Monday, October 31, 2005

Sad news

I got an email from my mother saying that Ambujavalli paatti expired today. She is my maternal grandmother's elder sister. She is a very kind and sweet lady. My grandma died several years ago, but I have always thought of Ambujavalli paatti as another grandma - somebody who closely resembles my grandma and has a very similar voice and personality. The most striking thing about her is her voice - how can I describe it? Her distinct Brahmin language is another noted thing. Last year, around the same time, we had gone to visit her in Chennai. I despised the bus journey to her place and kind of cursed myself to have undertook that trip at all, but I felt like a complete idiot for feeling so, after I met her, after a long time. Her presence is like that. She reminded me everything about my grandma in one instant and I was totally humbled and honestly, surrendered to her. My wife and I got her blessings. My wife thinks she is kind of strict, but then who would not feel like obeying her orders! At that time, I somehow longed to spend more time with her. She was already old and frail, but was hanging in there.
I am very sorry to hear the news, it is a big loss for our family. One may wonder what such women have accomplished - in my opinion, their divine presence can't be paralleled. It is something that you just have to 'earn' and not something you just acquire if you satisfy a few chores in life. She has earned the respect and adulation of all my family members. To all my mother's siblings, she represents the one next to their mother. They go to her for any grand advice or to seek blessings. As I mentioned before, I can't forget her voice and whatever that signifies. My paatti used to refer to her as "akka" (sister) and I thought that was very sweet. You know my paatti was a very strong lady - she brought up so many kids, mostly daughters and got them married in due time - all without the help of anybody. Her husband - my grandfather, apparently passed away when my grandma was still pregnant with her last child, my aunt. In today's terms, it is a sheer miracle and a wonder that she has lived such a great life. She had lot of ailments towards her end and was constantly sick. But you think about it - to be a widow and to raise and deal with so many children is not something today's woman can do. How many sacrifices and sleepless nights? After my paatti left, "paatti veedu" carried no more meaning. It was just a house and it ceased to be a home. I was brought up in that house. To me, it means a lot. It was sad to see that house losing its life. Paatti would have been very proud to see me come to the U.S and study further. My brother and I have always been her favorite grand children 'cause we were known to be good kids, not mischievous but obedient.
I also remember the death of "thatha mama", Ambujavalli paatti's husband. He lived a long life. Used to be very friendly to me when I was a kid. This whole thing is making me sad. I guess the first flavor of death for a person is the death of his/her grandparents, naturally.
Paatti will be remembered. May her soul rest in peace, in heaven. We will all have her blessings though she isn't around.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Three in One

is the name of the piece Ilaiyaraaja composed for the live concert in Italy. What's the speciality of this piece? Well, it is composed only in three notes! C,D and E are the only three notes he has used in this piece. Who else could have thought about this? His sheer genius is once again evident. Not only did he compose melody but also the harmony for the orchestra! I guess the audience must have been spell bound. This article is an outcome of listening to Ilaiyaraaja's Italian concert, which I got in the mail just now. There is another piece called "Mood Kapi" which does nothing short of touching your heart. "Heart touching guaranteed". A lot of times I wonder if somebody will just pay me for listening to his music. I really wish there is such a scheme. I'd then be a sure shot billionaire, of course, amongst several others :)


There is this national anthem rehearsal today. We have to go shopping after that. I am falling way back on my bike service. For some reason, I totally forgot about it yesterday. I should have done that long back. Deepavali shopping for my wife is not done yet. Tomorrow is the dress rehearsal for the NETip show. I can't take the keyboard with me because I'll be going on my motorcycle. My neck is sore from some cream the doctor prescribed. Stupidity. The tamil drama needs more rehearsal and some set ups in the keyboard. I better work on that.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Changed the name

Today for some reason, I have decided to change the name of the blog to "Resting in Motion" from its original name "for lack of a resonant tea time talk..." It just seemed more appropriate now 'cause I consider blogging as a temporary rest, while I'm in constant motion thinking about my life and its events. May be I'll change it to some other name later. In another 20 mins, I'll be off to the drama rehearsal. It is coming along ok, could be better, as always.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Red Eye Bats

You know, one of the biggest and the traditional way of humiliating people is to call them inside a dark room and take a picture of them with a flash. Why? 'cause this results in "red eyes". I mean, have you seen those pictures, where all your friends suddenly seem like bats coming out of a cave? They all could be vampires for all we know, and they choose to display the animal side only in a dark room, and particularly when you are taking a picture of them with a flash :) They all have red eyes! Even dogs and cats have red eyes. The only person in that room who doesn't have a red eye is the one taking the picture. He or she has no idea of what kind of an insult they are bringing forth on the victims. Or worse yet, he/she doesn't know how many new vampires he is exposing.

Some people go as far as framing such pictures or posting them on the internet:

"Look, this is my boyfriend, he seems like a vampire in this but in reality he is unemployed and lives with his parents"

"look that's my dog Susie, only Susie decides to take on another animal form when you take pictures of her - she doesn't like it obviously. She conveys this everytime, but only I don't fully get it".

"This is your prospective bridegroom - don't worry he is not always like this - he turns into a bat only when you take him to a dark room and take a picture of him with a flash; so make sure you don't do that ever in your life" :)

"These are all my friends, it was taken during my birthday party - wow, how many bat friends you have"!

People, for Pete's sake, please take pictures with a camera that has red-eye reduction feature or remove the red eye using photoshop. It is not that hard, even if you remotely like the people you're taking pictures of. The only time you are allowed to take such pictures is during Halloween, and you don't have any special costume. You can just go about making everyone look like bats. Even bats might be frightened looking at such pictures.

