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Best wedding dress

12 Jul

Yesterday, I came across the perfect wedding dress.  It’s exactly what I would want to wear if one day I decide to get married. Look for yourself.

 

The dress is a white embroidered gown with a mini-train, a sweetheart neckline and scalloped straps. I just love it.

they sing about love

10 Jun

they wait eagerly for meetings, fear parting,
and when they sing, they sing about love.

– Anna Akhmatova

What do you want, really?

10 Apr

If you knew me, if you really knew me, you’d know that I am more comfortable talking about sex than about love. Or that I am more comfortable saying I want the former than admitting I need the latter.  Right now, I have plenty of the former. And the latter? I could be quite wrong, but I don’t think I’m suffering from a lack of it.

 

The abstract or concrete?

7 Dec

We spend so much of our time on the internet that our digital existence sometimes acquire an equivalent significance to our real lives. It’s a magical place, true; this online world is one that is filled with dreams & recipes for soup. But it also decides which one you’re really hungry for.

You, yes you, two choices on the menu today – life in the abstract or the concrete?

Do not forget, we have our own kind of magic, filling the wind and the air.

The Amazingful NH7 Weekender 2011

28 Nov

The most important things are the hardest to convey because words diminish them; sometimes you can only feel the strength of contentment within you, the euphoria of being at a particular moment in a particular place.  The NH7 Weekender 2011 music festival in Pune a weekend ago was one of these rare events – where everything was summum bonum and I knew it, two days of amplified happiness and I felt it.

I’d been planning to go for this festival for a couple of months primarily because of my love affair with Indian indie. I figured that I’d get to hear Imogen Heap (she was headlining) live, plus a few of my favorite Indian bands (Pentagram), and I’d be able to discover new artists from new genres. The Weekender was literally an escape from Hyderabad and all the drama that I’ve been dealing with, which was not very well.

So The-Reluctant-Girlfriend and I boarded a bus to Pune and set off. It was the Worst. Bus. Trip. Ever.  By the end of our sleepless journey, we had witnessed two fistfights (ending with a man being thrown out of the bus), a robbery of Rs. 1000 (which made me anxious because I had a 1000 rupee note with me and thought I would be accused *Catholic Guilt as always*) and a lot of swearing in Hindi and Marathi. FYI, The-Reluctant-Girlfriend has forever banned me from booking online bus tickets in future.

We got to Pune, crashed at our hotel, and then met up with a bunch of friends at a place called Toons, because tradition demanded that we drink before we went to the festival to drink. Having smoked a joint at the hotel, I was pretty baked (enough to say “Cash, I need shit”). So after getting a bit drunkish, we got into one of the shuttle buses and made our way to Magarpatta.

The venue was huge: Weekender had 5 stages – The Bacardi Black Rock Arena, Pepsi Dub Station, The Dewarist Stage, The Other Stage and Eristoff Wolves Den.

Each stage had its own personality. At the Rock Arena, black bats hung from the ceiling, rock star-ish wigs and foam hands were handed out during the acts, and the bar was decorated with a sign that said ‘Pop is Dead’, the Dewarist stage had a folksy vibe to it with the many mattress cushions that were laid on in front of the stage and the distribution of blue curly wigs, Dub Station’s distinctive coolness was illustrated by some crazy graffiti and the Eristoff Wolves Den projector visuals contributed to its electric feel.

There were plenty of food stalls and alcohol bars at each stage area. Initially, the fact that there was NO BEER caused quite an  upset, but everyone calmed down considerably after they’d bought themselves a bucket of vodka. There was a huge crowd of around 9000, and it was a convention of attractive people. Everyone there was cool, hot, cute, hipster or hippie (then again I was very stoned).

Exactly my scene.

I was mostly at the Bacardi Black Rock Arena and the Dewarists Stage on Saturday. I caught the first half of Tough On Tobacco, and was impressed with Sidd Couto’s likeable alternative rock songs. While his songs have undeniably catchy hooks, I found my energy flagging in between his choruses. Nevertheless it makes for good foot-tapping, head-bobbing music. I then ran over to catch the latter half of Soulmate’s performance, where the vibe instantly changed. Lead singer Tipriti Kharbangar has the most amazing voice, akin to Janis Joplin’s.  The rawness and grit in her songs and the jazz-bluesy tone to the music had the audience captivated. While I enjoyed both acts, I think I would have appreciated them better if I’d done some pre-festival research and listened to a couple of songs by both artists earlier. While I’m always seduced by melody, it usually takes the lyrics to get me into bed with a song. It was a similar scenario here.

