Sunday, February 26, 2023

Sunday Mornings at Pattan Cross

Whenever I'm in Gulbarga campus, I love the long walks I can take on early mornings and late evenings. As I arrived on saturday, I had a whole sunday to spend at the campus. I strolled to the near by junction, Pattan cross for the breakfast. I had uggani with mirchi and some mixture. The best combination with Uggani is mirchi bajji. 

A good way to start the sunday. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Stories on Wheels- The Artist Dates

Reading Julia Cameron, The Right to Write, I read about the artist dates. 

Train journeys seems to be my new artist dates. The act of spending few minutes, waiting at the railway station and  traveling in a train along with couple of strangers is welcoming experience to reflect on everything that happens in life. The ever lasting landscapes helps me to relinquish my creative energy. The sight of the fields, fully grown trees and the towering structures carrying cables. The act of witnessing India through train windows is enticing me enough to just criss cross India on railway tracks. 

Watching the railway tracks and the houses laid next to them reminds me of people who are striving for a better life to overcome the financial, social struggles. 

All in all, the train journeys have become my new artist dates. More on next blogs about my journeys. 

New Journal- 2023

I never had a journal which has prompts, stickers, sections to write. Veda got a journal from Factor notes and showed me when I was writing my journal. Looking at the journal, I got interested to try this kind of journal. I was too impatient to order it online and wait for a week to try it out. Instead, Veda handed me the journal and I ordered one for her. Thanks a lot Veda for giving it away. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Schooling- A visit to my 8th Class School

Today at basketball sessions, one person asked if I have studied in my hometown (Kadapa). '8th Class' I studied in this place, I replied. Looks like studying in hometown is one kinda validation for being called as local. 

I returned home and found my old school lit up and had a big banner welcoming people for it's Annual Day. I walked into the school to check out the annual day. Structure wise, nothing has changed, except renovation of few sheds into 2 storey building. The trees have grown bigger, the ground is still the same size.

I stayed a bit and saw students performing skits and dances and one of the almamater spoke on stage describing how the school has shaped the personality. 

True, that schools are the places where we build friendships without much expectations,  meet different teachers and act according to their personalities- if teacher is lenient, one can afford to be naughty and skip homeworks at times but, if teacher is notorious for his punishments, very few students dare to meddle with those teachers. 

Also, schools are less about what's taught in classes and what happens outside the classrooms. The lunches, gang huddles, assemblies, stage performances, sports, debates. A school can be called a school, only if it has a ground to play. If a school doesn't have a play ground, I pity the kids who attend those kind of  schools. 

I enjoyed strolling around the school I attended 15 years ago. I looked at the path, I often used to reach to my class, rather than the usual stairs, to escape the uniform check after the assembly time. 

I relooked at the notice board that still looks the same, excep the glass added to it. The path way to computer labs, the corridors where we could run without a worry. 

In my 8th class, I've directed a play and got all my friends, classmates to perform in it. Pio and there were few other classmates who were in it. Back then, Sister Anitha was the driving force and a huge support system to my studies as well as co-curricular activities. 

I could think of my classmates, Yamini, Sudeshna, Kareem, Rony, Srikanth, Amulya, Ibrahim, Zoya, Ayesha, Vennela, Sushmitha Priya, Ajay, Madhuri, Shireen,Gopal, Adil and many more. Ayesha was my only competitor in studies. Many of them were my good friends. I was friendly with everyone. Back then I was also the class monitor. I was the one who'd always go around and keep talking. Reflecting now, I could say that I was diligent in my work and always followed whatever Sister Anitha instructs. She is one of the sweetest English teachers I had. The last time I know of her, she got relocated to  countrylands of Africa and is continuing her service there. 

Happy to visit the school after a long time. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Movie- Love Story

We are oppressed in many ways. Oppressed by society, oppresed by powerful, oppressed by gender, class, caste, race, region, religion. Looks like I'm attracting alot of books, topics, cinema on oppression and oppresors. 

A  Hindu privilege girl and a christian choreographer from Armur reaches Hyderabad to pursue for a better life. Over the time, they fall in love and come against the caste divide and wins. Loved the craft of Shekhar Kammula. He tackled the tough, sesntivite subjects with ease.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Painting Sessions with Dad

 My parents always asked, 'why' when I said, I want to write, I want to paint. I never bothered to answer them, instead, I continued doing what I love to do. 

I got some art supplies to home and began to paint whenever, I get a chance. On  one evening, my father watching me paint over a black canvas, he was expecting me to do some nature scene. I was busy painting lines. Can I paint, he asked standing infront of me. I welcomed him and put all the brushes and paints next to him. 

He struggled to sit down with me. It's tough to bite the truth that parents are getting old. I noticed him slowly settling down and asked for some support to hold the canvas straight. 

First, he asked brown, then blue, then yellow and followed a series of colors splattering on canvas. My mom coming once in a while and trying to recognize what my Dad painted. Is this water?  is this tree? Is this grass, she asked out of curiosity. I persuaded her to paint but, she reminded me of kitchen work she gotta do. 

