Things that are perceived as difficult make outcome attainment easier and more certain. Things that seem easy make outcomes less likely.The idea of inbound lead generation is attractive in large part because it is perceived as being easier than more traditional prospecting methodologies. What could be easier than waiting for someone else to generate opportunities for you? But the traditional methods of prospecting, while more difficult, makes opportunity creation faster and more certain.Telling your people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it is easier than investing the time and emotional energy to help them grow. It’s faster for you, giving you back time to look at the dashboard and your CRM. If you want your people to be accountable and take initiative, then the more difficult work of investing time with your team is the easiest way to accomplish these higher value outcomes.It’s easy for leaders to see these mistakes, pointing out the areas where their team is looking for an easier way to generate an outcome instead of doing what is necessary. But leaders are not immune from this mistake. In fact, the very nature of leadership makes it easy to trade lower value task for more meaningful work. When you have to determine how to deal with systemic threats and opportunities that require significant change, easier decisions, the kind that do not require the same cognitive load and internal conflicts, are a safe place to hide. The hard decisions are the real work of leaders.Any attempt to avoid the difficult work makes the outcomes more difficult to obtain, and attempts at making outcomes easier only pushes those outcomes further away from you—and further out of your reach. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now
There is an infinite number of challenges that may prevent one from producing the sales results they desire. You might break them down into four primary categories, like too little activity, too little effectiveness, or poor leadership. Another view might be that an individual or a team lacks the mindset, or character traits, to sell effectively. It could also be a gap in their skills, especially now that effectiveness requires business acumen, the ability to compel and manage change, and no small amount of leadership (all concepts covered in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need).If you look across a sales organization, you will find all of the obstacles to success in individuals, in teams, and occasionally visible in the entire sales force. But more often than not, there is one reason above all else that prevents salespeople and sales organizations from making more sales: they don’t spend very much time selling.Opportunity CreationWe can break selling into two primary outcomes under which you can fit all kinds of tasks, responsibilities, processes, and methodologies: 1) opportunity creation, and 2) opportunity capture. Everything else is a commentary on these two activities, and even though everything is important, not everything can be most important.There are a few activities that allow one to create a new opportunity. The first and primary activity is prospecting using whatever method that works for the sales organization or salesperson. The second prerequisite for creating opportunities is sales meetings, where the salesperson is face to face or ear to ear with a prospective client (or a client, where creating opportunities is necessary).There are dozens of activities around prospecting and meetings, including things like research, nurturing relationships, planning sales calls, and a host of other valuable and necessary actions. There is a good reason to do all of these tasks, but not without paying careful attention to the primary outcome that is creating a new opportunity.How much time do you spend prospecting or sitting across from a prospective client exploring change?Opportunity CaptureLike opportunity creation, there are countless tangential activities one might engage in throughout the day that are all necessary to winning opportunities, but there is one that dominates: sales meetings. The time spent with prospective clients and clients is a useful metric to determine how much work is being done to capture opportunities.It’s possible that salespeople spend more time in their inbox than in their client’s office or on their telephone. Screen time exceeds the time most salespeople spend on the phone or in meetings. The countless initiatives and make-work that salespeople are tasked with indicate that there are higher priorities than creating opportunities and capturing them.Reverse Your Time BlocksInstead of carving out small segments of time to complete the ancillary work around sales, many (too many, maybe most) salespeople and sales organizations block time for sales activities.If one were to decide that they were a salesperson or their company a sales organization, improving their results would be a matter of reversing the way we block time. Instead of blocking time to make calls, making calls would be primary, with a 90-minute block to do the necessary administrative tasks and other miscellanies at the end of the day.If you want to increase your sales, spend more time selling.
With the construction activities coming to a halt in Rajasthan following a ban on sand mining imposed by the Supreme Court, the Congress has accused the BJP government of being negligent and serving the interests of sand mafia. An apex court Bench extended the ban by six weeks, while pulling up the State government, on Tuesday.The ‘bajri’ (riverbed sand), which is mixed with cement for construction, has not been available in the State since November 2017 when the ban was first imposed. It has made an adverse impact on the construction of houses under Chief Minister’s Jan Awas Yojana, residential housing projects of builders, Jaipur Metro works and all other big and small projects.UnemploymentThe halt to construction activities has also rendered lakhs of workers and labourers unemployed. However, the Supreme Court has come down heavily on the State government for giving licences for sand mining without environmental clearance, while staying as many as 82 such licences.The Opposition Congress said the ruling BJP was “hand in glove with the sand mafia”, which was even taken note of by the Supreme Court. During Tuesday’s hearing, the apex court Bench observed that the State government was creating a mining mafia and they were killing people. It also asked the government to explain how sand was necessary for construction work.Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said here on Thursday that the State government’s negligence had resulted in unemployment of 25 lakh people, including construction labourers, ‘bajri’ truck drivers, truck owners, contractors and skilled workers trained in the construction sector. “All projects have stopped and there is displeasure among the people,” he said.Mr. Gehlot, the former Rajasthan Chief Minister, said the small quantity of ‘bajri’ supplied from Nagaur and Bikaner districts, where mining was continuing, was being sold for exorbitant prices and a loss of revenue worth ₹1.25 crore was being caused to the State exchequer every day.“The entire official machinery is engaged in the preparations for the Prime Minister’s visit to Barmer for relaying of foundation stone for oil refinery,” said Mr. Gehlot, adding that it would be too late by the time the State government wakes up and takes action for environmental studies and clearance for sand mining.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday accused Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal of trying to mislead the farmers of the State with his “brazenly false and unfounded allegations”.Mr. Badal had claimed that the Chief Minister was trying to pass the buck on farm loan waiver.“Had the SAD-BJP government done anything for the State’s farmers during their 10-year rule, the farming community would not be under such acute distress today,” Capt. Singh said. “Our government is doing everything in its powers to bring succour to the beleaguered farmers,” he said in a statement.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said in the Assembly that the government would seek the intervention of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to secure the release of Ryan de Souza, who was sentenced to 517 years in jail by a Dubai court in April for his alleged involvement in a $200 million Ponzi scheme.“I can’t decide on the matter. It depends on exact facts of the case, though I have sympathy for him. The case has been decided by the Dubai court. I will meet the Minister for External Affairs when I visit Delhi, around August 7 or 8,” Mr. Parrikar said in response to a question raised by Thivim MLA Nilkanth Halarnkar.Mr. Parrikar said the country’s warm relations with Dubai should help in resolving the matter.A resident of Siolim village in North Goa, de Souza (27) was arrested while he was attempting to leave the Emirate. He was an employee of Lemos Foundation run by Sydney Lemos, the alleged mastermind of the scam who was also convicted by the Dubai court. In a sustained social media campaign, Goans have been pleading with Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Parrikar to intervene to get de Souza released.Opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao also joined the plea to the government.
