Friday, January 14, 2011

For a change, something worth reading-1

What is it about children that makes them endearing? An innocence that is lost once they grow up? Or just the very fascination of watching small sized versions of ourselves? Or could it perhaps be the underlying awareness that eventually they will rule the world?

Whatever the reasons, there is nothing quite as beautiful as childhood. However, there are children who are deprived of a lot of things that made childhood enjoyable for us. First of all, parents an as a consequence, unconditional parental love. Either deserted or orphaned at an early age, these children live a childhood filled with misery, being left to die or worse, forced into begging, labour, prostitution etc.

It is our responsibility to ensure that the future of this world lies in able hands. My small step towards this was joining Nirantara almost three years ago at the suggestion of my class mate and now colleague, Sreekanth and it’s been a wonderful journey ever since! Nirantara started with 13 people and is now more than 250 members strong. So what does Nirantara do?

From sponsoring education for the needy children, to conducting activities for orphans and destitute children, to visiting orphanages on a regular basis and providing them support in the form of monthly groceries, stationery etc, they undertake and encourage any and every act of kindness that can be shown towards the underprivileged. Their main focus is uplifting the poor and needy children, because they believe it is their duty to ensure that these victims of circumstantial adversity get an equal shot at taking on the future as do privileged children. For more information do visit www.trustnirantara.org

Having personally been to some of the orphanage visits, the one thing that struck me was the way these kids’ faces light up when you visit them and greet you with a priceless smile, despite being complete strangers to you! Something we adults could learn. It’s not your money these kids want. They just want someone to play with, someone to talk about their favourite hero, someone to listen to their songs or sing for them. They need friends. They need love. They need our time. They need your time.

This month, Nirantara is completing 3 years of wonderful service, and we were in a discussion as to how best to celebrate this. It was decided that there would be a function held on the 30th and kids from the orphanages they support be called and activities conducted for them. This meeting was held at one of our visits to Shelter Home (a home for HIV affected kids that we have been supporting for about 2 years) and it was then that I realized here was a grass root level organization doing a great job with more than 250 members and 100 permanent donors, yet only around 15 people had actually turned up for the visit and to involve themselves in the activities. I felt that the best way to call people’s attention towards this and ask for their time would be to speak to them in a language best understood by them. And a language that’s been my love all my life. Music.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

VJam- My gig at the Russian Cultural Center

Folks I’m performing with my band at the Russian Cultural Center on Thursday December 23rd at 7.30 PM. So please be there for

VJam- Vijaynarain Live


We’ll be doing everything from popular film songs and western numbers adapted to funk and rock grooves to random jamming and letting loose on stage. Maybe even an own composition or two. So be there and kickstart your Christmas weekend by screaming your lungs out!

The Lineup:

Vocals: R Vijaynarain, Harini S

Keys: Prashanth Techno

Bass: John Praveen

Drums: Ved Shankar

Reasons why coming to my gig is better than doing anything else that day:

It’s after office hours

Anything else isn’t as important as supporting this poor blogger by cheering for him

You will be given special treatment if you’re a hot chick or bring a few to the gig

Least important of all these reasons : ENTRY IS FREE. ABSOLUTELY. YEAH YOU READ IT RIGHT! See you there !!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If you don't find this post awesome...

I am suffering from a writer's block. Hence I haven't really been able to come up with any of my awesomatic self praising attention whoring posts of late. The very fact that I've realized this and set out

to write THIS post should give you an idea of how awesome I am. Heck, robots go crazy after me and call their creator "Yeah You-suck Asimov".



The trouble with being a writer is that there is always an itch to write, no matter how much or how less you have written. The trouble is not the itch itself, because itches are never really trouble if you've noticed. I mean compare an itch with a headache or a running nose, or if you're female, with a bad hair day, and you'll know what I mean. All you need to do about an itch is scratch. Like the adage (add age to any piece of crap someone said and it becomes an adage) goes, Scratch the itch, screw the .



