I have had my share of nightmares from early childhood days. One of the frequent ones I had was being electrocuted, not able to even cry out. The scariest thing in that whole dream sequence was the loss of words and the deadly dryness in the throat. It still scares me much more than death.
A similar sadness happens when you sit in front of your blog, and your fingers doesn’t move on the key board.
Or, when your fingers tap on the key board, and your brain doesn’t return the blog signals to make it a post.
Or, when you feel like writing, and you don’t get the time to sit in front of computer.
Or, when you try to complete a post, and you can’t find a starting or ending sentence.
Or, when your heart says “write”, and your brain says “don’t”…
Thanks to those loving nudges from my friends, I am trying to be back…
I find myself really lucky. I watched the controversy between Chetan Bhagath and the 3 Idiots crew only after watching the movie. For one thing, yes, I had seen Wikipedia,showcasing the movie as based on Chetan Bhagath’s novel. That is one novel I love for being novel in concept and presentation.
We will come to the controversy later. Let us talk about the movie first.
“Feather touch” – the thought dawned during a stroll through the woods in an autumn morning with a friend. She loved putting them on the wall, and she said children loved feather touch. As usual, the thought was dormant in the diary for exactly a year, and now seeing light.
Its not about feathers alone. There are hundreds of human beings who lay abandoned, till a hand picks them up, make them fulfill their destiny.
The photo was taken from a city park recently, on a similar autumn day.
The feather lay in the woods,
Deep under the dry leaves
In the black trodden road
Under the yellow autumn shade…
The feather lay under the woods,
Does it hurt the bird, when it sheds a feather?
No, its one in a million.
Does the feather cry when it hit the cold road?
No, feathers don’t cry.
The feathers don’t cry, they only touch
The feather touch, the soft comforting touch…
One day, a hand picks the feather
Puts on a wall, colors it and cares
This is going to be a no-frills post. I am not able to find any fancy words. I am deeply touched, moved…
We tune in to watch reality shows once in a while for relaxation during dinner time. We do have a few favorites in this genre. Many a times they come up with more tragedy in terms of elimination, or a depressed candidate due to a failed performance or a brutally mutilated song we love.
Here comes a new reality show. A real path breaker. Not the kind of path breaker introduced by “Rakhi ka swayamvar”. This is the reality show of the 17 street singers around us. Yes, those people, as thin as skeleton, blind, crippled, who sing around us in Railway stations and bus stands. Those people, whom we ignore and sometimes laugh at for their mediocre rendition. The specialty of the show does not end there. There will be no elimination rounds for the show. Instead, the sponsor of the program will build houses for all the 17 participants!!
“hmm.. Novel Marketing Tactics!!” That was my first thought when I heard about the program in Indiavision channel. Yet, I was curious to search for the timing, for a glimpse of the program due to the novelty of concept.
Today, I stumbled upon the videos in Internet. I would like to share those videos with all my friends across the world. See this one :
If your eyes become wet after watching this video, its not the program’s fault. Its because you are still human…
For the benefit of the non-malayalees reading this post, let me introduce a few contestants along with the links to their performances.
She used to share stages with eminent musicians like Dr. KJ Yesudas in her early life. A Ganabhooshanam (degree in music) graduate, she says that she finds no difference between singing on street, or on a stage. For her, music is all that matters.
Suku has a 16 year old daughter, who is handicapped. While, changing rented houses often, Suku is helpless with his daughter. Kunjaava, is Suku’s friend. Though Kunjaava himself is very poor and blind, he has come to sing in this show, for a house for Suku !! Kunjaava’s wife and two children also accompany them. Suku is a support for many blind singers in the street, like Kunjaava. He plays Tabla while they sing.
Pushpa & Rajesh
Pushpa’s mother tongue is Kannada. She was born and brought up in Kerala, and speaks excellent Malayalam. Pushpa and Rajesh met each other while singing in train, fell in love with each other and got married. On asking how she came to know about the show, she answered – “One day, I was singing in a train, and the director of this show, Sudheer Sir saw me and talked to me. A few days later, Sudheer Sir came to our rented house and saw the home and circumstances. He told me about this show, but I didn’t believe at first. I never expected I will get a stage like this, to sing”
Another speciality I have noticed in the show is, the judges (rather celebrity guests) or the anchor are not downgrading the term “street singing”. Instead, they are considering it as a job, a platform for delivering the artistic skills of the singer. It was kind of amusing.