I wonder, when we could be free of chores and have a family time in which we can paint, read or laugh together. After an hour, we got up with smiles on our faces. My father went on showing his master piece to the neighbours who were walking by. 

I continued with my abstract art. My father and mother, always disappointed in the uncertainity, and vagueness I work with. I was clear of what I was painting. I titled it, Anatomy of night. How does a night look in a person's mind? How does night described in frames? I went on  with my soliloquy on dissecting night through stories, unsaid words, dreams, sighs, fears and what not. 

Stories on Wheels- Sleeping faces

The Early morning scenes. It's interesting to see the sleeping faces. At the end of the day, there's no conscious efforts to show up at the world. We are as we are. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Hyderabad Literary Fest Scenes

A lot of friends have come up with their books. Delighted to witness these moments. 

Kalpana came up with a book on her work on stepwells, a very helpful one, if one would like to work on stepwells. Anthony Vipin and Vidushi wrote a book titled, Around the world in magnets. 

Jerry Pinto stood at the book stall, trying to  chat with the readers. "Nice shirt" he complemented and asked for the details, we began to chat and talked a bit about writing and how to stick to writing. 

I picked Em and the Big Hoom and Murder in Mahim. Em and the Big Hoom has  an exquisite purple book cover with purple color even on the paper edges. Loved the copy. Pinto signed it for me and advised to write, every day, every day, he emphasized. Thanks Pinto for the book and the suggestion. 


Books- Em and the Big Hoom

I picked Em and the Big Hoom and Murder in Mahim. Em and the Big Hoom has  an exquisite purple book cover with purple color even on the paper edges. Loved the copy. Pinto signed it for me and advised to write, every day, every day, he emphasized. Thanks Pinto for the book and the advise.

As I began to read Em and the Big Hoom, I could imagine Jerry narrating the whole text, the  way he silences the swear words, the way he speaks gibberish and with full of energy and rigor. 

The book is about a family, couple, humans who live with each other, care for each other, in their own ways. Story stitched with bombay romance, letters, a few secrets, unresolved mysteries, comforting lies & India's times. This is a story that revealed me a lot about how we, humans, can have, very different notions on mental health, health, families, money, fears, writing, teaching, classes, Bombay, Goa and the lives in it. 

At first, I couldn't comprehend much on the writing style but, as I kept reading, I got hooked to it. The characters Em & the Big Hoom narrated their story a lot without telling much through their names. What's in a name, I sighed reading the letters of Em and the descriptions of the Big Hoom on their romance. 

This book deserves a  read by each and every one who can read.  A fantastic read. At the end, this book has left me with a feeling of being incomplete in life and yet grateful for the way it is. Will return to this for sure and reflect more on this. Thank Jerry Pinto for the book. 

Book- A Comma in a Sentence

I read this book, soon after Gita Ramaswamy's book, Lands,Guns,Caste & Woman. Soon after reading about the oppression, I read about the socially privileged family, who talks of modesty and simplicity. I tried my best to read this book objectively.  Gopalakrishnan refers to Roots and other books, talking about stories of generations. Roots touched different aspects of humanity, oppression, power, race, and a lot of other perspectives which we get to read.I was curious on how this story would be told. 

A comma in a sentence claims that it's a story of generation that depicts the transformation of Indian society. However, it lacks the honesty, deep reflection in acknowledging the privilege, one has got socially, economically as per the Indian society and also the nuances of his family.  Author talks of his childhood, his father story and rest of the generations is just a couple of pages. 

I couldn't get to know much of his great great grand father's time and their perceptions of British, the way the times affected the common man. I was surprised the way the periyar movement is described. He mentioned that tamilian Brahmins were the minority in Tamil Nadu and were threatened by the majority and lack of opportunities, they migrated to Calcutta & Bombay. I highly suspect of this narration. 

Authors shares his childhood in Calcutta, a few stories on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose & other friends' stories. 

At the end Author touches upon how caste or division in societies work. In the past, it's based on place, work, then, it grew to offices and now, colleges. So and so from so and so office are superior to people working in other sectors. Students studying from Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford are the new castes, he opines. 

I wonder what social capital has to do with this kind of progress in the society. 

Author shares his generations' story from the life he knows - how a Tamilian Brahmin family hailing from the village Villakudi grows and become a big shot in the society. I enjoyed reading his experiences from corporate days, especially that has Ratan Tata in it. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Hyderabad Literary Fest-Day1

I headed to Hyderabad when Harry told me that he has an event at Hyderabad Literary Fest which is going to be held on January 27-29. I quickly looked through the schedule. Salil Chaturvedi's photo exhibition, Harry's talk and few other workshops seemed worth attending. I booked my tickets and headed to Hyderabad to spend the weekend. 

