Imagine being the most talented novelist with a sales figure of less than 100? Imagine being one of the most gifted Filmmaker with just a handful of audience at the theater? And imagine being an enthralling and virtuosic songwriter with a strange reputation of having “no listeners”? Such was the case of the masterful US folk musician, “Sixto Rodriguez”.

Consider this. Bob Dylan, the worldwide revolutionary guitar-man, armed with his biting words and a honest voice, was largely successful in reaching across the globe, thanks to his million followers and a billion other dylan-aspirants. Being the cover of the Rolling Stone is not exactly what he had wished for, but he still became a highly acclaimed celebrity. But a guy from humble beginnings, despite being a stellar song-writer, never saw the light of fame and mass-following as Dylan did. Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

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“Searching For Sugar Man”, is one of those documentaries which informs, entertains and makes us ponder about the fickle nature of the music business and how raw and immense talent is not enough to make it big in the land of the “Big Apple” or elsewhere. Talking about “making it big”, while the sublime and earthy songs of Rodriguez were royally rotting away in his homeland US in the 70s, unknown to him, his albums were a “huge rage” in guess where?,…..”South Africa”. Yes folks, it was the 1970s, where young blood throughout the world wanted to raise their voice and oppress the oppression around them in some way or the other. South Africa, being criticized and cut-off from the rest of the countries due to its appalling “Apartheid” policies, needed a voice of sorts to being about a change.  The uber classic folk tunes and vagabond-esque lyrics of the mysterious Rodriguez reached the shores of Cape Town in an equally mysterious way.  Nobody exactly knows who brought his music to South Africa, but the youth of the country had found their voice through this musician who quickly became more revered than Hendrix, Dylan, Jimmy Page, Morrison and the likes for decades to come. While he became the South African “Elvis Presley”, what was the man himself doing all these years? Hmmm, mostly doing a blue-collar job to earn a meager livelihood, shifting from one dilapidated house to another with his three children and trying to tackle the hardships of life, the acceptance of undue rejection with a smile and a strong heart.

Back in the African continent, Rodriguez was labeled as an enigma, where his immense popularity was the result of strong word to mouth exposure. His loyal listeners, who quoted words from his songs at the drop of the hat, knew little about the person who had enchanted them for so long. They presumed him dead, as bizarre stories of “shooting himself in a concert” and “setting oneself ablaze”, spread like wild fire. They knew for sure through unknown sources that their Legend was no more. However, in today’s hyper digital world, everything and anything is possible with the power of a “click”.  In the late 90s, almost 2 decades after the singer’s disappearance, when an ardent Rodriguez worshipper and an equally enthusiastic musicologist decide to dig things up and uncover the mystery behind this man, startling revelations come to the fore as we truly come to know “what really happened to him?”

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 Searching for Sugar Man is an exquisitely made documentary, where the interviews and the valiant search are as honest and “true-to heart” as Six to himself. Much of the documentary’s charm, enlightenment and poignancy have to do with the feature-esque cinematography and the astute selection of songs from the golden mine of Rodriguez. The songs, the words and the voice evoke a myriad of unsaid emotions and make us wonder that whether you want it or not, “we all must get our due”. You may agree or disagree but if you think about it, sometimes, perishing due to unforeseen or foreseen circumstances is of course a tragedy, but being the eternal ”unsung hero” and “disintegrating in oblivion” is what can be called as a “Real Tragedy”.

If you feel that, everything above was the result of a sudden flurry of lofty emotions, then just listen to this song and contemplate over the importance of “recognition”.

 

 

This is a guest post by Neeraj Sridhar who writes on a documentary that chronicles the life a great singer. The views expressed by the author are personal.

Good Luck India!!!

Posted: January 2, 2013 in The frequenter talks

Puja Roy:

aghast!!

Originally posted on Muktodhara:

I was walking down to the house at the end of the street, returning from my daily sojourn, when I stopped dead in my tracks. A little girl stood in the corner, her face masked by the darkness that had befallen the city. I could see something glistening beneath her eyes though. I walked up to her. She was crying indeed.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Nothing’s happened.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“That is the problem. I want something to happen. Nothing has happened.”

What was she trying to say? What should have happened?

“What do you want?” I asked, thoroughly perplexed.

“No one on the streets has touched me yet”

I was taken aback.

“What!!!”

“Yeah, no one’s touched me yet.”

