Friday, August 30, 2013

Dancing to Beethoven


In the 1988 film Running on Empty, which features budding musician River Phoenix, a teacher plays two tracks of music to his teenage class. The first has a Madonna-esque, pacy rhythm which propels the students to shake a leg or two, but they soon take to their seats when the teacher follows the catchy song with an orchestral piece by Beethoven. He asks his class to differentiate the two. After a round of subjective answers like "first good, second bad" and vice versa, Phoenix raises his hand and says, "You can't dance to Beethoven." The teacher is more than pleased with his answer. Well, they were wrong!


One can certainly dance to Beethoven, or for that matter, his brethren Mozart, Bach et al. I do. But there is a catch. Dancing to classical music is miles away from the conventional sense of dancing. It is, more often than not, a singular activity (unless you are dancing to Strauss's Blue Danube with your other half). It's a dance you often don't realise how and when to begin - then end up surprising yourself by finding your arms rising into the air, almost of their own accord, due to the blissful music.


In fact, dancing to classical music is often transcendental. Unlike its better-known counterpart, it does not entail shaking your torso or gravity-defying somersaults. Sometimes, the dancing can happen without twitching a muscle. It happens when you lose yourself in the bars of pure musical magnificence and your mind becomes the dancing stage. The only things that dance are your heart and soul and at the end of it you can find yourself spiritually elevated.


The major difference between dancing to, say, Madonna and Beethoven is that in the former you don't need to listen; the feet automatically begin to tap. But in Beethoven, you listen before you dance. Only when one can appreciate the powerful hammering of the kettledrums or bask in the playful, child-like progression of the violins and cellos, does one begin to dance to the orchestral splendour. In order to dance to Beethoven, one needs to understand, appreciate and listen to classical music.


So, yes, it's an acquired taste - or rather acquired dance - but a dance nonetheless. So how does one appreciate classical music, you may ask. I have a solution for the uninitiated. You need only look around. Today, we hear classical music everywhere, but not many realise this fact. From television advertisements to our home doorbells, it has quietly seeped in everywhere.


On TV, the ad for Titan watches has been using a playful passage from Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G-minor for more years than i care to remember. What makes Raymond's 'A Complete Man' ad extra special is Schumann's piano piece Traumerei (German for 'dreaming'). In many films and cartoons the scare factor is often introduced by the first four haunting bars of the famous Symphony No. 5 in C-minor by Beethoven.


But the most exploited piece in my opinion is Beethoven's wonderful bagatelle Fur Elise. It can be heard in the form of doorbells, car reverse-sirens, water purifiers, mobile ringtones and was even recklessly ripped off by Anu Malik for a song in 1995 Bollywood film Baazi. What's irritating is that it almost always stops after the first well-known part, or goes back to the beginning, thus playing in loops. The better, catchy and certainly more danceable part comes after the often-heard melody which sadly no one gets to hear.


So you've been enjoying classical music in various guises without having any knowledge of it. It's time you started dancing to it. Let no one tell you what music to dance to. It will be in those precious moments when your eyes are shut, heart pounding to the soaring bars of Beethoven's Fifth that you will come to realise the true meaning of bliss.

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I simply loved this article and knew instantly that I had to share it with you guys. Certain pieces of music, especially the Classical genre, and here I include the Hindustani Classical music too, it moves you from deep within. The chords connect with your soul, something deep in you sways with the rhythm, and you Dance. 


Have you seen the movie, August Rush. It is as simple as the quote goes in the movie, "The music is all around us, all you have to do is listen". So just sit back and close your eyes and enjoy the brilliance of Beethoven.





Friday, August 23, 2013

Note to Self

Happy Birthday You!!

23rd August 2013...another year gone by...I'm not going to ask you to reflect on this past one, coz you've learnt along the way...haven't you? You are today mature with the unique experiences you've had this past year, sour...sweet and bitter!!

What I am going to ask of you is, to celebrate 'YOU' today. You, who has strived to make this Life beautiful (and don't ever stop doing that!). You, who has endeavored to become a caring daughter-in-law, a loving wife, a thoughtful daughter & granddaughter, a compassionate sister, a loyal friend and a sincere employee, without losing 'you'. Without losing your identity, without compromising on your principles, without curbing your adventurous and magnanimous dreams!

