Tuesday, June 8, 2010

learning, understanding and accepting

There is this book which I read a few days back - 1984 by George Orwell. It's a book about how bad a society becomes when the body serving its interests becomes all too powerful. In the book, society is a country and the the body is the government of that country. Though I never write book reviews, this book is different because there are tons of similarities when I look around. Even today, independent thoughts are being curbed, ideologies being forced, people made to work with little gratification, etc, etc. Anyways, if you haven't read the book and you are planning to do so, then you might not want to read the rest as what follows might be a spoiler.

My most favorite character in the book is this guy called OBrien who serves the government and plays a very crucial role in the book. It was really horrifying to read what he did to the protagonist. How he was able to use fear and hatred to brainwash him. The reason why I was really taken by that aspect was because it happens all too frequently these days. A place where the governing body has too tight a control, where decisions are taken unilaterally and a person finds himself really helpless. In such a place, a person has very little choice but to surrender his thoughts and work like a comrade. Where the governing body passes its agendas (and ideologies) without the consent of normal people. And as they portray in the book, in the end, the human spirit is weakened and crushed. People forget what it is stand up and fight for their own rights. Partly because they have never seen anyone do that. Why? Because people who were their superiors never did that either.

And faithful to the back page summary of the book, there is something there for people with original thoughts - Room 101. As oBrien aptly put it, the USP of their torture was "Learning, Understanding and Accepting"

> The first part is learning where they learn that they should have shut their head long back. Exercising head and thinking is dangerous. Where they learn that they do should what they have been asked (blindly without questioning) and leave the thinking to the governing body.

> Second step is understanding where they understand that they have to pay a heavy price for not shutting their heads. They understand that they are insane and that they are wrong in believing that sanity is not statistical. They begin to understand that they are insane to even think that they could have done something or changed something.

> and then comes the third part - acceptance. The person believes it's his fault and that he should have been punished long ago for his insanity. Eventually he is. This is the phase that the governing body wants because it doesn't want martyrs. It doesn't want people to follow the footsteps of that person. And in doing so, makes sure no one again rises against the system.

Actually the book got me thinking in many ways. I imagined myself in the protagonist's shoes asking myself what would I have done and unfortunately there was little one could really do. One can do little against a governing body that changes itself like a chameleon and comes out all powerful and not ready to budge from its policies and ideologies. Actually the two biggest things in the book were a) doublethink and b) Room 101. Doublethink made sure the party spread ignorance, lies and deceit while keeping itself pure and safe. Room 101 for purging people who questioned the body. Like OBrien constantly said, "What happens here is for ever." The change that takes over you in Room 101 is for ever. You are never the same. Your fears are unleashed to an extent where you love (fear) the all powerful body and don't see any other way other than heeding to their demands. And it's not submitting yourself unwillingly. You submit yourself willingly and beg for wrongdoing.

Kind of a digression but it sort of reminded me of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. When asked how did he preserve his sanity in Azkaban, he said he made sure he clung to one happy thought and didn't allow the dementors to take it away. hmmm... makes me think what would he have done in Room 101 because in both cases, the dementors and the governing body used fear and misery as their weapon in crushing an individual.

If I had to pick my favorite quote or sentence, it would OBrien's - "Obedience is not enough. Unless he [person in question] is suffering, how can you be sure he is obeying your will and not his own?"

In summary, an awesome book, a timeless classic which i might pick up again because the place where I am in, it reminds me of the world painted in this book.


Friday, June 4, 2010

wrong side of skinny jeans

I was reminded of this incident which happened a few weeks ago. Really funny it is. I was standing outside this place - Dahr-e-mehr in secunderabad to catch an auto. For folks closer home, it's this place which is in front of Chermas in MG Road. Curious like a cat, I wanted to see what was there in that place. More interesting was this guy who stepped out of that place. Really fair, tall, long hair, wearing skinny jeans like those in Jonas Brothers and those long pointed sort of shoes which again Jonas Brothers sorta popularized. Hmmm... strange but good to see metrosexuality out there on road showing hand, stopping vehicles and crossing road. But I'd not want to be caught on the wrong side of it, staring at it, ogling at it as that guy were a girl...

