Friday, December 30, 2011


In Inception, the movie, we are introduced to the varying degrees of time based on the difference between the real world and the dream world. Similarly, it is interesting how humans tend to give credence to seconds, minutes or hours based on the nature of the activity. But usually, by the time a human being draws closer to his death, he remembers time in years and at times as bundles of years together. Each day with a girlfriend at the age of 24 is kinda remembered or cherished; which, by old age, becomes compressed into a statement. In the words of Juliet (from the song by the Killers), "O Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him."

As humans we have calibrated time down to seconds, for most useful purposes. But the mountains don't care. I believe that they measure time in centuries or millenia. And the planets don't care. They may be seeing time in hundreds of thousands of years, may be even millions... and yet here we are, this intelligent species that crawls through time as ingrates continually succumbing to societal pressures and becoming more lethargic and less alive with each passing year.

A few people believe that I tend to talk about pessimistic or depressing stuff, but most of what I talk about tends towards hope and living. This year, 2011, is drawing to a close. I closed an important and ruinous chapter in my life. I have started an important phase - my office and my company - and I see an important chapter opening soon enough. 2011 has made me younger, healthier, more introspective, calmer and more adventurous. I hope that truth doesn't leave me, although I'm pretty sure that will be my undoing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Human Nature

The above title may be considered an oxymoron. The picture below is partially the reason why.

The low-hanging fruit were plucked by humans before the middle of the 20th century. Most of our recent advances have been innovation-related - nothing wrong with that. It seems to me that until the age of 21 or so, when people start working for money, humans are rather natural; they are animalistic and constantly developing. And suddenly, as soon as they are thrown into the 'corporate world', something in them dies. I spoke with RS recently about how work done as an employee is usually mechanical, whereas work done when self-employed or when leading a team is raw, fruitful and exciting. Another friend works for a consultancy, one of the best, and says that all he really does is get things sorted and pretty looking - the answer to a client's problem is quite straight-forward but this dogma of mechanical or process-oriented work is slowly chipping away at human ingenuity. I had written about this in an earlier post but I felt the need to elaborate here. The prevalence of 'financial firms' is disturbing because their contribution is minimal relative to their potential of ruining the way modern societies function. Why are more engineers moving into finance and consultancy? And why are scientific brains rotting away in non-research oriented fields? Where have the artists disappeared?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Struck by a nose

At the Laxmi Lawns next to Magarpatta City, Pune, I bumped into a cute girl. "Sorry 'bout that", I said, she turned and smiled. She took two steps and turned back at me, smiling, to see me smiling at her. That is the double take. Small things like this make life interesting.

I was there with a friend for a two day concert. The NH7 weekender concert, we went there for the Dewarists stage. Brilliant crowd with some very fine ladies. Brilliant music and a crazy atmosphere. Indian Ocean, The Raghu Dixit Project, Swarathma, Advaita (a new band we discovered), Papon and the East India Company (another new band!!! Banao is a hit!!!). Imogen Heap was there - she had collaborated with Vishal Dadlani on a new song.
The last day ended with many performers present on a new stage. Insane!!! A massive crowd with a DJ for a while, then Pentagram, then Raghu Ram (from Indian Ocean), Monica Dogra and Shaair joined in, so did Imogen. They mixed their sounds and their music - it was just happiness everywhere. People jumping and swaying and singing and shouting.

I remember lying down flat on the grass listening to music from 50 metres away and a guy comes up to me and asks, "Hey can I take your photo?" "Sure, do I need to keep my eyes open?" "No man, whatever you wanna do!" "Cool"

I went wild during Raghu, Indian Ocean and Papon. Hadn't danced (jumped/ moved wildly/ uncontrollably) like that for a long long time... I asked the girl in front of me for a cigarette. She obliged. I offered to take better snaps because she was short. A small conversation ensued. The music ended.

I walked and moved without care through a spattering of people, some on the grass, some in their groups. It was lovely. I was struck by a nose. Figuratively. Funny how that nose is still in my head. Figuratively. I think I have a thing for noses. Figuratively and, hmm, literally. Muahhahahahahaaaaaaa.

Life is good and the girls are gorgeous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Them that stare

LK and RS make me smile. Sadly, I can't meet them often and may be that is for the best - it leaves a sense of 'what's new?'.The way they make me smile is unlike how most others can; it has a hint of introspection and provocation.
Here I am in my office at the end of my first real week and already my time seems so qualitatively utilised. The discipline is still very lacking but that can be attained. I am reading the things I really wanted to and I absolutely enjoy this feeling! Sadly, envy is creeping in and Munger comes to my rescue :) He posited that envy is the worst of the 'seven deadly sins', because nothing good ever comes out of it - the same can't be said of sloth or gluttony.
Something is amiss with my personal life and I feel it gnawing at me; and then it strikes me - quicker and firmer than it used to - there is much time left and there are wonderful things to be done and luckily, this is the best of times.

"In sooth, I know not why I am so sad, it wearies me. But how I caught it, found it or came by it, what stuff 'tis made of - I am to learn."

