Friday, March 25, 2011

1463 : How the mighty have fallen

India defeated Australia in a world cup cricket quarterfinal today. My dad was going on and on that we have given those duffers a good thrashing.

I tried telling my dad…all of what he was saying was technically right….we had indeed defeated the once world champions….and the mighty indeed had fallen….but spare a thought….This Australian team represents the lowest ebb in Australian Cricket – especially when we baseline against the last 20 years.

In the same period (20 years), this Indian team today represents the best we shall ever get.

A team in its bottom-most trough and another at its crescendo resonating peak….and yet….today on the pitch they looked like equals. India just about won….infact at one point, I thought they almost lost.

You can always choose to beat a thoroughbred champion who is temporarily impaired(like we opportunistically accomplished today!!)….but pays to remember, you can never rest on the throne for too long….because the fallen champ’s phoenix will rise again……their dna knows only one thing….they are hardwired to winning….and on that day of reckoning,  you shall be reduced back again to the spineless concubine Smile

1462 : Look ma….I SLICED BREAD !!

Yesterday someone was telling me that “your son shall one day take pride in what you have made of yourself.”.

That triggered a brief bout (and spout) of introspection….a “peg me against the other boys (and girls too…just that the figure  of expression does not sound cool!!)” exercise.

I am part of a baby boomer generation – where almost all of us have heard from their parents – how we have had it far easier than them – and how they feel they did the best they could.

And the baby boomer generation in turn is telling the same rut to their little tots – “when we were growing up, there was no television and such a plethora of toys”(never mind the fact that the toys we currently buy “you” are lead infused Chinese WMDs – the lead will eventually “addle up your CPUs” enough to make anything more than opening the door, a “complex activity”.)

Get the drift?

Each generation is trying to pass a baton of “conflict and pent up repressed wants” to the next…..almost surreptitiously.

Now put the “your son should be proud of you” in that context.

Why? Just because I worked my way up to be some middle management flunkey at a typical everyday corporate wormhole (nothing wrong with wormholes per se….especially if you nilly willy choose to inhabit them consciously!!)

If there are a few things I would remind my son constantly, it shall be:
1. Life offers you a few cheap thrills (read opportunities). Make the most of it…especially if they are in the area where you want to excel.
2. Choose the “area” and play hard. If you are at an Investment Bank, choose to be a trader….not enough to be just another keyboard puncher….keyboard punchers never make CEOs…..revenue earners do.
3. If “keyboard punching” is your “chosen life”….then join a BPO…at least you will make CEO after 30 years.
4. If you do want to write a book or do something as an individual….then do it on the grand level playing field….no use being a bloody Chetan Bhagat, a la someone, whose books wont past muster with anyone with an IQ more than a moron.
5. We only live once….ceaseless desire for excellence and “personal pre-eminence” should be hardwired into “your” head.
6. Choose a “personal greatness” and then relentlessly pursue it…..almost like a doped android mercenary.

Is this post meandering?

Nope. As I introspected on the first comment….it all came back to me. My life, which is now passing its prime….has been dogged by me constantly and shamelessly compromising on my “personal greatness”, and I definitely don’t want myself to be a role model to any kid. I have not made good any of the “cheap thrills” life offered me….infact I might have systematically squandered it.

A few months ago, I have decided to rebaseline life….and try and be a better man…at least I don’t want the next decade to be another “lost one”.

Meanwhile….back to the bloody game Smile…. “listen little kid”….I am incredible, I am legend, I am rockstar….blah blah….in short I am the nearest competitor to big brother upstairs Smile

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1461 : We worked all night to get to you :-)

I think it was Saturday. Bangalore Times carried a front page story screaming “Raja Wadiyar of Mysore and his wife held a fab fashion show at the palace (blah blah blah….) of clothes and jewellery created by them last night.” (sic !! except for the bold bit) or something almost to this effect.

I read this sentence at least 4 times. Now unless the reporter wanted to tell us a scoop on how the Royals worked all night to create some fashion artefacts – unless that was the intent, he most definitely missed his commas and shoots.

I could almost visualise the royalty walking with a whip in his sweatshop – beating and haranguing poor Mysore natives – “faster, faster – just 4 hours before daybreak, get the clothes ready.”

