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talk Volume 1 | Issue 36 | April 18, 2013 | Rs 10

AYYOTOONS Where’s your looter ID card? 5

magazine

the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

No 1 IN BREAST CANCER

Bangalore women are more prone to the disease than their counterparts in Mumbai and Delhi. MARIA LAVEENA speaks to doctors and patients about what is pushing the risk up 10-15 ALSO: SURVIVOR STORIES, ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

BIDAR The monks who walked into a blaze 6

ELECTIONS Brooding Yeddyurappa, sulking Sriramulu 7

MOVIES MK Raghavendra on Bollywood’s retro remake binge 16


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Politicians’ stand on Palace Grounds hypocritical and malicious I read Talk’s cover story on the battle between the state government and members of the Mysore royal family over Palace Grounds (Battle Royale, Issue 35). As someone belonging to the latter side, I found the JD(S) spokesperson MC Nanaiah’s comments to be crass and lacking in consistency. Just the other day, he was after us to give the Grounds for a JD(S) meet. In fact, the party went ahead and held their event in an existing shed though the permission said it had to be done in open grounds! Similarly, BJP spokesperson S Prakash’s comment too shows how ignorant these people are. They know neither history nor the Indian Constitution, but persist in making such inane comments. Ironically, it was a (then) BJP MLA,

Mrs Nesargi who was the lone voice in opposing the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act in 1996. Also, it was Arun Jaitley, senior advocate and currently the BJP’s Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, who fought for the royal family to get permission from the Supreme Court to use the property in the intervening period! Just the other day, the BJP held their mega election rally at Palace Grounds, flouting all rules. The party’s city chief simply called to seek use of the premises and did not even make a formal request to the state government for permission to use it. On an earlier occasion, when the BJP held an event, High Grounds Police had sent the party a notice

team talk EDITORIAL

EXECUTIVE TEAM

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

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

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

asking whether such an event was held. How absurd can things get, because the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues were on the dais, and the police were in full attendance! If this does not amount to malice and harassment, could someone please tell

us why we should not think so? Raja Chandra, via Facebook

Write to letters@talkmag.in

COVER IMAGE: Courtesy Worldwide Breast Cancer

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around town

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editor talk

BRAIN STATION BrainSTARS, a local company that specialises in innovative maths and science programmes for kids, will be among the first to start functioning at Rangoli

Bangalore is perhaps India’s most westernised city. We embrace new ideas and products quickly, but we also pay a price when we take to a lifestyle that looks glamorous but pushes us towards ill-health. Bangalore has more women with breast cancer than any other city in India. Maria Laveena, the youngest member of our team, came to the newsroom with the proposition that eating junk food, among other things, was making the city’s women prone to breast cancer. We didn't want to be alarmist, so we treated her story with caution and scepticism. But we discovered, among other things, that doctors are convinced the link between lifestyle and cancer is the strongest in the case of breast cancer.

Namma Metro’s ticket to culture The Rangoli-Metro Arts Centre, next to the MG Road Station, will open soon. Here's a sneak preview of a public space in the heart of the city MARGOT COHEN

The centre is adjacent to the MG Road station and stretches down towards Anil Kumble Circle. Officials plan to keep it open from 10 am to 10 pm, and make the 130seat auditorium available for a full range of puppet shows, plays, documentary films, book launches, concerts and performance art. The Rangoli initiative represents a crucial test for a city bereft of public space for the arts. Previous initiatives, such as Freedom Park, have faltered due to bureaucratic intransigence and sudden shortfalls in funding. Up to now, it has been very difficult for both local and visiting artists to wangle permission to show their work in public areas (like cricket fields or bus stations) or stage performances on the footpaths. Nonetheless, a smattering of ‘ambush’ arts events staged without permits have occurred, tinged with risk.

hen the city chopped down the historic sweep of bougainvillea on MG Road to make way for Namma Metro, many citizens were horrified. The denuded stretch and ugly tin sheets came to symbolise the brutality of modernisation. Now Metro officials aim to recapture some public goodwill with a project that strives to juxtapose the traditional and the modern. In late April or early May, the tin sheets will come down and passersby will be able to stroll inside the new Rangoli-Metro Arts Centre—which will span two art galleries, an air-conditioned auditorium, outdoor play areas for children, a chill-out plaza for grown-ups, and platforms designed for demonstrations and sales of traditional crafts and Indie art scene textiles. Despite such constraints, an

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experimental arts scene has emerged at scattered spaces, including 1 Shanthi Road, Jaaga, Bar 1, GallerySKE and Gallery Five Forty Five, while squeezing into some more conventional spaces such as the courtyard of the National Gallery of Modern Art (Bengaluru), the Alliance Francaise and the Max Mueller Bhavan. With Rangoli in the heart of the city, however, artists could potentially break out of this niche community and interact with a broad range of walk-in viewers from different socio-economic backgrounds. “This can be a space in which young people try out their ideas,” says Ayisha Abraham, an artist and member of Bar 1. She says Rangoli has the potential to bridge the gap between opportunities offered to fresh graduates of art institutes throughout Karnataka, and those available to students from prominent Bangalore art schools. What Abraham finds most exciting about the project is the role assigned to 46-year old Surekha, the Metro’s choice for curator of programmes and exhibitions. Fluent in Kannada and English, well-respected in local experimental circles, and wellversed in the standards of international exhibitions—having shown

Disturbing news comes from Bidar, Karnataka’s northernmost district, where three monks walked into a blaze and ended their lives. The incident has no precedent in recent history. Jains follow the practice of sallekhana, or giving up life by fasting. An elderly man in Shantinath Desai’s classic Kannada novel Om Namo contemplates sallekhana. Raghavendra Swami, the revered 17th century dwaita saint, attained samadhi by having himself buried alive. It took a Raja Ram Mohun Roy to abolish sati, that practice of women burning themselves on their husbands’ pyre. But the Bidar incident is like none of these. Prashanth GN brings you an update. For Chennai, it is December, but for Bangalore, April is the season for classical music. Every year, Sri Rama Seva Mandali in Chamarajpet organises a month-long festival of high quality concerts, but few of this city’s new residents ever get to hear about it. Part of the problem is that Bangalore’s English-language journalism remains blinkered to the cultural fare in the older neighbourhoods. Some of India’s greatest musicians perform at Fort High School, and if you love good music, you should head there every summer.

SR Ramakrishna ram@talkmag.in


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RAMESH HUNSUR

THE REFUGE Rangoli will have two art galleries, an auditorium, plaza and outdoor play areas

What you’ll see at Rangoli  Art exhibitions, concerts, puppet shows  Science and math programmes for kids  Khadi and crafts displays

her work in many venues abroad, from Hong Kong to Helsinki and Rio de Janeiro to Trinidad—Surekha is hardly the kind of blinkered civil servant often tasked with supervising government-funded arts projects. In recent years, she has focused on installations related to the ecology of Bangalore’s disappearing lakes, extending notions of the body, and reconfigured identities. She has used material ranging from rice paper to khadi rope, and frequently relies on photography and video in her installations. One reason she decided to take up the job was her previous acquaintance with UA Vasanth Rao, who currently serves as general manager for Finance at the Metro and has long been interested in theatre and the visual arts. More than two decades ago, while a student at the Ken School of Art, Surekha opted to participate in teaching art classes for blind children at the Bal Bhavan. Rao had organised those classes, and today he sees the new Rangoli centre as a way to stimulate the public imagination and generate some good vibes in the city. “It has to be a happy place,” Rao insists. So far, The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has invested more than Rs 10 crore in the project.

and enforce a ‘No Honking’ rule on MG Road? “There are some things that I can do, and some things that only the public can do,” Rao responds. For the most part, Metro officials have chosen to keep their plans under wraps. Rao said he wanted to unveil the centre first, and then invite the general public and arts practitioners to offer ideas and suggestions. (Talk obtained a preview tour).

there are 40,000 workers toiling to complete the remaining lines, Maraa researchers believe that’s an underestimate of the actual number. The next line, stretching to the industrial area of Peenya, is slated to be finished in October 2013, while the seven underground stations, including Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park, are scheduled for completion by December 2014.

Neglected labour

Early birds

For example, members of the media and arts collective Maraa had not gotten wind of the soon-to-be launched arts centre, Noise challenge No doubt, some unhappiness will be gener- even though they figure among the city’s ated by the deafening traffic along MG most active organisers in recent years, stagRoad. True to its namesake, Rangoli has an ing improvised theatre sessions, poetry open, airy design, with just a few shrubs readings, film screenings and other creand potted plants separating visitors from ative events. “I haven’t even heard of this the careening auto drivers and exhaust- space,” says Maraa co-founder Ekta Mittal. belching vehicles. While the original design “But I find it extremely bizarre that the called for an open-air amphitheatre, that BMRCL would invest in an arts centre when they can’t be bothered idea was ultimately ditched to find out about the poor as impractical. According to Rangoli will living conditions of workers acoustics engineer Stephen give artists who are involved in conJaikumar, who is working to structing the Metro.” soundproof the enclosed access to a Mittal is part of a team auditorium, noise levels on wider public that is completing a trilogy of MG Road typically range documentary films on the from 90 to 95 decibels. Meanwhile, the ideal level for an auditori- dreams and desires of Metro workers, or as she describes it, their “inner worlds.” They um would be 35 to 45 decibels. To protect the stage from auditory mostly hail from northern India, including intrusions, Jaikumar says it was necessary Bihar, UP, Chattisgarh, Jharkand, and the to instal airtight doors and expand the Northeast, with some also recruited from walls with different layers of soundproof- northern Karnataka. Generally, the working material to block noise at different fre- ers leave their families behind. In doing quencies. Another challenge is guarding research for the shoot, the crew visited against the structural vibrations created by seven labour colonies in Yeshwanthpur, the Metro passing overhead, adds Byappanahalli, Yelahanka, Peenya, and Jaikumar, on assignment from the other areas, all run by subcontractors. Her Bangalore branch of the Sound of Music, a team discovered a striking lack of toilets Delhi-based firm that specialises in sound and health care, and overcrowding in tinroofed shacks. A lawsuit is pending. systems and acoustics. While Metro officials maintain that Would it be possible to inaugurate

One of the first groups to launch activities at Rangoli will be BrainSTARS, a local company that specialises in designing innovative math and science programmes for kids, ranging in levels from third standard to eighth standard. According to Anupama Prakash, a director of BrainSTARS, the firm will conduct a variety of activities at Rangoli, from math exercises to fun science experiments related to a child’s everyday environment. She expects the MG Road location to offer more exposure and appreciation of methods that so far have been applauded within more narrow academic circles. “We’ve always been nestled in the heart of old Bangalore, in Basavangudi. What we do never comes out to the public. I’m hoping the positioning (in Rangoli) is going to be grand and celebratory for us,” she adds. The BrainSTARS debut will also test the practicality of a profit-sharing model between the BMRCL and a private company. Prakash says the firm plans to charge Rs 200 per child for an hour’s math programme, and Rs 100 per child for participating in a science experiment. She deems such prices affordable for parents of private school students, and clarifies that children enrolled in government schools will be granted entry free of charge, as long as their parents bring their school ID cards. Meanwhile, some days may be set aside for

programmes run exclusively for children enrolled at government schools within a 5 km radius of Bangalore. With all the simultaneous activities envisioned at Rangoli, there could be some challenges involved in managing the flow of people who walk in and promptly walk out of those activities, cautioned Meena Vari, Dean of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Practice at Srishti. Still, she adds, “It’s a great public space to have. It’s like a dead space, coming alive.” It remains to be seen whether the crafts on display will be carefully selected to highlight quality, durability, and, possibly, design innovations. Those annoying MG Road touts for wooden snakes and chess sets will be kept at bay, promises the curator.

Khadi initiative Rao is known to have a special fondness for khadi, and has recruited the Janapada Seva Trust in Melkote to host demonstrations and sell their wares. Accustomed to weaving in obscurity 120 km from the state capital, the khadi artisans are eager for a wider net of customers. “If the MG Road location is going to improve the sales of their products, it will give the artisans a lot of energy and strength to expand their activities,” says Koulagi Santosh, secretary of the Trust. Yet he is also waiting to gauge the response. “The younger generation doesn’t know anything about fabric at all,” he points out. No one will be guaranteed a spot at Rangoli in perpetuity. Surekha and her programming staff are looking to encourage an atmosphere of creative flux. While risking a whirlwind of proposals and suggestions, she is most keen on avoiding the static air of certainty. “It’s better to keep things open, rather than have one mural sitting there for 100 years,” she says.


fun lines

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monk deaths

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TRAGIC CHAIN Ganeshwara Swami, the founder of the math, is said to have given up his life voluntarily. (Above) His disciples followed suit in an open pyre

While the self-immolation of three monks in Bidar harks back to the pre-colonial practice of sati, theories abound about what pushed them to the gruesome act

Anything for the guru PRASHANTH GN prashanth.gn@talkmag.in

ome time between 4 and 5 am on Monday, three swamijis, one of them just 17, lit a match to a huge pile of firewood, and walked into the flames. Their action has intrigued and shocked not just their devotees but people elsewhere. Their charred bodies were found the next morning. People in Bidar Talk spoke to said Jagannath Swami (40), Pranav Swami (17) and Veerareddy Swami (56) perceived a threat to their order, especially in the wake of the death of their guru, Ganeshwara Swami. Ganeshwara Swami, who had established the Chowli Math 25 years ago, reportedly died in his sleep on February 28, but a good number of devotees say he chose to die, or to use a euphemism, “give up his mortal coils”. Devotees flocked to the math in the faith that he would help them overcome their health and emotional problems. The Marathi-speaking pontiff had spent six years in Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, before arriving in Bidar, in 1987, to set up the math in an area of eight acres. He built four towers in four directions, besides pooja halls and preaching rooms. Shiva lingas and statues of the swami also adorn the premises.

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Ganeshwara Swami was keen on Another theory doing the erecting a statue of Shiva on land rounds is that a junior monk called adjacent to the mutt. When he pro- Ashoka Swami had started controlposed this, a fight erupted, and the ling Ganeshwara Swami, and was owner refused to part with the land. keeping him away from other monks. Disappointed, he decided to set up This had led to emotional distress not the statue inside the math. just among the junior monks, but also Because of reasons beyond his for the pontiff, whom they fondly control, work never called Chowli Mutya. began. In the meanMany of the People want while, the seer had monks housed at the asked his devotees to the monks to Chowli Math, including collect funds for the the three who walked share their statue, and they had into a blaze of firewood, power gone ahead and done it. were reportedly receivWhen his plans were ing threats over the thwarted, he decided to give the ownership of the math. According to money back to devotees. media reports in Bidar, people wanted In the process, some money a greater say in its administration, went into the wrong hands. The while the monks wanted all control in swami was disturbed, and suspected their hands. One monk, Maruti some people were out to discredit his Swami, was reportedly assaulted math. One day, he declared publicly against the background of this tussle. he would sacrifice his life as he could not see his wish of installing a Shiva The one who disappeared statue fulfilled. But locals dissuaded He suddenly disappeared one day. him. A few days later, he died sudden- Did he run away or was he kidly. Many of his devotees believe he napped? He is still nowhere in sight. may have voluntarily given up his life In the middle of all this, the math was as no evidence has been brought for- approaching bankruptcy, and the ward to explain his death. monks were depressed and anxious, locals say. Some monks reportedly Minister’s intervention The buzz in Bidar is also that Home approached the district administraMinister R Ashok prevailed on the tion, asking them to take over the police and stopped them from doing a math, but the officials did not react. post mortem. Ganeshwara Swami’s Police say they haven’t received any body was buried, and that left little complaint about the threats and conflicts. evidence for the police to go by.

