Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This is an unauthorized excerpt from a book on the music genius, I was asked to translate a sample chapter and then told that the book was already published... in any event, here it is-- in case this is of use to someone somewhere...

Here, take this tanpura

Ma Annapurnadevi was born in Maihar on *Chaitra Sud Poonam*, Hanuman Jayanti (by the Indian almanac), or April 23, 1929. Ma’s mother’s name was Madina begum. Those days, Baba was touring Europe with Pandit Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. (Pandit Uday Shankar was Pandit Ravi Shankar’s elder brother).  Baba was the guru of the King of Maihar, Raja Brijnathsinh; and a musician at his court. As was customary in those days, Rajaji was informed about this auspicious child birth. He promptly named the child Annapurna.

When Baba returned from his tour, *Maulviji*, the priest, advised that regardless of the name that Rajaji had given the child, they’d have to give her a name in accordance with Islam as well. Baby Annapurna was thus also named Roshanara.

When Annapurna was about seven years old, one evening she was playing a game of hopscotch with her friends. Her elder brother, Ali Akbar Khan, was being taught the sarod by Baba. As usual, Baba taught Ali Akbar a sequence of notes, and asked him to play it repeatedly so as to perfect the sequence till such time that he returned from the bazaar. Ali Akbar attempted to play the piece he’d just been taught. Annapurna rushed in and interrupted, saying, “Baba didn’t teach it this way.” Then the seven year-old sang out the sequence of notes perfectly. Ali Akbar was stunned, and Annapurna continued to repeat the notes, waiting for a reaction from her brother.

Baba had left for the bazaar, that’s true, but he’d returned mid-way because he’d forgotten his purse. Just about the time when Annapurna was correcting Ali Akbar’s rendition of the notes by singing them out, Baba had stepped into the house.

At Baba’s home, an unwritten rule prohibited teaching girls from the family to sing. The reason was emotional—not that the music devotee Baba believed in social restrictions, or that he believed that women ought to be kept away from this knowledge. But a sad event in Baba’s past was responsible for this decision.
Baba had an elder daughter, Jahanara, and he’d taught her to sing; she had a melodious voice. While seeing her away to her in-laws after her wedding, Baba had gifted her a tanpura so that she could continue with her music training. However, the family that she’d been married into was quite orthodox and traditional, with no respect for music or the arts, and it was unacceptable for women of their household to pursue music. They burnt the tanpura that Baba had presented her. Jahanara died a few years later, of  JALODAR (technical term).

This emotional trauma affected Baba deeply. He decided that he’d give Annapurna everything-- but music. Under no circumstances must she meet the same fate as her sister when she grew up and got married. Everyone in the household knew this decision.

Envision this scene—Ali Akbar, intently trying to play the notes that his father had taught him, the child Annapurna repeating quite casually the notes that she’d overheard, and a grim Baba standing behind her, watching. Ali Akbar, distressed at the memory of his late elder sister, and knowing how strict and angry his father could be, sat quietly. But Annapurna didn’t know any of this. When Baba stepped forth, Annapurna stopped singing and realized the gravity of her trespass.

Baba was quiet. Ma says, “He took hold of my braid, and led me to the next room. Then Baba placed a tanpura in my hands and asked lovingly, ‘Will you learn music?’ What could I say? He said, ‘Here, take this tanpura.’” Thus, Annapurna’s music pilgrimage began.

Baba was distressed at the emotional trauma that his elder daughter had to bear, but how long would it have taken the music virtuoso to recognize the pure genius that this child had displayed? She’d sung perfectly a difficult section of music, that too, something she’d overheard casually while she was engrossed in playing.
For genius, it is said, the Gods themselves render favorable circumstances and intervene to shape their fates. If it were not so, would this soul have found its way to the musical genius’s home? Baba fathomed the deep grasping power that Annapurna held. He thought a while and he broke the rule he’d made, of not teaching music to women from his household.

This handing over of the tanpura was Annapurna’s *vrat-diksha*, her solemn initiation to a lifetime of music. That game of hopscotch,too, was destiny. Baba did not have to search far for his successor, his custodian of his knowledge. The Gods had taken care of this.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Meme Contribution

This is a meme, so please keep it going.
Awarded to me by PT aka thefrumpyprofessor.
This meme was started by I, Splotchy.
I tag mago Herr magician
Amit L

Story Title: There Always Has To Be a Start

I, Splotchy's Contribution:

The mall was crowded. There were happy people, angry people, people in a hurry, even a few people sleeping on benches. To the security guard, they were a blur of coats, hats and scarves. He was just beginning his second eight hour shift. He yawned, leaning against a pillar in the food court, the aftertaste of terrible mall cookies lingering on his tongue. His eyes abruptly snapped open with the loud sound of glass shattering behind him.


Cormac's Contribution:

The glass landed on the main concourse floor and the strung Christmas lights around the mall made the floor glitter like a field of glittering gems. Out of Hot Topic came a huge tasseled-shod foot and the glass cracked like ice under the foot's immense weight. Above that antiquated shoe was a massive muscular leg, clad in green tights.

The elder Mrs. Hajba knows what this creature is and she screams out its name, yet no one understands her. Mostly because everyone else is too busy screaming, but also because the only person would understand, her daughter Anastasia, is across the mall at T.G. McFunster's...trying to find husband number four, lest her, and her mother be deported.

