Saturday, November 29, 2008


No, this post is not about spreading love and compassion to the world.

Time and again, the security mechanisms of our country have been exposed. Mumbai multiple times, other places multiple times. A newspaper today commented that since 9/11 USA was successful in preventing recurrence, while India has been a dismal failure.

Additionally, another report says that intelligence reports warned about this possibility multiple times.
These are indications that we don't care enough. The people who decided to visit India [from abroad] or Mumbai [from other cities] don't deserve this. Who ever planned these attacks have at least been successful in creating a shrink reflex of the word Mumbai. I am sure other cities will be on the watch now - well for a couple of weeks before the next incident. This pattern is what is proving to be very dangerous and painful.

Chillingly though, additional newspaper reports suggest that whoever planned these designed them in such a way that the executioners will perish in the process. The audacity of the events reflects that much. The intent is to create maximum toll and fear in the process. Unplannedly, one of them was captured and he admitted that they were able to reach Mumbai through sea [exactly what the intelligence reports warned about]. I do not know what else will surface from interrogation.

I did not watch any TV reports - the thought is very dismal. But "live, detailed" coverage seems very insensitive. As some readers in newspapers pointed out - are we telling the people inside the hotels exactly what is going on so they can make course correction? The Govt and police should have banned all live telecasts of these events. TRP rating must not be what should in our minds now.

And finally, our political system seems to be able to use anything for mileage. Narendra Modi, yesterday, expressed "disappointment" over the PM's actions. Instead of coming together and offering solidarity to the government, we are using the oppurtunity to take a dig.

Please spare a thought to all folks who are directly impacted by this, the NSG folks, policemen who are on site trying their best, and the townsfolk for Mumbai who do not have a clue where their city is going. At least, henceforth, our systems must gear up to thwart open security breaches like this.

The sad truth however, is that while the remaining buildings will be rescued eventually - because of the way the operation was designed the first place (die and do maximum damage)...
I don't think we can think of Mumbai the same way again till a long time into the future.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One line reviews...

பிதாமகன் - A lesson in film creation and music composition. Too violent though!
Inside Man - No clue what happened in the movie. Not sure what to do with it :)
16 Blocks - More than decent action movie. Couldn't watch the ending though. DVD was screwed up.
Hotel Rwanda - Directly related to the content in "Left to Tell". Must watch! Amazingly, it downplays the content and upholds the human side of the situation.
Transporter 2 - Stuff like this can only happen in the movies! Too much crap to take, but made beleivable, thanks to technology!
The Bourne Ultimatum - Ok forget it! See here, here and here instead.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Isha Vidhya - Skip a meal

This initiative was born during a Satsang with Sadhguru. Review the link here:

The essential idea is to skip a meal every Wednesday night and donate that money for Isha Vidhya. This doesn't apply if you are already eating only two meals!

When I first heard about this idea, I was thinking about a few things:

- A single meal costs say, anything between Rs 30 and Rs 50. If it is a dinner at a five star hotel, between Rs 500 and Rs 750 (just kidding!!). If this is the US, perhaps, somewhere between $5 to $15.
- If you add up the total volunteer strength and multiply it by this amount, it comes out to a staggering amount (to the tune of one school per month!)

My question was, why skip a meal for that? You can donate the cost for a meal anyway. I had the answer even as the question popped within. It is a symbolic gesture, but a very powerful one at that. In a way, skipping a meal every Wednesday and donating that money is like offering a part of yourself for this cause. It is a way to truly deeply care about what you are doing. Just donating the money takes the core feeling / concern out of the initiative. Yesterday, I was able to hear this first-hand from Sadhguru during the monthly Satsang. He mentioned a few other things:

- You should have this feeling towards a fellow human being. If you cannot have it, what is the point being one?
- He urged us to visit a few children in villages. Their faces, their looks - all that they yearn is for an opportunity. All the intelligence, the brains, the enthusiasm - only without the opportunity!
- He also mentioned, when we feel the hunger and know that this is going to change the fate of a child for the good, it is a great blessing
- Even if it is two rupees (some one, I think, joked that his meal expense for Wednesdays was Rs 2), he said would make a difference when done in a committed way.

