All posts by Deepak Jeswal

It Happened On Navroze

The Parsis celebrated Navroze on Wednesday 19th August this year. Till a few years back, I was quite oblivious of this festival, until I wrote a story which fleetingly had its mention. Then, I had done a bit of research to incorporate in the narrative. In Delhi, where Parsis are less than a handful, one never learns of this festival. Here, in Bombay, it is quite well celebrated, and we observe a holiday. Anyways, getting a mid-week off is always a welcome manna.

On this auspicious day, I embarked on the second phase of my Holy Grail’s quest – buying a record player. Having failed to find a good (and reasonably priced) three-speed player, I have finally settled to buy a Denon two-speed one, and had also learnt that the only shop that I could purchase it from is at Atria Mall, Worli – quite a distance from my residence (and a major reason for damning procrastrination). In between, I had bought a stand-alone Philips player, from a used-goods seller, but the sound quality turned out to be woefully pathetic, and I just packed it up, hoping to return it for whatever price I get to the same seller.

Before going to the shop on second floor, I parked the car at Atria Mall, and hailed a cab to check the shops at Heera Panna Shopping Center (near Haji Ali Dargah). I had heard much about it, but never could get time to pay a visit. The airconditioned market is a veritable maze of closely packed little shops selling electronics and leather goods and other trivia. In essence, it is much like Delhi’s underground Palika Bazaar – similar to the extent that both markets are known for their ‘gray market’ stuff, and were hugely popular in India’s pre-liberalizaton era. I walked the market’s criss-cross alleys taking in multifarious sights and smells, but I could discover nothing that held my interest.

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Of Faux Pas & Tight Spots

We all know what it means. And I am sure no one can say they haven’t had their own small embarrassing moments – you know, the kind where you dash off a quick email stating ‘heartiest condolences’ at your friend’s uncle’s demise! Or, where you wish a person ‘Happy’ festival, when it is actually a martyr’s day of some prophet or guru!

In one classic instance, my ex-colleague G started to extol on the dumbness of a lady in front of an important official. As soon as he opened his mouth, I knew we were in serious trouble and kicked him hard on his shin below the table, and hurriedly broke in firmly stating that the lady was truly very hard working. She was now the wife of the official we were sitting with!

In another incident, a colleague called out to an abundant-attitude-charged peon as ‘Oye Vice President, come here’ – only to see our company’s Vice President alighting from the elevator from the opposite end!

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Lata Mangeshkar Sings Gulzar’s Lyrics

Yesterday, poet, director & writer Gulzar celebrated is 73rd birthday. Thanks to his recent successes, he is one name who is still pretty reknowned amongst the young generation. These days, his Kaminey‘s Dhan Te Nan is quite popular. And earlier this year, he co-won the prestigious Oscar for Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)

Due to this, every radio channel worth its airwaves played his songs on their daily ‘oldie goldie’ programmes. By ten pm, I was furiously switching between four channels, simultaneously sms’ing to two friends the favorite songs (multi-tasking, eh!).

Well, as the frenzy endied, I thought I had to list out a few of his songs that the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has graced with her mellifluous voice; after all, both have immense mutual respect for each other. She has sung in most of his films. And he has directed her home production (Lekin). The association started right from Bandini, when a young Gulzar wrote a lovely lyric about a love-lorn woman, based on refrains from Radha-Krishna lovetale. Mora gora ang lai le continues to enthrall listeners, old and new; S D Burman’s frugal but fruitful music enchants.

(As always, this is a random list – not in any particular order, and since Mora gora ang lai le has been mentioned above, and deserves to be before any list, it is not mentioned below).

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Just Another Post

It’s like a wave – the water recedes, seemingly never to return, and yet, the very next instant the deluge rushes forward, callously erasing away any footprints imprinted in the soggy sand.

I had thought I’d almost given up this space (not literally, but definitely figuratively). Perhaps, the biggest sign being I visited London and Scotland this year, and did not even once feel writing about the trip. Yes, I had kept the space ‘artificially alive’, for no other reason than nostalgic value – the way one keeps a momento cleaned and polished atop a showcase. But clearly, I hadn’t meant to keep it a well oiled machinery, the way it was in 2004-2005 and for some parts of 2007.

