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Showing posts from 2007

The festival of lights.

Walking down the crowded streets of downtown Minneapolis fighting his way among the throng of shoppers didn't do anything to improve Prateek's mood. Christmas was almost a month away, they weren’t yet done with Thanks Giving, but some shops had already started their Christmas campaign. Prateek thought of Laxmi road back home overflowing with Diwali shoppers. Pushing his gloved fists deep in his coat pockets he walked on, blind to the people around him.
A star hanging outside a small shop reminded him of a similar lantern he had once made and suddenly he wanted to be back in Pune. He could picture his little sister looking grown up decked up in a saree, Mother looking a little tired, she must have stayed up the whole night preparing sweets, dad dressed in dhoti and kurta, impatiently waiting for every one to get ready for the traditional breakfast. The oil lamps would be lit in every window, and lanterns hung up high. There would be the aroma of food and fire crackers in the…

What price Physics ?

I sold my Dad’s books today. I had lived with those books from the day I was born. Without understanding what they were all about I knew their titles by heart. I pronounced words like Quantum Physics like they were my friends.The years passed and the books got old along with my dad. When he retired, the books from his office joined the ones at home. Dad found out that after working a life time as a physicist he was happier reading something else for a change and started reading fiction. Espionage, murder mysteries, the works. Physics remained in the book case.Soon they were wrapped neatly and transferred to the loft. Dad now started saying, let’s just give away these books. When I asked, to whom would he like to give the books. He always said, some one interested in Physics of course! But that person always eluded us.We explored various avenues seriously. College libraries? Sorry, these are PhD books, not much use to us, we teach only up to M Sc.. University Library ? Not interested. …

The city where you live.....

They were back as he knew they would be. He felt their restlessness in the shadows, waiting to come out. With a smile, he poured himself another glass. A glass of what, he didn’t know, and frankly he didn’t care. Anything to deepen those shadows. Then she would come. He downed the drink thirstily, some dribbled from the corner of his mouth. He wiped his chin impatiently and filled his glass once again. She came to him every night, sometimes in the day too. He would take his first sip and sense the familiar flicker in the shadows, a swirl of colour, and a low hum of hundreds of butterflies buzzing. Some times blue, sometimes red, they always seem to accompany her. A few times just the butterflies had appeared. They had fluttered around him and the soft brush of their wings had made him wonder if they would leave a streak of blue on his cheek. He would lie on the bed with his eyes closed and wait for the wings to brush his lips. Her kisses. He knew that she will not come unless he drank e…

The Captive.

Then she was roughly pushed into a dark room. The door slammed shut as her head hit the floor. She lay there stunned, eyes smarting with tears.The floor was cold, hard stone. Lying still for a few minutes she got her wind back. Her forehead throbbed as she sat up and a drop trickled down the side of her face. She wiped it recognizing the smell of blood.Pushing herself forward, half crawling in the pitch dark room, she reached the wall and sat with her back against it, waiting for eyes to adjust to the darkness. She looked around, trying to see a pattern, a break in the shadows. There was nothing. No up, no down. Wondering if the knock on the head had blinded her she shut her eyes tightly and opened them again. The only difference was the swirl of colour when they were shut. She took a deep breath and almost gagged. The putrid stench of the room was suffocating. It was the smell of rats, urinals and dark nights. It touched her like unknown fingers, making her flesh crawl. The bile ris…

Little Dancing Girl ( Art under fire)

The arrest of the art student of BarodaSchool of arts for having violated the sensibilities of religious fundamentalists seems to have shaken people. But I had seen the beginning of this attitude ages ago. To be more precise, the day the little dancing girl vanished from our history books.
She is the finest example of Mohenjodaro and Harappa sculpture. But today, the educational websites run by the government, while raving about this fine piece, do not display her photos. You can check out this Vigyan Prasarak website as a proof of our academic hypocrisy.

http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/dream/august99/AUGUSTArticle1.htm

This sculpture from an ancient civilization says a lot about the technology of our ancestors. The dancer's jaunty little body standing in supreme confidence, the skill with which the sculptor has caught her grace and attitude are irrelevant to the learned people who plan our textbooks. Her nudity has made her unsuitable for our eyes. And this from a land where we worsh…

By Design.

We have been declared the Designers of the Year.

It all started this way. The brief said- open office, transparent glass cubicles, soft music etc, the silicon valley techy look. Simple 'nuff, we said. But taking indian Entrepreneur to silicon valley proved to be as difficult as Taking Ramji-bhai to London. We hadn't realized that everyone's hearts belonged so firmly to their Gaon !

The glass cubicles open to sky ( read ceiling ) felt oppressive to some. Some longed for their privacy and were unhappy about glass walls. Some, being more used to the carefree -'Raamu ho! Chaachi ho!!' style of conversation across the office resented the need for the hushed conversations, and communication via intercoms.

Soon it was apparent to us that various people had various issues with the design. So we decided to make a few changes and create a more congnial atmosphere which, while not exactly silicon valley, will be what any overworked indian Entrepreneur craves. An office and resor…

The science of the ancients.

