Saturday, December 19, 2009

cloud of cotton

is a simile for the writers block.

In the creative writing class today, I said that the writers block, in fact, is something to be worshiped rather than feared.

'Why?' asked the once burnt student, someone who has really faced the goddess.

because, I said, the writers block is the womb of all that is written. It is the source of inspiration.

just like cotton is the mother of thread, a writers block is the space where words are so pure that they don't even have an identity yet.

before a word became thread, it was shapeless, like a cloud of cotton.

but it was.

it existed.

if only

we could give up

our clothes and float


clouds of cotton.

if you don't get this, don't worry. enjoy this song.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And I am now a teacher

Film maker to novelist to school teacher. Each jump has been quite exiting, I must admit. Creatively exhaustive.

I used to say that I was the happiest when I wrote the novel. But when I stand in a class and look at the fresh and alive stream of naughty kids, sometimes I feel on top of the world. Sometimes teaching happens in a flow so gushing, all I can feel is grateful.

Teaching children is a calling. I am so so glad I answered the call.

That I didn't wait for the elusive next birth before I simplified my life. :) Smarter than Einstein, aren't I?

Here is a sample of what happens in my class.

The lesson in the English text book (class 5), is, 'A flash of light.'

A frenchman, on a cold night, offers some money to a blind beggar. The beggar tells him that he has given him a frank instead of a sou. The man is astonished that a blind man can tell the difference so quickly and the flash of light spurs the birth of Braille.

Student: Can we also learn braille?

Teacher: Well, it is possible, but it will take you longer than those who are blind.

Student: Why Miss?

Teacher: Because, their sense of touch is more developed.

Student: Why Miss?

Teacher: ............................................(after a long pause).........

Home work: Blind fold yourselves under supervision and walk around in your house for ten minutes and write the experience.

Next day:

Student 1 : I stepped on my brothers feet and he hit me.

Teacher writes on the board: Difficulties with siblings

Student 2: My mother was worried that I might fall.

Board: Anxious parents

Student 3: Miss, I did not blindfold myself totally. I cheated a bit. I was scared.

Board: Fear

Student 4 : Miss, I walked around a bit, using my hands to guide me.

Board: Hands become eyes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Einstein is now a plumber

By the end of his life, Albert Einstein started believing in rebirth. To refresh your memory about Einstein, he is the same scientist who gave us the equation E = mc2
and told us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. He also had a driver who was very smart, and who made it to my blog here.

So at the end of his life, Einstein was in a hospital, sick, in bed. His chelas asked him,

'Master, what will you be in your next life? How will we find you?'

'I will be a plumber!' said Albert.

'What? A plumber? Why?' they asked, in a chorus.

'Yes, I want to be a plumber in my next life. I have given out a few truths to the world, but to be very honest, I lied to myself.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by plumbers. But my mother, then my school, and later the entire society gave me the idea that I was made for other things, and I went along. The fact is, I am still fascinated by plumbers and in my next life I am going to be a plumber. I have had enough of science and blah blah blah. Goodbye.'

So if you see a plumber whistling as he works, stop by and take a pause. Here could be a man who has relinquished the rat race after winning it. Here is a person who is happy just to be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Narmade Har!

He wore white, and carried just one more pair of clothes. He wasn't barefoot, he wore slippers, but by the end of it he had blisters on his feet. He begged for food, but no, he was not a sanyasi. He was on one of the most beautiful pilgrimages I have ever dreamed of : walking around the deep and serene Narmada Ma. The enchanting and the mysterous Goddess on earth, Shiva's daughter, blessed with eternal beauty.

A dear friend of a dear friend.

When he came home, I felt like touching his feet and I did.

These are a few of the stories he shared with me, that I share with my pen.

'My daily schedule was to get up at four, take a dip in the river, start walking. By ten, the sun would be scorching, so take a break. If you are tired, take some rest in a temple or a school courtyard. Then by sunset, again take a dip in the water and start walking. If you see an ashram on way that apeals to you, stay for a couple of days to meditate.

Begging for food has a style. You go to people's homes and say, 'Narmade Har!' I never once went hungry. People served me with so much love, and devotion, and the trust was the most amazing thing... none ever asked me my name.

And the families were so poor, they had barely enough food for themselves. But they all consider it their duty to feed us, the parikrama vasis, because we are doing something for Narmada maiiya.

All of them have an unshakable faith and devotion for the maiya. "Maiya degi," (Mother will provide), they would say, if I asked them how they would manage.

In the beginning, I thought, I will give it back to them. I will come back in a car with gifts for everyone... and I felt good with such thoughts. But later I realized, thats not the point. I have to become them. I have to carry the heart of India to its cities.

Their is of cource the physical aspect, the grandeur, the beauty of the river. But the effect on the being is deep. Something happens to you. There are days when you have to walk a few kilometers off the river, when you cannot see it.

And thats when the Mother aspect dawns on you, when you begin to yearn for it like you yearned for your mother when
you were a child.

One day, it was around four in the evening. I had been walking for days without a glance of the Maiya, and suddenly, she was there. I started running towards it, and suddenly a sadhu stopped me . He said, 'Go and call your mother. Right now.'

So I hunted for a cellphone in the village and called my mom. She was kind of missing me, and was glad to speak to me. I was also happy to connect to her.

And then I entered the water, as the sun was going down. It was so so beautiful, the way I was welcomed by its warmth.

The next morning I sought out the sadhu. He had a kutiya by the river and he had two cows.

For a half hour we just sat silently, by the flowing river. Then he told me his story. His mother passed away when he was seven. Thereon he was with his master, in a gurukul. When he was seventeen, he attained to the state of contentment. And he asked his master, 'Tell me what to do now, so that I may spread the word.'

His master took him to the cowshed of the gurukul and pointed to two newborn calves. 'Take them with you and look after them as if you are their mother. Thats all you need to do.' And thats all he does. He has a kutiya with these two cows by the river.

'Don't ever forget your mother, the one who cared for you. It is because my mother is no more that I am here. Take care of your mother. Give her her due.' the sadhu told me. (to be continued)

Paa : a quick review

Its been a long time since I reviewed a movie on this blog. Thats because these days I find movie watching tiring.

Yes, to be honest, Paa was also a movie that made my blood all jammed up by the end of it. But still, it was a movie worth watching.

Surprisingly, it was not disgusting. Amitabh plays a kid who has the body of an old man, and an enlarged, venous head. And yet, and yet, he manages, to steal your heart.

Humorous dialogues, dubbing, treatment, co-actors, and camera work get the credit. The mis-en--scene. Not Amitabh. Because one doesn't ever see him. not even his eyes remind you of the star.

All you can see is a naughty child who calls his granny Bum and has an attitude of a regular kid.

At the most, a kid with a good dialogue writer behind him.

Here is account of how BIG B became Auro:

The most Herculean task about the latest release PAA was transforming a 67-year old Amitabh Bachchan into 13-year old child Auro, suffering from a
rare disorder called progeria.

The prosthetic makeup, as we know, has been done by Hollywood's Christien Tinsley (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, CATWOMAN) and Dominie Till (THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY).

According to the reports Bachchan's make-up cost 10 per cent of the total
budget. It is learnt that it used to take four to five hours daily for Amitabh
Bachchan's makeup to be done for his film PAA.

