Recurring Decimals…..

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Just to assure the hordes of readers disappointed by the lack of daily irrelevance.

Plus I was beginning to attract a lot of spams.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 24, 2009 at 12:57 am

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

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A rare studio recording of one of my favorite songs, Me and Bobby McGee (originally written by Kris Kristofferson) by Janis Joplin. I like this much better than the released version I have with me.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 11, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Take a bow, Jumbo

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(Image: Cricinfo)

You will be missed.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

November 2, 2008 at 8:55 am

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Palin and Livni

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Lets have less Palin, more Livni…….in case you are wondering Livni who ? Read on.

So the abysmal state of the financial markets has done what the Democrats were failing to do: moved Sarah Palin from the headline-grabbing news. Apparently she was starting to lose ground in polls anyway.

Meanwhile, one of USA’s closest ally in terms of foreign policy is about to have a female leader, a bit of of news, which I am sure escaped most of America: Tzipni Livni, the current Foreign Minister of Israel, won a narrow contest to be the leader of the country’s ruling Kadima party.  For those of you not following Israeli politics (I do  for some weird fascination about Israel that started back in high school), the current PM, Ehud Olmert, is embroiled in corruption charges and about to step down as the leader.

(source: BBC)

Livni’s ascension to the Prime Minister post is not given, and she faces a tough task in patching together a ruling coalition. But if she does become the PM, she will be the only second women to do so in Israel since Golda Meir.

However, I am not that concerned in the internal politics of Israel; the main reason for bringing her up was to compare with Sarah Palin, who could potentially be America’s first woman leader. During the rather too extensive coverage of Sarah Palin, the media has constantly drawn attention to her …ummm…attractiveness.

But while watching the news yesterday on the Israeli situation (thanks to SBS, which covers international news quite thoroughly) I  was struck by Livni’s smartness, poise and the authority with which she carries herself (check the video above). Plus, she was a former Mossad agent and a lawyer, and  is currently handling international diplomacy in one of the most volatile areas of the world. In my eyes, all that makes her far more attractive!

Contrast this with the empty, media-trumpeted lipstick-shallow appeal of Palin. If only the US media, and far more of the US populace, could grasp the lack of substance in Palin.

[I am not saying that attractiveness should be an attribute to judge a politician (of either gender) – although it often is – but Palin pales compared to someone like Livni]

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

September 20, 2008 at 3:30 am

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Mumbai moments….

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While I try to untangle the mess my work is in from three weeks of absence, here are some photos from Mumbai taken during the trip (click for full image).
(Previous nostalgia about Mumbai here)

A microcosm of Mumbai ? High-rises next to old buildings, monsoon rains, the sea……the choked traffic:

A man with a Mission (Keep the Queen’s Necklace clean):

Marine Drive from the Nariman Point end:

Gateway (there was quite a bit of construction going on by ASI to restore the structure):

Taj Mahal Hotel:

Won’t find the next three on any tourist route, purely personal:

Juhu Chowpatty – the cow was going beserk (something the eminent Varma-sahib said ?):

Chowpatty again, against the sun-set (such as is visible now-a-days):

The Main Attractions in Juhu 🙂 :

The famous Haji-Ali:

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

August 27, 2008 at 12:23 am

Khoya Khoya Chand

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Kyun ………….Khoye Khoye Chand Ki Firak Mein Talash Mein Udas Hai Dil

Kyun………..Anpne Aap Se Khafa Khafa, Zara Zara Sa Naraaz Hai Dil

(full lyrics)

….asks the Man [1] in a moment of nirvanic clarity that (to my drunken mind) could possibly be achievable only under the influence of (1) one dry sapphire martini, stirred not shaken with olives (pitted please – thank you), (2) several glasses of the finest New Zealand Pinot and Barossa Shiraz-Viognier and finally (3) couple of Oban 14-years old (the only one made available by Diageo), diluted not with ice, but only a few drops of water (all of course, paid out of someone else’s pocket). Or any combination thereof.

But who knows…..Swanand Kirkire probably did not need all that as an inspiration. And…… lyrics such as these……..touch the heart, even without the lubricating effect of alcohol ?

But this post is not about alcoholic debauchery (no matter how tempting that sounds); it is about the soundtrack for the film, Khoya Khoya Chand.

