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FLEA MARKETS The fad that became permanent 16 MUST WATCH A film critic picks the best of BIFFES 20


Volume 1 | Issue 20 | December 27, 2012 | Rs 10

the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly


SPACE MISSION ISRO’s ambitious Mars odyssey 7

A crusader against populism and a writer in pursuit of living metaphors, UR Ananthamurthy is a cultural icon like few others 10-15


at 80

Excerpts from his autobiography, just out How he fell in love with his student TALK Plan to bomb Vidhana Soudha The Dollars Colony house controversy ONLY IN



talk|27 dec 2012|

team talk


Beautifully crafted tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar It was so, so refreshing to read SR Ramakrishna's piece (Our Ravi Shankar (no, not Sri Sri), Issue 19 on Pandit Ravi Shankar. Its strength is that it is NOT an obit in the conventional sense. Conventional obits make a martyr out of every dead person, and sing paeans to the 'departed soul'. I confess I am illiterate when it comes to music, but I read the piece for its beautifully crafted sentences. Even now, I can't claim to have gained an insight into Ravi Shankar's music. But to understand him through Ustad Vilayat Khan's anger about the Padma awards and Osho's trademark abstract lines somewhat helped me shape him in my mind. I am mesmerised by your writing. This is the best obit I have read so far about anyone, not just Ravi Shankar. Preethi Nagaraj Mysore

Yeddyurappa as crusader When I read your cover story on BS Yeddyurappa (Halli to Dilli, Issue 18), it reminded me of the time I first met him, back in 1979. He was a Jana Sangh party man then, and I was serving as the Superintendent of Police (CID). He came to meet me with a petition against the sitting MLA of Shikaripura constituency, saying he was misusing government funds for development works. Our inquiry revealed that the allegations against the MLA, who was also a minister in the state, were true. Based on my report, the then chief minister Gundu Rao removed him from the cabinet. I thought I should share this with Talk readers. P Kodandaramaiah Former Bangalore police commissioner and MP

More exciting faces, please! The magazine has a Bangalore feel. We would like to see photos of more newsmakers, besides fresh and exciting faces, to brighten up the magazine. If you have decided not to have spice, then at least publish more fun pieces to balance out the seriousness. Rajesh R, Banashankari Where is Talk available? After I read the complementary copies of Talk magazine, I was convinced we finally have a decent Bangalore magazine. I had also heard good things about the magazine from others. But on those occasions when I went searching, I was not been able to find copies. Please fix this problem. Shyam Bhat Jayanagar (Many stands across the city sell Talk now. Please call Prabha on 95388 92600 if you wish to subscribe) Write to



SR Ramakrishna Editor Sridhar Chari Consulting Editor Prashanth GN Senior Editor Sajai Jose Chief Copy Editor Savie Karnel Principal Correspondent Basu Megalkeri Principal Correspondent Prachi Sibal Senior Features Writer Sandra Fernandes and Maria Laveena Reporters and Copy Editors Anand Kumar K Chief of Design Shridhar G Kulkarni Graphic Designer Ramesh Hunsur Senior Photographer Vivek Arun Graphics Artist

Sumith Kombra Founder, CEO and Publisher Ralph Fernandez Manager - Marketing Aaron Jones Asst Manager - Marketing Abhay Sebastian Asst Manager - Sales Aman Preet Singh Asst Manager - Sales Mithun Sudhakar Asst Manager - Sales Kishore Kumar N Head - Circulation Vinayadathan KV Area Manager - Trade Yadhu Kalyani Sr Executive - Corporate Sales Lokesh KN Sr Executive - Subscriptions Prabhavathi Executive - Circulation Sowmya Kombra Asst Process Manager

Printed and published by Sumith Kombra on behalf of Shakthi Media Ventures India Pvt Ltd - FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore -560025 and printed at Lavanya Mudranalaya, Chamarajpet, Bangalore-560018. Editor: SR Ramakrishna. Editorial Office: FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore -560025 Email: Phone: 08049332100, 08040926658. Š All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.


city lights

talk|27 dec 2012| RAMESH HUNSUR

Christmas for all Many non-Christian Bangaloreans celebrate the festival, and they do it for reasons of their own


etting together with loved ones around a glowing Christmas tree, with plenty of games, music, gifts and goodies is a common enough sight at Christian homes —and at some non-Christian homes as well. Retired Indian Naval officer Commander Nirmal Munipella has been celebrating Christmas for more than three decades. An ardent Hindu, 70-year-old Munipella says he started celebrating Christmas in 1977 when he was posted in Moscow. “I spent three and a half years in that city,” he told Talk. “They wouldn’t celebrate Christmas as most people were non-believers during Soviet times. Instead, they celebrated Snowmen Gotham, which is New Year’s Day, with a lot of excitement. So, I thought, why not start celebrating Christmas and be a little different from the rest of the populace?”


OH WHAT FUN (Above) Ramu and Sandhana’s family not only celebrates Christmas, but also makes and distributes sweets

While her 12-year-old daughMoscow residents criticised the Munipellas when they started ter Medha plays the piano and sings cutting wood for a Christmas tree. carols with her younger brother for “We didn’t know we were not sup- their friends, the mother makes pizposed to cut trees. Finally we bought zas, fruit juice, cakes and desserts. a plastic tree from the market,” he Debjani doesn’t forget to tell Christmas stories to her little said. The tree is still well preserved guests. She also hands out children’s and has been doing duty in the his books from St Paul’s Publications. The entire family attends home over the last three decades. Over the years, they have collected church service every Sunday and decorations like balls and hangings goes to temples regularly. The smilfrom India and the USA. In the early ing teacher feels Mother Mary and years, it was all about drinking and Christ are ‘within her heart’. “My loving having great food Jesus is out there but later on, along with the because of his Some celebrate Hindu gods and three children, the festival to goddesses in my Munipella added cheer up their puja room. It has the practice of been 18 years and exchanging gifts. children we still pray to all D e b j a n i of them every Sengupta has been celebrating Christmas for ten years. night before going to bed,” she said. If many people in the city are A school teacher, she celebrates Christmas not with her relatives but celebrating Christmas just to eat, with her little neighbours. “I started drink, and be merry, there are othit because of my job. Teaching in a ers who celebrate it just to make Christian school helps you not only their children cheerful. Pushpa to celebrate it but also to under- Milan, who lives with her son in Banaswadi, explains that a Christian stand its significance.” A mother of two, Debjani colleague kept sending her sweets ecstatically told Talk about her for Christmas year after year. Her son relished them, and encounter with a Christian family who taught her how to make wine. Pushpa was inspired to make them “At first, we only drank with each available to him more often. The smart mom has enrolled in other but later on, as I fell in love with the tang of homemade wine, I a Christmas Chit fund, where she thought why not learn from her and has to pay Rs 275 every month for a make it myself? Gradually, I started year, and she receives around 25 Christmas ingredients and sweets, making doughnuts and cakes too.”

editor talk Dr UR Ananthamurthy, the celebrated writer, is on our cover this time. His 81st birthday falls on December 21, and we are proud to bring you a snapshot of his life and times. As Bangalore’s foremost intellectual, he responds regularly to what is happening in the public sphere. Not all his positions go down well with the urban class or with the politicians, but, as he has often said, a writer must be a critical insider. You will also find excerpts from his autobiography, appearing for the first time in any English-language publication. To many of us, the book reveals a completely unknown face of the Jnanpith awardee. I had last spoken to him 15 years ago, and assumed he wouldn’t remember much from the days when I used to visit him as a novice translator of his work. I was wrong. He was warm and welcoming, and could remember details from long, long ago. We did a freewheeling interview that extended well beyond the hour he had granted me. This is also a week of victory for Narendra Modi. Santosh Dash, a keen observer of Modi’s politics, quickly responded to our request for a perspective from Gujarat. The BJP is in a bad shape in Karnataka, with BS Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu branching out and threatening to split its vote. The ruling party may try and piggyback on Modi’s success, but that won’t take them far. Modi is a player independent of the party, as the BJP’s simultaneous loss in Himachal Pradesh suggests. Also, don’t forget to check out Varshini Murali’s interesting take on the Indian Metal Festival, and the piece on Bangalore’s flea markets by Sandra Fernandes Prachi and Sibal. Merry Christmas! SR Ramakrishna


talk|27 dec 2012|

such as plum cakes, rose cookies, a wine bottle, two types of meat, 10 kg rice, a Christmas star and other items. Not all non-Christians enjoy cakes and wine. Ramu (65) and his wife Sandhana make different delicacies at home: kajjayas, kul kuls, rose cookies, and diamond cuts. “My wife has learnt the knack of making all kinds of sweets over the last nine years. We only buy plum cake on the eve of Christmas but apart from that we indulge in homemade sweets,” he explained. Sandhana says, “Our Christmas has also become much more special in recent times as my grandson was born on Christmas.” Her son Murali told Talk the family celebrates Christmas not just with food but also with other festivities, like decorating a Christmas tree and tying balloons. What is more, there is even a shining star outside their house. Clearly, for many non-Christian families like Murali’s, Christmas is a time for good cheer.


Talk picks

Gadget gifts

If your loved one is a techno freak and loves to explore new gadgets, here are some gifting options (all priced under Rs 1000) that wouldn't make a big dent on your budget.

Angry Bird FM radio player: This USB and FM radio player makes for a perfect gift this Christmas. The player runs on lithium battery and has a 3.5 mm jack. So now you can tune into your favourite radio station while you work. Priced at Rs 749 at Vintage style transistor: For someone who loves all things vintage, the Sony ICF-F12S Portable Transistor/radio would make for a charming gift. Run on batteries, the radio has FM and AM reception and is portable. Priced at Rs 890, you can buy if from

Headphones: The Sony MDR-MA100 over the ear headphone has 100dB/mW input sensitivity and 12-22,000 Hz frequency response and has a gold plated stereo plug. Priced at Rs 999, you can order this on

Marshmallow earphones: Love music, but find yourself constantly bothered by the noise? These JVC Marshmallow earphones will be a comfortable fit in your ears. They come with a gold plated iPhone compatible plug, and is priced at Rs 550. You can buy these from

Speakers that speak for themselves: Small they might be, but these multimedia speakers (F&D V620 plus 2.0 USB Speakers) pack quite a punch. With 2.0 channel, volume control and 1 USB port these are a sure bet as a gift for a music lover. Priced at Rs 995, you can buy these at

Narendra Modi and the Gujarat reality The idea of a corruption-free administration is a myth, but the master strategist shows again that he knows his way around electoral hurdles

Voices from Gujarat We hold Modi the prime culprit for 2,000-odd killings. He has never apologised for them. We were hoping he would put up at least one Muslim candidate, but that is something he hasn't done in five elections. It pains us to see him in power again.

SANTOSH DASH arendra Modi has won. Many people believe that is because he has provided a corruption-free administration. That is not true. Gujaratis know corruption is as rampant as it was during Congress rule. No work gets done without a bribe. Modi says, "I don't pocket money, and won't let anyone pocket it either," but that is just rhetoric. The government offices are just the same. So how has he won a third term? For one, since he returned to power five years ago, he has consistently sold the development idea. Gujarat is dominated by the trader class, which likes the idea of 'development' to the exclusion of all other ideas. The real estate sector and the big corporations are cheering Modi along. After the 2002 riots and his sham-

JS Bandukwala, President, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat


Gujarat final tally Total seats: 182 BJP 115, Congress 61, GPP 2, Others 4 Majority: 92

MODI MANIA A BJP supporter in Bangalore celebrating the party’s Gujarat victory

ing in the national media, Modi has stopped talking Hindutva. In fact, what we have in Gujarat today is a soft Hindutva: his constituency knows what it is all about. Nothing is stated blatantly any more. When was the last time we heard Modi talk Hindutva? Now that he has won Gujarat, Modi will definitely set his eyes on Delhi. Gujaratis have no doubt he is going to pursue his national ambitions. But things are not going to be easy for him when parliamentary elections are held in 2014. The BJP is in no position to come to power on its own. If they do, Modi just might be made prime minister. But the reality is that they will need a coalition, and he is definitely not acceptable to many of their allies. The taint of the 2002 riots, when he was accused of helping Hindu rioters, will not go away so easily.

The Congress hasn't been able to counter Modi, but they say they have been able to contain him. That is one way of looking at it. What Modi has won is 23 seats more than the required majority, which is not spectacular, but the number is still three times what the Congress has managed to win. In fact, this is more a personal victory for Modi than for the BJP, which lost in Himachal Pradesh. There is no question Modi is a master strategist. Ahead of the elections, BJP stalwart Keshubhai Patel quit and started his own Gujarat Parivartan Party, complaining that Modi was arrogant and unreasonable. Modi reacted by driving up to Patel's house and falling at his feet to seek his blessings. Patel won just two seats. The author is an academic based in Vadodara

The vote share of the BJP has actually gone down by 2 per cent, despite the high turnout. It goes to show some people have rejected Modi. He hasn't really swept the polls. He used the anti-centre sentiment to his advantage. Rohit Prajapati, Social activist

The victory changes the paradigm of Indian politics. Gujarat will remain the development engine of the country. He has a great vision for the state. People call him authoritarian, but there is nothing wrong with that. He is disciplined and expects discipline from others. Geeta Goradia, President, Federation of Gujarat Industries

fun lines

talk|27 dec 2012|


political diary

talk|27 dec 2012|


The party is on The mood at the offices of the major political parties tells us more about their election prospects than reams of analysis in print and hours of debate on TV With talk of early elections, all major parties are gearing up, but not the BJP. The ruling party’s rivals have announced new programmes and completed a round of rallies. The JD(S) had organised a rally for Muslims in Bangalore and the Congress for OBCs in Chitradurga. Membership drives are being cranked up as the parties search for the 'right' candidate.

business of sharing portfolios.

