Monday, November 26, 2007

18.55N 72.54E

In honor of the feedback received on the previous post, I am titling this one by the co-ordinates of the place I will be at in a week's time. That would be the city of Mumbai. I am heading over to the land I came from after a period of two and a half years. As always, I need to reintroduce myself to the place. The gap has been long and the changes must be plenty. So back to the shores of Versova, and the rickshaw rides. Back to the visit to the in-laws across town, and time spent with the outlaws, my parents. Back to tracing the evenings on the face of that city with my wife, retracing what we drew when we were dating each other, fresh out of college into our first jobs. Back to the meetings with friends of yore, reunions that have to be diligently set up. Back to watching cricket as it happens in broad daylight, and the movies that need to be seen in theaters close by.

The trip is long overdue. The house beckons, family beckons, city beckons. In the midst of this beckoning is the challenge of adjustment, the challenge of inquiry, the challenge of attachment. I am excited by it. To add to the excitement, I'll be making a stop en route. I am going to London to see the, err, Queen's palace? This is the touristy version of the trip, and I hope to do it all, the key attraction being a trip to Lords.

The outlaws are technophobes and promptly gave away my PC when I left the building. That opens up an interesting possibility for me. No internet access on the trip. I have done this on a previous visit and it is strangely therapeutic. I'll be getting my news the old fashion way, and I'll be taking along a sheet of paper with everyone's phone numbers on it. Its charming, to me (until I lose that sheet). That will imply a vacation from blogosphere. After a few days this week, I'll be away and won't be here, or there, on your blogs. I do promise to catch up once I get back. Till then, consider me latitudinally and longitudinally relocated.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mach 100?

Seattle to Mumbai
In two seconds flat.
I land smoothly
As skin grazes plastic.

P.S> I recently acquired a globe that sits atop my desk in my arm's reach. Geography questions anyone? Oh, and the title is not meant to be accurate; before I get riled for bad aerospace engineering skill :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

42

I rise from the depths of my own Deep Thought. Is 42 really the answer to everything? I had mentioned once in my old posts on Tendulkar's 35th test century: "With apologies to Douglas Adams, the meaning of life is not 42. It is 35." Am I being made to eat my own words? Tendulkar has had a fantastic year in one day cricket. Over a thousand runs scored, fantastic average, and more importantly the starts that have allowed India to win matches against England, South Africa and Pakistan. The glitch? A small matter of scores in the 90s. Six of them. Three scores of 99 (no other batsman in the history of ODIs has them) and the tally of 90s now reads 16. Its heartbreaking. Tendulkar has scaled great heights as a sportsman this year for me. He has proved that he still has the sublimity of a genius, but is prepared to grind his way through like a journeyman when he needs to. He has the footwork and balance beyond mortals, yet pulls out his grit from deep within when he shows up on the job with two left feet. Eventually, it is not about the runs. It is about the one shot in the innings that might stay with you. It is that single cover drive he hits. It is as if perfection has been defined and achieved at the same time. The one shot that makes something in your mind click because you sense you have seen something special. The one shot, like a straight drive for six off Kasprovich's bowling in 1998 Sharjah, where you can sense that he had that extra second to hit that shot; like he saw it coming and time slowed down a fraction for him to execute it. Genius is a lot of things, but at the end of the day, genius is that which reveals itself to the hungry waiting mortals in a brief moment. For the longer he stays, the more he unfurls. When he does unleash his skills and go through to the 90s, the anticipation of the hundred is heart-pumping. The sight of a forty-second century celebration, helmet removed, arms raised, a look to the heaven is now a sight for the expectant eyes. The century is not for him, it is for us. Having watched him come so close six times in a row this year has been agonizing. It is a comma, followed by a semi-colon leading up to a full stop. Get it Sachin. The answer to our impatience lies in it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Entrapment

“Come on, I am going out on a limb here”, he urged with an expression on his face which was a cross between a smile and a smirk. He had spent the better part of the evening waiting for the right moment to go talk to the lady sitting across his table by the window. She seemed like the perfect prey; an air of prosperity tinged with a hint of vulnerability, in control but just, and more importantly, alone. He could sense these things now, as if a divine eye had blessed him with an ability to see through the mask that people called a face. He had watched her intently like a hawk, staring out the window, sipping her coffee, checking her watch. Whoever it was that was supposed to have shown up hadn’t done so.

“May I?” he asked, and before she could answer, sat on the seat next to her watching her startled expression. The words followed. The gentle beseeching, the tough affirmations, the unspoken realm conjured by his moving hands. She had to fall for it. She never realized how her own expressions started to intensify the scene. The discomfort gave way to curiosity, then to apprehension, and finally terror as her fingers involuntarily reached for her cheek. In two minutes, it was over. He had her. As per plan. He stormed away from the coffee shop with a broad smile. While passing a car parked on the curb, he didn’t notice its rear view mirror. He would have seen a lady sitting by the window, alone, staring at a little white tube. Anti-aging cream.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It Just Stopped Raining

All that remain
Are a few drops on my window
Of nature’s furious dance

The grey recedes
And white emerges
In a graceful arc

I watch in glee
A giant kaleidoscope
Turn by itself

P.S> From my very same office I mentioned here. Make do with these inept descriptions till I bring my camera around.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Agony Of A Protagonist

He talks of it
As if it were
Fiction

As if my world
Never did really
Exist

And I never
Saved it in
2260


P.S> Since this poem is not intuitive, here goes. The perspective I wanted to put forth was that of a protagonist of a story. "He" refers to the author. It is a about the protagonists' belief that he is real, for to him, his world is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Poem A Day

In there, in that book of poetry,
Were unpredictable leaps.
To unknown sensations
And unforeseen lands.

Her fingers pry it open
With deliberate indiscrimination;
Anxious for her daily gift.

Will it be Pablo speaking off love,
Or Tennyson telling her about kings?
Or her life summed in four lines
Ironically attributed to “Anon”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka?

The blog alarm went off. I have been off blogs, both mine and others, for a while. As I sit down with my trusted cup of coffee at seven in the morning feverishly typing a few words to construct something other than poetry, some highlights come to mind worth sharing.

InQuizItive

I am sure I must have mentioned this at some point in my blogging career, but back at Texas A&M, I had started, nurtured and grown a literary club called Literati to fill the void I felt having been actively involved in lit events including quizzing, back in India. For over two years, that became an important part of my life and others who were part of it remember it fondly till date. For the past four years, no such activity had taken place here. But a seed has been planted. We have started a small quizzing club here on Redmond campus which meets biweekly. As part of that effort, I conducted a cricket quiz yesterday. That pretty much explains my absence. Setting a quality quiz takes time, setting it while you are employed (my first such experience :-)) takes a lot more out of your daily schedule. However, it was all worth it in the end. The response was terrific and it was good to see others relative amounts of craziness for the game in others as well. Hopefully this endeavor will last long.

