Monday, May 18, 2009

Melodies of the past

Not much of a post here. Just happened to hum a tune while loitering about in the kitchen. It took me some time to figure out the song. It was a song I had first during school days and subsequently a lot during college days. The song Dildariya re by Bhoomi, triggered of a mad hunt for songs by Bhoomi, Parash Pathar, Chandrabindoo, Nachiketa, Anjan Dutta et al. on youtube. All bengali bands or singers, so in case one is not aware of them fret not!! :)

At this point I realised that, often without knowing we tend to associate certain music/songs/albums with different things, like schooldays, college, graduation, teenage, growing up, the first love, the first break up. E.g.

1. Where We Belong (Boyzone) - This album came out in 1998 and somehow quite a few of these songs remain with my till date. I went crazy over them. That was also the year I had my first serious teenage crush. And not to mention the stress level of impending O-levels in that academic year. Boyzone, helped me relax with songs like No Matter What, All That I Need, You Flew Away, Picture of You. And it was while singing along to them I realised, I could sing!! :D

2. Songs from the Guru Dutt classics - At a time when I was delving into idealism, forging my creative senses from colours to words, the songs (lyrics and music) helped develop the choice acutely, be it "Waqt ne kiya" or "Ya dil ki suno duniyan walo", "jaane woh kaise log the" or "yeh duniya". Classics all the way and still love listening to them when am thoughtful.

3. Euphoria and Nachiketa - while they had been around for years, with "Dhoom pichuk" being literally an anthem for youngsters from that time. They played a key part towards the end of school years when I was really digging into music. Did I follow the calling? Unfortunately not!!

4. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica) - I have never really been able to be a fan of an artist/band. For me its always been the song. Nothing else matters, a song which is perhaps the most soothing number that one would hear. And if you can strum the guitar, the opening sequence relaxes your mind like nothing else. and has till date remained a key destresser for me. I play the song, whenever I feel am getting bogged down. It also serves as a key to the memories I have of Sikkim. 4 years in that beautiful land, we studied, fought, played, basically grew up from boys to men, the wisps of cloud that rest on the river the early in the morning, the rain kissed trees glistening on a cloudy day. This song evokes strong, peaceful n cherished memories.

5. Bhoomi, Parashpathar, Fossils, Chandrabindoo - All bengali bands. I discovered them when I got around to college in Sikkim. As I got educated in that phenomena, I picked up their songs. And when like minded guys get together what you have night long soirees on rooftops a few guys, a couple of guitars and raw vocal power. It helped that everyone was talented enough to make it a wonderful show. Night after night, year after year.... Those were the best days of my life :)

6. Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden), November Rain (GnR) - Somehow, it was with these songs that I got hooked to guitar. Another thing I picked up during engineering!! I love affair with guitar still continues, though I haven't managed to go past the basic. Self learning may not be the best way :P

Since then I have heard many genres, appreciated all types of music. Be it Ustad Amjad Ali Khan or Yanni, Rabindrasangeet or Abba, Beatles or Linkin Park, Karunesh or A.R.Rehman, R.D.Burman or current Bollywood music.... music has been a key a element while I grew up. It would always be. As long as I can sing and play a guitar, I know am not living without music. :)

What's your dig or influence??

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A choice!! What would you do??

Now blame Phoenix for this, but her post on women in the Indian society made me dig out a favourite question of mine, to which I'm to arrive at a good solution. It's based on a practical situation which can/ might/will arise in quite a few lives around us in the future. Some might have already witnessed it. Anyhow without much ado, I present the situation.

The Situation:
Suppose me n my lady, both working, are having quite a decent run at work. Having what folks would call a good life. may be she is doing better than I am. now, I get this career opportunity which is going take me places, a real jump... but it requires me to relocate.

The Question:
Should my lady to tag along with me?? It would mean to have to quit her job (not desirable!!)... or stay apart?? (not desirable n for how long would that work?)...
The only way out it seems is not to make the move (can i really pass on dat jump??).

My Thoughts:
The more I about the more I get convinced that I have to choose between personal life or career at that point... may be, I can only cross the bridge when I come to it.. at this point everything said or suggested would be mere speculation, or....

What is your take on this situation??
Think of the situation from both perspectives (man n woman), and by turning the tables.

