Jalsa

Jalsa is a celebration, and in the context of this post, a celebration of music. And such a celebration I went to yesterday; a celebration which was lead by Pandit Jasraj and Shashank (an upcoming flautist) and which my imagination willingly followed.

It was the first Hindustani classical music concert I had gone to. If I said that it was an eye-opening experience, that would be an understatement; a more precise statement would be that it was so rapturous that I hardly ever opened my eyes during the performance.

The evening was organized by the Indian Music Academy. IMA is planning to hold 12 different concerts in different cities of the country where a well-known maestro will perform along with an upcoming artist. The evening began with Shashank on the flute, and Panditji came later to transport the audience to a make-believe world.

I personally believe that just like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, music lies in the ears of the listener. I assume people relate to different kinds of music and they related to each of them differently. However, to me the quality of classical music (both Indian and Western), that instead of relying on giving a direction to the listener by words, and giving a meaning to the melodies, it leaves the interpretations completely to the listener. And this is how I like to listen to music. Close your eyes and let your imagination run. And let it not stop!

And that is what I experienced yesterday. Music. Music that feels like a river flowing in a gorge. A waterfall. Rains in a rainforest. Wind whistling through the woods. Leaves rustling. Music that feels like a squirrel sprinting through the thick undergrowth. Music that feels like a lion chasing the antelope. The antelope escaping its predator. Music that feels like resting after a day’s hard work.  Music that feels like being able to do work after moving heaven and earth. Like the precision of the planets around the sun. Like the madness of the sea. Like waves splashing on the shore. Like the sea-shells, each of a different design. Like the multitude of fish. Music that stagnates, music that enlivens, the constant and the variable. Music that feels like the touch of the beloved. Music that feels like the lover longing for her love. Like the dance of passion. Like the song of harmony. An orgasmic pleasure. Music that undulates like your heart before you utter those three magical words. Music that exhilarates like a “yes”. Music that can depress like a “no”. Music that feels like the touch of that special someone. Music that can feel like the closed fist of the newborn. Music that can laugh like a child, and cry like an adult. Music that grows like your baby. Music that can heal like the touch of the mother. Like the assurance of the father. Like the wishes of the forefathers. Music that feels like the spirits rising upto the heavens above. Music that descends from the heavens above to the auditorium below. Jalsa.

What you can do with just a flute is mind boggling.

Then came Panditji. At once guttural, at once shrill, at once wavering, at once constant, at once repetitive, at once spontaneous, at once nuanced, following a pattern, breaking from tradition, invoking the Gods above, inspiring the people in front of him.  Not for nothing the Padma Vibhushan.

They said that music could inspire and entertain. I am so grateful I went.

Immortal

The Gods are envious of men
Because they are immortal.
Men appreciate beauty more
Because they are doomed.
 
Very interesting. How would you and I live our lives if we were immortal. Will it be different? Will it be more meaningful or less? Will it be more full or less? Will we make more friends or more enemies?
 
[Words in the first paragraph adapted from the movie TROY]

Insouciant about Independence?

Another Independence Day went by. India grew 59 years old today and I a day older. Apart from the fact that we had to take a compulsory holiday from our office, was there anything ‘special’ for me about this Independence day? Was this anything more than just another holiday?
 
I am not sure. My apartment-mate had been itching for donating blood, but I laughed him off. Chill maadi - picked up from the local FM Station – is what I told him. I slept all day, read Amartya Sen (the closest I got to patriotism), went shopping to Bangalore Central due to the SALE there, ate heartily, "died by chocolate" and thus another day got over. I did’t even lay hands on a flag let alone hoisting it.
 
But then, why I am coming back to write this? If I spent it just as another holiday, why do I need to listen to my conscience now that the day is over? Does it show my patriotism or does it show the lack of it?
 