While my guitar urgently creeps?

I am good with percussion and a sense of rhythm. My tabla learning helps me with that. However, when it comes to such concepts as pitch and notes, I fall short. I can pick things by ear up to an extent, but that extent is limited. I have always wanted to do something unto that end. I wasn't keen on learning how to sing, so an instrument always felt like a good way to go. This best laid plan was waylaid for many years. Until now. My wife gifted me a guitar for my birthday, and my lessons start next week. That should be exciting. As a side note, I have always wondered why guitarists are considered cool, especially when you are in college. Poor old tabla players have no visibility if you can't match Zakir's flowing locks. I can't remember the admiration factor being high because one played the tabla instead of the guitar. So, I suppose I am on the coolness route now, about twelve years late.

Six-pack _______

There are two distinct categories of men: one who complete the above phrase with abs and the other with beer. More likely, the twain shall never meet. SRK has defected to the former group for his new movie release OSO (Om Shanti Om for the uninitiated). Which beats me: why would an actor known for his romantic roles work so hard to reinvent himself having crossed 40? The look is alright and I am sure he had to work on getting there, so perhaps he has earned himself the witty "re-introducing Shah Rukh Khan" caption that comes on the screen in the trailor of "Dard-E-Disco". Worth the crunch? You tell me!

Parth has left the building

After working almost four and a half years in a single little building, I have now moved to another newer, nicer place on campus. It is amazing how familiarity and attachment builds up even though it is your work place, not your home. In many ways, my old building was the focal point of the campus for me. All roads led in and out of that place and everything was relative to it. Now, the co-ordinates have shifted. I am on the fourth floor with a window office that overlooks a bridge over a freeway. It is a terrific view while I can watch pedestrians cross over, traffic weaving in and out of the freeway, and the rapidity of movement on the freeway itself. To top it all, even the sunsets are great to watch. The place is nice and bright and inviting. The only thing I miss is access to a table tennis table close by. I was meaning to put some photos up, but the resolution that the camera on my phone produces is pretty ordinary. The pictures I took did not show up so well.

20/20 vision?

The madness is underway with the 20/20 world cup. It is a new form of cricket and hence will always be interesting. Peppered with interesting events like Yuvraj's six sixes and the tie between India and Pakistan (what's with the ridiculous bowl-out to settle that? ), this will satisfy the slog-hungry viewer. Someone dispute this, but isn't the big hitting numbing after a while. I feel like someone is playing out the slogout game on cricinfo. Why not just get a bowling machine and ask it to pitch deliveries? Spare the bowlers. I don't think I am bought off, but I guess people's attention spans and ability to appreciate a good game of cricket have gone down anyway. So 20/20 is here to stay.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dreams

Are you then,
My bulwark
Against reality?

Or a half-truth
I need to prove
In the light of the day

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Haiku And Mighty

It has been a long time since my only attempt at haiku on this blog. I remember a suggestion made to add titles to the haikus, but I think it takes away from the impact of the poem. I should also add that I tried to be true to the 5-7-5 syllable format of the haiku, but couldn't completely adhere. There also seems to be no consensus on whether syllables in English correspond to the sounds in Japanese on which the haikus are based, so I will use that as my leeway. Here goes. Hope you enjoy them.

Wind screams
In shrill whispers
A cracked window

Mind awakens
After the body
Hot coffee

I swing.
I miss. I sigh.
A dot ball

The journey ends
No parting sorrow
“My floor”

Blinds closed
I pull the plug
On the sun

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Garage Sale

The mother puts on a bellicose facade
Forcing her son into silence, who frowns;
At the loss of all things precious

Superman’s first adventures, torn
A bicycle too small,
A shirt too tight,
A dancing monkey,
His first tennis racket,
A poster of Agassi, with flowing hair.

Fifteen years of accumulation valued
At sixty dollars and twenty square feet

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Three Down, Some More To Go

Three's a charm, a lucky charm
Three's the number of years this blog exists

(sung to the tune of some part of Do Re Mi from Sound of Music)

It has been a fun ride. Thanks for the company.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

HP, HR, Rajni - The Deathly Halos?

I am done with my Harry Potter book, finally. I have to admit I am a moderate level fan unlike my dear colleagues Avinash and RTD2, whose passion was evident in the way they attacked the book. I am thrilled to bits to have finished the book, not because I wanted to know the denouement of the battle between the boy with spectacles and the man without them, but because I can now surf the Internet safely, without someone screaming the outcome of the book to me. Boy O Boy, its been a struggle to keep it secret. I can resume my normal life now.

The past few months have shown the power of publicity and the evidence of hysteria. Three phenomenon in quick succession have left the world gasping. First came the movie Sivaji, and with stories of the madness that engulfed India and Indians around the world. I have resigned myself to the fact that I won't get it, but hey, each one to his own. Waiting for the movie to come on DVD to watch it and perhaps understand it. I have liked Rajni in his Hindi movie avatars, especially as the perfect second lead alongside Govinda in Hum, but attempting to watch his Muthu Maharaja (the dubbed version) with lyrics like 'Bhoomi par Atom Bomb kyon hai?' (indeed) left me strained. However, I have been informed by my Tamilian friends that his movies have a social context that is not evident to those not from that region. Point taken. Anyway, overall, it was thrilling to see an Indian movie star whip up this kind of hysteria.

Then came HP, and all the secrecy around the plot. People lining up outside the stores and buying radish earrings like Luna Lovegood. The movie coming just a week before the book definitely added to the feeling. I watched it in IMax 3D and enjoyed it for the action scenes. I like the dark, grim tones that the movie set in accordance with the books. Which makes me wonder: at what point did the Harry Potter series become a book for adults?

Finally came HR, Himesh Reshammiyya for the uninitiated. The man is unbelievable. From being a TV producer to a music director to a singing sensation to a movie star!!! In many ways, this phenomenon is also like Rajni: tough to get. Unlike Sivaji, I have actually seen his movie, which is ordinary in terms of production. But the man with the beard in the baseball cap managed to garner huge openings in India. He is the man of the masses, just like Sallu was for the most part. Popular amongst the youth. I am not completely against his music. Some of his compositions are pretty good, and most of his detractors also grudgingly accept that. I sat bemused throughout the movie wondering how this guy could be a movie star, but there you go.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Reading In The Rain

Droplets of rain,
Edit your letter.

"Dearest, long, touch,
tears, pain, alone,
missing, forever, love"

I salvage your message,
From a blotted canvas.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cosmic Calling

Eddies start to form,
On the surface of hearts.
Most fickle, most unsteady

The moon draws maps
Across faces already lit,
In anticipation

They unravel sky's mysteries
Using a few mirrors aligned
In a little black tube

Astronomers, Cartographers,
Pioneers, Adventurers,
Young Discoverers.

