Sunday, January 25, 2009

Moved house! Again!

Last week we moved home again, possibly the 4th time in the last four years! Its been a week now in Ahmedabad! It sort of feels like the bright omens that lead the way in the Alchmesit...cause it was right here in Ahmedabad where it all started! My first brand, my first sense of accomplishment in working life! Attending JC meets at Shahi Palace hotel right opposite Vastrapur Lake, trying to convince the team that my new launched brand, despite all its screwed up product problems, et all, can sell! And over the months, and tons of work, got on to rock the brand till it hit 14% market share! And here i was right next door to Shahi Palace at the new job's guesthouse!
And Ahmedabad seems quite a fine place! My first impressions - Great food, Autos return change to the rupee!, it has all the malls that you want to walk about (but hell, they run Slumdog Crorepati instead of Millionaire though!), nice 1800 sqft apartments at 15k, ISO certified Pan Stalls (beat that?), no place is more than 5 min away, though people have all moved up from scooters to Cars, they dont seem to remember - cause they drive cars like a damn scooter, really good schools, great milk ( Amul here is a world apart from the Aavin that iam used to in chennai!).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chennai Sangamam

Great Idea, this Chennai Sangamam. As someone who'd lived in the chennai all along, never really had a chance to see the traditional / ancient folk art forms like therukoothu first hand. And here i was, at the Anna Nagar Tower Park venue - right in front, positioned beside the speaker ( to get front row shots) of the artists. The crowds were amazing..could have been atleast 5000 or more people. A great feeling of togetherness and celebration! Thanks Kanimozhi for the fun! Iam sure this will keep these dying arts going a long way.
And here are a few snaps from i wish i had a faster lens and dint have to shoot at ISo 1400 - hate the grain.

Yama - The God of Death ; Chandraguptan his book keeper, right next.
Yama having a word with Shakuntaladevi (??)
Love the look from this part of the crowd!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kapaleeswarar Temple

Was at the the Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai, Tamil Nadu this evening, 7 month old S's first visit to the temple.
Based on the references in the hymns of the Nayanmars, this temple is to be a 8th century temple built by the Nayanmars. But the architechture of the current temple is not more than 300 or more years. The general view is that the original temple was built on the shore at the location of the current Santhome Church but was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current temple (which is 1-1.5 km from the shore) was built more recently.
While there, couldnt wait to go and shoot some quick pics. The Gopuram (Tower, in Tamil) is such a riot of colours and details, a real pleasure to look through a 300mm glass. Here are some of the quick pics i shot this evening, ...but minus the Colour!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Save the Rajapalayam

If you are Tamil, and a dog lover and you are 30 something or more, then you’d know the Rajapalayam is more than a sleepy town in Tamil Nadu. An Indian Sighthound, with a pristine white coat, pink nose, broad chest and narrow waist, this dog has been the associated with the Telugu migrant aristrocracy ( the Rajus) who had settled in Rajapalayam centuries ago.

Dog lovers flaunt their 4 legged friends and would obviously mostly try and get themselves the big breeds. In my days, it had to be the German Shepard, but I had friends who vowed never to have anything else than a Rajapalayam.

With rising apartments and Hucth/Vodafone dog advertsing, it seems to be the days of the Pug. So forget the Rajapalayam, even Dashunds and German Sheppard’s are not able to make it. Clearly they are getting extinct. KCI has started a “Save the Rajapalayam” project. Indian Post has even launched a stamp.

If you can keep a dog, do give the Rajapalayam a chance. I would. George Fernandes gave two – he’s taken two Rajapalayams to his Delhi house.

JalliKattu - Ban or Run

Caught an article in the papers today – some obnoxious activists want to ban the Jallikattu tradition in Tamil Nadu. The Times of India has even put up a microsite that has a debate going on – Ban or Run Fair.
To the un-initiated, its all about cruelty to animals, unnecessary loss of human life, wasted heroism, – “stop these mad caps running after these poor animals”. Fair. A huge animal lover myself, might normally say the same thing. But, there are some things that transcend such modern concepts such as “PETA” and that is History, Tradition, Culture, Myths, Legends, Generations, Pride, Belonging, etc. That’s the magic and irony of being human.

Tamils are a very ancient people – far more ancient that you might ever realize – remember it’s the oldest “surviving” language in the world. And this ancient sport of Jallikatu goes way back, before many parts of the world figured out how to say hi to one another, way before the Spaniards or the French or the South Americans started their famous bull killings that keeps playing on sophisticated channels like Discovery and Travel & Living, that many people travel half way around the world to see.

