Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Hindu Literature Festival 2015

This is my first participation in such an event. I was getting serious about writing recently and I enrolled for a Workshop

Writing What You Know: Using Autobiography in Fiction

A Creative Writing Workshop by Nina McConigley at The Hindu Lit For Life 2015

Some Nostalgic Journey: My Hometown Vellore and growing up as a Child
My father ran a library by name 'Blue Bell' in our home town Vellore. Father was a very creative person. We had the Gramaphone and my father listened to Western Music only. He had a Hippy hair style and bell bottom trousers and would dance like crazy listening to Music.

Both my parents were readers and Daddy had to read best books in his times to buy for our library. We had CMCH, vellore doctors as customers and book reading was so much welcomed in those days. Unfortunately, we closed down since there were no profits. All books were donated to the local library and some to friends and family, schools selling was not easy like in Quickr these days.

Unlike tamil books, my father raised me by buying me MISHA , an Russian Magazine popular in and around1985. So  I grew up reading about Czar's and creative writing. Memory takes me to my first poem 'A Dream of a Fairy' in my school for which I won a prize. I had this in a chart and pasted a fairy and had it stuck in my room for years until the chart withered. Wish we had blogger then, so that I could have seen myself evolve as years rolled by. Technology is a blessing if we know to use it rightly!
Vellore was a small town then, now living in a city I wonder how my father managed to give his best to me. I read more and discussed more with my grandfather , my mothers father. Every week, my grand pa used to get me a book from a library and I would read. 

Today I thank my father and my grand father for kindling in me that aspect of reading and I do love reading and Writing. 

Workshop.. It was a positive experience for me because I was totally out of the Box during the workshop and when we were given time to write , before and after topics . Most of them felt that they just can't be creative in their Autobiography. It has to be written just the way it is, one must be truthful isn't it? 

For me, I felt more accomplished after writing the second writing session. And am wondering what made me feel like that? The only reason was TIME and I was longing for something to happen and I visualised and wrote as if it happened now. I really felt relieved while most of them including criticism and introduced new characters . Learning is FUN for sure and in writing its my experience. 

New Narratives or New Ways of Narrations? Vetrimaran, Vasantabalan, R. Rohini
in conversation with A. Ramasamy
My reflections based on the open talks today at the HINDU PAVILION:

Vasantabalan spoke like a dare devil but the devil who speaks truth and who is interested in giving cinema without violence and Sex. Why is called a Devil? Because without Violence and Sex , thats how the Audience and the Cinema world can treat you? He says no one watched 'Kaviyathalaivan' , everyone were serious about this drama movie which was plotted before independence. I watched it , and I really liked it except for a few sections of the movie. The heroin when she brings out her desire to have a child through the artist so that the appreciating drama and creativity can be inherited, its such an important scene in the movie and there is absolutely empty of emotions. As a viewer, I felt when you wanted to give yourself to your beloved/someone whom you hold highest how should you feel? That was completely missing. He really rocked today!!

Vetrimaran's Courage to apologize in front of all the media and public for his mistakes in the movie Kathi deserves a standing applause. His views lied more on piracy control. 

Rohini - Being a women I appreciate her more because she has come a long way in the cinema world. She is still struggling to release her movie. She openly  spoke about Alternative Narrations of Cinema. A malayalam movie where the step father sexually abuses his daughter and she narrated that scene. I think it must have had a deep impact on her as a women. Because who would talk about this in such a forum when one is given only a few minutes to talk and she has to wait until 3 people finish, Vasanthabalan,Vetri and Ramasamy. This women rocked the stage today!! 

Gods, Demons and Others: Amish in conversation with Baradwaj Rangan
I really enjoyed this session because it was packed! Amish just let out the cat from his bag, that he is writing a series :-) . This information should have been out in the Jaipur Literary Festival but it just came from his mouth. He spoke about his writing patterns and how he goes on to live in his own world while writing. He claimed Shiva writes through him, I think much of the best works should have been flowing from a higher consciousness . Some people may agree to it but not many. I have always found that when am writing am totally different. I ponder over my thoughts when I read them later, Did I ever write that? I think thats the case with Singing,Painting,Reading, too.. 
I think becoming one and losing oneself is more than the word 'Passion'. I think it should be called 'Existing'.

Audience was Auh! feeling when Amish said that he ate a lot of Cream biscuits and listened to Music when he wanted to write. Yeah! One does burn up energy mentally and needs to be refreshed I thought laughing with the crowd.

