be fun and love, and not the circusfest that we have reduced them to now-a-days.

On a personal note, I definitely want to get married again, before I die, hopefully to the same girl again :-). If I ever manage to pull that off before I suck in my lungs, the following rules will definitely apply:
1. The marriage will be at an off-fun-location (say Goa, or say a Vineyard…that sounds perfect !!)
2. Limit the list to just who needs to be there, that will definitely include family and friends, but those who really want to see me married, instead of those who I need to invite else their penile egos will feel rejected and deflated….I really don’t care about their ED problems :-)
3. Its going to be a multi-day affair.
4. Red poison has to flow….
5. Food will be hand cooked and hand served. “We shall live to eat and feed on account of love.”
6. Music (soundtrack is an essential part of a marriage) will be played throughout.
7. Fun and dance will be part of the whole activity.
8. Children will be integral to the wedding, we are not doing an “adult only” affair. We owe them their future.
9. Similarly, elderly cannot be on the fringes. We treat them as our age and include them. We owe our present to them.

The list goes on….

Did I not post a few minutes ago,  “I wish for nothing….”, deeper shit was never spoken sooner!!

1000 : One followed by 3 zeros….

After every 3 zeros, life will offer you one. Whether you decide to make that a milestone or a sideshow, is completely a question of perspective !!

999 : Was seeing parts of “Wake up Sid” yday, and ????

First reaction – it is a far more real and honest movie than 3 idiots. Its probably a far better exercise in film making, than 3 idiots.

Hope to catch the whole film someday soon, if and when I do, I will post a more complete review on that.

Till then, you can either choose to be an (3) idiot(s) or wake up (sid).

998 : My wish….

I have only 1 wish and resolution this year - “I don’t want to hope for a thing in life. I want to be able to be completely color blind, chew whatever (s)pill life gives you – red blue or 6 of those regular little yellow ones :-).”

If while doing this, I can sip my sis’s mulled wine more often, that will be a big help :-)

Around the rest, I want to try and take my Yoga Teacher’s advice extremely seriously - “Be thoughtless” :-)

2010 will be another one of those wonder years,
Full of what I call my own - air, insight and tears .

(Last line from Vikram Seth’s Golden Gate)

997 : Brand new day, brand new sun ))

Its a new year, and  a time to look forward to new beginnings. Wishes to all of you, let the dance (even if it be the last time), be the one you really want to have. I will be your beggar riding, hoping all your deepest (and darkest :-)) wishes come true.

Enjoy maadi :-)