The Pentagram gig at the Rock Arena was quite brilliant. The group is known for their high level energy performances and with Vishal Dadlani at the helm, everyone was caught up with the fervor, excitement and booming bass, jumping up and down and dancing along to the songs. It was mindblowing. I was grinning like an idiot possessed. It was so much fun.

As soon as Pentagram had finished, Vishal had to run over to the Dewarists Stage to perform with Imogen Heap. It was towards the end of her set that she sang ‘Hide & Seek’ which is the only song I was familiar with. However, even if you were unfamiliar with her music, you could not help but be charmed by Imogen and her quirkiness. Clad in a black and white sari slightly too small for her tall frame, she completely mesmerized us: with her flaming hair, her blend of sounds, – the tinkling of wine glasses, percussion rhythms, techno beats, intermingled with her piano melodies and singing, and her delightfully engaging stage presence, especially when she organized the crowd into a three part harmony. Imogen Heap is one of those rare people who embody uniqueness and creative joy. A free spirit who illustrates that “normal” is a symptom of not being able to have independent thoughts & ideas of your own.

Over at the Eristoff Wolves Den, Shai’ir and Func were the last act on Saturday night. Though I’m not a huge fan of their music, what with Monica Dogra’s stage presence (she is like a rakshasi/goddess on stage), the escalated level of inebriation, the wild dancing on all sides of me, and even though I’m a complete self-injuring idiot when I dance, I couldn’t help but join in. Take a look here:

In that happy confusion of alcohollovemusicweedbasstunecbklacknightboompinklight, the first day ended.

We woke up the next morning smelling of vodka and with unsteady mental dispositions. The plan for drinking before heading to the festival to drink that day was to visit a micro-brewery called Doolally. We had a lovely lunch and beer in the sunlight.

After which we headed back to Weekender. The first day had basically been a mad scramble as I’d been running in between stages to make sure that I caught at least a bit of the gigs of artists I wanted to see perform. Alcohol and adrenaline had dominated the first night, and I wanted the second day to be more relaxed. I wanted to wander around the food stalls, buy some merchandise, collapse on the grass.

This was the plan, until I found out that Zero was playing a secret set at the Pepsi Dub Station. Madness. The crowd was easily the most frenzied I’ve ever seen and been in. Utter craziness. What was even awesomer – the exact moment that Zero finished their set in front of me, a loud horn started blaring and everyone automatically turned 90 degrees towards the sound: it was a Reggae Rajahs vs. BASSfoundation battle! That moment. I loved it. Turning from one awesome performance only to be faced with another.

It was the first time I’d been to a live reggae dub act. But the atmosphere of ganja in the air, colorful graffiti, crazy lighting, bass-driven beats and the overpowering energy converted me into a fan within seconds.Champion Sound easily had me joining the crowd in dancing and chanting to ‘Ganja, ganja, ganja…’ You can listen to it here: https://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fusers%2F322520 One of the best discoveries from the festival.

Back at the Dewarist stage, Papon and the East Indian Company had 1000 people in colorful topis singing ‘Banao’ along with them. This crowd swelled to another 2000 when Indian Ocean took the stage, and conducted a mass rendition of their famous ‘Khandisa’. Can you imagine singing along with 3000 people? All those voices combined, chanting the same words? That.

After that performance, a friend and I wandered around the merchandise stalls. I got myself glow-in-the-dark NH7 boxers! Yay! And this small gorgeous Frieda magnet, which I’m going to use as a bookmark. I also ate a Gostana beef burger, which was amazingly delicious; the beef was juicy and meaty, and the bread was so soft. Then we just crashed outside the Dewarist stage on the grass for a while eating cupcakes and looking around at all the other people in their own little bubbles of contentment.

The last act of the night was the NH7 Allstars. 9000 people crowded into a huge venue, at the end of which a white ferris wheel set-up was positioned, onto which visuals were being projected, and with LED lights flashing in alternating colors and synced with the music. Immediately below was the stage. Different artists from various groups collaborated on cover songs. At one point, Vishal, Monica Dogra, Randolph Correia (Func), Imogen Heap and many other artists

were all on stage at the same time, rocking out to their music and enjoying themselves as much as the crowd was delighted to see them all jumping and head-banging on stage together. They covered Metallica and Blur’s Song 2 which was my favorite.  I could have easily caused myself or the people next to me an injury what with my whooping, screaming, wild jumping and head-banging. It was the perfect closing act.

