Thursday, October 27, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Happy Deepavali

This time, as there's a long week of holidays, I decided to stay back at home rather than visiting friends or travel around and celebrate Diwali in my own way. 

I always jumped to the idea of traveling but, I realised that I need to spend time for myself to get into this festive  mood in my own way. How do we celebrate festivals? Do we need gatherings to call it festivals? How do we celebrate festivals. I had a lot of these questions and I decided to ponder over and figure out by this Diwali festival. 

I got series of messages on WhatsApp. I decided to stay away from Social Media as it'd be filled with the festive posts. I'm not interested to check out how others are celebrating festival as I'm interested to celebrate the festival in my own way. What do Diwali mean to me? At certain age, I had certain notions of Diwali. Till I turned 13, Diwalis meant crackers, gifts and sweets. I always looked forward for the nights. As siblings began to move out and festivals no more felt like festivals, I wondered what are festivals for. Slowly with inclusion of environment into the festive picture, I slowly lost interest in crackers and never picked them after that. 

I do not remember how I celebrated Diwali during my college days. I hardly had any interest in festivals during those times. 

These days, this are the highlights of my festival. 

Sleep without Alarm

For once, I switched off the alarm and slept whenever I felt sleepy and woke up whenever I felt awake. Sometimes I slept 12 hours and sometimes I slept only 8 hours. The quality of the sleep didn't seem to be proportional with the quantity of the sleep but  matters a lot with the timing when I fall asleep. If I'm sleeping around 2 am and waking up at 12PM. I got 12 hours of sleep but I don't feel much active.

Reading Time

In an year, I make sure I have days where I do nothing except picking a book and reading it all day. These days were the same. As soon as I get up, I freshen up a bit and catch up with the books I picked to read. I finished Cuckold, Conversation with Friends, began Till Death Do Us Apart, The Ivory Throne & Body Keeps the Score.

I'm happy with the  pace I have regarding reading. Other than reading, I  paint a bit whenever I feel like. 

Painting Time

This time I'm trying to spend more time on one piece rather than create various pieces in short span of time. Spending more time on drawing, painting is helping me to focus more and be mindful of my practice rather than venting out emotions intensely. 

Cooking at  Home

Cooking seemed to be fun when there's so much time to spend at home. I enjoyed making atleast one meal a day at home. I cooked chicken once and someother times, poha, tomato rice and some other dishes. I'm enjoying cooking as it has a lot to do with the colors, texture and the process. I'm enjoying the aromas, texture of vegetables and  all the process that goes on with cooking. I may not enjoy this if someone asks me to do it daily. As I have a lot of time in hand, I'm enjoying these. 


Jaipur Journals- Flaneur

A talked about her philosophy studies, and more other stuff and discussed "flaneur"

Flaneur can be called as aimless stroller, walking around the city/place. I like the idea of flaneur. Diving deep into the characteristics, the flaneur is mostly a male who strolls around and be an ardent observer of the industrialised contemporary society. 

What if all writers turn into flaneu

rs. There can be more stories to write around and share around. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Web Series- Spies

Russian web series on espionage. 

Thanks Gautam for the suggestion. I enjoyed watching this russian series on world war-2 espionage. While Britian is fighting German and German began to fight Russia, how did Russia respond? Through two main protagonists, Arina & Zoya, the series is spanned through 12 episodes depicting how diplomatic, cruel, cunning, idealistic the state can be. 

The first rule in the game of espionage is to have no rules. It's a play of power and interest. As the state is need of resources, they give a chance to a robber and a espionage suspect. Two rivals begin their journey in a spy school and become succesful partners in crime. 

In the beginning, it's all about state and operations, at the end, it boils down to these two main characters, Zoya and Arina. How do they win over all the obstacles and survive till the last even after their own state pins down for betrayal. 

Gripping. Worth watching. 

Book- Conversations with Friends by Salley Rooney

Last year, I got this book as birthday present by Archana. Thanks Archana for the book. I'm glad I picked this book now just before my birthday trying to finish all the birthday gifts I received earlier. 

