Saturday, December 30, 2006

LITTLE ANGELS





The Angels were visiting us; two, extremely adorable, lovable angels. These little angels were –
So energetic that their parents fall asleep trying to put them to sleep….
Generous enough to forgive me w/ a meek smile when I gobbled up their last chocolate chip cookie…Shrewd enough to divert the topic when I asked them to share their walkie-talkie password w/ me….
Young enough to enjoy an evening in the park or on the swing….Grown-up enough to ask me about my boyfriends…
Silly enough to believe in ghosts….Smart enough to figure out the TV channel that ran their favorite Cartoon Network, to always get a hold of my cell phone for their play, to convince me to turn on the computer for their games…
Na├»ve enough to believe in all my made-up stories…Smart enough to pick on my code language w/ their ma….
So peaceful when they slept…..So noisy during their waking hours that they made me blow off every few minutes….
Their presence seemed to shake our mundane life into action. I got some free lessons in anger management. Order to them, is boring, chaos, on the other hand, is a lot of fun. In the few days that I spent w/ them, I have learnt to let go. So what if somebody messes up your car radio settings; you can always re-tune. So what if there are food crumbs all over the place; cleaning isn't such a big deal. "Don’t sweat the small stuff", has been my mantra for the most of past week.
But just as these important lessons are beginning to sink in and I am getting used to the amplified decibel levels at home, they are GONE.
I am going to miss you darlings. Visit me soon!

Friday, December 29, 2006

HEART OF GOLD

San Juan Islands, WA


Songs seem to have their days....somedays you wake up w/ a song....or sometimes you run into them; just like running into an old friend in the market or someplace.....at times the songs linger on....and other times they are gone no sooner than they came.....on somedays its just one of them running in repeat mode in your head, while on others, its more like a random song playlist......a song has been playing in my head since yesterday.....don't know why!.....here it is for you....

Heart of Gold

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

LIFES LIKE THAT

Friday Harbor, WA

Life is interesting......Sometimes it leaves you w/ no choice and frustrates you and some other times, teases you w/ choices and confuses you.....at such times, every option seems like the right thing and one is tormented w/ trying to find the best out of all these rights......life, they say, is the result of the choices that one makes and so the process of making the right choice stresses you out........hasty decisions work best at times whereas at times the problem itself seems to disappear if one continues to sit on it......Slow is fast and fast is slow...what to do.....lifes like that!

CONTEMPLATE

Beach, Friday Harbor, WA

2006 is almost over. Overall its been a good year...mostly good things have happened....the bad things have been stumblers that I have been able to recover from and have taught me a lesson or two.....as the year draws to a close, I yearn for some time and peace, to sit back and contemplate about the past year and also plan for the coming year....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

HAPPY HOLIDAYS


Nature's Artists - Diveagar Beach, (Konkan, Maharashtra, India)

Merry X'mas and best wishes for the coming year. Herez wishing that the new year rings in new cheer, happiness, health and peace into our worlds.

Stay warm, take care and haffun!

Cheers!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

USE IT OR LOSE IT


Its been a while since I have written....that my grey cells need exercise is evident from my previous post....in an attempt to have a regular work-out...okay warm-up at least :)....I am planning to write a short piece daily......Inspiration for the work-outs has been derived from Shoefie, a blogger whose writing I love!....not sure if I will get to the precision of 100 words...but keeping it short is the idea...anyhoo...here is my 1st short piece for your preview...

FATE

It was a late spring evening and the sky was alight. Its goldens and pinks intersected haphazardly and gave it the appearance of a huge modern art painting. Another lonely evening, he thought and let out a loud sigh. As he looked up helplessly, he saw the birds hastily returning to their nests. Of late, everybody seemed to be in a hurry! The twittering of the birds was drowned by the cheer that rose among the group watching the football game. He realised it had been ages since he had played the game.

In the field, Ishaan had the game under his control. Lean, dark with his long mane of black hair, Ishaan appeared like a black stallion cruising the field with the speed of lightening. Ishaan scored the victorious goal and was swept off the ground by his team-mates.

