Author Archives: kapilguitarist
Taj Mahal India’s monument of love
A trip to Agra will never be complete without paying the famous Taj Mahal a visit. Since childhood, I was in a complete awe with this associated love story of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away after giving birth to their 14th child.This monument is an expensive construction or modification as being such a finished, artistic, massive monument of its times. The King wanted to keep the loving memory of his late wife with time immemorial.
After a four and a half drive from Delhi, I arrived at 8am in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Even at such an early time, flocks of tourists have already formed a queue at the entrance. Not wanting to be with bigger crowd later on, I immediately paid for the 20 INR local fee, while tourists have to pay 750 rupees. Also remember to bring only the basics, your wallet, camera, and mobile phone because big bags are not allowed and many items are prohibited inside the Taj Mahal. Taking pictures of the mausoleum is not even allowed.
First to welcome me was the certain grandiosity of the red stone gates. A three-storey red sandstone structure with a central arch and two-storeyed wings on both sides where verses from the Qu’ran in Arabic were inscribed in black calligraphy. Apparently, that was just the start of the majestic visual treat for me. The main monument itself was even more beautiful at a closer look.
Built with perfect symmetrical planning, the Taj Mahal, is adorned with colorful hues of precious stones in intricate designs. Even the horticulture at the ornamental gardens where two marble canals with fountains and lined with cypress trees were well planned. I just stood there as I was too mesmerized by the perfect reflection of the Taj. A real beauty indeed.
Truly, this trip has definitely drew me thinking deeply about love and faith. And I figured out that the real beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond its royal facade, it’s the beauty of the heart and the ultimate display of romantic love that made this monument endure fame and glory whilst withstanding the test of time.
In Uttarakhand, a luscious green scenery has been luring both locals and tourists to come closer with nature. A breathtaking view of the Himalayas, with the invigorating breeze, and the rich flora and fauna make it a perfect choice for a sweet escape from all the stress and commotions of the city.
The way to the top of the resplendent hills is a long spiral road that would usually take around an hour to drive. And always remember to keep a watchful eye on the road. Don’t forget to blow your horn at every bend because some wildlife may also be crossing or another car might be coming in at the same time. Along the way up to Mussoorie Hills, you will also get to pass by the Malsi Deer Park and the prestigious ITBP Academy (Indo-Tibetan Border Police Academy) where recruited officers undergo initial training as well as specialization in counter insurgency operations, VIP protection, rock climbing and identification and handling of improvised explosive devices.
All types of schools can also be found in Mussoorie. Day schools, exclusive schools for boys and girls, co-educational schools and boarding schools have made the hills a home away from home for students who are as well charmed by the natural atmosphere and the high standards of education that are offered by the British-era schools. To name a few of the best schools found in Mussoorie, there’s Woodstock School, St. George’s College, Wynberg Allen and Oak Grove.
The landscape here must have been really that favorable and influential for Indian author Ruskin Bond, who pioneered in the growth of children’s literature in the country and later became India’s most beloved writer and was the pride of Mussoorie.
Our first stop was at the Cart Mackenzie Road for the Nag Devta Temple, which was built in 1838 and is dedicated to the God of Snakes, Lord Shiva. It was about 6km from the city center and has a cool vista of the Doon Valley and the Mussoorie. At the temple, we prayed for this trip to be blessed and safe until our return to Delhi.
Okay, so from a holy place we moved to other attractions. Seven kilometers from the main Mussoorie city is the Mussoorie Lake. There we tried to paddle a boat and the area was a great picnic spot too for honeymooners and families. Thus, Honeymoon Inns and Hotels are sprawled in and around the area, so accommodations aren’t really an issue unless it’s peak season.
We managed to have some roasted nuts and steamed corn at the Mall Road, and since we wanted a real bird’s eye view of the hills, at an altitude of 2024 m, we reached the top of the Gun Hill through a cable car. Well, we opted to take the cable cars since we’re saving our leg energy for later plans. But for those who have a lot of time and energy to spare can reach the top after 40 minute hike.
After savoring the pristine air atop the hill, we then decided to go to Kempty Falls, which was around 15kms away from the center of Mussoorie. The stunning falls are girdled by the mountains. We grabbed some chai from the tea sellers in the picnic area as we enjoyed the refreshing sound of the waterfalls and the relaxing view of nature. Oh, and did you know how Mussoorie got its name? Well, basically the British imperialists named the area after the plants called “Mussoorie” which has been abundant in the region until now.
