मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Are Voveran's Powers less Miraculous than Superman's?

Brad Meltzer, who has written “Green Arrow” and “Justice League of America” for DC Comics:

“America did not get Superman because it’s the greatest country on earth. It got Superman because a little boy lost his father.”

Business Standard, June 27 2012:

"At a time when pharmaceutical companies are investing billions of dollars to develop new and path-breaking medicines, it is the old and heritage brands that continue to dominate the market. Sales in 2011 show that the average age of the top 10 pharma brands is 19.3 years, and some of them are as old as 25 years.
For instance, Novartis’ painkiller Voveran, which was launched in 1986, ranks third, whereas Ranbaxy’s much popular health supplement Revital and Himalaya’s Liv-52, both 22-years old, rank sixth and 10th respectively.

According to a study conducted by IDFC Securities on pharmaceutical brands, out of the top-100 brands, 93 are pre-2005 vintage. Among the top 300 brands, it’s as many as 260.
While most of these brands are painkillers, vitamins and cough syrups, even drugs to treat diabetes and those treating gynaecology problems figure among the vintage brands..."

courtesy: Business Standard

I also read excellent essay 'In Marvel And DC's Battle Of The Superheroes, Can The Hulk Kick Batman's Butt?' Mark Harris in July/August 2012 issue of 'Fast Company'.

Artist: David Levinthal

It informed:


MARVEL: X-Men (five movies and spin-offs since 2000, with two more pending)

DC: Batman (eight movies and spin-offs since 1989)


MARVEL (Avengers vs. X-Men #2) 158,650 copies

DC (Batman #8) 130,602 copies


MARVEL: 1961 to 1964, which saw the creation of the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, and X-Men.

DC: 1938 to 1941, which saw the creation of Superman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman."

1938-1964? It's almost from my mother's birth-year to my younger sister's.

So just like medicines, it's old and heritage superheroes that dominate.

Coming back to the starting question: Are Voveran's powers less miraculous than Superman's?

It depends who you ask!

My mother-in-law would vote Voveran, my son would go for Superman and I am making that transition from Superman to Voveran very fast.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sherpas Can Put Even Homer Simpson on the Everest

Lukas Eberle:

"Since the first ascent on May 29, 1953, by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, some 3,836 people have climbed Mount Everest, with almost three quarters of them making the ascent in the last 10 years. The Himalayan peak has become "an amusement park," says top Italian alpinist Simone Moro, who has summited Everest four times."

(Spiegel Online International, Oct 5 2012)

I never liked the disclosure by Tenzing Norgay that it was Sir Edmund Hillary who put the first step on the Everest.

Why couldn't it be that both of them did it together?

MICHAEL J. YBARRA writes in his review of 'Buried in the Sky' By Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan:

"The real climbing isn't done by the publicity-seeking adventurers with corporate sponsorships who lug satellite telephones up the mountain so they can blog about their exploits while relying on fixed lines to lead them upward."

(WSJ, June 21 2012)

[p.s. Mr. Ybarra was killed on June 30- July 1 2012 in a fall during a weekend mountain-climbing trip in the Sierra Nevada. The area where Mr. Ybarra is believed to have been climbing doesn't have trails and is used mostly by experienced mountain climbers.]

It is done by either Nepalese Sherpas or the Pakistani equivalent.

"It has become fashionable among the adventurers who attempt K2 to link their efforts to a worthwhile cause, however far-fetched, such as bringing attention to water conservation. The Nepalese and Pakistani climbers who help them also have a good cause: feeding their families. Given that the average worker in Pakistan earns the equivalent of less than $3 a day, the mountain work is enticing. A porter carrying loads to base camp makes $9 a day, and the high-altitude workers rake in much more: Climbers who make it to the summit customarily pay a $1,000 bonus. "When your family needs that money," Pasang Lama tells the authors, "sometimes you don't insist a weak climber turn back."

The money means little to the 8-year-old son of Jehan Baig, a Pakistani porter who died in the K2 tragedy when his son was 4. "I hate foreigners," the boy says. "Why do they come to climb mountains and kill our fathers?" K2 used to be known as the mountaineer's mountain. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be true anymore..."

There was a lot of noise on Marathi TV channels when a few Pune based climbers came back after climbing the Everest. I wonder if any of them- surely part of the 350 people mentioned below- spoke about the Sherpas.

"On Everest—where about 350 people reached the summit over two days this spring—Sherpas do virtually all the work, fixing lines to the top and sometimes even attaching the clients' ascenders (a metal device that clamps onto the line) so that they don't have to remove their mitts."

