Monday, August 4, 2014

A view from the sidelines Part Deux

Well yeah...I got injured again...and yeah was out of action for a few weeks...again!! Not that my normal day is like a day in the life of an undercover spy or that the company I keep is's just some freaky fall I had that broke one of my fingers. I know you must be he is getting old...should settle down now....shouldn't try to be too adventurous and blah..blah...blah. Well not that I am getting younger by the day but its definitely not the time for hang my boots...No way!!

So here's what I have to say about ageing and getting old....who bloody cares as long as you're enjoying what you do with your life. Now that's important. Every time I get injured and get relegated to a constrained life, I feel doubly motivated to bounce back and become even more fit and active. I do believe that one should always, and yes I mean always, do anything and everything that is in our control to be in a physical and mental state of well being. Coz that's the only way you can continue to contribute to making your and their lives simpler and happier. Staying fit and healthy is an important means to that end and not many of us realize this.

Leave aside my love for sports, my guiding fitness mantra is that I should be as fit as required for me to do my job well, enable me to take care of my family well and over and above all this, leaves me with enough energy, motivation and enthusiasm to "want" to do more and better. That's what makes me get up faster and stronger from whichever "down" I have been into. I think this is a perspective that lacks in most of us when it comes to fitness and that's why we give up easily to the vagaries of our lives. Then we get into a mode of justifying "why" we can't do something and then finally self-proclaiming that "it's not my thing". So who's stopping you from finding your own thing? It could be walking, running, aerobics, dance, swimming or anything for that matter. Just go and find your thing and as Nike puts it beautifully "Just do it". You can't change the genetics but you can for sure make your every second of life count.

Sports gave me this perspective and that's why I love it so much and promote it in whichever small ways I can. First and foremost, by continuing to play myself. That said, it works for me doesn't mean that it will work for you. 

So what you waiting for? Get your sorry a*# up....find your own mantra and believe me, you will never be short on motivation again.
Stay fit.....Stay happy

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Lion and the lamb

If you have ever watched Times Now's NewsHour, you can easily make out who I am referring to as Lion. The show's much hated-loved host Arnab Goswamy is a staunch follower of the firebrand journalism that Karan Thapar (...the original Devil's advocate) arguably is the best proponent of.

Now who could be the "Lamb" here...any guesses? I am not talking about the rats ( politicians)...but someone as unlikely to be on a Newshour Show with Arnab as unlikely it is for Arnab to go on Comedy Nights with Kapil.

That poor "lamb" is our very own ageless superstar Anil Kapoor. Just on the eve of his debut television series "24" going live on national TV, AK decides to make an appearance on the Newshour to promote his show. Little did he know what he is in store for. One could argue that the series is quite political in nature and hence there is a connect but so are a lot of movies. But all of them have tried to steer clear from news channels thus far for their promotions barring a few seeded scandals, gossips or controversies.

Well, knowing Arnab for what he is, I was mighty amused to find AK sitting next to Arnab (...grossly unprepared..might I add) on that fateful day. A very daring attempt I must say as neither our docile actors are political enough to get out of Arnab's clever word traps nor are they vocal enough to shout their way home like some of our politicians do.

So the program starts and Arnab is already sporting his much dreaded wiley grin that shouts a loud that you're cornered and trapped....there's no escape now. Just after the exchange of complements and niceties, the lion gets on with the business. The poor lamb tries his best to wiggle away from the clever booby traps but with little success. AK only manages to come out with responses that only draw him deeper into the trap. His rather innocent and inadvertent responses about TV audience, TV actors, comments about his fellow bollywood colleagues' tryst with the TV leaves him red faced. Prospects worsen for AK when he attempts at an extremely poor justification of why "24" and why "now" and why in this format...while our man Arnab knows that he has played enough with this toy and had enough he comes back to the comfort zone of AK and starts talking about his "Jhakaas" style and past glory....Score line reads ...Lion: 6...Lamb: Survives....and its time now for Arnab to move on to more serious matters that concern the nation.

