Tuesday, August 25, 2015

La Passion et La Profession

Ça fait longtemps que j’ai écrit en français. Donc, j’ai décidé de le faire temps en temps ici, dans mon blog. Cet article est dédié pour mes amis français.

Non pour ce mariage...

Plusieurs citations revendiquent que c’est le meilleur travail si, notre passion et la profession sont les même. Je ne pense pas qu’il y a aucune vérité dans eux, à notre époque où, la profession est une source essentielle d'une meilleure vie. L’origin de cette pensée se trouve dans une discussion que j’ai eu avec mes amis.

Un article partagé par mon ami parle des écoles internationales qui sont devenues très populaires en Inde. Avec une nécessité de produire les meilleurs élèves, le salaire des professors a augmenté. Pourtant, il y a un autre coté de ces écoles dont l’article ne parle pas. Beaucoup d’entre eux paient les enseignants en retard et moins de salarie que promis. En plus, ils leurs font faire le travail de Romain à partir de l’enseignement. Ceci a posé une autre question pour nous. Quel type de travail nous fait trimer? Est-ce que le mariage de passion et profession assurent un travail idéal? Je suis certainment contre ce mariage.  

Je peins quand je voudrais le faire. Je voyage où je préfères d’aller. J’écris de mes intérêts. Si, je dois peindre comme un travail, ma créativité va toute de suite mourir. Si, je dois voyager avec une date d’achèvement et des attentes, je ne crois pas que je l’aimerai. De même que pour mon écriture. En plus, une profession vient toujours avec une nécessité de l’argent, un chef ou si vous êtes entrepreneur, avec des pressions immenses.  Ceci me fait penser si ma passion restera la même si, je la convertis comme ma profession. Mes hobbies ne sont pas à vendre. Mais cela dit, je voudrais indiquer que j’aime aussi mon travail. 

Ma métier n’est pas nécessairement ma passion. Pourtant, il y a des aspects de mon travail que j’adore et voudrais les découvrir plus. Ma profession me donne l’argent que je peux utiliser pour développer mes passions. D’ailleurs, mes passions n'ont pas gérée par quelqu’un d’autre. Autrement dit, ma passion n’est que le mien.

Alors, la question encore reste - Quel type de travail nous fait trimer? Pour moi, ils sont les travails dans lesquels je ne crois pas. Et, pour vous?

(Je vous remercie pour la lecture avec de la patience....bien sûr il y a des fautes, n’hésitez pas de me corriger. Il est comme ça que je peux me perfectionner. Merci en avance!)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Way To Triumph

When I met my nephew Vibhav earlier this year in the US, we talked a lot about his favourite animated movies and superheroes. While browsing through one of his comic books, I promised him to create a painting for him. And there was no other perfect time to gift him the same, than on his birthday this August.

I had the initial sketch ready long before I actually started painting. Then it waited on my easel like all other paintings do for the mood to hit me.

One day, I forced myself to start the colouring. With my past experiences with colours, I chose Acrylic for its brightness and applied the base colours on the two characters - The Spiderman and the Vulture. 

Again the painting waited on the easel to be continued for a perfect day and time. And, then one day within a matter of 4 hours, it reached its intended destiny. 

I completed the spiderman first with the details and actually loved how the shades on the pants turned out. It is very rare that I am happy with my own work. I wanted the superhero to be more attractive in his dressing than the antagonist like it usually is. I also loved how the initial bright blue acted as a base to this final texture. But everything had to be quick as acrylic dries faster. I also had a perfect atmosphere to complement my mood.

For the vulture, I used little white to give a rather dull shade. There was not much detailing on his costumes, so it turned out to be quicker. 

The challenge though was to retain my patience to complete the feathers of the wing. I tried to do them individually. But then thought, I could cheat by creating a thick band of black and white stripes on them.

However, I realised soon enough that it would not work out well. So, continued painting every single strands of the wings separately.

