Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Of shampoo ads, new year resolutions and the East India Company

I still haven’t seen Avatar, and though initially I didn’t think it would arouse interest, the hype people around me are giving, including sensible ones, makes me want to watch it. Heck, it’s being touted as the cinematic experience of the decade and all that. So I am pretty curious.

This Monday, I had this strange feeling of missing the Saathumadhu(rasam) saadham and chips combo at night. It’s then that I realized I hadn’t had dinner at home for five days straight. Yes lunch I did have, but I had been dining outside continuosly. Nothing beats home food!

It’s that time of the year when people make resolutions. And write about people who make resolutions. I’m not going to try and be different and claim I won’t write about them. As a matter of fact, I’m already two sentences into writing about new year resolutions, as usual without getting anywhere close to the point.
Well, the news is, I don’t think I have any new year resolutions but for a few important ones including finishing off watching all the movies in my comp and in the process do justice to the Hitchcocks, Kubricks and Coen Brothers waiting on my hard disk like a newly committed girl on her first dinner date(I can come up with such absolutely corny metaphors too :P)

Had a fun shoot at Vijay TV a couple of days ago. New year special. Sang with this enthu kid Sharat. I think it’ll go on air on New Year day in the morning on Star Vijay. Was great meeting up with the supersinger ‘06, SSJr-1, ‘08 and the current kids gang.

Another update: if you happen to hear a shampoo ad jingle go “Yelelangadi Yelelangadi” on tv, the male voice is mine. Cavin Care product. My first official recording to make it on-screen, hence the aarva kolar :D

I’ve been reading Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, and what seemed to be a tad bit dragging initially has turned out to be quite an engrossing story which I hope to finish in the next few days. I haven’t read much Indian fiction, in fact apart from the non-detail english schoolbooks that had R.K.Narayan and Ruskin Bond, I think 5 point someone’s the only Indian Fiction I’ve read. As I type this, I remember a storybook I got free with Complan when I was in class four or five. The author was Bengali and it was about some kids getting marooned on an island. I remember liking the story very much. Coming back to Amitav Ghosh, either considerable research has gone into the variegated society and cultures that existed in 19th century India, or the author has superhuman imagination to conjure up so much detail.

Doing a show with Karthik and Pop Shalini tomorrow. Should be fun :)

And before I forget, whatever little I heard of Hosanna rocks!! Looking forward eagerly to the audio. May thalaivar Rock and other precious stones :D

Last but not least, here’s wishing you folks a Wonderful and Happy New Year! May this year fulfill all your dreams and wishes and provide you with unbounded happiness! In addition to other things, may this year improve my prospects of pataaofying Shreya ;-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Of Super Singer Jr 2 and singing to tunes

I haven't really been able to catch much of the second installment of Super Singer junior, mostly because working out of Siruseri (read almost Andhra border), you are kind of tempted to give yourself a pat on the back(which is again kind of inconvenient) if you're able to reach home by the time the sun sets. So my opinions in this post are pretty much based on the performances I've caught every now and then on TV. If you beg to differ, kindly go ahead and do so. But this is my blog, and since you're gonna be begging, the old adage says you can't really choose :-D
I do not want to pick out any favourites as such, but you've gotta give it to these kids (and I mean only the real "kids")! The talent is amazing!

There's a duet round going on this week. Mom follows more or less every week. There's this one-contestant-build-up-thingy that happens from time to time in these reality shows. Part n parcel of the game. So I decided to see if it was going on here. The duet round took me back a year to the duet round we had in Super Singer '08. Pretty much the same rules. One sofa, where the best couple gets to sit and if they managed to keep their asses glued to it till the 3 episodes are over, they get double promoted. Back then, we had guessed and rightly so, who would end up with sticky bottoms even before the first contestant sang.

Watching the episode yesterday, there was this feeling of deja vu, which was only reinforced watching half of today's episode. A certain couple sang Azhage Sugama, and though personally I feel one of them is a brilliant singer, this particular performance didn't really strike a chord. Perhaps I do not have the right to pass judgments, but I can smuggle opinions which I most certainly will. That song is close to my heart. And there was definitely soul lacking in the song, especially in the male vocalist's rendition. Of course, like I guessed, they were given the hot seat, or rather the sticky seat ;) And my guess was, they wouldn't be replaced at least in tomorrow's episode.

Today's episode began with a brilliant rendition of Rathiriyil Poothirukkum. Beautifully coordinated singing, even voice presence, and flawless singing by both the kids. There was not much room for finding errors in either. So what do you do now? Well, you heighten one's performance in contrast to the other and make the audience think the other probably lacked that extra something this one had(also known by several names like the X factor, the hogwash factor, bullshit etc). So now that there's a contrast, the sofa can't be theirs can it? While the performance, individually and collectively was miles ahead of azhage sugama, the sofa and it's contents remained the same. The boy who sang rathiriyil was spot selected, the audience, treated to a commercial break. And made to forget that something was abysmally wrong.

