Showing posts from 2015

The Gloaming - live in Philadelphia, 11/10/2015

This post was originally written for Top Five Records. You can read it here.


Traditional Irish is probably not a genre of music that I am very well acquainted with. Far from it, in fact - it's a style of music that I'd honestly never heard before. But then, last weekend, I had the opportunity to go for such a concert, and given my propensity to explore newer styles and genres, I decided to make full use of it.

The Gloaming was formed in 2011 by an eclectic group of musicians who having already established themselves in their individuals careers, had decided to experiment with stretching the limits of traditional Irish music and presenting it to a wider audience. They are a five-man ensemble comprising of fiddle master Martin Hayes, guitarist Dennis Cahill, singer Iarla Ó , Lionáird, viola/hardanger innovator Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and New York pianist Thomas Bartlett.

As I mentioned, I am a complete stranger to traditional Irish music, but the manner in which they  melded  …

Lorem Ipsum - cooking, Philly and turning older.

It's been a few months since I last penned a post, and that's because an awful amount of life has happened since then.

I've moved to a different country, regressed down the socioeconomic ladder and started doing a number of things on my own that I hadn't thought of doing, till later in life.

So yes, I've moved to the United States, have begun grad school at the University of Pennsylvania and most importantly, I have started cooking. Cooking is an activity that has had me since time immemorial. Particularly because of my mum who has this innate ability to conjure dishes out of thin air, and make them taste insanely good, while at it. I've always wanted to try cooking on my own, but given my general aptitude in utter clumsiness, I've always been hesitant of getting my hands dirty. And smelly.

But Uncle Sam is a different story- and the only alternative to not cook is to either die of hunger or to get buried in debt.

Which is why I have started cooking, and l…

Myriad shades of blue - Ladakh Trip Part 2

You can read the first part of my Ladakh trip here.


The Pangong Tso is a very unusual lake in many ways. One, it has a long and narrow shape: it is over 130 km long, with most of it (60%) lying across the Line of Actual Control and well inside Tibet. Two, it is situated at a height of nearly 14000 feet above sea level. Three, it is a saline lake - and the salinity is a direct result of salty rocks under the lake. And four, despite its salinity, it freezes completely during the winter months and is used as a motorway for faster commute.

And most importantly, it is the most beautiful water body that I've seen in my life.

The drive from Leh to the lake is again, like the drive to Nubra, pretty long - and heavily dependent on weather conditions. En route, you cross the Chang La pass, which, at 17585 feet, is the third highest motorable road in the world (Khardung La was the highest).

The landscape transitions, like during the Nubra drive in particular, and any long drive in Ladakh …

To the Top of the World, and Beyond: Ladakh Trip Part 1

Nestled between the lofty ranges of the Kunlun to the north and Himalayas to the south, Ladakh, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the highest plateaus in the world. Owing to its strategic location at the juncture of three international borders - those of India, Pakistan and China - the region has had its share of a tumultuous past. Notwithstanding its long volatile history of political conflicts, Ladakh is today one of the most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful places that one can visit in India, and possibly, the world.

The best season to visit Ladakh is either during the months of May-June or just after the monsoons, in August-October. During the monsoons, the rains wreak havoc on an already unstable geography and the snowfalls and blizzards during the winter prove to be a massive impedance.
The two most iconic places to see in Ladakh are the Nubra valley, which requires you to cross the world's highest motorable pass - the draconian Khardung La - at an eye-waterin…

Karnivool, Live and Loud at The Festival, Nicco Park, Calcutta (11/1/2015)

This post was originally written for Top Five Records. You can read it here.


Dissidence is the mother of cohesion.

True words. We here at Top Five Records, for instance, may appear, on the surface, to be a bunch of music loving blokes, who are forever in unanimous agreement with everything that appears on the site; the sort who live in blissful harmony in the interwebs and who listen to good music that they all love. But the truth is far, very far from that.

Consider the Aussie progressive rock band, Karnivool.

In my opinion, and I’m sure, most of T5R would disagree, Karnivool is one of the greatest, yet one of the most under-rated bands, that exist in the world today. If you’re willing to look beyond the droning monotones of indie rock, and the tedium of modern day metal, Karnivool brings to the table, an oeuvre of music, so staggering in design and complexity that it leaves the attentive listener absolutely astounded. In the three albums that they have released since their formati…

In pictures: The infamous Cellular Jail

This should have been posted a couple of weeks back - because it follows in the same vein of the previous one - viz my Andaman trip.

In the last post I had written about the beautiful Ross island. In this post, I shall deal with the infamous Cellular Jail.

Owing to their remote nature and considerable distance from the mainland of the Indian subcontinent, the Andaman islands had long been a preferred deportation point for political prisoners, for the British Raj. In fact, ever since the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the British had been using the archipelago as a political prison. The Cellular Jail that we know today however, was constructed in 1906 - after ten long years of labour and a then staggering expenditure of more than ₹500,000.

Today, the jail is maintained as a national monument, and its two surviving wings still echo with grim stories of British brutalities and colonial suppression. The cells and the balconies carry an undercurrent of dread, and the gallows, despite being out of …