Sunday, February 19, 2017

In art as in love, instinct is enough...!

Music and dance has always fascinated me in many ways and I am very passionate about these two art forms.
Many concerts and dance shows I have attended to fulfill this desire of mine. One evening was today where I got to watch Berkeley Bollywood 2017.

I had heard about it but only today I could go because my friend's daughter was participating in the dance competition from her university UCSC and I was here for supporting her.
If you have visited the Paramount Theater of Arts, in Oakland you will love any art that is performed in this theater. Its very beautiful and I really admired for Berkeley to organize such an event where inter-universities get to participate to compete with each other by performing bollywood dances.

All the dances were great and some were really great. It reminded me of my school days where students from different schools would participate and compete and in doing so we used to make so many friends. That's the exact feel I got from this evening. Berkeley's Indus is formed by students and they organized it very well.

There were students from SJSU, USD, UW, USC, UCD, UCI, UCSC, CAL POLY and Berkeley. The best thing I enjoyed was the students were of today's generation who grew up in America and the songs that they were performing were on Indian songs. It was amazing to see how they articulate and translate the feelings and emotions of Hindi film songs in their dances. I felt proud to see these kids performing apt with the songs and the themes of their stories.
Every university presented a story that was close to everyone's heart. One was on depression, the other was on drugs, abuse, loneliness without family, the cultural changes with generation gaps and above all even though Berkeley didn't participate in the competition being the host, they were the best. I loved their three performances out of which one was bhangra, other was a dance choreographed in such a way where the doctors are treating different patients with different issues - one was an ambitious dancer who fractures her leg, another young woman coming for her delivery and she has a cesarean, one of them with cancer, another one husband with bipolar and he comes with wife for counseling and how each scenario they handle into a happy ending performance. 
Every story was powerful and the way they expressed it was amazing as it was their creativity which made all stories unique and touching to the hearts. There were moments where it made my eyes teary. It was amazing to see how everyone used props, costumes that they changed while they are performing and how many stunts and lifts each team did.
This made me feel like going back to college, even for mere fun things it's worth thought ;)

The best performance was UCD and to be frank it was one person who took all the load and he also got the individual male lead award too which spoke a lot about his talent as he was the choreographer as well. Amazing and power packed evening which will keep my mind and heart busy with happiness for long.

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I,  an artist will answer you: I am here to live out loud"

~ Dawn    

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin...!

The weather in America has changed drastically after my birthday, yes after Nov 7th things changed. I can say whether it was here in USA or in India things changed. But then mother nature has its own way to cheer you up by showering all that love through rain.

I kind of feel that I revived and getting back to things that I love to do. Right now, the time is for a long drive with music around.
It always reminds me of my lone time when I was in Canada. I always feel I connected with people and the city more when I was using the public transportation and after couple of years when I bought a car, it completely made me car-bound and the car became my comfort zone.
Today, I hesitate to even use the public transportation or if I should use it then I look for a companion – what have I become?

I am sure in one or the other way we all are stuck in our comfort zone; hence we falter and dither. This attitude can be looked at in many ways if we do not know the story behind. A person is easily assumed to be rude and so forth.
A thought is lingering to leave everything and go back where I started once. A place that is unknown to you and a road that’s unknown to you but one thing you are sure of is that you want to walk ahead and keep walking to enjoy this journey without any destination.

What is your destination? Does anyone know? Or even if one knows the current one, do you know for sure that you don’t have any new one’s that will crop up?
The puzzles are good to have so that you keep solving it and yes, make sure you are enjoying it too!

"The test of an enjoyment is the remembrance which it leaves behind" 

~ Dawn

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind... :)

Time is ticking yet in this part of the world things seems slow. It’s as if you are sitting in a stopped vehicle and the vehicle opposite to yours is moving fast and hence the illusion tells that you are moving fast. Yes, it’s funny but that’s how I feel.

The world around me is moving so fast and so many things are happening and I am as if in the middle of a huge library where I am searching for information. A never-ending search on Azharuddin – the former Indian Cricket Captain.

Since the day I saw the movie ‘Azhar’ my mind is stuck in finding what happened and as shown in the movie did he win and got all the allegations taken off?
The more I read about Azhar, the curiosity to know if he was involved or not in the match fixing and it just went on. Azhar captured my mind in such a way that I was thinking all time about him.
In between a thought crossed my mind, why not meet him in person and then my analytical mind wanted to seek some feedback. I asked my friends about Azhar and I told them how crazy I am searching about all this scandal and the response I got was that he is a criminal mind.
Something that I was not expecting or probably my heart doesn’t want to listen that he is involved or he is guilty. I saw some of the videos based on my friend’s suggestion and it just put me into a world probably I am never exposed. When you see celebrities, you think they are this respectful figures in their personal space too, but when I heard the cricketer Ravi Shastri using bad words in every other sentence it just makes you wonder why this dual face?
Anyway, it was very disturbing to see that how in the sting operation video people were just bashing one another teammates and officials.

Somewhere, I still have soft corner for Azhar don’t know why and I feel for his first wife too.

I feel India is such a place that it will keep you busy even if you don’t indulge in any work in India. I have my office work which I am managing remotely, however demonetization, Tamilnadu Chief Minister Dr. J. Jayalalitha and her death ( Rest in Peace 'Amma'), all kept everyone glued to the TV channels. This gave me another opportunity to start my search on Dr. J. Jayalalitha and its endless as it starts with Dr. J. Jayalalitha, then her mentor MGR, her close friend and advisor Sasikala and then Natarajan and the Mannargudi Mafia connection and the saga goes on from there. Politics can get so dirty that human life has no value sadly, yet poor people have Faith!

