Brownness

Panjabi MC

2014-02-07 18.07.12I know, I know there are some of you who are sick of the constant posts about the Panjabi MC party which has become my #1 lesson: Create a Ziba Music page.  But I HAVE to post about what a complete and utterly fun event it was, but I did wonder why some still stayed home. Sure, it was a Friday night, sure it was 21 over, sure it was $35, but what is it about Los Angeles that is not friendly to Desi club events?  It comes back to the same theme.  Why are we so anti desi music?  What has changed?  I mean I get it, Bollywood rules, but there is so much good music coming out that we don’t know about. This is when I truly missed Ziba Music. Dad and I had a good thing going, and while he let it end on a high note, I do wonder maybe something also closed along with the shop. I went to flyer and was shocked to see just piles of Bollywood music and movies but very little in the way of other music.  

To be completely fair, the venue was packed, and we had a great mix of desis and non desis, but the promoter in me wondered why we couldn’t do a 1000 person venue to listen to one of the best known UK Bhangra producers in the world. Not only was he the nicest guy, Panjabi MC puts on a show! So what am I missing here? Help me out here?  Why are people in Los Angeles resisting so much?  We are the only major city that a lot of Desi acts are no longer booked, and it sucks.

Which means, I will keep at it. No sir, you couldn’t pull me away (stolen from Die Hard).  And just like in Rocky 5, One more Round. 🙂

Brownness

Stepping Forward

Another beautiful Sunday morning. Approximately 820am. I quickly walked the dog, wiling it to take a take a crap immediately so I could rush back home, shower and then head out. I had the chance, no wait. I MADE the chance to go finally check out the Culver City Steps yesterday (called the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook on Yelp). I had texted several people and even tried to guilt-force Preeti into going, but there were no takers.  So I stepped forward alone. It was exhilarating! I found out about the steps at a friend’s gathering where a college football player casually mentioned that he has been using the steps to work out his quads. Steps?  Huh?  I asked what he meant, and he explained that these steps were in Culver City, and were a great workout option and a great way to see the whole city in one shot. I was immediately intrigued. I love finding out about new things to do in Los Angeles. I have been stuck in a run lately with just running around laps in my neighborhood, and I know the key to killing boredom when exercising is to switch it up. Yet it was more than that. I am intrigued at finding hidden things to do in the city I call home.

There is so much to do in Los Angeles, but I have been mainly focused on finding places to eat. I think part of the problem with a vast area such as Southern California is that you have to make choices on what you want to focus on (similar to life), but as someone who gets antsy after a few months. I want to break these artificial boundaries of land that I have set for myself. For the first time, this summer I actually made it to the beach more than once. I live in a beautiful area, yet I still have not tried all the things that it has to offer. One day. I want to hit up every restaurant and hiking trail in Cerritos, and Artesia. I see in me a need to connect with the larger picture not just the one I have painted for myself.

I managed to do the steps twice and although my sore calves are still not talking to me. I know that I made a step forward, and at the end that’s all that matters.

 

Myself, Writing

Fraud

I have this need to be read It’s why I have been writing since I was 16, and I often wonder what makes me want to share with others.  What makes me desire to hear the sentence “I read what you wrote” followed by “I liked/loved/laughed/cried/thought about what you wrote.”  I am open to criticism but I am scared of it as well. My biggest fear is not being liked but being ignored. As if I don’t exist. I write because it makes me feel as I exist. It is the only time that I am the uninterrupted. unadulterated me.

All my life. I have fought this nagging feeling of being a fraud, of feeling that I was meant for something different. The reality is that we are all a bunch of choices.  We are where we are either because of our own choices or others in our lives.  The others count only if your under 18 or just not willing or able to make your own choices. As a Punjabi, its easy to point the finger at my parents, but they didn’t force me to write, or go to UCLA or law school. Those were all my decisions so in a way I need to write to think out loud on paper. I have this need to inflict my opinion others. It’s perhaps the only time I feel as if intellectually I matter.

Yet even my writing is haphazard just like my feelings and thoughts. I have been unable to write something original in a long time. It’s as if I am afraid to really put myself out there or maybe just maybe I don’t have it in me. It is that last thought that drives me crazy. If I am not a writer, then what am I?  It’s the only label I have ever really wanted, and its the only that has eluded me now for over 2 decades.  I often the wonder if the feeling I am a fraud is actually who I am.  That perhaps in some way. my desire to be something other than what others think of me is what drives me?

