Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Satsang Answering Machine

The Answering Machine Of Different Enlightened Masters

Nisargadatta Maharaj

‘Hi! This is Maharaj. I am not home right now. But in reality, I have never left. I have been here before you called and will be here after you hang up.’

Ramesh Balsekar

‘Hello! This body-mind organism known as Ramesh is not available right now. Looks like that is your destiny. If it is God’s will, your call will be answered.’

Ramana Maharshi

‘My dear! I don’t know who is calling. But if I were you, I would ask myself –

Who am I? Once you find the answer, you won’t need to call me again.’

Zen Master

‘Sitting silently, doing nothing, the phone rings, and the answering machine starts by itself.’

Gautama the Buddha

‘Life is suffering. To call someone is suffering. When the person is not there, there’s more suffering. You leave a message he doesn’t reply answer your call so there’s even more suffering. Remember! Life is suffering.’


(His answering machine detects wrong numbers automatically.) ‘My beloved! Although I am omnipresent, I am not available right now. And by the way, you have dialed a wrong number. But no problem… Whatever happened, happened for the good. Whatever is happening is for the good and whatever will happen, will happen for the good. Why are you crying since you lost only one rupee? Whatever number you dialled, you dialled it right here. The number, which is mine today, belonged to someone else yesterday and will be someone else’s number tomorrow. CHANGE in the telephone number is the eternal rule of the Indian telephone exchange. So don’t worry about the result and just do you karma. Dial the right number.’

Saturday, May 29, 2010

don't cure me of my malady,

said Sri Ramakrishna, somewhere in the Gospel.

We were all meeting for the first time. They asked us to draw something that represents us or a part of us. It could be living, it need not be human, but it had to be accompanied by a brief intro.

The date was 28th May, a day after a full moon night. A night I had spent on a train from Chennai to Bangalore. If you draw a straight line from Chennai to Blr on a map, and add a weight that pulls down the line somewhere in the middle, you may drop on the Mountain. (On the map, it reads Tiruvannamalai). All night, as I looked out of the train window at the mesmerising moon-lit earth, I kept yearning for my Mountain to descend from the heavens. But ofcourse he didnt. He kept out of my sight, but kept me awake, throbbing so loud in my entire being.

So naturally, I drew the mountain, with a full moon. When it was my turn, I held up the paper and announced,

This is a Mountain.
It is called Arunachala.
My soul is stuck in this Mountain.

For a few minutes we all talked about the full moon Arunachala magic, how it draws thousands, lakhs for the pradakshina. I admitted to them that had I seen it, I would have jumped off the train last night.

'May I say something?', she asked me.


'I really hope that one day you find the Mountain in Bangalore.'

'But the Mountain is in Tiru. It will be hard to find it in Blr.' I deliberatly misunderstood.

'No, I mean, I hope you find the Mountain within you.'

'But it is within me only. Like I said, my soul is stuck in it.'

'And you only asked us to draw something that represents ourselves, it need not be human, but it could be more alive, ....' I wanted to add.

Everything has its place in the world as well as in our daily routine.
Devotion and reverence are all right, for example, so long as one recognizes them for what they are - affectivity - and to that extent a form of bondage. But when one sees some-thing for what it Is, it then loses its force and cannot effect any further bondage.

Ramesh Balsekar

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creative Writing workshop for Teenagers in Bangalore

Soulpen: The adventure of writing.

Are you in the trance-like age, between twelve and twenty? Soulpen is getting younger in the last weekend of May.

Youngsters are naturally creative, enthusiastic, and full of ideas. Youth is an intense experience, where the gushing of dreams and angst has that rare quality: freshness. Very often, this freshness is un appreciated and un acknowledged. All you need is someone who will willingly listen. Someone who can streamline your thoughts towards an expression of art.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
- Khalil Gibran, on Children

Anyone can write. If you like to talk, you can surely write. And if you are shy, you will probably write very well.

Writing can be a wonderful tool to understand yourself, to reflect an inner you that is nearer to your real self than you are willing to voice. The paper does not judge, the pen does not interfere.

Come, find your own voice. Sign up for Soulpen.

Contact: Kavita at
080 – 26678890, Mobile – 97417 11225. or Manjushree at 9945192862 or mail

29th May: 2.00 pm to 6.30 pm
30th May: 10. 30 am to 2.00 pm

‘Hippocampus centre’, Ranga Rao road, Shankarpuram, Basavangudi,.

Fees: Rs. 1200/-

Focus: The aim of the workshop is to dig out the blocks that hamper the sprouting of the creative juices and fuel the love of writing towards an intense and natural discipline. Every participant will be guided step by step to write a short story.

Flow chart:

Day 1 : Re-discovering the creative impulse.

