Tag Archive: India


Plants …urban jungle and auroville

https://stanflouride.com/2016/11/26/nasa-guide-to-air-filtering-houseplants 

Interesting site about houseplants,greenhouses and interiors – https://www.haarkon.co.uk/explore-blog/

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/heaven-in-the-eyes-of-the-beholder/article19706338.ece
“My biggest inspiration is my life in Auroville,” she says, over a Skype call from the experimental township where she lives and works. The rolling landscapes and unfettered spirit of Auroville are her muse. “Her untamed wilderness often hits my heart. And I always work spontaneously following a mood in my heart.”
Much of her latest collection, “…so many heavens…”, which will open at the Centre d’Arts Citadines, Auroville on September 16, is a paean to Auroville. “We had a bad monsoon last year and lands were starving for water,” she remembers. Her work at that time was dark, “shades of brown and bronze, with pools of blue,” to symbolise “this longing for water”.
Then there would be one shower and in two days, star-like wild jasmines would light up the gritty dryness. “It was glorious; this alternation between seeming death followed by abundance and optimism. And this would make me weep that we are surrounded by so many heavens… each a universe in itself.  “We all carry seeds, many different kinds of seeds,” says Sundaravalli. But like a plant, it needs the right environment to blossom, she smiles.  

Research – http://www.sacar.in/index.php

Vacay , marathons etc.etc..

https://youtu.be/2EHqe7HHayk

 

Boxes , Labels and Qs

https://www.buzzfeed.com/genamourbarrett/things-single-girls-are-tired-of-hearing?utm_term=.rv6g244aAO#.omrBwLLDY2

http://viralstories.in/breaking-44-typical-indian-stereotypes-stop-presuming-everything/

 

You literally asked me this question two weeks ago. Aren't you tired of asking yet?

Miramax Films / Via giphy.com

You literally asked me this question two weeks ago. Aren’t you tired of asking yet?

. “Isn’t there someone that you at least like?”

Sorry to disappoint.

Logo / Via nesoxochi.tumblr.com

Sorry to disappoint.

. “Why are you still single?”

Do I have to have a special reason? It just is what it is.

Fox Searchlight Pictures / Via anamorphosis-and-isolate.tumblr.com

Do I have to have a special reason? It just is what it is.

. “I know you’re probably looking for a partner, but I just want to be friends.”

Just because I'm single doesn't mean I want to date you. Please get over yourself.

ABC / Via giphy.com

. “You need to stop being so picky.”

Bravo / Via giphy.com

. “Maybe you need to change your attitude.”

Via giphy.com

9. “Stop looking for love and let love come to you!”

Life-changing advice. Never heard that before, thank you.

Bravo / Via giphy.com

Life-changing advice. Never heard that before, thank you.

. “When are you going to get married?”

NBC / Via giphy.com

. “What about kids? Are kids on the cards any time soon?”

What? No. Stop asking that.

Citytv / Via giphy.com

What? No. Stop asking that.

. “Time is running out, you know.”

Bravo / Via giphy.com

. “How long have you actually been single for?”

Does it matter?

VH1 / Via giphy.com

Does it matter?

. “Don’t you get lonely? I’d get so bored if I was single.”

That could be more because you have a boring life than the fact you have a partner, but cool.

Fox / Via giphy.com

That could be more because you have a boring life than the fact you have a partner, but cool.

 “You should start a new hobby to meet people.”

NBC / Via fiercegifs.tumblr.com

. “You need to put yourself out there!”

Bravo / Via giphy.com

. “If you’re not careful, you’ll end up as a crazy cat lady.”

GREAT! I LOVE CATS. They're so fluffy and don't ask stupid questions.

Bravo / Via giphy.com

GREAT! I LOVE CATS. They’re so fluffy and don’t ask stupid questions.

. “I know someone I can set you up with!”

Lord no. Please, no. I'm fine.

ABC / Via giphy.com

Lord no. Please, no. I’m fine.

 “You should try Tinder/OkCupid/Match.com. Have you tried them? Have you?”

I have received enough dick pics to tell you that yes indeed I have tried them, thanks. Not for me.

NBC / Via giphy.com

. “There’s plenty of fish in the sea! Speaking of fish, have you joined Plenty of Fish yet?”

Arghhhfsohgehgughehu, go away.

Oxygen / Via giphy.com

Arghhhfsohgehgughehu, go away.

. “I think it’s so great you’re so comfortable with being on your own.”

Yeah, thanks, I'm a great inspiration to all of womankind. *rolls eyes*

FOX / Via giphy.com

Yeah, thanks, I’m a great inspiration to all of womankind. *rolls eyes*

 “Why do girls make such a big fuss over getting a partner anyway?”

Maybe it's because people like you keep asking them when they're going to get one? Maybe.

