Apr 26, 2011

Inspiration

You know that you have to update your blog and you are suddenly itching with ideas. But… darned, you are a work and can’t (ethically) quite put the ideas down. And when you get out of your office, ideas come rushing through and you can’t quite start blogging right away. Instead, you jot down on a list of things to blog about on your PDA and rush back home and start blogging.

Well, that’s exactly what happened to me today. I cleared a backlog of two weeks of blogging!

Apr 25, 2011

Scre4m

This is one of those movies which don’t scare you at all. It keeps on amusing you with twists and turns, with blood and gore, with stereotypes and old characters in slightly twisted roles. Plus, if you are a fan of the Scary Movie franchise, this is a must-watch. The end is refreshing with a big twist in the plot. I would give this 3 stars because when you were thinking that they can’t come up with another sequel to Scream 3, they came up with one and it’s not that bad.

Apr 24, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

I thought this might a bit like Inception. At least the previews seemed to suggest some sort of a sci-fi drama kinda feel to the movie. Well, it stayed good until the ending which got to be a little too much of mush. A good concept executed adequately but ending in a bit of a drab. I’ll give it 2.5 stars.

Once I start watching movies, there is nothing stopping me. So expect a lot of movie reviews from me. Next one up is Scre4m.

Apr 23, 2011

2011: Battle Los Angeles

After a long, long time, I decided to watch a movie. I had planned to watch this movie in the theater when it was showing a month or so back. But, as usual, I chickened out. I’m glad that I did.

The movie is more action than conceptual sci-fi. The only refreshing thing about the movie is that it doesn’t have a cheesy ending and that it introduces a concept of aliens invading our planet for its liquid water content.

All in all, I’ll give it a 1.5 star.

Apr 22, 2011

Are you still on those pills?

I was at the venue of the gig yesterday. The band was having dinner. After I finished mine, I opened my backpack and took out of pills (for depression and chronic urticaria) and laid them on the table so that I can take them.

My good friend and band mate who was watching me do it asks me: “Are you still on those pills? Why are you still depressed?” I tried to tell him the facts – that I’m suffering fro depression and am under therapy for it. He still didn’t get it.

This is the state with most people who don’t understand mental illnesses. They think that such illnesses come and go as and when you want them to, and that when situations change, the illnesses disappear by themselves.

All I want to say is this. Clinical depression doesn’t go away when situation becomes better. It needs continuous therapy from which people benefit. If you were not aware of this, now that you have read this, please don’t ask such questions to your friend/family when they bring such topics up.

Apr 21, 2011

Judgment Day

Today, April 21st 2011, is the latest date in the series of postponed dates for the Judgement Day from the Terminator franchise. Judgment day is the day when Skynet, the supercomputer system comes to realize about its own existence and launches a nuclear attack on humanity, ending up controlling them with robots.

Nothing has happened yet. I think Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger have managed to avert/postpone this eventuality. But honestly, till when?

Apr 20, 2011

The balance

Another band of mine always seem to go through the problem of striking the balance between performing songs (covers) for the crowd and having fun by playing songs that the band mates enjoy playing. Most of the time, the band tends to choose the set to please the crowd, thereby boring the musicians themselves.

There has to be a solution to this. Otherwise, the frustration will grow to such a level that we don’t enjoy playing with each other anymore.

Apr 19, 2011

Another opportunity missed

Communication is the most important skill of all. Unfortunately, some of my band mates seem to not have the necessary skill. When an opportunity comes knocking your doors, you need to grab it with all your limbs. In this case, it was a break that the band would have benefited from immensely. Of course, only if the offer makers stick to their word. But that’s the same for most of our lives, is it not.

In this case, one of the band mates suddenly decides to throw in the towel saying that he has had enough of rehearsing tirelessly without any gigs. Another doesn’t even bother to reply to an e-mail about whether to meet up with this new person who has come up with the offer. The rest of the members of the band (including me) are left in the dark. And of course, we can’t proceed further.

Talk about bad luck!

