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Keshavdas

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
Keshav - yes, you have class, and a cast iron stomach !!!
Cast iron stomach . . . I wish. In ye olden days when I was just a website and sold instruments out of my 12 X 13 foot studio apartment - the stress of doing business with Indian companies regularly rocked my world. I was always envious of other westerners who could work and effortlessly meld with Indian business culture and never lose their temper. Some people are able to be in the midst of all the craziness day in and day out and have all the weirdness just roll away like water off a duck's back. But it was never like that for me. I got angry way too often and the poison of all that anger made me feel toxic and undermined all the really great things that I love about being immersed in Indian culture. During the 10 years I spent bumming around India there were times when I had fantasies about opening a business there - but I saw other like-minded people get eaten alive. I also had fantasies about retiring in India, but learned from the experiences of others who'd tried. Those with unlimited money to insulate them from all the bukwas - flourished; the others went crazy or went back to the USA.
..... After 8 years of being an internet-only business and selling out of my apartment - I opened the shop (6 years ago) and business doubled - and so did the stress that goes hand in hand with acquiring competent professional instruments in larger quantities; the results of which have been, much white hair in my beard, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, chronic backaches, chronic fatigue etc. My saving grace has been the guys who work with me, Krishna, Sundar, Sachit, KD. Prasanna and Balaram. All are Indian musicians and my best friends - so I have a circle of guys who I can bitch and moan to every time I get the runaround and the excuses and the bukwas from yet another wayward luthier or tabla maker etc. Without them - I don't know how I'd manage to keep any kind of emotional perspective; without them I would be in a near-constant state of self-righteous outrage; I would never have learned to laugh at the irrational and inconsistent way folks do business in India's music world. Even with all their support and camaraderie - there are days when I'm just hanging by a thread. So make like Orpheus (get out of Dodge) - slip some bakshish to the visa-wallahs; quit India, get home safe and build some of those friggin' sitars you've been threatening to make.
Cheers,
Keshav

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"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."


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Djinn Fizz

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
That horse is truely dead.
Let the healing begin!
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povster

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Djinn
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
That horse is truely dead.
Let the healing begin!
To heck with the healing. Break out some spices and a stew pot!

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #34 
Keshav - you are sooooo right. Your proposed battle plan is sound and I'm on that exact course. Unless the actual experience of first person India has been taken in, all the descriptions, rants etc. will just not register with anyone. Horse latitudes - "When the still sea conspires an armor and her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters, true sailing is dead". Something from Jim Morrison, I think. It fits.

Now also to see how this tangent liar / cheat scenario plays out. I hope you haven't been on that ramp too often.

Counting the days ! ! !

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povster

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
Keshav - you are sooooo right. Your proposed battle plan is sound and I'm on that exact course. Unless the actual experience of first person India has been taken in, all the descriptions, rants etc. will just not register with anyone. Horse latitudes - "When the still sea conspires an armor and her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters, true sailing is dead". Something from Jim Morrison, I think. It fits.

Now also to see how this tangent liar / cheat scenario plays out. I hope you haven't been on that ramp too often.

Counting the days ! ! !
Carefully refined and sealed over.

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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #36 
From an innocuous question of a missing website this string has taken quite a turn:
Dear Mr Djinn Fizz,
While I am of an age and temperment to identify with and find humor, pathos, and similar life attitudes in many of Theroux' works, I went out & grabed a copy of The Elephanta Suite to look up your quote, within it's proper context.
While I am a big fan of The Great Railway Bazaar & The Mosquito Coast, I found Theroux' work this time utter & complete trash, an ugly, racially stereotypical useless waste of my time - If you are from the East I cannot immagine you were not incensed by his picture of Indians. If from the West you would know less about India than you knew before. Most reviews I have looked up bear this out. He casts Indians as nothing more than coniving prostitutes - rapists & thieves and the most vile race on earth & EVERY American as The Ugly American or naive idiots ripe for the picking. Dozens of litterary schollars easily available online, despised it or just wrote it off.
To paraphrase one reviewer on Theroux' more recent output:
"Sir Vidya, his mentor, dumped Theroux, who came back by writing a nasty tell all about him in retaliation. I believe his mentor was justified in dumping him."
As the reviewer goes on:
" The Elephanta Suite is full of tell not show summary and philosophy which would sound trite on a greeting card. Perhaps his travel writing is better, but the fiction reeks of amateurishness. Elephanta actually makes you appreciate Jhumpa."
I find your quotational attact on Mr Karasek interresting, pandering, definately trite, and a bit off the mark.
A better quote for the TRUE story of Tony's time in India from your chosen literature would be:
"India attracted you, fooled you, subverted you, then, if it did not succeed in destroying you with the unxpected, it left you so changed as to be unrecognizable….Or it ignited a fury in you….Or it roused your pity and left you with a sadness that clung like a fever."

