Saturday, January 29, 2011

1439 : Work life balance continued (promise to the last on this one for some time !!)

A whole host of us (and now I am at my punitive and judgemental worst!!) completely confuse the ME versus I versus WE debate.

As a society its fashionable to hide our own laziness, incompetence and inherent desire for an easy life behind the mask of “work life balance” or “stability” or “sustainable ambition”.

For years, I have been told someday, I shall have to slow down. At college I was told, “wait till you get a job”, at a job I was told “wait till you get married”, when I was seriously ill I was told “slow down now or you will kill yourself” (that was bloody 12 years ago), and then “when you have a kid you shall know what my pressures are”….and the list continues.

I don’t hold my punches on this topic back…... None of this seems to have changed my life…because I think I don’t want to change.

I look at Amitabh Bachan struggling with Cirrhosis for the best part of 25 years and still working 70 hrs week at 72, and tell myself…thats the life I want….here is someone who held his own mirror to himself, who had every reason to stop…and yet he continues pushing himself.

(I don’t admire AB too much for his work in itself….but the above quality is so bloody admirable)

Get the drift? Broken down, we are slinky individual carbon life forms….The I is the most important entity…make the most of it, the rest will fall in place.

(and you don’t have to be as successful as AB, or Ratan Tata….thats a function of timing (luck), capability and energy….. but at the least you should try just as hard!!)

Last note on this topic….my glass half empty prognosis….I believe we are creating a generation of baby boomers….similar to the American generation of last 2 decades…..all belted and fired up….and yet nowhere to go!!

1438 : Work life balance continued…

(contd.) From my previous post. Its fashionable in India to define work life balance in a way where implicitly “work” appears as a chore, and “balance” refers to how easily you can slack off…before it get detected.

I view work differently. I view work as something I need to/have to enjoy. Something I have to do for the next 25 years(even though I might not survive that long) and most certainly something that I want my children and family to take pride in.

I think a whole host of people, including several I know, view their work as a “revenue stream”, as a means to an end (which itself is very smokily defined…and has no clear exit/entry criteria), as a filler…..

I often ask people – when I am at my disruptive best – “you are 30 today, can you sustain this level of boredom and compromise, till you are 45? If yes, good for you…else button up before you get brutally sodomized”.

We need to remember that a career and work is a 35 year marathon. We need to pace ourselves. Our spouses, children, parents, friends  all will move on or die at some point –what will be left at some point on the day of reckoning is what you made of yourself and your precious little life.

Compromises and “easy routes” are not discounted items on that bloody report card….am indictment that your own spouse, parents, friends and children will mirror back at you some day – when they shall also judge you. I suggest we all prepare for that Judgement Day in earnest, and today…tomorrow seems so far away.

1437 : Work life balance

Have been at home for the past few days. On some evenings at 6pm, when I can indulge myself – I stand in my balconey and stare down at the garden below. I see mothers and dads with their kids down there.

Given that I am part of a largely sexist society where mother’s are primary care givers – I can understand their presence…..what does not make sense though is the Papas (make no mistake, they are not the primary care givers..they are lugging around a laptop to prove they just jumped gun at office)….how can you be back from office at 6.

Its such an amazingly alien concept to me. I too sometimes hop back home by 6, but then work from home kicks in, and garden does not feature in the scheme of things.

Really…don’t judge me…and neither am I..or at least I am trying not to. …but seriously, goes back to my pet point- what kind of job allows you to be back home at 6, when no one in lazy Bangalore reaches office before 10am.

On usual days, I reach office at 830 and struggle to get back home by 830 and I am still always way behind my schedule. Either of the following can possibly explain  this situation:
1) I have a terribly work ethic
2) Dont know how to say NO
3) Am inept and inefficient
4) Am married to my job (such an idiotic statement that one is, I marvel at who conjured it)
5) I dont delegate enough to my staff
6) My staff are incompetent

last option : 7 )I work at a place which pushes people hard. We care for and pride ourselves on our careers. We treat family and work as equals, and the question of balance does not arise. We enjoy the kickass work we do. We have a family at home, and great kinship at work. We have all our outside of office fun on weekends and vacations.

Pick and choose.

1436 : Conversion continues

Our local goon –the ransom mangling softie, Raavan has now added Pandit Jasraj to his repertoire (Panditji is so easy to like), in addition to Ustad Rashid Khan and Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra.

This obviously has to continue to at least include Pt. Kumar Gandharva and Pt. Bhimsen Joshi (one easy to like,the latter is complex to appreciate).

And then we move to instrumentals.

I have told the softie, that his goon status does not earn him special favors in my scheme– if he is committed and upto it (the choice is ultimately his!!)  then he should acquire working knowledge of this kind of music before he is 30 Smile, for which he has only a few months left….keep reminding him…. “in situations like this, treat time as an enemy!!”

Post that, he can spend the rest of his life, (farting loudly and) listening and appreciating to MIA – an export from his home base…the kind of music I don’t understand too much….but hope one day, he can help me, just like I am helping him today.

1435 : The long stubble

I like beards, mooches and facial hair…not just because I hate shaving (which is an effect often confused for the cause), because I think clean shaven ( and I mean in terms of fashion sense ONLY) is almost telling the world – “Hi…I am Plain Jude. Please be kind enough to take pity on me and f**k me.”

For the first time in my life, after years of trying, I am finally sporting the Pranoy Roy kind of cool silver streaked beard.

I am so looking forward to Movember this year.

(Seriously, unless you are Imran Khan – I mean the sauve cricketer and not the chocolate slurp actor who cant emote even if his potty’s passage depended on it – please try and get creative with the rasor – for the doggone Devil’s sake, we are not Caucasians, we are ugly Mongolians with face lines running like London’s tube map…mask that incongruity under the God gifted hair.)