Ah….the tyranny inflicted upon us by weak language. Remember this is front page Times. Should we also lament how the mighty have fallen.

1460 : What a perverted world !!

As I was walking past a leading English news channel at 5pm today (at work) – the headlines were screaming in BOLD ALL CAPS and size 72 on screen – “SIBAL PERVERTED THE FACTS ABOUT SHOURIE” or something to that effect (almost).

Now for those who have no context, we are presumably speaking about the VSNL disinvestment here.

Nothing even remotely “perverted” in this debate about a 10 year old business decision, I am assuming the copy guy probably wanted to use a word like “subverted”.

Now-a-days we not only hire ding-a-dong graduates who think they know the language, but we also let them run amok. This probably is the real perversion the world is unleashing on us lesser mortals.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

1459 : All that glitters…

Standing under a clear sky at 3am in the morning and gazing at the blinking buddies (stars) and the supermoon….does lend life a perspective !!

1458 : Faridkot - Ek

I am quite a big fan of indie rock….those tiny (commercially) inconsequential bands, some of which still make a massive impact on your mindspace.

Locally its folks like my buddy Vinay from Bhayanak Maut and globally groups like Stokes (from Toronto)…and labels like Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records – which released some mind boggling (and blowing) collection during the 90s.



And then there is Faridkot – the “confused pop” act (as they call themselves). They just released their studio album Ek.

I quite like it….if you like Strings….you will like Faridkot a little better….a little more effort in lyrics….a little more bluesy…..a little more orchestration…..a little more soul….and a whole lot more “fun”.

Fun? Yes…these guys seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves – considering themselves too small to succeed – they take themselves lightly and the “lightness of being” shows.

Their songs are all well composed – taut – and lively.

If there is one indie album you would spend your money on in 2011, I would hazard and put it on Ek – though it is only March yet…..

And I had begun to think…they don’t make them anymore Smile


1457 : Still not myself…

As Kabir said (quite insightfully):

Jab Mein Tha Tab Hari Nahin, Jab Hari Hai Mein Nahi
Sab Andhiyara Mit Gaya, Jab Deepak Dekhya Mahi

That hopefully explains why I am not posting enough Smile

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

1456 : The Crying Game (oops….I meant Name)

Still undecided after “Wail Murugan”, “Burpy Lahiri” and recent favorite “Sinbad (the Wailer)”…..the care-givers to the “little bundle of joy” trudged along….waiting for the Lord and Uncle Universe to give a sign.

As they were held in this cosmic balance, waiting for the moment to reveal itself….the little one continued (unabated) to unleash the lion(like King Jeremy the Wicked!!), on them, every now and then….when they least expected it.

Post this “letting the lion run amok” sequence – at some point – he would withdraw – almost in a role reversal – the perpetrator acting out the vanquished…..

In one such moment, his grandmom saw him and muttered – if only he was a girl – this would have been his/her “sulk smitha routine”.

1455 : The Jack Torrance in me….

Recently Prashant and I had a lazy midnight meal at a Mumbai star restaurant….unhurried, leisured and “going nowhere”. A bottle of Shiraz and tons of variety in food. We doffed and quaffed till wee hours of the morning.

As I am beginning to grow older (and lonelier) I am beginning to value the stolen cups of coffee, a lazy meal like this, and just the infinite pleasure of having no apparent destination. I want to reach out – not really to random strangers – but to friends, mum(s) and sister(s)…..and the f***ing Facebook will never replace this romantic need in my life……I want to talk, to laugh and let life creep into me (instead of me constantly running from it….see I admitted it Smile)

In this particular meal, we talked a bit, stared down our reflections in our glassware, ate like pigs, masticated like cows….and just thoroughly relished it.

I would do this more often if I could….but then, I live in a stone dead city, a place where little other than my cellphone wants to remain active beyond 10pm.

Coming back…thank you Prashant, you were great company….complete relief on a day and time which had all gone bloody awry !!

Monday, March 07, 2011

1454 : Real life dilemmas.

One important test for modern corporate leaders (read honchos) is their ability to resolve dilemmas and conflicts. We never seem to check too much of this during interviews….its almost an underrated prerogative.

I am determined to create a question bank of real life dilemmas Smile, a la “What would Buddha do?….” which will help us separate the chaff from the leaders of tomorrow.

