Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year? Already???

Yet another year is going away.

Into the past.

Wasn't it just yesterday that we were all talking about the Year 2000??

But then, the cliche rings true. And time and tide have just followed their platitude. Seven years just rolled right past our surprised faces.

And now as we stand on the threshhold of 2008, without knowing what's in store for us, what can I wish for all of us ?

Judging from the horrible things we see, hear, and read - in Newspapers, TV, Radio and Internet - I can only feel that its appropriate to wish for PEACE.

I wish for all of us, a time of peace.

Peace in our families, among our friends, within our community, inside our country, around the world. Peace.

Salaam.....Shalom..... Shanti.....

Peace in the valley

May it be a peaceful...and.. ofcourse.... a happy new year.

God Bless us all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Stone

This is one of my favourite poems.

It is a poem about a girl whose lover is dead. And she goes to a stone cutter asking him to cut a tombstone for her dead lover.

I read out the poem here. You can listen. Just turn on the speakers or headphones, and click on the 'play' button below. While it is playing, you can even follow the words by reading them below.


Wilfred Wilson Gibson

"AND will you cut a stone for him,
To set above his head?
And will you cut a stone for him—
A stone for him?" she said.

Three days before, a splintered rock
Had struck her lover dead—
Had struck him in the quarry dead,
Where, careless of the warning call,
He loitered, while the shot was fired—
A lively stripling, brave and tall,
And sure of all his heart desired...
A flash, a shock,
A rumbling fall...
And, broken 'neath the broken rock,
A lifeless heap, with face of clay;
And still as any stone he lay,
With eyes that saw the end of all.

I went to break the news to her;
And I could hear my own heart beat
With dread of what my lips might say
But, some poor fool had sped before;
And flinging wide her father's door,
Had blurted out the news to her,
Had struck her lover dead for her,
Had struck the girl's heart dead in her,
Had struck life, lifeless, at a word,
And dropped it at her feet:
Then hurried on his witless way,
Scarce knowing she had heard.

And when I came, she stood, alone
A woman, turned to stone:
And, though no word at all she said,
I knew that all was known.

Because her heart was dead,
She did not sigh nor moan,
His mother wept:
She could not weep.
Her lover slept:
She could not sleep.
Three days, three nights,
She did not stir:
Three days, three nights,
Were one to her,
Who never closed her eyes
From sunset to sunrise,
From dawn to evenfall:
Her tearless, staring eyes,
That seeing naught, saw all.

The fourth night when I came from work,
I found her at my door.
"And will you cut a stone for him?"
She said: and spoke no more:
But followed me, as I went in,
And sank upon a chair;
And fixed her grey eyes on my face,
With still, unseeing stare.
And, as she waited patiently,
I could not bear to feel
Those still, grey eyes that followed me,
Those eyes that plucked the heart from me,
Those eyes that sucked the breath from me
And curdled the warm blood in me,
Those eyes that cut me to the bone,
And pierced my marrow like cold steel.

And so I rose, and sought a stone;
And cut it, smooth and square:
And, as I worked, she sat and watched,
Beside me, in her chair.
Night after night, by candlelight,
I cut her lover's name:
Night after night, so still and white,
And like a ghost she came;
And sat beside me in her chair;
And watched with eyes aflame.

She eyed each stroke;
And hardly stirred:
She never spoke
A single word:
And not a sound or murmur broke
The quiet, save the mallet-stroke.

With still eyes ever on my hands,
With eyes that seemed to burn my hands,
My wincing, overwearied hands,
She watched, with bloodless lips apart,
And silent, indrawn breath:
And every stroke my chisel cut,
Death cut still deeper in her heart:
The two of us were chiselling,
Together, I and death.

And when at length the job was done,
And I had laid the mallet by,
As if, at last, her peace were won,
She breathed his name; and, with a sigh,
Passed slowly through the open door:
And never crossed my threshold more.

Next night I laboured late, alone,
To cut her name upon the stone.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Runway on sea?

I was surprised at the stunning pictures of a runway built almost on sea!!

I received these pictures - some of which I placed below - as an an e-mail forward from my friend Mohan Gokavi, and couldn't help investigating a bit.

I now understand that this is a beautiful island called 'Madeira' that belongs to Portugal. At a 15 minute flight-distance from Lisbon, this airport has won the IABSE award for structural engineering. Click here to more about the award.

The Award recognises the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structures completed within the last few years.

Watch pictures below and enjoy. Don't miss the cars parked under the bridge!

Madeira Islands

The Madeira Islands, known originally to the Romans as the Purple Islands, were found (accidentally) by the Portuguese in the 15th Century.

Positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, about 360 miles directly west of Morocco, Africa, and 540 miles southwest of Lisbon, Portugal, Madeira and Porto Santo are the only inhabited islands.

These islands are a popular year-round resort, famed worldwide for their Madeira wine, embroidery artisans, a perfect climate, striking scenery and beautiful flowers.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Don't cry for me, Argentina!

Eva Peron
Don't Cry for me, Argentina.

This was the song I heard Sharon Prabhakar sing, on TV, about 15 years ago.

The then-famous Indian Pop Singer and the celebrity wife of Alyque Padamsee - who was, and perhaps still is, India's leading Advertising Guru - made this song popular in its special opera-tic rendition.

I had found out that this song was from the Broadway musical EVITA . And curiosity led me to find out more about Eva Peron (Evita), the former First Lady of Argentina, on whose life it was based.

(More recently, Evita was made into a movie too, with Madonna playing Eva Peron, and singing the same song).

But during those days, you can say, - when I was still a student at the University - I had become an amateur-expert in Argentinian politics!! Much to the surprise, and much to the irritation of my disbelieving friends.

Anyway, last week, when I read that the current First Lady Christina has been elected to become the next President, I couldn't help getting excited about my past mental association with Argentina.

And also, we know that Hillary would perhaps be another former First Lady who could be the President.

So, digging up some info, I quickly wrote this article for Gulf Daily News, (Sunday, 4-Nov '07). I wish the title was Women Power in Argentine Politics., but 'Cristina is the new Evita? was good enough :-)
Isabel Peron - Former First Lady
who became President on
husband's death.


Cristina Fernandez - Former First Lady
who became first 'elected' President
who succeeded her husband.

