Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Khwaja Mere Khwaja - Musical Brilliance

Words are not enough to describe the beauty of the Sufi fusion composition 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' from the movie Jodhaa Akbar. A.R.Rehman has outdone himself in this one. The music of this song is Spiritual, Transient and full of humility. Rehman has used word endings to rise into beautiful crescendos - overlapping, dancing and clapping into one big whole.
The video of the song is as brilliant as the composition. The perfectly symmetrical pairs of the kawwals, their simple white dresses and their controlled movements offset the rich, multi- layered composition. Khwaja mere Khwaja is, undeniably, one of the best peices of contemporary music.

Try listening to 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' on your headphones. You are sure to fly!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The long and short of it.

Every Delhite seems to know Delhi. In my experience, I have hardly ever gone wrong with directions from people on the road in Delhi, unless they happen to be from the driver of the autorickshaw you are in, trying to sell you Dilli Darshan without your knowledge or consent.

Hyderabad is different. If you happen to ask for directions from a clueless guy (probably new to Hyderabad and from a way off village in Warangal), I hope and pray that God save you! The 'Clueless Guy' may point in the general direction of the traffic. It might be greater than great possibility that you have been guided in the exact opposite direction of your destination. Having gone through the ordeal of being misguided more than thrice, I wonder about why the situation is so.
Somehow, people do not say " Sorry! I do not know the way." Also, most merchant establishments are newer than in other cities and the number of immigrants is certainly very high. I do wonder, as I write this post, if the issue of being misguided on the roads of Hyderabad is worth analysis or any pondering.

All said and done, I will offer to you the best solution that I use before I head for a place I am new to!
Get the directions from the Internet before you leave. If you have internet on the go, you can check sites like http://www.justdial.com/ or http://www.tolmolbol.com/ or http://www.fullhyd.com/ for the addresses of merchant establishments. Some of portals even sms addresses and phone numbers to your mobile for free. If everything else fails, you can call Just Dial at 040-24444444.-The number that saves us all!

Some Change Would Do You Good!

If vehicle-less on the roads of Hyderabad, do not forget to carry change. Just Money is not going to be enough. There is no point in hiring an autorickshaw with a 500 Rupee note in your pocket! In all probability, the driver will not have the required change. As it is, with the digital meters replacing the old ones, the poor drivers want to extort as much as they can from the passenger.
Be sure to carry lots of 'chiller' if you want to manage a hassle free experience here, unless you want to tip the autowallah way too generously.

Its not too easy to find passer-bys or shop keepers ready to part with their ten'ers. You might be stuck in the heat trying to get a good samaritan to hand you out some change for even your 50 rupee note!

But once you are geared up for the road, its not too bad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Missing Sidewalk.

Jaywalking is commonplace in most cities in India. However, Hyderabadis have a valid reason - Non-existent footpaths and non-existent cross walks! The pedestrian here is sandwiched between the edge of the building and the edge of the road with no where to go. Road widening, flyovers, more roads but no footpaths! Seems like the Hyderabad authorities are acting on a policy based on the alleged quotation of the french queen Marie Antoinette "Let them eat cake", in response to "the peasants have no bread!". Some areas like the Jubilee Hills seem to be better off than the rest of the city when it comes to treating the pedestrian.( Mostly because it comes under New Development.) But for most areas, footpaths are eaten up by either the authority's road widening rampage or the paanwala ki dukan or by the piddling artists sprinkling monochromatic grafitti on boundary walls. Maybe they (footpaths) have never been there to begin with. The GHMC has put up signs on the the well-landscaped roundabouts - 'Clean Hyderabad, Green Hyderabad!' Therefore, of all places to plant trees, they choose to plant trees on a 2 feet wide footpath!

So what can a citizen do about the missing sidewalk?

Write to the Media? Stage a Rally and take to the roads? Host a strike in front of the Planning Department Building? Or sit and watch because we have cars or two wheelers to commute?

Maybe, as citizens of Hyderabad, all we need to do is develop a little sensitivity for those who do not own means of transport. Lets not take wrong turns. Lets not, in our rush to get home, drive our scooters over the narrow footpaths. Lets not park in front of bus stands and obstruct pedestrian traffic. Lets not jump lights.
Let the pedestrian jaywalk in peace!
The rest, we hope, the authority will come around to doing sooner or later. Everyone knows its never too late to do a good thing.