A man in Odisha is undergoing treatment after slitting his wrist with a sharp weapon as part of the deadly online game called “Momo challenge”. Doctors at SCB Medical College here said Sunil Das, 30, of Jharakuta village in Cuttack Sadar was out of danger but needed counselling.Sunil’s family members said he was hooked to his mobile phone for the past several days and was remaining detached from the family and neighbours. “On Monday, he tried to cut his wrist with a blade but later used a sickle,” said a relative.Sunil’s father Basudev said his son was busy with the mobile phone for the past one week. The police have seized the phone and preliminary investigations have revealed that the man was playing the “Momo challenge”.
The Nagaland government on Thursday suspended a senior IPS officer for possessing 6.9 kg of seized brown sugar. He was also booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.An order issued by Nagaland Home Commissioner Abhishekh Singh said that Inspector General of Police (CID) Richard Yimto has been suspended with immediate effect.Mr. Yimto had on August 25 informed State Director General of Police T.J. Longkumer that he had taken home the consignment of drugs seized that month from two men in a car. The brown sugar was seized from Mr. Yimto’s residence a week later.Mr. Longkumer had earlier asked Additional DGP (law and order) Renchamo P. Kikon to make a preliminary inquiry. Mr. Kikon’s report said Mr. Yimto had flouted the due process of law.“We received a report from the police headquarters on Wednesday. The Chief Minister ordered immediate action,” Mr. Singh said.Mr. Yimto, on leave since mid-September, said he had taken the drugs home for safekeeping besides using them as bait to capture the kingpin of the illegal trade. He may be arrested, the police said.A Nagaland Police team led by a sub-inspector of the narcotics cell had seized 6.9 kg of brown sugar from a car at Khuzama on the border with Manipur on August 3. Two people in the car that was coming from Manipur were let off without a case being registered against them.Instead of sending a sample of the drug seized for forensic test, Mr. Yimto took the drugs to his official residence. Later, he said that he took the consignment from the storeroom of the police headquarters in State capital Kohima for greater security.The DGP sent him a show-cause notice after finding that the seized brown sugar was missing.
The BJP on Monday ridiculed Jharkhand Opposition leaders for sitting in the lap of jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad to get a road map for Mahagathbandhan despite the former Bihar Chief Minister being a convict and a known opponent of the creation of Jharkhand. Soren’s visitBJPs State unit spokesman Pratul Shahdeo’s sneer comment came in the background of JMM working president and former Chief Minister Hemant Soren visiting Lalu at the RIIMS recently among other leaders. After prolonged political process, Jhakhand was created in 2000 out of the Bihar.‘Shameful and sad’ It is shameful and sad to see these Opposition leaders heading parties, beginning with the name of Jharkhand, sitting in the lap of a convict, Lalu Prasad, to get an outline of their Mahagathbandhan, Mr. Shahdeo said here. Mr. Shahdeo said despite knowing him as a strong opponent of Jharkhand Statehood during the Statehood struggle when Lalu was the Chief Minister, the opposition party leaders are sitting in the lap of him. It is an insult to the martyrs of Jharkhand, he said. Lalu, who is serving prison term following his conviction in fodder scam cases, is presently undergoing treatment at RIIMS. Former Union Minister Sharad Yadav, BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, Congress leaders Subodh Kant Sahay and Shakeel Ahmed, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party head Upendra Kushwaha, besides Hemant Soren, Prasads sons Tejeswi and Tej Pratap, had met Lalu during the last fortnight in course of strengthening mahagathbandhan in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Patna Sahib is one of the few parliamentary constituencies of the total 40 in Bihar where the election will be keenly observed for different reasons. Shatrughan Sinha, who recently quit the BJP and joined the Congress, is pitted against BJP candidate and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is contesting the Lok Sabha poll for the first time.Both the leaders are from Patna and belong to the upper caste Kayastha community. Both are known as “high-flying” leaders in the constituency and are said to be totally “disconnected” with the voters. With a sizeable number of Kayasthas, Patna Sahib has been a safe seat for the BJP. Out of the six Assembly segments in the constituency, five of them have BJP MLAs and one (Fatuha) has an RJD legislator. Mr. Sinha has been winning the seat for the last two consecutive terms on a BJP ticket.“Mr. Sinha is more known for his dialogue delivery and has no connection with the voters,” says a voter. According to Lok Sabha records, between 2014 and 2019, he neither asked any question nor participated in any debate and his score for introducing a private member’s bill was also zero. Also, he was present on only 67% of the days when the Lok Sabha was in session. “It’s a safe BJP seat with the sizeable upper caste Kayastha vote, but this time he will have a tough time,” says city businessman Arvind Kumar Jha. Similarly, Mr. Prasad is more known as a high-flying leader. “He has been a Minister at the Centre…but he is thoroughly disconnected with the voters, ” rued engineer Rajesh Kumar. The BJP had to face some embarrassing moments recently when during Mr. Prasad’s arrival in Patna there was a scuffle between his supporters and supporters of another party Rajya Sabha MP R.K. Sinha at the Patna airport. Mr R.K. Sinha too wanted to contest from the Patna Sahib seat on BJP ticket. The billionaire businessman is said to be more popular than Mr. Prasad among the Kayastha community as he has been regularly helping poor Kayastha families by organising mass marriages and giving employment to young men in his security agency.
