Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Like seed contains the oil, fire in flint stone, Your temple seats the Divine, realize if you can.

Jovan (my cousin from Bombay) was here last week to take care of an event in Landmark, and it was fun hanging out with him and Beena akka (another cousin). The band Swarathma vowed us all with their lively performance... they did play some entertaining tracks. I liked this song the best, 'Yesu Allah or Krishna, Kaun Bhagwan hai apna?'
The band kept bringing up Kabir (the mystic poet and saint of India) and his teachings in their songs which I thought was pretty cool, since I kinda like Kabir myself (used to study his dohas in school). The band members also believe in a clean and beautiful environment, they discouraged the use of plastic bags... if I hadn't fallen for them already, this did it!
Here is the band...
A folk song...
Here are the cousins...
P.S: The title here is a translated version of one of Kabir's Dohas... it means that even though we see the seed, we do not see the oil that is an inherent part of the seed. It is only seen when energy is used to extract the oil from the seed. In the same way a fire is not visible when we look at the flint stone. However, vigorous rubbing manifests the fire. Same way, Kabir asserts, that our body - the temple - seats the Divine. This divinity is our true self. However, due to our ignorance, we are unaware of this reality. Kabir challenges us in this doha to shed the veils of ignorance and awaken to realize our true self.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Santhi Nilayam, School for the Mentally Challenged

This is one of my favourite places on earth... I loved working here, I remember waking up in the morning and wondering what is going to happen today. Everday was like that, you never knew what was going to happen... the kids were so unpredictable, the teachers were a hilarious bunch, and the sisters were cool, it was fun hanging out there. There is this quaint little chapel in the convent, you just have to enter and spend a few minutes there and the calmness and serenity of that simple chapel fills you with peace. The food in the convent too was simple and rustic, Mother Magdalene used to insist that I eat with them whenever I do not bring lunch. Their cooking had an entirely earthy feel to it, like a juice to them would be some concoction made by boiling drumstick leaves and mint leaves or barley boiled with honey... which actually tasted good. I also used to like taking the bus to school... you see, the school is located in a semi rural area and the scenes of everyday life that you see on the way is simply picturesque... like the wizened old lady wrapped up in complicated twists and turns of a saree and her dangling ear lobes moving to the rhythm of the knife as she slices through those coconut leaves at her side seperating the stalk to make a broom, or the ladies with sindoor and bindi in place and a bright flower on their long, black and loosely knotted tresses discussing the varieties of fish available in the market... its all so engrossing, like a scene out of a book...

Here are a few pictures taken on the way to school, I wanted to take a picture of that wizened old lady... but she gave me a weird look as I walked by, I guess if I had the bindi/flower/long tresses look, she wouldn't have stopped her work to observe me... and I can't click a picture of her when she is staring at me.
Here you see the path that leads to the school...
Trees overhead... On the way to school...
A fenceless house...
There you can see the school in the distance...
A clear blue sky and trees... an enchanting sight.
The school all lit up for School Day...
A peacock dance...
Mother Magdalene, addressing the crowd...
The vocational kids performing a skit...
A prop dance...
The vocational girls performing a folk dance...
The autistic kids...
Alfie performing a solo dance...
Alfie again dressed as a girl in a skit...
The little kids dancing...
These are the kids who are mentally and physically challenged... they can't walk properly so they are sitting and swaying to the music.
Another dance...
I actually like this picture... two priests of different religions observing the special children; I wonder what is going through their heads, are they questioning their respective Gods or are they just bored... only God knows the answer to that. Anyway the Bishop of Thuckalay and the High Priest of the Swamithoopu temple were the chief guests.
The crowd...
Down syndrome children performing a dance...
Rose performs the Bharatanatyam...
The special educators concluded the event with the National Anthem...
Here's Hariharan posing for the camera...
That's Carlton biting away on something during the rehearsals...
Oh yeah, it was fun...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Of Silvertongues and Dustfinger and Jamie and Barney... its Legendary....

Oh, I love this movie... its exactly what I dream about, seeing your characters come to life... I mean literally like in the movie. Wouldn't that be totally mindblowing, imagine meeting Arutha -The Prince of Crydee, Sherlock Holmes, Calvin, Rhett Butler, Aragon, Jane Eyre, Captain Nemo and the countless other folks I have fallen in love with over the years. Now I can't wait to read all the three books: Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath... Among the many sagas or trilogy's or sequences that have come out so far, none actually compares to the Magician. This is a book I found long back when I was 16 or something in an old dusty trunk... the front cover itself was enticing, there was this weird palatial structure set against a strikingly brilliant sky, I think that was when it struck... the 'love at first sight' concept. Anyway, the little story at the back was even more enchanting, it spoke of an alien world and magic and warriors... so I got lost in it. I carried that book with me when I left home for the first time... and now its here with me, to read and hold whenever life seems to get too enormous to fathom.

Back home I actually watched a lot of TV shows during my vacation, thanks to Nam... she still maintains her role as my TV and Movie guide. She had all the seasons of 'One Tree Hill' and 'How I Met Your Mother', I saw just the last seasons and its crazy... everybody sleeps with everybody else, yet somehow these shows are entertaining enough with their witty dialogues, soundtracks and the way the characters undergo major makeovers every season... its fun. Anyway, the only characters I really like in One Tree Hill are Jamie and Brooke and sometimes Nathan Scott. Jamie is so cute, I mean you can't help but like him... he's adorable and his expressions are awesome, he's one cool kid. I wonder how much he is making at this young age...

Barney is another interesting character from 'How I whatever'... he has all these weird ideas and notions in his head and he is always doing stupidly funny things, and he really has some hilarious lines in the show... watch these videos, its legen... wait for it... dary, Barney cracks me up...




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

My team surprised me with an awesome farewell party, I knew they had somethin planned... but this really blew me away. They got a cake with the words 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' written on it, how cool is that... it was beautiful, tasted great too. And since it was a farewell, a few of them spoke about me... and I was really touched. A few of them said 'Supercaliwhatever... since we have no words to express ourselves', it was funny and kinda heartbreaking at the same time. I mean this was a nice team to belong to, life was fun here... learnt a lot, made some awesome friends along the way, but life has other plans for me and I had to let go.
Anyway here are a few pictures...

That was one awesome cake...


They had the traditional cake smearing after this, they smeared that chocolate cream over my face...

And here are my pals... I miss them already.