india


Packing up your whole life in three bags – 22 years in 69 kilos – can get pretty depressing. I was going through my old books, certificates and files, and found so many memories. They came flooding back with a force that hit me squarely in the chest. The diaries I used to write in school, the sketches I drew, the stories I wrote, the weird doodlings on the corners of all pages and the “chits” I’d passed around with my friends in class took me back to a time when I was still innocent enough to believe that babies are couriered by Santa Claus from the North Pole. Now that I am mature enough to believe that there’s no such thing as the North Pole, I miss those days.

Then there are the people I’m leaving behind. Starting a whole new life without those close to me will be a challenge. I hope I can survive.

Packing up memories can be painful. Tearing up my old school notes stung my heart, but I knew hanging on to a past will not make the future go away. I’m prepared now. The challenge will be faced. The notes had to be torn, and new notes to be written. As I said, I hope I can survive…

Posted by Tatu…

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I’d been to Chennai recently and it was an experience I can never forget. The train journey was terrible, to say the least – 13 hours in all; 13 hours of sitting cramped in a crowded second class seat, listening to the thuds and the bangs of the train as it snaked across the South Indian plains, the screams of the vendors selling everything from toys to bananas to masala dosas to pirated DVDs of the latest Hollywood movies, the obligatory noisy baby, and not to forget the beggars, who seemed to live on the trains.

I saw a boy, barely 12, who had 2 flat stones in his hands and was using them as a makeshift drum, beating them together to get a rudimentary beat, and sang all the latest kannada songs and stretched out his other hand for money. If there’s one thing that hurts me the most, it is seeing kids in such a pathetic condition. I then saw a man with no legs crawl across the length of the train wiping the floor with his shirt and begging for deliverance from this horror. There were many who had deformed limbs and  sometimes, none at all.  Women carried their babies and asked us to place alms in the baby’s hands rather than hers, and I was caught between abetting a moral crime and feeding a hungry kid. I did my part… I ignored them, silently wishing I was heartless, because if I were heartless, then this wouldn’t hurt so much…

The Chennai trip was successful. I returned back to B’lore on the same train, and had to undergo the same sights and sounds again. Sometimes I wonder if its all worth it – going abroad, earning more money than my wife and I can spend, going to expensive places to eat and fatten ourselves. Well, I guess this is what the lion king meant by The Great Circle of Life.

The other day, I went with a friend to meet an artist called Mr. Subramaniam. He is a collage artist. The works are very appealing and are liked by many all around the world. His collage is also getting auctioned at Christies! Talk about elite company!

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A collage modeled after Mr. Subramaniam’s daughter, who passed away a few years ago.

The artist is a very nice person; he welcomes anybody interested to know more about his works including youngsters ranging from the age of five! And his wife makes really good coffee and goodies…. Maybe that’s why he’s famous! Lol…

The most interesting part of his work is the material he uses. The collage is made out of the pages of national geographic magazines. When u look at the figure u see that the face might be made up of anything ranging from a landscape or a brick wall, the clothes could be made out a turtles back or a pharaoh’s crown. But when one looks at the complete collage, nothing seems out of place! Lord Ganesha’s eyes were made out camera lenses, Lord.Krishna’s earrings were made out of Gucci perfume bottles and his clothes had a whisky bottle stuck on it. Hmmm…I guess you need not be too conscious. Our gods are keeping up with the contemporary times in his collages.. The background is painted with the help of oil colors and they help the figure look more attractive. In most cases even the text accompanies the borrowed image. So one never gets tired of looking at the collage because you have never seen everything…You are also tempted to read what is written as well, though you know your train of thought might get cut in between.

Now what is the process that is going on in his works? Whatever is printed in the natgeo magazines could be considered as signs where an “image-text” relationship prevails. But in the collage, the sign is removed from its context and is ‘re-motivated’ in a new frame. Just like photography, where once you focus on something, the framed scene/object gets isolated from the rest of its surroundings and it takes on a new meaning in the photo frame. Consider for example the cover page of Nikhil Kumar’s book. It shows a mobile phone and a coffee cup. The mobile phone and the cup are isolated from the coffee house and they get a new meaning once they are printed on the cover page of his book. Imagine how the same photograph would look like on a book talking about addiction and rehabilitation!

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The cover photo of the book, “Untitled” by Nikhil Kumar. Photo by Akhil Curam 

So …I was just wondering if our old text books could be put to better use instead of giving it away…since you know we never open our books until the twelfth hour. And during that time we have no time to open it. So they always remain brand new…and they remain so even after they pass over to many hands… but the collages will not be colorful and they will keep reminding us of our flunked chemistry and math exams…so I guess we keep those signs in closed books. And let the experts do the sticking…

Posted by AnuShh…

Once upon a time there was an Indian. He was a patriot. Or called himself that. he would do anything to ‘put India on the map’ Including smsing ‘Taj Mahal’ as a wonder of the world 25 times in the space of a week. at 6 Rs per msg. so 150 Rs Makes him an Indian Patriot. Oh and since I didn’t do that, I was the biggest blood traitor that our country ever had the misfortune to have. Why is it we always have to look for acceptance in the eyes of someone else? Is it so that India is only an amazing country when someone else says so?

I wish I was a part of that firm that conducted the survey for the seven modern wonders of the world. How did a survey ever change things? How much have we seen of the world to identify with the beauty and marvel of creation. To understand the meaning of the word ‘wonder’. UNESCO already has a List of heritage sites, that includes the Taj Mahal and Hampi, amongst other places. They decide this based on a committee of learned experts. People who have spent their lives identifying man-made and natural beauty. Through this poll, are we saying that we are better than them? I would like to quote the people of Egypt who refrained from voting all together and said ‘We would not want to put to shame the glory of our ancestors by taking part in this pointless vote. If people want to to see a wonder let them come to Egypt’ Nice attitude right?

So here is what might have happened. The opinion poll had been going on for quite a while and Indians did not vote, because we had more important things to do. And that resulted in the Indian Sales numbers not being met. So some wise guy somewhere decided to run a rumor that Taj was not on the List… and all hell broke loose! Multiple msg mentioning the Taj as a wonder. Although most of them wouldn’t have seen it. And then one rather voluptuous lady finally announced that Taj was number one…. And a nice lady I know started jumping around in Glee. For What? I wish I could understand.

Taj is one of the most glorious pieces of architecture known to man. As pristine as the love that inspired it. It is getting scavenged because of the pollution. Couldn’t we have spent the millions on improving it? But no. We would much rather prefer spending on useless egomania rather than on the Taj. I think Shah Jahan would turn in his grave. What we did was just that. Putting love to vote.

Someone got rich. And I am most happy for him. He deserves all the money he got. He had a good marketing attitude. It would be fun to meet him.

Which brings me to the Indian mind again. Truly the eighth wonder. Or is it the first? UNESCO wont change anything based on this poll. Its like asking the Nobel Committee to award prizes in research based on a voting pattern. Ludicrous! And we know it I am sure. Whether the taj was the first or the hundredth, would we stop feeling the way we do when we touch the first slab of marble that was used to build this wonder? I think not. It will always remain the source of pride for each and everyone of us.

Then why trivialize it so much?

Posted by vermogen