Odd how I still remember this. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's nice to be ridiculous. Don't nose what ziss cruel corporate world has done to me!!! I have become tame. I miss being crazy. Luckily, some friends and some 'stuff' bring out the nut in me :)

See, things like the picture above need some serious lunacy :) Had to post this post this post. Damn! It's like spelling B-A-N-A-N-A-N-A  Damn!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Menial, Useful

Fascinating things are happening. Occupy Wall Street for example. How is it that certain people are paid millions of dollars for work - work which is not really that amazing or productive? If Apple creates a revolutionary product and charges people good money, where they have the discretion of buying it, I believe it is more than acceptable. If an organisation jeopardises the financial system through leverage while paying its employees insane amounts of money for long and rather un-intelligent work, that is odd.

I am writing about this because I met a friend yesterday who quit her seemingly cushy job at GS India. She is probably quite intelligent but the work she did, as is in most investment banks, was quite mind-numbing - literally. I have worked at a small investment bank and even though I don't know what really goes on at the larger I-Banks, I do know that they employ an army of people who can work crazy hours at typically 'programmed' jobs. These 'Analysts' (please dont get me started on the first year, second year and third year analysts) and 'Associates' largely mine data and prepare documents. These documents may be for internal review, marketing or presentation purposes. They are paid wild amounts of money for the implied dedicated hours of work they will perform.
An example of disparity: A person working as a copywriter in an advertising agency may be paid INR 50K to 100K per month (I am being very optimistic here). A copywriter is a creative person and quite often he/ she will come up with interesting ideas/ concepts for advertisements or presentation. Real work that be.
An analyst at an investment bank usually prepares pitch books or public information booklets or financial models. According to me, this work is compilation of data in a more presentable format. And these guys are paid upwards of INR 150K per month.
Ridiculous this disparity be.

The reason I write about this is that I see many friends working at sad places and or sad profiles and or for sad money, but thus be life. With this, I go back to Europe. Appreciation for fashion, art, creation, life, outdoors, society and a lesser emphasis on materialistic pursuits. (Lesser not no).
The nature of work has changed drastically. Work used to be more immediate (Bake cookies, sell cookies) or (make steel, sell steel). The supply chain was shorter and life's conveniences were not many. I see that in India, the sheer abundance of people makes many employed people rather useless at their jobs. Tasks can be unbelievably menial.
And this goes out to those who know me. Let's do something really worthwhile with our lives. We should, for what else could life be worth?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Europe has been good to me

A guy aged 20 years works at a dairy farm in Australia, 4 hours from Melbourne, with the motive to save enough money to travel to Europe for 3 months with his friend.
A girl aged 22 years from Linz, Austria is plausibly the biggest fan of a band called Guano Apes and has been to 45+ of their 48 concerts.
An Indian with education from India, some work in Dubai and some more work in the US and in France falls in love with a French woman and is now a proud father of a gorgeous baby boy - he lives in Germany now.
A girl from Azerbaijan has come to Praha, Czech Republic to study and works part-time at a hostel.
A singer for a jazz troupe performs at her last gig in Prague because she is moving to Australia with her Australian boyfriend who had lived in India for 2 years at a certain time.
A French girl finds a language buddy through the internet - the other girl is a blind German - they live with each other for a period of time with the motive of learning the other person's language.
An Indian from Pondicherry falls in love with an exchange student from France; they decide to get married and move in together in Germany where the girl holds a steady job.
An Austrian girl meets an Indian on a train and invites her to Vienna and to the Oktoberfest for the following year.

The core of man's spirit comes from new experiences.

I came to Europe on 30th September and am now towards the end of my trip. I leave for Mumbai on 17th October. I had instructed my Austrian friend to plan my first 4/5 days as per her convenience. After this I would go to Hamburg around the 6th. I would then meet my American friend in Berlin on the 9th of October. He would leave whenever he wished to, after which I would be alone and rather aimless.

It was before dawn when I stepped out of the Praterstern station at Wien (Vienna). Clumsily, I made my way to my friend's place while the city seemed asleep. I see a light in a window and after a while I hear a 'Hello!'. She had a very cute way of saying 'Hello'. I set down my bag and am tired - the flight had been miserable. I am welcomed with a walk to the Danube to see the early sun while I snacked on a sandwich. I sleep for a few hours and greet her roommate in my boxers - I think I was a little messed up with the lack of sleep, I didn't know what time it was when someone tired opening the door. I meet her warm and simple roommate who I get to know over the next 2 days.
I meet her friends, we go drinking, and the next day we go for a short hike up a hill near Wien. Mich (Austrian friend) packed a lunch of an apple, crackers and a sandwich for all of us. We were joined by a girl/ lady who was from Serbia but now lives in Wien. Walking is fun, especially when the sun is nice and the wind is low, add to that clear air and beautiful, pleasant company. I eat fresh, roasted chestnuts, we pick grapes from a vineyard and this weird, small tomato thing, the seeds of which makes one itchy. We stopped on our way down to see a tractor ploughing a hillside at a 30-35 degree incline - inexplicable.

Irish pubs are fun - funny how they didn't know about the Irish car bomb :(
A train ride to Salzburg, a cable car up a mountain and some alone time alongside Mich. Touring through the city with her friends, I felt the beauty of Salzburg. It was evening and most tourists had retired to their hotels. We were being guided by Mich's local friends. We drank and ate at a beer garden, we walked to a protrusion off of a hillock, took an elevator through a hill and walked through the fairytale city. Soft music (composed) by Mozart reached my ears and soon we retreated to our hostel/ hotel room.

