Saturday, April 22, 2006

Watz in a KISS?

I know the response to that question would certainly depend upon the individual's socio-geographical background. If your next question is why am I even talking/writing about Kiss/Kissing on this blog, then I shall lead you to the source of news 'Rs500 for a Kiss' which irked me to come up with this post.

Now that you read that piece of information, how would you react to that? I really don't understand what is the fuss all about, why would you impose such hefty fine on a couple if they are seen kissing in public. Atleast for me, if a couple is kissing in a public place it really doesn't affect me, unless the kiss leads them to engage in something else.

What is the message that our authorities are trying to convey by imposing such fines on the public? Can they really deter young couples from kissing in public by imposing such fines? I would say NO they can't. As the news says,"Kissing in public has always been a taboo"; this is just one such meaningless TABOO which exists in India - the country which gave Kamasutra to the world. What I fail to understand is the double-standards which we follow @ every home in this country.

I don't know how other religions address TABOO subjects like Nudity, SEX, etc; Hinduism has given sex its due importance in the scheme of things. If you are interested in reading more about how Hinduism gave sex its due importance in the overall picture then I found this article 'The Erotic Arts of India' - by Dr. K. L. Kamat - who shares his first-hand research and information about ancient erotic art and literature of India.

So, here is my question to these authorities who are trying to be the moral police: In a land where 'Temples' have figures of loving couples in various sexual positions & nude apsaras depicted in sculptures, what is really there in a 'KISS'? After all, Kissing is most commonly an expression of affection. Here is the disturbing fact, Delhi - the capital of India - accounts the highest number of Rapes cases in India. Don't believe me, then read this TOI article, "Delhi:The Rape Capital of India". Instead of having such Draconian rules & trying to implement them, I feel the Delhi police should be more concerned about nabbing the rapists & punishing then, making Delhi more safer place for women.

BTW my friend Rags, during his last week's getaway to Somanthpur has captured few shots of the temple, check them here & you will know more about what the sculptures I have been talking about.

I tried to KISS [Keep It Small Simple] my post, hope I am not fined ;)

Update: My friend Kishore has an interesting collection of pictures from various temples, ruins and heritage sites across India. Thanks a lot for sharing the album, now the audience can relate even better as to what I am trying to convey. View the album 'Heritage India' by Kishore Murthy.

Painting Courtesy:
Source: Rediff | Times Of India | Wiki | | Google

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A memorable week

Yesterday night I was just recalling all the incidents & events that occured over the past week. This post is a brief account of each of those significant incidents which took place.

'Dr. Rajkumar 1929-2006 (Image Courtesy:Wiki)'

Dr. Rajkumar, the legend of Kannada Film Industry died on Wednesday last week in Bangalore. The actor died of cardiac arrest, he was 77 years old. He was one of the most famous actors in south India's vibrant film industry. Even though I haven't watched any Kannada movies offlate, I have watched many movies of Rajkumar. I pay my tributes to the great actor & humble man who led a simple and disciplined life, may his soul rest in peace. Within minutes of his death, the news began spreading like wild-fire across the IT Captial of India & what happened later was not that suprising to many local people. Most of us - people who have lived in Bangalore during the actor's kidnapping by Veerappan - knew how worse the situation would get once the news of the actor's death reaches his fan(atic)s. Fanatics? What else would you call them when they build temples for their Filmstars & worship them like God; Am I not justified in calling them fanatics?

An hour had passed by since the actor's death, few locals [am sure they are not his fans]who approached our company and asked us to close our operations for the day. The reason stated by them on the need to shut our operations was to mourn the loss of the great actor. Sensing trouble & keeping employees saftey paramount our company decide to close by 4pm. The scenario was the same with most of the IT/Non-IT companies located across B'lore, most of the companies decided to shut their operations before regular working hours. Here is a extract from an email sent by the HR Dept of one of the IT companies loacted in ITPL,Banaglore:

Dear Colleagues,
We have heard news reports about the sudden demise of Karnataka's leading cine actor - Dr.Rajkumar around noon today. We are in touch with ITPL Security Officials as well as other Corporates in the city to assess the situation resulting out of this.

Reports indicate that certain roads such as Dr.Rajkumar Road in Rajajinagar and areas around his residence - Sadashivnagar are being blocked to traffic. Depending on the mob turning up to pay respects to the departed soul, further areas could get blocked.

