Monday, January 26, 2009

Yamini – Soul Piercing Classical Music!

Close to 8 hours of classical arts (music and dance) on a single day – usually people watch one recital in a day we watched four of them back to back. I have gone to a couple of classical recitals till date but something of this nature was a dream come true! Not that I am bragging, but then the sheer experience of it all was stupefying to say the least. Let me start from the last item which got over at 4:30 AM, yes 4:30 AM on 26th Jan, 2009, that's today, our Republic Day. The dusk to dawn musical concert 'Yamini 2009' in association with the Spic Macay chapter at IIM Bangalore was an experience for me like never before.

The last item - the flute recital by Pandit Ronu Majumdar reached its crescendo in a Druta Teentaal at around 3:30 AM, when the speed of play along with Sudhir Pandey on the tabla reached so high that it was just impossible for me to keep track of the tala, which I had been trying to keep track of throughout the recitals – so I just sat in silence soaking in the musical tornado, drenched completely. It was absolute 'rogue play' of the instruments, as mesmerizing as intimidating if I may put it in jest. The ending was reached through the Shudh Bhairav - 'Jaago Mohan Pyare', Raag Bhatiyar - the strains of which are so soulful, 'Payo ji maine Ram ratan dhan paayo' – Raag Desh I guess (Pandit Ronu also sings well as he did for these two). The actual ending was 5 minutes of Raag Bhairavi – which even in deep slumber has the capacity to wake you up as your whole body is rejuvenated with the tingles of the fresh, mellifluous strains of the flute and the magic of the tabla. There were many other flute pieces (midnight ragas) earlier to that too, after an initial glitch in the monitor and sound settings. Sheer Magic. Period.





Earlier it started off at around 6:30 PM on 25th Jan 09 as we sat squatting on the mattresses layed out on the ground enjoying the performances. The first was a Carnatic classical vocal recital by the Jayanti sisters, Ranjini & Gayatri – one with a slightly smooth voice and the other with the coarser tonal quality, who brought out the Abhang at the end of the recital to life, by the force of her aural tones. The abhang (Marathi) had this concept of being a 'Nindastuti' - wherein the semi-classical bhajan is a praise for the lord even though it sounds humorous or slightly taunting. In between were 2 songs set to Adi taala, and compositions of Saint Thyagaraja and many other Tamil, Telugu and Carnatic compositions for close to 2 hours. Extremely competent artists and sometimes brilliant. The sisters were not only competent artists but equally articulate in explaining and interacting with the audience.


Next was the Mysore Brothers with their violins, jumping with ease from the most high pitched to the most low pitched, gliding from the fastest pieces to the slowest ones from number to number in a disciplined show of violin prowess. The violin maestros truly deserve an applause, for I remember one piece in which the speed of playing the violin was just mind-blowing fast along with the accompanying Mridangam, Ghatam and the Tampura.


Then at around 11:30 PM started the Bharatanatyam recital by Urmila Sathyanarayana. This started off with a Varanam, and then went into the core pieces depicting scenes, involving both Abhinaya (facial gestures and hand movements) and Nritya/Natya. One mandatory scene as is the case in most Bharatanatyam recitals the play between Radha and Lord Krishna – this was very interestingly depicted. Then one which I liked best was the one in which Kaushalya sees her son Lord Rama take his first baby steps and knows no limit of her joy – the accompanying singing 'Thumaka Chalat Ram Chandra' by the group and the flute was all very high quality. One also was a romantic sketch where the female is telling her lover to be patient and restrain himself from displaying his affection in the public, quite sensuous. It ended with a short Bharatanatyam format sketch of 'Vande Mataram' at around 1:30 AM.











Soul piercing music it was (though my technical knowledge of ragas and taalas is very less I enjoy the package as a whole - akin to chaos theory); is all I can say and only an experience will get you the feel of the accompanying joy – bliss... Me, IndraD and ShashiA were there till the end.

