Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sexy Bach

See boss, there's no point in being indignant about some things. Like what you're not supposed to do at western classical concerts for example. We're Indian, I agree, naturally effusive, demonstratively appreciative and all that sort of thing. But sorry, no go during Bachtime. So for your own protection and that of those around you, here is a comprehensive list of don'ts at a Western Classical concert.

Suspend all activity when the music starts. If you have your finger up your nose, leave it there. If a mosquito buzzes annoyingly around you, too bad. Try and bargain with it telepathically to leave you alone in exchange for the address of a carnatic concert in the same neighbourhood.

Don't clap. You'll get into trouble. Western classical musicians lose their mojo if there's applause between movements. Mimic a 1970s concrete water-maiden until the music stops. Look around for someone who seems knowledgeable. Rub your palms non-committally when this person applauds. If the artist acknowledges the applause, clap 3 times and smile wanly.

Athough unthinkable before, it is now considered polite and modern to whistle and hoot while applauding at a classical concert. However, be warned that it is not you that should be doing it. YOU - are supposed to continue resembling a frozen coelacanth. The polite whistles should emerge from experienced polite whistlers.

Do not say Sabhash, Aaaaan and Bhale in the middle of a complex aria. Do not waggle your head and say mchxl-mchxl when the soprano hits a high C.

Do not say silly things like "Actually all weshtran musics are in Shankarabharana raaga only." Multiple carnatic music buffs in the audience will jump up immediately and say "Yes yes". They will then proceed to bore everyone senseless with comparisons to Yedhukula Kambhoji and Kiravani and there will be no end to it.

If you're bored, do not make things worse by looking at the artist's music score to see how many pages they have left to play. Chances are that the artist will play till the last page, flip the music over and play it all over again from the top. These classical musicians I tell you.

Try not to focus on the conductor's bottom, though it is the most visible part of the concert. The music does not come from there, though the rhythm does.

Your babies are cute. Leave them AT HOME. Do not inflict a stuffy adult concert on them. They are not interested. The rest of the audience isn't interested in listening to them wail through one either.

If your cell phone rings in the middle of the concert, commit hara-kiri immediately. Yes I realize it takes two people to do it. Don't worry, I will help you.

You are not allowed to arrive or leave in the middle of a piece unless you're dying. Even if you are, you'll probably live through the piece anyway, thanks to the preservative effect of your state of suspended animation.

Do not request an old hindi number at a Bach concert. Well I suppose you could, actually. Go ahead, enjoy ma.

However, do not, at the end of the request, say, "Oh what is there, anybody can play piano ting ting ping ping." I realize Shammi Kapoor has convinced you that you can produce excellent western classical by kneading imaginary chappati dough over a Baby Grand. What you don't realize is that this technique will not work unless there is a heavily mascaraed weeping woman with a bun as big as her head, a disapproving father in a dressing gown AND a grand staircase for him to hobble down.

Linger around after the concert with a polite smile on your face. Chances are you'll be photographed and captioned: "All smiles - Syamanthakamani and Selvaganapathy" on page 3 the next day.

And finally, do remember to take the program list home. You can mug up the names of the pieces and rattle them off at the unsuspecting people you have incarcerated in your basement for this purpose.


narendra shenoy said...

Hahahaha! LMAO at Shammi Kapoor's imaginary chapati dough!

Jo said...


ha ha shabaash.
whats hara - kiri pls shedding light on the same.

lol @ Syamanthakamani and Selvaganapathy

Reflections said...

Hehe......u leave no stone unturned and have an answer for everything

"Try not to focus on the conductor's bottom, though it is the most visible part of the concert. The music does not come from there, though the rhythm does."
"Oh what is there, anybody can play the piano ting ting ping ping."

ur posts are worth waiting for:-D

??! said...

Glad to see all that singing 'success' hasn't detracted from these brilliant posts.

And WHO requests Hindi numbers at a classical concert?!

Anonymous said...


'ow many times I haf tolded my snotty 'oh dahlink, why do these hoi-polloi *clap* between moooovements' to zimbly f*** orf.

This is ouvar own desimatha land. Ve like to shake, rattle and rollll our way through anything musical.

Lovely piece, I say.

I vas shaking my head and slapping my thigh through the thalam of it all

Anonymous said...

(oh, btw vay!

'ow was the beer session with NarendraShenoy? Must have been a good meet: two of the bloggers I like to read met up aaa?!

Anonymous said...

lol, brilliant.

ROFL@do not request an old hindi number at a Bach concert.

these things keep happening only to you ah? :p

Nandini Vishwanath said...

