Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Last summer long weekend

The weekend began with a dinner with an old friend that I don't know when I will meet again.
Good to wake up early on a Saturday morning to make a quick trip to work to run some errands and grab breakfast, only to come back home and have lunch. It was good that I ate well since the rest of the day was standing dancing festival in a big big muddle puddle of a park after a downpour. 
SW4 was amazing in spite of all that. We heard Gareth Emery on the main stage for a short while before moving to a tent to listen to Orjan Nilsen, not so impressive. But he was quickly replaced by Aly & Fila. 

We moved to the main stage to listen to Sanden Van Door and Eddie Halliwell. We went back to the tent for Paul Van Dyk. And finally got back to the main stage to listen to Laidback Luke closing and finally the Armin Van Burren. 

Image courtesy: CB

That was 7 hours of a trance music. Enough for a long long while I think. By the time Armin came on stage I was so tired I just wanted to sleep and my feet were firmly planted inside a thick swamp. But his music was truly a trance. And I don't even know how I survived... This is what it feels like...

I woke up on Sunday at 7am but my legs were so sore I could barely walk. And I had a train to catch at 9.30. I wasn't sure I could, especially considering the fact that I was to cycle 15kms that day and back the next. But I did. We all turned up at between 9.10 and 9.20, each of us thinking the other is late and we all managed to get the 9.30 train to Wareham. At Wareham we hired cycles and rode to Lulworth cove. 

We then had a long walk to Durdle Door. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

We took the coastal route back from Durdle Door to Lulworth and played scrabble late into the night. The next morning we rode easier, probably because we were used to it. We stopped at the Lulworth Castle, pretty for weddings. Then we rode back to Wareham and hopped on a train.  

Some friends, some village, some cycling, some countryside, no cellphone reception, some beach, some hiking, some castle - a complete British holiday in two days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Circus !

In a span for 4 weeks I watched two circuses (not the one with animals, only people doing weird but entertaining stuff).

I watched a massive circus production in a large auditorium last month. They had web pages full of descriptions of each character and the idea and conception of the circus. It was good, really good. And I haven't seen circus since I don't remember when, so I was impressed. But all the shows were of very few people, some even just one or two people shows. It was far away and it was hard to see up close. I enjoyed it though.

I watched a circus on Saturday, in a small tent with a small gathering of people. It was absolutely breathtaking. It was beautifully presented and had everything I would expect in circus except the trapeze but to make up for the trapeze they had three people on three poles do incredible things. The fire show was the best. It's always been my favourite and it was wonderfully done.

The music was created on stage, as is with all circuses. And all in all they are 7/8 performers and may be a couple behind the scenes making it barely a 10 member troupe. All of this was happening so close you could touch them and some of the shows happen above your head.

If I had to choose one word: exhilarating.

Monday, August 05, 2013


I felt it's time I needed a new header. But I haven't been doing much lately except, working, watching movies and reading books. And since I can't talk about work and movies are not much to add to, books is all I have.

So here is a header with my bookshelf. It doesn't have too many books because I usually borrow from the library here (there are 4 books on the shelf that I borrowed from the library and 1 that I borrowed from a friend). But to compensate for 10,000 books I added my kindle too...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Illusions and Art: Leandro Erlich

Leandro Erlich has some really interesting ideas about art. He plays with light and mirrors and creates illusions for art. It's beautiful and fascinating; one needs to be really smart to do this. You can check out some his work on his webpage. I especially love his "Double Tea".

Recently I found on the web that he has an installation in Dalston, called the Dalston House. After reading up on the web I really wanted to see it. It's basically the front wall of a house to the scale and complete with a door and a few windows, placed on the ground. Attached to it is an equally scaled clear mirror at 45 degrees. So whatever is on the floor is visible on the mirror like as if it is standing up on the ground at 90 degrees, ie the front wall of the house.

A few of us went to Dalston on a sweltering hot sunny day. There was a long queue for the installation. A long queue not to see it but to take pictures on it. So people lie on it and take pictures of the reflection and it will look like you are falling off the building or something. Here is the fascinating part. You can take the same picture instead of the floor and put it up on Facebook and you can still make it look like you are falling off a building because, well a photograph is a reflection too. For example, I have a picture of me like I m falling down and I'm trying to grasp anything I can reach while I am actually lying on the floor on my back and pretending to be falling.

As for the installation itself, it's right there. The scale of it is amazing. And guess what it is exactly like what I saw on the web. So it is a fascinating piece of art but I felt the trip to Dalston was wasted.

But Leandro Elrich fascinates me almost as much as Dale Chihuly and I will go to his exhibitions in London if they ever happen.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Facebook forwards and Lord Macaulay

Recently I noticed this picture doing the rounds on Facebook.

I must say I was surprised. I assumed it was hoax. I tried to look up the Parliament archives. But before that I saw a lot of articles about this issue. It's an old forward, very very old. Obviously given it is claimed to be some 1835 archive.

The forward is clearly fake.
For the following reasons given by many people (who claim this is purely faked by Hindu Nationalists):
1. Lord Macaulay was in India on this date and stayed in India a few years staring 1834, that includes 2nd Feb 1835 so he could not have addressed the British Parliament.
2. Lord Macaulay would not have been addressed as Lord then because he was not a lord yet.
3. And most importantly, that this was not his exact quotation.

and many more reasons I do not want to give benefit to, but basically surrounding other fringe points as above.

Also many claim that it could have possibly been mis-linked to a report he produced called the "minute on education" about Indian form of education where in he talks of Hindoos learning Sanskrit and various Sanskrit scriptures and similarly Arabic and Islamic laws.

If we were to look at the spirit and not the letter, this so called "forward" was not forwarded because it was Lord Macaulay (I doubt how many would know of him, I heard his name but I had to google him to know who exactly he was). It wasn't forwarded because it was said on 2nd Feb 1835 or that it was addressed to the British Parliament.

It was forwarded for what it said in the matter of the words and not in the words itself. It is true that there is no documentary proof for what Lord Macaulay said (he might have said the same exact words). But in his Minute on Education, he does talk of Indian education. He does talk of how proud Indians are and how useless it is for British to try to conquer India while they are still proud of their cultural heritage. He instead suggests that British create an English educated class of people who feel that English as a language and everything else British is far more sophisticated and elite than being purely Indian in education and culture and that would be needed to be able to break this country.

In spirit he had said those words, and much much more.

So it's up to you when you read this that you would rise up and say it's a hoax or it is true that is indeed a strategy that was adopted. If "divide and rule" was an acceptable strategy why do you find it so hard to believe they had used this strategy as well?

Update: Incidentally a book will be launched recently, a biography of Macaulay by Dr Zareer Masani. If I end up going to the launch, I might witness some interesting debate.