Sunday, November 20, 2016

On Writing

So its been years since I wrote anything other than work emails. Sad. I have become a champion reader though, so there's that.

Read an article today by an author who decided never to worry about where his next meal is coming from, so he didnt bother holding down a regular job to finance his writing. Did odd jobs whenever he needed some money. Being in a demanding career, wanting to do well at my job, seems to be throttling my dream to write. Self doubt at all times. Would it really be a smart choice to unfocus from work and focus on a dream? There's the mortgage, the life style, the holidays, a growing son to provide for.

I am a wannabe writer who has never put his passion to practice. Is a novel really in me? Right now, I dont know if there is even a chapter in me, fuck the novel. I dont know, but I want to find out. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On and on and on...

I think I probably think about writing a new post once every week... at least. Just havent got around to it lately. I guess most of April and May went in working out the details of Li'l S's birthday party. My son turned 5 in May, and we had a blast of a party. Thanks to brothers and friends who travelled distances to come down and make the day special. My parents, my grandmom, they all came down to Bangalore. Its a rich feeling to have people you love around you, and it made my boy's 5th birthday truly special.


Other than that, work as usual kept my all wrapped up. There were a couple of good books i read though. Finished Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel, last years Booker prize winner. It was a really good book, and also kindof challenging. Its densely populated with characters, full of the atmosphere of 16th century England, there isnt as much happening as you would expect from a book this size.. its close to 700 pages. But what it provides, is a wonderful character study of Thomas Cromwell, who grows from being the son of a blacksmith, to the king's right hand man, the most powerful man in England.

One section of the book is called Arrange Your Face, in which Cromwell realizes the importance of never showing his internal emotions on his face. Whether it is fury or sorrow, triumph or defeat, arrange your face to only show the emotion which is apt for the occasion, which will not allow anyone to truly judge what you are thinking. It is the one key point i took away from this magnificent book. Beautifully written and captivating.


Read Josh Bazell's "Beat the Reaper", excellent fast paced thriller about a former hitman trying to avoid being caught by the mob men he has been trying to avoid through the witness protection program. Its very funny and full of shocking details, most of them about the medical profession as our hero goes about his day as a doctor. A patient recognizes him from his past life and threatens to let his pursuers know about his location unless he can ensure that the patient doesnt die! But this would require a miracle since he has stomach cancer, all our hero can do is try to make him live a little longer than the 6 hours of life left for him!



Re-read "The Green Mile", Stephen King's wonderful novel about the happenings in a prison during depression-era America. Stephen King has a wonderful talent for making his stories believable, making you empathize for the characters and here he builds such a wonderful portrait of the guards who work at the prison, whose job is not just to guard the prisoners, but also ensure their last few days on earth arent any worse than they need to be. And in the middle of this, comes a new prisoner convicted of the most hideous of crimes, but who seems strangely unlikely to have really done something so awful.




Right now, I am re-reading another wonderful novel - "To kill a mockingbird" by Harper Lee, courtesy of a friend who loaned it out to me. Had read this book ages ago, probably in my teens, and always remembered its wonderful characters and the precocious naration by the little Scout Finch. But now that I have a child of my own, i can truly feel wonder at how perfectly Harper Lee captured the essence of childhood - the games which the kids make up together, the bravado of the older Jem Finch, the tiny Dill being forced to play character roles, Scout's complaints about her nanny Calpurnia and her teachers who always seem to misunderstand her. More than anything, I can understand the difficulty children have in expressing their opinions or feelings to adults, who arent all as bright and clear-headed as Atticus Finch. And this difficulty is also captured so beautifully by Ms. Lee. I truly feel its one of the greatest books ever written from the perspective of a child.




On to music then! My brother brought a few albums down for me, recommendations included Slash's new album, Kasabian, Chickenfoot and Chicane!


I have to say, I think Slash is just brilliant. The album consists of collaborations between Slash and a bunch of mostly comparatively newer musicians - including Adam Levine of Maroon5 on "Gotten", Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother on the brilliant "By the sword", Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge on the excellent "Back from Cali" and "Starlight". My favourites from this album are "By the sword", "Back from Cali", "Promise" with Chris Cornell providing the vocals, and a brilliant number called "Saint is a sinner too" which features indie-rocker Rocco De Luca. Brilliant album, check it out!

