Tag Archives: Music

4 The People

Yaay, it’s the last day of the month, my conventional blog publishing day. There is always something special about the month ends. Those are the days I deliver something concrete in spite of my thoughts drained as much as my pockets. Time to time, I use my blog to pour out my frustrations. Maybe, it’s cos I feel doing so in social media is kinda cliche.

“4 The People” was a Malayalam movie that was released when I was in my 10th grade. The same was released in Tamil as “4 Students” too. The song from the movies used to be my favs especially Lajavathiye and Unthan Vizhimunai. Most days pass by tuning into the morning radio show waiting to listen to these songs along with my other Rahman favs. That’s quite nostalgic. But, this only hit me after I started writing this blog post. So, this post is definitely not about this movie. If you are as nostalgic as me, you can listen to the songs below.

If you are from a middle-class family like mine, there is a high probability that you would die without meeting that “Naalu Peru” (4 /*the*/ People) who influenced your life more than anyone else in the universe. They are dedicated and care for you so much that their long nose is poked into your life forever. Fortunately, my parents didn’t impose much the choices of that “Naalu Peru” on me, until lately.

For most of my life, I was brought up as a freethinker. Even though I had a lot of thought differences with my parents, we always discussed and debated openly on those. Predominantly I was left to my own choices. As soon as my marriage got fixed, things gradually began to shift. I could see my preferences been overridden with what considered to be the preference of that “Nallu Peru” without any logical reasons that I could comprehend. All of a sudden, from the color of my clothes and my beard to the way I talk required the social approval of those “Naalu Peru”. Eventually, there were instances where I saw my self-respect vanishing into thin air. What really pisses me off is, when I shake my head for whatever crap you say for the same of courtesy, I am one good obedient guy. But, when you push me beyond my threshold with your stupid pieces of advice and make me counter it with questions that make sense, you bloody question my upbringing. “Pullaiya romba arpurdhama valathurukka ma nee” (Sarcastically commenting, you have awesomely raised your kid )  moment only.

Probably, These are the questions that I would definitely ask when I face those “Naalu Peru”.

  • What’s your problem?
  • Where were you when we had problems?
  • How are you this good at finding faults?
  • We have a dedicated job in our company called Quality Analyst, who’s only job is to find faults, would you be interested in joining full time? Why do it for free when you are good at something?

If you are one of that 4 people, kindly pay attention. I don’t want to live 4 the people, but to live 4 my people. To live 4 me and my loved ones. So, get lost. Peace.

P.S: Really sorry for the frustration overflow, I really needed to vent it out of my garbage collection.

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Trip To Remember – Trekking Sar Pass – Part 6

Finally, will get myself done with this blog post series. Here goes the final one.

Day 11 – 28th May 2017

I woke up with a mixed feeling, on one hand, I was happy about completing the trek successfully, on the other, I was sad that it came to an end. Once done with our morning routines, breakfast, group pic and one final batch roll call, we left the most beautiful camp of the whole trek around 8 AM. The route was a bit steep and felt like never-ending. We had to lose an altitude of 1400 ft in less than 5 km. I stuck with Lavanya for the whole route. Once we even lost our way in the middle ignoring the route markers and was screaming for help. Luckily, one of the fellow trekkers responded and that helped us be back on the route.

A couple of hours later, we reached a small eatery down the Barshani Village (6600 ft), finally some place to rest. In the meantime awaiting Nigilan and Buddy to return, I indulged myself in hot Maggi and refreshing lemon tea served there. It was already 12 PM when they both joined us. Then, we took a short walk to catch the bus that would get us back to Kasol. In the bus, we noticed a couple of guys smiling and laughing at the silly things that we spoke in Tamil. Then came that magical words, “Neenga Thamizha?” (Are you Tamil). That’s how we meet Anirudh and Mukund, 2 civil engineering guys from Bangalore working on a construction project in the valley. It was awesome conversing with them.

