Gods Smile Upon You….

I am sorta of the pious kind…not the ultra-devout version, but a certain someone, who believes in a God, and thinks that He’s kinda cool. I am a big ‘fan’ of Hanuman, dunno, there’s something very distinct about him, that amazingly captivates me. To me, he epitomizes supreme Godliness. The whole ‘mischievious-yet-so-powerful’ aura about him is max positive and invokes a deep sense of respect from me.

Life…as such, is full of… a) questions b) answers c) answerable questions and d) questionable answers . God sort of fits into human psyche, as the choice-picks for solutions to anything that falls under categories a) and d)!!! The natural tendency is to ‘thank’ God for all that he has given…and then continue to ask for more! I know so…’cause I do so…. Oh yeah…and one more thing…Faith is directly proportional to the depth of shit, one is in, and gratitude for a granted wish, is reciprocated at the speed of light, before moving on, onto the next item in the wish-list! That’s how it’s been…and that’s how it will be. I pray every night before I go to sleep…a little prayer, and a little thank you, for the day. My dad’s research suggests that with our age…the speed with which we pray, seems to be touching F1 speeds and time taken for prayer, were getting shorter and shorter…Infact, he refers to them as, SMSs to God! 😛

Ok, now the real reason for this sudden divine introspection…Saturdays, I usually take out time to visit a nearby Hanuman temple. Not a ritual in particular…but it has been happening for sometime now, since hostel days. It’s at the temple, that I pray for the week ahead for my family and friends, selfishly present my ‘please please please grant me these’ list, beg for forgiveness, put forth my offerings and…yeah spend a few quality minutes with myself, contemplating over stuff! This Saturday was different…very interestingly different. I had had a looooong ‘working’ Saturday, and was rather gloomy, about certain somethings going on in the complex mind-o-mine. With all this random mix of despair, anger and tiredness, I had just made my way into to the temple, when my eyes fell on this young lad of about 4 or 5 years. He had a little bowl of oil in one hand, and a garland in the other, which he had gotten to offer to the Gods. He had managed to get the whole garland tangled up…and his little face was a picture of extreme concentration, as he kept the bowl down…and set out to perform the incredulous tasking of re-aligning the garland. Once that was done….he nicely put the garland on the idol…and he started mouthing a prayer. The prayer was one of the strangest I had ever heard…it went….

Ho Khaike Paan Banaras Waaala…Khuli Jaaye Band Akal Ka Taala…………

I dunno whether it as Big B or the King Khan, who inspired him….nevertheless…even the busiest of Gods, would have been sure to take notice of this teeny-bopper’s offerings : a garland+ a bowl of oil + a Bollywood Hit!!! I am sure, there were many a smiles up there, as they heard something so totally from the heart, far from the usual boring mundane requests and laments…

Yes, They must have smiled….:)

I learnt a great thing at that moment – Prayers are just man made words…it’s the feel that matters!!! You might as well be singing Old MacDonald…for all you care…but a well sung version of that has more piety in it…than a random string of speech from a holy book, uttered with one’s mind on one’s shattered love life!

Faith is afterall … just a feel! I know…’cause a 4 year old taught me that! 🙂

I know shit about art…A friend of mine, asked me whether I wanted to go along to the esteemed Jehangir Art Gallery to see a few exhibits, I thought to myself again…err I know shit about art. I went…and I reinstated my faith in the fact that…I know shit about art!

Apparently they were showcasing BMW Art Cars, and the tag-line went…world-class art meets world-class cars! Now, Jehangir Art Gallery and me, have as much in common as PinkFloyd and…err… Marvin the Martian! But I go nevertheless…’cause I had nothing better to do, and the yet-undead mechie engineer in me went…..oooooh BMWs! I mentally prepare myself to take the risk, tag along and go to the coveted ‘town-side’…where, according to a colleague of mine…the sun never sets …

We then make it to VT, get into a cab…rush to the place…with 30 mins left to shut down…and I see….TWO PERFECTLY ‘DEMOLISHED’ BMWs….The first 5 words that left my drying throat where….What The….Why?Why?Why? But, then I quickly recovered and told myself to get over the initial shock..and try and seek the artist’ perspective…Anton Ego style. So then I put up a beeeg fight with my prejudice, tie a cement block to it….and drown it. And then with this brand new perspective, I saw….TWO PERFECTLY ‘DEMOLISHED’ BMWs 🙁 !! I knew that moment on…that this was going to be really tough.

I saw around…and wondered, with amazement, what the others saw that I couldn’t see. They all had this mesmerised…far away…Oooh Mama Nice …look on their faces. I then started playing about with my specs and my beard intellectually…to fit the bill. Then I decided to do a bit of reading, before I proceeded to see and feel dumb again… I got introduced to Roy Lichtenstein – BMW320i and Andy Warhol – BMW M1! Roy…had never heard of him….Andy… I had seen an interesting TV show discussing his wigs! I continue to read… “I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction of the road showing the car, where to go”, said Roy. “I tried to portray speed pictorially.”, said Andy. “ Really now…’Course you did” , said I!

Roy Lichtenstein - BMW 320i

On the first look…Roy’s car looked like an oversized polka-dotted tragedy, with yellow and green reeds clinging on, but you read up a bit, and you begin to see something more than what you saw in the first look. Still my inexperience, didn’t let me foray too deep…He called his design an enumeration of everything a car experiences, during its run through a countryside. That sort of explained the greens n yellows….and the polka dots…apparently called Benday Dots are his trademark stuff that he portrays in his world famous paintings of comic strips.

