Muzsikas featuring Marta Sebestyen
It rained yesterday. The rain in Ann Arbor is an excuse for what you call rain. They have this drizzly, light rain like as if someone had gently turned on a sprinkler.
Puneites dont have too much of respect for the Pune rain. It rains heavily and then clears. Atleast it rains heavily. It makes rivulets that carry the dust. It has always been fun to splotch home from school wearing gum-boots and with a raincoat not bothering to escape the splashes from rickshaws and cars passing by.
What is most unromantic about the rain here is that there is no scent of earth. This kills the fun. Too bad I wont be able to enjoy the monsoon. Running in the rain with your old walkman is so much fun. You dont feel the heat and the water kind of rejuvenates you. Of course what follows is the mildly sinful pleasure of a hot bath. Ahh!
Posted by hirak on Sunday, March 30, 2003
From Somnabulism to Narcolepsy
Its 2:30 am and today i have no excuse why to why I am not sleepy. Last night I had these chocolates that have a coffee bean inside and I had three of them and was awake till 3. I just realised that my knowledge of sleep inducing methods is really poor. I tried eating rice and curds but that does not help. Anybody with some info on how this can be done please let me know.
Posted by hirak on Friday, March 28, 2003
What do I care what other people think?
Finally after a frustrating few days I got this commenting thing to work. It was just about sticking some code. Frustration is when something you know is childishly simple and you cant get it work. When you debug some error you realise one thing "You are an ass!" and another profound realisation that how could you forget a basic step. In this case it was RTFM. Anyway I did all but the obvious and the stuff did not work. Now it does. This is to impress on you gently reader that your opinon matters. Do bear lightly on me!
Posted by hirak on Friday, March 28, 2003
The Music Appreciation course is one courses that I have really enjoyed. It has been so much of fun and I learned so much of stuff. All those terms that looked daunting are now under my belt.Rondo, sonata, movement, allegro, andante. I have the whole Italian jingbang, the German lieder and what a fugue is.
One always feels that Classical music is stuffy and people who listen to it even stuffier. My original intention was to be that ultimate snob. This ultimate cultural snobbery and arty fartiness is a valuable asset to acquire?
Its a shock to know that Bach is Baroque not Classical. More than the shocks was the revelation. The spiritually uplifting Gregorian chants. I cannot believe that I would actually listen to the Hildegrand of Bingen. I have yet not come to terms with Beethoven's music. The Fifth Symphony's opening motive is still so unsettling.
The Romantic composers have caught my fancy. Especially Schumann. Now I really appreciate their mastery. Great credit to Prof. Albin Zak who could make pop crazy students equally crazy about Bach and Schubert.
My friends ask me how does this compare with rock music. For some time I was out cold. How I can compare songs with three chords with people who played three chords in quarter time. How can you explain the Tristan chord. The great revolutions of harmony and form over the years.
It reminds me of Bob Dylan "Don't condemn wha you can't understand.' All I know that if I had lived without knowing the beauty of Schumann's Eusebius or the tragic beauty of Chaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasty Overture I would have missed something.
Posted by hirak on Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Oscar Post Mortem
I am watching Jay Leno and they are dissecting the Oscars. The defining moments were Adrien Brody making the most of moment in terms of kissing Halle Berry and then making a really passionate speech. Of course the hero turned anti hero Michael Moore was booed by the audience for this anti-war and anti-Bush statments. I too agree that this is not the platform for making political statements. Nicole Kidman showed that she has no brains and spoke a bunch of crap in her acceptance speech. There was a comment on the show today when Polanski won the Oscar and Scorcese getting snubbed again. " Who do I have to rape in this town to get the Oscar ?". Another former bridesmaid got his honorary Oscar, Peter O' Toole.
Are the Oscars a sham? Does marketing or hysteria make the difference. Is it politically coloured?
Chicago won the Oscar for Best Picture with the Pianist taking the rest of the biggies. Pedro Almodovar looked like as if he had misplaced his hairdryer before he got here and then read out from a paper (how sad).