Tomorrow, I declare today, there is a 90 percent chance that particular hot seat will retain its contents. Even if Hariji and Shreya were to sing a duet :) Let's see...

And if it does come true, I'm gonna end this post with a smiley. Tomorrow.

And here ends my post with a smiley :-D

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sil Sil Sil Sillellaaa

Seems like Cognizant’s planning to do research on the impact of cryogens on productivity. And volunteers have been randomly chosen across locations I believe. Or should I say guinea pigs??

Been freezing to death in my seat since morning. It’s been progressively getting colder in my work area the past few days and repeated calls and mails to the Admin finally had them sending one of their personnel out here to my neighbour’s seat. This was yesterday. After reassurances that they would “reduce the AC”, they left.

Today they’ve lived up to their word. They’ve “reduced” the temperature. Yeah so what about it, you may ask. Ask. Oh you don’t want to? That’s fine, don’t ask, I’m gonna tell anyway. The answer’s pretty obviious: I’m friggin freezing here!

What a topic to be blogging about! I mean, without the exclamation. Freezing in your seat, hands hardly moving, fingers alone searching for the keys and typing away! And you are expected to work!! Perhaps the underlying research is based on cooling the brain till it assumes semiconducting properties and hence increasing the neruological activities, thereby increasing productivity!

Reminds me of this poster stuck on the glass walls of TCO library. Got a quote from this magazine “Frozen Thoughts” (get the joke?? *wink wink*). It goes “When you squeeze an orange, only orange juice comes out”. I don’t remember the rest of what the writer aimed to metaphorize, but this was enough to make me wish I were Goundamani at that moment! Err… he would’ve perhaps reacted with something like “Dei mosambi mandaya, orange a puzhinja pinna pazhani panchamrutham a varum?!”
For my non-tamil-understanding readers, Goundamani is one of the best slapstick, slap-on-your-face, kick-ass-and-everywhere-else comedians in Tamil movies, never too short of an absofckinlutely hilarious insult when you need one! And that particular line would more or less literally translate to : You SweetLimeHead/Slimehead! What else do you expect to get out of squeezing an Orange, Pazhani Panchamrutham?? (Pazhani is a holy place in TN where you get this sweet nectar as prasad, called Panchamrutham, and I’m sure you couldn’t care less about it :P).

Battle of the Bands is reaching it’s finale today. Where it was, pre-finale you ask. I don’t know. But it seems I’ve to perform today. With temperatures bound to hit subzero in a few hours, looks like I’ll be singing like SRK today. Kkkkyunki baas bhi kkkkkkabhi badboooo thi! (multiple K’s to be understood as SRK’s kakakaka stuff and not to be confused with Ekkkkkta Kkkapoorr’s numerological attempts at finding a partner).

You folks have a good weekend! And make sure you don’t get stuck in a freezer! Crazy buggers ha!
PS: The title is arguably one of the best songs to have ever been composed in Tamil Film Music history! Ice breaking I’d say!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Mountain

Spectacular the golden sheath,
The morning sun upon the mountain peak,
A majestic mass of imposing stone,
Shone like it were His golden throne!

Spoke the town, of the mountain's beauty,
Spoke the river of his towering presence,
Envied the hills, for they felt but meek
In the darkness of his shadow immense.

Come dawn and the sun would cast
A golden glance, loving and warm
Rays of light in the morning mist,
Glittering like a sorcerer's charm!

As the populace its glory extolled,
As turned the valley, in envy, green
The worst of storms the mount had weathered
But only the golden coat was seen.

He hadn't asked for the sun to shine,
Upon him, in resplendent sympathy,
Or the angry gale to test his resilience,
And unleash itself in all its fury.

But, the golden coat was all they could see
And from it sprung their admiration or jealousy
Neither friend nor foe did the mountain crave,
Yet tests of strength he had to brave.

In solitude the mountain reflected:Though
Never intending to, a hindrance be,
He had been but a lonely chunk of rock
Separating land from the sea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Does every post need a title? What title would you give the life you've lived so far?

You know I think life ought to be lived by the moment. Every moment cherished and savoured. For all you know, we could stop existing the next second. And I doubt providence is benevolent enough to give all of us the time and circumstances to reach all the goals we/others set for us. It's about realizing that the journey towards these goals, just the ones that matter to us, is most important. It's about realizing that life's too precious to be wasted away in monotonous pursuit of something imposed upon us by self or society, in the hope of euhporia on reaching that goal, sacrificing the little pleasures on the way! Life isn't about completing what we started. It's about starting whatever we want to, and taking it only as far as it interests us! For there's no guarantee you'll reach the goal in time, and in the end, if you don't, you would've at least had the satisfaction of a pleasant journey...

