Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A visit to Tiruvannamalai always begets stories of the Gurus and their gopis.
The non-believers who are pulled in by the Mountain against their conscious choice, are continuously aghast at the goings on. It's fun to hear them talk.
Sample this from an English school teacher, who now runs a restaurant, Manna Cafe, in Tiru.
'If I put you in a corner, and make you sit down, and pray to you, waving lights in your face, you will start glowing in a week.'
'Yes, I suppose so. But what is your point?' I ask.
'This fellow, Nithyananda, must be secretly amused by all the women going ga-ga after him, falling at his feet.'
'Why?' I ask.
'Because he is a nice fellow. I saw him in town the other day. He has a nice smile.'
'Doesn't he?' I smile.
'Aw, shut up!'
And this German fellow who has now become a guru of sorts, giving talks informally.
'Its nice to sit with you.' I say to him.
'Yes, I am always sitting with myself.' he replies. We all laugh.
'Did you hear of how Yogi Ram Surat Kumar left his body?' he says, after a while.
'Wasn't he in coma?'
'He was Unplugged!'
'Oh! By whom?'
'By his disciples!'
'Yes. They waited till Maha Shivaratri! They put a spring under his arm and the spring went up and down as the devotees came to get his blessings. The poor fellow was in coma, giving blessings to his devotees by a spring! And on Maha Shivaratri they Unplugged him!'
'Disciples are heartless!', says the almost guru, revealing his deepest fears?
'Its the height of helplessness, isn't it?'
'We are not going to Tiru again!' wails my hubby. (About a week before we end up in Tiru).
'It's always Tiru, Tiru, Tiru! You are demented! You cant see any other place in the whole world. God made lots of other nice places to go to. He didn't make only the Mountain. The kid needs more exposure, I need a change, I need a break from Tiru.'
'Ok, ok. Calm down. Here, have a glass of water.'
He drinks water.
'Mountain se mera sir pak chuka hai.' (My head is cooked by the Mountain).
'Ok. So where do you want to go?'
'You agree?' he is incredulous. 'Yipee!'
'Where do you want to go?' I ask.
'We can go to Gokarna beach. It's a cool place.'
'Sure. But Christmas is peak time. Make a booking first.'
'Ok. ' A few calls later, he gives me the deal. ' Swiming pool, fifteen hundred per person, per day, so it will be three point five k for three days. Perfect.'
'Fifteen hundred per person? We are three of us. So that is three point five into three k. And swiming pool? In December? Who swims? You want to learn swiming?'
'Ok, I will make more enquiries. I have to go out now. I will call you.'
In half an hour, he calls.
'We will go to Tiru only.' he says.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
And with this thought foremost in my conscious mind, I shall go now to sleep.
Dream fairy, please don't give me a nightmare that I am wearing uncomfortable shoes. Let me dream of walking, running on wet meadows, lakes, clouds...yes, barefoot.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
My resolution is the hardest I have ever made. All my life, I have been a late riser and a procrastinator. Somehow, I feel these two are related. So I have decided to wake up at six am every single morning, for at least one continuous month, January 2009.
So I went and bought myself a Christmas gift: A Brand New Alarm Clock.
It has the following features:
- It is bulky, so it cant be kept on the bed, and so it wont get switched off by hubby (which is what he does to my mobile every morning).
- It has an alarm that goes on and on till I hit it on the head, after which it gives out a cheerful 'good morning'.
- It does not have the snooze option.
Another effort that goes in to transform my tamasic nature: I am going to practice getting up and out of bed immediately after hearing the alarm clock, as suggested by this very interesting piece of advice on how to get up early.
This article basically suggests that we should get into bed with mosquito net, nightie, et all, during the day and set the alarm for ten minutes later. As soon as it goes off, smile, stretch, and get up. Repeat everyday for as many days as required for you to get your mind trained to do this in the mornings too.
Besides, it is a little weird. So I have to do it.
So this is why I bought the alarm clock today, so that I have a few days practice. Now you know how I am going to spend the Christmas holidays, get into bed, listen to the alarm, get out of bed, an hour later, get into bed...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Here are the pictures:
Walking barefoot with thousands of devotees around the mountain, the grace flowing continuously in the form of water from a big water tanker ahead, washing and cooling the road.
Swami Nithyananda doing a namaste to the Mountain. Tilt down to Swamiji's feet. No, he wasn't barefoot.
A tired devotee sitting on a cement on Pradakshina road bench with eyes closed.
Devotees lying on plain mud, fast asleep by the roadside, exhausted from the dancing and singing and walking miles barefoot.
A big open space just in front of the rear most end of the mountain (more about this later), people getting plastic chairs to plonk themselves, reserving their spaces hours ahead of the master's talk.
Reporter-devotee too tired to sit under the sun. She goes to the book stall and settles on a chair with a book.
An hour later, reporter-devotee finishes entire book, and when she thinks noone is watching, walks away from stall with chair and joins the masses.
Two hours later, Nithyananda swami makes entry. Crowds go wild. Old ladies fall off plastic chairs (on which they were standing).
Devotee looks at mountains rear end and wonders if the mountains beauty is stone deep. (There are too many trees from this angle, and devotee does not feel the familiar 'oh so beautiful my mountain'). So much for the greening movement.
Another two hours later, stage comes to life. Swamiji's school headmaster is garlanded, etc. Talk begins. The topic is, 'The Bliss that is Arunachala.' The language is Tamil. There is no translation.
Suddenly, two words pop out from the Tamil as meaningful. Spiritual Incubator. Followed by the bliss factory. Arunachala.
So chill guys, have a ball.
Friday, December 19, 2008
'Yes. How did you know?'
'Shakal se hi lagta hai, bara baje hai.' he replies. (Sorry, this is not translatable.)
This always happens to me just before I set off for Tiruvannamalai. I think of all the reasons I shouldn't go, then I convince myself that I am not going, after that I barely manage to not cry.
And then, I go.
This time, the pull is double power. Swami Nithyananda is going to walk around the mountain on Sunday, with an expected number of twenty thousand devotees.
