hey so can i ask you another favor? can you request my song on iRadio – LA please? scroll down to "shaheen" and request rEvolution or coconut. or both!!!
thank you thank you!
today is cesar chavez day. i’ve taken the day off…sorta. it’s cuz i have a cold and could use the time to sleep and work on my next song, which i think will be a song about paradise. not in the axl rose kind of way, but more in the way of paradise is what you make of it. i’d like to finish 6 more songs before june 30. i’m moving at the end of june and i’d really like to have the songs done before i have to pack up my studio because i know it’s going to take me a minute to unpack and reset up in the new place. 6 songs in 3 months. that’s not impossible. it’s tight, but not impossible. when you can, send over some inspiration and love will ya? maybe if enough people pray, my muse and i will make some great art and finish the album sooner than later!
a friend of mine recently wrote to me in relation to my life as a musician:
be optimistic, be loving, and align yourself with those like you.
it’s touching advice. a divine reminder of the simple things. what are we willing to let go of to be optimistic, loving and aligned with only those like ourselves?
there are some things even i won’t write on this blog. there a lot of things i feel i gave up in my journey to find love, optimism and like minded people. god has showered me with many blessings. and i have felt disappointment.
hiding in my studio these days, i feel a little lost. when will i get to touch the outside world again? when will my little 3 minute creations get to see what lies beyond? when will my life take an unexpected twist and find some insanely exciting adventure?
i’m waiting. mercury is in retrograde. i’m waiting.
it seems my songs "rEvolution" and "coconut" just got added to the indie 104.7 fm playlist, a radio station based here in LA. pretty cool eh?
on another note…tasneem, aka jungli, is in town. we managed to hit up shiva rea’s yoga class yesterday afternoon. both of us were levitating by the end and especially had a good laugh when shiva spontaneously called out "RADHA!!!!" "KRISHNA!!!" during our asanas. it sounded like she was having an orgasm. funny to see our hippie teacher soaking in the radha/krishna love. meanwhile, we tote our guitars and sing rock music. so be it. this is the new global tribe.
so i am finally getting a little organized and back on track. studio time resumes in a week. in the meantime, i’m putting together the pictures from the india trip and even managed to clean my room today. i couldn’t stand the dust and clutter. mail in every nook and corner.
2007 started off a little bumpy. landing back in america brought me back to a rocky reality. i am doing my best to make sense of the balance in my life. in the meantime, i flip through my india pics to go back to a place in my heart where i felt at home.
the album is below. enjoy…
at breakfast on sunday morning, my aunt was retelling stories to me about british/indian tensions that remain in the UK til today. particularly, she told me a funny anectode about how while she lived there, brits used to say to indians that they should go back to wherever they came from. her friend would quip, "we’ve come to take back the kohinoor."
after my recent trip to india, and falling in love with my mother country all over again, i found the story poignant and in a way charming. we, as indians, have a history that we want to own and in that owning, display our dignity – taking the kohinoor back might just help us do that. my dear friend, anil, just recently posted an editorial on the "big brother" debacle happening in the UK now. they put a bollywood actress, shillpa shetty, in the house and it seems her british flatmates have taken to throwing racial slurs at her.
it got me thinking just how sad and confining history can be. we indians are guilty of the same thing as the brits, only we do it amongst each other. muslims, sikhs, hindus. we can hold on to hatred we’ve never experienced personally, all because someone along our path decided that it was better to teach us hate, than it was to teach us love. someone decided for us to let history imprison our hearts and in turn, we at some point thought that it was the right thing to do to carry around a lot of heavy baggage than to question. i feel compassion for those weighed down by hate and prejudice. there is no freedom in hatred and any type of hatred takes us all that farther away from God. love and peace. the distance can be unbearable and tumultuous.
i get the need to reclaim the kohinoor. it’s symbolically reclaiming your dignity, your faith, your culture, your peace. but at some point, do we need to let go of the past and consciously create a brilliant present. the kohinoor is such a beautiful stone, but isn’t love and freedom even more awe-inspiring?
pretty cool…mtv desi covered my gig at the platform back in november when i debuted a few of my new songs from the upcoming album…enjoy!
