For the Love of Tea at The Rosetta

Just got another article in “The Rosetta“, a magazine I have helped out in the past as well, For the Love of Tea. Check it out, and leave comments!



Review: The Rhythm Divine

Pung Cholom Dancers with Astad Deboo

A fusion of the avant-garde with the traditional, that was the Rhythm Divine. A collaboration borne out of Astad Deboo’s almost 11 year romance with Manipur where he came across Guru Seityabanji and his troupe of Pung Cholom drummers of Shri Shri Govindji Nat Sankirtan. The traditional Pung Cholom drumming metamorphosed with the body vocabulary (as he calls it) of Astad Deboo. A treat to the eyes!

The performance began painfully slow –an almost chrysalis like depiction, extremely slow, with classical background music. In fact, in the first 15 mins I was almost bored! And then the dancers picked up the tempo — with perfect synchronization once they had the beats of drums or of their palms on their thighs (which is how they practice apparently). What followed was visual poetry — the oriental music and dance of the drummers and Astad Deboo who complemented them with emoting fingers, emoting eye-brows and an emoting body.

When the drummers were finally given the drums in the last act (what they are most comfortable with), the music and the dance built up into a crescendo — a fitting end. In the discussion that followed, Deboo described how he’d worked with Manipuri martial artists in the past and then he’d put up a performance with the drummers at the Frankfurt Book fair when India was the guest of honour(2006), and it seems he has made it into a regular feature now.

To read more: Astad Deboo on RediffAn Interview with Astad Deboo Ranga Shankara’s Programme Site

All For A Bottle of Wine

After a long day of long deliberation, long discussion and longer cups of coffee, a lot of shopping which left me feeling guilty and compromised, and having missed the Fireflimageies festival (Wikipedia and an older review), we decided we could hold more discussions with a bottle of wine. And thus, we walked into a shop on MG Road, and in a fateful moment, we decided to go for Cabernet-Shiraz from the vineyards of Grover, very near Bangalore. In fact, it was the geographical proximity that clinched the deal for Grover, blessed be his wine!

Once at home, the setting had to be perfect, and nothing better than Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to see some cool and calm action. Now, the setting was perfect, and after biting a few nibbles, we were ready for the celebration.

Drumrolls… the wine bottle was opened, and Murphy couldn’t desert me just like every other time, and he came in the form of a cork. Sula‘s are better — the bottles don’t have cork, but now we were stuck at home at 11 in the night, with a bottle of wine but no cork-opener. And no Swiss Army knife. And two guys really really desperate to have the wine. Not a pretty sight.

Never learnt to accept defeat, did we? All our engineering prowess had to come to use now. The cork would be subjected to a number of implements over the next hour without respite, until it yielded to our superior knowledge of stress, tension and torque. The first up was the common fork, spotless and stainless, benign usually, but a mighty force in the hands of a master. The fork was sharply thrust into the cork, and as we flexed our biceps in applying the torque, there was a loud clank and we thought the cork had popped.

But no, the cork was stronger than we expected, and it was the fork that had clanked. Far stronger than expected — it was smartly using all the vacuum inside the bottle to bolster its position, and putting up a seemingly winning fight. We almost accepted defeat, but suddenly, we were reminded of our machine tools class, and all the filing and minute working of the lathe we had practiced. A frantic search started in the house — something sharp and long.

And thus, a lot of search found us our next weapon for our next battle. A small pair of scissors, innocuous but intense, and after a few rounds of sharpening it on the granite (like a true expert!), we again thrust it into the cork. The cork seemed to open it mouth, and engulfed the scissor’s blade. A whale gulping down the missiles we fired at it. And we would have none of it. More throwing of pots and pans around, cleaning up our messy kitchen, moving heaven and earth, and we found the knife we had gotten free with our stove-lighter.

Not a Rampuri, but baleful and unrelenting, the knife was the perfect tool for our fresh attack. The bottle was held tight with both hands and the knife thrust in it. After it refused to go in further, it was hammered in further with all the pots and pans we had cleaned up. The knife was turned, and yes(!), the cork unscrewed as well. Success is tasty, and wine is tempting, and we continued with the attack. The cork started giving in finally, but brittle as it was, it broke, and we had to cut parts of it off, and repeat the process. Finally, as it seemed to be succumbing, we upped the effort, and in one giant pop something happened.