Apr 18, 2011

State of Affairs

Am I in a relationship? I would like to consider so. He is far far away and has a busy life. The maximum I can hope is to meet him twice a year when he visits India. But the crux of the matter is this - the kind of feelings that I have for him have not been reciprocated. Neither do I know if they ever will be.

These are the facts. I know for a fact that he’s not into me as I’m into him. I, actually, am almost in love with him, but I’m trying to keep my feelings in check. From what I can make out, I don’t think he has the skills/desire to keep the fire of a long-distance relationship raging on.

We talk to each other regularly – almost on all days. This is by phone – yes, long-distance calls on international calling cards. Our conversations are usually brief and we never get to a point where it gets nice and cozy. I hardly see him on Skype or Yahoo, and when I do, he is usually busy doing some chore or the other. It almost seems as if he doesn’t have time for me.

What do I feel? I feel a tad disappointed. Yet, I realize that I cannot force him to change - to propel his feelings to another level. At the same time, I feel extremely attracted to him and I think that he’s worth the bill. I would like to try to take this as far as I can and put in as much effort as possible. And I hope that we will reach a place where we can both feel happy about each other.

Of course, he will read this post some day or the other. When he does, I want to make it clear to him that this is not emotional blackmail. It’s just an honest assessment of the state of affairs.

Apr 17, 2011

Drummer, the pariah

I have a new friend from New York. (What’s with me and the Big Apple?) Anyway, he’s a cultured, interesting, funny, intelligent ex-Texan with whom I vastly enjoy interacting with. Here's an example of the interesting things he comes up with. The other day, he came across the etymology of the word pariah.

pariah
: 1610s, from Port. paria or directly from Tamil paraiyar, pl. of paraiyan “drummer” (at festivals, the hereditary duty of members of the largest of the lower castes of southern India), from parai “large festival drum.” Especially numerous at Madras, where its members supplied most of the domestics in European service. Applied by Hindus and Europeans to members of any low Hindu caste and even to outcastes. Extended meaning “social outcast” is first attested 1819.

Why are drums associated with lowliness or disgrace? Is it because they are so basic, perhaps the first instrument ever made? Not only is the drummer himself an outcast, drums (not bugles) are used to heighten a soldier’s humiliation in a drumming out ceremony. The OED dates the first usage of “drumming out of the corps” to 1766 in Thomas Amory's “The Life of John Buncle,” 150 years after the first recorded use of pariah.

To explain why drummers were members of the lowest caste -- drumming was an occupation performed by the Dalit or untouchable caste because drums were made from the tanned hides of animals and thus once associated with death. Therefore, the task of beating on them fell to the Dalit caste, who also performed other “unclean” occupations having to do with death and human waste.

To round this post of:

Q: What is the definition of a band?
A: Three musicians and a drummer. (ba-da-boom!)

(Courtesy largely to Robert Geoffrey McMillin)

Apr 16, 2011

Family drama

My folks have found a buyer for our old house and they are almost on the verge of selling it. Once the transaction is done, they will be left with a lot of money. They insist that I receive a share of it.

Going by the past history between me and my folks, if thing have to ever improve, money should not be a part of our relationship. I have clearly indicated that I don’t want any money from them. But my Mom keeps on insisting. This situation makes me not want to video chat with her anymore.

Apr 15, 2011

How did it end up like this?

I can’t explain it. It’s part telephobia. It’s almost like selective telephobia. I didn’t pick up a call from my sister today. I sent her an SMS saying that I didn’t feel like talking. She was apparently just trying to wish me a happy Keralaite New Year, and was extremely disappointed.

The only calls that I pick up without much of a problem are those from my band mates and those from my friends from abroad (older friends). Sometimes, I pick up anonymous calls, and if I find that they are telemarketers, I hang up almost instantly. Not even a courtesy “No thanks!”

The persons who I make calls to are even more restrictive – band mates and and my friends from abroad. The calls to band mates are strictly business-like, whereas to my friends from abroad, I open up and talk a bit. No family. No best friends. No college mates. No colleagues/ex-colleagues.