Tony went to these gentlemen (loosely) with a marvelous business opportunity, and was stabbed & lied too at every turn. If Tony had one fault it was trusting in their sense of fairness, & not seeing what they could conive out of him,. His error was realized too late.
Ayoub, Zamir, & the shop along with Tony produced some of the most beautiful instruments out there of recent manufacture, mine is a peach, and for that I will be eternally greatful to Tony & all in Miraj. But to say that they did not rape Tony's encyclopedic knowledge of the most beautiful sitars and design elements of the 20th century (as well as his trust and friendship) to turn a quick buck, is like saying Lars & Keshav are pattently dishonest & ken does lousy finish jobs - NOTHING could be farther from the truth.
Checking back in the archives I do believe Tony has been an ardent supporter of Lars' Rain City Music since it's inception. Keshav is an extremely honest businessman. Another check shows his abject appology previously to Uncle Ken, and to drag that to the forefront again is quite ungracious of Ken. Tony referrenced it himself as "his screwup." Shall we now drag all the hard feelings Ken had toward Lars to light or any of the nastiness of banned posters towards friends of the forum, or shall we just leave it all alone.
On to your criticism Mr Fizz:
Tony sought to re-invent the wheel yes - by giving us a new standard to much of the junk that had been coming from India - NO ONE can argue against that, and what is wrong with that? Doesn't every artist take art forward from where they found it? He was truely a success, his output with this partenership was a magnificent excersize in futility, that could not be sustained.
Look at the beautiful & magnificent instuments produced under this label. BUT - You cannot do business with a partener who say's things like "Someone must have stolen my labels & put it on those sitars that look like yours, I did not make them". And that was said when they were still on descent terms.
I believe Tony IS justified to feel ripped off - I looked back at pictures in my archives of hundreds of sitars, I looked at my teachers and other students stash, and before Tony sought to reintroduced things like carved birds - inlaid bridge legs - deep, finished carving, better french polish and much much more, that these were things lost to a storied past or were reserved for custom one of a kind pieces not available to "the ferengis" unless you were ready to part with a kings ransom. - I find it interresting that design elements unused for 30 - 40 & 50 years & revived by our Sitarfixer suddenly show up on many "other sitars" within a few months of his posting a new axe on his site. I'm not saying these are bad sitars or the dealers representing them are bad people or a ripoff, but after all the effort -sweat - money - knowledge - and trying to raise the bar for US & for the love of this instrument, Tony deserves a little more than the blowoffs & cliche nastiness shown by many of the Pandits here.
I've seen pages of his 30 plus page design book, all hand drawn by Tony, from the most magnificent instruments of the past, with inovations for the future, that were to be used for the betterment of his instruments, his former parteners product, & all of their bottom line. I would not be surprised to find the Miraj folks have not sold them to the highest bidder, or decided it was too much extra effort to use a sanding block & canned the lot.
Hopefully in years to come Tony's experience' in India will in the words of your chosen author, no longer "ignite a fury" but only "rouse pity & sadness".

I hope I have not offended anyone here - that was not my intention - but lets call a spade a shovel & let it end at that.

Hamletsghost 8)

ps: The Elephanta Suite is still a lousy read - don't waste your time. - B
pps: "He who believes that fall is the antecedant to rise, will never give way to despair."
Swami Chinmaya (Keep on keepin on TK)

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Djinn Fizz

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Reply with quote  #37 
I consider myself reasonably objective and have a great deal of respect for Tony's abilities as a repairman and as a jawari technician, but unlike some, I am not inclined to compose hagiographies about him. There are a number of people on this forum who are tops in their field but I don't think any of them require deification (which in any case,has a way of leading later to crucification) Mr. Ghost has his opinion and I have mine. I do find it interesting that when all this is winding down and the main parties to this discussion are at peace with each other, that Mr. Ghost feels the need to throw petrol on a dying fire by angrily dissecting my post. As to the critics opinions on Theroux, who is one of the most respected writers of his generation I will let the two gentlemen below speak for me.

Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find.
Peter Ustinov

Pay no attention to what the critics say... Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!
Jean Sibelius

Regarding Naipaul and his relationship with Theroux; Mr. Ghost should really get to know the situation before throwing this into the mix. Naipaul, while a fine writer, was eventually rejected by Theroux because Naipaul was (and still is) an appalling excuse for a human being, and is, not incidentally, poorly received by the Indian community. Both his travel essays on India were reviled by the Indian press who repeatedly described him as a "little brown Englishman ashamed of his Indian heritage." Both his India books were insightful and devoid of sentimentality and dead accurate. They were also the antithesis of most of the rosy travelogues on India; less than flattering. And for that, he was drubbed in the Indian press as a racist. He was perceived as so British-ized and so distanced from his own identity as an Indian that Indian journalists treated him as if he were European. Naipaul as an artist is brilliant on the page, but in the flesh he is about as devoid of humanity as one can be, and still claim to actually have a personality. After decades of friendship with Theroux, he stabbed him in the back, very much like the scorpion on the back of the animal crossing the stream in the old Sufi legends. In fact once Naipaul started winning Pulitzers and received his knighthood, he betrayed just about everybody who'd given him aid and comfort his whole life including his long-suffering wife of some 40 years. If Mr. Ghost is looking for someone to champion some moralistic tirade against Theroux, he really needs to do a bit more research.

Oh what the hell . . . might as well dive in and do the whole thing.

In your second paragraph you complain that Theroux is racist because he paints some of the Indian characters as “conniving prostitutes – rapists and thieves.”

