Shades of Passion

Here's an insight into the mind of a person who's in love with Music, Art and Science.......:)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This wave of strange things!!!!

I couldn't help but write this blog which is bound to displease a lot of people, probably. But I had no choice! With SO MUCH happening around me, it's hard to keep shut. I have been voicing my opinions off and on but this time, I am not really writing about an event in particular! It's about the whole scenario of this day and age, in general......

What exactly is happening to this country? Why are we treading backwards? What's this uproar about? Whatever has happened to the collective conscious of the country?

On one had, the reservation issue! I don't think there's anything left for ME to say! All that is there to be said has already been said. And coming from me, an OBC according to the list Government has, this sounds strange. But I'm not alone. I REFUSE to avail of this facility!!!! Absolutely! And for those who are parroting away to glory saying that merit is nothing but lots of tutoring and stuff, I have never taken a tuition in my life. I did not study in a VERY fancy school. An ordinary Kendriya Vidyalaya (and I know many in IISc who have studied in Municipality schools in very rural areas of the country). There are many I know who were tea-stall bearers, boot polishers, part time shop keepers who have made it to the one of most premier Institutes in this country, IISc.

And what is this happening now? The country is going back to its pre-independence days when one's identity was one's caste and not one's abilities. After a long time, the country has come to a juncture where the generation is oblivious to someone's caste and religion. Inter caste and inter religion marriages are a reality after ages. People are moving over to the MORE IMPORTANT things like one's ability, one's determination........and then, here comes one stab in the back of the nation. RESERVATION........

And then, there's this controversy surrounding Fanaa. The reason: Aamir Khan having expressed his views about something many people have a view about. Why is this that the country has forgotten that Aamir is not only a star! He's a human being who has a RIGHT to think about issues and has every right to express them as well. And as if the banning of the film was not enough, his RELIGION has been made an issue. So, in this country, now a Muslim has no right to feel about an issue??? Tomorrow, a Christian may be banned from thinking about Narmada issue!!!!! What is this happening????

And then, I don't have to go far. In our very own "progressive" Bangalore city, Bangalore University prohibits girls from sitting next to boys!!!!!! The vice-chancellor says that if sitting next to boys is what you called being progressive, then, it is NOT! Well, prohibiting something that you can't stop anyway is not the way out! Will someone please tell these people that these archaic ideas died off with Adam and Eve???

Suddenly, this country seems to be in a grip of fanaticism! Religious, political, caste.......some extremisims are left! The day's not far when these will come to picture as well.......I dread that day and as an (almost) silent onlooker, pray to God for saving the soul of this country.....

Pritesh

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Best joke I've heard in a long time....

Well, I wish people would tell us jokes like these more often! (I hate being sarcastic but sometimes, people don't leave me with much choice)...........

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/devils-advocate-arjun-singh/11063-4-0.html

A protest rally, my first experience

Well, I had never been to a protest rally! At least, not in the streets. This was my first experience. And limping forward with a burnt foot, I saw passions run high........it was a memorable experience. I shall not say much about the reservation debate as I feel that there's very little I can say and in addition, I think actions speak louder than words.


The rally was from Chikka Lal Bagh to Banappa Park. Chikka Lal Bagh seems to be the usual starting point for rallies held in the past. So it was for this rally as well. Most of the students present were medicine students (as made out from the white coats they were wearing). There were others as well and for the first time, I saw a good participation from IISc crowd as well.

The energy of the place was worth seeing. Most of the students there didn't need to be there really! They were already students of the Institutes they wanted to join. But it was so inspiring to see them worried about the Future of the students who were going to join.........for me too, I'm already a PhD student where I wanted to be. It may not really affect me. But I was there still. Because I felt the move is wrong. And I felt the others fight for the same reason too!

The rally started in an extremely disciplined manner with students moving in such a way that there was little or no disturbance to the traffic. There were onlookers as well as people who joined in on the way. There were people going off in between as well. But the atmosphere was charged. I felt the tension all the time.

There were cameras flashing all the time, video cameras were rolling, interviews being held, banners being carried......there was Police, media, ambulances, water trucks!!!! And there were cucumber and ice-cream vendors (they too made full use of the event with so many people in one place)..........and even a moongfali vendor........it was very interesting to see all this.

And there were banners after banners..........I remember some and here's the text .....

