Happy New Year

Wish you a wonderful new year filled with happiness and joy.


Alam Khan is a musician, composer and educator. He plays the sarode.  We spoke with Khan about his father Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the legacy of Maihar gharana and his love for both Hindustani or North Indian classical music and hip-hop.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was one of the most famous sarode player and Khan is carrying on the legacy of his father’s music and Maihar gharana that traces its roots to Tansen, the court musician in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar.  Members of Maihar gharana include Allauddin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Annapurna Devi, Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee and others.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan founded a music school in San Francisco Bay area in 1967 and his music influenced quite a few iconic musicians like The Grateful Dead and others. Khan teaches at the school just like his father did. The school celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017.

Khan shares how growing up in Marin county he listened to both Hindustani music and mainstream American music like Crosby, Still and Nash, Jim Hendrix and hip-hop. He learnt to play the guitar from Jai Uttal as a teenager. Khan dabbled with playing the sarode as a 7-year old and then returned to it as a 12-year-old and spent many years learning to play the sarode from his father.

Besides Hindustani music Khan is a also a big fan of hip-hop music and recently released an album called Grand Tapestry with Elijh on vocals, Saler Nader on tabla and Alam Khan on sarode.

What did Ustad Ali Akbar Khan have to say about hip-hop and rap music. “Too much talking and not enough music,” was his answer as his son shares in the interview. Rap music is “loop-based and about words,” adds Khan. It sounds like Khan has found a way to embrace both Hindustani and hip-hop music in a happy way.

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Kamala Devi Harris (D) was elected as California’s new Senator. Harris won the seat that was vacated by Barbara Boxer. On Jan 3, 2017 Harris will be sworn in as the new Senator from California, and will step down from her role as Attorney General of California.

Do we retreat, or do we fight asks Harris in her election night speech. “I intend to fight,” she says. “We all have to fight…this is a pivotal moment in the history of our country.” She mentions how her parents met in Berkeley during the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

Harris has an interesting heritage. Her mother Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris came from Madras (now known as Chennai) to study at the University of California In Berkeley. She worked as a breast cancer specialist at Lawrence Livermore Lab. Her father Prof. Donald Harris was from Jamaica, who taught economics at Stanford University.

This post by Harris’ aunt or “chitti” Dr. Sarala Gopalan makes for an interesting read and give you peek into Harris’s Indian heritage and her love for South Indian food. I wonder if Harris speaks Tamil?

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Happy 4th – Old Tyme Celebration at Columbia State Park, California

4th of July Parade, Columbia State Park, California

4th of July Parade, Columbia State Park, California

One of the best places to see an old-fashioned or should I say “Old Tyme” 4th of July  Parade in Northern California is the one at Columbia State Park. It is a couple of hours drive as the crow flies east from San Francisco Bay area. Columbia is a Gold Rush town and the parade is infused with elements from mid-19thc. If you are lucky you may even get to see someone who looks astonishingly like Mark Twain. Twain, if you did not know, wrote his first story “The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras,” while he was in this part of the world during the famous Gold Rush period.

Here are some pictures of that old-fashioned 4th of July Parade that is definitely worth seeing. Remember to dress right since it gets pretty warm out there. Take plenty of water and wear a hat. If you get there real early you may want to go to  the local ice-cream parlor and grab a cool treat .  Stay after the parade when they have all sorts of fun thing to do including dancing.


March is Women’s History Month and here is a collection of my interviews with women from various walks of life from authors to filmmakers to entrepreneurs to engineers and venture capitalists. In each of these interviews the goal was to find out how about their journey and how they developed a passion for what they do.








Coorg or Kodagu is a stunningly beautiful and verdant place in the Southern state of Karnataka, India. Driving through Coorg’s rolling grasslands, misty mountains and thick forests studded with coffee and pepper plantations is a wonderful experience. Of course, you need to overlook the potholes dotting the road as you make your way through the gentle and winding roads of Coorg, which is often referred to as “Scotland of India.” Over the years we had read quite a bit about Coorg and enjoyed their coffee, honey and spices. And yet, we had never visited Coorg and it was time to rectify it.

A couple of years ago we went on an unplanned road trip to Coorg. Armed with our smart phones and Google map we jumped into a compact Suzuki Swift and left Bangalore in the wee hours of the morning. We hit National Highway 48 (NH48) that connects Bangalore to Mangalore, a port city located on the Arabian Sea coast of the state. NH48 runs almost like a straight line from Bangalore to Mangalore on the western coast of the state. Continue reading


Cascada de Flores is a San Francisco-based musical ensemble that plays music from Mexico, Cuba and Latin America. Their repertoire consists of original and old, forgotten music from these regions. But, what they do is package and present that forgotten and new music in new and evocative ways.

The group was founded by Jorge Liceaga and Arwen Lawrence in 1999. Over the years they have released 4 albums and are working on a new album.

Here is a repertoire of 4 songs and an interview with Lawrence about their music.

This interview aired on TV in San Francisco Bay area and in Los Angeles.




Wish you all a wonderful and happy 2016 filled with love, laughter and kindness.



This was a wonderful and got to interview interesting folks from the world of technology, startups, films, food (yes, food startups is a big trend) and authors. This collage is a sample of the various guests on our show about life, people and ideas.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. And, if you like what you saw or listened, do share and feel free to send us a comment or feedback. We love hearing from you.

Have a wonderful year ahead.


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Every Thursday you can catch a new interview on my YouTube channel. We feature interviews with entrepreneurs, technologists, filmmakers and other news from in and around the San Francisco Bay area. These interviews air in various TV channels in the Bay area, Los Angeles and in Cambridge, MA.

Here are a couple of playlists that you can explore and discover for yourself an eclectic set of interviews and conversations.

Women in Science and Technology

Silicon Valley


Authors and Artists

And then there are playlists that focus on Bangalore and travel.

If you have not, do subscribe to our YouTube channel. To subscribe – look for the big red button that says subscribe.

And if you like what you see do leave a comment and share the interview. Thank you!