In this book, we've our narrator Frances, a college going student, lives with her ex-girlfriend Bobbi and does spoken word poetry performances together. They eventually meet  Melissa who is also a writer and has an actor husband, Nick. In due course, France, Bobbi finds a bond with the married couple, Melissa and Nick. Frances and Nick get together and begins an affair. What happens after the love kindles between them and how it affects the inter relations amongst four of them is the story. 

This book has set the  stage for the modern relationships and explored a bit on non-monogamy and other instituitions. The character development seemed fine but not very touching to me. Especially the part where Frances gets affected by a strange disease. It all seemed boring after she is sick and it destroys other things in life. 

The writing is good. I could imagine all the characters vividly, thanks to the crisp and show-but-not-tell writing. 

I may pick one more book of her to check out how her stories. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Story of the day- Artificial Intelligence

 In 1956, at conference in Darthmouth, a group of 100 people all over the world were working on the subject that's a buzz word in the current scenario, "Artificial Intelligence." There were handful of people who got the toughest job then - defining Artificial Intelligence. 

Back then, it was defined as "intelligence that could be demonstrated by ability to play games, especially chess."

It all started with the ability to play a game of chess and now the artificial intelligence is getting redefined thanks to machine learning. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Movie- Ponniyan Selvan-1

After COVID, this seemed to be the movie I watched in a big theatre. It's Maniratnam and  A.R.Rahman's movie, how can I miss this. 

These are the movies I watch for the experience rather than watch it objectively. I already have an assumption of the movies made by these makers, it's going to be worth it. As I imagined, I enjoyed the visuals and  listening to the songs, scores in particular environment. I wish I watched this in Imax theatre, rather than a small multiplex theatre in Jaipur. 

This movie is about Cholas from the TamilNadu region. I know very less about Cholas, forget the Pandyas and their legacy. The first half of the movie is introduction of the characters, Aditya Karikalan(Vikram), his sister, Kunduvai(Trisha), his brother Arun Mozhi(Ravi)  and his Ex- Nandini (Aishwarya) who gets married to one of the minister in his father's kingdom. 

Vallavarayan Vandidevan (Karthi) is the commander in chief, who has his own ways to flirt with any women whom he comes across, gets on to his assigned job of finding out what's happening in the other part of the kingdom. The movie unravels, as he begins his journey. 

Ash was absolutely gorgeous on screen, thanks to Maniratnam's magic with light and camera. The only memorable score in the film was the silence A.R created in the climax after thundrous anti climax score. A memorable one. 

Looking forward to catch up with the second part. Will I get on to Kalki's books to find out the Chola's story? Maybe yes. 

Series- Fishbowl Wives

Japanese webseries,titled, "Fishbowl Wives." is focused on the lives of people who live in high rise buildings. The more high they live, the more problematic, their life seemed to be. 

Takuyo and Sakura-the main couple who doesn't live through a happy marriage but, showcases as a fancy happy couple to the outside world.  At one birthday party, thrown by the fancy happy couple, a Feng Shui lady, comes in and suggests the ladies, to start caring pets like fish, to bring in such care and love in life.  

Further episodes pivot through fish aquarium and it's owner, Haruto, the person whom Sakura meets after walking out of an abusive episode, 

Through five episodes, there's a show of different wives through different lens. One interesting episode was about, a lady who forgot her husband after he cheated on her but, eventually runs into him, considering him as a stranger and develops a sexual relation. Her body finds him familiar whereas she doesn't have a single memory of him. A very interesting story on traumatic memory. 

This webseries is heightened with a lot of drama and it's music. I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Phone Maintenance in the middle of the Street

 I was walking to my home in the streets of my colony, putting my big JBL headphones on, listening to Ponniyan Selvan songs with high volume.