Around 4 PM, we reached Kasol, should blame the terrific traffic at Manikaran for the delay. We were too hungry by then and the Tibetan Eatery nearby the Kasol Market came to the rescue. We had amazing Thukpa and Momos there. It was already around 8 days since we took a bath. So, we found a natural hot spring bath area and took a relaxing bath. OMG, the hot water in the cold weather felt like being in heaven. All the others in the group decided to reach Kullu the same eve, but for various reasons, yours truly decided to stay back for a night at the base camp and start the next morning. It was a great experience at the base camp, was awarded the trek completing certificate and was asked to share my experience to the upcoming batches. Everyone at the campfire gathering laughed when I ended my note with, “These mountains got some serious ALTITUDE problems”. As usual, I had my dinner and dozed off early, that’s how an yet another awesome day came to an end.

One heavenly Thukpa

 Day 12 – 29th May 2017

I was informed that the 1st bus of the day to Kullu will be by 6.45 AM, So was all set by then to leave the camp. The bus came spot on time and I boarded it just opposite to the base camp. The bus was mostly filled with students and locals. The best part all along the ride was the songs played in its music system, just loved it.

Around 9 AM, I reached Kullu and rejoined with my friends at the famous Sapna Bakery for the breakfast. There we ordered SIddu, one of the most famous and typical dishes of that region. It kinda looks like an enlarged MoMo but tastes entirely different. The one which we had was awesome and I loved it. Then we headed to the hotel when my friends were staying so that I could keep my hefty backpack and continue roaming for the rest of the day. There I met the retired defense personnel, whose son owns that place.  He was too courteous and patiently gave us the direction to reach the Naggar Castle, our next destination.

From Kullu, we reached Naggar by bus and from there we reached The Castle by taking an Auto Rickshaw. Naggar used to be the ex-capital of the Kullu region and the King ruled from the castle.The view from the castle was spectacular and it exhibited some of the old artifacts and objects used during the King’s period. We had our lunch at the in-house restaurant itself. The food was pricey but the taste wasn’t that great as it looks.

What came to rescue is the Home Made Bakery, just outside the castle. They served yummy Apple Pie, Brownies and Tarts along with refreshing homemade fruit juices.

In the meanwhile, this awesome Lost & Found incident happened and have already written a separate blog post on it. Then we returned back to Kullu in a crowded local bus, got freshened up at the hotel and left to the bus terminus to catch our bus to Chandigarh. I immediately dozed off as we boarded our bus around 9 PM, that’s how an yet another awesome day came to an end.

 Day 13 – 30th May 2017

It was quite early in the morning when our bus reached the Chandigarh bus terminus. We spotted a Maggiwala (the one who sells Maggi) a few meters outside the terminus and decided to get done with our breakfast there. He sold sandwiches and tea along with Maggi and I ordered an egg Maggi for my breakfast.

As our flight is around afternoon, we had a lot of time to spare. With not much energy to explore the city, So, we went to the Rose Garden, took some rest, listening music and again went to the famous Pal Dhaba for lunch. OMG, the food was awesome there. Their Butter Chicken is definitely something to die for.

Later, we took a cab to the airport and boarded the flight back to Chennai. Outside the Chennai airport, the harsh Sun kissed my skin to remind me that I am back home. Just as a kinda ritual, I brought home some Biriyani concluding the trip. That’s how an awesome trip came to an end.

 

With a lot of fun, food and awesome experiences, this is indeed a trip to remember.

The End.

Trip To Remember – Trekking Sar Pass – Part 5

Dear Reader,
If you are growing impatient about this ever going series and wondering when would this end? Just be patient as always, probably one more post after this one. All you have to understand is, yours truly is neither creative to come up with new content frequently nor blessed with frequent awesome trips like this one. So, got to manage with this for the love of blogging.

Day 10 – 27th May 2017

I woke up wishing someone would wish me that morning. Wondering why? It was my birthday. The day started with a great disappointment as my only expectation wasn’t met. I was absolutely fine with the fact that others in the camp had no clue about my birthday. But, what let me down was my friends forgetting the same. Can’t blame them either, it was actually a bit hard to keep track of the day and date during the trek.

