Friday, July 17, 2009

Offline

I’ll be offline for 30 days from today. There’ll be no posts during this period though there may be a barrage of backlog posts surfacing at the end of this 30-day renunciation.

Get Together

We had a memorable get-together at Rakesh Nilayam last night. Amit and Mantu cooked chicken while Satya and Suman annotated on the barrage of reality shows hogging prime-time  TV. Sam & I love to hate Rakhi Sawant’s theatrics and launched verbal missiles at her anachronistic swayamvar. Mani hung around overlooking all the sudden hustle and bustle.

The only guy missing was Santosh. He called me in the morning and we had a long chat. It would be great had he been here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Santosh is safe

Mani managed to unearth one of Santosh’s extraneous contact numbers from the itemized landline telephone bill we receive from Airtel. The absconding culprit, as usual, said he was just about to contact us. Yeah, we’ll fall for that lie alright! He’ll probably leave for Bangalore on 22nd July.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pressed into service

Rs.505 for 14.880kg

That’s how expensive sending the parcel to Kolkata has proven. It’s as much as a Sleeper Class ticket to traverse the same distance. Very ridiculous, if you ask me.

Time to go contemporary?

Philip_Glass

Be it Baroque, Classical or Romantic music, I’ve heard them all. Today I began the exploration of contemporary classical music with possibly the most renowned composer of our time – Philip Glass. While I haven’t enjoyed all that I’ve heard from him, some of his compositions were breathtakingly stunning. I guess I’m more than ready to take on the new genre.

I’ve taken the liberty of leapfrogging 20th century classical music altogether. I hope the chronological gap won’t adversely affect my understanding of the evolution of music over the eras. I’ll begin with 20th century when I’m ready to take on the most intimidating of all composers – Stravinsky. That’ll be my ultimate conquest!

Here’s something interesting. Philip Glass’s father owned a record store and consequently Glass’s record collection as a kid consisted, to a large extent, of unsold records. And which records might that be? Classical, of course!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Round Midnight

vlcsnap-2009-07-09-16h17m12s87

This movie teaches us a thing or two about the essence of music captured in jazz. Dexter Gordon is a genius.

Herschel & Haydn

File:Herschel 40 foot.jpg

Astronomy and classical music are two of my greatest fascinations. One relies on longitudinal waves and the other, transverse.

Listening to a BBC essay on Haydn immensely surprised me to learn that the discoverer of Uranus, the brilliant astronomer, William Herschel, was also a composer of classical music. It was equally surprising that Haydn even met the celebrated astronomer and one of his renowned religious works, The Creation oratorio, might have been partly influenced by the atheistic view to the birth of our Universe.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The wonder of India Post

How is it possible that a carton could carry my laptop all the way from Malaysia to India, but India Post refuses to parcel it from Bangalore to Kolkata?

I’ve some clothes that need to be shipped to Kolkata. My laptop carton was the ideal container and I managed to stuff it with 14.85 kg of clothes, most of which recently enjoyed being tossed and tumbled in Sam’s washing machine. I pasted the address sheets, sealed the container and took an auto to the local post office.

To my surprise, I was asked to cover the entire carton with a piece of cloth! Now where the hell could I get a piece of cloth big enough to cover the carton? The smiling lady suggested a nearby store. Mantu went in pursuit but returned with only a large envelop. The idea was to get some more and cover the carton on all sides! How on earth does that serve our purpose? When we approached the lady, she said the idea would suffice. Cool! India Post needs some psychiatric therapy.

It was close to 2:30 pm, the blessed moment our post office shuts down to the public. We returned home with a few more envelops. I’ve got to get down to the silly business of ‘enveloping’ the carton with the ripped open envelops in the evening.

I’ll take another trip to the post office tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hum Log

Cast and crew of Hum Log

Remember the golden era of Indian television, when DD towered over none (for none existed!) and a certain lady with a fetish for ‘K’ had yet to ruin our evenings with mass-manufactured histrionics? If you do, you’ll probably recall the mother of all mega-serials: Hum Log. Here’s a tribute by Rediff.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A strip show gathers steam

Ever since Sam moved in, our belongings have had to be repositioned in order to make more room to the new entrant. One major casualty has been Mani, whose daily clothes have now been strategically relocated to my room. And since my room affords more privacy than others, Mani makes frequent guest appearances here to strip and don something else. He tries to make his presence doubly felt either with a very annoying and loud Bollywood hum or by verbally engaging me in a totally impertinent issue.

