My P7 Speech – A tribute to my favourite, R D Burman “Musical Heartbeats”

PanchamdaOctober 24, 2015 was when I presented my Project 7 speech. It was after I gave my Project 8 speech I know but there was a reason for that. Another TM was also giving his P8 so we could defray the cost of the projector that the club would have to shell out.

P7 is all about Researching your topic and the objectives are

  • Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
  • Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples, and illustrations gathered through research

Here is the transcript of my P7 which was a tribute to my numero uno composer, R D Burman.

In the rhythm of life, we sometimes find ourselves out of tune, but as long as there are friends to provide the melody, the music plays on. Can music and friendship complement each other? Can friendship lead to magical music? For some it did and their music continues to enthrall us even today.

Toastmaster of the day, Fellow Toastmasters and guests – June 27, 1939 is when Meera Dev and Sachin Dev were blessed with a boy whom they named Rahul. Little did they know that their prodigy would be a trailblazer, creating magic with his music while frolicking with friends.

Rahul Dev Burman popularly knows as Panchamda was fortunate to have the right people who helped him in his musical milestones and become his long lasting friends.

Kishore Kumar was his dear friend. After Padosan, Kishore Kumar despite the songs he sung wasn’t getting any offers. He decided to return to his native of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. When R D heard of this, he said “Kishore, don’t go. I will speak to Dada Burman (S D) and get you a song in the next film.” As luck would have had it, S D fell ill during that film and Panchamda had to assume the mantle to compose the unfinished music. Kishore got not one but three songs in that film despite Rafi being S D’s favourite. The film was none other than Aradhana and the songs were Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu, Roop tera mastana and Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera. The rest as they say is history. But it was not only work that they did together, they even enjoyed. During the recording of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar for the film, Aap ki Kasam, the producer, J Om Prakash (Hrithik Roshan’s maternal grand father) was livid at the princely sum of Rs. 50000 to be paid to the musicians. He made no bones about it and Panchamda had to bear the brunt of his verbal attack. Pancham confided in his friend Kishore. Kishore in his inimitable style sang in the end “Bajao Bajao, imaandari se bajao, pachas hajaar kharch kiye hain”

Rajesh Khanna’s super stardom can be attributed to the hit music and all credit goes to his association with Kishore Kumar and RD Burman. The song ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ from “Kati Patang”, which is probably one of the most romantic numbers to date, has an interesting fact. This song was never planned to be featured in the movie. It so happened that the superstar Rajesh Khanna and Panchamda were travelling together on a flight to Delhi. In between the conversation Rajesh Khanna said “I am so jittery. Pancham why don’t you just hum a tune?” Panchamda felt obliged and the tune of ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ was heard. Rajesh Khanna liked the tune so much, that he prevailed on the director Shakti Samanta to create a situation in the film only to include the song which went on to become a blockbuster track and continues to do so even today. Small wonder that these two went on to make some of the greatest hits of all time.

Panchamda’s friendship with Gulzar started in 1972 with the movie Parichay which was also directed by Gulzar. The first song Panchamda composed was “Musafir Hun Yaaron” Panchamda went to Gulzar’s house at 1 in the night to hum the tune made for this song. Both of them sat listening to the tunes in the car and discussed it till morning! Like all geniuses, they were eccentric – definitely yes but extremely passionate. There were tunes that Panchamda composed and then would not give them to anyone else saying “Only he will do justice to this tune with his lyrics” So much was the mutual confidence. They were such thick pals that Gulzar was called Safed Kauva, white crow for he would always dress up in white. Gulzar in turn called Panchamda “Laal Kauwa” for his fetish for red shirts.

After Panchamda’s demise in 1994, his buddy Gulzar reminisced in his poetic style “Zindagi ko akele nahi jhela jaata. Hamaari to team hai. Aa jao ya bula lo!” which means “I can’t live this life alone. We were a team. So either come back or call me up there.”

A great song needs a mix of not just the music but also meaningful lyrics, singers to emote the lyrics and good artistes to picturise the song on. Panchamda was indeed very lucky to have such thick friends who helped him create magic that is enjoyed even today. I am lucky to have friends like these and do hope each one of you have such lucky stars in your lives as well.

Random Thoughts mid air

random thoughtsThese are random thoughts that I penned down mid-air so pardon the incoherence in my mind. As it is I am challenged there:-)

My journey to the USA has always had some kind of a twist. When I went in 2010, my mother in law was in hospital but at that time I was going alone. This time the three of us were traveling and dates were known to us well in advance but not announced. My father in law was to be operated for his spinal problems but somehow or the other it kept on getting postponed and finally it happened only on April 20th when we were leaving on 25th. We did leave but not without wifey getting extremely tense and continues to remain tense.

