Archive for May 4, 2013


Art Deco design ideas

http://butdoesitfloat.com/    – collage , typography , paintings etc.

http://www.trendey.com/scandi-retro –     rustic / retro stuff

swedish-spring2

http://anindiansummer-design.blogspot.in –  This site’s got some seriously gr8 eclectic eye candy

TwistedSifter

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘famous quotes‘ compilation so I culled through hundreds of quotes on ‘friendship’ last night, and these wee the fifteen that resonated most. I then overlaid the quote onto a picture because what would a Sifter post without images be?

If you have any personal favourites to add, let me know in the comments! If there are enough I can update the post or do a part II 🙂

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

be-a-friend-quote

Photograph by Dawn Ellner

“The only way to have a friend is to be one”

 

 

David Tyson Gentry

friendship-comfortable-silence-quote

Photograph by Mohammad Ali F.

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable”

 

 

Muhammad Ali

muhammad-ali-quote-on-friendship

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you…

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Zen Flash

  • Let go (zenflash.wordpress.com)

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all things green

‘Artistic labour is power’ – The Hindu.

Prasanna always had a rebellious streak. He quit IIT to pursue his passion for theatre. Inspired and initiated into theatre by B.V. Karanth, Prasanna joined the National School Drama (NSD). During the Emergency, he returned to Karnataka and founded Samudaya, a radical theatre movement for workers and masses. They staged street plays, protest plays and propagated their political thought in villages. For a while he was a visiting faculty at NSD. For a couple of years, he worked for an independent television company in New Delhi. He gave this up and left the capital.

That was a phase when Prasanna was disenchanted with theatre and almost gave up on his passion. The man who created noted stage productions like Tughlaq , Gandhi , Thai , Neele Ghode , Ek Lok Katha , Shakuntalam , The Ascent of Fujiyama moved to Heggodu, a small village in Karnataka. Here, he started Charaka, a multi-purpose women’s cooperative, while occasionally writing and sometimes dabbling in direction and teaching. A Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, Prasanna is currently a Tagore Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Prasanna recently released his book Indian Method in Acting at the Kulasekhara Theatre Festival in Kochi and talked about theatre, activism, Charaka and more. Excerpts from the interview.

Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

The state of regional theatre today…

There is a huge crisis, what I call machine-induced culture, where cinema and television have taken over entertainment. For the common man, this is theatre. We now have a huge number of artistes and audiences watching television and cinema instead of theatre. The participatory element of theatre is gone. Theatre has also become technology-driven. The actor has slipped into the background.

Is there a deep divide between urban and rural theatre?

People’s theatre is dying because of impoverishment in the villages. Gradually we have been seeing performances in the villages reducing, in small towns too. In the 1940s and 1950s there was this attempt to revive and keep it alive through the Indian People’s Theatre Movement and the like. They went to the people, connected with them and theatre returned. Then in the 1970s and 1980s Habib Tanvir and B.V. Karanth tried. But the situation is still bleak.

How did Charaka, the women’s cooperative, happen?

At times you tend to become inarticulate because of anger and frustration. I lost faith in the arts. When I left Delhi and NSD, I knew I was going to almost quit theatre too. Those were difficult times; I was confused, angry, frustrated. Charaka made me cool down and look at life positively. I have not given up theatre but now I do it on my terms, from Heggodu with either the villagers or someone who wants me to teach or direct.

Intellectual, spiritual or artistic labour is not labour but a power. People in villages tend to leave in search of better pastures. I tried to stop this. Charaka is engaged in producing naturally dyed cotton handloom garments, marketing it under the brand name “Desi”. It is a self-sufficient cooperative in the sense that once raw yarn is purchased, everything else happens in-house. The workers are their own paymasters here and earn handsomely. We have 11 Desi retail outlets across Karnataka. The demand for the products is so high that we cannot start any new outlets. Desi has been very successful, beyond my dreams.

How tough was this initiative for a theatre activist?

