Monday, November 28, 2011

One Drink

One drink to the champ,
Forced in the ring with his hands tied 

One drink to the tears unseen,
The ones pride couldn't hide

One drink for the striving lark,
Flying, to an empty nest

One drink to the unhealed wounds 
The bleeds, time can't mend

One drink my friends
To those who drink,
One drink to those
Who understand why

- Sanket 


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

About Rock Star ...

After a lot of anticipation, I saw the movie Rock Star yesterday. I will get to its review in a bit, I first wanted to spend a little time on its music. Before I go on - I must tell you - that this article is for romantic dreamers - if you aren't one of those - then I think you'd find this post hard to relate.

Most of you by now, must have heard the iconic song "Tum Ho" from this film - sung by Mohit Chauhan - I have heard people say its "nice" and "awesome" and "amazing" - But no one has done it justice so far. So - I am going to suggest you an experiment. Heres what you do :- 

Imagine the first time you were compulsively attracted to a person. Imagine a real person, not a celebrity. Doesn't matter if you ended up with that person or not - just think of her. You should be able to picture her in your head - what was the hair like, how was the laughter, what did the perfume smell of - color the image with detail. Ok, now put your cynicism and realism aside for a while and go along with me. Imagine a perfect world - where you fall in love with this person through marvellous chemistry and incredibly fun dating. And she has fallen for you just as much. And you leave for an unannounced vacation.

You don't have to worry about money and work - and no one is watching over you two. You don't have to call anyone - or answer to anyone and you have just left. YOU are completely free. Let me spell it out - that means you don't care where you go or how long it takes to get there. It means you don't fret one second over stupid worldly affairs - you don't dampen your adventure with safety - you are free from all constraints. You can make coffee at 4am and go take a bath in the beach - then make crazy, intoxicated love and fall asleep. Or you can be perched atop a mountain with an incredible view with no one else to disturb you. You have the liberty to enjoy each moment with your entire being, with your mind and body fully present. In other words it is the total embodiment of every romantic desire you've ever had. Now hold that image in your head and listen to this song with your eyes closed - on good headphones please!! 

If you did it right, it will twist your stomach and almost make you scream. Mohit Chauhan has infused this song with such surreal 'nasha' that you can get drunk just listening to it. It should shake, shudder and ignite your core. This is simply speaking divinity captured on tape. 

It is love in the absolute true form. When you want, crave, adore and obsess a person physically, mentally and spiritually. It happens with only a few - and even with those - it happens only once. How exactly does it happen is unknown to me - what I do know - is that this kind of love demands extreme courage in you. It is so powerful that when you first feel its wildness, it will scare the brains out of you. And you will very seriously consider simply running away. This is a force that does not yield to will power or ego or arrogance and pride - nor cares for laws and boundaries. And if you surrender to it - one thing is certain: no matter what the outcome - your life and you as you knew yourself are over! Things will never go back to before - its a unidirectional, irreversible change.

So let me ask you this - when was the last time you kissed and felt it all over - a kiss that stiffed your feet and convulsed your body. Have you ever - after one simple touch of fingers - felt the hair stand up under your sleeve. Or with one glance at a person, simply forgot every single thought in your mind. It is the kind of love that will set your soul on fire and light you from within! 

It is that love that Rock Star tries to capture - tries and fails. There are decent movies that become great when made well and then there are great movies like Rock Star that are so poorly made, it drives you nuts. Ranbir Kapoor pulls off his best performance to date and he really deserved a lot more support from the movie. Regardless, this movie will firmly establish him as an actor with some serious gravitas. 

Also worthy of undiluted admiration is A. R. Rehman's music - not since Rang De Basanti have songs flown in such quixotical manners. The film will also bring a lot of change for the singer Mohit Chauhan. Unfortunately it means - for the fans of his original self - of Guncha and Sabse Peeche Hum Khade - its an end to substantive music. Now it is pointless populism and him singing incredibly sad, meaningful songs being raped and remixed at concerts - while an idiot and illiterate public go crazy in the crowd. 

