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the intelligent bangalorean’’s must-read weekly

Volume 1 | Issue 40 | May 16, 2013 | Rs 10

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PROFILES Siddaramaiah or Kharge: Which card will Sonia play? 10-13

YOUR FUTURE

What does a Congress government hold in store for the Bangalorean? Prominent citizens look at how the change of guard will impact key areas. A NARAYANA and NATARAJ HULIYAR peer at the election results to understand their implications. Plus: A mango person’s open letter to the new CM 7-17

PRODIGY Aditya Narayan, winner of the ‘Brain Bee’ contest 6

‘INDIE’ FILMS Of the elite, by the elite, for the elite 18

SUMMER Cool off in Nawabi style with sherbets 23


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mail

It helps to know how you can control your mood swings In magazines, I tend to go for articles that look bright and colourful. But your article on mood swings (Don’’t let moods destroy you, Issue39) caught my attention and really made me think. As someone who suffers from mood swings (I hold the record of being the most shorttempered person in the family and among my peers), I could relate to the article and found it very inspirational. Sensei Avinash Subramanyam really has a way of getting people on the right track. Supriya Pradhan by email

the articles easily. But after going through the entire issue, I changed my mind. In particular, the Know your candidates article got my attention. Also interesting was the write-up on the "few good men" in a corrupt political world. Bhavna Mahanta, by email

Got me curious about politics At first I did not like the new issue of Talk, with its overdose of politics. Not being a local here, and lacking knowledge of local politics, I couldn’’t grasp

More entertainment, please I came across some back issues of Talk and found your publication quite interesting. There seems to be a great amount of detailing and research

Hope libraries story spurs some action The Talk cover story on public libraries was timely and insightful. Congratulations to Margot Cohen for writing this. I hope it acts as a trigger for some civic action! MS Sriram Visiting faculty at IIMB

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 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.

going into each article. However, I feel that the magazine pays less attention to the entertaining side of Bangalore. I hope Talk will look into this and strike the right balance. Nandini Sharma by email

Salute to foster care The article on foster care (For a home and a hug, Issue 37 made me feel guilty about the love and comfort I receive. For street kids, getting a home to live in is in the realm of fantasy. But I’’m glad that

many kind people have opened the doors of their homes and their hearts to them. I salute BOSCO and its team for taking on this project! Shivani Subba, by email Write to letters@talkmag.in


unusual mother

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in RAMESH HUNSUR

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editor talk The election frenzy is over. Who will Karnataka’’s next chief minister be? We present profiles of two contenders, Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge, who offer a study in contrast. While Siddaramaiah’’s politics is Left-leaning and Lohiaite, Kharge thrives on his loyalty towards the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. From all accounts, one of these two leaders will soon occupy Karnataka’’s most powerful position. We have put together a package that brings to your attention fascinating aspects of government formation that tend to get obscured in the heat and dust. This has been a curious season, with winners sulking and losers exulting. Take the JD(S). It is rightly described as a regional party. It has won 40 seats, 12 more than it did last time, and is now on a par with the ‘‘national’’ BJP. Yet, HD Kumaraswamy, its leader, is bitter.

PROUD MAMMA Chandru, who underwent a sex change operation to become Pallavi, is now the dutiful mother of an adopted son and daughter

Man, woman, and now mom of two What stops transgenders from becoming mothers? Nothing, as far as Pallavi is concerned. That’s why she went ahead and adopted a girl, and then a boy. It’s her way of creating her paradise here on earth. A Mother’s Day special by

Maria Laveena

T

hirteen years ago, a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) set the woman in Chandru Shankarappa free and Pallavi was born. But with womanhood came new yearnings—Pallavi longed to hold a child in her arms. She longed to be called ‘mother’. “I have four sisters and all of

them have children. Though I “When I went out to work, other looked at them as my own chil- transgenders living with me would dren, I used to feel terrible when take care of her. She is six years old my sisters were warmly called now and has already made me ‘mum’ while I always remained an proud by calling not just me ‘mum,’ but even my siblings,” she aunt,” says Pallavi, now 30. Since natural conception was adds. Pallavi loves her daughter near impossible for a transgender, Pallavi decided to adopt. But who more than her own life, but there could she ask? And who would give was also the realisation that the her a baby? As luck would have it, girl would one day get married and her sister was expecting her fourth go away, leaving her alone. Her yearning started all child. “Her fourth over again, but this one happened to be The child time she wanted a female, just like her son, a male who older kids, and she created a would stay with her was more than buzz in her till her last breath. happy to bequeath community “It’s the boys who her newborn to me,” take care of their parsays Pallavi. Pallavi named the child ents forever. That’s why I wanted a Aishwarya and brought her to boy,” she says. That is, in many Bangalore from her native Hubli cases, not the truth, but that’s how when she was a month old. It was Pallavi felt. Two years ago, a community like bringing a piece of paradise to earth, says Pallavi. The child gave member helped her adopt Prajwal new meaning to her life and creat- through a mutual friend. Pallavi ed a buzz in her community. says she paid for the little one’s

The Congress has managed to win 121 seats, and will form a government on its own, needing no help from any other party. That rankles the JD(S), which had calculated that the Congress, short of numbers, would knock on its doors for support. Such a coalition would have given the JD(S) power disproportionate to its seats, but then, Karnataka’’s wise electorate has willed otherwise. Meanwhile, BS Yeddyurappa, the former chief minister whose five-month-old KJP has bagged just six seats, is gloating. He claims credit for destroying the BJP, the party he built and from which he is now estranged. Many losers we spoke to were depressed, but Shobha Karandlaje of the KJP, despite her defeat, was optimistic about the party’’s prospects in the parliamentary elections due in 2014. By the time our next edition reaches your hands, the Congress will firmly be in the saddle. What contradictions will their government have to grapple with? Keep your eyes peeled!

SR Ramakrishna ram@talkmag.in


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delivery and took him away from his mother have fallen for her. In fact, Pallavi went on to act in Kannada movies like Satya in Love, in just 24 hours. “My son is very precious to me. I didn’t Birugali, Aithalakadi, Ee Preeti Onthara, and want him to yearn for his mother’s touch, so the yet-to-be-released G 2. In 2006, she married Yellapa in I took him away even before she could nurse Belgaum, again with the help of her commuhim,” she says. Prajwal is now two years old and lives nity, and settled down in Bangalore. Her with his mother, while Aishwarya is in Hubli. husband encouraged her to adopt a child, “I put her in a posh school in Jayanagar, but says Pallavi, since he was financially able to she couldn’t cope with English and so her look after both of them. Pallavi chipped in with the money she earned other subjects also suffered. I from dancing at weddings and have put her in a Kannada Her husband house-warming ceremonies medium school in Hubli and and, of course, acting in films. she will continue her studies encouraged lived with her husthere.” her to adopt bandPallavi and daughter for a couple Pallavi is determined to a child of years. And then, she says, she give her children the best eduwanted a better life for him. “I cation and dreams of her daughter becoming a doctor and her son a made my husband understand that society soldier. How does she manage the finances? would not accept me as his wife. I forced him It’s a question that cannot be answered with- to marry his cousin and he is now living happily with her and their two children,” she out going into Pallavi’s love life. says. Does that mean she’s no longer in touch Love at first sight with him? Pallavi says he visits every month Known in her community for her remarkable acting skills, Pallavi started her career as to see her and Prajwal. “My husband is from a theatre artiste in the venerable Puttaraja Gangavati in north Karnataka. He has built Gawai’s troupe in Hubli. After she had had two houses there, one for me and one for his the SRS surgery done, she went back to act- other wife. I can go there anytime and live ing in Hubli and it was while watching the with them. He also sends money for my dainty actor perform that Yellapa is said to monthly groceries,” she says, with a smile.

LEGAL ROUTE BT Venkatesh of law firm Reach Law

Adopt, but make sure it’s legal Pallavi is sure there’’ll be no problems in the future over her adopted children, but the fact remains that the adoptions are illegal. BT Venkatesh of Reach Law says he has seen many people, including transgenderindividuals, facing a problem later. ““Any responsible adult above 21 years can adopt a child. But they should make sure the adoption is done legally. or else, one fine day, the biological parents will want their child back when it is doing well,””

says Venkatesh. Only a small number of adoptions are properly documented while the rest are done informally, giving rise to fears of child trafficking. Thus, the government should step in and educate people about legal adoption. However, Venkatesh is quick to point out that transgender persons are responsible, like other women. It’’s just the stigma attached to them, he believes, that makes them wary of coming forward to adopt legally.

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fun lines

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spotlight

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Bangalore’s brainy boy RAMESH HUNSUR

Aditya S Narayan, just declared the country's ‘Brain Bee’, finds Robin Cook's medical thrillers fascinating and neuroscience ubercool

Mining the mind

„ VS Ramachandran, Aditya’’s hero, works in behavioural neurology and visual psychophysics. „ He is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and professor in the Department of Psychology and the Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. „ He believes the discovery of mirror neurons is the most important unreported story of the last decade.

MIND IT Aditya Narayan, seen here with mother Malathy, says it’s conceptual understanding and not rote learning that helped him win

A

t 17, Aditya S Narayan has travelled the spectrum from autism to Alzheimer’s to addiction. Put that down to his fascination with the human brain. The Grade 12 student of National Public School, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, pitted his wits against competitors from 13 schools across the country to emerge champion at this year’s Indian National Brain Bee contest. In September, Aditya will meet the best brains in the business of neuroscience at the International Brain Bee Championship in Vienna, Austria. The famed neuroscientist VS Ramachandran (see Box on ‘Mining the mind’) is his role model, biology is his favourite subject, and in neurology and psychology, he knows, he will find his calling. “Mirror neurons, on which professor Ramachandran has worked extensively, fascinate me,” says Aditya. Describing them as the neurological basis of how we imagine ourselves, he hopes to delve deep into why we behave the way we do. Given the scale and spectrum of neurological disorders, the world is in need of many experts and the championship is a starting point to build such teams, according to this young man. The championship, he says, has opened doors to a challenging world—one where reading tomes on brain functions and medical technology is par for the course. The words neuroanatomy, neu-

rohistology and brain imaging are as look at the human brain may leave much a part of the teenager’s vocabu- you gobsmacked. “I had to identify lary as Robin Cook is a part of his bed- and explain each part of the brain and yes, I even had to assemble a brain,” time reading. If you’ve begun to believe that he says, eyes shining at what is clearly this teenager is wired differently, you a precious memory. The practical test paved way for are right! He digs computer games, he plays a mean game of football, he the round called ‘patient simulation’, loves sci-fi movies like Star Wars and where doctors who are the examiners Source Code, he dreams of writing a list certain ailments and resultant “fun sci-fi adventure”, he’s into karate behaviours, and contestants have to but it’s the TED (Technology, identify the symptoms and diagnose the ailment. This Entertainment and round is designed Design) global confer‘I know I will be to rigorously test ences that have him the diagnostic accuhooked. “I understand a part of TED racy of the contestyou need to have a one day,’ he unique product or says confidently ants. Rote learning experience to be part is of little help, says of TED. And I know I will be part of TED one day,” he says the diligent student who did pore over 300-odd books and trawl the confidently. Grateful to his supportive par- Internet for numerous case studies ents and biology teacher Lakshmi but discovered that conceptual Murthy who ensures that his funda- understanding is really the key to sucmentals in the subject remain “solid”, cess in such a championship because Aditya observes the Brain Bee is a one’s “fundamentals in neuroscience great trigger for those keen on a are assiduously tested”. Neuroscience isn’t offered as a career in clinical brain science. His lab lessons helped him ace formal subject in schools, but a conthe contest, where he was tested on test like the Brain Bee is a beacon for his knowledge of spinal cord injuries, those keen on forging a future in biolthe part of the brain where cere- ogy and medicine. The future is exciting and the brospinal fluid is secreted, the neurotransmitter associated with epilepsy present is demanding. The upcoming and the feeling that emerges just international contest is keeping him busy. He’s all fired up at the thought before the beginning of a migraine. If his total recall of the test ques- of meeting the world’s best neurolotions amazes you, then his relish at gists in Vienna. “That’s a first for me. getting a chance to take a close long I’m waiting to absorb it all,” he grins.

„ He thinks mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology: provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments. „ He speculates research into the role of mirror neurons will help explain a variety of human mental capacities such as empathy and imitation learning, and the evolution of language. Mirror neurons may be the key to understanding the neurological basis of human self-awareness.

What’’s Brain Bee?

„ National Brain Bee is an offshoot of International Brain Bee (IBB), a neuroscience competition for high school students. „ It is a starting point to understand neurological and psychological disorders. „ Founded by Dr Norbert Myslinski of University of Maryland, USA, the first Brain Bee contest was held in Maryland in 1998. „ Today there are Brain Bee co-ordinators in 100 cities and 30 countries across six continents. „ About 30,000 students compete annually. Students advance through three tiers of competition——regional, national, and international.


the verdict

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Bangalore dreams

Civic life

Don’t let moneybags hijack the city Leo Saldanha Founder of Environment Support Group

Here is what the city expects from the new government

RAMESH HUNSUR

Citizen safety

„ Congress

wins Karnataka; Sonia to decide on CM. - Hopefuls are now uncorking the whine. „ Yeddyurappa

still thinks he is king. - Poor thing. Doesn't know the difference between 'throne' and 'thrown'.

Fr Ambrose Pinto SJ Academic and writer The government can't bring a change in the safety of women and children without the help of society, and society is highly patriarchal. After all, a woman gets attacked most in her own house and only then outside. There are rapes within the four walls that go unreported every day. Unless society changes, we are unlikely to see any transformation. During the BJP rule, people were harassed for transporting cows and churches were attacked. There was violence in the state. I'm sure such things will decline and the minorities

Congress is heavily backed by real estate money. The system is not going to be any different. Moneybags will only get bigger and real estate thugs will get stronger. Bangalore lost its character when SM Krishna was the chief minister. He sanctioned projects without even consulting the legislature, let alone the public. To take one example, DK Shivakumar who was the urban development minister then was involved in the Bangalore-Mysore expressway scam. The government has addressed the garbage problem with measures like the segregation of waste at source. As for conservation of lakes, the High Court has given directives based on our PIL. The new government will have no option but to form a Lake Protection Committee. I hope that if Siddaramaiah becomes chief minister, he will give power to the people by strengthening the Panchayat Raj and Nagarapalika Acts. These were the strengths of the Rajiv Gandhi government that the Krishna government neglected in Karnataka.

ing at the centre. We hope it doesn't. We are against privatisation and believe that all basic amenities should be provided directly by the state, and not private parties or through the PPP model. We are not asking for road widening or flyovers. The city needs food, health, education, water and sanitation. Legislation should be framed to see that the budget earmarked for these purposes is not diverted.