Our Plural Selves: Writing Memoirs Leila Seth, T.M. Krishna and Irwin Allan Sealy in conversation with V.K. Karthika
No one is interested in talking about Leila Seth or Irwin when TMK is around. A old man next to my seat asked me 'What do you think about TMK's ideas of taking Music ?'. I told him I can never relate to him in his Music because its very personalised for him, I can feel it . And its like I can't even appreciate that not because I don't  know Carnatic Music but because of the way its emoted. Its my own way of interpreting. He said he never liked the statement he made recently that he doesn't care for his audience and he sings for himself. I told him, may be he is , but I feel its more self centeredness and egoistic way of expressing Music and went about romancing my music love for other singers like Bombay Jayashri ,Aruna,RG etc.
TMK spoke about his book being a memoir and its like a Memory Recall. He says he sees his limitations and evolves as he sings it every time, every time a new truth is experienced. Truth can never be new, its just that the experience of mind that perceives it. Too much of JK's philosophy, No Comments. Im not a Gyana Yogi neither wish to be, Im a combo of all 4- Gynana,Karma,Bhakti and Kriya.. 

Enough For Today!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

PK Movie - 2014

Everyone gave positive reviews about this movie. So my cute little sister booked tickets morning show by 8am for christmas because that was the only availability in LUX, Phoenix Mall,Velachery.

Here you go:

1. Anushka Sharma is simply great looking with her very short dress and free mind and her tomboy behaviour but feminism displayed and portrayed to match the romance in the movie.
2.Sushant Singh Rajput - A pakistani by name Sarfaraaz who works in the embassy who falls in love with an Indian girl Jaggu.
3. Aamir - Child like curiosity I simply love it, most of his questions were similar to the one I have still. Most of the children will have it I think, but they are too busy to focus on the questions. Me being an adult , am focussing more on my questions because I have always focussed on my questions since my child hood though am tuned to belief systems.

I don't want to write the story anywhere  because I want every Indian to watch this movie for sure but will only ask some questions and share my personal experiences on these questions.

1. Where is GOD?
The song 'Bhagwan! Hai Kahan Ho Tum' is intriguing me and so very close to my soul because I always have this question since my childhood and thats why I put my entire life into Seeking the TRUTH.
I read books like ' What Does GOD Want' ? Karma,Death,Buddhism,Heard Sufi Music. Even went to Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi to see dead bodies and meditated . 

I have heard the song 20 times by now after watching the movie and just can't stop crying when I hear it every time.

2. Religion? God Men? Ashram?
I have searched many GURU's , I don't know if I know anyone who has searched like me. I don't want to write in detail in saying that I have tried rituals from 3 religions, and also created a GOD in ISHA. I have been part of that process also.. So I know that I can be a part of creating a GODDESS and make many people worship it also.

In the recent events at Pondy Aurobindo Ashram, my faith is questioned when I read the newspaper about sisters who committed suicide by drowing themselves into the sea with their aged parents because they were asked to vacate the place where they put their lives into. one of them was being raped by two men full drunk  when she regained her consciousness  and when she was washed ashore, it pains, it hurts... not because am a women but for the faith for the ignorance the faith causes.

My own faith on GOD MEN trembled when I heard that my Guru's daughter was getting married to a carnatic musician and the whole world went to celebrate it. I never went to the wedding and silently cried in my meditation room asking my guru 'I Trust you, what are you going to answer me?  I have put my life for you' while he is busy fulfilling his parental responsibility preaching ' For how many people you can be a father and mother'? Not in terms of what you can do to them? But for acceptance mainly.

Not even once I have met my guru , only the rich and the famous can approach him. But I feel his presence every time I chant a ID created by him , do my guru pooja religiously every monday or any day on the week and seek his feet. All his methods work perfectly if you practice , but my eyes show me something different.

I asked my Yoga teacher in the Ashram a question ' You say if I walk the path of being a Yoga Teacher in the Ashram , millions of life will blossom''.  Yes, it will I knew that but I asked her ' My mother will be shedding tears everyday for me, day and night thinking about me, craving for my good life'. How can that be compensated? she says she left her own dying mother in GURU's feet and claims she died peacefully. Im not satisfied by this answer, I really don't know the Truth and I want to know the Truth.

3. ID? Im a Muslim,Hindu,Christian,Sikh etc..

I think I have already written about it, I don't know how many times it will be coincidental. So don't want to write anymore, I have thought much about it. 

Please do watch.. PK can make you more aware but there is every chance that you might fall into the trap again, including me. Because Faith Rules... Yes, I do wear a rudrakash for my own protection and keep RED kumkum on my forehead and I long for SHIVA the GOD... this is me.. SHIVANGI.. An Angam of SHIVA.. and finally NOTHINGNESS.. 

Read my ramblings on faith in 2007..

And yes, I have heard from a trust worthy source that the person who preached this in 2007 does not follow.. So where is Truth? What is being truthful? My Guru says that if you do not cause any harm to anyone that means you are truthful.

