February 23, 2009

Jai Ho!

I am so very proud of Rahman winning two Oscars. Though we did not really need any further testimony to his talent, yet coming in the form of Oscar is something special.

Also, many believe Slumdog is not the best work that Rahman has done. But no one can deny the fact that he truly deserves every centimeter of that trophy and evey bit of the accolades he has received.

An extremely talented person, he is sheer passion in a human body. It is not about the Oscar per se. It is about the journey that one man has covered in a relatively short time with pure talent, hard work and commitment. From the Bombay and Rangeela days to RDB and Dilli 6, each of his music score has accumulated into this wonderful moment where he is truly a global giant now. As they say, it is not the final blow of a stone-cutter that breaks a big rock, it is also the impact of all previous blows. Same is the case with this living legend called Allah Rakha Rahman.

Simply truly inspiring!

I sincerely wish him all the very best in his future journey. On the flip side, I fear (selfishly) this recognition could also mean that we might get to hear lot less of his work in our movies. Not that it matters greatly as to where his music gets used, still.

February 19, 2009

Thing about Luck...

...is that it's too twisted. Twisted to suit one's convenience and need. If someone tries a lot to achieve something and does not get there, he's unlucky. But if someone tries a lot and gets there, he might have been plain lucky. This makes it look too simplistic.

I happened to see Luck by Chance the other day. A decent movie. Not an entirely new plot. Yet refreshing to see the journey of a struggler getting it right. The movie is not about it per se, but about the way things change when someone becomes successful. There is this dialogue from SRK towards the end of the movie that forms the perfect precis for the script. When you are successful, do not forget the ones who were with you when you were no one, because only they are the ones who say the truth you want to know about you. A cliched thought we have heard many times before, yet never practised much. It is perfectly okay if you want to be arrogant about things. I am no one to suggest that everybody must remain modest and down-to-earth. But, the arrogant ones would do well to remember that people around them may not be nice with them if they are needed later. Of course, you can't crib about the world being unsupportive then.

The character in the movie is, as they say, at the right place at the right time. Again, a cliched line. Yet it is relevant. We are a function of the opportunities we were given in the past. In that sense, we have been 'lucky' to get those opportunities. One of my basic premise in life has always been that the difference between the successful people and the others in most cases could be zeroed in on the opportunities they had. The day you under-estimate the opportunities you had, you start to reverse your fortunes. Thing about luck is, it is a highly 'mis-used' term.

However, that's not what makes them successful. Being at the right place at the right time is helpful, but if you are a dud you won't be successful. You can be as lucky as you want in getting the right opportunities, but if you are intrinsically incompetenet, you will soon be termed 'unlucky'. Irony is, even then it won't be termd as lack of talent or skills. Thing about luck is, it makes the difference only for the deserving!

I have had my share of brushing with 'luck'. Like both in my intermediate and final examinations of CA, a single mark helped me in clearing! Even if that is being lucky, I had earned all the other marks before that single mark became important! If someone fails by 20 marks, he is incompetent. If someones just manages to clear, he is lucky! :) Thing about luck is, it can be easily modifed the way you want to, like a prop.

I have no problems with being termed as a lucky guy. Never thought too much about the marks beyond the day when I got it. What matters is what you do with whatever you received for being 'lucky'. It boils down to how you handle the 'lucky' success. Use it the best possible manner, people will stop tagging you lucky. Do the right things in life, you will be always tend to me more lucky than others. Thing about luck is, it is not the end of things, it is the beggining that you would be looking for.

Apart from the family where you are born in and how you are taken care of during your formation years, pretty much everything else is a function of choices you make. The highly successful must realize that a lot of things were set right by others before they reached wherever they are. Hence, they must be the catalyst for making others successful by 'spreading some luck to others'. The not-so-successful just needs to keep doing the right things as they keep moving, rather than blame the four letter word. Almost every time, sooner or later, they will fnd their 'lucky moment', the moment when they join the rank of successfuls. Thing about luck is, it makes it seem that there is an invisible hand that sets things right.

