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Jhini(Indian Ocean)

Often I experience something that leaves me with more questions than answers. Music, especially, is like a supernatural force that transports me into some unknown dimension, and I lose sense of everything,… repeat, everything. It has happened more than once. Particularly memorable were listening to pandit Shivkumar Sharma playing Santoor at Sawai Gandharva 2003, pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia playing Bansuri at his residence during Janmashtami 2005, and pandit Jasraj at Malhar 2006.

Yesterday was fourth such occasion. I was at Indian Ocean’s live concert at Toronto. (Indian Ocean is a music band, if you didn’t already know – not many people do.)

I hate stuff that makes me pause and think. It disrupts my schedule. Last time Indian Ocean music did that was in April, about which I wrote here.

So, back to the music concert. The guys started with a Vedic prayer (‘From the Ruins’), and the next moment I had goose bumps. This was followed by 2.5 hours of blissful music – ‘Jhini’, ‘Kya Maloom’, ‘Ma Rewa’, ‘Bandheh’, ‘Hille Re’, ‘Bhor’, ‘Kandisa’ and my favorite – ‘Kaun

Indian Ocean, Live
Indian Ocean, playing live in Toronto (I know its not the best photo, but I had no interest in focusing on taking pictures 😉 )

Indian Ocean for me is in the same league as Pink Floyd, Nirvana and Tool. Listening to this music is a spiritual experience, and multi tasking seems impossible.

Take this song Jhini for example. Composed by saint Kabir, the lyrics seem simplistic on first glance.
झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया, झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया
के राम नाम रस भीनी चदरिया, झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया
अष्ट कमल दल चरखा डोले, पांच तत्व, गुण तीनि चदरिया
साइँ को सियत मास दस लागे, ठोंक-ठोंक के बीनी चदरिया
सो चादर सुर नर मुनि ओढ़ी, ओढ़ी के मैली कीनी चदरिया
दास कबीर जतन सो ओढ़ी, ज्यों की त्यों धर दीन चदरिया

This is fine, this is fine cloth.
It is been dipped in the name of the lord
The spinning wheel, like an eight-petal lotus, spins,
with five tatvas and three gunas as the pattern.
Lord stiched it in 10 months (the gestation period)
The threads have been pressed to get a tight weave.
It has been worn by gods, people, and sages
they soiled it with use.
Kabir says, I have covered my self with this cloth with great care,
and eventually will leave it like it was.

(Sample file, from the band’s website)

It’s the complex interpretation of these simple words that I love so much, makes me want to hate it. And yesterday after a an hour long debate with my darling friend, I got freshly criticized for my Howard Roarkish approach. LOL!

PS: I think the website is back on track 🙂

Published inSocial Commentary


  1. music needs to be experienced ..not thought about..i would rather feel it than think about it ..btw, you site is still slow

    • anubhav anubhav

      u r partially right . but to experience u should feel it and u feel it when u know it . otherwise u get lost u get confused . if u dont know the meaning of words in a song then how do u relate it to ur feelings???

  2. Thanks for introducing me to Indian Ocean, Priyank. I just spent the better part of an hour playing what I could find of them on Youtube.

  3. backpakker:
    I know what you mean. Unknowingly though, I tend to drift towards the lyrics and try to analyze them.

    muwhahahaha… devilish laughter. How I love to infect others!
    There are many demos on the band’s website

    Re: Website issues…. aarghhh…. :((

  4. Good to have you back Priyank. 🙂
    Although my husband is very fond of Indian music, I am unashamedly a fan of western music. I have not heard of Indian Ocean at all.
    As for Pink Floyd and Nirvana, they are my favorites. I mean I go crazy listening to them! Add Beatles too. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Indian music. I do, but it’s the western music which makes me really feel. I don’t know why, maybe it was because that’s what I heard growing up. The time we grew up there was either the very classical indian music like sitar and raagas or boring film songs! We didn’t have really cool groups and it was music like that of deep purple, dave brubeck, pink floyd (I still remember when wish you were here was released! and how crazy I became hearing it!) that we freaked out on. There were many other groups too but they are not popular now.
    Anyway, happy diwali. Will be posting tomorrow and taking a break for 4-5 days.

  5. ps. I love this new look and liked the way the comment just slid up there. and it loaded faster too.

  6. This post brought back memories of the Indian Ocean concert I attended in Chennai. They had sung Jhini citing it as the new song from their soon to be released album, I can sum up my emotion in one word here – enchanted. This is one of best but least known bands in India..