“That’s brilliant!”

It was her turn to be confused.

“Wait a minute. That is a good thing? I don’t understand. Mom said that was what separated this country from…

View original 43 more words

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You know guys, there’s a place known as India. Yes, it’s the same country which you never knew where the hell it was on the map until the IT Boom and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ happened. Yes, the same place, witnesses some kind of crazy standstill during the Elections. In India or elsewhere, Elections are meant to select the best hood from the worst one. But I guess the worst always has a special edge when it comes to competition. And I would like to remind everyone that to be a politician in India is a damn difficult task. All your pricey degrees at Harvard, Yale or whichever stiff upper lip universities won’t sell a thing here. The first criterion is the ability to be Illiterate. Now I know that’s a tough thing to ask for. But cant help, as quality demands are quite high. The candidates are often seen as the ones with lot of ambitions and a strong desire to uplift the country, yes lift it high and throw it down. Speeches are special events during elections and are worth listening to, due to its inspirational nature. It’s hard not to grab a tissue paper.

Last year, I was on my own touring the whole of India. One day, due to my over zealous nature, I got lost and wandered into a town. There, I happened to get stuck in a tide of humanity pushing me over. Before I knew what hit me, I was sitting in a large open ground and listening to the oratorical skills of a high rung politician who had just begun campaigning and this was supposed to be his 100th year as a politician. Mighty impressed I was with a man whose words were harder to decipher than Einstein’s screwed up numbers. He had apparently recorded his speech beforehand and now it was booming from a screeching loud loudspeaker. The speech, I assumed and guessed and found out from a fellow follower, was recorded approximately 50 years back or later, right when the recorders came into existence in this country.

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One observation though, that politicians from all over appear to be the sole propagators of Peace, Love and Understanding, thus making them the rightful descendants of the Bhooda (Buddha for the Yankees) and the Dalai Lama. No doubt there has been remarkable 0.00001 % decrease in the overall criminal and terrorist activities over the last few decades.

Ok coming back to our Centurion man, his recorded speech overwhelmed me so much that I couldn’t help but be under whelmed. The aforementioned recorded boomed something like this:

(Translated from the local language, no subtitles here)

“My dear cousins, uncles and aunties, am here now, standing in front of you and you can say am a beggar. No, I don’t mean to say that I was a beggar before I became the nation’s servant (a dignified word); I mean to say that I am indirectly begging for your support and encouragement.”

(Suddenly, a shabby looking man stood up and shouted “Hey it seems we are brothers, why don’t we meet at a joint and start planning a large begging scheme”? The Centurion man nodded as if agreeing to the plan and then smiled back with the same Buddha like demeanor. Clearly, he was on a different astral plane to be affected by all this)

“As I was saying, am here to serve you all and am also here to save you from the wrath of other politicians, for whom debauchery and failed promises are 2nd nature. I am a staunch follower of Gandhiji and Nehruji and other Freedom fighters of our country, whose names I would be announcing in my next speech. Now, you all have come from far off places under the blazing sun just to be with me today. Everyone must be eager to know what I shall bring to this country and what the promises I will keep are.

At this moment, a young man in his early 20s stood up and shouted, “Sir its ok. Me, my father and his father and his father and his grandfather have been admiringly and patiently listening to these inspiring promises for so long and it’s all etched in our memory now. Thank you for making the promises on TAPE. I have been your biggest fan, even though our town is yet to see the sight of a ceiling fan”.

The centurion man smiled at him and his face was beaming with pride. Quite an accomplishment, I thought.

(The speaker boomed again) “For all those who are listening to me for the first time (I was all ears), I present you with a list of promises that are going to be implemented, if I win at the elections”.

The following were the proud promises of a proud guy:

·        “I promise, first of all, that I won’t leave any promises unturned and even if I forget them, I will make sure I vouch for them with double vigor and keenness during my next campaign.” (i.e, if his tape recorder is still working).

·        “I hereby declare (yes declare was the word as if he’s the PM announcing the 5 Year Plans) that the country will get more holidays than usual and that there will be 4 days off before and after the elections. This is a special offer which would depend upon how many votes I get, and there may be other terms and conditions applied to it, such as the person who castes the maximum proxy votes will get a whole month paid leave and also a chance to scratch and win a trip to “Pak Occupied Kashmir”.