And then, the painting was complete. I had to force myself to look away because, there is always some more detailing to do.

The spiderman was all set to struggle his way through to become triumphant. Victory does not come easy, but what is important is to not stop believing in oneself... like all those superheroes. 

Sunday, August 02, 2015


Spoilers ahead!!!!! If you have not watched the film and wish to watch, please do so before continuing. 

My father had a step brother. He was fourteen when he ate an over ripe Palmyra fruit and succumbed to severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Within two days, on a new moon day, (Amavasya)  he died.  He was known to be very passionate about the hectares of land that my great grand father owned. My father was only a child when my uncle passed away, so I obviously did not meet him but my uncle’s story always resurfaced in discussions that my mother or grandmother had. When the family faced troubles, my mother went to the astrologers and they would remind us of this untimely death in the family that could be decelerating progress. It was hence decided that he be given Moksha (Salvation) through proper rites and rituals. Apart from other snake related sins, the astrologers would also point out our ignorance towards the Bhoota Aradaney (Worship of holy spirit) in our ancestral house. As a reparation, my mother undertook on herself the task of regularly offering jasmine flowers to the holy spirit. I have always argued with my mother about the numerous rituals that people in South Canara bond themselves with. Sometimes, for her happiness, I have taken part in those rituals but most of the times, she let me be. Now that I have been away from my hometown for a long time, I am mostly disconnected with those customs. Recently, when I watched the movie Rangatiranga, I was reminded of my growing up years in Dakshina Kannada and it brought back the stories of sins, snakes and ghosts that dominated my childhood. 

The movie Rangitaranga has a very captivating story line. Two stories run in parallel - One, a couple traveling to their village in South Canara in order to perform an offering to a holy spirit, witness supernatural happenings. In another, a journalist is in search of the identity of an anonymous writer. When the two stories meet, missing answers to the puzzle unravel. The movie takes inspiration from a very popular TV serial called "Guddeda Bhoota" that narrated a story of superstitious beliefs surrounding a ghost.

Growing up in Mangalore, my childhood was filled with stories about holy spirits, ghosts and Brhama Rakshasas (An unmarried Brahmin soul that has not parted earth). My grandmother always had interesting stories of how her brother’s children died of what she referred to as Ghost attack but, the description sounded to me like epilepsy. Guddeda Bhoota too is a very common term used in the region. Before we proceed with this term, it may be helpful if I clarify the words Gudde and Bhoota

Bhoota means ghost. Mostly in Mangalore, it means a holy spirit, often of common men who have elevated themselves to this position through a heroic act and are believed to have gained Godly powers after death. Some holy spirits also draw references to animals and others are believed to be Ishwara Ganas (Representatives of lord Shiva). There are three types of holy spirits - The one at home, for the welfare of the family. The one that safeguards the land and the one that protects a village (Grama). Bhoota Kola is a way of offering food to the holy spirits which involves a Pambada (One who dresses as ghost) becoming possessed by the holy spirit. If Bhoota Kola is not performed every year, it is normally noticed as a bad omen and become a reason for all the unfortunate events to take place in the family or village. My mother and many others I know, claim to have heard sounds of anklet around the house during night. I have often argued with my mother that it must be an insect. A vivid memory of a Bhoota kola haunts me.

I was a kid and had gone to witness a Kola in our ancestral home. When the Pambada arrived, I had to hide behind the elders. As a grown up, I noticed how heavily drunk the Pambadas were before the act and heard of talks that claimed that they probably faked their possessed state. Also shocking was to hear about how the day after the Kola, they drank blood of a rooster. With these revelations, my perspective about this whole affair changed from being a supernatural phenomenon to a mere form of art. Nonetheless, I remain fascinated by the makeup, costumes, music and dance involved in this act. 

