Monday, October 18, 2010

Where is the Rock?

Driving back from Chandigarh yesterday, I was super excited to have the player belting tunes from my pod and so on and so forth, till the paternal figure posed a relevant question. (Something Mr. Roy from Brunch often comments on) “This is music from our generation, what do you guys listen to?”

So then I explained how these days it is
1) either ear wormy-but-not-much-else-pop, or
2) heavy, heavy metal, or
3) emo/alt rock, or
4) indie stuff, or
5) techno/house/what have you, or
6) all of them slammed together.

And my dear chaps, where IS the rock? Almost nowhere, and hence the obsession with the songs of yore.

I think.

Do tell if I’m missing out on the great rock experience of the new millennium, I implore you.

A reponse to "Kannadigas, stand up for Karnataka"

Maybe I’m mental, but there is something very odd and disturbing about Arvind Adiga’s recent piece in the Times. (

Your Delhiwallah might associate virtues like modesty, thrift, and hard work with the Madrasi, but in the south we have always thought of Karnataka as the ultimate locus of these values.”
How much more clearly could you demarcate boundaries between us, and them? YOUR, and but IN THE SOUTH. I mean, Jesus Christ.

“Film stars did not rule Karnataka (as they did Tamil Nadu); Naxalites did not over-run parts of the state (as they did in Andhra Pradesh); and strikes did not cripple its economy (as they did in Kerala).”
Oh hey, wait. Here he is, doing it more clearly.

Now he’s talking about the political crisis, there he is, trying to pin the blame on the money flooding the state from IT and other sectors, but particularly from mining interests in the North.

At this point, I’m thinking, ok, the man is going to talk about the need for accountability, for the proper exercise of democratic rights, about governance, transparency and all of those seemingly relevant measures.

But oh NOO! Lookee here “Culture, in the south of India, has always been a bulwark against money”
A bulwark against money? You want to bulwark-ize your money? What did money do to you, man? It doesn’t force itself down your throat and make you lose sight of what is important. It doesn’t magically acquire propelling powers and push you towards a Louis Vuitton bag when you think the money would be better off growing fat in a bank account.

Mr. Adiga, I wish you’d thought out your argument, for I feel unable to respond appropriately, being unable to see ANY logic underling ANY of your assumptions.
So tell me two things- 1) what is it about money coming in that is so very dangerous, and how is it responsible for the recent debacle in the legislative assembly? 2) how does culture, dancing, costume, food, language etc, how does all of this protect you from these evils? How would my knowledge of Kannada prevent said debacle, or even stabilize the situation?

“…the Kannadiga sees his language and culture being eroded everywhere”- it’s called being a cosmopolitan city, sir. And yeah, that “erosion” accompanies the money. For heaven’s sake, do you know that this country’s Constitution celebrates diversity? Change your vocabulary, get a little less resentful. Call it “multilingualism” instead of “erosion”. Call it a wonderful amalgamation instead of dilution. Or stay there, in your little houses with your steady, stagnant, income, we’ll take our business elsewhere.

“There is money, but there is no pride in Karnataka any longer.” Oh no honey, you got pride alright. It’s actually starting to resemble jingoism. You might soon start giving Maharashtra serious competition, if you keep on like this. Won’t that be a day worth celebrating?

“New malls are being built, but serious issues lie untackled: deteriorating infrastructure, environmental pollution, and tense Hindu-Muslim relations in places like South Canara.” Ah, yes, and my knowledge of Kannada and the great Kannada poets is going to fix all of that.

“Part of the problem is that many of us have divided loyalties.” DIVIDED LOYALTIES? Are you hearing yourself, man? You don’t have to tell me about pride in one’s history, language, culture. But to put that down in this manner, to say that if a person speaks Telugu and another speaks Tamil, their LOYALTIES are divided, why, you might as well set our pretty Preamble on fire right there. Call me crazy, but a writer with a following should really watch his words more closely than that.

“If you live in Karnataka, you are a Kannadiga; and your children are the inheritors of Krishna Deva Raya and Professor UR Ananthamurthy.” So I am to lose my sense of identity as a mongrel with blood from ten corners of the Earth and say that I’m ethnically a Kannadiga? Call myself a proud resident of beautiful Bangalore with all the pubs and the great, sweet people, I’ll do gladly. But call myself a Kannadiga, I won’t, and I’m not so sure Kannadigas would appreciate it if I did either. THAT might be seen as dilution too, ye know.

“Please develop some sense of ownership and belonging in Karnataka — for the sake of your own children.”

Now this might be the first sensible thing he’s said in this piece. Yes, a sense of ownership and belonging helps make better citizens, people who care about the city and its advancement. But does knowing the language necessarily contribute; or put differently, is that the ONLY way in which to develop a sense of ownership and belonging?

A person feels like she belongs if she is made to feel welcome. If you’re going to wrinkle up your nose at me and say ohhh chee north Indian, look she doesn’t know ANY Kannada and her family throws huge parties and wears their gold where it’s visible, hell no, I won’t feel like I belong.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against promoting vernacular languages, and preserving our dances, culture and costume. I’ve studied Kathak for six years and I understand why my Tamil friends get angry if they’re expected to know Hindi. Hell, my mother tongue isn’t Hindi either.

However, what I do not appreciate is being told that if I am to live in a particular state, PAY for my food and board and actually help said State’s economy by consuming its services and what-have-you, I must learn the local language and culture.
Let us come to you.

