Sep 292009 has around 76 known usages of the word cast.

I am reproducing 6 of those here, do check out the rest – they too are illuminating !

–verb (used with object)
1. to throw or hurl; fling: The gambler cast the dice.
2. to throw off or away: He cast the advertisement in the wastebasket.
3. to direct (the eye, a glance, etc.), esp. in a cursory manner: She cast her eyes down the page.
4. to cause to fall upon something or in a certain direction; send forth: to cast a soft light; to cast a spell; to cast doubts.
5. to draw (lots), as in telling fortunes.
6. Angling.
a. to throw out (a fishing line, net, bait, etc.): The fisherman cast his line.
b. to fish in (a stream, an area, etc.): He has often cast this brook.

It has 6 different uses of the word caste :

1. Sociology.
a. an endogamous and hereditary social group limited to persons of the same rank, occupation, economic position, etc., and having mores distinguishing it from other such groups.
b. any rigid system of social distinctions.
2. Hinduism. any of the social divisions into which Hindu society is traditionally divided, each caste having its own privileges and limitations, transferred by inheritance from one generation to the next; jati. Compare class (def. 13).
3. any class or group of society sharing common cultural features: low caste; high caste.
4. social position conferred upon one by a caste system: to lose caste.
5. Entomology. one of the distinct forms among polymorphous social insects, performing a specialized function in the colony, as a queen, worker or soldier.
6. of, pertaining to, or characterized by caste: a caste society; a caste system; a caste structure.

Times of India – the world’s leading English Language newspaper – as a part of its austerity drive, has gotten rid of its dictionaries as raddi, and its copy editors have been deputed to make chai -as a part of their head count rationalisation measures. All very commendable, and possibly explains this story :


@vijaysankaran tweeted on, well, twitter 🙂

@calamur give toi a break:-)..they think of cast all the time. Diol bole cast on set, wanted star cast, katrina cast with srk, ….:-)

I could say a 100 things or more – but i guess a picture speaks more than words 🙂

Sep 282009

Two years ago – i had blogged the bulk of this post. I am using it as a base and just refurbishing it with a few more favorites. Tomorrow, I will look at the duets. September 28th – The birthday of [tag]Lata Mangeshkar[/tag] …. the woman with the golden voice.The first lady of [tag]Hindi film Music[/tag]. For me, the last of the [tag]All India Radio [/tag] generation , the lady and her music was a constant companion when I was growing up. Although in later years – i would think post the late 1980’s- her voice has lost much of the sweetness and melody, her body of work prior to that stands as testimony of her talent. On her birthday, I am going to take on a difficult task – the task of compiling my personal favourites sung by her. This is in no particular order of prefernce – just stuff that i enjoy listening to … the list will be divided into my favourite solo numbers & duets. Today is the list of the favourite solo numbers.

1) Aaj Phir Jeene ki Tamana Hai – the film [tag]Guide[/tag]. A celebration of life. Picturised on [tag]Waheeda Rehman[/tag] – a truly feminist song before the term feminist became popular in India

2) Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha – the film Anpadh. Lata Mangeshkar creates magic with Madan Mohan. Dharmendra looks hot, while Mala Sinha sings to him!

3)Barsaat Mein Humse Mile Tum Sajan – the all time classic. Lata and a chorus sing probably my favourite ‘falling in love’ song. [tag]Shailendra[/tag]’s lyrics are mind blowing ‘aaj mein tumhari huvi, tum mere sajan… tum mere sajan” and [tag]Shankar Jaikishen[/tag]’s music a herald of forthcoming greatness

4) Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh – Film Amar Prem – filmed on Sharmila Tagore. the film also starred Rajesh Khanna. Music R.D.Burman, lyrics Anand Bakshi. The film also had the other wonderful Lata solo – Raina Beeth Jaaye….