No, I'm not saying anything new here, neither am I trying to sound profound. It's just that fate has an iron clasp, and it's upto us to decide if we want sqirm in its grip and cut our wrists or give in and let it lead us, and atleast strike up interesting conversation with the prisoners it picks along on the way.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali :)

The festival of lights! May it bring immense joy and unbounded happiness in your life! May the universe conspire to make all your dreams come true! Here's wishing you all a wonderful super duper Diwali :)
Love
Vj

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bombay chutney and ARR-acha maavu

Busy week this one's been. Two days in Bombay(I love to call it that and I’m not Karan Johar, so smartasses please don't correct me that it's Mumbai), and back. Read my first Wodehouse novel, and loved the old world charm, the Brit humour (note the "u") and all that! Planning to read either Catch 22 or To Kill a Mockingbird next… Started Catch 22 long back and never managed to go beyond a few pages. Something tells me I'm gonna like it this time around.

My comp's died on me, and I haven't been able to find the time to get her up and working. Planning to do it tomorrow... Heck what's life without a computer for emotional and moral support!

Speaking of Bombay, I have always loved the city and like it even more now. Though I couldn't extend my stay beyond two days, I enjoyed every minute of it! This city's so lively and two years of my absence seems to have done it a lot of good ;-) The climate was damp, yet welcoming.

Of course, the flights to and fro were as usual dreaded by me. I hate flying. Something about the whole process of subjecting yourself to an aluminium enclosure eleven kilometers above sea level doesn't quite go down well with me and my intestines. And then there's airline food which this time thankfully, I had the option of not buying, since I was flying low cost (supposedly!).

The onward flight was much more turbulent but somehow the thought of touching down at maximum city did some good in alleviating my discomfort. Even before I boarded the return flight, I had a feeling of already being in Chennai, what with the guy behind me pushing me even before the ferry bus’s doors opened, and that maami and her family promptly inventing a double queue at the steps of the plane. With all due respect to civilized Chennaiites and Mumbaikars, we f***in lack patience and courtesy. And deo sprays.

I've been trying to hum Amruthavarshini all day, with a hope to achieve Bombay-like conditions here. With some success I must haughtily say. For it rained in Mambalam when I hummed in Siruseri yesterday! God must've known I live there! Now the rest of blogosphere knows too. Well, may not the rest as in the WHOLE of the REST of blogosphere, but at least this small bunch of blokes reading this rather rummy (I've just read Wodehouse remember??) post know! Today there are clouds hanging over in the distance. Will keep my ardent readers posted on whether they came to my crooning.

And now to all of you who are attending Rahman sir's concert on Sunday. As much as I am jealous of you, since I myself might not make it, I'd like to wish you all the elation and happiness and whatever emotions Rahman sir's music evokes in you. In return for this kindness, I want nothing. Peace out. Have fun! And make sure you guys scream when the MC asks you to scream! After all that's what an artist seeks at the end of the day!! Sore throats! :D. And add my three thousand cheers to yours. Hip Hip Hu(ARR)ay!

I understand the above paragraph to be rather deviant in mood and general writing style from the rest of this post. It's called the ARR syndrome. Typical patients suffer from hyper ventilation, lack of words, or rather, lack of clarity of thought and general restless eagerness to be there at the concert. Now that you know, may the universe conspire to bless you with this syndrome.

Inglourious Basterds STILL hasn't released in Chennai. Much like the time Phone Booth was released around 8 months after I'd seen it in Bombay. Go on. Test our patience. Don't blame the pirates later!

Random One Line Update: Aaj Dil Gustakh Hai rocks!

Random Quote from my Quote Hanger: You can take a horse to the water, but to make it drink, it has to be thirsty.

Random Incomplete line: And then she told Adam, "Oh how I wish you learnt to finish what...

Random Inference: I've been writing a series of "Random" things without the slightest notion why.

Random Inference 2: Looks like I'm trying to find a way to end this post and am stuck in a loop.

Random Note: My brain tells me I've used the word inference twice and using it a third time will make it kind of un-cool. Hence...

Random Conclusion: This post has ended.





Random gibe at you: You still read this line anyway!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vidhyaarambham, Vada Paayasam and Karaharapriya

Don't let the title mislead you into thinking I've had my share of Vada Payasam. Yesterday yes, but not today! Since it's a working day at Cognizant, there was time just to take bath, do some very basic pooja, sing a song "Shaasthrathukku" and rush. Breakfast was Corn Flakes and Milk. And some Kesari and Appam thanks to a good friend who also happens to be part of the thachi mammoo brigade.

So what is it about today that makes it special? For the typical Tambrahm, it's the day our parents forced us into Paatu Class (you may add Keyboard, carnatic of course, violin, mridangam and dance to that list) when we were kids. While for some of us it was a new beginning, for some others it was about the only day they even went to class! I do not remember if my first paattu class started on Vijayadasami day, but I do remember reverentially taking Aashirvadams from my Gurus and saashtaangama sevichufying, Abhivadaye included (My Guru for most part of my learning, Shri.O.V.Subramaniam sir used to crane his ears to listen to what I was saying). Those were good times, singing Mandara Dararey loudly, "Nanna Vaaya vittu paadu" my dad used to say. Perhaps I am getting nostalgic about the days I was properly learning music. sometimes I wish I had continued...I guess I will, when it has to happen.