I think one of the reasons I just can not "show" patriotism is perhaps because the whole concept of pop patriotism puts me off. You watch TV, listen to radio stations, read the newspapers and everywhere you find that independence has been made into one big deal, with opinions from failed actors, and aspiring villains filling the broadsheet. In the taboid world, Independance day is spiced up, the only difference being that the P3 crowd wears saffron, white and green clothes. You shop till you drop as usual, but in most cases, the floor on which you drop will be painted in the tricolour. And not to forget showing our patriotism via status messages on our IM clients!
 
Is it really that bad or am I imagining? Is there a section of society which we do not hear about, who feel?
 
I think there is, and I would like to know about them. I would like to watch some kids singing Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana. I would like to sing the immortal words Saare Jahan se Accha. I would like to visit museams: see and read about what life was like pre-independance. What our countrymen were treated like, and what hell-hole we have been delivered out of. I would watch Gandhi, and then complete the day reading Amartya Sen (the only thing I already did, and really liked — my admiration and reverence for him have grown manifold).
 
I am yet to find out if the problem lies with me, or with the world at large. Perhaps both. We will find out when India turns 60. But I hope that is a more meaningful day.
 
I need a spellchecker. Even though Independence is a dance, at least in India, it is better not spelt as IndepenDANCE. (now corrected)

Equality and the Youth

The preamble of our constitution clearly declares that we are a "Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic" which provides to its citizens "Social, Political, and Economic" justice and "Equality of Status and Opportunity" (refer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_India#Preamble). And suddenly comes the very esteemed Minister of HRD, and takes it all away!
 
Accepted that we need to pull people who have been ostrasized from society all these centuries.
 
Accepted that we need to provide them opportunities to live a respectable life.
 
Accepted that we need to educate their children.
 
Accepted that we need to help them climb the social ladder.
 
But, is reservation the answer to it all? I am not too sure. For starters, by providing reservations to a section of society, are we not re-establishing the same caste system we had wanted to fight? Are we not segregating society on the basis of one’s birth? Are we becoming secular and modern or are we becoming more feudal?
 
This is indeed a very sensitive issue. I have met a lot of people who support reservations. And yes, if you sometimes listen to them, you would perhaps find it difficult to argue. Our society has oppressed this section of society for so many years that we need to do something to help them now. If we were just to leave them to their fate, that would be turning a blind eye to the aspirations of millions of Indians, that would be mean and selfish, and that would only increase the severity of the divide and make it harder and harder for those on the other bank to cross!
 
We have to provide a means to help them cross the chasm – by all means. But will the bridge of reservations, by enabling people only on the basis of their birth to cross be able to serve the purpose? Will it be able to help those on the other side cross, or will it strain the divide even more that it itself cracks under its own weight?
 
What we need is to fill the chasm, and not to just build bridges which can only help a few millions to cross, while there are hundreds of millions waiting on the other side.
 
Reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been present since the country was born, and yet if we look at the profuse numbers of those who are yet to cross the bridge, we would be appalled by the state. In most cases, those who have the birth-ticket to cross, are not even aware of the privileges. Ask the guy who works in your neighbourhood tea-stall — has he ever tried writing the IIT JEE? Or AIIMS?
 
We need to think of what will help this guy earn a better standard of living.
 
We need to study how reservations has helped the country in the last 60 odd years before we try to make it more pervasive. Has the government even one independant study to show that reservations have helped a mass of SC/STs to climb up the ladder. One study to show that it will help in fighting inequalityf of opportunities. In national integration. If we can establish that reservations can help that tea-stall worker to live a better life, then by all means, we should support it. But we first need to establish that it helps him — and not just pass a law to be able to earn his vote.
 
On a different note, reservations are like patents. If you have a patent on building a car engine, you can not necessarily build a car since the patent on the wheel might lie with somebody else. Patent do not give you the power to productize your idea, but they let you prevent others from productizing theirs. Similarly, reservations in higher educational institutions may not necessarily enable a person from an underprivileged background to live a higher standard of living, but it sure denies admission to others.
 
