Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Today's Personality

Google ki 12 aisi khidmaat jinke mutalliq shayad aap nahi jante!

Source: INQUILAB-27th March,2019

From gallery to street

Art will take over the walls of an Andheri neighbourhood
A community in Marol, together with a graffiti collective, are hosting a street art festival, Ladies First (all the contributing artists are women), which will cover over 10,000 square feet of walls in the area they call Marol Arts Village.
Suresh Nair, secretary of the Military Road Residents Welfare Association (MRRWA), a neighbourhood body, says that after seeing eye-catching wall art in low-income areas, he got in touch with the collective behind it. “We thought we could do an art festival in Marol,” he says. MRRWA covers over 80 housing societies; was it difficult to get the residents to agree, especially in such a large locality? “It was absolutely unanimous. We were categorical that it would not be any religious or political message. It would be purely art, and if at all there was a message it would be civic and social.” He notes that officialdom has been helpful. “Our ward officer and the police are extremely supportive of the activity we do. Wicked Broz are taking care of the art and we are playing a support role.”
Community feeling
Wicked Broz is the graffiti collective steering the show. Omkar Dharshwar, a member, grew up in Marol, but it was only when he returned after four years in college that he really began exploring it. “In the last three years I happened to meet some people and found out about the scene happening here,” he says, “and it looked very conducive. I started calling friends to come paint here. Over the last three years, we painted with over 100 people. We painted in ‘underground’ places like chawls.”
Zain Siddiqui, co-founder, says the decision to have only women artists came from realising that only about 10% of the street artists they had in their database were female, and though they were all very good, their work wasn’t seen as much. He is happy that aside from MMRWA giving the collective a free hand on the art, the community is behind them. “People from chaprasis to old uncles have come to help. We have had friends donate. Camlin has donated paints.”
Graffiti is commonly regarded as underground, so it feels good, Siddiqi says, to be doing things with permissions sorted out. Street art too has changed, he says, “It has to adapt to what the community wants. The world has changed.” Dhareshwar remembers that getting permissions took time. “In my own building, it took me a year and half. Whatever work we did was without permission. Now we have the chance of doing it a proper way, more inclusive, engaging the community. It’s way cooler than what we used to do.”
No longer underground
Anpu Varkey is one of the artists leading the festival. The others are Sam Sam, Avantika Mathur, Shirin Shaikh, Kesar Khinvasara, and Abigail Aroha Jensen; more local artists will join in, bringing it to 30 contributors in all. Varkey known among other works, for her collaboration with Hendrick Beikirch for painting a 158-foot-tall mural of Gandhi on the Delhi Police HQ building, questions the belief that street art is, by definition, underground. “I don’t have to go out at night to paint just to show what I can do,” she says. “[Street art] is not something that pays the bills, but it has gotten me around the country, from Dharamshala to Kochi, from Jaipur to Shillong, to travel and work in public spaces.” Street art in India is regarded differently from, say, western cities, where it can be seen as a nuisance that public money must be spent cleaning up, she says. “Here, people don’t look down on the work.”
Ladies First will also feature hip-hop cyphers, workshops, films and talks on street art, and an exhibition of works on canvas.
Ladies First, from March 25–31, Marol Arts Village, AndheriEast.

