Monday, 10 December 2012

Of greatness and inspiration

Any greatness inspires us. A great sculpture, a great piece of music, a great effort, a great act of nature - anything great - anything indeed serves as an inspiration. When I go to a vast field, or see the vast sky above either in its azure blueness or in another of its million shades, I find inspiration. I see the many possibilities - of what one can do, of what we can achieve, of all the life's possibilities - everything right there for our taking. I believe I speak for a lot of people when I say this.
It is to this inspiration that Miss Rand refers when she says this. It speaks of a man who was in love with music, who didn't know what to do with life and was seeking for an inspiration. He was a young college student who was walking in the woods and this is what Ayn Rand says:
"He had always wanted to write music, and he could give no other identity to the thing he sought. If you want to know what it is, he told himself, listen to the first phrases of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto - or the last movement of Rachmaninoff's Second. Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music. Let me see that in one single act of man on earth. Let me see it made real. Let me see the answer to the promise of that music. Not servants nor those served; not altars and immolations; but the final, the fulfilled, innocent of pain. Don't help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Don't work for my happiness, my brothers - show me yours - show me that it is possible - show me your achievement - and the knowledge will give me courage for mine." (From "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand)

I just went through the following quote today and was struck by the truth in it and made me write all this stuff down:

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
- St. Augustine

(I hope I'll write more on this later. The subject is vast and I have written only a few lines...)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Falling in love with the strings...

A few years ago, had one told me that I should listen to Violin, I'd have shown contempt. I used to wonder when I saw people learning Violin, when I myself tried a hand on Piano and Guitar. I was quite immature then. Music, as things go, is beautiful even if it is made from a steel plate and a spoon. But back then I'd have scorned.

I guess it was an year ago that I fell in love with Violin, but didn't know it. I liked the music when I heard it, but couldn't discover that it was the this stringed instrument that I loved most (in a few songs). I've just discovered it a week ago. And am I glad !

I guess I owe most of this discovery to Damien Rice's songs. I am not sure if people liked that part of his music, but it was one of the big reasons to love his songs. Listen to the part starting at 3:30 in Cold Water, or Amie and you'd know. I guess it gels amazingly well with his voice to make it a complete piece.

And then there's this orchestra from Andre Rieu that played instrumental version of "Annie's song" (originally by John Denver) that I really liked. While I already love the original song, this instrumental version with Violin took me by surprise as I found that I liked the Violin sound. And then suddenly I realized that I like most of Damien Rice's songs because of this. Things fell into proper places...

I started liking this girl Taylor Davis when I heard the "Alchemist Brothers" Violin version. It's originally in some animated series OST but this Violin version is the first I heard of that. She plays really good.

And then there's this instrument Cello, one that I didn't even know how it looked like until a minute ago. I heard it's name a lot of times but never cared to look it up. In India, people seldom play it. My discovery of Cello has to be attributed solely to the game "Braid" which had a very positive impact both in terms of gaming and music. I really loved the music a lot and as I was searching for its OST, I found that it was by Jami Sieber (and Cheryl Ann Fulton, Shira Kammen) and that she's a Cellist. Fantastic stuff. Check out Maenam, Downstream from her.

By the way, the Braid artwork is brilliant too. The background pictures were as fresh as a morning daisy.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Who, having seen the sun set, can not be romantic about life ?

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Earth Prelude by Ludovico Einaudi

Play this and close your eyes. I somehow felt that I should put this under the "life" label of my blog too.

Came across this in the short movie "The country of Mediocres". Lovely short movie. Just about 13 mins or so.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Anatomy of Telugu movie songs

Telugu. It's a language. Language of one of the southern states in India. One of the different and, distinct features of an Indian movie is that they have songs - songs in which the Hero and Heroine, mostly, dance to the tune. The songs (and dance) try to portray to the audience the things which dialogues cannot say. Instead of an OST, we have songs from a movie and they capture the entire essence of the movie, or are supposed to. They form a chief part of the movie industry in India - both north and south.

While the article I am writing about chiefly concerns itself with Telugu movie songs, one can, in general, use it  for the Hindi and Tamil songs as well - though there are a few distinctions of their own.

The average Telugu movie is made up of at least 5 songs and usually 6. The Indian movie being a lengthy affair, there is an intermission/recess so that the audience can attend to their Calls of the Nature or to filling up their stomach. Thus, these songs are spread in a 50-50 way either way between recess. So, you have 3 songs before the intermission and 3 after.

