‘the moon’s too bright
the chain’s too tight
the beast won’t go to sleep.
I’ve been thinking of those promises I made
to you that I could not keep.
I know a man never got a woman back
by beggin on his knees,
or I’d crawl to you baby
and I’d fall at your feet
I’d howl at your beauty like a dog in heat
I’d tear at your heart
I’d claw at your sheets
And I’d say please.
I’m your man’ ( Leonard Cohen)
A Polish proverb says “Never seek the wind in the field.It is useless to try and find what is gone”.
”Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise
Run in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies
And if, you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain( Never break the chain)
Listen to the wind blow down comes the night
Running in the shadows damn your love, damn your lies
Break the silence, damn the dark, damn the light
And if, you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)
Though I personally like the Fleetwood Mac of Peter Greene, the later years with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks do have their charm. This song is a favorite and this particular live performance is really cool with Lindsey really getting into the song! Fleetwood Mac is to play in the O2 arena ( London , UK) in May/June 2015 as a part of their hugely successful ‘On With The Show’ tour. I hope to see the show in June there 🙂
Which gets me thinking why do many or rather most of us , unable to break off our chains ? Actually, why do we allow ourselves to be chained ?
I am usually in an Alice state of mind :”So she was considering in her own mind…whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up & picking the daisies…’ ( Lewis Carroll)
Which makes me choose to be like this :
( Photo from the Internet for Illustration only)
“People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music. I’ve had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn’t commit suicide because of this music…. ( John Densmore)
A deep, visceral connect with / to music perhaps makes me very sensitive to a person’s voice. The cadence , timbre of a person’s voice is a crucial indicator for me in establishing or not establishing any sort of connection with them. The voice gives a whole lot of information about the person and their take on life.It is not a definitive indicator, ofcourse.There are others like the eyes, the smile, the handshake etc. But I have experienced that,when one has a sensual connection to a voice, a little hair rising on the back of your neck, that’s when everything is hubba , hubba and glorious 🙂 Oh yes, alongwith the voice, I am very partial to the words a person chooses! Words without a voice and a voice without words are equally ridiculous to me!In the Indian context , imagine Gulzar sahab not saying “tum agaye ho noor agaya hain,nahin to charagon se lau jarahi thi jeene ki tumse wajah mil gayi hain,badi bewajah zindagi jarahi thi ‘ but “Tumse milne ka keeda andar hai,Dating kar le tu open calendar hai” :D. Or imagine Ronnie James Dio singing Bieber’s lyrics!
Well this post is all about certain fresh voices in popular music of today in India, that I like. I have grown up listening to mainstream and hugely popular singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohd Rafi, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar,Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle. I am very partial to Kishore Kumar, but I absolutely adore Shailendra’s voice too! My favorite is Asha Bhonsle but then can I forget the lilting sweetness and vivacity of Geeta Dutt’s voice ?
So here are some voices which ‘speak ‘ to me and my favorite numbers by them 🙂
1. Mohit Chauhan : Freedom in his voice, somewhat like the legendary Bhupen Hazarika.
2. KK: Smooth, suave voice.
3. Zubin : Manages to convey the feelings in the lyrics effortlessly via his voice.
4. Benny Dayal: Peppy and totally mast voice!
5. Kanika Kapoor: Powerful voice! Raw and exciting!
When I was very young, I heard the song below, one fine day on the radio. I was transfixed by the woman’s voice. Earthy, sensuous. Forming the back bone, in just a few lines, of this song, I feel. Years later, I found out that her name is Sharda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharda_Rajan_Iyengar )
I will sign off with that song 🙂 Happy Sunday, guys. Did I tell you that my guy has such a wonderful voice that when we speak, I tend to forget Jimmy Page ? 😀 Or is it “When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it’s safe inside your mouth” ( Jodi Picoult) 🙂
“you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love” ( Warsan Shire, ‘For women who are ‘difficult’ to love’)
I came across the poetry of this young British-Somalian poet by chance. Browsing through the poetry section of my bookstore, Warsan Shire’s “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth” had been pulled out by someone from the shelf and then kept back. I could make out that the slim book had been returned to the shelf very hastily, inasmuch ,that it hadn’t settled into the existing systematic and orderly arrangement. It stood apart from the others.Bold and disturbing.Daring to be read. I picked it up and soon was lost in the brilliance of the imagery she creates and the raw chords of the human heart that she plays upon, fearlessly and deeply. Perhaps, the person who had browsed the book before me could not tolerate the bleeding rawness of the emotions she writes about ? Perhaps, the poet reminded him/her of their inadequacies in love and life ? I guess I won’t ever know.
