I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Monday, March 12, 2007

...Of Yesterday

I woke up in a pretty foul mood.What with a cosmic mix-up of fate and circumstance,I wasn't allowed to go home on the weekend.The prospect of a whole sunday of idleness had turned my thoughts ugly and I was just lying down again,with the hope of drowning my grouch in sleep,when my phone rang.It was a friend of mine,telling me that a coupla guys were heading out to Islamabad to shoot a movie and I could tag along if I wanted to.Talk about Manna from heaven...

Took me 5 minutes to change,and while i was busy sprucing up,suddenly,I sensed a subtle change..It started with the faint patter of spring rain,then came the heady scent of rain-kist earth,and to top it off,the radio started playing Paper Moon by Ella Fitzgerald !! There was some hope in this world after all..

We set off on a trip that I count among some of the best I have ever undertaken.If I ever get to heaven(a pretty thin chance,if ever there was one),here's how I'd like it to be;

Driving along Kashmir Highway,with the spruce leaves turning bright red.Cold splashy rain drumming on the car roof,and the radio playing "Mere Dil Ke Taar" by Mehdi Hassan,followed by "Neend Mujhe na Aaye",by Hemant and Lata.I hope someone up there's noting down my order...
We alighted on the foot of the Margallas.While waiting for the rest of the filmmaking crew,we hiked up one of the hills.Again a glimpse of paradise,yellow leaves falling and flailing in the wind,the steady rain poking through my clothes and Naseem Begum singing "Dil chaahta Hai Mera,Kho Jayen HumYahaan"...
When the rest of the lot arrived,we set up shop.Me and the friend of mine got drafted in as extras,henchmen of a mafia don,complete with the necessary shades and firearms.All we had to do was follow the Don,grimace a bit and tote our guns,but yours truly hasn't won the Worst Acting Oscar three years in a row for nothing.
I was gleefully smiling all the way,winking at the camera. Then ther was a scene of me being gunned down by a sniper.Since I was wearing a borrowed jacket for that one,I rolled around pretty liberally till said jacket was dripping wet.Unfortunately,my jeans had also gotten moist in some pretty strategic locations(if you know what I mean).Once again the jacket came in handy.I can tell you from experience,there ain't no better absorbent tha a Vicuna jacket if you want to wipe your.....erm,you get the picture.
Then,saying goodbye to the filming crew,I headed off to do some shopping.Now the type of shopping I do merits my friends' name for me: "Maghaz".I set off to a record store and got my hands on some cds I had been looking for for ages.Since it was getting pretty late,and the rain wasn't letting up,and we hadn't eaten anything since last night,my friend's exhortions to speed it up were getting more and more vorciforous.But you can't drag a kid out of a candy store that easily,can you..
Having ditched 'em,enjoying the rain,my eyes caught sight of a "rare dvds" rack in a shop,and i zeroed in.Imagine my surprise when there,stacked before my eyes,was a bunch of DVDs I had been searching for since Time Immemorial !!! Boy,did I gobble 'em up!
Half an hour later,having spent 1700 of my hard earned cash,toting my shopping bags,I headed back.But sweet Mother Nature wasn't done spreading sweetness and light.On the way back,there was the same rain,the same brilliant foliage,and the radio outdid itself by playing Lata's "Mausam Hai Aashqaana".
As I lay down to sleep,with the steady rain knocking on my window,a happy dilemma presented itself.Should I fall aslumber with Nat King Cole palying Honeysuckle Rose.Or should Duke Ellington lull me to sleep with Mood Indigo.Or Should I let Joan Baez pray for me to stay Forever Young.In the end,I gave in to temptation and fell asleep with Ustad Barkat Ali Khan singing "Dono Jahaan Teri Mohabbat Main Haar Ke"
But that was Yesterday.....

My shopping list,if anyone's interested;
Cds by Joan Baez,Nat King Cole,Duke Ellington and A Faiz collection
Dvds,Bringing Up Baby,Two Marx Brothers flicks,Arsenic And Old Lace and the original Ladykillers...

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