Veerapandiya Kattabomman

I watched this movie yesterday in preparation for the tamil drama. What a movie! Although I felt it had a little too many songs. Nice music. What impressed me the most was the dialogues and the delivery of Sivaji Ganesan. I now understand why he is raved about, for this movie. Also, I felt great that we have such a great tradition and culture. The movie reminded me of so many things. It is good to see those laid back kingdoms, where things and life were extremely simple - no phones, no email, no internet, no TV, no Cellphones or laptops, no cars, etc. Must have been quite an experience to run such a state. It was sad to note that Veerapandiya Kattabomman was hanged under the British rule. But, his courage and determination were there with him till his last breath. Quite an inspiring character, he was. Very intelligent, great in making balanced decisions, emotionally balanced. He was a man who knew what he wanted and he played it pretty well. It is only a pity that our state is not using the hard earned freedom properly. I am talking mostly about corruption. He was right - the same land gives birth to both the good and the bad - Veerapandiya Kattabomman on one hand, and Ettappan on the other. That's how nature is, I suppose. I am tempted to watch other historical tamil movies now. I'll try my best to get the DVDs and tapes.
Visit this link for an excellent article on this movie. Actually speaking, Veerapandiya kattabomman is regarded as the first freedom fighter since he staged his war with the British more than 50 years before the Revolt of 1857. He was born in 1760 and was hanged by the British on October 16th 1799. It is a wonder how I got to watch his movie very close to his death anniversary. He has lived in the same period as Mozart, I couldn't help but notice. Only Mozart died 8 years earlier. He has been fighting the British, while Mozart has been busy composing his symphonies. Both of them are immortal. VK is right, why would he pay the British any taxes or dues when his family has been ruling the place for 47 generations? That's a very valid point and the British didn't seem to have got that.

Music for the Drama

The music for the drama is kind of, well, hard to define. If I know what exactly I should be playing then I can practise it and master it. But then this one is kind of new to me, so I am trying to figure out what all I should be playing. Mostly, it will be chords and drum rolls here and there. But then it sounds kind of incomplete and unimportant. What am I going to do between the scenes? I have only two or three songs for that. There is only one more week to go. What will I do? I wanted to give a good performance and all that, but then, there is not much time. I spent way too much time for the tamil light music show - that was only five songs. The hindi show went much better and now there is this one. People are working pretty hard for this drama. There is not much expectations from them as to what I'll perform, but still I like to keep up my reputation. The rest are all some older generation people who are not too much into Rahman or Rajni. The movie trivia questions that I've prepared contain mostly Rajni related questions and music related questions that pertain to the 90's. Don't know how the audience will take it.
Anyways, I've been watching this "Veerapandiya Kattabomman" movie almost every night - well, not the whole movie, but parts of it that I really like. I have discovered that it is entirely possible to fully articulate your thoughts in Tamil, with just a few sentences. You know tamil is one of the 7 classic languages in the whole world. And it is still being spoken you know! How great is that - I definitely feel proud about it. Somehow people like me, I mean people who are from TamilNadu - they are very keen on safeguarding the language - any small threat to their language, they get all very offended and become defensive. Can you blame them? :)
This movie is probably one of the best examples. During the climax, Sivaji summarizes the British rule, their arrogance, the pride of Indians and their rich country blah blah in just ten sentences or so. Ten very effective sentences I should say! Sample dialogues:

English: Andha sooriyanum engalai kettuthaan ezhum, vizhum. appadi irukka unakku yen indha veen pidivaadham?

VK: Andha kathayai inge vidathe appane. Sorriyane vendam endru oru aanpillai enna, oru penne ninaithu virattiya kathaigal ingu yeralamaga undu. Veru engeyavathu poi sol indha kathaiayai.

I can keep going on with the dialogues. Just amazing buddy - you got to watch this movie. Also, the song 'inbam pongum vennila' is quite amazing also :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Laser Tag

I played this game in the so called 'zone' in San Diego - Sports Arena Blvd. It is this elaborate game where people are divided into groups and are allowed to compete in sets of three. Each time a team gets to wear these exotic vests with blinking lights in one of blue, red and yellow. Each player is also given a laser gun. You are supposed to take a shot at the opponent, who can't be wearing the same colored lights as yourself. You get 200 points if you shoot somebody and lose 50 if somebody shoots you. Your laser gun temporarily gets incapacitated when somebody shoots you, so you can't do much in that time apart from hiding. But a nice trick is to follow the person who shot you and take a shot at him :) You also get bonus points for shooting at the "bases" of other colors. There are also aliens, who fetch you like 500 points if they get shot in their eyes. My highest score today was 4900 or so. I attacked two bases with my laser gun and shot 25 times or so, while being shot at 15 times. It somehow adds up. Several games like this follow, and in each game you'll wear a different color. In the end, of course, the team with the greatest number of points wins. Nice time pass, kind of intensive in that I was also sweating while running around inside.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Tsunami reveals ancient temple sites

Tsunami reveals ancient temple sites
By Paddy Maguire
BBC News, Madras

An engraved pillar which belongs to the Pallava period
Layers of sea shells and debris point to previous tsunami strikes
Archaeologists say they have discovered the site of an ancient temple in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

It is the latest in a series of archaeological discoveries in the area struck by December's tsunami, which desilted large areas of the coastline.

The brick temple dates back more than 2,000 years to the late Tamil Sangam period and was discovered on the beachfront near Saluvankuppam, just north of a famous World Heritage site at Mahabalipuram.

The discovery lends more weight to growing evidence that a huge tsunami hit the east coast of India during this period, obliterating large habitations along the coastline.

Two periods

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) made the discovery while looking for a 9th Century Pallava temple.

We are looking at the remains of a brick temple that was destroyed by a tsunami approximately 2,200 years ago
Badrinarayanan S, rtd director,
Geological Survey of India
"The tsunami exposed inscriptions on a huge rock that had previously been protected as a site of importance," said T Satyamurthy of the ASI.

"These inscriptions dated back to 935 AD and said that Krishna the Third, from the Rashtrakuda Dynasty in Karnataka, had given gold to a temple to pay for keeping an eternal flame alight.

"This led us to dig further. Near the surface we found coins, pottery, stucco figurines and bronze lamps and so we knew there must be something more. Soon we discovered the remains of the 9th century Pallava temple."

As they continued to excavate they came across the earlier Sangam temple. The distinctive shift from courses of brickwork to large granite slabs indicates the different periods.

"The Pallavas just built on the brick foundations left behind after the Sangam temple was levelled. The two periods are there, clear to see," said Dr Satyamurthy.

Tsunami deposits

But it is the question of how these two temples were destroyed rather than their age that has fired the interest of the teams involved.

Layers of sea shells because of tsunami activity
Shift from brickwork to granite slabs indicates different periods
Layers of sea shells and debris in the sand show that tsunami activity had twice levelled the temple complex.

