Tag Archives: rapping

Mega 90’s at Metro City (Dr. Alban, Technotronic, The Real McCoy & 2 Unlimited) 17 March 2017

First of all the important bit. I finally got to meet one of my first heroes, my favourite producers and musical obsession DR. ALBAN! Has to be one of my most memorable days.

Now for the full story. My bro had gone to a previous Mega 90s event with other 90s starts like Haddaway, Corona, Blackbox etc. I just thought they were tribute acts so wasn’t too interested. Then find out it’s the real artists themselves! Oh well too late for that one and anyway it wasn’t Dr. Alban.

This time round it was and even though Prasheel insisted they weren’t tribute acts it took me a while to register. At first I was just going to book normal tickets until I saw the VIP option where you get to meet the star, 2 items autographed and photo op. OH YEAH! Back in the day I even mailed his studio to tell them I’ll leave everything even to clean their toilets if I get to be around the MD (Microphone Dentist).

Tickets booked an all but Oztix were pretty disorganised. Later on sending me an email saying that they’ll start at 8pm and on the day… LAST MINUTE sending an email staying the meet and greet will be at 6:00pm so be there by 5:30pm after artist finish their sound check. Had to drop everything I was doing to catch the busses and trains. Now where I live is pretty far and closer to farmland so had to wait a while for a bus. Usually the busses are small but since it was when kids finish school it was a bendy bus and packed full of school kids bringing the noise. My nose and throat weren’t doing too well since the day before so all the kids cooties made it worse. Oh well I can’t afford to get sick until after tonight!

I was still feeling bummed and Prasheel had opted for the VIP meet and greet to but he was going to be in meetings and all. Just before I got to Metro I blocked a van that turned into the back parking. Had a feeling it was the artists and IT WAS! Feeling like a groupie. I wanted to run in the back as I saw him come out! Anyway went to the front and looks like I was second there. Derrick in a wheelchair was there first to do a meet and greet with The Real McCoy. Now thats dedication. We chit and chat. More people come. Find out there are only 4 people up to see Dr. Alban which included 2 Russian dudes who just got to Perth that day. Reeking of vodka.

Gates open. I had planned everything I was going to tell Dr. Alban and instead of just pictures I’ll set the video on so it records a video and also whoever takes pics can capture that too. The non-english speaking Russian did a great job. Dr. Alban kept asking me which of his songs are popular in Perth but I was so gone I just saying the same thing. You can see his frustrated smile in the video. I was fanboying so badly! I even had to be reminded to get my 2 autographs so got my Straight Outta Kenya shirt signed. After the video was taken I just started jumping all over the place lol. Dude is still so built for a 59 year old.

Russian guys want to drink but it’s St. Patricks day so both the Irish pubs in Northbridge had queues. Take them to NBC for their drinks while I walk down to Utopia to catch up with the boys. I was still super early so go back to chill with the Russians and talk Ace of Base, Acapella, La Bouche etc. Back to Utopia with Vikas, Hems and Dilan (who by the way gave us the first Dr. Alban album… how perfect is this!?) Eat, drink, good company and chat. I’m still drying my underwear from the excitement.

Walk down to Metro. Meet Prasheel (we both used to chill and listen to these artists). The organiser told me he can get Prasheel to meet Dr. Alban before he performs so there was still hope. Prasheel gives me a tour or the stair maze that is Metro city. Chill and so glad Prasheel got his meet and greet. He requested Dr. Alban to play Let The Beat Go On.

Locals DJ Nick Skitz & MC James Spy get the party started. Did some awesome remixes of the 90s songs. Hard bass and live saxophone. NICE!

Dr. Alban is on first. He didn’t look too pleased with the sound and was pointing at the speaker a couple of times but otherwise best performance of the night and not only because it was Dr. Alban. Technotronic was next and as much as I want to support them for what they’re doing it felt like they were dragging that one main song for too long and then the other few bits not many people knew. The Real McCoy and MC Sar were next and MC still has that rough voice. They even got on the dance floor with the crowd. And finally 2 Unlimited with their dancers. The new lady singer reminds me of a skinny version of my crush LisaRaye McCoy. I thought the rapper Ray had gone to pursue his own rapping career but so glad to see him perform. Still so fast, live and gangsta!

All in all a great night with great company and I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve seen the inside of a club. The fact that I got to see these guys with the people I’ve shared these memories with from Dilan hooking my and my bro up with the music to seeing the artist with Prasheel who shares the same love since way back made all the magic. Oh and I got one of my longest wishes fulfilled, which incase I haven’t emphasised already…. ah you know it.

Doors: 8pm
Nick Skitz Set: 8pm
Dr Alban: 9pm
Technotronic: 9:30pm
DJ Nick Skitz Set: 10:00pm
Real McCoy: 10:30pm
2 Unlimited: 11:00pm
DJ Nick Skitz Set: following 2 Unlimited til Midnight
DJ TIMBEE – 90s Aftershow party – Midnight til late


Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

Click to get the book

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini

So far one of the best books I’ve read and I recommend it to everyone that can read! All the choices you think you have made have been influenced, at some percentage. ALL your choices… until you read this book. I love case studies and this book is full of them. Every chapter ends with a few ways to defend yourselves against the influence. The chapters also end with a summary and Study Questions. Each chapter begins with an advertisement and at the end you’re asked to discuss how the content of the chapter related to the advert. Now… enough of the review I need to summarise my own points in this post and hope it helps you get a better understanding of the gems… the diamonds in this book. Big up Ameet for hooking me up and big up one of my mentors for suggesting it.

Chapter 1
– Mother turkey started nursing a stuffed polecat just because a recored baby turkey cheep-cheep was heard from it. Same way for humans the word ‘because’ was the trigger. E.g. can I cut in line to make photocopies didn’t work but can I cut in line because  I’m in a rush worked. Note: After using because it does not matter how valid your excuse it.

– Expensive = good so sometimes hiking up the price of something not selling will help. Even adding ‘reduced’ to an item. My fav example was when a fridge was left outside the house saying ‘free to anyone that wants it’. It wasn’t taken until they owners changed free to a price and it was stolen immediately… or something like that.

– Folks that don’t know betting usually bet on whatever is being bet on most so clever pros bet lots on a losing one earlier to change the odds and then do the necessary to claim their winnings.

– If an expert said so, it must be true. (Sometimes dangerous like in the flight case study)

– Rove beetles release a scent that makes certain ants thing the beetles are their young so the rove beetle stays with them while they get groomed and even eating the rest of the ant eggs.

– Sales persons ask the boss for a price… pretend to mishear and say something cheaper. The other one is where they sell you the expensive stuff first so first the suit, then in contrast the shirt and tie to go with it will sound cheaper. Or like a house salesman would have 1-2 undesirable houses (setup properties) to show the buyer first. Car sales people do this by giving a low number then slowly adding the price little by little for say CD player, better tyres, upholstery etc.

Chapter 2
– Reciprocation and how that has lead to such a strong bond between Mexico and Ethiopia… out of all places! (Read the book to know the story ;o) Best example is how Hare Krishna folks give you a flower or free hug… something is triggered inside to reciprocate (on top of that they knew the flowers would be thrown in the bin so every now and then one would go to the bins and recollect the gift to give someone else). It’s so powerful even the people that don’t like the other can still be influenced.