However, Angara’s ghost referred in the film normally tend to be of those who have had a sad end to their life and their spirit has not parted earth. Their unfulfilled desires are believed to be the motivators to their actions of scaring and attacking humans. A similar myth forms the crux of the movie.

Gudde means a small hill. Midst the agricultural land there are unused, uncultivable lands that are generally used to graze cows and are termed as Gudde. Children are denied playing or going to the Gudde alone, specially during noon. It was said that the ghosts would throw sand on us and for some reason it was considered bad. At times, I ignored these warnings and played often in our Gudde. Occasionally, when I was alone, the fluttering of leaves and swirls of sand on the ground made me run back home out of fear. Thus, Guddeda Bhoota is a very common term used in South Canara which was then popularised by the TV serial. It was very impressive of writer/director/music composer Anup Bhandari to link this story to the serial by not only using the plot but also utilising its famous title song in Tulu Language that speaks about the existence of a ghost in the hills of a small fictitious village called Kamarottu.

The real hero of this movie is undoubtedly its story. To write a story that captures the interest of the viewers and pay attention to the details do not come easily. Anup Bhandari does more than justice in packaging a story that is mysterious, emotional, comic and sensible all in right proportions. As a writer, I was excited about how the story misleads the audience during the first half to concentrate on the ghost rather than on the real twist about the couple's identity. An unexpected twist does not seem like a force fit here but explicates the complexity in the personalities of the main protagonists. However, there were a few scenes in the beginning that forcibly tries to scare the audience in an untimely fashion. The story has been chalked out with logic that requires the writer to pay extra attention to the specifics but the beauty is that all these details are subtly included. For example, the reasons why Harini does not want to be seen by the public, relationship between the house maid and Garnal babu, the reasoning for the kidnaps and murders and why Indu takes a journey back to the village. The scene where TR bhat asks his wife whether it was  Angara’s physic, his looks or his makeup that attracted her the most, is very dramatic yet sensible considering the artistic nature of the one who questions. Well, this is also not unheard of in Mangalore. Many women have found themselves attracted to the Yakshagana artists for how they present themselves or talk on the stage. Several artists masterfully deploy this talent in wooing a woman. Although, not every detail in the movie is appropriate. The Ghost wore an anklet worn in yakshagana instead of wearing a "Gagara" that actually makes the scary sound while it walks (Sound that is heard throughout the movie). The costume and makeup of the ghost in the movie drives inspiration from yakshagana and Theyyam more than that from Bhoota Kola. But, it may be overlooked considering creative liberty.

There is a lot of information in the story and a good editing could only have maintained a crisp narration. However, a downside of this is that some scenes that could grab attention like, the details of Bhoota Kola, Yakshagana and the Yakshagana style fight sequence in the end would also get cut short due to which the whole story of Guddeda Bhoota comes to an abrupt end. Specially felt by me, as the scenes of Yakshagana and Kola took me back to my days in Mangalore. I recollect several such incidents where as a child I was scared to death walking back alone after having watched a late night Yakshagana at the temple. As I returned home at those ungodly hours, I was reminded of the stories of ghosts, snakes and the demons from the stories enacted in the Yakshagana.

Being an artist, I was drawn towards the effective use of colours in the movie. Orange and black appears to be the theme of the film. They are the primary colours on the ghost's face and is also effectively used over the hero to firstly arose suspicion and secondly draw a metaphor of dual personality. But the most beautiful use of colour and symbolism I found was to represent Sandhya’s love. She is often seen in colour red representing a need for love. She holds a red umbrella as a symbol of their love which is seen handing over to each other or acting as a shelter to the two during a rain.  In the climax, she wears blue displaying her mood and a red blanket is seen over Indu. I may go a step further in imagining that perhaps Sandhya was the one who held that umbrella when she first met Siddharth. 

South Canara and Malnad have often attracted attention for its picturesque locations. The cinematography brilliantly captures the beauty of the locations. Specially the Aerial shots of the ambassador car under rain, the couple walking to the police station under a red umbrella, rain drops dripping from the jeep roof and elegantly choreographed and shot song Nee Kele vadhuve draw attention.

