Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jazbaatein - 1

Zindagi me hum bohot kuch seekhte he ...

Lekin Muhobbat woh Panna he joh hume koyi nahin sikhata!

Jab kisi se Muhobbat hoti he ...

Tab dil karta nahin koyi Samjhota!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright, In the Forest of Daylight!

I grew up listening to this famous poem written by William Blake. My daddy (B. Raghotham Rao Desai) a daring and eminent forest officer was in wildlife division in early eighties and we were very lucky to visit then the Nagarhole National Park (now referred as Rajiv Gandhi National Park) frequently. Daddy would often take us in his Jeep to show us the wilderness of nature. Forest I saw then perhaps I can never see again. Not because it has perished, but because today as a comman man I won't have access to those interior routes ... I always tell my husband (Srinath) who is a nature lover like me, how I wish we met in the times when we had access to such routes.
We would enter forests and spot variety of wild animals from boars to bisons to spotted deers to elephants. I have seen many huge tuskers, I even recollect an incident where a tusker chased our jeep and how petrified we all were! There were days we spotted only rabbits/hares, Dad would tell if you spot rabbit you'll not spot any other wild animal, it's supposed to be sign of calmness of the forest if a rabbit it freely moving around.
As a cat lover from my cradle days, I was fascinated with Tigers. I always grew up believing that the Tiger is the most powerful, more beautiful, most intelligent and most dignified animal in the world. Spotting a tiger never happened and it's a dream even till date. Daddy would show some rock spots and tell us 'This is huli-bande' meaning 'Tiger-Rock', and we would imagine a Tiger sitting on the rock watching around.
I am not sure if we have spotted Tiger or not, because one incident remained doubtful even till date, during our return from a holiday in Kabini, four of us were in our car - Myself, Srinath, Sreekar and Pratibha. Suddenly both me and Srinath spotted a 'tiger/lion like animal body' moving from the left to right ... much after the forest tree line was over ... close to a village. Out of excitement I did not even voice it, my facial expressions made Sreekar spot it's tail. We are not too sure what it was, perhaps a Tiger?
I don't know why Tiger has remained so special to me. It is such a beautiful cat that I sometimes dream of looking after a tiger myself, like how I do with domestic cats. Sometimes when I give a deep thought what I want to really do in my life, the instant answer from within is 'Do something for Tigers!'. I want to do something to save this endangered feline, even if it means putting a stop to rest of my activities. To get a good hold on the subject I often watch documentaries featuring Tigers ... learning about their hunting strategies, their food preferences, their presence worldwide, etc. Joining a Project Tiger as a volunteer would be really great. Hopefully I spend sometime this year to explore this possibility of me volunteering to save Tigers. To educate villagers and comman man about the importance and significance of Tigers in our life would be a good thing to do. Not many know that the protector of Forests, the Tiger is invariably responsible for rains, and thus the farms, thus the grains.
Tiger is not only powerful, efficient and good looking, they are very gentle. Tigers do not steal meat, they do not get into cheap gimmicks in the forest.
Today I remembered those good old Nagarhole Days as I watched a documentary on Tigers in the Discovery Channel covering a Tigress and her four cubs of Madhy Pradesh. It was lush green forest-grassland and these five huge yellow and black striped cats playing in their paradise reminded me of this poem 'Tiger Tiger Burning Bright', but I took the liberty to twist the next line to 'In the Forest of Daylight'.
Long Live Tigers!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Summer Treats

Summer is back and I already hear many saying 'Oh I dont like it so Sunny', 'I am proned to get head ache', 'I cant bear this heat', etc. But there are positive sides of Summer.
Summer is not just about Sun, Heat and Sweat ... Summer also comes with juicy watermelons, sweet and sour grapes and soothing mangoes.
Those who suffer from lack of apetite can try a lot of fruits as a substitute to snacks, those who want to burn stored fat can drink loads of tender coconut and butter milk.
Every season offers something unique and suitable for the climatic conditions. The supreme power above us has balanced nature so very well, for a thirsty throat there are watermelons.
Mud pot sellers are back in city, I remember when I was very young how we used to enjoy cold water from mud pots. Water has enhanced taste over other Water like refridgerated or boiled or filtered. I am sure all those people who love the fragrance of mud when it rains will enjoy a mud pot kept in their kitchen ... there are many earth eaters (like me!!) who even enjoy eating mud out of temptation when it smells so good
Beat this Summer by enjoying all good things Nature has offered us. Stay indoors when Sun is direct, stay outdoor during evenings ... take that long walk in fresh air.
We must always remember, every night is followed by a morning meaning there is light after darkness and similarly every Summer is followed by Monsoon ... a season of romance!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Garden Fragrance

