Maiya Maiya!!

The word “SUNDAY” seems to be synonymous with laziness and lethargy.But it is on such days that my Dad plans for an early family eat-out for breakfast. ;) .This time it was Maiya.

We were at our slowest best and managed to get ready by 8.30 AM (sounds better!!).We then rushed to this place in Jayanagar.Ok.Let me explain as to why this mad rush and hurry.This is not the usual eatery where you walk in like a King and find a nice window place for yourself  to satiate your hunger.This is the place where people should go as early as 7 in the morning and register your name along with the total number of  people accompanying you.Then a tall,dark and not-so-handsome looking man shouts out your name in the waiting room as and when there is space available for you to hog. This is the time to act.You have to just  rush in and place your order.Then is the time for you to wait patiently and look around greedily at people savouring their Masala dosas and sipping their coffees over a chat.

We ordered for a sweet called Chandrahaara in the beginning.It simply tasted divine with the thick milk and a generous serving of nuts on it!!We then went on to have a plate of Idli Vada each.The Vada was crisp and straight out of the pan.The Idli too was soft and nice and reminded me of SLV !! :) .Then came the Masala Dosas.For people who have tasted the dosas at MTR,let me tell you that they are the same here!!It comes with a small cup of ghee and 2 cups of chutney .Let me tell you that each morsel is totally divine and leaves you craving for more!!

The service is pretty fast. :) .Though everyone outside seems to be in a hurry , you can eat inside at your own pace with no one to push you out.The food is just excellent!!!and Coffee comes in silver cups!!So feel like a King when in Maiya!!

The place called GREEN ROOM!!

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. I sat on my couch with a hot cup of tea and was having a casual chat with my Mum about the show which happend the previous evening.I had been a  part of the performing troupe.It was my “first-time” on stage! I was finding it hard to stop speaking about my experiences of this show  to anyone I met for the whole of next week!! (I just could not see the smoke coming out of my parents ears but could sure visualise it from their expressions!!hahaha)

My stories drifted from the experiences on-stage to the ones backstage – to be precise,the Green Room.I picturised the whole Green Room and just wondered as to why is it called “Green” when everything inside is so colorful. Pat came the reply from my Mum-”That place is Ever-Green,Full of life”!!Wow!For a moment I felt that it was a new angle,a new perception and a perception so true,indeed!!

As I peeped the first time into the Green Room,it was bustling with activity.I saw my teacher moving in and out of the room just to make sure the arrangements were going fine.She just stopped by me and said-”Look around!Its like a Festival!”.I gave her a shy smile and made my way through the room.There were huge mirrors on either sides with lights all over them.There were hundreds of costumes neatly arranged in stacks along the walls where there were no mirrors.I could see my dancemates who were given responsiblities moving randomly around doing their bit of work.There were a set of Make-up Men who were unpacking their huge kits.For a moment,I felt just like a small kid lost in some wonder-land! Our Senior ushered us into an adjoining room and asked us to make our buns.We were 17 girls in a room and naturally there had to be some small fights over the place,hairpins and complaints of  silky,unmanageable hair and all that blah blah blah!At the end of thirty minutes we were able to tie our buns and as my friend rightly said ‘with a zillion hairpins’!

Then came the make-up session.It was a 15 minute process which started with pancake,powder,nose-line,neck-line and what not.It ended with a black and silver eye-make-up and a dark-red lip color.Our faces were so blank as we sat in front of the mirror for make-up and lo!when we opened our eyes to see what it had done to us,it was a bit scary to see our highlighted features !I would’nt say we were transformed to angels and all that blah blah blah as this was not the usual kind of stuff.Our features and expressions had to visible even to the the last person in the audience.This was just enough for that! :)

We were given our costumes with say numerous instructions(My Engg friends will understand if I say n+1 instructions ;) ).Again a zillion pins went in to hold all the pieces together.