ROTFL at Shammi Kapoor :D

maxdavinci said...

AH you had to bring shami kapoor in it eh?

worstu fellow, now I can never listen to my fav 'dil ke jharoke mein' without thinking about this post and chapati dough!

glad to see you back after the hiatus!

Badarivishal said...

That's some good banting!!
I like to know what goes on in the head of a phirang guy who attends a carnatic music concert. I see a lot of em these days.
Do they "head bang" in adoration or frustration..

Arunk said...

LOL :) - too good.

How about putting western version of tala - where you slap yourself silly?

Also dapppaangutthu dancing in the aisles we see in light music concerts?

Pettai Maami said...

aan sir?? where is the sruthi petti?? i am telling you, sruthi suthama sera vela.. ennavo..labo labonnu kathara.. itthana peru vera iduku..sigh!! aprom unga kacheri eppo?? waiting sir..i will fly and cum fr ur concert.. :) ..duly waiting for tickets to be sent thru Gati..


Thaths said...

Heh! The few times I have been to Western classical concerts, I cannot but help myself nod and shake my head jerkily to the faster parts of the music. I draw the line there and actively resist the urge to shout out "BhalE!"

A.S. said...


so there's no convention of clapping till your palms ache for an encore in these parts?

ah the old-hindi-number-- once in a bus in certain town in southern germany, i heard someone's mobile ringing in what was certainly the old-hindi-number. the ignorant me almost fell off my seat in excitement- salil chowdhury in here?! a dour colleague soon burst my bubble by naming the symphony and movement of johann sebastian's creation.

Anita said...

Syamanthakamani and Selvaganapathy...what names pah!..brilliant I say.

Brilliant post also.

Pri said...

bwahahahaha. disapproving father in dressing gown it seems. so cute i say.

Thanatos said...

Shammi Kapoor piano play make grown woman cry - old jungle saying.

Rukmani Ram said...

I lingered on after many a concert, but nobody plastered my face on any page. I demand page 3 coverage. I demand page 3 coverage.

kavitha said...

chappati dough, frozen coelacanth? ROFL!

AMC's here have a "Dont add your own sound track " screened before the movies, maybe we can borrow that slide for such concerts. :D

Anonymous said...

"you're dying. Even if you are, you'll probably live through the piece anyway, thanks to the preservative effect of your state of suspended animation." - Aaha! Whaatt-a!! Brilliant, I say! Incredible how these 'weshtruners' maintain such morbid silence during a classical concert without so much as a snivel! It's probably out of sheer shock of watching the conductor's wild graceless trot.

ROFL @ Shammi Kapoor's chappati!! :D

Goad Bluss Bigerdute!!

Idling in Top Gear said...

Dunno - all this talk of how Western concert violinists need the audience to be quiet while our own Ganesh and Kumaresh can play their hearts out at a Mylapore wedding reception amidst hundreds of maamis and maamas making jet engine level noises kinda reminds me of how golfers need the audience to be quiet for concentrating on hitting a stationary ball, whereas Dhoni can lift a 90mph bouncer for a six, despite a roaring crowd! :)

Shyam said...

"Do not waggle your head and say mchxl-mchxl when the soprano hits a high C."

That really cracked me up ... although your entire post is brilliant! :)

I yam reminded of the time that I ignorantly clapped (wonce wonly) during a pause in a rather wild piano recital by somebody phoren and phamous... I stopped in embarrassment but other people took it up and soon the whole audience was clapping. :) Poor pianist.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

:) this was rocking.

heavily mascaraed weeping woman indeed.

10yearslate said...

Baree bengalooru nagara..aaha entha sundara..daag maathr hing aagangill-ree.

(Just bangalore city..aahaa how much beauty..in only such-like doesn't happen-sir)

Naa eeg sadhya iro dakshin bhoogoLa nagar-daag omme hogidh-ni ree sir-a hinga "taste of Western Classical" anth heLi baere-baere jagaa-daag pukkat kaaryakram haakidhr. Ille string quartet andhr alle three tenors and a soprano, matthondh kade a capella piano-cello-harp truet(?)

(I now, at the present living southern hemisphere city onve had been sir, sir-a. Like this only "Paashchaatya Shastreeya Sangeetada swaada" different different sites free programs had put.)

Ondh kalee baek nod-ree naav, China mandhi kade. Avaru bada-bada mundh heng agoodh anth vichaar haaki aa kelsa modhal maadthaar. Appa avva dinakk ippatth ghante kelsa maadi, hudgoor-ann abhyaas, classical music, science and maths tuition, baree hinthaad-raag ashta haakirthaar.

