Saturday, December 6, 2008


Nature's lovely song
Three steps in the rain
Wet socks !


Dirty Dancing
Mini skirts in the moonlight
May be,may be not.


Angel on the roof
A bright sunny day
Different timezones ?


She was beautiful and she was naked
Still undressed
Another Unused Mannequin!


Must be something
To love and to be loved.
Guess, a love triangle.


She was right,
and i was left..
.. all alone !

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Bar at TCR

Well,the title could not be more apt. Because thats almost my home. Almost, in the sense that i live two floors above this pub.Right now, i am sitting right next to it, only a door separating me and the people inside having drinks and being merry on a saturday night. Well, i had to climb two floors down so that i could catch the wi-fi network and could write this blog.
Well, not exactly, i wanted to see some videos. If you do a search on YouTube with the search word as 'Sitar', then the first video you shall most probably see is Ravi Shankar teaching Sitar to George Harrisson.
Not doing much with the Sitar. My room mate, is tired of listening me play the same two ragas. So, i always try to play something randomly, but it turns out to be the same always. I dont know, how not to be me.
The owner of the bar is our landlord and he has promised us discounts on the food we order from their kitchen.Hmm.. but sadly he did not mention any discounts on the drink. We too, havent sat in the bar yet, though its the place we have to pass through every day, waving a Hi! to the bar tender!
One of the most difficult things to understand here, is to know, how friendly can you become with some one. Obviously, i mean this in the normal way, ofcourse . :-)
But, there is a barrier that you cant put your finger on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Familiarity breeds ignorance.So, before I get familiar and the excitement of such a place dies away; I know I have to write something about my first week here, in London.
First of all, I can’t believe I am here. It’s like being fascinated with a certain idea, but not giving a thought that the idea could be reality some day. Now, that it is reality (I pinched myself and have confirmed this), it seems all surreal. It’s a wonderful feeling no doubt. I guess reality can only fascinating if it is dreamy. I am in that dream so far.
Walking in the streets of London is a joy. It’s a relief, in a way, that you stop existing and everything outside of you takes your attention. It’s like being a part of the play and a spectator at the same time. Yes, and it would definitely help if your shoes are comfortable too.
Though it would matter where in London you are walking. Right now, I have Central London in my mind. All the buildings look colonial. In the evening with the dim lightings, the buildings look grander. I don’t know whether it is to match the architectural beauty or not, but if you are not looking at the buildings you can look at the women. I guess it could also be the other way round. The buildings have a certain disadvantage with the women folk of London around. When you pass by the buildings you don’t smell lovely perfumes.
Talking of spirits, that’s one thing that you would not fall short of. Beer is available in plenty in even the ‘General Stores’. It’s hard to walk for five minutes without having seen a pub. The pubs are peculiar in one respect though. They will have fancy Menu Cards being displayed on their windows boasting about their food varieties. But, the kitchen closes at 5 in the evening. I guess, people have their dinner during the lunch time.
Hmm ... Food. Well, I would say, what’s the point of being in such a lovely place if you have to die of hunger? It’s impossible to survive on the English food. Well, you could survive actually, just that you would need to add a lot of ketchup to it. The food is cold and bland. But it has certain advantages which are quite evident. Having such qualities that I have mentioned, English don’t eat a lot. Since they don’t eat a lot, they don’t become sloppy, it does wonder to their work efficiency. Since the meals are not elaborate, they could be had while doing your work. But actually, I don’t mind the English Breakfasts and their salads.
Transportation is something that the English should be proud of. Be it bus or train transport, a literate man could read his way through to any part of London. Travelling in a tube is also an experience. I am sure, if I was to ask each and every person in the tube, their country of origin, I would get more than 5 distinct answers. The instructions and directions have put in place assuming that it’s your first day in London. Tube stations also offer another important facet. People playing music for money. They don’t seem like beggars at all. I could not help but stand in awe at the music they played. It’s not just the normal guitar but the electric guitar with set of speakers.
The weather being so nice, walking being so comfortable, the landscape so beautiful and the convenience thought of at each and every point … the mind remains clear. It’s simple, when you are outside walking on the road, and you don’t see any poverty, any traffic or any kind of pollution, the mind remains at rest. You don’t carry any of it home where things are as comfortable: - Carpeted houses with heaters, Windows that don’t make noises when the wind blows, not a gap where the cold from the outside leaks inside. In such circumstances, when your physical self is at rest, the only problems that would bother you are the ones that you have created for yourself. But it may be quite to the extent where you might start feeling lonely.
Well, tried to note everything that came to mind down here, but one part remains. The people of London. Unfortunately, the only interaction that I have had is asking people for directions, where they have been very polite. Or talking to the Hotel receptionist where she has been very helpful. As for now, they seem to be a witty lot who would keep a certain distance always.
There are certain interesting facts that I have noted so far.
People here don’t drink water. There are no beggars on the streets. People with vehicles don’t honk without any reason. People come to office with foldable cycles. Girls like to get pierced on all sorts of places on the face. There are more girls than guys in a tube compartment. At least, I did not notice the guys. People walk fast with no reason at all. There are no stray dogs. You get free newspapers which come with single headlines of somebody being stabbed or getting drunk. The cost of repair may exceed the cost of the equipment itself. It rains any time. They don’t frisk bags while coming or going out of offices. Showrooms don’t keep your luggage bags as you do shopping. Eat fish n chips, and you know chips taste better than the fish. You realize you are not born here. You forget that not less 65 years ago, these guys were still ruling your country.
All said and done, I think it’s hard not to appreciate the fact that it’s a wonderful city that these guys have built and right now I am just happy of having got the chance to come here. But I am as curious to know my thoughts a month later.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Soul Symphony