Additionally, the songs are very creative. I specially like the remix version of Gudeda Bootha title song and the song "Kareyole" with every word of the song starting with the kannada letter "Ka".  There is also one with tongue twisters and another drawing inspiration from yakshagana style of singing.

When it comes to acting, the lead actors, in spite of being debutants or rather new to the industry have given exceptional performances. Radhika Chetan as Indu is impressive and Nirup as Gautam suits the role perfectly. But bound by the script, their acting does not vary much throughout the film. I specially liked the acting of Avantika Shetty as Sandhya as hers is the only character that has the opportunity to display varied emotions including humour, liveliness, wit, romance, helplessness and sadness, which she delivers with spontaneity and ease. I liked Sai Kumar’s acting too which he very neatly underplayed. Also, his personality closely resembles a Baghvatha (The lead singer in a Yakshagana performance). The way he speaks referring to songs from Yakshagana is very typical. My father, who is a Yakshagana artist always has friends from his circle come home to discuss various themes. Several times, I have heard them sing a particular verse from a song while discussing mythological themes that Yakshagana is usually based upon. However, even though I did like Sai Kumar’s acting, I also felt that his attempt to speak South Canara accent was less impressive. Even worse was the actor who played the School head master. Nevertheless, a lot of attention has been given to choose appropriate actors for pivotal supporting roles such as that of Rafiq, Angaara, Garnal babu and Pandu. The actor who played the inspector though showed required aggressiveness that the character demanded, was a little too loud and unnatural. Karthik Rao as Rafiq undoubtedly gives the best moments of humour in the film with his South Canara accent and expressions. Without any speech, Dinesh Siriyara as Angaara gives a memorable performance. He very well displays his isolation and confusion within a short span of time. Thoughts of Angaara and his isolation takes me back to my initial topic of beliefs and rituals in South Canara and my disagreements with my mother. 

Despite our difference in opinion, my mother and I stay united. She understands that I don’t believe in these rituals or thoughts and I understand that she need not change her beliefs for that reason. She has lived in Mangalore all her life surrounded by these faiths and rituals and most importantly, her beliefs give her comfort. But for me, I have always wanted to escape this part of my hometown. Despite its cultural richness that I greatly appreciate and am constantly inspired by, Dakshina Kannada also has a side that I don’t necessarily agree with. I am forced to bring my thoughts back to Angaara again. As the movie ends, it is not Anasooya or Sandhya whom we feel sorry for but it would be Angaara. His death was unanticipated. With a short description of him in the movie, it is clear that he was isolated from the society. He probably did not find any peace being alive but sadly, he did not find it in his death either. The same society that excluded him turned him into a monster who kidnaps and kills women. And here my thoughts return back to my uncle. I fail to find a logical reason why he must be blamed for all the misfortunes. The past is important for us to analyse what is right or wrong but, it is also important to know when to let go of it. And thus I conclude with the last dialogue from Sandhya to Gautam in the movie which more or less means - "Do not try too hard to dig your past, your present is more beautiful, go live it!"

If you wish to read the review of the movie Ulidavaru Kandanthe Click Here 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Delhi

When we, Chris, Fabien, Madhav and I arrived at the Ambala Cantt bus stand we were informed by a conductor that there are no Volvo buses to Delhi at that time. However, he advised us to take a taxi that would charge comparable to the buses. When enquiring at the taxi stand, we were surprised that the taxi ply at almost same rate as an ordinary bus. Rs 250 per person on a 7 seater. The taxi owner suggested that we book the entire taxi for Rs 1600, so that we did not have to wait for the car to be full and be comfortable. That too worked out cheaper than a Volvo. So we setoff on an AC taxi towards Delhi. 

