Thursday, March 27, 2008

My experiences of a Live Concert..

Live Concert.....they always thrilled me. Talented artists performing live in front of you. And a big-big surrounding groove about it. One day at office, Sreeram(kaidhi) called me up and said "LP is coming to town, wanna join?"(LP stands for linkin park). I have listened to a few songs from LP but not an ardent fan. My buddy tsb though adores their songs, and thats how i listen to them. Immediately i replied "Yes, for sure". So me, vikki, tsb and kaidhi went for the concert in NationWide Arena , Columbus. We did not know what to expect. For all of us its a first hand experience in US.

When we entered the arena, Vikki was busy shooting pictures..had he got a chance he would have shooted the whole night. Tsb as usual was lookin at the girls around and there weird attire. kaidhi the ultimate psychopath was awestruck by the number of insane people around. And me, I was counting the number of speakers..dumb huh?? The arena was big and the lights, setting, cameras and Stage everything simply phenomenal. The people around were different, either they were dressed for the function or they basically wanted to stand out of the crowd. Whisky was the smell in the air. Lot of people were hollering aloud to grab attention.

So what the heck is with Rock music?Rock music has a lot of energy about it, many listen to pop music coz its more soothng and less injurious to health. But rock music, it really does rock you up. The popularity of rock music i have noticed is more with the younger bloods. They are the ones who need a pep in their life. I started listening to english music through mybrother rathan's collection abba, eagles, bryan adams, bonjovi, deff leppard, police to name a few. But the ultimate rocker i have seen is my class mate Jim Joseph. Rock music is like a medicine to his soul...he cant live witout it. And he inflicted the disease to me, gireesh and a few others in our friends circle.

Linkin Park is not an out and out Rock band. Its mixed with funky electronic instruments. But their songs are catchy and always try to convey a message. Back to the concert, The head banging part was the peak and catch of the show. The whole crowd banging their head in sync. It was an amazing scene and above the world feeling. We indians are well aware of our movie hero's with heroins and 100 weirdly dressed dancers dancing in sync around them, this is even more crazier than that. They sang all their hit numbers and fun was when they brought the crowd in play. I wished my guitarist brother ajit was present here, he would have thoroughly enjoyed it even more than me.

That night after the show i felt we all were in seventh heaven. For no particular reason we were happy but tired after one helluva head banging. One of the things i would never forget in my life is this concert. as i write this i pray one day i would attend a "Metallica" live concert. Man, that will be an ultimate kick ass concert to miss.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fire and Hire, does it achieve the intended?

America, yes!! The land of opportunities. These are the words that ring in your ears, before you come here. Lot of elements here can seduce a common luxury-liking homosapien. Probably the work culture is quite unique here, a very flat working style. What i mean is 0% heirarchial, you can date your lead, drink with your boss everything reflects the american way of living. Extremely disciplined and no-nonsense type of workers. Can't say hardworking, coz its justhalf the time an average indian puts. May be 1/10th of an indian software engineer puts in. Here enjoying work is an important criterion in all jobs. Having said these, today i witnessed the cruel side of american employment. A simple word LayOff, conspired in a mail from your boss. Basically means, we dont need you any more and dont worry we are paying you next two months salary. Forget the money, As a person i could think of the affected family here, not that they are in sheer poverty or some. But the very mindset of a father speaking to his kids about getting fired. Mortgages to be paid, Car loans, kids education, what not to add in the list??

Being a capitalist's driven economy, each and every action this country takes is caused by a sesimic tremor by a hideous capitalist for multiplying gains. From election candidature to iraq war, you can find a big capitalist intervention. So firing and hiring is a part of their pro-longed plans. And many americans that includes a few managers believe, i should say blindly believe thats the way it should be. Downsizing reduces the people to be paid and hence that profit is utilised in restructuring or to cover up the loss. What does it do to the common working class, a virtual back stab. " Yes we are americans, we are ready to face anything" are good to hear in a presidential speech. But are they really daring??? Only time will tell.

America as such never had to face any big tremor as far as economy is considered, w.r.t other countries. So they fed their employees well, they made them rich and fat (fat being a metaphor here). Through out the 20th century american employees earned the big bucks, and that attracted quite a few immigrants too. The work culture is still like the olden days, no reforms as such in thought process. Here they prefer to stick on to old cliche's. So one might think, what the heck they are still going good? But not for long dear, in next few decade there is going to be a shift in center of gravity as far as economy is concerned. American's might need to recuperate themselves for the big show ahead. The markets are getting extremely competitive and lively.