Wine was all over us. The glass of the bottle had broken off from the side, and some of the wine had spilled all over the kitchen. Thankfully, damage had been limited to the wine bottle, and not to our hands or the kitchen. But yes, we had won! We had finally prevailed over the corky and cranky enemy. Wine was ours to be had.

And what better way to celebrate than a bottle of Wine. Cheers!

The side-effects of an engineering degree ;-)

The auspicious occasion of Valentine’s day couldn’t have been put better than this cartoon from PhdComics.


Click on the pic to see the whole thing. I got this from here. A bunch of many more funny cartoons there, including a bunch of stuff by Bill Watterson on education.

A very Happy Valentines Day to all the lovely ladies who take the trouble to read my blog ;-)

Making Money

As Google announced depressed outlook due to lower than expected revenues from Social Networking sites with which it has done massive deals, these SocNet sites are using more and more innovative ways of making money:

Tera Patrick Facebook Sponsored Ad

If you haven’t heard of Tera Patrick, it means you never lived in a boy’s hostel.

It’s all about money, honey. Anything goes, including $44b in shareholder wealth for a single DNS entry. Strange are the ways of men. Back to the Shire!

Aqueduct vs Theatre

Read this today in the TOI editorial (something interesting, for once!):

The Greeks, who had been in the area since around 1400 BC, and later the Romans, have left a lasting legacy in the form of magnificent buildings in the southern Anatolian region of Turkey.

The legend goes that in the 2nd century AD, there were two brilliant architects who aspired for the hand of Semiramis, the daughter of the king of Aspendos, a satrap of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The king laid down the condition that the one who created the most remarkable public monument should marry the princess.

One of the suitors, whose name has unfortunately been lost to history, decided to build an aqueduct, for surely nothing was more important than a good water supply for any city. It turned out to be one of the most outstanding water conveyance systems in the world, and even the ruins impress the modern traveller (sic).

Our knowledgeable guide told us that aqueducts had to have very precise measurements of angle, calculation of flow of water, resting chambers at certain intervals where the speed had to drop, or else the tremendous force of the water could have flooded the entire city.

Zenon, the other architect, decided to build a grand theatre, with 40 tiers of seats, divided in 10 sections. There were 59 massive arches at the top, and 12,000 people could watch the entertainment on the magnificent stage below.

Behind the stage rose a two-storey building, 30 metres high, called the scena, meant for the actors to change and relax in between acts. This was exactly as high as the auditorium, and joined to it on both sides, which was the secret of the amazing acoustics Zenon had achieved.

The king had almost decided that the aqueduct would be the winner. But when he stood on the top-most tier to inspect the theatre, he heard a whisper, “Semiramis must be mine”, and looked around but could see no one.

Finally, he glanced down at the stage, where he saw Zenon, and knew that he had to change his mind; for although the aqueduct was impressive, this monument seemed the embodiment of perfection. The marriage of Zenon and Semiramis was solemnised in the theatre.

The aqueduct was used for over 500 years before it fell into disuse. But the theatre, although somewhat battered after several earthquakes over the centuries, remains intact, and is used to this day because of its still perfect acoustics — on account of which Zenon had won his princess.

Now, that’s an interesting story!

(PS: I think the correct spelling is traveler but not completely sure. If anybody knows for sure, let me know)

Andrew Symonds against Indian Cricket Team

Enjoy! I am sure Symonds won’t like to watch this video ;-)

[See my previous post for a more detailed treatment]

Update: Some people have commented saying that this is in bad taste? What about the Aussie media?

Would Sunil Gavaskar have made 34 centuries had he been brought up by a fisherwoman?

A very distasteful article on Harbhajan’s background in Sydney Morning Herald

Also read GreatBong’s coverage.

G Rajaraman, who had asked Ponting the question that had provoked him, writes about it in his blog.

Peter Roebuck, the celebrated Australian cricket journalist, asks for Ponting’s scalp.

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