Spotting the rings of Saturn,
A find worth its weight.
Three credits on the transcript

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wassup wid u ppl?

I must have missed the evolution of the English language. Trapped in my world of puns and punctuation, grammar and tense, I must have missed the plethora of changes that have swept the language over the years. I recently joined an online group where the average age of the participants is close to 20. Besides making me feel like I am pushing the age envelope (and I am not even 30 yet), I felt like a linguistically challenged kid in a class where the language of instruction is Latin. Was it not enough that I am forced to go the 'internets' each time I come across IIRC being used in an e-mail, or wonder what GMTA stands for, that I am forced to adapt fo the next level altogether? Sample some of this:

Dont understand wht iz deir prob???.I dont fink ne1 must b hvin ne probs wid me rite other den sum ppl??.

Ya actually der waz an monkey typin 4 me.Coz u knw ppl like u can only understand monkey language see no 1 else xpect u understood d language so i m gonna give d monkey a bonus 2day tell him wht a GR8 job hez doin!!!.Thiz Language iz specially 4 all so ppl in d Comm plzz use dis Language!!!!.

If d Mod doesnt hv a Prob den i dunno wassup wid d otherz.:-(

Ya i knw pri m wid u ppl hv been vry rude in dis comm


As I stared at my screen in distinct disbelief, reading through the lines multiple times, I realized that my style of communication may become anachronistic one day(if it already isn't), where a wide eyed android one hundred years from now will stumble upon this blog post and have an automated service 'translate' this into the language of the day. A hybrid between German pronounciation and English words, with the exclamation mark becoming one of the ten new alphabets with which to form new words, emoticons the new vowels and numerals substituted for every common occurence they can be used for.

Unless, I evolve, and attempt I did. For about three words I attempted to recreate the magic and mystery and essence of this confounding form of expression. And then I gave up. Here's the sad remnant of my attempt: Thiz blog rulz!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Outsourced

The sun seemed to slither away at the edge of the screen, sinking into the deep abyss of the Grand Canyon like a thief put to shame. There was none of that blazing glory Pranay was looking for. Just as much. After all, it’s a football going into a giant pothole, he grumbled irritatingly. He checked the time on his watch. The late sunsets in summer always upset his dinner schedule. The brightness of the light outside sent the wrong signals to his stomach, one accustomed to sipping tea at sunset followed by a meal cooked by his mother. He extinguished the sinking sun on his second hand TV and carried the remote with him to the kitchen. He missed his mother. More importantly, he missed her cooking. Twenty two thousand miles away from her, he stared at a can of Bush’s chick peas, his savior. His roommate would be back in a while, he thought. He’d better have his cooking turn over and done with. The punishment endured every two days, for all concerned. He spent a moment wishing he could have learnt how to cook better. But he hadn’t been prepared for it. After all, Wipro never did train him on the skills of cooking up a mean malai kofta. They packed knowledge worth terabytes into his rather untested brain and sent him off to Chicago, to work on a project involving code no one wanted to touch, and what most people wished was never written. He was serving time, away from his mother, away from his city, away from Mrudula. As he mixed the spices in the vessel less washed, he used his limited poetic license to liken Mrudula to the red pepper and himself to the chick peas. The spice in my life, he exclaimed. (At the same moment, a lyricist in a chawl in Koliwada had an epiphany about a song with the same ingredients).

In walked his roommate Bhaskar, a daily voyeur of Pranay’s reveries. What an idiot, he thought to himself. He has seen nothing but this apartment and the office, in all of three weeks. This is the land of the free, the city of the windy, where life is a breeze and you could ride the coattails of freedom. There’s strip joints and beer sold in grocery stores. There’s bowling and pool and football. There are good looking blondes on the street and everyone smiles at you because they like you so much. There is the searing effect of the wind and the dominant protrusion of the Sears tower. What’s not to like in this place? What’s there to mope about a girl who’s waiting for you back home? All I need is to do my work well, and get a job with the company. Then I don’t have to go back at all. The independence of being, and with Pranay’s departure, freedom from chick peas. What more can someone ask for in life?

The evening continued its merry ways as the two roommates entered into their daily discussion on whether or not they enjoyed life in America. Pranay’s melanchony ways were met with contempt by Bhaskar’s pragmatic arguments. They parried on till the sun sank through behind the towel Pranay was drying on the balcony and settled to eat dinner. As Bhaskar negated the taste of the chick peas with a big helping of chips, Pranay munched on the food without much concern for its taste. The evening passed the baton onto the night and the channels flipped from Lou Dobbs’s latest rancor on outsourcing to Jon Stewart’s latest joke on call centers. It seemed like the TV was speaking about them and to them. As they ended the dinner reaching for a bowl of Dreyer’s Rocky Road, the night firmly settled outside their apartment with crickets beginning their operatic solos on the trees below. Bound together by sense of origin, but separated by a sense of purpose, they sat in the balcony in quite contemplation. Bhaskar eventually looked at his watch and silently moved inside to be followed by his compatriot as both reached for their laptops. It was time to chat with their teams in India. The day had just begun, again.

P.S> I woke up this morning feeling discontent about this post. I think the characterizations are inaccurate, juvenile and shallow. Since I have typed it up, I'll leave it here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chupke Chupke Raat Din

The lyrics are by Hasrat Mohani and it remains till date, one of Ghulam Ali's most famous ghazals. In fact, it even made its way to the movie Nikaah. I tried to remember all the shers of the many versions I have heard of this ghazal. I think I am missing one or two. If someone remembers, do share. If you need more words explained, do let me know.

Chupke chupke raat din aansoon bahaana yaad hai
Hum ko ab tak aashiqui ka woh zamaana yaad hai

Tujh se milte hi woh kuchh bebaak ho jaana mera
Aur tera daanton mein woh ungali dabaana yaad hai
[bebaak=bold, outspoken]

Chori chori hum se tum aa kar mile the jis jagaah
Muddatein guzareen par ab tak wo thikaana yaad hai
[muddatein=length of time, guzareen=passed, thikaana=location]

Khench lenaa wo mera parde ka konaa daffatan
Aur dupatte mein tera woh munh chhupaana yaad hai
[daffatan=suddenly]

Tujh ko jab tanhaa kabhii paana to az raah-e-lihaaz
Haal-e-dil baaton hi baaton mein jataanaa yaad hai
[tanhaa=alone, paana=to find, az raah-e-lihaaz=with caution]

Aa gaya gar vasl ki shab bhi kahin zikr-e-firaaq
Woh tera ro-ro ke bhi mujhko rulaana yaad hai
[vasl=meeting, shab=night, zikr=mention, firaaq=separation]

Dopahar ki dhoop mein mere bulane ke liye
Woh tera kothe pe nangey paaon aana yaad hai

[kotha=loft]

Friday, June 08, 2007

One Day Mataram

I am getting tired of the state of one day international cricket and ICC is going all out to make sure I stop watching it. The latest World Cup was proof enough. The matches are completely listless and one-sided. The teams are unevenly matched and they play without any passion whatsoever because of the frequency with which this cash cow is milked. I can’t remember more than two or three one day games in the past year that really came across as exciting and stick in memory. The level of contest between bat and ball diminished as it is basically over-loaded in favor of the batsman. To add the final nail to the coffin, ICC has recommended that there should be a free hit (akin to 20-20) after a no-ball, and that the batting team can now choose one of the powerplays. Tell me, why would any bowler want to play anymore? To add to bowling on completely flat tracks and restrictions on bouncers and powerplays that are invitation to get whacked, now there’s the added insult of bowling a free-hit ball after a no-ball. Amidst all this, the BCCI and ICC send the players to random places of the world to play pyjama cricket. When they do play in regular hubs like Chennai in the sweltering heat of June, you wonder when a player is going to drop dead on the ground due to dehydration.