1434 : A tough cookie coming up

I have been slowly (and steadily) coming to terms  - that 2011 is indeed going to be one of the tougher years professionally, personally  and financially. Usually when more than one of these mistresses come together – you are unsure whether the stacked cards will really hold up long enough.

At this point, I am not sure…really not….but what I am certain of is, the journey is going to be a hell of a six-flags roll coaster, and I am going to try and laugh all along its trough…largely in part because, there is not much I can do more, than grin and bear Smile

I am hoping next Jan, I look back with pride on this challenging year. What does not immediately kill you, makes you start believing in lady luck and Chinese chutney charmsSmile

And all of this, in a year before the run up to the end of the world….. What bloody timing Smile

1433 : Marvin

Based on my blog, someone told me…I sounded like Marvin. Marvin who? Marvin of “Douglas Adams – Hitchhiker fame”….

Now thats a classic case, of this blog posturing….rightly or wrongly….you decide.

Look, I am not Jay Leno in real life, but neither am I Marvin. I am your average normal guy who like many others before him - changes diapers, laughs when stressed out, and passes pee standing up Smile

1432 : Forty is the next 42

Now-a-days I am perennially sleep deprived. I often try to catch 40 winks (read one and you will get the irony of this phrase!!) whenever I get a chance to.

I was an hour into my sleepy soiree today when spousey walked in to wake me up (or so she tells me).

Spousey : Amit, wake up (accompanied by that shoulder shake and arm slithe)
Me : Are we at 40?
Spousey : (confused and right so) What is 40?
Me : I want to sleep next to 40.

(At this point spousey allowed me to sleep for another hour before she woke me up to give me this story).

She asked me later : Do you know someone named “40”? Is this some sort of code name.

I wanted to tell her, that in my secret garden, I find it difficult to track names within a harem, so I use numbers instead. I was indeed referring to #40.

Ah…marital bliss cometh Smile

1431 : Make time pause, make bullets tumble

Picture this.

I am with this little 4 month old baby – someone who I have had the pleasure of baby sitting multiple times in the past few months.

On quite a few of these occasions, he and I get into this street style b(r)awl Smile

You get the idea – he wails to bring the walls down, and makes you wonder, with a throat like this – why did anyone ever think of 911….he could holler and summon them, if he put his mind to it.

Often in the middle of his bawl, I detect his pillow or diaper or something else moving and shuffling a bit from its correct position…and I need to correct it.

So I tell him in a loud pitch “Buds (for buddy), just a minute, need to reposition your pillow.”…and wonder wonder……  like the Hindi movies where in comic fight sequences – the hero as he is punching 10 bad guys at a restaurant where he is munching breakfast – actually requests them to wait for a sec - as mid-fight, he pauses to have another morsel of his incomplete egg bhurji – and they all puerilely enough, instantly freeze in time – gaping at him and his bhurji, wide eyed, as he uses a fork and spoon to carefully feed himself – wipe himself with a napkin – and then hits “play” again – and the fight continues where it left off ……. exactly like that, our little buddy pauses his wail, helps me adjust the pillow and as soon as I am in his view again, resumes his bawl exactly where he left it Smile

This has happened not just once, but enough number of repeatable times, for it to become a funny enough tale – that I had to share with his mom.

We seem to have a tiny NEO amongst us. Will he also chew the red pill, and figure out the depth of the rabbit hole ? Lets hope.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1430 : Chartered flight???? @ 6000 INR

Ad in TOI on 26th for Hampi Utsav…


1429 : Why I blog @ night

What do you do when the person you share your bed with wakes up in “supposed”anguish and pain every 2 hrs. For one, you obviously try and reassure the person and help him/her sleep better.

Second, you stop trying to sleep and get back to work. Smile At least that way you know there are no false illusions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1428 : The difficulty in breathing easy is at….

That point, when you start losing the connect with the other….at that point, when the little secret you shared is evaporating……when the two of you are no longer feel interested in the other’s life… that point, when you see walls and ramparts where nothing existed….

I am wary of that. I have been through that a number of times, and yet, I feel unprepared. This life wasn’t meant for drifting away….it was meant for coagulating. Or was it?

I am a drifter…la la, lala lala lala Winking smile

1427 : A shit load of posturing

Every now and then I  get a mail from someone who forms an impression of my “intelligence and refinement” from my blog.

Honestly, it comes as manna to my “narcissist self absorbed self” (anyone who blogs about himself has to be a bloody narcissist!!)

I’d like to remind folk…that this blog is picture of me painted by me…a la self portrait…and that is invariably going to be a lot of posturing and self flattery.

If you look past those layers, I might still be intelligent, but I am also a man riddled with failings and trappings of the modern sub-urban life.

1426 : In the air tonight



I was reading this month’s Rolling Stones magazine and it had a poignant story on Phil “In the air tonight” Collins….about his failed marriages, about Noel Callagher (from Oasis) rankling him as a failure and the ilk.

I don’t know about others, but I have grown up listening (and liking) to Collins, both in his Genesis Avatar (Jesus he loves me…and he knows I am right!!) and his solo (I can feel it coming in the air tonight!!).

It felt sad and weird to see a man once so loved, to get such a livery treatment from the modern world. I dont think he deserves such a fall from grace.

I think Oasis should go back to playing Wonderwall (their only hit single and thats how it shall probably ever be!!) and let the hero be.

Mr. Collins, there are enough like me who wish you “Another day in paradise”. We love you for what you are, inspite of your hazaar failings.

