Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time after time

Listened to a couple of choirs yesterday. One sang Hava Nagila...we had sung that fifteen years ago.

Am now officially feeling older:)

Monday, March 17, 2008


Hell and Illuminations, which showcased Rimbaud's poetry in dramatic form, opened with masked dancers. His poetry is very Romantic, his images sweeping and he also gave voice to Ophelia. We travelled all over seas with him, as he swept us along. He "has inherited from his ancestors, the Gauls, lust, magnificent lust. Sloth too."

The Indian dance movements which seemed to be interludes came across as forced, however.

डर के आगे जीत है

I was told once that when you point a finger at someone, three point back at you.

They’re called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

You can create, maintain or destroy your status quo.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ebrahim Alkazi: Life & Times

Ebrahim Alkazi, the Father of Theatre in India, received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Delhi Government. He took us through his life's work- using photographs on a projector.

A perfectionist, the scale on which he envisions and executes performances is consistently immense.

Among some of the anecdotes he shared, were Nehru's bodyguards rushing to protect him when actors were doing a "मारों पकडके मारो " scene from Dharamveer Bharti's Andha Yug at Ferozeshah Kotla. Nehru warned him that there were snakes at old monuments, something he discovered to be true at Purana Kila.

The photographs of the performance of Karnad's Tughlaq at Lal Kila were imposing. The fort came alive with the men who were attired in the outfits of the age. The steps were carpeted. They belonged to the fort, owned it, seemed to have lived there forever.

On another occasion the guilottine on stage collapsed. The hysterical actors had to be hospitalised.

Choreography of the women in Troy was also stunning. They circled the protagonist, echoing her grief.

The stage for King Lear in Sahitya Akademi was a bare room. The corrugated iron sheets used were deliberately rusted. Alkazi's attention to detail came through in all his productions.

A particular tree in the Akademi area attracted him with it's "character" and he staged several open air productions there. One of them was Premchand's Godaan. He built from a photograph of a villager sipping from a लोटा - he wanted to show the spirit of survival as embodied by his sinewy arm.

In Mumbai, he asked the landlord of a building that he liked for permission to do theatre on the terrace. Several water tanks were removed, Mumbaikars trudged six floors up to see his productions. As the stepped seats where the audience sat were directly above the dressing room, all comments on the productions could be heard.

For a production of Tennessee William's Suddenly, Last Summer- a "vicious, terrible play" Alkazi got skulls of animals butchered by his cook and perched them on the terrace stage for the desired atmosphere.

A man with a cult following, it is a pity he has not done any productions for the last twenty years, preferring to paint.

A recluse now, it was a treat to hear his adda on theatre and how he had shaped it.

Kudos to Ms. Shiela Dixit for this idea of hers, or else we may never have had this opportunity to learn about this horse from his mouth.

Male got me

Every man
Should read Anne
Of Green Gables
Guys watch cable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I liked Life of Pi. A fantastical tale, I felt the narrator's terror. I admired his courage, as he fought his fear. It took me to another world. Vernon God Little is not as absorbing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"दीदी, क्या rebel का मतलब उसने फिर से bell बजाया?"


Monday, March 10, 2008


Claudio Magris's reading on love's grammar- love has no tenses, but many moods.

Moods and clauses are not my strong point, I generally skip them when teaching.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Jibber Jabber

Utilised my holiday to write for 4 hours (felt quite proud of myself, don't know how much of it is any good). Also did my summer-winter wardrobe shift, which I had been dreading. When I reached late for gym, my coach said that he thought I would be keeping the Shivratri fast. yeah right:). Attended the Almost Island Udayan Vajeyi & Bei Dao reading at IIC. Udayan's poetry revolved around family and had a strong astronomical flavour- the Hindi original had a punch the English translation lacked.
Bei Dao's poetry was reflective, perhaps reflecting Chinese culture. I liked his images-like, the two brother hands of the clock made an acute angle.
Rushed home to watch Desperate Housewives, only to realise it's not a Sunday.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Useful Poem by Borges

You Learn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth...
And you learn and learn...
With every good-bye you learn.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Confrontational talking helped

"Lunch's on me," she yelped.