– Another e.g. is free samples in the supermarket.

– German soldiers were disarmed when they catch the enemy off guard eating say bread and when caught unawares the enemy simply gestured to offer the German the bread.

– Once the reciprocation cycle is started the one in debt can feel the burden and the one that gave can have resentment for the one that does not reciprocate… with a few exceptions like long-term relationships (established friendships and families etc).

– Reciprocal concessions are another one. Say a kid knocks on your door asking you to buy tickets for some thing and you say no. Then his concession would be if not the $5 tickets how about some of our $1 chocolates? So make a larger request first and after it’s refused you make your originally intended request. The larger the initial request the easier… up to a point then you’re just being ridiculous.

– Sales people then try to get referrals from you so when they call your friends or family, it’s under the mask of being a friend or recommendation from someone you trust. More later, it was just mentioned as a sales tactic is to get rejected on the first pitch to reduce your offer to asking for referrals.

Chapter 3
– Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Most true with lovers when they both know it’s not going anywhere or can’t stand each other.

– Sometimes this consistency is mechanical coz we’re comfortable not doing all the calculations and avoid the labor of thinking.

– A way to keep sales up after christmas was to have the ‘in demand’ toys in limited supply so parents are forced to buy the kid something else but since the kid was expecting the ‘in demand’ toy the parent promises to get it soon as it’s back in stock. Which is after the festive season. Going to the store and seeing the other parents want the same thing makes it more valuable. Sometimes folks are pay 10 times more to get it beef the others.

– Beware of just simple questions like would you volunteer for so and so if you had to or were needed to. Not that they’ll pressure you into it on the first meeting… but in the next call or drop in or whatever they’ll bring it up and since you said you would you want to look consistent. This is how they increased volunteers by 700%.

– Another trap is them asking you how you’re feeling. Coz once you say good you’re in a better position than the cause they’re calling for and thus subtly feel obliged or guilted into it.

– The Chinese used this sooooo well against American POWs with their leniency. They started small and builded. E.g. 1 – Asking the POW to make anti-American/pro-Communist statements like “The US is not perfect”. Small start but they’re in now. 2 – Then they’d ask how the US was not perfect. 3 – Then the write about it (very powerful). 4 – Then broadcast the essay on radio etc. 5 – The other POWs would hear this. Up to a point where they’d say stuff like “although communism won’t work in America, I think it’s a good thing for Asia”. More on this in coming chapters.

– Foot in the door techniques by sales people. Start small. Case study of how locals were first asked just to allow a sign of safe driving at their homes. Once the residents felt like they’re playing their part in maintaining the local community the stakes were raised to signing a petition to keep the area clean. And so on.

– Having a POW write out the question and then the pro-Communist answer. If he refused to write it voluntarily, he was asked to copy it from the notebooks, which must have seemed like a harmless enough concession. (so it’s in his own handwriting as a lasting personal reminder and it can be shown to others)

– Something we learn in AOL is to praise the person with the qualities you want to see in them e.g. President Anwar Sadat would flatter their opponents by stating how they and the citizen were widely known for their cooperativeness and fairness.

– POW who wanted to let their family know they’re ok knew to get their letters through they had to write good stuff about the captors like fair treatment or intentions of peace and surrender etc. Then there was the assay one where they’d win either a few cigarettes or fruit. See they were given just a little fruit or cigs so when writing the essay it was less about winning the small reward and psychologically more about them really believing in what they write. Which is why bribing children works for only so long.

– So sales people are asked to set a goal and write it down… which is nothing new these days.

– To combat the ‘cooling-off’ law that helps customers cancel if they have second thoughts the companies get you on paper. Proctor and Gamble used an essay competition that went something like … I like the product because…..

– A test was done where folks wrote down a belief on a magic pad which means they could erase the evidence but still they stayed committed to the belief. It’s worked for folks wanting to stop smoking, lose weight, etc.

– Changing ‘Please call us if you change your plans’ to ‘Will you please call us if you change your plans?’ immediately switched the no-show rate by 20% in restaurants.

– If you see ads for concerts or the like and they don’t show a price, it’s because they want you to call in or visit the website so once you’re committed that much… they got you!

– Hazing! Fraternities haze you by hell week, beatings, exposure to cold, thirst… some kind of ordeal… why? Because after that you’ll be so much more committed to the club/cult/etc. Gang members get the shit beat out of them. Masons initiations. Tribes do it… it happens everywhere and after you do it… your  commitment is solidified. The more pain and effort you go through to get something, the more you value it. And the funny thing is when folks tried to ban the initiations the trials become more harsher and more secret or there were riots to keep the initiations as they were… even if it cost lives or health etc.

– Kids were threatened not to play with a toy then observed from a one-way mirror… they didn’t play with the toy. But six weeks later when they were given the toys to choose the played with the forbidden one since the threat was no more there. In a similar experiment kids where just told it’s wrong to play with the toy and they didn’t play with it and 6 weeks only 33% played with the forbidden toy. (Paras note: No wonder I did all the things I was threatened not to ;oP) So there are 3 kinds of kids to know which one of these lines to use 1 – it’s bad to like, honey, so I hope you won’t do it, 2 – because if you do, I’ll be disappointed in you, 3 – I’ll probably have to do something I don’t want to do. Samuel Butler said ‘He who agrees against his will / Is of the same opinion still’.

– Growing legs: (Paras note: I love this one) Say like car salesmen lowballing. They give you a very low price so you’re happy with it. Then they let you marinate that thought till it grows it’s own legs to support your reason for buying after letting you have the car to drive for the day… slowly he’ll say for a little fee of this much you can get matching trimmings etc. Or they say they salesperson forgot to add cost of air-conditioning and mp3 player etc. Sometimes they do it in a way that makes you feel guilty for getting such a good price and not saying nothing about it. So once you grow your own legs to support your choice they pull the leg they gave you and let you grow more of your own. Attendance e.g. Asking students to attend something at 7 a.m. and asking if they will attend and after getting a yes telling them the time. Boyfriend e.g. Guy says he’ll change for her if only she takes him back… he does change but only for a couple of months and goes back to his routine… but she loves him more than ever because it was her choice and she’s committed to it. Energy saving e.g. Publicizing names of ‘public-spirited, fuel conserving citizens’ helped more than just telling him how much they would save. So once the citizens got in on the action… they grew their own legs of enhanced self-esteem, new self-image, lowered energy bill, need to reduce foreign oil dependency… and the publicity leg was knocked off/low balled.

– Defence: Listen to your stomach, let the person know you know what they’re doing. Another way is asking yourself ‘knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time, would I make the same choice?’.

Chapter 4
– Canned laughter like on sitcoms and how it’s effective because of social proof. People laughed longer and more frequently when recorded laughter was played with the sitcom which is why they have it now… especially on poor jokes. Follow the crowd kinds mentality. Bartenders ‘salt’ the tipping jar the same way to get more tips if people see there is already some money in there. Evangelists have ringers in the audience to come at specified times to give witness. Adverts use ‘fast growing or largest selling’ to let people know how many other people have already bought it. If used in the right way it can be used in say… when a kid is scared of dogs and then the kid sees friends or same aged kids playing with dogs. (Remember that joke where you keep looking at the sky till there is a crowd with you looking at the sky while you sneak off?)