Not only this, if it used to take four hours to put on the make-up then two
hours to remove it. There are eight different layers of clay which has been put in his make up in the film.

While applying the make up he could not eat, drink and talk for four hours. Most of the performance comes out because of the make up.

Big B wore specially designed dentures so as to effortlessly replicate the
voice of a 13-year old child.He gets a lisp and his speech pattern gets altered because of the extra teeth. He wore the dentures throughout the film's shooting and also had them on while dubbing.

Infact he has also sung a song in his voice wearing these dentures, which
sounds like a child. But Big B never ever showed a sign of panic, on the contrary he was always co-operative, patient, cool and full of enthusiasm.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A vain wife and a petrified husband

'Who do I remind you of? Sushmita or Aishwarya?' wife asks hubby.

'You remind me of Nutan.' he says.

'What! But Nutan's ancient! wife wails.

'No, I meant the Nutan of Mother India.' hubby says.

'There was no Nutan in Mother India. There was Nargis. I remind you of Nargis?'

Now hubby is even more scared.

'No, you remind me of Madhubala.'

'Oh I see. Which movie did Madhubala act in?'

'That I don't remember.' he finally stops lying.

'Do you remember my face at least?'

'Oh yes I do. How to forget ones most intimate enemy?'

being physical, is the new spiritual

breathe in and out through the twenty one points of your body: all the twenty fingers and toes, and the top of your head. feel the weight of your body, not the mind. It is the weight of the mind that tires, not weight of the body. Weight of the body refreshes you. (!).

all suffering is suffering. fullstop. do not make your suffering sacred, because then you will not be able to leave it.

all suffering is due to your stupidity. all you need is a little intelligence. ( ! )

here the process is like this: from bliss to bliss to bliss to bliss! fullstop,

whatever low mood you might have is because of you only.

all the techniques and meditations are meant to get you in the physical plane, so that it can be transmitted to you. thats all.

be physical. give up all your ideas of being a soul, light, and what not. relax.

all i need from you, is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. be physical. just be physical. be with the body. continuously breathe in and out through all the twenty one points. (I did this, it is fantastic!) be inside your skin.

visualization and fantasy is the same. humbleness is a refined ego. education polishes the ego.

this body is cooked, boiled and available in the physical plane.

I say this without humility or bragging. I am here to share Jeevan Mukthi.

Swami Nithyanandas latest video. Experience all dimensions of Living Enlightenment.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Whose dust is it?

Words from the Master

Posted: 27 Nov 2009 02:16 AM PST

Another story:
God and all the scientists of the world had a meeting and a competition.
Whatever item that God made, the scientists reproduced it identically out of some material. The scientists were able to reproduce things with no problem.

Finally, God made man out of dust and challenged the scientists.
The scientists started to pick up dust…
God said, “Wait! Make it out of your dust, not mine!”

Man has to understand that Existence is the creator, the created and the creation. Only then can he simply start enjoying things without a care. Only then can he relinquish possession and doer-ship.

So understand: When you change your attitude from seeking discontentment, worries and depression, to seeking the present with gratitude, you will automatically be able to harness the energy of Existence better. You will then be able to appreciate Existence better and gratitude will then become your attitude.

This excerpt has been taken from the book: Guaranteed Solutions.

love vs non-violence

The only other time I have heard the sound of Pali is by S. N. Goenka, during the Vipassanna meditation binge.

Pali was spoken at the time of Buddha and Mahaveera. Both of them spoke in Pali, because they wanted to reach the masses.

I don't know if Swami Nithyananda understands Pali, but he utters it here as if it were his mother tongue. Something comes through and touches your core.

Swami translates from the Pali to English, and interprets the Jain sutras here, on non-violence as being better than love.

Love, at some point, can become possessive and may turn violent.

Non-violence, on the other hand, is a deeper promise.

"I will not hurt you."

We keep saying we love each other, and we keep swaying between caring and neglecting, between affection and shouting.

If only we could say, 'I will not hurt myself,' all else will fall in place.

If we start with non-violence, love will happen as a by-product. Because we start with love, we mess up.

....., etc,....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bliss Bytes

Deep patience and the decision to wait is what I call surrender.

Don't control your body. Just trust its intelligence.

With pure love, you can awaken even a stone.

If you consciously relax your unconscious, you will transform.

All great shrines are resonant with the Existential energy.

Listening itself can lead to enlightenment.

~Paramahamsa Nithyananda

Sunday, November 22, 2009

when will the saree arize?

This post is for the fashion dadas and dadis. Please consider my request, give it a thought, this might be the next fashion statement.

My grandmother always wore her saree six inches above the ground. My mothers sarees don't sweep the floor either. My uncle gets his trousers stitched six inches above the floor.

None of us ever wear heels, we prefer going barefoot, or as near the earth as possible. We love walking, and we like to walk with our hands free. We like to feel free. We love to run. We like to be open to the possibility of skipping down the stairs.

I like to be able to pick up a babe from the arms of an exasperated mom. I like to put my brat in the hand cart and run. He likes me to chase him around, even though he has proven it time and again that he is faster.

And, I also like the feel of a saree. I love the fact that a saree is an integrated attire, it does not separate parts of the body into fragments.

Then why do people, mostly women, keep telling me to pull down my saree? Do they want me to trip? No? Then why?

If everything else is arising, when will the saree lift itself a little from the shackles of fashion? Trust me, the saree will come back into fashion if it shows a little ankle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speech on Childrens day

I am to give a five minute speech on Children's day in a school. This is what I want to say to them:

Happy Children's day, all of you. And I mean, all of you, all of us.

I find children's day very very special. Do you know why? Because the child in me also celebrates. All of us, including grown ups, have the child within us. Childhood is common to all of us. We are still our parents children, and to God, all of us are his children, aren't we? From the youngest child to the oldest teacher, all of us here are God's children. On this day, let us say hello to the child within us. This day is an opportunity to deeply and truly connect with the child within all of us, and so I wish everyone a very happy children's day.

All of us have heard the phrase, Laughter is the best medicine, isn't it? So do you think it is true? Is laughter really the best medicine? If you go to the doctor for a stomach ache, does he prescribe laughter? have you ever seen a prescription that says, ten minutes of loud laughter, three times daily, followed by a glass of water? Laugh for ten days and then come back to report to me? He should, no?

The fact is, if you have a stomach ache, you will be too morose to laugh, isn't it? But seriously, have you ever tried to laugh off a sickness? Is there anyone here who has a headache or a stomach ache? Children are always getting hurt, no? No one has any aches or pains?

Ok, let us do this experiment. Let us see if laughter is the best medicine.

Once upon a time, there was a teacher in a school. The teacher asked her student,
'How do you spell crocodile?'
'Krokodile.' the student replied.
'But that is the wrong spelling.' the teacher scolded the student.
'Maybe, but you asked me how I spell it.' the student replied cheekily.

One day, the boy asked his teacher,
'Miss, would you punish someone for something he has not done?'
'Of course not.' said the teacher.
'Good. Because I did not do my homework.'

The school is gone on a Himalayan trip. They see a lot of sheep walking about in the mountains.
Then the teacher asks the students, 'How many sheep does it take to make one sweater?'
The student looks baffled. 'I didn't even know they could knit.' he says, wonder-struck.

'So, are you enjoying the scenery?' the teacher asks his students in the Himalayas.
'Yes, Sir, but the Mountains sometimes block our view.'