Coming right back to where I left (you'll notice I'm really good at directions, so add that to your list of "Reasons why Vijay is awesomatic, hereafter referred to as Awesometer"), the trouble is not the itch itself, but the fact that this particular writing itch is hard to scratch. Remember the first time you learnt to write A,B,C,D on a slate in kindergarden? All you did was scratch the "balpam" on the slate and you got whacked by the teacher because your A wasn't straight. If she'd taught you G and Y too, she would've realized not everything is straight and maybe spared you the cane and "A"ble

(A+syllabyle= "A"ble, invented here for the sole purpose of showing the world I know about the Jeffery Archer novel though I have't read it. Awesometer++). I bet DJ's had it much easier in school than we IT blokes did. All they needed to do was learn CD and they could scratch all they want!



So, in my case, the only way to scratch my itch to write, is by actually writing. I'm sure YOU, reading this post right now think it sucks (though you might not want to tell me because you think, rather, KNOW I'm awesome). I'll save you the trouble. Of course this post sucks! It sucks the readers' attention completely and stirs in them a deep sense of introspection, encouraging them to question the very tenets of the whatever-isms they grew up believing in and tempts them to break free from the shackles of mundane existence. If this post hasn't done that to you yet, go to the post office and try your luck there. If however, you do not have time to go to the post office, let me let you in on a dark secret. It is very important to know the value of time. After sunset, the value of time is exactly 18 (hence the DARKkness of the secret I just revealed). This was computed by the same machine that came up with 42. I'm sure if I don't mention it right now, there'll be some smartass asking a "bright" question on the lines of "What is the value of time after sunrise?" Go figure it out yourself! I only promised to let you in on a dark secret, not a bright one!



Ok so this post is long enough to publish, and the awesometer arrow just broke out of it and shot into the sky. Google tells me it's orbiting the earth just behind the hubble space telescope. As much as you want me to continue, I am going to have to conclude this post. So let me conclude by actually completing the title, which if you've noticed is incomplete. If you don't find this post awesome, don't read it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Love- Make that change

They should know that actions speak

Much louder than words

And learn a thing or two

From the bees and the birds



So stop the cussing and the fussing

It ain't each other's lives you're messing

If it's a mess that you want

Do what you say, it's not like you can't



A little love and a little hope

And you will with each other cope

Agreed the grass appears better there

But whatever the pitch, perfect your stroke



A life of happiness and peace you'll lead

Brothers and sisters you'll live to feed

And breed, goodwill, freedom and joy

So set your sails! Love ahoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jhoota Hi Sahi- First thoughts (Quite literally)

I am writing this as I'm listening to JHS for the first time. These opinions might not exactly be the same in a week or so :)

Hello Hello

Love the bassline and the filtered strings. Lazy feel, instant appeal. Majorish transition though kind of expected still works! Nice singing by Karthik.

Verdict: Like this song at first listen. I think will go on to love it



Do Nishaniyan

Starts off almost exactly like the Oru Naal Unnai Naan phrase in mannippaya. Why do I feel there isn't clarity of vocals?? Is that second bgm a continuum?? String runs, swells, crescendos... Song seems to have all ARR elements intact.

Verdict: This song will take time to grow I guess. Sounds good at first listen.



Pam Para

Shreya :D Like the way the song starts. Sounds like vintage Rahman. Wait I'm just 40 seconds into the song. What's with Shreya sounding all college girlish! Ok I am NOT biased towards this song because there's Shreya in it. As it progresses, it does seem to get a little monotonous. I'll give it some time.

Verdict: This might go on to be a big hit. Commercial stuff.



I'll Be Waiting

Oh man Jazz!! This one's gonna be a hot favourite of mine! Vijay Yesudas singing in English??!! Very very good! Man this song's killer! The Tu Bole of JHS. Another ode to good ol' Louis Armstrong? Expected a sax bgm, got one. The strings backing is super brilliant. I am not even paying attention to the tune because I know it'll be fabulous and will grow on me the more I listen to it. The overall feel of it is AMAZING.

Verdict: To borrow from Woody Allen, I luurrrve it!