Often parks, house gardens and trees dropping flowers on the streets attract us in this urban life. While we always enjoy a drive in a bike or a car seeing greenary, it is worth while stopping and taking a walk in a park to feel the chill breeze. We have options to unwind ourselves in serene parks.
My observations revolve around garden designs and garden plants in independent houses. I love watching them. There was a time when I dreamt of having my own garden. I perhaps insisted on our own independent house only to have a garden, strange but a fact. Parking our car inside a gated compound was first priority, second priority was a garden and lastly the living space inside the house ...
Today when I have my own garden, I love every bit of it. I love the fact that I am growing 8 to 10 trees around the house, a lot of fruit trees inside and on the terrace, couple of spice trees and 100 odd roses on my terrace. I have never put my hands in gardening before. I am very new to this whole exercise but since it is my dream to see a lot of yielding plants/trees in my house I can stretch myself to learn and do gardening.
Fragrance in my garden are of wide variety. I smell my hands after touching a tomato plant ... it is irresistable. I also love the fragrance of marigold ... it's the best flower fragrance I feel. Gardeners often enjoy such small pleasures of seeing beautiful eggplants, feeling the touch of a soft rose petal, smelling the fragrance of coriander or sensing the presence of many other flowers in the garden with a blow of a breeze. Gardening gives immense satisfaction. Anyone who loves nature in it's real form should own a few plants and nurture them. It makes us fresh.
Visiting a garden nursery is a beautiful experience, talking to gardeners makes us know so many things about plants and techniques and finally seeing a big colorful dahlia bloomed in the garden leaves a lasting impression in our heart.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Camera, Lights On, Action!! But no Cut or Retake ...

Our Life is like a drama set on a stage. We often come on stage, prepared or unprepared ... face the camera of society, enact our character that 'we are' and then there's a cut. Sometimes there are many retakes. On one fine day on the Stage I meet this person Sreekar.
Sreekar is bundle of joy, loads of fun. He has great sense of humour and a keen observant. I often wonder how he gets so much energy to be this was 24/7. Because we are after all human beings, we have our moods fluctuating and sometimes physical tiresome overtakes the enthusiasm of mind. But Sreekar is an exception. He makes a perfect salesman I think because I see him doing so well at career. He is so very fond of his friends and their families that he is a part of everyone's special day or event. A crowd puller, hillarious, intellectual conversationalist and a good listener. Any occasion, we often wait for Sreekar to share our thoughts, experiences and fun of day to day life. Though I met him as my husbands close friend, I had no reason to continue to think he is only my husbands close friend. He is very much my own friend. Like I always said, it's easy to define Sreekar because he is so easy going, etc. etc, but not easy to be like him.
Be it an article he wants to show us or a video he has captured that has something really funny or his conference call with all friends on the other side discussing a controversial subject, Sreekar does everything posssible to pull people together and laugh. Sometimes when we all laugh together over something, we tend to feel we all are living the same life ... it's such a nice feeling right?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moments between 'Make up' and 'Pack up'

Our Kittu Sir (Prof. MR Krishnamurthy) of Kalakshiti celebrates every year his teacher Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale's birthday. He has been telling us this right form our first class, we joined by Mid November 2008. Barely 4 months old, he made sure we join one of the group dances, it's a classical folk dance of Gujarath.

I don't recollect myself performing any dance on the stage in my past. Ah! imagine my plight ... but I was sincere in my attempts and went for all the rehearsals regularly. Kittu Sir would make sure we are there on every Sunday at 9:30 AM in our Dance uniform and practice till perfection. During this phase I could make friends with our dance mates, they are all bubbly girls aged between 19 and 25.

