Long Forgotten Songs #1

In a musical mood/mode today, I thought of documenting some of my favorite songs here.

Since I am a 90’s kid, my list would most probably cover songs that came out during the late nineties and later.

If you are an AR Rahman fan, this album would definitely be cherish-worthy for you. Rockstar which was released in the year 2011, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, is one of the best albums of the Mozart of Madras hands down. He has experimented to his hearts’ content on this album, a major part of which happens in Prague.

Each song is a gem in itself. Three particular songs stole my heart the moment I heard the first few beats.

Hawaa hawaa – Mohit Chauhan and chorus

This song starts off with peppy beats and has a folksy-gypsy taste to it. Set in the backdrop of the stony lanes and castles of the beautiful city of Prague, the song narrates the story of a King who had imprisoned the queen by restricting her from doing what she wished (dance).

The song is fast paced and a happy one, with a riot of colours and tap dance steps peppering it. It is said that the song was based on some unheard Czech gypsy traditions.

In a way, the story narrated by the song depicted the leading lady’s life in Prague, lonely and imprisoned.

Mohit Chauhan has done a superb job in adding a kick to this song and his meow sounds in between the lines truly add lustre to this number.

Click for the video of this song

Kun Faya Kun- ARR, Javed Ali, Mohit Chauhan and Chorus

ARR is no newbie when it comes to Qawwalis and Sufi songs. Inspired by the rich traditions of Persia, Sindh, Arabia and Turkey, Qawwali music has elements of harmoniums, tabla and handclaps. ARR has used bits and pieces of qawwali strains in Bombay and Guru and also full blown qawwalis in Fiza and Jodha Akbar.

This particular song is a qawwali of the type Manqabat (Manqabat – Wikipedia) , sung in praise of the saint Nizamudin Aulia.

A hymn in praise of the saint is followed by the song. This song depicts life’s philosophy from the mind of a devotee. It, in fact, explains how a human is a mere tool in the hands of a bigger divine power and how each and every action of a human is led by that power.

My favorite lines would be-

“Rangreza rang mera tann, mera mann”

These lines, when translated, mean “Oh Painter! Paint thou body and mind with colours”

This song comes at this crucial juncture in the movie, where Ranbir is thrown out of his house, wanders around and ends up seeking asylum at a Dargah. The atmosphere there adds to his musical essence and helps him mould his music.

This song is total surrender to the Divinity!

Click to watch the video song

Aur Ho- Alma Ferovic, Mohit Chauhan

My last pick from this album would be “Aur Ho”, which is placed somewhere in the later half of the movie.

This song speaks about the bereavement and the anguish experienced by Ranbir, owing to his love. The proximity to Nargis also adds to his pain, making him sing this song in a concert.

The lyrics are excellent and I loved the wordplay in this song. The lyricist, Irshad Kamil, has done a fabulous job by using words having the same meaning in adjacent lines. For example- Fire- Aag, taap, aanch and jal.

This song is symbolic to the fire burning inside Ranbir, raging, due to his separation from his ladylove.

We can listen to Mohit Chauhan traversing through wide ranges in vocals with Alma Ferovic adding tone to it with her stunning voice.

This song is pain, pain and more pain packed into a 5-minute punch!

Click here to watch the video song

Also, this was the movie that ended with the famous words of Rumi,

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

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The New Journal In The Town

Remember the good old days when diary writing was a fad? It was one of the ways we recorded memories and revisited them whenever we wanted to. It was also one of the trails which we had, to check how far we have come, as a person. My earliest memory of diary writing is when I used to write in a notebook, about all the silly fights in the classroom during sixth grade. It gave me a lot of perspective and solace until it was read by one of my other classmates. 😀 End of the story.

The advent of the internet has given us many other means to record our lives. Instagram, Facebook etc act like an online diary, at times throwing a wrong memory at us. Still, the charm of writing on a paper lingers around.

I got this journal for one similar purpose and had already earmarked it for that. Matrikas Paper Products sent me this in a day. To start with, I was floored by the swift action from their side. That is how you gotta win customers.

The look of the journal was aesthetic, something that you would compare to the visual scene of a Mani Ratnam movie. It was not over the head with grandeur, but classy and elegant.

The single lined sheets were smooth and the feel was good. It felt like premium paper thick. To get the feel, I jotted down a few lines and it felt smooth too. I certainly would not need a butter-flow pen to get the smooth flow of ink on the paper.

