Issuu on Google+

IVE S U L EXC

Volume 1, Issue 1, August 16, 2012 Rs10

talk the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

OUTING: Lemon rice with Sriramulu 5 FILMS: Dandupalya dissected, and stalkers as heroes 10 & 28 BIZ: Why e-commerce loves Bangalore 12 FOOD: Must-visit nooks for all night Iftar delights 31

So you thought scientists had discovered the Higgs boson? Just hear what CERN chief Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Prashanth G N Page 20

GOD!

IS THIS THE PARTICLE?


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

A river a people a nation

India

mentioned in Greek writer Megasthenes’s book Indica, which historians estimate to have been written between SAVIE KARNEL 350-290 BCE. The book is based on his experiences housands of years ago, during his visit to the court much before the time of Chandragupta Maurya in (modern-day of the Mughals, Pataliputra Persian explorers came to Patna), as ambassador of India. After they crossed Seleucus I of Syria. Indos became ‘India’ in Khyber Pass and came towards the East, they Latin. One of the earliest reached what the locals uses of the name India called ‘Sapta Sindhu’, the appears in the 2nd Century, land of seven rivers. The in the work of satirist Lucian Persians pronounced it as of Samosata, one of the earli‘Hapta Hindu’. It is from here est Western novelists. The that the evolution of the word then entered Old English. We find it used in word ‘India’ began. Coming back to Sapta the English king Alfred’s Sindhu, the phrase stood for translation of Orosius’s the Indus River System with Histories against the Pagans, its seven tributaries. In which was translated from Sanskrit, Sapta is seven and Latin to Old English around Sindhu is river. When the the 9th Century. But the name India was Persians went back, they carried the word Hindu with soon forgotten. The French them. Hindu came to denote made India into ‘Ynde’ in the land and culture beyond around 13th Century. That the river Sindhu, which is name was in use until around the 16th Century, when it now popularly called came under Spanish or Indus. Portuguese influThe Greeks The Talk ence. After hunmade Hindu column on dreds of years, the into ‘Indos’. The word origins country was once name Indos is

T

team talk EDITORIAL S R Ramakrishna Editor Prashanth G N Senior Editor Sajai Jose Chief Copy Editor Savie Karnel Principal Correspondent Basu Megalkeri Principal Correspondent Bhanu Prakash E S Senior Reporter Prachi Sibal Senior Features Writer Sandra Fernandes and Maria Laveena Reporters and Copy Editors Anand Kumar K Chief of Design Sridhar G Kulkarni Graphic Designer Ramesh Hunsur Senior Photographer Vivek Arun Graphics Artist

EXECUTIVE TEAM 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 Kishore Kumar N Head - Circulation Vinayadathan K V Area Manager - Trade Praveen Prabhu Asst Manager - Subscriptions Mahesh Javvadi Asst Mgr - Corporate Sales Yadhu Kalyani Sr Executive - Corporate Sales Lokesh K N Sr Executive - Subscriptions Prabhavathi Executive - Circulation Syed Nizamuddin 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: info@talkmag.in Phone: 08049332100, 08040926658. © All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

K e Y

name ‘Bharata’. In again called India. fact, the first Article The name India W of the Constitution gained popularity not of India states only within the “India, that is Westerners, but was also accepted by natives. The Bharat, shall be a union of states.” Constitution gives it equal impor- This line made both India and Bharat tance as with the ancient Sanskrit the official names of the country.

O R D S

2


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

editor talk

founder talk

mail

When Sumith Kombra, our publisher, first mooted the idea of a news magazine for Bangalore, I told him it wasn’t such a great idea. With a dozen daily newspapers and half as many television channels covering every aspect of the city, each with a special metro section, there seemed little left for a weekly to do. But then, as we talked over some months, I was convinced of the need for a magazine such as the one you now hold in your hands. So why should you read Talk? For one, we will bring you stories that haven’t been told. Senior Editor Prashanth G N travelled to Ireland to listen to Rolf-Dieter Heuer who helmed the ‘God particle’ experiment. Prashanth shot a direct question at him, “Have you found the Higgs-boson?” and was astounded to find the physicist saying yes and then no. There was a big story here. You will read all about it on Pages 20-23. That’s just one example. As you flip through these pages, you will find a variety of stories on subjects as diverse as word origins, sociology, movies and sports. In fact, the Bangalorean’s horizons are wide. Our team is brimming with ideas about how we can tell our stories better. We hope to deliver stories that are a pleasure to read, stories worth your time. With honest, heartfelt writing, we will keep you intrigued, informed, and entertained. Talk will be serious, not boring, and lively, not frivolous. We trust you will enjoy our launch edition. S R Ramakrishna Editor, Talk ram@talkmag.in

It will win hearts Best wishes to your upcoming magazine Talk which I hope will become the talk of the town very soon. I went through the sample edition and found the contents, pictures and layout excellent. I am sure the magazine will win the hearts of Bangaloreans.

MK Vidyaranya, Jayanagar

More local news

Congrats, Talk is a good attempt. You should have more columns for local news and film reviews, apart from local sport reviews to showcase talents like Ashwini Ponnappa.

Ramanath KV, by email

Bangalore will love it

I have read Talk. You have done a great job. The article on monsoon was great, especially the quotes from various sources, including old texts. For a mag of this standard, jokes should be of the level of Reader's Digest. The article on CERN was informative. On an impartial note, it's a great beginning. Please keep up the good work.

Major Jojo Jacob, Vannarpet

These letters came in response to our sample edition. Tell us what you think of our launch edition. Write in to letters@talkmag.in

It took us seven months from conceptualising to delivering Talk. This is our first general interest magazine, but we aren’t new to journalism. We ventured into publication in December 2009 with The Students Magazine, India’s first information and entertainment monthly for students. Launched with a print order of 3,000 copies, that magazine has crossed the one-lakh readership mark. A question had haunted me: Why was there no major weekly with a Bangalore focus? Today’s reading habits are curious. Most of us read the headlines and nothing more. Is it because we have no time? Or are we dissatisfied with the quality of writing and presentation? When we brainstormed about Talk, we decided to return to the basics. We wanted a magazine that would be, as book blurbs used to say, unputdownable. For companies and brands, Talk can be a costeffective medium to advertise and address Bangaloreans with buying power. We start our first edition with a print run of 1.5 lakh copies, and hope to reach a readership of five lakh within a year. Since Talk is a weekly, it enjoys a much longer shelf life than a daily, which means brands spend less and earn more mileage. I am grateful to our advertisers, promoters and shareholders for their faith in our abilities, and their invaluable guidance. We look forward to talking with you. Sumith Kombra Founder CEO and Publisher Shakthi Media Ventures India Pvt Ltd sumith@talkmag.in

THE RECKLESS ADVENTURES OF MALLYAMAN

A series of comic takes on politics, society and the droll side of life

3


politics watch

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

5

A cloudy evening with

SRIRAMULU 4.15 pm Lazy start sat among the audience. The sky Jailed mining lord Ramanagara is just an hour's was overcast. No action on the Janardhana Reddy’s drive from Bangalore on the stage yet. ‘hit man’ is doing road highway to Mysore. That’s where I went to catch B Sriramulu’s 5.45 pm ‘Folk’ songs shows in preparation ‘sankalpa yatra’ or ‘mission tour’. A man climbed on to the stage Bellary leader has reached and announced that Sriramulu for the 2013 elections. The the last leg of his statewide drive. would arrive in an hour. To keep E S Bhanu Prakash His rally was to begin at 3 pm, the thin crowd entertained, and there were just 50 people Gururaj Hoskote and his family attends a rally at waiting around. Rakshitha, hero- had been hired to sing. This ine of hit Kannada and Telugu singer from north Karnataka Ramanagara, and films, was also slated to be on the writes his own songs, mostly in returns with curious dais. I the ballad style. His songs can be witty when they aren’t bordering details on the raunchy. (In one song, the village head is all alone, his wife having gone to her mother's house. His dog jumps on to his bed in her absence, and he mistakes it for his wife).

While the entertainment began, there was some action near the dais. Professional movie equipment like jimmy-jibs and cranes appeared, and within just 15 minutes, everything was set up and ready. I asked the man directing the operations why he had brought such heavy equipment when there were barely 100 people in the crowd. Wherever Anna (elder brother) goes, we must follow him. He has always wanted to make movies. We are using movies equipment because he wants to club footage and make a documentary before the next elections.” The tech crew gets Rs 300 and three meals a day. And if they work at night, they get Rs 100 more for every three hours. A Bangalore camera equipment company and Janasri TV channel were busy setting up the shooting gear.

6.30 pm Chitranna Another announcement, this time saying Sriramulu

GAME REDDY Sriramulu tells the Ramanagara crowd Yeddyurappa will soon quit the BJP

would reach there by 7 pm. Sriramalu Sene, a group of his supporters, were handing out chitranna (lemon rice) packets. Some 40 vehicles, a majority with Bellary registration, waited around. Sitting inside were burly, tough-looking, men, presumably from Bellary district. A traffic policeman said many were goons with criminal records. Sriramulu has hired them to keep order at his political meetings. A Ramanagara resident said hired crowds were coming in from villages around Channapatna, Maddur and Ramanagara. The party pays Rs 150 each for women and Rs 300 for men. A woman said she was given a full meal, and some women had received saris to attend the rally. The policemen were eager to catch a glimpse of Rakshita. “When’s madam coming?” one of them asked me, guessing I was from the press.

7.30 pm Royal entry Traditional nadaswaram musicians started playing. Rakshita walked in first, dressed in a salwar kameez. Sriramulu then walked in grandly. Nearly 500 people followed him in. They outnumbered the people in the crowd. Sriramulu made a speech in Kannada with a Telugu accent, as he has been doing across the state, mostly criticising B S Yeddyurappa, and not so much Jagadish Shettar, Sadananda Gowda or the present BJP leadership. “Yeddyurappa will come out of the BJP soon,” he told his potential electorate. “It doesn’t make sense for you to support him”. With his political guru G Janardhana Reddy in jail for illegal mining, Sriramulu is somewhat alone. But he has a strategy in place. He then made a pitch for his party, the BSR Congress. The night was cloudy, but it didn’t rain.


marginal lives

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

6

Transgender tragedy In July alone, three members from among the sexual minorities committed suicide in Bangalore. Talk examines why so many unnatural deaths haunt a community that enjoys media support and is politically aware

BHANU PRAKASH E S n July 28, Deepu, who used to work in a city NGO, killed himself on a railway track in Kerala. Born in Bangalore as a female, he became a transgender male against the wishes of his family. Feeling insecure and humiliated, 28-year-old Deepu had quit his job after he got involved with a girl from Kerala. The affair ended badly, leaving him lonely and depressed, eventually leading him to the tracks. Deepu’s case is not isolated. In fact, it points to an alarmingly high number of unnatural deaths among gender minorities in the city. This year, eight transgender deaths have occurred in the last month alone, three of which were suicides, while in the months leading up to July, 12 more deaths had been reported. These are, however, lower than last year’s shocking figures - when between October and November alone the city saw as many as 30 deaths in gender minorities. The

O

Death toll

Gender minority deaths in Karnataka, according to statistics available with NGO Sangama, touched 20 in seven months this year. A majority, they say, were suicides or caused by HIV/AIDS.

2012

January February March April June July Total

3 5 1 2 1 8 20

NO LOVE Many who challenge gender identities find no support from their families. This is a file picture of a protest by them in Bangalore

reasons for the deaths may vary, and exact figures of unnatural deaths are unavailable for all the months, but community organisations say that the majority are suicides or caused by HIV/AIDS. Bangalore is home to an estimated 15,000-strong community of gender minorities, consisting mainly of transgenders, gays and lesbians. The city regards itself as the friendliest towards transgenders, compared to other metros. The presence of a number of NGOs working towards protecting the community’s rights, with media and civil society support, seems to reinforce this image. But the high number of unnatural deaths among transgenders gives away the lie to this image. Investigating Deepu’s case, Talk spoke to his family members, as well as activists, psychologists, and the police, and found that the trend calls for urgent action. Deepu used to work as an office assistant at Sangama , a wellknown NGO established in 1999 to safeguard gender minorities from

violence. His former colleague his body without our permission. Akkayyamma Padmashali, a We could have given him freedom to transsexual and programme be himself, but we didn’t. We are manager at Sangama, told Talk that aware that our son will never come Deepu was hardly the only friend or back but such things shouldn’t colleague to commit suicide in such happen to any transgender in this a horrible way. Her anguish is country,” he says. Deepu’s colleagues at Sangama palpable when she says, “Treatment of transsexuals or transgenders may say that they were not aware that he was in such a bad have changed state, and had when compared they known, they to the ‘90s, when In 2011, between could have given we were literally October and him proper pelted with stones November the city counselling and on the streets and saw as many as 30 saved him. physically A m o n g harassed in buses. deaths among g e n d e r But even today, gender minorities minorities, the we are not treated most vulnerable well in our own homes. If our own parents treat us are the transgenders, who are often nastily, where should we go? Are we targeted by a hostile public if they not part of the society? Where is the happen to be in a public place except when in a group. Most mainstream love?” Deepu’s father Vishwanath professions or trades exclude them (name changed) is devastated by his (though there are rare exceptions death. “It was only after the police see box on next page), forcing them informed us that we came to know into prostitution and begging, thus he had committed suicide in Kerala. exposing them to the risks of The postmortem was performed on violence, sexual abuse and diseases


marginal lives like HIV. Public transport, toilets and other municipal amenities too remain inaccessible to them. They face systemic discrimination. For example, the government has few provisions for those who don’t fall into the twin categories of male and female, and transgenders end up being denied voter’s rights. In case of death, they are recorded as either male or female. This last problem is put in stark terms by Anish Cherian, Sonia Narang psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS): “There has been a census for various sections of the population and even for cattle, but none for gender minorities. If the primarydata about their exact population and factors such as age, family members as well as profession is not avail-able for medical experts, it is nearly impossible for us to treat their psychological problems. There are no counselling experts for the community, there is no helpline,

and add to it the lack of police protection and it is no surprise that gender minorities take the last resort,” he says. Charu S, coordinator of LESBIT and a wellknown figure among activists fighting for gender minority rights, reveals further the community's predicament. “There are exceptional achievers in the gender minority. But at the lower level, many are still living off sex work and begging on the streets. The government must intervene before their condition gets out of hand. If it fails to set up emergency helplines, trauma and counselling centres, then the number of suicide deaths and suicide attempts will only continue to grow,” she says. Veena K, head of Praja Rajakeeya Vedike, a city-based political party whose members are exclusively from among the gender minorities, is scathingly critical of the NGOs themselves, and accuses them of being driven by the agendas of their funders.

