A tribute to the Lizard King

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“People are strange, when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly, when you’re alone”. 

Sung by Jim Morrison, the heart and soul of the band The Doors. These lines resonate every time I travel to an unknown place. He created a new sound in the world of rock in the late 60’s and left many yearning for more as Jim died at the age of 27 in mysterious circumstances.

Today, December 8th, is his birthday and what better day than this to type some thoughts on this poet, avid reader, song writer and singer (yes, in that order!)

Jim Morrison, who was also called the Lizard King (thanks to his poem titled ‘Celebration of the Lizard’), is still an intriguing story for fans across the world. His story is not that of your rags- to-riches kind of story. It’s that of  kind repressed soul who searched for meaning to his life while living it on his own terms, only to (reportedly) walk out on it. His death, like his life and songs, was full of questions with no concrete answers and still remains an anomaly. To this day his grave in the Pére-Lachaise cemetery in Paris is one of the most visited sites in the city.

I have followed his music for over 2 decades. ‘Roadhouse Blues’ was the very first song I heard, thanks to my dear friend MK, who was instrumental in getting me to ‘The Doors’. As it was my passion then, I went on to listen to all the albums of this upstart bandjim-morrison-quotes-3. ‘The End’ is and will always be one of the most interesting songs of our lifetime. With its references to Oedipus Rex, the lyrics shocked me when I first heard this song. But then that’s the hallmark of Jim Morrison. Shock and Awe! 

One of my other favorite Doors song is ‘Riders on the storm’. There are tons of interpretations of what Jim meant to communicate in this song and I will keep mine to myself, but the lines which I love the most are, “Girl, you gotta love your man, take him by the hand and make him understand. The World on you depends, our life will never end. Gotta love your man, yeah!”

Jim Morrison is an antithesis of me. jim-morrison-quotesIn fact, there have been times when I so hate Jim for wasting God’s gift of poetry and music and letting drugs and alcohol ruin him.

I just finished re-reading his biography, Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend by Stephen Davis. This time I understood Jim a little more. Read between the lines and contemplated the words and I saw a very different Jim underneath all the show: someone who was very intelligent, may be too much for his own good. He expressed his anger, frustrations and thoughts in his poems, songs, singing and of course unacceptable social behavior.

Jim Morrison is someone who I really cannot be, but somewhere something within does resonate with him. Every other day the voice inside my head croons these lines from the ‘The End’ in a Jim-like voice…

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes again
Can you picture what will be?
So limitless and free

Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand
In a desperate land…

…This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end

SOURCES:

What Wiki says about him

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Morrison

The end – A song he wrote when he was only 21 years old!

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Ferris Bueller’s day off

life-moves-pretty-fast

Ferris Bueller’s day off is a timeless teen comedy. Matthew Broderick as Ferris, plays a lazy teen who is not only intelligent and full of ideas but is also a rebel who loves to take on the establishment. He decides to take the day off from his school because it is a lovely sunny day and not to be wasted on school. This day is spent galavanting around Chicago along with his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron. The whole movie is about the adventures of the day and how each character in the movie gets an insight into their own lives during the course of this day.

While it was released in 1986, I (as usual) saw it pretty late…in 1990, when the ‘Ferris Bueller’ in my life insisted I watch it.I just loved the movie, though I never saw myself as Ferris, I already had one at that time. In fact I identified more with this friend Cameron! In the great words of Ferris, “Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond”. The way Ferris speaks about Cameron in this movie is somewhat similar to what my Ferris would describe me, though not as bluntly.

Ferris Bueller is such an iconic character! He did everything I could not even think of doing! From hacking into school records to update his attendance to bullying Cameron into stealing his dad’s favorite vintage Ferrari GT California. His hold on Cameron is so strong that when he calls Cameron (who does not want to take the call) just has to because he can’t help it. Yes, I have been there too.

The whole movie is just so wonderfully written and directed that I think it will still appeal to the same age group in any generation. The beauty lay in the fact that Ferris, in his own mischievous ways, blurted out some of the most simple, but hard hitting truths of life. In those days of course we did not get it, but now 20 years later, they do hit hard.

From singing songs in front of thousands of people to helping Cameron get over his fears – Mr Ferris Bueller is a Rockstar!

What makes this movie so special for me is that the Ferris in my life too ensured I got those fun experiences and loosened up quite a bit. After all these years – thinking about the movie and the fun times always makes me smile.

Times have changed and so have we over these years. This friendship of ‘Ferris’ and ‘Cameron’ has weathered many storms but still stayed strong. We may not hang out that often or have the outings we used to, but the camaraderie remains. Just like the movie, he does remain the special person in my life who I still can’t say ‘No’ to. The lovely memories of those days together in school and college always make me smile. He has stood by me through thick and thin.

