SILL BATTA (the grinding stone) – a poem

SILL BATTA (the grinding stone) – a poem

 

The sound scape of
the sill
serrated in its plinth
pink like the flesh
that wanted marination
readied to be pulped
by bangled hands
of a near dizzy
trusted ‘masalchi’ (the kitchen hand)
of age unknown
and a buck
gentle as a breeze
like the marinade
of lamb that
got to be
the chosen one
for the sill batta
A must in a Sunni Syed
house blessed by Avadhi
cuisine in marriage.
Kababs weren’t a luxury,
the mandate they still
are.
The tinkle of the bangle
the roll of the meat
the sill that hums
its own raga of ras
the cajoling of her hand
makes it the art that
is kabab e shammi
that only Ammi can turn
out in spite of fatigue from
hollering Urdu ghazal
at not too-bright pupils.

She – the mistress of
kababs and yakhni pulao
a feat that a poor
city mixer-grinder
Will never compete with.

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Music makes it work for me

https://youtu.be/_zflDkNJ99o

 

As I write this piece, my chronological  years and many years of listening to music come to me as a refrain that could best be sung as the “day the music died”. The precious video I share here is by a hugely subscribed website called Ithacaaudio and one which posts some really interesting tidbits and opinion on music history and soundscapes in general.

Since I am a die hard subscriber, my consumption of a lot of their material is equivalent to breathing , and as a fellow in music – here is what I think about influences :-
1. While growing up in the 70s and 80s and being in love with bands and artists like The Beatles, Eagles, Eric Clapton, Jim Reeves, JJ Cale, Anne Murray, Cliff Richard, Rod Stewart & Roger Waters, The Who, Peter Gabriel and the unmistakable Tom Petty – my personal influences were quite overshadowed by the ‘convent’ British English education led western music that I got subjected to as a kid.
2. My home turf exposure to the  Indian traditional form of ghazal and khayal comes from listening incessantly to Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hasan, Jagjit Singh, Bade Ghulam Ali, Rajan & Sajan Misra, and Dagar Brothers.  This certainly helped my music appreciation skill as an Indian from a Urdu adab & tehzeeb environment.
3. Add to this mix, a healthy serving of socially relevant Bollywood music from the stable of directors and composers like Hrishikesh Mukerji, Manmohan Desai, Naushad, Nasir Hussain, Basu Chatterji, and the unforgettable Laxmikant Pyarelal and Madan Mohan. With Lata, Rafi, Kishore, Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Suraiya, Noor Jehan, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhonsle, Preeti Sagar, and Vani Jayram belting priceless gems that continue to play on repeat even today. I have been fortunate to be blessed by a music sensibility which can best be called ‘world friendly’.
4. And if I were to  say that my under grad years at University of Delhi further opened my ears to a new range of sound altogether, it will not be anything but the honest truth. Its been quite a wave, for I have had the pleasure of hosting at College and attending to artists like Pandit Bhimsent Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Gangubai Hangal, Kishori Amonkar, Balmuralikrishnan, MS Subalaxmi, Shubha Mudgal –  to list only vocalists. All this via a beautiful phenomenon called Spicmacay (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth), and its inimitable head Kiran Seth – who had the passion and panache of a sixteen year old when it came to delivering an amazing concert at colleges and auditoriums that would allow the young in.

With so many influences affecting my impressionable mind then, I now sit with an advantage when I listen to really young and not so young bands and artists perform at a local community and concert level. I can fortunately tell the difference between excellent and mediocre. Am yet to discover really horrible sound and vocalists – so God help me never meet them!!

What NOT to do vis-a vis WHAT to do | My radio learnings

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Dec 31, 201531 views2 Likes2 CommentsShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Twitter
More often, we as people and specially as new people in any industry, have this instinct to latch on to something that is familiar popular in our environment, and blindly follow suit. This piece here is a comment on what my personal experience, as a senior corporate identity, noticed and observed.

I not just acknowledge the presence of cliques & closed groups that rarely allow people in, but also condone it to a large degree. I believe that this tendency, can only harm and affect the functioning of any large media or any organisation for that matter. And to take this thought forward many instances crop up in my mind which I would rather not define for confidentiality sake.

However, there is one incident that has left an indelible mark on me. I was at a large corporate office and meeting a whole bunch of their young Radio Jockeys, who I was meant to train on length of what they say, how a story should be looked at, and how improv is an art that needs to be acquired.

