The show must go on…

Each time a legendary Indian artist dies (danseuse, vocalist, musician etc), the responsibility to carry the legacy increases on each one of us.
Until two or three decades back art was pursued by the elite more. Anyway, art cannot flourish when life is unstable.
Today, scenario has changed. Some carry the legacy as-is, some have modified and each of those artisans play a role in not only living the art form but also increasing the acceptance.
Music has come a long way. As much as I enjoy listening to khayal, ghazal, folk music or keertanam i equally enjoy listening to fusion, rock.

Indian classical music has mainstreamed. Folk music, ghazal, thimri, khayal, percussionists have made us proud. One can find singers signing to tunes of old ragas untouched, and can also hear fusions where the soul of music is untouched.
Indian classical dancers have a long way to go. Certainly, the context has to change.
That is one of my important goals: to make classical dances mainstream.
People should not find it difficult to recognize dance forms. Until then, we will find people by hearting the names against the names of states for examinations.

Legends have played an important role in leaving a better world behind.
Whenever you listen to Rafi saab, he leaves you at a better place, mentally. Lyricists, musicians brought life to those bandishes.
I hope that i play a small role in this and pray that today’s youth embrace Indian art with an unbiased mind as I see this steeply declining. It somewhere saddens me when I am told that classical music is boring and scare crow man [1] is our mantra.
What is more appalling is that youth who belong to the land that made classical music most mainstream with abhanga, natya sangeet are in dark when it comes to these forms.

On one side we have veterans who are upset and seem to be reserved about embracing changes and the other side we also see songs that are good enough to scare wild boars at farm fields away[1].
Westernisation, anyway, seems to disturb many Indians.  Modernization and westernization are quite different.

We have been given few of the best inheritances.  We are responsible in flourishing art forms by participating in them: in listening, watching and taking the main stage.
We do not wish to see more names in the list of intangible heritage being under threat.

Talent is for others to enjoy and time is most precious gift.
Both the seer and scene are important to keep the shown on…

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/12/02/honey-singh-uttarkhand-lo_n_8695396.html

[2]  http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/tradition-of-vedic-chanting-00062

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can i please God by fasting on a Tuesday? Part 1

I have been hearing and many have tried analyzing how God will know about a Monday or a Tuesday.

Atheists might totally reject the concept of fasting.

Err!!

I spent some time to understand the effects of fasting.
I will write in a gist on scientific, spiritual, and psychological aspects of fasting.

Observing fast was never restricted to a particular religion: Most religions in the world observe this. Hinduism,  Sikhism, Taoism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity to name new a few , practice fasting.

Why Observe Fast?

When people observe fast what we notice more often is that they refrain from eating ‘xyz’, drinking liquor (something common to most religions ), restricting on certain food items, taking meals before sunrise/sunset/after moonrise.

These days’ nutritionists have coined a new term ‘detox’. Liberals like to use that and find fasting for Divine very regressive.

So the question ‘why fast’ hounds us.

Fast is observed for myriad reasons:

  1. Give stomach ‘CL’
    Happens after festivals and weddings.
  2. Revisit food habits.
    Specially caters to people who eat with no control, whatsoever. Fasting for a day helps to keep digestive system up and running. Especially after bouts of diarrhoea.
    Remember that day’s ‘thelevala’ pani puri and you heard thunderstorm inside.
  3. Revitalise
    According to Ayurveda, all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) namely, Akash (Ether), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). There is a balanced condensation of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs and requirements of different structures. By knowing one’s own prakruti (true nature), one can plan and practice an appropriate daily and seasonal dietetic and behavioral regime. With this simple effort, the body will maintain balance of the doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). From an Ayurvedic perspective, this balance is considered the “healthy” state of humans. And fasting is one of those activities that can help [2].
  4. What follows fast?
    Fasting is often clubbed with chanting, prayers, people coming together and serving.
    It is seen as a part of a bigger celebration. Some take to spirituality, give up bad habits, and give up on things not suitable to their body.
  5. Anna Hazare, or so that your mom prepares your favourite dish.

 

Why only on Monday, Tuesday etc?

Will Shiva be pleased and descend from Kailash and perform tandava?
Will Ganesha be gleeful and give you more delicious food and knowledge?

Answer to above is a ‘NO’.

No(,) God will be pleased. Your dining table or utensils also won’t be lured into this drama.

