Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What a book!

Yesterday, in the train while coming back from Indore I finished reading "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold". My God, what a thriller it was! The best I have read so far, better than Dan Brown's all books, better than the ones I have read by Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, Ken Folett, Michael Crichton, Haggai Carmon. It gives the same feel that the movie by Nolan 'Following' does, except in the end. A very intriguing plot, no action(I mean fighting sequences) and very dispassionate characters. And the best thing, it has a very sad end. In all the thrillers I have read so far, the ending is not so depressing. In this book the nice guys die, all of them :D. And, somehow, I like saddening endings.

Also it has a very interesting foreword to the sceptre edition by the author :). I could have copied it, but couldn't find an e-book. It is a must read for spy story lovers. The author is an ex-MI agent.
John le Carré

Ah, found it! I know that nobody reads my blog, but never mind. It goes like this:

My diligent publisher kindly suggested that, for this new edition of the novel, I might grab the opportunity to correct some of the more blatant inconsistencies and - dare I say it? - infelicities that occur in the original text. I declined. To me, they are honourable scars, part of who I was and wasn't, still at the threshold of my writing life, thirty-five years ago.
JOHN LE CARRE, October 1998

People get sentimental about all sorts of things, :).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Uploading mp3 files to youtube

After a long search did I find a way to convert an mp3 to avi format which is upload-able on youtube. I wanted to upload this beautiful ghazal by Mehdi Hassan, "Woh ke har ahd-e-muhabbat". Here's a nice script I found to do it. It can convert mp3 to avi which can be then uploaded to youtube.

# Starts here

convert -size 320x240 xc:black $background
duration=`ffmpeg -i $input 2>&1 | grep Duration | cut -f1 -d, | cut -f2,3,4,5 -d:`
ffmpeg -loop_input -i $background -i $input -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec copy -t $duration $output
# Ends here

You need to install ffmpeg, libavcodec-extra-52 to make it work.

Here's the video:

Woh ke har *ahd-e-mohabbat se mukartaa jaaye
Dil wo zaalim ke usi shaks pe martaa jaaye

Mere pehloo mein wo aaya bhi to khushboo ki tarah
Mein use jitna samentoon vo bikhartaa jaaye

Khulte jaayen jo tere band-e-kabaa zulf ke saath
Rang-e-*pairaahan-e-shab aur nikhartaa jaaye

Ishq ki narm nigaahi se hina ho *rukhsaar
Husn wo husn jo dekhe se nikhartaa jaaye

Kyon na hum usko dil-o-jaan se chaahen 'Tashna'
Woh jo ek dushman-e-jaan pyaar bhi kartaa jaaye

-Alam Tab 'Tashna'

ahd means promise
pairaahan means dress,robes
rukhsaar means cheeks

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ye hum jo hijr mein

One of the few ghazals sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Written by Ghalib.

Ye hum jo *hijr mein diwaar-o-dar ko dekhte hein
Kabhi *sabaa ko kabhi *naamaabar ko dekhte hein

Woh aaye humaare ghar pe Khuda ki kudrat hai
Kabhi hum unko kabhi apne ghar ko dekhte hein

Nazar lage ka kahin uske *dast-o-baazu ko
Ye log kyon mere zakhm-e-jigar ko dekhte hein

- Mirza Ghalib

*hijr means separation (from beloved)
*sabaa means breeze
*naamaabar means messenger
*dast means hands

The last sher is one of the best I have ever read.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Uzr aane mein bhi hai

A beautiful ghazal by Daagh Dehlvi in Farida Khanum's voice.

*Uzr aane mein bhi hai aur bulaate bhi nahin
*Baais-e-tark-e-mulaaqat bataate bhi nahin

Kya kaha phir to kaho hum nahin sunte teri
Nahin sunte to hum aison ko sunaate bhi nahin

Khoob parda hai ke *chilman se lagen baithe hein
Saaf chupte bhi nahin saamne aate bhi nahin

Ho chuka tark-e-taalluk to *jafaayen kyon hon
Jinko matlab nahin rehta vo sataate bhi nahin

*Ziist se tang ho ae 'Daagh' to jeete kyon ho
Jaan pyaari bhi nahin, jaan se jaate bhi nahin

-Daagh Dehlvi (1831-1905)

*Uzr means Objection
*Baais-e-tark-e-mulaaqat means reason for ending the courtship (Baais=reason, tark=leave,abandon)
*Chilman means A Venetian Blind
*Jafaayen means tyranny of a beloved
*Ziist means Life

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ek hi baat

Found a beautiful ghazal last night. Written by Sudarshan Faakir sung by Mohd. Rafi. I wonder how it would have been in Mehdi Hassan's voice, :).

