Retro: Too Funky MTV

 

shivani tara pic

(In the pic: Shivani & Tara)

By Shivani Ganesh

We got a cable connection for our TV only because we wanted to watch BBC and perhaps an occasional Hollywood movie on Star TV. No “Bold and Beautiful” operas for us no trashy talk shows, thank you. We are highbrows. And definitely no MTV. It was only a noisy flash as we switched channels. Unvariegated noise.

One day I caught a snatch of ‘Homeward Bound’ by Simon & Garfunkel while fiddling with the channels. I journeyed back many years to college, to a carefree youth. I started listening to ‘Classic MTV’. I heard some old hits I knew, I learned some newer ones. Soon ‘I was awake on the wild side’ with Andy Ingkavet while I cooked and changed the sheets and Madonna broke my heart with her latest, ‘This used to be my playground. Jon Secada’s ‘Just another day without you’ made me long for my husband away in the office, our breakfast squabble forgotten. And, in between Bruce Springsteen and Simply Red, the strange Taiwanese/Malaysian/Chinese songs they had been slipping in cast a spell. Racist views (only American is good) fell away. I am in love with Chang Yui Shen, Lo Ta Yu Artists, RAP, and Dawn. And I love that Moroccan, Khaled. I like rap and black American dancing. And our own Rock Machine boys aren’t so bad either. I like the ballads of metal groups like INXSY, Salt and Pepper. Guns ‘n Roses’ ‘November Rain’ is my favorite. Someday I might even steel my nerves and watch ‘Headbangers’ ball’ and ‘Power Pack’.

For now, I’ve learned songs for every occasion. A flat tyre on a highway requires ‘Life is a highway I want to drive all night long’. My daughter’s good behavior is rewarded with ‘Precious little angel’. Unsuccess was met with ‘Roll with it’. Fights with ‘You’re never gonna get my sweet loving’. ‘I hate everything about you is always handy’. My husband’s teeth were on edge until he gave in and became an MTV addict himself. Now my five-year-old daughter triumphantly utters her longest sentence ever ‘Make love like a man’.

Deeply Dippy. I am going to try a new hairstyle. I am getting back into shape. I am learning some energetic dancing steps. I am going to go on a second honeymoon as soon as I learn the exact rendition of ‘Hold on my heart’ by Genesis. My husband already sings Mariah Carey’s top-of-the-charts hit, ‘I’ll be there’ at me. Long hair on men doesn’t put me off anymore. And I don’t seriously think those Video Jockeys suffer from arrested development anymore either. They’re nice guys. And I’ve learned to keep an open mind.

(1992)

 

Note 1:Shivani first worked in ‘Aside’ (city mag) in Madras as a Reporter/Sub-Editor. Over time, she has been Editor ‘Island’ a Bombay city mag, Editor ‘Options’, a travel mag in Bombay, Associate editor ‘Society’ magazine and Senior Editor in Popular Prakashan, Mumbai. She is currently a Senior Reporter/Sub in  the English Newspaper, ‘Lokmat Times’, Nashik)

Note 2: I found this while rummaging through some of my papers and requested her to let me use it on my Blog. A ‘big Thank you’ to her for okaying my wish. I plan to use more of her stuff, (including Short Stories), on this Blog in the coming days.

By the River Pais

This was before Shivani got the Khardi house.

Parab has a farm-house, two minutes from River Pais.

Just a little hall and a kitchenette.

He has fully grown 15 mango trees and 5 or 6 lemon trees.

It gets very hot in summer here in Raigadh.

Putting water on the roof helps cool the house, Parab says.

There are huge brown stains on the ceiling, water-maps, and rust-maps.

He has an old mobike.

The gate is of wire-mesh.

He wants to sell the place.

1500 sq yards. 5 lakhs, negotiable.

I cannot afford it.

It is 11 in the morning and the under-sized trees on the river bank are shimmering in the sunlight reflected back from the water.

Yellow conical, vase-shaped flowers are strewn on the tracks.

There are 515 farmhouses in this area which are owned by the members of a co-operative society.

No Collector or Tahsildar needs to be approached for a sale or purchase.

The Society just makes the transfer of ownership in its records and registers the transfer.

Tempting, this inexpensive, minimal red-tape.

The trees on either side of the forty-foot wide River are ascending gradually, their tops storeyed.

