Origin of Music

“The music is all around US, all you have to do is listen.”

This quote from August Rush movie, very beautifully describes the existence of music in every aspect of nature. The birds chirping in the morning, the wind, water splashing against the shore, call of the animals, cracking of the dry leaves and so on. This exquisite beauty of nature has the potential to sooth mind and can invoke a certain sense of inner peace.

The basic origin of music is hence regarded to be from nature.

Early man had used stones, seeds, woods, shells, bones, horns, whistles, flutes, trumpets, reeds, rhombuses, bows, animal skin, and leaves etc. in order to create sounds. To be able to grab attention while hunting, alerting for danger, socializing, conveying messages and so on.

Musical instruments are constructed in a broad array of styles and shapes, using many different materials. Early musical instruments were made from “found objects” such as shells and plant parts.As instruments evolved, so did the selection and quality of materials. Virtually every material in nature has been used by at least one culture to make musical instruments.

The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as Harappan culture, is among the world’s earliest civilizations, contemporary to the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Excavations at these sites have provided evidence for existence of musical instruments. These were mainly made of bamboo, bone and animal skin and they have striking similarity to today’s Veena and Mridangum.

Dancing lady in Bronze

Many Buddhist sculptures dated back from 5th century to 2nd century AD also depict a wealth of string, wind and percussion instruments.

In a much deeper sense, Hindu mythology gives away references which make understanding the basic origin of music, relatable.

OM- the divine eternal sound is the most basic and primordial mantra in Hinduism, with its origins in Sanskrit. The Mandukya Upanishad suggests that, “Om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. The past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it”.  Om is not only a word but rather an intonation, which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds.

OM

Om is not only concentrated to religion, mantras and meditation but it holds in true sense the existence of any sound in the world.

Another interesting reference is found in the Vedas. There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the primary and also the oldest texts of Hinduism, which can be regarded to be formed in the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Samaveda, or Veda of Holy Songs, third in the usual order of enumeration of the three Vedas, ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda or Veda of Recited praise.

Sama Veda

Its Sanhita, or metrical portion, consists chiefly of hymns to be chanted by the Udgatar priests at the performance of important sacrifices. The Collection is made up of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, taken mainly from the Rigveda, transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the religious ceremonies in which they were to be employed. In these compiled hymns there are frequent variations, of more or less importance, from the text of the Rigveda as we now possess it which variations, although in some cases they are apparently explanatory, seem in others to be older and more original than the readings of the Rigveda. In singing, the verses are still further altered by prolongation, repetition and insertion of syllables, and various modulations, rests, and other modifications prescribed, for the guidance of the officiating priests, in the Ganas or Song-books.

Since ages people have been referring to the Vedas and in true sense they are like an encyclopedia of knowledge about various topics.

In India, music, dance, painting and drama has always been considered divine. Bhrama-Vishnu-Mahesh, the eternal trinities were the first musicians. The Divine Dancer Shiva is scripturally represented as having worked out the infinite modes of rhythm in His cosmic dance of universal creation, preservation, and dissolution, while Brahma accentuated the time-beat with the clanging cymbals, and Vishnu sounded the holy mridanga or drum.  Indian gods and goddesses are always seen with a musical instrument. Lord Brahma’s companion, Goddesses Saraswati is seen playing Veena, Lord Vishnu holds shankh or conch, Lord Shiva possesses damaru, Lord Krishna (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) has bansuri or flute, Nandi (Lord Shiva’s disciple) plays mathalam, Narad Muni is seen playing mahati (twenty one stringed Veena).

In the sacred texts of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have several mentions of musical instruments.

According to a mythological story, Lord Brahma taught Bharata Muni about music and he wrote a book with that knowledge and hence spread the learnings to the masses.

 “Geet vaadhum taatha nytryum treyum saangeetmuchate

Nytrey vaadhanug proktum vaadh geetanuvartich”

This Dohaa or phrase by Pt. Sharangdev expresses the relationship of music, vocals and dance. This explains that music has three elements; vocals, instrumental and dance. Vocals are considered ahead of the other two, because dance is dependent on vocals and vocals are according to beats.

In earlier days, music was largely considered to be a part of dance/theatre. A 5th century text book about classical, Natya Shashtra, written by Bharata Muni, had a special mention of elements and principles of music in the ending six chapters.

Later on, it was realized that each has its own identity and can be developed independently as well.

