Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SunFunday? Some tips to get through the work week

I’m an ardent fan of Garfield like the rest of you are but I don’t corroborate with his idea of flying to another country like Ibiza on Mondays because it is not yet a Monday there. Although Mondays mean going back to work/routine/grind, call it what you may, for me it is just a day that is 5 days from the weekend.

garfield_monday

Yes, I’m being very optimistic but those who know me well would also know that I’m a practical guy. I firmly believe in the old Tamil saying that goes “ ALavukku minjinaa, amirthamum visham” meaning “Over the limit, even the divine nectar can turn poisonous”. So, when I’m saying this, you can believe that it really works.

Try it. Next Monday, start counting down to the weekend and you’d see that the week will whizz past in a jiffy and before you know it, Friday evening would have arrived.

Another reason that I’ve observed for Monday blues is inadequate sleep the night before. The person who’s well slept on a Sunday night enjoys the week ahead. For most people, Sunday means Fun. They plan(or not) their Sundays with all sorts of activities that stretch late into the night too. This is the gravest of mistakes that lands you in a soup on a Monday morning. I, for one, plan everything for the Friday evening. Though, I’d be dead tired, I stretch myself to finish as much as I can on a Friday evening. Finish all household tasks, catch up on all movies/TV shows that I had missed during the week etc during Friday nights. Going to movies, hanging out with friends, completing tasks that spilt over from the Friday, everything else is done by Saturday evening tops.

I know that I’m no sportsman/athlete or even a person who takes care of his body well but nowadays I try to play on a Saturday weekend just for fun, if not for anything else. I feel more rejuvenated that way.

Then comes the Sunday where I get up late, keep things in place for Monday morning like Ironing clothes, polishing shoes etc., activities that don’t take up too much effort or time or intellect. These are completed in an hour or two after I wake up and have a nice meal, watch some TV, listen to some soothing blues/jazz numbers during the afternoon and sleep. Make sure to get up before 16:00 so that you don’t stay up too late. Have dinner, max, by 19:00 and go to bed by 20:00 if nothing interesting on TV. If there is any then you obviously don’t want to miss it so go to bed max by 22:00. Never exceed that time.

Get up a little earlier than usual on a Monday morning, say at 5:30, do your usual morning activities and leave for office. This also helps you avoid the Monday morning Traffic rush.

This schedule gets me up & running on a Monday without any stress and makes my Sunday a Fun day with the week ahead quite pleasant.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mega Movie Magic

Watched two of the most awaited movies this season: “Kites” & “Shrek: Forever After, The Final chapter 3D” in the cinemas and this is NOT going to be yet another review out there on the Information Superhighway although I’d say this: Don’t miss Shrek 4 and stay away from Kites unless you are the kind who likes melodrama and sad endings.

Notice that it is not a multiplex but a regular single screen, good, old Cinema! that I have mentioned. “Why?” you may ask. Well, here goes…

Kites – I paid Rs.60 for middle class. Shrek - Rs.150 for balcony! Trust me. That’s cheap. Gone are the days of Balcony for Rs. 50. I remember watching “Fanaa” in the balcony for that much. And this is because it was a single screener. No multiplex in Bangalore charges anything less than Rs.150 on a weekend.

My question is if these single screen theatres with far lesser audience and limited number of shows can offer such low ticket prices and still make a profit, why do the multiplexes have to charge such exorbitant prices? You may argue saying that their infrastructure and ambiance is way better and that you get what you pay for. Well, I can counter that by saying even the single screen theatres of today have excellent infrastructure and boast of facilities that can dwarf that offered by multiplexes.

Cinema

A/C halls, Digital Projection, DTS Surround sound, excellent cushion, push-back seats, good eatables and all this with decently priced tickets. I don’t see a difference. Does anyone? Enlighten me.

Then there’s the question of crowd. What is it? Multiplexes have very decent crowd? Is that what you say? Ask yourself. Do you want to watch a movie with no audience reaction to anything, no whistles, no hoots, no yelling, no screaming, absolutely no enthusiasm. For that, I might as well watch the movie at home. After all, what is cinema for? It is for entertainment and enjoyment and without all the above, it is just a load of BS.