The journal also had good stuff for time-pass. Blank sheets where you can scribble, doodle or zentangle, sticker sheets with quirky stickers to make your own customised messages and lists and also adult coloring sheets to keep you occupied when you are in a bad mood. It is a complete package. And no one needs to know that I am a crazy, quirky, liberated soul inside thanks to the classy cover to bind it all in. It’s super fun, isn’t it?

Another important feature in this journal that I loved was the elastic band that is in place to hold the journal closed. It feels tight and just right.

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It is a good one to indulge yourself in, especially when you are looking for something to hold in all your memories and creative spurts. Stationery hoarders can thank me later too, for this one is a must have in your collection. They come in quite a few varieties as well. I had hoped for a pink and gold butterfly one but got a red and gold feather one. No worries though.

Thanks, Matrika guys for being super-cool. I loved this one 🙂

 

 

Thoughts from the Hull

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A noon show of the movie Titanic pushed me to write this post.

One particular scene in this movie always stumps me hard. The scene where Jack makes Rose promise that she will not die that night and not let go of her hopes of staying alive. He goes on to say that she must move on, have a lot of babies and die a peaceful death in her warm bed.

To people with critical eyes, it might seem too good to be true. I mean, how on Earth would have those two lived a fulfilling life, had they gotten together. Differences would have definitely crept in, breaking them apart. Right? Maybe, I say.

Thinking deeply, I realise that most of us have gone through this phase. The phase of letting people we love, go. A point comes where ‘we’ gets unhappy and the other person seems to be better off without us. What do we do then? Should we cling on to them or should we move on?

Would moving on be seen as an act of selfishness or indifference? Or would it seem cowardly? There is no right or wrong here. There is a lot of grey areas in the world that seems black and white.

But then, I ask, isn’t that what love is all about? You care for a person so much that their happiness and welfare matters to you more than your idea of togetherness. At times, I have also felt that may be a considerable number of divorces too happen with this as the underlying thought. We want the person we love to be happy. We see that they can be happier elsewhere and we decide to move on. That’s it.

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Rose, in the end, says that the heart of a woman is an ocean of secrets. I have to disagree, albeit a little. The heart of any human being is a deep ocean of dark secrets. Nobody but that person knows what brews inside the multiple layers of thoughts and memories. One can always decide to shut the door towards a particular chamber of memories and throw away the keys. One can choose to keep the keys to himself too. Or one can choose to take that occasional sneak-peek through the keyhole and be done with it. It is just as dark and deep, but hauntingly beautiful. So beautiful that it aches your heart.

Zebra Crossing

We all know what a Zebra Crossing is, don’t we?

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Chennai is known for its signal junctions and busy roads. Everybody always seems to be in a hurry which is known by the incessant honking in signals, even before the lights turn green. The dilemma of how and when to cross the road has been there forever, especially when there is no signal for a long stretch of road and there are no traffic cops around to help you with it.

This post is a guide to help you accomplish the goal of crossing a busy road in the absence of traffic cops.

  1. First of all, take time out to observe the people around you. Take a note of their direction of movement. By now you should have noticed that people seem to slow down at one particular point on the side of the road. Go and stand there.
  2. Be patient till you have around 6-7 people on your side and also a similar number of people exactly opposite to you, looking to reach your side by crossing the road.
  3. Be alert to the traffic and at some point, you will feel taking the plunge.
  4. Stretch your hand, signalling the vehicles to slow down and start walking forward. Be rest assured that the others will follow suit from both the sides.

There you go, you just crossed the road without any hassles.

Standing endlessly at the Zebra crossing doesn’t work in Chennai. Join hands with your co-walkers and slay it I say!

 

YOLO- Chennai Saga

I am back with the “slango” language and I am taking the liberty of using YOLO, which means You Only Live Once. 

This is a pensive post, which in a way describes my life in Chennai since 2010. It is going to be a short narrative, which apparently has to be done. Also, I racked my brains for a while to get some topic for the letter ‘Y’ and fell flat on my face. Moving on…

Life in Chennai can be endearing and be intimidating at the same time. Newbies tend to get overwhelmed the moment they step onto the platform in Chennai Central. I do not blame them for one. It is nothing but fair to feel so. It so happens that most major metro cities have their railway and bus terminus crowded and noisy. Chennai is not an exception.

My life in Chennai has seen a lot of flavours. From being a rigid nerd to being a not-so-rigid nerd, I have seen a lot. A gentle word of warning though. What I have seen is only a teeny tiny portion of what Chennai has to offer.

It is said that staying in a big city, away from parents and relatives teaches a lot. Yes, it does. It transforms a person in many ways. But when that ‘Fish out of water’ feeling is accompanied by warm people around, the entire journey becomes easy.

