Friday, August 19, 2011

The Guitar falls Silent

Padmarajan and Bharathan held him and his work close to their heart, Sathyan Anthikkad held his work dear.

Cinema Buffs nay casual followers would know the person I am talking about has to be extremely talented and versatile to get the respect of these great directors, Johnson or Johnson Mash was just that.

The image I have of him (Have never met him personally) is leaning into a microphone his fingers drawing soulful music from his ubiquitous guitar. I dont know his full name he was always Johnson, just Johnson.
AIR Chalachitra Ganangal program was where I first heard his name (the announcer saying the movie name, the lyricist name and last sangeetham Johnson). Then saw it on screen -background music Johnson-, then - music Johnson. Then again and again his name kept on popping up during my growing years, so and so in my mind one of the names good music is synonymous with is Johnson.

I saw his name on the news scroller on TV announcing his passing away at 8.30 pm on August 19, 2011. The Guitar in my mind twanged out of tune, the string broken.

Kannerpoovinte kavilil thalodi he has begun his final journey.

"So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me" (ABBA)

He lived his life to a Fare-thee- well! Goodbye Johnson!

Monday, January 3, 2011


A New Year, a New Decade
A new Beginning

BUT what is New
Old baggage hangs on
Old ghosts haunt
Old debts unpaid
Old promises unfulfilled

Old ties stay, Old friends remain
Old hugs still tight
Old kisses still fragrant
Old dreams rekindled

New hopes arise
New horizons to conquer
New bonds to be forged
New paths to be explored

A New Year, a New Decade
A new Beginning

Happy New Year

Friday, May 21, 2010

Owner, Lord and Master!!!

ToW and I go back a long way. We studied together and were real close friends, bunked classes together, job hunted together, before I got enough courage to pop the question. Damn woman gave me a matter of fact yes, and a look which meant IDIOT why did you waste such a lot of time!

Anyway she refers to be my name (most times in a very hey you kind of manner), and me being GenX ultra cool dude is totally fine with it.

The other day when our trusty maid was not in, she had organized for a temp maid to take care of sweep, swab and dishes. The woman knew only chaste Kannada and at best both our Kannada can be described as dumb charades with a few words thrown in (most of them in English & Hindi), though we understand it ok if spoken slowly.

Our regular maid very familiar with our hand waving, facial expression Kannada understands all we say, including things like how many whistles the cooker has to do, what amount of fabric softener and detergent to use etc.

The new lady was a tough nut and she her Kannada was pure and chaste not influenced by Hindi or English.

ToW: (very hopefully) Tamil? (Accompanied by a lot of hand waving and eyebrow raising)

Maid: Bewildered look and nodding and shaking of head simultaneously and looks piteously at regular maid.

Regular maid: No madam, but she can speak good Telugu. (Translating look correctly and armed with prior information.)

ToW: Giving her regular maid exasperated look and wave of hand (Translated, you know if I have to talk Telugu, it will have to be with no lip movements only wild facial expressions and severe hand movements).

Any case regular maid says, madam only two days I have told her what to do. You just smile and say hi and bye.

Day 1 was smooth. Day 2 dawned ominously with maid coming in late, giving heart burn to the poor ToW. Damn woman, she misses the maids more than she misses her husband.

Now ToW wanted to tell her she is going out, please stay and finish the work by which time, my husband will be back and you can go. The dance drama begins watched by an awe struck SnH. The more eloquent ToW gets the more confused the maid gets. SnH collapses in giggles and rolls on the sofa, ignoring dangerous looks from his mother.

The maid understands she has to wait but for what and whom is still a mystery. She would have told Vladimir and Estragon, at least you know you the wait is for Godot, but look at me!

Finally Eureka moment arrives; ToW drags SnH and says Appa and does complicated Bhartnatyam steps to convey wait till. Now bulb glows and maid says madam you should have said Yajmanru and then done your dance bit for wait till and I would have understood!

ToW`s lower jaw dropped to the floor.

Later SnH related this to me, of course he just talked about how ToW did the dance and he enacted her expressions! ToW then told me the whole story.

My only query was that, if I am your Yajmanru - roughly translated owner/lord/master - then why don`t I get better service round here!
Next time round come running when I snap my fingers.

Thank God! They make pillows soft, or I would have had a fractured skull!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Sound of Brands

Have you ever seen babies turn their heads to jingles on TV or radio. The SnH used to crawl at 100kmph to watch his favourite ad. My nephew used to sit patiently on his grand mom`s lap till the title song of his favourite mythological serial, crawl away and would promptly come back to hear it play again during end credits. During the DoCoMo launch days we used to have singing competitions between your truly, SnH and ToW (Ahem! ok Braying from my side).

The Sound byte takes the place of a logo sign off in visual communications. Where sound scores over sight is that the person listening could be concentrating on some other activity. The sound reaches him and his brain records and associates the brand/product.

The earliest sound branding in India, I guess, would be All India Radio’s start up tune. Risking the fact that everyone will realise how ancient I am, remember the startup tune to Doordarshan? These I don’t think were conscious branding decisions, but standard tunes. The first one at least in my memory was Britannia. They have maintained the sound byte even after the rebranding exercise. The instrument Ting tingta Ting was changed to a vocal one.