Why do we write? Because we need to tell the story. As children, all of us are born creative. When we learn to talk, there is no difference between imagination and reality. Education encourages us to develop our logic and the creative process takes a back seat. The glimpses of the muse are short and sweet: She comes visiting, she leaves a line and takes back the novel.

Missing the muse, the creative angel, is the writer's block. We shall begin with an exercise, an ice-breaking ritual for overcoming the writers block. Then we get familiar with the source of all the art within: your well. We shall do some techniques to dive in with a torch and unearth the gems, the pearls or the bullets.

All the participants will structure a story.

Day 2: Nurturing the creative impulse.

How do curds set? First of all, you need a pot. The structure of the story. The American classical structure and the Indian traditional original masala formula from the Natya Shastra. The navarasas. Then you need milk.
Characterization. We shall pen three different approaches to creating your characters. The purpose of all these exercises will be for all the participants to complete the story. And to fuel the love of writing towards a natural and intense discipline of sitting with a pen and paper.

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 several creative writing workshops at the Srishti School of Art and Design, Times of India : Nalanda group, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahemedabad and Mcleodganj. I also teach English in schools. I write for the creative outlet, deep fulfillment and clarity of mind that sometimes comes as a gift with a good session of writing.


"Fulfill your celluloid dreams, every Sunday... Did you harbour a dream of becoming a filmmaker, but ended up pursuing an entirely different profession? Or are you one of those who buried their dreams, while trying to realise more pressing responsibilities? Or do you like to broaden your experiences with learning how things are done in the film industry? There might be good news in store, for such readers... sign up for a Sundays-only course conducted by National Award-winning filmmaker, Rajashree."

MiD DAY, Mumbai Newspaper

"Rajashree is a teacher par excellence. She can make the most difficult topics comprehensible. She is very patient and understanding, yet strict. Her Sunday classes are ideal for students who want to learn hands-on filmmaking without forsaking their responsibilities towards their work or studies. Its well-designed syllabus is practical-oriented; the theory goes into developing a good understanding  of the fundamentals of  story-telling and filmmaking. The course requires the students to write and direct a short film, which may be used as a showreel and can also be submitted to film festivals. Films made by the previous batches have been shown at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, the most esteemed film festival in the country."
Complete Television Magazine

Do you want to make feature films, TV shows or short films? But can't spare the time to learn full-time? A new batch of Rajashree's popular 4-month Film & TV Direction Course, with full-day classes on Sundays, in Andheri (W), Bombay, begins in February 2014. It's designed for working people and students by Rajashree, an award-winning film-maker and bestselling novelist who’s taught at FTII, Pune, and some of the best film schools in Bombay. The course is great value for money, since the fees have recently been reduced to Rs 24,900.
We have tied up with Humaramovie, a popular platform for short films with which prominent filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Basu, Vikramaditya Motwane and Rajat Kapoor have been associated. It has more than a million views per month. We have also tied up with Mediapippl, one of India's best Media Recruitment & Resource Services. They are our placement partners. You would be getting a lot of hands-on practical experience while doing this certificate course, including making a short film. Many films made by students as a part of this course have been screened at the Short Film Center at the prestigious International Film Festival of India, Goa. 
This Sunday course organised by Rajashree is very popular because it has a great faculty, special tie-ups, reasonable fees and a convenient location. And because it gives people the opportunity to learn film-making without leaving their jobs or studies.
So you can now follow your dreams while taking care of your responsibilities.
^_^  Please visit or contact +919769449556 or for more information.