And then you yourself in an effort to approve all of Tony's complaining – point out how the Poontown folks raped his book, stole his ideas and connvingly prostituted inferior knock-offs of Mr K’s work. Does that make you a “racist?” The truth about any cultural idiosyncrasy when ugly – is merely unpleasant, but when it comes out of the mouth of someone not native to said culture – it automatically becomes racist???

As regards the propensity of some Indians to monologue at will; while a tried and true cliché – is nonetheless a fact of life. Once on a train to Calcutta – an old man woke me out of a dead sleep and started lecturing me on vegetarianism, and I’ve experienced this phenomenon first-hand many, many times over the years.

As to Theroux’s alleged two-dimensional way of painting all the characters as miscreants or naïve Pollyannas and Ugly Americans, one has to bear in mind, that the Elephanta Suite is not some grand novel. It is a short, one-day read consisting of three short stories, that is not intended to be panoramic with cultural insight. Short stories, necessarily, are written in a kind of short-hand. They are clever sketches.

The first story (not one of his best) was rather flat. The second story was not about the conniving prostitutes. It was about a rather dull American businessman, who meets a very spiritual Jain and ends up rejecting all the maya of sexual power and money. In the end the businessman leaves his life behind and becomes a Jain sadhu. The third story too, was epiphany. It’s not about Indians all being rapists. The main protagonist is someone who is continually betrayed. She is initially betrayed by her own family, society in general and her white girlfriend too. Does that make Theroux anti-family, anti-society and anti-white girl as well? The crux of the story is that some people do become stronger and more self-reliant as a result of betrayal and other tragedies. Come to think on it, that could be Mr. K's theme, Phoenix rising and all that. In the end, The Elephanta Suite is merely light fiction. It is not a treatise on Indian culture and cannot rightly be critiqued as if it were.

And as an aside; rape is in fact endemic in India. Anyone who’s spent time there knows this. You can’t pick up a daily newspaper in India and not read of rapes and gang rapes. Newspaper editorials are filled with complaints about the ineffective police and their unwillingness to secure successful prosecutions against rapists. Modern Indian literature regularly re-visits this theme, which has been the subject on hundreds of Indian films. Check out the “Bandit Queen” one of these days. Phoolan Devi – the subject of the film – was a huge national hero to tens of thousands of women in India who having been raped, received no protection from the police. Mention her name to Indian men, and they are likely to spit on the ground, “because of the shame she brought on India.” But to the women who have been brutalized and received no justice from the courts, she’s a hero. When the Indian director made the film – he was lionized for telling the truth. But if Theroux writes a few paragraphs about one Indian character who rapes someone, he’s a “racist.”

Lastly you say “lets call a shovel a spade.” The statement is self-defeating. A shovel is not a spade. Lets call a spade a spade. If it's a badly made spade, why not just be honest and call it that. Calling it a fabulous shovel is disingenuous and enlightens no-one.

DF
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #38 
WOW - I was composing this before I saw your extended version - I will only therefore repond to the short version of your reponse - You must have seen I was online & decided to forge ahead. Here's what I was prepared to say:

Djinn Fizz - I respond to you with outstreatched hand and no hidden daggers or agenda whatsoever. I guess you missed the entire point of my response - While I am an avid fan of Theroux - who has written some of the most beautiful prose of our generation - The book you chose to use the quote from is utter trash not worthy of his name. I only threw in the review quotes to illustrate this fact - I agree this is only a first hand observation but there it is. If one wants to waste their time on an ugly - racist - piece of pulp that depicts the Indian culture devoid of redeeming qualities, or Western visitors as unable to have love, affection, and a humble sensitvity toward that culture, be my guest & read it. The fact you addressed only that part of my response to your post, about Naipul or Theroux' work instead of the actual subject is deflecting attention from the real tragedy here. This author & book was your choice not mine so I used only that as the basis of the response.

The aforementioned point was in no way to throw petrol or to disect your post - What's to dissect - It was one quote and I addressed only your choice of quotes - You quoted Theroux you must be able to uphold that quote. After reading the work and doing the said research, I chose the second quote from the same book as being more appropriate to a situation of which I am intimately involved, and have had almost daily contact with for over two and a half years. Believe me Tony is no saint (I'm married to one). And he has already been crucified by many, who risk nothing more than a little cyber ink to nail him up. AND NO I am NOT saying he's a martyr either or pointing a finger at any individule - all are entitled to their opinion.
We will never agree on the travails, travesty, & tragedy which occured here, but one thing is certain. Tony attempted a grand experiment, with the results we are all familiar with. He produced some stunningly beautiful instruments, quickly knocked off by many - some good, (you can even find super cheap versions from some of the unnamed ebay makers - I've seen the design sheets penned years before these knockoffs were made). We could say Tony chose to knock off the masters and revive interrest in custom one of a kind instruments, rather than what we were being force fed before, the archives here bear out that the state of Indian instruments was pretty dismal when Tony left for India. A sad truth that does continue.It is too bad that he chose poorly with those he thought were as committed as he to that better vision, he was wrong. The Sitarmaker clan are gifted artisans, who he thought shared his vision of the "better mouse trap". After such an experience, who of us wouldn't feel bitter and betrayed, he, as we, are only human.
At the end of the day we are all better off for Tony's failed quest. We see better and more well designed insruments coming out of India, from a wider array of makers, these day's. And if that is the final legacy of the Karaseksound/RA Sitarmaker partnership then we are all the richer for it.
"It is usually expensive and lonely to be principled." Much better Theroux quote.

