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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Magic Of Music!

From Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and Maharashtra to Meghalaya, we are a nation of music lovers who can drown all our differences of cast and creed, political and provincial, communal and cultural, and live together as one people, playing or listening to the same music. Whether it was the verse of sufis and saints, or the melody of Lata Mungeshkar or the folk-lore of Ila Arun, or Indi-pop of Daler Mehndi, music has been the biggest binding force for all times. Music has also helped bring together India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, even in the most tense and troubled times of their relationship. Many in India did not go to sleep without listening to Mehdi Hussan or Ghulam Ali of Pakistan and it was left to Runa Laila of Bangladesh to bring out the best of “Jhoole Lal”. Reshma always remained a rage in India whenever she came from Pakistan to perform here and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, from Pakistan, produced one of his best albums in India. And of course, melody queen Lata Mungeshkar has always remained a household name in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The list goes on and on. Music is something that is essential to our living. Not something ornamental, not only something enjoyable, not only something exciting, but something essential as a unifying force in the terrible conflicts that we live in and to live daily with so many horrible things that happen.

Lately the magic of Bollywood music has cast its spell crossing all boundaries and nationalities. As a rule connoisseurs of Latino and Spanish music might not enjoy Hindi film music. That is till you meet Leonard, Stella and Paola of Ecstacy, a three-piece band from Columbia. “We love the Bollywood music. Kajarare kajarare, Dhoom macha le and Bidi jalaile… We can’t pronounce the words correctly but we love the melody and rhythm,” smiles Leonard while Stella explains the nuances. Their liking for Hindi music shows in their performances too when the band incorporated these fast-paced numbers while singing Spanish numbers during their tour to India.. In U.K., USA , Middle East and South Africa especially, some of the biggest chart-busters include Indi-pop and hit songs from Bollywood movies. Unimaginable at one time, some of the most successful movies from Hollywood, released in recent years, seem inspired by Bollywood musicals.

Indian film music lovers have always appreciated and applauded the haunting evergreen pieces of music of the great masters. Some composers with their unique distinguishing features in their styles have left an indelible impression on our minds. Since music has always been an integral part of Indian cinema, particularly Hindi films, composers of the past to the present give it their all as they compose songs to cater to the demands of innumerable listeners across the country or make tailor-made numbers to suit the situational settings in films. From Alam Ara, the first Indian talkie, to the current releases, Hindi film music has produced thousands of unforgettable hit songs, an endless stream of singers, composers and lyricists and more than its share of super hits of Hindi cinema. The Indian cinema has elevated the song-and-dance sequences to a rare art form. Film songs serve a variety of purposes. Studded at judicious intervals all through the story, they can make a more telling statement than mere dialogue; they can be both entertaining and illuminating; they can, of course, leaven an otherwise flat story with spice and color. The following email from my daughter-in-law is an example how with the help of internet radio, Indians abroad are “transported to another time and place in India that you thought you had lost in your memory for ever”, through the magic of music:

“Hi Papa and Mama

Could you please, please, please, please do me a favor? Go onto the
"Bombay Beats" internet radio that Alok set you up with, and let it
play for an hour, or more, if you like. I promise you, it will change
your daily life. Your subjective experience will be magically
transformed--the space around you will be light and incandescent, the
air will sing melodies you never imagined . . . you will hear olden
goldies as well as current hits. When the older songs come on, you'll
be transported to another time and place in India that you thought you
had lost in your memory forever. Other times, recent tunes from
current Bollywood movies will sound, and you'll surely revisit the
pleasure of watching the movie all over again (it's made for a film
buff like you )!

Trust me: you know how much I love Indian music and I have it on
almost 24/7, and never tire of it. It makes my life richer, full of
sensory riches and rhapsodic delight. Sometimes I almost swoon and
giggle . . . I feel like I'm walking through India, where the radio
always blares Indian music. The exciting thing is that the radio is so
unpredictable inasmuch as you never know what song is coming next--
it's spontaneous gift after unexpected gift . . . feels like birthdays
and Christmas and every other holiday rolled into one--the presents
keep coming, song after treasured song.

In fact, as I type this, my fingers are flying over the keyboard, like
a spirit possessed, because Bollywood beats is playing in the
background--and the songs buoy me and lift my drive to introduce you
to all these songs, literally lying at your feet, waiting for you to
discover them and pick them up. Please don't ignore them any longer--
they have been waiting at your doorstep long enough.

Happy Listening :-)



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