May 27, 2006

Bangalore bangs to the head

Sitting and wallowing in the stew of boredom, desperately waiting for college to begin, my mind harks back to the enjoyable month I spent working for The Hindu in Bangalore. Today, I was in this horrendous mood, and I felt like setting the whole of my neighbourood library on fire, since I'm bored of the potboilerish stuff in there.

Well, I was forced to rely on my head for sanity, and thus I began reliving those fun days. I still remember the time we organised that Mock CET thing and then sat to correct what seemed like millions of papers in a hurry. Around ten of us sat in the boardroom, trying to moderate what seemed like very bleak futures. One of us, I think that was Varnika...decided to write the key to the papers on the whiteboard and she did that. Except that she used a permanent marker. And that a pivotal board meeting was about to begin in the next five minutes.

Then the day I did Desk duty in its full splendour, right from Around the City to Cinema listings to the killing engagements column. Thank God I was not alone, and with Shayan, who kept me from ramming my fist into the monitor or killing whom I thought was the only bitch in office. Throughout that one-and-a-half-hour ordeal of sheer monotony which was surely designed by some sadistic Dementor of an editor to kill his poor employees, I kept passing snide comments of various hues about that certain someone. Shayan ! I used to give her endless lectures on the history of Indian classical dance, and though she had categorically stated that she had no interest in that particular topic, she kept allowing herself to be subjected to my monologues !

All the babes from Mount Carmel and Christ colleges came in almost at the end of my internship, and I felt like a veteran of sorts in comparision to them. I felt they were a bit too scared....after that witch at Wizcraft, I was determined not to let anyone trample on my self-esteem. Well about those co-interns of mine, I felt some of them were a bit too lazy. The internship was compulsory for them, so I could really understand how hard it was for someof them, who didn't plan to make a career in journalism. But many of them began shirking work and trying to claim other's work as their own, and that was what made me angry. And the way FIVE of them would have a glorified gossip session over a very simple five minute event that needed to be covered was plain AMUSING !

Leesa and Rupal from Manipal were a sweet pair. Rupal had tagged along just because Leesa was into print. Initially, I found her pretty irritating, I would privately term her as a 'standing on your face' kind of person, and I seriously felt she said a lot more than was needed, (that coming from an outspoken person like me, means a lot !), but then I kind of understood it was her nature not to be diplomatic and say things in a manner that would have all the staffers pointing their horns at her.

The permanent staff at The Hindu lacked one thing. A big attitude that screamed 'I know more than you and I am better than you.' At no point did any of them try to act like pedagogic characters and try to teach us journalism. They respected my opinions, my views and took them into consideration. And used them too. I was pretty irked by some of the newspaper's policies, but never by its staff.

When I left the place, I spoke to one of the top officials that day, and this guy's attitude towards some communal issues was a rude shock. But it was good to know that the person in question did not seems to force personal views on a paper....

Chitra, the diminutive Arien, the gal at the second computer, who introduced me to the canteen lunch. It was ideal for a broke person, but I never dared to try it out, preferring to walk the one km or so to KC Das for my luchis followed by gulab jamun. But, the two days I had lunch in the office canteen with, they had potato palya, and decent sambar with fried papads and lime pickle. Better than the most recent regiment lunch I've had....I won't name it !

In the early days, when Bangalore's idea of food almost sent me into shock, the cold puliyogare or vangi bath in the office canteen at tea, actually the leftovers of lunch served up as a snack, would grudgingly remind me of Mumbai, in a very bittersweet way.

And sandwiches ! Aarghh ! I remember how we decided to have lunch at Kuteeram the day we went to Nrityagram. And since all of us were on no mood for a five-course buffet in 'bhej' or 'noun-bhej', we decided to have sandwiches. After sandwich manna in Bombay, I kind of set a standard for sandwiches and the impersonal loafs of bread with mayonnaise in them are definitely not sandwiches for me. The Kuteeram idea of a veg sandwich was 3 slices of bread with one layer of sliced tomatoes and another layer of sliced cucmber. And some leaking tomato ketchup and French Fries. Now I know why they say you shouldn't have panipuri at ITC Grand Central. In case any of these hotel guys need tips, my Bong babu outside college will give them training.