"The Pallava structure was destroyed by waves some time in the 13th Century and evidence suggests that beneath it, we are looking at the remains of a brick temple that was destroyed by a tsunami approximately 2,200 years ago," said Badrinarayanan S, a retired director of the Geological Survey of India.

Another archaeologist from the ASI, G Thirumoorthy, said: "We can see these tsunami deposits in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. We've found that devastation happened along about 1,200km (750 miles) of India's eastern coastline.

"The discovery of this Sangam temple will lead us to other geological sites along the coast and teach us more about the pre-Pallavan period."

Since the tsunami on 26 December, marine archaeologists have also discovered evidence of large structures on the seabed up to 1km out to sea.

They think the structures may be part of a former, legendary city of Mahabalipuram.

Myths state the city was destroyed by a flood sent by gods envious of its beauty.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Da Vinci Code

Looks like I have to accommodate one more venture in my already existing tightttt schedule. Well, how am I going to start reading books now? With the aspiration of becoming a director and all (please laugh), shouldn't I be reading books, fiction books, in particular? Where will I get the ideas from? Lot of people have written so many. May be I can get a lots and lots of ideas from them? Just like I mock the lack of creativity of the tamil movie directors these days, may be somebody will mock me because I haven't read great fictional books! There are some people who are good at reading books, but not me. I take too much time in all that. Plus, who'll answer my wife :) Anyways, I'll try to read at least this book because the movie is releasing next year. I want to be fully prepared :)

Song Recording

We recorded a few songs for the tamil drama yesterday. I played keyboard for "Ragupathi Raghava...". It was a fairly easy task. The singers were pretty good. They recorded two more songs without keyboard accompaniment. One of them is "Vaishnava Janatho..". The HeyRam version of this song is entirely in a different raaga. It all sounded great. The tabla player is not Indian - he seemed like an American, may be of Afghan origin. He played very well and also was very fast to pick it up. He has deep appreciation for Indian Classical Music. Anyways.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rest of the progress yesterday

What did I end up doing yesterday - I helped out one of my ex colleagues with some technical stuff. Oh, before that I managed to go to the gym, come back and take a shower, and also answered one of my LA friend's phone. After my ex colleague left, I immediately rushed to Tamil Sangam drama rehearsal - more for the music this time. He gave me some good tips on this. I was not required to go back during the afternoon, so that gave me some time. I ended up watching Layer Cake again and of course I better appreciated the movie this time around. Went and got some three way bulbs 'cause all the lights in the house were dim as hell and that was depressing me. Now, all the rooms are brighter. My wife made some nice "theratti paal" aka "Palgoa" in the evening though she wasn't feel all that well. We then headed out for dinner and met a few people there. I ended up watching couple of episodes of Monk, which I have never watched before. It seems to be nice. May be I'll make it a point to watch it sometime, when they begin the next season. We came back, and crashed. So, overall it was a decent day. I am supposed to watch "Veerapandiya Kattabomman" and get some inspiration for the music. I don't have much time.

Let me summarize: Green is done; Red isn't.

  1. Car Service
  2. Bike Service
  3. Drama rehearsal on saturday for four hours
  4. Drama rehearsal on Sunday for four hours
  5. Create a ppt with movie trivia questions
  6. NETiP rehearsal tomorrow
  7. Dinner on Sunday night elsewhere
  8. Read books
  9. Buy an alarm clock to replace my broken one

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Progress so far...

Today has been a reasonably productive day for me. Woke up and decided to give my car for the service - I went there without taking a shower and they gave me the car back in 45 mins or so. Not bad at all. I came home, took a shower and I was done just in time to receive my first guest of 6 people. He had come for rehearsing Jana Gana Mana. The others took a while and everyone was here by 12pm or so. I hadn't eaten breakfast until then. We rehearsed after that. It took a lot of training for the singers to get synchronized and finally we had a couple of good renditions. It was already 1:30pm by then and I had to be at the tamil drama rehearsal by 2pm. Immediately my wife prepared some lunch and we left for our friends' place by 2:11pm. The rehearsal went on fine and I couldn't come up with a lot of music. I have to discuss this with him tomorrow. On our way back, I also managed to buy the alarm clock to replace my broken one. I'll probably read some books now.
Last night we watched L4yer Cake with a couple of friends. I liked it though I didn't understand the whole movie. Should watch it again. It is one of those ganster movies of London/UK - similar to Lock Stock and Snatch. The same producer, so what do you expect. Too many characters as usual. I laughed at a few places. I was wondering what Sienna Miller was doing in the movie.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This Weekend going to be really busy I think. I WOULD like to do these:

  1. Car Service
  2. Bike Service
  3. Drama rehearsal on saturday for four hours
  4. Drama rehearsal on Sunday for four hours
  5. Create a ppt with movie trivia questions
  6. NETiP rehearsal tomorrow
  7. Dinner on Sunday night elsewhere
  8. Read books
  9. Buy an alarm clock to replace my broken one

If I write anymore, I am pretty sure that I am not going to make that far. Most of the above has to happen this weekend, I don't have a choice.

Yet another week is over!

You know how fast a week goes? Better yet, how fast a weekend goes? Time is just running by so fast. May be it is good to have some things that you simply can't control - like Time. God knows how arrogant we all might get if we can control or slow down time. I think Time pretty much controls our life. Imagine if we had 48 hours in a day....what's a couple of hours of wait at the DMV...or what if your shipment gets delayed? There is no tension :) I don't feel like getting up now....could I sleep for 8 more hours? Yeah, by all means....your office doesn't open till 1PM anyways :) there won't be any hurry to get back home because there is time. The freeways won't be crowded nor will the airline tickets be expensive 'cause you are booking 'enough' in advance :) Correspondingly, your mental growth will also be slower.

"How many times to I have to tell you not to do this....why don't you understand?"

"I don't understand because there is enough time.." :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Soup episode in RC's wedding

This was another funny episode back in Chennai. I wanted my wife to wear some nice saree for my friend's wedding reception. She refused, as usual, but then I didn't give up. Her main issue was that if something spills on the saree, she would get terribly upset. The argument continued for a while, and finally I won it. She accepted the ultimatum and wore a nice, expensive silk saree for the reception. We were fully safeguarding the saree throughout the whole evening, making sure nothing spills on it, etc. Then we sat down for a nice dinner. Everything was still good. She was almost done eating...when....she spilled some tomato soup on her saree! HA HA HA HA HA...I couldn't help but laugh non stop :)

The Raja still reigns supreme!

