August 25, 2014

The small joys

Saturday afternoon, while on the way to the hackathon event at the office, I happened to be travelling by an auto. And at the Tivoli crossroads, I saw a young girl pulling her mother across the road in a hurry. While she was definitely not following the traffic signals (people in Hyderabad have a tendency to cross when the traffic signal goes green not the pedestrian signal) I felt a bit emotional for two reasons:

  • the way her mother reacted to the little girl, oh my sweet little daughter sorts and 
  • perhaps wondering if the small girl had the conscience to not block/delay the traffic. It definitely seemed like she had thought about because although the signal was green there was not a vehicle in sight. 
It made my day (although it had just begun) to see all this happen while waiting in the auto and I smiled to myself, that for the umpteenth time I just felt immense happiness watching such small incidents. And I'm also often filled with a desire to meet these people, know about their lives and maybe just thank them... for providing happiness without even intending to. Life!

Six years of blogging

I've reached close to 5000 page views; and that feels really fantastic (albeit it took a long time!)
I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the constant support from my friends Sindhu, Pavi and Harshu who always had nice things to say about the blog. That kept encouraging me to write without worrying too much about how it would be received. Also thanks to Shivaram and Uday for their constructive criticism :D And a few other friends who genuinely found some posts funny and silly :)

I'd want to hit the next 5000 a little faster now :D

This perpetual feeling of wanting to keep working

I don't exactly remember when it started but for the last few weeks I have not been able to sleep before 2-3 AM (and hence getting late to office everyday -- you know the cycle) and have constantly been having the feeling of doing some work or the other. The last weekend, 40 of the 48 hours I was at work (not fully office work, we had a hackathon :)) and still the mind refuses to leave. For the first time I realized the dual signals being given by the body and mind.

Well all for the good but some of the other things in life tend to take a backseat. I don't meet as often with my friends now although they are close by and just end up feeling like lazing around on the weekends. I guess the real test of work life balance and the idea that each of these things are as important is now. Will have to take care of exercising and stuff too. This is one of the reasons why I don't really like the term 'work-life' balance because everything is work. You are responsible everywhere and hence life should be work-work balance :D Think about it.

Waiting to fall asleep still. Good nighto!

August 18, 2014

Writing simple is simply difficult

I find myself to be in that phase where expressing a simple idea also is not easy. The reason for this being, that multiple ideas/variants of the line/phrase I write come into play when I try to write (or express).

The fact that it is that way can easily be understood by (trying to) re-writing the above line in a simpler language.

I find myself to be in a phase where expressing an idea without touching upon its evolution and variants, underlying assumptions, and related clauses is becoming difficult. The reason for this I believe is the expansion of my knowledge base, and a renewed ability to come up with multiple interpretations of a given idea. While at the one side it helps me analyze a problem from different angles, it also introduces a lot of clutter in the thought process on the other. Therefore, when I write down any thought directly from my mind I tend to keep adding '/' for specifying the variants; parentheses for explaining analogies, and extended sentences are broken down by ';' to squeeze in more ideas and thoughts.

Ah well, I look forward to mentally (and consciously) remove that aspect of clutter from my writing and only bring in what is most relevant; so that I'm not the only one who can understand the subtleties in what I write. 

Songs that make me cry

Lately, I've been feeling the deep emotions inside me connect with some of the older Telugu film songs that I happened to search for and listen to. Don't be mistaken/undermining the fact that I would be writing about some Telugu songs. These are beautifully written, with pure language connotations and not written for praise but songs that automatically draw praise for every line because of their deep rooted meaning.

I've narrowed down the reasons as to why these songs make me cry, to the following: 
  • either the song writer's lyrics were meant to evoke those feelings or
  • that I see myself echoing those lyrics somewhere or the other in my mind. 
  • Ultimately, when you are in your deepest emotions it is your mother tongue that you connect with the most (A theory my brother had which I find to be quite deep and true) 

ALL-WEATHER?

To clarify, it is not the case that every time I listen to these songs my emotions get evoked. Rather I listen to these songs when I'm in a certain state of mind. (the advantages of being the consumer) And again, it is not just Telugu songs that I connect to but almost songs from every language (some which I don't understand as well) where the lyrics have been beautifully written. E.g., Challa, Cham Cham Jaani Ratein, etc. And its not the music (will require another post for that) but the lyrics (and perhaps the tune) that moved me the most

Also, to begin with I've heard these songs or have seen them somewhere or the other but never really paid too much attention. I guess the reason for that is the same as why a class 1 student would not be able to appreciate Calculus. You are simply not in that zone, there's a journey you need to undertake and then, as if by a natural intuition, you start learning or tending towards appreciating it. 

