The Album Tag

I was tagged on Facebook by Amit. Somehow, a tag for me, doesn’t look good on Facebook. I’ve taken the liberty of taking up the tag here, on the blog.

Amit Phansalkar tagged me to create a list of my favorite music, which has made a lasting impression on me. So, here goes.

The rules: Copy this & post as your status, delete my list. List 12 albums in no particular order that made a lasting impression on you, only 1 per band/artist. Tag some friends to do the same (including me, so I can, see what you listed).

6593: My Own Song

  1. Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon: This is a 1963 Hindi movie, starring an actor, who is not known for his acting. Yet, all the songs are so wonderful. Perhaps it was a 60s pattern that some of the not-so-good actors got some of the most amazing songs. In particular, the song “Humdum mere khel na jaano” is one of my favourites. There’s a unique essence of romance that’s inescapable. Here’s the playlist of all the songs of this movie. Mohd. Rafi is at his naughty best, in “Phir Wohi dil laya hoon” and “Lakhon hai nigah mein.” Watch/listen to the full playlist.
  2. Nirgun Bhajan: I was introduced pretty late in life to this. Yet, the impression that this album (if you can call it that, as Amit says) is everlasting. The nature of the songs being spiritual/philosophical (#YouPrefer) they suit all times, moods, places, and situations. I remember, listening to about four songs sitting on a London street bollard, while waiting for a friend, a long time ago, on a cool Wednesday afternoon. I am shamelessly using the same link for these songs, that Amit used.
  3. Dnyaneshwari: A 13th C. Marathi translation of the Shree Bhagvad Gita in Marathi, using a poetic metre, very popular in Maharashtra, called an ovi. This translation was done by Sant Dnyaneshwar, a very famous saint of the later Bhakti Movement. It has taken me a while to understand some parts (it is in olde Marathi) – but the lyrical quality, the structure and the wonderful rendition by Lata Mangeshkar is a a treat. Listen to the full album here.
  4. Arth-Saath Saath: Why is this album of two movies? It has perhaps to do with the fact that these movies were released during the cassette-tape era; Side A and Side B. Both movies were released in 1982 and each song is a gem. Unfortunately there isn’t wasn’t a playlist of these songs, so, here is one I created for this post. Most songs in this album are a discovery of finding love, losing love, and knowing love. “Tere Khushboo Mein Base Khat” is an all-time favourite.
  5. Concert in Central Park: By far the best collection of S&G songs, and it’s live. New York often finds mention in S&G songs, but this is a concert that you have to listen to, to feel the spirit of NY alive and kicking, in the concert. Enjoy!
  6. So Beautiful So What: This is the album where I potentially break the rules of this tag. I say potentially because #5 above is an S&G album, and this one is Paul Simon. SBSW is a recent release, and all that is true, wonderful, lovable, heartfelt about Paul Simon comes back to life in this album. It’s different in many ways – but the sense of love is the same. I will not be able to put it in words, so why don’t you go ahead and listen to it. If you have time for only one song, don’t miss “Dazzling Blue.
  7. Essential – Roy Orbison: I admit, I didn’t know of Roy Orbison for a long time. A chance encounter, c. 1999, sitting alone in a place thinking of a love far away, I heard Blue Bayou. I asked the bartender who it was, got myself this album the next day. Since then, it has never let me down. All 36 songs from this double CD set, here.
  8. The Abbey – Monks and Choirboys of Downside Abbey: March 2008; soulful voices echoing through the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Enough said? I just could not find the playlist for the album that I have, but here’s a superset, to help you get the flavour of what I enjoy.
  9. Le Nozze Di Figaro: Two words — Shawshank Redemption. Red says, “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about.Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a great place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.” Never heard opera before in my life. After listening to an extract of one, in the movie, I got the album and it did not disappoint – though I still cannot understand it or tell you why I love it, I do.  Some titles aren’t available in this playlist, but it won’t be too difficult to find the Herman Prey version.
  10. But Seriously: The perfect album to have been released when you are seventeen. This album has been mine, since. And while I may discover and love newer music, this one is rock-solid, always there. And here it is for you.
  11. Pyaasa: No amount words can do justice to tell you what this album means to me. It’s not just the songs, it’s the movie, the man, the method, not in the least – the madness. Listen and lose yourself.
  12. Love, Actually – OST: If we were to ever talk of the best OST of a movie, this would rate way up in my list. Eclectic, evocative, emotional. Listen

Bonus: A Toda Cuba Le Gusta: If, you feel that I cheated with S&G/Paul Simon, here’s another one. This is an album of happiness and joy. Not just Cuba, I feel, everyone in the world loves it. This album is a Star Trek – like – teleporter. It can take you to wonderful places and wonderful times. All yours.