Happy Thinking!! Cheerio...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Post exams and Portsmouth

So, exams have been over. The week following that was spent working on a business simulation exercise. With that out of the way, we now concentrate on the research proposal for the dissertation coming up in July.

The exams were taxing, with 5 in 5 days. Yep, you got that right. It was 5 in 5. Not a shred of mercy for the business school students. We lived, we sailed through... and finally crashed after the exams were over. But the exhilaration triumphed over fatigue and we spent the afternoon lazing about at Hyde Park, soaking in the sun over a few beers and then trooping in for an after-exams party at a classmate's place at Fulham Broadway (nice house he had there!!) And so the much awaited weekend started. And honestly, most were interested in lazing about than anything else. However, me and a couple of my classmates decided to spend the day out on Sunday, walking about in Soho. (read about it here: Soho Walk on a Sunday)

Hyde park on Sunny Afternoon (May '09)

The business simulation exercise though was mind boggling. Having had to run a business on a software simulation, each team (formed at the beginning of the year) had to manage it to ensure profits, good share price, nice dividends, valuable market share, sustainability and other aspects as one is supposed to encounter in the real life scenario. A steep learning curve it was, with the advantage being, the mistakes would cause losses but they would only be numbers on the screen. Definitely a better way to try out the fundamentals we have been picking up over the year, without any serious repurcussion which was, as a professor pointed out, an advantage managers of yesteryears never had. :)


Going ahead the scheme of things as laid out before, I would be sharing a few pictures from Portsmouth, which I visited in February. A port city and a major naval base of the Royal Navy and Marine Commandos, Portsmouth has been in the thick of actions since the medieval ages. It's most famous creation being the Mary Rose (built during the reign of Henry VIII), which had infamously sunk a few km off the shore in 1545. Speculations are rife over why she sunk till today. The last of its remains were recovered from Davy Jones' Locker in 1982, and is the oldest surviving remain of any ship. It can be viewed at the Portsmouth Historical Dockyards. The Dockyards also houses the famous HMS Victory (oldest ship in commission), which Lord Nelson commanded during the Battle of Trafalgar, and it was on this very ship that he breathed his last on 21st October, 1805.

The remains of Mary Rose, washed in molten wax

The HMS Victory, portside

The Spinnaker tower

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joys of Childhood

Before I begin my ramblings (I know I use that word often!!), I must thank SK for forwarding me the link of the videos I posted in the previous post about Wanda Sykes. By the way, SK (also my classmate) has been a source of constant support during the exam stressful exam day, right until the last exam. I must thank her for those messages on Facebook, which though were more about course material, but a communication I used to look forward to amongst other things I used to do then (apart from studies/revision). Thanks a lot mate... You've been great!! :)

Now with that note of thanks, I proceed to the current thought of the day: "Childhood is best phase of our lives". Honestly, nothing to worry about except maybe class routines, but that to after we grow up a little. The BIG thing is, no bills to take care of, no worries about about what to cook, no worries about the taxes, building up a bank balance, mortgages... nothing!! All you do, is go about your business of a student and a complete freako otherwise. I actually started thinking on these lines after going through the following pictures:

In one the child is enjoying being hoisted up into the air, comfortable in the knowledge that his dad is going to catch him on the way down and not let let him crash to the ground. The other is just about two brothers innocently playing about with their balloons as their folks went about their own business at the event. the bottomline is, they are enjoying without a care in the world. It's as if the more you know the less is enjoy life. So, did knowledge finally serve it's purpose?? Catch 22 anyone??

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let's have a tax ball...

Now I wasn't the one suggesting that. However, given Wanda Sykes suggestion and reasoning, am more inclined to agree to that. People evade taxes, they crib about it. Now, am not saying that some don't have a right to do that, they really do. The poor chap is earning peanuts and the government goes off and taxes them high. Not fair. However, the government needs the money to work things out, yeah? So, they tax the ones who can pay high. E.g., in UK , you get taxed 50% for an income above £150000 per annum. People crib a lot. Damn right, they should. I would!! I work hard all year, struggled and made it to the top over so many years, and then they tax me 50% of what I earn. I would have been better off with a salary of £140000, would be paying 40% then!! Now, let me give you a sweet catch. The bonuses are tax free, or so I heard.