BSR Congress


The situation at B Sriramulu's BSR Congress party office on Kumara Park West Road is no different. The road that leads to the office is a sight in itself, filled with banners and cut-outs of Sriramulu. It is also lined with luxury cars of new party members — a clutch of real-estate moneybags, OBC hopefuls, and Talk went from one party office small-time rowdies, accompanied to another to gauge the mood, by their supporters. At any given and here's what we found. time, the office sees a steady flow of these aspiring 'leaders', ALL DECKED UP The Congress office on Queens Road wears a festive look Congress drawn by the prospects of securFor once, the Congress office on ing a candidacy in the new party. ability to take it forward, we were feet in Bangalore. Not one cutQueens Road wears a festive out or banner was in sight. A told by party workers. Curiously, Janata Dal (Secular) look. There’s a row of SUVs none of them had anything to say plain signboard indicates this is The prize for the most zealous parked outside, and everywhere indeed the headquarters of the about Kumaraswamy's elder display would surely go to the you turn party workers are new force in Karnataka politics. brother, the equally ambitious JD(S) office at Anand Rao Circle. scrambling about. Wannabe The buzz is that not many are HD Revanna. leaders in starched white clothes This being a party led by HD showing interest in joining Karnataka Janata Party Deve Gowda and his two sons, and thick gold bracelets are Yeddyurappa's outfit yet. Many there is no dearth of life size cut- Despite the noise it has made so chatting away in small groups. leaders are watching the KJP far, BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Occasionally, a big leader shows outs of the family. HD closely, but may switch to it only Janata Party wears a deserted Kumaraswamy's popularity is up with his followers, and there if their prospects look good. look. The few people hanging out running higher than that of his follows an almost compulsive Bharatiya Janata Party charismatic father. Though Deve at its office are not from around name-dropping of Delhi bigwigs. these parts. It looks like Lingayat Finally, we come to the ruling Overall, it looks like the party has Gowda is the one who laid a party's office, which looks and already come to power, and peo- strong foundation for the party, it and Muslim leaders from North Karnataka are trying to find their feels more like a government is Kumaraswamy who has the ple are there only to settle the

Pot vs kettle? Time was when BS Yeddyurappa and KS Eshwarappa were like a pair of prized oxen for the BJP, at least in the Shimoga area. Ever since they fell out, they are locked in a bitter rivalry. Eshwarappa is falling victim to the same tactics he used to malign and topple his foe from the CM's gaddi. According to one Vinod from Shimoga, a petitioner who has lodged a private complaint with the Lokayukta court, Eshwarappa has misused his power to buy land worth several crores. A minister thrice between 2006 and 2011 and also BJP state president, he has allegedly acquired 25 properties, details of which have been

THOSE WERE THE DAYS KS Eshwarappa with BS Yeddyurappa

submitted to the court by the petitioner. The Lokayukta DySP, Shimoga, who is investigating the case, has now lodged an FIR against three members of Eshwarappa's immediate family. A question remains: these

allegations pertain to the period between 2006 and 2011. But what about the time since, when Eshwarappa has been minister for rural development and revenue, in addition to being deputy chief minister and the state BJP president?

office. Located in Malleswaram, it has disciplined RSS workers going about their affairs as usual. There is the trademark neatness and efficiency—the computers are all working, the Internet is never down, and so on. The raw energy that comes with the presence of genuinely popular leaders is clearly missing. No wonder that party has more people leaving it than joining it. The sullen mood was broken only by news of the party’s victory in Gujarat.

Sizzling rivalry When Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, made a corruption charge at the recently concluded Belgaum session, it surprised many. He pointed specifically to PWD projects in the Magadi constituency, worth more than Rs 500 crore, which he says was awarded to just three big contractors. PWD Minister CM Udasi immediately denied the charge, but an enraged Siddaramaiah challenged him to resign if the charges were proven correct. If they were proven wrong, Siddaramaiah said he would resign as an MLA. What was surprising was Siddaramaiah's uncharacteristic vehemence, and the fact that the Magadi MLA HC Balakrishna, whom he indirectly implicated, is from the JD(S), which shares the opposition seats with the Congress.

But when Talk asked Balakrishna about it, he had an unexpected explanation. “It’s all HD Revanna’s doing,” he said. “He is using Siddaramaiah as a front to target JD(S) MLAs close to his brother Kumaraswamy.” It appears Revanna is insecure that many party MLAs like Balakrishna are close to Kumaraswamy. “He wants to prevent us from contesting elections, thus reducing Kumarawamy's support. So he's using Congress leaders to discredit us, and goes about as if he knows nothing," said Balakrishna. Party leaders are in a dilemma. In Balakrishna’s words: “If we spell it out, it harms the party, if we don't, we are doomed."


space science

talk|27 dec 2012|

Bangalore to Mars ISRO's proposed Mars mission spacecraft will have to travel 55 million (5.5 crore) kms to its destination—compared to the 3.6 lakh km the Chandrayaan spacecraft traversed to reach the moon's orbit in 2008. What ISRO learned from the much shorter journey holds the key to making its first deep space mission a success


t is a journey 5.5 crore km long, over 300 days, on a mission that is one of the most ambitious for India’s space programme. Destination: the Red Planet. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Rs 470 crore Mars Orbiter Mission, slated for launch in November 2013, aims at sending a spacecraft to orbit Mars and transmit information and images to further our understanding of earth’s large interplanetary neighbour. Two-thirds of 69 mars missions launched so far by established space powers USA, Russia and Europe have failed. Can ISRO get it right the first time? Prof UR Rao, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences (ADCOSS) and former ISRO chairman, recently submitted the committee’s recommendations to the Prime


Minister on a set of measures to ensure that the mission succeeds, drawing the right lessons from ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 moon mission. ISRO’s moon mission was a success in that in its very first attempt, it launched a spacecraft into the moon’s orbit after a 16-day journey. The failure was in the spacecraft’s life—it should have lasted 730 days, sending back valuable data, but was abandoned after 312 days. According to former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair, however, the moon mission had realised “95 per cent” of its scientific objectives. Earth and Mars are 55 million km apart at the closest in their orbits. The average distance between the two is 2.25 crore km. At its farthest, Mars is 4.01 crore km away. The last known closest approach was in 2003, the first in 50,000 years. With the manifold increase in time and distance, challenges increase regarding the durability of the spacecraft, its navigation and propulsion, and its ability to communicate. The precision required to inject it into Mars’ orbit at the right time increases in complexity. Rao told Talk: “ISRO has the theoretical and practical knowledge, experience and vision to make the mission a success. It has always bounced back from failures.” A key feature on the Mars mission is to provide for multiple backups when system failures occur on board. In technical terms, it will provide for more redundancies. “Protection against multi-point

development and failures is the guiding principle of technology deployment.” the Mars mission,” said Rao. K Kasturirangan, Planning The spacecraft and its onboard systems will be able to withstand Commission member and former greater variations in temperature, as ISRO Chairman, spoke to Talk about they are protected by a heat shield. A the several challenges ISRO’s teams passive cooling measure will provide are getting ready to tackle. “The functioning of onboard for electronic systems, capacitors and the heat shield to cool down in sensors, electronics and computers the face of increasing heat from has to be precise. As it takes between atmospheric conditions in Mars’ 3 and 8 minutes for a signal to reach earth from the orbit. Martian orbit and Procedures for another 3 to 8 minfiring the spaceTwo-thirds of utes for the craft’s engines have the world’s 69 responding signal been made more Mars missions to travel out, saving precise. The spacetime is crucial in craft has to be fired have failed controlling the (an onboard engine direction and re-ignited) during orbit manoeuvres and the right use momentum of the spacecraft, espeof fuel (in quantity and timing of cially in a hostile environment. Onrelease) has to be ensured to obtain the-spot decisions will have to be the right pace and trajectory as it taken by onboard sensors and computers. There cannot be a single misenters Martian orbit. Scientists are also focused on take in calculation of momentum minimising any deviations in the and direction, else it’ll deviate from spacecraft and its subsystems. Every the defined route,” he said. A particularly tense time will be minor deviation that occurred in the moon mission has been examined to during actual insertion into Mars’ ensure it won’t occur in the Mars orbit. “The pace of the Mars orbiter spacecraft. Procedures for procuring com- has to be managed to ensure it is ponents have also been tightened. absorbed by the orbital path at the There is almost no room for any right time. Timing and precision of variations in the specifications and the slowdown in speed is crucial. “ The spacecraft will be travelling quality of components. Rao told Talk: “A highly compe- at 8-9 km per second in space. “Third, absolutely correct infortent space team has gone into every aspect of the moon mission and rec- mation on the spacecraft’s pathway ommended corrections for even to Mars has to be collected to avoid minute aspects. While ISRO is hop- accidents. Information will have to ing for a first-time success, no space be collected on the movement of agency in the world can claim prob- space debris, meteors, and asteroids. lems won’t crop up in Calculations on the trajectory of the spacecraft will have to be made to ensure it doesn’t hit any of these,” Kasturirangan said.


talk|27 dec 2012|

The Mars orbiter’s farthest point from earth will be 2,15,000 km and the nearest 600 km. Its orbital path around Mars is a 500-km by 80,000 kilometre ellipse. ISRO’s workhorse, the PSLV, will launch it into earth’s orbit first, and the space craft is expected to depart from earth’s orbit on November 2627, 2013. The insertion into Mars’ orbit has been planned for September 21, 2014. “A major challenge is that the onboard engine has to restart after 300 days when the orbiter enters the Martian orbit. If having reached all that way, the engine fails to reignite, it’ll break our hearts. We can’t afford that. But that’s the beauty and challenge of space sciences,” said Kasturirangan. If ISRO fails to launch the Mars mission next year, other opportunities are only

available in 2016 and 2018. ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan has said the objective of the mission is to study Mars’ atmosphere and to detect any sign of life on its surface. India will be the sixth country to launch a mission to the Red Planet after the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China. If the mission is successful, India will be the first Asian country to do so as probes sent by China and Japan had to be abandoned en route. The orbiter will have a 25 kg scientific ‘payload’— instruments and sensors for scientific activity. Payloads for the Mars Orbiter Mission have been short-listed by ISRO’s Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) review committee. It is believed the Soviets were the first to touch

PIONEER A graphic representation of US’ Mars rover Curiosity. (Top) An antenna at Byalalu village, just off Mysore road, which will track the ISRO spacecraft's journey to Mars

Mars—when their spacecraft crashlanded on the planet. The Americans are said to be the first to have undertaken a planned softlanding. There is a difference of opinion also on who reached Mars’ orbit first in the 1960s and 70s—the Soviets or Americans. After several missions from both powers in those two decades, there was a lull till the early and mid-90s when the

Americans recommenced Mars missions. The last decade however turned very busy, and the Europeans also joined in with a Mars ‘Probe’ in 2003. Despite the 40-odd failures, missions have also met with unexpected levels of success, such as the twin Mars Exploration Rovers operating for years beyond their original mission specifications. The two US


Rovers Opportunity, and Curiosity, are on the surface of Mars since August 6, 2012, beaming signals back to Earth. There are also three orbiters currently surveying the planet, the Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, again, all from the US. India will be hoping ISRO’s baby joins them.

end tamasha

talk|27 dec 2012|


BRING IT ON Dancers at a ‘End of the World Fitness Party’ in Indiranagar

Did ‘doomsday’ spook anyone? It is no surprise that few took the possibility of the world ending on December 21 seriously. While some Bangaloreans considered it a ‘marketing gimmick,’ for others it was a great excuse to party

TEAM TALK y the time you read this, December 21 has come and gone, and the sun has risen on the same old Earth, in the same old way, as it has been doing for the last 4.54 billion years. You would have chatted about the doomsday myths for all they were worth and tossed them aside, and gone on with the daily business of living. After all, just as every culture has creation myths, it has doomsday myths, where it all comes to an end, only to start again of course. The December 21 panic originates from the fabled calendar of the Mayans—the ancient South American civilisation—but much of the paranoia around it is emerging from the West. Hollywood, that modern myth maker even had a movie


called 2012 out in 2009. The US is on a disaster-prone land mass, and that doesn’t help matters for the anxious. To give the Mayans due credit, it is not clear that they predicted the end of the world on this date. US space agency NASA reported getting 300 calls a day in the last week before the date, and they put out a video titled “why the world didn’t end yesterday” a few days before the intended release date. The video debunked notions of either a planet hitting earth, or a burst of solar storms engulfing the planet. Any occasion is an occasion to party though, and many Bangaloreans simply decided to

have a party. Thankfully, end of days coincided with Friday. The next day is Saturday, and what better day to celebrate the fact that the world in fact has not ended? As socialite Viren Khanna put it: “The end of the world thing is a stupid idea. I would believe more in a beginning of the world thing. That is why I am throwing a party on December 22.” Nishant John, SoundOKPlease, an events & production firm, is one of the people behind a three-day long End of The World party at Pebble, a lounge bar in Sadashivanagar. “Nobody really cares about December 21. We agree that it is a


marketing gimmick. It is just another reason to party and everybody likes a good party.” Wanitha Ashok, fitness expert said: “I organised an End of the World fitness party last Sunday. I was just cashing in on the occasion to promote fitness. We did Gangnam aerobics, masala bhangra and a lot more. You see, if you are fit, you can run for your life when the world is coming to an end....” While doomsday myths are universal, putting a specific date to it seems to be a Western fetish. Though repeated failures have forced religious groups to become more cautious about announcing a date. David Nesakumar, pastor, Seventh Day Adventists, said: “We don’t believe in the Mayan calendar. No other Christians believe in it. We believe in the second coming of Chirst. It’s the same with other Christian groups. Only God knows when he will come next. Nobody can put a date to it.” The Brahmakumaris, who believe only their followers will be saved when the world comes to an end, don’t want to put a date to it either. Brahmakumari Parimali told Talk: “Nobody knows when the world will come to an end. Whenever it happens, it will happen suddenly. Nobody will know the day.”

life and times

talk|27 dec 2012|


B’lore should lose its IT tag RAMESH HUNSUR

URAnanthamurthy discusses languages, cultures, charlatanism, religious practices, and things ancient and modern


Looking back, would you want to rewrite any of your books? Do you regret how any of them have turned out? Not at all. All through my life, I have written with intense concentration. I have no regrets. In fact, I had abandoned my first novel, Preeti, Mrityu, Bhaya, thinking it was not good enough for publication. I wrote it in 1958, and it was about the death of my brother. But today, I don’t mind the book being printed and read. I understand how the book came to be written, and I don’t hold myself to the high standards I used to earlier!

HOME AND THE WORLD Ananthamurthy with wife Esther at their Dollars Colony residence

(Poet) Adiga was like that, too. That was the hallmark of our time. We didn’t want to change society. But we wanted to know what it was to change society. I liked Lawrence, Hemingway, Conrad, and in Kannada, Kuvempu and Karanth. I wanted my fictional work to reach the state of poetry. You have been saying Bangalore When I went to my village after should recover its Kannada identity. Which cities do you think Bangalore writing Samskara, they said, “Ananthu, have you come to write should model itself after? Bangalore should lose its IT-BT another story about us?” They brand, and become a city proud of its thought it was against the people of culture. I don’t mind if it means tak- the agrahara (Brahmin colony). In ing a step backward. In that sense, I Shimoga, they thought it was against like London. It retains much that is the Madhwas. In Bangalore, it was against the old and precious. It is Brahmins. For also a city of the big We live in a Naipaul, it was fire. Many buildings against the Hindus. were destroyed in the civilisation Erik Erickson (the big fire, and then they that produces a famous psychologist) built the city again. I lot of trash thought it was about wouldn’t mind some a middle age crisis. I buildings being destroyed in Bangalore. Of course want these layers to exist in all my lives shouldn’t be lost, but I wouldn’t works. mind Mantri Mall, that ugly building in Malleswaram, being brought In Suryana Kudure, you write about a man who has no desire to break out down. of his simple ways. He is poor but happy even in the midst of adverse Around the time you wrote Samskara, which caught internation- family drama. I wrote that story in response to al attention, which writers did you like, and which ones did you dislike? Marx’s idea that India was characI disliked populist writing. To this terised by village idiocy. All of us seem day, I dislike writing just for enter- like that to him. In his view, a society tainment. We should not try to invei- with no conflict will not grow. gle the reader. I was clear I didn’t Jealousy creates competition. Each want to be such a writer. I had no class wants to rise to the next class. desire to have a large readership. He calls it the Asiatic way of develop-

ment… where people live in contentment. But as a writer, I see it differently. When a villager calls the grasshopper the sun’s stallion, he is making a connection between the sun and the earth, and then with the whole web of creation. Would you be able to write Samskara today? No. My whole preoccupation now is modernity. We can’t go back. Revivalism has no meaning. But we are losing our tastes, our languages, our identities. Even at the weddings, they make gobi manchurian! We have gone into the gobi manchurian culture. I am critical of where we are going. We should live a happy life with what is produced within 40-50 miles. If all of us begin to live like America, we will be destroyed. This is a civilisation that produces trash. Buy a shirt, and you get so much packing material. Trash.

