Thursday, March 31, 2022

Drunken Monkey Dinners

Over a casual walk, V & I gathered at drunken Monkey. Amidst the loud chaotic noise, we shared our stories. Stories that defines us. Stories that reveal us. It's interesting how same moody personalities can get along. 

Thoughts- Painting the irritation

Spent four hours on one painting and I'm still dissatisfied with it. I woke up late and wished to finish that painting. However, I arrived at workplace as I had to attend a lot of work. No mood to do anything, I'm irritated, agitated and just want to paint. What do I want to paint? I don't have an idea. I just want to paint. I want to write my thoughts. I want to paint. 

I wish to go deep in a thought trailing my thoughts. Just trail where ever my mind goes and observe where all it goes. 

Currently, I wish to get away from the place and get out of the feeling shackled emotions. What's causing it? What's causing me to think that I'm shackled and yes, to what am I shackled? Is it work? Don't I want to be honest about what I feel towards work?

Now, I don't want to work. Period. No one is forcing me to work. Let me get back to painting. 

Rang Rajasthan- A Theatre & Folk Festival

At Jawahar Kala Kendra, a week  Rajasthani theatre & folk festival was organised by Rang Mastaaney. A lot of theatrical plays, storytelling performances, musical concerts were organised. 

March 21.2022. I missed the first day of the festival and went ahead the next day. I got a chance to watch a play, "Mira" by Sahil Ahuja. I was heartened to see Yogesh performing in the play. This play was about love and loss of Mira Bai. The actors are in their whites and the storytelling goes in a very different format. There's a lot of poetry and also narration within the play. 

I got a chance to meet some Jaipur localite, Himanshu, a PhD Scholar. 

I also got a chance to watch the story reading session of Jhalkari. It's based on the real life story of dalit warrior Jhalkari Bai who became a body double and commander in chief for Rani Lakshmi Bai's women's army. There was a lot of songs and solo performances. Enjoyed it. 

March 22 & 23: For the next two days, I couldn't attend the plays as I was late for the plays. I joined Parul, Swati, Pooja & Usha for a walk at Rajivika Mela. The girls went on shopping gaga while I strolled throrugh stalls attending work calls. Vaishnavi, Padma, Supriya were also present in the Mela. At the end we walked into Indian Coffee house to meet a few more colleagues, Dilip, Imran, Jagadeesh & Narendar. Looks like half of the foundation is at Jawahar Kala Kendr. After a not-so-good Dal Bati at Rajivika Mela, we dispersed and called it a day.  Last minute Pooja & Somesh showed up to hand over the free passes for the festival. 

March 24.2022

Swati & I went ahead to watch the play Hind Swaraj. Vaishnavi joined. I couldn't sit for long time to watch the play as everything was going bad. Lights, sounds, actors' performance, stage design. I was constantly thinking on how actors would feel when the audience are not enjoying the  play. It's very instantaneous. We react as the actor forgets the dialogue. I couldn't follow the theatre watching etiquettes. Three of us walked out of the play immediately. 

Later, Swati, Jayant, Geetika & I stayed back for Piyush Mishra's performance. Chilling out on the stairs, I enjoyed watching Piyush Mishra sing his hits. For a moment, it became very boriing, as every thing seemed to be similar. He started the show late by hour and ended it early. I wondered if 500 was worthy for such performance. 

March 25.2022

Vaishnavi & I headed to watch the play, Ek Naukrani ki Diary. It's a two and hour play with a lot of flat narration and the conflicts seemed to be less interesting. This play is hosted by Gandharva theatre group- a lot of newbies and partimers. May be we're too impatient to watch a 2.5 hour play, we thought. 

March 26.2022

I was determined to check out all the plays and was heading to watch Hasya Chudamani. Vaishnavi joined in last minute. This seemed to be a famous one. It was house full play. Luckily, we got seats and began to watch the play. This play, originally was written by Mahamatya Vatrsraj in 11th Century. It was periodic but, included a lot of modernistic elements in the play. After a point, the satires on BJP were too many to notice. This play had a lot of BundelKand Hindi. Vaishnavi and I struggled to comprehend a few dialogues. As we begin to discuss, we'd miss the next dialogues and try to get back into the play. 

