October 23, 2006

Reflections on Sudha

Ok.. I m going to quickly summarize the pros and cons of a truly liberating Carnatic vocal concert by renowned Sudha Ragunathan.


1) It lasted 3.5 hours and was sheer joy and bought back fond memories of the December music season back in India
2) Most songs were fairly popular ones (and she even sang a varnam - a slightly unexpected event at a concert)
3) The accompanying musicians were damn good
4) Some audience requests were entertained
5) Right here at UC and importantly FREE!


1) Sudha was a li'l hoarse - not her best performance
2) The audio at DAAP left a lot to be desired for
3) One keerthanai was about 45 minutes long with huuuuuuuge gaps of vocal performances, completely interspersed with a lot of mridangam and the morsing (well it was all good.. but really, we were there for Sudha.)

All said n done... a carnatic concert is a treat for the soul, especially for someone like me who has learned it for a better part of my life.. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Kudos to SABHA for organizing the event and lets hope there are more to come, before I leave UC, selfishly so...

October 22, 2006

A postcard from Diwali

A picture sure as hell can substitute a 1000 words... A glimpse from a simple Diwali celebration at home in Cincinnati...

October 20, 2006


First off, here's wishing everyone a very very Happy n Safe Diwali!

Its that time of the year again... when I feel most homesick.. when I feel I SHOULD be in India, no matter what. I miss everything about Diwali.. the crackers, the sweets, the colours, the Lakshmi Puja, the smoke, the TV programmes, the smell of gunpowder in the air, long after the crackers have rested, the sky going ablaze with sky crackers, the lights, the Diwali "marandhu" - that sour, horrible thing you had to eat, the sleepless night before with my bro, the early mornings, Jani (our building's ex-doggie) running and hiding under the staircase, the travel to the temple with a million stops waiting for every atom bomb on our way to explode, pinching my ears shut, the lamps, the million phone call wishes and so much more I could go on forever.

I think off the top of my head, if on any random day you were to ask me which day I would like to be transported to India... it would have to be Diwali. I miss crackers sourly... expecially the "Red Forts", my favourite variety to burst. Yeah yeah, I know its like "burning money" literally (but I have never had more fun doing it) and yes, I also know that its child labour (but its not like the cracker industry can't function without child labour.. that they arent doing it is not entirely my fault!) and air pollution ( I have no smart responses for this one).

Back when my bro used to be in India, we had a ritual almost... We used to stay up half the night watching some silly TV and then shower at 3:00am and be downstairs with our first "lot" of crackers by 4:00am... all b'coz we had to be THE first ones to create the bang from Sai Dharshan. Ah those were the days... we used to exhaust the morning lot of crackers well past 7:30am and then be rushed upstairs to attend Dad's fone call (he was in the middle east at that time). Then Amma used to force this Diwali "marundhu" down our throats. I used to hate it... it had this extremely pungent taste about it... After that, we just about had time to hog on all sorts of sweets n savories, catch a few glimpses of Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan's genius on the violin bfore falling into an exhausted slumber... The routine changed little once my dad was back from the Middle East for good. Because by then, my bro was out here in the US. So, my dad virtually substituted my bro.. And we had a blast... literally, bursting crackers like maniacs.

Late-afternoon, early evening types, the women of the house (I am a girl!), decked themselves in all their newly purchased grandeur and used to whisk us to the temple. And those were the times we delighted in stopping the car sooo many times, waiting for every 'bomb' on our way to explode peacefully rather than rip our tyres apart... The temples had the hugest serpentine queues of the year, only closely competed by Tamil new Years.. And once back, the evening saw us with a huger lot of crackers, more people (the cousins used to join in) and more fun...

Meanwhile, the elders of the house had their own entertainment in front of the Idiot Box. The different channels would all fall over themselves to try and provide the best programmes of the day. What better news for the consumer than that... With some major Rajini movie on one, and a Kamal flick in the other, it was more a question of what to watch than what not!

The kids (us) were back home in time for some sumptuous dinner... some more TV, while the elders settled in for cards, more crackers later that night... Oh God... whats there not to miss?!?!
So, all u folks out there with the opportunity to celebrate... Go ahead, let your hair down and party, burst all the crackers you want... Think of us.. who'd give anything to be there now... Eat allllllllll those sweets (get a toothache.. I dont care... anyways dentists are cheaper out there!!), watch all the TV you can.. Take this time to live life...

Happy Diwali everyone!!!

October 13, 2006

Swara Raaga Sudha

I donno about u... But if you are half the carnatic music fan that I am, this is something you wouldn't miss for the world. Sudha Ragunathan's giving a concert... right here at UC... All for free... What more could you want? Check this out and be there :-)

Dream diary

You would think that to prompt such a post I must have had a phenomenally interesting dream last night. Quite the contrary... I had one of those inconsequential, baseless and incongruous dreams where my dad does my homework. WHY? Thats something I don't have an answer to.