* Stop spoon feeding us. Let us stand on our own feet - OBC
* IISc opposes reservation, respect brains (I had part on making this one)
* Ab merit ka kya hoga?
* Next step: Reservation for SC/STs/OBCs in Olympics?
* Is it my fault that I was born in General Category?
* Students' Power, Nation's Power
* I am against reservation
* Forget about our dreams, higher education is RESERVED now

And some slogans were interesting too:

* We want JUSTICE
* Take back, take back, RESERVATION TAKE BACK
* Sixty Sixty One Twenty, ARJUN SINGH FOUR TWENTY
* Beke beku, NYAAYA BEKU
* Arjun Singh, HAY HAY
* Samaanta humko pyaara hai, YAHI HAMAARA NAARA HAI (excuse the mistake in this, the author of this slogan is not a native Hindi speaker)
* Desha hodya mantri, ARJUN SINGH KANTRI (I vaguely know the meaning of this one though)
* Ek do teen chaar, BAND KARO YE ATYACHAAR

One more notable point was the discipline being observed while the rally was being organized. The students were making sure that the crowd never strayed from the four columns they were supposed to be walking in. There were people periodically telling us to move in lines, to not block the traffic.

My hats off to the organizers of the rally......and I express my solidarity towards the all the students who are anti-reservation.........it's time vote banks stoppped being the deciding factor for policies!

That's all I have to say about that..........

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Girte patte..............(falling leaves)

I'm sorry but the non Hindi speakers may not be able to understand the post.......but I wanted to write in Hindi as the thoughts that occurred to me on seeing a dry leaf yesterday in Music Room couldn't be penned down in English (my thought language still remains Hindi)......

So, here it goes................

Har girta patta apne saath laata hai ek kahaani. Kahaani jo khatm ho to ho gayi hai magar chhod gayi hai kuchh sookhe patte is ummeed ke saath ki koi hawa ka jhonka le jaaye in sookhe patton ko ek nayi duniya mein aur suna sake har naye patte ko apna haal-e-dil. Bataa sake naye patton ko ki ek baar apni shaakh se girkar to har hawa ke jhonke tak ka ikhtiyaar ho jaayega unki zindagi par......aur koi wajood nahin rahega patte ka.............ki kaisi anokhi duniya hai ye.........jis shaakh ko paala posa jeevan bhar usne bhi kahani khatm hone par haraf palat diya..............bas yahi.....

(A lousy translation for those who don't understand Hindi: Every leaf that falls off, brings with it a story, a story that's over but has left behind some dry leaves with the hope that some gust of wind shall carry these leaves to a new world where some new leaves can hear the story of this dry leaf. So that this dry leaf can tell those new leaves that once you leave your branch, every single breeze has a right to your life........and that there's no individuality left.........this is such a strange world.......the branch that you nurtured will also turn the page over once your story is over................this is it!)

Pritesh

Monday, May 08, 2006

Moments in and away from the milling crowd......

Time: 5:51 pm, May 7th, 2006
Place: Food World, M. G. Road

And what was I doing there?Yet another evening, yet another Blank Noise performance, yet another experience.........and here's me penning my experiences down, yet another time.........

This time, I have more to pen down than just my experiences as a Blank Noise volunteer. I want to write about my experiences as an individual in the middle of a milling crowd, busy going around doing its work..........

As usual, we all met up (stipulated time was 4:30 but I was late due to certain unavoidable reasons). The venue for the meeting this time, Barista, M. G. Road. And the moment I entered, I heard Chitra announcing that there was going to be a performance by Blank Noise. I reached and before I could sit, I saw the Barista officials walking up to us and telling us that such "activities" are not allowed on the Barista premises!

Well, this certainly came as a news to me that our "activities" could hamper their business in any way! If any of the readers of this blog get any bright ideas, I'm all ears.............

This time was a different effort..............compared to the last time. The last time, we realized that the people (particularly men) were largely unaware of the impact of "harmless fun" they get out of staring, whistling, singing songs etc.

So, we decided that we shall take prints of some testimonials by women who have written about their experiences of being eve-teased/harassed.We hoped to make some of them aware of what goes on in the mind of a woman who is being teased/harassed. And we were hoping to spark a thought in their minds about the way they affect women by harmlessly having fun!

So, there were these testimonials printed and folded, ready to be handed over to people on the roads (only to the ones who seriously gave a thought to the whole performance, or were curious).

After folding all the testimonials, we moved off from Barista and stood about 6 feet from each other, in a row, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PAVEMENT.........And it was very interesting to see people respond in different ways. Here are some of the responses we heard (we = all of us, not just me).....

---------------------------------------------

"Dear Stranger? What does that mean? I'm not a stranger to Bangalore........" (I wonder if he understood that by stranger, we meant, stranger to US and not to the city)"

What are these people doing standing in the middle of the pavement?" (These were the ones who were mostly given the testimonials)

"Is this some sort of a Fashion Parade?" (Interesting one there.................)