Prithvi Reddy Member, Bangalore Political Action Committee, and MD, Plasma Pvt Ltd It was Bangalore that put India on the global map, but it is now known for all the wrong reasons: corruption, garbage, women's security problems, bad traffic. Unless the new government does something about all this immediately, the golden goose will stop laying eggs and we will not have the money to fund the various schemes to uplift the poorest of the poor.

Talk says: For governments, ‘infrastructure’ is really a catch-all term for a bouquet of money-making opportunities. This time, citizens’ hopes are invested in individual leaders rather than in the government. Mass leaders like Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge are likely to implement policies Katyayani Chamaraj that benefit the poor and the middle Executive trustee, class, but colleagues with vested interCIVIC Bangalore The Congress may bring ests could sabotage their plans. in the neo-liberalisation policies it is implementSAVIE KARNEL

way. They think by installing CCTV cameras, they can provide safety for women. That's stupid. But yes, I do hope that there will be no blatant will feel much safer. attacks on people, or pub attacks on In just three years, BJP had three women. chief ministers, all of whom were elected for reasons of caste. Thus, it Kanaka Murthy, Sculptor cannot be denied that caste is an and senior citizen important factor in any government. The politicians are But the results in Dakshina never worried about Karnataka, a district where the BJP law and order. All they had a strong base, prove that the elecwant to do is to make torate can transcend caste. money. Women can never expect any The Congress is certainly not a security or help from them. The perfect party. It’s only that we have goonda-ism will just go on and the chosen a lesser evil. Citizens have to police will remain silent. be alert.

No more moral policing, thank God! Ayyo Rama

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no room. In the previous government, certain organisations had extra-constitutional powers and could do anything. In general, the Congress does not have such agendas, and therefore, will offer no support to such fringe groups. The minorities feel safe because Congress is a strange mix of all communities. During BJP's rule, certain castes got special consideration. Such preferential treatment is unlikely under Congress rule.

Talk says:

Inter-community relations are likely to improve, especially in the fractured coastal region of Dakshina Kannada. When it comes to C Chandrashekar, Retired senior police officer everyday safety of citizens—especially Shakun, Core member of women's There will be no moral policing as the of women, children and the elderly— Congress has traditionally given good to take your own precautions. rights orgnaisation Vimochana None of the governments have ever emphasis to law and order. Incidents thought about women's safety in any like pub attacks will definitely have MARIA LAVEENA


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Give us better schools and colleges

Education

Trilochan Sastry Professor, IIM-B

Sandeep Shastri Pro Vice-Chancellor, Jain University

educational institutions. We will have to wait and see. In other states like Rajasthan and Haryana, where the Congress is ruling, more and more public-private institutions are being encouraged. They might do the same here as well.

The manifesto says they will provide higher education and open more

Talk says:

I'm not sure whether education is going to be a priority at all. No government has handled it properly.

always gets more promises than action. The Congress is full of leaders, such as G Parameshwara, who run private educational empires, and the new regime may have little interest in improving government institutions. The Congress will continue on the privatisation path, while trying to balance it out with 'welfare' elements like the Right to Education.

Like health, education

MARIA LAVEENA

Movies

Real Estate

More theatres, please

Encourage vertical growth

B Vijay Kumar President, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce

K Shiva Shanmugam President, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry The government should create basic infrastructure like roads, water supply and easier administration. and electricity in the existing layouts and distribute sites quickly. There's no Nagaraja Reddy point in forming new layouts if ameniSecretary, Confederation of ties are not provided in existing ones. Real Estate Developers Government must incentivise purchase Association of India (CREDAI) of apartments. There are hundreds We want lower taxes in lying empty which has to be cleared. the real estate sector. The cost of construction material in Manjunath Mallikarjun Karnataka is high because of high taxes. Manager, Value Budget and Housing Corporation We also want building plan sanction Limited The government has to seriously think procedures simplified. Let the governof getting into vertical housing. That ment distribute sites in existing layouts will ensure community living, security before forming new layouts. The BDA

We hope they support our plans. We propose to open 30 cinema halls in the state with a seating capacity of 300 each. The Congress has always been helpful to the Kannada movie industry. should encourage vertical development of the city—we need more apartments as demand for housing is high.

Talk says: Here's one sector that can be logically expected to do well, considering how many Congress leaders are prominent real estate players. Expect policies sympathetic to the real estate developer and builder. The government will win goodwill, and elections, if it develops layouts and gives out sites systematically, but is this a pipedream?

PRASHANTH GN

Nightlife

Relax deadline at least on weekends Ashok Sadhwani Pub and restaurant owner For the last 20 years, we have seen Congress governments coming and going, and nothing has changed. There has been no relaxation for hotel owners. We need an extension of the deadline. I hope the Congress understands this and makes Bangalore a happy place. Restaurants and pubs should be given an extended deadline of 1 am, like every other place. I also hope some good development comes through in the city.

Kay Mikado DJ and pub owner I hope for an extension of the deadline. It would make more business sense. If that can't be done on all days, it should at least be done for the weekends. Something should also be done about the ban on social dancing. It is hitting all entertainment platforms across the city. Also, the process for obtaining discotheque licenses should become

clearer and cleaner. All this will ensure better nightlife in the city.

Talk says: The deadline came into force during Congress rule, so it may not go away in a hurry. 'Nightlife' is an upper-class demand—though all classes need eateries open past midnight—and the government might choose to ignore it. But then, given that pub owners are proCongress, the government might spring a surprise!

PRACHI SIBAL

N Kumar, Film producer When Siddaramaiah was the deputy CM, he would sit with us all day and help us solve our problems. If he becomes CM, it will help the industry as well as the state. Problems such as VAT levied on the industry could be waived if we approach him.

Pawan Kumar, Kannada film director For now, I don't think our industry is going to be on the government's list of priorities. Initially, they will have to clean up the mess. We expect neither improvement nor trouble. Things will remain as they are.

Talk says: As one with close contacts with the Kannada film industry, Siddaramaiah is the saviour they have been waiting for. As always, the top guns are talking about sops, which could fall into the same swollen pockets. Siddaramaiah should encourage the industry to throw open its doors to new talent and new ways of movie-making. SANDRA M FERNANDES


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Art and culture

Don’t make us another Disneyland Arundhati Nag, Founder-director, Ranga Shankara

Industry and economy

Make different policies for city and state M Lakshminarayan President of Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) We appeal to the new government to focus on five key parameters: infrastructure and skill development, urban renewal, revitalisation of small and medium enterprises, capacity building, good governance. The Bangalore-Mumbai Industrial Corridor announced by the Union Finance Minister augurs well for the overall development of the state and the new government should prevail upon the centre for its speedy implementation. Growth policies for Bangalore and rest of Karnataka should be different as their needs and problems are different. In fact, Bangalore, a city of international

importance, will immensely benefit from the creation of a dedicated 'Minister for Bangalore' since it contributes more than 60 per cent of the state’s GDP.

AN Chandramouli, Vice-President, BCIC Decisions on land acquisition reforms and the setting up of a machinery for concurrent clearances should be speeded up so that investments can flow unhindered.

Talk says: Given what the Congress is doing at the centre, industry here can also expect a boost. At the same time, mass leaders like Siddaramaiah and Kharge, given enough powers, could address popular concerns and protect the interests of the less affluent.

PRASHANTH GN

and culture policies and nobody takes For us, the change of guard may mean them seriously. good. The Congress is a supporter of the arts. I hope they expand the scope of arts Vikram Sampath, Writer and culture. The need of the hour is to It is a good thing that we have a governpreserve our arts, as otherwise we will all ment with a clear majority. But every govend up being like Mickey Mouse and ernment comes with its own baggage. The Donald Duck. As for the elections, the last one was notorious for curbing freechoice was between the devil and the deep dom of expression. The Congress governsea. In any case, it is the job of the artist to ment may be slightly more liberal. Then deliver. The responsibility is on us, again, writers always tend to be antiwhether it is the BJP of the Congress in establishment. power. Whichever party forms the government, the artist is always on the other Talk says: Simple: governments don't side. do art. When they do, the results are usually disastrous. The scepticism expressed here is well-supported by history. The Yusuf Arakkal, Painter I don't expect much Congress record: It won't send goons to change. We haven't seen beat up artists, but it won't stand up for any change with changing artists either (remember the MF Husain governments in the past. case?) They have the same art PRACHI SIBAL


the verdict

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Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty Unwavering allegiance to the Congress party’s first family gives Mallikarjuna Kharge a more than equal chance in the race for chief ministership. Of course, it also helps that he is taint-free and a leader of the Dalits who have never had a CM

PRASHANTH GN

prashanth.gn@talkmag.in

I

f the Congress were an airline, Union Labour Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge would have probably won enough loyalty points to travel around the world. Twice over. But since Congress is the party in Karnataka, the rewards could be, well, more grounded, but every bit as enviable. Forty years of unwavering loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty puts Kharge within hugging distance of the

RIGHT HO Kharge is the tallest Dalit leader in Karnataka

another political observer. chief minister’s gaddi. Kharge’s disciplined approach to “Kharge is the ultimate loyalist— to Indira Gandhi, the Dynasty, and the life and politics extends to his family High Command,” says Ravindra too. “His children are highly educated Reshme, political analyst and senior and in top jobs, but not once have they journalist, delving into the reasons for ever invoked their father’s name and Kharge’s longevity in a single party and influence,” says Reshme. “I even taught why he now stands a chance of heading his son who, for a long time, did not the new Congress government. “He has reveal that Kharge was his father.” The an emotional connection with Indira children present themselves very well. Gandhi and you see it in his children’s No one has entered politics except his names—Priyadarshini, Priyank and son Priyank, who ensures that his Rahul. He’s seen as reliable and consis- father’s name is never invoked. The son of a textile mill worker, tent. His focus on the Gandhi clan Kharge was influenced by Shyam never wavers.” Kharge’s loyalty to the dynasty Sundar, a Dalit activist, and articulated came through in two significant the Dalit cause, entrenching himself episodes in Karnataka politics. When deeply in Congress politics. “He has ensured better working Devaraj Urs left Indira Gandhi’s Congress to form Congress (U) in 1979, conditions in the labour sector,” says Nanaiah, pointing to a Kharge left Urs for the fundamental contribuGundu Rao camp. He His children are tion by Kharge. “He set realised, political named Rahul, up ESI super-speciality observers say, that hospitals in North there was no future in Priyadarshini, Karnataka and the Congress (U) and and Priyank Bangalore and ESI hosfor Urs who had pitals in other regions offered to resign over poor results in the parliamentary elec- of the state. No one brought in as much money as he did into the ESI hospital tions in the 1970s. In another instance, Kharge stayed sector. When it comes to performance with S Bangarappa till the very moment in a given portfolio, Kharge leads all he was to send his resignation to the other ministers in the state.” Kharge is also remembered for his party High Command. He actually travelled with Bangarappa from the airport reforms in the education sector, says to Krishna, the official residence of the Nanaiah. “Teachers remember him chief minister in Bangalore. But when even today for his efforts to make all Kharge realised Bangarappa was regions equal in education—in terms of resigning, he quickly expressed his loy- opportunities, institutions, appointalty to the high command, confirming ments and scholarships.” The JD(S) leader also points out that that was where he belonged. “He maintained this consistency through- the key role that Kharge played, along out his career which may count now,” with Dharam Singh, in securing a special status for the Hyderabad-Karnataka says Reshme. Veteran politician MC Nanaiah region. “The struggle for special status agrees Kharge’s loyalty is beyond ques- had been going on for 20 years. I should tion. “He is a very, very loyal say it was the pressure and persuasion Congressman. He was particularly loyal from Kharge and Dharam Singh that to Indira Gandhi and joined her when brought in the results.” the party split. He is one of the most credible leaders in the Congress and has Strengths greater acceptability than most, owing „ Loyalty to the Gandhi dynasty to his loyalty and reliability.” „ No whiff of scandal Loyalty apart, Kharge’s career has „ Dalit leader been scandal-free in a political atmos„ Reforms in labour and phere that reeks of the putrid. “He has education worked in the labour ministry and co„ No alternative leaders in the operation ministry and has undertaken region land reforms for farmers, but not once Weaknesses has there been any taint. There wasn’t „ Not a pan-Karnataka leader any allegation of misappropriation. „ Leadership skills limited He’s never openly exhibited his wealth either, maintaining a low profile,” said


talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

All of which stand him in good stead—10 straight victories in 10 polls in Gurmitkal constituency, Gulbarga district, giving the Congress an edge among the weaker and backward sections in the state. Apart from Kharge’s achievements, Reshme attributes other reasons for the 40-year winning streak: “First of all, Kharge has always contested from a reserved constituency where only scheduled castes can contest. He has never contested from a general constituency. Second, no second line of leadership to Kharge has emerged in and outside the Congress in the region. In a sense, Gulbarga and Bidar are fiefdoms of Kharge and Dharam Singh. Thirdly, all the Lingayat votes come to him—because there is no choice. He is also a long-time friend of Lingayat strongman Shamanur Shivashankarappa.” Another political observer however believes Kharge enjoys Lingayat confidence because he describes himself as a follower of Veerendra Patil, a tall Lingayat leader in the HyderabadKarnataka region. Kharge ensures that poor health never comes in the way of achieving his goals. People close to him say that his children, a couple of whom are doctors, have advised him to stay fit. Kharge is taking them seriously and has become something of a fitness freak of late. He learnt swimming when he was 64 and swims an hour every day at one of the ‘happening’ pools in Delhi. Since then, he has lost 15 kilos and looks far fitter than he did a decade ago. His sense of humour has also helped him stay healthy. Kharge is known for his forthright humour and razor-sharp wit. “In the chambers of then speaker Ramesh Kumar, he would crack jokes and make

11

PRIYANK & RAHUL Priyank Kharge, who won from Chitapur, aspires to be a mass leader. Kharge senior with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

very witty remarks. He is also known for his heavy sarcasm,” says Reshme. Add to his attributes the fact that Kharge is coming into his own working at the centre. “His performance as Union Labour Minister is showing. He exudes a sense of efficiency, discipline and understanding of the labour sector,” a political observer said. But why has it taken so long for Kharge to be a chief minister-aspirant

Home alone

Strong candidates, such as deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa, on why they lost KS Eshwarappa, BJP, Shimoga

Deputy chief minister and former president of state BJP. Lost to KB Prasannakumar of the Congress

Why he lost I don’’t have an immediate assessment. I will take two to three days more and then I’’ll let the media know why my result was what it was.

despite 40 successful years? Political observers say he has never projected himself as CM candidate in the past. Only loyalty to the national leadership and nurturing his constituency seem to have been his concerns. Also, while a Veerappa Moily exhibited his intellectual skills, Kharge has rarely exhibited extra dimensions in leadership. He never worked on connecting with all regions of the state either, building himself as a pan-Karnataka leader.

