Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dance....My first love...My Life


Both my knees are black & blue and my left ankle is swollen. And I'm sitting here with a content smile on my face and writing this post....Welcome to a dancer's world!! :)
I have a show this weekend and for the past one month we have been rehearsing hard for it. With humidity at its peak we sweat it out in the studio till we get that perfection...This is our high...this is our addiction...we don't care about the cuts and bruises, if that is what it takes for a performance that ends in applause and appreciation.

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.” 
― Rumi

I have been dancing since forever...in school, at family functions, at birthday parties, here & there and everywhere. But my first formal training was when we had moved to Chennai and I got fascinated with the Bhava (Expression), Raga (Music) and Tala (Rhythm) of 'Bharatnatyam'. I was in Class IV. After three years of a sensual love affair with this classical dance form I bid a tearful goodbye as we moved to Kota, Rajasthan. The next two years swept by, with Ila Arun's folk songs making entry into my dancing dictionary.
Caught up with Life, struggling to catch up with peers in the cat-rat race, I perhaps lost 'Me' somewhere when I came to this big city. I was still a dancer at heart but other than a small performance in the colony's annual function or a competition or function in college, I was ignoring my hearts' calling.
It was only when unemployed with a MBA degree in hand, frustrated with zero turnaround at various interviews, I decided to stand up dance yet again!! And this time around I fell in love with a completely new world....a world of ChaînésPirouetteJete' and many more of such crazy, twirly and fun techniques. I found a new meaning in Life, I discovered and am still discovering a beautiful 'Me'. I owe a lot to dance. It is a part of who I am....With a full time job and family now, I have to priorities a lot but Dance brings in a serene balance in my Life, which i had not known before. These last three years have taught me a lot...Dance is not just something I love to do...it's a way of Life!!


"Dance, for me, is like meditation. You are moving yet you are still. You are reaching out/connecting to the audience but first you have to reach within/connect with yourself. To shine on stage you first have to find that inner light within you!!"


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The exquisite Taj Mahal, Agra


From a speed of 100 km/h we slowed down to a snail’s pace of 20km/h….From vast spaces of nothing, speeding cars zooming past ours, we entered the space where cows, auto rickshaws, bullock carts and honking cars shared the roads with a peculiar sense of understanding. The smell of freshly made samosa and khasta kachori on every other nook and corner along with the fetid smell of cow dung welcomed us as we entered the narrow lanes of the Agra city, once the seat of the Mughal emperors.

We were not here as tourists but on a visit to my grandfathers’ paternal home, to pay our respects to bade Nana (grandfather’s elder brother) and family. However, Agra is incomplete without touring the mystical, magical and magnificent white marble mausoleum, The Taj Mahal. And we squeezed out some in the early sunrise hours to view the enigmatic Taj!!

Sir Edwin Arnold, the English poet has rightly descried Taj Mahal as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”.

Here's a tour through my lens...


As we enter (From L to R: Hubby, Pa, Sis, Ma)




The Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)—gateway to the Taj Mahal
Incised painting in the main gateway

    Calligraphy on the main gateway
     Taj Mahal as seen from one of the gates

Motifs on the main gate

    I found this quite interesting...a kind of balcony on the tower. Taj Mahal and its 
    entire surroundings have been so intelligently designed is proved from the fact that
    these minarets were built slightly offside the plaform so that in the event of any collapse, 
    they would fall away from the tomb
On the west of the Taj Mahal is the mosque. Built entirely in red sandstone, its structure and design is identical to the Taj Mahal. Here you can see the painting on the entrance of the mosque...Beautiful isn't it?






Marble design below the main dome














My Princess

























Lil birdie too is looking for its mate :)



































The topmost ornament on the dome quite fascinated me as it seems a malgamation of Persian as well as Hindu elements. Do you also see some inspiration in the style from Lord Shiva?

Charbagh Garden
                                                                                                                        












































Love is certainly in the Air :) (with hubby)
                                                                                                                           
No image of the Taj, neither in books nor onscreen, can rightly express what one feels in that moment.... Love, solemnity, harmony and purity. One should definitely visit the Taj Mahal to discover all this and more....

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Child in You

I'm feeling it today...the energy, the rush, the twirl inside.....to simply pen 'it' down...However, the 'it' is still undefined in my mind.
There are days when i just can't write...Even if something inspires me, I don't feel it, not on that particular day...and then suddenly it comes back to me, an image in my head, like a reel playing...the memories...clear and crisp.

Playing in the heap of sand, eating a little bit of it too...
Making castles on the beach sand, writing our names over it...
Getting dirty in the muddy field just after the first pour, playing football...

All day long today, these images have been flirting with my mind :) :) 


Source: Google images
Yesterday one of my cousins messaged me, "Feel like turning back time a little". I sighed in that minute. Haven't we all at some point or the other wished the same? Craved for those carefree days? How we wish to run away from our day to day routine lives and hide in the cupboard...only to be opened by our childhood friend 20 years in the past!!

