Monday, 21 December, 2009

Life is all about playing, if you Love the Game.

Many things have happened in my life for the good and for the bad. One of the good things that has happened to me is that i have some how connected to a very large amount of people through out the world for reasons which should best remain unexplained. Thankfully a lot of them have been very erudite in ways they would not want to admit.

In the entire journey till now, which has been very short in terms of years and very long in terms of learning, i have come across people from many walks of life who were both happy and sad about what they were doing at the moment of time when i met them. I tend to ask about what people do and why they chose to do it a lot, those things fascinate me. Sometimes this annoys people especially the kind of people who didn't know why they were doing what they were doing. So i honed my skills and asked people questions more subtly using various innuendos. After talking to a lot of people about their lives in terms of their occupation i realised rather confirmed my doubts that people who did what they loved, loved their job and had mostly no issues with the money they made as well since they naturally excelled at what they loved so remunerations were never a problem. On the other hand guys who just worked not because they loved the job itself but because of other things which the job offered almost always had issues with their lives.

When we look at people we admire in life, remember that we hardly admire people just because they have money, and even when we do that, we fail to realise that making money was not the motive with which the
people on the Forbes and Fortune rich list started out their education plan with. They started out by learning about what they loved and they did what they liked and that's why they are who they are because they are what they do.

I always say my friends a line which usually goes something like this: "In a country whose gdp has a compounded growth rate of approximately 8% per Annum, money making would be the least of the worries for a sensible well educated young man, rather it will be things he least thought would give him problems, things like "what am i doing, why am i doing it, what am i going to leave behind and what exactly is the goal of my life"". Now all this is not new one might say since this can be called as a midlife crisis, well, the only problem is mid-life crisis as the name suggest should hit you at the time of midlife 45-50 and not at the age of 30, why 30? Going by current track record, almost everything we want materialistically would be available to most of us who are reading this blog by the time we turn around 30 and not 45-50 or even more for our parents and theirs. What then? that's the question we need to answer, may be we should begin the whats, whys, hows and whens right about now? Or should have started even sooner? I have been fortunate enough to have answered my own queries long ago, i hope you were too, if you haven't already then remember that its never to late to start. So remember to ask the basic the Whys, Whats, Hows and Whens before you embark upon any worthwhile vocational journey.

A very easy thing to preach and a very difficult thing to practice in the long run is understanding the fact that things that make us happy are not what we want but rather things that we need. We, as naive naivetes, don't understand that subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle difference at an early age and hence fall prey to a vicious cycle from which its very hard to come out of. Most of us never come of out it. Some of us do and live to tell the story.

Why we almost all of us at some point of time fall into this trap is material for another write-up, most probably the next one. i will give you one not-so-subtle clue though : The Education System.

Monday, 10 August, 2009

The Art of Copying.

Eating India alive is its love of copying, from examination halls to office reports, from homework to thesis, from music to movies, from literature to art, from fashion statements to the love of blogging. In India so many things are being copied so fast that its becoming China. The only difference being that China does it with goods and not with human forms of art but since we are more democratic, we do it with everything especially art.
In India though, copying all forms of art is an art in itself. This art is called the art of inspiration, which is defined by the dictionary as - "the arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity". For real artists the "unusual activity" will be a brainstorming session or watching the rainfall out of their window, for the surreal artist though, any good song in the market, which he/she fallaciously thinks no one else has heard, is good enough. Since this activity of the surreal artist requires no inspiration, its thus called inspiration as a mark of sarcasm, mocking the real artists as they require inspiration from within and things around them.
For the surreal artists, the word "copyright" is a term too literal and they someday would want to include "the right to copy" as a fundamental right of every Indian citizen as a mark of respect to . In fact they just might cite that our very own constitution is an amalgamation of various constitutions from countries around the world and since its so, its an act of "inspiration". (I reserve my comments on this)
But the capability of imagination of these surreal artists is commendable. They have the audacity of brilliance in them to imagine that even if they pick up a song that’s a rage world over, numb it down to their level and dumb it down to sound like what they want, the average person will not be able to recognize the original song from the "inspired" song.
An Indian director is now copying Juno, (the worst part is that these directors don’t even change the characterisation or theme) which very well could have an original Indian story only if people had the courage to get inspired from real life rather than from surreal world. An Indian music director is now being sued over by some bands from outside and who lodged the first complaint about this music director's latest lift? His fellow co-music director.
Why stop there? Its not just music or movies but dressing motifs and (funnily enough) attitude problem (or the stylish perception of it) too is now considered the "in" thing and is thus copied merrily. Even Social Networking profiles too have taken a hit (including mine, which now has been copied hundred times over by people who have no idea what they are copying from every major social site). Australian board of education has now realised that most of Indian thesis' for and P.hd programs are copied from one source or the other.
Its about time that we stopped dignifing copying and call stuff "inspired" or even "plagiarised" because even the word plagiarism is used so that the common man, who doesn't understand big words, don't get the real meaning. From now, let's call copying as copying :)