How does a wasp turn a ladybug into a zombie? How did a shattered chromosome cure a woman of a rare disease? And what’s hiding inside a South American ice cap? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Susanne Bard. Plus, Will Steffen discusses the processes that define the planetary boundaries framework, and Jenna Jambeck examines the factors influencing how much plastic debris a nation contributes to the ocean.
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Want to travel abroad to a country without a visa? Indians have all of seven choices. Look beyond the neighbourhood—of Nepal and Bhutan—and head to peaceful Serbia, where elections were just held; the tiny island of Samoa; Niue, off the coast of Tonga with a population of just over 1,600 people or Senegal in Africa. If you are still keen on Europe head to Belarus, with Minsk as its capital.Read it at The Week Related Items
Shujaat Khan on on his music, his turbulent relationship with his father, and that which is greater than music. He can trace his lineage all the way back to Mian Tansen the great court musician in Emperor Akbar’s court. His father is the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, ranked among the greatest musicians of the century. The older Khan has made headlines not just for the way he changed the nature of sitar music to its present gayaki (vocal) style, but also for. thumbing his nose at the government of India, turning down the Padmashri and Padma Vibhushan saying the committee was incompetent to judge artistic creativity. Vilayat Khan is known not just as a master musician, but a temperamental, non malleable, incorruptible man. Shujaat Hussain Khan was a child prodigy, who gave his first performance at the age of six, and today had surpassed other musicians in popularity, artistry and skill, but the road to success has been far from easy for the eldest equally willful child of Ustad Vilayat Khan. Not only has Shujaat inherited his father’s talent (Wrote the Los Angeles Times: “The Sitar is his instrument of speech, of feeling, of expression and creation. Shujaat’s touch has a magnified clarity, and fingers that can make the string coo like a dove.”), but he is truly chip of the older block for he too, shoots straight from the hip but with warmth and humor.In an exclusive interview with Little India Shujaat Khan talks about his music, his turbulent relationship with his father, and today at the height of his career, what is greater than his music.Your father, Ustad Vilayat Khan once said in an interview that his earliest memories of music were in 1932 as a child of 4-5 years at the Royal Albert Hall when he drifted off to sleep while hearing his father perform. He woke up to see yellow colors all around him, and was told, by his father “Son that is the color of Rag Basant. What are your early memories?Mine probably should go back to the womb if the scientific theory of an unborn child being able to hear what is being spoken to it is true! My father was obsessed with the belief that his wife was carrying a boy, that it could not be anything but a boy who would be a child prodigy and will carry on his musical heritage. He made my poor mother sit through concert after concert as he performed way past her 8th month so the unborn child could imbibe his music. He would have been mortified had I turned out to be a girl!But my earliest conscious memories are really of being in Simla. We moved there when I was six and I remember the colors, the beauty of the mountains and working on music with my father. I don’t really remember the first 6 years, or what I learnt musically even though I performed when I was six. I remember the concert I played in but I don’t have any particular memories of doing riyaaz(practice) or what kind of riyaaz it was. Most of my subsequent memories span nights and mornings of music, this beautiful home that we lived in. I remember the great tenderness with which my father taught me initially, but then it was replaced by a harsh regimented style where he started pushing my buttons but that happened later. So the early memories of music are very tender and happy. He would sing and we would work on one thing for months, not realizing, I was being taught.Is it true your mother, a well educated Bengali Brahmin, met him, of all the places on a dance floor and was floored by not his musical prowess but his dancing abilities?It is very true. My father was very handsome, and is a man of great grace and finesse, a total charmer and was very fond of dancing. She was floored by his charm and saw this suave, polished, loving man, not realizing how tough the life of a musician is. He was also always surrounded by sycophants. They separated when I was about 11.That must have been tough.It was. I was not young enough to be oblivious to what was going on and not old enough to know what to do about it. I chose to stay with my father, since he was also my guru. My mother always had her own life and was busy with it, so growing up, the closeness a child is supposed to feel for a parent, was something I had more with my father.One gets the impression that Khan Sahib has very strong opinions, strong likes and dislikes, and always wants things his own way. How did you handle that? He is still very much like that even today. My hopes and dreams that one day I will be sharing this strong father and son relationship with him hasn’t happened till now. It has been a strange relationship.I have seen his tenderness, and then the harsh demanding discipline. Still what was really interesting was to see how intuitive he is. He knew how far he could go with each student. He would bring them to the point where if they went one step further they would break, and then ease up.” I think the worst thing about being taught music by musicians of that generation – and most of my contemporaries will tell you similar stories – was the ruthless harshness with which we were taught. Musician fathers in those times just did not understand that their sons needed occasional tenderness, a loving hand on their shoulder at least some times. These men felt that by treating their sons really harshly and pushing them ruthlessly they will make them strong men. I don’t think I need to whip my son to make him strong.I can tell you horror stories of the treatment I had received during my practice sessions but I don’t like to speak about it because these stories have already scared a lot of people from pursuing music. It made learning music difficult, and excessively stressful. At the same time a lot of musicians who will tell you their hair strands were tied to the ceiling fan, or they were tied to a tree and whipped, or their guru let the dog loose on them, say so to prove that by suffering such hardships they are more exalted than you. I can say yes that part of the relationship was terrible, but I also remember my father walking in while I was practicing and seeing that after hours of practicing, I was about to reach a point where I was going to break down, saying, okay stop, let’s go and sit outside. It would be very early morning in Simla and we would sit down and see the sun come out and he would talk about a particular raga and also add if you are learning to ride its okay to fall. He would then tell stories that were mesmerizing and beautiful- like the rising sun.Your cousin Shahid Parvez said his father did not have any other student and so it was hard for him to be a teacher.Well my father on the contrary had plenty of students including Rais Khan, Imrat Khan’s son Irshad and Shahid Bhai, who is one of the very talented