Who knows where I shall live the rest of my life. Who knows what life has in store for me. Chennai shall be the best phase of my life, forever. It shall always occupy a special place in me.

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Xtra Silra

The blog prompt for this comes from my ever vibrant friend Buroos who lives and breathes Chennai.

Many cities have their own rules, which might even indicate borderline OCD and obsession. Chennai is no exception to that trait. From “Avoid Rajnikanth and Oh Bangalore so great” to ” CSK is supreme”, Chennai city has its own quirks that are too weird at times. One such quirky trait is the mandate of carrying coins in your wallet, when travelling by bus. MTC buses have this unwritten rule. Deboard if you don’t have exact change for the amount of ticket. I know you are gonna rip me apart asking what if one does not know the ticket fare. I counter it by saying “Always carry coins worth twenty rupees in your wallet”. 

coins-in-pile-1-DHDPeak hours, slow moving traffic and nasty passengers can make any conductor cranky and Chennai conductors super-cranky. Not to drag in the almost always “under maintenance roads”. So one just cannot help but feel sorry for them.

So to ease the situation for all of us who travel with you in the bus, carry some change with you and see the conductor be happy about it. In return, you might be blessed with some awesome, witty quips from the conductor which guarantees you wholesome entertainment for the duration of your journey.

 

We, The People of Chennai

This post is a memory. A very precious one, which would find place as a seperate chapter in my autobiography, if I ever write one that is.

I realised “We” for the first time, when my beloved city was being pounded by rains, in November- December 2015. It was a daunting time for all of us and what are the odds for a person to come and stay in Chennai from a safer place exactly two days before the fateful December 1, 2015. That was the day when Chennai had the final nail on its coffin. Or it did seem so.

Tales of despair came in from everywhere. Many parts of the city were submerged in the water that had overflown from the lakes and reservoirs. The city itself was cut off from the rest of the country, with relief materials pouring in from everywhere.

We really saw what nature could do, when pushed to its nasty extremes.

You know how it feels when the place you have lived and loved all through your life gets submerged in water? It is inexplicable.

I have never heard or been in such a situation in Chennai before this. It has been raining for the past 24+ hours non-stop and Chennai is completely isolated from other parts of the State. All the entry and exit points have been cut-off and the rail and air terminus have been shut down. Trains and flights have been cancelled and the only mode of transportation that is still plying is the bus. That is unreliable and dangerous too,given the circumstances.

We have the Indian Army deployed here for the relief work and the forecast for two more days from today looks grim. Houses in the ground and first floors are flooded and people have taken shelter in high rises.

The magical part of all these is that We are still alive and thriving.

Chennai twitter is abuzz with help pouring in,not from anywhere else, from the Chennaiites itself. More than 3000 people have opened up their homes, hotels,offices etc to provide shelter to those who are stranded. Many people have come forward to recharge the phones with a small amount so that they can get in touch with their families and loved ones and assure them about their safety. Scores of people have offered to cook a meal for the needy and services of picking those meals are underway. Several Star hotels have prepared food packets for the people and are looking for help to distribute it to those in need. Malls and cinema theatres have been magnanimous enough to offer to accomodate people for free.
So yes, we are alive and surviving.

It is a very tough situation in Chennai right now. This is the second spell of rains lashing the city in less than a month’s time and trust me we are struggling. But, we are also helping and reaching out to people in whatever small ways that we can. I have heard and seen pictures of common people giving packets of biscuits and other eatables to the Traffic cops and the Bus drivers who are working their asses off to ensure that the people are safe.

Sadly, we had to put in lots of efforts to inform our counterparts in the other parts of the country through media like Facebook and Twitter since, well, the National Media has other important things to cover and publicise, like the Sheena Bora Murder case and How Rahul Gandhi had the nerves to speak in The Parliament.

We have observed the spirit of Brother-hood from the Mumbaikars in similar situations and I am so proud to say that we are implementing that darn well too.

We are gonna survive this and come back stronger than ever. We are waiting for the rains to subside a little so that we could be back on track at the earliest.

Thanks Karthika Krishnakumar for the mention in your answer. That brought me to this question.

Thanks a lot OP, for the concern. I would suggest you to help in any small way you can, which would include sharing any post in any social media that asks for help or gives information about helpline numbers and other facilities. Your one small act could be a life saving ray of hope for someone here.

Thanks a lot again.

This was me, on December 2nd, doing whatever I can to help people connect.

