कहानी मिर्ची की

दुनिया में दर्दनाक अनुभवों की कमी तो नहीं है पर जब कोई अनजाने आपको एक तीखी मिर्ची खिला दे, जिस असीम आनंद की प्राप्ति उस समय होती है, उसका वर्णन संस्कारी शब्दों में करना थोड़ा मुश्किल हो जाता है। मिर्ची नाम से ही अपनी सी लगती है, ऐसा लगता है, और मसाले जिनके लिए भारत का दक्षिणी भाग प्रसिद्ध है, मिर्ची भी उन्ही की विरासत होगी और फिर बाकी मसलों की तरह यूरोपियों ने मिर्ची का स्वाद भी हमारे घाटों पे चखा होगा । पर बड़े आश्चर्य की बात है, कि भारत में मिर्ची का इतिहास कुछ 500 साल ही पुराना है। 15 वीं सदी के अंत में, वास्को डि गामा और उनके साथियों ने ही पहली बार हमारी जीभ जलाई थी। मिर्ची के बारे में ऐसी ही कुछ अनोखी बातें मुझे एपिक टीवी चैनल के एक शो से पता चलीं जो मैं अपनी (बहुत ही कमज़ोर) याददाश्त और विकिपीडिआ एवं अन्य स्रोतों (मुख्यत:) की सहायता से, एकत्रिक करके अपने जैसे कुछ और जिज्ञासु मित्रों के साथ बाँट रहा हूँ।

7500 BC यानी कि आज से 9500 साल पहले से हमारे दक्षिण अमरीकी मित्र मिर्ची का लुत्फ़ उठा रहे हैं। 4500 BC में दक्षिण अमेरिका में इसकी खेती शुरू हुई, लगबघ उसी समय जब हमने चावल उगाना शुरू किया। सन 1492 में कोलम्बस जब भारत की खोज में निकला था, तब उसका एक लक्ष्य काली मिर्च (जिसको ब्लैक गोल्ड कहा जाता था) तक पहुँचने का दूसरा रास्ता ढूंढना था। वो जब अमेरिकी महाद्वीप में पहुंचा तो उसकी मुलाकात मिर्ची से हुई। वहां की स्थानीय भाषा में इसे चिली कहा जाता था, तो रेड इंडियंस की तरह ही पैप्पर की तलाश में मिली चिली का नाम चिली पैप्पर रख दिया। उसके बाद मिर्ची ने दुनिया के कोने कोने तक सफर किया और अब दुनिया की अमूमन हर पाक शैली में इसकी मौजूदगी है। मिर्ची को हमारे भारत की आबो-हवा और हम भारतीयों की मेहमान नवाज़ी इतनी रास आयी कि , आज के समय में भारत मिर्ची का सबसे बड़ा उत्पादक एवं निर्यातक है।

अब मिर्ची का ज़िक्र होते में ज़ेहन में पहला सवाल यही आता है कि दुनिया में सबसे तीखी मिर्ची कौनसी होती और, वो कितनी तीखी होगी? मिर्ची की तीव्रता मापने के लिए स्कोविल्ल स्केल का इस्तेमाल किया जाता है। इस स्केल में चीनी की उस मात्रा को नापा जाता है जिसको मिलाने से इस मिर्ची का तीखापन ख़त्म हो जाये। इस स्केल में सबसे तीखी मिर्ची, अमेरिका की “कैरोलिना रीपर” मानी जाती है जिसका तीखापन 22,00,000 SHU नापा गया है। भारत की सबसे तीखी मिर्ची “भूत ज़लकीया” की तीव्रता 15,80,000 SHU नापी गयी है।

इस पोस्ट का अंत मैं कुछ दिलचस्प मिर्चियों के साथ करता हूँ..

कश्मीरी मिर्च – नाम से ही साफ़ है की ये कश्मीर में होती है , पर इसकी सबसे मज़ेदार बात ये है की ये मिर्ची बस नाम की है , इसकी तीव्रता बस लगबगाह 4000 -5000 तक होती है, इसलिए कश्मीरी खान पान में इसका प्रयोग तीखेपन की जगह ज़ायके के लिए होता है।

गुंटूर मिर्च – आंध्रा के तीखे खाना का राज़ ये गुँटूरी मिर्च है। यह भारत से निर्यात होने वाली मिर्ची में 30% हिस्सा गुंटूर मिर्च का है। इसकी तीव्रता 50,000 -1,00,000 SHU तक होती है।

मुंडू मिर्च – आंध्रा और तमिल क्षेत्रों में उगाई जाने वाली ये मिर्ची अपने आकार की वजह से अत्यंत दिलचस्प है। अन्य मिर्चियों की तरह लम्बी और पतली होने की जगह यह मिर्ची गोलाकार होती है। इस मिर्ची का प्रयोग भी तीव्रता की जगह ज़ायके के लिए होता है। मैंने ऐसी गोल मिर्च नहीं देखी पर मेरे आंध्र-तमिल दोस्त ज़रूर खुशनसीब हैं।