As most stories deal with the broad aspects of Love and Romance, and ofcourse leading up to marriage, the usual song pattern goes like this:
1. Intro song - This song is meant to introduce the protagonist, the Hero, to the audience and briefly explain why he is the Most Generous, Most Talented, Most Handsome, The Only Real Man (whatever the definition of "Real" in this phrase is) while also touching upon his Wisdom, Courage, a little of the Road side Romeo and Naughtiness. You will sometimes have the hero tell you how to lead a life, what the qualities of a happy guy are, how not to worry about the sad things in life, what Life is, how an 18 year guy should be (even whilst portrayed by a 35+ man).
You may sometimes have an introduction song to a heroine and this will obviously portray that she's a fun loving, good daughter, good sister, good friend, a Friend of the Lonely, a Friend of the Poor, a Friend of the Underprivileged - basically a kind hearted angel who's just come down to visit this grief-stricken Earth.
Noticeably, this song is an utterwaste of one's time and a director's resources - as almost all the Heroes in the Telugu movies have same personal traits - encompassing all these.

2. Just saw the Heroine song - This song tells us how the valiant Hero fell for the Woman of his Life. The Hero will speak about the basic feelings of Love - of floating in the clouds, of telling the audience that he's head over heels for her. In the end, you should be convinced that he's fallen in Love and you simply can't miss the point as it's presented to you in many - and - different ways in New Zealand, Australia, US, UK and the Europe. Sometimes, they'll be shot in India too.
A variation of this song might also show you how the Hero and the Heroine quarrel with each other. To tell you that they can't stand each other - in which case they'll realise that they love each other after a couple of more songs, or maybe one.
The People of the World complaining that the Quality in Standards have come down are probably complaining so after they've watched these songs - as even the lyrics have become so bad that they are centered around the Heroine's name. If her name is Madhu, the song concerns itself with all the words rhyming with Madhu. If she's Sunitha, then you have different set of words to rhyme. A complete and utter lack of imagination combined with a total loss of purpose.

3. Duet - Hero and heroine are in Love and they tell the whole world about it. By the end of the song, one is convinced that they'll never part and have been chosen by the Hand of Fate itself for their journey together.

INTERMISSION - mostly a recess here. Few films have four songs in the first half of the movie.

4. Varied - Ah, finally ! In this part, you have a suspense. You'll never know if there's another Duet coming up, possibly because the Hero and the Heroine feel that they have yet to clarify those doubting minds that they are still in love and that the Hand of Fate has really chosen them for their happily-ever-after life.
You'll never know if there's an Item song - a song which is added to cater to the Masses - a raw version, a closer-to-animal take of Love and usually confused with Sex part of it. The Item actress in this song will be portrayed as one hailing from a small village, having all the characteristics of a promiscuous female. She's the Object of Obsession of all the men and she's simply bowled over by the Hero. Obviously, this means to reaffirm the fact that he's the only Real Man in the vast state of Andhra Pradesh. How this means what it means and why it is supposed to prove that the Hero, despite his lust for her, is supreme in every sense of the word is beyond my understanding. You'll be better off entering the Telugu movie with your analytical part of the brain switched off. Don't worry, after watching a few movies, it'll auto-shutdown (yes, I am a software engineer, you can tell it by this word(s)).
You'll never know if it is going to be heart-break song - the one where either the Hero is ditched by the Heroine, owing mostly to some a-good-daughter-sacrifices-love sort of misplaced notion or because she loves him too much to see him possibly be hurt by the villain, or her father, in the near future. This song speaks about the terrible things that Love brings with it and of how the audience must empathize, sympathize or whatever with the Hero and the Heroine.
The Hero and the Heroine are spotlessly clean in their character, nevermind the Hero's dance with the Lusty lady of the Item song.

5. Varied - Suspense again !! But don't worry. The three "You'll never know" songs that I've described above will vary in sequence or only a couple of them might be picked for the movie. You never know which is going to be the first - either the Heartbreak or the Item song. This is not the place for a Duet at all. So if you have one Item song earlier, you are, most definitely, in for a heart break song.

6. Duet - Mostly the final song of the movie, this song is again a duet. It stands to reaffirm their earlier faith that the Hand of Fate had really chosen them to be together, and despite the bad guys and problems, they'll assure the audience that their love for each other is intact and that the Roses will bloom again.

