Saroja Gulaal Nikaalo

Hello Everybody,


Advance apologies for a generally rambling, pointless, rudderless, multi-topicked post on many things in general and nothing in particular. Since the seminal “How to attract blog readers and influence millions” told me that individual blog posts must be

  • Focussed on a single theme like a sniper rifle on its target in order to be linkable – Blog aggregators (like Desipundit, Blogbharti etc) will have trouble writing summaries for your post if it deals with multiple, unrelated topics.
  • Have a kickass start, six-pack middle and mind-blowing end in strangely reversed anatomical order.

I have decided to follow those rules religiously. So this post will deal with

  • Holi,
  • Concerts at Tambram weddings
  • Fusion music

Friday was Holi, a spring festival where people throw coloured powders that symbolically contain Neem, Kumkum and Turmeric but really contain Lead Oxide, Copper Sulphate and Aluminium Bromide instead, on each other. Yet another fine example of the great Indian tradition of carrying forward the ritual meaning while leaving behind the rational significance of using real herbs to immunize people against the coming diseases of summer.

But hey, leaving aside the toxic chemical hazard, it is a festival of colours, a chromatic orgy of fun, games and bhang.

My friends in Delhi also inform me that it is also the one day when you can surreptitiously make physical contact with women without being accused of harassment or eve-teasing.

Do Holi colours also have subliminal psychological overtones? For e.g, does Rinku smear Bunty with a lot of green to suggest that she doesn’t quite appreciate his flirtatious overtures with Goldy? Or does Monty hint at his upcoming poor board-exam results by covering his father with red? I don’t know, but it’s an area that deserves some serious research funding.

And as somebody who knows a few design folks, all of whom suffer from an annual migraine at looking at the random, uncoordinated riot of colour that is Holi, I propose that we create a “Color safe Holi Zone” where there will be strict adherence to colour palettes such as


I can imagine conversations such as

Designer 1: Happy Holi (and attempts to smear a shade of bright green on Designer 2)

Designer 2: Hang on a minute. Is that #BCDD11? You’ve got to be kidding me. Did you even see the other colours on me? If you’ve got #E6FF0D I’m ok. Or even #D2FF00 for that matter, but #BCDD11 is a strict no no.

And on Sunday, I attended a wedding where the backdrop was provided by the bride and groom collecting gift tea sets from invitees and the background music was provided by Mandolin U Rajesh playing fusion music.

For the uninitiated, the definition of Carnatic Fusion music:

A genre of music where the brahmin carnatic notes steadfastly refuse to mix and harmonize with the non-brahmin western notes and instead, continue to live in the agrahaaram of the usual Raaga alaapanaas and kalpanaa swaraas while the rest of the band tries to figure out if Am and Dm go well with Natabhairavi.

But to be fair to U Rajesh, he is an incredible instrumentalist and it’s not really his fault. There were two problems there:

1. The is a difference between Carnatic and Western music that most musicians seem to completely ignore – Let me explain that with a graphic.


So, carnatic notes slide around on roller skates performing acrobatic pirouettes called Gamakam and Brigaa while the poor western ones are stuck with plain old legs. And in party where there are people who wear both plain old shoes and roller skates, I’d imagine that there will be quite a few unseemly collisions.

And that is usually what happens at most “fusion” concerts.

2. The whole thing about concerts at weddings: Picture this.

  • Musical notes are are sent out from U Rajesh’ instrument go on a bold journey to the listener’s ear.
  • Non-musical notes such as discussions about Soap serials, the birde’s saree, the quality of filter coffee, and the upcoming annual 22-yard Monsoon (the seasonal rain that arrives in Chennai as soon as an international cricket match is announced) form a loud, chaotic queue in front of the listener’ ear.
  • Musical notes plead – “Please let us pay a visit to the Shrine of the Ear”
  • Non-musical notes retort – “Get in the queue. We ain’t done yet”.
  • So while the A minor scale and Natabhairavi wait in queue, a particularly nasty non-musical note whispers “Did you have dinner? Please have dinner before you go” into the listener’s ear.
  • Listener leaves to go eat some food (and waste a lot), leaving behind disconsolate notes that wither and die a sad death

So I strongly urge people to stop these wanton deaths and instead, play a CD at weddings.