Give me test cricket anyday. I know a lot of people don’t have the patience to follow a five day game, but that works perfect for me. Therein lies the real skill, the real will, and the real battles. With Australia pushing the envelope, the scoring rates have also picked up in test matches and the tests these days are very result-oriented. A test century is worth its weight in gold, and so are twenty wickets captured with skill and patience. ICC, please cut down the games, balance the rules, else the game will just die.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lonely Planet

A hand finds that dog-eared page,
clumsily bent at its edge.

The spectacles lodged firmly,
The cat pacified with a bowl of milk,
Mrs. Stenson continues her tour of Italy,
Twenty pages a day.

I got the inspiration for this character from that of Violet Stoneham in 36 Chowringhee Lane (the commonality being a lonely old lady with a cat). I don't like the wallowing in self-pity that loneliness is associated with. I want to view it as an independent stubborn streak.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kissa-e-mohabbat

Dastaan-e-mohabbat hamaari
Hai kissa badalte faasalon ka
Hum kareeb aate rahe
Aap duur jaate rahe

P.S> By public demand (see comments on the previous post)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Irony

The story of our relationship:
You play hard to get
I play hard to want

P.S> The word play is suited to English but the style is suited to Urdu.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rarely

Rarely did he attend parties
Rarely did he speak with strangers
Rarely did he meet one he liked
Rarely did beauty affect him so
Rarely did he extend his hand
Rarely did he have a number written on it
Rarely did he walk with a spring in his step
Rarely did he not hide his smile
Rarely did he slip on the road
Rarely did his palms get wiped clean
Rarely did his luck favor him

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Land Of Miracles

'Welcome to America',
Greets the voice behind the glass.
I stare at my papers in disbelief,
At the instant fruition of fantasies

A swoosh of the pen
And I stand transformed,
Into an alien

Monday, April 30, 2007

Vestige

Does he stoop since birth?
Or is he burdened,
By a hundred failures?
Some his own
Some of his forefathers.
The inheirtance of dreams?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stationary

The music floods the car,
"Break Away", she sings.
I move my car two feet ahead

P.S> I spend a considerable amount of time in traffic everyday with all the construction on my way to work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bequest

On the pages were listed
A small house in the country,
A trusty piano,
His collection of Mozart records,
A small Picasso he had splurged on,
A twenty year old car

The sons bore grave smiles
And paced nervously behind him
And wondered,
Is a father every really fair?

The lawyer put on his glasses
And laid the document in front of him,
With contained impatience.
A lunch with his estranged daughter awaited him

The signee cautiously flipped through the pages
Careful not to leave any crosses unsigned
An old habit.
The things you can’t bequeath, he pondered

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fourplay

As I watch in awe the rerun of the Sri Lanka-South Africa match, it becomes apparent that South Africa will always struggle to win the world cup. Perhaps every nation has a malady of choice that affects its teams. Pakistan has its internal troubles, India its star based system, South Africa it’s choking and Australia the winning habit. Malinga's four wickets in four balls only match the shock that his hair creates. Sri Lanka may have lost the match, but look good to go to the semis in my books. With Bangladesh and Ireland in the fray, the super 8’s have become the super 6’s. With England in the form it is, the question is: which other team will join them on the flight back home? The performance of West Indies in tomorrow’s match against New Zealand should give some inkling.

I completed reading Vikram Seth’s ‘An Equal Music’ and followed it up with Salman Rushdie’s ‘The ground beneath her feet’. I wanted to read them back to back because they were similarly themed, on music. Of course, they were set in completely different milieus, and Rushdie’s effort encompasses more than just the story of music. I’d recommend both books to be read. The painting on the cover of Seth’s book is Orpheus leading Eurydice out of the Underworld by Il Padovino. It is significant in that the Greek mythological story is the basis of the characters and their actions in both the books. Anocturne has a review posted here. Onto Obama’s ‘Audacity of Hope’ right now.

I finished watching Babel a little while back. I don’t think I was as impressed as I expected to be. Perhaps it is repetitive of this genre of movies, starting with Crash: multiple stories, multiple settings, all interwoven in some way. The settings invariably revolve around trumping up third world misery and celebrating their goodness. I liked the music and some of the shot compositions in the movie, but not much else. I started this little list on the left of the page churning out the movies I have recently watched. Does anyone have a better idea about doing that? I am currently modifying the template to list them, which is irritating. I’d like a more expansive space where I can put recommendations and short comments on the movies themselves.

The Indian store that I frequent constantly has some songs playing on the TV, mostly new work. I heard a song for the first time that stuck in my mind because of its tune and the use of the word ‘sutta’, which is the colloquial term for a smoke/cigarette. I came back and searched for the song and stumbled upon a socio-cultural phenomenon of sorts. Here goes the story. A Pakistani band (seems like one guy) called Zeest released a song called BC Sutta. I won’t expand BC for obvious reasons, the same reasons for which the song was deemed un-airable. It soon became an ‘underground’ hit, crossed the border by way of the internet and is apparently a cult classic in hostels and colleges across India. The song claims to use sutta as a metaphor for all dreams that have to be abandoned in life. The song I had heard in the store was a rip-off with a video starring Meghana Naidu and claimed to be anti-smoking in its message. Here’s the original sutta song and the copied remix that I heard . The furor is over the use of words that are commonly heard but never published. Judge for yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2007

2 hr 27min 29 sec

I completed my second half-marathon yesterday (the first one was the Seattle half-marathon last year). The race in case was the Mercer Island Half Marathon, set right between the Seattle and the suburban civilization. The weather was fine this time, it rained only for the first half hour of the race. The temperatures were bearable and the terrain seemed much easier than the Seattle half-marathon course.