Now you are laughing at this joke. But if you laugh like this whenever you are in trouble, when you are fighting with each other, when you get hurt, if you include laughter in all your daily activities, it will keep your energy level high, it will keep your lungs clean, and, most important, it will keep you connected to God.

God has made this world for us to be happy. Imagine, if God looks down and sees his children laughing, how will He feel?

God loves laughter. In fact, god has given us the gift of laughter as a secret healing tool. If you laugh continuously for five to ten minutes, your sickness will go away. Always add laughter to your life, it will make you feel light.

There is scientific evidence that proves that regular, long spells of laughter can bring down your blood pressure. Deep belly laughter releases endorphins, the feel good chemicals in your brain.

How many of you have a small statue of the laughing Buddha in your homes? How does he laugh? He has a big belly, doesn't he? And his mouth is open. He has a bag flung over his shoulder. The bag signifies that he is a wondering monk. and how does he stand? With his hands in the sky, like this. What does this posture mean to you? Where else have you seen this posture? Did you know, what this laughing Buddha do all day? And why did he get the name, the laughing Buddha?

He walked from one town to another town, stood in the market place right in the center of the main square where everyone could see him, threw up his hands and laughed and laughed and laughed.

People stared at him, wondering if he is a mad man. But he laughed so beautifully, without any hesitation, without a care in the world, that they also started laughing. Soon the entire market place was laughing. The people who went back home couldn't get over the site of the laughing Buddha. Each time they would remember him, they would laugh. And, because they had laughed so much, the entire village was in a light, happy mood.

The laughing Buddha never uttered a word to anyone, he was in silence. His only job was to laugh.

A small story from a book called Guaranteed Solutions, written by my master, Swami Nithyananda.

Once, there was a conference of Buddhist monks on the meaning of true spirituality.
Each monk went up to the stage and gave a long speech. Finally, it was the turn of a zen monk to speak.
He went on the stage and simply started laughing. He laughed and laughed, from his being. The laughter just rose from his belly. he started shaking uncontrollably with laughter.

And his laughter was so infectious that all the others also started laughing, without even knowing why.
Without their being aware of it, the monks produced a huge wave of positive energy in the room. The monks reached a state of tremendous elevation.

Their thinking was shattered and their being was filled with bliss.
The zen monk finally spoke: 'This is true spirituality.'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

barefoot, and bareheaded

Because I am yet to meet other barefooted souls in my neighborhood, I became a member of a barefooters group that shares their experiences with bare-footing online! You will be surprised to know how many people on the earth feel so passionately about bare footing that they need to type it down!

Here is one interesting mail I recently read in the SBL (Society for Barefoot Living) Digest that resonated deeply.

I am a religious leader, a priestess of the Craft.

Being barefoot is part of my connection with the Earth, not cutting myself off, not insulating myself. It's standard for us to remove shoes to go in sacred space, as in many other faiths.

I also value being bareheaded except when it's very cold or thick rain - light rain is nice. My head is touched by air currents, sky, the heavens, the Above of the sacred, mirroring the Below sacred of my feet on the deep Earth..

I once had a problem when talking of doing an interfaith talk at a mosque. To Muslims it is important for women to cover the head in sacred space. This comes from the submission of women to hide themselves, to cover the sexuality of hair, and contrasts with the bareheaded male whose head is open to the sky/ the divine.

Well of course I could not "cover my head in shame." Nor could I go in their sacred space and insult their faith by ignoring their idea of courtesy. I compromised by wearing a wreath of leaves which from all sides looked like my head was covered but from Above the crown of my head was bare.

I don't know of any religious space where it's a problem being barefoot. Though there are some dubious customs around footwashing which represent doing something filthy to express "humility" that is to crush or deny the self. Washing the feet of lepers, or the very poor was historically a symbol of humility for kings and I think the pope still does it.

Psychologically the feet are the furthest from the dominating brain. So they have the greatest degree of freedom from our controlling ideas of being 'proper' or 'correct.' Feet therefore sometimes express the inner self going against what we feel we "ought" to be/ think/ do. It would be nice of footwashing could be a revaluing of the gentle freedom loving feet.

In terms of the spiritual gates of the self, going from head down to feet, feet are the patient 'footsoldiers' the hardworking, simple side of the self. Which sometimes betrays surprising signals of the inner child/ freedom self.

Friday, October 30, 2009

'Teaching in a school,

is more difficult than teaching in a college.' she said. Yup, she is a school teacher. Who 'tested' me today as I gave my first 'demonstration class' in a school, where I may join as an English teacher ( :) ), if I pass the test.

And, she was right. Teaching in a school, one has to go down to their level. I thought being a mother has prepared me, but a classroom is different.

I taught the poem, 'The road not taken,' by Robert Frost. And went hoarse trying to explain to them again and again that the road less traveled is not a geographical location, but a path, a method, a career.

To begin with, city kids these days know not what a 'wood' means. They don't know what a 'grassy road that wants wear' is, cos they have never stepped on one. So sad.

When I asked them to name a different career, they couldn't go beyond Doctor, Engineer, Journalist, Air-hostess. One boy wanted to be an Astronaut. Why are all of them going away from the earth?

And yet, and yet and yet. Why am I feeling so happy? Because twenty kids were raising their hands saying 'Miss! Miss!'?

'Are you going to be our new teacher, Miss?'

Although I have no idea, I gave them a homework: Write a four line poem.

'Our own poem, Miss?'

'Yes, darling. Your very own, fresh poem.'

'So do I pass the test? Do I get the job?' I asked the senior Miss.

'Well, I could tell that you enjoyed yourself. We shall call you on Monday to let you know.' She said, with a sweet sweet smile.

Those of you who want more posts about teaching in a school, pray for me do.

As for me, I know whatever is best will happen. Inshaallaah.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Play the video do

My mother is a smart lady. She is the first software programmer of India. Ok, one of the first. And yet, she knows not how to play the videos on my blog. So either I will have to transcribe all of them for her sake, which is not a bad idea, but then we lose out on the cinematic experience, Mom.

I told her to search for 'how to play a you tube video' on my blog, but she says she is too lazy to even do that.

So this post is dedicated to her and to other blog-lazy group of duffers.

Coincidently, this post is almost exactly one year old.

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 old Sunil Dutt and Nutan song sung by Mukesh.

I saw this movie with Aai, long long back. I remember that she noticed how softly Sunil Dutt sits on the floor near Nutans bed as he sings her to sleep.

You taught me to appreiciate this stuff, Aai, called body language and all that. So please play the videos on my blog, do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

user freindly children

Are your kids friendly to you? Can you live with them? Are they user friendly or do they bite?

We have made our children 'employable'. They are useful to society but are they caring? Are they, spiritually smart?

Also, what kind of children are we? Do we really spend time with our elders? Are our parents happy with us? Are we happy with ourselves?

Yes, these are heavy questions, and I might have spoiled your mood.

So please watch this video and lighten up.

This discourse contains vision laid out by living enlightened master Paramahamsa Nithyananda. In this discourse Swamiji talks about how bringing up the kids with the principles of the ancient vedic system, he has been successful in creating and embedding principles of Jivan Mukthi in children. Swamiji, at this discourse laid the framework for establishing 108 Nithyananda Vidyalayas where education will teach life skills and employable skills in an integrated fashion

'Swami Vivekananda says that if you can tell a four year old the great vedantic truths of jeevan mukti, he will be able to accept and understand them.