sitarists today. But I also have a complaint against Shahid Bhai. I have seen him give many interviews but not once has he acknowledged my father’s tremendous contribution, to his music.Forget about my personal complaints against my father, if some one was to ask me who are the musicians who will go down in history as having made a major contribution to music in India in the past 100 years, I would unhesitatingly name Ustad Vilayat Khan as one of the leading lights. My father is not a very pleasant person and not easy to get along with, but you must give credit where it is due and I am disappointed that Shahid Bhai has never done that.I still remember those days when Shahid Parvez came and stayed with us for months and we learnt together from my father. He needs to stand up and acknowledge the years my father taught him. I believe that to a great extent his music is what it is today because of Ustad Vilayat Khan.Listen to Vilayat Khan sahib’s music and then listen to Shahid’s father Aziz Khan sahib’s music and you will see whose touch is more predominant in Shahid Bhai’s music. His father learnt from my grandfather and he follows my father’s style including the gayaki ang. Any one who knows anything about music knows that the entire Itawa gharana owes its present popularity, form and existence to the innovations my father brought to it.You walked out on your father as a teenager. Yes. We were constantly at loggerheads and were just not getting along. It was his good luck that I turned out to be this child prodigy, but even then whatever I played wasn’t good enough for him. I understood the expectations and did work very, very hard. At the same time I want to assert that, child prodigy or not I was not more special than any one else. There are other musicians who are as gifted. I just had the good fortune of learning from very accomplished teachers like my father and Amir Khan sahib. So destiny and luck do play a part. Having said that I must add that you need tremendous courage to be a musician of high caliber. It is excruciating to sit for hours and keep practicing through sheer will power when your body has given up already. There were people, who were his sycophants and always around him who just would not let me forget whose son I was, not appreciating me for what I could do. I was sick of people introducing me as Vilayat Khan’s son and what a great honor it was to be his son, but I wanted to have my own identity. There have been times when we played together and I upstaged my father. He didn’t want me to, but I took the liberty. It was my way of proving that there were times I could do one better. My father wanted me to be submissive to his wishes all the time and that desire to dominate filtered into all areas of our relationship, to the point that one didn’t know where the demanding father ended and the demanding teacher began. So I walked out at 18.Where did you go?I went to Bombay and did a lot of back ground music for films. I was very fond of playing light classical music . Only Vilayat Khan Sahib, Rais Khan Sahib and I had this knack of playing light classical and Rais Khan Sahib was not playing anymore and so the field was wide open and I decided to fill in that gap. I played with Lakshmi Kant Pyarelal , R.D.Burman, Khayyam, O.P.Nayyar. I got a lot of work and the money was great. I did a lot of traveling all over the world and a large part of the time I would come to the US. At times I would play concerts, at others there were none to play. I just never wanted to play the sitar at a club or a restaurant, because for me, sitar was a sacred instrument. I did play the guitar and sing at Spanish restaurants. The Americans thought I was singing Spanish songs, but actually I was singing Hindi songs! It was funny! I made money doing odd jobs. In Florida I worked as a telephone operator for two days at a friend’s farm. No one would ever allow me to do that in India!I also remembered being taken advantage of. People would invite me and underpay me. There was a doctor from Florida who is one of the most affluent and well known men in that area. He asked me to come and perform in a house concert, for $500, which was a big amount in those days. I drove all night to reach Florida, performed before a very excited audience. He then gave me an envelope with cash in it. I opened the envelope to pay my accompanist and I saw it had only $410. I said to the doctor, “There must have been some misunderstanding, the money is not the right amount.” He said “Oh well, you are such a great artist and every one wanted to hear you. There were more than the expected number of guests and I had to arrange for tea and samosas for them and that cost 90 bucks. This is a man with millions and four fancy cars standing outside his palatial home!These trips made me realize that all this gypsy living was fun, but making music is what I was born to do and if I let that talent go to waste it would be a shame. So around the age of 22-23 I started to get back to being serious about my music. I went back to India and played in any concert that was offered to me. Were you in touch with your father and what did he have to say?I was in touch with my father, but there were 3-4 years when we did not talk at all. My father has hurt me deeply and maybe I have hurt him too. Anyway on my return every thing seemed to be positive work wise, the organizers were open to hosting me again. Around that time in 1984 I also decided to get married, and since I was still trying to make a comeback a friend of mine who owned tea estates in Assam offered me a managerial position. Things were not very good financially, and if you are married or have a family you can suppress your own hunger, but to see the hunger of your child or to realize that my daughter wanted something and I could not give it to her are the moments that are painful to endure.The adulation that the world gives you only comes when you succeed. Otherwise people push you down. That is the way the world works and why should any one make an exception in my case? When I saw my daughter and wife going through hardships I decided that if things didn’t pick up in 3-4 months, I would go ahead and take up the job. I kept the appointment letter, but then suddenly people started calling me telling me my music was being missed.Things fell into place and it has been very smooth since then. I have not risen to or fallen from great heights. It has been a steady progression and I quite like it that way.Your father would go deep into the villages looking for people who sang folk tunes and I heard that you accompanied him. Is that where your love for folk tunes comes from? Your CD Lajo Lajo has been an all time hit. How did every one react when you veered away from the purist classical tradition. You have also said that folk music demands something much more complicated than classical music.Absolutely. The intricacies and intonations we use for folk music is not used in classical music and every musician cannot use them. Every classical musician cannot become a folk musician and vice versa. You have to actually get the feel for it, enjoy it and also be willing not to look down on it, as a lot of Indian classical musicians tend to do. They call folk music unrefined, but that’s where classical music came from. I was surprised at the success of Lajo Lajo, because I expected there to be a lot of opposition, though I am not the first one who did it. My father sang folk at the end of his concerts, starting with Rag Bhatiyali, Pahadi and then Rajasthani Maand and purists thought even then that he was crazy. They said the same thing when he introduced the gayaki ang. I grew up with folk music around me and when Shashi Gopal of Magnasound said every one sings and plays folk music at concerts, but no one has thought of releasing an album and would I do it, I said sure. While we did get criticism from the purists the resounding success of that CD has silenced everyone. I enjoyed doing it and my message to the purists was if you don’t like that aspect of my music, stick to what you like!Interestingly it has made a lot of young sitarists want to cut an album where they can to sing! Some of them said oh we have been training vocally and that made me laugh. Vocal training is full time business and if that is what they have been doing then when are they practicing the sitar? I don’t claim to be a singer. Playing the sitar is what I do and I sing by the way.What did you dad have to say about Lajo Lajo?He said achcha hai -of course he had to add, I would never do it, Shujaat. If you are doing it, that’s fine, bahut achcha hai – kam se kam sur mein hai chalo!