The only thing that I gave me comfort was a bunch of candies that I carried all the way from Chennai. Sudeshna, my pen pal sent me some chocolates and candies for my birthday all the way from Guwahati, Assam. She also made sure that it reaches me before I leave for the trip and in her letter, she instructed me that I must have them only on my birthday. Being a sucker for chocolates, it was too hard for me to resist having them all along the trek and save it from myself for the D-Day. With a strong will, I made it happen. Thank you Sudeshna for all the love. Following is a small video I recorded to thank her.

For the first time on my birthday, I felt lonely without anyone around wishing me. I restrained myself telling my friends that it’s my birthday. On the contrary, the narcissist in me acted otherwise and let them know by my own mouth. They served noodles for breakfast along with some hot tea. As usual, we cleaned our tents, packed our bags and assembled for the count before leaving the camp. To my surprise, all of sudden, everyone sang the birthday song and wished me. Wow, isn’t that awesome?. Once complete strangers are now my friends and wishing me for my birthday, this is what I call the beauty of traveling. These sort of instances make me realize that traveling is definitely not about the destination, but about the journey and the people whom we come across. Think it’s enough talking about my birthday, let’s move to the trek part.

We were excited about the next camp not just cos it’s the last camp of the trek. Since the induction, have heard plenty about the serenity and beauty of this place from the camp leaders and the batches who have completed their trek. I would say, this was the easiest leg of the whole trek. All we got to cover is 12 km with an attitude change of just 3000 ft. The only exciting part of the route was doing rappelling that too with a minimum vertical drop. Other than that, It was more like walking in midst of the woods all the way. Not soon after our lunch, an excited bunch of us, including me, lost our way to the camp and got stuck in the pine forest. Thankfully, our guide came to the rescue and directed us to the camp.

One of my most fav pic from the trek

No wonder every one praised the beauty of this place and call it the Switzerland of India. Around 2 PM, we finally reached the most beautiful camp of the trek, the Bhandak Thatch (8000 ft). It’s grassland and a grazing land where the cattle are reared in the summer, everything there seemed lush and green, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I haven’t been to Swiss yet, but this place made me wonder if Swiss is as beautiful as this one. We were able to spot Cows, Horses and Sheep. With plenty of time in our hand that day, we played UNO, Kabadi and did some funny Dubmashes too. At times, I would just climb up the slopes, spot a silent spot and get myself immersed in the mesmerizing beauty of the mountains.

The guys managed to arrange for the campfire after getting permission from our camp leader. Later that evening, we had our dinner early and gathered around the campfire. The burning pine logs gave a distinct pleasant sweet smell uplifting the mood around. From there on, it was all fun. We sang, danced crazy and everyone wished me again for my birthday. The craziness continued until the rain disrupted the fun. With half a heart, we dispersed into out tents and dozed off.

IMG_20170527_195147389

One best pic of the trip. Still feels like a magic

Started with full of disappointments, it turned out to be one of the best birthdays in my life. That’s how a yet another awesome day came to an end.

To Be Continued…

Trip To Remember – Trekking Sar Pass – Part 4

I know it ain’t right, but I enjoy finishing my tasks in the nick of the moment, just like this blog post. It does give me a kind of rush.

Day 8 – 25th May 2017

It seemed to have rained the last night also. The place was damp and much colder when I woke up. In spite of sleeping bag and blanket, I felt my body struggling to cope up with the cold temperature out there. Though I got up early, I didn’t dare to step outside our tent until the sun showed up. Some hot tea and Chole Bhature made things better for me. It wasn’t only us from YHAI who were camping there, there was also a camp by another organizer nearby. Why I am mentioning this is, while I was returning to my tent after my breakfast, I saw folks from both the camps happily dancing the Garba (a traditional Gujarati dance) outside our tent. It was fun watching them go round and round dancing those simple yet elegant steps in total sync. Then we cleaned out tents, packed our bags and started to the highest camp of this trek.