Many old friends have moved on. Many blogs have slipped into a numbing silence. Many links are invalid. The comments have dried. The visitors have thinned. The thoughts have perished. In short, the wave had retreated. Or, so I thought.

Yet, it never does.

A few days back, like a shocking jolt, out of nowhere and catching me absurdly unaware, the entire deluge came gushing and hurtling and howling down; deafening me in its thunderous roar, sweeping me in its force and hurting me with its impellent impact.

The wave had returned. And how! I spent the entire Independence Day weekend browsing through my own writings – amused at some, ashamed at others, and proud of quite a bulk (especially the stories). And like a wave, it brought back its own residues – twigs and dirt and pearls and seashells…those memories! The posts (both on this site and my previous one) are virtual age-lines on a tree-trunk; through them I could chronologically trace my life’s past five years. The happiness, the sadness, the silliness, the intelligence, the highness, the lowness of all those years are so firmly etched in this supposedly nebulous cyber-space (and what a range! From a routine walk through Kathmandu rains to an oh-so-intelligent discourse on living alone, these pages carry them all). And, it brought back that recurring dream. A dream I knew I had strangulated. A dream I thought I had rested. A dream I believed I had buried.

I read these pages with happiness. I read them with sadness. I read them – and I hate to admit this – with regret. Because, the trace ends two years back, when I shifted to Bombay. Woefully, the past two years are practically lost from these pages (other than a few odd posts here and there).

The wave had also washed off the resolute resolution of keeping creativity in check, and concentrating on life/work in its mundane form, the way the majority do. My imprints in the sand. No longer there.

I should have seen it coming. I should have immediately built a dam around it. After all, I had mentioned this space, not to one, but to two people in a span of few days. That triggered the return. Suddenly, once more, yesterday I was looking at words the way an artiste does his pallette. I saw them dancing impishly, waiting to be created into intelligible sentences. I watched them playfully tickle me to arrange them to form a page of thoughts. I noticed them mirroring my emotions and feelings. As I have often mentioned earlier, It’s that urge to write. That irrepressible bug within me. It’s awakening. It’s alive. It’s not that (in past two years) I haven’t tried to write. Truthfully speaking, there are a few unfinished posts lying on my master word file. However, the fact is, the impulse never exceeded its defined limit, and I always managed to curb and hold it at bay. Till a few days back. Till this wave.

But…but…can I afford to carry on? Can I allow the bug to take control again? Can I permit that dream to be exhumed and still expect it to breathe and provide fragrance?

Questions, to which I have no answers as yet. I will allow them to rest awhile.

Chheenkna Mana Hai

It was an innocuous little sneeze.

Just below my house, while walking towards the car, a tingle in the mucous membranes within the nasal confines brought out a noisy spurt. Just a measly little chheenk. Yet, when I looked up, I could see time frozen. The doodhwala-shop owner glared in disdain; the lady across the road gasped and pulled her pallu over her nose; the children crossing my path rapidly steered away; and an autorickshaw-wallah, idling around, speeded off. I looked at them apologetically, but their collective stares were dirtier than what the swines love to roll in. Just a measly little chheenk. And such a huge reaction. Sigh…indeed, times are bad. I promised not to sneeze again, not in public, not on the roads, till the time this whole swine flu (or H1N1, as the scientists have formally named it) scare blows away.

 

Oh, with due respects to RGV, for the title of this teeny-weeny post. (I hope RGV takes a clue, and makes a watchable film on this ‘known terror’ than inflicting the audience with agyaat ones. I have already provided him with a title).

 

 

 

 

Books Galore!

In the past month or two, cutting through hectic work schedules, maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

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Sorting Through Past -1

In India, old technology, once advanced, is cruelly thrown into the dustbin. Just the way record players lost their importance, today cassettes are almost on their way out. It’s not so elsewhere. While searching on google for record players, I found multitude of foreign sites catering to them, including a Japanese one catering to laser turntable (instead of using a normal stylus), which means the technology is not as dead as it is in India. Similarly, cassettes are no longer favored. It’s the era of CD’s, mp3′s etc.

