Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do I miss Mumbai?

Since, it was raining cats and dogs in Delhi, I SMSed a friend and said that it feels just like Mumbai. He asked casually, "Do you miss Mumbai" and I sent him a message which ran into four pages, so I thought why not write a post on this.

Well, my answer in truest sense goes like this. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I miss the crazy freedom, miss it when I have to leave a concert/play and rush home, don’t miss it when I reach home dead tired and I have my beautiful room and good food waiting for me. Miss it when I have to keep convincing my parents to accompany me for a silly movie I want to watch, don’t miss it when I want to sleep on weekends. Miss it when I crave for Vada pav, don’t miss it when I get to have aloo tikki chaat. Miss it when I want to play poker, don’t miss it when I want to go on a long drive. Miss it when I want to see the sea; don’t miss it when I want to visit a park. To sum it all up, I would like to say:

My two cities, my two lives

One my mistress, one my wife!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Music and the maestros

Yesterday was an evening par excellence and I can’t help raving about it, so please bear with me. We left from Defence Colony (after having a good snack) at about 6 so as to reach Talkatora in time. I had underestimated the crowd which would gather to listen to the two maestros of music – Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh and thus freaked out to see long endless rows of traffic. Thankfully, the traffic police persons managed and helped us reach the stadium on time. Once inside the auditorium, it was an overwhelming feeling of grandeur. The concert was to begin at 7 and till 7 30 it hadn’t started, I was getting impatient but then a look around the theatre and I felt a small being who would rather wait than fret.

Soon after, arrived the great ghazal singer Ghulam Ali. He had an instant way with the audience, a line here and there to connect, he sang what he liked and he sang what the audience wanted. He had such an artistic way of singing that I listened with awe. He would slightly tweak the tune, he would give variations to his baritone, and he would even explain the Urdu words so that the meaning of Ghazal is conveyed in a succinct manner. It was as if he had taken the entire audience in another world, a world of Shers, Raagas, Ghazals and Nazams. After a little over an hour, he stopped to pave the way for the undisputed king of Ghazals - Jagjit Singh. But before he stopped, his last rendition – “Chupke chupke raat din” was given a standing ovation and my heart leapt with joy as it is one of my all time favourites.

Jagjit Singh entered amidst a roaring applause. There was pin drop silence thereafter, in the crowd, as we were just too eager to hear him sing. He started casually adjusting the mike and the sounds with one of his great numbers – “Hosh walon ko khabar kya”. It was pure magic and I was enraptured by his silk voice. As he kept singing, I was losing myself in thoughts, in music, in the words which were beautifully crafted in each Ghazal. The more I think the more I feel incapacitated to write about the greatness of his music. It was sheer joy in the auditorium when one after the other, the audience figured out that the Ghazals, being sung were soulful to the core. When he sang the legendary “Kal chaudhvi ki raat thi” the applause just won’t die down. I too clapped with all the energy and my heart smiled with content. I quietly slipped out then as it had gotten late and I had to rush home. The way back, I played the same Ghazals and hummed all the while. After this phenomenal experience, I have decided to send mommy daddy to the next Jagjit Singh concert in Delhi. :)

It would be unfair if I end this post without mentioning the two people who technically were the support for Jagjit Singh, but were doing a fanatbulous job at the Tabla and flute. Also, thanks to this concert I saw on stage my favourite RJ - Nitin and I wohoooooooooooooed for him as loudly as I could!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

As green as it gets

Kerala was long awaited, one because I was exhausted to the core and second because I always wanted to see what Kerala is all about. So, it started with the usual, me pestering my parents, they conceeding and then the planning. We didn't do any elaborate planning except for zeroing on the tours and travels. Once booked and paid, we only had to pack and the rest would be taken care of. The route we took was the Cochin - Munnar - Thekaddy - Allepey - Cochin. I can only say that it was so green and serene that I almost lost myself there. The tea plantations, spice gardens, backwaters, Periyar lake, hills all are exquisitely beautiful and have to be seen to be felt. It is one of those places which I can imagine to ward off a bad dream and sleep in peace.

Anyway, so I will only highly recommend Kerala to you and let this be. Now, what I am going to write about are the people whom I met and remember in great detail. The first was the cab driver who drove us all around the State. He met us on the very first day, my first impression of him was that he was a maniac and will get us killed in the hills. Thankfully my perception of him changed quickly and we were glad to have him around. All the the things about him were likeable - he dressed smartly, smiled shyly when his eyes met mine, was super concerned when mommy felt puckish and last but not the least played the most awesome music ever. Such fabulous surrounding and great music, what more can one ask for. Nadeem mostly played my favourite Hindi music and once in a while Malyalam songs which also I liked, considering our tastes in music is quite similar. One day, while I was absorbing the breathtaking environs, daddy cool asked him casually about his background. He said that he has completed his masters in Marketing from Cochin and currently looking for a job. His being the driver part was because he loves to drive and has nothing better to do at this point in time. I pondered for a moment and then felt sad about the lack of employability of the young and educated in India.

I asked Nadeem one day to take me to a good massage place (it is a must when you visit Kerala). He took us to a Ayurvedic center in Munnar and said this is the best in town, I said thank you and took the flight of stairs to meet the manager of the place and subsequently the masseuse. She was a dark complexioned girl with child like features. Her name was Tinu and she was my age. I was fairly apprehensive in the beginning but she did all to comfort me and made me feel at ease. Once, when I started enjoying the massage, we started talking about my trip, her family, her entering this field, our salaries and so on. She works hard to make the ends meet, even in the off season, she gives massage to at least 5 people, this leaves her tired but then who has the time to feel the tiredness. I don't know at what point we connected but we spoke as if old friends. She told me she got married against the wishes of her parents and is now the mother of a two year old baby girl. Her story goes like - girl fell in love with boy, they fought with the world, got married and now the girl regrets. The overwhelming responsibilities, the trifle little they earn as a couple, the reckless husband seem too much of a cost to have been paid for a love marriage. She advised me out of her own experience "don't get married madam, very problem madam". The words stuck and so did her lovely face. I thanked her profusely for giving me the luxurious massage and then I left.

Nadeem was standing outside when I left the Ayurvedic Center, he took me where my parents were shopping and was pleased to know that I liked the place he recommended. On the sixth day of our trip, he bid us adieu and dropped us at the Cochin airport, he waved and so did I.