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

“Ever since the plight of says that the police are standing in gender minorities started getting support of the gender minorities. “I attention, there has been a fight can guarantee that not a single between many local NGOs over transsexual has undergone any sharing the funds allotted by the physical torture or psychological state as well as foreign agencies. abuse from any police official,” she Based on my experience for the last told Talk. “Sadly, there have been seven years, I have found that every many cases of suicide, besides NGO is fighting for funds rather suicide attempts, recently. It’s up to than attempting to solve the real all of us to take care of them and problems of the community. A prevent violence against them,” she starving transgender needs a meal, says. But Narang’s not a condom.” sympathetic attitude E l a v a r t h i is hardly reflected in Manohar, director of the government’s Sangama, says NGOs own stance, which alone cannot improve views transgender the situation of individuals as not gender minorities. very different from “We can do much criminals. The new better if politicians Karnataka Police Act, come out in the open Deepu committed suicide in for instance, requires to support the Kerala on July 28 members of the community. When we meet them in their offices, they transgender community living in a act as if they don’t have a clue that neighbourhood to take written we even exist. In such conditions, permission from the local police how can we expect a policeman to inspector before they can move to protect us from a physical abuser,” another. Such paranoid legislation can only add to the social and asks Manohar. Sonia Narang, DCP South, psychological stress that is already who has been associated with taking a heavy toll on Bangalore’s various gender minority NGOs, transgender community.

Those who broke through Some members of the gender minority community have battled prejudice and hostility to secure their place in mainstream occupations. One of the best known is Anu C, a transgender individual who works as an office assistant at the Karnataka High Court. The High Court has ordered that Anu shouldn’t talk to the media. Kaveri, another transgender individual, has managed to complete her postgraduation (a rare achievement among gender minorities) and works as a personal assistant to theatre director and Rajya Sabha MP B Jayashree.

7


freedom icon

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

8

A revolutionary life COURTESY: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Captain Lakshmi Sahgal led a women’s regiment of the Indian National Army, fighting in jungles alongside Subhas Chandra Bose, and dodging enemy bombers. A tribute by Dev S Sukumar t’s ironical, come to think of it, that Captain Lakshmi Sahgal never figured in any ‘Power Woman’ lists that infect our newspapers and magazines from time to time. It’s unlikely that she figured in any media debates on feminism, or made the top-ten lists of ‘Women Who Inspire Us’. And yet, it’s hard to think of a life better lived – a life of activist struggle, of fearlessness, and sacrifice. I met her once, and the memory of that meeting will remain. I was in the second or third standard at school, and one day, during lunch break, my sister hurried up to me and told me Dad was waiting; he was taking us to meet Capt Lakshmi. The name meant nothing to me at the time. Dad took us to the Kumara Krupa Guest House, where government guests are hosted, and a woman with short, silvery hair greeted us. During the short journey from school to guest house, I heard that she’d been an associate of Subhas Chandra Bose, and had headed a regiment in the Indian National Army. The then-chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde had felicitated her the previous day. Assuming that she would expect some military bearing on my part, I stood at attention through our short meeting. Dad had a chat with her, and he enquired about her daughter Subhashini. Lakshmi was surprised he knew of her daughter, but Dad was a big fan of Bose and Lakshmi, in whom he saw a role

I

COURTESY: DESHABHIMANI

IDEALIST Lakshmi (1914-2012) with Subhas Chandra Bose and colleagues of the Indian National Army

model for my sister. Lakshmi signed an autograph for me. It read: ‘Take Pride in Being an Indian’. I still have it, given to me some 27 years ago. It was much later, of course, that I began to appreciate the depth of what she’d done. In her autobiography, A Revolutionary Life, she details the rebellious nature of her childhood and teens (her first marriage – in defiance of her mother – lasted three months), her initiation into political activism, and her trip to Singapore, which would open a new chapter in her life. Some vignettes from that memoir stand out – of how she, as a doctor, would rescue people affected by the bombing of British or Japanese planes; of how stoic the Chinese were to grievous wounds (and conversely, how loudly the Indians would lament even minor injuries!), and of Bose’s arrival in East Asia. State-approved history books in India completely overlook the importance of the Indian National Army. It is dismissed in a few paragraphs. But to millions of Indians in South East Asia at the time, the INA came to symbolise all their aspirations for the motherland. In Bose they saw a saviour who would deliver them from the web of poverty and slavery that had

become their lot in the rubber plantations in which most of them worked. Lakshmi played a central role in Bose’s re-organisation of the INA. He was keen that a woman’s regiment be formed, and Lakshmi took upon herself the task of organising a women’s military wing – and indeed surprised Bose by presenting him with a guard of honour. Perhaps the most critical role the INA played was that it completely reversed the slave mentality then prevalent among Indian labourers. Among the women recruits there was a newfound confidence that translated into fighting back the oppression from husbands or predatory plantation officials. The story of her INA days is a moving tribute to the bloodshed on foreign soil for Indian independence. She talks of the Bose she knew at close quarters – he was a deeply sensitive and spiritual man rather than purely a political opportunist as made out later – and she talks of the early successes of the INA and its later decimation as the British gained over the Japanese. She talks of the long marches through dense and dangerous forests, escaping from enemy planes and unfriendly forest tribes, and finally, capture by the British and return to India, where a rude surprise would await them. The Indian politi-

cal establishment, led by Jawaharlal Nehru, seemed keen to distance itself from the INA. Few have lived like Lakshmi. The Rani of Jhansi regiment that she headed was apparently the only allwoman regiment to fight on the front in the Second World War. Bose was reluctant to send the women into battle (he wondered what he would tell their parents), but the women signed a pledge in blood asking that they be deployed alongside their brothers. Their story is without parallel in the Indian independence movement. As a citizen of free India, Lakhmi would continue to battle on other fronts. She started a hospital in Kanpur, offering her services to poor patients for a tiny fee, and remained a constant spokesperson on women’s issues. In Lakshmi we see an idealist who escaped the narrow confines of society and the claustrophobia of an early failed marriage to seek her own goals. She was an adventurer who was yet aware of the need to give back to society. Everything about her refutes the stereotype of the ‘Indian woman’ whose antiseptic image has made it difficult for free-spirited young women to live on their own terms. It is for this reason that her story deserves a better place in our books.


freedom icon

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

9

The other Laxmi Laxmi Panda fought in the INA under Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, but thanks to official apathy, lived out the rest of her life as domestic help SAVIE KARNEL axmi Panda spent her younger days fighting for the country’s freedom as a soldier in the INA. She spent the rest of her life washing dishes and fighting for her freedom fighter’s pension. The pension came, but too late. Nine days after the President signed her pension papers, she breathed her last; without receiving a single penny from the government. The first time I spoke to Laxmi, it was on her neighbour's phone in her

L PROUD SOLDIER Laxmi Panda was denied a freedom fighter’s pension because she hadn’t gone to jail

village in Orissa. Her grandson who worked in Bangalore had put me through. I said “hello” into the phone and she responded with gusto “Jai Hind.” She wasn’t sad or the self pitying kind, but was still a proud soldier. She worked as domestic help to make ends meet. She was invited at every Independence Day function, and honoured with a shawl, but no one took up her cause. The same politicians made her wait at their doors and said things like “We don’t have a money plant.” The lawyers she approached demanded 50 per cent of her pension; if at all the arrears came. “Officials tell me that pension is given only to those who go to jail. Why don’t they understand that a brave soldier is one who doesn’t get caught?” she asked me. Capt Lakshmi Sahgal and Capt S S Yadav had written to the Freedom Fighters Division about Laxmi, but all in vain. Laxmi joined the Indian National Army when she was 15. Her parents died in a bomb explosion in Burma. Lt

N C Das of the INA had adopted her and her brother Nakula Rath. The kids became active members of Subhas Chandra Bose’s army. Laxmi was trained in arms and espionage and worked under Capt Lakshmi Sahgal in the Jhansi Laxmi Bai Regiment. When Bose met her, he changed her name to Indira. He felt that there would be confusion between Lakshmi Sahgal and Laxmi Panda. In 1945, when she was in Singapore, the INA got orders from Bose to disperse until further notice. “I married a fellow soldier, because I wanted to fight again when Netaji called us. If I had married someone else, I would have had to live in ‘ghunghat,’”she told me. The call never came. She bore two children and her husband passed away. After a prolonged struggle, when the then president Pratibha Patil finally signed her pension papers on September 26, 2008 she was fighting for life in a hospital. She died nine days later, at the age of 80.


now showing

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

10

A city deeply divided Voyeuristic and violent it might be, but the success of Kannada ‘slasher’ flick Dandupalya points to the hopeless ruptures at the heart of the new Bangalore

T

MK Raghavendra Cinephile and author of 50 Indian Film Classics (Harper Collins, 2009)

he Kannada film film is that it deals with three differDandupalya directed by ent ‘slices of life’, not making any Srinivasa Raju is a horror effort to unify the three strands . The film that makes similar first strand deals with the gang. They offerings from Hollywood are not portrayed sympathetically by pale in comparison. This does not any means—the characters’ faces are mean that it is a ‘good’ film or enter- usually expressionless—but neither tainment of an ennobling kind. It is are they denied their humanity. The simply that in the process of being highpoint of this thread in the narratrue to the facts of the murders tive is a song and dance sequence folwhich rocked Bangalore in the 1990s, lowing the killing of a pig in a vacant the film has hit upon unpleasant city lot. Given the context, we get the truths which the more well-to-do sense that the gang is a closely-knit people in the city—often regarded as community and we come to terms the most livable of Indian metropo- with the brutal loyalty of its memlises—have tried to push under the bers to one another. The film then carpet. This is not an appreciation of gives us the point-of-view of the the film as much as an examination gang when it is engaged in killing. Hollywood has done this in of its implications. To begin with, Dandupalya may even be regarded as films like In Cold Blood (1967) but the a piece of titillation because it deals killing takes place off-screen. Here it with murder and rape of the ghastli- actually happens in front of us. est kind voyeuristically. Nothing Overall, the sense is this: the gang demonstrates this more than the members are human but they belong parallel cutting between the intima- to a kind of humanity that we have cy of a newly-wedded young man not provided for. The second thread and his beautiful wife and the vicious deals with the family life of the victims, a young couple doings of the gang. (played by Raghu The implication is The film’s three Mukherjee and that the same young Priyanka Kothari). woman will soon be strands suggest is the average subjected to sexual the impossibility This commercial romaassault by ill-kempt of bringing the nce with the routine ruffians and brutally song sequence signikilled. As may be city’s social fying ‘love’. More evident, there is groups together importantly, the nothing that the images are all concensors might have done because the film’s methods are sumption-based, with food as a leit motif. This portrayal echoes the more implicit than explicit. By either coincidence or design, standard ‘happiness’ fantasy in the Dandupalya has a motif in common media but the film follows it up with with many Kannada gangster films the horrible fate that the devoted of the recent past. Migrants arrive in wife and her affectionate mother-inBangalore, live in makeshift law (Bhavya) meet. Knowingly or dwellings and witness wealth on a unknowingly, Dandupalya debunks scale they have not seen before. After the media idea of romance by pointdoing physical labour briefly, they ing to the terrible darkness just outtake to crime as a way out. This is the side its reach. The third thread deals with key motif in a large number of films of which Jogi (2005) and Duniya Inspector Chalapathi (Ravi Shankar) (2007) are the best known. Where and his dealings with the gang. Much Dandupalya differs is that its protag- of this is about the tortures inflicted onists are not struggling against odds on the gang members, including on because of their innate goodness, as the woman played by Pooja Gandhi. in the other films. They are wanton Even before the titles, the film killers who pick on women when acknowledges the help of the police in its making. This implies that the they are alone. The most telling aspect of the police admit to the procedure shown

CHILLING: Pooja Gandhi as one of the killers from Dandupalya, a village on the outskirts of Bangalore. The eponymous film exposes unpleasant truths about India’s ‘most-livable’ city

in the film—not filing FIRs but secreting suspects in hideouts and extracting confessions. The fact that we relish the beatings and the torture is an indication that the brutal extra-legal methods of the police have public approval. While it is easy to strike attitudes because of Dandupalya’s provocative subject, it may be more pertinent to deal with its implications. That the film is devised as three separate strands, each of them dealing with a different social group rather than a well-integrated story, suggests the impossibility of bringing the groups together. To the welloff social segment constituting the victims, the members of the gang are vicious animals to be destroyed. The gang offers no excuses nor does it have plans to ascend the social ladder and integrate. They have lakhs of rupees —when they try to bribe the

police—but continue to live in squalor. The state, as represented by the police, is acting as protector of the well-to-do, essentially hunting down dangers from social groups which are lower placed. The well-todo lawyer shown to be hand-in-glove with the gang, for instance, is not even considered for ‘interrogation’ and it is as though his class places him beyond the pale of the law’s brutality. One wonders if such a film could have been made about a city like Mumbai. It is not that there are no serial killers in that city, but the social divisions that the film points to seem peculiarly that of Bangalore, with its sudden experience of unforeseen wealth, its excesses of consumption and the huge influx of hungry migrants unable to cope with all this but still hopeful about their future.