During this holiday (yes I was in Delhi for Holi) I sifted through my large cassette collection. I had built this up painstakingly during the early nineties, topping it up every month once I started job, but a large portion remains from those lovable college and post-graduation years. Some of them had lived through their life (and played with a weird off-key sound), some had been replaced even then (I recall buying Pathar Ke Phool audio at least three times!) but most survived. Thankfully, my now aged Sony player lived upto its expectations.

During those years, I had built up a formidable collection, and much to my mother’s consternation and irritation, cassettes flow out of every other available drawer. And they include some now-forgotten scores, which, when I heard in the past three days, brought back a tsunami of memories. I will not delve into those. But allow me to pride on these lost films, whose songs are dear to me, and perhaps, if you can find them might interest you too. This is a small list of five, there would be more, but good enough to start of with:

Jaan-E-Tammana – I wonder if Saif Ali Khan and Karisma Kapoor remember they had signed this K C Bokadia film. In fact, I am not even sure if they ever did. I never saw any video. And the audio release, a low-key affair, was on KC Bokadia’s own lable BMB Music (which wound up pretty soon after its initiation). But the songs – composed by Aadesh Srivastava, before he got his two biggies Baghban & Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – are an absolute delight. Be it Abhijeet-Vijayta’s sensuously nimble Nigaahe milakar nigaahein jhukana or Sanu’s solo Dil ki vaadi mein, they are well orchestrated, and well composed. But the piece-de-resistance are those three Lata Mangeshkar nuggets – Ek dil ki ek dil se mulaaqat ho gayi (with Udit Narayan), Suniye ji haan kahiye ji (with Kumar Sanu) and that grand music-fest of a ditty Mujhe laagi prem dhun (with Roop Kumar Rathod).

Speaking of Lata-Roop Kumar Rathod duets, this is the second one that could not see a proper release. The first is from Jackie Shroff starrer Angaar : Kitni jaldi yeh mulaqat guzar jaati hai. They were definitely lucky the third time round – Tere liye from Veer Zaara topped the charts!

Strangely, the title is spelt Jane-Tamanna.

Nargis – This Zeba Bakhtiyar-Naseeruddin Shah-Hema Malini starrer could have been an artistic affair. Alas, it tanked before it’s release. Tragically, it sank the film’s shimmering music as well. Imagine a singer line up that includes Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle & Jagjit Singh. And a composer who has been R D Burman’s erstwhile assistant – Basu Chakraborty. The result is pure magic. Tunes that fondly remind of RDB’s Ghar and Aandhi-type of fare are spread over seven delicious tracks.

While Kisi aashiyaane mein (Lata Mangeshkar) is a theme song that builds interest in the trials and tribulations of the protagonist, Mai kaise kahun jaane-man (Jagjit Singh) is a rose-petal soft love ballad. Together the two legendary singers join their mesmerising vocals for a splendid love duet Dono ke dil hai majboor pyaar se hum kya karein meri jaan tum kya karo. (I suspect there is a Yesudas version to the number as well, and is somewhere available on the internet, but the audio did not have it). Asha Bhonsle comes for a full-on cabaret number O Jaana Qurbaana (with Naseeruddin Shah, who I presume would have been a villain in the film, recites some lusty lines).

However, it’s the two Lata Mangeshkar solos that take the album to dizzying heights – Arre tu pawan basanti kaahe ko ith-laake chalti soaks in vivacity and verve of a young girl in the first throes of adolosence, and Lata Mangeshkar sounds exceedingly soft and sweet. And it’s counterpart, carrying on the soft tana-na-tana-dere-na chorus into its pain-lashed heart, is the album’s best song – Kaahe ab ki ae bahaar pheeka hai har khumaar, where the pawan basanti is silenced into a terrifying stillness, laced with some sumptuous sitar pieces.

Majrooh’s lyrics are excellent.

Venus Audio released the album. Some years later, they fished out these numbers and presented them as a Lata Mangeshkar-Jagjit Singh album tilted ‘Adaa’.

Personally, this album evokes several memories. In those carefree days, pocket-money was always scarce, and if two good albums came simultaneously, it meant more tightening of the already tightened belt. Parampara and Nargis released back-to-back. So, a friend and I split the purchase ( I bought Parampara, he purchased Nargis). Till date, I have that recorded cassette, done from his borrowed copy. I had listed the songs with a pencil…now faded & hazy…like those memories.

