Posted in Poem, Politics - General, Uncategorized

The Next Step

A Poem for Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration

the-next-step
Each day as we go about our business,
tweeting past our older tweets, 
RTing some or not,
about to tweet or tweeting.

Each day we encounter each other in twitter,
words incoherent or ungrammatical,
incomplete or insulted,
words to consider, reconsider.

We know there’s something better down the road.
We gather our equality, pride, liberty and justice.
To walk into that which we cannot yet see.
To find a place which is safe for
Our intelligence, our rationality and sanity.

On the brink of twitter horizon, on the cusp of fake news explosion,
May we take that next step.

[Inspired by Elizabeth Alexander’s Praise Song for the Day]

Posted in Poem, Thamizh (தமிழ்)

ஜல்லிக்கட்டு உரையாடல்

வீர விளையாட்டு எனநீர் கூவினால்
வீம்புக்காக வீரம் ஏனய்யா என்பம் நாம்

துள்ளி வரும் நீண்ட கால்களை இடை மறித்து
சுழன்று வரும் வாலை அடக்கிப் பிடித்து
திரண்ட திமிரை அணைத்து, கொம்பிலுள்ள பரிசினைப் பறித்து
காளையை அடகித்தான், உம் ஆண்மையை காட்டுவோம் என்கிறீரே

விழுப்புண்களுக்காக வீரியமாக உடல் வருத்தி
ஏழேழு தலைமுறை கலாச்சாரத்தைக் காக்க
நீர் படும்பாடு புரிகிறதய்யா
எம்பாட்டையும் தான் கொஞ்சம் கேள்வீரோ?

மிருகவதையை தடுக்கவும் மிருக மேம்பாட்டிற்காகவும் உழைப்பவர் யாம்
கலாச்சார சம்பிரதாய சிறப்பறிவோம் யாம்
இவையனைத்தும் பரிணாம வளர்ச்சிக்குட்பட்ட தென்பதையுமறிவோம்
அதை நீறறிவீரோ என்றறியோம்

உங்கள் மாடுகளையும் காளைகளையும் தெய்வமாக மதிப்பீராமே
பின் ஏன் அதைச்சீண்டி கோபமேற்றுகிறீர்கள் உங்கள் வீம்பு வீரத்திற்காக?
அதைச் சீண்டுவதற்காக சிலபலர் செய்யும் சேட்டைகள்
மிருக வதையில்லை என்றும்மால் கூற முடியுமா?

இங்கங்கு சிலபலர் செய்யும் சேட்டைகள் மிருகவதையே
அதை மறுக்கவில்லை மறைக்கவுமில்லை அன்பரே
எங்கள் வீரத்தை எம்மவரிடம் காட்ட உங்கள் அனுமதி தேவையில்லை
என்பதையாமறிவோம் அதை நீறறிவீரோ என்றறியோம்

தேசமெங்கும் வெவ்வேறிடத்தில் பற்பல பரிமாணங்களில்
நடக்கும் மிருகவதைகளைக் காட்டிலுமா இது மிகையென வினவுகிறம் யாம்
காளைகளைச் சீண்டுகிறோம் என்றெங்களடையாளத்தில்
ஒரு பகுதியைச் சீண்டுவது நியாயமா?

மிருகவதையைக் குறைக்க உம்மிடம் பேசத்தயாரய்யா யாம்
எல்லா மிருகவதைகளயும் சமசீர் தராசில் வைத்துப் பின்னர் எம்மிடம் பேசத்தயாரா நீர்?

[இவ்வுரையாடல் தொடரின் பலரும் மகிழ்ச்சி அடைவர்…]


பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

–English Translation–

A Jallikkattu Conversation
—————————

If you argue that it’s a display of bravery,
Then we would question the need for such false bravado..

You say that you would announce your masculinity to the world..
By tripping his long legs, By catching his swinging tail,
By embracing his dark hump,
By snatching the prize that’s tied to his horns,
And by bringing the raging bull under your control.

We understand that
All the rigor that your bodies go through for these war wounds
Are to preserve those century old traditions.
Now, will you step into my shoes and see it from my end?

I work hard for animal welfare and to prevent cruelty towards animals.
I understand culture, heritage and traditions,
I also understand that these things have always evolved and changed with times,
I hope you understand that.

We hear that you worship these bulls and cows,
Then why do you provoke them and flare up their anger?
Just so that you could exhibit your false bravado?
Do you agree what a few people do in order to
Instigate these bulls and cows amount to animal cruelty?

Yes. What a few do here and there certainly amount to animal cruelty.
We don’t deny it nor do we want to hide it, my friend.
At the same time, we know we don’t need your permission
To display our bravado amongst ourselves. I hope you understand that.