I have been listening to a lot more music too, and just want to add a song which I am completely possessed by at the moment. Its by the strangely, but fantastically named band Death Cab for Cutie and the song is "I will possess your heart"! Did you ever hear "Every breath you take" by Police back in the 80's and get the feeling that this has got to be the anthem for all stalkers?? Well, here is the new anthem for stalkers, circa 2010! At one level, i guess the lyrics could be thought of as relating to never dying love! But at another level, it sure seems a bit creepy! But as Brian Tellis, one of the first RJ's playing rock music on India's FM channel once said, enjoy the music but dont take the message to heart!

Here's the brilliant song by Death Cab For Cutie, with the fantastic moody intro. This intro has to be the longest ever, the vocals only start around 4.40 into the song! But love this song!






Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart .mp3


Found at bee mp3 search engine

Monday, April 5, 2010

Birmingham 1 Liverpool 1

This started off as the first of 6 must-win games for Liverpool. Must-win in the sense that, maybe, keeping your fingers crossed, praying hard like never before, maybe if Liverpool win all 6, the resulting 18 points added to our tally would ensure 4th place, qualification to Champions League, and provide a semblance of having saved an awful season from complete and utter failure.

So what happened? Firstly, you start the game off in the usual utterly boring, defensive manner that has become a trademark of Liverpool's play of late. The first half saw barely any chances, and at moments, I almost nodded off. This is a team which had Torres - maybe the best striker of his generation, Gerrard - maybe the best midfielder in England (although not this season). Well ok, not much more than that, but players like Dirk Kuyt, Yossi Benayounm Maxi Rodrigues and Glenn Johnson are definitely expected to rattle a mid-level team like Birmingham.

But no, this season has truly seen a terrible recession in Liverpool's quality and it continued in this "must-win" game. And one man is answerable for it, and he is Rafa Benitez.

Picture this. Liverpool score thru Gerrard early in the second half, and then quickly concede an equalizer thru some really poor defending. Birmingham are looking at nothing more than a point from the game, you know that. They are sitting back trying to absorb your attacks. They are bracing themselves, expecting Liverpool to throw everything at them as they go searching for a winner. And what do you see? The substitution board goes up. Am I dreaming? Can this be true? Is Benitez really using his first substitution to take off his best player? No, Yes and Yes are the answers to those questions.

Much to all round bewilderment, including Torres himself shaking his head at the mysterious ways of his manager, we witness the great hope being substituted with David N'Gog sent on in his place. Gerrard's look of bewilderment was captured brilliantly and just echoes the sentiments of every Kop fan around the world. Within another 5 minutes, Benitez makes the substitution he really should have made first. He brings Babel on for Benayoun, who had had an indifferent game till then.

So consequence? Babel's introduction provides some impetus, three great chances are created. Who do they fall to? David N'Gog. Can the poor bugger do anything with them? No. Would Torres have scored even one of those chances? We will never know, coz he wasn't there! But would you bet your mortgage on him converting at least one, if not two, of those chances? I think most Liverpool fans would.

What were the reasons for this act of humonguous stupidity? Was Torres, who has played only 18 or 19 games this season, so tired that he was unable to continue? There had been no indication of this, but Benitez claimed this to be his reason. Could it also be due to Rafa giving more importance to the Benfica match next week? If this were the reason, its a mis-calculation of such proportions that its hard to believe a man in Rafa's position would make it. What do we gain by winning next week's Europa cup game? Is that the aim of this club? To win the Europa league and lose out on Champions League next season?

I have very little doubt that Liverpool will fail to achieve 4th place this season. Manchester City have suddenly struck a very rich vein of form, and I wouldn't count Spurs out either. Its increasingly likely that Liverpool will end up at 5th or 6th position this season, which most likely will mean that Benitez will go at the end of the season. And if he doesnt go, will Gerrard and Torres stay? Will they stay even if he does go? Which top class manager will want to bring this club - minus its top two players - back into the elite? Especially as the Americans have ensured there isnt much money left anyway.

