Thursday, November 27, 2008


I try to keep away from current affairs on my blog, simply because, there is so much media coverage that you feel who cares about what is written here. But then, I also realize, that this statement holds good for other posts as well. Whatever said and done, my mind just refuses to forget what happened last night at Mumbai, the financial hub of India and one of the important centers of the world, where a small ripple here can cause major waves in the global market. I try to switch my mind to other things, but, invariably, and rather, involuntarily, my fingers make an impression on the keys that correspond to the different news sites across the web. I want to find out more and at the same time, get away from what's happened last night.

I am not sure whether I am getting callous. Yesterday afternoon, when I was at work, there was an update in the web space that Mumbai was caught in the midst of yet another series of blasts. Oh, God! Yet another one. I hope nobody is injured, and I continued with my day's work. I am ashamed to admit that I could not get myself to evoke a stronger reaction. The number of blasts this year has almost made me (read us) numb to the whole blasts theory. Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and this list, unfortunately, is endless. As I came home, and realized what had happened, I was filled with a sense of terror and guilt. Terror because, you expect to see all these things in an action movie, but when you see it live through the lens of a cameraman, you realize how severe the magnitude of the attacks are. When did we get involved in crossfire? Guilt, because, there is nothing that you can do about the whole thing. It doesn't matter where you stay, these are things well beyond your control. The least I could do was call up friends to find out if their families were safe.

There is a strong media coverage for a day, and magically, after a few hours of debating about the security system and other important things, we switch back our minds to the trivialities, continuing to do what we have been doing all along. Yes, we are born to live tough. We are not a perfect country. We wade through the difficulties, and try to live life, as though there was nothing that happened all along. The system immediately dubs the whole process of getting back to the routine in a phrase that brings in a sense of pride to the citizens - SPIRIT OF MUMBAI. What the hell! How many times are we going to label ourselves with the same tag? Yes, the city will come back to normal, but what about the deaths of so many people. Are we doing anything to stop the terror that gets unleashed time and again? We just cannot walk away from the scene, come back the next day, and say, Whatever happens, we just have to move on with life. Yes, we have to move on with life, but we should ensure that we at least try to avoid the same mistakes in the future. One of my friends quipped, " What are you talking about security? We are a nation of a billion people, even if a firecracker bursts in a corner, we are going to lose a hundred people!". Yes, very much true, but should this be an excuse? We have a strangling population, but we have to do something to regulate our security measures, isn't it? A simple example of how we do not care about our lives - I walk through the metal detector at the railway station; the policeman brushes me aside with a nonchalant swagger. I was not even sure whether the detector works well. At least these are things well within our control, why can't we get these things right?

Blasts apart, our politicians have more compelling issues.
  • Change the names of the cities - Mumbai or Bombay; does it even make a difference to us?
  • We have a great problem, we have to prevent the North Indians from writing railway exams.
  • Whatever happens, we are concerned with votes. Appease him, appease her, appease whoever you can, but win the elections!!!
  • Every politician has to make sure that he has something to offer, even if that means, messing up the whole situation.
Everyone of us is worried about trivialities, when we have more pressing issues on hand. The terrorists have conveyed a strong point through these attacks. What is really ironical is that all these guys want to bring peace by waging a war. We just have to do something to prevent the entry of refugees and infiltrators from our "wonderful" neighboring countries.

As I switch different channels, and try to update myself with the latest happenings, I am very well aware that the next headline would be something to do with the SPIRIT of Mumbai.  But, for now, that's exactly what I want to see, yet again!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The musical conversation

Are you going to put that piece of wood aside or not? I was really stunned to hear my wife shout at me like that. Wood? How dare she call it a piece of wood? I was not going to take it lying down.

So, I screamed out what was in my mind, How dare you call it a piece of wood? Can't you see what I am doing? For your information, this is violin, the heavenly musical instrument.

Aamam, enakkudhan onnume theriyadhu. Yeah, I am the one who doesn't know anything. She replied with sarcasm pouring out as if I was not aware of it in all these years of our marital life. It was just two years since both of us got married, but it already felt like two decades. How many times I have told you not to play the violin in front of me. I really lose it when you attach yourself to anything remotely musical.