Feel free to take up this tag, and let us know of twelve albums that have had a lasting impression on you!


A Year in Posts

I have been tagged by Gauri. This tag comes after ages – tags on blogs are very yesterday – no one does that anymore. No one writes as much on their blogs anymore. I know I don’t.

While Gauri’s post asks for post from the month that set a tone; I am choosing to link to the 12 posts – I think that were very close to my heart in some way or the other for that month.

This tag, I must sadly admit, is quite easy to do. I have blogged between 3 – 7 posts every month, this year. I have put the number of posts against the month; describes the sorry state of affairs that my blog was in – all of this year.

January (5): The Prayer of Intention: Fresh from over-exposure at a spiritual retreat, this thought pounded me for a while. My sedimentary-rock-like beliefs were re-examined and reconsidered.

February (3): The Blog is Dead: While I have obviously written little this year, it didn’t seem natural to me. The thought kept nagging – and I ended up writing a lot about the blog itself. Perhaps it was some kind of divine therapy.

March (5): Shine: This post set a hint of a comeback, almost. I can’t say much about the post, except, it was a positive experience for me.

April (4): My Line about Myelin: Another post about blogging – well, not exactly – but about my writing. Inspired by Labi Siffre and Robert Genn, in a single breath…er…post.

May (3): The Warrior’s Dilemma: A personal dilemma. The photo made more sense than the post. Each gave the other some context. I am glad I take weird photos.

June (3): D-Day: About Blogging again – but this time – discovering the value of blogging. And of blogging for a while. Gathering the reminders of my life along the way. Interestingly, this post did not receive any comments. (Which became a theme in the months to follow)

July (7): Remains of the Day: 004: I had started this as a series that I would continue every month. If I had done it, this tag would have been easier. Some eye-opening stuff happened this month.

August (4): The Evening Before Knopfler’s Night: A beautiful post. Not many read it, and those who did, probably didn’t get it. That evening, not many folks came. I had him all to myself.

September (4): No Answers: As if it was possible, I was trying to make sense of a death.

October (7): The Purposive Ethos of an Artist: A well-written post, after a long time. Something not about blogging. I spent too much of time in this period with artists, I think.

November (3): The Birth of the Reader: Barthes-inspired and a personal belief that I have been dragging alone for a very long time. The human interference in art.

December (4): Against Extreme Moderation: I have no idea why this one did not get any response. As the year came to an end, the sense of being lost began to fade.

At the cost of duplicating those that Gauri has already tagged, I tag:



Det-res (Delivered!)

Girish (Delivered!)

AFJ (Delivered!)


Let the games begin!

Tag: Five Keywords

Seems I have built a reputation for myself about tags. I am the de-orphaner of tags. And while we are at it, a small disclaimer is due. I don’t quite like the five-things-and-nine-things kind of tags. And while we are at it, there is a reason I like tags and like tagging forward. They make you think – especially the ones that force you to think. The write-about-yourself-kind-of-tags don’t serve a divine purpose; there is not much thought that has to go in there. (I do them all the same, they contribute to the post count — and these tags, I may orphan)

But, yes, I love tags. And this time I got tagged twice. By Gauri and Dharma. And justice, follows:

The tag: What you have to do is simple: Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given : family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like. Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

On Family.
On Friends
On Myself
On Love
On Anything

Old Tagees:
New Tagees:
Teeth that Sparkle

Blog Talk

We all have a language we speak. We all have a language we understand. Blogs speak too. Not just through what you write in them. Through their understanding of the words that we fill them with, they make their own language. And it looks good too!


What does your blog have to say? Find out!

The 7 Tag

Weird Viral tagged me on this one.

Seven weird things about me:

One: I open sandwiches to see what’s inside, even if I know exactly what’s between the slices. If I can’t open them (for whatever reason), I always look between the slices to see what’s inside.

Two: I never plan buying clothes. Most of the stuff I own was once worn by a mannequin or hung out there for all to see.

Three: I can voluntarily twitch one nostril. My nieces (used to) love it, however, I haven’t found any use for this skill (as yet).

Four: I can mirror-write with my right-hand. (is that the same as writing backwards, Shankari?). I haven’t done that in a while and, like the nostril-thing – I don’t know the use for that.

