Mood Indigo-2012 Day1

As the title of this blog suggests I am extremely audiophilic. I am simply crazy about good music (and I have no qualms about stating this very often πŸ˜› ).. Mood Indigo is the Annual Cultural Festival of IIT Bombay and it is pretty much the largest Cultural festival of India, attracting participants and artistes all over the world. I love MoodI because of the amazing music concerts it has. Wasn’t disappointed this year either.MoodI day 1 had these wonderful treats for musiclovers:

  • MI Studio :Β  This was a fusion music recital featuring two unique and extremely fascinating instruments, the Jaltarang played mesmerisingly by Sandeep Dicholkar and the Hang played by a Slovenian gentleman whose name eludes me. Ragas played on the JalTarang were Kirwani and ShivRanjini. The Hang ( I didn’t know such an instrument existed until I actually saw it ) can be used to play rythm as well as melody. The Slovenian gent’s dexterous fingers did such an amazing job that it almost felt like two instruments being played in sync, one rythm and the other leads(melody). This ended with an amazing jugal bandi of the two instruments.(loosely based on ShivRanjini)
  • Trania and Snehashish Majumdar: Trania, a 3 member band collaborated with Mandolin and guitar player, Snehashish to create some fantastic jazzy Indian Classical (yes, it is as amazing as the name sounds πŸ™‚ ). Snehashish who has been playing Classical raagas on his guitar/mandolin since a long time teamed up with Trania to jazz up the atmosphere with novel improvisations. Definitely a #win
  • Talavya: Talavya as the name suggests, is about ‘taala’. This 5 member band headed by the son of Pt Divyang Vakil, takes tabla playing to a new level. With four tablas and one harmonium, they played a rich variety of taalas (rythmic cycles), including vilambit, madhya lay, dhrut and finally ending with a superb crescendo of ati-dhrut. A sonorous harmonium melody (desh raag I think) kept playing in the background giving the tabla playing a good melodious base.
  • Pt VishwaMohan Bhatt: Vishwa Mohan(winner or more appropriately charmer of the world) indeed, he is a living example of what human genius can achieve. Pt Vishwa CREATED the instrument he plays. Adding many more strings to an acoustic guitar (taking the number from 6 to 20 !), he designed the ‘Mohan Veena’ or ‘Slide Guitar’. He played Raag Maru Bihaag beginning with a slow aalaap and then increasing the tempo gradually, soaring gracefully to the dhrut and finally with a ‘gamak'(which was an ode to thunder clouds, he evoked the sound and feel of the thunder, rain and lightning in the most amazing way possible). Next he sang (yes, he can sing too, wasn’t aware of it before) a Maand, Kesariya Baalam, a folk song from his native Rajasthan. Then came two beautiful numbers from his Grammy award winning fusion musc album, ‘A meeting by the river’ (collaboration with Ry Cooder). Pt Vishwa signed off with Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana. Mohan Veena totally rocks ! πŸ™‚ And Pt Vishwa is a true ‘Sultan of Strings’ (Dire Straits fan πŸ™‚ ), he looks like one too and he plays like the Greatest Sultan Ever !! Only two of my friends I know appreciate and enjoy Classical music as much as I do, both of them were out of town. Had to go alone therefore, nonetheless, enjoyed it thoroughly.

Shantaram #NowReading

I had always wanted to read this book, but was always daunted by the size of it. Not that I am afraid of big books, but I prefer to begin reading them when I know I can read them slowly and peacefully, taking in a page, savoring it and then musing on its splendor (well only if it is a book worth savoring, of course πŸ˜‰ ) Shantaram is one book definitely worth savoring. This almost autobiographical account of an Australian gentleman (the writer, Gregory David Roberts, once the most wanted man in Australia for armed robbery πŸ˜› ) traces his journey through life after he escapes from his high security prison cell and ends up in Mumbai with a forged passport. He befriends his travel guide, Prabaker and explores the famous (and the not so famous) places of the city, falls in love with a pretty but mysterious woman,Karla, visits the travel guide’s village at his behest and ends up spending six months there, gets rechristened as ‘Shantaram’ (as he is blessed with peaceful happiness according to Prabaker’s mother), gets drunk and robbed of all his money on his way back, and ends up living in a Mumbai slum. Even after making enough money to get out of the filthy slum, he continues to live there and develops a deep and unexpected connect with the people there. Eventually he is befriended by Abdel Khader Khan, a mafia boss (fondly known as Khaderbhai, and an intriguing character himself). I have read only this far, and it has been one hell of a ride ! I am really looking forward to know how the story unfolds. The book has amazing pieces of thoughtful musings and words of wisdom that keeps reminding Shantaram to rise to become the man who he isn’t but indeed wants to be.. Here’s a couple of such pieces:

β€œSometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”

β€œLove is the opposite of power. That’s why we fear it so much.”

Checking if two strings are anagrams in Python (Also for checking if a list has duplicates)

Python has two really nifty datatypes namely strings and lists that can handle a variety of tasks. For eg: if you want to check if two strings are anagrams.

Convert the string to lists, an iterable can be converted into list by list()

Sort both lists and simply check if they are equal.. Done !

To check if a list has duplicates, sorting the list comes handy again. We can simply sort the list and then check if consecutive elements are equal if so, we can directly say that we have duplicates! Easy wasn’t it? πŸ™‚

An interesting method to do this I came across online was to make a letter histogram. Given two words, we want to determine if they are anagrams.. Lets make an int array of length 26(corresponding to each letter of the alphabet) all initialised to zero. Traverse through the first string, increment each corresponding integer variable, next traverse through the next list and go on decrementing the corresponding integer values.. If finally all elements are zero, we say we have anagrams, else we don’t.. Easy right? πŸ™‚