(well at least it’s in tune!)I write as well. If you listen to the song Yeh Inayaten Ghazab Ki, I heard the first two lines some where, drew from it and added a few more lines. I also wrote Tere Bina in my CD Waiting for Love. When I play classical instrumental music, often the audience cannot fathom the intricacies and the depths to which I go unless they are trained in music, A lot of people cannot understand the level of what Vilayat Khan plays and yet they also can’t handle CholiKke Peechey Kya Hai kind of music. I have found a happy medium with my music where my folk tunes attract a lot of attention, the lilting music attracts even the non Indians and as soon as I walk in I hear voices saying please sing Lajo Lajo, and I say sure, I will do an hour of classical music and then I will sing your requests. I have also attracted the young crowd because they connect with the simplicity and richness of the lyrics and music. That is the reason why Lajo Lajo and now my latest Hawa Hawa have been so well received.You have done extremely well with Ghazal, the group you formed with Persian music legend Kayhan Kalhor. Amjad Ali Khan said fusion is like a flirtation. It gives you momentary pleasure, but you can’t create a legitimate child from it.There is nothing wrong with fusion. It is an experiment between different artists from different parts of the world, but it has its good and bad performers! There is one group of musicians who experiment unsuccessfully. Somewhere down the road they realize that they neither have the talent nor the dedication to practice for hours, but since they have to earn a living, why not gather some others with the same mindset, attempt to get the maximum out of their minimal talent, and end up creating something that no one wants to understand. These guys have given fusion a bad name.Then there is the other group of musicians who have established solos careers and the world has accepted their talent and if at that stage they choose to mingle with equally talented musicians who are solo artists from other countries and want to create something together, then even if you don’t like fusion, at least you know that whatever they will create will be high class stuff and not something mindless without rhythm and tune. For me it’s like a picnic and also very enjoyable to work with another artist who is gifted.And funnily enough Ghazal has become a legitimate child because we have kept commercialization out of it and we are totally committed to maintaining the high quality of composition, rhythm and melody improvisation.How do you perform with a Persian musician? I believe the tuning, mode, rhythm and approach in both Persian and Hindustani music is different.I’ m not very familiar with Persian music and am not trying to inter-connect the two genres. I met Kayhan through friends of his who asked me if I would like to play with him. I am very particular about who I play with. We clicked and we finished the tracks of the first CD that came out in 1997 in one night. We take 3-4 notes, improvise the introduction and then we come back to the same notes. We keep away from the mainstream and take a raga which has some similarities for both Persian and Indian classical music and improvise. We find that at times our collaboration has confused people. They know what I do and what Kayhan does as a soloist.Then Indians think their music is the greatest and everything else is inferior and Iranians think that too – and they might say oh I would prefer to hear these great artists in a solo performance God knows what will happen when they play together, but when we do, they are floored. At times I have sung in Persian much to their delight. Urdu is derived from Farsi and sometimes there are couplets I have heard that come in my mind, while singing and I add those couplets into my performance.How easy it is not to have ego clashes? It was really nice to see how vocally appreciative you were on stage of Kayhan and Sandeep Das.There are so many wonderful musicians in this world, but they don’t have the grace to share the stage with others. You have to put your ego aside. What we do together as musicians is not the only thing we do, and so we don’t have to try and upstage each other. It should be a pleasant experience for the audience and it should be a fun experience for the artists. The day it stops being that we will stop collaborating with others.There has always been this rivalry between the Maihyar gharana represented by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan and the Itawa gharana represented by your father. Yet you went ahead and cut a dual album with Tejendra Majumdar who is a disciple of Ali Akbar Khan. Was it building bridges or rebelling against your dad?I think if it wasn’t for the competition from those two, my father may not have been challenged or risen to such heights as a musician. I think Tejendra Ji is a brilliant artist and a wonderful human being and I realized that he was a person who was ready to share his music and the stage, something many brilliant musicians aren’t able to do, and we went ahead and recorded the album. Vilayat Khan and Ali Akbar Khan have the highest regard for each other. Besides, can there be any profession where there is no rivalry?Has the audience and the way you teach music changed over the years?It’s interesting to see so many dedicated students who are non Indians. A lot of Indians living here take their heritage for granted. They are also spoilt by visiting musicians giving impromptu lessons at low rates to make some extra money on their tours so I have had Indians complaining about how expensive it is to learn from me. Well, if you can spend thousands on shopping and weddings, then you need to pay your dues to an artist of my caliber who is willing to spend time teaching you. If you learn western classical music from a renowned artist you will pay about $200 an hour. I refer other sitarists who are willing to charge less to Indian students who have tried to haggle with me on price. The western students are very different They have grown up in a country where they take anything they pick up very seriously and are willing to pay the price to learn, even when they have to work twice as hard to learn Indian classical music.I haven’t seen much change, in the audience. The only difference is I have managed to reach out to people from all age groups, even those who can’t understand classical music.While it’s great to perform in Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall, I still play my