Archive for July, 2005

incredible amount of rain….

July 28, 2005

seeing the visuals on TV is amazing enough…but to be there must be really something else….I am impressed by the average Mumbaikar’s ability to stand firm in the face of the forces of nature.

…Am wondering what sort of effect on the economy the ONGC disaster will have…we are already suffering from our dependency on petroproducts, and even before this happened, there was talk of hiking petroproduct prices yet again…

I very rarely write about contemporary news, but an all-time record rainfall is something to take note of…

realities…

July 27, 2005

I was swimming in our building pool. As usual, to get around my fear of the water and also to prevent too much immersion of my nose in water (which results in allergic reactions) I was doing the backstroke. This has the added advantage that I can look at the various balconies of the flats as I go up and down, doing my laps. I ruminated….my hip pain was worse than usual. Walking that morning was not the greatest of pleasures, and walking has always been one of my joys. I was on the way to feeling sorry for myself, when I saw him. A young boy of about 12 or 13, standing on one of the balconies. Quiet boy, standing there motionless…on a pair of crutches. Was it an accident? Was it permanent? I didn’t know. But my self-pity vanished in an instant. What must it be like to be 12 and not be able to play in the evenings, to have to stand on the balcony and watch other children play? At 50, I can take some hip pain and lumps….

Lounge bars….

July 24, 2005

Finally, because I had company, I went to Hypnos today…and I must say, the experience leaves me cold. The dance floor was practically non-existent; the food was good but very pricey; I don’t like liquor and it seemed as it it had rained heavily in my Pina Colada; and we could not hear a word of conversation through the thundering music (which was pretty good though.) I was told that lounge bars avoid the smoke and loud music and have an intimate atmosphere where you can listen to quiet music and have a convivial drink. My generation has another alternative to lounge bars..it’s called home. You put on (or sing) nice music, have a few drinks with good friends, and perhaps eat at home or go out…no smoke, no noise, no crowd of strangers….I am afraid I will never understand the point of lounge bars!

Victorian…

July 22, 2005

A friend would not allow her daughter to slip the ring on her fiance’s finger at the engagement as “holding hands should only be done during the wedding”…the wedding is a few months in the future, and the two are going out together..and the daughter has been told not to hold hands. I offended the mother by suggesting they not hold hands even while kissing…the best part is that the young man put the ring on his fiancee’s finger, and the mother of the girl is denying what is on video record, saying that it was the priest who put the ring on…well, in that case, her daughter is engaged to the priest! 😉

We are firmly in the 19th century….

Just blank and peaceful…

July 21, 2005

Such an uneventful day; neighbours were inaugurating the office of the company they have set up with the help of the parent company in Japan. Attended the inauguration and the dinner at the Taj Gateway in the evening….and spent time with friends. How lovely it is to have no major worries, and spend such good time together! Nothing to write about actually means that I am contented and very happy…surely something to write about!

This thing about high-pitched singing for women’s voices….

July 20, 2005

When I listen to Indian singing, the thing that really grabs my attention is the importance given to the height of the pitch for women singers. Whether it is film music or classical, the higher the pitch, the better the woman’s voice is supposed to be. I cannot understand this. In old movies, we even had MEN singers singing at 5 kattai (G) and being much praised for it…when it generally sounded to me as if they were singing under a lot of strain, like Kittappa, TR Mahalingam, etc.

But nowadays, the male singers sing at their normal pitch and the female singer is made to sing an octave above that..the voices are so falsetto and shrill and seem to be in danger of going off the audible scale altogether.

Why can’t women sing in their normal pitch and be appreciated for that, instead of this craze for high pitch? I have had too many compliments, not for the way I sing or even the sweetness of my voice, but for being able to sing at 5and a half kattai (G sharp). What’s the big deal about it? I personally think that now, as my voice has mellowed, and I sing at a lower pitch, my voice carries more weight and sounds better!

Hypocrisy…Prudery…

July 18, 2005

This was prompted (as are several thoughts) by a television program I watched. Every day, I tape “Thein Kinnam”, which brings old Tamizh film songs. Today’s episode was compered by L.A.Rajakumar, a film music composer…and one of the songs which he described as a classic, an all-time great was from the movie Sivantha Mann…and it had a dancer in a belly-dance costume being whipped (12 times through the song) by a man dressed in Arab robes.

