Thursday, April 19, 2007

Therapeutic effects of shopping

Most (exceptions are always there, of course!) women will vouch for it and most (exceptions of course!) guys will shrug their shoulders off in bafflement. Being a woman myself I am no exception, I love to shop and I feel great after a good round of shopping.

What is it that makes women shop till they drop? Does it mean that women are materialistic creatures and crave for material possessions? The point is not this, both men & women shop, but why do most men loath the idea of it and women derive pleasure from it. Is it because of the clich├ęd ‘Men are from Mars and women from Venus’ theory? Its possible, but I guess it’s more because of the fact how differently men and women are made to perceive shopping from their childhood. Shopping being the butt of many jokes, men from the beginning consider it as something sissy and emasculating. Anyways I am not going to discuss the disparities between the two sexes, who anyways are opposite.

I would like to possibly explain why women love it; obviously everyone likes the idea of getting something good, beautiful & useful for oneself. But apart from this there are some other reasons, which I feel make shopping a fun-activity and a kind of therapy for women.

Shopping for women is like a put-outer; when women shop they just shut off the other things in their life including their worries, tensions and pressures. It’s a woman’s way of stress busting. Women will go shopping if they are feeling put down and after the escapade end up feeling much better

Shopping for women is an indulgence; it’s like treating themselves, and who in the world does not like treats? Women will go shopping, if they are feeling especially good and at the end of it feel even better. (So you see it works both ways ;))

Shopping for women is like a trail; It’s a treasure hunt of sorts, they go in search for something and in the process ending up buying a lot more than they had initially thought of, on impulse. (The hypermarkets bank on this and put tempting products on display.) The idea of exploring a shopping mall or a street is exciting for women. (I know I sound ridiculous!)

Shopping for women is a way of bonding with their friends; A gang of friends on a shopping escapade, women just love the idea, its one of their ways of having fun, I remember doing this a lot in the hostel, usually it used to be an all gals affair. Needless to mention that even if we were not shopping for ourselves and just accompanying people, we used to have a great time.

Shopping for women is an ego booster; the fact that they make decisions and so many of them at one time gives them an immense ego-boost. Maybe this does not apply for women who do a fair share of decision-making in their lives. But for the less privileged ones, it certainly makes them feel that they are in control of at least something in their lives.

I have cited enough reasons for now, its time for some therapy ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another shootout(Virginia tech)

Terron On Campus- read the headline in ‘The Hindu’, as it went on to describe that an unidentified gunman(now identified as Cho Seung-Hui, a student), in a shootout at Virginia Tech, killed thirty-three people.(click here to read what New york times has to say.)

Whenever I read or hear something like this only one thing comes to my mind; it’s so easy to kill. Someone just needs to go berserk over some issue and there are n numbers of ways s/he can take it out on others. We all tend to vent our anger and frustration on others, but such enormous proportions! Thirty-three lives!! Lives that must’ve meant so much to so many people but which meant absolutely nothing to the one who took them all. Why? How? I ask, I usually try to put myself in someone else's shoes to answer such questions, but I completely fail to do that now, completely.

A few days after I first posted this, I came across an account of Cho by his classmate and some of the plays written by him. The NBC also received a 'Multimedia Manifesto' purported to be sent by him between the first and second killings. Cho's classmate remembers him as silent and violent an explosive combination, needless to say. He goes on to say that when he heard of the killings he thought it would be Cho.

In the manifesto their are some pics of Cho posing with the guns (possibly the ones used for killings) and a hammer, pics straight out of an action movie Oldboy. I don't know whether people really get inspired by those gory action movies, looks like they do. I am not saying that there weren't other reasons, a troubled childhood, rejection in love (We can only guess.), psychiatric disorders, ... but maybe, just maybe action movies also played a little role in inciting him. What I personally feel is if you see anything frequently you get used to it,and this goes for violence too. That does not mean that everyone who loves violent action movies would resort to such a heinous act. But then, some people are strong enough to resist the desire to destroy and some people just give in.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fireflies festival of sacred music

I attended the fifth annual Fireflies music-fest on 14th (click here to know more about fireflies) it was dusk to dawn event, a night dedicated solely to music. The theme for this year's fireflies was 'Business & Social Responsibility' which has never been so relevant as it is today.The setting was ethereal, with the stage set beneath a banyan tree, illuminated by different colored lights giving it an outworldly feel.