As I came out fully dressed up with the jewellery,I was welcomed by  this  wonderful sight!The small kids were scampering around in their costumes and making those typical kiddo color remarks of  ‘yellow-yellow dirty fellow” and comparing their jewels.My fellow dancemates were wishing one another success with butterflies in stomach ;) .There were my Seniors who were looking total Pro in their outfit! There was some kind of a maturity in the way they carried themselves.One hour and the whole room was transformed into an entirely different world! The Green Room was a riot of colors!!As the show started we did our Namaskars in the same room and there was some kind of energy exuberating from that space-something spiritual,something divine,something surreal!wow!And at that moment my Guru’s words rang in my ears!It was indeed a festival-say of colors ,of lights! Everyone was celebrating.There was oneness in all of us.There was an occassion to rejoice and dance away to happiness!

Hmm..my Mother’s words seemed to make sense as the Green room was the hub of all activity.On-stage we might see fine performances.But it is in Green Room where all the action happens. Than the performance the backstage drama is more interesting as there is a silent transformation which sweeps you off your feet!

“DANCE KARMA- 2009″-A Dream Come True! :)

Although Ihave been attending numerous dance recitals in Bangalore South,never did I get a chance to catch up with one in Bangalore North(other than Chowdaiah Memorial Hall). It was my first time at Dr.Ambedkar Bhavan- not as a part of the  audience but as a performer!!

                 It was a stage debut of sorts for most of us here at Abhinava.The rehersals started with full swing right from July.The thought of dancing in front of 500 plus audience brought a kind of excitement and enthusiasm in us and at the same time made us a little nervous.The stress was more on our energy and expressions in our rehersal sessions rather than the technique.This was the best part of all as it was the right time for  discovering the self!!

                      There were long days spent at the studio watching our seniors dance with utmost grace , learning a thing or two from them and trying it out in our composition,trying our costumes,luncheon with friends,laughing away at the innocence of the small kids in the show,goofing up the sequence and doing the whole thing again,standing in groups and memorising the whole sequence!I am already missing all of them :(

                    2 days prior to the show we had stage rehersals which was an enriching experience.The D-day arrived and we were all set to go on stage and do our bit!!The Green Room is one place where all action happens!The elaborate 15 minutes of make-up,the hair -do,the costumes,jewellery -wow!its a riot of colors in the Green Room!

                      The show started with a piece called Bhagawad Gita.Due to some technical snag there was a power cut .It did come back soon,but as it came back, there was a small disturbance in the green room.Many people had lost their wallets and cell phones :( .

                      The show proceeded and picked up pace.It was a grand success as all of us got a standing ovation at the curtain call!!It was overwhelming to see such a huge crowd applauding with big smiles on their faces :) Our hard work had simply paid off and it was a truly rewarding experience!!I would like to thank at this stage our Gurus Nirupama and Rajendra for giving us a platform and help us realise our dreams!!It was a Dream come true for all of us here at Abhinava!!

Below is the link to some of the pics of the do.Take a look!!

http://picasaweb.google.com/AbhinavaDanceCompany/DanceKarma2009#

I’M IN LOVE…..AGAIN!!

