Thursday, April 29, 2010

1105 : The camel whose water back broke him

I was talking to someone last week who I must admit, I did not know well enough. He's been working for about 13 years, 9 of which were at NY and 4 were at India.

So he comes back and tells me, he feels "unsettled"...and feels the need to "settle". Usually in an Indian context "settling" means marrying (and "clearing" means divorcing....heehaw....just invented the last bit there :-)

I knew though, that he was in some sense married. Not knowing him enough, I did push for the details - but did ask him "what does he mean by settling".

"Time to buy a house."

Me - "So is the availability an issue".

"No, its just that if I spend money on a house all I shall be left with is xyz as savings left at the bank. And I am not comfortable with that."

(Now xyz was a sum larger than my annual salary and probably 15 times more than the amount I currently have in my bank account.)

Further conversation revealed that he had "two" kids - both in their school - and he feared for them not having the best in life - if he chose to buy the house.

(Remember, I barely know him, so I had to keep distance even while talking).

In summary, it was his "camel syndrome" (do I have enough water in my back for a rainy day?) that was killing him, making him unhappy and "unsettled".

I am very unequivocal in my head on this topic. Money is a means to wealth, to a right on bits of the earth, to buy yourself a "life" experience. Money in the bank is useless, to the degree that its almost a dis-respect to "life" - a denial of "experiences".

I too have cash in bank to survive a month or two - should something go wrong, but thats where it ends. If the "problem" continues for longer - my view is, if I am just as resourceful, as I am today, then I shall figure it out. I have been bankrupt twice in my "limited" lifespan....and both times - I dont think I could have controlled the bankruptcy or my coming out of it - a variety of external forces conspired with(and against me) for either of those results.

My learnings from those personal lows has been to tell myself - that "too much planning" in these issues, usually in fact, ends up significantly impacting your ability to deal with "uncertainty" - which strangely enough - is why you wanted the "cash" security in the bank account anyways.

I have often been told - add "kids" into the equation and your perspective will change. I hope for my own good, that is just a decoy. I continue to want to glare back at life, stare back at bankruptcy, and holler back at disease and degeneration - because I know, in my heart - the day I stop doing any of these - I shall begin the process of "personal dying".

In summary, my (possibly naive) view of life is - stumble, tumble, dont grumble, but let it rumble.....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1104 : Altas will soon shrug

I have seen the insides of a few investment banks. I don't meant to defend them or eulogize them....they are and will be, what they are.

Yet, in the context of the bad press they are heart weeps for the likes of Goldman and (by now dead and forgotten) Lehman.

Goldman, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Australian Cricket Team....all shades of the same gray. The world loves to hate a home run hitter, especially one who keeps doing it almost ubiquitously.

We mistake Ponting's confidence with cockiness, Job's nonchalance with arrogance, Gates fight back with "strong arm", and Lloyd's defense of SEC as "denial".

I can go on and on.....sometimes it helps to read "Atlas Shrugged" again.

1103 : Awesome absolutely f***ing awesome

I find it so amazing that "iyer fucking in a temple" still gets me 7 hits a month.
I am so perplexed and intrigued, that, must use my favorite phrase, "awesome fucking awesome"....

1102 : Boobquake works....we always knew those globes were multi-utility :-)

Follow up on my previous post on the boobquake experiement.....

Supposedly Taiwan actually had a 6.5 richter scale tremor. So the effects of the experiment have been felt very far away :-)

Thanks to my sweety sister for letting me know.

She has promised me that next time such an experiment happens, she shall do her bit to participate actively :-)

Now, thats something to look forward to :-) (Need to talk to Jen Mcreight to get this "phase 2" going sooner, rather than, before my sweety renegades on her solemn pledge).

1101 : Sign of life

8 years ago, in October – I was having this wine induced conversation with sister and a few friends. I remember making a (bombastic sounding) statement then, for which I got a lot of brickbats and jibes (for many days post that conversation) - “Procrastination is a sure sign of being alive.”

Many summers later, my view has not changed at all. I am glad, at least in my head I turned out to be consistent.

