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Monday, June 9, 2008

Bonus Time

(on March 24th, 2005 - R.I.P. Rajesh BlaaZe Raman)

Bonus Time


About a month ago, we had planned a trip to visit Nandini's parents on the Holi weekend... by train. We had the tickets booked and the trip was scheduled for thursday 23rd march, 8.50 pm train till Abu Road from Bandra Kurla station, and from Abu Road to their house by road, to the top of the mountain. We were to be picked up by Nandini's brother, Bobby.

Incidents Not Allowing Us To Leave

5pm - thursday march 23rd

Mum, Nandini, Mrishti had all packed their bags and were sorting out the other last minute stuff. I had just completed packing by bag - and was in the process of packing my laptop. My trolley bag was packed with everything that was BlaaZe...my whole life work actually - my cv from 1991 till date with all the works completed. 5 videos of my new songs. my discman. my best clothes. video camera, lyrics note book, unreleased music collection and some photos.

As i started to pack my laptop bag, i found a sealed envelope, in my grandfather's name...V.Gopalan, with our old house address in Chennai. This has been in the laptop bag since the time of my fathers demise i assume, and though i had seen it earlier, i never had the inclination to open it. However, when i showed it to mum, she asked me to open it, and as i did, we were surprised to see a silver pendant inside...Guru bhagavans. Mum placed it on my chain and as i wore it, i thought to myself that thatha has now wanted to me to wear this...Now.

Just then, nandini came in and said, there has been a problem with tickets..they are still waitlisted and the travel agent says it will be impossible to get it confirmed. After a few moments of thinking, we thought it best to actually go to the station and try to hustle to get on the train, as is vey common here through the railway authorities. Plus we had packed 7 pieces of baggage and 2 hand bags, including the baby pram for mt. abu and a walking chair for another baby.

As we went downstairs, i went to get a cab. For over ten minutes i was on the road looking for a cab...NOT EVEN ONE...in mumbai city 8pm??? Very strange ! Nevertheless after a long wonder as to what is goin on, a cab arrived. We rushed to the station and had a close miss with a bus...almost banged into the side of the cab...though rough reckless drivers are common in mumbai.

At the station, we tried all possible means to get the ticket, which was now waitlisted at numbers 3,4 and 5, to be confirmed. The TT said..not possible at all. Another uniformed officer said in good clear english...Do not board this train. Even the offer of money to another TT did not work. As we were moving back from the platform, a lady dressed in all-white, came upto only me in the whole station and asked for something. i usually would oblige, but knowing that i would be sleeping in the train, i carried no change in my pockets, and hence refused the lady. But as i saw her again, i thought it was a widow in white...with a passing thought of Nandini...... still i walked away. As mum and Nandini followed, they assumed that since i usually wear bright clothes/bandana etc, hence the lady approached only me...and we walked away.

We came home and were extremely upset that our planned trip was not going to happen. We still tried to get the tickets for the next day. And also decided that mum would go straight to baroda in the afternoon train.

Friday, March 24th

We woke up and the discussions about how to leave were still on. Mum's train was at 14.50pm to Baroda. I was ready to go and drop her at the station, and as we stepped out of the house, i tripped and fell down the stairs. Seemed like a bad sign. Mum said a prayer, and we continued though.Nandini and Mrishti were leaving the house to come down, and just then, Mrishti vomitted all over nandini, hence forcing them to go back in the house and clean up. As we sat in the car to leave, just as i started to reverse after packing the bags in the back of the car, i suddenly noticed an unseen Maruti right behind the tail bumper..parked all this while! Hence the car was unable to reverse.

We decided not to pursue this trip or any trip at that moment and came home.

As we sat around gloom faced, i mentioned that we would never know why we were stopped from going, but we all agreed everything happens for a reason, so no need to sulk. Just then, akka had called to tell us that today, march 24th, 2005, our thatha was to attain Moksha * We then explained how i had found the silver pendant in thathas sealed envelope and after that our trip kept getting blocked etc...and felt he made me wear that now, after all this while to protect me.

As we spoke that we would never know the truth, Neelkandan ** called and asked if we were all fine. We said yes. He said he just felt like speaking to us and the rest will be told later.

We waited till almost midnight to hear from … ... then, he called.

He mentioned that in his prayers he was told to tell us that today morning, from Abu Road station to Mt. Abu there was to be a major accident...and...One of us would not be alive anymore.