Do Nishaniyaan (Heartbreak Reprise)

The first one sounded like heartbreak too. Can't seem to find much difference in the feel in both versions. Like the flute bgm. Why so much autotune in the aalap :(

Verdict: Same as the first version



Call me Dil

Saw Rahman sir performing this at Saregamapa and was blown away. Why didn't he sing the final version?? The "Call me Dil" chorus is awesome. Song has a very positive vibe to it and I'm loving it.

Verdict: This will be on my playlist for a while. Would've loved an unplugged version



Mayya Yashoda (Both versions)

Ok I'm used to this and Cry Cry as I've heard it multiple times already. Love the singing and flute. Vintage ARR sitar bgm backed by lovely strings. And just noticed, the synth bass line is sexy. Tempo changes work fabulously in creating a very upbeat mood. Respect to Javed's last sangathi! Thames mix is groovy. More or less the same stuff with an extra thump and groovy programming. The flute fits seamlessly into this remix ;) Love the ending

Verdict: Like the original version better than the remix, but then again, the original's so good, even the remix is a notch above a lot of other original compositions I've been hearing of late ;)



Cry Cry

Not yet saturated with this song, having heard it atleast forty times till now. Love the arrangements. Bass slides every now and then, the EP grooves, some awesome chord work when Shreya sings. And that last harmony in Cry Cry! Song's a hit already. This is probably my second favourite song in the album from what I've heard so far.

Verdict: Works big time!



Overall

Firstly, all those who dissed the CWG theme, well STFU. JHS is here and here to stay!

Love this album, although I might not have been able to get the hang of most of the songs at one go. I have a feeling it'll be a sure shot hit, and heck even if it's not, it's got some really really good music and that's all that matters. I have been looking forward to this one, and I am certainly not disappointed. Another week and the songs will sink into my system in all their glory. I'll write again then. Perhaps not, I'll just enjoy the music. You do too! And please. Buy the CD!

Friday, September 03, 2010

The CWG Theme... My Take on all the BS

The commonwealth games theme song is out. With all the controversy shrouding the games, it is but natural that Mr.A.R.Rahman would not be spared either. Hasn't it always been characteristic of our sensationalist media to pull attention to shy, non controversial, rather subdued yet iconic people like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahman into controversy given the slightest opportunity? And that despite being world beaters at their respective professions, they have time and again managed to come out unscathed, only to silence critics to kingdom come!



What seems to irk people is the price quoted for the song. While the veracity of this amount still remains to be established, I personally feel there is nothing wrong if the song indeed came at such a price. After all you are hosting an international event, and more importantly you are signing up an international music icon to represent your country. You are signing up the brand that is A.R.Rahman. And brands come at a price. Any Tom Dick and Harrish could have been roped in to compose the theme song. The song would've still worked. But when you're hosting an international event in your country, it becomes imperative to show up in your best dress. With everything else about the cwg going haywire and corruption rearing its now familiar head with an extra smirk on its face, A.R.Rahman is the only positive buzzword. But no, we don't want to let him be either!



Coming to the song itself, I personally like it. Yes there are songs by the maestro in recent times that I have liked better, but this song is still very good. For a sports theme, I think this is more than sufficient. If at all I would pick out one sore aspect, it would be the lyrics. But what exactly were the critics expecting? Another Vande Mataram? Had that happened they would've said the song sounds repetitive. If ARR had done this song free of cost I'm sure the same people bickering now would've had different opinions. Maybe they would've even liked the song!



Success makes people jealous. Other people's success I mean. I read a rather surprising article in a newspaper asking people about the song. The "people" being questioned were supposedly singers and composers no one had heard of (and hopefully wouldn't want to hear or hear of), and everything from the tone of the article to the opinions expressed was utterly negative. Almost as if someone at the newspaper decided to launch a personal tirade against the composer.



To these people and others who think Rahman didn't deserve what he got for this song, I have some questions. Would you rather have composed this theme? Who are you? Did you slog your butt off and win the country two Oscars, Grammys and some hundred other awards and still remain composed and firmly grounded? Having said that, I'm sure A.R.Rahman's goals weren't winning awards. They came to him, and not the other way round. When the Oscars came there were people who said he didn't deserve them. Funny it wasn't them that were part of the jury but much more qualified musicians instead.



