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Volume 1 | Issue 11 | October 25, 2012 | Rs 10

talk the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly


e highest for th a, ak at n ar K in s ce en lic seeking mining e ar ts an amis for lic en p b ap le ib 0 0 ss o ,3 p 19 s, r h la Ove al w n aa traders and p ty et p e ar y an M . ia d anth G N 6-10 In sh in ra P s rt o p re any state t, o lo r fo al e potenti big players who see a hug BONDING Raju, the noble mongrel who cares for Masti’s relative 3

AYYOTOONS Saif, Kareena and their marry-go-round 5

DASARA The curse of Talkad, and idol-makers from Kolkata 14-17

LITERATURE Review of Narcopolis, and Ananthamurthy on Basheer 18, 19

Talk, the magazine you just can’t miss. At your doorstep every week. Ask your news vendor or call 95388 92600

talk|25 oct 2012|

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Thought-provoking story on cycling, and a neatly produced magazine I won a four-week subscription to Talk magazine in a contest. The very next day after your executive informed me about it, I received a copy at my doorstep. As they say, ‘first impression is the best impression’ and I was thrilled to see a good magazine which is also affordable. I went through the whole magazine and could connect to it: the content is good, the design neat and overall, Talk is professionally produced. I liked the cover story Pedal on (Issue 10) by Maria Laveena, which was thought- provoking and will surely make a mark with readers in namma Bengaluru. Ayyotoons is the best ever as far as cartoons go, and I thoroughly enjoyed them! I’m definitely going to subscribe. Sirisha Akshinthala by email Timely story on bookshops

I read the Talk article on used book stores in Bangalore (Old beats new, and how Issue 9) and liked it. It was a wonderful way to talk about what is happening in the book market in the city. Many book stores are losing their customers, mostly to the web media. I say this from my own experience of running a book store—Page 3 Book Shop at Manipal Centre, which can be considered a ‘signature book shop’ dealing exclusively with design-related books. Print is still the most powerful medium, and apart from newspapers and other local publications, it is good to see Talk making its mark in Bangalore now. Vinay Sachdeva by email

morning, my vendor dropped a copy of Talk at home. I had not heard of it till then. I read every word of it as I enjoy reading newspapers. Congratulations, and best of luck in what is already a crowded media space. Permit me to offer my suggestions (and pardon me if I sound a bit critical). The articles in the issue dated October 11 (Issue 9) did not capture my attention. I wonder if you could write about eminent personalities in Bangalore, unsung NGOs, artisans, antique collectors and cooks. Talented singers, musicians, authors, doctors and physically challenged people also deserve coverage, besides social and sporting activities in the city. You could also raise awareness about cancer. Your magazine should be different. Dr Mazhar H Shariff, St John’s Medical College Bangalore

More on these lines, please Greetings and good wishes. Last

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S R Ramakrishna Editor Sridhar Chari Consulting 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 Shridhar G Kulkarni Graphic Designer Ramesh Hunsur Senior Photographer Vivek Arun Graphics Artist

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from the margins

talk|25 oct 2012| RAMESH HUNSUR

A man, a dog, a life Jnanpith laureate Masti Venkatesa Iyengar's relative Chakrapani, blind and homeless, would have been all alone but for his loyal friend Raju. Savie Karnel spends a heart-warming afternoon with the former postal official and his mongrel companion

rom the dark corridors of Victoria Hospital, as the strong smell of phenyl assails my nostrils, all I see is anxious relatives waiting on people in varying degrees of discomfort. Five nurses and two ward boys sit around a table with long faces. Life isn’t cheerful for them either. Suddenly, a ward boy peeps out and announces, “Here he is! They are coming.” Everyone rushes to the pathway, delighted. I follow them. “Raju. He never leaves his master alone,” a nurse tells me. The black and white mongrel leads a blind Chakrapani into the ward. “Ey, Raju. Rajanna, illi nodu. Look here,” the nurses call out to


BOW WOW Raju was a pup when Chakrapani took him home. The two are now at a VIP ward in Victoria Hospital

“That’s how we used to identihim. Raju ignores them, and goes about his work. With a worn-out fy him,” says Narayana, a hospital rope and a rusty leash around his employee in his forties who hails neck, he guides his master through from Chakrapani’s place. Chakrapani says he’s closely the stairs and the milling people. Chakrapani is back from his related to renowned Kannada novdiagnostic tests. A ward boy offers elist and Jnanpith awardee Masti water to Raju, who turns his face Venkatesh Iyengar, a TV channel away and walks up to his master. discovered a couple of days ago. Chakrapani clambers on to his bed. When footage of his plight was Raju paces about restlessly, whin- aired, the government rushed to his aid. Power Minister Shobha ing. “He doesn’t stay apart even for Karandlaje sent a car to pick him up a minute,” says ward boy Sridhar, and bring him to Bangalore. At Kolar, Chakrapani refused explaining to me the bond between to get in unless Chakrapani and Raju was allowed Raju. ‘Don’t separate to hop in, too. The affection is us. I’d rather go When they mutual. “Where’s arrived at Victoria Raju?” Chakrapani back to the Hospital, the staff asks. “Bring him. streets than part didn’t know what Keep him close to with Raju,’ to do with the dog. me.” Chakrapani said “Don’t separate us. Sridhar lifts the I would rather go mongrel up and places him on the bed. Raju cuddles back on the streets than part with up to Chakrapani, who pats him Raju,” Chakrapani said. That is how Raju got into the fondly. “He is my guide and I am his. We live for each other,” he tells me VIP ward of the hospital. “If we try to take him away, he becomes when I tell him I am a reporter. A couple of days ago, aggressive and bares his teeth. Chakrapani was on the streets, a Otherwise, he is friendly and harmhomeless wanderer, in Kolar, a two- less,” Sridhar explains to me. Chakrapani is thirsty, and gets hour drive from Bangalore. In that city, he was known only as the old water in a steel tumbler. Continued on page 4  blind man with a dog.


editor talk How mining changed Karnataka is well known. After the 2009 assembly elections, when the BJP fell short of a decisive majority, it deployed the Reddy brothers, then flush with money earned from illegal exports to China, to buy support. Once the party came to power, the miners started garnering undue benefits for themselves. In fact, B S Yeddyurappa can trace all his woes, including his imprisonment in a corruption case, to the day he made a devil’s pact with the mining lords. He had helped the Reddy brothers and their right-hand man B Sriramulu to graduate from municipal politics to state politics. They were now so rich they could pay their way through all hurdles (they caused two judges to end up behind bars, too). With support from Sushma Swaraj, it looked like they were all set to play a big game in Delhi. It took Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and a dismayed Supreme Court to stop their loot and pillage. A bigger threat is now looming. With over 19,000 applications pending, Karnataka may see a tragic upheaval if it indiscriminately grants new mining licences. Prashanth G N brings you details of how the rich and powerful are out prospecting, and what the implications are for the Western Ghats. On another note: People in Bangalore couldn’t have missed the racy, over-the-top south Indian film songs that go on to become runaway hits. The Hindi film industry is now smitten by the style, and Dream-um wakeup-um, from the film Aiyyaa, is an unabashed tribute to the raunchy southern fantasy number. You will see in Rani Mukherjee’s moves inspiration from buxom southern queens such as Khushboo. We have an interview with Sowmya Raoh, the Bangalore singer who delivered the Hindi hit. All this, and more, on the pages that follow. Happy reading! S R Ramakrishna

from the margins “Chakrapani spends it only on the dog. He Continued from page 3  As he holds it up, Raju laps it all up. I sometimes sits on the chair and lets the try to stop him, but Chakrapani says, “Let dog relax on the bed,” says Narayana. As though to defend his actions, him. He is thirsty. I’ll have the tumbler washed and drink from it again. We use the Chakrapani says, “Raju loves dosas and biscuits. He has never troubled me. We somesame vessels.” He pulls out a crumpled plastic bag times walk for miles. All he needs is water. from his pocket and picks out a Rs 10 note. He drinks at least a litre and a half.” Today, Raju is Chakrapani’s only famHanding it to Sridhar, he says, “Get him some biscuits. He is hungry. He has just ily. He was a stray pup three and a half had a packet of biscuits in the morning and years ago, when Chakrapani picked him up. “My mother and sisnothing else.” ter adored him and we Going by what he tells Chakrapani sees called him Raju,” he me, Chakrapani, an MSc, a parallel in recalls. used to work in the postal Raju’s life: both After the death of department. We speak in his mother and sister, Kannada, but when talking saw their mother Chakrapani sees paralabout his professional life, he and sister being lels between his life and breaks into flawless, polished killed, he says Raju’s. “Our relatives English. cast a black magic spell The hospital staff have been kind. “We have given Raju milk and and killed my mother and sister. Someone rice with sugar. He hasn’t touched it, killed Raju’s mother and sister, too. Now, I though,” says Sridhar, taking the money live for him and he lives for me.” Chakrapani often trails off and from Chakrapani. The minister who brought him to the remembers happier days. “Masti was a hospital has also handed him some money. great poet. I can recite all his poems. When

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Masti Venkatesa Iyengar Masti (18911986) is one of the giants of modern Indian literature. He is considered the father of the Kannada short story, The Jnanpith awardee also wrote poetry and translated plays. Jeevana, the literary magazine he edited and published, ran for over two decades. As a civil servant, he held high government positions. I was young, he had brought me to Bangalore and we had been to the house of the then principal of Vijaya College, Revanasiddaiah. I have delivered lectures at many colleges.” Although admired for his fine fiction, Masti also wrote some songs and poems. Chakrapani says the government owes him his salary arrears “I will write to


President Abdul Kalam…. er.. no, Pranab Mukherjee, and former president Pratibha Patil. I will go to Rashtrapati Bhavan and demand my salary dues,” he tells me in English. The money doesn’t matter to Raju: he lies curled up in a corner, unmindful of the conversation. The moment Chakrapani gets up to use the bathroom, Raju jumps down, all ready to lead him. “One day we locked up Raju in a room and took the old man for some tests. Raju was whining and scratching the door all the time. We now let him go along,” says Sridhar. The nurses agree Raju is well behaved. He doesn’t disturb anyone. Whenever he has to pee or poop, he lightly scratches Chakrapani, who walks him out. Fellowpatients have no complaints. Chakrapani returns. It is time for his afternoon siesta. Raju snuggles up to him. The doctors and the hospital staff seemed to be understanding and supportive. Medicine alone, they know, cannot cure a man.

Political Diary

Don’t, sir… you’ll be a zero! Why Shettar didn’t do anything dramatic about Cauvery, what fraud-accused former minister Katta is up to, and how the BJP is splitting up

PRESSURED CM Jagadish Shettar is now facing the heat from former mentor B S Yeddyurappa


Later, he claimed he was ill and went abroad for treatment. As of today, he is back to his lavish ways, relaxing at home in ast week, as the Cauvery dispute Bangalore. He had stopped making public reached boiling point and chief appearances, but recently attended an minister Jagadish Shettar weighed event organised by a scheduled castes and his choices anxiously, Water scheduled tribes group. He shared the dais Resources minister Basavaraj Bommai told with BJP strongman and guru Venkaiah him: “We better take a strong stand so that Naidu. Using the opportunity to show his it fetches us good votes in the state elec- ‘hurt’, he said: “I have worked for the party for 25 years. I have walked a diftions. If we go down fighting, ficult path to reach here. Not we will definitely be seen as once have I made corruption heroes.” charges against any party colShettar’s close circle wasleague. But today, they all call n’t convinced. They cautioned me corrupt. I haven’t used polihim: “Bommai is a Yeddyurappa tics for my selfish ends,” said a man, so be careful. In the past, sentimental Katta, wiping his S M Krishna had taken out a tears. Narayanaswamy, a minispadayatra, and Ambarish went ter from Anekal, walked up to and resigned from his position as a central minister to show, Katta Subramanya Naidu him and asked in sympathy: “Selfish means emi?” (‘What does all to support to farmers. But they were defeated. If you do something ‘selfish’ mean?’) dramatic for the Cauvery cause, you may also have to suffer till the end.” That was it. The perfect split Water flowed without hindrance to Tamil B S Yeddyurappa and K S Eshwarappa hail Nadu! from Shimoga district, and have been in the BJP for three decades. But they just can’t stand each other. Minister Katta, minister meetha When Yeddyurappa became chief After former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu was sent to jail (prisoner number minister, Eshwarappa was given a minis7802) on land grab charges, he had said in ter’s position. Sensing the earning potenthe High Court: “If I am convicted, what tial in Shimoga district, the two leaders carved up their territories. But when will happen to the other 39 thieves?”