We reached just in time to get a place close to the stage, having missed the Veena concert by Geeta Navale. Here is an event-by-event description of the whole night.
















Tremolos (A three member accordion band accompanied by a guitarist)
Accordion, an instrument that reminds me so much of Raj Kapoor and which has almost disappeared from the current Indian music scene. The band played peppy numbers initially like tango, polka dance etc and ended with ‘Jeena Yahan Marna Yaha’, a tribute to Raj Kapoor.


Bernard Wacheux
A French Violinist who looked so happy to play at fireflies, charming everyone with his enthusiasm. He played western classical music; I am absolutely illiterate in this matter but still enjoyed his performance.


Tala Vadya (Karnataka College of Percussion)
A group of percussionists playing Mridangam, Kanjeera, Ghatam, Morsing, Rhythm Pad,dhol and tabla, also reciting at times what they played. A lot of their performance was impromptu, despite of which they were all totally in sync, showing the amount of time they must be putting in together, practising. The crowd loved the performance & was left asking for more.















Dollu Kunita
I am sure this performance woke up people who had dozed off to sleep (if any!).Dollu Kunita is a folk dance performed by men in tribal attire and holding these huge dhols. They danced and played along, even without mikes the sound of dhols reverberated the whole amphitheatre. The crowd was taken by surprise when they made an exit through the crowd and kept playing off the stage. Looks like the folk dancers have learned some jigs from professional stage peformers.

Clio Karabelia(A French Harpist)
Harp an instrument so uncommon in India; I remember seeing it only in the mermaid cartoons. The instument caught my fancy as soon as I set my eyes on it and the way she played it, I was mesmerised! Wish I get a chance to learn it sometime.(my wishlist seems to expand by the day!). A sitarist accompanied her as they played a raga; their jugalbandi was especially good.

Jazz Revival
A well-known band in Bangalore with Dr. Thomas Chandy as its lead singer. They were playing sans their drummist who was not required for the light jazz music they played. Someone told me that Dr. Chandy is the MD of Hosmat hospitals, how people effortlessly manage their hobbies and profession?! I was also inspired by Mr. Dom Saldanha,(on trumpet, he is lovingly called Uncle Dom) he must be in his 70’s but still has the energy & passion to perform on stage! Hats off!
















Oikyotaan(one universal melody)
A band dedicated to Bengali folk & Baul music, this was the third year they performed at fireflies. (Which is a feat of sorts coz all their songs are in Bengali.). But the fact that the songs were in Bengali didn’t dampen our spirits at all. Sritama, my friend who is a bong, translated the songs for us; Bonnie the lead vocalist promised that the next fireflies would have booklets with the translated songs.

Qawaali(Shafiq Pervez and group)
This is another form, which once so popular, has disappeared from the music scenes. I dozed off as they started, but woke up when Shafiq Mia started reciting shares which were met with Vaah-Vaahs from the crowd. They sang popular qawallis like ‘Pardah hai pardah’, ‘Chadta suraj’ on audience ki farmaish and the audience clapped along in total filmi-ishtlye.















Nemanja Rebic
A charming Serbian guitarist, and his charmingness in no way shadowed his brilliant guitar play. He played some songs from the Balkans, a different kind of music altogether, the songs were peppered with anecdotes about the songs. Karthik accompanied him on the rhythm pad and the crowd went berserk during their jugalbandi.

Hindol Deb (Hindustani classical)
A sitarist from Delhi, he played Raga Parmeshwari, composed by Pt. Ravi Shankar.The raga is supposed to be played at dawn but it was already morning by the time he started. There were very few of us left till morning and we congratulated ourselves for staying up the whole night having experienced something very different & novel.