Monday, March 18, 2019

These tactile books help children with visual impairment

By turning the pages, and touching and feeling its elements, children with visual impairment see the world in a new light
A three-year-old girl was on a bus in Chennai with her mother. When it pulled up at a stop, someone outside called out “Mylapore poguma?” (Will this bus go to Mylapore?) The girl instantly sat up straight. She asked her mother excitedly, “Is he going to buy rubber bands, bindi, and hairclips there? You get them in Mylapore. Can we go there, too?” Visually-impaired, her idea about the markets of Mylapore was based entirely on a storybook she’d read. Her mother recounted the incident to Namita Jacob, founder and director of Chetana Charitable Trust, who brought out the book. To date, it is amongst the most heart-warming feedback Chetana has received.
Chetana’s library has 255 unique tactile books for children with print disabilities — who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, developmental, cognitive, or learning disorder. The particular book that inspired the little girl, had pages in which were stuck actual hairclips and rubber bands. Through touch and feel, it lets a visually-impaired child understand what is sold in a market. “The only way these children can experience a place,” feels Namita, “Is by having an individual understanding of it.” If an aunt told the child about her visit to the market, she will merely be hearing new words, without any idea of what they actually are. “The elements in our books help build an internal connection,” adds Namita.
The USP of children’s books is their visual appeal. How does one translate this quality for the benefit of a visually-challenged child? “Books for very young children have fewer words and lots of pictures. If they were translated to Braille, imagine how it would be with each page having a single word,” says Namita. At Chetana, volunteers make books with elements stuck and stitched onto the pages. But these are far from the touch-and-feel books in the market that have just fur and fabric in them.
Explaining storybooks’ effects on visually-impaired children, she says, “Getting them hooked to reading expands their world, while revisiting these books improves their command over language.”
This, in turn, paves the way for their literacy. However, Braille school text books are easily accessible. “Imagine if the first book a visually-impaired child is given to read is a Braille text book,” says Namita. “How then will he/she develop an interest in reading?”
The Indian Association for the Blind in Madurai has an extensive library with Braille and audio books. However, its collection also includes a wide range of school and college text books. S Manjula, who is in-charge of the Braille press, says that the library has Tamil novels by authors such as Sujatha and B Jeyamohan, songs by Bharati, Shakespeare’s stories for children, folk tales, among others.
“We also bring out two magazines for people of all ages every month; Vizhi Savaal that has poems, art work, and other contributions by visually-impaired people and Braille Manjari, which is a selection of articles from various newspapers and magazines.”
Mumbai-based startup Cubs and Calves, that makes fabric-based ‘quiet books’, has launched a new line of sensory books for children with visual difficulties and slow learners. “These have noise-makers, squeezers, touch-and-feel fabric that is crinkly, and those that have different textures,” explains Priya Ravishankar, founder.
She also makes fabric books with mirrors in them, targeted at children with problems in eye-sight.
“Parents can read them with their children on a trip to the park, for instance. The mirrors catch light and the child can interpret various colours through it,” she adds. Cubs and Calves is also in the process of making Braille books. “We will use buttons for the text to give an elevated feel,” says Priya.
Dr Kalpana Narendran, paediatric ophthalmologist, Aravind Eye Hospital, Coimbatore, acknowledges the dearth of storybooks for visually-impaired children. “But they will make a world of difference in their lives,” she feels. “Children will be able to feel and appreciate what’s around them. The earlier they are exposed to books, the better.” From time to time, every child needs to escape into a fictional world.
Reach out
Indian Association for the Blind:
Chetana Charitable Trust:
Cubs and Calves:

Source: THE HINDU-18th March,2019

University faculty urged to discourage irrelevant research

Central varsity circular causes a flutter
A March 13 circular issued by the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Kerala (CUK) that was circulated among the deans and heads of departments of the university has caused a flutter after it was posted on social media.
It exhorted the faculty to discourage research in irrelevant areas and ensure that topics for theses should be in accordance with national priorities.
It referred to a tripartite MoU between the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission and the Central University of Kerala, which was discussed at a meeting of VCs held in Delhi in December 2018.
Girish Hosur, Joint Secretary for Higher Education (Central Universities), said this was not a directive or part of the MoU but an advisory given to all Central Universities.
“Some VCs raised the question of irrelevant research being carried out, so this was added,” he said.
‘Repeated topics’
It appears that only the CUK has issued the advisory to its faculty. G. Gopakumar, V-C of CUK, said, “In many State Universities, and even Central Universities, research topics are often repeated. Of the entire GDP, less than 3% is spent on higher education, and less than 1.5% on research. We need to take up research in topics like nanotechnology, Pharma, IT, Engineering, Nuclear Science, etc. where we have the potential to grow.”
He said basic and pure research were also very important, but even in theory building, we should work on new theories instead of old theories, and that the advisory which led to his issuing the circular was aimed at stopping duplication, prioritising, being scientific and progressive.
‘Up to scholars to decide’
He said it was up to the faculty and scholars to decide what was relevant and needed.
A senior academician who has served as a vice-chancellor of a central university said, “It is rather disingenuous to say that this is a mere advisory given to universities, especially as it bestows a lot of power on people at different levels. For instance, the researcher and her mentor may have no say in deciding whether the problem is relevant or irrelevant.”
He added that in the absence of a clear indication of what constitutes national priority, this merely bureaucratises a creative process.
K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the government, said in an email, “The notice from the Registrar, Central University, Kerala, could have been worded slightly better to capture the spirit and purpose on this matter.”
According to him, a significant number of the PhD topics tended towards the pedestrian rather than an attempt to answer important basic questions in the field or developing important applications, and the purpose of a research effort is to address such questions.

