Culture, experience, life, Random, roads

Of Memories And Moving On

A memory. It’s like sand, brittle rock — a shard of the original substance, a snapshot in a long and confusing movie, a particle of space and time. It’s minuscule but it lingers. It will swallow you up if you let it. It’s like going on a fast, you feel satisfied at first, but you always end up starving.

You can explain a memory to someone, but you can’t make them feel it. You can’t describe how your heart skips a beat when a certain someone looks deeply into your eyes. You can’t recreate the overwhelming content that rushes over when you win after losing for so long. You can’t explain the adrenaline surging through when you are on a roller coaster.

We all get frustrated when we romanticize the past. We miss the things we’ve lost, the places we’ve left, and the people we used to be. We miss the times that were familiar, and we long for the moments that have gone by. But you can’t live through memories, and you don’t grow by being comfortable. You have to fail before you can dream, and you have to hurt before you can love. You must bleed for the wound to heal, but eventually you need to slap on a band-aid and get on with your life.

And that’s what I try to do.

A memory: I was drowning.
And then I learned how to swim.
Towards a brighter future.

Adventure, Culture, experience, TV

A Gateway into the Anime Sekai

I know a lot of people who brand anime as yet another cartoon show. I ask, so what? Cartoons are fun, especially the good ones!

The first Anime I ever watched was Dragonball Z (courtesy of Cartoon Network) and oh boy, was I hooked! The concept of aliens, ki and transformations just blew me away. I never came out of that rabbit hole.

Since then, my interest has gradually grown and thanks to recommendations from friends and internet, I am proud to call myself a newbie in this sekai. The following things fascinate me the most.

Variety in genre – There’s something for everyone
One For All, All For One

There is action, fantasy, romance, horror, comedy, drama, mecha, sci-fi, mystery to quote a few; the list quite endless if you ask me. Whatever you are in the mood for, guaranteed that you would find some anime show for it.

The meaning of imagination taken to new levels
Imagination ^ Infinity

Most shows feature really crazy concepts and alternate universes that you just can’t view realistically. It takes you a few episodes to wrap your head around what the show is all about. Even after that, the writer keeps the show alive with twists and new concepts leaving you wanting for more.

Characters
Prince of All Saiyans!

The characters are real. I know, I know, they are not actually flesh and blood but they’re voice actors,but the feelings they evoke in the viewer are real. People can actually identify with them and they are inspirational to say the least. Vegeta from Dragonball Z is one of my favorite characters in the anime world. In the words of a close friend who is yet another Vegeta fan “Prince of Saiyans! He taught us being proud can be good. And that you don’t need to be a hero to be liked and trusted by everyone”. His comebacks are really witty as well. An inspirational character to say the least.

 Lessons of Life
Too “Wisdomous”

I do not exaggerate when I say that anime shows touch upon crucial life lessons. The plot lines might be unrealistic but they do explore at least one thematic issue central to human existence. For example, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood explores the themes of kinship, death and corruption. Friendships & nakamas are priceless in One Piece and most of them stress on the fact that “Nothing is Impossible”

 Escapism
Aah, where am I?

I am an avid reader and one of major reasons why I love books is that they transport me to a whole new world. Anime is yet another way of achieving that – more so given that the worlds are so artfully created that they could only be a product of imaginative minds. You can lose yourself for a few hours/days in these universes.

 Music

Some anime shows feature a mind-blowing set of tracks for the background score. It’s not all just electro-pop with high-pitched voices, either. The genres range from instrumental jazz to operatic choruses, power ballads to heavy metal and everything else in between. And even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the music is usually enjoyable by itself. If you still don’t believe me, listen to this.

So, come on down, take a seat while we fire up the first episode. We might make an otaku out of you yet.
Till then sayonara, arigatou!

Culture, experience, life, My Two Cents, Random

What Do You Believe In?

I believe in filter coffee, chocolate and cheese – not necessarily together though either go with every other thing pretty well.

I believe in good music. Not just music that makes you happy, but the kind of music that permeates your very being making you feel and breathe slightly differently.

I believe money can’t buy you happiness but it sure does make doing good to the world a lot easier. I believe that happiness is not a destination but the journey of seeing something ordinary through eyes of wonder.

I believe in good handwriting and manners. I believe in bad comedies with laugh loops and that sometimes it is okay to leap before you look.