The dawn breaks

With no doubt, it was the steepest route uphill on this trek. Though the altitude change was only 1300 ft compared to 1900 ft and 1600 ft in the last two days, we had to gain it in the short distance of just 5km. That was definitely a challenge. After a slow and steady climb, we reached our lunch point. Unlike the other lunch points, this one was tucked in between a crack on the mountain. The only common factor was a tiny shop that sold Maggi and Biscuits. Seems Maggi is inevitable in the mountains. Totally, the most frightening lunch point on the whole trek. We were even able to view our Mingtatch camp and the other trekking groups from there. Our guide pointed to a flag, not so far away and told that’s our next camp. With a clear target, we marched towards it. In not more than an hour, we reached the highest camp of this trek, The Nagaru Camp (12,500 ft).

View from lunch point

Once reaching the camp, everyone began calling their parents and their loved ones as they had the cellular reception in one particular spot. But, yours truly was quite stubborn not to use my mobile until the trip gets over. We were served Guava juice as the welcome drink and served tea and fried peanuts later. As we reached quite earlier, we whiled away the time singing and chit chatting. While I was in my tent, I heard some splashing sound. Initially thought it was raining. But to my surprise when I opened my tent flaps, I witnessed the first hailstorm of my life. It’s not just that, we were lucky enough to witness a double rainbow too. Wow, what a mesmerizing view it was. Yet another goosebumps-inducing experience of this trip. We slept early by 7 pm post our early dinner by 6 pm cos we must rise as early as 2 am the next day for one of the most exciting parts of the trek. That’s how an yet another awesome day came to an end.

The double rainbow

Day 9 – 26th May 2017

Waking up at 2 am is absolutely fine, but how about having your least favorite Rava Upma for breakfast at 3 am. My taste buds might have instantaneously rejected it, but my survival instinct thought the other way. The snow melts when the sun starts to shine and that would make the trek extremely difficult. So, we had quite an early start around 3.30 AM that day. Initially, it was too dark and most of us had torchlight or headlamp for the rescue. I was fascinated by the scene when the dawn broke. We were surrounded by snow and for me, the first snow of my life. It was my dream forever to see, touch and feel the snow. My excitement level was high and was overjoyed to realize my dream. That was one memory that will be etched in my memory forever.

After more than a couple of hours of trek, we reached the summit of the trek, the highest point of the Sar Pass (13,799 ft). With all the sides covered with snow, we took a lot of pictures. The joy of reaching the summit is beyond description and you feel just being on the top of the world. I would say, that joy is worth going through all the pain.

The Sar Pass is the route that connects the summit of Tila Lotni and Biskeri Ridge. So, we had a lot more to cover to reach our next camp Biskeri, predominantly on the snow. The snowy ice surface was very slippery and the poles helped extensively. In the middle, we halted at a shop that sold tea and Maggi for some rest. To the contrary, being surrounded by the snow, we were all totally restless and started playing with it. Either be it throwing snowballs at each other or making snow angels, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. It was all fun, fun and fun. That place also had a small lake and the view of the sky reflecting on it was priceless.

After an hour from there, we reached the edge of the Sar Pass. Here comes the best part of the whole trek, an 800 Mts free slide down the snow. I was anxious when I saw my friends sliding down. It even worsened when my buddy rolled down instead of sliding. Then came my turn and I felt the adrenaline rush. Wow, what an experience sliding down the snow and the cold wind caress the skin. We were too tired by then and somehow pushed ourselves to reach the lunch point a kilometer ahead. We could see the snow around slowly being replaced by rocks and grasses.

Out of hunger, I munched the packed lunch and took a brief rest at the lunch point. My legs were sore and the rest was highly relieving. I also met a few porter women. In spite of carrying heavy backpacks of the trekkers, anywhere between 20 – 30 kgs per person, they had their warm smile intact. So much respect to them.

From there, within an hour we reached our next camp, Beskari (11,000 ft). It felt like an accomplishment completing the most grueling and demanding day of the trek. To give a snapshot, it was a total of 14 km and an elevation change of 1,300 ft uphill and 2,800 ft downhill. That’s quite a lot for a single day. We were served hot tea and Pakodas for the evening snacks as soon as we entered the camp. The rest of the time was spent on playing UNO. Then, as usual, sleep followed the dinner. I dozed of badly wanting the next day to begin, one of the significant days for me in the year. That’s how a yet another awesome day came to an end.