Dream on girl! Dream big!
It will all come true, I have that much faith. Sooner or later it will! Be bold and be courageous to take that leap, to grasp that opportunity when it comes your way. Don't hesitate then!! It is happening....Yes, right now somewhere you're dreams are taking shape :)

And remember whatever crazy ride you wish to take, your loved ones will always be by your side. They may not readily jump in with you, and don't expect them to too. At least not at first. But at the end of your journey, seeing you happy, seeing you accomplish, they'll cheer for you! Just be cautious not to take them for granted, and different as they maybe respect their views and be patient with them.

Too much said...eh? :) You and your teeny tiny attention span! But it's about you, so I can stretch a little ;) No?? I'll be quick...

What I love about you is that you're such a happy child inside...stay the same always...don't let that child grow.

What I want you to work on, more, is ( I know you've been working on this, that's why the 'more'), don't get overly emotional about petty little things. Okay?

What I give you credit for is patience. You have really grown leaps n bounds in this area. Thanks to hubby dear I guess ;)

And finally what I want to gift you is time. Well, I really can't gift 'time' to you boxed and wrapped. But I want you to realize you have plenty of time on your side (despite of what you think otherwise), to achieve all your dreams!

Happy b'day dear! You are the creator of your own life so makeitbeaYOUtiful!

Love,
Me

P.S. I enjoyed this, conversing with you, perhaps will do it more often! :)





Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food for the Soul


Yesterday evening as we were on a flight back to Delhi from the lovely tranquil Kochi, we saw a sight beautiful! The moon rising as the Sun set...I couldn't help but go click...click..click! 








And then as I saw the colours fade out in the sky, I felt so loved...so complete...so much at peace. 

I felt the vastness of the Universe with its mystifying beauties...and smiled, appreciating that I am a small part of this huge wonder. 

I felt gratitude for the love that surrounds me, my lovely family and friends who I know will stand by me no matter what. 

It takes just a moment such as this to nourish your soul, to remind you how beautiful life is....don't let such moments pass...don't just give them a fleeting glance..they may just be your 'Food for Soul'




100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2 o'clock Crush

Everyday at 2:00 pm in the schorching heat, she would wait for her Son eagerly.
He would come rushing down the school bus hug her and hand in hand they strolled back home, happily chatting about his day.
Today, she saw her Son all grown up, holding her hand. The 10 year old's first crush!

Image via Google

Here's another 55 Fiction. I'm getting so addicted to this sweet and short style of writing....All thanks to dear Vidya and Write Tribe :)

Peek-a-boo

"She's finally coming home", Manya smiled teary-eyed.
Rick looked at his wife lovingly...
...the wrinkles beneath her eyes and the little grey in her hair...the signs of a long wait.
He had hated himself for not being able to gift her the joy of motherhood.
But Adoption was going to complete their family today.




Linking this to Day 8 of the FMSphotoaday challenge and the 55 Fiction prompt at the Write Tribe


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Sign



Grey clouds accompanied by thunder
A sign inauspicious! they said
But happy she was,
Under the rain they would tie the knot!

Rain kissed roses he was bringing
Sunshine in his heart, a skip in his step
But a slip unfortunate, he didn't see
The roses lay scattered, the red all splattered.

Dressed in pretty, with dreams in her eyes
A life full of possibilities, she beamed...
Unaware, that he lay there...his last breath
whispering only her name.

Note: Prompt 'A Sign' for the August Photo a day challenge day 7. I'm running behind...with the lovely extended weekend, even my mind had gone off wandering :) :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This means a lot to me

" Please dear, this means a lot to me! Let's go?".
He shrugged....Then smiled. 
He couldn't say no to those big beautiful eyes. They sat there watching the dancers spin and fly across the stage. 
He slyly checked his phone, thinking..
Was the ball a spin or a bouncer? 
Did it have enough flight?
*Love*

Linking this to the 55 Fiction prompt at Write Tribe. And the cue 'this means a lot to me' from #FMSphotoaday helped me get started.

