Friday, October 28, 2005
Mama jeevana hetuna
KhanTHe bhadnaami shuBHage
Tvam jeeva sharadaam shatam.
By this sacred thread,
A symbol of my life,
That I auspiciously tie around your neck,
I declare that you may live
To see a hundred autumns!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Talking of open, I caught Sania at a press conference on TV wearing a T-shirt blaring "I'm Cute. No Shit". And a bunch of confused Hyderabadis went, "Kya boli re?".
Ae dil tu mujhko bataade,
Kyun chaaee hai tanhaai,
Chahat yeh mere man ki,
Kyun aise rang laee,
Ae zindagi, yeh samjhade mujhko,
Is mod par kyun ruki hai,
Aankhein jo thi mera jeevan sahara,
Mujhe dekh kar kyun jhuki hain
Dil ka yeh hai afsaana,
Tujhko hi hai bataana,
Tere bina mera jeevan adhura,
Tumse milne ki tamanna hai,
Na tum miloge, na hum milenge,
raatein yun kat jaayengi,
Na tum kahoge, na hum kahenge,
baatein yun reh jaayengi
(I think the intricate usage of the title of this track, in the penultimate line of the first stanza is key. It subtly forms a part of the song, instead of being in the limelight and getting repeated several times (a la songs like Saathiya, etc.). Kinda like the word "Parineeta" is used just once in the entire album, that too - ever so delicately.
This thought process was revitalized when I observed a simple example on television. Those of you in India or the Middle East (or in the US, with the Dish Network Mega/Value Pack), have probably caught the reality show, Fame Gurukul. For those who haven't, its a reality show where contestants have been residing in this mansion of music education, called the Gurukul, being eliminated by audience votes to produce a "fame Jodi", if you will, of a talented duo. The final 3 that the competition has come down to, after 'crores' of votes and hundreds of eliminations, are Ruprekha Bannerjee, Qazi Tauqeer and Rex D'Souza. Over the months, I have witnessed the elimination of some really talented and gifted singers, by so-called audience voting (which is carried out by phone calls and SMS-es across the nation, and is re-emphasized by non-televised campaign rallies). Seems simple enough so far? Now comes the political manifestation of the same. Qazi Tauqeer is visibly a good stage performer, with a Hritik Roshan fixation, not to mention a good-looker with a hairdo resembling a disregarded mop. But when it comes to the singing department, he falls short by orders of magnitude of several of his predecessors who are unfortunate not to be in his position today. Why? Because he's a Muslim from Kashmir. The minute he would have lost the public vote and left the Gurukul, his first media interview would have been crammed with allegations of discrimination. And India would burn. It would, trust me! It takes very little sparks to ignite conflagrations in our nation. And most minority leagues who are bereft of funding and a tad bit 'mental', (hence, funda-mentalists), just wait for an opportunity to grab the riot limelight. Hence, he remains. And with a grand chance of winning one half of the title, as well.
Moreover, get this. Rex, Rooprekha and Qazi. C'mon! A modern-day "Amar Akbar Anthony", don't you think? Why piss off any of the communities and their respective bodyguard commissions that cry reckless violence when mildly discriminated or even, disregarded? Why ignore the communities that relate to the religion of a candidate rather than his talent, and bring down the TRPs? Its sad that in a nation of disparities and heritage, that calls itself the world's largest democracy, even a so-called simple televised music competition falls prey to negative communalist variables.
Monday, October 24, 2005
That's what I love about the spirit of Americans. They never let it get them down. An image of an evacuee from Key West - shocking that I was there just a few months ago, and there were all those hurricane evacuation route signs. What a strange life they must live out there in the Keys... at one outstretched end of the nation, with just one road strip (Route 1) connecting them to mainland. Constant evacuations as they are the brunt of every wind current that brews out of the Atlantic. But thumbs up to the spirit of them Floridans. Stay strong, people.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Mera yeh dil chaahe, saath tera sanam,
Mushkil badi hai yeh dooriyaan,
Yeh zindagi ki majbooriyaan,
Qismat ne ki bewafaai sanam, kaise sahein yeh tanhaaiyaan"
Yes, that's Don Juan-ic as I can get for the day. Have been trying to work on this song for ages, much to my chagrin. But like Tolstoy's War And Peace, it never finishes! Have the chord structure laid out, have the lyrics down - but just need that momentous projection to get it done with. Any takers?
