Thursday, December 07, 2006

Of musical Wizardry and of musical Snobbery

It's Habba people!

Bangalore in December is simply brilliant. The weather chills you to the bone on those long drives back home on your bike of choice. Back from the cultural and artistic extravaganza that is Bengalooru Habba. Concerts and dances and dramatics and you-name-its all within a span of a week in over 10 different locations all over Bangalore make this a memorable week.

The Gayana Samaja.

It is this association near the Fort High School where mostly classical concerts are held. The area is not frequented by the fashionable and hence not on the to-go-to list of the hip and the happening. This is the haunt of the no frills serious connoisseurs of classical music.

The Concert!

December 6, 2006 was a musical high-point for me. It was the day I attended the Veena recital by one Kannan Balakrishnan along with Vivek and Jayanth. It was definitely the best the Habba had to offer so far and I might go as far as to say that this concert will be in among the best that I will ever attend. Ever.

Even though the event suffered a poor attendance, the artists performed their miracle. As a sign of a
ppreciation, this sound, "Ptlech" is uttered by the "connoisseurs". These utterances are often at every perceived musical wizardry and are quite frequent and quite irritating. To have some fun at their expense, Jayanth and Vivek started spouting the sound at every other instant during which the crowd was silent. As though this was not enough, a mobile phone started to go off very loudly. I turned back and uttered the sound as a mark of annoyance. In the next instant the same sound was uttered by a couple of elderly connoisseurs seated behind me!

The concert of a life time peppered with fun and musical extacy.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Worth of a college T-Shirt

I write this piece mentally picturing the finger to all those snobs who are ashamed to wear a T-shirt from a college they were once a part of.

The setting:

I am in Bangalore on some work and I am heading back to college. I arrive at the KSRTC bus-stand and hop on the first bus that is heading in the direction of Mangalore. The bus is bound for Hassan. The bus leaves Bangalore at 12:30 pm and due to a delay, arrives in Hassan at 5:45 pm. I hop on the bus to Mangalore at 6:30 pm, which arrives in Mangalore at 12:30 am.

Now, my college isn't in Mangalore, but a little way off. The last bus that heads that way leaves at 10:45 pm. That being the case, I am stranded at the KSRTC bus-stand in Mangalore at the God forsaken hour of 12:30 am.

The chance encounter:

The seats in the bus-stand aren't very comfortable and sleep is next to impossible. I place my head on my knees and try to catch up on some sleep. Minutes seem like hours and after wandering around the bus-stand for the umpteenth time, I finally settle down on a seat with my head on my knees.

At about 2:00 am, I get a tap on my back. "Are you going to Surathkal?", comes the question. Yes is my reply.
"Come, we'll give you a drop."

The bike ride at 2 am:

To say I'm surprised would be an understatement. How did they know? "We saw your T-shirt. We have two bikes and we'll give you a drop to your college". I was wearing the T-shirt from the college fest of two years past and my college name was clearly visible on the back.

2 am is a brilliant time to ride a bike all-out on the highway. Unfortunately, the term "highway" is highly figurative here and road left much to be desired. Where the road is decent, the ride is pleasant. I reach my college at 2:30 in the am. What a night!

And... Thank you, Zubin from NITTE, for that bike ride.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ode to DSP

At the outset let me clarify that the DSP mentioned above is not the DSP Black, which as a healthy substitute for blood courses through our veins. It is plain and simple Digital Signal Processing.

Why an ode? Let's see, shall we.

Last week I read a review of Paris Hilton's album, Paris, in the Express. The byline of that review said "". So I go to There were about 250 reviews of Paris on that site. I read about 25 customer reviews and of course the spotlight reviews. They ranged from bitter to sarcastic with some very funny ones thrown in-between. But not one of them showed the album in positive light.

Who cares for reviews anymore? I wasn't satisfied with just the reviews. I now had to listen to her sing. Enter YouTube. The connection was decent and the video played without interruptions. After the video I sit back and this thought flashes by me. "That must have been some recording equipment". Really, I want to work for the company which made that marvel of a signal processing equipment. That marvel which transformed the very voice that grunted "That's hot" at every possible drop of a hat to the voice that sang "Stars are blind".

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Eating my words


Please picture a fading image amidst a mass of swirling clouds. I could post that here, but that would consume a lot of bandwidth.

The year is 1994. I am preparing for my third standard final exam. I am looking forward to this exam and actually quite excited. While I am going about my preparatons, my mom, sitting next to me narrates the story of how she faced the final exam of her first year in M.Sc. I listen with rapt attention. She tells me how she went to the exam hall without even bothering to check if there was enough ink in the pen. The pen ran out of ink in the middle and she had to borrow another from someone. I mentally clucked my toungue. How could someone be so irresponsible. An education must be taken seriously. It is a question of your future.

Please picture a fading image amidst a mass of swirling clouds again.

This incident quietly faded away into the dusty attic of my memory.

Present day:

No need to picture a fading image amidst a mass of swirling clouds now.

Yesterday actually.

I am now to face a somewhat minor, but nonetheless important, exam in one of my courses. The exam is scheduled at 9 am and I haven't yet begun to study at 1 am. After finishing all the 26 episodes of Samurai Champloo (my animé flavour of the day) at about 1:30 am, I finally decide to give studying a try. At this point, I realise that I have none of the reading material. Thanks to the LAN, and a very accomodating friend, I acquire them.