I missed going to Tiru for Deepam for this pradakshina.
I have even got my white suit stitched.
Just because hubby and kid are ditching me for a village trip somewhere, should I not follow my own star?
The problem is, there is no question of should or shouldn't here. The problem is, I am free to go either way. The problem is, I will miss the family when I look at the Mountain.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
'You know, Papa, I would be really grateful if you take some interest in the brats education.'
I give him a look. 'Your sons!'
'I don't think that's a good idea.' he says.
'And why not?' I demand an answer.
'Because I fear for the poor fellow. If I teach him seriously, I will do some irreparable damage. Let him be a gavaar. At least he will be happy. He can always take adult education classes when he grows up. That will be cheaper than a life long shrink.'
Monday, December 15, 2008
'Really? I didn't know that.'
'Yes. My teacher only told. And, therefore, you should never never put a stick inside the ear because the eardrum will break and it will be very painful.' he shudders for effect.
'Yes, you are right. Your teacher is a smart lady, she knows so much, na? What else did you learn in class today?' I am impressed at his ability to recall and vocalize all these details.
As usual, I get impressed too fast.
'And a little girl can have a little baby. A very small baby.' He shows his palm.
'No, Kiddo. Little girls cant have babies.'
'My teacher only told. You don't know, Ai. Its there in all the body parts. Its very small in a little girl.'
'No, Pavan, little girls cant give birth.'
'But my teacher told...'
'Your teacher told you wrong! Or you learnt it wrong, more likely.' Why was I shouting? Thankfully the phone rang and he ran to answer it.
Leaving me alone to ponder on an important parenting step.
Was it Dr. Spock who said that a question must be answered when it is asked? When it is so difficult to get him to understand phonetics of spelling, I am at a total loss as how to explain about the birds and bees.
Should I pass on the job to Papa?
Wouldn't it be better to do it together?
Oh, boy, we are going to have to prepare for this class. Anyone out there have any idea how to explain the facts of life to an eight year old?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
And, I am going to burn all my rotis a little bit, and not scrape off the black from a toast ever again. This, yes, you guessed right, is the carbon decision.
All because I met a chemistry professor today who told me the benefits, and healing properties of silver and carbon in day today life.
She told me she makes carbon capsules which go a long way in helping gas problems on long distance flights. Carbon is very good for the stomach. And silver is good for skin problems. So she makes creams with silver powder and is doing research on different patients with skin problems. Till now, she has succeeded 100%, with 30 to 40 patients. She goes to hospitals in search of patients and doctors use her silver cream.
But she doesn't want to get into the messy business of mass producing and selling and all that. But just remember that silver and carbon are very friendly fellows so lets make friends with them.
In fact, I suddenly remembered the structure of carbon. It has four hands, so it is really very friendly.
This lady has taught chemistry for thirty five years, and is now retired, but she is not done yet.
I love such people. They are a perfect mix. They live life completely.
May I give her the PROXIMIDADE award, Smita?
Friday, December 12, 2008
For my grandmother, food was equivalent to love. Food had to be hot, it had to look colourful, and the person eating had to be hungry. This, she would say, is the secret to good food.
Till she was alive, I believed her.
Now, I know better.
The secret to good food?
My grandmother's touch.
This particular recipe is my father's discovery. The amla is not boiled, so he claims that the vitamin content must be ten times more. In fact, he wanted to patent it so I called him and asked for permission to publish.
Here it is.
Kacche Amle ka Murabba:
Buy 2 or 3 Kg's of fresh amlas, they are available right now. (You don't have to buy less for trial, this wont go wrong.) Stuff them in the freezer overnight. Next day, they will have gone soft. Remove them from the fridge, and after an hour, cut them into halves, and take out the seeds. Put it in a glass jar. Mix in some sugar or organic jaggery, till the amlas are totally drenched in the sweetness.
Shake the bottle, keep it in the sun for a day. Your nutritous, yummy amle ka murabba or amle ka jam is ready. No need to boil the amlas, or the sugar.
Try not to overeat, too much vitamin C can give you a cold. This is also a remedy for constipation, so you can imagine the result if you overeat. Me talks from experiance only. :)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.
I am not sure I fit the bill. Some of my friends accuse me of being an obsessive, addicted blogger.
I lack consistency in style, subject, and object of my obsessions.
On the other hand, I have some fans too. My father thinks my blog should be published, like a book. ;)
Me thinks these awards are like comments, self generated, albeit a nice compliment.
An award is an award, and so, thank you, Smita.
I pass on this award to :
Banno : A fellow FTIIan, I feel closer to her as a fellow blogger than I ever did before.
Insane Mama Blogger : Whenever motherhood overwhelms me, I escape to this blog and feel, phew, its not as bad as this. I like her music too.
Nehas blog: My hubby knew her before he met me. She was my first inspiration. So I should actually call her my blogging guru.
Johnathan's blog : I must admit I cant get myself to read all his posts. But I knew him before I met my hubby, so he has to be included. :)
FTIIians sad childhood blog: Maybe its because I have a weak memory, that I find it very difficult to relive my past. Or maybe it is spiritual progress that keeps me in the present moment.
Jabbaa's blog : Now you know what I call him. He is here for the record, I don't read him either. :)
Best friend's blog : Her I cant read often enough. Problem is, she has a shortage of ink in her pen. She has also designed the cover of my novel.
Homeopathic doc : His first posts are very cute and honestly written. In fact, I used one of them in my writing class. I asked the students to edit it and they just couldn't. :)
Mad Momma: In spite of myself, I cant get over this addiction. Her posts are far too long, she hogs my time, but she is good. She is a one-way friend in absence.
Keep writing, guys.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Those who have to travel amidst pollution almost everyday and feel miserable about it.
Those who love moving their bodies for no reason. (For ex, my wiggling toes, thinking that they are typing.)
Please try this and let me know if you get it. I remember a very clear image. A bus. Me and a cousin, just into teenage. We were sitting on the last row of seats. The cousin smiling impishly, and moving his body along with the jerky movements of the bus. It somehow looked rhythmic, almost like a dance. He was also tonelessly humming along, which means his breath was also co-ordinated with the movements of the bus.