Initially there was a lot of resistance. Groups tried to stop me from doing this because I had this Marxist tag. But it was a learning experience. I learned that, in a village, you cannot be a “red rag.” You cannot be branded. A whole lot of changes happened in me ideologically. I still believe in socialism, but I don’t believe in pushing angrily for it.

Fraying threads – The Hindu.

In Pochampalli, none of the sons of the late National awardee Chiluveru Ramalingam, who wove Telia Rumal products, have taken up weaving as their profession. All have chosen alternative professions to weaving as they have seen their father’s struggle for economic stability.

The last stronghold of Telia Rumal production, Puttapaka village still has few practitioners who are mainly youngsters who have undergone training in Telia Rumal process through government training programmes.

Today, the Telia Rumal survives in miniscule pockets in few villages that one can count on one’s hand in Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. One by one our rich textile traditions are dying out and soon they will be only a figment of memory and part of museum collections. The story of the Telia Rumal of Andhra Pradesh is symptomatic of the fate of the dying textile traditions of our country.

Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

A recent visit to Koyyalagudem village in Andhra Pradesh, one of the known production centres of the exquisite and nearly extinct Telia Rumal, presented only a grim picture of the future of the Telia Rumal. Older weavers dimly recalled having once woven Telia Rumals once upon a time. The younger weavers, in turn, had only heard of the older weavers having woven them and many had not even seen a Telia Rumal.

The stunning Telia Rumal was initially woven mainly in Chirala in Andhra Pradesh in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily as a trade cloth for export to Arab countries where the square 44 inch by 44 inch oil processed cloth was in much demand. Locally, it catered to fishermen and agricultural labourers who wore it, as it kept them warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It was also woven as sarees and dupattas which were further embellished with embroidery by the niche women clientele of Hyderabad.

One of the most intricate double ikats, Telia Rumal is characterised by a special yarn preparation process which gives its unique character. The preparation of the yarn before the dyeing process involves the treatment of the yarn with sheep dung, castor pod ashes and sesame oil over a month. At the end of the process the yarn has a slight oil smell and sheen which gives its name “Telia Rumal”.

Weavers have shifted to non-weaving occupations due to low remuneration associated with weaving, increasing availability of steady income jobs in Hyderabad such as security guards at malls, ATM centres etc., and changing aspirations. The younger generation in weavers’ families does not want to be involved with weaving. Many are educated and have well paying jobs.

Given this scenario, production is limited, and only due to the persistence of Padmashri Gajam Goverdhan of Murli Saree Emporium in Hyderabad, that limited but continuous production of Telia Rumal sarees continues to this day. Sarees continue to be produced not merely of the traditional Telia Rumal design repertoire but from the modern design repertoire of the Viswakarma exhibitions of Festivals of India. Despite a sustainable niche market demand, there is a highly limited supply which has been made possible by private entrepreneurship, fashion designers, and limited State government support.

Telia Rumal’s re-invention as a significant textile heritage item within the country, is a post-Independence phenomenon, mainly due to the successive government interventions. The building of the brand “Telia Rumal” products has not occurred which in turn, has not created a brand image and new markets.

Due to its limited production for niche markets, it is not commonly available in shops and boutiques. As a result, today’s younger generation is not aware of this textile heritage and there is absence of demand for Telia Rumal products.

Outsiders having been fed upon a rich diet of textile books about the glorious textile traditions of our country wander into the villages hoping to see and buy one of the pieces. But sadly, neither is there the production of the original Telia Rumal, nor there is enough production of the Telia Rumal products for them to buy and appreciate the intricate weave and stunning designs. In an era, where the young generation within India and overseas is discovering its rich textile tradition, and where there is the possibility of an increasing niche market for expensive niche products, it is ironic, that instead of a revival, the Telia Rumal appears to be on its way out. Would its future lay in being a studio product and practiced by professional designers?

Translating or transcending – The Hindu.

