Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life goes on.

In a shell
Hearing a distant sounding bell
That calls
Asks me to come back to it

How did I get here?
Life takes twists and turns a many
Stops abrupt, ceases
Comes back to bite us

Trials, never forget
Tribulations, never stop learning
little joys, relive
People, never give up

An autumn morning
A gentle breeze
Bustling alleys
Rustling trees
A familiar tinkle of the bell..
Feels like the one that brought me here..

I'm going, dear Mom.
I'm going.,


To School.







Thursday, March 12, 2015

Veteran

A few days ago I got the chance to listen to a brand new Tamil movie album by the young composer Mohamaad Ghibran - the OST of Uttama Villain. Now I do not normally sit and listen to any new composer's songs without a recommendation (or two) so it was quite out of character for me to seek this one out on my own. Thinking of it, there is actually a method to my madness when choosing to listen to an album at length. I do a couple of tracks at a time, chew on them for sometime before going on to the next two and so on. The more I like an album, the more time taken to move on to other tracks.

 

As for my opinion of the soundtrack itself, I liked it A LOT. I am still stuck in the first two tracks and am a week into the album as of today. Without going into any technical details (which I suck at), Uttama Villain made me write this relatively lengthy post to express myself. That is saying a lot given how less I have written in the past few years. Ghibran's sound took me back into the times when I was passionate about a lot of things in life that later fell off the horizon and gave way to less satisfying, more instant pastimes. How times change! Somehow I've lost a part of me yet gained another, somehow I consider myself to be in a better place today than ten years ago when life was much simpler.

Earlier this week I found myself scouring Amazon.com(not Asuvine stationers on T.P.Road) for fountain pens - that rare pleasure 90s kids got to experience during most of their schooling. There is something metaphysical about how good fresh fountain ink on paper makes me feel. It's going to set my wallet back by a lot more than how much dad paid in the 90s, but I can't wait to turn back the clocks on this one.

We sprung forward this weekend, another one of those weird things we get to experience by living abroad. I've been through it for six long years now. Every year passes by and I cheat myself into thinking there's one more hour of sunlight. Every hour passes by and I cheat myself into thinking home is only but another spring away. Ogden Nash put it best; I'm stuck in a vicious circle.

It is amazing what a moment of peace and good music can do. I remember the times when an A.R. Rahman album was some sort of a celebration, our ticket to paradise for at least a couple of days. Roja was a bolt out of nowhere, Indira a lost album we are still learning to appreciate. May Maadham was the rarest of the rare gems which rings in our ears to date. For some reason it reminds me of a BPL TV and summer vacations in Madras, not that I'm complaining. Of late I find myself trying to understand the direction of the man's music, and its differently satisfying instant-coffee approach. I do not know if that's a good or bad thing, not as yet.

Rahman visits our city in June this year for a concert. Predictably, I queued up and bought pre-sale tickets. Logic says he opts for the grandiose/contemporary over the simple/classic. The heart says do a damn throwback and give us veterans something to cheer about. All this gibberish and head scratching makes me think that I'm now where all Ilayaraaja fans were 25 years ago.... lost.

As I yearn to re-live how good uplifting music made me feel, my search ends at Ghibran... for now.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pilot

Readers, I apologize for the prolonged absence from the blogosphere. It is my love for writing that has brought me back, albeit almost three long years later. A lot has changed in life - people, priorities, points of view. Today, we begin a fresh journey here.

On to 2015.. and a brand new beginning.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Up above the wall, so high?

For the past few months I have been experiencing what is famously known as the writer's block. Twice I have tried to begin writing on a subject only to be distracted by wandering thoughts and elementary fears (such as roaches). Great efforts had to be taken to coerce the mind into writing beyond just a couple of sentences - what with the world moving towards 140-character thoughts, meme-fications and viral campaigns.

Beyond all the mundane rituals and emotions of daily life, over a while now a lot of my time has been spent following contemporary media. From going through resplendent photo archives of National Geographic to the disgusting lows of the Times of India to the creepy (erstwhile) News of the World, it has been quite a journey till date. With time I gained the thought that (like in any other aspect of life) it took the existence of bad to show who the good ones really are.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. The beauty of it is each one of us given a paper and pen to describe a picture, almost always ends up with a completely different set of thousand words. That is if ethics were followed and I didn't copy what you wrote. Most of us would know the feeling we get when reading something we wrote a decade back. How it takes just a simple variable called time to change our own thought!

