25 March, 2012

It is ‘Rock’…live with it!


I was recently criticized for not having a wide listening range of music by someone whose idea of Rock music or Heavy Metal probably starts and stops with what they heard on ‘Rock On!!’ which was a movie I did enjoy. The conversation moved on to them telling me that people like music with some rhythm and not the stuff that Metallica plays. What?!?!? Excuse me….did you ‘human’ brought up on Bollywood music just tell me that Metallica has no rhythm? Do you also believe that ‘Rockstar’ was about an actual rock star or just a brat with a temper with a lot of access to Gibson guitars? Can you try repeating that to the 30,000 fans in Gurgaon who never got to see the band and went on riot? Or try saying that to the 40,000 odd fans in Bangalore who came from all over India.

Rhythm is where one finds it. People tend to listen to one song and generalize an entire band. And which band did they choose to marginalize as non-rhythmic? Metallica…. So clearly ‘Fade to Black’ was just some meaningless drivel that got me through not killing myself during engineering. ‘Unforgiven’ is obviously something written on a cocktail napkin that appeals only to every person who feels belittled trying to meet society’s burgeoning expectations. ‘Master of Puppets’ has nothing to do with addiction to drugs. ‘One’ is definitely not an analogy to how at the end of a struggle that nearly kills you, you’re left with nothing. I could go on and on about this “non-rhythmic” music that clearly no one except retards like me listen to.

To readers, and non-readers, musically inclined and otherwise….music is not defined by rhythm alone. Each and every one of you was calmed down as babies by the beat of your mum or dad’s heart when they held you close. That was your first exposure to rock music and the beauty of bass. And you have the nerve to listen to the sounds made by the likes of Manu Aalik(name changed for legal reasons) and tell me that Metallica are not a rhythmic band? Next you’re going to tell me that Eric Clapton’s blues guitar skills are meaningless, but Jatin-Lalit’s starting intro to ‘Koi mil gaya’ from ‘Kuch Kuch Hota hain’ is divine. And you have the nerve to tell me that I don’t listen to good music.

I almost feel pity for you lot with closed minds. You, who have become happy listening to one type of commercial retrograde music and believing every other form of music around you, is irrelevant or silly. It’s not the music my friend, it is you and only you. This is merely a reflection of the closed mindedness you are handicapped with. I did not enjoy Metallica the first time I heard them as a band. I was more in love with Iron Maiden.(Another “non-rhythmic” band….che, only galloping riff they keep playing) But now, as the years have gone by and I’ve opened my mind to jazz, blues, Carnatic, rap, trance and so many other forms of music…. and I worship ‘Metallica’ more than God himself.

You will never know what rock or metal is all about. And yet it is all around you. Whenever someone is looking to have a good time, what do they say? They say ‘Let’s Rock’or ‘Let’s having a rocking time’, …..ever hear anyone say ‘Let’s Pop’…or ‘Let’s ‘Bollywood film music’. Do you know why? It’s because ‘Rock’ music and forms like ‘Grunge’ and ‘Metal’ that have grown from that, are synonymous with energy and a good time. But you go on dear closed minded friend. Go listen to your Bollywood music and feel happy about it. I don’t blame you. You’ve not been as fortunate as me to be associated with people who know so much more about music in general. People like my mum who introduced me to music as a child to  carnatic music, to my dad who had only Boney.M or Abba tapes and played them, to the first friend who gave me his 'Number of the Beast' Iron Maiden tape, to the other friend who played 'Master of Puppets' which I frowned upon and then played 'Enter Sandman' which is my favourite Metallica song, to the teacher who opened my guitar to Beatles and Deep Purple, to my other teacher who showed me glory of Blues guitar, to my former band mates who introduced me to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.....let's admit it. I've got some awesome people in my life.

But all these people would have been irrelevant if I had kept a closed mind and stuck to listening only to Boney.M. And the same goes for so many art forms. The worst thing one can do is to dismiss art without understanding art. I don't understand dance, I don't get it. But yet there is something so beautiful in bharatnatyam and something so sensual in Salsa and something so alive in Jive. But I don't know any of these forms....and yet I don't catch it, label it and put it into the cold storage.

We rock and heavy metal fans do not have to explain our music to you. Either you get it or you don’t. We don’t have to explain why we wear black t-shirts to you. We don’t have to explain devil’s horns to you. A reporter once asked Louis Armstrong, "What is jazz?” He replied " If you gotta ask, you'll never know."....replace jazz with Rock or Heavy Metal....it's still the same story when people were figuring out jazz. If you've got to ask, you'll never know.

BTW, just check out the number of people who had come to listen to the "non-rhythmic" band known as Metallica.

(Picture: Courtesy www.metallica.com)

05 March, 2012

Boundaries Gentlemen….Boundaries


How far is one allowed to stretch their friendship at the office? More times than not, we forget the thin and almost blurred line that separates college buddy and office colleague. I’m not sure if this is only relevant to the IT industry, so rather than generalize and have many IT-fan boys tell me that ‘casual is the new professional’, I had better come to the point.

Early afternoon two weeks ago, I was invited to present some whachamaycallit to a firang (white-skinned former master). I was invited by one of my colleagues,  with whom I share a decent rapport with and I have worked with him on numerous occasions since I joined my current company. I was walking to the room where everyone was gathered to present when this colleague and a firang (whom I assume is the kasht-amar) step out. I stretch out my hand to greet this person whom I know.

With me so far? Good…. Instead of returning my handshake, this colleague goes on to step right next to me and start patting my tummy.

Excuse me ? Hello? Why this kolaveri? That too in front of foreign uncleji?

I’m way too shocked and stare at this fellow while he continues to pat my tummy in a manner that you rub a dog’s belly. He just does not stop. He goes on to ask me in tamil how I’ve been. In my moment of terrible discomfort and social awkwardness, I decide to introduce myself to the firang.

Phew, the patting stops. Dear Mr.Firang kasht-amar decides to be cheeky and respond by saying, “you guys seem like good friends.” Oh my lord….what has happened? So much for him adding me on Linkedin and me being able to send my resume build connects to improve company-customer relations.

I am not a good luck charm whose belly you rub to get good luck. I’m not a dog that becomes more affectionate with a belly rub. Also, I’m not a teletubby. This is inappropriate behavior not only for the office, but is inappropriate behavior for any place. And just because I’m larger than average people and my tummy sort of enters a room before I do, does not… DOES FRIKKIN NOT give anyone the right to pat it. I’m not a college chum…or chum of any sort. No public display of affection please. A hug is alright…tummy patting or any other form of touching is not.