Thank you my ‘Ferris Bueller’ for the super memories and standing up for me. Finally, signing off with this quote from Cameron

“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it!”

Note:

The movie trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-X2XzKqBiE

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The thorn in the throne

 

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The author’s view of the Iron Throne

If ever any series has caught the attention of this millennial generation, it has to be ‘The Game of Thrones (GoT). The the producers of the HBO series will surely prevail in the minds of the millions who follow this series while Mr. Martin, the creator of this fantastic series can lick his wounds like our very own ‘star’ author Mr. Chetan Bhagat did after the blockbuster movie ‘3 Idiots’, (based on his book) was released.

I got on to this GoT bandwagon extremely late. In fact I picked up the first book after hearing so much about the TV series. Being a typical bookworm, who believes that the written word is more sacred, I decided to start reading the book first and only then watch the TV series, which had already completed five extremely successful seasons. I was hooked onto the book from day one, the plot and the pace of the first few books left me wanting more. In fact, the first few books were the best of the series, where not only does the story moves at a pace, but there is some thoughtful writing too.

However, I happened to see one of the ads for the coming series on TV and decided to watch the series and read the book in parallel. I was blown by the quality of production, This was surely many notches up from the previous HBO series. It does take a while to grow onto you but I was already well into the second book when I started watching the series. It was great to put the faces to the characters. I have always found it difficult to imagine faces of people as well as the landscapes in books and hence the TV series fueled my urge to read and complete the books sooner. Ironically I thought that this book series was only made of six books when I realized towards the middle of book six that this series was far from over!

I read a lot of bad press for the series especially when it started moving away from the path the books had set. Some characters started making an appearance earlier than expected in the TV series, while george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-book-twist__optsome characters, just never made it to the TV screen. I think this was a good thing because somewhere around book four I started feeling that the author was getting caught in his own fantasy and he keeps introducing new characters and complicating the story further. The TV series has done the smarter thing by moving away from that trap and making some logical changes to the script.

I am not going to go into the details of what was changed but by the end of season six on TV and book six; HBO had surely defeated Mr. George R. R. Martin. In one of his interviews he had said Tolkien was his inspiration in creating a parallel universe like that of Lord of the Rings, but what went in favor of the latter was that there was no production house that could rival his creation.

It was so disappointing to know that book seven has been in ‘production’ for over five years! I understand that the author got busy with scripting the TV series but when you read that his book seven is 1200+ pages post edits, you know that he has lost control over the tale. The daily soap script writer has taken over the author.

To make matter worse, this is not the last book of the series, it seems he has so much material that he can easily stretch this to at least ten books. Again, HBO played the smarter, declaring that season eight would be the last. This means that the TV series will surely end before the book series and both would have different ends, which just muddles up things for readers like me who also watch the series.

hbo_throne

HBO’s Iron Throne

Mr. Martin, you have surely lost the plot! GoT will always be remembered as a TV series rather than the classic fantasy book series it was meant to be. This does not mean I will not read the books when they are released. The book buff in me will not rest till I have completed reading the entire series, however tedious it may be!

What about you? What will you do? Do leave your comments below!

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Arms of an Angel

I first heard the cover of Sarah McLachlan’s song Angel on the season 1 of Coke Studio India, produced by Leslie Lewis. But before I say more about that version here is a wiki on the original song.

McLachlan wrote this about a drug-addict’s struggles with the world. The “angel” symbolizes the drugs the addict gives in to repeatedly. As McLachlan explained on VH1 Storytellers, this song is about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996. McLachlan explained that there’s nothing constant when you are on the road; everything becomes the same.

The song has had enduring popularity and has been used in a number of different ways, with some uses (such as in a child memorial) misconstruing the lyrics. McLachan said during a Reddit AMA that she doesn’t mind that it gets used in so many different ways. “I think once an artist puts a song out there, it becomes open to interpretation, and I purposefully leave a certain amount of ambiguity in songs so that people can relate the songs to themselves and to their stories,” she said.

That is such a beautiful thought because for me, the song meant getting through the depressed  and tough times. The arms of the angel signified hope for me rather than the temporary release she speaks about with the help of drugs. This is one of those songs where you turn of the lights, close your eyes and just let this beautiful voice give you the peaceful moments you crave for dearly in times of strife.

