Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Last Hurray

After my resignation, the last day was never far from the horizon. It is due tomorrow. Multitude of feelings rushing through me. Here's a poem I badly scribbled - but should convey what all I feel. I call it The Last Hurray

Dreams in my hand, hopes galore
The time has come for the bye to flow

Wonderful has been the phase, memories are etched
Greyer maybe the hair, never will they be eroded

Leaders were awesome, peers were cool
Their hand of support always touched my soul

Friends were made, smiles abound
Life will be prettier, if they are found

A humble thanks may not be enough, there is a lot more
For feelings like these are not seen in any lore

I depart with a final teary bye, to tread a lonely road
The way is full of joy, taking beautiful moments in my fold

I owe it a lot of people for making my life better at the workplace. My cheers and gratitude to them for persisting with me.

Life 3.0 has just begun! With a bag full of surprises, risks and dreams in store.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Art Of Happiness

The World is just about to end. Armageddon is near. The reason is not due to a stupid directionless meteorite. Nor is due to climate change - not this early. Its just plain and simple. Not rocket science. Happiness is dying. Almost extinct. Asphyxiating to survive.

The World needs more happiness. Humans are supposed to have evolved to stay happy. And we screwed it up royally. And all that effort (alien-hours) gone in mutating to an organism of complexity O(n raised to infinity) , yet inherently simple is wasted. No wonder, the aliens show utter disdain for us - they never show up. Why would they, if their purpose to see humanity grow up as a happy fat unit continues to fail?

I am a happy lad. I gave up all the sadness, moroseness, sullenness and disappointments long time back. There was so much of it that it required a few dustbins. Am no Dalai Lama nor am I Sri Sri Ravi Shankar nor am I Deepak Chopra. They are uber cool. I am a simple lad, who believes in happiness being the nirvana of our lives. No need to search for it or to pursue it. Its within us. All that needs to be done is to read the lines below.

So get ready to hear a few fundas of mine - on how to stay happy. I'll be happy if it succeeds for you. Even if it doesn't. Even if you sue me. My 5 paisa below - considering the inflation, it will be 2 paisa tomorrow.
  1. Make someone's day: Not at all cryptic. Aim to help out someone during your 24 hours. After adding the lazy sleep - 16 hours. It can be anyone. Family, friends, boss, watchman, driver, beggar. Anyone! A smile, a word of praise or kind soothing words is all what is required.
  2. Never give up hope: When the aliens designed our world, they programmed it such that there was an "if" check for every eventuality. The perfect software! No maintenance or support needed. Which means that there is a very good chance that our lives can hit the most beautiful, happening, hep line of code we never expected to reach. Think about it! By just staying positively optimistic and working for it, those lines of code are much approachable.
  3. Crashland with a smile: The examination of our lives also includes moments where we go down and down churning in the whirpool of sadness. There's always gravity you see. It has to drag apples down. Accept it and walk on. As a compromise, stay sad for a while. But don't hypenate your life with it. Sleep over it and get your smile back.
  4. Dream and pursue: Poor animals can't dream. They begged for it. Somehow stood on two limbs for it. The birds crooned for it. It was a special gift to us humans. A long term vision that can help define what we are and what we want to be. And yet, we give it all up. Carry a not-so-secret desire and keep it flaming in your hearts till you get it. A dream or a vision gives us a simplistic map to pursue the route to eternity. Eternity is not what matters though, the process does and pursuing it will make us happy.
  5. Keep the faith: Trust humanity to do the trick. A cruel old haggard can be bought to tears by making him hear to Mozart. Why is that? Our hearts are still red - with love - even if we try to make it black. Even if we make everyone our enemies. Spread happiness to your near, dear and enemies. And stick to it. That's our faith!
  6. Love your kin and kind: Make a few friends - for life. Care for your friends and family so much so that they get exhausted with you being around. Trust me, you can expect the best birthday celebrations ever.
  7. Give back what you got: Philantrophy is pure unadulterated happiness. The dough that you earned is never truly yours if you know someone who slept hungry tonight and you didn't do anything about it.