We are a polyglot nation, and we have knowledge of at least two languages: we have a mother tongue and a language in which we have been educated at school and college, which is often different from the mother tongue. Often this second is English. Every language you learn has its own sensibilities and its own idiom. It has its own registers, value systems, class distinctions and levels of the acceptable and the unacceptable. Each language that we know sensitises us differently to different things, and develops in us different personalities with different sensibilities.

Each time we switch to another language, we subtly shift to being another person. Our gestures and facial expressions also alter accordingly. A language is not simply about words and sentences, it is also about pauses, emphasis, intonation, cadence, pitch, silences; the appropriate use of these in sentences and words is what creates the meaning of what we say, and conveys nuances.

In translation of texts, the non-verbal aspects of language are hidden until the text reaches the reader. But to get the text to reach the reader in a way that the reader interprets the semantic signals to create the same meaning is the job of the translator. A translator of literary texts especially has to be acutely conscious of the different personalities he/she has developed in different languages. The moment of translation is the moment when the translator’s two personalities in two different languages are in dialogue with each other. It is the moment of interlocution between the two personalities of the same person. Only then can the eternal argument of ‘faithful’ and ‘beautiful’ be resolved in translation, because it is then transcended, and we reach another level of understanding about translations. Faithful and beautiful are no longer opposed to each other and are no longer even players.

In the knowing of another tongue, which maybe indigenous or foreign, in therefore developing of an alternate personality, we create space for the understanding of Another. Translation, comparative literature and writing in a second language all constantly pose the question of rapports with Another.

If we take as a preliminary truth that all societies are based on some Universal Human Values, it becomes extremely limiting. We then narrow ourselves down and choose texts and subjects that we feel represent those universal values which we understand also as our own. In such a case we close doors to understanding the Other. The Other cannot be Another unless he/she has Otherness. If we do not acknowledge the otherness of the other, if we think we know their truths already, then we close our minds and do not go out in search of their otherness. In such a case in translation we are actually just searching for mirror images of our own selves and we are not transcending ourselves or the texts. What would be the value of translation when we do not want to know why someone/something represents or IS another?

Translation and work between languages also fulfils the ambassadorial function of creating empathy and understanding between cultures, but only when we are ready to acknowledge and value the differences, (Otherness) to accept them for what they are, to see how these very differences enrich and strengthen societies.

Repository of memories – The Hindu.

When we revisit favourite songs, books and movies we encounter our earlier selves and experiences.

That episode set me thinking of the role art plays in our lives. As we age, our favourite songs, books and movies become a repository of our memories. When we revisit them, we encounter our earlier selves, the people we knew then, the experiences that shaped us… Since I have spent a good part of my life with books, I have several memories stashed away in them.

When I began the book, I would often speak to my grandfather about it. He hadn’t read it, but the movie was one of his favourites. I remember how he kept referring to Scarlett as Vivien Leigh and to Rhett as Clark Gable. He wanted me to enlighten him about the parts of the book that were edited out of the movie version. As the months passed, however, we stopped talking as tuberculosis took possession of his body. He was bedridden for several months before he died. By the end, he was unable to speak or comprehend, and barely had any flesh on his bones. To this day I retain some of the horror of watching the life seep out of him. You don’t really know death until it happens to a loved one, and there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the experience. ( reminds of my GF )

A character in the Argentinean movie classic The Secret in Their Eyes says: “Memories are all we end up with. At least pick the nice ones.”

A life amid rare books – The Hindu.

Bibliophiles in India will know how truly rare it is to find a rare books shop in this country. I was thrilled beyond words and, when I had finished slavering over the books (restored and shelved with impeccable care), exclaimed that I just had to write about his marvellous antiquarian bookshop, which was two rooms on the terrace of his house in Basavanagudi. With equal intensity, he forbade me to write about him or his East-West Bookshop. He was content, he said, with a customer base drawn from word-of-mouth. “I don’t like too many people coming here,” he added.