1100 : Endgame

A house is never big enough. Gourmet food is not available in enough palettes. Vacations always seem like one hurried compressed project plan. Conversations are so out of fashion. “Transactions” is what define living. “Friends and relatives” invariably refers to your office colleagues. The next car is always planned and constantly being budgeted for. The race is to make your kid “successful”, rather than a better human being. Your mother is never more than a phone call away, but you don’t ever have time to talk more than 60 seconds. Your sister is “another clutch” living in another town. We all have mobiles, facebook, email – yet we know so little about our siblings day to day lives. Maids, washing machines, cooks – all create “time” (as in free up your time) – but these never seem to trickle down to the call you wanted to place to your love. Crying is passé. Smiling and laughing are further passé. Holding hands is now being “soft in the head”. Hugging is being sentimental. To want to be with someone is considered “mushy” and old worldish.

Does this tale sound eerily familiar?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1099 : Breaking News - Fashionistas – Hear Hear - Socks and skirts are the new trend

Okay….there is a new fashion trend in town….and I want to take complete universal credit to be the first to break this news to the larger (rounder) world. :-)

I have encountered so many babes in Bangalore who wear nice neat looking skirts with decent tops, decent shoes – but…its a big big BUT…..they wear full ankle length dark socks….in essence they are “smart” but for the dark long mind-numbing socks. (And yes, they are socks – not stockings.)

I am not much of a fashion conscious guy…for me, fashion is what is easy on the eye (Like for example, NOT wearing a US style tee, inside your shirt, for a dark skinned guy, like all of us Indians, is nothing short of a visual jarr, a color aberration – and hence a BIG fashion faux pas. (The naked “v” around the neck is such a visual irritant….my one fashion “do” is – always wear a white US tee, under your shirt or T-shirt…cover your nakedness and your dark skin.)

Similarly the dark socks under the pretty skirt, is such a fashion faux pas, it almost jarrs you out of your sleepy reverie. It just rocks your eyes into recognizing something is not right at all.

Fashion should ideally be an easy meld of function, convention, personal style, and spirit.

Now that is so much harder to achieve than to say :-)

Till we achieve that utopia, I shall sore my eyes red and yellow with the socks and skirt combo.

1098 : Boobquake did not happen (sigh)

In response to the Tehran Cleric citing that promiscuity amongst women, as being the root cause of the world earthquakes – Jen Mcreight, a student at Purdue – had sought all women in the world, on Monday (26th) to show a little more cleavage and in consequence, will an earthquake.

Monday is gone and I am disappointed:
1. Did not see any earthquake causing cleavage at Bangalore yesterday. (Still waiting, Bangloreans are a bit slow…so maybe Tuesday is the new Monday for us).
2. Supposedly 50,000 odd women participated in this globally and yet nothing happened.

Can you imagine if “boobquake” – an earthquake caused by flashing boobs were a real possibility – how much fun it would be. Like the erstwhile Goddess’ of Indian Mythology, who had anger perennially on their noses, the modern women, who share their anger, could simply flash and shake the whole damn place up. Retribution in most cases would be fast, and the person being punished would hopefully (possibly) enjoy it as well.

I am a feminist movement supporter (on that I am serious :-)), and I feel, with the boobquake theory being proved so horribly wrong, women’s lib has been pushed back by at least 50 years.

Women’s Lib. Boobquake. Bangalore Participation. RIP.

1097 : I pee elle’, and I am 30+

For the record, I am not a big IPL fan. I did catch the final this time, because I got to spend some sensible time with my mom. She was of course rooting for Chennai :-) (for reasons totally unrelated to nativity or skills or heroes), and I being from Mumbai – strangely did not actually feel for either of the teams. Mom (and pop) were estatic when Chennai won.

As the evening wore away, I realised that my interest in cricket, just like my interest in “pop” movies is waning.

Now, is this growing up, or is this growing old?

Monday, April 26, 2010

1096 : The creep has crept on you !!

Someone I (barely) know, and yet strongly feel for, passed away on Saturday. He was (until then) a cancer survivor. He fought for 20 long years before he gave up, and he did not give up on life, he gave up on this artificial way of stretching life – medicines.

I (possibly – because I am not very sure of his thoughts) share quite a few things with him – and prime amongst them is my complete disdain of medicines, and artificial support.