I am not saying you shouldn't dislike the song. Everyone has a right to like or dislike the song and express it. But dislike it because it doesn't appeal to you musically, not because your mind is conditioned to dislike everything about the Commonwealth, thanks to corruption and media hype, or because Rahman allegedly got paid an amount you wouldn't be able to charge in your profession because you aren’t half as good in what you do as he is in music.



For those who like it, enjoy the music. My sincere appeal to true fans of the legend to not feed this controversy with angry retorts and to avoid arguments that you know you can't win with logic. Because our icon is not someone whose reputation we should be damaging by cheap fanboy-ism. Nothing irks bad mouthers like silence and patience. I have seen genius at work, and trust me, his genius combined with inhuman mental equilibrium is something we can only dream of achieving! A.R.Rahman is beyond all this, and he will be back with some great music. And that is all we should be looking forward to!



Ever a true Rahman fan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

[Serial] Will Chandru Kalakkify? (aka Amu-kky Vaasippala?)- Part 2

2

Roughed by the days’ happenings, with a grimace, Chandru got down to work. He was drained completely yet he had to do what his boss had asked him to do. His mind was like that of a zombie waiting to ghoul on his boss. He opened his communicator and searched for the associate’s name whom he was supposed to approach regarding the networking problem.

Amuthavalli? How on earth can peoples have this name and all ? Our peoples have a very decent and modern tradition of having names like ‘Sreesanth’ , ‘Bindhu’, ‘Kichu’, ‘Reshma’ . Wish I got a chance to talk to someone whose name was a sweet poetry like the Chakkapazham Halwa J

By now you must have guessed what had happened? Yes, Chandru pinged Amy thinking he had pinged Amuthavalli. Realising the mistake shortly, he was in a sticky situation whether to continue the conversation with Amy or to apologize and ping the right person thereby doing his work. After a moment of deliberation, he decided to flirt with Amy for after all if she were hot (of course there’s no way he’d find out right now), she would be his ‘Chanda’ and if not he had nothing to lose in his world of daydreaming. There with all his might, and a silent prayer to Guruvayoorappan, he pinged… THUD !

***

Humans have this uncanny ability to express their thoughts in words. What humans lack sometimes is the ability to think. This often results in a lot of words being exchanged, especially when there are many people in conversation, and little actually being said. Which was precisely what was happening in the conference call Amy was in… Of course, she had company in Alex, at the other end of the line. About the only redeeming aspect of these calls was the hilarity that used to ensue when Alex, with his American accent spoke and everyone derived new meaning from his words, ultimately resulting in Alex sending out a mail to the team after the call, detailing everything that he said and hence defeating the purpose of the call itself.

There wasn’t much work today and as she got back to her seat, Amy chose to ignore Umesh’s chat window. Marriage… Something that would change her life forever… Curtail her freedom; if that’s what she could call her current state…Maybe even make her quit her job. She didn’t want to get hitched this soon. She wanted to enjoy life, though she didn’t exactly know its exact definition. She wanted to have some fun.

Fun came in the form of popup chat window. The name read Naryanan, Chandramouleeswaran. He had asked about some network issue she had no clue of and then realized he was looking for Amuthavalli and not Amruthavalli. However, the conversation didn’t end there…

***

The chat:

Amy (A):

I think you're mistaken. I'm not amuthavalli. I'm amRuthavalli

Chandru (C):

Hey am sorry da. I did that by mistake without knowledge

Amy’s Mind Voice: ”Da” it seems. Talk of making mistakes with knowledge!

A:

No issues

Chandru’s Mind Voice: What to start with now?

C:

Hey what kind of work you do?

A: I pluck lice out of hairy males in office. What's his problem?

I write code. I guess we all do, don't we?

C:

lolzzz ya but my work is so boring ya.. i listened to music and read e books in the meantime

A: Oh my IQ just shot up triple digits knowing that. Is today "world talks to Amy in bad english" day or

what!! Ok so Mowglee wants to have fun! Time to give back. Localese ahoy!

