Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rehearsal Schedule

We have two more weeks to go. Yesterday we had our first (almost) dress rehearsal with all the sub leads presenting their work. Most of them were ok. Our show kind of sucked. The regional number couldn't have been more wrong. One of the singers was very upset over how it turned out. It took me sometime to bring her to terms with the quality and we really improved a lot later. The other songs were somewhat ok, though we didn't quite perform one song that we were required to do, 'cause the guitarist was absent. I told him that it might be better for him to take off this weekend than a weekend later because I would definitely need him closer to the actual deadline. He can pick it up, I am confident about him.

The drummer in our group is taking some initiative, which I am very glad about. I originally had requested his services only for two songs, but now he is playing for all four and that too with super dedication and interest. It is good to have him back!

Overall, I would say that the show will sound amateurish - I am wondering what I need to do to make it more professional. Left to myself, I believe I can give a better show with just playing some instrumental pieces. I have always wanted to do a tribute to all the great music directors of India by playing their songs on the piano in a connected fashion such that one tune seamlessly blends into the other. I should work on such a piece and give a performance sometime.

So we have two more weeks left. We have three more rehearsals to go, I think. Or may be two. I should rent the sound equipment soon. I have to take previous year's quote and find out whether I can get the equipment for the same price. I am getting some pressure from the organizers to find out whether I can accommodate everything within $550 - that's how much it cost last year. But when I enquired, I found out that last year's music lead had got all these music gear for a big discount, which I am not sure I'll get this year. So, in simple words, I don't know how much it would cost this year to rent the equipment and the studio. Oh man, last year was a nice performance and people were generally very cooperative. This year, people simply don't have the team spirit. I don't even know why some of them committed to this event. I can understand if people are busy, but then they should appreciate how much time everything takes - they always come up with requests as to how long the rehearsal session might take and whether they can take off in the afternoon, blah blah. How can I even answer such questions. Though I thought I have become aggressive, my recent experience tells me that I still don't want to step on anybody's toes or get on the bad books of anyone and I still remain kind and nice to people. But this can't go on forever of course. I hope people

Friday, March 24, 2006


Life shuffles between music, work, music, work....tomorrow is a major rehearsal run. People have to come and do their best. But looks like some important ones are not really staying beyond noon, so I'll have to break my head again as to how to practice those songs in which they are involved. I guess I'll have to do my best. These kind of issues will be there to stay, but what I can't stand is politics. There shouldn't be any politics in something that I am coordinating. If everyone independently realizes what they are capable of and what's the best they can do, things will be much smoother. Since I have extensively analyzed the music industry and come across some amazingly talented people who still don't have a foothold in the industry, I can fairly say that it is not an easy task to accomplish something equivalent to a drop in this big ocean. Humility is needed for success. Interest alone is not enough. Hardwork alone is not enough. Priorities have to be very clear.

I guess when people form bands, they don't put too much thought into it. They of course do it for fun since forming a band seems like a great thing and offers a lot of excitement to begin with. Later on, when more people come and there are differences in opinion, they need to go back to their mission and figure out whether they are in alignment with it. Otherwise it is a waste of everyone's time. Why do bands exist in the first place? The only answer I can come up with is that the band members realize that the sum of all parts is bigger than the whole - they think they can accomplish more by being a part of a band than by just doing it themselves. When the fun ceases to exist or when people start thinking that they can do better by themselvs, it is very hard to sustain the band. Firstly, all the people are working - so considering that music is not the main job, people should probably think how important it is for their lives before they commit to anything. Nobody has become a rock star overnight. It takes years of training and talent and perseverance and what not. It actually does take so much to come up with a 6 minute song! I guess there is not that much chemistry between the team members this time. Last year it was great and I can also fairly say that I didn't create any unnecessary fuss though all the songs were selected before even I joined the band. I just played with enthusiasm 'cause I got to meet some great musicians. That's what, in my opinion, is the essence of playing in bands - we get to meet and make some great friends and like minded people. This single factor makes it worth it, though there is a lot of stones and mosquito bites along the way.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Battleground analogy

