Friday, February 14, 2014

The Custodian of My Solitude...

I've forgotten none of you –
I remember
the hours by the lake,
and how we shared a passage
no one else might encounter.

A tenderness for ideas,
the light that fell on our things.
How fine music tasted
with the guest of my secret hours.

Thank you for being
the custodian of my solitude,
the knower of my past, and the atonement
of my uncertain future.

And as the keeper of my sanity -
I remember
only you.

- Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Of Trip Update, Ambition, The Road Less Traveled, Aatish Taseer, Dreams, Dil To Pagal Hai, and Contest Wins...

Long time no see.

There is so much work to do for the next three weeks that I am already feeling the jitters. But I tired to finish some of the work quickly. The thing is I am a slow worker and do it at a snail's speed. In addition, the universal validity of the Parkinson's law as well as the constant urge to check Twitter for a new article to read - I take double the time. 

Anyways, it is almost three weeks since came back from India. I did not do much there. I did not meet many people - just five friends. How would I meet when I did not even tell that I am coming. I did not even feel like going to the theater. Saw Dhoom 3 and did not go for Dedh Ishqiya. I met you and after that I felt even more sad, so I was waiting to come back. At least, my mind will be diverted here. And yes, I went to P's wedding. P has helped me a lot in the last four years I have known him. He is more a guide than a friend because I have a very formal friendship with him. I was very happy for him that he got married. There are people for whom you genuinely feel that they deserve the best in life and he is one of them. I still call him 'aap'. I don't know why is this but I am a very, very formal person even with my close friends. H calls me formality ki moorat, I don't know why I am like that but I am just too conscious. And then I came back to the land of the frozen tundra. This year, the winter has been very severe. Last year, it was cold but not as cold as it is this year. 

This last week, a very noteworthy thing happened. Two of my friends, separately, asked me if I want to start a business with them. They were actually quite serious. If it had been another business student, this would have aroused at least some curiosity but since I am such a useless MBA student, I did not feel even an iota of excitement by the thought of having my own business. It is not my cup of tea and I am just not smart enough for my business. But at the same time, I feel like such a loser. Twenty years from now, when I will look back, would I have achieved anything? Will there be something that I could call it as my own? These days I keep on reading the biographies of the famous people. Then I compare myself to what they were at the same age. It is not an assuring feeling. But then I am not really good at anything, something that I can really call as my own. The two things that I love are news and movies, in both of which there are already some terrific things happening. I really want to excel at something, something that I can call as my own. All people I know are good at something or the other and I wish I could be like them. 
Also, I shared with my friend, these two old excellent articles by Sidin Vadukut.

As the meetings went on, I began to realize an interesting pattern. Something came up over and over again: “I have this amazing idea for a start-up. Success guaranteed. It is like betting on an atomic clock. But I am thinking of doing it after working in a company for two or three years.” Unfortunately, in my experience, this is a difficult life plan. The cubicle is an addictive, convenient pursuit. Over time one gets used to the trappings of office: the travel desk, salary account, the fellow who files tax returns, the rent payments, the frequent flying, the American Express points, and complementary cappuccinos. Gradually, we begin to take these luxuries for granted. My point being, this life is remarkably difficult to walk away from. Especially if what awaits you on the other side is entrepreneurship and associated insanities.

How families cripple entrepreneurs
The flip side to all this is that families and loved ones can also be pillars of strength. They can both motivate and validate your business plans. The architect of one of India’s great dotcom stories once told me how he owed his entire success to his wife’s unflinching faith and feedback. One gets to hear of all kinds of factors that go into making a successful start-up. Perhaps a finely balanced family support network is one of them.

There is a very famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. The poem talks about two identical roads and the poet says he took the road less traveled. And you know how people extol that they consciously chose the road less traveled and that is why they became successful. That is actually not what the poem means. 'Everyone thinks the poem means to break away from the crowd and do your own thing, but if you read it, Frost is very clear that the two roads are exactly the same. He just chooses one at random. And then it’s only later at a dinner party when he’s talking about it that he tells everyone he chose the road less traveled by, but he’s lying. So the point of the poem is that everyone wants to look back and think that their choices matter. But in reality, it just happens the way that it happens, and it doesn't matter which choices to make.' This insight is actually from Orange is the New Black. Isn't it such a brilliant thing and we all think that by being different and choosing the unconventional path, we might be successful but in reality it just happens randomly. A risk or the road less travled that might work one time, might not work the other time. I don't know why I am writing this because I saw this about six months back but I still remember it somehow. How wrong we are sometimes and it is funny because in this example of the road less traveled, we all believed its meaning based on other people, or in a way the road that was more traveled by other people. Irony. More on actual meaning of Frost's The Road Not Taken here