India is a religious country and since beginning music has been connected with the worship and the practice of god. Traditionally the Bhajjans, Kirtans, Aartis, Mantras, Shlokas etc have been in practice of praising the lord by the people.

The foundation stone of Hindustani music is the ragas, or fixed melodic scales. Ancient rishis discovered sound alliance between nature and man. They said nature is an objectification of Aum, the vibratory word; man can obtain control over all natural manifestations by the use of certain techniques and combinations. Sanskrit literature describes 120 talas or time measurers. Bharata Muni is said to have isolated 32 kinds of tala in the song of lark. Human voice has always been recognized as the most perfect instrument of sound. The deeper aim of rishi-musicians was to blend the singer with the cosmic song which can be heard through awakening of man’s occult spinal centers. Indian music is a subjective, spiritual, and individualistic art, aiming not at symphonic brilliance but a personal harmony with the soul. The Sanskrit word for musician is- Bhagavathar, which means he who sings the praises of god. The satsangs and kirtans are an effective form of yoga or spiritual discipline, necessitating deep concentration, intense absorption in the seed thought and sound.

Tribals all over are known to have developed sound rituals for rain and wind.

Gradually as the kingdoms became prominent, there was seen a shift of music being devotional to being a way of entertaining the king.

Music was promoted under various rules. Majorly dancers and musicians were appointed in the kingdom to entertain the king and his disciples.

During the Gupta empire from A.D. 320 to about A.D. 500, Music and dance developed the complex forms that formed the basis of classical Indian music and dance. Samudragupta’s personal skill was exceptional especially in music and song. He was also well known for his poetry and had composed many works which had a reputation of a professional author.

Tansen is regarded as the Navratna in the court of Emperor Akbar, of Mughal rule, and the Guru of all Gurus in the Indian classical music that dominates the entire North India. Among the legends about Tansen are stories of his bringing down the rains with Raga Megh Malhar and starting fires with the legendary raga Deepak. Other legends tell of his ability to bring wild animals to listen with attention (or to talk their language). Once, a wild white elephant was captured, but it was fierce and could not be tamed. Finally, Tansen sang to the elephant that calmed down and the emperor was able to ride him. Such was the power of his music that when he used to sing in the court of Akbar, it is said that candles used to light up automatically.

Tansen playing in the court of king Akbar

During Auragzeb, music and all other forms of art were highly discouraged. Following to this British East India Company started spreading its control in the country and music was damaged and suffered a setback. It was folk music that people used to entertain self and forget their misery and sufferings.

Music picked up pace again during the struggle for independence. Music and other forms of art were used to bring people at a common platform. Songs like Vande Matram were instrumental in uniting the masses. Post-independence songs such as Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo have been responsible for consolidating feelings of national integration and unity in diversity.

International influences are very visible into Indian music.

Music follows a system of guru-shishya in passing on of the skills. There has not been a dearth of teachers in music, but finding detailed books had been a task. People associated with art always used to feel that music is something difficult to be written down on a piece of paper.

The music of India is said to be one of the oldest unbroken musical traditions in the world. It includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. Indian music is respected all over.

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FYI- Its Maggi

Are you among those who are obsessed about maggi? Or you are not amongst them?

Whatever maybe be the condition, you must visit here! and witness how a household product maggi can be transformed into innovative and delicious manner!

This place is named – FYI its Maggi, situated at Bunglow Road, Delhi. Its just by the lane of Adidas showroom.

It is a maggi lounge, a place to chill,  spend time with your friends and treat your taste buds with something as great as ‘maggi’! FYI has given a whole new way of thinking about maggi, it has added a new flavor to it!

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I always wanted my maggi to be cheesy, and I got it here! 😀 I was literally drooling over the food as it arrived! One can choose from various options available on the menu. But you will also notice the exciting names given to the dishes. All the dishes are named after generally used slangs by youngsters, like- BRB, HNK, LOL and so on…

The food is available for as low as Rs 25 to highest Rs 65. One thing that you cannot miss about here is the presence of college students ( thanks to its close proximity to DU’s KMC).

So the next time you get that maggi craving, you must go to this place, and do justice to your craving! 🙂

Also, see the menu picture. Enjoy!