Date:21/10/2005 URL:

The Raja still reigns supreme

Ilaiyaraja's Live-in Concert organised by Jaya TV had the audience craving for more.

MOODS: At home with his fans and holding away. PHOTOS: SHAJU JOHN

"Do you want me to continue," queried a cheerful Ilaiyaraja. And undaunted by the lateness of the hour, the crowd screamed "Yes." It was almost 11.30 p.m. but not many were willing to leave the Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai, before it was curtains down. "So is this going to be a Sivarathri for you," laughing aloud the maestro asked. "No ... Raja Rathri," the audience responded. The lively live-in concert organised by Jaya TV, the maestro's first in 25 years, was filled with such light-hearted exchanges between the man on the dais and the 10, 000 strong gathering — his ardent admirers all.

Rarely have you come across such an exuberant Ilaiyaraja, so much at home with his fans and holding sway for more than four hours without a moment of lull. Purushottaman left the drumming to Sivamani and took on the role of conductor, with Sundarrajan ably assisting him.

"Geniuses generally go unsung during their life time. Bharatiar was one. I'm glad that we didn't miss this wizard of a composer who can very well be compared to Bharati," said Kamal. The unique aspect about Ilaiyaraja is that his melody has reached every stratum of society and is ringing in its ears still. And that aptly justifies the show's title, `Andrum ... Indrum ... Endrum Maestro — Live in Concert.'


"They love you man, you should meet them more often," a moved S. P. Balasubrahmanyam told Ilaiyaraja, pointing to the crowd that went rapturous on Raja's grand entry on stage. Later, after the scintillating `Sundari Kannaal ... ' (`Thalapathi') number SPB recalled an interesting anecdote. The recording for the song had taken place in Mumbai with R. D. Burman's orchestra. When Raja gave them the notes they were so taken in by composition that all the musicians put their hands together in awe. One of them remarked to SPB: "We don't want Ilaiyaraja or you to come to Mumbai. His notes are too challenging and as for you, you finish the recording so quickly that we lose out on our overtime payments."

Vaali's short address described Ilaiyaraja as an "international celebrity." When he added that the great classical musician Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, had patted Raja on his head and hailed him as a `Maha Vidwan' you could well understand the veracity of the words.


As always, actor Parthiban who emceed the show along with Mahathi, displayed his skill at presenting matters differently. His casual comments and off the cuff observations went down well with the buoyant crowd.

Every song new and old was a sensation. Special mention has to be made of Chitra, the unassuming six-time National Award winner, who charmed listeners with the popular `Padariyaen' refrain, and the quiet and placid Uma Ramanan's enticing rendition of `Agaaya Vennilavae' with Madhu Balakrishnan.

It was intriguing why Raja suddenly called upon son Yuvan Shankar to sing the melodious `Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan.' The young composer, who was not too sure about it was thankfully helped out by Karthik. Karthik's easy, spontaneous felicity of rendition is always a treat to watch and listen.

Jayachandran and Swarnalatha were flawless and so were the others from the singing glitterati, Hariharan, Tippu, Vijay Yesudas, Bhavatharini, Sadhana Sargam and Shreya Ghosh. Conspicuous by their absence were two singers who ruled the roost when Raja reigned supreme — Malaysia Vasudevan and S. Janaki. With Ilaiyaraja around can `Thiruvachagam' be far behind? The audience wanted it and he obliged with the piece, `Maasatra Jothi.'

MELODIOUS JOURNEY: Sadhana Sargam and Hariharan with the maestro at the Live-in Show.

Balu Mahendra had been so much in awe of the mesmerising score from the hardly-heard-of film `Auto Raja' — `Thamizh Sangathil ... ' — that he requested Raja to use it in his Malayalam movie, `Olangal.' With excellent coordination from the orchestra and chorus, Ilaiyaraja `Dhum Dhum'ed the `Olangal' notes to a grand crescendo. The array of violins, Jerry's and Ramendran's violin solo bits, Napoleon's flute, MSV Raja's sax, Prasad's tabla ... you could go on and on. It's been ages since you saw a live orchestra on such a mammoth scale. (Stage d├ęcor further enhanced the grandeur of the line-up.)

The crowning glory was of course the maestro's new composition with just three swaras, `sa re ga.' The song, `Paada Pirandhadhu,' had been penned by the inimitable Vaali. Shreya Ghosh sang the song along with Ilaiyaraja and none other than SPB gave the intro to it.

"This will be an unforgettable evening," Ilaiyaraja promised at the outset. It was. Don't miss the spectacular show on Jaya TV because encapsulating the four-hour bonanza in a few words is well nigh impossible.

© Copyright 2000 - 2005 The Hindu

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Leader Consciousness

I attended a lecture today on Leader Consciousness. It was an amazing lecture and I could relate to pretty much everything the Swamiji said. He said that our mind is clouded by past memories and they heavily influence our decisions. If we allow these so called 'engrams' to influence the decisions that our ego makes, stress results. Our mind is not in our control. When we wake up, we think about work; when we work, we think about relaxing in the evening and finally, when we are supposedly relaxing in the evening, our mind thinks about going to bed. In essence, the state of mind is pretty much the same, whatever activity we do. This is all because we have fully managed to allow our past memories and our subconscious mind to rule over the conscious mind. We associate past incidents, mostly unpleasant ones, to influence our future decisions. And inherently, this is bound to create bad consequences. He also said that accidents happen by invitation only. All the successful leaders out there have admitted and seem to have a common story - their success has been based on something beyond logic - intuition. How do you tap intuition - by allowing your mind to reach out for itself - by allowing your mind to have its own space. Your mind needs its space and freedom and your attention. If you starve your mind, stress results. This is what meditation is all about. He said that we don't even have to believe in it, but inevitably, this happens to be the only solution to all our miseries.
He also suggested a solution to get over our daily miseries and to tap our intuition which would later help in making better decisions: Set aside 20 minutes for yourself everyday and just allow your mind to wander freely. Continue doing this everyday, and it won't be long before your mind settles on something stable and doesn't wander anymore. At that stage, if you are physically present, you are also mentally present. You will begin to enjoy your life and tap into the new dimension.
I couldn't agree with this more :)