Honour for Indians

Source: THE HINDU-17th March,2019

‘There is so much to learn from India’

The Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, considered architecture’s Nobel, on redefining the relationship between architecture and society
The international architecture academic, curator and author talks about the future of building and about the legendary Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki, winning the Pritzker Prize this year.
Arata Isozaki was recognised as a ‘visionary architect’ in the 80s when we were students of architecture. How is his philosophy relevant to our times?
If I were to convey the citation of the Pritzker Prize jury, there is a profound underlying philosophy guiding Isozaki’s work and writings. It is not content with categorisation, but a constant exploration to break the status quo. It is a search for the relevance of architecture and its relationship to society at large. It is both avant-garde and deeply humanistic.
The challenge for countries like India and Japan, with ancient living traditions, has been the confrontation with modernisation and technology. How does the citation recognise this?
Isozaki bridges the spirit of the East and West in a rare way. It is not through visual caricatures but processes of contemplation. He has been engaged at many levels, whether writing, teaching, exhibitions, conferences or diverse projects across the world. He has been an architect actively immersed in this dialogue, absorbing its challenges; not a passive spectator. The jury recognises the value of that contribution.
Isozaki's generosity in supporting younger architects is exemplary; not only from Japan but from many other countries. He recognised a young radical Zaha Hadid. In the 80s, younger architects in Japan were given a chance to participate in Isozaki’s initiatives. Even as he searches for theoretical underpinnings, he never forgets the experience of its inhabitants, the local context, and aspirations. When we see his works from the beginning (the museums), they reveal a sensitivity to light, movement, and contemplation.
What message does the Pritzker Prize seek to convey?
The jury looks for a message that has relevance to the moment, the present — on the meaning of architecture and possibilities for the future. The Pritzker is granted for ‘the art of architecture’ and ‘service to humanity’. The jury reinterprets these concepts each year. For instance, when Alejandro Aravena won (2016), there were political and social discussions around the challenges of housing. Last year, B.V. Doshi was recognised for a long career in architecture, education, urbanisation, affordable housing and institution building. There is so much to learn from India, a vast, old country, which is trying to find its way in the 21st century. People sometimes say there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ for a person visiting India. I had this feeling.
For someone born in the U.S. and living in Europe, the intensity of the feelings one has during the first visit — and mine was to Jaipur — is unexpected. For me, all was amplified in India — history, the energy I felt when walking in the city, the colours, the conversations, food, the kindness of the people.
How do you envision future directions?
I think this is an important moment and has several new directions. Isozaki has an understanding of a global shared reality. He is an international, cosmopolitan figure, yet with an ability to connect to the personal. Globally, there are many big challenges. The world appears to have become smaller on one hand and yet more complex on the other. Jury chair Stephen Breyer talked about the importance of dialogue across cultures — Isozaki as an exemplar of sharing and learning, bridging East and West.
At a time in history when many things divide us, Isozaki’s search for communication and collaboration is something the jury recognised.
How can students of architecture and design address these challenges?
That’s a great question. As dean of a school here in Spain, I confront these issues almost every day. I think Isozaki’s philosophy may convey to students ideas of patience, curiosity, and study. Although we have lots of information on the Internet that can be instantaneously transmitted, this deeper meditation, an understanding of history, culture, philosophy — knowledge that is inherent in architecture — is important. These are the building blocks and we can’t forget them. They make architecture the heart of our society. Otherwise, it risks becoming something banal or flashy. It is a challenge for students to slow down, introspect, observe, and make connections across disciplines.
There is a need to expand the role of an architect. Normally, design architects receive the most recognition. In contrast, architects related to policy, community projects, sustainability or housing often don’t receive recognition. No other profession has such a broad range of knowledge and skills to make multiple contributions to society. We have to expand that definition in our education, bring that awareness into society. The structure of our profession needs questioning since it has implications on the way we work.
What structural changes could truly recognise the role of women in architecture?
The recognition of women in architecture is a multi-pronged process. On the one hand, our profession needs to change. Architects can get subsumed in practice, leaving no space for family or a life outside work. Most often, women are disadvantaged in this unfair comparison, since they have to look after family and children. So we need to change how we structure our profession from the inside. Offices can do this in a number of ways — flexible hours, humane hiring policies, supportive teams.
The contribution of women architects needs to be recognised. This can be done through awards, conferences, lectures and competition juries. These public or semi-public events need an equal representation of women, so people gradually realise the significant difference they make to the profession, and to ways of perceiving the world. Maybe it’s time to question these larger issues in architecture in order to engage meaningfully with society.
The writer is an architect, academician and world traveller.