And this was the day moms were waiting to take revenge on us for having not touched books the previous day. At least one chapter per subject had to be studied. And there would be this feeling what we did today would reflect on what we got in the exams. The harder you studied today, the better. Only, what matters is how hard you study two days before the exam onwards :p

And then there used to be the usual aathu saappadu, which still is, only I'm stuck at office :(
More Kozhambu with Vada in it, Vadai otherwise, saathumudhu (I like it with Vadai in it too :D), Akaaravadasal(yeah "vada" in it, but just the spelling lol), and saving the thachi mammoo for the afternoon. Pretty much the basic menu for any Iyengar festival, with additions depending on the nature of the festival. Oh we have variety and so much don't we??

Had a Karaharapriya hangover, sleeping off last night listening to Madurai Mani Iyer. Quite literally a hangover, for the splitting headache's still there! It didn't help that I was listening this morning to quite a long exploration of Kalyani (if it lasted from Mambalam to Siruseri, I guess it WAS prettylong). The headache won't go till I'm back to bed. Which is unlikely. No mood for vada paayasam either. Somehow can't get out of the weekend mood, hence decided to blog about it. I guess many of you would identify with the current mood. For those who don't, happy working!

Other updates over the weekend include watching Eeram (decent flick), scaring the crap out of the thachi mammoo brigadier mentioned above, post movie, super lunch celebrating 2 years of Cognizance, The Godfather (movie), watching the match slip out of India's hands, as I slipped out of consciousness, Saraswati pooja, going for a comedy(supposedly!) play by the Rebelz theatre group and trying verrrrry hard to laugh, taking revenge on the friend who called me to the play by making him buy snacks, watching Quick Gun Murugan (finally, and nothing great about it).

Have a great week folks!! And a greater weekend! :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2 years of Cognizance, Tarantino and more...

Been an eventful few days. Did a show with the Cognizant band Euphony last sunday for charity. Was a grand success and real fun! Had a great choice of songs to sing, including Masakkali, Thai Manney Vanakam, Pehla Nasha, Lukka Chupi and Heal the World. Excellent audience, by far the best Euphony has performed to. Raised a few lakhs with our efforts. Feels good :)

Can't understand all the hype about the decline of One Day Internationals and panic surrounding their revival or extinction. I still feel they rock, and that it's just the corporate bigwigs that want the slam bang T20 to replace ODIs. Every time Sachin scores a century, India rejoices! And what a feeling it was when he did that last week! We must be gifted to have grown up watching this guy play.

Throat's completely hoarse and severe cold's set in, and looks like it'll be a few days before I'll get back to singing. Have quite a few movies to catch up on, Kaminey included. Hope to do this sometime in the coming week.
Realize I've been writing this post in Facebook-Status-Update-Mode. But of course isn't this the world of instant everything?? So why not tweet? Only I everytime I feel like updating my FB status, I end up with extreme loss of ideas and thoughts. Surprisingly, blogging seems to help. Not that I've been doing it too frequently of late.

Among other things, today marks two years of working in Cognizant. Must say it's been a pleasant journey so far :-)
Plan to go out with batchmates this weekend to celebrate. Movie perhaps.

Planning to start a new blog chronicling my musical journey, with samples of stuff I've sung or composed. Would like your opinion on this. This would be sort of a music profile. The intentions, to reach out to the public and get their feedback on my work.

Plan to blog more as well. That's been the plan every time I've blogged. To make the next post come earlier. But I guess the universe has its own way of making things happen and not happen. We're just canoes drifting along the current aren't we?

Have a great movie suggestion to end this post with: Watch out for Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. Don't know if it'll release here in India, but the movie's a masterpiece. Of course strictly for Noir and Tarantino fans. If you're the types that sobs on Karan Johar's foren scenery cotton candy, this one's blasphemy. Have a great life you folks! Like a bloggger I know oft puts it , may the universe do whatever it is to make whatever it is that's to happen happen and whatever shouldn't, not to. Of course that blogger never said these exact words, in fact perhaps just the word "universe", but life's about confusing the senses out of people isn't it ? ;-)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Ooh La La La album and the gig afterwards

Folks here's an interesting update! What started 2 years ago is finally taking shape. The Ooh La La La album is seeing the light of the day (refer earlier posts for further details about the show :) ) 6 bands, 6 songs, one album. Released by none other than my all time inspiration, A.R.Rahman!! Me is so excited!