"What is this going to change?" (Every thing has to start somewhere na? This is our beginning)

"They're statues, don't ask them anything, they won't talk....." (I wonder if they ever saw that we breathed)

"This looks so funny" (Sure it does, but then, humour is the best way to catch attention, ain't it?)

"All of them look good......" (Ahem ahem, I would want to believe this one)

---------------------------------------



















Here's me at M. G. Road as a part of the performance...............

So, we stood at the M. G. Road, distributing testimonials and hoping to change an infinitesimally small fraction of the crowd moving around there. If not anything, plant a seed of thought in their minds.........

Watching the crowd milling around me was also an experience in itself. The plethora of reactions to our unusual setup was also pretty intriguing! The reactions varied from ignorance to indifference to mocking to noticing to curiosity to walking up to ask us!

There were some interesting incidents that happened there that made me think twice about things!

1. Four girls, standing in a group, giggling..........and saying things like: What are these people up to? Are they asking for funds for something? Are they nuts?

And on being given the testimoinal to read, there was silence that followed. And they read the testimonial.........the giggles vanished. I would like to believe that they gave the testimonial a thought. The look on their faces changed, from that of indifference to that of instrospection (I hope I read the expression right). And after some time, they walked off. Beyond my earshot, so I don't know what they talked about but they seemed deep in conversation.

2. One guy (walking with a girlfriend, arm-in-arm) refuses to take the testimonial and behaves as if he never saw us.

One of us was being continuously being stared at by this guy who was walking with his girlfriend. And on being given the testimonial, he gave one of those "I don't know you, I didn't see you" looks and hurried off..............probably because he realized that he was not SO right in staring afterall................

3. One elderly person took the testimonial and read it. And came back to ask me, how's this going to change anything?

Well, I didn't say anything to him but I think the spark has to be there somewhere! Only then, can we expect a fire to light up. Of course, there's dry straw (people willing to listen and respond) needed too, but then no matter how much straw you put, if there's no spark, there'll never be fire! So, this is OUR spark! And we hope that a conflagaration shall follow one day that shall consume this omnipresent evil named eve-teasing......

4. One guy took the testimonial and said, "Love letter hai shayad!" (and laughter followed).....

Well, I really don't know what to say to this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But apart from all these, there was this undeniable sense of empowerment and self-respect that I had when I went for the performance this time. When there were stares, I could meet them head-on. Not only that, I could avert the gazed (it really makes me wonder as to how cowardly these starers generally are!!!!), could even make the starers hide their tail between their legs and run for their life..............

My gaze had that strength which was lacking earlier. If Blank Noise could do this to me, I stand to only gain and not lose anything at all!!!!!!!!!!! If I emerge a strong human after all these performances, then a good part of the aim of this performance is acheived!

And now, to my experiences as a person in the milling crowd!!!!!!

I have always been interested in watching people. I love those window seats (except for in a plane) from where I can watch the crowd outside. In a train, in a bus, in a car............and I always have wondered about whether I could ever get to see this or that person again! Whether there's ANY intersection possible between his/her world and mine! Whether that person is happy, sad, anxious, worried, sorry.....................

I may be termed crazy but that's how I feel when I look at people in general........and that's how I felt when I was there at M. G. Road.......I wondered when I looked at the crowd!!!!!!! Wondered if they had the same worries as I did! Did they care for things that I did? Did they even care that "I" existed? Did they know that I was an individual too!

Well, I guess that's all I have to say about that!!!!!!!!

Pritesh

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Resources? Or the lack of it?

The idea for this blog appeared to me while I was watching the practice of "Keys to Imagination" (yes, Yanni's composition) that is to be performed by our Institute Music Team on 13th May...........and since then, I've been waiting to write something about that!

When you want to do something, there are certain bottlenecks you come across! Resources being one! And the resources do determine to a good extent how and when you do such things. There are examples of people having made it really big by being resourceful. So, why does this blog feature? In reality, this blog is MY appreciation of the good work churned out by the Music Team despite the lack of proper resources in the institute Music Room!

When I sat through the practice day before, I saw the composition of Yanni being played very well. There were errors, but the way the composition was being handled was BEAUTIFUL. I have been a member of the Music Team right from its genesis days. And back then, the resources were rather awful. A broken sitar, somewhat dilapidated veena, rusted and unused drums, stringless guitars................and then came the magic touch of people in that room! Working together, people brought the Music Room to where it is today. I won't say resources are phenomenally better than earlier but then, despite several limitations, the kind of Music being played is simply superb.

