The Big Journey...

Song for the mood: Musafir Hoon Yaaron - Kishore Da

The third semester of MTech, here at IIIT Bangalore, is nearing its end with less than a month to go. The way the curriculum goes, this is the unofficial end of MTech college life; next semester most of us 125 will head for 6 month internships in companies, some of us will choose to undergo a short 6 month thesis in the college itself. So no more lectures, no assignments, no boring classrooms etc etc although that's not what I want to write about at this time.

I am opting for a thesis ... seems the better option of the two ... experimental, crazier whatever more you could call it :-) Jokes apart, a master's course, I feel, is a complete course only when you attempt some work of your own. Given all the skepticism that goes along with this option - well the final outcome of it is not the point of contention. It's about making a choice and living up to your word, stickin' with it! Over the past semester, I have spent a lot of time, thinking about, what next? ... where is life going? ... What is it that I really want to do in life? And the answer has always been different, a different 'no answer'. Is it because I don't really know, or is it because I want to do too many things ... I have no clue. I have never felt at home doing anything, even the few things that I am good at ... I wonder if there is a way to find out, what am I made for?

Yes, I want to do a lot of things, different things. I am scared of the feeling of getting stuck at a place in my life doing a single thing over and over. A couple of friends with whom I have shared this, back in undergrad engg days, felt I was being paranoid. Maybe paranoia is what I am good at then! Sheesh!

I really do want to do many things; c'mon! there is so much to know, so much that we don't understand, so much that affects us but we hardly acknowledge it so. There is so much to see in this world - different things, distant places, diverse cultures - the melting pot, that is this world, with its million flavors and the great big cook in the sky churning it slowly - seems so appetizing ... ermmm ... ok, exciting :-D How can we afford to miss out?

And then there are my own dreams. A big set! And I keep adding to it everyday. Just yesterday, I felt that no matter what, I should study music. I really like music, so why not? Some other want-to-do things are like:

  1. An expedition to mount everest - the top of the world!
  2. One cross country cycling escapade, through forests, streams, hills, valleys
  3. A rock show - not attending - performing!
  4. Write a book - god knows what about - just want to...
  5. .
  6. .
  7. .
  8. .
  9. .
  10. Get six-pack abs ... given my laziness that seems a bit of a problem ... but will see what can be done ;-D

Can't say where life is taking me. Sometimes feel I think too much. Sometimes feel I think none at all; I should be more decisive. Sometimes feel I should stop thinking. Maybe I'll always remain this confused - maybe someday life will sort itself out and I'll find the one thing that I am made for; but maybe then life will become very boring. If the traveler finds the destination, the journey's gonna halt. I don't know if I'm ready to stop ... hell, I haven't even started.

From the song I believe, by Joe Satriani:

I've been out walking for hours. I've got something on my mind.
How did we get here? where are we going? And why is life so hard?

I read the stories, see the photographs. Worlds in a crazy space.
I've got to hold on to my dreams; Theres just no other place.

I believe We can change anything.
I believe We can rise above this.
I believe Theres a reason for everything.
I believe In my dreams...

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Song for the mood: Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2

Ya, I know this politically charged, rebel song by the best band in the world (although that's not the topic here) is not the message or topic of discussion here, but it conveys what I want to say in one line - why oh why, do we have Sundays???

My condition on a typical weekday is like a train-wreck. I get out of bed on Monday mornings thinking, "How should I avoid getting screwed in college this week?" I'm serious! It is like a single day from Monday morning 8:00am to Saturday evening 5:00pm - and then comes along Sunday to gimme false hopes of peace and serenity.

Take the example of last week; I was on the top of the world on Tuesday morning when I could complete an assigned coding job in perfect time! But come Wednesday the first question prof asked was, "Have you finished integrating it with the script of the other group?" Waaaaaaaah? I didn't even know they were writing a script! And this happens every single day! I, spent 2 days, 2 damn freakin days, trying to understand a non-documented piece of software, wrote an extension to it (ya, I admit, it wasn't really a big deal, but gimme some space) and what do I get in exchange? ...

The entire week is a civil war - remnants of a bombed city ... broken buildings, blood-stained streets, a stench of gunpowder in the air ... an eerie silence runs across the landscape. In a corner, near a wreckage of a house that once was, under broken concrete and steel hides a person, fear in his eyes, praying for his mortal life to last one more day ... just one more day he pushes his hopes ahead ... soon the war would end. But he is about to be disappointed ... for he has been spotted! They've found him ... no no no!!! The powers that be shall put another one to the trial ... a trial by fire! There is no escape! It is a Sunday again, today, and I am making all the efforts in the world ... to not feel too good. The battle begins tomorrow ... so as they say ...