I believe that wrinkles on faces are equal to the rings on the tree trunks and that fairness is overrated.

I believe that growing up is dead scary yet manageable and that Nutella with ice cream is godsend! I believe that 90% of what people say when they are kidding is what they are truly thinking and that peacock-blue is the most accepted color for toe nail polish.

I believe that cancer sucks, that the feeling of warmth in your chest when seeing a toothless baby smile is just unparalleled.

I believe that there is nothing funnier than watching a dog chase its own tail, that Opeth totally rocks and that true love is actually possible. I believe that the extra 5 minutes of sleep in the morning goes a long way and so do reading books and poems.

I believe that actions speak louder than words but that the words themselves shouldn’t be subject to a slow, tortuous “hi watzup hru nm hbu” related death.

I believe that sometimes we forget how amazing we truly are and that everything is just going to be fine.

I believe that home-made food, especially pickles are the best, that sometimes it is possible to feel like you have it all or none. I believe that in the future competition will be replaced by co-operation, that equality for all human beings will actually mean something.

I believe in the loud, noisy, belly aching-shaking laughter once in a while, that our beauty and strengths are hidden among what we perceive as imperfections.

I believe in you, me, world peace, serendipity but mainly filter coffee, chocolate, cheese and living – living in a way that is the happiest and the most content you can be. I believe in believing in something regardless of how petty or trivial it may seem because, if you believe in it, its worth believing. Remember that.

Culture, experience, life, Music

The Wonder That is Music

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music – Aldous Huxley

Whether it be the soothing melodies or hard-core rock, all of us have sought refuge under music at some point of time in our lives. Some look at music as a hobby; for some music is their passion, while some pursue it as their career. When we listen to music, it evokes something from within one’s heart. I feel that’s what makes music so powerful – to tap into our deepest emotions that we didn’t even know we had. The impact is felt so strongly because of how much it means to you, how much you can relate to those lyrics.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain – Bob Marley

Music has the power to shift our feelings from joy to sorrow in a split second. It can bring us back to memories we forgot we had or forward to the world we have yet to create. I sometimes feel that it is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The beauty of nature and everlasting bitterness of monotony. Another brilliant aspect of music is that it manifests itself in so many genres that it can cater to the entire populace. There is something in it for everyone – right from soul melting R&B, timeless classics to hard-core death and metal.

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When at live gigs, the feeling you get when one of your favorite bands come on and play that one song that means so much to you is just unexplainable. There is honestly nothing better than standing arm to arm with thousands of other fans like you listening to the same number and all feeling the same thing from it. The connection and pull that you experience is just ethereal.

Out of a huge list of favorites, with a lot of difficulty I managed to downsize it to these six tracks (in no specific order)

Thamizha Thamizha by Hariharan (A.R.Rahman)
This is song is special to me for many reasons. Debut for one of my favorite singers Hariharan and ARR in the Tamil Industry ; associated with several memories from college. This song gets my blood pumping, heart beating and a wave of patriotism surges within. The beautiful lines coupled with the grand orchestration leaves me overwhelmed.

Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
To me, this has always been a bed-time lullaby on nights when sleep evades me. This starts out with a melancholic melody and suddenly morphing into more cheerful, quicker and surprisingly even more intense than before. The picture it paints is rich and complex but it is bittersweet and quaint at the same time.

Raaja paarvai Violin by Ilayaraja
In my view, Ilayaraja is one of those composers who can tug at your heart-strings with his “raw” instrumental music in all its glory to leave one spell-bound literally. In this piece he just transitions across scales and styles(Classical, Hindustani and Western) seamlessly and I end up just closing my eyes and relishing the beauty of construction and genius.

Deliverance by Opeth
This is a 10+ minute monster track to say the least – heavy and dark as hell. The song traverses through heavy progressive riffs, acoustic portions(very less mind you), creative drumming and stunning vocals. Then there is a beast of the outro in this track which takes my breath away. Full of energy, air guitaring and drumming.

Maalai Neram by Andrea (G.V.Prakash)
The true joy of listening is not just with your ears, but to just be absorbed by it, the lyrical poetry and finally to lose yourself in it.  This is the perfect song for a lonely day – a slice of heaven in your own lonely world. The husky vocal just makes you go weak in the knees.