Ya ma. Wat to do. I also listen all kinds of musics da.

C: Pat on my back. Its working successfully more than my code !

What kind of music you listen ? I love A R Rahman , Shakira and most of all my favvourite is BSB.. they are just awesome and they rock the world . I can also sing their songs fully

A:I bet you have a secret fetish for Nick Carter!

Oh even I listened ya, but now and all only Tamil fast musics. I like that Bailamo Simaro Lano song very much

C: Huh ?? What song is this ? May be she is telling some other English song . Lets pretend to know it

somehow and manage it by talking about books.

I also like that song so much. Anyways do you read books da?

A:

Yes I do. You too a?

C:

Hey books are my favourite pastimes da. I read Chetan bhagat' 'two states' 15 times you know ? I loved that book so much da. It just talks about love and lovers nicely

A: I bet your first book was five point someone!

Oh I haven't read that

C: Wow ! Success ! I can talk about the book and show how good am I in literature !

The book tells properly about the state of lovers in our country da. You know all the problems lovers face in our country na ? Thats so nicely written in that book anyways you also read the book and tell ur experience to me da

What are the other books you read ?

A: Ayn Rand, Amitav Ghosh, Wodehouse

I read Harry Potter. I will read two states ya. It seems very interesting da

Hey I call you Mowgli means ok va?

I like that name da

C:

Hey thanks so much da. I like the name so much how do you think of that name ?

A:

Oh simply. I like that jungle book on tv ma. You want keep me name?

C:

Hey of course da Wait thinking of a name.. But your name is very old ma. You not feeling sad about that?

A:The guts you son of a… !

No I dont. I am happy with my name yaaar. You dont want means dont keep name. Bye

C:

Hey no no da. Dont get angry like this. I'll definitely keep you one name. Is JLo ok ?

Cozz i like her voice so much ma. My room full of her posters onyl

A:Does JLo know this!

Call me Amy da. Better. No, not angry

My turn bimbo!

So mowgli, what other stuffs do you like?

C: She don’t even know Backstreet boys but wants western name ha ha

Amy eh ? It sounds very cool ma I like the name so much. Its as sweet like you

A:

How do you know I am sweet da? You are clairvoyant?

Oops he doesnt know what it means

I mean are you future teller by reading mind?

C: Cha i missed a chance to impress her! Thought of googling the meaning of the word ! lets manage it

Hey i know that word da. Anyways i love freaking out with friends and then partying , dancing and all

A: Agree with the “freaking people out” part! Where do you party? Ahobila Mutt?

Oh hey me too ya. You know we very similar I think.

Hey Mr.Desperate, catch this!

So you have a girlfriend a? Party with girlfriend a ;-)

C: Wow she asking because she’s interested maybe! I don want to give her wrong message!

JLo you sound very comfortable da. I like talking to you . I dont have girlfriend ma. I dont have enough money with me da so they dont come to me at all .. lolzzzzzz

A: I am SO impressed and just waiting to go out on a date with you mister. Here doggy, go fetch!

Ha ha but not all girls like money minded ya. You know, I should tell you something.

But its ok

Leave it

C:

Hey please dont put suspense da. Tell me please ma

A: Bait taken and swallowed whole!

no no its ok

nothing

you may get angry by it

C: Wow what is she gonna say? So exciting!

please da. dont put puzzles and go away. My mind will be spining later

you tell da

A: Didn’t you know Shakuntala Devi’s my aunt?

I don know you that much so difficult to say it da

C:

please

A: Only if you roll over and play dead

don force !

C:

okay da. its upto you da

A: Giving up so soon??

don mistake me da

C:

but i already feel very close to you da. if u dont tell me ,its ok da

but remember i'll be always there for you nu

A: Yeah Chandler Bing I know you will!

I think of telling but hesitate because only today I know u.

thanks dear

C:

you have to tell everything to your dear ones only then you'll feel light ma

please tell me na

A: Actually what I want to say is…

(To be continued)