This, by the way, is the first step. Swamiji will take you higher, I assure you.
Its called Life Bliss Program level 1 - ASP
Understand and energize your chakras –
get the keys to a life of bliss
Did you know a secret of life? The true nature, the core of you is BLISS. Then, why are you caught in the sea of emotions – the high of love followed by the low of jealousy, the high of confidence collapsing into the low of worry, …?
We have seven chakras or subtle energy centers in our body which are responsible for all the powerful emotions we go through. LBP Level 1 - ASP is a program where you can learn what the chakras are about and how to use them so you can lead a life of joy.
Schedule: Saturday, 13th December, 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday, 14th December, 9am to 6pm.
Contact: Chetna at 08023532656
Cost: Rs. 1000
This course is designed by Swami Nityannada. You will learn meditations that are inspired by different religions and sects in the world.
I have posted my personal response after attending this course here.
Monday, December 8, 2008
'Jai Ramji Ki', one of them said, smiling at my bare feet.
'Ram Ram bhai,' I smiled back, thrilled to have something in common with a sadhu. It was such a beautiful moment, to feel connected to someone with a free spirit.
I wish I could have sung aloud this song to them.
'You don't need no food to eat,
All you need is two bare feet.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Doesn't this look simply fabulous? Isn't this too good to be true? That this fellow is walking to his office, inside a grass wheel, and that too barefoot?
I want this grass wheel. I wonder how to turn it, though. Or how to maneuver it through heavy traffic. Even if I cant take it out, I want it. I shall sit in it and read my book. Or rock in it. I feel as if I could spend half my life inside this wheel.
I wonder how to water the top part. It has to roll, no?
I got this here, by the way.
P. S. Pavan, my eight year old genius, just saw this post and these are his comments:
It will go very fast, you will have to run fast, and then you will bang into something.
But you can control the speed by going back words.
But you might still bang into something.
I will make for you another design. You will have a break, and wheels and a seat. Like a car!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
It explains why bare footing is a Naturopathy healing technique, how babies don't learn to walk wearing shoes, the precautions and care for feet that walk bare, and the least harmful footwear for the barefoot community.
Btw, anyone knows how to get in touch with M F Hussain? No, I don't want to talk about bare footing with him, I just want his blessings that my book sells.
I was actually trying to upload an image of my child's bare feet, but the mountain has come to mohammed!
This is Pradakshina road, and it is kept clean by the pilgrims because they walk on it barefoot.
Goes to say that if more and more people walked bare foot, we would have cleaner roads, healthier feet, and happier (if a little hippier) public.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Mumbai was the dream and nightmare rolled into one for me. I remember being frightened of the city when I shifted there post FTII. I remember sitting on the sea front at Marine Drive, looking at the tiny light holes of windows from buildings at across the deep blue water. I felt that all of us are ants, living in ant holes.
My struggle, was not very intense. I was too lost within the inner world to be too affected by the rat race. I was robbed and cheated, but I survived. The freinds from the Institute became too busy with work, and I remember saying to my mum, 'I wish I had a boyfreind,' when I had to shift from one rented apartment to another.
My relationship with Mumbai, the city changed dramatically when I met Ramesh Balsekar. Local trains were fun because they took me to his house. I remember singing, standing on the door of the train, holding the pole, the sun on my face.
I fell in love with Mumbai, however, only when I met Baba. We called him Fakruddin Baba, he sat on the wall next to Jahangir Art Gallery. Baba used to have a weighing machine on the roadside, and he charged one rupee. Adults got their weight, children got a false note with their weight written on it.
Sitting on the wall, next to Baba, sipping the constant cups of tea, and watching mumbai rush past. The elite, the artists, the working class, the drug addicts. On sundays , more children, with their mommys, walking towards Gate way of India. To see the Taj Hotel. Our own Taj mahal of Mumbai.
During one of the occasional times that I have ventured inside the coffee house, I saw Jaya Bacchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Jaya was chilling, Shah Rukh was walking. Fast, like a mumbaikar.
I wondered where Shah Rukh learnt that walk. I thought only the train catching public walked like that. Or maybe we all learnt that walk from him?
As I blog to mourne Mumbai, I just read of a bomb blast in Assam.
I have been to Assam too, once as a kid, and once to shoot a documentary film.
I wonder now, how many more bombs will blast before we become an emergency state, before we declare that we are in war - but with whom? If we war with Pakistan, how do we deal with bombs bursting in Assam?
This morning I chatted with a friend in mumbai who is hit where it hurts. Her film is released recently, and she is scared it is going to flop because people are too scared of going to theaters. I told her I will pray for your film.
And then, I got a call from my sister, who lives in mumbai. She said that a couple of terrorists may still be on the lose, so should she go for a peace rally or not? I said wait for a week, stay at home please.
If this split can happen to me sitting in Bangalore, I wonder what is happening to the spirit of mumbai? How many times can a city stand up after being raped? Doesn't she need to take a break, to heal herself?
Are there more people in temples, in meditation camps, in psychiatrist's clinics? Are the drug peddlers making more money than usual? Are estranged lovers making up? Old friends calling each other after years and years. Old people getting visits from the youngsters. The beggars getting more money in the traffic lights. I wonder if a cyclist in Bandra is singing on top of his voice? Are scriptwriters fired with imagination and writing more violent films?
If I were in mumbai now, this is what I would look for. This de-clutching from the fast walk.
Monday, December 1, 2008
If only I could capture on my camera. Better still, lets just enjoy nature and let it go as we sleep.
If any of you guys have an ounce of romance left in your souls, do look west wards tomorrow evening, for these guys in a triangle up there do not twinkle.
I have no idea why the moon has so gone out of fashion. Maybe because there are too many lights all around our cities.
Here is a moonly song from Chori chori. It stars Raj Kapur, Nargis, and the moon.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Those of you who want to visit this mountain, start planning. Deepam, a festival of ten days after which the top of the mountain has huge ghee lamp on it that can be seen from the pradakshina road, has started.
