Month: November 2015

The 420 Playlist – Hindi

  • Oopar Oopar Renn De – A real fun song with amazing lyrics and lessons for life. The monologue in between is specially hilarious!

  • Babaji by Mohit Chauhan – Mesmerising, beautiful and full of Nostalgia for all those who have been to the beautiful Parvati Valley.

  • Banao Banao by Papon – I think Papon is just fooling us when he says that it’s not his song. 😉

  • Babaji Ki Booti from Go, Goa, Gone – This unplugged version, I feel, is way better than the original.

  • Dum Maaro Dum – The original one. Check out the foreigners in the background, wth is going on? 😀

  • Manali Trance – I love the beats, let’s just ignore Honey Singh for once.

  • Main Zindagi ka Saath – A soothing song for those times when you want to go back into time. 🙂

Advertisements

On Leaving Home

The aroma of coffee in the morning..
The pleasant winter sunshine of the afternoons..
The brisk wind of the winters in the evening..
The glittering remnants of diwali in the night..

I will be back.. For these things that I love.. For some things are loved more deeply. 🙂

-S.

Random Notes 2: Ezra Miller

I am in love with him and here is why:

 

Miller has described himself as queer, specifying: “The way I would choose to identify myself wouldn’t be gay. I’ve been attracted mostly to ‘shes’ but I’ve been with many people and I’m open to love wherever it can be”; and that he has “a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular”.

He was initially charged with drug possession, but the charge was later dropped by a judge. Instead of these charges, Miller faced a penalty of $600 for two citations of disorderly conduct. Miller later commented: “I don’t feel like there’s any need to hide the fact that I smoke pot. It’s a harmless herbal substance that increases sensory appreciation.”

-S.

Random Notes: Winters

Winters are here. The much awaited winters. There’s this chill in the air which induces a smell in the trees and the leaves such that however much you breathe in, it is never enough. The smell of winter, the smell of mist and the smell of dewdrops. They should totally make a perfume of the same.

Making Meanings: Conflict (Guest Post)

I requested one of my friends to write for me and she did. A short intro of the writer: Ruchika is a student of International Relations at JNU. She is one of those people whose intellectual prowess will never fail to amaze you. You can have a debate with her on anything and everything and it is guaranteed that you will take away something interesting from it. That’s just the magic of people who are really passionate about learning the ways of the world. So here is Ruchika making meaning of the word “Conflict”.

One of the famous reflections of Johan Galtung on conflict lies in contradiction. Is it the real essence  of what is known to be the most pervasive and inevitable aspect of human society?

Conflict is a complete word, a concept complete in itself. It is present at every level; defined whether at micro level as between two or more individuals or at  a group to a macro level as between states or nations. It is not only restricted as an outer phenomenon but something that prevails within also.

To capture its roots, one can look for the most basic words like opposite, negation, etc., but the most appropriate one is contradiction.
Everyone has a well defined or maybe a basic idea of what he/she wants or desires. Human beings live with certain goals, life and goals are inseparable. Without a goal life ceases to exist. One of the last goals of a dying human may be goallessness itself, eternal rest. Where there are goals, there will also be contradictions within the same individual or between them.

When these contradictions occur within an individual, they are termed as dilemmas and contradictions with other individuals are termed as dispute. My goal of staying out late at night is in direct contradiction with my parent’s who fear my safety and want me to be back before it gets dark. At my level, I can disagree with them and can enjoy late night fun with friends which will in turn put me in a serious conflict with my parents who will then punish me. I can be grounded. Or I can agree with them and will do what they want me to but in that scenario, I will be in a conflict with myself as i might feel being left behind. The idea of conflict exists at such a basic level and can take form of very complex conflicts as like the Israel-Palestine conflict with multiple grounds of contradiction or a conflict among regions as the one between global south and global north.