Curiosity and reason are the hallmarks of Ananthamurthy's writings. He is perhaps Praneshacharya, the very character he created in his novel Samskara (learned, rooted in classicism and aware of contemporary complexities). Chandrashekara Kambar, Poet, playwright, Jnanpith awardee

last rites of a renegade Brahmin… You say it would be a completely new novel today? The narrowness of that age is gone. But looking back... Our age was characterised by three hungers. The hunger for equality. It produced a Marx, a Gandhi, a Mandela. The hunger for modernity. You see it in But what are the ideological options Gandhi, among others. To break away from old ideas. To see the world to the American way of life? Even anew. The third is a hunger for spiricommunist governments are pursutuality, which comes from our dissating the capitalist model with enthuisfaction with religion. This is siasm. Communism created nation-states. expressed in Ramana Maharshi, Even Gandhism has led to a nation- Aurobindo, Paramahamsa, not in Sri state, although Gandhi and Tagore Sri. Keep the godmen out of it. were against it. Gandhi said India had to be a porcupine, with thorns all over But what has changed between Ramana Maharshi and Sri Sri? the body, it doesn’t need a military. Everything will be polluted. Hence, the work for a newspaper, for a writer Going back to Samskara, in which you describe the crisis in a tradition- like me, is to criticise, guard the purity. Every age must do it. No idea will bound village unable to perform the

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die. All ideas are waiting to take shape in new minds. One of the great gifts of God is death. New ideas will come. I foresee a great fatigue setting in. What I call modern was a desire. Now it is fatigue. America doesn’t know what to do with the gun. In order to fight the gun, they have to set up mental asylums. You’ve been talking about the language question. How do you see India’s language battles playing out? People who give up their language are not very important. They will in any case be exported. They are like the coolies who used to go and work in tea estates. The poorest used to go abroad for work, but now the difference is that the middle classes, which want to become the upper class, go there. And English is necessary. I don’t grudge it. But there is a vast backyard in India. Our population is our strength. If Kannada had just been the language of a few upper castes or some rich Lingayats, it would be dead by now. But it is the language of millions of people who don’t read and write, and who have a rich cultural heritage. If people are sensitive, they search for an alternative identity. They will want to recover their language, their gods. Our tragedy has been that those who were root-

ed were narrow-minded, and those who were emancipated became ruthless.

Ananthamurthy is a blend of the Western, Indian and Kannada sensibilities. At the core of his literature is a humanist whose narratives touch everyone.

In one of your essays, you defended the practice of nude worship in Belgaum district. Now, there is the question of Made Snana, where people roll on banana leaves in the hope of curing their skin ailments. They are different things. I should not be Vaidehi misunderstood when I say our people Short story writer and essayist should have the right to decide how they (Gulabi Talkies, Mallinathana Dhyana, etc) practise their religion. We have always fought bad practices in India. Basava fought against them. The Haridasas fought against them. Buddha fought against them. aster for me would be if a man like Modi Made snana is meaningless. Only one who became the prime minister. The newspapers have forgotten about the killings. is deeply religious will know that. Should we forgive him? The media begins to like whatever succeeds. Politically, where do you stand? Are you joining the KJP? I said Yeddyurappa should call a meeting of What would you say is the biggest problem thinkers and build a manifesto. I believe with the media? they have announced my name as an advi- They can’t say anything without an image. sor to the party! He is a people’s leader, but What appears in words makes us think. he is not smart. He took money by cheque. The problem is, because of the power of I feel sorry for him. But I want the the image, only things with pictorial Congress to win. Siddaramaiah will make a potential appear. The media begins to good chief minister. They aren’t organised, develop certain images. Visualisation has though. Even at the centre, they haven’t begun to take away the meaning of certain been able to resist Modi. The greatest dis- things. What needs to be said in a whisper


Milestones Born December 21, 1932 First short story collection: 1955 First novel Preeti-Mrutyu-Bhaya (published in 2012): 1958 Publication of epoch-making novel Samskara: 1965 PhD from University of Birmingham: 1966 Lecturer in English, University of Mysore: 1970 Launch of literary magazine Rujuvaatu: 1981 Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala: 1987 President, National Book Trust of India: 1992 Chairman, Central Sahitya Akademi: 1993 Jnanpith Award: 1994 Padma Bhushan: 1998 gets amplified. Nothing stays in your mind. You show so many children getting killed, and the next moment you take a break and say Lux is a good soap. This is the problem. I wish we had something like America’s public radio. It is independent radio. Citizens should raise the money and do it.

life and times

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The artist of ideas

As UR Ananthamurthy completes 80, a look at a life that has tirelessly defined the intellectual life in Karnataka and beyond

ecently, UR Ananthamurthy sat at a literary festival with three other Jnanpith awardees: MT Vasudevan Nair, Sitakanta Mahapatra, and Chandrashekhar Kambar, all his contemporaries. Ananthamurthy looked more tired than the others on stage. He had undergone dialysis an hour earlier. Lately, he undergoes dialysis three times a day. When it was his turn to talk about the challenges of a writer, he was in his element, and looked charged. He passionately argued that the village experience had played a significant role in shaping his fellowwriters’ sense of community, a sense the European writer lacks today as he only has the city to derive from. That is Ananthamurthy for you! At his best when theorising, he has evolved concept after concept for many decades. As one of India’s foremost intellectuals, he considers this both creative pursuit and cultural duty. Reading through the best of his prose, one finds a brilliant analysis of Indian society and culture through their transitions of the past 100 years. Perhaps Ananthamurthy defined the broad scope of his fiction and criticism early, though both forms changed with the advent of new challenges. Born and brought up in an orthodox Brahmin family, his early urge was to shed his caste identity and define his fiction as a vehicle for a new morality. As a Navya (modernist) writer, he also evolved a distinct mode of self-criticism applicable to both the individual and his society. With a Lohiaite understanding of Indian society, he created protagonists who represented an authentic desire to change a conservative society. He portrayed women victimised by tradition, and at the same time, closely examined his characters advocating change. Ananthamurthy is among the handful of writers to have revised their ideological positions from time to time. Once a votary of annihilation

R Nataraj Huliyar Short story writer and literary critic

INSPIRATION A young Ananthamurthy in his study. The writer in the poster is DH Lawrence

of caste, he returned to see if creative elements were still left in it. It is another matter that his search went in vain. Having examined the pitfalls of tradition in his early novel Bharatipura, he revisited the theme in a later novel, Divya. This gives a continuity and unity of vision to his novels, but I feel he is at his best only when he is critical of his society and not when he tries to subtly eulogise it. In his fifties, he expressed his longing to be released from the tyranny of colonial history. In that period, this mission of decolonisation found a predominant place in his writing. From there on, he has been severely critical of the West and the endless greed of capitalist societies. Ananthamurthy has always actively played the role of a public intellectual who reacts to current issues. He is a bitter critic of rightist politics, and can be critical of the ‘progressives’ too, which is when he gets described as a ‘reactionary’ by fellow-writers. His nuanced analyses spark controversies, and he seems to derive energy from such controversies! He is aware of his intellectual clout and makes judicious use of it whenever he feels he should stand by a cause. Very recently, when a professor of the Kannada University in Hampi was targeted by rightist elements, Ananthamurthy made an

appeal to the Governor seeking justice. I have witnessed several such interventions by him that saved intellectuals who would have otherwise been victimised by the system. A close associate of the firebrand socialist leader Shantaveri Gopala Gowda, he grew up under the influence of the socialist party founded by Ram Manohar Lohia. He later wrote a novel, Avasthe, about the ups and downs of socialist politics in India. He opposed the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in the 1970s. He was friends with Janata Party chief ministers like Ramakrishna Hegde and JH Patel, but years later, contested the Rajya Sabha elections with Congress support. When HD Kumaraswamy, an over-confident chief minister, snubbed him at this juncture with, ‘Who is Ananathamurthy?’, he just laughed it off. He offered a glass of fruit juice to help Kumaraswamy end his hunger strike some days later! Last week, BS Yeddyurappa, who launched the Karnataka Janata Party, claimed Ananthamurthy was supporting him because he had finally broken off from the RSS. Though respected and pursued by politicians, Ananthamurthy can take on any of them, no matter how big, when it comes to issues of public concern. In course of time, his diverse social and political responses have


acquired a metaphorical structure to tell stories different from what he has stated in his public positions. This rare quality allows him to retain creative freedom and test his positions against hard reality. Significantly, his latest collection of essays is titled Nijada Belakinedege Ondu Dhyaana (Meditation in Search of the Light of Truth). Ananthamurthy sometimes takes positions that make him unpopular. In the 1980s, he spoke about problems inherent in the Gokak committee report on medium of instruction, and argued against its implementation. He said the report was unscientific and harmed the interests of the minorities, even as a majority of Kannada writers backed it. Though he takes fleeting positions in his criticism, in his more illuminative moments, he strives to correct the taste of readers, in the manner of FR Leavis and TS Eliot. Of late, Ananthamurthy has not been able to write at length either on the computer or by hand. To his luck, he has the assistance of bright young writers who take dictation. He has not been able to recreate the lyrical intensity of Samskara or the passion of his early criticism, but he makes up for it with brilliance in theory. Even today, he is keen to try his hand at different forms. He recently surprised readers with his translations of Brecht and Blake, and a short story with tender passages about the manwoman relationship. If you tease him about the sex in his recent fiction, he whispers, “Only that matters now!” He recently dug out the manuscript of his first novel, lying for over half a century in an old trunk. He is eager to hear what it means to his friends and critics. At 80, he texts, mails and calls with the enthusiasm of a teenager. If he comes across anything interesting by a young writer, he spreads the word among his friends. He stays in Manipal for two months as visiting professor, heads a Tagore chair elsewhere, and guides a central university in yet another city. These activities keep him busy, and he feels lonely only when he finds no one to share his ideas with. On his 81st birthday, a new book of essays hits the stands. He has just completed his autobiography, Suragi. I hope he finds the time and energy to tell all the stories that haven’t found a place in his autobiography.

life and times

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UR Ananthamurthy’s has not been just a life of the mind, as these excerpts from his autobiography reveal

The early chapters The hypocrisy of Indians We accept many beliefs without questioning them, and start propagating them. It is possible here to be a revolutionary and a part of the establishment at the same time. When the Congress declared an Emergency, the CPI helped them along. One could simultaneously be a communist and a supporter of the ruling Congress. Most Indian intellectuals are like that. In those days (the 1970s), if you asked those talking revolution whether they would like to visit the US or the USSR, they would choose the US. That’s because there was no warm water in the Soviet Union. No room heaters either. India's biggest problem is hypocrisy. It has taken root deeper than we can imagine. When the Janata Party came to power in Karnataka in 1983, many of us found it possible to balance out our lofty principles with our proximity to authority. It is difficult to proclaim that our actions were free of

selfish motives. A good number who some of my observations. I couldn’t came looking for me, in the knowl- figure out who had written it. The edge that I was close to Ramakrishna letter was in Kannada and English. Hegde and JH Patel, no longer remain “Come and meet me in Bangalore at my friends. Thanks to my obliging once,” it said. I guessed it must be nature, I became a from George vehicle for their vestFernandes. He had Fernandes ed interests. I didn't tried to organise a wanted me to touch any money, massive railway but I am troubled strike before the help bomb the that I watched corEmergency, and Vidhana Soudha rupt acts without failed. The police saying a word. A were looking for mind that hesitates to say what must him, but he had slipped away. The be said becomes corrupt. The Janata other big leaders of the time were alliance that took on Indira Gandhi already in jail. Shivarama Karanth was the creation of an affluent class. told me then: “Only those who have participated in the 1942 movement might know what to do in these diffiMeeting George Fernandes Before the Emergency was imposed, I cult times. George is a follower of had written a review of the novel Gati Jayaprakash Narayan, isn't he? He Sthiti (Movement and Condition) by must be active in the underground Giri. I received a huge envelope by movement.” It occurred to me that I should post some days after the publication of my review. It contained another contact my friend Pattabhirama review of the book, and criticised Reddy and Snehalata in Bangalore.

They were inspired by the socialist leader Lohia, and had turned my novel Samksara into a film. When I met him, Pattabhi took the envelope from me, winked, and said, "I will take you to George secretly". The two of us got into a car one evening. “Good not to know where you are going. Blindfold yourself. Even if the police torture you, you shouldn't be able to tell them where you met George,” he said. We drove for 45 minutes, and reached a decrepit church. We walked into a dark room. George was sitting on a cot. He was unrecognisable. He had grown his hair and beard long. I went up to him and touched him. He embraced me. George’s younger brother Lawrence came in. He looked older than George. He had a lunch box in his hand. As we sat talking about his family and mine, worms kept dropping on us from the roof of the church. George was pulling out the palmer

life and times worms and scratching himself all through toilet, making it impossible to place a our conversation. He gave me a mission bomb at the Vidhana Soudha. I returned to Mysore, and with friends like Devanoor with these points: Snehalata had to go to a rarely used Mahadeva, tried to drop cigarette stubs lavatory in Vidhana Soudha. Making sure into the post boxes. The stubs burnt themno one was around, she had to explode a selves out without causing any damage. George showed the same courage as bomb at night. I had to provide some men to help her. The explosion had to bring Subhas Chandra Bose, and is a big hero of down a portion of the Vidhana Soudha, but our times. We believed he was fit to become prime minister. But what hapnot kill anyone. Our objective was to hassle the gov- pened to him later is unpalatable. He never ernment, and not to inflict violence on became corrupt for money, but he went to anyone. The government was convinced it Gujarat after the violence, and came away as if nothing had hapcould get away with anypened. I could never thing, and people wouldEsther impressed understand this. Perhaps n't protest. If such subversive incidents took place me, as she would the desire to remain in power had corrupted his every now and then, the speak of me revolutionary mind. The frightened citizens would with abandon central minister who feel reassured something refused police escort has was afoot to dislodge the government. It was our duty to protect the now lost his memory, and is bed-ridden. people's will to resist. We had to find a bridge there, and a government building Esther and home tuitions here, and bring them down with dynamite. My wife was a little girl with two plaits If none of this was possible, my when I saw her as a student in Hassan. She friends and I had to undermine the govern- came over to my house for tuitions. When ment in the manner of those who had she sang a film song at some event, it resisted Nazism in Hitler's Germany. We brought tears to my eyes. She sings well had to drop burning cigarette stubs into even today. I had given her class an assignpost boxes. That would force the govern- ment: ‘Describe someone you like or disment, as it had in Germany, to post a con- like.’ She had written about me, and made stable at every post box. fun of my style of teaching and gestures. We returned after this conversation. I The girl with plaits who could write this blindfolded myself even on the way back. way about her lecturer had ignited my A constable always stood guard at the curiosity and interest.