It is quite interesting to see our reel life heroes make a real fool of themselves quite often on the "real" life TV. Of all the possible avenues of promotion, why on earth NewsHour Mr. Anil Kapoor....

....the nation wants to know!!

For more amusement - check this out.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A view from the sidelines

I have been a fairly outdoors person for most of my life given that I love sports and working out. For me, the world is just not the same if I am not able to play or go running or hit the gym. Little did I know that I will be chosen to confront probably one of the most unpalatable situations that I have on my list titled "Top situations I hate to be in" i.e. being out of action!

The past few weeks have been a torment. After suffering a nasty sprain in my ankle in one of the games, I was advised to go "Offline" for 4-6 weeks by my doc with my leg in cast. So what it means is that I am forced to watch the world from the sidelines - something that I have always hated to do.  However, surprisingly, it turned out be a rare opportunity of seeing things from a different standpoint. And boy....has it been a revelation!

We have a habit of taking things for granted. But when one is constrained, in any sense of the word - physically, mentally or in any other way - one can see the world in a different light. 

Phone calls that were treated as business as usual, now communicate much beyond spoken words - they now tell you that a whole bunch of people in the world care about you and they may feel your pain more that even you do. Small small things that your friends and family do for you generally go unnoticed. But when unable to do things on your own, you realize how important a contribution they are making to your lives. Things that were so small to even count in normal life seem like luxuries bestowed upon you by your loved ones. 

You may think that the team that you've played with for most part doesn't really take notice and express how important a part you have been but when you're down and out, you'll be surprised by their incessant recounting of moments on and off the field which even you'd find hard to remember. Watching the same blokes play from the sidelines will make you realize that how strongly you feel bonded no matter how nonchalant or unaffected you may have felt while being on the inside

The "get well soon" messages you'd receive even from those folks in office who you would seldom speak to will make you realize that you were noticed. The almost everyday inquisitions about your recovery and well being by your close colleagues and bosses will make you realize that these relations extend well beyond work and there's much more to each one of them than being a "role" played in the workplace.

The only thing that it takes to appreciate this is for one to notice. But we could never notice these things as we were too darn busy navigating through our self-complicated streets of life. And now that one is forced to stop and distance away from the usual are able to see small small things that you missed all through the way and the people that made this world...your world...special.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life - (Potato) - (Rice) - (Junk Food) = Health + Happiness...Really??

It makes it obvious isn't it...Yes, I am talking about health regime and diet food and so on.

But..the equation I have put above is unbalanced.

I'm sure all you foodies out there would be saying - "Aye..we know it already...we dig it everyday...literally". And all you health freaks would be yawing and saying...." don't go on with another big lecture on what to eat and not to eat..don't try to become my dietitian...been there, done that".

To both the groups, I want to say...RELAX...this blog is not about food or diet or health tips. It is about the things that can make this equation balanced and actually make it work for you. So straight up let me confess that I am not a giant Panda who has suddenly found out a way to loose some 10 pounds in 10 days or some doctorate in medicine or even a chronic diet maniac. I am a normal guy, on the fringe of just about bursting out of my once "good" shape. So like all of ya, I wanted to lose a few pounds just to keep myself within that boundary.So during my last few months of efforts, figured out a few things about myself, my lifestyle and some elements that could make the above equation work for your benefit...or not.

You'd be wondering why I am calling out "Potato" and "Rice" separately while clubbing the rest in "Junk" category. It's a no brainer...I just Loooove potato in any form - boiled, fried, deep fried, grilled, in vegetables or snacks, with curry or without...and same goes for Rice. So it was clear that if I was to be serious about getting back into shape...these 2 guilty passions of mine had to be reigned in. And yes, I do not have the same level of craving for pastries, chocolates, sweets, cheese and what not, just to set the records right. So ,conveniently, I have clubbed all of them under the category "Junk".