***  “Rajashree taught me how to create 3-dimensional characters, structure the plot, and direct actors, which helped me tremendously when I was writing and directing my movie.” Rakesh Mehta, Rajashree’s ex-student, whose debut feature film, ‘Khuda Kushi’ has won 3 international awards. ***
***  "The next best thing to a course at FTII." - Bharati Hemmady, Rajashree's ex-student.  ***
Rajashree’s Film & TV Direction Course is right for you if you are:
•           A Newcomer to the Film & TV Industry:  The course would equip you to enter the Film and Television Industry professionally as an assistant director and work on feature films, TV programs and advertisements
•           An Animator: You would build on your skills by learning Film & TV Direction. It would make you a better animator, since film-making is such a vital part of animation and special effects. Or, if you want to shift to live action, it would help you do that.
•           A BMM/ BMS Student: The BMS/ BMM course introduces you to various mass media. If you want to specialise in films and TV, this course is just right for you.
•           A Mediaperson who’s learnt on the job: You would benefit from learning the basics formally and getting your fundas clear.
•           A Professional who is already working in the Industry in another capacity: It would help you become a full-fledged director.
•           An Aspiring Short Film-Maker: While our 4-month Film & TV Direction Course is designed for people who want to take up direction as a profession, it also serves film hobbyists. The advent of digital technology and You-tube have revolutionized filmmaking. You can make short films independently at an affordable cost after doing the course. Making short films is ideal for those who want to hone their craft and create an impressive showreel to showcase their talents. It’s also a fun hobby for those who are working full-time. These short films can be shown at film festivals, screened on television, and also uploaded on You-tube & social networking sites for lakhs of people to watch. 
•           From the Corporate Sector: The course would add to your qualifications since films are an increasingly important medium of corporate communication & advertising.
*** "Rajashree is like the energy drink Red Bull! She motivates you to spring into action and pushes you to deliver beyond your limits." - Priya Saraiya, Rajashree’s ex-student. ***
The benefits of joining this Film & TV Direction Course are:
•           FACULTY: The course is organised by Rajashree, an award-winning film-maker and bestselling novelist who has taught at the Film & Television Institute of India and some of the best film schools in Bombay. The faculty members are FTII alumni and professionals from the film industry.
•           SUNDAY CLASSES: Full-day classes on Sundays, so you can pursue your dreams without forsaking the responsibilities of your work or studies.
•           WELL-DESIGNED SYLLABUS: More than 50% of class time would be devoted to hands-on film-making, so that you learn how to transform your ideas into films that light up the silver screen. While the course is practical-oriented, the theory portion would help you develop a sound understanding of the basics of story-telling and Film & TV Direction.
•           STUDENT FILM: You would write and direct a short film. The cinematography and editing would be done by professionals from the Industry, which would be a great learning experience. It would also result in a well-made film which you can be proud of and use as your showreel as well as submit to film festivals.
•           VENUE: The classes will be held in an air-conditioned classroom in Andheri (West).  Since the venue is on S.V. Road, opposite the railway station, it is very easy to reach.
•           VALUE FOR MONEYThe course is fabulous value for money, since the fees have recently been reduced to Rs 24,900 (if the student pays the full amount at the time of registration.) The fees cover the classes, the cost of making the student film, refreshments during classes, a directory of the Film & TV industry and study material like books and cds. A donation of Rs 500 would be given from every student’s fees to a children’s charity.
 •           CERTIFICATE: You would be given a certificate at the successful completion of the course.
•           FILM FESTIVALS: The student films made as part of the course are sent for film festivals. Many films made by previous batches have been screened at the Short Film Center at the International Film Festival of India in Goa.
•           TIE-UP WITH HUMARAMOVIE: We have tied up with Humaramovie for the production and distribution of the short films made by the students as a part of the course. Humaramovie is a platform for short films co-founded by Preety Ali, Pallavi Rohatgi and Vinay Mishra. They have over 26,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel and more than 18,000 Facebook fans. They have a  viewer base of more than a million viewers per month. HumaraMovie is also associated with directors such as Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Vikramaditya Motwane and Rajat Kapoor who provide them content for the channel.

•           PLACEMENTS: We have tied up with Medipippl - one of India's best Media Recruitment & Resource Services. They are our placement partners and will help you in getting a job in the Film & TV Industry after you've completed our course. We would also be giving every student a directory of the Film & TV Industry, which has a database of the contact numbers and addresses of all the directors, producers, production houses, actors and service providers of the Indian Film & TV Industry, so that if the student wants to work with a particular director or producer, he/she can contact them directly as well.
•           DEMAND FOR FRESH VOICES: The Indian film and television industry is looking for fresh voices. With the success of 'different' kinds of films and TV programs, there is a demand for out-of-the-box thinking, for directors who understand the art and craft of film-making. It’s a great time to enter the field.
*** "I have had an amazing experience with Rajashree’s script-writing and film-making workshops. The workshops were structured very well and had a good effective blend of relevant theory, creative discussions on assignments, analysis of classics and hands-on experience in writing a script and making a short film. The workshops were conducted very diligently in a focused manner encouraging participation from all students. I found them to be especially useful for working persons as the structure and organization of the workshop accommodated these aspects very well."         - Rajesh V. , ex-student ***
FACULTY: Our faculty members are FTII alumni and professionals from the film industry. Details about some of the teachers on our faculty are given below: 
Rajashree has been a film buff since she was a kid – she stood in a line for five hours to get tickets for Sholay when it was re-released. She has been working in Bombay after studying 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. She has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Film Writers’ Association. 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. It has recently been published in French. She is represented by Isabel Atherton, the director of Creative Authors, a literary agency based in the UK.  She has taught at the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, and some of the best film schools in Bombay. She has been organising courses independently since 2009.
A.M. Padmanabhan, a National Award-winning sound designer, would teach the students about post-production. He has worked with the who's who of Bollywood and has taught at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata.
Arun Varma, who has studied Cinematography at the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, will be teaching the students about camerawork, the various practical aspects of shooting a film and professional behaviour on the set. He has shot Bollywood films like Bhajatey Raho and Dasvidaniya.

