Sunday, February 25, 2007

A very musical Saturday !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
It was with great deliberation that I finally decided to go all the way to Noida for the 'Ryze Mehfil'. One reason was of course that I wanted to meet up with Vikas and Kunal, who have been my www buddies but I guess it still matters to meet a person to actually make their aquaintaince ! or does it ! Also, that Amrit had called me over sometime back and I had said I would try to come but finally could not. And lastly because Vijay said 'please please' if it had been only one please it was alright to not make too much effort. I am a house worm really and since its my blog and I can ramble on - I quite hate the idea of socialising with people I dont know too much ...

We left home after a phenomenal performance of a tantrum by Ruhi and then lost our way in Noida and after going around a few circles around Amrit's house - we reached with Richa walking in like some pro with the biggest, most conspicuous Violin case slung on her arm. I realised I only knew Venkat in the room that we had entered and I managed to 'not recognise' Asheeth who used to be my ex colleague at Lacoste ! Richa reminded me later that I thrust my hand at Asheeth and said ' Hi I am Gurpreet ' !!!!!

After introductions, as was obvious, Richa was invited to start the 'Mehfil' with some violin. She gladly announced that she couldnt play anything since the violin wasnt tuned. It seemed we had slugged the Violin only as prop to decorate the party, but much to her dismay this very pretty girl in a blue top said she could tune violins ( and guitars, and whatever else comes with strings) but couldn't play them ! As it turned out, she was Smita. the German embassy ' cop' and that I had been chatting her on Ryze. Small world !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.

Ishan, Ankur, Kunal
Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
That's Richa's audience - Ishan, a friend of Kunal's who is training to be a CA with Ankur and Kunal !

She played some 'raag' I think and it sounded quite nice though she suddenly gave up playing without a warning saying that she was done ! After that Ashwath started playing the flute and kept playing right till the end. He played amazingly well to all the requests of old hindi film songs, most of them from Richa !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
I loved the way he kept moving around the room playing his music. Obviously he loves to play the flute and has taught himself the instrument quite by chance !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Mukul lost in Ashwath's 'main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya'...

Shashi was the quiet one who sat fixed on his bean bag ( like Anu ) and got up only to occupy Anu's vacant seat! I noticed he was so completely engrossed in the music, often singing along with eyes shut tight !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
While Aswath hogged the ladies' attention, Venkat sat there quietly, looking a bit edgy I thought. From his posts on Ryze, I had always though he would be a gregarious kind of a guy but he seemed very different...Vijay kept insisting that he had prepared some songs to sing but I guess, he was waiting to be invited. I tried to announce his performance a couple of times but just when he would get into the gear, someone else would start singing either that same song or some other. We were a loud rowdy bunch, compared to him and it was perhaps difficult for him to get heard untill finally he sang....and he sings very well !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Thats the gracious hostess ! I think it was very sweet of her to have us in her house, with two young boys to take care of. When I peeped into their room from the balcony, the kids looked quite perplexed by a bunch of juvenile grown ups ( I am sure that's how we must have sounded to them ).

It seemed that I had known Amrit for years...something was so familiar about her....

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
That's Vijay showing off his baritone !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Anu Sharma...

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Ishan doing a Bipasha Basu to an Umraon Jaan song !

Richa, Smita & Anu
Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Richa, Smita & Anu...

K L Sehgal
Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
Kunal after a trip to the 'Bam Bhole' balcony !

Sitara Devi
Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
I was feeling a bit left out since just about everybody except perhaps the exception of me and Amrit were crooning like rockstars ! So just a bit of posing and I qualify too !

Originally uploaded by Inexplicably.
It was well past midnight while everybody was catching a bite with Ashwath still playing his melodious flute.... I requested my favourite Lata number 'yeh dil aur ye unki, nigahon ke saye..'...and while Aswhath was discovering the tune, Smita started humming it.

At the fag end of the party we realised that we actually had a trained singer among us. It was a pity she didnt remember the lyrics so she sang 'kis mod pe jaate hain...' along with was truly beautiful.
I recorded her on my phone ( also Venkat) and insisted that Wasi listen to them at 2 AM when I came back home !

It was a truly wonderful evening after a long time.