My band Srishti features in this album, and our song is called Ondrai Seruvom.
We will also be doing a promotional gig at City Center on Sunday the 9th of August. Do watch this space for more updates!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Puthu Yugam- Album

Have sung in an album by this enthusiastic bunch who call themselves Team Radiance. Ajesh features too. The Album titled "Puthu Yugam" was launched on July 12th. Unfortunately was out of town and couldn't make it to the release function. Wishing this team all the very best for this album to be a huge success.Check out their blog, to know more about this album.

http://www.teamradiance.blogspot.com/

And do buy it and encourage them :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Short notice :)

Been a really long time since I've blogged. Have been held up with loads of work at office. No time to blog :( I've seen most of the comments, and shall reply soon. I am also thinking of putting up some music on the blog. When time permits ie. Always feels good to get public feedback. Apologies to all followers of this blog to post so late and short. It feels great to know people read what I write, and I'm thankful to everyone of you.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The finale

Just a quick update. One year of effort is finally going to culminate into one person bagging the coveted "Super Singer". Make sure you cheer loudest for your favourite contestant. May the best person win!
Catch the grand finale live at 6.30 PM on Vijay TV or be there if you're lucky to have passes. There's so much excitement among the crew, contestants et al. Finally, the one big day everyone's been waiting for! Leaving now for rehearsals. Shall update once it's all over:) All the very best to the contestants!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The elimination

This post isn't intended to hurt the sentiments of audiences. It is purely intended to convey that a grave mistake has happened. Earlier, there had been an outrage on a social networking site, when I spoke in support of a contestant who was constantly being abused in forums and blogs. What did I get in reply? Hundreds of comments threatening me that the audience is the most important aspect of a show and without them, nothing can happen and that I have no right to blame them for character assassination. Agreed the audience is important. I am part of the audience too. But why is it that some of us tend to leave sanity behind and look for cheap thrills and entertainment when the focus in a music show should be on music?


At a crucial stage in the competition, Ranjani has been eliminated, thanks to audience votes. I reiterate what the judges said here: The audience has made a mistake… a grave one. By ending her run in the show. Considering she was among the top two in the first round of the finals... And was the pick of the judges in the wild card round as well! One of the most versatile, boldest singers in this competition, who chose really tough songs, just to prove her critics wrong. And what did the audience do? Slap themselves on the face by eliminating her. I am sure anyone who is even remotely connected with music would realize the futility of trying so hard and yet losing out because the "masses" weren't convinced.


Sometimes I wonder what makes the audience vote someone out of a contest. Is it because they're accustomed to the age old notion that a heavy-bassy voice is a good male voice and a shrill, shreaky voice is a pleasant female voice? And that anything different from this is enjoyed, yet shrugged off when it comes to deciding? Is it because some dare to be different from mainstream "melodies" or "kuthu"s and explore other genres? Maybe because a lot of people think replicating the song as it is, and imitating the original is a feat worthy of votes, while absorbing a song's nuances and adding it a personal touch is considered

over-ambitious?


I guess it takes more than just good singing to impress an audience. In fact, it doesn't even need good singing, considering Ranjani has been one of the most consistent performers. And by performer, I mean singer. After all, this is a freakin singing competition!! I suppose a contestant not only needs to know what to sing, but also what to speak in front of the camera. It doesn't matter if it's from the heart or not. The audiences watching TV can't see your heart. They'll believe anything you say. After all TV is about histrionics!


We were all shocked at the elimination, and I've been waiting for the episode to be telecast, so I could blog about this. Most of the contestants have expressed a deep regret over this atrocious decision. Some almost in tears, some, just frustrated to no end. Of course there were some others who took this to their advantage and "expressed their deep sympathy by attributing their emoasional singing to Ranjani's elimination" and made it a point to say it in front of the camera. After all, projecting yourself as a do-gooder in times of crisis will win you votes won't it!


I am sure many of you, as viewers of the show, will take exception to my comments, because you may be intelligent viewers, and know that this shouldn't have happened. This post isn't aimed at you. It is aimed at educating the other majority- who get convinced by posters on transformer boxes and railway station walls, by histrionics and pretence, by looks, by preconcieved notions about music and voice- and sadly, forget that good music is above all of this. You may raise a point here, that the show is to entertain, so why am I asking you to concentrate on the music. The answer is, if you're looking for entertainment, go watch a movie. This is a music show. Enjoy the music, and vote for the music. Finally, I repeat what I said on the day Ranjani was eliminated (and which didn't make it to the telecast I am told): You may have broken contestants' run in the competition, but you cannot break the singer that's in them, the music that's in them. Good music will prevail, and all else will be forgotten in due time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Super Singer

My run in super singer finally ended with the second wild card round. And what an experience it’s been! It was total fun, and though I’m out of the show, the people I’ve met there, the friends made, and the wonderful experiences that I’ve had will be things I’ll always cherish. Thank you for your votes and the tremendous support! . Of course the way forward is going to be something to think about.

The best part of Supersinger is the camaraderie that’s developed between contestants. The atmosphere has never been one of tension or jealousy. Of course we all have our favourites but that doesn’t mean the others aren’t congenial. Then again, everyone from the judges, to the anchors, Chinmayi and later Yugendran and Malini, the crew and the production team has been really supportive and nice throughout the contest. Beyond what goes on camera, the vibes have always been good, contrary to the notion that in television and movies, friendships do not last. Ok now I’m getting all candyflossy with this post. No I do not want to write the script for Karan Johar’s next flick!

