Sunday, December 11, 2016

True Story

6th December 1992. I'm thinking it was around 11.30 in the morning. 

A day and time  that I doubt I will ever forget. Changed everything I knew about the world. Changed the way I saw my friends and the way I saw complete strangers, and almost certain it changed the way how people saw me. Even today, 24 years later, the happenings of that day are imprinted in my mind and believe it or not, I even recall where I was, at the time. 

At the ophthalmologist, getting glasses fitted for the first time. 

What did you think? 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Story of my life

Filmmakers are the experts in storytelling. Conveying story arcs and displaying emotions on screen, are easy, or relatively easier, than getting the message across in a visually fulfilling and stimulating manner for the audience. Which is why we have some movies which are just so-so, and some which are really the work of genius. Very often, these two movies may not even have much difference in terms of plotlines and story flow, but the treatment and the presentation which can make or break a movie.

A critical element of the presentation of the movie, is the background music. A good background music score, can help convey the emotion of the moment in the movie better than any line of dialogue. The key to good background music though, is that remains often in the background, and keeps the story flow front and centre. Composers of great background music, are practically curators of art, where they blend into the cinematic furniture, but bring a glow to the movie, which can never be replicated. They can uniquely convey the mood of the movie, often from the perspective of the protagonist(s) that helps the audience better understand which way the story is going to develop. An incompetent composer, on the other hand, can literally turn your cinematic gold, into a piece of unadulterated garbage.

Unfortunately, real life provides no such background music. The song in your head, plays according to the mood you're in. The sad part though, is that the song playing in your head is very often much, much different in mood and tempo, to what is playing out in real time in front of your eyes. Blessed are those, who can recall and play the most appropriate song / piece of music in their heads, for that instant, that moment,  as it unfolds. 

Maybe that's is what true success is. After all, I am told, success is just a state of the mind.

As it turns out, my own Christopher Nolan movie feels at times like it has a music track by Sajid-Wajid. It IS a Nolan masterpiece, that most "directors" would give their right arms, and an kidney to call their own. But the entire experience somehow, somewhere tends to wear me down. The problem I think, is the background track.

There are days, where I think I could do with a different curator of my background track and that the current one has gone beyond its shelf life. You could say that the "band I'm in, starts playing different tunes". Or to convey to a younger audience, it's almost as if my livestream is on a constant buffering mode, playing at BSNL speeds.  To be fair to them, Sajid-Wajid are trying their absolute best, but it's not really looking like the right fit to the story.

How will this story unfold? 

Watch this space, I guess

All I can say is, it's not even time for the Interval yet :) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fixed You

When I first heard of the Coldplay concert, I did think about it. But I figured there would be a million others and the rush and the crowd and all of that meant I decided it was better to keep my twenty five thousand in the bank. 

As it turned out, while the concert was going on, I was in a different crowd, trying to get those twenty five thousand (in hundred rupee denominations, mind you!!) and thinking about the Coldplay concert, where I gather they played this song..

Fixed You - 
When you want your own dough, but you don't succeed
When you won't get what you want, not even what you need
When you're so penniless, that you just can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
All your life's worth that you just can't replace
It's all legal, but there's no one to explain
Could it be worse?

ATM lines will send you home
And confuse your bones
And He would have fixed you

From Delhi above to Kochi below
Lines long enough to just let it go
But if you never stand you'll never know
Just what you're worth

ATM lines will send you home
And confuse your bones
And He would have fixed you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face and you
Tears stream down your face
2019 you'd learn from your mistakes
Tears stream down your face and you

ATM lines will send you home
And confuse your bones
And He would have fixed you

Saturday, July 09, 2016

On Federer

"He should retire.. Why doesn't he retire??"

That's pretty much where conversations lead to these days.. Whether it's continuous beatings at the hands of the latest sheriff in town, or injuries.. Or just the guy has won so much that he doesn't need it any more..

But essentially the entire conversation leads to the topic of the guy's retirement.

For a long time, I too was of the same opinion.. All the rooting for the guy, the incessant viewing of the latest score - all the apps, all the websites, all the television channels (now in HD).. and all I've had to show for it since for pretty much the last 6 years is disappointment..

