Tuesday, June 19, 2012


‎"Don't use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry"

― Jack Kerouac

In Equilibrium

Monday morning was super weather. The sun was out but there was considerable rain also, and the heat and humidity of Colombo mid-morning was lifted by the coolness of the drops of liquid breaking free of pregnant clouds. Such a long and ineffective sentence.

I sat on the front steps leading up to the old Walawwa where I’d spent the night, gazing through the lush mango and jack leaves now greener and looking heavier, for the water. Once in a while I’d suddenly find myself staring into the rays of rotating sun whizzing momentarily through the foliage to stun me. The gravel is purple-brown-orange. The picture is simple and serenely gorgeous.

Closer to me is a row of little plants with dripping flowers and rebellious buds. The tiny leaves are so gently and effortlessly curved that I wonder, as I often do, whether God caresses each and every one to just that way each morning. What love that must be!

The rain has stopped. On two of those God-finger-curled leaves I find droplets of water growing. This is an amazing thing. I think, “how many photographs I’ve seen with this exact image focused, shot, color-balanced, brightness-edited and published!” There is something so lethargic, stagnant and still about these pictures; even the ones with the bright sparkle hiding inside the droplet. How they all fail to capture the energy and intensity of the connection; the inevitable dependency.  But this leaf and this droplet are so flabbergastingly alive!

I am jubilant because there is life!

And then I think, which is it? Does the glittering droplet cling desperately to the thinning end of the leaf, or does it strain and strain to be free? Does it alone, or do they both?

Friday, June 15, 2012

“This, too, shall pass.”

Sometimes when things go wrong – or right, just not how you planned them – it’s a good idea to deal with shit before it hits the fan. Most times, it’s good to leave the world alone.

I develop this idiotic urge to verbal-puke when I am in a “rush”. This is what I am doing right now. Technically this is not true, since I am not quite in a “rush” right now. I just want to be, I want to create some drama for myself. This is usually just my personal universe of boredom escaping via my skin, but today it is utter dissatisfaction. No. Disillusionment.

It was not there.

I knew it was not there.

I knew it was possible it could be there. Now,

I know it is not there. Because,

It is not there.

How boring when you realize you really were not expecting the unexpected. How utterly drab to find your self among the masses. How blah that your imagination can’t run riot in your world anymore and turn your biology into a whirling cyclone of blood, bone and muscle. How clear that all this is so unimportant!

What’s done is done. Tough *ish.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Melomanic 4

I’ve been meaning to get myself to the Melomanic Sessions for some time now. Not out of professional interest (these things are sprouting like caterpillars!) or anything of the sort. Comment made to maintain due aloofness.

The atmosphere, as people keep commenting, is nice. There’s close, warm lights to counter the bareness of the warehouse (though not enough to balance the glare from the string-lights behind the performance space), and couches and whatnot bring some familiarity to the place – a bean-bag or two would have been just perfect! This paragraph was completely unnecessary. It gives away the fact that really, I have nothing to say and makes me sound every other random blogging person. I am not every other blogging person btw. Remember this.

So Imaad opens. Apparently he doesn’t do “covers or whatever you call them” so hits us with stuff off his “upcoming EP”. Lets not talk about EPs right now. His first two numbers were (I think) My Love and Love Is a Bird, that had, as he admitted, pretty much the same chords. This brings me back to – but we’re not talking about it right now. This guy is something like 21 years old but manages with some long hair to come off a little more mature. Good. I’m not much of a guitar person, but as accompaniment, his playing was nice. His voice is rather thin and obvious jitters made him waver a bit so he kept straining, but the instrument kept the vocals up admirably. And the vocals, though lacking polish and articulateness, were strong; he had the kind of punch one doesn’t expect from a wiry frame.

I couldn’t help notice how uncomfortable the boy looked perched precariously on the barstools lined up on the performance space, and was glad when Dani, vocalist for the next artist Not Another Metal Band, decided to do his thing standing. I’m sorry that sounded wrong. If it didn’t sound wrong, I’m sorry I have my moments. So Dani stands to sing and I am already hopeful. But honestly, I don’t understand the name. Technically, this has nothing to do with their performance, but it tells me they’re ambitious. And the ambition just might be not so off-the-mark. This guy also pushes his voice a bit (I mean, most singers do), but is otherwise smooth. Super falsetto and cool delivery makes a stark contrast between him and the rest of the band that were (from an amateur p.o.v) only alright. I can’t remember what covers they did, but I remember thinking they were not exactly easy, and so, I’d imagine a bit more accuracy and these could be very good indeed.