So, the rich folks crib about tax, yet don't mind shelling out the big money at charity balls and dinners, where they dress up and have a seven course meal. So, what Wanda Sykes suggests is, get them around to a tax ball too, because it seems they don't mind shelling out when well dressed. Talk about killing 'em softly!!

Anyhow, Wanda went on to land quite a few more such thumps, so watch them on the videos. (scroll down a bit, n you'll find them waiting to be clicked :)) Oh, and don't run away after watching it. Stay around and tell me about what you thought of it...

Part 1 : Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner

Part 2 : Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner

PS: I simply had to share this. :D

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Soho Walk on a Sunday

Things haven't changed much over the past week except perhaps the fact that exams are finally over and I sort of managed to catch up on my sleep. The lack of it thankfully did not harm me during the exams. The weekend expectedly was spent lazing about doing nothing at all, till on Saturday night while on a lazing spree in my room, me n a couple of folks decided to leg about in central London the next day. Having nothing better to do, and still feeling out of sorts with the alleys and lanes of London, we felt this was the best way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday afternoon we started our walk from Piccadilly Circus, went past the Devonshire Arms pub to enter the interiors of Soho (I would suggest clicking on this link for a map of the area, else you are sure to get lost). The place comes alive at night, but during daytime it was as quiet as a quaint little village. Walking though its narrow lanes and alleys, we emerged onto Oxford Street. Busy as ever with shoppers and people just walking by, the street as always was a marvel to look at. Proceeding along Oxford Street, away from Oxford Circus, we again took a turn into Great Chapel street to get ourselves back into Soho. Walking down, we were amazed by the stark difference in the one felt in less than 100m. From the end of the street, we could see Oxford Street going about its business and Wardour street on the other side pretty much doing the same. But at that very corner, everything quiet. Silence managed to reign supreme despite being surrounded by chaos. Walking along Wardour street, we turned into Mearde Street before heading out towards Quo Vadis on Dean Street. At this point I must mention that the building that houses Quo Vadis today, was at one point in time the residence of Karl Marx, or rather on of its upper floors (the floor be marked with a circular blue metal plaque). Onwards straight , a turn later we were at Soho Square, which is essectially the green lung of this area. A nice quaint spot, I felt like pausing there for more than a few minutes. In fact, wished had a picnic basket!! But, we carried on, straight along Greek Street, (Casanova at one point of time was a resident of this very street). Walking straight ahead, we turned right onto Old Compton street corner where you would find Maison Bertaux. Supposed to be makers to delicious patisserie, its place people have been known to hang around for hours having nothing but tea. A little ahead was Chinatown and soon enough we were at Leicester square.

Not having had enough, we headed off to Fitzroy park, which was a 7 min bus ride away. The intention was to have lunch at the Indian YMCA, which much to our disbelief was closed for lunch. Disappointed we spent a few minutes at Fitzroy park, which was honestly beautiful, with the sun beating down on our heads and yet it felt good. Over here I found my friends being caught up with a pigeon and frankly, I had no clue what they were trying to converse but from the looks of it I gathered the lil birdie was not too interested.

Grabbing a bite on the way, we headed towards Trafalgar Square, going past Leicester square, only to laze about in the sun there as the crowd thronged about for the Baisakhi mela organised there by the City Council. After much lazing about we went off towards Covent Garden, a 7 minute walk away. Covent Garden as usual did not disappoint on a Sunday evening. This is the place I would suggest everyone to head for if you want a drink and some live music going on around you. We saw some street performers, live musicians and listened to a strings group (violins n cello) to our hearts content before heading back. It was well past 7. 7 well spent hours I would say!!

Monday was a bank holiday, so it went by in preparation for the forthcoming week, which promised to be rigourous, though frankly no preparation could have been enough. Tuesday to Friday, was a mad rush, with a business simulation exrecise at school, which required each student group to crunch numbers, predict market behaviour, generate capital, position products, launch new products, retire sick products - the whole 9 yards that one has to travel to make a business venture successful n sustainable over time. It was draining enough, but the week ended on a high note, with a few drunk mates, thai food, seemingly lost directions (that happens if you be led by an inebriated Thai, support a burly drunk Russian and a couple of other ladies in high spirits). A good laugh, good food and a good sleep - after a tiring n challenging week, that's all you need!! :)