Mohammad Rafi for Shammi Kapoor

Mohammad Rafi was one of our greatest singers. He sang for several heroes over the years. I particularly liked the joy he brought to his Shammi Kapoor songs. Shammi had this somewhat manic energy in his movements, and Rafi's singing brought that out very well. Here is a listing of some of them.

Film Bramhachari- This is a duet which gets your feet tapping automatically. Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zubaan par sabko malum hai aur sabko khabar ho gayi..the music adds to the charm.

Badan pe sitare lapete hue ..o jaane tamanna kidhar ja rahi paas aao to chain aa jaye..he sings to Vyjayantimala in Prince..a memorable song.

Yahoo..chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe, kehne do ji kehta rahe..was a superb song in the film Junglee.

Film Teesri Manzil. Unforgettable songs from him like O haseena zulfonwali jaane jahan, and Aaja aaja main hoon pya tera, allah allah inkaar tera.. matching steps with Helen in the first, and Asha Parekh in the second.

Aji aisa mauka phir kahan milega..aao tumko dikhlata hoon Paris ki ek rangeen shaam dekho dekho dekho dekho dekho An Evening in Paris, was my first introduction to Paris.

Jaane wale zara hoshiar yahan ke hum hain Rajkumar from the film called Rajkumar.

Baar baar dekho hazaar baar dekho, dekhne ki cheez hai hamara Chinatown was another great foot-tapping energetic number.

Abdul Kalam-An Important Indian

He was unique. The highest office in the land did not change him. Lesser mortals change with much less, usually for worse. He seemed unconcerned about what the world was heaping on him- work, accolades, miseries (early in life), whatever..

His life was devoted to his work for many years, in the development of indigenous rocket/missile technology. But he was at his best talking to youngsters-children even, exhorting them to dream for themselves and India. Very inspiring.

As a teacher, his ability to simplify things was his greatest virtue, in my view. Maybe not just as a teacher. Just watched an old interview of his from 2008 by Mrinal Pande of Doordarshan TV. She asked him a wide range of questions, and he had an answer for every one of them. No evasion, straight answers, sometimes explaining new concepts such as a new index of how well a country is doing (in addition to GDP, how many people are pulled up from poverty each year plus how many people live in joint families-according to him, a positive support system) very easily, and very knowledgeable about his country and various initiatives-institutional and private. He also explained how we need technology in agriculture because he expected a drop in arable land, water and manpower in the food-growing sector. Open, innovative and positive.

No other person in high office in recent times has earned so much love and respect from such a wide range of people. Hats off to a great Indian. May we see more like him.

Rains. Pain and Gain

There are a few good things about the rains. The green surroundings, for instance. Our campus turns a green leaf with the first rain. The surroundings are lush as if it were a European countryside. Don't miss any of those countries during this season. The car gets a wash automatically, and the wipers get to wipe the tears forming on the windshield. Everything looks- no, is- cleaner.

Minor discomfort includes carrying umbrellas, and watching out for puddles. Not being able to go out often, worrying about heavy rain and the after-effects. Roads deteriorate rapidly, with that unique Indian thing-potholes-visible on most. I rarely saw one in my 5 year stay in The U.S.

The place actually is pleasing to the eye, come to think of it. Some would say, romantic..

Anopheles in 2015

Anopheles, my winged friend sailed in without a fuss, and started a conversation as if we had met yesterday-in fact, it had been several months since we had met.

How are you doing? she said easily.

I am fine. How about you? I asked back.

Not too bad. But I must say, this business of kids growing up gets my goat at times, she confessed.

Why? I pretended innocence.

Well, they want so many things. A good training, a palatial home, and no interference from us parents, she said.

And the latest gadgets? I added, questioningly.

And all the latest gadgets, she acquiesced. For work and for play. 

I said, "Don't worry too much about it. It's just a phase. We go through it here in our world too."

She turned to me and said, "What's up in your world?"