Oh Mussoorie…… I only came to visit but you seized me. I hope your beauty will not fade soon with the work of the greedy.
This is a sixty-page book on the 48 scale routes to master all major scales of guitar. The guide book also serves as a forever exercise and practice routine activity for every guitarist be it intermediate or advanced. An in-depth discussion on guitar scales, being the basic foundation of understanding the art of guitaring and a step-by-step instructions on how to manoeuvre the 48 independent open string scale sequences in both ascending and descending, with different routes and fingering while keeping selection of open string notes as compulsory for each scale.
Mastery to Guitar Scales Volume One is a good start for every beginner to build up level of guitar scale in a professional way. Those who are in intermediate level can easily progress to advanced and continue to professional playing once good command in leads and comfort in delivery of tunes are achieved.
The book comes in both tabs and staff notation, 48 scale positions with practice chart, a video demo reference and a lot more and is reasonably priced at Rs. 495 for the print version (within India only).
As an Indian, observing religious practices has been part of my growing up years. And today, I have yet another blessed experience to share as I visit Haridwar and the Ganges River. India’s famous and holiest river has long been known for its purity and spiritual sacredness. It is considered to be the terrestial home of the goddess, Ganga. The 2, 525 km Ganges is the longest river in India and flows eastward from its source in the western Himalayas across northern part of India until it reaches the Bay of Bengal. It passes through several Indian states as Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Bengal. Annual pilgrimages to the shrines and temples along Ganges River are made by Hindus to engage in purifying rituals. Every 12 years, Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world is held on the banks of Sangam, where the waters of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati converges. It is believed that to bathe in Ganges River is to wash away one’s sins, while spreading one’s ashes in the water upon death may hasten salvation and improve one’s karma.
One of the seven holiest places to Hindus is the Haridwar district in Uttarakhand. As one of the four sites where drops of Amrit, or the elixir of immortality was accidentally spilled as the celestial bird Garuda carried the pitcher. To dip into the holy river or simply visit this holy place is already an overwhelming experience for me. Now, I understand the feeling of the millions of devotees who partake in the special bathing rituals in the Ganges. I just hope that the government will come up with a more effective plan to clean-up the river and that the devotees themselves exercise more respect and be more responsible in observing the cleanliness of the river to somehow improve the standards of the public health and hygiene in the area.
To get a panoramic view of the Ganga, I decided to go to Ram Jhula in Rishikesh, still in Uttarakhand state. It is a 450 ft long iron suspension bridge that can be used to cross the river. From this bridge, a very nice view of the Ganges River and the different ashrams and religious centers can be seen in full view. As I wait for the evening prayer at the Geeta Bhavan’s ghat, I decided to have an early dinner at Chotiwala. It is the very famous restaurant that has been in operation for 50 years now! I definitely give two thumbs up for the palatable dishes they serve. I left the restaurant satisfied and with a very full stomach.
I took some time walking around the area, enjoying the evening breeze and the night view at Ram Jhula. Then I went to the river bank and waited for the evening prayer. Other people have also started to gather there. Later on, the sound of bells can be heard announcing the start of the Ganga Arti and Hawan, with young dedicated boys singing the mantras under the blessing hand of Shiva while doing some fire and incense offering. The ceremony lasted for 30 minutes. It was an enchanting moment to see how the river Ganga is admired and worshipped.
To cap this day’s realization, let me share this beautiful thought from the First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. “ The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga.”
Kapil guitarist tribute to Rajesh Khanna on guitar
In memory of the late Rajesh Khanna, the original superstar and known as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Hindi cinema. Rajesh Khanna graced 180 films, with 17 short films and 163 feature films wherein he was the solo lead in 106 films! A FilmFare Special Award as well as FilmFare Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded to him apart from the four-time BFJA Awards for Best Actor and being selected as Lok Sabha member of the Indian National Congress. He too, was the highest paid actor in 1970-87 and later on shared the same tag with Amitabh Bachchan. Upon his death in 2012, India’s third highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan has been awarded to him posthumously. A bronze statue has been unveiled and a postage stamp has been released to honor him.