net profit

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

12

E-commerce’s love affair with Bangalore Some of India’s most successful and exciting online shopping companies are based here. Their founders reveal some not-so-obvious reasons for the city being an ideal home for startups

SAVIE KARNEL n 1996, when a Wipro employee first heard about the Internet, he had no idea he would start a new wave in India. T Vaitheeswaran was making some international calls to his clients, when his colleague suggested using the e-mail, which was cheaper. “What is it?” he asked. The colleague then helped him open a Hotmail account. One day as he was checking his mails, he saw an ad which said, ‘Buy Books.’ It was an ad for Amazon.com. “I was fascinated that someone could set up a shop on the Internet, and sell products from

I

T Vaitheeswaran, CEO, Indiaplaza, used to be a Wipro employee

across the world,” he reminisces. Two years later in Bangalore, Vaitheeswaran along with four other friends, launched India’s first e-commerce site Fabmart (www.fabmart. com), now known as India Plaza (www.indiaplaza.com). A decade on, a lot has changed. India Plaza is not only a success story but has also inspired many more ecommerce sites in India. Many e-tail sites, as they are called, are based in Bangalore. “When we started, people just didn’t understand what we were doing. They often asked us if we were coding software for foreign e-commerce sites,” says Vaitheeswaran. Worse still, nobody would buy from the site. Slowly, the buyers came in hundreds. Now, they come in millions. The number of Internet users has increased manifold. According to the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), net users in India number

over 100 million. “About 10 per cent of the country uses the Internet, and about 10 per cent of this population does transactions online,” says Phanindra Sama, CEO, Red Bus (www.redbus.in). The figures are changing each day with the advent of cheaper broadband, mobile payment mechanisms such as Airtel Money, higher mobile internet penetration, and 2G, 3G and now 4G. Vaitheeswaran believes e-tail will soon make inroads in smaller towns. Since small places do not have large organised retail chains like in the metros, e-tail sites will serve them. A meeting with a man from Mysore cemented Vaitheeswaran’s belief. “The largest bookstore in Mysore has 20,000 books, of which 15,000 are academic in nature. The man didn’t get books of his choice there and used to travel to Bangalore to buy them. Now, he can buy them online,” he says.


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

13

Bangalore has something unique —the network. Here everybody knows everybody. Many software companies have grown and flowered in Bangalore. - Vaitheeswaran, Indiaplaza

Myntra, founded by Ashutosh Lawania, e-tails clothes and accessories

The demand is not just restricted to books. The increasing desire of small town Indians to be as fashionable as their metro counterparts is also fulfilled by the e-tail sites. “The limited reach of offline stores for leading brands has spurred the demand for online sales,” says Ashutosh Lawania, co-founder and Head of Sales, Myntra (www.myntra.com), which started out as a product personalisation and gifting company, but soon became an online fashion and lifestyle store. Koovs (www.koovs.com), which began as a deals site, has also moved into the fashion and lifestyle segment. Rajesh Kamra, co-founder and Managing Director, believes even people in the met-

ros will buy from their site. So what happens to the concept of touching and feeling the fabric? “The apparel we offer are from popular brands. So there is no compromise on quality. Plus, we give close up pictures and describe the stuff and create a virtual reality,” he says. Vaitheeswaran says people do want to touch and feel the products they buy, but they have their own way of doing it. “They go to an offline store to see the product and feel it. Then, they come online, compare prices and buy from a website,” he explains. Despite all the new products being sold online, travel continues to have the largest share in the e-commerce pie. While RAMESH HUNSUR

Big Basket, founded by Abhinay Choudhari, delivers everyday supplies at your doorstep

the e-commerce business in India is estimated at seven billion dollars, reports indicate that six billion of it is towards travel, like online booking of tickets and hotels. “You could say that e-commerce in the country started with IRCTC. It is still the largest transacted site in the country. After that came the LCC (low cost carriers) phase, where consumers flocked to airline booking sites for deals and price discovery,” says Phanindra of Red Bus (www.redbus.in). Consumers are accustomed to researching and booking travel online. The supply side is also standard. “A Spicejet aircraft is not very different from an Indigo. A 2 tier AC compartment of a train is similar to another. So, the consumer doesn’t require research beyond pricing for such products,” he explains. However retail categories like apparel need trial rooms, books need reviews, and gadgets are bought after comparison. The e-tail sites are doing their best by introducing a 30-day replacement guarantee, cash-on-delivery and similar privileges. “Shoppers can also collect opinions from friends and relatives online before making a purchase,” says Ashutosh of Myntra. Better deals are used to attract customers. “We leverage on the discounts given by the brands themselves. In addition, we have the latest styles and trends,” says Rajesh of Koovs. The convenience of buying groceries through the Internet has made life easier for many. Sensing the busy lifestyle of Bangaloreans, Abhinay Choudhari started Big Basket (www.bigbasket.com) along with friends. “Shopping offline is full of

inconvenience,” he says. His site, he says, receives about 500 orders each day. Do Bangalore-based companies have an edge over the others? India Plaza was launched in Bangalore because the founders were all based in Bangalore. Now, they do see an advantage. “Bangalore has something that is unique in India—the network effect. Here everybody knows everybody. Software companies have grown and flowered in Bangalore. This advantage is not available in any other city,” says Vaitheeswaran. Since technology is critical in the business, Bangalore definitely scores. Ashutosh simply puts it like this. “Bangalore has the three primary advantages: the availability of qualified talent, strong delivery networks and presence of a large investor community.” With its VC funders and entrepreurial sites, the city is start-up friendly, believes Phanindra. “The eco-system in Bangalore has developed very well. It becomes easier to reach out to people and I guess that’s important during the early stages of venture development,” he says. Abhinay believes consumers here are comfortable with e-commerce. The cost of business in Bangalore is also said to be lower. “Compared to metros like Mumbai and Delhi, real estate costs are lower. If you are an e-commerce company that requires warehouses, this could eat into your budgets,” says Phanindra. Bangalore’s mixed citizen profile also wins praise from entrepreneurs because it helps them deal with a variety of customers and hone their selling skills.


concert notes

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

15

Raga for young ears Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri’s gig Listening to Life showcased her sensual, God-seeking voice in a piano setting S R RAMAKRISHNA ombay Jayashri is best known in recent years for singing Vaseegara (Zara zara in Hindi) and a host of sensuous Tamil hits composed by the film music director Harris Jayaraj. (Read about a whacky Harris Jayaraj parody on page 39). At her concert in Bangalore last week, she combined her skills as a Carnatic classical vocalist—one of her gurus is the legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman—and a practitioner of more varied styles. Jayashri began her concert with a Kannada poem by Kuvempu, O nanna chetana, which she sang in the pleasant raga Janasammohini, popularised by Pandit Ravishankar with his 1980s theme song for the Asiad (Swagatam shubha swagatam). Kuvempu’s poem calls upon the spirit to seek without borders, and is most popular in a tune composed in raga Sohini by Mysore

B ONE VOICE Bombay Jayashri encouraged her talented students to sing along at the sensitively miked concert

Ananthaswamy. Jayashri is Tamil, but her Kannada diction was perfect, and she had memorised the words, indicating qualities of a meticulous professional from a more demanding era. She then took up Natabhairavi, and this raga and its derivatives dominated the concert for three fourths of its length. In many ways, Listening to Life was a portrait of the many avatars of this melodic scale. She first sang a Carnatic composition on god Subramanya, and followed it up with a Hindustani composition in raga Darbari Kanada, similar in scale to Natabhairavi but differing in approach. The Subramanya Bharati poem that followed was, surprisingly, in the style of her Tamil film hits, embellished by a Western-sounding violin and bansuri. Jayashri’s team then presented instrumental versions of some Ilaiyaraja hits in Tamil and Kannada from the 1980s and ’90s to show how ragas are deployed in movie songs. That she chose Ilaiyaraja over Rahman and Harris Jayaraj perhaps reflects the declining use of ragas in popular Indian films. The tempo of Jayashri’s rendering of the enchanting Lata Mangeshkar song Aap ki nazron ne samjha was a tad hurried, but it brought the full potential of the orchestral line-up into play, with

Naveen Sundar doing the interludes on the piano and Jayashri’s students singing the unison violin parts. Jayashri began many of her songs somewhere in the middle, lending the concert a dramatic, stage musical quality. In the subsequent part of the show, Jayashri introduced other Natabhairavi-derived ragas, such as Durga and Shuddha Dhanyasi, in instrumental expositions. That gave way to some listless moments. The classicism of raga Hindola and Tyagaraja’s Saamaja varagamana brought the interest alive again. Violinist Embar Kannan excelled throughout the show, especially in the delicately poignant Mokshamu galada (Tyagaraja), making masterly use of syncopation and the dramatic pause. M D Pallavi was the Bangalore attraction on stage. She sang a Marathi abhang about an hour into the concert, and followed it up with film songs and bhavageetes in Kannada. Her voice, familiar to lovers of Kannada music, pulled off some astonishing last-moment transitions, as from raga Yaman to Puriya. Pallavi had also helped Jayashri invest her show with a Kannada flavor. In the last quarter of her concert, Jayashri sang a ghazal in raga Yaman, with the pianist switching to

the harmonium. After a couple of other pieces, in which she got her students to sing, she concluded with Ondu baari smarane saalade, a composition on saint Madhvacharya in raga Sindhu Bhairavi. With that finale, she had returned to the Natabhairavi mood. Jayashri’s commentary in English was, in the words of a fellow listener, ‘quasi-philosophical’, reassuring the musically lost, and providing a broad idea about the life of a raga and the many colours it can assume. The concert, organised by Bhoomija, was along the lines of another by Aruna Sairam, hosted by The Hindu last year end, where she strung together compositions from bhakti poets in many languages. More conservative connoisseurs would see these shows as a dilution of the traditional kutcheri style, but then, orchestral experiments with Western instruments are drawing younger audiences to the music halls. Jayashri’s music expresses an emotion that’s sensual and God-seeking at the same time. If for that reason alone, you might want to hear her long and uninterrupted, but that can’t happen at concerts like this one. * Listening to Life: Journey of a Raga, was presented at MLR Convention Centre, JP Nagar, on August 2.

Courtesy: Bhoomija


reporter’s diary

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

16

Bronze, barbecue and more The British took time to warm up to the Games, Saina was taken aback by her victory, and the Chinese revealed some dark truths about their training. All the action, direct for Talk from London

and expectedly, it came from Saina Nehwal. The Indian girl was all smiles and giggling like a teenager. A couple of days ago, she had talked of all the expectations on her. “I don’t read the papers,” she’d said. “Everyone’s expecting a medal from me.’” he first few days of the Games, there was barely an indication that the Olympics was on. In the trains - both underground and overground - people sat stonefaced, texting on their mobiles or staring into space. The only indication was in the pink signs at the stations signalling the venues, and in the pink jackets worn by volunteers. There was just no sign of the celebration or gaiety one expected of an Olympics. As the games progress, however, one senses change. There are more visitors, and there is a lot of excited talk in the trains, which are the lifelines of London. At several public venues, big TV screens have been installed and there is the feel of a barbeque party. Britain has been doing well at several events, and there is excited chatter at the pubs and the parks and the trains.

T

or around 20 minutes of Saina Nehwal’s third place play-off match, we thought it was going to be another disappointing day for Indian sport. Wang Xin, her opponent, was firing in steep left-handed smashes and leaving the Indian scrambling around. It was only late in the game that we realised the Chinese girl was bending over after the rallies, clutching her thighs. Still, she was playing so well it would take an inspired effort from Saina to level the match. Suddenly, there was Wang Xin on the floor, wincing in pain, and her coaches looking concerned. In a few minutes, it became apparent - Wang Xin was injured, and had retired from the match, giving Saina the win and a bronze medal. It took time to sink in. An Olympic bronze! It was Indian badminton’s first-ever medal at the Olympics,

F

ith the focus on athletes,

W

VICTOR Saina Nehwal knew India expected a medal from her, but wouldn’t read the papers

some touching stories have emerged. The Chinese diver Wu Mingxia, for instance, did not even know that her mother had breast cancer for the last ten years. Mingxia was drafted into China’s Project 119 (according to the papers), a special sports project for elite sportspeople, where she would train some 10 or 12 hours a day away from any talk of family or the outside world. Her parents decided to withhold the terrible news of her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and even news of her grandmother’s death, until after she’d won the gold. One does know know if they did it of their own accord, or if they were ‘instructed’ to do so. Ranged against such a Chinese system, it’s a surprise that other countries can even aspire for a medal. he biggest scandal so far at the Games was the ‘match throwing’ issue in badminton. Four teams: two from Korea and one each from China and Indonesia, were found guilty of playing to lose their final group games so as to ensure smoother passage for themselves in the later rounds of the contest. The eight players were disqualified. As far as we are concerned, the matter ends there. But for the players, a nightmare has begun. All of them were instructed by their coaches, who belatedly sprang to their defence. But they have been publicly embarrassed, and - in Korea at least - the public hasn’t taken too kindly to what they did. A Korean friend tells me that national honour is a big thing there, and anybody deemed guilty of bring down Korea’s prestige will not be spared. It’s curious how players - like other loyal soldiers of the country - often become pawns in the national interest.