– Crazy story of how one cult believed the end of the world was coming and they all gathered waiting for their rescue spaceship. But it didn’t come so the leader and his ‘automatic writing’ say that ‘the little groupe, sitting alone all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction’. Before they had all these codes and only few people were allowed… now they realise it was not coming their commitment solidified even more by calling and trying to recruit more people even though nobody joined… they even went to the media.

– Pluralistic ignorance: failure of an entire group of bystanders to aid victims in agonising need of help. Catherine Genovese story.

– Remedies: First make sure people around you know you need HELP! Second let them know what kind of help (call an ambulance,etc). And most effective is if you point out to a specific person. ‘You in the white jacket, I need help, call the ambulance’.

– Just remember when people are uncertain they are gonna copy the people around them and people like them. Another kid example: Kid couldn’t swim and mom got coaches etc but nothing helped till kid went to a camp and saw Tommy, also 3 year old, so kid started too. When there is a suicide on the news (Werther effect) the same age, same area has an increase in suicide rate. And it’s not only suicide. Like how the Jonestown suicides worked… but setting is also important and because Jim Jones not only had charisma but he also convinced his sheep to follow him from San Francisco.

– Now you know what adverts are about when you see average Joe or Jane hyping the product. And beware of audience claques too. They’re payed and even have a price list for costs like applause, insistent applause, ‘bravo’, ‘encore’, etc. (Paras note: I personally don’t applaud after a scene if I’m not impressed!) Basically check your autopilot now and then. Like folks that bet on horses sometimes put a high bet on a loser so folks will bet on that so once the odds have changed he bets on the winner kinda thing.

– Defence: Since we’re faced with soooo many choices every minute of the day we can’t always be on guard so best defence is to be aware and if you feel like this is not where you want to follow the crowd… simply disengage. (funny comic strip of pigs going to slaughter house saying ‘so much for safety in numbers’)

Chapter 5
– Ah liking. Like tupperware parties where ladies and their friends sit and have fun and once they’re happy and all that smiley vibe… BUY BUY BUY! Tupperware parties start somewhere every 2.7 seconds man.

– Sales people don’t always want to sell… sometimes they want you to reject them so they can ask for a concession (above) like asking for a referral of a friend as the friend will think… yeah he’s come from a reliable source. People prefer to say yes to folks they know and like.

– Factors for liking include: Physical attractiveness, similarity, compliments.

– Politicians change their names to a country friendly one and suddenly gets more votes.

– School desegregation increases prejudice between blacks and whites as they stick with their ‘kind’ kinda thing. Even a teacher asking a question can cause problems like if the teacher called upon someone that didn’t know the answer and there was a boy that knew it and really wanted to answer. Or even the clever vs. the dumb or clever kids that don’t answer to look cool etc. But ‘cooperative learning’ schools do so much better. E.g. of an experiment of kids in a camp, two teams got very competitive but when both faced the same problem they quickly got together to solve the problems. This way dummies are helped by smarties. Cops use this in the good cop bad cop situation. Good looking models on car adverts. Restaurants that have credit card accepted signs get lot more business even when credit cards were not used for paying! Mars landing helped Mars chocolate business. Celebrities wearing company logos and endorsing products. Even politicians hang with celebs to make them look cooler.

– People who give bad news are treated like they’re the ones that did it. Like weather men getting death threats or old ladies hitting him with bags etc. When someone has to give good news they can go into detail about it but when they have to give bad news they’ll be more like … you should talk to your dad or teacher about it. Even in sports, supporters will be like we’re winning or we’re number 1 but when it’s a bad thing it’s they fouled, they were so shit today.

– Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? Well people use luncheons too because after eating liking is increased.

– Defence: Again you can’t be vigilant with everyone so best defence is realising when you like someone too much too fast. In the 25 minutes I’ve known this person, have I come to like them too much? If the answer is yes, then mentally separate your liking for the person from their offer.

Chapter 6
– Authority figures are more respected and listened to/relied on. Talk about the shock treatment from a fake person in a coat telling some random guy to shock another random guy increasingly as he gets questions wrong and how far random guy shocks the other random guy. Random guy would resist but the coat guy would be like go ahead and random guy would go ahead. Even when random guy 2 was pleading to be let out and that he’s got a heart condition and random guy 1 was so conflicted and even biting their own lips not wanting to go ahead!

– Funny story of ear doctor giving prescription to be given in the right ear or R. ear and the chemist read it as ‘rear’ so the nurse put required number of drops in the anus. (Paras note: There will be a problem hearing those farts now!)

– Larry Kings voice style changes when he’s interviewing Cliton or Striesand but it’s unmoved when guests are of lower status. Even lower status monkeys given caramel spread the liking for caramel to only 51% in 1.5 years and none of the leaders but when the leaders had some and it spread 100% in 4 hours. Again, celebrities and adverts link to this.

– Symbols of authority are: Titles, clothes and trappings (as in car and such)

– Authority: When a doctor introduces himself without saying he’s a doctor the conversation is more fun and gets more serious when he says he’s a doc. The higher your status the higher people perceive your height like someone introduced as just a student ‘seemed’ shorter by 2.5 inches than when he was introduced to another crowd as a professor. So for personal ad’s men saying they’re tall and women saying they’re short or weighed less got more responses. (Experiment where nurses got calls from someone saying he was a doctor and how they blindly followed and broke 4 crucial rules.

– Clothing: Classic cases like fake folks dressed as cops giving orders and what not. Did you know you’re more likely to follow someone wearing a suit that crosses the road when the don’t walk light is on?

– Trappings: Jewellery, watch, car etc. You’re likely to take longer to honk at someone with a nicer car.

– Then also beware of sly sincerity. E.g. Listerine, the stuff you hate 3 times a day. Avis, we’re number two, but we try harder. L’Oreal, a bit more expensive but worth it.

– Like this waiter that had a repertoire of approaches depending if it’s a family, couple etc. With family he was more friendly and clownish with the kids. With couples he was more formal and only talked to the guy. Alone guys got cordial, conversational and warm. Is one trick was to frown and look over his shoulder and then secretly say this dish is not all that can I recommend this or that which were less expensive too. After getting the food order he’d ask if he could choose the wine and the customers were already like this guy knows whats good and he’s on our side etc… so they’d agree and he get them to by expensive wines. And dessert time he’s give them amazing descriptions.

– Defence: Awareness and ability to identify fakes. Asking your self ‘Is this authority really an expert?’ and then ‘How truthful can we expect this expert to be?’ (Paras note: I’d personally say it doesn’t matter unless it’s going to cost you or someone else in any form)

Chapter 7
– Scarcity. Less is best, loss is worst. Like when students rated cafeteria food low and when they found out coz of a fire they wouldn’t get some for 2 weeks that liked it more. You want things you can’t have or are in demand. More value when something is less available.

– You know how sales people use this so I wont get too much into it but stuff like … I think that was the last one. We wont be making it with these engines and more. Limited time offers. I have so many people to see and wont be able to come back if you change your mind.

– Story of children at 2 and how you tell them don’t do this and they do this. If you give them one toy they want the other. How they went for the toy that was behind a big obstacle instead of a short barrier. Even teenaged are in this state. Like when parents forbid them to see a certain someone and they end up loving that forbidden person. When interference weakened the feelings cooled down. But it applies to us all as we feel if our freedoms are going to be taken away or in threat… we’ll do something about it.