Eshwarappa looked like he was getting a bit too powerful, Yeddyurappa spoke to the party’s Delhi leaders and gave Eshwarappa a powerful position: that of president of the state unit. In the process, Eshwarappa lost the energy portfolio, and Shobha Karandlaje stepped into his shoes. A furious Eshwarappa waited for the right opportunity, and when Yeddyurappa was about to be jailed, enjoyed the drama without doing anything to help. Till recently, for media consumption, they continued to behave cordially with each other. But all that has changed. Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda, Prahlad Joshi and Jagadish Shettar now represent Eshwarappa’s group, while Murugesh Nirani, Basavaraj Bommai, Renukacharya, Somanna and Shobha Karandlaje are on Yeddyurappa’s side. Expect more fun as the split becomes wider in the weeks to come.

fun lines

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mining leases

talk|25 oct 2012|



RAVAGED Workers at an iron ore mine in Bellary. Illegal operations in the region have led to severe environmental damage and hundreds of fatal mining and road accidents

LICENCE TO LOOT Nearly half of all applicants for mining permits in the country are eyeing Karnataka, a state now notorious for its complicit government and pliable bureaucracy. Some aspirants could be benami, while others seem ‘inspired’ by the windfall profits politicians and mining companies are reaping


hastened by the judiciary, illegal mining has come to a standstill in Karnataka. But people in the mining business believe this is just a temporary lull, and killer fortunes are waiting to be made. The state has received a flood of applications for mining not just iron ore, which it possesses in larger quantities than any other state in the country, but also gold, manganese and granite among others. The numbers are mind-boggling: in a state that has less than 200 registered mining companies, 19,351 applications are pending. This is not only the highest number in the coun-


try, but more than thrice that of 35 per cent of the country’s iron ore Gujarat, a state with the next highest deposits. But the trouble is that a bulk number of applications at 4,924. of them (8 billion tonnes out of a total Madhya Pradesh (4,587) and 9 billion) are located in the Western Jharkhand (4,309) are two other states Ghats, which remains largely closed for mining because of miners are eyeing. ecological concerns Data compiled by the Union Ministry Karnataka holds and opposition from local communities. A of Mines shows that nearly 35 large portion of the of the 42,535 pendper cent of the ore outside the ing applications Western Ghats has seeking permission country’s iron already been mined, for mining in the ore deposits primarily in the country, Karnataka’s Bellary region. As the share is more than Lokayukta report on illegal mining in 45 per cent. The unusually high numbers are the state shows, illegal export of iron partly explained by iron ore being the ore through the Belekere port alone most sought-after mineral in the amounted to a staggering 5 million mining industry. Its margins are high tonnes. Karnataka’s former Lokayukta and royalties (fee charged by the government) minuscule. Karnataka holds Santosh Hegde (see box) found the

mining leases

talk|25 oct 2012|

application figures “astonishing”, and fee is only about Rs 3,500, scores of peoasked who the applicants could be. “It’s ple who dream of getting rich quickly are possible a single company has filed mul- applying. I know of auto drivers, paantiple applications under different names, wallahs, textile merchants, coffee shop which means benami companies are a owners, and ordinary traders who have filed applications. What has their normal possibility,” he said. But when Talk asked D V trade got to do with mining? Many Pichamuthu, director of the Federation politicians and their associates too are of Indian Mineral Industry (South), among the applicants.” He gives the about it, he explained it away as a reflec- example of an auto driver in Bellary who tion of the natural interest of mining has on paper made approximately Rs 300 companies in the huge mineral wealth of crore over the last decade through minthe state. “If companies had not estimat- ing, though he still drives his auto! Many applicants, who claimed on ed benefits from minerals and if deposits were not huge, why would they apply? paper to run registered companies, just Also, though a bulk of the proposals may don’t exist at their addresses. “These be for iron ore, they are also for gold, companies are floated by all kinds of manganese, granite, stone and other people. Most are fly-by-night operators. Some shady ore dealers pay VAT even minerals,” he said. State government officials who when they are not registered as a company. They bribe officials spoke to us on condition to secure the tax papers of anonymity confirmed Many ‘registered’ they need for transportthe number and said the ing ore, but when you applications had been companies just search for their compafiled over the last six don’t exist at nies, you won’t find years, when mining was their addresses them,” he says. creating tycoons in One factor that Bellary. They say the encourages suspect number of permits and leases issued will depend on central and applicants is the mining and geology state government policy and the land department’s unwritten policy of not and mineral distribution statistics placed verifying addresses of the applicants. An before them. “We could issue a big or official explained what goes on: “We do small number of leases depending on not check or verify addresses of compamany factors. In general, we don’t offer nies given to us. We assume they are genuine; why else should they be given to leases recklessly,” an official said. Recent history shows otherwise. us? We use the addresses only for correThe 2010 Lokayukta report on illegal spondence. If there is no response, the mining clearly revealed that government applicant is the loser because we cease officials across departments are complic- communication.” When we asked mining industry it in undermining the system they run. On July 31, 2012, the government sus- representative Pichamuthu if many of pended 40 officials and issued show- the applicants could be benami, he said, cause notices to 257. Five IAS officers “I don’t think so. I think all the compaamong them were accused of serious nies are registered. Also, do you think lapses in the Lokayukta’s illegal mining there are only Bangalore-based compareport. A retired mines department offi- nies?” Well-known environmentalist cial and a forest official have been arrested by the CBI, and several others are fac- Madhav Gadgil, though, has a different take on even the supposedly clean ‘coring investigation. porate’ miners that Pichamuthu represents. He told Talk: “I have heard from Who’s applying? While industry representatives and offi- several mining company heads that they cials claim the application process is all bribe officials to avoid paying royalty hunky-dory, others are suspicious. While altogether. Since the bribes are cheaper many national and international mining than the already low royalty, profits companies are among the applicants, increase even further.” Gadgil headed there are also a large number of unlikely the Western Ghats Environmental or suspect applicants, says a Bellary- Expert Group, whose August 2011 report based mining activist who has been fol- called for strictly restricted mining in lowing the mining scam closely. “Since ecologically sensitive areas. Continued on page 8  any citizen has the right to apply and the

Applications for mining permits currently awaiting approval Karnataka 19,351

Jharkhand 4,309

Madhya Pradesh 4,587

Gujarat 4,924


Why it’s all wrong Justice Santosh Hegde

subcontracting, and therefore illegal.

Former Lokayukta

The lack of rigour at the level of accepting applications has resulted in The figure of 19,000-plus applications for mining (in Karnataka) is astonishing. powerful people coming into mining. Many have never been to the mines, It gives room for suspicion about who but have the financial muscle to get and what kind of people are applying somebody else to do the work. They sit for mining leases. It also raises the and reap the profits. suspicion that a single company may have filed multiple applications under How do you explain a silk sari company different names. owner or grain merchant running People involved in illegal mining could also be applying, and there could be companies whose addresses you won’t find when you actually go looking. This is what I found in the course of my mining investigations as Lokayukta. There has to be filtering at the application stage. Strict eligibility criteria should be enforced. In my report, I have mentioned that Section 11 of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act makes certain qualifications necessary for making a meritorious mining application. An applicant has to show, according to this section, knowledge and experience, financial resources, technology and staff. He should indicate his extent of investment in mines, and what he wants to do with the mineral. These qualifications are important because people with absolutely no experience in mining get licences and then subcontract the business, thereby flouting the law. Subcontracting takes the form of 'raising' contracts, which also, I have argued, is a form of

mines? They do it through subcontracting. These subcontracts are given to dubious people and companies. Their violations are not easily traceable. They extract minerals from outside notified areas, overload mining lorries, smuggle out ore, and undertake multiple trips on a single permit. First, the extraction is illegal. Then they stock ore beyond permissible limits, and transport loads above the prescribed limit. For example, a multiaxle lorry is used to carry 30 tonnes in place of 25, and it makes 10 trips instead of one. No royalty is paid for the extra load. The auto drivers and shopkeepers who apply for licences have no investment capacity. They borrow money from the rich. Powerful people without mining expertise gain a foothold and pass on mining leases to others. Mining should technically, legally and ideally be undertaken only by the original owner of the permit. As told to Prashanth G N


mining leases  Continued

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from page 7

Feeding frenzy The Bellary activist whom Talk spoke to explains that traditionally, mining used to be the preserve of around 50 families in the region—but from 2000 onwards, when demand for ore from China skyrocketed— everyone wants a stake in the business. As he puts it, “They are aware that the trade is lucrative and have seen how some people have grown in the region.” The ‘some people’ is a reference to the Reddy brothers, who began as children of a police constable, and in ten years, were flying private jets and buying up fleets of luxury cars, including Rolls Royces, Audis and BMWs. The ‘suspect’ nature of many applicants gives a clue to what is really going on. For one, it indicates that many are likely to be benamis (fronts) for miners or companies under investigation for their illegalities. The riches of mining barons like the Lad brothers (Anil and Santosh), and later, the meteoric rise of the Reddy brothers (Janardhana, Somashekara and Karunakara) has turned many heads in Bellary and elsewhere. Clearly, many of them are undeterred by the fact that Janardhana Reddy—whose fortune is said to run into to thousands of crores—and many of his associates now languish in jail.

A relaxed position on mining at this stage will bring immense pressure on Karnataka to put up for sale the ultimate prize that miners are after—the 8 billion tonnes of iron ore buried under the Western Ghats, with potentially disastrous consequences (see story on page 10). Once permits are granted, it would be impossible to stop the “unscrupulous elements” in the state’s mining industry, known to treat even Supreme Court orders with contempt. For instance, in May 2010 the apex court had What it implies issued an order prohibiting the Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and his team had Janardhana Reddy Reddy brothers’ Obalapuram Mining Company from discovered widespread violations by the mining industry, including massive mining in a jurisdiction of 150 environmental damage, and evasion of roy- meters on either side of the border alty payments. Mining-related accidents between Karnataka and Andhra went up dramatically, and hundreds were Pradesh’s Ananthapur district. A fatal. The 2010 Lokayukta report on illegal CBI investigation later revealed mining eventually led the Yeddyurappa that the Reddys had thrown the government, itself in the dock, to impose a order to the winds, and continued with the mining, and actually Anil Lad two-year ban on exports from the state. In July this year, Susmita Dasgupta, erased the border between the two states. Technically speaking, there’s nothing joint chief economist, Union Ministry of illegal about a high number of applications Steel, told the press in for mining permits. But the fact remains Bangalore that the “hurried, that many applicants are suspect, the irresponsible and reckless” state’s mining industry is murky, and minmining of ore deposits ers collude with the bureaucracy and in Karnataka was political establishment (to the point pushing them to the where they are literally indistinverge of exhaustion. guishable, like with the Reddys and But bigger tragedies the Lads of Bellary). That should may lie in store.

serve as enough warning when it comes to deciding on the future of mining the state.

Mining lease categories

What lies ahead The Supreme Court, in a judgment on February 2 this year, observed that a duly publicised auction conducted fairly and impartially is perhaps the best method for granting mineral concessions. “...Methods like the first-come-first-served, when used for alienation of natural resources, are likely to be misused by unscrupulous people who are only interested in garnering maximum financial benefit and have no respect for Constitutional ethos and values”, the court said. Given the controversies surrounding mining, the Union Ministry of Mines is treading cautiously when it comes to granting mineral concessions. It is currently awaiting the law ministry’s opinion on how to treat the applications—whether to process them on a first-come-first-served basis, or go in for auction. The state government too claims to be going slow on mining applications in the wake of Supreme Court ban on mining in 2011 and resumption of conditional mining only in certain areas. A mining department official told Talk, “Mining is a very sensitive issue in the state now and not much can be done at present as the Supreme Court is monitoring the sector. The centre is trying to change policy, from

The CEC (Central Empowered Committee) has classified mining companies in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts into three categories: Category A comprises 45 mines where there is nothing illegal or irregular. Category B comprises 72 leases. Here, the CEC has found illegal mining with pits extending 10 per cent beyond sanctioned areas. Category C comprises 49 leases with flagrant violations of the Forest Conservation Act and mining in nonlease areas. first-come first-served to auction. Clarity has to emerge on this. The effort to wipe out illegality takes time.” The Centre-appointed Justice M B Shah Commission, probing illegal mining, recently toured the state and has sought the state government’s view on imposing a ban on export of minerals, especially iron ore. The panel investigated mining in Goa as well, and has already recommended a ban on iron ore exports, saying miners violated rules and made their millions from outbound shipments. Also read: Eye on the Western Ghats. Page 10

182 applications from firm that ‘bribed’ BSY South West Mining Ltd, accused of paying a Rs 20-crore bribe to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, is among the companies queueing up for new mining leases in Karnataka. The company and its sister concerns have put in applications for 182 mining leases. The CBI said earlier this week that