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The first door of my romantic world opened when I realised she could speak about me with such abandon. I didn't want a girl who’d adore me; I wanted a companion. I fell in love with the girl who came to me on the pretext of taking tuitions. She was then just 16 or 17. I developed no physical intimacy with her. She was at an age when she didn't know enough about the world's ways, or about rights and wrongs. She interacted with me in all innocence; invited me over to her house. I felt I was entering another world there. Esther was one among many students who came for tuitions. While the others paid me a fee, Esther gave me her innocent love. In those days, I liked keeping fish. A student had brought me some fish, which I had put in a glass bowl. I was often lost in watching their movements. This would make Esther livid. "What are you doing there? Can't you come here and do some lessons?" she would snap. She was outspoken even in those days. My sister wasn't married yet. I knew it would be difficult to find her a bride if I married out of caste. I had to wait a long time even after I had decided to marry Esther. I went to Mysore after teaching for some years in Hassan. My mother was with me then. When she came to know about my relationship with Esther, she was disturbed. She would suddenly lose consciousness and slump to the ground. She would also complain about some pain. When we took her to a doctor, he diagnosed it as a mental illness. She was tormented during this period. As a little boy, when she went to the hills in the morning, I would scream, "Amma, are you dead or what?" and keep crying till she called back. Her agony on my account was something I could not take. I was distressed.


break from my work, and shifted to my brother's house in Shimoga, where she was bed-ridden. Initially, she was conscious, but towards the end, she lay unconscious most of the time. I used to sit by her side, talking, while she was still conscious. Anil was her favourite son. Being a doctor, he had fitted her with pipes and tubes, and struggled round the clock to keep her alive. One day, I told him, "Let's not keep her alive this way. Take away those things." I had gathered the courage to tell him that, and Anil needed the confidence. He did as suggested. I sat by my mother, held her hand, uttered a prayer, and said, "Everything is all right. You may go." Since she knew about Esther, I guessed she was apprehensive I wouldn't conduct her last rites, and said, "I will take the initiative and perform all your rites." She left us a couple of days later. I couldn’t sit on the floor, so I broke convention and sat on a stool. I performed her rites with my brothers, trying all the while to understand the mantras. My mother treated everyone with affection, but had never given up her ritual sense of purity. She was not a modern shy about her Brahmin caste, or rather, her sub-caste. When she heard the Pejawar swamiji had visited a Dalit colony, she was bewildered. I congratulated him as I felt he was capable of influencing my mother. Oblivious of the depth of such beliefs, my fellow-writers ridiculed me. Such intellectuals have no desire to change the thinking of people like my mother. My mother wouldn't give up her caste, but believed taking a vow and praying to Muslim holy men would cure children of certain ailments.

The house that started a row

I didn't have a house of my own. I applied for one in Mysore. Poet Krishna Alanahalli took me to someone he knew and said, "Give our teacher a site." He did. The site was like a lane. "I don't want it," I said. Krishna took me back to the official and Death of my mother My mother died in September 1995. A said, "Not this one, give him another." I got month before her death, I had taken a another site. Krishna liked me a lot, and

life and times said I should keep the first one, too. Afraid I would give in to temptation, I wrote a letter returning the earlier site. Krishna laughed at my foolishness. By then, I had decided to move from Mysore to Bangalore. Award-winners are entitled to sites, and I got one during Veerappa Moily's time. It was a good site, opposite a park. Since we were about to come away from Mysore, I thought it would be better if we could get a house instead. When I mentioned this to my friend J H Patel, then chief minister, he said he would allot me a house in a colony originally meant for NRIs who could pay in dollars. I live in this house now. Once the house was sanctioned, I returned my site. Several people, under Lankesh's leadership, pounced on me, ignoring the fact that I had returned the site. A story first appeared in Lankesh Patrike. My utterly emotional and dear friend G K Govinda Rao demonstrated against me. I wrote to Patel, requesting him to take back the house and give me the site again. He tore up my letter and said, "Everything is legal, whatever people might say. If you don't want this house, there's another in my name. Should I get it registered in your name?" I declined. Many articles appeared in the papers.

After some time, my detractors began to see the truth. Lankesh called up my house one day and asked Esther, "May I visit you?" She said, "Ask him," and handed me the phone. I called him over. He arrived with a friend. Esther went out of the house the moment he stepped in. I got some tea made for him. "Saw the new house?" I said. He replied, without any embarrassment,

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"Never mind, Ananthamurthy. All that's over now." He didn't say another word about it. We try to show our integrity through our prejudices. I don't like this practice, among Kannada writers, of flaunting their integrity. We must hide our integrity, like we hide our love.


My friend BS Achar was struck by cancer. Lankesh wrote about it in his paper and announced he was giving him some money. Achar was disgusted. He returned the money. It didn't occur to Lankesh, whose aim was publicity, to reflect if it was all right to write in his paper about his own acts of charity.

The modernist debate Our discussions at Coffee House with Gopalakrishna Adiga inspired many of my writings. We lived in a world of our own, amidst the shared coffee and cigarettes. We were busy ushering in modernism in literature when a juke box, which we thought was a symbol of modernism, arrived at Coffee House. Attracted by its loud music, young people thronged the place. Modernity had snatched away the comfortable cane chairs that encouraged discussions about modernism. We went to the parks, looking for space under the trees. Without coffee, our discussions lost their charm. We didn't have money for beer at the pubs. And in any case, Adiga wouldn't drink even though he was a modernist! Translated by SR Ramakrishna Excerpted from Suragi, UR Ananthamurthy’s autobiography, released on December 21

The permanent opposition

Intellectual SAVIE KARNEL

hen we call someone an intellectual, we mean it with a great deal of respect. An intellectual is someone who is knowledgeable and thinks critically. But it was not always so. Once, intellectual was a negative word. When intellectual entered the English language in the 14th century, it meant someone who grasped an idea by understanding rather than through the senses. It came from the Old French intellectuel. In the 1590s, the term came to be associated with the mind. Raymond Williams, often described as a Leftist intellectual, says: “It had been an ordi- W nary adjective, from 14th century, for intelligence in its most general sense.” In the early 19th century, the word attained a negative connotation with the plural form. Since at the time raising one’s The Talk voice against the govcolumn on ernment—which intel-


lectuals often did—was considered foolish, it gained the unfavourable meaning. “Though intellectual as an adjective retained a neutral general use, there was a distinct formation of unfavourable implications around intellectuals in the new sense,” writes Williams. The word acquired implications of coldness, abstraction and ineffectiveness. He says these meanings could be attached because of the general opposition to social and political arguments. The historic Dreyfus affair popularised the term. Alfred Dreyfus was a French army officer with a Jewish background. In 1894, the French counter-intelligence learnt that information about the artillery had been passed on to the Germans. They suspected Dreyfus, convicted him at a secret court martial, stripped him of his rank and sentenced him to life imprisonment. In 1896, when Lt Colonel Picquart took over as the new intelligence chief, he reported that Dreyfus was innocent. But Picquart was silenced and transferred. However the news leaked to the press and there was an outcry. Artists, academics and thinkers started a debate about hatred of the Jews. After a passionate campaign, Dreyfus was pardoned. All those who supported Dreyfus began to be called intellectuals, but it was not all positive.



word origins

American linguistics professor Noam Chomsky is one of the best-known contemporary public intellectuals

In his book, Letters to a Young Contrarian, Christopher Hitches writes that intellectual was a derogatory term equated with “the diseased, the introspective, the disloyal and the unsound.” He says those who used the word intellectual with this meaning considered themselves defending an “organic, harmonious and ordered society against nihilism.” With the Dreyfus affair, there was an emergence of intellectuals in public life. His supporters wrote open letters, spoke publicly and criticised the establishment in the media. With this, they brought in an era of public intellectuals. These are intellec-

tuals who publicly respond to matters of importance to politics and society. In 20th century England, the word lost its unfavourable meaning, almost becoming neutral. It was attached to people who earned their living by writing intellectually and not creatively—essayists, journalists and literary critics. Intellectual is not a negative word today. Perhaps, with positive connotations gaining popularity, we now have the term anti-intellectual. It refers to people who think any pursuit of the arts, literature, philosophy and science is impractical. There is also the pseudo-intellectual, or one who pretends to be intellectual.

kitsch hunt

talk|27 dec 2012|

What it costs

Sunday Soul Sante: Rs 5,000 a stall Kitsch Mandi: Rs 4,000 for a 10x10 stall and Rs 2,000 for a table Bombat Bazaar: Rs 1,000 for an 8x8 stall with a 10x10 canopy Second to None: No charge for stalls, but if it’s a fund-raiser event, a portion of the earnings go towards the cause

A virtual flea market

It’s Handmade, a Bangalore based e-commerce startup, tries to recreate the flea market experience online. It’s an unlikely idea, given how much the flea market concept revolves around the actual ‘experience,’ but they hope the ‘exclusively handmade’ tag works for them. They see themselves as a platform for buyers to connect with sellers who display at flea markets all year round. Sellers have the option of directing part or all of their proceeds to NGOs associated with the website. Visit

rience at flea markets like Soul Sante, which offers a lot for music lovers and foodies, whereas others like Kitsch Mandi, held at the Sadashivnagar club Pebble every month, try to bring in a little bit of everything —art, music and a party. Laila Waziralli, co-founder of Kitsch Mandi, says, “We aim to provide an alternative form of entertainment to people. We wanted to create a festival where you could enjoy yourself with the entire family of there who have stuff ready but miss the friends.” She reports they got nearly 2,300 visitors at their latest flea event, a big jump Sante cycle,” he says. Bombat Bazaar organises the standard from 200 at their first one. While most of the new flea markets open-to-the-public flea markets but also customises the flea experience for smaller in Bangalore almost exclusively sell new spaces and communities. Harish feels that items, there are some that go back to the traditional concept of selling it’s easy to get participants used goods. The organisor visitors for a flea market ers of Second To None in Bangalore, but with many The weather, believe in recycling and competing markets, the they say, is the urges people to bring genonly problem is establishing big factor in the tly used products to be oneself, which takes time. sold off at their fleas. However, he admits that at markets’ success Anu Gummaraju, cotime it can get too much— founder, STN says, “Our like during the last week of October, when the city saw six flea markets idea was to have an authentic flea market being held—and warns that they may fail where antiques and used products could be unless they are spaced out in terms of fre- recycled. We had a group on social media that was interested in this, and thought why quency and areas. Shopping is only a part of the expe- not a flea market, where more people could

A flea market economy

In Bangalore, it isn’t about bargains and barters any more. The format ticks with buyers and sellers, many of whom are happy trading new stuff SANDRA M FERNANDES PRACHI SIBAL t’s the fad you can’t escape. It started a few years ago—a rash of ‘flea markets’ sprouting up all over the city which sold all kinds of knick knacks, and had food stalls and music performances as added attractions for visitors. Since then, ‘flea fever’ has become a fullscale epidemic, and with hardly a weekend passing without a new one advertising itself. Flea markets have always been places where people bartered or sold merchandise, mostly used or bargain-priced. In one form or the other, they have always existed in Bangalore, as in most other cities. The Sunday Bazaar in the City Market area has been for decades the place for buying sec-


ond-hand goods cheap. For the hardier stuff—machine components, auto parts, even fully-functional engines—you went to the Shivajinagar gujri, one of the oldest scrap yards in the country. While these established markets were natural outgrowths of urbanisation, what is new here is the ‘fleamarket-by-design’, the concept modified and repackaged in a format quite different from the original. These new generation flea markets are no longer a place to get a killer bargain (in fact, much of the stuff on display is expensive), but social and entrepreneurial fairs where

designers, craftspeople and artists showcase their wares, clubbed with some entertainment, and packaged for the weekend shopper or families on an outing. The result is a win-win for both buyers and sellers, and it’s no wonder that the trend has boomed, especially over the last two years, with concert venues, malls and even pubs willing to play host. Asha Rao, founder of the three-year-old Sunday Soul Sante, easily the largest of Bangalore’s new age flea markets, says she was inspired by the famous flea markets of Goa, especially the one on Anjuna beach. “There has been a boom in flea markets in Bangalore over the last two

years. Though they call themselves so, they are merely platforms for young and budding designers and artists who want to showcase their work,” she says. Soul Sante, which initially had only local artists and designers selling their work, now gets sellers participating from all over the country. The last Soul Sante was held at Temple Tree in Hebbal, and had as many as 200 stalls and 20,000 visitors, says Asha. Their latest edition is slated at the same venue on December 23. Harish Kukreja of Bombat Bazaar, one of the newer entrants in the scene, believes Bangalore may be getting crowded with flea markets but still has space for more. “The number of people visiting such markets has gone up rapidly, and those like Sunday Soul Sante happen only once in four or five months. There are many people out

participate.” She says that their recently held flea got nearly 700 people, as opposed to the 200 they started out with. When asked what makes the flea market format click in Bangalore, most organisers gave this answer first: the weather. An indoor flea market is no fun at all, and the city’s weather is just perfect for the flea market experience, they say. But surely, there must be more to it? “The whole vibe of music, food and fashion together is what makes Soul Sante a hit,” says Asha. According to Harish, “People need platforms to display their talent and not everybody can afford a shop,” and that’s what makes flea markets an attractive option for sellers. Designers, artists and organisers alike seem to be making most of the weather and the culture in the city and turning available spots into day-long markets that double up as social gatherings. Prasad Bhat of design firm Graphicurry regularly participates in flea markets, and says that they have been a boon because of the visibility they provide. Anne Rakesh, medical transcriptionist turned hair accessories designer, too is a regular at flea markets. She says the markets have brought a lot of new clientele her way, and finds them a more fun way of selling her stuff . “At a place like Soul Sante, people can have fun, listen to music and shop, whereas at exhibitions vendors just looking at selling,” she says. Most flea markets used to be held at Palace Grounds when the venue was still open to such events. They have since migrated to new locations, but don’t report any fall in the numbers. Bangalore’s new age flea markets are settling down to become permanent fixtures on the cityscape.


kitsch hunt

talk|27 dec 2012|

What it costs

Sunday Soul Sante: Rs 5,000 a stall Kitsch Mandi: Rs 4,000 for a 10x10 stall and Rs 2,000 for a table Bombat Bazaar: Rs 1,000 for an 8x8 stall with a 10x10 canopy Second to None: No charge for stalls, but if it’s a fund-raiser event, a portion of the earnings go towards the cause

