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Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote

If i write a dairy, it will daily start with - Today, I wasted more time than usual!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Revisiting memories

While growing up, i was heavily into the pop music boom in India. I think the pop music hit India when i was young and evolved over time. Many interesting pop bands were formed and soon fade away. This is an attempt to document some of the best videos/songs that i used to listen when i was a child.

Hawa Hawa: It all began with Hasan Jehangir. Released in 1987, i think this was the era of Bappi Lahri's disco dancer, Usha Uthup's claim to fame. This song captured the heart and soul of that era. And so does the video.



Krishna nahi begane: made by the band Colonial Cousins saw classical singer Hariharan teaming up with Leslie Lewis and announcing their arrival with this song. A great video too!



O Sanam: Lucky Ali's debut album provided us with a fresh, different and meaningful music. This was totally different from the rest of the pop culture. Though he didnt get that much popularity as much as he deserved but still there were few of us who were greatly impressed. His follow up albums - ASifar, Aks were also very good.



Many Pop bands emerged during this time of 1994-96, including Euphoria (Remember Dhoom Pichuk Dhoom), offering fusion with pop, Junoon (who can forget the Sayonnee) capturing the restlessness of youth and ofcourse the king of punjabi music - Daler mehendi. But i would like to post here about this song:

Gur Naal Ishq Mita: Remixed by Bally Sagoo with a video that went well with adults too. As far as i can remember, this is the first remix song that i heard and i liked it and so did others. Bally Sagoo started remix era for me and he followed with Mera Laung Gawacha, Aaja Nachle and Noorie. But one thing to note here is that even though with remix, his videos were aesthetic.



I grew up and so did my selection of music. This was a time of one hit wonders. Many bands came up with that one song but soon were never heard. Aryans came up with Aankhon mein, which made Shahid kapoor's career. Jojo came with "Woh Kaun Thi". Baba Sehgal copied Ice Ice baby to "Thanda Thanda Pani". Alisha Chinai led the woman front and came up with Made in India. Alsiha was soon joined by Raageshwari with her bubbly song Duniya..
But the best one song wonder was this one:
Purani Jeans: Ali Haider mesmerized the youth of both India and Pakistan with this song and an equally catchy video.



On the way there were some innovative but not so successful attempts like Sunita Rao's Pari hoon main. Shaan (big name now) started with "Lovology" and Sagarika's Disco Diwane. Remo striked with O meri munni.

But there was one person who came, saw and conquered. His songs are still timeless. He was Nusrat Fateh Ali khan and his best pop song was Afreen.



Along the way, while there were one song wonders, there was an album with every song a hit. This was Sonu Nigam's Deewana with songs like Deewana, Is kadar pyar hain, ab mujhe raat din. But Sonu's later albums were such trash.

With the pop phenomenon catching up, there were many classical singers who joined the party. Like Pankaj Udhas' "Aur ahistha ki gayi batein". Jagjit Singh's Kagaz ki kashti resurfaced with a video but it failed to live up the song. Asha Bhosle also released her album Janam samjha karo but failed to make any impression. And there was Altaf Raja as well somewhere with his "tum toh thehre pardesi"

There were others whom i didnt like but they had their own space in market. These were Hans Raj Hans and the cowboy girl - Falguni Pathak, Mehnaaz and Rishi Rich.

By the end of the millennium, industry saw the fastest piano player in the world - Adnam Sami who introduced himself with Kabhi toh nazar milao. But the best of that year was an unknown voice who came up with two cult songs - Pal and Yarron. Yes KK rocked the pop industry and soon this songs were on everyone's lips. But with all these great songs, there was one song that made everyone stop and listen. It was Euphoria's maeri. Undoubtedly Euphoria was one of the most successful bands of Indie-pop and at their prime, they came up with this song.




Maeri was the last best song from Palash Sen and party. In 21st century, i no longer was the kid who used to listen to all pop songs. Earlier was the time of recording cassettes, finding recording stores. In my town (if not village), recording was done by playing a cassette in one taperecorder and recording the sound by other cassette player. Each cassette recording used to cost about 20-25 Rupees excluding the cost of cassette. With so many albums having only one good song, it was worth it to get those songs recorded. I remained oblivious to English music until Titanic came out - Celine Dion's Go on was the first english song that i understood.

