Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pursuing Dreams: Jerry Seinfeld on Show Business

A young, rising stand-up comic, Orny Adams(A), talks to Jerry Seinfeld(S) about a career in show business:

A: I see all of my friends, they’re making a lot of money, making a lot of money on Wall Street.
S: What?
A: I just see that my friends are moving up? And I’m worried that…
S: They’re moving up?
A: They’re moving up.
S: Are you out of your mind?
A: No, I’m am not out of my mind. I just uh..
S: This has nothing to do with your friends.
A: I’ve upset you. I’ve upset you.
S: No, No, this is a special thing. This has nothing to do with making it.
A: Did you ever stop to compare you life, OK I’m 29 my friends are all married, they’re all having kids, they all have houses.
S: Yechh!
A: They have some sense of normality about them.
S: Yechh!
A: What do you tell you parents. You know, how do you deal with that.
S: What do you tell your parents?
A: Yes, your parents.
S: I have to tell you a story.

Glenn Miller’s orchestra, they were doing a gig somewhere and they can’t land where they were supposed to land because it was snowing, so they have to land in this field and walk to the gig. And they are dressed, and have to carry their instruments. So they are walking to where they are supposed to perform and its wet and slushy, and in the distance they see this little house, and there are lights on and there’s smoke coming out of the chimney. So they walk up an look in the window and they see this family: a guy and his wife, she’s beautiful, and two kids and they are all sitting around this table. They’re smiling and laughing and eating. There’s a fire in the fireplace. These guys are standing outside in their suits and they’re wet and they’re shivering. They’re holding their instruments. They’re watching this incredible Normal Rockwell scene.

And one guy turns to the other and goes, "How do people live like that?"

That’s what it’s about.

Love of the craft!

The band much rather struggle doing what they love the most, than be "comfortable" in a place they hate.

Chasing your dreams, or letting your dreams chase you?

That's what it's about!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday for the rest of us

Get your aluminium poles out and air your grievances...

Happy Festivus!

It's also one of the few festivals that gets displayed on the steps of Capitol in the US, along with Christmas and Hanukkah:

For those wanting to observe traditional rituals, there's also a handy how-to guide!


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Great Dream: An Inexistential Quest

The Huffington Post is my favourite news website, essentially a news aggregating blog. Though it can often be Americentric, well, so is today's world, though the American exceptionalism is gradually giving way to cater to a more global audience. Its contributors include politicians, celebrities, academics and policy experts such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Larry David, John Kerry and Bill Maher to name a few. Just 5 years old, HuffPost has already won a number of webbies, has a huge community (over 1 million comments/month) and is notable for being completely free of cost.

Last week, surfing its Comedy section, I came across the following interview:

It's Conan O'Brien interviewing Arianna Huffington, discussing a wide array of topics, including divorced people stripping, handling 3-blackberries at once, and why HuffPost doesn't charge its readers (to which she famously replied, "People don't like paying for news and opinion...unless it's financial stuff or very, very weird porn."). But it was really the first minute and a half that caught my attention.

Born and brought up in Greece (as visible in her thick accent), Arianna has seen everything there is to see in American politics, and is a prominent voice in policy, environmentalist and liberal circles. As the founder of HuffPost, which has been recognised to be amongst the most prominent vehicles on the Internet by the likes of TIME, she is widely considered one of the world's most powerful and influential women.

When the host of "Conan" discussed her amazing success story: running a large arm of the American media, and being the voice of an animated bear (named Arianna, Tim the bear's wife on The Cleveland Show), she mentions that she got what she always dreamt of as a child. Being the voice of a cartoon bear on a hit American TV show, and a successful blogger.

In other words, she aspired to non-existent things.

And isn't that remarkable. As Conan continued, isn't that what everyone coming to America dreams of.. Aspire to something that doesn't exist, yet!

We've all come across these facts and prophecies somewhere.. so many professions of the early 20th century don't even exist anymore, replaced by those of today, that will cease to exist within another decade... the top 10 jobs in 2015 don't even exist in 2010.. new industries, new opportunities, will keep taking birth, and we'll have to prepare ourselves to face them, and when they aren't even there...