Most written/visual media and any other journalism is time-dependent on the stance it takes, the thoughts it presents (and ignores) and the inferences that it draws. There have been multiple instances over the past few years that I have set out to follow a writer or two, and found their perceptions of the same problem(or person) change as it(or they) betters/worsens. Some do turn out to be intelligent enough to veil this perceptional change with a layer of subtlety- most just write for a buck or two. Normally it takes not more than a couple of readings of the same writer's works to figure it out. Not many have that sort of time to follow specific writers when the world is busy raving about murderous rages and love anthems for non-existent world peace.

In this random pastime of following a columnist's stream of thought over months(or years), there've also been Eureka moments when I've suddenly come to realize the brilliance of a person's work, and his/her unflinchingly steady viewpoints over extremely long periods of time. Such people, (rare that I came across) make great role models to look upto when trying to express yourself in words - day after day, year after year. A great writer does not alone make sense today, but forever. I have grown to fear a not so distant reality when more than lacking great writers, we would soon lack an audience discriminatory enough of good and bad, to play to. 

Writing, like any of the other arts - needs to come from the heart. More than a mere sermon of what lies in the author's mind, it must foist the reader with its reins and say - Lets go for a ride!

I hope this took you on one.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Transcending meditation

One of the practices unique to India is the presence of what we now call the "moral police". A lot has been said in the Indian press about the "immature" policing of various issues. While the phrase itself may carry a negative connotation, an infant of the same when taught as "moral science" in our schooling systems somehow exudes positive energy. It probably has to do with the fact that children need to be supervised until they are a major(or later,in most of the cases), anyway. I vividly remember the days we used to have a session of Transcendental Meditation in our school assembly every morning, and had to pass "Moral Science" as a subject to move onto the next grade. A lot of us struggled to keep our eyes closed for those five minutes in assembly everyday. Most ended up shooting funny glances, or playing pen-games on the ground with their Hero's and Parkers- ultimately getting pulled up for disturbing the forced peace.

It is getting to be almost the end of summer in deep interior Texas, and the cool breeze now sets in well before the sun begins its journey back for the day. That means evening runs in the park do not anymore come with a free bout of dehydration, and the lake stops serving as a humidifier. The benches by the shore are hot no more- and with a couple of hours of rain behind us, we are actually having quite a bit of water in the lake to enjoy the waves. Fall is fast approaching- as is evident from the leaves beginning to have a characteristic rustle. The sun no more sets at a quarter to nine, it is more of a quarter to eight. The soccer and basketball fields fill up with people late afternoon only to empty out at eight after a couple of games and a lot of banter. Same goes for the nearby high school's football practice, as the coach loses his voice every evening to get his boys up to scratch.

A couple of minutes of attention. An empty mind with nothing to give and everything to take. A moment of transcendence. Meditation? Not sure.

The cellphone rang.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birdie

Birds are a beautiful creation of God, a wonderful phase of evolution(depends if you're a BJP/DMK supporter) They're said to be one of the primary inspirations for man to invent the flying contraption that we now spend most of our travel time in. For long Man has domesticated them, sometimes even using them for his leisure. From parrot-tarot, ostrich racing to the Quarter Dollar to the McDonalds burger- they are in almost all the frames of our lives.

So why exactly, O dear birdie, do you choose my harmless little contraption sitting out in the sun to relieve yourself on? There might be a thousand monster trucks and 38 year old Cadillacs in the park, but amazingly you will always choose my vehicle to learn your version of body painting. World over, an avian flu disaster comes a distant second to how much of a trouble you crapping on vehicles is.

While I have been thinking of this over the past month or so, my only real favourite TV show Top Gear chose to feature this on one of their programmes. How very convenient to escape reading the rest of my balderdash here.
http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/bird-poo-2011-07-11

On one of our family seaside trips, we happened to camp out by the beach for some lunch and lounging around. Needless to say the birds still tried enforcing the same fate on us as the cars. To my dismay the seagulls would not move an inch, however close I got to faking a hit with a polythene bag. A bunch of them got together and ended up making us finish a stone's worth of food in split minutes. (Don't ask me what a split minute is, split seconds just sounded too improbable there)

When we could finally find a place to rest- away from the birds, a strong cold sea breeze caught our attention to a huge rock about a mile into the ocean. Size of a five storey building, it appeared like any other random landform- but for the tens and thousands of birds nestled on it. As many other such jaunts are called, it was The Bird Rock. After a few minutes of looking around a steady icy drizzle drove us back indoors and away from the ocean for the rest of the day.