If you are the kind who doesn’t mind paying more for a better experience. Think again. What you are actually doing is inflating the prices and making it unaffordable for us lesser mortals. You aren’t paying more because you are getting more. You are paying more because you can and the multiplex owners understand this very clearly and make humongous profits.

Different rates for different days, different movies and different shows. Different movies – I can understand but the others are just ridiculous!

Lesser prices, more shows, more people. That’s the way to go. Don’t you think? No? Then let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Supernatural guardian

Supernatural phenomena needn't always have to be evil or horrific as portrayed in movies. It can do some good to people who believe too. I know that I'm starting to sound like some God-man but I can't deny the fact that is happening to me. I don't, for sure, know if it is supernatural but as long as it is affecting my life in a good way, I don't care what it is.

Creation of Adam

This may sound silly but ever since my dad passed away, I feel like someone's monitoring my activities. It is almost like they're right there watching my every move. When I procrastinate doing a certain thing then there occurs something that forces me to stop and get off my ass and do that thing. e.g. If I'm stuck to the computer on a weekend without even brushing or bathing then there's a power cut. You may say that Power-cuts in Bangalore are the most ubiquitous thing and it was just coincidence but as soon as I'm in the Bathroom, the power is back and this has happened too many times to be just a coincidence.

And for the past few days, looks like someone's listening to my wishes and granting it. Whatever I wished for is happening. My gut tends to always ask "Dad, Is it you?" Who/whatever it may be, Thank you! Thanks a tonne. Thanks for everything that you may have done for me without I realizing that it's you. :)

Observe carefully and you'd notice somethings happening in your day-to-day life that looks like it is being conspired for you. Take a moment to think of the possibilities for all the events in one day of your life and I bet you that you'll have something sticking out without an explanation. Wonder what it is. Think it out and the more you think of it and thank the person who you think is doing it, the more often such events start occurring and before you know it, your life has turned more pleasant. At least for me it has.

Speaking about thanking people, the other thing that I've noticed whenever I go to a place of worship is people asking for this and that - happiness, pleasure, health and wealth and a million other things that exists in this world but the people I've found thanking for what they've got already were far and few between. Since the time I realized this, I've never actually asked God for anything. I admit it, I'm no saint. I do have desires but they remain desires and I find ways to fulfil them but never ask GOD for it. I've only been thanking him for what I've already got - it may be as miniscule as a pen that I bought but I thank him not for the object itself but for the ability he's given me to buy that and the relatively better position in society that I am in compared to a million others.

I heard a story the other day about how heaven is divided into 3 departments. The first department had hundreds of thousands of angels working hard segregating all the prayers received. The second department again was bustling with activity with as many angels sending out the granted wishes. Then there was the third department where there was just one Angel sitting and that too sitting idle without any work. When inquired that was the department to receive thanks for the wishes granted. I guess that pretty much sums up the moral of the story. Thank. Thank God or whoever you may think is responsible for life to be the way it is for you. Whatever you need would be granted automatically if you need it.

Let me end with a quote from "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." So, stop worrying about waiting for divine intervention and thank for what you've already got and work towards what you want.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Music without a poking conscience

Are you a music addict or at least a fanatic? Do you have a music collection that dwarfs the collection of all the items in your house/PC put together? Well, good for you but... wait for it... bad for you too? Cross your heart and ask yourself if all of them were legally bought or at least in someway benefited the artist? I know that the majority of you would say "No"!

You want to have a clear conscience and still be able to listen to all songs from all artists without paying for it? Come to the world of streamed music. When I started out on this quest 10 years ago, the Internet was slow and I mean S.L.O.W. with just dial-up connections with fees both to the ISP and the telephone call charges. At that point, there weren't any streaming sites and the concept of streaming was nascent. It was the height of the Software Boom in India and the Piracy business was booming too. It is a debate for another day that Piracy still keeps booming no matter what goes bust but people preferred to own the tracks with them to listen to what they want, when they want but that scenario has now changed after TRAI defined broadband as a minimum of 256Kbps and all ISPs were forced to upgrade their so-called Broadband connections of 64k and 128k connections to 256k minimum.

Now came the era of decent speeds and simultaneously better streaming formats and technologies. Podcasts became ubiquitous and YouTube proved to be the mammoth success with all sorts of videos being shared from all over the world without flooding each other's mailboxes.