While walking to school with my roommate, I reflected on some of my more colourful dreams. And I mean literally... I can remember the clothes people wore, the colours of the upholstery and virtually every conversation. Its like a movie every night. And I dont know about you... but it has its "intervals" when I toss n turn n get up after which it kicks back and resumes.

Most of my dreams have been the action-movie types... totally lifted off some action flick, where I am the heroine saving the world, or some abandoned puppies or just about anything. I tried once interpreting my dreams once. I am the impatient variety and I could'nt sit n read through the whole thing. I got to the part that seemed like it would unlock my dreams-

Page 231: Heroic dreams: Such dreams occur to those who are insecure on the inside and want to prove a point to the world. These dreams are usually fraught with a lot of events, violence at the end of which the dreamer arises victor............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What a truckload of bullshit... Given a chance to interpret my own dreams, I would rather say it displays "love for the peace of the world" or atleast "love for animals" (Both of which are true).

Page 437: Incongruous dreams: Dreams with no pattern or concurrency occur to the restless mind. Such dream patterns show a disturbed sleep and the REM (Random Eye Movement) of such a person is extremely high expressing a high state of alertness. At this phase, this person can be woken up with much ease than otherwise. These dreams need not necessarily mean anything............... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And thats when I gave up trying to interpret my dreams. I did'nt need a book to tell me that. And certainly not a 500 page one at that... I think my friend's interpretations of my dreams are far more interesting than what these experts offer in books. For example, a friend remarked, "Maybe you want a dog.." when I told her the doggie dream. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? I can hear her voice in my head now interpreting my recent-most dream - "You miss your dad." Yep... thats about it...

On a concluding note, I googled "Dreams". Guess what it churned up? There's actually a dream hotline - 919-933-4377 where you can call up for free and recount your dreams. I'd rather do a dream blog to share my own nocturnal experiences... what say u?

October 10, 2006

Lage Raho...

Of late, I realize that the only blogging I do with any dilchasbi is movie reviews! And yeah yeah, I realize I am a good amount of time late... But I had to dispense my visesh tippani on the movie having caught it an entire month late...

With soo many phenomenal claims about the movie, the expectations were sky high and I must say it did not disappoint one bit. Munnabhai and Circuit are right on track with the sequel to the legendary Munnabhai MBBS. I did not watch a cheap version on Freesports simply because I didn't want to ruin the experience for me and after a failed trip to Indianapolis a month ago (we were wrongly informed on the internet that it was running in this remote multiplex) to try and catch the movie on the big screen, I was determined to wait some more till the DVD (or a rip) came out. And then came the opportunity, all golden... Sachin's birthday, a wonderful downloaded version, boasting to be better than the theatrical experience itself, at where else, but 427 ERC, our very own fashioned kutti theatre.

Most of the cast of the movie is very familiar. The movie itself, rolls out on a similar note of what seemed like an extortion with Circuit executing it as the henchman of Munnabhai, who is the same old dada... and this sequel doesn't pick up where the original left. Munna is not married to Gracy nor is there a Short Circuit in picture. They are very much single and ready to mingle... Ofcourse they had to create some space to introduce the very appealing Vidhya Balan somewhere. And Boman Irani is back again (without him Munnabhai wouldnt be what he (it) is). This time he is a Punju Sardarji and a businessman, with a mildly evil business-oriented mind.

Unlike its prequel, for the lack of a better word, this movie comes with a theme, woven delicately in the background. There is a Baapu (Gandhiji) sentiment interweaved with the workings of the human psyche. And just when there was some disbelief on my part to think that the movie had some supernatural effect to it with Munna being able to see Baapu and communicate the Gandhian ideas to the world, they revealed that he was really just a hallucination created by his own psyche. The scene where this was revealed was dealt with quite brilliantly and jars you to the reality that this is.

Also, making an appearance once more are a few other familiar faces like Jimmy Shergil, our Dr. Rustum, Pappa and the others all in tiny li'l cameos, effective and comical. Vidhya has done a good job and has a role fairly equal to what Gracy boasted in the previous movie. This movie had its share of sentiments and "touching scenes" as well... one being notably when Circuit and Munna share a heavy moment laden with tears and sentiments, very uncharacteristic of the pair and leaving the audience a little uncomfortable.

All in all, with a brilliat screenplay, great dialogues, excellent cast, and terrifically-timed comedy, this movie had the sure-shot formula for instant success. And few things could go wrong.

So, Lage Raho Munnabhai!