The reason we do not teach children about spirituality is not because they cant understand it, its because we don't know how (or even what ) to teach it.

True secularism is not is rejecting all religions, but in accepting all religions.'

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Film Appreciation Course in Mumbai

This is for my younger sister, Rajashree, a bestselling novelist (Trust me) and award winning film maker (Rebel).

Film Appreciation course in Mumbai

Deepen your understanding of Cinema with a month-long course in film
appreciation and the history of Cinema in India and the rest of the
world. Conducted by an award-winning filmmaker and bestselling novelist
who has taught at FTII, Pune, and some of the best film schools in

This course is suitable for:
• Film buffs
• People who are interested in film-making. (While this is not a course
that teaches you how to make films, a knowledge of the basics of FA and
the history of cinema would definitely help film-makers.
E.g.,cinematographers won't learn how to light up a set, but they would
benefit from seeing the way low-key, high-contrast lighting was used in
German Expressionist films. )
• Film journalists and critics
• Students and teachers of mass communications and the arts FACULTY

Rajashree’s been a film buff since she was a kid – she once stood in a
line for five hours to get tickets for Sholay. She studied film
appreciation at the National Film Archive of India. She has been
working in Bombay after learning direction at the Film and Television
Institute of India, Poona. She’s assisted Mansoor Khan and Sanjay Leela
Bhansali. A film she wrote and directed, The Rebel, was screened at
many film festivals, and won the National Award and the Golden Ten
Award. Her critically acclaimed first book, Trust Me, is a lighthearted
romantic comedy set in the Bombay film industry. According to figures
given by The Times of India and The Sunday Telegraph, Trust Me is the
biggest-selling Indian chick lit novel. She has taught at FTII, Pune,
and some of the best film schools in Bombay.


Full-day classes on Saturdays over one month beginning on the 31st of October


The students would be given certificates at the successful completion of the workshop.


Classes will be held at Goregaon, Mumbai (urf Bombay :)).


The fees are Rs 4,900. They would be paid at the time of admission.

Lunch and refreshments are included.


Please call 97694 49556 or email
• 'In the beginning comes the word' - the script Acting Art direction
Costume design
• An introduction to screen grammar: Cinematography: Image Size, Camera
Angles, Camera Movements, Composition, Lighting, Camera Speed,
Graphics, Colour, Rule of Thirds & The Golden Points, Depth of
Field, Selective Focus Editing Transitions – Cut, dissolve, fade, wipe,
bleach Principles of Editing Sound Design: Speech, Sound Effects,
Music, Silence • Types of films Feature films –fiction Short films
Documentary films Ad films
• A brief overview of how films are made would be given to the
students, so that they can understand the process of film-making -
pre-production, production and post-production.
• Silent Era Lumiere Griffith Chaplin Eisenstien German Expressionistic
• History of World Cinema: Talkies American 30’s films: Analytic
Dramatic Style, Studio System, Genres Italian Neo-Realism French New
Wave The Auteurs. Bunuel, Tarkovsky, Ozu Contemporary World Cinema
Iranian Films
HISTORY OF INDIAN CINEMA • Save Dada, Dadasaheb Phalke Studio Period:
Prabhat’s Sant Tukaram, Ashok Kumar Post-Independence films: Raj
Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar 60’s films: Guide, the rise of Rajesh
Khanna Art Cinema: Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak
• Sholay and the Angry Young Man The Parallel Film Movement 80's and
90's Hindi Films Contemporary Cinema Analysis of the structure of
Commercial Hindi Cinema Analysis of the structure of ‘Multiplex’ Hindi

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the second time, this year

The title of this post is making me laugh.

Actually, a minute ago, I was in a state of tears. Not for the mobile phone I lost. But for the way it said goodbye.

First, I cant accept the cheque I am supposed to take home, because of some clerks stupidity in spelling my name incorrectly.

Then I have a tiff on the phone with a friend I am supposed to meet for lunch. She is giving me directions to get to her house and she tells me names of every single shop, every bump (there is one gentle speed breaker, then one giant one) on the way. If I go from this direction, I have to turn left, if not, then from right. At this point, I stop scribbling furiously, and say,

'Look darling, all this info is mind blowing. I will just call you if I cant find it.'

'No, please don't call me. I am making kulfis for us.'

'Kulfi? But how will it freeze so soon?'

'Its a special recipe. It will freeze.'

I cannot believe this. She continues with the million directions. In response, I bang the phone on her. ( I switch it off with a vehemence.) And that is the last I time I use my phone.

All I remember is an auto ride where I am resolving not to eat her kulfi.

It is not just men who have problems with women.

Unfortunately, I did not need to call her, her directions had stuck in my mind. Needless to add, I forgot the cell in the auto.

I know not if there is a moral to this story, but I do feel like saying sorry to my phone. I took it for granted and it left me high and dry.

Thank you, phone. You are so beautiful and blue. May you find a better owner.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is this why I love you?

A fellow disciple of Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda why the latter thought of Ramakrishna as God. ‘After all, he is human, just like you and I. I agree that he knows a lot more than us, but how can he be God?’, this man asked.

Vivekananda countered, ‘What do you think God is like?’

The other disciple said, ‘Well. God is omnipresent, omnipresent and omniscient.’

Vivekananda said, ‘Stop. If God is omnipresent you should be able to see him. Have you? Tell me honestly.’

‘No, but..’ stuttered the other man.

‘You fool’, Vivekananda said compassionately, ‘God to you is a mere concept. You have a few words that you have learnt to describe him. To Ramakrishna, God is a realized experience. He radiates that God. He is the closest you will ever get to experiencing God. Make use of this opportunity.’

To those who try to experience the divine as the formless without realizing it in form, God is a mere concept. He is another intellectual tool to influence, control and terrorize others. He is not the friend, the brother, the mother, or the intimate lover that Kabir, Ramakrishna and Theresa visualize. Without a form first, these relationships cannot be born and nurtured. Once experienced, the umbilical cord of the form gets severed on its own, and the formless experience stays.

---Copied and pasted from a book I am reading, cant tell you more, or I will get caught.----

Who is a genius

A genius is a person who escapes the societal training, of creating a strong logic.

Only then can the deeper logic of the genius penetrate the zones, the spaces in you, because your inner space will be open.

The so-called logical people feel that emotional people who can trust easily are fools. What they don't understand, is that to question, to doubt, you don't need intelligence. Any fool can do it.

Only to trust, to open up, to relax, you need intelligence. Very rarely, only intelligent people can relax. These rare people, for them, living, and leaving, are both so graceful.

For those who are caught in logic, living and leaving, both are hell.

Although I am really enjoying this process of transcribing Swami Nithyanandas talk, I think I better stop. Better hear it directly from the master:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

from head to the heart

I ask him to read out from his science book. He takes ten minutes to figure out the first sentence. When he cant read out the word, he spells it out.
F I Z E D. he says. I move away from the gas stove and look at his book, upside down.
'Its FIXED. This is X, Pavan, not Z. How can you forget your ABC?'

'I don't have practice, Ai.'

I leave the kitchen and sit with him in the balcony. I look at the sky and ask for inspiration. I want to say something that will make sense to him, and not vent my frustration.