Via giphy.com

Maybe it’s because people like you keep asking them when they’re going to get one? Maybe.

 

    . Because it’s not the dress code here..

    stereotype 1

     

    2. Because there are actually people who are truly self-made..

    stereotype 4

     

    3. Because it doesn’t require a marriage certificate…

    stereotype 12

     

    5. Because it’s travelling a she likes not necessarily binging.

    stereotype 7

     

    6. Because they are as much a part of this country as you and me.

    stereotype 21

     

    7. Because reading could be loved by anyone..

    stereotype 27

     

    8. Because language is only a medium of communication..

    stereotype 32

     

    9. Because they are not the descendants of Jaadu

    stereotype 36

     

    10. Because even we aren’t Italian and still love pizza…

    stereotype 45

     

    11. Because, even Star City is a bike….

    stereotype 26

     

    12. Because being a Punjabi doesn’t stand for Patiala pegs..

    stereotype 44

     

    13. Because a good art can never remain hidden…

    stereotype 48

     

    14. Because ek ladka aur ek ladki sirf dost nahin ho sakte was just a dialogue from a movie….

    stereotype 50

     

    15. Because no doubt girls like to shop but they too like to be self-dependent just as you guys….

    stereotype 22

     

    16. Because fashion is just about defining yourself… Not your definition.

    stereotype 40

     

    17. Because even we are Indians and it’s not our mother tongue either…

    stereotype 15

     

    18. Because even they need to reach for work on time…

    stereotype 17

     

    19. Because being Mother India doesn’t require running about the trees dancing…

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    20. Because doing what you love doesn’t alter your gender…

    stereotype 35

     

    21. Because the RTO didn’t deny license me on the grounds that I’m a female…

    stereotype 33

     

    22. Because poems need a conscious mind…

    stereotype 41

     

    23. Because the canteen also offers other things…

    stereotype 38

     

    24. Because you always have a choice to move elsewhere…

    stereotype

     

     

    . Because respecting women isn’t community specific…

    stereotype

     

    27. Because sooti saree is not the precondition to helping the society…

    stereotype

     

    28. Because even she filled ‘good handwriting’ books in school…

    stereotype

     

    29. Because not all have a questionable taste in music…

    stereotype

     

     Because it’s neither fair not lovely to be a racist….

     

    stereotype

     

     Because no degree can force you to not take up your dreams…

    stereotype

     

    32. Because your taste buds do not know which state you belong to…

    stereotype

     

     Because you only marry once and with your own species…

    stereotype

     

    . Because if you ever passed your primary school you would know Madrasi is just for Tamil Nadu residents; and that’s just one of the states from South India…

    stereotype

     

    . Because Delhi is not an another name for Sick Perverts Club…

    stereotype

     

    Because it gets paid to be skilled….

    stereotype

     

     Because what people tend to confuse modernism to with short skirts is just westernisation….

    stereotype

     

    . Because I could actually uproot a hand-pump and blown your head way…

    stereotype

     

    . Because all love comfort over style…it’s not just a phrase…

    stereotype

     

    41. Because loving blue doesn’t make you a lesbian….

    stereotype

     

    42. Because 10 rupaiye ke liye se jhik jhik even I don’t like….

    stereotype

     

    43. Because it doesn’t cost anything to make someone laugh either…

    stereotype

     

     Because red is also the colour of danger…

    stereotype

    Fav excerpts from The Hindu

    Some 70mm moments – The Hindu. Reminded me of one of my fav OSTs –  the departures soundtrack –  Music

    A still from Departures.

    The International Film Festival in Goa in November 2013 came alive with young audiences from across the country patiently standing in long lines to watch serious world cinema. They were the real stars of this festival. In many shows, disappointed audiences were turned away because every seat was taken. There is a new audience out there, ready for new ideas, new film grammar, and new reflective cinema. The time is long overdue for a publically financed network of art theatres in every city in the country. In my three days in Goa, I spent most time with the Soul of Asia segment, which introduced me to some fine films described in an earlier column. I recall here a few other films which remain with me even as the weeks pass after the festival. The best of these, from the same Soul segment, is a meditative exploration of death and the discovery of the joy of service. In the Japanese Departures, Director Yojiro Takita follows an out-of-work cello player, desperate to find any employment to survive. The young man answers an enigmatic advertisement from a funeral company, and finds that his work involves embalming and decorating corpses before they are buried. Gradually, he discovers an unexpected vocation in helping bereaved families cope with death, loss and regret.