So, why?

Let me state an example:
Let’s say you are a smoker and want to quit but are finding it hard to do so. Your resolve seems weak.
Your best friend, whom you really care and who cares about you, is upset and would like to help you. Best friend is worried about your health.
You promise your best friend that you won’t smoke for the next 21 days.
each time your hand reaches out to the cigarette packet that is in your pockets, you remember the promise and might stop yourself. Cheating is out of scope because you can’t belittle the trust your best friend has in you.

This is one of the reasons why people observe fast remembering Shiva, Ganesha, their guru.
This way they can have a control over their eating habits on that day or few days because God has come into play. Some assume that their God will be upset.
It served the purpose. If one wants to learn to have control over taste buds, give stomach a break and the nutritionist based reasons, pleasing God works.

Incidentally, these days only menu changes on the day people observe fast (:-D).
Rajgira puris, shrikhand, sabudana vades, farhali items replace plain daal chawal.

However, we tend to see that these fasts have become merely ritual; the spiritual aspect has been lost in many cases. People observe fast because they’ve done it for years, or because their parents did it, or because they were instructed to do so.
Understand your body prakriti, your body nature and accordingly check if you find any idea convincing- health or spiritually health.

To me observing fast would be NO (internet, cell phone, junk food, tea, coffee) and above all my mind SHUT! 😀

i will be sharing the other aspects soon in the next part. 🙂
i do not want to go wrong on the scientific basis and might as well rope in an experienced doctor for this 🙂

 Citations
http://www.nia.nic.in/?ref=12&id=38

http://www.panchakarma.com/10-day-ayurvedic-balancing-detoxing-fast-a-298.html

 

 

Man role model, err did i say man? – Happy Women’s Day!

She was the only woman in the board room apart from another junky amidst 20 men, who had come to pitch new deal for the company where she worked. She saw a young girl there sitting behind, a junky taking notes and contributing a few points here and there. When the meeting ended, the woman went to the junky and praised her “You’ll do well, Good luck”. The junky smiled from ear to ear, with renewed assurance of her dreams.


She had argued with her mother in law that morning before leaving for work. When she came home, she complained of menstrual cramps. Her mother-in-law who disliked her very much felt her pain. The mother in law prepared a health drink for her and offered it. Anger melted, pain reduced.


Her husband was a mill worker and the family lived hand to mouth. On February 14, he saw young couples holding hands and offering presents to each other. He enquired and realised that the day is celebrated as Valentine’s Day. Realising that he has few pennies left in his wallet, he brought her favourite mogra flowers for his wife. She blushed.


She was a florist who beautifully weaved the beads of devotion outside the temple. Her radiance was reflected in her eyes when she smiled, albeit had no teeth. A young girl who passed by complimented her, “you are so cute!”  Florist was resplendent in her beautiful smile.


She was a domestic servant and had participated in a cookery competition. The most enthusiastic supporter was her husband. His chest swelled with pride when he learnt that his wife had won the competition.


She is that common woman whom we see on the streets fighting against the odds, some created by society some by her own mind. Empowerment is not only about providing incentives, it is a gentle reminder that she is powerful, complete and full.
Globalisation has made world a global village and we live in an inter-dependent society. In the world of stereotypes where women are confined to house hold chores and all men are rapists, it is time men are given a pat on their shoulders as much as women celebrate their glory.
There will be a time when men will be called successful home-makers.
True independence is not that of financial, but emotional and mental.

In a country where Savitribai Phule, Raja Ram Mohun Roy were born, we glorify only board room and we glorify only board room and politically successful women.

A country where women are worshipped, wealth (Laxmi) , strength (Shakti)  and knowledge (Saraswati) are our pillars of success.

Women role models, lie everywhere around us in trains, buses our own neighbourhood.
She is the woman next door (figuratively and literally).

Behind every woman role model, there is a high probability of existence of a man who is a role model to many men in the society.

May daivi shakti embellish in every man and woman!

God/dess , Godmen and the likes

A series of internet activities, AIB, the movie ‘PK’ , MSG (Leela Samson) and allegations and a recent Facebook post which i stumbled upon, motivated me to write this.
Now that I’m at home, unemployed I am finding new avenues and reviving old habits to release my stress.