– In censorship, those that learned of the age restriction wanted to read it and felt they would like it more.

– So if something is scarce you want it more but you want it even more when it’s classified/exclusive information or information that lets you know that only a few people will get the scarce stuff.

– Major revolutions, revolts and internal wars occurred because of this. Like when slaves were slaves they did what they were told. Then they got rights, schooling, housing, employment, etc and when that came under threat… shit went down! Or when Mikhail Gorbachev granted freedoms and the KGB put him on house arrest the population thought it was a threat to their freedoms and the uprising was so swift, strong and unitary that after 3 days … it went back to Gorbachev. Or when coupons were discontinued even when the population wasn’t using them. Or salespeople telling fence-sitters that they’re already with someone viewing the house. Or a car salesman telling people to come see the car at the same time and then make the late comers wait and watch him showing of the car to the early birds.

– Defence: First one is hard as once you get into competition or get emotional about winning the thing it’s hard to get logical so first you get the awareness that you’re ‘tide is rising’ in this area. Then think if this item is really worth all that effort, time and money. So in a situation you feel your tide of emotion making you want the item more or win it over some competition think about if you really need it that bad and if that price is worth it.

Chapter 8
– Haha. TV host tells Zappa ‘I guess your long hair makes you a girl’. Zappa replies ‘I guess your wooden leg makes you a table’.

– Talks about how we rely on a single feature to decide about someone. With our fast paced life we need this shortcut. Modern automaticity. How with all that info sometimes we end up worse off than lower animals as we don’t have time to digest info. Talk about faked ‘unrehearsed interviews’. How night clubs say house full when it’s empty to create a queue to make the club look popular.

– Talks about why we should retaliate when we see this and know what the real deal is. And thats about it folks. Hope this info helps.

– Preface
– Introduction

Chapter 1 – Weapons of Influence
Click, Whirr
Betting the Shortcut Odds
The Profiteers
Study Questions

Chapter 2 – Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take … and Take
How the Rule Works
The Rule Is Overpowering
The Not-So-Free Sample
The Rule Enforces Uninvited Debts
The Rule Can Trigger Unequal Exchanges
Reciprocation Concessions
Reciprocal Concessions, Perceptual Contrast, and the Watergate Mystery
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t
Here’s My Blood, and Do Call Again
The Sweet, Secret Side Effects
Rejecting the Rule
Smoking Out the Enemy
Study Questions

Chapter 3 – Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind
Whirring Along
The Quick Fix
The Foolish Fortress
Seek and Hide
Commitment Is The Key
Hearts and Minds
The Magic Act
The Public Eye
The Effort Extra
The Inner Choice
Growing Legs to Stand On
Standing Up for the Public Good
Stomach Signs
Heart-of-Hearts Signs
Study Questions

Chapter 4 – Social Proof: Truths Are Us
The Principle of Social Proof
People Power
After the Deluge
Cause of Death: Uncertain(ty)
A Scientific Approach
Devictimizing yourself
Monkey Me, Monkey Do
Monkey Die
Monkey Island
Looking Up
Study Questions

Chapter 5 – Liking: The Friendly Thief
Making Friends to Influence People
Why Do I Like You? Let Me List the Reasons
Physical Attractiveness
Contact and Cooperation
Off to Camp
Back to School
Conditioning and Association
Does the Name Pavlov Ring a Bell?
From the News and Weather to the Sports
Study Questions

Chapter 6 – Authority: Directed Deference
The Power of Authority Pressure
The Allures and Dangers of Blind Obedience
Connotation Not Content
Authoritative Authority
Sly Sincerity
Study Questions

Chapter 7 – Scarcity: The Rule of the Few
Less is Best and Loss is Worst
Limited Numbers
Time Limits
Psychological Reactance
Adult Reactance: Love, Guns, and Suds
Optimal Conditions
New Scarcity: Costlier Cookies and Civil Conflict
Competition for Scarce Resources: Foolish Fury
Study Questions

Chapter 8 – Instant Influence: Primitive Consent for an Automatic Age
Primitive Automaticity
Modern Automaticity
Shortcuts Shall be Sacred
Study Questions



Meaning & benefits OF “NAMASKAR” … from Mukund and Nalini

Meaning & benefits OF “NAMASKAR” … from Mukund and Nalini

What is the meaning and the benefits of ‘Namaskar’?

Origin and the meaning of the word ‘Namaskar’

The word ‘Namaskar’ is derived from the root ‘namaha’, which means paying obeisance (Namaskar) or salutation.

From Science of Justice – ‘Namaha’ is a physical action expressing that ‘you are superior to me in all qualities and in every way’.

Worldly Benefits
– By doing Namaskar to a deity or a Saint, unknowingly their virtues and capabilities are impressed upon our minds. Consequently we start emulating them, thus changing ourselves for the better.

Spiritual Benefits
– Increase in humility and reduction of ego / Enhancement in the spiritual emotion of surrender and gratitude / Gaining the Sattva component and faster spiritual progress.
We receive the highest amount of Sattva component from the posture (mudra) of Namaskar.
By doing Namaskar to Deities or Saints we receive subtle frequencies emitted by them, e.g. frequencies of Sattva or Bliss.

Why is it not appropriate to Shake Hands?
Avoid a Hand Shake: It tranfers undesirable raja-tama components! In short, in a handshake, the raja-tama components in one person will get transferred to the other person, thereby lowering his sattvikta (Purity levels). While practicing Spirituality, our objective is to perform acts which increase our sattvikta.

If at all they do Namaskar by joining their palms, it is done just as a formality. As the act is not based on faith, the benefit derived from it is minimal. Along with faith it is essential that every religious act be correctly performed according to the Science of Spirituality, so that it gives complete benefit. In this series, as with the others, along with information on various methods of doing Namaskar, the Science in them is also explained. Understanding the Science will help in strengthening faith in the act. Such an act correctly performed with faith, will yield corresponding benefits.

How does one do Namaskar to an individual of the same age group?
When meeting someone of the same age-groupdo Namaskar by joining the fingers and placing tips of the thumbs on the Anahat chakra (at the centre of the chest). This type of Namaskarincreases the spiritual emotion of humility in the embodied soul. Sattva frequencies from the universe are attracted by the fingers (which act as an antenna) and are then transmitted to the entire body through the thumbs which have awakened the Anahat chakra. This activates the soul energy of the embodied soul. In addition, by doing Namaskar in this manner to each other, frequencies of blessings are also transmitted.

What is correct method & science of doing Namaskar to God?

A. ‘While paying obeisance to God, bring the palms together.
1. The fingers should be held loose (not straight and rigid) while joining the hands or palms.
2. The fingers should be kept close to each other without leaving any space between them..
3. The fingers should be kept away from the thumbs.
4. The inner portion of the palms should not touch each other and there should be some space between them.

Note: The stage of awakening of spiritual emotion (Bhav) is important to the seeker at the primary level. Hence, for awakening spiritual emotion (Bhav), he should keep space in between the joined hands, whereas a seeker who is at the advanced level should refrain from leaving such space in between the palms to awaken the unexpressed spiritual emotion (Bhav).