As we entered the auditorium at H.N.Kalakshetra,we were greeted by the Mohiniattam performance going on.It was Dr.Neena Prasad. I being a student of Kathak,had always wondered that may be the guy who had developed Kathak was in such a great hurry that he packed so much of grace in swift chakkars and quick movements.And after watching Mohiniyattam , I had a feeling that the man who developed it was in no great hurry and had wonderfully crafted it with the same grace and elegance as in any dance form. I had goosebumps as I watched the danseuse performing a verse from Jayadeva’s Geet Govind.It was an amazing performance.
Then came the next session for the evening.It was my Gurus,Smt.Nirupama and Sri.Rajendra who would take over the stage for the next one and a half hours.Now,this program was special for me as I was going to witness the show of my Gurus for the first time after joining Abhinava!!I would see it from a disciple’s perspective rather than an art lover.
The musicians occupied the stage as the Gurus were going to perform for LIVE MUSIC.It was a very rare and wonderful line-up.There was Music director Sri.Praveen.D.Rao( Tabla),Smt.Pallavi Arun (vocals),Sri.Fayyaz Khan (Saarangi and vocals),Smt.Suma Rani(sitar),Praveen(Recital of rhythm patterns) ,Sri.Vaidya(Pakhawaj) and flute(whose name I don’t remember).
The couple began with a Shiv Vandan in Raag Puria.Their entery itself was welcomed by a round of applause .The rendition was beautiful describing Lord Shiva and paying an obeisance to him.Then came the piece called TeenTaal. Teentaal is a 16-beat calculation of rhythm pattern.Its the basic Taal in Kathak.They initially started with vilambit and jumped effortlessly from one speed to the other. It was a sight to behold.!
The next part of the same piece was the variations in calculations alongwith reciting of the bols.Nirupama ma’am went on to take 16 chakkars at one go and Rajendra Sir went a step ahead to take 33 chakkars!!The crowd went totally excited watching them do this.Then came a small portion of non-choreographed piece. Both of them took turns to explain the various stances in Kathak what we call as Gath or Gait(walk).The first one was a Gajagamini,a woman walking with the grandeur of an elephant,calm and poised.This was exhibited by ma’am.Sir took up the gait called Ruksaar which imitates a Begum of Mughal era and demands attitude.The different styles of holding the ghoonghat were exhibited again by ma’am.Although it was a piece that was’nt choreographed, their performance reflected the individual hold on the dance form.The piece was concluded with a short and brisk jugalbandi.
A Mira bhajan was next on the list.It was a composition depicting the desperate Mira, who yearns to have just a glimpse of her Giridhar Gopal not knowing that He is omnipresent and guides every action as the Paramathma. Finally when she sees him ,she is dumbstruck with happiness and joy.It was an Abhinaya-oriented piece,something which my Gurus do with amazing expertise!
Raju Sir gave a solo rendition on a verse from Jayadeva’s Geet Govind titled ‘Priye chaarusheele’ .Krishna pleads Radha to meet him once and show her charming face to him.Radha just turns away and Krishna tries to woo her in different ways and succeeds in the end.
The Taraana was indicative of the end of the performance.It was a wonderfully choreographed piece ,that proved to be a befitting way to wind-up the day. In totality ,it was one-of-its-kind type of a program and I was just lucky to be present there and felt luckier to be a disciple of these two great performers!It is such performances that make me fall in love with dance again and again!!

“Rock on!!” amazingly rocks!!

It was the day after our sessionals.Too much of technical stuff had mada us all hysteric and we decided to bunk those classes and head straight for a movie,any movie at that!

It spelt “Rock on” and it truly spelt “Magik”!When the trailers were being aired we never paid much attention to it thinking it to be any other masala movie.But it turned out to be a treat sans the masala! Its after a long time that we got to see a movie of such great intensity and caliber.The characterisation is so apt and we can connect wonderfully with the characters and situation.Be it those fights,goof-ups,the love-hate relationships and just everything.

Farhan Akhtar is a true rockstar as he steals the show.He seems to be a chamealeon who can effortlesslly switch on roles from a director to a producer,to an actor(immense maturity) and I must mention -a talented singer!Many a times his silence says it all.Truly,action speaks more than words.

Then enters Arjun Rampal.I think its by far one of his best roles and he has done total justice to it.There is a certain undisturbed calmness on his face which looks amazing.Purab is the one who gives the comic relief!His hairdo alongwith his plaited beard with a bead suit his nickname in the movie-Killer Drummer. I am sure he can give Shakira a run for her money in the scene where he sings an English song and dances like a crazy brat.Luke Kenny does a fine job with his Rob.He plays  sensible guy in the band with head on his shoulders and an utter no-nonsense chap who always tries to pacify those cat-figths.The ladies in the movie fare pretty well.

