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Why?

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Ever wondered, why a person is compelled to speak out his mind? Even when he is in the minority or maybe the lone person in the whole planet who thinks that way while the rest of the world has an opposing view!!!!

It is akin to an atheist trying to speak out his doubts about the very existence of god when really there is no point of him trying to oppose those religious. He could simply continue non-believing or non-existence. Why over thousands of years, many well-to-do people have protested against the establishment – at times the religious establishment and at times the aristocracy or the monarchy. They could have easily gone about their daily chores and earned their daily bread and butter without bothering about the system?

Why do humans have a tendency to protest, to revolt, to question the authority that the society has over him?

Is it just for the sake of one’s selfish motives?

Or for the fear of being subdued by the society and being made to do what the society wants him to do?

Or is it just for a reality check – to see whether there are others who think like him or whether he is alone or maybe in fact just plain WRONG

Or in David McClelland’s words his ‘Need for Affiliation’ or ‘Need for Affection’?

Or just, just, just for the sake of speaking out one’s mind – To express oneself!!!!

Why do artistes put on stage performances – be it a dance show or a ‘musical nite’ for that matter?  – To entertain, to exercise his body/vocal chords, for the love of the art, or for the fact that he/she has been doing that since the time his/her parents have been encouraging.

Why does a non-fiction writer write a book and expect someone to read it, digest it, believe it and sometimes even question it?

Or why does even a fiction writer want to make you believe a story. The same goes with a movie maker.

Why does a player keep playing the game – in spite of knowing the fact that he holds all the possible record in the world? Or why does sometimes a player keep playing even when he knows that his peak was a thing of the past?

Why do we do what we do?

Is it because that is what you expect yourself to do? Or is it because that is what the society’s expectations are? Or is it to prove a point? Or it might be simply expressing yourself. Or is it to simply entertain – to let the world enjoy at your cost and you also have your moment under the sun, in the bargain.

Is it for all about the means or is it only about the ends or a bit of both?

Is it important to realize the significance of doing what you do – the implications of your deeds? Will it have an impact on the society, the humankind or going further the world and the universe? Is it something you wanted to do or is it something the society expects you to do or is it just plain Herd Mentality?

Think about it.

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Categories: Life

A limited overs Test Match

February 12, 2011 4 comments

Imagine you are a batsman playing out there in a limited over cricket match. How would you like to spend your time on the pitch? Following are some things you would be doing depending on your interest in the game and your skills and of course your form –

1)      You could probably play slowly taking your own sweet time

2)      You could go hammer and tongs after the bowling attack  –  maybe putting yourself and your team at great risk or maybe without much risk

3)      You could also get out early.

What if I told you that you get some match fees for playing in the match but it is some currency which is acceptable only within the stadium limits.

I hope now you are getting a feel of where I am getting at.  Consider human life and its importance in the universe.

Let’s consider size first. Needless to say, humans (weighing an average of 70 Kg and 165cm tall) are just but a speck as compared to the earth which is 5.9736 * 10 ^ 24 Kgs and whose radius is 6371 km radius. Now, the earth itself is 330,000 times lighter than sun and so on.

Let’s consider time now. Average life span of human being is 70 years. Big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago. Sun has been there since 4.6 billion years and may be there till the next 4.6 billion years. Earth has been around since about 4.54 billion years and life on earth evolved about 4 billion years ago with multi – cellular organisms coming up 535 million years ago. There have been 5 mass extinctions since then, last one being about 65 million years ago. The next ice age is expected sometime in 30,000 years and no one knows when human life will cease to exist altogether on the surface of earth.

Further, once we die, irrespective of how much wealth we accumulated during our life, we will go away empty handed.

In light of the above facts, I am going to state that our life is like a limited over cricket match where we can not spend the match fees outside the stadium. Considering the fact that life in itself is not that easy and is a TEST and also because of the fact that Test matches these days are limited overs per se, I would say “LIFE IS A LIMITED OVERS TEST MATCH’.

People have different ways of playing in this match. According to me, all are right in their own way – To each his own.