Five: I can’t pull myself away from an Amitabh Bachchan movie. I have known to be delayed on occasions because of that.

Six: I hate (nearly) all fruit. I don’t mind fruit juices and shakes, but I hate raw fruit. Especially the soft, pulpy, mushy fruit.

Seven: I had to rely on her to tell me a few weird things about myself. I don’t know a lot of weird things about myself. Who better to ask than the one that suffers them all!

I sometimes break tag rules, even modify them. For once I am not tagging anyone – because most of the folks I know who might do the tag have already been tagged.

Feel free to pick it up!

Blogging Being

IMG_5101 - Version 2

I like to believe in coincidences. That way it is easier to deal with happenstance than dissect and analyse the ‘bigger scheme‘ of things that we aren’t privy to.

A couple of days ago I found great food for thought (as much as I was tempted to say food for blog, I shall let the cliché survive) on Lorelle’s recent Blog Challenge post. Just the thought sounded yummy and I said so. But I had no idea what definition I would give. I had shied away from it some time ago, when I had asked the same question to a few bloggers. Blogging means a whole lot of things to me and at the time I put my comment on her post, all those meanings were happily rioting against the floodgates that barricade my otherwise unruly thoughts.

Coincide the above with: The day after I did AFJ’s tag, I thought I would give the ‘answer‘ to the tag. But no, it wasn’t meant to be. I ended up running from here to nowhere via everywhere including WordPress WordPress Support. (The fine folks I always talk about). The problem was quickly resolved. Now, the response post wasn’t critical. At all. It could have been posted even after this post – it wouldn’t have mattered. But just the thought of not being able to post on my blog…!
Blogging doesn’t define me (and thankfully so; given the fifteen-odd blogs that I presumably “write”, I would be easily diagnosed with multiple – (and somewhat split) personality syndrome). I do, however, define blogging, and yet the definition is elusive. I talk of the kind of definition that we have all grown accustomed to.

x is y with z features.

A few of you who have been long-standing victims of my obsession with words, meanings and contexts will know my dilemma. What meaning do you ascribe to something like blogging? It is always easier, I believe, to derive meaning of multiple contexts, and blogging lends itself just fine to multiple contexts.

Blogging is spaces. It is about the spaces that we inhabit, in the world or the worlds that we create for ourselves. We believe we know our space, we are protective about it, often possessive about it. A blog becomes just that and a bit more. It allows for a meandering exploration along those in-between white spaces in between our worlds; those that we don’t often notice and hardly care for. When we are in the white space, when we see from that vantage, we see a lot of colour. There is a vigorous sense of being alive.

Blogging is fear. It is about two types of fear. One that we are able to overcome, often through anonymous blogging, a way for expressing that the otherwise imposed social rules of engagement do not allow us to. This is not floccinaucinihilipilification. Some of the best bloggers are anonymous and it doesn’t change a thing about the beauty and insight in their writing. At the same time, blogging causes fear. Well, fear is too strong a word, but after a while the material attachment to the post-count, comments, stats and therefore the readers, brings a tense sense of holding on. The blog becomes as human as we are. It has flesh and blood – and it has feelings. The cycle continues.

Blogging is judgement. Of every word that dims a few pixels on your screen. Of every post that was born of a thought that refused to disintegrate and crumble at the feet of your neurons; that insisted on being born. Of every reader who reads your post and says something, or doesn’t. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad better than my blog. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad worse than my blog. In these hallowed halls, where you become the judge and the accused in half-duplex, all is seen through a discerning eye. All is sliced up and spiced up, and given a permanent place, assigned a value.

Blogging, however, is mostly expression. An otherwise delinquent thought becomes a well-behaved angel and sits smartly in a post. And a million such, together create that wonderful experience that is not the author; the blog is seldom the author – it is the author’s projection of colourful thoughts like a festive London Eye on a moonless night, spinning at its own happy whim and in its own blissful frenzy.

And yet I haven’t done any justice to what blogging means to me. The most important context of it all; the most elusive: a blog’s cajoling nature that urges you to articulate more and articulate better (which has yet to work perfectly for me, what with the high level of abstraction that my discrete words adorn).

Ever had a dream, when you felt that you were in a deep dark abyss, falling and rising at the same time, lit up at both ends? Then you know what I mean.