1425 : Don’t give up

Being with a baby is an education in itself. In multiple ways, the kid demonstrates that he is willing to climb Everest everyday to just survive…..the plaintive simple beauty of “living for another day” is just there to see.

And yet, such a “fighter” evokes the wimpiest of responses in us sub-urban darlings. Every pang of his, multiplies geometrically into the surrounding world of adults.

My snide suspicion is, we are not fussed up about his pain…but the anguish it is causing us. The kid….well, he is ready and bracing for the next 8k ascent.

Ironically, our wimpyness distils out in a situation, where Uncle Universe (via the kiddo) is trying to instruct us to never ever give up.

(Listen to the brilliant “Don’t give up” by Peter Gabriel and Sinnead O’Connor) 

1424 : What is a gift ?

Giving someone needs to rise above the ritual. I think the best gifts to give are one of the following:

1) Quite obviously, what someone craves for.
2) What introduces the other person to a new experience, especially one you think he/she should endeavour to.
3) Something he/she would otherwise not invest in himself (say e.g a Broadway musical)

I think modern life often confuses a gift with the power of underlying green notes and of course the symbolism of the obvious.

Next time you get me a gift, think hard enough so that it shows. Smile

1423 : That sound which is wafting

Home is now days agog with music running through the day. Ustad Rashid Khan and Pt. Rajan-Sajan Mishra dominate this scene completely.

As I listen to the Pandits croon Pooriya, Todi,Lalit or my ever favorite Chayanat….it occurs to me that I am beginning to just fathom the enormity of the oft repeated philosophical premise : “The raagas are all out there, already deep into the stream of consciousness….waiting to bubble up, waiting to be discovered”….

I am beginning to see the glimmer beneath the scratch of that deep premise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1422 : Mile Sur Mera Tumhara…..I still hope our twains will meet someday

A silent word of thanks to a person who made a big impact in my life. Bhimsen Joshi -  4th Feb 1922 –24th Jan 2011. Begun Gun Gave…..RIP !!


Monday, January 24, 2011

1421 : Fine Young Cannibals

Leave two people for enough time with each other, and they shall eventually start gnawing at each other, chewing – progressively biting off bigger and bigger chunks from the other.

The question is not :  “why?” (we are all cannibals!!), “when?”(eventually!! time tending to infinity)….the right question is “what is at stake?”

The answer to that question is omniprescient – it holds all future answers to all questions asked and even those, which are not yet thought of.

To stab with a knife and progressively check for how much flesh you can scale off the other, without actually letting her die…is the fine art of “living”.

And conversely, knowing that we are all constantly in this delicate balance of feeding off each other….is a affirmation of my belief….that while not “living”, we are all busy “dying”.

1420 : Subtract 1000

Fleece me off 1000 today, and what shall you be left with….a bloody “char sau bees” Smile

1419 : Glass half empty

I read with interest the article Top IT firms to recruit 1,80,000 this year. I work in IT and I should be damn happy, right?


I find this number growth equated to “bumper success” almost antiquated. I think as a country, as a land of opportunity we are milking our own sore udders.

Let me explain via a digression.

Most folks I know in this space are between 25 and 40, and are mid to senior managers – careers built on being opportunistic versus  a “real world skill”. We are ideally supposed to be able to draw out 35 odd years of productive work before we retire.

In the 5-15 years, we have already seen irrational growth, and a whole host of us, have built their careers on market inefficiencies….a kind of hubris similar to the one we saw in 99 during the dotcom bubble.

We don't have any significant real world skill – and we definitely don't know how to pace yourself for a 35 year career. We are being opportunistic scum bags versus “consolidators” and “accumulators”.

Will this bad karma come back to bite us? Well, it could.

So what would I do differently.
1. If you work in one of the IT firms, ask a question : if you work for GE via Infosys – would “GE hire me directly”….if the answer is “No” or “maybe”, you already are on the fringes.
2. Be opportunistic, but quickly bank your gains….use this career jump you already have to stick yourself into the real world “built to last” firms like P&G, Kraft Foods or even Goldman Sachs…(why not!!)
3. Keep constantly asking question 1 – am I relevant to the firm in a real sense (am I indispensible) or am I a bloody commodity?

One last bit that I keep reminding myself – I am the best startup I can invest it…I should constantly SIP into myself….If I forget that, I will sink into anonymity and trivial commoditization…and that seems so scarily plebeian.

Get the drift?

1418 : Cure for AIDS

Supposedly a Punjab firm has discovered a herbal cure for AIDS. Now I am no sceptic….but guys, even if we hoodwink, at least lets get our act together….at least make the research sound like one…and more importantly….lets try to use some scientific speak Smile

Hee haw Smile

1417 : Down(s) and Up(s)

Picture this.

The gym in my complex faces the pool. I was at the treadmill, jogging away, when I saw a girl (early 20s) and a man (late 50s) come into view.

They were clearly here to evaluate my complex, possible to either rent or buy and the pool was  a necessary check box in that process.

The girl was dressed in a blue jeans, a read full sleeved tee, with a white lining shirt inside; and the older man was dressed in a chinos, black shoes, yellow tee and a black full sleeved sweater on top of the dress. He had spectacles which had a wiry ribbon running around his neck….the kind of loop, used to prevent accidental slipping of the spectacles.

The old man had silver and grey hair…and the girl looked fit and energetic with a short smart crop of hair. They most definitely looked father and daughter.

For a few minutes as they stood by the pool, I could see them animatedly discussing something….but wait, there was something else.

He was twitching and shaking his right hand vigorously….and his neck too in tandem….a la Parkinson’s or like someone who had had Down’s for a long time.

My human interest antenna spiked up. The father – daughter (I am going to presume that !!) duo spoke as if, nothing was wrong at all….just as any other duo would.

