Saturday, July 02, 2005

Jal – Aadat (Album Review) - 1

By Sanket ‘song analyzer’ Kambli
I won’t give you a whole album review; instead I will try and review two songs for each issue.

8.-Aadat->This is one of my favorite songs on this album. The song begins with a strumming guitar, and then you are introduced to the voice of Farhan. Then mid way it stops, and again strumming picks up, slowly the tempo goes up, and by now you are immersed into the soul of the song. This song has some good Latin style guitar work. Many fans of this Pak Pop Genre, will say this song feels a bit similar to style of Strings, but that is just because of the bass line of the song, and nothing else.
na jane kab se
umeede kuch baki hay
mujhe phir bhi teri yaad
kyun aati hay
na jane kab seeee
dur jitna bhi tum mujhse
paas tere main
ab toh aadat si hay mujhko aise jineme
zindagi se koi shikwa bhi nahin hay
ab toh zinda hoon main is neele asman main
chahat aisi yeh teri badhati jaye
aahat aisi hay yeh teri mujhko sataye
yade gehri hay itni dil doob jaye
aur aankhon main yeh gum num ban jaye
ab toh aadat si hay mujhko aise jineme
sabhi yaadein hayn
sabhi baatein hayn
bhoola do unhe
mita do unhe
9.-Manchala->This song begins with a throbbing bass, which is interspersed with guitar licks, then it is followed by some more mean licks, then the vocals surface peppered with distortion, you get pulled into the void created by the soul in Goher's voice. The concluding part is all crazy fretwork, fast drumming.
Koi manchala chala
is Safar Main
kayee raste mile
har rasta hay juda
yeh dil ki baat hay
ke har dil hay khafa
kahin koi mila
mila is safar main

Jal – of ‘woh lamhay’ fame

Jal is an Urdu word of Persian origin, which simply means ‘water’. An element that constitutes of 70% of our being, and more than 2/3 rd of the earth. The inspiration behind the band's name affirms the intimate connection of water to the rhythms of our lives-and how it is something to be celebrated, revered, and preserved for all times to come. The name ‘Jal' is the product of the band's vision to recognize Music as the artistic extension of this natural unity. Water is truly one of the most sacred parts of our existence and the band's music celebrates that concept by orchestrating a symphony of lyrics and music that is as limitless and timeless as itself. The result was Jal-the band; which is a collaboration between three exceedingly gifted individuals; Goher Mumtaz, Farhan Saeed and Shazi. The oft-quoted statement that "Music is the universal language of mankind” holds particularly true when it comes to Jal's music. Their Music like water itself knows no exceptions, and boundaries. It aims to cater to people from all spheres of life and of all ages. Jal's sound primarily falls in the pop/soft rock genre. Playing along the lines of Latin-Acoustic Guitars; the main emphasis of their music is on the melodies and the lyrical content. Keeping their songs melodious and catchy at the same time the band believes that music is truly the world's universal language capable of bringing our hearts and souls together. A well composed song, personified with honest and heart felt lyrics and spirited rhythms, will eventually be heard by music enthusiasts all around the world. Owing to its universal appeal Jal's lyrics' are a subtle manifestation of emotions expressed in an energetic and harmonious manner. Fueled by the desire to freshen up the pop/rock genre in Pakistan these qualities give Jal's music a very high degree of accessibility both in terms of composition and lyrics. Jal was formed in Lahore in 2002 when Goher Mumtaz composed his first song by the name of “Aadat.” Soon after, began his search for like minded musicians to complete his band. He ran into Shazi (Aamir) - a Bass guitarist and after a few jamming sessions he invited Shazi to join Jal, and together they went about looking for a vocalist. Some time later Goher heard Atif singing in a local College Music Competition, impressed by his vocal range he offered Atif to join the band and to do vocals for the song “Aadat.” Jal's first single “Aadat” was released in Dec 2003. Before the release of its video “Aadat” was released on the internet through a local Pakistani web portal. The song enjoyed the status of the most downloaded Pakistani song on the internet for quite some time and was extensively popular by the time the video was released. Directed by Umer Anwar the single burst into the Pakistani music scene and took it by storm. Receiving an amazing amount of air time by all the music channels and entering music charts. The video was rated 4th best Video of the year 2003 by ARY -The Musik within days of its release. The success of the “Aadat” can partly be gauged by the countless concert offers the band received immediately after the release of the song and partly by it's ratting to date on music channels. However, by the end of December 2003 due to musical differences, Atif parted ways with the band while Goher once again searched for a Lead vocalist for Jal. It was then that Sultan Raja (Bassist of Call) introduced Farhan Saeed Butt to Goher and thus Jal found a new voice. By the time Jal came up with their new line-up “Aadat's” video was already doing rounds on the local music channels with the former singer Atif Aslam's vocals. The song was thus re-done for the official release in their debut album.
Goher Mumtaz - Vocals/Lead & Rhythm Guitars/Compositions/Lyrics
Ferhan Saeed - Lead Vocals
Shazi (Aami) - Bass guitarist
Jal - Live Act includes
Waqar - Drums [eP]
Sultan - Rhythm Guitars [Call]

