Thursday, December 03, 2009

Atlas Shrugged

finally finished reading this ... ya ya I know - 15 years too late .... bummer! ... but I preferred music over books when I was a teenager - so sue me!
yanni-ways getting back to the book - first off - I was not overly impressed. Nothing wrong with the message - loved it in fact ... but the story telling was too bloody detailed ... almost a screenplay plus background score and then some more - detailing the position of hair on the faces of the characters ... a bit too much for my fancy and lack of time - probably should have read it 15 years ago when time was not such a commodity!!!

Loved the message - thought-inviting perspective on socialism and the flaws in that theory ... as it is I was a confused capita-socialist, for the sake of coining a term, and now I'm just more capitalist I guess ... or at least I think I see more clearly, the problems with socialism - the spread of laziness, corruption, lack of productivity etc. etc. ... things you see in a typical government organization or in 3rd world countries like Angola where ability is not the only criteria that justifies your compensation.

I agree to a certain extent with Rand's philosophy that productive achievement is man's greatest achievement ... but the world today is not driven by producers - it is driven by traders, stock brokers, hedge fund managers and the likes ... people who really do not produce anything but somehow "assist" in production ... sure they "assist" - but should they be in charge because of that???
I'm not so sure and I think something is wrong with this monopoly of the trading system, that have all so conveniently accepted and adopted.
Then again - not all of us have the same capacity or support system to produce as per abilities ... oh well ... I guess a blend is what's required ... but then again a blend is just that - a dilution of sorts.

hmm ... points to ponder and reponder ... and while deliberating on all this I lopped up Five point Someone by Chetan Bhagat - super read but more on that later.

img courtesy

Friday, August 14, 2009

What would you do with a Time Machine?

Quick. What would be the first thing you do if you got access to a time machine?

Was in an aimless conversation on FB and the Time Machine thing came up - and
- N mentioned that he would go back and change his 3rd Semester KT results! LOL
- U mentioned that he would convince Newton to sit under a Coconut tree instead of an Apple tree
me? ... well first thing that came to my mind (if I can not change anything)
I would like to go back to the 3 days of Woodstock 1969. (Tough tie with witnessing the Creation of Life but given the time contstraints, Music quickly won)

What would you do? first thing. from the top of your head.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Sorry Saara that You are an Iyer

summer of 21XX
Saara "But Papa I scored the most points"
Me "I know"
Saara "Then how come I'm not 1st"
Me "Because of your Caste dear"
Saara "Caste?? or Class??"
Me "I honestly don't know dear ... just know that you can never be 1st as long as folks from the other class/caste score at least 70%"
Saara "So my performance is going to be judged depending upon the underperformance of others??? - that doesn't make sense Papa"
Me "Yes ... it wasn't like that before dear but ..."
Saara "Then why don't they create two of everything (Schools, Companies etc.) one for each Caste/Class ?"
Me "I don't know da ... but thats how the Indian Government functions ... I guess your Mom and I had it easier than you ..."
Saara "But that is stupid Governance ... we won't be competent with the rest of the world"
Me "Look - there is a fish flying outside the window - go ask Mamma about that"


If it wasn't bad enough that the IIT's lowered their JEE admission bar for SC/ST sudents - according to this new SC ruling, they can not expel them for under-performance!!!!
If someone had told this to me a couple of hours ago I would have said "Ya right" ... and walked away ... and now I just can't believe what I am reading.
Somebody please pinch me and tell me that this is not happening!

I know my conversation with Saara may seem a tad unrealistic ... but judging by what is happening around - who's to say!

I'm just glad that when I went to school - if someone failed to make it , they pretty much failed to make it ... caste/creed/c* no bar!
A simple performance based system.
Is it that difficult? no really. is it that difficult?

I wonder what kind of future is coming to India ... but since I am not doing anything about the messy Governance (except rant on my blog like a wuss) ... I guess I will just stop now. and pray for some common-sense.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Pope fell down and broke his arm

He broke his wrist actually. I guess even the Holy Ones are not beyond "normal person/ye sinners" accidents ...