So, essentially my response to the disappointment is to ask him to stop it.. To retire, because I know I cannot take it any more.. I know in my heart of hearts that he will have to beat 7 guys essentially 5-8 years younger than him to win another Grand Slam..

And I have lived long enough to know that it's not happening, or rather if it DOES happen, it will take a miracle of Leicester City proportions..

But then Cilic happened.

And everything came rushing back.. The same frustrations, ecstasies, reliefs.

And came the epiphany.. It's an individual game, no one is forcing anyone to play.. He's still good enough to be 3 in the world.. If I cannot handle the disappointment, it's not anyone else's problem.. Certainly not his.. Especially if he's playing as if he's having so much fun..

Keep on playing sir..

It's not you, it's me.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The F- word

Every so often, it becomes important to sit down and question. And so, the Question of the Day, seems to be something on the lines of –

“Does anyone, anyone at all, know what the hell is going on?”

It’s all nice and easy to say that X is anti-national, or Y is autocratic or whatever. But whatever it is that you are saying, with so much certainty and sense of finality, it implies you are very well aware of the repercussions of what you say, and with the knowledge of this, you stand by what you say.

Even if all you have done, is actually pressed on that WhatsApp message, copied that message and then touched that right arrow and broadcast it to the 256 contacts on your phone, who then have forwarded to 256 more such blow-hards.

You still stand by what you say. Or forward. 

But then, that implicitly assumes you know what is going on.

What if you don’t? What if you’re being played? 

This thought keeps coming to me, when I see people express their anger on social media. Eminently normal people, people who I meet and see every once in a while, some close, some not so, all evidently have a humongous reservoir of anger deep inside, where they express what’s deep inside. They call people names, they advocate murder, support lynching on the foundation of whataboutery, call for armed revolt, and what not. Many of these do this, even though, their “side” is supposedly the responsible one.

Do these people have any clue to what they’re saying?

And then people like this, vote for people like them, who then land up in the corridors of power.

Either completely clueless, or extremely cognizant, of the power they wield.

The worst part is, I don’t know which of the two, is the scarier scenario. 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)  

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Life in the age of Razzle Dazzle

It's amazing.. Simply amazing!!! 

How is it that no matter what I try, I never have time to do anything that I want?? So many things, often meaningless, mundane bull crap, that occupy my mind, that need my immediate attention, and the day just speeds by as if it's Dash on steroids.. 

You'd think there's been some technological miracle that has made a day last only 19 hours!!!

The funny thing is that I hear so many people, who keep saying this to me about their own lives. 

If only there was some free time for me to just concentrate!! 

So then I sat this morning, and tried to figure out what the problem was.. And it hit me that there indeed has been a technological miracle.. One that has been in my hands for the longest time.. 

The frikkin' smartphone!!

Earlier, there used to be some time to switch off. Some "down time" which allowed the brain to relax a bit. Now, with the addiction of the smartphone and the gadgetry and apps and the non-stop blast of information coming at me, the brain is consistently occupied with no refresh mode.. 

The problem is not the down-time, or lack thereof.. Rather it's more to do with the fact that the feeling of being rushed into things is not something that I am very fond of. It makes me take short cuts, where I shouldn't. It forces me to speed through things which I should spend more time thinking about. 

Like reading the headlines of the newspaper, most information thrown at me hardly provides any details of what actually is going on. 

The rush to the next bling, is the closest I have come to an addiction.. 

The problem with this, is that with incomplete information, it is always possible that my thoughts and decisions are half-baked and not well thought through.. I might be taking the easy way out, instead of doing what is right.

In short my brain is more System 1, rather than System 2.. The sad part is, it's quite possible that I am not the only one.. 

A state of affairs where Donald Trump can be looked at as a possible Leader of the Free World, suggests that I am definitely not the only one obsessed with the next glitter in town. One where the simple promise of "Acche Din" has a greater connect than detailed policy specifics, and where a prestigious military event needs the likes of Akshay Kumar and Kangna Ranaut as "brand ambassadors"  is not the one I was told that I would be growing up in. 

Is it possible, that all the nonsense spewing in the world, is basically a side-effect of our own busy schedules and inability to find the time to think?? 

I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum. He'll bring them death - and they will love him for it 

(Full disclosure: Even as I type this, I have Apple Music streaming on my phone)