• Here are some CDs I picked up at a sale at a chain store in Bangalore. They have an ongoing sale to clear their stocks of books, DVDs and CDs, and I found they offer the best deals on Indian classical music CDs. Here are some I picked up at 70 per cent off. If you are a classical music buff, this is a good time to grab some Diwali bargains. The sale ends October 31. (I've mentioned prices before discount).

    Veenai Jayanthi Kumaresh (Shrutilaya, Rs 180): This two-CD compilation features Jayanthi, arguably the best veena player performing in Karnatik music today. The recording comes from a live concert in Sydney. The compilation is marketed by a little Chennai-based label called Sruthilaya. CD 1 begins with a varnam in raga Natta Kurinji, and features six tracks, including concert standards such as Aparadhamula (Thyagaraja) and Siddhi Vinayakam (Muthuswami Dikshitar). CD 2 offers an elaborate raga Pantuvarali (Raghuvara, Thyagaraja) and a pleasantly dancy thillana in raga Maand (Lalgudi

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  • Reactions to ‘Namma Metro’

    As of yesterday, Bangalore has joined the ranks of those cities with the metro rail. The fond epithet given to the city's Metro, Namma Metro (Our Metro), became the talk of the town as well as a trending topic on Twitter, where the predominant sentiment was awe and delight.

    The first phase of Namma Metro, running from MG Road to Byappanahalli, a gargantuan 5-years-in-the-making exercise, was made open to the public at around 4 pm, but the anticipation started building up from early morning, when it was inaugurated with dignitaries and the first run was exclusive to journalists and photographers. Freelance journalist @drvivekm captured the mood of the day with his photostream.

    Bangalore's jubilant nature knew no bounds with @praxprasanna tweeting 'antu intu Metro bantu' - roughly translates to 'finally, the Metro arrives' in Kannada rhyme. A highly charged @KiranKS attributed the launch to BJP's relentlessness and also put up Namma Metro's route map. @Iamvinays fondly reminisced his

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  • The Many Colours of Music


    I haven't often asked myself this question of whether there is a pecking order in the musical landscape. However, I have, for many years, listened to music and appreciated all kinds of music. In recent years, I have taught myself a little bit of music too. Where does classical music fit into our lives and into this landscape? How are musical forms that are centuries old relevant to us now?

    Now more than ever, the fusion of cultures and our rapid technological progress have made music more accessible than ever, easier to make and easier produce than ever before. Technology, economics, politics and sundry influences have shaped the musical forms we know today, and this applies to classical forms as well as modern musical forms. It isn't often that we look at the use of certain instruments, certain tones and certain rhythms as belonging to a certain time.

    I have heard both sides of the argument — that good music is good music regardless of when or where it was made, and this is

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  • A few months ago, aging pop/rock star Bryan Adams came down to Mumbai for a show. I was excited, having been a huge fan of his music during my school days and thought I'd pay tribute by attending his show and generally indulge in some nostalgia.

    Hoo boy, nothing had prepared me for the backlash that was to follow when I told some people I was going.

    They ranged from taunts to point-and-laughs, even phone calls to see if I was serious, and a very short, sweet SMS, simply containing the monosyllable, "Thoo".

    "But you listen to Dream Theater and Karnivool", observed one gent. "I also like Carnatic classical. What's your point?", I replied.

    Apparently, you can't listen to stuff like Bryan Adams when you 'graduate' onto music that speaks about ripping flesh and suicide. Ah, yes.

    Rock elitism. One of the worst sorts of snubbing in our little society of delusion.

    You know how you're at a concert waiting for some 'metchul' band to play, and the PA system plays a riff that sounds familiar? You

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  • Crossborder Punjabism

    Pakistan is constantly on the international info radar with a  terrible troika focus. Terrorism, fundamentalism and floods. But is that all there is?

    Should we be relying on an international media that focuses on what their governments focus on alone? What are the other voices, the other challenges and shifts occurring in a burdened but alive Pakistan? Here is Umair Javed, a Pakistani writer bringing us one such dynamic journey.

    Talagang town is the headquarter of Talagang Tehsil, district Chakwal in Pakistan. Surrounded by barren, limestone hills of the Salt Range, this town of around 70,000 odd residents is located roughly half an hour off Balkasar interchange on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway. Two months ago, during a trip to Mianwali, I had the chance to pass through the town, which like most others in Punjab, was populated on either side of a major road. There were shops, and banks, and Katrina Kaif billboards. There were schools, colleges, and, eerily enough, a gaudily decorated

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  • The former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, now reported to be dead (see video) gave news editors a lifetime of nightmares with the stubbornly variable spellings of his last name. Variously spelled Qaddafi, Ghadafi, Gadafy and Kadafi, the confusion has not been cleared by the fact that his official website (link broken) spells it "Al Gathafi".

