Saturday, January 14, 2006

Two Quick Long Years and BluffMaster!

It's been two years; 15 days short of two actually since moving into this apartment of mine. The longest I have stayed at a place ever since moving out of home in 2000. And all my cartons are now packed and am almost ready to shift in with Akshay. A lot of reasons to move out for me - practicality being the most critical.

The two years have gone by real quick - the few things that strike me as I leave this apartment:
  • I am moving out more mature than I moved in (yeah, right!! is what most tell me) - is that what people call writing down to experience?
  • Have learnt to understand people a bit more - never judge a book by it's cover; but clothes make a man!
  • I find a few assets of mine that I have collected over the last two years. I moved in to the apartment with 2 suitcases and 3 bags. I am moving out with 3 suitcases, 4 bags, 4 cartons (many more actually), a cooking range and a gas cylinder (Reddy, what do I do of these??)
  • I am richer through better culinary skills, a carton of OH content and two squash racquets
In many ways this is a beginning of a new chapter in life - a few decisions to be made. The more I think of my decisions in life - objectivity, straightforwardness and setting priorities right seem to be the most critical DSS.

Till my next cooridnates,

p.s. As I pack, I listen to the musice of BluffMaster!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Serendipity and the Existence of God

Like all Sundays, had planned yesterday to maximise effectiveness. Had decided to do nothing, but play squash, go to a cousin's for dinner and also visit a temple on the way.

Left home in the evening after a good hour and a half of squash and a cuppa chai with Akshay. Moved through the lazy Sunday evening traffic in Mumbai (including a traffic jam by a truck stuck on an incline!) to reach SiddhiVinayak temple sometime late in the evening.

Got into quite a queue. The system at the temple is that they let in about 150-200 people every few minutes into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. This keeping the queue moving forward in batches. The aarti (prayer services) are held probably twice or thrice a day. Quite a nice surprise when I got into the batch that would be a part of the aarti. Take it a bit forward - there are about a 100 odd people who are a part of each aarti and hence being right in front of the diety during the aarti is still more improbable.

Now that I am writing this article, one can easily guess where I would be standing during the aarti. It was a very nice and soothing experience. The aura through a the drums beating, chants of the pandits, the singing along and clapping of the devotees and most importantly the amount of devotion in the air was an experience one doesn't go through very often.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Of Flute Recitals

The second Sunday of January and the cultural life in Mumbai is reaching it's annual crescendo. What with the Prithvi festival, the Mumbai Marathon, the Kalaghoda Art Festival and probably the most low-key of all, the Banganga festival. Low key - it doesn't have its own website!

3 years and 7 days in Mumbai today for me - and found such a serene and beautiful place as Banganga today. Going on to the Banganga festival - it is a 2 day cultural festival featuring recitals by 2 popular Indian Classical musicians on two successive nights. This year features Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute) and Shrimati Veena Sahasrabuddhe (vocal).

Reading about the festival in the morning newspaper, Akshay and I decided to go attend the flute recital today. 30 kms from home and we drove 2 hours to reach the place - shows how busy we are.

As is the usual when Akshay and I go out - we have plans of reaching a place at a specified time keeping all contingencies (such as lack of tickets for a show half of Mumbai would want to attend) whenever we leave home. But what happens on the way is - we had to complete tasks A, B and C and I have to compulsively take the route with maximum traffic. To cut a long story short, we reached the festival venue with all the tickets sold-out. Resigned to our fate and the absence of spare tickets with any spectators we decide to roam around the place, see the temples, try to figure out the look alikes of Jug Suraiya and yet no luck in getting any tickets.

Before going ahead, Banganga is a rectangular tank, probably 150m x 50m with stairs all around the perimeter. Akshay uses his charm(?) on a couple of policemen patroling the area and they allow us to get into a corner perch. All we can see from there is the rear of the stage. Whatever, any place is good to hear live classical music.

Starting with a few slower compositions / raagas (Bhupali?), Panditji slowly built the tempo of the music. As usual he is a maestro in his art and can get people mesmerised by the flute. But the best part was a few swans that were resting (it was around eight in the evening) towards a corner suddenly get into the tank, paddling with a lot of energy. Probably the first time I have ever realised and seen in real life the power of music. Could that be the best compliment they could have given the musician?

The policemen probably seeing our level of interest in the music in the meantime, help us get entry into one of the regular seating areas. Thank them for it. The music sounded so much better than from our perch. Spent the rest of the concert listening to a jugalbandi on the tabla, raag pilu and pahari (that's my addition to my Indian classical vocabulary today!).

Such is the maestry of Panditji's on the flute - across frequencies - there were so many parts that the tabla player tried real hard to live up on the jugalbandi, though quite a bit in vain.

Definitely one of the best recitals in an amazing ambience that I have seen in Mumbai.

p.s. Wonder - the above contains compliments for Mumbai police!!
p.p.s. Banganga festival is an MTDC event - no wonder the government festival has such low publicity!