Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tribute to Mohammed Rafi the Maestro

On this fateful day, 31st of July in the year of 1980 God seemed to have had a selfish motive...
He wanted the silky-golden voice of Mohammed Rafi all to himself...
That day he might have taken away Rafi Sahab from us, but The Voice (as he was referred to) will always remain immortal within us.

Mohammed Rafi (Mohd. Rafi, Rafi Sahab) born on 24th of Dec 1924, was a man of utmost integrity: gifted with unarguably *the best* voice in mainstream Indian musical history and yet had the heart of a common bystander. Out of his singing career that spanned four decades, he ruled the arena of playback singing for well over two decades, which, incidentally, is also right in middle of what is considered to be the Golden Era of Hindi Film Music (1940s - 1980s). And yet his unprecedented success never got better of him. Through the peak of his career, he was NEVER late to studio for his recordings, he NEVER did a retake out his fault, he was NEVER arrogant of his momentous achievements and above all, he NEVER stopped his Riyaaz (practice, for Urdu). Indeed mark of a true Master.

He remains an inspiration to me for his simplicity, dedication and passion. And, to me, his humility is far more overarching achievement than all of his topmost accolades put together. A veritable king at heart with a golden voice, altruistic, utterly soft spoken, he was (and in my view will remain) *the* most versatile, BEST'est and DARLING'est of the singers. PERIOD. No one was, is and will ever be able to dislodge this position of his from my heart.

At the peak of his career, where movie directors and producers would kill just to have him sing for their movies, this altruistic singer would often sing for free or ridiculously minuscule token payment for people who couldn't afford his actual fees. I know of no singer of his caliber (actually, I am kind of lying here, there *is no* singer of his caliber in existence!) capable doing such a deed. I believe that it was this goodness in his heart that trickled into his songs which made it difficult to dislike them!

I'm greatly indebted to him for his songs, on some occasions, have made my life a little more bearable, few minutes at a time. I have grown up listening his songs and I will grow old listening his songs. While the credit of impeccably good songs is to be rightfully shared with Lyricists and Music Directors who made amazing numbers, it was Rafi, the instrument, the master, who can rightfully be credited with putting life into those compositions. He could command his voice to suit any situation, mood and actor on the screen. If composers could whip out something outta nowhere, Rafi had no difficulty enlivening it through the gift of his voice. He simply had the power to mesmerize millions the moment he opened his mouth.

In the process of giving his golden silky and versatile voice to many great music directors like Naushad, O.P. Nayyar, S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman, C. Ramachandra, Ravindra Jain, Shankar-Jaikishen, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji-Anadji, Rakesh Roshan (and many more) he literally put life into beautiful lyrics penned by the likes of Hasrat Jaipuri, Sahir Ludhianvi, Ravindra Jain, Shailendra, Majrooh Sultanpuri and bajilions more. As a byproduct of this, many actors of that era got catapulted into stardom overnight with a push as little as that of just one song sung by Rafi! Such was the magic of his voice. ~~~muah~~~

Vividh Bharati, in his honor, is playing only Rafi's songs today for 24hrs. Get an earful if you want a taste of his voice. As a homage to this humble maestro, I earnestly urge you guys to REFRAIN from listening any bull-crap royally-raped remakes of his songs, otherwise widely known as remixes, at least for today. Not even the ones re-sung by anyone else. No one can replace the voice of a True Master himself, please pay due respect to maestro: Mohammed Rafi.

He might be no more with us, but his voice will always be with us.
Some people might be thinking, "but it is just a song", "he was just a singer", "you didn't even know him" ...
I cannot argue with those people, but you might have realized by now that I am serious even about fun and entertainment I have! (in short, KMA!)

I would love to share one, no, two, no wait a few songs from each one of his masterful categories. Be it romantic, classical, sad, serious, patriotic, flirting, or any other genre you can think of, and Rafi could sing it with no difficulty in one take. Each one better than the other.
These songs are some of my favorites, but I believe every one of them was super-duper-tuper hit!

Take your time as you listen through the list, but meanwhile... a minute's silence for greatest of singers of all time: darling Rafi Sahab.

We will always miss you Rafi. May God bless his soul.

0. Mohammed Rafi (wikipedia)
1. Mohammed Rafi (website dedicated to Rafi)
2. Vividh Bharati (wikipedia)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pushing Too Hard?

... Really? I didn't think so, at least not until I was forced to rethink...
Given that summer is here and playing outdoors is not only possible but also too much fun, I want to play everything and every time I can: Volleyball, Football, Jogging, Climbing, Hiking, etc. etc. Who knew I would have pushed a bit too hard, for I thought I was pacing things right, clearly I miscalculated and could have done a better job.

When stepping out of the ground/court/gym, the feel of shirt clinging steadfastly to my skin because of being completely drenched in healthy sweat during workout always makes me euphoric.

So, one fateful evening, in hopes of getting my fix of the above euphoria, I trotted happily to gym for my regular workout. Lately I have developed an insatiable push to run more and more miles (probably out of desire to survive full-length soccer game). I hopped onto the treadmill and clocked slightly more than the 2 mile mark. I have had some knee problems in past, so I was very glad when I was able to hit the 2mi mark once again, without a break and any apparent knee pain. Hungry for more, I want to push myself a little harder. So after some pushups and abs, I headed over to the stair-climber and clocked a few more minutes of intense cardio on it.

