Tuesday, December 06, 2011

One of those evenings...

Just one of those days. Rather evenings. Sitting out in the open on my terrace, on my own, after a long time. What Delhizens call a barsati and get all orgasmic about. There's the pretence of winter in Calcutta's air. Some folks out on the roads wear winter clothes and others not. I'm not worried about the lack of winter in December. I know climate change is a reality. So my environmental activist friends tell me. And I tend to trust friends. I'm worried about having to do bullshit work for shit money for which they will pay me in February. I'm worried about having to pay the rent tomorrow, pay for utilities, for food and living decently, if not comfortably. And too I'm missing my daughter. I'm missing my girlfriend. Both of them far away in other parts. Like the state of my finances. Same.

Today is the the common birthday of two of my closest friends. The one I knew from childhood because of family connections and then through school and adult life, finally to the cusp of our dotage, went and died five years ago. The other guy I've known from school days is still around and I wish him a long life full of whatever he wants. Which leads me to thoughts of other dead friends. Naturally my own mortality is pondered.

So then I move to other thoughts. Thoughts of fusion music. And my considerable antipathy to this form of music. Especially the variety that attempts to put Indian classical in juxtaposition with jazz. Some of which may or may not be punctuated by rock and funk and overtones or undertones of a Western classical influence. Depending on where you're coming from.

And I say, hey, I want to hear you play your music in my country. Stuff I don't usually get to hear live. I don't want you to play or experiment with the music from my country and show me how skilful you are. Or how well you harmonise with the culture of my country. We are all in harmony, at peace. Have always been. That's a given. It's the politicians who have issues, who want war. And also the big business. They're worse. They also want branding. You're musicians who play a certain sort of music. Do that. Don't be politically correct. I know you're good, or so I've been reliably told. And it's why I pay good money to see your show. Then please don't play fusion. Or world music. Or stuff that is as confused as the politicians we elect. The ones who wage war on our behalf. Not just with other countries but with their own country folk too. Without actually consulting us. You, as musicians have a more definite purpose. It's to play music. IMHO, fusion and world music is somewhere on the peripheral fringes of music as I understand it. Not that my understanding is of any concern to you if you anyway want to do that crap. What does happen is that you lose out on a paying customer. A person who will pay exorbitant prices for a cheap beer just because a club with elitist credentials allows you to perform in their space. And lets you think that the sun shines out of your rear end.

And then I think of how rum is a good drink. It's the first alcohol I ever drank seriously. That is, to get pissed- farting-drunk. Which I did. And then I remember I first had rum with another friend who is dead. Whose final throes of a life half-lived took place in my room and ended on a hospital bed the next day. Six years ago. So then I contemplate on how very good the stuff from Himachal is. In combination with rum. And then I wonder how a litre of rum, in ratio, can be cheaper than its 375 ml bottled version. I know too I will never understand economics, even when it was my graduation subject. But I do understand cheaper booze when it is offered to me. Is that applied economics?

And I absolutely agree with the presently acting Telecom Minister of India, Kapil Sibal's orders to digital social media to manually filter objectionable content related to the Gandhis, the Congress and maybe the Sibals too. As a matter of fact I want Kapil Sibal to further ensure that social media companies filter and delete posts, status updates and the rest of the bumf on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter which lack intelligence, goodwill and cheerfully positive statements. Since I live in a democracy I want to be able to decide what qualifies for those standards. Just like His Capillary Sibilance (yuck!) can decide what is objectionable and uploadable. There's a good opportunity here for the Minister to ensure an abundance of employment. Especially for the dullards who are being technically certified in internet technology every year and are being projected as the future of our country. It is they who are posting objectionable content not being gainfully employed and in all probability devastatingly underemployed. Or becoming redundant as their jobs are outsourced to the Philippines. In fact this will, by extension, also take care of the inane posts from all our tech-friendly politicians and wannabe politicians like Shashi Tharoor, and Amitabh Bachchan. Even Suhel Seth – neither here nor there but wannabe with a capital W alright.

So this is one of those evenings of mine which come and go. This time, before it went, I wrote it down, literally dragging it into words on a page, imprisoning it in verbiage before it escaped me. Escaped my memory. My sloth. And indifference. So here, presented for your perusal, your commentary, your ignoring of it, your utter lack of interest in it, is a report of one of those evenings which make up my completely ordinary life.

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