Now let’s suppose there was no music in this world. One thing that would really depress me is that we would not know how to react when we would find no words to express what we feel. I am sure, man (or woman ) would then try to do something with his/her hands. Take to painting, try to travel to some place else, switch on the TV, talk to a friend, feel like smoking. Or probably write a poem, which would probably be the closest he (from here onwards, for convenience purposes ‘he’ would mean ‘he/she’) would get to his real emotions by using Metaphors and Similes. But no music..???? 
I wonder who discovered Music. Or was it as natural as walking on the road, eating when you feel hungry, drinking when thirsty and likewise. Which must have been the first tune that was hummed on this earth? (I am sure it would be something like the wind whistling in the pine forests.)
I actually wanted to write about the opportunity I got to meet the great Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, but then could not help wondering where it all must have started.
I have a great urge to decorate my experiences. But then I have to remind myself that I am not a journalist who is trying to sell his stuff. Ok, let me confess, I don’t have a great vocab, otherwise I would have surely surely tried to be fancier. Ha ha!
There are too many angles to what I want to write about and I am trying to get them all in this one page.
My primary concern is about how Hindustani Classical Music is losing its way. But we forget to ask the question ‘why’? Why is it losing its way? What makes Bollywood music click with the crowd but not Hindustani Classical? Its not an effort to save Hindustani Classical because it’s such a great heritage that we are blessed with, but because I think its just brilliant and wonder why not many people listen to it. (I had to ask people around why they don’t listen to Hindustani Classical, because I really got stuck on this point) The general reason that I could get is that it’s too slow for today’s pace of life. One needs to be really peaceful to be able to appreciate this. One major think that I feel is that, the image Hindustani classical has in minds of the people. There are not enough people talking about it, Media hardly discusses such artists except in special issues. People just tend to think its not cool enough..! And people also do feel, that one needs to understand Hindustani Classical to appreciate it, which is I think is not at all correct. It’s as simple as one doesn’t need to understand Photography to appreciate good photographs.
Hmmm.. This is just a new Paragraph, but then no one would ever know what I did after the ending of the earlier paragraph and the starting of this one. I shall tell you. I thought a lot, and I could not come to any conclusion, hence started with this new Paragraph. This just gives me a clue. (Though it’s not related to what I just wrote.) The reason why we appreciate some things but find that others cannot, has something to do with the short attention span and lots of prejudice which get in the way of seeing the thing directly. Hmm… and nobody can help anyone clear it. So.. For now.. Lets just end this discussion here, because I know if somebody is going to give me the same explanation for listening to ‘Metal’, I would not be agreeing. 
On the evening of 7th of July, 2008, I got the opportunity to meet Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan. The Sitar maestro! It was just really really very fortunate for some one like me to have got the chance to meet a legend. That says a lot of things about the humble personality. The most exceptional thing about the whole experience was that, he did not seem like a person who was living with the aura of a legend or a person who has been honored with a ‘Padmabhushan’ by the Indian Government. He seemed like a person with a lot of curiosity for life and appreciation and gratitude for everything around him.
Me and my friend, students of his son Zunain Khan (A wonderful Sitar player and a Teacher, on whom I would like to write more too) spent very absorbing two hours with Guruji (Ustad Jaffer Khan). I got the privilege of playing the Sitar in front of him, as he gave the ‘Taalis’ in ‘Teental’ to check the timing. Being quizzed by him on the various Sitar notes and what they stand for.
“I am , what I am”! He asked us to remember this, whenever we would play the Sitar.(I guess, true for life too..) This really helped us to be comfortable, and the interaction was very spontaneous there on. The way it all happened, It was almost like I was with my grand dad.
Plus , who would have seen him playing the tabla? We did! The way I was playing the tabla while accompanying Kotwal Aunty who was playing Raag Pilu on the Sitar, he had to take the Tabla from me and play it! I was alomost robotic playing the table with no expressions on my face. Such things can really take take the soul out from Music. ‘Yeh toh kuch gadbad mamla hai!’,referring to my style. He he!! He did not seem 82 years at all! I feel there is a reason for a person not looking his age. If you love what you do, and keep on doing what you love, you lose the sense of time and hence stop ageing. Fair and Lovely!! :-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Traveller for Life

