27 December, 2013

Bring your kids to work

I find this particular office culture of bringing your kids to work to be a rather pointless affair. I also think it’s an embarrassing affair. I’ll take my office and what I do for a wage as an example, I’d actually be embarrassed to bring my kid to work and show the child what I do (or ‘don’t do’ if you go by the performance rating). I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I enjoy the safe work environment; adequate support in terms of transport and the opportunity to do what a vast majority of society consider ‘an honest living’. It’s just that most of us would rather be off elsewhere earning a living doing something else which we would be more proud of.

Let’s try and fathom the notion that I have a wife and we have a kid. I bring the kid to the office. The child is unexplainably excited to see the place that dad goes to for a long part of the day and its where dad gets money to buy me all the nice toys and fattening food. In the child’s mind, that place must be awesome because why else will dad go there. It clearly is something he loves doing or else why would someone get so worked up about it if things were not proper. And dad plays guitar and takes me to all these wonderful rock shows, and introduced me to Deep Purple while my friends are listening to some fellow called Beeper. And dad is so imaginative at home when he plays with me and the toys. He does voices and stuff. He explains everything to me, plays football with me, supports Manchester United. He must be doing something way more awesome at work.

And slowly, as we walk through the gates, reality starts sinking in. Fancy buildings and all, but all dad has is a tiny cubicle that he shares with 3 other people. There are lovely lawns outside, but he’s not allowed to sit on them. There are so many ponds and little pools, but he’s not allowed to dip his feet into them on a sunny day. So much open space and dad sits indoors. What’s wrong with him? Maybe dad is doing some awesome work, but he just sits there looking annoyed at his computer and furiously types away all day. Every now and then he gets into this thing called a conference call and is visibly disturbed after that. There are times when he receives a call and he runs off screaming ‘yes sir…yes sir… right away sir’ and he makes me sit in this cubicle where I am told I cannot speak loudly. Also, there are no games on his computer. He also does not have any cartoons. 

My child will wonder as to why my wife and I force it to study hard, work hard, learn so much and tell it about the concept of unlimited possibilities and then discover that I do “THIS” for a living. It will perplex the child. The child will not have anything proud to say about the work I do at the office to its friends. While one of the other friends whose dad didn’t waste time doing engineering or MBA now manages cricket teams or rock stars, or their dad pursued a career in arts and is a musician, or how one of the other dad’s is an actual scientist and develops awesome technology used in rocket ships, this dad comes to work and looks at a computer all day long. 

Why would my child ever consider me to be a hero? They would rather look towards uncles and aunts who are doing awesome things in their lives…. And also making money off it.

I’m sure such days would be awesome at companies that make things like motorcycles or guitars, you could show what your company did and that kid would be thrilled. If you worked in a company like Mattel or Cadbury, your child would go crazy with glee. A child would surely be excited by its dad who worked at a truly creative place like an ad firm – all those people drawing and all those colours. It’ll even be cool if you had your own restaurant and stuff. But how do you get a child excited about enterprise software? And worse, I’m not even the guy making the enterprise software.

I remember when my dad would take me to his workplace. I used to love it. He’s worked at some pretty fun places like Coca-Cola. It was so amazing to see how all that coke was made. He worked for a newspaper too and it was fascinating to see all those people going in and out in a hurry, not to mention those huge printing presses. I also loved the office he worked in that managed numerous smaller businesses like fertilizer, fisheries and more. I always thought I would have a job in such a company where I could show tangible products. But now all I do is market ‘comprehensive end-to-end robust turnkey enterprise-grade software solutions’. (PS: the child just passed out due to lack of oxygen to the brain)

 Today is one of those days where I’m forced to re-look career choices in a new light. Not that I have options or a path set out, but if I ever move companies, I should look for a job that my kid would be proud to go and tell all the other kids how awesome their dad’s job is. Until then, I’ll remain safely single and irresponsible.

PS: Did you just notice that I’m assuming I’m at the same job in the same office given that the possible timeline for this particular ‘bring your kid to work’ incident will happen at least 15 years from now? Dear HR, please note – this is indicative that I am a ‘long term career’ sort of person okay? Potential Mrs. Murthy’s, please note – this is indicative that I am a ‘long term commitment’ type of person and am comfortable with the idea of children okay?

PPS: See how I quickly turned that rant of self-pity into a potential match…job and matrimony?

28 November, 2013

Between all the whining

Thanksgiving is not really big here in India. The reason I say ‘not really’ is because some of the restaurants have thanksgiving dinners, and since ‘Eating an entire turkey’ is on my bucket list (ironic, considering I might kick the bucket after eating an entire turkey), I’m guessing there is some market for that here. That being said, I enjoy the sentiment of Thanksgiving and felt it’s an appropriate time to put out some of the things I've been thankful for this year.

1. I’m thankful that I have a job that pays a respectable wage and that every morning I have the opportunity to wake up, go into an office and comfortably work. That’s a big thing considering how bad the economy is and the number of friends I see struggle to make ends meet who have way more responsibilities than I do right now. PS: I’m also thankful the job sent me to New York where I saw ‘The Lion King’ musical on Broadway – dream come true. 

2. I’m thankful for two awesome parents who've not begun badgering me to get married…yet. I’m thankful for a mom with whom I can have an open honest conversation about marriage and relationships so that I’m better prepared. I’m thankful for a dad who despite my post-graduate degree keeps me under his roof unconditionally (that includes playing guitar and singing at 1 AM); and how he never misses and opportunity to teach me ‘responsibility’. 

3. I’m thankful for two friends in particular who are still willing to hang out with me despite my weirdness and uncalled for mood swings about trivial matters like the car stereos and ‘why don’t you know what Thor’s hammer is called?’. I've been going through a whole lot of emotional puberty, which was previously put aside during my growing years thanks to computer games (namely Counter Strike). And these long talks (normally me just talking) with these friends about all the craziness going through my head has really helped me come out the other side a slightly less confused carbon-based life form.

These are the top 3 things I am especially grateful for this year. There are so many more things I am really thankful for despite all the whining, but I’ll limit myself to the top 3 that came into my head the moment I started writing this post. 

What have you been thankful for? (Someone please say ‘I’m thankful Nikhilesh is still bitter and insecure and uses sarcasm as a defence mechanism or else his blog will cease to be funny’)

26 November, 2013

Here’s my card

The great part about being in a marketing team is that you get to attend really fancy conferences in exotic locations such as Vegas, Phuket, Monte Carlo and so on. There are exceptions to all rules, and as always yours truly is the exception. I’ve only done one event in New York so far (and I’m still hung up on that…. I start crying when I watch Friends because the show was in New York). On the flip side, I do get to evaluate a lot of events where higher ups can go to. (I just think of it as vocational training to become a stoic detached travel agent)

As part of the evaluation process, one tends to look at a lot of criteria. Pictures from the event are one of them. I was recently checking out pictures from an event last year and noticed something – All Indians, irrespective if they’re working in the US, or there on a business trip from India, always look like they’re trying to give you their business card, or are happy that you gave them yours.

