Sunday, May 28, 2006


The smooth strains of the saxophone flood through the room. Hushed at first , Wisp-like even, gradually swelling till it reaches climax and then slowly it ebbs.. That's when Billie begins to croon "Suummmmeerrtimme.... " her smoky voice evokes images of a beautiful black woman, singing in one of those dimly lit , uptown jazz bars in the 40's philadelphia, mesmerising everyone in earshot.... I close my eyes, I'm pretty darn mesmerised myself.

"Summertime and the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’
So hush little baby, don’t you cry"

The song with such innocent lyrics sounds so seductive... Billie makes way for Louis to smoothly step in..

"One of these mornings

You’re goin’ to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take the sky
But till that morning
There’s a nothin’ can harm you
With daddy and mammy standin’ by "

The masculine, hardly smooth-Sinatra , but oh-so-sexy voice of his complements hers perfectly. It is throaty and a little rough in comparison to the fullness of hers and yet, if it's possible, just as mellifluous.

Just when you are revelling in how beautiful the song is and how wonderful they sound individually, it gets even better. They begin to sing together. There is only way to describe it. Stirring.

Billie begins again "Suuummmmerrtime..." And Louis goes.. "da da da zi zi da dou..oooh.. di ti da zou zou da... " in the background while she continues to sing. There is a perfect resonance of sound. And It occurs to one, that how it sounds is exactly how it should and no other way.. A Musical Tango! Seductive, Passionate and simply Enchanting!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Of Love And Gratitude!!

There are some moments in a girls life that are just Monumental. The first crush , the first time a boy holds your hand, the first kiss, the first ' I love you' (And all you feminists, before you start yelling about how a relationship and it's allied moments are not the most important/monumental thing to happen to a girl, I will say , I completely agree.. But it sure is one of the things we hold dearest to our heart... And I say a girl'slife because I am one and I can make a generalisation with slightly more authority than I can about men.) . For many, especially those of us, who for one reason or the other don't get into relationships prior to getting married, find moments of another nature to label monumental . But this post is about a girl who has and therefore for those who have been in love at one time or another and know what I'm talking about.

I've been in love twice. The first was of the unrequited kind and filled with all the passion of a first love. The boy could do no wrong. I could endure all. But , 'twas not to be. I languished in silence all the while that he was around, convinced of my inadequacy and his brilliance. Eventually, I began to crawl out of my shell but by then he was gone. I wasn't particularly a shrinking violet but I am strictly old school about making declarations of love or the likes of it. I don't make them. Friendship was all I could ask for and that I had . I settled for it.

Subsequently, I discovered it wasn't unrequited after all. But by then the scales had fallen, the ardour had cooled and maturity had begun to set in. It made me feel wonderful. But that was it. I was a kid. So was he then. We had grown and become different people, which is not to say that we were even remotely alike before. I think we were like mutually exclusive subsets of the universal set of human traits. Not really opposites, but just so different. I won't even try to explain the attraction , I don't think I can. It wasn't particularly rational. But it sure was love. I still miss things about him. I miss his lectures to me - I was a wild child. I miss the way we looked at each other - the intense gaze . I miss his light brown eyes. I miss being mad at him- I was, a whole lot. I miss our rather weird conversations. Most of all, I miss having him around.

But the wheels of time continue to roll... I got over it. And for a long time after that , I hid. I told myself that I didn't want to be in love again. The only kind I knew was often times agonizing. But the hiding was in vain... Fate had conspired!

One year ago, to the date. I fell in love again. Mercifully, fate was merciful despite his conspiracy. And ofcourse, I was sensible enough to hold back until I was sure that it was mutual. Which in fact, wasn't really that long.

We conversed away endless hours. We made each other laugh hysterically. We fascinated each other with the breadth of our perspective and knowledge. We felt the chemistry intensely. In short, everything clicked.

We were (and still are) young and there was nothing to stop us... And so we plunged headlong... Patti smith knew what I was feeling then...

" I'm dancing barefoot,
headed for a spin,
some strange music draws me in... "

Careening. That describes it best. Careening towards being madly in love from the word go.

I am not too fond of cliches but some things are cliche for a good reason. So, I will employ one here. I'm am more in love now than when this happy madness began. I guess , there is depth to feeling that can come only with time.