Finally came the D Day, we were told to shop all required accessories, make up items for the dance. It was big fun shopping in Bhavani Kangan. Bhavani Kangan is one stop solution for everything a woman wants. Srinath always accompanied me, very religious in taking me to the dance school and getting me back home. Thanks a ton Srinath! On Sunday, 15th March after final rehearsal with musicians I finished some more last minute shopping and resumed back at Kalakshiti at 2 PM. It was such a colorful atmosphere there ... senior dancers were applying make up on their faces and they asked us to start off. My hair was platted so long, perhaps for the first time and I loved it. A senior helped me dress up, I could not believe I am applying make up for the first time in my life! A lot of Kajal, a lot of rose powder I looked so different you know? Kakalshiti being a very organized school of art ... then asked us to wear dance costume and after all the decking up they offered us nice upma, jamoon, bonda and tea. Kittu Sir is always caring, he'll always make sure we eat well, dance well. He also made an important announcement that we must not spend time gossipping in green room instead we must remember Rukmini Devi and her contributions to the field of Art and only then step on the Stage. What a lovely advice!

In the green room of Kalakshiti I was thinking was this once Srinath's classroom? Because once upon a time when Srinath joined Pratibha Bala Mandira, Kalakshiti premises was his school. It's such a strange thing that today his wife, that is me ... a student in same premises, perhaps in the same class room, I wondered. A lot of chit chatting we did, waiting for our turn to step on Stage. As our seniors applied Atla (Red Color) on our feet and hands I was so excited ... it's every dancers dream to color her feet and hands and then perform. I was also sending a lot of SMS's to Srinath who was seated among audience asking if Mom has arrived, if Vaiju has arrived, etc.

Finally when we were called on Stage, it was a smooth flow. Many appreciated our dance and we managed to win many hearts. I was simply happy that it's over and I've done well. Back to green room I changed, somehow removed a lot of Make up and packed my belongings to join my family seated as Audience. In the night I cherished remembering all the moments I experienced between Make Up and Pack Up!

Friday, March 13, 2009

In search of Art, In search of Guru

I often wonder if people can 'stay away' from Art. But surprisingly I do meet many who do not think, practice or know Art. What I wonder is how such people attain the ultimate satisfaction of life. However each person has different perception towards this. Art is not directly associated to Culture. But nuances of Art does touch upon Culture. Art can't be defined an Artist can't be measured. Art can be even in cutting of vegetables, it can be in Music or in the form of Dance or even a beautiful painting.
I walk on the roads observing nature, observing heritage buildings and one fine day I spotted a board 'Kalakshiti'. I walked into the building to find it beautifully painted with rangoli art, lot of Idol Statues and I told to myself 'What a beautiful Ambience!'. It's a dance school where they teach Bharatanatyam in Classical, Old form. But then there was no batch during weekends to accomodate a working person like me.
However this thought came in my mind several times to make it someday ... to somehow join Kalakshiti. I happened to walk in again a few months back and I see this Divine Prof. Krishnamurthy (fondly called Kittu Sir) sitting and guiding students. After several requests he enrolled me in a Saturday batch. I was so happy that I also conveyed this to my friend Rama who was keen on joining with me.
Our first class itself we realized this is no ordinary school of dance. Here we not only learn Art, we also get the right guidance from a Guru like Kittu Sir. He told us how to dress for the class, how to groom ourselves for the dance. Everytime her referred to his Guru Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale, I could notice his immense dedication towards her. Over the period of time I realized he is the Guru I have always been searching in my life. I have faced several Guru's and all have been good. But this time, I also started transforming myself from what I was to what I want to be. I have always believed in striking a balance between our cultural values and my today's way of life. With Kalakshiti I could attain it. I feel very holistic when I drape the dance saree and walk in with a perfect posture. I don't know if I am meant to be a dancer, if I have the capability to ever perform in dance ... all I know is this is the institution I ever wanted to be in. Learning Dance might have never been in my mind, but to get associated to a form of Art was always my desire. With me finding Kalakshiti, Kittu Sir I have started to believe that what ever you really look for in life, you do get it someday. My search might have ended, but my thirst to learn is still on ...