Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Its just a little____

A picture is worth a thousand words and a thousand words arent enough to describe what I am about to say. But I dont quit. Here goes-


Friday, June 15, 2007

I am Human and other songs

The reaction to this title can be twofold. The usual one is - "I noticed" and the more whimsical one would be - "Really? You don't say!"
Ha ha aside, this is the name of the song that my sister and I used to like, when the titles of "Charmed" came. After a sudden refresh of memory, I googled the song out and here are the lyrics:
I am the sun
I am the Earth
All the shyness that is criminally vulgar
And some of them
Are nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

It's just sad that you have to go
You could be somebody
That really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you go home
And you cry and you want to die

And you say it's gonna happen now
But when exactly do you leave?
See, I've already waited too long
And all my hope is gone

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

The other show soundtrack I really liked and hunted for- Superman by Lazlo Bane from 'Scrubs' [That Zach Braff is a dish!] Its very sweet, earnest and full of common man's angst:
Out the door just in time
Head down the 405
Gotta meet the new boss by 8 a.m.
The phone rings in the car
The wife is workin' hard
She's running late tonight again

I know what I've been told,
You got to work to feed the soul
But I can't do this all on my own
No, I know, I'm no Superman
I'm no Superman

You've got your love online
You think you're doing fine
But you're just plugged into the wall

And that deck of tarot cards
Won't get you very far
There ain't no hand to break your fall

I know what I've been told
You gotta know just when to fold
But I can't do this all on my own
No, I know, I'm no Superman
I'm no Superman

That's right

You've crossed the finish line
Won the race but lost your mind
Was it worth it after all

I need you here with me
Cause love is all we need
Just take a hold of the hand that breaks the fall

Well I know what I've been told
Gotta break free to break the mold
But I can't do this all on my own
No I can't do this all on my own
I know that I'm no Superman
I'm no Superman
I'm no Superman

Someday we'll be together
I'm no Superman
Someday we'll be together
I'm no Superman
The draw for me is that, they both are really good songs and they are unpretentiously frank about the fact that they don't deal with anything in superlatives. Not about rich, strong or beautiful people doing extraordinary feats or landmark achievements. Not your usual song about love, scorned love, spurned love or soured love. Best of all- it is not a garish flesh display with lyrics on the anatomy. These songs embrace the aspects of being just human - pain, sadness, frustration, hope, love [but in a tasteful quantity], dignity, acceptance and chance.

Then I began to look for more compilations oked by Zach Braff then I found out that the song I raved about in my earlier post called 'Let Go' by frou frou [voice-Imogen heap] was his choice for his movie- 'Garden State', which he scripted and directed [what is not to love?]. So I began to look for more songs he selected and two songs from the same band featured in the soundtrack - New Slang and caring is creepy, both by The Shins. I think both are 'grow into' type of songs, very cerebral and intense, once again angst ridden and open to misery of existence.

These new crop of songs and artists are the next generation of alternate indie rock, ready to take the baton from the likes of REM, Oasis [to a limited extent], Radiohead, Nirvana [who's sound I identify with though I cant figure out why], Red Hot Chilli Peppers [of before], Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Alanis Morisette and achieve eternal glory in the universe of the Rock-heads [there arent so many of us anymore...we are a dying breed like the 'Nightwalkers']

I also made a re-discovery of the relevance of retro songs when I chanced upon 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (original starring that dashing Steve McQueen) and listened to the award winning 'Windmills of your mind' which is almost poetic in its lyrical appeal, its about someone dealing with their feelings after the end of a relationship. Its not very exceptionally sung, but its very attractive in its sound -
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending on beginning,
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain,
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Spinning silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Like the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream.
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Spinning silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway
or the fragment of a song,
half-remembered names and faces
but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the color of her hair?

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
Its great to sample new songs and sounds as I had stuck to the old favorites for the past year.
Opening my mind to newer horizons via my auditory sense, which also reassures me that I am not deaf as I suspected, you know, with prolong use of head phones and all...

On an unrelated note, I have been promised some footage in another blog, Mythoughtwaves, that is penned (or keyed, if you will) by the very comprehensive blogger - VJ. Lets see if he keeps his word and soon my fame can re-spread :)

Active Listener,

Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Rocking Life

If there is one aspect of my living in the land of milk and honey that is hands-down without a bad side, not even a gray lining and is 100% Agmark certified all Good, then its this – I can go to rock concerts here.

I got into rock at around age 13 and have stayed firm to that despite being comfortable with my other aspect of enjoying carnatic vocal and instrumental with all my iyer proclivity for it. Soon as my sister grew up, I had a partner in crime and she took to the genre of music like fish to water. Then we had a in-sync period where we would shut ourself in the room, block out all sources of light – natural or otherwise and headbang without inhibition to the raw and elevating sounds of Metallica and U2. Our parents knew about it, yet they were too scared to see us showing symptoms of possession, so generally let us do out thing uninterrupted.

Then the disciple took over from the Guru and went leaps ahead; she turned traitor to the cause of legitimate rock and became a boy-band fanatic like all the air-headed pre-teens. She decided that she didn’t think techno was too synthetic, embraced mainstream western music in all its commercial crassness and we started to go our separate ways since.

