Thursday, November 24, 2022

Book- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah begins by sharing two pieces of Law.  It's a crime when a white man sleeps with black woman and black man sleeps with white woman-vice versa. A Xhosa woman meets Noah's father who is from Swiss. Voila, Noah born out of crime. 

Through the history of South Africa, tribes and religion, we get to read the story of Trevor Noah that talks of racism, religion, survival, pre and post apartheid days of South Africa.

Trevor lived through the times when Nelson Mandela brought democracy and freedom to a lot of his people in South Africa. It's interesting how there are whites, Afrikaans, blacks, Xhosa, Zulus and many more tribes. No wonder, South Africa had to come up with 11 official languages post apartheid. 

Apartheid can be one interesting subject to study how oppressors rule. The rules are for those who go against the oppressors. For oppressors, there are no rules or law, atleast in action. Japanese are considered whites where as Chinese as colored. Trevor wonders how South African policeman can differentiate both by their faces and check if they are following the rules. 

Nombuyiselo Noah,  mother of Trevor Noah is a brave woman who survived hardships, lived through the extreme poverty and has seen it all. Her story gives us a glimpse of what poverty can taste like. You mix water and mud to eat the milky clay just to stay out of hunger. She survived the hardships and tried to live in this oppressing system. She decided to have baby with white man, even if it was forbidden. She wanted someone whom she can love unconditionally and live for. She wanted  a baby! Thus, she asked out a swiss white man, whom she trusted to help her in this whole process. She had Trevor who is neither black nor white, a colored child. Thus begins Trevor's story. 

Trevor is clueless about his identity, all throughout his life. He is not too white to hang out with whites. Neither he is too black to be called blacks. He's colored, a rarity, who has tough time being accepted wherever he goes. 

Describing the struggle to find his group, he talks of his schooling, his skill of speaking many language opened many gates for him. He got a lot of places to go but, not a place to call his own!.

"I became chameleon. My color didn't change but, I could change your perception of my color. If you spoke to me in Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu. If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana. Maybe, I didn't look like you, but If I spoke like you, I was you."

He talked about his friends, Teddy, partner in crime and his stint as tuck shop guy. He takes us to the places he lived and survived as a teen. It's interesting how he saw hustling and how it took over good time of his life. 

During his childhood, he mostly spent his time at home. He's both mischevious and hungry. He burnt a house down by a magnifying glass and match sticks. He ended up in Jail for stealing a car. There's other side of him who struggles to have his way with girls. He talked about girls and his stints at love in his life. Enjoyed reading the funny story of how language disrupted his prom dance. 

I could imagine the hood he lived through his 20s and how the life went. It's quite a page turner and it's well written. Thanks Jishan for gifting me this. Enjoyed it totally!

Jaipur Journals- How I ended up in Jaipur Part2

 After moving to Rajasthan. I seriously thought to settle in the small town of Sirohi. A sense of silence and slow life inspired me to just not move anywhere from the town. Romantic it seemed but, the stay for a year was quite unforgettable with all the lows and highs. 

As COVID hit the world, I continued to stay in Sirohi and never pondered on moving out of this town. It was this pace of the life that called me to stay some more time and spend the day watching the sun rise through the hills, take a stroll in the ground that's deserted by 7 PM, chat with the Sandeep who sells Dabeli on a stall, Call Altaf by night, to keep the chicken ready and remind him time and again to drop two leg pieces in the cover. 

As I continued to spend time in the small town, I discovered that I miss giving my time to family, friends and other people in my life. For a year, there's no romance in the life, neither in small town. I was realising what I was leaving for what I'm living for. I continued to live in the small town. It all began when Dyu decided to leave. Until he shared that he'd be leaving, I didn't realize that my stay was cozy, comfortable only because of him. His presence made a lot of difference in the life.I was still a kid and was acting impulsive and never cared to buy groceries, vegetables, house cleaning or anything that's house chore. He did it all. I'm grateful  to his support and never complained for once on my behaviour. If I was him, I'd be cribbing a lot. He never ever pointed out or said a word to do  my work in the house. 

After Dyu left in April. I was intuitive that I may also have to leave Sirohi. I left Sirohi for Jaipur in June. 

On the last day of my stay at Sirohi, Shankar and Azhar bid me a farewell.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Jaipur Book Club

Diwakar invited me to join the Jaipur Book Club, in which we may talk about the books we've read. I met 7 people who gathered in a room where there were so many books in the Step Out cafe earlier. 