The pictures are
- Eva Peron (high above), Former First Lady - who did not become Vice President
- Isabel Peron (left), Former First lady & VP - who became President on husband's death
- Cristina Fernadez de Krichenr (right), First Lady 'elected' to take over from husband on Dec-10


I am also embedding below Madonna's song from Evita

Friday, September 28, 2007

Microsoft and Ethics


I feel that last week's ruling against Microsoft by EU's second highest court could be a strong blow to Microsoft.

The court upheld the European Council decision of March 2004 saying that Microsoft abused its monopoly in computer operating systems; that its anticompetitive business practices have limited consumer choice; and that remedies imposed by antitrust regulators — including the forced licensing of sensitive technical details of the Windows operating system to competitors — are appropriate.
I am placing a serious analytical link here. You can click here and read in detail if you wish.

Despite my being a Microsoft loyal for long, I must admit that I feel now that Microsoft should rethink its business strategy. It should understand why competitors are hell-bent on fighting it based on anti-trust law. And why these competitors are feeling that they are being cheated out of selling their own products. I think its time now that the people of Microsoft weigh their own actions against ethical principles.

Let’s look at it this way. We know that arguably 90% of the world's computers are now running Windows Operating Systems. But do we know whether Microsoft has achieved these astounding sales with ethical business practices?

Because today, when you buy a Microsoft Windows Operating System you get with it, a lot more. Among many other software freebies, you get the latest of Internet Explorer browser, Outlook Express e-mail ware, Windows Media Player, and the Windows Movie Maker. All bundled. And All Free. So, obviously, customers would buy it up. And the sales chart would look up.

But this has been annoying other software vendors who make browsers, media players or movie makers. And quite rightly so. After all, why should Microsoft kill these competitors’ market segments by offering products free in those segments? Isn't Microsoft exploiting its dominant market position, by these bundled offers? Isn’t Microsoft preventing other software vendors from purveying their wares?

Therefore, it was no surprise when Sun Microsystems and Real Networks decided to take on Microsoft by complaining and thereby moving the court, which after a five-year investigation, said in March 2004, 'Yes. Microsoft has abused its monopolistic position, and used anticompetitive business practices."

According to Tuesday’s Seattle Times, Microsoft had settled with Real Networks out of court two years ago for $716 million, and struck an alliance with Sun in 2004. It also has already paid and accounted for the fines.

In spite of all that, now, with this Monday’s upholding of that 2004-decision by The European Court of First Instance, it could be very heavy on Microsoft. It now faces a $613 million penalty, the commission's largest, equal to about 3.3 percent of Microsoft's operating income in its past fiscal year.

However, Microsoft can still appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the highest court in Europe, and continue the battle, but will it do a lot of good to its image? That is the question.

There may be some who say what’s wrong with Microsoft’s way. It didn’t steal. It didn’t spy. It just gave its own products free. And some may even quote “All is fair in love and war”. But this is Business. And when Business does not seem fair, there is always competition that will fight for it, and the government that will insist on it.

Business Ethics is not an oxymoron. Anymore. Atleast not in these days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadan Mubarak


Ramadan Mubarak to all my muslim friends!

And here's some Ramadan Information for all my non-muslim friends.

Today is the beginning of the month of Ramadan, and yesterday was the end of the month of Shaban, in the Islamic Calender.

And among the many things that awe me in Islam is this 'Holy Month of Ramadan' that begins today; a month of fasting for muslims all over the world. People fast from sunrise to sundown, abstaining from food, drink, smoke, entertainment and even sexual relations with their spouses.

Many attempt to spend time tuning up their spiritual lives. I had a colleague who actually completed reading the book of Quran during Ramadan last year. She had said that that was her target and went on to do it. Many still do.

That is why Ramadan month is often termed as a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control.

Special service in the form of the distribution of food and clothing for the needy, is also undertaken by many muslims or muslim charity organizations.

Fasting during this month is actually the third of the five pillars - or religious obligations - of Islam. For those who wish to know the five, they are:

  1. IMAN - Faith or belief that there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet

  2. SALAH - Prayer five times a day (Mosques call for prayer (or Adan) at dawn, mid-day, late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Listen to some Azzans/Adhans here ).

  3. ZAKAH - Giving to the poor from what God gave. [All wealth is God-given, and individuals are merely trustees. Zakah actually means 'purification' or 'growth' and one can be purified by setting aside some of their wealth for those who need].

  4. SAWM - Fasting in the month of Ramadan. ROZA is another word for the same.

  5. HAJJ - Piligrimage to Makkah (in Saudi Arabia) by those who are able to physically and Financially do so. [I remember a muslim friend who came and returned some money he owed me - the day before he left for Hajj - saying, 'I want to go for Hajj with a clear conscience and I can't do so without settling this'.]

Bahrain, despite its cosmopolitan nature, is still proudly Islamic. And during daytime in this month, eating, drinking or smoking in public is not allowed. Cafes, restaurants and other eating places are closed. Public - muslim or non-muslim - will not be seen eating anywhere. People dress modestly, and no blaring music is heard from cars. All Discos, Bars and Night Clubs cease their activities.

But ofcourse, like the world over, the elders complain that the younger men and women are not observing Ramadan in its true spirit, with devotion. They say that during Ramadan nights, they infact eat more than they eat during normal days. And they stay up late nights, as most schools, universities and offices work for less time during this month.

One muslim friend joked saying that some young people look forward to Ramadan-Month not because its a time of fasting but because its a time of feasting!

But all said and done, having seen the months of Ramadan, living in Bahrain, for eight years now, I can only say that the fervour and the devotion with which it is observed is remarkable. To abstain from drinking even water during the "Hot Arabian months" is not easy. Its an amazing test for self-control. I tried and fasted a couple of days during some Ramadan months, and I must say its tough!!

Most importantly, the devotion, the charity, the seriousness and other aspects of life of the muslim brethern is simply admirable.

With each passing Ramadan, my respect for my muslim friends just keeps growing.

Ramadan Kareem.


Friday, August 10, 2007

On Leave

Dear all,

The blog will become active again, after Sep 5, 2007.

The blogger is on leave now and regrets the inconvience you had of coming to this site and then finding out that things are just the same.

But Thank you for visiting. Please visit again.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Amazing Apple iPhone

Wow!! I watched the demo video of Apple's new release yesterday, The "iPhone". And I am floored! Using the wowsome Indian word, I must say I am completely Fidaa over it. (You can see a video I've embedded below this write up)

Apple never ceases to amaze me! The people at Apple are so so advanced in their concepts and designs - whether it was their macintosh computer or the macintosh operating system and whether it is their iMac or their iPod.