High Hopes by Pink Floyd
Always a trip down the memory lane when this song comes on – childhood, friends, laughter, school corridors and all the glorious moments in the past; a song of hope for the future to come. This one literally trips me and ultimately I am left blankly staring at a wall.

A fitting way to end this would be to quote Shakespeare from The Merchant of Venice

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

It’s time to get high on music 😀

Culture, experience, life, Love, movie

We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve

Recently on a weekend, when I had pretty much naught to do, I stumbled across the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower“.  If you haven’t watched the movie or read the book, I would really recommend you to do so. Most of the coming-of-age movies are clichéd and try too hard to fit in a plot. But this storyline chimes in with an unusually incisive, character-driven ramble through the inevitable awkwardness of teen life. The best part of the story for me was that it was timeless.

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There were several moments when reading the book that the outside world ceased to invade my conscious thought and the epiphany that presented itself was so overwhelming that it struck a giant chord deep within me. Of all the lines, the ones that stuck with me is a piece of dialogue between the main character Charlie and Sam.

Sam: Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?
Charlie: We accept the love we think we deserve.

I think at times we settle for less than what we deserve because of the troublesome trait of undermining ourselves. We tend to undervalue our worth and hence try to make do with what we have. More often than not it is probably the fear of being alone that overpowers us to be in relationships we know well enough we don’t deserve .

On the other hand, I also feel it is only but natural to wait for something better and not have to settle for what’s convenient. The point is if you have high standards no one should criticize you for that, it shows that you are mature enough to value yourself to know what you want and that you respect yourself enough not to settle for anything less than that.

These two sides are constantly locked in a struggle. It often becomes very difficult to understand if we are expecting too much or if we indeed deserve more. This is when we need to put on our thinking caps. No one else, I mean no one else, will be able to help us with this. We need to clear our heads of any fairy tales/assumptions and think hard. What is it that I deserve? What is it that I want?

Confusing? Hell yeah. But it is never is easy is it? After all you do deserve a love that never ends. As do I 🙂

Tagged for Silver Screen

Comedy, Culture, experience, life, Random

Coping with the Cubicle Life

Ringing phones. Pinging IM. Loud conversations and sometimes even Background Music. How is anyone supposed to get work done in this place?

Good old Mr.Webster defines the word cubicle \ˈkyü-bi-kəl\

A small partitioned space; especially one with a desk used for work in an office; A sleeping compartment partitioned off from a large room

The second definition is interesting, I must admit 🙂

Today’s open offices are mostly distinguished by their high noise levels, lack of privacy and surfeit of both digital and human distractions. Apart from concentrating on meeting deadlines and getting by one’s day-to-day work, it becomes highly imperative to learn to tune out these distractions.

cubicle_2

I still remember my first day at work. I was brought into the office and lo! Before me, stretched out like a sea of grey on a rainy day, were dozens of nondescript cubicles. They were interesting in an extraordinarily boring way(credits Eddie Izzard). Finding my way in this cubicle labyrinth seemed impossible post lunch and I wondered if I should have left bread crumbs like Hansel and Gretel.

cubicle_4

A recurring scenario is loud personal conversation over speaker phone. There is always at least one love struck colleague who cannot stop talking to their partner every half hour. While the rest of the folks do appreciate the love that these two share, it doesn’t mandate them with a license to annoy others.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon for cube-mates, just a few inches away from each other, to call/email/text things they don’t want overheard. The walls do have ears my friends.

There is nothing more unnerving than casually turning away from your screen to find someone standing right behind you. Some people just creep in from behind without any greeting and just knock the wind out of your breath. On seeing your shocked expression, they would probably laugh it off  and even if you tell them not to spring you like that, they hardly seem to register it. So much for candid communication!

cubicle_5

Whenever you hear shuffling footsteps at the far end of the cubicle line, your brain quickly tries to analyze if it is the “peeper”. Do not get me wrong  it is probably hard to resist a glance when you pass by someone’s cube. But that doesn’t give entail you the right to just keep staring long and hard to get a good look on what the person is working on.