Super Singer’s definitely changed my life. From one among the crowd to one recognized to an extent by it. It’s been a combination of effort, luck and opportunity. And I must thank all the reasons that’ve made things happen or not happen. Of course, there have been ups and downs as far as the competition is concerned, but then that’s life isn’t it?? When you’re up, you get to realize how deep it is down there, and when you’re down, well…just get out of it!!

Another interesting aspect of this show has been the forums. All you need is internet access and a personal opinion though I strongly feel more people have the former than the latter. There have been so many genuine well-wishers and critics. Every contestant should be grateful to these people, whether or not they have interacted with them. THEY are the audience.

Coming to the other kind of people who post in forums. This is the part which I like most about the forums. The extreme supporters and haters. Give a dumb man fish, he’ll eat for a day, give him an internet connection, and he’ll make sure he’s heard by hook or crook. Unfortunately you can’t throw shoes online (and this is an interesting concept for an office flash game ain’t it??). So what do you do?? Diss about anybody and everybody in all the bad English and foul language you know!! And spread rumours. There’ve been times when we’ve laughed our behinds off reading absolutely hilarious ones.

There was this one about a contestant singing badly and that the producers got pissed and got the special judge that day to dub for the contestant so they could air that!! But my pick is one I was the butt of. There was a tie breaker and there was a grasping test wherein we were told to sing a Malayalam song. Some imaginative bloke out there posts that I already knew the song beforehand and the language too!! Oh how I wish I knew Malayalam J Of course the number of people who believed the rumour were more than the number of episodes the show’s completed so far!! :D

All this is part and parcel of reality television we are told. And the only rule here is, never let them get you! It’s anyone’s general tendency to get infuriated when they hear crap being said about them without their knowledge. The trick is to enjoy the stories that float around. Let people have their share of fun at your expense. And you have fun laughing at how twisted the human mind can get

So finally, a non-random post with a lot of Random stuff about super singer. Been a hectic two weeks at office, and wanted to show signs of life. Hence this post. Happy getting-back-to-work now that you’re done reading it

PS: The latest buzz is that I provoked someone into getting emotional and excited on cam! I love this one :D Let’s see how many twists this tale takes. What you see on camera is what I am. I shall reach out to the last man on earth to make my music heard, but before that, I need a super fast jet and a list of all the men on earth. If my music has reached you *with a reverent bow and a solemn countenance* don’t vote for me. I’m out of the competition already :D

PPS: This post isn’t intended to cause any emotional trauma or provoke any being living or singing. The views expressed here are purely mine, and I don’t intend changing them to suit any camera, rolling or unrolling :D

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What music means to me...

I have been part of Airtel Super Singer 2008 for quite some time now. And currently I’m in a stage where I need the support of the public to take me through to the grand finale. At this juncture, I ask myself how it all started. Not the show… Music as such.

I guess it’s always been there with me. Now going on to say “Music is in my blood” would be preposterous. I wouldn’t want someone out there waiting to stab me to listen to my music ;-) Singing is my passion. Yes, I do a bit of composing too, but singing is my first love! There have been expectations throughout the show…From the audiences, from the judges, and from myself. Every round has been a challenge, and there have been many highs and lows.

At the end of it all, what remains is the fact that I have been singing. Whether on a reality show on tv, or at home or elsewhere, this has been the constant activity. And without liking what we do, it would be impossible to achieve anything. I love singing. I guess I am one of the really lucky few in the world to be able to sing and have an audience listening too. However, there is a long long way to go, before I can call myself a singer. There are miles to cover, and yet, the destination will remain distant. For, the art is greater than the artist.

Music, to me means life. Every emotion I have experienced, every moment I have lived, I can associate distinctly with a song or a tune that went in my head. Music makes me nostalgic, it brings ecstasy, it brings energy, and it brings tears. Airtel Super Singer has been a platform to let people identify with the influence music has had on me, and to share with them, my musical ideas, and capabilities. It has been a blessing that made me entertain thousands. I may not be someone’s favourite, for we all have our likes and dislikes. But the very fact that people have taken notice, and I have been presented an opportunity to reach out to them through this show, brings me immense happiness.

And as an aspiring singer, all I have at the moment is gratitude… to all those who have encouraged me throughout this show, directly or indirectly, to all those who have criticized me, for it has made me learn from my mistakes, and to all the other viewers of the show. It is the public that makes or breaks an artist. And an artist is ever indebted to them, for recognition and fame are an outcome of more than just luck and talent.

I sincerely hope to fulfill the expectations you as viewers of the show have of me, and in the process, realize my dreams of becoming an established singer in the industry. I hope you have enjoyed my performances in the past and like my performances in the Wild Card round currently being aired (Monday, 20th April to Wednesday, 22nd April). If you like my performances and feel I deserve to enter the finals, please do vote for me, either by typing “SS18” on your mobile phones and sending to 57827 or by logging on to http://vijay.indya.com/supersinger08/index.asp. Whether or not I make it to the finals of this show, I would still be ever grateful to all the audiences for encouraging the show and watching it. And I shall keep the music coming.

