Archive for October, 2007

Bangalore media – Newspapers & now Magazines & then what?

Once upon a time there was only Deccan Herald & a few others. For most of us who had to know anything that is happening in Bangalore we would either have to wait for the newspaper the next morning or switch on to the 7.30 regional news on Doordarshan. Needless to say a lot has changed since.

Economic Times…in the future, in the present

I had, a few days ago, posted on my blog about how Indian Airlines had made all the dates –October 25, 26 and 27– Fridays…

Well, today it is the turn of the Economic Times…

eco times wrong day 301007

Datewise, they are in the present…daywise, they are two days in the future! Someone did a great job of picturing all those ants across the banner and forgot to match the day and date! ….Invite.

Big brand, no message


You must have seen the “Standard Fireworks” hoardings in town – supposedly a visibility exercise before Diwali. A small line on the hoarding says “the finest since 1942”, which makes it a brand that’s 65 years old. It also means familiarity across a wide age spectrum – from today’s 10 year old, to someone who is eighty, or more.

So, what’s the point I’m trying to make ?

When you have a brand that’s practically a household word, how should you be spending your advertising money? The answer : intelligently and responsibly.

Instead of a boring slap-the-logo-on-the-hoarding exercise, the brand owners could have worked on a safety theme for Diwali. Every year we read about accidents during Diwali, that could have been prevented with a little more awareness.

Another soft spot for fire-cracker manufacturers is the child labour angle. So, if the brand owners are squeaky-clean on this issue, that’s another useful theme for the communications.

Okay, even if all this is hard to fathom in terms of strategy and logic, I think the hoardings could have at least carried one simple message : “Happy Diwali !”

Nostalgic about the 90’s

Those who moved to Bangalore a decade or so back feel a generation older than the newcomers. They even talk like that. “You know, those days Bangalore was not so crowded. No traffic at all, I could get to MG road in 10 minutes…. All these IT companies have contributed to the worsening situation…”
The city was quite nice during the last century! When I first landed in Bangalore, we stayed a week in Koramangala. It was a dark and lonely place. Really! Just one restaurant at the nearby BDA complex.
It felt so cool in summer, we wore sweaters in July. And the roads, they were so clean, I used to admire the BMP pourakarmikas doing a thorough job, early in the morning.

Some things are the same, the beautiful trees still cover the roads with flowers every spring. There are still lots of beautiful parks. Vendors on carts selling hot bhuttas or fresh vegetables…just that we don’t have the time to notice those anymore.

The Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival

The Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival has been a vibrant week of many types of plays, platform shows, and exhibitions in the foyer.

Here are some vignettes from the days at Ranga Shankara….

The foyer has been beautifully decorated, and some beautiful figures welcome you in….

Decorations for RS theatre festival 19-281007

Here’s another outsized puppet figure:

RS decoration old man

Navratri Bommai Kollu Festival


Every year, I drop by at a friend’s house near Malleswaram, to see her Dassara display of dolls. A couple of days ago, I found Prabha sitting by her collection wondering how she would lower the curtains on “Bommai Kollu”, now that the 9-day festival was over. “The process takes me a good four hours,” she said, explaining that each doll had to be individually wrapped in soft liners and snug paper rolls and then placed inside a specially created trunk. “Every year, this is one job that gives us mixed feelings,” she mused. (I can understand that, because for a little more than a week, the display gets pride of place at home. It’s a feeling of visual euphoria that’s hard to describe.)

Prabha Venugopal’s display had more dolls than I could count at one stretch. There was a Pongal set, Dasha Avatara, Kall Alagar Utsavam, Krishna dancing with the Gopikas (Rasleela); a set of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman; a wedding collection and several individual displays that included Siva, Parvati, Durga; Lord Srinivas with Sridevi and Bhoodevi.

She actually had tears in her eyes when she exchanged glances with her husband and daughter, who helped her showpiece a collection that has taken them years to put together. The dolls would now have to go back into their wraps.

Musafir: The journey of a photographer

‘Musafir’ is a photographic odyssey of the mind, body and soul of four wandering photographers, captured through their lenses. From the dusty adventures of the deserts to the quiet evenings of the orient, a varied canvas of discoveries of places, people and self is documented in this journey.