Mohit Chauhan is to be enjoyed with tear induced whisky in the middle of the night in blissful solitude. His song "Tum Ho" will forever establish his signature. It is one of those songs  that no other singer can ever hope to mimic and if and when they do - they'll look like morons. Not since Atif Aslam's  tere bin - has a song hit me so hard. Hatts off to him. 

This film is mainly of unfinished love. If you are of this crazy and foolhardy population willing to risk all on one coin toss - You might just forgive Rock Star for all its flaws and see it for what it could possibly be trying to say. 


- Sanket

Afterthought:: One of the key messages of the movie (which like everything else will be lost) is of how we treat our artists. They are celebrated and adored - but also objectified and abstracted as iconic statues - never humanized. It should give us a pause and make us think. That may be just may be may be - beyond the job of entertaining and performing in films, a star like Kareena Kapoor or Deepika or Ranbir might be a real human being at the end of the day. Capable of the same mistakes we all make, who laughs and cries and falls in love in real life as well. And may be - who they date or don't - or how to define their love - is NONE OF OUR DAMN business. 


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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A few thoughts on amateur astronomy

Long ago the Greeks called him Zeus – named after the God of the Gods, the king of kings and the master of all. I am talking about Jupiter – the largest planet of our solar system. Jupiter was one the first objects I saw with my telescope. And I have to say that the first experience was profound. I had looked at Saturn before, and its just obviously so pretty, you can see the rings and Titan. But Jupiter is a whole different story altogether.

It is spectacular, uniquely beautiful, awe-inspiring and overwhelmingly majestic. One look and you can tell – this is the king of all planets. When looking through the telescope, you can tell – despite the great distance – that it is a giant planet.

It has shielded us from asteroids and other hazards by attracting them towards him with his massive gravity. Jupiter happens to be just the right size for Earth to sustain its nature, if it were any bigger, its core would have triggered a nuclear fusion making it into another star. Most of our probes to the outer planets and outside of the solar system use Jupiter’s gravitational pull as a sling shot. So, by all standards, we owe a lot to Jupiter – and seeing him through the telescope demands a certain reverence. I guess the Greeks weren’t all that wrong after all!

Alongside Jupiter, I observed its four galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Castillo! About four hundred years ago Galileo made the same observation and it changed the world. It is humbling to know that even four centuries ago, there was a scientist so true to his observations, that he risked the wrath of the Roman Church and along with it complete ostracism from society for scientific integrity. Galileo pointed his telescope toward Zeus and saw the four moons revolving around Jupiter! This clearly and observably refuted the notion that the universe revolved around Earth!

Later he sat in a cathedral and deduced from the chandeliers that the period of oscillation was independent of the size of the arc. Then, he refuted another common theory and suggested that heavier and lighter objects hit the earth at the same time. Which took some guts considering that the theory he was refuting was of Aristotle’s!

It is indeed exhilarating to make the same observations as this great father of astronomy. And it reminds us that each time we think we are sure of how the world works – how the universe is structured, we should know that it could all change with one observation! It helps mankind retain perspective when immersed and absorbed in our circles, we begin to think of ourselves beyond nature and above GOD.

A lot of people debate the existence of GOD - of intelligent creation. And many more still wonder if science can prove/disprove the existence of God. I think all of these deliberations are irrelevant. And you only need to take a decent enough telescope to a dark site to understand this.

How you define God is up to each individual. But the existence of God cannot be questioned.  Take  a telescope and go to a dark site – look at a distant galaxy, or a star forming nebula, look at Jupiter or its four moons and let yourself truly absorb it. Understand the distances involved, understand the physics involved, understand the science of each photon and you will see that for an arrangement of objects  so beautiful – there has to be a higher governing power.

So take it from me. Don’t care about what the religious books say or what Stephen Hawkins is typing out – the heavens through a lens will give you a more visceral and indelible spiritual experience than a temple ever will! And in that moment you will realize the Science and Religion to converge and mean the same thing – and any discrepancy between the two will disappear.

Welcome to Astronomy my friends! I assure you – IT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD!!

- Sanket


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