This was the 75th Oscar ceremony and was "..not too great except for the Oscar for Best Kiss for Adrien Brody.." as my friend Javed wrote.
Posted by hirak on Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Let Down Again
No one would be interested in putting me in prison. India got the biggest thrashing in what was supposed be their greatest moment.
There are too many Indian armchair will provide the post mortem on what Ganguly should have done and how the Indian bowlers threw the game away.
The hard truth is that mere will of a billion Indians would not win us the match. IT maybe made out 11 nervous of the onerous responsibility. Sachin too cracked under the pressure and despite his brilliance he never played the big match well.
With every ball that was sent down the Wanderers ground the match went further and further away. We were closest to the World Cup at the start.When we will not choke?
Posted by hirak on Monday, March 24, 2003
All Hope Not Lost
I decided not to slit any throats and found out that I could forge the tickets. Forging is now another in the growing list of crimes that I have managed to commit in this short but eventful life of mine. These ISA (not ISI!) guys made it ludicruously simple to forge the ticket with a couple of CRTL-C and CRTL-V. My roomate forged the signature of the ISA president or something (which should atleast give me more years in the slammer).
Technical note:The key to forging is having the correct kind of paper. That is of prime importance. Look it me i am justifying this from a educational standpoint.
There is another standpoint. Last time India made it to the finals I was three. Now I am almost a score (Yes it still is used this word i mean) years later we are again in the final. For something that happens once in twenty years I forged it.
India, dudes you guys better win atleast it will make my prison stay worthwhile.
Posted by hirak on Sunday, March 23, 2003
To my great anger the tickets to the finals have been sold out.The sort sightedness of the organisers prevented them from arranging a bigger hall. This I hope makes up for my own short sightedness that I should have gone to get the tickets an hours earlier. Its always easy to blame 'them' though.
Its India's greatest moment( any kind of moment for a nation) since Lords, 1983 ( when I was too young to remember) I shall not be able to watch it. This is punishment for my utter lack of faith in Indian cricket.
Part of my earlier spiel for not buying the tickets was Cricket has eaten into other sports in India. This may not be the politically best time to argue a case for other sports. The grapes are currently too sour to even talk about.
Though still being very much Indian and hence full of hope.. I hope that some juggad will get me tickets. Shall I slit a few throats?
Thus spake Goethe:
"One swallow does not make it Spring
The warmth, the love that was last Sunday has been lost all this week. It has been raining and not as warm though thankfully all the damn snow has melted and shall most stay melted. ( Aside :How incorrect from the standpoint of Physics. I hope readers will understand the poetic license of the statement rather then question my scientific knowledege)
Also since the brave and fearless leader G.W. Bush decalred war on Iraq and liberate the people of Iraq. As my friend Greg put it " ..invading a Muslim country without UN support and so little cause is not the best way to impress the rest of the world.." Tony Blair, his trans Atlantic accomplice made a statement i parliament that this was a time for courage.
The Saudis this time have not provided the US with free fuel. This time its seems like an expenses paid trip.
Most Indians are only worried hoping this war will not disrupt the World Cup finals in South Africa. Cause its not everyday that India gets in the finals..
Last Sunday..Ann Arbor was transformed from the ice floes of yore ( 3/8/2003) to this sudden burst of Spring. All my life I wondered why these Western books kept harping about Spring. Now I know. From the icy streets of -10 º C to the warmish 22 º C. It was fun to actually be walking in shorts andmore fun to see the chicks in shorts! Also I was listening to Robert Schumann's Eusebius from Carnaval. Am I partial to all largo pieces or what? Anyway it was beautiful and the weather was beautiful. I was on my bicycle and for the first time it was a real pleasure to ride it with no snow and ice to watch out for.
