March 15, 2018

It was the Spring of 2013 when we lived in Folsom. The Maestro was touring the U.S but was performing only in the Bay area and at NJ. Living so close to the bay, how could I miss this opportunity to listen to his orchestra and all of my favourite singers? I pestered my husband to take me. The basic tickets were sold out and only the pricey ones left. He called his friend who was one of the main sponsors to see the availability. His friend said he had given more than 20 tickets to his staff and others the previous day. Had he called one day before... However, he asked us to come and we would get seated somehow. We didn't mind driving more than 120 miles. We went along with a couple of other music lovers. We reached right before the show started. Unlike all Indian programs, it started on time. We got seated on the main floor of the HP Pavilion that held more than 10000 people. We were only a few rows from the stage.

The husband as usual vanishes into the crowd when he is in the Bay Area and I totally didn't mind his absence as I was lost in the magic of Maestro. He turned up after some time that his friend had one pass which is in the 2nd row right opposite to the stage. He had taken me to sit there and that is such an amazing experience which my words fail to describe. The singers I listened growing up, the singers I craved to see and hear them sing live at least once in my lifetime were there, right in front of me. Just a few feet away. It was one of its kind. It didn't seem fair to me to enjoy the spot alone. We all exchanged that spot as if playing musical chairs each for one hour. All of them equally thrilled. The hangover from that evening lingered on me for quite a long time. Each song that Balu, Chitra, and Mano sang pierced through our hearts. Thanks to my husband and his friend for a once in a lifetime experience. I wanted to write a post on this five years back, but it never happened.

A few months later, the big move to Dallas happened. Fortunately, here I got the opportunity to view them more than once and the thirst only increased. I never missed seeing Balu or Chitra sing. However, when the Maestro toured two years back, I was not so interested as I already had my special experience and skipped the show. Last year, when Balu was doing a Grand World Tour celebrating 50 years in singing, it was a chance to not miss. But fate is it, the day before their show in Dallas, the most controversial copyright dispute arose between the Maestro and SPB. Many people had withdrawn from attending the show as the crowds couldn't imagine SPB not singing Raja sir's tunes. We did miss his tunes for sure but Balu sang some beautiful numbers that were forgotten. That's the day I felt, "There's more to music than Ilayaraja". 

The Maestro was touring this year again and there was a show in Dallas. I was quite reluctant to attend as Balu wouldn't be singing and no one sounds the nuances as well as he does. We didn't even bother getting the tickets. But you see, somethings happen for a reason. This time another friend of the husband happens to be the President of a popular Telugu Association and he happens to travel to this concert. The sponsors are a close associate of his friend. After breakfast, they suddenly asked me if I wanted a photograph with Raja sir. Why not? Who would deny? I changed and rushed to greet him at the hotel and then even got a chance to take his autograph me being the only lady present there. 

With influential friends do come some perks... :-) We couldn't refuse the VVIP seats given to us right in the middle, in the front row, opposite the stage. Deep inside, though I was not ready to listen to any other male singer other than Balu sir, I couldn't afford to miss one chance to see my dearest Chitramma sing. I normally am not attracted to taking photographs with any celebrities. But, I never minded taking a picture along with an author or a singer or a painter. I always wanted one picture with Chitra mam but never got a chance. As Paulo Coelho said, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it". Yes, the Universe did conspire this time. Want to know how? The emcee being my friend called me backstage to help her mom being seated. The security didn't let me as I didn't have the badge. Our important friend came to my rescue again and offered his badge. Voila! There I go and ask mam if I can take a picture and she smiled :) Like a new student going on to the stage to sing, the ever-humble Chitramma was practising within her. How lucky am I to have only her in the backstage while all the other singers were already seated on stage?

The evening went on with an outstanding Orchestra from Budapest and India in a meticulous manner. I don't mean to be rude to the other singers by saying this; Balu sir, you were thoroughly missed. We missed you in each and every single song that was sung by other singers. The nuances and subtleties cannot be expressed by anyone else. There is ONE and ONLY SPB. Your show without Raja sir's music was okay, but Raja sir's music without you is Not Okay!

March 8, 2018

One woman 
lets another down
One judges the other
for being black, brown 
fat and thin

One is ignorant
One is innocent
let her be it

One is careless
One is carefree
One is careful
we are all not the same

One gossiping about the other
for not working or
for overworking
let her make the choices

One is scorned upon
for speaking up
one for being silent

One drinks, one dances
One dresses up, one doesn't
each to her own

One fights, One gives in
each has a battle
going on

When are we going to be ONE?
Stand up for ourselves?
Stand up for each other?

Until then, 
What's a Happy women's day?? My foot!

It's all nothing but a
big bag of bullshit!

March 7, 2018

Whenever I heard the word 'writer's block', I hoped that I would never enter such a phase. Well, I did. Like many of my other blogger friends. I never ran out of ideas or thoughts to write. I still do have lots of them floating in my head. It was not due to the dearth of ideas but stuff happens. 

I was moved to a new project at work and it kept me occupied. I who was not used to working long and extended hours had to spend my late evenings at work. And it just got busier over weeks. Adding to that, the husband had to go on an India trip and I took off from work to manage the kids during his absence. Then it was festive season followed by holidays followed by a lot of eating and lazing around. Begin New Year and the madness began again. Before I realized two months have passed. 

The boy is a teen now and the girl almost a tween. A friend once said, kids grow like weeds. Yes, they do grow very fast. Amid all the craziness, I realized the attention I am paying to their studies is reducing and I could clearly see the effects. The past seven months have been a roller coaster ride for me both personally and professionally. Each time I was on the verge of quitting, I hung in there that it would just get better. While it got a bit better, it would get worse in no time. Finally, I called it quits but didn't have enough courage to do so. After fighting within myself over and over, I planned to take a temporary break from work until the kids' school year ends. Let's see how it goes!