    You can be versatile with your music taste. I worship Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Dave Gilmour, yet I am a big fan of Indian Ocean… frankly telling you they are Indian Pink Floyd – More Music, Less Lyrics…..

  7. I haven’t heard them, but now I will.
    Nita, you surprised me! I would have imagined you to be a ghazal lover!
    Priyank, hope your site problems cease!

  8. Nita:
    I am surprised too! Just like rambodoc, I thought you were a bigger ghazal fan and far away from western music… hehehe!
    Thanks for your wishes

    hey! Nice to know another Indian Ocean fan. Don’t know why they are so less known… probably because they are not part of the mainstream music. But thats what makes them special 🙂

    huh? Can’t believe you can also write a vanilla comment!

  9. Ah, my favourite band 🙂 My youngest brother and me usually play their songs as a two man band (guitar and bass) – my personal favourite is Ma Rewa and Kandisa.

  10. I guess I have hidden my real self quite well then without intending to! Ofcourse my blog is not about myself so I guess few people know me.
    I am actually what people would call ‘westernized’ though I hate that word because I consider myself wholly Indian. I mean hey, the british colonized us and now I consider English MY language, not theirs. This is very unlike the typical ghati mentality which lives in the past and considers english foreign. I speak marathi with a ghat accent though and am comfortable with Marathi although am not proficient in it. But no, I am not at all ashamed of it. I had a certain type of schooling (st. marys pune) and we had british teachers at the time although they were on their way out and very old. I had pucca type of upbringing if you know what I mean and the army atmosphere sealed my fate. 🙂
    However I am extremely extremely patriotic and I guess that is due to my army upbringing. I think this is what I consider Indianness, and I sneer at those vernacular behenjis and dhotiwalas who are so proud of their marathi literature but spit on the road, don’t pay their taxes, don’t vote, sneer at English, and would never give their life for their own country but would happily migrate (I don’t mean anything by this Priyank, it’s not personal but I am the kind of person who would never migrate). As for my life, I would give it, this very minute, for India.

  11. Ashok:
    I can play some songs (esp. Kandisa) on my Sitar. We should jam!

    Isn’t it funny how our blog projects our personality unknowingly? Maybe its the choice of words, format of the blog (template), topics and comments or whatever.

    That said, I can totally relate to your state. Soon there will be more English speakers in India than the rest of the world and I understand that has nothing to do with Indianness – as its usually thought. The army upbringing probably instilled rational thinking in you automatically (unlike me who is still realizing it) and you spot hypocrisy in no time 🙂

    Oh and don’t worry about the immigration comment, I won’t take it personally….LOL Situations have compelled me to do it, maybe I’ll blog about it in August 2008 🙂

  12. Thanks Priyank. You got me exactly.

  13. HeavyGod HeavyGod

    Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :)) new useful posts from you!
    Good luck and successes in blogging!

  14. Nita:

    I hope to meet your expectations!



  16. Rajeev:
    When did you attend the Toronto concert? Was it the same day as I did? They are incredible really !!

  17. It seems that our musical tastes match.

    Do check out Opeth. Though they have Death Metal at their core, their music is strongly erudite and beautiful at the same time. I suggest “Damnation” (released in 2003) for you to listen, given your liking for Pink Floyd.

    I love Indian Ocean. They are what I was talking about when I said “Independent music”. But as you know, they are obscure. Do you know of any more such artists?

  18. Hi Alok, Welcome to my website and thanks for commenting! I have heard Opeth before, but I think its time to refresh because I don’t remember much. Indian Ocean is a bliss for the soul
    cheers, 🙂

  19. Ashu Ashu

    You put Indian Ocean in the same bandwagon as Pink Floyd and Tool??? Re-think that statement, perhaps re-analyze how you categorize music. First of all, to put Tool and Pink Floyd in the same band wagon is insane, perhaps you wanted to state that you like them as much you like bands such as Pink Floyd and Tool. I was shocked to read that line!

    • Ashu,
      Welcome and Thanks for your comments, although the same could be said in a mannerful way.

      There are similarities in any form of music, even folk music of Mexico and tribal music of Africa can be categorized together if someone is looking for local flavor. I believe we are too hung up on modern categorization and the intense zeal to compartmentalize music into genres and rigid classifications like that is evident from your comment too.

      I don;t know if you have heard IM music, but they can be classified into a range of genres – soul, soft rock, folk, heavy metal. Ofcourse, western world (origin of classification) would simply put it as “world music.” I am curious to know your opinion.

  20. natha natha

    thanks for the meaning of Jhini

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