But here still downsizing is the mantra, no body wants to pull a rabbit out of hat. The employees are losing faith and interest in the companies. They term stone-heartedness and cold blooded as professionalism. God Bless America!!

My remote fear is in a country like india, which is very stringent towards any reforms, but readily accepting the american culture. This could be the worst thing we could do. May be that will make communists interested in starting unions in corporate worlds, and that by word will be the end of BOOM in India.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Travelling with a militant

Travelling to India for my vacation. I had booked in emirates flight from newyork to Cochin via Dubai. I Boarded emirates flight from JF Kennedy Airport NewYork. A huge Boeing 777 jumbo jet was the one i boarded. Man, it is like a castle in the air. The interiors were top class, depicted the middle east luxury craved people. And airhostess, i better not write abt them i need another blog to cover that. My fellow passenger was a middle aged man who was complaining about each and every thing from the tv to the blanket or food they provided. He spoke to me in a very friendly manner though. His name was Jibrael Ahmed and was working some place in west virginia.
This was a small conversation we had and the deep imact it made in my mind;
Me: So where are you going from dubai?
Jib: I am flying to Multan. I have a connection flight from Lahore.
Me : Multaan..hmmmm inzamam's place. (inzamam-ul-haq, pakistan cricketer)
His face brightened up and he started.
Jib: Acha, tum kahaan se?? Karaachi??
Me: Arre nahi bhai saab, mein hindusthan se hoon. Dakshin me kerala karke ek jagah hein..mein waha ka hoon. Whaan jaa raha hoon.
As everyone knows India and Pakistan have been rivals for years. I expected some thing strange i dont know what, but expected something different expression from him.

But he said,
Jib: Kerala meine suna hein...tho inzamam ke baare me ithna kaise jaanthe ho?
Me: Imran khan, wasim akram se lekar shoaib akhthar sab ko pasand kartha hoon..
I think he was impressed by that he was more interested,
Jib: These politicians have made a big barrier between our countries. But saale jaanthe nahin hein aakhir insaan sab ek hein. Ek din sab theek ho jaayega..

I was born into a miltary family. Grandfather Major in army, My dad Office in Airforce, Uncles in Army, BSF etc. The very word pakistan was and is a big vice in my family. My grandfather's war stories, we knew he is adding masala here and there but we liked his narration skills. In all his stories the villain wil be a pakistani, characters ranging from tank drivers, gunmen etc etc. So imagine me seated next to a pakistani for next 16 hours. But his word touched me, sounds like a cliche. But many people would not be able to understand this situation.

But i was mum for a moment. Then he continued,

Jib: Sab theek ho jaayega, yehi dono deshon ke liye behthar hein.
Me: Mein kya bolu? uncle...sab bhagwan dekh raha hein..wahi kuch karega.
Jib: hmm...
Then we kept on discussing about bollywood, pervez musshraff, bob woolmer.
He seemed tired and he went for a sleep. I was thinking if everybody in both our countries had big hearts like this. Our countries would have been in a better postion by now.

Long time before, Pakistani's were equal to militants for me. My lame understanding before was, all pakistani's are either militants or crcketers.

The Cricket Arch Rival's, Hockey Rival's, Kashmir..reason were plundering for me to hate pakistan and people there. I felt patriotic and powerful when i badmouthed them. But now My exposure to world, friends and some good reading made me think otherwise. This conversation with a fellow passenger has changed my theories drastically. I feel vindicated to say the least.

I understand, However educated and well read you are, sometimes you need a layman to make you understand certain things. After all a silly apple changed our understandings on gravitational forces. My friend Fazlunnisa used to say "Hindustan aur Pakistan are like two brothers". Hell it took me a lot of time to understand her one line. I hope some incident like this might help cleanse all those corrupted minds in both our countries.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Michael, Michael where are you?

1998 France World Cup. A pre-quarter match between the two giants of world football, England and Argentina. A lot of stuff was and has been written about this match. But the highlight of that match was stole by an 18 year old boy from liverpool scoring one of the "superb" goals in world cup history. He strolled through the defence, cut it wide open, shift of gears and boom!! Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Michael Owen. Since that goal owen never had to look back. He was a nightmare to all the defenders in the world. He was quick, composed and was lethal in front of goal.