·        “I am also proud to inform everyone that once I get elected, I will reduce the daily working hours of a  common working man like you and me ( oh!! he does work, surprised) from 9 hours to 90 minutes. Those 90 minutes will include lunch break, tea break and also a short time for a quick nap”.

(By this time, I could sense a sense of eagerness and euphoria amongst the gaping people. Boy, they wanted more)

·        “My dear friends, I also proudly announce that once I get elected, I will legalize a lot of things. I will try my best to get the “Open Bribery Activity” approved by the Supreme Court in a couple of years and I will also make sure that many of the those talented and underutilized gentlemen living behind bars, who are lining up in the queue to get into politics, will get an equal chance to contest along with the Respected and Wrongly Accused Scamsters and the Unfairly Ridiculed 5th Std Fail Congressmen.

(To this grand announcement, came a loud roar from the crowd which resembled the sound of hungry lions before they devour a rabbit on a dry day).

The tape recorded now stopped as the Centurion man, who was taking a good matinee nap all this while, stood up amidst shaky feet and ungainly stance. He looked at us all. It seemed maybe he was checking his eyesight or maybe I thought he was going to throw up the samosas and jalebis he was eating, on the hungry crowd. But no, He slowly lifted the microphone (as if he was about to belt out a rock song) and said “ I know am old, but my heart is very young” ( I could say that was true, as I could see 2 minimally clad almost unknown actresses behind him as possible IPL cheerleaders).

“I have embraced the new technology and I believe in moving with the times (his Blackberry was ringing vehemently as he was saying this). So, proudly, right now, at this very emphatic moment, I have a surprise for everyone.  (I was hoping he will say “I am quitting politics”).

“The surprise is that I have bought you gifts from my own money and am going to distribute it personally to everyone who is sitting here and listening to my inspiring speech. I will be giving you Television sets and Music Systems for free and plus a 1 year Cable Channel Subscription as a token gesture.  My dear countrymen please come forward and accept your gift.”

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This was amazing. How gracious of him to do this and that too from his own money. As the crowd stood up to grab their gifts, a huge truck arrived and as usual there was a loudspeaker attached to it. The only difference was that the volume was louder than the volume of Centurion’s recorder.  The truck loudspeaker beamed, ” Bhaiyon and Behenon, yeh budda toh sirf TV aur music system de raha hai, par humaare neta, joh doosre ground mein apna speech de rahen hai, woh toh aapko Computer, DVD player and free High Speed Internet access bhi de rahe hai. Aur yehi nahin, veh aapko ek lucky draw mein bhi hissa lene denge, jiske jeetne par aapko milegi ek shaandar Tata Auto yani ki TATA Nano ya ek Maruti 800 (1985 model). Hai na yeh Khushi ki baat. Yehi sahi mauka hai aur yeh offer limited period tak hi hoga. Jaldi see Aajaaeye aur time waste mat keejeye”.

On hearing this, there was a stampede equal to a thousand elephants and good enough to trigger a tsunami. Everyone was running helter-skelter. They wanted their share for sure and how. I somehow escaped the stampede and hid under a semi torn tent. Within minutes the whole ground was empty and remarkably or sadly, what was left of the Great Centurion Man and his campaign was his gold teeth, his thick to thin rimmed glasses and a faint voice coming somewhere from the now defunct tape recorder that burped,

“I am Proud to be an Indian, Jai hind”.

 

 

This is a guest post by Neeraj Sridhar, who takes a huge dig at the “Great Indian Politician”. The puns in the post are intended!!. Neeraj is a fellow blogger who loves to laugh, think, eat and read (?????) in that order.

A Letter from Women to Disrespectful Men

Hello there,

You say you are incomplete without us. You acknowledge that we enrich your homes and lives as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends and so much more! Yes, we know how crucial we are to your existence. Come on, it is out of our wombs that you were born, right? And yet, today, you do not think twice before harassing us, molesting us, hitting us and inflicting every form of disrespect on us, and most undeservedly so.

we want freedom not feardom

we want freedom not feardom

We are in no way inferior to you. You have no right to treat us like commodities in every walk of life, taking us for granted, exploiting our emotions till they serve your interests and then trampling on them bestially. What thoughts run in your mind when you kill a girl child even before she sees the light of the world? Or when, she comes to life and you seize the breath of that little innocent one, in the most inhuman ways possible? Why do you not rationalise your own arguments before discriminating between your son and your daughter? Why have you conditioned yourselves to deprive her of her happiness, her personal choices, and her basic rights as a human being? Just because you’re a brother, you think you can dominate your sister’s life and rule her decisions as you like? Why do you forget that your wife is someone’s daughter, sister and much more too, before mistreating and abusing her, be it physically or emotionally?