I started off fast, maybe too fast and had trouble settling into a rhythm for the first three miles. Just when I got everything under control, my knee popped around mile 4. There was a searing pain through the left knee and I knew something had gone wrong. That effectively ended my run. The remainder of the nine miles were part running, part walking and part limping. Up until mile 10, I had still managed to keep a reasonable time, but at that stage the knee gave away completely. The remaining three miles were a fast stroll to the finish line.

On hindsight, not the best of experiences, because I went into the race with a slight niggle and insufficient practise. Maybe that caused the injury, maybe it didn't, but I surely will need better preparation next time round. On the positive side, I was desperate and determined to finish the race and finish I did. The timing was actually a bonus, it could have been much worse. Some friends managed to best their personal times, and that's a cool feat. If not for the injury, I might have had a shot too. Maybe next year. C'est la vie.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Ground Beneath Our Feet

Mourn not
The scorching of prized dreams
The abandonment of Gods
The wilting of collective spine
The loss of the undeserving

Mourn
What it truly is
The death of misplaced faith

P.S> This is as much for me to come to terms with the reality as it is for all those whose gut it wrenching right now

Friday, March 16, 2007

Where there's a willow, there's a way

The world cup is finally underway. Set in West Indies for the first time, this is probably a tournament that is thrown open to any team which shows the skills and the courage to play consistent focused cricket for a long period of time. By virtue of England and New Zealand defeating Australia prior to this tournament, there is actually a belief, a whisper of a possibility that someone else other than the team from Down Under might take the crown. How I wish for that to happen. I think there has to be democratization of cricket supremacy. West Indies had their reign, Australia have had theirs. Now another team should step up and claim the title. Australia are still the favorites, but they are beatable.

This is the first week, and it should be officially be labeled the ‘minnow bashing’ phase. Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa have already posted a 300+ score. Gibbs outdid everyone else by hitting six sixes in an over. It has never happened in an international match before. That is mind blowing, against any form of bowling attack.

However, let the high scores not carry us away. I remember seeing the highlights of the practice matches and the pitches were very slow. That implies that this tournament isn't necessarily going to be won with power hitting, when faced with good bowling. It will be won with skill to handle the slowness of the pitch, running hard for twos and having a lot of good slow bowlers in the team. On account of the third, I feel that that South Africa won't make it. They aren't a good team when playing other than their comfort zone, especially if Gibbs doesn’t fire. Teams like India and Sri Lanka then have a slightly better chance. Don’t rule out the dark horses West Indies. They are always a threat in their home conditions, and a couple of bizarre performance notwithstanding, I think they are a fairly good one-day team. They lack consistency which will be their biggest bane. Pakistan, England don’t have a prayer. New Zealand has a shoe-in because of their ability to chase down high totals. Plus they have a decent bowling attack with Bond and Vettori.

Coming to India’s chances, I think Sachin moving to 4 will be really critical. I think he will be brilliant in that position in these conditions where you need someone to shepherd the innings and set a tempo for batsmen like Yuvraj and Dhoni to come. The bowling is really good with Zaheer, Munaf, Agarkar, Kumble and Harbhajan. The two weak links for me are Sehwag and Pathan. Strange as it may seem, they should be competing for the same spot of an all rounder. Sehwag in his current batting form is a big gamble, but his bowling will allow us to go with only four specialist bowlers. He tends to bowl better than Sachin and Yuvraj in the one day format. Pathan was bowling at Kumble’s speed in the practice match, clearly showing how out of form he is. While he provides good batting support, I would rather go with a bowler like Munaf. The trouble is the batting order. If you pick both Sehwag and Uthappa, where do they bat? Does Dravid come at 3 and Sehwag after Yuvraj? Does Uthappa need to step down to 3 and Dravid to 5? These are the primary problems that India is going to face. Here’s my ideal playing eleven for India, not necessarily in this batting order.

Ganguly
Uthappa
Sehwag
Sachin
Dravid
Yuvraj
Dhoni
Bhajji
Agarkar
Kumble
Patel

My semi-finalists for this tournament are
India
Australia
West Indies
SA or SL or NZ

The fourth spot is tough for me to call out and I think that will depend upon how the leagues go. Perhaps I may be proved wrong about West Indies. The winner of the tournament. Why of course, India! :-)

P.S> I am following the matches on Dish TV at home, and it is a pleasure. I hate watching the matches on streaming video on a small screen. It tends to freeze exactly when the bowler comes to drop his delivery. I also realized that the World Cup has demonstrated the gulf that I have in my passion for the game and other friends who I thought were as passionate. Or, have I just refused to grow up? :-)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Trance Music?

If he tried a little, he would have heard:
leaves rustling in the breeze,
moths flickering around that sixty watt bulb

If his fingers were free, he'd have touched:
the coarseness of the stones, three hundred years old,
the deliberate designs in the columns

If his eyes were open, he'd have seen:
a decrepit old dargah, bathed in moonlight
qawwals, sitting on a shabby carpet

But he sat there, lost in a song
Ears hearing off the joy of finding the One
Fingers drumming the manic dance of a dervish
Eyes closed, yet watching beyond what the lids hid

For in the few notes, in that mystical essence which is music
He rose, transcending above the ruins, above the city
His ticket to heaven and back

Dargah = Shrine
Qawwal = singer of qawwali, a form of devotional music of the Sufis
Dervish = Sufis, some of whom lose themselves in the frenzy of devotion

Thursday, March 01, 2007

i'm Making A Difference

Philantrophy is built into Microsoft culture, coming top down from Bill Gates himself. Today morning I heard about this new effort that has been started. I thought I might share it out with everyone. http://im.live.com/ is a new initiative that attempts to raise money through customer involvement. Quoting the website "i’m is a new initiative from Windows Live™ Messenger. Every time you start a conversation using i’m, Microsoft shares a portion of the program's advertising revenue with some of the world's most effective organizations dedicated to social causes. We've set no cap on the amount we'll donate to each organization." I set it up in about two minutes. Now if I can only get someone to i'M me, world peace would be reached must faster :-)

I completed reading 'An Equal Music' and thoroughly enjoyed it. I like the passion that Vikram Seth brings to his characters. There is no hindrance, no hesitancy, no quiet desperation. The words may not flow from their mouths, but the thoughts run unhinged. I have started reading 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet' by Salman Rushdie. Shall let you know how that goes.

Remember Rabbi, who rendered 'Bulla Ki Jaana'? That song was one of the biggest hits of the year, and won him a lot of fans for his refreshing voice and attitude. He has been roped into give the music for the movie 'Delhi Heights'. I particularly enjoyed 'Tere Bin', even though my knowledge of Punjabi is a little sketchy. Need to go back to the other songs once again.

Now that blogger has introduced labels, I decided to give it a go and retrofit labels on all my posts. Turned out to be a very time consuming job and its not perfect, but there has been a reasonable segregation of subjects. Let me know what you think.

