Posts Tagged ‘music’

On the water, St.Louis Symphony Orchestra, Art Hill, Forest Park, 140913

September 22, 2013


When water is light
When one’s thoughts gently float
On a dream of delight
Serene, upon a boat…
Under a near-full moon
That’s scudding through the clouds
Quiet upon the water: soon
Away from the shore, the crowds…

Madonna, and memories of the past…

August 1, 2013

The lyrics are:

[Chorus (first time without background vocals):]

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be my childhood dream
This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

Don’t look back
Keep your head held high
Don’t ask them why
Because life is short
And before you know
You’re feeling old
And your heart is breaking
Don’t hold on to the past
Well that’s too much to ask

[Long and movie versions only:]

Live and learn
Well the years they flew
And we never knew
We were foolish then
We would never tire
And that little fire
Is still alive in me
It will never go away
Can’t say goodbye to yesterday (can’t say goodbye)


No regrets
But I wish that you
Were here with me
Well then there’s hope yet
I can see your face
In our secret place
You’re not just a memory
Say goodbye to yesterday (the dream)
Those are words I’ll never say (I’ll never say)

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be our pride and joy
This used to be the place we ran to
That no one in the world could dare destroy

[Short and movie versions only:]

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our childhood dream
This used to be the place we ran to
I wish you were standing here with me

[Movie version only:]

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our great escape
This used to be the place we ran to
This used to be our secret hiding place

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our childhood dream
This used to be the place we ran to
The best things in life are always free
Wishing you were here with me
Send “This Used To Be My Playground” Ringtone to your Cell
This Used To Be My Playground lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

The American-Indian flautist, Cahokia Mounds, 140713

July 15, 2013

I went to Cahokia Mounds yesterday, with my friend, Ruth Hartsell, who is very kind-hearted and takes me to all sorts of interesting places! In so many years of visiting St.Louis, I’d never been to this World Heritage Site. It was well worth the visit, but I’m writing about an exhibition of native American (Indian is politically incorrect word now?) art and craft there, and I talked to this musician, who had several flutes for sale, made from Cedar and other woods…


Here’s a short video; he played the flute at my request:

And just to delight you…here are his children, who are obviously four feet tall and having a lot of fun!


The strange things that happen to me…

July 2, 2013

I decided to see the first show of “Shrek”..the musical, based on the movie…at the Muny.


Here’s a song from the musical, that I took from Youtube:

Having gone late (I missed the Muny trolley from De Baliviere as well) , I was sitting in the back row, as usual, but the children in front of me kept standing up. I didn’t want to tell them to sit down, they were enjoying themselves so much. So I got up and was standing behind the back row. An usher politely told me I had to sit down, and found another place for me. After sitting down, I realized the big Muny fan was blocking my view. So at the break, I went to the toilet (long pee queue) and then came back and sat in my original seat.

Then a man came up to me and said, “Did you see my child’s cup?” I said no. After another 20 minutes, he came back again and said, “If you give me back my cup, I won’t say anything about the purse.” He said some lady had lost her purse. I didn’t want to be badgered by him, So I got up and went to the ushers and told them what had happened.

I pointed to the man. When they called him over, I voluntarily opened my bag and showed the contents to them. Both the man and the ushers were profusely apologetic. I broke down and cried. This perplexed the House Manager, whose name is Kwofe Coleman. He expected me to be angry, but not to cry!. He took me down to the plaza,, and another usher, and he, comforted me. I tried to switch on the phone to call Anjana, and it wouldn’t switch on. This made me cry a little more! I didn’t ask Kwofe to call her. I gave him my Citizen Matters visiting card and told him I am from India. He gave me his number and asked me to call the next day. I went back and watched the last half an hour or so, but the evening was totally spoilt, and certainly I missed a lot of it (it was very good.) I walked back to Forest Park Station and A picked me up.