'Look, kiddo. You don't need practice of ABC at your age. You just have to use your mind more sharply. You allow your mind to become very lazy, just when you are studying. Otherwise, your mind is so sharp. The same mind you have to use sharply when you study. Got it?'

'The same mind?' he wants to make sure.

'Yes, its the same mind.'

Next day, we are going to a friends house on the scooter. I don't want to take the main road, and he claims to know the inside route.

'Turn this way', he slaps my left shoulder.

'Now say the same thing without touching me.' I tell him, slowing down.

'Turn left.' he says.

'Correct. You got it.' I say.

'Ai, this is the same mind that I have to use when I study, no?'

'Yes, baba. Same to same.'

Later , we are trying to figure out how to use the Charkha, a gift from his grandfather, from Ahmedabad.

'How come there is no instruction manual with it?' my friend asks.

'The instruction manual is in our genes. Our father of the nation has done it long enough. We just have to get in the zone, I guess.' I say.

It takes us three days of trail and error, zonal and otherwise, to get the spindle to move with the wheel. We still don't know how to get the cotton to become thread, but both of us are thrilled with our progress.

'Ai, this is the same mind that I need to use in my studies, no?'

'Yes, Tukru, same to same.' I am not too sure I like this mind talk. I don't want to be accused of being an intellectual, ever. I wonder how to get him back in the heart, where he belongs.

Its bedtime. He is too exited to sleep.

'Ai, give me a healing, sing me a song, and tell me a story.' I do the first two, for the story I call Papa.

Papa tells him a quick, half minute story and runs back to his comp.

'I want a longer story.' he cribs.

'Look, I am too tired. Besides, I have to finsih the blog. Why dont you tell yourself a nice long story?'

'Good idea. With the same mind which I am to use in my studies?'

'Yes, darling. Just remember one thing. There is but one mind. In everyone. In everything. Its for all of us to use, whenever we need it.'

As I type in these words, his legs are playing with the pillow, balancing it md air. I wonder if he is daydreaming, and I try to remember what I daydreamed of at almost nine?

This is Pavan on the pradakshina road, in front of the Mountain, sitting down to pat a stray dog.

And this is a close up of them closer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Only at a Satsang

Where else would you find all these beings sitting together quietly?

1. Beautician who colored my hair in the morning.
2. Old neighbor from downstairs.
3. Pavan's classmate's mom.
4. Creative Writing ex-student.
5. Estate agent who had walked in to ask for his due.
6. Dhobi couple who iron our clothes.
7. A young brahmachari, Maharaj from the Dhaynapeetam Ashram.
8. A Nithya Yoga Teacher.
9. me
10. Swami Nithyananda (in spirit, through photo.)

(I am not including the kids, because they were all over the house, they only came in for the prasad.)

Flood releif, please donate

We of the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam Family are well aware of the terrible devastation caused by the floods in North Kannara and Andhra Pradesh.. While we ourselves give gratitude to Existence for being spared this onslaught of havoc, let's look within our hearts and dig deep into our pockets to contribute generously to swell the 10 lacs Swamiji has already mobilized ... let's create a huge fund so that the lakhs of people who have absolutely nothing left can begin to put their lives back together.

Sri Swatantra and Sri Sajeeva of Mysore are working alongside the Ashram round the clock for the Flood Relief Operations. Mysore collected 1.5 lacs in one day! Contributions of money only are being collected...
materials for distribution are being sourced from wholesalers directly by the Ashram / Coordinators.

If material received as kind , then pls collect:
a) rice (reasonable quality) in 5 kg packets
b) wheat flour ..1 or 2 kg packs
c) cooking oil .. in 500g packets
d) salt ( in packets) ..500g packets
e) sugar .. 1/2 kg packets
f) sarees - new only. medium quality will do
g) blankets - new only. medium quality will do
  • Items above form 1 pack for 1 family. we need to create the packets and then go.
  • Each packet works out to approx: 150+50+40+2+16+100+125 = 500/- approx. say that by contributing 500/- people can sponsor 1family for 2 weeks at rock-bottom existence level!
  • Please ask for contributions for 5 or 10 or more families wherever possible
  • Cheques to be made out to: Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam
  • for online donation, pls visit the website of the ashram: Click on the link for 'donate for flood relief'.
  • Enquiries can be mailed to swatantra: or Sri Sajeeva at

Let each one of us be pillar in carrying out Swamiji's messages in action to the outside world..

Kannappa:The first eye donor and surgeon

About half-way around the Mountain Arunachala, on the Pradakshina road, is a path that goes in to touch His feet. There is an element of mystery to this path, it is shrouded with trees and one loses sight of the mountain as one goes near Him. After a good kilometer, one comes upon a quiet, and beautiful temple dedicated to someone called Kannappa. They say this is THE most powerful place of the Mountain, because the mountain is Shiva, and here are Shiva's feet, from where the blessings flow.

I always wondered why the best place was in such a remote corner, and why it was given away to this Kannappa.

To make the long story short, Kannappa got this corner because he was an uncivilized, meat eating hunter devotee. He was the best because he performed his own eye surgery, because Shivas eyes were bleeding. He is thus Lord Shiva's eye donor.

Best to hear the story from Swami Nithyananda :

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The car is alive

Once there was a car. And another car. They lived together.
They had a race. One cars colour- was red, another ones was blue.
And the red colour car won. Then they went to a beach. They had lot of fun. Then they went to see a movie. It was boring. One day they had a fight.
Both got hurt. Then they said to each ather sorry.
Then they had lot of fun.

by Pavan Abhinav
(almost nine)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

my birthday eve

Tomorrow it will be exactly one year since I first met, saw, hugged and cried in the arms of a Paramhamsa.
'I am always with you, Ma. Always.' He had reassured me.

I remember a story, read in a big fat hardbound book, based on the life of an old timer marathi saint, Gondawalekar Maharaj. When Maharaj was seven years old, he met a strange old man sleeping in the village temple. (Those days villages were small and a passerby was immediately noticed). Maharaj gave him some food and asked him,

'Where are you going, old man?'

The old man was so old, he couldnt even walk without a stick. He finished his meal, had a glass of water and stood up, balancing himself with the stick.

'I am seeking my master.' he told the little boy.

'I see. And who is your master?'

'I dont have one, that is why I am seeking him, no? '

'But why now? You are so old, you should stay put. You might die on the way.'

'Death is certain. The next birth is also certain. What I dont know is this: It took me all my life to come to this conclusion that I must seek a Guru. God knows how many births I will have to go through before I get this yearning again. So it is better I seek him now. If I die on the way, maybe God will have mercy on me and make me a seeker in my next life.
Nice talking to you, but I must be on my way. Goodbye, Salaam, Namaste.' And he was off onto the next village.

This incident did the job of waking up Gondawlekar Maharaj, at the tender age of seven.

Why should I wait till I am seventy? Why not start now? If this is what it comes to, better I dont waste time.

And off he went, walking all over India. From Mahrashtra to Bengal to kashi. Later in the book, he even meets my ex-ex-boyfreind, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa.

'Kill yourself. You kill yourself. You can do it.' Ramakrishna told him. (!) They knew what to say to whome and who can take what, these greats. Not like us who get reassured, and our tears and noses wiped.

So how did I celebrate my first birthday eve? By starting a meditation and healing center in my home. Three people had come for the satsang, two of them had brought along their little pigtailed daughters, so my boy had his own party in Papas room. We did Nithya Dhyaan and then some healing.