May the sovereign, socialist, democratic republic - INDIA stay alive till eternity...

Happy Republic Day!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

NASSCOM & GOOGLE Events @ IIMB


IIMB-NASSCOM Leadership Summit: A Grand Success



Bangalore, India – 14 January, 2009 -- The Post-Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management, IIMB, in partnership with NASSCOM conducted the first IIMB-NASSCOM Leadership Summit with a panel discussion where eminent panelists, the finest minds in the industry discussed and debated on the topic:
"Managing risk in the emerging business environment"

The Panel Chair was Mr. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, NASSCOM and the panel consisted of:
Mr. Sharad Sharma, CEO, Yahoo! India.
Mr. Aravind Sitaraman, MD, Cisco India.
Dr. G Venkatesh, Exec Director, CTO & CSO, Sasken.
Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, Chief Executive Officer, DSCI
Mr. Sridhar Jayanthi, Head, McAfee India Centre

The entire gamut of relevant topics and thoughts were the highlights of the panel discussion including business risks, financial risks, technological risks, security risks and the overall impact of risks on the Indian IT industry and steps taken to mitigate the same.

The key points raised included those of long term business continuity, which was said to be long with finding liquidity and most important and focusing on the root causes and eliminating them in the long run.
Key learnings: Organizing and managing an event of this scale calls for lots of dedication and passion, a outcome is a directly proportional to the effort as for anything - and everyone needs to work independently as much as together.
More at: http://pgsem.net - MORE PICS HERE.


THE GOOGLE CHALLENGE 2009

The Google Bangalore team conducted the Google Challenge 2009 @ IIM, Bangalore (Product Management Workshop and Idea/Concept presentation competition) on 18th january 2009, in which the topic given was:
"Promoting Internet using Television Mass Media"
The first set of 55 teams were filtered to choose the final 20 (we got into Round 2) and among them 4 were selected for Round 3 by a team of Google Product Managers (we did not get selected into this round) – after this a democratic voting got the top 3 teams the final positions. Overall a pretty competitive round; key takeaways include: work withing constraints, and go for a data driven approach during presentations.







Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mind Dump (and some Mind Dung) in 2009.


Well, firstly let me wish you a Happy New Year! For a month or more I have not blogged much due to the presence of many things on my plate. Finished with PGSEM Q2 exams last Nov end, after which we had a round of events at the workplace. The Aero Week celebrations which saw us making a movie, with a little kid in it, it came out good and we won the runners up trophy. For the Newsletter contest also our team got the runners up. Our domain won the overall Aero trophy along with another domain. Also in parallel was running the 'HTS Annual Day' celebrations, in which I managed to participate only in a Fine Arts and Mind Sport medley event with four sub-events involving Dumb Charades (mirroring), Mad Ads, Pictionary and blind folded acting, and 20 Questions. The last round got us to loose several points and we could not win the event. The culmination was the grand Annual Day event with stalls, group dance and music shows by our in-house music band, near our new campus at Marathalli (near the Intel campus) on 20th Dec.

In the meanwhile I had been to Kolkata (6-14 Dec, 2008) to attend a ceremony and was visited by all my cousins and we even went out on a trip to Swami Vivekananda's ancestral house, with the house now converted into a museum. The Jorashakho Thakur Bari – house of the bard, Rabindranath Tagore which we also visited also is very well maintained, and had paintings, pictures and paraphernalia from that day and age – accompanied by a guide who went around with us explaining the various phases of Gurudev's life from the mementos and photographs – as mild Rabindra Sangeet played on the speakers. The last stop was the massive Indian Museum of Calcutta with sections from zoology to architecture and much much more, which we glanced at in a hurry and we just got one and half hours to explore this – need to go again someday.

The last quarter at IIMB saw a very charged up Prof. L Prasad teaching us Organization Theory with anecdotes, jokes and a detailed set of sessions on Organizational Politics which seems like his forte.