Yeddyurappa, now on the verge of quitting the BJP, had misused his office to waive Rs 890 crore, due from the company to the state government. The agency, which filed a charge sheet at a CBI special court in Bangalore, has named Yeddyurappa as the prime accused and listed his sons B Y

Vijayendra and B Y Raghavendra and son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar among the accused. “Investigation has revealed that Rs 20 crore was illegal gratification received from the Bellary-based private company as a quid pro quo for not insisting on the recovery of Rs 890 crore,” a press release said.

mining leases

talk|25 oct 2012|


Eye on the Western Ghats Under the verdant expanses of India’s grand mountain range sit billions of tonnes of mineral reserves. Industry is pushing for underground mining in this ecologically sensitive region


ne of the startling facts about the 19,000-plus applications received for mining permits in Karnataka is that they are all for mining areas in the districts of Bellary, Bagalkot, Chitradurga, and Tumkur, together harbouring an estimated one billion tonnes of iron ore. What, one wonders, would be mining in the Western Ghats could be the interest if the Western Ghats, considered. The mining and steel ministries with an estimated eight billion tonnes of iron ore, is opened up for mining? are in favour of mining in the Ghats, The Indian Council for Forestry while some in the state government, Research and Education (ICFRE), an environmentalists and the Madhav autonomous institution under the Gadgil Western Ghat Ecology Expert Ministry of Environment and Forest, Panel are opposed to it. In November 2011, a committee estimates that the ore in Karnataka’s Western Ghats forms 90 per cent of headed by Secretary for Steel P K the total 11 billion tonnes in the Mishra had recommended removal of entire range of the Ghats, running iron ore from the Western Ghats to meet the demand for ore from from Gujarat to Kerala. The state has currently 238 domestic steel producers. “There is a need mines in operation, to commission a feasiprimarily in Bellary, bility study to bring in Chitradurga and 90 per cent of superior underground Tumkur districts. The the state’s mining technology, mining industry is lobiron ore is in which is environmenbying for areas in tal friendly, in the Dakshina Kannada, the Ghats Western Ghats to Uttara Kannada, extract more than 10 Kodagu, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Kudremukh, billion tonnes of magnetite ore availChamarajanagar, Belgaum and able. Out of this eight billion tonnes Dandeli, which have the largest iron are in Karnataka alone”, the ICFRE ore and bauxite deposits in the coun- had stated in the 2011 report. The try. The Western Ghats run through CEC said the suggestion was beyond the terms of reference of ICFRE. most of these districts. Karnataka’s Forest Minister C P Since cutting down the forests will run into opposition, an alterna- Yogeshwar told Talk: “In the neartive way to get at the ore is to under- term, the state government will not take underground mining. However, permit mining anywhere, and defithe Supreme Court-appointed nitely not in the Ghats. The forest Central Empowered Committee department has also not received any (CEC) in February this year rejected application from the mines and geoldepartment for mining the suggestion of underground min- ogy approvals.” ing in the Western Ghats region. The Supreme Court in a ICFRE had earlier suggested, in its Environment Impact Assessment September judgement ordered report to the Supreme Court in resumption of mining in Category A November 2011, that underground mines (mines without violations) in


FRAGILE PEACE One of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, 39 Western Ghats sites have been designated as World Heritage sites

Karnataka, while asking for certain conditions to be fulfilled for resumption in Category B (minor violations) and Category C mines (major violations). The apex court has directed 63 Category B mining leases in Karnataka to pay compensation for illegal mining outside the sanctioned area, before allowing them to restart operations. In its orders dated July 29, 2011 and August 26, 2011, it imposed a ban on mining operations on all the leases (except two of NMDC) in the districts of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur. Later, the ban was lifted and permission given for resumption of mining in some Category A mines, subject to conditions. India produced about 208 million tonnes of iron ore in 2010-11; half of the quality ore was exported. In 2011-12, it will require 115 million of iron ore for the projected production of 73.7 million tonnes of steel. In the next five years, around 206 million tonnes of ore is required to produce a projected 125.9 million tonnes of steel. The Director of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industry-South, D V Pichamuthu, told Talk: “There will be a slide in industrial development in the state if mining is not resumed. Underground mining in the Western Ghats can be undertaken without environmental damage.” The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by National Advisory Council (NAC) member and ecologist Madhav Gadgil, has in its August 2011 report identified several

eco-sensitive zones in the Western Ghats region and recommended that they be declared no-go areas. The panel has also called for scrapping of Karnataka’s Gundia and Kerala’s Athirapally hydro-projects, and gradual phasing out of mining activities in ecologically sensitive areas of Goa by 2016. It has suggested the setting up of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) as a statutory body. On August 5, 2011, the Supreme Court ordered a study of the destruction caused by mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur. The study was carried out by ICFRE. The environment ministry has constituted a working group headed by eminent space scientist and Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan to examine the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report “in a holistic and multi-disciplinary fashion”. The Kasturiranganheaded panel will also study the implications of Centre-state relations with respect to conservation and sustainable development of Western Ghats. UNESCO declared the Western Ghats a world heritage site on July 1, 2012. In all, 39 sites that dot the Western Ghats landscape will be part of the region so designated. Kerala leads with 20 sites being inscribed in the list, followed by Karnataka with 10, Tamil Nadu five and Maharashtra four. The Ghats are currently known to have more than 5,000 plant and 140 mammal species, 16 of which are endemic to the region.

well being

talk|25 oct 2012|



A city used to dance as culture, worship and entertainment, now rediscovers it as therapy

Steps to health and healing to treat diabetes, marital discord, polio and obesity.” At Shristi, the emphasis is on Indian classical and folk movements. amya Tirtha was told by Gestures and movements from her doctor to practise Bharatanatyam, Kathak and yoga are yoga for her hyperten- blended with animal movements. sion. “But when I Satyanaryana claims, for example, approached my yoga that ‘peacock dance’ movements are instructor, she suggested I take up beneficial for lung and spine probdance therapy,” she says. That is how lems while ‘snake dance’ movements she became a student of Shristi’s help people control obesity. Many pregnant women take Institute of Dance Therapy in dance therapy. “A pregnant woman Bangalore. Many who thought dance was needs to keep her body and limbs supple to ensure easy about entertainment, labour. I have leisure, culture and ‘Sex symphony’, designed movements worship, have realised helps couples imitating age old it can offer much domestic chores,” more. Certain forms revitalise their says Satyanarayana. of dance, if practised love life, and is He cautions that continuously, are very popular pregnant women believed to cure or should practise mitigate diabetes, arthritis, obesity, polio, chronic pain, movements only for 10 minutes a day, and depression. Dance slows down and women with heart problems ageing, alleviates stress, and reduces should not take up dance. His ‘sex symphony’ therapy is feelings of isolation and fear. Dance as therapy is still nascent meant for couples who have lost in Bangalore. Therapists like Dr A V interest in each other. “Urbanisation Satyanarayana and Tripura Kashyap and stressful lifestyles affect people’s are trying to promote awareness sex lives. I have created beautiful about its therapeutic and cathartic dance movements to help them put the romance back in their lives,” he values. Satyanarayana is the director of says. The American Dance Therapy Shristi Institute of Dance Therapy. An exponent of Bharatnatyam and Association (AITA) defines dance Kathak, he says, “As a dancer with 40 therapy as the psychotherapeutic use years’ experience, I have created steps of movement, as a process that fur-



DIVERGENT MOVES Tripura Kashyap (top left), who runs Apoorva Dance Theatre, encourages customised movements, while Dr Satyanarayana of Shristi Institute banks on traditional forms

thers emotional, cognitive, and physical integration in individuals. Dance therapists encourage participants to evolve a personal movement language to achieve holistic growth and healthier functioning. Tripura Kashyap, choreographer and trained dance therapist from the Hancock Center in Wisconsin, conducts workshops and classes on contemporary and creative dance, physical theatre, and dance in education. Children living in rehabilitation centres and the visually impaired have seen improvement through her therapy. Not everyone is comfortable expressing themselves verbally, Tripura says. “Through my therapy, I help them come up with their own movements.” Tripura combines Indian and Western dance theatre moves in her classes. She emphasises movements that can be done from a single position. “I don’t believe in classical or folk movements in my therapy. It’s foolish to use structured, classical movements as many handicapped children can’t execute it,” Tripura told Talk. “I always knew dancing could work wonders in the lives of people, especially those suffering from incurable ailments. My brother, a patient of polio-meningitis, gave me the confidence to take up dance therapy as a profession as his body showed improvement whenever we taught him some movements,” recalls

Tripura, who lost her brother ten years ago. As a student of Kalakshetra in Chennai, Tripura has collaborated with dancers, filmmakers, visual artists, theatre directors and musicians on several cross-art projects and performances. Tripura has also choreographed ‘site-specific’ dances in a large dry well, a pub, a low lying table, and on ladders against a wall. She travelled to Sri Lanka as part of the ‘Teertha’ International artistes’ residency’ programme in which she created dances to merge with paintings, sculptures and art installations. Tripura is the author of a book titled, My Body, My Wisdom: A handbook of creative hand therapy and presently runs a school in Bangalore called Apoorva Dance Theatre. She is also the co-coordinator of Bhoomika Creative Dance Theatre, Pune, where she teaches, choreographs and performs with her students. As the Austrian writer Vicki Baum puts it, “There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” It looks like dance can also be a short-cut to good health.

Here they are Satyanarayana A V 2667 1853/98456 98089 Tripura Kashyap’s workshops: 2664 2662. You can also contact Anita Jacob on 98445 41378

on tv

talk|25 oct 2012|


The musical travellers return

The Dewarists, the TV show that combines travelogue with music, launches its second season on October 28. Talk caught up with director Ayesha Sood for a lowdown on what we can expect to see and hear PRACHI SIBAL

year has passed and musical magic on television is about to return, and this time in a more colourful and widely travelled form. Part documentary, part travelogue, The Dewarists enters its second season on October 28. If you were impressed by the show’s landmark collaborations last year— like that of Vishal-Shekhar and Grammy award-winning musician Imogen Heap—this one boasts a stunning line-up with the likes of Shaa’ir and Func’s Monica Dogra, Karsh Kale, Papon, Chennai’s La Pongal and Bangalore’s own Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ). Talk got hold of Ayesha Sood, the Delhi-based documentary and short filmmaker who has been commissioned to direct the brand new season. Sood, who works as a director with the Delhi-based Jamun Collective, has in the past worked with film director Farhan Akhtar and actor Rahul Bose. Director of the award-winning short film Cherry on Top, she has done documentary work that’s outsourced by National Geographic Channel and NDTV Metro Nation. Talking about how she came to sign up for Dewarists, Sood says, “Someone at Babble Fish (the


MIXED FRUIT JAM Grammy Award winner Imogen Heap with musician Vishal Dadlani in Season 1. Ayesha Sood (top left)

production company behind the without interfering or bothering show) saw some of the short videos I them too much,” she adds. A lot went right for the show in had made, and called me over.” Sood admits she was impressed the first season, starting from the with the first season of the show and visuals to the widely publicised went on board despite its fairly set appearance of Imogen Heap. We format. “I was super impressed with wonder then, what will make this seathe first season. It was the one thing son any different from the first one on Indian television I was really and what will keep the essence of the proud of and thought the sensibilities show intact? Also, with the format in of the makers were faultless,” she place, how much of her perspective is says. Though primarily a music show, a filmmaker allowed to bring in? “The choice of The Dewarists brings the collaborators, together musicians Artistes on the since they come from across genres on a single platform, show don’t really from different genres or spaces, always making them travel need a common creates interesting together and doculanguage; they moments,” says menting the sessions communicate Sood. “While there in progress while colisn’t much room to laborative tracks are musically, Sood change things, why created. In the last seasays fix something that son, viewers saw isn’t broken?” Then, everything from the expanses of Rajasthan to the nooks of as if having second thoughts, she adds that the performances will be Delhi. While music is the priority, tweaked in her own style. “I am curithere’s a lot for a filmmaker to do. ous to see what happens when Akala Ayesha says, “A filmmaker definitely meets Piyush Mishra,” she says. Sood hints at many more interfits the role of director for this show as this is a documentary style. But national artistes being part of the seaone definitely must have an ear for son, but refuses to let the cat out of music and an understanding of musi- the bag yet. The promos are out on cians and their work. As collaborating YouTube and doing the rounds on musicians have only a few days social networking sites. As with the together to come up with a song, it is previous season, the show is pitted as important for us to capture their an experience over being a mere show recording sessions and conversations that brings musicians together.