Cut to sandwich disaster two, at Coffee World, Eva Mall, Brigade Road: I was on an evening out with Meghna Jayachandran from school and her mom, and we decided to settle for the evening at this place. True the choco sundae was pretty good, Meghna kept giving it wilful looks and taking sneak bites before her mom moved it away. Her mom's point of contention being - spending two grand on one session with a dietician and then consuming choco sundae is SINNING. The veggie special out there was this thing with cottage cheese (which was the saving grace), and gherkins that were picked in God knows what ! While Meghna's mom kept expostulating on what a good girl I was, I steadily disproved her by dismembering my sandwich and sorting my sandwich into a miserable mess of bread and vegetables.

If you want to know what MY idea of a sandwich is, come to Xaviers' at 11 in the morning and find out.

I'm toying with the idea of going back to Bangalore for another month of an enjoyable and fulfiling internship next year. Let me see where the tide takes me.

And I can't afford to be stuck any more......for I have miles to go before I sleep ( euphemistically speaking).

Literally speaking....I have the loo to go to before I sleep. And miles to dream about if I don't want to have a bored sleep.

May 22, 2006

Ramblings of a bored mind - 2

The workshop ended yesterday. A 15 day adventure. Where I made new friends, livened up old relationships and learned the art of co-existence. And also Odissi !

I was really excited about waking up post 12 pm today, since my life has been regimented into a 'get-up at 7:30, iron your sari and bathe and make a dash for Smitalay. But even with the waking-up early bit, it was a lot of fun.

Now, its back to getting up late and wondering what to do. I have no time for an internship, yet I'm bored.

I'm also suffering from a major writer's block of late. Very visible considering I have seem to have much to go on and on about.

A certain event-based search engine wanted people from major cities in India to help with content uploading and all that. I almost took the offer up, but, for some reason, I just can't bring myself to do even if its just for the sake of earning money. It's not what I enjoy doing and no amount of money can make it enjoyable.

Talking of money, I really need to think of a nice way to earn it. Something interesting, where I can write of interesting things. Because, next year, I plan to take dance more seriously, and I need cash to put my plans into action.

Anyway, sleepy day. Bon nuit and see you when I have the energy to blog sensibly.

May 19, 2006

Life goes on....

This has been a busy fortnight. The dance workshop and my upcoming singing exams have kept me busy left, right and centre. Also, I need to complete the write-ups for the Smitalay site, and now I'm looking at this interesting brochure of Bollywood Odissi and trying to figure out how not to sleep on the keyboard.

I'm through with mangalacharan, the first and invocatory item in Odissi and we're putting up a small performance / presentation / demonstration on the 21st at
Smitalay. So if you are free and in Bombay, land up ! Be there are 4 pm. Smitalay programs will NEVER start late, Tai will make sure it starts on time, whether all the dancers are ready or not.

Learning mangalacharan was a fun experience. The best part was, it didn't DRAG like other things generally do, during a regular class. We practised regularly, concentrated on our stuff and finished it in two weeks. And since Jhelumtai was teaching us, we all behaved extremely well since we know that it's either shape-up or ship out with her !

Yea, all of us are pretty scared of her, if you look at it that way. I mean, she is an amazing person to talk to, and she absolutely does not go around with the 'It is my birthright to be angry' attitude like some people, and we can have a lot of fun with her, but at times, I'd rather let my tongue shrivel and fall off from lack of exercise than open my mouth in front of her.

When she teaches us, she positions all of us so that she can see what is supposed to be going on and what is going on. From the look of it, she is just sitting with her eyes suspended in space. (And that looks pretty scary especially after she's just yelled at you for the '25-paise act', ie: looking down at the ground when you are supposed to be looking UP .) Well, eyes in space, and she knows what TEN people in the room are doing ! If I had that kind of eyesight, I could have outflown and outgrown any of those far-sighted Siberian cranes !

But, looking back at the past two weeks, I don't resent the fact that I was yelled at, or whatever, because I've learnt so much. All those things go into improving technique, and after seeing those exceptionally dismal Odissi performances in Bangalore, I don't really want to realise after 15 years that I'm getting some basic fundas wrong.

All this apart, I've picked up new tunes, and I'm going to be singing Mohana Pallavi, Saveri Pallavi and Nachanti Range Srihari along with a few others. Nachanti is my favourite. It's just a very beautiful song. I find Saveri pretty depressing. Mohana is quite sonorous.