1)      PLAY AN ATTACKING GAME

You are a fighter – a go getter. You will do well in life, try and achieve a lot in life, try to earn fame and money – everything. Whatever the bowler bowls at you, you have an answer.

2)      PLAY SLOWLY

You take your own time. You have a much cautioned approach. At every point of life, you plan – you look at all future implications of your decisions. And yes, I am not saying that you get out easily to a tough ball. You might be easily able to block the really fast ball pitched at full length.

3)      YOU WAIT FOR THE MATCH TO GET OVER AND ARE NOT PASSIONATE ABOUT THE MATCH IN ITSELF

This is a truly possible situation when you know that death is inevitable and there is nothing much you can do about it. Or in other words, you are just too very insignificant in the bigger scheme of things and hence are not passionate about any of the balls bowled at you. You might hit it if you are in the mood or you might just get out and wait in the pavilion. This is something I would associate with the SANYASA ashrama or generally all people in the past and present who believed in or practiced sainthood.

Truly speaking, there is nothing wrong in playing this way. The fact that you know that life is not all about earning money or competing against others often makes you lose purpose in life. But then, you won’t be playing in the spirit of the game and others would lose an opportunity to play the game in a fair and competitive manner. Imagine a scenario where all the players on the field having realized that they are not playing for match fees have lost interest. The match would become a complete waste of time for the spectators as well as for any player who is still interested. Also, the real world rarely gives opportunity to go and sit idle in the pavilion. You have to keep batting to survive.

SO KNOWING FOR A FACT THAT THE MATCH WILL END EVENTUALLY AND YOU WILL GO HOME EMPTY HANDED, WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING?

Here is what I feel –

a)      UNDERSTAND THE PITCH

Gain enough knowledge about your environment. Take your education and work seriously and try to find a reason for everything. At least the time you are spending on earth, make sure that you understand the environment and spend your time batting without major issues. You should be able to fend off the bouncers and must be able to read the wrong un’s which come your way once in a while.

b)      ENJOY YOUR GAME

Just because you do not have any incentive to compete does not mean that you do not play well. You could simply enjoy the time you spend on the pitch, score runs freely without having any specific target in mind.

c)       BECOME A MASTER AT THE GAME

You control your life. Not to say that you have achieved a lot in a short time. You generally do well for yourselves and help those around you. You tend to instinctively understand when the loose deliveries would come. You anticipate the difficult balls and are ready for them. When required, you take singles and give strike to your fellow player so that he can hit the boundaries.

d)      NOT FIGHT, ARGUE OR SLEDGE

Knowing for a fact that life is not a zero-sum game or a win-lose situation, there is no point wasting your energy on negative emotions. Try to make friends with everyone. Control your anger and try to reconcile with your enemies who were at some point of time your friends.

e)      MAN OF THE MATCH

Again, do you want to be remembered after the game? It might be important to some – not to others. Both are right as being remembered for a positive act is much better. It is not that someone could consciously go about doing good deeds and still get away without getting into anything bad. Nobody is perfect. Also it is a team game – in spite of  stupendous performance by all 11 of you, only one of you would get the man of the match award.

As I said earlier, options 1, 2 and 3 are all the right options. And as one of my friends (This whole discussion started off after speaking to him) said, “Everyone is trying to maximize his/her HAPPINESS”. Dravid derives as much pleasure listening to the sound of the ball being beaten down to the ground (while defending) as Sehwag when he listens to the sound of ball hitting the sweet spot of the bat while hitting a six.

Categories: Life

Music Channels and the Demise of Indipop

December 9, 2010 6 comments

These days, whenever I get to see old songs on youtube, I get pretty nostalgic. Music, in a way defines a generation.  I was fed on constant angrezi and Indipop for a long time. But the same does not hold true about the next generation (i.e lets say someone 4-5 years younger to me 😛 including many of my young batchmates at IIM C who were not in their TV viewing days. A lot of the music would be common of course, but you know, age does make a difference).

