Monday, January 29, 2007

Life is good

The simple moments that make me happy.

- Not waking up late on a saturday morning. The weekend then seems so full of possibilities.

- Sunlight gleaming off my car after it comes out of the car wash.

- That aroma of coffee as I walk into a coffeeshop

- Speaking of coffee, the Mochas they serve at the drive-thru on Dexter Avenue.

- That stolen moment of clarity in the midst of this muddle. (Don't ask me what that means, it only comes to me occasionally)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Music Lust

Previously, book lust or something similar

There are places you do not venture into unless you know no buyer's remorse.

For fashionistas, it may be the mall (for some friends, it's a shoe store). For bookworms, it's the really great bookstore (yes, I succumb to that, but I think the library helps a bit there).

For me, it's a Used CD store. The last trip just to check one out in my area saw me walking out with four CDs, lighter in the pocket. With a song on my lips.

When you find that CD that you've heard of a lot of times but never heard, and it's up for sale at the all-too-tempting price of 60% off brand-new retail, it's hard to pass. Acquisitions on this trip:

Sarah McLachlan - Solace - "Building a Mystery" and "Sweet Surrender" among others.

Soundgarden - A-sides. The best of the grunge movement. The Seattle sound, as it was. "Feel the rhythm with your bones."

Gypsy Kings - The Best of . I've got a thing for flamenco, spanish guitar et al going now. Rodrigo y Gabriela started it, and it won't get out of my head now.

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing . I've already plopped down Rs. 100 for the cassette a few years back, and 125 for one of "Sultans of Swing -The Very Best of Dire Straits." I went to see Mark Knopfler perform ($70) and blew $30 on a t-shirt at the show. But seeing Knopfler do "Telegraph Road" and "Sultans of Swing" live? Priceless.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Change is inevitable.
Growth isn't."

- seen on a bumper sticker.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The quest

CAR, this one's for you. And for you, DQ.

I don't claim to have any answers. This post may be too academic and even unrelated to what is going on in your lives. But I hope it offers some food for thought.

I read David Brooks' delightful social commentary/satire book "Bobos in Paradise" a couple of weeks back. Bobos is 'BOurgeois BOhemians' and describes today's elite - people who have gotten their wealth from their intellect. This class is different from the wealthy classes (the Bourgeois) and the intellectuals (the Bohemians) of the past. Back then, money was inherited, and intellect didn't bring in any. Today, the number of smart people raking in money is high, and has resulted in the formation of an elite which still struggles to retain bohemian values and reconcile it with an increasingly bourgeois lifestyle.

Expounding on bobo behavior, Brooks pokes fun at bobo behavior in various spheres of social life - consumption, work, play and how bobos bring their unique world view into all this.
However, the most illuminating passages of the book come up when he talks about bobo views on beliefs and their spirituality:

"These people talk about tradition, roots and community, but they are just paying lip service to these virtues. When push comes to shove, they always choose personal choice over other commitments. They move out of communities when a better job comes along. They abandon traditions and rules they find tiresome. They divorce when their marriages become unpleasant. They leave their company when they get bored. ...

... And this is self defeating, because at the end of all this movement and freedom and self-exploration, they find they have nothing deep and lasting to hold on to."

It's something I've wondered about in the past too. As we increasingly try to fit in an individualist society, are we losing track of what matters? Do we as a generation have anything to ground us, or are so many of us increasingly adrift?

I personally see quarter-life crisis as a first, early manifestation of these questions. You are at a point where you are trying to define meaning for your life, away from the insane goal-oriented pressure of college and grad school. Once you settle into a job, meeting career goals becomes your day job and you need to make a life outside of it. Answers are not easy to come by. Finding something to latch on to is a challenge. Religion may cut it for some people, while not for others. Being an immigrant probably makes it harder as your life is even more individual than you probably prefer it to be.

Of course I don't have all the answers, but I've found the simple things that make my life work better. I can still see how CAR's post defined what I felt a couple of years back really well. I can't say the same anymore.

Maybe there's something about adding those candles to your birthday cake. Maybe it's just that I discovered a greater willingness to push for and find something that would give me clarity.

Maybe I'm clueless and have no idea about what I'm talking about :-).