TV can be so shallow.

Sherpas always bring to my mind "King of the Hill", 23rd episode of the ninth season of "The Simpsons" first aired on 3-May-1998.

Homer agrees to climb the tallest mountain in Springfield, "The Murderhorn". He is aided by two Sherpas as guides. They drag Homer up the mountain as he sleeps. During one of these nights, Homer wakes up to discover that he is being secretly dragged, and fires the two Sherpas.

courtesy: The Simpsons

Bart: Oh, Dad's gonna die and it's all my fault!
Marge: Don't worry, kids, your father will be just fine as long as he's with those Sherpas.

Marge doesn't know so far that he's NOT with those Sherpas.

Lucky those who are!

And when they are, the climb is as smooth as an escalator like in the picture below:

Artist: Gahan Wilson, The New Yorker, July 3 2000

Monday, June 18, 2012

What is Dharma? As a dog, I really want to dig you up

धारणाद्धर्ममित्याहुः धर्मो धारयत प्रजाः।
यस्याद्धारणसंयुक्तं धर्म इति निश्चयः

("Dharma upholds both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs")

(Mahabharat, 12.110.11)


Dharma (धर्म) is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties,and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender.

Groucho Marx:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Kevin Delaney:

"Whether nosing through garbage, rolling in rotten seaweed or sniffing one another's hindquarters, dogs have a blissful appreciation for the simple pleasures in life. Like four-legged Zen masters, they grasp the importance of living in the moment, and along with being loyal and protective, can teach humans a lot.

Perhaps, that is, if their masters stopped setting such an anthropomorphized agenda and simply let them be dogs..."

Jonathan Yardley:

Our fur babies may be loveable and cuddly, but they've also confirmed us in many of our worst human instincts: to confront and litigate, to climb the social ladder and flaunt our high position once we've reached it, to become wholly absorbed in our own precious selves, to flatter ourselves with luxury and excess. As the man says in this terrific book, it's not about the dogs, it's about the people.

(review of 'ONE NATION UNDER DOG / Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies' by Michael Schaffer)

Harry Bliss is a unique cartoonist. I feel no one- scientist, artist, philosopher, poet- has reached deeper in a dog's soul than him.

Here is an example.

Artist: Harry Bliss

To view more pictures of Mr. Bliss, go to: www.harrybliss.com

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Roads are Walking Again रस्ते चालत आहेत पुन्हा

Paul Theroux:

A lot of the best travel, and the best travel books, are about suffering. They’re about the ordeal. The human element is so strong in that. There’s no dodging it. It’s as though we are creeping along the ledge of a building.

Paul Kingsnorth:

"I am leaving. I am going to go out walking.

I am leaving on a pilgrimage to find what I left behind in the jungles and by the cold campfires and in the parts of my head and my heart that I have been skirting around because I have been busy fragmenting the world in order to save it; busy believing it is mine to save. I am going to listen to the wind and see what it tells me, or whether it tells me anything at all. You see, it turns out that I have more time than I thought. I will follow the songlines and see what they sing to me and maybe, one day, I might even come back. And if I am very lucky I might bring with me a harvest of fresh tales which I can scatter like apple seeds across this tired and angry continent."

Jerry DeNuccio:

Kierkegaard claimed “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” Rousseau asserted “my mind works only with my legs.” Thoreau called walking “a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us,” to reclaim the holy land of deliberation and imagination.

Jesse Miller

A cursory look at the canon of Western literature reveals author after author mining the drama of human locomotion while constantly imbuing the act with new meanings and significances, so much so in fact that the history of literature begins to look like a history of walking.

And isn't the glorious history of Marathi literature a kind of history of walking?

All that walking done by Dnyaneshwar (ज्ञानेश्वर), Namdev (नामदेव), Eknath (एकनाथ), Tukaram (तुकाराम), Ramdas (रामदास)...for almost 400 years...from year 1281 to 1681...even today all of them are best-selling authors!

This year Palkhis (पालखी), Dindis (दिंडी), have started walking towards Pandharpur (पंढरपूर)...as they have always done...

Rain or no rain...

India either Mughal or Maratha or British or Congress or BJP...

Camel or Telegraph or Landline or Mobile...

Bullock-cart or Tonga or Train or Car or Concorde...

Smallpox, Cholera, Plague, Flu or HIV/AIDS, H1N1, Bird Flu, SARS, Obesity, Diabetes, Blood Pressure...