Tired & muscles healthily fatigued, nothing hinted what was in the bag of (bad) surprises for me just a few hours from now. ~shudder~
After good amount of stretching (I am mentally conditioned to religiously stretch after every workout), I took nice warm shower, reached home, had my dinner, talked to HQ for a while and blissfully hit bed.

Excruciating pain in the knee jolted me in middle of the night. I thought it must be just a bad posture, so I shrugged WTF and went to sleep again. Only to wake up within seconds. The pain was too discomforting and intense to be just bad sleeping posture. I woke up in horrors of horror fearing that something was terribly wrong. I recapped through my activities of last week only to find normal amount of workout (football, volleyball, jogging). Nothing seemed too out of the place, only a bit much more intense than what I was used to doing a few weeks ago. But I have caught up to it ... I thought.

I swallowed one brufen and retried sleeping. No luck, I get up again and pop another tablet. Still no luck, frustrated in agony, I pop another pain killer. Still no luck, I ran out of options and gave up. I didn't even consider ER because all they would have done is make me wait for umpteen hours (since this wasn't a life threatening situation) and eventually would have given me a much-much stronger pain killer. At home, I had the option of sleeping, at least I could try sleeping. I now lay in bed holding my knee dreaming horrors through rest of the night. I don't know when I dozed off because I had lost track of time, which I strongly maintain had stood still.

I took an appointment with doc and after examining the X-ray he proclaimed I have an inflamed cartilage, he said I had just pushed too hard, that's about it. Happy but still highly disappointed in myself (for miscalculation and not-so-easy-to-spot carelessness), I walked away with one new problem to worry about: Runner's Knee!
This implies no physical activities for a few days, I don't know how am I going to survive it :( But I have no choice. I have to live without my regular fix for a while now.

For the curious and medically inclined souls, in medical terms, the problem is that there is an imbalance in the relative strengths of Quadriceps and Hamstring muscles. This causes undue pressure on and friction of bones in the knees during intense workouts. This results in inflammation of the cartilage between Femur and Tibia, causing shooting pain. I'm hoping to pick up some directed exercises once I recover, which I so desperately wish happens soon enough.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Refreshingly Tired!

Today (Sunday) morning I got up scratching my a.. head and reflected on the previous day: Saturday. Only to realize that it went pretty well for an unplanned weekend. And the first thing, of course, that struck me after that was: Aahh... a nice post material! Especially when I haven't blogged in a while and the post I'm working on for the last two months haven't taken a final form yet. Indy's interrogative chat further solidified the highlights of this post.

Woke up early morning to a nice 2 hour football (soccer) game. It had two amazing bits in it:
  1. the game itself, of course and
  2. the sun was burning bright! It was strenuous to play in intense sun, but the sun makes me feel good, specially when I don't see of him often.
Just when I thought I will take a nice warm shower and sleep like a baby, if not through rest of the Saturday, then at least for a hour or so, I said let me catch up with Arun (aka Anna). We haven't had a talk to heart's content recently. So the next 2-3 hrs I was on call with Anna (talked for a while with Su as well). We talked from technology to philosophy to entrepreneurship to many different things under the sun. While talking, I took the opportunity to cook myself some nice Pasta for lunch(thanks to Vabs for teaching me the recipe). I was hoping to have it for dinner as well (lazy a$$), but roomies liked it too. I say so because after a while the pot was empty :) Feels good when people eat what you cook without muttering under their breaths :)

With stomachful of pasta, I sat down for a nice 1-1 private time with my laptop :) I later connected with yet another friend whom I haven't met in a long while, Amy. A talk that culminated into Bhel-for-dinner program at her place. Just then, called Ani to sync up on some movie plans.

When all the calls were done with, I watched something for a while on laptop, until my eyelids were heavy with sleep and I had irresistible desire to hit bed really HARD. After a nice refreshing nap (followed by steaming cuppa that had Mom-made super-special chai-masala in it!), had a LONG talk with my Mom, brother and Pa. As soon as I got off from that call, Motya (another of my old time buddies) called! God, for a moment I was feeling like I was in a call center!

Another nice long chat with him and soon after some household chores, it was time for dinner, Bhel! So me, Vish & Aveek reached Amy's place for a nice dinner. Though easy to make, it takes some culinary skills to make a tasty Bhel. Thanks to Amy, she nails it every single time. Eating Bhel while watching Welcome (one of my favorite'st movies), was more than I could have asked from the night. As soon as we were done with dinner, Ani called to confirm he's got the tickets for the show. It was time for the much talked about movie in the town: Inception.

We reached a little late, so we had to sit in the front rows with 6-storey gigantic screen almost looming over us. Inception was nice, while I liked the concept of planting a thought by tapping into someone's psyche, I found the movie to be too complex to enjoy. More than 4 levels of dreams-in-dreams is not only complex to comprehend, but laughably ludicrous. It, thus, doesn't lodge Matrix-1(1999) and Jurassic Park(1993) from their top positions as best Sci-Fi movie from my list. That said, I would watch it a few more times to at least understand it completely. But I'm sure that even when I understand it completely, Matrix won't drop down in the list (which BTW, is leaps-and-bounds above Avatar as well).

I have a feeling I'm forgetting something, but... with that, the amazing day that started at 6am in the morning came to an abrupt end at 3am in the night! None of this was planned before hand, except the morning game. What a day! This is a lot of action I have had in one day in many many months!

When I finally hit the bed, I said to myself with a smile: I'm refreshingly tired today!