As I joined, they were talking of miracles and it went on for hours talking about miracles and  trying to make a point by generalized statements. After an hour, we got a chance to discuss on what books we're currently reading. Here are few suggestions that I got from this club

Farenheit 451 by Bradbury

Miniskirt to Hijan by Jacqueline Saper

Born to Run 

David Sedaris Happy-go-lucky

Thanks Diwakar for inviting me to this book club. Glad to know and be part of this meet up. 

Jaipur Journals- Table Top Games

I was late by an hour, only to find Puneet with one more person, Diwakar, who showed up for the board games. Together, we played sequence, a game where we are meant to  make sequences. The one who does the first sequence wins the game. 

Later, Diwakar and I played it and I lost the game. Maitrey joined us and we played a board game, carcassonne, named after a walled city in France. This game spanned around 40-50 minutes and it was not so boring, not so interesting either. 

At last, we played The Mind game, the first game I ever played at Table Top. I enjoyed working with the numbers. As soon as we closed the game, we bid bye and left. Thanks Puneet, for hosting this at this beautiful space, Maah. 

Jaipur Journals- Move Your City by Maah Space

 Shreeya & Kamaakshi were present at Patrika Gate, writing down numbers on papers. I was happy to see them and was excited for the  event we were going to participate. 

Maah Space began to  organise this Move your City, to experience the space and claim the public spaces in a new way rather than visitng them and memorising the places visually. 

Claiming spaces seemed to be an interesting idea. Slowly people walked in and joined. As we formed a circle, a audio file was shared and asked to begin the journey at once.

We put our headphones on, turned on the audio and on to our own journey at this space. Imagine 15 people with their head phones on listening to one voice that's narrating the story about the night. Claiming the night. 

How does the night evoke you? What does it mean? Look  at  the stars, look at the clouds and wind  that's driving all the vehicles. 

Slowly, we began to walk, dance, move to the music of the audio  and the stories that flowed through the nigght. As the darkness descends, we were asked to  meet a partner. I looked across and met this person with poised face on her, keeping hands in our pockets. We shook our hands. We were told to either choose and ask one person to  close their eyes and the other should guide the place physically. I held her hand and invited her for a  walk. As she closed eyes, she was completely dependent on me and I had to take her for a walk without causing any hurt. We went through stairs, places, and shifted hands letting her touch the walls and feel the texture. 

As it was my turn, I closed my eyes and walked as I  was guided. Though I was letting myself to trust, my body was bit reluctant at first. As I took some time to let it through my body, I had a cathartic feeling to trust an individual and walk with the help. 

How beautiful a society would turn out with high trust amongst everyone. This is one attempt creating a high-trust society, I thought.

Later we had to choose one of the arches to enter and pick  a message for us.  I got this message on the night. The text was apt capturing the night with t he moon. 

The moon unfurled and it reminded me of the times I saw a moon through the leafless trees. 

We gathered in a cirlce and read out our messages. All through out the event, Kamaakshi participated with us. Shreeya took  a corner and observed us folding her hands with a smile just to witness. Why do  we do  this?  

The happiness of seeing people creating art, being themselves. That's something that drives us. 

At the end, we all gathered to share our thoughts and experiences. One gentlman was in a hurry and hustled others to introduce themselves and bid bye. 

Sad that we couldn't bring a closure to the beautiful experience we got. As a part of  introductions, I got to know that the stranger whom I met  is Tanvi. 

Thanks Shreeya, Kamaakshi for this experience. 

I'm glad, I met Saad, Mohit, Tanvi, Kamaakshi and others. 

Thanks again for this beautiful intitiative. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Jaipur Journals- The Birthday Haul

As 30th anniversary, Crossword has come up with 30% off on the purchase of books worth 2999 and above. I looked through the books that I always wanted to buy as well as books I found interesting on their book shelves. 

So far, this purchase is a swift purchase I have ever done in my life. I had to rush home to attend the guests. If not I'm sure, I'd be  taking more time and sort out the list further. 

In this haul, I got these books. 