The sense of freshness that travelling provides with, I think nothing else can compare to it. There are distinct changes in dimension. The sense of place grows with each passing moment, while we loose the sense of time.
We lose the sense of time, I think only because we are so much into each and every moment. We are not conscious of ourselves but more conscious of the experiences. As J.Krishnamurti would have put it, there is no observer, no observed. The barriers disappear when we start living in the present. The duality is destroyed. The time lag of thought no more exists.
There’s nothing like smiling strangers. The experience of smiling strangers back at you is like hearing a bird sing while you just expected it to chirp. It’s like falling in love with nobody.
Why can’t our daily routing be like a travelling experience? I guess we would have to be blessed with poor memory for that. As travelers, we are more like explorers, ready to see and experience new things. Ready for adventure. Observation tuned to everything happening around. We are not moving about with any pre-conceived motion. While we start our routing already knowing what is going to happen. The thoughts in our head are so concrete that we already create reality much before it would have the chance to happen. No wonder we get ourselves into endless circles. No wonder routine is routing and we fail to create anything new. Minds become dull and duller.
Trains are special. It’s like getting into a machine and then getting out discovering that everything’s changed. And the machine is interesting too. There are people inside it whom you can talk with. It’s a different kind of intimacy. You know the journey is not going to last forever. You are almost sure that you are not going to meet the person again. So any exchanges that happen during the journey are always genuine. There are no future expectations. Yeah, but then you can always take phone numbers, but that would be like taking the zing out of the whole thing.
Trains rock. Literally! Sleeping on a train is amazing. The motion of the train has that effect. I would like to think people generally like to sleep in the train and not because they are feeling sleepy. But I do admit that they would also sleep because there is nothing else to do.
Having nothing to do is a curious situation. Mind doesn’t understand how to react. I guess that’s the basic problem. It has nothing to think about, no activity to plan, and nothing to keep itself busy. If that’s the thing, then what does one do… that’s of course.. if we assume that the mind is a different entity. But anyways.. not going further into this, this always makes me curious about the duties of the watchmen. I always try to talk to them and understand the way they spend time sitting for so long. Trying to know what’s going on in their mind. But I have got no specific answers as yet. They always answer nonchalantly, ‘Bass.. Aise hee time kat jaata hai..’. I am still wondering.