Oh, and I crossed an ice age in cell phone land. I finally went from my barely functioning Sony Ericsson T610 to a Motorola Q. Finally a phone which can do more than just talk to a person on the other end of the line, which I frankly don't do a lot of anyway. The phone became smarter, hope the owner follows suit :-)

Friday, February 23, 2007

H2-Oh?

The Oscar night is one day away and the big buzz on most Indian news sites is around the possibility of 'Water' winning an Oscar for the best foreign language film; never mind that it is not actually an Indian film, but a Canadian movie. I have seen Water and I have to confess I wasn’t so impressed with it. Besides the really good music (courtesy Rehman who must have relished the freedom) and the good cinematography, I was not impressed with it a whole lot. Not the acting from Lisa and John, neither by the often melodramatic treatment or the not-so-subtle demonification of Indian society in the 1930s. I had enjoyed Deepa Mehta’s treatment of Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy man (or was it Cracking India) as she made Earth, heightened by Aamir’s negative turn. I was wondering if this movie really got selected because it’s "made" for the West. I mean, movies that depict the squalor (Salaam Bombay, City of Joy) and social angst (Bandit Queen, Water) of third world countries seem to find better acceptance abroad. Once in a while, a rare Lagaan comes through, and that is the kind of cinema I champion. I want better cinema to win, and it won’t be a big surprise to me if Water doesn’t, even though I have not seen any of the other contenders in the category. Water failed to impress me in a way a movie like Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi did. The treatment seemed more balanced to me, or maybe it’s an inherent bias coming across. Am I alone in thinking that way? Your thoughts are welcome.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I Can't Think Of A Witty Title

Film Unfair Awards
The nominations for the filmfare awards have come out recently. There have been aberrations in the past where the Madan Mohans of the world have won nothing, Mughal-E-Azam lost to Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi, Amitabh didn't win any awards in a year where Deewar and Sholay released simultaneously, not to mention that the only award that Sholay won was for Best Editing. But by and large the awards have been fair until the last few years. This year's nominations leave me saddened. Sample this:
1. Omkara finds no place in the Best Movie department
2. Kareena is nominated for Best Heroine for Omkara though her role was miniscule
3. John Abraham gets nominated for Babul, but not Shreyas Talpade for Dor
4. Omkara finds no nomimation for best music
5. Sunidhi Chauhan gets nominated for Aa Aa Aashiqui Mein from 36 China Town
6. Rekha gets nominated for Krrishh
7. Dhoom 2 is nominated for best music, but Umrao Jaan is not (the latter definitely had better music than the former)
8. Aishwarya gets nominated for Dhoom 2
And the controversial ...
9. Aamir Khan gets nominated for Best Actor for RDB. Shouldn't that be for a supporting role?

I think with the Hindi film industry breaking away from the stereotypes in many ways, there is a distinct need for Filmfare to honour that rather than being populist. What has frustrated me in the past is the inherent acknowledgement of the populism by giving critics awards to those who can't win the popular awards. Other than Filmfare, there are at least 5-6 other major awards that are completely meaningless since the same people end up winning there too anyway, so Filmfare still remains the one I will memorize for trivia purposes :-) I just hope that among the nominations, at least the more deserving win.

Blogger Hacks
Does anyone who uses blogger know of a hack to find out how to get all the queries leading to that blog? I am looking for something similar to this. I have looked around without much luck. I wouldn't be surprised if that is something blogger can't do, but if anyone does know a way, I'd be happy to hear

Amnesia
In the movie Salaam-E-Ishq which I recently saw, one of the stories revolved around Vidya Balan losing her memory in an accident. She stumbles and fumbles through the other three hours trying to remember a single thing, but can't succeed. Akshaye Khanna comes to her rescue by ramming a car straight into her, thus causing her to suffer another accident. At this point, my hopes went up. I was sure she'd get her memory back. But she doesn't :-( It is critical to understand that this is a significant contribution to medical science from Bollywood. Hit me once, I lose my memory. Hit me the same way again, it will come back. The new breed of directors seem to be taking away hope from the hapless millions who can't remember what movie they went in for three hours into it. On a similar note, here's another brilliant life-saving tactic. Tumors in the brain can be cured if a bullet passes through it. Of course, don't you expect that it will take the tumor out with it?

Currently ...
Reading
My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Brilliant narrative.

Listening to
Rozana sung by Amitabh in the movie Nishabd. I have never heard the man sounding better. Listen to the song, you'll get hooked to it. While at it, the songs of Just Married are also good, especially the lyrics by Gulzar.

Happy
At the return back to form of God. I mean Sachin Tendulkar.

Wondering
What's going on in the ghazal world? Any new albums anyone wants to point me to?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Engraved

Hundred steps east of the mile marker, he remembered
And smiled to himself
Time flies, but distances remain the same
At least the literal ones

He struggled through the forest
Dusting cobwebs, treading on uneven soil
While his eyes searched
for that elusive tree

A man who had everything
But seemingly nothing
Looking for assurance

In a bark of wood
Two letters carved neatly
Covered by a heart
Pierced by an arrow

And a word etched below in defiance
"Forever"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Luck By Chance

"You are kind-hearted and hospitable, cheerful and well liked "
At my bright prospects today, I smiled in delight
Other people seemed to wander, and in their own despair, drown
A pity there aren’t more of the same fortune cookies around


P.S> The title isn't original. It was a movie that Meghana Gulzar was supposed to direct.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hindi Film Songs: Best of 2006

Continuing an annual tradition (2004 and 2005), I am back with the list of Hindi film songs from the year. Reiterating the disclaimers:

1. The songs aren't listed in any particular order. I have just listed them in the order in which I remembered them.
2. I try to listen to each new album that comes out at least once. However, there are simply too many new movies and too many songs to follow. It is possible that some may have been omitted
3. Some of the movies will be releasing next year (eg. Salaam-e-ishq and Guru) but since their songs have released this year, I am including them. Similarly, movies that released in 2006 were covered in the 2005 list if their music was out then (eg. Rang De Basanti)
4. There are some songs that I like, but maybe not enough to make it to this list. There are some that I like enough, but have kept it to keep the list size in check.

I am open to suggestions on songs that you think should be on the list but are missing.

Song : Saiyyan Re
Movie : Salaam-e-ishq
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Shankar Mahadevan, Shilpa, Loy Mendonca
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Very catchy number, and a good job done at not making another Kajra Re out of it. The newcomer Shilpa is impressive.

Song : Dil Kya Kare
Movie : Salaam-e-ishq
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Adnan Sami
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Adnan infuses a lot of personality in this song. Fresh sounding composition from the trio.

Song : Signal
Movie : Bhaagam Bhaag
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Remo Fernandes, Suzanne
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : You feel as if you are in a carnival. Perfect song for Remo to sing. What is tough to imagine is Remo singing for Govinda.