Few other things he said:
  • Leadership is a state of the mind, not the status.
  • If we struggled very hard and went through unpleasant experiences to become a leader, chances are that we'll naturally expect others to go through the same before we can allow them to grow up in their career.
  • All successful leaders agree that they didn't get there by following a set of rules and something beyond logic was instrumental in their success
  • "I am the boss of this house, I have my wife's permission to say so" :) He said this in relation to something....I forgot what it was.
  • You must have experienced your intuitive feeling at least once so far...something like thinking about a person when opening the door and that person being there; thinking of somebody when the phone rings and the very same person answering the phone, etc. This definitely can't be classified as coincidence since more than 80% of the people in all his meditation camps seem to have experienced it.
  • If we have experienced good things in the past, they naturally become a part of our subconscious mind and are automatically tapped whenever we are about to make a decision. The problem happens when the number of unpleasant memories is larger than that of positive ones. As humans, we inevitably tend to remember and dwell on the bad memories and subconsciously allow them to cloud our judgement.
  • Smoking is an example, where our judgement is clouded by past memories. Everyone knows that smoking is injurious to health, still some people smoke, without giving it much thought. They remember how their bodies felt after they smoked and use that to "decide" to smoke now.
  • Good experiences are like writing someting in flowing water - there are no marks; bad experiences are like writing on stone.

Locked out!

My wife is locked out of our apartment. And ours is not an apartment is a condo community. So, there is absolutely nothing we can do now. Luckily she was able to catch our neighbor before they took she's inside thier house now, but I have too many meetings today to concentrate on this one. In anycase, I don't know what I can do now. I have to call the landlord and see if he can do something. And today happens to be the day she has classes and has to submit some assignment and all that. Murphy's law in action. My God...simple things like this can have great consequences.

Let's see if we can make an episode out of this:

We were first warned to make duplicate keys, but we ignore the warning. Though we have been locked out once before, we get locked out again. Today is the day I decide to go on my motorcycle, and as usual, I don't take the spare helmet with me.
Today is the day my wife has her computer class and needs to submit some assignment, after she actually finishes it.
Today is also the day when I have a meeting at 6:30 PM.
Today also happens to be the day when we were about to complain about several things in the apartment, to the Land Lord, but we are now left at his mercy 'cause he has a set of spare keys and we won't feel like complaining when he is trying to help :)
I wanted to wipe my motorcycle but I didn't have a cloth...I went back to the apartment and asked my wife to give me one, but I also asked her to come along with me and collect the cloth back so that I won't have to come back. She refused at first and asked me to take care of it, but with a little persuasion yielded :) Had she stayed inside, this whole drama wouldn't have happened, is her claim :)

The fiction part, to spice it up:

Today also happens to be the day when my wife doesn't have the time to brush her teeth or comb her hair before she gets out :)
The landlord himself is locked out of his house :)
Today is the only day I forget to take my extra helmet for the motorcycle and hence can't give a ride back to my wife :)
Today is the only day I don't take my cell phone and it's now locked up inside the house :)
We decide the previous day to save some electricity, but faithfully leave all our lights and fans on before the we get locked out :)
The locksmith is out of town today :)
Luckily, we find a neighbour who offers to help. My wife stays there during the day, trying to figure out what to do, etc. It is pretty late in the night when we figure out a solution, but that unfortunately happens before the neighbours return home. So, in the excitement, my wife manages to lock them out :)
In the meantime my wife is in my neighbour's house, she figures out how mischevious their kids are...watching TV without their parents knowledge and all that :)
So many things are left hanging inside the house, like bread in a toaster, water heater, CD burning, computer with virus update running, etc.
After a long fight with a friend, he/she finally decides to call us TODAY and we are not picking up the phone, after we promise them we'll be there to take the call :)
Finally, we figure out that the house was not even locked, to begin with, when some playful kids open the door to take out the ball they dropped in the patio :)

Do you think this will amount to 20 minutes, and with ads around it, will form a sitcom episode? :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What B-school teaching lacks

Chanced upon this article in Rediff.

October 18, 2005

Straight out of MBA school, I believed in the power of biology; give me big, strong, fast, articulate and intelligent. After 10 years, I believe chemistry trumps biology; give me teamwork, emotional intelligence and all that soft stuff that differentiates extraordinary people from the ordinary.

Early in my career, the entrepreneurial bug bit me and I moved from working for a large company to creating one. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, the key challenge to building a company is to ensure the difference between a "baby" and a "dwarf"; both are small to start with, but the DNA of a baby ensures growth. Authoring this baby-DNA is a different kind of leadership than my MBA preparation for running an IBM.

Also, for a long time I didn't get a salary that my mother was proud of; deferred gratification was somewhat at odds with the dysfunctional auction to the highest bidder of campus placements. Of course, one is not better than the other; just different.

Building a scalable organisation needs much scaffolding (people, process and technology) but the key ingredient is a meritocracy aligned behind a powerful vision. You need an environment that "self-selects" people attracted by flat structures and open debates. A culture of accountability is non-negotiable in attracting and retaining high performers.

Performance management in any organisation not only needs to be fair but has to be seen as fair. These optics were not something I cared about after my MBA since I believed logic makes its own case. Of course it doesn't.

Out of B-school, I thought breaking down a problem into smaller pieces (analysis) was the killer skill; I now realise that putting together different information points under uncertainty into a single decision (synthesis) is the hardest thing of all. Because, with perfect information, even a clerk can make decisions.

Ashok Reddy is managing director, Teamlease Services. He graduated from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, in 1995.

Another concert that I missed :(

One more concert that's gone without me being present. It happened in Chennai. And this is not one of those concerts that comes by frequently. It was pretty much assumed that Ilayaraja wouldn't do another live show and he suddenly surprises his fans with a wonderful show. You can read about it online or visit Indiaglitz for the snaps. Here is Hindu's article on the event. Looks like all the big shots were there. what surprised me were the photos of Kushboo's daughter and Maniratnam-Suhasini's son! Boy, has he grown up or what....I remember him being born at some point! Hmm.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Favorite Quote from Ghajini

"KASTapattu uzhaicha vettri varaadhu...
ISHTapattu uzhaichadhaan vettri varum"

Translation: "You don't succeed if you just work hard, you'll succeed only when you are passionate about it".

