Wednesday, November 16, 2005

wednesday afternoon 3 p.m.

I spent the morning listening to Pandit Jasraj – music sharing is one of the great advantages of the corporate workplace – and was completely transported back to the morning concert at Janfest four years ago that I attended with Bob. She had to wrap me up in a silk saree at six a.m., after we had spent a sleepless night out on Marine Drive, since I was some kind of PR minion in the great St. Xaviers’ tradition for Janfest (which for those not in the know is Xaviers’ annual classical music festival and totally rocks the socks off other festivals. In some ways.) And he was absolutely insufferable, of course, but he sang that song, the one Times Music always advertises on its Jasraj CDs, and I’ve totally forgotten the name, but it was a kirtan and not a raag proper, and I’m dying to recall which one it was. Does anyone remember? Kate, Kausha, you were there – anyone else?

I can’t believe I’m mentioning the Times more than once in a single blog in a non-disparaging sense, but I miss the Mumbai edition more than ever. It used to make me feel clever in the mornings. Furthermore, every Mumbai newspaper is covering the Abu Salem trial in morbid detail, and The Hindu won’t say much more on the subject than ‘Oh, hey, Monica Bedi’s in Hyderabad! She likes biryani and the Volkswagen fraudster. Oh, and her dude’s still being grilled by the CBI.’ On page eight in a single column. (Although the biryani story made it to page one. Yes, in The Hindu. I kid no one.) It’s strange but it’s true: I want to hold the Mumbai ToI (and of course the Mumbai Mirror) in my hands once again.

The area in Worli where my father grew up was pretty badly affected by the ’92 riots. When we went to the passport office this July he insisted on walking me across the street from Century Bazaar and the shops from which he’d bought school stationery and groceries for his mum and ice-cream, and while you’d only expect any place in this city to change face completely in two and a half decades, it wasn’t really with equanimity that we met places and people he didn’t recognize because the familiar things had been bombed or burnt away.

I don’t know what it means to have Abu Salem in the clink. There’s no meeting ground between what will happen to him and what happened to, say, the people in Honesty Café in my dad’s neighbourhood. Who that lost anything in the riots is going to think they’ll be repaid by this trial? But the law must take its course. Well, if there’s so much as one member of the populace to whom this guy getting in trouble makes a difference.

current musix: pandit jasraj - raag marwa


  1. Quite surprising somebody is actually missing any edition of the Times...

    I don't like the Hindu for its daily city coverage or even its national news. Whats special about the paper is the Editorial Page. If you want to see the standard of any paper I feel what should be seen is the edit page. Thats the heart of any newspaper and it shows what the newspaper itself stands for. Other pages are just facts and more facts but the edit page is one where the newspaper gets to express its own views. Its the edit page of the Hindu that makes it what it is, not the city or national news.

    The Times also has a decent edit page and an exceptional one on Sundays. Why the Times is hated is because it adds gossip and masala to bloody every article. Recently, when the flooding happened in Mumbai, the Times came up with an article on how the celebs coukd not get back home from work for a long time. Now its very sad when you mix page 3 news with normal news and that too when people are on the streets without food, shelter and perhaps even dying.

    Thats just one instance why I don't like the Times. Its a personal opinion. Many people do... nothing wrong.

    Btw was the song 'Govinda Damodara Madhaveti'?

  2. Oh, I completely agree that one needs the Times about as much as a hole in the head. I don't even like their edit page much. The Hindu has excellent features, their sports pages are really pretty good and their Sunday Magazine is better than any other Indian Sunday supp. (And honestly? I think the problem with their coverage is the tone of their pieces, rather than a lack of information.) But I guess readers do make a newspaper in some measure, and I'm as typical a Bombay reader as any other Bombayite.

    And of course the song is Govinda Damodara Madhaveti. Obviously your powers of deduction are second to none. Thank you so much.

  3. nice pun on a bad album, sup... (like sparrow though)
    i to like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi better these days... although i loved jasraj on that day... his ahir bhairav was brilliant... although he created a lot of trouble for the hapless volunteers i remember...

    on another note...
    what u said abt the Mumbai riots reminded me somehow of Vir Sanghvi's article on Chanel's "truly exclusive and classy" held on Dec 29 in delhi...
    he was talking abt snooty events not being snooty enough basically...
    it struck me long after i finished it that Dec 29th was the same day when so many innocent people died in the bomb blasts...

    something repulsive abt the media for being unruffled by this kind of event and going about business as usual(which is reporting Shobha De type events)...

  4. It's not bad. It's just relatively immature. Bad would be something like, oh, an Art Garfunkel solo effort.

    As for Mumbai's media, I feel rather 'vir'ulent about them too. But how can we blame them. They'd rather be the hammer than the nail. (If only.)

  5. i dont watch much of TV, but the masala news syndrome is worse with them... Aaj Tak, Star News etc.

    thats why i like tehelka... they have their odd spurt of blood and say and do stupid things... but some old fashioned spunk is heartening... once in a while...

    art garfunkel solo effort?
    ouch. feeling groovy...