Monday, December 19, 2016

My Invisible Ears

I have always sported a short hair cut since my college days. The cut outlines my face taking on a nice shape. I have never felt the need to tuck my hair behind my ears. I liked it just the way it was. 

However, over time, my colleagues at different points in time have wondered if I had ears, or the conspiracy behind why they were always covered under my shiny glossy cover. Most were not aware that I wore a few ear piercings. They were understandably shocked when they realized I wear ear rings to begin with.

Time and again, someone would come by and push my hair away just out of curiosity to see what ear-rings I wore. Someone nicknamed it a screen - "hey, move the screen away from your ear", is a familiar line I am used to hearing when I did not hear them calling out to me. It is hilarious.

But it proved a problem when I had my passport size photographs taken. The photographer was just unhappy with my hair falling right over my ears every now and then. Inspite of having it washed and combed and set, it was like a dog's tail. Just would not stay in place. In exasperation, he said, "Madam, please comb your hair and do a touch-up and come back."

Funny, how an mundane part of your body could evoke such a sense of curiosity and humor. Just to keep the fun going, I let my ears be.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Power's Grasp

The late Cho Ramaswamy, lawyer, satirical comedian, playwright, who passed away recently, rightly remarked in his play that politics is a sewage. While our earlier leaders like Annadurai sought to work for the people, with the entry of top actors entering the scene, it caused a major shift. While MGR and the late Chief Minister Dr J Jayalalitha have implemented programs for the poor, the votes came through the image branding in the movies. Both were leading actors. Dr Jayalalitha herself has performed a number of character based roles and she stood out as the woman protagonist against her male actors. She had carved a niche for herself with her acting prowess.

As fate would have had it, from a brilliant academician she was propelled into stardom with her entry into cinema. Her fateful association with MG Ramachandran introduced her to the world of politics. However, for such as powerful persona, her personal life was an unhappy memory. Ironically, eventhough she was born into an aristocratic family, her father squandered away all the wealth and eventually died. Her mother who was also an actor pushed Jayalalitha into movies much against her wishes to alleviate the family from poverty. Otherwise, we may have probably seen a different Jayalalitha. 

Much of her life was dominated by her mother and MGR, she quotes in her interview with Simi Garewal when the Chief Minister was accused of corruption charges.

As for a late Dr J Jayalalitha, she was child who yearned for her mother’s affection and she willingly sacrificed herself at many junctures and ultimately, paid the highest price with her life on Dec 6 2016.

Her entry into politics was tumultuous since MGR never officially recognized her role in his personal or professional life. Jayalalitha was pushed out of MGRs funeral car and later in the 1989 Parliament assembly, the then ruling party members under DMK misbehaved and humiliated her. Jayalalitha vowed she would return as the Chief Minister or she would never set foot again in Parliament. A woman of steel and unimaginable determination, she came back as Chief Minister two years later. Known to be shy, naïve and reserved, she was completely forced to transform herself because of the cut-throat nature of politics and people in general.

She was erudite, sharp and brought a new respect for the state. The police in Tamilnadu have known to be one of the best and it is considered safer for women comparatively. Women were proud to have been represented by a scholarly Chief Minister. However, even the most intelligent have their weaknesses. Her over trusting nature and pride proved to be her deathknell. 

Jayalalitha’s health ailments were no secret. She was a severe diabetic and is said to have thyroid related issues. However, at every obstacle, she stood tall. This time, it was not meant to be since the circumstances surrounding her death have evoked strong sentiments of a conspiracy. Including the common man, film stars and political parties have urged the law for an investigation. For the 75 days that she was hospitalized, information regarding her health was kept away from the public and dignitaries. News of her sudden cardiac arrest, while on the road to recovery sent shockwaves throughout the country. Jayalalitha was a national icon more than just the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.

In a week after her passing, those vying for power have quickly manipulated the situation to take over her property and the coveted role. But can they measure up?

The new so called leader pushed by party men to even become a Chief Minister sounds ridiculous. Jayalalitha fought and earned her place among men because of her education, oratorical prowess, supreme leadership skills and intelligence. The proposed replacement has a lot to prove. Though posters of the late CM have been replaced by a well planned strategy, she will forever remain in our hearts.

In the Hindu philosophy, we attribute it to karma. It was destiny. She never enjoyed the affection of her mother, nor did she have a chance at marriage or motherhood. Her brother had passed away, leaving her without a family. Without any emotional net, she was extremely vulnerable. She lived a sad deprived life and died a murky death.