Among these young people was a person, who’s simplicity and plain existence stood out though not in the ‘sore thumb’ way. Since she came from a vernacular medium, her grasp on the local scenario and regional understanding was priceless. She added so much to the breakfast show, by keeping perspective in check a for a PD like me.

A few days later, I realised, she had been packed off to a smaller town, which not just injured the breakfast show but also affected her career. All this because ‘she was not smart looking’, so possibly did not fit well in the larger scheme of things.

I think slightly differently. For radio to get locally popular, in the true sense of the word, a large part of the content team needs to be from the local, region friendly, and vocal space. As a writer, who uses English as her first language, my drawback on local language was so well complimented by people like her. And losing her to something as inane as ‘not smart’ was off putting and tedious.

As a sign off to this piece it is important for me to say that people who look good may just be that and no more. People who don’t turn out well could actually be the real bright sparks. But then, that isn’t a guarantee either. The WHAT NOT TO DO stems from here : Its like comparing apples to oranges to find similarities between polar opposites – temperaments and backgrounds. We might as well stop right there.

Is talent your cuppa? ‘A ROLL’ version.

Of the many things I recall as an assistant to one particular director during my green behind the year days – I distinctly rememember the care and trust my boss placed in me. Most of it unspoken and unclaimed and totally free of any expectations.

At this juncture I will not hold back his name for he mostly makes me a professional and a yardstick of what they all call ‘an eye for detail’ and story telling.

The real EL CAPITAN | VANGUARD in my life –Deven Khote of the UTV ADS department fame (notoriously so), at the good old simple UTV software company days of the early to mid 90s.

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DEVEN KHOTE                   

Where basement offices and edit + online & gfx suites were famous for being lived in.

Where a low band offline room was perrenially occupied by a man in horizontal stripes of polo collar tees in a burst of orange, green and pink and white, worn casually with easy khakis or classic blue jeans with an insane need to constantly want to be pulled up, inspite of the belt.

The curly hair and the easy demeanour from a Cathedral Sobo upbringing, impeccable English with a smattering of bad marathi – he is the culprit  who got me addicted to square writing pads and block letter writing in pencil. Shot breakdowns were always done like that.

 

From allowing me in to his post circle as an AD when I so wanted to only be an editor, to editing with my constant presence behind him, sitting slightly in awe and a whole lot in fear, lest I disturb his train of thought – the education he doled out to me was, and continues to be priceless.

No institute in the whole wide circular world can ever do that for anyone – especially the ‘hungry to learn’ lot. So I might be gushing – but hey, have earned the right to. And to not after so many years of put your head down and work, I better really put it to work.

Here he smiles for my pixelation pro camera on a low grade BB equipment. Have a good long look.

This is what education par execellence comes from if you got the intestinal fortitude. And, if I were to give back even an iota of what he gave me – the student who has the ‘cuppa’ will be brimming.

So thank you DK. Please always be the voice in my head. You’re the best. I shall always remain the ‘A Roll’. 

About me

The world of advertising film production, radio programming, music management and mainstream TV broadcast launch, has been known to me – both as a consumer, and as a professional.

Pixels x pixel is a body of my work and an appreciation of work that I see.

I believe you’re very good if you understood what your consumer and client wanted. You’re the best if you could push the envelope a wee bit more. You’re superlative, bordering on super human actually, if you could get your client and consumer to buy what you set out to sell without an iota of a change.

This is my 2 bit : iWatch. iLearn. iDeliver. (Plagiarism intended, but I am an Appletard WTD)

With such varied work behind me in the area of film and communication across all mediums, as a creative function and otherwise, I have learnt a lot and have helped people learn alongside. Here, I share just that.

As an appreciator, my pages will be of some interest to my peers who have lead a similar professional life. They will be of interest to inquisitive students and professionals, in and outside of the media and communication business.

Or, these pages should just enable people to smile a bit at the kernels I remember and narrate, because from where I come – words, phrases, visuals, art, colour, layouts, details get stuck for no rhyme.

I am a self proclaimed ‘phrase and turn of phrase addict’ and love to mess with grammar across all shapes and sizes of languages and scripts. My aural, vocal, musical, visual and sometimes olfactory senses also take over my long and short form – whether on a project or helping someone through one!

Enjoy. Connect with feedback at will. Do expect a reply (*conditions etc.)