As I stay here, there’s more to this I feel but at the same time I know once I am back to my destination the search will reside in peace or maybe not.
Reading so many stories from the past and the present, my mind just wander visualizing those incidents and then it gets into a research mode. Indeed mind can get very depends how far we follow the mind!

~ Dawn

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost...

Traveling to India seems not so rare or unusual these days, specially when you have parents living there. Based on the time and need I got my tickets through Air India.
When the agent was giving me the tickets, I asked Air India? Is it a good airline as I have never taken this airline in my 19 years of stay outside of India and I have heard some not so good reviews.

The response was, yes Ma'm it's a three to four star..yes, when there is a need we all go for it. My journey was good from San Francisco to New Delhi, though this was first time that I was taking a direct flight with this long stretch of journey. The service was good but as expected I was only able to watch one movie after that system got hung. 
There were hardly any such movies that you would jump to watch, yes to kill time I saw Azhar - a movie that was made to show that Mohammad Azharuddin former Indian Cricket Captain should not have been baned from Cricket for match fixing. 
Frankly speaking, Azhar should have just done a press conference to share what he tried to share through the movie. After the movie, I just went back to my memories as I was a big fan of Azhar - he and his work with his bat was commendable...! My memories of meeting him in Toronto Curling and Cricket Club and those Sahara Cup matches... yes those are memories now!

Landing at New Delhi was a good experience as it brought all the memories of New Delhi the visits as a kid and as grown up. I am always scared of this city as a kid and as a grown up and now more to say ... the eyes are scary of men!
I had to just connect my flight from here to Kochi but it didn't seem that easy. The wait was never ending until I saw some folks started protesting and calling out 'Air India' Shame Shame'. For a moment I felt these days people just get on and protest for anything and everything. Immediately, I saw people started recording and sending it live to social media. It seems Air India needs to work on their air service timelines and customer service big time. 
When I checked at the counter they said the 5:30 pm flight should start around 7:30 pm but that's also not a confirmed one. I heard similar was for other destinations and that was the reason the protest was going on.
I am not sure if I was lucky but got into the flight by 8 pm and reached my destination around 11:30 pm. Now my worry is how will be my returning flight because I don't want to miss any flight.
Probably my last time with Air India unfortunately! Because I was very happy until Delhi though the TV was not working and but the crew staff was amazing!!!

I felt there is no use of saying anything to the crew and staff at the counter because it's not in their hands if a flight is not taking off because of weather conditions in another state and hence the delay - it's like the house of cards :)

Everything feels new in Modi's India, am I a stranger here?

~ Dawn

Sunday, November 06, 2016

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” - Maya Angelou

It was a mesmerizing evening and an emotional one too. Being emotionally connected to dance and music it has always knocked me out by reminding my roots. Probably that was the reason that I got opportunity to support Sangam Arts, which believes in Arts and Music that will bring every human close and be in harmony.

I had an idea about Mosaic America, more over working closely with Usha Srinivasan the founder and president of Sangam Arts, I know her dream is to bring multicultural arts together on one platform. But to watch the performance really gave me goose bumps. I felt it's so beautiful that no matter which part of the world you come from, music is alway soothing and it brings out your emotions very well no matter what language you speak, what kind of food you eat or for that matter what color your skin is. 

For the first time I felt human civilization is so rich in arts and music and if we use this for our benefit this world would be a better place. I feel more proud to be connected with Sangam Arts for this one reason that it's not only about dance forms and music but it is also about people, culture and oneness.

To feel what I am talking about one must watch these performances that Sangam Arts brings to the valley. Its not only a dance and its performance, its about the costumes, its about the cultural impact that these artists bring live into performance when they all are local here. It brings joy when you see a kid who is growing up here, going to American school and yet when she performs Bharatnatyam she understands the expressions and then she brings it in her performance - I felt thats commendable for a kid to grow here and still bring that impact of Indianness while performing Bharatnatyam and if I say this was the same for other performers as well. The Flamenco team made me feel like dress up like that and do some dancing if not a complete one at least the tap on the floor with those shoes that they were wearing. Even before my desire go further, I see Chinese Dancers, such cute girls with their gymnastic moves and dancing with their props umbrella - made me feel like dolls dancing around. I was mesmerized by the Contemporary Dance where the costume were so good and flowy that it did bring that empathy feel and for a moment I was lost. 

There were many moments when I wanted to take pictures and I didn't want to. Because I was getting lost in there somewhere the dance, thinking of those countries, people and the places out there and then my eyes filled up with emotions - what are we all here expecting? Only love and peace then why its so important to know what color, cast or creed we belong to?
Not to mention Folklorico, Bharatnatyam, the musicians on Sitar, Haitian Drum, Pipa, Oud, Mridangam and Dandiyaraas...! It was a meet and greet of culture, music and arts - all on one platform bringing people together across the globe.
Does it matter what we do or how we do as long as it brings a smile in everyone of us? I felt for the first time as human we can do so much with the talent around and be proud of what we can do than whatever is currently happening around the world.

If you believe in peace and harmony and if you believe culture, arts and music is what brings us together then you must support the vision of Sangam Arts. Please do like this page and supports us.
Lets be the example and lets make this contagious around the world.

"I think.. if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts."

~ Dawn