Yes I know, for those of you who are into these things, the music is about an year old. Even the film has been released, done and dusted.

But, but……Good music, like Good Wine and Scotch, finds me a bit aged (the music, wine and scotch, not me), and certainly fruitful in its enjoyment.

Shantanu Moitra recreates the lilting music of the 50/60s in the soundtrack for Khoya Khoya Chand…. – a soundtrack that will draw inevitable comparisons to his period pieces in Parineeta ; the latter perhaps comes off slightly better, but only marginally so.

Don’t expect a full-fledged review, but In Brief:

Yeh Nigahen‘ is an ‘inspired’, but well done reworking of ‘Jingle Bell Rocks‘, ‘Khusboo Saa‘ is a jazzy throwback to the seductive blurriness in-between the vamp and heroine essayed by Tanuja in ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ (Jewel Thief), ‘Chale Aayo Sainya‘ is an enjoyable thumri sung with confidence by Shreya Ghosal, and for some reason, it is the title song ‘Khoya Khoya Chand‘ (discussed above) – best enjoyed if you imagine the singer lovelorn and lost in unrequited love, and under the influence of a few pegs – that I have (possibly unreasonably) taken to heart.

The highlights however are the two slow numbers: Sonu Nigam’s ‘Oh re Paakhi‘  wrenches the soft heart, but it is Shreya Ghosal and Pranav Biswas’ rendition of ‘Sakhi Priya‘ – a song about love and longing – that really the captures the imagination and causes you to succumb to the entire soundtrack.

Sakhi Piya Jo Mein Na Dekhun
Tu Kaise Kate Aandheri Ratiyan-

Simple lyrics, yet so touchingly composed and essayed.

Follow the last link to enjoy.


[1] Not me right now, but what male hasn’t faced such soulful listlessness, in general ?

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 15, 2008 at 11:49 am

The reverse culture shocks….

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…..when I went home recently after a gap of 3+ years did not involve the burgeoning number of new shopping malls, or the new fly-overs, or the sudden new-fangled fad for Mehendi (Gariahata crossing was chock-full of Mehendi-wallahs adorning nubile arms), or even the (as Dipanjan had warned) inflated value of the rupee (although I did pause for a brief moment when I heard the cost of phuchkas, one rupee now buys less a phuchka!).

But I did a double-take when I saw two teen-aged guys blithely walking with their arms around each other!

Took me a second to remind myself it was all quite normal: Boys (and some girls) of all ages from kindergarten to college-bound, walking with arms around each other, or holding hands. Did not have any additional meaning. [Not that there is anything wrong with people of same gender having mutual affections, its just that my automatic thought for the first few seconds was how India had progressed socially to be accepting such a behavior 🙂 ].

And there it was – the things that hadn’t really changed in Kolkata, the mundane managing to catch me off-guard. Amidst the mental preparations for the various transformations you hear about in India, I had forgotten how much living away had changed me.

Among the other such experiences, which used to part of my daily life, but seems strange now:

  • The lack of personal space; not that I really expect it in an overcrowded country, but more than once I came across this irritating habit of the person behind me in a queue edging as close as possible (hoping no doubt that the extra few inches gained would allow him to get his job done mighty sooner).
  • The absolute and unabashed manner in which people delve into your personal lives, especially in regards to question of employment, salary and importantly, the issue of having kids (I am told that there are a few well meaning people – who aren’t even relatives or close friends – in Kolkata who are losing nights of sleep over the fact we haven’t had kids yet).
  • The fact that simply standing quietly in front of the butcher’s, fish-monger’s or vegetable-vendor’s, waiting for your turn to be called by the shopkeeper gets you nowhere. The trick is to push in and announce what you need – you will be served. But no one’s going to flash a smile and ask what you want.
  • The fact that duties of a good host involve force feeding people till they are sick. In most cases, I was actually the victim; but then there were couple of instances when I would ask guests if they wanted some extra food or sweets and when they say no, I would not ask a second time. Took a while to remember that perhaps they indeed wanted more food but were being polite; I was supposed to continue insisting a bit!

Sigh ! Just ten years away from the motherland and I am – as some of the relatives would not fail to point out disapprovingly – turning into a saheb !

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 12, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Posted in India, Kolkata, Life, Personal, Uncategorized

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