Monday, 8 June, 2009

The fad called Guitar.

Isn't it weird that suddenly out of nowhere there are guys and girls who are proclaiming to be neo-Jimi Hendrix, Roger Walters, Kirk Hammet, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Van Halen or even better? Isn't it weird that the people who claim to be the sole reincarnation of these solo kings have not even heard complete albums or know how they look? Isn't it weird that every second person you know is forming a band and what not? Isn't it weird that all that they learn is guitar but not any other instrument as if the other instruments don't even exist?

well, yes, of course, it is weird. what's more weird is that this sudden blast of "Yooness" has come about after the famed release and success of "rock on!!" which in itself was a fashion overstatement (Sorry "Real Rock" Lovers) with nothing more than mediocre performances which went overboard due to media hype. This coupled with generous doses of Salman Khan magically playing the guitar with only his right hand while the left hand is flexing its biceps year on year has produced the current situation where now almost every second guy and girl i know is playing "Rock" or worse, "Death Metal". and if you ask why is "Rock music" or "death metal" (or for that matter any other kind of music)
named so and what are their origins? The answer will come flying "Erm, watevr dude, jus yoo. peace out man neway ssup?" and if you are really really really unlucky then "jai mata de, lets rock" :|

Neither do they not know how Sa Re Ga Ma is related to Linkin Park (or Metallica or Foo Fighters or GnR or RATM or whoever) but they also don't know how Do Ri Me Fa is related to the same. Neither do they know about what the notes of the 6 strings are and why they are that way nor do they understand terms like pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, meter, articulation, dynamics, timbre, texture or scales which are the minimum prequisites of understanding music. At best, they will know tabs. I am not expecting people to know about Chuck Berry, Manna Dey or Bo Diddley but understanding how Aretha Franklin is related to Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar to Eminem and Md.Rafi to Bob Dylan forms the foundation of music. Because C# (known as C sharp) and teevra Sa aren't all that dissimilar.

So can they play a particular song? Yes, of course, there are tabs.
So can you not solve a calculus problem (or even E=mc2)? Yes, of course you can, there are answer sheets. Will you be able to solve any given problem that you don't haven't cheated the answer already? But naturally, you can't. Can they play any given song or music? Of course, not. Just like you can never ever invent a differential calculus problem on your own with an elegant answer if you don't know the basics of math. In the exact same way, they can never make a song if they don't understand the basics of music. And this is exactly why, Unfortunately, for all of us, although more people seem to be playing music but very few are actually learning it. which is why we aren't creating any vast array of new music but we are rather focusing our inept talent of "re"creating music which was already there, thereby ending up with more of the same and less of the different, creating pseudo and plagiarised new music which neither makes musical nor any other sense.

The focus is not on learning or even playing music but on donning skin like Goths with black nail polish, ring on their right ear, band on their right hand and legs, generous dollops of eye shadow, liner etc and fashioning curly long hair. Not just that but people who have no idea whatsoever of music or its farthest cousins are all headbanging their ass off to midteen crisis of cigarette, alcohol, drugs and chicks. A potent mixture of which leaves them impotent by age 27.

Well, how do you recognise this particular brand of people? Its simple, their social networking profiles will have it clearly written that they are quasi-guitar gods and have been only held back because of reasons which can't be understood by the non-yoo community. They will also be wearing shades (preferably in an already dark room), holding the guitar in a way deemed impossible (look at the photo above for details) and have a bowel clogged constipated look on their face (sorry, can't upload nude pics on my blog). Don't believe me? just sign onto your favourite social networking site and just type the keyword "guitar" and abracadabra there you have him- your local, very own, very sassy "yoo-man".