The day of the journey, 25th was a day to remember. We were booked by the 1515 flight to Dubai and from there we had to take the 2215 flight to Atlanta. So we were set to leave around noon. Just as the baggage was being loaded, some sixth sense told me to check the web site for timings. Thank God I did. The Dubai – Atlanta leg of our flight was delayed by over 14 hours which would have meant we would have had to sit idle for 20 hours as we had a 5 + hour lay over in Dubai. Called up the Delta call centre and spoke to them. They too weren’t aware of the delay as she said the flight is showing as scheduled when a simple Google search told me that it was delayed. Finally reality dawned upon them too and they agreed to reschedule us. Put us on the 0220 Air France to Paris and then after a 2 hour 40 minute lay over we were to head to Atlanta. Things worked out well and I am writing from the Paris Atlanta sector right now. Unfortunately they do not have a plug point to charge my lap top. All they have is a USB so will have to switch over to the iPad in case I run dry.

What have I done? Watched some TV shows. Watched a movie called Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya which was recommended by Kavya too. Honestly she was watching it and I was only aping her. Slept. Black coffee. We are about 4 hours 30 minutes away from Atlanta says the online map. We have completed the trans atlantic leg almost and will soon enter Canada and from there head south to Atlanta.

Listening to some remix music. Currently listening to Hare Rama Hare Krishna (not the movie) but the chanting of the Lord in remix format. I wonder if any other religion would have the tolerant nature to admit that we could listen to remixes of God’s songs. Sometimes I feel like Hindus are the most tolerant lot but let me not get into that.

The new Airport at Mumbai was impressive thought Kavya. She was over awed by the brand stores at the airport in Paris but Mumbai Airport was far better she felt. I think I would agree with her.

Just heard yet another remix of my favourite, Yeh Vaada Raha which happens to be the title track of the movie. I always loved that movie and it’s soundtrack composed by none other than my favourite, Panchamda. I thought the movie and the soundtrack were both a hit but got to know only later that the movie didn’t do too well and so the soundtrack too suffered. What a tragedy!! Remixes have brought some songs back to life but honestly the original sound track is so so good. My other favourite was Harjaaee again composed by Panchamda. Some awesome soundtrack that was too. Don’t know how that movie did in reality. Panchamda produced phenomenal music but maybe the generation did not understand the brilliance then. I now realise it after so many years. We have indeed lost a great composer.

Children grow up so soon. Kavya went for some haircut which included some really stupid hair style “Flicks” which I find ridiculous. Tells me “Papa, you don’t understand girl stuff and you don’t have an idea about fashion” No choice but to agree. Daughters really know how to handle Dads and make them accept any and everything.

Wow…. Music these days make your feel so much out-of-place…. Finally found something I know in the Live Concert clips. Opening song is Scorpions’ Rock you like a Hurricane. But the doubting Thomas in me has the gall to think, is he singing really or is it lip syncing? These days you never know what is possible and what isn’t. Even the guitar pieces could be orchestrated with the stage mic switched off? Who knows? Do they have LIVE as in really LIVE concerts? I wonder. But for now let me enjoy Scorpions.

While I knew the Scorpions, there was another artiste I knew Tina Turner but the song was unknown. Must give it to her that even at this age she can show her energy on stage. She is a grandmother.

Now Cyndi Lauper – She looks so different now. Normal hair!!! No colours on her hair which is a record of sorts. Though her eye shadow et al are in a multitude of colours.

Toastmasters P5 – All shook up

My P5 the 5th speech project from the Toastmasters Competent Communicator Manual. The objectives of P5 were to complement your message with your body during delivery. Specifically, be aware of:

  • posture
  • body movement
  • facial expressions
  • eye contact

Thanks to Kavya I could bring in Lungi Dance into this speech and I enacted it as well. The icing on the cake was when I was selected as the Best Speaker of the Day. God knows what I would do without you, Kavya. Here is the text of my speech.

Kavya completed 10 on November 29, 2014. During the four months in the run up to this date, she’d return home from the numerous birthday parties and would talk about the theme they had be it Snow White or Pirates etc. And I’d think “She is only describing the good time she had there”. Lightning struck me in early November when she asked me “What is the theme you plan for my birthday party?” I was all at sea. As a child, my parents decided on birthday parties but they too would never have thought of themes. Cutting a cake was the only thing I knew aside of inviting some friends. Wake up and smell the coffee, Manish! Times have changed

Toastmaster of the Day, fellow toastmasters and guests, enjoy the time capsule ride.