Now, now, this was uncalled for. She had touched a raw nerve. How can she insult my musical talent? I had to give a reply. That's the reason I asked you, as well as my mother-in-law, your mother, whether you had any knowledge of the Carnatic world. I still remember your reply, and especially your mother's, Oh, Kavalaiye padadheengo, Ponnu romba pramadhama paaduva. Don't worry at all, the girl sings beautifully. But what do I get these days. I hardly open my mouth, as I spend most of my time listening to you. Sadly, it is nowhere mellifluous. In fact, I doubt your musical abilities.

Kadavule! Oh God! Yeah, I lied to you at the time of marriage. As if you were the district collector and I was not even a graduate. You were the one who said that I should have all the patience in the world to bear your cacophony. Don't you remember?

Oh come on. Music does not come easily to everyone. I definitely have the nyaanam. Don't you see how easily I can rake up the Hamsadwani?

All these days, I would listen to you through one ear, and let it all go through the other, when you start off with Vaatapi Ganapathim... Do you even understand how badly you mess up that song? Because of you, I have developed some sort of an aversion towards Hamsadwani Raagam these days. The transition is unbearable. I have grown up listening to MSS, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and Balamurali Krishna, and suddenly, when I have to listen the same from you, you can imagine how I feel towards music.

Haa! It is just some excuse. At least you have heard me sing. I have not even heard you sing. It is not enough if you have Carnatic knowledge. You should also have the courage to display it in the open. Not everybody has it.

Do you know why the pakkathaathu, neighbour, payyan, boy, has stopped coming to our house? He says that even though you teach him Maths, he cannot manage the extra few minutes of having to listen to your music. Such is the way you have scared people. Even a thief will think twice before coming to our house.

Everybody is jealous of me. I can see that. You cannot bear to see me churn out the Karaharapriya, Sindhu Bhairavi, Bilahari and the other famous Raagams. Learn to appreciate music, irrespective of who creates it.

I was not going to give up so easily. After all, music is my passion.


Can you open the door? I am busy with the strings.

As if I am not busy in the kitchen. OK, I will go, I don't want to pick up another fight with you.

It was my old friend Srinivasan. Enna Sahana, enna samayal inniki? What have you cooked today, Sahana?

As soon as he saw me, Dei, Arun, what the hell are you doing with the violin? Unakku suttu potaalum paatu varadhu!!! Why don't you ever understand that you should have nothing to do with music?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The white tiger

I had queued up a copy of Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger in the public library ages ago. Last week, when I went to the library to get my copy, I realized that it was not a hard copy, but actually an audio book. I have never listened to anybody, let alone an audio book, and my spirits were severely dampened. In any case, I got the book home, and resolved to listen to it sporadically.

I was thinking about how India inflicted an ignominious and crushing defeat on the Aussies. India was well and truly on top in the entire series, and it felt weird that there was hardly a fightback from the Aussies. What a way for Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble to retire. It is just a matter of time before the other three of the fabulous five retire - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Having grown up watching these brilliant cricketers on the field, I am not sure whether watching cricket will be the same again. Test cricket without these guys will certainly not attract the "in the twenties" audience.

I don't have to reiterate that the economy is in the dumps. NASDAQ has crashed, and the SENSEX is in no enviable position. I was counting my losses, 1, 2, 3....thousands!!! Will the economy recover ever? Will the new American President make a difference? Who will control the job losses? How can anyone control the shooting unemployment rate? How many companies will survive the dark period? As per reports, it is worse than 1999-00!!! So, the reports of the economic slowdown are surely not exaggerated!!!

Who was that girl I saw today? Was she an Indian or Spanish? Her features would make you think she was not Indian, but there was something in her that made me want her to be Indian. Oh, but she was not wearing a bindi! But, how many Indian girls really care about the bindi? I thought I should have struck a conversation with her. Mmm, now, anyway, it doesn't matter!

Oh! I have to catch up with that latest movie of Surya. What is it? Vaaranam Aayiram! I have to make sure that I don't miss the show here. After all, it is just one show, or you can never watch that movie in the theater here. At least, for this movie, I don't want to be searching for online links. By the way, I am still not sure whether to watch Quantum of solace or not!!! Thinking....hard!!!

After some time, I got up from my reverie, and for a moment, I lost track of time and position. The mobile clock showed 2 AM in the morning. My computer was on, and I saw the different chapters listed on the media player. The white tiger had slept a long time ago after completing the first chapter. I sulked, sighed and resolved to listen on a better evening.