I said, "It's more WhatsApp than What's up."

"And what's that?" she wanted to know.

I explained, "It's an app- life these days runs on apps-applications, I mean. We want a cab, there's an app for it. If we are hungry, the pizza company's app helps. If we want a doctor, there's a medical app. If we want to exercise, another one keeps tabs on how many kilometres we have walked, and tells us the blood pressure at all times, before, during and after. This one's a communication app."

"And all these apps make you happier?" she asked.

"Well, I'll need an App to answer that," I joked. "The art of conversation is close to dead. If it's alive, it's only because some women still like to chat the old-fashioned way." I couldn't tell whether that remark made her happy or not. But I went into a reverie of sorts, imagining what kind of an App could produce H 'app'iness in humans -or even mosquitoes. For now, we said our goodbyes happily, and decided to meet more often, and exchange notes.

Masaan-Film Review

Watched this gem of a film yesterday after I read reviews of it in the Mumbai press. For once, the reviews were bang-on! This is a great little film. It is about life and death. A bit tragic for my liking, but ends on an upbeat note. It has a very realistic storyline, and is convincingly authentic.

The actors and the director I don't really know, except that they did their parts well. A story that has unexpected twists, good acting, beautiful cinematography, good music, and a leisurely but engrossing pace. Can't give away the story here, as it'll spoil the fun for those who might want to watch it.

Reminded me of my two other recent favourites- The Lunchbox and Finding Fanny. Do watch if you like serious (and good) cinema. I am loving it!

A Joke- The Hairdresser and the Pope

Because a joke a day keeps the blues away..

Pope and the Hairdresser

A New York woman was at her hairdresser's on Park Ave. getting her hair styled prior to a trip to Rome with her boyfriend. she mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded,

"Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded, dirty and full of Italians. You're crazy to go to Rome"........"so how are you getting there?"

"We are taking the Continental," was the reply. " We got a great rate."

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser, "that's a terrible airline, their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late.
So where are you staying in Rome?"

"We 'll be staying at this exclusive little place over on Rome's left bank called Teste..."

"Don't go any further, I know that place, Everyone thinks it's gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city. the rooms are small, the service is surly and they're overpriced."
"So whatcha doing when you get there?"

"We are going to the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser, You and a few million other people trying to see him, he'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours, you're going to need it.

A few months later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked about her trip to Rome.

"It was wonderful. Not only were we there on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28 year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot.
And the hotel, it was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so the apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well,", muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but
I know you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally
greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh, really....what did he say?"

He said....... "Where did you get that shitty hairdo?"

Baahubali-Film Review

In a word, it's magical. You can't take your eyes off the action, it is so well done, so larger than life, and yet, so believable, that you get lost in it for the duration. As the story comes to an end (with the promise to continue), you feel sorry it has ended! The editing, for a change, is just right.

The story is typical of a mythical tale, of betrayal, courage, revenge. Partly Tarzan, partly royal tale, it has all the elements of a good story, and the director tells it in a spell-binding fashion. The action scenes are the best I have seen anywhere, from Ben-Hur's chariot scenes, to James Bond, or Mission Impossible, to any modern tale of valour.

The cast is perfect, starting with Ramya Krishnan as the Queen and strategist who saves the hero-child, to Sathyaraj as the loyal Kattappa, to the hero, Prabhas in a double role, to Rana Daggubati as the counterfoil Bhallala, and Tamannah as the loyalist of the wronged king/queen. Even her action sequence is amazing.

Go watch it for a story well-told, and for a lesson on the technique of how to make a good film. Film as a medium comes alive and talks to you.

Puns for Fun

They are self-explanatory...have fun.

A pessimist's blood type is always B-negative.

My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's
just kiln time.

Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating - always use condiments.

I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the
wrong way.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean
your mother.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

A woman needs a lover just to break the monogamy.

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion. 

When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

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