Comparisons to MTV’s Coke Studio are to be expected, and Sood is quick in brushing them away. “Coke Studio is all indoors in a studio and mostly musicians performing within their comfort zone. The Dewarists is more about an exploration, not just in music but also in the city or space they visit. It’s also about pulling people out of their comfort zone,” she says firmly. Traveling across the country with musicians sometimes not all that informed about one another’s genres can seem like a task. “Well, language sometimes can be an issue when you have musical collaborators like Anthony Daasan (vocalist, La Pongal) who only speaks Tamil and Randolf Correia (guitarist, Shaa’ir and Func) who speaks Hindi and English. But what’s interesting is that they communicate musically, and don’t seem to need verbal language.” The musical journey is in progress and the first episode is on its way to being aired. The crew has been touring Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and even the Andaman Islands. Sood says she has no music production plans, though. “For now, I am going to rest, that is my only plan,” she signs off. The Dewarists — A Dewar’s Initiative will be aired on Star World every Sunday 8 pm from Oct 28.

dasara special

talk|25 oct 2012|



Twenty groups of artisans come every year from Kolkata to Bangalore to make clay Ganeshas, and one stays back to make Durgas

The Idol-makers from Bengal MARIA LAVEENA

hey come every year during the Ganesh Chaturthi season. They are 20 groups of idol-makers from Bengal. After crafting a kaleidoscopic range of Ganeshas, Lakshmis and Saraswatis, they go back home. Bhula Biswas is one of them, a member of 80-year-old Sudhir Pal’s group. “We have been coming here for 11 years,” he says. There are about 14 people in his group, and its ‘owners’ take care of their food and stay. They also pay each artisan Rs 50 to Rs 500 a day, depending on his experience and skill. Interestingly enough, Sudhir Pal’s group is the only one making Durga idols, and has therefore stayed back for Dasara, associated with Durga pooja. The others have left. “There are hundreds of customers during the Ganesha season but not during Durga pooja. We sell about 15-20 idols for Durga pooja,” says Hodi Pada Pal, another artist in the same group. The Sudhir Pal group has been


‘BENGAL’URU Durga pooja is a big festival for the city’s four lakh Bengalis

coming to Bangalore from 1969. The “This is the only group from whom is now run by Sudhir Pal’s son Tarun you get idols native to West Bengal. Pal. “When my father came in 1969, We have been buying from them for he came with just two people and several years and we are extremely made just two Durga idols. But now, happy with the way they make our we sell more than a hundred idols.” Tarun Pal says they make idols Ganeshas and 20 Durgas in three to to suit consumers’ tastes. “We make four months,” he said. The group has been associated Ganeshas, Bhuvaneshwari and with the Bengalee Association in Lakshmi idols in a south Indian style Bangalore, which has some 4,000 whereas we make the Durga idols in the Bengali style. We get our clay families as registered members. Till 2010, the Association had from Kolkata. Five to six years ago, given them space to make their idols the idols were more traditional but in their building, granted by the now we go for theme-based idols,” he said. A theme might BBMP on lease. even be Ganesha “Our association Sudhir Pal’s riding a cycle! with Sudhir Pal and artisan group Is there a funsons has been long. We damental difference had given them space has been coming in styles? Talk spoke all these years but to Bangalore to Kanaka Murthy, because of pressure from 1969 sculptor and recent from the BBMP we winner of the highhad to ask them to vacate the place two years ago. The est Karnataka honour for sculptors, BBMP thought the Association was the Jakanachari Award. She is sceptical about claims making money out of the business,” says R P Majumdar, the General about special types of clay being Secretary. The Bengalee Association sourced for these idols. “Two decades is buying a ‘Bengali’ Durga for Rs ago we had to travel all the way to Hubli and Mumbai but now every35,000 this time. Sourabh Mathur, President of thing has changed. All of us have Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust, says, access to varieties of clay right here in

Bangalore.” She explained, “What differs in making the idol is only the decoration, or the ‘pith’. Everything else is pretty much the same. Of course the customs may vary. We immerse Ganeshas here but they immerse Durga there.” Noted Vedic scholar, the late S K Ramachandra Rao, has written that Durga as Mahisha-mardini, the killer of the demon in the form of a buffalo, is the most popular form of Durga all over the country, especially during the Navaratri festival. He says in his book Durga Kosha: “The Goddess in this form (as the killer of the asura Mahisha) is represented in sculpture and painting in a variety of ways, with two to 18 hands and in several postures… The icons of Durga in this form are found in large numbers in every part of the country; and the worship of Durga as killer of Mahisha is very ancient. He further writes, “There are teraccotta plaques showing her belonging to the Kushana period. Images belonging to the 1st century AD have been recovered and the cult of this Goddess seems to have become very popular during the Gupta period.”

talk|25 oct 2012|


It once was a house on an ashen hill

Palace SAVIE KARNEL he one building that ignites our desires is the palace. Perhaps, it is the first structural term we learn—and we can thank our bed-time stories for that—way before we hear about the college, the factory or the skyscraper. No other edifice can match the grandeur associated with a palace. It stands for boundless wealth and power, for it’s the house where the royals reside. Palace did not always mean the house of kings. The term originates from the name for one of the seven hills on which Rome stands, the Palatine Hill. Most houses of the early imperial Roman elite were built on this hill. Even after the city expanded over the other The Talk hills, Palatine column on word origins remained the


most desired place of residence. The first emperor of the Roman Empire, Augustus Caesar, chose to live on this hill. His residence was a modest place, just like many others in the neighbourhood. The only things that distinguished his house were the two laurel trees flanking the main door. In 64 AD, an urban fire, now known as The Great Fire of Rome, burned down all the houses on the hills. With residences of all aristocrats turning to ashes, the then emperor Nero enlarged his house and gardens to cover the entire hilltop. Now that his ‘Golden House’ dominated the hill, Palatine, which was earlier the name of the neighbourhood, came to denote the house. After some centuries, the term W palace started being used for government. This usage can be first seen in the writings of historian Paul the Deacon in 790 AD. If we were to use this mean-

ing in referring to the Robert Vadra case, we would say, “The UPA palace is shielding the Gandhi son-in-law.” In the 9th century, palace was also used for the seats of governments, where affairs of the state were conducted. By that reckoning, today’s Parliament House would have been called a palace. Later, the residences of the electors of the Roman empire too were called palaces. The electors were next only to the Roman emperor, because it was they who would elect him from among the many kings. After Rome fell into decline, and monarchies rose all over Europe, the word was used to denote the residence of the monarch. Much later, when Europe started colonising the rest of the world, palace began to be used for houses of kings almost everywhere. The use of English words in regional languages has led to the term being commonly used in India.



Palatine Hill, where the imperial Roman elite lived, gave birth to the word ‘palace’

Many palaces have now been converted to hotels and museums, but still continue to retain the word palace in their names because it reinforces their prestige and heritage status, on which there’s a premium. Others, even when they are newly built or smaller in scale, add it to their names in the hope that it confers some of that prestige to their own

more modest establishments. Of course, there are also the small budget hotels, lodges and even marriage halls that have no qualms in using the word palace in their names. Perhaps there’s nothing that better illustrates the not-so-secret longing of the commoner for the romance and the splendour of the bygone days of royalty.

dasara special

The curse of Talakad How a lush green temple town near Mysore turned into a desert, why every alternate generation of the Wodeyars goes childless, and what rationalists say about the historical myths SAVIE KARNEL


n the ninth day of Dasara, millions gather in front of the Mysore palace for a glimpse of Goddess Chamundi. They wait patiently as she is decked up and placed on a glittering gold throne on the back of an elephant. But behind closed doors, in the same palace, the Mysore kings secretly pray to a mortal, a woman they fear. While the pageantry waits to begin, the Wodeyars walk to a temple in a discreet corner of the palace. An image stands there. The royal couple take off the kankana (wrist ornaments) they wear and place them at her feet. The name of this woman is Alamelamma. For over 400 years, the Mysore royal family has been reeling under her curse. Every alternate generation goes childless and is forced to adopt an heir. While the last Wodeyar, Jayachamaraja, was adopted, his son, Srikantadatta, has no children. This pattern has been the same for 19 generations, since the 16th century.

The legend WRATH EFFECT Keertinarayana idol at the temple that gets submerged in sand every year, and the last king of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar (top), whose son Srikantadatta is childless

The story dates back to 1610. The Wodeyars were no kings then. Raja Wodeyar was a chieftain under the Vijayanagar empire. Mysore was a small vassalage and came under the command of the viceroy of Vijayanagar at

Srirangapatna, Tirumalaraja. After the decline of the Vijayanagar empire in 1565, the Mysore Wodeyars had been looking to break free and form their own kingdom. The chance came when Tirumalaraja fell ill. He was afflicted with a tumour on his back, called bennu phani roga in Kannada. With his condition worsening each day, Tirumalaraja went to Talakad with his first wife. The couple wanted to pray at the Vaidyanatha temple. In Tirumalaraja’s absence from the capital, his second wife Alamelamma took charge of the administration. On reaching Talakad, Tirumalaraja’s illness worsened. Hearing that her husband was on his death bed, Almelamma rushed to Talakad. Before she could reach the temple town, Tirumalaraja breathed his last. Meanwhile, Raja Wodeyar attacked Srirangapatna and declared himself king. Alamelamma was unable to enter Srirangapatna and remained in the adjoining village of Malangi. Being an ardent devotee of god Ranganayaka (Vishnu) of Srirangapatna, Alamelamma used to lend her jewels to the temple. Every Tuesday and Friday, Goddess Ranganayaki was decorated with the queen’s jewels. After Raja Wodeyar took over, he coveted the jewels, and wanted the temple to keep them. He sent his soldiers after Alamelamma, but she refused to part with her jewels. Raja Wodeyar sent his men again, this time warning them not to return empty-handed. When the king’s soldiers approached her, Alamelamma gave them a pearl nose ring, but refused to part with the rest of her jewels. Afraid of the king’s wrath, the soldiers went after her, but Alamelamma grabbed her box of jewels and escaped through a back door. The soldiers followed her, but she ran with all her might. When they closed in on her, she had reached a cliff overlooking the Cauvery. Realising that she

had to give the jewels to the Wodeyar’s soldiers or die, she plunged into the Cauvery, but not before uttering the curse, “Talakadu maralagi, Malangi maduvagali, Mysooru arasarige makkalagadirali.” Translated from Kannada, it is, “May Talakadu be deluged in sand, May Malangi become a whirlpool, and may the Mysore kings never beget children.” The curse took effect soon. Keeping with the tradition of the Vijayanagara empire, Raja Wodeyar made arrangements for grand Dasara celebrations in temple town of Talakadu i Srirangapatna. This was his way of show- underneath heaps on san ing his supremacy to other chieftains. But exception of a few gopuras on the ninth day, one of his sons died. the ground, the place resem Though grieving, the king did not cancel The temples have been un his celebrations. Instead, he ordered that times, but the sands fly bac a statue of Almelamma be made, and temples under the dunes for As for Malangi, the began offering worship to the woman Alamelamma jumped to de who had cursed him. ous whirlpoo From then on, the this day. royal couple has been She cursed: May devotees of The unbeli Almelamma. Only after Talakadu be While the her worship on the deluged in sand, beliefs bring ninth day is the grand and Malangi tourists to Dasara finale conductbecome a whirlpool rationalists ed on the tenth day, or Sashi Siva Vijayadashami. author of t All four sons of Raja Wodeyar died, and he adopted his Curse of Talakad, believes t nephew Chamaraja Wodeyar V, who suc- of the curse were cooked u ceeded him. Chamaraja got a son, called century. “During my research, Raja Wodeyar II. But Raja Wodeyar II had no offspring and he too had to adopt an no inscriptions with thos heir. Since then, every alternate genera- first appear in (the British and Kannada scholar) Rice tion of the Wodeyars is childless. To this day, the once resplendent 1876. The European travel

is buried deep nd. With the s visible above mbles a desert. nearthed many ck to hide the rmed by them. place where eath, a dangerol remains to


myths and thousands of the region, are sceptical. aramakrishna, he book The the three lines up in the 19th

I have found se lines. They lexicographer ’s gazetteer of ller Buchanan

talk|25 oct 2012|




mentions a legend that says a woman who drowned while crossing the river cursed the land,” he says. Sivaramakrishna believes the British might have come up with the tale to annexe the Mysore kingdom, through the Doctrine of Lapse, which allowed any kingdom with no legal heir to be annexed by the British. According to scientist and Kannada writer K Ganeshaiah, archaeologists had found that Talakadu was covered in sand in the 1400s, about 200 years before the said curse. “At that time, there was a minister in the Vijayanagar empire called Madhava Mantri. He diverted the Cauvery for irrigation and built a dam. The river bank was split open. The area gets a peculiar south-westerly wind which brings sand over to Talakadu. It had happened in 1336, and the sands blew in for 70 years, covering the entire town. It is an ecological disaster, but not because of a curse,” he told Talk. Since the river meanders and takes a sharp curve near Malangi, a whirlpool is formed, rationalists argue.

