Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bringing back the artist

I have always been fascinated by colors and as a kid, I wanted to become an 'artist' more than anything else in the world. But time, better artists, indiscipline, lack of encouragement and sheer laziness coupled with impatience made me forget my ambition and move on to other loftier goals. Maybe an Air Hostess or Agriculturalist or Interior Decorator or maybe a Vet or even a Writer and a whole lot of other things (But I never ever remember me wanting to become an engineer or doctor, neither of which am, thank god! :))

But my fascination for colors never left me - I painted weird 'modern art' with bad patterns and running paints (hmm, maybe I shouldn't critize my younger self's attempt so much uh? They were pretty ok actually!) and put them on walls all over my house. But due to my constant need for change in decor, I tore them all down in under six months and forgot about that phase. Then I turned to excelling in my Biology drawing :) I even did a few Engineering drawing for two of my lazy friends! And then dabooooommmm..... I found the passion of my life - clothes!
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Thats right, clothes! I discovered how colorful clothes can be. Gone were the days when my parents used to select red gold zari bordered frocks for deepavali for me! Welcome to Naidu Hall and mom's credit card :) I had great fun (and still do) with shopping and am a favorite companion for all my friends (no exaggeration this one) to take along on shopping expeditions. But when things went too far and I made my mom receive huge bills, and more recently, made myself receive huge bills, I had to make myself stop (okay take breather more like!)

After many hours of soul searching and suspecting & dreading terminal diseases and incurable shopping mania, I finally found (just now :)) ) that my passion for shopping and clothes are born out of that long fascination with colors. I simply love colors. Colours. (my fiance would be greatly joyed to know this, you know!)

So I have decided to become an artist after all! It's not too late, right?

Please welcome VJ, budding artist with her own (eccentric, dumb, stupid, untasteful, whatever...) ideas of art :) I can't wait!

I have taken my first lesson in Wet Canvas - Watercolor Batik. I found it very very interesting. Shall soon try this!

Here are some nice things you can try out with colors online-
The HP color wheel
The color wheel pro

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hug a Tree!

While researching for group games for my workplace, I came across this interesting game - Hug a Tree.

The game goes like this-

1. Start on a track in a pleasant forested area.
2. This activity works well as a break during a hike.
3. The purpose is to get people engaged in non-visual, intimate encounter with trees, as well as the terrain.
4. The activity also works well as a trust-building activity.
5. In pairs, one is blindfolded. The blindfolded person is to be the tree-hugger.
6. The tree-hugger is lead through the trees and then placed next to a special tree.
7. The tree-hugger touches the tree and tries to memorize its size, shape, location, texture, etc.
8. The tree-hugger person is lead back to the starting point, takes his/her blindfold off and tries to locate his/her tree.
9. Swap. Usually participants like to have a couple of turns at being blindfolded and trying to find a tree.

I really really like this one :) So, the next time we go trekking, am sure to try this out!

Related notes:

Did you know there is a group called Tree-huggers in Orkut?

Did you know you can actually watch plants grow? That's right - with Crescograph, you can! This instrument was invented by the famous scientist, Jagadis Bose. To know more, get hold of The Secret Life of Plants

And do you believe trees can feel what you are thinking, pass on a little of their energy to you, share your happiness.... I do! A small exercise that may help you realise this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Quote unquote

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit - and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life" - quote from Brian G. Dyson, former President and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises

Finds of the day

Wet Canvas - a site for visual artists, old, new and intending to be. Definitely worth a visit

The Color Pencil Challenge seems interesting too!

And - Adi Da and Adidam.

What attracted me initially to this site? The following paragraph-
"In the depth of every human being, there is a profound need for answers to the fundamental questions of existence. Is there a God? What is beyond this life? Why is there suffering? What is Truth? What is Reality?"

What made me stay for a few minutes?
Their free print copy of the Adi Da Adidam Book offer ;)

What made me leave the site? The following paragraph-
"In the midst of this dark and bewildering epoch, the Ruchira Avatar, Adi Da Samraj, has come to this human world to establish a unique Spiritual life and culture that is not based on mythology."

I don't think I believe in Masters, Godmen and Avatars though I do believe in awakened/enlightened (for lack of better words...) individuals playing the role of Guru to guide/lead others(Maybe an influence from "Autobiography of a Yogi"?)

