Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ah, Calvin.

The genius of Bill Watterson lies in being both exceedingly funny and intensely profound at the same time.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


UK Trip Log: Day 1 - Sunday, 28 June, Raleigh to Belfast via Newark:
At the behest of a certain single celled organism floating about in Philly, I am writing a post about music. Now being asked to write a post about music by Katz is akin to being asked to write a post about universal love by Adolf Hitler - it just doesn't happen. Only it just has. While it gives a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that a person who previously could not distinguish a nail scratching a blackboard from Mozart's fourth symphony has come into the fold, it makes me wonder what VS, I and AN were doing wrong that we could not convert her despite two years worth of efforts.

Nonetheless, I can still say with some pride that I had at least some small part to play in the musical growth of my two erstwhile roommates, Messrs AN and RJ. To be fair though RJ is a walking encyclopedia of Hindi music and was in great part responsible for increasing the repertoire of Hindi songs I listen to. AN, as is his wont, has far surpassed me in the intensity he shows in his approach towards music and guitaring.

I pondered for a while what a blog on music should really be about. I could have listed the songs and artists I like, or am listening to right now, but these things are very transitory. What you like is very much about the person you are at that particular point in time. Fifteen years ago I couldn't go an entire week without listening to Wham!. Now I cannot listen to more than a couple of Wham! songs in a row. Ten years ago I spent a lot of money on The Wall by Pink Floyd. I threw away the cassettes in a week because the songs were trash. Now I can't go an entire week without listening to Pink Floyd.

Tastes might be transitory, but good music lasts forever. I might not listen to Wham! anymore, but I hum along whenever I hear one of their songs on the radio. I might not understand Indian classical music, but I never cease to be amazed by the complexity of the compositions or the virtuosity of the masters. But just the fact that a piece of art is intrinsically good does not mean that one has to like it or that it should matter enough to every person to make them emotional about it. For that to happen one must be attached to the music on a personal level and when that happens it doesn't matter whether that piece of music or song is perceived as critically good or not, only that you feel a special attachment to it for some reason.

Music, in one form or another, has probably spanned the entire existance of the human race. We carried it out from Africa, where our ape ancestors were probably beating on earthen drums before they could even speak to each other. Cavemen probably smoked psychotropic weed and gathered round in circles uttering rhythmic chants in some long forgotten language. Then they went and drew animals on the walls - hey, you can expect only so much from cavemen. Music strikes a chord in humans (no pun intended) and the power it has to make one feel happy, sad, angry, inspired or a myriad of other emotions is what eventually enables us to connect to it.

Music has the power to enhance moods, but it also has the power to bring back old memories. It reminds me of the time when a bunch of us gathered in a friends apartment and belted out Hotel California till we were hoarse (yes even the guitar riffs). It is something I have done alone innumerable times, but that memory has still stuck with me. Or the song that we played in our bus the entire class trip in 10th grade. That one song can trigger memories of that time in my life. Or the time when, for months on end, each time we went out in Dev's car it was a rule to have Dil Se playing first up (followed by the soundtrack for I Know What You Did Last Summer - my excuse is that we were young and didn't know any better).

But, the most surreal effect music has on me is when I just put on a CD on and get completely lost in the music. Who needs dope when I have music. Well, dope with music would be even better but I can't advocate anything illegal on the blog, can I?

So come along folks, turn up the volume and take a ride out into your inner world. Strap on those seat-belts - this roller coaster never ends.