“Bhai, jara, ye dekho na?” he called me out. A gentle man seemed to be in his late early 40s and has some issue with the Bluetooth ear phones he got. Ye liya hu, lekin nahi jud raha hai. The Bluetooth headphones needs to be coneected to the phone. I quickly opened the Bluetooth options and searched for the devices, couldn’t find the Bluetooth ear phones. I switched on the Bluetooth earphones by pressing the  switch on Bluetooth switch. Boat bolke kuch bol raha hai, on hogaya, he signalled. After this confirmation, I searched for the headphones and got it connected. I said, it’s done.

Ek baar test karenge, I suggested as I wanted this man to have good experience with the ear phones. We opened the youtube and played some Youtube Shorts. It seemed to be working.

“Ye dekho na. bahut garam hotha  hai phone.”

I really liked the way, he stopped the random stranger on the road for help and getting his phone sorted. Ye bahut aata rehta hai. Kuch karo na. he asked.

I glanced at his phone. He got a whole long list of unopened notifications and lot of apps like SnapChat, Snapbook, Share Chat, Khata book and some weird apps which I never heard of. A lot were opened in the background. I did the basic clean up, turned off all the unnecessary notifications. and realized, I’ve some tips to share on phone maintenance. 

I realized that a lot of elderly people are struggling to maintain the phone. I’m sure the notifications are meddling with a lot of minds. I’m glad I controlled most of my notifications. Still, I feel I can’t control my phone as I want to do.

I handed over the phone to the gentle man and wished him, “Ab thoda kam hosaktha hai.” I handed him his phone, “Lelijiye” and got back to the business of listening Ponniyan Selvan Songs.

Jaipur Journals- Lok Rang

 I realised that it's 25th edition of Lok Rang. As it's Sunday, there was a lot of crowd to witness the programme. Artists were present from different states. Today there were performances by Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and many other states. 

The musical instruments from Jammu and Himachal Pradesh were very interesting as the instruments were made of a different wood that seemed very old and  strong. 

Ghungroo, the Jammu song was performed by beautiful girls in their bright red, blue, green Kashmiri dresses with head bands and dangling ear rings. 

Jhoomar from Punjab, as one audience put it, "Bhangra in slow motion" was also fun to watch as it had a very old person grooving to the rhythm of the Dol. As I keenly observed in the performance, I could spot the perfectionists as well as the newbies who are struggling to memorise the steps on stage. 

Naati, a dance from the tribe Haati was also performed. In most of the folk dances, circle formation seemed to be one of the common elements. Fire also seemed to be one of the common elements in the folk dances. 

A week of Lok Rang is done. I'm excited to witness the rest of the days. 

Colorless Journey

 I tried out Sonu's idea of dabbling with black ink. "It's very tough to visualise." I shared my experience with him as I worked with only black paint on some 10-12 pages. 

"Continue working on it. It's very tough as hardly there's be space for you to compose. It'd be either black or white, what else will you do?. That's when you'll began to explore contrast and many shades of black. Try it out."

I got motivated by his words. Sonu is very excited whenever he talks about art and artists. He suggested me a few names, Vidya Sagar Upadhyay, Renu Bariwal, Jagmohan Mathodia. A lot of art to study. 

Travel Diaries- A day with the Car Tinkerer

In Uttarakhand, I went to an automotive workshop to get my friend’s car tinkered. A little dent to work on. The workshop owner said, it involves, a painter, dent remover and some finishing touches by him, the workshop owner. I agreed to the deal and headed to the workshop at later afternoon.

He quickly removed the fuel cap and sent it to the painting shop to get the right mixture of the paint. A grey jet black paint of 100 ml is bought. A young lad in early 20s came with another workshop owner, discussed the work and returned to their workshop to get the tools to work on.

While the painter is yet to arrive, the workshop owner, Sandeep got a hammer and some plastic screw caps.  Screw caps are only useful, when we have screw driver to use them. “Arre screw driver kaha hai?” he shouts at his apprentices. I stayed there for 40 minutes and didn’t hear their name from their owner’s mouth.