The more you raise a hullabaloo, repeating learn-my-language-learn-my-language over and over till our ears are bleeding and we feel like clubbing your varied and beautiful languages into one big bracket that we call the jalebi languages; the less respect for said language and culture you are going to see.

And if you were truly confident about your culture and identity, you would be feeling too damn superior to ask us to learn Kannada. You would be thinking- his loss, this is my language, it is beautiful and I feel privileged that I am of a select group of people that speak it. Yes, Adiga says that the Kannadiga is in the middle of an identity and culture crisis. Dear sir, its not just Kannadigas, its everyone from anywhere in this country. And that’s for y’all to figure out. And not by counting on us to speak broken Kannada with awful Punjabi twangs, eh?

Trust me, I came to Bangalore and loved it- for the trees, for the weather, for what I was told was a city full of nice people and yes, for the filter coffee. Yet more and more, I am irritated at being told repeatedly to learn the language. If you’d just let me be, I’d pick it up myself, I’d even come to you all excited and want to know how to say “I hate you, you thieving autowallah!” in Kannada. But now, I’d rather eat you first.

PS- as for the economy, the infrastructure, the state of the government, look elsewhere for more concrete solutions, “m’kay, pumpkin?” Maybe my broken Kannada ain’t gonna fix that, maybe you’d have better luck with proper planning, accountability initiatives, citizen involvement et al. And I promise you, as a RESIDENT of Bangalore, I’ll be there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

LIfe decision, MADE!

This question has been haunting me for months now, and ironically, it has been resolved at the weirdest, most unlikely forum in the company of the most unlikely people.

I went into my boss's office to ask the simplest of questions, and as the discussion veered toward's intellectual property rights, the boss started telling me about his experiences as a litigation lawyer. At the time, I was reflecting on how chatty he is, and thus how very different from my other bosses. But as I took the elevator down some hundred floors, I started getting excited. I realised that litigation makes most sense, and the decision has me euphoric, surely a good sign. Here's my pros list

1) I. do. not. have. to. think. about. what to wear. Its penguin suits all the way, and though that would be depressing for some, for me its a god send.

2) Its like LSC on speed. I might've mentioned this earlier, but I get a monumental kick when I find something to help an LSC client, and imagine doing that for a living!

3) Arguing. Muahaha. Shredding arguments to shreds. Favourite pastime, turned profession.

4) Barely any money, so no tension about where, how to spend, how much I earn in comparison with peers (I know I can afford chai biskoot, thats good enough)

5) Since its supposed to be difficult for women to litigate, OBVIOUSLY I want to :D

6) I won't have to sit at a desk all day, I'll be going to court, standing in lines, getting frustrated, driving long distances and THEN sitting at a desk

7) High pressure, totally exhilarating.

8) Caffeine addiction, and I will prize a day's vacation. Perfect.

9) Nice blend of dull, unthinking work and really intense work involving lots of creative thinking. Again, perfecto.


10) I know that after having gone through law school, I will want to actually apply the stuff I learnt, and the image of the black robe billowing behind me as I stalk corridors with my head whirring and arms full of books and papers is aaaa so exciting.

11) I can't stand central air conditioning. So no office job for me until I get my immunity nicely built up.

12) This feels nice and desi, you know. Sweaty, hard work, dhaka muki, this is the kind of work that will make me feel like I made my place in the world, so I can look back and say, boss, bahut dhakhe khaye the. Whats the point of entering the adult world with a nice cushy job and all possible comforts? How will that help you prize what you make for yourself?

And boss tells me the career graph for people who take regular corp jobs is something like this- start HIGH, plateau, keep plateauing, and then enjoy gradual growth. He says even if you choose to go corporate firmy later, you'll make a better lawyer, know more and seem like you know more, so you'll do better faster than your contemporaries. Which means that when I'm a little older and wanting to rest my behind and have had my share of excitement and sleepless nights, I can do a firm job (if I decide to stick with law) and get meatier work AND a nice chair and awesome view. THIS IS SO PERFECT.

13) And if I decide I've had enough of pure law and want to do some policy type work-my experience as a litigating lawyer will expose me to a wide enough range of issues, government policies, degree of implementation, manner of implementation etc, which will help me be a better analyst. Sooo perfect.

14) I really like IPR and tax. So I had it listed as one option, to work with an IPR or tax firm. But I was listening to boss talk about how TM is fun, but "kitna karoge" and it got me thinking, it might be true, you know, much as I like IPR, too much of it would probably make it run of the mill and mechanical as opposed to being a breath of fresh air to enliven my days of drugdery, bail applications and miscellaneous petitions. I mean, litigation will be like the first year at grad school abroad, you dabble in a range of things and discover what you're truly passionate about, then you specialize.

Yesa. Versatility, a degree of independence, a feeling of impacting someone's life, being responsible blah blah. Yessir.


1) No money. Meh, big deal. If after two years, I find that I'm not a good litigator, I'll go abroad, study, come back and turn to my other love, policy and make enough to be comfortable. If I'm good, I'll eventually earn enough.

2) Er... Long work hours, lots of pressure blah blah. All pluses for me. Heehaw.

Can't think of other cons.

This feels right. :D

PS- I have to say that the great Mr. Mohan has always been an advocate of my litigating, but like the decision to quit smoking, something like this needs to be figured out for oneself. Non, Ayush?