T

What makes a ‘sporting nation?’ Is it the number of Olympic medals it wins? Is it the money that the government and the private sector invests in sport? Is it the number of big stadiums in the country? Or rather, is it just how easily you and I, as common citizens, can play a sport? I walk into a government-run leisure centre in Purley, which is part of the London borough of Croydon. Most of the people using the gym appeared to be over 60. The pool too had several senior citizens and mothers with infants. I scan the notices. By local standards, the facility is quite inexpensive. An hour's swim for an adult costs £ 2.5 - the equivalent of our Rs 25 (direct pound-to-rupee conversion doesn't make sense because you cannot buy most things for less than one pound.) Swimming sessions are free for those above 60. There are classes for children and adults with physical and learning disabilities. Every notice urges you to belong there. Of course it would be unwise to compare Bangalore or Hyderabad’s challenges and resources with London's, but it won't hurt to see what passes off as normal here. The Purley leisure centre is one of five government-run leisure centres in Croydon, which has a population of 3.6 lakh. The government website reveals, among other things, that Croydon has 14 libraries, 77 parks, 14 multigames courts and seven tennis facilities. In the government centres one can choose to swim, play badminton or table tennis. There are also several venues for tennis, football and cricket. Apart from these government centres, of course, there are private centres. We will not dwell on the difference in the scale of challenges of a London borough to that of Bangalore or Hyderabad. If state governments can gift prime plots to alreadywealthy cricketers and star athletes, surely a wiser thing instead would be to use the same plots to build small sports halls that benefit more people. Those very resources can be better used for the public.


back stage

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

18

COURTESY: MARK SWAROOP

The problem with English theatre... ... is that it is sliding into mediocrity and losing audience along the way

We know what we are but know not the adage: the more things change, inconsistent quality of many such the more they stay the same. well-intentioned efforts I have what we may be. -Hamlet, William Shakespeare Structurally weak, the play employed watched (or tried to create myself an unwieldy patchwork of but failed miserably), I have to say it riting in Time Out monologues to declaim the is early days and we are all grappling Bengaluru recently, characters’ states of mind. It was with borrowed theories. This critical Sachin Gurjale, narrative prose masquerading as self-awareness is necessary to pin actor-director with dramatic text. It is lamentable that a down the problem areas as we aspire the group Rafiki, team as experienced as ART couldn’t to create relevant theatre. Indian Ensemble is a new model pinpoints one worrying status of apply the rigour of their dramatic Bangalore English theatre: its lack of training to transform a very obvious of urban theatre-making. Led by ‘rigour’. In Gurjale’s candid words: prose-that-sounds-good-on-paper- Abhishek Majumdar, it functions as a Most theatre one watches is tepid. only into a text that actors could repertory: it trains actors, it Audiences are dwindling, which bring to life on stage. The process of produces plays and playwrights, and keeps the other stakeholders— adapting a novel (Nine Faces of Being it collaborates to make different funders, spaces, critics— was adapted from Nair’s Mistress by kinds of work. Many of the Indian uninterested in theatre, which in the writer herself) into a play is an Ensemble artists are my friends and turn leads to even lower resources exciting journey as forms and co-workers who work very hard to for theatre. It’s a vicious circle. At the language go through multiple create theatre in the city. They staged a play Rizwaan in 2010, based end of the day, if this circle is to be transitions. However, in this case, all we on Agha Shahid Ali’s collection of broken, it’s us, the actors, who have poems The Country could glimpse on to step up and take responsibility.” Without a Post I am a playwright and a theatre stage was the limp director. I have also spent years reading of a novel. Rizwaan showed Office, at Ranga Shankara. It was How do we working as a production crew how good originally devised by member. And I would like to extend attempt to make intentions are Indian Ensemble & Gurjale’s thought further: we are all theatre in this city? in this together. Everybody involved An instructive shift never enough to Students of Film and Television in Bangalore English theatre has to has taken place in do good theatre Institute of India step up. I am sad to say this, but we theatre making in (FTII), Pune. are at a very mediocre place right Bangalore. Unlike now. We are putting up shows; we the old model of theatre practice Despite the very good intentions are rarely doing theatre. Before I can where the directors instruct and that led to the creation of Rizwaan, even think of ‘livelihood’ and the control the productions, the younger the play and its production reveal the ‘market’ for theatre, I have to get over generation is experimenting with faultlines of a weak collaboration. Its the dismay at the quality of plays we collaboration and the devising of press release stated that “Rizwaan is a are producing currently. This dismay dramatic works. The latter is in line poignant tale of a young Kashmiri with a new sensibility of theatre boy and his experience of losing his is not individual. Bangalore’s newest making current in the world, and is a people one after another due to both performance space, Jagriti, opened in highly challenging and satisfying way insurgency and military occupation. Whitefield in 2011 with Anita Nair’s of working. Is the younger At another level, Rizwaan looks at Nine Faces of Being. Produced by one generation capable of drawing out the very fundamental understanding of the city’s oldest English language their impulses, honing, training and of the loss of loved ones.” Representing and imagining theatre companies, Artiste’s pushing them to develop the Repertory Theatre (ART), to mark complex and sophisticated tools that violence on stage is fraught with the opening of an ambitious theatre are necessary to carry through a risks. It is a complex dilemma of space, the play unfortunately proved meaningful collaboration? Given the making the text, director and actors

W

Swar Thounaojam Playwright and theatre director

LIMP READING Anita Nair's Nine Faces of Being offers narrative prose masquerading as theatre

establish their authority on their own terms, without reducing it to a bipolar crisis of victims and bullies. The text of Rizwaan is lyrical; it inflates the gruesome reality of Kashmir to show how evil gets normalised. Unfortunately, the lyricism obscures a rigorous interrogation of the conditions in Kashmir. Its poetic images become impenetrable mythical creatures that reveal no insights. It didn’t help that the majority of the actors lacked the basics in stagecraft to pull off an abstract construction of death, torture and loss. It revealed how good intentions are never enough to do good theatre. Apart from developing rigour in stagecraft, we have to invest in intellectual rigour. We live in a fractured, political age. The stories we create on stage do not exist in vacuum. We have to perceive the various opposing forces and connections that charge the world we live in. We have to ask questions. If we want to create a theatre movement that is central to the culture of this city, we should be seeking to do more than just putting up shows. We should aim to give a different perspective or heighten the sensibility of the audience or take them to a completely different world that forces them to examine their own world. In an interview with The Guardian, well-known British theatre director and actor Simon McBurney was asked: What advice would you give a young theatremaker? His answer: Try to place yourself in opposition to money and success. We need this grain of rigorous idealism to inform our work. Livelihood will follow.


searching for god

CERN UNCERTAIN: CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer isn t committing either way. He says datawilltake at least a year to examine, and the Higgs-boson may or may not have been found

As a layman, I say we have

As a scientist, I should ask, ‘What do we have

That’s how Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN, is vacillating, soon after the world celebrated the ‘discovery’ of the particle’. Talk Senior Editor G N Prashanth, who interacted with him at a science conference in Ireland, returned with a star about how scientists trying to understand the origins of the universe had received accolades long before they were due HOW THE MEDIA WERE

MISLED

‘God Particle’: We’ve just seen the light The Washington Post

God particle discovery ignites debate over science and religion

‘God particle’ discovery a momentous event for mankind

Huffington Post

CNN-IBN


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

COURTESY: MAXPIX.IE

ypically, science and scientists in a parallel data study at the US Argonne wrong. are not plagued by doubts. National Laboratory by Ian Low and his Evidence for the Higgs boson had Science is an objective domain, team, indicating that at least two other par- risen sharply in the past seven months. In where a fact is a fact and cer- ticles could be masquerading as the ‘God December 2011, the Atlas and CMS teams tainty overrules uncertainty. particle’. Low and his group say several the- at CERN reported what appeared to be The world went gaga over a supposed oretical possibilities exist. hints of a Higgs particle weighing about announcement on July 4 by CERN One is that the data shows the Higgs 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), roughly 130 (European Organisation for Nuclear boson as predicted by the Standard Model times heavier than a proton. Research) Director-General Rolf-Dieter of Physics (see right panel). But another Later that evidence became overHeuer and some other scientists that a par- equally likely possibility is that the Higgs whelming. The Atlas team reported a partiticle like the Higgs boson, or what was boson exists in several different forms. So cle at 126.5 GeV with a confidence of five described as the ‘God particle’, had been the new particle might be one of these, sigma, while the CMS team found a partidiscovered. examples of these, or a generic Higgs dou- cle with a mass of 125.3 GeV with a 4.9 On July 5, media worldwide splashed blet or a triplet impostor. A final option is sigma confidence. the news of the supposed discovThat must have prompted the based on the idea that particles can exist in ery at the world’s largest parannouncement of the discovery at CERN mixtures. ticle physics laboratory, Low’s group comes to the follow- on July 4. The room erupted in a standing CERN, at Geneva, where ing conclusion: “A generic Higgs dou- ovation of whoops, cheers and whistles and scientists are trying to blet and a triplet impostor give equal- Peter Higgs reached for a tissue and wiped understand the nature exclusive ly good fits to the measured event a tear from his eye. of the universe seconds Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University, rates.” In particular, they say that the after it was born. But just seven days later, predicted signatures of the Higgs boson with five others, had pointed out in 1964 on July 13, the CERN chief, speaking at the and the triplet impostor are close to each that a new particle, the boson (named after Euro Science Open Forum at Dublin, other in accuracy levels. And by one meas- Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose), was a Ireland, spoke in a language of doubt, anxi- ure, the CERN data even favours the triplet by-product of the mass-giving field. Higgs ety, hope and expectation. impostor. However, they are quick to add said: “I never expected this to happen in my Talk Senior Editor Prashanth G N that the Standard Model prediction is a lifetime and shall be asking my family to risked a critical question at the Director slightly better fit overall. Does Low’s ver- put some champagne in the fridge.” General after he had spoken at length sion imply that CERN top brass could have Similar congratulatory messages about the discovery: “You say you hope you waited before throwing hints about a Higgs poured in. “It’s hard not to get excited by have discovered it, that you think it is the boson discovery? these results,” said CERN Research particle, that it looks like it. You have so Director Sergio Bertolucci. many feelings about the particle when it WHY THE EUPHORIA? The lab’s Director General, Rolf must just be a fact. Why these subjective While statements by CERN that the new Dieter Heuer, said: “We have reached a particle looks like Higgs Boson (‘speaking as milestone in our understanding of nature.” perceptions about an objective fact?” His answer swept away the hype and laymen’) fuelled euphoria, the long wait for He later added: “As a layman I would now celebration of the ‘discovery’: “Yes, I agree the particle could be another reason for the say I think we have it” – meaning the Higgs there is a certain subjectivity in what seems premature celebration. The particle, unlike boson. like an objective exercise… you see, speak- any other known to exist, was proposed 48 ing as a layman, I can say we have it. But years ago. The hunt for it has occupied ELEMENT OF DOUBT speaking as a scientist I have to ask, ‘What scores of researchers from at least 20 coun- Given this euphoria over the high rate of tries. For some, this has been their life’s accuracy, world media headlined July 5 as a do we have?’” historically definitive day. Here in Bangalore, Rohini Godbole, work. Though the particle had been predictThe discovery of the Higgs particle high energy physics professor at the Indian Institute of Science, expressed doubt: “We would prove that there is an invisible ener- ed 48 years ago, a lot of work to discover it have to ask if this is indeed the Standard gy field that pervades the vacuum of the was on in the last three years. The project at Model Higgs boson or is it something known universe. Known as the Higgs Field, Geneva, the largest ever in the history of slightly different?” She has taught at CERN it is thought to give mass to the smallest the world, comprised one year of the experand is working on theoretical ways to look building blocks of matter, the quarks and iment and two years of data analysis. At the end of it, there seemed an urgency to conelectrons that make up atoms. for the particle and analyse its properties. vey to the waiting public and Without the Gaurav Mendiratta, physics PhD perhaps the funding countries scholar at IISc, also thinks it is too early in field, or something that something substantial was the day to declare the Higgs boson has been like it, there would More ‘yes’ and ‘no’ going on at CERN. found. “Technically speaking, I would have be no planets, stars, Read Talk Did this prompt the to say we still have to determine what or life as we know interview with CERN Director-General to say exactly the particle is by analysing its prop- it. Scientists at Rolf Dieter-Heur that if he were allowed to speak erties. In scientific terms, we still haven’t CERN are involved as a layman he would say they found it, though it looks very much like the in the search for on Page 22 had indeed found it? this magnetic field Higgs boson,” he told Talk. The ‘layman’ statement, Given such caution and hesitation and particle, the and the claim that the boson was found, among top academics, why was CERN in Higgs Field and boson. Particle physicists use a “sigma” scale got highlighted in newspapers and televisuch a hurry to announce to the world that the Higgs boson had been found? The IISc to rank the certainty of their results which sion channels across the world the next researcher surmises: “People have been ranges from one to five. One and two day. But what came across clearly from the waiting for 48 years to discover it. Anything sigma results come and go and are often no Director-General at the Dublin press conclose to it would tempt them, the media more than statistical fluctuations in the ference on July 13 was just that a special and even some scientists to say it has been data. A three sigma result counts as an offi- particle had been discovered, but whether cial “observation”, but five sigma is usually that was the Higgs boson or some other found.” The difficulty of declaring the discov- needed to claim a discovery, amounting to particle, only further investigation, over a ered particle as the Higgs boson is reflected less than a one in a million chance that it is year, will tell.