Hyderabad- the city of Nizam

While packing my bags for holiday, the thing that kept on bringing a smile on my face was the destination – Hyderabad. It is known for its courtly speech and manners, historic monuments and a distinct cuisine.
The feeling of going on a holiday came the moment I saw my train, A P express, at the New Delhi railway station. My train was on time, luckily! This train runs daily with fare ranging from Rs 465 to 2901.
I loaded my luggage and greeted my co passengers. The journey from Delhi to Hyderabad is 26 hours. These 26 hours just fly by if you indulge yourself into some book, play cards, eat snacks or simply sleep.
The best time to visit Hyderabad is from April to September. Founded in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth sovereign of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Hyderabad was built on the banks of the Musi River in a grid format with the help of Iranian architects and modeled on Isfahan in Iran.
The next task after de boarding the train was to find the accommodation. There are a variety of hotels with good service, features and within the range of your pocket. It’s because the city sprawls so much, you need to be careful about the hotel location if you want to avoid a long commute and traffic bottlenecks. Plentiful budget accommodation can be found around the Nampally railway station and in Abids, Koti and other new city areas for a few hundred rupees a day, and tourist attractions aren’t very far off. However the facilities tend to be basic, the towels aren’t necessarily clean and air-conditioning tends to be extra. It might make sense to pay a little more and choose mid-range accommodation. At Rs 1500 per day, I settled myself in hotel Gopi, in Nampally. I wanted to stay in high fared Green Park, Ista, Marriot or Taj; but I do not want to spend all my money on accommodation.
I made myself comfortable in the room and soon dozed off.

After a quick breakfast, I began exploring the city of Hyderabad.
If you really want to explore a city, go local. Travel in the public transport, eat the local food, this way one can feel the essence of the place. That’s why I chose to travel by Maxi Van, locally named as ‘veera’. In good 10 bucks, I reached my first destination Birla Mandir.
The delicate carvings on white marble are very attractive, but sadly, cameras and camera mobiles are banned. After enjoying great view of the city, from the Naubat Pahad (mountain); I moved towards my next destination.
At Necklace Road I saw this artificial lake, which is a historical landmark, built during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah in 1562 by damming the Musi. Hussain Sagar Lake forms the boundary between Hyderabad and Secunderabad. This is one of the few walk able places in the city. At the center of the lake stands a famous statue of the Buddha installed in 1992. Boat rides from Lumbini Park to the statue are available at low fare.
Next I reached Golconda Fort. It is advisable to set aside two hours for this 16th century capital of the Qutb Shahi, to do justice to your visit. One can easily get lost in this massive space. Prefer hiring a guide who is genuine and knows the history of every inch of the place and will show you with expertise the echo/architecture system built into the fort that the ruler used as a communication/spying system. Not to miss here is the light and sound show which starts at 5:30 and tells the story of the fort, It’s worth seeing.
I took the auto rickshaw, indulged myself into a negotiation with the driver over the fare, and finally succeeded in coming back by meter. In no time I was asleep.
Next day I woke up with plans to go filmy. As my destination today was Ramoji Film City. It’s a 2 hour drive towards east of the city. I took a local bus from nearest bus stop. In Rs 60, I was standing outside the record holding studio for being the world’s largest. It’s best to come here with spare time to roam around this vast area and also with full stomach, as inside the food stalls sell food at gold and silver rates. The place also has a playfield for children.
The people of Hyderabad are so gentle and sweet. On my way back I met a family, and they gave me a lift till Adarsh Nagar. One thing that I can never remember fluently in this place is the names. They are so difficult, hard and confusing. They resemble to the names of some fighter planes. Lakdikapul, Tarnaka, Panjagutta and so on (I can recall only these). I thanked the Reddy family for the lift and also the tips that they gave me about the city.
Thankfully I got the 6 pm show at B.M. Birla Planetarium and Science & Technological Museum, situated in Adarsh Nagar.  The show can be enjoyed at minimum fare. The Dinosaurian at the upper level is interesting. It contains a complete skeleton of a dinosaur Kotasaurus yamanpalliensis discovered in the village of Yemanapalli in 1988. Later, I scrolled in the local markets. I purchased a talcum powder of a distinct Mogra fragrance. And also got some nice local food to satisfy my taste buds, the falooda was an amazing cooler for my stomach at 25 bucks. Also I found a nice necklace of sandstone for Rs 450; it was so attractive that I could not resist it.
I took a taxi for the hotel and went to have my dinner out. I went to a famous restaurant ‘Chutneys ‘. The most famous Hyderabadi dish is the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, so I had to taste it and got to know why it is so famous the moment I picked it in my mouth. It tastes heavenly. I also had South Indian food, though the restaurant also serves North Indian food, but it will be best if avoided. In Rs 200, I had a wholesome meal.
Hyderabad has a very low North Indian population. Hence do not try for North food in restaurants, one you may not find it; two it will scare you!
The next morning, I ordered Hyderabadi special Irani chai. It’s like a mixture of Kashmiri tea and a good masala tea.
I left for Pathergatti, to witness the symbol of Hyderabad. But do not forget your sun block or in the changing climate of Hyderabad you would not even recognize yourself.
I decided to walk. It is a calm place to walk through the 2 km stretch in the morning. But you cannot expect the same calmness once the shops are open. At 9 am, I was the first one to enter the Char Minar. Literally “Four minarets”, this structure was built at the very spot at which Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the end to the plague epidemic. The Charminar has long been the icon of Hyderabad. The towers rise to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. It is closed on Fridays. Atop the minarets, you get a panoramic view of Hyderabad city. From there I could clearly see my next stop, i.e., the Mecca Masjid and the Laakh bazaar.
Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest mosques in the city and easily the biggest. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah began building it in 1617.  The entrance arches are made of single slabs of granite. It is believed that Muhammed Quli commissioned bricks to be made from earth brought from Mecca and inducted them into the construction of the central arch of the mosque, which explains the name of the mosque.  Its architecture is so unique and gigantic that anyone can go head over heels on such huge panels spread across such a wide area.
The Laakh Bazaar is an exotic lacquer and glass bangles market, next to Charminar. The bangles there are a piece of artwork and also very costly.
Another symbolic representation of Hyderabad is done by pearls. Pearls of different types, styles, color, size and only god knows what not about pearls one can get there. I got a plain string of pearls for 500 bucks. Many false vendors also lurk around tourists, beware! I suggest Mangat Rai, a pearl shop near char minar.
Round the city, there are cooperative stores offering wide variety of silk saris. Within Rs 500, I purchased two silk saris for my mother.

