Archive for March, 2008

My new blog on WordPress

Posted: March 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

I first started blogging in November 2005, courtesy Anamika. At that time, blogging was just a way to keep in touch with friends. I chose Yahoo 360! as my platform as that’s the one that all my friends used.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, my relationship with my blog changed. It became the space where I crystallised my ideas, and debated new ones. I became a regular follower of other great blogs, from where I learned a lot. I also saw that my blog could be a great platform for my professional work as well.

But in all this discovery, Yahoo 360! remained my principal blogging platform. This was mainly because most of my friends blogged here. Besides that, there was also my resistance to chance. Meanwhile, more sophisticated blogging platforms continued to evolve in the outside world. I was aware of them, but I still stuck with Yahoo 360!

Now finally, change has been forced upon me. Yahoo 360! will be moving to a new platform, and I will be shifting to WordPress. In the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be moving some of my more treasured posts to from Yahoo 360! to my new blog here.

I’ve already begun to enjoy WordPress and the more mature blogging features here. But, I’d also like to say here’s to An Aside (my blog on Yahoo 360!)… That’s where the journey began.

Now here, on 101dreams, the journey continues.

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Juno

Posted: March 14, 2008 in Cinema
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I am a writer. So, predictably the thing that I appreciate most about a film is its screenplay. I could like a movie just because of its screenplay. And so it was with Juno.

It’s true that it is a very average story, with very standard direction (I can’t understand why it ended up with so many awards for best direction or acting at so many international film awards). And yet, I can appreciate why it won an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Screenplay in 2008.

I’ve just come visted IMDb, where I find a large number of reviews ripping the movie apart. But in its defense it must be said that Juno has a twisted funniness about the dialogues that really worked for me.

Finally, so called ‘great cinema’ is a subjective experience 🙂

On that note, I would recommend Juno as a thought provoking bit of screenplay for anyone who is passionate about world cinema.

Lido lives on

Posted: March 14, 2008 in Bangalore
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Once upon a time, there was a theatre called Lido in Bangalore. In the Cantonment area, it was the only theatre with a lawn. The Majestic area also has Movieland.

Here, at least two generations of Bangaloreans sat discussing films – sometimes under the trees, sometimes under the stars.

Then, one day Lido was no more. The area was cordoned off and a part of the collective youth of two generations was brought down. Then behind huge metal sheets, a team of builders worked on raising a relic to a new age.

I visited their creation today, and I found that my heart quivered as it does when I stand under the arches of an ancient building. Even under the new glitzy glass facade, I found that the spirit of Lido lived on.

Conversations of days gone by still lingered in the air as if it had never stopped. It was almost as if Lido had just gone in for a renovation and then been returned to us, with coffee shops and restaurants in tow. Not to mention the choice of at least four films, where there earlier was only one.

The atmosphere that surrounds Lido probably contributes to that feeling too. Lido is probably the only mall with both trees and a sense of space. It is also an ‘activity’ mall, not a ‘shopping’ mall. So, most people who come here are here with an agenda that goes beyond gawking.

I realized for the first time that it is is not the destruction of heritage buildings in New Bangalore that worries me. It is the loss of the quality of life of yester years that disturbs me most.

I would be happy if more buildings took the path that Lido has taken, albeit unconsciously. This being the preservation of the spirit of our buildings, even if the structure is compromised.

Update on July 2008: There is an update on this. Subsequent to this post, I visited Lido a couple of months back. It’s still a nice place to watch a movie. But, it’s as crowded as the rest of them 😦

Boney M Revisited

Posted: March 8, 2008 in Music
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Like many of my generation, I grew up with Boney M. They belonged to the music of my aunt’s youth that was also bequeathed to me. The group never moved me in the way that Bob Dylan or Joan Baez did. Yet, I was drawn to their spirit and could always hum their tunes.

So last evening was special, as we attended a live performance by Marcia Barret of the original Boney M foursome. I was amazed at the energy and vitality of a voice that turns 60 this year. I guess that’s why they say “once a star, always a star”.

For the first time I also saw their music as resistance songs, closely connected to the Jamaican movement. Till, then I’d just seen it as being pop or disco, and not concentrated too much on the lyrics. I also saw the influence of Jamaican rhythm that was such an integral part of their work.

The crowd was a mix of the young and the old. But, the highlight was watching rows of people over sixty, mouthing each word, swaying to the beat, clapping their hands in the air. These were after all the songs of their youth. The songs over which they discovered love and perhaps even lost love.

The moment brought tears to my eyes.

