Thursday, June 28, 2007

2 Meaningless Headlines of the Recent times

Atlantis with Sunita Williams (were there others in it?) finally had a safe landing. Of course, she is as 'pakka' an Indian as the 'Taj', which brings me to the other one...

Taj Mahal has to be in the Seven Wonders of the World....every Indian should campaign for it! Else, Taj will lose its standing and more importantly the beauty & charm that it has always been famous for.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

There's a thing in my pocket

I usually don't write about the profession I am in, but once in a while something comes along from my industry that makes me happy because of the sheer creative beauty of it (and makes me write a post like this). This commercial for multifunctional Nokia 95 is not on air anymore (though a friend says that one channel still runs it) but it keeps running in my mind all the time. I am sure the commercial will be there for you to appreciate on youtube in its full glory...with the subtle soundtrack of piano notes, great visuals with beautiful hue & lighting and a really stylish Godfather like voice-over. But the real hero of the commercial is the outstanding copy...Nosh Farmaaiye!

There's a thing in my pocket,
but it's not one thing, it's many

It's the same as other things
but exactly like nothing else.
It has an eye and an ear
that shares what billions of humans see.
It's not a living thing,
but if you feed it it will grow.
It can rally the masses,
it can silence the crowd.
It can speak a thousand words
but it has no voice.
It can find you the places
so you can get lost. (my favorite line)
And it can let others feel
what you've just been touched by

There's a thing in my pocket,
but it's not one thing, it's many.

Last time I fell in love with an ad was the international one for Sony Ericsson, Walkman phones...the one that ends with that very European sounding 'Hello'. Interestingly, a rival brand and the one I own!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Sound of Humor - Julie Andrews

Like most people of this planet, The Sound of Music (1965) happens to be one of my favorite things. My last viewing, which was a few months ago, resulted in countless gooseflesh moments and watery eyes. When I appreciate something to the highest degree of appreciation that can happen in my system, my eyes start shedding loads of water (think I shall try to explain this whole thing of ‘degrees of appreciation’ in another post). Why I am mentioning this all time classic of 20th century here is because of a forward I received this morning in my mailbox from a funnyman friend.

One of the big songs of the movie is ‘My Favorite Things’ a song in minor scales and set on waltz beat. The song simply suggests that when you are feeling low, just remember some of your favorite things and you will start feeling better (works for kids and in movies, I guess). Anyway, the thought is beautiful, even is it isn’t practical (speaking strictly for myself).
So, the morning forward carried this content:

To commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was 'My Favorite Things' from the legendary movie "Sound Of Music." Here are the lyrics she used:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.

I salute the spirit and humor of Ms Andrews if this is true, else the salute goes to the man/woman with such parodying skills. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Scientist's Religion

As mentioned in my earlier post, I am in the presence of a great mind these days. Its in the form of a essays and articles written or spoken by Albert Einstein on various subjects. This one is on how a scientist looks at religion.

“You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religiosity of the na├»ve man. For the latter, God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands, so to speak, in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe.

But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.”

The book like any other thing I appreciate has become an obsession. Whatever spare time I get in between my busy schedule, even if its a 15 minutes break, I end up making a quick visit to one of the many rooms of the man’s mind to return happier than before. Have you picked up the book yet?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Raga Malhar and its Effect

The first rains of Bombay happened last evening and my friend & me were lucky enough to get caught in it. Though it also brings memories and fear of troubled times (26/7, as branded by the media), all were happy and smiling, including the leaves on the trees, which got a wash. And in my mind I was elated that the rains responded to my invitation. I had invited them by playing (on my music system) 3 kinds of ‘Malhar’ the previous evening. Sur Malhar by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Gaud Malhar by Pt. Jasraj and Megh Malhar by Rashid Khan.

One of the most unique characteristics of Indian music is the assignment of definite times of the day and night and seasons for performing Raga melodies. There are some Ragas, which are very attractive in the early hours of the mornings, Bhairav or Lalit for example; others, which appeal in the evenings e.g. Yaman & Khamaj, yet others, which spread their fragrance only, near the midnight hour, like Malkauns & Bhopali. Then there are certain Ragas like Malhar and Bahar which invoke the season or the sentiments of that season in the listeners / musician’s mind. No other culture in the world can boast of this kind of richness and depth in the construction of their music.

Now, Raga Malhar comes in various kinds. Slight change in one note here and there in the basic scale of Malhar can turn it into a Sur Malhar or Miyan Ki Malhar. According to the legend, when the summer heat would get beyond tolerance levels of human beings, Tansen, the court singer would sing Miyan ki Malhar (the most famous type and constructed by Tansen himself))…the heat would get drowned in the heavy showers and the great Monsoons of India would announce itself. The same happened last evening bacause of the music by the modern day Tansens (though Rashid Khan doesn’t deserve this adjective). Thats how I the romantic in me choses to look at it.

Coming back to the last evening…cars started honking in gay chaos of the moment, people started running half-heartedly towards the nearest shelter, my leather sandals got wet and amidst all this that special smell arose from the earth…that smell of rains making love to the earth after a gap of one full year!

Then we got into a theater to watch a decent effort by adman Balki, called ‘Cheeni Kum’. The gentleman sitting next to me kept laughing and commenting loudly on every little joke/unjoke of the movie. Reckon the movie is doing good business!

My latest trip:
The two songs I have been listening to almost everyday for the last fortnight. Both are by CSN, both are from their self-titled first album (1969) and both are a trip.
1. Wooden Ships (co-written by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and hence appears in their first album too): The song as one of the best opening lines in rock history, “If you smile at me I will understand, that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language"
2. Long Time Gone: This song was written as a response to Robert Kennedy’s assassination