Absorbing the songs

Once I'm done with a song: either I've heard it a zillion times or the emotional connect passes away; I find another song. (This brings a great deal of infidelity when applied to relationships, but there we have dynamically changing verses and here it is a static verse). Repeated listening allows us to extract the juice from each song (almost) fully. That, in fact, is the reason why I'd like to write down my emotions, because: 
  1. It helps absorb stuff faster than plain listening.
  2. And those initial thoughts and feelings of freshness can easily be forgotten later. And it would be hard to express them exactly as you found them to be. (Much like documentation; which is never written while working on a project).
But we cannot absorb any piece of art fully; even if you don't why you would agree with that. I feel its because: 
  • a piece of art can extend well beyond what the artist thought it out to be or 
  • because of people's perception about the art. 
While separating the perceived emotions from the artist's intentions is in itself difficult, being able to capture all possible interpretations is impossible. (Perhaps it could be fun writing an algorithm: given a piece of art write all possible interpretations: separating the artist's intentions and audience's perceptions and then checking if summing the latter would equal the possibilities). And hence, it is important to revisit any piece of art (in my opinion even projects we work upon) because we can interpret new stuff in new environments with an elevated level of thinking. For example, once you learn Unix programming Matrix (1999) seems all the more comprehensible.

My experiments

So to begin with, I'm in a certain state of mind and I happen to start searching for a song/piece of writing that best expresses this emotion. You gotta take a leap of faith here and believe that I've found the most suitable song for myself at this juncture. Here are the songs and the exact (beautifully written deep-rooted) lyrics that literally make me cry. 

Taraliraada tane vasantham

Setting: Well past midnight, after you've finished your work; this song will give you the hope that your hard work will pay off and more inspiration to work harder. 

taraliraada tane vasantham
tana dariki raani vanalakosam
gaganala daaka ala saagakunte 
meghala raagam ila cherukoda

Thakita Thadimi Thakita Thadimi Thandana

Setting: Again past midnight, after a normal day; this song will tell you the ephemeral nature of life and what it is about. I'm yet to fully figure out the meaning though :( 

Narudi brathuka natana 
Eswaradu talupu ghatana
Aa renti natti naduma 
Neekenduku intha tapana
Telusa manasa neekidi telisi alusa
Telisi teliyani aasala vayasee varasaa
Telusa manasa neekidi telisi alusaa
Telisi teliyani aashala la la laa la laaa

I'm in awe of the brilliant touch of "la la laa la laaa" too! 

Brochevaru Evurara

Setting: I've found two extreme moods for absorbing this song: either when you feel a bit haughty or when you are on the brink of losing hope. It would tell you that there is someone always looking after you and that you needn't ever worry. 

Brochevaru evarura
Ninu vina
Raghuvaraa
Nannu brochevaru evaruraa

I've come up with a blog especially for this purpose http://songthatmakesmecry.tumblr.com/ (should find a way to link multiple blog sites into -- website seems the best way; also I've found Tumblr to be much better for blogging than Blogger!) and will be updating both the full version of the lyrics and their meaning (something that is not readily available on the net unlike Hindi songs).

Thanks for reading until then. 

April 26, 2014

Being Laddu mama

Uday's one of the funniest, wittiest, smartest chaps to hit the planet. 
But behind the fun and wit, and the muscle and mass lies a soft-hearted 
and immensely mature person. 
One who cares, shares, and very rarely flares.
But he would flog me, every time he saw my try-a-rhyme-every-line poem, 
And then he would re-write a masterpiece out of it.

This is just a snippet from my final semester, during my internship, a  coupe of years ago. For the first time I was in the company of guys and gals younger than me and it just happened (or apparently I thought -- doesn't matter) that I turned out to be a little more mature than each of them. And then it struck me I was where Uday was all the time. He was way more mature than the rest of us.. well 80% of the time, the remaining 20% time KC would reign if I knew what I know about him now.

Now Uday always used to be busy:

  • running around for lab sheets, 
  • attending phone calls,
  • finishing another 500-page novel, 
  • puffing at the wind, 
  • playing football, 
  • constructing high-rise buildings of bread and papad (he did Civil engineering by the way -- no pun no pun) 
And yet had the time to throw a verbal punch at anyone passing by the wing.

To cut it short, I used the invisible guidance of Uday baba in all crucial junctures, such as:
  • choosing between retrieving a lost Addidas cap on a weekend hike versus hitting the bed. 
  • going to a movie versus going to the casino and so on and so forth. 

After a point of time though, I realized I don't really fit that role but can just learn to imbibe his temperament while dealing with people half his maturity. When the childishness wanes, it becomes more clear the role people who are more understanding played in your life and although I haven't seemingly done anything drastic to make my friends write a post about me I sure did pass through without losing my head. 

Remembering those first blog posts

I started blogging in the summer of 2008. That's almost 6 years now! But the interest in publishing each of the posts has always been the same. I cared a lot about the content (a little structure, structure-less though it seems now), the wording, the framing and perhaps the formatting. Not that there's anything wrong with it but its the primary difference between writing and blogging. While in writing you may care about the prose, the poetry, the subtext, etc.; blogging has its own language: you are even allowed to add in a photo here and there -- ain't that cool. But I still went about carefully publishing stuff on this blog, they would remain in a draft state for up to a month until I get into that zone again. And because I could only put up the polished stuff here I took refuge in many a secret blogs across the internet.

Well today I want to say that this blog is going to change a bit, apart from finishing all the clean-up I hinted at in the last post:

  • for one thing I'm going to import all the stuff I blurted elsewhere and 
  • maybe do a bit more public-city. 
Cheers then if you've not been April-fooled. 

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