But why do we pine for those days, when all one has to do is close their eyes and let those happy reminiscences consume us. What stops us from releasing the child within?
When was the last time you smiled without reason, danced without music, laughed till your stomach hurt?? Remember something absolutely crazy and funny you did in your childhood? Remember the unabated joy it gave you? 

Recreate that magic today!! Let the child in you take control....play along!! It sure can teach you a thing or two!! :)


Source: Google images

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Freedom of Indifference

The Freedom of Indifference

You can't make a difference now
Whatever you say or do
The doors and windows are closed
Walk away, there is nothing to salvage


You're like the many heads in the crowd
I'll return the gesture if you'll smile,
But you won't stir a thing inside
You don't matter. I'm happy. Content.
The only thing that matters is Me.


If anything at all, I want to say Thank You...
Thank you for the new found freedom
To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.
You can't make a difference now, but in ways you already have.

Image source: Google


Note: After writing this Poem, I was thinking of a suitable title. Two words were playing in my head, 'Indifference' and 'Freedom'. When I googled the same, I was surprised to see that there actually exists a theory of ' Freedom of Indifference'. I found the below lines most interesting and somewhat close to what I wanted to express above.

Quote
It is called freedom of indifference not because the human will cannot be influenced by something other than itself, but that it always must retain enough “indifference” (or autonomy) to never be determined by such outside influences, for if it is determined by anything outside itself, it is not ultimately “free.”  In fact, “it even seemed that freedom could find no better way of asserting itself than to struggle against” human sensibilities, habits, passions, etc. (335).  Only one passion can be considered primitive to man—his passion to self-affirmation, “to the assertion of a radical difference between itself and all else” (338).
Unquote

Source: http://theophilogue.com/tag/freedom-of-indifference/

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summers in Lucknow


Today morning, as I was watering my plants in the balcony, I heard a remote yet clear 'Adaaa'. I was expecting it :) :) I looked straight ahead to my Mum's balcony and there they were, my Mum and Sister waving at me. I am so so lucky that my parent's place is just a stone's throw away!! I smiled and waved back, and since my mornings are always hurried, rushed back to get ready for office.
This doesn't happen often, although I know my Mother dear looks at my balcony every morning hoping to catch a glimpse of me....Mothers!! So sentimental!! So cute!! :)
Anyways, it was so today, coz they had just come back from Lucknow, enjoying a nice 10 day break at Nana-Nani's place.

I had missed them...I had missed my grandparents....missed the Lucknow home.....a place filled with childhood memories of cousins fooling around, going to the Hanuman ji temple with Nanaji, listening to bed time stories from Nani (she made them so magical, narrating to us in her sweet voice), playing Cards (we used to play Teen Patti and Court piece where cheating was as important as the game... :) We would be most intrigued when the elders used to sit down for a game of Bridge. The game was, is and always will be too complicated for me...Nanaji had genious hands in this one!!), going to the park with Nanaji in the evenings, endless sumptuous meals prepared by Nani, the Samosa-Jalebi breakfast ritual, Litchis, Mangoes...Ahhh the Summers in Lucknow....the list can go on and on...

Mmmm the sweet rich taste of Mangoes...can't imagine Summers without them...my favourite are the Dusseheri variety and I'm just heading to my Mum's place to get my share of them....handpicked and sent from Lucknow :) :) Yummm!!

Mommy, Nani & Sissi
My Nanaji...Love you :-* 
  
Nanaji, Sis & Papa


What a family engaging event...this Mango picking...and I missed it :( at home I'm gonna hear all the gup-shup and masti that ensued in the last 10 days...and pretend not to be jealous!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

This is NOT a Book Review......

"When there's a star on a flag it stands for freedom. The star points in all directions, it means you can go anywhere you want. That's why I love stars, because they stand for freedom."
(From 'Pigeon English' by Stephen Kelman)

What strikes you after reading this?? It is said that children with their innocence, liveliness, positive nature and inquisitive mind can teach you a thing or two about life. Very True!! I couldn't have interpreted the significance/meaning of  'Star' this way ever!!


For me Stars speak of optimism, enthusiasm and opportunities!! I always feel good when the night sky is twinkling with million stars. Just gaze into them and loose yourself to the million possibilities that life gives!!

Childhood memories...always bring about nostalgia...Sigh!!...How many times did you recite 'Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are' to your Aunt, Uncle or next door neighbour?? :) :)
And remember how you used to get stars in your homework notebook if you did good....  :) :)

Anyhoo, if it were up to you how would you interpret Star(s)??

Oh forgot to mention....'Pigeon English' is a very endearing read, narrated in first person by 11 year old Harri (Harrison) it's quirky and fun...Well, till now at least... I've about 40 pages left...The muliticultural slang used though - partly London-ese and partly Ghanian didn't strike a chord with me!! 

P.S. Do read 'Room' by Emma Donoghue and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time' by Mark Haddon.....I Loved, loved, loved them!!