This high interdependence of goals and contradictions is the reality of society. Everyday is a struggle to put these goals into place which in turn will lead to many contradictions. We work hard to achieve these goals in a framework of socially constructed rules and standards. Goals are independent, there origin has basis in the ideas of freedom. When these goals are formulated inside, they realise no such human made boundaries. They are just bare thoughts. Though, goals sound like a serious long term commitment kind of a thing but they can be very simple. Like, I can have a goal to drink cold coffee or to watch a TV show. Its after the origin, when they pass from the internal level, problem starts.
One just cannot think of a goal and get them fulfilled. It passes through a series of contradictions. The idea of rafting sounds amusing to me and I wish to go for it. This idea was planted in my mind as I got more and more exposure and met new people and learnt about a lot of new things.  I find it fun and if I just think at my level, I would want to try it. But soon contradictions start as i know its a risky sport and might cost me my life. Would i still want to go for it? I am in a conflict with myself.

The idea of being absolute does not exist in the present world. Even the origin of a very basic idea in my own mind cannot be termed as absolute. My freedom itself is not absolute as I can’t have an absolute goal and would work for its fulfilment. We are born in a constructed world and this constructed world draws us into its constructed socialisation. So with our birth, the process of constructed thinking is repeatedly being fit in our mind by the social agents. We are constantly reminded that there is a limit to our every goal, one cannot have everything in this related world. At my own level, a fear is inbuilt as one is not born alone. This will make me have contradictions with my own self as what is constructed will fight for its autonomy as it had since beginning over what is developed with time and understanding. Mostly, the constructed wins the game and what is developed is left for further understanding.

When the origin is full of contradictions, conflict is a necessary outcome. Dilemmas are the natural outcomes of human mind and if one is not struggling with oneself, that would be surprising.

Similarly, these self conflicting individuals when live with each other in a society, disputes tend to arise. This is the realm where your freedom is related with others and further contradictions come into picture. At one level, you are already in a conflict with yourself than with already limited choices, one has to accommodate further contradictions. The incompatibility of goals in a society is the daily cause of conflict. The restriction on celebration of Valentine’s Day by some fundamentalist parties is one such issue of contradiction. They call it a part of western culture and an attempt to pollute the Indian civilisation. The attachment of nationalism and national identity to a particular practise reflects the high intolerance on the part of society. This leads to conflict between individuals who want to exercise their right to love and those who want to restrict them in the name of culture.

Such disputes can be avoided by accepting the dominant norm. Let nothing show on the outside, not even in the depth of your soul, and people will love you because you never challenge them. But if that becomes a habit, then your ‘sanguine personality’ can become a problem for you yourself.

The achievement of harmony at both levels is a difficult task. Peace is an artificially constructed concept, conflict is natural. It is a part of our natural existence in society. Unsatisfaction of goals leads to frustration in individuals. This frustration reaches the maximum when these goals form the basic needs which include survival, identity, freedom, wellbeing. Negotiation is possible when goals and values are concerned, but not with basic needs. Basic needs have to be respected, they are non-negotiable. When these are insulted, conflict occurs. Conflict demands everything, our emotions, thoughts and directs them. It can take the form of violence, insulting basic needs, verbal violence or physical violence.

It would be incomplete to look at conflict with only a negative stance. Conflict opens the door for further improvements. These contradictions against the dominant trends pave the way for changes which are more receptive of freedom. Conflicts have made people realise that there is a problem with the structure itself. When a husband beats his wife in a room, it is a form of personal violence but when one million husbands keeps one million wives in ignorance, it is a case of structural disability. Conflicts strike at the weak points and have the capacity to cause change.

It is more suitable if these contradictions are channelised to an appropriate end. They should not be abolished but should be understood and listened for better trade offs. Their cause of origin to be questioned for the formation of an inclusive society.

A Reply:
It took me three attempts to read and grasp the complete meaning of the passage and every time I read it I realized something new. I could relate to it all so much and apply it on my life as well. And in the context of today, considering the present Government’s intolerance and in general of the people, this piece makes so much sense. Conflict is important and inevitable. Everyday I have a new conflict, with my conscience, with people or with myself and it is a necessity to make decisions and to frame your own personality. It is an integral part of life and thanks for making us realise the importance of something so huge in such a succinct manner. 🙂

-S.

Gifts: Songs

So I was listening to songs on my phone, on shuffle. And suddenly this beautiful song starts playing, I had never heard it before. On checking, I found it was Bon Jovi’s “Make a Memory”. I don’t remember downloading it, so maybe it auto-downloaded from some whatsapp chat. But it was a beautiful surprise.