I urge you to do the following:

- Think through the power of doing this consistenly, say over a period of six months. If we can setup six schools by this period through this initiative...
- Be part of this initiative. So many people doing this together consistently to build something much larger than themselves is an explosive phenomenon
- If you can enroll another (understanding) person into this, nothing like it!

If you are wondering what the above image is, it is a "Thank You" note from Ajitha - my Isha Vidhya child. She is studying UKG in the Santhegoundenpalayam school near Coimbatore

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Yoga Pose Are You?

You Are the Bow Pose

You are an open hearted person. You seek connections and make them easily.

You are naturally generous - especially with your love and your time.

You have a knack for thinking up interesting ideas. You are an inventor and a creator.

You approach everything in life with a relaxed attitude. You accept what you can't change.

Very intersting :)

IR and ARR

If you could not make out the title, you are probably at the wrong postHappy

Being born in Tamil Nadu, it is not possible to grow without the influence of TFM (no, I am not trying to talk in code. IR - iLaiyarAjA இளையராஜா, ARR - Rahman, ரஹ்மான், TFM - Tamil Film Music, தமிழ் திரை இசை). It applies to me as well, however, I was never an avid music listener for a long time. I started listening to music only during the early nineties. The credit goes to Rahman. When Roja came out, I think there could not have been anyone who missed to notice the new sounds that suddently engulfed the space that was saturated with IR's melodies and dappanguththus (டப்பாங்குத்து). "chinna chinna Asai" (சின்ன சின்ன ஆசை) was a rage. My personal favorite was also "thamizhA thamizhA" (தமிழா தமிழா). Incidentally, this movie also saw the introduction of new voices, which was then to be a usual occurence with Rahman. But it was Gentleman ("ஜென்டில்மான்") that really did it for me. My father once pointed out the arrangements in the second interlude of "chikku bukku rayile" ("சிக்கு புக்கு ரயிலே") (man, what a blast this song created that time!), and suddenly I became aware of an entire new world I was never paying attention to before. This particular piece that my father pointed out became etched in my mind so well, that I used to listen to this single piece so many times over and over. Even today, if that piece is played, I can probably point it out from my sleep. Thereafter, any new ARR film, I would have the cassette once it was out. I had the company of a couple of வெட்டி (jobless) friends who would group together and listen to these songs.

In the initial period when Rahman was really hot, I suddenly noticed that several people, who wouldn't have taken such a stand earlier, were distinctly anti-IR. It was almost as if they were taking revenge on him for ruling TFM for over 25 years. Unfortunately, having caught the Rahman fever, I joined the bandwagon as well. It was such a shame to treat someone who had given so much to the industry in such a fashion.

It was during these periods that dEvar magan (தேவர் மகன்) came out. "inji iduppazhaga" (இஞ்சி இடுப்பழகா) was playing everywhere, but I was oblivious to it. This song had a lilting first interlude flute piece. Once this song was playing on TV and it got to this place in the song. The flute piece cut through my heart. It was a strange experience and it had never happened before. It caught me by total surprise. I told myself "OK, I agree this flute piece is good - but that cannot make him as good as Rahman". The experience never faded though because it was the first time music was moving me beyond a sensory plane. This was also the time I had gotten introduced to Osho's work and I feel there was a connection between the two. Then, once during a car travel, maharajjanOdu (மஹராஜ்ஜனோடு) was playing. Again, it was the first time I was listening to that, it moved me to the verge of tears. I was baffled! I had not listened to it before and the song was totally new to me. My uncle was sitting in the car as well, and I asked him - "What is that song - and why is it affecting me so much?". He replied - "What did you expect - the music director is IR!". From then on there was no going back.