But Anita will find the TRUTH one day or the other and be free from this endless cycle of birth and death until then I will burn myself in Sadhana,Atma Vichara,Saranagathi...  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Marghazhi Story - 2014 - Stage II

I attended my teachers concert and enjoyed it. Some moments I felt the connection which I felt in BJ it was just the same. I also attended some of my other music  teachers concerts , with some I felt an enormous soul connect.

This year I draped myself with Sarees, I wore all new ones which I decided to accumulate to match the crowd but kept in mind, 'Be Detached'. Yes, it gave a feel good factor but I remember the story of 'Kapdon ka Aathar' of Eshwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar, just like most of music loving cultural families would send their young children to Pattu class, I went for my Hindi class as a child. I was in 4th std and would sit in the first bench and grasp whatever my master taught me and came home and recited everything my master told me without a word changing to my Hindi teaching mother.

One of the elite class lady who captured almost 6 seats in her row asked me 'Who is this lady?'. I said she is my mother and she said Im sorry, even without saying anything she conveyed what she felt seeing my mother who looked dark,curly hairs,limps while walking and didn't drape herself with the costliest saree she had . I never said anything but  my silence is known only to the one who is aware ' that being self centered is Success and people weigh you on what you wear and how you look and not what you are deep inside.. ' I made my mother seated next to a journalist and proceeded to sit in the dias though I had the ticket. Back home she sang praises about elite class women and expressed happiness on seeing her favourite actress Vyjanthi mall Bali. Anita is learning and growing...

I also got a courtesy pass from my music classmate for one of the concert and feel grateful for it . Im almost in the completion of the season now with Christmas eve just passing. Most of the time I sat on the Dias for my Fav Artist concert and felt good except for one where I could not hear her in dias but I listen.  My favourite artist opens up during the concert by wishing a happy new year and am so very excited about it. I pass through the Mama's and Maami's stepping my leg every time they try to get inside the row am seated, I just close my mouth tight with both my hands and learn the tactic of putting my legs inside the chair so that I don't curse them after the stampede and the man/guy beside me laugh at me and I stare at him.

Aruna Maami was wonderful on dec 25, I went to her concert after 6 -7 yrs I guess am not even sure. The crowd was awesome in asking their favourite songs and my fav too. She affectionately conveys that the organiser has given permission to sing 3 songs and 2 of Rasika's choice and she sang one of hers. She brought Vitthal,Krishna,Muruga, Perumal on the concert through her singing. When she sang 'Yenna Kavi Padinalum Unthan Ullam Uruga Villai' on Muruga, I was wiping my tears quietly. I forgot my neighbour maami's stampede on me and blessed her finally. Ah! Musically Forgiven though my big toe is paining.

Sooner I forgave the person who was seated in my reserved seat number. I show him my ticket and he says 'No one is sitting in order'. I tell him 'Atleast I want to Sit in my allocated seat' and he stares at me and calls his wife who signals him  with an 'Yenn na Inga' gesture just 3 rows in front of my seat and he proceeds without even an apology. I think am expecting too much of forgiving . Music has this power.. Try it.

I volunteered to get two tickets for my Fav Artists Big Fans one who is coming from Dubai and another my friend who is a meditator, I thought their minds will cool off listening to her. My Absent mindedness , I went one day ahead to the Music Academy on dec 26 instead of dec 27 at 5.15am to find my flat neighbour Uncle sitting in the first row in the 4th chair, I waved my hand. I was the only one in jeans jacket with my stole covering like a pakistani sitting there, it was SS singing today . Uncle and me became friends last year when I went to get ticket in MU last year, I have never spoken to him in my flat, no one talks to him. His block had Airtel Super Singer Anitha the famous singer who sang Jingles. Most of her Musical invites in this season would land up at my door step and I would humbly pick it up and drop it back to mail box so that she can pick it up.

Uncle was close to my fathers age and encouraged me to listen to carnatic and said young generation should listen and offered/recommended me a ticket for Abhishek out of gesture and I listened to Abhishek last year in LCD hall because of Uncle only.We became friends since then, I see a gleam of fatherly affection in his eyes and he lives with his brothers family and we have never spoken about our families and yet connected musically. Im offered a coffee as soon as I sit on the 4th row and I politely decline it with a Thank you.  Im not interested in consuming anything that can act as a nervous stimulant  and the smell of coffee especially is something which I hate, don't know why I never liked it from child hood.