Just like an apple tree won't give you a mango, love for fame can never give these guys the knowledge of music.
In the morass and mire of the fad, fashion and "yooness" we have conclusively lost the art of music and have sold it off to business and limelight of "YOO-MEN" and their "RRAAWWWKSsTAAARSISSSSMM!!!".
All of it reminds me of a very famous song by Metallica called "Sad but true" and makes me question "How many more of these morons do i have to go through before my ears bleed to death?" i guess, "the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind" as said by Bob Dylan :)

Friday, 13 March, 2009

for 21 years.

Thank You Family - The only people who think about you without seeing any profit motive.

Thank You Teachers - The only people who do the same as above but do so without the relation of blood, want of recognition or lust for praise (mostly).

Thank You Friends - The only people who stick to you not because they are obligated.

Thank You "Friends" aka known as Frenmies - The only people who make you practice Kaizen-the Japanese art of continuous self improvement.

Thank You Television, Computer, Internet, Movies, Music, Books et al - The only people who are not made of flesh and blood but give you as much information, if not more, as the people who are made up of flesh and blood.

Thank You all for 21 years of my existence :)

Wednesday, 25 February, 2009

Little Did Danny Know

Question:why does "Slumdog Millionaire", after winning 8 oscars this year, and deservedly so, still needs to prove itself to India/Indians?
Answer:It doesn't. Its a global phenomenon now and neither can BIG nor small As, Bs or Cs can do anything about it. The Academy awards are handed out for brilliance in the art and science of English film making and 8 Academy awards are more then enough to prove its mettle.

The criticism that i have heard most, in and around, for the movie is that it renders poverty in a voyeuristic way, it has won the awards because it was directed by a foreign director and its unrealistic portrayal. The "unrealistic potrayal" bit makes me laugh and begs me to ask "how real are you or any of your movies sir(s)/madam(s)?" This, in fact is as real as reality gets and makes me question if showing the abject poverty of every 3 out of 10 people who live beneath the poverty line in India can be considered as voyeurism or just the naked truth of the Indian underbelly?
Or if a foreign director, trying to make a movie and thereby helping the cause of alleviating the poverty from the lives of the people he touches, sadistic in any form or kind, especially when the upwardly mobile Indians are too busy rejoicing the Forbes list where 4 out the of 10 richest are of Indian origin?

The entire argument can be decided over by a single quote by Abraham Lincoln
"Question:How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
Answer:Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Danny Boyle and co, as always, had the courage to show the truth without thinking twice, had the courage to make 1/4th of the movie in Hindi without enquiring with his producer, had the courage to make a movie which had no big actors, had the courage to move on even when the initial distributors backed out, had the courage to direct a movie with a heart and had the courage to read books, which unfortunately, i dare say, our directors/etc don't get time to do, as they are too busy sequencing "item" numbers with the tasteless class for the tasteless mass.

Most of the world's greatest movies, including that of India's, have always come from books. Without literature there is no story and without a story there is no movie.
Its about time India and its junta realised that movies are more about the stories and less about the t-shirt tearing, bullet biting, goggle ogling, stammering, monologusing, accenting and eccentric actors with godforsaken godfathers, godmothers, godbrothers, godsisters and godfriends.

I pity people who choose not to associate with projects on human endeavour and hope but would rather dance in any birthday or marriage party for a crore rupees and return tickets.
I also pity people who frown upon Oscars and would rather grin over baseless plethora of filmy Indian film awards.

The other realities are; this movie of 15 million (75 crores) has now grossed in over 200 million (you do the counting-crores) and has bagged in around 100 awards worldwide.
Apart from the Oscars that Indians have got, it has also given Indian talent a platform to perform and showcase talent on. It has given Tanay Chheda a kiss each from Reese Whitherspoon, Penelope Cruz and Angelina Jolie (most Indian actors would kill for the same from anyone of the names mentioned). It has given Freida Pinto the vogue magazine's a spot in amongst the best 10 dressed lady ranking and given her Woody Allen's next movie which also casts movie also casts Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Naomi Watts (most Indian actresses would let them be killed for the same). It has also given the slum kids of the movie a flat each and an financial bond which will mature when they will be 18 and be handed over to them.

So at the end of it all i ask you, should we close our eyes and brush poverty under the carpet or should we face the reality and do something about it? Should we choose a truth that is a social gaffe or a faux sham that is pretentious? is Slumdog Millionaire voyeuristic
or is our over-the-top Bollywood blind?