Our driver Naresh was on a month long vacation. He was working in a restaurant in Malaysia and hailed from Agra. Bored during his vacation, he had decided to drive his friend's taxi for a while that would give him a chance to travel a little and see places. He spoke a lot about his life there and his visits to Singapore and Indonesia. After a 3 hour long journey, we reached Delhi at around 5 PM. We took metro to NDLS station. Zostel is about a kilometre and half from here on Qutab road. If you walk you may want to climb down the flyover to reach Qutab road. However, we took a tuk tuk. 

 Zostel, Delhi has a very nice ambience. It is specially designed for backpackers. They several good dorms and also nice private rooms as well. The place was filled with backpackers from around the world.

We were allocated a dorm for 8 which seemed very clean and hygienic. We had charging points for each bed, a safety box to keep luggage. We threw our bags and took off to Connaught place. This is kind of a central location in New Delhi which is filled with restaurants, boutiques and shops. I liked this place as it seemed very lively. We headed to the Monkey bar and settled in with a pitcher. Their Nacho pyramid and burger are mouth watering. I had been to the one in Bangalore but I must admit that the ambience and food was much better in the Delhi one. We talked for a while on various topics but at 10 we all were dead tired due to series of long days. We took the metro back to Zostel and almost immediately crashed to bed.

Well, I had a very good sleep until a cellphone played loud music in our dorm. People alerted the owner but he seemed to be in a deep sleep. We woke up and tried to wake him up and asked him to switch off the music. He seemed unconscious. Fabian got very pissed and someone even used a F word. Finally the music stopped. That guy perhaps was totally drunk.  He did not wake up until we left next day. Apart from that, it was an uneventful sleep that was much needed. 

Next morning, I woke up early as usual and took a walk around the street and captured some mundane moments of the locality. I had tea at a local tea stall.

Had my breakfast served at Zostel and then woke up Chris and Fabien as we had to vacate the room by 10 AM. We left our bags at the luggage counter and headed towards the Metro station. We did not have much time so we decided to go to just one place. We zeroed in on India gate, took some directions from the lady at the counter and headed to the station. This time we walked to the station and its not very far after all. The early morning showers had made the weather bearable. But the walk also revealed to me how dirty the surroundings were in this part of the city.

We took metro to some stop directed by the lady at Zostel counter but turns out that it was not the best place to reach India gate. So we decided to take an auto. Auto driver told we could also see Purana kila (Old fort).

So we reached there only to find out that the entry fee difference for Indians and Foreigners was 10 times. My french friends thought that it was not fair. I kind of agreed as it made no sense to charge the tourists on every such attraction. A nominal amount could be charged for the visa and I think it should cover all of it. But here the difference was as big as 10 times in just one such tourist attraction. 

We decided to walk to India gate instead which wasn’t very far off from the old fort. Apparently, this part of Delhi is very clean with wide roads and trees by the sides. India gate was decently crowded. We took some pictures. On the other end of the road is the Rastrapati bhavan. 

We then walked towards Rastrapati bhavan (President’s hall) but the walk seemed to be very long. So midway we took an auto and decided to head to Connaught place which all three seems to consider our favourite place. Earlier, we had heard so much about this place called Hauz Khaas. Apparently it is a very happening place in Delhi now filled with nice café, bars and shops that play live music. However, due to lack of time, we decided to skip it. We settled in at a coffee day and chatted for a while about general topics until it was time for me to say good bye to Fabien and Chris and head back to Zostel. 

I returned back to collect my bags and headed to the airport on airport express. I had to get off at Aero city and take a shuttle bus to Terminal 3. I was on time to check in my bags. I was offered a business class for an extra 1000 rupees. Since my tickets had come free from my credit card points, I decided to take it.