B. After joining the hands one should bow and bring the head forward..

C. While tilting the headforward, one should place the thumbs at the mid-brow region, i.e. at the point between the eyebrows and try to concentrate on the feet of the Deity.

D. After that, instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, they should be placed on the mid-chest region for a minute in such way that the wrists touch the chest; then only should the hands be brought down.

Underlying Science in this action

A. The fingers should not be stiff while bringing the palms together because this will lead to a decrease in Sattva component from the vital and mental sheaths and thus increase the raja component in them. By keeping the fingers relaxed, the subtlest Sattva component will get activated. With the strength of this energy, embodied souls are able to fight powerful distressing energies.

B. In the Namaskar posture, the joined fingers act as an antenna to assimilate the Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) or the Energy transmitted by a Deity.. While joining the palms, the fingers must touch each other because leaving space between the fingers will result in accumulation of energy in that space. This energy will be immediately transmitted in various directions; therefore the seeker’s body will lose the benefit of this potent energy.

C. About the space to be maintained between the palms:
For a seeker at the primary level, it is advisable to leave space between the palms; it is not necessary for a seeker at an advanced level to leave space between the palms.

D. After joining the palms, bow a little. This posture puts pressure on the navel and activates the five vital energies situated there. Activation of these vital energies in the body makes it sensitive to accepting sattvik frequencies. This later awakens the ‘Atma shakti’ (i.e. soul energy of an embodied soul). And later, Bhav is awakened. This enables the body to accept in large measures the Chaitanya emitted by the Deity.

E. Touch the thumbs to the mid-brow region. (Please see images above..) This posture awakens the Bhav of surrender in an embodied soul, and in turn activates the appropriate subtle frequencies of Deities from the Universe. They enter through the ’Adnya chakra’ (Sixth of the 7 chakras in the Kundalini) of the embodied soul and settle in the space parallel to it at the back interior of the head. In this space the openings to all the three channels converge; namely, the Moon, the Central and the Sun channels. Due to the movement of these subtler frequencies in this space, the Central Channel is activated. Consequently it facilitates the speedy transmission of these frequencies throughout the body, leading to purification of both the gross and subtle bodies at the same time.

F. After doing Namaskar, to completely imbibe the Chaitanya of the Deity (that has entered the hands by now), instead of bringing the folded hands down immediately, place them on the mid-chest region in such a way that the wrists touch the chest.

The ‘Anahat chakra’ is located at the centre of the chest. Akin to the Adnya chakra, the activity of the Anahat chakra is also to absorb the Sattva frequencies. By touching the wrists to the chest, the Anahat chakra is activated and it helps in absorbing more of the Sattva component.

Effect of this Posture
By doing Namaskar in this manner, the Deity’s Chaitanya is absorbed to a greater extent by the body, as compared to other methods of doing Namaskar. This gives maximum distress to negative energies. The negative energies that have manifested in a person are unable to touch their thumbs at the mid-brow region in Namaskar. (The negative energies are subtle. But at times they enter an individual’s body and manifest it. – Editor)’

Q. What is the reason for not wrapping a cloth around the neck while performing circumambulation, doing Namaskar, ritualistic worship, sacrificial fires, chanting and while visiting Guru and deities?

A. When a cloth is wrapped around the neck, it does not activate the Vishuddha chakra (in the throat region) and hence an individual gets less benefit of the Sattva component.

Why should one always do Namaskar to elders?

Meaning: When an elderly person arrives, the vital energy of the young person starts rising and when he gets up and does Namaskar, it returns to normal. – Manusmruti 2.120; Mahabharat, Udhyog, Chapter (Section) 38.1, Sr.. no. 104, 64-65

Explanation: ‘As the sojourn of the elderly person is gradually towards the southern direction, that is, towards the region of Lord Yama (towards death), his body starts emitting raja and tama frequencies on a high scale. When such an elderly person comes in the vicinity of any younger individual, these frequencies start affecting the younger person. A subtle magnetic field is created between the two. Consequently, the vital energy of the younger person is pulled upward. This way the younger person can suffer due to sudden momentum to his vital energy. When this younger person doesNamaskar to the elderly person, some amount of the Central channel of his Kundalini system is activated and the Sattva component in it starts increasing. Consequently the raja and tama components in him are influenced by the Sattva component and the vital energy comes back to normal state. Hence on arrival of an elderly person, it is customary for the younger individuals to do Namaskar to them.’

Doing Namaskar to Elders.

When travelling, prior to the commencement of a journey and upon returning, why should one do Namaskar to elders in the family?

‘Namaskar to the elders in the family is one way of surrendering to the God principle in them. When an embodied soul bows in Namaskar to an elder by surrendering to the God principle in him, at that time a sense of compassion is created in his body. This compassion percolates right upto his subtle body. At that time, energy of his mind is activated and in turn activates the five vital energies, which are located at the seat of the Manipur chakra (situated in the Naval region). Transmission of these five vital energies all over the body then awakens the soul energy. With the strength of the soul energy, the Central channel gets activated and converts the expressed energy of spiritual emotion to the unexpressed energy of spiritual emotion. With the help of this unexpressed energy of spiritual emotion, the embodied soul, through the medium of elders, gains the required Deity’s principle from the Universe. For this purpose, while leaving the house on a journey, the embodied soul should do Namaskar to elders and with the strength of Sattva frequencies has to protect himself from distressing frequencies in the atmosphere.. Similarly, returning from a journey, one should immediately do Namaskar to elders and awaken the God principle in them, which would disintegrate the raja-tama particles from the air around him, which might have been brought along.

What is the correct method of doing Namaskar to Saints?

1. The portion of head, which should be placed at the feet :
We can imbibe maximum Chaitanya through the Brahmarandhra (the seventh chakra of the Kundalini system located in the crown of our head). Since it (Brahmarandhra) cannot be placed at a Saints’s feet, the part of head beginning above the forehead is to be placed at the feet of Saints. Due to this, maximum Chaitanya emanating from Their feet can enter into the one doing Namaskar.

2. The exact spot to place one’s head on a Saint’s feet:
The big toes of Saints emit maximum Chaitanya; hence we should place our head on the big toe, than on their foot. If we are in a position to touch both the toes, then place the head on the right big toe.

3. The position of hands when placing the head on a Saint’s feet:
a. Some interlock their hands behind their backs at the waist and do Namaskar. If we are in a position to touch both their toes, then we should place the hands one on each foot and the head should be placed on the big toe of the right foot. If we are in a position to touch one of Their toes, then place both the hands on it and keep the head on the big toe..

b. Some do Namaskar by placing hands on the ground. This is also wrong because if the hands are placed on the ground then the Chaitanya emanating from the Saint’s feet are absorbed by one and then returns to the earth through the hands of the one doing Namaskar. Thus the person does not benefit from it.

c. Some cross their hands and place them on the feet of Saints, that is, their right hand on the right foot of the Saint and their left hand on the left foot of the Saint while doingNamaskar.. This is a crude imitation of the manner in which Christians place their crossed hands on their chest. Instead, our right hand should be placed on the left foot of the Saint and our left hand on the right foot of the Saint. This is convenient also. However, if a Guru has started some procedure in a particular sect, then the hands are to be placed in that manner only.

d. The hands are to be positioned in such a way that the palms are placed on the feet..

How to do Namaskar to the wooden footwear (paduka) of Saints?