BL Shankar

However, that seems to be changing with his stint as Union minister. He has undertaken a number of social projects as Union minister to put his imprint on the state, the resurrection of ESI hospitals in backward regions being his signature contribution. As one political observer said, “He is also emerging as a man with a vision— when you develop a vision, you come into your own.”

independents. Thirdly, there Congress, Dasarahalli was a virtual Former chairman of the Karnataka exodus of Legislative Council. Lost to Muniraju migrants from of the BJP the Why he lost constituency The networking and money power of to their home my opponent was massive. I just towns. Their didn’’t have enough resources to fight number may him. There was also a massive be in the range of 10,000-15,000. division of non-BJP votes——too many These are the reasons I lost, the first went towards the JD(S), KJP and the being the main one.

V Somanna

BJP, Vijayanagar Former minister and consistent winner. Lost to M Krishnappa of the Congress

Why he lost I am shattered. What value does social service have? Can’’t people make out the difference between a social worker and a real estate agent? I’’m sure money and malpractice have played a role. I’’ve done so much work

What next I remain vice-president of the party and spokesman. I will continue in those positions. I will now prepare the party to face the 2014 Parliamentary elections. That will be my major task ahead. I agree corruption will be an issue in the elections, but the goodwill generated by the victory here would help the party in 2014. Also, there is no serious alternative to the Congress at the national level.

competitor for the people, I’’ve given up all other seems to have jobs and taken up politics as a played a role. profession and I ensure that I meet people’’s needs sincerely. After all this, What next is this the result they give me? A I don’’t know mistake on my part may have been about the my changing political parties often. future. It’’s all People may have voted against me in the hands because of that. I’’m asking God why of God. Time this has happened to me. Maybe its will heal and fate and fate is bigger than God. Of time will tell where I’’ll be. I am sure course, winning and losing is part of good times will come again. life, but here the nature of the


the verdict

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

12

MADHUSUDHAN SR

IN THE RECKONING Siddaramaiah’s clean record makes up for his blunt style

A man without guile Siddaramaiah is an unlikely Congressman: he reveres Lohia rather than the Gandhis, and comes across as a blunt man in a party of smooth operators BASU MEGALKERI basavaraju@talkmag.in

S

iddaramaiah is not a cunning politician. He is not greedy either. In the 1970s, after he entered politics and his career as a lawyer took a backseat, he was broke, and would hang out with equally broke writers in Mysore. Looking back, he must be glad he didn’t take money from some land developer or liquor tycoon to tide over his dark days. Some writers and

The Siddu you didn’’t know

Siddaramaiah takes an early morning walk every day. His wife Parvati and two sons have accepted the ups and downs of his political life, and stand by him all the time. He reads literature in Kannada and English, and goes to a cinema hall in Mysore to catch an occasional film.

intellectuals he befriended in those days—they later became cultural idols of Karnataka—stand by him today. Devanoora Mahadeva, Dalit ideologue and writer of novels with elements of magic realism, and UR Ananthamurthy, Jnanpith laureate, are just two of his high-profile supporters who would like to see him as chief minister. For a major part of his career, Siddaramaiah has campaigned against the Congress. In fact, he joined the party only six years ago, after he realised that some in his close circle were exploiting his upright image to their advantage. His heroes are Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan, icons of antiCongressism, rather than Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, whom Congressmen worship. In fact, Siddaramaiah’s political internship was under another of his heroes, Prof MD Nanjundaswamy, the firebrand farmer leader who founded and led

the influential Karnataka Raitha Sangha. Born to poor Kuruba parents on August 12, 1948, in a village near Mysore, Siddaramaiah graduated in science. He then did an LLB, and started his legal practice in Mysore. Soon, he was known as a lawyer who would take up causes of those in distress. One even those with no money could approach.

K Satyanarayana, a journalism stalwart associated with The New Indian Express group, recalls Siddaramaiah’s early days in politics. “He had no means of livelihood except what he got as a salary from the legislature. Many backward class politicians were like that then.” Siddaramaiah was close to Abdul Nazeer Sab, a leader remembered to this day for drilling a borewell in every village and saving women their long walk to the stream. Heady post-Emergency days Siddaramaiah entered politics in Swami Anand, a journalist who has known Siddaramaiah 1978, just a year for over three decades, after Indira For most of his believes he is remarkGandhi’s repressive career, he has ably free of malice for Emergency had a politician. “He does ended. In been against not become bitter Karnataka, the antithe Congress when he is defeated,” Congress sentiment he told Talk. “He is was strong. He first became a member of the taluk board. friendly even with his political oppoHe entered the Karnataka assembly nents.” in 1983, winning the Chamundeshwari seat on a Bharatiya Defeated and all alone Lok Dal ticket. He joined the Janata In 1989, he lost an election for the Party, then led by the charismatic first time, and was dejected and all Ramakrishna Hegde, and became alone. Hegde then made him the chairman of the Kannada Watchdog Janata Party’s general secretary. That Committee. That was when he was a surprise elevation that gave him toured Karnataka extensively, and invaluable insights into politics. He became known in the districts. got an opportunity to travel across


talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

the state with Hegde and HD Deve Gowda, Split with Deve Gowda and saw from close quarters how they Around this time, the Janata Party spilt. interacted with party workers and ordinary Siddaramaiah went with Deve Gowda’s citizens. He built the party well, and JD(S), and became the president of the received accolades from seniors. party. The Hegde-Gowda rift had taken its “That was an important phase in his toll, and the JD(S) suffered a humiliating life,” Satyanarayana told Talk. “Differences defeat in 1999. It took six years for the were cropping up between Hegde party to return to power. In 2004, the JD(S) and Gowda, and it wasn’t easy to run the was on the upswing, but did not have the party, but he balanced things well.” numbers to rule independently. It got into Siddaramaiah had to go to Hegde for any an alliance with the Congress. Dharam expenses he incurred to Singh of the Congress run the party. He didn’t let became chief minister, and Siddaramaiah anything dishearten him, Siddaramaiah was again and managed to strengththe deputy chief minister. has presented en the party without disBut the government the state budget pleasing anyone. fell soon. The JD(S) aligned six times In 1994, the Janata with the BJP, and Party won a majority and Kumaraswamy, Deve came to power. By then, Siddaramaiah had Gowda’s son, joined hands with grown into a state-level leader. Deve Yeddyurappa and formed a government. Gowda became chief minister and made Siddaramaiah opposed the idea of a coaliSiddaramaiah his finance minister. In tion with the rightist BJP, and quit the 1996, when Gowda left Bangalore to party in 2006. That was when he joined the become prime minister, JH Patel took his Congress. place in Karnataka, and made As Satyanarayana says, Deve Gowda Siddaramaiah deputy chief minister. had a personal agenda in making Siddaramaiah continued to hold the Siddaramaiah president of his party. finance portfolio. He performed well, and Gowda’s opponent in Holenarsipura in his brought in several reforms. Patel encour- home district of Hassan happened to be a aged him. Kuruba. Eager to weaken his rival and gar-

Well, well… look who’s won

You never really did expect them to win, and yet the likes of farmer leader Puttannaiah and expressway builder Kheny show that politics is all about surprises A candidate who didn’’t make any false promises, a candidate who allegedly did, and an expressway builder——these elections have catapulted some wild card candidates into the assembly. Contestants many thought stood a snowball’’s chance in hell are now getting ready to troop into the Vidhana Soudha.

KS Puttannaiah

This farmer leader Puttannaiah won the assembly seat from Mandya district’’s Melkote constituency on the sheer strength of his principles. His Karnataka Sarvodaya Party was

founded in 2008, and is backed by writers and intellectuals such as Devanoora Mahadeva. Not much happened during the last elections, and the party went into hibernation. Now, Puttannaiah is the first to win a seat from the party. While his opponent Puttaraju of the JD(S) played the caste card and distributed money and liquor, Puttannaiah watched on broodingly, even telling reporters his own chances were bleak. Puttaraju, who had won the Melkote seat last time, lost to Puttannaiah, startling even the winner.

13

ner Kuruba votes, Gowda gave importance Strengths to Siddaramaiah, who also hails from that „ No business interests community. “But once his children came „ Bold, disciplined and physically fit into their own, Deve Gowda started „ No malice towards rivals sidelining Siddaramaiah,” recalls „ Well-read and competent Satyanarayana. „ Non-corrupt After coming out of the JD(S), Siddaramaiah became active in the nonWeaknesses political Ahinda (short for Alpasankhyaata, „ Relatively new in Congress Hindulida, Dalita Sangha). This grouping „ Arrogant and overconfident of minorities, backward classes and Dalits „ Listens to gossip-mongers began to emerge as an ideological pressure „ Sometimes favours his caste group. But, the story goes, many in the „ Not on good terms with party organisation began to misuse seniors Siddaramaiah’s clean image for personal gain. A frustrated Siddaramaiah then No one can deny Siddaramaiah conjoined the Congress, believing his career tributed significantly to the victory of the would have a better chance in a major Congress. He not only instilled confidence party. in his Kuruba community (traditionally shepherds) and brought them into the Congress fold, but also took out a padayaGood show as finance minister Siddaramaiah has won five elections to the tra to Bellary to build resistance to illegal assembly, and presented the state budget mining in Bellary. If he is chosen chief minister—and six times, winning the appreciation of such industry leaders as Nandan Nilekani. In the there is a good chance of Sonia Gandhi Congress, he faces the challenge of having favouring him—his challenge will be to to co-exist with ambitious leaders who manage the many vested interests within have been around in the party for long his own party. All said and done, the years. It is widely known that he speaks Congress is a party of leaders whose names bluntly, and makes enemies of people who crop up whenever illegal mining and real estate scandals are mentioned. mistake his style for rudeness.

CP Yogeshwar

went on to become minister for forests. Before he could complete his term, he sensed the Former minister and actor CP Yogeshwar negative sentiment against the romped home from BJP, and resigned from his post Channapatna in Ramanagara and party. He rejoined the district, defeating former chief Congress. But when the Congress minister HD Kumaraswamy’’s did not give him a ticket, he joined wife Anita Kumaraswamy. The the Samajwadi Party. He is the win has left everyone first candidate from the Mulayam astonished. His party-hopping Singh Yadav-led party to win a seat ways have had no in Karnataka. It is not even as impact on voters. though Yogeshwar has a clean Yogeshwar first image. He started a real-estate contested from firm that went bust, and faces Channapatna as a several cheating cases. Perhaps Congress candidate. his moviedom connection is the draw: he first When the BJP came to power, he became famous by producing and acting in a resigned from the Congress and joined patriotic action film called Sainika (Soldier). the ruling party. He won again, and

Ashok Kheny

When expressway builder Ashok Kheny said he would defeat HD Deve Gowda in his hometown of Hassan, people chuckled and politicians ignored him. After all, he was the sort who was more at home watching fashion shows than making rousing speeches. Kheny founded the Karnataka Makkala Paksha and was the first to contest from the party. When the results were announced, he had left behind candidates of national parties to emerge the winner from

Bidar South constituency. Kheny hails from the border district of Bidar, where his ancestors were involved in social service. Kheny has spent much of his life as a businessman in the US. When he returned, he set up the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Limited in Bangalore and took up the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway project. He allegedly grabbed land from farmers and manipulated deals to get more land from the government than the expressway required. Kheny’’s big reason to foray into politics is to avenge politicians who trouble him. As of now, it’’s advantage Kheny.


the verdict

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

14

MADHUSUDHAN SR

TWO THUMBS UP HC Mahadevappa with Siddaramaiah. (Right) Sarvodaya Karnataka leader KS Puttannaiah

The surprise victory of clean candidates augurs well, and reassures citizens that not all is lost

Some good men finish first

Nataraj Huliyar

Well-known shortstory writer and cultural analyst

A

s I watched the results party has won four seats and is next pour in on TV, KS to the KJP (six seats) in the final tally. Puttannaiah's win was the sweetest bit of news No longer a miners’’ club to my ears. He had Thankfully, the Reddy brothers of fought a clean election in Melkote—a Bellary are out. That means an end to town near Mysore where the saint their mining plunder, at least for now. Ramanujacharya had taken refuge in Also welcome is the defeat of loosethe 13th century—and won on the tongued and arrogant leaders like KS basis of a clear ideology. His party is Eshwarappa and Ramadas (both BJP), called Sarvodaya Karnataka, and is and politically promiscuous leaders supported by farmers, students, writ- like Somanna, Renukacharya and ers and intellectuals. Common citi- Belur Gopalakrishna. The two MLAs zens came out and funded its cam- caught watching 'obscene' videos on paign. The candidate Puttannaiah their mobile phones in the assembly defeated had flooded are out, too, but one, the constituency with Lakshmana Savadi, is This time, caste back. money and liquor, but the voters refused It is not a good hasn’t been as to yield. sign for Bangalore strong a factor Talk had predictthat real estate dons as expected ed Puttannaiah's win are back in the assemlast week. bly. This regime may Interestingly, two among the ‘few not be free of de-notification worries. good men’ Talk had picked have also Many ministers of the previous govwon. Also, news of the victory of ernment, not to speak of their chief Ramesh Kudachi augurs well. Ramesh minister Yeddyurappa, landed in jail is from the Dalit Lambani communi- because of land grab, and if the ty and got a fluke ticket from the BSR Congress sees its victory as license to Congress. He toured his constituency continue in their footsteps, they will with 100 boys riding their bikes. His run into rough weather sooner than

later.

Good tidings for JD(S) Among the opposition parties, the JD(S) has gained lost ground. It had lost its support base among the minorities when it started flirting with the BJP five years ago. There was little representation for the minorities in the previous assembly and cabinet. This time around, the Muslims have done well, winning 11 seats. Representation for women in the previous government was poor. Shobha Karandlaje was in and out of the cabinet. The present government will have to make up for all that. This time around, caste hasn't been as strong a factor as expected. Though Yeddyurappa allocated funds to religious institutions run by his caste, his candidates have lost in constituencies where Lingayats can swing elections. But he has succeeded in weakening the BJP, the party that threw him out once he came back from a jail term.

