Saturday, September 29, 2007

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace


Foo Fighters make a much awaited comeback to the rock scene with their new album 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace'. David Grohl and his team display exemplary sonic skills, yet again. Expanding on their signature sound, the band infuses alt-rock with folk seamlessly this time resulting in a sound which veers upon eclectic and a bit aggressive at times. The perfect mix of soft and loud rhythms, it grows on you as you listen to it. Have to admit...this is the band's most mature & well balanced composition till date. Heady stuff all the way. Hmmm...."Radio friendly unit shifters".....anyone?

I'm the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I'm the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I'm what's left, I'm what's right
I'm the enemy
I'm the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend

What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

Friday, September 28, 2007

From My Art Diaries : The Female Nude...Art, Obscenity & Sexuality

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection

Are you appalled? Or rather, do you feel yourself positioned in a 'perpetual state of shock' at this juncture? If you ever found it an arduous task to differentiate a Ruben's nude from a Playboy pinup....then my friend, you are looking at the wrong place. My apologies. From a common man's point of view, I do understand your conservative predicament. But alas! my outlandish self. Time and again, the inherent eccentric streak in me compels me to undertake such avant-garde strides. You say weird, I say valorous.

The artist in me has always been beguiled by the female nude form. Well, it does sound rather unconventional and maybe a tad schlocky. But hey! Try gazing through an artist's looking glass, and you shall know better. A layman will mostly visualize the 'female form' and it's 'nude' as two completely separate identities. As a result, this premise basically makes him treat the female nude just as a means to satiate the male libido. I strongly differ here. Looking beyond the obvious, I realize that the nude does not simply represent the body. In fact it's the body's analogous self, to be precise. The embodiment of both as a single unit, emanates the very definition of beauty. A beauty so virginal, so divine! Beauty which inspires an artist, having a clear cut understanding of such a complex phenomenon, to come out with extraordinary pieces of art work. Describing it through mere words, I believe, is an attempt in futility. Well, of course one can. But the real connect comes when one defines it through the medium of art. While depicting it's sonsie form in it's subtle, enshrouded artist actually 'negotiates' his innate aesthetic ideologies with this female form. This in particular, can be aptly termed as the 'complete sensual experience' which doesn't veer towards the obscene or provocative. Quite strange, but true. The understanding of this very intertwined relation, helps an artist clearly make a distinction between 'aesthetic' and 'obscene' and so makes it easier for him in the complex representation of the female body under an unassuming aesthetic category.

Thus I opine. But the inevitable question you concur? If that artistic streak prevails in you, then you shall. Or atleast you will try to. As for the others...I pity them.

[My endeavor to portray these vignettes involved pencil/pen sketching & a subtle usage of B&W watercolors ]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indian Cricket 4.0

Fireworks. Jubilations. Oh, how gleeful one can be!

From an obscure horizon, India has finally bounced back. Never before has Indian Cricket been so impregnable and dauntless. An irrefutable force to reckon with? The world knows better now.

On the night, after the India-Pakistan game, as I shook hands with the zealous revelers waving the Indian flag and engaged in a light holler signifying India's triumphant win in the Twenty20 World Cup finals...I felt proud. That quaint feeling in one corner of my heart was never felt all these days. It returned that day, yet again. To be frank, I have never been an ardent follower of the game, in the viewing sense per se. And with India's ever swerving fortunes, my cricketing loyalty has shifted endlessly. Now on, now off. And I, for one, prefer undertaking the physical rigors of the game. Whenever, wherever.

Well, so it was Monday night. And the big game was on. While the entire nation sat glued to the idiot box watching the Indian heroes sweat out in the greens, I was sitting in my near empty office. Glued to my machine, engaged in a never ending blitzkrieg of 0s & 1s, I rambled over my pending tasks and crucifying deadlines (Phew! The less said about my workaholic self, the better). Checking the score at intermittent periods was the usual norm all these days during the Twenty20 World Cup. I did catch a fleeting glimpse or two of some of the significant matches though. As I said, I had never gone gaga about watching India playing. But somehow this time, my attention was transfixed on the way India was performing of late. What I heard, and a bit of what I had seen in the past few days, India was definitely on a roll and how! Infectious, to say the least. And then at that moment, I couldn't resist the rising urge. I gave up.


