Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Godfather of Soul - James Brown

James Brown, a great musician, known as the Godfather of Soul, passed away yesterday at the age of 73. Ramesh introduced me to his songs soon after we met and I thought that I'd put one up here as a remembrance.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Freedom of expression

Most of you will have seen Sangeeta's email update by now where she's talked about writing and painting. Sangeeta writes about recent events and subjects that move her for The Afternoon, Mumbai. I thought I'd add to her email by posting excerpts from two of her most recent articles, Maqbool Fida Hindustan Par...! and The Afzal hanging.... with a link to the rest that have appeared till date
Maqbool Fida Hindustan Par…!
Saturday, November 25, 2006 8:50:6 IST

I felt really bad reading about Hussain being trapped in London, pining for home, longing to walk through the streets of Byculla and Grant Road but being advised not to return thanks to the nine hundred cases filed against him! Couldn’t help thinking of Bahadur Shah Zafar similarly home sick and exiled in Burma writing poignantly about not getting even two yards in his homeland for a burial! The man is ninety-one years old. If he does not come home now when will he come? He has apologised for unintentionally hurting the sentiments of people and even offered to destroy work that a three-member committee comprising a VHP member an art critic and a lawyer might find objectionable. But for the twenty nine thousand people who have signed a petition against him on the net this is not good enough.

The Afzal hanging....
20th Oct 2006

The Afzal hanging has generated much debate and hysteria in the last couple of weeks gaining momentum with each day. It is a relief for the moment that October 20th has come and gone without a hanging. Apart from anything else both religions can afford to be spared the distress and drama of a controversial hanging bang in the middle of the festive season!

I too was one of the signatories in the ‘Save Afzal Petition’ on the net. My comment was simply when in doubt say no. Don’t hang Afzal till you are certain that it is the right thing to do. Having done that, the truth is that all this doubt over the sentence has arisen thanks to a flurry of activity and media coverage that has unfortunately come a little too late in the day. Why did all these activists remain silent for so long? If Afzal’s defense was inadequate or even nonexistent why are people organizing morchas now and not more appropriately at the time. Public opinion is a vital factor in a Democracy why was this tool not used to it’s fullest earlier instead of leaving it till days before the execution of the sentence and the culprit!

and the photograph above is of a painting of hers that I like very much.

You can read the rest of the first article on the web and the 2nd article is an exclusive and has been posted only to the yahoo group folders. Another incentive to join up :D

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Paint a Mural

During my recent visit to Bangalore, Tea at Sangita Ohri's was very exciting as along with the fabulous chaat I got to see her art. One of these was a beautiful Trompe L'Oiel she'd painted into a niche in her dining room. I looked it up :P they are murals that create an illusion of a three dimensional space and I think translated it means Fool the Eye. If you ask I'm sure she'll put up a photograph :D When I saw this article over a month ago, on my current favourite site, Lifehacker, I immediately thought of her. I dont think she needs this article she's already an expert but it's for all those of you who might want to be adventurous.

About 10 days ago Sangeeta Bukshi wrote me about her daughter painting a wall in her room and how a while later she was sorely tempted and followed suit. I got all excited about it and remembered this post that I'd saved up as a draft :D I need to get my head fixed, I keep forgeting things! Putting it on record so that I'm forgiven for all the things that I might forget henceforth :D

Both Sangita and Sangeeta do share photographs. I for one am mighty interested. I sounded out Ramesh who said that it would be my responsibility to get it cleared by the landlady :D I'm already thinking of painting the wall in the balcony. People on the lake will get to see and enjoy it and me of course :D Now I have to come up with the idea :D I like being a copy cat :D Maybe I'll do cats :D

Anybody want to join me? Remember, we now have 3 experts to consult :D

Monday, December 11, 2006

13 December : A Reader

13 Dec invite

Penguin India is organizing an event to launch the book 13 December: A Reader, to which Sonia Jabbar has contributed. The event will be held at Gulmohar in the India Habitat Centre New Delhi, at 4 pm on 12th December. Read Hang The Truth by Sonia which appeared first in the Hindustan Times on October 17, 2006. And here's the introduction to the book by Arundhati Roy. Those who are in Delhi might be able to make it for the book launch. And don't forget to go out and buy a few copies for yourselves and friends.