The rest of the computer companies complacently think they themselves are advanced but with this release, Apple tells the world again that Apple is miles ahead!

So..with iPhone you can forget about dailing numbers, or holding a stylo to carefully click on the numbers with it. You can simply tap, push, drag your fingers on the large touchscreen. To call people, merge calls, listen to music, send and receive pictures, check you e-mail, browse the internet, by minimum exertion of energy even with your fingertip, and the maximum benefit of options in terms of value.

The Price??? 499 Dollars in the USA! (Less than BD 200!!)
But I don't know how soon it will be available here in Bahrain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shrek the Third - Delightful or Dull?

Just came home after watching the movie, 'Shrek the Third' along with my kids and my friend's kid, at the Seef Megaplex.

I had earlier enjoyed watching 'Shrek' and 'Shrek 2' - well, you'd be watching these type of movies too, if you have kids in the age-groups as those of mine - but somehow I feel that this part is not as good as the first and second.

It was delightful in a way, with all the fairy tale characters together - from Cinderella to Gingerbread Man, from Pinocchio to Rumpelstiltskin. But somehow, I felt the focus shifted away a bit from the antics of the Donkey or Puss in Boots - who I think are the life-blood of the Shrek series. And Shrek and Princess Fiona too get less screen-time. Well, even though my favourite character from this edition is Merlin the wizard, [despite his brief the way he is dressed briefly too!], the overall impact of the movie wasn't as high as I anticipated.

But then, its also possible because the media raises our expectations, with all that marketing imagery. But seeing the repetition of scenes and locales, again and again, can slowly bore you in sequels. See how you feel your interest waning as you watch The Matrix and then The Matrix Reloaded and then the Matrix Revolutions? Or Jaws series or Scream series. Even Superman and The Lord of the Rings and the Pirates of the Caribbean can make you lose that wonderful first love for the first film.

I know there will be some who'd say, this is rubbish. And even point a case that the Lord of the Rings' third part actually won 11 Oscars. But I still feel that winning academy awards gives no evidence or proof that the enjoyment is same, or more than, when watching the first one that preceded the sequels.

So, here's my Law. Joel's Law of Movie Sequels. "In movie sequels, all things being constant - such as characters, dialogues and music - the degree of excitement one perceives watching a sequel is inversely proportional to the number of the sequel!"

Hee hee. My own postulate. A Royalty-free quote. But please give my reference, every time you use it.

Uh ho..... . I must run away now. I'll continue this later.

So, watch this space.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A slip that is showing!

This is one amazing girl I found on youtube. Simply amazing! I am sure she'll go far, and make waves. More than what she had already made by her talent.

She writes her own scripts, gets her folks to help her shoot herself. She can play music, sing, talk, act, direct, shoot, edit, dub and do a host of other things and is a delight to watch.

Click below and listen to her song '7.7.7'. About youtube gathering on 07.07.07

For those who are wondering why she called her VLog (Video blog) as "Happy Slip", listen to its hillarious origin and her story in her own words, below.

Here's her one song I loved about her Big Mac. Not the one you get at Mc Donald's. But the one you use to type out your e-mails. She sings it to the tune of James Blunt's song, You are beautiful.

Have fun listening to her. I have seen many of her videos. Though not all. But apparently she is becoming a great star. Making up her own soap operas on her you-tube channel which people are subscribing to from Manila to Malibu.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rajnikanth's Razzle-Dazzle

No Indian movie was ever released with as much fanfare - and watched with as much frenzy - as this one, in Bahrain. (check this news)

Two friends excitedly called me on Friday asking if I wish to watch Shivaji, the new Rajnikanth movie with them. They said, in particular, that I must consider it a special honour. Because they bought the tickets at a much higher price than that from the ticket counter - in black, as it is termed - and with great difficulty.

Three other friends asked if I had the tickets to the movie. Or at least tell us, they said, if you know some way of getting them. When I said No, they stiffly, chided me. Their argument? Not making an attempt to buy tickets for this movie that's making waves the world over, is tantamount to insanity.

Most interestingly however, none of them is a Tamil-speaking person! And the movie is in Tamil!

I pointed that out, and expressed my doubts about their viewing comprehension. But they said that language simply doesn't matter as long as they can feast their eyes on the stylish antics of the icon, the legend, and the reigning czar of Tamil cinema, the south Indian superstar, Rajnikanth.

Apart from his acting in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies for which he is renowned for, Rajnikanth had also done some Bollywood blockbusters in Hindi such as 'Andhaa Kanoon' and 'Chaalbaaz'. They had brought him good fame. But he chose and stuck to the south Indian cinema, particularly Tamil, where he is now a demigod.

Not many people know that his mother tongue is actually Marathi, but he didn't do any Marathi film. Named as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, when born, he grew up to do all sorts of odd jobs before starting his career in the film industry including that of a bus-conductor in Bangalore.

But from a bus conductor to a stage-player, to a cinema villain, to an anti-hero, to a super hero, he's certainly taken the road less travelled. And travelled quiet far. Now, raking millions of dollars from around the globe, and having a fan-following that almost treats him like god.

I remember my journey into the interior of Tamil Nadu, ten years ago, when in my earlier job as a marketing guy, I had to visit places like Chennai, Erode, Trichy, Coimbatore, Madurai and Pondicherry. I was surprised to see Rajnikanth's face peering at me from various angles from various places. In his trade-mark sunglasses, and with his thick crop of dense dark hair, his face was ubiquitous. It was everywhere. On the glass panes of hair cutting saloons, on the back sides of the passing trucks, on the rear glasses of taxis and auto-rickshaws, on the side-walls of supermarkets and on the sides of the city-buses. Everywhere.

It was because the then hero-hungry masses were agreeably sated by the arrival of this man on the silver screen, who played their hero - yes, their hero - in scores of films. This angry young man's irreverent fights against exploiting employers, his courageous conniving against manipulating zamindars, and his witty scathing dialogues uttered to hit their heart, have all spawned a new generation who swore allegiance to the new style icon.