According to scholars at Hampi University, there is no tradition of immolation among any community in Karnataka. The revered Raghavendra Swami entered Samadhi (was buried alive) on his volition. Karnataka is dotted with masti kallus, stones commemorating the death of women who burnt themselves on the pyre after the passing of their husbands. But no scholar Talk contacted could think of a precedent to the Bidar incident.

The Avadhoota tradition The Avadhootha sect, to which the math belongs, is not aligned to any major religious order in the state. Avadhootas are said to be mystics free of bodily desire. They do not follow any sectarian practices or rituals. The only festival Chowli Math used to celebrate was its foundation day, which falls on Ugadi (April 11). Religious orders in Karnataka not only reject but also abhor selfimmolation as a religious practice. The three monks have left behind a suicide note and a video, in which they say they had been asked by the pontiff to follow him by immolating themselves. Some fear this could be the first of many cases of immolation among the monks at the math. Questions persist. Who shot the video? Are the monks simply victims of bullying or blackmail? What is the future of the math?


political diary

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Why is everyone

Anil Kumar Jha

ditching Sriramulu?

Politicians' cheat sheet

His colleagues are quietly leaving, and it seems the big parties too won’t have anything to do with the BSR Congress

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hen B Sriramulu broke away from the BJP and founded the BSR Congress, he was thrilled at the number of people flocking to his new party. Just three months ago, the party’s office at Kumara Park was buzzing with activity, with sundry politicians clamouring to get in. But now, the party is facing setback after setback, with some of its most important members abandoning it. Why are they going away? Convinced that glorious days awaited the party, Sriramulu had forgotten to ask himself what brought people to his doors. All of India now knows how his godfather Janardhana Reddy ran his mining empire. The CBI put Reddy behind bars, freezing his bank accounts. When the gravy train stopped, the party lost its attraction. Venkatesh Gowda, BSR

Congress Yuva Morcha leader, and CS Dwarakanath, the party’s candidate from Byatarayanapura in Bangalore, have already bid goodbye to Sriramulu. Rakshita, the retired movie star, has been threatening to quit for some months now, but for the record, described “Reddy Sir” to the Times of India as “one of the wisest politicians I have met”. Insiders say that a desperate Sriramalu also tried approaching the BJP and the JD(S) for a ‘seat-sharing’ arrangment, but both parties supposedly refused to have anything to do with the BSR Congress. A party insider admitted candidly to Talk, “We have no ideology. Our party must run on mining money. If there’s no money, no one comes our way!”

BASU MEGALKERI

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BLADES B Sriramulu on a campaign yatra, holding the party symbol, the ceiling fan

How many Muslim candidates, please?

FRIENDS ALL Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy at a JD(S) rally to woo Muslim voters

The Congress takes pride in being Muslim-friendly, and has given to the community 12 of 177 tickets announced so far. The BJP is known for its antipathy to Muslims, and hasn’t allotted a single ticket, of the 140 it has announced, to any Muslim. What about the JD(S)? It is largely seen as a family party that, at best, represents the interests of the Vokkaligas. It has already announced 122 candidates, with 10 of them being Muslims. Given the circumstances, that’s a disproportionate number, say political observers.

formed a government with the BJP, he lost the support of the Muslims. They need to do all this to win the minorities back,” a party insider told Talk. Kumaraswamy is contesting from Channapatna, and his wife Anitha from Ramanagara, both constituencies with a significant Muslim population.

Deve Gowda’s drought

Deve Gowda has done well in all previous elections, but the talk is that he is worried this time around. Gowda takes pride in his agricultural background, and has always treated politics the way he HD Deve Gowda and his son treats farming. He calls Kumaraswamy grandly went to elections harvest time. Last a dargah and announced the time around, the JD(S) only list. “When Kumaraswamy had national parties as

The State Election Commission is keeping a close eye on politicians. Its head Anil Kumar Jha looks soft, but is proving a tough watchdog. Under his guidance, the commission has already registered over 200 cases of election malpractice, and seized Rs 2 crore meant for distribution among voters. In Koppal in northern Karnataka, a candidate is buying motorcycles for people who pledge their votes to him. Elsewhere, voters are getting gold, saris, and set-top boxes, besides weekend trips (turn to Page 5 for Ayyotoons on this theme). One candidate is out to provide life insurance for an entire constituency. Another is giving out notebooks. It won’t be easy for the Election Commission to track how candidates are bribing candidates, but what is reassuring is that its flying squads get to work the moment they get a tip-off. Call 2222 4195 if you want to complain about any election malpractice

opponents. Those who didn’t get tickets in the Congress and the BJP migrated to the JD(S). Those who come to regional parties from the national parties are desperate to win. This worked to Gowda’s benefit, with his party winning many seats. This time, two new regional parties will eat into the pie-the KJP and the BSR Congress. What is more, the Congress is upbeat. Those who do not get Congress tickets will go to Yeddyurappa who promises money and support. As a last resort they will turn to the JD(S). It looks like Deve Gowda may not get a good yield this time. Could that be the real reason behind the dargah visit?


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Yeddyurappa and his Devdas moods Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is among the saddest people in Karnataka today. His shishyas and closest associates have abandoned him. “I’m a fool. I trusted everyone. They stabbed me in the back,” is what the weepy

70-year-old leader is saying at his press appearances. In 2008, Kumaraswamy broke his promise and refused to hand over power to Yeddyurappa, turning him into a martyr. Now, Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani, Basavaraj

Movie producer's smart gamble ailment. Lakkanna, a Congress leader in the district , has complained to KPCC President G Parameshwar that Appugol has paid Rs 4 crore to Siddaramaiah for a ticket to contest from Kittur. “Appugol was the one who revealed it to me,” Lakkana is telling anyone who cares to listen.

Anand Appugol

Anand Appugol, who spent a staggering Rs 29 crore and produced the film Sangolli Rayanna, is now desperate for a Congress ticket. Exceeding all expectations, his film became a runaway hit. Appugol is neither a politician nor a film producer. He is a money lender who successfully runs some credit cooperative banks in Belgaum district. Just recently, he was fawning on Yeddyurappa, saying he was “just an admirer”. He is now attending on Siddaramaiah, who is in hospital treating a kidney

Many people in the film industry were stunned when Appugol poured so much money into his historical film. “I don’t care about the expense,” he told reporters just before the release of the movie, when they asked him if he had gambled his money away recklessly. Sangolli Rayanna, the central character of the film, is a folk hero among Kannada speakers, especially in the northern districts. He was a chieftain in Rani Chennamma’s army, and took on the British. He is considered a pioneer of guerilla warfare in India. It’s now time to connect the dots. Kittur is where Chennamma ruled. And that’s where Appugol wants to contest.

LAVISH Anand Appugol produced a historical about a guerilla war hero

who betrayed him on Facebook, and posted, “What should we do with them?” And would you believe it—hundreds of social media users are showering the choicest abuses on them? So what is Yeddyurappa doing, besides shedding tears? He has ‘Chee’ and ‘thoo’ are the most uploaded pictures of politicians commonly used words. Bommai, V Somanna and Revunaik Belamagi have all shifted loyalties, leaving their mentor Yeddyurappa in shock and distress.

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polo season

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Thundering hooves It's polo time, and the action is already on at the Army Service Corps grounds near Domlur SRIDHAR K CHARI sridhar.chari@talkmag.in

he drumming of hooves on the grassy turf dies out, and tired horses head off the Polo practice grounds at the ASC Centre and College on Old Airport Road in the

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City.

Major Faiz Siddiqui, riding and polo coach at ASC’s Agram Riding and Polo Academy (ARPA) jumps off his horse. He is still pumped up. He turns to one of the players. “Did I shout at you today?,” he asks him. The bemused young man, says, ah, not really. “Because,” he continues, “during the game, if I am shouting, it does not mean I am upset or angry. I shout to get a player to do something at that particular point in the game, which can make a big difference to the outcome.” Later, relaxing over a soft drink at the ARPA club house, Faiz explains what he was talking about. “Our minds work to set patterns. When the game is on, we tend to do the same things in the same way. But there are times when a different action, a different approach, will make a large, disproportionate difference to the outcome of the game. That is when I am shouting, because I have to penetrate into the mind of the player, make him break his pattern, and do what is required.” Ah, the joys of riding and being on horseback. Major Faiz Siddiqui

As Winston Churchill famously said, “No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.” While what Faiz said is probably true of all sport, you never come away from a riding field without little lessons and metaphors for just about everything in life. Takeaway for the day. In fast-moving, challenging situations, there will always be moments when a fundamentally different action, not something that you would naturally do, can make a huge difference to the end result. A useful thought for project managers, CEOs, students, professionals, and well, polo players. It’s polo season. Major Faiz and his players are getting ready for this year’s outing. Since 2003, ARPA has been organising polo tournaments in Bangalore, and four of them have been lined up this April in the 2013 edition. Eleven teams will participate in this season, from different clubs in the country, including some civilian outfits—Army Service Corps, 61 Cavalry, Indian Navy, President’s Body Guard, Remount Veterinary Corps, National Defence Academy, Armoured Corps Centre & School, Regiment of Artillery, Amateur Riding Club, Mumbai, Hyderabad Polo & Riding Club and Suneendra Sports Corporation, Hyderabad. Faiz is particularly proud of youngsters, including girls, who have managed to successfully learn and play what is a demanding and hazardous game. The season starts with the ‘Gyan Jyoti’ Polo Challenge Trophy, a six goal tournament, with the finals on April 13. The ‘Alliance University’ ARPA Polo Trophy, a four goal tournament, will be played from April 14 to 16, with finals on April 16. The Army Commander’s Trophy, an eight goal tournament is on from April 17 with the finals on April 20.

Polo facts

I’M GAME Afsana Naidu is one of three girls being coached at the Army’s Polo Academy in Bangalore

 Some say it is the oldest recorded team sport in the world, attributing its origins to the plains of Central Asia.

longer than a couple of decades for the game to spread to the UK and then the US. It was included in some Olympics, last in 1936.

 The history of the modern game is clearer, and can be traced to British India. Manipur still has a polo ground considered the oldest one in the world. British cavalry officers instituted the modern game in the 1860s. It didn’t take

 Players like to think of it as the sport of kings. On a stone tablet next to a polo ground in Gilgit, Jammu and Kashmir, (on the other side of the Line of Control, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), is a famous verse: “Let others play at

other things. The king of games is still the game of kings.”  The outdoor polo field is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, almost 10 acres, making it the largest field in sport.  There are four players on a team. Each round is a ‘chukka’, which lasts for 7½ minutes. Horses are changed after that. Matches may be 4, 5, or 6 chukkas.

‘I’m not deterred by injury’ Talk caught up with Afsana Naidu, 17, one of three Bangalore girls coached at ARPA. Excerpts from an interview: What are the challenges that most polo players face? Is it different for women polo players? The biggest challenge that players face is to establish a connection with their horse. You have to make the horse do what you want to do and not the other way round. The other challenges are that the sport is very tiring and draining. You need to work really hard if you play polo. It is an expensive sport. How much do you approximately spend a month on the game? Maintenance of each horse at the club is Rs 13,000 so to maintain four horses the amount comes up to Rs 56,000 a month. Knowledge of the sport and access is restricted to a handful of people. What do you think needs to be done to promote the sport? First of all, people should overcome their fear of horses! There should be more clubs, more tournaments. Is Bangalore growing as a polo centre? Jaipur and Delhi are the hubs, but Bangalore now has many teams. Have you had any injuries so far? Did that deter you from playing? The game indeed is very scary. I have had many injuries but that didn’t stop me from playing. There is a ‘rule’ when you play poloyou must continue the game till you are bleeding or are unconscious! But luckily I have not had a serious injury.

SANDRA FERNANDES


breast cancer

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Breast cancer incidence in India

Bangalore: 36.1

Mumbai: 32.3

Delhi: 32.3

Chennai: 31.5

(All figures are of new cases diagnosed per year per lakh population). Source: Population Based Cancer Registry.

The uber-city malaise

RAMESH HUNSUR

More women in Bangalore get breast cancer than in any other Indian city. Doctors blame it on their propensity to eat out, pop birth control pills, and pursue stressful careers

MARIA LAVEENA maria.laveena@talkmag.in

ith Bangalore being dubbed the cancer capital of the country, and breast cancer accounting for nearly a third of all cases among women in the city, renewed attention is being paid to the diet and lifestyle link. That link is clearest in the case of breast cancer, say doctors. Dr SP Somashekar, Head of the Department of Surgical Oncology at Manipal Hospitals, told Talk clinical trials have even established that exercise and a better diet prevent cancer from recurring in women. “According to studies by the Protocol and Information Office (PIO) of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the leading lifestyle disease, followed by prostrate and colorectal cancer,” he said. What is it that Bangalore women do that the others don’t? For starters, they eat the wrong kinds of food, delay motherhood, and smoke. The latest figures released by the Population Based Cancer Registry (PBCR) show that Bangalore reports 113.4 cases of cancer for every one lakh males, and 139.1 cases for every one lakh females every year. Of the latter figure, 36.1 cases are breast cancer, the highest among all cancers, ahead of Mumbai and Delhi, both of which report 32.3 cases per lakh population. (See box). Dr BS Ajai Kumar, Chairman of

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DEADLY BITE Accounting for one in four cancer cases in women, breast cancer is also the one most directly linked to lifestyle

HCG Cancer Hospital, says while awareness and better documentation are a factor in Bangalore topping the list, there is no doubt the city’s lifestyle is contributing to the malaise. Breast and uterine cancers were earlier more common in developed countries, with cervical cancer afflicting the poor. “But, in the last five years, things have changed radically. Our food preferences and adoption of a Western lifestyle have impacted us. In India, cervical cancer is no longer the commonest cancer… it is breast cancer,” Dr Somashekhar observes. Dr Ajai Kumar, who sees an average of 200-220 new patients every month, is convinced breast cancer is definitely related to poor eating and work habits. “Many studies have proved that fatty foods can cause

breast cancer. Women who consume more fatty and fried foods, smoke, and are genetically predisposed, are more susceptible to the disease,” he said.

Catching them young What is more, breast cancer incidence is not only rising, but afflicting younger and younger women. Says Dr Somashekar, “In Western countries, it is still a ‘sixth decade disease’, but here, of late, most patients are between 35 and 40. And they have more aggressive cancers than older women.” This is something many of his colleagues corroborate. Of course, genetic predisposition plays a big role. As Dr Ajai Kumar puts it, “Not all smokers get lung cancer. In the same way, not everyone with a poor lifestyle


talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

is afflicted by cancer.” And there are many other risk factors. The link between polluted air and illhealth (including fertility problems, see Talk Issue 24), seems fairly clear, though there isn’t enough hard evidence to suggest that it is a key cause of breast cancer. Doctors say they see fewer cases of breast cancer in the villages. Some 80 per cent of the urban cases Dr Ajai Kumar sees are women who eat fries and burgers, and dine out twice a week, a lifestyle pattern seldom seen in villages.