I don’t know, and so I write even though I feel like a fraud.  IMG_1964

 

Myself

The Wondering Lawyer…

English: Icon of Law Firm--owned by user.
English: Icon of Law Firm–owned by user. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I attended the LACBA’s annual wage and hour symposium, and the first thing that struck me was the amount of lawyers who showed up the millennium Biltmore, but more than that, how almost all of them dressed alike. Men in suits, and he women in business outfits with some calves showing and business appropriate beige or black low heels. A majority of them with the obligatory iPhone/blackberry, and/or laptop, the low light of the devices making it feel as I was on Krypton.   Of course, there were some outliers. One wore a Hawaiian  shirt, and another came with a hat, suspenders on blue jeans.  I was in the middle, no jacket, business shirt with no collars and almost too tight pants (that’s what I get for eating all the chocolate I can at night).  The glow of the devices filled the darkened conference room, and I only felt one feeling: Glad.

I am glad, I don’t work as a lawyer. I am glad that I am not in uniform. I am glad that I don’t have to report for duty. Yet, there was a nagging feel that perhaps, just perhaps, I was missing something. And then it hit me that I missed law school.  The camaraderie, the kosher food with my friend Elias, and the nick name “The Three Wise Men” that was given to us by our class mates.  Well, I was Indian, my best friend was black, and the third was an orthodox Jew.  We made quite an impression when we walked the aisles.  Yet it was more than that. I missed knowing the law as an intellectual exercise, but more so I regret never getting actual practice at a law firm.  So I know why I was looking down at the attorneys now, I was preempting my insecurity before it got the best of me.  In some ways, I couldn’t help thinking that they were REAL attorneys while I played one at my business.

Yet as my best friend pointed out, I am selling myself short. I know the basics, and been around issues at my workplace to have a good grasp of employment law as it relates to my industry.  The nagging feeling left after I finished the conference, but I can’t help feeling that I missed out on some parts of being an attorney.  My only consolation now is that I can learn as needed, and I don’t have to punch a clock. Some days, that has to be  enough.

My Past, Myself

Three Words

A hoodie with the University of California, Lo...
A hoodie with the University of California, Los Angeles trademark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I don’t know.  The three words I can always count on in my life. I have struggled with who I am for the longest time.  I think that the only time I was sure what I wanted to be was when I won a writing competition in high school (the NCTE) that allowed me acceptance into UCLA. After that, it was one giant slippery slope.  I became unsure if being an English major was enough, then got caught up in promoting and creating events in college (South Asian Youth Conference, Bruin Bhangra,etc) , and I thought I had a knack for it. My family couldn’t afford for me to go, so I took on being a dishwasher as well as doing dorm security to make tuition. I became even more confused. Did I want to just become a write? How will I survive?  So I added Political Science as well, because I thought I was special and could do both. That added another year so I took almost 5 years to graduate.

I still think that college was perhaps the best time of my life because it allowed me to almost figure out who I am, yet in some ways it spoiled me. I avoided real life, and so after college I took on Americorps and ended up in Lexington, Kentucky where I tutored juvenile delinquents in English for a year. Again, I got busy in volunteering, and not really facing myself.  After coming back, I somehow decided on law school at the Southwestern University School of Law, but not in old program, the SCALE program, the only 2 year law program in the country at the time.  I decided to go with being unconventional because it allowed me to avoid real life. So went the story of my life, yet I also know I am not being fair with myself.  I make not knowing seem a bad thing, but what I really mean is my hunger for knowledge has never died.  I like to think it keeps me young. Sometimes saying “I don’t know” is also saying “I want more.”

 

 

Brownness

Goals (on Turning 40)

University of California, Los Angeles; UCLA
University of California, Los Angeles; UCLA (Photo credit: COG LOG LAB.)

NWA’s ” Straight Out of Compton” turned on, taking me right back to my freshman year at UCLA.  I am at the gym, leg pressing 300 pounds, arm curling 50 pounds feeling like a beast.  I was 18, a wanna be mustache dancing on my lip, Gangsta rap in my blood. I felt bad ass as I pushed out 10 reps.  2 more circuits to go.  That was then, this is now.  I push out 540, and curl 100 but the gut sticks out, and my 40 years feels like 400 on me.  I am not UCLA Sanjay anymore, more like Useless Sanjay but that’s just my self-pity talking.

A few years ago, I had the same goals as I did today, but the only difference was passion.  Whereas, before I just wished to be in better shape, I now WANT to be better.  I know I can get to a six pack, the only regret being that it would be 22 years AFTER the fact, but you know what, it’s how it makes me feel NOW that matters.  Everything else is just mere whining.  Turning 40 can work miracles for someone like me who quite honestly has been quite comfortable for quite a while.

I start each day knowing that one day closer to my goal of being in the best shape of my life.  The real reason: I don’t want to die needlessly. I don’t want to die because of something I could have prevented, but most of all I don’t want to die before I really do accomplish all that I want from my life.  It really is that simple. I want to live my life not live day-to-day.

Why do you wake up each morning?