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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Warli Painting

The first time I saw a Warli painting it was on the walls of conference room at National College, I was fascinated, it told a remarkable story with just line, circles and triangles. I was attending a Vedanta lecture of Jaya Row but my mind kept drifting back to those lines and curves and my vision traced the movements transporting me to another world. I wanted to try that painting on my own, and did few on photo-shop but painting is altogether a different experience.

The pared down pictorial language is matched by a rudimentary techniques. The ritual Warli painting are usually done inside the huts by tribal women, especially during festivals. The walls are made of a mixture of branches, earth and cow dung, making red ochre background for the wall painting. The Warli use only white color for their painting. Their white pigment is the mixture of rice paste and water with gum as binding. They use bamboo stick chewed at the end to make it supple as a paintbrush.  The central ritual in these painting is what they see in their surroundings portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances.

So, this Saturday, I decided to attend a workshop to learn the proper technique,

I was expecting just 2-3 people, but was surprised to see more than 20 people. After the initial introduction the workshop began.

We were given the kit that contained white and brown acrylic paints; few paint brushes, one small piece of cloth for painting,

We made few sketches using simple strokes of lines, circles, triangles and squares. Warli painting are mainly monosyllabic. The circle and the triangle come from their observation of nature: the circle representing the sun, and the moon, while the triangle derived from mountains and pointed trees. Only square seems to obey different logic and seems to be human invention, indicating the secret enclosure or piece of land.

After the basic stroke, I decided on wedding procession and sketched a scene.

Next was to give a wash of brown color on the cloth to give a background and trace my sketch on it.

It was interesting to see everybody with their own imagination, drawing human, animals and plants and different designs.

I completed half the painting in the class.

And the rest of the painting, I completed at home

Warli painting is an important part of the Warli tribe people’s culture.  The warlis carry on this tradition stretching back to 2500BC. Their mural painting are similar to those done between 500 and 10,000BCE in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, in Madhya Pradesh. It is become so popular that it has now been appreciated all over the world, and the one that kept me busy today, will find a place on the wall of my house for sure……

I truly enjoyed doing this one…….such satisfaction of having created something, so beautiful….

then, printing them on a post card and sending it off to my friends........

There is a beautiful site on more Warli designs, and am fascinated by the various mediums where this art could be used.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

That Night When World Changed Forever in Bhopal

A fly sits on her nose. The five-year-old child only blinks but make no attempt to brush it away. She just lies still under the bed covers and stares into the space. There is no movement on her part. She can’t. She suffers for no fault of hers; her only bad luck is that she is born in Bhopal- a city that experienced the worst industrial disaster in the history of world.

I was thousands of miles away from India, in Surinam, Parimaribo, when this disaster happened, on 3rd December 1984 and I was too young to understand the results of this catastrophe. 

There were no Indian news channels that informed me the magnitude of this accident which had left  more than 6000 people dead, most of them falling by the road side trying to run for their lives after feeling suffocated while in deep mid-night sleep.  At exactly five past midnight in Bhopal 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyante(MIC) a toxic gas used in the manufacture of pesticides had leaked out from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant located in Bhopal.

I had visited India many times before I decided to move back home in Mumbai, but still nobody ever discussed the tragedy of Bhopal.  Not that they did not care, but there was nothing good to talk about it. There were some random news clips from time to time, but people continued to move on, unaware of the suffering of the people who lived there and of those who continue to suffer even till now.

Last evening I had an opportunity to see the award winning documentary film called ‘Bhopali ‘ which highlights how the corporation can get away with major crime against environment and against human life without any accountability. The chemical leak left almost 10,000 people incapacitated for life and more than 100.000 more being affected in some way or the other. The poisonous water is still consumed by the people, children play in the debris unmindful of the rusted metal lying around and activist are still fighting for justice….Justice to the people who have suffered because of their negligence of the industry with nobody claiming the responsibility and  providing a cleaning up of the city.

“Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide as a wholly owned subsidiary in 2001. They are therefore responsible for the clean-up of the former Union Carbide Factory site in Bhopal, India. The area around the factory is densely populated and continues to be heavily contaminated by chemicals and toxins produced by the factory which Dow, despite their evident responsibility, have thus far refused to clean up.”

The Bhopal Medical Appeal makes regular grants to two organizations in Bhopal: one is the ChingariRehabilitation Centre run by the Chingari Trust and the second organization supported by the Bhopal Medical Appeal is the Sambhavna Trust which runs the Sambhavna Clinic. 

But just few miles away is the city of Bhopal, where people are not even aware of the suffering of these people. 

"I have lived in Bhopal for three years but still I did not know about the magnitude of the sufferings that I saw today in this film right now" said one girl from the audience after watching the film. 