“If music be the food of love, play on” said William Shakespeare. Gone are the days when we would strain our ears to listen to Ameen Sayani on Radio Ceylon for his Binaca Geet Mala on short wave. As a child I used to think that Ameen Sayani was a Sri Lankan who would play Indian music sitting there. Now we have a plethora of FM stations and Kavya having already met Malishka, insists on listening to 93.5 RedFM only. I for one prefer those soulful melodies sung by my favourite, Kishore Kumar composed by stalwarts like Panchamda and the likes with meaningful lyrics. Today when Kavya and my nephews sing “Char bottle vodka”, I just want to hang my head in shame.

Dance then was a form of art what with the classical ones teaching you movements of fingers not just the hands. Also expressions using the eyes! Now we have Shiamak Davar and other styles which honestly are nothing more than aerobic exercises put to rhythm. But wait! How could I ever forget we also have dances now like Lungi dance which make absolutely no sense but are extremely popular!

Telephones – This generation has never experienced a phone with a rotary dial but I do hope you have noticed the black contraption they show in those antique Hindi films. Yes I grew up with them. I am sure you did not know that there was no direct dialing facility then. You had to book trunk calls, pay double for urgent calls and pay 8 times for lightning calls. During the rains, we experienced something which was called delayed dial tone. All you had to do is pick up the phone and hold on for atleast 2 minutes while saying a silent prayer just to get a dial tone.

And now you have mobile phones. No dial tones, no delays whatsoever and no costs to worry about. Kavya thinks talking to my sister on the phone is so downmarket. She believes only in using FaceTime with my sister so that she can flaunt a new dress, new shoes, trinkets etc. and then also some new dance step she learnt from an upcoming Bollywood movie.

Letters – One thing I would wish returns for the good of all. I have pen friends since 1982 and am in touch regularly with them. We used to write letters and I distinctly remember my longest letter was 22 pages to my friend in Australia. She responded back to me using an audio cassette. Aside of letters, we exchanged currency notes, stamps, coins for our collections and built some weird hobbies. I, for one, collected and still collect postcards, knives, forks, spoons from airlines. That was before 9/11 happened. Now of course we have only plastic knives and forks. My French friend still collects newspapers from different countries. Another friend collects wrappers of different kinds of cheese.

Kavya I doubt would ever realise the joy of letter writing. Her generation is completely electronic what with e mail, Whatsapp etc. I know what is there for homework even before she has reached home as enthusiastic parents post it immediately on the Whatsapp group. Their birthday parties are organised on Whatsapp complete with invitations. Parents beam pictures and videos on the Whatsapp group from the party. As if someone would hang you if you posted the pictures after the party.

Friends, we are living in this weird wired world and the new generation is fast adapting to technology. Children are far more intelligent than we were at that age. Gone are the days when we could say, “Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.” High time we changed ourselves or our children will move on and we will be left stranded singing I am all shook up, hmm hmm hmm…..

Shishuvan’s Project Day 2014

2014-07-26 10.27.15Kavya’s school, Shishuvan held their Project Day 2014 on July 25th and 26th. As has been the norm every child participates in the event (will not wax eloquent on that lest I stray from my thoughts) The theme for Kavya and her class IV was India and her neighbours. Kavya had sung the Bangladeshi song (she said it was written by Rabindranath Tagore), the Pakistani song (which was more like a nice prayer) and the Chinese song not to forget a song in different languages including French and German words considering my little knowledge of all the languages. She was to introduce the Chinese song so as a Toastmaster in the making, it was my duty to coach her which I did and she carried it off with aplomb during the rehearsals at home.

Friday being a working day, I could not attend but Saturday made it with her by 0850 which was her reporting time. There was so much knowledge to imbibe from children. I went to her class first and was greeted by a huge map of India showing mountains, plains etc. and children would ask questions. It can be embarrassing believe me to tell a 10 year old that you don’t know something. They would then explain it all to me. Kavya and her friend were talking about National Symbols and would pose questions on that. There were a lot of other things including a word search in Hindi which for me was very tough. Then they had capitals of states and I was wronged when I said that the capital of Assam is Guwahati – It is Dispur for those who think like me:-) Learn from me!!! I learnt it from them. The children even wore the traditional attire for states and had the delicacies of that state on the table. The vada paavs and other items were sure tempting and I would joke with the kids if they were meant for me. The musical event then started and so I witnessed that as will be seen from the video links below. Kavya spoke well so yes she can be a Toastmaster if groomed well. Potential member in the making for Bombay Toastmasters 🙂

After that I strayed into the Class V rooms just to see what was in store for Kavya next year. It was impressive to see children at that age discussing solar photovoltaic and solar water heating systems. They even had a complete chart on the Solar Park in Gujarat which was worth reading. Sometimes you skim through news paper or magazine articles but these posters are short and the copy is crisp so you can gain the gyaan you want. Try it if you haven’t.