Friday, March 27, 2009

In the learning curve...

Things i've learn over the past few days of life:

When you set out to not do something, you end up doing it better than you would've done, had you set out doing it.

Everybody has a right to opine on something. Even if they have no idea what it is.

Most of the things we claim to know for “fact” are our very own personal opinions, which, when in tandem with the opinions of few others, we make ourselves believe are facts.

Half-baked information is the worst thing for others to have, and the best weapon to use, if you want to screw somebody’s reputation.

Amusement lies at the heart of watching other people spread wrong information about yourself and watching it spiral out of the realms of sanity.

Someday if I become famous, a hundred years later, ordinary sentences written in my blog might make it to igoogle’s “quote of the day”

And in case the above happens, here’s one I’d personally like to go down as a quote- don’t quote me, I ain’t old enough yet

People can be easily fooled. All it takes is a little patience and a lot of television

Singing is my passion, singing to the tune of people around isn’t.

Life was a lot better before blogs and internet. At least Tom, Dick and Harry stuck to spreading crap by word of mouth alone.

They keyboard is mightier than the pen( Dn mind teh typos)

Everything you read online isn’t true. Heck, most of it isn’t!

Things I’d love to learn in the future:

Malayalam

How to form opinions and be sure they’re wrong and still stick to them

The fastest way to commute between Siruseri and T nagar without owning a car

Who is it that controls the universe. I mean heck we all think we’re in control of our lives till it spirals out of control. There HAS to be someone out there to get us!

Why we tend to be easily fooled by majority, when the chances of the majority being a bunch of fools is higher

How not to get repetitive while blogging

How to make this post longer than it is

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cheering for Rahman Sir!! Jai Ho!!!!

Finally, my bit done for Rahman sir's winning the Oscars. Got to scream my lungs out on TV :)
It was real fun, teaming up with some hardcore ARR buffs and cheering for him from the heart!! And to top it all, Vijay Tv came home and shot all of it (was aired today at 8 O clock in "Ella Pugazhum Oruvanukkey"). We crooned Jai Ho, Thai Manney Vanakkam and other incoherent babble in the name of cheering!! But yay!! It was pure ecstacy. My heartfelt thanks to Vijay Tv for giving us this opportunity to cheer for Mr.Awe-sc-ARR!! Also thanks to the bunch of hooligans who were willing enough to come home and contributed to the fun!! Here's the list of attendees, credited in no particular order :D
Mom
Sathya (guitarist she calls herself;))
A.M.Aravind (This guy sure is one idol for fans, on how to be a fan)
Sandhya
Manasa
Mahati
Ravikiran (Offile le aapu thaan di itha padichanga naa ;))
Santhosh (Terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr :D)
Madhu (Stephen Devassy's self proclaimed sister ;) )
And whoever it is that I bought that lovely ARR T-shirt from :D

So, finally, I get to blog about this. And no, I'm not gonna end this post with "Jai Ho". Millions of newspapers and clippings and reports have ended with it. I'm just gonna say..."Congratulations ARR Sir!!! Two Oscars a year is a good rate!! Keep the momentum going, till recession hits the academy hard and they start making plastic statuettes so that they can keep giving you loads of them) :D

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dilli 6 and Connections!

What a way to start the new year! Two albums by Rahman sir!! I'm at office, having some time to sneak in a quick review of both. I've listened to the albums probably 5 times in all, so the opinions here maybe self-contradicted after a few weeks of repeated listening! I don't know what's spurring me to write this...it's maybe the fact that Rahman sir got 3 Oscar nominations just about 12 hours ago! :)

Dilli 6:
The Aarti song is non-intrusive, I guess Ik Onkar's counterpart in this movie. The tune is repetitive, probably traditional. Nothing much to say. Pleasant. Hey Kala Bandar and the title track are straight out of Rahman sir's current trend of punchy synth driven numbers, with top notch programming. The monkey voice in Kala Bander is a clincher! Then come the two classical numbers, Arziyan and Bhor Bhaye. Arziyan is a dream vocal combo, with Kailash Kher and Javed Ali's voices supporting each other beautifully. Shades of Sakhiye Nee thaan thunaiye (the line "aathavan ponaal ahal thaan oliyae") emerge now and then, but on the whole, the 8 minute plus song is a treat. Bhor Bhaye combines an old record of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan interspersed beautifully with Shreya Ghoshal's voice, and is again a traditional composition I believe. I'm not qualified to comment about BGAK's singing. As far as Shreya's singing goes, she almost does complete justice. Dil Gira is yet to sink in completely, and I think it will take a lot of time, given the absolutely unconventional structure, the vocal usage and the overall tune...As of now, it sounds like one of those songs that'll grow on to become all time favorites. Genda Phool is again a fun song, that takes you by surprise with its groovy arrangements amidst folksy singing, and that "bow bow" bass synth only adds to the fun element in the song! Rahman sir's singing in Raina Tu is absolutely out of the world, and the arrangements, the carnatic postlude played on the continuum fingerboard and everything else I've forgotten to mention about this song, are mindblowing! And to top it all comes Masakkali, that hits the bulls eye the first time you hear it, and then leaves the bull blinded by its brilliance. The latin feel, the harmonica solo, the rhythm, and top notch singing by Mohit Chauhan are if anything, assurance that Rahman sir deserves every accolade he's getting, and is growing big time in our hearts! Noor is a recital by Amitabh Bachchan, with nothing much to comment about musically. Overall, Dilli 6 I would currently place above Slumdog or Ghajini, commercial, classy and A.R.Rahman written, err painted all over it!