The gossip network in cubicle life is faster than any known processor chip manufactured so far!  Right from dinner plans to domestic disputes, everyone knows it all. No matter how much people cross their heart and swear that they wouldn’t breathe a word, news spreads like melting butter on hot toast.

cubicle_6

Butter reminds me of two distinctive smells that permeate the entire office (thanks to the central air-conditioning) – perfume and feet. One man’s perfume is another man’s migraine. There are those who wear enough to knock out anyone within a 100 foot radius. Come rainy season, here follows the inevitable smell of feet. These literally set your nose on fire and even nose plugs are a far cry from any respite.

The panacea for most of the distractions is to just plug-in your headphones and just put some music on. That way, most of the background noise can be drowned and one can work in peace. One thing that I love is to decorate my cubicle. I can put up posters, some pictures and make it look a bit more cheerful (but again nothing over the top to call for extra attention)

There is one word, that shines like a bright sun in an eclipse, that possesses enough magical power to turn this gray canvas into a plethora of colors – CAKE. “Did someone say cake?” “Sweets/cake at xyz’s cubicle”. This information travels faster than light across the entire floor in a matter of minutes and you can hear footsteps all around like a carnival. Ah, food at desk, I can make it through another day in this labyrinth 😀

Culture, experience, life, Random

My Two Cents – Android Apps

android_apps_01

In the last few years, the Google Play Store has been upgraded and revamped to house probably a gazillion apps! Developers are increasing launching new Android Apps everyday. Being a proud owner of the new HTC One (couldn’t resist showing off :D), here is my personal top 10 pick of the market.

android_apps_02

#10 THCrossword
An application for solving crosswords published in the popular Indian newspaper daily “The Hindu”. This downloads the grid from the web and converts to an editable format. Recently an “Unscramble” feature has been added to generate anagrams from the clues.

android_apps_03
#9 iTag

Are you one of those people who needs all their music to be organized perfectly? Then this is a must have music tag editor for your phone. It allows you to edit the tag details song by song or an entire album at once. My favorite part of the app is the “Lucky Cover” feature that fetches the album art perfectly almost all the time.


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#8 Jango

This app streams personalized radio stations of your favorite artists. Either you can tune into the preset stations based on genres/artists or customize them as per your need. I have discovered several new songs thanks to this app!


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#7 Shazam

Lightning fast tagging and identification of songs being played currently! The interface is extremely simple. Just a touch and the app instantly recognizes the song and displays all the associated details. There is a 30 second preview of the song that was tagged. You can also invite your friends and share all the tags. Must have to identify songs on the go.

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#6 Soccer Livescores

Die-hard football fan and don’t miss even the remotest of matches? Then this app is a must! Comprehensive exhaustive list of the matches scheduled on a particular day with capabilities to tag your favorite team/leagues for push notifications. The updates are pretty instantaneous.


android_apps_07#5 Tamil Songs downloader

One stop app to download any Tamil song! Right from the oldest of old melodies to the latest releases and even devotional songs, this app has it all. The only drawbacks are the download limit imposed (20 a day) and the time taken to refresh the directory listings. But given the huge database of songs, the compromise can be made.


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#4 Download Mp3

An extremely popular source of downloading mp3 songs for free. Super fast search coupled with song preview make it the best one out there. You can only download one song at a time though. But the massive collection of songs and the high download speed is pretty impressive. So no complaints there.


android_apps_09#3 Battery Doctor

As the description says “Extending battery life just can’t get much easier”! With its one-tap battery saver, ability to automatically adjust settings and maintain elaborate charging logs, this is probably the best app that I have ever seen for cleverly optimizing battery usage.


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#2 Quiet Balance

Sick of all the pop up notifications showing your data usage/call balance? Here is a specialized app to block the USSD messages. Just enter a string to keywords, regex to be blocked and voilà! Hats off the developer for coming up with this. Now no more nightmares when you check your phone in the morning!


android_apps_11#1 Alarm Droid

Deep sleeper? Always stop/snooze your alarm in the morning and end up being late to work/appointments? Here is your solution! This alarm clock is feature rich and highly customizable to wake up even the heaviest of sleepers (including me). The highlight of this app is that it lets you enable obstacles before snoozing/stopping – either solve a math problem, sort numbers. This is sure to get you up and running (partly out of annoyance I agree :D).

If there are any other great apps that you guys can recommend,  do drop a line and let me know 🙂

Anupama ji, time to now list your personal favorites and continue the tag 😀