So very true! The question is, what am I going to do about this.

The movie was decent. A little too much violence. They could have shrunk the movie by at least 20 minutes by removing a couple of fight scenes. I really enjoyed the romantic scenes. They also formed the comedy track, since there was no separate comedian to take charge. It has all the elements of a blockbuster. Let's see how this one does.


The piece I am listened a few minutes back...I have to get this one. Sounded great!

1:39 pm
Zhou Long: Flowing Stream: Jasmine Flower & A Single Bamboo Can Easily Bend

Shanghai Quartet

Delos 3233

I somehow managed

I am not sure if I was able to capture all my old blogs, but I have managed decently. At least, I had the Ilayaraja visit blog with me in the temporary internet files. Man, are they helpful! Wow, I did really panic. What's the next course of action? I think I'll have to type the blogs in my gmail account, save it there and then publish it. It is going to take more time and hence less enthusiasm. We'll see how frequent the blogs get from now on. Such a waste of time this is. Anyways, I'll get back to what I was doing before this. Have a great day and stay out of trouble.

Found my first post ever...finally :)


is the name of one of the few ragas for which I know the notes on the keyboard. Sounds mysterious, difficult to harmonize, pretty easy to goes to Panchi for introducing me to this raaga and giving me a few examples (Hai rama - rangeela, ninnai charan adaindhen - bharati, etc). Never totally got into fully learning the notes for all the ragas, but am determined to do so in the near future (=lifetime). Seems like blogging like this is really cool :)

How to describe it?

I met Raaja in his studio....and we had a talk!

Well, this was only a dream until a few months back when I actually got to meet this creative genius. On a sidenote, I did feel extremely jealous of my IIT batchmate Thoppai for having spent something in the order of 'weeks' with the Maestro. He got me thinking and introspecting very seriously when he brought in the concept of 'karma' in relation to this. Wondered if I have done any amount of punyam that will lead me to the abode of the genius - considering the number of mosquitoes that I have killed and the number of times I've woken up my wife at 6 am on Sundays, it didn't seem like I'd stand a chance. But never really felt that my wish would get fulfilled pretty soon, though I never got 'weeks' but only some precious 'minutes'. "You cannot be free" until this wish is fulfilled.

(I'd like to emphasize a point here (more like reiterate thoppai's point) - don't analyze this blog excessively for whatever it is worth. Just read it and enjoy it - it is whatever I felt, without any extra dramatizing passages.)

Turns out that my father in law's cousin is a producer (Lakshmi movie makers) and he somehow could get THE appointment for us. The previous day was meant to be the day, but the day was pretty much spent in waiting for THE call and nothing really happened. since the India trip was short and four times hectic than usual (due to quadrupling of the number of relatives after marriage), I decided to get something else done the next day inspite of the possibility of getting THE call. I kept my hopes low, as always.

At around 2:30pm, we got the much anticipated CALL from his manager telling us that he is free and will probably be for about an hour. I didn't believe it even then. We were in the middle of something very important, but on a relative sense, I wasn't even interested in whatever I was doing anymore - so I ran out with my wife and my brother throwing him his sunny's keys and grabbing the keys for the hero honda that we had. We were supposed to meet him at Prasad Studios (I only knew where it was with a few kilometers of error in all directions - never been there before). Thanks to the cellphone technology, we were able to coordinate and get to there by 3:15pm or so. In the middle of this I was required to pass the reality test of getting from one end of the Kodambakkam bridge to the other with my wife on the back plus keeping track of where my brother was (reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where George takes off leaving Jerry far behind when they were all headed to the bubble boy's house). Anyways, with all the paranoia, we made it finally and it would be fair to say that I still couldn't believe it and I might have even been shivering a little bit. The mighty composer whose music has captivated much of the world is supposedly sitting inside expecting four of his millions of fans.

Well, we were invited inside the studio - it is pretty much the studio that I had imagined and seen in movies. On one end was the booth from which Raaja does his mixing. The rest was a big hall, fully sound proofed with designated places for different instrumentalists. When we entered, ofcourse I didn't pay attention to the people in the hall, but I did see a few people setting up microphones and the equipment for that evening's recording. Apparently there were some famous singers and instrumentalists (not SPB or the like) getting ready for the recording. We kind of walked diagonally across the studio and the person (you could call him studio attendant or something) leading us opened another door which led to a corridor, which in turn led to another room. That was THE room. We were asked to remove our slippers and shoes, which we promptly did with much respect. The attendant entered the room first and got permission to let in the four of us. This kind of happened quick - he let us in.

I saw this figure on the diagonally opposite corner of the saintly room. It wasn't clear to my eyes at first, but my mind knew who it was. He was wearing his traditional white clothes - kurtha and veshti and was sitting on the floor with some cushions for his support, with his hands on the legendary harmonium (which has been very faithful and helpful to him in mapping the tunes leaping in his head onto a piece of paper). My first natural reaction - mothama avar kaalla poi orediya vizhundhachu. I got up from the floor with a namaskaram and a joy that he couldn't have comprehended. He offered his namaskaram without any kind of superior air and a smile. I confessed "kadavula paartha madri irukku", which evoked his laughter and made me feel completely at ease with him. Following my procedure, my wife, brother and my father in law fell at his feet too and sat down calmly in anticipation of how the forthcoming minutes will be spent.

Then I started to talk and was outrageously selfish - I never stopped talking or gave a fair chance to anybody else that came with me. Most of the time was spent in me singing his praises, without knowing where to start and where to end. Seriously, what would you do? I told him that I grew up listening to his songs and that I consider him to be the best musician that ever lived in my time. I added certain superfluous statements like "only you are capable of doing this and much more". I commented on his new project "Thiruvasagam in Symphony"

and that I was looking forwarding to hearing the English verses come as counterpoint to the Tamil verses. He smiled in acknowledgement. is unbelievable - I am stammering to write about the actual experience. I seem to remember all the irrelevant details.

