Jason Mraz

I believe I’ve just found an artist whose work I truly love.

He’s been around for a while, (at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me) but well, I just heard one of his songs today morning, and have been on a listening spree since then.

To be honest, this is the first time I encountered one of his songs, long back:

That is Jeanine Mason, winner of Seaosn 5, So You Think You Can Dance, performing a Travis Wall choreography to ‘If It Kills Me’ by Jason Mraz.

I don’t know how anyone can listen to this song and not want to dance. I do not how anyone watching this performance cannot cry. And I don’t know how anyone performing this cannot fall in love with Jason Mraz.

This is music like I’ve never heard before. Even the songs of his I don’t like too much, I still want to listen. And coming from someone who doesn’t give a song more than 5 seconds to prove its worth, that’s A LOT.

I believe great art is one that shows you your own reflection within an artist. Perhaps its a narcissistic point of view, but there isn’t any other way to judge art. When Jason Mraz sings it’s almost as if he’s crooning to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to romanticize unnecessarily. What I’m emphasizing, is that every song seems like a private, impromptu performance. Like you were sitting in a room along with a guy who’s got a guitar and he goes, “Hey, you wanna hear something?”

Every one of his songs that I’ve heard so far has this quality. It isn’t rehearsed, it isn’t calculated. It’s effortless. It’s completely honest, bare-naked. It’s almost as if he’s making up the song as he’s singing it. Like he has no idea really what will come next, what note he is to hit, what solo he’s to play, how long he’s to pause, or anything like that. He just knows what he wants to sing about, and the rest, he knows, is just going to flow out of his body, come from his mind – like your lungs breathe or your heart beats or your blood flows.

Because it is a default function that your body performs out of the fact of being a ‘body’. So Jason Mraz thoughts turn to lyrics and lyrics turn to music – on their own, without any effort, as a default function of him being who he is. It’s almost as if he’s the music and the music is in him.

I guess this is the reflection I love and cherish. Because that’s how I write too. I don’t really rehearse or calculate my words and sentences. I barely ever edit what write. I just start with a thought. And then words flow. Sentences are formed. Paragraphs created. A Meaning Delivered. Without any real effort. I love everything I write because it’s honest, real, bare-naked. It’s unflinchingly, un-apologetically, unequivocally ME.


O Come, All Ye Faithful

I witnessed something quite pleasantly, amusingly, poignant today.

I was standing outside of Bandra Stn, right outside the arches, at 2 o’clock. I need not add exactly how hot it was, but I should add how pissed I was, at the fact that it WAS so hot, that my bus seemed nowhere in sight, that the traffic and the honking seemed endless and annoying, and especially at the fact that for some reason, a good 50 odd Muslim men seemed to want to stand at exactly that same place at the time.

No, I’m not talking about the Muslims (sigh)

I generally get pissed at any congregation of men anywhere, simply because seldom do they congregate for the right kind of reasons. It means I have to be over cautious and get overtly stared at. Yet, the crowd here seemed quite on their civil behaviour, possibly brought on by the hawaldar bandobast. 

It seems they had gathered to offer namaaz. They were chattering away, the whole lot, some praying, some kneeling, some doing something that was a mixture of all three. Every now and then a slightly older man wearing a pathan-like turban would come around and tell everyone to get in place. People kept getting in place and getting out. Basically there was a lot happening, and people like me who were waiting for the bus kept waiting for something else to happen too.

Then, as expected, the azaan rang out, and the men heeded. All of a sudden everyone got in their place and then, everything went  shush. It was as if someone turned off a switch. I have never in my life seen Bandra station this quite. I was too absorbed looking at what they were doing, so I’m not sure, but I do think even traffic stopped moving for a while. Understandably, the men were engrossed with what they were doing, but even those of us who didn’t have anything to do with this, went quiet. There was no honking, no hawking, no yelling on the phone, no yelling at the hawker, nothing. There was just some annoying banter by the hawaldars (because they just have to ruin a perfectly great moment) – but other than that, it seemed like the whole of Bandra station had joined the men.

It was one of those moments that are filmed and edited to an audio of the National Anthem or Vande Mataram. For the five minutes that the namaaz lasted, pin-drop silence ruled the air. It was almost as if, despite the rush that we are in, despite how impatient we are, how irritated we get with crowds, how we regard the faithful of a different kind – despite all of this, each individual (running, walking, standing, sitting, eating, drinking, texting) knew that this was a moment not to be disturbed. This was moment to be looked at with some respect. This was a moment to feel something. This was a moment to be, even for a moment, a little better, even in the littlest way possible. Of course the hawaldars are an exception.

When it was over, Bandra station resumed its usual poise and grace. The men went to feast and the hawaldars, to fleece. I finally saw my bus snaking its way through the traffic (which had miraculously just started). But this moment lingered. Not because someone was praying. But because someone else decided to let someone pray in peace.