Before Potato (introduced in India in late 16th / early 17th century) or after...before Chilli (introduced in India in late 15th century) or after...

I will meet Palkhis when they reach Pune...No, I will not take any effort...Actually, they will meet me...in my area...around 7 AM on June 15 when they start leaving Pune for Pandharpur...

It will be a cloudy day but it won't be raining much...I will walk either behind them or on the other side of the road...

I will be moved...I will feel special...I don't know why.

I will realise how fast they walk...I can't overtake them...I will notice how little- almost none- sound they make while walking...No Indian procession of so many people, other than the one related to death, can be so quiet...Yet again, I will resolve to go walking along with them all the way...

Then they will take a right turn and disappear...leaving me behind...proving my irrelevance all over again...

Occasionally I will notice an Ektara player along with them. I like Ektara's sound...Why wouldn't I? Listen to it in Sudhir Phadke's (सुधीर फडके) "Pota Purata Pasaa Pahije" (पोटापुरता पसा पाहिजे, नको पिकाया पोळी). No string instrument can get much better than that.

Apparently there is a tradition of honouring Ektara players from each dindi as they leave Dehu (देहू). Here is a recent picture of such an event at Dehu that I really liked.

1512 or 2012? And isn't he my great-great-great...grandfather?

Photo artists: Yashwant Namde and Umesh Ovhal (यशवंत नामदे आणि उमेश ओव्हाळ)
courtesy: Pudhari (पुढारी), June 11 2012

As I kept looking at it, I wondered if this gathering looked much different than the one during the life of Saint Tukaram (1608–1650) (संत तुकाराम).

First, one little thing stuck out.

Eyeglasses on a couple of faces in that picture!

Although the first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286, they certainly did not come to Ektara players of India in 17th century!

Then I started wondering about large number of 'Gandhi' ('Nehru') caps in the picture. But it was reassuring to read on Wikipedia that "caps of similar design and material have been worn throughout history by the people of Maharashtra".

The late D B Mokashi's (दि बा मोकाशी) Marathi book 'Palakhee' ,1964 is one of the finest pieces of existentialist writing I have read.

The book, beautifully illustrated by Ravimukul, is about Mokashi's journey with palkhis, covering more than 200 km on foot, from Pune to Pandharpur, in year 1961, the year Panshet (पानशेत)dam burst.

For me, the book is up there with Camus's 'The Stranger' or Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'.

He ends the book, as he arrives at the destination, with these words:

" पंढरपूरात शिरलो आहे. पण कुठून शिरलो ध्यानात येत नाही. वारकरी दाटीवाटीनं चालले आहेत. वाटतं आहे, ते चालत नाहीत, रस्ते चालत आहेत. रस्त्यावर मी पाऊल टाकलं आहे नि वाहू लागलो आहे.

मला कुठं जायचं आहे हे माहीत आहे. सासुरवाडीस जायचं आहे. तो बोळ, तो भला दरवाजा, चार दगडी पायर्या चढून कडी वाजवायची, संपलं.

पण तिकडे जाण्याचं भान नाही. गर्दीबरोबर मी ढकलला जात आहे. रस्ता वळला की शरीर वळत आहे. पंढरपूर निराळं दिसत आहे. रस्त्याचं भानच गेलं आहे. वारकर्यांच्या दाटीत नि शेकडो दिव्यांच्या प्रकाशात. सदरा उल्टा झालाय नि माझाच मला ओळखू येत नाही.

रात्री एकला सासुरवाडीचा दरवाजा ठोठावला आहे.
मला पाहताच सासुबाई विचारत आहेत,
"का रे, इतका का उशीर? पालखी केव्हाच आली."
पिशवी खाली टाकून काहीतरीच बोलतो,
"चालत आलो"."

When his mom-in-law, who lives in Padharpur, asks him, as he arrives at her house at 1 AM, why he has arrived much later than the palkhi, he answers: I walked.

As if...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So Long As It Is White or Silver In Fordlândia...Oops India

In Henry Ford´s 1923 autobiography "Henry Ford - My life and work" he quotes himself as saying

"Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants so long as it is black."

Business Standard, India reported on May 14 2012:

"Two in three cars sold white or silver in colour:

Despite a good number of colours and shades offered by car companies, the regal white and silver still reign supreme. What’s more, their number as a percentage of total car sales is only rising.

As many as 62-70 per cent of car sales come in these two colours. The number was 50 per cent five years ago. This is confirmed by the company that leads the passenger car pack, Maruti Suzuki, and tracks changes in colour preferences across the industry. Says Shashank Srivastava, its chief general manager (marketing), “Yes, white and silver still are the most dominant colours for cars. In fact, as a ratio, the share of white has become more than that of silver in recent years.”..."