Here, I met Gowtham in September of 2006 and learned that he is one of ‘us’ [Us being the lost tribe of Rock worshippers who all died out when natural selection favored pop worshippers]. He told me that I had missed going to the Aerosmith open-air concert, right here at the steel city [AEROSMITH – I am not worthy!!!…*groveling actions*]. We then proceed to, as a group (having been joined by the ultra cool Avanthika) haunt the nearby concerts, thus providing me to strike off the following Gods of Rock from my list of “Perfomances to see before the artists die…” [I mean, C’mon they live lives of – Heavy Fuel a.k.a Sex, Drugs and Violence]

Guns and Roses

The debate of Slash vs. Axl Rose aside, this was a totally awesome experience and I was so thrilled to be right there when the strains of ‘November Rain’ filled the stadium. Me and fellow rock head Gow went all out and fell for ‘There was a time’ from the forthcoming Chinese Democracy and I will be happy to endorse that there is a whole lot of ROCK in GnR left to unleash into the mundane universe!


What is not to love about Nickelback? They are a quintessential basic rock band – heady guitar and drums sounds, Meaningful lyrics and a very good frontman. We had a totally wonderful time at the concert, despite us reaching there a full 3 hours after the concert began [thanks to Friday evening office traffic at downtown Forbes Avenue], our loss was missing Three Days Grace play. I wore my ‘Motley Crew’ rock Tee and got appreciation from the passersby and then I knew (probably for the first time) what complete acceptance by a crowd feels like!

That was the day I taught Aafiya to make the universal symbol of rock, which she is yet to master, and say “Rooooocckkkk!” with attitude, which she has down to pat :D

G3 – Joe Satriani

This one was not my idea. Admittedly I listened to ‘Rubina’s Blue Sky’ on some lazy Saturday afternoon in fm and introduced Joe Sat to my sister. I don’t accept any responsibility to the consequences which finally have now led to her becoming the High Priestess of G3 worship. Any how, Gow and Sow by their independent efforts sold me into going for this concert. My hesitation was incremented by the fact that the concert happened 2 weeks after my having imitated Jill [who came tumbling after] in my staircase. Nevertheless, I went, it was a different parallel universe where were almost no vocals and Guitar was all and I was glad for the learning.

Now I am all hungry to catch the following (In no particular order or associated priority) –

  • Aerosmith
  • Sting
  • Bryan Adams
  • U2
  • Metallica
[At the mention of each of these illustrious names, the author goes back into grovelling slave mode]

These are just in my “MANDATORY” tag. I would love to catch other performances of significant bands and Individuals who I admire, during my stay here, given of course the requirements of - company to go with, travel to and from venue, reasonable ticket prices are met.

Let me wind down the post, by dedicating it to Gowtham who married a wonderful girl called Kavi on 6th in Chennai.
Congratulations Buddy!
God Bless and hope you guys, ROCK!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yet another Pool post

Water is a very expressive element and it has given its siren call to bring me back into its fold. When someone decides to go the Metallica way and decides that not caring for what people will say works best for them, it brings a certain kind of freedom that not many legit people get.

I am no Michael Phelps or Ian Thorpe but I like swimming and I no longer care that people I know will get to see me in a suit (which is a misnomer, since it doesn’t really ‘suit’ me in the conventional sense of the term) so I took the pool pass and decided to spend my summer usefully.

The first time back in the pool was like reincarnation- very dicey at first but it all comes back with a wonderful sense of blurring the gap, the time when you had stayed landlocked. This time was especially good because I was the only swimmer and made me feel like those filthy rich retired CEOs who have houses overlooking Central Park where Spanish nannies take their twins every evening. Oh yeah, two lifeguards who’s only mission was watching me (in case I decide to drown in 5 feet of water). A nice couple of kids, I felt, probably students from CMU, UPitt or Duquesne because they alternate between playing videogames on their phone and studying fat books.

I started off at 5 feet and the width of the already miniscule pool was a challenge to hold a single breath and cross. But I was relearning fast, before the end of 10 minutes I was able to hold breath and flit across. Then alternating every lap with backstroke and progressively increasing the depth, I finally reached the deepest part – 9 feet.
At that point, I realized that all fear of the water, breathing, depth and drowning had completely left me with even a slight trace of hesitation and sweet elation filled my thoughts.

Life is so simple when you are swimming on your back; all you can see is the endless sky and peacefully transitory clouds and all you think about is your breathing.
Freestyle is slightly less pretty, with a working pair of swimming goggles you can see all the dirt at the bottom of the pool in absolute clarity and if you suspect that you might be mildly obsessive compulsive then its better your eyes are closed.

So I waded, swam, floated, dived and played around for as long as I wanted and then I got out, the ugliness of life wafted in – I was sticky, feeling hot and breaking into angry red rashes. The allergy made sense when I recollected the state of cleanliness the bottom of the pool was in. But all the blotches aside, the best thing I ever did for myself lately has been to buy the pool pass.

The next pool post will be about mortgages and mutual funds, just for a change because I decided that any chance I get to flaunt my scholarly knowledge in Capital Markets, I must use.

Moral of the story: Water good, Land bad. No, no, just kidding…or am I?

Water sign,