There are definitely few instances where luck over-shadows everything. Winning a lottery, a close shave with a major accident, etc. But the moment you start to associate luck with everything you do, it loses the 'charm' it has. There are few things that is a function of what you do. The sooner one realize this, good for everyone. Modifying a famous Sunny Gavaskar quote on cricket, luck is temporary.. class is permanent.

Thing about luck is it chooses to stick with them who spends the least amount thinking about being lucky!

Stay focused, stay lucky!

February 13, 2009

Inside story on Raju's jail-stay :-)

A forward I happened to receive..

Reports have come in that Raju had 20 idlis for breakfast, five plates of rice and a bucket of rasam for lunch and 25 chapatis with two chickens for dinner. But the jail superintendent says these numbers are inflated. "You see, the habit is so deeply ingrained in Raju that he automatically inflates all figures," he added.

Incidentally, his cellmate Srinivas Vadlamani, Satyam's ex-chief financial officer who has denied all knowledge of wrongdoing, said he didn't know whether he had any meals. "I am not aware whether I had breakfast, lunch or dinner," he said. "Am I in jail?" he asked.

Meanwhile, insiders say that Raju has decided to teach accountancy in order to impart his skills to a receptive audience. "I'm really excited at the prospect of being taught by such a master," said a murderer serving a life sentence. "My problem has been that I don't know where to hide the bodies," he explained, "I'm sure that a guy who can hide Rs 7,000 crore for so many years can easily hide a score of bodies."

A stream of visitors has also been arriving at the jail, all wanting to meet Srinivas Vadlamani. Inquiries revealed they were promoters of companies, eager to have him on their boards. "Where will I get such an ideal chief financial officer?" asked a person who said he was CEO of a company called Black Hole Ltd.

Even the jail superintendent says he is extremely happy with Raju. "He is a financial genius," he exclaimed. He said Raju had outlined a scheme that could save the jail a huge amount of money. "Raju explained that all I needed to do was to allow the inmates to choose their own guards. He said these guards would cost a fraction of the current salary being paid to jail warders. I was a little hesitant about prisoners choosing their own jailers at first, but relented when Raju said that it was exactly the same he is doing with companies — they all appoint their own auditors and nobody complains."

Incidentally, even the Naxalite prisoners lodged in the jail are very happy with Raju. "We have been working for decades to overthrow capitalism, with no effect," said their ringleader. "And then Comrade Raju comes along and wrecks the system from within, giving Indian capitalism a resounding blow. We're electing him to the party's central committee," he added.

But Raju is unlikely to take up the offer. He has a job offer from Nigeria to run the huge network that sends scam emails to people promising to transfer billions of dollars lying in unclaimed money to them once they give their bank account numbers and a small advance payment. Unconfirmed reports say that to make the schemes look authentic they're thinking of asking accounting firm Pricewaterhouse to certify them.

Others say Raju is exploring a lucrative option in a related field. "He's thinking of becoming a godman," said a source, "Which is why he is reading religious books."

Some also say that Raju is being paid a fat advance for a novel based on his Satyam swindle. "It's clear he has plenty of experience of writing fiction," pointed out a publisher.

And lastly, in a curious but related incident, teachers at a prestigious school in Hyderabad were shocked when young Bunty Reddy of class 5B told his class-teacher that his father was a male bar dancer.

Investigations revealed, however, that his dad was actually an independent director on the boards of several companies. "In the circumstances, it's natural for the child to be ashamed of his parent," said the principal, "And that's why he tried to pass his dad off as a male stripper."

By all accounts, Satyam ex-chairman Ramalinga Raju is having a rollicking time in Chanchalguda jail. His popularity among the inmates, all of whom are in awe of a man who can make Rs 7,000 crore disappear, knows no bounds.

"Some of us affectionately call him by his nickname Scamalinga," said a petty thief, "But most just call him Gurudev."