(One thing learn we should from the China people. They quickly-quickly forward going how they plan and do that thing first. Father mother twenty hours a day working, for kids only study, claassical music etc only such things they enrol)

Ee pukkat kaaryakram-daag noo baree ivara thumbiddhru. In between movements, rapa-rapa chappaLi thattovru, stage naagindh, avr hudgoor ondh look bidthiddhvu, summk aagoru.

Hinga nod-ree!

(This free program too, only these people were filled. In between movements, rapa-rapa applause hitting, from stage their children glaring, silent falling.

Like this only, see sir!)

RustyNeurons said...

aaah.... the post was worth the wait. Howz singing I say? Too bijji??

anoushka taraporevala said...

And I have some more don'ts

1. Do not eat the Vicks Coughdrops that the organisers have left on each seat, loudly. You may suck them gently. And if you have a cough like a rattlesnake's, then go away.

2. Do not ask the names of the arias to the ushers. (but if you do at the NCPA when some classical-musical students are interning, you might get an answer)

3. Yes, yes, we know that the cold coffee in NCPA is fantastic, but do not rave about it when you get back from the intermission (note the word is NOT interval)

4. Do not, even in the aforementioned intermission, talk about your train journey back to mira road. Chances are a blue haired lady would ask : Dahlin, do we have a road named after a saint somewhere around HERE?

5. Do not use the program as a fan. Do use instead the pearl encrusted white silk foldout fan that mummy got you got from a Portuguese auction house in Old Goa in 1952.

6.Do not forget to talk about the time Yehudi Menuhin performed in your time. If he did.

Thassall babies. Sorry if my version has been Bombaycentric, but a few on this page will identify with it, one hopes.

lakshram said...

Brilliant! Hilarious! The best part was the Shammi Kapoor -chappati dough!

buddy said...


VAN said...

Soopar it is! But whaare you herad this kaancert I say? Kindly inpharm menu and venue...

sanjana said...

lol.. sabash... :)


Bit Hawk said...

The pic itself made me roflol even before I started reading the post :))
You are simply amazing when it comes to do's and dont lists!!!

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Bikerdude said...

narendrashenoy, reflections, gradwolf, nandini vishwanath, anita, sthirapragnya, lakshram, buddy, sanjana, bit hawk, ray:
Heh heh Thanks :)

jo: hara-kiri is a Japanese method of committing suicide to save your honour.

??!!: Err nobody does aa? WOkay, was just making sure :)

ahumanbean: NOthing happened I say. Kindly influence the above party no?
maxdavinci: heheh@ worstu fellow

badarivishal: I once saw someone sit cross legged in one plastic chair and try and meditate. heh

arunk: Yes I am going to actively encourage dappanguth dancing at w. classical concert. too staid they are.

pettai maami: Wo yes amchoota pochu. Where are you I say?

thaths:Heh heh shake away what is there. That was my point. Why pretend to be something we aren't no?

a.s: heh good one!!

pri: heh yes no? with pipe and some random choththe looking people standing around holding glasses or doing jive :P

rukmani ram: did you smile socially and/or look important? no? oh sarry forgot to mention.

kavitha: ah yes good ideer, not that thats going to stop anyone though.

idling in top gear: Zackly my point men.

shyam: clap off da who told them to stop in the middle no?

10yrslate: Gaaaahaha@raparapa clapping :) :)

rustyammow: thanks i say - nah not busy really. just a bit zoned out.

anoushka: heh lovely i say!! please blog no!!!

van: Mostly at alliance francis uncle's house. BSM and AF do some really brilliant ones every month or so.

paapreddypalya said...

namskraaaa 10yearslater and bikeranna

Ranjini said...

man you are funny !!! i really agree with you about not leaving or arriving in the middle of a piece, you are bound to get a 'death stare', it happened to me and it's not pretty. i wish i could send this to my classical guitar teacher who would then undoubtedly beat my fingers into a pulp :)

Anonymous said...

Ranjini et al:

until I lived in the PhorenLand, I used to be shockec into silence by the Death Stare.

Now that I yam a seasoned phoren-returned to my mommyland, I zimbly mouth a "f*** ***" to the pseudos who try to shussssh me during aforementioned phoren concerts in MY mommyland :)

Vy? Because I behave as the Romans do in their land I say. I sneeze *inside* my head all through a concert at Carnegie Hall and live with sinus for 5 years after. And get FrozenBumSyndrome from not moving the gluts through 2 hours of godawful naaasense ... Hence the entitlement to say f*** ***

Naughty naughty

Aishwarya said...