Like yesterday, the Bangalore Times headline screamed Kareena Kapoor saying “Saif likes me in Bikini, but my fans don’t.”(sic!!). Interesting dilemma, caught between the slime and the slimy.

Interview question – so what would you do if you were Kareena? Cavort around or be petite?

1453 : You stop looking when you have found Her

As we were listening to “Begun Gun Gave” in Todi by Kishori Amonkar, someone was telling me – stop listening to this “aaaaaa aaaaaa”…and listen to some soulful bhajans instead – that would be more productive use of my aural time.

A little more conversation suggested the importance of Bhakti in finding God.

I wanted to tell the person – “You probably need to listen to Bhajans to find the Lord. Me…..I have already found Her, and I am spending my time listening to Her voice. I have no use of bhajans paraphernalia and other spiritual maps…the Lord is sitting next to me and intoning in Todi.”

1452 : Life ends when you stop racing

I was talking to someone recently who was telling me – how because he was an only child – he lived a protected and sequestered existence – how he was never allowed to take more risks than were considered necessary ….. you get the drift.

As I pondered on this – it took me back to my own little world. What would I do, if I had only one kid? Would I be the super enveloping parent?

I have always dreamt, that if I ever live to see my (would be) daughter grow up, then I would design a room for her. One wall of this “wonderland” room would be adorned with photographs…people she should look up every night, and idolise…and internalize.

One of the photos – most definitely will be of Ayrton Senna. If she ever asks me, “who?” – my answer to her will always be the enigmatic “….because life ends at 33.”

That apocryphal story settles the question asked above.

Friday, March 04, 2011

1451 : The life and times of Josef K

She shrugged to indicate “you deserve what you get”….and at that moment it sounded to K exactly like the diatribe… “Die like a dog”. Almost flimsily he thought,  “don’t caste the die before I die.”

(Kafka vs Coetzee, f vs ph….haha!!)

1450 : Judgement day

Sometimes I feel judged and that is one thing that turns me off so much…it almost makes me want to run away and avoid. Not talk, not write, not be seen….

Its funny how the modern world has become an ideological war zone…every man out to rub onto the other, that my sun shines brighter than your orange…..and all via perfectly blatant guerrilla warfare (oxymoron!!).

These are times, I find my mom and her approach to life refreshing. She draws out conversations out of me, as if I were a well….she nurses my ego….she soothes the bruises…and admonishes the obvious mistakes….all as part of one large interaction.

This is such a magnanimous and self effacing act – I have told myself….I must emulate her on this one.

1449 : The struggle…

I am really struggling to write. Words there waiting to leap out, but my hands refusing to budge, my fingers numb from their own death inertia.

A story is waiting to be told. Waiting.

1448 : Divisadero



I sure seem to be losing the plot. I read with great curiosity Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje. I must admit, I returned confused and disappointed. It seemed like a rambling ambling short story (gone awry) which ran into 300 pages.

I did not feel for any of the characters, nor did I feel the pain or anguish of the various “heartfelt” moments within the book.

Look I am not complaining about the lack of a deep subterranean plot…..surely, you cannot hold that argument against a person who counts Kafka’s Trial and Coetzee’s Disgrace amongst the best he has read so far.

In the Trial, I felt pain, anguish and the deep disconnect which Josef K felt from the anarchist society around him….and Coetzee’s David feels like a real solid flesh and bones – someone you might bump at the neighbourhood speak easy.

In Divisadero – I felt nothing – just a deep innate emptiness – the cracked hollow arising out of the crummy knowing, that you have hacked into an erstwhile empty piggy bank.

I rate this supposed classic 3/10.

(The name of the book comes from a precinct in California…)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

1447 : Sinbad

After a lot of deliberations, his parents thought maybe we should name him Sinbad. “Sinbad”???

Knock Knock. Who’s there? Sinbad. Sinbad who? “Sinbad the Wailer”.

Last we heard, they were still undecided Smile

1446 : The scribble on the wall

I have added a new section “Writing on the wall” on the left bar of this blog. Lists out what I have been reading.

I usually don’t end up with more than 1 book a month. Thats what my life allows.

Keep watching.

1445 : Another long broken trail

I have hardly blogged in the past month.  I blog when I am myself. I have not been myself for the past month.

To see what you hold precious, bake and burn takes its toll.