…………..I should clarify here that the stock I speak of was not choc-a-bloc with rarities or first editions or even anything like very scarce or expensive editions. Its uniqueness and charm lay in being well-preserved old editions; some genuinely antiquarian, many out of print, all gathered fetchingly in one room. A room full of gilt-edged antiquarian book spines is something to behold. And then there is the smell of leather and fine paper ageing, and the delicate feel of tissue guards over illustrations. Rao managed to make every copy on his shelf desirable and valuable by simply presenting them with antiquarian flair, wrapping them in Mylar sleeves or clear acetate plastic. All of it has gone now, thanks to a quiet deal he made with a longstanding customer, knowing the end was near. Several book dealers made discreet inquiries about the fate of the East-West stock, and were told by the family that the books along with the shelves had been sold en bloc. They are, one hopes, with a collector now and perhaps will be well cared for.

A naturally fine and witty raconteur, Rao could regale you with fantastic and wonderful stories about second-hand booksellers and the used book trade. Mostly self-taught (though more than once he acknowledged Murthy of Select Bookshop as mentoring him in the trade), Madhava Rao had a genius for recognising an interesting edition, spotting uncommon editions, pursuing them relentlessly and then, if the copy required it, restoring it so you, his customer, could hold in your hand an antiquarian edition whose condition was more than just acceptable.

Rao was known for being a skilled restorer of crumbling books. ……….One tiny shelf, in particular in that tiny room, held much fascination for me: it housed literature, mostly late 19th century and early 20th century editions of English and European authors.

Here, on Rao’s little shelf, to my astonishment, were several rows of antiquarian editions in fairly desirable condition. As the antiquarian market mantra goes, ‘Condition is not all, it is everything.’ Among other things, I found an 1894 Gulliver’s Travels , an 1889 Three Men and a Boat , a deluxe 1912 Pilgrim’s Progress , and a 1905 Essays of Elia . I remember my bibliophile friend found a beautiful edition of The Second Jungle Book , a snake embossed in gold on the cover.

His colleagues and customers knew that he began buying interesting, uncommon editions and hoarding them for himself and, only later in the late 1990s, turned from book collector to bookseller. It was also well known that, even as a struggling book dealer, he always kept a low profile, though no one could really say why. Some speculate he had private reasons for not advertising the bookshop.

Knowing the obsessive intensity and passion with which he conducted all his book transactions — from buying, restoring, and selling and coming back for more fervent buying (he book-hunted in every corner of the city, ferrying his loot back in an auto) — I think it was just so he could be left alone to study and play with his antiquarian loot: to savour, enjoy, and take in an edition’s bibliographical qualities, to work his magic on broken copies with those hands, and only after such bibliophilic ritual and intimacy, offer them up to fellow antiquarians for their contemplation, pleasure and possession.

Word hungry

Word hungry – The Hindu.

Anu Garg’s Wordsmith.org is a community of more than a quarter million subscribers in about 170 countries.

He sends out a simple email every day, A.Word.A.Day, containing a word, its definition and etymology, and an example of its current contextual usage; this to more than a quarter million subscribers in about 170 countries. And he has been doing it since 1994.

Add the fact that this is an immigrant whose first language is not English, a man who has had no “English connection” till high school. Anu Garg is a man with a mission. This Seattle-settled Master in Computer Science, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, went out west two decades ago like any other techie. But eventually the love of words took over and he left corporate life to work full-time on spreading the joy of words. Wordsmith.org was born of this love, with a mission to spread the magic of words and completes 19 years of service to the “wordaholics” this month.

Garg says there is no single incident which triggered this mission of words. “For as long as I can recall, I enjoyed reading. I literally read books from cover to cover. Then I started wondering where words come from. Who made them up? Who said that that opening in a wall was to be called a window? Then I discovered that each word comes with a biography. These words have fascinating stories to tell, if only we take the time to listen. For example, the word window comes from Old Norse in which it meant wind’s eye. How much more poetic can you get?”