The above poem went through me like a razor. I identified with it.I saluted the poet. And as as tribute to her and all those women who are ‘difficult’ to love, I continue thus.You will meet that man who is also ‘difficult’ to love. And your separate beings will hinge into one.
“a terrifying and untamed man
strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love
arrives to worship you,unashamed and sacrificial
wiping off every memory of love
to cut you open and pour himself into you
you cry at the beauty of his wild heart
and realize the ecstasy of surrender“
( Oyster Bay Beach is a small, boutique hotel right on the beach @ Puri, in the state of Odisha, India. It belongs to my sister)
(Alright, this post is all about ‘whole lotta love’! So play the above badass link from soundcloud, while you read the blog 😀 )
‘Madam’, said the lady manager to my sister,’ we need a honeymoon suite in the hotel’. I was aimlessly lounging ( my favorite pastime anytime, anywhere) in the lobby of the hotel but straightened up at these words, redolent with the promise of an extremely interesting conversation.
Well, let me just call the lady manager Ms X. She is my sister’s trusted confidante about all affairs of the hotel along with being the major domo out there. She would be in her mid-fifties, dressed in a starched cotton saree, hails from the state of West Bengal and has a grossly obese cat called ‘Felu’. The cat is lovingly referred to by her as ‘Felu Da’ and believe it or not, snacks on Lay’s potato chips 24×7! Ms X is a spinster but a die- hard romantic. I was able to glean the gossip from my sister that when Ms X was young,comely and foolish she gave her heart to a rakish poet, who after declarations of undying love, finally left her to marry an insipid girl of his father’s choice and sacrifice his ‘art’ for a lack lustre government job .Ms X never really got over him and spurned all proposals of marriage after that to state ( to my sister) that she was martyred in love.Sometimes I have heard her singing, and she sings rather well, that weepy, cringe-worthy number “Yeh zindagi uski hai jo kissi ka ho gaya” ( This life is his, who has become somebody else’s). While Ms X adores my sister, she is , I suspect ,not too fond of me. She warily sized me up on our first encounter and declared that I am very hippie like !
(Onto the conversation which I joined with much glee)
‘Madam’, said Ms X excitedly, ‘our hotel is really liked by the young couples and newly weds because they can see the sun rise/set on the sea from their balcony!They can go to the beach anytime because Oyster Bay is right on the beach! We can increase our revenue if we do something special for such customers!’. Well, what do you suggest Ms X ?’, asked my sister.
Beaming Ms X said very firmly and conspiratorially”Madam, there should be no DISTURBANCE. The two suites on the top floor are perfect.NO DISTURBANCE,NO DISTURBANCE’. Her eyes gleamed and held a strange,far away look which made me ask unwisely ‘Why Ms X ?”. She glared at me and snapped ‘For love, choto didi ( younger sister)’. ‘ You are using the wrong four lettered word, Ms X’, I grinned ,only to be asked to shut up by my sister. ‘Madam, we must also put special things in the room’, said Ms X , warming upto the topic. ‘Yeah,some slinky gratis lingerie,possibly a few packets of con****”, I started off.Ms X was aghast at my ‘hippie-ness’ and looked mutely at my sister for support.’No, no, you suggest Ms X! Ignore choto didi’, said my sister hurriedly, giving me a kick.
Ms X had her way and has put red velvet heart shaped cushions in the honeymoon suite. She has chosen beautiful bed sheets and personally strews rose petals on them. A music system with a collection of nauseatingly mushy CD’s is in place. The lights are dim, the fragrance used is sandalwood. ‘We must have ‘love food’ too Madam’, she declared. I brightened up! Well, well the woman wasn’t such a retard after all! ‘Aphrodisiac-l ones ,Ms X ? Strawberries dipped in chocolate? Wine?”, I suggested. ‘Milk, madam. A glass of warm milk’, Ms X said authoritatively after years of viewing legendary Bollywood scenes on the subject of the best method to increase the libido. Here, see pic below 😀 I was stumped.