The hour of the exam arrives, and am I prepared? I arrive at the exam hall with a borrowed answer booklet. I take a seat. I fish out my calculator to check if it is working. It is. My pen comes next. Atleast it has enough ink to last through the exam. I have a feeling that the exam will be short. Not because the paper will be easy, but rather I will have little to write. At this moment I remember a certain story my mom narrated 12 years ago.

Hello future.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Oh, to drive a Car

July 7, 2006 will be quite a memorable day for me. That is the day the Republic of India awarded me the privilege to drive a car.

This, for me, was a struggle that spanned two years. I shall tell you how.

Attempt 1, July 22, 2004

Just when my vacations were being spent doing what I like (absolutely nothing), I was bullied by my parents into applying for a driver's license. After pointlessly resisting for a month, I relented. The test was due on July 22, 2004.

I am an idealist. I believe in the basic goodness of humanity. And then, there is the RTO. I went expecting the worst. And boy did I get it. The RTO, Jayanagar inspector made me run back and forth several times to get various irrelevant documents signed. I finally lost my cool, screamed at him for five minutes, and telling him where he could go, I left.

The intermission

The vacations of 2005 passed with me happily indisposed and couldn't be bothered about a driver's license.

Attempt 2, July 07, 2006

As a challenge to myself and to prove a point to no one in particular I said a resolute "no" to kick-backs of any sort. I hoped against hope that RTO, Jayanagar wouldn't let me down.

I went to the RTO a week before July 7 and filled out the required forms and paid the prescribed fee. The day arrived, and soon the hour arrived with the RTO inspector nowhere to be seen. The test was to take place in front of the Jain temple. There was no sign of that. I finally decided to wait at a spot where a couple of others, equally lost, were waiting. I cautiously approached them and asked them whether they were there for the test as well. They said they were and they were waiting at that spot because I was. Poor bastards... I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was waiting there because they were.

The test finally started at the prescribed spot, albeit two hours late. I was the last in line and the test went smoothly. The inspector passed me. One week later, I collected my DL.

I was pleasently surprised that RTO, Jayanagar did not betray my hopes. I got my license without any hassles, kick-backs or "driving schools". Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. Then again, I might be hoping against hope.

For now, I am the proud owner of a shiny new Driver's License.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Laughter, perhaps the only medicine

At the outset, I would like to apologise for the rather long delay. You see, I was down with a little bout of fever. During that time your mind wanders, as mine did. I decided to wander through all that, that had made me laugh or even smile through the years.

The first thing that came to mind was a cartoon by Ponnappa in the Times of India (which other than that is what some might term a sleaze rag). It was on the day Jayalalitha(a) got re-elected as Tamil Nadu chief minister. On that very day, the sequel to the movie The Mummy, The Mummy Returns had been released. The cartoon depicted a figure of Jayalalitha(a) with the caption "The Mummy Returns".

Time flies with funny forwards. Some are hilarious and you appreciate the genius behind them. Some are just wrong. But time flies none the less. In a recent flood of such forwards, I found our beloved Arjun Singh to be the butt of many a joke. For those of you not familiar with Arjun Singh, he is the one partially responsible for the upcoming quota raj. Though this is not one of the many forwards recieved, one picture of Arjun Singh in the Indian Express is still fresh in my memory. He is seated in the VIP section and above his chair is a large signboard that reads "Reserved".

Here I show just a glimpse of my wanderings hoping you enjoyed what you saw.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Of Laloo and the Railways

Any Business and Economics publication worth its salt has carried at one time or another, the story of the resurrection of the Indian Railways. And as they say, its all thanks to one man at the helm of the affairs. The one and only Laloo Prasad Yadav.

The man perhaps single handedly responsible for bringing Bihar to the brink of disaster is perhaps single handedly responsible for injecting new life into the railways. For the first time since I can recall, railway passenger fares have fallen. With increasing revenues, falling fares and global CEOs wanting to "walk the Laloo track", this is indeeed a turnaround for the railways so far mismanaged by various specimens.

One of the latest stories on Laloo and the Railways was in the Indian Express. It said, " Laloo has brought about this change without using any heavy weight management concepts or using the services of global consultants like E & Y. But, by using simple and down to Earth management fundamentals.". Perhaps there is a lesson in this for all. The IIMs seemed to have realised this and are making it the subject of a case-study. Why stop there? How about a case-study in Sociology or Political Science. To come from the interior cow-belts of Bihar to the subject of an IIM case-study is a long journey.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The "O, to B or not to B, C" fiasco

I thought I would say my few words while this issue was still fresh in our minds and before all dissent was drowned in the name of political correctness.

I was reading the Indian Express a few days back and as we can all recall, the paper was replete with stories on the upcoming Quota Raj. I always found the concept of carrying a piece of paper issued by a figure of authority saying that the person was "backward", repulsive. I mean, how humiliating is that!
As I continued to read the paper, I stumbled upon a large ad on the front page itself whose first few lines read:

Increasing interest rates on deposits by 1%"

This was followed by a complicated table listing out the various new rates for deposits of different time periods. I thought to myself that the OBC catagory are netting quite a windfall here. Not only are they getting a quota to themselves, but also getting an increase in interest rates on bank deposits. Not bad.

As I continued to the end of the ad, I saw the last line which read:

"Oriental Bank of Commerce"

Saturday, June 03, 2006



After answering about a hundred questions on my so far non-existant blog, I finally decided to get a space for my thoughts, my views and my words in edgewise on this World Wide Web. I'm sure a lot of people out there couldn't care less about my thoughts, my views and my words in edgewise. But the urge to make myself heard, or in this case viewed, was, simply put, irresistable.

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