Rs 500 = Volume Knob. Rs 100 = Mute Button.

I need to introduce all of you to The Tanglish Word of the Day

deal-la vudradhu (To leave in deal) – v.t, to ingloriously dump somebody, to cheat, to escape, to con, to defraud, to finagle, to shaft, to cozen, to ematthufy, to sterling-teak-treefy, to take money and not deliver the goods, to take Rs 100 and turn the speakers off in the Music Academy balcony during November Fest 2007.

And that (turning off speakers) is exactly what the organizers (The Hindu) did for the last 2 days at the November Fest. According to them, only the expensive socialite-style cotton-saree wearing, Chanel nr. 5 sporting, cropped-hair maamis with big bindis and kurta wearing, peter-vudufying maamas who can afford to spend Rs 500 a ticket are customers worth paying attention to. We repeatedly tried telling the organizers to do a bit of a sound check in the balcony because, um, up there, the concert sounded like, well, the music traveled through a filter that had a big red “Ultra Mute” button. But this was the sound engineer’s response – “Sir. I have instructed by the organizers to focus the speakers only on the lower floor, and because you were totally kanjapisnaari (miserly) enough to buy Rs 100 tickets, you deserve it, muahahaha”. He didn’t say that in so many words, but hey, I can read subtitles, you know. Enough said. Shame on you, The Hindu.

But. Wait. I looked at their logo.


And realized there was some fine print that I had missed. So I zoomed into the bottom right corner, and


I am ashamed. I take my accusation against The Hindu back.

That said, let me get to the actual music. Mrigya was at its usual amaklamatic awesome best – brilliant instrumentalists backed up by some great voices – the soaring Sufiyana of Ghulam Qader and the rich Hindustani classical of Sukriti Sen. The violinist, Sharat Chandra, was incredible as well, although I felt that the band tends to overuse him a bit. The lead guitarist was awesome as well, but since The Hindu ruled that Rs 100 ticket holders are not allowed to listen to him, we couldn’t actually hear anything from up there. But from the speed of his finger movements, I could say that he was pretty good.

The second band I saw was a Korean crossover ensemble called “The Forest“. Since the band members only spoke Korean, they had a translator on stage who would translate their Korean into Korean-with-the-occasional-English-word. But it was good fun. Their music was atmospheric, ambient, ethereal and other such adjectives. The Koto, an instrument that looked like the one by those blind assassins in the movie Kung-fu Hustle, sounded amazing, and so did the big bamboo flutes. There was also a 2-string high-tremolo Kottanguchi that, when played, transports the audience to the places featured in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.