Baharon Ke Manzil – Remember Mona Ambegaonkar? She made her debut in this trashy picture about a singer and a group of friends. So shady is the film, it does not even find a mention on www.imdb.com. The audio cassette cover, in light blue, has a huge guitar, with the leading pair hidden behind it (perhaps in a bid to out-do those famous Aashiqui posters).

I remember faintly having sat through this flick…only for its outstanding music. Raamlaxman composed this, fresh after his Pathar Ke Phool and Maine Pyar Kiya success, and sans Lata Mangeshkar or SP Balasubramanyam. If anything, the music is a showcase for singer Poornima (who at that time, I suspect, was TIPS Audio’s favored singer), who gets to croon all the female parts.

Sabse badi dosti hai yaar captures the joys of friendship, set to a dandiya beat, and Aadhi raat aayi toh is an enthralling new year song. In both, Raamlaxman ensures it’s the interludes that tickles the listener’s heart. In fact, Raamlaxman gave some superb interludes in those days, very different from the then current norm, almost always using real instruments, and joining the antaras in a logical fashion. Sample those lush sitar pieces, set to a static beat, in Tum tana na tana yeh dil hai deewana (Poornima-Amit Kumar).

But what always made my heart soar were these two Udit Narayan-Poornima duets – Meri jaan dua karna and Tera naam likh diya. Especially, the latter, where the tabla sounds different, and a soft chorus upholds the tune, filling it up like a fragrant zephyr entering a well-decorated room.

Vishwasghaat – Mahesh Bhatt’s ex-assitant Himanshu Brahmbhatt directed this soppy Anjali Jathar-Sunil Shetty-Anupam Kher flick, much before his other flop Rog. I could never sit through either film.

Again, the songs are something else altogether. Nadeem-Shravan’s assistants Shyam – Surender gave a score that would have done their mentors proud. But I reckon the biggest coup was to bring in Lata Mangeshkar for four of its best songs (out of a total of six tracks). All these four tracks are worth their weight in gold. Deewangi hai jo yeh pyaar ki opens the album, followed by a delectable Lata Mangeshkar solo – Intezaar hai tera intezaar hai. The latter carries such grace in its tune that had it been a lady it would have won all the beauty titles in the running.

Of the rest, I simply adore the fragile Jaaneman jaanejaan dil ne di yeh sada – with Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar whips up romance and roses in a vanilla-flavored love duet. The perky and fast-paced Yeh dil kyun dhadakta hai rah rah ke machalta hai rounds up a wonderful array.

The sound quality is A-grade and Shyam Surender provide enough meat in their interludes. Sad, my copy of the cassette is almost on its death-bed. Last time it had acted truant and refused to play. This time, mercifully, it played, and played twice over.

Dhartiputra – If I recall correctly, this Mammooty starrer was a meek hit. At least, I remember its horrendous Mera tohfa tu kar le qabool getting quite a bit of airwaves (with those silly lines where the heroine asserts Kyunki sone pe chhai mahngai mai chaandi le aayi to the hero’s recessionary declaration Kyunki lahnga hua bada mahnga mai chunri le aaya. And this was in 1993, when India was shining, and there was no global meltdown! Wonder what they will sing in current times. But I guess, going by today’s sartorial trends, the heroines today wouldn’t bother with either a lahnga or chunri!)

Anyways, leave this kiddish duet aside, the album carries pretty good numbers, composed by the then-reigning duo Nadeem Shravan. There is the handsome Alka Yagnik solo Bulbul bole angana mere tu kab aayega bata de sajna mere and Kumar Sanu-Alka Yagnik’s hummable Saare rangon se hai .

However, my pick of the lot is the two-part lori – a tender but heart-breaking ode Khamoshi hai ek bajaa hai khali rasta dol raha hai. Nadeem-Shravan rarely got a chance to compose lullaby’s, but in this they displayed a sharp virtuosity. My preference – Alka’s solo version that is kept in the end of the cassette, and stays with you long after the system auto-stops.

I have a few more names in mind, but I will leave it for a sequel to this post. I wonder if you have heard of any of the above, or remember them ever?!