The pièce de résistance of Ms X’s romantic fervour was that, she would escort the couple ,clucking and fussing over them like a mother hen, to the suite. There she would coyly ask the chappie to carry the lass in his arms into the suite, while she clicked a photo of theirs’ on her mobile phone.She would then take a print, present it to them ,nicely framed, as a farewell gift from the hotel, wishing them eternal love. On one occasion, a room boy and Ms X baiter & her bête noire, told me that this touching scheme backfired. The lass was hugely plump, while the chappie was stick thin.After many takes and re-takes of enacting the scene, Ms X gave up too,long after the couple had done so 😀
Oh, I forgot to tell you.When the re-done honeymoon suite was inaugurated,I had mischievously slipped in a copy of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I had meant it as a prank to plague Ms X, who saw it at the last moment, frowned but couldn’t do anything about my ‘hippie-ness’ again. I left the next day back for New Delhi. It seems the wise, honeymooning couple took Vatsayan’s treatise along with them! Ms X excitedly saw this as a clever, marketing ploy and revenue enhancer. So she telephoned me and imperiously ordered ‘Choto didi, please send at least 50 copies of ‘those’ books! Its a hit item.Madam has okayed the proposal!”. I can’t even begin to tell you the shock on my bookstore manager’s face here when I ordered 50 copies of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I have been buying books from this store since I was in college! As he jotted down my order, I couldn’t really meet the bookstore manager’s troubled and un-believing gaze!
Ms X’s opinion about me has bettered after my above contribution to the honeymoon suite and resultant cash counter ringing. She is a huge fan of my guy, Adi who she met for the first time a couple of months back. ‘Choto didi, next time you are both on holiday, special suite will be booked for you both’,she declared. I flinched and stuttered ‘But, but we are really not honeymooners Ms X”. A sinister vision of me holding a glass of warm milk and acting coy rose up to choke me!
Then, Ms X killed me with her words ‘Nah, nah choto didi! You and Adi babu will be in love forever! My blessings”.
My eyes became moist. I wished I could recite Neruda to Ms X.To this romantic, tragic,funny,quaint woman who ‘loves to love love’ 🙂 This, perhaps?
“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue”
But I think Ms X would prefer to imagine love and passion as was shown earlier in Bollywood movies. Two red roses veering towards each other or two white pigeons canoodling 😀 Jeez!
Over & Out , guys!
“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” (Haruki Murakami, ‘Kafka on the Shore’)
Post is inspired because my friends in London are raving over the sushi & cold sake they had in ‘Sushi-Say’ there today 🙂 Murakami is a very favorite author;somehow I find him very un-Japanese & more English.Very distinctive style of writing when I compare with who I rate as one of the great traditional Japanese writers ,Yukio Mishima.By the way, I don’t like sushi much!
Not the book to start on Murakami though,I personally feel.One would do better to start with his hugely popular ‘Norwegian Wood’ which is less ‘weird’ and has a very low dose of his type of magical realism. This might help any Murakami virgins out there :). http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/quiz-which-murakami-book-is-right-for-you/
I have often seen that parents tend to live their dreams through their children. In India, particularly, parents tend to vehemently exhort their children to ‘become something’. That ‘something’ usually translates to being an engineer, doctor or having a government job. These professions till date command the most ‘respect’ here. Needless to say, these professions demand an excellence in academics and very high grades, buttressed by a maddening array of tuitions/coaching by private organizations, that prey more on the insecurities of the parents rather than try and enhance a child’s potential. I sometimes think Pink Floyd should do a re-issue of ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ taking in this scenario! I can guarantee that the song will come out more sinister, more lethal and more dark!