And below are some trivial ones, which can still make you happy. All rights reserved.

  1. Become a Beatle fan: Brim your Walkman with all the possible Beatle songs. Create magic within yourself.
  2. No swearing: Some naughty perverted linguists are to be blamed for this. Stay away.
  3. Travel the world: Don't eke out your living for buying household goodies. There's so much diversity and babes...oops sorry...cultures in the world to see.
  4. Pursue a hobby: Is that too tough? It was always a hobby, so why stop it!
  5. Never say 'No Time': The most lamest excuse. We work for 10 hours. Add 2 hours of gossip. 3 hours of socialising, hobbies and commuting. We still are left with 9!

Now that you are done reading, please pursue the same. For any other issues, am always available at this blog. Stay happy!


1. The Hyderabad blasts really demonstrate how soon we are reaching the End.

2. George Orwell's 1984 is the best political literature ever written.

3. This post is the 100th one. Raises my bat to celebrate the century!

4. Life is about to change dramatically in all departments.

5. Thanks for reading this post. I enjoyed boring you.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Cinematic Genius Called Bergman

Guess am a bit late. But had to pay my homage here to the greatest filmmaker of the past century: Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director, who passed away a few days back. Have managed to devour just 3 classics of his (blame the slow broadband, the insufficient peers) and he's already at the top of my stack. I would also rank Akira Kurosawa with him - shoulder to shoulder - but thats for later.

The most identifying characteristic in his movies is the deep sense of humanism. There is a certain amount of retrospection, fraility of human relationships and the essence of survival. A closer inspection might even make one feel if its a parody on humanity. That's the class of Bergman. Symbolic and wonderfully intuitive. And his favorite characters: Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann are a class apart in acting. So, here are his three gems:

1. Smultronstallet (Wild Strawberries), 1957: A wonderful potrayal of an how an old man at the fag end of his life, struggles to come to terms with all the doings of his life. Reminisces his past, mulls, contemplates his victories and coming to terms with his desires. My first introduction to Bergman, who added a fan to his name.

2. Sjunde inseglet Det (The Seventh Seal), 1957: A knight at the end of the Crusades finds himself facing death at the hands of the Grim Reaper (Death). To save himself, he challenges him to a game of Chess. All around this, the knight is constantly questioning the existence of God and hopes He unravels himself to save the misery of Black Plague around. Lot of philosophy and symbolism abounds in this classic. With a lot of questions asked. It needs to be seen more than once to understand what the director wished to convey.

3. Vargtimmem (The Hour Of The Wolf), 1968: Its the time between the night and dawn, a time when most people die, a time when fear takes over, a time when ghosts and demons are at their best. Bergman's only horror attemp, although there are no horrific elements involved. A lonely artist and his wife in a lonely island. Hallucinations abound. Their relationship is explored. Paranoia. Multiple interpretations can be deduced and that is what makes it a classic. A bit draining but a lot of hidden meaning.

But before you get going with Bergman's genre - a disclaimer that you might either love it or plainly hate it. The movies are slow, takes time to sink and requires complete patience and dedication from the viewer.

I love them. Too many to see - 62 of them - and I have started counting! And I owe it to him to make me fall in love with black-and-white cinema. There's too much beauty captured in those two colours.

May his soul rest in peace forever! Amen!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

60 Years Later

15th August, 1947:

Its midnight. Three wails and cries were heard.

Three umbilical cords were cut. One with the precision of a surgeon, one with a scissor operated by a sophomoric nurse and the third with a blunt knife allegedly/ruggedly by a midwife.

One at a posh hospital in Delhi, the second at a rundown dispensary in Mysore, the third at an unknown village near Gorakhpur, UP.

The only string that bonded them was that they were born free.