During all this, my blog my child had to take a back seat. I had been randomly reading a post here and there but have not been actively reading or writing. Though there were few times when I had the time on hand, I didn't know what post to write. Which one would break the ice of my silence? I had one of my 'Ammusings' posts that always came to my rescue when I was gone for a while. However, this time I wanted to talk to my readers and my friends and hence this post...I hope you all have been doing great and didn't forget that I still exist. :) I hope to blog often and read more of you....see you all soon!

July 3, 2017

Ever watched a movie that's not in your language? Of course, all of us must have watched a movie or a documentary that's not in the language we speak or understand. Then, how do we understand it? Mostly, by reading the sub-titles. Unless one is multilingual. Ever wondered who writes the subtitles for these movies? I haven't ever thought about it. But I can say there were many times I laughed my head off reading the subtitles of songs and some true translations.

When I had to communicate in a language other than mine, English was always the medium of communication or Hindi sometimes. When I read some really good books in Telugu, I would think, how wonderful would it be if this book is in English and vice-versa. I also thought I could translate some essays or articles but the thought never went beyond that.

A couple of weeks back, a very good friend of mine called me out of the blue and says, she needs my help for a stage show they are doing for a cause. I was surprised as of how I could help her as I had already done the monetary contribution for the cause. I asked what it was and she said, I need to write the subtitles in English for the Telugu play. I was laughing at it and her for asking me to do that job. I said, what can I do? I just do some random scribbling here and there once in a while. She says, no you can do it and you must do it. I thought, Okay. Let me try.

When the thought to translate occurred me, I thought it's quite simple and easy to translate if you know both the languages. And also to translate from Telugu to English is much easier as the former is my native language and I have a command on the lingo. It never occurred me how difficult the task of translation is. However, I learned that speaking and writing are two different things. 

Translating a book is different from writing subtitles. When a 200 pages book is translated, it could be translated into 175 pages or 225 pages. It could be a bit longer or a bit shorter. The writer has the liberty to expand or contract. Whereas, while writing the subtitles for a movie or a play, we cannot take those liberties. The subtitles have to be short and crisp. The audience has to read it before the next scene is up or the lag time is really annoying. We should also make sure that all the sentences cannot be converted into true translations. It sounds very comical to read true translations. 

At the end, I would like to thank all those wonderful writers who mastered multiple languages and mastered the art of writing subtitles. Without you, how could I have watched all those national and international movies and TV serials?  Thank you, Manasa for believing in me and giving this opportunity. Hope I didn't end up true translating and write silly lines. All I can say is this experience has given me more satisfaction than writing hundreds of test cases and testing hundreds of defects for my work over the last decade. This has reminded of all the words that I have forgotten over the years and felt wonderful.

Have you ever translated anything? What's your experience? Please share.

P.S: And the cause I am talking about in the post is, Aarti for girls. Please do your bit if you can. All my Bay area friends and art lovers, don't miss the chance to attend a mind blowing performance at  @ Chabot Performing Arts Center, Hayward on the July 8th, 2017, Saturday!

March 29, 2017

Our little Ammu is growing and will be turning 8 in a couple of weeks. I see her losing her innocence slowly as we gradually inch towards more conversations than observations. Not sure if I will be doing a conversation series but here are a few musings before the innocence completely goes away. :)

This was almost a couple of years back. We were driving and I point to her:
 "Ammu, this is Sunflower"
"Yes, they turn in the direction of the Sun."
"Amma, they are dancing! That is their exercise Amma"
and she giggles
I giggle too :)

As soon as I reach home, Ammu was ready to be dropped at a class. I gave few instructions to S to complete pending tasks. She heard me muttering to many things to do..
Then she says: "Yes Amma because you are a mom"
Me: Ya
A: Amma, I think if you are in ammamma's tummy and if you are a baby; maybe you will think, I want to be a boy.
Me: Why do you think I would think like that?
She goes on to recite the exhaustive list of chores I manage to do in a day right from packing lunches in the morning to cleaning up the kitchen at night. If you are a boy, you don't have to do all of this stuff.
I sigh!
A: I don't want to be a girl
Me: Why?
A: Because when I grow up, I have to become a mother and then I have to do lots of work like you.
Me: Ummm...I distracted her and changed the topic for a later discussion.
Only if we had a chance to do that? 😊

We both sit at the main entrance to enjoy the warmth of the evening sun. (Read as Heat 😉). 
Me: "Ammu, Did you know your friend xxxxx has her dinner by 6.30 PM?"
Ammu in her cockiest voice: "What kind of dinner is that? at 6.30 PM? 
And then she sleeps at 7:00 PM?" (Not sure if it was mockery)
Me: "Maybe"
A: "So, she sleeps for 12 hours?"
Me: "I think so.."
(The cockiness continues...)
A:"But I don't want to do that. Because...(pauses) I want to be free (She meant play time)
Amma, This is not a Prison.This is Freedom"....giggles
I look at her. She smiles and says, nobody can be the boss. Stretches her arms wide and repeats..."this is Freedom."
I roll my eyes and see where this is going. 😊
Ammu on the last day of school: "Amma, I will miss all my BFFS"
S asks her, what is a BFF?
Nanna, "you don't know a BFF?
It's best friend forever..I also know what is LOL"
S: and what is that?
Ammu: "laugh out loud. I made up a new one"
S: what is that?
Ammu: "SBB"
Me: "What is SBB? I never heard of that"
Ammu: "Yeah, because I made it.
Stop being bossy!"
It was our turn to LOL.....