All in all its a wonderful movie never to be missed.The songs are rocking with some really funky lyrics except for ‘Tum ho to’ which is a lovely ballad.Kudos to the director and scriptwriter for this wonderful subject!We expect more such movies in near future.It truly rocks big time!

ABHINAVA-Where the soul dances to the rythm!

“One should attempt dance for the sake of one’s own enjoyment and elevation…”

-Philosophy of Abhinava school of dance.

As I stepped into the huge dance studio of Abhinava,I was spellbound by the divinity and tranquility this place exuberated!Although located in one of the most busiest places in Bangalore,it remains isolated from the world and has this lithographic charm which adds a rawness to it!

As I continue with this blog,I just have no idea as to how many times I have thanked God for dropping me into this wonderful place where dance is not just an art-its a passion,its a form of expression.Here words fall short and movements just take over!The moment we enter,its only tha thai that that echoes with our footsteps.The reason for it being a place as this is the famous dancer duo,my beloved GURUS-Nirupama Ma’am and Rajendra Sir.

I must say that I have’nt seen any teacher as perseverant as these two great human beings.Their attitudes and the way they carry themselves is a  lesson to all of us.The positivity ,cheerfullness, undying spirit and most of all their love towards the art and commitment towards it is a step above the world!!

I remember my Grandma saying that People who are blessed with an art might have been nymphs or celestial beings in their previous incarnation.And now I see those words coming true!everyone at Abhinava is honoured to be a part of a “celestial” experience and end of the day its just BLISS!!

SABRAS

March 22nd

Saturday

It was around 6.15 in the evening when we reached the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall.Welcoming us were the posters of “Airtel Manthan Arts and Culture series” sponsored by Airtel and organised by an NGO, BIC(Bangalore International Centre).It was the next big thing after Bangalore Habba which was being sponsored by Airtel .They did’nt seem to disappoint us as it was the legendary danseuse,Padmavibhushan Sonal Mansingh who was performing at the inaugural function that evening.Her new dance piece was titled SABRAS-a tapestry of classical Odissi dance and Hindi film songs. 

The mention of “Hindi film songs”  itself was enough for a Bollywood buff like me to be there right on time for the show that evening. The crowd there was very pleasing.Usually at a dance recital,you can expect a crowd which is entirely different from the ones in a music concert or a rock show.For dance,you require a deep sense of understanding and so the crowd,as I would put it, is an “intellectual” one with most of the people being dancers , some critics and some true patrons of this art form. 

The show started exactly at the stipulated time with some ritualistic speeches,which were,thank God,not very lengthy and not boring either :D.The sound of the conch marked the beginning of the performance.I must say,the sound was so divine and full of energy as it just rented the air.Then,enter Sonalji.She was looking stunning with her pink garb.Her grace was something unmatched!She started with a ‘Mangalacharan‘ where she did obeisance to the Gods,the Gurus and the Rasikasabha.

Then came the most awaited part of the program.Sonalji went on to explain the concept of her choreography herself.

The word Nav in Navras means ‘nine’ or ‘new’.They have been derived from the different instances of the great epic Ramayana. They symbolise the divinity,the attitude and ultimately the truth which is relevent even to this day.The idea here was to draw a parallel to the contemporary issues by quoting these instances.In order to capture the young audience and draw their attention towards these issues,Bollywood songs were used as a part of the music to convey the message.These songs were selected in such a way that they portrayed the same emotion as it was in that particular context of the epic.To sum it up,it was Odissi dance which remained the soul of the performance but attired in a contemporary manner. 

The show began with Shringara rasa(romantic love).The song came as a surprise! It was the scene where Rama meets Sita in the royal garden of Mythila for the first time.His heart goes out to her and guess what’s the song he sings???!!!!….Jab se tere naina(Sawariya),…….[:))].Then came the Veera rasa(Herioc).This time it is Rama in the court of Janaka,King of Mythila.As he gets up and advances towards the bow,which when stringed by him would win him the hand of Sita,he challenges the other kings with the song…..Tere mehfil mein kismat aazma kar hum bhi dekhenge(Mughal-e-Azam)….

