Sunday, June 26, 2011

Canada & Kannada!

Thinking has to be a human brain's favourite pastime. It loves to wander even if you don’t care to join it. Likewise, a human mouth’s favourite pastime is talking (read: gossiping). But when a person is busy thinking, a lot of factors conspire with each other and form a pattern of thoughts. It’s like a canvas filled with unexpressed words. Unfortunately, very few are able to transcribe what the voices in their head dictates. Fortunately, I’m not one of them. But to my credit, I was the first human ever to figure out that African Lion is an anagram of Californian. At least I like to believe so! And to add to my inglorious accomplishments, I achieved this *feat* when I was in eighth grade.

I fully understand whatever I just said doesn’t make sense (and nor will the stuff I’ll be blathering hereafter!). What I’m trying to say is we often stumble on ideas that are unique in a way we never imagined before. It could be anything from how to hold a pencil while writing to tying shoelace in a less time-consuming fashion. Or keeping one eye closed at work to ensure sleep as well as demotion at the same time. In my case, it’s all words. I love words and literally live in them. I keep playing with portmanteaus and homophones and desperately try to coin new words.

Coming back to the title of this post, I recently realized that Canada and Karnataka have a lot of resemblance. Canada, with its significant land area and equally insignificant population (at least, density-wise) is spread out on the continent of North America whereas bang on the other side of the Earth lies the southern Indian state of K’taka located where Kannada is the predominant language.

Ottawa, the capital of Canada is located in the southwestern corner of the country. Similarly, Bangalore, the capital of K’taka state, is also located in the southwestern fringe of the state. Like Canada, the economy and logistics of K’taka is also located primarily in its southern region. Both have better infrastructure in their southern region compared to their northern counterparts. Canada finds its chief external port at Vancouver which is also Canada’s 3rd largest city. Karnataka’s 3rd largest city, Mangalore houses its chief port. Both these cities are located in their southwestern end [Vancouver on Pacific Ocean bordering USA and Mangalore on Arabian Sea bordering Kerala state].

As you can guess by now, I’ve obviously lost the plot here. The title was supposed to be Canada & K’taka instead of Canada & Kannada. Nonetheless, the differences eclipse the similarities in more ways than one. Canada is a sovereign nation whereas K’taka is a state in the Republic of India. Area-wise, Canada is the second largest country in the world with a meagre population of 33 million whereas K’taka has more than 52 million people. Also, Canada has two official languages namely English and French (primarily spoken in Quebec and New Brunswick provinces) whereas Kannada is the sole official language of Karnataka although it constitutes of varied linguistic/cultural domains namely the Tulu-speaking Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, Kodava-speaking Kodagu/Coorg district as well as the prosperous native Konkani community spread across the K’taka coast and not to forget the indigenous Marathi community spread inland and many more. But they all are bound by their shared adherence to Kannada.

P.S. I acknowledge the fact that this sincere analysis on such an obscure (and utterly useless) topic wasn’t the need of time. But then I can’t help those trying to find a cure for cancer, either. Besides you don’t need to be meticulous all the time (which I’m not any which way). I just thought of it and decided to indulge in usual trumpery and free geography class to y'all!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In defense of Coke Studio@MTV...

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a piece on Coke Studio (CS). Well, as you can guess, not many were aware what CS was all about until lately. But since then, it has infiltrated musical aficionados’ psyche like anything. On a personal level, I don’t even remember when CS replaced Suprabhatam at my place without making a sound (no pun intended). It’d be fair to say that Coke Studio is the best thing to have ever come out of Pakistan. After Nusrat Saab.

For the freshers, Coke Studio is a musical extravagance which has its origin in Brazil but the entire concept developed in Pakistan under Rohail Hyatt. The idea was to infuse music from diverse regions of Pakistan and provide them a common platform to showcase their talent. Top-notch is an adjective that comes to mind whenever I think of all the episodes I’ve watched. Yes, listening isn’t enough. If it’s CS, you better watch because there is so much to experience visually. The synchronization of lyrics and music isn’t something we, the hoi polloi, are often privy to. On a side note, the ignoramus among us (yes, Indians) can’t help but be amazed by the variety Pakistan has to offer in musical scenario; be it Sufi, western, devotional, tribal, folk or Qawwali.

So far, so good.