Euthanasia (Greek, "good death") -- By Sanket ‘ain’t Greek’ Kambli

All those who don’t know what the title means, here is the definition. The intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. (The key word here is "intentional". If death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia). And it doesn’t end here. Voluntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed has requested to be killed. Non-voluntary: When the person who is killed made no request and gave no consent. Involuntary euthanasia: When the person who is killed made an expressed wish to the contrary. Assisted suicide: Someone provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life with the intention that they will be used for this purpose. When it is a doctor who helps another person to kill themselves it is called "physician assisted suicide." Euthanasia by Action: Intentionally causing a person's death by performing an action such as by giving a lethal injection. Euthanasia by Omission: Intentionally causing death by not providing necessary and ordinary (usual and customary) care or food and water. So you must be wondering when not to use the word euthanasia. Please continue. There is no euthanasia unless the death is intentionally caused by what was done or not done. Thus, some medical actions that are often labeled "passive euthanasia" are no form of euthanasia, since the intention to take life is lacking. These acts include not commencing treatment that would not provide a benefit to the patient, withdrawing treatment that has been shown to be ineffective, too burdensome or is unwanted, and the giving of high doses of pain-killers that may endanger life, when they have been shown to be necessary. All those are part of good medical practice, endorsed by law, when they are properly carried out. In terms of Indian context, while section 309 of the IPC says that attempted suicide is a criminal offense, it keeps mum on euthanasia. The irony is that it is the fear of misusing the law which is holding back many experts from legalizing it. Surely, a conflict between the humane, the ethical and the legal. What is my opinion you ask? The right to die should be a personal choice. But if euthanasia is made legal, there always will be those who will try to bend the law and exploit ignorant patients. That is a big risk.” The Hippocratic Oath in the medical profession seems to be another hold-back. “We are expected to treat a patient to the best of our ability. Whether we have a right to take anybody’s life is a serious question because we are supposed to offer hope even in the worst situation,” says Dr Mandloi
Definition source: Southern Cross Bioethics Institute

Hike - Just Done It ---- By Sanket 'gone for a hike' Kambli

This isn't a spoof of Nike or its tagline. Here you should focus on the word hike. And this has got nothing to do with going for hiking trips. Heck! It doesn’t even deal with any trip. Ok, I will quit playing around; this is about fuel price hike. Don’t run away, it doesn’t deal with economics of fuel prices but has got some numbers. The latest hike in oil price comes at a bad time for the economy and close on heels of the previous hike of just six months back. Under the revised pricing the price of kerosene has gone up by Taka 2 to Taka 25 per litre; diesel price is raised by Taka 3 to Taka 26 per litre and petrol price has gone up to Taka 35 from Taka 33. Significantly, on 23 December last the government had raised the prices of kerosene and diesel each by Taka 3 per litre. Consequently, within a space of six months the prices of diesel and kerosene have gone up by Taka 6 and Taka 5 respectively. An imminent price rise is already in the air due to the new pay scale of the government servants; on top of it comes this new round of fuel price hike which cannot be justified on any rational ground. It is going to set off a chain reaction in every sector of the economy, it is feared, particularly agriculture and transport. And when transport rises, prices of nearly all commodities tend to rise. If the price hike itself is bad, the reason given for it is more outrageous. It has been stated that the need to check smuggling is one of the reasons for raising fuel price, as fuel price is higher across the border. In other words, the common people must pay for the crime of smugglers which the government is unable or unwilling to curb. The law enforcers are maintained on the tax money of the public precisely to control crimes. The fact is that the government has had to give in to World Bank's pressure. Last February when a delegation of World Bank's oil and gas mission visited the country they pressed for a fresh round of fuel price hike. Their argument was that prices of gas, diesel and kerosene were below the level set by the Bank as condition for Development Support Credit. Thus the elected government can neither check smuggling nor resist donors' pressure. So if you think it doesn’t affect you, either you should again read the above lines carefully, or you must not be living in India. Because this has been done and will affect us quite effectively, anyone disagrees?
Statistical source: Press Trust of India, financial dailies.