Mysore palace, where the Wodeyars offer worship

As for the Wodeyars being childless, Sivaramakrishna offers no explanation. He admits that the pattern is surprising. Ganeshaiah says that if the curse were true, every generation ought to have been childless. “Out of the 19 generations since 1610, only ten generations have had legal heirs, and nine have been childless,” he says. He also blames the inbreeding in the royal family. Since the adopted sons were genetically close, they shared the same lineage. Consanguineous marriages also led to the childlessness, he said.

TRADITION LIVES Srikantadatta Wodeyar holds court symbolically at the Mysore palace on Tuesday

book review

talk|25 oct 2012|

Dope and longing on a Bombay street Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis, which missed the Booker by a whisker, startles you with some wise lines about a ganja adda but is reluctant to yank off all the curtains

omebody in Huffington Post called it the Oscar night of the book world. You couldn’t have missed the news about Jeet Thayil’s debut novel Narcopolis making it to the short-list of the Man Booker Prize this year: every chance we get, we Indians would like to worship our achievers on the world stage. In the end though, he has lost out to British writer Hilary Mantel. I had rooted for him, but not out of patriotism, but because, to me, he seemed almost an underdog, and I usually tend to root for those sorts. Narcopolis, in one line, is the story of Bombay’s (Thayil insists on calling the city by its old name) opium dens and the regulars who go there. The story is set mainly in Shuklaji Street, which “isn’t really much of a street” and has “rooms that contracted in the daytime and expanded at night.” The author, during his Bombay years, lived close by, and was an opium smoker for several years, his interviews tell you. When you start on the novel with all this, you cannot help but feel Narcopolis is autobiographical. The reviews weren’t too encouraging, and while I snobbishly like to shy away from books and films that everyone is consuming, I picked up Narcopolis because of its theme. Books about Bombay are aplenty and mostly feature the sea and the cosmopolitanism, and in passing, the slums and the towers. Thayil’s debut promised a look into opium dens or khanas,


Deepa Bhasthi Bangalore-based writer. She blogs at dbhasthi.blogspot. com

which robbed people of their best years, their money and their brain cells. If I was looking for insight into that secret world, I was disappointed. While page 148 does tell you that the most popular version of smoking a pipe is “on your back with your knees bent and your legs triangulated,” I felt the author had stopped shy of yanking the curtains off. This is not meant to be an anthropological work, of course. The soul of the dens remains just out of reach and that’s where the book falls short. The author’s love for Bombay is evident, it is a city that has seduced him in his youth. His breathless prologue, one very long sentence that runs to six pages and a half: “Bombay, which obliterated its own history by changing its name and surgically altering its face, is the hero or heroine of this story…” The last word in the book is ‘Bombay,’ too. I won’t tell you how it ends, but the punch line, the very last line, blew me away. The beginning and end impressed me. As for the pages in between, I have mixed feelings. Narcopolis doesn’t immediately take off and you only see brief bursts of brilliance. But just when you are ready to dismiss it as another hyped-up first attempt, the bursts become more frequent, and you decide it is a commendable work. Along Shuklaji Street you meet Dom the narrator, a regular at Rashid’s khana, the most popular place on the street where people come for the O, to talk, to stare at the eunuch Dimple as she fills the pipes and passes them around, or just to visit as tourists. Just up the road is Mr Lee, whose life and that of his family was “purged” by the Party in China, and who wanders through Asian cities and towns he never learns the names of. He settles in Bombay only because he discovers the sea by accident and that is the “only thing about Bombay that did not disgust him.” There is Rashid, with not much of a business sense—he says so himself—who still

manages to make his khana the most popular adda on Shuklaji Street. Dimple, the eunuch, quickly became my favourite character. Hers is the most fleshed out in the book, and it’s she who gets to voice the most insightful passages. Here’s Dimple on why people take drugs: “The comfort of it, how good it is to be a slave to something, the regularity and the habit of addiction, the fact that it is an antidote to loneliness, and the way it becomes your family.” It is Thayil’s dreams and hallucinations that I have the most difficulty with. Perhaps the reader had to have some experience smoking up to appreciate the sometimes absurd dreams. There isn’t, strictly speaking, a plot, and Narcopolis follows a set of people around as they smoke O first, then move to newer, more dangerous substances. I love a book that wows me in the middle of a sentence and makes me envy the writer for its construction , and wish I had written it. Contradictory as it may sound, a seamless blend of envy and fantastic language is what I wish for each time I pick up a new book. Narcopolis does not disappoint there. But this isn’t an easy book to read. You can’t sit back and read it half-distractedly, it demands you sit up straight, read breathlessly, and take frequent short breaks to pace about and think. I like demanding books. Narcopolis is not as ‘grassroots’, let’s say, as Shantaram was over a decade ago (thank goodness for that), but it has its surprises. I will stop just short of calling it brilliant.


literary tribute

talk|25 oct 2012|


Tea with Basheer U R Ananthamurthy, Kannada writer just conferred the Vaikom Mohammed Basheer award, recalls his meeting with the great Malayalam storyteller had met Basheer once. I remember my visit to his house. He was sitting in the verandah, shirtless as usual. The moment I saw him, I thought of Ramana Maharshi. Basheer’s sense of humour was extraordinary. He invited me in, and asked after the great Kannada writer Shivarama Karanth. What he said next I will never forget. He called out to his wife, and said, “Don’t come out. You are still young, and some young men are here. I am old, and can’t trust them. But do make some tea for them.” I was a stranger in his house. But the way he spoke to me, I felt I had known him for ever. This was sometime in the 1970s. Let me recall another incident. This happened in Chicago. I met the American writer Saul Bellow at a party at A K Ramanujan’s house. (Poet, novelist and translator from Kannada and Tamil, Ramanujan then taught at the department of South Asian studies, University of Chicago). As we were chatting, Bellow said, “Tell me an interesting Indian story.” I thought a bit and then told him the story of Basheer’s novel Pathumma’s Goat. Every character in the story exploits the narrator. Even his sister’s goat chews up his manuscripts. No European can write a story like this, with its humour and compassion. If Europeans attempt it, it becomes dark, negative and Kafkaesque. Many of Kafka’s stories are significant. But they reflect a deep suspicion about the goodness of humans. Without Basheer’s treatment, Pathumma’s Goat would have become something else altogether. It suggests the view that everyone exploits everyone else, and there’s nothing sacred about the family environment. But how was it possible for Basheer to trust the goodness of humans and write his stories? I have read his stories, such as My Grandad Had an Elephant and My Childhood Friend in Kannada and English translation. His stories reflect the deep


Dr U R Ananthamurthy Acclaimed as one of the finest contemporary Indian writers, he has received the Jnanpith Award and the Padma Bhushan. Also served as chairman of the National Book Trust, and vice-chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

READER’S WRITER Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (1908 – 1994), Malayalam fiction writer and freedom fighter, chooses humour over dark, Kafkaesque expression. In Chicago, when American writer Saul Bellow asked Ananthamurthy to tell him a story, he chose one from Basheer

humanism of Sufi thought and advai- uation. Basheer is a hero in ta. From these traditions, he has Malayalam. If he gets translated into our other languages, he gets read picked what suits his purposes best. Basheer’s writing stands on the there as well. But when a writer is foundation of compassion provided published in English, he gets read by Islam. He does not write in a liter- everywhere. In Tagore’s time, the ary Malayalam. Another man who Bengalis were highly nationalistic. spoke profound spiritual truths with- Simultaneously, they were in thrall of out using literary language was English, and had become babus. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was Bengali writers read their own and largely illiterate. What he spoke was a French writers. The two languages were linked that raw, everyday Bengali. way. For all that, the The book that sold the Basheer’s Bengalis knew little most after his death unadorned prose about the literature was Vachanaveda, flourishing in their which puts together is the basis of own neighbourhis parables. These stohis subtle hood. They knew ries aren’t told with litspirituality nothing about writerary flourish. ing in Bihar, or in Speaking of truth and languages like reality, they are told with compassion, and their most Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and striking quality is the ‘ordinariness’ of Marathi. If we have no such interaction, it their language. I gather Basheer’s language had a similar quality. The ‘ordi- is impossible to break the hegemony nariness’ of his language is the basis of English. Europe faces a similar challenge. This is not confined to litof his subtle spirituality. Take My Childhood Friend. erature. European scientists need to Majeed and Suhra grow up fighting, speak English to be able to share their and fall in love as they grow up. Their research with scientists elsewhere. love ends in tragedy. Devdas is a simi- After the downfall of America, lar love tragedy. When you compare Chinese may take the place of the two stories, My Childhood Friend English, who knows? As far as I am comes across as vastly superior. The concerned, this is not an issue. A great writer is a great writer, reason it has not become as famous as Devdas is that it hasn’t reached all of no matter in what language he writes. But the job of taking him to other culIndia. Indian literature is in a tragic sit- tures must be carried out. Kannada

writer Alanahalli Krishna was a huge admirer of Basheer, and it showed in his writing. Poornachandra Tejaswi was also an admirer, but his father Kuvempu didn’t much care for Basheer’s writing. The hegemony of English is such today that a writer become ‘famous’ even before his book hits the market. That’s because he gets a million-dollar advance, and the advance makes news. Readers feel the book must be important if the writer has received such a big advance. The world buys the book and reads it. Soon, opinion starts trickling out that the book wasn’t so good, after all. The Booker award is also like that. It is controlled by the publishers’ lobby. The big writers in our languages became big because of their readers. Tagore, Basheer, Karanth, Premchand are examples. They were acclaimed as great writers by readers and critics. Some of them took years to gain a place in the readers’ hearts. You don’t have to wait so long now. The publishers decide who is No 1! This is an insult to the literary tradition. A literary tradition is built through writing, criticism and debate. The only answer to this insulting marketing strategy is to make our great writers known beyond our borders. (Transcribed from a speech delivered in Kozhikode. Translated by S R Ramakrishna.)


talk|25 oct 2012|


WAKDA STYLE Aiyyaa uses a selfconsciously gaudy style that it calls ‘wakda’ (a Marathi word meaning ‘crooked’)

Kitschy kooth Sowmya Raoh, singer of the hit Dreamum wakeupum from Aiyyaa, tells Talk how the sinfully immoderate song came to be made BASU MEGALKERI

Risqueum lyricsum Dream-um wake up-um critical condition-um Earthum quake-um hil dool sab shake up-um Face to faceum dharti putram Top to base-um kama sutram Thighs-um thunder-um down-um under-um Size-um matter-um think-um wonder-um Jumping-um... pumping-um

he recent Hindi release Aiyyaa, starring Rani Mukherjee and Prithviraj, features a song that spoofs the koothu (folksy dance) style of racy Tamil hits. Shresht Poddar, of Score Magazine, is among the song’s admirers. He says in his review: “Melodywise, the album is just above average. Innovation-wise, it scores full marks from me. Amit Trivedi dares to be experimental when his contemporaries are staying safe by sticking to tried-and-tested methods.” Rani Mukherjee plays a Marathi girl who falls in love with a Tamil boy, and chases him through much comic confusion. The box office response to the film has been lukewarm: it doesn’t figure in the top-five list of the business website Bollywood Trade. But many people are catching the


song on radio, television and YouTube, and it is leaving them tickled. Sowmya Raoh, who sang Dreamum wakeupum, is a Bangalorean. Daughter of the famous Kannada playback and folk singer B K Sumitra, she has delivered the song in a twangy, mock-serious style. With a discography that spans 200 songs for films in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil, Sowmya now lives in Mumbai, and works mostly in the Hindi film industry. Amit Trivedi, who shot to fame with Emotional Atyachar (Dev D), uses a cheeky, southern filmsounding orchestra of the trombone, nadaswaram, and thavil. Talk spoke to Sowmya to ask how the song came to be produced.

laughing away in the console room. Did the lyricist have to change any words to suit the metre? He voluntarily changed a couple of words, not to suit the metre but because they made it funnier. While I was singing, he just asked me to use ‘Streelingam pullingam’ in the antara. I found the words so hilarious it was my turn to laugh my guts out. Did the film crew think the censors could cut out the song, considering the nature of the lyrics? The song has lines that go ‘Pumpingum, throbbingum... downum underum size-um matterum’. Honestly, we’ve never had any conversation about it. I have no clue if the team thought about it or not. I agree the lyrics are risque. But the treatment, the orchestration, the visuals and the rendition are so over-the-top that the lyrics end up seeming funny rather than anything else. So, no, I didn’t think too much about the censors. I just treated it as a fun song, and hoped others would also look at it that way.