best music when I can look into the eyes of my audience, in smaller house concerts.When you look back what are the lessons life has taught you? There aren’t too many regrets though I wish I had a better relationship with my father, and that I could be less stubborn. When some one hurts me it’s hard for me to reach out. I don’t want to play 300 concerts a year, and I have no interest in rewriting musical history. My father doesn’t like my laid back approach to music, but while music is an intrinsic, very beautiful part of my life and my soul, unlike the statements you hear from other musicians, I don’t eat and sleep and crap music!My family means more to me than anything else. I have been with the same woman for close to two decades, and I have not pushed my kids into endless, agonizing music practices. My daughter is a published poet and artist and is studying fashion technology. My son was voted the MVP in basketball and makes music on the computer. My wife was clueless about my music and actually saw my first concert six months after our marriage. She sweetly asked santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma what he did when he came to bless us!I get a lot of appreciation and adulation for the kind of music I create. This is a business that involves a lot of money, fame , egos and distinct personalities and I try not to get into all that. My life revolves around 70-80 ragas out of which 30-40 I play really well, others I manage. Even mastering these many ragas is not possible in one lifetime, so I can’t keep running for more; so if someone comes and asks me questions for which I don’t have a proper answer it is only right to say, please go to someone else who can answer that question or teach you what I don’t know correctly.I try to live my life humbly and honestly. The honesty was not there always. There was a time when I tried to con my way through life, because I had insecurities; we all do. Maybe there are lesser now. Today I am comfortable with who I am and where I am. I have shared some very beautiful moments learning music with my father and Amir Khan Sahib, but I have also learnt so much from people around me. The other day I was in New York in the subway and I heard an African American man singing a beautiful melody. Behind the New York Plaza there is a cathedral and this black man sits there sometimes playing the saxophone. The sound of music in a quiet night is mesmerizing. Growing up in a household where music was the way of life and hearing so many musical geniuses coming and performing there was not just an honor, but I unconsciously imbibed a lot of what they played and sang and I see that in my music today.And what does your father have to say about your music and the fact that in spite of all your rebellion you did make it?It bothered him to see that I was so immensely talented and yet refused to toe the lines he set for me and wasn’t a go getter. I am shy by nature and don’t go around asking for work, and that added to the friction. There is no undisputed champion of the world in music, but I hope that today he is a happy man to see that finally I am one of the forerunners in classical music, which is far more than what I set out to be.He did say in an interview that he is very proud, not just about the fact that I am a top notch musician, but also that I walked an honorable path and came up the ladder with dignity. Related Items
His father, Manas Mukherjee, was a well respected music composer who gave music for stellar movies like Shayad and Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hai, but struggled in Bombay till his untimely death. For son Shantanu, or Shaan as he is popularly known, the musical journey however turned into a stairway to superstardom. His voice has a velvety quality and a sound that fits most heroes on the screen. Hosting the blockbuster musical show Saregamapa has catapulted him into a household name nationally and internationally.The song “Shuruat” in his new sizzling album Tishnagi was made into a music video to promote the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.In an exclusive interview with Little India’s Kavita Chhibber, the incredibly charming, down-to-earth singer, composer and popular TV host, talks about his musical journey and why his wife Radhika and he steer clear of the glitter of Bollywood.Your father’s journey was obviously different from yours. What are the early memories?Dad started in Calcutta and after doing very well there decided to come to Bombay to try his luck in the industry. He initially wanted to make it as a singer, but then turned to composing, which he excelled at. Work was limited at that time, especially for an outsider. My father had been well known for the excellence of his work and had also been assisting music maestro Salil Chaudhry. Still he could not find work easily, in spite of the fact that Salil Chaudhry was a big name in Bombay and dad had already sung for him in Bengali. My father learnt the hard way that there is no transitional period for an outsider. The understanding and knowledge of music that my father had was simply way beyond what I knew and know to this day about music.I was born in Bombay and so I began my life as an insider, unlike my dad. Also things have really opened up for singers from outside Bombay. You can see that in Saregamapa and Indian Idol where we have representation from many states of India. I was never asked to become a musician or really taught music as such, but growing in an environment so rich in music, makes its imprint in your psyche, and since it was also in my genes, I guess I must have had some natural musical talent. My father passed away when I was 14 and my sister Sagarika was 16. I was too young to understand all his struggles and what he had gone through to make ends meet. My mother Sonali is seemingly a soft emotional person who is the picture of feminine grace. When it came to crunch time, however, she suddenly became this strong person who held it all together. She found work as a singer, and toured with Amitabh Bachchan and we managed. My parents were very respected and loved and that opened doors for me later.I am completely self- taught. I think what really worked for me was that we were brought up in Bandra where the Catholic culture was predominant. The music that I heard was all English rock and top of the pops. I think it was really after high school that I rediscovered Hindi music. I was dazzled by R.D. Burman and ghazals. Once I got my dose of Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh, there was no looking back. I was hooked. Still my music is not from one source, but a mix of several influences.I was actually just bumming around doing odd jobs when the Indi-pop scene started heating up. I was singing with some other people and my sister was doing the same thing. One day my sister said let’s make an album together. We signed up with Magnasound recording company and made Q-Funk, but it was Roop Inka Mastana, a remix album of R.D. Burman’s songs that brought us into the limelight. I think people started thinking of us in the same way they looked at Zoheb and Nazia Hassan. Ofcourse all this while we were clueless and weren’t sure if Indi-pop was the way to go. But suddenly, with Made in India, Indi-pop became the mainstream music everyone was beginning to love, so we ended up being in the right place at the right time.I’m sure your first solo album Loveology is dear to you for sentimental reasons, but it was Tanha Dil, that really catapulted you to the next level. It revived the listeners faith in Indi-pop, after