5) Choti, Choti si Baat — Film Choti Si Baat – music Salil Choudhary, lyrics Yogesh. A wistful song …Najane Kyon… hota hai yeh zindagi ke saath … achanak yeh dil .. .kissi ke jaane ke baad … kare phir uski yaad… choti choti si baat….na jane

6) Doondho Re Doondho – Film Ganga Jamuna – music [tag]Naushad[/tag] lyrics, [tag]Shakeel Badauni[/tag]. The song picturised an ethereal looking [tag]Vyjanti Mala[/tag] singing about the joys of ‘suhaag raat’ with [tag]Dilip Kumar[/tag]

7) Dua Kar Ghame Dil, Khuda se Duva Kar – from [tag]Anarkali[/tag]. In a film full of great songs, including the popular ‘yeh zindagi usi ki hai’ – this song is my personal favourite. You can hear the duva in the voice.

8) Ja Ja Re Jaa, Balamva – Film Basant Bahar. I can’t remember too much about the film except that it stars Bharat Bhushan and everyone dies . But the sound track on this is amazing, so is this song.

9) Jago Mohan Pyare – from [tag]Jagte Raho[/tag] – the sweetness and compassion in Lata’s voice, perfect with the melody by [tag]Salil Choudhary[/tag] and lyrics by  PremDhawan.

10) Jadugar Saaiya – from the film [tag]Nagin[/tag] – a sweet love song, where the woman implores her lover to let her go as it is getting late. Hemant Kumar, Shailendra and Lata once again create magic.

11) Kahi Deep Jale Kahi Dil – Music Director Madan Mohan, lyrics by [tag]Raja Mehdi Ali Khan[/tag] and a truly eerie number. For me, it works better as a ‘haunted’ song than Ayega Aanewal from [tag]Mahal[/tag] and Aajare Pardesi from [tag]Madhumati[/tag].

12) Mausam hai Ashiqana – superb wistfulness and longing in this song from Pakeezah. I personally prefer this song to the more popular ‘chalte chalte’ or ‘inhi logone’

13) Mora Gora Ang Laile – in my list of the most erotic songs in Hindi films ever. Lyrics by a very young [tag]Gulzar[/tag] and music by [tag]Sachin Dev Burman[/tag]

14) Na Jiya Lage Na – Film Anand – Salil Choudhary, Gulzar and Lata Mangeshkar. A great combination of melody, lyrics and voice.

15) Nainon Mein Badra Chaaye – Film : [tag]Mera Saya[/tag]Lata & [tag]Madan Mohan[/tag] – and an incredible semi classical composition. A superb rain song….

16) Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kiya – Lata Mangeshkar in this defiant anthem in Moghul-e-Azam. Music Naushad

17) Raaton Ke Saaye Ghane- Film Annadata – music Salil Choudhary. I haven’t seen the film but it has a powerhouse of a sound track.

18)Rajnigandha Phool Tumhare — Film [tag]Rajnigandha[/tag], Salil Chodhary, Yogesh and Lata Mangeshkar get together to create magic.

19) Rukh Ja Raat – Lata singing for Meena Kumari in Dil ek Mandir and trying to stop the moon set with the power of her voice.

20) Saaware Saaware – from the film [tag]Anuradha[/tag]. Music by [tag]Ravi Shankar[/tag] and a breathless pace that transverses scale. Lata’s complete mastery of Raga’s and melodies comes to the forefront in this song.

21) Vande Mataram – from the film [tag]Ananda Math[/tag] – Music by Hemant Kumar, Lyrics by Bankim Chandra Chaterjee. The ultimate call to battle song. Fight for this country, it is yours and so beautiful….And Lata’s rendition of this song makes it my favourite. It nudges out other ‘patriotic’ numbers like Ay Mere Vatan ke Logon … .

Which are yours.?

Sep 282009

Being in love with God. Filled with passion for God. Having a mystical connect with God. Having communication with God that bypasses organsied relgioun. Where you stop referring to God in the terrifying patriarchal formality – and refer to him in the second person. where you fight with God, personify him – dance for him, sing for him, want to marry him … these are just some of the aspects of the bhakti movement. Bhakti goes beyond mere devotion.

Some of the best poerty – be it bhakti or sufi – is a living testament to this obsession. If you listen to saqia aur pila, for example, you will realise that the poet is not talking about alcohol, but the high from loving god.

For, Meera – Krishna was her true husband – the man she married as a young child. Chaitanya saw himself as Radha and the gopis who performed the Raas Leela with Krishna; Aandal was so in love with Ranganatha that, it is said, that the Lord absorbs her as his bride; Jayadeva, it is said, has Krishna come by to finish his poetry.