Within minutes, chucking aside all official hokum, I scourged for the live streaming of the ongoing match over the internet. And there it was. Right there. Cricket at its very best. Faster, zippier and gripping than I could ever imagine. With the onset of the new format, Cricket was now high on thrills. A revolutionary approach to the game, in which one has to hit right at the word 'Go', can never get a purist's nod. For he believes that this will ruin the technique and the very finesse of the gentleman's game. Those cover drives, long drives, late cuts and fine leg glances would be a thing of the past now. For him, the new rules of the game can spell doom, not to mention rewriting old ones.

But we care less. Fact is...with Twenty20, cricketing boards are raking in the moolah, world over. Real big money. There is no denying this fact. More so, every die hard cricket lover on the face of this planet is going ballistic over such an edge of the seat entertainment. So the question is...will anybody pause and muse over what a purist thinks? Oh, Puhleeez!

Not even for a moment, I could take my eyes off such an adrenaline packed sport. The usual technique for batsmen to hit the ball along the ground was tossed right out of the window. In fact, the ball persistently following the long trajectories as a result of incessant hard hitting displayed by the Indian batsmen, all over the ground. Those murderous onslaughts over the cow corner, reverse sweeps over the keeper's head and swift hoicks over no man's land, made sure the ball was kept busy all the time. In such a short version of the game, the perfect connect between the bat and the ball coupled with some brawn, is all that is required to keep the fours and the sixes raining. The crowd definitely needed some headgear to ward off 'injuries', I felt.

Guffaws. Lol.

Led by the gutsy and intrepid captain Dhoni, the new India is an opposition team's nightmare. It showed clearly in the players' body language and the dotty approach to the game. Pathan, RP Singh, Sreeshanth, Yuvraj...each and every one in the squad was a live wire on the field. The usual lackadaisical approach was long gone. Such an overnight transformation was tough to digest. (I reflected over Yuvraj's 6 sixes in an over during the India-England Match. Whoa! What's gotten in them? I pondered). With every passing moment, the Pakis seemed to be burdened with the relentless Indian attack and not long after, they crumbled completely. As Misbah lofted the ball over the wicket keeper's head straight into Sreesanth's hands, the cacophony & fervor amongst the crowd was remarkable. Truly, the win was a much required shot in the arm.

Sigh...An arduous wait of 24 years was finally over. The entire nation rose to applaud the new world champions. This was all that a cricket crazy India cared for. A long cherished dream fulfilled.

As for me, it's a new found craze to watch India play again...and yet again. And with a format such as Twenty20, I know rather will never be the same again.

Guess it's time I kept aside my 'Die Hard 4.0' DVD for now. Action has a new name. Call it Twenty20 or India. I choose both.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Imaginer La Galerie

Images speak louder than words. There is no denying this fact. In a muted sense, they leave an indelible impression on our minds. Well, I couldn't help but put together this assortment of colorful imagery depicting India in all its grandeur. Needless to say, quite invigorating.

And on a lighter is India 'Ad'wise. Definitely, some out-of-the-box thinking!

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Look at these images. Captivating or plain vapid? If you subscribe to either of the views, look closely again. You will find that these images have a deeper meaning underlying their facade. A meaning which portrays today's growing divide between the rich and the poor, the world over. The choice of subjects and the comparative price tags intelligently depict the clash of materialism and impoverishment. Hard hitting and thought provoking. An inconvenient truth, indeed.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams

William Butler Yeats

Staying Young...demystified!

I was young. Now I'm not. Sad, how life takes it's toll on us

If you are the kind of person who thinks like this, think again. Albeit, in a new direction. Positive thinking and an optimistic outlook can surely make a marked difference in your life. But what happens if you do so? Well, you stay young in your mind, heart and soul.

This ain't a funda. It's an all pervasive universal truth.

And here is a simple 10 pointer guide on how to do so:

1. Throw out nonessential numbers.
This includes age, weight, and height.
Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down.
(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning.
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.
Never let the brain get idle.
"An idle mind is the devil's workshop".
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him or her!