Better quality of debate? The previous assembly was a disappointment for citizens who see it as a

forum for informed debate. An MLC observed that serious debates took place only in the upper house as real estate dons and the mining mafia had entered the assembly, and couldn't make head or tail of what was happening there. Some of that will be corrected now. Many politicians with an intellectual bent of mind have entered the assembly: Basavara Rayareddy, YSV Datta, HK Patil, Kagodu Thimmappa (at 83, perhaps the senior-most legislator of this assembly), Ramesh Kumar, Dr HC Mahadevappa, G Ramakrishna, just to name a few. Pleasantly, Datta of the JD(S) and Ramesh Kumar of the Congress have won from constituencies with very few voters from their castes. Basavaraj Bommai, Suresh Kumar, Siddaramaiah and Srinivas Prasad have also been re-elected. Which means we have a good number of MLAs who read documents, and prepare before coming to the assembly. That's the good news. As this is also a time to hope the Congress, with its 121 MLAs, learns from the BJP's defeat, and fares better than it has in the past.

WELCOME HK Patil (Congress), Suresh Kumar (BJP), Ramesh Kumar (Congress), YSV Datta (JD(S)), Ramesh Kudachi (BSR Congress) and Kagodu Thimmappa (Congress)


the verdict

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

15

RAMESH HUNSUR

THAT WAS THEN Yeddyurappa was the force that held the state BJP together

BC Patil

It’s 1994 once more for BJP

and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions, where the party had no traditional strength except in some pockets of Hubli-Dharwad. And a majority of these seats was won by candidates who belonged to either the Bellary Reddy group or ex-JD(U) group. Although Lingayats account for around 16 per cent of the population With just 40 seats, the party goes back to its position of two decades in most of the northern Karnataka ago. It has suffered not just an ideological rejection in its stronghold constituencies, they constitute as much as 20 per cent of the elecof Dakshina Kannada, but also lost the support of key interest groups torate. So, the Lingayat support helped the BJP here more than it headed by the Reddy brothers and Yeddyurappa in other regions helped in other parts. By the time the party was to the strength of its core ideology. This hat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in period coincided with the BJP’s face the 2013 elections, both the Karnataka would lose growth at the national level. From a Reddys who got it seats in northern these assembly elections mere four seats in 1989, it improved Karnataka and Yeddyurappa who was clear even before the its tally to 40 in 1994, 44 in 1999 and secured it the Lingayat support across the state had left the party. It poll was announced. The curiosity 78 in 2004. In 2004, the party’s ability to was not just the Lingayat support then was only about how badly they would lose. And when the results grow on its own reached its satura- that Yeddyurappa’s exit cost the BJP. came, it was clear that the party had tion limit. What followed this was a It caused cracks in its very core suffered a crushing defeat and was phase of “induced” growth. During because Yeddyurappa was, after all, back to just 40 seats—its tally in the this time, the party grew not because the original Sangh Parivar man. And 1994 elections. The reversal in its of any more takers for its core ideol- the results reflected that very clearly. Even the 18 seats it fortunes has pushed it back by two ogy but because won in this region some new political decades. By 2004, the came mainly because The results are being interpret- groups with enorBJP was no of the ex-JD(U) group ed in different ways. The ruling mous aspirations which stayed on. party’s pathetic record of corruption joined hands with longer able to is a reflection of and misrule are held as the main rea- it. So, there were grow on its own This the party’s real sons for its rout. There may be some the Bellary Reddys strength in the merit in such interpretations. But who came to its there is a more fundamental reason fold with their money power and region. What makes the BJP’s rout realone needs to examine here. For the there was a small but powerful group BJP, defeat was inescapable. The of Lingayat leaders who were search- ly humiliating is the loss it suffered defeat was as much a reflection of ing for political asylum after the dis- in coastal Karnataka. Of the 19 seats the BJP’s actual strength in integration of the JD(U), mainly in here (DK, UK and Udupi districts), it Karnataka as much as its rejection by northern Karnataka. Along with this won only three seats as against 10 in the people. In fact, the party did not was a sudden spurt in Lingayat sup- 2008. Considering that this is the even give the people a chance to port for the party after the JD(S) party’s traditional stronghold, the reject it because the BJP which faced denied BS Yeddyurappa the chief results here support the theory of the 2013 election was not the same minister’s post under a coalition the BJP’s popular rejection to some BJP which fought the 2008 election. arrangement between the two par- extent. But more importantly, it also challenges the assumption that BJP’s This becomes clear when one ties. In 2008, the party secured 110 core voters support it under all cirlooks at the trajectory of the saffron party’s growth in Karnataka in the seats and managed to form the gov- cumstances. That the party could A Narayana Faculty member, past 25 years. During this period, one ernment with the help of independ- win at least 12 seats in Bangalore Azim Premji can identify two phases in its ents. Exactly half (55) of these seats (against 18 in 2008) was the only savUniversity growth. In the first, the BJP grew on came from the Bombay Karnataka ing grace.

T

Report card of cop-netas: Big zero Voters have rejected all the retired policemen who contested elections this time. IPS officer Narayana Gowda, who tried his luck from the Chickpet constituency on a JD(S) ticket, suffered a humiliating defeat. BC Patil, the inspector-turned-film actor who had won the last election on a Congress ticket, contested again from Hirekerur, only to be trounced by his KJP rival UB Banakar. Similarly, GA Bawa, the retired ACP who joined the Congress and contested from Chamarajpet, and retired ACP Abdul Azeem, who contested from Hebbal on a JD(S) ticket, have lost. BK Shivaram, retired ACP credited with crushing several gangs, contested unsuccessfully from Malleswaram. ““I’’m no professional politician,”” he told Talk, by way of explanation. ““I will continue with my social and cultural activities.”” Inspector Lokeshappa (KJP) from Tiptur, inspector Cheluvaraju (JDs) from Varuna, and head constable Chennigappa (JDs) from Doddaballapura are the other cops who lost.

BK Shivaram


the verdict

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

RAMESH HUNSUR

UNDER PRESSURE Prices of daily essentials have shot up, but farmers aren’t doing well either

outside your gate, won’t you protest? Find a solution to this problem. Don’t ask me to provide a solution. Politicians are the ones going on foreign trips to study the system there. Next time, please holiday less and work more. As for the roads, do I need to say anything? Almost every influential person who appears in the media has said it: “Crumbling infrastructure.” Please fix it. Well, now don’t sanction new flyovers on a whim. Badly planned flyovers add to the problem. Shamefully, Bangalore had the only flyover in the world (Double Road) with a traffic signal. Then, you have flyovers like the one near National College in Basavanagudi. Here you can go over the flyover or below it, and reach the same spot at the same time.

Speak to Goa on petrol tax

A middle-class Bangalorean makes a wish list, and offers common-sense advice to the man who rules the state’s destiny for five years SAVIE KARNEL

savie.karnel@talkmag.in Dear chief minister, Congratulations on winning the elections and making it to the top position in Karnataka. I come from a background where elections are considered sacred and voting secret. My parents taught me never to reveal who I had voted for. My friends tell me that I should always say I voted for the winning party. Anyway, let me say I have gifted you my vote. Now, it’s your turn to gift me back. This is like a return gift. Before I list out what I need, let me make one thing clear. I am a common man, a sri samanya, an aam aadmi (famously called ‘mango person’ by the son-inlaw of India’s most powerful politician).

An open letter to the new chief minister

I gather from my shopkeeper that agricultural districts are drought-hit. The yield is low and the rates high. Why can’t you take a firm stand to solve the Cauvery issue? Shouldn’t you look into the problems of farmers at such times? Now, don’t tell me whatever Cauvery water you get, you send it to Bangalore for drinking. Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, not to speak of the British, had built enough lakes in the city. I have heard there were hundreds of such water bodies. Now, we just have a handful. Some stink with sewage and industrial effluents. Why don’t you ask your Lake Development Authority to protect these water bodies from encroachers? They only seem interested in “beautifying” these lakes in partnership with private builders. I hope you know digging a bore well is another big story. The water table has sunk so low, soon we could Checked the price of beans? drill to the core of the earth, and still I hope you know that the price of find no water. beans touched Rs 100 a kilo recently. That’s just Rs 20 short of the price of Fix the kachada problem chicken. People like me eat non-veg Please don’t let the garbage crisis only once a week, to save on expens- repeat itself. Of course, the villages es. If vegetables are so expensive, we where you dump the waste will will be forced to live only on ganji. object. Imagine, if I dump my kachada

mon to you, are alien to me. You relax. I work hard. After a hard day’s know this very well. During the elec- work, I hate it that no restaurants are tion campaign, you never use such open. Only one chain enjoys a words. You say plain things, like, “Rice monopoly over food after 11 pm. I will be Rs 3 a kilo.” I don’t understand cannot afford to eat at their outlets what happens to you and your politi- every day. I’ve already told you I do not cian colleagues once the elections are done. You spring these big words at work in a big corporate company, and so my office doesn’t have a 24/7 cafeus. Everyone in power thinks teria. Being too tired to cook, I go Bangalore belongs to those in the IT hungry several nights. Could you please ensure that sector. All policies some budget eateries are formulated are open post-midkeeping just them in If I dump my night? I would be mind. What about kachada outside grateful if you could people like me, who your gate, won’t allow some departdo not belong in mental stores to stay that sector? My IT you protest? open as well. I get friends tell me their only Sundays off; jobs are not as lucrative as they are projected to be. I there are many things lined up for me am not below poverty line, and I do on that one day. Often, I do not find not belong to the upper middle class. the time to buy provisions and vegI am a middle-middle class person, etables. like most Bangaloreans.

I don’’t care about the pub deadline

Allow me to tell you something. I do not care whether pubs and discotheDon’’t throw jargon at me I do not understand big words and ques close at 11 pm or are open till 1 theories. Even things like inflation am. My idea of a weekend is not to and GDP, which must sound com- party hard, but to stay home and

Potholes and slow moving traffic lead to increased fuel consumption. And Karnataka pays among the highest petrol prices in India. I read in the papers that if the state government reduced taxes, the price comes down. Goa has done something like that.

Could you please check with your counterparts there how they did it? Let’s come to real estate. I spend onethird of my salary on house rent. The owners say rents increase to match the rising salaries of IT professionals. My salary rises slowly, perhaps at the pace of the Namma Metro rail project. Is there some way to keep an eye on house rents?

Your duty to give us a roof

My family has been pressuring me to buy a house of my own in Bangalore. They call it an investment. But an investment is done only when there is money left after the monthly bills are paid. Truth is, I’m left with nothing at the end of the month. Even if I seek a loan, I need to make a down payment, which is a huge sum. I always dreamed I would have an independent house with a small space for a lawn. Looks like things like these are only for the super rich now. The apartments are unaffordable. In earlier decades, the Bangalore Development Authority would allot plots through a lottery system. What happened to it? Now, don’t tell

me that there is no land. I wonder how private developers can find land to make townships, and you can’t. Just check out the property supplements of Bangalore’s newspapers, and you’ll know there’s enough land and more. The government certainly finds prime land to give away for malls. Remember Maverick Builders, who built Garuda Mall on government land? They are now building another mall in Ejipura. Mantri Mall came up in the heart of Bangalore, ruining the beauty and the peace of the once-beautiful neighbourhood of Malleswaram. The authorities evacuated poor people living in Ejipura to make way for a mall. I don’t get it. How can malls be more important than housing? We have enough malls already. I hear some are also running under loss. Please give malls a break.

Plan for citizens, not builders

You claim you want to make Bangalore a world class city. My elders tell me it was actually one before politicians started meddling with the planning. The roads are nar-

What Gen Y wants With 5.34 lakh first-time voters this time, Bangalore recorded an extraordinary high turnout (71 per cent). This means many young voters want a say in who governs them. Here’s what they are saying after the results

We already have the infrastructure in place. The new government only needs to effectively manage it. I look forward to a cleaner Bangalore and more effective waste disposal in the next few years. Anasuya Sharma, 18, Engineering student

The Metro construction has been on in my area for three years. I want it to be completed soon, because it is holding up the traffic.

The amount of time and money wasted by the government is colossal. We need a system that works quickly and efficiently so that the citizens don't suffer. Sanjana Sudheer, 19 Communications student

I look forward to better access to basic amenities like water, power and transport. Discrimination of all kinds must be uprooted. Anusha Rao, 18 Literature student

I'm hoping that they make this country better. I don't want people to refer to our country as a developing country anymore. Rachana M, 18, Psychology student

rower now, and the new layouts just don’t show any interest in culture and aesthetics, or concern for children and elders. Immediately after the elections were done, we heard power rates would go up. We suffer frequent power cuts. You may have a generator at home, but a majority of Bangaloreans don’t. Please supply power continuously. The papers are filled with stories of daylight murders and burglaries. We read about muggings, shootings, rapes, and murders of single and elderly people. Crimes in Bangalore do not make it to the national news, like those in Delhi do. This doesn’t mean they are less heinous. Could you please instruct the police to work towards a safer Bangalore? This list is growing long. If I have missed out on anything, I will send you another letter. If it is not you but your PA reading the letter, I request him please to forward it to sahebru. Thank you. Yours sincerely A common Bangalorean who finds mangoes too expensive

I want Bangalore to be the Garden City of India once again. Everywhere you look today, you only see garbage. That has to change. Shivarshini Raj, 20, Communications student

I request leaders in government to be human. Priyanka J, 21 Commerce student

I expect a government that gives us the freedom to express our views openly.

Kartik Joshi, 19

Tanya Kini, 20 Arts student

they would.

