Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kishori Amonkar: A Tribute

We recently lost the great classical vocalist, Kishori Amonkar. A lot of more knowlegable people have written about her singular greatness as a singer, as a true genius, of her dedication to her craft. I'll talk about my personal connection with her.

This is a small anecdote from the early 90s. Her son used to live next door to me in Andheri, Mumbai. She used to often come and stay with him on weekends. She would get up early on weekend mornings and do riyaaz. At that stage, I had no idea who she was, but her singing was so stupendous, so special that even to my untrained ear, I knew something special was afoot.

I have put together a sampling of some of her work that I have enjoyed. Hope you enjoy it too.

1. 'Sahela Re' - One of her most famous renditions in Raag Bhoop
Mesmerizing song by Indian Classical Singer Kishori Amonkar

2. A beautiful song in the raag Sindhu-Bhairavi (many have heard a famous version by K.L. Saigal)
Eternal Jugalbandi. Raga Sindhi Bhairavi--Thumri in Kaharva Taal. By Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute ),, Kishori Amonkar ( Vocal )....

3. A beautiful rendition in the raag Yaman

4. A tarana in Raag Hamsadhwani

5. Raag Miyan Ki Malhar. You can almost 'feel' the rains around you.

6. Raag Malkauns
Smt. Kishori Amonkar - Sampoorna Malkauns from the album 'Maestro's Choice'

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

An Ode to the Gulab Jamun

I am not a foodie at heart, but when I had to write for this month's Spark magazine issue themed 'Food', one dish that truly touches my heart came to mind. The sweet, delicious, sinful Gulab Jamun. Read my ode to it.

An Ode to the Gulab Jamun

There you are, just a foot away from my restraint
You, floating like heaven suspended
Imperfectly spherical, like a hand-crafted ball of snow
Light as the feathers of an Indian bustard
Smooth like the marble of the Taj
Levitating, like a yogi in bliss
Caressed, cajoled, nourished,
by the sweet comfort of sugar syrup
Indeed, there you are, an orb ordained
Shades of red in a sea of brown
Like the glorious sun, overcooked
You are but a sweet, they say
A dessert just like any other
A messenger of decay, a sweet harbinger of death
To them I say, that is not true
For you are not a mere gulab jamun
You are the memory of my mother’s love,
A treat of joy for my limited glory,
A taste of the homes I have been in,
The shortest path to my heart,
An adjective I use to describe my children.
When all else fails and the day is
But another one in a quotidian life
You are my guiltless pleasure
My one act of bravery
That one thing I steal
From the confines of the refrigerator
When the night has gone to sleep
There you are, my sweet taste of heaven,
waiting to be consumed,
Completely missing the irony;
You have already consumed me!