I called Kwofe up the next day, and he said he’d give me tickets on the house, any day that I liked. So, on Thursday the 27th, my friend Ruth Hartsell and I went to the show. I’d packed an Indian dinner for her, and an American dinner (macaroni and cheese, that I’d made for KTB’s dinner) for myself. We enjoyed the show very much indeed. I went up to Kwofe again, and said I’d email him and thank him, and the Muny, for their Muny-ficience! I decided to write this blogpost, describing the whole incident.

But…don’t think that’s the end of the strange happenings. On Monday evening, I was walking along Union Blvd, photographing some of the old buildings, and turned left into Delmar, on my way home. Suddenly, a flatbed van stopped near me, and someone said, “Madam!”

I am not used to running if addressed by strangers, so I stopped…and guess who it was…the man who had accused me! He shook me by the hand, and said he’d been feeling very bad about what had happened. Seeing his really troubled face, I felt that what had passed was no longer a problem, and told him to forget it. We exchanged notes about ourselves for a while. His name is Joseph (alas, I’ve forgotten his last name, and forgot to take a photo of him, I was so rattled by the coincidence!). He’s a retired firefighter…he was invalided out when he was rescuing a 400-lb man from a fire and got injured. He now runs an auto mechanice shop business out of home, and has four children. I told him a bit more about myself, and asked him to email me the letter he said he’d written to me. (He hasn’t yet sent it, though.)

Ironically, he asked me to be careful in walking down Delmar Blvd and asked me if he could give me a lift home. I am not comfortable taking lifts from unknown people (I held no rancour about what had happened, but he was still a stranger) so I said I needed the excercise. We parted on very amicable terms.

Life is so strange! What were the odds of my meeting that man again? It was sheer chance that I decided to walk down Union and turned at Delmar…and that he happened to be passing at the same time, and also, recognized me. All’s well that ends well…looking forward to our family trip to Washington, D C, tomorrow…I hope the fireworks are great on the 4th of July!

Sunset at the Muny, STL, 170613

June 21, 2013

I went to the Muny to watch the opening night of the musical season, with “Spamalot”. It had been raining heavily all day…but as if in salute to the never-say-die spirit of the cast, the rain petered out, and we had the most amazing sunset colours, before the show began! I thought of ‘s fondness for the “sky ocean”…I was, indeed, drowning in blue and pink!

22 170613 Muny Sunset

13 170613 Muny Sunset 4

DSC01003 5 170613 Muny Sunset

DSC01026 3 Sunset Muny Forest Pk 170613

DSC01030  Sunset Muny  Forest Pk 170613

Muny dusk Forest Pk 170613

Here’s the Old Glory, on the stage:

DSC00984 flag 170613 Muny Sunset

The national anthem sounded, and I too got up and put my hand over my heart…does it matter which country it is?

american flag muny Forest Pk 170613

Walking home, I took this photo of the Bandstand in front of the Muny:

DSC01068Bandstand Muny Forest Pk 170613

And one of the Visitors’ Center:


Names, knowledge, and elitism

June 5, 2013

I tend to notice an elitism about Knowing Names. I start out by looking at a beautiful bird, or a pretty butterfly, or a lovely tree. I then look up to the person who confidently identifies it for me. A Bulbul! I am thrilled that I have this knowledge.

red-whiskered bulbul vs 100710 photo IMG_6372.jpg

Then, of course, I go on the next birding trip, and realize that “Bulbul” is not enough. Another expert informs me that it is the Red-whiskered Bulbul. I file this name away in my (admittedly leaky) memory.

After this, over several birding outings, I see many other kinds of Bulbul. The White-browed, the Red-vented, the Yellow-throated, the Ruby-throated…and so the list goes. I now go all scientific. I no longer refer to a Bulbul. I say, with hauteur, to the person next to me, who’s come his or her first birding trip: “Oh, yes, that’s a very common bird!”(It’s always important to beat the newbie down from the joy of enjoying the beauty of a bird by emphasizing that it’s a Very Common Bird.)”It’s the…Pycnonotus jocosus,” I add (if I remember the name…the experts do remember, of course, and add it, cutting my ego down to size every time.) For some reason, just saying “Pycnonotus jocosus” impresses the bejeesus out of the newbies. I am now an Experienced Birder (no matter that I may not know the name, let alone the scientific one, of the next bird we spot!). Should I not have added to the joy of the birder’s thrill by agreeing that it’s a beautiful bird, and letting him find out, later, that it is a “common” bird? Oh, no…I have to rain on his parade with my “knowledge”!