Joyous whistles, claps and hoots rise up from the front-benches to reverberate in theatres every time he employs a style unique only to him. He can kick the villain's goons, rising high up into the air, defying all Newtonian laws of gravity. He can smash things with an incredible swish-swashing of arms and legs. He can suddenly twist his neck to throw his ruffled hair, back into place, to quick swooshing music. He can, like in fits and starts, stylishly place his sunglasses on his nose twisting his hands and wrists at unbelievable angles. He can hit his one elbow with the other hand, ejecting from fingers, a live cigarette, which makes a couple of summersaults in the air before his mouth deftly catches it, by the right end. Yes. Endearing feats for fantasy-yearning fans.

Recently, his Telugu movie, 'Peddarayudu' (remake of Tamil hit 'Nattammai') had broken several records. His 'Muthu' and its songs became a rage in Japan and, 'Padayappa' also ran to packed houses in the UK and USA. Now his latest release, 'Shivaji', is running to packed houses, across the globe, wherever it is released.

The cinemas are packed and the shows are booked. But is it caused by genuine anticipation for a star-movie, or is it just a marketing stunt and media-generated frenzy? Maybe yes. Maybe No. But what is sure is that Rajnikanth is obviously still cruising on the crest, drawing multitudes to his movies. And for a star-size that is larger-than-life, reviews just don't matter. Hit Happens.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A 'Moving' Experience!

"Oh...God. Where's that book?"

Daddyyyyy.... I can't find my red slippers"

The remote? Oh...I kept it in the same box as the DVD... Now! Where's that blasted box?".

I'm getting late... I'm getting late... In which box did I keep the combs?"

The above are some 'sample phrases' being bounced off, and on, the walls of our new home, these days.

Moving is one helluva job. Since the time we decided to shift houses, its been one big traumatic experience till now. Throwing away unnecessary things. Arguing and debating on what to keep and what to throw. Crazy sentiments versus clear logic. Hoarding rubbish against disposing valuables. Or the reverse. Sorting stuff and arranging things in different places, readying our belongings for the packers and movers.

And then they came. Actually, they descended on us. A small army of packers. Their sole aim was to grab everything in sight, wrap it up in paper, and shove it into the cartons. You pay - we pack. No talk - just watch. That seemed like their motto... or perhaps their type of a mission statement.

"Heyyyyyy, that's a very expensive glass vase... you could break it." A look of shock on my wife's face. "Don't worry Ma'am. We've been doing this for years" A throw of skill with the glass-vase. Which his colleague deftly catches and wraps it into bubble-wrap-paper and pushes it into another carton.

A display of apathy. At its best. They seem completely immune to any feelings for our thumping hearts or our lumping throats . They do not wait for us to arrange stuff. They do not wait for more discussions on whats to be left or taken. Their simple saying is "You tell us what goes where. And we'll just put it there".

Within hours, our flat is stripped bare. From our wardrobes, even the clothes with hangers are lifted straight off from their iron-rods... and taken into the van outside. They are then neatly hung to the iron rods affixed to the ceiling in the interior of the huge vehicle.

Very soon, the journey to the new place begins. And away went the movers' van - well-laden with loads of clothes, utensils, crockery, photo-frames, paintings, vases, books, jars, tins, shelves, pillows, shoes, cameras, TV, etc. etc. and more etc. and much more etc.

We lock up the old house, run to our car, and drive to the new place. Through the Bahrain's now-bothersome traffic, through the heat and dust outside, through lines of bumper-to-bumper cars, through the the angry afternoon sun, we move slowly to finally, finally reach the new place.

Lo and Behold! Our more-than-efficient troupe of movers-and-packers are already there! Waiting at the gate of the new place, ready to unload.

The workers seem blessed with boundless enthusiasm. What's their job again? To lift heavy weights, of cartons, suitcases, and furniture again, off from the van into the new place. And they do it with such speed and agility that we are dumbfounded.

Now, their large moving van was stripped bare of all those boxes and other belongings. And soon our new place was filled with those cardboard boxes and other belongings.

The skilled army of packers-and-movers were then quickly off to another house! They seem to be a tearing hurry. Not even completing consumption of offered sandwiches and orange juice. And off they went. Probably to shock yet another frustrated family, with their prowess.

But our ever-faithful, men-friday, Reddy and Rangaiah, helped us with the rest, in the new house.

Its over a week since we moved. But nothing seems to be in its place. It'll take a while to adjust and reorient ourselves to the new directions and the new locations of the old things.

From sugar-tins to shoe-polish and from screw-driver to stereo-adapter, its one big search after another.

"Daddyyyyyyyy..... where's that book of Fairy Tales?? You said you'd kept it in my box with my name on it....but ..its not here!...... I want to show it to my new neighbour, Shaima."

Well, Sorry folks......Bye for now.... I must go and find that book for her.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Me, My Wife, and Batelco - A Love Triangle?

Wow! Batelco announced its 1st Quarter profits, last week, of nearly 25 million!

And did you all know that I contributed to those profits??

My calls inland, my calls abroad, my software downloads, my children's game downloads, my wife's purchase of sim-sim cards, her calls to her friends, her calls to near-relatives (who stay far-away), her SMS-es to game shows, calls to 900 numbers, my MMS attempts......

So, excuse me, Batelco. Don't you think I deserve at least a 'Thank You' note?

But instead of a 'Thank You' note, what do I get yesterday?

A Red Bill. By post.

And also a SWEET Voice. On phone. "Azeezi izaboon.... Dear customer, your telephone bill is over due.....please pay the bill immediately to avoid disconnection."

And also an ANGRY Voice (of my wife), "If you don't pay it today, they may disconnect the phone. And then, how can I show my face to my friends who call??"

"Just a minute," I said. "How can you show your face on telephone......I thought you make your friends hear your voice... right?

No. She didn't like the joke. In fact, that made her furious.

"Stop being childish! The last time, you had promised you'll pay online, and still waited until they almost disconnected."

"But didn't I pay it, even if late, and stop the disconnection?"

"Oh yeah?? You did. But that was only because you were worried about losing the Internet connection, and that precious time you spend on your stupid computer."

"Oh yeah? And it doesn't matter to you? You can't be grateful a bit? That I was able to let you show your face... make your friends hear your voice??"

"I am in no mood to appreciate your silly talk."

"I am just asking you to appreciate my paying telephone bills. Even, if late."

"Why? You think I forgot that time when they actually disconnected?! And how you ran helter-skelter to get it reconnected again?"

"But, I got it done. On the same day!"

"Yes. But what about the additional 'reconnection' charges to Batelco?"