I jumped into Vaishnavi's gang plan. A dinner at M M Khan Hotel. This time, we went to M M Khan hotel, at outskirts. A lot of M M Khan Hotels seemed to be in the city. 

March 27. 2022

Sunday was packed with plays, storytelling performances, musical night. Watched Abhishek's play, Hum Bharat Ke Log, it's a play on portraying current standards of constitutional morality of Indians. Later Bheli Baatan, a marwari storytelling performance which I enjoyed to any extent. 

At evening, there was a play-Banswara Company. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It's a play on how a play is performed by the theatre actors.

At last, there was a musical performance by Santoshi Joshi. 

Covering  a lot of plays, there was a theatre photographs exhibition by Rajesh Kumar Soni. Enjoyed it as well. 

At the end, got a chance to meet the festival organisers Maulshree who seemed to handle a lot of  operations on the go. Discussing with her, I was told, how this festival got started and who handle it. I enjoyed walking to JKK every evening. I wish I had watched all the plays but, due to work I couldn't attend the morning plays. 

After a long week, I'm happy I got to watch a lot of plays and made a few friends and also spend good time the old friends. Thanks Jawahar Kala Kendr for the best hangout space in Jaipur and cheers Rang Mastaaney for pulling off such a huge event. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Hind Swaraj- Play

Hind Swaraj-Theatre play is  directed by Arjun Deo Charan.  Swati, Vaishnavi and I headed to JKK for the play. 10 minutes at the play, we walked out of it. We couldn't watch it further. 

It's a play on Hind Swaraj. The lights and sound were patchy. Except three actors, I couldn't find any one worth watching. The Gandhi forgets when to deliver the dialogues, the actors are clueless when to walk out of the stage as the lights guy seemed to snore in the few seconds gap he gets in the play. Sometimes, they play music, sometimes they don't. I was told, it's a good play by a big directors. Technical glitches and bad design resulted a terrible performance. Glad we walked out soon after we realized it. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Thoughts- Social media and Strangers

It's interesting on how we meet strangers and the excitement of knowing them is distracted by their  internet presence. A thorough check on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites, you feel like, you know the person. One can know where all they've travelled, their friends, their interests and a lot more. The perception of knowing a person through this internet foot print rather than the conversations they share is boring. 

I met a person, I've a no idea about the person except the person's name, mother tongue and hometown. A good place to start the conversation, right? Out of little curiosity, I google about the person and I get their social media handles and I'm already on the stories they narrate. I thought once that social media can be a good trigger to start more conversations but, it already gives me a lot of impressions on personality and I go with my opinions rather than open mind. Social media is not the culprit, I should stop the internet profile check to know people. 

Jaipur Journals- Rifles and Flies

Narasimha and I decided to walk to hotel. Crossing the dry fields, we discussed a lot on what drives us ahead. Mr.Sim was sharing his border stories. Walking in Rajasthan, I asked, "how difficult was it to walk at the border?" I asked. "A 7 kg metal plate covering the chest and back, 3 magazines of bullets and single loaded rifle and the shoes." He began listing out all the items they carry and the weight they carry. 

I'm sure they must be walking weighing 30 kgs.

 We also discussed a little about rifle handling. "When one helds a rifle, the good grip will help you avoid the swollen shoulders and bruised chins." He explained how it recoils. 

Talking of the heavy machinery and all the weapons, we walked two to three kilometres and minute flies paced into us, getting stuck in our hair, head skin and some into eyes. Sometimes, we assume us being strong but, troubled by flies shows how little we are in control of our environment. 

Walked further and watched this old man on the bags. A simple old man 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Banswara Company Play

As a part of Rang Rajasthan, We had this play titled, "Banswara Company," by a mumbai based director. Banswara is a small place in Rajasthan and how Mumbaikar would know about it, I thought. I realised that the director is based out of the small town Banswara. 

This was the last play of the theatre festival. Kamlesh, Pooja,  Anuranjan, Himanshu, Surender and a lot more were also present for the play. 