I now always go on about how the scientific names are the only correct way of identifying the bird. “Scientific names are full of knowledge,” I say glibly, and take the example of another bird, where the Latin name is easily translatable…and apt. I never refer to the “Pycnonotus jocosus” which I myself have trouble remembering. Nor do I take the example of scientific names which are downright esoteric, or unfathomable. My eager listeners hang on my every (learned) word.

This kind of “I know more than you” games are not restricted to birding…indeed, every form of human endeavour and knowlege has the Gods of the Id, who can Recite The Names and Spout The Jargon better than others, and are, therefore, reckoned to be The Experts. The person in the seat next to me in the Carnatic music concert is, in utterly blissful ignorance, enjoying the melody of what he is hearing. But I won’t let him in peace. To his happy question, “Isn’t it beautiful?” I don’t merely nod….I respond, “Oh, yes, Podalangapriya is such a rare but beautiful ragam! I remember, in 1905, Mahakrishnapuram Rama Iyengar sang an RTP (such is the erudite way of referring to Ragam, Thaanam, Pallavi) in this ragam, set to khanda triputa taalam!” The poor neighbour retires in abashed awe.

I don’t dispute that scientific names, and precise id’s are required. But they are not required by everyone. My “ignorant” neighbour in the concert is enjoying the music as much as I fact, probably more than I am, as I try to resolve in my own mind whether the ragam is, indeed, Podalangapriya, or its relative in the same Melakarta, Kathrikeswari. If I want to make a study of the science underlying what I enjoy, that’s fine. But let it not be touted as a superior achievement, to be aspired to by one and all.


is a photograph, with Adesh’s view of scientific names, and my response to him.

A wonderful short video from a friend…

January 5, 2013

Ravi Srinivasan has been my friend for a while now, but he had no way of knowing that I knew Karaikudi Mani well for a long time, before losing touch; he did not know that he was my late brother’s mAnasIka (mentally accepted as ) guru….and yet, he chose a composition by him, performed by the string quarter…and he chose my photographs for the visual part!

I am deeply honoured…and yes, Ravi, the rAgam IS behAg….

Images for Rajyotsava

November 1, 2012

I’ve spoken before of my friend who has now developed into a professional wildlife photographer. He got together with a team, and directed this video; the images are all from Karnataka:

The lyrics are written by H S Venkateshamurthy, and Ricky Kej is the music director.


is the Deccan Herald write-up about it.

It is being released today, on the occasion of Rajyostava Day.

Congrats, Amogh, and may other such efforts follow!

One of my favourites…

October 29, 2012

“Hello” is a song by Lionel Richie. Taken as the third single from Richie’s multi-platinum album Can’t Slow Down, the song was released in 1984 and reached number one on three Billboard music chart. The song also went to number one in the United Kingdom. It is considered by some to be Richie’s signature song.

The song is particularly memorable for the line “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”. In an interview broadcast in the UK on Channel 4’s Top 100 Number One Hits, Richie said he had been thanked by a large number of normally tongue-tied men who had proposed marriage after a slow dance to the song.


I’ve been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You’re all I’ve ever wanted, (and) my arms are open wide
‘Cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you

I long to see the sunlight in your hair
And tell you time and time again how much I care
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow
Hello, I’ve just got to let you know

‘Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying, I love you

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
‘Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying I love you


September 27, 2012

I posted on Facebook just now, “With so many interesting YouTube clips today, I am that ancient Chinese lady, Wat Ching.”

Here’s one of the nicest I watched:

How would one tune that…and could one program that instrument to produce music that was fed into it in the right format?

Intrigues me!