the kind of trashy albums that were being churned out. Ram Sampath and you were a great team, but you are not working together any more.There were three years between Loveology and Tanha Dil. Both were albums that hreflected two different phases of my life. Lovelogy brings back memories of my college days and experiences related to those times. We were kids from middle class families, riding buses and couldn’t even afford to buy a cup of coffee for ourselves, leave alone ask a girl out for coffee. There would also be those rich guys on motorbikes that would get the girls and look, oh so cool. Loveology was my way of saying that if you have true love in your heart, you can over come all these materialistic hurdles.Tanha Dil was from those days when all my friends were looking at making a living and many had gone or decided to go abroad and I was trying to look at the dilemma faced by someone who has to leave his homeland and go away to make a living. I couldn’t say tera desh pukhare wapas aa, yahan bhi roti milti hai (your country calls you come back … you will find your livelihood here too), because it was not true. They were leaving because they couldn’t find that livelihood here.Then I did Aksar to show where I was at that point in my life. Today after being married and being a father of two, I can’t do a Loveology. I need to act my age. Aksar was more introspective and about relationships, and dedicated to my wife Radhika. Her presence in my life has changed me so much for the better. We did have a time crunch, and I also took a tour to promote the album and it was great to get a first hand responseBy the time Tanha Dil was created, Ram really made me introspect about what it was that we really should be doing. We spent a lot of quality time making Tanha Dil and its success gave me a lot of credibility.I would have loved to make more albums with Ram, but there were several factors that came in the way. First, we became very busy individually. My very first film song Musu Musu became a big hit, and I felt that since Tanha Dil was one album where some of the lyrics written by me were the key to the success of the album, I should have some creative control in the next album, which Ram would not agree to. I would love to work with him again. He is incredibly talented and creative.How has the music scene evolved over the years? There just seem to be so many recording companies and CDs being churned out.Today unfortunately it’s all about marketing and business. If you are really lucky you will find a company that works with you and stays away from telling you what kind of music to make. Most of the time, unfortunately, the only thing they are concerned about is whether the album will do well with the masses and what the video of the songs will look like. It takes away the entire creative process for the artist who then scrambles around to cater to the whims of these companies, compromising his music as a result. There are huge productions, like Adnan Sami does, with movie actresses in his videos, because he has the clout now. Mostly however, the budget for private albums is pretty limited.I have often been asked: “Why don’t you make film albums instead? They sell so well.” But I do that with the movie directors and sing as they want me to sing. For my personal growth and to explore my own creativity, I prefer to do a private album, which will have a message and deal with issues that concern us all. I also keep away from all outside musical influences and try to compose my own lyrics and music. My album must be unique and different from anything else that will be out there.Music has become pretty instant these days. Even the Mumbai of yesterday has changed from the romance-inspiring city with lush greenery and open spaces, to a concrete jungle. Even getting off a train at a particular junction is a well thought operation. You start moving at a particular point and then finally stand at a strategic point so you could be swept out by the masses. So the inspiration to compose or do something creative at least for me isn’t in such surroundings. I need a beautiful place to be inspired.People write on the run. There are only a handful of musicians who do justice to music.One of the hot and happening music directors Himesh Reshmaiya said that the music directors of today are more talented than those of yesteryears because unlike them, they don’t have quality lyricists and a great support system to work with. Who are the music directors you like?It is a good observation, but at the same time there is no justification for substandard or mediocre music. At the end of the day, no matter what the support system was with those people, they had the knowledge, the dedication, the creativity and a certain amount of spirituality to come up with the kind of incomparable songs they created – songs that have transcended generations and remain evergreen.The worst part about today’s music is the lack of time. People are just looking at deadlines first and everything else is worked around it. Raj Kapoor took days to record one song. Himesh probably churns out a song every four hours! However Himesh is a very smart musician. He hrefuses to work with big banners, saying that if the movie is a hit the credit will go to the banner. He churns out hits for small films. The movies come and go, but his music sizzles and every one knows who it is by.I can honestly say that I compose music by instinct, but I don’t have much knowledge of ragas. I also won’t be able to give you too many names when it comes to music directors of today who have the kind of knowledge music directors of yesteryears had. May be Ravindra Jain. That is it.Jatin-Lalit come from a classical music heritage, being nephews of Pandit Jasraj. While they don’t do raga-based songs all the time, I think they are the only musicians today who have the capacity to do what R.D. Burman did – achieve a timeless quality in their songs.A.R. Rahman on the other hand is very focused on ragas and also thinks out of the box. Rahman has broken away from tradition in the sense that his second stanza many be entirely different from the first one and he can use multiple singers, where each one will have his own chord. Rahman has a very active, very creative imagination. When he is composing, he isn’t thinking song, he is thinking soundtrack.The greatest survivor in the film industry is Anu Malik. He has survived there for three decades. He is also one of the most underrated music directors. When you meet him you will always find him brimming with energy, always enthusiastic, always surrounded by people. He will be talking to you and doing a hundred other things and then suddenly in the midst of it all, he’ll say okay let’s get to work and come up with the most incredible tunes in a jiffy, out of nowhere.Then there is Aadesh Shrivastav. He is a very warm, very flamboyant person. When it comes to bhangra kind of stuff, no one can beat him.Your voice has improved by leaps and bounds and you have been giving one hit after another in movies. Why do you think you’ve succeeded?I have always focused on versatility. On one side I can belt out a blockbuster like “Nikamma” and on the other hand I can sing the soulful rag-darbari based “Paigham laya saawan” and not many people can do that. I have started learning music again from the legendary Ghulam Mustafa Khan, and he has enriched my voice and taught me so much about life.Let’s talk about Saregamapa, which has made you a household name nationally and internationally. All the little NRI kids at the Raina Foundation charity even where you