My earliest association with music and videos would definitely be CHITRAHAAR and CHAYAGEET on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively on DD National and also Rangoli on Sundays. The songs were typically older songs. Some of them I particularly remember are Dev Anand in ‘Hai apna dil toh awaara ‘ from Solva Saal (1958), Shammi Kapoor in ‘Jaane mera dil kise’ from Laat Saahab (1967) , Asha Parekh in ‘Aaja Aaja Main hoon Pyaar Tera’ from theesri Manzil (1966)  and Helen in ‘Piya tu Ab toh Aaja’ from Caravan(1971). Of course we had a Black and White TV back then and the term ‘Shyam Shvet’ was pretty intriguing.

Then during the early 1990s some events took place parallely which led to the birth and popularity of what we all call INDIPOP. FM radio was privatized and DD 2 rebranded itself as DD METRO and introduced a slew of music programmes and countdown shows. While I got hooked to western pop like ‘ICE ICE BABY’ by VANILLA ICE because of the radio, TV shows like MIRCH MASALA kept screening Baba Sehgal , Shweta Shetty, Piyush Soni, Alisha Chinai and the likes.  My favourite was ‘Dil Dhadke’ by Baba Sehgal. I remember Alsiha Chinai specifically for her Racy/Sexy videos which were way too controversial for that era. ‘De de dil de de Mujhko’  being her earliest the video of which was a launch vehicle for Gautam Kapoor. Similarly Pooja Bedi featured in the ‘Dil Dhadke video’.

Also at about the same time 1992-93, (my 4th std 5th std) the ‘cable TV’ came to India and along came the STAR network of which MTV Asia was a part. MTV was still considered a taboo in most of the homes and I remember in class, the two of us who used to watch MTV were looked down upon. The songs being broadcast used to be rock, pop, reggae … everything. I still remember watching ‘I would do anything for love’ by MEATLOAF. Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do’, UB40’s ‘Can’t help falling in love’, U2’s ‘Numb’ were other favorites. And how can I forget ‘You Remember the time’ by Michael Jackson. The video alone was enchanting. Apache Indian also used to be there. His songs would feature on FM too. There were others like Mr BIG, AEROSMITH (whose CRAZY was a hit in 1994), a fully clad Mariah Carrey in ‘Dream Lover’ too. Pet Shop Boys and East 17 were also interesting. There was Metallica’s UNFORGIVEN and some Guns n Roses song, listening to which we used to wonder why these guys were shouting at the top of their voice.

In 1994, MTV asia’s contract with STAR network expired. By that time, MTV had started airing Indian songs. There were few shows – one of them being OYE MTV dedicated to indipop.  STAR network came out with Channel V and BPL OYE was started in place of OYE MTV.

The period between 1994 and 1996 was the best for Indipop. Mehnaz, Alisha Chinai, Baba Sehgal, Sanjay Maroo and most importantly Anaida pumped out regular hits. Daler Mehendi had also entered the scene with his songs ‘ Dil Mera Naal’ and ‘Bolo Ta ra ra ra’. Anaida with her seductive voice and innovative videos combining Arabic style of dancing with some Arabic music was specially popular.

At about the same time, what I remember of the western pop is SCATMAN, NO MERCY’s Where do you go and PETER ANDRE’s Mysterious Girl.  Michael Jackson was still there of course charting out hits like ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ and ‘ They don’t really care about us’.

By 1996, music channels started losing their importance to some extent. Starting from 1996, which was heralded as the year of cricket, number of cricket tournaments increased a lot, which meant lesser TRP for music channels.  In 1998, with the soccer world cup, a phenomenal change occurred in the world of music. First time, Latino Music had become popular with the advent of Ricky Martin. The Puerto Rican’s first album was not in English but in Spanish. ‘MARIA’ and ‘The cup of Life’ were my personal favorites. Riding on the Latino popularity, Jennifer Lopez also joined in and though technically her songs were not latino, they were popular. Britney Spears also entered the scene with ‘hit me baby one more time’. Stereo Nation had also entered the Indian music scenario and were dishing out Punjabi pop.