What’s it about the pill? Another risk factor is late marriage, late motherhood, and consumption of contraceptive pills. Some studies say oral contraceptives increase the risk only slightly, while it prevents other kinds of cancers. (See box) Prolonged use, of course, is not advised. But Dr Somashekar, who sees an average of seven new patients every day, is def-

Contraceptive use and breast cancer

 A number of studies suggest that current use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, especially among younger women. However, the risk level goes back to normal after 10 years or more of discontinuing oral contraceptive use.  Women who use oral contraceptives have reduced risks of ovarian and endometrial cancer. This protective effect increases with the length of time oral contraceptives are used.  Oral contraceptive use is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer; however, this increased risk may be because sexually active women have a higher risk of becoming infected with human papillomavirus, which causes virtually all cervical cancers.  Women who take oral contraceptives have an increased risk of benign liver tumours, but the relationship between oral contraceptive use and malignant liver tumours is less clear. Source: National Cancer Institute (US)

inite in how he sees this risk factor: “Breast cancer is caused by more estrogen in the body. Oral contraceptive pills contain progestin, which produces estrogen. Thus, consuming the pills can definitely increase the danger of the disease.” Dr Kumaraswamy, another oncologist at HCG, notes: “The causes of any cancer are multi-factorial. Oral contraceptives could be one of the causes.” In any case, prolonged contraception is directly related to late motherhood. “Many marry late and have their first child only after 30-32 years. They rarely have more than one child and don’t breastfeed for more than six months. And at some point they take oral contraceptives or hormone pills,” Dr Somashekar explains. Again, among low income groups, multiple children and regular breast-feeding appear to reduce the breast cancer risk, while exacerbating the risk for cervical cancer.

Most common variety

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How to do a Self Breast Examination: Oncologists advise women older than 25 to do a regular Self Breast Examination (SBE) for early detection of breast cancer, which ensures much better chances of successful treatment. If there is a history of breast cancer in the family, doctors also advice an annual mammogram after the age of 30 years. Without such history, women are still advised annual mammograms, after the age of 40.  SBE is done once a month, a week to 10 days before the first day of periods.  SBE is all about how the breasts look and how they feel. Stand in front of the mirror and look at the breasts carefully, from different arm positions, for any unusual change in the way the nipples look or for any dimples or changes in the skin.

Like in all cancers, early detection is crucial for successful treatment of breast cancer. Individual tumour characteristics, health and genetic predisposition impact survival. In India, the most common type of breast cancer is the Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), where the cancer has broken through the wall of the milk duct and invaded the tissues of the breast. Over time, IDC can spread to the lymph nodes (under the arm pit) and possibly to other areas of the body as well. Dr BV Rajaram, Assistant Professor at St John’s Medical College Hospital, says most women are diagnosed only during the advanced stages. That means even among the urban educated, the need for regular self-examination has not been driven home sufficiently. “People are just not aware,” he says. Dr Somashekar concurs. “I have patients who say they noticed a lump in the breast six months earlier, but since it was painless, they didn’t worry about it.” A lump in the breast may be a first stage sign of the disease. While lumps may be harmless, they could also be a danger sign, which warrants an immediate visit to the doctor. (See box for self-examination and early warning signs). In fact, the disease can reach an advanced stage in just six months.

was diagnosed with cancer, I cried for everything, including for the food I couldn’t eat,” she recalls. Diagnosed in the second stage, she is fully cured today. She doesn’t regret any of her decisions, including delaying motherhood for the sake of “first creating a strong bond with her husband.” Prevention as always, should come first, as treatment can be expensive. Aparna spent about Rs 20 lakh for her treatment, since she opted for foreign drugs. Other patients spend about Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh.

A foodie doc’s story

It can strike anyone

Aparna (name changed), a qualified but non-practising doctor, who was afflicted with the disease in 2007 when she was 39, seems to best exemplify the lifestyle factor. There was no family history of the disease, but she checked the boxes for all other risk factors—obesity, delayed motherhood, taking of oral contraceptives, dining out three times a week, eating red meat and junk food, and the like. “I’m a huge foodie and the minute I

Vandana Ramane’s case was different: she had none of the known risk factors. Yet she got breast cancer when she was 53. “I am a house-bound person with no bad habits,” she told Talk. Vandana believes pollution and a stressful lifestyle could have contributed to her problem. She now meditates, practises yoga, walks, and eats fruits and vegetables every day. “I took the first half of the word ‘can’ from cancer and was able to get back

 Examine your breasts one at a time. If you’re starting with your right breast, raise your right arm, place your right hand behind your head, and use your left hand to feel your breast. Do the same with the left breast as well.  One way to examine your breast is to think of your breast as a circle. Using the pads of your three middle fingers, move your fingers in a spiral motion from the outside to the inside of the circle, gradually getting close to the nipple. Notice what feels normal and what may feel

different from the last time you examined your breasts.  Use different levels of pressure to feel each part of your breast. This will allow you to feel the various layers of tissue.  When you have covered the entire breast, use your finger and thumb to gently squeeze your nipple, watching for any discharge.  Feel for lumps under and along the top of the collar bone.

Typical warning signs:  Lump or thickening (breast, underam)  Dimpling or puckering of the skin  Bloody or discharge from nipple  A sore on the breast that does not heal  Unusual pain, itch or rash, especially in the nipple area  Retracted nipple Source: Cancer, a Comma, Not a Full Stop, by Roopa Venkatesh (Sapna Book House, 2009)

to my old normal life. If others practise this, it will help them bounce back as well,” she says. But misplaced optimism could also be one of the problems in cancer care. As Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of a definitive book on cancer titled The Emperor of Maladies, tells an interviewer in The Guardian, it is wrong to suggest a positive mental attitude can cure cancer. He says: “A woman with breast cancer already has her plate full, and you want to go and tell her that the reason you’re not getting better is because you’re not thinking positively? Put yourself in that woman’s position and think what it feels like to be told your attitude is to blame for why you’re not getting better. I think it’s nasty,” he says. In a spiritual sense, he concedes, “a positive attitude may help you get through chemotherapy and surgery and radiation and what have you.” But, he cautions, “a positive mental attitude does not cure cancer—any more than a negative mental attitude causes cancer.”


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Mammo mia! off your pants. It’s show time. As you lie on the narrow bed one woman spreads a cloth to cover your thighs and pulls your panties down till they’re just short of exposing your t’s that time of your life pubic hair. Another lifts your top so that the top part of when your doctor tells your belly is exposed. you to get “a complete You’re dying to pee. The medical” done. You go doctor enters. His female whistling to the diagnostic assistant squirts gel over your clinic, expecting nothing more invasive than a pinprick abdomen. He’s decided to do or more stressful than a brisk the abdominal scan before the pelvic. You wonder if you walk on a treadmill. That’s the story if you’re a man. But, can hold in your piss for that long. He moves a cold, flat oh brother, do you know object over your belly, what your health checkup exerting a slight pressure. You would be like if you were a imagine the same pressure on woman? Listen and be your agonisingly distended enlightened. pelvic region. You hope you A gloved hand gropes don’t wet the bed. After inside your grinning vagina. several minutes he embarks Not a problem, for it’s an on the pelvic scan. annual ritual that your Once it’s all done you gynaecologist conducts. She rush out and have the most also kneads your breasts to satisfying pee of your entire check for errant lumps. (The life. Up ahead is the nearest male equivalent would be if your doc fondled mammogram room. A nice girl asks you to take off your your balls and closely examined your arsehole.) One bra. The teats of burden have no time to rest. She lifts your fine day your gyno says, left breast and arranges it “Time to get one artistically on a large done.” She means a metal plate. Another mammogram. “And flat plate descends better check that onto it. It’s exactly like everything is a chapathi-making okay down machine. The gap between there.” She means a the two plates is barely half pelvic and an inch and your flattened abdominal scan. breast has spread to the When you fix size of Africa. Repeat with the appointment right breast. Then, repeat you’re told to the whole procedure, drink lots of water standing sideways. half an hour before This time the vice the scan. You’re all grips them from tanked up when the sides. you get there. Sorry, Well, guys, is that the scanning room is torture or no? I believe it is, not yet free. You if your breasts are small wriggle and squirm in and firm. If they’re large your red bucket seat and floppy like a bunny while the minutes crawl rabbit’s ears, no by. An hour later when sweat, trust me. you’re ready to burst But I don’t think you’re summoned I’d be able to look into a dim-lit at a mechanical press room where two Please find or vice in a factory women hold up a a cure. without a shudder curtain. Feeling like a stage actor you go Pink is not and a silent cry: my color! “Mammo mia!” behind it and take

Gynaecological tests for women are no joke, writes novelist CK Meena

Breast cancer treatment As always, early detection is crucial, and treatment options depend on the stage at which the cancer is detected and vary from patient to patient. The treatment involves combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy MARIA LAVEENA maria.laveena@talkmag.in

Surgery Cancer progression is understood to go from ‘stage 0’ to ‘stage IV’. In the earliest stages, surgery is opted for, followed by a round of chemotheraphy. There are two kinds of surgery-Lumpectomy or Mastectomy-depending on whether only the lump or the entire breast is removed. Oncologists call this as an ‘era of organ preservation’, so whenever possible, they remove only the lump. In patients older than 60, mastectomy is opted for. “Some women think it is better to die with dignity by retaining the breast rather than removing it,” Dr Somashekar noted. Considering the psychological impact, doctors offer oncoplastic surgery. Another important surgery is lymph node removal in the arm pit. The lymph nodes are removed to determine whether the disease has spread to other parts of the body. “But if we remove lymph nodes unnecessarily, and if the cancer has not spread, patients develop a big swelling in the hands and shoulder mobility comes down leading to permanent deformity.” Dr Somashekar noted. He advices cancer patients to get treated only in hospitals where Radio guided Occult Lesion Localisation (ROLL) technology is available. The machine will only detect the lymph nodes where the cancer has spread and leave the rest.

Chemotherapy In advanced stages, chemotherapy is given in the beginning followed by surgery. It helps shrink down the malignant tumor, making surgery easier. Chemotherapy may range from four to eight cycles, and will be given in cycles of upto 21 days. Daily sessions may last six to seven hours. Several side effects like nausea, vomiting, hair

fall, dry skin, swollen gums and blisters in the mouth occur. Oncologists advise more consumption of fluids, fruits, vegetables, and steamed food during the course. Sometimes stage 0 patients are cured with only chemotherapy and hormone therapy. This is fairly rare in Bangalore, as there are few who come in at the early stages. Doctors, say the ones who do get detected early are usually from well-to-do, health-consciousness backgrounds, who typically opt for annual mammograms (sometimes as part of company-sponsored health checkups), besides following a self-examination routine at home.

Radiation This is given after successful surgery and chemotherapy. When oncologists cut out the tumor, there is always a threat that some microscopic cancerous cells might be left behind. So, radiation is given to the operated breast to kill the cancer cells. Again, this is a long procedure. Radiation therapy is given up to five to six weeks for five days a week. The patient can just walk in, receive the radiation and leave the hospital in 15-20 minutes. Most cancer survivors say that this stage of treatment is the least taxing.

Hormonal therapy After radiation therapy, tests are conducted to determine whether the breast cancer cells have estrogen or progesterone receptors. Estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body can promote the growth of some breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy is given to block the body’s naturally occurring estrogen to slow or stop cancer growth. In India, estrogen-receptor-positive is the most common type of breast cancer and drugs like Tamoxifen, Fareston, and Evista are advised. For other types, doctors typically prescribe drugs like Armidex, Zoladex, Aromasin, Megace, and Halotestin.

I


first person

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How I survived breast cancer

RAMESH HUNSUR

Roopa Venkatesh, support group founder and entrepreneur, shares her experience of trumping the disease

ightning does not strike twice in the same place, I told myself the moment I noticed a small lump in the upper quadrant of my right breast. Thanks to a history of cancer in my family, I knew exactly what had to be done. I directly went to a lab and asked them to do the necessary tests. My grandmother was diagnosed early, and is a survivor, having recovered from cancer, leading a healthy life 17 years on. My older sister was not that lucky. She not only got the disease when she was just 32, but also lost the battle within six months of diagnosis. So, in a way, I had assumed that the gene had passed on to my sister, and couldn’t strike the same family again—after all, even God would have a conscience. But you do wonder if He does!

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GOING STRONG Roopa Venkatesh at T8 Software Services, the company she runs

cried my heart out. Everyone was shocked, and my parents were inconsolable. They were not ready to carry the corpse of yet another child on their shoulders. But it was my son who helped me to put it in perspective. He asked quietly, “What else did the doctors say?” “Well, he said that if I took treatment, I would get better,” I replied, trying hard to sound reassuring. Without more ado, he said, “Oh, Doctor’s solemn word okay then, so why worry. Take the Soon after the mammogram results were given, I was asked to do a sono- treatment, you will completely recovgram. How could I forget that day! er,” he said, hugging me. I realised I should stop feeling Lying on the examination table, I sorry for myself and kept joking with the decided to take doctor that it cannot ‘There were things in hand. I be cancer, repeating trawled the Internet, that lightning does days when I and did a huge not strike in the same just wanted to amount of research. place twice. curl up and die’ A number of support After four groups and online hours, he said solemnly, “Roopa, I think it has struck forums from Australia, New Zealand and the USA were of great help. I again.” In denial, I argued with him, say- would pose a question and they ing I had a good lifestyle—eating would respond instantaneously. I asked whether I should go healthy, exercising, working hard, enjoying life. But there was no escap- there for good treatment. They bluntly said, “Only if you need white nursing the truth. Devastated, I went to pick up my es should you come here.” They made husband from work. My 15-year-old me understand that Bangalore could son was surprised to see both parents offer advanced treatment. I was told that I was in my third reaching home together and on time. stage. I had surgery first—lumpectomy (removal of the lump). Son’s common sense This was followed by six cycles The time had come to share the catastrophic news. I broke down and of chemotherapy with a gap of 21

days each. Though I was not new to the side effects of chemotherapy, having watched my sister go through it, it still did not prepare me for what it did to me.

Smileys on my bald pate

worry, it is temporary,” as one of my doctor friends advised me. I used to say this to myself every time I felt lousy and down. After chemotherapy, I had six weeks of radiation. Honestly, it was not too bad. Treatments differ from person to person. I had a sandwich treatment where radiation was given between two sets of chemo. It definitely helped my body recoup and feel better. Eventually, in six months, my treatment was over. For a week, it did not really sink in. I was so used to being in and out of hospital that I kept planning my next visit, only to realise that I did not have to go there! They gave me hormonal therapy pills for five years and thankfully even that got over last November.