Song : Maula Mere
Movie : Anwar
Music Director : Mithoon
Singer : Roop Kumar Rathod
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : The moment the chanting of Maula Mere starts in the background, you are hooked to the track. Beautiful amalgamation of Sufi style music with the robust singing of Roop Kumar Rathod. The climax of the song will refuse to leave your head. Mithoon is a talent to watch out for. BTW, he is all of 21.

Song : Javeda Zindagi (Tose Naina Lagey)
Movie : Anwar
Music Director : Mithoon
Singer : Kshitij,Shipa Rao
Lyricist: Hasan Kamaal
Why is it on the list? : This was a surprise package towards the end of the year. Very neatly arranged song, the two new singers take the lyrics to new heights. And yes, before you ask the question, 'javeda' means immortal.

Song : Tera Bina
Movie : Guru
Music Director : A R Rehman
Singer : A R Rehman, Chinmayee
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : Despite the criticism earlier on my blog about how I was a tad disappointed with the score, this song scores. The new voice of Chinmayee is good. Husky female singers seem to be the order of the way. I still hold that Rehman is an ordinary singer and should employ better singers to render these really good compositions. To give him the benefit of the doubt this time, he recorded the song in the voice of Qadir Khan (his voice along with Murtaza Khan is used in the background rhythm). Last piece of trivia: this song was composed by Rehman as a tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Song : Ai Hairate Aashiqui
Movie : Guru
Music Director : A R Rehman
Singer : Hariharan, Alka Yagnik
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : This song immediately stuck in my mind when it came up. Hariharan and Alka Yagnik are rarely heard together and the combination did a fabulous job to render this song. They bring out the romance and fun in the song very well to the fore, and the composition is excellent. The lyrics are well, Gulzar.

Song : Jaage Hain
Movie : Guru
Music Director : A R Rehman
Singer : A R Rehman, Chitra, Madras Chorale Group
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : This song is the perfect way to cap off the album. Rarely do you get a symphony being used in an Indian movie setup. The crescendo is excellent, and I am very eager to see this used well in the movie.

Song : Baawri Piya Ki
Movie : Baabul
Music Director : Aadesh Shrivastava
Singer : Sonu Nigam
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Sonu Nigam had a given a glimpse of his prowess with classical songs with the song 'Tujh sang baandhi dor' in Dev. This one goes down the path. Superbly rendered byt this singer who seems to be steering clearing of his competition by the day.

Song : Crazy Kiya Re
Movie : Dhoom 2
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Sunidhi Chauhan
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : The lyrics are stupid, the choreography stale, but damn, I can't get it out of my head. Here's one from the biggest hit of the year. Interestingly, with this movie, the lyricist makes it into the Yash Chopra camp.

Song : Jaane Kya Chahe
Movie : Pyaar Ke Side Effects
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Zubin Garg
Lyricist: Mayur Puri
Why is it on the list? : This is a beautiful composition that starts with a female voice over in English and continues on with an Indian classical bent. Zubin does a really good job, and the music is good too.

Song : Dil Mein Baji Guitar
Movie : Apna Sapna Money Money
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Amit Kumar
Lyricist: Shabbir Ahmed
Why is it on the list? : This one's for all the Ganpati celebrations the next year. This is a throwback to the Anil Kapoor style songs in the early 90s. There is another version by the infamous Mika, but I like the Amit Kumar version better.

Song : Milan Abhi Aadha Adhura Hai
Movie : Vivaah
Music Director : Ravindra Jain
Singer : Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal
Lyricist: Ravindra Jain
Why is it on the list? : The music of this movie reminded you of the days of Chitchor. While there's no harm in having that kind of music, the quality was definitely lacking. This is the only song that really caught my fancy.

Song : Salaam
Movie : Umrao Jaan
Music Director : Anu Malik
Singer : Alka Yagnik
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : I have expressed disappointment at the quality of the music in this movie too. Yet, it is definitely good enough to make it to this list. The Anu Malik-JP Dutta combo has been really good in the past, and I thought with this subject they could outdo Refugee. This still doesn't take away from the fact that the compositions are good.

Song : Behka Diya Hamein
Movie : Umrao Jaan
Music Director : Anu Malik
Singer : Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Have you noticed it is actually set to the beat of waltz? Sonu and Alka team up for a good rendition.

Song : Ajnabi Shehar
Movie : Jaan-E-Mann
Music Director : Anu Malik
Singer : Sonu Nigam
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : One of the best songs of the year. Anu Malik shows us that he is an excellent composer. My general complaint has been that he composes his mukhdas better than his antaras. I think he did well here. Sonu's the man, and Gulzar shines in this song.

Song : Sau Dard Hai
Movie : Jaan-E-Mann
Music Director : Anu Malik
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Suzanne
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : This song is especially there for the lyrics and the fact that I am fond of such compositions.

Song : Yeh Honsla
Movie : Dor
Music Director : Salim-Suleiman
Singer : Shafqat Amanat Ali
Lyricist: Mir Ali Husain
Why is it on the list? A very well written and composed song, Shafqat Amanat Ali shows how his strength in classical music translates to a powerful rendition. The music of this movie was a surprise coming from Salim-Suleiman, given that their first attempt at music in Hindi films was Kaal followed by Neal N Nikki.

Song : Kesariya Baalma
Movie : Dor
Music Director : Salim-Suleiman
Singer : Karsan Sargathia
Lyricist: Mir Ali Husain
Why is it on the list?: I believe that this is the state song of Rajasthan. I was very impressed with how the beats were rearranged for this song, and also by the choice of signers. This is a very different song from Lata's rendition in Lekin.

Song : Expression of Love
Movie : Dor
Music Director : Salim-Suleiman, Trilok Gurtu
Singer : Shankar Mahadevan, Shobha Gurtu
Lyricist: Mir Ali Husain
Why is it on the list?: This is an unexpected bonus from the master percussionist Trilok Gurtu. I can't remember having heard Shobha Gurtu sing in a Hindi film before. The percussion at the end of the song is mind-blowing. The piece has been taken from Gurtu's album "Remembrance".

Song : Main Hoon Don
Movie : Don – The Chase Begins
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Shaan
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Everything about this movie was open to flak, including the music. I had seen the original well enough to recognize how superbly the theme music from the original had been woven into this song. Shaan does a very good job.

Song : Aaj Ki Raat
Movie : Don – The Chase Begins
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Alisha Chinoy, Mahalaxmi
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : A brilliant throwback to the 'Raat Baaki Baat Baaki' kind of songs, I liked how they kept the singing low-key to let the beats and the music take over. The best song of the movie for me.

Song : Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai
Movie : Who Lamhe
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Kay Kay
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : This song is lifted, but I'll keep it on here for Kay Kay's spirited rendition and the fact that Pritam does do a good job of sourcing his material from which he copies.

Song : Chal Chale
Movie : Who Lamhe
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : James
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : The singing isn't brilliant, but there is something about the lead singer's voice that hooks you. Good lyrics and composition too.