So, this is gratitude.... for a fate that brought me to someone who is as passionate as I am, someone who keeps up with me (And THAT's hard to find..Ha ha), someone who informs me I'm arrogant, is arrogant himself, challenges every word I utter , takes an opposing view on almost everything we discuss but does all of this in his signature witty and clever manner, so I can't possibly hold it against it him.... someone with a great sense of humour,a dash of idiosyncrasy, oodles of intelligence, someone who is plain old fashioned NICE, someone who finds me fascinating, attractive and intelligent, someone who for the most part, just gets me, and when he doesn't just accepts me as different and most importantly, someone that loves me.

For a year of love and happiness, for a year of someone to hold hands with and slow dance with, for a yearr that held so many firsts.... I'm so grateful!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Reader's Block!!

I was a voracious reader. It's so hard to admit that i have'nt been that for about a year now. But before I became temporarily, intellectually burned out, I ran on heavy fuel - Atleast two books a week. And I don't count the John Grisham's and Michael Crichton's in that list. That kind of stuff was the snack to fill the time between the full course servings of great writing. I read all the time. I much preferred reading to t.v, I preferred it to going out, heck, I preferred it over pretty much everything else, even music I think, and that's saying a LOT !!!

Since then, for reasons seemingly unfathomable , my metabolic rate had drastically fallen and I could not consume in the same fashion , or with the same passion as i did. Six months into that state and I convinced myself that I had made my peace with it, I threw myself into music to make up for it and hoped I would get back to reading 'one of these days' as though it was something that would just happen.Well three months later, I took stock , I had read TWO books. I decided it was getting a little too out of hand. I had to do something. So, I did. Discarding advice not to 'force' it, I made my self read things i knew i would enjoy even if it wasn't particularly stimulating. Like good old Wodehouse. Just to get back into the groove.

And I just kept re-reading dear old 'Plum' and not particularly graduating to anything more thought provoking. And what made it worse, is that I had gone and bought a whole lot of books right before I stopped reading...

Here's a list, to give you an idea...

1) Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
2) Don Quixote - Cervantes
3) Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
4) Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
5) Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
6) Vanity Fair - William Thackeray
7) The Glass Palace - Amitav Ghosh
8) Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Stowe
9) Portrait Of A Lady - Henry James
10) Ulysses - James Joyce
11) Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man - James Joyce
12) Women In Love - D.H. Lawrence
13) One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcis Marquez
14) Art Of War - Sun Tzu

These books sit on my shelf, collecting dust , waiting to be perused.. (been dying to use the word!) I've began several of them in turn, hoping that something in any of them will grab me by the collar and shake me out of this inability to keep my attention focussed long enough to finish the damn books.. But no.. So far, save for pulp, I haven't managed it..

I've decided, however that I am getting back to them.. If I have to suffer through them.. I'm getting quite sick of reading the first thirty pages and not being able to proceed past that limit. It's making dents in my self-image. Ok, perhaps I'm taking it a little too seriously.. But hey, that's how i was brought up.. On books and music.. And I feel like I'm losing my religion so to speak.. Well one of my religions at any rate.

So, I have two weeks in may and two in june before college begins again and I've decided I'm GOING to read these books somehow!! Perhaps, it seems a little too ambitious to you... you may think it a little too much for a month's worth.. but a year or two ago, I could have done this in a couple of weeks... Heck, I feel like an out of shape marathon runner who is just getting back to running and finds his lungs burning for air and a break after running the first couple of miles.

Frankly, I doubt if i'm going to be able all fourteen of them.. But i'm going to try! I've made a start.. Reading Women In Love now.. Hopefully in another couple of days I'll be able to say i've finished it and more importantly that I enjoyed it....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ramble, Ramble..

I am in hyderabad. I spent sunday just lazing around at my grandmom's getting spoilt rotten and eating far too much for my own good. I watched a mediocre movie (King Arthur) and slept more than I have had the luxury of doing since my just-concluded-semester began.