One can't go to the battleground and start learning to shoot there. They learn shooting elsewhere and come prepared to the battleground. You can't drag another soldier to teach you shooting so that you may shoot well during the battle - what will happen is that the other soldier will get killed along with you meaninglessly. So the logical way to go about this would be that the fellow soldiers try their best to defend themselves instead of dying meaninglessly without any cause.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The number of people that need my attention right now is a crazy number. I don't know how all this happened. Things seem totally out of control. Yeah, yeah, I am moving at great speed and all that. But I don't think I have a good hold on most of the things that I am supposed to be doing at this very moment. The music group needs a lot of attention and last night I had to spend time fixing parts of a song till about 1 AM. I didn't get much sleep. Lot of other personal issues to take care of. Plus there is work, where again there are too many people who need inputs from me. I do feel important now, but I am skeptical of sustaining this situation. I have lost all the free time I had where I used to read books and contemplate. I really hope I get out of this kind of a schedule sometime soon so that I can take a breath.

All kinds of people issues are looming. I don't have the luxury of making one person happy in a whole big group of around 15 people. I don't understand why people don't understand sometimes. They need attention, a lot of attention. They want to be in focus and really forget about what's important for the show as such. Now, for any big post or a leadership position, this will continue to be a challenge. That's why I don't want to frown now and give up on the situation. May be this is a real test for me, considering what I have been wanting to do in the recent times. This is a test to see how I fare on such leadership roles. I do have to come out clean from this one and put up a great show. Most people are happy, that's the good part. There are a few strong glitches that I have to fix amicably before the show. Chances are that I'll always run into people who push me to limits. I guess I just have to live with it and come up.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Working Saturday

Today turned out to be like a proper working day, considering that it is a saturday, except that I was fully involved in the music rehearsal. I went to the audi at 8:30 AM and came back home only at 6 PM! That's several hours of music practice. But I am somewhat glad because the songs were kind of coming together. The singers and the other musicians were a little serious today. There was some tension in the beginning but people were understanding. They started singing and paying more attention in the later part of the day. We had a great time. One of the singers' wife also came with their newly born daughter. She was very cute. The baby came to me peacefully and stayed with me for quite some time and didn't want to go to anybody else. I guess it is a different kind of life, when you have a kid. They say "child is the father of a man". I fully believe in it, but I am not sure when I'll be ready. I guess there is no good time or bad time. It just has to happen sometime without too much thoughts.

Ramta Jogi song is coming out very nicely. It came out nice enough to dissolve the skepticism of one of the instrumentalists. Roobaroo needs a little bit more practice. The others are ok. Some of them are very cooperative and I need to extend a special note of thanks to them. I hope things turn out nice in the end. Next weekend, I'll take my bigger keyboard and do some magic with it. It should be much better to practice with the bigger one, except that I don't have the proper cables to connect to the mixer. The guitarist won't be available next saturday though it is supposed to be a formal rehearsal. I guess we won't have much to practice for next weekend. We'll have to do it in the weekdays itself.

The drummer and I share the same philosophies on most aspects. He was hoping that the saturday morning sessions become a regular thing, even after the event is over. I am skeptical about it, but it will be nice indeed. My wife didn't come with me today - I think that was a good decision because a whole day of just sitting and watching us do the same thing over and over again would have definitely been boring to a third person who is not directly involved. In fact, we didn't even have lunch today. I'll have to file my taxes tomorrow. Let us see how that goes. I'll also get to meet my friend. One more weekend will be over in another 24 hours :) I am really waiting for this music event to get over so that I can enjoy my regular weekends. Come summer, you'll find me boogie boarding on the shores of San Diego beaches :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Life moves at breathtaking speed :)

Too many things are being done on a daily basis. It's something to cherish, but I am simply not getting any rest or relaxation. There are tons of office work to do. The music thing is just going on ok. Today we had a mini rehearsal at one of our percussionist's place. He plays the dolak very well. Tablist was there (is that the word?). I played my smaller keyboard, for which I have totally lost the respect. It's just not doing it for me anymore. I love my bigger keyboard so much - the weighted keys and the ease with which you can change instruments, the general timbre of the instruments and all those things. It's well worth the money I paid for it. I need to play a lot more at home. I need to get better.

