Monday, October 10, 2011

Unforgettable Jagjit Singh

Jagjit Singh to me was synonymous with Ghazals. My brother was the one who introduced me to Jagjit Singh and it was easy to fall in love with his music. It became a passion to own his albums and each was appreciated. My interest in Ghazals triggered,I listened to other singers but none appealed to me as much as Jagjit Singh did. For me, Ghazals began and ended with his lilting voice. Recently I have grown to admire Ghulam Ali. But the distinctness of Jagjit Singh's compositions stand apart. He made Ghazals popular and introduced western musical instruments into the genre without taking away its essence, something which other contemporary singers could not manage as well. It is debatable whether he was a better singer or a better composer. His compositions were honest to the meaning and emotions of the lyrics and caprtured the mood of the song perfectly... whether it was the romantic, " sarkti jaaye rukh se naqaab" or the pensive , "shaam se aankh mein nami see hai", one of my personal favorites. His live shows were extremely entertaining as is clear in the recordings. I nursed the desire to attend his live show but that desire has now died in my heart, unfulfilled and the sense of loss is crushing. When I was studying in Nagpur, he had performed live in the city but i didn't have the money then to buy tickets then. Few years later he was to perform in Bangalore while I lived there and I tried to get a ticket but I couldn't. I always hoped there will be a time when I will be able to do it. That day will never come. My cousin sister once called me and I could hear Jagjit Singh in the background. It wasn't a CD. She was attending a live show and thought of calling me, knowing how much I liked his music. That was as close I came to listening to him Live. Jagjit Singh also fueled my interest in Urdu poetry, Ghalib in particular. His music for the Televised Series on Ghalib by Gulzar is one of my favorite albums. I owned the album and gave it away to a friend who listened to my cassettes and loved the music. For a long time I was forlorn hunting for the album in music shops and finally bought the CDs. No Ghalib rendition enthralls me more than Jagjit Singh's. Everyone must die. And most will be remembered by their loved ones. But some come along who will always be remembered in the annals of history for their contribution to mankind. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Steve Jobs... Jagjit Singh. Photo: Jagjit Singh performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 12 September ...

Monday, September 12, 2011

J K Rowling published her first Harry Potter book in 1997. And since then the world has been divided into those who have read Harry Potter and those who haven’t. Until June of this year I belonged to the latter category. I kept away from Harry Potter and his adventures for primarily two reasons. These were for kids, right? And fantasy fiction is not my favorite genre when it comes to reading preferences.
The final movie in the Harry Potter series, HP and the deathly hallows – 2, released earlier this year. I read comments of friends who went and saw the movie with an air of indifference. I had once taken a peek into my niece’s Harry Potter book and knew about Dumbledore. I saw bits of the first movie in the series – HP and the sorcerer’s stone. This was some time back and this was how knowledgable I was about HP.
Sometime in June this year, while I sailed with my sailor husband, I ran out of reading material on board and the only thing left for me to read were the e-book versions of Harry Potter. And I decided to take the plunge. Since then I have spent a huge chunk of my leisure time (which is meager in itself) reading up on the adventures of Harry Potter. I was in a sort of suspended living. Important things to be done were often squeezed in few days of break that I took between each book. I was ‘avalanched’ by Harry Potter! Initially I read on the computer. Recently my husband bought a kindle – e-book reader. And it got easier to read on it.
Sometimes I wish I had not kept myself bereft of the books for so long. But there were advantages of starting late. I didn’t have to wait for months, sometimes years, for the next book in the series. Today I stand a die hard fan of Harry Potter. And I totally understand the mania. As luck would have it HBO was airing movies in the series in the months of August and September and I managed to catch few of them. Of course the movies only touch part of the books leaving out many parts. It is infinitely better to read the book and then follow it up with the movies, as is the case always. I have even introduced Harry Potter to my 3 year old as part of her bedtime stories!