I found that fascinating….and in some sense I knew I was witnessing love and trust in its purest form…and more importantly, this was a demonstration of that special something…..which makes some of us, achieve that little personal greatness.

I did post a few weeks ago, that I am unable to recall things in the mind’s eye….this duo, I can recall now…and looks like they are etched enough for me to be able to summon even in my last days Smile

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1416 : All huffed up and nowhere to go

I was with a 4 month old baby and his mom. She was educating me on how he has just started turning on his stomach and crawling.

He obviously found the crawling an activity worth huffing puffing and grunting…and yet every single time we tried stopping him from that, he was irritated and would wail.

I found it fascinating that “someone would want so desperately to work so hard”.

On a related note, I was laughing and telling his mom that “he obviously has no destination to reach and yet he seems so incredibly focussed on the journey”…and she cracked back matter of factly “the crawling is the bloody destination. He is going nowhere and yet going somewhere.”


1415 : The silver streak

For the best part of 17 years, the only piece of metal on my body – other than my watch is a silver bracelet. I have had 3 different ones over the years and each time the old one has broken, I have bought a new one.

My deep (and slightly irrational belief) that “silver provides calm” to one’s body(which btw is a very widely accepted belief) is possibly one of the reasons that I have continued with this habit.

The belief is a mix of mumbo jumbo and some real world chop drop. I still remember that as a kid, whenever I wore a copper amulet, my hands would run green (on account of the oxide) and I would run a high fever. So metals do interact with the body.

Co-incidentally since the mid 90s, I have definitely managed to overcome my anger problem. I still do get rushes of blood, but then, I deal with it more inwardly than really smash the television on someone’s head Smile

How did we get talking about all this?

Raavan was asking me about the silver and whether he could have one too. I told him it will cost him monies and more importantly, don’t know whether they have bracelets off the shelf tailored for fatsos…maybe we shall have to go in a bespoke….how avant garde I must say Smile

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1414 : Nandy Dandy

Sometimes pompous Pritish Nandy can make sense (also!!). Like his article from Times today…whole article at

What I liked most was this excerpt…which is precisely I view “substances”….I also like the bit that life should essentially be a YES and not a NO. Most important sentence “Nothing’s as bad as it’s made out to be if you enjoy it…” Excerpt….

On the contrary, I try on every birthday to acquire some new addictions, live my life richer, fuller, learn something new.
I recommend you do the same. Spend the year being nice to yourself, do stuff you want you. Make Yes your birthday resolution, not No. The world has changed, I admit. But not everything people once did is wrong. Whether it was Audrey Hepburn who made smoking the ultimate fashion statement by sporting that elegant, long, black cigarette holder in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Dylan Thomas who drank all day and most nights writing the best poetry of his generation. If you don’t believe me, listen to Richard Burton, another brilliant Welshman and one of the great actors of all time, who also drank far too much, reading Dylan’s poems. Now, that’s life altering.
Nothing’s as bad as it’s made out to be if you enjoy it. You don’t have to judge it. Why must I judge Jim Morrison for the drugs he took. I would rather judge him by the songs he wrote, the music he made?  Aldous Huxley claimed the windows of the mind, the doors of perception would never open without mescaline. He won the Nobel Prize. Ginsberg wrote his best lines smoking up in a samshan ghat beside the Ganga. Grudge him that? Would you grudge Kennedy his many indiscretions, including Marilyn Monroe, when he ran the affairs of the state so well that people still describe his times as Camelot?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1413 : My name is Art Vandelay…and I am an architect

I have been looking for an epitaph (for myself), for quite some time now (you never know when you could use one, right!!)….

and then….

It occurred to me, that the above bloody lines neatly summarize parts of my life Smile. I don’t have Susan and the foundation, but the rest of it is right up there Smile

1412 : I am a drifter

On your drifting away….a possible Pink Floyd song Smile and like the last post, such a terrible use of English within the current context.

“I am a drifter” Smile …that sounds so cool to mouth Smile

1411 : When the Clintons tripped

I was watching one of the news channels (in my office cafeteria) screaming out a headline “When the Clintons tripped…” accompanied by old blurry footage of Hillary climbing up the aerobridge and slipping off one of the steps, on her way to the plane’s door.

I found the headline a complete un-intentional laugh riot. If the Clintons had indeed known of this grabbing title, they might just sue the channel for defamation Smile

Ah…the English we use so completely lacks context Smile

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1410 : My voice is out there

I don’t know about you, but I am so utterly  fascinated with the idea, that I can open my window and scream “Hello”, and lo!! I have added entropy into the universe.

The sound waves of my “hello” will keep travelling infinitely for eons, travelling light years ad infinitum…..

The energy I have released will add chaos to the world and I have most definitely added entropy into the world.

If we extrapolate this onto a philosophical platter, then every single word we say, act we do….perpetrates within the cycle of karma….and hence we must act on our own definition of “dharma” and do the little “right” or “correct” things…

On a more earthy plane, I know this blog will continue to be there, as long as Google does not go belly up, or till someone continues to pay for this.

Will be strange and eerie…to have my words leap out of a page (at you and the reader)….long after I am gone. In some sense, this is my Milan Kundera version of immortality…my only legacy which can survive for generations, if it still has contextual relevance.

Here is to my legacy … hic hic !!

1409 : Have you met Solly Solanka recently?

(Now, probably, this post is going to reveal more about me that I like, but then I choose this multiplicity ( too) Smile)

The greatness of an author lies in the fact that he can make you relate to one of his characters….Be the Howard Roark or Toohey (from Fountainhead) or Saleem Sinai (from Midnight’s children) or Gregor Samsa (from Kafka’s eponymous Metamorphsis)….