Namaskar to the wooden footwear (paduka) of Saints

‘The left paduka symbolises Lord Shiva and the right symbolises Divine Energy. The left paduka is the unmanifest saviour energy and the right is the unmanifest destroyer energy of the Supreme God. The saviour or destroyer energy of the Supreme God emanates from the ‘pegs’ of the paduka as per the need. When we do Namaskar by placing our head on the ‘pegs’ of the paduka, some may experience distress due to the inability to tolerate the manifest energy emitting from it. Hence, while doing Namaskar to the paduka, instead of the pegs, place the head on the foremost part i.e. the place where the Saints place their toes.’

Should one do Namaskar to a dead body?
Q. If this be so, should we do Namaskar to the dead bodies in Kaliyuga only as a custom? If it is a custom, can we discontinue it?

A. One can maintain respect for the dead person by doing Namaskar and in addition set an ideal with regards to respecting elders. In Kaliyuga, from this one will benefit at an emotional level and not at a spiritual level. However, one should not discontinue this custom; instead one could learn how to get spiritual benefit from it. Due to the deterioration of the Sattva component in embodied souls, this practice has become a mere custom in Kaliyuga.

However, as per the saying, ‘God exists where there is spiritual emotion’, while doing Namaskar to a dead body if we have a spiritual emotion that we are doing Namaskar to the God principle in it, then the God principle in the dead body awakens and we receive God’s blessings. This happens because the God principle is immortal and has no limitations that a physical body has.

Q. It is said that one should not do Namaskar to a sleeping person. In Kaliyuga if one does Namaskar by touching the dead body, then are the chances of getting distress from negative energies not higher?

A. Yes it is; but while doing Namaskar it is important that the action be performed with correct spiritual emotion. Since Namaskar is done to the God principle in the dead body instead of activating raja, tama components, it activates the Godly principle in the dead body and bestows Sattva corresponding to the degree of spiritual emotion.’

‘One hand’ touch to the Temple Steps
Action: Touch the step with the fingers of the right hand and move the same hand over the head.

Science: ‘The area around the temple is charged with frequencies of Deities which leads to an increase in the Sattva component.. The presence of Divine consciousness in the area charges even the stairs in a temple. ‘Climbing’ steps is one of the activities, which increases the raja component in the body. Hence, the raja component is already activated in the body of an embodied soul so by touching the steps with the fingers of the right hand, the Sattva component and peace from the charged premise, get transmitted to the body through the right hand. In addition, from this action, the activated raja component in the body can be controlled through the medium of the surya nadi (Sun channel). This means that, for a moment, the activities of the Sun channel can be stopped.. From this process, the embodied soul learns to enhance the Sattva component through raja dominant actions. Therefore, it is very essential to perform the appropriate sattvik actions at each corresponding level, hence the method of touching the steps with fingers of the right hand and then moving the fingers or palm over the head. Even the dust present on the steps is charged with Chaitanya and so we must respect it and derive spiritual benefit from it. If the embodied soul harbours the spiritual emotion that ‘the Chaitanya from the steps be transmitted all over my body from the dust on my hand’, then it will give increasing benefit to the embodied soul. In addition if the ego of the embodied soul is less at that time then it gives even more benefit. When any action is performed devoid of ego or ‘I’ness it is treated as a ‘non-action’ (akarma-karma) .’

Do’s and Dont’s while doing Namaskar
Q. Why should the eyes be closed while doing Namaskar?
‘Joining hands while bowing the head amounts to saluting God or the divinity in the person in front. The eyes are closed while doing Namaskar to God or any respected person, to enable one to have the vision of God within us.’

Q. Why should the footwear be taken off while doing Namaskar?
While sitting, partaking meals, sleeping, wishing and doing Namaskar to Gurus and other elderly people, footwear should not be worn. – Gautamsmruti 9.

1. Footwear increases the raja-tama components in a person.

2. Paying obeisance (Namaskar) with high raja-tama components will not help in activating the Kundalini (centre in the spiritual energy system).

3. The ability to absorb the sattva component too is reduced, due to an increase in the raja-tama components, leading to little benefit from a Namaskar.

4. Doing Namaskar to a Deity, with footwear on, may also invite the wrath of the Deity..’

Q. Why is it not advisable to hold any object while doing Namaskar?
1. While doing Namaskar if an object is held in the hands, usually the fingers and their tips are in a curled position and not straight. As a result, the sattva component received is unable to enter the tips of the fingers.

2.. The sattva component emitted towards the seeker, strikes the object held and bounces back.. Also, at times, instead of the person absorbing the sattva component, the object may absorb it.

3.. If the object in the hand is raja or tama predominant, and if it is touched to the forehead or chest while doing Namaskar, then the raja-tama components from it mayenter the body of the one who is doing Namaskar.

Q. While doing Namaskar, why are men not supposed to cover their head, whereas women are advised to cover their head?
One should not do Namaskar with footwear on, covering the head or holding any objects. (But women should cover their head with their saris and only then do Namaskar) – Apastamb Dharmasutra

While doing Namaskar the Kundalini gets activated at the chakra which is touched by the folded hands. This leads to the absorption of the Sattva component in greater proportion in the body. Sometimes due to the activation of the Kundalini, Sattva component starts entering the body through the head. But at times the distressing energies try to take advantage of this and mix black energy with the Sattva component. The potential to activate the Kundalini is higher in men as compared to women. Hence they are hardly affected by this negative energy. Contrary to this, as women are more vulnerable, they get affected by distressing energies to a greater extent and thus they can experience distress. That is why, when doing Namaskar, women are advised to cover their head with the ends of their sari. This creates a barrier between the head and the distressing energies and prevents themfrom penetrating the body of the woman. However, to some extent this also blocks benevolent frequencies from entering the women. (Benevolent frequencies are subtler than negative frequencies; hence they enter a woman to some extent even though the sari covers her head.) However, the proper posture of Namaskar gives maximum Sattva component to an individual and hence women too get required benefits. This shows how God takes care of every devotee. Doing Namaskar without these restrictions is equally effective if the devotee does it with spiritual emotion.


Aks Production’s Acting Workshop June-July 2010

Aks Production’s Acting Workshop June-July 2010

Big up Ambarish for the pics

Since I’ve been extra busy I’ve not got down the dates.

First Workshop meeting – Meet with the Aks crew, introduce ourselves and chit chat. After that we did some exercises for stage awareness, voice projection, trust, etc. Quite a few of them were what we teach kids in Art of Living’s ART Excel course. I was excited about the trust one as I’ve always wanted to be the one in the middle being pushed around. So that was cool though for the first one I think there was more talk and lets just say it’s a good thing Ankur is funny.

Second meeting – Get an email assigning me to Team 1. Basically we were divided into 2 groups and each group would further be divided into 2 plays. So meet up at Sanket’s beautiful place facing the docks. Our director Charan had mailed us 2 scripts and we went through them. Get an email telling me I’ve been given the part of Paul in the Growth. I was like yay… I have to sleep most of the time lol. So I recorded my script and put it on my mp3 player to listen to throughout the day. I must say the bus rides got interesting as I’d pretend to be talking to someone on the empty seat next to me or an occupied seat opposite the isle. Most of the time I’d get away with it coz the folks would think I’m just on my handsfree or something. But then there are some lines e.g. did you book that seat or did the airline stick you way over there? And folks would have that expression like this guy looks totally sane but why is he talking like this and how should I react to it.