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Please men, we’ve had enough of your lechery, your tortures, your assaults. We know our worth and we also know that you’re not oblivious of it as well, just that your chauvinistic mind-sets and age-old stereotypes mislead you into believing that you can treat us the way you please. It is time to bring about a change. Grow out of your misconceptions, your ill-rooted beliefs and wrongly founded notions. Learn to respect us for what we mean to your life. Do not look up to us as objects of selfish gratification, for we have been made for purer, nobler things. It is high time that you give us our due, treat us as your equal in every aspect of life and make us feel valued, for we deserve no less. We’ve proved our worth time and again, and therefore, if you cannot admit and accept that, you’re disrespecting not only us, but your own ‘manhood’ as well, and thus, in a larger way, the entire human species. This cannot be taught to you. You have to instill it within yourselves, and your life will only be fruitful if you can ensure equal space and standing to us. By denying us our rights or violating them in any way can never ensure your triumph over us. Rather, it will only serve to highlight your insecurity and inferiority. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if we all coexist in a healthy, happy manner without such power games, or the so-called inevitable ‘battle of the sexes’? We’re not pleading, we’re not begging. We are simply asserting ourselves. This is the time to bring about a change. Here and now. Wake up.

 

Yours sincerely,
The Women of the World

This is a guest blog post from http://www.glad2bawoman.com. Glad2bawoman is an online media company with a growing community of more than 72,000 members. All about women and for women, it encompasses a variety of topics including empowerment, relationships and fashion.

 

 

 

Dreams of Eyes..

Posted: December 15, 2012 in The frequenter talks
Tags: , ,
love that devours

love that devours

Two almond shaped eyes,

Flickered with the radiance of

Courage n brevity, sometimes

Blink smoothly for a moment.

Moistened with the perplexity of past

Bless an invigorating spirit to live at last…

I’ve seen those dreaming eyes

And its dreams all through my life,

Those sparkling eyes inheriting

The glittering pearls deeper than the oceans,

On the bottom of its heart creeping in that mind,

Tell me oh my angel! Could they now live apart?

A deserted heart with a dejected soul

With no hope and no fear, struggles..

Every moment with despair and yet

Defying defeat with destiny, decides

To reflect an image so strong and vibrant

And living a life full of commitment..

D.J

This poem is written by Deepjyoti Dey, who is a fellow writer, blogger, poet and a dear friend. This poem is one of his best ever, where he completely transports his readers into a different world of love, longing, desire and the “two almond shaped eyes”.

The views expressed by him are personal.

Perhaps it’s not death, it’s merely a date. The date that will remind us that poet-novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay is not among us anymore. After influencing and threatening the traditional Bengali mindset for over five decades with his radical literary thoughts and creative galore, Sunil’s words are now set free into the heart of a society that needs a moral crusade over conventional prejudice.

Born in Madaripur, Amgaon village on a rainy day in Faridpur district (now Bangladesh), Sunil skillfully embroidered the sentimental attachments of two nations (Bengal and Bangladesh) and its common men through his extraordinary literary excellence. His literary appeal was universal—above all political jingoism and diplomatic hegemony.

The name Sunil Gangopadhyay appeared when Bengali literature was floating aimlessly in the vacuum that was created after the demise of Rabindranath and was in dire need of a clairvoyant who could fill the gap and spearhead the wagon, beating existing experimental deadlocks in the contemporary Bengali literature. Finally the pathfinder Sunil Gangopadhyay emerged and the rest as they say is history.

From the very beginning, he made it explicitly clear that he was going to be unruly in his style of writing. That was the period when Bengali minds could not withstand variations which is not branched out of Rabindranath’s immortal works. Sunil, in a way, cut that thread and offered a new-age literary style which was more pragmatic in its approach and simpler in its ornamentations. His characters and protagonists were crafted scrupulously in a frame of practical legitimacy that made many of his readers twitched their eyebrows and caused restless discord within his peers and among other critics.