I went through over a 100 pictures from the event that showcased the speakers, the booths, the parties after wards. Every Indian is standing there like they were in-front of the Taj Mahal with their significant other on their 5-year wedding anniversary having that ‘We’re excited, but this is a public place  so we’d better stand beside one another and look constipated instead of being romantic’ look about them. People from other nationalities are busy having fun wearing wigs, fake moustaches, dressed in casuals and talking over a beer. But most of my fellow countrymen are wearing suits and are armed to the teeth with their business cards. I came across one picture of an Indian chap who looked happy and was smiling, only to spot the corner of business card in his jacket pocket. 

I’m not sure why this happens. Is it because a large part of the workforce doesn’t know how to switch off from work? Is it because our idea of networking is gathering business cards to send out emailers rather than get to know people at a slightly more personal level? What is it that makes my fellow Indians want to run about collecting and handing out business cards as though they were the Easter Bunny with his eggs? I remember this colleague whose sole purpose to attend an event was to ensure he gave out at least 100 business cards. He managed to do that at an event that had only 40 people!!! (Valet and bell boy got lucky I guess… they probably called him for an enterprise grade business solution related problem they had)

Why can’t we have fun while networking? Why can’t we treat people like people and not ‘prospects’? A friend of mine was once pulled up by the higher chain of command for having a casual conversation about the city she did her post-graduation in with a ‘prospect’ that happened to be from another college in the same city. It’s ridiculous as to how we insist on talking about work with prospects all the time. I apologize if I come across as naïve to you “experienced sales people” and “captains of industry”. I’m not sure why I apologized because neither group has time to read this blog because they’re off somewhere handing out a business card. Aren’t these the same guys who write things like ‘I’m a natural-born extrovert’ in their resumes? (Like us caesarian-born extroverts are any less). And that translates into ‘will give soul to get business card’. Maybe that's why they don't send me to many events.

A word of advice to my people attending office related gigs, have fun, network, but for heavens sake don't make handing out cards your sole objective. Quality vs. quantity.

By the way, below is a picture of me at an office party. Don’t I look like someone whose business card you want? 

13 November, 2013

Post No.401... we've come so far.

Can I start with an apology to all my loyal readers for not having written anything in a long time? No? How about I give you a hug? Don’t want chubby tambram hugging you? How about I calm you down with a pastry? No wait… (thinking… that’s 30 odd readers, assuming Rs.50 a cupcake…that’s 1500 bucks…).. leave it! No cupcakes! I don’t want all you beautiful people becoming fat. Let bygones be bygones and let’s get on with life.

So, what have I been up to? The high point of the last one month has definitely been my trip to Pune for the NH7 music festival. And since I’m taking the time to talk about it…clearly something happened there. Did I meet a girl whom I really liked and we slow danced to some EDM? Did her thinking and mine get along in a way that people confused us for relative major and relative minor chords of one another? (Didn't get the music geek talk huh?) So did that happen? 

Sigh! No. But these two separate girls did talk to me. One asked me who is the band on stage and what song were they singing. And the other one was from Mumbai who asked me directions to some place in Pune. Not being a local, I said I had no clue. And since I blanked out at the prospect of a higher-than-average looking girl proactively talking to me, I didn't have the presence of mind to check the directions on the map application on my darn phone. Hopeless!  To make things worse, my mind in its Brownian state asks me to make small talk. Great idea! “Soooooooo…. Where in Mumbai are you from?”. She just mentioned some place that I have never heard of. I nodded as though I knew Mumbai like the back of my hand. That was pretty much it. And since she didn't bother inquiring as to where I was from, I'm guessing I was coming across as one of those creepy desperate guys whom I normally make fun of. Best to be silent. Sigh! Hopeless!

A shout out to the somewhere-in-the-universe- future Mrs.Murthy, I’m not as shy as the blogs make me sound. I just have problems initiating and sustaining a conversation with people I don’t know. We will get along fabulously if you stick to talking about music (non-Bollywood), games (Candy Crush is not a game. Neither is Angry Birds), football (no club other than Manchester United) and food (Please don’t be a vegetarian). 
PS: I am an artist, drama is in my blood. In my case, it comes with a side order of ‘melo’.

So besides the awesome awesome awesome music at the festival, and the much drinking and eating, the Pune trip was pretty uneventful. 

I did however buy a new camera and began taking tons of pictures of all the bands. I believe I may have found my new passion. I took almost 900 pictures over 3 days and put up the best 100 on Facebook. Do check them out if you are on my friend’s list. 

On a closing note, this is the 401st blog post. Much thanks to all you guys for posting comments and keeping me motivated to write. More importantly, thanks for coming back to the website even though lately all I can seem to write about are my failed attempts at better acquainting myself with the opposite sex. Look forward to keeping you folks entertained for the next 400 blogs.

10 September, 2013

In dire need of a few good men...

I hang out with way too many women.

The previous statement would have turned any male with normal wiring in his head and blood rushing to all the right parts, green with envy. But I see this as a problem. And it is a serious problem that I need to tackle at the earliest. Why this sudden epiphany? I went to see a movie with my peeps (all girls) and during the interval joined them in a very serious analysis of the shoes that women at the theatre were wearing. And I rather liked the shoes of this one girl that looked like something a Christmas elf would wear....or closer to what Robin wore in the old Batman TV serials
Read the previous statement.... SLOWLY!!! I am not talking about liking the 'girl' but am talking about liking 'her shoes'. Her darn elf-like shoes. A normal guy would have thought ‘Damn she’s hot........ maybe I should get her number and ask her to coffee.’ But nooooooo.....  I liked her shoes.

It then hit me that lately I’ve been hanging around with way too many women than I ought to be. Most of my male friends are either abroad, married, engaged or just not into the things I am into. That covers rock shows, stand up comedy and football when Manchester United is playing. Without my noticing, I have slowly become the only single male in a large peer circle of women. And what do I do the times they are not there? I go to places by myself. I have a strong feeling that I’m an introvert of sorts. It’s even more hilarious because I recently updated the job resume stating that I’m a natural extrovert. I am gravely concerned.

I’ve been shopping with these women, I have chosen shirts that are distinct from one another in pattern and colour and are neither a shade of black nor red. I went to numerous shops and tried on at least 5 walking shoes before I found the right one. I posses knowledge on the price of gold and know terminology reserved only for women and effeminate men. It’s already bad enough that I know of colours like turquoise, lavender and mauve (thanks to the arts classes as a kid). I just may slowly be turning into a woman.

I confided in a male friend about my current plight and his response was, “ Duuuuuuuuude, do you know what you have? Those chicks trust you man. Ask them out”. And he meant “out” in a ‘coffee leading to coffee at your place’ type out and not a ‘machiiiin, I’m bored and hungry. Let’s grab a pizza’ type out. Men should never give advice to men when it comes to women. They can give advice on cars, guitars, bikes, real estate, a good doctor for a prostate exam....but not women. The whole point is to have a few male friends with whom I can hang out with and be all macho-like with the swearing, beer drinking, checking out the chicks’ type thing. Should I dare to ask any of these existing friends out, I’ll be left with no friends at all.

