Monday, September 20, 2010

19th and 20th of September 2010

Just in case I forget, I thought I would jot down that on the 19th of September my father and I attended "Von B-A-C-H zu Mozart" at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Despite not knowing much about Baroque or Classical-period music, I can write about what I enjoyed and in this concert it was Mozart's Konzert fΓΌr Klarinette und Orchester A-Dur KV 622 (Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622). I felt that the clarinet solo by the 73-year old Karl Leister was exceptional and I have since come to learn that it was Mozart's final purely instrumental work as he passed away in the December of its publication (1791). Overall, the concert was performed by the excellent Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra and it was the first time that I saw a Clavier played live.
- 19.09.10, Berlin, Germany

Today, Borhan said something remarkable that I found immediately funny but I now wonder what other people would have thought of it. While we were watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and I was translating the particular scene where Mr. Smith forlornly stares at the statue of Abraham Lincoln before leaving corrupt Washington DC, Borhan asked me: Was Abraham Lincoln Muslim? His impression may just have been because of the beard or the name 'Abraham' but it wouldn't be amiss to say that Honest 'Abe had many of the characteristics of an ideal Muslim.
- 20.09.10, Berlin, Germany

P.S. Hopefully I'll get to writing about my visit to Autostadt, Wolfsburg and Danone's project in Bogra, Bangladesh. It got deleted by mistake =/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Being Persuasive

"_______'s popularity and appeal to the community came out mostly in the way that he spoke...he had the power to change the views of almost any audience. His speaking techniques included talk of virtue and morals, and also quite often he had a few rhetorical questions in his speeches in order to identify with the audience. He would also gesticulate and use ideas and personal experiences in life to keep the listeners’ attention. And his final method was to state that he was always prepared to die in order to save the Revolution." Which public personality is this? (Hint: It's not Glenn Beck or anyone American at all)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gunga Din

Many remember Kipling for his Jungle Book or Kim or even his poem If, but I associate the following poem with him the most:


"You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew

Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was "Din! Din! Din!
You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din."

The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
An' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted "Harry By!"
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or I'll marrow you this minute
If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"

'E would dot an' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut,
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back,
'E would skip with our attack,
An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire",
An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was "Din! Din! Din!"
With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-files shout,
"Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"

I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
'E's chawin' up the ground,
An' 'e's kickin' all around:
For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!"

'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink", sez Gunga Din.

So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone --
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"

- Rudyard Kipling (1892)

Soon after I arrived in the UK, I found a second-hand book store on Charing Cross Road that had a beautiful hardback edition of this poem with painted illustrations accompanying each stanza. I gave it to my 9-year old cousin Abrar and I hope that it encourages him to read more.