Saddam pleads innocent. I don't get it. He has no home to go to. He has nobody to call his own. He's stuck in a land, far far away from where used to be, surrounded by people who hate him. And still he pleads innocent. Dude, you're lucky you're not breathing out of a tank yet. You're lucky that you haven't been written off as a "Slipped-in-shower-and-died" case by the resounding Pentagong (mispelt conveniently so that I don't have an RV with antennae hanging around my apartment after I post this - pardon me, I live in a paranoid nation).
Katrina ke baad, its Wilma, now. Can't these people get a little creative with their names. I mean, hurricanes need to sound DEVASTATING. They need names like Rex or Tyrone - something mean and realistic. Not cutesy names like Wilma. What's next? Typhoon Barney and Cyclone Fred running up the coast in their wood-and-stone jalopy, with a dinosaur in the backseat? Gimme a break. How come they don't name other natural disasters. "San Andreas was hit by a 7.6 this week, marking the return of Earthquake Pikachu". Maybe they should name earthquakes after crashed stocks - there's a symbolism. Think about it.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Like most New Yorkers, I decided to go club-hopping on the weekend after the magnificent fireworks display. But as I got down on the dance floor with my two left feet, I heard something awkwardly familiar. The primarily gora crowd went wild to the opening warped riffs of the retro craze, “Yeh Mera Dil” from Don. I was undoubtedly the only one who identified the Kalyanji-Anandji hit, because everyone seemed to recognize it as the opening to Don’t Phunk With My Heart, the latest No. 1 from the Black Eyed Peas (of Hey Mama fame). This is not the first time that BEP has used a desi influence in their music, as the Elephunk Theme is appreciably inspired by an obscure, devotional Illaiyaraja number. My only question is – where do these bands dig up these songs from?
I met up with Nusrat Durrani, GM/SVP of MTV World recently and he said, “I was in Dubai from ’90 to ’95 and it continues to fascinate me.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
And this is America, today. A melting pot of Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Europeans and “desis” (or in a more politically correct classification – South Asians). An inter-continental smorgasbord, if you will. A land where white people are soon diminishing into a minority. Most Americans, however, have a very ambiguous outlook towards Indians and India. They think that we can do only one of two jobs in America –manage convenience stores or code software. And contrary to belief, most Americans still think that back home, Indians are snake-charmers, goat-herders or inept call center representatives. Although the awareness is building, it still needs to be purported on a vast scale. And movies like Bride and Prejudice aren’t helping as they still show Indians as a bunch of over-zealous, elephant-followers. Yes, I agree we have a wonderful culture and oodles of tradition – but we also have a metropolitan side to India that needs to be portrayed to the world through popular film. Bollywood, are you listening?
Friday, October 14, 2005
Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Unpredictability. All leads me to suggest, nay, believe one thing - the environment is fighting back. This love-hate relationship that we share with the world around us, is far from ordinary. Once in a pale blue moon, when we choose to sit back and appreciate the magic of nature's surroundings, we do so to no extend. We run off to a lakeside paradise, or a mountaineous adventure, and gorge on nature's beauty. But once we have sated our appetite, we retire to the characteristics of our dominating split personality. Taking our world, our lives, our surroundings, our thoughts, our processes, our people ... all for granted. Industries plunder the skyspheres with murderous substance. Corporations steal land from the sea, with a refusal to curb their enthusiasm. Trees are uprooted. Land is mined. Its in our nature to plunder nature. We love her to death when she catches our fancy, but will in fact be, the primary cause of her soon and sudden demise. Today she fights back, with a veracity reminiscent of Mangal Pandey single-handedly attempting to battle the Rangoon regiment. She fights back with every ounce of dignity that kept her going, and every memory of the joyful and shy pride which was inspired by the extensive appreciation or artists and poets and writers for centuries. She fights back with anger and animosity at a human race that has cheated on her with a fairer maiden named technology. But she fights back with the firm knowledge that she is larger than life itself - a certainty that she can end this wicked game that she was forced into. When will this madness end? This relationship has turned into a vicious chess game, where the earth has turned into a massacre board where we are victimized pawns - as we face the wrath of the elements, that have been wreaked by the wrongdoings of a few misled souls. We continue to build castles in the air, develop technologies, build better, bigger and more pollutive objects of mass destruction .. and expect Her to quietly suffer in silence, cry in the corner and never speak out in her defence. Think again, nature-lover. This is no ordinary love.