This being that apparently is unknown to America, stands some sixteen feet tall in bright green and red clothing that would be more suitable to the Renaissance. The brute is muscular and misshapen, with veins that bulge and throb at a preternaturally speed. Its skin is bright white, and its teeth silver and black like tinsel. The eyes of the beast have no pupils or irises to speak of. They could best be described as giant red, opaque Christmas ball ornaments.

Mrs. Hajba summons every brain cell that American TV soaps haven't manged to destroy yet and she yells at the security guard, "It's Ghost of Kreestmass Disappoint-ted!"


MrMaCrum's Contribution:

Christmas was especially hectic here at the largest Mall in the Universe. Jenkins had been temporarily transferred over from his normal eight hours of checking doors at the local high school to double shifts here at the mall. On any given day starting in November, as many as 1,ooo,ooo shoppers a day flocked here to drop their credits in one or more of the 3000 shop til you drop stores found inside it's ten story 5000 acre complex. Increased traffic meant more shoplifting, assaults, and an uptick in the usual run of the mill bag thefts and purse snatchings. Jenkins definitely did not consider the quarter an hour raise to be enough compensation for what he had to put up with here. Nodding off sitting on a hard chair at the high school seemed like heaven about now.

"Base. Come in Base."

"Jenkins, that you? What's the problem? Jeezus guy, hold the mic away from your mouth some. I thought we went over that. The feed back is terrible."

"Uh, well okay, gotcha Base. Seems one of those new Tron androids got loose. Looks like the big one in the window display as a matter of fact. He's headed for food court 23."

"Jenkins, that display cannot move. They promised us that it was completely non-functional. Get your shit together and check it out."

"Base, that display maybe is supposed to be inoperative, but I tell you something big has just made a helluva mess from Hot Topic to the big tree display here on floor five. I see some woman up ahead waving at me. Maybe she has a clue. Jenkins out."

"Lady, lady." Jenkins shook the woman on the floor. She turned her head in Jenkins' direction. Panicked shoppers continued streaming by them in the opposite direction of the commotion closing in on food court 23.

"It's Ghost of Kreestmass Disappoint-ted!" That's all she said.

"What's that mean lady? Tell me."

Her eyes suddenly fixed on something over Jenkins shoulder. Jenkins turned........


My (PipeTobacco's) Contribution:

.... and saw the ferocious claws of the mechanical Tron Android reaching towards his neck, and looked briefly into its "face" before he dropped to the floor and attempted to role away in a manner akin to Jackie Chan.

Unfortunately, Jenkins was no Chan, and his roll had more egg in it than those at the mall's Panda Express. A bit battered, he got back on his feet to see the Tron Android grasping and squeezing fervently a Mild Sauce packet he found to the side of Jenkin's burrito combo meal from Taco Bell.

"What the hell?" muttered Jenkins, as he grappled for his mike to call back to base again.

But as he pulled on the cord across his chest to reach the mike, he found the cord was severed. Where the mike was to be, attached to the epaulets of his uniform, was only a ripped piece of his shirt, drenched in blood.

* * * * *

Austere’s contribution:

Jenkins sniffed his red-smeared hand.
Maggi's special masala ketchup. From the Indian store. Whoever'd know! The mechanical Tron Android had a predilection for all things Asian.

Jenkins breathed deeply. No sudden moves, nothing to startle the creature. Possibly he could get away. Either that, or get trod upon, crushed to bits. He should have taken care of that insurance. Now it was too late.

Crunch Crunch. The monster chewed the burrito combo meal including the styrofoam plate to pieces.

"More!" he growled, and brought down the giant chandelier with a flick of his wrist.

The horrified crowd tried to crouch and look inconspicuous. All the shop doors had sealed at the first signs of danger, and all escape routes were blocked by the Iron Android's giant limbs. The wailing siren and blinking lights only angered him.

"More!" he roared again, and grabbed the shining, tinsel-decked Christmas tree, decorations and all, and flung it aside.

The crowd trembled. A few people fainted.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

here the jasood is in bloom, fresh tender leaves tremble.
that shrub decked with pretty purple flowers
joyous in a peach dawn, it is just is.
someplace the neon nights are endless
somewhere a distant planet wobbled.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Almost 55 words

Cheating 1
“Was… was she very pretty?” He didn’t reply, turned to the other side of the bed instead. ”So when did it begin?” she whispered, tracing a different name in the sweat on his back.

Cheating 2
Click. The last fifty million transferred out to a Cayman Island account. All booked as expense in the main company. Every penny accounted for. Full and final. The phone buzzed. “Sure, send the auditors in. And make it quick. I have a Corporate Excellence Award to go to.”

Sunday, July 13, 2008


tracks clatter to the distance.

twin strips of gleaming metal,
welded with rivets, sweat, grease.
gleaming tracks,
wiped clean.
of flesh shards, blood,
detritus, grime.
hammered strips of gleaming metal
meet someplace
where flowers
in memory
blood-red hibiscus, lilywhite
steal jealous color
from a widow’s ripped life.

Monday, April 14, 2008

past the cobwebs and the grime.
just as luminous
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Just this incredible sense of peace, and space.
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About Me

Moody Libran. Not very social, cant stand pfaff but you wouldnt know it; Would you care for a nice cup of tea, deah?