A virtual flea market

It’s Handmade, a Bangalore based e-commerce startup, tries to recreate the flea market experience online. It’s an unlikely idea, given how much the flea market concept revolves around the actual ‘experience,’ but they hope the ‘exclusively handmade’ tag works for them. They see themselves as a platform for buyers to connect with sellers who display at flea markets all year round. Sellers have the option of directing part or all of their proceeds to NGOs associated with the website. Visit

rience at flea markets like Soul Sante, which offers a lot for music lovers and foodies, whereas others like Kitsch Mandi, held at the Sadashivnagar club Pebble every month, try to bring in a little bit of everything —art, music and a party. Laila Waziralli, co-founder of Kitsch Mandi, says, “We aim to provide an alternative form of entertainment to people. We wanted to create a festival where you could enjoy yourself with the entire family of there who have stuff ready but miss the friends.” She reports they got nearly 2,300 visitors at their latest flea event, a big jump Sante cycle,” he says. Bombat Bazaar organises the standard from 200 at their first one. While most of the new flea markets open-to-the-public flea markets but also customises the flea experience for smaller in Bangalore almost exclusively sell new spaces and communities. Harish feels that items, there are some that go back to the traditional concept of selling it’s easy to get participants used goods. The organisor visitors for a flea market ers of Second To None in Bangalore, but with many The weather, believe in recycling and competing markets, the they say, is the urges people to bring genonly problem is establishing big factor in the tly used products to be oneself, which takes time. sold off at their fleas. However, he admits that at markets’ success Anu Gummaraju, cotime it can get too much— founder, STN says, “Our like during the last week of October, when the city saw six flea markets idea was to have an authentic flea market being held—and warns that they may fail where antiques and used products could be unless they are spaced out in terms of fre- recycled. We had a group on social media that was interested in this, and thought why quency and areas. Shopping is only a part of the expe- not a flea market, where more people could

A flea market economy

In Bangalore, it isn’t about bargains and barters any more. The format ticks with buyers and sellers, many of whom are happy trading new stuff SANDRA M FERNANDES PRACHI SIBAL t’s the fad you can’t escape. It started a few years ago—a rash of ‘flea markets’ sprouting up all over the city which sold all kinds of knick knacks, and had food stalls and music performances as added attractions for visitors. Since then, ‘flea fever’ has become a fullscale epidemic, and with hardly a weekend passing without a new one advertising itself. Flea markets have always been places where people bartered or sold merchandise, mostly used or bargain-priced. In one form or the other, they have always existed in Bangalore, as in most other cities. The Sunday Bazaar in the City Market area has been for decades the place for buying sec-


ond-hand goods cheap. For the hardier stuff—machine components, auto parts, even fully-functional engines—you went to the Shivajinagar gujri, one of the oldest scrap yards in the country. While these established markets were natural outgrowths of urbanisation, what is new here is the ‘fleamarket-by-design’, the concept modified and repackaged in a format quite different from the original. These new generation flea markets are no longer a place to get a killer bargain (in fact, much of the stuff on display is expensive), but social and entrepreneurial fairs where

designers, craftspeople and artists showcase their wares, clubbed with some entertainment, and packaged for the weekend shopper or families on an outing. The result is a win-win for both buyers and sellers, and it’s no wonder that the trend has boomed, especially over the last two years, with concert venues, malls and even pubs willing to play host. Asha Rao, founder of the three-year-old Sunday Soul Sante, easily the largest of Bangalore’s new age flea markets, says she was inspired by the famous flea markets of Goa, especially the one on Anjuna beach. “There has been a boom in flea markets in Bangalore over the last two

years. Though they call themselves so, they are merely platforms for young and budding designers and artists who want to showcase their work,” she says. Soul Sante, which initially had only local artists and designers selling their work, now gets sellers participating from all over the country. The last Soul Sante was held at Temple Tree in Hebbal, and had as many as 200 stalls and 20,000 visitors, says Asha. Their latest edition is slated at the same venue on December 23. Harish Kukreja of Bombat Bazaar, one of the newer entrants in the scene, believes Bangalore may be getting crowded with flea markets but still has space for more. “The number of people visiting such markets has gone up rapidly, and those like Sunday Soul Sante happen only once in four or five months. There are many people out

participate.” She says that their recently held flea got nearly 700 people, as opposed to the 200 they started out with. When asked what makes the flea market format click in Bangalore, most organisers gave this answer first: the weather. An indoor flea market is no fun at all, and the city’s weather is just perfect for the flea market experience, they say. But surely, there must be more to it? “The whole vibe of music, food and fashion together is what makes Soul Sante a hit,” says Asha. According to Harish, “People need platforms to display their talent and not everybody can afford a shop,” and that’s what makes flea markets an attractive option for sellers. Designers, artists and organisers alike seem to be making most of the weather and the culture in the city and turning available spots into day-long markets that double up as social gatherings. Prasad Bhat of design firm Graphicurry regularly participates in flea markets, and says that they have been a boon because of the visibility they provide. Anne Rakesh, medical transcriptionist turned hair accessories designer, too is a regular at flea markets. She says the markets have brought a lot of new clientele her way, and finds them a more fun way of selling her stuff . “At a place like Soul Sante, people can have fun, listen to music and shop, whereas at exhibitions vendors just looking at selling,” she says. Most flea markets used to be held at Palace Grounds when the venue was still open to such events. They have since migrated to new locations, but don’t report any fall in the numbers. Bangalore’s new age flea markets are settling down to become permanent fixtures on the cityscape.


concert notes

talk|27 dec 2012|


LAIDBACK VIBE Singer Shalini Mohan performing for the band Lagori on Day 2 of Bacardi NH7 Weekender

The debut NH7 Weekender showed just what it is that makes people rate it the 'happiest’ music festival around

Rockin’ off the highway PRACHI SIBAL

t was getting to be a bit of a problem. When folks visiting from Pune begin and end every conversation by raving about ‘their’ NH7 Weekender, as a concert-going Bangalorean you are rendered defenceless, with tales about your crowded shows apparently being no match. Pictures splashed on social networking sites after the Pune festival looked so very Woodstock that it was easy to forget that the gig was as commercial as they come. So when I heard about the festival’s debut in these parts, I knew I had to get a firsthand experience of the Weekender phenomenon. The first thing you noticed on arriving at the venue, Embassy International Riding School, beyond Yelahanka, was a sense of ease. It was 4 pm on Day 2 and the arena was dotted with people who seemed to be in a holiday mood, laidback in dress and attitude. Which, of course, is the whole point, and the orderly ticketing process and the easygoing behaviour of the security staff bolstered the feeling. Smiles were aplenty and ‘suspicious objects’ in the bag were exam-


ined with a little humour thrown in. Other Stage were smaller in compariIt was enough to convince us that this son, and featured mostly experimenwas indeed a far happier place to be in tal music across genres. When a festival boasts a line-up than anything we are used to. The large, sprawling venue was of 60 artistes over six stages, the law divided into six stages, mainly on the of probability alone ensures that basis of genre, apart from some small- there’s something for everyone. The er sections dedicated to food, retail first day had highlight performances and art. Among the things that featuring veterans of Indian rock like caught my eye were the NH7 Parikrama and Pentagram, as well as Weekender kabootar (pigeon)—a the American trash metal band Testament. The key brightly painted van attractions on day that let you drop in You could easily two were Indian acts letters about the fest. find yourself Vir Das and The Alien Among the stages, the Eristoff standing next to Chutney, Midival Punditz and Indian Wolves Den, which a musician you Ocean, and American featured popular and just saw perform progressive metal electronic music, on stage band Periphery. drew the biggest Other crowd-pulling crowds (it helped to have the venue’s biggest bar located performances included niche bands right next to it). The Bacardi Black like Mumbai’s Bhayanak Maut and Rock Arena looked different from all Susheela Raman. Weekender is not like your averthe others, and also had the most loyal fans, metal heads who crowded age multi-band festival, and what it close to the stage and stayed put may have lacked in intensity, it more through most of the performances. than made up for in camaraderie and The Dewarists stage had many a sense of ease which pervaded the artistes who featured on the popular venue. People casually hopped from TV music show by the same name one stage to the other between songs, and had a lot of Indian music. The and yet the stages, despite being Bindaas Fully Fantastic Stage, Pepsi located close to each other, did not Dub Station and the Jack & Jones suffer from a sound spill. Musicians

performing on one stage could at the next moment be spotted among the crowd in another, where they walked around freely without being mobbed by fans. It was easy to find ourselves standing next to a Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean or a Vishal Dadlani of Pentagram. Despite this being their debut in Bangalore, the NH7 Weekender got a lot of the basics right, from the ambience to the sound, not to speak of the attitude. Also, things like the shuttle service from the city and the coupon system for food and drinks made for a relatively hassle-free experience. Most performances started on the dot. The crowd being divided between six competing venues ensured that it was all ‘clean fun’; there were no mosh-pits or tussles in front of the stage, for instance. The one thing the organisers seriously goofed up on was the arena, which was muddy. While we did find a place to park our drinks buckets, it was nothing like the famous Pune greens. But what we missed most though, was beer—the other liquor brand sponsorships ensured there was none. And even the most perfectly organised festival in Bangalore cannot be complete without the city’s favourite beverage.

concert notes

talk|27 dec 2012|


A lesson in metallurgy


Our correspondent arrived at heavy metal band Gojira’s show trying to be as dispassionate as an anthropologist, but little did she know she would go rogue by the end of it

s far as I could see, it was just layers of black on black, with a few shades of grey, and a couple of misplaced bits of colour thrown in. Why, the atmosphere seemed dark and heavy. Where exactly was I? At the Indian Metal Festival of course. I’d arrived right in the middle of a sound check. The guitar pierced through the chatter; the beat of the drum echoed my heartbeat. It was a small crowd, smaller than the swarming mass I’d grown accustomed to at such concerts. But with a few other musical draws marking the calendar that weekend, this was a group selfselected to accommodate only true blue metal enthusiasts, where ‘outsiders’ like me were bound to stick out. All around me, metal heads circled about violently in their mosh pits, kicking up dust swirls that rose higher and higher, as if marking the level of the increasingly hard-edged sound they still called music. A fan came tumbling out of the pit, and carried the momentum of the music forward as he hurried to join another motley group, lost in the rhythm of their own head banging. By now it must be obvious: I was in the peculiar

A Varshini Murali Once-upon-a-time lawyer, who jumped ship to make her case with the written word

Jean-Michel Labadie

CALL OF THE WILD Metal fans at French band Gojira’s December 15 performance at the Indian Metal Festival in Bangalore

position of being an audience to an audience. Like an anthropologist amidst a strange tribe, I was struggling to understand the kind of music that made up this genre, mostly by observing the habits and behaviour of the people who devoured it. This was a sparse sample crowd for sure, but I did notice that it was composed almost entirely of men, with the odd woman thrown in for relief. Of these women, I’m not entirely sure how many were metalcrazy, for, aside from the one teenage girl I had repeatedly seen headbanging away, most held stoic, unaffected expressions. Some puffed away at their cigarettes, while others strained to raise their voice above the metallic din, to hear and to be heard, as they caught up with each other. In Running With The Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, Robert Walser writes about how heavy metal “denotes a variety of musical discourses, social practices and cultural meanings, all of which revolve around concepts, images, and experiences of power.” Walser talks of how metal “energises and transforms the space and social relations” and of how metal fans defined their space through their choice of clothing and hairstyle. Even the names such bands projected a sense of power and raw intensity, be it the well-known sorts of Metallica, Slayer,

Megadeth or, for that matter, the “Mantras take one into a trance. They international and local names that create a certain energy through repewere featured at this festival—Gojira, tition. The mechanism of Indian Bloodshot Dawn, Xerath, Flayed music and mantras is interesting in itself,” as Duplantier put it. Disciple, Gutslit and Agnostic. He also spoke of the band’s For people like me, it may sound like so much noise, but Walser music as one that was continually emphasises how the genre denotes evolving, particularly in reference to L’Enfant Sauvage, diverse musical pracsaying “I believe we tices and ideological Many of Gojira’s can get heavier and stances. Take Gojira, deeper and more for example, the spiritual themes magical than French metal band show Indian before. I respect headlining at this influences everything that’s festival, known for been done before, its environmental and spiritually themed lyrics. The but I hope we’re digging in another band, which began in 1996, compris- direction. It’s not a technical direces Joe Duplantier on vocals and tion. It’s a more spiritual direction.” Ultimately, even as Gojira articrhythm guitar, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian ulated its own personal journey from Andreu on lead guitar and Jean- “relative obscurity to global recogniMichel Labadie on bass. Belonging to tion,” they urged the up and coming what is termed as the progressive musician to use music as a platform death metal genre, Gojira’s music and for one’s imagination; to refrain from lyrics are marked by a philosophical explaining one’s music lest it lose its streak. At the press conference held a charm, and above all—a piece of day before the show, Joe Duplantier advice that should be taken across the had clarified, “We don’t try to be dif- board—to “be yourself.” That night, just as I was making ferent, we try to be ourselves. As a result, we present a different perspec- my way towards the exit, the sheer power of Gojira’s sound triggered a tive on life and death in general.” Interestingly, a lot of Gojira’s tsunami of thoughts that consumed spiritual outtakes, for instance, the my otherwise docile being, urging me concept behind their latest album to turn around, and become one with L’Enfant Sauvage (The wild child), the noise. And as I retraced my steps could be traced to Indian influences. back towards the crowd, I unearthed The band identifies with the power- a very different side to myself, one I ful emotion that stems from tradi- wasn’t quite sure existed at the start tional Indian music, and sources of that evening — my inner metal inspiration from mantras as well. child.

movie alert

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. Here's what our film critic suggests you look out for at the Bangalore International Film Festival t is difficult for a film critic to suggest the films to be watched at a film festival, especially considering that most of the ‘not-to-be-missed’ films will be new. Also, the best films at most festivals are not recent ones, but the classics, most of which are now readily available in the DVD format. To make it easier for readers who are not familiar with world cinema, I will stick to films which may be regarded as the most important— without citing my own preferences— and start with the oldest of the lot. I will also restrict myself to the international films being shown (the recommended films are in bold italics type), since many readers will be familiar with the Indian ones. Masters of Cinema - Akira Kurosawa: The films being screened here are not Kurosawa’s best-known films, which is a relief since Seven Samurai and Rashomon are known to almost everyone. Ikiru and Yojimbo are also quite widely seen and I would recommend The Idiot which is an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel and not a well-known work of Kurosawa, though much hailed. The Hidden Fortress should be seen at least for its explosive opening. Masters of Cinema Michelangelo Antonioni: Antonioni is indispensable viewing to anyone interested in European cinema from its ‘high modernist’ period beginning in the 1960s. His greatest film L’Avventura and the two other films of his trilogy about the alienation of modern man are not being shown, but the most interesting fare may be his British film Blow-Up (for those who haven’t seen it on DVD) which


MK Raghavendra is the author of Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008), 50 Indian Film Classics (HarperCollins, 2009) and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011).

talk|27 dec 2012|


The likely best has been widely imitated. I would also recommend The Story of a Love Affair, one of my own favorites. Identification of a Woman was made in Antonioni’s twilight years and has not been widely watched. Masters of Cinema - HenriGeorges Clouzot: Clouzot has a huge reputation as a maker of thrillers and, of the films being shown, Les Diaboliques (which is still terrifying) and Quai Des Orfevres are the most widely written about. They are essential viewing to all fans of suspense films. Retrospectives, Country Focuses and Special Genre (Anti-War Films): Fatih Akin is a German director of Turkish descent and achieved fame primarily for his dealing with the issue of the ethnic identity in Western Europe. For those interested in the theme, his most celebrated film is Head On although The Edge of Heaven has also been appreciated. Chan-wook Park is a somewhat sensationalist filmmaker who makes very violent films. His film Oldboy is a cult classic and was even remade in Hindi as Jinda. Juliette Binoche has starred in films by the best-known filmmakers like Leos Carax, Abbas Kiarostami and Krzysztof Kieslowski. The best film in this retrospective may be Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Blue. BIFFES 2012 has several ‘country-focus’es of which a special one is devoted to Germany. Apart from Volker Schlondorff - who was one of the most important filmmakers of New German Cinema in the 1970s and 1980s but is now in decline—the best-known filmmaker represented may be Christian Petzold, whose