For all the times you've encouraged and supported me in my weirdest of ventures...love you hubby.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Morning Musings


I've never really been an early riser. I remember Ma-Pa trying all the tricks in the world to wake me up, most of my school days and even early college days. Alarm was set and then put on snooze again and again, water was sprinkled on my face and I would just grunt and turn to the other side, in peak summers Ma would smartly switch off the fan and when 15 min later she would peek in I would be peacefully sleeping with the fans on. :) :) I was a trouble compared to my angelic younger sister. 
Even during exams Pa would tirelessly advice that 'Early bird catches the worm', and sis listened and followed obediently while I would sit up with my books till 2:00 AM and woke up sleepy eyed and made silly silly mistakes in the paper, esp Maths! :( You can guess who got the better scores. ( Well my sis is learning all about late nights and dark circles now that she is in IIM Calcutta...love you baby)
Enough said and enough learnt, today I manage to wake up at a decent time ( though I would still like 15 min more to myself), greet the sun with a smile and do some yoga to get energized and get going for the day. I did a post on this earlier here.
What is most beautiful about early mornings is the freshness that it offers. The promise of a fresh new start, the opportunity to take a leap and move on to achieving more, the challenge to push yourself to newer limits. Don't you think so?
There is one thing that I always do on my vacations. Never miss a sunrise or a sunset. It is the most beautiful and peaceful things in the world. The above pic is from my trip to Kashmir in Oct 2012. Hubby was fast asleep ( he is even worse when it comes to rising early) and I just had to capture the sun silently majestically rising from behind the mountains. What a feeling! 
Speaking of vacations, 15th-20th Aug we will be traveling to Kerela. Reading Mridula's fabulous posts about her recent visit to the place is making me itch so bad to fly off to the God's own land. I hope to capture the fresh early mornings of this serene land along with freshly brewed coffee! Hmmmm...heavenly!!

Note: This post combines the prompts 'Fresh' and 'Early' from the ongoing FMS August photo a day challenge.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Make a Wish


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "MAKE A WISH"

Make a wish so that
the young and innocent remain so
their bright smiles touching our hearts
their playfulness making us laugh

Make a wish so that
they are not abused
not stripped off their liveliness
let their eyes sparkle and not
bend down with pain & shame

Make a wish so that
all children get equal right
Right to education...to live
Let them breathe, just let them be

Make a wish so that
people rejoice a SHE
let her hold your hand
let her be a daddy's girl
She will stay by you till the end.

Make a wish so that
their future is secure
their hearts are filled with love
not bearing scars of broken trust

Make a wish so that
they get to hear fairy tales
and get kissed good night
not cornered up or beaten up
no nightmares they should see

Make a wish so that
the little buds flower up
to spread joy in abundance
Children are God's Gift, cherish them thus.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: XX

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Skyline

You meet one person and your Life changes. 
Is it really true?? he thought, sitting on the terrace gazing at the skyline.
Dejected. Lonely. Empty.
The high rise buildings with their twinkling lights in the far distance....
Promise or a Trap?? he questioned out loud.
THUD.
He never found answers to any of the questions.



Note: I took the cue 'Skyline' from the FMS August Photo a day challenge and wrote a 55 fiction.
This is my first attempt at 55 Fiction and though a lot of fun, it was pretty challenging :D
Big thank you Vidya Sury for her excellent tutorial on Write Tribe.


Friday, August 2, 2013

The Incomplete Letter

She couldn't breathe...a pain engulfed her heart as she blankly stared at the letter in front of her. "It is him!", she said loudly to herself, confirming that this isn't a ghost of her dreams but real. She bit her lip, sniffed back a tear and ran her fingers along his handwriting...


"He has eyes just like yours....that is all you saw? Nothing else??" she cried. There was no address that could lead to him....just this incomplete letter that had stirred up the many buried emotions. Suddenly she felt claustrophobic, the walls of the house drawing closer to her inch by inch. She ran out, on the streets, desperately looking for him. But, alas....their story was to remain incomplete..forever....She couldn't even tell him that it was his son, he saw.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nurture the New

This August 
as the Sun slowly slips
behind the clouds,
Nurture your Souls
Don't let yourself
shy away for new experiences!!