Coming back to the Coke Studio version of it, I felt this was the best song from that season because of the beautiful fusion of the original lyrics with sufi lyrics. It featured Leslie’s daughter Divya on the english parts while the Khan brothers sang the classic version. I could not find much information on them but they just outshine Divya in this song. Leslie drew a lot of flak for this season 1 as people felt he was promoting his daughter using this platform. However, I think the kid has made a sincere effort and the song is lovely.

See it for yourself, but the first link is the original, followed by the coke studio version and do share what you think about it!

The original

Coke studio version

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The first ray

I sped across a path,
Hurtling towards the destination.
Moving despite my thoughts,
speeding past the obstacles,
speeding past the beauties,
I have to reach the destination.
Moving without thinking,
Moving as If I were guided.

Suddenly, spake a voice,
Who are you?
Where are you headed?
Not one to stop,
Not one to even know how to stop,
I replied, they call me the first ray,
I need to reach where I am meant to be. What are u meant to be asked the voice,

what is your destiny?

Is it to touch the destination first?

Or is it to dispel the darkness as you speed past towards it?
Isn’t this journey your destination?

Not one to stop,
Not one to even know how to stop,
I slowed down,
Thinking, while I’m moving,
Wondering what am I doing?
Where am I going?
Is it my destiny to walk through this darkness?,
When will I see the light?

The voice, ah the gentle voice,
Echoed while I moved past it,
What if you are the light?
You see the darkness ahead,
But look back and see the light you spread!
You are but only one ray of light, it said
But the first ray,
The light which makes the birds sing,
Heraldes the world to a new day,
A day of hope, a day of sunshine.
Despair not where you journey through dear ray,
But rejoice in what you mean to all who can see you.

Not one to stop, not one to even know how to stop,
I smiled as I looked back at my trail of light,
A little older, a lot wiser,
Still cutting through the darkness,
Smiling as I go,
Knowing that this day the first ray of light,
Has indeed seen the light.

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Que Sera, Sera

Note: It has been a while since I wrote something here. I come back now to write more for myself than the world. Somewhere someplace where I can keep my thoughts where someone may stumble upon them and read if it pleases them or just pass by.

Que Sera, Sera…went the song,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see,
Que Sera Sera…

I pondered on… if this was meant to be,
Would there even be a wrong or right to see?
If it was meant to be, would every action be so crucified endlessly?

Be bold, said the wise,
do what you want and not what others say,
But will they be there whilst my boat begins to sway?
All I know these days is fear,
from the ones I held once dear.
I cannot see the path any clear,
Each step is fraught with fear.

What is right and what is wrong,
When the heart and head sing a different song,
When every right step seems wrong, What will give me strength to carry on?

Abide by your duties spake the wise,
Or was it my own self in disguise?
You have but one life said the other,
But please tell me how to live it dear brother?

In the end it will all be fine,
says the soothsayer over her crystal so fine,
But will I be there to see the end so fine?
Do I even want to toe that line?

How do I know what is right and what is wrong,
when the heart and head play a different song.

Who do I follow?
Where do I go?
What do I do?
Follow the beats of my heart or heed the calling of my logical spew?

I have screamed,
I have raged,
Someone please tell me where to sway!
From a distance the lines come hauntingly again,
Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see,
Que Sera, Sera

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Lullaby

“Tum ho toh..gaata hai dil” crooned Farhan Akhtar from my iPod when my six year old daughter came and deposited herself on my lap. I hugged her and told her that I used to sing this song (from the movie ‘Rock On’) for her to sleep when she was just born. So why don’t you now?, pat came the response. I tried, cradling her in my arms as the hands which could hold the whole of her, could now only accommodate  a part of her.

This set me thinking about how most of us have memories of our mothers, grand parents singing us a lullaby and putting us to sleep. The ‘Lori’ as it is called in our part of the world.  The soft gentle singing, that rhythmic thumping of the hand on the back or the head will always be one of the best childhood as well as parenthood memories for me.

One of the best ones I have heard till date is this song called ‘Nindiya re’ by Kaavish from the Pakistan Coke Studio, Season 4. The beauty of the song is in its simplicity, a song I would love to sing someday to my daughter (if she allows me now that is). The pace of this song is so soothing that it just calms me down every time I hear it. The link to this song has been provided below.

I can never forget the effect TK, a friend’s singing had on me, more than her children. We often undertook road trips to their weekend home out of the city and it usually became sleeping hour for her daughters by the time we undertook the journey. Her lullaby used to be a simple rhythm of ‘Ali Ali, Maula Ali, Ya Ali madad, maula Ali madad’ but the trance which her voice had, always put me at ease and usually I feel asleep faster than her own daughters!

The voice, the tone, the words and the completely serenity is something I wish to experience when I finally breathe my last and sleep forever.

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