Coming to connections, Jiya Se Jiya was a let down of sorts from the time the tv promos were aired, and it wasn't all that pleasant a surprise to hear a non-arr-sung version. It's a good song to listen to, but hasn't yet assumed greatness. The three flute pieces categorized as Silent Invocations 1,2 and 3 explore various raagaas. They are good to listen to. But then, they are like any other lounge album pieces. I guess the names of the pieces explain the lack of excited flourishes one expects when there's flute in Rahman sir's songs! Mylapore Blues is brilliant, with its jazz arrangements set to an Indian Rhythm. Himalayas is again an experimental piece, more on the lines of Yanni (note: this isn't a plagiarism accusation, it's a reference to the genre the song is set in). Mosquito is again creativity at its pinnacle, with the Saarangi playing the mosquito's role. Rahman sir, we're suffering from this musical malaria thanks to you :) (How cheesy, but couldn't help ;) ) Mann Chandre instantly took me to Man Mohana and Piya Ho. This is yet another brilliant piece, probably the best in the album. The uncredited female vocals and Sukhwinder's feel touch the heart! Overall, a decent album, with best effect when heard without expectations (considering it's come from the man who gave us Vande Mataram).

To sum up, a musical journey has begun with the new year, and the beginning couldn't have been better! Hope this journey continues endlessly. And a silent prayer for Rahman sir to win the Oscars!!
Peace!
:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Indian Actresses and their not-so-Indian Secrets!!!

What does one blog about when one has nothing to blog about?? You may ask, why blog at all if there's nothing. Well, because there's nothing else to do but blog about something. So what is it that I'm blogging about? If you haven't figured yet, I suggest you take up a course in Java fundamentals. Why Java fundamentals? Because at the end of it, I would’ve still blogged about absolutely nothing but you’d be richer intellectually. Not that knowing the fundamentals of Java is going to win you a Nobel nomination. But at least I'd savour the satisfaction of having contributed my two cents to social welfare, by inspiring an educational urge in people through my blog.

Now I realize I've used the term "two cents" in my previous paragraph. Aah American currency. What IS it about the Americans that we take a fascination for? Why didn't I say "two rupees"? To be honest, it didn't occur to me to say two rupees" and it's probably because I've read the term "two cents" somewhere that I’ve used it here unconsciously. Now like every other swadesi, I want to write about the Indian fascination for "foren" stuff and the "yo!" feeling one has when showing off a "foren" product. A mechanical sleep-coffee-travel-coffee-sleep routine has done little to propel my thinking cells to type anything cohesive on that topic and project my opinion on it. And I realize I'm fumbling for words, opinions and also the urge to stick to one topic and at least think about it, leave alone write. I guess it’s what they call attention deficit disorder.

I haven't seen the Hindi version of Ghajini yet. I haven't seen the Tamil version either. Didn't feel like, after watching Memento. Point is not that. It is the short term memory loss concept. Imagine someone having short term memory loss and attention deficit disorder combined. Should be fun to wake up, read the newspaper and find out Obama's president, celebrate, then ask who Obama is, only to wake up again and read the newspaper again and celebrate again!! Life would be a lot more exciting living it this way! At least we'd live for the moment!

Three paragraphs into this post and I still haven't made sense. I'm reminded most of my posts are this way, and people are going to end up concluding this is my style of writing, and that my posts are all similarly random. Now that I’ve made this statement, I can't help thinking I'm writing as if I have a huge blog following and I'm oh so concerned about what the "public" is going to think about the stuff I write! It's good to assume things we don't know for sure, isn't it?? Especially when they give us a sense of "feel good"? It's definitely better than others telling us facts that we don't want to know. Or telling us their assumptions about us, and claiming they're facts!

I think I have a flair for confusing (read confused) writing. I'm proud of it (again I've assumed the flair part, so that "pride" being a good feeling, I can feel good). This is one of those afternoons when the mind is completely disoriented, the eyelids are completely in love with gravity and the stomach is playing vacuum cleaner. The ac is so cold, my fingers would freeze without constant activity. Typing seems to help. If you've read till here, then I thank you for your patience or perseverance or idleness or tolerance whatever you want to call it. Happy doing-whatever-it-is-that-you-are-doing. Keep doing it. God Bless!

PS: If you haven't realized yet that the title was a dirty trick to get you reading this post, take up that Java course mentioned in paragraph one I think…