The Airtel A.R. Rahman tune is one which every AirTel user has had on his mobile at some point of time. The same goes for the Nokia tune. Intel`s Sound bit has been expanded in all their ads, Britannia again takes first place in that. Remember the commercials in which the kid says ting Tingta ting. (Sorry am lazy to hunt all those video links).

The Liril Bathing beauty tune was as easily recognisable as the Beauty. Liril continued using the voice byte even after the model changed. Any of the common jingles were all sound branding examples. These were never conscious branding decisions but did the job nevertheless.

Both the Korean giants Samsung and LG have gotten on to the signature Brand Tune, though the consistency of use is not there.

There is a host of subliminal level applications of brand sound bytes, like embedding them in other places. That would be another post...

The human brain can perceive and distinguish five senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Sight has been used extensively by marketers. Now sound has been explored. What about smell the most primal of senses. Couldn't brands exploit the smell - what is the smell you associate with your favourite brand of shirt. Does tea Rose or lavender evoke the memory of a long lost girl friend or your courtship days. It does! Now you know what I am talking about. What does your favourite airline smell like, or what smell do you associate with Indian railways ;-)

From smell to touch and taste is just a tiny step.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Immortalising the Immortals

Sometime near the end of Februaryduring one of my very critical purposeless browsing, happened to see a promo on YouTube. Extremely slick video, fabulous music had me interested, and was surprised it was for a book by an Indian author. Cool Marketing effort.

The first chapter available for free download had me hooked. Incidentally, another great marketing idea. Was traveling beginning of March and had made a mental note to pick it up at first available opportunity. And Lo! The Other Woman had got it for me with a nice little inscription. That woman is still wonderful after 10 years! Once again congratulated myself on my prize catch! (Sorry, I digress!)

Having a more than passing interest in mythology, myth, folklore etc The Immortals of Meluha was an excellent read and was everything its promo promised. The book tends to lag at a few places, but quickly comes back to its fast pace. The research gone into the book is truly amazing, the author has studied the Indus Valley and related civilizations and has gone in-depth into mythology. The book essentially sticks to the broader positioning of character as per the Puranas but gives newer interpretation to their roles and also moves them up and down chronologically. Essentially the author has taken the vast canvas of Hindu Mythology and has created his own very very interesting flow and explanations.

The author has interwoven small interesting details which readers with a little bit of knowledge in the Puranas will find interesting. Churners at the bottom of Mt. Mandar,Daksha`s Goat Amulet are a couple of these. I would love to see how the author brings in Daksha`s ill fated Yaga/Yagna. Veerabhadra is all ready for his entry, Is Krittika going to be BhadraKali? On a historic level, is he going to give an explanation for the seals of the Indus valley particularly Pasupathi - which is the earliest link to Siva or Siva like Image in History. These and many more interesting points make me impatient to see Parts II and III.

I presume Part II will be out in a year and Part III a year after that. Do sales really justify a year long wait? Reportedly The Harry Potter series did justify the wait. But, what about Eragon, The Trilogy got extended to a fourth, did I miss it don`t know.. Anyway AT, his promoters and publishers have done an excellent job in launching the book. Cool Marketing effort. It better be, after all he heads the marketing of a large Financial company!

Meluha in ancient India is searching for its savior, as they believe; their neighbors in Swadweep are out to destroy them and their way of life. Meluha reminded me of Atlantis, with their utopian ideals and everlasting youth potions (Somras). The savior called `Mahadev' can be recognized, by his neck colour, which will turn deep blue on drinking Somras. The story moves on with Shiva being declared the Mahadev, his attraction to Sati the Emperor Daksha`s daughter, the very contemporary terrorist attacks all culminating in a grand battle.

The ending is a big let down. Why, Oh Why! Did it have to end like a cheap serial novel! A quick reading of the closing used by Rowling and Tolkien may help for Book II. Both R and T leave the reader in suspense WITHOUT a feeling of work unfinished or any abruptness. The book ends as if the author`s computer ran out of disk space or he ran out of ink!

Amish Tripathi is no Tolkien (as yet) But Yes now there is an Indian writer willing to play around with our rich and vibrant mythological characters and weave them into a whole new puranic Web.

A must read in my list.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Also-ran`s

They are there everywhere
Seen by all
Remembered by none
The race is dull without them
The race leaves an ache in them

Nike`s favour
sought by all
got by some
yearned for by many

Is it luck, fate, timing
Blessings from Heaven
which pushes some on the highroad
and others down mud tracks

Victoria`s blessed
Stand to attention
The stray strain of anthems
Break heartstrings of the also-ran`s

Monday, March 15, 2010


An Insignificant Nothing
In return for everything
A faint touch, a tear
In return for all the warmth

Time ravaged you physically
Time filled you in my heart
You have gone away, Yet
You stay with me, always

A debtor I remain
A debtor I want to be
For how can I return
The Joy,The Comfort... The Love