One thing to appreciate in all the videos embedded above is their aesthetic nature. In all Euphoria songs Palash Sen used to chase a model wearing a white or pink suit but it was done in good way. Bally Sagoo's song - AAja Nachle is a classic example.

With 21st century, came the generation of remix, more remix and followed by Reshammiya. God knows what lies in store ahead. But then there was a band that i would not call a pop band but it surely made some cult music. It was Indian Ocean. Kandisa requires no video as no video can do justice to it. They followed Kandisa with Jhini which again is awesome.

Lucky Ali still continues to give some surprises. I end this post with a little unknown video - Tu kaun Hai. It was first released in his album Aks but then was used as an OST in the movie - Bhopal Express. I saw this video before the movie and loved it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

IPL

Yes, i am following IPL. I think it is exciting for Indian cricket although i see many negatives at the same time.

It has been only 6 matches and there may have been 1000s blogs written all over the world. I too join their bandwagon. The reason i am enjoying IPL is because i am getting to see the sport without the country boundaries. Today during Rajasthan vs Punjab, Indians cheered Kamran Akmal. Can you believe it? I have seen Sachin, Dravid, Laxman getting standing ovations in Eng, Aus and everywhere but i have rarely seen any foreigner getting a standing ovation in India even after scoring a double or triple ton. Matthew Hayden scored century after century and so did Symonds but they were booed by public and also by the media. This has changed due to IPL. Crowd support their team and players in the team and it doesnt pain them at all that all players are not Indians.

Yesterday, before the start of Bombav vs Bangalore match, while the groundsmen were clearing some stuff, at the center, three people were chatting. They were - Jayasurya, Chanderpaul and Praveen Kumar. It was so good to see it. Rahul Dravid is also surprised as he admitted in his speech saying that he hit a 4 and no one clapped in a Mumbai stadium filled with 70K people. He never anticipated that. Some reporter wrote this line : "Never will you see Sachin jumping from his seat and clapping on seeing Rahul Dravid out".

Yesterday, Boucher was out on a ball by Pollock and Pollock couldnt't smile nor celebrate as he would normally have. Similar thing happened when an under-19 bowler bowled Virat Kohli (under-19 captain) and he could hardly get a smile as they are best buddies. So has been the nature of game. In another instance two Ranji trophy players from Delhi faced similar situation.

In the past 6 innings, no MOM has gone to an Indian but still the crowd support has been lovely. Rajasthans today chanted "Srisanth Hai Hai" while Akmal kept on hitting him. One can argue that Indians still have the same heart - they cheer for their team and not for the game, but i think that we have taken a big step forward in accepting other players as a part of their team.

Things i hate about IPL is the mixing of bollywood in it. Set Max's coverage is pathetic. The camera after every ball focuses on the bollywood industry sitting on the stands. I hear Reshamiya music playing at the back. The SRKs, the Johars, and yada yada yada of industry are there taking the spirit out of the game. Movies like Lagaan, Iqbaal etc took Bollwood towards cricket and they were a sell out. IPL is doing it the other way round, taking cricket to bollywood and so far it has done the trick for corporates. Set Max with its pathetic panel team, arbit anchors (including Jadega) are making a mockery of themselves and the game. Thankfully, CBN is also covering the sports and it is a welcome relief to hear a better commentary and watch cricket only on it.

I am looking forward for many things in this IPL tournament. I want to see Sachin and Jayasurya to open and smash the opposition. I want to see Bangalore in the finals. Many say that it is a test team playing 20-20 but i think Bangalore has a point to prove. The game in any format can still be won by playing proper cricketing shots, bowling good balls and there is no need to glamorize your innings. Dravid, Kallis, Boucher are leading it and i would love to see Kumble in the side too. I am waiting for Laxman to show his style again to the world in this format. I want Warne's team to do well to show that this game is not won by big names but people playing their parts properly. Team spirit plays an equally important role.