Hey..recently stumbled upon your blog. Loved it. As a bored Tam-Bram Delhiite I miss being connected to Chennai or Bangalore. The annual holidays from school and now the official tours are the only things I live off. I can see, smell and feel Bangalore in every post of yours. And a lot of your recollections from childhood remind me of mine - esp the Basin Bridge Olfactory Signal :)
And as for your current post...we'll need a code-of-conduct book for classical concerts attended by pseudo music aficionados. They are a terribly embarrassing lot I say!

Sampige said...

Ayyo, you only afficianado, whatever that means. I am mummy to 2 beautiful violinists. I have to sit through TWO concerts every few weeks. I dutifully clap when everybody does and dutifully say great job to the teacher, not knowing what they are playing!!

Prats said...

The shyamantakamani was too much....
And I had completely forgotten the dressing gown dude, with the pipe in his mouth....
Now I got to go and myug up these pointers...what if I stumble on my next concert hearing....

narendra shenoy said...

@ahumanbean, bikerdude - Apologies! I never got around to making the necessary sign language for meeting. I was in traveling salesman mode (as usual). Next time, hopefully oct 1st week.

Another Blogger said...


Anonymous said...

:) phull love-u wonly. I refer to afrementioned afore fore mentioned N Shenoy+BD Dude meet. I vas embraced/ embarassed to do the influence (Result of the experience of having been a great matchmaker - i.e. one who exits very quickly after the intitial intro-maadi s are over! heh heh)

So mebbe beer session will happen October maasom

Anonymous said...

I love the kartoon I say. Didn't comment maadi earlier.

I love the sssshhh babettes in the place of the door-guarding-garudas...

But BikeruDudeu:
( with recollections of Mrs. Collison's Ratio and Proportion Core Mathematics exam in my 'ead):

vy you made the nice Iyer man so small in proportion to the frowny snooty violinist I say?!

Well actually it does depecit accurately the amount of importance ve Indians give our very own talents...so many the proportion is accurate...hmmmm

And vat is the frozen fish I ask? Little lost there...!

Anonymous said...

* arrghhh no spell check:

*depict NOT depecit

*so maybe... NOT so many...

Jax said...

Hilarious stuff dude!

Pixie said...

Hee hee hee ! Just cracked up up with the whole Shammi Kapoor and the dough bit! I see things in whole new light now!

Bikerdude said...

paapareddypalya: Aah banni banni :)

ranjini: You learn classical guitar too? Though not from the same teacher as mine I'm sure- cos he's more irreverent than I am :P

ahumanbean: Full frustru u became off in phoren no? Sorry about bad drawing and pls not to be reading all manner of meanings from my poor proportioning. Still coming to grips with the new drawing software. I MISS VISIO!! Haan and also that fish thing is supposed to be Frozen Coelacanth fossil and the ladies are supposed to be concrete water maidens (various states of suspended animation as described in post) :P So much for that. Please buy me second beer after Shenoy saar for not getting it.

aishwarya: Thanks :) YOu bet they are!!

sampige: Lovely I say, must make you totally proud though.

prats: Correct ma completely useful these tips are no?

narendrashenoy: Haan haan theek hai theek hai. Show us the beer and we will believe you :)

jax, pixie: Thanks!

10yearslate said...

Enna vooy? Audience-le otthai brahmanar. Ippa dhaan gavanicchen, PooNal maathi pottuNdrkkaar-nu.

Sraddhatthile pinda-tthukku arghyam vidum-pothu Western Classical-um kaettaardha, Adhuleyum sabhaash vere-ya? Enna apachaaram!

(What sir? Audience-in single brahmin. Now only noticed, sacred thread is on wrong shoulder.

During death ceremony, while pouring oblations to his forefathers, Western Classical also listening-a? In that, encomiums also-a?What sacrilege!)

Cultural Notes: We twice-borns normally wear the threads on our left shoulder. It is changed briefly to the right shoulder only during death-related ceremonies.

Aishwarya said...

Enna? Aduthe post kaanam? Yedho padikirudhe 3 blog-daan, adhuliyem ore post ivalave naal irundhaa eppidi??

Prats said...

Hey I got something for you on my blog....hop over and collect it

WannabeWriter said...

great post as usual! :) You've got a small award waiting for you... if you aren't like Aamir Khan, please to come and collect it! :)

Zahra said...

LOL.... priceless!! Been following your blog for a while now....this post takes the vattayappam...err, cake! Zorree, ai zimbly keep yoozing wrong werds....

Gem: "All smiles - Syamanthakamani and Selvaganapathy"...ROFL!!

Great job...and keep 'em coming!

I love Lucy said...