More such experiences can be read in this Quora thread.

We feel proud that the barriers were broken.

Actors, Singers, Employees, Home-makers, Entrepreneurs etc came together as a family to throw open their homes to strangers in need. Malls and multiplexes did their part in accomodating people who had lost their homes to water. Chennai woke up, from its seemingly deep slumber.

A city, which might have come across as indifferent and a tad too selfish, broke its image and took to the streets. Thousands of food packets were made and packed, rehab work went on full swing and life slowly returned back to normal.

Man-made barriers were destroyed by nature, which made us destroy the barriers that we had constructed among ourselves. 

Image Source- Tehelka

Vanakkam Chennai!

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Imma Chennai City Gangsta!! 😛

Before you guys think I am crazy enough to say this, let me say I am. Chennai means that much to me. Besides having a bazillion memes that glorify Chennai and its people ( Chennai is a name, Madras is an emotion!!), this city is a pleasure to live in, except for Bangaloreans of course! *wink wink*

Now as a person who has lived in Chennai for about seven years now, let me give some tips for people who are looking to travel to the city and experience the emotion.

  • The best time to travel to Chennai would be October-November every year. We have our Decembers jinxed so far and hence I am not betting on that. However, you are welcome to join us in the mayhem and we assure you the best of our support in case you get stuck somewhere in the chaos.
  • It is wise to depend on cab services like Ola or Uber, in case you plan to use public transport extensively. For certain routes, I would also suggest Volvo city buses which are comfortable and good.
  • Do your research before you book hotels. We do have a big community who rent their places out to tourists seasonally.
  • Do not be apprehensive to try out local cuisine. There is no ‘Delhi Belly’ scare and you can go ahead and experiment all you want to.
  • Always carry water and towel with you. Its generally humid and hence you might need them to provide comfort.
  • Approach people when you feel uncomfortable. People are friendly and would definitely help you out. Do not be laid back in seeking help.
  • Enjoy the city in all its glory. The beaches, the temples, the jasmine flowers, the aromatic biryani and street food etc. Plan atleast 3-4 days so that you can get the best of all the above.

Chennai is a tourist friendly place and I swear you would not regret choosing to visit.

Ulaga Nayakan

When one can go and write about the style factor, one should also write about the talent factor. That is what fairplay teaches us. Who else can fit into the tag of ‘Ulaga Nayakan’ better than Padmashri Kamal Hassan?

Born in the southern town of Paramakudi, Kamal Hassan has been around, in the filmdom, since one can remember. The earliest memory of seeing Kamal Hassan in movies in like the one in the image below, probably a tad younger too.

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He has been acting for a very long while now and trust me when I say that he is one actor who would fit in to any role given to him with elan and do his homework meticulously. Also, he is one actor who doesn’t bother about his leading ladies much. Remember Kovai Sarala in Sathi Leelavathy?

Personally I have a few movies of him that are close to my heart. Sathi Leelavathy, Anbe Sivam, Panchathanthiram, Vasool Raja MBBS etc to name a few. These movies make my day, every time I watch them and are worth every minute I spend watching them.

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He is one actor who is unabashedly himself in real life and is multi talented. He can write poetry and screenplays, debate and sing with equal mastery, just as acting. Many of his movies have not been commercially successful when they were released, but went on to become cult movies later on.

While people fell for the Superstar for his charm and style, Ulaganayakan ensnared people with his sheer talent and superfine acting. He is probably the only actor now, who effortlessly can be called as an ‘actor’.

Do watch his movies to catch various faces of Ulaganayakan. 

 

Tea Kadai Bench

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Tea Kadai Bench indicates the benches put outside the tea shops in South India. In this part of the country, this is not just a mere aspect of timepass. It is much more than that.

Tea kadai benches are the places were the menfolk in the rural areas catch up with the latest news and events. A place that transcends the man-made boundaries that are religion, caste and sometimes socio-economic status. It is the male equivalent of the gossip sessions that women indulge in, during the afternoon.

Often, one might wonder how the shop keeper allows so many people to block the space that he has made exclusively for his customers in such endless banter. Be rest assured that, in most such occasions, the shop keeper would also enjoy the chatter and would be happy to chip in new information or his take on the topic that is being discussed.

Though the advent of cities has made this ritual vanish, there are still places in suburbs and villages, where this is probably the only source of entertainment to the people who live there.

Afterall, what goes better with hot news other than a hotter cup of chai, right?? 😉

Image Credits- The featured image is a lovely one I found while browsing, which was featured in the newspaper The Hindu.