Wednesday, April 26, 2006

All Things Considered

One of the books that I am currently reading is ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. I picked up the book in India solely because it was recommended to me by someone and the fact that it was cheap. The thrill of buying a book at the Four Bungalows traffic signal for about a third of the cost of the original book while sitting in a rickshaw waiting for light to go green is unique. Hey, don’t blame me. I compensated by buying a hard bound copy of ‘Maximum City’. While I am not exactly wasting away in a mid-life crisis, I could completely identify with the talk of utilizing the potential that the author touched upon. It is true (and I am feeling it more often nowadays than ever before) that we tap only a limited amount of our potential. Take writing for example. I have this blog, I have lovely readers and I like to write. And write I do, the unspoken word, in my mind. For every one article that you see on this site, there are ten that I have started and left incomplete in my imagination. Potential wasted, lots of it. If I look at my blog, the last two posts were written totally spur of the moment. I started typing without a clearly direction and five minutes later I had posted something on the site. While spontaneity is a good thing at times, there is no way my writing will go places (wouldn’t it be nice?) unless I have the discipline for it. I guess this is a lecture more for my own good than yours. Perhaps, writing this out and reading it on my own blog might prompt me to take action on my plans. While I am at it, do I really need a topic to write about? Why can’t I just jot down the few things on the top of my mind. So, here goes.

I don’t mix work with blogging pleasure. That was something I decided a while back and I have stuck to it largely. Here’s an exception. We released the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 yesterday. It has been a great product to work on and the results are rewarding. We are still a little while from releasing the final product, but this product does kick ass. If you are an XP user, you can give this a spin. You can find it here. If you are a Firefox user (for eg. a very close family member), I would definitely encourage you to try this. We are here to win you over. When you use it, do remember. My tears, sweat and seeds of carpal tunnel are all within the product.

Sachin Tendulkar turned 33. There hasn’t been a single sportsperson who has evoked such emotion in me as God has. I am among the worshipping hordes, and I don’t care if I am the last one left on the planet by the time he is done. Loyalty means not abandoning your hero when is suffering. I despise the ungrateful souls who do. You can have the dependability of Dravid or the vicious batting of Ponting or the flourish of Lara, but one shot, one cover drive, one cut, one flick is all it takes to feel the perfection. You need a sense of aesthetic to understand this. You just feel genius, you don’t dissect it. The straight drive six that he hit of Kasprowicz in Sharjah is beyond the realm of mortals. Today, while he struggles, I wait patiently, as do his other fans. It is weird but his failures become our failures, just as his successes were worn on our shoulders by us. God is testing us by being human, and we are just being the ordinary humans that we are.

As the controversy about the Harvard sophomore Kaavya Vishwanathan simmers, my question is fundamentally about the kind of novel she is writing. What is chic-lit? Is it chick-lit misspelt? Reading about her did open my eyes to a few things happening out there. People spend upto $30,000 on agencies that prep your application for the Ivy league schools. That’s incredible. I guess merit can get you only as far. On the controversy itself: what was she thinking? Copy and say sorry? How can you expect people not to notice? By sheer probability someone is bound to notice, right? Unless she didn’t expect anyone to read her book. Things they don’t teach at Harvard, eh? I guess I am being a little harsh. Perhaps, it was unintentional all along. I haven’t read either book (or will be reading it) to decide. Will wait for the media to tell me how this story goes.

The music scene this year has been very bad. Barring RDB, there has been no album worth its salt. I heard Fanaa and I was a tad disappointed. Given that this was supposed to be Jatin-Lalit’s last work together and it was a Chopra production with Aamir-Kajol, I was expecting a scintillating score. Perhaps, my expectations laid me down. Don’t get wrong. The songs are still melodious, but not all. ‘Chaand Sifarish’ is good, but as a friend suggested, Udit would have been a better choice as a singer. ‘Dekho Na’ and ‘Mere Haath’ will grow over time, but that’s about it. Likeable, but not extraordinary. In the meanwhile, ‘Himess’ comes up with the irritating ‘A-a-aashiqui mein meri...' from China Town. My friend who just returned from India said that you can only hear Himesh wherever you go. He has managed to come up with a consistent string of hits, so I guess that’s bound to happen. One song you can like: ‘Bambai Nagariya’ by Bhappi Da from ‘Taxi no. 9211’. He has sung it superbly in his inimitable style.