I will take a step wise approach

  1. PK targeted the concept of idol-worship, god-men and the likes
    I will try to not dwell on the flaws here. Idol worship – the reasons seem silly to many atheists, agnostics (non-believers). How can a stone carved beautifully seem to solve worries and fulfill desires?
    When a person says that s/he has ‘faith’ in Ganesha, it is the faith that is the driving factor here.
    It does not matter if you pray before a piece of paper, pen, rock, statue; It is the faith which one person holds. On that note, an atheist is most spiritual as s/he has immense faith in her/himself about non existence of God/higher powers.
    If I were to ask you do you trust your choices, the question that should first rise is ‘do I have faith in myself to trust my choices’?
    The rationale behind idol worship could be varied.
    i. For those who believe God created the universe, place of worship is heaven’s abode,
    ii. For some best way to let go off their problems and the best part being the idol does not have ears (most humans do not care about your problems including me ),
    iii. The daily chants in and around the place of worship makes it serene and peaceful away from the chaos , meet like minded people, gossip time.
    iv. Coming to god-men, the true essence of guru-shishya parampara is not what we often see today. Upanishad, means sitting close to the master. A master/teacher would not only initiate young minds then into rituals but also the science.Self-inquiry and not imposition, reasoning not mere blind faith in religious doctrine was what Bharata was.  The word guru sounds creepy. Black magic and standing in odd postures are what we are being told.
    Mind you, the western countries today profess about those odd postures (yoga, meditation) more than we do!Power yoga, hath yoga, TM are all a craze there! By that I do not imply that do not question the science behind the rituals. Just the way you are selectively reading this article between the lines, we can choose what we like as per our needs.
  2. Can taking extreme stance help?
    Extremism in any area has never helped the history of human kind.
    Ridiculing a ritual will never help open eyes, though it may to some.
    Religion can never be uprooted. Period.
    Most Indo Aryan pagan religions have a message to offer, and some of them literally and not figuratively. I wish media took time to make movies, present the good work, love, humanity and peace instead of choosing negative means to send out the message.
  3. Atheism is analogous to blind faith
    I’m neither a theist nor an atheist.
    I see many call themselves atheists (specially among Hindus) because they simply follow the herd. I do not see anything wrong in that yet to me it is same as blind faith in religious practices.
    I openly patronize yoga and meditation, and have no qualms if I am called a baba/dhongi.
    I was initiated into Art of Living (AOL) practice many years ago. I had fun doing surya namaskara and pranayama even as a teen. I didn’t know then that it was uncool to people. And today when I look around I find it cool to say that I am choosing a holistic approach to remain healthy. I have nothing against gym but yoga, aerobics make one self-reliant.
    And it (AOL) gave me many opportunities to work with other NGOs.
    I live in Bombay which means stress seeps into the system the moment I step out of my house, I can reach Delhi by air plane before i can reach home from the airport.
    Any organization, eminent person is never without flaws.
    Likewise I accept spiritual outfits do have their set of flaws, people around tend to brainwash and scare people. Some consider it a good way to make money 😀
    But we can certainly choose to pick the good and ignore the flaws. If it really bothers someone so much, go ahead and choose a strategy, mechanism to highlight them.I do not intend to patronize AOL as an organization but i can assure you that yoga, meditation and pranayama have umpteen benefits and i learnt the easiest ways through this organization. There are many research papers on them, I need not cite references. Each one of us can choose to have a mind of our own.
    Media is one of the most important pillars in democracy.
    Today is the world where internet has made world a global village and free press is  freedom of expression  on digital media. 
    I believe as a citizen of this country, as a global citizen each of us could seek truth before falling prey to unscrupulous, brain washing ideals.Let truth alone triumph!
    Satyamev Jayate !

By the Bay

Image

She sat at the banks of holy Ganges. Belonging to a small town called Kashi and being confined to the city right since her birth she knew a lot what Ganges did to her and little did she know where the river ran ahead.

She knew that her prayers would be heard, maybe hoped so.

Her father had consumed poison, succumbed to pressure. He sought to poison and was resting behind green curtains in a dilapidated hospital, and the daughter prayed for a speedy recovery.

Cool evening breeze brushed her face as she tried to light the lamp. Then let the lamp with jhenda float in the river. On the other end, sages recited hymns and offered evening prayers to the river.

The sound reverberated in the afterglow and she stood up with some hope rekindling in her.