It's the loveliest of times to be in Tiru.
Both me and my hubby are going crazy trying to teach our kid spellings. Last night, after we put the boy to bed, we were watching Chocolat, which had a boy with a too strict mum, hubby had tears in his eyes.
'Aren't we being too strict with him?' he asked.
'Yup. It's the computer age. Her doesn't need to know his spelling s perfectly.' I offered.
'Have you seen his spellings?' he asked.
'Well, I don't need to. I have been trying to get the concept of vowels in his head now for more than an year .'
'Lets see if you, or your computer, or the one who wrote them, can make out what these words are.'
As I write in these apologies for words, Pavan is biting my shoulder. Any teachers out there, or parents, please help.
Since there was no way to delegate the job, I got ready. After weeks of bare footing in Yehlanka, I put my feet in two black prisons and got on the bus. I stumbled as I climbed it, I lost my balance twice inside. And after that the whole afternoon my feet complained, they were feeling too hot and stiff.
Pavan and I both chose the cover with a grasshopper sitting on a mountain that is floating in the sky, held up by a peepal leaf. The back cover has a woman's pallu spiraling above to become a cloud, while she stands barefoot on top of the mountain. The grasshopper is bare foot too, btw.
Then we went to a DTDC courier and kissed the envelope goodbye.
And then, as soon as we got into the auto, I opened the gates to freedom. My toes wiggled happily.
'Aai, you better wear the sandals for the bus, ok?'
'But why, shona?'
'You may get hurt, no.' he cautioned.
'Don't worry, tukru. We will take a bus that is not so crowded, ok?'
'Ok, but be careful, ok?'
'You will protect me, no?'
'Yes Ai. I will protect you but then you must listen to me. You cannot do cheating and run ahead.'
There is nothing much to write about what happened after, as it was uneventful. No one noticed, the bus conductor did not refuse us entry, we got off at our stop laughing and when he saw his crazy mom enjoying bare footing, the kid also removed his sandals and skipped along homeward, nange pair.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I would like to remind my friend that vedic times are still on. My mountain stands tall. Satsangs still sit and sing. Initiations happen over and over again. (At least in my case). And cows are still beautiful.
So if a cow has dunged on the road, I wouldn't dodge my step. It's all organic, babe.
Yes there will be singing, there will be singing of the dark times.
by Safdar Hashmi
Dear friends across India and the world,
We're all feeling the shock of the awful attacks in Mumbai. All our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
The attacks were aimed at our people, our prosperity and our peace. But their top target was something else: our unity. If these attacks cause us to turn on each other in hatred and conflict, the terrorists will have won. They know that hatred and chaos feed on division. They also know that as radical extremists, their only hope of winning is by turning the rest of us against each other.
Let's deny them that victory. We're launching a message to extremists on all sides and all our political leaders, one that will soon be published in newspapers across India and Pakistan. The message is that these tactics aren't working, that we're more united than ever, united in our love and support to each other, and determined to work together to stop violent extremism. If millions of people sign it, our message will be unmistakable, click below to sign it and please forward this message widely:
It's time to speak out, let's do it together.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
all the pain you have known,
all the violence in your soul,
all the wrong things you have done,
I will take from you when I come.
for I am to mother you.
P. S. Here is a website that gives details of how you can help the victims.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Now I have a strong strong heart.
This is a beautiful, tearjerker thankyou song, it addresses everyone, I guess. Sister, mother, father, lover.
I found this video because I was missing my hubby. (He is in Delhi again.)
He introduced me to Sinead O' Connor during the courting days. And he won me over by singing this song.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Barefoot walking started during the ASP course. No, it wasn't part of the meditations. But I have a feeling Swami Nityananda had something in mind when the only place to keep the footwear was far away from our classrooms. Walking bare foot on bare earth does get you inside the body in an instant.
Like washing clothes, I have always loved bare footing. But like you all, I was also proud of my pretty, clean feet. In fact, one of my friends once remarked, 'clean feet indicate a good character',
after noticing how clean my feet were. Even my beauticians didn't have to do too much mehnat while giving me a pedicure. So I was faithful to my Bata dr. scholls, combined with the fitness shoes combined with the acupressure chappals.
There were only two things in the world that could get me to discard the separation from mother earth: one was god, other was dance.
When I came back from the ashram, I missed the bare foot experience (meditation I have continued) and started walking to the temple barefoot. The sai temple near my house has a chunk of road around it that is full of stones and red earth, no tar.
And, for the first time in my life of err.. lots of years, I started feeling like a whole person. Like, top to bottom I am one. Like, all connected. During meditation, my feet start dancing (in my head of course). When I wake up in the morning, the floor says good morning.
So I started going grocery shopping bare foot. On tar roads, wet and dirty, my feet enjoy the tickling. Even the ouch moments are fun. I work from home, so I don't have an office to go to everyday. But any excuse to get out of the house, my feet have become walk happy. As if they have just learnt to walk.
Then I researched on google and joined a bare footers group. Trust me, this is a community of hundreds. There are guys out there who walk in snow and claim that the feet warm up after ten minutes. A lady mailed saying she recently climbed a mountain barefoot , she was slow, but she had a great time.
They face their own set of problems. Like this (frequently bare foot) lady who went to a shoe shop without shoes on and was told to get out. And this fellow who has gotten a new job that he hates because they force him to wear shoes.
One chain of mails with the subject 'wimp' argues on and on about how hypocritical is it to go all over town bare foot and take out shoes from your bag and wear them just before entering a fancy restaurant.
I asked their advice as to how I should avoid getting cracked feet. I was told to clean and moisturize my feet daily, to not bother at all, because conscious bare footing is different from those who walk unaware.
I have stopped insisting that my kid wears shoes and socks to school. He is happier in his sandals. And when he was practicing for a running race in the evenings, I used his sandals to mark the hundred meters marks. He ran bare foot in the race, and he came first! Guess what he won? A golden coin full of chocolate.