Ek hi baat zamaane ki kitaabon mein nahin
Jo gham-e-dost mein nashaa hai sharaabon mein nahin

Husn ki bheek na maangege na jalwon ki kabhi
Hum fakiroon se milo khulke *hijaabon mein nahin

Har jagah firte hein aawaara khayaalon ki tarah
Ye alag baat hai hum aapke khwaabon mein nahin

Na dubo saagar-o-meena mein ye gham ae 'Faakir'
Ke makaam inka dilon mein hai sharaabon mein nahin

-Sudarshan Faakir

*hijaabon means curtain, coyness, veil, shyness.

The last two couplets are really profound, aren't they?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Linux Mint

For those who are fed up of Windows and want to try Linux, here's a distro Linux Mint. The latest being Linux Mint Gloria, the seventh version. Basically made for dabblers who find Linux painful to use, it betters Ubuntu in its "user-friendliness" as it has gui for most of the common tweaks so that users don't have to go to the configuration files and make changes. It can be a good replacement for the users who think that Ubuntu isn't user-friendly enough and are about to uninstall it or use it only when they have to delete some virus.

Also it comes with all the commonly used applications like mplayer, flashplayer, audio players, the codecs for playing the different formats etc. Can be booted on using a pen-drive and runs very smoothly, do give it a try! Can be download from here:

Linux-Mint Download

PS: It is Ubuntu based so the Ubuntu repositories work, can use IITM ftp repositories.

जिंदगी की राह में...

One of the most romantic songs I have ever heard. :)

यूँ जिंदगी की राह में टकरा गया कोई
एक रोशनी अंधेरे में बिखरा गया कोई

वो हादसा वो पहली मुलाक़ात क्या कहूँ
कितनी अजब थी सूरत-ए-हालत क्या कहूँ
वो कहर वो ग़ज़ब वो *जफा मुझको याद है
वो उसकी बेरुखी की अदा मुझको याद है
मिटता नहीं है ज़हन से यूँ छा गया कोई
यूँ जिंदगी की राह में टकरा गया कोई

पहले वो मुझको देख कर *बरहम सी हो गई
फिर अपने ही हँसीं ख़यालों में खो गई
बेचारगी पे मेरी उसे रहम आ गया
शायद मेरे तड़पने का अंदाज़ भा गया
साँसों से भी करीब मेरे आ गया कोई
यूँ जिंदगी की राह में टकरा गया कोई

अब उस दिल-ए-तबाह की हालत न पूछिए
बेनाम आरज़ू की *लज्ज़त ना पूछिए
एक अजनबी था रूह का अरमान बन गया
एक हादसा था प्यार का *उनवान बन गया
मंजिल का रास्ता मुझे दिखला गया कोई
यूँ जिंदगी की राह में टकरा गया कोई

*जफा means oppression, violence
*बरहम means angry
*लज्ज़त means taste
*उनवान means label, legend, preface

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

कुछ मेरी कलम से...

Here's a poem I wrote, :)

दिल के बहलाने को ये तराना ही सही
*वादा-ए-फर्दा ना सही, झूठा बहाना ही सही

कुछ तो दौलत चाहिए बसर करने को ज़िन्दगी
तेरी मोहब्बत ना सही, ग़म का खज़ाना ही सही

कहीं तो जाना होगा *ग़म-ए-हिज्र कैसे मिटाइए
तेरा कूचा ना सही, तो ये मयखाना ही सही

नींद ना आने के लिए क्या बहाना चाहिए
तुझसे गुफ्तगू ना सही, तेरा मुस्कुराना ही सही

देखना चाह था उसे पर वो मुड़ा न ए 'मनु'
उसका मिलना ना सही, तो सताना ही सही

- मनु चतुर्वेदी

वादा-ए-फर्दा = कल मिलने का वादा
ग़म-ए-हिज्र = जुदाई का ग़म

ये ग़ज़ल उस झूठे ख़याल को समर्पित है जो ये एतबार दिलाता है की वो इसे पढेंगे.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nuktacheen hai

Ghalib in Abida's mesmerizing voice!