We tend to stifle the creativity in our children and impose our idea of ‘successful’ down their throats. I have come across very few parents who would reply to the question ” What would you want your son/daughter to be ? ” with ‘I would want him/her to be happy in what he/she does’. I guess its natural that we would want our children to be successful, financially comfortable,. But we forget that ” Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc” .(Hugh Macleod, ‘Ignore Everybody: and 39 other keys to Creativity’). The results are in majority cases disastrous. Very few children develop the courage to demand their crayons back.Maybe they will go through life ‘successfully’, but somewhere, somehow they would miss the deep magenta, the crimson orange, the azure blue hues of creative fulfillment.
The results are equally disastrous for parents. They tend not to have a life beyond their children. Everything centers around them . People feel proud of it and revel in the feeling of ‘sacrifice’. This is the ultimate moral high-horse! To me this passage makes sense “Do not make your child your only hobby or you will end up waiting by the telephone in a cheery room covered in brittle, yellowed crayon drawings, regaling those few friends that are left with stale anecdotes about your youngster’s accomplishments. Your little baby will be off in college, or backpacking in the Amazon, or on the other side of the country trying to get as far away from home as possible, and you will begin collecting porcelain frogs and feeding stray cats. So now is the time to start getting that life to fall back on. You know what you must do. Do it for your child. Do it for me, and for everyone out there who has to deal with your child for the rest of your child’s life. And do it for yourself”.( Christie Mellor, ‘The Three Martini Playdate’ ). Though I wish the author could have not been derogatory about feeding stray cats! And collecting porcelain frogs sounds cool too 🙂
Which gets me thinking that my sister has been successful on both counts. Her life and her son’s life. She allowed my nephew to be what he wanted, do what he wanted. She gave him the freedom to choose, to make mistakes and learn from them. She never for a single instant gave him the feeling that he ‘owes’ her anything, that subtle psychological pressure we tend to exercise on our children, which I find very distasteful personally. That healthy space between them has today crystallized into a bond of strength and mutual respect.My sister lives her life on her own terms too.It is a life of success, grace and contentment.
My nephew has gone on to become an engineer. That is his passion along with a great love for music and football. He is happy 🙂
I am happy too! Why ? Well, the other day while I was dropping him to catch the flight back to London, we started talking music. I have this huge music collection on my mobile phone. I played ‘And You & I’ by Yes.’Who is on the acoustic guitar ?” I asked. ‘Prog rock,yeah ?’, he said .’Sounds like Steve Howe’. My heart burst with happiness 🙂 The kid grew up in the early 2000’s and here he was recognizing a 70’s prog rock band! Possibly one might say that there is kind of musical determinism in me ? That I relate to the 60’/70’s music more than the era I grew up in and I am also sometimes unfortunately critical about the later years. But I never forced my likes on my nephew. He listens to a wide variety of music and is very open to new sounds. Just that I felt great that a kid of this generation could appreciate the musical genius of a truly fantastic bygone era.And yes, he understands what he calls my ‘Morrison call & connect’ 🙂
Maurice Sendak says “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.” That is what children are : genuine, imaginative, brave and uncomplicated. To try and ‘mold’ them would be sacrilegious, non ?
Over & Out, guys 🙂
Time to groove:
Open the curtains of your being
Clothe you in a further nudity
Uncover the bodies of your body
Invent another body for your body” ( Octavio Paz)
Dedicated to the man whose name is symbolized by the picture below 🙂 Hey ya rapture rider mine,some silken moment,goes on forever….I need perfection,some twisted selection,well that tangles me,to keep me alive 🙂
At a certain point in your life, your parents become your children. They need a lot of care and understanding. They require very patient handling. They are prone to irrational outbursts of temper, resort to emotional blackmail,throw tantrums! Yes, I am talking about that time when our parents become old.
I am in that boat today.I am sure many of you would be too,right ? If not, you will be one day. Let me tell you all about it 🙂
My Dad is here with me in New Delhi for sometime. He has come for a complete health check up. The medical facilities in New Delhi are excellent as compared to that in my homestate. Of course, I have also got him here because he is a great bully! Years of ordering people around ( he is an officer of the Indian Police Service) has made it very difficult for him to listen to anyone 🙂 My elder sister, who is a doctor, and he are normally at loggerheads about his diet. The man loves his Scotch and all the food, that are are a complete no-no at his age ( red meat, sweets, butter, cheese,fried chicken etc ). The spice levels in his preferred dishes is alarming! He is not really into exercise. Walks with his friends and cronies turn into gossip sessions on the embankment of the river Mahanadi, liberally doused with ‘cutting’ chai and ‘samosa’ from the nearby flourishing vendor ( the chap has got rich just because of this senior citizen gang!). My sister vainly tried to reform him. To her remonstrations, his standard reply was ” Live Life Kingsize”, followed by an all-knowing, infuriating chuckle. Thus , he has been packed off to Delhi by my sister to ‘set him right’ 🙂 Her words : ‘ Beware! He is going to drive you nuts!”.