In Munich for the Oktoberfest the next day after a good night's sleep. We were wise for I was in wise company. Just walked around the Oktoberfest fair during the day, ate a bit and retreated to our hostel for some rest - preparing ourselves for the evening that lay ahead.
As luck served us well, we found a table next to the band at the centre. Soon, we had on our table Scots, Brazilians and Canadians (not to mention the Austrians and the Indian). Sinatra, Bryan Adams, Beatles, Bavarian songs about Arnold Schwarzenegger, a horny slutty bitch and the glory that is Bavaria were some of the songs we jived to. I remember dancing with random people. I remember people kissing and people drunk. I remember the positive air and the ease with which strangers gelled together. An Oktoberfest visit is a must for every person who can potentially make it there. It is. One of the best things - the waitress forgot to bill us for the food! Wooohoooo!
Munich after the night was nice - it is a nice city, small and rather simple. The Deutches Museum in Munich is quite marvellous; so is the English Garden.

I bid adieu to my Austrian friends. I decide to go to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Yes, kindly look it up). It is the closest town to Zugspitze - the highest mountain in Germany. Wonderful, wonderful infrastructure. An 8-10 minute cable car ride up a 2800 meter elevation. A train that travels rather swiftly up a 2500 meter elevation - a large chunk of which is actually through the mountain. Brilliant stuff. Eat some Currywurst while you are up there along with weisbeer! O and something that Indians never do - if ever in a hilly town like this, please stay in a pensionne instead of a hotel. It is a wonderful experience.

2.5 days in Hamburg were more social than touristy. We shopped for groceries, cooked Indian food for people who came over, little chit chats and met some interesting and nice people. Reeperbahn is mad!! Very few places where one can window shop for hookers ;) The harbour, the food, the people, the diversity and the planning & infrastructure make Hamburg a lovely city to live in.

Met my American friend at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof - so super cool. The motive for vacations should be: food, walking, seeing, drinking, eating, fooding, talking, eating and sleeping. That is what we did. Berlin is a massive city! It surprised us, especially me, because relative to Wien, Frankfurt, Hamburg or Munich, Berlin is huge! Getting lost is possible. Please see the tower in the middle of "Mitte". Alas, weather was unkind - it rained in 5-10 degree temperatures :(
Dresden, pronounced as 'Draaaaaaaaayzzzzden' (Muahahahhaaaaa) is something. Again, unexpectedly massive. Very old and the walkways are mind-numbingly massive. Very Soviet Union types - I might be politically incorrect here. But frankly, it is a city that one can omit from their travel plans.

In Praha (Prague). The city can seem scary at night - that is when I arrived. Sir Toby's Hostel is so brilliant. A wonderful atmosphere, very nice people (guests and employees), cheap breakfast and an awesome underground pub. It may be one of my favourite cities so far. There is a cosmopolitan air to it with the new city. There are old theatres, and underground clubs (one jazz club I went to yesterday I may never forget - do go there!), nice people, tons to see, the Charles bridge is overcrowded; I did the smart thing (I went at 2 am) Yeah baby!!! Getting lost in the old city is uber fun, and I am surely coming here again (hopefully with a girl I like ;) ) For the romantics out there - I like this city more than Paris.

Side note: staying in a hostel is super super fun. It can get annoying with snoring strangers but it is still well compensated by the new people one might meet.

Next year: South America!!! (Hopefully)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Last year I travelled to Europe. Austria and Germany. Brilliantness.
Tonight I leave for Europe again - Austria, Germany and may be Czech Republic.
Hopefully I come back alive. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Purple Foodie

I love food. I can, I think, eat most land 'stuff'. However, as an Indian, it is difficult to expose myself to non-vegetarian food. I am happy if I get a lasagna at a good Italian restaurant like Mia Cucina at Bandra. When abroad, I love eating meats; steaks, korean food, soups, thai food, sushi, etc. Goa exposed me to eating some fish but the way most of the world relishes seafood astounds me - I feel that way when I see Masterchef Australia or some cooking show. Mussels, oysters, lobsters, fish, squid - would love to try them; well, mussels I have tried. They be nice - a bit like pani puri :D
Moving on to sweet dishes, Indians pride themselves on the 'desi' sweets. Sadly, really good sweets are difficult to come by as are good vegetarian dishes. I say that because many of Mumbai restaurants have moved to churning out food as cheaply and quickly as possible. This has something to do with economics of course - rentals are crazy to support good food. A nice example is Five Spice. A 'Chinese' restaurant that started, I believe, in town and then expanded to the suburbs. The place is still looooved by many but because I am a bit of a bitch, I believe people love it because most Indians don't enjoy flavours and fragrances. We have become a society of food gulpers. True it is. Staple orders - Noodles, rice, paneer/ chicken chilly, manchow soup, dry manchurian! Where is the pork and the duck and the seafood??!! It makes me sad.

You see, I digressed. I was talking about sweets. Kinda. Point is, I am a regular reader of The Purple Foodie. It is a foodie blog created and maintained by a school 'friend'. I don't like using the word 'friend' too easily, so I should say she is a school acquaintance. I absolutely adore the way she writes - her passion for sweet and baked items showers the reader as one progresses through a post. It is a rarity - seeing someone in India so passionate about food. Shaheen is her name.