Dear reader, if you happen to know any single men interested in hanging out at rock shows, watching football games and drinking to loud music, please asks them to get in touch. We all know of the terrible luck (driven mostly by extreme cowardice) that I have with women. I never thought I’d have this peculiar problem with men.

PS: The girl was wearing shoes similar to what Robin is wearing below, except they came in a lovely shade of Royal Blue. (Sigh... I cannot just say blue... I need to be specific)

23 July, 2013

Keeping it Childishly Real

There’s just so much us ‘grown-ups’ can learn from children. Do you know why children are so happy all the time? Do you know why simple things like the sound of a fart make them go into an endless fit of laughter? That’s because they’re the only human-type creatures who are keeping it real. They’re the only ones acknowledging their feelings and behaving exactly as how their feelings dictate they behave.

Don’t understand what I’m saying? Ever seen a kid who felt something up its nose and irrespective of how classy the gathering, the child will put its finger up its nose and pull out the booger. They will stand in front of you in the line in the market place and will proudly announce to their parents that their butt itches while proceeding to scratch their butt. They will ask you embarrassing questions like, ‘Why are you so fat?’ and even worse questions like, ’All the other uncles came here with aunties, why are you here by yourself?’ And it is this level of honesty (combined with their tiny size) that shocks you because, ‘How the hell can this human-type creature ask me something so personal so directly?’

For example, if you gave a kid a task they did not want to do, and even if you incentivize them with treats once the task is done, if the child feels bored, or not inclined to do the task, they will tell you so and go about their business. While we ‘grown-ups’ will choose to do the work given by our superiors at the work place doing stuff we hate to do irrespective of anything. We’ve forgotten how to be childish. We’d rather choose to avoid confronting our emotions and dealing with them as they are. (PS: I’m referring only to raw emotions. ‘Horny’ is not an emotion) If a child feels hungry, it will eat until it is full. If an adult feels hungry, they will first weigh out how much time they can afford to spend on a meal and away from their desk, they will then evaluate how many calories the meal will include, how much more they would have to work out in that horrendously expensive gym, and finally settle on eating cucumbers and sprouts which neither fill you literally or emotionally. Eat well, run more – that’s a perfect child-like logic I understand (except the running part).

And we keep denying all these little things to ourselves as adults simply because some silly other adult feels it is childish. Just the other day, it had rained on campus and my shoes were wet in the rain. When I came on to the floor, the shoes made the squeaking sound that normally babies’ shoes come with. I felt absolutely overjoyed and decided to walk around with my shoes going,’ squeak…squeak… squeak…squeak…’ all the way. This was met with very annoying stares from the grown-ups. I almost felt like I was going to be given a time-out and made to stand in the corner and reflect upon my wrong doings. But bah humbug to you old people… I’m going to walk a little more in the rain, come back in and go squeak…squeak… squeak…squeak… with my shoes. Live with that.

24 June, 2013

Weekend in Mumbai

I wanted to post this almost 3 weeks ago, but a birthday came in between. So, I had to give all the momentary self-realization nonsense priority. I was in Mumbai the first weekend of June to attend a good friend’s wedding. Sigh! Another one goes down. Anyway, it was good fun staying at his place and being with his cousins who threw a really fun bachelor party (naughty cake, alcohol and other good stuff). The great hangover aside (and the best wedding lunch ever) the trip offered a lot of moments of wisdom.

For example, irrespective of the problem you are facing, marriage is the answer in almost all Indian cultures. Your hair is turning grey…. Get married. Your hairline is receding….get married. You work too late…. Get married. You eat out too often….get married. You don’t save up enough money…get married. You wake up late…. Get married. You go to movies by yourself…get married. You listen to rock music…. Get married. You’re overweight… get married. Why? Seriously….Why? How is marriage a solution to all these problems? Is taking on a life partner some sort of panacea to all worldly problem? I always thought death was the ultimate release from all worldly problems. Oh, wait. Is marriage the equivalent of death? ( I know some folks are not going to like that analogy).

According to my limited understanding of these matters, the truth is that marriage for the sake of it is just a diversion. It removes your focus from the problems, or replaces them with new problems or offers you an analgesic to bear those problems. (I think I’m just rubbing the married folks off in a wrong way. They’ll come back to me writing about how awesome marriage is and that I’m narrow minded and selfish and that it’s so great having someone to wake up with every morning, someone to fight for, someone to share your dreams with and work towards….and other stuff. You guys will have to excuse me, but I don’t understand all that right now. Maybe when I get married I’ll begin to accept these half-truths)

Moving on before I make matters worse, second pearl of wisdom is that ‘Bangaloreans really need to get out of the city more often’. We were at the bachelor party. It was 9 PM and only a handful of people had walked in. I was getting rather worried because it was getting late. I went and confessed to my friend that it’s sad people can’t stick to time. I was reminded that I was no longer in Bangalore where the city closes by 11:00 PM. I've gotten so used to winding down by 10:30PM and heading home by 11:15PM, my body is not sure what to do when you’re high on booze and din-chak Bollywood remix beats are going on. It’s almost like an internal clock says,” Okay, that’s enough for you. Shut down please”. The same thing happened in New York(le drifter attacks). I was happily watching TV and checking email in my hotel room at 10:45 PM when I realized I’m in “the city that never sleeps”. I immediately got up, changed into non-PJs and walked around NYC. (Sigh, nostalgia is coming full full sudden sudden).

The last pearl of wisdom is that ,’ I will get yelled at by a local in every new city I go to’. I got yelled at by a street performer in NYC because I did not know that I had to pay him a dollar to take his picture. In Mumbai, I got off the local train at around 11:30. I walked out of the station and saw an auto slowing down. I got in and the auto was just starting when an old man jumped out of nowhere and started yelling at me in Marathi. I really wasn't sure what I had done to tick him off. He then yelled at the auto driver who just said ‘theek hain’ and pushed off. I later on figured that apparently there was a queue somewhere to catch a rickshaw and I unknowingly ignored the same. So did the auto driver. Mumbai folks take great umbrage to such behavior. My friend told me I was lucky that the public did not decide to beat me up. (Beating up – a favourite pastime of the middle class frustrated Indian)

Anyway, it was a super fun trip to Mumbai. I’d like to go there often, but there’s no way I see myself living in that city. A day job is strenuous in Bangalore itself, a city like Mumbai would probably kill me by the end of the first year.  Now, New York is a different story altogether. (Dear boss, hint hint wink wink… I’m sure I won’t be as incompetent as I am now once on foreign shores…preferably NYC)

11 June, 2013

29 and still confused

This post was initially meant to be about my trip to Mumbai, but then my birthday happened before I could complete my soulful ‘dhobi ghat-esque’ piece about Mumbai. So, here I go with the compulsory birthday blog… the usual, self-realization and all that.

 The 29th year of my existence on the face of the earth went by rather quickly. And all I seem to be is more confused than what I was a year ago. You would imagine that changing my day job to a company that is driven by values and powered by intellect would help settle matters on that front, but I’m not so sure any more. Okay, it did come with a nice trip to New York (which I had to mention) but it came with so much more baggage in my non-work life than I realized. It came with rather heavy burdens like ‘expectation’ from this rather clueless creature called ‘society’.