T

talk

e it.

d e?’

e ‘God rtling story

Hail the God particle The Sun Daily

21

PHYSICS FUNDA Standard Model: A theory about the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions that mediate the dynamics of known subatomic particles. CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research, founded in 1954, on the FranceSwitzerland border near Geneva. Higgs: Peter Ware Higgs (born 1929) is a British physicist best known for his 1960s proposal of a theory, explaining the origin of mass of elementary particles and bosons. Boson: A particle amed after Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose. Many scientists, including Higgs, have predicted the existence of the boson, or the most-after particle in modern physics .

pop corn

So the Higgsboson walks into a church. The minister says, “You’re not allowed in here. Get out!” To which the Higgs-boson replies, “But without me, how will you have mass?”


searching for god

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

22

‘I can’t assert that we have the Higgs boson. Because

I will have to take it back’ COURTESY: MAXPIX.IE

PRASHANTH G N he Higgs boson is crucial – it gives us a way of understanding dark matter and dark energy, which constitute 96 per cent of our universe, which we don’t know. We only know four percent of the universe. The Higgs boson will open a window into the DNA of the universe. Without that boson, you would not be here, I would not be here, fundamental particles would never have had mass, they would be flying all over at the speed of light. They are the fundamental building blocks of the universe,” CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer declared at the Euro Science Open Forum 2012 at Dublin, Ireland, on July 13. Talk brings you observations that made it very clear that the Higgs boson may not have been discovered yet. This is what he said:

T

Do we have the Higgs boson? As a layman I can say we have it. But as a scientist I have to ask what do we have? We know it’s a boson. We know it’s a new particle. But I don’t know whether it’s Higgs boson. It looks like Higgs boson, perhaps it’s a twin of the Higgs boson. As scientists we have to be cautious. We have to examine its properties and behaviour to determine whether it’s the Higgs boson. That takes time to determine. It takes time even to say whether this particle is one of the family of Higgs bosons. According to the standard model, there are five or more Higgs bosons. So the search is on.

MR BIG BANG Ralf-Dieter Heuer says people are keen to know what particle physicists have done, and can be impatient

spin is very different from that of other particles. This particle has no spin. It is scalar and perhaps it’s the first fundamental scalar we’ve ever discovered. We hope it is. It’s only at the end of the year that we may be able to say anything definite about the spin characteristics of the particle. That will determine whether this is the Higgs boson or a particle that is part of the Higgs boson family, and then if it is, which one is it?

properties are determined. That indeed has been the history of discoveries. In this case, I can say the particle is consistent with the Higgs boson. Yes, the general public will take it as Higgs boson, then, maybe it is. But then if there are several Higgs bosons, I don’t know which one this is. It’ll take time. At the end of this year, we may have something more to say.

the discovery is.

Is there physics beyond the Standard Model? Will you discover a new physics? Particle physics has been looking for this particle for years. If the particle has properties that fit the Higgs boson, then we could say we have found something. More importantly, we could say that we have physics beyond the Standard Model. Ninety six per cent of the universe is unknown to us. The standard model So do we have a discovery here or no? I don’t want to make the mistake of in physics helps us understand four In that case, could you have waited to asserting that we have discovered the percent of the universe. If the particle announce the discovery? Everywhere in the world scientists Higgs boson. Because I will have to is Higgs boson, then we must infer that there is physics beyond the have to keep in view the general pubYour announcement gives the Standard Model. lic. What we have is known to the impression the discovery is of the Everywhere public. I personally believe it’s the Higgs boson... in the world Have you asked Peter Higgs what he I have the feeling that the discovery is duty of scientists to present to the scientists have felt about the discovery? public what we are doing as a going to be a historical mileI haven’t asked him that question. But scientific community and stone, but it’s still only the to keep in he was very touched. I conferences are a space beginning to find someview the general Iamunderstand told though that in an interview where this is done. Given thing. The properties of public somewhere he had said that if this people would be keen whatever we have found exclusive onthatknowing particle was excluded from being the what we’ve have to be investigated and done, it is difficult to wait for, say, five take it back. But we know it’s a boson. Higgs boson then he perhaps no that takes time and collaboration. years to declare that we indeed have That’s already something. It is longer understood the world of How much longer would it take for a something to offer. We can’t hold extremely, extremely difficult to particles. back announcing the discovery itself identify such particles. It takes a lot of confirmation? Scientists need a much longer time to – people won’t wait. Also discovery time. As scientists we’ve got to be cau- What of the term ‘God particle’? say more than what we have said now. comes first and then comes the tious, we have to analyse the discov- I don’t embrace the concept because I A crucial thing has happened – in description of what it is. Interestingly, ery, what properties it has and only do not have to embrace whatever the terms of its properties, this particle’s it’s only after a discovery that its after that can we definitely say what public embraces. I am a scientist. But

talk


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

I have to live with it, but I don’t like it, it Who should be given the Nobel prize for the has nothing to do with God. It’s a special discovery if it should be given? You have to ask the academy. Only three particle, that much I can say. people are usually given the award. But science is changing now. It is getting globWas the announcement of the discovery al, and not just particle physics. The Nobel timed for the Melbourne conference? We were collecting data even just two guidelines are now out of date. If they are weeks before the Melbourne conference. willing to change it now… but let’s see, I It’s a miracle that they could establish don’t know. I think it’s best I keep out of something new just before the conference. this question. It’s very difficult to imagine that you could find the Higgs boson in that time. The Is India not joining CERN as an official idea was to have results to discuss at the member? conference, to clear the air over what we CERN will be admitting Israel, Brazil and had discovered. It was not that we simply Russia as permanent members. We want wanted something big for the conference. India to come and I’ve been trying hard. Conference is where you clarify matters. We can only admit India when the official We wanted to present the data to see what letter is on my desk. We have approached India for some time now. I’m given to scientists make of it. understand that a letter is with the gov-

23

ernment now. Some movement could European. E means everywhere. We have happen. Membership requires a country to re-defined E as from Europe to everypay 10 million Swiss francs. We desperate- where. As it’s a global project we need help from everywhere. It now has 20 memberFunding contribution states and in June, funding was approved for this year. The funding contribution of of countries ranges from 20 per cent of the ranges from 20 to 0.3 countries GDP to 0.3 per cent.

per cent of their GDP

ly need human resource—you need the brains you know—this is a global project. This can’t be done by one country. India has a lot of people doing high energy physics, it’ll be great to have the country on board. How is CERN managing its funding? The ‘E’ in CERN is no longer just

Has there been pressure to declare something outstanding? We deliver what we promise. I promised it last year. I was pretty sure we would. But the exclusion of it would also have been a discovery. I was on safe ground and I was pretty sure of the discovery... The exclusion would have raised a whole new set of questions, some questions get clarified. You learn something new and you eliminate some stuff. Science is a long process.

Bangalore prof ‘felt a chill’ on big day

Prof Rohini Godbole, who teaches high energy physics at IISc and has worked at CERN, is a member of a worldwide group of eight scientists who contributed inputs to the European Strategy Report for future facilities in high energy physics in the context of a linear collider. She confirms to Talk that the world still doesn’t know enough about the ‘God particle’.

ON THE PARTICLE We have to ask if this is indeed the Standard Model Higgs boson or is it something slightly different. We have to look now at how to establish this discovery. The analysis begins now. This is not the end of the journey.

ON THE ANNOUCEMENT There had been talk for sometime at CERN that an announcement was going to be made. When the announcement was made around 9 am here (CERN), I was in the audience and I felt a chill. For a particle physicist Higgs-hunting for the last 30 years, it had to be a dream come true.

ON HER ROLE AT GENEVA I have been working since 1976 on the Higgs boson and have written over 60 papers with the phrase ‘Higgs. I am one among several who have done so. I see it as a triumph of the community of particle physicists. The Standard Model has been developed over the last 50-60 years and provides a glimpse into the early few minutes in the life of the universe, explaining how matter came into being. The discovery is as serious as that of relativity and quantum mechanics.

The large hadron collider at the CERN tunnel in Geneva, on the Switzerland-France border

While it is a historical moment in physics and our institute takes pride in being a part of the history, it will require more data to establish these findings beyond any doubt. - Milan Sanyal Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata

It’s a great leap forward in the fundamental research and knowledge of human civilisation - Archan Majumdar, Astro-physicist at SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata

Scientists at the European research centre seem to have the first evidence of the creation of mass. It is very exciting… the data needs to be studied. – K Kasturirangan, former ISRO Chairman


camera obscura

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

24

AMULYA NAGARAJ

here was a time, not too long ago, when taking a photograph was serious business. The light was carefully analysed, the background scrutinised, the subject was in perfect focus or not as the photographer wished; and then, after more consideration, the shutter clicked. But that was before they added unlimited storage space and the delete button to the camera. Digital cameras became the rage, while just about every personal device—from mobile phones to music players— now came embedded with their own cameras. Besides making the professional photographer a near-endangered species, digital photography also gained popularity thanks to the internet, especially the social networking websites that people spent more and more time on. The new way of capturing memories was no longer just a matter of ease and convenience, but a social necessity. Yet, there remains a group in Bangalore that stuck to the ‘traditional’ form of photography. They believe analogue cameras, as they are called, are superior photographic devices that give them more control over the quality of their pictures. As one photographer puts it, “Digital cameras are nowhere close to where era”. Though she uses the digital format for some projects, analogue phoanalogue cameras have reached.” Analogue photography is an art, tography, particularly in black and for sure. But it takes patience, it takes white, is her preferred format. time and it takes more money than it Surprisingly, some of her clients also ever did before. You have to buy the prefer the analogue format. Bangaloreans, by and large, film for every photograph that needs to be shot. Capturing an image is an believe they can find anything they entire experience and process in need for photography in this city. But itself. If you don’t have your own ask any photographer shooting on dark room, the exposed film has to film, especially black and white, and he will tell you it is be taken to a profesnearly impossible to sional service to be get his kind of film developed. You There are just in this city. There are specify the form in about three just about three which you want it places in the city places in the city developed—and that sell black that sell black and there’s no going white film, and that back. And then, it’s and white film too in extremely a long and anxious limited numbers. wait before you get to see the results. No instant gratifi- “We sell two rolls in a week. It is a dying field,” says Deepak Welling, cation here. The entire process can be quite owner of GG Welling Stores on MG intimidating and frustrating to Road. Most Bangalore photographers some. But to others, it is sheer pleasure. Says Indu Antony, a Bangalore- who shoot with film source it from based professional photographer, other cities, countries or even web“My kind of shooting is generally sites like eBay. Antony, for instance, slow. I love the hands-on experience gets her film in bulk from associates of shooting with an analogue cam- in Delhi or in the US, and refriger-

T

A filmy romance

The near-complete extinction of film or ‘analogue’ photography might have come about faster than anyone had predicted, but some staunch enthusiasts are going to great lengths to keep it alive

BACK TO BASICS (Above) Participants at a B&W film photography workshop and (below) limited B&W film rolls at the GG Welling store, MG Road

Amulya Nagaraj Traveller and photojournalist

ates them. Black and white film has a slightly longer shelf life than colour film and lasts anywhere between four to six years. Refrigerating it generally doubles its life span. Prasanna Mukundan, a hobbyist analogue photographer, sourced all his cameras from eBay and chooses to buy film from the website as well. But that is the easy part, he says. The real challenge is to find the right person with the skill and equipment to develop them. When he cannot get friends’ studios in Bangalore to do it himself, Mukundan sends his rolls to Ahmedabad to be developed and printed. Most studios in Bangalore lack the expertise to develop camera film rolls, whether colour or black and white. People who picked up

their grandfathers’ film cameras and started shooting for fun narrate horror stories about how their prints were partially developed or sported white splotches from the chemicals used. GG Welling is one of the few city studios that still has the expertise to develop and print film, besides RK Photoguide. They have also been selling film and photography equipment to enthusiasts for decades. Most of their technicians have been in the business for a good time. Yet, for all that, not more than two or three people visit this studio in a week. “Most people these days haven’t even seen a film roll,” Welling says. Film photography has not become easier or cheaper with time. But as more people discover the magic of shooting on film and using old cameras tucked away in closets, a niche group of ‘film photographers’ continues to thrive in a world that pursues instant gratification.


book talk

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

26

Happiness at 99 cents A Bangalore author writes a spiritual fable and sells wildly on Amazon, but the book’s hardly a masterpiece SAVIE KARNEL rini Chandra’s book 3 Lives in Search of Bliss was rejected by Penguin, and Rupa wouldn't tell him if they wanted to publish it or not. Frustrated, the Bangalorean marketing director decided to publish his first novel as an e-book on Amazon. In two weeks, he had sold 10,000 downloads at 99 cents each. The book, now available in print, begins promisingly. New York cabbie Ray Cardoza meets an untimely death. When he asks “Why me?” his soul is granted three lives or three incarnations of his choice. He lives these in different situations, seeking bliss. The premise is interesting, and could have formed the

S SPIRITUAL MARKETING? Bangalore-based author Srini Chandra is the latest to break through in the market for ‘inspirational’ fiction

basis of a masterpiece if only Chandra had developed the plot a little better. After the initial few pages, the novel becomes a Sunday School book, with preachy dialogues. Chandra uses time-worn phrases like “All Loving and Benevolent God,” and “beacon of hope.” He fails to empathise with his characters. Even in the scene when a character called Abia speaks of her father Salim being in the plane that crashed into the twin towers, the pain finds no expression. The narrator says Abia spoke in quick short sentences. But Chandra’s lines read like the script of a news reader: plain and emotionless. Some reviews printed on the jacket compare it to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. The two books are

worlds apart. The only similarity could be the theme of reincarnation that Coelho uses in some of his books. Chandra lacks the lyrical quality of Coelho. He fails to transport his readers to where his characters live and breathe. Without evocative descriptions of the characters and their surroundings, Chandra leaves the reader lost. His Morocco and Tibet scenes hold potential for detailed rendering, but he does not do much to bring them alive. Chandra has borrowed heavily from recent history: we read about the 9/11 twin tower attacks, the Mumbai terror raids and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. These form the main events in the protagonist’s three lives. Chandra’s research is inadequate and we get the impression he was in a hurry to finish the book. Fiction requires leg work and study, and not just imagination. With scenes set in New York, and references to the conflict between the Arabs and American and the Dalai Lama’s life, you can’t help but wonder if the book was written for a Western audience.