Oh well. Enough for now. Will try and come up with a longer short story soon. I tend to finish mine in a paragraph. Till that happens, enjoy the five minute outbursts of creativity.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Betrayal of the muse

A fluttering letter on the desk
Edging to fly out
Held together by the will
Of an ugly letter-head

A heart of stone
Chipped at the sides
And black as the night
Barely holds his weak resolve

He pauses, looks down and pulls the paper
And tears it as the stone falls down
The heart breaks into a million pieces
His tenth attempt at a poetry submission

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hook, Line and Stinker

"I am out of change", pleaded our protagonist and decided to disembark ten miles before his stop. The driver gave little of the sympathy he himself got and got ready to close the doors
like everyone did on him. "Here, take this", cooed our mellifluous heroine. Quarters quivered in her hand like the smile on her lips. Gladly, he paid the driver. And then repaid, with a frown for the driver and a smile for the girl, followed by a solemn promise to return the money. She smiled again and fell on him as the driver braked hard, perhaps in revenge? To pay his first installment, he turned on the charm offensive. Blushing, smiling, entrenched: the girl seemed to have given her heart for a few quarters. Ten miles came too soon. He got off the bus waving his hand at our exiting heroine. She gave him a smile that made his heart skip. He smiled and looked again at the paper with her number. And then, she made his heart skip again. Twice in two seconds. His hands fumbled as he searched his pockets for his missing wallet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Men were born to run. Actually chase. I am being very gender specific here. We are good at it. We chase skirts, sarees, remarkably, all of feminine couture that humanity has conjured thus far. It seems we need a sense of purpose. Put us in a shopping mall in an effort to buy something that has not yet been spelt out clearly and we are lost. We tire in a short time, headaches spring up out of nowhere, feet ache and the body simply sends signals that are so apparent it can get the owner in trouble. Put us on a golf course and we can spend all day walking around trying to put tiny balls into eighteen tiny pockets on a vast lush green pasture.

Nonetheless, I digress. I am not delving deep into generalizations. Back to the point of the post, if there is one. Men were born to run. Someone needed to have knocked that into my head early. My gym philosophy has been blogged about before. Treadmills are difficult creatures to tread. By virtue of excuses that no one really asked for, I would escape the boredom of stepping in the same place repeated number of times. But the sense of purpose finally appeared. I am training for Beat The Bridge. I’ll be participating for the 5 mile run. The beating the bridge part is interesting. There is a draw bridge 20 minutes from the start of the race. You have to finish that distance within twenty minutes or else the bridge is drawn and you are out of the race. That’s the first challenge. The second is completing the other three miles.

My wife and I started training for this a month back. Given that my running was limited to 0.6 miles (0.2 walk+0.6 run+0.2 walk) before, it was fun to build up in small increments. Of course, the presence of a more committed spouse serves as good motivation. Last Saturday, I managed to run 5 miles at a stretch. It was a thrilling achievement. The lazy bones in my body tell me, once is enough, let’s try it again on the day of the race in May J Of course, that’s not a great idea. Turns out peaking so soon is not a great idea either. You should apparently build up to that distance.

Nonetheless, this is a great idea for anyone looking to induce a degree of regularity in their gyming and like me, look for a really good reason to maintain that rhythm, you should look to something like this. Of course, there’s the marathon or MaraThorn as I would like to call it. It’s an insurmountable length. A big challenge. A couple of friends are training for the half marathon, a mere matter of 13 miles while some others will run the full 26 mile stretch. As my paining knees (yes, something wrong with my technique) and generally exhausted body feel after five miles, the other eight or twenty-one seem a stretch. Not that I am planning on running either of the two. But hey, a month back, had someone told me I’d be running five miles, all eight kilometers (or close) within fifty minutes, I’d have told him to go take a hike. Or a run.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Telegram for my readers

Consumed by work. Exorcism underway. Promise great reads shortly.