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.

11 comments:

RS said...

Wow! Even better than NPR! Was quite surprised to read about the Kaavya Vishwanathan controversy...

Both Maximum city and the monk...are on my to-read list :) I just finished Bombay Time by Thrity Umrikar and decided to wait before I picked my next book about Bombay :)

And the writing bit - totally agree, although I do write more frequently :)

aparna said...

Okay, this was a might i say 'proper' post after a long gap. Will come back and comment more. :)

Nocturne said...

as i see it, you could have flogged 4 days of posts from this one. *wry smiles*
i think that revisions and editing and more revisions are good. it's not necessarily wasted potential. if for every article that we read, if there are 10 others that were languishing in your drafts folder - that's allright. that means we are getting to see the good ones, the ones that have been thought out, penned well and come out right. you reminded me of those zen monks who do calligraphy all day, for months on end sometimes, to achieve the perfect flourish of the characters. that wouldn't be potential wasted, i think.
perhaps life is only a travelling, where some milestones that are achieved become visible signposts that mark this journey. and we know that the joy is in travelling, but rarely in arriving.

Niranjan said...

I had picked up 'the Monk' while in India, read parts but forgot it there. Managed to bring back another of his books - Who will cry when I die - and think 'tis good. The kavya controversy was a shock. Slate has an interesting take on it (http://www.slate.com/id/2140685/)
Hey didnt know u were workin on IE. Have downloaded the beta. Gotta end this comment here, so that I can restart the m/c (for the installation to take effect) and admire the art. :-)

Parth said...

RS: Glad to know you picked the NPR connection :-) How is Bombay Time? Never heard of it before

Aparna: Still waiting for a 'proper' comment :-)

Nocturne: I wish I were diligent about revisions and editing. I am not. I just happen to get a first draft that I cursorily edit once more and click the post button. I don't know about me being a zen monk but your thoughts certainly are very zen. Thank you.

Niranjan: Let me know how the IE7 experience goes. Thanks a lot for trying this out. The slate article was, as you rightly mentioned, an interesting take

Nocturne said...

@parth: even so. :)

RS said...

Parth, Bombay Time was "okay", I started searching in my local library websites for Indian authors (I have no idea why) and landed up with Thrity Umrikar -> Bombay Time!

I am now reading Anita Desai's "The Zig zag way", monk...and maximum city are next!

frissko said...

cudnt get beyond 50 pages of 'the monk...'...found it too explicitly preachy and cudnt take it...
cud totally relate to the 'tendulkar' factor...know quite a few friends who sing a similar tune:)...

Archana said...

of Kavya, looking at the story on TV, the whole controversy she's spurred, I worry for our dear desi writers who want to go global..
of music...you're right...there's been not an album good after RDB...for individual songs, try listening to bheegi bheegi from Gangster [gud one that it is] and please ignore Reshammiya and his nose or you'll end up with a headache

Chhavi said...

Hi Parth,
Do tell us what you thought of Bombay Time? I, for one, loved it! I liked Maximum City too but feel like they're birds of a different feather.

I am actually listening to
"mere haath mein" as I type. Did you like the songs in Gangster (2006)?

And finally, I have to share my mother's comments on "Himess" -- her opinion is that he's popular because he's "besura" and the "taporis can sing along, galaa phaad ke" ;)

Parth said...

Gangster songs were actually very decent. I especially liked 'Tu hi meri shab hai'. I still have to read Bombay Time, but shall do that ASAP and let you know what I think. I think your mom get it right as far as Himess goes :-) Still doesn't explain why he is so popular!