I even got a birthday present. For the past one year I have been doing this same meditation alone, and its almost always been a bit of a struggle, a little boring, legs going to sleep and all that. But today, I was not sitting. I was flying. My whole body participated in the process. All my cells were singing different, independent songs. So this is why they meditate?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Creative writing workshop on 3rd and 4th October

(The next workshop will be conducted probably on 31st Oct and 1st Nov, a weekend, at Protospace, Sanjay Nagar, Bangalore. We shall also be open to online teaching, for anyone around the world. )

Soulpen: Writing for happiness

How do I define creative writing? All our lives, we write for others, because writing is a means of communication. However, writing can also be used to communicate with ourselves, to find out who we are. Before it becomes an art, writing is intrinsically a therapeutic process. It can heal our uncertainties.

Creative writing, therefore, is that writing in which the writer is more important than the reader. It is a beautiful process of turning within.

The next Creative writing workshop in Bangalore is scheduled for this weekend, 3rd and 4th October' 09.

Timing: Saturday 3rd October : 10 am to 6 pm.

Sunday 4th October : 9 am to 3 pm.

Fees: Rs. 1,500/
(Lunch and Tea included)

Venue: 1st floor, Times of India Building, MG road, Bangalore.

Eligibility: Preferably over 18yrs old and a love for writing or reading or both.

Focus: The aim of the workshop is to fuel the love of writing towards an intense and natural discipline. It will help the beginner as well as the writer who is stuck in the middle of a book.

Call : 9945192862

Here is the feedback of the last batch at TOI.

Flow chart:

Why do we write? Because we need to tell the story.
As toddlers, we were all creative with the use of words. The neighbor who had a dog was bowwow. The little boy who played cricket was katakata. The kite which flew in the sky was whoosh.
When we started pre-school, our talents grew to huge proportions. We came back home and told granny, 'Today I climbed a duck. Tomorrow our teacher is going to die. So school will be closed.'
And then the devil struck. We were given a pencil and a rubber and asked to memorize spellings and all the love for words and thoughts was lost with the wind.

This workshop will erase whatever scars our education inflicted on our imagination.
We will write and read out and no one will laugh.

We shall begin with an exercise, a ritual for overcoming the writers block, or to get started. Participants will be given blank papers, with a manageable word limit. Lap tops will not be needed.

We shall do more exercises to stretch the mind and work the writing muscle.

The class will read out a couple of their favorite short stories and we will analyze the story-line and compare it to the structure. Then we will work on a short story structure. To begin with, we will write a short story with a straight narrative, and then we will play with the structure.

Those who have a story in mind will write their on their own. Others can follow a guideline.

Everyone has a novel inside. Lets write ours. How does one write a novel? The masala formula. Or, the nine rasas.

The kind of education we have had, the information overload, the media inputs, have made intellectual zombies out of us. We think with our brains, not with our minds.

Which is why, the first step is to become aware of what 'rasa' one goes through when writing something. Writing is a lonely job. Words have to become alive, they have to gain the power, a power more intense than a human ear, a sense of fulfillment more satisfying than an orgasm.

Where do novels come from? What is the essence of the novel?

Characterization: The back bone of story telling. Class will read out the characters and discuss their difficulties in creating an imaginary human being from words.

Exercises: Three different approaches to creating your character.

The purpose of all these exercises will be for all the participants to complete a short story.

And to fuel the love of writing towards a natural and intense discipline of sitting with a pen and paper.

Call me at 9945192862 for further questions. To enroll, write a comment on this post that mentions your email address. Do not expect an answer. We will answer only if and when the class is full and we have to ask you to attend the next workshop.

Author's profile :

I am a recently published novelist of A Grasshopper's Pilgrimage. This book should be available in most of the Crosswords and Landmarks. You can read reviews of this book on this blog. Just type the title in the search box.

I am also a film maker. I was trained at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in Film Editing. I have made several documentary films, and taught the various aspects of film making at NID (National Institute of Design), Ahemedabad and also at the FTII. I have conducted a creative writing workshop at the Srishti School of Art and Design last year.

I write for the creative outlet, deep fulfillment and clarity of mind that sometimes comes as a gift with a good session of writing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thank you, Ramesh

I was at Swami Nithyananda's ashram yesterday morning, around eight am, sitting under the Banyan tree in front of the dark and beautiful Dakshinamurthi, when I got an sms from an old friend, 'Are you awake?'

Suddenly, I was afraid. My friend is a Guru- Bandhu, someone I met in Ramesh Balsekar's Satsang. Ramesh had been unwell ever since Sharada passed away two months ago. I looked at Dakshinamurthi and felt my eyes go wet. I got up, hugged him (yes, you can hug this form) and drew the strength to make the call.

'Good Morning, Manju', she said cheerfully.

'Oh, Thank God. I was scared its some bad news.' I said.

'Bad news we have to prepared for, no? After all, he is not talking, he is very unwell, and his mind is alert, it must be so hard for him. For his sake, I hope he leaves the body soon.'

'I disagree. He is enlightened, he can take it. It's not just by talking that a master does his work. If you go and sit near him you will still feel the silence.'

'Yes, you are right. In fact, I am thinking of going to Mumbai to see him. One last time.'

'Do go. And give him my pranam.'

'I will.'

This was around eight in the morning. Around ten, I was sitting in the Anand Sabha of the Ashram, in front of Swamiji's photograph, waiting for a class in meditation therapy to begin. I looked at my silent mobile once again. There were two messages.

'Guruji passed away at nine this morning.'

'Ramesh Balsekar passed away at his residence at nine am. The funeral is at 4 pm.'

I covered my face and wept. I remembered Ramesh's feet, how I loved to look at them, to touch them.

I went near Swami's photograph and did a full prostration.

Thank you, Ramesh. For being the bright and beautiful light in a seekers life. Thankyou for welcoming me in your home day after day, year after year. Thank you for answering my questions, for treating me with so much respect, for cherishing my spiritual self. You gave us a space to sit, and that means so much for lost souls. You connected me with the sangha, the fellow seekers. All we had in common was you, and we became freinds.

Thank you for Ramana, for his photograph on your wall, which you pranamed every morning before the talk. Although you never spoke much of it, there was another photograph in your house. A fresh, sunlit mountain. Arunachala, Ramana's abode. Arunachala, Swami Nithyanandas spiritual incubator.

Thank you, Swami, for holding me in your lap when Ramesh passed away.

What a life! What a ride! Where Masters and Mountains, like mothers pass you on from one to another, watching over you as you play, until the time you can learn to fly.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crunchy peanut Butter

After three hot methi ke paranthe with tomato ki chutney, my not very slim hubby makes for himself a toast sandwich of chunky peanut butter on one slice and orange marmalade jam on other.

And then runs into the bedroom when I ask him for a small bite.

Will someone please give him a lesson on healthy eating?

Its not my fault, I buy these things for the kid, who plays the whole day and needs rich food.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Painless deliveries in a remote village

Words from my master

Swami Nithyananda

THERE is an interesting incident from my spiritual wandering days that I want to share with you. I was once with some tribal people in Madhya Pradesh. I was living in a small temple in the center of the village.