I wrote this post because it is my way of appreciating passion. Humans have kinda lost that. Sad it be.


I hadn't been drunk since more than a year ago. That changed last week. Cool friends are cool. Cool chick friends are cooler. Got semi-high at a pub in Andheri and then quite gone at my place. Well, I was still a little OK, cant say the same about her trip :)
Was quite insane, and so was trying to find a rick to drop her home at 530 am. Fun times.

And yesterday, I had to take care of another friend who is weirdly weird in addition to being cool. I don't know when she managed to down 7 tequila shots because I had only managed a small Gin n tonic :D
Being around drunk people can be fun, especially when one mistakes a firang for a waiter at the pub, or tries on spectacles of the co-owner or wants to wander off in search of menthol ciggies. A dude who knew me seemed quite confused because I was walking away at the same time my friend struck a conversation with one of the servers.

Here is to the drunk people! The drunk fun people! And to the random buggers who like staying outside home in Mumbai at night!

Friday, September 16, 2011


I quit my job at Ladderup Corporate Advisory yesterday. I have now incorporated a Company. I am ~25 years old and circumstances are conducive for creating a long-term vision based on my temperament, life desires and my competency. Of course, all of those are beliefs. But we have to start somewhere and at times get out of our comfort zones.
The plot seems very promising. Monetary rewards are quite assured. Intellectual and emotional rewards are also quite certain. My competency is not. Therefore, I am confused. But I am a firm believer that intelligence is incorrectly calibrated and enjoyment is overlooked. This is the next phase of my life. Cheerj to that. Let the crazies be unleashed. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I met a friend in Dubai. Rather, I went to meet a friend in Dubai. Amazing how different the two statements be. At a table I said, "I thunk about it..." Someone interjected and asked/ exclaimed, "Thunk??!!!". I smiled at my friend, may be he nose that I love messing with the English language.
Random trips are fun because they can be so unplanned and therefore quite the adventure even if one might be in a boring place like Dubai. On my flight back from Dubai I saw Dhobi Ghat on the plane. Quite annoying how poor the quality of the video can be on that contraption that ejects from the side of one's seat - the ones in the beginning of the columns of seats. The airhostess was from Spain - always nice to look at and speak to a pretty face. It's one of those shallow indulgences. Beautiful. Told her about Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, half knowing that another brown bugger must have already said that...
"Have you been to Bombay? No. How is it? Crowded. Aaah.. but the rains in Bombay, the rains are marvelous. Nothing like it. The smell of the rains. "

I was down three small bottles of Shiraz from Australia. It was quite alright. I remember losing some motor control after the third bottle.
I helped a mother haul her suitcases because she had her child in her arms. There I was, drunk and helping a pretty woman. Oddly enough, people who greeted her thought I was her husband. Freakkkkkyyy. 'Tis the small things my friends...

I remember talking to a young British boy (boys are always young aren't they?) on top of a sand dune. He was rattling away about how he has been to Kenya and Egypt and how her grandma is quite old.. "When she dies, she said she would leave her mansion to us so we can go whenever we wished to." I liked that he said 'when'.

Got some mehendi on my forearm - my name in Arabic with some grotesque design surrounding it.

I felt younger and older. I always do. Bursts of spark greet my everyday in my journey through life towards death.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A poor child

Had to chronicle this. It was a scene from a Bollywood movie. A guy driving a car hails a boy selling some toys. The boy would've been 10 or 12 years old - the same age as the car guy's 2-3 children in the car (You get the point)
The disparity has been seen elsewhere but something stood out in this scene. May be it was the air-conditioned sedan with pesky kids and a doting dad buying from a young child on the street.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Being Human

Humans have been quite the same for the last 3-4,000 years or so. Am saying this because when one looks at sculptures or archaeological evidence one can see that we functioned in very similar ways to how we do today. The last 100 years have changed things drastically. I refer to the definition of 'success' and 'work'. Work used to be labour-oriented and success was based on sustenance. A society's success was at avoiding conflicts or winning conflicts. A woman never really 'worked', it was usually the man, and when we look at other fauna we see that life is based on sustenance, security and survival. The male is usually stronger than the female.
The computer-age and the evolution of sciences changed the divide. The mechanism of currencies changed what work needed to be. A farmer needs strength and hence is usually a man... he grows stuff and barters it for other stuff; this makes the woman reliant on the man. It's a crude assessment but this is what things used to be like.
But now, let's say a girl is creative, she can make more money than a man in some advertising field or so. The mere thought of a creative mind making money through the work 'field' of advertising or marketing or film-making would've been laughable at some decades ago.

Things have changed in a way that has changed the course of evolution as I see it. Never before had natural resources been unnaturally 'processed'. As an analogy, evolution allowed humans to endure dust but will evolution ever allow humans to adjust to new substances like microscopic pieces of brick, or artificially enhanced foods?