Another interesting feature has been the IPL fair play award. Although just for the sake of it, but it may be a good start.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

To Sir, with love - 2

Before sunrise: http://arvindbatra.blogspot.com/2008/04/to-sir-with-love.html

Before sunset:

Dear Arvind of the past,

Wishes from Arvind of the present. I know that as per the current scientific developments you can not read this letter but still i am writing in case someone invents a time machine or prove that time is just another dimension. I have every right to express myself.

I had no ambition to communicate with you but i saw your letter to Arvind of the future the other day and its repercussions that i couldn't help myself. Firstly, you were so wrong; i did not found your letter in drawer, a scanned copy of it was present on my desktop. So true to your nature, your distrust towards me is clear.

Anyways, i am writing this letter to respond to your letter to Arvind of the future. I apologize for going through its contents even though it was not addressed to me. In your letter, you talk about your sacrifices and claim credit for it. You claim that i will not remember you. Yes, i admit i have made every attempt to forget you from my mind. I have made also made arrangements so that Arvind of the future remains unaware of your existence. It is because of you that i am in such shabby state. It is because of your idealistic beliefs, idiotic views of a perfect world and theoretical concepts of simplistic future that have reduced me to where i am.

When i look at my past i see bad judgments, unwise decisions taken by you. If only you had chosen MBA line over MS i would be a manager, ordering others and making a lot more money as compared to now or ever. Had you not left that no-work-but-free-pay job, I would be enjoying pleasant days in my home country with family and friends. I suffer the pain inflicted by you and have made sincere attempts get over past mishaps.

And your foolishness fail to end. I have recently learnt that you had made bets in future involving me-Arvind of the present, and Arvind of the future. And if we lost, then we had to pay for the losses. What kind of a man were you? Its hard to believe that i come from you. If only you had spared some thought for us, we would have asked God to bless you with eternal life.

So don't you think for an instant that you can write a letter, taunt me and claim fame for yourself. I have been imposed with a double burden - one to remedy your ill-doings and second to ensure that Arvind of the future does not need to suffer.

Adios,
Arvind of the present

Friday, April 18, 2008

To Sir, with love

Dear Arvind of the future,

Greetings from Arvind of the past. You will find this letter posted on some space on internet by Arvind of the present who, most likely, would have found my original letter while clearing his messy drawer. I have deliberately trashed my drawer so that you get this letter. If you are still not sure that this is Arvind of the past, here is proof: there is a black mole on your right butt.

So, how are things with you? You little thankless brat. Yes, you read it correct, you self obsessive fellow. Have you ever thanked me for what you are. I am very sure Arvind of the present will not remember me and will make arrangements so that you cant either. But you moron, have you ever thought on your foundations. You are what you are because of the sacrifices that i make today. Your ingratitude is like the current Indian stock market - rising and rising. I apologize for my such profanity but you should understand that it is not everyday that i get to use them and that too for someone who deserves it and i mean you, you smart mouth.

I hope by now you are living peacefully in some sub-urb in India. By my current plans and calculations, Arvind of the present will go to US for higher studies and i expect you - Arvind of the future to come back here. I hope you have succeeded on my elaborate plans of my future and enjoying the efforts of my endeavors. At this moment, i have high expectations from you and dont worry, i dont expect you to fulfill all of them. I will be content if you satisfy 99% of them.

To remind you, life here in past is going good. Yesterday i finished watching 67th movie on the IMDB top 250 list. I hope you have finished the list by now. I am enjoying the company of my friends now and i hope that Arvind of the present will not do anything to screw up the relations and you will also enjoy their love.

I am sure there will be times that you will curse me for doing somethings like wasting my time on not-so-important things and not doing somethings like taking adequate care of my health, eating junk foods etc. I understand your pain as i also sometimes curse the Arvind of my past. But do not blame me that much as there will be Arvind of the future for you as well and he for sure will not have nice things to say about you. In short, act now and take some responsibility. Stop reaping from my efforts, do something too!

