Ek aur incident yaad aaya!

28 04 2006

Well, this isn’t about the mango tree. This happens to be about a girl who lived in my neighbourhood till some years back. I found this incident funny; dunno if you’ll find it funny too. Here it goes:

I think it was in late 2002 or probably early 2003. I was returning home from college. The bus stop was a good kilometre away and I had to walk back to my home from there. As I was walking back home, I saw a guy and a girl talking to each other in the middle of the road halfway down the street. At first I didn’t care but a moment later I saw them again. Their body language suggested that they were having a fight. The guy then held the girl’s arm tightly and the girl then struggled to let go of it. I wondered ki yeh kya ho raha hai? Then I saw them part their ways. The guy started walking towards me and the girl went in the opposite direction, possibly towards her home.

And then it happened!

The guy looked back, almost as if in slow-motion of Ekta Kapoor’s serials. He stopped, thought for a moment and then looked back. All he saw was the back of the girl walking back to her home. He stared at her for a moment and then decided to move on. As he turned back towards me, I saw in the background that the girl also stopped to look at him. It was a total filmy scene! First the guy looked at his girlfriend walking away from him and hoping that she would be standing there ready to take him in her arms and then the girl doing the same hoping that her boyfriend would be standing there for her. Gosh! It was such a sight!

Soon the guy walked past me. I had managed to suppress my smile till then but as soon as he went past me, I burst into a fit of laughter. Thankfully nobody saw me laughing that way else they would have wondered why I was laughing so loudly. I suppressed my laughter again and then started for my home. As I turned into the lane leading to my home I realized that it was the girl who lived just 4 houses ahead of me. Now I knew her secret though she didn’t know that I knew that she was talking to her boyfriend (err… it must be her ex-boyfriend by now).

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Bachpan ke din bhula na dena!

25 04 2006

Mango! The word makes my mouth drip with lust for this red-yellow fruit. I am literally licking my lips at the sight of mangoes. As well as the sweet taste, it brings back some of the best memories I have of my childhood. Though I never even attempted to climb that tall mango tree of my then house’s backyard, still I reaped fruits from it for many years.My late grandfather had laid the seeds of this mango tree in the late 70s. Even the earliest memory I have of the mango tree is that of a tall tree whose lowest branch was at least 7 feet above the ground level. It provided us with shade we needed to laze around in the backyard. We had a small backyard at that time and almost everyone in the neighbourhood had a mango tree in their backyards. I remember, there were at least 4 mango trees within 50 metres of each other in a neighbourhood consisting of 8 families. Times have changed since then, and I have moved to an apartment now, having no scope of rearing even a kitchen-garden!

Being the youngest of the kids at that time in the neighbourhood, I was always the most pampered one. Well okay, the pampering in the 80s and the early 90s were in no way comparable to the things kids of today do but still, I had the privilege of doing things at will. The summers were fun in a way. There were 3 mango trees in very close vicinity and my immediate neighbour was a south Indian with two really studious boys. Me and my brother being the mischievous types, we were always at loggerheads with them and left no chance to trouble them. We used to play cricket in the backyard and deliberately hit the ball into their garden (yes, they had a beautiful garden, the envy of the neighbourhood) then call them to throw the ball back to us. Sometimes when they didn’t respond, we would try to sneak into their garden to fetch the ball only to get caught by them. It was fun dealing with them nerdy ones.

The mango! Ah! I love the mango. I don’t quite know the variety of mango that we got from that tree but it certainly was not the dassehri or langda that are famous in this part of the country. It must have been some other desi variety that never turned yellow when ripe. Instead it always kept green and it became quite difficult for us to know which mango was ripe and which wasn’t. The only distinction was a faint smell that could differentiate between them. Some of the older boys of the neighbourhood did attempt to climb up the tree to fetch the mangoes but on other occasions we never allowed anyone to get near it. We used to get the mangoes that fell from the tree by themselves. They were delicious. We had the privilege of having our own fruit at no extra cost!

I am a big mango lover. I love the small green-yellowish soft and small dassehri mango. It is deliciously sweet and yummy. Next on my list is the juicy langda. It is a somewhat bigger in size than dassehri and more yellow in colour. I think it is this variety of mango that my grandmother eats without cutting into small pieces. The chausa is another one that is popular in this part of the country. I personally prefer these varieties against the ones that are more popular like the hafoos and alphonsos. I remember having an alphonso in Goa little less than 3 years back and I didn’t really like it. It didn’t leave a long lasting taste in my mouth as langa and dassehri do. For me, dassehri rulez!

Coming back to the mango tree, in 1995 we had a bumper crop from it. I remember I ate at least one mango everyday in my summer vacations (I was in grade 9 that year). Even that was not enough! So much so that I even took some mangoes to school and distributed it among some of my friends. A Bengali friend even demanded more from me but by then the rains had started and the mangoes that were left in the tree got destroyed.

In fact a strange incident happened that year. We had some unusual growth of bushes and plants in our backyard. And among them we saw a new small mango plant growing up to nearly 2 feet high. I inquired my mom about it and she said she had no knowledge of it. Later my brother and dad too said that they had no idea how that plant started growing there. Even the gardener was clueless. Then mom said that since that new mango plant started growing by itself it was an indication that time is coming soon for us to move from there. Weird theory, I had thought then as it had no explanation. Mom being mom, she refused to listen to our arguments and stuck to her theory that if a mango tree starts growing by itself then it suggests that the owner of the house has to move out soon. Incredibly, her theory was to be proved right as in September of that year we moved to a new house. We lost that mango tree forever. However we kept on visiting the new tenant of that house for some time and he revealed that the tree had stopped giving fruit ever since he had moved there.