It’s been a year of a lot of thinking, questioning, reprioritizing and acceptance on a lot of fronts. Questioning why I do what I do for a day job? Is this what I want to do forever? Should I continue bothering to learn the guitar and try to be in some band? Should I give up these so-called childish notions of becoming a rock music journalist? Do I actually enjoy rock music or is it a substitute for the evident purposelessness of my existence?  Am I willing to work for half my current pay for something I enjoy more? Am I willing to work for 5 times my current pay for something I am really unhappy with? Will I ever get to work in a job outside of the IT sector? Am I competent enough to work there? Why am I still single at 29 and will I still be single at 30? (That last point can take copious amounts of liquor and end up right back where the conversation started)

And somewhere through all this I realize that there is a silver lining to all this doubt and all these questions I have. The line is probably that I’ve not completely accepted a certain fate written by the expectations of other people. While I’ve chosen the most trampled upon path when it comes to the day job, I’m still coming to terms that I am a lot more than my day job. And who I am at work, is not a reflection of who I am in the real world. And my shortcomings at my day job are not indicative of the shortcomings of who I am. When it comes to this attempt at being a musician, I figure that overnight success takes 8-10 years and that I surely am not doing enough to give the enthusiasm due justice. And there will be people who will not understand why I do the things I do. It’s not their fault. I don’t understand the things they do either.

And no matter how trivial my pursuits may be, and how silly these so called ethics I live by are, they are mine and I alone will deal with their outcomes. That being said, it’s good to be confused. It makes you hunt for ways to clean up your act and set things right. And kudos to those who’ve figured out what they want to do (or accept they want to do) and are doing it already. I’m just going to take some more time to find my way.

On a less philosophical note, birthday number 29 was probably the most fun birthday I’ve had since my 8th birthday. I normally don’t enjoy my birthday because I always feel unaccomplished and don’t see the point in making a big fuss about an event that I really had nothing to do with. And with improved mortality rates, living another year is not that big a deal. But this time, I felt a little differently. So the birthday celebrations started much earlier.

It started on Friday with a somewhat messed up gig at an apartment party where my set list (and voice went haywire) leaving me wanting to play for a more appreciative (and less drunk) audience. But it was a gig none-the-less. Also, the liquor and chicken post party was an added bonus. Saturday was spent going for a movie with friends and dinner later on. I spent Sunday morning at the newly opened ‘Entertainment Store’ in town where friends and I spent hours drooling over all the merchandize. Much restrained spending (something I’m getting used to this year) had me buying 3 gifts for myself – a ‘Nevermind’ CD, a ‘Somewhere back in time’ CD and a Yoda shot glass. (I do believe collecting shot glasses and beer glasses might be a new thing for me). This was followed by an excellent lunch at the ‘world famous in bangalore’ Empire hotel.

The evening was spent at the old hallowed ground of Purple Haze. I really miss the old drinking gang who are all over the world now. But a few drinks down, all feelings of loneliness and being abandoned went away. That being said, Purple Haze no longer is the same old sanctuary it used to be. It’s been infested with creatures that seem to respond to the rather poorly manufactured tunes of Linkin Park and the new Green Day, but could not be more moved by the soulful guitar of Clapton, the thrash of Megadeth and the old Metallica or even the classic tunes of Iron Maiden. And don’t get me wrong for being a grouch who is living in the ‘when MTV used to play music’ era. There are much better sounding bands than Linkin Park today. Ever heard of Foo Fighters? They actually play rock music.

The actual birthday was fun. I started the day by watching ‘Now you see me’ at the movies. I then met up with friends who were kind enough to take half a day off from their work to help celebrate. We went to a super lunch at the Pizzeria Romano and were sufficiently high to sit through ‘Yeh Jawaani hain deewani’, the second movie for the day. This was followed by a lovely buffet dinner with cousins and family. The best part was that my cousin-sister from Delhi made this awesome cake for me and brought it all the way from Delhi with her.

Now, to the birthday presents. I normally don’t enjoy getting presents, predominantly because I never enjoy my birthday. But this time, I got some really cool stuff. I got my first guitar pedal – a Boss DS2 pedal which was partially paid for by my folks. I also got the CDs and the shot glass (which I gifted myself). I also had this brand new t-shirt from the Hard Rock Café in New York which I bought specifically for the birthday. But the best gift I gave myself was the fact that I was able to fit (fairly comfortably) into a brand new Manchester United Jersey gifted to me two years ago which never fit then. So clearly, somewhere the weight loss is working. And that felt cooler than anything else this birthday. All of this was on a Monday, and I had taken the day off from work. Sweet no???

So overall, a fun birthday weekend and a fairly confusing year gone by. I don’t expect the confusion to get any better this year. I’m sure that I’m going to be fairly torn between the somewhat-safe high paying job and the yearning for doing something more meaningful yet extremely low paying. I’m sure the parental unit will not be very accommodating of that idea because they would be looking to burden me with the responsibilities of marriage, which I am not ready for right now. Here’s hoping that I can clear up my music scene and get some sort of an act together. At least, starting from scratch when it comes to bands has become an all too familiar feeling, so I have a vague notion of what works and what does not. I hope that the music blog I started can get some more recognition. Among all of this, there is a clear need for me to ignore unnecessary distractions from life and spend way more time on some of the more meaningless pursuits I have mentioned above.

31 May, 2013

The superb art of conversation drifting (or tilting)

Life has been boring the last month or so. I've had nothing overly exciting happening to me. I did go for one of those (fixed) IPL games at the stadium. I feel so ashamed. Through the worst of times I never gave into peer pressure of having to smoke a cigarette, drink alcohol, date women (Peer pressure avoidance mechanism for this one is still in place, I can’t find the damn off switch) and other vices. And yet here I was on the persuasion of my office folks, going to the stadium to see a cricket match. Sigh, so ashamed. (PS: The match went into super over and all that, somewhat enjoyed it, but I feel God had fixed it for me hoping I give in to my true patriotic Indian calling of “I looooouuuuuuve cricket”)

Anyway, that and a few more dancing episodes aside, I’ve really had nothing of significance to write about. However, I recently came across a few people who I found quite fascinating (and annoying to the point of envisioning slow torture techniques in my head) who no matter what, managed to turn the tide of a conversation to what they were currently obsessing about. For example, a cousin of mine was told, in passing, that he was being considered for a project in the US. We were all happy for the boy, and wished him well until his folks decided that ‘going to the US’ was all they could talk about as though I was some sort of village dunderhead who would get overly impressed. And all this was only when he was told that he might go. No Visa, no port-of-entry letter, no call from the client, nothing.