"But dear, look at the result…"

"Now, listen. If that's what you think, go ahead. Let the phone be disconnected if you wish. I can always talk to my friends on my mobile phone. And anyway, I want to see how long you can live without the internet connection."


"What happened...... cat got your tongue?"

"You know, dear.... We must really upgrade to a bigger broadband connection. You can speak for hours with anyone around the world. What is more, I already explained and showed you. You can really, actually, show your face to friends - on webcam, by using an instant messenger ....without paying anything."

That got her attention.

"Without paying anything?"


"Impossible! You must be paying for something!"

"Well, not for telephone calls."


"For Internet usage, on broad band, based on the data bits we send and receive."

"So, simply speaking, the more you use it, the more you pay?"


"No. Thanks!"

See, folks? Its so sad. There are still some people who do not wish to contribute to Batelco's profits, and this country's economy.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Love Stories in Songs - Part 3

(5) Unanswered Prayers

This is a strange, unusual, love song by Garth Brooks. A love song for "the wife." A chance meeting with an old flame, makes the singer take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. He remembers the many times when he'd prayed to God, to get that girl. But now, he thanks God for "unanswered payers"!! Listen to the lyrics (you can also find them by clicking here), watch the video below and enjoy.

Just the other night, at the home-town football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame.....

Here, Garth Brooks is seen singing, at a open concert, in New York. So I wonder if you can hear the words clearly. But its worth listening to his clear version.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Love Stories in Songs - Part 2

I am trying to put two more songs here following my earlier post.

I am just amazed and thrilled to find that most of my favourite songs are already on "you tube" in some form or other. It makes me happy that there are many others with similar likes.

Anyway here's song No. 3. You can see it below

(3) Goodness Gracious Me.

This song was originally, actually, sung by actors Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren themselves!! And not by any playback singers. Peter Sellers acts like an Indian Doctor based in London, and his accent is hillariously Indian!! In the movie 'The Millionairess" he is a simple doctor who spurns the advances of an italian beauty even though she is a heiress to a fortune, and very keen on him.

I heard this song many years ago, read the singers' names and movie's name; but was unable to find this movie to watch, until I came to Bahrain where in one DVD/Video shop - four years ago -I saw this title. Well, I borrowed and enjoyed the movie, but was shocked and disappointed that the song did not figure in it, at all!!

Apparently, this was a song that they both did as a 'promo' for the movie, and no original video is available by both of them, anywhere. :-( Let me know if any of you know more about this.

Anyway, an enterprising couple decided to mime to the song, and placed it on 'you tube'. I am placing it here, for you. They did a fantastic job here......though I just wish the doc was an Indian.

Listen to the very funny lyrics, and the perfect Indian accent of Peter Sellers. You'll enjoy it.

(4) Angelo

This is a song I used to listen to, on radio, when I was very very young [All India Radio, Hyderabad used to broadcast 1-hour of english programmes daily, which I used to eagerly look forward to]. It may have been the time when I was in High School. It is sung by Brotherhood of Man, a group that was very popular for nice romantic numbers and some peace-on-the-world types. This one is a regular love-story. Poor boy falling in love with a rich girl. Listen to the lyrics (you can also find them clicking here), watch the video below and enjoy.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Love Stories in Songs - Part 1

There are a few love songs, with stories in them, that can move us a lot. Here are FIVE songs of this type, that I like most. Though not necessarily in the same order. (I know some of you might call me a sentimental fool after seeing & listening to these. But do I care?? :-p )

(1) Tie a yellow ribbon round the 'ole oak tree.

Sung by Tony Orlando and Dawn, in 1973, its a story of a released prisoner going in a bus, singing this song, for the passengers and the bus driver, hoping to see a yellow ribbon tied around the 'ole oak tree. He is desperately hoping and expecting his lady love to still like him after three years in prison. He had written a letter asking her to tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, if she still wants him. And is willing to go away from her life, if he doesn't see that yellow ribbon. For Lyrics, click here

(2) Coat of many colours

Its the love story of a mom and daughter. This Dolly Parton song was one of those few songs that actually moved me to tears. Many years ago, when I was living alone, this song made me think of the sacrifices that my parents had made for us. It is the story of a girl who, when she was young, had no proper clothes to wear. But her mama made her a coat of rags sewn together, which the girl proudly wore.

Lyrics can be found if you click here. Though this is a recent stage performance of Shania Twain - with the original Dolly Parton - the audio is not that clear. You should listen to the clear Dolly Parton number. Watch out for a glimpse of Oprah Winfrey in the audience at the end of the song! be continued

The other three songs I promised, will be coming soon in another post as "Part 2" and "Part 3".


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Radio Ride


She's sun and rain, she's fire and ice
A little crazy, but it's nice....
She's every woman that I've ever known.

Listening to these words, as I drove to work this morning, gave me a nice warm feeling. Strains of melody from the vocal chords of Garth Brooks, have always given me such feeling. In fact, good old country music always does that to me.

This morning, at the Isa Town Roundabout, when I was impatiently waiting for the cars in front, to get out of the way, it was this country music that was calmly soothing my nerves!

You might ask, Country music? That slow old-fashioned music?? I know I know. There are those who think I am very old ( well..ummm, probably I am. Because its not chic and sound-of-music-ish to sing 'I am 37 ... going on 38'... at my age).

But the truth is, I hate 'heavy metal' and 'acid-rock', and wonder where on earth 'techno' has come from. And what the hell 'hip-hop' or 'funky' is...... I get even more bugged when those in the age-range of I am sixteen, going on seventeen, start discussing the differences of terms like 'R&B' and 'Blues' and 'smooth jazz', as old fashioned. Well, if people can let aside their tastes, and give me just country music anytime, I would be content.

In fact, listening to music while I drive to my place of work each morning is now a rejuvenating experience. Praise songs, that warm your heart on sunny pleasant mornings, and these country music songs that relax your mind in the rush-hour traffic, are a great cure for a stressful mind.

My glove compartment (glove? I don't know if its the right usage in Bahrain) has got a good collection soft soothing music to beat the 'Oh-my-God-I-am-late-what-do-I-do-now' moods.

Music really is the saving grace when up-front, the cars are not moving and the friendly policeman at the roundabout is beckoning the drivers to go past, and go fast, waving his arm at high speed - sometimes I really worry that his arms could come off at the hinges.... er.... joints - but meanwhile he is heartlessly halting and completely ignoring my lane, and line, of cars.