Coming back to the topic, over the past few months of my controlled diet regime, I have come to realize that addition of a few important elements can make the above equation more effective and balanced. These elements are -

1. Be Willing - just mechanically cutting down on diet or starting exercise doesn't work. You need to be willing from within to adopt and adapt to the new lifestyle. Remember, you may force starvation on yourself but not the intended results. Best results come when driven from within.

2. Accept - of the fact that you need to be more healthier and hence you are NOT healthy right now. That is the first step towards achieving your goal. Also, accepting the fact that the new lifestyle is going to stay with you from now on wards - accept that you will not be able to revert back to your old lifestyle again.

3. Be Aware - of what you want to achieve at the end of the day. Could be anything for you. For me it could be more endurance and strength, for some it could mean better physique, for others something completely different. Whatever it is you MUST have an end objective in mind. Loosing weight is not the end, it is a journey. The destination will be different for different people depending on what goals they have set for themselves.

4. Be Headstrong - be as stubborn with your regime as possible. There will be people and situations who will try to tempt you or break you. Resist and persevere. I know it is difficult to do but I can suggest a simple exercise - when tempted, ask yourself if you are ready to repeat everything you have done so far to reach here, from the scratch again. May be this time it will take even longer or harder to do it again. Believe me, the realization will dawn on you that how costly this small slip could become for you.

5. Don't Resist - You must be wondering that this point goes against what I have professed till now. In fact, it aligns with all the above elements. The logic is simple, it is not a crime to indulge yourself in your guilty passions once in a while. It ensures that you're still happy about yourself and hence willing. Since, you do not go nutcase over your regime, there will be more acceptance from within yourself and hence when tempted beyond your accepted limits, you will end up showing more resistance. It makes sure that you're ready week after week or month after month to continue with your schedule.

For example, I indulge myself  in a bit of rice and potato dose over the weekend. It ensures that the motivation is still in positive zone and I do not crave for it during the rest of the week and therefore don't feel bad about my new lifestyle or become rebellious.

The best thing about this equation is that you can find your own elements and ways to make this equation work, only if you focus hard enough on yourself and guess will still yield the right answer.

So what I have come to realize is that it works only if you WANT it to work, you are WILLING to work for it and have put a PRICE on yourself not to give in mid way.

So go for it folks!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Big Fat Great Indian Wedding

If you have ever been a part of an Indian wedding or more precisely a North Indian wedding, then you know what I am talking about!

Fresh from a week long mission of my sis-in-law's wedding, the hangover is difficult to get rid off and so is the body ache and sleep. It was a first hand experience on how a simple sequence of functions can turn into a Mission Impossible and the fact that it is an expected "norm" for a marriage to be a management nightmare. In fact, I'd go as far to say that until the things don't get messy and too hot to handle, the environment doesn't feel like that of a marriage. And believe me...that's where all the fun comes from!!

Our Big Fat Great Indian Marriage is like that Chef's special dish whose secret is known to none. I feel the secret ingredient that makes an Indian wedding so unique is the complex mix of colors, joys, sorrows, laughter, smiles and cries in a spicy in a curry of lights and grandeur with a tadka of love of all the well wishers served carefully wrapped in delicate folds of chaos and uncertainty. Well its a formula that's tough to replicate but the real beauty lies in that every wedding can have a different composition of these elements which ultimately determines its unique beauty and flavor.

Being from the bride's party,for us, it was almost a 7 day affair spread across 3 main functions of Sangeet, Sagan / Ring Ceremony and final Wedding with smaller rituals sprinkled throughout and spread across 3 venues in 2 cities in 2 states. Having been passed through this already once, I thought of myself as a seasoned campaigner, but believe me, it took only one so called 'smaller' ceremony to realize that I may have grossly underestimated this mighty animal and hugely overestimated myself . I mean every thing one does during these days seems to have an elaborate process involving a set of steps to start and a different set of steps to end. To complicate things further, the steps may change depending upon who in the family is leading the ceremony.