I asked him what I considered was one of the million dollar questions out there - whatever happened to the symphony he composed about 13 years back. He gave me a very convincing answer - I'll try to articulate it even though I didn't fully grasp it - he said something to the extent that his symphony wasn't regarded as a true western symphony owing to its Indian nature and that it won't ever come out. Too bad, I thought. In the middle of talking to him, I couldn't help notice some newly written sheet music scattered in front of his harmonium. How precious!

I asked him if he had plans of coming to the US and having a show there. The answer was kind of vague, but he was positive about going to New York the following week to wrap up certain things on his new project. I asked him why so much effort went into recording just the back ground score for the hindi movie Lajja (it was played by Hungarian Budapest Orchestra and recorded in Hungary). I don't remember if I waited for his answer before shooting the next question - I asked him about making several albums out of his golden background music themes for movies spanning his entire career. He acknowledged that they were pretty popular and lot of people are asking him about it. He said some effort may go into that in the future. I heard from other sources that he would like to phase out of movies slowly and concentrate on other non filmi albums.

somebody called him on his cellphone and interrupted our conversation briefly. I heard him talk nicely in English. He asked about me - where I am from and all that. The rest of the people had to tell Raaja that I play the keyboard and that I am very crazy about him. He smiled. Told him my wish was that the entire world should recognize his great tunes and conveyed my best wishes for his Thiruvasagam in Symphony project. Well, praised him in whatever possible way I could in the short time we had. Remembered to enquire the well being of his family members - his two sons, daughter and his wife. Told him I like Karthik Raja's music in dum dum dum.


I think it would have been 20-25 minutes or so and he was ready for his next appointment. He was very polite about it and we didn't want to take any more of his precious time. We got up, I did one more namaskaram and got back his in return. Then I walked backwards till the door, always looking at him. I exited the door, into the real world. I did consider myself lucky. Quite curiously, I asked my brother why he didn't say much. He was polite enough to say that he didn't know where to start and where to end, but the truth is, I didn't let him!!

Of course, I proudly narrated this story to lot of other people :)

Harris Jeyaraj's attachment to C Minor

Does anybody else get the eerie feeling that he is always composing only in the western minor scale? To the extent that you can just life the tune from one song, replace it with another of his songs and it will still be ok, particularly from "Kaakha Kaakha" and "Chellame".

LSATSB the short form for "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" which happens to be the funniest movie I've ever watched. I wouldn't say I "watched" this movie since I'd like to describe this movie more like a phase in my life, which started in Dec 2002. I cursed myself for denying myself the hysterical laughter for four years since its release, but I believe I compensated for it. Plus, I spread the fame of this movie to all my friends and made them spend so much time on this (which would have cost the nation 2 billions of dollars in lost work time). Did I stop with just watching the movie - NO! I almost mastered the Cockney accent and phrases which became a part of my everyday life.

I still don't know if it is me, or this movie is really that funny. I had to watch couple of scenes before I go to bed every night. It enraged my Ping-Pong partner when I suddenly started laughing (thinking about the movie) after missing a shot. Well, for those of you who have denied yourself the pleasure for seven long years, NOW IS THE TIME TO WATCH IT!



...I am guilty of being late on this one too. Nevertheless, I'm having a great time now with me ticking off the ones that I watched in a long printed list of all the episodes they ever made. Has anybody gone to the extent of uploading Seinfeld mp3 clips on to their Ipod? Well, I have! Visit for the scripts - which will give you an idea of how crazy I am :)

Do I have to get the DVDs or just go home everyday not knowing which funny episode they're going to air? There seems to be absolutely no dearth for creativity here.

LA traffic

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

LA traffic

is possibly the worst in the country. I've been watching it since 1998, when I landed there, and beyond a point, I could only 'watch' it and not drive in it. 405N was the first "free"way that I took. It was indeed free at that time. Then the traffic became unpredictable and became predictable again - there is always going to be traffic! On Thursday afternoons, it is called 'Thursday afternoon traffic'; on Sunday mornings it is called 'Sunday Morning traffic'. I am sure nobody knows what exactly that means.

Hello Senior Citizens! Yeah, buy your grand dream car after you retire with your 401K (make sure it either a Mercedes or a Lexus) and drive it sooooo slooooowly on the road so that everyone can get a very decent look at it! May you have the glory of holding up traffic on Wilshire Blvd on Saturday mornings. I mean, why would you want to get up on a weekday and head to the post office like the way you do, at 8:30am??!! Does the post office close beyond 10am? Or can't you just sit at home and do some internet shopping?

And those who are trying to enter the freeway - don't even look if the entrance ramp becomes another lane or not - just turn on your left indicators and head straight to the left lane without looking. That's when you can have the maximum impact on the society.

And how about being exxxxtrraaaa cautious when the road slopes downward in front of you - yeah, your car is going to take off like a plane because of gravity and you do have to slam the brakes pretty hard to avoid this even though there is absolutely NOBODY in front of you and you are already driving far less than the speed limit!

To all those pretty women - do you apply lipstick on your lips or lips on your lipstick when driving - could you let me go first? Do you have to do this at every signal and miss the precious green?

To the heroes of the fire department - could you do your drill at a later time please?

How about being completely ready to move your big monster vehicle when you get the left turn signal at Venice and Sepulveda? Or how about closing the 1 mile gap between yourself and the one in front of you, at times of extreme stress on the freeway. Are you reserving seats for somebody here? You are not driving at supersonic speeds that you need a runway to stop. Also, you should be proud to test your brand new BMW for its pick up and brakes. Either you close it or let me close it. Closing is bound to happen, so in your best interest, you do it without thinking.

How about not slowing down on the left lane to watch that funky clown on the other side of the freeway!!!

When the 'too good to be true' stuff happens and if the freeway is indeed empty, how about REALIZING it and driving at least at 65mph??

And what are you really doing following the semi when the lanes on either side are completely empty?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Primal Fear

I thought this was a pretty good movie. What I remember from this movie is how Ed Norton describes how his mind gets 'blanked out' when he becomes his other self, under extreme stress and anger. The closest I have come to experience this is whenever I go to the supermarket to buy stuff with my wife. Yes, that is my Primal Fear. I become somebody else. None of my senses work. Particularly in this dingy place, which is always cold with some weird music running perennially in the background - can't help it. My brain seeks rest at this place. Can't open a plastic bag; can't pick up fruits; can't do nothing there. If I had a wheelchair, it would be perfect. And looking at my face, they shouldn't really be asking 'how are you doing today' at the cash register. Should I tell them that I get blanked out in their store?

