It’s been a busy time with NRI’s in town, some reasonable weather and general running around. A lot has happened in the last two weeks.
Dented and painted Sachin Tendulkar has hung up his ODI boots. Someone wrote an absolutely melodramatic, cliché filled and tear jerking letter in the style of the best Bollywood pot boilers to his fans. This was a hoax, luckily the writer has not gone to jail or been burnt or stoned by Sachin's adoring fans. This letter I happened to see as it was posted on Facebook by his fans, some of whom are my friends on Facebook. I must clean up my Facebook account!
Then we had a gang rape in Delhi and that has led to protests, furious debates on TV, angry columns in our newspapers, calls for resignation, chemical castrations, candlelit marches, the Mango people party jumping in to help Mango people, our political leaders scoring points, own goals and putting their feet into their mouths. Much fire and brimstone.
At one point I was captivated by a heated television debate. Among the array of participants was a monkey cap clad Dr. Abhisheik Manu Singhvi an ex Congress spokesperson. He is an ex spokesperson as he was lucky enough to get a `BJ’, in his office with TV cameras running, from a lady who he promised judgeship to provided she did a suck job, literally. He was on TV in a debate on women’s rights. Fine choice I must say. Along with him was our own Marathi Mulgi Shobhaa De who has made a fortune selling soft porn books. Does soft porn or porn for that matter, place women on a very high pedestal or does it degrade them? The latter I think but who am I to say anything, I am just a blogger. I presume having written many soft porn books gives her the necessary qualifications to speak about women’s rights.
Then our venerable Prime Minister, whose honesty and integrity cannot be questioned, says, `Theek Hai?’. I have been much happier and feeling much safer after his most reassuring speech.
Following the warm happy feeling I got after listening to our Prime Minister, I felt that it was safe for me and HRH the Queen to take the short walk from home to St. Andrews Auditorium to watch a Blues Music show. No busses to be caught, and after the PM’s speech, eve teasing has disappeared, plus this is Mumbai not Delhi. We are very busy bashing the UP and Bihar guys. Girls do not concern us.
In Mumbai we are so starved of decent live western music that it is tragic. Yes there are a few live performances by washed up big bands now and then. There are many more performances by DJ’s but that is not my cup of tea. The Jazz Yatra is a thing of the distant past. At best today we have really obscure jazz musicians on some sort of government grant touring India. This promised to be a good show. On the bill were 2 bands, the first a Pune based outfit and the second; probably India’s finest band, Soulmate from Shillong. With booze companies finding fewer and fewer avenues to advertise, they now sponsor music performances. This means that we can sample their products either free or at discounted prices. It is nice to have a civilised drink or two before a show.
The first band, Pune based Smokestack was an unmitigated disaster. They were awful. Guitars kept going out of tune. They did not have a set list, the band rambled on almost like a jam or a rehearsal, the attempts at humour were childish and generally they were a shambles. I was frankly disgusted. You cannot have such performances for audiences that have paid for their seats.
Next up was Soulmate. We had seen them live at the 2011 Mahindra Blues Festival at Mehboob Studios and they blew me away. This time they were excellent. The sound from the band after the pathetic Smokestack was like listening to a proper music system after an IPod. The sound was punchy clear and instruments could be heard. The level of skill by each musician was so much higher than Smokestack. Rudy Wallang the guitarist is really very good with a decent sized bag of tricks. The vocalist Tipriti is good with a voice that sounds at times like the goofy Macy Gray to the booming Etta James. She had all the moves, she has great stage presence, a great voice and dances sinuously. The audience was enthralled. This was a very good band. I cannot even imagine how proud they must have felt when they opened for Santana at the Delhi F1 post race concert. At one point Carlos Santana came onstage and jammed with them. They are from Shillong, a part of India that is much neglected. Supremely talented and great to watch. Soulmate does visit Mumbai and other Indian cities for shows quite often. I recommend you keep your eyes open for any adverts saying when they are next going to be in your city. Do watch them; you will not be disappointed at all.
So folks, we are coming to the end of 2012. India continues to be bashed in every way possible. Our poor Government is struggling with a severe case of Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong is going wrong. It’s a pity they are shattered by this but their pomposity and passing the buck style of operation has to change not only for them but for us and for India.