Sunday, August 19, 2012


To hoist or not to hoist? That’s not the question. We have to. Nobody in the North East aside of Tripura (Shhh….Wren and Martin- so jao..don’t turn in your graves) celebrates the same with conviction so why should we hoist Der Flag tomorrow in the face of HNLC sanctions? Three firing incidents in Shillong on the 13th, no kidding maan…! Do in Rome as.. wagairah wagairah!  But No- Rules are Rules and the responsibility for their enforcement in the territory falls squarely on YF. And remember-, Major S., Hoister-in-Chief,  Green is below haan..not Saffron,..else..Taziraate Hind dafaa falana falana ke tahat..! Ultimately, Major S, hawk-eyed, watching out for Kalashnikov-toting cadres, we do it.


Some things we discovered in this Circle- The Republic Day and the Independence Day are celebrated in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur more in Omission than by Commission, thanks to the UG, that’s what they call ‘em here, for there are in all nⁿ: n=3 or 4 permutations of the outfit names in each State. Like NSML, NLMS, MLSN etc. etc., no one can remember all.  Of course they are less numerous than the acronyms introduced by the Consultants of Chabiwala Bank, though. Billing: only $ 1 mn. per acronym, he, he, he! No vehicles allowed, we have to trudge a few miles on foot with our trusted bodyguard, that is Missus. Common wisdom says if you are in female company, the militants will normally not bother you or her or their Kalashnikovs.

Under the gathering clouds of an HNLC threat, on ID eve, we revisit some old discoveries (what a good boy was I…) and stumble upon some more as we listen to Marwa and Malkauns, in that order, in vocal, courtesy Pt. Jasraj, and in gayaki sitar from Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Shahid Parvez. On the eve of Independence Day on 14.08.2012.

Missus is about to whistle time-out, while we are on the verge of some really major musical discoveries::

(i)            As is widely held, vocal is the REAL music. Which is why a recital by Ustad Vilayat Khan is partly sitar. Flute, Sitar and Violin are surrogates in that order. For technical ragas like Nayaki Kanada or Jog Kauns instrumental is better, but for emotional connect, ones like Marwa, Todi, Lalit, Bhimpalasi or Shivranjani, Rx , Voice in the Wilderness. Emotions are ‘Voiced’ naaa…? Not :’Trumpeted’…? Ergo saas, nanadiya..panghat..kanhai..birahan…If you want a marriage between technique and emotion, there is always the sargam or taan..

The twain also meet- in the form of the harmonium wadak or the sarangi wadak..but then there is also a world of the abstract boss…and what about precision of the sur…?? In case of instrumental an accurate swara can be created even by the dea..sorry, auditorily challenged, but the genius is one like Pt. Bhimsen or Pt. Jasraj or Pt. Kadkade, who, in addition to emotion, can deliver the saa scalpel-cut..

(ii)       Lesson number two: Komal swaras are the ones that create emotion. Cases in point: Re and Dha in Puriya Dhanashri, Bhairav, Shivranjani, Todi wagairah wagairah, …wagairah…strike you with a feather.. We are working on another original concept we tentatively call “the jeevanta swara’’, that is ‘the living swara’’, about which more, later, inshallah!

(iii)        When sam strikes, the main artiste scurries for compleation, and that is a major source of improvisation. Lost the URL- due raha.

(iv)         There are sitarists and sitarists and sitarists, but Shahid Parvez is only one who you'll meet at the chariali of Sitar and the Omkar!. Chodo sab Robida-Nikhilda. Only, Bhai does not and never aspires to, having Barkhaas and Rajdeeps and Virjees in tow.  Ashtasiddhi nustya raabtat tyachya annganat! Just you listen to how he coaxes, draws out a lon...nng taan from a single stroke of the strings! Others either don’t know or don’t care.

Look at his Kirwani - the sawal jawab in jod alaap @ 13.40 and 22.40 is extraordinary, so is jhala. This is the best Shahid in our vast collection.

Kirwani: Kirwani is a Sampoorna raga, Seven swaras lined up in the aaroha as well as awaroha. Gandhar and Dhaiwat komal. To us it’s a female raga. There’s a certain compleation to it. One goes to bed satiated after listening to a Kirwani. It’s as if Kirwani possesses the terminal bracket ‘}’ which other may not have, and as she winds up, she cleans up the kitchen platform (‘ota bi mhantyet tyale’)  and the dining table for you before joining you in bed.