In order to avoid any inconvenience and keeping your safety paramount, you are advised to plan an early safe return home.

Thanks and Best Regards,

When I reached home I didn't witness any kind of disturbance in the surrounding areas, but heard from friends who where returning from various parts of Bangalore that @ certain places the mob had blocked roads & burnt few vehicles causing inconvenience to public.

13th April 2006 was declared an holiday for all the Educational institutions & Government offices by the Government of Karnataka to mourn the death of the actor & also the cremation was to happen @ the end of the day. The IT Companies followed the same by declaring a compensatory holiday in the view of the situation; with this holiday it made a long weekend since Friday was an off on the occassion of Good Friday. Even though my company had declared an off for the day I couldn't stay at home doing nothing, so I decided to come to work on 13th as well.

Now here comes the hardest part, the cable guy across Banagalore pulls off every channel except for hand full of Kannada channels - all of whom are beaming live pictures of the final farewell paid by people from Kanteerava Stadium. Everything looked fine till few fans went bersek @ the Stadium & then police had to resort to Lathi Chagre and shoot tear gas shells @ the crowd to control them. Situtation worsened when the actor's body was taken from Kanteerava Stadium to Kanteerava Studio - the place where the actor's was cremated. During this procession, the fans out numbered the policemen & started behaving violently, they started burning police vans and attacking them. The mob even lynched a new recruit to death by stoning him, this wasn't the end of violence. When the body finally arrived @ Kanteerava Studio & the family members could not perform the final rites, as the fans didn't oblige to part with the body. That's when the police had to step in & tried to control the crowd, but when things got out of control the police decided to open fire, which resulted in death of 7 people. It really doesn't make much sense to me on why the crowd behaved in such a manner & nor did the actor deserve this kind of final farewell. End of the day 8 people had lost their lives for nothing & this makes me say that we Indians really don't value a life of an individual.

Coming back to the office scene, I wasn't the only one working on that day, was glad to see many of my colleagues working as well. Few of my colleagues asked me why I wasn't mourning the demise of a great actor by abstaining from work, I said the way I mourn death is different from what we are seeing on the television. Then couple of my colleagues started asking why we Kannadigas are behaving/reacting in such a grave manner on the demise of the actor. I don't understand how can people make such generalized statement toward all of us (kannadigas). Isn't there any difference between us & the mob - who are involved in arson, destroying public & private properties, burning vehicles, lighting 3 petrol/gas stations & Lycnhing a policemen. It really doesn't make any sense in accusing every Kannadiga of being like that, I hope such people grow up in their thinking or else I challenge them to make the same comments in the public domain if they really have the nerves.

Many things could have been planned by the government especially on how to handle the fans during funeral and how to contain violence if it occurred. I never believe in enforcing anything on anybody, but time and again it so happens in India that Freedom is often misued by people who are @ the seat of power. On 13th of April, most parts of Bangalore looked deserted as if curfew was imposed, most of the public remained indoors sensing violence, shutdown of public transport system, all the resturants & shops were closed, gas stations were closed & the Cable TV guys pulled off all non-kannada channels. Mourning the death of a beloved one has to come from within & it can't be enforced by an outside force.

Here are few pictures which were captured on our way to City Railway station.

'Advertisement signages were destroyed through out Bellary Main Road'

'The burnt vehicle in front of Aditi Technologies, Bellary Road'

'Trident Hyundai Showroom near Cavery Circle'

'Another building on Sankey Road which was stoned'

'Hero Honda Showroom on Bellary Road'

Alwar Rape Case: This was something which caught my attention early this week, I was happy with the way things proceeded & the final justice being delievred in record time of 22 days. This is very significant case which shows that the judical system & the ploice can work together and deliver justice if they really want. I hope this Case would be used a benchmark for delivering justice to hundreds of similar cases which are pending for many years. This was an high-profile case, as the guilty B H Mohanty, is the son of Orissa cadre Additional Director General of Police B B Mohanty, even this didn't stop the police & the judical system in delivering justice to the German national.

Salman Khan: The Bollwood Actor is in news most of the time not for his acting abilities but for all the scandals & controversies. This time the actor was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and sent to the Central Jail in Jodhpur by a local court in connection with the 1998 black buck poaching case. He just spent 3 days in the jail before obtaining a bail & walking out of the jail like a free man. Sunday edition of The Times of India, had an interesting debate titled 'Is our legal system making examples of celebs?'. The debate has two interesting views from Prahlad Kakkar, Ad Filmmaker & Mahesh Bhatt, Filmmaker; I very much agree with what Prahlad Kakkar has to say. Rediff carries a special page for his controversies, click here to read more.

