Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleepless nights and Jagjeet

A piece which played multiple times tonight, or should I say, morning:

फिर कुछ इस दिल को बेक़रारी है
सीना जोया-ए-ज़ख्म-ए-कारी है
(जोया : to search)

फिर जिगर खोदने लगा नाखुन
आमद-ए-फ़स्ल-ए-लालाकारी है
(आमद-ए-फ़स्ल : arrival of the harvest, लालाकारी : spawning a particular red flower)

फिर उसी बेवफ़ा पे मरते हैं
फिर वही ज़िन्दगी हमारी है

बेखुदी बेसबब नहीं ग़ालिब
कुछ तो है जिसकी पर्दा-दारी है

Jagjeet Singh mesmerizing with his poignant voice over Galib's masterpiece.  The original gazal has quite a few more shers than the recitation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recession & Entrepreneurs

Recession is probably the haven for entrepreneurs.  In bad times like these when everything else stops, and when one spends daily office hours apprehensive about every next email being the pink slip, it's time when people start thinking about other avenues.  Of course, it's even more difficult to set off on your own during hurricanes, but martaa kyaa na kartaa. :)

In the flurry of startups I happened to look at in the last couple of months, a few were really novel ideas.  There were hordes of 'me too' businesses which I came across, albeit, each trying to improve past attempts in the domain.  It's an interesting observation, that entrepreneurship is mostly, in layman understanding, restricted to 'new ideas'.  I always wondered why - same idea presented differently can't be as good as a new one - why not 'me too'!

I happened to come across a similar 'me too' attempt - from Bangalore.   There were popular customised-to-Bangalore sites like hungrybangalore and burrp which had similar features for foodies like me, and eveningflavors is just another addition to the list.  However, there are some good things about the latter which made it different.

In the first visit, it might look kind of repulsive - all monocolour, default font homepage without those modern day spiced up 'flashy' pages we are so used to.  There are a couple of spelling mistakes here and there too, giving away the amateurity.  However, when you look closely, you might find a justification for the simplicity.  Man, you are looking for a good place to eat, not a great website to browse with amazing flashes!  If the website's homepage gives you everything at one place, what else do you want?  Eveningflavors throws everything at once - basic search boxes for a quick look, links for area-wise searches, special offer prices at various eateries, and of course, the Special Attractions chosen by users.  The site is yet to pick up, and hence might not show too many user reviews currently, but who cares, I can at least get a comprehensive list for my evening.

Talking about food and Bangalore makes me real nostalgic.  Ah, those days of exploring everything from Chandni Chowk and Grameen and Aranya and Udupi to Roomali and TGIF and Gufa and Queens!  There are times when you miss city life, but most of the times, you actually miss your friends!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Food for thought III

Happened to get a chance to attend a screening of the 1999 flick "Tuesdays with Morrie", an adaptation of the Mitch Albom novel of the same title.  Some lines from the same justifying the title of this post:

On life and death

Should I tell you what it's like? Dying? That's another subject that makes people uncomfortable.  You know, dying is just one thing to be sad about.  Living unhappily, that's another matter.  When you know how to die... you know how to live.

Don't look so sad because I'm gonna die, Mitch.  Everybody's gonna die.  Even you.  But most people don't believe it.  They should have a bird on their shoulder.  That's what the Buddhists do.  Just imagine a little bird on your shoulder...  and every day you say, "Is this the day I'm gonna die, little bird?  Huh? Am I ready? Am I leading the life I want to lead?  Am I the person that I want to be?"

If we accept the fact that we can die at any time, we'd lead our lives differently. So every day you say, "Is this the day?"  If you did have a bird on your shoulder...  you wouldn't put off the things closest to your heart.

Death ends a life,  not a relationship.

On living

Work, money, ambition.  We bury ourselves in these things.  But we never stand back and say, "Is this what I want?"

We think we don't deserve love.  That if we let it come in,  we'll become soft.  Love is the only rational act.  Let it come in.

Yeah, it's a sweet little story.  See, there's this little wave.  And he's out there bobbing up and down and havin'a grand old time.  You know, just enjoying the sunshine and the wind...  Right. Until he see...  Until he sees the other waves.  Yeah. He sees the other waves crashing into the shore, so he gets scared.  And another wave sees him and...  He's like, "Oh, my God.  Look at what's gonna happen to me."  And another wave says to him,  "Why do you look so sad?"  And the little waves says,  "Because we're gonna crash.  All us waves are gonna be nothin: Don't ya understand?"  And the other wave says,  "You don't understand.  You're not a wave.  You're part of the ocean."   Part... of the ocean.

It's what I call the tension of opposites.  Life pulling you back and forth like a rubber band.  Pull you one way, you think that's what you want to do.  Pull you another way, you think that's what you have to do.
- So, who wins?
- Love. Love always wins.

Forgive everybody everything!  Now! Don't wait!  Not everybody has the time that I'm getting.

On other topics

What is it about silence that makes people uneasy, huh?  Why do people only feel comfortable when they're filling the air with words? Hmm?

You know what's funny? Some people just don't like to be touched.  I always found that rather odd.  When we're babies, we live to be touched...  to be held, cuddled by your mother...  comforted.  We never seem to get enough of that.  We need it so badly.

I'm dependent on others... for just about everything, you know... eating, urinating, blowing my nose.  The culture says I should be ashamed of that.  There is nothing innately shameful about being dependent.  When we're infants, we need others to survive.  When we're dying, we need others to survive.  But here's the secret. In between, we need others even more.  We must love one another or die.  Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.  If you listen to that little bird on your shoulder, you'll believe.  It's kind of hard to get in touch with your inner bird.

That's from W.H. Auden,
my favorite poet.

"All I have is a voice...
to undo the folded lie...
the lie of authority...
whose buildings grope the sky.

No one exists alone.
Hunger allows no choice
to the citizen or police.
We must love one another...
or die.
We must...
love one another...
or die."