Kapil Srivastava wanted to stir the interest and awareness of GM students to the brilliant form of Bollywood music via Rajesh Khanna songs on Guitar. It was to reflect the star’s musical heritage and his unmatched charisma to the evergreen music of RD Burman and Kishore Kumar. It became an exalted dedication when other professional artists volunteered to grace the performance that lasted for an hour at India’s leading Guitar School, Guitarmonk in its East Delhi branch. Indeed, the Tribute to Rajesh Khanna warrant the fact that there will only be one superstar and Rajesh Khanna proved it in his lifetime, and that even beyond his death, India will always honor his significance.
To know more about the tribute and other performances by Kapil Srivastava and his multi-talented students, kindly visit www.guitaristindia.com and appreciate the art of guitar in Bollywood music and alike .
One of my students asked me a question today
“Sir, Can I choose to work, practice wholeheartedly on my guitar skills and try to achieve the best skills as like achieved by some of the best Guitarists of the world and then can I confidently rely on guitar as a career?”
This was In fact the same question I went through in my life. A great musician and a great music career is not always proportionately relative to each other.
You can be an average musician or even a learner and still can have a great music career. On the contrary you can be a great artist and still have an average or struggling career time. I have seen hundreds of examples in my musical journey and experienced many situations in my own life.
The artist career is dependent on industry platforms and scopes (and that’s a separate subject for an Artist to know about) whereas artist ability is another factor. Many average artists, fits well in available platforms and enjoy a much better earning, lifestyle, foreign trips etc. than those who are awesome, out of the world but still strugglers. The great ones, who are appreciated at every local street for their skill and expertise, are seen ending in same local streets with no work.
You can be the world’s best guitarist playing rock or say ragas genre – but they, who appreciate and jump on your music, will forever pay you for your livelihood for the life time?.And that is the moot question to build your strong career.
Most star musicians who have established themselves at a ‘Global Platform’ are the right ones picked at right time. They are indeed great talents but they are indispensable to ‘Sponsors, Investors and indeed good luck’
Read the full story in my Music Counseling Book Series, Volume 1
Ragas on Guitar, a historic guitar genre gift by Guitarmonk to the world
THE RAGA GUITARIST (A NEW FUTURE & A GUITAR GENRE)
Guitarmonk releases ‘RoG’ – a unique and rare Music Album of Indian Ragas on Guitar
ROG Album is conceptualized by India’s leading guitarist Kapil Srivastav,with the objective of presenting Indian Guitars Tone & Indian Raga Scales music versatility. A person curious to hear Raga Scales, Raga Tones on Guitar or Indian Guitar & Genres must listen to this album that gives you multi-dimensional raga scales playing. The album fuses ragas scales with multiple genres and represents plenty of Fusion styles as Rock & Classical Fusion, South & North Indian Fusion, Arabian Fusion, and other pure Folk & Classical styles on Guitar etc. It further expresses instruments as Slide Guitar, Shehnai, Piano, Drums, Tabla, and Pakhawaj etc. apart from Spanish Acoustic Guitar. The album has 7 Raga based themes.
Representation of Indian RAGAS ON GUITAR (ROG) via Raga on Guitar Music Albums & an Online Guitar Course to the global community of guitar lovers
RoG (Ragas on Guitar) Course is now learnt by students in more than 10 countries as online.
RoG (Ragas on Guitar) Course | an untouched Guitar learning genre so far…Raga on Guitar is an untouched genre, as belonging to Indian music was experimented by a many but never have been applied formally on Spanish guitar.
Are you buying a Property in Delhi or India? – Get ready for ‘TAANKA’ Slap
Ok, I am not on a mission to criticize the property dealers or real estate agents of Delhi or India but what If I say that most of them are official criminals then it will not be an overstatement. And the other fact is that they don’t get caught.
I have visited hundreds of agents and done equal meetings with them and bought a lots of properties in my last 5 years in India. Something that hurts me at the end is the level of ethical and professional degeneration, lowness Indian real estate industry is now at (for making money).
Who can be a Property Agent? - When you are not left with other career options – and you want to make fast money without risk, business model or investment. Come and join this mafia who specializes in victimizing and using both a needy seller and buyer.
Who are these ‘Thugs of Business’? – Just for a reference, most property dealers I saw working had no background in education. They can be anyone who failed to be someone. Most are uneducated class who first speaks big money while keeping no money. They see other pockets of hard earned sweat and dreams as their party money without sympathy. They infact cheat those who are working honestly to earn few thousands (via jobs) to run their families. Read a story on gurgaon reports three property frauds a month by hindustan times.
I see various families, who don’t travel or go to restaurants even in months because they have home installments. They have a small home and they are concerned for career investments of their kids because they have installments for next 20 years. Who say Home is an Asset? Just re-work. It’s a liability.
