Posted in Poem, Travel

The Sounds of Hawaii

The Sounds of Hawaii

I hear a roar – I hear a thundery roar. Alas! It must be the rising surf.

I hear a moo – I hear a wailing moo. Alas! It must be the paining calf.

I hear a quack – I hear a lulling quack. Oh, it must be the learning lad.

I hear a sniff – I hear a sorry sniff. Oh, it must be another day with the board.

 

Specks of sand, clicks of glass and the warmth of wintry sun.

Schools of fish, slicks of wish and the wealth of island fun.

Rows of boats, docks of oars and the smell of promising tan.

Burrows of castles, flocks of children, bring out a sound, only Hawaii can.

Posted in Travel

Notes from the Road – Hawaii (Big Island)

  • Like everyone warned us, the big island is really an expensive place – especially the Kona side which also happens to be the drier side.
  • Why are rental cars so damn expensive? I can’t understand the rationale. Even though we minimized our overall rental car usage to just 4 days, we still spent close to what I would normally spend for two and a half weeks for a similar size car in Michigan. 
  • But boy am I glad that I rented a car for those 4 days! We experienced the big island possibly the best way one should, sparring the fact that we couldn’t drive up to Mauna Kea.
  • One thing that is sort of disheartening in the island is the the difficulties associated with finding a fresh fruit stall or a vegetable stall despite the obvious fact that the island is a tropical paradise for so many flora, that I, coming from the Indian subcontinent would so cravingly relish upon. Only during our drive, did we run into some fruit stalls. Also interestingly these farmers who put up these stalls really seem to do it almost to get rid off the excess (after selling them to their wholesale purchasers) – we did run into a few which were unmanned and were run on a honor system, which speaks volumes for the island culture in general.
  • The big Island as we learned has 11 out of the 13 climate zones. True. As the joke goes, one could ski from the top of Mauna Kea all the way to the ocean and swim in an 80 deg weather.
  • The Hilo side of the island is much cooler and the time we spent (almost 60 odd hours) was all wet.
  • We met several ‘immigrants’ – Those who migrated from the main land to the islands. But for the strange reason (which I myself can’t seem to fully come to grips with) that Hawaii is 5 hours behind the Eastern Time Zone (or 6 during Spring and Summer), I have every reason to be part of that group one of these days. Go figure!
  • My own intellectual evolution in the past 5 years may be a reason why I look at certain things more curiously and try to analyze things beyond the surface, than probably most visitors would. As an example, I traveled out of the islands, with a painful fact pricking me, as I can’t seem to ignore how the Christian missionaries had managed to wipe out the entire history of religious culture and tradition, that the native Polynesians once had – all without a single page in the history books critically blaming them for ‘oppression’. (On second thoughts, I would prefer using a much stronger word than just calling it ‘oppression’ but I am not doing that in this post).
Volcano
Volcano
Posted in Travel

Notes from the Road – Hawaii (Oahu)

This is my second visit to Hawaii, the last one being 13 years ago.

  • It is ridonkulosuly expensive to visit to Hawaii. I don’t remember how it was in 2000. But I know now that a family of four can’t expect to spend less than $60 for a very ordinary (and sometimes even fast-food) meal, leave alone it being all healthy. So the best bet is to mix up eating out with making your own meal when possible (quick sandwiches, readymade sushis which are abundantly available across grocery stores – yes including vegetarian sushis)
  • In Honolulu, ABC stores are dozen a block. Well. Not literally but it is amazing how a single chain could take over the busiest Waikiki area. Talk about fair competition.
  • It is impossible to shop for anything locally made (authentic) in busy touristy areas. All we ran into in Honolulu was another Macy’s and another Nordstrom. Well played Corporate America! NOT.
  • I don’t know how long it will last but the food is something that is very uniquely local – in the sense that the kind of fusion food you get in Hawaii can only be found in Hawaii. Not saying that genuine Polynesian cuisine is available freely but it is an eclectic mix of everything local and many asian cuisines.
  • Talking about Asian cuisines, Japanese is everywhere. In language spoken (including flight announcements and tourist signs), food, your fellow passenger on a local bus and even on TV.
  • In spite of all the negatives, Honolulu (or Oahu for that matter), would be the ideal choice for someone moving from a city in Mainland USA to live here in Hawaii because, it still offers everything a US big city life would offer (with some premium) while ensuring what you moved to Hawaii for is not all that far off (weather, clean beaches and the hang-loose attitude).
Sunset over Waikiki
Sunset over Waikiki
Posted in My Music

Mohanam Inter(rup)preted

As part of my Daily Kutcheri tumblr, I decided to look at Raga Mohanam. In the process, I decided to do something on own..
Here is the outcome.
Not my intention to desecrate the much revered ‘Varaveena’ – But I have tried not to alter anything from the original but just improvised on the background and everything else.