In Kerala alone, if we take 5 mainstream entertainment channels, there are atleast 20 reality shows going on. Senior singer, Junior singer, dancer, dance troupe, genius, show for moms, cookery contests, adventure contests, competition for colleges and what not.. If all the 5 channels host one reality show like this, and participate 17 contestants, 5 * 17 = 85 people are going to get houses in an year!! And, all the saregama’s going on for many seasons, imagine a “street light” show running in every channel for 4 seasons. 85 * 4 = 340 houses in 4 years…!! Now, multiply this number with the number of Indian States and the number of all the regional and national channels who host reality shows. What a beautiful dream!! :-)
All reality shows are imitations from the west, or from another channel in the same region. Hope the imitations happen for good. Let the above number multiply and multiply, for a prosperous country of our own.
“Little drops of water, Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean, And the beauteous land
Little deeds of kindness, Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden, Like the heaven above”
– Mrs. J. A. Carney
“It was 10-15 mins drive from airport to Big Tree Way, that is where we live. The road sides are filled with big trees, and in the dark (12AM), they looked really dense. The roads were all empty and we reached our apartment complex by 12:10. Its the kind of place where I love to live in, with slanted wooden roofs, wooden flooring and wooden staircases. Inside, it was all new for me, except his face , and we ate the Biriyani he had prepared, and settled down.”
I wrote this as an email to my close friends one year back. The email was a travelogue on my journey to US. Its been an year since I landed in this alien country and started a new life.
The first few months were spent on an expectation of hitting home back at the earliest. Slowly, I settled down to the realization that I will have to be here for some time. That really put me into the track, and I started learning things.
The learning curve was slow, yet interesting :-). There are a lot of incidents, which when looked back, evokes a smile in us.
Diary needs to be the journal written daily. But I don’t have a day-to-day journal maintained in the past one year. Still, there are a few things I learned, which I wish to share. I hope that will reduce the learning curve of others :-)
This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 3; the third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Thought a lot, on what to write for Blog-a-ton. Tried dreaming quite early compared to last minute thinking of last time’s post. Finally, one dream flowed out, and forced me into writing it, and here it is… A dream, which pains us, make other countries mock us and even challenge us …
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls;”
Kiran sighed. The kids flew off like butterflies. Kiran glanced the graffiti wall again and read the lines silently. She pressed her book harder to her chest, as if trying to stop the heart from beating.
“Where the head is held high” – she whispered. “Where……??” – the statement was turning more like a question in her lips. “Maa’m, paagal ho gaye kya? Are you talking to yourself?” – the question woke Kiran from the trance, it was Saira. “Nothing, I was just reading the poem. The everlasting words of Tagore.” She eyed the graffiti wall, while speaking. Though Saira said nothing, Kiran could read her mind. Both of them walked towards the school building.
Saira was enthusiastically talking about so many things. Almost everything was new for Kiran. Coming from Mumbai, this part of the country surprised her each time with some new stuff she didn’t know before. Pahalgam, widely known as “Village of Shepherds”, is a quiet beauty near Srinagar. Coming from a bustling crowded city, the quiet place with comparatively very less inhabitants was a surprise to her at first. The surprise gradually changed to an awe, watching the seasons change and the beauty of nature around.
“Oops” – Kiran smiled at herself, noticing that she has reached her room. When did Saira say good bye and leave? The memories, instead of haunting, had drowned her in it this time.
The room was quite small, neatly arranged, with a cot near the door and a writing desk near the window. The writing desk was one of Kiran’s favorite places. Through the window, she observed the seasons change, the water level in the river Lidder increase or decrease and the snow in the mountains vary. Sitting there she wrote letters to her friends. Everyone wanted to know how she was managing with life. Some were concerned about her safety. A few wondered whether she was really mad.
The crowd was buzzing. When I say buzzing, yes I mean it.
I sat in the middle of that vibrant, happily buzzing crowd, alone.
A crowd consisting of small kids, school going ones, girls, ladies, old ones.
A crowd consisting of Black, White, Arab, Asian, African.
I was observing the Eid in US with curiosity and amusement. Last time, I couldn’t observe much of it, because I had just landed in US then. I had a lot of other things to learn and worry about.
Contrasting with the celebrations in India, the first thing you notice is the way people dress for the occasion. Most of the men choose to come in black suites, neat and trim like they go for a wedding party. Even women – no black purdah, no jeans-t shirts, no sports shoes or sandals, fully clad, head covered with a scarf. I saw it with surprise, how much they have adopted the idea of Eid celebration to their American way of life, that too without loosing the essence of the religion in between, as if going to a party hosted by God!!
In Kerala, we have Ifthars associated with mosques, but never a Eid party (atleast, I haven’t heard of). We go home after the prayer, have food and visit all friends and relatives. Here, after the prayer, there is a breakfast party for Eid. It is a potluck, where each family is supposed to bring food for 10 people. There were ladies who brought sweets for all who present ( count a 100 ladies + their men + kids!! ). Imagine a mix of delicacies of middle-east origin, and typical US sweets.