Be at peace, and know that I respect your opinions, even if I disagree with them.

Hamletsghost 8)

That is what I was going to say and will leave it at that - I won't change it to be reactionary - Even in the extended version of your response you still don't seem to get the point of Tony's natural outrage.
The one thing I still don't understand is your insistance of "business as usual" concerning Indian instument makers. I have many dealings with companies in India that are a pure joy to deal with. Granted these are mostly vedic and blessed items and would bring some very bad kharma on the sellers to screw "the ferengi" But I have no problems with quality - pricing - shipping (FedEx usually 3 to 7 days depending on the weight & size & VERY reasonably priced even for heavy bronze items) Why is it we complacently say - It's just the nature of the beast with Indian instrument makers to do us the dirty - shut up and live with it, we don't hear others complaining. Why this mute impotense from our respected dealers, when there should be outrage from all?
Djinn Fizz - Good luck in all your endeavors & I look forward to more intelligent, thoughtful discussions with you in the future.
B
ps: quote me correctly I said let's call a spade a shovel. HMMMmmm
dicionary:
spade 1 ?? (spd)
NOUN:
A sturdy digging tool having a thick handle and a heavy, flat blade that can be pressed into the ground with the foot.
Any of various similar digging or cutting tools.
shovel ?? (shvl)NOUN:
A tool with a handle and a broad scoop or blade for digging and moving material, such as dirt or snow.
If not the same - Pretty darn close - even the illusrations were the same

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Uncle Ken

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Reply with quote  #39 
I would like to be clear on several items here concerning statements by both Tony and Mr. Ghost….
First I’d like to address the statement “Another check shows his abject appology previously to Uncle Ken, and to drag that to the forefront again is quite ungracious of Ken.”
Perhaps you overlooked that it was Tony that brought it up by stating: “even that Uncle Ken screw up from a few years ago. By the way, that particular sitar is sitting in N. Carolina, its future uncertain.”
That statement is a left handed attempt to make it appear that I had left him holding the bag on that Sitar and of course no mention of what he later says is a “chopped” sitar I guess indicating it was poorly made.
Here is Tony’s quote from way back then: “That sitar might be in Miraj when I get there next week. No fears, though. I wouldn't want to burden you with a clunky old paddle. Chances are, I'll just leave it for the Miraj homies to rebadge for anybody interested if they haven't done so already.”
That statement was a concerted effort to create the illusion that I had left him in the lurch with a sitar that he paid for that now sits in Miraj, for which he is now out of pocket for and can’t sell. The truth lies in another one of Tony’s most recent quotes: “That chopped sitar appeared with the following shipment in a standard fiberglass case along with a few of the other all wood chopped sitars. At the time, as the homies pointed out, it had not been made. They followed through alright, just way behind schedule. - and that makes me look like a 5 star liar to you.” (Would that not be proof that at the time that Tony attempted to lead everyone here to believe I had left him in the lurch that it is clear he knew the instrument did not exist? Wouldn’t that not only make Tony “look” like a liar but would prove so beyond any doubt?)

Closer look at Tony’s “abject apology” which you refer to. I dug it up and here it is in it’s entirety with Tony’s statements in quotes and my observations in parenthesis:

“I totally screwed up on so many counts, simple as that.”
(That would be putting it mildly.)
“Kens sitar got put on the back burner where it ended up staying.”
(And it got on the back burner how, and just what does that mean? An intentionally, misleading phrase.)
“Lars, my flair for business is laughable. You've pointed it out and I totally agree. Dead loss.”
(Might that indicate totally incompetent in following up or even being aware of what orders and what monies you have in hand? As well as a fairly complete incapacity to recognize and discuss any problems, eve with a respected friend)
“I didn't follow through on getting the Miraj homies to produce that sitar.”
(Of course, that would explain how much respect you have for me or your other clients for that matter. Not only did you not follow through you didn’t care to address the issue, not answering emails and forcing me to post here in order to get your attention)

“My scatter brain convinced myself that Ken had canceled the order”
(Hmmm, duh, giving you $1000.00 in cash indicated to you that I wanted to cancel the order and that not having asked for it back was a confirmation of my cancelled order? Actually I did ask for my money back after the instrument failed to manifest itself and your attitude was still that I was doing it too late as the instrument had already been built, which it hadn’t and, yet again, you knew it. You did refund my money but did so begrudgingly)
“while in reality he had been waiting on that sitar and then sees his friend (and mine, hopefully) Roger receive his sitar without any mention at all regarding his.”
(Would have been nice to at least talk to me about it considering we were to be working together on instruments with you doing repairs and myself the finish work)
“I also was very negligent in contacting him in March upon my return from India. Total screw up on my part again.”
(You were Negligent? How about you didn’t care, completely ignored the situation and would have done nothing had I not brought it up here)

“What it comes down to is the fact that I've really ended up treating Ken and Ken’s skills with complete disregard. Ken. I value your friendship very much and as stated earlier, I have much admiration and respect for all your musical and wood working skills.”
(Yes, respect and admiration is why you treated me as you did, I understand completely. And so should everyone on this Forum, especially Hamlets Ghost.)