15th August, 2007:

The first one, whom I would name Pravasi has just come back home. To see the land of his birth. To extract from the far recesses of his memory, the childhood he had spent here. He is a tad disappointed that he is not able to remember the local dialect fluently. All those 45 years spent abroad in comfort. A California seaside duplex. Interacting with the who's who of the world. Munching tacos and burgers at every go. But never completely accepted. And the mother still willingly opens up her arms for him. He made the right decision. With that, Pravasi unfurles the Tiranga with a cautious euphoria. The Mother is proud of Pravasi's contribution.

The second one - India - had to work his way out to be what he is. Getting educated was the biggest prize of his life. He owes that a lot to his parents, who despite all the hardships, saved enough to send him to school. His English speaking skills attracted a government job, where he fought the license raj. Starting with a basic of Rs 300 a month, he worked his way up the ladder the hard way. Today, he is optimistic of his children's future. A nice bungalow in Bangalore. Married children working in top notch IT organizations. Life's good. With that, India unfurles the Tiranga with unbridled enthusiasm. The Mother adores India.

The third one, Bharat does not realise the importance of his birthday. Was it fate? A life gone awry? Hard work never reaped dividends. Back breaking work at the fields. Countless days of hunger. Droughts. Floods. Why were the Gods so agnostic to him, when he has tended to Him every single day of his life? Why hasn't the price of pulses gone up all these years? Why are the shehari-babus getting richer? He thinks of his three children. Maybe he should have dispatched them to the city to work in inhuman sweatshops. With that, the emaciated Bharat still raises the tiny paper Tiranga in his hand and salutes it - with no hope. The Mother loves Bharat and is very concerned.

This is the story of my lovely country.

Jai Hind!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Xibalba - A Violin's Dream

I had to write this. I seriously had to. It had so swamped my mind, that it was getting unbearable.

Ever heard a tune, which is just so beautiful and heavenly that it never leaves your soul. Its right up there whispering at all times and perking you up to listen to it again and again.

I am in the midst of such a phase and its totally bewildering. The most important reason that I loved this composition are the emotions it evokes. And there is only one instrument which can do that - my favorite - the violin. Being a keen aficianado of the violin (well, classical music as such) and who has spent some time learning it, I am pretty much confident and certain of the comment I made above. So, I repeat it again. There is no other instrument as soul- stirring as the violin. It can cover the entire gamut of human emotions with surprising fluidity.

Below is the dreamy tune which has been blowing my mind. From the movie "The Fountain" which I will go ga-ga over, someday. The whole album by Clint Mansell should reside in every classical music fan's top drawer.

Its called Xibalba - the underworld as per the Mayan mythology. Close your eyes, listen to it and experience the beauty. Realise how a violin's dream comes true when it can stir those dour emotions within you.

Ahh...breathtaking eh? A tear around? The exact feelings and emotions running through me:

Feel the transition of a human's

The soft subtle start with a low humming bass coagulates with the birth - the beginning of life. A certain innocence and the thirst to know more.

A haunting chorus follows. The gentle violin and the humble rendering bass takes you through the joys of experiencing the young life. The ups and downs, the anxiety, love and the secret gossips.

The violin takes over gradually. Its the mid-life crisis. Wanting to reach high, but bound by limitations. More mature but unstable.

The final chorus juxtaposed with the violin and the intermittent keyboard - captivates you to a sense of euphoric high. The end is near. Introspection. Life
is flashed back to understand its real purpose.

Its the end. Death is the road to Awe.

Love is the central theme between the mind, the soul and life.

Or maybe you can check out another track from the same album. Maybe "First Snow" will take you to a different stratospheric crescendo.

Or maybe, this gentle keyboard tune makes you feel humane, loved and immortal. You might just levitate in the air after hearing "Together We Will Live Forever".

Maybe, I convinced you why nothing comes close to classical music. And the violin of course.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The Resignation: Life 2.0 to 3.0

It was 5.30 am, Saturday. Two cute air-hostesses greeted me as I made my way to 11-A. Thankfully, a window seat. I never preferred any other. In just a few ticks, the flight would depart from the Mumbai airport all the way to Bangalore.