Being the mascot of modern-Bengali-literary-Renaissance, his works were painted with variegated shades of emotional moods with the manifestation of human inner most desires. His was the first voice who advocated the idea that literature can be practised beyond the boundaries created by Rabindranath.

Like every Bengali intelligentsia, he too had an inclination towards leftist wing which could be understood from some of his works (with reference to the film Protidwandi wherein the protagonist Dhritiman was seen saying that the greatest achievement of this century is the winning of Vietnam-war over the colonial imperialist).

According to Sunil, to be a writer you need to be an avid reader first. “You need to allow your thoughts grow and those need to be written in your own way. You can’t be under the influence of your favourite writer.” concluded the poet-novelist in an interview. Being a proponent of Bengali literature he used to rub shoulders with some of the stalwarts of contemporary foreign poets like Allen Ginsberg. He was the first Bengali writer selected for International writing programme organised by Paul Engle of Iowa University. He had a great acquaintance with Marguerite—a French lady who equally shared the same enthusiasm for poetry and Sunil mentioned her name in one of his interviews and acknowledged that because of her he came to know many things about French literature.

Till his last moment Sunil Gangopadhyay lived a life that was vivid and echoed with his poetic rhymes. The soul of his writing is simplicity that deals with real life flesh and blood that captivated his readers for decades. With his mortal body turned into ashes with the rising fumes, Sunil Gangopadhyay and his works will still remain with us for centuries reminding us his relentless spirit.

D.J

This article is authored by Deepjyoti Dey, who is a fellow writer, blogger, poet and a dear friend who shares his thoughts and views on the legendary poet Sunil Gangopadhyay. The views expressed by him are personal.

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This is a place that I heard a lot about before coming to Mumbai and was amazed by stories of its rich sculptures and rock cut statues as told by friends and relatives. Elephanta is one such place in India where one gets to see the rich and varied culture of two of the most distinguished religious civilizations- the Hinduism and Buddhism. I was completely awestruck to find two groups of caves- the first being a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves.

The Hindu caves contain mainly rock cut stone sculptures representing Shiva in various forms as enshrined in our Vedic scriptures.

These sculptures are dated back to 5th and 8th centuries. Here, one thing is very interesting. There is no information regarding the actual builders of these caves as no inscription is found regarding the same. Hence, the history behind Elephanta is largely conjectural. As I went around the place steeped in Vedic aura, I could see professional guides’ illustrating the religious connotations around particular sculptures. As I am not that religious myself, I did not bother to listen much to those stories. However, one thing that struck me immensely was the fact that almost all the sculptures, especially the Hindu ones were defaced. I asked one of the security personnel about it. He replied saying that it was done by the Portuguese as an act of violence towards Hindu art and architecture. I was aghast, “but why only the face?” I asked. He told me that face is the identity of a person, hence to deface denotes killing him/her in a way. Although largely unscripted, I considered it as a reason behind the defaced state of the stutues and left that place frowning against the Portuguese.

The island was called Gharapuri (in Marathi “the city of caves”) and was a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese rule began in 1534. So, what the security person said could quite possibly be true.

It is also said that the Portuguese named the island Elephanta on seeing its huge gigantic statue of an Elephant at the entrance. (The Statue is now placed in the garden outside the Bhau Daji Lad Museum at the Jijamata Udyan at Byculla in Mumbai.)

It is in the Elephanta, that the Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, especially in the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

Ten other reliefs are situated in each angle of the main hall and in the passageways to the east and west, depict further episodes from the legend of Shiva, including the Shiva’s marriage to Parvati, Shiva killing the devil Andhaka, etc.

The interior of this cave is divided up into smaller areas by rows of supports. The two major shiva murtis (idols) that are found here are the Shiva Yogisvara (Master of Yoga) and the Shiva Nataraja (King of Dance), both treated in a monumental style.

Also, on the way to the hills, while stepping up the stairs, one can find to one’s delight vendors selling ethnic accessories galore!!

Apart from all this, the ferry ride from the Gateway of India to the caves is also a joyful journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This “joyride” would definitely make the visit even more fulfilling for all tourists in India.

As the ferry set sail for the return journey, I wondered how through thousands of years these sculptures are telling the tales of a bygone era….an era that very few know about and an era fraught with artistic prowess.

It is often said that a period in history is best acknowledged by its artistic excellence…so true!!

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Cheers!

Puja.