February 11, 2009


Last couple of days, the date of my blog posts are shown incorrectly. I typed one today, the date shown is 10th. And for the one I posted on 10th, date shown is 9th!! I am wondering about the reasons. Any idea, any one?

One more year of wisdom

I turned 26 yesterday.. clap clap. One more year of learning, one more year of mistakes, one more year of decisions, one more year of joy, one more year of questions, one more year of wisdom has passed. The day per se was normal, as always. I do not remember a single birthday that I have really 'celebrated' in a big way. I have always wondered what's the entire hoola-goola about! What great has happened with my stepping on to this world! :)

Side effect of birthday is that I have to talk a lot more than a normal day. Calls keep coming and have to talk with the callers. I love them yet it becomes painful to keep muttering the same things over and over again. The questions are generic and so are the responses. What plans for today? How are you celebrating? What gifts did you get? Working or just enjoying today? A lot of these and more.

I do not feel any different after the birthday. I guess it will take another year to digest that am already a year older and by then I will turn one more year older and it will take a year more from there to realize I am another year older. Something like that. If I keep extrapolating it, I will really die a year younger than my actual age! Yippie..

If the above para does not make any sense to you, I have achieved whatever I wanted to. A lot of things happening with me recently have also not been making any sense. Not that I am complaining.

What have I been upto? Less reading, more sleeping. Less thinking, more wondering. Less work, more entertainment. Sometime last month, I had drawn up a list of movies that I wanted to see. So I 'ransacked' Rhythm House and bought a total of 7 movies. Out of those I have already watched Manorama Six Feet Under, Fashion, Dasvidaniya, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Welcome to Sajjanpur. Yet to watch Anuranan and Bong Connection.

Will be watching Luck by Chance, Dev D and Dilli 6 very soon.

February for me is a month of birthdays. Know many whose birthdays falls in this month. So every other day I am sending a mail/sms to the birthday boy/girl. I can see the Vodafone guys smiling. Wicked. Birthday related messages/calls must be subsidised. Government must do something. Somebody must do something.

I did not make any New Year resolutions thinking will make them on my birthday. Now I think I must do it at the eve of my quarterly birthday on May 10. Why? Coz I do not want to do it now, simBle.

To talk of the wisdom I gained over the last year, the most important was that everything around us are so very trivial and irrelevant. We over-estimate most things and situations. Most things do not deserve the attention we give. Especially people. We spend so much time and efforts for relationships/people and later regret it. That should not happen. We must invest time in relationships yet no expect so much that you will eventually regret it. All people are otherwise equal but for the attention we give them. It is so amazing if you detach yourself from your real self and just observe things happening with you. People and problems will seem very micro then. Try it. You will enjoy. Just watch yourself as if you are somebody else. Don't judge. Don't preempt. Just observe. It is fun.

I am amazed by the fact that there are people in this world who have chosen to love me unconditionally. It is such an amazing feeling. I can feel it with them, when I am with them, when I talk to them. People who likes me despite not having met for years. People who pray for me and hope the best for me. I know it because I can sense it. Telepathy or karmic energy, as they call it. And guys the same applies the other way. I am not very vocal about what I feel and think about you, but I love you. I have you in my thoughts very frequently. In some cases, I have not spoken to you for months and years. But that's so impertinent. I can feel you are happy with or without me. And that's what matters. Really.

So now you know why birthdays are so irrelevant for me. You love anyway. You care anyway. You bless anyway. You miss anyway.

I wish to see a much peaceful world. A much responsible world. Love is amazing and we must love everything and everyone. Let us preach it. Let us practice it. It is difficult but then so is life.

Do not wait for the next birthday to do something you want. Do what you want to each day. Birthdays soon would be quite a normal day.

February 10, 2009

A Violinist in the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace, stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while.
About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the average ticket was $100.

Apparently, this is a real story.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:

Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible inferences from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Yet another forward I received and loved. An extremely pertinent reality that surrounds us each day. Last few posts, am using forwards and other extracts to express what I feel is important. Many thanks to all of them who send me such forwards.