Aside - The other day, while I was sipping my morning drink (non-alcoholic, made of milk, sugar and bournvita :)) ), I had the Autobiography of a Yogi, an impulse and long pending purchase at Chennai central railway station, lying beside me on the table. My Bengali roommate comes storming, has a look at it and exclaims "Oh Yogananda was my relative!" You can imagine my surprise/shock/awe/disbelief/doubt and slow acceptance!

And this, by far has been the most comprehensive information on Babaji I could find online.

My entire interest in Babaji, Yoga Sutra, Kriya Yoga and other associated yogis, practices, books, etc started with me unsuspectingly taking a copy of "Meditation is Boring?" by Linda Johnson a week or two back from my office library and finishing the book in a matter of few hours. I wonder if this is going to change me or my life path? Very very curious to know.... :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Religious Beliefs.....and Trees

According to the religion I was born in (or should I say according to the famous religious practices!), one is expected to go to temples atleast a few times in a year and do what is supposed to be done in a temple (worship ofcourse?!) And since I happened to live in Triplicane (Thiruvalikeni - in Tamil, meaning "Sacred place with the Lilly pond", roughly!) for most of my life, under the bossom of protective godmen and godwomen and with blind faith , I never ever questioned this. So I was happy going to the Parthasarathy Temple every saturday and tried to look....Interested? Sincere? God-fearing? Proper? Lovely? yeeks, I meant Full of Love...! :))

But in recent times, I have totally lost interest in going to temples and actually disbelieve in that institution (Is that supposed to be used only with marriage??) And what brought this on? I have no clue except that I read this article on believing 'planting trees according to your birth star will make you healthy, wealthy and wise!'

The article, "Your star, your tree", talks about a civil contractor-turned horticulturist, Krishnamurthy, and his desire to create a green belt in Chennai. Mr. Krishnamurthy thought about this great idea (I think!) to get his wish fulfilled - simply tell the "Astrology crazy" people 'you got to plant this particular tree, according to your star, on important occasion for you to "go abraod, get money, get married..blah blah blah..."' and lo and behold the nurseries are going to make brisk business :)

For example, if you were born under the punarpusam star, you have to plant Bambusa or Moongil (in tamil). The logic here is easy enough to understand - each tree represents a star, which inturn has some personality traits associated with it. So if A=B, B=C & A=C then B=A! :)) (Work that out! It is definitely accurate, not just mathematically or whatever) And this is my very own intelligent explanation for further understanding- since you would be giving life to an entity similar to your personality/star, as the tree grows and lives happily, so will you! (Howzzzzz that????)

Strangely enough, I kinda believe this one :) If not the astrology connection, I at least believe and support the idea behind this project. Mr. Krishnamurthy, my sincere well wishes to you. I will surely try to plant a Bamboo sometime soon.

So what are you waiting for? Go plant a tree (Not just any tree though)! Be happy!

On a related and unconnected note (that's right I believe it can be related and unconnected at the same time!), if you are interested to know which tree you could be, this one according to your birthdate, check this out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

This day's journey

The secret is that I am never alone. There is an invisible presence with me. When you know you are not alone, whatever be the conditions around you, whatever be the circumstances you are placed in, you smile........"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Read now!

I always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions. I have asked the Brahmans, year after year, and I have asked the holy Vedas, year after year, and I have asked the devote Samanas, year after year. Perhaps, oh Govinda , it had been just as well, had been just as smart and just as profitable, if I had asked the hornbill-bird or the chimpanzee. It took me a long time and am not finished learning this yet, oh Govinda: that there is nothing to be learned! There is indeed no such thing, so I believe, as what we refer to as `learning'. There is, oh my friend, just one knowledge, this is everywhere, this is Atman, this is within me and within you and within every creature. And so I'm starting to believe that this knowledge has no worser enemy than the desire to know it, than learning.

-quote from Siddhartha

I reiterate you must read Siddhartha! Online copy available here

Read review/book recommendation Herman Hesse's Siddhartha - still a great read

Songs that give you energy! - Part II

I didn't realise these links wouldn't work! hehe! Well, Anyway, no suspense here so...The songs are
1. Sivasakthi sung by Nityasree and composed by Subramania Bharathi
2. Kiru Kiru from the film Kadal, music directed by Joshva Sridhar

Available right here

Monday, June 13, 2005

Songs that give you Energy!