Apparently, the music director is able to completely disassociate himself from the spectacle of a woman being whipped, whimpering and dancing suggestively, in a revealing costume….the word “sadism-masochism” (S/M) is seemingly not in his vocabulary at all. It started me thinking of related things…such as Yahoo closing their chat rooms after it was found that adults were using them to solicit sex from children.

While mealy-mouthedness and hypocrisy are universal, I do feel that Indians today have brought it to a fine art. We delight in talking about how precious our children are to us, and then we read about child labour everywhere, and child prostitution too. We need not go to those extremes….look on any working day at the number of children who are riding on two-wheelers with their parents…without helmets….look in your neighbours’ homes and see the children working there (“They will starve otherwise..and they are too dumb to go to school”). We talk about Woman being a Goddess…but a woman, without a capital W, is more likely to be, at the very least, a mental slave of a male-dominated culture, where movies routinely have scenes showing males slapping their women, and the women weeping helplessly. This was summed up in the words of a one-time neighbour of mine:” Women are goddesses if they are in their place; they have to be controlled.” There was NO way of showing him how limited his viewpoint was…he would always think of women as lower beings who had to be controlled like wild animals. In essence, there is no difference in his mind between his beloved pet dog and the women in his household. And when the women themselves subsribe to this culture, the mental slavery is complete.

We are the proud upholders of the Victorian hypocrisy that cannot see the dishonesty in touting middle-class morality in public and flouting it in private. The whole ethos seems to be that everyone must voice opinions of a high moral ground, and in private, agree that it is Kali Yuga and such morals cannot be practically upheld, whether it is sex or corruption or abuse of power.

A serial and a film, both based on Pride and Prejudice, which refers to Victorian morality, are so apt for our society today. What I would like to learn is how the English came out of their Victorian prudery and hypocrisy into a more open form of thinking. Maybe, then we too could do it….as I write, the TV is on and there is a Tamizh serial which is showing the husband and wife in their bedroom..the husband sleeps on the bed and the wife on the floor…I suppose she is elevated in status to the bed when the need arises!

Singing…and getting left behind…

July 17, 2005

Been trying to get back to singing Carnatic music, much helped by Jaishankar, who returned from studies in St Louis and is with Lucent (Bell Labs) now….feels so enjoyable, and I realize how very rusty my voice has become. Resolve (serious look of determination on face) to practice more regularly…it is great to be able to enjoy music, and even nicer to be able to sing well.

Was about to post this entry when the “tag” window caught my eye…clicked on it, and when I went “back” to LJ, my entry had been deleted… I am a toddler in the LJ swimming pool! I used to wonder what technologies would exist by the time I reached,say, my seventies, and how condescendingly young people will look at me and say, “she is hopelessly dated…this scenario is already coming to pass, alas, alas! (that’s poetry for you.)

Rain and warmth….

July 16, 2005

Close friends picked up, packed me in their Tavera… a family of 5 who included me in their evening drive through the pouring rain, while we individually and together, sang favourite songs….rain is wonderful…IF you have a nice warm place to shelter in, your livelihood doesn’t depend on the weather, and you are assured that you will have a hot meal when you feel hungry….how lucky we are.

Onion

July 16, 2005

Well, close enough….went and saw Anniyan. While the comedy was very funny in parts, and never the puerile, innuendo-filled cringemaker it is often is in Tamizh films, the violence in today’s movies really horrifies me. Fight scenes were never-ending; blood and gore in graphic detail….threads ( like the Carnatic music connection in the beginning) that disappear completely later on are also confusing….

What is most disturbing to me is, however, the fact that serious illnesses/conditions are trivialized and over-dramatized and made so simplistic….witness “Anjali” for example,where the cuddly cute child hardly shows any of the signs of cerebral palsy…. and in this movie, Multiple Personality Disorder is made a kind of play-acting, with the hero’s shirt and shoes also changing with his hairdo as his personae change, even in a hospital room. A serious condition made to satisfy one actor’s display of histrionics….can we never depict reality as it is in movies? Is there some law against it?

Also, during the song sequences, large areas of rock faces and roads have been painted over…did the film unit clean up after they were done shooting? I would be very surprised (and delighted) if they did….

I also dislike the over-sanitization of Indian scenery in our movies. Where are the dirty, trash-filled villages? Where are the poor? Where are the stray dogs,the turds on the streets?

The movie was worth about 20% of the ticket money I paid….