The Indipop was at its peak by this time. Times Music favoured good artistes and DJs. DJ Akbar Sami’s remix of Jalwa and Abbey’s ‘Aye Sanam’ were my personal favourites. There was lot of investment made into these songs in terms of music video. ‘Ho Gayi hai Mohabbat tumse’ sung by Aslam and featuring Shibani Kashyap was another great song.

What killed INDIPOP?

The overkill of REMIX and REMIX videos is one reason I feel the Indipop died down. The DJs started minting money by remixing anything and everything. In a way, Remix had begun perhaps earlier than Indipop. The first one was Bally Sagoo who remixed ‘Choli ke Peechey kya hai’ back in 1992-93. The remix trend really picked up by early 2000s. Bin tere Sanam, Kya khoob Lagti ho etc. With Mehgna Naidu’s ‘Kaliyon ka Chaman’ started a trend of sexy remix videos with scantily clad models which went on from ‘Yeh Vaada’ ‘Chadhti Jawaani’, ‘Kaanta Laga’ etc. Parallely, a trend started in Bollywood where a single ‘Udit Narayan’ or ‘Alka Yagnik’ or ‘Kumar Sanu’ stopped being popular. Thus the Shaans, Sonu Nigams and KKs could sing a lot in Bollywood and did not have to depend anymore on Indipop. The Bollywood music directors also had become quite shrewd, I must say. The movie’s album itself had so many permutations and combinations of the songs in different versions that no further remix was possible. Already directors like Vishal Shekhar and Shankar Ehsaan Loy fused such complex beats into the song that it could not be remixed anymore. Can anyone imagine how a remix version of’Koi Kahe kehta rahe’ from Dil Chahta Hai would sound?

The remix business had almost stopped and the Indipop was done and dusted. What was left was the usual Bollywood chartbusters. But you could not play them all day long. And I don’t know why they stopped playing ANGREZI songs altogether. Coming back to western music, frankly speaking I have almost lost touch with the songs. The decade began with Enrique Iglesius donning the mantle of Ricky Martin as the promoter of Latin Music. I remember a bit of Eminem, a bit of J Lo, Black Eyed Peas, Darude, Fat Boy Slim etc. Juggy D and Rishi Rich kept the Punjabi Pop Alive for some time. There was also STRINGS, FUZON and JAL from across the border. As of now, I have completely lost touch. Now all I hear is some Lady Gaga and some guy called Akon but I have not listened to them even once. And strangely enough, I don’t bother to switch on to channels like VH1 which do show angrezi songs.

So what happened to the Indian music channels? They have now positioned themselves very differently. No more are they a music channel – with shows ranging from Roadies to Axe your Ex to Splitsvila, they are a Youth channel. As a result, I prefer 9XM these days where there are no boring VJs and you can listen to non stop Bollywood songs.

I will end my post here with YOUTUBE links to some of my favourite songs. Check them out. Some of them might already be your favourites, do listen to the others too and do enjoy.

Alisha Chinai’s De de de de dil de de Mujko

Aslam featuring Shivani Ho gayi hai Mohabbat Tumse

Abbey’s Aye Sanam

U2’s Numb

UB40’s Can’t help fallin in love with you

Ricky Martin’s Maria

Ricky Martin’s Cup of life

No Mercy’s Where do you go

Petre Andre’s Mysterious girl

J Lo’s If you had my love

Britney Spear’s Hit me baby one more time

Anaida’s oova oova

Alisha Chinai’s Made in India

Sonu Nigam’s Tu kab yeh jaanegi

Aerosmith’s Crazy

Meatloaf’s I would do anyhthing for love

DJ Akbar Sami’s Dekho dekho yeh hai jalwa

Sanjay Maroo’s Tu hi tu

Is the majority always right?

October 11, 2010 9 comments

No, this article has got nothing to with the democratic way of choosing a government in a country. In fact, when it comes to keeping a population of the order of millions or billions happy, there is nothing better or fairer than a majority.