Twigs are falling in the November light in profusion.

An Ibis crosses the river at a height of ten feet.

The water is in a hurry where it is rushing over little rocks but where it is more than 3 feet deep, it seems to be staying put.

At 11.30 am the Dam, upstream, will be opened and the stream will be rivery and run with body and importance.

At high noon or a little earlier, the cattle will repair to the boulder-ful banks and stand in stillness under the unsubstantial trees.

They will want to cross the river, by then, flowing fuller.

Unlike the other parts of this riverside, there are not many “shaani” (cow dung) droppings under this tree which provides the roof.

The Cattle will cross River Pais further downstream where the water is faster but never more than four feet deep.

Without any change in their expression, large-eyed, they will cross.

I have seen the crossing before.

They let the quick drift carry them off course a little but find their four feet and in due course lumber up the opposite bank.

An usual practice, going home.

Neither side has the better pasture.

The crossing is body-cooling.

In the near distance, the river is now a running being, throbbing, pulsing neon in the sunlight.

She has found a deeper zone for swimming.

Food is doing on the barbecue stove.

The fire got going with kerosene (Krishna Oil) and coal, glows steady, sleepy, the red eye of it lidded over by ash.

Steam rises in the heat, seen in its bodiless quivering in the air.

She set it all up before she went for her swim.

She now yells to me to join her in the water.

Though I have already had my ritual dip and toweled myself and am enjoying this little writing, I must go.

Meanwhile, the Sun is getting rabid with heat.

It will soon be too hot to remain here on this spot on the river-bank, it seems to me.

Have to move back further up-shore and higher under the trees.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

(Note: This river is in Raigad dt, Maharashtra)

Parellel Universe: Life on the Rails VII

Image result for painting of a train stock images

(Pic:www.fotolia.com)

I am on this Train in November

Someone is putting her train acquaintances through her present family tree and things.

She is speaking over the din of the train wheels turning and tumbling, falling and rising.

The coffee is thin, elachi-flavored.

Call it “Elafie” or Coffeechi”.

Whimsy.

Taste is built over structures of flavor.

A single, supreme flavor can subserve a new kind of holism.

If we break up the built-up tastes and reach down to the original, disparate ingredients, re-tasting the excess and sufficiency of just one individual constituent and then un-build all the flavors, we can access a new taste.

Taste is cyclical, all-inclusive in its individual peculiarity and individualistic in its state of confluence and merging with the other ingredients.

It all fits in but stands out.

Adding on or adding off, the taste buds experiment ceaselessly, filled with inner moods and a sacred restiveness.

Though it is a winter Sun, neither the winter nor the Sun is predominant.

The Sun’s white raises up the white that dwells at the heart of every color.

The iridescent splintering of white is moderated by the moment and the basic source-color, unitary and womb-like, rises and subsides cyclically.

This ritual Sun-white combs sleep upon its seven wards and the prism falls to the earth.

The Sun has thick, tall, firm legs and is stiff as an athlete, with green carvings and brown brush-work below the knees and glare of inquiry in its eyes.

The green is pale, the brown is becoming off-white and the sky is a blue Sun-mist.

Someone is saying, “She is very good in dancing”.

The Sun is very good at it.

This world of sight is a ghost-white world, waving a tri-color cloth, green, brown, purple, in a dance of latent power.

This dance stirs the beginnings of a life-light in the as-yet-unsprung seeds.

It stirs fossils that remember consciousness as their nature.

Neither Darwin nor big-bang even comes close.

The winter Sun melts slowly, a stupendous block of illiquid water.

It holds in its mind the brown-orange, thick-green, purple and the blue of all winter days.

Every thing is born as itself.

That’s what I think on this November train.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Parallel Universe: Life on the Rails VI

Image result for jhansi junction

(Pic: YouTube)

Jhansi Junction, Bina Junction

 

No steam engines these days.

They ditch diesel for electric at Jhansi.

Jhansi is a better-regulated station than Kanpur.

The Jhansi Announcer, though as loud as her Kanpur counterpart, does not say, “…expected to arrive 1625 hours after the scheduled time”, when the train will reach at 4.25 pm instead of at 3.25pm.

The acoustics are better. Actually, too far better, the noise of the Announcer makes ordinary train conversation impossible.

She sounds like a street-hawker.

