Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Music Room by Namita Devidayal - A beautiful experience

I always return from India with a small box of books –  personal choices of wife, son and myself. While son picks up the children's books, we try to thrust on him ‘better’ books on self-development, spirituality et al.

During our visit to friends @ Cairo, we had an interesting discussion. The hosts were reading books from the two opposite ends of the spectrum – lady of the house was reading ‘Shantharam’, he was reading a book on ‘halo’. He felt reading all such books/novels was sheer waste of time. The other two couples, including ourselves, had their own views. Interesting discussion, that was…!

Personally, I have been reading less of fiction-types, but more of other serious types. ( Though Shantaram is being planned, put off due to the sheer size of the book!)

Now, why all these…? I just finished reading a beautiful book – The Music Room, by Namita Devidayal. After finishing the book, I am unable to start another book. It had such a profound impact on me…

As a child, I wanted to become a singer, more like Yesudas. I started my classical music training at the age of 9, but could not continue as we shifted out of our village. I re-started with another master when I was 13. Again, we moved. Somewhere, I lost whatever little singing capability I had. I don’t know was it due to the serious typhoid or hitting adolescence. 

I had this fear, if I will be re-born just to fulfil the dream to become a singer! 

As my life took a fantastic twist and became Spiritual, bhajans stuck a chord. When I sang as part of a group, my cacophony would not stand out. My singing improved.Singing became one of the nine spiritual steps, ‘Keerthanam’. Thanks to repeated singing, cacophony became more ‘bearable’ ! From a follower, I became an occasional ‘lead-singer’. I was fulfilling a dream… to sing…’keerthanam’. 

May be, I don’t need to be re-born to become a singer, but to take care of other effects of Karma J

Against this background, I saw a book on music, in India. I saw the comments. On the cover, ‘Fantastic! A must for every musician and music lover – Pt Ravi Shankar’ and similar reviews on the back-cover. I picked up the book… The Music Room

Somewhere, my priority in life shifted to education, career, etc. Music was not a priority! Unlike the author, "Part of me is a mom and part of me is a singer and part of me is a writer and part of me is a party animal”.

So many of my friends are music-lovers. From film songs ( hindi/tamil/etc), classical (Hindustani/Carnatic), western, instrumental, devotional-singing, etc… But, for many of us, music is an integral part of our lives. For some of us, it is meditation/sadhana/spirituality…

"To play a raga, you must see it standing in front of you." – is the most inspiring thought in the book. 
The Prologue, Bhairavi, on the Vision is just Divine.

A big thanks to the author for sharing this wonderful musical-story… God Bless…

"….this kind of music is the closest one comes to spirituality. It's so meditative. It makes you forget the outside world. It's almost like going into a musical wonderland. "
"...The book is also about how someone from a contemporary, modern world interacts with someone from such a traditional world"…

PS : A must read for all music lovers, who are from India, want to know about India, and want to understand what music means to Indians & beyond…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Moving stories of two young professionals

We have been MANGALORED...

check this out...HATE GOODBYES ! We lost some great, common people too in the crash.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

we have been MANGALORED :(

Mangalore has always been a very special city for me. That is where I started my career, way back in early 90’s. It ‘looked’ similar to Kerala, perhaps greener. But, people were quite different. Having covered  into Hassan-road, Kanhangad in Kerala and Kundapura towards Konkan on the job, I got to meet a cross section of people of all three faiths, backgrounds, culture, etc. As a management trainee, professional life was at its best. Had three great bosses in quick succession, learnt some big lessons with them. (Professional life has never been so cool since then, having got in to the rat-race and ‘trying to climb’ the proverbial corporate ladder. )

Travelling into Kerala on work, I came across many people who had gulf connections. There would be several people slogging it out in Gulf and their family having a good life, blissfully unaware of the difficulties of their bread-winner in Middle East. (My childhood chum captured the essence of the suffering in his hugely successful movie, Arabi-Katha, in Malayalam). All of them invariably spent a fortune on their dream-homes ( thankfully, the lenders had not extended their tentacles by then, thus preventing the gulf-mallus from getting stuck in debt burden – that was even before the advent of ‘blade companies’, as the not-so-popular private money lenders are popularly known!).