Did some surfing on the Net and here is a write-up on a film that she had made earlier
Read a review by Beena Sarwar on Chowk on Sonia's film Autumn's Final Country on the suffering of 4 displaced women living in Kashmir.

This post is about a much more serious side of Sonia. Dont be disappointed thinking that she's changed completely because the Mad Hatter still exists. To catch up here's a bit of background on what she's been up to in these past two decades. I've shamelessly copied the write-up from a review on this very film on Asia Source

Sonia Jabbar has been politically active since the early 1990s and has worked on Kashmir issues as a rights activist, journalist, photographer and filmmaker since 1995. She has founded several Indian movements for nuclear disarmament, and after the 2002 Gujarat riots she co-founded Aman Ekta Manch, a citizens' group in New Delhi that worked for peace between the communities. She has initiated Indian-Pakistan peoples' conferences at the grassroots level and in 2000 she received a research grant from WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace), founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner HH The Dalai Lama.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Keep a track at Traineo


You guys have heard me complain about the excess weight that I'm carrying around. I've signed up at Traineo to keep a track of my weight loss goal. I want to lose 15kgs in a year. I've signed up Ramesh as my motivator and he'll get weekly progress reports on how I'm faring. Hope to have fun along with losing weight! Anyone joining me at Traineo? We could have a LMOG group :D

Friday, December 8, 2006

Million memories tease my heart!

Credit goes to Kshitija, a friend of mine, for finding this gem. She sent it out a few months ago and it has been enjoyed by many. Hope it makes you smile and if you catch yourself humming.... eeef you come today... dont blame me, blame Kshiti!!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

What Life Teaches Us

Well hello there all you happy people. Ujji helped me get this stuff going online. Thought I would share a little philosophy about what life has taught me in this last year- and I am gung-ho now that I have learned these .
1. If you have been toying with a decision for a long time... wanting to take the plunge but scared if it wont work, TAKE THE CHANCE.
2.It's not decisions that fail. It's people who do.
3. If your decision looks like the wrong one, keep working to make it a success.
4. More often than not, you KNOW your own mind. Lots of well meaning people may discourage you because the choice you make may not be easy or conventional. But, if you want it badly enough and if its not a snap decision, its probably the right one for you.
5. Don't accumulate posessions. Nothing is worse than having to clean stuff all the time. Life is for 70 or 80 years. The only thing you really carry with you all around is your mind. Store lots of stuff in your mind. Like happy memories. Even if some of them cost a bomb ( a trip to Tibet? )... its worth the memories.
6. Photograph everything and take prints of the ones you like. Digital cameras are nice because you can pick and choose the ones you want to print. But for goodness sakes, PRINT them. They are the only things that are precious to me apart from my memories
7. I know you have heard that ' family' is everything, and this is true. But sometimes, we pick up 'family' who isnt related by blood. This is the family of choice. Care for them as you would your own. Take their help when you must. I am ever grateful to Linda ( Thomas ) my dearest and closest friend, without whom I would never be where I am today. I can never do for her or give her what she has given me, but she inspires me to help others and hopefully, this is what is meant by the circle of giving.
8. You are dispensible at your work place. Your employer will survive, and thrive without you. But you are Mother, Daughter, Wife and Friend to very few people. To them you are irreplaceable in that role. Take THAT job very seriously.
9. No one is intrinsically bad. We just allow them to do hurtful things to us and by doing that we teach them that unacceptable behavior is OK . When we repeatedly allow them to behave in that way, it becomes a habit with them and character is quickly formed. I truly believe 'evil happens when good men do nothing'. If someone repeats the cycle, then distance your self, physically. If that is not possible, distancing yourself mentally is always possible.
10. Take up an activity which does not rely on anyone else. It will be your mainstay when you are alone - never lonely. And as we grow in years, we will be by ourselves at least some of the time. I have sewing, exercise ( running on the beach these days!), reading and music which keep me going - all solitary pursuits and all give me a high.

Peace and Contentment to all of you.


PS: have gone vegetarian . Thanks to my new employer, a wonderful group called IHHR - lots of very kind, helpful, principled people. I work in their property in Mauritius. It's spearheaded by Mr. Ashok Khanna who ( as all his employees would agree ) is a truly enlightened soul ! He has taught me a lot by example. www.shantiananda.com