Can you imagine how hard it is going to be for all 'em collective Holiness'es to justify themselves the day the first Green Men show up on our planet from outer space ... yes I'm talking about "aliens" - oo oo oooooh!

Can you imagine the Divine Conundrum ... of explaining how *ALMOST ALL* the holy scriptures conveniently omit all of God's grand plans outside of this tiny Planet ... and of course the conveniently accepted fact that every act of God, child of God, messenger of God or even God person himself/herself is based on a physical location on Earth or above it ... be it the holy land, some mountain in the Himalayan range or some rock on our Blue Planet ... all conveniently within geographical constraints!!

Boy I simply can not wait for the Green Men to show up ... that will be the day I tell you ... that will be the day ...
and my chance to tell all y'all "I told you so"!

for now I will simply refrain from all shubh activities until the solar eclipse season is over ... bad times you know ... See!!! even the Pope got hurt!

Disclaimer: Before you sign off on that fatwa, please remember that I DO believe in God in the general sense ... but not in any specific form/size/shape/color/location/ethnicity/religious orientation!

Less than 7%

According to this article, less than 7% of the Indian population is registered to pay income tax! No wonder our infrastructure is crumbling - we're not paying enough taxes!!!and since we are a democracy and all that we really have no one to blame but me and you ... and you too!
Get off the roads the rest of you ... that's 1.1 billion of you!!!
7%!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... un-friggin-believable!!!

Agreed that a huge percent of the populace is below the poverty line - but even if I peg that number at 43% of India, that means about 50% of India is just getting a free ride. that's 500 MILLION people . The 7% is basically supporting an whole extra country plus 3 European nations ... food, water, electricity, roads and all that jazz ... just like that.
... and then we dream of becoming the next super-power! hah!
disgusting. depressing.

Nandan ... Please come thru with the project for the future of India.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Unique Id's in India ... about time

This is the best news I have heard all day ... While browsing thru the myriad of news snippets on the 09-10 Budget, I bumped into this wonderful piece of information that India is taking Unique Identification seriously ... about time I say!!

For years I have had this pet peeve against the Indian Governance process where less than a quarter of the country pays taxes, people have multiple "jaali" bank accounts to avoid taxes and a plethora what nots ... all because we can not uniquely identify citizens in India.
Heck I could get multiple passports/driving licenses in different cities in India!!!

After seeing the gazillion benefits of the SSN in the US, it was mind-numbing to see people/parties in India protesting against id cards and unique id's ...
This is a new chapter for India - if executed correctly ... a HUUUUGE new chapter in Indian governance.

and Nandan is going to spearhead this process ... super I say! 'cause this is not going to be easy to do for a billion people ... but it is a start ... and if we could create something as complex as the Indian Railways Ticket Reservation System then this can be done for sure.
Oh I am excited!

Laal - Ummed-e-sehar

super song from a promising desi band.

Now I'm not sure how I stumbled across the song or the band but I'm glad I did.

The first song I heard from the band Laal was titled "Maine Usse Yeh Kaha" - .very. intriguing lyrics - based on politics and governance - that piqued my curiosity and after some research I discovered that the band Laal is made up of a couple of Marxists (one is a Political Science lecturer and the other is an Economics grad student! ... ergo Laal!)

And then the second song "Umeed-e-Sahar" ... Wow.

I must admit that the first captivation was all about the composition and vocals - the lyrics were a bit too urdu-heavy for me to follow ... and now thanks to the Youtube video with translation - the song is much, much, much more enjoyable. (the U-tube has a bunch of other stuff from the band as well - worth a look)

Laal - promising band,

Umeed-e-Sahar - Good album, good songs

... worth a listen. Once again another wonderful Pakistani band rises and produces a gem of an album ... Bollywood - how I hate you for this!

And this is what I was able to fish out from the dredges of the internet - interesting read on the band

Friday, June 26, 2009

Working for Retirement

Such a conundrum ... work hard now so that you can retire peacefully ...