Here is an interesting e-book that covers all doubts about bare foot looseness. It's called, the barefoot hiker.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I watched this 'T V Interview in Seattle' video twice. Once for Swami Nityananda. And the second time I couldn't help falling in love with the interviewer.
To begin with, she is such a contrast to the Indian swami, with her cropped hair and blusher and her awkwardness and her questions. But what was so cute was to see Swamiji's magic work on her. She is smitten, bitten, kitten.
She tries her best to talk smart, but her emotions just gush out.
Especially when she says, 'What does one think about all the sufferings of the world..the babies dying, the old dying,....What do you think of it all?'
And in the end, she just looks at camera and sighs something unintelligible, 'Looking into his eyes, all that love was so incredible...'
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
For complete home grown vegetable plants with roots, to be planted and hung up in tokris, on top of a bamboo canopy, something like a big umbrella.
This canopy will have a tea stall under it.
You might wonder why. Why plant vegetables on top of an umbrella?
Urban street kids, are totally unfamiliar with the process of growing food for themselves. When there is no place for them to live, where would they find the earth to grow vegetables?
There are chai shops on every nook and corner. We plan to get a chai walla in a place like Chandni Chowk, to use this structure as a tea stall. There is a rope ladder that will take the kids up the roof of the canopy, where we have hung thirty two small round baskets in which vegetable plants will be grown. The chai wallah will ensure that the kids do not vandalize the plants. That the plants are regularly watered. In return, he gets a fancy tea shop.
This is an effort to introduce street kids to play with wet soil, to sow seeds, to watch vegetables grow and finally to eat them. Kids being an impatient lot, we first want to show them the final version, that is, vegetable plants grown in the tokris.
So, if you or anyone you know is into growing these vegetable plants at home, please donate.
Spinach, Tomato, Peas, French, Beans, Brinjal, Chilli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mint Peppermint, Tulsi, ADHATODA ZEYLANICA (ADULSA), Aloe Vera, etc.
Your help will be appreciated and acknowledged. We will number every plant and send you a record of what is happening to it. For ex, plant number 15 fell down the canopy, but was rescued by Sanju, and now it is growing well.
We need home grown vegetables, by first week of December. Ideally, we need about ten plants of each variety, but whatever is available, is most welcome
My husband, Prayas Abhinav is doing this Public Art Project, as a part of city spinning. He has blogged about it here. The white shirt kid on the canopy is my son, Pavan. This canopy was the first prototype that we put up in Bangalore last month. We are working right now on a sturdy design that will stand by itself (this one needed to be dug in) and easily bear the weight of five kids at a time.
Telephone : 09902591198
Address : B 7 /1 A, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
To make it easier for you, we will send one of the boys to your house to get the vegetables.
If you know anyone who might be interested, please spread the word.
Monday, November 17, 2008
From the female side.
Now here are the rules from the male side.
These are our rules!
Please note... these are all numbered '1 '
1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving
it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are.
Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and
one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something
Or tell us how you want it done.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it
1 . Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and
neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is
also a fruit..
We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,'
We will act like
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to,
Expect an answer
you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you
wear is fine.... Really .
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless
you are prepared to
discuss such topics as Motorcars
or Football or golf, or Darts etc.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;
But did you know men really don't mind that? It's
During the ASP course I attended a few days back, we were introduced to a meditation technique that opens the ajna chakra. We sat in the dark, eyes closed, concentrating on the point between the eyebrows. After a few minutes, we opened our eyes and looked at a flickering lamps flame. Then we closed our eyes again.
Nityananda says there is not a single religion that does not have a technique to open the ajna chakra. And I remember the dhuni, the continous fire that Shirdi Sai Baba used to sit and stare at, all his life.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Here is the reason, proof, all that:
Something to consider next time you go shopping for lipstick......
This comes from someone who works in the breast cancer unit at Mt.SinaiHospital, in Toronto.
Lipstick contains lead. Lead is a chemical which causes cancer.
The lipstick brands that contain lead are:
RED EARTH (Lip Gloss)
CHANEL (Lip Conditioner)
MARKET AMERICA-MOTNES LIPSTICK.
The higher the lead content, the greater the chance of causing cancer. After doing a test on lipsticks, it was found that the Y.S.L. lipstick contained the most amount of lead. Watch out for those lipsticks which are supposed to stay longer. If your lipstick stays longer, it is because of the higher content of lead.
Here is the test you can do yourself:
1. Put some lipstick on your hand.
2. Use a Gold ring to scratch on the lipstick.
3. If the lipstick color changes to black,
then you know the lipstick contains lead.
Please send this information to all your female family members and to those husbands who cares for her wife. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Dioxin. Carcinogens cause cancer, especially breast cancer.
When I was an eight year old, I got spanked by mother dear for sharpening her lipstick with a pencil sharpener!
I must have guessed, somewhere deep down, that a lipstick is as good as a pencil....:)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
They have issued a fatwa which states that a terrorist is not a muslim.
Hyderabad: In a significant move, about 6,000 ulema and Muftis from different parts of India on Saturday ratified the fatwa against terrorism issued by the Darul Uloom Deoband, the renowned seminary and Islamic academic centre.
“There is no relation whatsoever between Islam and terrorism. The two are poles apart.” That is the message the ulema sent out at the two-day, 29th national session of the Jamaiat-Ulama-i-Hind, which began here on Saturday. Jamiat leaders heading different State branches affixed their signatures endorsing the fatwa issued by grand mufti Habibur Rehman.
Read rest of the article here.
During the weekend wash we were told that blessed are they who live without a TV. I not only not have a TV at home, we live miles away from the theaters. So the only option is the occasional CD/DVD.
The reason that moving pictures are bad for us, we were told, is because anything more than 6 frames per second, the brain cannot process. It goes directly into the subconscious. It is like dream state, without awareness.
One way of getting out of the dream is to take a break every ten minutes of movie watching.
Another way is to blog a review after every film I see, whether I liked it or not. That way I at least get to know what went in.