    Another reflective film, on the theme of loneliness, is the Dutch director Nanouk Leopold’s It’s All So Quiet. A middle-aged farmer lives alone in his dairy-farm with his bed-bound elderly father whom he tends diligently but without love, haunted by memories of childhood violence. As he perseveres with his daily routine of caring for his milch cattle, there are two other men he encounters regularly, one a milk collector who drives to the farm each day to pick up milk; and another, a very young farm hand who takes a room in the farmhouse. Each barely talks with the other, but there is throughout an undercurrent of unfulfilled emotional and sexual longing. The film adopts a minimalist narrative style, deploying few words and even less drama. But it evokes a lingering sense of solitude and isolation, which resonated deeply.

    Adopting a diametrically opposite idiom of exuberant comic irony is Philippine director Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra (Extra), an affectionate salute to the underdog. It follows one day in the life of a middle-aged woman extra, a bit player in television soap operas, after she is woken in the early hours of the morning one day to drive to a location shoot in the neighbouring countryside. The director subversively casts one of the Philippines’ best-loved actors, Vilma Santos, in the role of the extra. The viewer for once roots for the anonymous crowd — the farmer on the fields, the domestic help patiently waiting, and the guests in the background of a wedding — while the lead players strut and recite their lines. We watch the class system in the enormous gaps in food and lodging between stars and extras. The film mocks the hilarious script trajectories of the soap opera, and the vanity and fragile egos of its lead players. I often felt that if just the names were changed in the film’s script, it could have been located in India with no substantial changes.

    There were many homage retrospectives as well, including of Czech director Jiri Menzel, whose entertaining but slight opera comedy Don Juans opened the festival.However, the tribute which delighted me the most was the one to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, an exceptional screen writer who passed away earlier this year. She was through all her adult life an acutely observant, unsentimental but sympathetic chronicler of the human condition. Her life spanned three continents, and she belonged to all, but also to none. A Polish Jew born in Germany in the 1930s, her father survived the Holocaust but took his own life when he discovered that almost his entire family was slaughtered. Ruth married a Parsi Indian architect Jhabvala, lived in and loved India until 1975. She moved to New York where until her death she collaborated with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant to write many memorable films.This was a single-film tribute, and we owe Jhabvala’s memory a richer retrospective of all her films. In Goa I enjoyed watching Shakespeare Wallah with Ruth’s elder daughter, Renana Jhabvala, a senior social worker whose work in SEWA I have long admired, who the festival authorities had invited to pay tribute to her mother. As I watched the film 45 years after I first saw it, I found fitting that Ruth’s story was ultimately about impermanence and the inevitability of change. The poignancy of the doomed idealism of a British theatre company dedicated to introducing Indian audiences to Shakespeare, but for whom people have no time as tastes change and time moves forward inexorably, was heightened acutely for me as I watched an India of my childhood now long past.

    Dance like a man

    C.V. Chandrasekar in performance. Photo: R. Ravindran

    Rhythm beyond music

    It is common knowledge that tala or rhythm adds a vital dimension to music by completing the triad of ragam, taalam and bhavam. Without tala, music would be rudderless. Without rhythm, nature would be monotonous!

    It is not often realised that rhythm is a subtle and omnipresent element that goes beyond the realms of music. It impacts us from all sides.

    “Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are,” said popular American percussionist and musicologist Mickey Hart.

    Rhythm is present in some form or the other in all aspects of our existence. To begin with, let us draw an elaborate analogy between music where rhythm is distinctly cognisable and the environment around us where it is subtle.

    The importance of tala cannot be undermined.  It binds music together.  A hundred voices at the Thyagaraja Aradhana vocalise Pancharatna Kritis in unison in a particular raga.  What holds them together and prevents the disparate elements from running helter-skelter?  It is the tala that lends cohesiveness to the rendition.

    The legendary percussionists of yore Palghat Mani Iyer and Palni Subramaniam Pillai unequivocally established the fact that rhythm was the sine qua non for an ideal concert.

    Ustad Zakir Hussain’s twinkling fingers pirouetting on the twin heads of his tabla often times blurred the lines between music and rhythm! The rhythmic tintinnabulation emanating from the ankles of Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj causes one’s spine to tingle.

    If Carnatic music can be traced to the Sama Veda, it also draws upon the esoteric metric values that govern the chanting of the Sama Veda stotrams.

    In western classical music too, the various genres are centred round their respective rhythmic patterns, be it decked in movements such as adagio, allegro or vivace! The quest for rhythmic perfection is achieved by a strict adherence to the ubiquitous metronome during practice sessions.

    Music moves as does rhythm. It is the ineluctable rhythm underlining the music that unwittingly touches, excites or depresses one.  It can put one in a romantic frame of mind through lilting beats or lull one into a soporific mood through a monotonous beat dulling the senses!

    Latin rhythms like samba and rumba shoot up the adrenaline; bolero and beguine create the romantic mood; R and B induce trance and salsa generates a sense of foot-tapping exhilaration.

