Modiji : If Only!!

16 May 2014 is a memorable day in recent Indian history. It was a day of collective national orgasm, even the people who couldn’t differentiate an ‘o’ from a ‘a’ were orgasming at the Namo chant. For the right wing which forms a major core of his vote base and might find the word orgasm a tad offensive, I can say, the nation was in a hysteric frenzy, highly hopeful about the future, expectant of a wide gamut of changes. I too was hopeful
More than a year has passed, the Govt has been analysed by a variety of more than competent voices, pens and keyboards. I am but a tiny, nondescript voice in this whole sea, BUT a voice nonetheless
Modi the Ideologue? – Modi had come to the scene as कर्मठ  politician. He was the doer, the implementer we had been waiting for ages. India has had a rich history of spiritual-cultural gurus through its history. What we need rather is a British (or to generalise Western) tenacity, orderliness and diligence, the work ethic what we call. The first call which came with Modi was “Swachha Bharat” definitely a much needed one, kudos to him for the initiative. Man ki Baat was an interesting initiative, although I didn’t much favour a PM spending quite sometime every week to basically do BC on Radio. Par theek hai Modi sahab apne thoda zyada  bolte hain. Then came a whole lot of foreign visits. Activity in India corresponded to World Yoga Day. Everybody around me has felt happy and encouraged by the initiative except the doctors who had to go to early morning yoga under the orders of Dept of Ayush. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the initiative except some Muslims protesting. But we already had a Baba Ramdev, and this work could better be left to him rather than the PM and the official government machinery. Health improvement initiatives are not the right or duty or the territory of government, it should be more concerned with providing the sustenance, even which many Indians are lacking.
I had these points rankling my brain but the straw on the camel’s back was #SelfiewithDaughter. Its as noble an  initiative as ever. But the PM, (who himself actually left his wife stranded) should be formulating and implementing policies on ground which work for betterment of girl child rather than tweeting about it. The fact that the fathers who are actually tweeting the pics would have families which would provide atleast  superficial equality to their daughters.
Modi in one of the pre-election interviews had said, ‘Kuch banne ki mat socho, bas karne ki socho” and right now he only thinks (atleast acts) only to banana or banna, Bharat ko mahan rashtra, Yoga ko world icon, India ko tourist hub. If Only!!
HRDDD!!! – If there is an issue more important than administering or policing a nation, it is educating a nation. As I would like to say, this world has been a knowledge society from paleolithic to today. The one thing which we need to focus most in this mechanised, industrial, scientific age is education. The decision to appoint our Tulsi Bhahi to the post reflected all that was intended to about the importance of the ministry, and the value of education, a decision even the Modi fans regret about.  In no analysis of mine have I ever marked Modi as criminal rather ascribing things like Scams, Black money, land bill and stuff as guilt in conduct at max. But his neglect of education is the biggest criminal assault on the future of India he is committing. Schools are pathetic, libraries are absent, secondary education is fraught with cheating. And all Mrs. Irani is giving more and more of taxpayer to bringing up more IITs & IIMs, quite a colossal waste in whose details I wont even go.
Its not that he doesnt have the people. He has Maneka Gandhi, the lady who is associated with bringing out humane and far reaching changes wherever she has committed herself. She is the in-charge of Women and Child empowerment agreed but where did the talks of merging ministries and cutting red tape go. Child and Education together can be the best option. If only!! Mr. Modi would listen?