Andy Warhol - BMW M1

Andy Warhol’s car looked straight out of a paint can mishap. I tried and I tried and I tried…sorry Andy…I tried…even reading didn’t help! He said that in this vivid depiction of speed, all the contours and colours of the car has blurred, owing to the sheer speed of the car. So, the image as to how he could have painted it faster, was that of a speeding BMW, with 5 people standing at the edge of the road, throwing reds,blues,greens and yellows at it…once the car stopped, Andy going ahead and numbering it 76…may be that was the attempt number that satisfied him 😛 ! Perhaps…that was exactly what he wanted me to envision. Strange are artists…stranger their art!

Also at the exhibition, there were these, small models …’dinkys’ my friend calls it. Some real good pieces of work amongst them…worth a look. See some of the other BMW painted cars http://www.bmwworld.com/artcars/

Anyway, I left the place, with a sense of respect for these two…one, ’cause they are creators…I have deep seated respect for absolutely anyone, who have the ability to create something new…it’s a god-like thing to do so, come to think of it. Two, ’cause they give people new stuff to think about ….And, three, ’cause they are great enough to f*** up 2 perfectly beautiful cars, in the name of art…and get away with it 😉

I would gladly trade these cars for the divine-choco walnut brownie that we polished soon after…that to me was more beautiful than any of the exhibits there… All in all a wonderful day that was…thanx to the Queen!

Oh yes and by the way…if you are still wondering………I continue to know shit about art!!!

I haven’t blogged for sometime now…No excuses there…I just didn’t write…Period. So then…I guess the next question from you guys would be…why now??? No…it aint guilt…I write out of…Shame!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you that…In Bombay, Classic Rock is Dead!

Rock Is Dead… R.I.P.

I was party to witnessing the goings-on at the 22nd edition of the Farhad Wadia initiative-Independence Rock! Thanx to the lovely company I work for, I was provided with the opportunity to be affiliated to the event in a small way. After a decently long wait…I was totally perked up to my 1st ever I-rock, the event that was supposed to be India’s answer to Woodstock. The reason that this was my first ever…even after all these years in Bombay was for the fact that…when it comes to music…I am kinda old school. Going by the grapevine…the bands that perform at I-rock, border on the heavier side of rock…which I ain’t aurally attuned to. Yes, I am decently aware of the Parikramas n the Vayus, who are instrumental in keeping the flame of classic rock alive…, but the greater percentage of (both the bands and the audience), tilt towards extreme distortion, menacing screams, and painful deep-throated regurgitations. Also throw in to the melee…extreme weed induced head-banging, topped with the blood and sweat ridden moshpits. I do not disrespect these forms of music in anyway, and it probably is my inadequacy, in failing to understand the art of hard core death metal and the likes. And I say this…seeing the fan following, and the appreciation, that such genres of music, get from the rock-loving audience. As I overheard…rockers discussing what they called Melodious Death Metal…to me it came across like discussing ‘living zombies’ or a feelings of ‘saddened happiness’ 🙂 I ain’t a music critic or someone who’s thoughts actually matter to musicians out there…the above statements, are just personal point of views.

I am a guy…who finds solace…in the wailing guitars, melodious vocals and meaningful lyrics. Floyd is my God….and then follow…the Knopflers, the Morrisons, the Klaus Meines, the Bonos, the James Labries etc. Amongst all this, throw in anything, that has a distinct sound associated with it…I will lap it up eagerly. Like my friend would say, I am sort of a closed box, when it comes to accepting new forms of music…the reason is that, I am driven by a distinct ‘sound’. I aint much into technicality of music…but there is ‘something’ that drives me, and attracts me to listen over and over and over again…This ‘something’, I feel its presence in every Floyd song, in extreme Dream Theater complications, each of Knopfler’s strums, in the vocal chords of Jim, certain Cash somethings, lyrics of Waters, Labrie, Bono etc. etc. I can’t seem to identify…what’s that sets these songs apart from the others…help me understand, if you can 🙂

Now I know that a statement like…Classic Rock Is Dead, is too extreme a statement…but the proof was I-Rock XXII! We had a great set of musicians, who had dedicated their lives to music come up on stage and play to the juvenile crowd (a vast majority being less than 21 yrs old)…and as rightly pointed out…they were not even born, when these guys started out their acts. What was humiliating was the disrespect that was shown towards them Dinosaurs Of Rock…with the stoopid stoopid stoopid…wannabe punks …pelting these singers with empty water bottles and plastic somethings. The can’t tell a Floyd or a Doors….and pose as connoisseurs of Rock…when all they do is get drunk, get high on weed, and headbang to distorted sounds. 70 % of the gathered crowd were wannabes, who would sell their souls to stand out…we saw one with a condom on his ear…a girl straight out of an electrocution chamber etc…All said and done, what do they know about rock…when the music starts…just act crazy…like you KNOW it…!!! The lead singer of now-disbanded Shiva…said that he would like to wear his glares…as the future for rock was very bright…and what he got in return, for his Floyd n Whitesnake was his foot in his mouth…and some well aimed junk!

Gary Lawyer was there…he just got to sing 2 songs…the best in 2 days of Irock! And …that was it…Post the gig, I saw him walking it up the empty ground…I ran up to him…shook his hand…and thanked him for Classic Rock…he smiled and thanked me…When I reiterated, “I mean it Gary”…He said, “How sweet!”…I smiled (feeling saddened happiness), as one of the greatest Indian rockers faded into the black…like the music, he helped promote, all his life…