Switiching to radio - I go to 96.5 FM, and hear Krazy Kevin's screams, squeals and guffaws, and some coffee talk, and flick to another channel, 104.2 FM, (Voice FM, the new Indian radio channel from Bahrain with its pot-pourii of languages), where Juhi-ji is talking to some Ahmed who has SMSed her a long poem which she is faithfully reading - khaas-doston-key-liye-ek-khoobsurat-kavitha - in her special soulful voice.

She asked a question and wanted the listeners to SMS their answer. I almost did that, forgetting the recent law in Bahrain! That drivers should not use headset-less phones while driving!! Luckily for me, I didn't. Because our friendly neghbourhood policeman had finally relented. And with a grim face, a generous nod of head, a quick wave of hand, he indicated that our line of cars can now safely enter the roundabout, and move on. He immediately and majestically motioned to the otherside to come no further, while our relieved train of cars slid forward on road.

Oh, the power the traffic policeman weilds !!! [it reminds me of the question my little daughter asked "who is the strongest man in the world?", and when I feigned ignorance, she answered that it was "a 'traffic policeman' because he can stop many cars and even buses with just one hand!!"].

While the Voice FM's hindi song, regales my mind, I move on, only to soon see before me yet another line of cars, at next intersection - the A'Ali (Traffic Directorate) roundabout - and wait again. I was glad, however, because this will be the last traffic intersection, before I reach my place of work.

After the song on the radio, Juhi-ji, came online. She began talking to a cricket expert, who is refusing to accept the term 'expert', but waxing eloquent on Bangladesh's excellent performance in worldcup. Shutting them off mid-way, I flicked to 101.4 FM and heard - for the umpteenth time - Natalie Cole's song 'Unforgettable' which she sang with her late father Nat King Cole (the song had won a grammy for Sound engineering).

Just when I thought I'll get delayed even more, traffic moved on. And I moved on to tape from radio... and Garth Brooks came to his ending, as I too ended my ride, and parked my car to get into our building..

She's anything, but typical
She's so unpredictable
Oh but even at her worst she ain't that bad
She's as real as real can be
She's everywoman

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Business Ethics or Balderdash?


Business Ethics. Is it an oxymoron? Is it a myth?

Some might still argue that there is no such thing as Business Ethics. But today, ethical considerations cannot be taken for granted, by any sensible or responsible organization.

This 'Ethics' issue comes to forefront once again with last week's news of Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of the French Oil and Gas giant, 'Total', being put under judicial investigation for alleged financial misconduct. He is being questioned on claims that kickbacks were paid to win a contract with the Iranian government to operate the South Pars gas project.

Total insists that they acted in full compliance of the local laws and that there was no violation of its code of ethics. But, only time will tell if the claims against Total are 'total'ly baseless.

Corruption in high places has always been good feed to the media, quite obviously for the readership, viewership and listenership it generates. But whatever the hype, the real question is whether companies can ever be fully ethical? If not, how far can they be ethical in their dealings?

If we quickly revisit some recent financial scandals in business, they are all true stories of leaders condoning negligence, consenting to falsification, and still complacent in optimism.

Heads of companies were thinking they can misrepresent facts, and remain silent for just a little while more. But the noise of crashes these companies made, as they came down, must be ringing loud in the ears of their former bosses and employees.

In 2002, it was the Enron issue - one of the biggest bankruptcies in US history - where thousands became jobless overnight. Lavish unchecked expenditure, misrepresentation of accounts, refusal to allow employees to sell their company stock, have all snowballed into a horrible mess from which Enron was unable to untangle itself. Employees were made to believe that everything was hunky-dory until suddenly, the brutal truth of enormous bills, hit them all. And the panic-stricken investors, withdrew the support and the whole thing quickly collapsed. And it was sad to see the way the company crumbled.

Arthur Anderson, Enron's auditing firm – which until then was renowned as among the world's 'Big Five' auditing firms - had to also swiftly bite the dust. Because, withholding crucial information from employees or investors, and shredding incriminating evidence is not easily taken by courts. And in its wake came the WorldCom collapse, which had beaten Enron to become an even bigger US bankruptcy case. Reason? Once again, misrepresentation of finances!

Despite the great reputation she built for herself, Martha Stewart was jailed for five months, for selling stock, on the basis of insider information. The information she apparently got from the former head of ImClone, Dr.Waksal, had proved very costly for her, and she now struggles rebuilding her own organization. And meanwhile, Dr Waksal himself is serving a 7-year jail sentence for securities fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and perjury.

But why do people fall from grace? Is it because they are unaware of legal controls? Or is it because they are confident their actions justify ethical values? Whatever it is, one can easily infer that if we make mechanisms that challenge the 'get-rich-quick' guy, he will surely find a way to beat it. There would always be these Nick Leesons and Harshad Mehtas who will find ways and means to hoodwink the world with brilliant plans.

Its not just financial control mechanisms, and impregnable banking systems, but the individual attitudes of honesty, openness and transparency that actually yield ethical behaviour. Its not the decades of reputation that a company has garnered, but the moral values of its current members, that will dictate its decision making policies.

Morally upright actions would result only from a societal upbringing that respects honesty and rewards integrity. If the values of integrity and goodness are taught in a way that individuals are not swayed by greed or temptation or even lack of courage, then the organizations will have better workforce. Better staff would mean better organizations, and thereby a better world.

Yes. 'Corporate Governance' will be a wonderful reality only when individuals, who make up the corporate, are governing their conscience.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk

All of us, I am sure, can never cease to be amazed at what collective human endeavour can produce.

Whether it is a complex symphony, or an engineering marvel. Whether it is a key hole surgery, or an open-source operating system.

I am writing this after hearing, and reading, about the opening of the Grand Canyon's new Horse Shoe structure, made for visitors to this marvelous place in the Arizona State of United States.

Engineers, we are told, have drilled holes into the Canyon's rocky body to support this structure that protrudes 20 metres into open air. And this very-heavy, firmly-entrenched structure, has glass floor for people to look down at the canyon's deep deep ravine. And down below, the Colorado river flows. Wow! Just thinking about it can make one dizzy.

The Grand Canyon is supposed to be very deep — in places over a mile (1600 m) deep - and 277 mile (446 km) long, and is cut in the Colorado Plateau. The canyon is still owned by the Red Indians, of the Hualapai tribes.[For comparision, (for my indian friends) the length of 446 km metres would be more or less the distance between Hyderabad and Nagpur. (For those outside), it is the distance between London and Paris, and a bit more].

