Monday, October 10, 2011

An Ode to innocent love...

It started on a normal sultry night of 1996 in Surat. 90's, the decade of awesome bollywood music and walkmans with AA rechargable batteries. A summer vacation plan always had a list of cassettes to be tugged along and this trip was none too different. The only problem was that I had heard my lot of cassettes a gazillion times and was looking to listen to something new. We had our regular cassette shop opposite the railway station where we used to make our last minute purchases. I went to the store and was generally browsing through the collection when a cassette in one of the new plastic covers caught my attention. What really amazed me about the cassette was the fact that it had a small booklet inside it, a first for me. I got it on gut instinct without the knowledge that this Rs 45/-was to start a love affair that would last forever. The album : Face to Face...The artist : Jagjit Singh...The love : Ghazals.

The journey from Dairo haram(Surat) to Pyaar ka pehle khat(3rd round by time we reached Delhi) had an impact which no other album before or after ever has had on me. The small booklet had the lyrics of each song with the meanings of the Urdu words in hindi.By the time we reached Delhi I was an official to-be Jagjit fanboy and I had already embarked upon the journey to be a true fan. I started buying his albums one by one and in no time had almost all his albums. While my friends were going gaga over "Raja Hindustani" all I could do was pity at their shallow taste in music. My cousins thought I was heartbroken or something and used to give me wierd looks when I used to go gaga over each song. I never understood why they could not appreciate these songs as I did. At one point during my "fan" days, if you gave me a jagjit song I could name the album, the side and the order in which it would come! and this was by 1998!!

For me and I am sure most of the young kids those days, Love was this untold admiration of someone which was not to be shared with the concerned individual so as to save yourself from the public ridicule it ensued. Love in this form needed a voice of passion that could drown the pain that it brought and to the young kid in me it was Jagjit's. Every heartbreak made you understand the depth of each song a little more and you could relate to the soulful longing in each song. Baat niklegi tho, Hum tho yun apni zindagi se mile, kaun ayega yahan, munh ki baat sune har koi created this bond with the lyricist based on the knowledge that he too would have gone through the same pain to pen down the exact emotion so beautifully.

The summer of 2000 gave me opportunity to meet the voice that had consoled me on so many occasions. Jagjit was performing in Surat and I had to watch him in concert. The stumbling block? The ticket price of 300/-. I am sure you can understand the enormity of the amount if you ever were a hostelite in an engineering college. Your cash in hand in the beginning of the month used to be zilch after repayment of the previous month debts on the arrival of the money order. But I was determined to not let go of this opportunity so I sacrificed 150 cups of tea/30 dosas/ 30 cold drinks to fight the Surat summer to attend 3 blissful hours of the concert. Jagjit took us all to a magical place starting with hoton se chulo tum and ending it with Sarakti jayein hain rukh se. I floated back to my dorm on cloud nine.

The journey from a kid to a young man had its share of heartbreaks and logically leading to further appreciation of the lyrics and the voice that made you feel the weight of each and every word.

Times change and so do we and our choices but the beautiful memories of the past always make you appreciate life more. I am married now and recently was on a long drive with my wife when the mp3 player in the car started playing the live recording of Jagjit and Chitra in Royal Albert Hall in London. I had no idea how my wife will react to ghazals but with each successive song she too was falling in love with my love. Those 1:30+ hours, the duration of the recording, took us back to our courtship days and made me realize that I had found the voice that loved mine.

Jagjit is no more but his voice will continue to define love and longing for generations to come. Rest in peace my friend.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A good read

Came across this poem on the desk of a colleague, thought of sharing it. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It leaks again ...

Hi there...I knew you would stumble upon me and now that you have why not wait for a small chat?

After a slight philosophical angle to my blog I get back to what I do the best BAKAR. I still have to unfold the Eurotrip story, so I jump right back into the past.

Sahu and me reached Salzburg and parked our butts in this awesome youth hostel there. It was one of the best hostels that we stayed during our entire time in Europe. Not just the rooms but the entire hospitality from great service to an awesome lounge for people to mingle. I was reading "The Thousand Splendid Suns" by khaled hossenni when I reached Salzburg and the receptionist at the youth hostel was kind enough to lend me a Grisham thriller for free!