The natural instinct of a female of any species is usually to have an off-spring as is the intent of any species - to  propagate. It is odd that so many humans now choose not to create children; it is extremely unnatural but perfectly understandable. The meaning of 'survival' has changed.
It used to mean getting through life by physically searching for food, finding/ creating shelter and fighting/ escaping conflicts. Now, as humans, we 'study', 'play' in an artificial environment - take the notion of video games, quite absurd - we study to become engineers who are supposed to know 'engineering' who eventually work as consultants and then move to private equity... along the way, they get ahead of other people largely due to circumstances or intellectual capabilities.

The natural world did not function this way for the longest time but something has changed. Humans have changed the face of this earth and we have changed the mammals we were, may be, meant to be. It is all very intriguing when we look at ourselves from an alien's point of view. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Today, while driving, the thing that connects the steering wheel to the right front tyre broke. Luckily, I was at the traffic signal and not driving per se. It is inconceivable what might have happened had I been driving...
Then, thanks to my ovarian lottery, there was somebody from home, a driver, who came to my 'rescue'. We flagged down a towing van and got the car back home. 1.5 hours have been encapsulated into 2 sentences; but such is our memory. We forget things quite easily and rather effortlessly.
There is much to live for and I have seen myself drift away from this ideology. Many people go through this phase when they think, "OMG, there is just so much to live for. When I see how people around me are living, and when I see how good my quality of life is on a relative basis, it just makes so much sense to live it up!"
But as I said earlier, our memory deceives us. We forget often, that which needs to be remembered.
My driving ordeal and the movie I am watching right now, Guzaarish, make me think of the things I have going for me and how easily some of those things could be taken away from me. I know that this is only a fleeting feeling - I will forget it soon. Sadly, this feeling needs to be cherished! :)
Carpe Diem. I really want to live it up and want to let go of my inhibitions. Even though this is a message that ought to go in my personal diary, I felt like writing it here. I felt like keeping this thought open to the world. This post, like many others that I write, will melt away into obscurity.
I have gone through a life where I have been an outstanding student. I have secured brilliant marks and distinctions. Those, now, are quite useless. I have seen myself outperform in personal forums, I have seen my weaknesses and I have seen that which makes me superior to many others. I have gone through bouts of,  what I would really prefer calling, depression. I have felt helpless, useless and inferior. I have felt alone, aimless and unhealthy. I am 24 years old now and I have started seeing life in a different light. There is much to live for and I am excited.
I heard from a friend the other day (it was said to her by a doctor), "What's wrong with you?! This is your time to look good and feel good!" "You heard what I said to him right? No-one!!! is worth dying for".
The doctor was referring to how little people tend to care of themselves and how, at times, they put unnecessary people and events before them.

We humans are unbelievable. There is a lot to live for. I hope my memory serves me well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

130711 Mumbai Blasts

I was driving home with my colleagues when what-I-thought-was-a-rumour started floating around... Slowly, the confirmation dawned on us in the car. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared. One friend made the wise decision of going back to office. It's wise because my decision to drive home was rather irresponsible; more blasts/ events could have transpired.
So there I was driving. I felt cold, heartless and numb. My head said, "Ah! So another 2 years go by and we have another series of blasts/ attacks. Good I'm alright and the odds are that all my friends are going to be alright." We, in Mumbai, have accepted such occurrences. We understand how easy it is to create chaos and how easy it is to blow up a bomb in a crowded place, and please don't tell me that something like this can't happen in a European city because it is really very easy to make a rudimentary bomb that can cause havoc.

I feel sad that I was as cold as I was. The logical reason is quite simple; there are so many human beings and frankly, most human lives are worthless to most others. I have 500+ facebook friends, of whom I care about may be 30-50. In a city that accommodates more than 15 million people, the people I know form a small small portion. I care about my peeps but I don't think much could probably happen to them.
I know quite well how most other nationalities would react; shock, horror, concern, etc. But when life in India is so cruel and when life in India is best lived with optimism, there is no room to be concerned for those who you don't care about.
I understand the, "This could have happened to me/ her/ him", but no point wallowing over it.
This city is a shit-hole. A shit-hole that is loved by its inhabitants because it is so much better than most other Indian cities. And shit happens in shit-holes like Mumbai. Don't get me wrong, but I love Mumbai immensely - no other place I could call home. But yes, there are times when we hate home.

I will now move to human behaviour. (This might cause a subdued uproar among my millions of readers).
So there were blasts. And we start calling/ messaging friends and family with "Are you alright?". Understandable. If my Mom was stuck somewhere, I would find a way of getting to her.
When we reach the second tier of friends, which is where most of our friends belong, we start somewhat faking the concern. If I message a second tier friend "Are you alright?" - how differently would I react to a 'yes' or a 'no'?
And please, if he/ she is not alright, he is not going to reply to my message... he's gonna be working on finding his way out or doing whatever he is up to. This behaviour of ours makes me believe how big a part peer pressure and guilt play in our lives. It is a truth that most of us will not accept, but it's true. We like showing concern and we like being shown concern. Guess that's what makes us human?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You can't take my soul

I have had trouble accepting myself for many years now. My thoughts have been questionable and my questions have been thought-provoking. There was a time that I felt I was smart, that time has now passed me by. I now see that I want to see a lot of what humanity and nature has to offer to me; not just visually but also emotionally and socially.
For a long time now, I have questioned people's behaviour in various circumstances and I truly believe that we as a kind are becoming overly superficial in our approach to our lives. I was reading about Charlie Munger and came across a statement he made about how his endeavour is a lot about learning and growing than about much else.
I like the word 'iconoclast' and I like the word 'contrarian'. Why can't there be a global war around the corner? Why can't Indian G-Secs touch 10%? Why can't more of us leave the clutches of capitalism and the spiral that ensues? There are possibilities everywhere and even then I see us following, largely, a single file.
I am about to embark on my next phase knowing fully well how hopeless my prospects might be and how woefully inadequate I am (that's what she said, sorry... bad joke), but I also want to embrace the knowledge that time is on my side unless something untoward happens. Alas.