    Rhythm in its subtle form defines poetry in all languages as it does, for example, the sonnets of Shakespeare in the iambic Pentameters. Eminent English Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, describing The Brook creates an onomatopoeaic effect (read poetic rhythm). with the following lines: “I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.”

    Rhythms are the very ingredients — sometimes palpable, sometimes too subtle for cognition — that keep us tickling through life. The first signs of rhythmic heartbeat are noticed when the foetus is 40 days old!

    Later in life, it is the heart rate, pulse on the wrist and the rush of blood (BP) calibrated through the veins and arteries that determine whether the rhythms of life are healthy or not! An arrhythmic heart spells danger just as how indifferent rhythm could ruin good music!

    Nature has rhythm written all over it. The staccato chirping of birds, the trumpeting of elephants, the “legato” growl of the big cats, the cacophonous chatter of primates, the cadence of waterfalls, the roll of thunder and the tremolo whistling of the zephyr —  all bespeak an infinite variety of rhythms that permeate the environment. And many a musical score has been inspired by them!

    At a macrocosmic level, the entire constellation, studded with planets, has its own rhythmic cycle to fashion its movement as in the intricate interior of a wristwatch.

    Life appears to be one long symphony to be appreciated in all its rhythmic hues as we keep time on the path to eternity!

    This too shall pass

     

    Illustration: Satwik Gade

    The author looks at the year that was.

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the year of promising sanity, it was the year of blinding hypocrisy, it was the time of dwindling religious belief, it was the time of horrendous religious fundamentalism, we have everything before us and we have nothing before us. So here’s what 2013 was about.

    A former colonist country that spent centuries exploiting and systematically stripping Africa invaded the North African country of Mali, in a strange twist of historical irony, to liberate it from militant Islamism.The West, that decries the spreading virus of fundamentalism, still used all its technical might to write one of the world’s most sophisticated computer viruses, STUXNET, to seriously damage Iran’s nuclear programme. This year, the country eventually caved in and agreed to limit its ambitions in exchange for lifting of sanctions that go back to a people’s revolution that replaced a tyrannical West-backed Shah who was put in place after the assassination of a democratically elected head of state who wanted to nationalise the country’s oil resources.Meanwhile, North Korea was busy turning the cognitive dissonance knob to 11. They still use DOS, floppies, fax machines and Dyanora TVs but managed to detonate a nuclear bomb underground. Comically obsolete, yet scarily dangerous.Speaking of comical obsolescence, Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina became the first head of a major religion in the 21 century to actually make sense in a world that is rapidly running away from religious belief. As faith struggles for relevance and grows stale with mould, he is a breath of fresh air.While religions are still figuring out if it’s okay for a woman to have control over her reproductive parts and if it’s moral for two consenting same-sex adults to love each other, scientists in the US managed to clone human embryonic stem cells. It is one of the most significant breakthroughs in bio-technology, one that could eventually cure many of our most intractable diseases and increase our lifespan to the point where retiring at 60 will seem ridiculously early. Folks in Texas were printing guns in 3D this year, while professors in Cornell University were printing ears in 3D with actual living cell-gels, thus promising a future where we can give printed ears to people shot at by other people with printed guns.Snowden in 2013 revealed what George Orwell in 1949 had already revealed in 1984: that Big Brothers who spy on their citizens will go on to do very bad things. He then asked for asylum in a country with a long history of its own citizens seeking asylum from his country.At the same time, the world lost a brother with a big heart, Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years based on intelligence provided by American spies to an apartheid regime. His death subsequently brought forth a torrent of hypocrisy on social media, with senators who had voted to declare Mandela a terrorist now composing 140-character paeans in his praise.As one democracy spied on its citizens, the struggling democracy of Egypt deposed a democratically-elected government because it was too religiously inclined.Typhoons and cyclones hit us hard this year while we were still busy debating the political correctness of ‘climate change’ vs. ‘global warming’. We bemoaned pollution in our cities while driving internal combustion engines powered by subsidised diesel and asking for ‘extra plastic covers’ from retailers.India sent a probe to Mars and underpaid maids to the US, while China sent a rover to the Moon and underpaid employees to their deaths several floors below sweatshop complexes. The US launched a dysfunctional website to fix a dysfunctional healthcare system and launched functional drones to kill innocent people at wedding functions.We produced civil engineers who write software code for banks, while churning out whizkids in Newtonian mechanics who migrate to the US to design complex financial derivatives for banks that bring down world economies to the point where outsourcing to India is simply the only way to go. We seem to have that strategy nailed down.  Our moviemakers are still making films that disobey every law the good Isaac ever wrote down. We then universally pan these movies, criticise them to bits, rant about them eloquently and then fork out Rs. 450 per IMAX ticket to watch them with our families because well… it’s timepass.

