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What Lasts

Classical music concerts are one of my favorite places to think. It sounds weird, but classical music provides just enough stimulation to keep me from becoming distracted, but not enough stimulation to impact my thinking processes. I love being able to drift from absorbing and enjoying the music to going deep in thought without really even noticing.

My violin teacher (who's great, by the way, in case you're in SF and want to learn Violin) brought me to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music last week and told me that they had free concerts by the students all the time. Perfect. Despite really enjoying the music, I'm way too ignorant to be able to tell the difference between a good student and a professional symphony player, so these shows are really a great opportunity.

On Monday I went to Matthew Linaman's (http://www.youtube.com/user/cellolinaman) cello recital at the conservatory. Have you ever noticed that people often won't take front row seats if they haven't paid for a ticket? I've noticed this at a lot of talks and smaller concerts like this. Anyway, the point is that I got to sit in the very middle of the front, and this was a small enough hall that this seat was the best seat. Most of the front row seats remained empty.

Beyond his playing (which was fantastic, by the way), I kept thinking about his Cello, Cellos in general, and stringed instruments in general. Cellos last. They get better. The craftsmanship on a good Cello, probably even an okay cello, is remarkable. I have a violin that my sister gave me, and I find myself marveling at the curves of the wood, the perfect symmetry, and the invisible joints holding it all together. It's amazing, really.

In Praise of Hopelessness

On Reflections

I took this picture in Kochi a long time back but I think the traffic sign saying GO SLOW has a deeper meaning - we are sprinting towards a hoped for future; slow down and take stock for a change. NO MOBILE IN DRIVING - focus on what you are doing right now!

Hope is a wonderful thing. Its great to have hopes and to be hopeful. Hope is like an ointment or a pain relieving gel, isn't it? It reduces the pain you are experiencing now, reduces the intensity of the difficulties you are in at the moment as you hope for a better tomorrow. But that is all it does though, unfortunately. It makes us yearn for a future but doesn't help us with the present. While hope is a real catalyst for our future by giving us a picture to look at, in reality hope doesn't get you that future; it cant. You need to be alive, first of all, and you need to resolve your present woes before you get anywhere else. How do you get out of the present mess? And, how do you ensure you don't find yourself here again? Well, merely hoping is kind of hopeless!

We need to act now. We need to do something now. Whatever that might be. Too much hoping takes you away from the present. All your achievements and your dreams can only be played out in the present. Your hard work towards it, your perseverance, can only be played out now.

Our way of life puts way too much emphasis on the future and little on the present. Of course we get by but rather unconsciously. Our eyes are gazing out into the future or we get muddled by something from the past. This is how we live. And in the present, we just go on doing things without knowing why exactly nor without understanding if some of the causes of our problems stem from these things.

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