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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 last.fm 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

इंसान

हिंदी

कुदरत भी मैं हूँ, करिश्मा भी मैं ही
मैं ताकत भी हूँ, कमजोरियां मुझसे ही मिली
मैं नफरत भी हूँ, मुहब्बत नाम मेरा ही

महरूम भी मैं हूँ, खुशनसीबी भी मेरी
अजीबियत है मुझमें, आवाम भी मैं ही
फ़साने भी मैं सुनाऊँ, कसूर भी मेरे

बुलंदियां हैं मेरी, शिगाफे भी मैंने देखे
दानिश भी मैं हूँ, जाहिलियत भी मुझीमें
समझदारी महबूबा मेरी, महबूबा ही मेरी नादानी

मिसालियत ये मेरी, कि मैं हूँ एक इंसान

اردو

 

کدرت بھی میں ہوں   ،  کرشمہ بھی میں  ہی
میں ٹکٹ بھی ہوں  ،  کمزوریاں بھی مجھسے ملی
میں نفرت بھی ہوں    ،   محبّت نام میرا ہی

محروم بھی میں ہوں  ،   خوشنصیبی بھی میری
اجیبیت ہے مجھمے  ،  اوم بھی میں ہی
فسانے بھی میں سنوں  ،   کسور بھی میرے

بلندیاں ہے میری  ،  شگافےبھی مینے دیکھ
دانش بھی میں ہوں، جاہلیت بھی مجھمے
سمجھداری محبوبہ میری ،  محبوبہ ہی میری نادانی

مسلیت  یے میری کی میں ہوں ےک انسان

 

Rafi vs Kishore

Of the 5 “classic” hindi singers, the biggest fight has always been between Kishore and Rafi. Asha Bhosle growing up in the shadows of Lata Mangeshkar could only ever go as high as Lata (perhaps at times succeeding her). Lata is perhaps the greatest of them all, men and women. Mukesh, Kishore and Rafi don’t stand as far apart as Lata and Asha. Yet, I (and many people I know) put Mukesh on a paddle below the other two, partly due to fact that he’s a bit typecasted.
Mukesh = rona dhona , raj kapooor euphoria songs.

Just like the McCartney- Lennon comparison which has egged on Classic Rock enthusiasts for generations, Rafi vs Kishore battle has been going on, even in the present generation, even though Rafi died, a good 7 years before I (avg age of our generation) was born and Kishore died a few months after my birth. Now coming to the main question, the debate between the two and my view on it. Even though I was a Kishore Kumar enthusiast since the time I can remember done in by his yodeling and the masti in his songs, also coupled by the fact that until quite some back I wasnt proficient in recognizing the different voices of Rafi & Kishore ( I still can hardly distinguish between old Lata & Asha songs, although newer songs are easily identifiable).

It would actually be a sin to downgrade Kishore when compared to Rafi, coz there might not be much of a difference, but if you ask me, my fav male singer in Bollywood, there’s only going to be 1 answer, Mohammed Rafi.

For the starters, a fact which many might not know is, although its Kishore who is associated with Yodeling and is the only Indian in this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Yodelers, but its Rafi who was the first one to bring  it into bollywood, using it in songs, as early as the early 50s, while Kishore Kumar popularized it almost a decade later.

I have always had a fascination with the songs of 50s, 60s featuring people like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee and people of that generation and while songs from Rajesh Khanna period are huge favourites with people all around, but I have more than often found those songs, either sad (lost of rajesh khanna songs) or Happy go lucky(typical Kishore songs) and I like these kinds of songs, but the soul stirring, the harmoniously beautiful songs which came in the 50s and the happy go lucky  + romantic songs in 60s, are more of a feature of Rafi than Kishore. Kishore Kumar while managing to be succesful in the early decades of his career (he had a proper start to his career in mid 50s) only came to the fore in 70s with songs in the film Aradhana, being the important milestone in his career, but before that it was Rafi all the way.

In my opinion, while Mukesh is chained to sad songs, Kishore is more or less limited to the cheerful and sad songs, but Rafi with his ethereal voice always fits the bill for me, whatever be the type of songs, he has hummed out songs, which would surpass Mukesh anyday, his romantic songs/duets with Lata/Geeta Dutt would always be counted as the most romantic chapter of hindi music, while he couldnt give Kishore a running when it came to the bubbly and ecstatis songs, but perhaps the most famous fast paced song of bollywood, Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe Junglee kahe, was sung by NOT Kishore but Rafi, which can us a fair idea about his talent.

While I will always be enamoured by Kishore’s voice in songs like Diye Jalte hain, Roop Tera Mastana, Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz and likes but the only question to my all time listing preferences will always be Rafi because his songs have always  retained that freshness for me 50-60 years after they were recorded, but with Kishore you at times tend to get bored, more so coz of the type of songs he sang, rather than his voice being the reason. But, when you dont have much to chose from, this is the type of things which can make the minor difference.