Which he has! His reports aren’t good. When I confronted him with it, he blithely told me that ‘Reports are wrong. Get a re-test’. I gnashed my teeth and screamed at him. He annoyingly disappeared behind the newspaper! I asked the cook to make a simple, non-oily, balanced lunch of chapati, dal, subzi, steamed fish, curd and salad. He happily ordered ‘Butter Naan’ & ‘Mutton Roganjosh’ from the rather fabulous take away near my house!Oh yes, he topped it off with ‘moong dal halwa’ and merrily chomped on a ‘Zarda Paan’! When I snarled at him on the phone, he boomed ‘ Oh, I have lived my life now. Few years more I have. Do you think I want to be Baba Ramdev?’
I sat and fumed. I was very worried about his sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It needs immediate remedial measures. I didn’t know how to tackle this new situation in my life! And that is when I realized that my Dad is like a child now! Somewhat like what I was years back! Not listening to his good advice, rebelling, being sneaky, mouthing smart- ass comments!
My strategy changed yesterday. I took him out for a long, leisurely, fabulous lunch. Conversation centered around how hectic my life in Delhi is, my long office hours, my inability to eat healthy, irregular exercise, late nights etc. I told Dad that all my friend suffered from the same lifestyle problems too. He listened with growing concern. The parent and bully in him kickstarted as he thundered ‘ I am here now! I shall see that you lead a healthy life style! Proper diet and all. Yes, you are looking a bit peaky! That’s not like my beautiful daughter!”. He hrrumphed and snorted in righteous anger, he brandished his fork and knife maniacally, his eyes glittered with determination. I managed to look guilty, crestfallen and rebellious. The same expression I probably had when I was a teenager :). Which perhaps reminded him nastily of my by gone wild days 🙂 Which acted like the proverbial red rag 🙂
This morning we were up for a brisk one hour walk by 5 am. We ate a healthy breakfast of oats and papaya. Our lunch is steamed vegetables and yoghurt. Dinner will be soup and salad.Oh yes, my Dad is outrageously handsome! And since his sun sign is Leo, he is inordinately vain about his looks and loves flattery too 😀 While we were walking this morning, a good-looking guy jogged past us with a ‘Hi’ to me. My Dad frowned at my smiling response. I hurriedly told him ‘Dad, the chap must be at least 25 years younger to you, non ? Can’t hold a candle to you!’. His beam was enough to light up my entire day 🙂
My Dad brought me up like this :
“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.” ( William Martin, ‘The Parents Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice For Modern Parents)
Its now my turn to make the ordinary come alive for him 🙂
PS: I have to put up with a few supremely annoying things though:
1. No Led Zeppelin on my deck. In case, I switch on music, its at embarrassingly low decibels!
2. Late night partying has stopped. Friends of mine were pretty stoned from his lecture on the ‘Vedas’ & the ‘Shastras’. They have gone into re-hab voluntarily.
3. Overseas Skype conversations with the beloved in London have been reduced to saying goodnight to the poor guy sharp at 10pm, Indian time. Jeez and Arrgh.
4. My new summer collection of ‘kurtas’ with ‘choli cut’ backs, halter necklines etc were so glared at that, they had to be packed off. I also wear loose, granny jeans now. No screaming red lipstick, too. Only ‘sober’, decent’ ( my Dad’s favorite adjectives) colours. * Face palm*
5. Nodding assent to his ‘Facebook is for criminals’.
Roald Dahl ( Matilda) says “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful”. That’s the kind of love we all have to give back to our parents, right ? 🙂
The accidental sufi signs off with a favorite number of her Dad’s ( Robert Plant, where art thou ? * Deep sigh* 🙂 ).