“As we discussed earlier on the phone, suitable arrangements regarding materials and storage have already been taken care of.”
(Yes, Tony, graciously sent me a check for a $250.00, this would certainly cover my out of pocket expenses including 2 qts of Behlan’s sanding sealer, 2 qts of Behlan’s Instrument lacquer, sandpaper, paint remover, stain, powdered color, miscellaneous brushes, scrapers etc. and over 40 hours of work removing the finish on two sitars down to bare wood, sanding, smoothing, reapplying puddy to the tumbas, coloring, staining and applying high quality instrument lacquer to both instruments. Yes suitable arrangements indeed had I been Indian labor in Miraj perhaps.)

“Ken. Please accept my sincerest apology for all the hardship and grief I've put you through.”
        (Actually I do accept your apology as it must be incredibly painful for anyone to have to point out to their loyal fans, in a public forum, just how mistaken they have been to defend you so vigorously. You have proven that you will, attempt to attack and discredit any that offer their honest personal experience concerning your disregard for their orders, by using outright misrepresentations and innuendo (see above) as well as placing false blame on your manufacturer.)
……Nice try at spinning though.

Moving on to the present:
Mr. Ghost, the sitar that you have, and is as much the “collaboration” of Tony and RAS as it is a collaboration of yourself with RAS in that you gave Tony your specifications and Tony passed them on to RAS who then, created the instrument, not Tony.
Concerning the original, long ago topic but resurrected of late by, again, Tony himself: The habitual misrepresentations of how RAS “copies” and steals Tony’s work is nearly laughable when Tony, as others have pointed out here, uses the design elements of past makers then gets upset when others use “his designs.” Understand that Tony does not make Sitars but passes his clients specifications on to RAS who then creates the instrument with absolutely no hands on work by Tony. Tony does nothing on the instrument unless you consider adding a chikari post with two slots or re-working on the Jawari when set up instrument on delivery. This doesn’t negate the fact there is no doubt Tony has tried to increase the quality of Sitars, but one should easily see that referring to the craftsmen turning out your products as “shop rats” and “homies” (a derogatory term normally associated with Latino street gang members of ill repute) does little to endear a good working relationship.
Further Tony does not make the fancy tailpieces and can’t, RAS makes these. Tony’s designs of end pieces aren’t “his” they are “robbed” from Male & Female Tanpura’s, made by others. They are, in fact, shaped and attached, not by Tony but by RAS. None of the Finishing is done by Tony, not the overall color and none of the penwork. Tony might select the designs but they are executed by RAS. Tony does not make the Nut or shape the birds, RAS does this including attaching the “wings”. Tony is, in short, merely a marketer of others skills, dishonestly misrepresenting them as his own, including my finishing skills (more later on this).
As far as carving Tony’d actually have to have carving tools, which he does not. A scalpel isn’t the appropriate tool for “cleaning up” carvings. The tools needed are left and right skew, as well as straight, dogleg chisels not a scalpel. Actually the carvings I’ve seen on RAS are no better than the carvings on a Rik or a Mangala. They are better than a Hemen, though quite likely not a result of Tony’s “recarving”.
Therin lies the rub. No one get’s upset with Keshav, Ali Akbar, SitarsEtc, Lars or Kalakendar for selling RAS as they make no claims that they were hands on in the process, or that their personal “artistry” is responsible for RAS success…..

“The 'Bina' and the little one are safe in cases in NC waiting for my final return. Those are in no way screw ups. Quite the opposite! Those are examples of brilliant refinish work.” (I appreciate the credit here but find it odd that this is the first I’ve heard you speak of the fine finish work I did for you here or any place)
“Regarding shop photos, I need to know exactly what you mean saying I referred you and your shop as being examples of my work. I have never said any such thing to any one. I have always given you full credit for your work. You, or someone you refer to may have gotten that impression. (They undoubtedly got that impression because you intentionally gave that impression just as you give the impression you are a Sitar builder rather than a brilliant repair and set up person).
“Bring it up here and I'll clear that up immediately. I can't imagine where you got the idea I was trying to claim your work as mine. That needs to be taken care of immediately.”
(Tony, check with the young man who posted the pictures you sent him of the repair I did on his veena which he posted on the forum of you working in your shop and stating that you couldn’t tell him what you used for finish)
“I don't give a rats ass about the India side of things now. I do care about how you regard me. You can be as pissed off as much as you like regarding my screw up with that chopped sitar.”
(You never made any reference to “that Sitar” previously just here and now, no reference to it having been made late, no reference to it’s being a “chopped” sitar what ever that means.)
Moreover Tony, truly I’m not pissed off at you at all, just incredibly, irreparably disappointed that one who has genuine skills has to so sadly misrepresent himself. That one who had so many of us willing to help him has turned his back on them in order to attempt to make himself looked better than he was when there was no need to embellish the fine skills he does have.
“There's nothing more I can do about that but I'm always open to suggestions. You thinking I'm a liar or Indian seller will not be accepted. Lets get those details up and we'll address them together.” (See the above quotations that you yourself made in reference to your intentional misrepresentations.)
For all who have received Tony’s help here (help that is both given freely and knowledgeably) and for all whose instrument orders went well, know that there are others whose orders didn’t go well and that you are fortunate as many of RAS instruments are quite nice although they should not be in the same price category as Hemen, Hiren Roy or Sanjay Sharma’s instruments. RAS instruments are quite a value and are/were eye candy before Tony’s time.
Djinn Fizz, it’s quite refreshing to know that there are those that see events clearly, that have a background in literature and have the skills, courage and strength of spirit to make their views known. Your comments are clear, succinct and intelligent as well as much appreciated while lacking the bite of negativity.
Oh, one more thing for the Ghost. Lars and I have had our own issues, true, but we have never brought them to this board and to my certain knowledge no post of mine has ever been deleted or edited by this board. As far as anything you know about what happened to Tony in India, why, you certainly have Tony’s clearly impeccable word don’t you?
……uncle ken