Few insights & observations
I haven’t seen a firefly for ages, life in Bangalore taking its toll I guess. Everything has its pros & cons; I have access to events like fireflies because I am in Bangalore but at some point I also feel need to revert to simpler things.
I knew that music does not need a language, I realized why, because it itself is one, a language of souls.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Laughing out loud!

That’s what we (me & my PG mates) did yesterday night, we laughed & laughed & laughed. I felt like I was back in the hostel where there would be such frequent bouts of laughter for no reason whatsoever.

All this happened, as there was a power cut because of the sudden heavy rains .We started reciting school prayers & nursery rhymes!!(I still remember one of my school prayers, which we all used to hum as if in sleep!) I donno what triggered this, but it was as if the memories of our childhoods were tickling us and we were all rolling with laughter. Then we strated sharing all those funny ideas & beliefs we had as children, when we were gullible enough to believe anything & everything.
- if u eat the seeds of a fruit a tree will sprout out from ur body.
- If u drink lots of water, pet main kichad ho jayega(stomach will become swampy)!!(: D)

Ideas that some parent must’ve invented to answer a child’s persistent questions & which somehow have seeped into more or less everyone’s childhood.

The talk then rambled; different names for different things in different languages; the different festivals we celebrate, with Shilpa telling the names of 3 festivals not knowing that they were one & the same! (And with Arpita mishearing a word to particular hilarious effect!);old hindi song;our dreams & nightmares; our ignorance & innocence till we got enlightened in the hostel(;))

With the common denominator being the laughter that accompanied everything.We were scared that our neighbours would come & shout at us!! Amidst all this I remembered a story (‘A temporary matter’) from ‘Intrepreter of maladies’ (one of my favorite books) its about a couple on brink of break up, who come to terms with their relationship during powercuts.

Powercuts are not as bad afterall; we should have more of them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dreams unlimited!

‘Yeh khwaab dekhti hu main, ke jag pare ho khwaab se’

This was my status message in Gtalk and many of my friends asked me what it meant. It is actually my favorite line from the song ‘ajeeb dastan hai yeh’ (‘It’s a strange tale’). It means this-

‘I dream that the world is beyond my dreams’

This is to explain what amuses me most about this line :-

‘I dream [1] that the world is beyond my dreams [0]’
Now dream [1] is also a dream like dream[0], so again..

‘I dream [2] that the world is beyond my dreams [1]’
Now dream [2] is again a dream, so this goes on & on & on....

What we get is an infinite loop, a mirror in front of a mirror, infinite possibilities, and dreams unlimited!!
No wonder I am an engineer, having explained the beautiful line with such brutal logic. Strange it is, but I find the logic too beautiful.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Goa Revisited

I visited my friend Louella and her family for Easter, here is an account of my stay there.

The Natural swimming pool (Hollant beach)

The visit to this beach was pending since my last visit(May last year), I didn’t know swimming last time but now I know. We have come at an ideal time for swimming, the sun has set and there are no waves at all only a semblance of them at times.

We swim from one spot to other & then back, it’s tiring and exhilarating at the same time. We float letting the water carry us wherever it wants. As I float I look at the sky and it feels as if I am floating on the clouds….

Louella tells me about her numerous visits to this beach; the sea is an inseparable part of life in Goa. I wish Bangalore was on the seashore, and then I realize that rather than wishing something impossible I should wish that settle down near the sea, which is very much possible.

Easter

I was seeing so many cakes at one place for the first time. (Outside a cake shop I mean!) No wonder Louella and her bro have sweet teeth! Aunty has herself baked many cakes; on top of that louella had bought a chocolate cake. We settle down to have breakfast and everyone is full just by helping themselve to the cakes, which are just yummy!

I feel nice to see the family so happy, it feels nice to be a part of their light-hearted banter. I understand that one purpose of festivals is also this, bringing people together. And these days when most of the families are segregated, togetherness is a reason enough to celebrate.