I had a very brief encounter with our capital but it surely gave me a warm feeling. Except for the weather and some unclean areas I think that I enjoyed most of my stay there. I will return to Delhi to explore more but definitely not during this season. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Punjabi Wedding

The wedding celebrations starts two days before the main ceremony with Sangeeth. The same evening (July3rd), several women gathered in the living room to turn this event lively with some traditional songs.  The youngsters played music and entire family danced to the Bangra music. It was a very lively atmosphere.

After that, there was this ritual, where in the women apply turmeric to the bridegroom. 

Snacks were arranged in the terrace for all the guests. Some tasty local chats were brought in. Next, the boy leaves the house and goes to his uncles house refusing to marry the girl unless his father settles to a renumeration demanded. Well Aman was hoping lakhs but I think he could not negotiate beyond a couple of thousands. Meanwhile, at home, the sisters of the bridegroom got Mehendi done to their hands. 

All through the evening, I had a very entertaining company of Aman’s little cousin Harshit, a eleventh grader. His lively nature, enthusiasm and witty talks made time fly by. 

After a tiring day, I retired to bed at around midnight. Next day, we were up and ready by 7:00 AM. Aman’s uncle took me to the nearby Gurudwara where I observed and repeated his mannerisms. A lady was singing verses from the holy book. I sat there for a while amongst others observing the little details of this place of worship. 

A bus was arranged to Ambala, to the brides place which was a 6 hours drive. I don’t think I have to mention that it was an AC bus. Aman’s cousin, Sheena, Harshit and I occupied the last seat and conversed a lot. Sheen’s brother Lucky joined midway and we had some great fun moments with lots of inside jokes. The best one was we teased Harshit for tagging every Facebook photo with 39 others. So it became a joke amongst us and we would end every sentence with « 39 others ». 

The bus would stop at right places for breakfast and lunch. We had very tasty Samosas for breakfast and a good Punjabi meal for lunch. It is interesting to see how tasty the food is generally here in any place. The dhabas have amazing food. Post lunch, the bus got lively with Antakshari. Lot of singing and shouting followed. It suddenly turned the journey into a celebration. It is interesting to notice that how Antakshari is so much a part of Indian culture irrespective of where we come from. In Mangalore, I can’t think of any travel with an extended family that would have happened without an Antakshari. It always sets the mood right. 

We reached Ambala Cantt at around 5PM after several U-turns and of course a stop for tea. When I asked Lucky why we were stopping, he replied - « Hum punjabi hein humara pet kabuki nahi barta. » (we are punjabis, our stomachs never gets full.) that was hilarious! Some home made snacks were also served by a co-traveler. 

We were put up at the Country wood hotel outside of Ambala cantt. I shared my room with Aman’s friend Madhav from Delhi. It was great talking to him. Madhav and Aman both are into music and I enjoyed my conversation with him. By 8 PM we got ready. We walked down to grab some food. The setting was exuberant. The engagement stage was well decorated and there was food in every corner of the ground. You name the cuisine and it was there. We tried some local Delhi chats. Everything was delicious. Food is always a very crucial part of an Indian wedding and no matter which part of India you come from, a special attention to variety of food is given.

The Baarat (Bridegrooms wedding procession) was to start at 8:30 PM but it only began at 11:30 PM. Madhav and I could not stand the heat so we returned to the room to relax in an AC environment  Two friends of Aman, Chris and Fabien had arrived from France and they wanted to tie pagdi (Turban) like Sardars.  Aman had arranged for that and they flaunted their new look at the engagement. The Baarat was lot of fun with friends and relatives of Aman dancing in front of the chariot he was riding in. He looked fantastic in his ethnic wear. Madhav and I started off the selfie mania there too. 

After the boy arrived at the entrance, the girl family came and greeted everyone. Her uncle hugged his uncle and offered each other some gifts. The same repeated with all other relatives. Aman’s friend Simran’s dad explained to us that actually a Sikh wedding is very simple. There is a prayer in front of their holy book and that is all. But then how we prefer to celebrate the occasion depends on us. I think that is true in any wedding. The rituals are normally simple but we want to turn this moment into something special because it is the moment to reunite and celebrate our togetherness. 