My friend once said “I love it when the musicians sound like they’re playing for their lives like their lives are nothing but the embodiment of fun”. NH7 Weekender captured this very sentiment. The bands that played were not paid; they came solely for their fans, and they in turn were repaid by the thousands who appreciated their music and wanted to demonstrate it. The soul of this festival was music/love.

‘Her spirit flew out into the night/ And the song reached out and drew her in/ And she is filled with light and music/And she is happy”

Photo Credits: Campaign India, Tonmoy Saha Photography

In my Room

26 Sep

Today I am giving you the inside look into my humble abode. My tiny apartment is bereft of heirloom silverware and uppercrust belongings, as one might expect. Instead, there are secondhand books strewn across my single mattress which lays flat on the floor and my walls are covered with art and gig posters.

My sister gave me this wonderful glitter lamp for Christmas (it’s AWESOMELY trippy), which just recently made it onto my glass-topped oval table. It keeps company with a random bunch of objects – a Zippo lighter fluid, a pretty tile box that I’m collecting Rs. 5 gold coins in, Faber Castell watercolor pencils and a mini collection of a Reader’s Digest special edition.

Whenever I’m upset or angry – I end up indulging in art. So I bought myself some nice canvas and a sketchbook as well.

This is what I’m currently working on at the mo:

And there are exhibits of my quirkiness all over the room:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quite the whimsical eh.

Popcorn Chicken, Rhodesian Ridgebacks & Marijuana Wine

29 Jul

Hello my brethren, how be you? You look a bit skinny, yes, you there, yes you – you should eat more of KFC’s sinful chicken popcorn. Why chicken popcorn you ask?  Well I don’t know, I just had some for the first time the other day. Now I apportion a certain amount of my time for daydreaming everyday to debate about how easy it would be to jump into an auto, drive to GVK and buy a couple (or 10, whatever,  big difference) boxes.  You’re thinking about how lovely it would be to eat some of the crispy, spicytastethatexplodesinyourmouth fried chicken too aren’t you? Mmmmmm… fried chiiickenn.. Muhahahaha, see what I did there? …..Hold on, I think I need to make a call *looks up KFC home delivery online* …

Anyhoo, while I wait for the chicken to make its way to me, I will natter on randomly as I do. In two days, I would have been here, in Hyderabad, for half a year. Consequently I am very homesick. Yes, I know I’m acting like a child. But honestly, do you know how much effort it takes to make a perfect cup of coffee yourself?? It doesn’t help that the weather reminds me of home all the time – then again I believe the heavy rains and dark skies are partially influenced by pathetic fallacy – yes I apparently have delusions of grandeur.

I worry about my dog. He was born in the forest so by nature he’s wild, plus he’s half a Rhodesian Ridgeback, meaning that his ancestors hunted lions in Africa. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of explaining his family history to Toshi one day.  This, I do believe, inflamed and ingrained a deep desire in him to live up to his ancestors’ reputation (also, it is possible that my delusions of grandeur might have seeped into his doggy head via osmosis).

Consequently he has

1) tried to mate with every dog in Kodai (STD or STD free be damned) probably with the intention of being THE father to the next generation of Kodai canines,  thereby allowing him to act as a kindly but controlling Mafia Dog Don in the future

2) treats my house like a refueling stop on his sexscapade (meaning that he turns up, fixes my outraged cook with a you-are-a-subservient-organism-who-exists-to-give-me-food look until she caves, gives him his chicken legs and then wanders away until to spread his seed until the next mealtime)

3) and insists on accompanying any member of my family whenever we leave the house wherever we go to protect us from any lions that might dare to attack us

He’s a silly thing, yes, but mostly harmless, with good intentions and completely adorable, and I worry that he’s going to forget about me and then treat me like a stranger when I go home. I spoke to him over the phone the other day and I’m convinced that he’s forgotten the sound of my voice. Usually my mother reports that he wagged his tail or saw a glimmer of recognition in his eyes after I chat with him (yes I am aware that she could have been lying). This time – nothing. It is even possible that he has somehow confused Fathead and me, and has transferred his loyalty to her – which is even worse.

In other news, someone sent me the recipe for Marijuana wine – just reading it makes me smile something sinister. Be assured that I will report back on its success…or failure.  Until then my brethren, please enjoy this picture of Toshi enacting ‘Death by Bone’.