Of what good is beauty?

a man is often enchanted by things of beauty and delight,

bathes in wonderful emotions begotten of smell and sight,

for the longevity of these things, he lives and fights,

sometimes lives, often fights,

sometimes builds, often destroys, then destroys what he builds,

wars are never fought for an unseemly lady or even a beautiful purpose,

pleasures of dreams lead to pain of war and pain of war brings the pleasures of victory,

then sometimes I wonder, of what good is beauty?

The Greek Tragedy!

I’m taking a Risk Strategy class in my MBA course this semester and the concepts I have learned so far about country risk have persuaded me to delve deeper into the things happening around me. And thanks to the brilliant Professor Anurag Gupta, these things are now making sense. And what is happening in the world right now? Well, among other things, the Greek tragedy is one of the most important which is affecting everybody at this time. They’re going to run out of money soon.

This video from the financial times is a good summary for what the near term goal of Greece should be if they want to save their skins!

Video: http://video.ft.com/4069365803001/The-tangled-mess-with-Greece/world

The Age of Apps – My new upload on Slideshare

Being a technology freak and a software engineer, I know that I know so much about apps and smartphones and software like its the back of my hand. And ever since I started witnessing the explosion of information on the internet contributed by people just like me – engineers, artists, authors, professionals – I always wanted to create something of knowledge which I could just share with the world, free of charge. YouTube and Slideshare – the two most important knowledge sharing platforms on the internet, followed closely by WordPress of course. Today I finally did it. Here is my upload on Slideshare. The Age of Apps – How to make your life easier in 5 ways by using your smartphone.

8,094 miles in 27 hours to home! Thank you Airplanes! (and Prof Solow!)

Prof Solow, our brilliant Statistics professor always says, “In the real world, if you’re not sure of something then AWAYS – ASK!”. He said this while explaining how to handle ambiguous demand constraints for decision modeling, but I think it is a very good life advice which can be applied to all real life situations. I’m done with his course now but I’m pretty sure that what ever he has taught us is going to stick for a long time to come.

But, I only wish that I had heard and imbibed this advice at least a couple of months before he said the words. It could have prevented me from making such weird travel plans for my home journey.

Oh! And by the way, I’m back home now! I’m in my dilli walo ki, aur meherbano ki, aur kadardaano ki, apni, saddi, pyari, dulari DILLI! I’m so happy to be with my lovely Mom, Dad and the devil brat younger brother.

Coming back to the weird travel plans, I just want to express how frantic the journey was and how less frantic it could have been if I had just asked somebody before booking the tickets. I “assumed” that since I booked through Lufthansa, I will be allowed 2 checked bags, but the polite United Airlines folks politely charged me a hundred dollars for the extra bag despite my theatrical efforts to dissuade them from doing so. I traveled to 4 different airports – Cleveland, New Jersey, New York, Frankfurt and Delhi. Oh, that’s five! New Jersey to New York was a shared shuttle ride in bad rush hour traffic. All the flights very were delayed for the same reason – someone got sick just before the flight and had to get off, along with the baggage. Finding the baggage among the thousands caused the most delay. This was seriously weird. I was even thinking about Final Destination at some point; the person who had a vision of the plane exploding got off and later on the plane did explode and all that weird stuff. Moreover, the layovers were very tight. At Frankfurt, I had to literally run from gate Z to gate C (train ride included) to catch the last flight. And to top it all, my stomach troubled me throughout the flight and I did not get an ounce of sleep even though I tried everything (including listening to nature sounds while the person on my left was snoring like a pig – that was also a nature sound but not to my liking!).

I did not sleep for 35 hours straight and covered 8,094 miles in 27 hours. What an invention! Airplanes! I would however want to try such journeys by ship someday, when I’m free from the constraints of time. But now I’m back and I’m going to forget all of this and enjoy mom’s world best awesomest food, and will go and see places and meet friends and celebrate the new year!

At least until my return journey which is exactly the same as this one.

Natalie MacMaster at the Cleveland Orchestra

I have always had a penchant for classical music (besides my crazy love for scream-o metal music). The symphonies of Beethoven and the violin concertos of Vivaldi have been my “soul” music for many years now. Whether to study or to just calm the mind, I listen to them time and again – a small proof of the timelessness of such epic music. I had always wondered how such deeply moving music is made, who makes it and how does the sound come out so perfectly. I knew there were orchestras and closest to those I had seen were in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

But when I came to Cleveland, I found out that there was an orchestra which used to play at a place barely 3 blocks away from my college. Now that was convenient! And as is the case with every new thing that comes my way, I had to go see it. I attended the performance of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony – “Pastoral” conducted by world-famous Franz Welser-Möst and performed mostly by Professors here at the famous Cleveland Institute of Music. What an experience! That was when space-time warped around me and I was shot through a wormhole into the other side of the galaxy, all the way experiencing the sights and sounds of an idyllic paradise. It got me hooked on the Cleveland Orchestra.