How was it recording for Dreamum? Anyone rolling on the floor, or scandalised? Rolling on the floor, yes. Well, almost! Scandalised, no. It was so much fun recording the song. Director Sachin Kundalkar, music composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya were at Were you around when the studio. And when I went Amit Trivedi made the tune? on the mic and started singing, they loved my rendition, and were No, I wasn’t. By the time I was called

Bangalore to Mumbai Sowmya started her career by singing for music directors like Ilaiyaraja, Deva, Vidyasagar and Hamsalekha in the south. Her first major hit was the song Greeku veerudu from the Telugu film Ninne Pelladatha, starring Nagarjuna and Tabu. Composer Sandeep Chowta persuaded her to move to Bollywood. She is the voice behind songs like Nach baliye (Bunty Aur Babli), Dilbara (Dhoom), Jeena (Dum) and Laila Laila (Samay). Sowmya has recorded for Mumbai composers ShankarEhsaan-Loy, Sajid-Wajid, Leslie Lewis and Anand-Milind.

to the studios, the lyrics and the tune were already in place. I just had to sing. Did they select you because they think you have a ‘southern’ voice? Yes, they particularly wanted a South Indian singer. And it’s not about having a southern voice. It’s just the style. I can easily bring in a South Indian flavour to the song because I’m a South Indian. There is a difference in the North and South Indian styles of singing and diction. What did your mother B K Sumitra, famous as a folk and bhavageete singer, say about the song? My mother is very happy with its success and popularity. And like other parents, my parents feel proud of every little endeavour of mine. God has been kind.

talk|25 oct 2012|



The week that was

The week ahead



 Child activist shot at: Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai (15) is shot in the head by the Taliban for insisting she has the right to attend school. She is now recovering in a London hospital.  Mantel wins Booker: Hilary Mantel becomes the first woman and first Briton to win the Man Booker prize for fiction twice. Her novel Bring Up The Bodies beat five other titles. In 2009, she first won the Booker for Wolf Hall, the first of the trilogy.  Downfall: Vikram Pandit steps down as Citigroup Inc’s CEO on October 17 after the bank’s ratings are downgraded.


 Khurshid expose: India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal alleges Law Minister Salman Khurshid used documents with forged signatures to secure central funds for an NGO he runs. On October 17, Kerjiwal accuses BJP president Nitin Gadkari of grabbing farmers’ land with help from NCP ministers in Maharashtra.


 Yeddy caper: The CBI files a chargesheet against former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and Jindal Steel managing director Sajjan Jindal in the mining kickbacks case.  Scribe arrested: Police arrest Kasturi TV reporter Naveen Sorinjee, who caught on camera the Mangalore homestay attack. The arrest is widely condemned.

City  Shooting: Real estate player Dayanand Pai’s bulletproof Bentley is shot at.  Campus rape: A student of National Law School of India Unversity is allegedly gang-raped on the Jnanabharati campus. Police are not sure if the complaint is genuine, and are yet to make any arrests.


Now you too can Doodle 4 Google Over the years, the Google doodle has become a popular and innovative way for the company to commemorate important events. If you’re a student who likes to draw and enjoy the playful little cartoons Google does around its logo, here’s your chance to do one yourself. Google is inviting children between 5 and 16 to take part in Doodle 4 Google 2012. The contest requires them to create doodles around the Google logo, based on the theme of ‘unity in diversity.’ The winning doodle will be featured on Google India’s homepage on November

14, Children’s Day. Last year, Google had asked young doodlers across India to describe what they think India’s biggest contribution to the world has been. The prize-winning entry conveys the idea that India’s rich musical tradition and its varied musical instruments constitute the country’s greatest contribution to the world. It was submitted by Varsha Gupta of Ryan International School, Greater Noida. This year, the last date for submission is October 23. For more details, log on to

The not-so-sweet truth about cola food and cola industry, which keeps urging consumers to buy more and buy bigger, despite severe health consequences. Some of the facts it highlights, which an increasingly diabetic India should know: • The sugars and acids in soda promote tooth decay. • One or two sugary drinks a day Advertising wiz Alex Bogusky, who made increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by his name devising clever commercials for about 25 per cent. brands like Coke Zero, Domino’s Pizza, • Diabetes is the cause of more than Jell-O and Milka (a chocolate brand), has 60,000 amputations a year. just released a brilliant TV commercial • About half of the men with diabetes will (spoofing Coke’s famous polar bear spot) about junk food’s role in diabetes. Not only experience erectile dysfunction. • An extra sugary drink each day is it unexpected, its popularity (nearly 1.5 increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60 million views on the film’s official site per cent. alone) delivers a body blow to the junk

Mysore book

 EU crisis: European Union leaders are due to begin a two-day summit in Brussels on October 19. The agenda includes controversial plans for a Eurozone banking union.  Obama’s TV test: US President Barack Obama faces a crucial test in the third TV debate with rival contender Mitt Romney on October 23.  Tech buzz: Next week will see two eagerly awaited launches: Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Apple’s iPod Mini.  War games: US military forces begin arriving in Israel to take part in the largest joint missile defence exercise of its kind. Some 2,000 US troops in Europe will participate using remote equipment.


 Prez on leave: President Pranab Mukherjee visits his native village of Mirati in West Bengal on October 19 to celebrate Durga Puja.  Kingfisher crisis: Kingfisher Airlines is expected to extend its lockout after talks with employees, whom it hasn’t paid, fail.

State  Dasara safari: Starting October 18, Bandipur, Nagarahole and Biligiri Rangaswamy temple tiger reserves will welcome tourists arriving for the Mysore Dasara celebrations.


This coffee table book, published by Bangalore-based Raintree Media, is timed for Dasara and provides a compact introduction to the cultural and natural treasures of Mysore and surrounding areas. Written by Sandhya Mendonca and Anita Rao Kashi, Marvels of Mysore and More is competently produced, and ticks most boxes when it comes to things Mysore: history, monuments, arts and crafts, wildlife, landscape and culture.

‘more’ refers to sections on nearby tourist attractions like Coorg, Ramanagara and Srirangapatna, and for some reason, distant Hampi is included as well.

The book has some excellent photographs, including a few rare ones, while the accompanying text provides some detail for the benefit of those not familiar with the city and its heritage. The

Some of the articles, though, are straightforward plugs for businesses in the city, including one for the local Ford dealership, with pictures of SUVs and cars splashed over a double spread.

 Bhullar magic: Gaganjeet Bhullar, golfer who won silver medal at 2006 Asian Games, is expected to tee off magically at the Hero-Indian Open Golf tournament at the Karnataka Golf Association  Greeting Durga: The fourlakh strong Bengali community in Bangalore is all set to celebrate Durga Puja from October 20 with a major gathering at Ulsoor. Dasara is a big festival for many communities, including Kannadigas.

liner notes

talk|25 oct 2012|


Rock band Agam’s bass guitarist Vignesh Lakshminarayanan tells Talk why it took them five long years to bring out their first album

An overdue awakening PRACHI SIBAL

hen Carnatic rock band Agam made its entry into the city’s rock scene in 2007, it got audiences to open up to a new kind of sound that was a mish-mash of chants, metal and classical elements. Over the years, Agam came to be a respected name in the country’s rock circuit, with just about every festival featuring them, and fans swearing by a sound they found experimental and catchy. But the band never got down to releasing their songs—many a desi rock fan could readily hum their more popular tunes—so that fans could access them. Last weekend Agam finally released their first album—five years after they debuted—titled The Inner Self Awakens, which refers to their own musical journey (Agam means ‘the inner self’ in Tamil). The album was released at Hard Rock Café, and was followed by a gig that turned out to be a teary affair, with all sorts of dedications going out to fans and patrons. Swarathma’s Vasu Dixit and Amit Kilam of Indian Ocean were spotted in the audience cheering and humming along. Some in the audi-


CARNATIC ROCKERS Agam mixes Carnatic and folk music with rock, and was recently featured in Coke Studio Season 2

ence were clearly bothered by the onstage chatter and returned only for the songs. But then, when the ‘awakening’ has been five years in the making, there’s no stopping the emotions from flowing. Brahma’s Dance, the opening song in the album and at the gig, did bring the house down, with chants reverberating through the highroofed building. Malhar Jam, an otherwise popular track, went unnoticed on this particular day in comparison with the newer Boat Song, which seemed like a readymade hit with its hummable tune, even though the lyrics are in Malayalam. The current line-up of the band is: Harish Sivaramakrishnan on vocals and violin, Ganesh Ram Nagarajan on drums and backing vocals, Swamy Seetharaman on keyboards (he also writes the lyrics), T Praveen Kumar on lead guitar, Vignesh Lakshminarayanan on the bass guitar and backing vocals, Sivakumar Nagarajan on ethnic percussion, and Jagadish Natarajan on the rhythm guitar. Excerpts from an interview with Vignesh Lakshminarayanan (extreme right in the pic):

high benchmarks. We had recorded 10-11 songs, but someone wouldn’t like it and we would end up rerecording them. We didn’t want to do anything that didn’t sound right. We did the best we could. We got the well-known sound engineer Ashish Manchanda to master our album even though it was difficult to coordinate it, with him sitting in Mumbai.

from them. We were shocked.

You were perhaps the only band at Coke Studio with no full time musicians. How do you manage that? All of us are software engineers, but we work only nine to six. We have been able to manage both shows and travel so far. Our employers understand and we have people from office attending our gigs and cheering. We With a number of shows and a Coke haven’t really considered quitting our jobs as we realise, if we don’t work, Studio appearance, was there no we will probably be sleeping from external pressure to release an nine to six. All of us have meaningful album? There wasn’t any external pressure as work lives. And we have never had to such. The pressure was self-created. give up a gig for work. We had an internal target of mid2011 for the release. But in March the What sort of response do you get for same year, we felt whatever we had meddling with Carnatic music? Have done till then didn’t sound right. We you thought twice before singing got back to working on it and I can chants in a pub? All of us, except lead guitarist say it has been worth it. Praveen, grew up with some Carnatic music training. Even Praveen began How does a band like yours get learning from us and must be proud noticed without any actual releases? It was at Octoberfest last year that we of his achievements so far. There is realised people knew us and our some Carnatic music in all our famisound. So far, it has mostly been word lies. Initially, when my family heard of mouth. We were playing at the our music, they would get the Storm Festival in Coorg last year and Carnatic parts but ask why there was the MTV crew was there recording so much noise on top of it! But they the show. We’d had a good gig and got understand our music and experichatting with the MTV guys. What if ments now. About playing in a What took you so long to release an album when you’ve had the songs for we were invited to Coke Studio Season pub, we haven’t really thought so 2, they asked us. We thought it was a much. Music should not have such some years now? As a band and as individuals we have joke, until 10 days later we got a call boundaries.


talk|25 oct 2012|


 Enrique returns: Grammy Award winner Enrique Iglesias is all set to lift your sprits this weekend. Watch him croon some of his popular numbers like Escape, Tonight am loving you, I like it, and more. He has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and his latest song Finally found you is already a constant on DJ

theatre playlists. He has performed worldwide and has a huge fan following in India. His music is a fusion of pop, R&B, Latin and rock. NICE Grounds, Adjcent to Bangalore International Exhibition Centre , 10th Mile, Tumkur Road, Madavara Post, Dasanapura Hobli, October 21, 6pm onwards 9535375399  Metal heads rejoice: Rock in India festival presents Slayer live this weekend. This American thrash metal band has received two Grammy awards for their songs Eyes of the Insane and Final six. Watch Tom Araya on Bass and vocals, Kerry King on guitar, Jeff Hanneman on guitar and Dave Lombardo on

drums. Slayer’s music involves fast tremolo picking, double bass drumming, and chanted vocals. Bhartiya City, Thanisandra Road, near Hebbal, October 20, 5pm onwards. For tickets, log onto

retail therapy  Trousseau Week: Brides and grooms to be head out this weekend to the Trousseau Week where you can choose your designer wedding outfit, jewellry, wedding planners, banquets and more. This year's theme


 Santana makes India debut: Catch the guitar wizard, Carlos Santana’s first ever live performance in the country. Carlos Santana is one of the well known musicians in the world. He has collaborated with many artists like Chad Kruger, Rob Thomas, Will I Am, Macy Gray and more. He has won 10 Grammy Awards till date. Some of his well known numbers are Smooth, When my guitar gently weeps, Black magic woman and Love of my life. Bhartiya City, Thanisandra Road, near Hebbal, October 26, For tickets, log onto

 The Improv: Watch six actors come together for an improvisational show in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness marking the Breast Cancer month. The play will have no script and the actors will take off from the audience and its reactions for an evening full of impromptu comedy. Turquoise Restaurant, Koramangala, October 21, 8 pm 9740220199

Uttam and Imran Rasheed, this play by Rangbaaz Theatre is in Hindi. It talks about fathers in various roles with eight actors becoming nostalgic and narrating incidents involving fathers. The play has many hues like comedy, sentimentality, honesty and nostalgia. Ranga Shankara, 3rd Phase, JP Nagar, October 21, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm 26493982