I managed to get a seat on the top rows. A lot of people gathered to watch the play. It was house full. I'm really enjoying these experiences of watching the play. 

This play is on the play actors of Banswara Company and how they conduct play and it's rehearsals and their struggles. 

The play has an experienced drunkard actor, an actor enthusiast, a blind harmonium player, a tabla player, a lot more actors who fill the roles of tailors, make up man as well. The owner of the company wants to fulfill his father's wish of working on Shakeaspeare's story. 

It's a funny play and the play turned out to be more meta as actors are acting in a play and they wants to play Othello. We watch a play within the play. We see the inside scenes as well as the performance and it's a delight to witness the actors at their best. 
The production got the  light and sounds right on the stage. Watching different play I could see a lot of variety and differences in the plays. 

I enjoyed how one story is interpreted and narrated through their own way.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Stories from Sirohi- Visitng Roopi's House

After a long time, I visited Sirohi on an official visit. A lot of memories and experiences. As I walk down the Mandwa village, I went to few student's house. This time I visited Gerki's house. Gerki is very honest and punctual at her studies. I went while they were getting ready for dinner. Spoke a bit with their parents in little marwari I know. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Mail from Mandwa- Ankita's new drawings

After 2 years, I met Ankita, a student whom I taught, to catch up on how she's doing. We spoke about how she's enjoying her new school, her friends and her hobbies. "I'm drawing. Let me show you," she ran inside home and got a file. A full file of drawings. I was heartened to see these children pursuing things on they love. At the end of the day, what we love is what matters. Keep up the good work Ankita.

Movie- Rasan Piya

Rasan Piya. The first documentary I watched on MUBI. I glanced through the synopsis and got to know that the movie is on a musician. After a lot of scrolling and checking the thumbnails, I began to watch this movie. 

This documentary is on Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, known as Baba. He hails from the family of Tansen, one of the famous poet of Akbar times.In 14th Century, Amir Khusrow has brought the Khayal tradition to the North Indian kingdoms. Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan sings in Khayal tradition and has written a lot of bandish. 

At first, Baba was put into tailoring profession by his father. Once, he was challenged by his cousin in music at Dargah. Then Abdul took up to his challenge and got into music. Once he got into, he never turned back. He wrote poetry and composed a lot of bandishes as well. He was encouraged to use a  pseud name in his poetry. Under the pseudo name, 'Rasan' he composed and penned a lot of poems. 

Before independence, he was Riyasat of Gwalior Kingdom. Post independence, the royalty got perished and through musical conferences, the events began to flourish. In 1960s a rival musician poisoned Baba with mercury. He was bedridden for five years but, he survived at the end. Baba became famous soon after he moved to Kolkata for the sake of ITC Sangeet Academy. 

Baba quotes Amir Khusrow, Kabir, Ghalib a lot. Watching him sing, teach his students, laugh with his friends, and talk to his loved ones, I wondered where does this energy come from. At the age of 107, he left the earth.

Special cheers to the director, Niharika Popli. Thanks to her efforts, we get to see a documentary on Abdul Rashid Khan. This genius deserves more documentation. 

Theatre Play- Mira by Sahil Ahuja

 Rang Rajasthan is a theatre art festival hosted at Jawahar Kala Kendr. I got a chance to watch the play, "Mira" directed by Sahil Ahuja. I was heartened to see Yogesh on the stage, a theatre fellow I met at my workplace. 

The play Mira is about the Meera Bai depicting the theme of love and pain. There are four actors wearing white dresses walking around the stepped stage. The stage and the lights were to the perfection to bring an etching impression of the play. The live music by violinist, guitarist and a percussionist enhanced the emotions of the play. 

In this play, the actors play the role of narrators as well as the characters. Theatre storytelling seemed to be the most powerful format. 

Evocative and I'm keen to read more about Meera. I was also told that Meera is a parallel figure to the poetess Akkamahadevi, a shiva devotee.

Holidays with Harry- Information is the key

"I'm not sure of how to write my draft and there's no clarity," I nagged with Harry. 

