Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Under a red umbrella

Yesterday was one very wet and grey day at Charlottesville. It was dull all day, not to mention a little cold too. By evening it started to rain in earnest. But that didn’t deter a bunch of us from driving down to the Paramount Theater at the downtown mall to watch Bryan Adams in an acoustic performance – think of MTV Unplugged.

I loved the unplugged performance more than I did his regular concert that I went to in Bangalore a few years ago. This was more intimate and really brought out his vocal talent, not to mention, his personality. He interspersed the songs with little tidbits of what inspired that particular song or some other memory revolving around the song. In some he improvised, in others he let the audience fill in for him. It seemed less like a performance and more like a conversation. And I was struck once again by how soulful some of his lyrics were, and was taken back to days of my “youth” when I would OD on his music.

And therefore when, after the performance, RJ and I decided we wanted to try to head backstage to get his autograph, the guys in our group didn’t protest too much. However, what we didn’t expect was to be standing outside, in the rain and cold for more than an hour, just waiting for BA to show up. We thought we wouldn’t miss him because we were standing right by his bus. It was us and maybe four or five others, crazy enough to brave the weather. I wish I could ask you to scroll down for a picture of BA’s autograph on the reverse side of my ticket, because I never did get that autograph. BA came out through a different door, got in a car and was driven off while we still waited there.

There’s a lesson in that. Everything’s an act. Here I was na├»ve enough to think he’d come out and sign my ticket. And why would he? We’re just a bunch of fans, he wouldn’t know us from the others he’s met or tickets he’s signed before. It doesn’t pay to glorify anyone, and I’m surprised I, of all the people, forgot that.

And then there are those that refuse to leave you standing in the rain, and insist on standing with you – even if they would never wait that long for anyone. Thanks to the ones that waited and special thanks to fellow blogger Sameer who waited patiently despite having an interview today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keeping the flame alive

A few weeks ago, in my Leading Strategic Change class, the professor encouraged the class to think about what our individual strategy was to keep our flame alive. At the time I wrote it down as a “personal question” and over the following weeks, I found myself coming back to that question repeatedly.

Recruiting has been the cause for a lot of sleepless nights. And as I struggle to maintain my balance through the curve balls coming at me, I wonder what measures I’ve put in place to keep myself driven. I have been guilty of being too consumed by this boot camp I signed up for and although they warned us right at the beginning of school to hold on to our ties with the outside world, I know that I have allowed those ties to grow feeble. Sometimes I think it’s something we all have to learn – to see the big big picture, to realize that each of our many lives – work, social, personal, religion - is a microcosm and it’s temporary and so it doesn’t pay to fall too much in love with any one, without being conscious of the sum total.

As I struggle to define and make sense of everything present and before me, I search within for that part I can come home to when I want to retreat. And I ask myself where my flame is. In some sense I think a lot of us have begun to “check out” already and I am alarmed at the frequency with which I am thinking of “the future” - filled with uncertainty yet free to be what I want it to be, just waiting for me to give it shape. And I hope that when I find my flame, the way forward will be clear.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


What could get Emmett Street jam packed with cars, bumper-to-bumper? What could get a sea of people – more than that for a Cavs game- all walking towards Scott Stadium, dressed warmly for the chilly night ahead? What could get bschool nearly-30 somethings all aflutter and coming to class with rock-band tees? Bono and his roomies of course!!

U2 came to Charlottesville on Oct 1, Thursday as a stop on their 360 Degree Tour. I’ll get straight down to it – it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I grew up listening to these guys; all the way from their Joshua Tree and Zooropa days (remember Lemon?), my sister and I loaded up our iPods with all their albums and listened to them obsessively as went through our U2-crazy phases a few years ago. So this concert was special… each song in the set had a special memory attached and as Bono, charismatic as ever, went through the phenomenal sound and light show that this concert was, it felt like an emotional rollercoaster ride for me.

The show itself was a fantastic visual treat with the expanding-contracting 360 degree screen, light shows, dancing beams and video streams on the screen. Sunday Bloody Sunday opened with a moving tribute to the conflict in Iran. U2 came back for 2 encores, where Bono and The Edge played a semi-acoustic version of One in one and a power-packed rendition of Vertigo in another. Here’s U2’s set that from that night:

1. Breathe 2. Get On Your Boots 3. Mysterious Ways 4. Beautiful Day / The Hands That Built America (snippet) 5. No Line On The Horizon 6. Magnificent 7. Elevation 8. Your Blue Room 9. New Year's Day 10. I Still Havent Found What I'm Looking For 11. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of12. The Unforgettable Fire13. City Of Blinding Lights14. Vertigo15. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight16. Sunday Bloody Sunday17. MLK18. Walk Onencore(s):19. One / Amazing Grace (snippet)20. Where The Streets Have No Name21. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)22. With Or Without You23. Moment of Surrender
(HT- LT39 Mr and Mrs Younus)


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