Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Emptying my phone..

Just emptied my phone's memory today, thought i'd share the pics in there. To any amateur photographers visiting this page, this is not an attempt to show off photography skills (which would be pathetic in this case) but more of a presentation of evidence for various things i'd done in the recent past.

Also, might not be posting here for an indefinite period while i work on a personal project of mine, which should soon be up and will be announced here. So i thought i'd post a few pictures to distract the usual faithful readers (1.85, annual) and buy some time away.. :)

The River we played hide and seek with on the Sooraj Asha Wedding Roadtrip..

Evidence that Pgt did come along on the roadtrip to Sooraj's wedding. :)

The Car! Ain't she gorgeous :)

Bangalore in the rains, through my office window, on a boring afternoon.

Bangalore after the rain, on the day of Sooraj and Asha's reception.. it was actually a double rainbow!

Avial at St Johns Hospital grounds.. amazing concert as usual, plus they 'covered' silsila :D

And finally, the highlight of last weekend.. my best friend George's dog, Bubbles. She's a boxer, and while boxers can look intimidating, she's too damn cute and does the best sad-puppy eyes. Extremely friendly and a useless watchdog, to boot. I taught her to dance (!), but george couldnt be bothered enough to take a pic.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Two wheeled ramblings..

So, the other day, someone sort of told me i'm a good driver. It was a friend of a friend whom i was not previously acquainted with, and apparently my friend had contrasted our driving styles and told him that i am a good driver. i was understandably miffed that my friend didn't convey this piece of valuable opinion directly to me, but i suppose there were reasons behind that. obviously, my head would grow heavy from the praise, to the effect that it would hideously upset my center of gravity when cornering, and that is decidedly not a good thing. of course, i didn't start writing this as an exercise in self-effacing humour, i had other reasons. reasons like the fact that i have probably received maybe five or six compliments on my driving ever since i've been legally allowed to drive.

to put things in perspective, my mom was once so terrified sitting behind me on her 50cc two stroke moped(that had a speedometer that maxed at 60kmph) that she actually jumped off it when she thought i was going to crash it. she preferred scrapes and bruises from the road to broken limbs from the lamp-post i was heading too close to. to this day she does not believe my explanation that i was avoiding a speed bump adjacent to the lamp-post, and that i was in control of the vehicle the entire time. she has never ridden pillion on a two wheeler that had me on the front seat ever since then, and this is a true story. those of you fortunate enough to have met amma would know for a fact that i can't possibly make up stuff like this. when i got my bike four years ago, people who used to ride with me used to employ words like lunatic, batshit insane etc, to describe my style of driving. several people had sworn never to get on my bike again, and there was one case where a friend's boyfriend had specifically forbidden her from ever getting on a bike being ridden by me. each time i try telling someone that i think my driving is pretty okay, they invariably point out my accident record, which stands at 28 accidents if you count the minor bumps and spills as well, and my claim of being at least a halfway decent driver would end there. so, to be introduced to a total stranger as a man with good driving manners, was a surprise to say the least.

So, all this brings me to lunacy. I recently turned [classified number], and well, since birthdays usually remind you of how old you're getting, i did a bit of introspection. i always used to believe that the lunacy you have when you're a kid sort of evaporates away with age, and is replaced with sensibleness and boredom. this is true for most of the population, but there are exceptions of course. and i used to rue it on each birthday, since i knew i would be doing less crazy things in the year ahead, on account of being older. my theory was that this lunacy and sense of invincibility are absolutely essential if i wanted to live life on my terms, and these qualities draining away with age isn't a prospect one can look forward to. but then, ever since i got my bike, my opinion on this subject has been varying slowly as well. i now kinda realize that this lunacy, if untempered, isn't the adamantium that i thought it to be, but instead it was more like kryptonite, if you would pardon the superhero references.