It led to disturbing hair fall, and even eyebrows, eyelashes, and nails are affected. I ordered an Indian wig. But I wasn’t too happy with it and wanted to experiment with other kinds of wigs. In the end, I had four wigs to fool people. My little nieces, who came home for holidays from the US, drew smileys with highlighter pens on my bald head. It made me happy that we could laugh about something as traumatic as this. My nieces will not get that opportunity the next time they come down, as my own shiny hair has The urge to share grown back! Yes, the journey was difficult but it certainly made me a tougher person. I felt that I was born again. I am more Frustrating days There were also days when all I want- appreciative of life and its wonderful ed to do was curl up and die. I have gifts. It helped me create two video sat in front of the dining table and books on management principles and cried, because I used to be hungry and write a book on the disease. It gave me another focus—to couldn’t eat a grain, due to my blisters and swollen gums. Unlike others, I share with other patients some of the had to bear more pain as I was experiences I have had, to give them anaemic by nature. My immunity was courage and confidence that “this too extremely low and it resulted in shall pass” and further proof that a severe infections during the positive attitude makes a whole lot of chemotherapy. But I’m indebted to difference. And now, I’m proud to say I am a my parents, who were there all the time, supporting me, and keeping me survivor and not a victim. focused on getting it over with. (As told to Maria Laveena) I kept saying to myself, “Don’t


local remedy

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

14

RAMESH HUNSUR

CHALLENGING SCEPTICISM Dr Vijay Kumar, Bangalore-based scientist who developed the Cytotron

Is the Cytotron the answer? The inventors of this new technology are currently treating only terminally ill patients, who report significant benefits

MARIA LAVEENA maria.laveena@talkmag.in

fter 20 long years of research and development, Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar, a Bangalorebased scientist and selfdescribed maverick, introduced his cancer treatment device Cytotron in 2009, to a cynical reception from oncologists. But today, after five years, oncologists are being forced to temper their scepticism. The Cytotron, based on noninvasive Quantum Magnetic Resonance Technology (QMRT)

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claims no known side-effects, uses is a four-year-old with brain cancer mild or sub radio frequency radiation, and the oldest is 95 years, with throat with non-ionising, non thermal elec- cancer. Dr Kumar is the director of the tromagnetic waves to treat cancer Centre for Advanced Research and tumors. “The Cytotron can treat all solid Development (CARD), the research tumors by stabilising the disease and wing of Scalene Cybernetics Limited, giving a better quality of life to the a company with presence in India, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, patients,” Dr Vijay Kumar told Talk. Instead of killing diseased cells, and Europe. “The response to Cytotron, from Cytotron alters the intercellular pathways and their protein synthesis pat- across the globe, has been extremely terns by stopping the cells from mul- good. We mostly take only terminally tiplying. It cannot treat patients ill patients and they are pretty happy where there is no targetable solid with the outcome,” he said. They plan to lesion, like in multiple export the equipment myeloma or leukemia The Cytotron shortly. Cytotron has (blood cancer). claims no obtained the European The treatment Union (EU) method involves expoknown Certification, he said. sure of the tumor site to side-effects “Now it’s an the modulated radio sigapproved device and is nals generated by Cytotron for about 60 minutes, for 28 available everywhere. It is the consecutive days. It requires no sur- patient’s choice to decide what they gery, is painless and comfortable, want to do,” he elated. At CARD, patients are treated for free, as it is without any known complications. “Patients can have a good considered part of clinical trials. appetite and lead a good quality life Elsewhere, treatment costs about a without side effects,” Vijay Kumar lakh. A clinical investigation was carsaid. Patients are continuously moni- ried out on 98 patients at CARD—55 tored in quarterly and half-yearly were female and 43 were male, from assessments. Their youngest survivor 15 years to 84 years. While 86 com-

pleted the 28 day exposure as per protocol (follow-ups were conducted), 31 patients were still alive at the end of the study period of four years, which include breast cancer patients. Peter Pattison, a 55 year old, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007. Even after continuous cycles of chemotherapy and radiation therapy at HCG, his cancer got worse. He tried the Cytotron. He was given two sittings at CARD by Dr Vijay Kumar in 2008. He was astonished to find that the stubborn cancer had been destroyed in just two months, which conventional treatment wasn’t able to do. “It’s almost six years now, and I am leading a very comfortable life,” Peter said. He had relapsed into smoking and drinking, and was again diagnosed with the disease. Tests were conducted at both HCG and CARD. “I was asked to take the Cyber Knife treatment (advanced radiation therapy) at HCG and simultaneously Dr Vijay asked me to undergo another exposure of Cytotron at CARD. I went for the latter first,” he said. When he later went to HCG tests revealed that 75 per cent of his cancer had come down with just the help of the Cytotron, he claims. Peter went ahead with the Cyber Knife treatment, costing him about Rs five lakh, hoping for a better quality of life. Dr Ajai Kumar of HCG declined to comment on the Cytotron. Dr Somashekar of Manipal Hospitals said that the Cytotron is not a cure by itself. “A surgery is mandatory for cancer. May be after surgery, the Cytotron can be opted for as one of the therapies.”


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Can veganism W reverse cancer?

MARIA LAVEENA maria.laveena@talkmag.in

Our instincts, Dr Nandita Shah avers, is to pluck and eat fruits, vegetables and nuts, but “never to pounce on a chicken”

Veganism expert Dr Nandita Shah

hile oncologists resort to surgery, chemo or radiation therapy, vegan enthusiasts suggest a simple remedy for curing cancer —a change in diet. They believe that going vegan can reverse cancer, and other lifestyle-related diseases as well. “Modern lifestyles predispose us to cancer mainly because of foods which are unnatural to our anatomy, as well as chemicals, plastics and altered foods. Refraining from the use of meat, dairy and all foods of animal origin, and eating only plant based foods, can reverse cancer,” says Dr Nandita Shah, founder of Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Health (SHARAN). She advises people to rely on their instinct while choosing what to eat. “Horses eat grass and lions hunt. Animals eat by instinct. But we humans don’t know what is best for us. We eat what is advertised and not by instinct,” she says. The human instinct, she asserts, is to pluck and eat fruits, vegetables and nuts, but “never to pounce on a chicken.” “We don’t feel like suckling when we see a cow’s udders. We do not salivate when we see fields of wheat or rice. We have just learnt to eat these things and hence it causes diseases

just as feeding grass to a lion would,” Dr Shah says. Though vegans agree that proteins are needed for growth and repair, they feel today people are eating proteins way beyond their needs and are therefore suffering from diseases of protein excess, cancer being one of them. “Protein is the food for growth and cancer is a growth,” she notes. “Breast cancers and prostate cancers are the most common cancers in the world, and these are hormone dependant cancers. With milk and dairy products, we consume hormones which predispose us to these cancers. The cow is a female mammal and naturally produces these hormones. It’s no surprise that breast and prostate cancers are more rampant than lung cancers, despite smoking being a common habit.” Vegans only consume whole, organic plant based foods. By whole they mean unrefined, without any sugar or oil. They also keep away from white flour, white rice or processed foods. They also believe that vegetables and fruits should not be peeled. Esther Shanti, presently living in the United States, was dejected when her grandmother’s thyroid cancer kept recurring. Overtime, due to radiation and pills, her grandmother also developed different cancerous growths on her face which had to be removed. She began a vegan diet advised by Dr Shah in January this

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year, and her health has improved tremendously in just three months, says Shanthi.

Esther Shanthi’s account I was asked to make seven vegetable juices for the first three days. The juices were made of many vegetables—tomatoes, asparagus, cauliflower, turnip, broccoli, sprouts, carrots, beets, apple, ginger, lime and green pepper. In case she needed more, I would juice berries, avocados and kale (a type of cabbage). My grandmother had been on pain killers for almost 15 years after an accident, and was never able to sleep the whole night through. But by day three of the vegetable juice diet, she was sleeping through the night and was completely off her pain medications. After three days, we added whole grain and lentil soups into her diet, cutting back to four juices per day. She was on this schedule for about a month. Her food was devoid of oil, refined foods, sugar, meats, dairy and coffee. By the end of the first week she had lost about 4.5 kilogram and her skin was visibly brighter. By the end of week two, she no longer needed her cane to get around the retirement community. By the end of the first month, the tumor on her left side was completely gone and the ones in the back of the throat have considerably reduced in size. The oncologist says she won’t need a tube in her stomach anymore. In fact, he said he could even take out the rest of the tumors in her throat.

As stubborn as the crab

Cancer SAVIE KARNEL savie.karnel@talkmag.in hile some dread cancer, others hold it dear: the same word that describes a deadly disease also stands for a zodiac sign. The origins of the two meanings is similar, and that’s because both have something to do with the crab. For many centuries, the term cancer was used for any W tumour or ulcer, irrespective of its being malignant or benign. In the mid-19th century, after the invention of the microscope, scientists noticed the cellular mechanisms of malignant tumours. It was only then that the term cancer was given to life-threatening The Talk growths in the body. column on Around 400 BC, word origins

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Greek physician Hippocrates first named the disease karkinos, which meant crab in Greek. There are several theories about why he chose to call the disease karkinos. Some historians believe when Hippocrates examined patients with cancer, he found they had large tumours protruding from the skin. When he touched them, he felt they were hard, like the shell of a crab. Others believe he named it so because he thought the pain caused by a cancerous tumour was like being pinched by a crab. Another belief is that a malignant tumour is as stubborn as a crab, which does not let go once it has bitten. In 47 AD, a Roman, Aurus Cornelius Celsus wrote De Medicina, an encyclopedia of medicine. In it he used cancer, the Latin word for crab, as the equivalent of the Greek one. This term has survived. In the second century, the physician Aelius Galenus, also known as Galen of Pergamon, studied breast cancer tumours. When he dissected them, he noticed they

K E Y

O R D S

had swollen veins and tributaries. He said from the Latin for crab, because the conthey looked like a crab’s legs extended out- stellation looked like a crab. It entered the ward from every part of the body. This dec- English language around 1000 AD. laration further cemented the term cancer The usage can be seen in Geoffrey for the disease. Chaucer’s essay Treatise on the Astrolabe The term entered Old English and written in 1391. “In this heved of cancer is the was used for a variety grettist declinacioun of tumours, sores northward of the and ulcers. This sonne... this signe of usage still survives in cancre is clepid the the word canker, tropik of Somer.” meaning ulcer. (At this first The term canpoint (head) of cer was also used for the cancer is the greatest disease that we know declination northtoday. Philemon ward of the sun… this Holland’s translation sign of cancer is DOUBLE ROLE ‘Cancer’ stands for the dreaded of Roman naturalist Pliny’s named the tropic of sumdisease and the star sign The History of the World, mer.) uses cancer in the sense of its current A person born under the zodiac sign usage. The 17th century translation explains of Cancer is also called a Cancer. This the disease thus: Cancer is a swelling or sore usage came in around 1894. But today, comming of melancholy bloud, about which when the disease has become the scourge the veins appeare of a blacke or swert colour, of the modern world, it’s unlikely that you would think of the zodiac, let alone the spread in manner of a Creifish clees. Cancer, the astronomical term, comes crab, when you hear the word cancer.


box office

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

The secession of Bollywood The David Dhawan ‘remake’ of Sai Paranjpe's comic classic is in effect one long advertisement for Bollywood— a Bollywood that no longer wants anything to do with India, real or imagined

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

f the original Chashme Buddoor (1981) Sai Paranjape is a comedy. So is the new one by David Dhawan, and both films work with roughly the same plot. Still, if the new film is a remake of Sai Paranjape’s classic, it is as different from the original as cheese is from chalk. In both films Siddharth, Omi and Jai are students in Delhi University. Omi and Jai are preoccupied with chasing girls and when they see a new girl (Neha in the 1981 film and Seema in the new one) each of them tries his luck only to regret it. When Siddharth meets the same girl and the two young people immediately fall in love, Omi and Jai try to get their own back by casting aspersions on the girl’s character. Siddharth is crestfallen and breaks off his relationship with Neha/Seema but when

I

17

Preachy take on Walmart if we are against FDI in retail, by the time Bharath Stores has ended, we are heartily sick of the issue because of the relentless moral hectoring Sheshadri engages in. Govinda Setty has property in the heart of Bangalore, but he is presented as someone financially ruined without a sound enough rationale. One also knows that failed shopkeepers vacate their shops only when they are paid off by developers but the director refuses to acknowledge this factor perhaps because it would diminish Govinda Setty as a victim. The method of art cinema is to identify an issue n an article written a few weeks ago, this writer and construct a ‘typical victim’ who is then given celebrated the awarding of the Swarna Kamal for every imaginable virtue. To Sheshadri’s credit, the Best Film to a film which had a paying audi- Govinda Setty is portrayed as a stubborn family man. ence—Paan Singh Tomar. I had then suggested that But, he is generous to a fault and not only extends the older kind of art cinema in India was merely a credit without a second thought but also gives help gesture directed towards fulfilling the agenda of the to the underprivileged. After all this, we wonder why State by displaying ‘social concern’ in areas where the we feel no sympathy for Govinda Setty. Is it at least partly because of Dattatreya in the State has failed, ie serve as a token of earnest self-criticism by the State, which duly admit to its failings by lead role? This actor has a strong cinematic presence but one does not easily recall a role bestowing awards upon ‘socially critin which he has not been miscast. ical’ films. The latest Kannada art Dattatreya oozes indolence, but in film, P Sheshadri’s Bharath Stores, The relentless his last film Bettada Jeeva, Sheshadri which has won the award for the Best moral hectoring cast him as a hard working farmer. Regional Film, demonstrates this in makes you sick The actor, in my view, would good measure. do well if he is cast in the kind of The hero of Bharath Stores is of the issue Brahmin roles once played by the Govinda Setty (Dattatreya) a generlate GV Iyer—but directors have ous merchant of the old school who is driven to financial ruin and mental illness when his insisted on casting him as a hapless victim in art film customers and vendors, seduced by supermarkets, after art film. The director is not lucky with the other characretail chains and malls desert him. It may not be quite fair to accuse the director of ters either. Sudharani wilts under the merciless insincerity but just consider how jaundiced his vision close-ups she is subjected to and Gurudatt had the of today’s world is. HOPCOMS has outlets on virtu- small audience laughing when it was meant to be ally every street but Sheshadri suggests that we are moved. One cannot deny that the issues raised are real, captive to the wiles of supermarkets which have already cornered all the coriander leaves available— but one wonders if an art film which raises them is performing any kind of useful service. A way of even in localities like Basavanagudi. Govinda Setty is intended to be a sympathetic informing and entertaining might have been to make character but when customers or vendors desert him, a comedy on the subject; the popular film Crazy Boys he shuts down his shop at mid-day to go to their res- at the Supermarket-a big draw in the 1970s- comes to idences or farms to enquire. Surely, shopkeepers one’s mind. As it is, the gloomy art films promoted in must also safeguard their own business interests the name of national/regional culture have no audiwithout insisting that it is their clients’ duty to keep ences except film festival juries who, it may be them afloat! The director also has lectures adminis- assumed, are adequately informed on the issues to tered to us on the evils of global enterprise and, even benefit from them.

Bharath Stores, which won the 2013 national award for the Best Regional Film, is firmly in the mould of gloomy ‘art cinema’ that preaches to the converted, says MK Raghavendra

I

his two friends imagine that he is contemplating suicide, they try to arrange deviously for the two to be reunited. As may be expected, their schemes do not have the desired effect. But the film ends happily when the two friends confess to their wrongdoings and the lovers are back together. The original Chashme Buddoor was made outside the mainstream as a ‘middle film’ which means that it tried to create credible characters that you could easily identify from real life. Siddharth (Farooq Shaikh) is studying for his PhD in Economics. Neha is played by Deepti Naval and she is shown going door to door trying to sell a detergent named ‘Chamko’. Siddharth’s friends are played by Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi, as unglamorous a pair of youth as one might imagine. In the new Chashme Baddoor, the three are nominally students in Delhi but the story happens in Goa where they are ‘having fun.’ Seema is also in Goa with only ‘looking good’ as a preoccupation. If David Dhawan’s film had been a standard remake of Sai Paranjape’s original, one would expect it to merely bring the original up to date. Since one cannot have middle-class characters in a mainstream film, the three friends could perhaps all have been wealthy—as in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) in which too, the friends are primarily ‘having fun.’ As it is, there is no indication that the three friends in David Dhavan’s film belong to any class of society at all. The three friends are behind on their rent but their landlady is easily persuaded that rent should not be collected. There is also no indication that any worries—financial, educational or having to do with their careers—