Yet, every conversation somehow became a conversation about the US. You’d think the family has been travelling there quite often. I guess it’s a typical Tam’I am a Green Card holder’Bram syndrome. I’m going to call these guys ‘drifters’ because of their obvious but ‘it’s smooth in my head’ art of drifting a conversation to a topic they want to endlessly talk about. Here’s how conversations typically went –

Me – It’s rather hot in Bangalore today
Le Drifter – Yes! Unusual weather. But one has to get used to extreme variations in temperature. I hear Boston is like that during the year. That reminds me, I need to buy a good jacket before I go to America.

Me – This pasta is good
Le Drifter – Yes. It’s good. I also know to cook pasta now. You see, it’ll be easy for me to make when I come back from work in the US because I’ll be living by myself.

Me - *says nothing*
Le Drifter – In America, they are very professional. No one talks during work hours and are very focused on getting work done. Not like these Indian offices.

And it just got progressively worse to a point I just put on my earphones to ensure the drifter thought I was busy. This is the ‘I am going to America’ drifter. There is also the ‘I went on a foreign vacation’ drifter who has much pent up energy and will find a way to move the conversation into talking about what they did on their vacation.

Me – Oho! These airlines are going to get expensive with the government allowing the unbundling of services.
Le Drifter – Oh yes! I had actually preempted this and booked my tickets in advance. Let me tell you how the airplane I have chosen for my foreign vacation works with regard to unbundled services…. *and goes on to explain something about how cabin temperature is colder than usual and you are forced to rent a blanket…. I phased out after that*

Me – I think this product would do rather well in the energy sector
Le Drifter – Yes. It can also work in the travel sector. Let me give you an example of how…. *and goes on to explain all the deals availed online for recent foreign trip without actually talking about how the product can help*

I’m not even going to elaborate on the drifters who turn everything into a conversation about ‘Why aren’t you getting married?’ (I know you lot were waiting for me to bring the marriage twist into the story). These drifters are mostly relatives, who until that point in time were your favourite people in the world. Amazing how something so simple can be twisted into a badgering exercise for marriage. From non veg eating to greying hair, to attending a rock show get twisted, and sometimes without any connection whatsoever into an ‘it is high time you got married conversation’. Clearly I have no other ambition but to get married.

Anyway, back to the drifters. The admirable part of these drifters is their ability not to notice you rolling your eyes over, sarcastic replies, and caveman like grunts to acknowledge their blah blah. They are relentless souls who are determined to tell you about whatever topic they want to talk about irrespective of what you are talking about. A conversation on prostate exams will somehow turn into a conversation of some app they downloaded on their ipad which has nothing to do with a prostrate exam but makes you feel that the exam would be less painful than listening to them talk. A conversation on double-entry book keeping will somehow become a conversation about how they took some (what they believe is great) pictures of dogs, cats and other “wildlife” while walking through a park in Bangaluru with their fancy ass camera that they bought a week ago from their recent trip to the US; and the amount of research they went through before buying this camera. A conversation on fixing a leaking faucet unceremoniously turns into a conversation on match fixing and making money and how they invest in different funds and are less than 24 hours away from making multi-billionaires out of themselves.

Sigh!  My apologies if I have ever become a drifter.

13 April, 2013

It’s ‘gay’ music dude

English is the biggest legacy left over by the British raj (after that other thing called cricket), it is perhaps the most abused. English is still a foreign language to most Indians, even the ones who studied it as a first language at school. And this post is addressed to some those who have been fortunate to have had a decent English based education. Folks, ever hear of the concept of adjectives? If you have, have you heard of the concept of ‘appropriate’ adjectives?

I was talking to an old acquaintance who claims to be a heavy metal connoisseur. And he asked me whom do I consider to be the top musician of the last 6-10 years (since I’m some sort of Lester Bangs type fellow… Google Lester Bangs…. And those of you who started giggling after reading the word ‘Bangs’, grow up). I named a couple of artists and said that my favourite would be John Mayer. The response to this was, “Dude, when did you start listening to gay music?”

I’m unsure what he meant by gay music. Is it the kind of music gay people make? Or is it something that only they are allowed to listen to? Is it something that makes you have homosexual inclinations after listening to it?  I understand that a lot of the rock purists don’t have a lot of respect for John Mayer because they heard ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ and judged him as being yet another ‘I will sing silly love songs’ musician. And I’ll be honest to say that I did not think much of John Mayer then. It was only when I heard ‘Gravity’ from the Continuum record that I started checking out what Mayer had done beyond the creepy-body-wonderland song. And I’m a fan. I’ll reserve further commentary about John Mayer’s talent for the music blog, but to me if Eric Clapton and B.B.King certify that you’re a great musician and are willing to go on tour with you and jam with you, I’m sold.

Anyway, coming back to the point, I still don’t understand what the hell is ‘gay music’? Is ‘gay’ being used in the Shakespearean sort of ‘happy and gay’ manner, which makes sense….. Because ‘homosexual music’ just baffles me. So is it that the folks who use this term, the so called Heavy Metal purists, mean that being gay is something bad, unnatural and should only be heard by men or women who have same-sex relations? There’s a word for that my friends….it’s called being a homophobe. And judging a person based on what music he listens to and calling him or her gay is narrow-minded and uncool.

Just to state some examples so that you bloody homophobes can stop thinking like cavemen, ever heard of Rob Halford? Of course you have… you started head banging to Judas Priest. FYI, he’s gay. So now you’re going to read this and burn all your Judas Priest CDs. Here is a short list of gay people…. Ian McKallen who plays Gandalf and Magneto is gay. Shall I continue? Zachary Quinto who played Sylar from ‘Heroes’ and the iconic Spock from the new Star Trek is gay. Dear acquaintance, you do watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’? I know you do… the dude who plays Sheldon Cooper (real name Jim Parsons) whom you think is hilarious is also gay. So you’re going to stop watching that TV series too right? Need more examples of gay people whom you clearly think are some sort of plague and you've decided to make your up your own derogatory adjective which you use with such disdain.

I too am not particularly enthusiastic about singers who spend their time perpetually singing songs that appeal mostly to women (I’m thinking ‘Backstreet Boys’ and ‘Boyzone’). But that does not make them gay. And even if they were, we’re only listening to their music. I won’t think any less of John Mayer as a guitar player even if he was gay. Look at Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, who are the most popular rock act among kids and early teens. He said in an interview that he is bisexual. So clearly, we must ensure kids stop listening to them right? I think kids should stop listening to Green Day, but that’s because I feel there’s better music out there. Armstrong’s personal choices are his own.

Still going to call it ‘gay’ music dear acquaintance? Just to mess you up, I wish some of the folks from the bands that you listen to come out of the closet….. then we’ll see whether you’ll continue to listen to them. Oh I’d love to see the look on your face if Tom Araya from Slayer comes out of the closet. So much for your ‘I worship Slayer maaaaan’ bullshit. It’s music. Evaluate people for the music they play. If you don’t enjoy, don’t label it. Being part of a heavy metal fraternity, where we are misunderstood by people, parents and friends, as to what drives us to listen to such music, which to them is purely noise and feel liberated, I’d have expected some more sensitivity from you.