We choose to like characters who we think mirror some of our real life qualities (if not wholly, at least in some part!!). The magic of the written word ensures that a whole host of real world people associate with Saleem Sinai.

Ever so rarely does a character come around who mirrors you edge for edge, boil for boil and bling got bling !!

I am through my second reading of Fury (Salman Rushdie’s book based out of New York). The protagonist is a character named Malik ‘Solly’ Solanka – and the book in itself is a fantastic exploration of fury as a doppelganger. By some accounts, Malik is fashioned on the author himself.

I see so many parallels between Solly and myself, that it is now turning out to be eerie. My anger problem, my passionate views on life, my ability to just walk out, my views on the ignoble profession of doctors, my apparent “correctness” in the shadow of the “wrong”, and the weakness of the soul….the list is endless. In most situations fictionalized within the book, Solly’s response is exactly the response which I would have in that situation….almost inch for inch….heart for heart !!

Want to know me (how blastedly narcissistic Smile….you should know, I bloody blog !!)….read Fury. Worth the pennies spent.

1408 : The magic of the spoken word

I have been listening to audio books and I must say, I am hooked. I just love the format….Its so much fun.

Unlike a book though, this cannot be done with anything else (unless you count driving and cooking as tasks).

You most definitely cannot do this with reading another book Smile This is great as an alternative to radio.

Have been so fascinated that I am now armed with a collection of some 15 books that I wish I had read, but I know I will never read (like the difficult James Joyce’s Ulysses and of course the terrible Finnegan’s Wake Smile)

Looking forward to my driving now-a-days (I love driving any which ways Smile)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1407 : The house that Jack ripped

As I am growing older, I realise that I am turning more and more alone. I am most definitely not the boy I used to be. My phone rarely rings, my personal email rarely beeps, and the those lazy lovely coffee conversations are long but gone.

I am in my mid 30s and this is not a great state to be…one day, my little birdies shall fly away, so shall my big birdie….

What I really crave for (sometimes) is that brilliant disguise of friendship, the long infinite debates about everything, the process of talking, pushing and mutual discovery. I want to sit with loved ones, spend lazy mornings having endless cups of poison, doing nothing, chasing nothing, being myself without these heavy masks.
Where have all the friends gone? Its the damn blackhole sun probably Smile

1406 : Escape like Houdini

Prashant and I were debating – using some of the lives we commonly know of – how some of us end up showing escapist tendencies in situations.

His view was “escapism is terrible and can seep through all aspects of life”.

I feel that we all escape things where we think :
1) Easier options exist (who does not want a job for a few lakhs more in the city of your dreams…I most definitely do)
2) The battles are not worth fighting ( I dont want to be correct at a RTO or any other government office…I will have to bunk office for 5 days to renew my license…I rather choose the “correct” option Smile)
3) Where something more important is at stake

For example, my health is a topic for escapism – I simply dont want to talk about it too much especially to leechy doctors. So is my complete disdain for parents who are obsessed with doing everything right for their kids….I would rather just let destiny be…and let the water run dry, if it has to.

I am an escapist, a terrible one at that, I don’t point fingers at others and most definitely, hence, cannot be holier than thou Smile

Having said that, in the ideal utopian world, I would teach my kid to have the same ideals as Prashant (on this topic).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1405 : On the death of another truth

Yet another person (that I knew) has succumbed to his own blood…the red liquid that usually sustains, but sometimes ends up regurgitating life…

It got to him over a week ago. I did not know him intimately, and yet, I knew him more than I know most others. I knew at least one of his secrets which he had shared with a few trusted folks.

He was a full decade or two elder to me, but seemed fun, full of life and epitomized hope.

As I digested his end, I felt a lump in my throat remembering his invite “If you ever come to Lokhandwala, please come to our place”. I regret never having called him up or having taken up this invite.

A death is a bloody full throttled full stop. Everything extinguishes.

It occurs to me that the bottle has a message. Sometimes, life does hold a mirror to our insides. What we see in it, determines what we do with the reflection. I usually avoid mirrors Sad smile

A silent prayer for the soul, who was never my friend, but was a little more. RIP!!

1404 : The unbecoming

Picture this.

A couple of days ago, I am baby sitting this little kiddo. I doze off on a bed near her crib. Every now and then the kiddo twists and turns and I stretch my hand to lightly pat her chest.

For some time (don’t know exactly how long) its all fine. I am dozing on an incline of three pillows, on my back with my joined together on my stomach, a la Buddha pose.

And then….

The kiddo stirs and begins to cry. In reflex response I try to move my hand…but neither my hand nor my body move. My feet and my whole body feels like rubber, unable to move or respond….almost like the sleeping leg syndrome…except in this case my whole body was sleeping.

I want to scream out to the mother who is another room across the home. My lips refuse to move. A few seconds pass by, and panic sets in, both for myself …and of course for the well being of the precious little one.

Finally, a few seconds later, my lips begin to move….but I am rasping, just like Gregor in Metamorphsis. I can barely understand what I am saying, they sound worse than a frog’s croak.

The kiddo continues to howl the house down. Finally, a few seconds later, my reverie abruptly ends, as if my motor neurons abruptly kicked in.

I wake up to see the mother actually rushing in, and little kiddo actually crying.

I am still unsure of whether – was I sleeping? was I dreaming? was I in nether land between sleep and awake? was I in a semi dying state?

I don’t have the answers. I know for a fact,  that I hate closed spaces – and for the few seconds that I experienced this  - a massive surge of panic rushed across my head – my brain was randomly firing – as we say in our world – a severity zero escalation – which means “all systems go”….