I have lots of memories associated with that small house and especially that mango tree. Never will I forget the fruits that I got from it. Every time I go past that house, I can’t help but stop for a while to look at the tall tree in the backyard and remember those good old days of my life. I spent my childhood playing cricket under that tree. God I wish there should be some way of getting those good old days back.




Fanaa – My First Ever Music Review

17 04 2006

They say that the nature of Fanaa consists of elimination of evil deeds and lowly attributes of the flesh. Fanaa calls for abstention from sin and look for only Divine Love. Fanaa – the film is about a blind girl who falls in love with an incorrigible flirt. What she doesn’t know is that this man is destined to change her life forever.The music of this film is not the kind of music that will mesmerize you immediately. It takes time to grow on you. The music of Jatin-Lalit will be heard for one last time in this movie before they part their ways. Being a big fan of theirs, I feel sad at their break up as a musical jodi. As regards their composition for this movie, I feel that they haven’t been up to the usual standards that they are known for.

Given the fact that a part of this film is based in Kashmir, I felt that the typical Kashmiri folk music is missing from the soundtrack. I wonder why. Having said that, the Sufiana music can be experienced in Chand Sifarish. Kailash Kher has done well in singing this song. Lyrically this song is perhaps the best. We get a good visual of the kind of background set up for this song.

I have always felt that Sonu Nigam sings at too loud a pitch than what suits him. He takes a break from it when he sings Mere Saath Mein. He sounds good. Kajol and Aamir Khan too have lent their voices to this song. Look out for the dialogues that you hear in the trailers of the movie. They are part of this song.

The music of Hum Tum was one of the biggest hits of Jatin Lalit. Now you might be wondering why I am talking about Hum Tum in a review on Fanaa album but there seems to be direct connection between both the films. Both of them have been produced by Aditya Chopra, directed by Kunal Kohli and music is given by Jatin Lalit. The song Chanda Chamke looks to be a direct rip-off from Yaara Yaara of Hum Tum. Hear it for yourself. The rhythms, beats and notes are exactly the same. They have the same effect on you and you almost start visualising Yaara Yaara in your mind. The saving grace is the lyrics of this song. The tongue-twisters make it a lively and fun song to play.

kitna mushkil yeh gaana zara gaake dikhana

I guess Jatin Lalit might have taken this line of the song a little too seriously. Maybe that’s why they did not create any new tune for this song.

Sunidhi Chauhan turns into melody queen in Dekho Na. She is a complete revelation from what we have heard from her in some earlier movies. And full marks for Sonu Nigam again for the way he has sung this song.

Des Rangila is a big let-down. If I were to play this song on radio, I would play it as filler between two good songs or in between two commercial breaks. Sung by Mahalaxmi Iyer, they have tried to make it into a patriotic song but it falls well short of being one. When watching the movie on theatre, this song will give the viewers the much needed welcome-break they need while watching a 3 hour long movie. Or maybe, (I’m not sure of it though) given the fact that it has a part of Jana Gana Mana in it, it could have been used at the end of the film when they usually show the credits of the film’s crew.

I think Destroyed in Love (lounge mix) could have been used in the beginning of the movie (again it’s a fact that I cannot confirm for sure as yet). The flute mixture is good and it suits well for easy listening.

DJ Aqeel’s version of Chand Sifarish starts on a rather jarring note after the end of a good album. But the jarring first few seconds gives way to a good remix of the original. The Yaara Yaara effect can be felt here too.

Overall the album is good. It has the potential of being the largest selling album of the year. The music will take some time to grow on you but otherwise there is nothing in this album that can be regarded as bad.





Himesh Reshammiya and Music

7 04 2006

There is music and then there is Himesh Reshammiya’s music. There is a big difference between them. Music is well… music to ears. But Himesh Reshammiya’s music is like a car coming to a screeching halt. Terrible comparison there? Okay, you are entitled to your own different opinion of his music but seriously speaking I don’t have any inclination to accept his brand of music in its current form.I am a connoisseur of good music. There are days at end when I don’t look beyond a few compositions of Gulzar and RD Burman. Then there are times when I go crazy about AR Rehman, Jatin Lalit and a few other good music directors. Himesh too has given some good compositions in Tere Naam (2003), Aitraaz (2004) and Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (2005) among others. But off late his music doesn’t sound like music to ears.

It started with Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005). The film had Tanushree Dutta and Emran Hashmi lip-locking every other moment and it needed good fast music. But Himesh messed it up with his rendition of the title track that felt like music from a broken radio set. There was no problem with Himesh as long as he played behind the scene sctivities in the form of a music director. Problem started when he himself donned his thinking cap and decided to try his luck at singing. As luck would have it, he was an instant hit. Instant success does not necessarily mean long term stardom. His stubble, cap, T-Shirt and jeans made him look ultra cool but his singing talent has taken a nosedive for the worse.

He sounds loud, nasal, sometimes feels like crying while singing and other times makes you wonder why is he singing? Okay, his nasal twangs may not be as pronounced as Kumar Sanu’s but still his nasal voice is all the more evident in some of his recent songs.

 

I look for music that has a certain amount of shelf-life. Unfortunately none of his albums have a good shelf-life of say beyond a month. If I have to go and buy an album, I’d much rather prefer an AR Rehman to Himesh Reshammiya.