    Coco’s lunch and The Prophet

    17th November 2013 –  mom’s b’day  – took her to the dance ballet which she enjoyed too, differed from my usual single outings…, Prophet –  profound  – self reflective , apt in India – are people drawn to the prophet by the serenity of countenance or is his/her countenance of  serenity a mask to gain followers /disciples /ulterior motives ????  I dance no more on a stage , ‘coz the world is my stage now and the rhythms of the nature are  my dance beats ……….. deep dialogue ,accompanied by an amazing narrative voice ……… impressed by the artistic /talented duo – srikanth -savitha.

    24th Nov  2013 -Could not attend Plaistow , but Coco’s lunch (24th Nov) more than made up for it – reminded me of all the wonderful carribean (and soothing bolivian ) mixtapes dad brought from London  , shared with him by  trainees from Africa ….. when I was a kid …………but amazing , the way the band fused Carnatic with Western …..and the Afro beats – out of this world ……….foot starts tapping to the beat –  “involuntary rhythmic movements ” ….too much of neurology hangover……Go NovFest !….

    https://i0.wp.com/www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01666/COCO1_1666876g.jpg

    The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.Albert Camus  

    Iconoclast till the end – The Hindu.

    ………………. carved out a place for himself in the intellectual history of the modern world. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 and became a world icon with a lasting legacy.  Camus left behind an impressive crop of writings comprising fiction, plays, non-fiction, letters and essays that still continue to be read and widely admired. He pioneered a new literary-philosophical movement with a fresh idiom and a remarkable style of narration whose parentage he disowned. He introduced a new world view that was avidly picked up by the members of the counter culture everywhere, encompassing the conscientious objectors to the beat generation. He was inspiration to a whole generation of writers and translators in the postcolonial societies who saw in him and his art an effective antidote to the establishment.

     

    Camus broke every stereotype and rule of the game. He survived an early attack of tuberculosis in 1930, and fought under the name of Beauchard (as the novelists George Orwell and André Gide did during the Spanish Civil War) for the underground Resistance in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. He opposed the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and was against the two power blocs during the Cold War. He gave up a lucrative association with the UNESCO in the 1950s for the world body granting membership to Franco’s Spain.

    Charismatic and ebullient both in life and letters, Camus led a chequered life. Married twice, he was friend to some of the most illustrious men and women of his times including Jean Paul Sartre. It is with Sartre that he is generally associated for the literary philosophical movement best known as existentialism. In some quarters, Camus is also known as a major exponent of the Absurd Movement in literature and drama. Both claims have a ring of truth, and yet both must be open to necessary caveats.

     

    On different occasions, both Camus and Sartre denied their affiliation to existentialism as it has come to mean in the literary-philosophical circles, while Camus shows a qualified and nuanced approach to the notion of the absurd in his literary works. The best treatment of the theme of the absurd in Camus is seen in his iconic works such as L’Etranger (The Outsider), 1942, La Peste (The Plague), 1947, L’Homme Revolte (The Rebel), 1951, the play Caligula, written in 1938 and performed in 1945, and several essays such as ‘Reflections on the Guillotine’ and the collection of essays posthumously published in 1961, entitled Resistance, Rebellion and Death.

     

    To put the question simply: How does the individual deal with the sense of meaninglessness and the sense of the absurd in life? In his pivotal work, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus shows that ‘the total absence of hope’ has ‘nothing to do with despair’. It must not be ‘confused with renouncement and a conscious dissatisfaction’. And thus, Meursault, the protagonist of The Outsider who faces imminent execution for manslaughter and is offered the prospect of salvation by the Christian priest in the prison, makes a paradoxical affirmation of life as evidenced towards the end of the novel in Part Two. Similarly, Dr. Rieux in The Plague must serve the citizens of Oran afflicted with the dreaded disease and the ensuing horror. …………….. It is the need for personal responsibility that can finally redeem our life and add meaning to our actions.

     

     

    Camus lived as he wrote — on his own terms. An iconoclast till the very end, he saw the need for action in a world beset by horror and the spectre of war. He believed in the need to change the world, but rejected the doctrinaire approach. Camus’ protagonist may have remained an ‘outsider’ to his world, but he remained true to his individual conscience. As Camus wrote in typically Blakean terms: “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t , and die to find that there is.”

     

    Prose over verse 

    At Shantiniketan, 1932.

    The Hindu Archives At Shantiniketan, 1932.

     

     

    The year 1913 was important for Rabindranath Tagore. It was the year four important works (including Gitanjali) were published in translation. His output during this period — innovative works in diverse genres (poetry, drama, novel, essays) — invites reflection, as does his contribution to the shaping of the modern Indian literary tradition. Tagore’s poetry has become the dominant lens through which we remember him. The Nobel citation spoke of “his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”, and acknowledged the “consummate skill (by which) he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”

    This is why he was appreciated by modernist poets such as Yeats and Pound. But    But many of these poets eventually grew disillusioned with him. Often, they diplomatically blamed the translations. Perhaps it was always a little odd that some of these modernist poets lauded a poet writing in an openly spiritual register in the old lyric mode. Even if the beauty of some of these spiritual ideas could not be denied, this alone does not make great poetry. In poetry, there needs to be a closer marriage of the sound of words and the ideas they carry. The problem is compounded when poems travel between languages.