Soccer: The Gunners were very disappointing in their performance against the Portsmouth during the mid-week tie. Even though Thierry Henry gave the team their first goal, they ended up with a draw to take home just 1 point. There were atleast 3 chances where Arsenal could have scored and won the match, but they never converted those chances and that has been the problem with them during this season. Things were very different during the weekend fixture, where they beat West Bromwich 3-1 and have kept the chances alive of finishing 4th place in the English Premier League. I hope they carry on their winning streak for the big game on 19th April when they play Villareal during the first leg of UEFA Cahmpions League Semifinals @ Highbury.

I was happy to see Chelsea win their match against Bolton, which takes them closer to retaining the Premiership title for the second succesive year.

Cricket: India won the 7th ODI, to wrap up the series 5-1 & moved to 3rd position on ICC ODI rankings. The 3rd position happens to be all time best for Team India, since the rankings were introduced in the yera 2002. The 7th ODI was an interesting match, I enjoyed the batting of Robin Uthapa, the lad from Bangalore who plays for Karnataka made his ODI debut against England. In the very first match, he got into the record books of Indian Cricket for scoring 86 runs which happens to be the highest number of runs scored by an Indian debutant batsmen. He could have easily got his first century, only if he the had the discipline of his Captain, Rahul Dravid. I hope India win both their matches against Pakistan which is coming up on 18th & 19th April, even as these matches are being played for the benefit of the victims of Pakistan eathquake. Special on Rediff.

Wedding: Both Prithvi & Shalina, my classmates during engineering got married yesterday. I wish them a very happy journey for their rest of their married life. I happened to meet few of my classmates, some of them after 3 years & it was great to see them. There are 3 more wedding which are scheduled for this month and all the weddings happen to be that of my classmates. Looks like everyone is eager to get settled in life;)

Movies: Watched 'Crash' & 'Bandits' over the weekend. They are worth watching atleast once.

News Source: Rediff | Times of India

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music - 2006

'The Stage - Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music - 2006'

Firflies Festival of Sacred Music -2006 is an annual music festival which is organised by Fireflies Ashram @ their premises which is located in Kaggalipura village off Kanakapura Road. This is the 4rd edition of the event & the theme of this year's festival is "Inner and outer journey in the context of globalisation". The previous 3 editions were known as 'Bhoomi Jathre'(in Kannada) which translates to 'Earth Festival' in English. Thanks to Vasu, who had been there on two earlier editions & letting me know of such unqiue music festival.

We - Vasu, Kishore, Rags, Ranjit, Nita, Nithin, Nishant & myself - reached the Fireflies Ashram @ around 7 pm; Malhar joined us @ around 9pm. The music festival was an all night affair which started off @ Dusk of 8th April and ended @ Dawn of 9th April. I have been to many music concerts, college fests & other musical festivals, but this music festival was something very different & unique. The unqiueness of this festival comes from various factors - the music, people (the organisers & the audidence) & the place. It has been 10 hours since I stepped out of that place and the sounds still reverberates inside me. This edition had a very wide genre of music - Classical, Carnatic, Choir, Folk, Hindustani, Hawain, Jazz, Percussion & Sufi. I have never had the oppurtunity to experience so much variety in music over a night, except here @ Fireflies. Also the audience was very mature who appreciated every performance;
this is what makes this festival so unique.

'The Groups/Bands that performed during this edition'

Music is something that binds people, bridges countries & diminishes the physical boundaries in this world. It also helps one to connect with the artist performing & at the same time helps you connect to yourself. There were many times during the night where I was totally immeresed in the music which let me connect to myself. This years theme was very much focused on that 'Inner & Outer Journey' - I truly experienced both of them during the night. Currently I am soaked with the music, sights & sounds of the Fireflies Festival & it will remain fresh for some more days.

I have only one suggestion for the organisers of this amazing music festival, make it smoke free next time. I am sure we can get our HIGHS by listening to the MUSIC & we don't need WEED nor ALCOHOL.

Update I: I managed to capture few moments from the festival, you can now visit the album here.
Upadet II: You can visit Kishore's album from the same festival here.