Source: THE HINDU-17th March,2019

How many books is too many books?

Books have an infinite capacity to change how we think and live, but they are also finite objects with dimensions
There was a time when I knew exactly how many books I had. I carried a list around because I wanted to know because my budget for books was my budget for living. I managed everything else so that I should have money for books and I didn’t want to duplicate books. How can you duplicate books, you might ask, if you have only two or three hundred? Easily enough if you find a book by P.G. Wodehouse called The Cat-nappers , enter into a long haggling session with the road-side second-hand book-seller, finally arrive at a decent price, get into the train, find a window-seat, take out the book and discover that you have bought the American edition of Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen .
Today, I am not sure how many books I have, and I would buy that version of the Wodehouse just to see what the editors had got up to. There are dozens of books I have bought, some from the streets, some from the shops, ‘just to see’. This was not the way it was, not the way I was. I would only buy if I could be reasonably sure I would keep the book. This means knowing that I would return to the book, would want to read it again.
Perhaps the change has something to do with the way my relationship with books has changed. To begin with, re-reading is a luxury these days. Those books are clamouring for my attention and when I am done, most of the time, I know I will not return to the book and so I have to look for a place for it.
Now this should be easy but it is not. Many of my friends who have lost their parents call up and say that they have books to give away, could I please find a library that would take them. Sometimes this is because they know I am a trustee of the People’s Free Reading Room and Library, sometimes it is because I am a book person. Most of the time I have to tell them that most libraries don’t have room.
Imposing monuments
It is true that the great libraries of the world were built by donations, but it is also true that they were built at a time when it seemed that people and politicians and even kings believed in making books available to the public. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, for instance, was impressed by the public library system in the United States, and got William Borden (classmate of Melvil Dewey, who invented the Dewey Decimal System) over to help develop libraries in the State of Baroda. You look at the buildings that housed the libraries built back in the day and you can see that they were meant to be imposing monuments to learning. Perhaps they were also meant to impress the user into a position of subservience and quietness and respectful silence, but they were built so that more books could be added as you went along.
But even those big buildings have their limits. Books have an infinite capacity for changing the way we think and the way we live, but they are also finite objects with dimensions. You can end up with too many books and then you want to give them away. You’re done with Ayn Rand? But then so are 10,000 other people of your generation, and they have all been giving their copies ofThe Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to the same libraries you’re thinking of. And so most libraries can give you no guarantee that the books you give them will end up on their shelves. After all, they have to invest a certain amount of time in accessioning a book, entering it into the catalogue, classifying it and putting it on the shelves. If it is not read, it will have cost them that much money in time of human labour.
Most heartbreaking are the once-loved collections of aunts and fathers and grandparents which are now simply no longer wanted by the younger generations.
Book hunger
Sometimes they take the best books, the first editions if they are intelligent, or the books that look like they are old and expensive if they are not. Then they ask you if you know a place which will take the World Book Encyclopedia of 1964 or the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica of 1975.
“It’s a full set,” they say. “And things have not changed that much, you know...”
No? I want to say. Then perhaps your children could use it?
Anyway, sometimes it is possible to find recipient libraries because we are a nation of book hunger, but often it is difficult to find ways in which to get books—paper can be remarkably heavy, as anyone who has tried to heft a schoolchild’s satchel will know—to the mofussil.
Thanks to Marie Kondo and her kind, there is now much interest in getting rid of things. This was not so in an earlier generation where everything from bits of string to old underwear was kept because it might ‘come in handy some day’.
The resultant clutter was enormous, as anyone who has tried to clear up an older person’s house will know. Libraries then find that they have been handed everything from laundry lists to college guides to the classics.
The urge to clean out has one concomitant problem: you have to put the clutter out of your space, and if it does not go into someone else’s where it will be used, it will become dirt.
Can a book be dirt? If it is in the wrong place, it is. My solution is to give my old books to places which have jumble sales. If an Indian is willing to pay something for a book, it is in the right place. In a reader’s hands. Again.
Source: THE HINDU-17th March,2019

Tulika wins

India’s Tulika Publishers got the International Excellence award for Literary Translation Initiative at London Book Fair. Judges praised its inclusive publishing programme driven by the imperative to promote multilingualism and give children stories in the languages they speak at home.