While there are many versions of the great dream out there, the American, the Indian, the IITian, and so on, I think this really clinches the one truly great aspiration for me.

A great dream: the non-existent.

Just like jeggings in 2008.


Update: AOL has now acquired The Huffington Post for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include The Huffington Post and existing AOL properties such as Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch Media, and StyleList.

Friday, December 10, 2010

That kiss

That kiss, that kiss
That childlike kiss

That peck on the cheek
That nibble on the ear
And the one when your fingers
ran through my hair

That naughty nose bite
followed by an Eskimo
a kunik, a warm rub
like surrounded by a Kimono

That time when I sulked
and you just nuzzled
and nuzzled
and nuzzled...

That kiss I managed to steal
of which you too were fond
That kiss which said hello
and that kiss which went beyond...

That Spiderman kiss
from behind the chair
That kiss that told me
I'm here!

That kiss which said who the hell cares
The one when your lips tasted of tears

Sometimes to tease,
sometimes, appease

That kiss, that kiss

That kiss
I miss


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

...and neither was the milkshake...

All through the evening, you were as calm and composed as ever, something I remember mimicking. I must have tried too hard, and more than once during the short stroll from Dolcezza, our host for the peanut-butter-ice-cream fest (and thank you for that!), to the Healy Gates, did you look at me and immediately turn your face away. It now amazes me how you restrained yourself and kept continuing casual conversation before finally breaking into a huge laugh at the Darnall Hall pillars. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed initially, and wondered what the situation called for me to do. I was hoping you'd guide me through, but you just kept laughing.

"Oh Shrey!", and you ruffled my hair. Phew! You saw my face and ruffled my hair a bit more. Did I just blush?

- "It's a pity that the only week you're here is when our Hall's famed Café is closed."

- "Now isn't that what every hall here says?"

- "Say what you will mister, but there are many who cross the bridge just for a sip of old Darny's."

"Someday!" I said to myself. That, of course, never happened, and it was less than a year afterwards when you had that little setback when the place closed down. A few years later, a fancy 'Epicurean' restaurant with a valet service would come up, and people would move on. Most.

- "Now here's a campus map, and *this* is where you need to go. I'll see you the day after; Sleep tight soldier!"

Brief half-hug.

- "..."

- "?"

- "Thank you!"

- "hmm... I'd rather not ask what for. Accepted. Thank you too!"
  "There! Now we're done for a lifetime. No more thanking, ever."

Smile! Goodbye...

I knew I had a sleepless night to look forward to, as did you I suppose. As did you know, I mean. Every small soundbite, every little detail, every little strand of red hair that fell over your eye... every bit recounted, recapped.

As dawn broke, I realised my folly (not that I had had a choice to make), and hoped to get through the registration in time. Being pretty much the first person to register, I had a key to my new room in minutes. Now it was just a leisurely wait for the others. And wondering when we'd be meeting next.

Our Honduran friend was the first of the three to arrive, and like all good international roommates, our first hour went appreciating each others' passports, visas, and memorising the choicest of expressions for proposing love and damnation in each others' tongues. And the unlikely coincidence that the two of us shared our birthday, only that:

- "Dude! It says 1989! You're like... FIFTEEN!"
- "Yup! Exactly three years after you came in. I mean out."
- "Holy Fucking Hay-soos!!! FIFTEEN!?!"

Oh damn it! I didn't even know your birthday! I didn't even know your age! I couldn't even guess!!

I usually made sure it crept in during my first conversations with people, but that conversation already had way too many firsts for me. How easy life would become after social networking would arrive. As for now, I'll just ensure I slip-it-in the next time...

Next to arrive was the tall, lanky fellow from the States, and for once in life (as of then), I was not the quietest one in the group. Not much later, we discovered we had a Biblical scholar amongst us, and half an hour of an intense conversation later, I knew we had many a memorable conversations to go.

Finally, he arrived. I was in the loo. All I heard were murmurs, followed by "FIFTEEN!?!"


Friday, December 03, 2010

Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer...

Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the signed photograph, the scorched furniture---must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.

 — Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)

Never been truer.

For me. For friends. For some special ones. For acquaintances. For some around me. For so many people. And for, and due to, things too many to count. Large, and small.

Things. Can change. In a day.