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, December 17, 2007

....Of Home

There's this porcupine that's proving to be a thorn in my side(lame,I know).It lives in our village graveyard,has a strange penchant for digging up graves,sleeping in them and generally going about like it owns the goddamn place.Now I'm all for animal rights,no matter how hideously revolting an animal is.I mean,hey the human race ain't all that pretty itself.But when the aforesaid quadruped constantly snuggles up with long dead relatives and disturbs their eternal snooze and so forth,it's time to defy the critter.

It's easier said than done.I mean you can't just step up to the varmint and say"I Defy You !!!" Steps need to be taken,measures need to be implemented,bums need to be gotten off of.So,as I leave for my village this Eid/Winter Holiday season,my mind's working in overdrive.A veritable Rube-Goldberg device consisting of jumper cables,fishing nets,electric batteries,sattelite-dish-mesh and little jingly bells is all sketched up and ready.This time the little son of Belial won't know what hit him.Muahahaha...

Each visit back home,and by home I mean the village home,continues the metamorphosis that started almost three or four years ago.First a bit of background.I mean I can't just go gabbing on about tube wells and shot-guns and bunyan trees while the readers (yeah,right) sit there scratching their heads.Now there's two villages,the maternal village Jagoka,and the paternal one,Wallah.You can pronounce them anywhichway you want,they still sound musical to me.

Now Jagoka'd been the Mecca for me all my childhood.The reason was simple,it was full of cousins.And Nano's homemade pickles.And the curious red Masala that could wake you up with one sniff.The place was a bustling metropolis,ruled over by Nani Amman and Nana Bawa,the best grandparents anyone ever had(apart from Dadi Amman and Dada Bawa of course).Our uncle had millions of sattelite dishes and there was Telly.Every holiday,me and my brother would pester our parents to let us go to Jagoka and not the paternal place,Wallah.

Wallah,our place,wasn't such a bad place,but to our jaundiced childhood eyes,it was pretty drab.No children.No telly.But there were the attractions too.Dada Bawa was the best tickler in the world,but as I mentioned in an earlier post,his moods could change.Dadi Amman was the sweetest little creature in the world.Warm and tender,with that wonderful old-people-skin hanging from her arms and neck.She always had huge chunks of sweet,white Misri for us,and we would suck and chew on it for hours.

This polarity remained for a significant time,undisturbed by our parents ' constant reminders that we'd have to learn to like our place because it was after all OUR place,whereas Jagoka of course belonged to our maternal clan.But did we listen,erm no.Slowly,imperceptibly,things changed.Dadi Amman died,and the guilt I had felt for not being there for her in her last days as much as I should've,made me rethink a couple of things.

This was after all OUR place.It had the Big Red Trunk,the orange grove,Dada Bawa's horse and a lot of other small things that slowly endeared that place to me.And after Nana Bawa died two years ago (the only time i've cried over somebody's death),suddenly Jagoka didn't seem that inviting anymore.The cousins are still there,the telly's still there and the uncles are as brilliant as ever.And there's the added attraction of Nani Amman,the only grandparent I have left.But now I can sense(and i'm pretty shrewd at sensing stuff) that it's just a matter of time before the place starts closing it's doors on me.

So now it's me,heading off to make up for lost time at my new/old home.I have my air-gun to shoot the lizards,my books to while away the hours I have to spend on the Dera socializing(being the eldest son and all that),my pen and paper to list all the people I have to distribute Zakat to before Eid,and of course my cellphone to keep in touch with football.With a little bit of work,this place could feel like home.

And then there's this small matter of the porcupine too...

Movie Of The Week,"Monty Python And The Holy Grail"
Song Of The Week,"Salaamat Raho",Rafi.
Book Of The Week,"The Moon's A Balloon",David Niven.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

....Of Lethargy And Long Sabbatticals

Ages and ages since I last blogged.A variety of reasons my dears,have kept me from posting crazy stuff.Call it blogger's block(it would be too presuptous to call myself a writer),ennui or plain old laziness,whatever it is;now's the time to make amends.I sat down to write today with no clear topic in my mind(something pretty unusual for a didact like me).

It's been a long winter.A dry,not-quite-so-cold-but-hard-on-the-sinuses winter.No need for quilts and heaters,but still a craving for roasted peanuts.Initially it was exams,pretty average,even by my own measly standards.That took a lot of the energy out,and energy was just the thing I was to need in the coming weeks.If any reader remembers(reader...who am I kidding here !),one of my posts was about moviemaking.

Last year-end,I had particitipated in a shall we say,cinematic adventure.Never one to learn from my mistakes,I signed up again when the opportunity presented itself.I had thought it would be a bit easier this time around,what with experience and so forth.No marks for guessing how wrong I was.Having already garnered a Razzie for Worst Acting last year,I was determined not to show my map on screen this time.

I don't know how wasted I was,but clearly I wasn't in control of my senses when I agreed to produce the thing.Well,the first part involved the crew pinching 2000 quid from my wallet while I was semi-asleep..

Well,what with one thing and another,the movie's done,shown and even distributed to four countries by the time I am writing this.Aah,laziness prevented me from completing a post about ...erm laziness.

Book Of The Week,'Gielgud,The Authorized Biography'
Movie Of The Week,'The Producers'