 Papa: Directed by Pawan

 The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet:

From the house of Tortilla Entertainment Company comes this funny take on the original Shakespearean classic Romeo and Juliet. Directed by Judith Roby Bidapa, the play indulges in clever wordplay and brings out the humour in this tragedy. The play has opened to a receptive audience in the past and is doing two shows as re-runs. Ranga Shankara, 3rd Phase, JP Nagar, October 23 and 24, 7.30 pm 26493982


food is Aqua. The Collection, UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, till October 21 22711488  Look glamorous this festive season: Inspired by Indian and modern silhouettes,

Japanese embroidery, French vintage floral, baroque prints the festive collection at W will help you look your best this season. The collection includes colour blocking, lace patterns and embroidery on apparel. Prices start at Rs 799. Available at all W outlets

steak, a prime rib cut of Angus beef, the Aberdeen black angus eye fillet, which is the tenderloin from a cattle, T-Bone Steak and more. You can also have roast baby potatoes, grilled broccoli, lemon potatoes and more. Prices start at Rs 1,600. Olive Beach, 16 Wood Street, Ashoknagar, till October 24 41128400

 Fun with stones: Designer Alpana Gujral will be displaying her collection of crafted jewellery. Her latest collection ‘Nirvana’ is inspired by the lotus flower and uses rose hued jewels to create jewellery that will make heirlooms. Evoluzione, Vittal Mallya Road, Embassy Classic 41121088  Traditional yet chic: Head to this exhibitioncum-sale titled The Channapatna Swirl where reinvented and reimagined utilitarian Channapatna lacquerware will be on display by the brand Varnam. 1 Shanthiroad, Shanti Nagar, October 19 to 21 9980735911

 Roll this up: Vegetarians can choose from a variety of rolls such as paneer butter masala, aloo achari and non-vegetarians can gorge on the chicken shami roll as Kaati Zone introduces new rolls in their menu. Prices start at Rs 50. Available at all Kaati Zone outlets  Unified by taste: You can eat to your heart’s content at the

Unified Flavours of India food festival. Relish dishes such as Mewadi machchi, pittod ki sabzi, dal banjara, bajre ki roti, baati, churma, mawa kachori and sweets like malai ghewar and more. 24/7, 1st floor, The Lalit Ashok, Kumara Park, till October 20 30527777  For all steak lovers: At the Steak and Barrel food festival you will find yourself savouring dishes from the grill like rib eye

 It's raining Sushi this weekend: Head to the Teppan Sushi festival and get a chance to taste sushi like oishi kyuuri maki, a vegetarian sushi made with avocado and cucumber rolled with rice, deep fried and dressed with Teriyaki sauce, naruto maki made with fried sea bass, mojacko maki made with fresh salmon, tuna, cream cheese and more. Prices start at Rs 500. Teppan Japanese Grill and Sushi Bar, Ulsoor, till October 21 32569029

 Something for everybody: Keeping the festive season in mind Soul Kadhi has brought a special vegetarian menu with a host of specialities like puttu pakori chaat, gulgula, sabudana vadas and chawal gole teamed up with khasta rotis, dal stuffed puris and kuttu ki roti with arbi ka chaunk, rassedar kaddu, aloo jhol and bharwa karela. But, this is hardly reason enough for non-vegetarians to be disappointed as the restaurant will continue to offer specials like murgh dum masala, amritsari macchi, khatte pyaaz ka murgh. Soul Kadhi, # 3 Laurel Lane, Richmond town. Behind Lakme parlor and TNT on Richmond road, till October 31 22111112

L I S T I NGS festival

talk|25 oct 2012|


music Big Bang Blues

 Bags for Navratri: Look fabulous this Navratri by pairing your outfit with a potli or a clutch from Esbeda. The collection comprises of bags and clutches embedded with rhinestone and embroidery detailing. Prices start at Rs 2,550. Esbeda, First Floor, Phoenix Market City, Mahadevapura, till October 24 67266088  Navratri special: This Navratri season you can fast and later feast on this special thali that includes dishes like kuttu ki poori, saabu daane ki kheer, aloo sabji cooked with sendha namak, milk barfi, kaddu ki sabji, kheere ka raita, kele ke kofte and more. The Great Indian Thali, 612/ 1, Lotus Building, 80 feet Road, 4th

Block Koramangala, till October 24 8065471151  Fast and feast: Navratri is here and you can feast while you fast at these restaurants. All specialities are prepared without onion and garlic, available in a buffet during lunch and as a set menu for dinner. Prices start at Rs 295. All South Indies outlets, till October 24  Vrat specials: Help yourself to a special Vrat thali at any of the outlets of this restaurant. The thali has kept in mind all those fasting during navratri. All Mast Kalandar outlet, till October 24

 The opening act: Indus Creed, the well known band will perform in the city as part of the opening act of the Santana concert. Watch band members Uday Benegal on vocals and guitar, Mahesh Tinaikar on guitar, Zubin Balaporia on keyboard, Rushad Mistry on bass and Jai Row Kavi on drums as they perform some of their original numbers. Bhartiya City, Thanisandra Road, near Hebbal, October 26, for more information log onto  Be ready to be ‘Banned’: Bangalore’s very own Live Banned is all set to perform this weekend. Their performances are inspired by South Indian music, Pop, Rock and Bollywood and their music is part amalgamation and part parody. Their first single tune Auto Live has received positive reviews. bFlat, 100 feet Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, October 19, 8.30 pm onwards 25278361  Feel the Blues: Delhi- based band, Big Bang Blues is here to launch their album called ‘Bigger than Blues.’ Their music is a mix of

blues, rock, jazz and rhythm and blues. Their new album Bigger than Blues consists of all their original scores. bFlat, 100 feet Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, October 20, 8.30 pm onwards 25278361  Tribute to Queen: In tribute of the legendary rock band Queen, Rhapsodic will perform live and churn out some of Queen’s most popular numbers reliving

their music and bringing them back to glory. So all Queen fans head out to this performance. Hard Rock Café, 40, St Marks Road, October 25, 8.30 pm onwards 41242222  Classical music for everyone: Bombay Jayashri is back in town to perform for all classical music lovers and for those uninitiated in the ragas too. The concert which will

mark the debut of classical music at this city theatre will also feature Bombay Jayashri’s student Keerthana Vaidyanathan with an opening act. Bombay Jayashri will be accompanied by Embar Kannan on the violin, J Vaidyanathan on the Mridangam and Anirudh Athreya on the Khanjira. Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, Ramagondanahalli, Whitefield, October 20, 6.30 pm 41242879


talk|25 oct 2012|


film protest in front of the Parliament to save their forest. They also talk about how the balance of the ecosystem is at risk. The film uses the voices of Akshaye Khanna, Govinda, Boman Irani and Urmila Matondkar. Gopalan Cinemas, Bannerghatta Road (12.45 pm) CineMAX, Outer Ring Road (3.30 pm. 8) Fun Cinemas, Cunningham Road (1.45) Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli (6.30 pm) Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli (4.45 pm)

 Student of the Year Hindi: Abhimanyu Singh (Siddharth Malhotra) and Rohan Nanda (Varun Dhawan) are both students of St Teresa’s High School, Dehradun. While Abhimanyu comes from a middle class family, Rohan’s father is a business tycoon. They turn from competitors to friends until Rohan’s girlfriend Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) comes to the picture. There is also a Student of

the Year contest in the picture that twists the equations. Friendship or success? What will each of them choose for themselves? Gopalan Cinemas, Bannerghatta Road (10 am, 12.30 pm, 7.15, 10) CineMax, Outer Ring Road (10 am, 1.15 pm, 4, 6.45, 9.45) Fun Cinemas, Cunningham Road (10 am, 10.45, 1 pm, 4, 6.40, 9.40) Innovative Multiplex, Marathalli (11 am, 4.30 pm, 7.20, 10) Rex

 Premium Rush English: The film is about bike couriers and Wilee (Joseph GordonLevitt) is one of them. These couriers ride at breakneck speeds without a stop to get their parcels delivered. Wilee has to deliver one such parcel which could also fetch him a lot Theatre (2.05 pm) Rockline of money. But the parcel is cruCinemas, Jalahalli (2 pm, 9.30) cial and he is soon being chased Tribhuvan Theatre, Gandhi Nagar by an NYPD detective. What (10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30) does the parcel contain and why is the NYPD after it? The  Delhi Safari 3D Hindi: film stars Dania Ramirez alongA 3D film by Nikhil Advani, Delhi with Levitt. Safari is the story of a bunch of Gopalan Cinemas, Bannerghatta animals whose forest stands Road (3.30 pm, 6) Fun Cinemas, the risk of being destroyed for Cunningham Road (10 am, 5.20 commercial development. pm, 10) Innovative Multiplex, These animals then decide to Marathalli (4.45 pm, 8.15) Rex travel to Delhi and hold a Theatre (12.25 pm) Rockline

Cinemas, Jalahalli (9 pm)  Mr 420 Kannada: A romantic comedy movie starring Ganesh and Pranitha in the lead. And Rangayana Raghu, Sadhu Kokila are supporting roles. Directed by Pradeep Raj and produced by Sandesh Nagaraj under Sandesh films banner. V Harikrishna is the music composer and R Giri is the cinematographer. Gopalan Cinemas, Bannerghatta Road (2.30 pm) Sagar Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Prasanna Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Uma Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Navarang Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli (10.30 am, 1.45 pm)  Gokula Krishna Kannada: Kannada romance

film directed by B M Jayakannan and produced by P Shekar Gowda. It stars Prajwal Devraj and Ananya in the lead roles. Ananya makes her Kannada debut with this film. Bhavya, Jai Jagadish, Doddanna and Sadhu Kokila among others play the supporting roles. S A Rajkumar composed the score. Menaka Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Veeresh Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Uma Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Navarang Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm) Ullas Theatre (10.30am, 1.30, 4.30, 7.30pm)

martial arts

talk|25 oct 2012|



Zen and the art of eating Way of Budo 4 Sensei Avinash Subramanyam on balancing the desire to savour food and the desire to diet

any of us are worried about what we eat, thanks to the modernday focus on dieting. Simultaneously, we also talk endlessly about food! So what is the best way to approach the question of eating and dieting? One day, when I questioned my master about how to train after a huge meal, he said: “It’s your state of mind. If the mind believes you are empty, you are empty in body.” But hang on! This is no prescription to binge. In Budo, food is one of the sources of chi (also spelt qi) or life-force. Food is essential to stay fit, and fitness is achieved through a synergy of the


mind, body, spirit and soul. What the master was trying to emphasise was: being mentally strong, rather than obsessing over diet, was important. A diet that works for you won’t work for everyone. Milk, rich in protein, harms a person who is lactose-intolerant. Citrus fruits are not suitable for an acidic body. It is not some expert out there who decides what is best for you. Use your understanding of your body, and become a judge of what suits you. Learn to listen to your body. Check the clarity of your skin, brightness of your eyes, your stamina, digestion, weight and body odour, and eat such that your body feels good.

Never obsess about being fat or thin. Don’t go on a crash diet without knowing your weaknesses and strengths. Fasting and diet regimes are meant only for professionals (sportspersons, soldiers), people with medical problems, or those already mentally strong. Before you embark on a crash diet to lose weight, ask why you might be on the plump side. Is it because you crave fattening food? Isn’t that a sign of the mind being weak? How can you fast then? Instead, take up simple fitness training and make minor adjustments to your diet. Eat what you enjoy but eat moderately. Don’t give anything up immediately.

If you have a sweet tooth, eat one piece of chocolate instead of four. Eat fruit preserves instead of jams. If you want to indulge in a chocolate gateau, eat two spoons instead of six. If you give up sweets, you will only crave more. This can cause negative emotions like anger and frustration, and they are more harmful than inappropriate food. The right time to give up is when you actually feel no desire. Give up only when giving up doesn’t genuinely bother you. Sensei’s suggestions are based on decades of experience. Use discretion while making dietary changes. Next week: Transform yourself at the dining table

SELF-DEFENCE FOR WOMEN A second technique on what to do when sexually harassed on the street

Ruffian approaches you from behind.

Confident you haven’t seen him, he tries to touch you.

You turn, and see him looming right behind you.

The unexpected blow surprises him. Now swing your body around, gathering force in the other hand.

Deliver a quick strike or slap with the hand closest to his face.

Slap him hard on his ear.

