Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are they worth it?

This is a true story. Friend of mine from LA told me it happened in her sister's high school
"Oi, Sarah! Guess what?!! I finally asked Raul to to go the dance with me and he said yes!!! Isn't that great?"

"He said yes?"

"Hah! Yes he did! I know... I know... I can't believe it myself!"


"It wasn't like that Sarah, I was meaning to ask you first but she has been asking for like a month now and I just couldn't say no."

"You should have told me a week earlier. Not the day right before the dance. Bye Raul"


"Hey Seth, would you go to the dance with me?"

"Sarah! Umm... I... would love to... but..."

"No it's alright I'll ask someone else! Thanks anyway!"


"Raul... hey, RAUL!"

"Seth? What's up?"

"Did you see the evening papers yesterday?"

"Papers? Haha! No man why what's on?"

I wonder what made that young woman think that death was the answer to high school boy problems. I wonder what makes anyone think that death is the answer to any of life's problems. RIP

Monday, July 13, 2009

Knowing her... knowing me.

"I need to get my life together", sighed Andrea, her head rested on my shoulders. She was my age, shared the same dreams as me and liked the same things I did but unlike myself, Andy had a face as perfect as a painting, never sang in cacophonies and actually had a heart which I suspected was made of gold.

I patted her shoulder and tried to think of something comforting to say. "Andy I've known you for donkey's years and I know you will find a way out of this mess.", I said reassuringly. Andy shook her head and smiled. "You say that only to make me feel better"

"No I mean it."

"I don't think so. I'm nothing but a little dot on the vast planet trying to make my mark in this world even though there are people way better than I am, doing greater things than I do with a greater degree of perfection. I suck. End of story."

"Well...", I began and she cut me short immediately. "Don't!! Please don't say anything. I know what I am. I am a small fish in a big sea. If I dare venture outside of my little shell, I know I'm going to be eaten."

I sighed. "You're right Andy. There's nothing you can do about it. I guess you're just going to have to accept that you're good but not good enough. Not everybody makes it to the top of the ladder."

She looked askance at me, rubbing her thumbs together. She always did that.

"What do you mean *not good enough*?", she asked, careful to stress every word in its utterance.

"Just that... not good enough."

She stood up, arms akimbo and stared right into my eyes. "Look, I don't know about your standards but let me tell you... I've been published in more than one renowned journals, I have had three exhibitions of my artworks... two more on their way, and I have been invited to be the lead for the nationwide dance extravaganza. So if you wish to tell me that my accomplishments are *not good enough* I will need you to place on record your own. And after that you can badger me with your aspersions but until THAT happens I will *NOT* be abased, you hear?"

I allowed myself to smile a little and then stood up myself. "Now that we have this sorted out, you want to go to Ranger's and get pizza?", I asked averting a direct gaze at her searching eyes, fumbling with my purse. Andy stayed quite for a minute and then we both looked at each other and laughed our lungs out.

"You are such a piece of work, you know that?", she asked squeezing me into one of those girly hugs that I have never grown quite comfortable with even after ten years.

"Thanks Andy, I can say the same for ya."

She nodded and we walked hand in hand to the pizza restaurant down Baxter's Road, talking about horrible Mr. McMath at school and how difficult it was to find good looking boys to go to the dance with... and suddenly we were ten years old again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pieces of a puzzle

It is amazing how sometimes your life seems to be so perfect - like someone took the missing pieces of a fabric and sewed it all together. You have a dream, you have love, you have a great family and the most entertaining and compassionate people as friends.

They say life is what you miss when you spend years thinking about what it is. So often, we forget to notice how meaningful everyday occurrences are. A mother's smile when you tell her what a wonderful cook she is. A brother's childish-yet-I'm-so-grown-up look when you speak to him about how precarious the road ahead can be if you have no plans. The look of gratitude in a friend's eyes when you tell them you'll be there... even though they probably wouldn't need you. It is in those little things that you find the true meaning of life. At the end of the day, satisfaction is what matters more than happiness. And what can be more satisfying than hearing from the ones you love the most about how much you mean to them?

So many of us seek adventure in life... Traveling the world, climbing an insurmountable hill, falling free from hundreds of feet above the ground, diving under the oceans to look at all the beauty that is concealed within... No doubt, a person learns a lot about her/himself during these overwhelming journeys. Surely, it helps them discover a part of them that they were either unaware of, or were uncertain of. However, what can be learnt from the details, can be learnt only from the details. There is a broader perspective to almost everything... more than what meets the eye. It is when we notice those that we truly begin to understand our purpose of existence.

When I sat, hands rested on my cheeks, looking out of the window - my mother sat beside me.

"So what is it?", she asked seeming to be very certain that something was amiss.

"Nothing maa. Just... looking at the birds.", I said convincingly. But she was my mother and she didn't buy that.

"Ah. Yeah lovely birds... black bodies and grey necks... how wonderfully they sing... caw, caw, cawcaw..."

I laughed and put an arm around the woman who is my best friend, my angel, my savior and my teacher. She can sweeten the sourness in my mood anytime.

