How many singers/musicians who are 1 album and 1 movie old can you think of who not only deserve an evening in Dasara, but also can make the audience go crazy with their music?
Now that I am struggling to come out with a second name, I am telling you the first name - Raghu Dixit!

I love Raghu Dixit's music. I have listened to his music before his "Psycho" became such a smash hit. Much before he was spotted by Vishal-Shekhar. Much much before he was on Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. More than 3 years back, Setty had send me the link of a song. I was simply mesmerized by the music. The musician was Raghu Dixit and the song was "Gudugudiya". I had played it a few hundred times in the next few days.

I remembered all these things as I was getting ready to go to the Yuva Dasara concert. I was just hoping the rain Gods would skip being spoilsport, to which they eventually obliged. Even at 5.30 PM, there was a sizable crowd, indicating that by the time the concert starts, there would be no space left. Raghu seemed to be in the final stages of rehearsing. After that, till 9.00 PM, there was one activity after another of college students performing dance, fashion show etc. Any other day, I would have just left the place. But, today was different. I wanted to attend this concert from so many days. Catching it on television would be such a poor substitute.

By 9.00, Raghu and his band arrived on stage in their customary ethnic wear. I could feel the audience warming up even as Raghu was doing his "Mike...testing...1...2...3...". "Mysore...hegideera? Channagideera?", Raghu started without any pretense. The crowd roared. "I am getting the chance to perform in front of my home crowd after so many years". Here was a superbly original singer, amazing composer, but above all an extraordinary performer.

He started off with the "Ee Tanuvu Ninnade", a brilliant rocking composition - a much much better number than the hugely successful "Ninna Poojege Bande". The audience cheered loudly as he finished this song. The police till then were stopping the people from getting off their chairs. Raghu's next act completely spoiled their plans. "You know, how Raghu Dixit's concert should be...people should be standing...nan makla edd ninthkolro..." You had to hear the sound then! Chairs were piled on chairs and people stood on them...and hardly few people were still on the ground. The next song was "Hey Bhagwan", a very beautiful number with great violin in it.

After this song, he asked, "Where are the Yuvaraja College boys?" After getting a "ho" response from some section in the crowd, he said "Gottaglilvenro, I am your senior". Then came "Mysoor Se Aayi", a nice folksy song. After the song, he turned towards the girls and asked "Where are the Maharani College girls?" Everyone burst into laughter. He followed it up with the mystic Sufi Poet Shishunala Sharif's "Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo". He gave a brief explanation of the song, perhaps used to giving it outside Karnataka. What a song from the poet, I am sure Sharif must have been on a high when he wrote that. And Raghu's composition and singing does complete justice to this beauty of a poem!

The next Shishunala Sharif song was sung with audience also singing along with him. By this time, the audience were chanting "Psycho...psycho...psycho". For people who are living in another planet, the extremely popular song "Ninna Poojege Bande..." is from the movie "Psycho". Raghu showed his honesty when he said that he is bored of singing this song. I am sure he would agree that this song, for all its catchy-ness, pales in comparison to his other underrated songs. I sincerely felt that this was the only time where he lacked the intensity and the joy.

When people yelled "once more", Raghu was quick to say "bitti show li ashte", but still sung "Kodagana KoLi Nungitta" which I was listening for the first time from him. Thought it was kind of nice, I'd still prefer the C Ashwath's version more. Finally he said "You guys dont want to go home. But I have to, mom would have cooked hot food...I am hungry". Before he could let the hunger distract, he aptly ended the show with "Ee Tanuvu Ninnade". And thanked the crowd and asked them to visit his website and add him on orkut and Facebook. Surprised he missed twitter!

I am sure thousands in Mysore tonight would have slept late. But, all of them would have a smile on their faces by the time they hit the bed. I can easily say that this would rank among the best concerts I have witnessed.

Thanks Raghu, we will wait for the next Dasara!

Tweet Tweet

Ever thought of making some smartass comment and then you realized that there is no one near you at the moment to share?
Ever wondered if sending a (what you thought was) great SMS would really be welcomed by the people in your recipient list?

This, my friends, I think is the biggest thing that drives humans in this generation. The necessity to be heard, recognized, their presence acknowledged has driven us to many online inventions of the last decade. You may call it cultural interaction, knowledge sharing, creative collaboration or whatever fancy names the IIM types can come up with. But, deep down, its just this human instinct.

I know I know, twitter has been there from a long time. I have decided to become a better-late-than-never adopter.
You can follow my tweets here:

Those of you who decide not to use twitter, the widget on the right column below "About Me" would ensure that you wont miss the fun.

Puranic Tales

I dont know when I developed this fascination, but it has stayed with me from quite a few months. I keep reading online about Indian mythology. I am seeing the old stories I had heard from my grandmom in new perspectives.

To me, the mythology is not a collection of moral stories. My sense of morality is based entirely on my thinking, so to read it just from moralistic perspective would be boring. The good thing about Indian mythological stories is that they dont picture even divine beings as perfect or without weaknesses. Even Gods have anger, jealousy, lust, insecurity - which somehow appeals to me very much. In a strange way, it makes these stories all the more human and relatable. The trick to enjoy is not to fall into the trap of categorizing everything into two big boxes of "good" and "bad". Between black and white, there exists a wide sea of blissful gray.

My imagination runs wild when I think of so many possible stories we can make up. Here is one imaginary scenario I find very amusing.
Karna, Shani, Bhima and Hanumantha are at a table having lunch in some divine restaurant. Some people in the next table were overheard talking about them.
"I have never seen these guys here before. Are they friends or what?"
"No, they are kind of brothers"
"Come on, you are kidding right?"
"No, I am serious. Let me explain. Shani is the son of Chhaya and Surya. Karna is born to Surya and Kunti. Bhima is born to Kunti and Vaayu. Hanumantha is born to Vaayu and Anjana. Beat that!".
The uncles' joke from the eighties ridiculing the west - "My children and your children are playing with our children" - does not seem too original after all.

Here is another one.
Vishnu has a son called Narakasura from Bhudevi.
Krishna was a avatar of Vishnu, kills Narakasura, who in a way happens to be his son.
Rama was another avatar of Vishnu, who married Sita, the daughter of Bhudevi.
Can it get more complex than that?

The popular story of Ahalya goes like this -
Indra tricks Ahalya by visiting her in the form of Gauthama, and makes love to her. It looks too unreal that the wife of a great sage, herself with divine powers, could fall for this ridiculously simplistic trap. Assuming it was true, Gauthama could not have cursed her if she had no knowledge of this trickery.
Here is what I heard from my dad, happens to be the original version of the story. Though it would not be acceptable to the moralists, I find this story strangely touching.
Ahalya was married to the sage Gauthama. Gauthama was so enchanted by the apsaras, that he started performing severe penances in order to please Gods. So Ahalya had this thought that if Gauthama is longing for apsaras and these apsaras were pleased by Indra, how great Indra could be. On knowing this, Indra visited the hermitage and made love to her. On knowing this, Gauthama curses her and Indra.

I hope to read more on Greek mythology too. It would give enough fodder to come up with ideas like what might have happened if Achilles had fought in the Kurukshetra war!

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