"Great. You've realized that you lack clarity. You already are one step ahead. A lot frustrate without knowing what they're lacking at."

I gained a little confidence by Harry's words, I realised I can think through this unclarified moments. "What's next?" I asked him. 

"Seek information," responded Harry, "talk to people, consider opinions, gather as much knowledge as possible on the area/project/subject around which you're working on. 

"Will that give clarity?" I was impatient to reach at clarity.

"Certainly, you'll be better informed to work further. Gaining information is one way to clear out the haze towards your what you want to work on."

"I always had a lot of questions on writing. What are the do's and dont's in writing? Can I spare myself from grammar in my first draft? How important is to finish the first draft? What techniques should I use to enhance a scene? Can I think through the storyline by bits and pieces and tweak the sequences. Am I allowed to work on linear and non-linear narratives. There were a lot of doubts and I was confused where to reach.  

I tried asking Google for every doubt I had and reflecting my patience, I was overloaded with huge load of opinions, tips, hacks. That didn't help at all. I began to listen to writers interviews and their processes. 

Listening to the podcasts of the writers, I realized that I'm free to be acutely observe everything in my life and sharpen my skill by writing down my experiences with the help of five senses. The art of working on specific area to enhance the skill. Earlier, I always assumed that I should get the style naturally rather than impose a particular style. Now, I'm free to dabble with the styles. I'm free to take a write down a lot of notes on what I read. I'm free to maintain a writer's notebook and prepare for my upcoming books. And I also learnt that writing fiction contains character building, plotting, sequencing, narrating and much more. 

The information liberated me from the fears I always had if I'm allowed to do what I'm doing. 

Seeking information indeed gave me a whole confidence to take a step ahead rather than being paralyzed in doubts with little action. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Stones and Series of Games

The school assembly is yet to begin. The empty space between two rooms is occupied by bunch of kids throwing stones in the air. I joined them and observed that a kid points out to a particular stone to be untouched. Other stones need to be handled one by one. The rules are plenty. The terms used in this game are funny. The Dog finds the cat, the cat catches the rest and sends them home.

School is a lot more than studying. A school is where we meet, ideate, think, stroll, laugh, make relationships. These children from 6th class were chewing gums in their mouth and throwing stones in the air at ease. The focus they got on these stones shows the hand and eye coordination. 

Who has the time to chew the gum? A favourite past time I enjoyed.

Why don't we buy gum anymore? We don't want to spend time chewing the gum. We got phone to chew over thoughts.

Through air columns, kids sing, kids play and make their schooling beautiful. Good to see them being themselves.  

Poetry- Reflective Poem by Anjali

This poem evoked me to reflect on all my relations. The last lines are what I strongly related to. 

"And I know you don't want to say your truth

And I know it hurts to trust

But it's better to have loved and lost, 

than never to have loved at all"

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Hunkaro Play

Before I head to Marwad, I got a chance to listen to the Marwadi stories. A good one. This is directed by Mohit Talwalkar adapted from 3 stories. 

The colored Pillar

The school walls were white as clouds. Malavika was reached out for bringing some color to the school. 'Let children do it.' She came up with an idea. Along with Swetha, she drew some patterns and also oriented Swetha for how she should go about it. 

Both sat and created spaces on white sheets by drawing some lines. 'Let's' ask students to pick three colors and color the paper entirely in whatever way, they like.' she suggested. Children were excited about this. Soon after, they got the sheets, they sat along and colored. Soon after the coloring, the pillar got covered with these colored papers. Looks quite intriguing. Good idea Malavika. Great work by the kids. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Satvik Veena Samvaad

Jawahar Kala Kendr is organising Rasrangam, a festival celebrating performing visual and literary arts.  As part of it, there was a show by Salil Bhatt and a two other artists. All the newspaper articles about his work and the legacy were pasted on the wooden plank and placed across the entrance of the hall.  