Does that mean, if I ever had cancer, I would refuse Chemo and drugs. Of course given a choice, that's probably what I would do, but then we all work different in the real world as compared to “possibilities” .

He lived life on his own terms, and that for me is a life well lived. He left behind a million memories, and few hundred inspired brave hearts. His wife married him inspite of knowing that he was soon to be gone. I think that equanimity and grace to choose the “right” thing is what makes me admire her more (again I don’t really know her at all).

A silent tribute to the guy who fought, bled and died. A little salute to the spouse who decided to stick to a poem that was inherently and blatantly “fragile” – who chose love over the desire for “permanency”. (Think about it, such a welcome relief from “our” daily struggle to acquire houses, cars, eat at fancy places, vacations, jewelry, watches…..thats all people like me focus on day in day out, while there are folks like this lady – who go about achieving their own little greatness – unrecognized – and purposefully sailing in their own sea of anonymity).

Finally, a gentle kiss for a little someone, whom I have known really well over the years, who made a decidedly similar choice, a decade and half ago – her own personal “right” choice, her own personal haiku – her own way of telling the world that “no matter what others achieve in life – I have beaten a large set in the game – I have selflessly chosen “greatness”.”

If this passage does not explain – why I continue to feel so tiny and so humbled in my personal life…..- let me put it this way, its not easy being constantly harangued by these mighty ubiquitous brave hearts :-)

1095 : Relief, the earth is back on its axis….

I have the un-enviable “job” of being a implicit role model to about a dozen toddlers (nephews, nieces, buddies and the ilk)…and my worst nightmare if, years later, their mommies and poppies are going to point at me(from far :-)) and say, “thats the influence which gave my kid “these” shades….else my little Twinkle would never even utter 3 letter words, let alone 4 letter ones”. Get the drift?

I can be quite a handful, when I am just being myself. Continuing from the example from above, I use “f**k”, almost as if it were part of the “magic” series…..I am almost closing to one day saying “can you f**k pass me the salt”….versus “can you please….”; and “holy f**k” where a simple “sorry” would suffice.

And believe me, that’s just one of my gray shades.

And then….

Last week, I met somebody who was comfortably using the word “screw” and “f**k” in front of his 10 year daughter. The “unconventional” discussion continued to include Deepika Padukone’s love (thankfully not sex) life….

And guess what….the daughter is pretty, gritty, sassy and smart…..everything I want my daughter ever to be. My guess is, she is, what she is, in this case, because her parents treat her like “one of them”, as an adult….they talk the same things with her, which they would talk with a colleague at a water cooler…..

If my guess is right, I am saved….the earth is back to spinning on a wheel.

….and not to forget, my daughter will be the sassiest belle in town. Fingers crossed :-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1094 : Magic, innocence and the ilk

My little nephew (2 year old) meets me and hugs me, as if, I was some dear long lost buddy of his. When he sees me after a week or a fortnight, he does not say things like "you did not call up", "oh, you finally found some time", "you look thinner", "did you get me a gift".....none of that at all (not that he talks much, but even if he did, I bet, he would not say these things.)

All he does is run upto me, beaming like scotty, hug me, laugh, jump and kick my groin (ahem!!), but all in all, he just seems so genuinely and plainly delighted to see me.

That state of being is magical (for him to be, and for me to see :-))

We don’t need J Krishnamurti, or Osho, or Dalai Lama - teaching us how to be happy - we have our own little ones to teach us.

My little buddy makes my weekend trips (back) to bby so completely worth the pain.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1093 : Richard Feynman (knowing birds quote)

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing — that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

Feynman has written tons of books, my favorite being “What do you care what other people think?”

Its first two chapters describe how his dad brought him up, and is easily the best lesson in parenting that I have read in my whole life.

If you have kids, please go read it, will be worth your while.

23gzm84 what-do-you-care-what-other-people-think-further-adventures-of-a-curious-character


1092 : You could be “mine”….

I have blogged on this topic many times in various flavors. My concept of “mine” is so very different from the “conventional” definition. I can adopt parents, friends, sisters, puppies, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters…. – and vice versa, am most willing to be adopted.

I like to look at myself like an Hydrogen Atom, who freewheels with oxygen to form water, with sulphur to form acid and can survive in itself. I like to freewheel because I base my assumptions on the fundamental “impermanency” of the world around me….We live in a fragile world. Having 3 sets of parents helps….seriously it does.