I am immensely hopefully and a part of me is joyous. There is little that I remember, but I kinda remember the child I used to be and I am happy to say that the same child is within me now. Now, after a very long time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Nanking Massacre

The Nanking massacre was conducted by Japanese troops in 1937, over a period of 6 weeks after The Japanese captured the city of Nanking. I am reading about it right now and it's sad that I had never heard about it. 20,000 to 80,000 women were raped during that period and 100,000s people were killed. Forced incest, child rape, mutilation were some of the things accounted by journalists and other people in that city.
It appalls me to think that humans could be that cruel; it almost seems unbelievable. Almost.
I cannot imagine the world in the midst of war again, and yet, because I can't imagine it I think it will happen within a decade or so. Axioms are dangerous. The world has been largely peaceful for a very long time, it should continue being so for many years to come.

I cannot imagine troops of the 21st century being as vengeful as those of yester-years. But humans can surprise.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The stupid reign

When I was a child (physically at least) life was short-term competitive. Extremely competitive. I remember believing that I was 'smarter' than many others, one, because of my marks, and two, because of my thought processes which I believe I was aware of.
I remember segregating people into interesting and 'everyone else'; needless to say that the two pools were unevenly sized. Upon entering the 'work' world I see that those differences tend to melt away. Kids whom one would think not able enough to cope well with the competitive world are doing well (some of them). There are people with lesser intellect and lesser curiosity and lesser practicability succeeding. By success, I refer to designation, appreciation and monetary well-being; I do not refer to an interesting personality, an interesting life, an affable nature or a self-actualized being.

I see around me, in various organizations, people in positions (figurative :| ) that are enviable and unbelievable knowing how utterly insignificant I think of their existence relative to competition. It is true that luck and happenstance (may be a tautology here) are key determinants of people's progress or journeys through life.

I see now a sticky behaviour perpetrated by organisations and by people at the helm. Minds are narrow at times and oft distrustful. It is under these circumstances that people opt to switch fields due to disenchantment or become (supposed) masters of their own progress through what can be loosely termed as entrepreneurship. It does sadden me often when I see capable hands indulging in menial tasks with the promise of climbing the corporate ladder or the promise of the 'learning experience'.
Ladders break and so do promises. People fall and find their way through as long as they have their respective heads resting on able shoulders. This capitalistic world seems to have made us machines living in fear of an uncertain tomorrow and I hope to remember the child that I was...

Friday, June 3, 2011


Captain Planet was introduced in 1990. I remember seeing it avidly everyday (flashback).
We are in 2011 and news about China's recent drought crop up. There was a similar drought last year that destroyed the wheat crop.
I am worried because we as humans have been focusing on economic development without sustenance. The tipping point seems to be approaching and I am concerned.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It feels odd to think the way I do bu I grow concerned about how this planet is shaping up. I believe that greater access to information might be influencing my thoughts and I hope that is the case.
Large chunks of the Arctic and Antarctic ice shelfs breaking off, the lowest rainfall in 50 years in a paddy growing region, a drought last year in the wheat growing region of Russia, large swaths of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest being replaced by farmland, the presence of harmful substances in Chinese (and plausibly other countries') produce, semi-random bouts of food produce shortages; events like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis have been part of Earthen history and should hence be overlooked.

We have managed to change the landscape of Earth, especially over the last 100 years, and we still believe that there is nothing that is really going wrong. The tipping point is approaching. I expect shocks to our sedentary system.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Writing music

I was listening to Chopin last night and was spellbound, yes, spellbound, by some of the music. To describe fantastic musical creations in words would be an insult to the creator (not God, please). I then proceeded to reading a bit about the guy who lived in the 1800s; I thought to myself, it's great that the music has survived. I then thought of Indian music and how it hasn't survived; Indian music is, may be, played from the heart and the mind almost extemporaneously but we don't have records of what a musician in a Mughal court in the 1700s would play.
We don't have a language for music whereas the Western European societies did develop a language for music. It's something we take for granted but just imagine how much the world is missing because of lost ancient music.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Normal people lead normal lives and go through very small deviations. Contrary to fairy tale beliefs, normal lives are quite alright and can be quite fruitful, however a normal American life, is different from a Japanese life is different from an Indian life. The problem is not with the normal life or the outlier life, the problem is with the inconsequential, uninterested life that is more passed through than lived. It's a thought that recurs often and disturbs me seldom. Enjoyment is a subjective experience and one that can't be explained well.
I crave to have my niche and my share of the un-normal. It's a pursuit I say!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The travails of society

My blogging has reduced primarily because of work and secondarily because my eyes have been giving me grief. To clear the air; my eyes are tired, dry and in pain especially by the time I come back from work; this makes me avoid the computer once I come home.
My third eye-specialist is trustworthy and has given me tear-inducing drops which will  start being effective 2.5 months from now. However, all of this is of little relevance to any reader.

