Month: May 2012

1 year on.. guitaring perspective

It was May 11th, if I remember correctly that I arrived home from Pilani last year. So I  think it’s probably this time last year that I started on the guitar with focus and drive. It’s been a year since then. What progress have I made?

It’s difficult to measure progress when you don’t have written documents to go by. All you have are memories to rely on so the picture presented may not be accurate. When I started on the guitar an year back, I couldn’t tell if my guitar was tuned or not. I would play the chords.. C,Am,D,G but they would all sound the same. I think it was the second or third day in Mangalore when I asked Neelesh to tune my guitar. He used the tuner app on his HTC to tune the stings and when I played then, I made music.

My guitar was in-tune probably for the first time ever so I could feel and appreciate the sounds the different chords produced. From then on, it was all practice. I don’t know where I got the drive from. The guitar was their before and I had lots of time in college. But I could never be bothered to sit on the guitar for any period of time. Maybe I was influenced by Neelesh to a certain extent but that was not all. For the first time in years, Mangalore brought order into my life and with order, I got a drive to do something productive. And that feeling has sustained. Probably will my entire life now that I have realized it.

It was painful at first. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I worked hard on it. Even if I wanted to work hard, I couldn’t. I could sit on the guitar for very little time before my hands were sore and I had to stop. But I did stick to it day after day. And that has been the hallmark of my life this last year. I have made an effort to stick to doing things when started and I can see the results now. It was 1 month into Mangalore I think that Neelesh suggested I try learning songs and one of the first I tried was Baby I’m gonna lose you. It was hard. I couldn’t play though 2 verses continuously at first. Strength improved as time went by but there were frequent breaks that set me back. Practice cooled a little in the last few days in Mangalore but I picked it up in Doshi again.

Doshi was just one month so nothing significant happened there. I was lax in practice because of frequent disruptions so the real practice sessions started in Chavadi. I think it was in November that Srinivas bought his Yamaha F310 and since then we have pushed and inspired each other to get better. I wouldn’t say there has been a staggering improvement these last 8 months, and there is certainly room for a greater amount of discipline, but the presence of another like minded person next to you does push you more and I will miss his drive when he is gone. The enthusiasm will be more difficult to sustain then but nothing comes easy in life.

So 1 year on and I still struggle at Baby I’m gonna leave you. Guaranteed and Dust in the wind are other songs that I am struggling with. They require a greater amount of focus and discipline than what I am putting in right now. F barre is still difficult and although chord changes are coming easier with strengthening fingers, they could be a lot more fluid. ** I wrote some other awesome thoughts here but the file didn’t get saved and I lost them and I can’t get them back. So that’s it for now**

Thought process of a 24 year Old..

Every moment of your life can be divided into two categories or two states: you are either doing something or you are doing nothing. If you are doing something, and if that something is meaningful, then your whole concentration is on doing that something. But if you are doing nothing?

One can think of the state of doing nothing as the base state of a person, or if we borrow a physics analogy, a state with lowest entropy. The lowest possible entropy state for a person to be in would be a state where he would think nothing and do nothing. Some might call this state “meditating”. From physics we know that objects tend towards a state of lowest entropy relative to their surroundings. For a normal person however, the lowest entropy state is not meditating. In-fact, it takes a lot of mental effort to be in a state where one would think nothing and do nothing. If we are to include this effort into our physical state, then we no longer are in a state of least entropy.

Hence the actual position of least entropy for a person is a state where he does nothing and keeps thinking. But again, can a person remain in this state for extended periods of time? No he can’t. After of while of thinking and doing nothing, something called “restlessness” kicks in making the person do something. At this point I ask myself. What is the point to be derived from the previous 3 paragraphs? And I have an answer for that. But before we come to that, we will have to indulge in  a little philosophy.

