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Archive for November, 2008

“Let’s visit Vivaldi first, and then I’ll take you to Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Chopin, Schubert and the others.” If you’re wondering whether this is a dialogue from a musical sci-fi movie dealing with time-travel, I wouldn’t blame you. It could very well have been. Only, this was what Jerry Silvester Vincent, a student at the Khwaja Moinuddin (KM) Conservatory – founded by A.R Rahman – told me as he began taking me on a fulfilling three-hour-long reconnaissance of the institution.

 As it turned out, Jerry was referring to the different classrooms in the conservatory that have been named after renowned music composers! So apart from the ones above, there’s Beethoven, Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartok, Verdi, Mahler and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (the room for Hindustani music classes).

Jerry playing Bach in Mozart!

Jerry playing Bach in Mozart!

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The wall on the landing of the third floor, proudly displays a century-old Soth & Homa clock and the corridor leading to the bedroom and the adjoining workshop, is lined with antique wall clocks. Some are working, others not quite, and every piece shows a different time, unlike the regular clock shops where each one smiles down at you. The staggered ticking of the numerous clocks, almost make it seem that time moves in each one in strange and inconsistent ways. Adagio here, Lento in some, allegro in others, and halte in that one. A walk in the corridor seems like a time travel of sorts in a time-warped zone. The quarterly, half-hourly, and hourly chimes of the various clocks indicating noon, half past ten or quarter past two, in a span of a few minutes, is perhaps what is meant by bending space and time!

Corridor of Uncertainty

Corridor of Uncertainty

On entering the workshop adjoining the bedroom you find 65-year-old Promesse Jauhar working intently at his desk. A soldering iron in hand he repairs a wrist watch, looking through a monocular magnifying eye-piece. Promesse is a teacher by profession, but antique clocks fascinate him. He has been buying, repairing and selling them for over 35 years now. (more…)

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The five ageing leaves of Indian cricket: Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble. Five leaves in autumn, braving the winds of change that are blowing.  Look! Two of them are falling. Oh how graciously they fall. In this journey, so short, from the branch to the ground, how they wear a final beauty. And despite the terror of mixing with the earth, want that this last fall has all the grace of a flight! five-leaves

Kumble’s 18-year-old journey came to an end at the Feroze Shah Kotla and Ganguly is bidding adieu at Nagpur as he follows suit, floating down gently, savouring every memory of a long life on a branch of Indian cricket. They have weathered storms of all kinds and have emerged scathed, tired, tested but ultimately, I’d like to believe, satisfied. It will take long to fill the gaps they have left and the branches look that much emptier and poorer by their absence. (more…)

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It was the day of the recent blasts in Assam. Our batch of eleven students here at the Asian College of Journalism was divided into pairs. Our assignment was to track, select and edit the day’s stories as they broke, and design a news page as if it were coming out the next day.

We set to work at ten in the morning, and tracked the stories on the internet, browsing and refreshing the sites of the following: NDTV, CNN-IBN, Reuters India, Press Trust of India (PTI), Indo Asian News Service (IANS), UNI, The Hindu, The Indian Express…

The flow of news was sluggish in the morning, and we only had some follow up stories of the previous day’s news. We were grumbling and cribbing about the lack of any newsworthy items and were eagerly waiting for something to happen. The trickle of news bored us and it wasn’t long before we were tracking gmail, gtalk, facebook, yahoo, solitaire and minesweeper with single-pointed concentration!

That is until the news channels flashed the breaking news of the serial blasts in Assam. We finally had some hard news and, in a strange way that I feel ashamed of now, (I felt it even then) we were almost glad that we had a story to track, edit and lay out on the page. It was undoubtedly the lead story, and would definitely feature in all newspapers the following morning. (more…)

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