Source:THE HINDU-17th March,2019

Now, engg students to rateteachers

New Delhi: Has the teacher covered the entire syllabus? How effective was the teacher in communicating the content? What about the pace at which it was being taught? These are among the parameters on which students of nearly 10,400 engineering colleges will rate their teachers from the academic year 2019-20, said an official. The All India Council for Technical Education has chalked out a detailed mechanism to assess the performance of a teacher.
Apart from student feedback, other factors to be used to grade a teacher are departmental activities, institute activities, annual confidential report as well as contribution to society.
“We have come up with a new system which focuses on how much work of the teacher is of relevance to the students as well as the society. Earlier, there was a lot of focus on the number of publications etc. However, there is now a concerted effort to make the evaluation of teachers in technical institutions more broadbased,” said AICTE vice-chairman MP Poonia.
Teaching and student feedback have been allotted 25 marks while teachers can get a maximum of 20 points for departmental activity, 10 each for institute activity, ACR and contribution to society. Overall, teachers will be rated on a 100-point scale.
Two notifications have already been issued by AICTE in this regard, Poonia said. The norms related to student feedback will practically kick in from the academic session 2022-23 as teachers will be assessed on their performance based on a threeyear period, Poonia said.
Inder Mohan Kapahy, a former UGC member said: “Any 360-degree evaluation of an academic process is always welcome. There should be a comprehensive evaluation of the course content, exam and assessment patterns. The aim should be to encourage academic improvement.”

A viable alternative to open-heart surgery

TAVR offers lower risks of disabling strokes and death
The operation is a daring one: to replace a failing heart valve, cardiologists insert a mechanical replacement through a patient’s groin and thread it all the way to the heart, manoeuvring it into the site of the old valve.
The procedure, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), has been reserved mostly for patients so old and sick they might not survive open-heart surgery. Now, two large clinical trials show that TAVR is just as useful in younger and healthier patients.
It might even be better, offering lower risks of disabling strokes and death, compared to open-heart surgery. Cardiologists say it will likely change the standard of care for most patients with failing aortic valves.
In open-heart surgery, a patient’s ribs are cracked apart and the heart is stopped to insert the new aortic valve.
With TAVR, the only incision is a small hole in the groin where the catheter is inserted. Most patients are sedated, but awake through the procedure, and recovery takes just days, not months, as is often the case following the usual surgery.
The results “shift our thinking from asking who should get TAVR to why should anyone get surgery,” said Dr. Howard Herrmann, director of interventional cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
The studies are to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Sunday at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the procedure for lower-risk patients. As many as 20,000 patients a year would be eligible for TAVR, in addition to the nearly 60,000 intermediate- and high-risk patients who get the operation now.
“This is a clear win for TAVR,” said Dr. Michael J. Mack, a heart surgeon at Baylor Scott and White The Heart Hospital. From now on, “we will be very selective” about who gets open-heart surgery, said Dr. Mack, a principal investigator in one of the trials.

Irfan is first Indian to qualify for Tokyo Games

Also makes Worlds grade along with Devinder and Ganapathi Krishnan
National record holder K.T. Irfan on Sunday became the first Indian to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics athletics.
He finished fourth in the 20km event of the Asian race walking championships in Nomi, Japan. The 29-year-old clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds to better the qualification standard of 1:21m.
The qualification period for race walk events and marathon began on January 1 this year and will run till May 31, 2020. The Olympics qualification period for all other athletics events will start on May 1 and run till June 29, 2020.
No other Indian from athletics has so far qualified for Tokyo.
Irfan also qualified for this year’s World Championships (September 27-October 6) in Doha, Qatar as he bettered the qualifying mark of 1:22:30.
Two other Indians, Devinder Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan also qualified for the World Championships as they clocked 1:21:22 and 1:22:12s.
In the women’s event, Soumya Baby finished fourth in 1:36:08s, outside the Olympics standard.