Yet, I’m much better off talking to people who I’m comfortable with on text/video chat than anything else. I haven’t a fucking clue as to how things ended up like this.

Apr 14, 2011

Evening bandh - IPL

The IPL has started. Their advertisements say that it will be Bharath Bandh for the whole 6 weeks of cricketainment. Although that seems a little far-fetched, IPL has definitely affected my life tremendously.

My evening life has come to a virtual standstill. The only thing that I want to do every evening is to come home and watch the game on the telly. I don’t want to go for rehearsals or even perform at gigs. As you can see, I’m updating my blog after a long gap of two weeks.

My online friends and family also have faced the consequences. Nowadays, I don’t want to chat with my Mom or my friends in the night when the game is on. Apart from the fact that I’ll be missing the action, I’ll be distracted by the match, and I consider it impolite to be distracted while having a one-on-one conversation.

And when it ends, it will leave a big vacuum in my life. I don’t know what to plug the vacuum with.

Apr 13, 2011

My own R2-D2

I was at a rehearsal the other day. As usual, I had gone directly from work and I unloaded my stuff on my friend’s table. The stuff unloaded included my wallet, my mobile phone, my bag, and my mp3 player.

Yes, you heard right. An mp3 player. Not an iPod. That’s right. I don’t have an iPod. In fact, I have never had one. My mp3 player is so retro that one of my band mates came up to me and said “What is R2-D2 doing here?”

Coming to think of it, yes, my mp3 player (Creative Zen Micro) looks likes the famous Star Wars character. Here check out a comparison of the images of the two. A white rounded structure with blinking lights.

Unfortunately, my mp3 player is not as resourceful or evergreen as R2-D2. It’s giving me a whole lot of problems and I’ve been considering buying an iPod classic (or a similar player) for about a year now. Should I switch to Apple?

I feel I should. But I don't know when I will eventually do this.

Apr 12, 2011

Obama's address to gay youth

This is a very inspiring video address by President Obama to LGBT youth in America. With our own fight against section 377 nearing a close in the Supreme Court, can we hope for similar speeches in India?



Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It's something that just shouldn't happen in this country.

We've got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it's some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong. It's tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you. And when you're teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you're getting down on yourself, you've got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it's your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You've got to reach out to them, don't feel like you're in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

It will mean that you'll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you'll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it's so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people's eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation we're founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That's the freedom that enriches all of us. That's what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.

Apr 11, 2011

Dave Grohl - an inspiration

Tonight, on my way back home from work, I read a very inspiring article on the life of Dave Grohl, who begin his musical career with Nirvana, not chasing fame and money, and who ended getting all that and more with his present band Foo Fighters. All I can say it is a very worthy read. Here is the link.

http://www.slate.com/id/2290837/

This article has given me some inspiration to get my own music recorded at a decent studio.

Apr 10, 2011

Navjot Singh Sidhu among others

About a week back, I read on my Twitter timeline a tweet from an anchor on Extraaa Innings, the pre- post-show for IPL matches, that the anchor team was really good this time around. I immediately replied to him asking him if what he meant was that Sidhu wasn't going to be around time time around. Although I didn't get a reply, I hoped that there won't be any Sidhu.

Three days into IPL 4, I'm already tired of all the bullshit that you have to deal with to watch some interesting cricket. Apart from the incredibly annoying Sidhu, the "DLF maximums," the "Citi moment of successes," the "Karbon Kamaal Katches" and "Maxx Mobile Strategic Time Outs" are really making this a pain.

If the sponsors don't realize it by now, we are in it for the cricket and not the "entertainment."

Apr 9, 2011

Another dream realized

Tonight, performing with the band Jar Of Flies to a packed venue full of cheering fans at B69 (Bajaao), I payed tribute to Alice In Chains, the band that inspired me be a musician. We played Alice In Chain's MTV Unplugged set almost completely (just missing out on one song because of lack of time), after which we played a small, tight electric set.