Granny's Radio Party

Then came umpteen Internet radio stations play latest hits for free with a little bit of unobtrusive ads that can be put up with. After all, you are getting the songs for free but this still did not cut it as the playlists were decided by the radio station and it wasn't song on demand. With everything on demand, songs forced on to your ears were a bit too much. To our rescue came the saviour in the form of Streaming sites for audio just like YouTube is for video. Although they had come to the scene before video (read YouTube), streaming video galvanised this market and put it on top gear.

Today, you google it and there are a million station and streaming sites that let you play your favorite songs with extremely low ad content that doesn't take the fun away one bit and keep your conscience clear as well. You might say that they don't have Indian songs but you'd be surprised. I was.

Here are a few for you, my loyal blog reader:

Streaming:

GrooveShark:  http://listen.grooveshark.com for both Indian and international songs and also has radio

Music India Online: http://musicindiaonline.com

Raaga: http://www.raaga.com

Radio:

Shoutcast: http://www.shoutcast.com has a huge listing of radio stations according to genres, countries, language etc.

Tamil Radios: http://www.tamilradios.com live streams of many tamil radio stations in case you are not in the city that the station plays or of you don't have access to a traditional FM radio set.

Happy Listening and happy reading.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bliss

The word says it all. My state of mind, my life, my situation and my environment. All in a  perfect state of bliss. I feel lucky to have this today. Not many are happy with their lives and the mess they're in but I am finding everything finally falling into place.

After months, if not years of restlessness, I've found peace. Great Job, Good Financial position, Good relationships, good interests and Most of all TIME. Time and freedom to do what I want, when I want. Unlike others of my age who still have earning parents which enables them to splash their  money on all the usual Post liberalisation capitalistic pleasures, I being the sole earning member of the family have learnt pretty early, I should say, to balance my cheques and check my balances.

Although I occasionally indulge in those pleasures, my situation has taught me to be in control. Witnessing, first hand, the torturous life gone through by people who didn't budget their assets & liabilities, has taught me to be frugal yet not cheap. There is a fine line separating the two and I am learning the ropes of not crossing that line.

The factor that inspired me to break my laziness and make this post was "Today". Yes, the day. Today is especially  good. Started off on a very nice note. My PC2 saw the light of Windows 7 finally, after a long make-do with Windows XP on a 2.5GB HDD. That enables my sis to watch videos, listen to music on HER PC now without troubling me anymore. My new bike's Engine is becoming more and more used to me and looks like I'm also beginning to read its mind. It's been really smooth ride. The ride to office today was amazing. Just zipped and zoomed.

I know, I know, don't jump off your seat asking how that was possible in Bangalore's Traffic. Yes, I was amazed too. To help my ride, the roads were particularly empty today. The usual culprits - the Lingarajapuram flyover and the KR Puram Railway station under-bridge were also EMPTY. Read it E.M.P.T.Y. empty! I was shocked! Pleasantly. That and the weather. Well, what can I say. Bangalore has always had good weather but it was looking like Global warming has finally caught on to Bangalore too and the heat never seemed to subside but then what happened? As usual, something unusual happened as Bangalore always has surprises for us in terms of weather. Cyclone Laila! Now, it looks like I'm in the middle of Monsoon. The weather's just mind-blowing. Perfect for Garam Chai and Pakoras in the afternoons and also Long bike rides. Although, I can't do it just yet, I'm looking forward to the weekend.

What is it? "My life can be better"? Yes it can but I don't care. The crux here is, as clich├ęd as it may be, to not look at the glass  being half-empty but at it being half-full. Living the moment!

To top all this, I'll finish off by talking about the ever hot topic of all times: Movies. 3 Super movies releasing this weekend. Looking forward to that. You ask which ones? I thought you already knew. You didn't? WTF! Are you locked up in a Bunker in Afghanistan? Get a life. Get your ass off that seat of yours and go watch these: "Kites", "Shrek: Forever after 3D", and if you are a Tamilian and/or understand Tamil, don't miss out on "Kola Kolaya Mundhirika" which has Crazy Mohan's dialogues and is supposedly an out-and-out comedy family entertainer. So, busy weekend ahead. Wishing you all the best for a satisfying life similar to mine. Happy reading. Ta for now.