Then I thought about it. What happened to the mix tapes we used to make. A friend and me were reminiscing just a few days back about all the cassettes our parents used to bring home. My excitement used to know no bounds when I held the cassette of a latest movie in my hand. There were these stickers that came along with them to stick on the cassette which marked the sides A and B. How after watching the movie, we knew all the lyrics by heart and yet sometimes there were leaflets in the jacket with all the lyrics and the sequence of the songs. And there were times when you got addicted to one particular song and kept rewinding the cassette with your hand to listen to it repeatedly! And how many cassettes we wasted by recording our voices over it and then got chided by our parents.

My mother had bought a stereo with her savings. It was a magical instrument for me back when I was a child. We had a collection of more than 100 cassettes which included all the songs from latest movies and even the pop albums which were famous back then. My uncle used to make a list of his favourite songs, and sometimes added some of mine as a favour to get mix tapes made. Those were beautiful days.

Even many years later, after we had internet, but I didn’t really know how to use it well. I was addicted to radio. Every saturday night I waited to listen to Ryan Seacrest’s show and every sunday to the Bollywood Top 30. I even wrote down the names of the english songs which I liked to download them at some later point.

The effort that we made then, to listen to a particular song, really made us appreciate the value of it. Now that it’s freely and easily available to all, we miss out on good music because we totally forget about it after listening to it once.

-S.

Kuch Ban Jaate Hain

Going through the channel ‘Hindi Kavita’ on YouTube today, I came across another gem. Credits again to Varun Grover. This was one of the poems he wanted to make into a song in the movie ‘Masaan’, but for some reason couldn’t. It is beautiful nevertheless. If somebody could find/give an english translation, that would be amazing.

Hindi Transcription:

Ignore the spelling mistakes, if any, this is my first time typing in Hindi 😛

तुम मिश्री की डली बन जाओ
मैं दूध बन जाता हूँ
तुम मुझमें घुल जाओ |

तुम ढाई साल की बच्ची बन जाओ
मैं मिश्री घुला दूध हूँ मीठा
मुझे एक साँस में पी जाओ |

अब मैं मैदान हूँ
तुम्हारे सामने दूर तक फैला हुआ |
मुझमें दौड़ो | मैं पहाड़ हूँ |
मेरे कंधों पर चढ़ो और फिसलो |
मैं सेमल का पेड़ हूँ
मुझे ज़ोर ज़ोर से झकझोरो और
मेरी रूई को हवा की तमाम परतों में
बादलों के छोटे छोटे टुकड़ो की तरह
उड़ जाने दो |

ऐसा करता हूँ की मैं
अखरोट बन जाता हूँ |
तुम उसे चुरा लो
और किसी कोने में छुपकर
चुपचाप उसे तोडो |

गेहूँ का दाना बन जाता हूँ मैं
तुम धूप बन जाओ
मिट्टी-हवा-पानी बन कर मुझे उगाओ
मेरे भीतर के रिक्त कोषों में
लुक्का छिप्पि खेलो
या कोपल होकर
मेरी किसी भी गाँठ से
कहीं से भी तुरंत फूट जाओ |

तुम अंधेरा बन जाओ
मैं बिल्ली बनकर दबे पावं चलूँगा चोरी चोरी |

क्यूँ ना ऐसा करें
की मैं चीनी मिट्टी का प्याला बन जाता हूँ
और तुम तश्तरी
और हम कहीं से गिर कर
एक साथ टूट जाते हैं सुबह सुबह |

या मैं गुब्बारा बनता हूँ
नीले रंग का |
तुम उसके भीतर की हवा बन कर फैलो
और बीच आकाश में मेरे साथ फुट जाओ |

या फिर ऐसा करते हैं
की हम कुछ और बन जाते हैं |

Dussehra

When I was a little girl, every Dussehra I used to visit my Grandparents’ house. The festive season was celebrated in all its glory in the village. There was a local Ram-Leela held by the children of the village. My Grandmother used to give me 10 rupees to spend in the fair and I used to be so happy about going there with my uncle. I used to think about how I will spend my 10 rupees the whole day and then when I finally reached the fair I could never make up my mind. I usually ended up buying something stupid every time. I remember watching the Ram-Leela with what you would call pure amazement – the songs and the costumes, the lighting and of course the Raavan-Vadh in the end.

