Monday, May 30, 2016

Dont give your power away

For some men, submission unto the wishes of someone who is super-idiotic in their opinion is not a good way of wasting time. They may better read something or sleep away than give away their power to such assholes.

I have given power to one such asshole wishfully thinking him to have an iota of sense but its been the worst mistake I have committed till date. It has caused me lose complete power over myself and all the weak points have become uncovered only to be attacked by the consequent faulty thought process.

Src -
I henceforth will do only what I believe must be done instead of following what assholes tell me to do, however senior they may be in the role hierarchy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Its all getting cheap

There were times when one had to spend years learning an art and honing it and only post that was one able to exhibit it. Years later only could one even imagine of earning a livelihood from art.

Today upstarts call themselves artistes and are able to trade their wares for a decent sum of money, without any focus on continuous improvement of art.

Yes its easy to be an artiste today. But the value of such art is also cheap.

As cheap as a disposable razor.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The design of modern life

Modern human life is based on the building of a bright future. People work hard to earn money which they can 'enjoy' in parties, vacations etc. Humans buy huge separate homes so that they can enjoy privacy with their spouse or their small nuclear families.

Human life is also based on the premise of an unpredicatable future. Crores of money are earned by insurance companies because people think their immediate families will be inconvenienced if they happen to fall a victim to the whims of the Grim Reaper. People want to be buy homes in places where there are hospitals so that in case of emergencies, help should be nearby.

Reconciling the two divergent basis of the lives of present day humans, we can conclude one thing - we are far more affluent today and wanting to be reliant on our selves so that we can shape our day to day lives and take care of ourselves and our small worlds.

Yet we see that the pursuit of self reliance has made us the most loneliest we have been in entire human history. The concept of joint familes is almost extinct today, and the concept of helpful neighbours is going out of vogue soon. Man is at the mercy of the money hungry establishments and as long as he has a source of income, all seems well. All hell breaks loose in the old age, and with inflation and devaluation of all the hard earned cash stashed in the banks as a security.

And the entire machinery is made up of similar human entities leading similar lives, being a cause of each others miseries and feeling alone at the same time! Kya design hai jee. Ekdum badhiya...:)

Monday, February 22, 2016

On Understanding Abstract Lyrics

I am more of a music listener than a lyrics listener. But then there are songs which are rich on content, and I have to listen to what the lyricist has tried to say. Such instances are rare and make me very happy. I saw Masaan a few days back and was spellbound by its songs.

Source -
This short post is inspired from Varun Grover's take on his songs in Masaan. I thank him for the beautiful lyrics and also his effort to explain his thought process succintly.

Understanding Abstract Lyrics

Those who say that they understand the lyrics of a song are only able to see what their experience helps them see in the painting painted from the unique life, mind and experiences of the lyricist. If the words are direct, its easier to see the meaning, like the painting of a scene from history. But great lyrics are like abstract art. Its a glimpse into the unknown universe of the artist which somehow catches our eyes as we can see some familiarity in the scene from the universe which the artist has presented as form of the abstract art. The lyricist is an abstract artist too, and to say that I understand what the song means is describing one perspective of the lyrics. It is not necessarily what the lyricist meant  to convey.

I believe, lyricists should explain their thoughts at-least a year after people have had the opportunity of internalising a song and deriving its meaning on their own terms. Then it would be interesting to note how close our observations are to that of the lyricist. This exploration of parallel universes will be very interesting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FB Friends Day Video - How to download

Today, on the occasion of FB's 12th anniversay, you must have seen your customised Friend's day video. I was delighted with the one made for me, but had no intent of sharing it.

But I wanted to download it. I am sure, even you want to download it and enjoy. Here are the steps (for Google Chrome);

 1. Right Click on the video and click 'Inspect'

2. A window opens with the HTML layout. Scroll to the layout for the video.

3. You can see the video link here. Double click on the src field to select the link. Right Click and Copy.

5. Paste the link in a new tab, and the video opens

6. Right Click on the video, and select 'Save Video As'. On the prompt that appears next, give a suitable name and save on your machine.

7. Enjoy maadi:)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pranayama - From an Old Book

I came across this description of the procedure of Pranayama in an old book and found it worth reading and practicing. This isn't available in the text format on the internet, hence typed it down. I hope, dear reader, you will find some good insights from this article.