The sky walk can withstand the weight equivavlent to 71 fully-loaded boeing 747 planes!! Can sustain winds of over 100 miles an hour! From eight different directions!! And even a 8.0 earthquake within 50 miles!!! WOW!!.

Yes, the adage rings true. "whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve"!

Check it out at


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's - A Day too late

It was a strange feeling. 

Very strange. Very special. Sweet Sorrow? Lonesome longing? Didn't know what it was. 

A warm inner glow? A calm simmer of joy? Didn't know what it was called.

It had been happening for a while. Every time I met her. Every time I talked to her. Every time I laughed with her. Every time she laughed at my jokes. A lump in my throat. A gulp to swallow my thrill. Trying to keep a straight face, when my knees grew weak. Trying to speak normally when my heart thumped at high speed. And I hoped that she was feeling the same too.

Then, I decided. 

I decided I would tell her. I decided I would let her know this. But, do I have a reasonable education? Do I have a reasonable job? Well, I think I did. But, will she get angry? Will she give a smile and hint favour? Maybe she will. Maybe she won't.

Destination: Greeting card shop. In 1991, the Internet, or Internet greeting cards, were unheard of. In 1991, even 'mobile phones' were unheard of. We didn't even have telephones - the wired kind - in either of our houses. 

But she had a friend. A more trustworthy medium. I stop by, at her friend's. Pass on a letter. The friend then will stop by, at her house. Passes on that letter. A fool-proof postal system.

But that system developed - between 1992 and 1994 - after the first greeting card. The first card was a direct delivery. But it was a delayed delivery. And this is the story of that delayed delivery.

The greeting card was purchased alright, but it had soon undergone strange metamorphosis, under my hands. Its chocolate-colored side was cut, into a heart-shaped card. And pasted on a white card. Also, cut into the same shape. Then, on either side of the heart - brown on one side and white on another - were pasted tiny stickers of flowers. And then one sticker had a starry-eyed, Archie Andrews, saying 'I think I like you' and a dizzy-eyed Betty Cooper looking at him.

This newly manufactured heart-shaped small item went into a tiny envelope. Then, the tiny envelope went into my shirt pocket. And I went with these two, to a youth group meeting. That was where a lot of young people were supposed to meet that evening for choir practice.

But my objective was a singular one. To muster enough courage to hand it over to her. The day was a special one. 14th February 1991.

Well, in 1991, in a city like Hyderabad, Valentine's Day was not popular, at all. Special TV Shows and satellite Channels were yet to come, and media hype and marketing hype was yet to be made. And, in 1991, it was a bold move, to even talk about Valentine's Day, in a Christian youth group! 

It was a 'oh-my-god-with-a-hand-on-mouth' kinda taboo. So, my mind knew that the operation I was embarking upon was a dangerous one. Very dangerous. It was almost, 'mission impossible".

But that was the mind. What about my heart? It had started beating erratically - when I saw her. What about my throat? It had become completely dry. I must have had three glasses of water, which didn't do any good. 

"Happy Valentine's Day", she said shaking hands, when we were slightly away from the others. Bold move. Very bold move. And seizing the God-sent opportunity, "Here, I got a card for you", is what I should have actually said and given the card to her. But I didn't. I just mumbled a quick "Thank you," and moved on.

Strange. Very Strange. It hardly took one second to mumble, thank you. But it had taken me a full one-hour to make up that card, the previous night. Now, the decreasing thumping of my heart was a relief and a disappointment at the same time. 

I walked home with my heart heavy but still thumping - Underneath the shirt which had a pocket, which had an envelope, which had a card, which had a sticker, which had my feelings. Unexpressed.

It was only the following day, at another meeting that I was able to regain confidence. It was only then that I was able to go close, hand it over, and whisper, "Here's an envelope with a card for you...and don't open it here. Open it at home alone".

There. It was done. That's what I meant when I said 'a delayed delivery'. Not on Valentine's Day, but the next day. 

But I am glad it was not the next year. The next year was 1992. But 1991 to 1994 was an exciting time, with three Valentine's days in them. A three-year period during which our courtship, and our self-developed communication system, flourished.

But the day, 14 February 1991, will forever be remembered by me, as 'Courage Lost', and 15 Feb 1991, as 'Courage Regained'.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Metrosexual Matters


What do the international celebrities David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, and, Johnny Depp have in common with Indian celebrities, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif AliKhan and Rohit Bal?

Well, in several surveys, these men are all rated as the most famous ‘metrosexuals’ today. This term – for which, your latest word processing software, still puts a red squiggle under it – has gained popularity at an incredible pace.

Are you a male? Do you tweeze, wax or trim your eyebrows? Do you shave/wax your legs, chest or back? Do you polish or paint your nails? Do you gel or perm your hair? Do you enjoy manicure and pedicure, like your female friends? Oh.… do? Well, nice to meet you, Mr. Metrosexual!

A metrosexual, you would have gathered, is a straight man perceived to have the style, culture and personal grooming practices usually associated with gay men.

The coinage of this word is attributed to a journalist, Mark Simpson, who said, “The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis – because that’s where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are.”

For us, now, the real question is, Is it the fall of the He-man, and the rise of the Metrosexual? What’s happening to all the he-men? Are they becoming she-men? Is it not macho to be macho anymore? Is ‘sissy’ not a belittling word, anymore?

Seeing swarms of this new emerging breed of modern, straight, stylish, sensitive, well-groomed guys, in shopping malls, cinema halls, discotheques and university portals, one assumes that the tough working woman has broken the glass ceiling and is driving men into sensitive she-like attitude. After all, now, she wants to come home to a tender loving caring guy, who can cook and cry, as appropriate.

Euro RSCG Worldwide, a marketing communications agency based in New York City and more than 200 other cities, which conducted a worldwide survey on metrosexuals, says they are growing all around us. And that its not a passing fad!

This growing group of young, sophisticated spenders is a dream come true for makers of apparel, shoes, watches, jewellery and cosmetics. And this so-called feminization apparently has also made the marketers learn one thing : Soft men sell.

In the movies, when a man cries unabashedly at mushy-mushy incidents and memories, when a man admits he gets scared of blood, when a man cooks good food for a working wife, when a man seeks female help for man's work. It seems to be giving us a new learning : Soft men sell.