Another place in Hyderabad is Abids, it is posh shopping complex. I went there and found that the biggest Big Bazaar store lies there. It is probably the first big bazaar store to be set up. My North Indian taste buds by now had started rejecting South Indian food.
I settled myself into a north Indian restaurant “Pape da Dhabba”. In 200 bucks I had a lavish lunch, that too North Indian!
My next stop was a historic shop famous by the name of, G. Pulla Reddy. These iconic chains of sweet shops serve the best mysore pak that can ever be made. I ate two pieces and felt like heaven. Even got some packed for taking back home.
I went on to explore the minimally present night life of Hyderabad. At places like 10 Downing Street, with in 500 bucks you can get nice music, good crowd, but small dance floor. Firangi paani and Sparks have nice hip ambience with reasonable rates.
The day’s work and dancing in heels made me sleep the moment I reached my bed.
Next day as it was my last day in Hyderabad, I packed my bags and went out to see the city alive for the last time in my memory. I reached the Salar Jung Museum, situated in Afzalgunj at 10 am. I took the Rs 15 ticket. This collection belonged to the Salar Jungs, Prime Minsters of Hyderabad. It contains paintings, furniture and other objects that the Salar Jung got from the West. The collection of Nizam jewellery is displayed only on special occasions. Free guided tours lasting two hours each are available at scheduled times, four times a day. Cameras, bags and liquids are not allowed inside.
Each and every piece inside the museum speaks for the vast and rich history of Hyderabad.

I had many experiences in the city. But the best one is when the locals call you “Amaa”, which in North India is said to an old lady. Here in South, it is the way of addressing a girl or a woman!

Many call it the City of Pearls, the City of Nawabs, the Biryani City, but when I turned back to look at Hyderabad for the last time before my flight, for me it was a city filled with memories!

Sitting in a Balcony

This post might be small but is very necessary. It is must to mark the importance of a balcony or a window side in my life.

Right now I am sitting in the balcony of my brother’s apartment and am feeling so good and creative. Thoughts just start pouring in, I feel like a bird!

I have always had residence at ground floor so I rarely get a chance to enjoy a balcony.

Though it is summer season, but occasionally a cool breeze, touches my skin and then flirts a little with my hairs. I feel blessed!

The best thing is that it is night, no hussle- bussle of the busy city, no noise which irritates my ears. It’s only few crickets and whistle of the watchman that I can hear.