This time we have another senior professor Prof P N Thirunarayana – another amazing professor teaching us 'Marketing Managament' (we have Kotler's book for reference). Just yesterday he was teaching us on figuring out consumer behaviour for which he explained the concept of receptivity and reflection. The class sat in rapt attention as in his unique style the Prof defined 'receptivity' as:
  • The insatiable curious approach to life
  • Continuous refinement of senses
  • Listening to micro-tones; that which is not explicit or visible
  • Whole brain thinking – ambidextrous work

We also had marketing guru Harish Bijoor last Friday visit us in our class and talk on the topic of rural marketing – amazing insights and a charged up speech followed. He spoke of why the rural market is less understood and also more profitable. Also he traced the dichotomy between marketing to the 'Fundamentals' and 'Sentimentals'; emphasizing that catering to the 'sentimentals' was a sure path for future disaster, citing the the US recession as evidence.

Met up with Vinay K, Darshan C, Praveen, (after 12 years since school) at the CCD, Cunningham Road on 25th Dec. People have changed a lot and all of them are on the look-out for brides and it seems some having evaluated a few dozens.

Well today I was reading about a discussion/opinions on the three letter taboo word during the first date in the newspaper (DNA – which started mid-December'08 in Bangalore). The concept of dating itself is not prevalent in our cities/culture, forget such complications; it would come across as a purely western social demon to even think of such an occurrence.

In the context of marriages/proper relationships (obviously different from flings) I think it has to be mutual and need not even pass through the filters of dating etc – getting to know a person, and in the course of time, each other and then if something clicks the mutual attraction culminating in mutual affection itself will propel things into the next concrete level. If not, it is a game of opposite sexes and not worth a relationship that can build up and will automatically collapse.

Of course getting to know the likes and dislikes and some form of expectations on either side do exist and hence this mode of knowing each other sometime before marriage may be a better way – that's a personal opinion - not that arranged marriages have not flourished in our country with the lack of knowing each other before, a given, fact.

With the new year 2009 having started things seem very, very upbeat although the recession fever and gloom still looms large. Some events are on the anvil from our PGSEM program as well as on the IIMB event schedule in 2009 include an upcoming panel discussion with the finest minds in association with NASSCOM, the 'Convergenz' event - a one day business event with many sub-events and of course 'Unmaad' the best cul-fest in the country from IIMB.

In books, a fabulous & must read book that I am currently reading is 'THE ART OF POSSIBILITY' by Rosamund & Ben Zander. My recommendation is: do read this book – it is very emotional yet of a very, very positive nature. Some statements will inevitably get tears to your eyes.

Watched the movie 'Memento' yesterday - the latest Hindi flick 'Ghajini' seems a copy of/heavily inspired by the former (or the Tamil one is - since the Hindi one is the copy of the Tamil one) only with some good Bollywood music and masala added, apart from the lead roles played by Aamir and Asin. By the way loved this Ad for Tanishq featuring Asin! Especially the way the setting seamlessly merges with the remixed old Rafi song! The progression of the ad-film and of course gorgeous Asin add to the ad's appeal... Brilliant. [Direction : Gauri Shinde, Red Ice Productions]:




Also apparently Aamir Khan, Madhavan etc are in the IIMB campus for the shooting of 'The 3 Idiots' adapted from Chetan Bhagat's 'Five Point Someone' - should go and meet them!! Some of my classmates spotted them today and some spotted Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani yesterday.

UPDATE: We went over to the IIMB campus today and spotted Aamir and Madhavan playing badminton.

Songs that I am hooked to currently:
  • 'Tere Naina Talaash' the semi-classical Manna Dey – SD Burman classic
  • 'Dildariya Re Tore Kiser Katha Koi' from the bengali band, Bhoomi
  • 'Manamohini Morey' sung by Vijay Parkash from the movie Yuvraaj – Rehman's magic here
  • 'Jaane Kyun' from Dostana
  • 'Beheka', 'Latoo' and 'Aye Bachchu' from Ghajini – maestro ARR again.