Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Glamorous Life

It is not very easy to re-adjust to normal life after living for three weeks in Colaba or Bombay for that matter. Three weeks of good work in the lovely Fort area; of shopping, dinners, exotic alcohol, jogs and walks on Marine Drive, random train rides to Bandra, cursing the rain, interesting conversations and several other things. A blissful mixture of dynamic and idyllic sensibilities. Three of the happiest weeks of my life.

Sometimes the kind of freedom that living a routine life can give you is a lot more liberating than a so called, unencumbered, live-by-the-moment day. Sometimes walking down a definite path is more exciting than floating freely, going wherever the breeze takes you. The security that the path and the routine give you, help you realize and and discover various aspects of yourself. With one part of your life set, you can concentrate on making that part (to use a cliched phrase) truly extraordinary. And while there was nothing extraordinary about my 3 weeks, they were freedom as I have never known it!

At the center of it all was Marine Drive (which is I think officially my favourite place on earth) and the long walks I had on it. For once, they (the walks that is) weren't very contemplative or reflective. They were walks for the joy of walking, the pleasure of feeling the sea breeze and sea spray; of eating ice-cream while sitting there, listening to jazz music playing; occasionally meeting some interesting people; wondering why the Air India building was so ugly and so on. Absolute bliss. A life I have been greatly missing, but a life I hope to go back to someday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Confesions of a Secret Lover of Disco

The person referred to in the title is me.

I will soon stop paying tributes to other people and restart the usual tributes to myself (:D). However, I simply cannot ignore the immense musical loss of Michael Jackson.

You probably might have gone back and read that line again and thought 'WTF'?! I know that the prominent styles of music that have figured in this blog have been rock, jazz, blues, folk and soul. But like I was telling Rishabh the other day, if there was one more genre of music which I would pick to fit in with the aforementioned group, it would be disco.

I have always had a great fondness and weakness for disco, especially from the 70s. Songs like Funkytown, D-I-S-C-O, YMCA and actually anything which the characteristic disco groove and bass have always been among my favourite songs to dance to or even listen to. Which is why, Abba and Boney M figure very highly on my list of all time favourite artists. And which is also why, I have to pay tribute to 'The King of Pop'.

My Mom loves disco and MJ and hence, I have practically grown up listening to him. 'Thriller' was the first English album that I completely listened to. Songs like 'Bilie Jean', 'Wanna be Starting Something' and 'Beat It' were among my most initial introductions into the big bad world of English music. Needless to say, starting off with him, Abba and Boney M has given me a life long love for disco.

MJ may have had many controversies in life but that doesn't take away from the fact that he was bloody good at what he did. With music that appealed to everyone, simple melodies, catchy rhythms and occasional 'political' and 'social' songs like 'Heal the World' and 'Black or White', he managed to cross a lot of borders. In fact, a wonderful article in Foreign Policy talks about MJ being one of the original 'global' pop stars by achieving penetration into countries in Europe and Asia as well..leading to a mini-globalisation on his own. In that respect, the impact he has had is mind-blowing and his influences on music will continue. (Justin Timberlake has already adopted his vocal style here and there. I confess a weakness for those songs like 'Rock Your Body').

His death came as a huge shock to was like losing a constant companion since childhood, whether you love it or hate it. I was hoping he would release a new album and even tried to win tickets for his last tour in London. Its sad that he died in such disgrace..and its nice that his controversies have been forgotten in his death (though the public phenomenon that his death has become is kind of upsetting). So here's to the great entertainer, sinner and genius that was Michael Jackson.

The Fallen Hero

I have been meaning to post about Roger Federer since his disastrous Australian Open. The draft post kept changing in form and content...after he smashed his racket in the Masters, after he won the French Open making mincemeat of Nadal's conqueror, Soderling. At all those points the title of the post was to be 'The Fallen Hero?'. But now, posting after that fantastic Wimbledon final day before yesterday, I can't even begin to reflect on how Federer might have fallen. He has somehow risen beyond himself, not because he beat Sampras's record..but because he conquered himself. The Fedrer we saw day before yesterday was similar to Federer at his peak in 2005-2006 ..winning the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian open continuously. The Wimbledon Website carried an excellent article on Federer's win yesterday, summed up in these lines "This may not have been Federer at his most artistic but it was Federer at his most ferociously determined". Its been a while since I have seen Federer play with such focus and calm (something which was characteristic of him at one point), pushing on doggedly and serving better under pressure than Andy Roddick himself. In the end, it was as much a mental and psychological game as a physical effort; a question of who would crack first; and Federer, regaining his poise of old, triumphed. And he didn't even cry! It still remains to see whether he can use this effectively against Nadal, who seems to get to him like no one else. But now with the 15 grand slam titles (and this Wimbledon, I personally think, is his greatest victory), he has the confidence and complacency to keep playing and winning. As for Nadal, I don't think its important for Federer to beat him anymore..personally at least, I feel he has proved all that he needs to prove!

A word on Roddick though - really improved game and fantastic playing under pressure. In the end I was actually hoping he would win; but as 'Veejay' Amritraj always says 'Don't doubt the champion!'

Monday, July 6, 2009

I was strangely happy to see news reports of the rains in Bombay on Saturday. Its always something you see on TV and marvel about, and here I was in that very city..not really wading through flooded streets, but still experiencing it in my own way. Its always cool when you are a part of something on TV :)