Suddenly one day I noticed a pregnant lady entering a small hut. After about half an hour, she came out with a small baby in her hands! No pain, no doctor, no nurse, no medicine, no cries. I was shocked! Of course, I could not ask anything because I did not know their language. After a month, I saw another pregnant lady do the same thing. In half an hour she came out with a baby. I asked the local priest who came to the temple, ‘How does this happen? Don’t they have any pain?’ He asked, ‘Pain? Why pain?’

I was amazed. The very idea that women should have pain at the time of delivery did not exist in their society! Not only that, nobody suffered from gynecological issues like menopause problems either. I started inquiring about their lifestyle. I understood that in their tradition, they respect women a lot. The moment a girl becomes physically mature, she is acknowledged with respect that she is now qualified to become a mother. People fall at her feet and she touches and heals them!

Just because of this different conditioning, the women don’t suffer the usual pains that women in other cultures do. When you are faced with physical pain, just observe the feeling of pain in that part of your body in a relaxed way. You will see that first, there might be a surge of pain, but soon the pain reduces to a spot and disappears. If we just understand this, we will not resist and suffer the pain — we will cooperate with the natural healing energy of the body.

Read rest of the article here.

Now I understand why there is no discrimination in the ashram between men and women. In fact, the women priests pray inside the temple on all thirty days of the month. All the meditation techniques, which include certain pranayamas and Yoga asanas, are also to be done every single day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I dont like the idea, but I respect your wish

This is for you, Aai.

It took me a long time to write this for you.

When we met this summer, we had an argument.

Subject: Your beautiful and divine body.

You: I want to donate my body for scientific research. I trust you to respect my wishes.

Me: But why Mom?

You: In fact, I have made a declaration to the effect. I have lived all my life with utmost respect for science and its achievements in the medical field. I have given eyes for donation of all our relatives, including both my parents.

Me: Eyes, I can understand. They give sight. But why body?

You: Why not? Anyway you are going to burn it. So why not give it for someone to study?

Me: Because....because they cut it up, the thought itself is awful.

You: And burning it is pleasant?

Me: Burning the body has religious sanction. It is supposed to help the soul to carry on its journey, to not get stuck.

You: I am not in the least worried about my soul getting stuck.

Me: How can you be so sure?

You: When I had that accident when you were just eight years old, I remember looking at the stars and feeling so free and light.

Me: Well, I am not so confident. (Pause)

You: But its my body. I have the right to decide how I want to dispense it.

Me: No you don't. You are our mother. We have the all rights on you. Its my responsibility to make sure I do the best for you.

You: And if what you think is best for me goes against my wishes, would that be right?

Me: Yes. You are my mother and I will not let anyone touch you. And you are the least complaining mom I have ever known, you have no health problems, you are so cheerful and chirpy, so there is no point in this discussion.

You: Why don't you ask your Guru?

Me: I know what my Guru will say. He has in fact taught me the value and importance of rituals and traditions.

You: But I want to ask him. Can you at least ask him for me?

Me: Ok, I will ask.

I must admit here, Aai, I met Swamiji three four times since I came back to bangalore, but I didnt ask him. But I think Swami might have a thing for you. Because finally, he grabbed me by the neck and told me.

"I completely acknowledge, encourage, welcome, any organ donation....It does not affect the journey of the soul if the body is not properly burnt or buried....Just look at the possessiveness, it goes on after death also..."

I still don't like the idea, but I respect your wish, Aai. You have raised us with too much freedom and respect.

Just bless me that I may touch your beauty, your grace and your guts. Always and forever.

your loving daughter,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Housemate required

This is for a very dear friend of mine.

1Bedroom available For 1 female working Senior executive - in a 3BHK fully furnished independent spacious house. Its 5 minutes from Raheja arcade & forum mall koramangala (Bangalore). All basic amenities like TV, cable, fridge, geyser, 24Hrs water, newspaper, functional kitchen, washing n cleaning maid, etc. Rent inclusive of over heads of water & electricity.

Landmark: behind sharma travels / FabIndia koramangala / next to ayyappa temple madiwala

Rent 6500/- + 2months security deposit + utility
Call - 9743100430

Friday, September 11, 2009

Growing Down: Songs of Childhood and Play

Sick of growing up? Sing about growing down!

Are you a young musician in spirit (or body) seeking out new musical forms to marry poetry with rhythm? Are you seeking patient listeners who don’t shy away from raving and ranting and expect the world from you? And finally are trying to figure out your place in this world?

We want your music.

Calling all musicians to submit their tracks about kids, play, growing up, remaining a child, kids, play, play spaces, growing up, remaining a child, education, neighborhood, child rights, games, childhood friendship, nostalgia, wonder, innocence.. Win an opportunity to have your song released in an album which will get a wide-range of critical and peer exposure!

SUBMIT NOW!, go to:

Growing down is a compilation of music inspired by the fragmented conversations we have with the child within us. As adults the disconnect we feel from the people and spaces around us often suffocates our spontaneity. Cultivating the spirit of wonder and giving it opportunities to guide us can be an enlivening experience. Have these ideas crossed your mind?
The selected 15 tracks will be compiled into the ‘Growing Down’ album which will be released online and on a CD along with our partner labels. The album, besides receiving insane amounts of attention, will reach music lovers nationally and internationally. And, of course, you can expect lots of love from us.

CitySpinning (CS) is a series of urban and community interventions, which look at expanding the nature and use of public and unused urban spaces. Spaces which have the potential of playing a discursive, social and playful role. This album compilation exercise is an outcome of our engagement with children and the city, and the curatorial theme of the Spirited Caravans project. The project is looking at reimagining urban neighbourhood for children and play. This invitation is an initiative of Prayas Abhinav and Tanvi Srivastava at CS. More about them here:

Submission guidelines

> Please send us your own music only. Piracy is cool, plagiarism is not.
> Send us mp3s, we will ask for a CD later
> Don’t forget to license your track under Creative Commons India Share Alike by ticking the box in the form.
(This means your music if selected to be on the album, can be shared and remixed freely as long as it is for noncommercial purposes and as long as your band is attributed as its creators. The creative commons license works within the scope of the copyright law and just seeks to expand on the range of “fair uses” available for the world to build on.)

Deadline: September 30th, 2009

Prizes and Judges

> A Party
> Love
> Peace
> Album (of course)

The judges will be us (Prayas + Tanvi) and our friends. And we are not really corruptible.


Phone: 9035285996 (Tanvi)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the Divine feminine

Swamiji makes some pretty strong and striking statements here.

The one that really hit my gut was about the nature of life. Life is passive, even lazy. Life is not active. Activity is born out of restlessness, a masculine energy. That which seeks its pleasure outside of itself is masculine.

And the person I remembered was my great grandmother, a very old old lady who passed her time on her bed, cutting vegetables for her neighbor's kitchen, with a song on her lips.

Before my grandmother passed away, she would say again and again, 'All I want to do is to live with you and cook for you.'

My grandfather too had a lot of feminine energy, he silently beamed warmth and affection, a deep and unconditional love for us. In his last days, when he couldn't talk much, he would open his can of dry fruits and hand us some cashews.

I wonder, is that what I really seek from a Guru, the bliss of childhood, when love was as simple as a chocolate?

And I find myself looking forward to old age, if it is going to make me more and more feminine.

Why I blog

Words from the Master

Posted: 24 Aug 2009 02:16 AM PDT

There is another, one more play of ego which we all nurture so well – what is called social ego.

What is this social ego?

You feel that your life is highly private to yourself and that no one should be let into it.