Add to this the mammoth task of logistics that have to be arranged for each of the functions with a thousand riding conditions - if its for bride you have to do this, if it is for the groom do that, if it is for bride's family only this needs to be done and if its for groom's side, then this plus this but minus that....phhew!!

And I thought doing Engineering and MBA was difficult.

On a serious Indian Wedding is a massively complex management assignment in itself and it really takes all the skills of a CEO to resolve conflicts, manage smaller projects within the big business of wedding and most importantly manage people and their expectations to make it a success. After this wedding, I can surely boast to have graduated to middle management level.

I am seriously amazed at the amount of efforts, energies, monies and emotions spent in making this one event the most successful event of one's lifetime. This holds true for both the bride and groom's side without any bias. What makes it a milestone event is that this one event marks the culmination of years of expectations and aspirations of both side's parents, the bride and groom; and at the same time marks the beginning of another.

I find this paradox really intriguing - the end of one journey sparks the beginning of another one - parents in earlier case and the bridegroom in the latter case. How beautiful it is to see the contrasting emotions on a single stage where parents feel proud, relieved and content at having discharged their biggest responsibility well while the bride and groom feel elated and excited at having embraced the mighty responsibility of  each other's lives for the rest of their lives.

Like all good things end with a bang...all the functions in a Indian Wedding end in song, dance, laughter, lots of sweets and delicious multi-course cuisine. This is the best thing I like about our weddings. A confession - for a fairly wooden legged guy, I danced like every possible opportunity...well technically what I was doing would be more aptly termed as the throwing of hands and legs...but that's another good thing about it...who cares about your dancing style as long as you're grooving to the beat.

Though I personally feel there's a lot of effort and money spent without reason or rationale but then ain't it the same with a lot of other things we do as a part of our cultural heritage?

So then...till we fix up all such irrationality in all other aspects of our culture and society...I'd say 3 cheers to this glorious event and bless the undying spirit of the people that participate in it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

India Loves to Hate Cricket

Much has been spoken about Cricket, its commercialization, its glamour quotient and on and on...

I simply want to say this, even with all the critique and analysis-paralysis Cricket remains the most popular game in India...and that is a fact.

I do not know why we always have to make the lives of the people who are doing or have done so much for the country so miserable all the time. India loves cricket...that is not Cricket's fault. We adore the cricketers like film stars ..that again is not the game's fault..businesses want to leverage cricketers' image to sell their products...that as not the game's fault. In fact, cricket is the only game, India as a nation, could ever make an impact on at the global why should we not love this sport and its practitioners?

It makes me proud to say that we are a cricketing nation. I equally celebrate our achievements in other disciplines of sport too but when was the last time India was counted as a force to reckon with in any other sports? One can argue about the achievements in sports like Badminton, Tennis, Chess, Boxing, Shooting, Weightlifting and so on...but apart from a few mighty talented and committed individuals...could it be said that India is a boxing powerhouse or a nation of shooters or talent pool of shuttlers? No...and is that Cricket's fault?....Hell No!!!

One can also say that these games have not got enough exposure and sponsorship from the government, industry and blah blah blah...I agree...but is that Cricket's problem...again no! We know that a promising kid in the school, a promising player, a promising everything attracts everyone's attention and resource. Everyone wants to bet on a wining what's the big deal if we showered ours on Cricket..and what's even delivered on its promise!! why a criticism now?

Every body loves a winner...but even more than that...everyone adores a dark horse that could have been a winner. The stories of hardships and struggles touch everyone's heart...and this is precisely the reason why India loves to hate Cricket and the Cricketers. Cricket always becomes the one born with a silver spoon...while the other sports become the step brothers/sisters who have been deliberately under-provided for. Some really unfit and mediocre talents in other sports (For instance tennis, badminton, hockey, gymnastics and I can go on and on) have been hailed as the real sportsperson while the guys who bring in the trophies after trophies and smash world records in Cricket get scorned because they also happen to get paid Crores in salary and endorsements.