Ashok Purang learnt the nuances of theatre under the tutelage of Mr Barry John. He is the founder of two theatre groups Pierrot’s Troupe (estd.1991) & Showbiz Action Players (estd. 2004). For over twenty years, he has been working on Acting Training Methods. He has developed unique and practical methods, which are effective in theatre, as well as TV and films. Being a renowned acting teacher, he has trained a lot of Bollywood actors and upcoming talent. A curator and judge of many short film festivals, Ashok has been a major force behind the new generation of short film makers.
The other faculty members are FTII alumni and professionals from the film industry.
^_^  Please contact +919769449556 or for more information.
Full-day classes on 12 Sundays and 2 Saturdays and half-day classes on 2 Sundays, over 4 months.
The fees have recently been reduced, making the course great value for money. The course fees cover the classes, the cost of making the student film, refreshments during classes, a directory of the Film & TV industry and study material like books and cds. A donation of Rs 500  would be given from every student’s fees to a children’s charity.
There are two plans for paying the fees:
1.         It is preferable if the student pays the full amount at the time of registration. The fees would be Rs 24,900 for this plan.
2.         It is also possible for the student to pay in monthly installments, in the form of post-dated cheques (non-refundable) that would be submitted at the time of registration. The fees would work out to Rs 29,700 if the payment is made in installments.
The first installment: Rs 9,900 (Payable at the time of registration)
The second installment: Rs 9,900
The third installment: Rs 9,900
COMPLIMENTARY REFRESHMENTS: would be provided to the students during classes.
CHARITY : The administration would give Rs 500 from the fees paid by each student to an NGO that’s working for underprivileged children.
The students would be given:
•           Copies of important books
•           Scripts
•           Links to useful websites and free scriptwriting software
•           A directory of phone numbers and addresses of everybody in the Film and TV Industry
•           CDs & DVDs of some important films
COURSE CONTENT: The course has been designed to teach the students the basics of film-making. There is a well-worked-out balance of practicals and theory classes.
The topics that would be covered are:
• The Process of Making a Film 
• Scriptwriting: Audiovisual Writing & the Format for Writing the Synopsis, Step-outline, Screenplay and Script for a film.
• The Elements of Scriptwriting: Characterisation, Plot, Setting & Theme
• Introduction to Screen Grammar: What is a shot? The editing transitions that can be used to join two shots: Cut, Dissolve, Fade, Wipe, Bleach. The various elements of shot-taking: Image Size, Camera Angles, Camera Movements, Lighting, Camera Speed, Stocks, Graphics, Colour. The Rule of Thirds & the Golden Points. Lenses. Depth of Field and Selective Focus.
• Shot Breakdown
• Continuity and the Imaginary Line
• Ways of Shooting
• Preparing for a Shoot
• How to Narrate a Story or Screenplay to Producers & Actors
• Assisting in Direction
• Directing Actors
• Sound Design
• The Principles of Editing
• How to Make Your Own Low-Budget (or No-Budget) film
• Television: Genres & Techniques
• Film History 
^_^  Please contact +919769449556 or for more information.
"I had read quite a few books by Syd Field and Robert McKee but most of them had been written keeping in mind Hollywood  movies. After attending Rajashree's workshop I got to know that Bollywood is a different ball game altogether and what works in Hollywood might not necessarily work in Bollywood, or to make it work you need to add those extra spices (masala) to make it palatable for Indian Audience. If you need to know what works in Bollywood and Tellywood (I mean television) per se, the Bollywood Structure, the Rasas etc., then you must attend her workshop."         - Brijesh Bolar
"To me, Rajashree is like the energy drink Red Bull! She motivates you to spring into action and pushes you to deliver beyond your limits. Without her encouragement, I dont think I would have been able to transform my idea into a screenplay .....And with her encouragement came the right dose of constructive criticism......Also it was a great help to share and brainstorm ideas in the presence of other students and see where your idea stands....It is a relief to see so many people sailing in the same boat as you are and trying to get better and getting there.I was actually groping in the dark when Rajashree came as a ray of hope...."         - Priya Saraiya
"This programme gave me the mechanics of writing for features, along with the confidence. But what Rajashree really did was crack the whip, pushing us constantly to keep writing and keep exploring. The lively discussions were the best part of this programme."         - Satish Desa
"You can't open a door by pushing a wall, this is what I realised in the workshop. Rajashree will not only let you open your thoughts but also direct them to a proper way so that we push the door and not the wall."         - Amit Shukla
^_^  Please contact +919769449556 or for more information.