Handling of Myanmar – 18 Indian Army jawans were killed in Manipur inside India. India’s response was, to enter the territory of another sovereign nation and conduct army raids there. Indians got a hashtag #56InchRocks, PM Modi became the No-Nonsense PM, Parrikar the bad ass Defense Minister. But, is there any point of view which could convince me that this was the ideal step to take, in such a situation. Instead of taking it as a national insult or a terrorist attack, this should first of all be seen as a huge failure of the intelligence agencies for people to come from across the border and stage such planned outrage. Second, what would happen in case some such attack comes from Pakistan or Bangladesh, we can’t storm in there. Congress inaction was a big no no but the BJP/Parrikar knee jerk reaction and chest thumping “We don’t keep the army to preach peace” isn’t much of a positive twist either. Even the mighty (read US) can’t sustain and succeed in the wars of this age, leave aside a lowly India. There was no mention of intelligence failure or the need to develop preventive, resistive capabilities and we got a chest-thumping-making-fool-out-of-himself-previously-respected-defense-minister. If Only!!

I haven’t really gone into the points mentioned so brilliantly in the following article which were my initial thoughts.
Indian Foreign Ministry – I had decent respect for Sushma Swaraj, then she was assigned the role of a Sarkari Babu in Foreign Ministry. The poor lady had not much say in policies and implementation I can fairly assume. So bored with nothing to do at office, our honourable FM took to twitter with her personal handle being used as the SOS contact, Indians stuck in different countries ping the foreign minister of our country with the honourable minister even replying to the tweets. I had heard a lot about Modi’s micro management but that involved a foreign minister doing the work of a Secretary or Assistant was not what I had expected it as. To top it, these instances were pushed to the public timeline by the BJP bots as the example of the ‘Most Badass FM we ever had’. Head—Wall :Bam: #redefinition-of-duties-of-foreign-minister-max. It would have been so much more prudent of Modi to keep the ministry (AS he has obviously has to fulfill the ambitions of a global leader) and utilised Sushma Swaraj elsewhere. If Only!!
Schemes –  Chinnaswamy stadium receives less DLF Maximums in an IPL season as perhaps the number of new schemes launched in recent times. Make in India, Bullet Trains, Smart Cities, Jan Dhan Yojana to name a few. Make in India was an interesting concept, I am still much hopeful about it producing results. Bullet trains is as ghastly a suggestion as Marie Antoinette asking people to eat cake if they can’t have bread.
Smart cities seems a dream too far when you realise, Chennai a major Indian metropolitan(?) city got its first metro train today and that there were 70cr Rs alotted to a city, a pittance if you try to work it out. Lets first make our cities and then we can think of smart cities.
A very succesful practice adopted by China and most prudent people is to start a scheme on a small scale try and find out the weakness, strong points and implement a better tested out alternative on a larger scale. The Jan Dhan schemes launched which include opening tiny accounts,  giving basic insurance cover are perfect examples of good gone bad. Most of the benefits are availed of by the educated, middle class rather than the actually needy villager. Instead of the bank based model, we need to focus on the Banking Correspondent based model targeting the villages instead of the cities if we actually want the schemes to bear fruits. But
If Only!!!

Favourite Albums Deux

As soon as I conceived the idea of having album covers compilation, I had two things fixed, the no of albums would be 16 and each thumbnail 300×300 which would give me a collage of the size 1200×1200, a very comfortable size. My first list comprised 28 albums which condensed to 20 with only a little heartbreak. But the transformation from 20 to 16 was so heartbreaking and guilt inducing that I was quite tempted to have a 1600×1200 collage to have 20 albums. Finally decided against it, but the guilt, since then hasnt let me live in peace and thats why I am here with a list of 6 more albums, would have ahd 5 but difficult to have such a lopsided collage.

Of the movies that missed out in the first list, 2 have been the oldest surviving albums in my library, one is the sweetest music ever and me the proverbial good/sweet guy couldn’t be rude to that movie, another album, just one song of it was continuously on my play list all(most) all 24 hours during my UPSC Mains exam (comes out to be around 9 days), an amazing piece fo music, another is a cult classic with so many of my favourite songs missing out coz of its genre while the other was perhaps more of everything that Dev D was yet a few shades dark. So here I present albums list -2

