A walk through the ancient city of Hampi reminds you of two things: The opulence and wealth of ancient India and the the loot and plunder that destroyed that wealth. 

Krishnadevaraya's Hampi is a beautiful city filled with monuments and temples. One should plan to visit this city at leisure and definitely appoint a tourist guide. The Tungabhadra divides ancient Hampi from the modern part and is very beautiful to look at during sunset. The Lotus Mahal is a monument built for the queen so that she could relax during the evenings. The river was made to flow through the walls of this building to produce one of the earliest air-conditioning effects. Thanks to the king's love for his queen, we have many monuments of immense beauty. The city is beginning to get commercialised. Do plan a trip to this place before you have to fight for a place to stand in the Vitthala Temple which by the way is the most beautiful structure there. 

If I could have things my way, I would make the Vitthala temple my home and live amidst the rocks of Hampi. Alas!

<Click on the images for more pictures>

Whistling Woes

If whistling meant producing harsh discordant sounds at a frequency that only dogs can detect, I'm the best in the business.

Damn the guy who said a happy man is one who can take a pleasure stroll along the river with his hands in his pockets, whistling his favourite tune. I've been practising the above mentioned *art-form* for a few days now (much to the dismay and annoyance of my friends and family). My mom confused my whistle for a pressure cooker sound  and came running down to turn the stove off. 

Anyway, the point of this post was to remind people who thought whistling was a casual "Open your mouth and blow" that there is more to this. Listen to Sivaprasad K's whistling which can be easily mistaken for a flute.

I tell you, some people have all the talent.

  • Current Music
    Vathapi - Sivaprasad's whistling

Vellai Pookkal

Some very resourceful colleagues have exposed me to some very good Kannada and Tamil music. I personally had a bias against Kannada music and trashed it based on opinions formed after listening to the blaring "MTV Subbalakshmi" type numbers during Rajyotsava celebrations. I stand humbly corrected. Will post some of the good music I chanced upon in due course.

I somehow got involved in an argument between an ardent Ilayaraja  fan and a die-hard Rahman fan on who was better. A futile attempt as each has a sizeable collection of good songs in his repertoire. 

Vellai Pookal from Kannathil Muthamittal, is undoubtedly one of the most soothing songs I've heard in the recent past. The lyrics (thanks to google for the translation) are beautiful and the song is picturized very well in the movie.

Voices Within

Attended a book-reading session on "Voices Within", a book written by B Jayashree and TM Krishna. The book highlights the struggles and triumphs of legends in Carnatic music such as MSS, Mani Iyer, Flutist "Mali" etc. A short documentary film by Rajiv Menon describing the life of each legend was screened. This was a refreshing replacement to verbose speeches that usually eat into the concert time. This was followed by a short concert by TM Krishna and B Jayashree. They performed seven pieces each highlighting the characteristic style and virtuosity of the legends described in the book. Rangapura Vihara was the song chosen for MSS. A fabulous rendition, I must say. And for T R Mahalingam, they chose an elaborate rendition of ragam thodi.

A concert of this nature was a welcome break. I managed to capture a few moments of the concert on video.

New Year Wishes

With age one tends to become less creative, more cynical and definitely more stupid. I started 2006 with a drive to Yercaud in a horribly stuffed car. 2006 has been a memorable year. It was during this time that I took my first flight, visited three countries, had a 2-month old nephew trying to say hello on the phone. I'm looking forward to becoming an abysmal fool in the year to come. 

Before the networks get choked with new-year-wishes, let me grab this moment to wish all of you a great year ahead.