"Very funny maa. You got me though, It's him. AND I know what you're going to say... I've been with guys before, I've thought I was in love and then turned out I wasn't ya da ya da ya da."

"Yes, that is what I would have said usually. But not this time. This time it's different I can tell."

I blinked. Say what? This was my mum right? 5'3, fair and nice black hair? Yep. Seemed so. She was smiling at me sensing the mild shock I was in and then she said - "Swati, when you're in love and when you're so far away from each other, things can be a little crooked. But if you can feel him when he says I love you and if his words make you happy and one look at him makes your heart sing, you should let go of the hard feelings you have. The essence of anything is in its details."

What can I say? I love my mother, I love the man I love and I love my life. Of course, very shortly you will read a blog post about how things can never go right for me and about how much life sucks, but hey... we're looking at the broader picture here... wait I mean the finer details... Agh! You get the point!

When life gives you lemons, collect them and then hurl them as forcefully at you can at all your problems and say "Problem ke bache tera mu kaala!"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Change. (Might not make sense to you! :D)

Change is the only certain thing in life they say. That and death. But I am not going to talk about death here because I don't know anything about it! I know a few things about change though. Like how it can in it's arcane ways make you feel ecstatic one instant and the next instant you want to hide in a corner from the whole world wishing nobody ever heard of you. One instant you're on top of everybody's charts and then you're the last person anyone wants to bump into.

Of course without change life would suck terribly. Nobody would have any imagination. You'd still be stuck at the same place doing the same thing after ten years. Twenty years. A whole eternity. Progress would stop and this world would see day after day after day pass by with no spectacular occurrences.

And yet people are afraid of change. Nothing might be so mind-boggling without change but then things aren't unsettling either. Some people live in apprehension and fear all their lives... pondering about what might become of them... what they will or will not make of their "insignificant lives"... does anything last forever? Hope? Love? Friendship? What if something happens that will change everything? Change. Something that invokes fear and anticipation. Change. Something that you know will change your life but you have no clue if it will be for the better or for the worse. Now some may argue that everything happens for the best but honestly... how often do we KNOW what good has come out of certain things... How do we know what disaster someone has averted by losing a limb? Is it for the better? Maybe. How so? No one knows.

So what is it about change that makes it so hard to live with it or live without it? Do all of us need this uncertainty to go on? I am thinking we do. What's a race when you know for sure who's going to win it and how? Maybe change is what makes life. Or maybe change is life. So when people say only death and change is ever certain... they're really talking about life and death. Or are they? Maybe :)

Monday, July 6, 2009


OK here I am again. I know it has been long and I've missed my blog! *Looks around happily... until her eyes wander and stop to see the date of the last entry...* Yeah, like I said... I've missed blogging.

Anyway, this is about the June RockOut which happened in July and what can I say... it was amazing! Like many concerts that happen in Chennai, the fan following was rather small (there might have been like 150 people which is kind of a big deal for Chn!) but what the heck, it was totally awesome! This blog is dedicated to my all time favourite Indian bands - Blood and Iron, SKRAT and Motherjane.

SKRAT came on and as always, they had the fans screaming out loud for more. Their music, to me, is creative, professional and fun. It isn't beat up. You can never hear a similar sounding song anywhere. The riffs were perfect, the drum fills were complementary. The vocals fit in so well... if you have seen one of those delicately carved pieces of furniture that wouldn't have looked as exquisite without minor, vein-sized details... you'll know what I'm talking about. They weave together a perfect fabric with all their instruments, paying perfect attention to details. If there's anything that SKRAT needs to achieve the overall awesomeness that they're so close to having - it is the lyrics. They're very good but they could be better.

Blood and Iron was pure METAL. That's all there is to it. It was raining cats and dogs. Nobody cared. Half an hour of headbanging and indulgence. And then they were gone. Just like that. For what seemed like a minute, a silence fell over everyone after they found out that repeated pleas of an encore wasn't going to yield any results. BnI has musical genes in them. If they wouldn't have told you that the drummer had a broken wrist, you'd hardly notice. The grounds were filed with mad sounds from the snare and the crash. The double bass was too good to be true. Keyboards made the song. Guitar solos have their own place in a song but a keyboard solo this genial is hard to come by. Vocals were out of the world. The only thing was that nobody could hear the bassy. Well, bad arrangements maybe... But Blood and Iron was probably the band that got most of the attention and accolades.

Motherjane... if you would look at these guys in a coffee shop they'd seem like ordinary Mallus who live a happy life eating beef and drinking their everyday chaaya. The "rockband" outfit is only for stage. And boy do they astonish you! The Neversink river isn't the confluence of east and west, Motherjane's music is! You will start to wonder if Nikola Tesla made magical guitars if you'd just look at Baiju play. Now it's Indian... now it's western rock... Indian... rock... It makes you breathless and when the solo breaks off and he's playing rhythm again all you can say is "wow!"

There might be Wacken Open Air and Bloodstock and Woodstock... but there is also JRO and the talent here is definitely a threat to anyone who is competing. Viva la Musica!