Start behaving like someone who actually learnt something from school and stop discriminating against gay people. It’s their choice. And you shouldn't have a problem with it unless they ask you to have a relationship with them. So if you think John Mayer makes ‘gay’ music, so be it. And if you think I’m gay for listening to his music, so be it. Just going by your Neanderthal logic, Eric Clapton is gay and makes gay music because he toured with John Mayer, and so is B.B King. I didn't say it. You did.

I am going to stand my ground and still claim that John Mayer is one of the most talented musicians I've heard and I will be front and center if he plays in India, along with all the women and gay people who listen to such music. What do you have to say about that? 

08 April, 2013

Anybody can dance…but they shouldn't.

I've received some feedback that I’m anti-social and seem to prefer spending long evenings practicing my guitar to get better for a band that is clearly going nowhere instead of hanging out with people and making new friends. While it’s true that I do prefer hanging out at bars by myself, with bands playing rather than force myself to socialize with people with whom I don’t share a single common thread. You know, things like cricket, Indian politics, Bollywood movies, general job bitching, so on and so forth. But I guess this makes me an odd-ball and not anti-social.

Anyway, a friend recently asked me if I wanted to go dancing. Readers would note that I’m not the ‘clubbing’ type and have never been dancing ever. The last time I went to a club to dance was sometime in 2002. And that was another forced effort in meeting social expectations. I’m more the sit-in-a-dark-corner-listen-to-heavy-metal-drink-scotch types. I’m not counting the time at the Punjabi wedding where I got hammered and danced to Bollywood music. Anyway, all things considered, the idiot in me thought to myself, “Why not? What could happen? There’ll be some din-chak music and a lot of people, so no one would notice”

Yours truly decided to go ‘dancing’. Yes, I volunteered to go dancing. (First sign I need to get my head checked)

I was expecting it to be the kind of disco with some Guetta, Swedish House Mafia or some Bollywood tunes playing. My friend did not mention that we were heading to Cuba. I enter this club and there were people doing all these exotic Spanish dances that confuse me as to whether it’s named after a food, or the food is named after a dance. You know… things like salsa, machata, batata, fajita, taco… those types of dances.

I can feel the blood pressure rising and the air-conditioning was clearly not helping with the sweating. I can eat salsa, I can’t dance the salsa. And here in front of me, were some 50 odd couples where everyone seems to be extras from that Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez dance movie. There were people twisting, turning and moving as though gravity was a non-existent. Every instinct in me wanted to turn and run, but I decided I’m going to stand my ground and try to enjoy myself for once. For someone, who has never been to a club, this was clearly the deep end of the dance pool.

My friend was kind enough to show me some basic steps of a dance form called Machata (Don’t know if that’s what it’s called). At that point, the only objective running through my head was, “Do not step on her feet”. So instead of letting the music take me over, I spent my time intently staring at the floor ensuring my elephant feet do not stomp on the poor girl. It wasn't too bad. I think I’d get full marks for effort, although it was not the prettiest thing you’d have ever seen.

Even though I spent most of the evening standing on the side, I actually enjoyed the music which was very Carlos Santana-ish. Why did I spend most of the evening standing on the side when everyone was dancing with everyone? Let’s put it this way. The accepted norm when you ask a girl to dance with you is that you actually know how to dance. It’s quite lame, and border-line creepy, if I went up to a girl and asked her to dance and then told her to keep count, lead and then spent most of the time staring at the floor with my head screaming ‘Don’t step on her feet , tubby’ all the time. It was as though every person passed a basic test of some sort and got in, while I seem to have gotten inside by allowing someone to impersonate me during the exam.

All that aside, I survived the deep end. And for once, at no point was I cynical or asking myself,’ What the f*** is wrong with you?’. However, the next time my friend asks me to come along dancing, I need to verify if I need to attend classes or read some ‘dancing for dummies’ book before I agree. I’m clearly more comfortable being the guy who makes music rather than the person dancing to the tune. I’m very doubtful that going to any classes would help me improve. Some people were just not made for dancing.

At the end of the day, I’m awarding myself a gold-star (like in UKG) for trying something completely new and not making a complete ass of myself doing it. 2013 is turning out to be a year of many firsts, first trip to NYC (Yes, I’m still hung over on that) and first time at a proper dance club. Next week, I’m going for my first cricket match, that too IPL, at the stadium.

24 March, 2013

Chronicles of New York: The $192 Taxi Ride, the $16 Rava Dosa and the $218 Lion King Ticket

It’s a looooooooooooooooooooooooong blog post marking my return to writing again. Might I recommend a hot beverage before you sit down to read this blog post?

I have taken my first step into the dangerous and addictive world of official on-site trips. And as much as I hate to say this,’ I like it’. I was deemed deserving by the higher ups to be part of the team going  to New York to launch the  new product for our company.(PS: The product was the prime reason for the drop in the frequency of blog posts… I spend all day writing scripts and content for digital media, I had not an ounce of energy to write a blog that did not start with ‘what the **** am I doing with my life?’).

Yours truly is now an RRI (Not NRI…. RRI – Recently Returned Indian). I am trying my sincere best (though unsuccessfully) not to be one of those annoying Indians who spends time drawing comparisons between foreign cities and Indian cities. But it’s just so hard to get rid of the hang over called New York. Pubs are open till 7 AM, you can sit by yourself at the bar and drink and not feel awkward, cab guys talk jazz and blues, they have Broadway, comic books store guys actually know about comic books, so many varieties of food….the list is exhaustive. And my dear Bangalore doesn't have any of it. (There I said it… its tough not to when the last order at pubs is at 10:45 PM)

Our trip to NYC started with us getting ripped off. Oh, what a lovely experience that was. I arrived in the evening with the VP of the product I was launching. He offered to drop me off at my hotel. We decided to take one of the black SUV cabs (you know, the ones celebrities normally go in). We arrived at the fancier hotel (you know, VPs stay at more plush places than us ASS-IS-tant Marketing Managers) and the cab guy whips out a bill of $192. A part of me died. That was about 4 times what my daily allowance permits me to use. While the VP was perplexed too, we had to pay because you don’t mess with a Jamaican dude who is three times your size. My VP was kind enough to pay the entire amount. It must have been the ghostly white expression on my face that would have allowed him to take pity on me.

The next few days were fairly uneventful in comparison to the $192 heist that was handed to us. I was so in awe with the city that my jaw kept dropping at every turn looking at the buildings, the people, the food, the stores and obviously Times Square. I was a complete tourist going ‘Ooooh, look… Empire State Building’,’ Oooooh, look…. Grand Central Terminal’ and whipping out my camera to take photos. I had not built an itinerary until I reached NYC because the priority was work and I had to constantly keep reminding myself that I am not there on holiday. My boss kept asking me on a daily basis, whether I had booked a one-way ticket or a two-way ticket. Clearly, the drool at the side of my mouth scared him that I may abscond and not return to India. I’m not saying that the thought did not cross my mind.

