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 .

Friday, June 29, 2007

...Of The Start Of The Summer Holidays

The first day of the summer holidays.


You wake up at five in the morning.An ungodly time,a relic of those disturbed sleep patterns that I detest the most about examinations.

Outside,the mountains are shrouded in white mist.You nibble on a couple of fresh plums from the kitchen garden,inhale a gallonfull of mountain air and say to your immortal soul;

"I say,old chap!Jolly good place this,innit? Smashing weather,what?".To which the jolly old immortal soul replies,

"You said it,old horse.Topping weather.Topping !!"

A sudden rush of Pickwickian benevolence gushes through you as you think of all your chums sweating it out on the plains.A couple of phone calls,and they're all invited for a trip to the hills.You lounge back in the deck chair,with a feeling of "something finished,something done".Pick up your Kerouac and smile in the expectation of a nice hour of reading,when suddenly,there is a car outside.

Me;"I say,any idea who that could be,old I.S?"

Old I.S;"I'm as blank as you,old horse.But I'm getting a rather sinister feeling..."

Then I see the first one.Then another,and finally the whole clan.

RELATIVES !!!!

As seething horde of humanity streams through my gate,it seems that the whole family have suddenly realised four things.

1.It's way too hot down here in Sargodha

2.It must be much cooler somewhere higher up,like say,Abbottabad.

3.Hey,dontcha know,we've got a relative up there.And doesn't he run some kind of school?

4.Come to think of it,aren't our children just at the schoolgoing age?

It doesn't take Einstein to add it all up,and Voila !!,here they all are.In a mass exodus from Sargodha,a host of Uncles and Aunties and Cousins and Maids and Servants.
Fat uncles,rotund uncles,obese uncles,portly uncles,each one a marvel of creation.And the aunties...
Once they were the meaty Mutiaars of Punjab.Now there's no sign of the mutiaar anywhere,only meat.And plenty of it.
And then there are the cousins,those little critters with fish-like goggling eyes.They stare at you,as if saying,"Here I am smearing marble cake all over your computer,tearing up all your Wodehouse,and there's nothing you can do about it."It's not that hard to break under the strain and give them ten of the best with the backside of a hairbrush down where it would do them the most good.But no,we've got to keep it together,ain't that right old soul?

"Absolutely right old horse.It's just not done,just not cricket.Stiff upper lip,old top.Stiff upper lip !!"

Now I'm not saying I don't like my relatives.But there are cousins,and then there are cousins.There are those with whom I've spent my childhood,played with them,ran with them as grandpa's sandals whistled past our ears,stolen their fruit,twisted their ears,and this creates a bond.And then there are those,whose faces I have never before seen.And in the case of a couple of Winston Churchill-Boris Karloff combinations,faces I wouldn't ever want to see in my lifetime.

But it's not all gloom and doom,fair reader,because these uncles and aunts don't come empty handed.They bring MANGOES !!

Crates upon crates of those golden delights fill our kitchen.I had thought that getting posted up here in Abbottabad,I'd be deprived of these wondrous gifts of summer.But no,this sudden onrush of visitors has brought me mangoes beyond my wildest dreams.And that's not all.Three course meals morning,day and night.Souffles and trifles and cakes and creams,enough to stock up on blubber for two or three winters.

As I write this,the rain is incessant.The mountains are all hidden behind the roving clouds and I'm thinking up a rather beastly rhymed abomination that shows my fevered state..

The 'lectricity's gone and the raindrops patter
As the uncles smoke and the cousins chatter
While I stuff my face and keep getting fatter
'S wonderful up here but that doesn't matter
Cuz a few more days of this,and I'll be as mad as a hatter...

I.S.,"I say old horse,was it you who wrote this bilge?
"Yes I was old top."
"Tsk Tsk,I think you'd better lie down,old boy."
"I think you're right,old chum.I'd better lie down"



Movie Of The Week,"Rosemary's Baby"

Books Of The Week,Finished: "Dear Me",Peter Ustinov.Started,"On The Road",Jack Kerouac

Song Of The Week,"Kaun Aya Mere Man Ke Dware",Manna Dey

Movie Dialogue Of The Week,Peter Falk,"Surely,you can't be serious."
Leslie Nielsen,"I am serious.And don't call me Shirley !!"
Airplane(1980)