Then comes Karuna rasa(Compassion).Its a duel of words between Ahalya and Goutham rishi over the former mistaking Indra for her husband and Goutham rishi calling her  a sinner.The song was Waqt ne kiya….Then came the Hasya rasa(mirth).When Shurpanakha starts persuading Rama to marry her,he looks at her face and laughs to himself in mirth remembering the song Ek chatur naar(padosan)…[:))]

Raudra rasa(anger) is depicted in the battlefield where Rama and Ravana come face to face.Rama shows his anger through the song maar diya jaayein ke chhod diya jaayein bol tere saath kya suluuk kiya jaayein…..adbhuta rasa is when the monkeys build a bridge across the ocean to wage a war against Ravana and Rama gives them a word of caution in the song E bhai..zara dekh ke chalo… In Bhaya rasa ,Rama is scared of committing a sin by not sending away Sita when a dhobi accuses her.And thats when he moans in pain Gumnaam hain koi(gumnaam) .

Bheebatsa rasa is shown when Sita regrets for having found a life partner in Rama when he mercilessly sends her away.And Sita shows her anguish in the song Ja re ja o harjaayi… 

It was a marvellous performance by Sonalji.Her concept and choreography were breathtaking.Hats off to her for coming up with such a great idea!!The selection of songs was apt and the musicians too did a great job.We must appreciate the indepth knowledge of this great lady in our epics,Sanskrit texts and having the right bent of mind to apply them at the right place!!!I must say she also has a great comic timing!!![:)].It was a memorable evening and her performance will be remembered for a very long time to come!! 

writing the right way!!

At a certain point of time ,I started feeling that I should make a note of every experience in my life-a moment of joy,a tear of sorrow,a feeling of solitude,a gush of energy ,a light moment with friends and family,my love for performing arts and so on and so forth…..and that’s when my thoughts took the form of words and I decided to write this blog,to entertain myself and also keep my readers entertained(if I may say so ;)).Its a humble request to my readers that please do leave your comments  for every post I try to scribble so that my writings can become more legible to you!! 

Doh ya saade doh????

Well.Its time of the year when another odd  semester in Engineering has come to an end(the much hyped season 5!!!). Its the time again when the same old questions of “how the exams went” are being thrown at us from all directions!The answer could be a simple ‘ok-ok’ to the most typical engineering one-”VTU macha!…dont know…can’t say…” 

That apart.Lets  look back at  the ‘Beginning of our 3rd year in engineering’ -the adventures and the misadventures ;).
As it would happen in the history of BNMIT,the classes commenced much before the university dates.We were at our usual best  in cursing  the management and envied our friends from other colleges who were privileged enough to watch another couple of movies and plan another picnic :(.

Some new faces and some new set of  lecturers marked the beginning of our day.As we looked at the time table,we were baffled enough to see that the abbreviations of our courses were bigger than the initials of our lecturers and still worst we did not know what they stood for!The same old process of introduction was carried out in a ritualistic manner. We had our dose of ‘horror’ stories from each lecturer as to how DSP and SSD (Digital Signal Processing and Solid state Devices)became every student’s nightmare!

The next few weeks were only spent in hunting for textbooks,fetching notes from seniors and the lecturers(we only pretended to study from them!) and ofcourse blaming the college for its extensive time table leaving us with no much time to study.Inbetween our frequent visits to the Xerox store,to get the copies of our notes,never did we miss a chance to tuck in some really yummy samosas and rasmalai! Not to forget -the parking woes!The management came up with a new rule of parking the vehicles with even registeration numbers on even days of the month.Sadly enough this did not work even for a week as students only found new methods to break the rule! 