Salil Bhatt along with Abhishek and Kutle Khan was performing on stage. Contrary to the performance, the way the leading artist introduced the other artists was disappointing. The man of the hour, Salil Bhatt introduced one artist with a lot of pomp, saying he hails from Benaras, the land of traditions blah blah and didn't bother to introduce another artist who hails from a small village from Jaisalmer. Through out the show, there was more of his boasting and less of the act. 

What's the point of art when there's no humility and no respect for the fellow artists?


Saturday, March 5, 2022

art exhibition by Pooja at Jawahar Kala Kendr

Pooja is a painter based out of Jhansi. By profession, she is a zoologist and has learnt painting from her master. She has come all the way from Jhansi to Jaipur for the sake of this exhbition. politely, she stays at the entrance watching the visitors observe her art. On being asked who's the artist, "I'm the artist" she mentioned humbly without any pomp. What's the medium," I ask. "Mixed Medium," she replied. 

"You've painted a lot of animals, nature and also some sceneries," I pointed out. "I'm a zoologist," she replied. She always responded a question with a single line answer.

I really enjoyed the forests. With the play of distance, the forest paintings turned out to be the most exquisite ones in the show. I enjoyed it.

In dialogue with Shwetha

I attended an art show, Aheli, a female artists exhibition at Kalaneri art gallery. I glanced through a lot of art, a few hyper realistic painting, a few sketches, a lot of sculptures and a few abstract paintings. I  got a chance to catch up with the artist Shwetha, whose art was exhibited. 

Shwetha and her friend

Excerpt from our conversation:

Abhinay: "What's your painting process?" 

Shwetha: I do not think and paint. I paint and then think of what I could see. What I see depends on my mood, time, and a lot of factors. 

A: How do you choose particular colors when you begin to paint?

Shwetha: It depends on my mood. If I'm happy, I use bright colors, I'm angry, I use dark colors. Every color symbolises a mood for me. 

As Shwetha mentioned of colors and her interpretation, I was interested on how she arrived at the abstract painting as an artist. 

A:How did you arrive at the painting?

Shwetha: I began with figurative paintings, realistic and slowly, I enjoyed finding abstract as subject rather any realistic subjects. I took a lot of time. At first, I'm from Literary background and I did nothing in it. I came to this art gallery, did a few certification courses on painting and pursued masters in visual art and through out the process, I'm evolving as an artist. 

A: How important is to study Art as a course?

Shwetha: Everyone can be an artist but, not everyone can appreciate art. One has to have the knowledge of art to interact with art and appreciate it. I can walk around the exhibition and say everything as good and bad. I'll state what I feel. But, when I study art, one can criticize, point out, think of the processes and much more. So it's good to have the knowledge of art. As it can help us to understand or interact with art in more deep manner rather superficially.

Walking through out the gallery, we discussed and requested Shwetha for a picture with her art work. Her friend joined in for the picture as well. Thanks Shwetha for the time and the conversation. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Thought of the day- Judgement and the walls it brings

 Over the years, living in a particular life style, I began to judge on a lot of other life styles and it sucked up a lot of energy. For once, I began to stay neutral and I feel a lot better. I may have not taken any stand but, I don't need to take stand on every thing that comes into my sight. 

Books at the Port

Every time, I walk through airports, I look at the book stores to look at the books on shelves and also look for some interesting titles and covers. This time, found these interesting covers at Mumbai airport. 

Stories on Wheels- The Butcher

 Every time I ride from office to home, I ride through the long roads of IIHMR University to have my dinner at Shankar Lal Restaurant. Five feet away from the road, I see a brightly lit wooden saloon shop playing soothing old Hindi melody songs on big box sized speakers. The wooden walls are covered with yellow papers.  The shop owner sits alone in the shop under the white LED light and look at the road, sometimes locking the looks with the passengers who look at his shop. Just like how I did. 

A little bit of pedaling ahead, is this old butcher in his red turban under the blue light, waiting for his customers. On a yellow flexi, in Devanagari script, was written,"Prabhu Meat Shop." Looking closely on the wooden shop, "Jhatka Meat" was hand written in red paint. 

The Butcher in a red turban wrapped in a shawl seemed to be the Prabhu, sacrificing every murgha and Bakhra to his deity and sell the meat. 

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...