(Sharmistha Mukherjee / New Delhi)

Artist: Joseph Mirachi, The New Yorker, 12 July 1958

So whatever it is Ford or whichever company has up its sleeve for Indian market next year, it will be in either white or silver!


Wikipedia says about Aldous Huxley's iconic 'Brave New World', 1932:

"These are fictional and factual characters who lived before the events in this book, but are of note in the novel:

Henry Ford, who has become a messianic figure to The World State. "Our Ford" is used in place of "Our Lord", as a credit to popularizing the use of the assembly line. Huxley's description of Ford as a central figure in the emergence of the Brave New World might also be a reference to the utopian industrial city of Fordlândia commissioned by Ford in 1927."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ray Bradbury: Life Indebted to Vivid, Appallingly Imaginative Cover Paintings

Ray Bradbury:

"I don't try to predict the future – I try to prevent it!"

Michael Dirda:

"From the beginning, Bradbury was distinctly a prose-poet, lyricizing his own fears and yearnings, as obsessed with childhood as Wordsworth...His admirers rapidly grew to include such literary eminences as Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden...Like J.G. Ballard, another visionary who doesn’t quite fit comfortably in any genre, Bradbury actually writes about “inner space,” about loneliness and troubled hearts and our deep-seated fear of otherness."

I have still not read Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451"- that I bought in 2009- in its entirety!

But this year I have kept 'meeting' him on 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' on Fox Crime. He and Mr. Hitchcock together take the crime genre to the heights seldom scaled by anyone. Their product is highly entertaining and deeply troubling.

For instance, 'And So Died Riabouchinska' starring aging Claude Rains and Charles Bronson is a mini masterpiece.

Bradbury has said: "My books are full of images and metaphors, but they're connected to intellectual concepts"...and his life was "a movement- a dance- among all these images.

This- recognition of importance of images- visuals- I like most about Mr. Bradbury.

Recently he wrote in The New Yorker dated June 4 2012:

"When I was seven or eight years old, I began to read the science-fiction magazines that were brought by guests into my grandparents’ boarding house, in Waukegan, Illinois. Those were the years when Hugo Gernsback was publishing Amazing Stories, with vivid, appallingly imaginative cover paintings that fed my hungry imagination. Soon after, the creative beast in me grew when Buck Rogers appeared, in 1928, and I think I went a trifle mad that autumn. It’s the only way to describe the intensity with which I devoured the stories. You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion.

When I look back now, I realize what a trial I must have been to my friends and relatives. It was one frenzy after one elation after one enthusiasm after one hysteria after another. I was always yelling and running somewhere, because I was afraid life was going to be over that very afternoon..."

What sticks out for me in the para above is : "vivid, appallingly imaginative cover paintings that fed my hungry imagination"

courtesy: Hugo Gernsback , Experimenter Publishing and British Library's 'Out of This World' exhibition

I also liked what Gerald Jonas has written about him:

"Mr. Bradbury referred to himself as an “idea writer,” by which he meant something quite different from erudite or scholarly. “I have fun with ideas; I play with them,” he said. “ I’m not a serious person, and I don’t like serious people. I don’t see myself as a philosopher. That’s awfully boring.” He added, “My goal is to entertain myself and others.”"

Mr. Bradbury told Playboy in 1996:

"Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present. You can criticize communists, racists, fascists or any other clear and present danger, and they can't imagine you are writing about them. Unfortunately, so much old science fiction is too technical and dry."

Artist: Lee Lorenz, The New Yorker, September 30 1967

Mr. Lorenz's picture above is based on public transport in a developed country.

Now, I am imagining the same cartoon based on Pune city bus transport services provided by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd.

Well, I don't look forward to my first ride on a flying saucer!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Delhi 1911 Commonwealth Games!

Walter Bagehot, 19th-century editor of The Economist:

“… People like to see a family on the throne because it brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life”.

Sue Townsend, author of The Queen and I:

"In 2003 I wrote: “The monarchy is finished. It was finished a while ago but they are still making the corpses dance.” Now the corpse won’t allow the lid to be screwed down. It has lived a lie for centuries, was not ordained by God, did not have blue blood, has failed to be a good example of family life, and has more in common with the guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show than most of the population. It would be a kindness to sit on the lid of the coffin until the struggle is finally over."