About the city, Salzburg's claim to fame is that "The sound of music" was shot here. Its a peaceful european town with good food. One of the best Doner Falafel that I had during my entire visit was here. Other than that beautiful castle and parks as is the case with other European cities.

The beauty of backpacking is that you don't have a fixed schedule in mind and tend to flex as per your comfort. We met this huge australian group in Salzburg and mixed with them and spent almost the entire night discussing various topics from Cricket, Music and Movies. Throw in a couple of games of chess and you cap off a great night.

The next day we hit the Ice caves of Werfen. Its an awesome experience and I don't think my words can even come close to how it feels in there. Esp for Indians who are from Mumbai where you don't even need a sweater during winters (If you can call it one), it surely was a COLD getaway.

We planned to leave for Vienna that afternoon but our Australian friends made us to stay back that night and guided us through a beer tasting session at one of the oldest pubs in Austria. The beer was served in ceramic mugs 1 litre each and was drawn from oak barrels. We spent almost the entire night there before the people running the show kicked us out for being too loud.

The beauty of our stay in Salzburg was the friends we made there. We kept stumbling back into them during our other trips and each time it was better than before. So after the night out at Salzburg, a hangover hit Sahu and Sreeni hit Vienna... thats in the next blog

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sometimes there are moments which remind you of a similar moment in the past and sometimes those moments might have a past for themselves. Recently I stumbled upon such a moment in time. I was at the window seat in the train gazing into the open night. Night, from any moving vehicle, is like breezing through a photo gallery filled only with negatives. Only the contours of objects remain in the dim light of the moon and you strain your eyes to see what that object truly is. I was unraveling this mystery of nature when my eyes fell upon the source that caused this effect, the crescent of the moon. There it was distant yet somehow very approachable. This crescent stuck in the sky at a precise angle reminded me of another time and another place but with a similar moon. It was again a crescent trying to light the dark sky seen from the window of a train with a different destination. I was in the process of understanding life then and I guess I am still trying to understand it. And there it was,the crescent, like a beacon that reminded me of something that I had figured about life then but had forgotten on the way. That night when I looked at it, it was not something that keeps coming night after night every night that we are used to seeing but it was this instantaneous flash when you realize that there is more to something than what meets the eye. As I was trying to take in the wholeness of the dark sky that night it was not the moon I saw but a dimple in the beautiful cheek that was zoomed in front of me. A solemn face having an innocent smile with the dimple on its cheek accentuating its beauty. I was feeling sad that night, in the moment long gone, and here was the universe giving me a kind smile saying that it understands what I am going through and that things would be better. It made me feel gifted that I was sharing myself with the universe that night and somehow I lost that thread in the days that followed. As the moment within a moment brought back that realization, I look at the sky above and can still see the universe smiling at me. I wish I understand life someday but no matter how long it takes I know there is someone who knows that I am trying.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Waiting for my real life to begin...

Its not like that I am but this line came to my mind when I was listening to the track with the same wordings by Brad Paisley (Its a soundtrack for Scrubs). Anyways this post is a detour from the Eurotrip experience that I was half heartedly sharing with you readers.

Back to those here I was listening to this well composed track when my friend Rachit came online on gtalk (Know more about Rachit here). Anyways, Rachit was with me at IIM C and our discussions about life and all that shit that comes along with it have kept me going during these excruciatingly boring past two months of vacation.

"I don't like the concept" said Rachit. The concept he was talking about is "waiting for one's life to begin" and I asked why? Life,according to him, has to be lived in the moment and should not be something you wait for. The more you wait the more you lose the precious time you have on your hands. Makes sense doesn't it? Though it might be an idealistic thought that one should live in the moment and not care about anything else but often than not in life all we land up doing is wait for a better life. This is when the discussion went to the next level as to why don't we live in the moment? what stops us from doing so?