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The Curious Case of Khatiya & Khatmal

Sometime in early nineties, a raunchy song hit the headlines. Choli ke peeche kya hai created an unnerving, albeit a totally unwanted, furore. How dare they! screamed the feminists. How daring! chuckled the men. Battle-lines were drawn – morality v/s creative license drew arms to herald a musical Mahabharat, with our poor ever-pale and ever-threatened Bhartiya Sanskriti undraped and feeling molested.

Of course, it was a much ado about nothing for the song’s second line exonarates any idea of vulgarity. After all, the heart does reside beneath the blouse! If any thing, the lyricist (ever dependable late Anand Bakshi) has slyly worked at your own pervert mind, and not laid bare his own. I found the song pretty cool, with a wonderful beat, and some commendable singing by Ila Arun & Alka Yagnik. But best of all was its picturisation – Madhuri’s vigorous dance in a riotous red-and-creme dress, against a hugely colorful backdrop!

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Hi Five!

Random Expressions turns five today. I accept this post should have been longer and more introspective. But time is not on my side. And sheepishly, I admit there is a bit of laziness too.

Still, like last year, I had to wish my dear blog its due wishes. I have been slow and awfully intermittent in posting here, but this place holds immense emotional value. Even when I am not writing, I often come here and read old posts and comments. They are a treasure I cherish.

So to all loyal readers – a huge Thank You. And to all new ones – Welcome Aboard.

God bless!

Finding a Doctor

Monday morning, and I was ready on time. Congratulating myself, I sipped the orange juice contentedly while checking email on my mobile. I sat on a slender but comfortable cane chair, with my back to the window that opens onto the small and cute balcony, a rarity in Mumbai flats. Outside the week expanded out in its soothing routine- a raddiwala cycled past asking for old newspapers, a wife bade goodbye to her husband, a neighbor admonished the car-cleaner to wash his car first, hurried footsteps rattled down the stairs, a few birds chirped, a car honked, an auto stuttered, a couple of security guards chattered animatedly.

I glanced at my watch, exited the email menu and gulped the last of the juice. Getting up, I placed the mobile on my top pocket, picked up the empty glass and with my other free hand, I inserted the little finger in my left ear to clear an irritation I felt.

Plop!

Everything faded into silence. Or rather smothered by a dreary drone. It took a few seconds to comprehend the full impact. My left ear seemed blocked as if someone had shoved in a huge ball of cotton. The right one was fine. I would have ignored it, but the blockage’s irritation swept aside any sense of patience. I understood what had happened- ear wax must have got pushed into the canal.

Hurriedly, I dropped the empty glass into the kitchen sink, grabbed the laptop, swooped on the car keys and rushed out of home.

There is a chemist shop right below my apartment building. It usually opens early but today for some strange reason grim shutters greeted me.

I ran to my car, with the irritating blocked ear heavily feeling like a lead earring. I knew of a 24 hour chemist shop half a kilometre away.

Not trusting the volume of my own voice, I whispered for ear buds.

Back in the car, I ripped open the box, and pulled out an ear bud, while quickly reading the warning and instructions on the wrapper.

The buds provided no relief. I had to see a doctor!

While swiftly typing a ‘ I will be late ‘ sms to my boss, I tried to recall where I had seen a signage of an ENT specialist. I couldn’t remember. I slowly drove down the road, taking in all the doctor boards, ignoring the irritated horns of irate drivers behind me, the upside being I couldn’t really hear them in full blast.

Lots of dentists, a few general practitioners, a couple of gynaecs, but I couldn’t find any ENT specialist.

I stopped at another chemist and asked for one. He gave the address of a doctor, not far off, but with the Metro construction on in full swing, and the traffic at its peak hour, it took me an arduous fifteen-minutes to reach. Only to be met by a cheerless receptionist, eating sprouted dal, sitting in an eerily empty office.

‘I wish to see the doctor,’ I said.

‘He’s not in. He will come at 11.30′ she replied with a more than obvious disinterest in her job. She wouldn’t care or bother if he never came.

My heart sank.

‘Is there any other ENT doctor nearby’

Clearly this didn’t go down well with her. Curtly she said, ‘Idea nahi hai’ and went back to her sprouted dal.

Dejected, I stepped out. Opposite, there was an obesity clinic, and an eager looking youngster viewed me hopefully. Sorry buddy, I’m not your client. Not yet, at least.