One of the singers has a problem with his partner singer :) I knew this was coming. I was much more of a perfectionist a year back. But now, I don't have the energy to correct all the small small things. I still have to work on that song to make it much better. I guess I have to talk to the other singer and ask that person to probably sing at a lower pitch. And may be have them both sing some parts together to be fair. That should work out better. The invocation song has been chosen and has been rehearsed. I am really guilty that I am not able to put in as much effort as I want to. I am really responsible for this event's success. I shouldn't screw it up. My reputation is all rolled up in it.

People should come to the practices after fully rehearsing the song at home. They don't even know the song and come there and listen only. This weekend though, I could sense a little bit more enthu from other people. They actually listened to the song a little seriously and kind of prepared, but they still weren't there and we are all making mistakes. One of the instrumentalists has a problem with picking up beats. We have to work on that. What I am doing is a very delicate job and I am trying to keep everyone happy. People do understand my plight, but still care only about their role predominantly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it - in fact, if they concentrate on their parts perfectly and do something good about it, I'll be more than happy.

I have to file taxes sometime soon. I have been trying to gather all the necessary stuff and spent way too much time yesterday trying to locate some of my old DMV documents - registration renewal notices that have the vehicle license fee info on them. I am still not able to locate them. Wonder where they went. I usually keep all these safely, but yeah, I have to search more thoroughly. One of my friends should be having fun in India. One of my colleagues has also gone to India and must have reached by now. His brother is getting married. I was joking saying that he might also find somebody this time :) He works pretty hard and makes me feel guilty at times :)

Sunday, March 12, 2006


The results of an online IQ test that I took:

Complex Intellectual
People who are Complex Intellectuals are highly intelligent and have extraordinarily strong verbal and math skills. Compared to others they are highly conceptual and complex thinkers and are able to understand information in an abstract form. They also show great attention to detail. In fact, it's hard to find something they're not good at.

This is encouraging, but I don't see results :)

Entrepreneur Worthiness

Take this test at Tickle

You scored 69% or lower!

Guy Kawasaki's Entrepreneurial IQ Test

Brought to you by Tickle

Friday, March 10, 2006

Managing Life

Work is hectic. So is the music stuff. On top of it, people have so much schedule conflicts. They are not really committed to the show. They want to come for rehearsal at their own time and convenience. They probably don't realize that it takes so much effort to do something out of the ordinary. Why can't people have their saturdays free for the rehearsals. At least if they can practice well at home, I wouldn't have to drive them so hard during the weekends. Some of the singers are pretty serious about the show - they want to meet even during weekdays. I had a few people over my place this week to go over what their roles are, very clearly. At least I got that thing done. I should really take my bigger keyboard to these rehearsals - otherwise there is really no point. I am not too comfortable with the smaller one. I need to practice playing also. I got the bass notes for the Gujarati Song last night. I need to take a print out of that. I also need to work with the Marati singer and figure out what all she wants me to play for her song. Poor them, they have not been getting much attention from me. I need to boost their spirits. I should probably call her today sometime. I keep writing her name in this blog by mistake, instead of preserving her anonymity. Anyways, another busy weekend ahead. We are all meeting at 8 AM itself tomorrow. I like the fact that it is early, so that the day seems longer. I really like if my days are long - either with interesting work or with enough daylight :) So what else is happening? Not many interesting movies to watch tonight. We might meet some people or just stay at home. My wife might be getting bored.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


This funny. I got something from circuity during the thanksgiving sale and I still haven't received the rebates back. I need to get two $30 rebates back from them. The website says that they have been mailed more than a month back, but I still don't have them with me. How far should I go with this thing? A good part of the morning has been spent calling these people, being on hold, etc. It's probably to buy something without mailing rebates or just be prepared to lose that money. God, i wonder how much money is being made with these lost rebates and unpaid rebates. It's too much of a marketing strategy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Work is really hectic. I can't concentrate on anything else right now. At this rate, all my personal work would pile up and pose like a bit mammoth a couple of months down the line. I don't have time to look at tax stuff. I have to take care of the invocation song as well. I think I'll have to drive the participants pretty hard. I have to communicate more openly. I have to contact them more often and figure out how things are going. The singers need to exactly figure out multiple things. I have to work with the percussionists to see how they are able to handle. I have faith in them, but still it is the responsibility to sign off on these things that scares me. I don't want to boss around too much and alienate people, but at the same time, people are a little too complacent and don't do their homework.