"Do you want to pay $100 for two fruits?"

"yeah, by all means...I don't know what the hell is going on anyway...."

Until after marriage, I didn't know that a person can actually spend 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon doing grocery shopping. Our kitchen is now filled with all exotic items which I never knew existed.

"Do you have Thyme?"

The store worker showed us her watch. We had to clarify, of course. This Thyme would later go in minute quantities in some of the exotic dishes that were prepared at home. Apparently it adds a great flavor. If you mix it in water, it tastes like 'omam water', which my grandma used to give me when I was a kid, for repairing my stomach.


Monday, February 07, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

Me watching this movie was a result of reading my colleague's blog. I should say I was glad that I watched :) It's a different kind of off-beat humor. The characters really strike you. ND's dancing skills are awesome! Seems like a top DVD rental of the season. I really liked the music as well. Some memorable quotes from the movie:

Girl (handing over a picture to ND): Would you like to look like this?

ND: This is a girl.

Uncle Rico: Napoleon, what do you think of this video? I wish I can go back in time, I'd take state.

Napoleon: This is pretty much the worst video ever made.

Girl to ND: What are you drawing?

ND: A liger.

Girl: What's a liger?

ND: It's pretty much my favourite animal - it's like a lion and a tiger mixed.

Uncle Rico: Napoleon, looks like you don't have a job, so why don't you get out there and feed Tina.

ND: why don't you go and eat a decroded piece of crap?

Trisha calling ND: Hello, is Napoleon there?

ND: yes.

Trisha: Can I talk to him?

ND: you already are.

Pedro: Do you think people will vote for me?

ND: heck yes, I'll vote foryou.

for some more memorable quotes, visit this blog: Law In Order

My wife is now paranoid about me getting hooked to this movie, like the ones already etched in her memory :)



thanks to their new "no late fees" policy, I still haven't returned the Napoleon Dynamite DVD. I don't feel like returning it. I'm captivated by that climax dance and the music that follows. I was checking out the movie's website on yahoo movies. Couldn't believe how different each actor looks in real life! They have completely made it up. See if you can spot "Six Differences" :)

New strategy to buy DVDs when your wife doesn't welcome it: Rent it from Blockbuster and don't return it. Be 'absentminded' about it. GOSH!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Me and reading books don't go well together. I take couple of eons to finish 100 pages of anything. Once every couple of years, I would feel that I have to read something, mainly because somebody told me that there is a lot to read! Then I would google (Definition: to search for information about a specific stuff through the Google search engine; Pronunciation Key: goo-'gle' as in 'play'), for libraries and bookstores in my vicinity. Then I would yahoo for directions to that place. Then I would 'post it' them on my steering wheel. Then I would drive to wherever it is. And then, I wouldn't read after getting there!

My favourite hangout for reading books is Barnes and Noble. I'd go there, appreciate and admire the atmosphere of that place. One would look like a very learned person there. Look at all the people who seem pretty serious about Italian vegetarian cooking. Look at the students who would take their homework assignments to the coffee table just in front of the Starbucks No.2 inside the bookstore and still wouldn't know whether to order decaf or chai latte. I've even looked at a 80 year old man tearing the plastic cover of "do not open unless you wish to buy, strictly for 18+ only" magazines :) Well, all this stuff would take about 10-15 minutes. I'd then go to the bargain section, of course not to buy anything. I'd eagerly open up a book about antique cars, browse through a few pages and conclude that it is not my thing. Ok then, take the first escalator to the middle section and try to locate book by nostradamus. That was the one book that they ran out of that day. Go to the photography section - flip through all the books there. Yes, I have assimilated the content in all the books in just under 40 seconds. May be I am still trying to locate a book, which would interest me more. I step into the cooking section - it struck me so forcefully that I got out of that section in half a second. Move on to books about Beethoven's life, Mozart's letters, Western Classical Music Encyclopedia. Well, these books are too thick for me. So move on again and end up in the astronomy section. I would flip exactly six pages in a book about saturn when an involuntary reflex on my body forces my eyes to look at a section which has books about self-improvement. Would I go there? No I am already improved. don't need anymore improvement. But the section next to it sounds interesting - World History. You can guess the rest. Not done yet, so take the 2nd escalator to the upper section. Go around the section for a few yards and you suddenly find yourself out of the store. Now, that's terrible - you have to get back into the store again. After all, you haven't begun reading anything yet. After about an hour or so, my mind tells me that I have been out of the house, so I need to get back. Only after that would I feel a sense of accomplishment for the day. May be the reading can wait until next weekend.

I don't know what happened in Barnes and Noble, but one old lady would have gone home thinking I am a Photographer; another pretty one would have loved to talk to me about world history; the nerd would have been interested in asking me questions about space and may be the 80 year old man was thinking of selling his vintage car to me.

Jimmy: What did you end up doing on saturday afternoon?

Me: Well, unlike you, I "Barnes and Nobled".

Then there was another bookstore called Borders.....

Over the years, I have matured enough to live this experience completely in my mind whenever it occurs to me that I should go out and read. This takes only about five minutes.

You know, they should try to make a novel with just 10 pages in it. By the time I get to the last chapter, it is embarassing to admit, I forget the character names. To me, each chapter in the novel talks about different people. So, I can take a two week break in between chapters.

"....and then the Galileosauras attacked Ted in the museum..."

Well, wait a minute, is it the same Ted from the first chapter? or was there even a Ted in the first chapter? Is the author trying to make a point here? AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

I had a fairly long engagement period that lasted for 9 months. My fiancee would want me to read some romantic novels (she came really close to finding out about my 'long distant relationship' with novels). Anyway, I then borrowed something that she recommended from the library closeby, which I never knew existed. When the librarian told me that I could renew the book twice for a period of three weeks after the first three weeks, I shouldn't have heard it. Somehow, when I returned the book after feeling unhappy that I hadn't fully read it, it was time for me to get married.

Unfortunately for me, the topic surfaced during our honeymoon.

Ok, let me get back to reading this book that I've to return tomorrow.