6. The tears happen.
Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourself.
LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love.
Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health.
If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, even to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Elevator Silence

There are times when silence has the loudest voice

An interesting metaphor in English is 'Elevator Silence'. It's the sound you hear when you enter an elevator full of strangers. If you were speaking to a companion before you entered the elevator, you terminate the conversation the moment your feet enter the elevator. Other people who enter the elevator, mobile phone to the ear, snap the mobile shut with a curt "I'm entering the elevator. I'll call you back". And as the elevator makes its way upward or downward, six or eight or thirteen people as the case maybe, glance, look, or ogle at each other. The strangers stare at each others shoes, then at the button panel to check whether the button for their floor has been pressed, then look above the door to see the digits representing the floors change ...2-3-4-5... then stare back at the people opposite them, then do not stare at those standing next to them, then stare at the fan on the ceiling, then stare at the sign which says "OTIS elevators; maximum capacity: 13 persons; xxx kg". They mutter something to themselves but do not speak an audible word.

And then for those brief moments, the only moments you'll get in today's world, there is silence. Total, absolute silence. Not a word is spoken. If somebody coughs he excuses himself. And silence again.

In the office building, away from the hum, murmur, and din of ring tones, photocopiers, fax machines, keyboard taps, mouse clicks, coffee mug clinks, and human voices, the silence of the elevator provides succor to the modern man.

In the apartment block where he lives, modern man finds that away from the roar and noise of the TV, answering machine machine, utensil clangs, vaccuum cleaner buzz, switch clicks, air conditioner hiss, spouse's voice and the traffic beyond the balcony, the elevator represents his true sanctuary.

But why is silence to be found in elevators? Is it born of xenophobia? Is it political correctness? Is it our need to guard our privacy? Our effort at confidentiality? Or is silence a side effect of the claustrophobia that is inside all of us?

From another perspective, perhaps we don't choose to be silent. Perhaps, silence chooses where she dwells.

Silence nowadays is indeed found in few places, other than hospitals, churches and graveyards. Birth, Baptism, Burial.

Beyond this cycle and beyond these corners, silence struggles to find a place for herself in our world. So, she just about manages to squeeze herself into crowded elevators. And the elevator remains her only real refuge. The sanctum of silence.

[Excerpt from the mail archives]

Twenty Something

I woke up. I realized I had changed. And so had the world

It is when you stop moving along with the crowd and realize that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. A sudden feeling of insecurity creeps in. You wonder, where you will be in a year or two and then suddenly get scared because you barely know where you are right now.

You start realizing that people are selfish. Maybe those friends, that you thought you were so close to, aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met in your life and that the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing this fact too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere. In fact, they are just as confused as you are.

You look at your job. It's not even close to what you thought you would be doing. Maybe you are looking for a job and realize that you are going to have to start right at the bottom. Such a thought scares you.

Your opinions have strengthened. You look at what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because now you realize that there are certain limitations in your life. You are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't. One minute, you are insecure and then the very next, secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone, scared and confused. Suddenly, 'change' is an enemy. You try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.

You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved so much could do such a thing to you. Sometimes you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough whom you want to get to know better. Maybe you love someone. Maybe you love someone else too and can't figure out why you're doing this. From the inside, you know that you aren't a bad person after all. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like a moron starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over again and talk with your friends about the same topics because you seem to have become indecisive. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great...right now, you'd just like to be a contender!

I'm sure that every soul who reads this will relate to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out. It's a state of confusion and chaos.

Call it the "Quarter-Life Crisis".

[Excerpt from the mail archives]

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stoned...Am I ?

And with the early dawn
Moving right along
I couldn't buy an eyeful of sleep
And in the aching night under satellites
I was not received
Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


George looked on. His unflinching gaze never wavered. It was there...right in front of him, all that he could ever imagine. His prurient mind ruminated frantically over the endless possibilities. But at that very moment of uncertainty, something inside told him to stop right there. He stood still, juxtaposed with conflicting emotions clashing in his mind. A split second later, he decided to take the plunge. Such a plunge which would send him spiraling down headlong into the bottomless pits of self destruction. Right at that very moment, a junkie was an insatiable world of drugs, this was his new beginning. The beginning of an end.

