Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's the toughest thing to buy in India

If you thought about a Rolls Royce, you are wrong? What about a Ferrari? Nope not that. How about a fancy high end music system, that make Audiophiles drool? Nope, you can get that from somewhere.

Basically, all consumer goods save this item are available in stores. They may not be cheap, but if you have the money then you can buy it. If something isn't sold in India, then just pick it up on your next trip abroad. No, the thing that you cannot buy (at least without jumping through hoops, paying a few bribes) is a humble cooking gas connection from the Govt owned petroleum companies. So, if you do have a connection, then make sure its the first thing on your list that you bequeath in your Will.

Today, I stood in line for an hour and a half, then ran to a public Notary to attest a copy of my Dad's Id, my electricity bill and a got a declaration written out in Stamp paper, got back in line (at 1.00 PM), had a cop shout the choicest words at me,  just so that the Govt. have the pleasure of allowing me to buy cooking gas from them. Apparently, all the money that I give them via the various taxes is not enough.

Why not go to a Private company for cooking gas? Because they are twice the rate and twice as unreliable in terms of service. Book a Cylinder today and get a replacement on Mar 15th. Not that the Govt companies are any better. Book a Cylinder today and you may get a replacement by Feb 15th.

This drive to collect information was with the noblest intentions in mind. Weed out illegal "consumers". But given that there are 15 million consumers and the ineptitude of our Govt, a deadline of 10 days was set. Imagine the Govt going through 15 million consumers' papers and removing the illegal ones. Heck, these guys won't even be able to go through 100 different set of  papers. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cricket world - Bangalore gets to host stupid matches

If you are a Bangalorean and want to watch the world cup at Chinnaswamy Stadium, then here are your choices -

1. On Mar 2, we can look forward to Eng. vs Ireland
2. On Mar 6, the Irish are back. Its Ind vs. Ireland
3. On Mar 13, the Aussies are here. Its Aus vs. Kenya
4. On Mar 16, the Aussies return. Its Aus. vs. Canada.

This sucks!

The 2 Qtr finals are in Bangladesh, 1 in Columbo and 1 at Ahmedabad. The Semis are at Colombo and Chandigarh. The finals in Mumbai.

Kolkata gets atleast 1 good match - Ind. vs. Eng. Delhi has to make good 1 good matchup - SA vs. WI. Chennai has 3 matches not involving minnows - Eng vs. SA, Eng vs. WI and Ind vs. WI.

I wonder why Chennai gets the 3 test playing nation matches... *cough* *cough*.. I have cement in my throat..

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Neravals and the magic of carnatic music

On the way to work today, I listened to a super RTP by Balamurali
Krishna. Not the full RTP but only the Pallavi. My CD player chose to
play the Pallavi first and then the Ragam-Talam.

By the time I reached office the Pallavi was just over. It was
amazing. I had heard this multiple times and I used to like the Tana
quite a bit. However, this time I heard the Pallavi and the Thani
without any interruptions (save the traffic) and understood the
beautiful concept of a Neraval for the first time. The violinist also
was keeping up with Neravals and that made it doubly awesome for me.

I had read before that Neravals are essentially variations of a
Pallavi but this time I could follow the changes.

Keeping the Tala and the Pallavi line, essentially the same, one can
bring in a number of variations. The artist can choose to change the
tone, the speed, the notes although keeping the Raga intact

Think of your favorite song and one line from that. How many
ways can that song be sung changing its tone, some notes and speed?
Maybe one time we can speed up a few words and stretch out the
remaining words so that the tala remains. Other times we can sing in a
different octave. Even other times, we can change a couple of notes.

A true genius like Balamurali Krishna can come up hundreds of these
variations while keeping both the Tala and Raga intact. The tune
remains the same but the variations are unbelievable.

Once one's ear is tuned to the Pallavi understanding and appreciating
the Kalpana Swara variations sung and the following Thani variations
by the Mridanga artist is easier. The whole effect is just
mesmerizing. This is the beauty of Carnatic music.