Thursday, July 28, 2016

Where I ramble about fairy tales

There was this fairy tale I read as a kid - one of Hans Anderson's, I think? - called The Princess and The Pea. Basically this prince wanted to get married, but obvs, he could only marry a princess. So when a woman showed up at the castle because she was stranded or whatever and claimed to be a princess (which is something that made zero sense on so many levels, you guys), and the prince had the whole love at first sight deal happen, the queen panicked and said we must make sure she's actually a princess. Because naturally this was all before you could just Google someone.

Anyway, so what the queen did was, she had a room prepared for the alleged princess (can alleged be used as an adjective? it feels weird.) and had this bed with a dozen mattresses or something (and which had to be climbed with a ladder, for Pete's sake), and had a pea placed under all those mattresses. Her logic was that if this woman was truly a princess, she would be used to the best of comforts, and wouldn't be able to sleep because she would feel the pea. If she wasn't a princess, she'd be like, say,  me, and be able to sleep anywhere, anytime (including a DTC bus in Delhi once. True story.)

So the next morning, this princess comes down to breakfast, and is asked how she slept. And unlike most people who are put up as unexpected guests in the home of someone you've never met in your life, and therefore are grateful for the hospitality and would lie politely, she went on about how she couldn't sleep a wink because there was something under her mattress.

And so the queen was satisfied, the prince asked the princess to marry him, she apparently said yes, and happily ever after etc. was achieved.

There are SO many problems with this story on SO many levels, you guys.

Anyway. The reason I thought of this story recently is a skirt I bought some years ago, and which I finally fit into again. Every time I wear it to work, I forget that it has this hook at the back, right in the centre. So when I wear and get in the car to drive to work, it presses against my back and hurts. :(

And then I think of how such an innocuous, tiny little thing can cause such discomfort. Like a stoopid pea.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Moods and music

If you hit play on Track 6 of the Indian Ocean CD that is perpetually in my car's music system as you leave my apartment in the morning, and head to the work place, if you time it just right - and not get stuck behind idiot Texas drivers - you'll reach the highway just around the tenth minute mark. And there is no greater pleasure than zooming down a Texas highway with the remaining three minutes of Charkha coming out of the speakers. And then just as you get off the highway, the track ends and Tandanu comes on, and that does me very nicely for the remaining ten minutes of my commute.

It's unusual for me to be this impacted by a track like this. For me, it's usually the words of a song that I pay more attention to. And it's the words that usually determine which song will suit what mood I'm in.

Certain songs suit certain moods. Certain songs bring on certain moods. Charkha is what I play in the car when I need to just listen, and not think about anything. 

When I'm homesick, and wondering why I live half a world away from friends and family, there's a verse in Kabira that jumps out at me:
Kaisee teri khudgarzee
Na dhoop chune na chhaanv
Kaisee teri khudgarzee
Kisi thaur tike na paanv
Ban liyaa apnaa paighambar
Tar liyaa tu saat samandar
Phir bhee sookhaa mann ke andar
Kyoon reh gaya

How's this selfishness of yours,
that you don't take the sun, nor take the shade..
How's this selfishness of yours,
that your feet don't stay anywhere..
You've tried being your own god,
and crossed all seven seas,
Still, there is a draught within your heart,
Why is it so..

When I do go back home for visits, and there's no pitter patter of paws on the floors, or no wagging tail coming to greet me, it still feels weird. And this song comes to mind, because of one line:
Sab kuchh wahi hai, par kuchh kami hai
Teri aahatein nahin hain

everything is the same, but something is missing..
the sound of your footsteps isn't there..
Extremely corny, I know, but ¯\(ツ)/¯

But the easiest choices are when I'm stressed, and need something to smash it out of me. And again, are completely unrelated to the lyrics. When I was in high school, it used to be Celine Dion belting out Power of love. Over the past few years, it's been two songs from Amit Trivedi's Season 2 episode of Coke Studio - Bari Bari and Badri Badariyan.

I heard these two songs for the first time around the time I was moving to London for two months, in early 2013. And halfway through my stay there, I had got a call telling me the princess may not be with us much longer. I started listening to these two songs on loop around then, and even now, three years later, they're what I turn to when I want to get away from the world.