Archive for July, 2011

An Artist for the Rainy Season

Posted in Media with tags on July 25, 2011 by Saquib

Every once in a while, I’ve come across artists who completely redefined a genere for me. 2011 will clearly be the year of Susheela Raman in that category. I had to dig up my collection to recommend this for my readers, this fabulous rainy season is just perfect for some soul searching music after all.

While it would be hard to categorize Susheela Ramans songs into any one category, if you’re into jazz, folk, or blues, expect to be intimidated by her amazingly awesome music. (Do note my use of both the words amazing and awesome to emphasize the fact.) The British-Tamil musician has a very strong capacity to blend the artistic rhythm and rhyme into the  beautifully crafted words – musical, smooth, and neat are just the few adjectives to define. I was listening to her on a quite rainy afternoon in Dhaka, struck by the truly warm musical sensation. Susheela Raman is deep, her voice melts in your ears and whispers like wine to your heart. The wonderful use of instruments and vocals leave you lost in the deep ocean of thoughts and rusty benches of memory lane. You can do little but picture the music in your head, the eccentric fusion of southern tunes and western vibe will have you discover nifty details that has been taken care of with such attention. Whether it’s a classic sang differently, a mixture of two worlds, or a remarkable musical masterpiece –  play her tracks on a rainy day and you’ll see how the sound of raindrops will gently sync with the melody of her voice.

Susheela Raman sings with unmatched strength – her words and deep voice allows you to look inside her soul, connect, imagine, and feel. If you have some good audio gear, her musical work will bring out the best out of your hi-fi system. Her voice, magical words, beautiful tunes, or unbelievable fusion – whatever maybe the source, if she is new to you, this will be the most original musical experience you can come across this year.

The One Thing You Should Never Overlook

Posted in Life on July 13, 2011 by Saquib

In life, we choose how we want to be perceived. Some of us try to showcase our intelligence, some like glamor, while some represent achievements. But the only real thing that deeply and honestly can make a difference in the other person’s perception is how we make them feel.

We usually recognize that it’s challenging to show compassion, courtesy, and gratitude; but I wonder what is it that makes it so difficult for us to smile and warmly greet anyone from our heart or just tell someone that s/he is doing a great job? Why is it so difficult for us to just send a “Thank You X” as a reply email? Isn’t the smallest of the effort worth praising or does thanking someone make us seem weak?

The best people I like being with have never been the folks with the best grades, best jobs, best talents, or best sense of fashion; I believe it’s the people who can get excited about the briefest of our actions, people who never wait a second to make us feel great about ourselves, and people who can appreciate the smallest of our achievements.

Don’t get me wrong – no one should encourage something that isn’t right. But I request you guys to sincerely believe in one thing: the least everyone deserves from us is respect and appreciation. It’s really a moral obligation to tell others how good they are doing and how much the tiniest of their efforts mean. If you practice this, you will not only make others feel good around you, but also have a lot of energy inside yourself.

The greatest of men and women have been those who made others feel good and were able to emotionally encourage them to perform. No other quality can match the strength of that emotional energy within us.

My today’s post is all about this request: go ahead, tell people around you about every good thing you see in them, share a hug, send that extra reply with a small thank you note, or pick up that phone and call up an old friend to let him(her) know how much you adore something about him(her).

“People will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Must Watch: MTV Coke Studio

Posted in Media, TV with tags , , , on July 5, 2011 by Saquib

So I’ve been very picky over the years on what I get on TV. Stupid reality shows, pointless drama, and annoyingly frequent commercial breaks left me tuning between news channels for long. But every once in a while, things change. Thanks once again to MTV for coming up with something original and soulful – The MTV Coke Studio.

I first saw the show at my cousin’s place last week, finding it very promising. The show puts together a brilliant fusion of artistic talents who boldly explore musical depth and rich vibes of emotion.  MTV India rightfully claims the quote “Music is what feelings sound like” with the airing of this well thought hour-long show every week.

