Monday, June 28, 2010

SAINA’S VICTORY or SANIA’S TAMASHA:

After Germany’s victory last night, all the loyal Germany fans including me had all the reasons to celebrate. While reading the newspaper today morning, I was flabbergasted to see a comparatively small article on the person who is making us, our nation all proud of her: Saina Nehwal.

She has marked June 2010, a momentous month for all Indians with three titles in three successive weeks. The very determined, focused 20 years old, who apparently doesn’t care about her rankings but finds it more essential to perk up her game and fitness, positively deserves much more than just a few articles here and there. Or what is called ‘publicity’ in our country. And why not?

On the other hand Sania Mirza who crashed out of the Wimbledon Singles against Russia’s Nadia Petrova, was in the news for the past several months for a ‘pure nonsensical’ controversy surrounding her, after she declared that she would get married to former cricketer and captain of the Pakistan team, Shoaib Malik. A controversial person himself. In a country like India, so big, full of so called ‘traditions’, beliefs, where people still believe in superstitions, a ‘Hyderabadi’ girl getting married to a Pakistani, if that was not less, Pakistan asking her to represent their country for the sport, was nothing but a shock for the country.

While all this ‘tamasha’ which was completely irrelevant was happening, our newspapers were flooded with this news. Sania was all over the place. Sport critics, politicians, film stars and just everybody who claims to be very considerate about this country commented on this in every possible way.

I’m not against the publicity given to her but I am strongly against the kind of publicity given to her. Starting from the beginning of her career, whether it was for her short tennis clothes, her comments on ‘safe sex’or sitting bare feet at the Hopman Cup in 2008.



I think every Indian did celebrate and was proud of Sania when she won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls doubles title. She still is the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Of course nobody has forgotten her achievement as the first Indian to win a WTA singles title or the Padma Shri to her credit. Her first Grand slam title at 2009 Australian Open left every Indian proud of her achievements.

But that’s where everything should have stopped. There was no need for all the publicity regarding her wedding or how controversial her relationship was or anything to do with her personal life. I don’t think anybody was either interested or had the time for it. But it still made news. Unfortunately. After which the same Sania Mirza was the judge for the Femina Miss India contest this year. I still cannot digest the fact that someone who was so criticized for being disloyal to her country and even being called a ‘Traitor’ by some newspaper was made a judge for the event.

Sometimes I wonder what is it that people wish to read. Is it the pure tamasha, or is it some pure no-nonsense news which forms a very small part of the newspaper. Do we really want to celebrate the achievements of a person like Saina Sehwal or we still prefer giving her a small mention in a newspaper and then continue reading about someone this country can do without.



Kudos to Saina, we all are Proud of you.:)

Friday, June 25, 2010

W H Y O N L Y T H E L E F T B R A I N?


Back in time when I was in school I was often told to work up on my mathematics as it was really poor and still is. I tried my level best to do but in vain. Having a keen interest in arts and painting especially, my mind always worked in that direction and I was always told that it will always be a hobby and ‘Art’ cannot be ever looked up as a career. I often wondered what this word career meant. It was very early in school that I realized that the education system was never for me or for many others who thought the same way. My parents did agree with me but we had no way out. I had no choice but to complete those 10 years of ‘mugging-up’ education. School life is always fun, no doubt but the ‘education’ half is not something that was never interesting for me.

Our right side of the brain is the creative, intuitive side of us while the left is more analytical, rational and technical as we say. I feel in our education system, the left side of the brain was always stressed upon and given more importance. We were always made to believe that being a topper in class meant scoring highest marks in science and mathematics, and art was something which could not go beyond local art competitions that were held twice a year. Maths and science was taught everyday sometimes twice a day and the so called art class was once a week. Art class was a place for recreation for those who were not interested in it and for those who were, a topic was given or something on the good old black board was to be ‘COPIED’ exactly the way it was.

I think if one is talking about serious education then it should rather be like I recently saw in Auroville, where knowledge is nothing but a beautiful and interactive way of learning. Very practical and precise. I recently heard about something called ‘home- schooling’. Why not? As long one is learning and also doing things one wants to with equal interest. When I spoke to some students who have home-schooled, I found that they are much more ‘knowledgeable’ than ‘us’ who have completed 10 or 12 years of formal education. This is because they were exposed to all the things around them whether it was math’s, science, social-sciences, sports or arts. The freedom a child needs when he grows has to be given to him.

Having been a a part of a school for 'special children' I have always observed that children of any age group, know their capacities. They have certain dreams for themselves which they want to fulfill. They are very aware of what is happening around them and know which is the right time to do so. they know the exact time to explore their hidden talents. But all this happens only when he/she is given the right kind of freedom.

