Joshua Bell plays his $3.5mn violin to subway rush-hour

Joshua Bell is a gifted violinist, a recent recipient of $75,000 Avery Fisher prize. He performed incognito in a D.C. subway as an experiment. What do you think might have happenned?

I came across this story at the Freakonomics blog. The original article was published in The Washigton Post, an engrossing read about the 43 minutes of Joshua’s performance. It also has a video of the entire subway performance which, unfortunately, I could not view due to bandwidth constraints.

Further links –


Dil Chahta Hai

The following post about the movie Dil Chahta Hai, was posted on my previous blog on Monday, July 28, 2003. I just wanted to put it here too …………………………………………………………………………………………


Saw some of it last night … and reaffirmed my belief that this is one movie which never fails to evoke a flood of emotions! Simply ‘unputdownable’, as we say for books. I can’t think of any other word to put it better. I have to literally tear myself apart from the TV screen if DCH is on-air. For me, it is easily the second “Movie of the Millennium”. Number one being Sholay. DCH’s narrative takes you along the flow, drawing you into itself and touching your emotional chords every time you see it, … how ever many times you see it. The ‘Moti si Opera singer’ scene quickens your pulse even though you know what is going to happen next. All because of wonderful acting. And later, when Preity comes out to return Aamir’s jacket and says, “Kyunki hum dono jaante hain ki us raat aankhen band karke tumne us moti si Opera singer ko nahi dekha tha.”, always brings a lump to your throat. Again because of acting. Simply superb. But it may also be because of the viewer relating to the “Both know but can’t say” feeling. Some time in your own life you have felt that way, right ?! And you know how it hurts to have the feeling of losing someone so dear.

The strains of the bass guitar in the song ‘Tanhayee’ echo in my mind even as I write this. The words drift through …

“Toote … khwaab saare … Kaisi maayusi hai chaayi”
” …. …. ”

“Khwaab mein dekha tha ik aanchal maine apne haathon mein”
“Ab toote khwaabon ke sheeshe chubhte hain in aankhon mein”

“Har khushi kho gayi …”
” Zindagi so gayi …. …. ”

“Tumse jo pyar kiya to maine sazaa hi paayi”

For me, Aamir sitting with hunched shoulders on the corner of a bench at a platform, sums up the whole concept of ‘Tanhayee’. It is just a brief scene with a train arriving in the backgound. But in that instant, his body-language shows how lonely and dejected he feels.

I can’t go to sleep immediately after watching DCH, because it opens some long forgotten chapters of life … and I can’t keep myself from reading the pages again. Then sleep comes noiselessly by the bed-side and takes the book from me … and cradles me in her lap. I fall into her arms deeper and deeper, and forget all about loneliness, pain, sadness, dejection, LIFE … at least for a night. For tomorrow, TIME will have added another page to the book called LIFE … and I’m waiting to read that page. This book is ‘unputdownable’ too.

India Gate and Book Fair (pictures)


Yours truly made a completely unplanned trip to India Gate. The ‘planned’ trip just had the Book Fair in Pragati Maidaan on the list. I visited India Gate for the first time. I was bit taken by surprise by the festive look about the area. I had expected it to be a place with somber environs due to its historical importance and the adjoining high security areas. But just imagine, children playing cricket in the lawns, besides numerous ‘kulfi-walas’ and ‘chana-walas’! Clicked some pics with my ever faithful K750i.

IndiaGateCloseup IndiaGate1 IndiaGateDog IndiaGateFlowers

The next stop was the book fair at Pragati Maidaan. At 5 rupees, the entry was cheap. Inside was a book lovers heaven, with books and tons of books all around with that aroma of fresh bindings. I bought two Urdu dictionaries which I had been looking for a long time now. Some more books are on my wishlist, if only I could get another chance to drop by before the fair is over.


Post Edit (September 27, 2006) – I managed to visit the fair again, although just in nick of time, I must say. I reached around 7:45 PM, in a rush. I had expected that the fair would be open till later than 8:30 PM, the official closing time, because of it being the last day. But it was the opposite. Almost all the stalls had packed up barring a few of fictional books. Some were offering their collection at Rs 100 a piece. A steal, considering some of the hardbacks which were on offer. I managed to find a James Clavell and three of Stephen King. Though the time was short, but the trip was worth it.

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Will the scars of 9/11 ever heal?

The news channel is replaying the news story of that fateful day five years ago, September 11, 2001. I look at the images of smoke emanating from one of the ‘Towers’. People are standing in streets, shading their eyes with their hands to look up at the building. Every one is thinking this to be an accident. One very bad accident. The newsreader’s voice does not shows any alarm, just a tone of concern with a hint of remorse. Smoke continues to rise from the building. The long antena on the roof juts out of the smoke as if mocking it. The ambulance sirens are not howling yet. They will come later.