I felt trapped in my body. For a few seconds, I felt like a stroke or a coma patient….inside, alive and yet not outside…..being, trapped….almost unbecoming Smile

Sunday, January 09, 2011

1403 : Shoot the star…and other spangled matters !!

Transfixed by the shuttering star, it occurred to me that the twinkler was just like I….one in a billion, yet unique and shining, intermittent, riding through the troughs,occupying terra firma, though no one quite really understands why or what, there inspite of the others and (strangely enough) because of them (as well!!).

Does a star ever bother about being the most brightest, fastest, continuous, resplendent and forever ? On more simpler matters, does it even bother even merely “being”?

(I live in a city, where the clear black sky is littered with stars at night…unlike my older city which was just one spongy dark enveloping blanket. Here, I can stand outside on my balcony and gaze at them for hours if it so pleases me. Someday soon, a big telescope with the nikon mount (of course) is on the agenda!!)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

1402 : A house that I(still) love a lot and (still) miss its inhabitants quite a bit :-) (muaah!!)

Need I say more.

1401 : What kind of idea are you?

I have lots of random experiences and memories that I cherish and remember, Some good, some terrible, some ugly.

I just finished my third reading for the verses and the last two chapters just made me die a little more. This was such a phantasmorphic indelible little blot on my mind….will carry this to my grave.

Will definitely be part of the last few moments – when my whole life passes by.

Touched. And overwhelmed.

1400 : The disconnectedness of everything

On a day like today, I am reminded of how fragmented and disjointed our urban lives have actually become. Those formal phone calls which allows everyone to give you a sense of being “part of you”and to partake the incredulous smile off your plastic face…..

Maybe I am an old fashioned softie (like our 10 headed friend) – I miss the hugs, rugs and shrugs; and of course the huddles, cuddles and the muddles; and oh yes, the kisses and hisses from the misses; and last but not the least – the bland hand that writes my name on the sand.

1399 : Jaipur literature fest

Someone who knows that I like Rushdie a lot wrote into me informing me that he is making a visit to the Jaipur festival and I then independently confirmed it.

Probably, I am turning negative, but in the light of the recent Taseer story from the other side of our border, I think Salman is safer in the white unblemished lands.

The heat at Jaipur might just bake his potato.,,,and what a pity that shall be….I think he has another 4 great books in his head at the least.

Are you listening, oh Grimus!!

1398 : Break dance

Picture this.

I was on the phone with someone.

Me: (gibberish)……
X : Excuse me, your voice is breaking into me.
Me : (muttering WTF under my breath)What?
X: Your voice is breaking into me.
Me : What does that mean?
X : I cannot hear you well.Your voice is breaking into me.

The broken someone needs to mend his crackedup language Smile

1397 :Rhythm is gonna get you everytime

Rhythm is everything in my life. Let me explain.

There are weeks wherein I sleep about 4-5 days for each day contained in it….and I survive office and home, with just about my closest friend – my headache Smile

And then Sunday comes and I sleep 8 hrs and everytime falls apart. My body aches, my mind is under severe fatigue, my agility is gone…

Take another example. Exercise . If I run for 5 days a week, then I run for 15 more. If I miss 2 days then the 3rd day my mind reminds me of my left knee which has a problem, or the recurrent migraine that is floating like a halo around my head.

Get the drift?

This happens all the time in everything.

Life is one contiguous event horizon. You pause to breathe and you are bloody dead Smile

1396 : Older

For some obscure reason, the word “Older” was stuck in my head today….and all I could think was the George Michael 1996 album, which was quite a path breaking album from the “Wham” lead,  especially in terms of songwriting and production quality.


I am undeniably growing older. As I retrospect, it occurred to me that my multiplicity has divided life into infinitesimal shreds and shards…amongst which  very little that I can very much call my own.

Growing up means wanting slightly different things from life. In these times and age, I do wish for
- a few little tiny beginnings to turn into marathon runs Smile
- my little web of remaining relationships to somehow survive distance and the sub urban edge.
- smoothening of a few open hanging relationships and achieving “closure”.

When I look back at my time and life
- I have made tons of mistakes….committed almost serial harakiri. If only, I had made a little lesser of those, my life would be such a different ball game.
- Life deals you a set of cards. You play to win. I don’t think I have consistently focussed on winning, at times I have gotten defocussed on the cards. Thats needs to stop.
- Hurry. My life is short and I need to do more and more in less and less.

As 2011 starts, I have actually told myself that I shall rebaseline life. Too much water under the bridge. Assume life is just starting and play the game all over again. Sometimes disowning the baggage can make you feel terribly light. I hope I feel lighter from now on.

A last wish….a little “sweet” someone would call me a little more often Smile Even once a day will do Smile (See I am such a reasonable person).

Hope 2011 focks. (no thats not a typo!!)

Friday, January 07, 2011

1395 : The dam that almost burst

As I was talking to him – mostly about the color of the tea I was sipping, the color of the dark blue sky and a whole host of sweet little nothings – it occurred to me in a “snap out of it” moment, that he was listening and yet definitely was not hearing. He was looking intently into my eyes, as if searching for the lost bloody song within its infinite black hole depths – unwavering and precise with his gaze….

I could not help notice that his eyes has watered down, and his puckered lips had petered down….both of them distinctly moist….

The poet in me detected a tender floundering moment of togetherness that had appeared out of nowhere….and as my voice slowed and slurred to accommodate this unexpected( and equally uncompromising) examination….I could not help but view for a brief few seconds, a glimpse of what simple and uncomplicated mutual fondness could possibly mean.

1394 : 3rd head towards the classic rock

The 3rd head (of Ravaan) has been tilting towards Bruce Springsteen and his brilliant repertoire. I hunted the whole length of “Tunnel of Love” and his E Street Band archives.

