Urvashi (Sanskrit: उर्वशी, lit. she who can control the heart of others. ("Ur" means heart and "vash" means to control) is an Apsara (nymph) in Hindu legend.I suddenly got a yen to listen to AR Rahman's 2017 remake of "Urvashi Urvashi" and to my happiness Vimeo has the original MTV Unplugged video of it. (I guess at some point Vimeo paid for the rights to make it available, for free, to the public.)
There have been audio versions available on the internet but you really need to see the video of the performance. Watching it again for the first time since its release I marvel again at the song's melding of ancient and modern musical instruments, it's counterbalancing of a classical European stringed orchestra with tabla players, its crowdsourced lyrics, and how jazz and scat singing are worked into that incredible orchestral masala.
So you could do worse than to send someone the video if you're asked, 'Explain India.'
I don't think India can control anyone's heart but move the heart -- yes, I think the best of India can do that.
But the song is originally the blockbuster from the score that Rahman wrote for a 1994 Indian movie called "Kadhalan" (Loverboy). You can appreciate the "Urvashi" song title from seeing the video of the song from the movie. Guys will do anything to get the attention of girls. So the moral of the song -- as it is for the 2017 remake -- is "Take it easy policy" only the remake extends to taking it easy in all matters.
Well I'd better shut up about India before I develop a yen for a really good dish of uppama and end up on a plane bound for south India.
All right, back to the salt mine. Pestilence. Desertification. Deforestation. Drought. Brain-dead agriculture policies. I don't want to write about those things. I want to go out and play. Pundita don't whine, it's unseemly for a woman your age and besides it's 3 o'clock in the morning.
Well maybe I'll make some uppama but it's never as good as in India, not even the best Indian restaurants here in Washington make as it as good. All right, that's enough. Look at you! A few minutes ago you were so happy to find the video and here you are with a long face because you can't have uppama the way you like it. [shaking her head] Human nature. Can't live with it, can't live without it. Oh let's not get philosophical, shall we?