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Djinn Fizz

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Reply with quote  #40 
To H.G. I want to say that there was no vitriol intended in my resonse. That we both have strong likes and dislikes shouldn't pre-suppose that we are defacto "opponents." That the book is "utter trash" is debatable. For those who are say deeply focused on the spiritual path, the book no doubt must seem unredeemably negative. It is not superficially uplifting. But that doesn't make it a bad book. Much of the 2nd and 3rd stories dwell on very dark aspects of human folly. The manner in which the American businessman sinks to the lower depths, before finding spiritual redemption is a typical story device that has been successfully used in literature since the beginning of the written word. Wittness the stories of Valmiki and Millareppa, two of the most revered names in spiritual literature, who were both depraved thieves and murderers before they came to their senses. If literature has to be all light and love and P.C. for you to deem them readable you should avoid Dostoyevsky, Raymond Chandler, Charles Bukowski, Jean Genet and as well. You won't like them either.

Everyone here appreciates that Mr. K has had a rough few years, but some have expressed a degree of weariness with the ongoing flogging of this topic. And there is the fact that he'd been going on at length about how terrible everything was in Miraj since he'd left. That this is a gross overstatement is not nearly so worrisome as the fact that he was wrongly devaluing instruments that others very much liked; Instruments that others have found worthy. The feeling was his statements were over the top because of his anger and disappointment and that he was incapable of being fair or objective. Moreover, his defaming all products from RA has been perceived as a back-handed attempt to hurt the businesses here and in Canada who sell these instruments. I don't believe that was his intent, but the perception was there, and the potential damage was the same regardless.

So, I say truly, I have no hard feelings toward you and hope we can have many interesting interactions here on the forum; much better than "teak or tun" and ""How does one become a pandit?" :mrgreen:

All Peace To You,
DJ
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #41 
Really Ken - This is amazing stuff - I do believe I have previously given all credit necessary to Ayoub & Zamir the Shop & all Involved with my sitar - and have sent them my thanks publically & privately on numerous occasions to that effect. As far as the hands on aspects I have seen the photos of the recarve - not that the origional carving was necessarily bad, but it became so much sharper, and well defind after Tony's strokes. I personally watched him carve the kingwood bridge legs and do the inlays. I got to choose my topnut blank & help render the bird end watched as he carved both the nut & wings & attach them. We spent hours on all this. (He also carved multiple pieces of bone so I would have spare parts - I was there I saw it all) I saw him complete inlays on the tabli and much more than changing the chikari post you accused was all he ever did. The dozens of renderings he sent me for approval, as well as production photos, shop photos, and so much more, some of which I posted, then executed by RAS will stay with the sitar. We could debate this at length but my sitar is not the issue here is it?
You were sorely let down by Tony as much as I was treated like a king - I do feel for you - It is only natural you would stab back when given the opening - Tony gave you an opening by referencing the episode, not to deflect any responsibility but to show again he is all too human and had let you down.
The problem with this ungraciousness perception I have here is the fact that all on the forum previously followed Tony' publicly prostrating himself before you and asking for your pardon. You had to accept at the time or look petty. You have now again by reprinting this entire episode shown that no matter how much he might beg your pardon - it will not be forgiven or forgotten. That is definately your burdon.
As far as the woodworking tools you mentioned I was witness to the use of his skews, gouges, chissels, microtools, v parting & veining tools, carving knives AND a scalple - his tools sat on my workbench for over a month. So sorry - to clarify - MY uncle was a master carver and cabinet maker, before his death, who could carve a piece of lace from barnwood with a buckknife and my father in law has a droolworthy woodshop based around his shopsmith, carving and finishing tools of which Tony availed himself of while staying with us for over a month and fabricated many parts for the multitude of sitars repaired in my workshop including a very nice carved bird footrest for a surbahar (knocked off from an old kanai lal unfortunately). While I am no woodworker I do have more than a passing knowledge of the subject and I can safetly say while Tony may not be Uncle Ken he isn't some tallentless hack as you allude. He did have to borrow a couple of my Henry Taylor microtools and I gave him a couple packs of Warren detail knife blades when he needed some. (Darn they look like scalpels - but then I'm no woodworker) -
I realize many here will never understand Tony's attitude toward his former partners - But then I guess one would have to walk in his shoes to see it.
And Ken I do speak to more than just Tony in India so I have heard the story from more sources than just he or his aquaintances. I too appreciate Djinns honest and learned views - It was a wonderful and scintillating exercise posting with him, and as I said to him I totally respect his opinions and his right to them, as I do you.
Please accept that many of us may have a differing view from yours and respect those as well. I'm sorry you feel you need a hammer & chissel to drive your point home.
Be happy and good fortune always.