The Unreal Tournament -- By Sanket ‘the eye opener’ Kambli

No! I couldn’t find a better proverb; let us manage with this. Never judge a book by its cover. But in this “so called advanced society”, nobody cares about this old saying. The trade secret of the marketing world is simple, ‘packaging’; it is the key to make your product famous. What does this tell us? No! It doesn’t tell us, we should buy well packaged goods. This clearly points to the theory, that human’s often base their assumptions, on what they see, and not what really is. You still don’t get what I am talking about. Well! Why spoil the suspense, OK! Here is a hint, Recently, China hosted a beauty pageant, and so, what is so great about it, right! It is not great, it is controversial, and this beauty pageant was, for all those who had gone under the knife (cosmetic surgery for dummies). Ahaa! Now you get which book and cover I am talking about, so this brings us to initiate a mini dissection of both sides of this coin. So what do the supporters say; their logic is, in 21st century only those who have great looks are given a look at (pun intended). It is said by this group, if you cosmetically alter your looks, you unknowingly shape your confidence (VLCC motto), ultimately making you successful. The only way to make yourself acceptable, is to have perfect looks, because natural imperfections, make people ignore you, make you lonely. If you have a perfect body/face your life from all dimensions (marital to career) becomes satisfyingly happy. And if you think this is just an advertisement by a surgeon, let me clarify, this kind of thinking is finely embedded into people’s mind. But why are people opposing it, let us see; well this artificial beauty doesn’t go down well with some, saying, these surgeries ruin the whole concept of beauty, the concept being something beyond superficial/ perfect looks. They say its not the face/body but people’s mind that have to go under the knife, to eradicate this thing in their mind, which lays unnecessary importance on perfect looks and its ability to lift your confidence. I can go on, yes I can give a truck load of case-studies from both the sides, but they will still say what has already been said, so I don’t want to just put them for the sake of filling up space, instead I just want you to think (I know its tough) who is right, do a bit of research, what do you say? Bye for know! Astala Vista!

Bar Wars -- By Sanket ‘hates dance bars’ Kambli

We always come across 'either you are in or out' scenario. But this dance bar issue doesn't fit into this scenario. You ask me why? Read further to know why. Let us begin with the supporters of dance bars; these people consider dance bars to be a source of adult entertainment, in this city which lacks any form of adult entertainment, it is their only place to unwind. I am sure very few will agree. Some people of these groups say that, it is time we all grew up, and move with the times, and legalize dance bars. While there are some who are a bit sensitive, saying that these bars, are a source of income of thousands of women, who are the sole employed members of their respective families, and banning them, will make them helpless and depressed, which will naturally pass on to the families. There are a few furious one, who want, the government to stop taking away their "freedom”, they feel it’s their right to decide what is right and what is not, and not the government. And a section wants the government to focus on more essential issues; like unemployment, illiteracy, etc, instead of trying to stop corruption of young minds. Well its time to move on to the denouncers of dance bars; these people like the government, believe that dance bars do corrupt young and impressionable minds. They believe that it is not a necessary evil, and feel our society would surely benefit from the absence of dance bars. They say that are far better and healthier sources of entertainment that can be pursued, than going to a dance bar. And they believe just because, it is a source of income for women, they have to keep the dance bars open, is absolutely stupid. There are few who believe it is high time, that freedom in this nation is controlled. And these groups have a piece of advice to all those who believe that, acceptance of dance bars to be a sign of a progressive society; they would prefer a non-progressive society, then a "dance bar-red society". So you must have got a gist of both the sides, hopefully aiding you in doing some research and making some decisions. And if you ask me my opinion, even I believe it isn't a "necessary " evil, but all those who have lost their jobs because of the closure of dance bars, must be given adequate rehabilitation, and lastly the society must start accepting these women, on par with other women, as all that they were innocently doing was earn a livelihood, and that too, not just for themselves, but for their families.