1) South vs North by Nilakantan RS
2) Byculla to Bangkok by Hussain Zaidi
3) How to Listen
4)Rumour of Springs by Farah Bashir
5)The Seven Moons of Maali
6)How to Stay Smart in the Smart World
7)Life 3.0 
8)The Silent Coupe by Josy Joseph
9)Stories of the True by 

Jaipur Journals- How I ended up in Jaipur-Part1

To discuss about my Jaipur journey, I’ve to discuss how I came to Rajasthan. Why did you come to Rajasthan, is the first question, everyone ask?

Why not? Is my response. Everyone of my age group were behind the position, money and some entertainment. I’m no different. I enjoy the position, money and a lot of entertainment. Earning 20K in single shot by publishing a novel made me believe that money can’t bring everything.

I had more fun in publishing rather than selling. Being in college, in a single shot, I had 20,000 cheque who bought a lot of books in bulk. I never prioritized money from then. I love money. I’ll use it for what I want to do rather than earning money for no reasons, I decided. 

In my first job, I was taught Mainframe coding and I approached HR, to give me a role where I could work at my best. I was given Project Management & Operations role where I had the responsibility of setting up the account and help my delivery partner. I took baby steps in that process and learnt the work. The designation sounded fancy. I loved the work. People gave me respect as they hear my designation without knowing what I actually do. Manager of something. Management of something is always a fancy. Working for two years with the way I want to work, I thought, I can do this MBA or management at any point of time because, that’s the obvious thing in life. Leaving the money and career, I wanted entertainment. Everyday, evening I used to attend events related to art in the city. My flexible work hours helped me to attend the events whereever or whenever. 

I want to spend time learning something about this world which runs on different rules, I began to ponder. It’s not completely run by money, it’s not completely run by this social standings of the society. There’s something beyond it. Or may be there’s a mix of everything, I want to learn and understand. I want to travel and learn. I decided. That’s when I got to know about Azim Premji Foundation.

I applied and I got through and thus my journey to Rajasthan began. 

Movie Suggestions by Gautam

Even though, I'm watching a few movies in this year, I'm trying to pick some unusual cinema suggestions by movie buffs. This time, Gautam has suggested me some russian movies. I've watched SPIES series, suggested by him and I had great time watching it. Here's the next suggestion list. 

  • The Irony of Fate
  • The Tenth Man
  • Stalingrad-When the War Began

Theatre Plays- Mann se Manch Tak by Natak Toli

UNICEF has collaborated with Rajasthan State Comission for the protection of Child Right, and has planned out an initiative to introduce theatre to the children living in villages to express themselves well. They have roped in five theatre practitoners and ran a 5-month-programme introducing theatre and play making to these children, hailing from different villages. 

After  5 months of the whole programme, the children arrived at Jaipur to perform infront of everyone on the  occasion of Children's Day. A good initiative by the government as well as UNICEF. Mumal, along with her friends, Himanshu, Varthika, Chelcy and others played a pivotal role, introducing children to theatre. It was important to get connected with them and help them express rather than attain perfection, shared Mumal while describing her experience of this whole process. 

From our childhood, we all grew up seeking perfection assuming that drive us to attain excellence. In that whole perfection seeking attempts, many of us have given up doing what we may have enjoyed to the fullest. 

As Mumal mentioned of  how they tried not to seek perfection, they wanted to get connected with children and know them better to bring in their stories on the stage, just like how their tag line states, Mann se Manch Tak. 

Children, majorly from Falodi, Ajmer have formed into five groups and made five plays. City Girl, Mera Sapna, Papiyo-Sheher ki Yatra and two other plays. Most of the plays are themed under women empowerement and girl child education. 
As a child, getting onto the stage itself was a big deal.These kids, for the first time, got into theatre and performed infront of large audience is a big feat. Great efforts by the team and all who were involved in this. 

At the beginning, the chief guests launched  a handbook that has all detail of this programme's journey and  pedagogical practices and many visuals depicting the journey of this programme. Would love to checck it out. A good show.

Stories in Frames - Pages and Screens

Abhishek walked in as I was at work. He seemed to find the golden point in the visual. Nice click Abhishek. Good to see myself in the well framed visual. 

Theatre Plays- Qisse Soojh-Boojh Ke

On the occasion of Children's Day, Jawahar Kala Kendr has hosted a play at Rangayan by National Shool of Drama,Delhi, a TIE company-Sanskar Rang Toli.  I just learned that Sanskar Rang Toli is a Hindi version of Theatre in Education. I wish they came up with simpler words. 