The other day I was reading a post by 'Neo Indian'. It's quite a hilarious site with very meaningful statements talking about the India that is, was and should be. He asked people to stop posting 'supportive' comments on social networks and start doing something meaningful like supporting soldiers or actually being a part of the rally.. For me, that was one of many such littered posts on the net.
A dilemma facing some of us new Indians is our affection for our country.
I have clarified before that more than India I belong with the Indian culture - not the villages and the bureaucracy but the language spoken by a Mumbai-ite, the food, the issues, the joys and the sentiments. I get annoyed when people say that we should work for our country or for our parents, not because that could possibly be ridiculous but because nobody ought to suggest why and how one should live with the 'suggestion' being the face to a guilt producing demand.
As a contrast, I read a letter by Theodore Deden which seems to be speaking about investing but is in fact speaking about a way of life; a way of life that we ought to be living but contrasts with how most people live today. What I drew from the letter was individualism and a greater consciousness of that which surrounds us, that which has come to pass and that which we ought to work towards.

I crave independence - could be because of the way my life has panned out or what I have heard or read or seen - and I ache to create a difference to my own life. This is in stark contrast to what I used to be.

I remember the time when I said, very sincerely, that I want to change the world.
I remember the time when, for love, I changed what I used to be in favour of supporting the relationship.
I also remember the time when I used to excel at academics and was rather proud of my achievements.
There was a time when I ached to get back to work and to give something back to society.
I now believe that only if I live for my personal success will I be in a position to be with someone or live for something or give something back to society. It's alright if I fail at following through after attaining my success, because I know that that will be an endeavour and not an end.
Personal success has little to do with wealth. It has a lot to do with the freedom to travel, read, listen to music and grow individually. "We are all here to learn" said my ex-professor and that I hold close to me.

Working for somebody when one has access to more potential is ridiculous. But in the short-term it could be justified. Only if I am to find my balls (figurative) will I start my progress. I am appalled at how little time I have to read, travel and experience the fruits of life. Studying and following a way of work will only create knowledge which is shared by many others. I would love to know more about people, cultures, histories and progresses - may be I will be a couple of steps ahead in seeing the progress of civilization. And this could be a great support system to the way I am.

I used to be content. Am not anymore. I know the field of work I am bound to enjoy, the workplace I would love to tap-dance to (credit goes to Mr. Buffett), the kind of books I would love to own and read, the kind of people I would love to eat or drink with, the kind of time I would love to have on my hands and the kind of health I would love to develop. Am I a few steps ahead or am I creating my own little cocoon?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Drake makes me ...

Nick Drake makes me sway; there is something haunting about his voice that makes me write freely - only at times though. I smile often when I listen to his sorrowful songs. I smile at the creature he allowed himself to become and at the figure the world will never recognize.


A wise man once said, "If you are alive, you ought to live."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Please come again!!!

Once in a while we are fated to meet extraordinary people. By extraordinary, I mean 'away from ordinary', because let's face it... most people are quite similar and rather boring.
French chick working at Airbus, vacationing with her brother in Laos and Cambodia by taking a 4-month sabbatical, and finally moving to a town called 'Surkhet' in Nepal for 2 months to work for an NGO. This is the girl I spent time with over 4 memorable evenings/ days, albeit around other people.

What struck me about this creature was the brilliance that she brought into a room... a child at heart and quite crazy. She said it very simply, "Remember, it's not we who are crazy, it's the other people who take their lives too seriously." The time we spent together was usually around other people but our conversations were very simple. We spoke of people, relations, our own insecurities, culture, identity or the lack thereof and what we found amiss in the people around us at times...
I spent about 4 evenings with her and dropped her to the airport - and quite possibly, we might never meet again, which would be very sad.
I loved her attitude towards fights (in relationships)... too much of that going around anyway, and well, we are together to be happy, really no point fighting. Am too busy smiling. Hope she stays a child forever and hope that society doesn't spoil her.
Please come again!! ;)

And for the record: Buffalo milk pancakes cooked in ghee rock!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fabulous One-Liners

"It is important for people to realise that optimism, skepticism and pessimism can co-exist."

"One day was heart-fucking, the next was hard-fucking and the next was mind-fucking."

"Are those hickeys?"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Code 1800

Some things seem so insignificant but in that moment they can be fabulous.
The car I drive, Skoda Fabia - its battery died after 4 years. A new one had to be installed and after installation, for some reason (of course it's always 'some reason'), the music system and device wouldn't work.
On start-up it would say "SAFE" and then it would flash some Code. Random button pushing - like Deedee - would get the screen back to "SAFE". Completely harrowing.
I went for one and a half days without the music and in the evening I picked up the car manual and literature; I had to figure this out. I had assumed something wrong with the circuitry which is why it said "SAFE".