I started watching soccer since the age of 6. My dad was my big inspiration and boon in that matter. Early morning matches, late night matches. I used to eagerly listen to his post match discussions with his friends. He was a big fan of maradona and cruyff. I liked most of the players but did not had a footballing icon as such. Which i feel is a must for every football fan. Years went on my wishlist changed on. But the michael owen strike hit me like a jolt, i said to myself "He is the One".
Then on, i followed him rigourously. The number of sensational strikes for liverpool and england. Truly amazing!! He is one football hero who was less on controversies too. A genuine change after the maradona's and gascoignes, for that matter beckham too.

He is quick and his movement across the field is always a delight to watch. For a short guy, dont get amused the way he scores from his head.My dad called him "liverpudilian leopard" an attributed name for his vigour, tenacity and quickness.A lethal weapon in front of goal, who can convert less than half chances to a goal. There were a number of moments he provided for a liverpool fan like me.But the one i cherish is the 2001 FA cup final also known as the "Michael owen Final". Owen created 2 chances and converted them both, finally score showed 2-1. Also cannot forget the hatrick he scored for england, in the famous 5-1 thrashing of germany in munich.

But having said this, today michael owen is a mere shadow of his usual self. Once in a while he demonstrates a spark of hope, by scoring an odd goal. To add to the miseries, the captains band in newcastle once heralded by shearer himself is doing no good for his confidence. Toon army awaits for this sleeping giant to wake up and answer their prayers, but as of now that seems very unlikely. He uses words like "take it on the chin", "mentally strong", "comeback game" in every other interview. Emphasising the amount of frustration bloke is going through. His absence was clearly felt by england for euro qualifiers and his dying form is affecting newcastle too. Michael is renowned for playing exceptionally in big matches. But in a recent match against his former club Liverpool, he seemed to be lost to say the least.

Like a phoenix bird michael owen redeeming his career and goal scoring is a mouthwatering prospect which the toon army and a few liverpudilians like me are dreaming of..Until then we need to be satisfied with the adebayor's and torres.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Racial Prejudice

Racism is a hot topic these days. Election Campaigns to office room discussions to movies, sports racism has spread its wings every nook and corner. We indians are more concerned about the racist taunts harbhajan went through the series down under. So are australians racists? Majority answers, Yes. My friends in Britain consider "Racist slur" as a part of their routine. So are the english racists? Yes again. I remember a champions league soccer match in Spain where spectators threw a banana at Thierry Henry and imitated monkey noises. Bingo!! Spanish too are racists. Americans, bah you need not ask. Every single time a person of asian descent walks through an american airport, the probablity of him being security checked is very high. If you think 911 is the reason for that, bah then you ought to be checked( may be by a psychologist). America has bullied the entire world and in turn owns its share of enemies. Threat can be from vietnam,japan,egypt,kuwait. Coming back to indians, forget us racially attacking. We ourselves are divided into 300 different race, caste, religion and helluva lot of stuff you dont wanna bother. We are more busy racially abusing each other, we do not buy time for others. Political parties here are made on the basis of religion and race. How many times you have heard the comment " Saala Madraasi" & "Jaat" ringing in your ears. Racism has been in this world for sometime now.

So whom are we categorising as Non-Racists? Well,Do you think a judge who rules in favour of a racially attacked victim is non-racial and clean? Dont you think a political party that provides free allowances to a part of community is a racist? Questions my friend, Questions galore that could tear you apart. If we surmise this leads us no where, the plot unwinds where no body is a saint. We can put forward a million exaples happening at several parts of the world, which can bring the whole world under a racist cloud. No body is a dumbledore here, in this voldemort ruled mad world. Every one of us is a racist once in their life. The irony comes when we point fingers at others.

Now that the tough part of self approval is done, what next? Should we continue to be at home watching oprah clean the community? Should we accept the basic fact, and weed our mind with racism? Should we punish a racist? My answer is a big No, then what is the difference. Self Education is the right medicine. But giving a clear message to the next generation is essential. We can teach them by not setting ourselves as a wrong model to follow. Running a marathon for anti-racism will help? Sure it will. Playing Soccer together? that will do too. All your actions come from your heart, so lets learn to keep our heart and mind clean. You sympathise a person on his creed and colour, you yourself are the biggest threat to anti-racism. You wanna remove racism, consider them as equal. They are nothing different than you are, give them a smile, a warm hug. Thats all it matters to bring two hearts nearer. May god bless All!!!