sketches

if thoughts had a canvas

Smile

Smile is a natural antidote to worry.

We carry lots of worries in our mind. Some of us qualify as chronic worriers. One effective and instant antidote to this accumulation of worries is a light, ‘straight from the heart’ smile. It works three ways

Smile makes the brain sense that you are happy.

Brain processes this information and pushes it into larger areas of the brain.

The innermost part of the brain issues a ‘no problem’ clearance. This releases stress relieving hormones. Life is back on keel.

Till you start worrying again….

Remember to smile to yourself.  Smile and watch the miracle unfold.  Watch as the world around you brightens up a bit. You will feel a warm glow of joyful light permeate your body and mind.

More genuine the smile, more the relief.

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A short, practical definition of art

For an incomplete definition of art click here. For a complete and simple explanation, read on….

For any act, formation, gesture or object to qualify as a work of art, it must achieve one of the three conditions –

it must be authentic, new, even if it builds a new construct by destroying an old one
it must strum emotional sensations in the human mind
it must add to the wealth, repertoire and richness of the human experience

There is no good or bad art, only art and non-art. It is art if it passes the litmus test of conditions above.

And once it qualifies as art, it transcends from being its creator’s property to being collective legacy of the  human race, and the artist a universal citizen.

 

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Being a grandpa..

Being a grandpa is pure, distilled joy. I recently experienced grand-fatherhood.

Here  is what I wrote for the baby boy ‘Shlok’…..

Shlok
(a welcome song)

it’s a cold night in New York,
bleak brick and window facades,
lifeless buildings
endless roads
that criss-cross like an argument without purpose
time stands frozen in expectation

and then a whiff of warmth
a small muffled cry
of a life just begun

like a silent arrow shot into future
of life’s intent
to keep moving, keep going

i am a whiff of warm joy
when i see frozen wait and expectation
i curl up, warming every lap with love

central park sleeps
amid its barren trees, waiting
for the snow to melt
for the snow to melt and life to thaw
for the crushed roots to grow again
trees to wear twigs,flowers, birds, music, magic;

love will make it all happen
i am here to make it all happen
i am life’s longing for itself

life will go on with its intent
now that i am here

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Guide – a true classic movie!

Truly iconic!I  saw  Guide  in  early 1966  as  a 12 year  old. At  that tender  age it  was  obviously  not  possible  to  fully  understand  and  fathom  the  theme. I  enjoyed  the  songs  and  liked   the  story. The  only  thing  that  disappointed  me  was  its  tragic  end. Till  the  very end  I  kept  on  wishing  that  Raju  & Rosie  re-unite  and  end  up  to  live  ‘forever’  as  a loving  couple. Understandably, as  a  teenager, it  was  not  possible  to  come  to  terms  with  such an  end  where  the  hero  succumbs  due  to  a  fast unto  death – a  fast  undertaken under  social  pressure  to  appease  the  Rain  Gods  in  a  drought  stricken cluster  of  villages. Between 1968  &  2008  I  have  seen  the  movie  umpteen  times. The  more  I  saw  the  more  I  could  realize  the real  worth  of  this  precious  jewel  in  celluloid. I  never  felt  I  was  watching  something  old  and  known. There  was  no  sense  of  ennui   since   there  were  so  many,   henceforth  hidden,  treasures  in  the  film  which  could  be  discovered  and  re – discovered  with  every  subsequent  viewing. I  was  thoroughly  soaked  in nostalgia  because  the  film  brought  back  vivid  memories  of  my  childhood every time.
 

I  subsequently  gathered,  in  those  times  it  was  unthinkable  that  a  ‘married  heroine’  would  desert  her  ‘husband’  and  plunge  into  an  adulterous relationship  with  an ‘unmarried  hero’. I  am  told  Waheeda  took  a  very  bold  step  in  accepting  the  role  which  was  a  taboo  in  those  days. She  acted  so  well  that  it  silenced  her  critics. That  was  a  turning  point  in  the  contemporary  Indian  Cinema.

