Friday, June 27, 2008


New York City. A city of many dreams. Some blooming, some shattered. A city loved by rich and poor alike. A city where life is in the fast lane. A city full of contradictions.

I am back in the city. With mixed feelings once again. Just like last year. Initially brimming with enthusiasm and then gradually disillusioned and then emotionless about it. Indifferent as if the people on the subway train or NJ Transit bus or on the crosswalks don't even exist. I guess this is what makes the city different from any other 'American' experience. Good or bad. Does it even matter?

Contradictions. Talk about them in New York City! A hawker selling $5 purse just outside the Macy's that sells the 'more reputable' and perhaps more reliable version of it in $50. A homeless man and an Investment Banker sitting next to each other in a Subway train. Tourists who have nothing else to do but kill time and executives for whom every lost second means lost deals and eventually lost money, walking the streets side by side. And the best of all. Saint Peter's Cathedral hiding under the massive and monstrous 'temple of capitalism and materialism' - The Citigroup building on Lexington Ave and 53rd street. People worship wealth. The mammoth structure of Citigroup building trying to prove its superiority.

For a second, I want to contradict what I implied about selfishness of people. One evening, I was showing my parents around in NY city and we decided to hop onto a bus instead of walking. I was unaware of the fact that you can't pay the driver for the ticket on MTA buses with cash and you need to have a metro card. The driver allowed us in but asked me to give him change worth $6 (3 tickets). $6 means 24 quarter coins. How am I supposed to carry 24 coins in my wallet? But that was the only way. 'You can ask the other passengers, if anybody is willing to help you', says the driver. And I felt like I was one of those people who are looking to get some pity money from passengers showing some fake reasons of lost wallets! But I didn't have to embarrass myself doing that. An african-american lady with a rough accent gave her Metrocard to the driver and said 'Swipe this for him'. I was a little taken aback by this generosity. The driver swiped and the card had exactly $6! I fumbled to give her $6 cash from my wallet. She said 'No' sharply and I still insisted. She shot back, 'Just say thanks and keep it as a gift'. The humanity is not dead yet in this city.

Contradiction. Not only is the city full of it but so are my emotions towards the city. I love it sometimes. I hate it at others. And yet some other times, I am indifferent. I love the feeling of being in the heart of world's financial activities. I love to stand on the terrace of the Bloomberg building and look around and see the towering buildings. It gives me satisfaction. A sense of achieving something. I love to work for the company that is owned by the New York City's most important man - the mayor Michael Bloomberg. And knowing that the work we do, and the products we make move millions of dollars in the market everyday (though individually, I form a very tiny part of that!) makes me feel good about my job. At other times, standing in a Subway train amid magnitudes of human bodies, or standing on the platform, wrapped in humid and polluted air of the stations, commuting for a couple of hours in a day makes me wonder if it is really worth it. There are times when I am surrounded by such feelings of doubt and frustration. But I think, with time, these feelings will be hardened into those of indifference. After all the routine soothes pain over time. Though only sometimes.

I have many stories to tell. But time is not my friend these days. I will come back to normalcy hopefully in near future. Hopefully foreseeable one.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Music Review: Viva La Vida / Death And All His Friends - Coldplay

Coldplay is back. After three years of gap, they are back with their new album Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends. And I am back too. After a gap of almost one month, I am limping back to Blogosphere. I moved out of Arizona and settled in New Jersey and the entire process drained me out completely and took a toll on my blogging. But nevertheless, I am back to writing.

The album was released in USA on 17th June and though as an ardent Coldplay fan, I should have pre-ordered it, I have it within the first week of release now. Now coming to the main point of review of the album. The album is a classic experimental piece. It is a typical Coldplay work. Unusual and different from anything else you have heard. It is undoubtedly more experimental and exotic than their previous albums.

The first song "Life in Technicolor" is exactly what it says. It's an instrumental piece which invokes colorful and upbeat feelings. Beginning slowly, soon the music erupts in euphoric sounds of piano and guitar, familiar to Coldplay fans.

"Cemeteries of London" invokes mixed feelings dominated by sadness. 'Lost!' and the bonus track 'Lost?' both are pretty good. The 'Lost!' is better in my opinion as the other one lacks beats and the second half flaunts some real good guitar sounds. '42' and 'Lovers in Japan' both are typical Alternative Rock songs.

'Yes' is a brilliant experiment. It features some classic Violin tunes. 'Viva La Vida' features some pretty enigmatic lyrical genius and the lines are wide open to your own interpretation. The song is one of the more accessible ones in this album.

'Violet Hill' is one of my most favorite ones from the album. The vocals are the main highlight of the song along with guitar in the latter half of the song. 'Strawberry swing' is not very attractive but a good piece to listen to in idle time and it is catchy too for humming the tune. 'Death and all his friends' is a mixture of lot of different sounds, tunes and beats. It feels as if they have composed 3-4 songs in one and still made it sound beautiful.

So all-in-all, the album is worth the wait of 3 years and the price I paid for it. In fact more than that. A zillion thanks to Coldplay for maintaining their standards and even improving every time. Thumbs up to Viva La Vida!

The wait begins for the next Coldplay release!