Came back to Kavya’s class ie Standard IV and saw the Indian monuments made by them. Well, don’t expect models to be replicas of what you actually see but these were children’s ways of portraying. Kavya had chewed my head over some words on Howrah Bridge which I gave to her thanks to Google & Wikipedia. Lo and behold, I see those words there along with their model of Howrah Bridge. Children maintain that veil of secrecy honestly. She wouldn’t divulge what to expect and it sure came as a surprise to see so many models made by the children.

The revelation for me was that they had actually contacted a school in Bangladesh and exchanged Powerpoint presentations with each other showing them their school, the country etc. And they received similar presentations from there as well. Wow. That was impressive indeed. I always wondered that pen friendship was all but over with the advent of Social media, e-mail etc. but no it is there in some other form. How I wish Kavya takes to pen friendship like my Dad (her Grandfather) and me. We have both enjoyed and continue to enjoy writing to friends over the years and they are now more than family to us.

Then heard this rhythmic loud drumming which was quite impressive so went up to the 4th floor and saw these two boys from VII standard playing drums (sorry but for a layman anything would be a drum even if it were a tabla or mridangam). They showed great dexterity and the crowds were equally enthusiastic in cheering them. Worth a dekko any day.

Enthusiastic parents and grandparents thronged the school but honestly it was the enthusiasm of the students and teachers which could be sensed in the air and that made the whole event a memorable learning experience. Keep it up Shishuvan and keep it up Kavya and all students. Proud of you all.

Photographs available here

The beginning of the musical event with the children saying Hello available here

The Bangladeshi Song is here

The Pakistani Song is here

Kavya’s video introducing the Chinese song available here. Coincidentally I ran out of memory just when she finished speaking so couldn’t get the Chinese song.

The Billboard music of 80s

Thanks to my cousin, Pranav for sharing this brilliant compilation. Has all hit songs of the 80s that we grew up with. These songs bring back so many memories as we heard them during the college days. The fad then faded away as the music scene changed but these songs still remain in memory.

Another channel to listen to is http://www.sky.fm/the80s which I am hooked on to on Sundays when I am not listening to Kishore Kumar / R D Burman. Do give it a shot too.

Google Music

Must admit that Google never ceases to impress me. Check this out…. You will find a massive library of music to listen to and I am impressed by the collection. My Mom can now listen to K L Saigal online and I can listen to Kishore Kumar songs. Also can listen to newer songs. I just found a bhajan I used to enjoy “Tera Ram Ji Karenge Beda Paar” by Hari Om Sharan. When in school (those days we had no FM) I used to come home and Mom being a big radio freak would listen to Vividh Bharati (Medium Wave – MW). At 2.30 pm every week day they would play Bhajans and I became a big fan of this particular Bhajan of Hari Om Sharan. It was more of a song for me in those days but repeated listening lets the song grow on you. This morning I just casually searched for it on Google Music and lo and behold I found it and heard it twice too… Re connected with my days of yore. Thanks Google. You Rock……

Kishore Kumar, R D Burman – True Legends

This morning on my flight to Delhi (by the ever faithful Indigo) I am entertained by the evergreen melodies sung by Kishore Kumar, the legend. I have a good collection of his songs on my iPod and believe me he still rocks. I have yet to come across someone who can sing and convey so many moods.

Another legend without whom Kishore Kumar would never have been able to show his talents is Rahul Dev Burman or Pancham as he was popularly known as. R D Burman is the greatest composer I have ever heard. So many songs and so many different types. I am listening to the songs from Harjaee, which has music by R D Burman and Kishore Kumar as the lead singer. For those of you who haven’t heard the songs, please do so …. truly amazing songs.

The duo of Kishore Kumar and R D Burman has give some really lilting numbers and these melodies have remained hits even till date. Indian Idol 5 had R D Burman special a fortnight ago and I have it recorded and watch it often. People try and imitate the two but they are just way too ahead. Both of them unfortunately died premature deaths and left a void which has yet to be filled in. We miss you Kishoreda and Panchamda.