Monday, June 20, 2005

I am an...


Took this test that's been doing the rounds:

Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.

Existentialist 94%

Modernist 81%

Cultural Creative 75%

Materialist 75%

Postmodernist 63%

Romanticist 44%

Idealist 44%

Fundamentalist 19%

Didn't like the score for 'Materialist', but it's made up by the 'Fundamentalist' score.

World Muzac Day

We had a most terrible evening out last Saturday. Ajitha had got these passes for the Friends of Music show at the Garden of Five Senses for World Music Day (as if such a thing makes any sense), and Mrigaya were supposed to be playing. So were Rabbi Shergill and a few others, so it promised a fine evening.

But then the disappointments started queueing up and coming at us. There was a Manipuri percussion trio to start things off, which wasn't terribly bad. But then there was this school choir kind of thing called Artists Unlimited. Which seemed like a fairly interesting concept to start off with, with over 170 members or something. 50-odd of them took the stage, and gave us a series of nursery rhyme-like pop numbers, interspersed with renditions of Stevie Wonder and some other people I fortunately have never heard. They also had groups - some for the Hindi/Indian stuff, and some for the English stuff. Admittedly, a couple of the voices weren't bad, but the music on the whole was stupid. Extremely stupid. And, for some reason, Artists Unlimited were allowed almost an hour on stage, which - it later transpired - was because HH Rabbi Shergill hadn't arrived yet.

Following AU were another rather boring session involving a Frenchman and an Indian called Khargosh Birbal Singh. Now, while their music itself wasn't terribly good, it was probably the most interesting session of the evening, as they are basically a couple of people who experiment with various native musical instruments. So there were didgeridoos and some other long, bamboo pole-like instruments, a few flute-like things, and some percussion devices. They just didn't have it in them to make any great music though, and their jamming sessions just shouldn't have been given a stage.

And then Rabbi happened. At 9.30pm or thereabouts. In shades, and a long cape-like thing complete with...
...written on it.

Now, I am all for musicians making political statements. And somewhere I think in Rabbi's case it wasn't all put on. But his act was. I shamelessly admit to loving Rabbi's music and championing it. But I think we have seen the end of the man's music. He strutted around stage with his guitar in what can best be described as a marriage between Prince and Kishore Kumar. The guitar, itself, was tuned and handed to him by one of his many minions [wonder what Jimi Hendrix would have done if he'd learnt someone had dared touch his guitar]. And he sang his usual songs interspersed with occasions hollerings of "put your hands together people", and other such things. Quite awful. Really.

Mrigaya did play right at the end, and I am told they played as well as they always do. But we just didn't have it in us to sit around on the hard, stony ground anymore, especially with the temperature still around 40 degrees at 10 o'clock at night.

Bad scene, really. We went across to Yusuf's place after that to round things off with a few stiff rums...Yusuf, of course, had to endure the whole thing because we dragged him along.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Never Let Me Go...

Finished Kazuo Ishiguro's latest (had been carrying it around in my bag for over a month before starting on it) on the train back from Calcutta.

Ajitha didn't like it much, but I was as taken by it as I have been by all the Ishiguro's I've read. Why? Not really sure actually. It was admittedly a weaker book than most of his other books. But the book is an amazing example of making the mundane exciting and interesting. And the whole 'point of view' thing. So despite the little weaknesses (which were more because of the choice of narrative than anything else), it survived as a superb, and totally gripping tale. Much - don't know if this sounds stupid - in the mould of Minority Report, a major favourite film of mine.

Have started on Marqusee's Chimes of Freedom: Bob Dylan and the Sixties since. Going well, as all Marqusee's go. Loads of information, loads of pleasurable reading, loads of ideas, loads of fodder for the thought mills...

Back home, and back...

Two whole weeks. In Calcutta. Good old Calcutta. Of parents and relatives and all, of course. The parents' part is great, especially with all the fish and scotch that comes with it. The relatives are, at best, an occupational hazard. Of being part of society and all that jazz. Plus, of course, there's Olympia, and the old set of committed, dedicated Olypubbers. There's Nahoum's in Hog Shaheb'er bajar also, and all the maccaroons and fudges and breads that are such an integral part of my Calcutta. There's Free School Street, which we missed for some reason this time around. But we managed to get to the Chinese shoe shops for Ajitha, a bit of time at Music World (next to Flury's), where we found subtitled CDs of Meghe Dhaka Tara and Komol Gandhar, we ate at Mainland China and Kewpie's (missed Porto Rio again), and picked up loads and loads of Ujjala'r chanachur.
And, we saw Bose: The Forgotten Hero. Why? I don't know. Primarily because Ajitha needed to be taken to Nondon. We haven't managed to get there in all these years of travelling home together. So we watched it. Hated it. But the theatre's as awesome as it always was. A bit rundown from lack of maintenance, but the ACs still awesome, and the screen's still the biggest in India. [The AC bit is important because Calcutta was sweltering at about 40-plus, to go with the usual sweat showers].

I know that's a bit of a cliched sort of sub-header, but it is rather apt. It was such a bad, bad, bad bad film. The actors were bad. Universally. The movie was three-and-a-half hours long. And could have been sorted out in less than two hours with all the content in place. Subhash emerged after three-and-a-half hours a petulant, spoilt man with a death wish. He emerged as someone who took off from a spurn from Mohandas KG, and went about doing stupid things between Afghanistan and Japan, with a stopover in Germany, incidentally, because the Russian embassy wouldn't let him enter, and the door to the German embassy in Afghanistan was across the road, and had just a guard. Historical accuracy or inaccuracy is another matter altogether. As a film, it was terrible. And made worse - along with all the stuff already mentioned - with refrains of Ghoom parani mashi, pishi and Ekla cholo re every once in a way. The first, whenever SCB's mother was shown or mentioned or remembered; the second, whenever someone told SCB that they can't be of any assistance to his moronic plans.

Anyway, those three-and-a-half hours aside, it was a wonderful stay. And I had fish every single day: Pabda, Parshe, Topshe, Ilish, Loitta...and Rui of course. Plus there was Ma's awesome pork achaar.

And then, the days ran out, and it was back to normal here in Delhi.