    His prose, however, poses no such problem. And though there were extraordinary achievements in many prose forms (letters, memoir, essays, drama), Tagore’s most comprehensive achievement was, perhaps, his novels.

    Tagore wrote around 12 novels, ranging from large, sweeping works such as Gora (1910) to miniature novellas such as Chaturanga (1916, translated as Quartet) and Dui Bon (1933, translated as Two Sisters). His novels span the period of the coming of age of the Indian novelistic tradition, which had its earliest beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century, and reached maturity in the first half of the 20th in almost all the major Indian languages.

    The influence of Tagore’s novels is evident in the oeuvre of writers not only in Bengali, but also in languages such as Hindi. Premchand’s correspondence with Jainendra, another great Hindi novelist, is full of admiration (and some competitive envy) for Tagore’s imagination of the feminine voice. The novels are arguably Tagore’s greater legacy. They have too often been sidelined by the immediate beauty of his poems and songs. However, the novels travel further, unencumbered by Tagore’s brand of 19th century Advaitic spiritualism, which is not always intelligible or accessible to contemporary readers

      ………………..the more sublime Tagorean qualities — the facile creation and shifts of mood, the light touch with which he paints a world, the kaleidoscopic quality of his novelistic architecture.

    Breaking free of the shackles of lyric spirituality, Tagore emerges a more lithe-limbed, incense-free contemporary novelist, with more concrete, more useful, more modest, and thus ultimately more powerful things to say to us today.

    Slow food – Asia

    • Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
      The Hindu Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
    • Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering focussed on introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours that will change their perception of food.

     

    …………………Namyangju, in South Korea, may have been chosen to host Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering – AsiO Gusto — because of their organisational skills and exhibition space. However, over the six days that the festival runs, drawing more than 5,30,000 visitors, the locals also show the Slow Food movement the simplest way forward: Create a generation that cares about what they eat by introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours.

    Slow Food, an international member-supported non-profit organisation, which began in Rome in the 1980s has grown far beyond its original mandate, a simple opposition to fast food. Now this eco-gastronomic movement — once criticised for being Europe-centred and elitist — works with grassroots organisations around the world to fight for food that is “good, clean and fair,” and promote biodiversity.

    ………………………..“Think of your favourite food. Then think about eating it every day — breakfast, lunch, dinner. We need diversity. We love tasting something new.” Reade suggests that teaching people to appreciate quality food “removes much of the need to learn about sustainability, ecology, nutrition, distribution and food systems.” He adds, “People have to learn to taste. Learn to listen to the components to food. Taste enables you to recognise nutrients and toxins.” We are a generation biased towards sweet and salty flavours, thanks to a lifetime of processed food, layered with sugar, salt and fat. As a result our taste buds are so over-stimulated that we crave exaggerated and familiar flavours constantly. The market responds with dumbed-down food, creating a vicious cycle.

    Former lawyer Heliante Heman, who supports Indonesian artisanal ingredients, talks of how her country once had 7,000 types of rice in purple, pink, black and white, all nurtured by indigenous wisdom-based agriculture. Discussing how she brought up her baby on food from her garden, she states, “You don’t need to be rich to bring your baby up on a healthy diet; you just need to be informed.” Then adds, “This is not just poetry… We need to go directly to the communities.  Build alliances and organic organisations. Demonstrate that sustainable agriculture on a small scale has a future. It’s the only way to ensure that everybody has access to food that is good and healthy.”

    It’s worthwhile to remember that most farmers don’t eat what they grow for the market, because they know how pesticide-laden crops theirs are, choosing instead to keep a separate organic garden for their families’ food.

    A Japanese farmer at the conference talks of how he realised the chemicals were making him sick, and then switched to organic farming, committing to protect and preserve native seeds. Seed-banks like these are an insurance against a future of flat flavours. Which brings us back to the children. Benedict Reade suggests it’s time to focus on educating them. And expanding their palates. “Teach them what a good carrot is. When you taste a carrot from the ground it can be an epiphany. I can tell when it was picked and where it was grown.” Introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours will change their perception of food. “It will change what they like eating,” says Reade, adding, “And what future generations will eat. It will change what’s available in stores. If we have good taste we have a healthy ecology… Because the markets will respond as they always do.”

    The new jungle drums

     

    CGNetSwara Calling. Photo: Purushottam Thakur

    A unique cell phone-based networking system in Chhattisgarh helps Adivasi Gonds share local news and air grievances.

