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Friday 29 May 2015

FM Radio

Ever since the launch of FM radio in India, circa 2002, I've come to have a love-hate relationship with it:
  • When it first began in Mumbai I loved the fact that we had something as awesome and as powerful a media as FM radio which could connect with the people of the city, and hated the fact that I wasn't on my path to becoming the next cool and happening RJ in the city.
  • Once it became a part of my life, I absolutely loved the fact that most of the channels played amazing tracks most of the times, (with a weekend-bonus of great trance mixes) and the RJs were witty, smart and made sense, (Mumbaikars, remember #SaturdayJam with RJ Jose and Suresh Menon? They basically kicked ass). However, I hated the fact that songs were usually cut short to spare AIR time and that I couldn't listen to all the RJs all the time.
  • As FM radio became more popular I loved the fact that the city was embracing this new media, but hated the fact that the phone lines to my favourite RJs were now always busy.
  • When FM radio became as common as television I started loving the creative advertisements and jingles being aired on it, but started hating the dumb ones and the bad "seemingly-different-but-really-mainstream" music that was becoming increasingly popular on FM.
  • Today when FM radio has probably reached its peak in the country, across cities, I am reduced to love the few good things that I seldom hear on it: a handful good tracks that are still keeping the music alive on FM, some really smart advertisements that not only get the message across but also make you think, laugh and smile, and some interesting, witty RJ-speak that could probably still inspire someone to take up RJing as a career. And all of this happens when the precious AIR time is not frothing with the things I absolutely hate about present-day FM radio: unbelievably dumb advertisements that challenge the limits of human stupidity and make me want to rip off the speakers along with my hair, impossibly repetitive playlists filled with the terrible "mass-appeal" songs that are an insult to the word "Music" and, yet, are somehow popular among the people (yeah, I know, that's what mass-appeal means) and some RJs that are so cheesy and corny that listening to them can clog up your arteries and give you gas.
What happened to you #FMradio? You used to be well in-tune.

Shamanth Huddar.
29th May 2015.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Melancholy

Melancholic songs can touch the deepest parts of one's being. They are compositions that are hand-crafted with poignant poetry and soul-stirring music which beautifully capture emotions of pain, turmoil and longing. The notes, low and high, and their elegant transitions, evoke one of the most basic and gentlest of feelings in the mind of the listener : compassion. The listener begins to recognise and empathise, or, relate to the emotions at play. Moreover, a great vocalist that can depict the subtleties of such emotions through graceful nuances of his or her singing brings the listener much closer to the song. Mohammed Rafi was one such legendary singer that was not only talented and versatile, but was also well-acclaimed during his times and continues to be an inspiration for music lovers and singers in India, even decades after his untimely death.

Here are few such songs. Not necessarily sad, but beautiful.

Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par (Mohd. Rafi)
Humein tumse pyaar kitna (Female version, sung by Parveen Sultana)
Tere bina Zindagi se koi Shikwaa (Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar)
Harjaaiyaan (Nandini Srikar)
Nahi Saamne (Hariharan)
Jab chali thandi hawa (Asha Bhosle)
Guncha (Mohit Chauhan)
Dhak Dhuk (Amit Trivedi)
The Rain Song (Led Zeppelin)
You're lost little girl (The Doors)
Jo Bhi Main Kehna chanhun (Mohit Chauhan)
Dil Se (A. R. Rahman)
Yeh jo des hai tera (A.R. Rahman)
Breathless (Shankar Mahadevan)
Angel (Sarah McLachlan)


Tuesday 21 April 2015

Bangalore


Bangalore. A city where, till less than four years ago, electric fans were redundant and thick blankets were comforting. Where the sun was never harsh and the brow never saw a drop of sweat. Where a ride on the motorbike was refreshingly cool at eleven in the morning and biting cold at eleven in the night. Where the wind never died. Where the trees were not only a hallmark of the city's heritage but also the sustainers of its lovely weather.

All that is slowly fading away in the wake of the inevitable industrialisation and the so-called modernisation. However, these factors are often blindly blamed without due consideration to the fact that it is poor planning that lies at the core of it. Generations of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs all over the world have worked on a single idea that man can co-exist with nature for the simple reason that he has no other choice. And yet, through generations, a lot more people have remained blissfully unaffected by the significance of such an idea. While many people have repeatedly shown utter disregard of nature through their actions, several others have joined them in thoughtlessly ignoring the consequences of following such a course and continue to do so.

However, in spite of all this, you catch glimpses of nature's stubborn old ways in the city: The wind refusing to die, temperatures fighting to drop and trees battling the polluted air.
This leaves me wondering about what is more amazing: How mankind managed to destroy so much of the Earth and its resources, that came into existence billions of years ago, in less than hundreds of thousands of years, or how the Earth managed to sustain itself and its resources through several thousands of years of endless consumption by mankind and continues to do so.

Shamanth Huddar.

- Typed on an electronic device, posted on a social media website and submitted from a building made of concrete and glass, where, once upon a time, there probably stood a tree.

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