To summarize, before we push for reservations, we need to think about the following:
  1. Has it worked for the subsections of society, who had the benefit earlier?
  2. Is is the best way of ensuring upliftment?
  3. Is it helping those it is meant to?
  4. Is it better for national integration and equality?

We need more analysis, numbers, and not more hubbub in the parliament. If after that, we answer YES to all of the above, there should be no stopping legislation to help the downtrodden. But just playing divide-and-conquer to win electoral votes, does not look like a very appealing idea to me. 

Reliance R Connect over Bluetooth

This is a war I have fought twice now, and it’s time I documented it! Basically, the lack of any sort of documentation, and no access to the internet while fighting the war makes it even more interesting!

The incredients are:
1. Bluetooth enabled Reliance CDMA phone
2. Bluetooth enabled computer/laptop or a bluetooth dongle.

Basically it is very simple – just like any other installation — Pair up your bluetooth device and the modem gets installed automatically, go change ControlPanel>PhonesAndModems>Select bluetooth modem>Properties>Advanced>Change the initialization string to "at+crm=1;cso=33" (without the quotes), keep clicking OK till you get to the end of the world, Create a new dial up connection to dial out to #777, with the username and password as your 10-digit number and you are done!

You are lucky if you are done [devilish grin], cos I wasn’t!

If you happen to have any sort of a problem, it’s gonna take you hours if not days to resolve! The tech support is no help, except for some genius you might stumble upon if it’s your lucky day.

My problem was that I had initially installed the Nokia PC Suite, which also installed the Nokia Connection Drivers, and so whenever I was trying to remove the hardware and reinstall it after the n-th unsuccessful attempt, the machine would always install something which was customized for Nokia and the initialization would fail. Finally, after sitting under the Bodhi fan for quite sometime, I had the brialliant lateral idea of looking at my Installed Programs to figure out if something could be creating a problem, and I removed the Nokia Connection "Dictator". Phew! And the customer service !!! They think I can’t find Control Panel on my machine!! Boy-oh-boy! It’s such a waste of time!! Absolute waste of time!

In any case, you might have your own share of problems, but hopefully, if you read this you would have to spend less time trying to figure out what’s wrong!

A very good hack is to enable logging in the PhonesAndModems > Properties > Diagnostics tab to figure out what’s going wrong with my system. It might just help!

Good luck setting it up!

Paradox

Sometimes life is just one big paradox.
You want to do things, and you do not want to.
You do not want to do things, and yet you want to.
You just don’t know what to do!
You hope you had some divine inspiration,
Which would reveal you the path forward,
Clear all the mist, blow away the smog.

OpenDNS

OpenDNS (http://opendns.com/) seems like an interesting concept — especially useful for Indian users. I have seen a lot of times, that the DNS servers of our ISPs go down and it becomes impossible to surf the net even though the pipe to the ISP is working.
 
Seems like I can easily add one of their DNS servers as an alternate DNS Server in my network stack and be able to surf the internet at those times! Sweet!
 
(Got this link from Paul Stamatiou’s blog http://paulstamatiou.com/)

Why a new blog?

There are always times when people need to move on with their lives, start a new chapter, begin something new, cherish memories but start on a new lease.
 
And that is what I had to do.
 
A wonderful chapter in my life came to an end as I passed out of IIT Kharagpur, and as I begin a new life, with new aspirations, new goals, new aims and ambitions, new directions, I need a new place. The old home can not hold me, contain me, is not suitalbe any more… I need a new place, where I can vent my feelings, give shape to my thoughts, ideate, opine – A space I can call mine own, once again!
 
And that place has to be different from my old haunt – http://kpowerinfinity.blogspot.com/, because I have captured a part of my life there which I can not live any more. It is a new life – and hence a new place!
 
This blog will probably be a little different in flavour – I may not be as entertaining, as enjoyable, as candid, as camouflaged as before – It’s a different life and I have chosen to live it a different way, and I hope that it turns out at least half as enjoyable, as beautiful, as wonderous, as picturesque, as social, as informal, as imaginative, as dreamy as before!
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