Infosys Office at Rockefeller Center...fancy!!!
Before I continue talking about the places we went to, I need to talk about the food in NYC. Thanks to the city being one of the major hubs for immigrants, you get a plethora of food choices; Chinese, Mexican, Brazilian, Thai, Mediterranean, Italian and more. One of my goals before arriving was to sample as much food as possible. However, my colleagues had other plans and wanted to feel at home by going to only the Indian restaurants if given the choice. On one such evening, I don’t know how I ended up in a restaurant called ‘Chennai Garden’ and was eating Rava Dosa. And it wasn't just any Rava Dosa…. I paid $ 16 for that. OUT-frickin-RAGEOUS!!! And it wasn't any good either. And for some reason, our American counterparts in the marketing team took us to…guess what…an Indian restaurant for dinner. But junior employees who are getting a free meal must keep opinions to themselves, so I played along, but don’t expect me to get overly excited about a samosa. I was overjoyed when these guys chose to go for Pizza the next day.

For those who don’t know, pizzas there are to die for. It’s not your standard pizza. It’s sold by the slice and each slice is as good as having a regular pizza in India. I nearly died when I saw the pizzas. Enough said, picture speaks a thousand words. See below and drool. I am…

By the end of the trip, I managed to have Chinese, Thai, Italian, Indian (on way too many occasions that I was comfortable with), Mexican and a rather large beef steak that proved to be my nemesis. I am sure I chocked an artery. I still don’t understand why someone would go half way around the world to have food they get back home. Anyway, I am not one to comment on personal choices of people considering I’m generally the odd one out in most of the circles I hang out with.

Real Hot Dogs....
Okay, food aside, one of the most memorable parts of the trip was my very first (and hopefully not my last) show at Broadway. I went and saw ‘The Lion King’. A ticket cost $218 (roughly Rs 13,000… sorry, tourist habit)…….. Okay, welcome back to those of you whose heart had skipped a few beats. But I was the one who paid for the ticket, and I am still alive. While this took a significant chunk (read ‘almost all’) of my new guitar savings, it was completely worth it. The sheer scale of the production is one of those things you will rant and rave about for a life time. The entire play was executed way better than most top Bollywood movies.  They had a huge elephant puppet, real size; walk through the audience, same with the Rhinos and the Hyenas ….. I’m going into Janice mode here and screaming ‘ Auooooooooooooh myyyyyyyyyyyyyy Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawd’

At my current pay, worth more than the golden ticket to Willi Wonka's factory !
I cried at the start of the show because it’s not every day that you get a chance to strike something off your bucket list. To all my friends living in the US, please do save money and watch a show at Broadway… and don’t go for the cheap stuff. The problem with watching such a grand show is that henceforth, all plays will seem pale by comparison. (Sorry, I’m doing that whole RRI thing again, but I just can’t help it)

'The Lion King' at the Minskoff Theatre

On another note, dear future Mrs. Murthy, please note that your husband to be will turn into a gleeful 8 year old at a toy store. And an even more obnoxious 8 year old when at the Toys’R’Us store at Times Square. He will drool over every toy, especially in the sections labeled Star Wars, Marvel, DC and Dinosaurs. He will even buy some action figures to put up on display back home. Please note these are not for playing with and are not to be given to any child unless the child has a death wish. And it is perfectly normal (read ‘geeky is the new sexy’) for a grown man to own action figures. On his recent trip, you’re husband-to-be added Hulk, Gandalf the Grey, Iron Man and Yoda to his collection. Once again, please note, these are NOT FOR PLAYING. Please find pictures below

I also loved my visit to the Hard Rock Café at Times Square. I met the most interesting couple there at the bar. They were this old couple, probably in their late fifties, who were wearing ‘The Who’ t-shirts. When the band came on the screen and the song was playing, the lady in that couple told me that she and her husband were travelling along with The Who during their time in the US. The couple came all the way from Bradford in the UK to tour along with the band. Now that’s a couple I really understand and that’s the kind of couple that gives me hope regarding marriage. There’ll be nothing cooler if the missus to be is equally crazy about rock music like me and enjoys going to shows. I picked up a really cool t-shirt for my birthday (quite a few months away) and added to my HRC beer-glass collection that now has Bangalore, Seattle and New York. One small step at a time I say.

Hard Rock Cafe, NYC at Times Square

In front of the wall of guitars
Another highlight of the trip was my visit to the two comic book stores. After Lion King, visiting an authentic comic book store was next on my list of things to do. And I was not disappointed. Every time I watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I’d envy the guys who had access to a genuine comic book store. Unlike the weird book stores here where if you’d ask for ‘The Spirits of Vengeance’ series, they point you in the direction of the DVD section, making you face palm. In case you did not get that, ‘Spirits of Vengeance’ is an epic sub-series in the Ghost Rider series. However, it is easily confused by the highly disappointing sequel to the even more disappointing Ghost Rider movie starring Nicholas Cage. Cage as the Ghost Rider…. Don’t even get me started. He’s not even fit to be Aqua man. Anyway, it’s this kind of peeves that normally get me worked up at Indian book stores.

Bangalore needs a comic book store
 In the stores there, I asked the owner what I would want to take back with me. We got talking and he was surprised that an Indian (not settled in the US) knew so much about Ghost Rider, Dare devil, Green Lantern and so many other comic book heroes. It turns out that normally, the Indian tourists walk in and pick up the first Superman or Batman comics they see without knowing its value and walk out. And here was a geek who knew so much more. The guys at the store and I were talking for over an hour after work hours where they went about  pulling books from shelves to show me inflection points in comic book history. These guys were subject matter experts and were absolutely inspiring in helping expand my comic book universe. Sigh! Another reason for me to move to NYC. (Sorry, RRI syndrome again)

All this aside, the biggest joy for me was spending the weekend with my friend from forever, PeeVee (that’s the name we gave him). From two guys sitting in beer smelling café’s in Bengaluru  talking about music, arguing about football, getting drunk together to now roaming the streets of New York, there was no better way to acknowledge that we’ve done rather well for ourselves. Yes, we could always do better, but right now that was cool. A few years ago, it was the HRC in Bengaluru and now it was the HRC at Times Square, New York. Now, that’s going places. I must admit, I was quite sad on the trip home, not so much because I was leaving NYC, but more because I was leaving behind a friend who got me and accepted for all the quirkiness that is yours truly without question. While it was clear that we’ve both changed a lot from the people who “wasted time” in Purple Haze almost every weekend, I guess we’re still the most comfortable when we’re with anyone from that gang. At least I know I am.

PeeVee and me at Hard Rock Cafe, NYC

Besides, all that the standard trip to Wall Street, The bull, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, American Museum of Natural history to see the dinosaur fossils happened. 

Cliched tourist photo at Times Square

With the T-Rex at American Museum of Natural History

Punching the bull....another cliched tourist photo
The last place I do need to talk about was my visit to Strawberry Fields memorial. For the unacquainted, it is the memorial from the city of New York dedicated to one of music’s most influential figures, John Lennon. It’s located at Central Park, right opposite the Dakota Hotel. And no, Dakota Fanning does not own the hotel (PeeVee’s joke).