At first glance that may seem like a solid and clear target but it's not ... you don't know how much you need to work (ergo money to save) ... you just work till you HAVE to retire ... primarily guided by the scale of age - 56/60/65 whatever the "policy" states!

but you may have saved more than you needed to and then get hit by a bus on the first day of retirement ... whaaat?? it happens ...

So whats the point of running blind ... we think we know where we're headed ... but don't.

no really.

like Charu summarized so well - we're running on a treadmill ... we run and we run but we don't get anywhere ... and don't burn fat either!!!

So what is the solution you ask me? I wish I had one ... the solution may lie in the answer to the question - "How much money do you need to retire?"

Simple as it may sound the answer to this question is bloody hell complicated and deviously twisted ... and then some more!

The quest for the answer wanders through the murky paths of material delights, the sinful crossroads of indulgence, bylanes of vacation, gardens of family and education and the footpaths of simplicity ... and to add to all this, the ground keeps shifting underneath all the time with crashing economies, rising inflations, growing families, failing health ... ... ... you get the picture.


ya ya I know I got carried away with the analogy ... pffffft !

No wonder we took the simple route - pegged an age for retirement and hoped that by the time you're 60, you would automatically have saved enough and more for the rest of your life ... not having to worry about such complex calculations.

Simple solution but the nagging feeling that you could have partied earlier and longer keeps nibbling at you ... much like the thoughts that come to mind on the way to the airport - "Did I lock the door properly?", "Did I remember to close the windows?" ... not much you can do at that point - so you ignore, curse the traffic, move on and hope for the best ...

so the point of all this ramble ... not sure myself ... just suck it up Venky and work as long as you can and don't think about retiring early ... its a bloody myth! something we all talk about as kids and then eventually grow up!




A Sudden Moment of Clarity ... just explained all those old people sighted ambling about in expensive resorts all around the world ...

chalo - there is hope in all this.

Michael Jackson ... Gone to Soon!

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

Just like his song ... he's gone too soon.

I would be lying if I said that a part of me is gone because his music and songs will last forever ... but something is missing ... can't explain it ... I just can't believe that MJ is dead ...
I'm secretly hoping for a Kauffman'esque reappearance sometime soon ... oh well ...

Was very excited at the "This is It" tour ... hoped to see the genius in action a second time around with front(er) row seats ... sigh .... now I'm just glad I caught his show in Bombay.

Thank you for everything Michael ... you were a solid part of our growing years and will always be the Thriller for a long long time to come.

... wherever you are.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Luanda on Top

like Chandler Bing would say ... "I KNEW IT!!!"
Now I'm not one to swear by statistics but this Businessweek article on the most expensive cities on the world validates that feeling you have when you live here in Luanda ... that Luanda is the most expensive city in the world!

Yaay ... I'm happy to be here ... after all its worth some bragging rights ... no? :P

Interesting statistics at the bottom of each panel ... mostly true for Luanda - altho not the complete picture. One glaring price-point missing here is accomodation ... and for the uninitiated, a 3-bedroom apartment rents for anywhere from US$12,000 to US$25,000 per month ... go figure!
Thank You Oscar for the pointer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Congratulations Pakistan

.Very. happy that Pakistan won the T20 World Cup 2009.
I guess the country and the people needed this ... a LOT.
Congratulations to Sri Lanka as well.
I pray and hope that these events are catalysts for a better future for both countries ... in whatever manner possible.

A long long time ago I would have looked at myself quite strangely for saying all this ... I guess the old adage of wisdom and age is true after all - and about time some would say ;)


32 and counting ...
another day ... another year ... another birthday ... another day


Friday, May 29, 2009

New slideshows and a point to ponder

Have been wanting to write for a while now but ... oh well ...
Performed some cursory cleanup on the blog ... played around with slideshows in the right pane and added Saara's pics for all of you hounding me - look at this spot for newer pics as and when they roll (ha!)