My favorite so far has been the collaboration of ‪Murtaza, Qadir, and Rabbani Khan, with Divya Lewis performing the track “Maula Maula”.  The song has been composed by Lesle Lewis (Music Director of MTV Coke Studio) – combining the famous song “Angel”, originally written and performed by Sarah McLachlan, with the magical words of a 17th century Sufi poem by the legendary poet Amir Khusro. (Just the though of that fusion blows me away!)

The show is aired every Friday night on MTV India, so everyone in Bangladesh can easily follow. This is one great show that deserves lots of appreciation for the effort its team has given to bring the original idea from Coke Studio Pakistan, and producing the Indian version. Absolutely high quality stuff!

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There’s always some reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
Oh and weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

Maula Maula Ali Maula
Maula Maula Ali
Maula Ali

Man kunto Maula
Fa Ali-un Maula
Dara dil-e dara dil-e dar-e daani
Hum tum tanana nana
Nana nana ray
Yalali yalali yala
Yala yala ray

Man kunto Maula
Maula Maula Ali Maula
Maula Maula Ali

In the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there
Maula Maula

Are You Paying Taxes for Tanks?

Posted in Business on July 1, 2011 by Saquib

I was peeking through the news of hunger, poverty, and education issues while I bumped into the info that our government recently has finalized to purchase 44 tanks from China for BDT 1,201 crore. This is bizarre and, quite frankly, nuisance for a country that tops in poverty and been recently kicked out of ADB’s list of promising underdeveloped economies. Our future growth in GDP has lower potential than that of Nigeria, our kids are begging in the stress for food rather than attending primary school, our ‘so-called’ educated society continues to flee away from real issues and settle abroad, our stock market is going through historical catastrophe, our field of politics has dried up all talent pipelines, and we are under the major threat of facing the most severe climate change effects – yet, here we are, putting our taxes out to purchase tanks.

Don’t get me wrong; this government has been bold in taking good steps. Pushing IT into practical fields, building flyovers, and investing heavily in power generation – all great steps. However, it still doesn’t justify spending so much for tanks, especially when you are talking about 44 tanks that really have little impact on protecting an area of about 57,000 square miles. If this budget must go for defense spending, why not spend on R&D? Why not collaborate our defense budgets with 20 universities in the country and work on advanced research? I can bet we have enough engineers, scientists, and professors, well qualified and eager to spend their life in research. And since we are a lot behind in R&D, working with Army in such fields can actually benefit both academic and defense sectors.

Just for the sake of salary alone, we can spend BDT 1,200 crore in the following manner: 300 high profile researchers – BDT 300,000 per month (avg) salary for a 10 year contract. Just imagine the kind of people we could get together, the kind of possibilities we could have, and the strength we can build. R&D has far more benefit than the immediate research results – it would keep talent, provide strong academic atmosphere for assistants as well, and create collaborative work among engineers, students, experts, and military personnel. The number of additional possibile outcomes result in so many new areas of improvement. The government can further add costs of equipment and facilities and create truly transformative defense spending that would actually make sense. In today’s world, 44 tanks won’t save us on most days – our intellectual strength will.

Now, even if for some ‘mysterious’ reasons we had to spend this money for our Army, could we not at least spend it on something more multi-purpose? What if we used the same amount to purchase either helicopters, trucks, or SUVs? Why? Well, you see, often we use Army to help us in critical situations such as: recovery activity in flood and cyclone hit areas, national emergency, or assistance after other severe environmental disasters. These alternate options could at least be of some use; when we are talking about tanks, their use is limited to an act of war only.

I think the hardest part for anyone is to see past immediate success, stop blindly following what everyone tells you, define long term vision, and be persistent in solving real issues. Just a note, 44 tanks aren’t the only items on purchase plan – I’ve heard the government actually has a BDT 12,000 crore budget for total defense spending in 2011 – 2012.

This is my earnest request to the government: Please, spend in education, research, and creating jobs. I work hard to pay a lot of taxes, and I do care.