Song : Tere Bin
Movie : Bas Ek Pal
Music Director : Mithoon
Singer : Atif Aslam
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : The credit for this song should be shared by the singer and the composer equally. I think Mithoon uses Atif Aslam's voice very well to compose a song that carries a lot of emotion effortlessly.

Song : Zindagi Hosh Mein
Movie : Bas Ek Pal
Music Director : Vivek Philips
Singer : Zubin, Kay Kay
Lyricist: Amitabh Verma
Why is it on the list? : This is a situational song, but is well written and well rendered.

Song : Aap Ki Khaatir
Movie : Aap Ki Khaatir
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Ok. The man makes his entry. It's a challenge to decide how much of Himesh to have on this list. This one makes its entry because he proves that he doesn't have to sing with a nasal twang to make a song sound nice. Good composition, good lyrics. Don't trash him all the time without reason.

Song : Pal pal har pal
Movie : Lage Raho Munnabhai
Music Director : Shantanu Moitra
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire
Why is it on the list? : Shantanu Moitra is not an original composer at all times by any stretch of imagination. This one is a copy too, as was 'Kaisi Paheli Zindagani'. But the song has been sung with saccharine sweetness the two lead singers.

Song : Afsana Bana Ke Bhool Na Jana
Movie : Dil Diya Hai
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya, Tulsi Kumar
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : The nasal twang is back, but the tune is fairly catchy. I like the rhythm to which the song has been set.

Song : Beedi
Movie : Omkara
Music Director : Vishal Bharadwaj
Singer : Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : The anthem of the nation. Could you have imagined a more rustic song making it into discotheques? Need I say more.

Song : O Saathi Re
Movie : Omkara
Music Director : Vishal Bharadwaj
Singer : Vishal Bharadwaj, Shreya Ghoshal
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : Great composition, great lyrics and Vishal can sing too!

Song : Namak
Movie : Omkara
Music Director : Vishal Bharadwaj
Singer : Rekha Bharadwaj
Lyricist: Gulzar
Why is it on the list? : Rekha Bharadway is outstanding in this song. Written and composed and sung brilliantly again. Its tough to keep any track from Omkara out of this list.

Song : Ishq Kiya Kiya
Movie : Anthony Kaun Hai
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Tour de force from Himesh.

Song : Golmaal
Movie : Golmaal
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Singer : Anusha Manchanda, Vishal Dadlani
Lyricist: Vishal Dadlani, Kumaar
Why is it on the list? : Anusha Manchanda is a former member of the band Viva. She lends her viva-cious singing voice to this song. Vishal-Shekhar know how to use hip-hop beats effectively and the song is really catchy.

Song : Ahista Ahista
Movie : Ahista Ahista
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Irshad Kaamil
Why is it on the list? : Beautiful rhythm and well sung by Himesh.

Song : Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Movie : Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : The movie and the music had sky high expectations, especially from the title song since: (a) the title song of Kal Ho Na Ho was such a big hit. (b) a song by the same lyrics was a huge hit from yesteryears. I think the music directors over came that challenge to give us a new tune loaded with emotion. They had the best combination at hand to deliver that and they did deliver.

Song : Mitwa
Movie : Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Music Director : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers : Shafqat Amanat Ali
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Why is it on the list? : Though Shafqat Amanat Ali was made to sound like Shankar Mahadevan, his rendition was good and the lyrics were well written too. A composition with a lot of depth.

Song : Lamha Lamha Zindagi Hai
Movie : Corporate
Music Director : Shamir Tandon
Singer : Asha Bhosle
Lyricist: Sandeep Nath
Why is it on the list? : Asha takes over from Lata's 'Kitne Ajeeb Rishtey Hain' and does a fine job of it.

Song : Ai Meri Zohra Jabeen
Movie : Phir Hera Pheri
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Blasphemy to associate Ai Meri Zohra Jabeen with anyone other than Manna Dey. Himesh's take of course does not compare, but the Indo-Western fusion of music is fairly catchy.

Song : Koi Tumsa Nahin
Movie : Krrish
Music Director : Rajesh Roshan
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal
Lyricist: Nasir Faraaz
Why is it on the list? : Slow, melodious. Typical of Rajesh Roshan. I like the Big Band mix version of this as well.

Song : Chaand Sifarish
Movie : Fanaa
Music Director : Jatin Lalit
Singer : Shaan, Kailash Kher
Lyricist: Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Shaan's ticket to the big league. His songs for Aamir and SRK this year have been big hits, off which, this is the big one. My first reaction to this song was that Udit should have sung it, but over time I have grown to accept Shaan's rendition and like it. Jatin-Lalit's composition was arranged by Salim-Sulaiman and so you'd be forgiven if you thought there was a bit of Rehman in Kailash's 'Subhan Allah's' and the heavy guitar through the song.

Song : Mere Haath Mein
Movie : Fanaa
Music Director : Jatin Lalit
Singer : Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan
Lyricist: Prasoon Joshi
Why is it on the list? : Sonu and Sunidhi team up really well here for this well composed song. Prasoon Joshi does a good job with the lyrics.

Song : Bheegi Bheegi
Movie : Gangster
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : James
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : This song will stick in your head and never leave. Awesome song to hear at a very loud volume in your car. Obviously, I have done it.

Song : Ya Ali
Movie : Gangster
Music Director : Pritam
Singer : Zubin
Lyricist: Sayeed Quadri
Why is it on the list? : The best song of the movie. Would you qualify this genre as Sufi-rock? Zubin soars in this composition and the rhythm keeps you riveted.

Song : Tuteya na tuteya
Movie : Shaadi Se Pehla
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Daler Mehndi
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Daler singing for Himesh? Interesting combo, and while the song is slow, I do the like the mukhda and the odd pairing.

Song : Humko Deewana Kar Gaye
Movie : Humko Deewana Kar Gaye
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : Though the music of the movie was scored by Anu, Himesh had an alternate version of the title song which turned out to be really popular.

Song : Bombai Nagariya
Movie : Taxi No 9211
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Singer : Bhappi Lahiri
Lyricist: Dev Kohli
Why is it on the list? : Whoever thought of the idea of getting Bhappi Da, hats off to him. This song works and how. A tribute to the great city with the trademark Bhappi Da inflections and pronunciations.

Song : Meter Down
Movie : Taxi No 9211
Music Director : Vishal-Shekhar
Singer : Adnan Sami
Lyricist: Dev Kohli
Why is it on the list? : Sung with a lot of enthusiasm by Adnan.

Song : Jhalak Dikhlaja
Movie : Aksar
Music Director : Himesh Reshammiya
Singer : Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Sameer
Why is it on the list? : This song can invoke ghosts. Given that it is endowed with supernatural powers, I shouldn't offend it by leaving it out.