I settled myself cozily and amicably with 1984. But I could not focus - my mind could not grasp the sudden change that had just enveloped my life. The last week contained tumultuous yet exciting moments that I could foresee a gradual drift from Life 2.0 to Life 3.0.

I resigned from my current job last Wednesday, the 1st of August. A job which was just so cushy, hardly 15 minutes away from my nest and which I could enter even at lunchtime and leave anytime, which was challenging in a lot of ways and where I had established an amazing rapport with so many people, where I made a few friends for life and where if need be, I could opt for a better work profile, head abroad for a while, mint money and spend the next days of my life in this highly branded IT company, whose stocks are the most sought after, even by the most risk averse investor.

And I resigned!

The sun loosely peeked out of the clouds. It was still hazily dark and the cat and mouse game between the sun and clouds created an enticing treat for the eyes. A rainbow joined in the fun. I did not see any silver lining. Maybe someone else saw it.

Life 1.0 was the transcendental phase of my life. The phase when I did my MS in CS abroad. A phase when I learnt the true meaning of my life. The purpose of my life. A phase when I decided what I wanted to do in life. A phase which has defined me in terms of my behavior and attitude. This was the time, when I fought the most against all odds - to survive. A single instance of "I like the way you work. Good!" from an Italian, who had cursed and hurt everyone other in his scarred 50 year old life, would probably be the most important italicised words in my life. Standing in a roughly ironed shirt and grey trousers, I remember being embarassed hearing all the praise showered on me at the end of my successful thesis presentation. To sum it all up - this was the phase when I discovered happiness. My Gross Domestic Product - GDP. Never will it be pursued. The true Art of Living.

Thou shalt forever be happy.

I glanced below to snatch a liberating view through a few fluffy clouds. A silent lake stood still. Stalks of rice fields trying to feel the touch of dew drops. The crimson sky all the while, trying to pervade its influence through light.

Life 2.0 was the learning phase. A time to get a hold of myself and start planting the first seeds. It did involve a lot of cumbersome monotonous tasks, but I tried to make it as intuitively interesting as possible. The introvert to extrovert process had already begun, but it was in this phase that I could reach halfway through - which I feel is good enough for me. The environment around gave the right macro model of our world and made me realise of what exists and what all can be done. A moment to remember would be standing on the Goecha La Pass at 5200m and gazing at the Kanchenjunga right above my physical soul. Also, the creation of this blog to whom am so indebted to; just the perfect personal diary. Basically, the phase was about giving myself the chance to learn and implement Life 1.0's philosophy. And master it to take it to the next level.

The jet cradled itself on the runaway and parked at a predetermined spot. As I got out of the plane, a 20C breeze sneaked past me. Nice.

Life 3.0 just began last week. Just when I was planning on implementing my own idea through some venture, I learnt about this start-up company. And decided on a short weekend trip to Bangalore to work things out. Funded by an American entrepreneur/investor, the ideas are revolutionary and exciting. I haven't been able to sleep the moment my first discussion with him had begun. And am fortunate that I made it along with a good offer. Luck's surely playing games with me! Different city. Different world. Reunion with old friends. Most importantly, the roots have struck firm and the sapling's just eeked out of the soil.

I think I am crazy. No...weird. No...Both.

Over the weekend, the sessions with my boss turned out to be awe-inspiring. Or maybe mind-numbing. Ideas were brainstormed over coffee. And there is a huge challenge out there waiting for me. With long horns. Life will be interesting soon. From the 6th of September, when I join.

I entered the claustrophobic flight on 9pm, Sunday. The same air-hostesses greeted me (remember the cute ones?). Seat 15F. Window. Snuggled happily and moved to the bookmarked page of 1984. Tuned on Nirvana's The Man Who Sold The World after a while.

Sometime later that evening, I peered through the window. It was dark. But I managed to see some stars. A few shooting stars. Someday. Someway.

I wrote this to open up my life to this blog, since all the while it had been largely hidden. Being a diary, I also wanted to note the moment when my life took such a huge turn.