The screen shows a shadow appearing in the clear sky. Its a plane. Gliding effortlessly through the air, coming in a long lazy curve. Why are they flying so low today? Don’t they see that one has already hit a building! The plane curves more sharply, as if being drawn towards the smoke by an invisible power. But wait … it is going straight towards the smoke! No body had thought that it will too ram straight into the building. The second tower. The plane just disappears into the concrete, as if melting into it. But the other side is not the same. A huge yellow ball of flames circled by grey smoke emerges, seemingly out of the walls. There are loud shrieks. The camera-man seems confused as to where to focus. Up in the air where a hypnotising fire ball is coming out of windows like dragon breath or down in street where all hell seems to have broken loose. Screams, sobs, frigtened faces and horror filled eyes.

Next, fire-tenders are shown trying to douse fire at one of Pentagon’s wings. The walls had started crumbling after a loud noise and a huge fire. A guy thinks it was a cruise missle. Later, it will be ascertained that a commercial airlliner has crashed into the Pentagon.

Some rescue workers are shown rushing towards a smoke cloud from what seems like a jungle. An eyewitness says that a plane had come plummetting towards the ground. The tail fin was pointing towards the wrong side. It was upside down when it crashed behind the trees. Sky is falling today.

The screen conjures up the video feed of two smouldering towers. One burning almost in the middle, the other a quarter way up. The smoke has blackened and flames are leaping out from windows as if they are trying to escape the buildings too. People, mere specks, arching out of windows, waving frantically. Some others can wait no longer to be rescued. They jump out and seem to be moving in slow motion. In the street, a lady is crying out loud. Streams of people come rusing out of the Towers. The lucky ones. Some with clothes and hair disshelved, some wailing and some with bruised faces. But they are very lucky as they will later realize.

The police men are motioning the people to clear the area. Helping the hurt to move. But the crowd is still there. The urgency in the sirens has increased. Then there is a rumbling noise. Something has happened. Another plane?! A long shot of the Towers comes up. The tower hit in the middle by the second plane seems to be tilted a bit to one side. Then it starts to crumble down. There is utter mayhem. Every body wants to run now. The roof of the tower seems to be dissappearing down in smoke. It keeps going down faster and faster untill everything is covered in smoke and dust. One cameraman is running with his camera facing backwards. The video is wobbly but I can see a dense dust cloud rushing between the streets, engulfing every car, every person. There is a thick layer of ash and dust on the roads.

Some time later the second tower crumbles down too layer by layer like a card house. My attention moves to the live news feed scrolling at the bottom of the TV screen. It reads –

Al Qaeda warns of attacks in Gulf, Israel. 4 French tourists abducted in Yemen. Saddam trial resumes after 3 week break. US warns North Korea on nuclesr tests. Japan launches satellite to spy on North Korea. Malegaon blasts: Police release sketch of third bomber.


Let the Good Times Never End

Riders on the Storm

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house were born
Into this world were thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

Theres a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm

“Riders on the storm” – Snoop Dog featuting The Doors

New job @ TCS

I joined at my new job as a DBA at TCS. All the things I’d ever heard about Delhi traffic and the travails of bus traveling are true! There is so much road construction going on and the rainy season makes the matters worse. Mud everywhere. The first two days when I had to travel from Delhi to Gurgaon were the most tiring. I didn’t know which bus to board or where to jump off. Admittedly, I was helped a lot by co-passengers.

On my first day, 26th July, I had to reach Hauzkhas from Vasant Vihar. I wore my new Carlton London cherry shoes. A mistake a realized later because they were drenched in the downpour. It was raining like anything and I was already late. I took an auto. The autowallah was a nice guy from southern India. Though he overcharged me but dropped me right in front of the office where I had to meet Nitin. Nitin was not in office when I reached. He was stuck in traffic somewhere. I didn’t mind. Met Smita in the mean time and had nice warm tea.

Nitin reached after 30 something minutes. He was much younger than I expected, but a genial guy. Had a brief chat and verified my documents. He gave me a form which I must have taken quite long to fill because he came twice in between to check if I was done. Any way, after I was done, Nitin said that we have to report at TCS the same day. He offered to drop me which I gladly accepted. We conversed about jobs, family, India tourism (!!!) etc. Although he said that he had not travelled much but at the same time related some fine details of forts in Rajasthan and Mumbai-Pune highway!

The TCS building in Gurgaon is called ‘Towers’ because two tower like multi-storey structures stand adjacent to each other. Connected by a bridge at fifth floor. Beautiful interiors. I had to get a visitor pass at the gate and had to ‘tail-gate’ at almost every door! Later I went to the other TCS office in GG2 for a while but came back to the Towers soon. All this time, it never stopped drizzling.

Now it is a learning thing till the guy I have to replace is there. But the learning basically never stops, does it?

Birthday Boy, Me !


Happy Birth Day

to Me !!