Okay old habits die hard - Like being a total dufus! Perhaps a hipster dufus but dufus none the less - When Krishna told me about "the ruby" he wasn't talking about a rock - It was a metaphor for his sweetheart - And she is very pretty - The other smooth move of the day was when I went to a local "High Class A-1 Vegetaerian" Cafe and sat at a table with a couple of technical engineers who took pity on me - I was having some sort of veggie dosai - eating with my right hand of course when they started to order more food - all sorts of great stuff - electric red cauliflower that made me eyes pop out - but DON'T DRINK THAT WATER MAN! - I was having a rough time tearing me pancake when unbeknownst to me the left hand lept off my lap to hold the thing down while I tore away - A look of mild disgust was mirrored back to me suddenly - Whoops! "Okay that one is yours," they said. In return for their kindness I thought I'd invite them back to the hotel and give them a couple CD's but they instantly balked - Who knows - all American serial killers must look alike to these guys - They said they'd see me around the cafe sometime - So back to the hotel for more practice of Carnatic scales - Slowly learning the Kalyani raga -C-D-E-F#-G-A-B- C' - It's not the notes that get me its the slide or the "gurry" [not to be confused with curry!] And of course going up is different than coming down [As any acid head from long ago will tell you] BTW the coffee is amazing - heavy on the milk and sugar but damn good rocket fuel - Helps while trying to keep up with these fantastic Carnatic percussionists - I've never been one for "fusion" ala Chick Corea's Return to Forever and Stan Clark is really somethin' but these guys have it going on on a profound level - woven into the DNA - the science behind the soul is astounding - Or is it the other way'round?
Late night TV has been blowing my mind - At 3 AM I'm wide awake running scales (better than the runs -which I have been here about 5 days - it's easy to lose track of time and can happily say - without tempting fate - that my digestion has been find - thank you) You never know what you're going to see here - but chances are its not a music viddy its of a spiritual or religious nature - on top of all the Hindi stations you have 2 24/7 Christian stations preaching to the hoplessley uninterested. - then there's a wide variety of guru types - But wait a minute - this is way whack! 4 Men dressed like kings in golden crowns with giant earrings holding staffs - but the dude in the middle is shouting some kind of opera to the sound of a lone droning harmonium - the production is cheap - "Dark Shaows" cheap reminiscent of SCTV's "Monster Chiller Theater" with Count Floyd - Okay I think I get it now - the guy on the left must be Arjuna and the blue cat in the middle shouting operatically must be the Lord Krishna himself but somehow not nearly as charasmatic and handsome as his posters would lead you to believe - He kind of looks more like Abe Lincoln, standing outside that run down motel bearing his name in Newark by the train station - There's another guy to his right that looks like the George Jefferson of Tamil Nadu - I can't call this singing - more like a bunch of Israelis yelling at each other at a deli in Woodstock, NY I once ate at but still remember to this day - not for the food but just how rude and harsh a human voice can sound
Okay the water is back on! A minor miracle in itself - Watching local news - the news anchor is in the "News Pit" which sounds about right. The top news stories here vary a bit than back in the states - A woman tried to immolate herself after her brother died for apparently no reason, AKA Friendly Fire in the army - she was stopped by a journalist who kicked the lighter from her hand just in time - Hey - lets see it again - He was wearing Nikes by the way. Then another woman pissed off at the government for one of a trillion possible reasons has been on a hunger strike for 17 days - I guess that's long enough to impress those in power to consider her case and now she has called off her extreme tactics for the time being - This Just In - Deep Purple rocked Mumbai last night - Deep Purple! Smoke on the Water? and I'm busting me brains out trying to play Carnatic music? Also dancing penguins from some big American film are all the rage here - They segued that story into a piece on an Indian explorer - the first to go to the North Pole and Antarctica
A long wild auto-rickshaw ride to the Mylapore Fine Arts Club - which looks a lot like the kind of corregated steel roof auditoriums one plays at State Fairs in the Midwest - rows and rows of blue plastic bucket seats bolted to the floor - Came to hear a young husband and wife mandolin team - UP Raju & Nagamani (distant relatives of Shrinivas) with amazing mrdangam (long drum, held on lap) player, a cousin of Ganesh - N Ramakrishnan and kangira (Indian tambourine) player Papanasam they had nice new looking solid body mandolins - and reminded me a bit - to put it in lame American perspective of Allman Brothers - double guitars/drums "elizabeth Reed" era. Now its off in a chauffered airconditioned ride to visit U. Shrinivas and U. Rajesh at their home - They are playing tomorrow night - This is really a blast - Tea with India's great mandolin brothers - I'll let you know how it goes soon