The final part of the series, the deathly hallows, was not available on the ebook format. And so I harangued my husband until he ordered the paper back version. I await that with bated breath, wanting to know what fate lies ahead for Harry Potter and his nemesis, Lord Voldemort. A part of me also dreads the day I finish it. For the characters in the book have been my constant companions over the past few months and there will be this vacuum which will be hard to fill. There is this feeling of melancholy that I invariably feel after the end of a good book when I actually miss the characters. I sometimes wish wistfully that we lived in a magical world of broomsticks and wands!
I have been ‘Pottered’.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

He likes her. But he has competition. He is invited to a duel. They both fight till he is injured. He runs away, vanquished. He doesn't nurse a vengeance. No envy. Just plain acceptance. He moves on.
That happens only on animal planet
Happy to report this

I usually buy my groceries from a Reliance Fresh outlet near my office. I take my own shopping bag but when you are buying vegetables, they used to have these plastic bags to keep the beans and carrots from getting mixed up,. So no sorting out to be done later when you are stashing the veggies into the refrigerator. I would cringe at the plastic bags.
The last time I was shopping there, they had paper bags instead.
Isn't that great?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blast in the past

I was quite annoyed yesterday when I heard the radio jockey on the local FM station repeat in “todays world cup match” a few times… A bad cold didn’t help. “Ids toborrow, you fwool”, I blurted out to the radio, piqued. That’s when my husband pointed out. They were reenacting India’s world cup triumph of 1983. So for one day, Radio Mango, Calicut took on a retro hue. They played music from that year, talked about movies that released in 83’. The news snippets were dug out from the archives of June 25th 1983 as also the gold and oil prices. Commercials sounded like they were created in the 80’s as well. A time when LPG Gas cylinder was a novelty, black and white TVs were a luxury, even though color TVS had come. You bought petrol at 6 Rs a liter, and diesel at 3 Rs. Gold cost the father of the bride, 1392 Rs for 10 gms. And of course in between, they relayed cricket updates of the final played at Lords’ on that memorable day. Like it was all happening ‘live’. Lying on the bed, recuperating from my congestion, I was impressed. What a wonderful idea. They paid a fantastic tribute to India’s world cup glory and took us all into the past to re-live the special moment. I was only 6 at that time, and had just started my second year at school! So I cannot remember a thing. But thanks to this novel idea it was like being transported on a time machine to witness one of India’s greatest Sporting achievements.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

We took Ananya to see the local republic parade that was organized at Vikram Ground, West Hill . The flag was unfurled by the minister of Industries. And I heard the National Anthem after a really long time. I joined in, awashed by memories and tears! As the parade walked past at tandem, I was transported back to my school days when we were part of the parade. There were three schools in the colony where we grew up and there used to be a competition between them. All the kids were taken to the grounds to cheer their team. There was march past, PT, Dance and singing competition and pride was at stake! It was good fun. Those were the days! And then we would rush home eating the ‘laddoos’ distributed to watch the TV and the DD broad cast of the republic day parade live from New Delhi. And like my cousin recently put it, it hasn’t lost its charm!
I love watching the parade, as a slice of Indian culture and Defence might marches past every bit proud and elegant. I hope to be there some day and witness it live.
The people of Calicut have launched a drive to declare Calicut district plastic free and on the occasion had organized a human chain from Azhiyur to Pantheerankaav, the two extremities of the district. Lots of school kids participated as did working members of different political parties and citizens. We did our part and stood in the line while M.T.Vasudevan Nair, the renowned Malayalam writer read out an oath which was heard all along the stretch of people via loud speakers. Since then I am becoming aware of how much plastic we all use in our daily lives and many if not all can be avoided. Using cloth carry bags for shopping is the least we can do. Plastic has replaced all our storage jars in the kitchen. Perhaps we can go back to the Glass jars of yore. Most of the cosmetics that we buy come in plastic containers. It would be nice if the manufacturers bought the containers back for reuse. Many of the toys come packaged in plastic moulding. We once bought a printer where the shock absorbing casing was made out of recycled paper and I was impressed. Clearly, more people should be doing this.
I don’t think plastic can be avoided but we can reduce its use and also initiate a good disposing system primarily a recollection centre. This has to be tackled at the administrative level with suitable legislation. We can start by putting away all unnecessary plastics.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the frying pan of destiny
Marinated in the spice of discontent
A peep in the past
At all the moments wasted
And all that could have been
Breaks the peace on the surface
As the bottled rage
Still molten within
Breaks out
In an explosion
Every now and then
The light of reason
Fails to heal the despairing depths

