Monday, November 02, 2009

Not just an influence.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."
— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Have you ever listened to a song and remembered the very first time you heard it? The moment just flashes across your mind. There’s always that special song, or many for some. Songs that remind you of your childhood- the first song you danced to, the first song you sang in front of a large audience, the songs you listened to in full blast when you got your new music system or in your car while driving on a perfect day with the perfect company and just smiled, listening to every lyric. I was listening to ‘The Earth Song’ by Michael Jackson and remembered the time when my parents, my sister and I would watch the video on MTV at home with all the lights off. My mum would turn up the volume and we would listen to MJ sing. I was what, 10 then or younger. I remember the time when we bought the 3 cassette set of the 'History' album. Yes, we had cassette players then. From cassette players to CDs to mp3, MJ lived through all of it. I remember how fascinated I got looking at the 'Dangerous' album art. I wondered if I could imitate the graphics on it but I never ended up trying.

If it’s one thing that has influenced my life in a big way, it’s music. I believe and know for a fact that the greatest contribution a human being can make to the world is influential music. I am reminded of great moments shared with the people I love while listening to some of my favourite music. I still am the girl who believes the world is a happy place with fireflies. I believe that dreams come true every day. My picture of a perfect world got ruined the day I heard MJ's doctor was responsible for his death. I can't get over the fact that someone would want to hurt someone that gave the world so much happiness, and compelling music.
“I'm starting with the man In the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself, and
Then make a change”
-Lyrics of ‘Man In The Mirror’ by Michael Jackson.
The person that taught the world how to dance, how to be kind and protect the planet and everyone around us, lives on in my memory through his music. For people to realise how important music and lyrics are, it is very important to be aware of what the world of music has in store for each and every one of us. There were two six-year-old kids sitting next to me in the theatre when I went to watch ‘This Is It’ for the third time, and they knew every word of every song and clapped after every performance. That’s what touched me the most. There’s this benevolent attitude and honesty about the King of Pop that you can’t help but admire him and smile at the screen. If my mother made me listen to the Dire Straits and the Doors and made me love them, there will certainly be songs by Michael Jackson playing on my music system fifteen years from now.

In conclusion, I would like to quote lyrics from ‘The Earth Song’, which seem perfect while we’re dealing with climate change and global warming that could take a disastrous toll on the generations to come.
“What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things
That you said we were to gain...
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said was yours and mine...
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we've shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth the weeping shores?

What have we done to the world
Look what we've done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son...
What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine...

...I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don't know where we are
Although I know we've drifted far

Hey, what about yesterday
What about the seas
The heavens are falling down
I can't even breathe
What about the bleeding Earth
Can't we feel its wounds

What about nature's worth
It's our planet's womb
What about animals
We've turned kingdoms to dust
What about elephants
Have we lost their trust
What about crying whales
We're ravaging the seas
What about forest trails
Burnt despite our pleas
What about the holy land
Torn apart by creed
What about the common man
Can't we set him free
What about children dying
Can't you hear them cry
Where did we go wrong

Someone tell me why
What about babies
What about it
What about the days
What about all their joy
What about the man
What about the crying man
What about Abraham
What about death again
Do we give a damn?”
So go ahead, find your song and spread the love.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Summer 2009

Some experiences last a lifetime. I’ll always remember the rush I felt while walking down the boulevard in formals to the biggest investment bank in Central and Eastern Europe. Sharing my experience at the International Scholar Laureate Program with thirty distinguished and very talented students from around the world made it special for me. The eight days of my summer that I spent in Vienna, Budapest and Prague inspired me and made me aware of so much that I didn’t know existed around the world. As a student of Architecture, it was a visual treat. The dim-lit streets by the moonlight, Hungarian Parliament and the Buda Castle in Budapest were stunning to look at. It was a business delegation and for each aspect of Business, we visited different places. In Budapest, we had a discussion with the country head at the American Chamber of Commerce that was informative. The American Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of foreign businesses in Hungary and has worked to increase investment and enterprise in Central and Eastern Europe. We discussed big scale ventures, maintaining a dominant market presence through advertising, expansion and partnerships in the region, foreign entry and amazing development at the Mc. Donald’s there. St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Heroes Square and the Turkish baths of Budapest were among the many historical sites we visited.

The next morning, we drove down to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The view out of my bus window seemed surreal- like a background in the video of your favourite love song. Prague was the city I heard the most about. Situated on the banks of the Vlatva River, Prague boasts a wealth of cultural opportunities and nightlife which are signs of economic and social development that we took advantage of. Everything about the “city of spires” seemed magical. From the cobbled streets and men on horses, the buildings mostly made of lime and stone to the stunning Gothic architectural wonders, it took my breath away. We visited the Budejovicky Budvar factory which manufactures Budweiser beer and handles distribution. There, we learnt about balancing brand preservation, trademark effectiveness, quality control and maintaining superior production from a single source in the global market. Prague Castle, St. Vitus’ Cathedral and the Old Town Square which is known as the “pedestrian pulse of Prague” were visual bliss. The Charles Bridge by night looked spectacular.

Does ‘venture capitalism’ sound interesting to you? It didn’t for me, until I met the Head at Raiffeisen Investment (RIAG) where my friends and I discussed the relationship between financial firms and the global market with him. We were also made aware of the contrasting systems of banking and tax that was very informative. Trust me, you need to know. You’ll probably use an investment firm to stabilize your own architecture firm in a few years! Our visit to the Schonbrunn Palace, which was the summer residence of the Habsburg aristocracy and St. Stephen’s cathedral, was made very interesting because of our tour guide who belonged to Austria. He educated us about the history of Austria and the common practices of the people. Being a person that has been brought up loving music, I was overwhelmed to have an opportunity to watch a Mozart and Strauss performance by the best troupe in Vienna at the Schonbrunn Palace. It was certainly the highlight of my trip. Our visit to the OPEC(Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) Headquarters, got me the most excited, because I wanted to understand how the organization that controlled the world’s thirst for this non-renewable source of energy works. After being educated about the politics and economics of oil, supply and demand, we travelled about four hours away from Vienna to a town called Krems in Austria to the IMC University of Applied Sciences where we discussed education policies and practices. The University faculty and students were very hospitable. The dinner at Heuigen Maly, a restaurant overlooking the vineyards, where we exchanged our views on the current global business scenario and other global issues in general was amazing. Networking with expatriates and being building a professional network was a pleasure. If you’re a person who loves museums and history, Vienna is the place for you! The Kunsthistoriches Museum, Liechtenstein Museum, Albertina Museum and Museum Quartier Wien were spectacular. I got to see original Rembrandt pieces that were on display!

Amidst all the formal suits and gatherings, there was a lot of time we got to spend getting to know each other over the week at the Conference. I made some friends that gave me the assurance that I could call on them whenever I needed. It does seem cool to say I have friends all over the world from the ISLP and the previous conferences I attended! The locations were brilliant and travelling always topped my favourite-things-to-do list. I believe that it opens up your world to another extent.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Within you.

I read the book for the 3rd time and this is my favourite quote. Ever.
"The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change."
-Richard Bach, Illusions.