A new project was about to begin, the design had been finalized, we had knocked down the walls and dug up the tiles, and the client, a rational man till now, dropped a stinker.
“ I have invited a Vaastu Pandit ( who also doubled as a pyramidologist). Hope you guys work under his advise.”This was how it began. The man came with a pendulum, a divining rod, and changed our entire design. Put toilets where people were supposed to be, and back door where front door was supposed to be. The colours of walls, the paintings on display, the sizes of tables ( 6’x 3’ ? No! It has to be 5’11 ¾ “ X 2’ 10 5/8” ), the A/C frame ( Rose wood please. Fire energy, you see.). Copper pyramids were prescribed to be buried all over the place, 77 in all, (to subdue the water energies). Crystal pyramids were supposed to be installed later, once the office was ready. And last but not the least, No glass anywhere in the 1400 sft office. We fought over this one till he gave in.
“33 % only!” he admonished us.
By now …

Hail the Indian media.

This is a forward I recieved in my mail today. Even tho I shun forwards as a rule, the sender is not an irrisponsible spammer. So I knew it had to be important. It was.
Originally it was from Bharati Sharma of Sahara TV.

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November 29th 2006 This new is not very new or catchy...but the essense of it shouuld be eternal, coz it is a shame on the Indian media (nothing new I would say – unless they cover "trial by media" all is TRPs anyways)

By the time u guys read this news, the body of Major Manish Pitambare, who was shot dead at Anantnag, would have been cremated with full military honors.

On Tuesday, this news swept across all the news channels 'Sanjay Dutt relieved by court'. 'Sirf Munna not a bhai' '13 saal ka vanvaas khatam' 'although found guilty for possession of armory, Sanjay can breath sigh of relief as all the TADA charges against him are withdrawn'. Then many personalities like Salman Khan said 'He is a good person. …

Kala Ghoda -Bazaar

A lovely paper lamp was hanging in a paper goods stall.
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A studio in Pune displayed their funky glass artifacts. In fact this time funk seems to be the theme, as opposed to the traditional wares of past festivals.
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Hand painted glass lamp.
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The handmade paper good stall was one of the most crowed ones. People were going crazy buying notebooks. I saw a teenager begging her mom for this hand embroidered notebook while her mom reminded her of unused blank notebooks at home.
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One of my Fav stalls. This one had great ceramic ware. This laughing whale was so cheerful that I bought one for Divya.
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This was a lovely stall. Real real funky stuff.
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A Dhoom trunk from t…

Kala Ghoda- Sonal Mansingh

I went to Kala Ghoda in severe conflict about what to see and what to do. This was one of the time when you feel like having a few clones and catch the whole show.But friend Ajita won, and we headed for Horniman Circle gardens to attend Sonal Mansingh’s Odissi performance.The evening was cool and breezy, the gardens were filling up fast. We could see the patron Goddesses of the event, Brinda Miller, Devika Bhojwani and Sarayu Doshi flitting around, getting show started.The ceremonial Lamp refused to stay lit. Finally the lamp was announced as “lit” behind the shelter of a file, and the show started. And what a show it was!I was all prepared to give a nod to Culture and then rush over to watch Soparkar’s Troup “Dancing in the streets “. But that was only till Sonal started her first piece, devoted to Goddess Maatangi, the patron goddess of all arts. From now on “Bhavani Dayani” will always look like Sonal.There was something of a sybil in her whole persona. Her goddess was not an eth…

The Battle Royale.

He is still there, watching her through the open kitchen window, with a reproachful look in his eyes. She is firmly ignoring him. She doesn’t take very kindly to anyone refusing to eat her cooking.
Amma loves to feed birds, and has kept dishes filled with food and water on her kitchen window sill.That is how the crow started coming to our house. Amma had made something of a pet of this crow who sat in the kitchen window every day, waiting for her to feed him left over food, stale slices of bread, things which crows are supposed to eat uncomplainingly. Even this one did. Till one day he tasted chaklis.While poking around in the cabinets Amma came across old packets of Chaklis. No one remembered purchasing them, maybe left over from Diwali. And by now the chaklis were several months old, and emanated musty smell of stale oil. We all refused to even touch them, and declared them unfit for human consumption. Amma’s thrifty heart baulked at such a waste, and she hated to throw out the good…

Jaipur Lit. Fest. workshop.

The writing workshop conducted by Jugal Mody was on the third day of the Lit. Fest. Jan 21st .We were told by the organizers to 'Be There' at 9 'Sharp':) Sitting in Amchi Mumbai 9 sharp doesn’t sound like an ungodly hour. We are the people who catch 7.52 super fast. So on the cold morning of 21st, in the Pink City of Jaipur where even the sun was reluctant to show his face before ten, Rashmi Dhanwani and I marched to Diggi palace- the venue for the workshop. And I am glad we did.The workshop was planned for anyone above the age of 18. The number of participants was limited to 25 and there were a few complaints about it, as the response to the workshop has been so tremendous that the management had to turn away lot of people. Jugal wanted to keep the number small so there could be time for interaction and feed back. Finally, extra participants were allowed to join, and the final count was 32. I could see a few familiar faces of other caferatii .We all sat there, huddled…