This year on Dussehra, I was on my way to Kasol and when I heard the sound of festivities, I was instantly reminded of this memory and yes, I made a note to write about this later. Right now, while I watch the movie “Inside Out”, I look at the way they portray the working of brain and memories and it all seems plausible. My own Joy, bringing up a memory from deep down the Memory Lanes. While my Sadness brings back the Nostalgia of those carefree childhood days. I wish I could go back and yet stay here. Life is full of such dilemmas ain’t it?

Kasol Revisited

Day 1 – 21st October

I make my journey from JNU to North Campus, to meet the people who are going with me. Our bus leaves at night from Majnu ka Teela. It is a little awkward since I have met most of these people for the first time. At night everyone packs and we leave after a delicious dinner of homemade khichdi. We wait for the bus, it keeps getting delayed but it finally arrives. And the journey towards Parvati Valley begins.

Day 2 – 22nd October

Almost half the day had passed until we reached our destination but the journey was beautiful, with mist floating down the valleys when the sun began to appear. There were tall trees and I knew we had reached when there was an evident chill in the air. Our hungry souls directly made way towards Cafe Bhoj. We ate to our heart’s delight and then looked for a hotel. After getting some rest, we decided to have a bonfire and we started walking towards the campsite with torches in our hands to ward off the eeriness that the mountains possess by default. We reached the riverside where we sat on a round table and talked and laughed and drank and smoked. Then we walked closer to the river, so close that our voices were drowned by the sound of the flowing water. It was cold, very cold and the fire didn’t do much in warding it off. It was finally time to sleep.

Day 3 – 23rd October

I woke up before everyone else, except S. The first thing to do was take a bath and dry your hair in the mountain sunshine. We had delicious lunch consisting of schnitzels, falafels, lafas, oreo shakes, ginger-lemon-honey tea, etcetera. We then made our way towards a place called Chalal but were never able to reach it. Instead we found a place beyond the bridge, among the rocks where hot steam rose like mist from mountains and I wasn’t afraid of feeling cold again. The moon was high in the sky, all around us there were mountains – snow capped. And even when nothing was visible, the snow was shining bright, reflecting the moonlight. The rushing pristine water of the river, threw up water droplets which shone like diamonds when they caught moonlight or light from a torch held by a passerby on the bridge. My words can never do justice to what I saw that night.

(The night was spent deciding who wanted to stay for one more day. 4 of us decided to stay back and then 3 hours were spent cancelling and booking tickets)

Day 4 – 24th October

Yet again, S was the first one to wake up and we once again made our way towards Chalal after everyone left post a hearty lunch. This time it wasn’t our lucky day. The police caught us but let us go without much hassle. We went to Jim Morrison cafe and the sandwiches there were to die for. The trek was totally worth it. I was too happy to register much. Happy because it was Kasol, for another day. Once you go there, you never want to leave.

Day 5 – 25th October

We went to Magic View Restaurant, didn’t really have the patience to look at the view because I was too tired from all the climbing. Who wants to work on a vacation anyway. This vacation was so much different from the last time when I was all sober and the weather was not so good. This time the water had completely changed its color and you could almost see the water-bed. It was a “good trip”. Can’t wait for the next one. Will put up the pictures soon.

Day 6 – 26th October

Back to Delhi. It was like some other world. Definitely not a good one after the serenity of the Valley. Well, all good things come to an end.

Playlist for the Month

  1. Raat Raazi by Prateek Kuhad – Soulful, beautiful and so simple yet touching. If you haven’t heard any songs by him I strongly recommend listening to it.
  2. Tuntuna by Shamoon Ismail – I really wonder why singers like him don’t get enough praise. This is again an amazing song with an unusual fusion of punjabi folk music and blues. Give it a try. The lines will steal your heart.
  3. Matargashti – This song from Imtiaz Ali’s upcoming movie is peppy and will make you stand on your feet and shake a little. The playfulness in the lyrics is aptly portrayed in the video of the song!
  4. Agar Tum Saath Ho – Ladies and Gentleman, we have the best romantic song of the year right here! Yes, it is true! A. R. Rahman has worked his magic once again! 🙂
  5. Khoya Khoya Chand (The Bartender Mix) – The video has the cast of Shaitan. It is a “jazzy” remix of the old song by the same name but if you liked Hawa Hawai, you will definitely like this. 🙂