Anyways, i am writing this letter to tell you to keep on enjoying life, exploring things, spreading love and helping others. Learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them. Say my hello to your wife. I am sure she will be beautiful. Oh wait, you are married now, right. You better be married and social otherwise in my next life, i will ensure that you will have a horrible time.

Chaos,
Arvind from the past.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pro-choice vs pro-life

Something i had been meaning to blog since quite a time now. This is regarding the pro-choice and pro-life issues in US. US people are divided on the issue of abortion. Pro-life people say that abortion should be illegal and life should be respected while pro-choice group advocates the freedom to choose to have a baby or not. Now consider these two questions:

1. How can you be pro-life and still eat non-veg and support hunting?

2.(the dual part) How can you be pro-choice but still hate killing of animals?

I believe in pro-choice and am a vegetarian (hate killing of animals) and thus need to answer question 2.

Although in my frame of mind, i find the question 2 to be baseless as i have clear rationality regarding abortion and killing of animals. Animals are just another species like us and we should not have any say on their life unless self-defense is required. But abortion is life coming from us and we should be accountable for that life. If we can not support it or can not take responsibility for it, i think its best to abort. Thus i support the freedom to choose. Scientific facts say that the fetus when aborted after some specified time has grown to a state that it is equivalent to killing a baby. I am no expert but my point is that not taking care of a child is equivalent to killing him. We, those who are responsible for birth, should have the freedom to choose and take adequate measures.

However, even though i belong to class 2 of people, i still can not understand any arguments by people who fall in class 1. To someone, both these questions may seem two sides of a coin but i think class 1 is totally unjustified. How can you kill innocent animals just for fun (hunting) or as part of daily diet. And so much so that your entire diet is based on eating animals and nothing else. If you respect life then what authority do you have on saying that our life is superior than others.

I finally concede that my views are still not properly developed on this and my answer to question 2 is still unsatisfactory. I seek comments/points to further explore different viewpoints.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Random thoughts

Random thoughts

End of a search marks the beginning of another.
With every knowledge comes more questions.
But few seem to see it,
what, why and how, all are same.

Some worship the moon,
some see the Sun in him,
some study him, some just admire his beauty.
Some wait for him,
to propose to a loved one.
Some see him grow,
from darkness to light,
from circle to point.

Why the moon has a black shadow in it?
Why roses have thorns?
Why lotus grow in muddy waters?
Why mothers adorn their new borns with kajal marks?
You can explain all scientifically or intuitively,
by religion or by faith,
by experiments or by experience.

Artistic science or scientific art
Isn't praying another form of begging,
Isn't mathematics built on axioms,
Isn't axiom an euphemism for belief
Morality defined by laws, laws defined by mortals.

Illusion of days, months, seasons, years.
Even time has a definition, infinity has a symbol.
Zero has a meaning and iota is imaginary.
Evolution is a concept and so is reincarnation.
Virtual reality exists in a real world

Why cant you see?
The moon is everywhere, it is in you.
in your mind, in your eyes.
What you believe, what you see
all is different but its the same.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Twist and Shout



OMG! It really happened! Check out the video above. This was taken at the debut concert by the latest Indo-american band - Jalsa. Like all the big bands in history, Jalsa members discovered each other by sheer coincidence. In a matter of a day, we decided to form the band and gave our debut performance on the nearest weekend. We all multi-task and complement each other every moment. This is evident by the video above.

Jalsa takes the best out of both Indian and American cultures, mindless music, singing and the ideology - "people on stage must know how to sing". With this simple premise, we are assured of getting success in future. Do look for future concerts at this blog!

Special thanks to Seattle Music museum for inviting us.
Band members: Piyush Goswami, Aniket, Sushant and Arvind Batra.


PS: If you are a Beatle-maniac and is offended by our rendition of Twist and Shout, then listen up close - We don't give a damn about it!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ode to Kimya Dawson!

Well, i love the genre of Kimya Dawson. This is an attempt to write a song in a way she writes.
Recommended: Do not just read it, sing it along the tune of "Tire Swing".

Crazy girl

She is the craziest girl i have ever seen
goes to places no one has ever been
Wears her jeans with laces on them
Ends all her speech with ahem! ahem!