Barbara has been widely praised. - since the films are new and the best In the section devoted to Danish of them are likely to become known cinema, Susan Bier’s In a Better World only later - it seems most appropriate is an Oscar Winner (Best Foreign to go by the countries from where Film) and Melancholia is from Lars they come and the directors - if they Von Trier, regarded as among the best are well known. filmmakers in the world. It is difficult Of the films, those made by to be definite about Taiwanese cine- directors with solid reputations in the ma since only a handful of directors filmmaking world are: Amour by are famous, but these films could Michael Haneke, which won the top throw up surprises. award at Cannes in 2012, Rust and In the section devoted to ‘Anti- Bone by Jacques Audiard, Pieta by War’ films, The English Patient is an Kim Ki-duk from South Korea, Like Oscar Winner as are Coming Home Someone in Love by Abbas Kiarostami and Life is Beautiful although the first and Outrage Beyond by Takeshi two are perhaps somewhat dated. Kitano, the master of the Japanese gangster film. Clip The German film by Maja Milos from Napola —since it Serbia has been deals with the Nazis The best films of controversial, while and their doings— most festivals Sister by Ursula promises to be excitare not recent Meier from ing, as does the Switzerland has Chinese film The City ones, but the been widely of Life and Death, classics praised. which apparently My own recreates the war with Japan and the siege of Nanjing choices will, however, partly rely on the fact that Russian cinema is the spectacularly. Critics’ choices: The festival has best cinema in the world today, even segments that are devoted to award when the filmmakers are unknown. winners decided by film critics’ The Horde and Dom: A Russian organisations. Among these, the Family therefore look particularly FIPRESCI (The International interesting to me. Hungarian cinema Federation of Film Critics) award is unpredictable, but it can produce winners include an exquisite film some great stuff when you least Monsieur Lazhar from Canada as well expect it. Death Waltz could be interas Le Havre by the great Finnish esting, though it’s ranked low on director Aki Kaurismaki. By all IMDB. Sri Lankan director Prasanna accounts, the Romanian film Everybody in our Family is a ‘must Withanage’s With You,Without You is watch’. The Japanese film Hospitalité based on A Gentle Woman by Dostoyevsky, which was made into a is apparently a bizarre comedy. Cinema of the World: To come masterpiece by the French director to the sections in which recommen- Robert Bresson and could also be an dations are the most difficult to make interesting watch.

book habba

talk|27 dec 2012|



ENDANGERED? Casual browsers like this one at the Bangalore Book Festival may be an increasingly rare sight in the future

E-shadow over the big book fest Aggressive competition from online booksellers is forcing shops to come up with all kinds of counter strategies at the Bangalore Book Festival, now on at the Palace Grounds


f you can’t beat them, join them: that is the mantra brick and mortar book shops are following as they struggle to hold their own against online retailers. That old institution, the book fair, has been affected too. At the Bangalore Book Festival (December 14 to 23, Palace Grounds) you will be taken aback at the eagerness of booksellers to promote their online avatars. Sapna Book House, for example, which claims to be India’s biggest book mall, offers more discounts on online purchases than at its shops and festival stalls. Their marketing team is ready to log you on to their etail site. “The discounts are higher on our site. In addition, if you sign in now, you will get an extra 3 per cent off,” an enthusiastic sales woman was


mote the online store aggressively. telling visitors. Landmark and Pustak Mahal are They are among the few giving higher also actively asking buyers to go discounts at the Book Festival. “Books online, while e-tailer Homeshop 18 we sell here for Rs 500 cost you Rs 800 was trying to garner customers at a if you buy them online. The buyer bears the courier charges,” said K stall of its own. And it is not just the big chains. Guruprasad of Vedmandir. Chennai-based Dial for Books E-retailing has opened up opportunities for small publishers, and for caters to readers not familiar with many of them, the online route is the online buying. They deliver their only route. Pratham Books, which Tamil books in response to phone publishes children’s literature, is one calls. At this rate, are book fairs losing such. “Our books are not available in stores, but you can buy them on our their charm? Muthu A of Surya Book website,” said Sanjay Patil, Multi State Stall is afraid they are. “We set aside books just for the Festival. People Coordinator, Pratham Books. Mapin Publishing, which brings come here for rare books and heavy out illustrated books, asks people not discounts,” he said. “A book fair only to visit its website but also to try should be unique, not just another huge shop.” major online stores The collecsuch as Flipkart, New Age gurus tions are fairly Infibeam and large and diverse Indiaplaza. are taking the this time. And book Stalls of spiritual lead in the fairs still encourage gurus didn’t lag e-tailing race those who don’t behind. Controversial have an actual guru Nityananda’s disciples and Sadhguru Jaggi store—online or offline. Harish Book Vasudev’s stall also promoted online Store, for example, is not a store at all. shopping. “Our books and well-being They sell books on the footpath in products are on discount at our web- Majestic. “Every year we put up a stall site,” said K Mohan, a dealer for Jaggi at the Book Festival. We get new customers here,” said Murthy, who runs Vasudev’s Isha products. Vedmandir Prakashan is an the makeshift outlet. The Festival is also an opportuexception. They do sell spiritual books on their website, but don’t pro- nity to check out many second hand

Bangalore Book Festival At Palace Grounds from December 14 to 23

This year it has been organised by Indian Illustrated Classics and Bangalore Book Sellers and Publishers Association in association with Central Sahitya Academy and Department of Kannada and Culture. Besides exhibiting books, the Festival also hosts literary interactions and cultural programmes. Wellknown writers who attended the sessions this year include Jnanpith awardees UR Ananthamurthy, Chandrasekhar Kambar, Sitakant Mahapatra and MT Vasudevan Nair, Vyas Samman awardee Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari and Kannada lexicographer G Venkatasubbaiah book stores at one venue. Besides Blossoms, Bookworm and Select, many lessknown shops are doing business at the Festival. While Surya Book Stall from Malleswaram, Sudha Book Store from Rajajinagar and BS Gowda Book House from Avenue Road are getting curious customers at the Festival, booksellers from Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai are also connecting with new buyers.

talk|27 dec 2012|


Rewind The week that was  Rape: A 23-year-old girl raped and brutally assaulted at night in a moving bus in New Delhi on Sunday. Her male companion also attacked. Widespread protests ensued, attacking Delhi police inadequecy  Gujarat polls: Narendra Modi to elected third time consecutively as Gujarat CM; 115 seats for BJP, 61 for Congress’ 61  Zee case: Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra appeared before Delhi police to clarify issues in the Rs 100-crore extortion case  IOC drama: Defying the International Olympic Committee, Lalit Bhanot took over as secretary general of the suspended Indian Olympic Association  Bill fight: Ruckus over quota Bill in Parliament as Samajwadi Party MP Yashbir Singh snatches papers from Congress minister V Narayanswamy who initiated discussion on the Bill

How to avoid rape Published by the War on Rape Collective in 1977, this angry and sarcastic piece of 'advice' still resonates, especially when incidents like the brutal rape of a young woman in a moving bus in Delhi continue to occur.

Don't go out with a male friend—some male friends are capable of rape.

Don't go without clothes— that encourages some men.

Avoid old age—some rapists ‘prefer’ aged women.

Don't go out with clothes— any clothes encourage some men. Don't go out alone—that encourages men. Don't go out with a female friend—some men are encouraged by numbers.

Don't stay at home— intruders and relatives can both rape. Avoid childhood—some men are ‘turned on’ by little girls.

Don't have a father, grandfather, uncle or brother—these are the relatives who most often rape young women. Don't marry—rape is legal within marriage. To be quite sure—don't exist.

Free movies at Freedom Park

It's been confirmed. Kohinoor Hotel, the only eatery of its kind on Brigade Road, is shutting shop and Christmas day it seems may be the last time you will see those doors open. It's unlikely that you will find sulaimani chai and the restaurant's specialty bheja fry, on this stretch anymore. The reasonable prices and the timings (open until 12 am) were the big draws to this restaurant on one of Bangalore's most expensive shopping areas.

 Killed: Eight UN health workers have been killed so far in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province by unidentified gunmen; The UN is conducting an antipolio drive in Pakistan  Seized: Pirates seize five Indian sailors including the captain of a German oil tanker off Nigeria's coast  Elected: Park Geun-Hye, daughter of South Korea's longest-ruling ex-dictator has been elected president  Actor dies: Telugu actor Yasho Sagar and his friend died when their car crashed into a bridge near Tumkur on their way to Bangalore  Raids: The Karnataka Lokayukta raids 25 premises belonging to eight government employees, including a head constable attached to the watchdog, and recovers Rs 7.5 crore property

Brigade Road loses its Kohinoor

One of the attractions of the 5th Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFES), which is on from December 20 27 December 2012, is the screening of a film a day at Freedom Park. The screenings, which will be held in the evenings, will begin with late Kannada star Rajkumar's Bangarada Manushya, released 40 years ago. It has been specifically chosen for the impact it has had on moviegoers. Karnataka Chalachitra Academy chairperson and BIFFES Committee president Tharanooradha has said the screening is open to the general public, and will not require prior registration or delegate passes. "It will be like a drive-in/amphitheatre experience. This concept is increasingly popular at film festivals," he said. The public also have the option of choosing the films to be screened at the open venue each day from a shortlist of 20 films that is up on the BIFFES website:

Having been around for nearly 57 years, Kohinoor had found its patrons in three generations. Patrons from all walks of life politicians, actors and others are visiting the restaurant to have one last meal here. The menu has remained the same for years now. "Our menu has remained the same over the years, only the prices got revised," says K Hassan, the restaurant's cashier who has worked here for 27 years. The shutdown came following a High Court order in April, which approved the hiking of rental

charges for the space. "We can't afford the proposed rent," says Mohammed MK, an employee at the restaurant for over 25 years. He also complains of declining crowds in the restaurant and most shops on Brigade Road owing to the several malls that have opened in town. Though they are scouting for locations, the owners have not come up with a concrete future plan yet.

talk|27 dec 2012|


Forward Faiyaz Khan

 Under watch: The Delhi and central governments, and the Delhi police, are under watch over the health condition of the girl raped in Delhi on Sunday, protests may intensify if her condition deteriorates.

Chai & Pakoda with the Bikernis Bikerni is the first and the largest all women's motorcycle association of India, and also the Indian wing of the Women's International Motorcycling Association (WIMA). As a curtain-raiser for the India Bike Week which will be held in Goa in February 2013, they are organising 'Chai & Pakoda Breakfast Run' in Bangalore on 23rd December. Held in association with the Bangalore RD 350 club and the Bangalore Pandhis, the group ride at the Nelamangala toll gate on Tumkur Road, and go all the way to the Devarayana Durga Hills and back. They are expecting bikers from about 12 clubs to participate, including members of their Bangalore and Mysore chapters. Bikernis were formed by a group of likeminded women interested in touring, stunting and racing on geared motorcycles, some of whom also use bikes for their daily commute. Their group’s objective is to promote female motorcyclists in India and provide them a platform to connect with other female biking enthusiasts and improve their riding skills.

 Cong crisis: Congress will be in a huddle over the defeat in Gujarat to BJP, to analyse reasons for defeat  Quota bill: The Parliament is set to pass the Bill providing for reservations in promotions for the weaker sections. BSP is spearheading the campaign

Solidarity concert for Faiyaz Khan Ustad Faiyaz Khan, the well-known sarangi player who lives in Bangalore, was recently driving his car near his hometown of Dharwad when he met with an accident. He sustained serious injuries, while his wife and her sister lost their lives. Now, Ananya and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan have come together to organise a concert in support of the much loved musician. Faiyaz Khan has sung several tracks for films and television serials, and connoisseurs look forward to his vocal concerts, where he sings khayal, thumri and ghazal, and sometimes the Kannada compositions of

Purandaradasa. As a sarangi player, he is the only one south of the Vindhyas giving full-length concerts. He has also recorded for several film music directors, including AR Rahman and Hamsalekha. The solidarity concert features Pandit Rajeev Taranath on the sarod and Pandit Ravindra Yavagal on the tabla. The organisers request all music lovers to attend the support to show solidarity with music and musicians in their hour of need. When: 6 pm, Friday, December 21. Where: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Race Course Road

A moral draftsman That's how the late Christopher Hitchens, the famous writer, once described Joe Sacco. The man many regard to be the pre-eminent journalistic graphic artist, Sacco is a pioneer of sorts, having inspired a whole generation of young cartoonists to take up the art of reportage through the visual medium. Best-known for works like Notes from a Defeatist and Palestine, which tackles the political and moral questions surrounding that Israeli-Palestine conflict head on, Sacco's works are carefully observed and painstakingly detailed. Journalism is an anthology of short graphic pieces Sacco created for

The week ahead

different publications country, Malta, and other between 1998-2011, cases. Sacco excels in and includes a presenting the anecdotal startling account of richness of an event or a caste, destitution and situation, which no matter how violence in India, insightful, usually gets left out based on his visit to in the grind of daily reportage. the untouchable What adds to the narrative is community of Sacco's own presence in his Musahars in eastern stories as a bespectacled, Publisher: Random Uttar Pradesh. The somewhat earnest-looking House India book also captures the reporter, who might very well Price: Rs 499 disaster that is presentbe a stand-in for the common day Iraq, the plight of man. Above all, a must read women in refugee camps in Chechnya, for those who doubt the comic form's illegal African immigrants in his birthability to tackle serious issues.

 Replacement: The US is set to appoint a new diplomatic security chief after present chief Eric Boswell resigns in the wake of condemnation for the killing of US officials in Libya  Pressure: The UN is stepping up pressure on Israel over its settlement building on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. All Security Council members except the US are set to demand an immediate halt to new construction  Satellite: A powerful new Skynet telecommunications satellite for the UK military has been put into orbit, which will enable British forces to stay connected over most of the globe  Purchase: Private equity giant Blackstone is making moves to buy Bangalore's Vrindavan Tech village costing between Rs 800-900 crore, the park is located on the outer ring road close to Sarjapur main road  Cricket: Cricket fans can look forward to the T20 and one-day matches with England, with India hoping to make up for the defeat in the test series  Raids: More Lokayukta raids on officials are in the offing in Bangalore and other regions of Karnataka with the income-tax department passing on a list of names to the anti-corruption body


talk|27 dec 2012|


christmas specials December end 9740025477  Exquisite christmas: Savour a spread of cakes, martinis, wines, cooked turkey, cranberry caviar and grape juice with parmesan bread custard and more. You can also enjoy carols and some lively music. The Tower Kitchen, 16th Floor, UB City, December 23 to 25 7760888899

 Feast in style: Enjoy a three-course meal that includes salads, starters and desserts. Taste dishes like salata horiatiki, chilly and elephant garlic tiger prawns, Norwegian salmon steak, slow roasted maple glazed turkey roulade, red velvet cake and more. The meal is priced at Rs 1,200. Le Cristaal, 36, Vittal Mallya Road, December 24 and 25 41482747  Festive meal: This Christmas, have a day out and enjoy a five course meal consisting of tomato vegetable broth, crostini, vegetable arronchini, lamb shank risotto or


spare ribs with parmesan mash and smoky red wine, slow cooked turkey with cranberry and parmesan bread pudding and more. Under the Mango Tree, # 3, Laurel Lane, Richmond Town, December 22 to 26 9448113377  Dance under the snow: This Christmas put on your dancing shoes and shake a leg with some real snow. With DJ Clement behind the console churning some Christmas flavoured and groovy numbers, you are sure to enjoy the night with your friends or someone special.

