Archive for March, 2011

      

This year, I brought in my birthday in an unusual way. I joined Photography on the Move at the Goa Carnival, and spent the day indulging myself in one of my favourite passtimes – photography. I plan to repeat this every year now, use the day to take off to some place still unexplored.

Each visit of mine to Goa has been different over the years. The first time it was the the sense of abandon that came with my first solo expedition. There would be many more in subsequent years. But that was my first experience of complete independence as a traveller.

The next time I was surrounded by the camaradrie of friends, as I discovered the lesser known Goa, which the tourist rarely discovers.

This time it was the celebration of the Goa Carnival that enveloped me. The carnival held every year in February was first introduced here by the Portuguese. The revelry continues for three days and nights, in a period where King Momo rules. The search for King Momo is a keenly contested event, with selections held every year before the carnival. This is one contest where size definitely matters.

Brightly coloured floats are all part of the carnival procession, each representing a different theme. There are prizes for both the best float and also the best dressed clown and so the competition is quite enthusiatic.

I have attended carnivals in different parts of India before. But in Goa I was swept away by the unabashed joy and the sheer zest of living that made everything else pale in comparison. There are few moments in my life where I have felt happier or safer.

As a single woman making her way through crowds with a camera, I sometimes tend to attract attention. But in Goa there were no strange comments or looks. Neither did I have to bring my hand protectively over any part of my anatomy. In fact many of the participants on many of the floats even gave me their best smiles and poses as my camera just clicked away.

So even in the midst of unrestrained joy, Goa was always graceful. She overcame you in a passionate embrace, just as easily as she always let you be.

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It’s the fulfilment of an old dream. Bangalore now has its second intimate personal theatre space, especially reaching out to residents of Whitefield, Indira Nagar, Koramangala and all their adjacent areas. The Jagriti Centre of the Performance Arts, the brainchild of Arundhati & Jagdish Raja, now beckons Bangaloreans to an evening peppered with the magic of the stage at White Field.

Amongst the theatrical performances that Jagriti brought to Bangalore in February was Hamlet: The Clown Prince. While this theatrical performance has visited Bangalore before, the intimacy that Jagriti allows between the performers and their audience brought new layers of meaning to the rendering of this play, all cloaked in laughter.

Two weeks later, this was followed by the Mumbai Boys presenting an evening of stand up comedy, another act that will enhance its impact when played out in the theatre of personal spaces.   

“Hamlet: The Clown Prince” and the theatre of space
Is Shakespeare still relevant to the twenty-first century? Ask a 16-year-old burning the midnight oil for her ICSE board exams, and she may tell you “no”. But Hamlet: The Clown Prince, directed by Rajat Kapur, pulled Shakespeare right out of the text book, playfully giving it contemporary relevance, whilst still remaining deeply rooted in Shakespearean tradition. It understood the rules well enough to break all of them.

While based on the original Shakespearean tragedy, the play used a combination of gibberish, English, stylised theatrical action and parody to give Hamlet a new interpretation, weaving in contemporary references at will. So a carefully crafted script found its voice in the hands of a very able director, who also views this play as a tribute to Chaplain.

The play has already been performed in over 75 shows in the last two years at every theatre festival in the country and has also been taken abroad. In fact after the performance in Bangalore the show was being taken to the UK, where I hear that it’s been very well received.

In Bangalore, the group also wove in references that related to the city into their city, drawing an immediate response from their audience.

Brilliant performances from the cast, who transitioned easily, from bawdy comedy to sensitive pathos, carrying the audience along with them too. They also revelled in the intimate nature of the space, drawing in the audience into the performance, creating new meanings and contexts to the play in an impromptu fashion.

A powerful play was brought to life on a magical theatrical space bringing, creating a memorable moment for theatre lovers in Bangalore.

This thing called “love”

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Life and Living
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After I made my previous post “I accept”, a fellow traveller in the blogsphere from my Yahoo! 360 days mailed in to say he did not agree with me.

“Love did endure”, he told me. He also challenged that old belief that I’ve always held that you need to be complete in yourself before you can experience genuine togetherness in love.

It was an eye opener for me as I was reminded again that a blogger is not really an individual charting out the course of one’s own self evolution. A blog is also a writer speaking to an audience, and you are responsible for every word that you write.

So I was also encouraged to think a little more about my idea of love, and understand what I really thought about it.

At 16, I remember believing in the idea of soul mates. Love was finding your Mr Right. The boy who shared your ideas, ideals, and passions. Once you found him, you never lost him and lived happily ever after.

By the time I was 26, 10 years had changed many things. I remember sitting across the table, with my good friend SB at one of our many favourite haunts. “Love is about right person, right time, right place,” I declared earnestly. By this time, I had also discovered the belief that I needed to find myself before I could find anyone else. Both remain beliefs that I still hold on to.

Two years later, my idea of love had evolved a little further. Yes, I still believed in “right place, time, and person”. But now I was also saying that it needed two people to be in love. Two people to discover love and then nurture it together. Nurturing did not stop the day after you got married, made love or had your first date. These could not be destinations in themselves. They were only signposts in the shadow of a greater journey.

So if love is discovered and nurtured together, it probably does endure. Yet when the journey that began with two is continued by one, love can die. It could be re-kindled perhaps, but first it must ebb, and the new creature that rises from the ashes of an old passion given unconditional acceptance.

Fires that are often left to die and rekindled many times sometimes never regain their warmth. At least for one of the two travellers on their shared journey.  

But love is finally also the meeting place of many contradictions. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, the reflection in the mirror changes.