Lakeer – If Saathiya is the oldest album in list, this one isnt much too new. Wiki describes the movie as “biggest disaster of the year at the box office” but A.R. Rahman, the magician is the only reason that this name hasnt ever slipped out of my radar. Offho Jalta hai in Asha’s voice is just sensual, Rozana by Viva is perhaps the only cheer leading song in Hindi and its as peppy as you would want it to be, Shehzaade in Kunal Ganjwala’s voice gives a magical feeling, nachley has Daler Mehndi at full pomp while the two soft songs Sadiyaan and Paighaam are exactly to my liking.
Fav Song : Sadiyaan

MTV Unplugged in New York – Everyone Nirvana story starts with Rape Me and Smells like Teen Spirit and then once you’re done with them, you explore some more of Nirvana. I too went on the similar lines and the first ‘other’ song of Nirvana I liked was Come as You are which was followed by Lake of Fire then came Plateau followed by Pennyroyal tea, Plateau, Jesus dont want me for a Sunbeam, the man who sold the world. Every song in this album is a grunge classic and I havent even mentioned Dumb, Polly, Where did you sleep last night. The one reason I didnt include it in the first list beside the scarcity of places was that I have hardly ever listened the album on a go but weighed on song to song, this is as good as an album can get.
Fav Song : The Man who sold the world

Raanjhanaa – I had fallen in love with the title track and never came out, I loved Tum tak and didn’t get bored, I was just amazed by Tu Mun Shudi, I had just absolutely adored the Rahman croon, Aise Na Dekho, Piya Mileneg was the perfect soul searcher, I thought I had enough of the album and then I discovered the song Banarasiya in December and it was magic unfolding, it couldnt figure out how I had missed out on this jewel. An album whose 3rd-4th ladder song could keep me captivated and calm enough during UPSC mains exam certainly deserves lots of kudos and definitely a mention in an all time list.
Fav Song : Raanjhanaa/Banarasiya

Saathiya – The first album to break into my albums compilation and since, has never had any scare of being pushed off the pedestal, the last movie kicked out of the last 16 list mainly because of being another Rahman movie in the list and losing out on a song to song basis to some heavyweights. The album has all that a Rahman album has, the soul-searching rahman crooning number, the different in every way songs, some great music and an absolutely magical song. The album came in our school time and I dont think many guys would have not imagined themselves riding an Enticer as Vivek does with the song O Humdum Suniyo Re playing on the earphones. Alas we were kids and all we got was cycles and scooties but the dream remained and so did the album in my play list.
This album was the sole reason behind putting up another list, my heart just wouldn’t forgive me for leaving out THIS movie.
Fav Song : Saathiya/O Humdum Suniyo Re/Chupke Se/Banjar/Aye Udi udi – just can’t pick up one

Wake Up Sid – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have given us a lot of great pop music, they’ve given us DCH,KHNH to name the least but the thing with pop music is (unless its Paul-the-love-sage-Mccartney) is that it doesnt have too long a shelf life in my library. The pop albums will rule my charts when they come but their magic wanes off until I only listen to selected songs. Wake up Sid doesnt have too many songs just 6 to savour but the gamut that S-E-L have put up, has a lot of soul, lot of softness and lots of feelings to just win me over for an eternity. Once you have seen the movie, it’s just impossible to not swoon over the songs which convey the same cool, loving and happy feel which the movie also conveys but even without that, there are some gems which stand on their own.
Fav Song : Iktara

Welcome to Sajjanpur – Amrita Rao is cuteness personified, Shreyas Talpade is the definition of a nice guy and they both meet to bring out an amazingly good and cute movie. The movie direceted by Shyam Benegal had intense message in the lightest possible way and the music by Shantanu Moitra does exactly that, when he talks of the message, it is done in a very rustic earthy style, when he talks of love its the sweetest ill you can imagine. I am yet to find an album with such rustic soul to appeal to such a metropolitan me. Sweet, simple and earthy just the perfect concoction for my top of tops
Fav Song : Ek Meetha Marz