Wednusday is a kadak movie. A common man becomes a terrorist. Well, not quite. He punishes only the deserving, not the public. Not through trial, but by a neatly planned blackmail strategy, in which the baddies are bombed.
Looking at it blogicaly, it does not seem the politically correct thing to do. We are a democracy, everyone deserves a trial. This is a basic human right that should not be questioned.
But when I was watching the film, I wanted the common man to succeed, I wanted to see them vilians all dead, and the common man to go scot free.
I, who blogs about 'talking to terrorists,' when I heard the terrorist introduce himself thus : 'Gujarat 2002. Fakr hai!' (I was a party to the violence in Gujarat in 2002, and I am proud of it.), I wanted him dead. Then and there. I had no desire left to talk to him.
However, we are talking about film viewing here. I wouldn't pull the trigger on a real man. Or would I?
More important, what effect will this film have on my child? I put him off to bed immediately after the film got over. Next time, I should ask him what he understood from a film.
Indeed, we are blessed that we don't have to worry about this everyday.
Having said all this, Wednesday is a chakachak movie. Naseer has done a brilliant job, as usual. His transformation from the terrorist to the common man holding a plastic bag full of vegetables is effortless. The adrenalin rush was non-stop.
But yes, I do feel like seeing a Shahrukh singing to a kajol.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
To stop smoking, we need an alternative cigarette. Or, an alternative to the cigarette.
So why do we smoke? Forget the chemical logic, nicotine high, etc. If you are stuck on logic, read the post below.
As I mentioned in the post below, spirituality is a physical fruit. Spiritual logic is experienced in the physical realm.
Yes, so why do we smoke? According to my brain wave, we smoke to 'feel' our throat. In fact, all addiction substances, give bliss (temporarily). Smoking gives bliss through the throat, which is the seat of the vishuddhi chakra.
Here is what they explained about the Vishuddhi chakra:
The visuddhi chakra is the sense of uniqueness that all of us have. A well developed Vishudhi gives rise to poetry, performance, excellence, art.
A jealous attitude, born out of constant comparison blocks this chakra. Competition among school kids is no good for vishuddhi.
What is more relevant here, is that Vishuddhi is also the tap to the cosmic reservoir of energy.
If you have ever been on a long trek, or a walking pilgrimage, you might have seen old people who had knee problems, and did not walk much at home, also walking. Right to the top. With all the youngsters. Ever wondered where they get the energy from? God gives it to them, yes. But from where? From the Visuddhi chakra!
And they don't talk or sing, at the most they chant repeatedly. Which means, their attention is not diverted to meanings and words of songs or chatter, but to the rhythm of their breath. And, whenever we are stressed physically, the throat constricts slightly and our breathing deepens. All for the tap opening of the Vishuddhi.
The ultimate result? Thoughts slow down. Bliss.
So if you want to stop smoking, try this experiment. Next time the hand moves to the packet, start deep breathing, and put all your attention on the throat. If this doesn't work, do some spot walking, then spot running, without taking your mind off your throat, never mind the others. And if this still doesn't work, do an ASP to get the real feel of what I am talking about.
Truthfully speaking, though, I stopped smoking from the time I got his hug. My very own Mountain.
Monday, November 3, 2008
But why am I talking about water as a lover?
Because I feel very clean today. Like a car taken to the garage for servicing feels after the strong shower. No, that's not correct. A car is washed only from outside.
I feel cleaned from inside.
Spirituality is a physical thing. It is an apple. It has to be bitten into, to get the juice.
Ok, I just attended a two days meditation course at Nithyananda Meditation center. It's called ASP, short for Ananda Spurna Programme. We were given a notepad and I scribbled everything I could. But today I am too clean to open the pad. SO I will just give you some tag words, if you ask I will go into details.
Chakras, why some chakras don't work, which attitude will make them spin, seven meditation techniques for all seven chakras to balance, mahamantra, humming, stretching, spot walking to spot jumping (this one was incredible), making friends with darkness, gibberish, TPS - thoughts per second, etc.
We were twenty of us, and the teacher was a beautiful man who talked non-stop for two days and neither of us got tired. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can go into the basics with a fresh, crystal clarity.
Here is an excerpt : Anaahat chakra, everyone knows, is near the heart. And Heart is synonymous with love. In all languages. Unconditional love expands this chakra. And what is the opposite of that? Its attention seeking. When attention is equated to love, (something I do all the time with hubby), the heart chakra diminishes.
When a person feels a lack of attention, which she interprets as lack of love, over-eating can happen, to fill the vacuum. So attention sucking is what blocks the anaahat chakra.
Ajna chakra, between the eyebrows, is the seat of the ego.There are three kinds of egos's
1.that which is born out of wealth
2.that which is based on intelligence, logic
3.the spiritual ego.
Money ego is easily dissolved, for money is the most ephemeral.
smart ego is much harder to bend.
and the holier than thou will never take the dip.
And so, it is the perfectionist who blocks her ajna chakra by doing everything right.
And the sloppy ones get away scot free.
Blessed , therefore, are the meek, the dirty, the stupid, the flexible, the idiots, the infidels, the happy-go-lucky, .....
But what is so delightful is the lightness of being, the clean and soft and supple breath that makes me feel like a new body and a new mind.
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is the name of a documentary film made by my good friend and senior (FTII), Shayamal Karmarkar. Before I talk of the film, I gotta talk about Shyamalda. Long back, when I was studying in the Institute, there was a strike and I was in my hometown. Once you have started a life in the Insti, being forced to be home doing nothing was synonymous to being apart from a new lover. Those were the days before emails, cell phones, I think we didnt even have a landline then.
And I got a card from Shaymal. I do not remember the contents of the card. What I cannot forget, is that, on the top-right corner of the envelope, instead of a stamp, was a sketch of Shyamal himself. He had so expertly printed it, with zig-zag edge on all sides, that the post-office had literally stamped the round black thappa on it, without realizing that this aint no stamp.
So up here are Shyamol and his heroine, Ranu. Ranu Gayan. She thinks she is very beautiful. And this makes her so. It's that simple.