They should know how to handle the power and not misuse it, and also do at least some of things they said Minal Sukumar, 18 Journalism student

17

I want the entire system to change, since everything in and around it is corrupt. Nivedita Roy, 20 BBM student

Ruling party leaders should work for the betterment of citizens and not just for themselves. Zero corruption is a dream, but they should at least work towards it. Arpita Mukherjee, 20 Communications student


film matters

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The ‘independent’ tag simply seems to be a way of positioning films for a certain kind of audience, two recent examples reveal

The insular indies

T

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).

he term ‘independent film’ is applicable to Hollywood, where a few big studios control film production. It may not be particularly relevant to India, where there are countless Bollywood producers, some who make no more than one or two films. But the term is being used frequently nowadays and the purpose seems to be to ‘position’ a film. Calling a film ‘independent’ is to imply that it is unlike those in any of the categories of cinema in India— Bollywood, regional popular cinema, art cinema or diaspora cinema. The multiplex boom has made commercial releases of ‘indie’ films viable because they are made with low budgets. This does not mean that their production qualities are poor, but that they usually have no stars in them, and it is stars who take up much of the budget. ‘Indie’ films subscribe to no common aesthetic. Two successful independent films shown in theatres recently demonstrate this. Lessons in Forgetting directed by Unni Vijayan is based on an English novel by popular Bangalore novelist Anita Nair. Celluloid Man by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur is a documentary about PK Nair, founder-director of the National Film Archive of India in

US AND THEM Lessons in Forgetting treats the dark-skinned rustic as a dangerous ‘other’ to be feared by Anglophone metropolitans. (Top left) Celluloid Man ignores the issue in question—film preservation—and ends up being a film industry insiders’ lovefest

Pune. At the same time, the fact that his beautiful daughter Smriti (Maya the indie film addresses a specific tar- Tideman), who as a member of a get audience tends to make it insular, drama troupe doing street theatre to as this is often not more than a educate rural folk on female foeticide, met with a freak accident and is now coterie. Lessons in Forgetting is based on in a coma. Seeking to find out the a novel and perhaps caters to a specif- truth about her, JAK sets out to talk to ic audience familiar with the writer’s those who knew her and gradually work. Anita Nair’s fiction stands out finds out what happened. The film introduces a number of amidst the ‘literary’ Anglophone writing in India in as much as it tries for characters to bring to us the kind of popularity and avoids the personal life socialites supposedly lead in the metropolis. Meera element, of which (Roshni Achreja) is an there is evidently too Unlike in attractive middlemuch in the Indian aged woman whose literary novel in Hollywood, the husband has just left English. Being popu‘indie’ label is her, and is ripe for a lar means that the stonot valid here relationship. When ries have to be plotted we see her first at a engagingly and the writer must not hesitate to put in sex Bangalore party, she is accosted by and glamour, while being literary Soman (Raaghav Chanana), a rising means showing an awareness of fashion model with ambitions in the film industry. Returning to JAK, he social issues. Lessons in Forgetting, as may be soon learns that Smriti joined a anticipated, is a very engrossing film drama troupe. She dressed casually with some good performances and and behaved as if she might be easy just the right number of twists and with her favours and this gave the turns. Facts are concealed from us to others ideas. Even as JAK talks to these people keep us guessing and it is clearly one of the most engaging of English lan- and comes closer to the truth, Meera guage Indian films seen in the recent is being courted by Soman, although past. In the film, JA Krishnamurthi he is half her age, and the relationship (Adil Hussain) or JAK is an academic is resented by Meera’s daughter. JAK who has lived most of his life in the learns that while many men were US. The film is constructed around interested in her, Smriti herself pur-

sued Rishi, a young man hoping to make it big in Bollywood. At this point, Meera and JAK are brought together professionally and it comes out that Rishi is actually Rishi Soman. JAK talks to Rishi and learns that things went well until the troupe went to a coastal town named Minjikapuram where Smriti discovered a clinic undertaking gender determination of foetuses and carrying out abortions. Smriti tried to expose those running it and the result was that she and Rishi were threatened. Rishi beat a hasty retreat but when Smriti persisted, she was raped and assaulted on the seashore and reduced to her present condition. There are one or two aspects to the film’s resolution which have not been worked out fully but more important is the sense of danger the film creates around Minjikapuram. While partying in Bangalore looks perfectly safe—despite Rishi and his ilk stalking unattached women—the film has dark-skinned rustics eyeing the fair-skinned Smriti and passing lewd comments. There is a sense to be got of English-speaking folk from the metropolis hazarding everything by trying to transform the sordid life in the small towns and villages. Some scenes are gruesome and Smriti’s rape takes place to the sound of the drum-


talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in beats of a religious procession, which are made sinister. Since we hear these beats in central Bangalore every day, we wonder how they could become so sinister to the filmmaker. But if we examine the kind of audience the film is targeting, which is Anglophone and educated, one senses that the Anglophone elite is tending to see the rustic as a dangerous ‘other’ and this points to an alarming insularity in the perceptions of the class. The other film, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man has all the makings of an ‘inside job’. The film is about PK Nair, founder of the National Film Archives in Pune who did exemplary service to film studies in India as well as the film society movement in its formative years by building a film archive from scratch. Nair collected a huge number of rare films and made them available not only to film students at the FTII but also to the public through various organisations. Dungarpur himself is an alumnus of the FTII and one can understand his enthusiasm for his subject. There are many stories about PK Nair, including some about his copying international films secretly and letting film students see them when it would have been impossible to get the films otherwise. Nair did this in the public interest and gained nothing person-

ally; still, the NFAI is in a sorry shape as is Celluloid Man is how little the interviewees the FTII, but perhaps due to governmental have to say about anything; many of them apathy rather that the failings of his suc- make use of the opportunity to talk chiefly cessors. There is a story —not related in about themselves. A handful of names— the film— that when the late Pramod Bicycle Thieves, DG Phalke, Ozu, Pather Mahajan (as Minister for Information and Panchali, Ritwik Ghatak—are invoked Broadcasting) was told that there was not almost like words in a magical incantation, enough space for storing films at the the insinuation being that the two syllables archives, he suggested burning films older ‘Berg-man’ are enough to make a viewer than 12 years as was done with papers in feel elevated. Each interviewee eulogises PK Nair in government departments. PK Nair was a pioneer, but however the same way—Nair’s dedication, his genworthy a subject he is for a documentary, erosity and his perseverance and then names a few favourite films one must make a distincand a few personalities— tion between his worth Interviewees in but the interviewees emerge and the merit of Celluloid as incredibly short of ideas. Man. The film is put Celluloid Man The discussion even veers together through two talk only about off into an exploration of main components—interthemselves whether PK Nair took care views and footage. Apart of his family adequately— from PK Nair, most of the interviewees are former FTII students— for which purpose his daughter is interfilm directors, writers and teachers like viewed. All this is like a closed coterie of peoSaeed Mirza, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Girish Kasaravalli, Jahnu Barua, ple around the FTII talking to each other Mrinal Sen, K Hariharan and Nasreen and running out of conversation. Film Munni Kabeer. Also interviewed are film- directors Kumar Shahani and Jahnu Barua buffs and film society organisers and cul- agree that PK Nair is a ‘circle’ (rather than a tural figures associated with cinema like triangle or a square) without our coming to UR Ananthamurthy, who was briefly chair- know what that means. There are several questions which are not asked—if the man of the FTII. The most conspicuous aspect of archives did not produce only consumers

19

of world cinema, what was its impact on cultural production? A useful answer might persuade the government not to allow the archives to go to seed. During my last visit to the NFAI, I had to pay nearly Rs 10,000 to watch half a dozen Kannada films because the government wanted to make the NFAI a ‘profit centre’! When a documentary film about an archivist is being made, it is necessary to examine the issues involved, because that is of public interest. The life of the man can only be secondary to the issue involved— which is the preservation of a whole heritage and what steps this would take. Celluloid Man, instead, emerges as a private celebration of a club of people with privileged access to a valuable cultural resource, but with the film providing no evidence that the resource was put to good use. The Paris Cinematheque produced the French New Wave but what did the FTII and the NFAI produce of indisputable value? The two films discussed here deal with social issues of importance. Both of them address intellectual elites that one expects would have reflected on the issues involved. Instead, the films provide evidence of a singularly insular elite preoccupied with its own drives—be it ‘relationships’ or watching film classics—while remaining detached from larger questions.


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Rewind The week that was Á Google spyware: Google has filed a patent that would spy on users’’ email and look for ‘‘problematic’’ phrases.

Let loose your inner dystopian UK-based Almond Press has announced an Apocalyptic/Dystopian Short Story Contest. Channel your favourite doomsday idea——be it a global epidemic or nuclear war, a zombie attack or alien invasion——into a story no longer than 5000 words and send it to them for a chance to win a prize worth Rs 8,500 (100 British Pounds). They are looking for works of literary fiction, and the scarier and more macabre the

Á No to 3D guns: California could become the first US state to ban 3D-printed guns after a politician said he will introduce a proposed law against the devices. Á Himachal accident: Rescue teams have so far retrieved 30 bodies from a bus which fell into the Beas River in Jhiri village of Mandi district along the Chandigarh-Manali highway. Á Insulate CBI: The Supreme Court issued a four-point directive to the CBI and the Central government on the coal scam probe, including a law to insulate the CBI from external influence. Á Pak prisoner death: Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay, who was beaten up by inmates at a Jammu Jail last week in an apparent retaliation to the death of Sarabjit Singh, died. Á Sensex rises: BSE Sensex regained the 20,000 level for the first time in over three months on sustained capital inflows and better earnings Á BMW probe: Based on a tip-off, the Special Investigation Branch of Customs has been probing German luxury car maker BMW for alleged evasion of duty to the tune of over Rs 500 crore. Á Name and shame: UCO Bank has issued a notice against Nitin Kasliwal, chairman and managing director of S Kumars for defaulting on a loan, as advertisements in prominent dailies; perhaps the first such move against a prominent industrialist. Á Malleswaram blast: The stolen mobile phone of a prominent RSS leader was used to trigger the bomb blast near the BJP office in Malleswaram on April 17, according to the police.

depiction, the better. All shortlisted entries will be collected and published in a collection by Almond Press. The contest is free to enter and international entries are welcome. All entries must be original and previously unpublished in English (in print, digitally, or on the web). The last date to send your entry is June 30. For information on how to send your entry, log on to www.almondpress.co.uk

Anthology of rage and hope Edited by Susie Tharu and K Satyanarayana, Steel Nibs Are Sprouting: New Dalit Writing from South India attempts to represent the richness of Dalit literature in two south Indian languages: Kannada and Telugu. This is the second dossier of such writings, the first being No Alphabet in Sight (published in 2011) which contained translations from Tamil and Malayalam. Steel Nibs gives a lucid account of the ideology and significance of this literary movement through excerpts from the works of 43 prominent writers. The title is taken from a Telugu poem by Sikhamani and suggests that changing times will not permit discrimination to continue for long. The book starts with an introduction to the events that led to a major revolution in the themes and style of writing: the Boosa agitation (in Kannada) and the Karamchedu massacre (in

Telugu). This well-written introduction helps place the works in a geographical and temporal framework. The anthology shows how discrimination is pervasive even in 'modern' India. The subjugation of women, to an extent that it creates a feeling of contempt for one's own culture, is closely examined in stories such as MM Vinodini's The Parable of the Lost Daughter. The anthology also traces the origins of the caste system to ancient texts such as Manu Smriti, Shambuka's story in the Ramayana, Ekalavya's story in the Mahabharata and so on. Many pieces by powerful Kannada writers such as Devanoora Mahadeva, Dr Siddalingaiah, and NK Hanumanthaiah, have been included. Overall, the dossier explores Dalit culture and seeks to find ways to resist the social exploitation of communities oppressed throughout history.

Are you vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes? Sugarscore.in is an online campaign that seeks to spread awareness about the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. While the disease might be deadly in effect, it is preventable through simple lifestyle changes, which makes awareness the key factor. The website has a short survey---cleverly designed with a pop culture theme--which visitors can participate in to understand their diabetes risk. The survey assesses

Nature photography contest The Wayanad Facebook group is celebrating their first anniversary with a nature photography contest, open to all photographers, whether professional or amateur. The theme for the contest is: "The greatest joy in nature is the absence of man." Entries must be shot in Wayanad and not

edited. The grand prize winner gets a three-days, two-nights holiday package at Blooms Wayanad, one of the top nature resorts in Wayanad, Kerala. The deadline for submission is May 31. For more details, send an email to wayanadphotographycontest @gmail.com

your diabetes risk based on your answers, but also gives out critical (and scary) facts like this one: "Indians tend to develop Type 2 Diabetes almost a decade before other ethnicities." And to "sweeten" your sugarscore, they are giving away some cool prizes through a lucky draw held every week. To take part in the survey, log on to www.sugarscore.in


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Forward

Become a film editor

Kathak appreciation workshop The Atta Galatta book store in Koramangala is hosting a Kathak Appreciation Workshop for children from May 14 to 16. The workshop will help children understand the nuances of Kathak, one of the eight classical dances of India, starting with its origins in a group of nomadic bards in ancient North India called Kathakars (storytellers). The workshop will consist of a twohour long session on each day and costs Rs 900 per child. For more information, call Anitha on 9632510126/ 30181626 or email thebookstore@attagalatta.com

Missing something? Library chain JustBooks has announced a picture contest on Facebook. The process is simple: they want you to upload a picture that depicts what you miss the most about living in India or living outside India, and also

provide a brief description of the picture. The idea is to bring out what distinguishes life in India from life abroad. The winner will be chosen by Ketan Bhagat, the brother of best-selling author Chetan Bhagat who has

ventured into writing with his debut novel Complete/ Convenient. there will also be a cash prize of Rs 5,000.

Film Factory has announced an exclusive editing workshop for intermediate and advanced editors starting on May 11. In this workshop, you'll learn what, why, where and how to cut a video. This workshop aims to empower beginners with advanced editing skills and make them confident enough to work on live projects. The workshop will be conducted by Bharath MC, film writer, director and editor and founder of Film Factory, and Arvind Kamath, who has worked as an editor for feature films, short films and music videos. Participants are expected to bring their cameras and laptops for the workshop, which will be held at the Film Factory premises in JP Nagar. The fee is Rs 4,000 per participant. For more information, log on to www.filmfactoryindia.com

To participate, log on to www.facebook.com/ JustBooksCLC

Get it right, will you? The Bangalore Anime Club (BAC) is the city's only organisation for fans of Japanese animation (anime) series, movies and the related subcultures such as manga, fan-fic doujin, games, j-pop etc. The club also has an active group of 'cosplayers' (fans donning anime costumes) and a number of aspiring mangakas, budding artists and fan fiction writers in its ranks. BAC is open to

for events, anime quizzes, Beyblade tournaments and DuelMaster battles. BAC has also established tie Members get exclusive ups with individuals and access to the club's anime groups who sell anime collection and can attend merchandise in Bangalore. their regular Sunday meets, The club meets on almost where they present anime every weekend at Jaaga on titles of various genres and Double Road. hold discussions on anime and manga works both To contact BAC and to learn classic and contemporary. more about their acitivities, Other activities include scilog on to fi film shows, volunteering bangaloreanimeclub.com

Á Syrian crisis: The likelihood of a Western-led attack on Syria has increased after UK Prime Minister David Cameron accused Bashar alAssad's regime of having used the nerve agent Sarin against rebel fighters. Á Yemen kidnappings: The fate of two Indian employees of the international Red Cross kidnapped by armed tribesmen in southern Yemen remains uncertain. It is the second such incident in the area in two weeks.  India-China: The Chinese incursion and pullout in eastern Ladakh marks a ““new equilibrium”” between the two countries’’ militaries, according to an assessment by the Indian security establishment. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will visit New Delhi on May 20.  Sacking ahead?: Reports indicate that Congress president Sonia Gandhi wants the two senior Congress ministers PK Bansal and Ashwani Kumar embroiled in corruption allegations to quit to save the party from further embarrassment.