performed knew who you were and we saw a mix of diverse age groups and ethnicity among the audience. Even the American security guards were dancing as you sang.It has been an amazing experience and has of course done wonders in terns of visibility. I must say my Hindi has improved greatly thanks to the show. It has been a humbling experience to see such incredible talent from round one and I feel so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to reach where I have. I guess luck too plays a very important part.You have a very close relationship with your wife Radhika and your mom and sister. In an industry where marriages fall on the wayside like a deck of card what keeps you both close.I meet enough people while I’m working, but it’s really good to come home to someone who you know will keep you grounded. We’ve known each other a long time. I find it very strange when I see even the wives or girlfriends of celebrities sucking up to them and telling them what they want to hear and not what is the truth. We keep away from Bollywood parties and spend every spare time I have together with the family. I feel that material success and fame are very temporary things. It is very easy for me to see, if I look around, that there are many others who are more talented than me. I was just fortunate enough to reach where I reached and I accept that with all humility and gratitude. Related Items
Bobby Jindal’s election as the first non-white governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction has simultaneously evoked jubilation and consternation among Indian Americans.Jindal, the youngest governor in the country, routed his opponents in an open primary, avoiding a run-off – a first for the state. Even more remarkably, Louisiana is right wing country, in which only two decades ago Klu Klux Klansman David Duke seriously bid for the governor’s job.Jindal is the first Indian American governor ever in the United States; four years earlier he became only the second Indian American Congressman in U.S. history after Dilip Singh Saund. Over the years, Indian Americans have contributed generously to Jindal’s political coffers. But they were, glaringly, absent from his public campaigns. Jindal never invokes his roots on the campaign trail and even as a child renounced his Indian name (Piyush) and Hindu religion. He converted to Christianity as a teenager and embraced fundamentalist right wing Republican policies.Therein lies the rub. His religious conversion is purely a personal matter. It would be cynical to assume that political expediency prompted his conversion as a teenager. Whether Jindal’s extreme political positions on hot button issues – embrace of the NRA, opposition to abortion and advocacy of prayer in schools – are sincere or calculated to win over Louisiana’s fundamentalist voters is difficult to fathom. He is a policy wonk, who served as the youngest president of the Louisiana State University system while only in his 20s and led senior government health services at the state and federal level before jumping into electoral politics. His two terms in Congress were undistinguished, as he bid his time for a gubernatorial run.The public hoopla in India – bhajans, prayers, vigils and other gaudy celebrations – over Jindal’s victory and before him over the astronaut Sunita Williams and the TV Idol airhead Sanjaya Malakar borders on the silly. But such idolatry is always disdainful, regardless of who is exalted, especially if their connections to the homeland are tenuous.For Indian Americans, however, it is different. We have a multiplicity of identities, reflected in people who are more Indian than Indians to those, such as Jindal, who strive to one-up the Americans. Jindal’s politics do not represent, nor does he pretend to speak for, the community. Truthfully, no one really does.Charitably, we hope that Jindal is a dishonest politician – that his extreme right wing positions are cynical political ploys.But we do not have to share someone’s politics to celebrate his success. So let us hold our collective noses at his ideology and embrace Jindal. Better him than some other right wing ideologue in Louisiana, which, unsurprisingly, given its backwater politics, is among the poorest states in the Union.That is the politically expedient thing for Indian Americans to do. Jindal will understand all too well. Related Items
Wipro is building India’s fastest supercomputer for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).The supercomputer, which will be almost one-and-a-half times more powerful than India’s current fastest computer, will have a processing speed of 200-500 teraflops. The Columbia Supercomputer, located at the NASA Ames Research Center. NASAThe world’s most powerful supercomputer is the Tianhe-1A, in Tianjin, China, with a speed of 2.57 petaflops, according to www.top500.org, which is 10times faster.Presently the fastest Indian computer is the Eka Computer at Tata’s Computational Research Laboratories with a speed of 132.8 teraflops, which debuted as the world’s eighth fastest computer in 2008, but now ranks 47. Related Items
An Indian Canadian was declared inadmissible to Canada on grounds of organized criminality after he was found to have engaged in people smuggling in 2015. The Canadian federal court order was released last month.Karamdeep Singh Bagri, an Indian national who gained permanent residentship in Canada in 2008, was arrested on Jan. 12, 2015, in Washington State by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for having picked up five Indian nationals who had just crossed illegally into the United States from Canada.The case was being heard in the federal court after Bagri applied for a judicial review of an earlier Immigration and Refugee Board decision rendering him inadmissible for being part of a “criminal organization.”Bagri, 31, was arrested south of the border by Abbotsford, British Columbia, with two men, two women and a child in his rental vehicle. He said that it was the first time he picked up illegal aliens. He also said that he entered the United States to pick up two of those individuals and was supposed to be paid $1,000 for his services, and that he had made several previous attempts to transport undocumented immigrants, but had been unsuccessful.The plan for this was hatched in a parking lot of a gurdwara in October 2014, when he met someone called “Babba.” He was on the phone with this Babba when he was caught.According to the court order, he was interviewed thrice by representatives of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), during which he made contradicting statements. Member McPhalen of the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board rejected testimony provided by Bagri which contradicted certain statements that he had made in his prior interviews with the CBSA.McPhalen said it was obvious Bagri knew that he was “involved in something illegal.” He was found to have aided and abetted the illegal entry of the five people into the United States, because his “part of the scheme was to pick them up on the U.S. side of the border.” Bagri himself carried a visa with which he could make multiple trips to the United States.According to U.S. Justice Department statistics, 731 Indian nationals sought asylum south of the border in 2010, which increased to 2,277 by 2015.According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of organized criminality and engaging in transnational crime such as people smuggling, trafficking in persons or laundering of money or other proceeds of crime. Related ItemsCanadaUnited States