Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barack's inaugural speech

My fellow citizens,

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during...(for the complete speech)

I just wanted to share this with everyone.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Death Fast Forwarded

Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth is the Sportsman of the year. Wow!!! He wins both the 100m and 200m Olympics Gold in Beijing in record times and pips out Michael Phelps who had a dream run in the same edition and cracked eight Golds in swimming beating Spitz’s long standing record of maximum Golds in swimming. They promise to better their own records in the coming days and we are waiting for that to happen with abated breaths. We love it when somebody redefines speed in any field.

But how long can anybody keep challenging their own speed? Today, there is an Usain and a Phelps, tomorrow there would be somebody else in their places. Nobody can have permanence in breaking rates of speeds. They could do till such time as their body withstands. What next for them then? Better to remain as legends than pushing the extremes of extremes for too long a time that might turn fatal for their own existence. There has to be an end to any roller coaster ride or for a juggernaut roll and similarly for humans. There is a certain vantage point and it is for us to identify and respect that to maintain sanity in our lives.

The present world trend is quick paced. We want things to be done in a jiffy. The faster the work gets over the better the efficiency is considered. It is true in any field and particularly the corporate sector. Quick deployment of projects brings with it high appreciation and bonus packages and we are game for it. We want to test our own speeds time and again, push limits to whatever extremes we can dare, if not more, till we realize it’s too late to turn back.

The rate at which we see people contracting illnesses or becoming vulnerable to heart attacks is alarming. Every other middle aged guy (30yrs-40yrs) suffers from High Blood Pressure. Stress and office tensions have become the norm of the day. Even though people realize the ill-effects of constant deadline dictated life styles, there is not much reaction in correcting it. Everyone constantly live on medication and that’s the only way we intend to counter it, continuing our race in and for ‘life’. I think we have a heavy debt to pay to doctors living in our locality or is it a supreme confidence in medical science that we leave even our lives in doctors’ hands to reach and satisfy our own money stained ends?
The more we earn, the more we can pay the doctors. Great!!!

In the run to make things faster and achieve bloated profits, humankind has fast forwarded its own life cycle. We give a damn to the consequences of this hub-hub in our lives till death knocks at our door. It’s as though we have fast forwarded death itself. The faster a person dies the better his efficiency in life, I guess. sigh!!!

* Image of Phelps: Courtesy- Associated Press

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yawned… Stunned… Soared… and …and… Landed

This is what happened to me on Jan 11th, 2009, a date that will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life. It was sheer privilege that Music Connoisseurs in Hyderabad had one last opportunity (most probably) to drench in the melody tuned by the one and only Pandit Ravi Shankar along with Anoushka, his daughter. Why would anybody let a chance of that magnitude go by? I might have if thinking only for me, but I wanted desperately to take my parents to that concert as they are totally in love with music. So, I ensured that I get the invitation to attend this one organized by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) at Hyderabad International Convention Center (HICC).

On a personal note, I was a little apprehensive right from the beginning as to how the concert would shape up for my own comfort. And boy!!! I was served with divinity.

The way things unfolded initially seemed to make my doubts concrete with lullaby kind aalaap and I found myself violently yawning. I was desperately trying to keep myself awake and fake enthusiastic participation. This inconvenience was only for a very short time though.

What ensued later jolted me from my slumber and I was stunned at the transformation. The lilting solo Sitar music a while ago gave way to a confluence of Sitar and Tabla. There were things I felt, like a brilliant spring day early in the morning with fresh leaves and flowers blossoming, a sprightly drizzle enveloping life with THE LIFE and with peacocks making the most of it, a crimson sun shining on the up and waking from the dullness of the night to spur into the action of the day and the emotion went on. I was a part of all that for a span of over an hour.

If seasons change with the movement of earth and sun, here they changed with the movement of Sitar strings and Tabla. As the concert moved into its climactic stage, there was no dearth in excitement and music was of such high paradigm that I was soaring high into the skies visiting celestial territories of Brahma, the Creator and the Dancing Shiva. I was so taken in by the power of music. I even surprised myself with the way I got myself totally involved with the way I was foot-tapping to the vibrant waves from the hollow wood with strings.

The speed at which the music was flowing made adrenalin pump harder. I was flummoxed at the way they controlled the pace and brought me back on land. The landing was so smooth that I didn’t even feel the touch down. The notes were pitch perfect and timing precise. It was an overwhelming standing ovation at the end and amidst screams of encore Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka along with his entourage made the exit from the stage.

His Entourage:

Tanmay Bose from Calcutta (Tabla)
Ravi Chandra Kollur from Bangalore (Kanjira)
Anshu (Tambura)
Sanjay Sharma (The man behind the making of the two Sitars for the Stars)

Truly, this is a concert worth experiencing and reliving time and again. It gave me and my family immense pleasure to be a part of such a musical journey where the soul was taken for a ride par extravaganza.

It is true as I found out today that “Music is divine and doesn’t have any language”. It appeals directly to ones emotions and that is definitive in its influencing powers. I wish we could have such events organized regularly around places where I live as I am eager to be going through a similar experience over a thousand times.