For me any person who thinks and has an opinion of himself is intelligent. Expressing oneself in the right way, being very aware about what is happening around us, connecting to the world, knowing our past and interpreting the future is knowledge. Then let every individual do it the way he/she wants to. If math’s could be taught through some creative ideas then why not? If someone is terrible with sciences but has a flair for writing then why not give that extra effort or support? I believe that there are far more technicalities involved in arts or any form of it because you are interpreting some things around you in your own way. It has no formula or steps to be followed. It has steps which you will create and others might follow.

I would like to share this post to all the young parents and teachers who are on the verge of sending their children to schools.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

U P A S A N A


Recent sketch I did of the U P A S A N A Design Studio in Auroville. If you ever happen to visit upasana, you will fall in love with the place at first sight.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

T H E H A L L O F S H A M E

The Pune ‘Metro’ agenda which has been one the foremost agenda in the city was to be presented in The General Body meeting of the Pune Municipal Corporation last evening. Being the citizens of our very own city of Pune, all of us have a right to attend these meetings by sitting in the ‘Citizens Gallery’. Having heard and seen over the years about the way decisions are taken in our country, I decided to attend the meeting with my friend shibani who has been an active part of the citizens who have opposed the way things have been planned till now.
As we reached the Corporation building, there was a ‘morcha’ right outside the building which was just a trailer of what was happening inside the hall where the meetings are held. We were stopped at the entrance of the hall by a cop saying, ‘sahebanni aat nahi sodaycha, asa sangitle ahe. Aat jaga nahi ahe’ which means his the entry is restricted by his boss and there is no place in the citizen’s gallery. I still wonder who the boss was. We waited there for sometime until a man who seemed to be one of the officers said to the cop, “they are the citizens of this city and nobody has a right to stop them from entering”.
As we entered more than half of the gallery was ‘empty’. The first person I saw was the Mayor sitting all helpless, then the corporaters shouting at the top of their voices. Shouting would be an understatement. I was literally shocked the first time I saw what was going on. I said to myself, ‘is this the way decisions are taken about the common man? Is this the reason we elect these people? It was answer to why elections in India are a mere responsibility which all the citizens want to get rid of. I still don’t find anything wrong in it.
I wouldn’t really talk about the Metro because because it’s a long story and journalists would do it better.
There were some who were religiously involved in the discussion while there were the majority who had no clue whatsoever. For some the meeting was a ‘kitty party’ and a social gathering and some kept themselves busy in scribbling on the paper in front of them. As the meeting progressed there was a point where the parties disagreed with each other to such an extent that they went up to the mayors table and created a chaos. The press was at the edge of their seats as there was drama happening constantly. There is a symbol kept in front of the Mayor, which is a silver rod sort of a thing and it is kept there as a symbol which shows that the meeting is in progress. A man during the argument took it in his hand and ran out side the PMC. I think someone who has probably cleared his first standard of schooling even wouldn’t think of doing something like this. The meeting couldn’t go on till he returned. As he returned and the meeting proceeded, the flower pot in front of the Mayor along with some documents were in pieces on the floor floating in water.
To my surprise there were around 5 cops to manage us citizens who were much more decent in our behavior and there were none at the place where the meeting was going on.

Majority of us would take it as a joke. A joke of whatever is happening in our country. It is shameful, truly. We are all aware of it but still helpless. This is probably because we are the ones who have made it a joke and our politicians find pride for the image they have because they know nothing can be about this. I don’t think there would be any change in system of this very country which apparently has a history of wise people who have ruled the nation. Though the agenda of the meeting was discussed and decisions were taken but the manner in which everything was done states that our country has ‘gone to the dogs’ of which we the citizens are the biggest part.

Monday, June 21, 2010

L O N E T R A V E L L E R


Being the younger sibling and the youngest of all in my family, I was always brought up with lot of care and concern in everything I did. It had lot of advantages too, having so many people to look up to, imitate, trouble, love and to be loved. Freedom and individuality were always a part of my up-bringing but it was after my ‘school life’ that these things became an integral part of my life.

It was after my first year of junior college, I came across this program on the channel ‘travel and living’, and got to know about the existence of a place called ‘Auroville’it was then I decide to go there after the much hyped HSC examination.

Auroville is 6 kms away from Pondicherry and since my sister ashwini was studying in Bangalore I decided to take a bus down to Pondicherry and spend a week all by myself exploring the place and its people. When I reached Auroville for the first time things weren’t the way one sees on television. Things are shown much easier, well edited and brighter on television I must say. I had to start from finding accommodation by myself. Knowing nothing about the place, the language, the people and also my first vacation all alone.

My friends and family often ask me the reason for traveling alone, they often ask me if I get scared. If I feel lonely or lost.