She mentioned that there are two Bhopals and the one that she lived in was a beautiful city attracting tourists with its vibrant market places, beautifully carved Moti Masjid and it has broad avenues and posh residential areas. In the centre of Bhopal are two lakes dividing the new and the old city of Bhopal.

BHOPAL HAS JOINED THE roster of internationally recognized symbol-places along with Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Chernobyl-whose very names have become synonymous with the tragedies that have taken place within their precincts. Mention the word Bhopal to a person outside India, and they won’t think of a graceful city on the hills above two lakes with some of the most glorious Muslim architecture in India. They will think about what happened on the night of December 2 and the early morning of December 3, 1984, when an accident at a chemical plant owned by Union Carbide of Danbury, Connecticut, led to history’s worst industrial more here
 am moved by the helplessness of the people and their suffering which goes on and on… “What can I do?” is the question that lingers on my mind at the end of the film and I search for answers………….

Monday, 23 April 2012

My Most beautiful Thing – Home Sweet Home

It has been a tiring day. Mumbai heat can be kill you sometimes.

If I could help it, I would rather stay at home but sometimes it becomes important to go out to complete some chores. But the most beautiful thing is coming back home.

My happiness begins the minute I enter the gates of my building.  My building is surrounded by flowering trees and plants on all sides There are three plastic chairs just few steps away from the gate. I normally sit by the gate before climbing upstairs to my house. I live on the second floor and have no lift in my building; therefore it becomes important for me to rest for sometime before climbing up the stairs.

But while I am sitting there, the two vacant seats next to me always get filled up by somebody who sees me sitting alone. My neighbors are like my one large family, always have warmth in them and willing to keep me company. Time passes quickly as we share notes on daily events and sometimes laugh on regular jokes. Sometimes I share with them the forwards that friends keep posting on my mobile. On the evenings when the hawkers comes selling Bhel Puri and Pani Puri, we sit there munching on those delicacies, not minding our weight problems as we share and overeat. Sometimes we sit at the back side of the building where there is an open compound. All the children from other buildings assemble here and play all sort of outdoor games.  This is the compound where I have spend my growing up years, we have broken glass window with Frisbees, played hide-n-seek and many creative games. This is the compound where I have cemented the friendship with my neighbors. Now we watch and enjoy the kids who regularly come every evening and play different games.

Having rested for more time than I had planned, I get ready to climb up two floors to my house. I pass through an enclosed courtyard separating the wingA from wingB before reaching the stairs. This courtyard is surrounded by kitchens from all the apartments. Thus we have 24 kitchens facing the courtyard.  The aroma from every kitchen envelops you as you pass through this courtyard, during lunch time and dinner time, it is impossible to walk on an empty stomach, the hunger pangs increase tenfold.

I walk slowly up the stairs, holding on to steel rod for support. The minute I turn the key and enter the house, positive vibrations in my house hug me, welcoming me back home, there is a peculiar fragrance in my house which makes me comfortable at once.

It’s my house, and I love it. I am comfortable in every space of my house. By the couch in the living room where I stretch my feet while watching TV, at my computer chair in my bedroom where I meet my online virtual community, in my balcony, where I sit and sip my evening cup of tea while watching the sun set and enjoying the cool breeze and also in my kitchen, where I am most at ease, cooking up various dishes when family and friends come visiting. Every wall in my house is adorned with my art work that I have created in my spare time.

Home sweet home- the most beautiful thing in my life, where I have lived for many years, which I missed even when I lived abroad like a stranger, migrating from one country to another, from Surinam, to Spain, but never finding happiness like I did back here in Mumbai. All along, I wanted to come back home, to my own house- to my very own home. I have never known happiness like I do here, right now.

But soon…my house will be demolished. The builders have come knocking on our doors with their redevelopment plans to destroy my 50 years old building and make a new one instead. They tell me that my building is old and beyond repairs. the walls are chipping, there is leakage problem in every house, it needs a new outlook, They have offered me a bigger house, with modular kitchen, aesthetically designed structure.  They even offer me money for the inconveniences it will cause while the redevelopment takes place.

Should I be happy? I am not sure.

Agreed, I will have a shiny house with granite floor in all rooms, a lift to spare me the agony of climbing up the stairs, a big lobby at the entrance of my building, a better security, more new members, a bigger community, a larger family.

But, will there be the same warmth that I have developed over the years with my neighborhood? Will there be Bhel Puri hawker outside my gate? Will there be three plastic chairs near the gate? Will I get the aroma of different food when I enter my building? Will the beauty of my building remain intact?

Perhaps I might live in a plastic world…I am not sure..perhaps that beauty might get lost forever……

This is a Blogsplash. Today, Tuesday April 24th, bloggers around the world are blogging about their ‘most beautiful thing’, to celebrate the birth of Fiona Robyn’s new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing.  On Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th April, you can download a copy free to your kindle, pc or phone, or win a free paperback. Click on the link for instructions.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Fruit Seller

He comes knocking at my door every alternate day. How much fruit can I consume? 