I had come across Photo A Day in late May 2013, and though a fabulous idea, I couldn't get to post more than 7 photos (view them here)....EeeeSshhh the lazy me!! But this month is about Nurturing new experiences, about going beyond the known and plunging into the bitter-sweet unknown! So once again I start with the August Photo A Day Challenge.



She too can Stayfree!

I look at the calender and frown. Make a mental note of going to the store on my way back from work. It's that time of the month again! After few initial shy and uncomfortable years, I now go and buy a sanitary napkin like any other grocery product. At times my husband has also run to the store, after being clearly instructed to get the 'winged' one and nothing else!! No shame in that, a husband looking after his wife's basic needs! If my Dad, the sole man in a household of three women, didn't flinch discussing our menstrual cramps and didn't tire in getting me hot water bottle in those days, then my husband better! Right?

But it's not that easy. Not that agreeable, for more than perhaps 95% of the population to talk about Menstruation/ Periods.

But one Man has set his Life to change this. One Man alone has brought about a Revolution, a (Silent) Second White Revolution as he calls it. While many Men in our country will simply shrug away from this 'women's issue', he made it his own, and in attempt to better his wife's sanitation and in turn uplift several women's hygiene and sanitation conditions, wore a sanitary pad himself!!
Known as the first man ever to wear a Sanitary Napkin, meet Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham.


With his wit and humour, he captured my attention to the alarming situation faced by millions of women in rural India - a threat to women's health - the basic need for a hygienic sanitation method during Periods!

Of the 355 million reproductive-age women in India, only 12% use absorbent pads or another sanitary method to stem the blood flow during periods, a report by AC Neilsen and Plan India found in 2010. The rest use rags, cotton, newspapers, even ashes, husk, sand and leaf. Due to such gross and unhealthy practices, no wonder that that the incidence of cervical cancer (mouth of the uterus), reproductive tract infection and other urinary diseases is the highest in Indian, especially rural women.

As I browse through the net, the statistics alarm me to no end. The stories of women being cornered from the society during periods considering them 'impure' astonish me. But amongst such searches, his name pops up and things start looking up again. After years of grueling and painful research, during which his wife and family literally dis-owned him, he came up with a low cost sanitary napkin making machine. Taking on the biggies in this niche market such as P&G and Johnson & Johnson, he created a micro & decentralized low cost model where the machine can be made available to a women's group or a Self Help group for approximately Rs 75,000. He patented his invention and set up Jayaashree Industries in 2006. Click here to view his Idea in more depth. He never intends to sell his product to a multinational or a private investor, thereby risking the loss of making millions of moolah, but intends to keep only rural women as his shareholders thus empowering them for Life! Jayashree Industries till 2012 successfully deployed around 600 such machines in 23 states of India. Without basic funding, he was able to sustain and develop this product solely from a simple idea that spurred from his wife's problem. He says, to lead a meaningful Life, all it take is a Problem! And, I couldn't have agreed more.

A humble Man, he has come long way, from a remote village near Coimbatore to foothills of Himalaya (he set up his unit near Dehradun, which MNCs will take another 20 years to reach, he remarks). He has a vision of making India a 100% sanitary napkin using country. I think and ponder how can we help to help him in this mission? Think about it Friends and suggest ways and means to make this possible. At the very basic level, I feel it should not be a such Taboo topic to speak about. To the schools I urge, take time to clearly explain that chapter on reproduction; To the Mothers I request not to wait till your Daughter starts her first day of adolescence to explain to her the mystery behind it & do not wait till you catch your son curiously sneaking in your drawer to explore what a pad is; to the society I question, where the gift of birth is given solely to the womankind and menstruation is a cycle that She goes through to achieve just that, why is she shunned away in some parts of our country from cooking, worshiping and basically leading a normal life??

Share this video. Help create awareness so that a women even in the most remote and rural part of our country can demand rightfully sanitary protection and a healthy Life. Help her, so She too can Stayfree!!


This post is written for Franklin Templeton Investmentspartnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.
To view more such inspiring videos click here.