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movies, Fragrances and memories

I was watching a movie on TV. Independence Day. It reminds me of my college days cause’ that's when it was released and I and my friends went to watch it in the cinema theater.
There are these props in life that has memories sticking to it and when you revisit those props... the memories are refreshed! Books .. clothes... movies.. music… they all have the ability to take us into our pasts. Like if there was a book that was introduced to me by a friend, I can’t take the book again or remember it without also remembering the friend and then I start dreaming about that person. There are songs that take you back to the moment. One of my cousin brothers, introduced me to ‘The Eagles’. And whenever I hear the song ‘ New kid in town’, I revisit the summer vacation at my grand mom’s place listening to the song and playing caroms! The days of leisure, they were. In fact most things around you can do that. Now, fragrance is the most sticky. A particular perfume would take you back years to a very specific moment! Its amazing. I used to walk to my tuition classes in autumn and this particular fragrance was in the air. I don’t know what flower it was. But years later I chanced upon the same smell and I was instantly transported mentally to that moment… Its magical. The smell l of Johnson’s baby powder takes me to the early days with my daughter!
Now we can’t bottle up fragrances on whim but we can enjoin a particularly special moment with a fragrance. What I mean is, suppose you are about to embark on a pleasant journey, perhaps on your first date, or the day you moved into your house, or the day you brought your baby home. You could buy a new perfume for the occasion and spray it in the air so the event and the fragrance are for ever united. And every time you sniff that particular perfume, you will be instantly transported to that moment in past!
Going back to ‘Independence Day’ I couldn't help but wonder how cliched the theme was. The direction utterly predictable. The aliens always pick the Americans to start the war. And of course the flamboyant men in uniform save us all! I can’t imagine how we loved the movie then. The good looking actors probably veiled our reasoning and our youthful hearts were made to flutter! Though I couldn't enjoy the movie now, I couldn't help but be moved in the emotional scenes. Even though I knew what was in store and who would die and who would kiss… I still was emotionally stirred. You can’t help it. Is it a women thing? And after the movie as I lay thinking before sleep overcame me, it occurred to me that at the core of all these movies, there was essentially human emotions .Whether a drama or a fantasy fiction or an out and out action thriller, what moves us are the human emotions. No matter what we create, the ugliest aliens, or unbelievable beings like in Avatar or the classic ‘ lord of the rings’ or any war movies or any animation movie… At the core lie things like love, honor, courage, hope no matter how we dress it up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A little tired

A little tired
of pointing fingers at you
A little tired of being judged
For words blurted out
A little tired of routine
Tired of mundane
A little tired of jokes
That never change with passing days
Tired I am of expectations
Tired then of self pity
Tired of being made out the sinner
Tired of defending

Tired. Just a little tired today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

They say Books can tell a lot about your character. In the new age, The profile pictures you put up on networking sites speak about the person too!
Lovers put couple pictures of themselves. Parents put pictures of their children or of themselves with their child. Its almost impossible to find pictures of couples together when they have children! Then, most put up flattering pictures of themselves! You wouldn't want to put a picture in which you look stupid! Its about putting your best foot forward! But there are some who put up goofy pictures of themselves. People who have learnt to laugh at themselves and not to take themselves seriously. There are the secretive kind, who avoid pictures, the mysterious, the paranoid perhaps. There are those serious people looking as serious in a passport picture. And there are those who hide behind pictures of celebrities. Perhaps a little insecure, inconfident.
Scanning all those pictures tell you all that you need to know about your friends.

Photo credits :