Lewis H. Lapham:

"Remarking on what remained of the reverence for monarchy in 1823, William Hazlitt likens it to “a natural infirmity, a disease, a false appetite in the popular feeling, which must be gratified.” The dream-buying public wants a “peg or loop to hang its idle fancies on, a puppet to dress up, a lay figure to paint from.” The individual who cannot be all that he wishes to be looks for a mirror in which to contemplate “his own pride, vanity, and passions, displayed in their most extravagant dimensions…to see this reflex image of his own self-love, the darling passion of his breast, realized, embodied out of himself in the first object he can lay his hands on for the purpose.” The idol is best made from poor or worthless raw material because it is then subject to the whim of its manufacturer. The bargain is a Faustian one. The media affix price tags to carcasses of temporary divinity, but in return for the gifts of fame and riches, they require the king of the month or the queen for a day to make themselves available to the ritual for the public feast. What was once a subject becomes an object, a burnt offering placed on the altar of publicity."

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is being marked on the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952.

I wonder how India would have celebrated the event had she still remained the British colony.

Only last year India observed 100th anniversary of the last Delhi Durbar that was held in December 1911 to commemorate the coronation in Britain a few months earlier of King George V and Queen Mary, and their proclamation as Emperor and Empress of India and the shifting of India's capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

During the durbar "...the Gaekwar of Baroda caused widespread outrage by failing to follow protocol during the Durbar itself. Rather than making proper obeisance and walking backwards seven paces before leaving the arena, he ‘made a cursory bow from the waist, stepped back, and then, wheeling around, turned his back on the royal couple and walked away from their presence nonchalantly twirling a gold-topped walking stick’." (Peter Parker, The Spectator)

Now that would have made a great TV!

"The Gaikwar of Baroda paid homage peremptorily to the King Emperor. Afterwards he turned his back on him, causing a major political scandal."

courtesy: 'A Glimpse of Empire' by Jessica Douglas-Home

Sunil Raman and Rohit Agarwal write of the event:

“Today, a hundred years later, memories have been erased under the weight of dust, the sound of honking cars and motorcycles, the rush of people and indifferent residents...”

The King-Emperor receiving homage from the Ruling Prince of Burma

courtesy: 'A Glimpse of Empire' by Jessica Douglas-Home

Nawaid Anjum:

"For the 1911 Delhi Darbar, a temporary tented city sprang up, spread over 45 square miles. The darbar went on for a week. Around 150 ruling chiefs, maharajas, zamindars and feudal lords were on display in full regalia, even as 100,000 spectators revelled in the royal splendour. There were special arrangements and enclosures for women in purdah. Begum of Bhopal, the most photographed ruler at the darbar, attended the ceremony in purdah.

With over £900,000 spent on it, the 1911 darbar was arguably the most expensive and ambitious assemblage. This was also an occasion for the British to show their military might. And this explained the extensive military bandobast with a total of 50,000 troops and the contingent of 50 bands of different units that were stationed in Delhi. Some of the prominent Indians present at the darbar included Motilal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, R.N. Mudholker and Sachidanand Sinha."

New York market price of gold in 1911 was 4.25 British pounds per fine ounce. £900,000 would have bought 211,765 ounces of gold.

Gold closed 1622.10 US$ per ounce and US$ closed on 55.49 to INR on June 2 2012. So the event costed India INR 1,906 crores in today's money!!!

Reminds me of Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. According to Wikipedia: The initial total budget estimated by the Indian Olympic Association in 2003 for hosting the Games was INR 1,620 crore.

Artist: Rea Irvin, The New Yorker, 12 December 1925

Saturday, June 02, 2012

And Where is C. Ramchandra in All That Jazz?

Juned Shaikh:

"...a play on unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s had dialogue by the communist leader D S Vaidya and songs composed by S R Gaikwad and Baburava Garud. The music for the play was composed by Hindi film musician C Ramchandra."

(Economic & Political Weekly EPW July 30, 2011)

Ashok Da Ranade (अशोक दा रानडे ) on C. Ramchandra:

"He was unforced in everything he did and his relaxed putting forth or the ease in musical mapping was passed on through his music to listeners- they really enjoyed the music even when they were moved to tears! His music is accessible to almost everybody - not because of musical dilution but because he is able to communicate with sufficient technical expertise and concealed skill. He had the courage to go against the rigid Indian school of Hindi music as he never felt the necessity to prove credentials of his own musical Indianness! Finally, he was content to be an artist and never took to waving of flags and raising slogans against cultural invasion Indian musical traditions, etc.!"