When I got a seating closer for my fav.Artists and a little farther for Rangini Gayathri the ticket counter person sarcastically said ' So you want to See BJ and listen to RG'. I said I want to listen to both and said to myself , Im connected to BJ in her Music its like a frequency in a radio, when she sings my antenna will be up and am ON'. I wanted to check if its the same with RG so this time I booked a ticket for RG also, lets see what happens. I love experiments on truth and am not for comparison,  am sincerely trying to find my soul connects in Music. With Aruna Maami it was music, I don't feel the soul connect and TMK I tried but failed miserably because it was too gramatic for me. I decided to be his fan in his thought processes on Social initiatives only and his articles in HINDU and decided not to indulge further.

I watch PK movie on december 25 and I still can't come out of it, its a must watch. Will write about it soon.

Enough for Stage II.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Margazhi Story- 2014 - Stage I

Thanks to T.M.Krishna for triggering my thoughts on 'AS I SEE IT' column in Sunday Magazine dated December 7 , 2014. So here you go.. 'AS I SEE IT ' - from Anita's supposedly Wide Angle Lens.. I have decided to write in stages , so here comes my first experience Stage I at the beginning of the season.

My Acquaintance with Carnatic Music is purely because of Smt.Bombay Jayashri and she also knows it .The idea of attending carnatic concerts happened because of my conditioning from childhood on Bhakti Marga, both my parents worshipped GODS and Goddess and we had a pooja room where one can sit and pray comfortably and we were tuned to worship Vishnu, Lord Balaji since we were telugu speaking . So am used to listening to Jayashri's CD's and  attend only Jayashri's Concerts from the year 2007 and I also liked Aruna Sairam's(Aruna Maami - as I Affectionately call her within my friends circle).

It was only after an unique experience with ISHA Yoga, I stopped visiting temples, even stopped worshipping GODs and Goddess. Something in me just turned on and I felt more connected to me and those around me, it was only Yogic practices the Sadhana and Devotion towards Gods and Goddess.

The affinity for music strengthened over the period of time over repetitive listening and blossomed into Bhakti and it started to bear flowers and fruits since last december after a wonderful spiritual experience in Jayashri's Kutcheri.

 For a rasika like me who does not know and understand the ABC of Carnatic, and just as an Seasoned Artist comes for a concert prepared , I come for a carnatic concert preparing myself for a spiritual experience.

Prerequisities for a Concert : All Rules are my Rules
1. I come in Half empty stomach if its 4pm or fully empty stomach if its 6pm concert, with no Adrenalin shots of Coffee or Tea , trying to look fresh, wrapping my office work for a few hours to match the Concert timings .
2. I manage to get a Dias ticket  by the time I reach the counter in long standing queue and I happily accept it because I can get to see the Artist closely and feel more connected .
3. I sit in cross legged posture with my eyes closed , sometimes prefer to sit in a corner where no human intervention is there.
4. I shut my mobile phones and shun from people gossiping.
5. I get lost in the jugalbandi between Ganjira and Mirudangam artist and try to relate myself with the Nadai's which I learnt very recently and which required frequent revision in most of my music classes.
5. I resist my temptation to go grab food immediately after the concert since am soaked in the experience from the journey with the musician but do enjoy some soulful food from the best caterers because of my precondition of half empty / sometimes fully empty stomach.
6. Very Occasionally, when I just cannot resist myself I go to the artist and handshake with them telling them It was a great experience and don't even ask for a picture and simply stand awestruck by the crowd and charisma of the musicians.
7. I come back home, do a lot of research on the Artist who gives me such nice experience in music in live concerts and track their email ID and write to them religiously after each kutcheri is over with a spiritual dimension and  nowhere I mention of Raaga's,Talams because I don't know.

Recently I had been to Abhishek Raghuram's kutcheri and am not a Critic, neither wish to be. With concern for older people than respect , I leave my seat from the chair and proceed to sit on the floor packed between people. Somehow Im not a Rasika who can enjoy Carnatic Grammar concerts and dislike sitting too packed with people  and feel the breath of the one next to you.

 The energy was too much , people were shaking their heads with Wah! , it looked like a Shayari concert for me. And women, young and middle aged who constantly nag their mobile phones and type their questions in whats app and show it to their neighbour asking ' Who is the girl sitting next to Dileep'? By the way, I came to know that Dileep is a Violinist after attending a few kutcheri's of Jayashri. Im forced to watch all these on a live concert because of space constraint and my inability to connect to the Artist.

 In between they admire the artist Abhishek with a Wah! Are they faking? I wanted to blast them but then who Am I? Do these people respect music first of all, leave alone respecting musicians?  I leave the concert after a long awaiting grammar recital was complete because I get 4 missed calls from my workplace at 8.30pm and looks like they are energetic than me who is a participant in a live concert.

For now, let me get tucked up for getting my tickets by positioning myself in the queue from tomorrow and lets see where this journey takes me this season 2014. More writing and sharing on Stage II..