Couple of reasons for it: Fear of self,fear of society and above all fear of death. Below is what we discussed on this matter:
Rachit: Sometimes I feel that life is like a huge treasure hunt where we have to see the contradictions we live in, figure out the clue, and then figure out the answer
me: but i guess evry few find the treasure
Rachit: not necessarily.. I mean.. depends..I mean isn't that a contradiction to begin with, ie we are looking for the treasure when we are born with itself
me: well said
the point is we feel there is treasure somewhere and wait to find it
but the treasure is in th emoment
Rachit: yeah that's the point. yes
Just that, sometimes I feel that this whole concept of fear that man has developed, fear of "God", of death, of old age, of public embarassment, of losing etc cripples us.
I guess we need to be fearless and then things would fall in place
me: i guess so
Rachit: hmm
me: i guess we have been programmed to live with others and that creates all these fears
Rachit: yeah that's what .. what programs us are the social the norms.. otherwise, aren't we born naked? So the fear of public embarassment is man made for sure. Can't say much about the fears of death and old age
me: similarly when a person knows he has to die his attitude is way too different
Rachit: Yes.. just that realization that we are impermanent should spark something within.. but it's tough.. you know.. those who are alive look at death in a detached manner
me: i guess its a subject we tend to avoid until its unavoidalbele :DRachit: Yes :) that's true
me: but if you think abt it one should give it some thought
Rachit: I am reading this book called The Death of Ivan Ilyich. By Leo Tolstoy.. it's about this only
Yeah.. this can make us all better people I guess

I don't know whether any of this makes sense to you but surely did to us. The fear of death is a crucial subject that according to us one should address upfront. The famous convocation speech of Steve Jobs at Stanford refers to this point as well. If you haven't listened to it already do it now. Its the kind of speech one would like to hear in his/her convocation adn we started discussing about the lousy speech that we were forced to listen to...more on that next :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eurotrip: Part 3

They say that a picture speaks a thousand here is my longest post till date :)

Above: Comics Museum and Autoworld in Brussels
Below: Party time in Munich

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eurotrip : Part 2

So we continue from where I had left before...The Oktoberfest 2007

If you are in Europe during this time of the year you cannot miss Oktoberfest. Tents afters tents filled with beer drinking revelers is what one might not see on a day to day basis. The entire experience was just awesome. I had just tasted beer once before attending oktoberfest and I must I was no big fan of the beverage going into the fest...but that was about the change. Bavaria-the region of Germany which boasts of the finest beer - is where all the big breweries that take part in the fest originate from and they surely know their business.

So there we were, me and sahu, completely exhausted from the overnite train journey from Paris Gare du nord to Munchen but in extreme hurry to get a decent spot in one of the many tents. Luckily we were on time and got a chance ot take a look of couple of the tents before zeroing on the HB one. Being the early entrants into the tent we thought of getting sober before the others came in. So both of us had a 1 litre mug of HB beer and I must say that it was good. Giving us company were two Italians from Verona. Though the company kept changing from Italians to Canadian chicks to Irish cricket fans to French mountaineer the high was perennially there.

The Indian team had recently won the T20 world cup and gave the two weakest members in the tent-me and sahu- to take a shot at the huge Australian contingent :). The 8 hours stay also saw lots of expletives being shouted about our great neighbor- pakistan (I don't think the capital P is necessary for this country)- from a group of cricket loving Irish fans, with little support form us.

After 4 and half litres of bawarian beer and self realization of the fact that we had to leave for Salzburg and were in no physical condition to do so, me and Sahu finally bid adieu to our friends in crime and swayed back to the Station. I remember us ordering a veg pizza somewhere between here and there but who cares!. Thanks to our Eurail Youth Pass (A must for every student traveling on exchange) we got a ticket to slazburg. I decided to get back to my senses by gulping in a starbucks mocha but it did not make much of a difference.

You think thats the end of it? wait up...we somehow managed to spot our seats and rested our asses there just to find a hot chick and her friend come sit next to us :) and how did we know they were there?...They were the ones to wake us up at Salzburg !!! (Expected sparks to fly?Well! sorry for the disappointment)