Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Blog On Music

At last, after a long time!! May be I should have thought about a better title for this.. something like @#$#@@#$ ;) hehe!! WHO CARES!! Anyways, I'm taking a break from short stories!! At the same time, I want to fill the pages of my blog.. So here it goes ..

A blog dedicated to the different styles of music that I have come across. Hope you like it too...


An awesome fusion of Indian and Flamenco styles of music. The whole album dwells on the elements of flamenco and its Indian roots. It expresses both the cultural and musical amalgamation of India and Spain which makes me wonder whether this musical form could have had a common ancestor, viz., The Gypsies of Andulucia. I wouldn't say for sure that Flamenco has its roots in India, but what if the Gypsies, who left India ages ago, had settled somewhere else? Would Flamenco have sounded the same? I doubt!! Even though these extremely interesting genres of music are not directly related, the emotionality, expression, rhythm, depth and sensitivity that forms the very nature of Indian music can be felt in Flamenco too. Check out Miguel Czachowski [ Flamenco Guitarist ] and Avaneendra Shilokar's [ Sitar ] magic

[ The Basics of Classical Fusion: The base of Indian music is constituted by raga, that is a sequence of at least five notes of one scale. A melody founded on it is performed according to specific principles and with a certain mood. This is a list of six main ragas and each one of them having its variations. After converting it into the European note system, assuming that the first note in the scale will be the sound C, these six ragas are as follows:
Bhairav - C, Db, E, F, G, Ab, B, C
Shri - C, Db, E, F#, G, Ab, B, C
Malkauns - C, Eb, F, Ab, Bb, C
Hindol - C, E, F#, A, B, C
Deepak - C, Db, E, F#, A, B, C
Megh - C, D, F, G, A, C
****************** ]

2. Da Hip Hop Illayarajas:

This is more of a modernisation of an early 80's masterpiece from Ilayaraja. This song has a right blend of Hip Hop + the Ilayaraja Factor. I believe if you can undestand Tamil, you would appreciate the lyrics as well.. So what is common between these two songs? CONTEXT!! Both these songs express the pain n happiness in a musicians life.. While Ilayaraja's original features a poor ambitious musician trying to impress the producers / directors for a music chance, this one is about a group of tamil rappers trying their own style to get a break through.. I have heard a lot of remixes of older songs, but this is a class of its own.. Hats off to Yogi B and Nakshatra..

3. Symphony N Metallica:

I came to know about it sometime early in my first year of engineering. At that time, I thought it was one of those pranks that people play to make a complete fool out of you. How can the sound of Metallica be fused with Symphony? I remained skeptical until that night-out weekend when I got my hands on that 2 Live CD pack. Till that time, the Metallica I knew was in the likes of Kill 'em all, Master Of Puppets, Ride The Lightening et al. I was amazed to hear the booming guitars of Kirk Hamett with the dubious voice of James Hetfield blended with the sound of SanFransisco symphony. This album was a mouth shutter for all those critics who wrote down metal music as mere noise [ though it wasn't well recieved by hard-core Metallica Fans. I guess the pre-dominance of songs from less popular albums such as Load n Re-load could have been the reason behind it ] ..
This is one of my all time favourites [ Thou I feel, "Nothing else Matters" was the best sounding track in S&M ].. Master Of Puppets for You....

4. Apocalyptica:

If S&M was unbelievable, then my vocabulary is restricted to explain what Apocalyptica are. Imagine bringing the sound of metal music in four cellos?.. Started off as a cover band for Metallica, they have moved on to become the best music exports of Finland. The Heavy Metal Cello Fellos!!
This is apocalyptica playing the Master Of Puppets..