Let's get real. Now, more than ever, is the time.
after all, we are what we do.

jai ho(pe)!

(Disclaimer: All names, photos et al belong to their respective owners. All rhetoric/satire/sarcasm made here has no unwilling references.)

Friday, 13 February, 2009

Pramod Mutalik and ilk vs N. Susan and ilk vs Republic of India vs Pink Chaddis vs Yellow Journalism vs Everything in Between

Far too many in India belong to two tribes: one following the shree Ram sene's Pramod Mutalik and the other following the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women's N.Susan. Period.

what's concerning?
Either of two tribes don't represent India or its majority.
What's more concerning?
They think they do.
What even more concerning?
People and the media are making it seem like they do too.

The trouble is that the third tribe, hopefully to which the largest lot belongs to, is too tired of fighting for and against the other two tribes. That and they think its too frivolous an argument to crusade over. The continuous to and fro hustle and tussle of the other two tribes in various formats and ferments have made it even more harder for the third tribe to have its own say as they are moderates and not right/left/centre/whatever winged extremists like the Mutaliks and Susans that seem to have the self-righteous veracity to speak on behalf of entire India on their own. The third tribe being as peaceful as they are, tend to be sidelined by the extremists from both sides of the divide. so who tends to lose most in this fight of Mutalik vs N Susan? The "aam aadmi/aurat" ofcourse. who gets branded as either or by the two sides, failing to realise that all who are not Mutaliks, may not Susans either and vice versa. They can be some where in between.

so about this third tribe?
Where do they go?
for namesake, the girls who wear pink panties (not gift them away to very old men) or just panties or skirts or half pants or three quaters or jeans or full pants or salwars or saris.
And what about guys who want to make India proud, not by beating women but, by protecting them?
where do all of them go and join?
loose and naked vaginas vs woman beaters? are these the only two Indias that we Indians now have to choose between? between saffronites like VHP/RSS/MNS/SRS/Mutalik and disgruntled TEHELKA employees/hungry NEWS CHANNELS/consortiums et al?

Can an Ideal India be ruled by either Mutaliks or Susans? as both the former and the latter are self-obsessed, self-righteous and down right narcissists, who are either too loose or too tight, who dare to forget that there are more dire issues which should be taken into hands by young and old India alike, who dare to forget that between pub-goers and saffronites, there lies an India of the other 99.99 percent. They dare to forget that the common man/woman of India is not interested in religion, is not interested in rhetoric, is not interested in facebook and definitely not interested in pubs, but he/she is interested in things that both Mutalik army and Susan brigade take for granted and are too privileged to have.

as for Susan, this is where she stands #FOOD>CLOTHES>SHELTER>HEALTH>EDUCATION>COMPUTER>TV
>INTERNET>ORKUT>FACEBOOK>PUBS>Consortium of Pubgoing,Loose
and Forward Women>Susan

The pink panty girls, who are going to give their pink panties away as charity, amongst them men, most are doing the same with their chastity too. Is this a very difficult and preposterous extrapolation to make?
as for Mutalik, he has already showed his demeanour and measure in such a vexing way that not even Lord Ram himself can salvage Mutalik's Ravana Sena.

The so called Ram Sainiks, on one hand are forgetting that India is a FREE country and the land of Kamasutra. on the other hand, or the other thigh rather, the "LOOSE" women are losing memory over the fact that not every women in India is "LOOSE" yet and the "LOOSE MEN" are forgetting that some men, still, can't be PHYSICALLY loose and hence don't enjoy cross dressing or have a collection of pink panties to give away, especially to very old lungi bearing men like Mutalik whose lungi seems to be turning a lot of the cross dressers on.

Anyway, I am sure for all the progressive and FORWARD Indians, for whom FORWARD doesn't mean LOOSE (unlike the Susanites), who have IQ over 135, can forget the entire episode by taking a good hard look at the names of MUTALIK and SUSAN and then by taking your very own (or even your neighbour's) MUTT for a walk to his favourite place and let him SUSU* while you make the analogy. I insist.

(N.B: # A>B>C, where number of people concerned with A is greater than B and number of people concerned with B are greater than C, so on and so forth.
*SUSU is Indian for urine.
Disclaimer:All organisations and other names are owned by their respective owners.
IMHO: The protest is fine but the term "loose" is where it lost out and am hoping that it was sarcasm)