when you come to india, the first thing you notice is the country bursting with life. there are people and animals everywhere. the cities are overflowing with breath and movement. energy contained in some sort of chaotic dance. and alongside the vibrancy is the stark contrast of the crippled, the aged, the sick. still, a reminder of the cycle of life. the juxtaposition of the full and the empty, the light and the dark, always confronts my american ease with taking life for granted. it also reignites my curiousity of all that is spiritual and intangible. of late, it has been the idea of reincarnation or of people having a history of more than what they seem. let me explain…
today, i met a very young bharatnatyam dancer named jyotsna. she is only 8 years old. my american self would say she is a child prodigy. my indian self would say she is a 40 year old dancer’s soul reincarnated. most dancers spend a lifetime to get the amount of spirit and heart-centered emotion to come through in their dancing. for her, it is simmering always ready to spill over into her audience’s heart. at practice today, she captured mine. what is of course most incredible is that while she is talking to you about ancient hindu mythology, it comes through the tenderness of an 8-year old girl, but with the depth and subtlety of a 40-year old woman. there is no way that this is the first time she’s come to us on this plane. her soul has made plenty of trips and i feel very blessed to have met her.
"jyotsna" is sanskrit for moonlight. it is only appropriate that such a being has such a name. she has gently illuminated a path for me to remember that life is cyclical and ongoing and that time is only man’s way of building a frame for understanding this earthly journey.
after i get past the diesel fumes burning the night air, the horns honking at the people and cows, and the layer of dust that covers me as i ride through banaglore in a rikshaw, i start to settle into life in india once again. it takes a few days. and by the end, i wholeheartedly believe in the madness. and each time i come back to the motherland, i seriously consider making it my home, even if for just a few months of the year. that is how this country has captured my heart – since the time i was 12 years old bouncing around trichy on the back of my cousin’s scooter.
when i landed in bangalore, my uncle met me at the airport. the fellow sitting on the plane said to me, "be prepared, the international terminal is like a bus stop. it will take you 2 hours to get your luggage and another hour to get out of the parking lot." surprisingly, my bags came with no real damage in about 30 minutes and the customs guy just mildly harassed me over my dance bells he saw in the xray machine. apparently he thought i was smuggling rows and rows of gold coins into the country. i laughed and said i wish i had that much gold sir, but alas, i am a poor dancer here for a performance. that seemed to soften his heart and he started asking about my guru and when the show was. fair enough. better to politely answer his questions, than have to open my suitcase, have him rifle through it and then offer him $100.
we arrived at my uncle’s house around 11:30 at night and i went straight to bed because dance rehearsal was at 7:30 the next morning. and that’s when the fun started. apparently, bangalore is a lot like LA. the city is very spread out and distances with traffic seem far. and of course, in stride with india’s chaos, there are no road maps and studying the road is an oral tradition passed on from driver to driver.
first rikshaw driver we saw, we told him we needed to go to banashankari, which by the way, no one knows where it is. bumpy roads, dodging the lorry trucks about to smash right into you and avoiding hitting women trying to cross the road, the driver carefully travelled through bangalore. but every 10 minutes or so, he had to stop on the road and ask a pedestrian where banashankari was. typically, the answer was…"oh yeah. go straight. make a right at the sign. a left at tree. and two streets down, you’ll see a dead end, don’t go there. make a left 5 streets after and you’ll see it. just go yaar. go straight and you will see it." so was that go through the bazaar in marrakesh or go straight? i’m confused. so was sayd the rikshawvala.
but we got there. we got there in a little over an hour and a half. my toes were very cold from the chilly bangalore air whipping at them through the rikshaw. i walked in like a frozen popsicle and attempted to dance past my jetlag. that was 3 days ago. i finally slept last night. sayd has tomorrow off for new years.
something horribly shocking i had to share with you all because it is telling of where this country has been heading for the last 6 years. thank god for the elections…perhaps we can get our civil and human rights back now.
a ucla student was tase’d last night at powell because he didn’t have his id card and he took too long to leave..the ucpd officers kept yelling at him to stand up after he was tasered but he couldn’t so they did it again and again.
and here’s a video a student took with a phone camera.