Jul 29, 2012

The search for 'sur'

In Stephen Alter's "Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief", the musician-writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj speaks of the process of writing a story and compares it to finding the right "sur". It's an interesting comparison, for even the average musically-aware person will relate to the idea of "sur lagnaa" i.e. the consonance of notes and pitch, when things click and a sense of place, time, and cosmic order sets in. When it doesn't, the dissonance is laid out uncomfortably bare.

You could apply the metaphor to anything in life, not just all things creative but everything of importance. The search for "flow", for order, for a stable orbit: find the "sur" and the tunes of life seem to sound sweet.

Jul 6, 2012

An algorithm to plan your retirement

What you will need: a pencil, some paper, your brain (or a calculator), access to your bookshelves, your DVD collection (read: your hard drives), your music collection.

  1. Make a list of all the books you own. Find out your reading speed, i.e. no. of mins per page. Roughly estimate the amount of time it will take you to read all the books you want to read. (A).
  2. Do the same with your DVDs and movies i.e. estimate how much time it'll take you to watch/listen to these. (B)
  3. Add about 25% to each of these counts, to account for newer books and movies of the future. (A', B')
  4. Assuming an average life expectancy of 75 years, calculate how much time you've got left taking up valuable planetary space. (C)
  5. Estimate the fraction of the day you can spend in a day reading+watching+listening. (D)
  6. if (C*D <= (A'+B')), it's time to retire.

Maybe you don't read, maybe you like to travel, to act, to paint, to bungee jump. But the general principle holds. Otherwise, you'll find you have run out of time.

You really want to find that out? Hopefully, you'll have high senility by then.