My arguement to the above is that business is selfish...if the likes of Sania or Saina or Bhupathy or Leander or Abhinav Bindra can get the kind of fan following...then why would they not get endorsements?  To get to that they will first need to beat cricket and cricketer's in its achievements...which looks like a long way from least at this juncture.

Curiously this happens only in India....I don't think that a Tiger Woods has ever been hated for being the richest sportsperson ever in his peak times or for that matter...the new found love of the Indian Youth - football and footballers ever get criticized for being the bad boys and making the kind of money they make!! Them, we will hail and even celebrate proudly by buying a super expensive 2K - 3K t-shirt of a football team or a football star and think of ourselves and Uber Kool.

We can't digest our own superstars but show-off others this hypocrisy can happen only in India...and guess what this is not Cricket's fault people. Let other sports really make a mark at global arena and let the real superstars rise and shine then I am sure we will find a reason to love and hate other sports as well...till then don't ask us to drool over mediocrity and endorse people who's sole claim to fame is reaching to some round in Wimbledon or finishing an F1 race or somehow making to the Olympic finals and making a mockery of the nation when competing with top teams. A case in point is our beloved hockey team yielding goals in wholesale to the so called other smaller nations or our wrestlers tasting the mat from the hands of a tiny nation as Uzbekistan or Kirghyztan...see the Olympics or Asian Games or Commonwealth games and the realization will dawn on us...that we are at best mediocre in the rest of the sports..but that is no reason to hate what you're good at.

If you don't like cricket and the cricketers, then shut your TV sets during the matches...don't keep a cricket score app on your phone...don't have a cricinfo running on the background...don't leave from office early to catch India-Pak matches...and don't idolize the cricketers....just don't...don't be another hypocritic India fan.

Until then be happy that Cricket gives you that only burst fire-crackers once in awhile beyond Diwali...throng the roads in celebrations...beyond a forced festive procession or political happy that it gives you a reason to celebrate...and to be proud!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Keep Rocking India!!

I'm happy to be in Bengaluru :-)...for one reason and only one is undoubtedly the music capital of India.

Despite the 1000 things I don't like about the city NOW (6 years back when I first landed used to be so much more fun!!)...the Music scene in the city is simply awesome.

Still fresh from the hangover of the just concluded NH7 weekender with 60 f*&^%g bands doing their stuff over 2 days...I am ready for more. Since I missed out on a landmark event of  'THE METALLICA' playing in Delhi coz of some obscenely stupid and deeply insulting reasons....I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I might not be able to see some good live gigs in India. Those 4 hours that I waited there for Metallica to take the stage with my fellow metal-heads seemed like 4 lifetimes coz I feared in my heart that they might not come back to India anytime soon or may be never....

Since then Lamb of God, Korn, Megadeth, Santana, Children of Bodom, Testament, GNR, name a few..have played here in India and I have had the chance to attend quite a few of I tell you what an awesome feeling it is to be there in the moshpits (my blog feeds on that very feeling)...of these guys..I know all of you rock mongers and metaladdicts will share my excitement. What's more encouraging is to see our desi bands flourishing as well along with the international scene. Every weekend there is some gig bands being formed and given equal opportunity to test their mettle with the veterans and international acts... the sight is simply heartwarming. I mean I have seen the era of College Fests Circuit, Independence Rock and GIR when the bands themselves used to man their booths pre and post their mostly covers driven performance to sell their cheaply recorded stuff (if they were resourceful enough) and promoting themselves. Now I see these guys using social media and online commerce to their benefit...

I picked up the last edition of 'The Rolling Stones' magazine and it was so nice to see it full of pieces on the rising Indian complements to the editors and a solemn request to keep up the good work. Indian Rock scene needs a lot of support and patronage from all of us. The way we are going today...i'm sure not far in the future we'll see a few of our very own bands making it big on the international scene.

I pledge to support rock and metal in any way I can and make a Call to the Arms to all the metalheads...

...Let's keep Rock and Metal alive!!!

My respect...\m/ \m/