Thursday, August 24, 2006

Long live Pluto!

The God of the Dead is Dead[1]. After 76 years as a planet, Pluto has been demoted.

Given that it takes the "drawf planet" 248.5 earth-years to make one circle of the sun. It has only been a full planet for about one-fourth of a year - one season?! So, alas! Now it will be the long winter of its discontent [2].

[1] Plu·to
  1. Roman Mythology. The god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld.
  2. The ninth and usually farthest planet from the sun, having a sidereal period of revolution about the sun of 248.5 years, 4.4 billion kilometers (2.8 billion miles) distant at perihelion and 7.4 billion kilometers (4.6 billion miles) at aphelion, and a diameter less than half that of Earth.

[2]the Unfinished, sent before his time into this breathing world, scarce half made up - bit would work nicely, too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Song of the Little Road

I recently watched the Apu Trilogy and was struck by the amazing music. Who can forget the Shehnai piece by Ustad Bismillah Khan[1] in Pather Panchali? It takes great genius to get noticed over the startling, stunning scenes by Ray and to the Ustad, that comes naturally.

My lessons in Carnatic music (ages ago) barely help me understand the nuances of his performance, I cannot even place the raag he plays, but all that hardly matters.

"At the Everyman Cinema there is a season of Satyajit Ray. He watches the Apu trilogy on successive nights in a state of rapt absorption. In Apu's bitter, trapped mother, his engaging, feckless father he recognizes, with a pang of guilt, his own parents. But it is the music above all that grips him, dizzyingly complex interplays between drums and stringed instruments, long arias on the flute whose scale or mode - he does not know enough about music theory to be sure which - catches at his heart, sending him into a mood of sensual melancholy that last long after the film has ended.."
-J.M. Coetzee's Youth

[1] May his soul rest in peace. 1, 2, 3...

[2] Song of the Little Road is Pather Panchali.

[3] Incidentally, there was a piece on the Saarangi that I heard this Saturday that was just tantalizing. This is the first time I have got a chance to really experience the instrument being played live (as in, not the cheap-seats so far away, I might as well have watched the performance on television).

This was part of a wonderful musical night organized by friends. The performers were an eclectic bunch - from grandfathers, to young mothers, to 10 year olds, to semi-professionals, to the sound engineer's stunning ghazal (from Umrao Jaan). What made it so special and inspiring was the love and respect each brought to his/her practice. I was more than impressed to hear that this was their 9th annual concert - given that it is all planned, set and performed by people who claim to be amateurs. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

flying east

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Octopi in the Sky

and frogs, wine bottles, an elephant and a cow ... all soaring in the sky, on a nice summer day.

It isn't a Dali or a Frida... - duh! its the kite festival! Madness I tell you, absolute madness.

On the way there my friend tells me he had the weirdest dream - and someone chuckled and said, "Did you see a flying pink elephant?"
and I quipped, "How wonderful it would be if we could just connect a printer to our brain and print the images we see!"

As they say, be careful what you wish for, it might just come true!

And the craziness was not just in the sky, it was all around us.

I tried shooting a couple of clips on my digital camera - some maverick kite flying and a kite fight.

Of course, it ain't a Hamamatsu kite fest until a real kite ( made of paper, bamboo and hemp rope, and launched by a dozen or so people and held by a single person) flies!