Showing posts from March, 2008

Stars can wait – Jay Basu

I was idly wandering about the aisles of our splendid new library wondering which book to pick up. I was checking off the list that I had planned in my mind. The new Grisham book ‘Appeal’ was still to hit the shelves; the Follet ‘World without end’ that I had been waiting for was still not available & there were hardly any works by the great Nevil Shute. I noticed that there was a Hindi section with a few titles and that the rain was still doing a pitter patter outside. My wife was walking around looking for Amulya Malladi books and I was speed-skimming through the hundreds of authors names on the shelves, people who wrote many million words beseeching wordlessly to those who walked by, ‘here I am, waiting for you to pick me up. Please’…The library was not unusually quiet, plenty of kids making slight noises, mothers shush shush-ing them, the tap-tap of many keyboards. The high ceiling was effective, the sounds got quickly muted and the ambience was, well, like it should be in a l…

Awaz De – Anmol Ghadi

There are some songs that will live with you during your life. This one created by Naushad and sung by Noor Jehan and Surendra in 1946 is like so for me. I enjoy it each time I hear it and always marvel at Noorjehan’s thick and husky Punjaban voice. Of recent, only one singer created such a tonal quality – it is Richa Sharma (try listening to her Zindagi mein koi kabhi aye na rabba – Musafir)..

The year was 1946, the film Industry was hard at work creating excellent B&W movies and a number of new heroes and heroines were coming to the forefront. Hema Malini was just born, Yusuf Khan (Dilip Kumar) was making his entrance into Bollywood, Suraiyah was making her mark, Lata Mangeshkar was just entering the scene, Naushad Ali was creating waves with his music and Madam Noor Jehan – Mallika e Tarannun (Queen of melodies) had not even started contemplating whether to remain in India or move to Pakistan…She was at that time an established singing - acting star, all of 20 years old, graced …

The Lynching of Krishna Menon

Oct 10th - Subedar Ram Singh of 9 Punjab regiment was tired, though relatively young, his lungs were killing him and fear was gnawing deep in his bones & mind. At 14,000 feet, a height his tired body was not accustomed to, pulmonary edema was setting in. He hacked and coughed most of the time, his headaches were severe and his stomach churned. Sometimes his head reeled and he almost collapsed from dizziness, sometimes he had eye bleeds. The cotton clothes and boots he wore were inadequate for the mighty cold of the black Karkoram Mountains and the Namka Chu area. The Lee Enfield 0.303 with its razor sharp bayonet was his only weapon against the well armed Chinese. He had exactly 40 bullets left. He cursed Nehru, Krishna Menon and Gen Kaul, the people he held responsible for sending him and his troops to these miserable heights, to fight an enemy (he had himself shouted Hindi Chini bhai bhai a few months back) unprepared & under equipped, mentally & physically. The Chinese …

On Tibet…

Some months ago, Newsweek reported this article, one that made me smile (Reincarnation regulations) – It related to Tibet and China and starts thus - In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. I could not believe it, but well, it is what the Chinese government said..

And this reminded me of a fantastic Mohanlal movie called Yodha (based on The Golden Child), a family favorite with music by AR Rahman. In the movie, Mohanlal gets a vision to save the reincarnated Rimpoche monk from people out to abduct him, and goes on to do just that.

But then, living in California does remind you of the Dalai Lama now and then, he is to be seen around here in the news channels & Hollywood watch, much in the company of certain people who understand his quest for support for his mater land’s struggle –Hollywood persona like Richard Gere and many others like Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, Goldie H…

Bamboo trousers and crinkle shirts

Cover up’s for our skin has come a long way from the stone ages. From leather skins, it graduated to natural material like wool in 9000BC, Linen in 5000BC, Cotton to 3000BC and Silk in 1000BC. Then came a variety of blends and synthetics to help adapt clothing to the human’s ever changing life style…There was Denim, There was Gore-Tex, a breathing water & wind proof material, Kevlar that is stronger than steel, coal tar coated waterproof Macintosh, Terylene or Polyester, Rayon, Nylon, Spandex, Velcro, Vinyl, Ultrasuede. …the list goes on. But well, this is not about the history of textiles..

When I saw this at the store, for a reduced price, I decided to give it a try. As you see from the label, this pair of trousers is made of natural Bamboo fiber…Now I know that some of you will start picturing dancing girls in Hawaii wearing grass Hula skirts, in your mind. Don’t worry; these look just like any other trousers. Feels a bit like a polyester cotton blend, no different otherwise.

So …

Ormakkayi – Kozhikode Abdul Khader

Actually I was humming the Yesudas song ‘Pachapanam thatte’ and my mother in law who is visiting us said, can you add that to the CD you are making for me? At that time, I did not know this was originally a drama song done by Abdul Khader for Baburaj many decades ago nor did I know of the debate in Kerala over whether M Jayachandran should be taken to task for copying it in Nottam, a new movie!! M Jaychandran’s statement that it had nothing to do with Khader or Baburaj and their offspring’s furious involvement in the debate led to a furore in Kozhikode, a year back.

But, yes, I had heard his fabulous ‘Engine nee marakkum kuyile’ from Neelakuyil many a time, I had also heard many other Khader memorable’s in a cassette of his songs, sung by his late son Satyajit. My brother has been trying to locate the originals for ages and recently when I heard ‘Engine nee’ again, I was intrigued. I knew that Khader was around with Baburaj, when Baburaj was also doing music with Mehamood, but it was …

Tick Tock Doc, Santos and Cartier

You can locate him on Google, but I saw him by chance. My watch needed a new battery, and like usual, I popped open the back and changed the battery myself, realizing only then that it was a snap open back that required much force to click it back in. It required what they call a watch press, I did not have one and I had no plans to buy one either.

So I walked over sheepishly to the jewelry shop where I had previously changed a couple of batteries. The lady there said, well, I am not sure I can do this, but my thumbs are usually strong enough. Now I had virtually ruined my thumbs trying to press it in the last evening and I could see the sweat coming off this old lady’s brows as she tried gamely. She gave up eventually & said, I can’t do it, I do not have the press, but go around and you can get it done at Tick Tock Doc.

He was not in that day, and so I ventured out to meet him, the next day.

The door was open that hot afternoon, to the basement cubicle of the building in Carlsbad an…