Even for us, a credit card was a luxury, but we were aware of the values of living within means…Then, I had to make an official travel to Mumbai, by air. As I was dropped off at airport, the scenic beauty hit me. But, the location of the airport was a bit scary… I thought, this should have been a helipad !

Last year, I was back at Mangalore. I was back to spend my vacation, in typical NRI fashion. While all youngsters go to gulf and spend a fortune on their homes, I was in Gulf partly to fulfill my dream of financial independence and pay off my mortgage loans too!!! I was there with my mom, wife and son, on a pilgrimage. We covered Katil, Kollur, Murdeshwar, etc. We enjoyed the food, and also the liberal servings at Ideal Ice Cream, one of Mangalore’s pride! Mangalore was always a veggie’s delight.

Landing @ Mangalore airport, I was shocked to find the same airport, with little cosmetic changes. I thought again, this should have been a helipad. Now, I am no engineer/aeronautical expert. But, it was sheer common sense. We need no brilliance of Malcolm Gladwel ( as he explained in OUTLIERS), to make analysis of this disaster. The mountain-top airport should have been a helipad…perhaps !
A flight from Dubai…with many passengers belonging to DK & North Kerala have met the tragic end. Leaving behind hundreds of relatives, friends, colleagues and dependents. Many would have been bread winners for their families. 

In spite of our rich cultural & spiritual heritage, somehow we don't seem to value human life. So many deaths happen around us... have be become so insensitive. 

Most of them would have spent all their youth in the desert, to provide a comfortable life to their near & dear ones. All this because the establishment has failed to upgrade the infrastructure… We have been tragically  ‘MANGALORED’. :(

Friday, May 21, 2010

Turn veggie, prevent chronic diseases - Diet - Health & Fitness - Life - The Times of India

This is no great revelation. Most of us are aware. But one of the things we don't implement. We tend to postpone/ignore...

Right eating is a critical part of Spiritual Living...Hence blogging this link from ToI.

I feel, if we are on spiritual path, it helps to move from non-veggie to veggie. It would still help to move towards vegan.
Still better if we Go-Local & Organic. It would reduce the transportation impact on our planet ( 'Go Green') and also help local farming community. Positive impact of organic needs...we all know very well.

It is one of those elements of Spiritual Journey... worth trying to move, one small step at a time. But worth trying... trust me.

If you are not yet on spiritual journey, what are you waiting for ? A crisis, as someone shared with me recently ? ( Don't we have enough crisis around us already ?)

Happy Spiritual Journey!

Turn veggie, prevent chronic diseases - Diet - Health & Fitness - Life - The Times of India

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

T20 World Cup

Indian cricket hit a new low !

We put up a pathetic performance, individually and collectively.
IPL did not help our own players, but it helped someone else... KP attributes his success to IPL. Let us not miss out the fact he spent extra time at practice and working hard. Naturally, he was clear about his goal to hit form and make valuable contribution to his team's winning

If that was not enough, they are in news for wrong reasons...creating a scene at a pub !

Role Model

One of our fundamental responsibility as a parent to our children is to inculcate in them the right value system. A friend uses a more appropriate term, 'SANSKAR'! How true... !

This should be done by not preaching, but by practicing. But we forget this and try to preach than being a role model. Just practise !

Monday, May 17, 2010


People have different opinions about 'meditation'. But still, many are yet to experience the beautiful experience of this simple activity! We don't find time for ourselves. We have time for everything else, many of it not very necessary to our personal life, happiness or spiritual growth.

I held on to the view we need at least 20 minutes of meditation to reach a higher level. This is based on the various readings, and a few popular techniques I have learnt.

But Master comes up with something out of world, as always. 11 seconds of true meditation enough, He says. He is obviously not trying to lower the bar. But actually raising it. If we can practice true meditation for 11 seconds, it may not be very difficult to practice for 20 minutes or beyond. But, in this Kaliyuga, where instant/fast food is more popular, we could reach higher levels of consciousness by reaching true meditation level for 11 seconds. Needless to add, rest depends on Grace of the Master, based on our sincere efforts.

Happy Meditating...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dubai Visit

A short visit. Enjoyed the weather, it was pleasant esp during early morning and after sunset. It was not sultry either.

Morning walk was cool. Thought would not see many people on road on a Friday morning. But was pleasant to see few morning walkers and also a fairly big group of joggers, perhaps preparing/running marathon/half marathon. We, residents in GCC, needs to take care of our health better.

