Posted in Uncategorized

Flip the calendar

The English go Aussie picking and end up getting picked, rent & ruptured, while the Indians are trying to do something similar in South Africa. Saddam Hussein is ready to be executed and gets on a peace proclaiming platform hours before he is going to be dead. John Edwards looks for a ‘black’ backdrop (to announce his Presedential bid) to rule the middle class America, that he so claims he is from & wants to serve. Somalians and Ehtiopians have just found yet another cause to kill themselves, to plunge their cursed continent further down the abyss of misery. Britney Spears continues to hog ‘People’ magazine headlines with her titillating & crass partying photos. Detroit thaws in Fifty degree weather on Christmas day while Denver gets ready for another ‘two footer’. Nokia throws a five-city new year’s party (http://www.nokianewyearseve.com) with AR Rahman and Nelly Furtado in Mumbai….And….

I get stuck in Western Pennsylvania, away from family and friends, as yet another year comes to an end making way for the dawn of a new year with hopes.
Why wait? Just flip the calendar – It is going to be another day just like today.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Travel

London for Two

Being in London to me is living the fantasy of my child hood To get a bite of the western world, to savor the quintessential English accent, to experience the much glamorized tea-time, to mingle with the citizens of her majesty, to brush shoulders with the indifferent tube commuters as they scrounge through their tabloid choices for the day, to step inside those red rectangular public telephone booths and to watch the double-deckers pass by.. In spite of the overwhelming influence of the American culture on the rest of the world, British are always the real “English” to me. This was not my first visit to London. But to travel with my family, it was a different type of challenge – specially with a 2 and a ½ year old! – One to cherish.

We hopped across the Atlantic ocean for four days, this past thanksgiving weekend. Even though it felt like that the trip was cracking and was over at a breakneck pace, sitting back and swirling over the memories of those 4 days, it was a very relaxed trip, granting that every step of our way was “touristy”. Persistence, they say helps and I am hoping I will get around completing a travelogue sometime soon.

If not for anything, the trip was memorable for the fact we were spending tourist money in a currency that was trading close to 1:2 at that time.

Posted in AR Rahman

Gurus of Fate

There may come a time in everyone’s life when every event seems planned and everything happens in an order & method, that would seem trim and uncluttered. Unfortunately – rather quite often more than not, this time is not what everyone can count on. In fact, the contrary occurs more often.

Have been wanting to write about “The Book of Fate” – because it is my latest read. I don’t think I have anything efficacious to say about the story or the plot ,but is it acutely coincidental that there are a lot of Dan Brown wannabes out there? Or is it just my limited exposure to American fiction? Either way, since the story revolves around Presidential secrets centered around Masonic symbols, I certainly had déjà vu. The plot was sharp but the narration was inconsistent. Brad is an ok writer who is stirred and afflicted with Hollywood mystery thrillers – in my prejudicial eyes, at least.

I find the Masonic conglomerate very exotic and very esoteric. Partly because I have a remote connection to it. No, I am not talking about the meaning of the symbol you get when you connect the four main doors of the “Nellaiappar Kovil” in Tirunelveli (the town where I grew up), transfixed with criss-crossed image of dotted lines that connect the eight secret doors, that are scattered around the Kovil. I am actually talking about the Grand Masonic Lodge of India and how my grand father and father have, in some unconnected way, managed to become members of it. Their meetings were secretive – alright. But I really had no idea of their purpose. All I knew was that it is a secret “lodge” where they vote with white and black balls to accept you as one of them. Not that they wanted more members to join them because fewer they are, tighter would be their secrets. And I for one, for all the innocence of my adolescent growing up years, never knew about their connection to this whole world of Masonic secrets that are being passed from Galileo to Da Vinci all the way to Jefferson. Needless to say, there is the occasional thought, albeit utterly unpleasant that keeps flashing – what if there is a mysterious connection between the “blood line” and me. Ha! That was a joke – that if not, would make a great thread for a Da Vinci Code like story set in South Indian temples.

In lot of ways, “Guru” is like “Iruvar” – musically speaking. I can definitely picturize AR Rahman and Mani Ratnam sitting together & coming up with ideas for each song , its period, its tone, its mood and most importantly whose/what songs should it be inspired of. While every song evokes a periodic feel, “Barso Re” is the only one that does not. And I bet there is a reason why it does not. Rahman, the singer is truly mesmerizing – Here there is, “Dham Dhara”, one more feather to his singing crown. Talk about, practice making someone perfect. Chinmayee sounds so versatile (http://chinmayisripada.blogspot.com/2006/11/my-songs-in-guru.html) that you wonder if it was really sung by a 20 some old girl from Chennai. Kudos to Rahman for his bravery in choosing the singers. Bappi Lahiri for “Yammo Yamoo” may be questionable when you listen to it for the first time, but I think that was a great choice. Specially when he shakes his voice and sings “Bo..o.ol..l.lllll..o…G..u..r..u” transporting you to the 1980s in 2 seconds. “Madras Choral Orchestra” deserves all the praise you can shower them with for yet another amazing choral rendition of “Jaage Hain”. When Rahman joins Chitra initially in his bass-baritone and switches to his favorite scale, there is nothing that comes to your mind other than pure feeling for something or someone rushing through your hearts. That’s singing from one’s heart! That’s singing from one’s heart as if everything rests on that one song – on those few lines that you are singing with all your emotions poured into it, leaving everything else to your fate.

Like I did the past week – Listening to “Guru”, while reading “The Book of Fate” 🙂