In a way, Jayadeva began the bhaktification – if one can call it that – of Hinduis, a good two centuries before the rest of them, north of the Vindhyas. His work took away faith from the hands of the priests and put the individual at the centre of the relation with God.

I grew up listening to Jayadeva’s works in bits and pieces – primarily as Carnatic Music . The ashtapadis – or 8 line verses – are fairly popular in Carnatic music ; but i have never heard the Geeta Govinda in the Hindustani Classical style.

Here is M.S.Subhalakshmi in ragamalika singing the dashavatara that forms the prelude the Geetagovinda

And, here is a different take. the music is better than teh video. Geeta Dutt and Hemant Kumar in Ananda Math – a fabulous rendition of the Dashavatar .

if you know of others drop me a line.

Sep 182009

I really don’t believe in too many conspiracy theories. This entire idea that various systems might be conspiring to get an individual out seems kind of far fetched.

But, in the recent past I have been questioning why the Indian Express has taken it upon it self to target Shashi Tharoor – the minister for external affairs ? Has Mr.Tharoor offended someone in the IE or is the IE working on someone else’s behalf to discredit Mr. Tharoor – because front page attention on, what can be most charitably described as trivialities, seems like an orchestrated witch hunt .

It started with the IE “exposing” the fact that Tharoor and his boss, SM Krishna, were staying in 5 star luxury.

Austere Ministers: Krishna at Maurya, Tharoor at Taj – screamed the headline, and when you read the article closely it tuns out that it was two rich ministers paying for their own comforts.

For over three months now, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is at ITC’s Maurya on Sardar Patel Marg and his junior Shashi Tharoor at Hotel Taj Mahal on Man Singh Road. Both pay their own bills but neither of them — nor the hotels — say how much they have paid so far.

According to their poll affidavits, Krishna has assets worth Rs 18 crore and Tharoor Rs 15 crore.

Why is someone spending their own money is news is beyond me – if it was Tax payer’s money I would understand – but their own money seemed kind of inexplicable.

It followed up the story the next day, with Tharoor needs Taj for gym, privacy — and a govt-funded Iftaar today

The “gym and some privacy” keep Shashi Tharoor at a suite in the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. On Wednesday, the Minister of State for External Affairs is hosting an Iftaar party from 6.15 pm at the Diwan-i-Aam of the hotel.

Invites have been sent out by the Ministry — the cards carry the national emblem, mention the MEA’s Protocol division and list its telephone numbers under RSVP.

tucked in at the end, is the line

“It has been a tradition to host an Iftaar party for envoys of the Gulf countries by the MoS in-charge during Ramzan, said sources. “

So the iftaar party is not for friends and family, but for envoys of countries that India has trade and commercial relations ! Official work, not personal.

Then, the following day was an item, that could be seen as further embarrassing External Affairs Ministers – Krishna, Shashi take note: How nine of your colleagues live

While External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his deputy Shashi Tharoor turned 5-star hotel suites into temporary homes, their nine colleagues, still waiting for official accommodation, settled for single rooms in state Bhawans and PSU guest houses in New Delhi

And then, was yesterday’s bit of pontificating

At these moments, affluence becomes unaesthetic. A display of an affluent lifestyle seems crass and indifferent, possessing a nouveau riche loudness that is difficult to take. It is a behaviour that demands immediate downsizing in a literal and symbolic sense. But Krishna and his deputy behaved like rich Rip Van Winkles, unaware that drought and recession had struck the land. It was a sense of arrogance and individualism that made them indifferent to the dialects of protest and pain in the bazaar of politics.

People should realize, that in times of recession, consumption helps. Instead of vilifying the ministers for spending their own money – maybe you should commend them for doing their patriotic duty to get the nation out of recession 🙂
And then, it pretty much continues in the same vein. What took the cake was this morning’s front page silliness in the Indian Express

Of course, Mr. Tharoor has not helped his cause by being smart on Twitter with Kanchan Gupta – Shooting your mouth off to journalists, on a public forum, – especially those with BJP affiliation -reeks of poor decision making. That ‘holy cow’ statement is possibly going to come back to haunt him.