NOWHERELAND David Dhawan’s Chashme Baddoor is not a ‘remake’ of the Sai Paranjpe original (below left) but a blank parody of the classic film

occupies any of them, even the supposedly ly a reworking of film motifs. It is very studious Siddharth, although he’s briefly much like Om Shanti Om (2007) in that it shown to wear glasses! The plot never gets relies for its survival on our familiarity with moving but the film arranges distractions— Bollywood. Farah Khan’s film, it must be songs and dances and, more importantly, a recollected, was a remake of Karz (1980) but huge number of references to other Hindi instead of representing an ‘ideal’ or a ‘fantastic’ world as Karz did, it was ‘pastiche.’ films. If both versions of Chashme Ba(u)ddoor Karz was about reincarnation as well; but it are comedies, Sai Paranjape’s film tried to took the notion seriously, while Om Shanti construct a comic narrative which one Om merely played with it. ‘Pastiche’ is a kind of blank parody—a could follow. Since David Dhawan’s film does not allow us to identify with anyone, parody in which other texts are invoked without them being the comedy in his film is mocked. Pastiche is associeither in wordplay and sexated with ‘postmodernity’. ual innuendo or relies on New Bollywood The term ‘postmodern’ our recalling lines from is unlikely to may be forbidding because classics like Sholay and remain ‘Indian’ it suggests high intellectual Deewar and responding to content, but ‘postmodern’ references to the names of for too long artifacts are rarely ‘inteldirectors like Yash Chopra lectual.’ If the films of and Madhur Bhandarkar. Without these references to Bollywood, Quentin Tarantino are postmodern Chashme Baddoor would fall flat on its face- because they pastiche Kung-fu films, westerns, war films and gangster films, so is instead of being pronounced a hit. Hindi films were once accused of cre- Hero No 1 (1997) also directed by David ating an ‘ideal’ or ‘fantastic’ world, a world Dhawan in which Govinda mimics the far from reality and which ignored the Rajesh Khanna of Bawarchi (1972), among social issues of the day. But there was still other things. Pastiche and postmodernity have arisrecognition in this accusation that Hindi cinema needed to present a ‘true’ picture of en due to a number of factors, but a key one actual society. Chashme Baddoor makes no is the unbridled growth of consumption. claims to presenting a picture of any kind of Our lives are so taken over by consumption actual society and is, instead, almost entire- that we cannot conceive of the world except

as a collection of consumer images. It is significant that while the films invoked by Chashme Baddoor had their basis in the world-which they presented as an ‘ideal’ or even a ‘fantasy’—David Dhavan’s film has its basis only in the doings of the film industry, and in filmic artifacts which have been consumed. Chashme Baddoor is, in fact like an elaborate advertisement for Bollywood—and this was also true of Om Shanti Om. Rather than being a ‘remake’ of Sai Paranjape’s film, therefore, it pastiches it—as it pastiches other Bollywood films. It is evident that Chashme Baddoor is an execrable and mind-numbing film, but there are more important things to be said about it. The key factor about it is perhaps that it gives evidence of Bollywood losing interest in India—as a real, an ideal or a fantastic space. It has no interest in the Indian public—either the poor or the wealthy. It provides evidence of Bollywood gradually parting ways with India, becoming a global artifact which could be made in Mauritius or some other tax haven. Just as Coke is no longer American but a global artifact, Bollywood will perhaps not remain ‘Indian’ for too long in the foreseeable future. Then, Bollywood will only be another brand like Coke and there will be no reason for Indians of any kind to see it as ‘their’ cinema.

ETERNAL VICTIM The talented actor Dattatreya (right) is once again miscast in a victim’s role


box office

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

The secession of Bollywood The David Dhawan ‘remake’ of Sai Paranjpe's comic classic is in effect one long advertisement for Bollywood— a Bollywood that no longer wants anything to do with India, real or imagined

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

f the original Chashme Buddoor (1981) Sai Paranjape is a comedy. So is the new one by David Dhawan, and both films work with roughly the same plot. Still, if the new film is a remake of Sai Paranjape’s classic, it is as different from the original as cheese is from chalk. In both films Siddharth, Omi and Jai are students in Delhi University. Omi and Jai are preoccupied with chasing girls and when they see a new girl (Neha in the 1981 film and Seema in the new one) each of them tries his luck only to regret it. When Siddharth meets the same girl and the two young people immediately fall in love, Omi and Jai try to get their own back by casting aspersions on the girl’s character. Siddharth is crestfallen and breaks off his relationship with Neha/Seema but when

I

17

Preachy take on Walmart if we are against FDI in retail, by the time Bharath Stores has ended, we are heartily sick of the issue because of the relentless moral hectoring Sheshadri engages in. Govinda Setty has property in the heart of Bangalore, but he is presented as someone financially ruined without a sound enough rationale. One also knows that failed shopkeepers vacate their shops only when they are paid off by developers but the director refuses to acknowledge this factor perhaps because it would diminish Govinda Setty as a victim. The method of art cinema is to identify an issue n an article written a few weeks ago, this writer and construct a ‘typical victim’ who is then given celebrated the awarding of the Swarna Kamal for every imaginable virtue. To Sheshadri’s credit, the Best Film to a film which had a paying audi- Govinda Setty is portrayed as a stubborn family man. ence—Paan Singh Tomar. I had then suggested that But, he is generous to a fault and not only extends the older kind of art cinema in India was merely a credit without a second thought but also gives help gesture directed towards fulfilling the agenda of the to the underprivileged. After all this, we wonder why State by displaying ‘social concern’ in areas where the we feel no sympathy for Govinda Setty. Is it at least partly because of Dattatreya in the State has failed, ie serve as a token of earnest self-criticism by the State, which duly admit to its failings by lead role? This actor has a strong cinematic presence but one does not easily recall a role bestowing awards upon ‘socially critin which he has not been miscast. ical’ films. The latest Kannada art Dattatreya oozes indolence, but in film, P Sheshadri’s Bharath Stores, The relentless his last film Bettada Jeeva, Sheshadri which has won the award for the Best moral hectoring cast him as a hard working farmer. Regional Film, demonstrates this in makes you sick The actor, in my view, would good measure. do well if he is cast in the kind of The hero of Bharath Stores is of the issue Brahmin roles once played by the Govinda Setty (Dattatreya) a generlate GV Iyer—but directors have ous merchant of the old school who is driven to financial ruin and mental illness when his insisted on casting him as a hapless victim in art film customers and vendors, seduced by supermarkets, after art film. The director is not lucky with the other characretail chains and malls desert him. It may not be quite fair to accuse the director of ters either. Sudharani wilts under the merciless insincerity but just consider how jaundiced his vision close-ups she is subjected to and Gurudatt had the of today’s world is. HOPCOMS has outlets on virtu- small audience laughing when it was meant to be ally every street but Sheshadri suggests that we are moved. One cannot deny that the issues raised are real, captive to the wiles of supermarkets which have already cornered all the coriander leaves available— but one wonders if an art film which raises them is performing any kind of useful service. A way of even in localities like Basavanagudi. Govinda Setty is intended to be a sympathetic informing and entertaining might have been to make character but when customers or vendors desert him, a comedy on the subject; the popular film Crazy Boys he shuts down his shop at mid-day to go to their res- at the Supermarket-a big draw in the 1970s- comes to idences or farms to enquire. Surely, shopkeepers one’s mind. As it is, the gloomy art films promoted in must also safeguard their own business interests the name of national/regional culture have no audiwithout insisting that it is their clients’ duty to keep ences except film festival juries who, it may be them afloat! The director also has lectures adminis- assumed, are adequately informed on the issues to tered to us on the evils of global enterprise and, even benefit from them.

Bharath Stores, which won the 2013 national award for the Best Regional Film, is firmly in the mould of gloomy ‘art cinema’ that preaches to the converted, says MK Raghavendra

I

his two friends imagine that he is contemplating suicide, they try to arrange deviously for the two to be reunited. As may be expected, their schemes do not have the desired effect. But the film ends happily when the two friends confess to their wrongdoings and the lovers are back together. The original Chashme Buddoor was made outside the mainstream as a ‘middle film’ which means that it tried to create credible characters that you could easily identify from real life. Siddharth (Farooq Shaikh) is studying for his PhD in Economics. Neha is played by Deepti Naval and she is shown going door to door trying to sell a detergent named ‘Chamko’. Siddharth’s friends are played by Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi, as unglamorous a pair of youth as one might imagine. In the new Chashme Baddoor, the three are nominally students in Delhi but the story happens in Goa where they are ‘having fun.’ Seema is also in Goa with only ‘looking good’ as a preoccupation. If David Dhawan’s film had been a standard remake of Sai Paranjape’s original, one would expect it to merely bring the original up to date. Since one cannot have middle-class characters in a mainstream film, the three friends could perhaps all have been wealthy—as in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) in which too, the friends are primarily ‘having fun.’ As it is, there is no indication that the three friends in David Dhavan’s film belong to any class of society at all. The three friends are behind on their rent but their landlady is easily persuaded that rent should not be collected. There is also no indication that any worries—financial, educational or having to do with their careers—

NOWHERELAND David Dhawan’s Chashme Baddoor is not a ‘remake’ of the Sai Paranjpe original (below left) but a blank parody of the classic film

occupies any of them, even the supposedly ly a reworking of film motifs. It is very studious Siddharth, although he’s briefly much like Om Shanti Om (2007) in that it shown to wear glasses! The plot never gets relies for its survival on our familiarity with moving but the film arranges distractions— Bollywood. Farah Khan’s film, it must be songs and dances and, more importantly, a recollected, was a remake of Karz (1980) but huge number of references to other Hindi instead of representing an ‘ideal’ or a ‘fantastic’ world as Karz did, it was ‘pastiche.’ films. If both versions of Chashme Ba(u)ddoor Karz was about reincarnation as well; but it are comedies, Sai Paranjape’s film tried to took the notion seriously, while Om Shanti construct a comic narrative which one Om merely played with it. ‘Pastiche’ is a kind of blank parody—a could follow. Since David Dhawan’s film does not allow us to identify with anyone, parody in which other texts are invoked without them being the comedy in his film is mocked. Pastiche is associeither in wordplay and sexated with ‘postmodernity’. ual innuendo or relies on New Bollywood The term ‘postmodern’ our recalling lines from is unlikely to may be forbidding because classics like Sholay and remain ‘Indian’ it suggests high intellectual Deewar and responding to content, but ‘postmodern’ references to the names of for too long artifacts are rarely ‘inteldirectors like Yash Chopra lectual.’ If the films of and Madhur Bhandarkar. Without these references to Bollywood, Quentin Tarantino are postmodern Chashme Baddoor would fall flat on its face- because they pastiche Kung-fu films, westerns, war films and gangster films, so is instead of being pronounced a hit. Hindi films were once accused of cre- Hero No 1 (1997) also directed by David ating an ‘ideal’ or ‘fantastic’ world, a world Dhawan in which Govinda mimics the far from reality and which ignored the Rajesh Khanna of Bawarchi (1972), among social issues of the day. But there was still other things. Pastiche and postmodernity have arisrecognition in this accusation that Hindi cinema needed to present a ‘true’ picture of en due to a number of factors, but a key one actual society. Chashme Baddoor makes no is the unbridled growth of consumption. claims to presenting a picture of any kind of Our lives are so taken over by consumption actual society and is, instead, almost entire- that we cannot conceive of the world except

as a collection of consumer images. It is significant that while the films invoked by Chashme Baddoor had their basis in the world-which they presented as an ‘ideal’ or even a ‘fantasy’—David Dhavan’s film has its basis only in the doings of the film industry, and in filmic artifacts which have been consumed. Chashme Baddoor is, in fact like an elaborate advertisement for Bollywood—and this was also true of Om Shanti Om. Rather than being a ‘remake’ of Sai Paranjape’s film, therefore, it pastiches it—as it pastiches other Bollywood films. It is evident that Chashme Baddoor is an execrable and mind-numbing film, but there are more important things to be said about it. The key factor about it is perhaps that it gives evidence of Bollywood losing interest in India—as a real, an ideal or a fantastic space. It has no interest in the Indian public—either the poor or the wealthy. It provides evidence of Bollywood gradually parting ways with India, becoming a global artifact which could be made in Mauritius or some other tax haven. Just as Coke is no longer American but a global artifact, Bollywood will perhaps not remain ‘Indian’ for too long in the foreseeable future. Then, Bollywood will only be another brand like Coke and there will be no reason for Indians of any kind to see it as ‘their’ cinema.

ETERNAL VICTIM The talented actor Dattatreya (right) is once again miscast in a victim’s role


back stage

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

most easily trust with your plays? Undoubtedly, Lilette Dubey’s The Primetime Theatre Company. She and I have a very easy going relationship as artistes. She is one of the few directors who understand my writing.

‘Writing needs riyaaz’

You often write when commissioned; is that an advantage or a disadvantage? In such cases, how do you tackle views and changes suggested by a director? I think it works to my advantage. I get to have someone whet my script before it is put out to the public. As I mature, I find I am a little less defensive of my work. At the same time, one has to know where to draw the line. If comments are helping you strengthen the work that you have created, I am all for it.

Mahesh Dattani's first play Where There's A Will was staged in Bangalore this week, after a gap of ten years. In an email interview, the Sahitya Akademi award-winner talks about his style of working and the state of English theatre, among other things

What do you think about the theatre scene in Bangalore? What is going right for it and what isn’t? It is hard for me to tell, since I haven’t seen much of the new stuff in Bangalore. But I have been very impressed with the works of Abhishek Majumdar. His play Gasha recently swept the META awards in Delhi. I am sure there are other new groups that are doing well. I wonder what has become of Kannada theatre. I remember that at one time there were more than a hundred theatre groups in Bangalore.

PRACHI SIBAL prachi.sibal@talkmag.in angalore born Sahitya Akademi Award winner Mahesh Dattani is the author of several popular and widely performed plays like Final Solutions, Tara, 30 Days in September and Dance Like A Man. The 54-year old writer has also dabbled in film, directing the likes of Morning Raaga, Mango Souffle and the film version of Dance Like A Man. He spent many years living and working in Bangalore out of a dedicated space he called The Studio— which also used to stage performances—before moving to Mumbai. His plays have been prescribed as part of college curriculum in many universities including Bangalore University. Excerpts from an email interview with Dattani:

B

What role has Bangalore and your experience of growing up here played in your writing? I think Bangalore has played a huge role in shaping me as a dramatist. The city allowed me to work at my own pace, which is very important to any writer. I could socialise when I wanted to, I could reflect and meditate, and above all- write. VERSATILE Mumbai-based playwright Mahesh Dattani, who also directs plays, grew up in Bangalore

Where There’s A Will was written over 25 years ago. Would you have dealt with the same themes differently had you written it at another time? Do you often revisit plays?

18

Yes, of course. I am a different person today and that is bound to reflect in my writing. I do revisit plays. For instance I did a contemporary version of Where There’s a Will and re-titled it Mad About Money.

cised like a muscle. What are the challenges of writing plays over prose? Writing a play requires greater understanding of craft. One has to understand the grammar of the stage (even if one wants to break the rules).