The  film  is  based  upon  a  novel  written  by  R.K.Narayan  in  1958  the  rights  of  which  were  procured  by  Dev  Anand. An  English version of  the  plot  was   written by  Pearl  S.Buck  and  made  into  an  English  movie  directed and  produced  by  Tad  Danielewski. The  movie  miserably  flopped  at  the  box office  causing  huge  financial  losses to  its  makers. Despite  this  fact  Dev  Sahib  mustered  real  courage  and  decided  to  go  ahead  with  the  Hindi  version  directed  by  Vijay  Anand – his  younger  brother  nicknamed  ‘Goldie’. It  was  a  bold  decision  which  only  Dev   Sahib  could  take. I  appreciate  his  vision  and  foresight.  It  ultimately  paid  rich  dividends. In  the  process  a  masterpiece –  an  exquisite  jewel  of  the Indian  Cinema – was  created  for us  and  the  future  generations  –  for eternity. The  credit  for  its  success  largely  goes  to  ‘Goldie’  who  also  wrote  the  screenplay. The  film  proved  a  turning  point  in  his  career. Every time  I  hear  Aaj  phir  jeene ki tamanna hail…..”, “Gaata  Rahey  Mera  Dil …..”, ” Tere  Mere  Sapne  Ab  Ek  Rang  Hain ….”,   I  invariably  begin  reciting  the  timeless  lyrics  myself.

The  songs  ” Yahan Kaun  Hai  Tera ….”  &  ” Allah  Megh  Dey ….”  have  become  virtual   classics.  Here  was  a  Music  Director – in S.D. Burman – who  sang  in  his  own  voice.  These  songs  merged  with  the  theme  in  their  totality.

Guide  is  probably  among  the  best  ever  Indian  movies  produced. Some  critics  have  rated   it  among  the  top  ten.  Time magazine  rated  it  at  Number Four  in  its  list  of  Best  Bollywood  Classics  during  2010.

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India needs to move on to freedom

India, much like my own blog, has not moved on for a long time.

Moving on implies a major and demonstrable diversion from the past. We have been in a time warp for sixty six years and it is time for India, its citizens and everything Indian to wake up…The wake up call comes from an experience called Aam Aadmi Party

AAP represents a shared and collective hope. Of freedom from exploitation, corruption and inequality.

It is time to move on.

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Have you admired your garden lately?

DSC00199-1When was the last time you admired your garden? Or like many of us you have been busy planting new seeds? We spend a large chunk of our lives adding and acquiring objects material. Then another chunk dusting and polishing our precious collection. When was the last time you enjoyed the bliss of your bounty? Or like many of us you don’t have time to pause and simply immerse in the warmth and richness of your surroundings. 

If you and I enjoyed what we have, we would lose the desire to collect, acquire, own. We don’t live, we own. We dust things because we own them.

You don’t need to own the garden to enjoy its rejuvenating life force, colours, scents and all.

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Our response to problems is flawed..

Our response to everyday problems is flawed. And this time our genes are to blame.
After many many years of evolution, we are still driven by a primordial response to a problem.
‘Fight’ or ‘Flee’.
We allow our brains to perceive all problems as ‘threats’. The conversation goes like this:

Us – “oh no! oh my god! I have a problem”
Our brain – “You don’t worry. I know what to do with a threat when I sense one. I will go into a panic mode and send your body on an adrenalin overdose, blunt your comprehension, mess with your body mind balance, and send you up into the ozone hole”
Us – ” but Mr. Brain, every problem is not a threat. Problems come in different shaped and sizes. Failures, traffic jams, missed opportunities, money loss. Do you understand?”
Our brain – ” No I don’t. Do you?”
Our brain plus wisdom – ” If you did, you would not think of all problems as threats. you would not follow the same cycle of fear, panic, fight or runaway. You understand the transience and weightlessness of a problem but you react as if this was your last minute on earth”
Us – “Oh, then am I the problem?”.

Our brain is hard wired to react to a life-threat. But we can train it to use patience and not panic, to treat problems lightly, not as life threatening moments but as mere ‘situations’, some expected and some not.

How we react to a problem will determine whether we surmount the problem and get it out of the way or succumb to it and languish.

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Never too late

lonesome-300x200It is never too late to change. To improve, learn, amend something. There is always a better way of doing things, a shorter route to reach a goal or a more economical solution to a project. How can we expect to better an outcome if we close our minds and hearts and bodies to learning?

There was never a dearth of learning or never will be. Have we opened our senses to such hints and signs?

Think progress. Think change. Today.
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Form and content are so intricately linked

Form and content are so intricately linked to each other, it is unimaginable to see a good product if the content and it’s presentation are not balanced in a mutually complimentary way. A good product and good packaging. A good book and a good cover.Form and content are the same side of the coin.

In the war between form and content if one loses the other loses too.

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Dreams

Dreams are like clouds. Far away, yet very personal. Like clouds dreams have no beginning and no end. They are here now and not here another moment. They change form, from fairy like to menacing. They uplift, depress, frighten, give hope, bring flashes of great insight, churn souls. Dreams, like clouds can contain fluffy nothingness or a hundred fear dragons hiding behind bolts of lightening.
Everyone has one private cloud. Like one dream. The problem is this cloud never remains the same. It is ever changing. Looming round the corner with a new unknown face.

Dreams are real, dreams are unreal.
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