Rock paintings in Karikkiyur (40 km from Kotagiri, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, discovered in 2004) has several rock paintings, more than 3,500 years old, showing men chasing bulls. Jalli kattu or Manju Virattu (chasing the bull) gained popularity during the Sangam period (300 BCE to 300 CE), the game was also used to help choose husbands. Successful “matadors” were choosing as grooms – an idea that’s reflected even today in “rustic” tamil movies. The ancient Tamil tradition was “manju virattu” (chasing bulls) or “eruthu kattuthal” (lassoing bulls) and it was never “jallikattu,” that is baiting a bull or controlling it as the custom obtained today. In ancient Tamil country, during the harvest festival, decorated bulls would be let loose on the “peru vazhi” (highway) and the village youth would take pride in chasing them and outrunning them.

It was about 500 years ago, after the advent of the Nayak rule in Tamil that this harmless bull-chasing sport metamorphosed into “jallikattu of today. It exists till today, happening during the harvest festival Pongal. Wealthy villagers raise the “kangeyam bull” specially for this day’s event, transforming it into a village’s version of “Gallery Sport”.
So as long as the world is insane enough to still hold boxing matches in the Olympic Games, or continues to hold animals captive in incompatible habitats in Zoos, there is no reason why the poor Madurai villager alone needs to be told to go fuck themselves. So you crazy activist faggots go spend the energy on something more productive and leave the Tamils be. Instead, ask the Tamil Nadu (Tourism) government to own it, institutionalize it, in way that it becomes more sophisticated, more organized and with a frame work of rules and generally a little more acceptable to these pseudo meat eating animal lovers!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Digital Music and The Death of the Big Band

The way we listen to music has dramatically changed.

Imagine, a Guns N Roses album being released a decade back. First sign you get of it is from a rolling stone magazine that you browse for free in some fancy book shop. The first moment of truth arrives when you get to see that huge fancy produced video on MTV! You long and ache until finally you get to see the CD or cassette sleeve in your neighborhood music store. You pay up, you read up everything the sleeve has to say and you listen to the damn thing a million times over. Even if you don’t like it, you still listen to it a million times over, ‘cause (a) you’ve paid for it and (b) you don’t have any thing else new to listen to! And eventually, you get to like it! And congrats, you are now a further entrenched fan, ready to pay for the next album!

As you will see, the way the commercials were different. The money made was from record you just bought. Rat eating and guitar breaking contests at gigs, merchandise, pretending drunk at award shows, music videos, radio airplay, interviews, hair spray photo shoots, etc were merely the promotion mix, to help to get the buy.

It’s a changed world today. You read of a new album in some website as you check your mail. In the evening, you download the album from a file sharing site, listen to it on your ipod as you go to work or play – giving the band exactly 1 minute on each song before you hit the forward! The band better make a quick impression, cause – there are few dozen more albums you’ve downloaded last night to fit your 80GB iPod.

Now, how does the commercial work today? Obviously not on record sales! What used to be merely the promotion mix, ie, Gigs and Merchandise, is today possibly the only source of revenue for the band! And this, iam sure, might soon evolve in a million ways. Just like how, we don’t pay to watch a TV program, music could even go that way. What prevents a Nike to pay and sponsor a new album from The Killers, in return for subtle advertising messaging in the music and or use of the music in their ads??

All this throws up a zillion new possibilities, opportunities and threats for musicians, depending on how you see it. For one, if you’ve got a good band going that plays great music, you don’t need for wait for that dream record deal anymore….simply reach out to fans at a lightning pace of 1mbps! Build a base, and play live gigs to make the money. (Listen up – Junkyard Groove!) But, on the other side, in today’s digital deluge, stickiness to music is hard to get, money is going to be harder to make – and never as big as it used to be! And if money is never too big, there will never be enough show biz and if there is not enough show biz, there will never big bands like big bands used to be!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photos that changed the World/Saigon Execution by Eddie Adams

This is the picture of police chief General Nguyen Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner on a Saigon street on Feb1st 1968. Some say this photograph ended the war! It immediately became the icon of the war's savagery and made the official pulling the trigger the icon villian.