According to you, does the play still retain its relevance? I am surprised at it myself! This play What are the perils of having others is the one that is done the most often direct your plays? To what extent do you think a playwright from my oeuvre, mostshould get involved in ly by amateur groups ‘Creativity the production process? and colleges. I was also If it is a play that has surprised when needs to be received many producBangalore University exercised tions I give carte blanche prescribed it as an like muscles’ to the director. I hate to undergraduate text. interfere in another Although it is a comedy, the play challenges the patriarchal person’s creativity. order, which endures to this day. Has there been an instance when you When writing a play, what sort of disci- were disappointed by an interpretation of one of your plays? pline do you abide by? Are there things Many times! But I won’t go into it you do/ don’t on those days? There is no substitute for sitting now because that will open a whole down and writing. Writing is a disci- can of worms! pline like any other. There must be riyaaz. Creativity needs to be exer- Which is the one theatre company you

Could you list five plays that you recall as the most memorable ones coming out of anywhere in the country? Let me see. 1. Stories in a Song: A brilliant improvisation of stories related to musical traditions devised and directed by Sunil Shanbagh. 2. Gasha: Written by Iravati Karnik and directed by Abhishek Majumdar. I was struck by its complex and yet simple storytelling. The story itself is an important one that must be told. 3. Maro Piyu Gayo Rangoon: A brilliant Gujarati adaptation of As You Like It, again by Sunil Shanbagh. 4. Matte Ekalavya: A Kannada play that swept the META awards. How interesting that the two major productions that won the META awards in Delhi are from Karnataka. 5. So Many Socks: Written by Annie Zaidi and directed by Q. A moving tale of displacement and Tibetan identity. Any chance of you going back to films? I must say I am very disappointed with the kind of changes in script and casting that the film industry insists upon. This had kept me from taking up offers. But times are changing and production houses are willing to take risks, though only to a small extent.


play review

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

A little more will... ...would have helped Top Cast Theatre’s production of Mahesh Dattani’s Where There’s A Will, which failed to do justice to the script

here There’s A Will tells the story of a middle-class family that has come into money recently. The father, Hasmukh Mehta, heads the business and the house and can’t stop raving about his achievements for a moment. The son, Ajit, who works with the father, has big plans for the family business but hardly has a say in the company. The mother, Sonal, is aware of the family’s improved

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financial status, but can’t get out of the middle-class life she grew up living. When in doubt of any kind, she resorts to her sister Meenal’s advice. The daughter-in-law Preeti is clever and makes sure she does not displease anybody in the household. Hasmukh spends most of his time complimenting himself, cursing Ajit for his incompetence and heaping abuse at everybody in the family. A family drama through

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and through, it’s not difficult to feel that in volumes. To make matters worse, the you are watching a familiar television soap movement and gestures were repetitive too. opera. There were a few funny moments The plot takes a turn when the patriarch Hasmukh dies, leaving a will that is brought in mostly by Ajit’s reactions. Most effectively designed to ensure his control of the one-liners and the humour in generover the family even after his death. All al fell flat or were overshadowed by the powers rest with Hasmukh’s mistress, repetition. There was little or no nuance in Kiran Jhaveri who moves in with them. In the characters’ reactions to situations, creno time, secrets begin spilling out and the ating the impression that you were stuck in women, Sonal and Kiran exchange notes a dated story. The script evidently has its moments about their relationship with Hasmukh. The family’s complexities and their rela- of shock, sadness and irony, but it seemed tionships form the body of the play. The hard to tell them apart from the rest of it, play is intended to be a humorous take on given the presentation. There was clever the patriarchal system, and there are plen- play on sounds and music that followed every blackout. The only ty of jibes at its oppressive novel part was the three layways. You felt like ered, fully-furnished set of Produced by Bangalorethe house which was lit effecbased Top Cast Theatre and you were tively. directed by N Ravi Kumar, watching a The message against the show lasted for two soap opera marginalisation of women hours and fifteen minutes, and patriarchy was unclear rather long in comparison with most plays you get to see in Bangalore. and often ignored. The humour, which was The first 20 minutes of the play managed perhaps the one thing that could have to be entertaining, but it then kept sliding saved the day, left you straight-faced. into dullness. The roles and characters Overall, the production offered little to appeared alike, given the similar intona- take back home. Where There’s A Will premiered at tions of the actors. While Hasmukh’s lines were clearly audible even in the back rows, Ranga Shankara on April 9 and is on till 14. the other characters stuck to a regular conversational tone, creating a stark difference PRACHI SIBAL


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Rewind The week that was  Wikileaks revelations: A host of US diplomatic cables from the early 1970s have kicked up a storm in many countries: Revelations on India include the role of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi in weapons deals, and Indira Gandhi’s offer to share nuclear technology with Pakistan after the first Pokharan test  Death penalty: The use of the death penalty is broadly diminishing around the world although a handful of countries that had not used capital punishment for several years resumed executions in 2012, says Amnesty International.  Al-Quaeda trial: Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith will go on trial in January on charges that he conspired to kill Americans in his role as Al-Qaida’s chief spokesman.  Iran quake: A powerful earthquake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station killing 37 people and injuring 850 as it destroyed homes and devastated two small villages.  Sudan killings: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed anguish over the killing of five Indian army personnel during a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Free photography workshop Professional photographer Siddharth Pabbi is holding a free photography workshop titled ‘The Empty Room’ at Jaaga on Double Road. The idea is to encourage amateurs to submit their best single work to mark a beginning and fill ‘The Empty Room.’ Selected entries will be published in The Empty Room Mag. Day 1: Simulated photography workshop on indoor studio photography + exhibition + group show registration + music band registration Day 2: Photo talks, pro speak, travel story

telling + exhibition + group show registration + music band registration Day 3: Group show + music band performance. For more information, email Siddharth at siddharthpabbi@gmail.com

A train of stories and poems NGO platform Pick A Fight is compiling a series of inspiring short stories and poems based on the theme of railways, in an initiative dubbed Railonama*. Selected entries will be part of a commemorative book to be published later this year. The stories can be about train journeys, stations, fellow passengers, hawkers, or just about anything related to the railways. The length of the

stories can be anywhere between 750 and about 5000 words, while the poems have no minimum word count. Those whose stories get selected will get

a printed copy of the book, which will be published in both the US and India. Proceeds from the royalties will go to the victims of train accidents via PickaFight.in. Entries must be in English or Hindi, and must be submitted before May 31. To submit your entry and to read the guidelines, log on to www.railonama.com

The woman Egypt’s rulers fear

 Suicide: A Bangalore techie committed suicide by hanging himself at his PG accommodation in Shantiniketan Layout, allegedly due to harassment by his wife and in-laws.

Doaa El Adl is a 34-year-old Egyptian who calls herself a Muslim anarchist. A political cartoonist, she has become the scourge of Egypt’s ruling elite, as well as Islamic fundamentalists like the Muslim Brotherhood. El Adl uses her art to draw attention to domestic violence, underage marriage, sexual harassment, and the new phenomenon of attacks against female demonstrators. The first cartoonist in Egypt to face blasphemy charges,she is unfazed by her critics, saying, “I criticise habits that I think are wrong and should be totally reconsidered, like female circumcision, which doesn’t stem from the

Considering the amount of pesticides found in vegetables and fruits bought from stores—not to mention the outrageous prices—spending time and energy to grow them on your own seems an increasingly practical option. But the terrace garden is often the only option available to many city-dwellers. The Vittal Mallya Scientific Research Foundation is conducting a one day workshop on Organic Terrace Gardening to help those interested in growing their own food in an urban envrionment. To be held on April 20 at the VMSRF premises in BTM Layout, the workshop costs Rs 1000 per person. You can call 2668 7216 for more information.

*Railonama is not in any way associated with the Indian Railways

 Tytler case: A Delhi court has ordered the CBI to reopen the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler.  Mamata gherao: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled a scheduled meeting with finance minister P Chidambaram to leave for Kolkata, a day after she was gheraoed and her minister Amit Mitra manhandled by Left protesters in Delhi.

Grow your own food, the organic way

Muslim religion at all.” During the Arab Spring, when thousands of pro-democracy activists amassed at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, El Adl and her colleagues landed up at the venue to show their support: by handing out printed copies of some of their fiercest political satire. Speaking about the experience, El Adl says, “I don’t think artists like myself should be members of political parties or organisers, but we should certainly use our art to speak out against injustice and oppression.”

Learn how to make music on your iPad Kevin Wilson, singer, song writer and musician, is conducting a workshop on how to use the iPad and iPhone to create ‘professional-quality’ music. He plays for the band Red Connection and teaches at Bangalore International School. Where: Imagine Store, Level 2, UB City When: April 21 and 22 (Saturday and Sunday) Time: 11 am to 1 pm, 3 pm to 5 pm You can call 22132000 for more information


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Forward

A contest for short films Qyuki, the online talent platform founded by AR Rahman and Shekhar Kapur, is holding a short film contest. The brief: shoot a film that does not exceed a minute in length and get a chance to get your next project funded by Qyuki. The top four entries will be awarded grants of Rs 25,000 each for their next project, and will also be presented by Kapur on his Moments In Motion series that airs on the Qyuki website. Log on to Qyuki.com to upload your film and to watch other entries.

A talk on Vachana literature On April 17, Bangalore International Centre will hold a multimedia lecture on ‘Vachana Sahitya — The Eternal Truths of the Veerashaivas’ by Sumitra Nitin, well-known Carnatic Musician and Bharatanatyam dancer. Vachana denotes the body of devotional verse composed by members of the Sharana movement, spearheaded by Basavanna, the founder of the Lingayat faith in 11th century Karnataka. Vachana literature has been the

source of inspiration for many poets, dancers and musicians to this day. Sumitra’s talk will trace the history of the Sharana movement and provide

glimpses into the lives of a few Vachanakaras including Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Akka Mahadevi. It will also discuss the universal truths in Vachana Sahitya, their innate poetry, imagery and mysticism. The talk will use audio and video snippets of musical and dance performances inspired by the Vachanas. In addition Sumitra herself will sing some Vachanas. At BIC, TERI Complex, 4th Main, Domlur II Stage. For more information, you can call 9886599675

And now, ‘Outside-Insourcing’

Take a vegan holiday Homeopath turned vegan activist Dr Nandita Shah claims that vegan diets can reverse diseases. For those who want to begin a vegan lifestyle, Dr Shah is conducting a residential workshop at Gokarna. According to her, medical tests conducted on participants after the workshop show a marked improvement in their physical condition. The 21-day ‘Heath Holiday’ will be held in Swaswara, a luxury health resort in Gokarna. The daily programme will include teaching and practice sessions, daily doctor consultations, ‘before and after’ lab tests, meditation, yoga, outdoor activities, nature walks, art therapy, massages, healthy cooking classes and health related films. The programme, organised by Dr Shah’s Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Health (SHARAN), will be led by her with assistance from Nithya Shanti, a spiritual teacher and Nandini Gulati, a lifestyle advisor with SHARAN. The programme will be held from June 9 to 30. Only 30 seats are available. To register, log on to www.sharan-india.org

Corporations in advanced countries have for years outsourced jobs to lowerpaid workers in lesser developed countries. But now, Canada’s CBC News reports that the Royal Bank of Canada has initiated a process it calls “outsideinsourcing,” under which, by the end of this month, 45 tenured RBC employees will be terminated and replaced with immigrants from India who have already arrived in Canada in the beginning of the year. At the moment, the to-be fired employees are training their lower-paid replacements in how to do

Indians to work on-site. RBC has claimed that it is trying to find new positions for the displaced employees and many have already been placed in other roles in the company, but employees who spoke to the press said their jobs, one of the last fewer than five of 45 official duties required of displaced people have them before they would be found new jobs. RBC’s let go. RBC currently actions have been outsources some call center condemned as unfair and responsibilities to India. also violating Canada’s However, the jobs in immigration norms, which question cannot be prohibits foreign workers performed remotely, which from being allowed into is why the bank has used Canada if the move Canada’s liberal displaces a Canadian from immigration laws to import their job.

Calling journalists Ambedkar memorial lecture The 2013 edition of the Indian International Journalism Festival is inviting entries from journalists across the spectrum to be considered for their awards. Held to mark World Journalism Day (May 3), the festival will accept submissions in the Print Media, Electronic Media, Online Media, PR & News Companies (for media organisations) and Students. In each of these, there are multiple categories in which you can submit entries. The last day for submitting entries is April 15. To view the list of categories and for more details, log on to www.miniboxoffice.com/awards/ awards.aspx

S Anand, well-known writer on Dalit issues, will deliver this year's Ambedkar Memorial National Lecture at the Ambedkar Habba. A former journalist, Anand now runs the publishing house Navayana, which specialises in Dalit writings. He will speak on the topic 'The Fiction of Caste, The Fact of Hierarchy.' The event is being organised by Spoorthidhama, a retreat centre for Dalit activists and scholars near Magadi. Earlier in the day, there will be a panel discussion titled 'The agony of the subaltern communities,' which will be attended by subaltern activists, writers and artists.

The week ahead  Tense Dhaka: Bangladesh is in the grip of violence as at least 20 people have been injured in clashes between police and activists near Dhaka on the second day of a national strike called by opposition parties.  Korea alert: South Korea raised its military watch alert to "vital threat" ahead of an expected North Korean missile launch, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned the Korean peninsula may be slipping out of control.  Ban lifted: The UK lifted a ban on London Metropolitan University to admit foreign students. The ban had left thousands of students, including around 350 Indians, in limbo and at risk of deportation.  Water for film: Drought-hit Maharashtra’s irrigation department is expected to act on the controversial supply of water from a dam in Satara district during the shooting of Shah Rukh Khan’s film Chennai Express, after locals questioned the move.  DD News: DD News is in turmoil after its new look appears to have failed. Barely two months after the DD’s prime time news segment was revamped, the show appears to be lurching with dipped ratings.  Against Playboy: Both the BJP and the Congress in Goa are expected to step up their campaign against Playboy Club’s plan to open a branch at Candolim beach, currently under consideration by the state tourism ministry.  Ban orders: Bangalore police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar has imposed prohibitory orders in and around a 100 metre area from all centres where nomination papers for elections will be submitted.  Transfers: Transfers in Karnataka and Bangalore are in the offing as the election commission said that transfer of officials in the state was being done to ensure better conduct of polls.


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echwalk

Technology and territory The recent complaint by the Survey of India against Google’s mapping project in Delhi is only the latest among the several hurdles the company has run into echnology is empowering, but also intrusive, and both states and individuals can have problems with it. The most contentious are those around security and privacy, and often enough, pits individual against state.

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Sowmya Transgender contesting on a BSP ticket from Gandhinagar

I’m proud the BSP has recognised someone like me

The latest Google attempt to generate user-generated maps of Delhi has run into problems, following a complaint from the Survey of India, which sees itself as being vested with the sole authority to create and distribute maps. The Delhi police is investigating the case. Crowd-sourced mapping is touted as a Google India-driven technology, with Google’s India based researchers first trying it out extensively in the South, in towns like Trichy and Bangalore. Users help create the map and put in useful bits about public buildings, institutions, eating places and the like. Naturally, defence installations companies get flagged too. It is not just about the Survey of India. While these locations are not exactly secret, our ancient version of the Official Secrets Act (Even the Brits have updated it in the UK) carries all kinds of prohibitions. Road users will recall

a board near HAL (a defence public sector company) headquarters on Cubbon Road which urged motorists to “move along” quickly. Lingering near such establishments is a serious offence under the Act. There are other locations, across towns and cities in India, where the establishments are not so prominent or well-known. But they have their signboards, and with the dedicated, crowd-sourced, mapping effort, it wouldn’t be surprising if they all end up on freely available Google maps. That has got the government worried. Google has faced these problems

What prompted you to enter politics? I am concerned about communities pushed to a corner. I want the government to pay attention to them. I am in politics in the hope that I can represent such communities. Gandhinagar is a constituency in the heart of Bangalore with a big presence of traders and businessmen. They know me, and respect my community. That’s the reason I am contesting from there.

before. Its attempt to launch its famous ‘Streetview’ service in Bangalore, where streets are filmed with 360 degree cameras, was stymied after the government raised security concerns. Even its satellite maps have created problems around the world, with the company finally putting up only dated data to prevent misuse. There is no sign of Streetview since its aborted launch, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the city-mapping effort. From a user-perspectivemaps are useful, and one would like to know what is where. As always, technology itself might well provide the solutions.

Do you see hope for sexual minorities in the present system? Of course. We will have to put in a lot of effort to change things. But the system is us, isn't it? You are up against heavyweights like Dinesh Gundu Rao of the Congress and Subhash Bharani of the JD(S). Why did you choose the Bahujan Samaj Party, which has no footing in Karnataka? Over 10-12 years, I have been struggling for the cause of the marginalised, but my efforts had borne no fruit. The thought emerged, in a corner of my mind, that joining politics might help. BSP leader Marasandra Muniyappa called me and offered me a ticket. I am proud the party has recognised someone like me. As for Dinesh Gundu Rao and Subhash Bharani, I wouldn’t call them heavyweights. The real heavyweights are the voters. If they decide to support me, I will win.

