Saturday, March 28, 2015

Geet Ramayan - A "happening"

That a radio program spanning 56 weekends should evolve into a full-length music concert and then capture the imagination of millions for six decades, seems like an impossible fairytale. But the story of Geet Ramayan is no less than such a tale.
Sixty years ago on Ramnavami, the voice of ‘Babuji’ Sudhir Phadke rang out in the morning on Aakshvaani Pune, carrying the words of Ga Di Madgulkar स्वये श्रीरामप्रभू ऐकती, कुशलव रामायण गाती. Fifty-five songs followed over the next one year, and the rest is history. Much has been written and spoken about it in these last 60 years. It has also been translated into several other languages. People celebrated its silver jubilee, then its golden jubilee, and the celebrations are still continuing. What is the secret of its astounding success? 
Is it just a combination of classic lyrics and melody? Or is there more to it than meets the eye? Before we delve into this enquiry, a tribute to its creators is a must. I cannot find any better way than to just quote the co-creators here –

Friday, April 4, 2014

On "The Music Room" by Namita Devidayal

There are stages in how one reacts to Classical Music. I am not just referring to stages of casual listening, then liking, following, collecting and getting totally addicted.
Beyond an initial liking that develops, one starts understanding the nuances and technical parts. There is the joy of discovery when one is able to identify a certain raag, or follow a taal.
But there comes a stage when the technical aspects start looking too formidable to comprehend. Chalan-bhed, shruti-bhed, vakra swar…. it just keeps getting increasingly complicated. It is at such times that this book – The Music Room – By Namita Devidayal, comes as a saviour. No, it tells you nothing about these technicalities. It does something else, and does it very well indeed.
It tells us how Hindustani Classical Music is not just science or just art. It is a touching narrative of how the Guru-Shishya relationship between the author and her Guru, Dhondutai Kulkarni evolved over decades. But the book is not merely a report of events told nicely. It goes on to show us that Classical Music is actually what comes out of a melting pot of relationships. Gurus behaving strangely with disciples (and vice versa), an artist using one moment of public humiliation to trigger a fierce lifelong battle, battle of egos, love, hate, adulation, possessiveness, it is all there.
So the next time you wonder why the same raag sounds so different coming from two artists, remember that it is not only because of the technical equations and mathematics. It is also because it is expression coming from two different human beings.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A trash weekend

Whats the best way to spend a Sunday morning? There can be many answers to this, but I found a new one. Deal with garbage.
After hearing and reading various opinions, and also seeing many people actually take constructive steps) I finally motivated myself to start composting the biodegradable waste I generate. Initially I thought it was going to be a rather complicated affair, requiring much time and attention. Quite the opposite. It is absurdly simple.

We have got so used to doing this - fill up the bin for the whole day, then simply keep it outside the door the next morning and forget about it. Let the municipal machinery take care of it. If its not inside my home, its not my problem.
It IS, unfortunately.Many of us are not aware about what happens to the contents of our bin once it disappears from our sight. It travels to the city (gets spilt on the road in the process) and ends up in the municipal dumping ground. The ground now resembles a gigantic mountain of garbage. It can contain everything, from a staple pin to a car bumper. Of course, a large part of this montain is formed of PET bottles, shoes, electronic waste, and so much more.
People at the dump go through the painstaking process of segregating all this mess. Some pick only glass, others look only for leather goods, yet others have an eye only for PET bottles. Once they have taken these things away, the remaining bit (which hopefully is all biodegradable) should ideally get converted to compost.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Artist