Thereafter, for next one hour, my search for a suitable doctor began. Actually, not suitable. Any doctor.

Downed shutters and similar looking dour receptionists gave me similar answers.

What the hell??!? Don’t doctors wake up early here? Are they like just any other businessmen opening their shops at a leisurely pace. Mine was a small problem, but what if I had a genuinely serious emergency? I would have been dead by the time I found a medico in his shop…err, clinic. And it wasn’t that early either. It was nearing 10.30, dammit. And surely, dentist and cosmetic dentistry is damn lucrative business seeing the number of available clinics in this supposedly posh colony. I reckon, the rich have their own set of diseases. And convenient timings when they get afflicted.

Angry and frustrated, I started for office, with the faint hope of stopping en route at a newly inaugurated (by Amitabh Bachchan, no less) multi-speciality hospital and finding an ENT surgeon there at least. If not, any doctor would do who could fish out the damn wax obstinately stuck in the ear and giving immense discomfort.

Aamchi Mumbai

I had shot this picture sometime last year, perhaps on my first visit to the monument since shifting to Mumbai. (Currently it is undergoing renovations)

Somehow, after all that has happened, it seems an apt picture to put up – of Mumbai’s most famous monument standing tall and proud, despite being witness to a brutally painful attack last week.

Yes, Mumbai is back to normal. As much as it can be.

Gateway of India

A Wednesday : Mumbai Mayhem

Like the film by a similar title (incidentally, a brilliant one on terrorism) Mumbai witnessed a terrifying Wednesday as ten of its most prominent locations came under terrorist seige.

Unlike the film, this was for real. And it didn’t end on that day. Even as I type this, nearly thirty two hours later, the drama continues – which shows the thorough and shrewd planning and preparedness the attackers had.

My heart cries for the criminal waste of innocent lives, as it bleeds for the unnecessary desecration of Taj Hotel’s beauty.

Frankly, I am quite at loss for words and feelings. I had expressed my anguish over the Delhi blasts. The same anguish is manifold now.

When will this mayhem end?

And I don’t mean just this one particular operation. I mean this alarming regularity of terror attacks.

A Phone For Mr. DJ

I am not a gadget freak – though when I get one I love to explore all its functions- but the point I want to make is that usually I don’t crave to own the new machine that hits the electronic store.

For months my mobile phone has been an object for derisive jokes amongst friends than one that Mr. Bell actually intended when he conceptualised the cell phone’s grandfather. One, the instrument was considerably worn out, and extremely old by tech-standards. I learnt recently that the hot model I had purchased three years back (in Nepal) was not only obsolete but also a discontinued series by the manufacturer. Two, it showed classic signs of old age – work at an excruciatingly painful pace and regularly go off into an amnesiatic dose, which in computer and mobile phone lingo is called ‘hanging’.

Despite the silly jokes I held on to that piece pretty loyally. That’s because I used it for my personal connection and I hardly get any calls on that number. On a rough estimate, I can confidently vouch the ratio of telemarketing calls to actual calls would be 80:20. So why pour money into buying an asset that would hardly justify its existence, especially in these tough recessionary times?  

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Chanda Ki Chandni – For All DIL TO PAGAL HAI Fans

For those readers who loved and adored Dil To Pagal Hai‘s music (and I am one staunch fan), here is a superb treat in store for you:

Yashraj Music recently released a collection of love duets which includes one hitherto unreleased song. Though, on the jacket sleeve, they do not mention the film for which it was recorded, but one hear, and you know it for sure. The DTPH theme is there in the second interlude, and the tune of ‘Arre re arre’ in the second one.

The mukhda goes:

Kitni hai beqaraar yeh, chanda ki chandni
Kahti hai kar lo pyaar yeh, chanda ki chandni

(Singers – Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu; Music – Uttam Singh)

A close hear reveals the song to be the original for ‘Chaand ne kuchh kaha…pyaar kar’ (the track that comes on Valentine’s night, amidst bright red balloons). In fact, structurally both songs are similar, down to the interlude movements. Though, honestly, I was a bit surprised to find Kumar Sanu since all other songs of the film were rendered by Udit Narayan.

It is a delight to hear Lata Mangeshkar’s breezy rendition. She is splendid in the breezy track, that has some riveting beats and orchestration. In fact, it is an unparalleled happiness to obtain a fresh song from the diva. My excitement was so supreme that my hands trembled as I put on the CD.