Not being the greatest of frisbee players I managed to knock a few heads rather than turn some on the Diag. With some blokes strumming the guitars playing the blues ( odd time to play 'dem ole blues) and it seemed like the whole campus had descended on the Diag. It was great fun.
Despite the fact that I had so much of academic work to do..This was a good excuse.
Midnight's children premiered this week in the US in Ann Arbor. I have read Rushdie's other stuff but not this, his most famous book. I cannot therefore comment on the book versus its dramatisation. I really liked the play. It was not merely a play but a mix of Hollywood ( with Paper Moon), Bollywood, Hinglish, play and more play on words.
I had the miss the opportunity of listening to Rushdie talk because I had a stupid lab to go to in the evening. I also learned later that I missed the entire series of films that were being shown in preparation of the event. They showed Tamas, Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Train to Pakistan, Bombay and more. Where was I?
Personally I dont really understand the last bit of the play and what he actually meant. It made me realise one thing that we need to accept out history and burden of it. We wish to deny a lot of things from our past.
I wish to differ from the most common interpretations of Midnight's Children is more about relationships and love rather than a 'fractured history of the Siamese twins born in August of 1947- Pakistan and India'. Mumtaz and her impotent first husband Nadir, the poet. Piya and her affair with Homi Cattrack. Saleem own love for his 'sister' Jamila. Him and his son 'of sorts' as the muddled genealogy of characters is explained. The book is deeper and so damned convoluted that it gives me a headache.
Is magical realism real? :)
Posted by hirak on Sunday, March 16, 2003
Soggy Socks Suck
Ann Arbor, geographically is in Michigan. Though currently it resembles some sub-arctic floe with all these huge mounds of snow. I have nothing against that What I do mind is the snow getting in your shoes. I don't mind the snow but I mind it melting.
Somehow, just enough snow gets in the shoes to make the socks soggy and not totally wet. This sucks because you can do nothing about it. If you are unlucky to to get some in the morning then it wont dry till late in the evening.
Apparently body heat is enough to melt the snow and not dry the socks. Thanks to the body heat being 36º which covenient to melt ice but not enough to dry out stuff quick. I so irritated with this that i am giving the solution a good thought.
1. Make sure you have enough of Kleenex padded up in the shoes before you step out. Hopefully it will be better at sucking the water formed than the socks
2. Take a ride in the car if you get one and explain that its not that you mind the walking but the soggy socks suck idea.
The fondest memories of trekking in the Sahyadris in the monsoon have been marred by only one fact. Wet underpants. Which is the worst thing that can happen to you when you have to walk and walk. Let's not get into that!
Posted by hirak on Sunday, March 09, 2003
Sometimes keeping awake at 4:27am has its advantages. My cousin was awake once around that time watching TV. He ordered a two sets of a those "super-knives-that-do-almost-anything-in-the-kitchen". Those ads that you see on TV- "Call 1-800-KNIVES now and place your order". His wife and mom were not pleased with his early morning stroke of inspiration.
On a much safer, saner not here is something that I stumbled upon. Its really funny if not anything else.
Click on the heads for some fun stuff
Posted by hirak on Friday, March 07, 2003
This is something that I should have done long ago. It's never too late to start. The first time I wrote anything was with the specific intention of seeing my name in print. What is the whole deal about seeing your name in print? Exhibitionism? Egoism? Acknowledgement of the world to your existence? I dont know. The first time it happened it felt great. Hirak's Seminal Observation of Novelty - " All first times feel great". Here I am all these years later with faded, yellowed newspaper cuttings ( Hope I still have them!). How do you know you are the biggest loser in the 21st century- Even Google does not know what/who you are.
Hence the little voice. Its little but its still a voice. Here is where I shall write about my Weltanschauung (or atleast use such words). I also currently need a place, a board where I can show off my pseudo- intellectualism. A personal ego trip.
That is for people who want reasons. Sometimes there are no reasons. Simply put,
cacoethes scribendi - Latin for the indescribable desire to write.
Posted by hirak on Friday, March 07, 2003