As he looked up from his thoughts towards the loud group, his eyes met Ishaan’s. In a flash they were transported to the cold December night….. Ishaan was at the wheel…. they were on I-95 heading towards the airport to catch their flight to LA…….his next memory was of waking up in the hospital room…..

A sharp pain rose in his heart and he winced as he tried to get up with the help of his crutches……he looked down at his amputated legs…..Ishaan looked up to the heavens…..his mind clogged by memories of the cruel twist of fate..

Monday, December 18, 2006

SAWAI GANDHARVA MUSIC FESTIVAL



For many, it is THE place to be; hang-out with friends through the late hours, savor snacks and coffee amidst the vibrant musical atmosphere and display their style quotient. For some, it is simply an annual ritual/tradition, while for some, it is a place to meet old friends and relive the past. But for most, it is a place to see their demigods, hear the best Hindustani classical music, and also experience those rare moments of connecting with the divine.
I am talking about the Sawai Gandharva music festival (now running its 54th year). One of the most prestigious events in Indian classical music, this festival generally takes place around the 1st week of December, in the city of Pune (Maharashtra, India). The festival not only features big names in music but also serves as a platform to introduce upcoming artists. It is a matter of great honor to get a chance to perform at the festival. Music lovers from India and abroad make it a point to attend the festival.
Since 1989 the festival is being held in the grounds of New English School. (Ramanbaug) For the convenience of the attendees, the seating arrangement is a mix of bharatiya baithak (floor seating), chairs and sofas. A number of LCD screens and TV monitors are installed in the arena so that the attendees can view the artist. Yet, nothing matches the experience of being seated cross-legged in the front rows (a few feet away from the artist) and enjoying the concert. Every artist gets at least an hour to perform; the schedule is tailored so that there is a good mix of vocal and instrumental recitals each day. Until a few years ago the festival used to be an all-night affair. The program would commence at 9 pm (if I am remembering it right) and would go on until the wee hours of morning. On the last day, the show would continue till almost noon the next day and music lovers would sit there mesmerized. However, things have changed due to the ban on loudspeakers beyond 10 pm. The festival now runs on a 4 pm-10 pm schedule officially. In reality, the ban is lifted and the festival continues well past midnight on all 4 days. :)
……………
Shawls, sweaters, and other warm accessories find their way out as the night deepens, and the temperature drops. Munchies are passed around during the short intervals between two performances. The breaks are aptly utilized by the foodies to pamper their food pangs. From Punjabi to South Indian to Chinese; there is a wide variety available for selection. Veteran attendees are seen exchanging notes about the finer points of a raga, past concerts or details about an artist’s biography. The uninitiated seem to grind out humdrum details about life. Often a brawl ensues over the place of seating, but it ends quickly and peacefully. Apart from music, it is truly (most of the times ;)) entertaining to meet and observe people of all the possible personality types that there exist.
I was fortunate to have been able to attend all four days of the festival this year. The festival began at 4 pm sharp each day. The first day was kicked-off with the customary Shehenai recital. Of the 1st day, I particularly enjoyed the sarangi recital (Raga Madhuvanti, Mishra Pilu) by brother-duo Dilshad and Sabir Khan and the vocals of Shashwati Mandal (Raga Saraswati, Punjabi Tappa in Raga Sohoni).
Although the 2nd day saw maestros Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma (Raga Rasikpriya) and Pt. Jasraj (Raga Jaijaivanti, Bhajan – Govind, Damodar,…) perform, the highlight of the evening was the vocal recital of Kaushiki Chakraborty, daughter of Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty. Her perfect rendition of Raga Rageshwari and thumri (Rangi saari gulabi chunariya re..), sweet smile, and humility found her a place in the heart of each and everyone present in the audience. A successful performance requires not only a flawless rendition, but also the ability to connect with the audience and to convey the true essence of the composition. I think, KC had mastery over all these elements and hence was an instant hit with the audience. The encores and the standing ovation she received say it all about her performance.
Day 3 started with the vocal recital of Mrs. Hema Upasani (Raga Madhuvanti). The performances that followed, steadily took the musical evening to a magical height. HU’s final gazal (Ratra aisi gothali ki, chandra hi tharakapla..) rendition was especially appreciated by the audience. Rahul Deshpande, grandson of late Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande enthralled the audience by his renditions of Raga Marwa, Maru Bihag, natyageet and bhajan. Pt. Anindo Chatterjee’s tabla was a complete delight.
The weekend and bigger names on the list of performers drew larger crowds to the festival. I was unable to attend the morning session on the last day and regret missing Rakesh Chaurasia’s flute recital. :( The numbers peaked just as Shubha Mudgal took to stage. Amjad Ali Khan’s sarod recital took everyone by surprise due to the accompaniment by 2 tabla players. A lot has been debated about the raga he played. I do not understand the technical aspects of classical music. To me, music that appeals the human soul is good music. Khan saheb’s rendition of Raga Shubhalakshmi definitely possessed that soul stirring quality. The last moment announcement of Dr. Prabha Atre’s performance being cancelled came as a big disappointment to me and many others present there.
Like every year Mr. Anand Deskmukh did a good job at compering for the event.
I was also impressed with the toilet arrangements this year; much better than the portable ones of the previous years, this year we had the option to choose between the Western and the Indian one and they were pretty well maintained too! Although way off-track, I think the loos deserved a mention.
Overall, it was a treat to see the maestros perform and reside in the heavenly world of music during those days. Long live Hindustani classical music!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

