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Posts tagged ‘music’

Letters from Indian Soldiers in WWI by David Omissi

In Indian Voices of the Great War, British historian David Omissi collected letters written during WWI by Indian soldiers. One soldier asks for charas, another for ladies shoes, and yet another for a flute not because he needs it but because he has ‘great longing for a flute to play’. The reader can only imagine his request for a musical intrument, for music, and what that means to him amidst trench warfare. One soldier writes about his four year abcense  and so allowing his wife to remarry according to vedic rites for the dignity of the family, another writes about the real reason he wants the ladies shoes which is not because he is having an affair, and yet another sends home a picture of an American female aviator so Indian women can see what they can aspire to.

Balwant Singh (Sikh) to Pandit Chet Ram (Amritsar, Punjab)

[Gurmukhi cipher]
FPO.39 [France?]
24th October 1915

The ladies are very nice and bestow their favours upon us freely. But contrary to the custom in our country they do not put their legs over the shoulders when they go with a man. [Deleted]


read letter excerpts in Caravan: A Journal of Politics and Culture 

Now For Something Completely Different

Austin, Texas is full of working musicians, people who may not be nationally known but who spend their lives making and performing great music. Seela is one such musician. This past spring she released her first solo record in many years. It is called Valentine.

seela cover

The woman on the cover is her mother, who died in 2006. There is a heartbreaking song about the grief of losing her on the record. Altogether there are nine songs that highlight Seela’s range and versatility and showcase her honey rich voice. Some have more of an exuberant pop or R&B feel, and some make you slow down and dwell for a moment in a place — of loneliness, longing, or love. My favorite is a song called, “Sweetly,” with a haunting and romantic narrative arc. These are songs to sing along to, but for me, it’s also a writer’s album. Every song could inspire a short story.

You can check out Seela’s songs and download or buy her album at