This brings us to the end of the movie.

While there are a few variants to this sequence, and even fewer exceptions, you will most certainly experience them in the same order. A few movies that come with a fresh of breeze, have a different take on the songs and are, quite welcome to me. As for the rest of the audience, I cannot speak and will not.

God save the Telugu Cinema.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises escape music - Bane chant

It's amazing how music can inspire you and drive you. I've been trying to get my hands on the chant and music that were the background score when Bale tries to get out of the pit in The Dark Knight Rises. It sounds like "Deshi Deshi Basara Basara" and lots of people are explaining what it means. I haven't explored that part yet but this whole chant with the music makes it a real hair-raising thrill. A complete inspiration. Especially the way the music stops for a little more than second when Bale takes the jump without the rope and then makes it. That music starting again - that is the Rise of the Dark Knight.

Amazing what music can do, isn't it ? Look at this video that someone has rightly put up. This music makes anything look epic - even a cat video. Take a look at this:

Hats off to Hans Zimmer. I loved the way "The Dark Knight" ends with the music really getting me high and this one now makes it a tough choice between the two. Well, for one, both these are associated with different emotions for me, so it's not a choice between them, but rather that both stand out in their own, shall I say, genre.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Times of India "Spot the news" contest

Welcome to The Times of India "Spot the news" contest. Contestants will be given a Times of India newspaper and the first person to circle where the News item is actually present on the paper will be the winner. Quite simple, isn't it ? Or so one would think.

There are two rounds in this contest. In the first round, contestants will be given a weekday issue of either the main paper or the supplementary "Hyderabad Times" or "Bangalore Times" or other such editions. After the "slow and dumb" contestants are eliminated, the ante is upped. The contestants will be given a Sunday edition where it is very tough to spot the News item amidst the plethora of Ads.

Contestants are advised to go through all the papers, as many as one can lay hands on, and try to find the "News" in the Newspaper. You'll be amazed at the number of Ads that are present and the corners to which the News items are pushed to.

Next up: Count the Ads in the Times newspaper. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Why Hindu Gods and Godesses have many heads and hands

(This post does not induce religion or encourage Hinduism in any sense. It is only my view of why Hindu deities have many heads and hands.)

After reading a few times about how westerners, or non Indians, view a Hindu deity as someone who has 8-12 heads and many hands, I thought I'd present my view on this subject. There are a lot of pictures like the one here that show a Hindu God/Goddess having many heads and hands. 
Hindu God Vishnu with his many "faces" and "hands"

This led to the belief that a Hindu deity is multi-headed and "spider" handed, sort of. In fact, I find many Hindus refer to God as someone with the same physical description. 

This is what I think:
In a picture, personality traits / characters are depicted via a face. So a gentle character has a gentle face, an angry character has a red face, a frightening character is depicted as someone who has gorging eyes and probably a tongue coming out of mouth. When an artist wants to show the various traits/characters (read "faces") of a Hindu god/goddess, there is a dilemma. A single face won't be able to cover all the traits. Hence, the artists chose to give the god/goddess the many heads - in fact many faces.

Hands denote ability. Even in English language, the use of the word "ambidextrous" is used to denote skill of the person and not just "someone who can use both hands with equal skill". To show that a person is skillful at sword fight, a sword is painted in his hand. Thus, to denote many abilities, the artist drew many hands, each  depicting a particular skill. 

Thus a Hindu deity is shown having many heads and many hands.

(This explanation is entirely my own and I find this quite logical. If someone else has said the same thing, I haven't read it.)

Thursday, 17 May 2012


It's in you.. the life.. the blood that runs through you.. the strength in you.. the miracle of life.. the best of the possibilities.. it's here.. it's in everyone of us.. The question we have to ask ourselves is "What have I done lately ?"

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Man in the Arena - Theodore Roosevelt

Have you ever, by any chance, read "The Man in the Arena" by Theodore Roosevelt ?

I say "chance" because it was by chance that I came across it. I was searching for a wallpaper of Rudyard Kipling's "If". I've been wanting to have that as my desktop wallpaper for some time now. I chanced upon the wallpaper in a website "The art of manliness" - they were announcing posters that are now available for purchase. The first one, "The Man in the Arena" by Theodore Roosevelt caught my eye and I enlarged it to see what was said. The website boasted of 'manliness' as an art and so I thought it'd be worth to check that out. And yes, how true it was. I read it, was spellbound, and just sat in silence for a couple of minutes. Or it must be my mind playing tricks because I thought I sat in silence. Sometimes when you find something give form to a feeling that you have, in a way that matches the feeling, you feel happy. I mean, I do. I have to write this down tonight, I told myself. Serendipitous discoveries really have a thrill that very few things can match!