And, as is obvious from the photograph, Shyamal thinks, no he feels her beauty. So he shot with her for six years, and made a film, seeing which, even I am smitten. In fact, I started the film again after it finished, because I wanted to continue looking at her.
A few years ago, in the boys hostel of FTII, when I told him that I am Ramakrishna's fan, Shyamal had confessed that he comes from the same family as the master. Like an idiot, I touched Shyamals feet, much to the embarrassment of all the folks around, including Shyamal. Afterwards, I thought, Shyamal is such a nalayak, he must have lied. I regreted touching his feet.
One of the nicest aspects of Sri Ramankrishna is the sweet sweet way he treated women. Although he was celibate, he was most loving to his wife. He never called her 'tu', but always refered to her as 'tumhi'. (Ok, that was a marathi translation, but I am no bengali, and yes, I still own Ramakrishna.) And, when Ramakrishna was sent to a umm, prostitute, he bowed down to her and said that she is Kali herself. It seems they wanted his spiritual madness to 'come down' a little, but the fellow was too far gone into samadhi.
This is a concept that has been used in many a film, but it has always remained a superficial gesture. No film maker ever came ten feet close to the original.
Till now. 'I am the very beautiful' is a film in which Shyamal has bowed to us women. As we are.
And why not, for we are the very beautiful.
I have no idea where this film is available, I got it from the HOD of a film departmnet. Maybe you can ask Shyamal? Pasting below some words that introduce the film.
I' M THE VERY BEAUTIFUL!
The film follows a man-woman relationship, the woman incidentally being an "international" bar singer by profession and the man a film maker and also, the director of the film.
If a human being is the best plot, then Ranu is one thick plot. Over the past 6 years of filming, she has moved from one relationship to another, from one home and even one country to another. After an extremely modest upbringing in a refugee family, an abduction, a child, suicide attempts and many failed relationships later, Ranu is a total contrast to Shyamal who is well educated, well to do and of course, well respected.
Where Ranu's predicament as a poor exploited beer bar singer "inspires" a film maker to make a film, the filming of 6 odd years makes it quite clear that she knows her way around in the "male world". In a life, full of men and stories, the director is being just one among the many. But the relationship grows with the film as the two accept each other despite moral archetypes and the film ultimately, turns out to be a sign of their trust and respect for each other as human beings.
The film is a compassionate view of the struggles and dreams of a woman perceived as an outcast and also in which the film maker dares to bare his own dilemmas.
Director: Shyamal Kumar Karmakar firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer: Sanghamitra Karmakar email@example.com
Camera: Satya Prakash Rath & Gnana Sekara
Sound: Pritam Das & Bobby John
Edit: Namrata Rao
Music: Chiradip Das Gupta
Thursday, October 30, 2008
First, click on the play button. The bottom one, next to the line.
You will see a circle going round round in the middle of the frame. Wait for a few seconds, till you hear a sound. As soon as you hear a sound, click on the play button quickly, so that it becomes a pause button, and then again becomes play, after changing color. If you stare at the place next to the button, you should see a red (or any deep) colour spreading towards the right. If this happens, well done. Now your video is getting buffered. Till this happens, keep clicking the play button, it will work only if you click when the sound is heard.
Another sign that your video is getting buffered is that the circular dots in the center of the screen disappear. And the video stops playing.
Wait for a few minutes till the complete line is coloured, This means your video is buffered. A Buffered video is something that plays continuously. Streamlined. Whatever.
Oh, by the way, I learnt this method through trial and error, so I might have got the technical bits all mixed up.
Sometimes, it is not possible to display a video (because the embed code is not available), but a link is given. Click on the link, you will go to you-tube directly, and play stop play till the video gets buffered, the same as above. You can search for your old favourite songs on you tube and do time pass all day.
And if you want the 'link' to the video even if it is posted on the blog, double click on the image, you will go to the you tube page and the url on top is the link.
This is an Abida song that is played quite often in Osho Ashram at Mehsana. I love dancing to it.
And How TO Comment on a Blog
If you feel like commenting, click on 'commnets' below the post, another page will open, write your praise or blame in the box, then dont forget to type in the wierd letters in the small box below, then enter your name, you dont have to be a blogger to comment, and click on Publish.
I also teach how to start a blog, but for that I will charge. My fees are, one comment on my blog per week for an year.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Watch this video if you are interested in learning meditation. This is the beauty of the Internet. The master comes home to teach you, and you don't even have to wash his feet.
It is usually Pavan's job to get the ironed clothes.
'He has gone to Delhi. For Diwali.' I reply.
'Oh, you didn't go?' he asks.
'New job, no. Wont get leave.' I crib.
'And brother? He also gone?'
'Yes, Papa also gone.'
'So sad. Very sad.' he sympathizes, as he hands over the clothes.
Walking back home, my cell busses. It's a friend.
'Hi sweetie.... You are all alone on Diwali?...Why didn't you go with your family?' she asks, after the preliminaries.
'Come on, I need a Diwali break yaar. Some time to be with myself, to reflect, to meditate...'
'Man, you are a very different type of person. I really admire you...'
As I open my door, the cell comes to life again. Its mom.
'Happy Diwali, Ai.' I say.
'Happy Independence week, shona!' she says. I laugh. You can fool the world, but you can't fool mother dear.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
It was the first song of my life, after nursery rhymes. The first song to become a set of lyrics, and meanings, and thoughts that evoked feelings. I had no idea, at that time, that songs were written and composed and sung by different people. Which is why, even today when I hear this song, it is the boy sitting on the cycle who sings, not for me, but for himself, and that is so very gut wrenching.
DON'T ACT THE 7 ACTIONS BELOW
AFTER YOU HAVE A MEAL
* Don't smoke- Experiment from experts proves that smoking a cigarette after meal is comparable to smoking 10 cigarettes (chances of cancer is higher).
* Don't eat fruits immediately - Immediately eating fruits after meals will cause stomach to be bloated with air. Therefore take fruit 1-2 hr after meal or 1hr before meal.