For example, people come to me to discuss their child’s erratic ways. But they are not comfortable when there are others around. You don’t want others to know about these things because you have this built up ‘image’ in the eyes of society for yourself and your family members. If you let people in on your family matters, you feel like you are exposing your whole self to them. You are afraid that your whole image might come crashing down and there will be nothing else to prop you up in society. This is social ego.

The image that you have so painstakingly built, the image which has become the identity with which you identify yourself in society, is at stake. It is more of an identity for yourself than for others! If you can show yourself and your family just as you are, you will be more relaxed because then there will be no pressure to cover up anything.

Of course, you might say, “Swamiji, the only reason we want to keep these things a secret is, we don’t want people to start gossiping about it.” Let me tell you: No one is qualified to talk about another. If they talk, they are fools. Remember this and automatically the power you give to them and their talk will simply disappear. It is you who have given them the power to affect you, is it not? Now, that power will disappear.

Just decide and live like an open book, that’s all. By seeing your courage and body language, people will automatically understand that it is not going to help gossiping about you! I tell you: To drop your social ego and live without any privacy, is a great liberation.

This excerpt has been taken from the book: Guaranteed Solutions.

Playing with Stories

Come tell us a story about what playing means to you and in return you can eat, look beautiful and star in a film! And do bring along any friends who live in Tippasandra (Bangalore).

Mathinahalli: playing with stories is a festival of exchange and mutual gestures designed to document the neighbourhood’s stories about childhood, play and the city at large. These stories will help in capturing the evolution and dynamism in the way the residents of the neighbourhood have played in the spaces around them across generations.

At Mathinahalli, visitors can eat, get quick beauty fixes and audition for a film in exchange for sharing their stories and experiences. All the stories so collected will be shared openly on the web for everyone to study.

FROM: 26-30th August 09 at, Construction Site turned community space, 4th Cross, New Tippasandra Ward No 83, Opposite BBMP park and Shishu Griha/Govt Playground.

A part of the Spirited Caravans ( neighbourhood camp at New Tippasandra. For more details call Prayas at 9902591198.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Einstein's smart parrot

Whenever I would attend a discourse, I would always have a missionary zeal to share it with the Geek hubby. Unfortunately, all he could understand were the jokes. So I would quickly make notes of the jokes, my pen shaking with laughter.

Once upon a time, Einstein was on his way to give a lecture to an audience who had never seen him, or his photo. It is only now that all of us have seen his unkempt hairstyle photo. And, being the intelligent fellow that he was, Einstein was rather tired of having to repeat everything add infinitum.

He was cribbing to his driver that he was too tired to talk, when his driver offered to take his place.
'I have heard you countless times, I know it all by heart. Let me give the talk.'
'Ok', said Einstein.

So the driver got all dressed up, ruffled his hair, and went on stage. And he gave a wonderful talk, just like Einstein.

After the talk was over, someone asked a question.

'Oh, this is such a simple question, even my driver can answer it. Hey, driver! Answer the questions!'

Swamiji talks here of how to become an Avataar. But we cant copy him, cos we wouldn't know how to answer questions.

Stretch yourself as long as you can in your mind and iron out the yards of crumpled material in all directions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I am dead I am I am

At Tiruvannamalai, for some of us seekers, it is considered cool to just be, to not follow any spiritual practice. Some of the masters like Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadutta Maharaj, and Ramesh Balsekar, we interpreted their teachings as a 'do nothing' philosophy.

In the Ramanashram, it is engraved on stone the process which Bhagwan went through and achieved self -realisation. When he was barely sixteen years old, fear of death overcame him. His response was to lie down and face it (!), and so he imagined the physical symptoms of death. His body being immobile, carried to the funeral pyre and then burning. After half an hour, he realized that which does not die, the everpresent 'I'.

I always thought this is the way it happened to one great soul, it was his time. I never realized that this could also be a meditation technique, a method, till I heard this talk on you tube.

The obsession with playing dead transcends Hinduism, or even kids. Some of the nuns follow the practice of lying in an open coffin for a couple of hours before sleeping. Some of the sufi's dig pits in the desert and go kaput. And a particular buddhist monk's initiation is done after he spends three months attending funeral pyres.

Swami Nithyananda also narrates how he overcame his fear of death at the Manikarna ghat, Varanasi, by watching dead bodies burning at the akhanda smashaan (continuously burning pyres).

One loses respect for death as one sees numerous bodies, of all shapes and sizes, going up in smoke. When so many of us die again and again, we have company, what is there to be afraid of.

When my sister was shooting her diploma film in the Film Institute, she needed a woman to play a dead body, wrapped up in white and tied to the wooden plank, being carried on four shoulders at the chanting of 'Ram Naam Satya Hai.'

I willingly offered to lie me down, tired as I was by all the running around! Although she was slightly un-nerved at the thought, my sister finally gave me the role, as there was no one else as eager.

And, although this happened much before I got into the seeking business, it was so beautiful to be still, and silent, and surrendering ...

Edited to add: After writing this post I did something I have been wanting to do since days: a half an hour session of Yoga.

I did only one asana, guess which?


Essay on Independence day

Pavan (eight) had an older friend (ten) to help him write the essay. I sat next to them quietly as the friend dictated the entire essay to him, word by word, letter by letter.

'Independence day is the day India got freedom from the British Rule. Great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru fought bravely for the Independence day. . . .'

'Very good. Now Pavan, write down one last sentence on your own, without his help. It has to come from your own mind.' I instructed the boy.

What he wrote brought tears to my eyes.

'When India got Independence, all Indians were very happy.'

Friday, August 14, 2009

a geek in the fridge

'Prayas!' He knows that when I take his name I mean business.


'Go to the fridge, open it, there is a white packet of tulasi leaves in there. Take two leaves, wash them, crush them, and put it in your tea cup. Right now!'

'But I don't want tulasi leaves in my tea.'

'You want me to let you go to work or not?'

'What does tulasi have to do with my going to work?'

'Listen, both me and Pavan are grounded. You are our only contact with the swine flu germ. So you also have to take care. You have to wear the mask on the bus, wash your hands for fifteen seconds ten times a day, eat your influenzum pills, have tulasi in your tea. If not, stay at home. Baat khatam!'

He looks at me for a second. Then quietly goes and gets the tulasi leaves.

After half an hour, on my way to the kitchen, I pick up his empty tea cup. I can see two leaves stuck to the inside of the cup. They dont look like tulasi. They are not. They are kadipatta leaves!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the laughing Buddha

Once there was a conference of Buddhist monks on the meaning of true spirituality.
Each monk went onto the stage and gave long speeches.
Finally, it was the turn of a Zen monk to speak.
He went on the stage and simply started laughing! He laughed and laughed…from his Being.
The laughter just rose from his belly. He started shaking uncontrollably with laughter.
And his laughter was so infectious that soon all the others in the room started laughing, without even knowing why!
Without their even being aware of it, the laughter of all the monks produced a huge wave of positive energy in the room.
The monks reached a state of tremendous elevation.
Their thinking was shattered and their Being was filled with bliss.
The Zen monk finally spoke, “This is true spirituality.”

Laughter is the highest spiritual quality. It can lead you to enlightenment! Laughing is a great healing energy. If you laugh at your sickness, you will become healthy. Laughter is a beautiful way of connecting with the Energy of Existence, which is pure healing Energy.