Chandra attempts to unravel the secret to that elusive thing called happiness. The book has some wise-sounding lines like “To have it all, you have to want nothing,” and “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Chandra was probably better off employing the essay format. The shoddy plot dilutes the essence of his message. Though self-published, the printed version has a professional touch. Editor Jillian Gile has brought out an error-free book. Jurgen Weiss has designed an elegant cover. If you want some quick pop gyan on happiness, you may like this book. If you are looking for a literary experience, you better skip it.

‘I agree the plot is thin’ Talk spoke to Srini Chandra the author of 3 Lives in Search of Bliss. Chandra is an alumnus of IIT Madras and Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently the director for marketing at a leading MNC and lives in Bangalore. How did the book’s idea come about? It was not planned at all. One day my wife and I were having a philosophical debate. She found me too abstract and vague. I thought I should write down my thoughts to make myself understood. It was easier to do it in a fictional narrative form. I took a couple of weeks off in December 2010 and wrote the book in 20 days. I then spent months cutting it down and editing it. It’s much shorter now than the original draft. Why did you make it an e-book before it came out in print? I had approached some publishers. Penguin turned it down. Rupa sat on the fence for a long time. Then they said the commercial market was not great for a book like mine and asked me to write a book on IIT since I was an IITian. I didn’t want to be the 25th guy to write the 45th book on IIT. Putting it up on Amazon didn’t cost anything. I emailed some reviewers who read the book and reviewed it. I

priced it at 99 cents, which is the lowest on Amazon. Within a week there were 10,000 downloads. I received 20 to 30 mails saying that the book had touched their lives. I wanted the book to be available in India and a friend of mine helped me with the printing. We later tied up with Amazon, Flipkart and Indiaplaza. Do you believe in reincarnation? Yes. It’s a personal belief. I haven’t consulted any one to find out about my past lives. I believe in the concept that things go around in cycles. The writing failed to transport me into the characters’ world... I agree the plot is thin. I haven’t spent time in fleshing out the characters. I haven’t written what the characters are wearing or how they look. Though I have borrowed from real news events, I have nowhere said it is 9/11, Mumbai, or the Dalai Lama’s life. These things have happened before us and it is easier to connect to them. I wanted the book to be compelling. It’s about a certain philosophy or statement. I am not providing answers. I am only raising questions. I didn’t want it to be non-fiction because the genre doesn’t have many takers. I also didn’t want the book to read like soft fiction.


movie mania

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

28

ALL WRONG Madhu Shalini and Arya in Avan Ivan, which glorifies teasing and harassment

Oh, those jerks they call heroes Why is Tamil cinema presenting stalkers as victims and persuading girls to accept them as dream lovers? ove has always been one of Tamil cinema’s favourite narratives, somewhere between Corrupt Politicians and Evil Maternal Uncles. The first decade of the new millennium saw evolution and change–in ideas, values and techniques, and more importantly, in stories, humour and cast. For example, heroines were sourced from North India, and consequently became the ‘simple local girl’ in interior Tamil Nadu, because–let’s face it–if the audience can accept a plot where a guy can become a millionaire overnight by singing against a black background, Chandigarh and Theni are practically neighbouring cities. Unfortunately, where romance is concerned, it was less evolution and more Frankenstein experiment gone wrong. Romance has taken two steps forward and ten steps back – what we see now is basically an urban, real, raw story that ends with

L

Lavanya Mohan Chartered accountant, blogger and movie buff

a 1980s twist. Now the urban, real, raw hero’s idea of an urban, real, raw romance is basically harassment, and that he gets his way at the end of it is really disconcerting, because if you peel the sticker of ‘hero’ away, all you get is your everyday stalker who hangs around at your bus stop. When I see these movies, I feel seriously offended. It’s not just about the harassment. The hero-stalker believes he has been victimised because the girl ‘rejected’ him – and that idea is, for want of a better word, bogus. What’s even more bogus is that, after the relentless pursuit, harassment and invasion of personal space, the heroine realises he’s the absolute one for her and he is a really lovable guy in his own urban, real, raw way. Tamil cinema is an education by itself for most people, which is why ‘mass’ heroes always sing a title song about values like doing good, praising the lord, living in villages, charging correct auto fares, the lot. So when movies glorify harassment and teasing and ‘correcting’ the deviant ways of women (which includes wearing jeans), it is not just validation, but encouragement of that kind of behaviour. Every time I see the upper mid-

dle-class or rich and educated, heroine falling for the ‘diamond-in-therough’ psychopath who had to call her crude names to win her heart, I can’t help but wonder if the directors would be okay with their sisters and daughters doing the same. Ah, but it’s only a movie! There is no balance in the equation anymore. The girl isn’t an object of affection, but prey, like some exotic deer rabbit that our hero has to hunt down to prove his ability as an expert marksman. And she has no say in this, because if she’s not interested, she’s simply heartless. Or doesn’t have morals. Or both. Because you know, this is how urban, real, raw love stories are! Here’s my idea for an alternative realistic movie – boy sees girl, boy follows girl, girl says no, boy still keeps following her, girl says no, boy persists, girl asks him to stop, boy gets angry and asserts the only good decision she can take is to reciprocate his true love, girl calls the police, they put him in jail, the end! This rant comes from a place that is sick of watching extreme creepiness being peddled as ‘romance.’ 7G Rainbow Colony, for instance, was a huge exercise in frustration. Oru Kal Oru Kannadi gave me blood pressure. Avan Ivan made

me want to punch a wall or two. At this point I’d like to reaffirm my love for Tamil cinema. I love the experience of just sitting in the theatre and watching an ordinary man becoming something larger than life in a span of three hours. But when things start hitting you close to the bone, they become unbearable. Recently, when I talked about this with a friend, he pointed to the classic (and probably the greatest) romantic comedy of our generation, Singaravelan. I love that movie to the point that I can quote entire scenes from it. But when I think about it now, something doesn’t feel right. Underneath the hilarity, there are a lot of questions – why did Sumati have to change her wardrobe to only saris after she decided she was in love with Velan? Velan had made a family promise to marry Sumati, yes, but does that justify the endless pursuit? I think the reason Singaravelan stands out and makes you want to forgive its unacceptable moral lessons is that it gave us a chase, not a hunt, and two characters that even we wanted to come together. It gave us romance, unlike the movies of today, where all you want to do is get right into the screen, grab the ‘hero’, and punch his face.


rain fashion Women: As we note a shift towards a decidedly smarter way of dressing, this monsoon, ease yourself in gently with playful shapes and quirky styling. Play with mismatched styling with pattern mixes and offbeat colour combinations. Keep things light and playful with sugary brights in stark comparison to the dark and brooding 80s-style tailored trends. Go for dresses like ‘pencil sheath’, a relaxed fit pencil dress finishing just below the knee; with

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

exposed shoulder cut-ins and cutouts. Ballerina skirts, soft structured maxi dresses, oblong shift dresses and skirts that skim the hips with fluid fit and flare, are all welcome. As are square peplums, wide-leg relaxed pants cut off just below the knee, gentleman’s cut trousers, dance pants and hobble pants with a relaxedwaisted shape with rounded full leg tapering to ankle. Go in for wraps, shell tops, tailored vests and squared tunics. Layer yourself light with basic crew neck or ballet wrap cardigans that give a feminine look. Add lady-like accessories to finish off the look with 50s-style sunglasses and framed handbags or schoolgirl socks. The right combination of colourful accessories makes the monsoon attire all the more appealing.

Sanchita Ajjampur

Raj Shroff

One has practical requirements and fashion requirements. I would say that the latter is more important. Women: Wear clothes with happy colours as monsoon tends to be gloomy and the only way to brighten it up is with your outfit. You can even opt for bright accessories. For example, if you are a jeans and tee person, then you can opt for a bright colored accessory like a fluorescent colored bag in yellows and pinks. Colours of the season would be bright green, orange, bright pink and yellow. Another smart accessory would be a really good umbrella. It can also be used to highlight an ensemble. One can go for an umbrella based on their personality. Right from basic to a really fancy and

Gloom glam gyaan Thou may get wet, but thou shalt remain bright: that’s the commandment for fashionistas worried about the monsoon bleakness Women: Must-have would definitely be the capris or ¾th pants than shorts (as it doesn’t suit all body types) or jeans. Go for funky shirts to break the dullness of the outfit. One can wear their usual tops or kurtas over the capris and probably accessorise it. People don’t really go shopping for monsoon like they do for summer and winter so it’s all about using what

Ramesh Dembla

30

BHAVATARINI N eautiful as monsoon is, it does play a bit of a spoil sport when it comes to fashion. For one, it does stop you from flaunting your wardrobe. And unlike other seasons, which too have their fashion norms, ‘gloom’ is the

B

word that monsoon usually brings to mind, as most people tend to opt for purely functional clothing. But there’s help at hand; Talk brings you experts who are here to ensure that we remain cheerful and true to our fashionista souls through it all. Here then, are a few must haves for the wet season. Gouri Kapur

you have in your wardrobe. Bright colours are in. Focus on brightening up your outfit. The ‘in colour’ according to me this season is yellow. Opt for short dresses than gowns. In terms of accessories, incorporate an interesting pair of boots in your attire. If one is a jeans person, then they can always wear boots over jeans or leggings. Along with clothing and accessories, make up too is important. After all, you wouldn’t want your face to look like abstract art.

fashionable one. Men: You can go for a good pair of jeans. A nice rain coat. Although umbrellas are an alternative, I prefer seeing a woman in an umbrella and a man in a rain coat. Opt for nice chinos. I’d say no bright colors for men. But you can keep it funky by wearing shirts with prints or writings on it. If they can pull it off, then men too can go for fluorescent accessories like belts or ties with paired with a white shirt and shorts/pants but these are mostly for party wear than outdoor. All in all one should be a little more relaxed in terms of dressing during this monsoon.

I would suggest to not use much of eye shadow as there are chances of it coming off or smudging because of the weather. Must-haves include waterproof mascara, kohl and bright coloured nail paints. Experiment with coloured eye liner and bright coloured lipsticks. ‘In’ shades are pinks, reds and orange. If one does really want to go for an eye shadow then a bright coloured one is a good idea. Though I’d say nude colored eye shadow is the best bet this monsoon.


iftar buffet 1

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

31

RAMESH HUNSUR

2

For the incorrigible foodie, Ramzan means the opposite of fasting. Follow Talk as we set out on a marathon all- night eating expedition

When the feast must go on T PRACHI SIBAL

he whiff of kebabs and freshly made haleem is in the air and a hunger pangs-free day at work seems like a far-fetched idea. It is that time of the year when many are fasting and feasting, and there are others who are, well, just feasting. Besides the delicacies the month-long Ramzan brings, to Bangaloreans the festival also means a much-needed respite from dreary night time deadlines. Talk takes you through food-filled lanes and restau-

3

rants where time takes a back seat and kebabs freshly grilled in front of you, food precedence. Warqi samosas, chicken sticks, Bombay special tea and more. The Fraser Town frenzy (till 12 am) festive dish haleem too comes in variMost oldtimers think of Fraser Town eties here, while the regular one is the moment they talk about Iftar. The broth made from minced meat mixed otherwise quiet MM Road dons more with pulses, the Karachi haleem than a festive look and becomes the comes with meat alone. Also worth a hub of culinary delights all month try are the Khoya buns spotted in through. Local restaurants and eater- some of the stalls here. These are ies pull down their shutters only to large round puff pastries filled with a set up stalls on the street and spread rich stuffing of khoya and dry fruits out their specialties. ‘What you see is that ooze with every bite. Sweets here include a fig-pudwhat you get’ couldn't get more literding, double ka meetha (bread-based) al than this. Look out for delicious sheekh and a date halwa that’s rich enough to satisfy you in a morsel.

Shivajinagar sessions

THE SPREAD 1. Haleem at Shivajinagar (available till 5 am) 2. Meat spread at Shivajinagar (past midnight) 3. Biryani at Zaffran (till 2 am)

for their samosas. Hilal Hotel (open till 5 am) for a wide range of savoury snacks. Taj Hotel (open till 1 am) for their trademark biryani and vegetarian options like aloo bonda. Blue Bells Tea Stall (open till 2 am) for Bombay special tea and the city’s favourite Sulaimani chai.

Fine dine past midnight If street food and the hygiene issues surrounding it make you cringe, don’t despair yet; restaurants in the city are turning midnight feast-friendly too. Indian fine dining restaurant Zaffran plans to keep its doors open until 2 am all through the month of Ramzan. They even have a ‘Biryani and kebab festival’ to keep to the occasion’s theme. Choose from options like Raan biryani, mutton yakhni pulao, kebab and seafood platters for a fancier Iftar. For a plainer (and more economical) feast, you could also head to Empire and Imperial outlets that are open past midnight.

