Monday, November 27, 2006

To all the girls I've loved before

while my last post was on democratization of music, this one is going to be a sort of contradiction. i get some sort of intellectual satisfaction by contradicting myself...its like i am having an argument with myself (people playing chess against themselves must be feeling the same, i guess).

the idea came up while chatting with an old 'DoReMe' pal. the man recently gifted me 'Closing Time' by Tom Waits and while discussing the song 'Martha' from the album the thought came. lets make an album which has tracks with the title as the name of the girl with 2 filters: a) all classic male bands/singers b) a song each by these greats. here is my list...

1. Ramona - Bob Dylan
2. Gloria - Van Morrison
3. Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
4. Julia - The Beatles
5. Angie - The Rolling Stones
6. Katie Mae - Grateful dead
7. Kathy's Song - Simon & Garfunkel
8. Martha - Tom Waits
9. Desiree - Neil Diamond

10. Hazey Jane I & II - Nick Drake

the album to be titled as 'To all the girls Ive loved before' and sent to our ex girl-friends....what do you think guys???

i shall be glad to hear about your list...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


In the beginning we were victims of the format. Names like Billboard & Decca Records etc told us that top Springsteen hit was “Dancing in the Dark” (they still tell you these things) while your personal hit was “I’m on fire” (still is)

They also packaged something like the ‘Greatest Hits’ by Bob Dylan and gave them to you in the form of an LP, magnetic tape or an Audio CD depending on the technology of the times while you kept wondering,‘where are the songs which I dig, man?’ (and they still continue to throw those ‘Greatest Hits’ sorts but who cares...)

Then came Internet, followed by a magical format called MP3 and the world of recorded music became free (the world of music is always free)…suddenly getting music was within the reach of all who had a high speed internet access…it could be downloaded, shared, carried in a small device, logically called the 'MP3 player' and enjoyed by anyone anywhere. No more listening to what somebody else is telling you to, no more listening to it in a particular sequence, no more buying expensive CDs for a particular song, no more waiting for that particular CD to come to a store near you…you could just pick up your favorite music from the country of Net, put it in your MP3 player and make something like ‘Greatest Hits’ by Vishal (ie if thats your name) became more personal. MP3 freed you from the other formats and allowed you to ‘Play with Music’ rather than just ‘Play the Music’

I call it DO-RE-MEcracy or the musical democracy!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The saddest poem ever written - leaf from the past diaries 2

When it comes to pathos and 'ishq' (I am still unable to find an English equivalent of this word) nothing beats the Urdu poets. Its almost difficult to believe that a language (and hence its litterature) which is just about 3 centuries old can be so rich and robust. Once again in my past diaries, I found something which I felt can be reproduced for you. Its a translation of (as the name suggests) one of the saddest poems Ive ever read from this side of the world.
Israr-ul-Haq Majaaz was one of the leading poets of the pre-independence days. He went mad after experiencing the gore of partition and spent his last days in an asylum! Below is a nazm by him called 'Awaara'...the pain soaked helplessness the poet's cry is unfathomable. I got exposed to it for the first time from a Talat Mehmood's (that playback singer from yesteryears) rendition of it and then later by an excellent Jagjit Singh's rendition of it from Kahkashaan. Ever since it has been one of my all time favorites so I tried to do justice to my passion by translating it for the larger audience of my friends...

Shahar kii raat aur mai.n naashaad-o-naakaaraa phiruu.N
Jagamagaatii jaagatii sa.Dako.n pe aavaaraa phiruu.N
Gair kii bastii hai kab tak dar badar maraa phiruu.N
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karuu.N,
Ai vahashat-e-dil kyaa karuu.N

Ye roopahalii chhaao.N ye aakaash par taaro.n kaa jaal
Jaise suufii kaa tasavvur jaise aashiq kaa Khayaal
Aah lekin kaun jaane kaun samajhe jii kaa haal
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karuu.N
Ai vahashat-e-dil kyaa karuu.N

Raaste me.n ruk ke dam le luu.N merii aadat nahii.n
LauT kar vaapas chalaa jaauu.N merii fitarat nahii.n
Aur koii ham-navaa mil jaae ye qismat nahii.n
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karuu.N ai vahashat-e-dil kyaa karuu.N

Ik mahal kii aa.D se nikalaa vo piilaa maahataab

Jaise mullaah kaa amaamaa jaise baniye kii kitaab
Jaise muflis kii javaanii jaise bevaa kaa shabaab
Ai Gam-e-dil kyaa karuu.N ai vahashat-e-dil kyaa karuu.N

Night has fallen in the city, and I roam disappointed and defeated
On dazzling, lit streets, I roam, a vagabond
It is not my neighborhood, how long can I loiter like this
Anguished heart, desperate heart, what should I do?

These beautiful shadows, this net of stars on the sky
Like a Sufi’s contemplation, a poets thought
But aah, who is to narrate my heart’s tale
Anguished heart, desperate heart, what should I do?