Apocalyptica's M.O.P - Full Version [the sound quality of this video is not so good :( ]
M.O.P by Apocalyptica [ only the all famous solo part of M.O.P ]
Hope you liked all the 6 bands that were featured in this blog ... >>
If you had scrolled up to check if there were 6.. GOTCHA!! Jus wanted to make you do a re-count.. !! :)
I wonder whether I over did Master Of Puppets in this blog??
If No..
then check out the original of Metallica's Master Of Puppets : Original Live ..!!
If Yes,
then anyways I have over done it, so doing it one more time doesn't cost much anyways.. So check out the original from Metallica M.O.P Original :)))
P.S.: I expect nobody would have clicked the Original version twice not knowing that both are same.. If Yes!! I have jus two words for u!! U ROCK !! ;)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner

Peter was not at his usual best. May be he was trying a bit too hard to impress us or was trying to cover up his inner vision with a happy mask. Whatever it may be, Peter did not impress us today. In my last visit to Aradhana [a school near Hadapsar for the economically challenged children, Huh.. I prefer calling it an orphanage as that is closer to the reality] he was an outstanding discovery among 200 similar aged children. I was awestruck by his elocution skills, leadership qualities and the confidence with which he interacts with total strangers like me. I repeat for the umpteenth time that if given a proper platform, Peter will definitely become a very successful CEO, cliché yet true. But today he was nowhere near that. His words and actions reflected the image of a child [But after all, that is what he is, a mere 9th grader].

What could be wrong with him today? My mind was not able to find an answer. We went ahead with the distribution of Diwali goodies to the children. The usual Peter would have come to help me out with it. But today he opted to sit somewhere at the back looking at the ground. I went near him and gave him a packet. He took it with both his hands and thanked me with a broad smile on his face. I gave a smile back and hugged him.

When all the formalities were over, my team dispersed and everyone left expect for me. I went along with some kids to their “sleeping room” which apparently is their classroom in the morning. We shared some jokes and happenings about people at the school like some guy forgot to wear his zipper to the class, some sardar jokes, some nicknames and reasons, some fat guy’s eating habits, etc. Between all these, I failed to notice that Peter was missing from the scene.

When it was getting really dark, I told the kids that I was time for me to leave. Mangesh asked for my phone number so that he can call and wish me on diwali. Another kid, Lokesh asked whether I have a mobile phone with me.

“Yes” I replied.

“Can I call my mom? I won’t be seeing her during diwali vacations” he asked.

Even before I could ask why, all the other kids in the room wanted to call their parents too. I took my phone out and asked Lokesh for the number. I dialed it and gave the phone to him. He spoke for over a minute and gave it back to me. Soon every kid took turns and called their homes. Some were lucky to speak, some couldn’t remember their phone numbers and for some nobody was answering the calls. Peter would have come to know about this and came running into the room.

“Can I call my mom? “ he asked.

“Ofcourse you can, after these two guys” I pointed at two kids who were in the queue.

He waited for his turn and dialed the number and took the phone towards one corner. I didn’t notice what he was upto as there were so many kids in the room swarming me. After sometime he gave the phone back to me.

“What did your mom say? “ I asked him.

“Nobody’s picking up the phone” he said looking at the ground and ran out of the room.

I knew that it was a lie. I remember seeing him speak to someone. I gave the phone to the next kid in the queue and went near Mangesh.

“What happened to Peter” I asked him

“His mom beats him everytime he goes home. She doesn’t come to see him hear and neither does she want him to go back to their home” Mangesh whispered to me.

So this was it. I told the kids that it have to leave as it was getting really late. There were so many kids waiting to call. I knew it would take ages by the time everybody calls.

“Ok. This will be the last call and whoever didn’t get a chance this time can call their parents next time when I come” I said.

I was expecting a me, me sound to fill the room. But every kid was pointing towards someone else and was recommending others to make the call.

“He won’t be seeing his parents for diwali, let him call” was a common thing I heard there.

How many of us are like this? They are so altruistic at such a small age. Not just in this moment, even when I finished distributing the chocolates [two micro mini packs of dairy milk which they would have seldom seen], they opened the pack immediately and none of them ate the whole thing. They made those into pieces and every kid made it a point that they give some share of it to the teachers and us.

Finally they decided on one guy, Sanket, to make the call. I dialed the number and gave it to Sanket. Meanwhile, the kids gathered around me and gave a hand made card for diwali. We hugged and wished each other. I came out of the room with a heavy heart and went towards the bike. I saw Peter sitting on the parapet near the place where I had parked my bike, but facing a small pond in the opposite direction. I went near him, put my hand around his shoulder and took my face near his ears.

“How about a long ride” I whispered to him.

“Hmm” he replied and got down.

When the other kids saw Peter at the pillion, they also wanted a ride. I told them that I want to talk about the children’s day event that we are planning to organize and took Peter out for a ride.