Brian 8)

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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #42 
Djinn Fizz: (Sorry for the tardy response - confuzer crashed & I had to re-write.)
Again a very kind response. I as you appreciate witty reparte. Do not think for a minute that because I found this book unworthy of Theroux' greatness that I prefer fluff or only uplifting light reading. Your entire list of authors is on my preferred reading list (Very little Genet tho). I was weaned on the entire Lost Generation catalogue by my grandfather (To die in the rain alone) THAT will set you on a path to deep literature. We then moved on to the Beat Authors & poets Ginsberg - Kerouac - Ferlinghetti - Bukowski et al. If you love Chandler I aquired a pretty complete set of Eugene Izzy' - pulp to be sure but great hard boiled pulp. The Valmiki & Millareppa referances are pretty obscure --- deep - very deep - Buddhist saint indeed.
I will give the Theroux a sencond glance someday just to be fair - rather than the quick read to respond to your quotation.
I am as profane - opinionated - rebellious and pharasaical as they come (altho I try to be more pastoral & kharmically sensitive). I am still the ol' rabble rouser working to defend our Town from predatory developers & unwise development. This is probably why I am involved in this lost cause celebre.
I am truely greatful you do understand Tony' natural fury, even if you have had enough of it. My wife (she's a saint) and I are in constant contact with Tony & Shai. They are very dear to us, and we are doing everything we can on this side of the globe to help their case. You cannot immagine this nightmare - One would have to be in Pune with 6+ hour rolling power outages daily - no water or having to haul from the water truck down the road - bad sanitation - I will not further bore you with the littaney of horrible things going on there suffice to say I would not hold up as well as Tony, not many of us would. All because of goverment beurocracy, inneficiancy, & ineptitude on both sides of the globe. (A greater morass of stupidity I have never encountered)
Someday I do believe Ayoub will come to realize the extremely profitable opportunity he has lost, and regret some decissions they made. I really don't think Tony' comment about the instument in question that started this off was saying it was a bad instrument. But after seeing ellements completely unused for years & years & resurrected by Tony & executed by Ayoub & Co. for him (photo date stamping is a wonderful thing) suddenly appear months later on dozens of different sitars - he naturally feels betrayed & ripped off. The wound is only re-opened time & again by the dealers when all design credit is given to Miraj or compared to Miraj, or applauded for Miraj, when it was his hand guiding the aforementioned resurrections. I've got Indian friends here in Chicago, who have checked with relatives & contacts in Miraj & Maharashtra who have borne this out with a pretty common thread. "If they were going to do it they would have done it before he ever got there."
This is all a moot point now. It's done & over.
When Tony is finally released fron this purgatorial limbo he's stuck in, gets his exremely large feet planted on good ol' North Carolina earth & starts producing what should be some marvellous insruments for our pleasure, all this, I am sure, will all go away like some bad vindaloo. Until then many will just have to deal with their own insecurrities & understand as you obviously do - where this rage comes from. I believe faced with the same conditions & not just the whirlwind buying trip as an honored guest with green in their pockets, most would fare no better - many worse - Keshav, it sounds like, has faced similer trials & therefore empathizes with Tony. God bless him if this is so he's a better man than I.
I wish to again thank you for your time, indulgence, and marvelous rhetorical skills.
I now know you wish Tony the best & am very thankful for that.
"An Intellectual says simple things in a hard way, An Artist says hard things in a simple way" Bukowski

Hamletsghost 8)
Brian

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #43 
Wheeeeee ! ! ! To all the third party and other interested readers, this entire post topic must be a real soap opera. Hope everyone is enjoying it. So, lets get back to it.

Djinn Fizz. - Your assessment that I don't require deification is dead on. ( Defication - maybe ! ) I'm just another sitar nut with an unquenchable drive to make a better sitar, wheel, mousetrap, etc. I certainly appreciate the responses from the "fan base". Jeez, guys, I'm flattered! Your litery knowledge is both seemingly formidable and certainly commendable. I know I'm missing out on a world of knowledge and insight for the fact that my reading interests lean to tech manuals, spec sheets, and historical accounts with lots of pictures that pertain to all my other special interests. I'm a visual kind of guy. I push that aspect of myself. Please continue posting here. It's excellent reading.

Ken. - My "Chopped Sitar" referrence is made to acknowledge the overall length which is 2" shorter than standard. The sitar you had commissioned and the all wood barstool models are of this shorter length to allow tuning to D and E with ease. For jammin' with the guitar players, this is a real plus. No referrence to quality is meant at all.