I took a metro and waited at Lakdi-ka-pool for the vehicle arranged by HLF. I couldn't see it anywhere. Hence, I traveled on my own. As I entered, my name and mobile number was asked. A few papers were handed out and said, I was registered. Quickly skimming through the schedule, I was deciding, how to plan my day. I could catch up with  Harry, while he was with his friends, Amar and others. When I was hanging out with him, a person came to meet Harry, who mentioned that he worked on writing subtitles for major telugu films. Till then, I thought that subtitles were automation kinda job. After hearing him only, I realised that it's indeed  more of a translation work by writers. Not everything can be automated. 
Walked along with Harry at the fest. Harry went to meet Gita Ramaswamy. I accompanied him. Harry introduced himself to Gita Ramaswamy in a very soft spoken tone. It's very nice to see two authors catching up without any air at all. After the small conversation, Harry left to catch up with the speakers he was about to moderate, I went ahead to get few books signed and catch up with P.Sainath, if possible. I got a chance to catch up with an illustrator, Priyanka, who illustrates for PARI. She gave an interesting perspective on medium. When I was bit judgemental on digital mediums, she mentioned how she perceive medium in a context. She described how she worked on some fun projects like adding up some lock & key to start the video and pause it. It was nice to catch up with her. 

Strolling around the fest, I walked into a sound installation by artist Nithin Shamshuddin. We were asked to clean our ears with cotton and water, blindfold our eyes and enter the cave. I walked into the cave which was lit in red color. I covered my eyes with blind fold and concentrated on the sounds. There were different kind of Azaans from different directions. There's chaos yet a harmony in the noise. A 17 minute sound installation, I stayed through it and at the end, Nithin walked in, asking what are our first thoughts and feelings.  The first question I had in my mind was, why this sound and color?
The same question was asked by another audience. Nithin shared the context: how he lived in Sharjah and azaan was part of his life. When he returned to India, he missed it very much. When he visited Kashmir, he felt nostalgic hearing  the azaan. From then he began to work on this project. Also, he wanted people to listen more  as we're more stimulated through visuals than any other sensorial perceptions. He also referred to the current religious tensions and intolerances, we have in our country. We walked out as another set of audiences were ready to experience this. I enjoyed this new experience without much thoughts. 

Later, I met Karan,Vipin, Kalpana at the fest. Through them, I met Priyatham, Vidushi. Vipin and Vidushi authored book titled, Around the world in Magnets, a compilation of travel stories, a little history and facts about the place and cute picture of the magnet. Was happy to see Vipin, Karan and others working on this project. Along with them, attended session hosted by Kalpana. Kalapana has been working on Rain Water Project. Glad to see that she came up with book, recording the whole process on renovating Bansilalpet Step Well.

I was happy to catch up with Kalpana again. Rajesh was gracious enough to click picture for us. She also signed the book for me. Thanks Kalpana.

Meanwhile Shyam and Jaya joined me at the fest. I sent them to sound installation and went ahead to make a instagram reel for Vipin's book. 
Later, three of us roamed around the fest, trying to  attend some session. At last, we attended Harry's session together. Harry was moderating session with authors, Ayush Puthran and Madhavi. 

Before the session, I got a chance to catch up Anjali, Shobha mam & Madhavi also. Madhavi and I share common place-Sathupally. I studied my UKG in Krushi Public School. Madhavi immediately recognized and was happy to see the connection. 

Later, Shyam, Jaya and I headed to Mohini for late lunch and joined the fest to attend the music concert by Varijashree. At the end, we headed to Nilofer for some chai and maska bun. Gifted Shyam, Unveiling zajbaa and Jaya, 50 Not out.  Day well spent.

Movie- Chhatriwaali

Rakul Preet Singh is a chemistry graduate and strives to earn for the family. She get an offer as quality control head at Condoms factory. At first, she rejects, later,she takes up the job, without letting anyone know that she works at such place. 

She gets married into an orthodox family where condoms, sex is a taboo. How she tries to bring a change in the town, she lives is the rest of the movie. Good one. 

Movie- Taxiwala

A young lad is desperate to find a living in a metro city. Atlast, he buys a vintage car to drive it as a taxi. He finds job fun and satisfying until the car begins to act on it's own. Vijay's quest to find the reason and to solve the mystery is the story. 

Watching Taxiwala reminded me of the thought experiment- Sexy lamp test. How female character is relevant in the plot and the story. If we can replace female character with a sexy lamp, will the story get affected?

I think that Taxiwala movie would fail the Sexy Lamp test. Priya Jawalkar could be easily replaced with a sexy lamp and still the story would not get affected. 

A visit to Dentist

 These days, the visits to hospitals is increasing. This time, I paid a visit to Dentist. I was offered a reclining chair which has a basin, at side to spit excess saliva and a glass of water to gargle.  The dentist got a small height adjustable desk attached to it. A tooth brush sized camera with a  blue light and a small LCD screen to view what's inside the mouth was also attached. The whole set up seemed to be what's stethescope to a general physician. 

A general check up and looking my teeth through the screen, I was shown that the teeth needs to be drilled. He got a tiny drill piece set with 10 bits. I was in awe of it's size and variety. I wondered which mechanical engineer designed these bits for dentistry. 

Later, with some anasthesia, my tooth was drilled and then some ceramic was filled. The last drilling was bit painful and I was dreading how a small mistake can screw up teeth which may affect my eyes, ear and then brain. I decided that, I'd never ever take Bachelor of Dental surgery degree for granted. 

A few suggestions were given and I was out of  the hospital, feeling good about my teeth and my health. 

Universe of Music- A R Rahman

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