Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Playing with the Raagas

It is no secret to my friends, when I tell them that one of the things in life that I am really vocal about is the fact that I cannot go vocal. My mother, like every other, had a wish in mind, "Oh, my son should be well versed in the world of Carnatic". But, I think she did not have to wait too long for the realization that her son was way beyond music. I assume she must have understood when I let out my first cry. Now, unlike every other mother, she made it a point to remind me "Please don't sing!", and slowly and steadily, the request turned to treacherous rebukes, "Just don't open your mouth". Looking back in time, I wonder I could have done a lot of service to the family. If ever there was an unwanted visitor, I could have let out my Raagas, which in turn would have caused havoc to the visitor. But, the problem with that was, even the people at home would have run helter skelter.

Now, I have to make something absolutely clear. Just because I am blessed with a "great" voice doesn't mean that I am scared to display my musical abilities. The restroom serves as a great place for me to accept the Grammys and Oscars. I am the "all" - music, lyrics, anchor and what not, and I do not have to worry about who is listening. But, my school room mates would be ready to pounce on me for that. They claim to have endured timeless suffering that my voice has caused. It is a different matter that I beg to differ on that, and say that I have been a great source of entertainment over the years. It is an argument that has no definite answer. Yadu recently was commenting on my bathroom singing. It is very easy to determine the temperature of water, thanks to you, he said. You voice quivers when the water is cold, and you are shouting away to glory, when it is at an optimum temperature. I am sure Venkatesh would have seconded that.

All said and done, it is important to enjoy good music. Over the years, as I tried to explain the finer notes to my brother, he would say, "Unakku sangeetha nyaanam illatiyum, nanna paatu keka mattum theriyum", I have grown up listening to different kinds of music that my ears have got accustomed to a nice sense of hearing (really?). Music has an aura of its own that can soak all the pain in the world, and provide a sense of warmth, cutting across all classes of the society (Had I been in an auditorium, I would have got a standing ovation for this statement).

Last week, we had the honour and privilege of listening to Ustad Zakir Hussain(at the tabla) and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (with the santoor) at the Carlsen Center in Overland Park. I have to say that it was music at its highest quality. Pristine, absolutely pristine! I just thanked God that at least, I have it in me to appreciate such high quality music, even if not in a position to render one that is even several notches below that of these maestros. We were just left spellbound at the end of the performance. It was a classic case of time warping as we were glued to our seats for the entire duration of the performance, only to realize at the end of it that two and a half hours had elapsed. I thanked my stars and could hear my brother's voice reverberating in my ears "You have absolutely no idea of music, but you invariably appreciate the song by providing technical details." I will live with that for the rest of my life with no regrets!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blah, blah, blah...

As I made up my mind to write a blog post today, I was wondering about the writable topics that I have on hand. I have nothing to write about movies, since I have always thought that movie reviews are cliched. Just to share something with you, I saw Koncham Ishtam Koncham Kashtam starring Tamanna (the cute girl from Happy Days) and Siddharth. I was happy that I was not all that bad in understanding the unofficial No. 2 language of the States - Telugu. I did not drool over Tamanna too much, since she was not as captivating as she was in the previous mentioned movie. But, I lived with that!!!

Did I read any books? I have been holding Stephen Hawking's A briefer history of time for a couple of weeks. I finished reading about his explanation of Einstein's theory of relativity, and I wanted to go back to that chapter to get a better understanding. But, unfortunately, I forgot to place the bookmark back in position. So, I feel lethargic to go ruffle the pages, and find out the place from where I can continue my reading. I am finding reasons to be lazy and boring. Just blame it on me! (By the way, is anyone experiencing the same problem as I am? When I delete a word from a sentence in blogger, I notice that the adjacent word also gets deleted!) Yeah, getting back to the point, I want to get a whiff of Hawking's interpretation of Physics.

Based on the way I am reading A briefer history of time, you can actually conclude that it is an absolute disgrace to keep twiddling around with the book for two weeks, without even nearing completion. But, that's because, I was hardly reading. I wish there was a word in English to describe the action of holding a book in hand without assimilating even an iota of information from the pages. That's a part of the game. I got Vikas Swarup's Q & A from the library, but this time, it was not just a book, but an audio book. Immediately, I loaded the contents on to my Zune, and my daily morning and evening drive was filled with a myriad of characters, and I lapped up the various forms of expressions, let out by Kerry Shale, in absolute glee. Narration is no easy task, and I was surprised as to how beautifully a narration can be rendered that can keep the listener hooked to the story. So, I just increased my collection of audio books from the library, by adding to my list, my ever favourite Jhumpa Lahiri's books. I still haven't started listening to Interpreter of Maladies or Namesake, but I am really looking forward to a pleasant experience. I also have this weird habit of reading certain books multiple number of times.

What about the current affairs? It is the same old ruckus happening in every part of the world. What can be new with what is happening today? Security issues, terrorism, blah, blah, blah...!!! Moreover, why would anybody want to read my blog post on current issues? There are so many other websites to give the designated information to the readers. I have decided that I will not fill up my pages with boring current affairs stuff. This was a resolution I made after I wrote my last post. It is just not worth the time.

To sum up everything in a sentence, I watched a movie in the theater (at home, I watch plenty), trying to read a book, and in the middle of an audio book. Yup, yup, life just goes on!