As usual, the song sounded 10 times better in my studio monitors. Clearly, I have to learn how to master my songs for better quality.

Hope you enjoy..

Posted in Miscellaneous

Two things..

The outrageous comments made by Megyn Kelly this morning on Fox News was ‘thing one‘ while the Michigan Legislation passing a ‘Rape Insurance’ bill was ‘thing two‘.

Yes. Two things that made me feel uncomfortable and angry.

The Supreme Court decision in India around Section 377 was upsetting but not emotional to me. Perhaps, not living in India is the reason for me not to discharge that kind of anger or passion. Or, Perhaps, the hope that the government will do something to amend Section 377 is another reason. Either way, the two things that caused me react today are very different. They triggered a certain kind of anger in me, which I am unable to put in words.

Megyn is an individual and she has the right to voice her opinions. Even stupid ones. So, yes, I can ignore her comments and move on. Easy. Can be done.

But I can’t do that after reading about the bigotry with which the Michigan Senate passed a discriminatory legislation today, forcing women to buy additional insurance (pay more) in case they want to cover themselves for rape related abortions. Unbelievable. This is called taking the state back in time.

So there. My two things for the day…

Posted in Miscellaneous, Politics - General

This is what he said…

Context: Palin compared the country’s debt situation to Slavery.

And these are the exact words of Bashir who responded to that comparison.

Please read the text in its entirety. He has been vilified for what he really didn’t say but what people interpreted. I am not condoning Bashir. But the game has to be played fair…Palin has called the President a terrorist. She still works for Fox News. Just saying..

It’ll be like slavery. Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history. So here’s an example.

One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation. What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime.

In 1756, he records that “A slave named Darby catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.” This became known as Darby’s dose, a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners savagery and inhumanity.

And he mentions a similar incident again in 1756, this time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. “Flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper; made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth.” I could go on, but you get the point.

When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.

Posted in Miscellaneous

So long Madiba…

Mandela
Mandela

The last straw that connected those of us who were born before Dec 5, 2013, with our bitter history of racism, indiscrimination, inequality and above all slavery, is gone.

Madiba’s end was coming for some time. He had been ill for a while. When the news spread that he passed away peacefully in his sleep, it was a moment that millions and millions around the globe were waiting to embrace with a tear.  So, we are doing it now.

I very vividly remember your release from the prison and your subsequent victory in the SA elections a few years later.  Your life is truly am embodiment of the times we live(d) in.

So long Madiba! You were one of a kind…

Posted in Movies - General

Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club
Dallas Buyers Club

AZT was the only FDA approved drug in the 80s and those who were infected with AIDS had no choice but to fatally abide by FDA rules.

Not Ron Woodroof. An electrician/Rodeo cowboy. He tries to fight his life out by first fighting for his own rights to decide what medication he should or shouldn’t take. He takes FDA by its horns (and succeeds partially) and to the disbelief of the doctors who gave him only 30 days to live after detecting his T-cell count to be only 9, Ron manages to outlive their prediction to live for 8 more years.

This is Matthew McConaughey’s movie all the way. He will definitely be a nominee at the Oscars. But this is also Jared Leto’s movie all the way. What a great transformation on Leto’s part to play that gay role and as far McConaughey, did he lose 40 or 60 lbs to play this part? What a crazy lifestyle change to play this role!

In many ways this is a quintessential American movie – A normal guy fighting against the system. To me though, what made watching the movie a pleasant experience was the fact it touched upon two important topics – Homophobia and Pharmaceutical bullying.

I have always believed that the pharma industry in the country is essentially a very sophisticated avatar of old fashioned drug cartel mob. They don’t let anyone else sell drugs in their territory and if someone else does, they get lynched. That’s exactly how they operate today with the assistance of FDA. And so when the movie brought out the real problem with FDA to the fore, I was celebrating within myself.

The last 5-10 minutes could have been edited differently – as I didn’t particularly like the way Woodroof’s fight was shown to end quite abruptly – That portrayal of his end didn’t do justice to the portrayal of the valiant fight that he had put in till then.

This is one pharma debate that is worth having.

[Note: I watched the movie on World Aids Day 2013. Symbolic.]