Thursday, November 26, 2009


Two cups of coffee (called "hot cream") in quick succession,hyperventilating,incomplete sentences,soaking in,getting yelled at by a horrible kaku/uncle/bhaiyya/dada...the day before,only so much better this time. Here are a few glimpses for you to feast (?) on,thanks to my photography which I'm desperately trying to get good at :)
P.S. These pics are sans the star of the day. And no,that's not me!

Exiting the gate of 86/1

What else would you see on College Street on a weekday afternoon? I wonder if these women know what their banners read...

Wondering and wondering...hoping B**** shows up but...sigh...
Also,the guy behind CC in the peach shirt is an R-B-Q duplicate. Point to be noted,there!

The worried and unnecessarily tense over-achiever

Coffee house and the intellectuals who chose to hang on the wall instead of sitting on the chairs

And here it is...the remains of what made me change my rather critical opinion of Coffee House's awful coffee

Maybe it was for the best I didn't click snaps on the food. My appetite couldn't be more thankful!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dil Se

"Dil Se" has always been one of my favourite songs. Intensely passionate and of course, it starred my then favourite Shah Rukh. Was totally crazy about the video too.
Dil Se is based on the Raaga Jog. Jog is primarily (according to my interpretation) a mellow and romantic raaga. It's characteristics make it perfect for being sung at concerts that are usually scheduled to be held overnight. The genius of Rahman has transformed this subdued and romantic raaga into a master composition that portrays intense passion, flickers of helplessness and gullibility. All along, especially during the era of the 60's to the 80's, Bollywood composers have been using hindusthani classical raagas as a base for their compositions. You'd get the purest forms of most raagas in compositions of Shiv-Hari (obviously), Lakshmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad and composers of their times. I could have a heated debate about who used which raaga to perfection and without changing its character much, but here is a composition by Rahman that has changed the very character of Jog and made it bold, but made it sound appealing to so many people. I don't think anybody would dare to do this too often.

My favourite khayal rendition in Jog:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm once again torn between what I want to do and what I should do. It's the pegs too much expectations on us without giving a consideration about what we want truly,where our talent really lies. Today,if I tell anyone I want to leave everything and get into music full on,people will only give me the looks only an outcast deserves. Well,to hell with opinionated people and hypocrites. It's also about the success rate. What are the chances I'll get there,where I really want to be? What are the chances I'll be able to feed myself and live the comfortable life I desire? My beliefs were shaken thoroughly last night when I watched bits of "Alienz" 's performance at the college fest. They had tight musicians: the drummer was awesome,as were the keyboard guy and lead guitarist. I was spellbound when they did a cover of "The Wall". They did it rather well. Agreed,no one can imitate to perfection the bass lines of Floyd,but these guys did make a good effort. They were good,that's the bottom line. It's also a fact that I had never heard of these people before and they had minimal media coverage. I shudder to think how much these guys must be earning.

Anyway,worries aside,for me,the immediate goal is to continue and stick with my music for as long as I live. I'll miss performing,that heady feeling when I'm on stage with these brilliant musicians,the lights focussing on me,with one of the guys coming upto me and saying "naughty naughty!" or some such little funny thing that would crack me up. Just about everything. I want to have full control of where my life's going. Honestly,I should stop panicking now.

There are very few musicians I have genuine respect for. My opinions are different from most of my friends. It's actually wrong in some ways,I think,to stay within boundaries. All through my life,whether it was my father,Ma or even Guruji, I've always been told that it is only an open mind that can truly grow to love and understand music. I had another tryst with this invaluable fact last night,sitting next to Avi. The way he listens to music,calm, never speaking more than a few words during a song and soaking it all in. True,Avi may not be the best singer or composer,but it's his attitude that pulls me towards him. Same goes for Nabarun. Nabarun is by far one of the most talented musicians I've met. He listens to the most diverse music and no one appreciates music the way he does. Never overtly critical (something I've still got to learn from him) but always listening to as much as he can and pin pointing the good parts. I admire these people. They're the true music lovers,and it shows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just a hint of nostalgia...

picture courtesy: Ritwik Goswami

Was reading the editorial page of The Telegraph yesterday. A certain columnist wrote about "Paramount". I don't know if it was the horrible weather or my joblessness or my frustration over a few situations,but I started reeling back to some old days. The days I spent in my last three (well,almost) at 86/1. I know it's too early to talk about all of this and I should probably stock it all up and write some other time,probably just when I'm passing out or something,but I believe in no occasions. I remember Aafu on our last day in school crying and making her face red and almost having hiccups after coming down the makeshift stage of our stupid marble-walled "hall" (whatever else were we suppose to call it?). Can't forget the expression on my dad's face when he came to the senior school bulding for the first time and asked to see the playground when he was standing right in front of it. More like the Circuit-ish expression "bhai yeh toh shuru hote hi khatam ho gaya!". I felt sorry for myself. But see...I'm digressing. The point I was making was,how I don't believe emotions need a perfect point in time to be expressed and done with. "Oh yes,I cried on my last day in college". No, I'm not party to that statement and I end up feeling rather cliched.

