Remedy for the forgotten generation

Rahul writes about the absence of an entire period of music from public radio:

So the teenyboppers have their Casio tunes, and our parents have Mohammad Rafi. Nothing for us. I think I belong to Bombay radio’s forgotten generation.

Rahul, you’re in Mumbai, where Go 92.5 exists — probably the only channel in India that played music I could tolerate. I’m not sure if they’ve changed their programming or target demographic since, but I really had withdrawal symptoms when I left Mumbai a couple of months back. Imagine yourself in Delhi — where you have the option of factory-processed hindi music on RadioCity, chirpy and mast hindi music on Radio Mirchi, or casual hindi music on Red FM.

Of course, Delhi does have a glimmer of hope in AIR‘s FM Rainbow which does play classics, but most of the Radio Jockeying would make even a six year old with speech impediments cringe.

While it seems Bangalore too has AIR FM Rainbow, the only thing people listen to here is the schizophrenic Radiocity 91, which has English-speaking RJs(Radio Jockeys) playing Hindi songs interspersed with Kannada advertisements. Not quite the thing for me, ya know.

My night in shining armor, comes galloping from the United Kingdom via the Internet: Virgin Radio UK generously provides Shoutcast streams that are make up most of my daily listening. Shoutcast is seriously a great source of free music; there are so many supercool radio stations; especially niche ones that cater to very specific audiences, like GothMetal Radio for all the pretty men and women wearing black mascara, for example. Plus Shoutcast is free. As opposed to WorldSpace, which is very nice, but costs a little more than free.

of bangalore and shameless bus conductors

There’s something really scary about the state of public transport in Bangalore. The bus conductors are also totally evil.

The reason this is unnerving is because Bangalore offers two modes of public transport to the common man – autorickshaws, and buses. While autorickshaw drivers are totally evil down to the bottom of their soul, I overlook this since this is the same in almost every Indian city. Maybe there’s an “Autowallahs and Satan” association panning Delhi, Bangalore and (reportedly) Chennai — with it’s primary mission to cheat and loot every customer till there’s none left. And it’s slowly invading Mumbai too, a city once known for the honest, professional auto-drivers who paid you back even the 50 paisa.

But I digress. This post is about bus conductors, who, in my eyes have always been the bastion of the strong-minded, hard-working but underpaid class that keeps the city running. Conductors in Delhi (DTC only, Bluelines are run by gremlins and don’t count) and Mumbai (BEST) are known for their no-nonsense attitude; but Bangalore busmen(and women — they have female conductors here) seem to weave a rather different tale. Not only are they spineless and corrupt, they try to assert their hallowed virtues onto the passengers as well. Here’s one of my many accounts with conductors on Bangalore buses:

Me: 1 ticket, Binnamangala please. (Hand him a ten rupee note, the ticket is for four rupees)
Him: (Takes note, returns six rupees, looks around)
Me: Excuse me, Ticket?
Him: makes face, offers me a one rupee coin
Me: Screw you! I don’t want your money, I want my ticket!
Him: Gives me an old, used six rupee ticket.
Me: What the….
Him: (Finally gives me the ticket I paid for.)

So what’s it with Bangalore that makes its conductors so evil? Considering the weather, the quality of life, the nature of the passengers; Bangalore conductors have a much better time than their Delhi and Mumbai counterparts. Maybe they’re paid really less salaries? I doubt it. Maybe they’re ex-auto drivers? Maybe. But what I believe is the real reason is the percentage of laptop-carrying, Nike-wearing bus passengers who give a damn for these trivial transactional details and would rather spend their precious time worrying about more important things.


Four rupees a kilo

A mostly fictitious story I wrote on a train journey from Delhi to Calcutta in 2002. The most difficult part of this story was to decipher the illegible scrawls I had made on the train and to write out a final version of the story
The scenery scrolled past, as I sat there, lost in my thoughts, looking out, admiring the horizon. I was traveling alone this time and my train was chugging through the lands of Uttar Pradesh, headed towards Calcutta.

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Mumbai Bloggers' Meet

Mumbai Meet next Sunday!