Now one man I expected would be “very good indeed” – to quote myself – is Asela. I don’t where the expectation came from; possibly the fact that he was involved in the organizing, and his namesake Bandara from Paranoid Earthling, but this I know: it was not fulfilled. In fact, I decided as he finished his first number that I would put my Complete Works of Shakespeare – Histories Vol. 2 aside, because there was enough murder in the atmosphere without Richard and Bolingbroke and the rest of the lot slaughtering each other in my head. I am hugely critical. I admit. People find it irritating to sit beside me at any event related to music/theatre. But honestly, something was wrong. I don’t listen to much alternative/acoustic anymore, so I actually came home and checked out Naked As We Came by Iron and Wine. It’s a lovely song, but I was left wondering whether Asela even sang the right notes! With all due respect, I am sure this was a bad day for him. If it wasn’t, I must have been in a super-lousy mood.

I probably was, because when Kei “and her little friend” the ukulele joined Asela for a duet, my mind was scream-dialing stage-911. Forget fashion police (its probably cheaper to maintain a reward-system for well-dressed people than the opposite: I should know!), get them in the music-force. Please. But I forget, it was my mood. Their second number together, You And I by Ingrid Michaelson with Dan Romer was miles better. The song itself is incredibly simple-souled and Kei’s coy smiling and carefree singing (unfortunately completely shadowed – for me at least! – by her attire (or the lack of it) and killer heels) did the whole thing a nice shade of quaint. They were both obviously much more relaxed by then, and I was made happy. Thank you!

The men were the beginning and end of all things that night, so we had Kavya immediately after Kei. Finally. The sound system was overdoing it by this time, but that hardly compromised the maturity of the voice and performance. Even the two boys who played guitar for her and also sang were so much more confident. Their rendition of Nickelback’s ‘Hero’ was impressive to say the least; Kavya doing some super-controlled ornaments and smooth voice modulation.

Salvage after these was good. They’d built the space for some noise. And I realized why people rave about CC’s voice. (note: that sort-of rhymed). After last year’s TNL Onstage (shudder!) I was really confused about all the hype and discovered at ‘Melomanic’ that he can shout. There’s good strength in the lungs there and decent pitch. He just seems to have a tendency to overestimate himself. But we are going to be very forgiving, if not in consideration of the coolness of creating a thing like ‘Melomanic’, then in consideration of the face he possesses. Their cover of Flood by Jars of Clay got people (me) pumped though the instruments and voices didn’t gel so well together. Storm and Sunshine (provided this is what they were called) fared better after the warm-up.

Either way, the crowd (and we kept hearing it was bigger than last time) was hyped by the end of this set, and Gehan was understandably worried about being next in line. I am possibly biased, but in all honesty, the worry was unwarranted. The keyboard involvement complicated matters a bit, a heavy left range drowning him, but this was the best controlled voice in the program so far. He was also by far the only singer that absorbed in the music, a refreshing thing, though not always good.

And then along came Natasha from a completely different league. Her voice is mellow and more definitely controlled, and when she talks of Barbershop quartets the coin drops. She’s been trained. At the risk of sounding sadly old-school I assert and maintain: it made a huge difference. But then her numbers were not right for the crowd, and the arrangement of In the Still of the Night not right for the duet with Svetlana. Pity’s the thing because a good artist knows her platform and her audience, though these two were the best voices. Hands down.

After that little anti-climax CC brought on Cynosure to send people home “feeling good”. These boys are so enthusiastic and vocalist Shezri (three cheers for facebook band-pages!) having so much fun dancing around that it’s impossible not to get a little bubbly and giddy. He lost pitch here and there, but infectious harmonies (despite being simple and predictable) and an odd genuineness to the whole thing made up completely.

So that’s that.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The First Day of the Second Half of the Year.

It has been a long, long time since I last experienced this twisting in my stomach to such an extent. It quickens the blood even to my extremities; the palms of my hands are prickly, and the only reason my fingertips don’t itch is that I am typing. My eyes refuse to focus and my mind sleeps. I am going into nervous-system hibernation.

But I must stop this thing and break out. The more dramatic moments in my life have been preceded by such perceptive shut-downs; and I am not enthusiastic about most of the “more dramatic moments in my life” so far. I need some clarity.

But this heat will not help. Kandy is warm these days, but Colombo is just oppressive. It is not so much the heat but the humidity. This is not news to you. I don’t break out in sweat, the droplets themselves fear the sun and struggle to remain hidden under my skin, and so I am bloating. My pores are begging with their bulging eyes to be allowed to open their mouths and scream. I am not saying no, but the atmosphere is. And I have no control over the atmosphere.

Hara-Kiri must indeed have been release. I want now only to slit my stomach open and let the guts flow out so I can carefully sever whatever connection they have to the rest of my being.

Choices. My toes curl at the thought. My teeth itch.

But I must decide.