Two floors he climbs at this age (he must be in his seventies) to bring the fresh fruit for me. I am obliged to buy since I see the effort he takes to climb two floors but I ask him not to come back for next four days…till my stock lasts…but sometimes he forgets and comes back again the next day and then I am angry that I am obliged to buy, sometimes I just refuse, asking him to peep into my fridge to see that the fruit he sold me the previous day is still left untouched but then again I buy since I feel bad that he had to climb the stairs……

I live on second floor apartment and my building has no lift, hence every visitor huffs and puffs when they visit me. In this world of elevators I am quite primitive; not having one in my building, but then my building is almost 50 years old.

There are many of my family members (it’s never my friends) who have a good excuse not to visit me saying “I cannot climb two floors, so I couldn’t visit you, so sorry” I understand they don’t love me enough to bother climbing two stories… although they know that if they do, I reward them with my hospitality skills.

But this fruit seller cares not for my hospitality; he wants to sell his fruit at exorbitant price. He brings the freshest fruit and I have never ever been disappointed with his stuff….He has so many years of experience of selecting only the best stock, but he overcharges me each time but I never bargain….what is the use?

My argument is that he gives me home service. It is too much of a hassle for me to go to the market, select from the stall which has mix of good and bad fruits, select what I think is good and fresh, pick up the load and climb two stories to get home,

Buying from him is so much easier……..

But he is also too much of a nag……. He will offer me the fruit which I am prohibited from eating for health reasons…"I don’t want figs that are sweet” I tell him and he will argue he will lower the price for me…. “I don’t want oranges because I don’t like” and he promises that they are sweet……and healthy

I ask him to give me 250gms fruit and he weighs it on a balance scale with stone that he claims it to be of 250grams. I ask him to buy the proper weight and he complains he has no excess money. I give him Rs40 to buy, but one year now, he still uses stone saying he never found time to buy it…….

Well…old man he is….all his life he has only sold fruits, the choicest fruits, by just touching the fruits he knows its freshness, its taste and even its quality, he can even advice me when it will be ready to eat, He brings just enough that he is able to carry on his head and peddles from door to door. Every day, fresh stock.

Since he buys just selected few, it’s always the best.

Where else in the world can you afford such luxury of buying the best stuff at your door step?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Thursday Theme - Silly

"SILLY" (Smile, Faces, Laughing, Playing, Things,...)

Thursday challenge for fun and learning

Friday, 6 April 2012

Housefull2 will be Housefull only on First Day First Show just wait and watch.....

I don’t know why I fall into a trap, but I do, sometimes when I see promos of the film, and start to believe that it’s going to tickle my funny bone.

My friend books the tickets in the cheapest theatre of my neighborhood, (yeah Geity-Galaxy, what else?) ah well! Rs80 for the balcony ticket is not bad…which specializes in hooting and shouting even before the show has begun. A rowdy crowd whistles and hoots even during trailers and promos of the films, and this is expected form this kind of cinema hall, but my friend likes this kinda noise, even my NRI cousin had liked this kinda rowdiness....and said it added jest to the cinema viewing....

“Comedy,” she said, “it’s best watching humor with all that laughter and madness in the audience”

So humor was what was expected….the only problem that this humor was not at all funny.

Only madness…

Screaming in high decibels and fighting, thrashing and lying, nobody tolerates nobody and all living under one roof…too much confusion……….

The dirty dozen, and not one is sane, silly acting and silly dialogues/ script,  the real talent of Rishi Kapoor, Bomen Irani and Mithun clearly wasted

An item number girl is hired to create feud between two best friends

So what is the confusion?

Every scene in the film is played twice…. One friend wants to take the revenge of the insult meted to his father, takes a help of a friend who is multimillionaire, who is a coward and afraid of his father, and has no guts to introduce his girl friend to his father. Both hire their dishonest friends to dupe two greedy brothers who want their daughters to get married to the richest man. There are four women with no talent just bare skin, gyrating and clinging and singing and dancing. (I couldn’t decide who’s who, they all looked so much alike, in height and weight and no acting at all)

Overall it is suffice to say that it’s the story of four fathers, each wants richest son-in-law, each daughter thinks that she is marring the son of the richest man and the four men, desperately trying to pacify the richest man in accepting the bride for his son, which is again another confusion in seeing the mismatched couple….sorry…I m confused too….

My nephew calls me to asks whether the second half of the movie was good….he said he couldn’t see all that bakwas in one go…He watched till interval....”It was very annoying” he said

If comedy is screaming and shouting silly, uninterrupted nonsense fun for you, then don't miss housefull2

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