A walk down the beach

The sun-rays hit me as I walk to the beach, the sea, exuberant as usual, meets me like an old friend, both of us have changed since we last met but we treat each other in the same old way. As I enter the water I no longer feel the sun, it’s as if the sea doesn’t want my experience to be adulterated by mundane stuff.

I loiter around as I wait for one wave after another (I feel nice to have my life reduced to such simplicity). I feel the waves gently nudging me, hitting with me force, and pushing me in sand as they recede…

I am oblivious to the time I’ve been on the beach…the only indicator is the sun which has moved from position x to x+y. I realize that this is the first time in my life that I’ve been on a beach all by myself, and enjoyed it immensely. As I walk back, I promise myself more walks like this.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Seeking a song

Searching & downloading songs has become my favorite pastime these days. (What with excellent net facilities!) I try to dig up songs for various reasons; I have the guitar chords for it but not the song, I suddenly remember a song, which I used to like, and want to listen to it… And I tell you without knowing the artist or band this is no mean feat.

This is a song that I remember hearing in the 1st year of my college; used to be one of my favorites, but then the cassette got lost or something. Tried to find it in many sites offering free downloads but with no success & then I found it in the place I least expected – Youtube. And then I realized why is youtube a revolution of sorts. I couldn't download the song but atleast now I can listen to it whenevr I want to.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Weekend escapades

The travel bug bit me sometime back and since then I have been roaming around quite a lot. Infact the thing I like most about Bangalore is that there are many places to explore nearby. My most recent trip was to Mumbai (not that it is close to Bangalore.) to meet my college friends and from there we set out for Alibagh in the night.

Harihareshwar

As intended we reached Alibagh in the morning, saw the fort, which stands tall in the sea. (Why will any one want a fort surrounded by water? So inconvenient…probably it was built on shore and because of global warming it’s gone in! ). Our driver (bless him!!) suggested that there is another good beach nearby. But near turned out to be quite far (it took us 3 hours to reach the place, but then.. it was his definition of near!!), and all of us were pissed off by the time we reached Harihareshwar, the site of the beach more than made up for it. The place is unexplored and there were not many tourists even on a Sat.

The beach was very clean and as it was low tide we dared to venture a bit deep. In no time we were all totally soaked and were enjoying every bit of it. I tried the little bit of swimming I know. (Had been raring to swim for pretty long!) Stayed on the beach for pretty long, thanks to it I stilll sport a tan.

There is a temple also on the beach, but I wasn’t very keen to go there. (Infact only few of us were.) It’s on top of the hill and as we started climbing, I had the picture of a typical temple-on-top-of-hill in my mind. After climbing for sometime, the steps lead you down. And the view from there is totally out-of-the-world. Rocks on both sides surround the steps…and the sea beckons. We go down and and find ourselves standing in a huge groove formed by the sea. I was amazed that such a place existed in Maharashtra and I hadn’t even heard of it. It was so much like Kanyakumari (or should I say, my idea of Kanyakumari, as I have never been there .)

The temple is a niche in the rock and the pradakshina* of the temple means a pradakshina of the hill. As we go around the hill we are treated to many beautiful vistas…. the rock formations, the patterns formed on the rocks, (I spotted a heart, a question mark and an exclamation...now whatever that means!) the sea being painted by the sun… The place is a literally a photographer’s paradise, you click just anything and you would come up with an awesome picture. As the sun sets, we sit down amidst crabs and enjoy the view. If this is somebody’s idea of temple I agree with it whole- heartedly; Nature, there is no better definition of God for me.

We complete the pradakshina and start back, we hear a lady telling someone that this is a particularly auspicious day to take a bath in the sea. (Later I come to know that Harihareshwar, also called dakshin kashi, is a religious hotspot). And I wonder that what was it that made the driver bring us here… sometimes its because of total strangers that beautiful things happen in life. We cheer the driver for this and start back, I am smiling because the visit to harihareshwar has whetted & quenched my thirst to wander at the same time.

*Pradakshina- Circumambulation, To go around the deity or a temple