Skyye, Uber Level, 16th Floor, Canberra Block, UB City, December 24, 7.30 pm onwards 9900343204  Sweet somethings: Chocolates make a perfect gift for all occasions. This Christmas gift an X’mas basket comprising of wine, chocolates, plum cake, Christmas cookies, brownies and more. The baskets are priced from Rs 999 to 1,499. Divina, No 722/22, 36th cross, 10th A Main, Jayanagar 4th block, till

salted almond butter crunch, Mexican citrus and vanilla sweet bread, macaron flavoured apple pie, cranberry, rum and raisin and more. Olive Beach, #16, Wood Street, Ashok Nagar, till December 25 9945565483  Go crazy with cupcakes :

Have the cupcakes that are on offer or get your own custom made cupcakes this season. Choose from 18 varieties such as tiramisu, mocha, lady in red and more. Also pick Christmas hampers priced at Rs 2,000. The Cupcake Company, 298, 100 ft road, Indiranagar 8197447699

 Have a peaceful Christmas: Far from the maddening crowd of the city, you can relax and enjoy Christmas at the Kenilworth Resort and Spa, Goa. While on his trip you can experience and taste the christmas cake, a bottle of Feni, chocolates, a basket full of fruits and cashew nuts in your room on your arrival. Packages start at Rs 48, 000 per couple and Rs 18,000 for the third adult. For children between six to 12 years it would cost Rs 7,000. Kenilworth Resort and Spa, Utorda, Salcete, Goa, December 23 to 28 0832-6698888  Shop for Christmas: This Christmas go crazy while you shop for English toffee and chocolate bread, nutella Danish truffles,

theatre & conversation

food Mad Orange Fireworks

Ramachandra Guha Sankey Road , Palace Orchards, December 21, 9 pm 23442580

 Tamil blues: Watch Sean Roldan and friends perform live this weekend. Sean Roldan is a professional Carnatic musician and has an affinity for blues and country music. His music is an amalgamation of Indian folk, American country blues, acoustic funk and classical melody. The band's lyrics are in Tamil. bFlat, 100 ft Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, December 21, 8.30 pm 41739250  Double the fun: Watch Ananth Menon and Vasudev Prabhu of

By2Blues perform this weekend. By2Blues is a Bangalore-based band and is influenced by R&B, country blues, soul, bluesrock, gospel, funk and Rock n Roll. Counter Culture, 2D2, 4th Cross Dyavasandra Industrial Area , Whitefield, December 21, 8.30 pm 41400794  Get jazzy this weekend: Get your dose of jazz as Merlin, Rhys and Vivienne will perform this weekend. The three are well known musicians and have performed in the city earlier.

Expect some jazz, soul and funk. Opus, 4, 1st Main, Chakravarthy Layout Palace Cross Road,

 Fireworks with music: Known for their versions of the Beatles, Police, Michael Jackson and more, Mad Orange Fireworks is all set to rock your weekend. Their music is on the lines of jazz, funk, rock and pop. Watch Michael Dias on vocals and guitars, Kaushik Kumar on bass and vocals, Shravan Bendapudi on drums, percussion and vocals and Ramanan Chandramouli on guitars. Hard Rock Café, 40, St Marks Road, December 27, 8 pm 41242222

Sean Roldan and friends

 Kailasam Keechaka: The play as the name suggests is about Keechaka. Unlike his character in Mahabharata, here his character is based on love and not on lust. He wanted to marry Draupadi and had even participated in her Swayamvar. He was told that Draupadi too liked him but he didn't fare well in the swayamvar. To overcome his heart break he would go for conquests. His love for Draupadi never faltered.

Keechaka saw his Draupadi in Sairandhir, whom he eventually married. The Keechaka in Mahabharata gets killed for his lust for Draupadi, but this Keechaka gets killed for his love for Draupadi. Ranga Shankara, #36/2, 8th Cross, 2nd phase, JP Nagar, December 21, 7.30 pm 26592777  Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi: The play is about a Gujarati family. The mother who is very

social and is actively involved in social activities prides on being a Gujarati. She resents when somebody from the Gujarati community marries someone from another community. She wants her three sons to marry Gujarati girls. The sons however fall in love with girls from outside the community and this is when all the trouble begins at home. The father tries to make peace between the mother and the sons. The play is in Gujarati and is directed by Kiran Bhatt. Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, 16th Cross, Malleshwaram, December 23, 2.45 pm and 6.30 pm 23445810  Duo in conversation: Join Ramachandra Guha and Suresh Menon this weekend as they come together for an evening of Questions and Answers. Guha will be seen talking about his latest book Patriots and Partisans. Jagriti, Varthur Road, Ramagondanahalli, Whitefield, December 22, 6.30 pm 41248298

L I S T I NGS retail therapy

talk|27 dec 2012|


 Look like a million bucks: Dazzle this festive season in fashionable jewellery like cocktail rings, hair accessories, necklaces and clutches. Choose from diamond studded or pearl embellished jewellery. The collection is priced at Rs 299. Available at all toniQ outlets

could make the kebabs that you just ate? Then this is where you should be heading. Learn to cook authentic tandoori kebabs like Afghani chicken kebabs, haryali murgh, tandoori chicken, fish tikka and more. Learn to cook them three ways; on charcoal grill, tava and oven. No 7, 4th A cross HRBR, Flat no 301, 2nd block,SIMS legeacy, Kamanahalli, December 22 9980850451

 For your feet: Comfortable for your feet and stylish at the same time, Vans introduce its latest Hello Kitty footwear. The shoes are available in various prints and colours and are priced at Rs 2,799 and above. At Vans outlets in Forum Mall, Kormangala and Phoenix Market City, Whitefield  Perfect cocktail dress: Keeping in mind the festive season, Ritu Kumar has launched its latest in Cocktail designs. The collection boasts of vibrant colours, geometric prints, sequined designs and cuts. Choose tunics in different colours like red, green, coral, white and black. Ritu Kumar, #8, Pappana Street, off St Mark's Road and #33, Sundari Armadale, Whitefield 41120278  Add a little bling: Manish Arora and Amrapali come together with a range of necklaces, earrings, rings bangles, bracelets and more. The comprise of pastel colours and designs are taken from the Amrapali archives. Evoluzione, 14, Embassy Classic, Vittal Mallaya Road 41121088

 Celebrate the South Indies way: This festive season choose from an array of starters and main course comprising of dosas, appams, a banana dosa flambé and desserts. Lunch and dinner are priced at Rs 500 inclusive of taxes. SouthIndies, 840/A , 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar and 4th Floor Chevron Hotel, Infantry Road, December 24 and 25 41636362  Idly with a twist: Bored of eating the same simple idly. Try Idliano, which is made of idly base, topped with

chopped capsicum and has grated mozzarella cheese topped with some spicy gun powder. To finish things off this dish is served with chutneys. Café Idly, 38, Kenchappa Road Cross, Frazer Town 9845938663  Breakfast in style: Do you like sunny side up or a classic omelette? Then head to Toscano and have a hearty breakfast of classic poached egg, fried eggs, ham and cheese omelette, chive and parsley or scrambled eggs. The eggs are served with grilled

tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, potatoes, bacon, grilled chicken sausages and toasts. Toscano, Forum Value Mall, Whitefield

 Biryani feast: Non-vegetarians can feast Kolkata shrimp biryani, Nellore fish biryani, mutton biryani, Hyderabadi chicken

biryani, Chettinad chicken biryani and more whereas vegetarians can choose from tomato biryani, vegetable biryani, haryali biryani, Chettinad mix vegetable biryani, corn and paneer biryani and more. Priced at Rs 349 per person. Embers, #52, 5th Cross, 6th Block 60 Feet Road, Koramangala, till December 23 9901985643

To get your event listed, write to us at

 Have some kebabs: This weekend have some shawarma and kebabs along with chaats and fresh fruits. You can choose from over 30 desserts and enjoy some music while you eat. Priced at Rs 1000 including tax. Limelight, Airport Road, December 23 41783000  Workshop on kebabs: Ever wish that you


doomsday party Dabangg 2 immortal heroes now must join force to protect the world from Pitch. Directed by Peter Ramsey the cast includes Jude Law and voice over has been done by Isla Fisher, Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo. Fun Cinemas, Cunningham Road- 4.20 pm INOX, JP Nagar, Central- 4 pm INOX, Malleshwaram- 12.55 pm, 7.10

 Dabangg 2 Hindi Chulbul Pandey is back and this time he promises us loads of entertainment. The sequel to Dabangg is already in news for the latest item song, Fevicol Se. The song features Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan and is already a hit among the masses. Other reasons for it being in the news is that this film is speculated to propel Salman Khan in the 200 crore club. Directed by Arbaaz Khan, it stars Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Arbaaz Khan and Prakash Raj in the lead roles. Urvashi Digital 4K Cinemas11 am, 2.30 pm, 6, 9.45 Fun


Cinemas, Cunningham Road10 am, 11.10, 12.25, 2.15, 3.25, 5.20, 6.25, 8.25,9.25, 10 Q Cinemas, Whitefield- 10 am, 11, 12.30 pm, 1.30, 3, 4, 5.30, 6.30, 9, 10 Fame Lido, off MG Road- 10am, 10.30, 1.15 pm, 3.05, 4, 5.45, 6.45, 8.25, 9.30 INOX, Jayanagar, Garuda Swagath Mall- 10.25 am, 1.10 pm, 3.10, 3.55, 6.40, 8.30, 9.25 Gopalan Cinemas, Banerghatta Road- 10 am, 12.20 pm, 2.45, 5.10, 7.35, 10 Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli- 10 am, 12.20 pm, 2.40, 5, 7.30, 10 Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 10 am, 12.45 pm, 3.30, 6.15, 9 CineMAX, Central Mall, Bellandur- 11 am, 1.45 pm, 4.30, 7.15, 10 CineMAX,

Total Mall- 11 am, 1.45 pm, 4.30, 7.15, 10 Gopalan Grand Mall, Old Madras Road- 10 am, 12.45 pm, 3.30, 6.30, 9.30 Nandhini Theatre, Rajajinagar- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30, 10 Rex Theatre- 10.10 am, 2.45 pm, 5.10, 7.35, 10 Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli- 10 am, 12.30 pm, 3, 6.45, 9.15 Mukunda Theatre- 7.15 pm, 9.30  Rise of the Guardians English This animated film is about a group of super heroes, with extra powers and abilities. Their troubles increase when an evil spirit, Pitch decides to take on the world. The

 Yaare Koogadali Kannada This comedy film is written and directed by Samuthirakani. The film is a remake of Samuthirakani's Poraali. The title is taken from a old song Yaare koogadali oore horadali from the film Sampathige Savaal which featured Rajkumar, father of Puneeth Rajkumar who has a lead role in this film. The film also stars Yogesh and Bhavana in the lead role. Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli Cross- 10.30 am, 1.15 pm, 4, 5.45, 8.30 Navrang Theatre, Rajajinagar- 10 am, 1 pm, 4, 7 INOX, Jayanagar, Garuda Swagath Mall-

Yaare Koogadali

12.25 pm, 5.45 Santosh10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Navarang- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30pm Prasanna- 10.30am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Uma- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30  Bengaluru International Film Festival In its fifth edition now, the Bengaluru International Film Festival is back this year and promises loads of entertainment for movie lovers. There will be ten categories this year that include Cinema of the world, Asian cinema, Indian cinema, Kannada cinema, country focus, anti war films and more. Till December 27 for more details log on to www.

 Doomsday Party: Worried the world may come to an end? Shirk of the worries and head to the hottest End of the World party in town. A three-day long affair, this one is a festival for Bangalore DJs. Watch 72 city DJs come together on two stages over three days for commercial, hi-hop, techno and trance music. EDM fans can expect a crazy festival with foot-tapping music that will last them three long days. If this is what doomsday could look like, the music lover certainly must not be afraid. Pebble, Princess Academy, Sadashivnagar, December 21, 22 and 23, 12 pm onwards 23517171

martial arts

talk|27 dec 2012|



Man or woman, live free

onflicts arise occasionally among the many roles we play. One that grabbed attention recently was the inability of some NRI investment honchos to separate the professional from the personal. Here, in India, many men are torn between the roles of the husband and the son. And among women, differences with mothers-in-law are the stuff of endless soap operas. Professional vs personal: When you join a company, build trust not just with your employer, but also with yourself, and for your internal growth. Keep professional information confined to the workplace. Sharing confidential information is clearly wrong. However, to use confidential information to avert disaster or help the weak is different. Say a company is issuing 10,000 shares, and you have the discretion to allot 1,000 to people of your choice. Use the power to help the poor and the deserving. You need to be truly selfless, like the saint


Way of Budo 13 Sensei Avinash Subramanyam on how to deal with the conflicts that arise when we try to balance multiple roles

who proclaimed God’s secret of joy to the whole world, to share secrets. Till you reach that state, be careful. Also, distinguish between secrets - you might be able to talk about an Armani dress your friend bought, but not about the tattoo around her navel. As long as you stand by trust, nothing will go wrong, but once trust is broken, many things can go wrong. Is the line between professional and personal spaces particularly blurred for us Indians? Many among us are okay with bending rules. We use privileged information to make billionaires of our friends, and bask in dubious glory. Like a warrior, understand your responsibility at every step. Son and husband: A son should essentially be a friend to his parents. Unquestioned obedience is not warranted because parents are not perfect all the time: they are human and can go wrong. This does not mean you should be rude or disrespectful. Do everything you can for your

parents, for who else will? As a friend you can forgive and love better. Only then will the relationship grow. Otherwise a generation gap will exist. On the other side, a father should nurture his son like a tiger nurtures its cub. Teach him to fight and tell him to ‘go live’. Possessiveness leads to wrong decisions. In marriage, live a life of non-stop courtship. Marriage should not be a compromise. If your wife does not want to cook, she shouldn’t. Treat your wife with the courtesy of a neighbour, the craziness of a lover, and the trust of a friend. A marriage should allow individuals to be who they are. This is not a licence to have multiple affairs, but to give each other complete space. Live like soldiers in war who live only for the day, not a lifetime. Recognise that we change every day and that the other might not understand the new person. We look for stability and structure. Often, men who are subservient to their mothers grow up mentally weak. Subsequently,



5 3



Place feet shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Back straight. Body relaxed

the wife replaces the mother. Listen to nature and the universe. Whether man or woman, live free. Saas-bahu: Each individual possesses a core set of traits- creative, kind, dominant, abusive, lustful. Married women, frustrated because they are not allowed to realise themselves-creatively or sexually—often project their frustration on to their daughters-inlaw. But note: this is not exclusive to the saas-bahu relationship. It is true of other relationships as well. Also, not all saas-bahu relationships are conflict-ridden, are they? It is important for a woman to overcome any lack within herself and the constraints of society. Training in the budo path helps combat the lack within. Kendo (way of the sword) teaches you to stab and bleed out the negative energy that engulfs your body, mind, spirit and soul. True training helps you battle with yourself and not with the world. Once you have conquered yourself, you have conquered the world!