Today, most of local streets of Delhi/NCR has a so-called branded property agent and other small agents and both are working within a big property nexus or system backing these shops to run ‘official business of robbing’ innocent people via Real Estate.
The Funda of ‘Taanka’ in Property
Most property dealers get 2% commission on their every sale deal whereas 10% approximate (or 1 month rent) on Rental Deal.
Taanka is an additional margin you get by ‘over-pricing’ the property. Say I am the owner of flat of Rs. 50 Lakh and I want to sell my property at same price atleast. The property agents will over-pitch it to a 100%, 200% level so that there is a big ‘Taanka Margin’. They don’t allow you to bargain above 5-10% to satisfy you (as the normal tendency of buyer to feel satisfied and contented in such bargain). So the property is sold at a 90% above value and it is known as ”TAANKA’ in trade.
Well these agents make multi-millions in a deal…but just see who is the victim? :o
I have surveyed various properties and whenever I visited the agents, I can easily smell the over-pitched ‘Taanka’ value in every deal. In a last week survey – one of the 90 meters plot at my locality actually valued at Rs. 1 Lakh/Meter i.e Rs. 90 Lakh but all the property agents in my area quoted me Rs. 1.5 to 1.75 crores. And it was a marvelous experience to see their shameless ‘posture’ and ‘attitude’.
Real Ethical Property Consultants Vs. Money Minting Agents – I am not saying that there are no ‘real valued consultants’ who can be contented in 2% commission but in reality I found none so far. On the Contrary, some of my case studies have disclosed friends duping their friends for ‘Taanka’. There is no question of ‘ethics’ now when friends are duping their friends.
It’s obvious that money value taking over all other values.
The FUNDA of asking your ‘BUDGET’ by agents -
Next time you visit a property agent to buy a flat or rental property. He will ask you What’s your budget? This is their platform and opportunity for ‘Taanka’ and if you answer this question, you are trapped. Don’t say that this is my budget. Because he will fit the low budget property in same rate. There is a common sense indeed in slapping something at overpriced value to you.
There is extra commission for them and you have to bear them for life :) – Do you see that? You are bearing the value of their ‘Taanka’ fun for your whole life?
The various traps/fundas of ‘Trapping’ customers (or prospective victims) by Property Agents -
- Doing a Press Release of ‘high priced deals‘ – Yes if you read in newspaper/s that ‘bla bla location property is sold at 200% or 300% high rates. Make sure it’s a trap. There is no such sale or it’s just an information/strategy to fix/create Taanka scopes and benefit the nexus.
- Asking a Budget from you – Nowadays dealers attract victims by pitching lowest prices in ads but when you reach there, it doesn’t exist in real. Their usual answer is – “It’s just sold” or “It’s already sold”
- Overpricing the Real Value – Quoting price upto 160-200% of actual value.
- Misleading and psychologically trapping the emotion/need of the customer with fake values – In one of incident, I wanted to sell one of my flat and when I called an agent, he just pitched the flat at less than half value and demotivated me from every dimension. The another day I got a buyer automatically at my door and he depressed me with much lower price too. But thank God I was convinced to not sell it low. I want to mention that the nexus followed me for months.
- The Nexus or the Property Mafia – One bigger fact is that this mafia keeps all real value or good value deals for themselves. As a client you are not going to get it at a real price anyhow. Or if there is a good deal, be assured that as a customer, you won’t get it. They break the sellers to the lowest value trap (a dirty trap indeed), stretch the time and trap another buyer at over-quoted price (Taanka) and win the margins. They never let buyers meet sellers, no matter how much compatible or responsible they are for each other as the agent will lose its ”TAANKA’. They can never be satisfied with ethical commission of 2% now.
What I Learnt?
If you have to buy a property then never go to a property dealer or local property agent because they will stop you from getting a real benefit deal. On the contrary they will get you a deal which you can get otherwise at a much economical value. Approach owners via internal networks. Run a community service/website that belongs to owners and not agents. (Most agents (in time frame) are able to trap most owners who are selling it independently but I salute all those owners who don’t prefer agents and save interest of buyer and themselves).
Real Estate planning is a sensitive decision of life where a single trap, a single bad decision and there is no recovery ever. So make your decisions for property via your real trustworthy and experienced acquaintances.
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Read Another Article by the Author – Property Mafia in Delhi-NCR