RAMESH HUNSUR

For lovers of Japanese subcultures

The week ahead

So, once again, for those of you who simply can’’t (or won’’t) get it right, here’’s how it really sounds.

people of all ages as long as they share their love for anime and manga.

Posted by GJ (@pal36) on Twitter

 Mamata plan: In the aftermath of the Saradha Group meltdown, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is mulling a social security scheme for the common man to park their savings safely.  Sahara refund: The SEBI is expected to create a mechanism to verify the genuineness of investors, who had invested in the Sahara Group, and start refunding money to them, following a Supreme Court directive. The Sahara case has been adjourned to July 17.  PUC results: The results for the second year PreUniversity Course (PUC) examinations were declared with the overall pass percentage being 59.36, the highest in a decade. Those who wish to apply for revaluation must do so before May 20.


OOKtalk

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Authorspeak

Talking about Cold Feet lot of times? Yes, and I was in love with a lot of boys. I was a love junkie. But it didn’t work out and that was good I guess. I’m happy now.

Chitchat with author Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan at the city launch of her third book

Does writing about sexuality so candidly ever affect your personal image? Not anymore. Not for a long time. I used to get a lot of people commenting on my blog saying mean things. But that has stopped now. Now people are like; “Oh look, the woman is right!”.

Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s first novel You Are Here caught attention for its candid take on a young urban woman’s life, complete with messy relationships and sexual escapades. Her new book Cold Feet is on a similar vein, and explores the lives of five young women in Mumbai. Talk caught up with the author for a chat at the book’s Bangalore launch. Excerpts:

Go this way once

D

irt Tracks traces the journey of Shiva and his friend Jacob through adulthood; the life lessons they learn and their rivalry with Shravan—the ‘enemy’. Though written in a simple, informal style, the narration gets slightly monotonous thanks to the incessant detailing of incidents in the romantic life of the protagonists. Even the romance seems forced and is not something you would call poignant. What is fresh though, is the setting—Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, hardly familiar terrain in English pop

‘‘Anybody else, I would've said no’’ How did Bombay Talkies and acting happen for you? Somebody from the casting team got my number off the internet and called saying they were looking for a few students to be part of a film. Initially, I said no, as we strictly follow the gurukul system and are careful not to expose our students to commercial projects. But when I enquired who the director was, I was told it was Zoya Akhtar. If it was anybody else, I would have said no! We took some of the students for an audition and when I asked who'd be their teacher in the film, she said, "You do it."

Do frequent comparisons with Helen Fielding irritate you? I hope to one day not be compared with anyone except myself, but until then, people need to have context, I guess. But yes, it is irritating.

That’s how you feel like in a city; you’re so lonely that no one even knows who you are. That’s why I decided not to name the character.

Of all the five characters in Cold Feet, which one is most like Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, and why? Why have an unnamed character in I think it would be Akshara because she the book? I wanted her to be like Everygirl, a rep- is the one in love with her best best resentation of everyone. Then I started friend who is not in love with her and thinking about lonely people. I thought that was a lot like my life in Bombay. maybe loneliness would be better if someone didn’t even have a name. So you’re saying that you were in love a

Just out

Dancer and Director of dance school Nrityanidhi

Are you saying it as it is about young people? Or do you hold back anything? I have never held back anything in my life. It is all out there. Exactly how I feel and see it.

What inspired you to write Cold Feet? I had been getting a lot of wedding invitations and I was like “Oh my God!, What? Does everyone actually want to get married or is it something that just happens?” And then I started thinking about all the different kinds of relationships and running away from making big decisions. So, all these things together led to the writing of this book. To put it another way, relationships led me to write this book. Why ‘Cold Feet’? I think everyone has faced, at some point, a certain discomfort before making a big decision. And that is what Cold Feet is all about.

Shoma Kaikini

In your blog The Compulsive Confessor, you’ve written about missing not having a sibling. Do you still? I was having a discussion today with Kian (Kian Ganz, founder of legal news website Legally India) and he asked me, “Between a million dollars and a sibling, what would you choose?” I said “A million dollars.” But that is now. I don’t know what the answer would have been if it was actually true.

Is being a dancer an advantage for an actor? Yes. As dancers, we are taught 'abhinaya' (the art of expression). I would often get into these debates about dance and acting with dancer friends. One of them used to say, when acting you still have things to support you——music, speech and sets. But, when dancing, your expressions and movement is all you have. If I wasn't a dancer, I would be blank at the sets.

Cold Feet (Rs 250) is published by Penguin India

SUPRIYA PRADHAN

the reader to remember him as an fiction. The protagonists, though well- avenging hero. On the upside, the book gives sketched, are not memorable characinsight into human weakters who stay with you. Some ness in its various forms. of the rest of the characters The revelations in the book are plain unbelievable. The are carefully timed and show usual formula of the villain different perspectives into being responsible, directly or the same situation as the indirectly, for anything that book progresses. It shows goes wrong in others’ lives how prejudices and preconcan be disappointing and ceptions can influence our seems a feeble attempt to jusperceptions of others. The tify the immoral actions of loose ends of the book are the protagonists and their tied up skillfully, without friends. Violence seems to be Penguin, Rs 199 any confusion. Dirt Tracks is laughed at and even glorified at several points in the book. For a good book for anyone who likes instance, Shiva’s bloodthirsty actions at happy endings. the end of the book are too brutal for ANUSHA S RAO

What would you have been if not a dancer? I would be like a fish without water. I would've been dead.

PRACHI SIBAL Shoma Kaikini is known for giving kathak a contemporary twist and using it with modern choreography. She recently appeared in the film Bombay Talkies in the segment directed by Zoya Akhtar.

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Questions

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


fruity loop

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

Blackberry Sherbet

RoohAfza Mix

Ingredients: Black berry (or Jamun) pulp - 150 gm, sugar - 3 tsp, salt - 1 pinch, pepper powder - 1 pinch, roasted cumin powder - 1 tsp, lime juice - 1 tsp

Ingredients: RoohAfza - 6 to 8 tsp, lime - aside. Put the ice in a mixie and grind it cut into small pieces, mint leaves - 10, ginger - half inch piece, rock salt (kala namak) - 1 pinch, ice cubes - 15

Method: Pound all the above ingredients (except RoohAfza) using a pestle and mortar or on a stone (don't grind). Keep

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(not very fine). Take a tall glass. Lay out one layer of ice, then pour in the pounded ingredients, and top it up with another layer of ice till the glass is half full. Pour RoohAfza on top and add soda immediately (Don't add any sugar as RoohAfza is sweetened).

Sherbets for summer

With its combination of sugar and spice, the sherbet is a time-tested, desi aid to surviving the hot season. Sandra M Fernandes puts together some mouthwatering blends that evoke the old Hyderabadi culture

Method: Mash the blackberry using a strainer or a mixer. Boil the juice of blackberry using a little water. Add sugar, salt, pepper and jeera powder. Let it boil only once. Remove from fire and keep aside for cooling. Add some soda and serve cold. Garnish with mint leaves or blackberry pieces.

Mango Panna

Ingredients: 8 mangoes raw (small sized), sugar - 1 cup, pepper powder 1 tsp, 1 red chilly (long variety), roasted cumin powder - 2 tsp, mint - 10 leaves, pinch of salt Method: Roast mangoes on the gas or in an oven. Once cooled down, remove the roasted skin. Lightly rinse with cold water. Put the mangoes in a vessel and boil for three minutes. Add sugar and all the above ingredients. Let it boil once after sugar is added. Cool and strain the pulp. Keep this smooth pulpy paste in the fridge. When needed, add the sweet pulp to cold water till you achieve desired level of sweetness. Serve garnished with mint leaves.

Nutty Milkshake

Ingredients: Amul Cool milk - 1 bottle (200 ml), ghee - 1 tsp, pista - 1 tsp, cashew - 2 tsp, pre-soaked almonds - 2 tsp, cumin - 1 tsp, 1 cardamom, tumeric 1 pinch

Method: Fry pista, cashew and almond in the ghee for two minutes. Grind the fried items with saunf, cardamom, turmeric using ¼ of the bottle of Amul Cool milk. Put the paste in a vessel. To the paste, add the remaining ¾ milk. Bring to a boil. You can garnish with khova. Serve chilled.

RoohAfza Milkshake

Ingredients: Khova - 2 tsp, sugar - 4 tsp (or use as per taste), rose syrup - 2 tsp, milk - ½ litre (or two glasses), RoohAfza - 2 tsp, 3 cashews, basil seeds - 2 tsp, 3 raisins, 3 pistachios Method: Soak the basil seeds for about ten minutes and keep aside. Pour milk in a mixie. Add and serve cold. You can also add sugar and mix. Then add the chopped fruits to the milkshake if powdered khova and rose syrup you like. and mix again. Pour this in a tall glass and drizzle the RoohAfza on Recipes provided by the drink. Garnish with basil Leena Fernandes and Asgar Pasha seeds, cashew, pista and raisins


L I S T I NGS

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

music

retail therapy

Yuichiro Tokuda

 Men who rock: The five-member band Menwhopause from New Delhi is all set to rock this weekend. Winner of the 2008 Jack Daniels' Best Band of the Year, they are known for being one of the first in India to distribute their music for free over the net. Some of their hits include Easy and Home. The band and its songs come with a wry sense of humour. Hard Rock Café, 40, St Marks Road, May 16, 7.30 pm 9243777970

 Keep cool this summer: Make the most of summer this season with Pepe Jeans. On a purchase of merchandise worth Rs 5,000, you get a branded limited edition watch on purchases worth Rs 7,500 you get a pair of limited edition couples watches for free. You can choose from a range of tshirt, skirts, denims, shorts, skirts, dresses, tops and accessories like bags, caps, scarves, belts and much more. Available at all Pepe jeans outlets

opposite Prestige Acropolis, Hosur Main Road, Koramangala, May 10, 8 pm 9886580011 Â Rocking weekend: Watch city rock band Parvaaz perform this weekend. Their music is a tasteful blend of blues, elements of rock and an experience of psychedelia through Kashmiri and Urdu lyrics. CounterCulture, 2D2, 4th Cross, Dyavasandra Industrial Area, Whitefield Road, May 11, 9 pm

 An enjoyable blend: Enjoy a mesmerising evening of Amir Khusro's Sufiana kalam by Dr Nityapriya Srivastava in pure Hindustani classical style and Sufi kathak by celebrated kathak dancer Anurekha Ghosh. Indian Institute of World Culture, BP Wadia Auditorium, Basavangudi, May 11, 6 pm 9379629499

 Be stylish: Vans introduces their latest collection, Rata Vulc, which comes with flexible shoes with the perfect fit. It has ecologically friendly water based inks and glues. These shoes are washable and the insole is removable to give your shoe a new look. Prices start at Rs 3,299. Available at Vans stores at Phoenix Market City, Mahadevpura and Forum Mall, Koramangala

 Japanese connection: This Japanese jazz collective of Yuichiro Tokuda on saxophone and vocals, Naoto Suzuki on guitar, Kazuhiro Tamura on piano, Kumpei Nakabayashi on bass and Gaku Hasegawa on drums will be performing this weekend as part of their India-Malaysia tour. The

band will also be promoting their newly released album Crossing Colours. bFlat bar, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd stage, Indiranagar, May 10, 8.30 pm 2527839 Â They are not clowning:

Watch out for the alternate pop, funk rock band Clown with a Frown, known for their energetic, eclectic and funky performances this weekend. The band consists of Pramod Pratap on percussion, Abby Attavar on vocals, Abheet Anand on

mother’s day special  Special care this Mother's Day: Over the years, many ladies neglect their bodies and lingerie definitely makes it to the list. This Mother's Day, Zivame.com has come up with a special collection for mothers. Book an appointment with the in-house consultant or shop for some innerwear of your choice. Available at www.zivame.com  Shop till you drop: This Mother's Day, take your mum for a shopping spree at the Forum Value Mall. The mall has planned various activities like a photo session against a backdrop with flowers. A shopper's duo of mother and son or daughter spending Rs 2,500 will be eligible to participate in a compatibility test. A photographer will be available to take pictures of the first 50 winners of the activity. The instant pictures will then be put in Forum branded frames and given to the winners. As for those who do not win, there is an assured gift for them to take home. Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, May 12, 12 pm onwards  Make mommy smile:

If your mother likes kitchenware, then Le Creuset is the answer to all your gifting dilemmas. Choose from a range of espresso mugs, kettles, heart ramekins, teapots, casseroles and more. Le Creuset store, Shop # 25, Lavelle Road 40926824 Â Treat your mother: Enjoy a lovely afternoon with your mother over brunch with beer, wine and spirits served from a select bar. You can arrange a unique dish for your mother on this special day with the dining experience. Priced at Rs 1,493. GAD, The Gateway Hotel,# 66, Residency Road, May 12

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bass, Jonathan Reuben on guitars and vocals, Reuben Jacob on guitar, Rahul Richard, Kavya Lakshiminarayan and Amrita Jain on trumpet and Rahul Joshua Thomas on trombone and bazooka. Bak Bak Bar, Kira Layout,

 Classical magic: Lovers of classical music can celebrate as Thyagaraja Gana Sabha Trust celebrates its 42nd music festival along with Bhagavat Sri Shankara Jayanti this week. As many as 43 prominent artistes will perform at the event. Panchamrutha and Rudrabhisheka will be conducted in the mornings and musical performances will be held in the evenings. May 15, 6.30 pm- Concert by Vid. Dr. T.S Satyavathi (Vocal) May 16, 5 pm, Concert by Vid. Madhuvanthi (Vocal) and 7 pm, Concert by Vid. Shankar (Vocal) Sri Vani Education Centre, #1246, 4th Main, 'E' Block, 2nd Stage, Rajajinagar 9448089890

food and more. The thalis are available in both vegetarian and non vegetarian options. It is priced at Rs 750 excluding taxes. GAD, # 66, The Gateway Hotel, Residency road, May 15 66604545

66604545.