"How long, how long must we sing this song... how long, how long .... "

Rock ain't dead

Song for the mood: For those about to rock (We salute you) - AC/DC

I remember my first listen into real rock . It was the song Elevation by U2. Although I must say at the time I was more impressed by the video and by Angelina Jolie … I am still a big fan of both :-)

Yeah, I am all for rock music. The rock n' roll, the edgy hard rock, psychedelic, progressive etc you name it. If it has a groove and it feels good to the ears then I will like it. Rock wasn't always the same to me though.

When I was in school, Backstreet Boys were the biggest stars in the world, as far as I was concerned. They were the only band. It was the time when I held the garbage dished out, by Britney and Christina, in very high regard. Theirs were the only songs on TV. For those few years, even Enrique was a rock-star. I sincerely believe, now, it was destiny's way of telling me, "Here boy, listen carefully. This is the kind of music you shouldn't be hearing".

Then one summer, Summer of 69 fell on ears. Bryan Adams became the man! I still think he is good. But that was a different time, about 8 years back. It was my first taste of music that resembles rock in some form. Bryan Adams' soft rock tunes were a big relief from all the nonsense N Sync with their stupid hair-cuts was dishing out on TV.

The day came, when 'Elevation' finally happened. I saw these 4 guys, with instruments, in a video! Playing instruments? Only one guy singing? Impossible! Plus I could actually feel myself headbanging every time I heard the singer go, "Eh... lah... va… tionn!". Mind blowing! My whole world of music came crashing down that very moment! U2, my gods, finally had come to my rescue.

I heard the album Joshua Tree not too long after that. The first song: Where The Streets Have No Name, the moment The Edge started playing the riff which I personally believe is the greatest riff in rock history… I felt a punch… like somebody put his fist in my stomach. When Bono started singing over Larry's drums it was like getting my face smashed on a brick wall. I couldn't believe there was music of this sort! Rebellious. Chaotic. Powerful. It was an instant connection!

"I wanna run… I want to hide

I wanna tear down the walls that hold me inside
I wanna reach out, and touch the flame

Where the streets have no name…"

God! And compare that to the stuff I was listening to! Take the case of a standard video/song; "I wanna do thisssss, I wanna do thaaaaat" every last word was pulled for no reason. The singer would be standing with face in the camera, to show how clean his or her nose is, and then trying to add facial expressions – lowered eyes, slowly nodding neck, curling up the lips etc Every time they didn't know what to sing, they would add a 'Yeah!' or 'Oooh!' as a filler. With all their efforts, the most they managed to look was constipated. And the song would be about nothing most of the time...

And here was this song! I didn't care what the singer looked like. It wasn't their song, it was everybody's song. It didn't matter who you were, you heard the song and you knew this was about you. It was what you wanted to shout out for so long. You could be standing with you hands in your pocket, you could be just nodding your head to the tune, maybe doing a little jig, even throwing your hands wildly in the air every time the song tempo changed, it didn't matter! It didn't matter if anyone was watching you when you were dancing to the powerful beat. In your mind you were running fiercely, chasing the wind, pulling the clouds down, grabbing a storm by its tail, breaking a mountain with your bare feet … it was all that and yet very real.

Soon other rockers followed. Everyone has their own style. Pink Floyd does it with rich big-band music – Gilmour's guitar and Water's lyrics can make you feel nauseas and crazily happy at the same time. Aerosmith is all out wild! AC/DC keep it so simple that you just can't comprehend it. But you'll dance to that music till you drop on the floor, and still be waving your hands and feet. Led Zeppelin is mystical – they aren't playing in a studio or on stage – it is a forest with demons and ghosts, and they are all dancing to Led Zeppelin's songs. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an enigma; you never know what they are trying to tell you in a song. Radiohead and Coldplay make me go dizzy! The Police are the strangest; you listen to the same song three times in a row and you'll understand three different things. Deep Purple, The Who, The Eagles … I can go on and on. There are so many more!

But there is one thing common to all; they are not singing for you and me, but it is still our song. It's been four or five years since I got pulled into this world or rock. And I am only enjoying it more and more everyday. Rock is not dead. It is still alive in all of us … it is not about the song it never was. It is about the passion … the rebellion … the happiness within you. It just needs a song to make us feel all that…