There are times when people have brought their own instruments to play in the Music Room and somehow, putting things together to perform amazingly well..........there have been times when we haven't had either players or instruments for a particular song and that's when the creativity of the Music Team members has shown! Flute has been replaced by guitar, keyboard by violin and such innovative stuff.....

So, that set me thinking about how important resources (or rather lack of them) is???????

I think in the presence of all the required resources, one tends not to let one's imagination soar. As once my friend told me about a talk, Necessity is not the mother of invention, it's the mother of INNOVATION.........so when you don't have the requisite resources, you tend to somehow try to manage without them! That's when you start evaluating what you may have otherwise overlooked as a potential resource!

I have seen many many instances of this happening! From simple things like Mom cooking something at a short notice without one of those important ingredients to my Musician friends substituting an important instrument by some other one and still managing the song beautifully!!!!!! And even instances of people being really poor and still rising up to the level of high education despite all the lack of resources! There are innumerable examples of lack of resources leading to some very interesting results of heightened creativity and innovation.......

I guess, that's all I have to say about that! (Forrest Gump style, one of my all time favourite movies)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Pritesh

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The rangoli artist speaks.............and feels......


At the outset, let me thank Satyam for giving me the idea of writing a blog about how I feel about my rangolis. I used to write about my rangolis, but only to myself. And when Satyam gave me the suggestion, I couldn't resist (as if I've been able to resist the temptation for writing ever)........so, here it goes..........

How exactly do I feel during the process of rangoli-making? Right from deciding about what to make until completion? Well, it's a long process and I shall try to do justice to my thought process through the entire journey of rangoli making.......

Actually, the first thing that needs to be talked about is: Why rangoli? Well, frankly, I don't know! I started off making rangolis back in school , about 15 years back, when there was a small inter-school competition organized by Rotary Group. I had not the faintest idea how to make a rangoli and made a mess of something I planned to make. I don't even remember now what I made.........and needless to say, I made one of those unnoticed type of rangolis. Someone who made a "kalash" with flowers stood first. And then, I realized that neatness pays! So, the next time, I made a very simple but neat rangoli! And result, I got a consolation prize.

And time just slipped past! It sounds liek ages ago that I used to make rangolis without any finesse........anyway, after I came to IISc, I decided to experiment with this Art. The first serious attempt was when I participated in the Rangoli competition during Holi 2005, teamed up with Gowri. If I see that Rangoli now, I find it unbelievable that I made it, but nevertheless, I liked it back then. And it stood first. That was truly the first time that I felt I could explore this dimension of my personality......

And after that came a couple of competitions here and there. I won and apart from the competitive rangolis, I made some out of my own interest. Earlier, I used to make fast forward rangolis, but now, I have slowed down...............so, essentially, things have changed, hopefully for better.............

So, here comes my thought process while making a rangoli......

Step 1: Getting into the mood.....

Highly unpredictable. I never know when that urge may crop up! It's happened in the middle of the night, early in the morning! I've made rangolis at practically any time of the day. I guess I am very moody about making rangolis. Once that urge comes, I go over to step 2.....

Step 2: Preparing for the rangoli......

This step depends on what I decide to make!!!!!!!!!!!!! And THAT is a very arbitrary step......when I make rangolis out of my own comcept, this is a PROCESS rather than a step. I keep making and keep adding to the original idea, depending on how much colour I have left with me, how bored I am, how tired I am, how long I've been making the rangoli for, how much patience is left and such things.......

But when I make something that is seen from somewhere, it's a little different. I have to see the image and my first impulse should be, "I can't do it". And that is when I feel like doing it. And the barriers my mind creates work for me, the other way round, in helping me soar, higher and higher.......and go farther and farther...........I sort of rebel against my own mind's limitations.


So, once an image fulfils this criterion, I am all set to make that rangoli..........a sub-step for this step is getting the material ready. This is a tedious step as it needs me to go off campus, guage what colours I need, decide about how much of what..............oh! In short, it's tedious.......but with all the help of my awesome friends, I come out of this step fairly unscarred..........and of course, this step is costly! Every rangoli costs me about an average of 200-400 rupees! (and the priceless amount of effort)....but of course, one has to give something to get something! :)

Step 3: Starting the rangoli........

This is one step that depends on a lot of external factors! Like when do I get time from my work, when do I get the maximum output out of myself, when is the cat least likely to run over my rangoli (I shall elaborate about this later).........