To Be Continued…

A Musical Day

People who are close to me know well that I am such an ardent music listener, especially my colleagues who sit near me. Nothing would upset them as much as me singling out of blue. Music is something that would keep me happy, pacify me when I am down and keep me motivated. Enough of introductions, let’s come to the point. I can never say no to anything that has to do with music, that too when I was invited to visit a music school. There was no second thought, not even first thought, it was an instant yes from me.

It was like a trip, along with Bragadeesh Prasanna, Vidhya, Mahesh Lakshmanan and Sindhu JP, my blogging friends from Chennai Bloggers Club. We were also joined by Sai Vinai from Brand-comm, a PR agency. We started around 11 am after driven for 2 hours we reached Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music at Seekinankuppam village on ECR by 1 pm. We had our lunch at their cafeteria along with students and faculties. The students are too passionate that they were discussing music even while having food, which sounded greek and latin to me. Then we had a tour around the campus. The whole building was designed in the shape of a piano. We visited their classrooms and practice halls specially designated for piano, guitar, percussion, and vocals. They also had 2 big recital halls meant for events and lectures. One could notice most of the classrooms and practice rooms in the college are named after great musicians like Dr. Balamurali Krishna, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.

I have always dreamt of and still dreaming of learning music, hopefully, some day. But, at times I become lucky. It was the concluding day of their 5-day spring camp and I got a chance to attend Konnakol (vocal percussion) class by eminent Ghatam player Dr.karthik. The class was about basic talas (beats) and kaarvais (rhythmic rest). Though I was completely clueless about most of the things he said, I sat throughout the session and thoroughly enjoyed it. The class got concluded with an awesome extempore performance by the faculties which includes Mili Vizcaino for Vocals (Western), Sid Jacobs on the Guitar, Pablo Lapidusas on the Piano, Fabio Bergamini on Drums, Johann Berby on Bass Guitar, Sreyas Narayanun for Vocal (Indian Music), Dr.S.Karthick  on the Ghatam.

The best part of the day was listening to Dr. L. Shankar a violinist, singer, composer, and Grammy award winner . He is well known for his invention of the double violin. It was inspiring listening to his musical journey. Following are few of his words of wisdom.

  • Don’t express your view unless you are asked for.
  • Practice to make your music perfect; do not practice for a performance.
  • Do what you believe in, it I’ll take care of everything.
  • Don’t be around people who are negative to creativity, they are like poison.
  • What’s good to somebody is not good to somebody else.
  • The importance of breathing and not using drugs, to youth in general, to musicians in particular.

The day got concluded with a great performance by Just Fusion, a fusion band. On the way back we listened to all our favorite track. It made the day even more memorable.

Just fusion band, Playing.

Just fusion band, Playing.

My Radio Days

Radio

It was a usual day at office and was cleaning up and organizing my old bookmarks in my browser. In the process I stumbled up on an online radio link which I had bookmarked years ago. When opened it played my favorite A.R.Rahman hits, so I muted my usual playlist and stared listening to it. One after another I heard my favorite songs which I haven’t  heard for years. As usual it’s my mind which goes nostalgic and gets comfort, this time it went back to my good old radio days.

Don’t  think I am too old to talk about radios, but my childhood memories are filled with it. Though we had TV at our home, my parents never gave cable TV connection till my sister completed her schooling. They thought it would impair our academic performance. I very rarely watched TV cos those programs in DD where too boring for me, except very few. It’s the same case with radio cos it was all AIR (All India Radio) channels which was also boring except for the news. The  radio landscape totally changed when private players Suryan FM and Radio Mirchi started operating in Chennai in mid of 2003. They came up came up with young RJs, interesting programs, and new songs, that’s when i actively started listening to radio. Though we had a tape recorder at home I always wanted a Walkman with radio for myself, but what my parents could afford at that time was a small portable radio transistor. It’s a tiny Philips radio with auto scan feature which I always carry and listen to it.