Date: Sunday, April 10, 2004
Time: 3 pm
Venue: Cafe Coffee Day, near Pritam Hotel, Dadar East (very close to the station and ideal for both Eastern and Western suburbies)

Your once in a lifetime chance to meet the great Yazad Jal, in person! Be there!

Also your once in a lifetime chance to meet the moderately great yours truly, who shall be leaving Mumbai on the 13th and returning to that blazing furnace of city that we call Delhi, btw.


it's a blog bloggy world

Heh. Supposedly I'm the hawtesht blogsteppah in da City of Delhi, yo. And I don't even live there anymore :)

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back in bombay

After a whirlwind trip to Delhi, I'm back in aamchi Mumbai. If I didn't meet up with you in Delhi, really sorry, feel free to drop by my place anytime when you're in Mumbai. As always, I'm suffering from the Blogger's Paradox, the one in which you have so much to write about that you don't want to write about anything. Supposedly the popular cure to this is to start with random bits to get the flow going, and things will automatically solve themselves.

Hence, let's begin with some observations. What is it with bloggers and the culinary arts? First we have one of the alpha-indibloggers hang up their geek gloves in exchange for a wok and a skimmer, somewhere in Bangalore. Then we have Meg putting on the apron to follow her heart. And closer to Mumbai, NidhiTee just Alt+F4ed her blog, with the only remote hope of reading her words again on the world wide web, apparently being her cooking blog. My condolences to her stalkers.

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faq for the time being

Are you dead ?
Not yet.

Then why the hell aren't you posting?
I'm busy.

Hmm... partying too hard in Mumbai, eh?
If juggling powerpoint slides, research papers and code is partying, I'm groovin' baby.

It's really cool to read about what you do and all.
That's not the only thing I write about, you know. And it's definitely not the focus of this weblog.

But I want to know more about your every move...
Go away, freak.

What's with the bickering in the gmail invites post?

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arnab's guide for media people

I've had more than a few journos calling me asking me about "this blogging thing" wanting to know why people want to become lexical exhibitionists and where can they find more. Or something along the lines of that. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind before calling me up:

  • I like to waste other people's phone money. If you're calling from Delhi, Digboi, Ukraine, or some other place far away, I like to do that even more.
  • And if you're from a newspaper I don't like because you guys have more scantily clad anorexics than news as content, I will yap like Cyrus Broacha.
  • Please, please, please do your homework first. My mother taught me that a long time ago. All it takes is a little googling ro yahooing or teomaing. Not that difficult, you know.
  • I will ask you to send me the draft text that pertains to me. Please don't throw your mighty newspaper's no-public-disclosure policy at me in retort. I do this so that you don't misrepresent me and write about how I like to wear pink polka dotted underwear while blogging. Dear readers, no matter what any national daily tells you, any mention of polka dot and my name in the same sentence is definitely fictional. I assure you that. Also, there are laws in India about this, and I have a lot of free time.
  • After speaking to you, I will send you links and things to help you. Please do check your mail after you speak with me.
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last post!

So long, Delhi! College is over, and in a few days, I begin a new chapter of my life. Somehow the concept of going to work freaks me out. Makes me feel "grown up"; a state of mind I am completely unfamiliar with. Anyway, I'll keep the "growing up" rant for some other blogpost. There's oodles of packing to do. My next post will be from aamchi Mumbai.


phiraiya dao amarei gaan

Somewhere around 2 years ago, I attended a concert where the famous Bangladeshi rock act Miles played a song called Phiraiya dao amar prem, which in Bangla means "give me back my love" It's hard to believe, but I was witness to a rather spectacular scene: a stadium full of Delhi-ites rocking to the music of a language they did not understand. I turned into an instant fan of Miles, the kind that has all their albums, etc.

Cut to 2004, the world's cleanest music composer does the music for the movie Murder. Along with the hit "Bheegey Hont Terey" there are two more popular songs, "Kaho Na Kaho" and "Jana Jane Jana". When I first heard "Jana Jane Jana", I recognized it immediately, everything from the arrangement to the guitar riffs was identical to the bangla number. I thought Anu Malik had commissioned Miles to render their song in hindi, which meant a big thing for me, since it meant Miles was now getting the attention it deserves.