Now for the point to ponder ... ... was generally pulling Mom's leg yesterday ... asking her to define God - you know ... almighty and all :)
After some mumbling and several attempts she came up with this super-analogy
God is the force that powers everything ... much like electricity that powers much of what is around you - yet you can not see/hear it ... you can feel it but you can not explain the feeling to anyone else ... each has to experience to get their own feel :)
Try describing an electric shock to someone - yeap.
Now I typically stay away from analogies - you know - but this one was too good to dismiss.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thank You

Thank you God for

~ a wonderful partner for life. I love you D.
~ our little angel Saara
~ our families for enabling us to be where we are
~ and last but not least - a superb group of friends who are always there ... good times, bad times, fun times or roll-up-your-sleeves-to-work times :)

.Thank You.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amit Trivedi

... Dev D ...
... Aamir ...

common Element = Amit Trivedi
The only two albums that I have heard from this amazing composer - but I think this young guy is here for good ... I was super impressed with the music in Aamir (movie too!)- glaringly unconventional and so refreshingly fresh - sometimes dark and reminiscent of the music in Karam ... highly recommended for lock-the-disc-in-your-player-and-loop kind of music.

and then comes the music for Dev D ... what can I say - WOW.
Anurag Kashyap better live up to the standard of the music. There I said it! first.

The first track 'Emosional Atyachar' sets the pitch for the album and from there on it is one joyride with Duniya, Nayan Tarse, Pardesi, Saali Khushi all the way to the Dev Chanda themes which let you relax, catch your breath ... and give you with something to hum along.

I mean this is a true soundtrack - 18 tracks ... not 6, not 7 not 10 ... but EIGHTEEN.
If you're expecting a conventional or slightly unconventional soundtrack then this is not it ... this is for the 'true' soundtrack lovers - like the soundtracks of Pulp Fiction or Natural Born Killers ... (sorry can't remember another true Hindi soundtrack) ... where the music and tunes grip you with the sheer energy and strength - not so much with hummable tunes or sweet melodious voices.
The soundtrack has it all ... rock, pop, soul, electronica, fast fusion, bhangra, two step, folk, hints of bluegrass, western classical, bebop, country, enigma ... very VERY colorful Smörgåsbord ... get the picture.

I really like his arrangement ... - very simple - very intelligent - 3 or so instruments to set up the backbone of the song - a kicky drum and a tight bass to support a basic riff and then additional layers and effects to give volume to the song ... The guy sings in almost half the album - his vocals are grungy and perfect for such tunes ... and then there are other songs with other 'interesting' voices ...
and its his own vocals that are more captivating at times - the sheer attitude of the vocals makes it perfect for a soundtrack.

And I take back what I said earlier - I have heard this guy before ... apparently Amit Trivedi is a part of that fantastic fusion band from Chembur called "OM" ... now there is another fantastic album ... but we never heard a follow up album from them ... yet.

Note to Anurag Kashyap - "You better do justice to the music man"

Random searches on Google told me that this is the "baap" of all soundtracks ... not sure who really said that but I couldn't agree more.
Go now ... listen to Dev D. again. and again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

OK I watched the Slumdog Millionaire ~finally~ and I'm not sure if it was the result of all the piling anticipation and expectations ... but I was not overly impressed. No seriously.

I'm not saying that the movie is bad ... far from it actually - it was very enjoyable and I liked it but that's it! Would I watch it or recommend it as a must watch ... probably not ... maybe as a once watch.

Why you ask? Well to me it just has too many overtones of Salaam Bombay ... Slumdog is more like a rehashed Salaam ... apt for the new millenium ... and all. The movie had a little bit of everything in it - not that there is anything wrong with that but it just felt like a shallow pass over many issues instead of a deeper view into one or a few issues. That being said there was nothing erroneous depicted ... WYSIWYG - you do see Bombay's underbelly. as. .it. .is.

But don't listen to me so much - watch it and form your own opinion.
A bunch of things impressed me - the bright colors, the camera angles, the acting - especially by the kids - and of course AR Rahman's score - superb stuff
... if not for that damn Amit Trivedi I would be listening to Rahman's music instead ... but more on that later.


Spawn into the new year ...
Happy New Year y'all ...

2009 promises to be the year of the baby!