‘Musafir’, a photography exhibition, is being organised at the “Chitra Kala Parishath” in Bangalore on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of November, 2007. The exhibition will be at hall No.4 and open everyday from 10am to 7pm.

Lack of Transparency in Ranga Shankara Ticket Bookings

Ranga Shankara, as part of this year’s ongoing Theatre Festival, has free platform performances before the 3.30pm and 7.30pm shows, and as an innovation, have introduced two more shows, one at 10pm and the other at 11pm.

Today, online, I saw that tickets to the 10 pm show were s limited to 30 viewers only. The tickets, according to the notice, would be available from 2.30 pm at Ranga Shankara. I could not understand the logic behind restricting the audience to 30, but I accepted that, and Idecided to buy tickets.

So I asked for tickets at the counter at 2.30pm, while buying tickets for tonight (7.30 pm ) and tomorrow (3.30pm AND 7.30 pm) shows.

I was told that I would have to come half an hour before the show to buy tickets.

I found this strange. When I am coming all the way to Ranga Shankara at the time specified to buy tickets, I think I should be able to buy them.

I decided to talk to Arundhati Nag about it, and after the play, I asked her why I could not buy a ticket at the venue at the time specified. Her reply was, “There are only 10 tickets.”

I find this very mystifying. If the tickets were not on sale at the ticket counter, how did the 30 tickets shrink to 10? Were only 10 people allowed for the show in the first place? I would like to understand the process by which this happened.

Arundhati asked me if I would be downstairs, and then got busy with other things. I waited upstairs for 15 minutes, and downstairs for another 15 minutes. I then approached the counter again, and was told the same thing again…I had to come half an hour before the show to buy a ticket.

If no less a person that Arundhati herself mentioned that there were only 10 tickets available, why were these tickets not for sale even two hours after the time mentioned online?

And if these tickets were also sold in the same mysterious fashion that the other 20 were sold, without their ever being available at the counter, what were the odds of my getting a ticket to such a limited-audience showing if I came back to Ranga Shankara half an hour before the show? Even if I came five minutes late, I would not be able to get them. I would have made another trip to Ranga Shankara at 9pm for nothing, and would also have the problem of getting back home at that time. I decided not to take a chance with trying for tickets.

What is the reason for this lack of transparency in the way the tickets are being sold?

I do not want to “know” Important Person A, or B, or C, in order to be able to get tickets at Ranga Shankara. I want as an average, ordinary theatregoer, to be able to get tickets in a completely transparent fashion. If tickets are sold out, that, too, should be publicly announced. I do not like the elitism of saying that I got tickets because of my contacts.

And I find it very strange that Arundhati Nag says 10 tickets are available, but those tickets are not on sale at the counter. Does this mean that unless I have “contacts”, I cannot attend the 10 pm shows?

Though I was very interested in the 10pm show, and I went to Ranga Shankara at the time tickets should have been available, I had to come away without the tickets. I find it very hard to understand why.

Update: the counter opened for the tickets half an hour before the 9.30pm show; only 10 tickets were available, and the first person in the queue bought five. At this, the others in the queue protested, saying that they had come just for this, and were waiting; if they were not to get tickets, they should have been told so. After this, one ticket was given to each person in the queue.

I really cannot understand this kind of artificial scarcity-creation.

Team Ranga Shankara…you need to look into your ticket-vending procedures and put a stop this kind of opacity.

Of Goddesses & Ulsoor Lake

If you did a double take on the title, I wouldn’t blame you. The similarity with my earlier post aside, I can assure you that what follows in this post will make you even more aghast.

On my way home after a filling lunch yesterday, I came across the culmination of Durga Pooja celebrations by our Bengali brethren. Couldn’t help but screech to a halt to take pictures of the event. The first of the idols were arriving at the ‘Kalyani’ section of Ulsoor lake for immersion. There was lots of dancing and merrymaking. More revelry was visible than an occasion that called for piety or devotion. Is this what our festivals have come to? Anyway, thats another issue for discussioni. Meanwhile, here’s a first hand look at the events yesterday (pls. excuse me for not setting the right date in the digicam) followed by pictures taken today that reveal the extent of the devastating effect of these immersions.

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