Friday, December 26, 2014

Do you listen to radio often?

When I grew up in 70s and 80s in developing country like India my options in pretty much everything were limited, including listening to music. I was quite fond of listening to music but the only available source of music back then was our radio. The sound quality was average, programs had fixed timing. The concept of RJ was non existent, I assumed that news readers announced the next songs in dull and drab manner without an iota of excitement. But the best part of listening to the radio was listening to new music. One could never guess what the next song would be and if you liked the song you could never know when you would get to listen to it again. I didn't have any means to record the song so I would sit with a notebook and try to write down the lyrics. I could not pause the song to write down the lyrics nor could I rewind the song that I liked nor could I fast forward a song that I didn't like. I could just enjoy the music with all its uncertainties.

Things did evolve ever since. I got my cassette player which ensured I got my favorite music albeit in the most predictable and hence boring manner. After I listened to a cassette a few times, I would start humming the next song even before the song was over. The extreme predictability made it boring.

Then I bought my CD player. My own favorite music with randomization function made things very interesting. A small change that made the music interesting. Now off course, I listen to spooled music from web. I create virtual playlists, combine songs from different movies, different artists, different eras and randomize them to listen. Its a bliss! Everything that you wanted, nothing that you didn't want and presented in an interesting manner. I can pause, rewind and fast forward as I please. There is no need to listen to radio anymore.

But life comes with its own twists and turns. One day my phone was discharged and I switched on the radio again. To my surprise I enjoyed it again. I listened to some new songs which I could have never found in my new music search. I listened to some new artists whom I had rejected initially. I did listen to a lot of songs which I didn't like but I really enjoyed the unpredictability, the suspense, the excitement again. I went back to my playlist and added those songs to make it even more interesting. A dash of newness made my playlist more interesting. Since then I make it a point to listen to radio for a while and keep on enriching my playlist.

Come to think about it, how is life any different? We love our all predictable, favorable routine. But what is the fun without a dash of unpredictability, a dash of adventure, a dash of unexpected song. It may not work out exactly the way you want but thats where the fun lies!

Keep the life interesting keep sometime to listen to radio everyday!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Would you like to live the time of your life?

I am an overworked, over-travelled corporate worker who always chases some deadlines or targets. Ever since, I crossed 40, I am trying to lead balanced life. In true corporate style, I started to look at my life analytically. By prevalent working norms in workaholic Singapore, I leave my office rather early at 630 PM. I spend early evening with my son playing, doing his homework. Our family of three sits down for dinner everyday sans mobile on a dinning table to share daily updates. Once my son is asleep me and my wife chat up or watch a movie. I never miss my weekly skype call with my parents, parent-in-laws and chat with siblings. I catch up with my colleagues occasionally on friday evening drink. All neighbor-friends get together for a monthly drink party... It almost sounds perfect doesn't it? Well everybody said so but I wasn't sure. I still thought something was missing. I had all boxes ticked still there were blank areas.

Then our school- friends reunion happened. It started as a freak idea to get together away from home, without spouses and kids and have non-stop fun for 4-5 days. This concept was inspired by the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), we wanted to create those carefree moments for ourselves and live them for a short while. We were not sure how many of us would be ready to take the bait. To our surprise almost a dozen of us turned up in Singapore. Everyone took leave from our workplaces, our families, our clients, our meetings, our deadlines, our calendars, our mobiles and most importantly from various roles we were tired of playing in our day to day lives.

The Reunion was almost like a time-machine. As soon as we met, the entire group of 40 somethings got transformed into a group of 20 somethings with 20 years of experience. We drove, walked, swam, ate, drank, slept, snorkeled, sailed, wound down, laughed, cried, got scared, cooked, sang, got drunk, danced together for 4 days non-stop. We talked about our friendships, our fights, our studies, our secret crushes and got reconnected. What we had was 100 hours of unadulterated fun. We had switched off from our roles and responsibilities for a while and lived a tension-free life.

This had a miraculous effect on all of us. When you are working on the computer/phone for a long time, it slows down, colors are dull, music is offbeat, nothing works; then you restart your computer/ phone and everything works fine, colors are bright, music finds its rhythm. This Reunion had the same effect on us. One month after this unforgettable trip we all are happier and motivated in life.

We got our moments that we will cherish for life. We are all back to grind but life feels more balanced. We were perfectly happy with our families, colleagues and neighbors but friends was the missing link. The carefree fun time was the missing link. Connection with friends who knew you when you were nobody, was the missing link.

Now its our annual resolution to create a few moments in our own lives that would last us for the lifetime. How would you take that as a new year resolution!