Excuse me...where did my comment disappear?!!
Please to accept award on my behalf as well kanri.

Aishwarya said...

I have been blog-hopping an awful lot the past couple of days and I realised why I was getting so addicted. Its one of those aspirational things I guess. To gape in awe when people string words together ever so beautifully, and you are left wondering “How the hell??!!” and perhaps followed by a defeated “Damn!”. But I spring back to normalcy by telling myself that my skills at singing might do the same to someone..or so I hope :) So here’s the deal. I leave you guys to do what you do best and shall offer my services in promoting these blogs and dutifully drop my comments at every post. In return, you can come attend the next concert or rock gig :)
Off I go and drop this comment at my other blog crushes..

KC said...

wow... and ur back to ur brilliant best! Admittedly, I am not a connoisseur of classical music like you, but I will try to attend a few more concerts in the hope of appearing on page 3 the next day;) You can always tell the hopefuls who are just there for the cameras, no? That's another fun thing to do at such events - spot the 'wannabe page 3 - ites'

Parul said...

Heh hehe hehe...duly noted and will be put to use at the next concert.

Anonymous said...

apun, too much lafing reading this-

one more impertont thing - dont keep rhythm aka thalam (like some ppl do in carnatic concerts) loudly - if the urge to thalam is too much, tie both your hands and sit quietly

Also dont clap when the music reaches a crescendo-just keep your sight straight, put on a "i have reached nirvana" look and smile very mildly


Bikerdude said...

10yearslate: He is wearing ulta janivara because he is saying "Konnutel" (Killed off I say). Good save no? :)

aishwarya: Dho coming coming waitaminnit :)

prats, wannabewriter, Lucyamma: MUch of the thanks I say. Very honoured I am being.

zahra: Uss, I ahm veree greyyte-fuLL, thaang you zo much. Err kindly send vattayappam by vpp.

aishwarya: Thanks ma! You're in a rock band? Kindly spill guts. I want to do the needful (ie come see you guys). Vested (VIP) interest is available.

kc: Ha yes. The hopefuls. Theyre the quiet ones though, bless their hearts. Its the wannabe crowd that put their feet in their mouths usually.

parul: :)

vasu: Heheh I can just picture you doing that :)

Bikerdude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

hlarious post and nice picture to go with it - you have a new follower now!

Aishwarya said...

Inda maadri photo ellam potana konjum kashtam daan. Paadi per adapathiye comment pannava. Purinjido? aha! waitamin. Unless u r trying to throw ppl off!!???
I am not quite part of a band but manage a few things here n there b/w izhikafying a Todi ragam (one of my favourites) and a fusion gig (I hate the word fusion tho, absolutely detest it) Yes and for ur services at these wunderful posts, I shall be most obliged if you visit if and when there is anything musical happening. Btw, dunno if ur into some good Sufi stuff, must catch Shafqat's new album (guy who sang 'Mitwa' and 'Yeh Hosla') - its called Tabeer. Fab.

Aparna said...

ROFL :) Bless you !! :)

longblackveil said...

Mmppppfpfffff.... Thrilled to find accurate Shammi-Kapoor-bouffanted-mascaraed-heroine-and-dressinggowndaddy refrence. Very accurate.
You are quite a fabulous, BikerDude. Yay.

FunnyMoon said...


S said...

"Do not say silly things like "Actually all weshtran musics are in Shankarabharana raaga only." "
Bahaha :D
I'm sure not EVERYTHING was a figmwent of your Imagination! Extremely funny!

Anonymous said...

Bikerdude saaru! One und vonly rik-wust. This is the second time in a row that you have spelt my moniker wrong saar! It's not 'sthirapragnya' it's 'sthitapragnya'. Never mind the moniker, just call me Karthik next time around! Please! My assumed name has already been subject to more objectionable morphs by others, hence before it gets worse with you too, I'm asking you to call me by my real name! Ahem! Pliss no mind for this! Thank to you saar! Yuvars truly..:P

uchiha tejesh said...

your kids are cute leave them at HOME !!

awesome post buddy !

keep writing

Anonymous said...


Do not say silly things like "Actually all weshtran musics are in Shankarabharana raaga only." Multiple carnatic music buffs in the audience will jump up immediately and say "Yes yes". They will then proceed to bore everyone senseless with comparisons to Yedhukula Kambhoji and Kiravani and there will be no end to it.

Brilliant, brilliant!

Neha Mujumdar said...

haha, good post! I stumbled across your blog while I was looking for nilgiris supermarket's website...they don't have one, do they!? - great job :D

rambodoc said...

Brilliant, dude, bloody brilliant!

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