Here's the poem and picture directly linked to the website (I guess there would be some copyrights, so I didn't reproduce the pic. But the problem with linking the pic directly is that if they link, this would be useless. Anyway, that's alright.)

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt

Hats off to you, Mr.Roosevelt. That was fantastically said.
(Do visit The art of manliness if you want to buy the poster. By the way, I have no affiliation whatsoever with that website)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Reasons unknown

I go deep into the forest
to find the flowers that grow on the edge of the mountain
where the water falls into the emptiness below
I weave a garland for you
I carry it in a bag tied close to my heart and come to you
You ask "Why ?"

I go to the lake and sit quietly
Look at the waves talking to the rocks
whispers all over the place
You come wandering and sit by my side
I see the sky and your smile
I write a sonnet and offer it to you
You take it and ask "Why ?"

Late in the night you are making your bed
Engrossed in other chores that are trivial but yet need attention
I am sitting in my garden watching the stars
with the sounds of crickets and frogs giving music to the night
And I look to the heaven's above and ask "Why not ?"

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


We all know what we want to be, but somewhere down the line, we lose track of that. Like a slate wiped clean. Nothing in our minds. It's like you've got to start afresh. All the incidents and events of the previous days are just things that happened to someone else. We see a face and we think we know them. Knew them. Saw them somewhere. It's familiar. We might have been the thickest of friends or greatest enemies. But now they are friends or enemies of someone else. Its like you've been taken out of yourself and given a new form. And the road ahead is a new one. And then we snap back. And then we have those two of us within one. It takes time to settle down.

Monday, 2 April 2012

What I am listening to now...

1. Hey there Delilah - Plain White T's : Nice !
2. When you were young - The Killers : Awesome ! I didn't have an impression on this song when I first listened to it. That was when I was just exploring "The Killers" about a couple of years back. But last week I heard this play on VH1 and I was like "How did I miss this ?" Just getting this into my mobile and will probably hear it a lott.
3. Colorblind - Counting Crows : Kind of like feel very close. The piano and the way the song is sung just get me to a quiet mood. A song that makes me close my eyes and just listen to it and take it all in.
4. Chasing cars - Snow Patrol : Was addicted to this song sometime ago. I am quite alright now, but still listen to it. I think its amazing that they came up with : "If I lie here, if i just lie here, would you lie with me and just forget the world" !
5. Acha lagta hain from the movie Aarakshan : Amazing lyrics and song.
6. Us against the world - Coldplay : A song that comforts me and brings a sense of calm.
7. Paradise - Coldplay
8. Life in Technicolor II - Coldplay : Love the intro tabla and "And my feet won't touch the ground" is so well written. Love the video too, quite funny that one.

9. Til Kingdom Come - Coldplay: Words fail me.
10. Fix You - Coldplay : The build up when Chris Martin runs on to the stage is amazing. Always gets me up whenever I listen to it. Feels like a rush of blood everywhere in the body.
11. Juno OST : Kimya Dawson's songs are good. I didn't hear songs like this earlier, and felt good about it. The movie wonderful too.

And lots and lots of Damien Rice. So much that I am gonna write a blog about how good I feel about Damien Rice.

Friday, 30 March 2012


Sometimes the greatest wars are not fought on the battlefields

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Starting poetry

My latest discovery : Rabindranath Tagore !
I can't believe I haven't read any of his works so far, apart from those that were not in my school text books - none of which I remember now. I was going through a shelf of books at my home when I saw this particular one : "Lover's gift and Crossing". The first two poems were enough to glue me and a couple of pages later I was amazed at what I was reading. I'll be reading many more of his works, that's for sure. Here's one from Lover's gift :

      I dreamt that she sat by my head, tenderly ruffling my hair with her fingers, playing the melody of her touch. I looked at her face and struggled with my tears, till the agony of unspoken words burst my sleep like a bubble. 
      I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window, like a world of silence on fire, and I wondered if at this moment she had a dream that rhymed with mine.