After that was done, the bride’s sisters blocked the grooms way. They demanded a hefty amount to let him pass. A negotion between the girls and the boys from the grooms side followed and finally a sum was agreed upon.

The girl arrived in a chariot decorated with Peacock feathers and a pre-wedding shoot was displayed on big screen.

Madhav and I finished some quick dinner at midnight. The choice of cuisine varied from Indian to Chinese to Italian. We wished Aman and his fiancée and decided to head back to room and crash. After a small chat about n’importe quoi, I retired to bed at around 1 AM.

Next day was the wedding. We were up and ready by 10:00 AM. That was what we were told  and considering the rituals in the south, that had to happen at the right time of the day, I expected less delay on the day of the wedding. But, here things are different. By the time everyone was ready, it was 12:00 PM. Till then, Madhav, Fabien, Chris and I chatted. Fabian and Chris also had no plans for the day so we three decided to head to Delhi after the wedding. Madhav suggested we stay at a hostel called Zostel. We made our free reservations online. While we waited for others, Harshit and I took some crazy, funny selfies.

The wedding in Gurudwara was simple with the priest reading verses from the holy book and some prayers. The boy and girl walk around the holy book to complete the ritual. After the wedding, lunch was served there. Again, lots of food. We changed and decided to head to Delhi soon after lunch. Before leaving, we took some selfies with the couple.

I am growing extremely fond of group selfies. They always appear to be happy and natural. Perhaps, it is because everyone unitedly is in the same moment. My selfie stick is the best purchase I have made in recent times as it helps me bring people together into a moment that seems to be perfect only with togetherness. And what a wonderful wedding this was!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bangalore to Milak, UP

My friend Aman had invited me well in advance for his wedding as it involved a long journey and flight reservations. When other friends, one by one dropped off, I was unsure of this trip. But, Aman insisted me to come and assured me that it would be a great experience. Today, after having returned I couldn't agree more. So on the 3rd of July, due to a pre-ponned flight, I landed in Delhi at around 8:30 AM.

Aman had asked me to book a train to Rampur, UP. I had waiting list on two different trains that were to be boarded at two different railway stations - DEL and NDLS. Interestingly, both got confirmed and I took the one in the morning from NDLS. At the airport, I was directed to take a shuttle to the nearest Metro station called Aerocity. For most domestic flights departing from or arriving at Terminal 1 this is the way to get to the nearest Metro station. Terminal 3  has a metro station there. So the bus was quick and I was charged a nominal Rs30. The first thing I noticed when I drove off from the airport is that everything seemed to happen in a very relaxed and lethargic pace. In Bangalore, there is always an unnecessary rush in people to get somewhere but here even vehicles seemed to move in a lazy fashion as if there was all the time in the world. It was actually a comforting sight for a traveler like me. 

Well, I got off at Aerocity metro station and was directed to take the airport express directly to the last stop - NDLS railway station. Delhi Metro is designed very similar to that I had witnessed in Hong Kong. Again, it was a very relaxed journey. In days to come, I did travel in Metro; sometimes they were crowded but I never felt it was over crowded like I did experience in Mumbai trains. Anyways, I got off at NDLS and crossed the road to get to the railway station. Kashi express was at 11:30 AM and I had more than an hour, so I decided to grab some quick brunch at a local restaurant. Then, I waited for my train at the platform. That is when, I felt the heat. The airport, metro stations, train and hotels are all air conditioned but when you get out of them you face the reality of this harsh weather that I have been recently viewing in news channels. The worst part is that it is humid and there are heat waves. I also found Delhi to be terribly dirty and as I travel to other indian cities, I realise how clean and tidy Bangalore is. Though Bangalore is not comparable with other foreign countries, it is far better than any other Indian cities. I think the cleanliness is limited to Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, South/North Canara and Kerala. 