But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the IE seems to have their knives out for him. Today’s story, the one that prompted this post – is “Holy Cow! Tharoor’s OSD gives it back to his Boss’s party” – one more ‘Get Tharoor” story .

Jacob Joseph, Officer on Special Duty to the Minister of State for External Affairs, posted a picture of Tharoor asleep in an aircraft seat, with the caption “Shashi Tharoor in cattle class a month ago”.

Tharoor, currently on tour abroad, did not post any new tweets on Thursday. He last tweeted early September 16.

Jacob made public, or ‘re-tweeted’ (referred to as ‘RT’ on Twitter), comments made by other Twitter users that referred to Union ministers as “humorless twits”, and Congress spokesperson Natarajan as an example of the “outdated Indian political spokesman”.

incidentally, the minister did tweet yesterday:


So, let me ask the obvious – is the Indian Express reverting to the shoot first, figure later mode of journalism that almost brought it to its knees. Or is this a one off hatchet job on a particular minister – if so why ?

Sep 162009

It has been interesting to see the Government at work. And, although there is a tremendous amount of twittering (as opposed to tweeting) and sniggering – austerity not a bad idea. With the kind of National Debt that we are carrying, and with the kind of expenses we are gonig to incur – it’s a good idea to cut down on ‘unnecessary’ expenses.

Just after the last crash – the dot com crash – the company i was working for faced a down turn. a memo went out requesting  all senior personnel to cut down travel and fly economy when they had to. Most people cribbed, cringed and flew business – till they saw the founder Chairman traveling economy. From the next day everyone fell in line. But, this was not about just air travel or 5 star stay – it was about cost cutting across the length and breadth of the organisation – including slashing budgets and  shedding jobs. It would have been difficult to achieve those in a smooth manner – if the more visible symbols of spending were not pruned.

At around the same time – i had a conversation with a friend of mine who is in the armed forces. We were both in Hyderabad at that time. I was at a place called Amruta Castle and he was at one of the Taj properties. We bumped into each other when he came to collect his ‘men’. He was amused that a Head of Business fora large media company would be staying in the same hotel that non commissioned officers from the armed forces were put up. He was even more aghast when i told him that my CEO stayed there 🙂 It was OK for him – he didn’t have to pay the bill. What was surprising was the sense of ‘entitlement’ – i found that kind of odd !

In all our ‘worship’ of things that are powerful and our acceptance of all sorts of ‘entitelment’ – we forget that governments are also organisations. in tough times, they have to cut costs, freeze pay, slash budgets , cut expenses. Also, with drought looming -spends in other areas are going to rise. Drought relief, food procurement, health – etal are going to see increased spending. Like any good organisation – Government too has called for belt tightening. And it starts with ministers and MP’s. They are “leaders’ and it is about time they led from the front. It is not about air travel or business class – it is a message that will, hopefully, go down from top to bottom across the board – from the judiciary, to the armed forces; from the bureaucracy to the PSU’s – stop wasting our money on non-essentials.  Whether it is paper wastage, electricity, water, fuel, phone – whatever – cut costs – because the money is going to be used elsewhere. Let’s not knock symbolism – it has an effect.

To Ministers – travel economy.

To Rahul G, the advice would be follow Gandhiji and travel second class (non AC) – preferably unreserved – if you really want to see India !

And, to Jayanti Natarajan – sweetie – austerity on expenses does not mean austerity in humour 🙂 get a funny bone. I can almost see your pursed lips when i read this :

“The party strongly disapproves the statement of the minister. It is unacceptable, not respecting political or any other sensibilities,” said Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan.

This primness was in response to Shashi Tharoor – who shot his mouth off on twitter – little realising that it i s a public forum, in a nation without humour – to a journalist, 🙂

On the micro-blogging site Twitter, veteran journalist Kanchan Gupta of the Pioneer asked Tharoor: “Tell us minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?” Tharoor replied: “Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows.”

While the exchange is cute and all that – there is no ‘off the record’ on platforms like twitter – next time you want to be smart use SMS 🙂

And, finally finally – wouldn’t it be nice if the Congress laid down a dictat – and imposed it with an iron hand – no corruption till the drought is over.