Hold your balance and get away.


talk|25 oct 2012|



A well-known academic and civil rights activist suffers at the hands of the police because of his sympathy for the Naxal cause

agari Babaiah was born in Andhra Pradesh, but grew up in Karnataka. He was a professor at the English department in Bangalore University (he has since retired). Although he was not a Naxal, he admired Naxals. He was kind and went out of the way to help people, without minding the risks. Wherever any atrocity on the poor was reported, he would go on a factfinding mission and expose the truth. In 1986, Babaiah was an active member of Karnataka Civil Liberties Committee. He has three children— two daughters and a son. His wife Khairunnisa was then the head nurse at the HAL Hospital, and theirs was an inter-religious marriage. He believed caste had to be eradicated to rid people of prejudice. He encour-


aged inter-caste marriages. He wrote poetry and essays on the subject and broadcast them on All India Radio. Fighting religion was his religion, and atheism was his faith. Many organisations had joined hands with him. Before we continue the professor’s story, a bit of background. The adventure-loving professor idolised Naxal leader Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, who had taken up armed struggle. If everyone became a revolutionary like Kondapalli, Indian citizens would be equal in no time, Babaiah would tell students. He also narrated stories about how Kondapalli gave policemen the slip even when they kept strict vigil. Babaiah’s stories gripped his students’ attention. Kondapalli, born Seetharama Reddy in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, joined politics during the Telangana movement, then spearheaded by the communists. He was inspired by Sundaraiah, but later quit the CPI(M) and joined the more radical CPI (ML). He was elected to the Lok Sabha, and excelled as a parliamentarian even as he struggled to unify the Left parties. In 1964, the CPI(M) declared it had expelled Kondapalli, but he said

he had quit because he did not like the party’s soft approach to oppression. After quitting the party, he went underground for two decades and established guerilla bases in the jungles of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The operations spread to Bihar and Orissa later. Kondapalli was so radical in his thinking that even radical Naxals could not match up to his fieriness. He broke ranks with CPI(ML) to launch the CPI(ML) People’s War in 1980. The 1980s were the heydays of the Leftist movement in Karnataka. As a wave against the ruling Congress swept the state, some CPI and CPI(M) leaders got elected as legislators. For the middle class, leftist principles seemed to balance family values and social responsibility. The working class and the farmers were drawn to the ideology, but the Left movement was not as strong in Karnataka as it was in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, a state that had seen even stronger tides during the freedom movement. The Telangana farmers’ movement, led by the great revolutionary S Sundaraiah, had laid a firm foundation for the Left in AP. Before independence, the British had provoked

crime folio

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


Telangana farm labourers to fight against the Nizam. After independence, political power went into the hands of anti-farmer and anti-labour forces, and the protesters had to fight a mighty Indian establishment. British rule had spawned landlords owning thousands of acres and agricultural labourers found it difficult to resist them and protect their land. The working class was shocked that the Indian army was protecting the landlords. The Nehru-led Congress, which had enjoyed popular support, changed its colours. Simultaneously, the Nizam of Hyderabad was encour-

memoirs aging the mercenary Razakars in an attempt to keep his empire out of the Indian republic. Landlords deployed the Razakars against agitating farmers. The mercenaries started crushing the agitation and spreading Islamic fundamentalism. Sardar Patel, independent India’s first home minister, used the army to curb the Nizam’s secessionism and rein in the Razakars. Soon, the Nizam and the Razakars gave in. But even after the merger of Hyderabad with the Indian republic, the army stayed back and took on the armed agitators in the Telangana region. People began to wonder whether Patel had sent his forces to crush the Razakars or suppress the farmers’ movement. In killing farmers, the Indian military seemed more aggressive than the Nizam’s men. It was at this juncture that the Communist Party of India started debating whether it should continue its armed struggle against the establishment, or launch a non-violent agitation in consonance with the Indian parliamentary system. It finally decided to give up its violent struggle. The decision did not go down well with the rebellious cadres. Terimala Nagi Reddy and Charu Majumder accused the leadership of cowardice. They gave a war cry against the military, for the first

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time in independent India, from a place Naxals in fake encounters, but it was not called Naxalbari in West Bengal. Any easy for them to eliminate Kondapalli as he armed struggle led by Communist groups was always in the public eye. After they arrested him in Mumbai, he suffered a later came to be called Naxalism. The Communist Party broke up into heart attack and was admitted to Osmania many groups. Some argued it was wrong to Hospital in Hyderabad. People’s War project the rulers of independent India as guerillas disguised as doctors wheeled him British agents. Though the government out of the hospital. While doing so, they was working against the interests of farm- exchanged fire with the police, two of ers and the working class, India was a sov- whom fell dead. This enraged the police. The comereign state that opposed British imperialrades smuggled ism on international platKondapalli to Bangalore. forms. It was 9 pm when they CPI(M) leaders After smuggling rang the bell at Babaiah’s Sundaraiah, EMS rebel leader house. “Sir, Kondapalli Namboodripad and A K Kondapalli to Seetharamaiah is in Gopalan felt a sovereign Bangalore, his Bangalore and he has a Indian state provided the right climate to nurture a comrades came to heart problem. Please arrange for a doctor, and revolutionary movement, Babaiah seeking keep it a secret,” a while CPI leaders Rajeswara medical help stranger told him. Rao and S A Dange argued Babaiah was excitthat the Congress was symed to hear the name of pathetic to the oppressed, and it wasn’t wrong for the Leftists to ally Kondapalli. He decided to help the revoluwith them. That is how the Indian com- tionary. He called up his family doctor and took him to where Kondapalli stayed. munists split into many groups. The Andhra Pradesh government Babaiah turned emotional on seeing formed a Special Task Force to crack down Kondapalli. The doctor referred him to a on Kondapalli’s group. The policemen pre- cardiologist. The next day, Babaiah took a ferred killing People’s War members to clean-shaven Kondapllai to the cardioloarresting them. They had killed many gist, and got diagnostic tests done. The


comrades had shaved Kondapalli’s head, and he had changed his name to dodge the police. Kondapalli had stayed at the place of a medical student from Andhra Pradesh, and Babaiah carried special dishes for him. Kondapalli would eat only after his men had tasted the food. It was a precaution he took against poisoning. When Babaiah was about to leave, Kondapalli said he would not be in the same place the next day, and Babaiah would be informed about his next camp. Kondapalli would not stay in one place, a practice common to Naxals. Next day, a young man called Bhaskar Reddy showed up at Babaiah’s place and took him to a slum where Kondapalli was camping. That is how Babaiah came in touch with Bhaskar Reddy. After a couple of such meetings, Kondapalli quietly left without informing Babaiah. Some six months after this, Babaiah spotted Bhaskar Reddy at Hotel Elite, famous for its tea, in the Majestic area. After exchanging pleasantries, he sought Babaiah’s help in finding a house for rent in Bangalore. With help from colleagues, Babaiah found an outhouse attached to a bungalow at Richmond Circle. Next week: Babaiah’s jeep ride and detention (Translated by B V Shivashankar)

T I M E P A SS 1st Cross

Talk’s weekly crossword for Bangaloreans who know their way about town smuggle these into the country (4,4) 17 RCB & Kingfisher owner (5,6) 19 Karnataka CM from mid 2008 to mid 2011 (11)

1 2 3

5 6

DOWN Our World Series Hockey team (5) Bangalore is the ___ most populous city in India (5) Jules ____ : Nobel Prize winner who was recently in the city to unveil the Dr P Sadananda Maiya block of the National College (8) International pop star who will perform in the city on Sunday (7,8) Area recently in the news when a techie from Odisha died in a cycling accident (10)

Last week’s solution Across: 2 Church, 6 G R Mohan, 9 Cantonment, 11 Nizaams, 14 Vangpui Kut, 15 Chola, 16 S M Krishna, 17 Hawala, 18 Ulsoor, 19 Thirty. 4



ACROSS The BBMP intends to charge private telecom and cable companies a fee of Rs 300/meter of ____ ___ cable laid in the city (5,5) The Karnataka High Court has threatened to remove the head of this pollution control body (5) One of the country's best mental

talk|25 oct 2012|

health institutions in Bangalore (7) 13 Area home to the Bull temple (12) 14 HCG's cancer care model is now a case study in this famous American business school (7) 16 Seven people were recently arrested at the International Airport by the DRI for trying to

Down: 1 Geddalli, 3 Union, 4 Canadian, 5 Industrial, 7 D Venkatesh, 8 Jalahalli, 10 Tumkur, 12 Transport, 13 Eshwari, 16 Styx.

8 9 10


12 15


Bangalore is often referred to as "The ____ ___ of India" (7,6) Bangalore's largest lake (9) Chandrasekhar ____ : Kannada author who was the recipient of the Jnanpith award recently (6) The ____ ____ : Group of around 100 Bangloreans who are committed to keeping the city clean (4,6) _____ Cinemas: Multiplex on Bannerghatta Road (7) Number of kilometres separating the international airport and railway station (6) These rock formations in Uttara Kannada are an ideal destination for trekkers & nature lovers (4)


How he loved the view, but she didn’t I have a photographer friend who is also a big nature freak. He stands transfixed when he sees hills, birds, mountains, or anthing naturally beautiful. One day the two of us went to meet a common friend. My photographer-friend had never been to this place before, so after hanging around for some time, I took him to the balcony. It opens out to a panoramic view, and just as I had imagined, he was soon lost in appreciation of the beauty. Meanwhile, the phone rang and I went inside. A woman colleague walked past my friend to the rest room, passing by the balcony. My photographer-friend did not notice her. When she came out, my friend heard her steps and assumed it was me. He turned to her and exclaimed loudly, "Know what? I loved the view!" To this day, he remembers the shocked expression on her face. Manjunath, Jayanagar Share the humour in your life, multiply the fun! Keep those anecdotes coming to:


talk|25 oct 2012|

31 Prof Good Sense  My dad has always been a role model for me. My mother passed away when I was very young and my dad took excellent care of me. He was everything to me. Recently, I have seen him spending a lot of time at the computer. Last week when he forgot to log out, I happen to see that he had signed in to a chat room! I couldn’t conceal my anger and disapproval of his new obsession. But he continues to chat online late into the night. I don’t understand why he is doing this. Please help. Vasudha, Sarjapur

Don’t overreact. Chatting online isn't proof of ‘disloyalty’. Technology has given us new and shinier ways to indulge in old preoccupations. Relax. Just as you wouldn’t want anyone prying into your mailbox, your father wouldn’t want you keeping an eye on what he is doing at the computer. You must understand his sensitivities, and not let your anxiety drive you. If your father knows you are monitoring him disapprovingly, his equation with you is in danger of changing for the worse. Instead of showing your anger, coax him to open up. He has been kind and responsible, and he is your friend, after all. I understand your concern, but I suggest you give your father his space.

Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to

Pink ribbons Inc.

What Saif told Kareena Okay, the big hoo ha about the wedding of Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor is finally over. Now that the stardust is beginning to settle, the world is sitting back and amusing itself with some cheap shots at Saifeena, with thanks to the ever-obliging Facebook. While some attempts at capturing the shaadi turned out drab with badly spelt speech bubbles, a few did crack us up. Like this one, which tells of 10year-old (yes, you heard right) Kareena attending Saif’s first wedding, with yesteryears’ star Amrita Singh. When she congratulated him, he apparently said, “Thank you, beta.” Now, that’s messed up, all right, and for no other reason that it very likely happened.

October being Breast Cancer Awarenesss Month, just about every kind of product and brand has hitched itself on to the pink bandwagon. A popular Indian e-commerce website for women recently had this up in bold letters: Trending: Navratri, Festive Season, Breast Cancer. You are cheerfully exhorted to ‘Go pink for BCA Month!’ Click on the link and a seemingly endless array of pink products—from watches to flip flops—are thrust on you. Recently, Kentucky Fried Chicken's

Buckets for the Cure (nothing more curative than a pink coloured paper bucket) has been described by critics as “feeding people carcinogenic grilled chicken that raises the risk of breast cancer.” Now, big business has always loved breasts (just look at the adverts), but now it looks like they love breast cancer just as much.

Super scare in the making


The Crimean-Congo Viral Hemorrhagic Fever has just the right credentials that could qualify it as the latest global scare. It comes from Afghanistan (that’s right, from the very Heart of Darkness), where a

38-year-old Glasgow garage owner had gone to attend a wedding. He brought it to the UK, and later succumbed to it, becoming the first confirmed victim of the tick-borne viral illness. At least one 'leading virologist' in that country has claimed that the virus (which the media has already labelled ‘the doomsday virus’) may have “cataclysmic effects for all of mankind in the next five years.” At the moment, though, it’s the news about the virus that seems to be spreading fast, and you can soon expect it to hit prime time. Come to think of it, it’s been a while since we’ve had a nice little planet-wide scare. What can possibly be better than this made-forHollywood super-flu, complete with an exotic origin and an unknown virus.

TALK OCTOBER 25, 2012  
TALK OCTOBER 25, 2012  

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