Your reference to my only being able to stroke a finished carving with a scalpel and have zero hands on work on those sitars is totally in error. I've carved my ass off making those sitars. Tailpieces - I had the opportunity to replace a Hiren Roy tailpiece in Poontown. The request was to make it wider and better finished. Done with warmly recieved results as best I could tell. You still are under the impression I have no tools to do this work. Chat with my Brother in Durham. He'll tell you of the fun we had moving all the tools around - table saw, drill press, belt sander, scroll saw and at least three boxes of hand tools just so he could get his motorcycle in out of the rain. I've taken two planks of wood given to me by Kartik Sheshadri when I was still living in San DIego. He needed a full carved tabli in three days. I did it. He was pleased. I'll send you the pics if you like. I've carved a Koa music stand in the form of a sitar tabli, flowers and all. Pics on request. I've re-engineered Rudra Veenas both structurally and cosmetically. Reskinning the occasional Sarangi and Sarod, one requiring a body job as well. Again, pics available. I photo document all my work. Ego thing, I suppose. It's great to review as part of the ongoing learning process. A picture of me "hacking" away at a sitar tabli in Miraj even made it into the front page of the local Miraj paper. You guessed it, I've got the pic. That was purely an ego shot. Point is I DO carve. I DO have the tools. I DO have the obsession, misguided though it might be. To make a statement that I'm not properly supplied and lack these skills is an outright insult. You're shooting out your ass if you think that notion is going to hold. On my road show sitar fixing travels, a number of people have seen me hard at work. I don't know where you get off coming up with that idea but I resent it, am offended by it and will remember it.

Think of me what you will regarding the sitar dealings. You can hate me all you want. I have no desire to try to impress you. I seem to have already done that.

Point to clarify. - The "Uncle Ken" screwup I refered to was again the screw up on MY part. That was poorly worded and I see how that could have been misread, especially in your present frame of mind with refernce to me. Got that, everyone ! ? ! That was MY screw up. I'm really regretful this whole transaction went South. I really should have followed up more in getting that sitar delivered. My screw up. Sorry Ken. I really am.

Another point to bring up. - you put mountains of work into refinishing those two eBay specials. I have pics of those as well if anyone is interested in seeing just how nice a sitar can look. I offered to cover your expenses at your front door on our last meeting. The cash I handed over was taken and I assumed we were level on all that. Seems now not to be the case. I offer again to cover the balance of your expenses. Send me a bill (reasonable, please) and I'll see what I can do to get a check from Durham sent over to you. The other plan would be to send you a check from Poontown by courier if you don't mind the wait.

You never left me holding the bag with that sitar. Any earlier text to that regard must not be taken that way. You were totally up front with all the dealings as should be. Again, I bungled the deal. I think that point is now clear enough.

Outright misrepresentation and innuendo - I think not. I feel I've covered it all now pretty accurately and thoroughly. " False " blame on the manufacturer - that they delayed getting that sitar in my hands by nearly a year is not false. That is complete fact. Anybody knows that strict adherance to a time schedule in India is a long running joke. Be certain I'm not laughing at it. I should have been much more in tune to that and not made projections for a delivery date. Just like my 2 year visa battle. I've given up listening to projections as to when that will conclude. The falling quality standard from that shop is no joke either. You guessed it again, I have the pics. Nobody would believe me otherwise.

Oh, yes ! The "homie" reference. That was coined by my dear friend Abdul Latif, the Mullah of the Mojave. In our correspondence over the years, he came up with that little nugget. I love it ! It had always been applied with a certain note of affection and humor. Now I just don't care. I will most likely continue with that reference. I've also pissed off some of the Jewish contingent in the sitar community. This is a reflection of my being brought up in an upper middle class fasmily in England followed by doing all my school years in an all white middle class Michigan suburb during the Eisenhower administration. Along with that came the flower power mindset where everybody was our Brother and Sister. How quickly that changed! Point here is any references I make to race, creed, color, culture is done in a non aggressive way. I make no further apologies. If you take it as such, that is something you will have to deal with. I slobbered all over myself apologising a few years back for a quipe I made to a jewish sitar wizz. I promise you and all reading this that I will NEVER lower myself to that again. I am who I am, period. What you think of me is your business, not mine. When you act on that, then it's my business.

So, Ken. That's where I am. I'm stewing here in India, aching to get out of here, aching to build the better mousetrap and aching to get you taken care of financially, spiritually and anything else that's bugging you. Once all that is done, I'll feel a lot better. How you feel about me is your affair. Again, it's none of my business.

Hamlets Ghost. - " Sinda, his face black ! His eyes red ! " Thank you for backing me up with the mess I made in your basement fixing all those sitars. It's amazing to me how incomplete text and a jaded spirit can paint such a distorted picture. Keep the wonder cat out of that basement, please. That case may not hold up under his weight.

OK, troops! I'm tired and frankly fed up punching away here. The power is going to go off in about 5 minutes so I need to get the place prepared for the blackout.

Round and round !

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Lars

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Reply with quote  #44 
Thought I'd bump this topic since it seems to come up again and again. Lots of good stuff here for background info!
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Behroo

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Reply with quote  #45 
In My Honest Opinion : Ayub's son wasim is a turd !
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