I made a discovery last evening as well. There was a twenty something, right out of college who was accompanying us to the concert. He asked whether we enjoyed this kind of music. When we replied vehemently in the affirmative, he very helpfully informed of us Maya. It’s apparently the only pub in Bangalore that plays good ‘retro’.

That’s when it occurred to me… All the songs that I perceive as being resistance music, folk-music and anti-establisment (read Dylan, Joan Baez, Denver, Simon & Garfunkel) have been very dismissively clubbed under this ‘retro’ tag. Does that make you feel like an ‘aunty’ or what 🙂

In the 80’s popular music made a shift from social movements to the individual journey. That shift is now complete. Generation next is here.

Am I woman achiever? I am not sure. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I resist tags like ‘woman achiever’. I would prefer to just be an ‘achiever’.

I also find that I resist the ‘making a difference to the world’ tag. I prefer to make a difference to the world, without the tag.

Yet, this year I find myself with the tag twice. First, as a Radio Indigo nominee for Woman of the Year. Then, my own organization chose to honour their women achievers for Women’s Day, and my name was on the list. Once more all thanks to that wonderful journey that is my first book and goes by the name of Ginger Soda Lemon Pop.

I am grateful for both the honours and I am definitely not complaining. Yet, I don’t feel completely comfortable with it 🙂

I am uncomfortable with the attention. Yet, I am happy for every opportunity to spread the message of Ginger Soda Lemon Pop.

Aah…contradictions, contradictions…

Brahmagiri

Posted: March 7, 2008 in Travel
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Each trek with getoff ur ass has the potential to be an inward journey. Sometimes you discover a new resilience within yourself. Sometimes you meet old friends or simply discover new ones. So was it with the weekend trip to Brahmagiri.

Located on the border between Coorg in Karnataka and the Wayanad district of Kerala, Brahmagiri is a favourite trekking destination. It is said that when Ram and Lakshman were in search of Sita, Lakshman shot an arrow into the Brahmagiri mountain, and from here sprang the Iruppu Falls or the Lakshman Tirtha. This apart, it is the spectacular beauty of the terrain that never fails to beckon the adventurous trekker.

Day One

The group ambled into the Kanteerva Stadium, mainly in twos and sometimes in ones. Most of us were close to the two-o-clock deadline, rather than later. With the last member having arrived and called in to check on where they could find the van, we were ready to go.

With a brief stop only at Coffee Day, we reached Coorg after the stars had appeared in the sky. In true getoff ur ass tradition, night was never so quiet or hospitality as warm as in our homestay.

After dinner and a hot water bath, it was easy to fall asleep, even as anticipation for the adventure of the next day beat in our hearts.

Day Two

As the first rays of light danced in through the window, we packed our backpacks and prepared for the ascent. As always, the challenge was to have everything needed for the trek and yet keep backpacks light. With a certain amount of re-packing, we managed to achieve a semblance of the required juggling act.

The trek began at the entrance to the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The early morning light beckoned through the trees, and we walked on. As the summer was not yet completely here, running streams still appeared out of nowhere creating many serene shaded nooks.

The ascent through the forest path was not steep. Yet, some of us struggled – a clear indicator to the impact of urban life. “Take small steps and keep going” was a piece of advice that worked well for me.

The ascent that had begun through forest paths, opened into the mountains, and led to the forest guesthouse. Here we spent a quiet afternoon over lunch, managed an afternoon nap in the sun and soaked in the coolness of the nearby stream.

As afternoon became evening, we were ready for another climb and so we made our way to Narimale peak. Now, the lush green mountains gave way to the golden yellow of the Shola grasslands.

Sitting at the peak one experienced the moment that caused a lyricist to write at another place and time… “I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation…” As we watched, the sun began to set, creating patterns of light in the sky.

It was then time to turn back to base camp.

Day Three

Awakening is always early and effortless in the wilds. Awakening is like an affirmation of life. So, with the magic of morning light still in the air, we set off to the Munikal Caves.

The path was easy, the morning light gentle and the splendour of the surrounding mountains overwhelming.

Legend has it that the caves were the abode of ancient Rishis. They also hold a special allure to those who are fascinated by unusual boulder formations or enjoy climbing.

Later, we emerged from the caves onto the mountainside. With the lush green peaks of Wayanad on the other side, we began our descent into Kerala. Even if steep, the descent was easy. So, we walked through forest trails and winding mountain paths to emerge at temple town of Thirunalli.

The trek had come to an end. But, it was also a beginning, with the promise of another getoff ur ass destination always around the corner.