The streets in this area surrounding the Beef Market turn into a foodie’s paradise for the month. While most stalls concentrate on regulars like kebabs and samosas with chicken, mutton and beef fillings, others dish out the specialty sweet phirni and cream and jam-filled buns. The food stalls and shops keep open well past midnight and some until the wee Zaffran, No 8, Excellency, Pappana hours to cater to the huge crowds. Many venture here only at this time Street, Behind Nahar Hotel, St Marks Road of the year, like migratory birds. Empire Hotel (outlets open until 1 am) and Imperial Hotel (outlets open Look out for: Mubarak Food Stall (open till 2 am) until 12.30 am)


L I S T I NGS

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

Unplanned midnight party? TITO has the answers. A website that caters exclusively to people with pesky late night needs

art  Contemporary dance performance: Three freelance contemporary dancers are all set to perform at Solos in Spaces. Hema Sundari Vellalru, Charan CSP and Nayana Bhat from the city will showcase their work at three different spaces. Jaaga, K H Road, August 12 5pm onwards sundarihema25@gmail.com  Art fever in city: With loads of events lined up, Art Bengaluru promises two weeks of creativity for all. An art competition for children on August 12, workshops and lectures covering dance, music, photography and more, from August 13 to 19, you can find it all here. So, get set for a flurry of all things art starting this weekend. # 24, Vittal Mallya Road, August 10 to 24 7760979451

PRACHI SIBAL aving a follow-up party after an evening of clubbing? Don't know where to head for supplies post 11 pm? This newly launched website is as much of a night owl as you are and seems to have most of the answers. TITO (Take It That One) is a small-scale portal that provides delivery services in select areas of the city between 10 pm and 3 am. The products include beverages like Coke, Pepsi, soda, packaged juices, medicines like Disprin, Dettol and Band-Aid and munchies like chips, cup noodles, Maggi, biscuits and a few others. Short of crockery at home? Worry not, TITO stocks paper plates and cups too. All in all, the website is a comprehensive midnight shop if you are planning to hold a party. The service also provides essentials like sanitary napkins and condoms for those who wait for the very last minute. For smokers, a good range of cigarette brands also make it to their catalogue, helping them avoid the long

32

H

talk picks

1 2 3 4 5

Top-sellers on www.amazon.com

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Katherine Boo Penguin India

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn George Weidenfeld & Nicholson

The Fault in Our Stars John Green Dutton Juvenile

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Ben Fountain Ecco Press

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Biography) Robert A Care Knopf

post-midnight drives in search of the elusive nicotine fix. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? The catch lies in the delivery charges and the area limitations. Regardless of the number of products you order, TITO will make you poorer by Rs 100 a delivery. Also, TITO services only certain areas of Bangalore at the moment, namely swanky neighbourhoods of HAL, Indira Nagar, Jayanagar, JP Nagar, BTM Layout, CV Raman Nagar, Richmond Town and Koramangala. However, for bigger orders, they plan on making exceptions. They did offer to come and make a

delivery to Frazer Town if the amount exceeded Rs 300-400, provided we made an order online. Orders can also be made over the phone. The payment at the moment is exclusively cash on delivery. Suitably for a website that caters to potential minor emergencies, TITO is plain and functional with hardly any navigation issues. Which means you could place an order successfully even if you aren’t quite into online shopping. TITO (Take It That One) is at: www.takeithatone.com You can also call them on 9916255661

 Artistic inclinations: Want to learn how to draw? See an inner artist in yourself? Head to Bangalore’s own Art House for both professional and practicing artists to fine tune your skills. The Art House holds workshops of different durations for water colour, sketching, murals and more. Pick a course of your choice and get started on your artistic journey. www.arthousebengaluru.blogspot.in  In snapshots: Head to this photography exhibition titled Finding Nowhere by artist Shibu Arakkal and soak in the art of capturing the perfect moment through beautiful frames. Walk down the gallery and see Arakkal’s vision of his surroundings. Kynkyny Art Gallery, 104, Embassy Square, 148, Infantry Road, On till August 18 40926202

music  Remembering Barrett City musicians are paying tribute to Syd Barrett, founding member of the legendary band Pink Floyd. The line-up includes Deepak Raghu's band Shepherd, Ganesh Krishnawamy, Ananth Menon, Anand Vijaysimha and Bevar Sea, a doom metal quintet. Soak in some old hits and a month of tributes. CounterCulture, 2D2, 4th Cross, Dyavasandra Industrial Area, Near Xylem Building, Whitefield Road, August 11, 8 pm 41400793 www.counterculture.co.in  Kroak away to Finland Participate in the McDowell's No. 1 Karaoke World Championship and stand a chance of winning an all expenses paid trip to Finland. Auditions are being conducted across major Indian cities to select the finalists of the competition. So, sing your heart out loud and make it big. www.kwcindia.com  Sing along with Shankar Mahadevan Be part of this unique digital talent hunt and stand a chance to release an album with singer Shankar Mahadevan on the T-

Series label. Samples can be sent in from the comfort of your home and 5,000 participants will be selected from the Vivel Facebook page. Open till August 26 546465 www.mobi-sur.com  Supersonic Symphony Catch The Supersonics, a Kolkata-based post-punk quintet as part of their four-city tour titled NH7 Roadkill Tour in town this weekend. This is the punk band's first tour after they reunited at the beginning of this year. Opus, # 4, 1st Main, Chakravarthy Layout, Palace

Cross Road, August 10, 8 pm 23442580 Â Trance treasures: Head to this trance party and dance the night away with Israeli duo who call themselves Psysex. Udi Shternberg and Yoni Oshrat also known as DJ Goblin make up Psysex and have been part of the dance music scene since the year 1997 when they first met and decided to perform as a duo. Except a lot of commercial and EDM tunes to set the mood for this party. Pebble, Sadashiv Nagar, August 12, 8 pm 23614109

 Funk with the veterans: Head to this Funk Rock show brought to you by Chennai-based band Funkuation. The band is formed by veteran musicians with over a decade of experience in their respective genres. Expect an evening of powerful music with varied sounds. The line-up includes Benny Dayal on vocals, Alok Merwin on keyboards, Carl Fernandes on bass, David Joseph on drums and Joshua Satya on guitars. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Indira Nagar, August 10, 8.30 pm 25278361  When jazz and blues meet: Catch Schizophonic, Bangalore’s own jazz and blues band with skilled musicians backed by decades of musical experience. They call themselves an experimental electro-acoustic trio with sounds of funk and hip-hop besides jazz and blues. The lineup includes Aman Mahajan on electric piano, Arjun Chandran on electric guitars, Prashanth Pallemoni on turntables and Arati Rao on guest vocals. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Indira Nagar, August 14, 8.30 pm 25278361


L I S T I NGS nightlife  Spark an inferno: Get your fair share of electronic music at this Saturday night bash where international DJ Inferno will bring you his brand of fused house, techno, progressive and commercial music to get the party started. Expect some surprises as Inferno also plays club, hip-hop and retro music. Sutra, The Lalit Ashok, Kumara Krupa Road, August 11, 9 pm onwards 30527777  Let your hair down: Groove to some great retro music as DJ Roonie plays some tunes from the past. Sun Set with DJ

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

getaway

retail therapy Roonie will ensure that you end your weekend on a high note with some great food and cocktails. Opus, # 4, 1st Main, Chakravarthy Layout, Palace Cross Road, August 12, 7pm onwards 23442580 Â Retro and rock music: One of the top DJ’s in the country, DJ Clement promises you a fusion of rock and retro as he plays his signature house. DJ Clement has played at popular parties and is a known name in the party circuit. City Bar, Lavelle Road, August 11, 8pm onwards 42773636

 Fashion for your feet: Get hold of a pair of Vans, the shoe-brand from California which comes with its new launch of Fontana footwear. The collection comes in synthetic leather and mesh for a comfortable and durable yet trendy effect. Available at all Vans outlets  Colour connection: Bring colour to your eyes with this new range of colourful sunglasses by Vogue. Look out for shades of red, blue, dark blue, purple & orange for the playful and trendy you. Prices start at Rs 4,580 Sunglass hut- STORE , Mantri Mall, 2nd Main Road, Malleswaram  Fusion fetish: Fusion Beats, a brand from the house of 109F unveils its collection ‘Mayurakshi’ in line with monsoon dressing. Look out for Indian silhouettes with a western finish in kurtis, tunics, tops and leggings. Peacock midblue and hues of

turquoise make this collection suitably playful for the monsoons. Prices start at Rs 1,599. Shoppers' Stop, Central, Pantaloons and Lifestyle  Calling all bookworms: Who says monsoon dampens your spirit? Here is a monsoon sale that will surely cheer you up. Grab your favourite book from a wide range and avail discounts up to 50 percent. Oxford book stores, until August 31, 22457190

sale. Hand painted idols and vegetable crafted idols are the highlight of this festival. Available at all Mother Earth Outlets, August 10, 11am onwards 25125131

 Rajasthan comes to town: You will be spoilt for choice as the Rajasthan Crafts Mela brings its offerings to town. Find handloom items, jewellery, bed spreads, sarees and more. Safina Plaza, Infantry Road, uptil August 12, 25598882  Celebrating Krishna: To commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, various products such as Krishna idols, paintings, lamps and bells will be on

DJ Inferno

food  Royal Thai cuisine in city: Craving for some delicious Thai cuisine? Head to the A-harn Chao Wang Thai food festival and indulge in authentic Thai cuisine as Chef Tharee Charupas displays his culinary skills. Find both vegetarian and non- vegetarian fare on the menu. Benjarong, 1st floor, 1/3 Ulsoor, until August 12, 9342401606

 Homemade Italian treats: Give your family a perfect Italian meal straight out of your kitchen with Del Monte's 'Italian Treat' combos. The combos priced at Rs 175 come packed with Farfalle Pasta and

 Asia on your platter: Food delights from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other regions along with beer will brighten up your mood this weekend. Grab Sushi, Misoshiru, rice paper spring roll and other traditional Asian delicacies to entice your tastebuds. My Place, Mathikere, Gokula Extension, August 11, 4300100

 Taste buds in a tizzy: Treat your taste buds to juicy marinated lamb chops that speak volumes of the chef’s recipe. You will be asking for more as these lamb chops melt in your mouth and as you try a plethora of kebabs on the menu. Masala Klub, The Taj West End, 25 Race Course Road, till August 31, Ashok 66605660

 Beginnings by the backwaters: Start a new life through affordable honeymoon packages at The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa. Indulge in the scenic beauty of the backwaters as you cherish moments with your loved one in the lap of luxury. Packages start at Rs 24,999 and come with some meal and spa inclusions. www.thezurihotels.co m Valid upto September 30

 Monsoon madness: Head to Wonderla Amusement Park this monsoon and avail a stay at Wonderla Resort at Rs 2,900 for adults and Rs 1,450 for children only. The package includes breakfast and dinner and entry to the amusement park. Splash away in the water rides and welcome the rains the season brings. Wonderla Holidays Private Limited, 28th km, Mysore Road 33710333

theatre

 Shell fish ahoy!: It's dinner time with the Crustacean world at this Chinese specialty restaurant. Gorge on delicacies like stir fried lobster with ginger zest and scampi in Changqing sauce with dried chili and celery created by Chef Liang Cheng. Szechwan Court, The Oberoi, MG Road, Until August 19 for dinner 25585858

Arabbiata Pasta sauce or Tomato Basil pasta sauce. The pack can serve two adults and two children. It is aimed at families who love eating out. Available at all leading supermarkets

33

 Cruise to the Mediterranean: Sunday afternoons become more exotic as you savour Mediterranean flavours. Your taste buds will explode with Mediterranean cuisine as you spend a lazy Sunday with an elaborate brunch. 100ft Boutique Restaurant, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, August 12 25277752

Aditi Mittal

 Expressing freedom: This theatre performance titled Oh! Oh! Freedom isn't just about the actors. Besides the actors giving you their perspective on-stage, you will be able to express your thoughts and views on what freedom means to you. The interactive performance will weave audience reactions in a performance setup. So, be prepared to not sit back and watch for once. Yours Truly ALMA, CMH Road, Indiranagar, On August 12 and 15, 7 pm 9845243051  Explore Tipu Sultan's dreams: In this play, titled The Dreams of Tipu Sultan by Girish Karnad, take a look into the mind of the ruler of Mysore, warrior and dreamer who is known to have kept a diary of his dreams guarded from his associates. The story is about his last days from the perspective of an Indian court historian and British oriental scholar. Abhijit Shetty delivers the role of Tipu Sultan. Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, Ramagondana Halli, Whitefield, August 11, 8 pm, August 12, 3 pm and 6.30 pm 41248298  Of unlikely friends: In this play titled Robinson and Crusoe, two soldiers from different camps get stranded on a floating roof. Initially skeptical of each other, they slowly build inseparable bond bringing out in the process a different side to wars, where people get lonely even in the presence of others. The play is suitable for children over the age of eight. Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, August 12, 3.30 pm 26493982  Celebrate your freedom of speech: Spend Independence Day in a different

The Dreams of Tipu Sultan

way this time around. Head to this comedy show by The Polished Bottoms and celebrate the freedom of speech and expression. Mumbai-based stand-up comedian Aditi Mittal will be here to give you an evening full of laughter. Assisting her in this job will be Bangalore-based comedians Praveen Kumar and Sanjay Manaktala who also like to call themselves her bodyguards. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Indira Nagar, August 15, 8.30 pm 25278361

To get your event listed, write to us at listings@talkmag.in


living it up

talk|16 aug 2012 |talkmag.in

35

Cocktail chronicles As the weather chills, something to warm us up is well in order. And what can beat the soothing happiness of a good home-made concoction? Shubangi Sunder mixes some delights that promise a smooth end to that rainy day

MELONBALL The first time I made this drink, a trail of watermelon seeds happened to follow me everywhere. I even found them stuck on the sweater I was wearing. I've wondered how ever since.