And with this I shall finally conclude my album list although with an aim to remove any chances of guilt arising again, shall mention the other 6 movies that failed to make the cut even this time just for my sake more than any reading pleasure. The albums, as always in alphabetic order would be

Filhaal – A soft soulful compilation
Gangs of Wasseypur – At times feel the quality got diluted a bit over two albums but still part 1 is a path breaker, kudos to Sneha Kanwalkar
Gulaal – Only suffers a bit in terms of movie and album liking-hood due to the amazingness of Dev D released at a similar time. Another cult classic
Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na – Another Rahman album, another classic
Love Aaj Kal – Twist might perhaps be the only hep song played for my hearing repeatedly
Rock On – Sui generis in Indian cinema another memorable album by S-E-L

Albums for Eternity

Through all these years, music has been my best and closest constant friends and source of strength. From the days of buying the cassette of DDLJ, first musical buy of my sister and me, times have changed, technology has changed. Individual songs have been many but whole albums which I listen on a loop have also been there. This listla is my collection which has preserved the transition from cassettes to computer to finally mobile devices and a lot of hard disk crashes. A reflection of my tastes, a heartfelt collection…

Aamir – Small men can cast the longest of shadows says Tyrion Lannister. On the similar lines, this is a small movie which casted theA longest of shadow. The movie was definitely top class while the music was bollywood beater to say the least.
Fav Song : Ek lau zindagi ki

Abbey Road – The last composition of Beatles albeit the second last album released. But if there is a concept of, last and the least, Beatles definitely didn’t believe in it. Full of love songs, soulful songs and some stories to tell. Abbey Road would definitely be my favourite Beatles album and thats a lot to say about the album. Definitely a chart topper, most played album of mine.
Fav Song : Here Comes the Sun

Band on the Run – Paul McCartney at his best, typical Paul album, lots of Pop, lots of love, happiness. Paul never gets too philosophical but the music is always top notch. You could observe this trend in the Beatles songs but when he finally got a chance to express himself singly, we get albums of this ilk. This, Flaming Pie and Kisses on the bottom can fill any heart with love and happiness
Fav Song : Band on the Run

Barfi – He might be a copy cat, he might steal the tunes but when Pritam gives the music to an album, so many times its freaking wonderful. The music of Barfi fitted absolutely well with the movie. But even if you listen in isolation, the music is sure to touch more than a few nerves. Absolutel amazing music, the latest album in my list. For one such album and another to come in the list, Pritam can be forgiven any number of music tunes copied.
Fav Song : Sanwali si Raat

Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel are easily my favourite artists after Beatles who compare favourably due to the large catalogue of music. They again suffer out a bit here as my collection have most of their songs in compilations or Best of albums. BOTW is a kinda tribute to my love for S&G as well makes the cut due to its track listing, almost all of which are absolutely “Ek Number”
Fav Song : Bridge over troubled water/Cecilia/El Condor Pasa/Boxer (I just can’t choose)

C.I.D – In old bollywood music, there is only one favourite I have, that is the great S.D.Burman but if any other musician comes close in my ranking that’d be O.P.Nayyar. This album is the amazing combo of OP Nayyar, Dev Anand and Her Magician-ness Geeta Dutt. This star cast is enough to make me spell bound and the album doesn’t fall shy of its billing.
Fav Song : It’s so bloody difficult, almost all songs equally good with all songs in the album being stand out. If still have to choose one, it might be “Aankhon ki Aankhon mein Ishara”

Dev D – THE cult movie of our generation, DCH the earlier cult came while most of my generation were still tiny teenagers. We would be forever grateful to the movie for introducing us to Amit Trivedi. One movie i don’t need to talk much, everyone is more than aware of the awesomeness.
Fav Song : 18 Songs, every one of them a chart buster but I’ll perhaps go for Dev-Chanda Theme 2

Guide – India swears by RD, but there is only one Burman who I like, the one and only S D Burman. Guide, was cinematic excellence, recently its 50 years were celebrated in Cannes and the music by SD is fully fitting. It has hope, it has romance and sure enough melancholy which are the songs I like more in the movie.
Fav Song : Allah Megh de/Wahan Kaun hai both sung by SDB himself.