Calls up her father at the middle of night
says hi and hangs up by saying good night
Teaches her six year old brother about Rock n Roll
and teases her god-fearing mother on selling her soul

Drinks tea from saucer instead of the cup
Sleeps anytime, sometimes even standing up
Watching romantic movies flares up her ire
Has a secret crush on Frodo, of the Shire

Votes every time to see how much it can get worse
Writes poems while rhyming every verse
Goes to plays but never goes to a multiplex
Keeps friendship with everyone even if he's an ex.


But thats not everything i have on my mind
She is actually very very kind

She's the girl who can make anyone cry
Never quits anything before giving it a try
Turns off the lights before leaving her room
And is seen at public gardens carrying a broom.
Acts on issues which no one else care
She's my friend, be it truth or a dare!
She's my friend, be it truth or a dare!

Carmina Burana

What does Old spice, LOTR, Enigma, matrix, have in common?
Ans: Carmina Burana, particularly O Fortuna!

Wondering what it is, Carmina Burana is a manuscript collection of latin songs. Music for these songs was composed by Carl Orff. The first and last song of the collection is O Fortuna. It is this song that is heard in the Old spice ad, in Enigma's album and used as background scores in the movie LOTR and matrix.

A bit of history:
In 1847, a musicologist called Johann Andreas Schmeller discovered a collection of 13th Century songs called Carmina Burana, meaning 'Songs of Beuern', in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in southern Bavaria, Germany. (Beuern is the name of the village where the monastery was situated.) Most of the songs were in Latin, but some were in an archaic form of German. The songs were about drinking, love, sex and the overbearing burden of fate. They appear to have been the work, not of the Benedictine monks, but of a roving band of monks and clerics known as the Goliards, who were rebels against the authority of the Church. They were more interested in drinking and debauchery than in prayer and sanctity. They lived by the principle, 'Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die'. The Goliards were outlawed by the Church in a series of edicts and laws over the course of the 13th Century, culminating in them being 'defrocked'; that is, stripped of any official status, in 1300 at Cologne.

Schmeller published the songs, but nothing much further was heard of them for nearly a century. In 1935, the German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982) came across the collection and was immediately intrigued by the songs. Reading through the words was a revelation. Orff decided to write a massive work for choir and orchestra with a selection of these songs as the basis. Rather than using the melodies from the manuscript, he wrote his own new ones to fit the words, and orchestrated the whole piece for a 20th Century orchestra.

Plagiarized from here.


O Fortuna (Chorus) English translation
O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
egestatem,
potestatem
dissolvit ut glaciem.

Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
obumbrata
et velata
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum
dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.

Sors salutis
et virtutis
michi nunc contraria,
est affectus
et defectus
semper in angaria.
Hac in hora
sine mora
corde pulsum tangite;
quod per sortem
sternit fortem,
mecum omnes plangite!
O Fortune,
like the moon
you are constantly changing,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
poverty
and power
it melts them like ice.

Fate - monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
you are malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
shadowed
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through the game
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.

Fate is against me
in health
and virtue,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since fate
strikes down the strong man,
everyone weep with me!


Complete translation can be found here : http://web.comhem.se/hansdotter/carmina.html

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hera Pheri

Remember the hindi cult movie - Hera Pheri based on the premise that telephone lines are intertwined between paresh rawal and a gangster.

I am in a similar situation regarding this blog. Last week, i added a widget on the lhs that gives the traffic on this webpage and from where it is coming. It turns out that 60% of the traffic is coming from google searches where people are looking for "hazarron khwaishein aisi" lyrics/songs/torrent/reviews etc.

Well i am not going to change the title in any way but i am thinking of what should be done with this lucky traffic :). Any interesting suggestions?

[UPDATE] If i google "Hazarron khwaishein aisi", this blog is ranked 41st. If i add "lyrics" to the above query, the rank changes to 10. If i add "songs", it is ranked 16. If i add "torrent", the rank is again 10. Surprisingly on the first query with just HKA, there are many blogs ranked higher than me, but when the query is modified, mine is the first blog.