This compilation is titled – ‘ Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho ‘ (picked up from the ‘bonus’ song of Veer Zaara, which opens this CD) & contains 14 love songs. For more details on the album click here.

For the song’s television promo click here.

Now, if only other producers/music companies would loosen up all those unreleased Lata Mangeshkar numbers…starting, of course, with JP Dutta and his two recorded songs of the now-shelved Sarhad.

Vinyl Records – A Resurfaced Love Affair

A colleague’s chance remark brought back memories of the once-upon-a-time ubiquitous vinyl records. And then I read an article which claimed that vinyl records had a ‘warm’ sound. Voila, how true! As I dived into my hazy memory, I felt those words extremely true.

That was it. The urge to own one again started.

For those who were born this side of the nineties, vinyl records were standard music storage formats, till about the eighties when the audio-cassettes took over. They were often called ‘long-playing records’ or simply LP’s (there were smaller versions too, which carried just the ‘singles’). In a way (and in an uncanny genetical resemblance as well) they were the grand-dads to compact-discs.

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Delhi Ravaged…Again

They ravaged Delhi – arguably one of India’s most beautiful cities and also my hometown – once again in a deadly deathly manner. Five blasts ripped asunder a quiet Saturday evening, two of which incised through its throbbing heart – Connaught Place and its breathtakingly beauteous (newly opened) Central Park.

These are not mere names. For me, Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place, Central Park, Karol Bagh et al, are not far off places read about in the papers or stories. Every inch, every pavement, every side-walk there contains my life’s indelible memories. In Gopaldass Bhawan (Barakhamba Road, the site near which one of the bomb’s blasted) I did my first job. Ghaffar Market (Karol Bagh, the second site) is where my friend and I bought those cheap imitation designer shirts, when money was tight but ambition was loose. In fact, in his house there have spent many a drunken reverly filled evenings. My parents and I spent a lovely new year’s eve last year at the Central Park.

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The Beer Trail

In another world and time, a trip to Europe would have meant a detailed blog-entry. But I am back already after a packed week travelling in trams and trains of Austria and Germany (with a short detour into Hungary), and it’s a week already, and I haven’t even thought of updating this space. Nay, even there, while viewing and visiting those lovely gardens and castles and palaces (and yeah, a slice of their night-life), I didn’t ‘think’ of how it would end up as a post. Perhaps, it was better then. At least, I ‘saw’ and ‘felt’ more, because I knew I had to convey it all to the readers.

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Meeting Jeffrey Archer

Well, not so much ‘meeting’ as it is ‘seeing’ him.

But to think & imagine, that I’d ever be in the same room as the author I have adored, revered and often emulated, was – till a few days back – beyond thought and imagination. My excitement began building up the day I read he was in India, and it reached its zenith when I learnt he’d be visiting Landmark, the bookstore, just a few blocks away from where I live, on 20th May 2008.

In fact, in my eagerness I went to the store a day earlier than his scheduled visit only to return obviously disappointed. After all, that day was a holiday and I could reach on time. I had to twist my schedule a bit to make sure I reached on the 20th, which I surely did, but still thanks to the awful Mumbai traffic and a fire-fighting item that took up some talk-time, I reached the venue a bit late.

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Bhoothnath – Film Review

God bless Juhi Chawla! The actor keeps getting more beautiful by each passing day. The grace & maturity with which she has handled age & motherhood is a rare phenomena in our industry. Not only is she looking absolutely stunning, she has also retained her inherent charm & elegance in a variety of understated (& often seemingly effortless) performances. And look the way she has carefully shifted gears from your usual heroine roles without compromising on either quality or quantity and yet not stuck in the mother/bhabhi/sister routine stuff (Bas Ek Pal, My Brother Nikhil, Jhankar Beats are some of her excellent post-marriage roles). Kudos, Juhi – you rock, and in Bhoothnath, your unobtrusive young-mother act is another shimmering example of how you can remain in the background yet ooze your presence…just like a mother in an average household!

In this film, she reveals yet another facet of her personality- that of being a very very competent singer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she has rendered the female portions of ‘Chalo jaane do ab chhodo bhi’ .

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