Back to the play, this play has some 15 odd actors wearing different hats at different times to narrate the storie of Birbal, Tenali Raman, and many other personalities who displayed their wits and won the praises of Kings and their Lords. 

It was fun to solve the math riddles in between the play, engaging the audience.

With little live performance of songs by actors, there's so many tracks that were blaring through the speakers, all through out the play. The tracks weren't equalised well as well. A few were coming out through left, a few from right in incoherent way. There wasn't sync between the actors either at times,hence the visuals they're trying to form weren't impactful. There's high expectations from Sanskar Rang Toli! Wish they up their game!

Monday, November 14, 2022

Thoughts- Asking and what it takes!

 Many call me opportunist. Many call me free loader. May be I'm all that as well. Hitchhiking on roads for days has taught me a lot about asking which I could never learn in my school or anywhere during my childhood. 

The act of asking puts me out in a place where I have to be open to all judgements, open to all the  responses. A few may acknowledge my requests, a few may ignore them, a few may mock me, a few may laugh at me, a few may ridicule me, a few may have no  idea what I'm upto. 

I'm striving to be equanimous with the all kinds of responses I receive. More to delve and introspect as I go through this whole asking journey. 

Theatre Plays- Chor

Chor is adapated play of Virtuous Burglar by Dario. Vijay, Kalpana & Kamlesh worked on this Play. Somesh, Pooja, Anurag and few others acted in this play. 

Vijay and Kalpana walked in asking for my views about the play. It's been weeks since I watched this play. I recollected what stayed with me. In that way,  I could realise what affected me the most and what didn't give me any impression. The stage and the silhouettes were quite impressive. Apart from it, the casting of the actors could've been better as it took time for me to believe the chemistry of the characters. Pooja, Anurag were quite natural. The lighting of the space was too much to create the ambience of the night. If only, this play is performed at any prosenium theatre, the effect would be quite different. 

Birthday Experiment- Remind the loved ones about the birthday-2022

Last year, I reminded most of my friends' about my birthday and shared a birthday wish list that had the list of books I wanted.  Many friends had more questions on how does this process work. What if many buy the same book? What if I get multiple copies at the end.  Interacting with friends, I realised I'll have more questions gifted than books. Glad it turned out to be wrong. I got most of the books I asked. 

Arrives November and here I am with a new wish list, reminding the loved ones about my birthday and the gifts they can send me. 

Let's see how 2022 birthday is going to roll out!

Here's the wish list. 

5) Half a Rupee Stories  by Gulzar, Sunjoy Shekhar

8)  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Paperback)

Shipping Address:

Azim Premji Foundation
413-415, Near Airport Terminal, 2nd St, 
Siddharth Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302017

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Painting Lessons with Malavika

 I never learnt painting. Neither I picked any Youtube channel or any digital source to learn painting. I bought brushes, paint and am off to create pieces. Malavika visited home and in the act of showing her my work, I realised I painted  alot of pieces. This is complete. This is interesting, she'd quickly appreciate and put the pieces aside. 

She looks at few pieces and told me to work on it. She didn't tell me what to do but, she suggested me to spend time. Just like how I paint, I realised, I don't need to go technical and do some cover-up work. I sit with paintings and I may get to know what to do with them. 

Also she looked at few colors and series of paintings and quickly pointed out the time I spent on the paintings. I could closely observe my paintings and see how they're communicating to me, in one sense. 

Geetika was also accompanying us. She asked, what do you see in this painting?  For that question, Malavika replied, "I can't put it in words. If there was something that could've been expressed in words, Abhinay could've done it already. Instead, I can respond sensorially, rather than articulate it. For articulation purpose, if I say, it'll be only for articulation purpose and that could be nonsense."

There's no need to look for meanings in specific, I realised. 

I never clean my brushes post my paintings. For that, I've accumulated a lot of dry paint brushes. I need to clean them all. These days, I was wondering that I have no canvases to paint. Looking at my work, I realised that I have enough canvases to work on.

Malavika's suggestions and feedback was quite rejuvenating to get back on the canvas and spend time in painting. 