I had always been to Paramount with my two crazy comrades. Tucked away somewhere close to our beloved "Avi'd", we had missed Paramount a couple of times. We'd plop down on the bench on most hot summer afternoons and ramble away,sometimes laughing like maniacs,sometimes just keeping quiet. The slow 1970's model fans add to the comfort and oldish feel of the place.

Cocoa Malai was my all time favourite,mostly because green-mango gave me nausea. Peculiar south Indian,you'd say,but I have my defences ready. I hate yoghurt being manipulated. I can do justice to cartons of dahi just like that,but it's just UGH! otherwise. Modestly priced and heavenly,Paramount is a real challenge to most CCD and Barista outlets. Whiling away time on the marble table-bench furniture was easy. It was one such day when we were spending a lazy afternoon that I heard someone at the next table talking about my father. They didn't know me,but they said nice things about my dad. It was the first time something like that had happened. I hadn't narrated the incident after I came home obviously.

There was another trip to Paramount which was just before the beginning of our Part1 exams. CC and I, looking tense and rather worried,just walked towards Paramount without sparing a moment to think. That was the day we had collected our admit cards and needed the break to sip on daab sherbet. Pre-examination "I bet this question will come this time" and "tibetan-food" talk had proved to be the best stress busters.

Roaming on College street aimlessly or trying out the oily rolls in Tasty were things we did back then. We had infinite time in our hands,and even befriended the "Xerox dadu" whose shop was located in a labyrinth next to Tasty. When a class would get cancelled (or when we had Development classes :P) we knew the next few hours should be dedicated at Chakraborty-Chatterjee or Rupa . Selecting gifts,bumping into strangers (well,apparently!) or simply checking out books and flinching after seeing the prices, afternoons would just go by with simple things to do with empty pockets. Coffee house was another story altogether. The kabiraaji gave me nightmares weeks after we had gone there. The experiences,though,are not forgotten like the taste. They were those "fresh out of school" and "oh my God Rajarshi Basak is HERE TOO!!" experiences that are to be treasured forever.

Buying those little pakoras with the strange coloured chutney, screaming in the middle of the road when spotting unwanted guests from the past,haggling,getting screamed at by cycle in the old world and life in the new they converge...and the plethora of experiences which rise from there. The happy spot,they have found :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Johnny and the red scar

Last night as I was falling off to sleep, I stumbled across a rather relevant ending for the day. John Mayer's album Continuum started playing on my "Album of the day". It reminded me of the conversation last afternoon and the thoughts (events too) that followed. I'm very "politically averse" (if I may use the term) but as a by stander in the place where I live, I can't help but think of how I'm devoid of a choice too. I didn't get angry or scream like the others when I was forced to walk home 15 kilometers. I didn't fuss when my math paper got postponed. I don't get angry like millions of others. This is all what I really think,which,almost as if by telepathy,Mayer sang into my ears last night:

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything that's going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door
And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want
That's why we're waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It's not that we don't care,
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
And we're still waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


"Just what love should be like. And what is love without a violin playing goat?"
Too happy I found this image. The name of the painter popped into my head with a ping! this morning,just out of nowhere.
Alone I walked
with the times going by
"I won't show you the pages"
I screamed and I walked by

Alone I walked
and I saw a smile nearby
I stopped to glance
a friend it seemed like
we joined our arms
like the "chemical bonding"
and we walked along
as the times rushed by

A tear in the eye
"We'll never say goodbye!"
I was sure she'd be
like she always was
keeping silent but always
knowing how I was

Alone I walked
with the times passing by
I looked here and there
and saw a sight woo me
I caught a drop in my throat
I swayed and swooned
and laughed merrily
I loved the moment
"Shall we do this again,please?"

Still swaying from side to side
I wondered
"Why was I walking
alone all these years?"

I looked all around
the world seemed happy
so I drown my thoughts
and strap my sandals
and walk along
never thinking again

Monday, November 2, 2009

Went to MMB for the "Kalpanirjhar" short fiction film fest yesterday.

Was appalled watching the Indian movies. What is it with our incurable obsession with sexuality? And the crassness? My GOD. Why don't the best come out of their closets and send the worst back to where they came from? Loved the Polish film "What it's like to be my mother".

Went for phuchkas with Bharati and mummy after that. There were three marwari guys standing there,eating to their heart's content. Fine. It was fine till their faces started growing green with every phuchka. They noticed three women standing behind them waiting patiently so they were doing it purposely. They ate till the phuchka container was empty. Seriously. I HATE cheeky marwari bastards. I hate marwaris in general. Period.

I'm not sorry if I offended someone here.