Tonight was my 8th concert of the season since I started attending in mid-September. Not to take anything away from the previous ones, tonight was the most fun concert of them all. I will not forget this one for a long time to come.

Natalie MacMaster from Nova Scotia, Canada. World-famous fiddler, mother of 6 children, brilliant orator, superb stage performer and truly inspirational personality. She played Celtic and Folk music on her fiddle (an instrument very much akin to the violin but having a different sound – you gotta hear it to know it). The program lasted for 2 hours plus a 15 minute intermission and for every single moment of the show, I and supposedly the whole audience was on edge, the edge of pure happiness and fun.

The program started off with a lively prelude by the orchestra, a symphony more akin to some Hobbit or Lord of the Rings style epic background score. Then came in Natalie MacMaster, with Mac Morin on the grand piano and Eric Breton on percussion. I must also mention that Severance Hall for lighted up for Christmastime and her entry also brought in a change in lights; the whole concert hall glowing purple and pink – a treat for the eyes! She started off with such an energy and a body language that everyone in the audience was resonating with her in some way or the other. A couple of elderly ladies were really enjoying the music. And to top that, she was tap dancing while playing! In the second melody, Mac Morin left his piano and performed a splendid tap dance. She was vibrating with energy, dancing and playing at the same, moving from one part of the stage to another, the audience clapping along with the beats of her heels!

In the second part of the program, she also played one of her sober compositions – “If ever you were mine” – she recorded this one first when she was 19 yrs old in 1991. Here is a YouTube link for those who would be interested. Between melodies, she took up the mine and talked to the audience, telling some or the other funny story about her family or herself. I really admired her love for her family, especially for a person so dedicated to their craft, their work and one who has near the pinnacle of her career. The program ended with a not so surprising standing ovation, which lasted for around 10 minutes, the audience clapping and getting a bonus performance as well! My hands were hurting after the clapping stopped but it was all for someone who deserved it. This performance could easily sway the crowds of a rock music festival. As for me, I became a life-long fan of Ms MacMaster!

While searching YouTube for some more performances by her, I came across one where she performing on stage with her little kids! A must-watch! Enjoy!

Eeshan’s MBA Course: 25% Completed

It takes an extremely intense educational program coupled with a new life requiring self-sustainability, responsibility and no less degree of adventure to stop me from writing for my blog for such a long time. I ventured into this new life in a new land full of new people 4 months ago, when I set foot in Cleveland, a historic city in Ohio state of the United States of America. My objective was to obtain an MBA degree from the renowned Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. I had heard from people that an MBA course is intense, hectic, crazy, stupid and many more random adjectives describing it. I used to respond with a simple “meh”. That was 4 months ago.

4 months have passed, today was the last day of the first semester, culminating with the end of the final exams, this one being on Economics. I now say “daaaaammmmmmnnnnn!!!”.

Finally, I get a break! This was crazy intense! One semester, 5 subjects, 2 part-time jobs, constant internship search, living on my own for the first time in my life, cleveland orchestra, chipotle, pizza and the extreme extreme extreme cold! Welcome to the first part of my adventure.

I’m so glad that it’s over. I am proud to have been through it and come out unscathed without a nervous breakdown and maybe much tougher than before. What an experience! The kind of people I met here, I may never have got a chance to meet if I had not come here. My classmates, each and every one of them is a story, rather an institution in themselves. I have learned so much, yet I think I have only scratched the surface of what is seemingly an endless source of knowledge and experience for me. I have yet to open the jammed doors of my emotional fortress to all these people who are a constant and rich outflow of energy and passion. It is a people-centric culture here, unlike the task-centric culture to which I had adjusted so well during my 3 1/2 years on the job doing hardcore software engineering. I am training to be a manager, a leader and a good person, so I expect myself to make some changes which I am sure will come around sooner or later.

Today I am 25% closer to my goal and realize that I have 25% less time to do what I have to do. Whilst I understand that time pressure always ruins heartfelt dreams, but hopefully it will help me prioritize and manage my daily activities towards the right direction.

I miss my home and my parents and my brother everyday. It makes me sad everyday not being there with them. I miss my friends too. There is still a great deal of chaos in my mind, a turbulence that does not settle down. That’s the whole point of an adventure I guess. I know not what’s in store for me. But I know that fortune favors the brave and I must be brave … like Aragorn! ;)