At this point, I started uncovering what IR had done during the previous periods and I made it a point to also follow his upcoming ventures. It was an inexhaustible gold mine! The energy and enthusiasm with which he had worked (and still works) was baffling. It was just an abundant love for music. TFM Page was my pet part time. You have never heard of this? Smile This was the place that provided much insights to me about otherwise casual looking songs. It attracted experienced people with deep knowledge who commented on popular songs and also dug out unheard gems and commented on them. Unfortunetly, TFM page had become two silos - of ARR and IR fans and flame posts vilifying one another was as common as insightful discussions. The admins must have had a handful (headful too!). Unfortunately again, slowly but surely, I had moved from the ARR bandwagon to the IR bandwagon. Again, a shame! It was forgetting who put me on the path to my current place. On TFM Page, I never flame-posted, but in my head, I would always root for IR. My friend group I told you about, suddenly became a debate center. We did not go overboard, but a lot of time was spent on steamy arguments on why IR was better or ARR was better. The argument never ended and the fun never ended as well! Essentially, IR fans couldn't accept (in some way), that a new commercial leader had arrived. Fortunately, they had a treasure-trove of statistics and possibilities to argue no end.

Now, it is sixteen years since - and both are still in the field! I guess it says something about the resilience of their music. In many ways, music has become intertwined with the way I have grown up from that point. My maturity, at least to an extent, had evolved, and I realized the stupidity for ignoring a section of work for bias of another! All this music is mine! Why not taste it? Eventually, and happily, the music field has evolved and a lot of talented music directors are around. I have especially developed a love for vidyAsAgar (வித்யாசாகர்) and karthikrAjA (கார்த்திக்ராஜா - unfortunately not many movies). Outside TFM, there were also John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Yanni.

Right now, there is no bias in my mind and I am able to appreciate a good creation, but it is inevitable that I would be attracted to music I love and relate to (I think it is true for all). In that respect, there is no replacement for IR. My entire being responds to his music, and it is beyond my conscious choice any longer. I think it is the way music is designed by the Creator - it was designed to be intertwined with our beings and heartbeats. Given that, I should say that it is the command IR had on these notes and how the mingle with one another. I wrote this poem for him, though I didn't write the context when it was originally posted. My being feels at home with his music - it is like I have known this space for lifetimes!

I feel, as maturity in music listening grows, one most move away looking for the person through which the creation was born (if it is to say "thank you" it is fine!). All creators have a common binding - music itself. In our petty differences, our clarity becomes skewed and reflects in our listening tastes as well. If whatever you had perceived about "your" creator is true, he will anyway live up to it. There is no need to substantiate this in your mind. Try the blind test - for a new composition without looking for the composer. You will immediately recognize the creator you love if he truly has his signature on it!

Music - it got me so far. I do not know where it is going to take me. One thing is clear - there is no life without music! (and it is not "my life" alone, Life as well!). This post has sort of been an unburdening.  I will move on, and so should you! Bounce

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Ultimate Color Test

The Ultimate Color Test

When you are at peace, you are:

Energized and innovative

When you are moved to act, you are:

Confident and optimistic

When you are inspired, you are:

Spiritual and humble

When your life is perfectly balanced, you are:

Philosophical and expressive

Your life's purpose is:

To find contentment

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I had a chat with a friend who was back from Bhava Spandana yesterday. It was a long time since I had done my BSP, so it was interesting to talk to him. Since he was very fresh from his BSP, I could see him bubbling with joy within, though he tried his best to keep it within. It was in his nature to chatter a lot, and yesterday he went into hyperdrive .Bounce

For me, it was a good reminder to look at some one with a relatively calm exterior but an almost tangible madness within. Life slips away like sand within fingers without us even noticing. I think renewal needs to be done on a day to day basis. The fact that a day lost is life lost has not sunk deep enough yet. I shared my BSP write up with him, and we spoke again for a few minutes today. He wanted the experience to stay with him for a long time, which I think is possible only by pushing Sadhana up by a few notches (in terms of intensity).
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