Aatish Taseer has started a new show on Star World called Chivas Studio - Gentleman's Code. Contrary to the negative reviews it received, I saw the first episode and I actually liked it. Aatish is a beautiful writer. He is son of the late Pakistani politician, Salman Taseer, and Indian columnist, Tavleen Singh. He wrote this very poignant piece when his father was killed by his own guard. The killer of my father, Salman Taseer, was showered with rose petals by fanatics. How could they do this? He is a great scholar of Sanskrit too. This time, he wrote about the modern Indian man and gives some excellent advice - to write, read. I also like his mention of Ayan Mukerji. He says in this article,

To be able to meet the demands of the contemporary world, where women jostle for their space, men can re-think and re-fashion themselves on these lines. “Read, as it develops the human side on any individual. The modern man should be questioning because doubt is the sign of an intelligent mind. They should show discernment towards humanities and be open to literature, culture and arts. I quite liked the way the film 3 Idiots handled the subject of our society’s hangover with fields like finance, investment and engineering.”

Bollywood has been tremendously influential on the psyche of modern Indian men; some films have given a new feel to male characters as seen in Ayan Mukerji’s works. “His movies show men with diffident masculinity, they are the self-doubting and questioning, we don’t have patriarchs in his films,” he said.

He signed off with a tip for budding writers, “If you have to write then no point having romantic notions about it. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just get started if you have to write. Be prepared to face rejection and handle a lot of discomfort. Give time to reading if you wish to take up writing. I spend eight hours a day just reading,” he said.

Yes, to write, one must read a lot. 

Two days ago, I had the most weirdest dream, more of a nightmare. Typically, I don't remember the dreams but this one I still remember it. I don't even want to recall it. It was horrendous to me. I wish I had the capacity to record dreams. I have seen some of the most beautiful and some of the most scariest things in my life in dreams. So found some really interesting facts about dreams. How beautiful our brain is. 

I don't why I have been thinking all disparate things things this week. But I was reminded of the tape recorder scene from Dil To Pagal Hai. I cannot get this scene out of my head. Nisha records a message for Ajay in which she talks about Rahul. She says, "Tumhari pagli ke sapne sach ho gaye hain, Ajay. Use apne sapno ka saathi mil gaya hai." I love this movie a lot. And in the climax, Ajay plays the same tape. That scene is amazing. I miss you, Yash ji. No one can make love stories like you. 

Maya :)

I have watched a few movies and cannot write in detail about all of them but will write very briefly later. Turning 30, Wake Up Sid, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Dhoom 3, Aiyyaa, Aisha, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag - learnt some fabulous things in Wake Up Sid, will write on it for sure later. It is a film that truly has a heart. I love it. I am still waiting for Ram Leela and The Lunchbox. As soon as both of them are available, I will watch them. Also, you know Sukanya Verma holds a weekly quiz on Rediff. Typically, I am not able to join it but last month, I was able to. She asked one question to identify the actress from her arm. I answered it and she said this below :) No one else answered it. It is from Lootera, identified it from Sonakshi's saree. What is disappointing is that in this awards' season, Lootera has been completely looked over. No recognition even for music! It is easily one of the most beautiful films of last year. I also won a DVD, personally signed by Farhan Akhtar, of the movie - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. I did not like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag much. It is technically brilliant but it told nothing new - why Milkha looked back and lost the race, what was his motivation - I was very bored. Also, I am not a big fan of biographies. I find them utterly bland. Anyway, more on movies in the next post. 

Lootera :)

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

I still have a lot to write. More later.

Dialogue of the day:

"You know kuch species ki personality hi aisi hoti hai ki milte hi dost ban jate hai."
 - Aisha, Wake Up Sid

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Long time no see. Just too much stuff happening right now. I am too tired. And irritated to write. There are a lot of things to write on. Soon.