Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Great Indian Wedding

I went for a friend’s wedding in Madras this morning. It was Tamil Brahmin Iyer wedding, and an early morning ‘muhurtham’ meant I was able to make it only for the latter half of the ceremony. Tamil Brahmins have a whole load of ceremonies that are included in the ‘upgrade’ of the selected pair from bachelorhood to coupledom. It’s a long list, and if you’re interested, you can catch them here. Weddings might be boring affairs for some people, tiring and long even, but they are also very meaningful, especially this kind. Also, at the end of the day, I guess there is a reason why every Tom, Dick and Gurinder Chadha make millions out of The Great Indian Wedding. They are quite a sight and a very social affair, with women decked up to the neck in rich silks and beautiful jewellery, and men on their best behaviour – one reason why weddings are often hunting grounds for prospective brides and grooms. Of course, North Indian weddings are radically different from South Indian ones, and within those regions, greater differences exist, so let’s not get into that!

So, as I was saying, the wedding was very nice. The bride had called me up a couple of weeks go when she landed from New York for her wedding to ask if I could make it, and though I haven’t seen much of her the last few years, what stayed with me from my past was that she was a gem of a person. So I made the trip here, and I’m glad I did.

At the end of the day, that’s what I’d like to be remembered as – a really nice person. She really is. I hope she has a wonderful married life.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I'm afraid I can't come out to get your order ... I'm 150 miles away

I was in the US last month and went to a McDonald’s drive-in one day to get lunch. It’s quite interesting the way a voice booms out of this box, you rattle off your order, then proceed to the next window to pay and collect your order, all in the span of less than 5 minutes. In 5 minutes, it’s all done and dusted, your hunger satisfied.

I thought of that day again when I read this. I think they’re now taking technology a bit too far – literally. We’ve all heard of business process outsourcing (a.k.a call centres), but McDonald’s is now ‘outsourcing’ exactly what I spoke about above – the ordering of fast-food! Read The Long Distance Journey of a Fast Food Order. Time travel won’t be too far away. Mark my words!

Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music

I haven’t blogged in a while – so hello all of you out there who still bother to check this blog. I’ve been keeping myself busy with work and travel. Most recently, I went here. The Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music in the outskirts of Bangalore last weekend, was an experience that I suppose many people have had the good fortune to experience, possibly multiple times, but I was a first-timer there and boy was I glad I went. There is something about sitting in an amphitheatre watching performances under a banyan tree in the middle of almost-nowhere that is soul-breaking and soul-making at the same time. Soul-breaking because it made me feel that I’d been wasting a lot of my life so far, and soul-making because some of it was music that I’d never heard before – and I’m talking jazz, Sufi, Hindustani classical, alternative soul, indo-western fusion, instrumental (and what instruments – drum beats that are primordial, tribal, whatever you’d like to call it, the flute that sounded like it was singing your song, trumpets, the sax, harmonicas – instruments that I don’t hear on a day-to-day basis that sounded so strong, real and melodious I wished I knew how to play them all).

If you’re slightly high (on whatever, let’s not elaborate now), then so much the better!