Meanwhile my singing teacher seems very enamoured with my voice of late. She was totally taken by my rendition of Bihag and now she wants my choice raga in the exam to be Bihag and not Malkauns, which she had chosen earlier. Anyway, I like her as of now.

My last singing teacher was a goddamned greedy chick, no words minced. She was not really a teacher to me, so I don't care about the Guru-shishya thing for her. She just wanted me to join her private classes over the main class and when I refused, she vented her spleen on me by pronouncing every note I sang WRONG. When I had to shift to this new teacher, I actually thought of giving up music. But then this teacher made me kinda re-realise I was not exactly dumb and I could actually sing. So now my gaadi is on the right patri again, and singing classes are no longer a Tuesday-Friday torture session.

Anyway time to shut-eye, since I have to get up at seven tomorrow, to sing, and then go to dance class at 9 and return at 6 and the attend a wedding. Talk of busy days...

May 12, 2006

Ramblings of a bored mind

It has been pretty long since I posted anything.

My hands have recovered from the Deccan onslaught, and now my hands are full, what with impending doom up on the music front and the Smitalay workshop going on.

I'm rediscovering Mumbai now, the buses, and so on.

All these days I felt I had so much to write but now it feels I'm just trying to make small talk.

Anyway, this dear but darned comp of mine managed to delete my whole folder, full of documents and other stuff.

I have been doing this small talk thing all evening. Goodnight.

May 08, 2006

On home turf but....

I'm finally home ! In Bombay at last. Well, I enjoyed Bangalore, and I have a lot to say, but at the moment, I am critically indisposed. Thanks to Air Deccan. Those inhuman people absolutely REFUSED to let me load more than 15 kilos onto their precious cargo hold and I had to carry around 25 kilos of stuff with me into the plane. 3 bags and one flute, to be precise. And not a SINGLE CHVALROUS MAN.

Tomorrow, today to be precise, the dance workshop at Smitalay begins. And I have this battered spine, and two ACHING hands, that abolutely refuse to be positioned chowk style. So I basically can't type or make much use of my hands, so the rest later !

May 03, 2006

A lecher disposed.....or indisposed ?

I've kind of learnt how to take care of lechers in Bangalore. They used to be pretty freaky earlier, but now, there are methods....

Like this guy on a bike the other day. I'd stopped to make a call to someone, and he followed me and cut right through my path around 2 or 3 times. When I turned right, onto the final road that leads to where I stay, he continued to follow me, and he stopped right outside my house. All I did was add his bike's licence plate number to the imaginary conversation I was having with my mobile phone, and he freaked ! He solicitiously addressed me as 'ma'am' and requested me not to put him into trouble. When I asked him why he followed me, he totally denied doing it, but kept on saying that he had seen a red car following me ( even the car guy did stop for me, but I disposed of him before this guy came along ). What he did not seem to realise was that - he was following me to know that the car followed me !

Anyway, my acting made him forget everything about leching at me and he ran for his life before his eyes could fall on another feminine structure !

May 01, 2006

Of Bylines and Byzantine...

I'm finally a published author ! Hurrah !!!

OK, basically, the newspaper with which I'm interning right now, in Bangalore, does not believe in giving bylines to interns, atleast some parts of it. So, many of my gems have been published verbatim, with a staff reporter's name in the byline. And THAT, is one of the most depressing things that can happen to you. As much as I want to say I wrote something, it doesn't sound believeable because the paper says someone else wrote it.

The education supplement 'Education Plus', accepted an article on careers in classical dance. Also, to add to my joy, there was an article which I'd written around four weeks ago, on education in Holland. These are the links,
this one is on careers in dance, and this one on studying in Holland.

To see your name all over the paper is a wonderful feeling....!!!! I was seriously beginning to wonder whether this internship was worth it, but something tells me it is.

Also.......
I had a wonderful time yesterday. Didn't go to Nrityagram, since they were closed, but I went to Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, at Malleswaram. I watched a snippet of a rehearsal for their programme on Tuesday. It was from a production called 'The Legend of Amir Khusrau', and seemed pretty interesting.

After the rehearsal, a discussion on Sacred Geometry began, and by the time we were done, it was 9 ! But the night was enjoyable, also full of anticipation because I was just hoping this article would be there in the next day's paper.