Sunday, July 27, 2008

a memorable evening

last evening i finally managed to do something which i have have been wanting to do for a long time now! hold on... before your rabid minds concoct innumerable unmentionable ideas let me clarify :)

the 'big boss' and i went to watch a play called kabir.

it is a mono-act play by acclaimed and multi-talented shekhar sen who has written, directed, acted and sung in this play.

the play takes us on an interesting journey which describes kabir's life. born around 1398 as an illegitimate son of a brahmin widow, raised by a childless muslim couple, a weaver by profession, kabir is greatly influenced by the religious mood during that period. he then finds answers to most of the questions tormenting him when he meets his preceptor, ramanand, and then goes on to become one of the greatest revolutionary philosopher-poets ever in india.

his dohas (couplets) in vernacular hindi are a treasure trove of some of the highest philosophical declarations with some of the most practical and simple ways of looking at life.

in his two hour long play shekhar sen uses very very simple props but weaves powerful magic on the audience through witty, hard-hitting dialogs (where he enacts the roles of more than 30 other characters using different voices), melodious music (pre-recorded sound tracks) and over 40 songs rendered in more than 30 raagas.

the passion, the energy and the sheer power of the message of kabir as delivered by shekhar sen in this play will not fail to move the audience and make an impact. irrespective of whether you are agnostic, an atheist or a cynic! he manages to get the message across even if you do not understand the vernacular version of hindi that he uses in the play.

i would strongly recommend this play to all of you who are interested in kabir and his teachings, theatre, music, philosophy and all things indian!

p.s. i am now eagerly looking forward to seeing his other two mono-act plays - vivekananda and goswami tulsidas!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

the 'fowl' pox

hey everybody! i'm back... whether you like it or not :)

its been ages... and i've a lot of people checking if everything was ok and if i would start blogging again any time soon!

i've been gaining some knowledge during this period of blog-abstinence!

did you know that the virus that causes chicken-pox also causes shingles? and that you are typically immunised against it for life once you get the disease? that adults are affected much worse than children?

the 'boss' and the kids played tag with each other and had the pox in turns! and the boss came down with the pox just the day after i left for a week-long tour... most people who knew me were sure that i scooted the battle-field since i knew it was coming... others who don't know me will believe i was completely in the dark about this :)

prasann, my son, was aghast. he accusingly asked his mother whether she had consumed chicken because of which she got a pox by the same name! when she couldn't convince him that it had nothing to do with her diet, she logged on to the internet and showed him the explanation on some site which then reassured him... that's the power of the www on our generation for you!

i also learnt that most communities in india believe that this version of the pox is a manifestation of the angry form of the 'devi' or goddess... its amazing how this belief cuts across all regions, states and communities.

another amazing learning was that none of the doctors prescribe any medicine for the pox. they just ask you to go through the entire cycle and assure you that it will heal by itself. at best they will recommend what skin creams you could use post-healing to reduce any pigmentation left behind by the scars! :P

and the leaves of the 'neem' tree are the most popular traditional medicine used for the pox. our maid would religiously tie the leaves above the door to appease the angry goddess... but i think the leaves were hung largely to inform people that there are people in the house who are afflicted by the pox :)

the leaves and twigs are spread on the bed to alleviate the itching and burning sensation caused by the blisters... but i think it just serves as a better tool for scratching the itch especially your back... and its far safer than using your hair brush for the same purpose! :P

but i'm glad the guruprasad family is over and done with as far as this pox is concerned! i would rather keep the goddess in good humor than have her pay us a visit in a 'fowl' mood again :P