I’ll miss all this fun.

“Kidnapped!”

That would have been Aaj Tak’s punchline had they been on Santosh’s trail. Our docile roommate seems to have disappeared into thin air ever since his wedding talks (the one we were closely monitoring) failed to materialize. We’ve been trying to get in touch with him for the past few days but he’s unreachable on his number. Last time we heard, he was enquiring about rail tickets to Bangalore. He seemed very eager to return.

Kidnapping grooms isn’t uncommon in Bihar. Sometimes, there is such a severe paucity of consenting bachelors (dowry and caste could be major flashpoints) that parents, desperate to get rid of their daughters, kidnap them and forcefully wed them off to their daughters.

Of course, it’s very unlikely that Santosh has met this unfortunate fate. For all we know, he may be merrily wandering the rural terrain without a care in the world!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ritam calls

Wonderful to hear his voice after all these years. We discussed SEO and other Internet fads.

We last spoke on Monday, when I had to excuse myself from the call as I was visiting a friend. Before that, we had spoken 10 years ago.

Yet another jewel from Zoya Zayler

East Meets West: A Canadian in India

What can I say about this gorgeous blonde except that she’s every bit as gifted in the writing department as she is in looks! And that’s just a fraction of what makes her such an incredibly wonderful person I had the good fortune of befriending during her stay in India. She’s indeed of stellar magnitude.

Keep shining, babe!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Islamic Super Heroes

Noora (sees truth), Wassi, Jabbar (expandable)

Was Spiderman a Christian? Or Batman a Buddhist? Barring the ‘real’ men behind the masks, I’m not really sure - their religious identities were never enforced or projected while fighting crime. Tarzan may actually be an atheist since he was reared mostly away from civilization. The animals that raised him hopefully didn’t corrupt him with religious propaganda.

Why then does Islam need an ad-hoc team of 99 super heroes to teach the world of its tolerant and peaceful nature? Why did the gorgeous Queen Rania of Jordan have to launch her own YouTube channel towards the same end? Why do pacifists have to constantly plead with the world to believe that Islam indeed teaches love and respect for all human beings?

Because reality starkly points to the contrary. Islamic militancy is a global menace today and much of the civilized world is reeling under its tyranny. Sharia law is deeply regressive and curbs all forms of personal liberty. Women are treated like dirt and flogged for venturing out without being accompanied by a close male relative. People accused of adultery are stoned to death. Public executions are commonplace. Minor offenders could be sentenced to their limbs being amputated. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. The Quran instigates its followers to wage a war against those who do not believe in Allah. It asks the fight to last until the only religion is that of Allah. It champions jihad to the point of self-annihilation. Those who attain ‘martyrdom’ in the name of Allah are promised unending sexual gratification in heaven while the non-believers are condemned to burn in eternal hell.

The verdict is clear. Islam preaches hate, intolerance and subjugation. There is no room in the modern world for such hate mongering. As long as Islam lasts, feeble but desperate attempts to justify its ‘teachings’ will continue, but all in vain.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Won a USB Mains Charger on ebay UK!

usb chargerThe price was a rock-bottom £0.49.
Free shipping. No additional costs.

That’s a lot cheaper than what it sells for on ebay India. Shipping adds Rs.50 and VAT is extra.

Happy 30th Birthday, Walkman!

My first was a red, locally assembled ‘Sanyo.’ It was bulkier, heavier and more expensive than most Walkmans. I chose it because it had a 3-band graphic equalizer, a rarity. I was in Kolkata, just after my 12th board exam. Boredom was hitting a peak and I needed something to focus on.

My Walkman served me faithfully, though the audio left a lot to be desired. I was happy that the equalizer worked well, the only quirk was the 10KHz band that became too hissy when upped. I bought cassettes from the famous Symphony outlet in Esplanade at an alarming rate. Can’t help it, I reasoned, since Kolkata had so much more albums to offer than Jamshedpur.

My second was an imported Aiwa with a built-in tuner and, yet again, a 3-band graphic equalizer. This one was a prized possession. It was much smaller, lighter but equally expensive. Bought it in Pune during graduation.