*Nuktaacheen hai gham-e-dil usko sunaaye na bane
Kya bane baat jahaan baat banaaye na bane

Ghair firta hai liye yoon tere khat ko ke agar
Koi pooche ki yeh kya hai, to chipaaye na bane

Keh sake kaun ki yeh *jalwaa-garee kiskee hai
Parda choda hai woh usne ke uthaaye na bane

Mein bulaata to hoon usko magar ae jazbaa-e-dil
uspe ban jaaye kuch aisi ke bin aaye na bane

Ishq par zor nahin hai ye wo aatish 'Ghalib'
ke lagaye na lage aur bujhaaye na bane

-Mirza Ghalib

*nuktacheen= critic *jalwa-garee= manifestation

The last but one couplet is just too good, one of the best I have heard :).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And she never turned...

I know that the subject is a bit trite, but nevertheless, I shall make an attempt in making you aware or remind, depending upon how many years you have spent at IIT, of what changes come along in the life of people who were kept in a babe-free (sorry to those who are so desperate that they venture to call them babes) environment for 4 years and are suddenly and continuously exposed to mind-boggling beauty. To the uninitiated, the people here can be divided in two groups, the first one consists of people who are really optimistic, don't want to give in, and who are, rather were, suave with the opposite sex, these are the ones who try for the babes outside and the others, yes this constitutes the major population here, give in totally and resort to only movies/sitcoms/p... or an interlude which accompanies Cultural/Technical Festivals to satiate their thirst for beauty or whatever.

But some recent developments have made the situation better(or worse, depends), like the introduction of MA in IITM. This has taken the female-beauty-average in the campus to unprecedented highs, the repercussions of which I wish to discuss. People(here by people I mean the straight or, almost straight boys) have started opting for HS courses over other courses so that their frequent trips to the HS department also have some academic along with ocular value, have started getting very interested in HS courses to impress their classmates, and have started to believe that enthralling beauty can not only be found in movies. Like everything has a bad side to it, so does this, it might sound incredulous, but to the seasoned like me and my dear neighbour Arvind (sorry!), who were living in the campus for 4 years and had fully evolved(?) in such conditions, who had started to look at feminine beauty like one looks at a beautiful picture or scenery, the beauty of the inanimate or the virtual, this change has posed a very intriguing problem. These people who had so much got used to it that they actually started forgetting it have got hurt the most. They, who in their four years had lost all of whatever little confidence with girls they had gained in their school years are being reminded incessantly, when they roam around in the campus, of their deplorable bandi-less state. This has led to their fall into a state of perpetual sadness for the fact that such ravishing beauty exists in reality, that they are such losers, and can do nothing but look at them and appreciate. The title is to commemorate my attempt, in vain of course, of looking at one such ravishing beauty.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


The second thriller/mystery movie of the sem, and my God, one of the best I have ever seen. The director is Christopher Nolan, yes, the director of the much noted 'The Dark Knight', in fact the first movie he directed, produced and wrote the screenplay for. Well, to a person who has seen 'Memento' which was also directed by him, 'Following' will not come as surprise when it gets all confusing with its complex non-linear screen-play. Memento at least has two linear timelines going alternately, but in this movie there are actually three timelines and unlike Memento in which there is change in film stock from colour to black & white or vise-versa when there's a transition in timeline, in this movie the transition is shown by a blank screen :). But, the movie is much shorter, 69 mins only.

The movie's budget was only $6000, was shot on weekends and for most of the part Nolan did not employ any professional film lighting equipment.


I think a very intriguing plot is possibly the only thing the movie can offer to its viewers, but still its a must watch. I would earnestly recommend the movie to all who liked 'Memento'. I did not see 'The Dark Knight' completely for its fantastic action, but surely will see 'Insomnia' which was directed by him and 'Inception' which will get released in 2010.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ghalib, yet again

Ghalib at his best:

Mushkil hain zabas kalaam mera ai dil,
sun sun ke ise sukhanwaraan-e-kaamil,
aasaan kahne ki karte hain farmaish,
"goim mushkil wa gar na goim mushkil."

Too hard to grasp is my verse, O heart!
Hearing it, the connoisseurs of art
For a simpler style do ask.
"Difficult, if I write, difficult, if do not."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Donnie Brasco

After an intensive and rather strenuous search on imdb did I find a good thriller to watch, first thriller movie of this sem. The actors are Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. It is true story of an FBI implant in one of the mafia gangs of New York.
Jhonny Depp acts as the implant, works for the mafia gang for 6 years and starts developing an emotional attachement with the guy who had vouched for him(enacted by Al Pacino). Al Pacino again in the role of a gangster which he masters, but this time not a don but a vulnerable gangster for whom nothing comes about right. A must watch for all Jhonny Depp's fans.