Nine Lives; One Lies

When AFJ from somewhere south-west of here tagged me, I was pleasantly surprised. No, she didn’t leave a comment telling me that I was tagged (that’s AFJ style); I had to rely on Google Blog Search and the WordPress Incoming Links feature, coupled with my RSS feeds to know that I have been tagged.

Most endearing of it all was the old times’ sake thing that she mentioned at the end of the post. I was, in fact, mentioning woefully to a fellow blogger a few days ago of the people we miss, some of who have quit blogging, some who come back after a very long while. And I agree with AFJ – it was fun then; it still is.

And I love tags. I hardly ever refuse them. Also, I never leave a tag out hanging – I always tag other people. So here goes.

The tag is to say nine things about myself one of which is a lie. Can you spot the one which is not true? (Adding one more rule here, tell us what the lie was, when you next post)

[Begin Tag]

Swimming: I have an uncanny respect for water. My artist friend says that’s probably the reason why I don’t consume it as much. It is the most gentle, yet the fiercest element, of all. So when I started to learn to swim, there was always a certain fear that rained down on me. Yet, with enough coaxing and being mercilessly thrown into the water, amidst tears that ever-so-slightly increased the volume of liquid in the tank, I learnt to swim. Just about. I can just about stay afloat and just about save my life. So if you are planning to be with me near a water body, you’d better know swimming or be ready to explore the waterbed.

Leaving Home: I have never run away from home. Even when my father refused to allow me to become an engine driver, it didn’t cross my mind to run away and start shovelling coal, just so that some kind-spirited engine driver would have pity on me and keep me as an apprentice. No, not even then, when my mother told me that couldn’t marry the girl I loved; if I remembered her name, I would have told you, but twenty-five years is a long time ago.

Dreams: Dreams scare me. And I don’t mean nightmares (in any case – they are dreams too, just scary, that is all). I always wonder what would happen if and when my dreams come true, which of course leads me to day-dream. That’s when they start becoming scary. A dash of reality and practicality sprinkled generously on the dreams, gives me the shivers.

Paragraphs: Paragraphs in books are like vehicles with a mind of their own with a mind of your own. I hardly ever read the words; I see them. I build visuals of what my mind conjures as the words project the image. All this time I continue reading the words in subsequent paragraphs, but I am not reading. I often have to bring myself out of the stupor and read all over again.

Mithun: Mithun Chakraborty is someone I admire. Yes, I see you pointing your finger at me and laughing aloud. As much as many of you are making monkey faces at me, I like Mithun Chakraborty. You have to see him in Hum Paanch and Prem Pratiggya to know why.

Socks: It is always the shoe that we blame when we get corns on our feet. Yet we forget that there is that thin culprit in between the foot and the shoe. The sock hasn’t changed design for a long time. I hate the seam hurting my toes, the big one more so. When I know I won’t have to remove my shoes, I wear socks inside out. My family and friends often make fun of me for that, yet when Sean Connery did the same in Finding Forrester, I experienced a strange victorious calm.

College: Coming to college from school was akin to Babu’s coming out of Nasik Jail (or some jail like that) in Satte pe Satta. It was a breath of fresh air. More fresh, because I ended up living in a hostel; away from the concept of recurrent studying (or at least sitting at the study-table even if you weren’t studying). I grew my hair long, didn’t iron my clothes, wore slippers to college and bunked classes without ever getting my parents summoned by the principal. Definitely better than school. Bliss!

Camera: After having got the Canon EOS 400D, I am not considering buying a new camera. I have three now, four, if you consider the cute 2MP camera on my sexy Samsung P310. I am just thinking the amount of stuff I need to carry when I go out and become click-happy. And then there is always that limit of stuff that you can carry as cabin baggage. Wouldn’t trust the airline companies with your optic equipment in the hold, would you?

Regrets: I do think it would be nice to go back in time and change a few things. As much as it is socio-politically correct to say things like “I love my life the way it is and I wouldn’t want to change a thing” and things like “I have no regrets,” it just seems so convenient and useful. It is even amusing to think – how that one change would affect so many things! At least one thing in my life is definitely worth changing.

[End Tag]

As is my religion, I don’t submit the tag to the empty confines of cyberspace.

Robert needs to update his blog soon. I recently have got to know Andrew, would like to know more. I don’t know if Aurora does tags – only one way to find out. Will Mihir affect his blog genre when he does this tag – it would be fun to see Nine Lines @ a Time. The Dharmabum, I know, takes up tags and does them very well – I’d like to see this one.