Floating words The website Disinfo.com, which notwithstanding its name claims to put out genuine but quirky news, reports that Amazon has filed for a patent describing a new form of “lightweight, transparent Kindle technology that can be embedded in your eyeglasses or your car windshield and never needs to be recharged.” Apparently, the patent, which names CEO Jeff Bezos as coinventor, is for a display technology that receives and shows data from central

stations. So, we read a book as we drive or take a walk?

BASU MEGALKERI

And last—I had promised a look last week at High Definition Content Protection (HDCP) and how that poses problems for even genuine buyers of HD content. Because of space constraints, we will save that for one of the following weeks.

Sowmya (born August 15, 1982) hails from Moodalapalya in Vijayanagar. Ten years ago, she underwent a sex change operation. An activist for the transgender cause, she has worked with groups such as Sangama and Samara. In 2009, she founded an NGO called Payana. She is contesting from Gandhinagar on a BSP ticket.

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SRIDHAR K CHARI Send feedback to sridhar.chari@talkmag.in

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Questions

Reactions, statements, accusations, complaints, or just straight talk—this is where you get them all


OOKtalk

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Event

Book launch meets Page 3 party

Review

Readymade wisdom, Coelho style aulo Coelho fans will know that the Brazilian author writes two kinds of books. The first kind has, as a central character, a woman whom Coelho encounters, whose story is later recounted to his readers. The Zahir and Eleven Minutes fall in this category. The other kind is where he simply preaches through notes of wisdom, like in The Warrior of Light and Like a Flowing River. Manuscript Found in Accra, his 22nd book, which has just been released in English, is of the latter variety. The book is set in 1099, on the eve of the invasion of Jerusalem by the crusaders. A mysterious Greek man only known as the Copt stands at the square and addresses a crowd. People ask him to speak on various issues, like defeat, solitude, love, anxiety and the like. The Copt duly sermonises on each of these themes. Here, Coelho seems to be inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (itself inspired by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra). In Gibran’s acclaimed book, a man known just as the Prophet is about to leave the city and people ask him questions on various philosophical matters and he shares his wisdom. But Coelho lacks the poetic skills of Gibran; or, to give the author the benefit of the doubt, the lyrical quality is lost in translation from the original Portuguese. The Copt’s teaching tends to be too elaborate and the reader is likely to lose interest. There is no narrative to hold the ideas together, with the result that the book reads like one long lecture. If you avoid reading it at a stretch and take in one chapter at a time, the ideas might

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perhaps sink in. Like all Coelho books, this one too has some encouraging lines. Take this one: “To those who believe that adventures are dangerous, I say, try routine; that kills you far more quickly.” Or this: “Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough and that makes all the difference.” The best parts of the book are the three allegories towards the end, narrated by patriarchs of the three religions in Jerusalem: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. For whatever it’s worth, Coelho tries to add authenticity to the book in his preface. He talks of a papyrus manuscript discovered in 1974 by English archeologist Sir William Wilkinson near the Egyptian city of Accra. Coelho claims the book is nothing but a transcription of the manuscript. In interviews to the media, he neither confirms nor denies the existence of the manuscript, leaving you to speculate if it is anything more than a gimmick. Coelho has tapped into the troubles facing the youth today: frustration, a feeling of uselessness, pressure to be successful, and loneliness. Does he manage to give a solution? Well, that depends on whether the reader wants a solution from Coelho. Those who read Coelho for easyto-digest philosophy may like the book. Those who seek the storyteller in him are bound to be disappointed. Manuscript found in Accra, HarperCollins, Rs 299

SAVIE KARNEL

he launch of Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s Faraway Music last weekend resembled a Page 3 party in more ways than one. For one, it was hosted at a posh city restaurant and not a bookshop. The wine flowed freely and celebrities walked in and out. Partly autobiographical, this is the first book by this journalist-turned-PR professional-turned-writer. We hear

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she has penned three more, all four of them in just a year-and-a-half. The author was full of gratitude for all those who attended the launch despite a Royal Challengers Bangalore match happening next door. It was actor Chetan and businesswoman Gitanjali Kirloskar who chatted with the author and read out passages from the book. In the story, a best-selling author is interviewed by a cub-reporter on a long-distance flight, and the author’s life emerges. Chetan did add an extra touch of glamour to what had already turned into an event for socialites. Talk overheard the writer telling a well known personality that Chetan, who was supposed to read a few passages from the book, couldn’t because a collar mic was broken. Chetan greeted his fans in Kannada but broke into an American accent as soon he began reading passages from the book. Like at any other Page 3 do, there were curious whispers about the accent. Four books in a year-and-a-half was quite enough to leave us amazed, but only till we heard Kundu promise the audience that she had two more in the offing!

SANDRA FERNANDES

In the news

Teachers’ choice Award for Tara books Chennai-based publishing house Tara Books, known for such exquisite titles as Waterlife (above) and The Night Life of Trees, has been awarded the prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year (Asia) at the prestigious Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The award was instituted this year to mark the 50th anniversary of this annual international book event. The delegates picked Tara as winner for the Asian region by vote— one among the five selected for each region— from a shortlist of 30 children’s publishers.

The Times of India recently conducted a survey to determine what our teachers’ favourite books are. The result was a list of 20 popular titles with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice topping the list. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird came second and usual suspects like the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings series in positions three and seven. The wild card entry, though, was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which came in at eight, well ahead of The Catcher in the Rye (19) and Life of Pi (20).


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music

odisha dibasa

Slither carnatic music will be the son and disciple of Dr L Subramaniam, Ambi Subramaniam. He will be accompanied by VV Ramana Murthy on the mridangam, T Radhakrishnan on the ghatam and G Sathya Sai on the morsing. Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, Ramagondanahalli, Whitefield, April 12, 8 pm and April 13, 3 pm and 6.30 pm 41248298

 Celebrate Odisha Dibasa: Here’s a chance to sample all things Odisha right here in the city. Head to Odisha divas and celebrate in the traditional way. Organised by the Orissa Puja Committee, the event will see cultural performances and activities from the state. Also, there will be food counters serving deliacacies and snacks from Odisha. An awards function will felicitate those from Odisha living in Bangalore for their contribution to avenues like literature. There will also be performances of Odissi and Sambalpuri dance, music and stand up comedy by Odisha’s comedy king Pappu Pam Pam. Children can participate in painting and quiz competitions too. DRDO Community Hall, DRDO Residential Complex, CV Raman Nagar, April 16, 2.30 pm 9845040735

 Two’s company: This weekend enjoy some rock and metal under the same roof. Slither is a five piece band from Bangalore that plays melodic metal core music. Cheisrah on the other hand plays metal and has Imon Nirvan on vocals, Amit Debnath on guitar, Thejus Nair on guitar, Boynaoon Bass and Amarjeet Karam on drums. Sonido Musicals, Opp Catholic Club, Brigade Road, April 13, 6 pm 41251429  A touch of humour: Live Banned is one band that lives on humour. The band’s music is influenced

by South Indian melodies, Bollywood, Disco, Pop, Rock and Metal and they mix their originals and medleys. The band’s first single The Auto Tune has received many positives reviews. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, April 13, 8.30 pm 41739250  Fiery night: Watch The Burning Deck perform some dark down tempo electronic this weekend. The band has Floyd Santimano on synthesizer, Sandeep Madhavan on bass, vocals and synthesiz-

er, Alexis D’Souza on vocals and Vyshnav Balasubramaniam on vocals. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, April 12, 8.30 pm 41739250  Soulful carnatic music: This weekend performing some soulful

 For cricket crazy foodies: Cheer for your team with your friends as you drown in the spirit of the game. At Blimey you can choose from a range of drinks like drought beer, mojito, sangria, long island iced tea, margarita and more. The drinks are priced at Rs 1,000 onwards. Blimey, 5th Floor, 1 MG Mall, 11 am, to 11 pm 22086777

 New York is here: Get the latest in New York fashion as DKNY Two Tone watches

 Go into a trance: Watch Israeli DJ Yahel Sherman spin some tunes from behind the

 Musical night: Groove to some music from the 60s, 70s and 80s as Retronome performs this weekend. Watch Chris Avinash on lead guitars, Riccha Paul and Ryan Colaco on vocals and percussion, Trinity D’Souza on lead guitar, Saggy on bass and vocals and Uday Jose on keyboard and vocals. Opus, 4, 1st Main, Chakravarthy Layout Palace Cross Road, Sankey Road, April 12 9 pm 9008303330

Live Banned

food

retail therapy

 Luscious lips: Don’t let the heat bring you down this season. Sport Vitaluscious lipsticks from Avon that are rich in vitamin B, C and E and organic components like almond, jojoba and lavender oil. The lipsticks are priced at Rs 339. Available through Avon representatives only

 Shakey evenings: Watch the four member band, Shakey Rays perform in the city. They are a rock and roll band with members Dhruva Gautham, Vikram Kannan and Niranjan Swaminathan. Hard Rock Café, # 40, St Mark’s Road, April 18, 7.30 pm 41242222

console. Yahel is ranked as the number 45 DJ in the world. He has collaborated with artists like Eyal Barkan and Infected Mushroom. Pebble, Princess Academy No. 3, Ramanamaharishi Road, Bellary Road, Near Palace Grounds, Sadashivnagar, April 13, 6 pm 9886004476

offer their latest collection. The collection has watches in silver and gold colours. Priced at Rs 4,495 onwards. Available at Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Helios, Ethos, Just in Vogue and other leading watch retail outlets  Love massages? You need not go to a massage parlour anymore as Osim brings to you a 3D massage chair that gives you a spa like experience. It is available in colours like grey, ruby red and blue. Available at Osim

outlets in Langford Town and Home Stop, Opposite Garuda Mall  Look elegant: Men have reason to smile as 21diamonds presents their latest offering; cufflinks. They are available in various designs like knotted cufflinks, blazing red, on the clock cufflinks, ombre cufflinks and more. Available at www.21diamonds.com  Tribal prints: This season give your wardrobe a dash of tribal, Aztec and Mayan prints. Choose from dresses and tops that give you a folk touch. Available at all 109° F outlets

 Flowery treat: This week Chef Vimal Vikraman will demonstrate the use of edible flowers in dishes. The chef will cook and demonstrate a three course meal using flowers like confetti, lotus, marigold, zucchini blossoms, jasmine, sunflower seed pesto, carnation and chamomile. Grand Mercure Hotel, 12th Main, Koramangala, April 13 9663308304  It’s raining food: Portland Steak house has introduced many new dishes in its menu including a whole new breakfast menu which has steak, eggs, Spanish omellete, pancakes and waffles. Other additions in the menu are scones served with jam and clotted cream, delicious sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Portland Steakhouse and Cafe, No. 1, 1st Cross Brunton Road, MG Road, April 13 9886931191

 Cupcake time: If you are dying to have cupcakes check out Simply mmmm cupcakes' latest menu with offering like candy cupcake, almond and orange, caramel with caramel glaze, red and blue velvet, whitechocolate and more. For details email at simplymmmm.cupcakes@gmail.co m or call 9740089227

 Pasta time: Learn to make pasta from the scratch. At this cooking demo you will learn to make pasta like ravioli and pasta sauces to complete your meal. The demo is priced at Rs 850 per person. Toscano, 2nd Floor, Whitefield , Vittal Mallya Road, April 17 41738800


L I S T I NGS

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theatre

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ramnavami OS Arun

Boeing Boeing Pratima. Seva Sadan, 14th Cross, Malleswaram, April 12, 7. 30 pm  Workshop on theatre: If your little ones love to act, then this workshop will hone their skills. For kids between 3-14 years, the workshop will allow them to explore the creative side of dance, vocal music, keyboard, tabla, theatre, art and pottery. Studio Krashala, No: 681, 10th main, 4th Block, Koramangala, 9886759716.

 Rumours: The play is about four couples who arrive at the tenth anniversary of a prominent couple on the social scene. Once there, they notice that the host is dead, the hostess, the butler and the cook are missing in action. Funny situations arise when these rich people try to cover up the events from the police and the media. Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, Ramagondanahalli, Whitefield, April 13, 8 pm and April 14, 3 pm and 6.30 pm 41248298

 Boeing Boeing: The play is about an architect, Bernard. He is versatile, has organisational skills and has balance in his life. He juggles between his three fiancés Gloria who is an America, Gabriella an Italian and Gretchen a German, with ease. But his partner in crime is his maid Bertha, who is good at cooking and changing photographs and runs the household. Directed by N Rishi, the play has Mayuresh Nirhali, Kunahan Thampi, Sunaina Mudaliar, Chandini J

Naik, Nitya Basrur, Shraddha Srinath, Kamal Sharma and others. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, April 14, 4.30 pm and 7 pm 41231340  Sitcom: The play is about sitcoms and how they have affected television. It has Mike Fontana, Avinash Daniel, Karan Tilak Kumar, Ramya Sateesh, Divya Sharda and

 Conversations with Namu Kini: The talk show allows three guests who narrate their life journey, personal and professional triumphs, quests for success and contributions to the community. This in turn allows women in the audience to interact with the speakers and bridge a gap so that women from the audience can look up to their success stories. Conversations with Namu Kini, Tamarind Hall, Taj West End, Race Course Road, April 12, 7 pm 66605660

 Ramanavami celebrations: Celebrate this Ramanavami in the presence of soulful soothing music by many Classical and Carnatic artists. Following are the details of the artists who are playing for the next week April 12: OS Arun and MR Gopinath April 13: Abhishek Raghuram and Dr Hemalatha April 14: Mysore Nagaqraj and Manjunath on violin April 15: Ajoy Chakavarthy and Ajoy Joglekar (Hindustani music)

April 16: Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vijaylakshmi on violin April 17: Pattabhirama Pandit April 18: Saralaya Sisters and Nalina Mohan All the events begin at 6.30 pm at Shri Ramseva Mandali, Fort High School Grounds, Krishna Rajendra Road

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


L I S T I NGS

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film  Nautanki Saala Hindi The movie is about a boy Ram Parmar, who meets a another boy named Mandar Lele, who is lonely and disturbed. The film is about their bonding, their friendship and their story. Directed by Rohan Sippy, it has Ayushmann Khurrana, Kunal Roy Kapurr and Evelyn Sharma in the lead. Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli- 11 am, 1.30 pm, 10 Rex Theatre, Brigade Road- 10.40 am, 3.10 pm, 10 Rockline

Oblivion Cinemas, Jalahalli- 12.40 pm, 3.50, 9.45  Commando Hindi The movie is about a special ops secret agent who is associated with the Indian Armed Forces. While on a mission, his chopper is shot down and he is behind enemy lines. From here on he is on a survival mission battling the enemies, the gun totting environment and others. Directed by Dilip Ghosh, it has Vidyut Jamwal and Pooja Chopra

Nautanki Sala

in the lead role. Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli- 10.30 am, 3 pm, 7.40 pm Rex Theatre, Brigade Road- 12.55 pm Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli- 4.45 pm Lakshmi Theatre, Tavarker- 7.45 pm  Oblivion English From the director of Tron the Legacy, Oblivion is about the future where the Earth has evolved beyond recognition. It is the story of one man, Jack Harper who is one of the last few drone repairmen on earth. Jack's mission is to extract vital information from Scavs. Amidst all this he comes face to face with a beautiful stranger who he rescues. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film has Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough in the lead. Urvashi Digital 4K cinemas- 11 am, 9.45 pm Rex Theatre, Brigade Road5.25 pm  Jai Sriram Telugu This action packed romantic movie has been directed by Balaji N Sai and has Uday Kiran and Reshma in

the lead roles. MS Narayana, Thagubothu Ramesh, Nagineedu and Chalapathi Rao are the supporting cast. Music has been composed by Balaji. Lakshmi Theatre, Taverkere- 10 am, 1 pm, 5 Manoranjan Theatre, Mekhri Circle- 11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 9.30  Bachchan Kannada Directed by Shashank, this action thriller stars Sudeep, Tulip Joshi, Bhavana and Parul Yadav in the lead. The background score and soundtrack has been composed by V Harikrishna. Triveni- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Navarang10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Siddalingeshwara10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Eshwari Cinema, Banashankari- 11.15 am, 2.30 pm, 6.15, 9.15 Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli Cross- 10.40 am, 1.15 pm, 4, 6.45 INOX, Garuda Mall, Magrath Road - 10.30 am, 2.40 pm, 5.35 INOX, Mantri Mall, Malleswaram10 am, 12.40 pm, 3.30, 6.30, 9.20 INOX, Central, JP Nagar- 10.50 am, 12.45 pm, 6.05, 9


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Change karma through training Do not underestimate the power of your thoughts and actions to alter what is charted out for you, says Sensei Avinash Subramanyam hen I was young, I believed everything in my life happened because of my effort. But life and training taught me differently. They led me to believe in a nature, universe and God beyond the ‘I’, the ego. When I performed with ‘my’ ability, success was limited, but when I left it to God’s grace, I transcended my abilities. God’s grace has miraculous powers, and can even change one’s karma (a concept explained in Talk, Issue 35). Faith in God is not a matter of performing rituals or visiting shrines. It is a truly unconditional acceptance of God’s will. God is within you. But to realise God, empty yourself, be less of ‘you’. Even spending five to 10 minutes in a day with God is that much less of ‘you’. In selflessness you find peace, tranquility and joy. This is not easy and requires great internal or spiritual strength, something that can be acquired through training. Remember, karma is strong. Do not underestimate its power: it can even make us blind to grace when it comes by. Nevertheless, with true faith, it is possible to break free of the effects of karma. You can change karma through love. Love in other words is about the other and not you. It is a giving up of the ego or ‘I’. If there is an ‘I’ with its attendant wants, it is not love. Love can cleanse you and cleansing changes karma. Mother Teresa, for example, touched lepers but she did not catch an infection. Her love was pure. Pure love can be a barrier to negative energies such as hatred and anger.