From The Vishnu Sahasranama Translated into English 
by R. Ananthakrishna Shastry

From -
The utility and importance of this fundamental Yoga practice have not been fully realised by us. Vyasa says in a hymn 'The Lord Vishnu himself is Yoga and the leader of all the Yogins(slo. 16), the Yogi and the Lord of the Yogins(slo. 104)'. The ancients have perfected it to a science, but it is lost to us to a considerable extent through our own folly. It is the sacred duty of every true Arya to revive it. The desire for material advancement has supplanted the yearning for spiritual progress. At present, the yearning for Swaraj has well nigh become universal; but the people have not yet realised that unless and until they are healthy - physically, mentally and morally - they can never hope to become a Nation and attain Swaraj. In ancient times, the Aryas were a very strong and powerful race, imbued with the highest of virtues, so the word Arya came to connote strength and Anarya, weakness. The Aryas attained and retained unto death their bodily and mental perfection by the simple but effective method of Pranayama. To them death had no horrors. Just as one throws off one's worn out garments, even so they cast off their body by their own free will by the power of Yoga. 

The Shastraic method is to get up at Brahma Muhurta i.e. before the breaking of the dawn, and finish the morning ablutions. After Achamana - sipping water -  perform the breathing exercises, the Pranayama, in a well ventilated place. Sit cross-legged facing east or north, with the back straight, chest well expanded and thrust forward and the head erect. First exhale(Rechaka) all the air slowly through one or both the nostrils, and then inhale(Puraka) slowly and deeply, and exhale as before. While exhaling and inhaling produce a low humming sound in the throat. Repeat the Rechaka and Puraka alternately for about ten minutes. Next, restraint of breath or Kumbhaka must be practiced. Inhale slowly, with the production of the humming sound in the throat as before, but retain the breath as long as possible without straining yourself and exhale completely all the air out. Again inhale slowly and deeply, restrain and exhale as before. Repeat this process for about five to ten minutes and gradually increase the duration of Kumbhaka.

While performing Rechaka, Puraka and Kumbhaka, it will be easy for beginners if they use one or more fingers to close up one or both the nostrils. When one has made some progress in Pranayama, then by merely willing, the air can be made to flow in or out through any nostril or it may be kept in Kumbhaka.

The third practice is Bhasra (bellow) and it is done for the next five or six minutes. Sitting erect as before and with the lips closed, blow out the air, with the hissing sound of a starting locomotive engine, rapidly. While blowing in this way the trunk of the body is steady, but the abdomen becomes concave and flat in quick succession, due to the alternate contraction and relaxation of the abdominal muscles. The naval region swings inward and out with maximum amplitude The Bhasra can also be practiced in the evening provided the stomach is empty. By this practice, the intestines get exercised, the digestive powers are greatly improved, the free circulation of blood is facilitated and the lungs are strengthened. The bowels also are kept in order by removing constipation.

Success in Pranayama can be attained only if the diet is a well regulated one. Any non-stimulating, simple and nutritious diet will do. It is well to remember and practice the Vedic ordinance 'Ekavaram Dvivaram Va' which enjoins only one meal a day or at the most two. Seven hours at least must elapse between the two meals.

This may be practiced by all persons irrespective of age or sex, excepting women in the family way, who should not attempt the Bhasra. But chronic patients afflicted with bowel or lung diseases should be carefully guided by a scientifically trained instructor.

It is very depressing to note that generally Indians and especially South Indians, have become physically degenerated; the more educated they are the more physically depressed they have become. The golden precept enjoining Brahmacharya(restraint) on a Grihasta by our Shastras, has been totally ignored. Excessive indulgence in stimulants, coffee, tea etc. and in matters pertaining to sex, irregular and hurried meals - meals noted for their flavor alone but not for their sustaining qualities -  and want of regular exercise for the body, have brought about this present condition. Systematic practice of Pranayama by our young men with a well regulated diet and observance of the principles laid down for the conduct of Brahmacharins and of the Grihastas will in a generation or two regenerate them into a virile people.