Is it how they get the work done? Don’t anyone like their name to be called? Ye idhar aaja, udhar who lelo, tum mere saat aao. No names to refer. How does it feel to respond to not names but signals? I thought.

The young painter came in cycle with a white plastic cover and unpacked all his tools. His tools consists of two tubes, two aluminium sharp sheets, sand paper and some wooden block to put the  wrap the sand paper and work on.

He  quickly prepared the thick white paste and applied to the holes, made by Sandeep. Body filler, it’s called. I was still wondering, how they’re going to cover the whole dent and make it spotless. I waited to watch. As I was getting on my nerves. Sandeep looked and said, “Isliye boltha hu, gaadi chhodke  chale jaayein.” Bahut mushkil hotha hai owners ko uska repair dekhe ke.

I’m more nervous, as it’s not mine but my friend’s car. I wanted to return the car in the shape I got it.

How did the dent happen, that’s another story for another day.

We waited for half an hour for  body filler to get dried. We took the car to the other workshop to get it painted. Sandeep promised me that work would be done in the next one hour. As I didn’t had anything to do, I took my car and sat in the other workshop to see how the car would get painted.

“Painter” he’s referred. He’s amused by my accent and asked my whereabouts. The moment I told I’m from Hyderabad, he felt affined as he also spent some time in Sount. Precisely, in Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu. He feels, all the states are same and all speak similar language.

“Aap musalman ho?” he asked, trying to identify with me more. No, I’m not. I replied to him. Spending some time, he asked what do I eat and where do I lived, what I studied and the whole story behind arriving to Uttarakhand, and also especially to the Udham Singh Nagar, a plains area in Uttarakhand.

Mixing a bit of paints and trying it out on car, the painter suddenly asked, “Will I get this kind of work in Hyderabad, do you know if there’s any job opportunity for me in Hyderabad? He asked.

I was perplexed by how he assumed that I could get a job for him in Hyderabad. I do not work in automotive industry. I do not have any friends in that. Neither I told him I’m into painting nor I’m a mechanical Engineer.

The painting tools are plenty. The paint is prepared by mixing right amount of paint and oil and other chemicals and blended without any bubbles. Later, the pressure is mounted to the sprayer and sprayed on the car. I realised that if 80 % of the paint is coated on the car, then 20% of it is vanished in the air. I could imagine all the chemicals and other toxic particles flying around and settling on one’s body, chai and tandoori chicken and other places, since there was a dull hotel joint named, Kings Kitchen. Neither Kings can dine nor any normal person.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Theatre Plays- Namak

From the department of Drama, students were presenting their work. I walked into the open air theatre, to find out all the familiar faces at work. 

Caught up with Shiva sir, Mumal, Kashish, Shreya, Ashish, Ravi, Ritika, Charu and many more people. Kiran was also in the play. I couldn't recognize her at all. We walked into a small stairs where the door was made as stage. We sat on the porch, watching the the actors, Anurag and other person as drinkers during the COVID. With simple set up, they managed to create scenario. It was about two people, one from poverty and other from the rich both catch up over a drink. 

Later, we walked through the place where we could see the posters on migrant workers during COVID. The darkness brings emphasis on the light. the students used it well. There's sound in the background as well. 

Soon after our walk, we could another set up where there were three women wearing a saree, a frock & a salwar kameez. 

The dialogues narrates the situation from three different point of views. It's very dramatic and poetic. It's about mother who feels that her children are the sucker of stories. Children think that mother tell stories just to ignore the food that they get to eat. There's more of salt and less of food. With a constant humming and other  narratives, there's drama built in the play. The writing is splendid. 

It's a diffferent experience to see all the actors from the balcony. It's indeed balcony viewing. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Lok Rang

 Jawahar Kala Kendr is hosting Lok Rang, a 10 day folk festival with various folk performance. I'm fortunate to just walk in and witness the dazzling & stunning folk performances by folk artists hailing from all places of India. 