SUCCESS IS GOOD FUN


Diveagar beach - Konkan, Maharashtra

Dear M,

"Success is good fun"...announced a hoarding on my way home..."Sure," I thought in my mind and smiled....Its funny I had never noticed the line or the hoaridng before..maybe it was the reflection-effect...your perspective/attitude decides the way things appear to you....the world seems like paradise to a person in love..everything seems yellow to the jaundiced eye...types.. you know..I have learnt from you that success is as much a function of hard-work, practice, excellence as of mental positivity, the belief that "I can win"...about the unyielding faith in the self and the fire that doesn't allow you to give up...I hope that I remember these lessons and apply them to other aspects of life as well....I am not too worried about forgetting..because even if I do...I know that you will be in the lines egging me on till the finish line...

Cheers to us :)With Love!

Friday, December 01, 2006

HELMET


Lord Ganesha helmet awareness poster
Received this poster in my email and thought it was worth sharing, considering the traffic sense that we display, the road conditions and last but not the least for the creativity, humor and the instant appeal that is inherent to the poster.
There was a lot of hullabaloo over the decision that made helmets compulsory for two-wheeler drivers in the state. After all the protests, debates and tomfoolery the decision remains unimplemented; wearing a helmet still continues to be an individual decision/preference.
Friends, please…
  • Drive safe. Driving rashly not only puts your life at risk but also that of the numerous others who are on the road. I know many examples who have suffered fatalities due to the rash driving of others.
  • Respect time. From my own experience I can say that I tend to drive rashly if I am running late. I think about it often. Now when I am running late and driving I tell myself, “Your super time management is causing you to drive rashly and sooner or later you are going to pay for this.” Sometimes the driver in me heeds to this sometimes not. I have learnt that most of the times human beings initiate change only after something bad happens to them. Anyhoo, I am trying!
  • Follow traffic rules.Nobody follows rules. Why should I??? There are more chances of getting hurt if I follow rules!”…yea I can hear you saying that but, surely we can turn around the situation if each one of us thinks otherwise.
  • Wear Helmet. (when on a two-wheeler ;)). That is the least that you can do to ensure your safety on the road. Stop giving lame excuses like – I hate to carry it around, ruins my hair, etc. If you can’t, go get yourself a car or take a liking to public transport. I am serious, no kidding.. :)
Reading this might help in interpreting the poster.