So I flip through the manual rather cautiously, I go through the index and can't find anything meaningful. Annoyed.
I then go through another manual where there is a note on anti-theft. Luckily I see the word "SAFE". Aha!!
Apparently, Skoda has a mechanism wherein whenever a battery is replaced the music system locks itself to hinder a thief's motive :|
The manual tells me to put in a code like "0000" - I figure out the way to change numbers on the screen and press the 'play' button. No use. Nothing happens.
Too add to the agony, the device locks itself for one hour after 2 unsuccessful attempts.

The manual also says something about how the code is stored in the instrument cluster so one usually need not manually enter the code. Right!
When I'm about to lose all hope I see a sticker on the manual with a barcode and a long number with a 4 digit number underneath. Hmmm.. It read : "1800"
I punch it in.


By now you might be wondering why you're still reading this...
Well, it's more of a reminder to me for how jubilant I was when it started working :)
Music keeps me alive and keeps me ticking :)
I was going to give it to a mechanic or someone, and I didn't have to. You know what that means? No toiling in traffic. No waiting. No questions. No more hassles. I did this! It is small.. but I did this!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Into the Wild

Chris / Alex McCandless wrote well.

"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is hit passion for adventure.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."

"You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience."

This is from the book "Into the Wild" and the above quotes are Alex's own.
The last quote he negates before death when he notes:

"And so it turned out that only a life similar to life of those around us, merging with it without a ripple, is genuine life, and that an unshared happiness is not happiness... And this was most vexing of all. HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED."

Did he have to go through his ordeal to realise this? Could he have been one of the very few who actually realised this? I ask because most of us don't know the other possibility, of living without society and love.

The book is quite excellent. It's not as glorious as the movie but is sobering. Jon Krakauer is the author and he expressed his compassion for the kid in the introduction/ foreword. There are two chapters which I really liked. One in which Jon talks of other weirdos/ loners/ pursuers and the other when he describes his youth and his journey to Alaska to conquer Devil's Thumb. Fantastic stuff.
I enjoyed the part where when he came back to the town and recited his tale to the town folk, they didn't seem to care :)
I relished the part where he compared his ... well... this is the statement (He was 23 years old then):
"At that stage of my youth, death remained as abstract a concept as non-Euclidean geometry or marriage."

This book and books like this make one realise how shallow a city-dweller's journey can be. Yes.

127 Hours

The movie rocks. There was two scenes that reminded me of me.
1. Aron Ralston (James Franco) as a kid with big specs and his father takes him to a part of the canyon to see the sunrise.
I have thought of this a few times; if I ever choose to or am fortunate enough to have a kid I would love to go trekking with him, away from the city to a secluded part of earth. It's something that I'm sure I would not enjoy with my girlfriend or wife.

2. When Aron just realises that he is trapped and says something for the first time.
While walking on the Sheltowee trail in the Red River Gorge; I had been walking for two hours or so and then I said, "I haven't heard my voice for quite a while." That is the first human sound I had heard in two hours or so.
The feeling was precious and I hold it very dear.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Antarctica - and we waste time chasing money and society :)

Yes - that was a long title. For a reason.


There is a glacier in Antarctica that seems to be weeping a river of blood. It’s one of the continent’s strangest features, and it’s located in one of the continent’s strangest places — the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a huge, ice-free zone and one of the world’s harshest deserts. So imagine you’re hiking through this –


– which has been kept ice-less since God was a child because of something called the katabatic winds, which sweep over the valleys at up to 200 mph and suck all the moisture out of them. Anyway, you’re hiking along, passing dessicated penguin carcasses and such, and you come to this.

blood falls

A bleeding glacier. Discovered in 1911 by a member of Robert Scott’s ill-fated expedition team, its rusty color was at first theorized to be caused by some sort of algae growth. Later, however, it was proven to be due to iron oxidation. Every so often, the glacier spews forth a clear, iron-rich liquid that quickly oxidizes and turns a deep shade of red. According to Discover Magazine –

The source of that water is an intensely salty lake trapped beneath 1,300 feet of ice, and a new study has now found that microbes have carved out a niche for themselves in that inhospitable environment, living on sulfur and iron compounds. The bacteria colony has been isolated there for about 1.5 million years, researchers say, ever since the glacier rolled over the lake and created a cold, dark, oxygen-poor ecosystem.

Even weirder: scientists think that the bacteria responsible for Blood Falls might be an Earth-bound approximation of the kind of alien life that might exist elsewhere in the solar system, like beneath the polar ice caps of Mars and Europa.


Disclaimer: I did not write a single word from the above excerpt.

This article and the photos are brilliant. Not because they exist but because we choose to remain so withdrawn from the glorious natural creations. A barren, cold, ice-free desert in Antarctica makes sense once you read about it but I am sure when I make this assumption - one thinks of Antarctica as an ice, ice, ice land.

My point: There is so much world out there. It's a corny statement - but so true :(

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Stolen Essay

" Today, I thought of how much I detest what this city has become. And then I thought that the standard of living has improved and is still better than those in many other cities.

Sadly, humanity, civility and simplicity have been lost.
I want to fight for these things but find it simpler to overlook them and potentially leave this city and may be this country. "

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1000 Awesome Things

Take a step back - life can be simple. Believe it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


No. I'm not wishing the insane readers a happy new year.
A thought occurred to me the other day.

When did 'Hello' become a question?

Ref: Whenever someone picks up the phone.