* Don't drink tea - Because tea leaves contain a high content of acid. This substance will cause the Protein content in the food we consume to be hardened thus difficult to digest.
* Don't loosen your belt - Loosening the belt after a meal will easily cause the intestine to be twisted & blocked.
* Don't bathe - Bathing after meal will cause the increase of blood flow to the hands, legs & body thus the amount of blood around the stomach will therefore decrease. This will weaken the digestive system in our stomach.
* Don't walk about - People always say that after a meal walk a hundred steps and you will live till 99. In actual fact this is not true. Walking will cause the digestive system to be unable to absorb the nutrition from the food we intake.
* Don't sleep immediately - The food we intake will not be able to digest properly. Thus will lead to gastric & infection in our intestine.
This was an email forwarded. Below is my addition.
Instead, have a cup of hot water, and chat for five ten minutes.
The young man from Bihar who got killed in the recent violence perpetuated by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sainiks in Mumbai. It seems he had come to give an entrance test.
I am reminded of a poem written by my sister, Rajashree.
A Sardar is a fool, and a militant one at that,
A Hindu is a cunning bigot, scheming to squash out all other religions,
Images I can see, each time instead of seeing a man,
Images I must see, each time I have a knife in my hand.
Friday, October 24, 2008
But today as I walked towards the office holding the umbrella for dear life, it started pouring like nobody's business. I started cursing my stupidity for not taking an auto rickshaw, while the trucks happily sprayed me with the muddy water.
After a while, though, the cursing and cribbing became in tune with the rain drops. And then I started singing. Rain drops have such a heart throbbing rhythm, it is impossible not to sing. Even when I finally got into an auto I continued to hum.
And it was perfectly natural for the driver to hum along.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
'Surprise me. Some thing from your downloaded collection.'
We started with 'City of lost children.' In less than five minutes, I was cribbing again.
'This is too scary. Lets see something else no, please.'
'Ok, lets see this one. Its a very good film from Cuba. It's called, 'The Lost City. This was about Feidel Castro's time.'
About ten minutes later, I gave up. 'I cant understand a word from the dialogues. And I am in no shape for a revolution. Can we see something more feminine, please?'
'Wtf. You think I am a TV remote?'
'Please, please, pretty please.' I begged.
'You are a fake. I don't believe you are from FTII. You don't have the patience to watch a good movie,' he complained, but he didn't leave the bedroom with his laptop.
'Ok, this is your last chance. It's an Oscar winner. Juno. About a teenage girl in US getting pregnant.'
'Lets try.' I said, yawning.
Maybe ten minutes, maybe fifteen, and the sleep flew out the window.
Juno. A sixteen year old who chickens out from an abortion and decides to give her baby for adoption. Digs into a newspaper to look for ads from childless couples, and selects which ones seem the most cool. And then tell her parents that she is pregnant. And then they go meet the adoptive parents. A couple who have not been able to conceive for the last five years. A woman who feels she is 'born to be a mother.'
They sign a contract. The couple will pay for the medical expenses, and the baby will go to them.
What a beautiful arrangement. Somehow, it seemed so very cool. I always thought surrogate mothers were like, strange women, till I saw this film. It is a service, carrying a babe for someone else. Hats off.
The plot moves well, its not all malai shakkar. Some poignant moments, and very well developed characters. The casting is almost as good as the script.
What was worth admiration, was the universal flavor that got preserved in spite of the American touch.
Here is the trailer of the film.
And if you want to down load it, go to www.thepiratebay.org. Gosh, I must be a fake. I am suggesting piracy.
In fact, I am sure an Indian version is on the way. Infertility and teenage pregnancy is too juicy
a combination to be let off by our masala directors.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
And there the happiness ended.
Why is it always so painful, right from Gone with the wind, to Bridgett Jones Diary, to watch a film and have the story constantly conflicting with the audio visuals? Why cant I let go ? Or, why doesn't the book let go? In fact, it is the film maker inside who has a strong sense of good and bad. Who is alive, and kicking. So, good, kick away ma'am.
The book, One night at a call center, (on which this film is based), starts with Chetan himself, a successful writer who meets a beautiful woman on a train journey from Ahmedabad to New Delhi (or was it Mumbai?) and she tells him the entire story. Train, night journey, writer, meeting a stranger, all very cinematic, very romantic elements. All squashed.
Writer is a rock star, or is he a film star, or is he a film maker? Its Salman Khan, coming off a helicopter, and taking off his shirt (not again!) for the party number. And the meeting happens in front of a helicopter showroom, with four bodyguards guarding the hero. Dhat teri, Chetan! You wrote this script?
The rest of the film was okay, but my heart was elsewhere. My heart was in black and white cinema, where they take the couple on a boat with the moonlight and create an intensity stronger than color. I cried for today's generation who works in artificial lights instead of vitamin A (sunlight). I ached for some mountains and fresh air, at least on the screen. I craved for tall people, for handsome men, for a real fist fight. These guys on the screen were too much like us. They reminded me of my malnourished self, the one that goes to an office, or smiles at her boss, or throws things around when angry.
'Are we watching a TV serial? On a big screen?' Hubby asked me, during interval.
'If it was a TV serial, you wouldn't have needed to shut the kids eyes during the love making scene,' I told him.
The last straw came when God's voice was male. Now I am no feminist, but this was an element that had troubled me in the book. The book got away with being vague about God's sex, at least during the phone call. I was willing to bet it would be a female voice, because the writer is met by a woman on the train. Even in the film, Katrina Kaif is a woman, right? Chauvinist pigs, you Hello makers. What would have gone of your father, if for once you did something for your mother?
Of course, what God said didn't turn me on, either. No Advaita, only positive thinking, and encouragement. Sillier than the self help books.
And if you have the guts to show god in your film, why does the reaction to discovering that she is a god have to be so cool? Like, sure, Salmaan is so sexy that goddesses comes to tell him stories and then do the vanishing act once every fortnight. Or does he have a low blood count?
Anyway, here is the trailer.
And this is Chetan's response to the reviews of Hello.