Thanks Malavika & Geetika for coming. Had a great time. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

Thoughts- The evolving relations

 I met a couple who walked into an event. Everyone were introducing in our own ways. There was a couple who walked in and said, I'm married, but not to him. He's my friend. The other person also said the same, I'm married but, not her. We met recently. Our partners are not interested in these kinda events so we came together. The host was curious about marriage. Both are newly married. It's been less than 18 months since their marriage. It's interesting how we're not confining to single person for all our expectations. Am I hitting towards Polyamory? No. It's important to have friends beyond our romantic relations. There's a lot of mobility in our lives. That's bringing a lot of different relations in our lives. 

It's interesting to see how we'd manage our romantic, emotional relationships in place shifting and switching the values we observed in our elders. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Jaipur Journals- Indie Gig by Fiddle Craft

Gaurav Kadoo, local to Pune has come to Jaipur to perform at Maah Space. Awaaz Studio has organised this intimate Gig. I met Ankush, who heads Awaaz, and introduced me to his teammate, Palaasha. Had an interesting conversation with her on how she is exploring the space of art and communities.  She's working on creating a community that share ideas & passions. A lovely vision to work on. Good work Palaasha.  

The show was opened by Manas Teja, who shared a bit about  his songs and played 3-4 songs. Then arrived Gaurav bringing out a whole new energy. I loved the way he interacted with us and made part of the performance. 

In one sense, he  was the performer but, in retrospective, I realised that we were also performing with him, adding beats and vibing along with him. The listeners make the talk complete. The audience make the performance complete.

Gaurav shared story behind each and every song. How he wrote Zindagi, Kyu Jaana hai, secular song, awaaz Yaad Rakhna, Sohbat and a lot more. 

Gaurav also shared the story of how his friend Golu, gifted him guitar and made a difference in his life and how he's continuing his life as a musician. 

He wrote more than 200 songs and is an active indpendent musician. He also shared that he's a music producer for Family Man Season-2. That brought him a lot of cheer in the house, for which, he rightly pointed out that, kya hai bhai, bada movie certification jaroori hai kya, to respect a musician. If you like any music and the musician, you like the music and her/him. You don't need other validations to respect, he rightly shared the message. 

He wrote one song, Bakri ki Amma, which became viral for many reasons. He claim it as one of the poor quality songs, he put it out on internet. He said, I'm only connected to places where I have people who belong to me in various ways, living there. Other places, I have no business with it. I wonder, how we look at places and spaces. 

He's from Bhopal but became local to Pune and performed at many places. That kept me thinking about places and spaces. How do we own spaces and places that makes us and moulds us.

Overall, I felt, i traveled a bit in the Journey of Fiddle craft through Gaurav's songs and stories. Thanks Gaurav for visiting Jaipur and performing for us. 

Awaaz, keep it up for hosting such a nice gig. Maah Space is the right place for the events that rejuvenates and bring out life in us. Good Show everyone. 

Jaipur Journals- Table Top Board Games' Host

Over a indie Gig, I met Puneet, who is a psychotherapist and hosts meet ups bringing people together to play board games. I signed up for the event and was pretty late to the venue. It was hosted in Central Park. Sprawling over the lush grass, Puneet found a nice gazebo with intriguing archs and patterns. Puneet was sitting with one more person, who walked all over the central searching for the venue. 

As no one showed up, Puneet and I caught up over conversation and shared our stories. Puneet did his masters in Psychology in Pune, worked their for good time and relocated to his home, Jaipur.  He got introduced to board games in Pune and he wanted to introduce it in Jaipur. He met a person who had inclination towards board games and got ready to host him. Over a year, the board games meet up were hosted in that cafe and as it's being renovated, Puneet is experimenting with the places, times and other factors that affects bringing people together for the meet up. 

When I host in cafe, people show up but, public venue like Central Park, people don't show up as they feel it's too hot to catch up in the park. I see some comfort creep there!

Puneet and i discussed a bit about what it is to be an employee and  what it is to maintain work-life balance. Procrastination is a skill. Many a times, we tend to finish off things as quickly as possible stressing ourselves terribly. If we are able to procrastinate and execute it as decided, we may bring better productivity in our life, thinks Puneet. It's interesting to see Procrastination in new light.

Discussing with Puneet, I could reflect on how we're conditioned to respond immediately and seek responses immediately. It's time we set boundaries for ourselves on how we respond to people, giving time to ourselves rather than trying to be there for everyone at everytime. 

Memories- Colourless

It's been a year to the colourless journey. On July 2nd, I had my first solo exhibition in Jaipur at Maah Space. Reflecting on the journ...