We both have been engaged in gluttony for this sort of music, and dunking it down with our own little bottles.

Both of us doing hic hic !! along the way.

(Tunnel of Love is playing right now in the background…both of us have been slapping each other drunk praising the awesomeness of such music).

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

1393 : Lament

Prashant and I were talking in office about our favorite singers. We were standing close to a bunch of cubicles.Hearing names like Kumar Gandharv, Jasraj, Rashid Khan, Bhimsen Joshi – a few bystanders jokingly told us that “they were now sure that we were in our late forties”…
What they meant was our taste in music was so old worldish…

I was almost tempted to unleash on them my current favorites from Eddie Vedder and Green Day, but then I let it be…I was not interested in defending, yet, I also wanted to push back on their suggested equivalence between classical music and “antiquity”.

A silent dirge passed through me, as I realised that a whole generation has been skipped by a whole generation….and sadly, in this case, the leapfrogging in this case seems like a curse.

1392 : Sajan Rajan Mishra

Raavan and I have been listening to Rajan and Sajan Mishra’s Raag Chayanat. Its an hour long of pure delirious pleasure.

I was coaxing Raavan, that if he likes Rashidji, then Rajan Sajan brothers will just floor him. It turns out that this time, I was right.

He was telling me how immensely he enjoyed the first few times he listened to these Gurus of Bandish. And I told him, I have heard this for the best part of 4 years and my definition of happiness has still not changed Smile

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

1391 : The symbol of the spirit

Sometimes TOI does print sense. From today’s Speaking Tree, Bangalore edition

“Fire,” said Babaji, “has been sacred to all ancient civilisations. Agni, the God of fire was invoked daily in Vedic times. In ancient times, there were no matchboxes. To produce fire, one went through the elaborate ritual of rubbing dry sticks together with invocations to the fire god. When the spark appeared it was indeed a miracle. Where was this fire, before it manifested, asked seers. Surely it was hidden in the wood always and needed the right conditions to manifest. So, fire became a symbol of the spirit, all-pervading, yet manifesting only under certain conditions.”

Babaji’s insights were revealing. Another reason fire was used as a symbol of the spirit, is that fire always burns upwards. Try holding the firewood downwards, the flames always move upwards. Also just one spark is enough to set the whole forest on fire. You can light a thousand candles from one flame with no loss to the original mother flame. What better symbol of the spirit?

1390 : The higher intelligence

In continuation from my previous post. a few clarifications.

I myself don’t understand the world around me and clearly acknowledge that I possibly understand 1% of it, and the whole of humanity put together understands just a little more, say25 – but save the physical obvious ones – we are just still figuring out.

To me – this unknown represents the higher intelligence – the intelligence of Uncle Universe…you can safely call this GOD.

So, to me, its no conflict to have God in your pocket and a physics textbook in your hand.

It’s a conflict to believe
1. That this God influences your life in any predictable controllable way.
2. That the world around you can be controlled and altered by wearing rings or by planets. (We are influenced by the whole world around us….as per the classic Bell’s theorem, but then its different to saying a stone of Neelam on my finger will help me.)
3. The world is a deterministic game.

(On a side note, an atheist physicists like Mr. Hawking (with whom I am proud to share my bday) sounds so much cooler..I also share it with the King….if you ask “King who?”….forget it…..)

Monday, January 03, 2011

1389 : Oooh baby, I love you when you are so terribly confused.

I have said this before, but I find it fascinating that we push our children to understand, emulate and discover physics and maths….and then tell them that they can only marry if the kundali’s match or if they start their karate classes on 8th since that is their lucky date.

I mean no disrespect to astrology, but its an inexact science – versus physics as an example. I don’t mean to belittle one in favor of another.

But….a human mind can either be tuned to appreciate physics or astrology, but will find it a difficult prospect to marry the two twangs.

I find it more improbable (hold your breath…its slightly counter intuitive) when my namesake wears 20 rings in 10 fingers. At what point  do an exact art and an inexact art do the crossover, is a further mystery to my “figure it out” side.

Even as adults we struggle to strike a balance….how do we expect our little children to manage this conflict?

The road to perdition is short and is in our own backyard.

1388 : Good is at best relative, always lower than better :-)

I was reading a screaming headline in Bangalore Mirror “Only 32% of the public services required bribes in 2010”.

The whole tone of the article was this number was down from the significantly higher 60-70% as it was usually in the past.

I remember my sports coach used to tell me – you only jump as high as you aspire for Smile.I am “impressed” with the state of our aspirations.

1387 : Some of my favorite lines…

From Movie Sitara, Sung by Lata and Bhupinder, Music by RD Burman, Lyrics by …good guess….Gulzar

maanga hai jo tum se woh jyada to nahin hai
de ne ko to jaan de de waada to nahin hai
koi tere waadon pe jeeta hai kahaan
tinkon ka bas ek aashiyaan

If you understand Hindi, you shall know that the play of words here is just staggeringly superb. Its almost like an inspired work of a magical genius. Have translated it below in English for someone who might not know Hindi. The song is sung in perfect harmony between Lata and Bhupinder.

Lata : What (I) am asking (of you) , its really not  too much (at all),
Bhupinder : I would gladly give my life, as long as you don’t ask for my word (He means, he shall give his life in lieu of a fabled promise )
Lata : Whoever pins her hope to hinge on your (false) promises.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

1386 : Far, Fair and Fairy

Another funny story that Raavan keeps telling, is about him talking to the fairies. He actually told me he is besotted by fairies and keeps a steady conversation going with them.

What next, maybe he starts mouthing the revelations and the “book of life”.