Garg says one of the best things about running Wordsmith.org is hearing back from readers. They share their stories about words: anecdotes from childhood, workplace, and beyond, of how words touch everyone, regardless of what we do or where we live. He cherishes this note from a disabled reader: “I am a fully disabled priest stuck out in the swamps about 35 miles north of Savannah, Georgia. A horrible radiation accident many years ago started taking its toll in the early 1980s. Of the two curses, pain and boredom, the latter is the heavier cross. Services such as yours are invaluable to me. Mind challenged, I am sometimes able to go to a nursing home and do services for the residents. You will help in this effort. A mind fallow becomes overgrown with the weeds of confusion and forgetfulness.”

The very first word Garg put up was zephyr, meaning a breeze from the west, but Garg says he had no reason for choosing that word. In fact he has no method for choosing a word at all and likes to think words choose him. “They raise their hands and say, ‘Pick me! Pick me! Write about me and share me with the world.’ Whenever I come across an unusual word in my reading a book, magazine, or newspaper, I make a note of it. Sometimes I actively look in the dictionaries for words that match interesting patterns. For example, Facetious is a word with all five vowels, once and only once, and in order.”

   The approach to words is playful rather than academic. “I like to have people see words come alive. They are born, they change with time, and sometimes they die too. That’s not to say that it’s not educational. We have a fair number of students who subscribe to AWAD.” His subscribers are from all walks of life, from accountants to zookeepers, writers to editors, engineers to professors, and many others, all people who share a joy of words.

Words are like colours on a palette, he says. “You don’t have to use all those colours in a painting, but it helps to be able to find just the right shade when you need it.”

Words perhaps work the same way. The right words help us to portray our thoughts and ideas just as we have them in our mind. Most of us don’t want to use an unusual word just for the sake of using it but if it fits, why not use it? And if you think you don’t know any, then it’s time to subscribe to wordsmith.org.

Boot up your health – The Hindu.

Excessive use of computers can lead to major damage of the body, sometimes beyond repair.

Prolonged working hours, wrong sitting posture and constant keyboard use leads not only to strain in the eyes but also to severe nerve and bone injuries. Motion is the lotion for the joints. Movement and activity circulate joint fluid and promotes cartilage health and bone strength. Sitting for more than four hours daily combined with poor posture can lead to degenerative joints, which affects knees, hips and spine.

One of the major nerve injuries caused due to excessive computer use is repetitive strain injury (a stressed limb caused by a repeated movement done the wrong way). One example is pain in the wrist because of excess keyboard use. Tendinitis and Carpal tunnel syndrome are other major problems caused by excessive strain on the nerves.

While using a desktop, make sure that the wrist is kept straight while typing as bending narrows the space available for the tendon and nerves and puts pressure on them. The elbow should be positioned at approximately 90°.

Cradling the phone to one’s ear while typing also contributes to neck and shoulder pain.

The furniture should be based on ergonomic design. That means the chair’s back rest should end above shoulder level. Also, the chair should have the facility to adjust height and lumbar support too. An unsuitable chair also contributes to poor posture, such as slouching that puts pressure on the spine.

The height of the chair should allow one to rest the feet on the floor with knees bent at a 90° degree angle. While typing, arms should also bend at 90°. While resting the back the angle should be at 110° and slightly tilted back.

Prolonged use of computers can also cause strain, fatigue, irritation in the eyes and blurred vision. These symptoms are collectively called Computer Vision Syndrome. 

There are some simple steps to avoid this problem. Blink frequently to keep the eyes hydrated as constant staring at the screen can lead to severe dryness. Besides, keep eyes closed for 5-10 minutes every one hour to reinforce the tear film. Reducing the glare of the monitor also helps. Make sure you do not sit too close to the computer.

Moreover, working with a light screen background with dark typefaces is easiest on the eyes. It is great to take breaks by looking away from the screen for ten seconds and standing up every half an hour to do other work while giving the eyes a rest.

Quick tips

Keep the wrist straight while typing and the elbow at a 90° angle.

Don’t cradle the phone on one shoulder while typing.

Sit up straight while working; don’t slouch or lean forward too long.

Blink frequently to prevent dryness in the eye.

Close your eyes for at least 5 minutes every hour.

Look away from the screen every 10 seconds to give your eyes a break.

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