But, what do women think? Do they like this new trend?

No, says Stacey Pressman, a freelance producer for ESPN. Writing on her website, she compares a metrosexual to a female body builder. "While there is nothing wrong with a woman who is healthy and physically fit, who works out and builds muscle mass, there is something aesthetically unappealing when taken to the extreme. She looks masculine. To me, all of the lifestyle characteristics of the metrosexual man make him look feminine.... and I truly hope this trend fades out"

But yes, says Sharmila Khanna, an event organiser in Mumbai, in an article in ‘The Week”. "It enhances our relationship when we do things together. Who wouldn't want a well manicured-pedicured man who takes care of the way he looks?" Indian metrosexual is growing strong.

It is said that the cave-man was macho because if he was not, he would die. Or, at the least, he would not be attractive to women and, therefore, would have no opportunity to fulfil his biological need to have children. Today, good leaders and CEOs are expected to be sensitive, have empathy and bond with their people, be creative, act on instinct and gut feel (women's intuition?). Values like these are what makes them successful, and success is attractive to the opposite sex. There lies the reasoning.

Gender roles have been undergoing a redefinition in recent years as women enter the workforce as never before and men embrace less confining views of masculinity.

So, whether we like it or not, the metrosexual is here! And might stay here for quite a while.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Big Brother - Is Reality TV real?

“Big brother is watching you". These ominous Orwellian words have long become a reality. More precisely, on Reality TV.

When George Orwell wrote - in 1949 - a book called "1984", in which he had created the 'Big Brother', he probably never imagined this - that the State’s surveillance, he envisioned, will in fact spill beyond his imaginative futuristic thinking, into something of an engaging entertainment.

When he predicted that you as an individual can never escape the watchful eyes of the State, no matter where you are and what you do, he probably did not think of Live TV shows! That the candid cameras will zealously zoom right into people’s submissive souls. Even to bare their heartbeats and their mind-games for eager eyes.

Live cameras, real people, real personalities, and real problems are what 'Reality TV' boasts of. But, truly, are they? Are they always real?

When a Tough Trump fires an incompetent officemate on ‘Apprentice’; when a bad Goody swears at a glamorous Indian housemate, Shilpa, on ‘Big Brother’; when a tough nut is unceremoniously thrown out, and can’t be on ‘Survivor’, any more; when a lovey-dovey couple is alternately evicted out of ‘Big Boss,’ (apparently for their own good), Shouldn’t we ask ourselves, ‘Is it really real’?

Undoubtedly, it is the voyeurs in all of us who continuously contribute to the rise of Reality TV. It’s our deep desire to see the celebrities, and sometimes non-celebrities, in unrehearsed behaviour - with no second takes - that provides fodder to the producers. We become armchair analysts of some seemingly artistic antics. And pseudo researchers on behavioural psychology.

Every time we discuss these shows at office water-coolers, or home get-togethers, we – unknowingly - make the Television Rating Points of these shows to soar higher. Every time we convert a non-viewer to go home and switch on the show, we – unknowingly – raise the stakes of those on TV, even higher.

Who doesn’t know that this is all for a few dollars more - to the producer, to the artists, to the advertisers, and to the winners? Of course there is also – on the side - lots and lots of eye-candy for all of us - the greedy viewers with hungry eyes.

The beeped out words that shouldn’t be heard on TV, the blurred out parts that shouldn't be seen on TV, tell us all that we can't really get that close to reality. The construed situations, dictated by Big Brothers and Big Bosses, the sudden change of rules in the middle of the game, tell us that all is not fair. The pretentious friendships and emotional outbursts show us that personalities are in fact altered by the effect of confinement in closed spaces. So, is it real?

If it is actually a game show, is it real or is it played? And whether it is played or not, is it doing us any good? Are we better off with or without it?

The answers and perceptions may vary a lot. But Reality TV is certainly becoming the new age’s new addiction!

And all of us seem to be saying a different phrase - "Big brother, WE are watching you"!!!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kenny Rogers - My Favourite

Kenny Roger's Performance with Dolly Parton.

When at College, it was my tamil friend, Muthu who gave me a Christmas tape of various artists with Kenny Rogers' When a Child is Born in it. And I got hooked to the wonderful, deep, vibrating voice. Perhaps, for life!

Once, my bengali friend, Ghosh, asked me, if I heard Kenny Rogers' Scarlet Fever. I said 'No', and then quickly borrowed another tape, heard it, and loved it a lot. Ghosh is somewhere in India serving the Indian Civil Service - he was one of the few among my classmates who had worked hard and succeeded to go the IAS way! - but wherever he is now, I know he gave me a special bonding to this Country music artist.

When studying for my management degree, my punjabi friend, Karandeep Singh Mangat gave me "Twenty Greatest Hits of Kenny Rogers", and within a month I must have listened to the tape a hundred times, and knew at least six of those songs by heart!

But the tapes from my telugu friend, Christopher Joshua Dalavai - who became closest to me not just for music but for friendship for friendship's sake - got me sorely bitten by the Kenny Rogers bug. Those days, his brother was in the Gulf - that was a big thing in the late eighties - and Christo had a fantastic stereo sytem and an amazing collection of tapes.

I listened to KG music more and more and got to love it more and more. So much so that I had put up a large poster of Kenny Rogers in my room, torn from Sun magazine (the most & perhaps the only trendy mag for youth then), besides the poster of Jurgen Klinsmann torn from Sportstar. I used to convince my circulating library owner to allow me to tear these posters from old issues.

Once, when my sister's friends came and saw the poster, they laughed. "Instead of having film actresses' posters, your brother has got a poster of an old man with a white beard. Is your brother crazy??"

Well, in a way, I was really crazy about Kenny Rogers. Well, though the duets with Sheena Easton (We've got tonight), Dolly Parton (Islands in the Stream), Kim Carnes (Don't fall in love with a dreamer) are all his great hits, I love his solos, the rare 'Stranger' and the "Scarlet Fever' most. But of course all the world over he will be remembered for The Gambler, The Coward of the County, Lady, Lucille, Blaze of Glory, You Decorated my Life, ....I can go on, but I must stop.

I just thank God for music. And thank God for Friends!


PS: In the video above, observe Dolly Parton's dig at Sheena Easton who originally sang We've got tonight. And also at Kenny Rogers' wife Marianne.