In such a wonderful place I am sitting with a laptop which was connected (after many efforts) using an extension to reach the balcony and writing! I have also used a mosquito repellent to keep these tiny blood sucking devils away.

I looked up to the sky and felt so much at peace and think about my future. Such places according to me are the best to think upon a tough thing.

Now I am winding up this entry as I get busy watching the moon and an airplane passing by…

Women Intuition kills

Nidhi’s friends are suspecting something unusual about her behavior, though she greeted everyone in the group in the same usual manner!

After a few, “no I am fine” and “It’s nothing”, finally she spilled the beans. Now she is in tears, “I don’t feel that it’s going to work between me and Raj. Suddenly I don’t get the right ‘vibes’. I love him, but don’t know what to do…”

This is a conversation of a regular girl gang. (I can also be killed by my friend for publishing this!)

At this point I realized the importance of these ‘gut feelings’ in a women’s life. Believe me 80% of the times when men say, “I don’t understand her point”, “I don’t know why she is doing it” etc. Men, you can blame it to ‘women intuition’!

Women in thought(s)

Women are equipped with far more finely tuned sensory skills than men. What is commonly called ‘women intuition’ is mostly a women’s acute ability to notice small details and changes in the appearance or behavior of the others. This is one of the reasons why women can read between the lines of what people say.

Women have superior sensitivity in differentiating tone changes in voice volume and pitch. This enables them to hear emotional changes in children and adults. Maybe this explains the most commonly heard statements of women, while arguing with men, “Don’t use that tone with me” or “lower down your tone”.

For centuries women were burned at the stake for possessing ‘super natural powers’! These included the ability to predict outcomes of relationships, spot liars, talk to animals and uncover the truth.

This gut feeling at times gets so overpowering that women are bound to ride the way, their intuition takes them. Its “killing” sometimes when inside you keep getting this that  any particular thing is not going to last long, and practically you cannot find any valid reason!

But surprisingly the intuition is proven right!

So all the women out there learn to listen and follow your intuition and men you must learn ways to use your lady’s ‘special powers’!

You might also like to read where I took out these inferences:

  • Kentucky New Era: Read;
  • Daily Times: Read;
  • Times of India: Read

The Apology

I was checking my mails when suddenly something shook me. I could not believe my eyes about what I saw. I received the most unexpected E-mail of my life. The sender’s name made me nostalgic.

Some years back, I got badly ditched by a friend. Whom I considered very close, and thought I knew well. The incident made me hard to trust anyone. Due to that friend, the word ‘friend’ lost its meaning in my life. It took me time to get that trust in friendship restored, thanks to some friends who really stood by me. Gradually I understood that it was just another hurdle of life and got over it. But this event did teach me a lesson.

When you realize your mistake, only then you can understand what ordeals the other person went through. Trust me one starts feeling guilty and feels ashamed, as one realizes what he/she did! I know it’s very hard to apologies. We are humans; we tend to bring our big chunks of egos in between! But when that realization gets so huge and unbearable, one decides to face it. It takes courage to apologize and even more strength to forgive!

Sorry

Apology

When I received that apology, at first it shook me, and then it made me angry, I was not understanding whether I should believe it or not!  That E-mail pained me and after few days, I went through it again.

I replied back and the moment I wrote “Apologies accepted”, a kind of warmth went through me. I felt light, my anger was gone and I found myself smiling.

Remember, we all stumble; apologizing does not make you small. Also, forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

Some apologies really do matter.

Now if you excuse me, I got some apology(s) to do!

What a stupid person I am?

What a fool I am?

Sometimes I act so stupid, that afterward I feel like redoing it, all over again…

I guess the same must have happen with you as well, at some point of life!

The Repenting Afterwards

After a particular incident, when you think about it. Various actions cross your mind and you say, “I should have said that or done that… “And so on our mind produces many post action thoughts.

You regret it even more if that particular situation cannot be repeated again.

You feel sad, angry over what you said and curse yourself for not handling the situation well.

It’s true that, ‘that’ particular time will not come back. But what positive you can think about it is that you learn a lesson.

As the famous quote goes, “History repeats itself“, and who knows you are in the same situation again. Put those ‘post action thoughts’ at use during that time. After all, practice makes one perfect. And doing dumb things has never caused any harm.

Life is the process of moving on and constant change.

In the end I would say, “I am proud to be myself, and everybody should be. No matter how dumb one behaves at times”