Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shanghai Expo ..

Sorry for the week's absence. I was in Shanghai the last few days to attend a technology conference and got an opportunity to visit the Shanghai Expo. It was an exhilarating experience !

First impressions of Shanghai :

a) State of art infrastructure and amazing variety in architecture. From skyscrapers to French style town houses to HK style tall apartments, the heterogeneity is mind boggling.

b) The city has a great mix of old world and new age feel.

The Expo defies description. It is so massive that it would take at least two weeks to see it all. The China, Saudi pavilions stood out with their unique architecture. Wish I had spent more time there. Now off to San Francisco for a few days.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Photos of Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and continues to be a mecca for music lovers. Even without its musical heritage, its still a beloved place. What a beautiful small town feel with lovely rivers and hills!

Here are some photos from my Salzburg trip.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Open - An autobiography by Andre Agassi

Autobiographies can be very tricky. Authors tend to balance " Candor" and " Political correctness" and in the end create a mashup that looks confusing.

Andre Agassi's autobiography is very different from any other book that I have read. Its the outpouring of a tormented soul who hated tennis with all his heart yet became a darling of the masses. The more he hated the sport and rebeled against it, the more fans he acquired. In this riveting book he tells it all and doesn't spare anyone, including himself. The characters that stand out in the book are his dominating father, demanding coach Nick, trainer Gil and his glamorous ex-wife - Brooke Shields.

He displays scant respect for his opponents and lays bare his feelings for them all. Sorry, if you are looking for a " politically correct" book , this isn't one. The charm of this book is that he makes his enormous tennis talent look so simple. With the exception of Sampras & Federer, there ain't a champion like Agassi in the last 20 years of Tennis.

Andre, give that soul some rest and heal the wounds. Don't hate the game so much. We all love you either way.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swarnalatha - RIP

It takes something as shocking as this to get me off my stupor. A brilliant talent cut short by the quirk of fate.

The fact that she hasn't sung much in the last few years makes me suspect that she has been suffering from some kind of an ailment for a long time. I first took notice of her not through the popular " Aatama Ther Otama" but the mellifluous " Maalayil Yaaro Manathodu Pesa" from Kshatriyan. The song is one of Raja's gems - a phenomenal melody that could tranquil and transport you to a different heaven.

Superhit songs such as " Povoma Oorgolam" and " Rakkamma" followed adding more variety to her repertoire. Rahman gave her some wondeful songs such as " Porale ponnuthai" ( for which she won a national award) and " Evano oruvan".

My personal favorite of Swarnalatha is the haunting melody from Rajini's movie Valli , the song " Ennulle Ennulle". Set to the raga Keeravani ( My favorite raga) with fantastic orchestration, the song brought the best out of Swarnalatha. A song that you could hear again and again - anytime of the day.

May her soul rest in peace. I am always envious of artistes because they never die. They continue to live with us through their creative works.