What a season this had promised to be. How bitterly dissappointing it has turned out. Rafa cannot be absolved of blame from this situation. His transfer policies are horrendously bad - buying Aquilani for 20 mn and not using him at all, buying a fading Maxi instead of some other players like Niko Krankjar who had become available. His horrible decision to rely on an inexperienced David N'Gog as the only cover for Torres in the striker role, again when there were options like Michael Owen available - I think most of us would take that gamble than the one which Rafa did. His continuous deployment of an extremely defensive combination of Mascherano and Lucas in center of midfield for most of the season. The list just goes on and on.

This is do-or-die time for Liverpool. The team needs to deliver by at least achieving the last of the objectives which are still achievable. The manager can after all only communicate his strategies to the team. However, at this point of time, it feels more like its the team which is being let down by its manager.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jaane Na

I am not a fan of reality tv. Although you cannot ignore the mass appeal of many of these shows, most of them dont appeal to me. Most of them are full of cynicism, many are full of bitching, some are downright staged. But one reality show which I cannot get away from, for the sheer talent on display, is Dance India Dance.

This is one show I miss if I couldnt catch one of the episodes! I believe the talen thats on display here, is not just of Indian significance. Most, if not all, of these dancers would completely rock any international dance contest. And to top it all, the choreography thats on display here - no doubt enhanced by the brilliant performers - is undoubtedly better than anything you will see anywhere in the world. American and European shows dont stand a chance against the brilliantly choreographed dances by the Indian masters, Remo, Terence and Geeta.

I just thought I'll post videos from the show which really impressed me. This one is done by a very simple guy called Amar, from Gujrat. He has a real funny Gujju accent when he talks, isnt very good looking although like many others, he tries to turn on the charm sometimes! But when he starts dancing, he is one of the best in the world. And he isnt even the best on this show! But this particular performance rocked me completely, firstly because its on one of my favourite songs. And secondly, because Amar had not really danced in this form, a mix of contemporary and hip-hop/b-boying before, and we didnt really expect this kind of break-thru performance from him. Before this performance, Amar had found himself in the "danger-zone" almost every week.

So, for those who havent really been following this show, take a look. I want to do my bit in promoting these extra-ordinarily talented young people from very middle-class backgrounds.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The End

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

Howz that for lyrics that bring out the goosebumps. Ya, it gets a bit beyond weird later in the song, but hey.. its the lizard king, and we love him no matter what, right?


Sometimes there is nothing else you can do except sit back and wonder at it all.

And if you stick through till the end, of the song that is, you get the beautiful again.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die



The Doors - The End .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Recently "discovered" this band.. The White Stripes. Had heard of them before of course, but just never heard anything by them. Loved some of their music.

Here are a couple of songs from their album, Elephant.




Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Val's Day



And here comes the day that seems to bring out the worst in so many of our fabulous Indian politicians! And even more so from those of their so-called followers who are sent out in groups, always in groups, to enforce the wonderful morals for which these politicians have appointed themselves as guardians. The army of something-or-the-other, out to protect the boundaries of the ideologies they feel will be of the most benefit to them.

But this year, the ugly face of these politicians was well and truly blackened! Of course, the fantastic Pink Chaddi campaign from last year was also hugely responsible for the much less gung-ho posturing by these parties this year. The crippling hold the Shiv and MN Sena's hold on Mumbai has been unquestionably shaken - Rahul Gandhi himself has banged another nail into that coffin. That man - theres a lot to admire in him. Rahul totally rocks!

So here's to love! May we all have an abundance of it, always. And to celebrate, I'm going to plug in some cool love songs on this blog!

This one here is Hoobastank singing "The Reason" and its good!


And just coz I can never love a song well enough untill the lyrics truly sing out to me, here they are...



I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with every day
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
That's why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

And the reason is you
And the reason is you
And the reason is you

I'm not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

I've found a reason to show
A side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you