The Shakti Scandal -- Sanket ‘wont sting you' Kambli

Not being a journalism student, I have no particular interest in journalism ideologies. But this scandal pertaining to existence of casting couch in our film industry has really made me give a thought to such things. Lets us see how, the television channel, India TV has caught Hindi film actor, Shakti Kapoor, on camera asking for sexual favors from a woman aspiring to be a movie star. In this operation the channel, used an undercover journalist to pose as a film aspirant. This operation has put before us a variety of issues to deal with, sexual harassment at workplace to defamation to journalism ethics. Inarguably we can never consider the actor to be innocent, but here; we cannot leave out the channel, and can consider it to be guilty for a different issue. Here the channel may have diluted the definitions of ‘journalism of challenge’ and ‘journalism of sensationalism’. It may have tried to make public the existence of a casting couch, but the means used have raised many questions, for some, this sting operation thing is the right way to go, they say the truth can be caught on hidden cameras only if bait is placed, for them this is the best way to clean up the system, but did this operation lead to eradication of this malady from the industry, you can answer this. For some these operations are not conclusive, they say, the target is heavily lured into doing the thing they are exposing, and this is done, making sure there is absolutely no choice given for the target to get out of it. And not only that we cannot be sure, whether the clips shown to us are the core part of the whole recording. So what is right, let us leave the decision making to the national dailies, and let us just sit on the fence and think for a while before making any hasty decisions. Let us understand that, this scandal has asked us to clearly define the ethics to be kept in mind while going about any sting operations. It has also shown how much obsessed is our media with celebrities. And lastly has shown the need for means to remove sexual harassment at workplace. So did this operation help, depends on actions taken. Was this operation justified, yes, but the means used were not, and in the absence of laws, is it fair enough?

Go green -- By Sanket ‘has no hope of conservation’ Kambli

Get out of the holi hangover; I am not talking about the festival of colors. I am talking about nature. Now don’t put this away as another save nature plea, this is not a plea, it’s an observation. Recently I read an article by Thomas L. Friedman; he said ‘Imagine if George Bush declared that he was getting rid of his limousine for an armor plated Ford Escape hybrid car, adapting a geo-green strategy and building an alliance of evangelicals and greens to sustain it. His popularity at home and abroad would soar.’ This made me think why can’t something of this sort be implemented in our country, no not just our country, why not the whole world, why can’t the government vehicles go green. Why can’t we replace all the ambassadors and other government transporters with say, solar cars or electric cars or some eco-friendly source of energy? I think it would not only help to create a better example, but also give much needed support to companies who have developed or are developing eco-friendly vehicles. I think this should start with us, looking at the benefits, our neighboring countries will hopefully emulate us, with the success of this model in south asia, and the success will rub off to south east then to the whole of asia. You may say, why is this necessary; let’s see a bit of statistics from ‘Wired Magazine’ April issue; is states that there are more than 800 million cars in active use and by 2050 it will swell to around 3.25 billion, which is over four times the original quantity and also four times the emissions. And I have every reason to believe that figures will be surpassed very early. Why, take a look at this channel Discovery, at one side they talk about conservation and stuff, while on their sister channel they have a show on cruiser bikes which don’t have a great reputation as fuel savers. Formuala One, it’s so famous around the world, but think about the amount fuel, just burnt away for every race especially in a time when we know that the reserves are not high, maybe they are having fun as long as it lasts. Similarly there are more things that glamorize fuel guzzling vehicles in India than those which even mention an effort of environment friendly vehicles. And as India is the second most populated nation, it’s an issue, which is just waiting to become a full brown problem, or am I underrating it?