Wielding the pencil, but it’s really a metaphor for the computer mouse! (Illustration courtesy of Aravind Iyer)

I like drawing. Specifically, I like drawings which are mostly made up of lines, and commonly fall in the categories of sketches, cartoons, schematics or diagrams. As a child, I was handy with a pencil and paper. But I used to find the business of colouring quite messy, whether it was with crayons, water colour or sketch pens. I wasn’t averse to a bit of shading or using slant or pressure to vary the intensity of the stroke, but nothing more. For me, drawing class consisted of the joy of capturing something in its outline and then ruining it with…


South Indian filter coffee and an Italian almond biscotti — but hey, it really works!

I love coffee. I grew up to its smells and sounds. Based on some first hand but dim childhood memories, and others reinforced by stories told by family elders, I figure my childhood home must have been a house of coffee snobs.

Packets of unroasted coffee beans would be purchased from select dealers, and roasted at home to a fine degree of precision. Then they would be hand ground using a mechanical coffee grinder painted in an old school green antirust paint. Then the fresh grounds would be used to prepare the decoction by leaving them soaked in hot (but…


Electronic Jazz from Jaga Jazzist

Jaga Jazzist (picture courtesy of Wallpaperscraft)

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? It is a question that has been debated intensely. Perhaps, art needs the constituents of life to be authentic, but life too needs the idealisation of art to aspire to. It is not much different with music. Music is made from sound, but it is also repurposed back as sound, serving all manner of non musical purposes, like tones for public announcements, chimes and beeps for alarms and notifications, and even musical rumble strips which keep vehicle drivers alert. Of course, not all sound is music. A single note may be…


Listening to Take Five for the umpteenth time!

Remarkable as it may seem, it was from Trilok Gurtu, the legendary fusion musician and percussionist, that I first heard about the song “Take Five”. It was the late 90s when as a college student I had gone to Planet M at Powai, to attend a lecture cum demonstration by Trilok Gurtu on percussion. After enthralling the audience with a few snippets in the standard 4/4 rhythm and then admonishing us for our inability to keep time with him when he improvised in a 7 beat rhythm, Gurtu asked the audience what they would like to hear next. Someone shouted…


Tired, sweaty and thirsty after walking to India Gate.

It may be sad, but it’s true. Indian cities are not great for walking. This is despite a significant proportion of people getting around on foot — a number estimated to be as high as 22% in 2009, in cities larger than 8 million. Delhi is no exception. So, the notion of walking in Delhi did seem a bit odd to me, especially when there was no obligation to. Even in October when I was there, it is either too hot or too smoggy, not to mention the risk of theft. Besides, almost no one seems to encourage you to…


Yours truly at Jog Falls, Karnataka. What an amazing place to be!

“Photography is an indulgent hobby!” I remember telling a friend in college. She smiled. Then she turned to her camera, peered into her viewfinder and clicked another picture. Soon, some others from our group caught up with us and we continued onwards in one of our hikes in Maharashtra’s Western Ghats. It was a strange thing to say given the lush green vegetation covering the beautiful mountains around us, with every angle offering an arresting view. I had meant to say that photography seemed to consume money, time and attention which could perhaps be better utilised towards other causes. My…


Time is unidirectional or if not, at least we feel it is. This gives rise to memories since we can reconstruct the past but not the future. If memories were merely information, it should be possible, in principle, to digitise and preserve them completely. Indeed, there can be no doubt that digitisation has had a significant impact on memories and also on the business of memorising. We have gained the ability to record our lives and our knowledge with ever finer fidelity, whether in the form of text, audio, pictures, video or a more immersive sensory experience. We can replay…


Time only moves forward. What happened a moment ago, is in the past, and so are your experiences from yesterday, last month or the last decade. This is, of course, obvious. Our understanding of this is reflected nowhere better than in the human desire to travel back in time. Let alone the ability to go back and change the course of past happenings. Just imagine how fascinating it would be if we could even navigate an Atlas of our lives, kind of like we use maps! Swipe left, swipe right, pinch or zoom, to seek and re-live the profound or…


Statue of Freddie Mercury at Montreaux (picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It is often said that nothing is permanent except change. Pragmatic and profound at the same time, this quote attributed to the Greek philosopher of the late 6th century BCE, Heraclitus, has inspired countless people to accept and confront their realities. Now if there is one thing that embodies constant change, it is the element Mercury. Commonly known as quicksilver, it is a metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures. Mercury gleams silvery and flows rapidly, lending itself well to its common name. The word quicksilver is often used to describe things that can move often and quickly. …


The musical life of Emily Remler

Image courtesy of Brian McMillen (from WikiMedia)

Who can deny it? From time to time, we all worry whether ours is a life well lived. Almost as proof that this is not an uncommon worry, there is no dearth of advice on how we can make our lives better and more fulfilling. For some, it is by making a bucket list and then proceeding to check every item off it. For others, it is to try and do in 6 months what you may have imagined would take you 10 years to do. For the sage among us, it is by striving for the best, accepting the…

Aravind Iyer

A tech guy writing about music and life at https://www.aravindiyer.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store