The National workshop in the IISc,though very informative,did nothng but made us taste the yummy food of Keshav Adigas.The highly technical lectures with some jargonic stuff,the cosy chairs and the rest only gave us some good yawns and time to play video games on the cell phone :P.We did not lose a moment to decide that we should head for a movie(that too SRK’s) when our college announced its first ever let off in its history!

Then came our first sessionals!may be God was conspiring against us and the university announced results on the day of our sessionals!Very few smiles and many heartbreaks were the reports of our performance.The news that our HOD(ECE) was now our new placement co-ordinator brought us only shivers.The tension of applying for revaluation,eligiblity and stuff alike seemed to only take the life out of us.amidst all this we had to struggle through our labs to get the right output!

Amidst mood swings and tensions and very few moments of fun and happiness,came the last week of working(which no one bothered to attend!).We somehow managed through our practical exams-staggering and answering those viva voce(which only confused the examiner!).Even the exams went off in a jiffy(As opposed to other sems) but in an equally confusing way as to how many marks did we answer for!More than the happiness of passing the exams,we were relieved that the ’5TH SEM’ had come to an end at last!

With not much expectations other than a first class,here we are already preparing for our placement interview! No idea of what would happen tomorrow.Should we be happy that we are half engineers?Or dream about finishing it and getting placed in some good company?huh.God knows best!But the fear looms large.And the only question in our minds is “abhi doh…ya saade doh??”!!!!!!!!!! 

KATTPUTLI

 It was a perfect Saturday  on the 6th of October.I wrapped up  my work for the day in the afternoon and had a rather sumptous meal.I got a call fom my sister to accompany her to watch a play being performed by a theater group from her college.Since I did not belong to that college I had no idea of how things would be.Rather apprehensive ,I set out with her to entertain myself  for the weekend!!!!!The quadrangle at the ADA Rangamandira was bustling with activity.yes.It was time for another play-”KATTPUTLI-A foray into the life of a puppeteer.The mystery ,mischief and more…”The  theater group  from Sir MVIT called  as GAP(Getting Across to People) was all set to showcase its new production.It was a very enthusiastic crowd that afternoon.Students in black with a logo of “THEATER ROCKS” were seen all around the place doing their bit of the job.The show just broke into a start when suddenly the narrator emerged from behind the screen and started  narrating the scene in the form of a song and dance.Due to the technical snag  the audience did not much get a clear picture of what was being told.Then started the real story.It was about a young girl who is subjected to molestation and later killed by her own Grandfather in the name of  setting her free from this world,to help her escape from the misery subjected to her by the  society.To sum it up,it made a strong point that we,the people make the society but we as individuals are nothing but a puppet in the hands of the society.The play had the right pace.Nothing was overdone.The dialogues too did not fail to make an impact.The settings were perfectly depicting the countryside.The character of the girl,Gowri (played by Amruthavarshini J who also happens to be the director of the play) was vibrant with all colors of life.The 3 characters which made an impact and are going to be remembered for a very long time are those of “Matrik Phail” Ramu(Mehul Sonthalia),the anti-women drunkard (Praharsh) and the Bairagi Baba(whose name I dont remember) .They gave the  much required comic relief  and effortlessly played their roles to perfection. The other artists too did justice to their roles.

The music in some places overpowered the dialogues.The lighting too in some scenes was a bit misguiding.But these technical snags apart,I am sure the group pulled a rather inspiring performance!!!!!The best part of it was that they  successfuly put forth their message.As promised ,the play did make us laugh but with a lump in our throat and a question in our minds for which the solution lies in us only….Kudos to the team for taking such a great step towards questioning the purpose of  the society. I am sure that it set many a minds to thinking.and that is where the  theater becomes a success!!! 

Congratulations to the team of GAP which did a wonderful job.Hope to see  more  of such stuff from you guys.Keep up the great work!!!

As i drove back home I  sighed “Undoubtedly,THEATER ROCKS!!!” and thanks a ton to my sis who made my day!!!!

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