 For the health consicous mother: This Mother’s Day, gift your mother a range of green tea from Sri Lanka. The tea from Tipson is available in heart shaped caddies and other attractive packaging. Available at Food Hall, Godrej Nautre’s Basket outlets, Gourmet West and Hypercity  Sweet indulgence: Does your mummy have a sweet tooth? Then this Mother’s Day take her out to Tangerine and express your love for her as she indulges in sweet treats like New York cheesecake, mango mousse, mango scoops with vanilla ice cream and more. Tangerine, # 52, 100 ft rd, near Sony World intersection, Koramangala, May 12 41152679

 Mediterranean Food festival: Choose from a wide variety of dishes like lemon olive chicken, wok flipped fish with scallions, fish veracruz with roasted tomato and garlic confit and other taste bud tingling dishes at the Le Med, a ten day food festival. The Lalit Ashok, Ground Floor, Kumara Park, May 10 934257748

 A taste of the backwaters: Treat your tasebuds to some aromatic delicacies from Kerala and its delectable Moplah cuisine. The menu comprises of traditional dishes such as erachi pathiri, Moplah biryani and more. Priced at Rs 1,100 excluding taxes. Café Mozaic, Vivanta by Taj, Lobby level, MG Road, May 11 6660444  Mysore Calling: Drool over the authentic flavours of Mysore cuisine over a splendid thali comprising of traditional dishes including palyas, huli, chithranna, kosambari

 Sparkling demo: Learn to prepare dishes using sparkling water (also known as carbonated water) from chef Vimal Vikraman. Add a twist to your dishes using soft drinks as in baking or to tenderise the chicken. The fee for the demo is Rs 1500 plus taxes. Grand Mercure, 12th main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, May 15, 10 am 45121212  Catch of the day: Fresh seafood will be on display at the Carnival De Goa, and you can choose what you want and how it should be cooked. It includes a variety of seafood like seer, halibut, red snapper, mud crab, shrimps, lobster and more. Make your experience enjoyable with a range of cocktails and mocktails. Carnival De Goa, 8/6 Kensington point road, Ulsoor, May 15 7676767620.


L I S T I NGS

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

theatre

kids corner

The Sketches

 The Sketches: This is one performance that looks like a movie, but on stage. Watch 20 performers in four stories that promise an evening of madness, humour, thrill, farce and dark comedy. The play is directed by Meera Shankar, Prateek Prajosh, Falah Faisal and Sameer Kevin Roy. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, May 11, 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm 41231340

 Kiddie fun: Kids get to live their fantasy this weekend as their super hero Chota Bheem will be in the city. Chota Bheem and friends will be interacting with the children and they can also participate in many games and be a part of the stories and escapades of Dholakpur. Landmark Store, Forum Mall, Kormangala, May 10 and Landmark Store, Orion Mall, May 11 For registrations call 42404240

 The Class Act: The play is performed by the group Silly Point Productions, who has previously staged plays like Big B. It is about an acting class where students come from different religious backgrounds and are pitted against each other. During various acting exercises they are out to get each other and prove their own mettle. It is directed by Meherzad Patel.

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

Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, 16th Cross, Malleshwaram, May 11, 7pm 23445810 Â Robinson and Crusoe: The play is about two soldiers, Robinson and Crusoe who are stranded together on a roof, surrounded by a vast ocean and develop a friendship. The play is filled

with energy, stunts and humour. Directed by Gracias Devraj, the play has found an audience among kids. Ranga Shankara, #36/2, 8th Cross, 2nd Phase, JP Nagar, May 11, 7.30 pm 26592777 Â Harakeya Kuri : The play is about the strong

political influence that prevails in our society. The story is about a corrupt politician and how he uses the power and the innocence of the public to fulfill his ambitions and achievements. In this process, the common man is the scapegoat. Directed by Pradeep NR, it is performed by the

Abrams, it has Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg and John Cho in the lead. Gopalan Grand Mall, Old Madras Road- 10 am, 2.30 pm Gopalan Cinemas, Bannerghatta Road- 12.05 pm PVR, Kormangala- 1 pm, 6.30

5.05, 7.25, 9.45 Â Gippi Hindi This romantic film revolves around the life of a girl, Gippi. She is anything but a normal girl. She is fat, not a very bright student or a sportsperson. She is bullied by her classmates a lot and finally stands for school elections against the most popular girl in school. Directed by Sonam Nair, it has Taaha Shah and Riya Vij in the lead. Rex Theatre- 11.25 am Vision Cinemas- 1 pm, 5.15 Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 10.05 am, 12.50 pm, 5.25, 7.45 INOX, Garuda Mall, Magrath

Road- 10 am, 2.55 pm, 7.55, 10 Fame Lido, off MG Road10.10 am, 2.25 pm, 10 Gopalan Grand Mall, Old Madras Road- 10 am, 4 pm  Star Trek Into Darkness English The Enterprise crew realises on reaching home that a terror plot from within their own organisation has been unleashed on the fleet, resulting in a crisis. Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war zone world in order to capture a ‘one man weapon of mass destruction.’ This manhunt will test Kirk’s friendships, love and personal life. Directed by JJ

 Humourous weekend: This weekend, Barking Dog Productions will tickle your funny bones as they present their Mother’s Day special, The Chamber of Laughter. The evening will see performances from stand up comedians like Ahmed Shariff, Kenneth Sebastian and others. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, May 12, 6 pm and 8 pm 41231340

music exhibition

Go Goa Gone

Khan, Vir Das, Kunal Khemu and Puja Gupta in the lead. Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli10.45 am, 3.10 pm, 5.10 Rex Theatre- 1.15 pm, 5.35 Vision Cinemas- 10 am, 2.35 pm, 7.30, 9.45 Everest theatre11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 6.30, 9.30 Abhinay theatre, Gandhinagar- 10.15 am, 1.15 pm, 4.15, 7.15 Gopalan Mall, Sirsi Circle- 10 am, 4.55 pm, 9.45 Gopalan Cinemas, Arch Mall, Mysore Road- 10 am, 5.25 pm, 10. Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 10 am, 12.05 pm, 2.50, 5.10, 7.40, 10. Cauvery theatre, Sankey Road- 11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 6, 9.30 PVR, Kormangala10.05 am, 12.25 pm 2.45,

Yuvashree team. Seva Sadan, 14th Cross, Malleswaram, May 11, 7 pm 23347830 Â Divorce: The play talks about divorce, which is a sensitive issue but is seen from the point of view of children. Hence it has light elements and has been treated comically from the angle of the couple, judge, lawyers and the couple's kid. It is directed by Nav Kishlay. In the Pink Organic Bazaar and the Vegetarian restaurant, #93, 6th Cross, 29th Main, N S Palya, BTM Layout 2nd Stage, May 12, 11 am, 4, pm and 7 pm 8026789998

film

 Go Goa Gone Hindi This action comedy is about two friends, Hardik and Luv who accompany their buddy Bunny on his business trip to Goa. Once in Goa, Luv comes across a free spirited girl, Luna, who invites them to an underground rave party. The party is the brain child of a man from the Russian mafia, Boris, who wants to launch the ultimate party drug. But soon these three friends find themselves surrounded by zombies. They are perplexed as they don’t know where the zombies have come from. Directed by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru, it has Saif Ali

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 Bulbul Kannada The film is about a college farewell party and depicts the friendship between college friends even decades after they have left college. A remake of the Telugu film Darling, directed by Sridhar MD, Mallikarjun and Sankanagowdar, this one has Darshan, Ambarish , Rachita Ram and Sharat Lohitashwa in the lead. Rockline Cinemas, Jalahalli Cross- 10 am, 12.55 pm, 3.50, 6.45, 9.40 Vision Cinemas- 10 am, 4.30 pm, 7 pm Nartaki- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Prasanna10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Navarang- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Uma10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Mohan-10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Siddeshwara10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Venkateshwara- 10.30 am, 1.30 pm, 4.30, 7.30 Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 10 am, 1 pm, 4, 7, 10 Gopalan Grand Mall, Old Madras Road- 10 am, 6.45

 Archival treasure : All music lovers head here this weekend for the week-long audio exhibition, titled Voices of India curated by writer Vikram Sampath. The exhibition will showcase music by Abdul Karim Khan, Kesarbai Kerkar, MS Subbulakshmi, Gangubai Hangal, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and many other well known classical artistes as well as folk tunes of Tamil Kavadi Chindu, Bengali, Rajasthani and Bhojpuri music, among others. These old gramophone recordings of India are digitised, restored and made available to all through the website www.archiveofindianmusic.org. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, May 10 to 17, 41231340


talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

26

So what is true beauty?

It is purity of spirit and soul, not just prettiness. Only inner beauty is for real, but outer beauty can be a means to acquiring inner beauty, says Sensei Avinash Subramanyam

A

t one point or the other, we ask ourselves, “What is beauty?” Beauty is an expression of the purity of spirit and soul. True beauty is a reflection of one’s honesty, magnanimity, sacrifice. Isn’t it said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? It is a point of view, a perception, and not something out there that can be quantified objectively. Take the case of Mother Teresa. She was beautiful because of what she did and not because of how she looked. Great magnanimity is beauty. In the film Ghajini, the hero initially wants to reprimand the heroine, but falls in love with her when he sees her helping children cross the road. In Pretty Woman, the hero falls in love with a prostitute when he sees her flossing her teeth. That a prostitute cares about her teeth changes his perception of her. Beauty is in people’s spirit and soul, and not looks. This is the only beauty that lasts. Not that you should not pay attention to how you look. When you have to sell a house, if the flooring is broken, you are bound to get a lower price. When you buy a dish, you tend to go for something durable that also looks nice. Even a great saint draws people only when he wears appropriate clothes. True, substance is more important than looks. If a five-star hotel is housed in a magnificent building but serves bad food, its patrons might prefer to eat at a smaller restaurant. External beauty should be backed by inner beauty. And what is externally ‘ugly’ can be surpassed by great inner beauty. Don’t we find beauty in seemingly ugly creatures—a mangy stray dog, a fat bison or a slow elephant? A stray dog’s love and innocence is so beautiful that people adopt strays and look after them for life.

True beauty may not be evident at first. When people perform tai chi at ceremonial demonstrations, it looks flowing and beautiful. But when a master does it, it might not look so, even when his ability and power are unmatched. The greatest internal movement remains invisible. Working towards external beauty will only yield temporary results, whereas internal beauty lasts forever. If you have pimples, creams and lotions can only help so much. Instead, if you exercise and avoid oily food and drink lots of water, the skin will look naturally beautiful. After all, external problems are but manifestations of internal ones. That said, external appearance can be a means to changing internally, if you can spiritually understand the context. I have asked my students to change the way they dress to help them change their personality. The external can give you strength that can be used for internal beautification. How can one achieve beauty of the body, mind, spirit and soul? Internal training is about responsibility. If you want a fit body, the external way would be to hit the gym and train hard to get a ‘sixpack.’ The internal way would be to train minimally, eat what you want but within reasonable limits, and live an active life. Even if it is a beautiful body that you want, train not for a six-pack but

Way of Budo 32

BUDO IN A BROOM Even a routine activity becomes beautiful if perfomed with joy

for good health. Work with your body, rather than equipment. Soldiers who fought in World War II did not train with sophisticated equipment, but were among the greatest fighters in history. To look beautiful, imbibe the ways of nature. Learn to listen and work with your body. Soon you will gain knowledge about its likes and dislikes, and what it can withstand. Once, for a demonstration, we needed some bricks to break. Some of my students who had practised the technique went to a brick seller and were trying to break some bricks to check their strength. The man who made the bricks stood watching them. He asked them why they were struggling so much, and then proceeded to break a brick pile that the best of my best students could not. And he did it without any effort. Great knowledge comes from working with, and understanding, something. Understand and eat what your body needs. Eat not for greed but don’t deprive yourself of what you like. Our grandfathers did not follow any fancy diet but were healthy because of an active lifestyle. Have the right attitude. That’s more important than counting calories. How can one get a beautiful mind? Make people around you happy. When you visit someone and they serve food you don’t like, don’t show displeasure. When I go to a restaurant, it turns out most waiters are my friends. They go out of their way to get what I want because they have only seen love in my eyes. If a salesman makes you try out various clothes and tells you how

good you look in them, don’t you feel happy? Give and reciprocate joy. Make every moment of your life better than it is. When I sit in the car and others around are complaining about the unbearable heat, I think about it as a free sauna! Turn every negative thought into a positive one. A beautiful spirit is one that promotes health and happiness in people. Wish well for everything in this world, including ‘pests’ like ants and cockroaches. Treat all with kindness. Try and always do what is right. If in a property dispute the papers are in your name but the property is not rightfully yours, give it away. Only integrity in action will lead to integrity of the soul. True beauty is your reflection in the eyes of others. It is the reaction of people and animals to you, and not what you think of yourself. When you see your reflection in others’ eyes, you must see worthiness and beauty. Is beauty self-evident? No. We judge beauty from a particular point of view. Try and see other points of view. While driving on bad roads, people find the bounce uncomfortable. I, instead, smile and am happy the body is getting exercise. How to infuse dull routine with beauty? Turn every mundane activity into a form of body-mind training. When I sweep the floor, I circle my wrist as I would in training. I see a clean house as something that brings happiness to all who visit. I enjoy the process. Invest every moment with fun and romance. You can then find beauty and truth even in ‘dullness’. Transcribed by Radhika P


shopping

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

Nostalgia Inc From Shyam Benegal films to Tintin merchandise, a new store on Church Street is chock-full of delights RAMESH HUNSUR

FAN’S TURF The store has a wide range of popular culture merchandise

PRACHI SIBAL

prachi.sibal@talkmag.in

I

f you get all nostalgic while walking past the building that once housed Java City on Church Street, you’d be grateful to know that the popular hangout now has a worthy successor. When The Entertainment Store, a little world of memorabilia and cultural merchandise, welcomes you with a poster of John Lennon in sepia, you know it’s a sign of good things to come. And sure enough, an extensive collection of Tintin m e r c h a n d i s e —n o t e b o o k s , mugs, stationery and more—catches youre attention. The shelves that held mugs have equally interesting things on offer, including a sunshine yellow one with Homer Simpson’s familiar face on it, and another paying tribute to The Beatles with the line: ‘All We Need is Tea’. But there’s more to the store than just nostalgia. The

bulk of the ground floor section is dedicated to pop culture merchandise inspired by contemporary comic books, films, TV series and bands. The owners of the store, the ‘Brothers Khemchandani,’ Satish (32) and Sunil (33), started off supplying DVDs to retail stores. They soon realised that there was no good retailer of entertainment related supplies in the Central Business District, and decided to go into business themselves. But they didn’t want a store that just sold entertainment products, so they looked to merchandise stores abroad for inspiration. Says Satish, “The thing about pop culture in India is that people think it is for children. Nobody caters to pop culture for adults.” The duo then spent a year and a half developing the concept and close to eight months sourcing products from around the world. “To start with, we looked for things we were interested in, and later looked at what would appeal to women. There’s still so much that we