Life never fails to usual.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rambling on

I hardly have time to watch any movies so I guess the next best thing thats happening to me is that I read the morning papers and howl ! Its actually not a bit funny but I am surprising myself every day by how close I am to blowing my lid. The 'Peace train' from Delhi to Islamabad got blown up on the 19th by a suitcase full of death that went off near Panipat. Some 68 people died, most were Pakis. Yup, I really do hate that word and all that it stands for but I cried when I read about the despair and heartbreak of families who were waiting for a son, a husband or a mother to come back home ! And the abject poverty of some and the situation where some may even not get to see the dead bodies. I watched on TV, next day the Paki Foreign minister Kasuri with wife in tow, arrive to grieve the dead and console the injured. I saw TV bytes of him visiting Safdarjung Hospital and praising the Indian Doctors. I wondered what he felt like to see his poor country men suffer and I felt reassured that he would facilitate those who were still looking for their lost ones. All that forgotten of course under piles of work, household chores, Rayyan's sickness, my own familiar head aches till yesterday afternoon I arrived to catch a meeting at the Taj with a couple of eager 'gora's' who were just back from a very stimulating visit to the Reliance Retail outlet. I have a rather weird way of traveling from the most engaging conversations to anything else that catches my fancy - on the next table, or out of the window, or on the carpet. I need to make quite an effort to bring myself back to where I am supposed to be...but the point is that over enthusiastic discussions about how many crates of onions they saw being taken inside the Reliance Store, I suddenly noticed Mr Kasuri and wife on the next table with their entourage. They seemed waiting for someone and it may have been the merriest group in the lobby ! Mrs Kasuri would admire her manicure, adjust her pashmina and then walk importantly around the lobby making loud noises while Mr Kasuri sat fixed to his seat almost as if he was taking a nap after a heavy meal. She would occasionally whisper things to him and laugh and then again get up for some more kissing in the air to some 'TV anchorish' looking women who probably were setting up an interview. They were all a vulgar bunch of indifference. A few looked bored and sleepy while Mrs Kasuri looked as if she was about burst into a song and a dance ! Maybe I was being judgmental as usual. ....On another table was a large collection of a sikh family sitting quietly staring at everybody else. I saw a short plump girl in a tight sleeveless kurta and a plump sikh boy, looking very pleased with himself sitting next to her on a large table under the canopy. The other women with them looked pensive while 2 old men were huddled in one corner in a secret dialogue. Obviously there was some match making happening here. I looked at the plump girl again. She was staring down at her red shoes. Even Mrs Kasuri was wearing Red stilettos. When I glanced back at the Paki table they were all gone towards the lifts with the camera crew following them. The goras were asking us which other market in the world would draw a parallel to the Indian retail market. We started explaining to them that India was not just one country but many...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Am I spiritual ?

It started many years ago when I first filled in the 'interests' section of some questionnaire at some place thats too far back to remember. After the standard 'interests' i.e. reading, writing, painting, travel, music, ( no one wrote 'cooking' those days - just wasn't fashionable enough)..I paused for a moment and it seemed I had left out something important and then I wrote 'spirituality'. My list of interests has grown longer since and I religiously mention 'spirituality' each time that the occasion arises. I Never paused to think what that meant really, its one of those words that perfectly describe what engages my mind and makes me happy and calm.

I was born in a sikh family but unfortunately without any formal education or introduction to sikhism. Going to the Gurudwara was a ritual that I associated with having done something 'good' but somewhere beyond that it gave me a sense of calmness to sit and listen to the the hymns I didn't understand. I really enjoyed that experience and the music. If i had the time and opportunity I wanted to weave that experience into my daily life since just that little bit made me a nicer person to know. Does that make me spiritual ?

And then some years ago I found myself at an Art of Living workshop quite by accident and while my two companions quite enjoyed the workshop, I was devastated by it. Something about the music, the meditation and the talk opened a sea of emotion within me and I felt like a nervous wreck, wasted on life and going nowhere. Was that a spiritual experience ?

And closer to just now, motherhood has changed me beyond repair. I cry with my babies and I feel love multiplies within my heart every moment and that I am going to burst each time I see a pair of sad eyes staring into my car at a traffic signal. I feel uplifted, I have a mission, My own importance in my life has diminished, I just cant explain that state of being except that it feels 'Spiritual'.