Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Extortion to Axetortion

You know, I often think of Facebook as a friendly neighbourhood. But that’s for another post, and I promise to link it here (I have finally figured out how to do it).

Today however, my aimless amble around my community turned into a hit and run when I was tagged in a picture for a gig this week at a club in the city.

The gig is called 'Axe-tortion' and indeed, it is promising to be night of face melting guitaring with four very prominent guitarists in the country! The montage of pictures of these four rocker men, were taken from various sources and put together in a line. Below the picture line-up was a list of their names. One of them is a friend of mine so I was able to immediately put the name to the face. That left me three more names and faces to match. However, something was amiss with the first two pictures and their names. The second name said Milind Deora. Milind Deora.. Deora, Milind.. And then my eyeballs began to grow unnaturally large as I took a closer look at the first guitarist. Was that a club dude waist coat, or I'll be damned, a neta suit? Or is that Mukesh Ambani? No fool, that's ridiculous!

Quick, give me Google!

So I googled his name. I had to be wrong, I'm sure I'm wrong, of course I'm wrong, I WILL BE WRONG!

I wasn't wrong.

Hello young India, guess what, your Member of Parliament from South Mumbai plays Jimi Hendrix.

My reaction to this news was violent to say the least.

So I YouTubed his name, and a long result of 'Milind Deora addresses parliament, Milind Deora on RTI' turned up… but then you hit the 'underound culture' that this side-parted MP also endorses. And you see his name in the same video title as 'Stevie Ray Vaughn', 'Freddie King' and so on.

You've heard of teenage girls turning starry eyed when they see their heroes haven't you?
Well it was like that for me (except that he's not my hero), only that my eyes were glazed and I suddenly received an image of a large tri-colour with a sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll button badge occupying the central position. Oh sorry, in these days of sedition, it is distasteful to talk of such things.

Anyway, this is not some pseudo guitaring that he does, or some sympathy gigs he is given along with some paid audiences. He's actually playing- no sheet music, no hangs. He's playing real riffs, not faff like the odd chords that I play. And he's playing hard stuff, by blues legends.

He is not much of a performer, and maintains a largely impassive face. But this in itself sent me into fits. If I played footsie with him under the table, would I find him tapping to some song? If I stole his iPod, would I find BB King? Does he sing in the shower?


So to greet his screaming fans, his one hand does the open-palm sign of the Congress at a political rally and his other does a sign of the horns at a gig? And then he brings both those palms together in a namaste?

If I swore, I'd swear now. And spit.

I have a feeling I am the only one who finds these things funny. Why am I flipping about this? Politicians can't play music?

No no, politicians can. Like when Bill Clinton played the sax, see now that was cool.

But our politicians are usually more beast than human. Just like our film and sports stars are more god than human. If Milind Deora was proficient in Hindustani music, I wouldn’t be this aghast. If he played chess, made a damn good chicken curry on Sunday or pursued taxidermy, it would still be passable. But this is music that is said to be from the devil, it's foren music! There is nothing remotely politically correct about Jimi Hendrix. This, is like a ball of wool falling out of Manmohan Singh's briefcase causing him to admit that he knits all the sweaters for his grandchildren. It is as random and ridiculous as that.

As a young person who loves her music like any other young person, and is trying to be a good citizen like any… never mind that, I'm being honest- I am not so sure any more.

Like my mum always told me that clubs were not safe, and my daddy told me to never trust a man with a drink. But Ma, Pa, Milind Deora plays on a stage with a large Tuborg sign behind him!
"Ma, Pa, I want to serve my country. Politics?"
"Ma, Pa, I want to be a musician!"
"Ma, Pa, but Milind.."
"Ma, Pa, I want to be a political musician.. " *pleased at the sound of that*
"Dear Child… " "I never did like Dylan."

So you can be a nine to fiver and a nine to twelver also? Hahaha just who says!

This is more than just a gig, at least for Bangalore, and I see this as quite significant. Bangalore currently frowns upon alcohol and music at the same place [Don't look at me like that, yes it's true, you go figure and we are not discussing this here].
"This is the police. We're breaking up this party."
"Good evening gentlemen, my name is Milind Deora."

When men of steel and women of iron become flesh and blood, when they are close enough to touch the hems of their robes, what do you do? Throw your panties on stage of course.

Everyone was hopeful last elections, when we realised there were so many young people- Sachin, Rahul, Varun, Priyanka, Omar and Milind. Sounds like my best friends at college. And now one of them sits in the general spectator stands at the CWG and the other, well, I wont start all over again.

Hey Milind, I presume I can be on first name basis with you, and that neta suit makes you look fat.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Global Work Party on 10/10/10

A brilliant thing is happening in the world this Sunday- 6127 parties are going to be held, all day long in 187 countries.

Spectators to the climate movement- or for that matter, even political movements, or any movement for change- have long asked why if we all want the same thing, can’t we come together and make it happen.

That’s just what the ‘Global Work Party’ is doing on 10/10/10. This worldwide campaign organised by has brought together thousands of NGOs and independents with the plan to combine their green activism with political participation. 6127 parties have registered to engage in carbon cutting gestures. Not only is this a ‘party-party’ in the sense, a celebration of what we can do together, but these are also ‘work parties’, quite like a ‘search party’ and in this, it ceases to be an oxymoron. Their slogan this year, is ‘Get to Work’ and they are all posing this question to their respective governments- if we can get to work, what is stopping you?

With 2010 being the hottest year on record, and floods in Pakistan, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, what are some of the possible theme-parties people have come up with?

Well, they’re planting trees in Tanzania and Kampala, having a bike-ride from Jordan to Israel, organizing a giant bike fix-up day to get every bicycle in the city back on the road in Auckland and installing solar stoves for a massive carbon neutral picnic in Bolivia. Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed already got on top of the job, and installed solar panels himself, at the Muliaa'ge, the President’s residence. Obama is sending out the message from his roof top as well. He is bringing a revival of something that Carter initiated and Reagan abandoned- he is having solar panels installed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the First Family’s residence.

India likes to party as much as any of these other countries, and the Indian Youth Climate Network in Delhi, Bangalore, Goa and Hyderabad, is organizing carbon cutting events as well. Delhi is having a photography competition and exhibition, Bangalore is planting trees, Goa is bird watching and Hyderabad is saving some lakes.

In the run up to COP 16, and with Kyoto expiring in 2012, with India being recently crowned as third largest emitter.. and with a leadership head start being made by Obama and Nasheed, let’s be typical, and throw a party, what say?