There have been times when I've started at 6:00 am, also, I've starts at 12:00 midnight, at 3:00 pm, at 6:00 pm.............just about any time of the day! And when I start, my grahasthi comes downstairs! My stereo, my cell-phone, food-stuff, rangoli bag (trust me, I have a bag weighing about 7-8 kgs containing my rangoli stuff), chalks, rulers, broom...........:D This is how elaborate a preparation my rangolis need!

And so, the work starts! While I make the rangoli, there's a constant stream of people passing by! Some of them don't even look (ya, I raise my head at every single noise of someone's arrival), some stop and look, some stop, look and say a few words and some stop over, talk to me, assist me in small things! (This Group is generally of my friends in Hostel, and am I not thankful to all of them.......)........

Honestly, the ones who don't even stop and look make me feel somewhat disappointed. However enexpecting I get, I do expect a second glance at the amount of effort I put in! And most of these non-glancing types cause a dent in my spirits! I conquer it, all right, but it does somewhat hurt at that time. The ones who stop to look are the inconsequential kinds. The ones who stop, look and say a few words are the ones who elate me but it's the last category that affects me the most! The stop, look, talk and assist types........

It has happened that I have been making rangolis and my friends have run around for getting me food, juice.....attending my calls, replying to my messages, feeding me food (as my hands are dirty, I can't eat myself)...............these friends have touched me deeply! There have even been times when my friends have stayed up through the night (not exactly through the night, but ya, for LONG enough) keeping me company, talking to me, telling me things, assisting me in the rangoli.............and THAT helps.........I could never thank all my friends enough...........

So, coming back to where I was, while making the rangoli, it's more like a challenge to get the things right! By right, I don't mean that I intend to replicate the original. Just that "I" should feel good about what I have done.......and sometimes, I do fail miserably at that! I know that the thing I have made isn't what I intended to do but I do not go ahead with improving it as I am generally BROKEN by the time it's time to wrap up!!!!!!!!

Rangoli is physically very very strenuous as there are only certain ways in which I can sit/stand for getting the patterns right. And repeatedly sitting in those same positions does take its toll. So, towards the end, I start sort of hurrying up too.........

Once the rangoli is over, the first feeling is that of extreme euphoria! Because I can finally stretch myself and relax a little.........and then, I have to wrap up the "grahasthi" I'd have brought down. Once again, my dear hostel friends assist me in this! :)

After I'd have wrapped up things and would've clicked photos, I start seeing my faults. The initial euphoria lasts only 10 mins or so! Since I'd have been staring at the same rangoli for hours, I cease to see my mistakes. But once it's over and I'd have taken a "break", I start seeing my imperfections! And believe me, hours of advising by my friends and loads of practice has finally made me somewhat tolerant of my faults! Earlier, these small things used to cause me depression..........and I'd vouch never to touch rangoli again (silly na? :D).............

And also, there's this fear of the CAT running over my rangoli (a job so promptly done by the Bharani cat that I am amazed as to whether she has some supernatural powers)......

Earlier, I used to get majorly worked up about this cat business. But now, it doesn't matter. I have learnt to accept the transience of the rangolis. Before beginning the rangoli, I know what's its fate. I know that it's going to be swept off and adorn the dust-bin a few days hence. Quite unlike tha paintings one can frame and preserve.........so, there's this sense of detachment that these rangolis have taught me. Give things your best and then, let go...............it's a big lesson in life and it matters................if I continue to cling to the rangolis, I'm in for disappointment.....so, I have slowly taught myself to let go!

I guess enough of blabbering for now..............so, this is the story of thoughts of a Rangoli artist!

With this I sign off and leave a link for the browsers-through to look at the other rangolis of mine.............

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/priteshdagur/album?.dir=bb73&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/priteshdagur/my_photos

Smile always...............

Pritesh :)

PS: I havo to thank some people for making this blog possible.............acknowledgements are inevitable here...........

1. Kripa: For the photos, without her, the rangoli photos couldn't have made it to the blog........and also, for unending support during my rangolis.......

2. Sujit: For being such an honest critic.........and for those wonderful discussions that help me grow as an artist........invaluable stuff really...........

3. Ananth: For being patient with my rangoli stuff shopping..........providing the templates (my last two rangolis have been his suggestions)................for candid appreciation and criticism.........for lifting my spirits up when I was disappointed with my efforts..........

4. Gowri, Geetu, Anu, Sharmila, Rumz, Pachi, Rajani...............for helping me with various things at different times.............and all my Bharani friends too for being supportive and encouraging....

5. Karthik, Ashima, Shivapriya and Sathyanarayanan: For being the photographers of my rangolis at different times and dutifully sending the pictures to me.......

And to everyone else whose names I may have forgotten to add.............