Let Go – My love of Avril started with my beginning of English music, I wonder who was that great soul who introuduced me to her music. Definitely not my music, Punk for a classic rock, generally soft soulful music lover. Definitely not my age, she’s the only English artist post 1970s that i listen to. But then she, I just cant take out of my library. Everything is punk, everything is mostly soulful and thoughtful and just adorable to me.
Fav Song : Complicated

Let It Be… Naked – There supposedly is a lot of differnce between the 2 versions of this album, this one doesn’t have the Wall of Sound of Phil Spector, is a stripped down version as was originally intended by The Beatles. The project was initiated by none other than Macca and no wonder that I like the music much there’s too much life in the music as compared to general Beatles/Lennon inspired music. For me one vital difference is that the original album (I had) didnt have the song “Get Back” which this one has and is definitely a song to favour. Thus my vote for Naked
Fav Song : Let it Be / Get Back

Life In A.. Metro – Probably the best music to have come out of Bollywood in this millennium. Pritam has again managed to bring out the magic by the virtue of just his music and nothing. Lyrics are decent, there isnt too much variety in the album unlike many in the list. There are too many unplugged versions, too many reprise. But the music is just so amazing that even one listening to them after other wouldnt bore you.
Fav Song : Baatein kuch ankahee si/Rishtey

Pyaasa – Another S D Burman in the mix. Definitely the most exhiliriating album. Every time I listen to the album it sends shivers down my spine. It has the haunting effect, it has amazing romance, it has fun and it is the Godmother of melancholy. Guru Dutt was perhaps at his best making this movie. SD also didn’t leave any stone unturned to give the music of the level of the movie. And last but definitely not the least Hemant Kumar (just one song ), Geeta Dutt and the unbeatable Rafi tell us what painful, colourful and romantic singing is.
Fav Song : Jane wo kaise log the.. The most played Hindi song in my library

Rockstar – If Life in A.. Metro is the best music of naughties then Rockstar is definitely my favourite album of this decade. A.R.Rahman,as always is in his elements. The lyrics, the depth, the vocals all are here but my favourite song in this album is the instrumental overtaking the usual Rahman sung, soft croon Kun Faya Kun. If only Rahman could give us more such albums regularly
Fav Song : The Dichotomy of Fame

Sifar – Lucky Ali is my favourite voice, his ethereal voice which I first heard sometime in school to this date remains the favourite voice till date. Although I would be more than happy to find another voice more pleasing to my ears than his, but none found as of yet. I generally wouldnt be able to live without any of his first 3 albums but still if I have to chose 1 out of his albums, it will undoubtedly be Sifar, contains my favourite Lucky Ali song Mehboob, my 2nd fav song Dekha Hai Aise Bhi and many of my most fav lucky songs
Fav Song : Mehboob

Slowhand – Clapton was a magician we all know, Clapton defeated Harrison in a duel we know, Clapton serenaded Patty Boyd away from George we know. And this album is what tells us (atleast me) why he was all the above. Love songs par excellence (and to think Layla and Bell Bottom Blues lie outside this album), Guitaring phenomenal, the song Peaches and Diesel is just guitaragasm.
Fav Song – Wonderful Tonight/Peaches and Diesel.

Swades – A. R. Rahman is just a maestro. The undoubted king of contemporary Bollywood music. The fact that his albums are spectacular is universal knowledge. But the one song that I look to in his albums is the one soft crooning song that he composes and is generally sung by the maestro as well. In this movie the song was “Ye jo des hai tera”. A gem, a song to hum your whole life. BUT the biggest success of Swades music (for me) was its background music and the album called Swades.Background with 37 songs that I have is perhaps only a bit more valuable than the actual album.
Fav Song : Ye jo des hai