To stop and rest on the way is not my habit
To admit defeat is not my styleTo find a companion, is not my fate
Anguished heart, desperate heart, what should I do?

From behind a palace, emerged the yellow moon
Like a mulla’s robe, like a money lender’s ledger
Like a poor man’s youth, a widow’s beauty
Anguished heart, desperate heart, what should I do?

For those who do not know, Israr Ul Haq Majaz was the uncle of Javed Akhtar and brother-in-law of the famous Jaan Nisaar Akhtar (one who wrote the lyrics for many old movie songs, including the classic 'Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishaara Ho Gaya).
Am taking a break from Blogsville for a period of 10 days as I have a busy holiday ahead. Until then...

Monday, November 06, 2006

A leaf from the past diaries - 1

while rummaging through my writings from the past, i found something which i thought can be put up as a posting...this is about 3 years old and from my solitary phase.

Once again, the fragility of all things screamed at me. This time in the form of a road accident which left 4 humans and a machine injured (no deaths, thankfully). They were coming back from a succesful business presentation from Aurangabad to Pune. In fact, a few hours before this accident, we had spoken to them about the meeting which had just got over, and had also cracked some funnies. And a few hours later, we get this phone call informing us about the mishap. We got a shocker...any bubble can burst any fucking moment...then why do we keep struggling inside it? Why do we care, why do we cry, why cant we burst it ourselves, break free and kiss the sun? and while kissing the sun, melt within it and shine for the rest of the earths life? Guess we are weak... thats why, guess we need supports...thats why, guess we all have a purposeless existence... thats why, guess we are mere whims who take themselves too seriously...thats why, or perhaps because we are the cogs of this mammoth machine which is running without a purpose...cogs which can think and feel...this stupid machine fueled by 'time'.

The identities of the 4 and the us mentioned above are inconsequential. They are your regular people from everyday life. actually, these thoughts too are inconsequential but its just that i have to put them down. one has to keep breathing even if he cant predict his death - isnt this the ultimate irony of life?

The routine
Every evening a sun rises
Inside my soul,
Beckoning me to wake up
And bathe in its light

I get out of my daydreams,
Brush my mind with some codeine,
Make it ready for the day ahead.
With some coffee and bread.

I hit the roads,
To gather dark snaps of the world,
To hear its muffled eclectic sounds,
With my thoughts wandering around.

Loittering around the night,
I meet one dying morning light,
Getting ready with its sunset.
And i think, 'soon, it'll be time to bed'.

Taking out the pen,
To guide my thoughts into the diary,
I light the last 'cancer' of the night
And start writing by the dying light.

The words melt into a dull slumber
The smoke gets blown away
The slumber melts into sleep
And im back with my daydreams.

posting these words from the past made me did you feel after reading them?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The egg and the butterfly

As will be true for most houses in metros, Sunday is the cleaning day for my house. That’s the day when elements like time, desire to clean and the cleaning maid converge to produce that shine effect. The way I go about it is like this - I play the role of an opening band for the main performer (who is the cleaning bai in this case). So, I set the stage for the main act by pulling out all the unnecessary stuff from places like bookracks, music corner, dining table and other such places and dumping them on the floor. Later, the Diva comes and gives a rocking performance! (Ok..this nicely described Sunday may just happen twice a month to my house.) Last Sunday was one such occasion.

With Dave Brubeck in the background I was moving from one spot to another with my opening act and came upon the cupboard on top of which lay my travel knapsack. Thinking of the coming journey, I pulled it out with a quick action. In the microseconds that elapsed between my thought to pull it out and the actual act, the following train of thoughts occurred within me:

I have been seeing a pigeon frequenting the top of the cupboard (its placed close to the window) for a while…what if there are eggs there…they’ll come down with the knapsack and…dammit!

Followed by a heart-breaking sound…Phchaaaak!

Saxaphone continued in the backdrop. I kept staring at the tiny yellow and white mass spread on the floor with broken white shell and some twigs. The new train of thoughts:

Shit man…I ended a life…but no it wasn’t a life yet….still man…now the mother will keep on trying to find this…I broke the nest too…man this isn’t good…and I almost knew this was going to happen…had I been a little careful about the whole thing.

‘Blue Rondo’ kept playing in the backdrop.

10 minutes later the floor looked like nothing had happened (i had cleaned it up). But somehow, my heart still carried the smudge and ears the sound. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling.

Then, wisdom came to my rescue and I became better. I thought of how I saved the life of a butterfly a few days ago and realized that I am not so bad. Notes of Kathy's waltz filled up my ears and the heart was filled up with a small smile. It’s a nice way to ease ones conscience…thinking of your good deed to get even stevens with the bad one (am not talking about the deliberate ones here). Try it sometime and tell me if it worked for you.

For the butterfly story, as I always say…you might read it in some other posting.