2 - 5: Beginning with left leg, circle the left knee from inside to outside. Simultaneously ,circle the hands. Let the left hand be forward when you begin circling the hands. Circle the knees to stretch and relax the loin region. Circle hands to stretch and relax the shoulder muscles. Synchronise the circling of hands and legs


Complete the circle and return to starting posture. Maintaining continuity, commence now on the right side. Circle the right knee and hands. Ensure right hand is forward this time. Complete the circle similar as above Repeat the entire technique (left and right) 12 times

jingle bells

talk|27 dec 2012|



RUMMY FEELING Christmas shoppers at All Saints bakery on Brigade Road

What's Christmas without cake?

Sandra Fernandes gives you the lowdown on fruitcakes on offer at four popular city stores —reviewed for softness, flavour, richness of fruits and nuts and price

A cakewalk around town Thom's Bakery We start at Thom's, located on Wheeler Road, Frazer Town. At 11 in the morning, Thom's is buzzing with activity. We had to find a place to stand, let alone appreciate the wonderful display of cakes. Here's what we found on sampling their traditional fruitcake. Softness: The cake was soft but was extremely dry and lacked moisture. Flavour: In spite of the dryness, the flavours were spot on and didn't

All Saints Bakery Located near Vellara Junction, Brigade Road, All Saints is one of the oldest bakeries in the city and greets you with a whiff of freshly baked goodies the moment you step into the store. Softness: The cake was soft and moist and didn't leave us feeling dry Flavour: On taking the first bite, the cake gave out a strong flavour of rum (a must for any Christmas fruit cake). We give it a thumbs up. Fruit & nut content: The cake had raisins and cashew but had very little tutti fruti. Though, we could not get the taste of any other fruits, we liked the flavour of the rum. Price: The cake is priced at Rs 370 for 1 kg and Rs 175 for ½ kg. Fruit cake with frosting will cost you Rs 380.

disappoint. Fruit & nut content: Rich in raisins, cashew and tutti frutti, this is where the cake scored Price: Rs 175 for ½ kg and Rs 350 for 1 kg. Cake with icing will cost you Rs 350 for 1 kg and Rs 175 for ½ kg. Verdict: The dryness factor means you should think twice before you buy this one. The cakes here are available in round and rectangular shapes and a 200 gms version is also available. Verdict: The rich plum cake at All Saints tastes better than those you'd find at most small bakeries. Pick it if you are not baking this season. The cakes are available in rectangular and round shapes.

Fatima Bakery

other flavours should go for this one. There was also a whiff of rum, we loved A little ahead of All Saints, near Johnson Market is Fatima bakery, which too boasts that. Fruit & nut content: This came as a of its rich fruit cake. The place is packed surprise; we tasted raisins, cashew, ginger with buyers who are busy buying raw and almonds. There were an equal materials for Christmas goodies. proportion of the fruits, which we liked. Softness: We expected the cake to be soft, but this one turned out to otherwise. Price: The cake is priced at Rs 360 for 1 kg and Rs 180 for ½ kg. Fruit cake with The cake was also a little sticky. frosting costs Rs 380. Flavour: There was a strong flavour of Verdict: Buy only if you are a cinnamon cinnamon in the cake which didn't really fan. The cake is rectangular in shape and work for us. But those of you who love a 200 gms version is also available. cinnamon, and don't mind it taking over

Koshy's As one of the oldest names in the business that a true-blue Bangalorean can reckon with, Koshy's was a natural choice in this list. The place had only fruit cakes, and didn't have cakes with icing that the others offered.

Softness: Soft and moist, it didn't crumble like the other cakes. Flavour: We were in cake heaven after taking the first bite of this one. The flavour of rum was perfect and so was the composition of the entire cake. Naturally, we reached out for a second piece as soon as the first one was over. We had found a winner. Fruit & nut content: The cake was loaded with raisins (which we loved), but there was less cashew, tutti fruti and almond. Price: The cakes are priced at Rs 200 for ½ kg and Rs 400 for 1 kg. Verdict: Take it for family members or gift it, for this cake proved to be the winner in the race. With the right amount of moisture and rummy flavor, this was the best we tasted this Christmas so far. It also had a small tag on top that said, 'Wish you a merry Christmas'. Thoughtful, we felt.


Vajpayee and a judge's prophecy


The would-be prime minister stands accused at a Bangalore court during the dark days of the Emergency

case I won for the workers of Moti Mahal Lodge and Island Bar, after coming away from my guru Devadas’s office, made news among the city’s trade unions. Despite hotel owners engaging Devadas, I had won, and that animated the talk. Many trade unions continued to consult me even after I went back to Devadas’s office. One day, Alampalli Venkataram came to meet me. He had made a name as leader of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. A plump bachelor, Alampalli worked from an office opposite Movieland cinema in Majestic, and was known as a selfless activist of the RSS. I felt honoured he had come to me when I was still a junior lawyer. He took me to a hotel to discuss a case, and asked me to book a private complaint against the managing director of Janatha Bazar in Gandhi Nagar. The MD had insulted a Muslim woman employee, and sacked her. I was surprised that a sangh parivar man had taken up the cause of a Muslim woman. Whatever his ideology, I thought, he might have his reasons. However, without revealing my surprise to him, I took notes. I registered a case against the MD, accusing him of misbehaving with the woman. The court admitted the


case, and issued a warrant against him. He obtained bail. We soon came to know that he had gone on a foreign tour at the expense of Janatha Bazar. This was a violation of the bail conditions, which said he shouldn’t leave the country. One day, he came to me and offered me Rs 25,000, pleading with me to weaken the case. “How dare you? I will complain against you if you don’t vanish this moment,” I shouted. He fled. When I told him what had happened, Alampalli was happy. In the presence of his colleagues, he praised my loyalty to my clients. The MD finally gave in to Alampalli. He not only apologised to the woman, but also took her back. Before this case came up, Janatha Bazar had laid off about 40 women labourers, and they had got together under Alampalli’s leadership. Luck smiled even on them, and the MD reinstated all of them. Alampalli paid me Rs 10,000, and that was the highest fee I had received in my career till then. I was thrilled that I had earned both money and the admiration of my client. I also had the satisfaction that I had rejected the allurement of the MD. Because of this case, Alampalli and I became close. Around that time, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed the

crime folio

talk|27 dec 2012|


Fabled ranconteur and Bangalore’s top-notch criminal lawyer brings you moving, sensational and bizarre stories from 40 years of his practice


Emergency. Lawyers were debating the curbing of civilian rights. Devadas started abusing Indira Gandhi. Some lawyers supported the Emergency. They argued it was only affecting the blackmarketers and the rich, and not farmers and labourers.

memoir The Emergency would control the misuse of constitutional provisions, they said. I was convinced. I did not support the stand taken by my senior, who used to say of Indira Gandhi, “She snatches away our rights by luring people with food.” Three lawyers—Rama Jois, Swethadri, and S Krishnaiah—were arrested just two weeks after the Emergency was declared. There was a strange silence among lawyers. Those who had been vocal against the Emergency wouldn’t come forward to fight for the arrested lawyers. A government order said lawyers taking up such cases would also be arrested. I was disappointed and concluded we were a democracy just in talk. It was undemocratic to deny an accused the chance to prove his innocence. One morning, soon after this, I read about the arrest of Alampalli. I was shocked and angry. “I don’t care if they arrest me. I will take up Alampalli’s case,” I told my senior. “Yours is just youthful enthusiasm. You lack experience. Just do what I say,” said Devadas, in a serious tone. I had just re-joined his office, and didn’t want to clash with him. But, even to this day, I am unhappy that I could not fight for Alampalli. Indira Gandhi was defeated in the

talk|27 dec 2012|

subsequent elections. The ballot box made and his other clients. “No young lawyer is keen on brave men of many cowards, and they defeated her. That is the charm of democ- Emergency cases as you are. Tomorrow, Vajpayee, Advani, and George Fernandes racy, I told myself. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, will be cross-examined. You can go watch George Fernandes, and other national the proceedings. You will gain knowledge,” leaders had been locked up at the he told me. When I reached the High Court the Bangalore Central Jail (It was subsequently demolished. The site houses Freedom Park next day, the trial began before a constitunow). State leaders Ramakrishna Hegde, tion bench headed by Chief Justice GK Govinda Bhat. UL HD Deve Gowda and Narayana Rao appeared PGR Sindia were also ‘Vajpayee, Advani for the central governbehind bars. ment, and RN Byra When no one came and George Reddy argued for the forward, an elderly Fernandes will be state. lawyer called Krishna cross-examined. Justice Bhat was not Iyengar, nicknamed You can go see,’ happy with the casual Writ Iyengar, filed a way in which Narayana petition for Rama Jois Iyengar told me Rao was presenting his and others. Many arguments. When he ridiculed him, saying he was old and not scared of death and that started saying, “One Mr Vajpayee, one Mr was why he could take the risk. I could not Advani…” the Chief Justice intervened, sayaccept their justification. Many elderly ing, “Don’t address them so lightly. They lawyers were active at the courts, but none have the stature to become prime minishad dared appear for the jailed political ters of the country. The trial should not be derogatory and turn into punishment.” leaders. Writ Iyengar had done what younger Narayana Rao was taken aback. Even Justice Bhat had no clue his people like me could not do. My respect for him grew, and I tried to assuage my feel- words would come true 26 years later. ings of guilt by asking him after Alampalli When Vajpayee took oath as the prime


minister, I was reminded of the courtroom drama of 1976. Byra Reddy spoke arrogantly. “The State has the powers to take away the lives of citizens during the Emergency. But we have just detained these persons without harming them. They are lucky,” he said in a loud voice. This made headlines the next day. Ramakrishna Hegde was on trial another day. The courtroom was packed. As he came out, an admirer offered him a pack of cigarettes. Hegde stretched his hand out for it fondly. A police officer said, “If you smoke in jail, your health will be ruined.” Hegde replied, “The Emergency has given me the strength to digest all such problems.” Onlookers applauded him. Alampalli came out of jail. He looked slim and fit. “Your flab is gone?” I exclaimed. “Courtesy Indira Gandhi. If she had not kept us in jail, we would have been unhealthy and lived shorter lives. Now I have become healthy, thanks to timely food, yoga, and pranayama. Just as she gave me good health, she has given political life to many. Many worthless people had been arrested, and they are all big leaders now. They must be grateful to her,” he said, laughing.


talk|27 dec 2012|


talk the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

How do advertisers talk to Bangalore’s most intelligent readers? They call these numbers Abhay 95388 92618 Mithun 88844 11720

T I M E P A SS 1st Cross

14 The Congress feels the Governor should recommend ____ rule in the state (10) 17 Hooligans recently set fire to a mini van carrying fish worth Rs 12 lakhs in this market (7) 18 A Lokayukta court has ordered a probe into new ____ contracts (7) 19 Theme park which was recently ordered to compensate an accident victim Rs 50,000 (3,5)


DOWN BJP was forced to withdraw a prevention of ___ slaughter bill on account of a technical error (3) ____ Theatre: Multiplex near KR Puram Railway Station (11)



Last week’s solution



Across Magadi chieftain who founded Bangalore (5,5) The State Wildlife Board intends to insure ____ in the forest department (8) Karnataka tourist destination known for it's sculptures and red sandstone cliffs (6)


Talk’s weekly crossword for Bangaloreans who know their way about town



talk|27 dec 2012|


The number of bills the Government passed on the last day of the recently concluded State Legislature session (8) 12 _____ Saldanha: Nurse having Manglorean origins recently in the news for taking a hoax call in the hospital treating Kate Middleton (8)

Across: 1 Kumarakom, 5 Pooja Gandhi, 6 Beer, 7 Basavanagudi, 10 Cubbon Park, 13 Twenty, 14 Swar Thounaojam, 15 Dogs, 16 Sankey, 17 Haveri. Down: 1 Kumaraswamy, 2 Mandya, 3 Sophia, 4 KDA, 6 Bruhat, 8 Belgaum, 9 Temet Nosce, 11 UB City, 12 Navrang.

7 8

9 10 13


___ Sen is the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court (10) The government intends to raise the height of this dam (7) Popular restaurant on Brigade road which will shut down on December 24th (8) Road home to The Gateway Hotel (9) The Government recently passed a bill to regularise their homes (5,4) Bangalore has seen an alarming number of ___ cases in recent weeks (7) A manager of this supermarket was arrested for blackmailing a 17 year old salesgirl (6) School which was in the news recently when a teacher smashed a nine year boy's face in the ground (2,5)

Prof Good Sense  I don't know how to keep a check on my girlfriend’s extravagant spending. She wants me to pay for everything. My resources are finite and I have other commitments. I have begun to feel the pinch. Is this normal during courtship or am I over-reacting? Rajan, RR Nagar

If you are feeling the pinch, how can it be normal? Your friend is self-centred. Even if she is financially independent, splurging your money without guilt is not a healthy sign. This stems either from what she believes is cleverness, or a sense of insecurity. If she is willing, take her to a good counsellor, because she is now unmindful of the hardship she is causing. If you like this girl, be prepared to share your concerns. And tighten your purse strings in your interest. Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to

talk|27 dec 2012|

Christmas... hic... cake!

Mediocre But Arrogant Folks, what you’ve always suspected about MBAs, has now been confirmed by research. A study has found that less than 10 per cent of MBA graduates churned out by India’s B-schools are actually employable. The study, conducted by Gurgaon-based talent management firm Aspiring Minds, covered 32,000 MBA graduates from 220 business schools in the country. The researchers conducted an ‘employability test’—quizzing graduates on topics from grammar to quantitative analysis—which revealed that few had the skills recruiters typically look for. More than half of those tested were found clueless about key terms and concepts in their areas of specialisation. For instance, a third


of finance majors didn’t know what IPO—short for initial public offering— stood for. A third of all students tested lacked basic English grammar skills, and so on (you get the picture). This may not surprise others, but the corporate world, which consists mostly of MBAs themselves, is in shock, apparently.

Twit alert If you’re a Twitter user who finds that the 140-character limit gets in the way of your eloquence, you can try something called Twitlonger, which allows you to, well, do just that. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose, you ask? Well, given that even the Twitter limit has not been able to stop

celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan from making superboring tweets (sample this: @SrBachchan: We have paid scant respect to documentation of creative artists of the land. Their contribution, worth a lifetime of learning !!), we don’t see how much more harm an extended tweet can do.

Tradition being tradition, we leave you with a somewhat unusual Christmas cake recipe that came to us via Facebook. Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter, 1 cup of water, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup of brown sugar, lemon juice, 4 large eggs, nuts, 2 cups of dried fruit, and most importantly, one large bottle of rum. Method: Sample the rum to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the rum again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the rum is still OK. Try another cup... Just in case. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break two eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the flamin’ fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the rum to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the rum. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the rum and wipe counter with the cat. Bingle jells!


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