What am I hinting at here?  The millions of decisions taken on a daily basis the world over in boardroom meetings and closed room discussions, where the majority is mistaken for correctness.  The majority could be right and more often than not, they are. But there is always a chance that the so-called minority is right.

In mathematical terms, if we define the problem as P (E) = percentage of people predicting that the event would occur. That means, in our case, if a group of people are sitting about predicting/suggesting the outcome of a certain event, the P (majority)>0.5>P (minority) and all of us would tend to agree that the event the majority predicted/suggested is more likely to occur. But probability is just that and the other event could also occur. Once the other event DOES occur, then P(minority) becomes 1 and P(majority) becomes 0.

There are three types of problems where I find this dilemma could come into picture:-

1)      SCIENTIFIC THEORIES: – Since ages we have been seeing that on most of the discoveries and theories, the society of scientists has remained divided.  Galileo Galilei and earlier Nicolaus Copernicus were the first to prove that earth revolved round the sun and not vice-versa. They were ridiculed by other scientists and philosophers. Galileo was also kept under house arrest for that matter.  Kepler also tried to prove it. It was not until the time of Newton when finally the theory was proven.  Galileo and Copernicus were wrong in a way as they said that sun was the centre of the universe, but that is still better than saying “earth is the centre of the universe”.

Scientific theories usually have to do with inertia and scientists in spite of their superior knowledge and education tend to discard new ideas and theories. One can say that any scientific theory could be supported by majority or by minority scientists. But ultimately, to be PROVEN correct, it has to be proved by strong empirical evidence or still better theoretical proof.

2)      DECISIONS DECIDING THE FUTURE OF AN ORGANISATION OR PERSON: – Here I am talking of those courtroom decisions and important strategic decision by companies. Often it so happens that a person comes up with an idea and gives arguments to support his theory. On the basis of his argument, he would like to garner support from the majority and push his case through. I would recommend a CONSENSUS here rather than a majority. A consensus means that the person has to get the support of each and every person. We are thus putting the decision of any single person to test to the greatest extent.  It might not guarantee the correct decision but at least we have tried our best.  The trial by Jury in US is a great example of this. I would recommend the movie ‘Twelve Angry Men’ for all those who have not watched it.

3)      DECISIONS REGARDING PERSONAL CHOICES OR OPINIONS: – BY personal choices, I mean the ‘n’ number of decisions we make or views we have on certain topics, books, movies, views about a personality etc.  Many decisions on ETHICS are also personal and a majority can’t always decide what is right or wrong for you. Some common crimes like murder of a human being are generally disapproved by the majority, or rather almost the whole population. But when it comes to killing other animals, the reference point of the matter and the argument changes for many and the majority shifts.

The majority here is very subjective and highly dependent on the group or the sample we are discussing and might not represent the views of absolute majority.  Let us take for example VEGETARIANISM. A vegetarian in a group with majority vegetarians can easily pin down a non vegetarian if he tries to argue against vegetarianism. Likewise, a vegetarian arguing against a majority of non-vegetarians would find it very difficult and would soon run out of arguments. No single person can be declared right or wrong here.

The same is true in the case of views on let’s say, a particular super hit movie.  Just because the movie was a hit or it appealed to the masses does not necessarily mean that the movie was well made. It might have been lifted from elsewhere or in some cases – the director might have held the audience ransom to a singular emotion or feeling barring which the movie would have lacked content. The majority would get away by saying that the movie was liked by all but in due time or in some case, even a generation later, the minority would be proved right. What I am saying is the next generation might find out flaws in the movie’s arguments or generally find the movie to be lacking quality irrespective of the reception it got on release. The opposite has happened in case of the now CULT CLASSIC Andaz Apna Apna. The movie was a definite flop when it released – in short, the majority didn’t want to watch the movie. But on being released on video, people eventually realized what a great movie it was and now almost everyone swears by the movie. As far as movies are concerned I have found myself on both sides.

Thus, it is not to say that majority should not be taken seriously, but what I am saying is think twice the next time someone tries to convince you by saying he/she is in the majority and you are not. What say guys?

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