Sunrise Or Sunset.

My fellow blogger and friend Chuck aka Shackman calls some of his sayings ‘Shackmanese’. This is an example of that. He did not provide an exclamation mark or a question mark at the end and has left fellow LBC writers to decide on how to approach the topic.

I have decided to oblige him by replacing the ‘or’ with ‘and’, just to try and rile him a bit.

When it is Sunrise time for Shackman, it is Sunset time for me in terms of actual daily events. Neither of us is in the Sunrise stage metaphorically any longer and so, I shall not dwelve on it and instead talk about the real ones in my life at this Sunset years of my life.

My home opens out in the front to the West and the two bedrooms at the rear have windows and a balcony opening out to the East. Sunrise cannot be seen from the bedrooms because of other buildings and trees at the back. Sunset however can be seen from our front verandah, but that is a pleasure that I can indulge in only in the winters as otherwise it will be too hot in the summers and it is usually overcast in the monsoons.

Every morning, I sit in our verandah facing the West first with my morning mug of tea and then for an hour of japa. It is a time when the sun rises from the rear of our home and starts to illumine the Western sky and some of the distant building facades. Very often the light reflects off some distant pane of glass. It is the time of slow coming to life in our neighbourhood with bird sounds, distant sounds of traffic and the occasional angry sound of a locomotive horn from the railway line a couple of kilo meters away from home.  The air is fresh and crisp. People walk, jog or just start leaving for work and other regulars like milkmen, newspaper delivery boys, breadwallah etc also ply.  By the time I get up, I am fully charged to face the rest of the day. I love the 75 minutes that I spend thus every morning in the verandah experiencing the sunrise, albeit not witnessing it directly.

Given the choice, I would like to see both the sunrise and the sunset every day,  but perforce have to be satisfied with the sunset in the winters. Indicative of the stage of my life too?

Shackman has suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Memory Trigger 15. A Song And An Irish Troubadour.

My friend Sandeep was listening to this song while having lunch at home in the UK and sent me a WhatsApp message asking me to listen to it too. Little did he know that this will trigger off a great memory of a great friend, alas no more.

I quote his WhatsApp messsage – “I Forget what a van Morrison fan I am sometimes. Hugely underrated, and with a lyrical ability on par with Bob Dylan and a better musician. Has at least 5 truly great albums that have never got the global acclaim they deserve. A true Irish troubadour.”

When I was a bachelor salesman in Madras of the early sixties of the last century, I met a remarkable Irish fellow called TW. This fellow had had all kinds of adventures as a seaman and had jumped ship in Madras and was working as a steward in a restaurant. He enjoyed my company primarily because he could talk to someone in English and for a few months that he stayed in Madras, we were good friends.

After he returned to Ireland he wrote regularly and we kept in touch with each other by mail. He came back to india in 1978 when I was in Bombay. He spent three unforgettable days with us then and he gifted an album to us which had this song in it. It was the first time that my late wife and I were introduced to Irish music and we were completely zapped by the beauty of it. This album stayed with us for many years till we eventually got rid of all LPs when the CDs came into the market. I somehow never went back to Van Morrison and this message from Sandeep not only took me back to the music but also to TW.

TW came from a fairly well to do family of Dublin and had an adventurous life. I met him in Dublin in 1987 and spent a weekend with him at his ancestral home. He was in the final stages of his life with serious cirrhosis of the liver and by December of 1987 he died of drink. He was 46 years old.

Thank you Sandeep for bringing this song back to me and also the memories of a good friend long gone.

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god’s green land
And the gypsy’s rode
With their hearts on fire
They say “We love to wander, ”
“Lord we love, ”
“Lord we love to roam”

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back ’til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

Written by Van Morrison • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Movie – Sarkar 3.

The long awaited sequel to Sarkar and Sarkar Raj finally reached our theatres last Friday and I was able to see it yesterday after sacrificing my siesta for an inconveniently timed matinee show. The inconvenience however was worth it and I came away satisfied with the outing.

Caveat, while this movie can be seen on a stand alone basis, it is better that viewers see the earlier two films of the franchise to follow the thread that otherwise can be a bit confusing. Somewhat like seeing the Godfather III without having seen the earlier two in the series.

Amitabh Bachhan expectedly produces a very professional and impressive performance and is ably supported by a remarkable cast. Prior to going to see the film, I had not noticed that Yami Gautam was also in it and was very pleasantly surprised to see her in it though her role is peripheral to the main story and almost a cameo one. My readers will recollect my writing about her in my review of Kaabil.

I did not have great expectations from Amit Sadh, having seen him earlier in Kai Po Che and Sultan, but in this film, he has produced a remarkable performance. Not an easy task considering the calibre of the rest of the cast.

Ram Gopal Verma’s direction is up to his usual skilful tricks with light and sound. He effectively brings out the darkness surrounding the theme. Some exaggeration in depicting Manoj Bajpayee and Jackie Shroff can be forgiven given the characters that they portray.

A good entertaining film to watch during a warm afternoon when the air conditioning makes you forget the heat outside. And, Shackman, I did not have popcorn, but did indulge in a couple of samosas during the intermission.

Pune, My Home City.

A friend and neighbour sent this video to me in WhatsApp and in turn I forwarded it to some friends in Pune and elsewhere with the comment – “Why I live in Pune”.

One friend, also a resident of Pune, took objection and suggested that there could be other places without water shortages, electricity outages, dust, dirt etc. I responded with the observation that there could be no place on earth without either such problems or other minor problems and that despite being in a position to live in many other places in India, I would be loathe to leave Pune after almost 28 years of living here.

I also sent this pithy image for effect!