A little aside on the movie.. In my opinion, it is nothing special. It bears no resemblance to my childhood favourite "King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table". It has no references to camelot (or none that I could gather) , they screw up Merlin's character and the legend of Excalibur. Even though the focus is entirely on arthur it seems almost superficial, like the writers haven't manage to etch out much in terms of depth. Besides, the movie has a lot of weird looking people with bad hair and body paint, a barely-decent-looking King Arthur in Clive Owen ( which goes against my policies on film casting and last of all) . I have no clue what the fuss is about Keira Knightly. I took a long, hard , unbiased look at her and all I could manage is ,"She's Pretty!" but why she continues to enchant my brother and cousin and a whole legion of other men, I simply cannot comprehend. There are thousands of women much more beautiful than her. Well in my opinion that is.

Yesterday, I woke up later than I have since my last semester began - 9:30 AM . I've almost never woken up later.. All my friends think I'm a freak for not being able to sleep past 7:30 most days. Anyway, it was bliss. It's easy to sleep late here in hyderabad because it's not so hot. Yes , It is not so hot. Especially,since my body has dragged itself from hot, sweaty madras - A land where you sweat while you stand under the shower. Well maybe it IS actually just as hot. But it's much more comfortable. At home, perspiration accompanies even my dreams, it leaves me not in peace. And here, with the fan on, i'm perfectly at ease. The trick, I suppose is not to get out of the house until the evening.

I lazed some more, began reading A Beautiful Mind . I ventured out in the late afternoon to catch a movie at the locally famous IMAX theatre. Shite, you step in there and our sathyam cinemas seems like a joke!! (But hey, the downside of a amphitheatre like auditorium.. Everyone can see you if you get bored and decide half way through that you wanna just make out... Or maybe people in hyderabad don't care if you can see them!)

SO, I watched the much raved about Rang De Basanti. I must begin by telling you that I don't usually watch hindi movies. And for a very good reason too. I find most of them too ridiculous for words. I don't think it's any kind of bias. I just really think most of it is crap.

Now as for this one in particular, let see.. The movie certainly wasn't predictable. ( Thank heavens!! ) Infact , it nearly touched the other extreme - completely ridiculous. I mean, a friend of yours dies in an accident (even if it is because the state has endorsed a bad deal and made cheap planes) so you go kill the defence minister. What the fuck kinda sense does that make?? I mean, I can see how it may appeal to people who have no meaning or purpose in life.. But really,this is being absurd...From what I could garner, the theme behind the movie was "There are some causes worth fighting for, some causes worth losing your life for, some principles you uphold no matter how intense the oppression." So, they start out saying that the freedom struggle was one such cause where people were united in the struggle to be their own masters. And I agree with that. Then they switch to Ajay Rathore's death and how that inspires them to the same sort of fervour... Jeez!! That's where the storytellers lose me...

Frankly, I fail to understand how one can equate or even compare a struggle for basic human freedom with fighting corruption. I'm not saying fighting corruption is not a worthy pursuit.But at the risk of sounding extremely cynical. One is a fight for life, whereas the other is a fight for what most will consider a moral highground.

Anyway, my impressions on the movie aside, I had an interesting evening subsequently.. I walked from IMAX to this eatery called eat street.. The place is huge, along the lake and packed with people on a monday night.. Very strange.. Anyway, gayatri and I meet up,as planned after she's done with work... by the time we find a place to eat, the noodles are stone cold, we get through half of it and start our walk back towards imax , ice cream in hand. As we walk, there is a drunken dude who runs after us , screaming obscenities, he chases us a good hundred metres, during which time i'm completely spooked.. This is the second time something of this sort is happening to me in hyd. (The last time, I was 16 and was followed/stalked/sung-cheesy-love-songs-to all the way from banjara hills barista to anand nagar where i live, by a guy in a car as I was walking back those 2 Kms) I relax after making sure he still isn't after us.. Apparently the expression on my face hasn't changed though cos gayatri tells me to relax a couple of more times..

Anyway, it's late in the evening and i've done nothing all day except acquire some very interesting jazz music (9 cds worth) from an uncle with good taste.. And visit some relatives. Waiting to get up late, taste my music, read some more and yearn for the weekend...

Hopefully, there is gonna be a Paarttyyy!!! Staying over at gayatri's... Maybe i'll even have occasion to say 'Salut!!'