Third meeting – Get to Tina’s for rehearsals. She’ll be playing my wife Sue and Sejal would be the hallucination/angel Monica. We go through our bits and get direction from Charan. Voice was the main problem and would be in coming rehearsals. So far so good. Note: Charan was talking about the 4th wall and representational/presentational act and I was like… I WANNA KNOW MORE!

The rest of the meetings took place in Regent’s park at the bandstand. We finally realised why Charan kept telling us about volume. We couldn’t hear anything just a few steps away from each other. So now we had to work on voice AND talk to the audience when speaking and look at the person when they were speaking… difficult concept and we’ve come a long way but still need to work on that bit. As in it’s just habit to face the person you’re talking to right? Oh and Paul has been a bit too stiff for a caring husband and I was told to work on that. It was kinda difficult coz that ‘nice guy/lovey dovey guy’ is a part of my past and my ego was like you’re not gonna be needy… till Charan mentioned something about what is needy to me is called love to the rest. I was still beating myself up for not getting it coz it was just acting so after rehearsals it was time to calibrate. Asked myself when I felt that lovey dovey caring stuff. Only with 2 people and music of course. I thought I was gonna have to confide in Tina to feel that but I felt it… and confided anyway lol. But yeah… every emotion I linked to a song and either one of the two people that I used to show all my emotions to. It did help coz Sue has a tumor and I’m trying to be caring and all just like how I used to be with moms wheeling her around.

So every time we meet we work and build on something. After voices and looking at the audience came emoting the lines with all the lovey dovey stuff. Note: I think this is the first time I’ve held a skinny girls hand… and it’s not too bad ;o) Note 2: Was meant to design the poster and tickets for this production but its a not for profit thing and that means no income which aint happening since my seva time and resources are booked for Art of Living till end of August. Plus Aks was formed by folks wanting to get away from their work and I was spending enough time and money for the workshop. Hell by he time I get home I just have time to sleep… maybe change. And sleep was getting hard enough as it was as the Alam brothers seem to like rearranging their furniture every other midnight while my Bangla housemates in the living room next to me feel a song coming on every other minute.

Workshop 2 with Ankur’s parents and sister – Intros etc… right of the bat I was told to stretch the R and S in my name. Oh and thats the other thing… out of all the cast I thought I’d be the loudest and it turns out I was the softest. Let me reword that… I was the least loudest!? Shows you just how much your perception is not what is reality. But I’ll come to that in a bit. We do some more exercises and then do our plays right… now the parents give us tweaks and stuff. They were amazing… in a nutshell… try and express each and every word spoken and every space before, after and in between. Only bit I was heart broken was when I was told to tone down the anger and be more caring in a very emotional bit which I had to dig into my past to get out… and it’s still hard to show it but yeah Charan confirmed it’s all good and the emotion stays. Anyway so sacrificed a major fam reunion after ages for it but I had to do it… my been there done that reflex kicked in. By the time I joined the fam reunion it chilled out and I’ve been trying something different especially by staying away from the music but towards the end I ended up there. Teaching belly dance and farting around lol. That Polish beer was sooo strong I had to sleep it off the whole next day.

More meetings at Regents Park bandstand. More rehearsals and I totally forgot one crucial bit but we got to it… it was emoting and reacting to our partners lines. So we had to add to that and now I’m feeling comfortable with it coz it’s starting to flow. Sue and Paul are starting to feel like a couple. Funny bit: The director knows what he wants so he’s directing that way and sometimes the cast feel like they can word it better or help and ends up being a ‘too many cooks…’ situation. So yeah… the shouting lines at each other is starting to feel natural too. It’s getting there but at the same time lots of tweaks needed. Note: Usually I’d get to Regents Park extra early so either catch some sleep or chill by the lake/pond thing. This time round I was eating my carrots and feeding some of the ducks there and a gaggle of geese come uncomfortably close. One was right next to me and I’m like does this fool want a carrot or is he gonna bite me. He was saying something to me… if only I had subtitles. It was nice though… till a silly girl decided to chase them around. I think I took their spot coz they settled quite close to me. It felt like the main one was yelling cuss words my way. Note: Using that world, gaggle, just took me back to Std. 7. What were those books called again? First Aid in English or something?

Meet again at the Peacock theatre for proper rehearsals. Usually we’d say a few lines and Charan would panel beat it when needed… now it was time for us to do it fully. First time we were better. The other plays are so much more funny and have much more movement. Ours is just in a flight sitting and talking. And one of the plays has cuss words man! The cocksucker bit makes my day every time…. where was I? Oh the first time round Charan even recorded our bits and we watched it and realised that one of the biggest things we needed to bump up was our hand and body expressions as our facial expressions were lost in the distance. And this theatre is not that big even. Second time we were really crap… but louder so that was good. I personally thought that main bit where I lose it was good but no one else giving me props so I guess I gotta work on it. Yo, but Neha Jain said I was a cute husband… Paras felt a flashback when he used to be sweet and cute and all but just to clarify… I’M PLAYING A CHARACTER so she was talking about him OKAY! LMAO! My dear Sue was not happy with her part and I was feeling this need to be there for her. So I guess this acting stuff is helping me feel for stuff other than music. Anyway get home and I don’t have work the next day so I’mma sleep my ass off!

Yeah right… my body clock is programmed to wake up by 9 atleast and after the energy drinks last night for the play… I think I fell asleep when it was getting bright so say 4am in summer. Spend some quality time with the lappy… I ignored her for a whole week man.

After a weekend break we met again at the usual Regents Park Bandstand and Ankur joined the second performance. Dude gave us some pretty deep mindsets to think about especially for the emotions and how they transition. So now my lovey dovey-ness is good but my sarcasm is missing and I gotta work on the reaction while Sue is talking but yeah out of all the plays ours is ready to go. Can’t remember if I mentioned this but our play is the most static, sad and some other S word (I think slow) and it’s been slotted in to be the second one in the 4 short plays.

Rainy windy day… it was dry by the time we got to the bandstand and time we did something called gabble where we just blurt out our lines fast and try to do it without mistakes. Then did a straight run I was not at all pleased with… even the second straight run I was not happy with my execution. Charan asks us to take note of our props list. Get home and pack and go stay elsewhere to try get some decent sleep but that didn’t happen.

Friday (2 days to the play) – Just got named and shamed coz I didn’t pay the workshop balance lol. Ok so we meet for a proper dress rehearsal at The Cockpit. I was early as usual and it was closed so try out this minced lamb on a naan pizza like thing next door and I realised these guys on around Edgware road are either trying to be rude or don’t have it in them to look you in the eyes. Anyway, Tina tells me to meet her at the sheesha place we usually hang and get coffees from. Sejal joins us. Rija was there too and we didn’t even realise. Dude next to us leaves the sheesha for Sej and me. The waiter is not too pleased with that and tries to take it away. Then I ask for another glass for mint tea and he refuses to bring it! Oh well… back to the play… see now the crew has already beautiful women so when they came out dressed I was like that Boyz II Men song … if there could only be 3 more of me…. So our first rehearsal went ok and Charan let us go, from now on we’re on our own but we need to work on that volume. Do some more gabble and get a chance to rehearse once more which came out great… hell I was happy with my bit finally. But yeah it’s freaking me out a little as I start feeling my heartbeat and shakes and cotton mouth. We’re told alcohol would not help as it’ll interfere with our voices. Bit of a challenge but exciting too. All the plays are coming out well… you can see there is chemistry between the characters and now it’s basically fine tuning.