Shot by American photgrapher Eddie Adams (won fame and a Pulitzer prize for this), he had served in the US Marine corps as a Combat Photographer before. The photo would haunt the General Loan, for the rest of his life ( apparantly, to Americans, the real villian should actually be the Vietcong who got shot - he had killed americans...yeah its ok to kill as long as its good for America) and Eddie Adams went on to apologise to Loan later. In his words "The general killed the Vietcong; I killed the general with my camera." Check his other work at

Photographs that changed the world/The burial of a unknown child by Raghu Rai

The Bhopal disaster has no parallel in the history of mankind. It all began on the night of December 2/3, 1984, when 40 tons of lethal gases leaked from Union Carbide Corporation's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. People just did not know what had hit them. Many fell dead as they ran. Others succumbed at the hospitals where doctors were overwhelmed by the numbers and lacked information on the nature of the poisoning. By the third day of the disaster, an estimated 8,000 people had died from direct exposure to the gases and another 500,000 were injured. Today, the number of deaths stands at 20,000. Years after the event, Bhopal remains the worst industrial disaster in human history.

Despite the fact that there was a high possibility of chemical contamination, there were many reporters at Bhopal, Raghu Rai being one. In 2002, he returned to Bhopal to capture the continuing effects of a tragedy that occurred almost twenty years ago, thereby creating greater awareness about it.
Raghu Rai, awarded India's highest civilian award in 1971, is possibly India's biggest photographer. Raghu Rai for most, was with the Press having worked with the Stateman, the Sunday and the India Today untill 1991. Now, a Magnum photographer, his photos now appear in leading magazines across the world Time, Life, GEO, The New York Times, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Vogue, GQ, D Magazine, Marie Claire, The Independent and The New Yorker. Check his Magnum photos page

Photos that changed the world/Bliss by Charles O'Rear

Well, this photo dint really changed the world...but was pretty much the first view of the world for millions of people across. The default wallpaper for windows, this photo called "Bliss", this is a landscape in Sonoma County, California.

Taken by Charles O'Rear, photographer with National Geographic for 25 years, and now spends his time photographicing wine making across the world. Take a look at his pics at

Photos that changed the World / Mahatma Gandhi by Margaret Brouke White

Mahatma Gandhi - to indians Bapu, the father of the Nation, the man of the Century, and the face on what really matters today - money!.
After returning to India from South Africa, he gave up wearing west styled clothing and started wearing Khadi. He and his followers also started advocating the use of homespun clothing. It was Gandhi's view that if Indians made their own clothes, it would be an economic blow to the British establishment in India. Consequently, the spinning wheel was later incorporated into the flag of the Indian National Congress

Picture shot by a New Jersey based photograper, Margaret Brouke White in 1946 while she was doing a story on India. She was also Life magazine's first woman photographer. Gandhi refused to be photographed untill she herself learnt how to use the spinning wheel! Which she eventually did. View some of her work at
Not to forget are her stunning images of the Partition of India.

Photos that Changed the World / Che by Alberto Korda

The the iconic image of Che Guevara was created in March 5, 1960 at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion. Today a worldwide symbol of revolution and rebellion seen in T-shirts, Smirnoff Vodka ads, record sleeves and so on. Why, even in Chennai, South India ( far away from the Cuban revolution!) , in a local election propoganda ( with a local politician dressed in army fatigues including the star / cap!!).

Taken by Alberto Korda, a cuban photographer using a Leica M2 with a 90 mm lens, loaded with Kodak film. Check his other works at

Sunday, January 4, 2009


It does look very heavy and powerful eh?? But, hey, my girl was just having her bath!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Trip to the Tiruvalleeswarar Temple

Was at the Sivan Temple (Tiruvalleswarar ) near Padi, Chennai.
Amazing to see such ancient history right around our homes! This temple is said to be the 21st Thevara Koil in Thondai Naadu. Thevaram refers to the collection of Devotional Tamil poetry dated to the 7th and 9th Century. And, Thondai Nadu refers to north eastern part of Tamil Nadu, the home country of the Pallava Dynasty that ruled between the 4th and the 9th Centuries. Any which way you look at it, this is nothing less than a 1000 years old!

A 3 Tier Gopuram leads you into a courtyard that houses the temple. Unique is the semi-circular shaped Gopuram in the inside. This type of architecture is supposedly called Thoonganai Maadam in Tamil; meaning resembling the back of a sleeping elephant.

Not the greatest of Pictures ive got here...will try again!

JPG Mag is Dead! ITTOD is getting back to life

Had never been regular to my space here for a while simply because of JPG Mag. It was a cute little photosharing site where i used to upload my pics and share comments. Well, starting the new year, they are officially winding up business...the economy has taken its toll, they say.

This means, In Through the Out Door is sort of gonna be getting back to life!