The show started with Langa Musician's performance. The host is an old man with a stubble wearing a  white shirt and dhoti. On top of that, a yellow half coat and a subtle turban. A pleasant host, encouarging the audience to cheer rather than a pretentious loudy noisy hosts.

He welcomed all the performers with a slight introduction of the folk art and the artisit. However, it'd have been nice, if the host managed to pronounce Tamil folk art form, Koyilaatam, and Thapaatam.  

I had tough time between recording and enjoying the performances. After few minutes of the show, I decided to watch the performances rather than record the performances to watch it later. 

In total, I watched ten performances. Of all, most of the folk art forms had to do with fire and rhythm. 

In Rajasthan chari's dance, women had pots on their head and in the pots was fire. There was a live band to which performers were dancing. 

Bundel Khand's Badhai was a performance with a lot of swirls and happy faces. 

Prachin Garba was splendid. In this performance, women in red and blue Ghagra, put one single brown pot in the middle and in cirlce formation, they performed Garba. They performed to a audio recording than a live musical performance. 

Assamese Bihu had a flautist, drummers, women with red bindi and round faces. A charming performance. Truly these people were enjoying the rhythm. The smiles on their faces were infectious. 

Oyilatam had a interesting story, it began when the crop is about to get harvested and had to drive a lot of birds. In the act of driving away birds, they perform with a cloth and later, women join in and also various instruments compliments the performance. Artists seemed bit lost. There was a single person who was leading and orchestrating everyone on the stage. Others were looking for the cues.

Thapaatam was the last peformance of the show. A big bass drum, along with the single face percussion instruments. Kalaimaani Raja was the leader of the troupe. He wasn't anxious or angry. With a confidence, he was gathering his team to perform. Most of them were looking for his cues. 

Holi adiwasi dance from Gujarat was full of gymanstics- two formations that stayed with me, were of Krishna riding the chariot and another of him, chilling out with a flute. 

Dhediya Dance from UttarPradesh was also a delightful one. 

I enjoyed all the performances as it had gripping rhythm. Truly a delightful day to witness all these performances in person. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Jaipur Journals- The round Dosas

 The first time I tried making Dosas is when I got a little help from Vaishnavi about how to prepare the batter. I tried for the first time and I did a decent job. Next time, in Uttarkashi, I was asked to make Dosas, as I seemed to be authentic South Indian, who could get Dosas in real shape and taste. 

Sonia & Monu encouraged me to try out. I mixed the proportions but, in revesre.  Krishna  walked in as the saviour, corrected the proportions and got the Dosas, right. The Golden brown Dosas. Thinking of the Dosas, I got reminded of Shreya who made Tomato Chutney and Dosa, when I was at her home last time. 

I immediately got the batter and tomatoes. Fried them, put them in mixi jar and made a Tomato chutney. Opening the batter, I was optimistic about Dosas turning right. After 40 days break, I reentered the kitchen to cook. It's been long time since I cooked. I tried to put the batter and spread it round. Spreaded it right but, the batter got stuck to the pan. 

First two attempts were a failure. After that, I got soft, golden brown Dosas. I had them with tomato chutney and I could think of the Dosas I ate at Shreya's home. Tasting Tomato Chutney, I could think of the Idlies, I used to eat in Vellore, in 2007. 

What a way to end the day with tummy filling Dosas. Glad I started to cook again. 

I realised that if we eat home cooked food, there's less chance of eating extra. I'll try my best to cook food rather than order food from outside. 

jaipur Journals- Theatre and act

Abhishek shared about the Grips Theatre. Theater company that's specialised in children and youth theatre set up in Berlin Germany in 1990s. There are various plays by Grips Theatre and they got rights of those plays. Rani aur Pintu is one play which belongs to Grips Theatre. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Music- Naiharwa by Kumar Gandharva

 Kabir poetry is so intriguing only by the sounds it has. And it's so pleasing when it's sung by Kumar Gandharva. Thanks Ambika for introducing Kumar Gandharva. 

Universe of Music- A R Rahman

 He's always evolving and emptying his cup. Grateful to have him and be a life long learner.