I have this idea that we can make a movie out a persons entire life. Every moment in a persons life will be a scene in the movie. Naturally, the movie is bound to have a few interesting scenes, but for most part, the movie will consist of mundane repetitive scenes such as sleeping or eating or such else. If a persons life is a movie, the quality of the movie will obviously match the quality of the life. And if the quality of the movie has to be good, it ought to have more interesting scenes and less mundane scenes.

So we come back to the entropy thing and see how these two concepts are related and how they are related to the topic of my essay.. the thought process of a 24 year old. The state I found myself in about an hour ago was the state of doing nothing and thinking something. But being the extremely restless guy that I am, I would be pushed into a state of thinking and doing. In the transition from a state of doing nothing to a state of doing something, a question pops up.. what is the something I should start doing?

Here’s where thought process or thought patterns come in. For a 24 year old, 3 activities that take the least energy are eating, sex and sleep. These 3 are the first thing that come to our mind when we find ourselves in a state of inactivity. Now before someone says that sex takes a lot a energy, I am not talking about physical energy. I am referring to mental drive and effort. And it’s not just me who thinks this.. a little research uncovered this article which supports my theory.

If we think about food and food is nearby, we eat. When we think of sleep, we sleep. And when we think of sex and a pussy isn’t accessible, we always have our hand to do the job. Except for physically handicapped people although I don’t think sex features highly in their thoughts. So we think about these 3 the most, they take the least mental effort  and they also contribute the least to the movie that is our life.

Lets quantize our life for the sake of the discussion at hand. Let’s say we life our life by the hour. If is virtually impossible for a person to think about how every hour of his life is contributing to the movie. Very few people live their life constantly relating their actions to the bigger picture. And the people who do this the most are the people who are the most successful. Conversely, the people who think the least about the bigger picture are the people whose life has no worth.

We have established that the top 3 things a 24 year old male thinks about. What can be the 4th in this list? If a person asked me what are the basic needs of a human, I would recite the 5 things we all know.. food,shelter,clothing, transportation and security. For a 24 year old however, this list may be different. Food, shelter and clothing are the basic and maybe security is too but the fifth basic human need that is more important that transportation is : Attention.

For a different age group, “love” can be used instead of “attention”, but not for us. The need for attention drives us to do crazy things and spend the 4th highest amount of time thinking and doing. In a physical world, the need for attention manifests itself in people wearing fashionable clothes, expensive jewellery, talking in an exotic way and doing things that attract attention. Different people do this to a different extend but the desire is present in everybody and no one can deny it. For those who don’t venture into the physical world, we always have facebook and twitter and blogs in the virtual world to satisfy our needs. Every status update we make, every tweet, every like and every comment is done to attract attention.. if not consciously then subconsciously.

The various acts of attracting attention take more mental and physical effort than the top three in our list… but if we think about how much they contribute to the movie that is life, then the answer is :very little.

So what really brings about those interesting scenes in the movie of life? The Desire to Improve. To be better. This desire can be fueled by promise of tangible benefits.. such as a better job or a improved set of life skills or better health or other such things. The drive to improve brings about change in a persons life. It takes the most effort physically and mentally and hence is also the most rewarding. The drive to improve can at sometimes be a manifestation of the desire for attention, or it can be to improve the quality of our basic needs. Whatever the reason, it is this desire that gives meaning to life and makes for an interesting movie. Sadly, it is also the least time a 24 year old spends thinking about.

The ideal way to live a life would be to constantly think of ways to improve oneself, one’s life and the life of those around him. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is important when we look at the bigger picture. I have spent the last 1 hour writing this piece. Have I done something to make my movie interesting?  Yes. I have written something that will go on record, it is something meaningful that I can come back to after six months and learn something from. What will I do in the next 1 hour? I will go outside and eat something.. Food does feature prominently in my thoughts and I happen to be hungry right now.

 

 

Climax!!

Lots of things have happened during the last 2 weeks. Most significant were the Premier League ending and Champions League final. I will go in a chronological order to make this easier for everybody.

Formula1.