Thought I’d wake up early… go to the gym at 9 and meet with the crew to hang as we couldn’t do much without Sejal. Even skipped my workout and just did a run and still got there late. And on the bus a kid threw up on my Converse shoes which I rarely take out for a walk. It’s all good, it was more water than anything else and didn’t even smell the bus out or anything. I’d go into more detail about it but this one’s about Aks sooo… Charan had left The Rag Factory by then so I watched the other teams rehearsals. Man Sarah’s expression are soooo amazing even though her second character plays the perfect ‘kinda crazy about measurements’ partner. I don’t mean measurements in that way! I just realised the other plays have a kink… one has some psycho-ness, another has swearing and the other has sexual references.

The Big Day – Wake up early thinking I’ll squeeze in a run at the gym… worked out my vocal instead by singing and rapping after ages. Get there early and wait for the rest. Rehearse sound and light and curtain calls. During the curtain call Ankur calls me Paras Shah and my reaction was ‘thats not my surname mother f***er!’ as I walk on stage (in a funny way of course). Lol I was like if that happens during the main show I’m gonna replace it with most famous swear word in one of the plays. Find out the print outs have mine and Heteash’s surnames wrong on there but Charan nipped off too his office to fix that. Rehearsed a few times and the last minute changes were hard to incorporate especially pretending to sleep with my chin up so the audience can see my face. Make up time. Back stage was wicked… we thought the place was small but more rooms lead to more rooms and they have this speaker system where you can hear whats going on ‘on stage’ so clearly. Just hope nobody was bitching about anybody else. The guys dressing area had a piano and washing machines etc. Everyone’s starting to look fly… Neha Datta hooked up the older person look on Sanket and Sejal. Suddenly felt like prep with Blue Sky Films all over again.

The performance – First the musicians went on. Ali knew these guys separately and got them together for this show. They sounded crap on the backstage speaker thing but the crowd loved em. First short play goes on… sounds good. We’re next and I was trying to find a quiet place to go blank but didn’t and saw Sarah with her headphones on… BRILLIANT! Thats what I usually do to drown the rest of the noise anyway. Still end up getting advice and I can’t remember what anyone said coz it stitched through my ears. Our play had 2 screw ups… first one from yours truly of course saying the wrong line. The second screw up kinda covered up the first and the audience had no clue so it’s all good. After that my stomach turned into a washing machine. OH the whole day I don’t know what was up but before the play I had to go 5 times! Anyway so I suppress this feeling of Alien wanting to break out of my stomach with a whiskey and serious flirting in Albanian with the Kosovan barmaid. Feel better and get backstage again. Wait for the the plays to finish. Curtain calls. Meet my fam and friends at the bar again. It was pretty packed so we left for a shawarma at Helen’s. Can’t believe after all this time practicing it was over so quick. Everyone was full of nothing but compliments but I wanted to know which bits were off. I was told the bad words caught people off guard mostly since there were kids in the audience. Note: Gotta find out what that feeling in the stomach was coz it was BAD! Hell I took a day off work to recover.

So yeah… the Workshop was worth it … total £95 (mostly to sell tickets) plus lots of time rehearsing. We were told we’ll get more of a practical experience from it instead of learning stuff, but some acting for dummies advice now and then would have been good. The producers and directors were great, the crew was amazing… in a few weeks we were already like a family. Was hoping for some kinda drama but they were all too cool, full of jokes and they saved the drama for the stage. Cock suckers!


The Yogasara Upanishad – A Commentary by H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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The Yogasara Upanishad – A Commentary by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Quick read. Got a good reminder to ‘be a witness’ to whats happening. Who is the pain, joy, ups and downs happening too. Talks a lot about the 3 gunas. Pretty normal knowledge we’ve been going through till the end… then I was like … my oh my. See we do the practices trying to get ‘there’ but the expectation is what stops us but at the same time we shouldn’t stop… ?!?!?!?! So he’s like all our cells are always learning… through bad/negative practices we teach our cells to get used to alcohol, gambling, etc. So for enlightenment no matter what don’t stop the good practices as these cells which come up today may not come up till next year. So say we do practices a lot and miss a week. Then when we get closer and things are going smooth we’ll feel slowed down when those cells we missed that week come up again kinda thing. I’m not explaining it right coz I don’t wanna type a whole lot but you get the point right? If not read it for an year and find out for yourself!

– Preface
– Surrender and Bondage
– Uniting with the Depth
– Beyond the Wrapping Paper
– Be a Witness


Memoirs of a Nature Voyeur

Memoirs of a Nature Voyeur
I’ve watched the earth and weather fornicate right in front of us and we don’t even realise it. As Al Gore pointed out… an year to the planet is like one full breath, inhalation and exhalation. Well to me one year is like a day and night of courting for the planet. Picture earth as the lady and the weather as the not so gentleman.

Winter is over so it’s time to flirt. They’re recovering from the previous night. She gradually decorates her trees with light clothing… lots of leaves and a blossom put on like glitter, they only stand out when he focuses his light on them. He does not seem that interested after last night. It’s to early anyway so they both want to get their bearings back.

Just like an animal on heat… it’s on! Not only has she dressed up fully, she’s also accessorised ostentatiously with nests and birds and sometimes with carrier bags stuck on her limbs. Those are not her choice just like a lumpy mascara. Seems like he can’t keep his glare off her, so much so it’s making her heat up. She sends her flocks of birds at him, like teasing him with her perfume. He’s still a gentleman for now, only the glare of his heat is aggressive. She can’t resist it. Grass and flowers reach up to him like goosebumps.

Feels like evening and as much as they don’t want to part… they have to get changed for their rendezvous. She comes back with a fiery number, yellows like butter that make him melt. Oranges like the blushing they both try to ignore. Reds like a dessert with a cherry on top that he can’t wait to eat. He changes his aggressive hot sun for a cooler, mysterious moon. He glitters like a superstar. They take a minute to look each other over and later nature take it’s course. Before you know it… he is intensely flirting with her, his wind takes her and spins her around, grabs her securely and flings her away sometimes like in Swing Dance, sometimes like Tango. His wind passes through her leaves like a fingers through hair… but as it gets stronger it’s more like he’s undressing her. Her leaves settle on the ground… she does not care if she seems un-ladylike any more. She bares all.

It’s about that time. Even though they’re naked and cold, the play fighting goes on. Everything on her feels like a celebration with kissing under mistletoes and unwrapping his gift, everything on him feels like he has no control. How can they be so stiff and supple? While we walk on by trying to get away from the misery and layer up… these two are inseparable. The time has come… we look forward for his point of no return because to us, it’s the perfect christmas. He covers her with his uncontrolled snow. We watch through our windows, some complain, others marvel but the two it matters most to… they are in rapture… and paralysed.

It’s spring again and they’re recovering from the pervious night…

(My thoughts are not meant to be too poetic or censored but I thought using ‘bukkake’ or ‘money-shot’ would not go too well so I thought I’d mention them here ;o))