Monday, June 8, 2009

Rajeev Motwani Passes Away, Possibly a Swimming Accident

Just read that Rajeev Motwani passed away. Shocking news. Rajeev was a legend in silicon valley and had advised both Sergey and larry at Google (Sergey's blog about Rajeev) This is an enormous loss and a tragedy. I had met Rajeev once at the TIECon in 2005 and it was just humbling and inspiring to have met him.

It appears he fell in his house swimming pool and couldnt get out (as the Wikipedia notes, Rajeev couldnt swim very well). The nature of his death brings up one big concern, which is based on interactions with folks in my personal network and experience. Several of my friends from India (myself included) have had limited training and practice of swimming. Two years ago, a group of us were swimming in a lake in upstate NY and a person wandered just a bit further into the deep. Luckily we had a good swimmer who swam the person back to shore. A similar experience was replayed in Australia, when a friend and me scrambled (and gasped) to swim across a small lake. Thankfully nothing untoward happened, though things could have gone horribly wrong. And then just a few weeks back, when my raft flipped in the Colorado river, my limited swimming abilities added to my inability to really do much in the water.

And now this tragic death, highlights the need to create greater awareness for learning how to swim. This summer i am going to practice my swimming skills and urge folks in my personal network to do so. You never know what can happen. Perhaps this tragedy could have been averted. So sad.

Piano Notes Wafting in a Subway Platform

New York City never ceases to amaze. But its in the small, unexpected and the unimaginable acts, sights and sounds, that the city truly does amaze one. And tonight was one such moment. I had just entered the subway at the Union Square Station (after watching the absolutely mindless and totally not worth it. Lost World) when i heard the notes of a piano! Yes and there across the platform on the downtown N, R, Q, W train was a main playing beautiful notes on a piano! That was the first for me in 6 years of living in the city. I have seen drummers, jazz musicians, flutists, guitarists but never a pianist.

And there he was playing, in the middle of the platform oblivious of the din of incoming trains. There were just a handful of people and every one was sought of caught in the stillness of time. It was a pure Kodak moment and for a rare occasion i didn't mind waiting longer the for uptown train. As you can see, the picture above and the video below are worth more than any words!

In the mad frenzy and hustle and bustle of the city, you never know when the city can send you into a time warp (as it did Will Ferrell into the land of the lost. Thankfully the mindless T-Rex didnt break the solitude and the notes of the pianist)

Awe Inspiring Yogathon at the Iyengar Yoga Institute

The Iyengar Yoga Institute organized its 5th annual Yogathon today. Just like a walkathon or a marathon, the Yogathon challenges one to go test the limits of their endurance and willingness as participants (read serious and regular practitioners) hold tough (and mind contorting) yoga poses for long minutes, in some cases the minutes almost become hours. And the yogis friends and well wishers pledge donations for every minute the pose is held.

This was my second yogathon and i was looking forward to it (i have been practicing at the institute for a year and hope to make it a lifelong habit) It truly was an experience and an inspiration to see yoga as a life of continued practice and learning. Enjoy these pics and marvel at the poses, the flexiblity and the wisdom from which this practice emanates.

The yogathon started with Matt Dreyfus doing the head stand and a series of inverted twists.

Then Tori Milner began her series of the back bends such as The dhanurasana, culminating with the toughest pose rated in Iyengar Yoga. This is the Nataraj pose - the classic pose named after Lord Shiva and rated 60 on a scale from 1 to 60 ).

As Tori was doing her backbends, Dmitri was holding the Utitha Asana for 15 looooong minutes. This pose looks deceptively simple but is really tough to hold.

Other highlight of the day included a series of really leg bending poses,

And then a 45 mins shoulder stand by Eve Holbrook.

And an amazing sequence of poses by three Women on the Ropes (laura brunn, naghmeh ahi and michelle) !