There are various animal cruelties of different magnitudes taking place
Around the country, every day.
We wonder why ours is being targeted when there are worse cruelties around.
In the name of preventing animal cruelty by pointing out these bull provocations,
Is it fair on your part to provoke us by banishing an important symbol of our culture?

We are ready to discuss and negotiate the animal cruelties that happen in our sport.
Are you ready to place all animal cruelties that happen in the country on the same weighing scale? If yes, then please come to the negotiation table.

Posted in Donald Trump, Politics - General

In Defense of Free Press

I am not a journalist. I am not affiliated to any press or any media outlet.  I am just a normal citizen of this great country of United States of America.

What America witnessed yesterday (Jan 11, 2017) during President Elect Donald Trump’s press conference (the first one he had after getting elected and the first one he had in last 5-6 months) is the beginning of the slow dismantling of Free Press.

I don’t care if you agree with a particular media outlet or a particular journalist’s opinion or not. You have every right to live in your own bubble and voice your opinion wherever.
But take a step back.
Kick that apathy out of the door for a second.
Keep your politics aside for a moment and ask yourself this simple question.

Why should any responsible citizen of this democratic country normalize this? If you say we should normalize this behavior and continue to give chances to this kind of behavior, do you even for a second realize what that kind of thought process leads to and more importantly do you realize by doing so, what values you as an individual will be passing on to your future generations?

Think about it. Read the history books to understand how every authoritarian regime around the world had come about.

Authoritarians don’t have any special power to create their regimes overnight. They feel the weakness of their citizens. They exploit them to their advantage. They understand the psyche of their subjects. They play to their vulnerable sides and take advantage of them .

And in the end, it is the citizens who succumb to the appeal and in the process pave way for an authoritarian to take over their lives.  It’s us who voluntarily let an authoritarian take over our lives and let them build a regime.

It’s time now. To Fight. To Speak up.

For the next few years, or months or days, however long it takes to stand up against this man and his administration, which will do anything to crush the values of democracy that this country built 240 years ago and the ones that we continue to make better every single day.  Because these values matter.

Let’s not forget that.

Fight for your right as a citizen and Fight for your fellow citizen’s right, equally.

And stand up for FREE PRESS.

Down with Authoritarianism and Down with Trumptarianism. 

Posted in Uncategorized

HBDARR50

I will confess first. I am a huge fanboy of AR. But I have also evolved as a fan over the years. From just being a blind fan of his music to a much more nuanced fan of the technicalities in his music (as much as I could grasp), his thought process behind his compositions, his philosophy in life and in general, AR, the human being.

To wish any icon on social media or on the internet seems like a vanity seeking attempt, especially if I don’t know him personally. But this being AR Rahman’s milestone birthday, I decided to do just that. The irony!

My interest in music, my half-baked (or quarter or 1/8 or..) knowledge notwithstanding, can be divided into 5 phases..

1) Pre-1990

I grew up getting soaked in Ilayaraja’s music (and MSV’s of course). And lots of carnatic music because of family surroundings and my own learning opportunities. The truth though was that most of my listening can be summed up as ‘casual exposure’.

2) Between 1988-1994

Serious listening. May be I was beginning to grasp the nuances better. And also because I was being exposed to a new world of music called classic rock. Thanks to the time I spent in Rajasthan during this time, I was exposed to more Hindi music than ever before (which doesn’t mean much if you spent all your time in deep south Tamil Nadu like I did.. till 1990). My half-baked music learning came very handy and I start analyzing. Even dabbled with making my own music. Just dabbled.

3) 1994-1998

Completely absorbed by this storm called AR Rahman. Roja brought out the curiosity but Pudhiya Mugam sealed it. I became a fanboy. I must have listened to every song from every album of AR Rahman during this time for about million times. Life changing in many ways. Suddenly, I felt like I am hearing my own inner voice in music. Even though it was only for fun, I started making my own music in a much more “complete” way. They sounded terrible. Especially the ones I created during this time. But I got a kick out of making my own music.

4) 1998 to 2008

Digital music still new. My CD collection filled my basement and my fascination for AR’s music/experimentation continued to grow multiple times during this time. Being away from the country just made the bond even stronger.  Also started listening to more contemporary western music, which internally made me appreciate AR’s music even more. And my own music creations got slightly better (even if I may say so myself).

5) 2006-Now

Music streaming has completely changed the way I listen to music these days. Good or bad I don’t know. But I can listen to any music I want at any time without much effort. Thus resulting in me listening to lots of world music. The honest confession is that my comfort music is still AR’s. I am sure it will always be his music.

Just as a reflection of my own AR Rahman musical journey, I put together this Youtube playlist with 50 songs. These are songs that aren’t necessarily chartbusters. Less obscure in some ways.

Happy Birthday AR Rahman!

Thank you for shaping my musical appreciation of not just your music, but of any music.