Sunday, March 9, 2014

Raiko's son

As my spirit roams unbound
in the tender world around
in places i'd think out loud
my meek chirps however lost in the crowd
in archaic galleys
and woven chairs
i wish'd to swirl
with a grain of wheat and a tear of water

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review: BBC Radio 4 - Out of the Darkness - The Triumph of Nelson Mandela

I have come to like and appreciate podcasts of lately - so much that on many a topics I would rather listen to one than watch a documentary or movie. Of course it can't match the experience of reading a book, but nonetheless serves the purpose - of keeping you well informed without having to burn your eyes out in front of a brightly lit display. BBC's iPlayer website is colourful and neat, though with a lot of options which might confuse a newcomer.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Collapsible Kaleidoscope

(Please click on the orange coloured Play button above before you start reading)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and The State by Nikita Sud

Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and The State

The fervour in India right now is blinding and deafening. The general elections of 2014 aren't very far away and UPA (United Progressive Alliance) already is mired in controversies with various scams and the economy in doldrums. All this makes for a good opportunity for the opposition, primarily BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), to bank upon. In fact the banter from BJP supporters is so cantankerous and ad hominem that most often there is absolutely no point in arguing with BJP supporters. This is not to say that the supporters from the other side aren't engaging in such repulsive behaviour, but the intensity with which the saffron brigade is doing this is difficult to ignore - from personal attacks on the Indian Prime Minister to the Gandhi family, nothing has been left unsaid. As the tirade gathers up clout as we approach the elections, the social media, too, is abuzz with uncouth comments. I am not sure how I chanced upon this book, but it was probably a suggestion on Amazon or I read about it on Economic and Political Weekly. In the wake of the above mentioned din, it became all the more important for me to buy this book so as to educate myself about the truth - about what has been the political history of Gujarat, a state in which I have grown up and have spent nearly two and a half decades before I started running after jobs elsewhere, and also to understand what has been the legacy of Congress and BJP in the State. Narendra Modi is being projected as the leader who can do wonders to the country and can bring India out of mute subjugation at the hands of others to a dominating position. He alone, it seems, will be do-all guy: from handling finances, defence, foreign policy, home ministry and what not. His makeover being handled by APCO Worldwide is widely known and also their misdemeanours in handling the Uttarakhand tragedy. This review, I hope, will help clear out many of the preconceived notions with which people are rooting for their parties, whether BJP or Congress and also help the average Indian decide on what should be the course of action about voting next year and the average Gujarati on the course of action in the next Assembly Elections.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Asides by Nemichandra Jain

(L) Asides in hardcover with dust jacket; (R) About the author on the inside of the back jacket

If you have been a regular reader of my blog then you must have noticed a gradual increase in the posts about my experiences of watching theatre. And when you get a book on an interesting topic at 80% off, then it is hard to not buy it.

Asides by Mr. Nemichandra Jain is a book about, as the tag line says, themes in contemporary Indian theatre and was published in 2003. It is a collections of essays written over a time period of several decades. As Mr. Jain writes, "these essays are the outcome of my own responses as a spectator to hundreds of plays during the last fifty years". The author gives a good background on the state of Indian theatre and for me the most rewarding outcome was that I became aware of the rich history of Indian plays, which dates back to thousands of years. Many hold the view that Indian theatre has been influenced by Western ones and there is no difference between the two and no originality in the former. This is true for most of the plays being staged in urban centres of interest - like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, but is definitely not true for the traditional methods which still exist in the rural parts of the country.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Karma Gone Bad by Jenny Feldon

Karma Gone Bad

Jenny Feldon's Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo is published by Source Books and will hit the stores on November-5, 2013.

Jenny was living in Manhattan when one fine day her husband, Jay, who worked for one of the Big Four consulting firms, came home and announced that they would be moving to India for 2 years. And Jenny's life took a turn; a turn very sharp indeed. Jenny surely was leading a life of comfort amongst the Diane von Furstenberg and Cynthia Steffe dresses and Jimmy Choo sling backs. Her sudden involuntary teleportation to a Third World country wasn't something she had thought of as a part and parcel of a doting wife of an Armani-wearing husband. For her, India was still the land of the elephants and mass yoga camps.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reflections: Adolf & Churchill by Pip Utton

(L) Not so solo ticket to 'going SOLO' for Adolf; (R) The imposing Swastika on the stage

Mumbai surely has a vibrant culture when it comes to theatre and plays. The options one has range from NCPA to Prithvi, from Sophia to Veer Savarkar Auditorium. They could also leave one dazzled enough to decide on which one to go for. The first solo play I ever watched was Broken Images written by Girish Karnad and had Shabaza Azmi playing out the role of a woman yearning for recognition in the world of unknown faces. And she did a wonderful job in that. Since then the charm of solo plays has stayed on with me. End of the month of September had the announcement of an international theatre festival ‘Going Solo’ happening in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. An out of the city trip, which didn’t happen later, almost made me miss these two wonderful plays by Mr. Pip Utton. Both of them had a charm of their own – ‘of their own’ because of the specificities of the characters which Mr. Utton brought out on the stage at Sophia Auditorium.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


(Please click on the orange coloured Play button above before you start reading)


"Aunty, aunty!" shouted Zakir in his shrill voice perched atop the high stool, brush in his right hand and a packet of tambaku clenched tightly in his left. The emptiness of the large room made his voice echo. It was nine-thirty in the morning and he already had been working since over two hours with his boys. The days weren't of winter yet, but the calm of the morning had a pleasing effect on him. Otherwise too he was never short-tempered or anything, just a little fidgety with his depthless words and childlike actions. He was half done with the painting job which was to be finished a week before Diwali so that his aunty could have enough time to bring a sense of order into the household currently strewn all over with dust, paint blobs and tattered newspapers.