We went to a nearby hillock ten minutes away from Aradhana. He didn’t speak a word during the whole ride. At times, I literally had to turn around to check if he was still at the pillion. Finally, we reached to a place after which we have to trek to reach the top. I parked my bike underneath a tree and started to walk.

“Are you going home for Diwali” he asked me breaking his silence.


“Why? You don’t want to see your parents? He asked

I didn’t know what to answer.

“How about you” I asked him.

“I want to go, but my mom doesn’t want me to come home. The last time I saw her was about a year back when I had severe fever and my teachers told me to go home” he said with his eyes filled with tears.

“ My mom beats me all the time I go there and she did that last time too” he continued

“How about your dad?” I asked

‘He left us when I was in Bombay. My mom was working as a servant maid in a house. My dad took away everything we had and locked us out” tears flowed out torrentially.

“My mom, bro and I didn’t know what to do. I kept on crying for a long time”


“We found a place to live in nearby. I started to work in a tea stall. As my bro was very young, my mom used to carry him along when she goes for work. Later one uncle told me that I cannot work now and have to wait for some more years and put me in this school. After this, my mom had to work for more hours to bring us food to eat. At times, some people used to come to my house during nights and they’ll give us money to buy our food. My mom will ask my brother and I to sleep under a banyan tree in such nights. Later on, she told me that my bro and I cannot stay with her anymore and made us stay in the school itself. Earlier my mom used to visit us regularly. But slowly she started hating and stopped visiting us. Everytime I go back home, she used to curse me for all the mishaps in her life and beat me with wood and belt. In the past two or three years, I have seen her only thrice.”

I wasn’t sure how to console Peter. I thought it is better to be an orphan than to be a Peter. It is very hard to run the long distance race called life, alone. Especially when you know that there are people around, but nobody cares about you. Trust me, it is better to be an orphan!!

“Is your mom like this too? Does she beat you” Peter asked me.

“No. Only when I do something wrong. That too, when I was like you” I said

“Then why are you not staying with her? If I had such a mom, I would have never come here” he said.

These words struck me like a lightning. This is one of the questions to which I’ve been trying to find an answer myself. What Am I doing here? What is the meaning of my existence? I wanted to cry as much as I could, but didn’t. The gentle breeze and the evening sky that made us closer to the nature was making the moment easy.

We stayed there for some more time and I dropped Peter back in his school. I promised that I’ll take him to the infant Jesus church someday, his long term wish. I rode back to my house reminiscing my happy childhood and thanked God that I didn’t have to go through such events in my life. I sat at the balcony gazing the starless sky in the night like an insomniac. There is something that is fundamentally wrong in the place where we live in. These little children have their share of dreams too. There are so many doctors and teachers among these children dreaming that one day; they will be back with their family living a happy life and what are we doing about it?

We can’t dream their dreams, but we can empower them make it come true and encourage them to dream higher. I just don’t want to be an ephemeral rainbow during rains; I want to be the stars that make their night beautiful. May be I should stop chasing the winds across the world and lend my wings to the Peters of this world to fly along. May be I was born to help our Peters to slay the Goliaths.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Knocking on the Heaven's Door