    The phone call that Bunkar made is part of a unique cell phone-based social media networking system called CGNetSwara, which operates inside sensitive territory termed ‘Maoist areas’. Set up by former BBC journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, CGNetSwara gives the Adivasi Gonds of central India a voice that reflects their interests, their local news and events.

    CGNetSwara’s Bangalore-based server was set up by Bill Thies, a researcher in Microsoft and a self-confessed IT geek whose interest in user-generated technology aligned with Choudhary’s ideas. Using open-source code and a simple desktop computer with a modem, Thies built a piece of software with 10 voice lines that automatically call the caller back and record his or her message. “It’s going to sound very strange for a computer nerd to tell you, however, that technology is not the secret ingredient here,” says Thies. “The secret ingredients are Choudhary’s social contacts and the community itself.”

    CGNetSwara now gets up to 400 calls daily. The callers talk about local happenings, a lot of it related to their interaction with government schemes. Bunkar is very happy with CGNetSwara’s sphere of influence. He says that earlier efforts like dharnas in front of the Assembly in Raipur, agitating for land rights for Adivasis, had not worked,

    “There is no need for a newsroom”, says Choudhary. “Geography is now history.”

    In another instance of the government taking notice of CGNetSwara, Thies talks of CGNetSwara’s recorded reports of malaria cases in the villages. “CGNetSwara had more malaria incidents in a single year than what the government reported in a decade; we even had reports of government health workers dying of malaria”. The Swara reports made the government machinery pay attention to the malaria cases, and the reported figures rose more realistically thereafter.

    But CGNetSwara appears to have taken root in tribal Chhattisgarh. Choudhary calls it citizen journalism of a different kind. In an area neglected by mainstream media (unless the news concerns Maoism), there is now a system to get across local Adivasi news to others in the community. CGNetSwara has spread, purely by word of mouth, to Adivasis in the central Gondwana belt in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh — an expanse that Choudhary calls the ‘media dark zone’. “We are trying to create another paradigm in the term ‘development,” he says. “This communication system could well become the ‘Google of the poor’.”   The area’s ‘Maoists’ have taken note, issuing threats to Choudhary, but he feels they are threatened by the concept of self-empowerment that CGNetSwara brings to its users. Bunkar, though, thinks the system works better in areas that are ‘Naxal free’, away from Chhattisgarh’s borders with AP and Jharkhand. He says, “Naxals gather strength from cross-border infiltration.”

    Any wonder, then, that CGNetSwara is fast becoming India’s new ‘jungle drums’?

    Inside the Tagore home

      Inside the Tagore home – The Hindu.

     Excerpt :-

    In North Kolkata, big gates lead into Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral home, Jorasanko. Staircases lead up to wide verandas that skirt rooms with high ceilings, cold black and white marble floors and arched doorways with green louvered shutters. They all overlook a courtyard downstairs. Once, the big rooms were filled with men in their crinkly dhotis and kurtas holding animated discussions and debates on art, literature and politics. In the abarodh or the women’s quarters, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and daughters-in-law held sway.

    Like Tara of Gone with the Wind , or Manderly of Rebecca , Jorasanko drips atmosphere. The great house was packed to the rafters with people, yet there was always loneliness, fear and despair. Within its walls lurked insanity, abuse, infidelity and politics. Aruna Chakravarti gathers all these details and turns out a novel in which she recreates the world of 18th century Bengal, especially the privileged yet cloistered world of women.

    Chakravarti’s heroes are the Tagore women. They step into Jorasanko as child brides knowing they will leave it only when they die. Yet, confined as they are, they influence, instigate and shape their famous husbands and each other. As the Tagore men plunge into the heart of the Bengal Renaissance, the women also grapple with the changes. While some of them slide into bewildered despair as the sacrosanct rules of the abarodh shift and slacken, others grab the opportunity to step out of their husbands’ shadows and become women of importance in their own right. But they are no gilded lilies, and Chakravarti describes them warts and all.

    Of course, there are the milestone moments of Rabindranath Tagore’s life — his muse and his sister-in-law the melancholic Kadambari; his first composition; his relationship with his father, his struggle with western education; his marriage to Mrinalini…

    Jorasanko spans the years between 1859 and 1902 and is a haunting narrative. It speaks of a luxurious lifestyle, but it also raises questions about the status of women, even those married to the Tagores. The Tagore women were complex. The bous or daughters-in-law, whose days were spent between their boudoirs and the kitchens were not above intrigue and politics. Some of them were devious and spiteful. They were also strong-willed and stubborn, like Digambari who refused to accept Western ways, even if her husband flirted with them; Jogmaya who took on the men and split the Tagore family; Jnanadanandini who entered Jorasanko as a child bride but who dared to step out and set up an independent household with her husband and children. She also set a fashion trend and showed the Bengali women a new way of wearing the sari! And, of course, Swarnakumari, acknowledged as a pioneer of women’s writing in India.

