Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chanda Mama

Speckles, faces, shadows
Bursts, spiders, sighs
Glory, reflected
Shine on.

Monday, May 28, 2007

every young man's dream

While the dreaded but plebeian influenza virus wreaked havoc on my sinuses, I chanced upon a photograph taken on my birthday 5 years ago. This was one day after my appendics was yanked out of my left side, supposedly moments before it decided to screw it all and burst. As you can see, one of the side effects was inadvertently drawing a bevy of beautiful women to my side. Unfortunately, this was painfully temporary. Truthfully, the girls arrived just before the guys because they (the guys) were too busy taking a walk around the corner. As my gleeful expression has no doubt conveyed, for once in my life, I was glad I wasn't taking that walk with them. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Big Chill - Insane in the membrane

As the tell-tale plumes of smoke dissipated in the 'green' tent, The Mad Professor was warming to the idea of being interviewed. He had just got off stage, after a set that got the groove going on the afternoon of day one. Dub, trip-hop, rap, reggae all mixed and mingled as the Professor spun his stuff with panache bordering on the disdainful as slightly distorted silhouettes of palm trees danced on the giant screen behind him. But he wasn't as he recalled his Indian connection in hometown Guyana, sneaking out of school with his buddies to watch Amitabh uncle's films. Neil Fraser got his moniker when he was a young lad, preferring to take apart radio sets rather than play a game of cricket on the beach. It was a quite an experience, chilling with the grand vizier of dub.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

basket case

It's 2am. A car purrs up to the pavement furtively and doors are shut rather frantically. A man carries a little cradle, with a 6 month old baby. She is painfully tiny and rather sickly. His wife gone, he can't deal with this anymore. He opens the gate, trying not to cause a stir, lowers the infant into a swinging basket and rings the bell. There's no turning back now. He slinks away into the darkness, an engine is given life and that's that. For him.

For the baby, it has just begun. And this is just one story. There are hundreds more, behind each wistful smile, each stifled giggle, each lost gaze. The law doesn't permit me to put up my photos of the children, so I hope that those who chance by this are willing to imagine.

Ashraya's Children's Home has been responsible for turning many lost gazes into stifled giggles. Maybe someone out there can help them out in their tireless, happy endeavour. By visiting, passing on the information or contributing more. Read on at HUMANS FOR HUMANITY

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

young old man

The man resides within the man
Inside a strong armour, cylinder shaped,
Made of the five elements, designed of eight lotuses.

The power of yoga is his ornament,
He resides in the muladhara;
He journeys upward, he lights all the seven lights
He illuminates the secret room within the man.
--Gopla Khapa

Narayan Chandra Adhikari is 74 years old. He has been practising the art of Baul even before my parents were born. And yet, he still sings with as much gusto, still stalks the stage like a panther and still dances, the sound of his Nupurs dogging his every step. Here he's playing a version of the dotara that hails from the Bangladesh border.

Monday, May 14, 2007

27 and counting

Exactly 27 years ago my mom went out to get the morning paper and never set foot in her father's house as an unmarried woman again. My father, the slightly scruffy looking lad (look who's talking), was waiting in an ancient fiat with his friend to whisk her away into wedded bliss. The marriage took place at a close friend's house, while my mom's dad warmed up his shotgun (hot blooded army type with a heart of gold).

Well, that was long ago but they did celebrate their anniversary 2 days ago.
Amma and Baba, a very happy anniversary to you and a saluation to your patient love. Keep smiling always.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Street Walkin'

The Memory Remains

Bubble, bubble
Toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Hunt for the red Veembur
Our man in Kunming

Intense reflection

Flashes of saffron
The old man of the street

Push-me pull-you
Bengali babu

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Big Chill - Smarmy Mami

Sheila Chandra is an anachronism. She spouts sarci tales about her life in her clipped British accent, while singing songs that are 400 hundred years old. Her modern jazz and pop sensibilities are strangely swirled with Indian classical and traditional Brit folk. The background music is wispy and floaty but her strong sensuous voice gives it weight, momentum and direction. After a couple of songs I noticed that all the men in the audience(me included) were gaping, mouths ajar, not the least bit salaciously but the way you would look at Audrey Hepburn, in abject admiration. She had this quality about her that transcended her genres or even her voice. It was magnetic. It was magical. It was Sheila Chandra.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the master

Pandit Kumar Gandharva.
He is THE man. One lung. Full power. nuff said.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Madness, True and Fake

I couldn't find true madness,
So I didn't become mad;
I saw fake madness all over,
I couldn't find a real one.

Some are mad for wealth,
Some others for glory;
Some turn mad with poverty,
Some others for aesthetic forms.

Siva, the maddest of the mad,
He, the one Who drinks poison;
Rejects elixir,
Leaving a palace of gold,
Enjoys abode in a Shamshan.

----Author Unknown

Shyam Sunder Das Baul, ever so soaring on the Anandalahari, Ghunguru and vocals.