As for the pendant from my thatha, his attaining moksha this day, my bag full of my life's work, the lady at the station in white, the delays, the hindrance with the cab and so many other trivial signs which led us away from the disaster....these are the works of my angels. All around us - every day - everywhere. Thank You All for my BONUS TIME.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quick Thank You'z

Gotta say, as i woke up this morning, the ever-so-increasingly-addictive blogworld called out to me, and what a pleasant surprise... Mizz Chinmayee (whose blog is just so inspiring!!), had the 'kindness' to link me up... thank you... and from around 7 readers on day one, to over 200 and still counting, on day two, she's really got me going...
To all of you who left a comment, will reply in detail to each question, in time, godwilling.
Just to let you know, i will get back to you... timmy, ram ramamurthy,nandini, anantha, narayanan venkitu, padmasani, maha, madhav, vishesh, sheetal ambar, visves iyer, kirthii, aravind, bit rocks and also mr/miss anonymous... thanks for taking the time to comment... god bless...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Food & Shelter

food... yes its truly a choice and in india, we are blessed with the inumerable options we have... taste/spice/price !!

(shel*ter n. 1.a. something that provides cover or protection, as from the weather. b. a refuge, a haven. c. an establishment that provides temporary housing for the homeless)

shelter... !! used to be taken for granted that this would always be provided for magically as a kid... never heard about 'rent' and always thought the process of shifting houses was only for different job moves. Ofcourse, this is because having grown up in zambia, my dad had a great contract in terms of lifestyle, where accomodation, fuel and education were all taken care of by the company he worked for...
Today, it's the single most sought after thought by people in all demographics of society... 'where is home'
It seems that, a 'home' of your own, is getting constructed further and further away from the cities, in the hope of newer cities beginning and older ones expanding... even though it still seems like a few lifetimes worth of work in order to own the place you 'really' want.
We saw another place today morning, and yes it was nice, yes it was far, yes it was independent, but... it was still too damn expensive !! Is real estate ever gonna get reasonable? Are there people who complete their EMI payments whilst still working and fit? Will we still be searching for a house at the end of the year? Will i simply start charging 'a lot more' for my concerts?
hmmm... there's a thought...
Well well well... finaly here at blogworld... decided today was a good (auspicious)day to start ! Ama Vasya day, did 'tharpanam' for my dad and ancestors. Feelin like goin down memory lane ... here's a little something i posted to the Zambian Newspapers about him, after we moved back here for good... makes me think how time flies...



CHIEF IN DISGUISE...

Sunday Nov.9th 2003

Dear editor,

hi..this is Rajesh Raman, better known in Zambia as BlaaZe' - the rapper from Kitwe.
Well, i am now based in India and rappin is always goin strong. However i write this to you, because for 25 years, my parents had been in Zambia, until a few months ago, when my father passed away...

Mr. R V Raman is my dad's name. Ours was not a typical Indian household living in a foreign land. The main reason i think is because my father worked as an architect, originally in the copper mines, and then with other organisations, helping to lay a foundation of structures in Zambia that will last even after his time. The Sathya Sai School, various offices for the mines, the fencing around hospitals, pipelines and so many numerous things that still benefit thousands if not more. I had never been too keen on exactly what he was doing and why... but it's too late now. I realise that his constructions and his visits all over zambia, from the copperbelt to southern province, northern province, north-western province etc kept him working hard ( too hard sometimes ), but he always was happy when fellow Zambian colleagues smiled. This time when i came to Zambia to perform the last rites for my father, ( as i was not present when he passed away ), i was amazed by the people and the stories his colleagues and ex-colleagues had to tell me. This is when i realised that though we all go in search of fame and fortune, my father silently had cared for and served the country which gave him a home, and his family an identity. I am a Zambian with Indian Genes...proudly!
On the night my dad had a first heart attack, my mother had called her neighbours at Lubambe centre who were there with my dad in his last moments. They rushed him to Wusakile hospital, right opposite the copper mines, and there he had a second attack. His last vision was the copper mines and his last breath was the Zambian air. By the following night my wife, my sister, brother in law and niece were in Zambia, only to see him as a body without a soul.
Even though Zambia had been a home away from home for us for so long, we knew that this time when we had to leave, it would be for good. So, within two weeks, we cleared all the formalities and were ready to bring our mother back with us to India. When arranging to leave, my mother had kept two sets of trousers-shirts and all my father's belongings to just give away to every colleague, every worker, every friend my father had been with during his time in Zambia. They were very thankful and told me this...Only in the villages of Zambia, whenever a chief passes away, he gives his things to his tribesmen and people. Your father was a true Chief. Our chief.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank everyone in Zambia, for your kindness and friendship. Thank you.

As for me, the rapper, well am busy working with musicians from Asia and am touring too. Always maintain and remain real. A Zambian with Indian genes is who I am and Zambia is where my career began and is still continuing...

Peace
BlaaZe