"First time, eh?...I know it, man. I F***ING KNOW IT...hah! gotta try this. This, this right over will blow you away. Like a dream, man...yeah, just like a F***ING dream!". Jack was his usual self. Yelling, gesticulating, extolling the virtues of drugs & propagating his twisted take on 'life'ism to one and all. Droopy eyed, crisscrossing wrinkles all over his forehead...he bore the sign of a broken man. Living in a
phantasmagorical world of his own, he really cared less about the very world he belonged to. In fact, nothing. His carefree self was quite satiated with this seemingly parallel existence. Jack knew this fact, albeit unknowingly.

George seemed perturbed. He looked around. All he saw was a swarming bunch of people exhibiting a similar streak of behavior such as that of Jack. A guy staring at the wall without causing his eyes as much as to blink, a couple making out...quite oblivious to their surroundings, a young girl having an engaging conversation with an inconspicuous being. George closed his eyes. For the first time, his understanding of his immediate surroundings seemed to fail him. But he couldn't get over this strong unrelenting urge. He opened his eyes and looked at the symmetrically segregated equidistant long lines of the 'white dust'. It was now or never. He knew he could do it.

"HEY, C'MON HERE...I KNOW YOU WANNA DO THIS, MAN!", yelled Jack. This was the final whistle, thought George. As he transgressed his thoughts which seemed to hold him back, he bent down and took a quick sniff...then fell back on his seat and closed his eyes, yet again. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing at all. For a moment he thought he knew himself. Or did he? Seconds later, this feeling changed. Time, stood still. A sudden realization creeped in that he had traversed to the other side. Finally, a new world...A new awakening! For the first time in his life, this pregnant feeling made him look beyond his life's trials and tribulations. The demise of his parents...the unexpected breakup with Sarah...all faded away, in an instant. He didn't want to stop at this tempting juncture. Shedding all his inhibitions, he snorted more. More and more. The poison spread in his blood akin to an enemy infiltrating the oppostion stealthily in the silent cover of night. The world around him faded into a wavy haze of garish colors with the surrounding clamour inadvertently supervened upon by the pulsating heavy beats of Gravity's Rainbow submerging his head. The music made a whole lot of sense now. Swaying back and forth, George was now completely under the control of this intoxicating sensation. Powerful and heady. He couldn't let go of it. And he didn't even try...

George shivered in fright. Wide-eyed, he tried to look again. Nothing lay in front of him now. As if in a flash, everything had changed. It was like waking up from the dead. Two long years had gone by. Jack was dead. And so were many others who were in the terrible grip of this poison.
George's crave for drugs had ruined him. Broke and homeless, he wandered the streets aimlessly until rescued. He underwent rehabilitation. Those two arduous years had been a living hell for him. George knew this too well. Giving up drugs was like giving up his life. But he did and now...he was reborn. Reborn again as a man who knew the true meaning of life and his existence. A new beginning, awaited him.

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done,
A little part of it in everyone.
But every junkie’s like a setting sun
Neil Young

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bare Beginnings

It's time. The wait has been inordinately long. Somewhere, something was holding me back. An inexplicable force inside me. Inside my head, inside my soul. It's still out there, trying to overpower my mind. Seemingly arduous to fight back but fight back, I will.

As the wise say, 'To err is human'. I concur. But don't we get a second chance to rectify those mistakes? Sure we do, but not quite often. Sometimes we just don't get it at all. That's Life. That's the cruel world we live in. Life takes its toll on us and we flow with it. But the craving for that second chance remains in our mind. The chance to redeem a soul. The chance to make a difference.
As I reflect now, I realize I have lost somebody. Someone dear to me. An integral part of my life. But who is this 'somebody' ? Do I know him ? Where is he ? Or is it in fact, 'Me' ? I really don't know. No, not at this point at least. But I do intend to find out. Come what may, I will find him. He is lost somewhere in the sands of time but he is out there. Waiting, for that second chance to make things right again.
A long journey lies ahead of me. A journey of self realization, along a path strewn with adversities. But I won't give up. I will not bend down. And I will not look back. I realize, it's time.