Well to start with traveling alone is scary at times at least when you are going to a place you haven’t been before. Or the place none of your family members have been. The first thing that hits you is the language. According to familiar language is one of the things which make you comfortable in any part of the world. Traveling alone helps you find the real meaning of the word Freedom. Freedom of doing things you are there for, not waiting for anyone. Not asking for anybodies permission. Its you who decides what is right and wrong. I strongly believe that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are two hypothetical terms which exist in the not so ‘hypothetical’ world we live in.

When we are in our own city with friends and family we are used to doing things collectively. Our lives are influenced by many others, unknowingly. But then independence has a different meaning because we are in a very familiar atmosphere. Where everything is known to us. Both people and the place. So staying alone in your own city or traveling alone or earning for yourself wouldn’t really mean independence for me.

For me traveling alone helps me know myself and things that bother me. Because when I am with my parents these things are taken care of. It helps you plan things the way you want to, helps you explore people around you and gives you a different dimension towards life. Why we talk to people, why we know them and how unknown people help you in difficult times away from home. One starts believing in oneself and realizes that being alone is nothing but just spending time with ‘you’. And trust me you would automatically start becoming comfortable, liking the environment, knowing your weaknesses and hey, isn’t life all about this? You will slowly start finding the reason why some things bother you and why some things don’t.

Its all about knowing yourself, because I believe if you actually start exploring yourself you would realize that there is so much inside you, your talents, your inner voice, your attitude towards life and you would spend a lifetime knowing yourself.:)

A PART OF THE LETTER WRITTEN TO MY FRIEND LIPI, ON MY LATEST VISIT TO Pondicherry. The pictures are 'few' of the hundreds of pictures i took..:)enjoy



Well I am back to Pune after an enlightening or rather refreshing journey I would say. I don’t wish to talk much about Auroville because I have spoken enough already and don’t wish to irk you. I want to share with you what I discovered, which I never did before this. Maybe it has to do with spending a year in a design school that we observe things through an eye of design.
People there whether artists, designers, painters, potters, interns, volunteers, rag pickers, cooks, people who come for research or just anybody in that place has something in them which we need to absorb as learners in life. The attachment or attitude one has towards work, the reason we do things we like and not do things we don’t like or annoy us, which sounds more like the ‘blackberry’ tagline but one experiences it in Auroville. The place has a lot to just absorb while you are there. The output of work shows that the person involved believes in it and that’s the reason he/she is doing it. There is that extra love one needs to put in his work is something I observed.
The weather was not to good though and my lizard phobia as usual made me very uncomfortable. Another thing which you would be interested would be the auroville library or the books in general in and around auroville. One will find all genres of arts, science, literature and what not.
I was able to do something which was one of the main reasons behind my visit: MEDITATION. If you haven’t done it ever I would advice you to. It helps you connect with who you are and for sometime takes you away from what is bothering you. But as Sri Aurobindo says meditation is a way of life, I agree with him completely. I don’t think it is just closing your eyes and deep breathing but it is much more than that. For me it is doing what we like to do. Like for example I like to paint, so it is like a meditation for me. It is because I am discovering myself and connecting to those parts of my brain which I usually don’t. I went through some of Sri Aurobindo’s writings. I dint read much about The Mother who was his disciple and the founder of Auroville.
My next destination was Pondicherry. Well I just landed up there one afternoon and decided to stay there for the next 3 days. I went to the Aurobindo ashram guest house which is known for their locations, quiet surroundings and good rooms for staying for a longer duration. One has to abide by the rules of the ashram to stay there. it was just opposite the sea and I fell in love with the place in the first go. I rented a bicycle to move around in pondy. It is a beautiful place . Something any person would fall in love with and beauty which even a cynic would appreciate. The food, those antique shops, creative cafes that served all cuisines, and most importantly, the south Indian people. Even the rag-pickers speak French and they have a flair for languages: Spanish, Italian, german..Etc. picked up a lot of accessories for ashwini and aditi and they were very happy to see them. The Aurobindo ashram is one place everyone should visit. I visited a famous temple there which somehow made me feel as if I belong to that place. There is this elephant which stands outside and blesses you with his trunk. It was fun and I really felt blessed. I prayed for almost everybody I know . I was very happy that day. Had some awesome desserts at the famous Beach Café facing the sea and later spent some time sitting at the sea shore. The sea gives me a feeling of love towards everything in life and I miss having one in my own city. I wish to stay there for some part of my life.
Lastly the hospitality one gets in the south is commendable. The love and affection they have towards guests makes you love them and their food even more. May be because religion is a major part of their living and they personify the phrase, GODS OWN PEOPLE.