And then, Coke Studio decides to come to India courtesy MTV. As expected, we were thrilled – and still are – about the endless possibilities that lie ahead of it. The very first episode gave us a hint of how things will look like throughout the season. Seven performances took place in that segment which featured songs in 8 languages including Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu. In simpler words, folk and regional music will get their long-awaited due but not without Bollywood’s crooning escorts.

To be very frank, the inaugural episode garnered mixed review. To be very, very frank, the reviews weren’t too positive. Many viewers expressed their utter disappointment with poor sound engineering and production as well as presentation (dull video panning). There were moments in the show when noise completely dominated fusion. House band were haphazard. Also looking at the chorus girls, what were they up to? What’s the point in having them seated there with no active contribution to a particular performance?

We can’t blame people for not liking CS (though they are more than 200,000 likes on CS’s Facebook homepage). It’s a personal choice but still dissing it without substantial sagacity is quite stupid. The very comparison with Pakistan’s CS makes the argument one-sided. After all, Pak’s CS has been around for three seasons now and is into its fourth year running whereas we are nascent and just one episode old. And we shouldn’t forget that Pak CS wasn’t a runaway hit either. It took time to gain momentum and with patience and precision, it did and how!

Personally, I feel negativity is good as it shall ensure improvisation. Also, we need to give Leslie Lewis credit for putting up a show in such a short notice, though on the down side, the unpreparedness was rather visible in patches in the first episode itself. But Coke Studio is all about evolution. It is like a musical journey through varied phases. And I am pretty confident they’ll pull this off.

Also, India being diverse and rich with umpteen languages, it is but obviously natural that all Indians won’t be able to comprehend every single song. For instance, a Punjabi is not expected to understand Tamil or Kannada per se and similarly a Manipuri or Naga from North-East may not have the knowledge of Marathi or Gujarati. And to be honest, those facing Coke Studio's language barrier must ask themselves whether they can discern their favorite English songs without online lyrics. Ergo, Coke Studio should provide translations from the regional languages to both English and Hindi on their home site.

Anyway for now, we need to sit back, give our consumeristic hypocrisy a break and relax to enjoy the show’s first season!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Idiot's Block, not Writer's

I haven’t written a paragraph in almost a month now. No, it can’t be Writer’s Block since I'm not a writer. It’s not much of my concern either. At least not as much as Idiot's Block is. And the worst part is, I'm not even growing wise. It's more confusing than the reason why we signed up for life. Besides, I’m just a one-liner thinker who scribbles and tries way too hard to be funny. In raunchier terms, I’m a writer’s version of one-night stand. Sitting down to write an essay or an article is a torture to be very honest. The kind of time and dedication it takes is sadistic but (sadly) rewarding at the very same time. On the contrary, when you produce an one-liner, there is nothing to lose. You have this idea and all you have to do is put it within a sentence or two and lo you are done! [In related news, I just completed a paragraph.]

Even right now, as I’m typing whatever you are reading, I’ve got no concrete plot to come up with. Like they lie, I’m just going with the flow. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that you are no Pamuk especially when you are writing Grade A bullshit. But somewhere, deep down inside, you have this untouched poetry. Each one of us does. No kidding. This is the part which often stays unexplored. There is a bit of poetry in every human being. Only the lucky few get to share it with others. But then, most of us are neurotically indolent so that kills the suspense. In other words, laziness always replays a huge part in our failures. One needs to get organized and then go ahead with the plan. Like writers do. With research related stuff which I’m totally averse to. (See, the last two lines rhyme!)

That’s it.

I’ve nothing else to babble about. Yes, I can crack some cheap jokes on Baba Ramdev’s antics and PM Singh’s eternal silence or take a dig at the way humankind has totally lost itself in the ring-a-round materialistic whirlpool. But the truth is I had to update my blog page and obviously, I don’t follow rich principles when it comes to photoshopping of thoughts in words. And that’s the reason my fingers are still dancing on the keyboard. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even reached this third paragraph.

Every once in a while, I try to gauge how a human being can create such fat books full of ideas. No wonder one-lining seems a lot more appealing and of course, easier. Furthermore, there is never a lack of incidents to comment on be it a colleague’s goof-up or your own or snobbish celebrities or politicians or some sports rivals. However, the moment I get down to write a 500-words rough draft, my brain instantly files for divorce. Although there are million of secrets to be told and billions of stories to be sold, I’ll be totally out of topic. That’s how *thinks* are as of now. Perhaps I’m one of those writers who suffer from Writer’s Block even before becoming one.