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Tai chi and kismet Training cleanses through internal churning. Tai chi, for example, involves circular movements that generate tremendous power. It can, as Master Shifu of Kung Fu Panda says, help “achieve the impossible.” With training, we act and behave in ways that were not a part of our earlier life scheme. Such changes reflect the alteration in the life-path charted out by karma. Two of my students lived in an

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING In the movie Kungfu Panda, Master Shifu demonstrates how training can help lead to incredible results

unhappy marriage. The man was part of a joint family. The woman felt she had lost her individuality in such a set-up. She contemplated separating several times, but did not, since she knew her husband was innocent at heart. She believed it was impossible for him to move out of the joint family. He believed his family would be shattered if he moved out. However, with training, he did move out. Now they have rediscovered love. The family is happy, too. But this was possible only because my students believed in the power of training.

Sabotaged training Many times, karma has the power to keep you from training. You need to exercise your will to break this barrier. And it is possible to do it through God’s grace. Practise any form of training. But choose one with a spiritual component. Perform good deeds. Even if you are not looking for moksha (salvation), live this life well. I’m not saying deny yourself what you desire. Buy good shoes and travel abroad. Fulfill your desires. With cleansing, you won’t feel desire. Don’t intentionally corrupt the soul. Avoid negativity. Don’t look with lust. Don’t be receptive to the lustful eye, even if the one lusting is good-looking. These are negative

energies that can ruin your life. Know that a bad deed tends to repeat itself over and over again. If you fight once with the one you love, you will always fight. It is the beginning of the end of your relationship. That’s why I say never have the first fight. Never, even when angry, tell your spouse, “I’ll divorce you.” You cannot escape from the consequences of negative thought and action. You have to pay back in this life or the next, even if you repent after the action. And uncannily, karma will catch you at your most vulnerable moment. It can even kill you. I ventured into a multi-million dollar investment that was doing very good but all of a sudden turned sour because of karma. When you realise you are doing something wrong, stop immediately. You cannot stop wrongdoing selectively. It is not enough that a man loves his wife while he continues to leer at other women. You have to transform yourself completely. When a man casts a roving eye, he is not only cheating on his wife but also corrupting his life.

Way of Budo 28

Is it you or your fate? Bad deeds can also be the fruits of karma. A man becomes a lecher because of soul corruption in this or a previous life. When I say this, don’t take it as a licence for wrongdoing.

Observe yourself. The moment you see yourself repeating a negative action more than five times over a couple of months, put an end to it immediately. When I was in high school, I sold a brass pot from home because I needed the money. I then sold many more. The wrong deed repeated itself. I changed only when I trained. Today I can’t peep into someone’s diary even if it will bring me great fortune or salvation. I now train people to find meaning in their lives. And I find myself only repeating that role. The soul is like a mirror. Whatever your age, cleanse. When you know the path, live with new maturity. Say you are confronted with great suffering. Live through it for a period of time as though you were going through the best days of your life. Do everything you usually can’t when you are depressed—show love, laugh genuinely. Subsequently, every time you feel low, you only think beautiful things. If you are an angry man do 10 push-ups, 10 squats. You will become so healthy and fit that you transform into a happy man. Perform a new, changed action repeatedly and see your karma change. Any speech or action repeated over a period of time becomes true because it reaches the universe. Say ‘my life is shit’ often enough and it becomes shit. Instead, say ‘my life is beautiful’ and see it change for the better. Use positive words and live positive. Think, live and feel only beauty, success and joy.


memoir

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crime folio

VIVEK ARUN

The doctor-killer Medical student Sanjeev—under treatment for mental illness—was frustrated by his wife’s refusal to meet him. So he grabbed a knife and barged into her hostel room n the 1990s, MS Ramaiah Medical College was full of north Indian students. A majority were from Bihar and Punjab. Not very good in academics, they got seats only by paying fat donations. The Common Entrance Test for professional colleges was not yet in place. Colleges were in the grip of moneybags, and were raking in huge profits by selling seats. Poor local students felt cheated. At times, the anger exploded in violence. In one incident, five Sikh students were killed in Bidar, a city in north Karnataka. Rich students who bought seats did not hesitate to buy their degree certificates. Not inclined to studies, they splurged their money on drinks and night clubs. Sanjeev Kumar (name changed), a Bihari student, was an exception. He was serious about his studies. The good-looking Sanjeev suffered from an illness since his high school days: short-term memory loss. He would forget whatever he had read, and fail his exams. This disorder had turned him paranoid. He found a friend in his classmate Shelly Mathur. He was hand-

I

Feeling cheated, Shelly shared some, and it did not take long for Shelly to fall in love with him. The her discovery with her roommate parents approved of the relationship Jasbir, who suggested she avoid Sanjeev for some time. The same day, and got them married. Suffering from paranoia, when Shelly and Jasbir were in their Sanjeev found solace in Shelly’s love room, watchman Thimmappa came and affection. However, regular con- in to say Sanjeev was waiting outside. tact was not possible as she contin- Jasbir asked Shelly to stay back, and ued to stay at the ladies’ hostel. Their went out to speak to him. “Shelly is parents had told them not to set up a not well. She has taken medicine and home before completing their stud- is sleeping. You can’t see her now,” ies. His sexual drive aggravated his Jasbir told Sanjeev. “She was all right when she mental illness. Sanjeev started calling Shelly came to my room. If she is not well, I over to his room. She gave in to his will take her to the doctor. Please demands a couple of times. During send her out,” Sanjeev said. “I can’t do that. their private She has asked not to moments, Shelly Furious, he be disturbed,” observed Sanjeev’s replied Jasbir. behaviour. Talking stabbed Shelly 17 Sanjeev felt happily one times, and Jasbir insulted, but went moment, Sanjeev 29 times back without saying would suddenly a word. sink into depresThe next day, when he came to sion and start crying the next. A moment later, he would be laughing. the women’s hostel, Jasbir again Shelly discovered he was not normal. turned up to speak to him. “She is But she thought he was excited preparing for a test. She says she can’t meet you for 15 days,” she said, with because of their wedding. One day, when she visited his a sarcastic grin. Further insulted, room, Shelly stumbled on some psy- Sanjeev went back to his room. That day, Sanjeev was alone as chiatry books. She also found a file with a record of Sanjeev’s medical his roommate had gone to his home history. He had been undergoing town. Jasbir’s words rang in his head, treatment since his school days in and the memory of her sarcastic Bihar. She was startled to know smile drove him wild. He craved Sanjeev had what the doctors Shelly’s proximity, and was frustratdescribed as ‘psycho cyclothymic ed Jasbir was coming in the way. He personality and manic depressive decided to eliminate Jasbir. He walked up to Shelly’s hostel psychosis’. A shocked Shelly ran out of the room without informing him. room again, and Jasbir intervened, as

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

CH HANUMANTHARAYA

expected. “Why are you answering for Shelly all the time? I want to talk to her. Ask her to come out. Or else…” Sanjeev screamed. Taken aback, Jasbir ran inside, and Sanjeev strode back to his hostel. He grabbed a knife from the kitchen and moved towards the women’s hostel. There was no watchman at the gate. Sanjeev went straight to Room 118 where Shelly and Jasbir stayed. The doors were open. The girls were getting ready for lunch, and were shocked at Sanjeev’s entry. Sanjeev latched the doors from the inside. They looked on petrified. He first stabbed Jasbir and then slit open Shelly’s throat. He was in such fury that he stabbed Shelly 17 times, and Jasbir 29 times. As he came out of the room, terrified girls scampered out of his way. Even the watchmen didn’t dare stop him. He returned to his room in blood-stained clothes, and some students ran to the police station to complain. Sanjeev tried to end his life by slitting his own throat, but some of his hostel mates managed to hold him back. They took him to a hospital nearby. He was bleeding profusely, but the doctors saved him. The police registered a case against Sanjeev based on a complaint lodged by Natarajan, the hostel warden. Sanjeev’s father referred the case to me. I defended Sanjeev on mental illness grounds. It was not difficult to get him discharged. Following the incident, Sanjeev was a changed man. He underwent treatment, and completed his medical course. He now runs a clinic in RT Nagar. When I met him many years on, he said, “Now I am all right, sir. I lead a normal life thanks to you. But I can’t forget I killed two innocent girls, Shelly and Jasbir. I can’t forgive myself. Even God won’t forgive me.” Patting him on his back, I left. Translated by BV Shivashankar


T I M E P A SS

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talk the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

How do advertisers talk to Bangalore’s most intelligent readers? They call these numbers Abhay 95388 92618 Mithun 98864 69787


T I M E P A SS 1st Cross

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Talk’s weekly crossword for Bangaloreans who know their way about town 15 Where beer guzzling classic rockers hang out off Brigade Road (5) 16 Recently appointed police commissioner of Bangalore (8) 18 The Egg ____ : Restaurant for egg lovers on St Marks Road (7) 19 Staff of this airline staged a protest on the day of the first IPL match of the season demanding payment of their overdue salaries (10)

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DOWN 1 Theatre at SG Palaya (9) 2 Historic city in Karnataka (7) 3 Captain of our IPL side (5)

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Last week’s solution Across: 4 Freedom, 5 Suratkal, 6 Provident fund, 7 U R Rao, 8 Indiranagar, 11 Tiesto, 13 Bull, 14 Hamsalekha, 16 Kumar Jha, 18 Maari Kaadu, 19 Chitradurga. ACROSS 2 Organisation in charge of distributing electricity in Bangalore (6) 4 The number of women in BJP's first list of candidates in the upcoming legislative assembly elections (4) 6 Deputy Mayor of Bangalore (1,8) 8 A section of power cables snapped

talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

recently at this power station thereby causing power outages in various parts of the city (5) 11 Apartment complex on HMT road in the news off late (8,4) 12 As per a new rule you need someone to introduce you if you want this important government document (6,4)

Down: 1 Helicopters, 2 Nandini, 3 Mary, 9 Renukacharya, 10 Rockline, 12 Take, 15 Deccan, 17 Seat.

7 9

10 13

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Paceman bought by RCB in the last IPL auction (7) Romantic drama film directed and produced by R Chandru (9) BBMP election candidate who was disqualified for forging his caste certification (1,1,6) You will find Congress Bhavan on this road (6) Co-operative Bank in the news on account of financial irregularities (7) ____ Metro Art:: Name of the to-berebuilt boulevard at MG Road (7) ___ lakhs: The amount BMTC earned in fines in the month of March (3)

Prof Good Sense  I have a 13-year-old son. Recently, I found him looking at nude pictures and surfing gay porn sites on the Internet. I talked to him, and asked him if he was gay. He denied it vehemently but said he was surfing the sites out of curiosity. I am worried. Su, JP Nagar The problem with surfing such sites is that it becomes addictive. What is 'too soon' or 'too much' is determined by their peers. Teenagers are growing up surrounded by mainstream culture, which is full of inappropriate images. Consider installing a parental control software. Talk to him about your intentions and convince him that you are doing it in his interest and welfare. Hobbies like trekking and team sports events can help deflect his present obsession. Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to prof@talkmag.in


talk|18 apr 2013|talkmag.in

A sex bomb against the system

Watch out, anonymous web warriors While the Internet was never the wild, wild web it was cracked up to be (it was developed by the US Dept of Defense, after all), online anonymity did allow people to let out a little steam every now and then. It’s true that it has bred netizens who behave like packs of hyenas when they come across an opinion they don’t like, but the Net is still the one place (not counting bar counters) where us plebs can bitch about the high and mighty

without fear of punishment. That is now about to change.

New software that uses the latest advances in linguistics can track anonymous users who post comments on blogs and underground forums by comparing their posts across forums. According to researcher Sadia Afroz, “If the dataset contains 100 users, we can at least identify 80 of them.” Sounds like another milestone in the rise and rise of the Snoop State. You’ve been warned, comrades.

Indonesia's dreadlocked little people In 2004, when skeletal remains supposedly belonging to a new hominid species—dubbed the "hobbit" owing to its small stature— were discovered in Indonesia, it caused much joy among scientists, anthropologists and assorted occultists who keep track of such things. That bubble burst when it was later determined that they belonged to the ancestors of modern human pygmies and not a separate species. Recently though, Indonesian rangers patrolling Way Kambas National Park spotted dozens of pygmies no more than 50

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cm in height, sporting waist-length dreadlocks and no clothes on them, headed to a fruit plantation nearby. When the rangers tried to get closer, the little people immediately hid behind trees and vanished. "They ran very fast," one of the rangers told the press. Of course, you idiot. Thought they would stay and discuss politics with you? The rangers haven’t given up though: they have now installed surveillance cameras in the forest hoping to capture footage of the pygmies. We big people will never grow up, it looks like.

Just announced, a movie that will feature the reigning queen of Indian porn. No, it’s not Shady Leone we’re talking about, but Savita Bhabhi, star of the online comic named after her that far outstrips everything else in the desi erotica scene in popularity. In fact, in 2009, the Indian government got so worked up over her outrageous doings that it forced its creator, London-based Puneet Agarwal to temporarily shut down the series. Now Agarwal is all set to have his revenge, with a new (web-

only) movie which will premiere next month. The movie won’t just serve you the hot stuff straight up— there’s a ‘plot’ involved, and a political one at that. The story is set in 2070 India, a bleak place where free speech is banned, and the movement of people heavily controlled. While most citizens have submitted to this new reality, Savita and gang won’t take it, er, lying down (except when they must). We’ll be logging in, but purely as a gesture of support for Bhabhi’s campaign.

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