Muft UPSC ki tayyari karanewale adarey

Barhveen kamyaab aur Graduates ke liye Railway mein mulazimat ka sunahari mauqa

Agar aap karobaar ki duniya se wabasta hain to ye 7 aham usool yaad rakhein

Source: INQUILAB-18th March,2019

Friday, March 15, 2019


IISc Engineers Take Fetch to a Whole New Level

Stoch, country’s first commercial walking robot, uses machine learning to move around
The robot is the size of a small dog with four legs and a thick but flexible spine. When connected to a battery, it starts walking on slender, articulated limbs, like a canine. It even has a ‘face’ that looks vaguely like that of a pug. The developers at the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-physical Systems at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) are calling it ‘Stoch’ and they say it’s on target to become the country’s first commercial “walking” robot.
Stoch has been under development since January last year. The first version was displayed a month ago at Aero India — it was heavy-footed and clumsy. A sleeker second version was developed just two weeks ago and a third will be ready in three months. A commercial variant is about a year away. The robot uses machine learning to figure out how to walk by itself. Specifically, it uses reinforcement learning, where the machine learns over time to take the best possible action in return for the best reward. After several million attempts — performed in computer simulation — the robot learns to walk. Some Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and IISc have been working on such devices in the past few years. There aren’t any commercial versions in the market and no institution other than IISc has a prototype that uses reinforcement learning to teach the robot to walk.
The IISc project started when a student, Shounak Bhattacharya, did a master’s project in the department of mechanical engineering. After the project, the Bosch Centre at IISc took over development by bringing together professors from other departments. It also hired engineers and put together a development team. “We wanted to explore the field of data-driven robotics,” said Bharadwaj Amrutur, professor of electrical engineering at IISc and chairman of the Robert Bosch Centre.
Data-driven robotics is a set of technologies that use data to get a robot to learn by itself. As the IISc project got off the ground, it was joined by Shishir Kolathaya from Georgia Tech University. Kolathaya, who has been working with walking robots since the undergraduate level, studied legged robots for his PhD.
When he joined, the Bosch Centre had a non-working prototype. The first real prototype — Stoch 1 — didn’t carry batteries. Stoch 2 was twice as powerful, was designed to carry batteries and could walk for 15 minutes without being plugged into an electrical outlet. The third version will improve on looks and be even more powerful. The commercial prototype, when ready, will be bundled with an application.
The Bosch team is mulling several applications — climbing coconut trees, doing surveys in difficult terrain, inspecting construction sites and so on. The project now has five engineers, apart from some faculty members. “We are planning to put a software development kit for people to programme,” says Dhaivat Dholakiya, who is technical associate of the project.

Source:THE ECONOMIC TIMES-15th March,2019

Chennai prodigy Lydian is ‘The World’s Best’

The 13-year-old beat 28 contestants to take home a prize of $1 million
As his fingers flew over the keys, it became clear that Lydian Nadhaswaram, the 13-year-old child prodigy from Chennai, was the favourite to win ‘The World’s Best’ talent contest, besting 28 contestants from across the world.
The gruelling contest, hosted by the U.S network CBS, for performing talent included martial arts acrobats and high-wire walkers, apart from musicians and singers, with the finals aired on Thursday.
The 2019 contest saw Lydian competing against the American acapella group Naturally 7 and South Korean acrobats Kukkiwon in the finals to take home the title and $1 million in prize money. The youngster, who has studied under Augustine Paul of the Madras Musical Association and Surojeet Chatterji at A.R. Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory, stunned the judges by playing 325 beats per minute. “This is genuinely one of the best things I’ve ever seen live,” tweeted James Corden, show host. Back home in Saligramam, the teenager told The Hindu that he spends on an average of six hours a day practising music under the guidance of his father Varshan Satish, a music director.
“I listen to music on YouTube and spend time on music software. Along with my sister, I experiment a lot and we compose our own music,” said Lydian. The prodigy can play blindfolded and handle two pianos simultaneously, apart from being adept at the guitar and mridangam, his mother Jhansi said with legitimate pride.
Lydian does not watch much television, but he is a regular on YouTube. “I recently picked up a movie from YouTube, then muted the sound and created my own audio. It was fun,” he said. His virtuosity has earned him an invite to perform at the Jazz Foundation of America’s annual gala “A Great Night in Harlem” at the Apollo Theatre in New York on April 4. Looking ahead, Lydian says he wants to compose music for Hollywood. “I want to work for an animation film,” he said. And as an afterthought, he says he also wants to play the piano on the moon at some point.