Strawberry Fields Memorial , with the Dakota Hotel in the background
The place has a mosaic with the words ‘Imagine’ written. You can’t help but have a Beatles song run in your head when there. For me, the moment I set my eyes on the place, I had ‘Across the Universe’ running in my head. I really don’t have any words to describe what all emotions were running through my head when I was at both the memorial and in front of the very gates where Lennon was assassinated. Anyway, pictures…

Strawberry Fields forever

Overall, the trip to NYC will probably be the highlight of the year 2013. (Unless I get married, in which case I will have to fib) It was a trip out of the blue and I did not expect to be sent abroad so soon right after joining the new company. I guess some star alignment went well for me. Unfortunately, like a man-eater I now have the taste of foreign soil and have been longing for it ever since I got back. I really enjoyed the place where I could just roam around by myself and had so much to do and so many places to see. I still missed out on a lot of places. But if the fates have it, I shall return for another quick trip. I’m thinking San Francisco right now… dear company, are you listening?

Last night in New York... the red stairs at Times Square

Right now I’m in a Tony Stark sort of mood… Nothing’s been the same since New York. 

31 January, 2013

The Sum of All Fears

They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes, drums... drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We cannot get out... they are coming. “– Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

Why this quote? What possible significance can it hold? It’s over. The firewalls have been compromised and the wolves will soon scratch at my door. Alright, enough of the melodrama!!! But why the melodrama? For those who have not guessed it yet, the parental unit is no longer on my side of the fence with regard to…. With regard to… the… the …. The ‘M’ word.

Last week, the folks offered me a rather tall glass of scotch, and pizza. And you know me, sucker for scotch and pizza (sucker for food in general). I’m sitting on cloud 9 enjoying the lovely combination when without notice, like a ninja on greased lightning; I am told that in the next few months, I will be paraded to all the potential female suitors. I felt exactly like the Fellowship who heard the Orcs speedily making their way towards them in the Mines of Moria.

PS: Just to clarify, Dear future Mrs. Murthy (or if you want to keep your own surname, that’s cool) I am NOT calling you and Orc. It’s a metaphor of what my mind was going through. And no, I don’t associate you with impending doom either; it’s just that all this was unexpected… like the Orc Horde. You know they’re around, but you’re avoiding them because you are not prepared to meet them.

I threw what could only be a childish tantrum which was one step short of holding my breath till I turn blue and flinging myself on the ground and pounding it. (We all know I am not capable of or willing to indulge in such physical feats). The parental unit held a stoic expression. Betrayed! I was betrayed! And the weapon of betrayal….scotch and pizza. Such a dishonourable way to stab a man in the back!

 “Never back-stab a man whom you offered scotch whiskey!” – Ancient saying by Scottish village idiot.

I spent the entire night thinking of what was going to happen in the days to come. Clearly, no optimistic thinking comes out of backstabbing. I ran through a whole bunch of ‘worst possible scenarios’ which just got worse with each iteration. What if she hates music? What if she won’t allow me to continue with my alcohol and non-veg way of life? What if she loves curd rice? What if she likes Manchester City?

As I calmed down (over two days), tried to have some mature perspective and decided that it was inevitable, I tried to put together an image of what kind of a woman I would like to spend the rest of my life with. Will she have a face like Keri Russell that you want to wake up to every morning? Will she be a kind helpful person like Betty Cooper? Will she understand that I’m not rude and just plain old sarcastic, like a lovable Chandler Bing with a lot of ‘Joey doesn’t share food’ thrown in? Can she play drums so that we can start a band? .... And this went on for a day or two. At some point, the mature person in me (yes, I have a mature avatar) pops up and goes, “Hey Mr.Murthy! Don’t worry about what kind of a wife you want. Worry about what kind of a husband you’re going to be to her, and leave the rest up to whatever cosmic forces drive the universe.”

You think that would make me feel better about the unknown, but it turns out that the ‘known’ frightens me far more than the ‘unknown’ and this lead to a further downward spiral where I listen to the Blues all day long. It turns out I really don’t like myself at all. I’m trying very hard to imagine what a woman in her right mind would see in me, that would make her want to disrupt her world and fill it in with the rather large Nikhilesh Murthy. Is it the looks? (Okay…stop with the hysterical laughter) Is it the educational background? (You know how tams are particular about the whole IIT IIM bit?)  Is he on the path to super career stardom? Is it because I am financially well off? ( Erm… next question please)

What else does a girl (and her parents) look for from an arranged marriage? Which girl from the tambram community wants to marry a fellow because he sounds funny on blogs, is a deranged unaccomplished guitar player who stills wants to lead a blues band despite moderate skills, spends all his free time attending concerts of random bands around the city…and now he blogs about that too (my music blog in case you missed it www.thedrinkingmusician.blogspot.com). What does one do with such a boring stubborn mule? Oh yeah, he’s stubborn too …. Forgot to add that to the list of self-appraisal.

Clearly, I am freaking out. And friends are being of no help whatsoever. Right now I am a ball of confusion and it’s literally giving me sleepless nights. Looks like I need a long vacation to get my head together and not be one of these weirdos landing up on girl’s doorsteps with disoriented thoughts on life, career and marriage….and definitely no asking, “What are your hobbies?”

19 January, 2013

Where's Murthy?

I wanted to name the post 'Where's Waldo?'. But like Alice.. who the f**k is Waldo. So where have I been since the 1st of December? No year end post, no 'i'm lonely on Christmas and Santa hates me' post...nothing! Zilch! Cypher! Zero! 

Shouldn't I be writing about how this year was disappointing for me because I made no progress towards the dream of being a paid musician (not in a 'plays at Church Gate station and get's thrown spare change' sort of paid)...2 measly shows this year. That too at the same venue. Shouldn't I be writing about how I finally moved out my "professional" comfort zone after 5 years and have moved to the company that is driven by values and powered by intellect. Or so the branding team says we do.

Well, I spent a large chunk of the month on some daily-wage office related thingy, so hardly got an ounce of spare time. All the spare time I got was spent on cleaning up my guitar skills. I finally hit breaking point early January and decided that it's high time I make a few changes and start doing some new things with life.

Readers of the blog will know how crazy I am about music. Crazy to the point that I will go to a concert all by myself and still have a good time. Approaching 29, and the music career in limbo had me look for some new way to get all this music energy out there. Considering Rolling Stone magazine have not yet called me to go on tour with Metallica or Pearl jam and be the official reporter for them, I decided to start writing my own blog about music.

And that's why the personal blog has been ignored for some time now. Anyway, here's the new music blog: www.thedrinkingmusician.blogspot.com .

Yes, you read the name correctly. Don't roll your eyes over. I thought I'd write about all the bands I listen too, shows I attend, opinions on music....and if possible talk about my journey towards becoming a respectable paid musician. So all who follow me here, please do follow me there also. I do not mind stalkers. Really, I don't. I know it'll be very rock, metal, jazz and blues-centric but I really can't review masterpieces like 'Radha likes to party...' from the soon-to-be cult classic 'Student of the Year'. 

So please bear with me till I get this act together. I promise to return with my usual posts about marriage, lack of girl friend, lack of money, I am fat, I am lonely, sort of blog posts that you all have been coming to read. And i promise you that the sarcasm will not diminish in any way. Till then....tah!