On the banks of Godavari, came a middle aged man. He came with a pot. It was no ordinary pot; it had reminiscences of his beloved. Eyes were moist and he tasted salty water after many years.

When she was alive, he seemed dead for her and now that she was no longer alive she seemed more alive and surreal. He spent half his life in accumulating the fortune and the riches no longer seemed relevant. The bed no longer lured him nor did the wheels of his BMW.

The grandeur of his mansion and the lawn adorning flowers froze in time.

With a heavy heart he immersed her ashes and prayed that  may she find happiness in the astral world.

Survived by their son, he promised her that he would spend the rest of his life in make a living out of

Together moments in the living room.


The ashes and jhenda from the diya met at the confluence, Bay of Bengal. The source was one the rivers knew, their courses were so many.

The prayers from these rivers moved along the course and finally became one.

Abysmal dreams and sorrowful hearts found their solace ultimately in Thee.

Wherever these folks prayed, all river knew was to reach the destination.

Picture Perfect

When was the last time you bought a reel for your camera? Probably it was the time when we lived more in the real world than in virtual reality.

Image                                                                                 film_reel200

When I was a kid, people would get paranoid before heading for vacations and trips. We had to make sure that the reel was loaded, batteries were replaced after every use and that we do not press the reverse button.

at Juhu beach or hill stations, we would often see men with photograph garlands around their necks and asking if we want to get ourselves clicked and that the snaps will get developed in no time.

And after we returned from our outings, we made a trip to the photo studio and got the snaps developed. And we’d all gather to see the snaps together. All these being a cumbersome job, we could afford to click ‘Kodak moments’ and very little selfies.

Every kid will have a photo of their childhood which they don’t want their relatives to see and hide them in the books.

My kid’s camera is still one of my favourite possessions. That sound and the flash, have made memories.

And came the era of Digital Cameras and Selfies

Then digital camera fad set in. being expensive, people still stuck to their old cameras. By then VGA camera built in the phones had a huge widespread acceptance.

Slowly, when expandable memory and better resolution penetrated in the cell phones, digital cameras faced some set back. And those old cameras almost vanished.

Every second snap on social networking site is a selfie. No, no I don’t want to fixate over  selfies. It is the ease in terms of technicality and price which has encouraged people to click pictures.

Thanks to android and other smart phones, Instagram and snapchat have now become a craze. It easily gives one an illusion that they are a photographer.

SLR camera = Photography page.

A brilliant photographer is the one who can capture candid and right moments even in their VGA phones and old styled cameras.

 

This is no exception.

Screenshot_2013-09-12-21-29-52

 

 

And men can’t get enough of such poses.

 

men_selfie

Let’s leave alone the physiological impact these pictures have but it has changed many many things. It has become equivalent to style statement for us.

Sole purpose behind these snaps are to upload them on these social networking sites and to make sure that one gets x number of hits. whereas, the reel cameras created memories and still seem alive when we look at those albums.

if i were to sit with the album sack, i lose track of time. the new generation kids will miss out on this. The aroma of freshly developed pictures and old ones is ecstatic. Instagram with filters and FB albums will do no justice.

pictures project stories.

they talk of time and space.

Pictures should help one travel down the memory lane. Unfortunately these days it gives rise to remorse, jealously, depression due to comparison. Stalking, the term gained popularity all thanks to FB.

That said, this fad has its advantages too.

It has paved way to make photography as a profession. Some pursue that as part hobby or full time profession.

It has made people think wild and free and the expandable memory only means one can capture lots of those memories.

In a country like India, pursuing a profession astray to real professions like medicine or engineering leads to hullabaloo.

 

The best moments are captured by your eyes and in your mind.

And beautiful moments are captured when eyes are closed and mouths are shut.

 

Keep clicking!

 

 

Hues

images

Kittu’s  mom never wanted devil’s shadow falling upon her little one. Tradition had it that a kid should never see his/her reflection in the mirror. Kittu ran and hopped all around his place, rode on his tricycle, with the same enthusiasm as much his mother felt joy on delivering him. Sun rays behind passed through the slit of the window and casted a shadow of him on the tricycle albeit he could see none.

His family and loved ones could not see and perceive his joy and hope, which    he saw in the unseen. For the 3-year-old child had only lived the spectrum of light and not what the shadow left behind. He lived with eyes open what we live with eyes closed.