('Hindi Film Song: Music Beyond Boundaries')

Raju Bharatan:

“I had heard the musically erudite S D Burman acknowledging when Dada commended C Rramchandra as the westernised model to son R D:’ if you must go modern , Pancham, study the vistas explored by Chitalkar as a composer’. No wonder there was an uproar when I hailed R D Burman as the ‘C Rramchandra of the 1970s’ in my Filmfare ‘On Record’ column. Fans were up in arms , arguing that Pancham was not a patch on the Mr. Jaan original! That was then. Today Pacham is recognized as ‘the jet’ setter supreme. While C Ramchandra is a mere name to a generation whose understanding of music extends only from R D Burman to A R Rahman.”

(‘A Journey Down Melody Lane’, 2010)

The highest accolade I can give to RD: He was as good as C Ramchandra!

Book "Taj Mahal Foxtrot" by NARESH FERNANDES has been favourably reviewed by 'The Caravan' December 2011 and Frontline April 6 2012.

It is, as Mr. Vijay Prashad writes in Frontline, "A history of jazz from the point of view of the performers, musicians who lived humble lives and often died as unknown workers in the trade."

Priced at Rs. 1,295/-, it is not for people like me and, I guess, those musicians!

"Drawing from scholars such as Bradley Shope and others, Naresh Fernandes' book pivots away from the musicians themselves to make an important claim. Jazz might have begun its career to anaesthetise the elite, but it would soon slip through these working-class musicians into the world of mass Hindi cinema. Many of these musicians would help orchestrate the early Bollywood sound or, as with Albela (1951), bring jazz into the film." (Frontline)

"What happened to Frank Fernand? To Micky Correa? To innumerable other musicians who were hired and fired from bands that enjoyed fleeting fame on glamorous stages?

The short answer is: the movies. The Bombay film industry found a musical space for the accomplished practitioners of alien instruments like the trumpet and the saxophone. Fernandes writes eloquently of Chic Chocolate’s tentative screen debut in a 1951 film called Albela. He played himself, a trumpet player who made the main cast feel good and wake up to naughty possibilities" (The Caravan)

There is a mention of Albela in both the reviews but there is no mention of its music composer C. Ramchandra (रामचंद्र नरहर चितळकर), 1918-1982.

Doesn't he deserve some credit in deploying that sound and taking it to the masses?

In words of Dr. Ranade:

"C Ramchandra introduced Benny Goodman-style Jazz clarinet phrasing, combining it with Indian melody in film Shahnai ('Ana Meri Jan meri jan, Sunday ke Sunday') thereby 'flodding' listners' ears! Anil Biswas reportedly rang up C. Ramchandra to reproach him and asked him, "What do you think you are doing and why?" C. Ramchandra's coolly cryptic answer was, "I am doing what I am doing because I want my songs to sound as my songs and not like Anil Biswas'!" Anil Biswal could only say, "Please go right ahead" and put down the receiver, and sigh deeply!"

And returning to the comment of Dr. A D Ranade at the top:

"He was unforced in everything he did and his relaxed putting forth or the ease in musical mapping was passed on through his music to listeners- they really enjoyed the music even when they were moved to tears!"

Now see this cartoon:

Artist: Garrett Price, The New Yorker, 28 Feb 1931

"Now go in and make 'em cry!"? CR sure did with his many Jazz instruments just like the musician above!

My father was (is) a great fan (nut) of Raj Kapoor. Like loyal fans he was biased. Big time biased. He seldom mentioned Guru Dutt to us then.

With this background I saw 'Pyaasa', 1957 in the late 1970's in a Sangli (सांगली) theatre.

I was bewitched by its beauty and its music. Acting is clearly not its forte. But its beauty is ethereal. And if I have to choose one thing from that movie it would be the song "Hum aapki aankhon me". Piano from that song keeps playing in my mind.

Music composer Anthony Prabhu Gonsalves came to Bombay in 1943 from the coastal village of Majorda in south Goa. At 16, he was hired by the famous music director Naushad as a violinist in his group.

Gonsalves was a major influence on Hindi film music of the 1950s and 1960s, lending a Goan touch to then Hindustani sounds of Bollywood. This mellifluous blend can be heard in compositions like ‘Hum aapki aankhon me’ for Pyasa, and ‘Ayega Aanewala’ for Mahal.

Among his students were legends like RD Burman and Pyarelal. In 1977, Pyarelal paid tribute to his mentor with the Amar Akbar Anthony song, ‘My name is Anthony Gonsalves’.

courtesy: The Caravan, March 2012