My train was on time and I was more than happy to get into an AC compartment. I had a bad headache so I dozed off for a while. The journey from Delhi to Rampur is about 4.5 hours long and it passes through lush fields of UP. I reached Rampur at around 4PM. It was interesting to notice the TT chase some locals who were traveling in the small pockets between two bogies. 

Here, I was to take a bus to Milak. I had never spoken to Aman about this travel before so I was kind of clueless of where I was heading and how I would reach his house. So, this made it a very adventurous experience. I only wished that I had a backpack and I was on a never ending road trip. Rampur seemed like a crowded small town. I took a tuk tuk till the bus stand which is actually not very far but I was advised so by Aman considering the luggage. He had told me that the fare would be around Rs10 but the driver demanded Rs20. I agreed without hesitation and he seemed startled. He repeated the fare and I agreed again. He appeared guilty of his own act and perhaps thus began a conversation enquiring which train I had taken etc. For the extra money I had paid, he parked the vehicle next to the bus driver and checked for me, the his destination. 

Surprisingly, I found people in Delhi and this part of UP very polite. I never saw people quarrel and speak harshly. Even bus conductors maintained humility. And the language, I found to be very melodious and polite  Hindi language spoken here is perhaps in its purest form, just like I had studied and spoken in School. 

The bus driver played old Hindi film songs sung by Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Rafi. In the front mirror, I could see the reflection of his face as he pinched his eyebrows, swayed his head and slipped into an emotional expression while following the romantic tune of the song. 

Just by the enternace was a notice put up by a family desperately in search of their teenage daughter. Written in Hindi was a request to her to return home considering the health of her sick mother. She was informed of how her sisters and brother are in bad condition due to continuous crying. They also agreed to surrender themselves to all her conditions and agree to her decisions. Anybody informing them of her whereabouts were also assured an appropriate reward. The notice seemed a little weird to me. I had seen publications for missing people but this was more of a willing disappearance.

The bus journey was short, for about 25 minutes. Milak is a small town on the way to Bareilly from Rampur. At Milak, Aman’s dad came to pick me. I was happy to meet Aman and his family. Aman’s grandmother welcomed me with a warm hug and a kiss. Aman’s mother offered me some delicious ghee rice, Rajma curry and kheer. His cousins and uncle politely greeted me. I realised that this was going to be an exciting experience!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Le Gamin Et Le Minion

I paint only when I want to and perhaps thus this process gives me immense pleasure. This time it was to gift a dear friend at work who was quitting the company. I affectionately call him « the kid in red ». The word kid here is meant metaphorically relating to childlike enthusiasm, innocence and liveliness that unfortunately very few can sustain till adulthood. And the colour red having its own significance.

Considering my friends buoyant personality and the metaphorical references that I draw from it, it was clear that the kid in red had to feature in my painting. He had to wear a red shirt and had to hold onto a red balloon as a symbolism (Well, it did not necessarily have to be a red ballon. It could have as well been a treasured and preserved jar of home made pickle). But that did not seem to complete this painting. Something was missing; with that which shall attract the kids attention and curiosity resulting in a display of enthusiasm. Minion seemed like an appropriate choice that always appears to live in the moment and enjoy the simplest of pleasures. The video of the minion and the banana came to my mind and I knew almost immediately what could complete this painting. The minion attracts the kid into the moment as he still holds on to his favourite red balloon.  

The colours were almost decided but I experimented a little with the minion based out of a reference I found on the internet. 

In a single stretch of five hours, the painting was completed. 

On a surface-level, a painting might not be apparent as might be a speech. But if we take a moment and observe every subtlety involved, it is shocking to notice that paintings can convey the emotions that a speech can only ruin and words can never do justice to. Because a speech would dilute away with the emotion, with the moment, with the time and losing eventually its significance but art seems to lock the emotions forever and tend to remind us of who we once were and how we once felt; even if time has changed and we have moved on.