By doing what I did, I completed a wonderful circle of life. I still remember the days in the late 90s when I used to jam Alice In Chains with S on the drums. Tonight S was in the audience and he came up to me and said "You lived one more of your dreams! I'm proud of you!

Thanks to Howie, Nicky, Mikey, and Sheldy (the other members of Jar of Flies) for helping me live my dream!

Apr 8, 2011

IPL 4

IPL 4 started today. I was so excited about its start that all I wanted was to reach home back from the college gig with Cirkles. I managed to catch the last ball of a riveting contest which was eventually won by the Chennai Super Kings.

But the real question is will the Indian public relish the T20 format and IPL when they are still basking in the glory of the World Cup win? I might be excited and pumped up to watch most of the matches (as much as I can). But I'm not sure about the rest of the Indian public.

Hence, I'm expecting low turn outs in the grounds. Let's see what happens!

Apr 5, 2011

Social phobia attack

Tonight, I was at the Blue Frog for the launch of the debut album of Dischordian "Feni Farm Riot." Before I went in, I took my pills. Then I had a couple of shot of feni. Then, it struck me. The social phobia that is.

There were a lot of friends and bandmates in the crowd and all of a sudden, I didn't want to be with them. I escaped to a corner in the venue and I couldn't do anything but stare into my Twitter timeline and scroll through the various tweets.

Halfway through the gig, the social phobia was overwhelming. I was wondering how I would say bye to all these people individually. I decided to take off before the gig ended after sending SMSes to all my friends saying that I had an early day at work.

On the way out, I ran into a friend/bandmate who himself suffers from depression. I just said a "hi" and a "bye" in quick succession. Later, in an SMS, I told him that I had an acute attack of social phobia. He replied "It's okay. Take care."

I hope the entire world is as understanding.

Apr 3, 2011

It's not over yet

Yesterday, the Indian ODI team achieved what 1.2 billion people desperately wanted them to. They won the World Cup of Cricket in 2011. The best part is that, they did that without much help from their senior statesmen, the same people who make the Indian team's balance awry. Yes, I'm referring to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

Honestly, I didn't have a lot of faith in the present Indian ODI team (which is otherwise termed as Men in Blue) because of several reasons that I have stated in an earlier blog post.

Fittingly, India's younger generation of cricketers, led by the magnificent MS Dhoni, played superbly (at least during the chase) to win us the World Cup. Now that they have achieved this remarkable feat, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) should invest in youth in the two shorter versions of the game. That is the only way that Team India can remain competitive to the rest of the top-brass international teams.

Bring us more of the likes of Virat Kohli, R. Ashwin etc, please.

Apr 2, 2011

Arindam Choudhary tweet

Last week sometime, I tweeted something funny about Arindam Choudhary and IIPM. I was getting tired listening to him in the promotional advertisements for the Sunday Indian as well as those really lame IIPM advertisements. My tweet went like this: “I think IIPM would get more global exposure if someone kills Arindam Choudhary.” My usual Mallu sarcasm was kicking in. I got even a ‘like’ on the FB cross-posting for the same tweet.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the all India dean of IIPM. He kindly requested me to consider deleting the tweet because he thought it was offensive and detailed physical harm for Arindam Choudhary. He was very polite and courteous. I considered the situation for a bit and agreed to delete the tweet. From my point of view, the message was already conveyed to those who mattered to me. More importantly, I had vented my frustration. So today, I deleted the tweet.

The tweet has been deleted but the story is immortalized here.

Apr 1, 2011

Gmail Motion

This year, April Fools went without much of pranks, I thought. I mentioned the same to my friends in office. But when I came home and logged on to my computer (and Gmail), I found this wonderful Google prank on April Fools day. Google had apparently introduced Google Motion (beta), with which you could control your Gmail inbox with gestures and actions. Here's the official video:



Then I found this wonderful riposte by ICT MxR Lab.



April Fools did not go that silent!