Sunday, November 21, 2010

My finger tips are calloused where the strings cut the skin, as I press them hard on the fret to play the tunes from my music book... d d f g e d f… I practice my guitar.
I attended few guitar classes in 2006… before my baby and in between jobs. After a long time I picked it up again recently, my beloved guitar or rather, my husband's. So here I am, a 33 something mother of a busy body toddler, strumming at the 6 strings, totally enjoying myself. I love playing it. I could sit the whole day and practice if I had the time. Sadly, there are too many things that demand my attention and I squeeze minutes here and there practicing the chords.
I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar. It was my child hood dream. But my parents sent me to Bharatanatyam dance classes instead! I love dancing now but I hated it then. I would make faces to go to the Sunday classes when my friends stayed home watching Ramayana and Mahabharata on Doordarshan. I used to give dance performances on stage, but the introvert and shy me hated it and would sulk when my parents pleaded me to go on stage. I was good at dancing but I wasn’t passionate about it. Besides I was extremely stage shy. I have been dancing all my school days. But I never got to like it. Until I used the excuse of studies to stop performances when I reached my 12th. I stopped practicing. And have never danced except in group dances in college. No one knows I am or rather was a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. Years later as I see dances on television, I suddenly get this urge to dance. And I have even had thoughts of restarting dancing. Perhaps learn a new style of dance like Kathak or Mohiniattom. But the fancies have remained fancies. But the guitar.. That’s a different story. You might ask what I am hoping to achieve learning to play the guitar at this age?! Well... for one, it’s for purely selfish reasons. I want to learn because I want to play it!
And sometimes I wonder… what if my parents had decided to succumb to my whims and get me a guitar and perhaps I joined a class while still at a school... May be I would have become an accomplished player by now, perhaps performing on stage some where. But then again, may be I would have dropped it. The fact that I nursed the desire to play the guitar for all those years in my bosom today explodes into these exhilarating moments when I sit with the guitar. Sometimes, being denied something acts like this wind that keep the sparks of desires simmering, that bursts into a blaze at the right time…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Many philosophical works have referred to death as sleep. Now I wonder... may be the day and night is a scaled down model of life and death. Physically one is awake in the day and asleep at night. And spiritually, you are manifested in life and dormant in death. Death is just a resting phase for the weary soul.. until it can wake up again.
Its almost as if the clue to decode the mystery of life is right here where we can see it.
Then again, day is when the body works and retires at night. The soul sleeps in the day (for most of us) and wakes up at night. We can catch a glimpse of this soul in that semi-conscious state of half asleep and half awake.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The interval

No. That it can not be
That death is the end
Where does the 'I' go

Is it like a long sleep?
From which the 'I' wakes up again
In a semi dark womb?

What happen to memories?
Do they burn with the body?
Or get eaten by voracious worms?

Or do they travel with the soul
Lying dormant in a miniscule corner?
Countless memories
From countless lives
Over the aeons?
And every now and then an atom escapes
And enters dreams and
Infests ideas and thoughts
Getting recycled...

If death was stopping,
Whats the whole point?
Life is meaningless.

Or, life is nothing but
a series of moments
fresh like dew
until the interval
of a long sleep

And the wheel spins
Again and again

Monday, November 01, 2010

In today’s times, it has become important to 'sell'. It is not enough to have a good product. If you are to achieve commercial success, you must promote it. The product could be a cosmetic or a detergent. It could be a piece of your art... it could even be you.
Advertising is big business. It is more creative these days and is a lucrative career option. Rewinding back to perhaps a score of years, the frenzy to sell products was not as aggressive as it is today. There were fewer products and brands on the shelf and less competition. Perhaps it was because there were fewer entrepreneurs. Today the consumer has so many choices and there is hardly any difference between them in terms of the quality. So its effective advertising that often tips the balance in favor of one among many. Of course in the long run, the product must be superior and the customer must be satisfied before he recommends it. But it is the first good impression that matters in most cases. In the past, the movie stars were good but they didn’t have a public relations manager. The actors and the producers didn’t promote their movies like the Khans and the Kumars of today. Commercial success is not a logical conclusion to good work. A person’s worth is the amount of money he makes. The great writers and poets of yester years didn’t get promoted on the media. The classics were recommended to us by our parents and other adults who had read them before us. Today you can pay money to get a favorable review in any media. The youth logged on to the net 24x7 can read and write reviews. Hype can be artificially created. On the net with blogging, anyone can become a writer. So if you are to make a career out of it, you have to promote it. Become visible. And it’s harder because the public memory is getting shorter and the crowd of people vying for the pie is getting bigger. You can take any field. Say, in architecture. There are so many more architects today than say a generation back. The increase is exponential. You can’t just complete a project and hope for a good publicity. You have to get down there and actively endorse your self. Often the person on the top of the pyramid is the one who is not only capable but is also a good marketer. If you want success, there is no choice. It’s true in every profession and its true in our personal lives too,
Market well or be left out. Fall down from the snake’s mouth to square one and there you shall remain. Unless you can climb the ladder of success with effective marketing.
When you attend interviews, how you dress and speak counts more than how much you know. You find partners on the matrimonial or networking sites. There, you are marketing your self. You highlight what you think are your best qualities. Unfortunately, there is no way to know the truth behind them or perhaps we don’t want to know. In the virtual world, you are anything you want to be. Truth can be very easily invented. You find out what sells and you acquire those qualities. Now, let’s say two people meet after they show interest in each other on their matrimonial sites. In few meetings, they must decide whether they can marry the person and more importantly settle with him or her for the rest of their lives. Or you are looking to date and you meet a prospective relationship over a cup of coffee. And then what happens is nothing but marketing. There is a buyer and a seller. The roles being reversed progressively. Going to a date being as honest as you are could mean being rejected. You have to wear fashionable clothes, do up your hair and face, and of course learn to talk the right way. And like any other transaction, we buy and bring home the product, only to find that it was a mediocre product under the smart packaging or just not right for us. The makeup comes off in the morning, the behavior deteriorates, expectations are dashed and we are left ruing our decision. We fell for good marketing. These days, you can replace your spouse as fast as you replace your shampoo. We have become impatient with non performance. We demand perfection. And when the expectations are unmet, we just switch over.

As I write this, I am reminded of this beautiful song sung by Talat Aziz for the movie Daddy. You are probably listening to it if you are reading this. The lyrics are by the inimitable Gulzar. Allow me to quote few relevant lines from the song.

…mera funn phir mujhe bazaar mein le aaya hai
yeh vo jaa hai ke jahan mero vafa bikate hain
baap bikate hain aur lakhte jigar bikate hain
konkh bikati hain dil bikate hain sar bikate hain
is badalti hui duniya ka khuda koi nahin
saste daamo me har roz khuda bikate hain

har kharidaar ko bazaar mein bikataa paaya
hum kya paayenge kisi ne yahaan kya paayaa
mere ehsaas meree phool kahin aur chalee…

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