ZIGGY CITRUS This is THE drink to dance with. Merely because, if you want someone out of the way, all you need to do is spill a little on them. The stickiness will take a while to wash off.

What you'll need: Thums Up, Lemon, Rum, Orange juice

How to get high: 1. Squeeze the lemon into a short glass 2. Add a large part of rum 3. Top it with Thums Up, with a little place left for the OJ 4. Add in the OJ till it tastes right 5. Salt the rim of the glass and serve with sliced orange or lemon

What you'll need: Orange juice, Mixed fruit juice, Pieces of watermelon (chopped small), Vodka, Rum

How to get high: 1. Mix one part orange and one part mixed fruit juice 2. Taste and balance the mixture out 3. Pour into a curvy glass 4. Add one part rum and a dash of vodka for zing 5. Throw in the watermelon chunks and serve

STINGER

LEMON TRAP

This drink was an accident. I was stringing Sprite bottle caps while making it, not quite paying attention to what I was doing, though eventually it worked itself into something.

It's the trap because it looks oddly like a health drink, but is definitely not.

What you'll need:

How to get high:

Mixed fruit juice, Sprite, Whiskey, Mint 1. Blend mint and Sprite in a mixie 2. Pour into a tumbler 3. Add mixed fruit juice 4. Pour in Sprite till juice thins out 5. Strain the mixture into a tall glass 6. Add a large whiskey to the glass 7. Stir and serve with mint sprigs and lime wedge as garnish

1. Squeeze the lemons into a mixie 2. Put in the mint leaves and give it a whirl 3. Put the mixture in a glass 4. Add three pinches of sugar and one pinch of salt 5. Fill th of the glass with soda and mix 6. Taste and add a little water to dilute (if necessary) 7. Strain the mixture into a long glass 8. Fill to brim with vodka and add ice 9. Decorate with a sugared rim and lime wedge

Tastes?

Tastes?

Like Punch. This would make a great punch.

Like lemonade. Only one that will make you jump up and down after three.

How to get high:

What you'll need: 2 lemons, Sprigs of mint, Salt, Sugar, Vodka, Soda

Tastes? A bit on the stronger side. You get fruity but you also get boozy.

Tastes?

RAMESH HUNSUR

Like an orangey Cuba Libre!


memoirs

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

37

The soldier with a fetish aroused by a physical object, and experiences came into contact with the Sikhs of orgasms without having sex. Namdhari Farms by chance. Bidadi is a After she left him, Durga Singh’s illness got town on the highway between Bangalore and Mysore. Uragahalli Cross is 3 kms from worse. That was the cause of his hypertension. He Bidadi, and Uragahalli itself is a 4 km drive needed his blood pressure checked every day. He was sent to Dr Omprakash Sharma, a from the intersection. A 400-acre farm adjacent commanding officer, as an orderly. Initially, Dr to Uragahalli Lake belonged to a family of Omprakash didn’t know about Durga Singh’s sexNamdhari Sikhs. related mental disorder and had only treated him The family had run into a dispute with for hypertension. But it villagers over the sharing didn’t take him long to of lake water in 1983. The find out about Durga police had slapped a Singh’s disorder. murder case against them Dr Omprakash had a after a clash, and they daughter and a son. His were shuttling between a wife Saraswathi was pious, Bangalore court and the and a graduate in village. Initially, I had Sanskrit. Durga Singh nothing to do with the used to carry the doctor’s case. The family had seen daughter to her primary me arguing in court and school. The doctor came over to me and Fabled ranconteur and noticed that whenever introduced themselves to Bangalore’s top-notch Durga Singh lifted the me one day. It had been criminal lawyer brings child, he would ejaculate. over 25 years since they you moving and bizarre In the beginning, the had migrated to real-life stories from 40 doctor used to assume Uragahalli from Punjab. years of practice Durga Singh’s pants were They did not grow wet because he had spilled common crops like the C H HANUMANTHARAYA water, or had zipped rest of the villagers did. himself up in haste after They ran a hybrid farm, urinating. “Why have you and were well off. urinated in your pants?” he would object, and The farm had about 25 houses. The Sikhs sent their children in a van to Bangalore to ensure Durga Singh would sweat and cringe. When he came to know this was a daily affair, they got a good education. The Uragahalli farm the doctor stopped sending his daughter with stood out from the other farms in the vicinity, him. The wet patch disappeared. Durga Singh and was a glowing example of what Punjab’s then offered enthusiastically to wash the doctor’s green revolution methods could achieve. The wife’s clothes. Once, when he was busy washing Sikhs had once driven me to their farm in their clothes, the doctor walked into the backyard and van. I’d got the feeling I was entering a Punjab found him rubbing his crotch with one of village. Saraswathi’s undergarments. Durga Singh The family handed me a bizarre case. Durga ejaculated even as the doctor stood watching. Singh, who worked as a soldier attached to the A concerned Dr Omprakash admitted Durga Pioneer Corps Training Centre at Munireddy Singh to the army’s Palya in Bangalore, had been arrested for murder. Command Hospital. I have never handled such a case since, nor have I Durga Singh was heard of anyone fighting such a case. I had won furious. He found many cases with ease, but this turned out to be a no women in challenge. I took it seriously and studied it the hospital; it thoroughly from many angles. I also spoke to had only male psychiatrists who dealt with cases of unnatural nurses. He was sex. mad at the Durga Singh suffered from high blood doctor. He started pressure. The 35-year old had no fantasising about children even after five years of the doctor’s marriage. He was unable to have sex daughter, and with his wife. The disappointed wife conjured up had gone back to her parents’ house. in his Durga Singh suffered from fetishism, a disease in which the patient is

Crime Folio

I

ILLUSTRATION: VIVEK ARUN

mind things belonging to his wife, such as her underwear, handkerchief, and handbag. Deprived of the chance of touching them, he became more and more frustrated. Durga Singh had spent a month in hospital, with no opportunity to ejaculate. One night, as the hospital staff were engrossed in a TV show, he told them he was going out to meet a patient in a neighbouring ward. He sneaked out and jumped over the hospital’s wall. He then entered the backyard of Dr Omprakash’s house. He had carried a knife with the intention of killing the doctor’s daughter and wife. Saraswathi was startled to see him, but managed to ask why he had come away from the hospital. Before she could complete her words, he stabbed her in the stomach. She screamed and collapsed. Omprakash’s children rushed out of the house. The other servants ran in from the front yard. Durga Singh fled. When people asked her who had stabbed her, Saraswathi pointed in the direction of Durga Singh, and fainted. Dr Omprakash was away. Saraswathi was dead by the time the jawans took her to hospital. Dr Omprakash lodged a complaint at the J C Nagar police station. Everyone at Command Hospital sympathised with him and mourned Saraswathi’s death. It was my case that if Durga Singh had been given proper treatment, he wouldn’t have committed this murder. The army ought to have admitted him to a mental hospital. He had been suffering from what they call ‘delusion of suspicion’ after he was moved from Dr Omprakash’s house to the hospital. It was a particular stage of his disease. Without proper treatment, it had turned to ‘delusion of persecution’, resulting in Saraswathi’s murder. Witnesses were produced before the court to prove that Durga Singh had sneaked out of the hospital. When he was called to the witness box, Dr Omprakash eulogised his wife’s qualities and burst out in tears. “I wouldn’t have felt so bad if she had died on a battlefield. I can’t bear to think she died such a horrible death,” he testified, and fell down unconscious. The judge was moved. Durga Singh got a life term. I thought the judge had decided the case on moral grounds. Had he decided it on legal grounds, Durga Singh would not have been punished. That was the first murder case I lost. Translated by S R Ramakrishna


T I M E P A SS Baby Blues

RICK KIRKMAN & JERRY SCOTT

Pardon My Planet

1st Cross

By VIC LEE

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

talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

Dustin

2 & 3 Down Bangalore resident who had her 15 minutes of fame at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony (7,8) 4 Festival celebrated in January (9) 6 Former Karnataka Governor who went on to become India's President (1,1,4) 7 See 21 Across (7) 8 Tourist destination famous for white water Across rafting (8) 10 ___ Hills: The highest 1 Minister in charge of tourism in the Karnataka State Cabinet (5,5) point in Bangalore (5) 3 Her basilica is located in Shivajinagar (4) 12 Famous temple on 5 Holiday spot in Karnataka (5) Kankapura road (12) 9 Bangalore's favourite beverage? (6) 13 City in the news for 11 ____ Lake: Picnic spot north east of the city. (6) moral policing (9) 13 Hospital on Airport road (7) 16 Former Lokayukta 14 This coastal town in North Karnataka is a popular tourist destination (7) justice who recently 15 Bangalore cinema - home to India's first 4k screen (7) submitted a report on 17 Deputy CM of Karnataka (10) illegal mining in 18 NSLIU called off classes for eight days recently on account of a ___ ___ scare (7,3) Karnatka (5) 19 India's one and only member of the 600 Test wickets club (6) 19 Gold mines 100 kms 21 Most popular rock concert venue in the city until recently (6) out of the city (5) 23 Bangalore pub named after Hades river (4) 20 Royal city in Karnataka 24 ___ Garden: Boating Park on Nagwara lake (7) (6) 25 Chappati made out of rice (4,4) 22 See 19 Ac (4)

By STEVE KELLEY and JEFF PARKER

Pros & Cons

By KIERAN MEEHAN

„ I had a boyfriend for five years. He is a musician. I never doubted him. One of his girl-students called me up one day to say he was sending her intimate messages. He had told her I was his ex (while we were still in a relationship). After reading his messages, I was so furious that I ended our relationship. That was seven months ago. He is following me again. His student is married and has gone away. I don't love him any more but his mom and brother are pleading with me to get back to him. They say he is feeling lonely. Merlyn Michael, Ulsoor

Down

39

Looks like he was trying to lure her even as he was seeing you. The truth is, there was no relationship between them, even if he sent her lovey-dovey messages. But then, if you are not in love with him, shouldn’t that give you a hint? He is lonely because he is incapable of an enduring relationship. He will learn in good time. Meanwhile, look ahead. „ My husband is so busy with work that he even goes to office on weekends. How

Alien uncle Being married to a merchant navy officer calls for a lot of adjustments. The first time he came home after a voyage, the family took some time to get used to his 'ship talk' as we call it. The walls would be referred to as bulkheads, the kitchen as the galley, the rooms as cabins, and the corridors as alleyways and the terrace as the deck! One of my nephews who heard him for the first time was so startled by this that, approaching me hesitantly, he whispered in my ears, "Aunty, I think Uncle was abducted by aliens. And they have changed his way of talking". Snehalata Naidu, Journalist, Richards Town

Professor Good Sense can our relationship better? BKJ (name changed), Koramangala

Many married men and women feel comfortable at their place of work, and willingly overwork. Face it: you are unhappy with each other. Even sex sometimes becomes a weekend compulsion. Your relationship can get better if you reinvent yourself. Sit down and talk. You are blaming him but you could also be the problem. Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Write to him at: prof@talkmag.in

Financial jockeying This happened when I was working as an RJ for another FM station. I was in the studio hosting my show, and had forgotten to put down the 'On Air' button. I got a call from my bank regarding my credit card expenditure, about how much I had spent on what, and all of that. Soon after, I got a call on the other line from a friend who said that my 8-minute long conversation with the bank guy was going live on air. Luckily, I was not fired from my job - probably thanks to the state of my finances, broadcasted that day for everyone's benefit. Rakesh Kumar, RJ

Share the humour in your life, multiply the fun! Keep those anecdotes coming to: features@talkmag.in


talk|16 aug 2012|talkmag.in

Now we know why it happened!

Enna Rascala! The power cut in north India is obvious. Rajni Sir is charging his mobile!

Harris Jayaraj song generator

Sunny side up

This hilarious posting by ParodesyNoise at popular music-sharing website Sound Cloud allows you to create a tune that would not be out of place in an album composed by Harris Jayaraj, Tamil cinema’s sultan of sentimentality. In a conversation dripping with sarcasm, the creators of this ‘Dummies Guide to Harris Jayaraj’ purport to discuss the ‘thought process’ behind Jayaraj’s compositions, and trace his ‘musical influences’ and ‘leit motifs’ all the way to none less than Richard Wagner. A basic text for any aspiring ‘music director’.

Sunny Leone has been too hot to handle. Mumbai municipal authorities had to pull down posters of her first Bollywood film, Jism 2 (‘To love her is to die’) from buses and electric poles after concerns were raised that they endangered public safety. All this notoriety though, is paying handsomely as Besharam, a webstore offering adult products (read sex toys) for Indians, recently announced Sunny as their, ahem, face. A while back, Sunny had hinted that she might be willing to give up hard-core American porn in exchange for the (presumably more virtuous) Bollywood soft-core.

Search for Harris Jayaraj for Dummies on www.soundcloud.com Courtesy: In.com

Triumph of the obvious In the age of hackers and spamsters, you’d think passwords would have gotten a lot more complex than Ali Baba’s ‘Open sesame’. But a recent leak of nearly 4 lakh passwords of Yahoo! users revealed that password choices remain blissfully basic. The most popular include ‘password’, ‘welcome’ and as if to hint at the devolution of our password-making capacity, ‘monkey’. Also popular were those that seemed like a list of collective longings - ‘money’, ‘sunshine’, ‘freedom’ and

40

‘love’ - though it’s not clear in what order of preference. Since these belong to American users, choices include ‘ninja’, ‘jesus’ and names of basketball stars (substitute with ‘sachin’ and ‘dhoni’ for India). So what does your password say about you?

Overheard: ‘Why’s everyone paying to watch Sunny Leone in Jism 2 when her porn movies are available for free online? ‘Idiot! with Sunny, you pay to see her with clothes on!’


Launch Edition