May justice prevail.  May her soul find peace.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

- Mother Teresa

Sunday, December 11, 2016

So Much Has Happened

It has been a busy time. I try to keep up with art and classical guitar on weekends, but sometimes the other things that are important to you take a backseat. It made me realize how much I love to write and share my experience-maybe travel, a conversation, the political climate through my eyes, just about anything that inspires me to write. So I am back after a little silence.

I am active on Instagram now, thanks to my Mountain Friend who got me hooked to this photography-on-the-go app. I have been getting a few good reviews for my photography. Some folks have enjoyed my simple writing style in my blog, even though it is limited in vocabulary. I have never felt the need to be flamboyant. R.K.Narayan's simplicity and the ease with which he brought regular people to life, made us take notice. This has had an immense influence on my writing style. 

Recently, I took up Krav Maga lessons, which is an Israeli street defense technique. It's interesting and I absolutely enjoy it. 

Why am I telling you all this? I am a self-doubting artist chasing the illusion of perfection in everything I see. I got stung and withdrew for a while. 

I want to hold my solo exhibition next year.

My editor friend pursued her dream of publishing a novel for six years or maybe even more. She received innumerable rejections. That did not stop her. She entered a competition and was pleasantly surprised that she was recognized as one of the promising writers of the future. She was narrating this when I expressed my frustration about my grip, lack of rather, over my painting. I knew I have not been putting in enough practice and I am overtly critical of my work. She revived my spirit. When you learn from the best, it is bound to elevate you to a different level without your realization; but others around you might be amazed.

Pursue the things that keeps your soul intact and leaves you curious, amazed like a child. Life is a journey of endless learning. Embrace everything it has to offer.

Make Good Art.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Calvin's CLoud

Health is the greatest gift, Contentment the greatest wealth, Faithfulness the best relationship.

- The Buddha

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Alicia Keys and The Voice

The gorgeous Alicia Keys is one of the most charming judges, and a powerhouse on this year's, The Voice panel. Best buddies, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton surely have a thing or two to learn from her. 

If I was swept away by Pharrell's enchanting play of words, then Alicia stunned me like a sting ray with her raw guts, fierceness with which she loves music and how she makes her presence felt. It is this black and white, bare your soul attitude that attracts contestants. She is so sure of herself and her talent, yet uses it beautifully like she did today, wooing a contestant who sang Alicia's song, If I Ain't Got You, by singing it with such sincere passion, it is mesmerizing. 

Her voice rang out pure and beautiful, her body dancing to the lyrics, and eyes glinting in excitement. 

Both Miley Cyrus, in her weird flowery outfit, but husky voice and Alicia Keys, a beautiful tomboy sans makeup are giving the boys a run for their money. I love this competitive attitude, a healthy fight to get the best. 

Poor Adam really needs to work on his words-they are certainly not his best assets. Maybe he should sing out to the contestants- Sugar....! Make no mistake, I love Maroon 5. He surprised me as an actor in Begin Now. How I love Lost Stars! I hope a contestant does that number.

Blake's combination of country music and wit makes it phenomenally entertaining to watch on a weekend night.

Our sad Indian version, the Stage is a far cry from the standards the Voice adheres to. We need to move away from ourselves and immerse ourselves into what it really is all about. It is not about the dress, hair, and makeup, even the sets need an upheaval. If we are adapting the same concept, why not the same standards?

Calvin's CLoud

God is really only another artist, he made the elephant, giraffe and cat. He has no real style but keeps trying new ideas.

- Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Unleash Your Inner Strength (UNIS)- Reach Out, Join Hands

Oct 9th 2016, Sunday is a red letter day for UNIS. Spearheaded by Viji Swaminathan and more recently, joined by Ranish Haran, the group has been promoting healthy living through regular running along with core work outs and strengthening regimen.

A culmination of the group efforts and common vision gave birth to the much awaited UNIS marathon, which is just around the corner. The group has  joined hands with the Sathyamurthy Foundation to empower economically disadvantaged children who do not have parents.

We invite you to run with us. Run for a cause; your sweat will not go in vain!

Spread the word.
To register for the INNER STRENGTH 2016 event, follow the link!

Thank you for your show of strength. See you at the run.

Calvin's CLoud

All generalisations are false including this one.
Mark Twain