With just one ear of the headphone working or both, with speakers on or just a headphone, with the internet working or in my own mind....this song hasn't failed to give me loads of energy in the past few months :)

And this one has been a hot favorite too in recent times ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Where am I at the moment?

Nowhere. Well actually I can’t really say that. I’m sitting in front of the computer at my office that I have come to call my own and wondering about what to write! It’s been long since I felt good enough to write, synonymous with introspect for me, leaving those dumb posts on other things, other people, others’ philosophies and generally ‘other’ moments in life out. Of course, like cloud bursts in a desert, I did grab some beautiful words out of the air, literally, and acted as a medium to write them down! But other than that, it has almost come to the stage where I started doubting whether I could write at all – not that I ever prided myself on how good I write (that’s 40% true!) And before this turns into some gibberish on ‘my writing’, let me steer the boat the other way, know not which one yet!

So, where am I? Hmm, I am happy, can’t refute that. I have got everything any normal person could ask for (normal – that’s one nice insult to this world sans me – a subtle way of saying am not normal! Isn’t it amazing how the human mind always wants to see itself as something different, not normal?)

• I have got a great job that lets me do things I would have paid a thousand rupees to do, maybe even a year back! And on top of it, my job lets me participate in intellectually stimulating discussions, meetings and brainstorming sessions (No sarcasm, intended or otherwise!) – I get to observe people’s behavior and it makes for a great thought-feeding time pass to rely on in those “staring into space” moments. What’s more, they pay me!
• I have at last stopped getting excited over the brown envelopes my father used to send religiously on fifth of every month (He didn’t believe in money order – You could call it eternal optimism and complete faith in the snail mail system!) Instead my excitement now is dot on 7 PM, 31st of every month. I call it total independence and I call it buying power
• My personal life is like the last few pages of the M & B’s I used to read few years back – those pages with no tears, lots of smiles, many hugs (but no toe-curling scenes, you hear!) and kids playing. We are one big happy family, looking forward to good times in the future :)
• I continue to have the occasional adventures, trips, tours and getaways that make me think I have traveled far and wide. This one is important for the ‘wanderer’ in me to feel she is satisfied!
• My relationships? (How is it different from personal life, you ask? Well, I’m talking about non-personal relationships that I have always been known for!) They can’t be any better – I am no one’s enemy and everyone’s nice acquaintance. Isn’t that nice?
• I occupy my free time, the very less of it that I get all for myself, with silly books like “The monk who sold his Ferrari” and ‘maybe good’ books like “Meditation is boring?” and ‘my favorites’ like “The pilgrimage”. But do I think about what I read from them? I like to think so. My sub-conscious, while the physical me was sleeping, would have surely taken care of it?
• Oh ya, the most important thing – I am perfectly healthy bar the occasional ‘tap tap’ from the various regions of my body.

So you can say VJ is one happy person.

But I don’t want to be just happy! What’s the point of just being happy? So what do I want? I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know! (How’s the effect of this one?)

The only answer that seems fit, an old one by now, is I want wisdom! I want complete detachment! And I want oblivion!

PS: In case anyone who happens by this direction is wondering why I write stuff like this.....I write them to come back and read later, when am all old and teethless :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Speechless after British Colonialism

Arma Virumque has some interesting thing to say on the subject of "British colonialism".

An excerpt, with due rights - "As for colonialism, this third-world feminist of color should get down on her knees and thank Siva that her country was the beneficiary of British colonialism. Without it, she would never have heard of feminism or even of the third world, since the very concept depends upon the freedom, education, and language that the West brought to savages countries in the 18th and 19th centuries...."

And Sepia Mutiny has got to say this about this neocolonialist blog! Way to go!

Slightly off topic - I recently read that Vijay Mallya has got Mysore ruler Tipu's sports gun back from the British at a whooping price of 120,000 pounds at a Sotheby's auction in London. He had also bought back Tipu's sword two years back to the country. Mr. Mallya plans to set up a Tipu's museum here in Bangalore and may possibly donate these items to it.

I wonder who benefited more from this great Colonialism of India. Was it India with her "Wouldn't have built railroads without the British" or was it the great "Be thankful we brought feminism to you" Britian!!!!