Saturday, June 02, 2012

1829 : One eyed wonder

I am slightly ambivalent on piracy(for the record, most of my classical music collection is legal…as in, I paid for it…..but still, read on!!). Let me explain – if for example – there is one only person in this world who has a copy of Lata Didi’s first song….and lets say he makes a copy for his friend. Is that piracy? Quite literally, it is, unless you send Didi a check.

Is it my schmuck convenient self that allows for such transgressions?

Let me put this differently. I do want Raavan to hear Peter Gabriel’s Floating Dogs from his album Birdy.

Try finding that legally for me (maybe its on Apple Store, never tried!!), but do try and let me know. If you find it kudos to you.

Now getting a bootleg copy of that – is that illegal – yes. Can I survive without it – yes. Do I mind if I don’t have it – yes. Do I choose to have it still – YES.

My case rests.

PS : On the other hand, if we do find it legally (and easily, price not withstanding) – then my view is to respect and perpetrate art – we should continue to patronize it.

1828 : In the air tonight

Hassan Jehangir….who? Ask those in their 30 (like me) and they shall say only one phrase “Hawa Hawa”.

This song was such a monster hit in the 80s when we first heard, that it is forever hidden within the ethos of that generation.

Recently, heard it as part of Chaalis Chauraasi’s soundtrack….and just for the magic of old times, its worth it.

Raavan’s all ten heads bobb to its beats Smile and its really funny to watch.


1827 : Making the brave look easy



Hearing Arundhati Roy speak in her dutones is such a pleasure that I am glad I have access to some of her tapes. Hearing her with Howard Zinn on Come September, makes me realize how easy she makes being brave look…..and how her honesty and plainspeak makes it so easy, for us, the dastardly couch potatoes to take potshots at her.

I shall count it as one of my life’s greatest blessing if I ever get to meet her…I don’t necessarily agree with everything she does or says, but I admire her for being able to stand up – in a world full of hunchbacks and inveterates.

A silent prayer of appreciation for her.  

This is how Come September starts…(read the last sentence at least!!)

Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don't fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.

The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as nonfiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they're engaged in. John Berger, that most wonderful writer, once wrote: "Never again will a single story be told as though it's the only one." There can never be a single story. There are only ways of seeing. So when I tell a story, I tell it not as an ideologue who wants to pit one absolutist ideology against another, but as a story-teller who wants to share her way of seeing. Though it might appear otherwise, my writing is not really about nations and histories; it's about power. About the paranoia and ruthlessness of power. About the physics of power. I believe that the accumulation of vast unfettered power by a State or a country, a corporation or an institution - or even an individual, a spouse, a friend, a sibling -regardless of ideology, results in excesses such as the ones I will recount here.

Living as I do, as millions of us do, in the shadow of the nuclear holocaust that the governments of India and Pakistan keep promising their brain-washed citizenry, and in the global neighborhood of the War Against Terror (what President Bush rather biblically calls "The Task That Never Ends"), I find myself thinking a great deal about the relationship between Citizens and the State.

In India, those of us who have expressed views on Nuclear Bombs, Big Dams, Corporate Globalization and the rising threat of communal Hindu fascism - views that are at variance with the Indian Government's - are branded 'anti- national.' While this accusation doesn't fill me with indignation, it's not an accurate description of what I do or how I think. Because an 'anti-national' is a person who is against his or her own nation and, by inference, is pro some other one. But it isn't necessary to be 'anti-national' to be deeply suspicious of all nationalism, to be anti-nationalism. Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

Friday, June 01, 2012

1826 : Tore Bina from Kahaani

Every year, I run this series of the top songs of the year for me. This year, its almost mid year – and though I have quite a few favorites already….I must say, Tore Bina from Kahaani, sung by Sukhwinder Singh – has to top of the list and might continue to be there for a long time, even long after 2012 ends.

I have been listening to this for over 2 months and it only continues to grow on me – almost like the Kaminey title song.

It’s a mind numbing number – as soon the riff starts, Sukhwinder matches Vishal-Shekar inch for inch….and some simple yet soulful lyrics (a translation coming later).

You have Sukhwinder, Amanat Ali Khan, Vishal himself on one side – raw and full of vitality, and on the other side of the spectrum is KK, Sonu and Rahat (who are mm perfect but from land of Tussads, without a chump and soul!!).

Listen to this – its very close to transcendence Smile