By the grace of the Divine Physician, 'Daivyah Bhishak', the Lord, all the incurable diseases are cured. May our degenerate young men take up these practices and become healthier, is the pious wish of the author!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mana Mandira - KaTyaar KaaLjaat Ghusali

KaTyaar KaLjaat Ghusali is a landmark movie in the history of modern Marathi Cinema. Based on a Sangeet Natak by the same name, it is an attempt at portraying the story in a cinematic format, with aesthetics which cannot be possible done in a live musical play. 

It has most of the original songs composed by Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, one among the very few who helped preserve and popularise Naatya Sangeeta in modern times. The soundtrack contains some new tracks too. It is a beautiful work of art by the composers Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and the singers Shankar Mahadevan, Rahul Deshpande and Mahesh Kale.

Shankar Mahadevan as Panditji
One of the new songs from the sound track is Mana Mandira, beautifully sung by Shankar Mahadevan. There is also a version by his younger son Shivam which is wonderfully done, considering his young age. Shankar ji's improvisations towards the end of the song are very impressive.

In the movie, the picturisation of this song is a highlight. Panditji (Shankar Mahadevan) is leading his young disciple Sadashiva to the forest, with a promise of manifesting fireflies with the help of music. To do that, he sings this divine song and in the process, not only teaches music to his protege but also imparts knowledge about the values of a good Saadhaka. 

The Divine vibrations and ideas expressed in the song inspired me to attempt a translation of its straightforward but philosophically rich lyrics, written by Mandar Cholkar.

मन मंदिरा… 
Based on Raaga Des

Lyrics - Mandar Cholkar
Music - Shankar-Ehsan-Loy
Sung by - Shankar Mahadevan
Translation by - Shrinath Shenoy

मन मंदिरा… तेजाने उजळून घेई साधका
संवेदना… संवादे सहवेदना… जपताना

With Divine Radiance,
A  Saadhaka illuminates the Shrine of his Mind
Cultivating a sensitive and an empathetic demeanour.

तळहाताच्या रेषांनी सहज सुखा का भोगी कुणी

Does one enjoy a life dictated by Destiny alone?

स्वयंप्रकाशी तू तारा...
चैतन्याचा गाभारा
भर पंखातून स्वप्न उद्याचे
झेप घे रे पाखरा

A self-luminous star,
You are the sanctuary of Divine Consciousness.
Full with the dreams of tomorrow,
Take a leap and fly to great heights.

Some thoughts on the term Saadhaka

When i started translating from Marathi to English, i realised that our Indian words capture a lot of information and meaning compared to their so called English counterparts. There cannot be a perfect translation for words like Aatmaa, Dharma and hence, the translations of many ancient Indian scriptures fail to capture the intent and essence of the sacred texts.

At most, i could have used the term Seeker in place of Saadhaka. Now, the imagery created by Seeker is of a person trying to find something. Saadhaka illustrates a person carrying out Saadhanaa - continuous, dedicated practice in order to attain his objective. The term Saadhaka intrigues me, as it brings out the essence of Panditji's character, who, like the singer saints of ancient India, practiced Sangeet Saadhanaa in the pursuit of the Divine. The path to God followed by every artiste in ancient India was about achieving transformation. The song thus speaks about the path of a Saadhaka, which requires cultivating sensitivity, empathy as well as courage, an action-oriented attitude and hope.

The lines that got edited

I had attended Mahesh Kale's concert - 'Sur Niragas Ho', held in Shanmukhananda Saraswati Auditorium in Mumbai, on 15th May 2016. Before performing this song, he sang a few lines which according to his commentary, were written by Subodh Bhave and were originally part of the song, but later got edited out.

Presenting the clip for anyone interested.

My performance of the song

I had performed this song on 18th December 2016 at Nagayakshe Dharmartha Sabhabhavan, Bhatkal, on the occasion of my engagement ceremony. One of the few performances which gladdened my heart like no other. Totally impromptu, no rehearsal, hence kindly pardon my mistakes.

Would not have been possible without support of my co-musicians - Sanjith (Harmonium), Sanketh(Manjira) and a friend on tabla.

Notes - 

a. Marathi lyrics taken from

b. Updated the translation of "तळहाताच्या रेषांनी सहज सुखा का भोगी कुणी" based on the correction suggested by Shri. Sumeet Malshe.

c. Made additional changes in the first stanza, based on translation insights gained from watching the movie for a second time.