New Delhi ‘main line’ is served by Jhansi Junction, that’s why it’s better, say some.

The dawn is hidden in the black leaves of the lone tree.

Here in November, it seems the Sun stays asleep, yawns and opens its eyes and finally stands up over the far distant scrublands, late to the job.

A few fields are already awake with threshing people.

No light or plan is discernible elsewhere.

Neither in the demarcated land nor in the rash of dwellings, utilitarian and ugly, is any sign of waking witnessed.

The struggle in life is to create practical things that look pretty.

Once, my country was very good at this.

The eyes are anchor-deprived.

They skip the sights.

They fasten on land-strips, green, brown, purple, pale-golden.

The hair of the fields is bristling with the early light and cold.

Like a rug, the fields cover the seeds and the would-be seed that is not yet seed.

There is a latent vitality underground.

The rail-tracks leash the earth but themselves shine like white-blooded whip-wounds on mounted, pyramidal gravel.

Trees are factual, credible, unspectacular and impermanent.

They are spread wide apart.

They have dwarf thoughts.

Low-spirited, obstinate, perpendicular, they do not understand why they cannot be forests.

These trees have been walking away from one another for years and a few have reached town limits.

They do not have any dense tree societies.

Broken like human individuals, they are fugitive and unbeautiful.

Bina Junction comes and then is left.

The real colors are pleasing, non-TV.

Occasionally, though, the landscapes look spectacular, doing a courtship dance, filled with exclamations and gestures.

The train lurches, wheezes and bears us onward.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Parallel Universe: Life on the rails V

Image result for indian trains

(Pic: The Deccan Herald)

 

How Trains’ people change

There are two fellows, youngsters both, who are patently berthless.

Initially, they sat on some seats, looking all seat-and-berthful.

I knew they were rootless on the train when they began shifting around, pleased with what they got, so to say, as the rightful passengers turned up.

Their understanding and ubiquitousness became, over the 24-hour journey, quite proverbial.

They were clearly U.P sort of fellows who had acted, at start, a little Bombayfied.

One of them was a smoothie, often eloquent and nonchalant who grilled the authentic seat-claimer on the genuineness of his claim before yielding his temporary seat.

When we left Bombay, many of the fellow-beings around had looked Mumbai-types.

By the time we reached Bhopal, they had become M.P types.

By the time we trundled into Kanpur Central and they prepared to disembark, they looked incontrovertibly Kanpurian with but tenuous links to the great city, the point of their original departure.

My God, they have all shed the Bombay smartness.

Does one detect a new glow of low cunning on their faces?

The two seat-migrants got off and disappeared to tread the streets of their native town once again.

Obviously, it occurs to me that my family group and I must have appeared to the others similarly mutable, acquiring U.P faces and ways gradually as Kanpur neared, after commencing the journey as the sensibly selfish middle class of Mumbai.

At least one of our group still thinks of Kanpur as ‘Cawnpore’.

It’s a town that has changed a lot, without ever growing up!

There will be another train soon in the opposite direction.

More and more leave our native towns but want to return there less and less.

There are quite a lot of towns in India like this one.

The rich cities need poor laborers.

They change with the new people they live with at destinations like Bombay or Delhi, all the time.

In the end, however, here on the trains, no one is from any town.

They belong only on the train.

They have a station of origin and another, of destination.

They are Trains people, that’s all.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Keeping open poem

I turn up here meadow-gazing on lawn-mowing day.

The straw-hatted lawn-mower man,

And the leaf-blowing man

Drone back and forth in their machines,

In and out of my unwritten lines,

In their straw hat and long-shaded cap.

Fragrant are the exhalations of the cut grass.

From the basketball ring, the net streams like a beard on a chin.

The dry- leaf blower whines metallic –

It’s Terrible Wednesday in Earlysville. Leaf-gales fly.

The rabbits go under, and the squirrels up, trees.

Sparrows vacate the turf and chirp dismay from the branches.

The busy men come and go out of view,

With their waves of sound advancing and receding-

Players in a field game,

Rising and falling, bobbing on the green sward.

Their machines squeeze into my view,

Like cattle or horses in a landscape painting.