I've just started reading poetry. To be honest, I never quite understood poetry. The only poem I ever liked was by Robert Frost, "And miles to go before I sleep", which was pasted on of my uncle's almirah. As for the rest, I didn't understand why they are so famous. I heard about this one "O Captain my Captain" by Walt Whitman and I can't appreciate it as much as the other poetry lovers. I gave up reading poetry long ago, until I found Tagore. After Tagore, I'd love to read John Keats (my aunt loves his work, have to see if I like it too) and hopefully I'd be able to understand some.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I am writing

The sky is dark
The wind is hard
I just came out bathed
Suddenly I got hold of something
Something that I've been thinking for so long but didn't get the words right
It struck me now
The words come to me
I have to write them down now
Lest I may lose it as I have lost others like this
I get to my pen and paper and start writing
The lights are out and all that glows is the moon outside and it enters my room
The back door bangs now, the wind blowing even harder
I can't stop now
I can't go to secure the door
I can't even go to switch the light on
Lest I may lose it as I have lost others like this
I am writing. I am writing...

The tree of life

Can't believe someone can make such a movie ! How can anyone do it ? Breathtaking, amazing !

Monday, 5 March 2012


The sun sets now only to rise again. I know that the light isn't eternal but neither is darkness.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Home run !

Sometimes in life, as they showed in Moneyball, you are worrying about reaching the second base and staying safe at the first, when you've hit a home run and haven't realised it !

Monday, 6 February 2012


Life. How do we measure it ? For each, his own ? A different yardstick for each of us.

How do we start ? We go a way. We find a crossroad. Roads to be taken. Roads to be left. How do we know which one to take ? Should we go left, or to the right ? We choose a way. We go ahead.

We grow. We feel. We make friends. A few great friends. Some talk to our soul. We realise we're not perfect. And find warmth in knowing that they aren't either. Or not. But that they accept you for who you are.

We work hard. At home. At office. Some dreams have to be left. Some visions shatter. We seek other things. Some opportunity lost. Some door closed. Some opened. Hope fills our heart. We move. Some hold promises. Some hold challenges. Yet we go ahead.

When you are old, do you remember the boss that hurt you when you hadn't worked on a saturday ? Or do you remember the time when you ran in the rain, ran with your swimming suit and a t-shirt, ran from the edge of the hill to the tea stand, to have a small cup of tea. With your friends. To finish the last sip. And then look at who's going to pay the bill. To find that we hadn't known that there wouldn't be an ATM on such a hill. 

We laugh. We live. We marry. We find that there are still things to learn. We still have to grow up. And we grow up and raise other little ones. They form the center of our world. Some forget to give their spouses the time they deserve. Some do. We go ahead. We keep walking.
We start our lives making promises. Every couple start their lives dreaming that theirs would be the ideal marriage. Some live up to it. Some don't. All part of it. Some promises are broken. Some such promises break our hearts. We still move on. Some die in the process. Some find more passion to keep things lively. Some sing. We listen to an old melody as we pass by a hotel. Reminding us of some things we could have done some other way. Only we haven't. Some remind us of the best times we had. And we smile. We come home from work. Suddenly there's a rose waiting for you. Beside it is a letter. "Darling, I'll be late". Simple things, they restore our faith. Faith. Spark. The candle that burns within. Illuminating spaces in our heart that are too precious. 

We regret. Only, the most precious things in life are never meant to be regretted. You preserve them. You hold them deep inside. When you go on, you find that some aren't regretted.

A Spark. The small thing that marks the difference between caring and loving. What is it that makes us see through broken promises, still keeping our love for each other intact ? You are dead angry against him. He did something foolish, something stupid. Some dust speck falls into his eye. You go over, to blow it off. How does our blood rush when you hear their voice? How do we still love with all our might ?

We fight. We love. Sometimes something is amiss. Some hollow in the heart. You miss something. You don't quite know what it is. You seek for answers. You drive your bike at a hundred. You aren't thrilled. You find chaos, when there's silence around. Its the peace. The peace that is sometimes lacking. The inner peace. You have to find it. You struggle through to find it. You have everything in your life, still you have to find it. You find it, then the others can be set straight. 

We have to find it. Find the inner peace. When you've found it, you'll have a solemn silence, when there's chaos around. Cause when you find it, you'll be. You'll live to the fullest. When you've found it, guard it. Its a small candle. The light of hope. The small spark. Our life.