Pocket Radio

Similar to the tiny radio which I owned, except that it’s black and that’s silver

Radio Mirchi 98.3 is my all time favorite radio station. The more I started to listen to it, I started liking talks of the RJs than the song they played. Most of my days started listening to “Hello Chennai” a breakfast show which was hosted by one of my favorite RJ Suchi (also a singer) , when she left the station the same show was took over by yet another favorite RJs Ajai and Shiva. Now Shiva became an actor and RJ Ajai still continues with the show.

Even after getting a MP3 player I used to listen to “Hello Chennai” show while going to college and “Freeya Vidu” show while back, both by my fav RJ Ajai. I even had pleasure of hearing my voice aired in his show once and songs which I requested him via online chat played twice . I even try to mimic his voice and my friends used to like it. Few months back I met him unanticipated in Besant Nagar beach and get to click a pic with him.

Me with my fav RJ Ajai

Me with my favorite RJ Ajai

One of the most memorable moment to which I can associate with radio is hiding under the last bench in class listening to Oscar updates and hoping for A.R.Rahman to win Oscar. Me and my friend shouted out of joy when we heard that he won one in spite of lecturer being inside the class. We kinda howled when we heard that he won another, Still remember the baffled face of the lecturer who was clueless about who shouted and for what.

But now my interest in listening to radio got gradually decreased because of 3 reasons.
1) Now they play songs back to back and even more adds, you end up listening more advertisement than songs and RJ talks put together.
2) I no longer commute to my office by public transport and I use my bike, so no room for listening while driving.
3) My smart phone doesn’t have a radio module.

At lest happy that my new favorite  RJ Balaji uploading his good talks to SoundCloud.

Whatever, nothing beats the feel of hearing your favorite songs being played out of blues in radio. “So listen to the radio, And all the songs we used to know”.

Sean Roldan & Friends – Contemporary Indian Music Band

Didn’t blog much for a while (#Confession) so back with this post about one of my yet another favorite Indian Band.

Sean Roldan & Friends is an Contemporary Indian Music Band which fuses Indian classical and folk music with Jazz, Blues and country music. What gives me more pleasure listening to their songs is its Tamizh Lyrics. For me Its a very different and unique blend of senseful lyrics and fusion music which is so bliss to hear.

From Left Mani, Sean Roldan, Pradeep Vijay, Praveen Sparsh

From Left Mani, Sean Roldan, Pradeep Vijay, Praveen Sparsh

Members of this band are

Sean Roldan (aka) R Raghavendra started this band as his solo project, he is the lead singer and lead guitarist of the band. He is the lyricist for most of the songs. He is also a trained professional classical carnatic vocalist and has several awards to his credit.

Pradeep (aka) Trichi Pradeep Kumar is vocalist and slide guitar player of the band. he also a renowned classical vocalist and also sang Asai Oru Pulveli (Attakathi) & Mogathirai(Pizza). He recently won Upcoming Singer Of The Year award in Mirchi Music Award South for his song Asai Oru Pulveli, so my hearty congrats for him.

Tanjore K. Praveen (aka) Praveen Sparsh takes care of the percussion department of the band. Like both above Paraveen also have another face, he is also a well known mrithangam player. He is the idea behind Indo-western fusion band, Sparsh.

Mani plays Bass Guitar for the band.

Below is the YouTube playlist of their songs which was produced by Kappa TV. Almost all songs in that list are my favorite 🙂

Street Music Performance of The Band in Eliots Beach

Street Music Performance of The Band at Eliots Beach [ Pic Courtesy : Vidhyalakshmi Vijaykumar ]

One more thing i want to highlight about this band members is their vision to bring music out on streets and make music available to all sorts of people. They recently started playing their unplugged street music performances in eliots beach on weekends which is open and free to all. Many other musicians also joined them and created some awesome instant jams. Its really a great fun to be there in beach, listen to them and rejoice. For more information on their street performances check out their Facebook Page.