On the way back home we got discussing about wildlife in general, finally veering into those birds and how aggressive they were. I felt compelled to think that at some point in the distant past, they would have survived by living on land and never ever taken to the seas. Somewhere down the line they lost ground, quite literally.. before we gained control. Over the years, apart from the occasional bird attacks and droppings, they learnt to be content with a distant rock in the sea which no man can reach. Thus we peacefully coexist with our dear winged cousins, but for one niggle.

I still have no explanation why most of them choose a vehicle that I own- to shower their bowels on, and not someone else's.



If you are reading this part of the post, it either means
1. You never clicked on the TopGear link
2. You thought this was going to be a funny article but got lost somewhere in the fifth or sixth paragraph.. and are now checking this portion out to see if I have a tone to the story. For which my answer is unfortunately no.
3. You always read just the last few lines of my blog.
4. You are a random(useless) Googler interested in half-baked political stories who searched for a BJP/DMK Alliance and landed up here.
5. You love reading what I write.


As I live in the improbable hope that most of you will choose 5, that will be it from me..for now.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Faces on Facebook

This post is going to be very crisp and to the point. I am here to enumerate the various kinds of characters that Facebook unleashes within us and around(Although I would like to say "around" is a better option for me). This is just a funnier take on things in the big bad Social Network.. Here goes!

1. The Friend-er
OCD towards adding a person as a friend when finding more than 2 friends in common. Also common are friend-races where two people race to having a certain number of friends. (Fake profiles included)

2. The Sport/Movie/Music maniacs
At the drop of the whistle at Emirates stadium/Cowboys Stadium/Eden Gardens/Monza/Wimbledon/Staples Center, a flurry of updates discussing who is the God for the day. Includes Sachinists. Ardent movie buffs posting one-line reviews/full length and spoilers thus ruining it for all on the list, lay in this category. Music maniacs too find themselves holed up here. (I was one, frankly).

3. PDA-ists
Doesn't he love expressing how much emotional he was yesterday when his girlfriend left him for good/told him an OK/gave him a kiss?

4. Silku Stalkers
Experts in finding out if a person's friend-circle has babes on a perfunctory look at the first 10 people in their list. Also find out new strangers to stalk every day. Stalking is a journey they say, not a destination. Characterized by unusually large number of random pics on their desktop.

5. Angry Young Man/Woman
Is angry from the point he/she was born. Doctors took bribe to do caesarian to take him/her out; admission in KG school with 4000Rs. donation; why does Anna Hazare have thousand as his second name; why did Kalmadi spend on toilet tissues when he had only wet bathrooms? Anger, anger, anger. Also characteristic: status updates coinciding with major scam outings/fast unto death/natural calamities.

6. The Erudite Shutterbug
Owns an SLR/DSLR. Suave looks, likely working/studying in US. Two-three photo updates a week. Strategy is to get maximum likes with minimally sensible photos(and lesser sensible captions). Shortly put, a bunch of wannabes.


7. The Linen washers
Somebody forgot to tell them there are sites like Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups. Poor things.

8. Me, myself, mine
They say the caption should speak for itself. (Except if it were from Category 6) Also includes self-advertising/advertising any group which they are part of.

9. Ping me not
Perennially busy people. Characterized by taking offence when receiving a "Poke", and friend lists of 25 or less. Also characterized by response times of 5 days per message/poke.

10. Babes.
Need I say more? Statistics say half of Facebook's activity centers around centers of attraction.

11. The Outcasts
These people don't use Facebook or quit Facebook because of all the other (does not include number 10) categories. Widely considered the worst kind of screwballs by the whole world. Includes me.

Appendix:

12. Check-in syndrome
Need.to.check.in.to.toilet.
(Thanks Rahul!)

13. Network maniacs
Urban dudes who look for the best of all networks. Did you know your Yahoo account can link to Twitter, Twitter to FB, FB to Yahoo? They know it.
(Thanks Rahul!)

14. Wikilinks
They pride themselves in being the Wikipedia for all fun links. 5+ status changes per day. Typically 2 videos, 1 funny blog, 1 stolen tweet, 1 sport. Irritable at times, but they keep the world running.
(Thanks Satish!)