Anyways what happened was I landed at the same place a few days later and I was still interested to find what that place was. One thing I was sure about was that it was some Parsi place (the name, looks of that guy, etc.) So I gave a what-the-hell-let-us-check-it-out expression and went in. I walked in checked that place out. Turns out it was a fire temple and a few small houses in the back (populated by some Parsis) There was a library too. I don't know what was I thinking but started walking towards it that a guy (wearing that typical parsi cap) claps his hand and asked me where was I going. I told him I checking the place out. He said the place was a private property and not for random people to "check" out. And then like in those daily soaps, he pointed towards the gate and told me rudely to get out :( Not that I felt really pissed but I felt like giving a piece of my mind to that security guy. First of all he doesn't stop me when I enter the place and then when I'm getting out, he starts asking why did you go in (o.0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

some time back

and here i am with yet another post on music. But this time it's about the stuff I used to listen to when I was in school days. Like all good stories, everything starts out good. For me it all started in early 1998 when we got a new TV. The crappy old BPL that we had before that had only 8 channels and there were no channels like cartoon network or CNN or MTV :( So when the new TV came, I almost became a couch potato trying out channels, watching new stuff, etc. Add to it, our school later shifted from a 6 day to a 5day school with saturday becoming "activity" day. I mostly used to bunk that "activity" day and watch TV. There were so many incentives you see. Baywatch used to come on saturdays when my mom used to be out and it was an important part of a typical saturday for me. It was at this same time that I started to watch many english songs and their videos. During those days our cable operator was hathway and it was considered a huge thing. They used to run this channel ITV where you call the system and through IVRS select a song. Mannn!!! people used to sit all afternoon trying to get the number. It was always engaged! The stupid thing is today ITV is not there anymore :( Instead we have Hi! TV which is filled with loadsa punjabi and hindi music. No problem with that but there were very few english songs and if I wanted to listen to hindi songs, I could've gone to B4U or ETC during those days.

Anyways the point of this post is not to talk about the music channels. This post is about the really nice music I used to listen to during those days. It was different. There was always this thing of songs looping over and over again in ITV and also music channels like MTV and Channel V. It was always possible to watch a song atleast three or four times everyday until you got bored and I used to listen to so much of stuff that I was able to spend almost entire day on TV just like that. I used to listen to backstreet boys and britney spears and westlife too but there was a lot of other stuff too and sadly today hardly people know these songs :( So this is a list of all those songs which seem to have gone off people's minds.

Artist - Moby. This was one video I loved watching! People know how I keep listening to a song over and over again and this was definitely one of them. I used to just listen to this song. Again and again and if possible again. :)

Pop Duo - Paola e Chiara. This is one song (and the other was ek pal ka jeena from kaho na pyaar hai) which were *instrumental* in changing my hairstyle from a side partition to somewhere in the middle partition. There is this guy with black shades looking from somewhere in back. Man, His hairstyle was so awesome during those days :)

Artist - Kimkay. Yes! I used to listen to whatever was there. This song was weird but had a really hummable tuney. I used to catch this song on ITV atleast two or three times everyday and god only knows how many times it used to come. :D I tried searching for the original video but seems like it's not there on youtube. But the most saddening part is that the singer of this song - Kimkay is suffering from some cancer and chances of her coming out ok are quite bleak :((

Artist - Chemical Brothers. Again a dance mix. I'm not much of a dancer but I like such electronica and dance stuff a lot. Even Moby's Lift Me Up was something of that sort.

Artist - Las Ketchup. Another song I loved! Even the girls were/are hot. My mom never approved me of watching this video. She used to give me the sort of looks. :O

Artist - Michelle Branch. At that time I might not have realized it but this may have been my first ever tryst with alt. rock. I loved the eeriness of the video and the way she looks at the camera. Today in this post avatar world of graphics, CG and VFX, the video seems a bit old and flawed but I still love it!

ok, I'll post some more such videos as and when I remember them!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a shift in music genre

The past few months have been really great. Great in the sense that I explored classic rock in a better way. Ofcourse, with generous help from Himank in this department. :) If classic rock was a 5xxx course in iiit, my course project on Allman Brothers, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton and the Beatles would have got me acing the subject. But as I always say it's time to explore other things(genres) too.

It all started when I found that classic rock was the only thing I had in my nokia music express. Though great and all, you feel a tad bit frustrated when you listen to classic rock while jogging or something. And it's easy to lose motivation while doing stuff like jogging and all. So decided to change the genre to trance and trip-hop. It's been sometime since I've listened to the likes of Tiesto, Paul Okenfield, Housexy and Hed Kandi. Now my mobile has a lot of trance and lounge stuff. And it's pretty good for a morning with some running around or something.

Personally I've always seen trance as very synthetic. Rock, specially the 60-70s kind of rock is much more organic. We listen to both to pass time. While rock mellows us down, trance and lounge music makes us alert and makes us wanna go shake some booty or something :P

And that's where I realized something. Weed, which tends to mellow us down goes well with classic rock. That's why I say weed is organic stuff. On the other hand, we have stuff like cocaine, heroin, etc. going with trance and all. The real drugs. The synthetic stuff. Stuff which make you lose your mind. Makes you needlessly alert, fidgety. A person you might not wanna become. Ok, I don't even know why I'm writing all this. Frankly speaking, writing all this to see how long a post can I write. Specially with all my recent posts being small and all. :D