The Bahrain grand prix was won by Vettel with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second and Alonso finishing 7th. It was a disappointing race for both Ferrari and McLaren with Hamilton having finished at 8th position. With this race, the 2012 season had 4 different winners from 4 races and Vettel was leading the standings.

The Spanish grand prix threw up another surprise when Pastor Maldonado won the race and Alonso came 2nd ahead of Raikkonen in 3rd place. So from 5 races this season, there have been 5 winners from 5 different teams. This season has been more exiting and even than the previous 2 seasons where Vettel in 2011 season and Button in 2010 season dominated the early races. So now Alonso and Vettel are joint first at the top with 61 points followed by Hamilton at 53 and Raikkonen at 49. Lotus’s start to this season has been a pleasant surprise with both drivers being in the top 10 and the team sitting in 3rd position with 84 points.

Soccer.

In my previous post, I wrote that as an Arsenal fan, I expected Arsenal to finish 3rd, finish with more that 67 points and for van Persie to score 31 goals. We managed to get 2 out of those right and I am immensely satisfied with the end to the season. We had drawn with Norwich in our second last game and that put us in a precarious position in the league but luckily for us, Tottenham drew their match with Aston Villa and on the final match day, 3rd position was still in our own hands. We started well with a Benayoun goal in the second minute but then conceded 2 and put ourselves in danger. Andre Santos and Koscielny stepped up and scored goals in the fist half and second half respectively and we managed to see out the final 10 nervy minutes to finish 3rd in the league. We accumulated 70 points this season and van Persie finished with 30 goals for the season.

Elsewhere, Man U and Man City were both on 86 points going heading in to the final game and Man City had to win the match to win the league. They were 2-1 down to 10 man QPR heading into the final 5 minutes but goals form Dzeko and Aguero won Man City the title. It was a stunning end to a fantastic League campaign which had its share of ups and downs for all the teams.

Chelsea won the Champions League yesterday. I missed the match thinking it will be played today but even if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have followed it. I don’t know if they deserve the title but they did have a most amazing season full of ups and downs. And if you think about it, Chelsea has had the best season of all the EPL teams. Sure, Man City won the EPL, but with the kind of squad they had, they would have looked stupid not to win the title. Man U hounded them all the way and finished on equal points with them and that is a great achievement by Sir Alex Ferguson. Liverpool won the Carling cup but finished 8th in the league, Man U tried hard in the League but disappointed in the cup competitions, Arsenal had a bad start to the season and were never in it to win the League but we played badly to crash out of the cup titles, specially the F.A cup in which we lost to Sunderland. And Chelsea finished the season winning the F.A cup and the Champions League meaning they get a lot of money and get to play in next years Champions league despite finishing 6th in the league. So with 2 significant cup titles with all the ups and downs they had with the sacking of Villas-Boas and bad league form, they are the team of the season for me for the 2011-2012 season.

Tennis.

Nadal lost in the 4th round in Madrid to Verdasco, who I think played fantastic tennis in that match to win the last set from 5-2 down. With Federer winning the Madrid title, he displaced Nadal in the rankings but was seded third in the Rome Masters tournament. Nadal, Djokovic and  Federer reached the semi-finals in Rome where Nadal beat Ferrer in 2 sets and Djokovic beat Federer in straight sets yesterday. So Nadal will play Djokovic in the final today.

This is their 32nd match together with Nadal leading 17-14 but Djokovic has won 7 of the last 8 meetings. If Nadal wins this match, it will be his 21st Masters title and he will be back to No. 2 going into French open. It will also be his 6th Rome Masters title. If Djokovic wins the final, it will be his 12th Masters title and he will extend his lead at the top of the rankings. Djokovic had won both the Madrid and Rome titles last year and having lost the Madrid title last week, it will be important for his confidence and position as number 1 to win this title. Specially with the French Open to come in 2 weeks time, it is an important match for both players and should be an interesting tie.