1385 : The supari chomping softie…

Raavan and I were talking recently and he was telling me about this complete and utter infatuation with Ustad Rashid Khan…..something he knows I like a lot.

I can almost visualise Raavan (who does have an anger problem!!) as a suapri chewing (and executing) goon who orders “Builder ke bete ko tapka do” while he is listening to Hamsadhwani in the background.

What a softie this ten headed monster is turning out to be…..(I am glad though, that he is graduating from Sheila ki Jawani to “Miyan Ki Malhar”)

1384 : Dev D

I have posted on Dev D the movie in the past. I finally caught up with the movie in June of this year.

I actually liked the movie. I know most folks did not like the movie.

I know, this post has been in the wings for over 6 months now Smile

But I had to wear my like(s) on my sleeve.

1383 : At cross hairs

I was at the airport the other day waiting for a delayed flight. I love the airport, it allows me to observe the human microcosm without having to appear intrusive.

I was seeing quite a few adult children with their older parents. Not a single of this series, seemed in sync. Let me explain.

One of my favourite observations is that generational conflict is a consequence of a retarding (or accelerating) society. You would not see a large generational conflict in 3 generations of farmers from Kolhapur, but you would see a 40 year old make no connect with his 10 year kid in Bombay….(and of course as time progresses) the disconnect continues to accelerate.

I have told myself that if and when I have a kid, I shall fight this syndrome to the point I can. Me at 50 and the kid at 20 is a far better point for the conflict to arise than at 40 for me and 10 for the kid.

To do that, I am going do a few things:

1. Try to retain a semblance of my fitness. If I cannot drive around the country with my daughter…then I might as well give up.
2. Demonstrate to my daughter that daddy (and mommy too…since we were conjoined) always did what was right for his life first, then the family. (This is counter-intuitive, especially in terms of popular theory of “sacrifice”….but I strongly believe that if we “sacrifice” what we put at the altar is “everyone’s” happiness though we like to always believe otherwise…..Also sacrifice has its roots in inertia…mostly so…and thats something I want to tell chubby…that I never respected inertia…and hence managed to beat the generational conflict).
3. Keep pace with his/her interest in movies, games and music….and possibly form enough commonality so that we can always have a few “special” things to discuss about.
4. Dress well – I find people stuck in a fashion era as antiques. I will hopefully never do that…kid or otherwise Smile(To be accepted into a fold you first have to look like them…and then the behavioural bits can follow….)

1382 : Debates and the life after

I enjoy my debates with Prashant. He is easily one of the more biased folks I know, but then to most, I appear opinionated as well. Opinions and biases should in no way be construed as impediments to an open conversation….it almost always means that the person has rehearsed the thoughts a million times in his head (in the past).

the other day, we had a raucous debate on “inclusiveness”….we completely disagreed – but then I still learnt a lot.

I have learnt how to leverage his views and opinions to aid my decision making process….like when he was helping me decide “should you be allowed to choose your surname” debate?

I cant say that I enjoy my debates with most folks though…with most of the folks…at some point….I am amazed at the frivolous in their voice.

To debate, you need to be open to learn and adopt, and the idea should be to solve a real life problem….rather than pontificate.

1381 : Music and the sundance kid

I was reading with fascination a brilliant book on the physics of music (more on that later). Its kind of a little book of insights.

I read with intrepid wonder as the author explained that if you have never heard enough music before you are a young child (say around 4), you shall never find it easy to “play by the ear and the pitch”…a term which musicians use to describe a sound in a note, and can identify listening.

I read that, and I knew why I was doomed. I started listening most of my radio by 7 and continued till today – but for the life of me, I can never identify the “A flat”…I can say a high pitch vs a low pitch..but that even a cow can do…and possibly much better.

Another related study I was reading, was explaining why “Mozart” is good for my kid. It said something eerily similar to what I have been debating with friends all along – summary of which is – the more pristine and structured the music – the more the “learning” mind will find patterns in. A child who listens to Mozart – understands harmony and possibly melody quite intuitively.

And that ability to sort information into patterns will then flow into other parts of his neural co-ordination.

Kids who understand music, are supposedly more emotionally stable and they are better parents. Seriously, thats what the study explains….especially in their ability to pick patterns.

As a connected fact, I know a few folks who share my deep interest in music. I must say, they are easily the most rooted and peaceful folks I know. They are also good listeners (in a conversation) and come across as “human”.

Summary – when my chubby girl child is eventually conceived….she shall listen to Bhimsen and Rashid from day 0. It just helps that I love that music as well. And oh of course, DMB, Dylan and Floyd….

Saturday, January 01, 2011

1380 : Past life regression

When I was growing up, I used to listen to music every waking hour that I was at home. TV was not an option – I was not fascinated by the “giant robot” types.

Radio Ceylon, Vividh Bharti and of course a whole slew of tapes (totalling no more than 50 hrs of music)….as a trivia, my current music collection is at least 10000 hrs of music (yes, you heard me right).

I had the most wonderful experience growing up. I never felt lonely, though I was alone, I never felt a misfit, though I was (a fat anti-social kid…is definitely a misfit), I never felt like I was underprivileged (my parents just about scraped into the middle class definition)….I think music was my reveller (and a leveller).

Since college, I have still spent a lot of time listening to music, but never as much as childhood, which was easily in the bracket of 8-10 hrs  a day.

In the past few days, I wake up and turn on the music. And it is on all the time – playing right into midnight.

Feels great. Its almost like connecting back to your roots, a la becoming a child again. (I have seen all of 2-4 hrs of TV and movies combined in the last 6 months…no longer feel like an “idiot” without the box Smile)

Am Loving it…