27

haven’t covered,” he says. The store stocks original merchandise and products sourced from suppliers in the US and Europe, which sometimes meant negotiating complicated rights issues. For the Tintin merchandise, for instance, they had to contact the author’s family as the rights still rest with them. The store also has homegrown classics like the Amar Chitra Katha titles and an impressive selection of critically-acclaimed films. On display were the likes of Shyam Benegal’s Nishant and Basu Chatterjee’s Kamla Ki Maut, and the selection seems carefully but together to balance the old with the new. The English films’ section too is quite comprehensive. Owner Satish admits that both the Hindi films collection and the ACK series were part of a conscious decision to add a desi touch to the store. “We want to add a lot more Indian, especially Bollywood inspired memorabilia and merchandise,” explains Satish.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Weird SAVIE KARNEL

Savie.karnel@talkmag.in

T

he story of word origins can be weird, and this is especially true for the word itself. Words tend to change over time. The connotation of some words even shifts to the opposite meaning. Some highly regarded words get a derogatory meaning. This has been the case with weird. W Now, we commonly use the term weird to mean something strange or uncanny. Most often these days, weird is not used seriously. It was not always so. In Old English weird was a heavyweight word. It was spelt wyrd and stood for fate or destiny. It could have been used like this: It is our weird (fate) that has brought us together. In the Old English heroic epic poem Beowulf, the term weird The Talk is used to mean fate. column on word origins One of the lines go like this: Wyrd (fate) goes

ever as wyrd (fate) must. Later the term weird was used for someone who controlled other people’s destiny. There could be sentences like: The weird wrote my destiny. It was used for the personification of fate. The three incarnations of destiny in Greek and Roman mythology were also called weird in English. It soon came to be used for people like magicians, who were thought to have the power to change fate. Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem The Legend of Good Women, written in 1385 says, “The weirds that we call destiny have determined that she must necessarily be piously solemn.” The use of weird to mean a witch was common in Scotland. This usage was made popular by Shakespeare in his play Macbeth. The three witches or ‘weird sisters’ in Macbeth were not called so because of their peculiar looks, but because they had the power to control future events. Shakespeare has not described them as weird, but has called them weird. These three weird sisters or witches also stand for the three goddesses in Greek mythology who control fate. After Shakespeare used the term, it gained popularity and was also used in other contexts. It was also used for any supernatural happening, or prophecies that came true.

K E Y

O R D S

NO WEIRDOS The weird sisters in Macbeth are called so owing to their powers, not looks

The term weird was used as an adjective in the early 19th century. But this usage was mostly restricted to supernatural things. Around the same time, it also gained the current meaning of ‘strange.’ Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary only records it as “skilled in witchcraft.” The poet Shelley uses the word several times. In his 1817 poem The Revolt of Islam, he uses it in the sense of something supernatural: Some said, I was a fiend from my weird cave, Who had stolen human shape.

In his 1815 poem Alastor, he uses it in the sense of something odd: Mutable as shapes in the weird clouds. The contemporary usage of the term is rather loose. We tend to use it not only to mean strange, but also as slang, as with weirdo. It has also lost the meaning of fate or someone who can affect destiny. It no longer has a positive connotation. Unlike in Shakespeare’s time, if someone is called weird now, it certainly won’t be taken as a compliment.


memoir

Underdog kills a mighty wrestler Diminutive, mild-mannered Shafi ends up killing a powerful wrestler, but will the court buy the self-defence argument?

I

got acquainted with Nazir when I was staying at a Bangalore University hostel. He supplied meat to the hostel. Non-vegetarian hostellers formed a majority. Some Brahmin and Lingayat students, traditionally vegetarian, would join us when nonvegetarian food was served. We used to protest if there was any delay in

VIVEK ARUN

the supply of meat or if the quality with anyone. Physically, he was diminutive, and looked like a slender was bad. Once, soon after I had started lizard. All of this made the sobriquet independent law practice after quit- contrast with the person. Shafi was not very smart either. ting my guru Devadas’ office, Nazir came to meet me. He had brought He was employed in a chit fund comwith him an elderly man called pany run by a rich man named Salim. The company Qadar. They told became bankrupt me Qadar’s son Shafi was timid because of mismanShafi had killed a agement, but Salim famous wrestler and mild, but could not flee as he called Imtiaz, and was nicknamed owned property in requested that I ‘Jungli Shafi’ Bangalore. Most peoargue his case in ple who had put in court. Besides saving Shafi from arrest, I had to get their money were Muslims, and leaders of the community approached him acquitted. Shafi had a nickname, Jungli Salim, suggesting an amicable settleShafi, though no one knew how he ment, according to which he had to got this moniker. He was so timid return 70 per cent of the investment and mild that he had never quarreled to his clients.

crime folio

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28

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

CH HANUMANTHARAYA

While everyone agreed, a man called Nawab Jan was adamant and insisted he get all his money back. Salim said: “I can’t do that. If I give you 100 per cent, then others will also ask for it. I will stick to the decision taken by the elders.” But Nawab would not listen, and the problem arrived at a stalemate. As things heated up, Nawab tried to assault Salim and held him by his collar. Shafi, who happened to be with Salim, stopped Nawab. In the squabble, Nawab’s ire turned towards the young man. He flounced out after threatening to teach Shafi a lesson.


memoir Nawab was related to the wrestler Imtiaz, who owned a traditional wrestlers’ akhada in Kurubarapet, in one Bangalore’s oldest parts. He complained to Imtiaz that Salim and Shafi had beaten him. He provoked the wrestler by saying, “They did not spare me even when I told them I was related to Imtiaz. They said they wouldn’t care even if a hundred wrestlers like Imtiaz were against them.” Imtiaz was known for his wrestling skills not just in Bangalore, but even in Mandya, Mysore, Tumkur and Kolar, towns where wrestling was then popular. Enraged by Nawab’s report, Imitaz swore to eliminate Salim and Shafi. “Take me to where they live, right now. I will kill those rascals,” Imtiaz thundered. An enthused Nawab took Imtiaz to the office of the chit fund company in an auto. The wrestler remained seated in the vehicle, and sent Nawab to call Salim and Shafi. Salim was not around, and Shafi was alone in the office. “Come out, you coward,” Nawab shouted at Shafi. “Why should I come out, you eunuch?” Shafi retorted. Nawab went back to Imtiaz and stoked his anger by saying Shafi had insulted him. “I told Shafi you had summoned

talk|16 may 2013|talkmag.in

him, but he said he didn’t care,” Nawab told police catch him. If they get him, they are sure to torture him.” Imtiaz. I said I wanted to see Shafi. Flaring up, Imtiaz barged into the Qadar and Nazir took me to the house office and dragged Shafi out on the road. Giving him a blow, Imtiaz shouted at Shafi, where Shafi was hiding. He was still bleed“How dare you insult me? I will kill you ing. The sutures had not been properly done. now.” “Shafi has to surrender to the police He pulled out a knife and tried to stab Shafi. Out of fear, Shafi jumped at Imtiaz immediately. They will arrange for his and bit the hand holding the knife. treatment,” I said. Shocked, Nazir said, “What are you Screaming in pain, the wrestler started beating him with his left hand as Nawab saying, sir? We want you to save Shafi from arrest and you are asking tried to pull away Shafi. him to surrender!” Shafi didn’t let go Out of fear, Shafi “Nazir, I’m a lawyer. and held Imtiaz’s hand Do whatever I say. If you between his teeth firmly. jumped and bit don’t like my advice, look A bleeding Imtiaz loosImtiaz’s hand for another lawyer. The ened his grip on the knife. holding the knife injuries Shafi has susSnatching it, Shafi tained could save him stabbed Imtiaz. As Imtiaz collapsed, Nawab fled. Shafi from the charges. If you take an anticipatocontinued to stab Imtiaz, who died on the ry bail for him now, the wounds will be spot. When he was taken to Victoria healed. When the case comes up for hearHospital, the doctors declared him brought ing, the injuries won’t be registered in police records,” I said. dead. Qadar and Nazir did not dare brush Relatives took Shafi to a safe place. He was injured, and the wounds were so deep away my words. I made Shafi surrender immediately. that they had to be sutured. When the case came up for hearing in After narrating the story, Nazir told me: “We have hidden him away. You must the court, I called Imtiaz’s father Ghouse to get him out on anticipatory bail before the the witness box for cross examination.

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“Is Shafi stronger than your son who was a wrestler?” I asked him. “No chance. My son was valiant. He would have bludgeoned to death tens of dogs like Shafi at one go,” replied Ghouse. This statement of his was enough for me to prove that Shafi had killed Imtiaz to defend himself. However, the sessions’ court was not convinced by my argument. It sentenced Shafi and Salim, who also had been arraigned, to life imprisonment. Qadar and Nazir were upset with me. “We followed your advice, and now we’re ruined. People are saying even the High Court won’t give relief to Shafi and Salim.” “I am confident the High court will set aside the sessions’ courts order. Have patience,” I said. They were not convinced, but said nothing. I moved the High Court. The appeal came up before a division bench of Justice MS Patil and Justice Vittal Rao. The bench not only discharged Shafi and Salim, but also appreciated me for arguing on the grounds of ‘exercise of the right to self defense’, much to the relief of Qadar and Nazir. (Translated by BV Shivashankar)


T I M E P A SS

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31 Prof Good Sense

„ I am a 28-year-old management professional. I was planning to get married to my girlfriend this year end. But, a few weeks ago, a beautiful and equally smart 23-year-old girl joined our office and began showing a romantic interest in me. I am quite enjoying this attention and have grown very fond of her. How do I let my girlfriend know my feelings for her have changed? I’m worried because she’s emotionally weak. Hemanth, Bangalore You lack genuineness and empathy. You take your love life lightly. If you have ever had any feelings for your girlfriend, do yourself and her a favour by letting her know about your newfound ‘love.’ Believe me, if she loves you, you are in for some serious fireworks. What is important is that you stop dilly-dallying and make up your mind quickly. It is better your girlfriend knows about your new flame sooner than later. She will be wiser, and move on. Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to prof@talkmag.in

shaws (5) 14 Election in this constituency was countermanded on account of BJP candidate Sanna Mogegowda's sudden demise (13) 15 The number of a years it took for an elderly couple to win a legal battle against Chaithanya Nursing Home and Mallya Hospital (8) 16 Area in the news recently when a threeyear-old boy was run over by a mini truck (6) 18 BS Yeddyurappa's constituency (10) DOWN 1 Popular actor who contested the assembly elections on a KJP ticket (4,5) 2 Travellers can now book KSRTC bus tickets through this popular online travel

Last week’’s solution Across: 1 FKCCI, 3 Hanuman, 5 Jaywalking, 10 Raichur, 12 S M Krishna, 13 Raths, 14 NASA, 18 Corruption, 19 Styx. ACROSS 1 Popular vegetarian Italian joint on Krishna Rajendra road (6) 3 This coastal town in North Karnataka is a popular tourist destination (7) 4 Two persons believed to have been involved in the recent bomb blast in Bangalore were recently arrest-

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ed in this state (5,4) 8 Al fresco bar at the Oberoi (4,4) 10 KG Bopaiah contested the Assembly elections from this constituency (8) 12 Theatre on Magadi Road (5) 13 Ram Mohan ____ : High Court justice who feels the country should stop the production of auto rick-

Down: 2 Chennai, 4 MVJ, 6 Audikesavulu, 7 BDA, 8 Coalgate, 9 Throat cancer, 11 Registrar, 14 Nandi, 15 CCTV, 16 King's, 17 Forty.

portal (6) The Regional Passport Office recently introduced measures which makes it easier for ____ people to apply for a passport (10) 6 Market near Brigade Road (7) 7 Three raids by Election Commission officers in Bangalore netted over _____ lakh rupees allegedly meant to be distributed to voters (9) 9 ____ Swamy: Fortune teller whose residence was raided by IT officials recently (13) 11 Romantic drama film directed by Nagashekar. (5) 17 Engineering college which recently won the IEEE award for college with the "Best Student Branch" (3) 5

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Big Brother is recording you It's confirmed—the US government is recording all phone calls and emails of its citizens. And we have it right from one of their Snoop Dogg's mouths. In a discussion on the Boston bombings, former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente said this on live-TV: "There’s a way to look at all digital communication from the past. None of it is secure.” That means

every telephone call, email and SMS on US soil. And he repeated this on another TV-show the next day. That ties in neatly with the claims of former AT&T engineer Mark Klein, who revealed that major telecom companies including his employer had built a special network that allowed the US National Security "vacuum up Internet and phone-call data from

ordinary Americans." There’s the case of William Binney, an NSA official who resigned from the agency in protest after he learned that it had collected "20 trillion transactions" by US citizens. Lest you think it's an American problem, we'll let you in on a secret: the Indian government could be doing it too. Don’t believe us, o proud citizens of the Surveillance State?

A Marxish Party

Party like an Egyptian

Marxists of the world, relax! You have nothing to lose but your ponderousness. That’s what this clever Tumblr blog, featuring none less than the Bearded One himself, seems to be saying. It features lush advice from icons of the Left pantheon like Lenin, Mao, Fidel Castro and even Leonid Brezhnev. As closet revolutionaries, we admit all this is not entirely to our taste (like those blasphemous Che Guevera tees), but we have reconciled ourselves to the fact that in the 21st century, all More at: cosmarxpolitan. publicity is good publicity. tumblr.com

No, not them folks you saw on Tahrir Square, holding banners and screaming themselves hoarse. We're talking about their ancestors, who could have taught even the wildest of present-day party animals a thing or two about living it up. Archaeologist Betsy Bryan, who is leading the excavation of a temple complex in Luxor, Egypt, says she has found evidence for a ceremony centred on binge drinking, thumping music and orgiastic public sex. Called The Festivals of Drunkenness, the rituals took place in homes, temples and makeshift desert shrines

throughout ancient Egypt at least once a year. Lest we godless moderns think it to be pure debauchery—a sort of ancient Playboy party—she clarifies that it had a religious purpose. Apparently, it was a ritual to propitiate the goddess Hathor—who had a habit of occasionally taking a lion form and a tatse for human blood—to ensure the well-being and protection of the people and the land. And how did they do that? By indulging in the abovementioned activities till they passed out. Wow, we're feeling religious already.

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