    Then there were those who suffered. Some silently, others like Tripura vocally, and others like Kadambari who unable to bear the terrible loneliness and pain preferred to die.


    She didn’t belong here; had never belonged here. She had left her parents at the age of seven and made this house her home. She had embraced her husband’s family and given it all she had. She had thought it was hers. But it wasn’t… No one would shed a genuine tear if she died tomorrow.

     

    Doctors For You

    Drs Chandani & Anushree Maheshwari, sisters originally from New Delhi, first came to assist us with our relief operations in Uttarakhand. Both sisters travelled unaccompanied by any senior faculty, to Uttarakhand and commenced their work in collaboration with our partners. For over a week, they braved inhospitable and unfamiliar terrain to attend to ailing patients. To visit the more distant villages, there were some days they had to travel over 6-7 km, but even this didn’t deter them. Our senior staff had nothing but the highest praise for these sisters, their dedication and medical expertise.

    We commend them for their commitment to the DFY vision, and can only hope they have inspired the youth of our country to come forward and volunteer too.

    Drs Chandani & Anushree MaheshwariA big thank you from the DFY family, for your time, and for the lives you’ve touched.

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    Dungeon By Rabindranath Tagore

     

    The Art School Post

     

    Vintage Indian Clothing

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    Two of early 20th century art/dance schools in India, Santiniketan/Viswa Bharati and Kalakshetra were not just involved with a revival of Indian dance and art traditions but were also responsible for a new kind of aesthetic.  Khadi, so intregal to the freedom movement, was homespun cloth worn by India’s poor – a symbol of spartan simplicity and an eschewing of luxury. The art schools on the other hand were involved with the revival or reinterpretation of textile traditions, even as they discarded western dress and goods and embraced swadeshi. Both schools were responsible for certain sari styles. Kalakshetra lent its name to saris that were based on existing textile traditions in South India though some of the patterns were new.  On the other hand batik (possibly introduced in India due to the South East Asian influence) and kaantha (a type of stitch that had hinterto been used…

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    related

     

    Vintage Indian Clothing

    fb3One of the most significant influencers of the way we dress in India was the freedom movement, in particular Gandhi’s thoughts on the moral dimension of clothing, the quest for an authentic Indianness and clothing as a unifier of India’s diverse castes and religious groups.  Central to this was use of khadi, even though or perhaps because khadi was gradually getting displaced even in India’s villages.  Women in the movement discarded their jewels, the hitherto fine clothing*  (for which Indians had always had a preference) for home spun khadi. If you spun it yourself on a simple spinning wheel, the charkha, all the better).  In Saraladevi’s words one decided to be “simple and common only”.  Purely as a clothing choice it feels like elegant slumming, the borrowing of the clothes of India’s poor by an urban elite  – were it not situated in a particular decade, that leading to…

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    The real India – Happy Independence Day

    indophilia:Old Delhi Haveli series taken by Lana Šlezić  afp-photo:INDIA, Allahabad : Young Indian commuters sit inside a crowded train compartment at Allahabad junction in Allahabad on June 22, 2013. AFP PHOTO / SANJAY KANOJIAthetreesthatsing:Varanasi Ganges Life - Sylvain Brajeul Copyright-35 by Sylvain Brajeul on Flickr.deedeemo:family portrait - Indiadi CF Photographyle-vicieux:Mumbai, India, 2011 (by marc_guitard)randomthoughtsandminealwaysare:I would love to know her story…..porteryates:Spot of Colormy-spirits-aroma-or: An Odisha girl devotee shows her skills in the name of god.Vinay photographyrachelcarbonell:Jodhpur, Rajasthan, (India) 2012 © Rachel Carbonelloochappan:முகபாவம் • Kodikulambengalimonster:An invitation by Catch the dream on Flickr.cud learn so much from her smile - be happy despite whateverstevemccurry:Indiaammiephotographie:#mother feeding her #son in front of the red fort of #Agra #India #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephoto #blackandwhitephotography#streetbwphotographyweek:Sadhu by Mohan Duwal“In Hinduism, a sadhu is a wandering monk. As a sadhu, this man has renounced a ‘normal’ life to focus on pursuing his spirituality.”View more of Mohan’s photography on 500px.Image copyright Mohan Duwal and used with permission.––See the world’s most inspirational images every Thursday in Photography Week. Get five free issues today, risk-free, at http://bit.ly/RHzJmNendilletante:Varanasi, India by Benjamin Ettinger on Flickr.apple-jack5:photographer Steve McCurry
    Varun Bhatt, a young artist of slum Jhuggi Jhopri.