I find it strange, and almost alien, on how many of us continue to divide “us” versus “them”, “mine” versus “his”….

Just last week, I was talking to someone who was telling me that his cook is the 16 year old son of their maid….and I was in principle fine with “his being employed” (damn the text bookish child labor laws) – what surprised me was, that there was no intent from his side to steer the 16 year old towards some form of education (be it a school, or be a living craft – like say carpentry). Would we have dealt with this similarly, if this was “ours”?

I have non-biological parents, non-biological sisters  – and I sincerely believe they are as much “mine” as the hair on my head (which is receding…ahem :-))

“Mine” is a very limited concept…..we should try and look at it with a “negative” filter.

I believe, the more we constrict, the lesser we get, the more we “adopt” the richer our lives are. “Aazmaon toh sahi”……and life will pay you back multifold.

1091 : The art of “being”….

I find it fascinating of how we all constantly fill up time with something to “worry about”, (and this includes me…as well). The idea seems to be to jump from monkey to monkey till you start behaving as a ordained orangutan :-)

I call this being “transactional” – like for example,

1. Spousey and I spending 10 minutes at 10am deciding what we should eat at 7pm today……(only to realize at 7pm, that the plans cannot be honored)…..

2. The dhobi says “from today the cost of iron pressing clothes is 5 versus 3 earlier” and we spend 20 minutes talking to him asking him the why, how and bargaining.

3. Kid cough a bit and mom is all worried – could that be serious, can this be the start of a 10 day viral…..

You get the joke right. We all do it, and we all do it all the time.

I want to stop doing this. I want to get less transactional – I want to talk more “conversational” and less “transactional”, I want to hear more music  and less of “fuss”, I want to “eat in the moment” and not a “gastronomical project plan”, I want to “play with my nephew” and not bother about his college admission (he is 2 now :-))….In short, I want to stop “trying to live” and for a change actually start someplace.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1090 : Struggling to get back in rhythm

Its a sign of times :-)

I am struggling to get back to reading, blogging, exercising and life :-)

I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but “rhythm” is a purely mental block.

Ask someone who loses “timing” in cricket (I used to play cricket quite a bit as a kid)…..Its almost as if your mind has suddenly forgotten the “art” of when the bat should touch the ball.You struggle for days, months…and then suddenly one morning, your willow starts singing again….and it feels “magical” all over again.

How do you explain that?

How do you explain why a fat unhealthy person like me struggles to get up early and jog, but then suddenly one fine day decides that “today is the day”?

I have been struggling for the past 2 months. Hope to break this jinx soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1090 : Pin this up, some useful ‘insights’….

Was reading an interview of Eddy Merckx, Seven time “Tour De France” winner, aged 65.

EddyMerckx-vi eddie%20merckx

Some very interesting soundbytes from that interview.

- They say professional cyclists have to sacrifice a lot, that they can’t booze, they can’t booze, they can’t eat on a whim, they can’t go for parties. People say Eddy Mercx had to sacrifice a lot. I disagree. Say Eddy Mercx boozed a lot, went for parties and gorged on good food, missing out on his passion for bicycling. Now that would have been a sacrifice.

- Compete against yourself, thats what professional cycling is all about.

- Being famous is bad. The only thing worse than being famous is not being famous.

- Success is 45 percent hard work, 5 percent luck and 50 percent natural talent.  But here’s the catch : you wont know how much natural talent you have till you work really hard.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

1089 : Long lost company….

Like every (growing up) college kid, I(too) tasted Old Monk + Thums Up….and honestly did not develop a fancy for it.

In the past few days, I have been having Old Monk + chilled coconut water + ice + a few drops of lime….and guess what, I am liking it.

It might be an “unholy” combination….but the old monk is sure offering me some delightful company.

1088 : Rock Machine (aka Indus Creed’s) Rock n Roll Renegade

I grew up listening to Rock Machine. I used to have both their albums on  tapes. I have always loved the song “Rock n Roll Renegade”. This was way back in mid 80s.

Twenty years later, I land up with this song again…and I heard this song some 20 times today.

