Category Archives: Musings

Do brown skinned men go to oktoberfest?


Ever since I started putting in more efforts on my blog, I also started noticing why people land up there (habit from my product management stint where we religiously tracked metrics!)

Most of the visits are through link referrals from Facebook, but occasionally, there are search terms from Google.

I chanced upon this priceless one today ‘do brown skinned men go to oktoberfest’. The fifth link to the query is my visit to Oktoberfest 2011.

But I’d love to know what links the person fired the query finally based his decision on. And if he finally plans to get there. I would strongly recommend that he go 🙂

 

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….and then was creativity no more


 

Aggrandized the statement may be. But perfect war cry it is, in the battle against corporate conformity.

Now, I thrive on creativity. I revel in noticing, appreciating and contributing to new and fun ways of doing things. And that was precisely what drew me to the job of product management – the opportunity to create and design what would work.

But over the year, the routine allele grew dominant and the creative one recessive, and what arose were half-burps of expression.

Many a time I have woken up, thrilled by a creative germ. But most of them have been killed by a quick disinfectant spray of corporate lingo.

Yes, it is the area of linguistic expression that I dread most.

The apt metaphors that I could construct at will were the first to go. Wisps of imagination they always were, but they would earlier snarl thought and solidify into coherent sentences.

Alas! Potent are they no more. They rise wisps, but stay indiscernible and melt away into nothingness.

And with metaphors gone, can similes be far behind? Like faded posters on the wall, they slowly come unglued with disuse.

Perhaps this is the curse of the always-on times. Even composition of narrative seems to be a strain.

I remember reading about the work of Benjamin Lee Whorf and Stephen Pinker. Is it words that we know that determine how we think? Or if we think hard enough, can we always find the words?

I must admit that I favor the former. New words have always tasted wonderful, and I swirl them around to see what they express and how I could use them. But now….I find that even words I know slipping away over the chasm of neglect.

I ask you – when was the last time you used the word ‘relish’? Isn’t it a word that all of us know of, one that brings to mind the flavor of something we enjoy?

Still wondering when you used it?

Then try these – marvelous, sore, clever, prudent, bliss.

Now try these – fantastic (or the trite aussum), angry, smart, practical, happiness.

Do they bring to mind the same feelings as the earlier list?

Take the word ‘clever’. To me, it imbues the subject with a creative intelligence. ‘Cleverness’ is about discovery – a new way to do things, a quick and apt riposte. But I find smart banal. Smart connotes someone with a good IQ and who can get work done.  We do have many smart people around, but are they clever?

Maybe the question just does not matter any more…

The terrorism of words


Words
Words (Photo credit: Southernpixel Alby.us)

It is late, but I cannot sleep.

Every moment sires in me new thoughts, and the dreaded vehicles of these thoughts – words.

Words swarm through my head, like a disturbed nest of bees, and like an army of traitors, they pound my head from within, seeking to escape from their confines.

Yes, now I see it. All through, it has only been words that are the harbingers of peril. At any time, I am assaulted by a million of these, as if there were an army of soldiers aiming them at me. But nay, this army seeks more than to wound. They seek to destroy; they tip the barbs the shoot with the dreaded poison – meaning.

Continue reading The terrorism of words

And dreams move on


Written for a cousin who wanted something different for her SOP when applying to an MBA college. I suggested she write a poem, and then ended up writing it for her.

A strange river is this; this river of life
Lilted with joy, troubled by strife
The person I was to the person I am
Far have I come as trickles the sand

A little girl dreamed when the journey began
Visions she had of a life lived grand
The girl is gone, but her heart beats strong
In the young lady, the dreams live on

In the voice of the woman, the girl still sings
The songs of life and the lessons it brings
Of the hope that guides her, of the sights she has seen
Of the ports she has stopped at, and the life in between

The lady will age, changes will show
Along the river as she does flow
Some dreams will fade, some rise anew
But to her heart, she’ll always stay true

Breaking news: “I’m going to be bachelor no more” says Shrinath


A noted long standing bachelor is switching from bachelor to married camps this August.

Trusted sources tell us that Shrinath V, long considered as picky and choosy in making his choice of mate, finally found his match in Miss Sudha G, graduate from NITIE, after talks between them continued for more than a month.

“We never thought he would finally say Yes to anyone,” said his close friends. “He kept saying no time for this for the longest possible time. Then when he said yes to meet people, he would say no to proceeding further after just one meeting or conversation. He kept stating he would know when the right person came along, but considering the odds of him meeting the right person, we were on the verge of branding him an eternal bachelor.” Continue reading Breaking news: “I’m going to be bachelor no more” says Shrinath

Forty two. Bayalees. Same number, but yet so different


A number is a number, whatever language you may use.

Or so I used to think.

I was reading Malcolm Galdwell’s Outliers, where he discusses why the Chinese are better at maths.

In an idle moment, I started wondering about numbers in Indian languages. Forty two. Naapati erendu (in tamil). Bayalees (in Hindi). Betalees (in Gujarati). Continue reading Forty two. Bayalees. Same number, but yet so different

Are we losing the magic of reading a novel?


Two weeks back, I sat down for dinner with an old friend. Over the last eight years, we’ve exchanged books and opinions. He sips into novels, flinging aside any that cannot capture his interest in the first 30 pages. I drink deeper. I remember just three books that I have put down without turning to the last page in over three hundred I’ve read.

Both of us had aspirations of writing a novel. He quit his job to try creative writing for a year. His creativity failed him that year, and he had to stumble back to corporate tedium, though in a technical writing position. My desire to write was waylaid by an almost relentless pursuit of immediate gain. Activity absorbed my time, leaving none for contemplation and ordering thoughts in my head. Continue reading Are we losing the magic of reading a novel?

Beyond language


Aashna behind glass
Beyond language

My niece Aashna’s at an age where she’s still struggling with language. She understands that things have names, but doesn’t know what to make of them. Her communication with us is limited to a series of incoherent sounds, the meaning being filled with gestures. Continue reading Beyond language

Review of ‘Shame’ by Salman Rushdie


It’s not often that we come across a book who shows us how inelastic our imaginations

Cover of "Shame"
Cover of Shame

are. Daily rigor petrifies our thoughts, and clutches them in rigor mortis. Sometimes we try fighting it; we mostly rely on the television to free us from it, at least temporarily.

 

Only to wake to another dawn of uneasy reality.

 

But what does a good novel do? Continue reading Review of ‘Shame’ by Salman Rushdie

Past ka prayaschit


Maybe I can start writing again if I get a Mac.

Maybe I can start writing again if I get to Bangalore.

Maybe I can start writing again if I visit Ladakh again.

The spark to ignite my creativity glows too feebly still for me to craft anything of substance.

I used to enjoy writing. Enjoy playing with words in my head before they shot out of my fingers to form on the screen. Words streamed out and poured themselves onto mails, letters and blogs. Now they lie ignored on god-knows-what servers, unread and unheeded but in my memories.

Will this attempt to reclaim what was once mine be successful?