sure a few close calls and accidents helped me along with this realization, but thats not the point. the point has more to do with the sense of invincibility that i mentioned earlier. the point, even more specifically, is that it is false, this sense of invincibility. there are those who would, after a close call or accident they escaped unscathed from, think that it was a matter of their invincibility. that nothing would happen to them. i admit to thinking that way a few times as well. but as you go along, and as you evolve as a biker (a familiar refrain for those amongst my annual readership of 1.78 people who were probably patient enough to read these musings of mine on biking), you realize that there is a significant difference between what you can actually do and what you think you can do. there is a difference between how fast you can go as opposed to how fast you think you can go, how much you can bank as opposed to how much you think you can, and how quickly you can stop as opposed to how quickly you think you can stop. and that realization isn't necessarily the death of lunacy, it's more of a tempering.

the lunacy and invincibility would make you want to try out MotoGP levels of bank angles on the curvy road leading to your office. and let's be honest, it would be fun to try that. in fact, to push yourself to the limit doing anything like that does require a healthy amount of insanity. the tempering business that i'm talking about would try and keep you from going over your limits and making a spectacle of yourself for the other employees walking on that same road after their lunch breaks. the fact that you didn't crash isn't a victory for sensibleness. but the fact that you pushed a limit while acknowledging it, the fact that you tried, is a victory for a tempered lunacy. while all of this might sound like a justification for doing less dangerous stuff on account of getting older, i sincerely believe in it.

in the end, i do realize that i'm still far from a perfect driver. like i've mentioned in one of these posts long back, i still make mistakes that warrant a kick on the backside sometimes. but as the kilometers have been racking up on my odometer, the realization that all of these evaluations and self-appraisals and improvement efforts mean nothing in the face of things beyond your control has planted itself firmly in my mind. and that all you can do in the face of things like chance is to continuously try and get better, have fun doing it, and to hell with the rest. and i suspect i could apply that to other walks of my life as well.

PS - i think the really dangerous thing i did here was posting twice in a day. also, it's funny how these ramblings materialize when i'm sleep-deprived. it's bloody five thirty in the morning, good night.

Friday, 13 August 2010

On Beethoven and an Airplane..

This is probably a gratuitous post, so bear with me.

The first of the two is 'An Ode to Joy', by Beethoven. Like Fur Elise, this song also sounds immediately familiar even if you've never heard or paid attention to it before. The first time I really paid attention to it was at Aero India 2007. I'm sure you're not really surprised that there is an aviation connection here as well. I was at Yelahanka Air Force Station watching the afternoon round of flying displays. To be frank, i wasn't paying all that much attention to it since i'd already seen most of the flying routines in the morning, as well as on the day before. The American contingent was flying their F-16s and F-18s, which were doing pretty much routine stuff over airfield, and the commentary over the public address system was droning on with nonsense along the likes of "These airplanes have been the defenders of freedom since 1970s", etc. There was one plane i had missed, the Russian MiG-29 OVT, a thrust vectored version of the standard MiG-29, and i was really looking forward to what it had got to show.

The MiG doing its thing.. :)

The MiG's turn came, and the public address system sputtered back into life again, and started playing this tune. This amazing, vaguely familiar classical tune, timed to the aircraft's flying display. That display, to date, was one of the most beautiful things i'd ever seen, thanks in no small part to the music. The song was improbably slow for an airshow, but it was in fact a brilliant choice for a plane that had amazing slow-speed maneuvers to show off, including at one point stopping in mid-air at the start of a tail-slide. The crowd roared in applause for the lone Russian pilot who flew away from there as the star of the day, and the whole episode left the song in my mind. Yet i had no clue what the song was, for the next three and a half years.

I hunted for it high and low, and while people seemed to have heard the tune, no one could tell me its name. I even tried a website where you could hum and based on the tune the search engine would try and find your song. to no avail, though. until about a few months back, i was at a small party with my friends, and was humming this tune to myself when my erstwhile housemate nikhil, again, recognized the tune but couldnt remember its name. But his curiosity got piqued, and eventually he managed to track the song down for me a coupla days after that. I have posted above the version that is used as the national anthem of the European Union. The original i heard had no lyrics. The day after i finally found the song, i was telling my colleague benjamin the story of how long it took me to find it. Turns out i should've told him a long long time ago, since he blurted out the name the moment i hummed the tune. that song was right under my nose, in the next cubicle to mine to be precise, and i spent ages looking everywhere else.

I love the song, and i like the story, so i thought i'd share.