Dinner at Saravanabhavan was just great - great food, fantastic service and nice Indian-middle class ambiance ! A veggie's delight! Curry-leaves soup was a revelation.

Love the sheer energy of Dubai. Reminds more of amchi-Mumbai. People are always on the move.. in a hurry. Healthy too...

But the economy is yet to recover. People fear the property market may hit a new low soon. The fear is still there. A correction was definitely due.The dubai-story defied all economic to philosophical logic. But, at individual level, it has affected several people and their families... dreams gone sour. Feel bad for them.

In all, great experience @ Dubai, except at airport... was a big disappointment, on return.At check in,  immigration counter, food court, book-stall...etc. Not in sync with the energy & courtesy of Dubai! Wonder why I don't 'command' respect, not even basic courtesy. In spite of being decently dressed and putting up a confident, sincere smile. Food for thought.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vishy Anand is World Champ yet again

Indian cricket team plays their do-or-die match at T20 world cup... they also need to pray for a favourable result at Aus Vs WI...

No such confusion elsewhere in Hungary. Champion of Champs, Vishy, won his fourth title. He proves he is one of the greatest sportsman from India. That too in a game which is all brains, and no brawn :)  The cricket crazy public back home will be too busy talking & intellectualizing about the fate of MSD & team...

Vishy's mother wants him to be a champion and also a good human being... Great lesson on parenting

In this era when sport and sportsman hitting a new low at individual and collective level, we have Vishy and Sachin. Proud of them !

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Short Trip Westwards, officially

A trip westwards… along the setting sun, late afternoon.

Reached airport very early, partly because of my recent preference to try & avoid last minute rush, and also an error from my side on the flight timings, fortunately I presumed ahead of ETA and not later ! Got boarding pass and sat down to kill some time… ( no delight @ check-in process!)
Finished off the last part of the beautiful book I have been reading! More on that later, in detail, to try to do justice.

Cleared my gmail, did some twitter and did not touch facebook, listened to some music, … all on the new IPhone.  Now, some of my friends have been asking about IPhone. After checking out various options, the toss was between IPhone and Blackberry. Apart from features and feedback from friends, the fact that unfortunately BB is being seen as a typical teenager phone (!) did not help. Having evolved from Nokia to  Sony Ericson to  Samsung, I have no doubt: IPhone 3GS is the cellphone.  Nothing else matches the versatility & convenience of IPhone 3GS. It is user-friendly. Camera is quite good. And, I am yet to explore the programs available at cost/free downloadable. To summarise, phone/music/camera/basic surfing are the features you are looking at on your phone, need not look beyond IPhone. I am yet to come across a techie who utilizes features beyond these.  One drawback I observed was the battery life. For all the fantastic features, the battery life is a disappointment.

Steve Jobs is considered to be the best of CEO’s, especially in tough market conditions prevailing now. He has redefined personal technology, thru Mac, IPod, IPad…. People have been lining up for IPad, having succumbed to the temptation…!!

A colleague, fellow-traveller, joined just in time. We boarded and took off… I took a short nap, as always. Somehow, I always got good sleep flying… though while travelling with family, my son has been quite critical about it.

Driving to hotel, the fellow traveler raised the question of customer service. When, two senior bankers are travelling together, service standards becomes one of the easy topics to pick up. While -he was unhappy about the check-in-to-boarding experience at departure terminus, he still seemed to be carrying the thoughts…we were sitting at separate rows, despite our efforts to get adjacent seats. I shared with him one of my favourite brands in all categories was Jet Airways and how their service standards have not only been good to experience, but also to emulate. I wonder, why so many other air carriers just fail to give minimum customer-experience (if not, delight) while flying. We were flying business class ( remembered Shashi Tharoor’s comment, ‘cattle class!)  I was also trying to cheer him saying we are going to another good brand, our hotel which we have specifically chosen based on our earlier experiences.  As the taxi hit the last stretch, the road by the sea, the hotel  stood tall, as though waiting for two demanding customers….

Sunday, May 02, 2010

7Years in Tibet

Based on reco by a local friend, checked out this movie... Great movie. Characterization of young Dalai Lama was brilliant ! 

A sudden urge to visit Dharmashala...Pls do check out!

Seven Years in Tibet