It all went well until my roomies and I decided to go for an English movie on a Monday evening. The movie was Snakes on a plane [Haven’t heard a more straight forward name for an English movie]. More than creating terror, it was merely disgusting to the core. Right from the days of swimming sessions in a pond opposite my house in kerala, one thing that freaks me out is the sight of these slithering reptiles. And the worst part about this movie was that it was flooded with such poisonous snakes of all shapes and sizes. Yuck!! Even when the movie was on, I had this strange feel of something running across my legs. After a couple of hours of this gruesome torture, we came out of the theatre and decided to catch a local to go back home.
We boarded the train at Shivaji nagar station and luckily found plenty of places to sit. A man walked into my compartment with a grey coloured medium sized suitcase in his hand. It had a chromium coated spiral metal chain that was tied to the handle and had a similar coloured lock which was slightly smaller than a door lock. From the looks of it, the suitcase must have been very heavy and the man struggled to put that thing on the side rack. One of my roomies, who was sitting on the opposite side, stood up and helped the man. Everything looked normal to me until I noticed that this man looked around warily at the compartment and strolled towards the exit and disappeared into the crowd. I was expecting this man to come back into my span of vision but he didn’t. There is a possibility that I could have missed this guy in the crowd, but I was in one of those mindsets, when even a simple incident like this could kindle a tremor inside you subconsciously. It was an amalgamation of my thoughts that was wandering between recent Mumbai bomb blasts and snake movie that had freaked me out to the core.
I kept on staring at the suitcase paying no heed to what people were upto around me. It was a very old one and had a half broken push lever lock at the either side. It was over stuffed with things that made it look like two pregnant ladies standing back to back. I looked around the compartment, but still no sight of this man. By this time the train had already started moving and had reached the next station. Every other time, when I get such moments of loneliness, I would have imagined a beautiful romantic story involving me and the characters around me. But that day, I was in no mood for any sort of romance. My heart was filled with a new kind of fear that I have never faced in my life. The fear of death.
My mind clock started ticking and my brain kept on guessing the strategy behind that suitcase bomb. It should most probably be timed to blast when the train reaches Pimpri, one of the most crowded stations, my conscious said. But have the terrorists taken into the account the time delay? What if the bomb blasts even before the train reaches Pimpri? I looked at the clock in my mobile phone to see how much time is left for me to live. It showed that hardly ten minutes were remaining in my 23 odd years of existence. I looked at my friends and asked them what if this suitcase has a bomb and we all die in another ten minutes. All what I got back was a mocking smile. My heart was pounding and beating faster than ever. Why these people can’t understand the seriousness of the situation, the ME screamed inside me. My eyes browsed through the compartment and saw various faces of various textures. Some senile faces revealing the fatigue and ordeal through the burrows, some office going middle classers with a worried look about the ever deficit house budget, some young local lads who think hanging on the footboard is all that is required to impress the girls in the ladies compartment, some merchants, some software engineers, and the some that sums up to the whole society that we see in our day to day lives. What if these people knew that they were all going to die in a couple of minutes? In a matter of 120 seconds, these beautiful bodies that cover the boulevard of so many broken dreams will be shattered into nothing more than kilograms of red raw smelly meat.
I continued to stare at the suitcase. The lock that was hung at the end of the chain, was swinging like a pendulum. It reminded me of the seconds that were ticking away. The train was marching towards the Pimpri station at a fast pace talking my life along. It’s so frustrating to know that you are going to die and are totally helpless. Things that I had wanted to do in all my life appeared in front of my eyes as a distant dream . May be I should have expressed my love to that gorgeous girl in office, may be I should have pursued my dream to become a writer and not just an engineer who writes, may be I should have apologized to a childhood friend with whom I had a fight and never talked again, may be I should have written a mail to a person by giving up my ego, whom I once thought as my best friend but failed to keep in touch, may be I should have lain at my mom’s lap and listened to her problems when I went home last time, may be I should have cried holding my brother’s hand and told him how much I love him, may be I should have taken my dad out for an India Pakistan cricket match and got him the best pack of cigarettes and tell him that I’m very proud of him, may be I should have never had so many may be’s in my life.
The train finally reached Pimpri. Unable to face death face to face, I turned my head away from the suitcase. Busy commuters were getting up and down the train while I waited to hear a loud blast that will ring the end of my tenure in this beautiful world. Sweat and tears started to pour down. I closed the fist and held it against my heart. I prayed to god and begged for His forgiveness for all the sins I had done. I said I love you to all the near and dear and got myself prepared for the final few seconds of my life.My eyes were still closed and I felt the train move. I slowly opened my eyes and looked around to see if I’m still alive. Nothing had happened except that people were looking at me as if I’m a real time psycho. I went through a moment of desperation when my eyes seized to see and everything went blank. I was in a world of my own jumping with joy for being given a second life to live and not just exist. I felt like flying in the open sky on a bed of white clouds. I saw that beautiful girl from my office dressed as an angel carrying a broad smile on her face, my family greeted me with their arms wide open and I felt as if I’m in love and being loved.
I got down the train at Akurdi station and started walking back home. I ambled looking up at the smiling moon in the sky. I called my friends and family and spoke to them for about an hour with a satiated heart. Got up the next day morning after a sound sleep and switched on the TV to check out any news about bomb blasts in Pune locals. Naaahhhh.. !! :)