Anyways, my wife likes to update her blog with lots of recipes. That's a nice practice. One fine day, she'll have a decent record of what all she has tried. It'll come in handy. What else is happening. I think days are beginning to get longer. When I come out from work, there is still sunlight :) that's always welcome. I can't wait to hit the beach with boogie boards pretty soon. I have a new friend that has joined work recently. He seems to be adventurous too. So we all can have a blast. I want to do some travelling this year, but if I work like this, I won't have time to even think about anything. The whole of last year, I just went to Hawaii. That's it. Not any other vacation. I think that's why I have become such a think machine. I need more vacation. I need to be stress free. My immune system might have got weakened because of my increased stress that it has taken more than 10 days for me to recover from a stupid cold.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Post Oscar 2006

So the oscar distribution certainly upset many people I guess. Crash won the best picture award. I don't complain about that :) I really liked the movie and the music and the snowfall towards the end of the movie! So, they should have such a ceremony for engineers, doctors, lawyers, carpenters, builders, etc. Come on, it is high time they hosted one for people like us. Not that I may get nominated, but I can try to find a connection to one of the nominees and go sit inside the Kodak Theatre at least! The post ceremony interview might be like:

TV station: "How does it feel to be nominated as the best Mechanical Engineer for 2005?"

Winner: "I wish to thank the Academy for the Oscar and my grandmother who appears in my dreams everyday. She was the one who told me to become a Mechanical Engineer. Then my mother encouraged me a lot. She taught me how to be a great engineer. Whenever I got depressed, she used to ask me to hang in there. I have always hung in there and now here I am, with an oscar" :)

TV station: "So, tell me about winning the oscar for the best Doctor for 2005"

Doctor: "I had no idea, when I cut the intestine of that terminally ill patient, it'll fetch me an oscar. I guess I just did my job and then God is great."

No seriously, we all need such occasions to glorify ourselves. After all we are responsible for so much progress in the world - manufacturing cell phones, laptops, medicines, etc. Somebody needs to pamper us man. This is not at all fair.

I want to be in the news like: "Oscar winner and Engineer Mr.K is now working with a new team of engineers to design the next generation cellphones so that he may use that cellphone to do more such work."

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I guess it is a big deal. They refer to it as the "wedding night" :) I am sure this is a priceless tag on the artist's resume, but I am not sure what difference it makes really. I guess you probably get paid more after you win an oscar and you are probably respected more and looked upon as somebody with so much potential. The best supporting actor oscar was won by George Clooney. That was the first oscar. I wonder what the best picture would be - Crash or Brokeback Mountain? What kind of politics are played by the oscars committee? I am sure it can't all be fair. Matt Dillon didn't get the oscar. This was his first nomination. He was good in Crash, definitely, but the film footage that covered him wasn't enough to show his consistency. I wonder how he got nominated in the first place. Reese might win the best actress award - she is the american sweetheart right now, or so I hope ;)
They are calling in Salma Hayek now. I guess I better watch :)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I never get a 100!

I took this 8th grade math test - it was "pazham" for most part, for one question I was lazy to think (a little arrogant also), so I got only this much:

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Today, I have been getting a lot of attention all of a sudden. Four people left me messages on my office phone, which is such a rarity! I've been busy in meetings and all that. People asked me if I am free so that they can come and consult me, blah blah. Last night we had a rehearsal with just one of the music group members. Life is busy and seems out of control at the moment. But like somebody said, it probably means that I am going pretty fast too. So I am not complaining all that much, but I still need some time to read books and decide some bigger things in life. I don't know when that will happen. I haven't read the books borrowed from the library in quite sometime. I haven't listened to some CDs. I haven't been able to regularly phone home and make sure things are in order. My wife is somehow managing her time.