Uday (Benegal) sounds young, raw and still perfect. If you don’t know who Uday Benegal is – stop reading this post, or go listen to “Life is Crazy” from Wake Up Sid (One of the finest songs of 2009)

Rock Machine sounded like Motley Crue….and was almost there. Except that they were stuck in India, while Motley Crue ruled the Los Angeles.

Ah….some things you never really tire of. I promised myself, I shall preserve this song, for my son to relish when he can listen and understand this “noise”.


you think i'm crazy
but you don't want to see
the reality, cause i'm wrong and you are right
you're not my lady
if you can't believe
that the melody keeps me going through the night

i never meant to give you second position
i never thought you'd react in this way
i thought you'd call my name

but you called me a rock 'n' roll renegade
'cos i've deserted your love for the music
i hope i never get tired, you know i don't wanna lose it.

they say i'm wasted
cause i don't agree
with the elders, see i don't do the 9 to 5

but they can't face it
so they say that i'm the rebellious one trying to destroy
your so called indian way of life
i'm not a victim of you're social constipation
you people don't need a god, you need a laxative

to reach you to your salvation
i'm a rock 'n' roll renegade
and i've abandoned the norm for the music
i hope i never get tired, you know i don't wanna lose it.

i'm a rock 'n' roll renegade
and i've deserted your love for the music
i hope i never get tired, you know i don't wanna lose it.

i'm a rock 'n' roll renegade
and i've deserted your love for the music
i hope i never get tired, you know i don't wanna lose it.

i'm a rock 'n' roll renegade
and i've abandoned the norm for the music
i hope i never get tired, you know i don't wanna lose it.

yeah baby
you can call me a renegade
you can call me a mercenary
i've deserted your love, deserted the norm
but i ain't gonna give it up

rockmachine1 Rock 'N' Roll Renegade - The Second Coming_a tuborg-acoustic-adventures-by-uday-benegal14 rock-machine-second-coming

1087 : Faridkot’s Haal–e-dil (with translation)

Faridkot is an Indian Rock Band. If you like Strings, this one sounds so similar (true, quite a bit richer sound….here are 5 guys in 2010 versus 2 guys who grew up on 1990s)…..but they play classic melodic rock…a la Dire Straits. I fell in love with them, the first time I heard their sound. This is the first and only song of theirs that I have heard on repeat, its lovely. Hear them at Confused Music, Lyrics, Songs. Their official site is at

Faridkot, my sincere request to you folks. Release an album, I shall be the first to buy it.

I am loving these times. Indian Rock is finally coming of age.

Haal-e-dil kaise karoon bayaan
kaise doon jasbaaton ko dil ki zubaan

(How do I essay the current state of my heart,
Is there a way I can let my emotional state see words of the day)

Haal-e-dil kaise karoon bayaan
kaise doon jasbaaton ko dil ki zubaan

Chal Diye tum na jaane kahaan
Reh gaye hum yahaan ke yahaan

(I am note sure where you are off to,
Leaving me all alone at this spot that I am stuck onto)

Jaane kyon kehete ho, abh woh baat nahi.
Hum saath rahe, aise halath nahi
Phir bhi main rahuga, har pal sahunga,
agar tum wapas aao, tumhe yaheen miluga.

(I do wonder, why you often keep saying, “now its different”,
”The circumstances are not conducive for us to be together (anymore),”
Yet I shall be stuck at this spot, living through each pang of seperation,
(In the hope that) Just in case you ever decide to return, I shall be around to greet you.

Haal-e-dil kaise karoon bayaan
kaise doon jasbaaton ko dil ki zubaan

Yeh toh bataa jaao ke, meri kya khataa hai,
Hum hosh kho chuke hain, tumhe na pata hai,
Khud mein hi dhoondta hu, tera nishaan.

(Before you do leave, kindly let me know, where did I screw up,
(In your love) I had lost my senses, (I dont think) you know that,
To a degree that, I am searching for your remains within my own soul)

Haal-e-dil kaise karoon bayaan
kaise doon jasbaaton ko dil ki zubaan

1086 : I am little ahead of the curve ….

“I am back” versus Arnold’s “I will be back”….So long. Let me hear some noise :-) (Yeah, I too am a bathroom rock star).