Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shubha Mudgal, a salaam.
Its the way her voice surges, conquers all three scales.
Fluid magic...
Nothing delicate or tinny about this.Robust, rich and soaring to the skies.
Ooncha balamji ka des...
These words have been echoing all day.
The manner in which the beat sounds.
Perhaps its the blend of passion and mysticism in the verse. That's what the reviews say.
Anyway, I don't understand any of that.
Something good came from that RIP Worldspace.
I took the dust covers off the music system.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yesterday we watched Aah. Raj Kapoor- Nargis. Vintage 1953.
Perhaps it was the b & w photography, that play of shadow and light with an ethereal Nargis.
Perhaps it was the music, melodious, lilting Shankar Jaikishan. And some of that background score, specially the shivranjani which made the leap to a full number in Mera Naam Joker two decades later.
The locations, with luxurious homes that look like homes. The beauty of the outdoors in b&w, light streaming past trees.
Perhaps it was the simplicity of the storyline.Linear and unlayered.
Perhaps because it reminds me of simpler values and times.

Added: I must not forget the vintage furniture, lovely retro cupboards and that settee with an inbuilt bookshelf- smart.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How completely vulnerable does friendship (or what goes for friendship) make one, jagged edges and fluffy side up, open to conjecture and examination.
Which is why when someone goes completely silent without any reason, I tremble and go for a toss.
To me, where I'm coming from, based on my history, it is a slight, a personal rejection.
I don't do rejections too well. I thrive on acceptance, assurance. Gimme my security blanket.
Crazy? You bet it is.
So it was marvelous to sit by your side, hear your story, the dribbles, fragments and pieces you chose to share.
While knowing all the time, very likely you'll clam up, pack and move once again, home as you know it.
It was worth the hour long walk looking for an auto, and worth that plea to the cabbie, and the late hour.
Life lesson for me-- take people as they are.
As is, where is.
I'll try. Irrespective of the jagged edges.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My biggest problem is that I write panoramic. MGM style, big scale.
I don’t do the close-up.
By the time I get to zoom in, the word count is done, khatam and its time to close shop.
And I write Indian. Which means I expect a reader to know backstories, cultural stuff like honor killings and the caste system.
I have a thick skin for “no’s” and getting thicker.
That, or write about the familiar, write for the firang reader-- which seems such a sell out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On trees bereft and bare, new leaves unfurl.
Let them demolish one road-- I'll find another.
(Quite literally--my regular shortcut is lost to a construction project.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All I wanted to say was thank you. For not considering the state of Gujarat to be the abode of witless lumpens with rubber spines and vacant sawdust brains.
For this basic courtesy and decency, as a proud Gujarati- thank you.

I am quite fed up of the spate of vicious attacks on the state. One nasty but obvious reason is the preponderance of people from other states in the media, paired with the less than perfect economic plight of their home states.

While 2002 was a tragedy and chaos of the worst order, which state in the country has been free of a law and order machinery breakdown? What happened cannot and should not be excused. And this stands true for several cringe-worthy events in the country.

High time the country as a whole get its act in order- stop picking on Gujarat, stop sneering every time the name of the state is taken.

Yesterday I read my first-ever Alice Munro short story.
I was dazed at the close.
She brings her reader to a place that is unsettling, strange and yet known, and leaves them there, letting them draw their own conclusions, so much said unsaid. Perhaps that is the best way, a quicksilver shorthand that the clued-in reader grasps, and for the rest it does not matter.
Amazing mastery of the craft.

Link added:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Early, much much too early most morning I watch you breathe in, breathe out, my ears tense for any change in pitch, any unusual rasping. Much too soon the day begins and with it your labored coughing. The kid syrup antibiotic has been measured and now the bottle is empty, we take recourse to traditional remedies and I pray turmeric and ginger rev up your immune system and give you the strength to challenge, to fight back and vanquish, and it is afterall, only a cold. As ailments go, this is but a cold, but one that has lasted too long, or so I think. I fuss too much.

On the to-read list: Mirrorwork. An anthology of Indian writing.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What havoc.
Brings back memories of Kutch-Amdavad, Latur.
Also that catastrophe with our western neighbor. Also China, when entire buildings collapsed, that school building, remember?
Why does the earth get so angry, so often.
Why this indifference and disgust?
Or does periodic anguish serve to tie the world together.
A reminder of our common fate?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One picture.
So many interpretations.
So many tales of fractured perception.
Been busy, scrolling through the subs on the site, and occasionally, commenting.

Tomorrow's Uttarayan, the kite flying festival.
Color squares soaring heavenwards.
Great post here:

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Dust storms

Way down the list-- the 61st entry.

In the deluge, not a chance.

But would be delighted if you'd read.

I *think* this one of my "not-bad" efforts.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Why now?
A day ago, I came across Susan Boyle’s demo track.
She’s singing her version of Roberta Flack’s Killing me softly.
The “rip it straight from the gut and soar to the skies” premise of her Britain’s got talent debut—that’s missing.
If anything, she’s way older now.
So what prompted that insouciance. That cheek. That “I don’t quite give a damn.” That causes her voice to open up and let go?
What caused it now?
The person is the same, the voice the same, If anything, older.
And would this earth-stopping performance have been possible without the simply-ok demo track?
Destiny, nasseeb, fate—why did they wait to kick in now?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Some lines of deep thought, solitude and contemplation I’d read recently, took me back to this poem.

Taught to us by the ever-patient Mrs. Arora in Class 10. Thirty years ago.
Almost every word difficult, every word underlined for meaning.

The line that stayed with me was--
“Jivan ka antim dhyey svayam jeevan hai”

Thanks to googledevta, I found the entire poem here:

(The title in our text book was Parshuram ke Updesh.Yes, I remember.)

The verse has the mighty roar of battle in the way the words build up.
It took me all these years to understand the meaning.Somewhat understand.

This is just that critical stanza, my version with due apologies:

The purpose of life is not fame or wealth
Not peace, not a search for truth, not even an insight divine
Not science, not knowledge, not mighty strength nor philosophy
In the final summing up, the purpose of life is life itself.