    But don't let such trifles stop you from being a Gaddafi expert. Here are ten cool facts about the late dictator. Flaunt them at will and power your way through a water-cooler conversation.

    Too bad we can't promise you a free return ticket to Tripoli — they aren't exactly in the mood to receive guests there right now.

    Gadhafi captured, possibly killedOfficials in Libya's transitional government say Moammar Gadhafi has been captured and possibly killed in the fall of his hometown but there is no confirmation from the country's most senior leaders. (Oct. 20)

    1. The dictator took his last name from Qadhadhfa, the name

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  • Life is ours, we live it our way… and nothing else matters…

    There would never be truer words than these that emanate from James Hetfield's lips in his oh-so-heavenly baritone. For any teenager this was, and will continue to be, gospel.

    My affair with Metallica began in my early teens, with my then college sweetheart. Of course, that relation didn't last for long but my love for Metallica grew deeper and dearer with every passing replay. Metallica had the very essence that every hot-blooded teen would connect with -- rebellion, despair, betrayal, love, hate, accompanied by legendary guitar solos, timely drumming and perfect lyrics.

    I wouldn't go out on a limb to say Metallica is the best band ever, but it definitely is the founder of thrash metal.

    For all those who've never heard of Metallica, the heavy metal band was formed in October 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (vocals, rhythm guitar). The band also includes Kirk Hammet, ranked 11th among Rolling Stone's '100

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  • Is Team Anna breaking up? Why are its members getting attacked? Many questions are being asked as their anti-corruption campaign moves into a second, more confrontational phase.

    Two core members have resigned from the anti-corruption think tank, protesting against the partisan political colour that they fear the agitation is taking. They are upset that Anna called for an anti-Congress vote in Haryana, thereby changing the apolitical nature of the agitation.

    Prashant Bhushan was attacked last week, and it was Aravind Kejriwal's turn on Tuesday. If members of a fringe group with Bhagat Singh's name slapped and roughed up Bhushan in Delhi, a stray member of the audience threw a slipper at Kejriwal in Lucknow.

    First Post believes the attacks are coming now because the team has turned political, and once party politics sets in, all its ugliness comes to the surface. So was Anna more respected when he remained an apolitical crusader? And if he continues to remain apolitical, are his

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  • Don't be thrown when Julian Barnes pops into cafeteria conversation. This handy guide will instantly upgrade your Barnes quotient and show off your newly acquired wisdom. Just remember to thank us when you shine. And maybe read a Barnes novel or three when you find the time.

    1. Julian Barnes is an English writer. He is 65 years of age.

    2. He won the Man Booker Prize for 2011 for his novel The Sense of an Ending, which The Guardian described as a "highly wrought meditation on ageing, memory and regret."

    3. He has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times previously for Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998) and Arthur and George (2005).

    4. On finally winning the Booker, Barnes remarked, "I didn't want to go to my grave and get a Beryl," he said. He was referring to Beryl Bainbridge, the English novelist who was shortlisted five times for the Booker but never won. She received a posthumous Best of Beryl Booker prize. Ironically, Bainbridge had been named among the "50Read More »from Ten things you should know about Julian Barnes
  • Results of four assembly by-polls were announced on Monday, and not one went in favour of the Congress.

    The worst defeat was in Haryana, where the Congress came third, and its candidate lost his deposit. Things couldn't get more humiliating in a state once considered a stronghold of the Congress.

    Team Anna had urged people in Hisar to vote against the Congress to protest against the party not passing the Jan Lokpal Bill. Arvind Kejriwal, a prominent member of the anti-corruption alliance, had described the Hisar election as a referendum on the bill.

    BJP leader LK Advani was quick enough to conclude the results were a warning to the UPA. (His Jan Chetna Yatra, now on, hopes to cash in on the anti-corruption wave across the country, but it is hobbled by Karnataka BJP leaders like BS Yeddyurappa, Katta Subramanya Naidu, and Janardhana Reddy, all of whom are languishing in jail on serious criminal charges. On Tuesday, Advani for the first time distanced himself from Yeddyurappa,

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