The line-maker that I am,

I see and hear and wait, and keep open poem.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Note: Written near my sister’s house in Charlottesville, Virginia,

Cattle crossing the river

The river only flowed when they opened the dam-

It flowed now: On the other side of the river,

A banyan tree proffered its low-hung roofs

Under which we spread ourselves, coming off the river,

Cringing from the heat:

 

We little then knew we were barring the right of way

Of the local cattle, their shortest way across the river-

To the villages or the pastures on the other side:

Once we saw them, some fifteen behind us,

We also found evidence copious around our coir mat

Upon the ground that proved the animals’ claim:

 

They waited, shaking their horns, sounding the bells

That hung from leather collars round their neck: Perhaps,

Full ten minutes passed before we understood,

And rose and stood to one side:

 

Then they crossed, one after another, in ones and twos,

The bells tinkling: first they stood on the water’s edge

To get their bearings and when the first one went,

The others slid into the swift currents behind,

And waded deep, their torsos barely visible,

Their horns and faces floating above the flow,

And their hooves treading the unseen stony river bed:

 

And where the tide was fast

And their bodies obstructed the flow,

They yielded momentarily, seeming to be borne away a bit-

Then righted their footing, before,

With a decisive lunge, and a final heave

They strode out of the river onto the other bank-

The early ones waiting for the others to land,

Water sliding off their bodies.

 

We resumed our places under the tree:

And the river kept going, free of the obstruction,

Gleaming, full of new-minted coins,

Under the April Sun.

© Krishnamurti Ganesh

Bohemia

Image result for la boheme

(Pic: Wikipedia)

Of mornings, pen in the shirt-pocket

And a jotting-book, I had taken

To going out, for something to do-

May be, to put some dew on my shoe

And to describe the local fountain:

(The great thing was that most others drove

At that time to work at their office):

But on that day, I did something else-

I went to see a group rehearsal

Of an opera that featured my niece.

Well, ‘La Boheme’- the bit that I saw-

Was fun: off-stage, the stars knew how grand

They looked only too well. I was glad

When my niece came on, singing like mad-

We all gave the players a big hand.

Back in the bus, I mused, “Bohemia!

It is a place in the mind, say some.

If aimlessness was itself an aim,

Isn’t it, in the end, more of the same?-

And Bohemia crawls with knaves and bums!”

©Krishnamurti Ganesh
Note: This poem commemorates my attendance at a La Boheme rehearsal in Virginia. My lovely niece Samyukta played a part in the play.

Mirror

Image result for Free to use painting of a Warli  Mirror

(Pic:Warli art, Pinterest)

Mirror shows where to look in vain

If you would find the core;

When you will nothing to remain,

Nothing is as before –

Life turns over a myriad times,

Like the waves on the shore –

And quietens the demented chimes

Of the hall-clock; it bores

A hole in myths and memories,

Leaves nothing to restore –

When you throw away all the keys,

It swiftly opens doors.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Kanheri caves, Mumbai

Image result for Underground Water storage tanks  in Kanheri caves freetouse pix

(Pic: Pinterest)

 

Like a gouged eye opens each cave’s

Entrance-

These cells Buddha once filled with brave

Young men;

Whatever, in truth, they had known

Silent,

On these bald hills, those men have gone:

Since then,

Crass feet and loud voices defile

Dark dens;

In the underground tanks stands

New rain

Still, that quenched the thirst of Buddhist

Monks once.

©Krishnamurti Ganesh

Note:

The Kanheri Caves (Kānherī-guhāḥ) are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments cut into a massive basalt outcrop in the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on the island of Salsette in the western outskirts of Mumbai, India. They contain Buddhist sculptures and relief carvings, paintings and inscriptions, dating from the 1st century BCE to the 10th century CE. Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit Krishnagiri, which means black mountain.

The site is on a hillside, and is accessible via rock-cut steps. The cave complex comprises one hundred and nine caves, carved from the basalt rock and dating from the 1st century BCE to the 11th century CE. The oldest are relatively plain and unadorned, in contrast to later caves on the site, and the highly embellished Elephanta Caves of Mumbai. Each cave has a stone plinth that functioned as a bed. A congregation hall with huge stone pillars contains a stupa (a Buddhist shrine). Rock-cut channels above the caves fed rainwater into cisterns, which provided the complex with water.[3] Once the caves were converted to permanent monasteries, their walls were carved with intricate reliefs of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas. Kanheri had become an important Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast by the 3rd century CE.

(Text excerpted from Wikipedia)