Shahidbhai: Bhai, not Ustad. That sounds like the person he is. Shahid Bhai is the inveterate, brotherly, compulsive teacher, mentor. He was the grand guru of Aarti, our niece,herself a fine artiste. “Those who can, do, those who cannot, teach.” That, hopefully, was the lowest George Bernard Shaw stooped to. W.W.Sawyer, our Statistics mentor went livid with rage when he recalled that one. Bhai blows away the flippant philosophy as one would poof away the dust on a garden bench before settling down thereon.

It’s raining music. Shahid Bhai is playing with the seven swaras in a heavy downpour. Ga and Dha are the youngest. Sukomal.  Bhai indulges them particularly, makes out paper boats patiently. They then launch the boats. Can anyone do so in the pelting rain? Bhai does it casually. He places the Shadja gently on the surface of the turbulent stream. It floats away gracefully like Queen Elizabeth! Gandhar and Dhaiwat clap in glee! Paper boat sailing awayyyy..gracefully in the turbulence- that’s what Ustad's gayaki meends feel like!

We have the authority of Gwalior Gharana for the above….Mince…hi ho mhanali! “Jhopa aata…!”

Hans Eysenck, the German-American Psychologist stuck out his neck stating that genes were a major determinant of intellectual prowess in the case of homo sapiens. We, being among the dregs of humanity cannot offer a dispassionate comment on that one, but can quote with approval another belief of his: that the abnormal person is ‘normal’ and vice-versa. Consider the (hypothetical) height readings of 100 fauji jawans. Twenty-one (say), the highest frequency, has a height 5’8”. So that is the Norm, no? Ergo a huge majority, that is 79 out of 100 is abnormal..! Touche…!

Bertrand Russell is sort of our intellectual umbilical cord. Uncharacteristically, he was guilty of writing some fiction. He lived in a formative era when the fires of many ideologies, such as Atheism, anti-Semitism, Semitism, Nazism, Communism, Church-ism, Scientificism, Relativity, Imperialism… wagairah, wagairah raged…were available off-the-shelf so to say. Whewww…! That would have launched a thousand T-sharts wani saiiinnn…kya bijnis apartunity tha…!

Well, annnything could be a prescription for passion, Lord Russell held, giving illustrations to veer bigots from following the course of insanity.

“[Pythagoras] founded a religion in which the main tenets were the transmigration of souls and the sinfulness of eating beans. His religion was embodied in a religious order, which, here and there, acquired rule of the state … But the unregenerate hankered after beans, and sooner or later rebelled.” (History of Western Philosophy)

Russell then went on to extrapolate the absurdities of human tendencies in his “Faith and Mountains”. The World, somehypotheticaltime, is severely divided into two camps, the worshippers of Aurora Borealis and worshippers of the metal Molybdenum, called the ‘Molybdenes’. Predictably, Zachary, the heir of Molybdenes falls in love with Leah, the Princess of the Borelians, who, for a difference, lived happily hereafter. The tale ends in the following paras, centered on Zachary, the scion of Molybdenes :

"…One winter evening, returning weary through drizzle and fog, Zachary found himself outside a tin tabernacle where a remnant of the Molybdenes still worshipped. To the accompaniment of the harmonium, they were singing those well-known words:

Molybdenum of metals best, Is good for high and low,
It cures diseases of the chest, And makes our muscles grow.

He sighed, and muttered to himself, "Could I but return to the old Sublimities! Ah, how hard is the Life of Reason!"”

Anything can inflame passion you see- the hair of a pig, a mound of snow…or for that matter a ritual in which a 'player', with a stick, hinders a small wooden sphere from hitting three other sticks, trying to despatch the hapless sphere 60 yards away, and becomes the richest Indian or Pakistani. Can precipitate a War or a Peace, Amen!

PS: we wrote about the water peace in Meghalaya/ Mizoram. If the water is drawn thus from the Municipal mains, and not in series, why would there be this Kauveri- Kolaveri di?

'Play it Again Sam': Said by Ingrid Bergman to the ace singer Sam at 'Rick's' in Casablanca nostalgically. There is some controversy on who said what said..

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