Flaming Flowers!


A few posts back I had written about spring and flowers. I had sketched out a hibiscus bud a few months back, and this month I drew the ‘loudspeaker lily’.

I folded a ‘half-imperial’ sized sheet and drew these on each half. They’re approximately 24 cm in width and 33 cm in height.

Loudspeaker Lily
Loudspeaker Lily
Budding Hibiscus
Budding Hibiscus

The Journey


Last weekend, I had been invited to attend a cultural programme. It was the Annual Day Celebrations of a social organisation, which provided foster care for street children.

The course of the programme seemed to follow the pattern of the lives of the children taking part in it.

The show began with a group of children singing the anthem of the organisation, an old Hindi classic film song – ‘Aa chal ke tujhe…‘* They seemed nervous as they missed a few beats and struggled with the correct notes. As another group sang, their voices revealed their state of mind – hesitant and unsure.

Young children then came out in their colourful attire, and enlightened the audience about real life examples of women’s entrepreneurship, and staged a play about rural life.

As the evening grew, the atmosphere became more lively. The children in the audience cheered loudly during the award ceremony, as their caretakers, and some older children, were being felicitated.

The convocation ceremony showed how contrasting our lives were. For us, attending school was as integral a part of our lives, as eating and sleeping. But for the children of the home, simply clearing the examinations was a huge milestone. They weren’t as lucky as we were – abandoned by their own parents, left to fend for themselves at a tender age, victims of various types of abuse.

As the older children began their dance performances, their eyes glowing with pride, their movements synchronised, and expressions filled with confidence, it was clear, that they had put their past behind them and were now ready to embrace their new lives.

The event was nothing short of being grand – and I’m glad I was there to witness it.

* * *

*Aa chal ke tujhe, mai leke chalun, ik aise gagan ke tale, jahaan gum bhi na ho, aansu bhi na ho, bas pyaar hi pyaar pale…

Come, I’ll take you to a place so beautiful, where there is no sorrow, no tears, only love…

Campaign Season


The elections for the municipal corporation were held today. Where there are elections, there is bound to be campaigning. So I too have jumped into the campaign mode. Albeit, of a different kind.

This year, as part of an internal competition, students were asked to make short films under various categories. I too was encouraged to participate.

I had no clue as to  what I should do. But since the staff members wanted me to participate, I searched the internet world for some inspiration. After several days of wandering, out of sheer desperation, I decided to settle for a biography. It wasn’t the most original of ideas, and it wasn’t very interesting, but it was something. After discussing it with our teacher, I picked up the registration form and headed home.

The evening had set in, and I was sitting next to the window of the local bus. As the wind blew across my face, something happened. All of a sudden words streamed into my head. In a matter of a few minutes, I had a concept, a story, and even a vague picture in my mind.

I submitted my form on the very last day of the registration and over the next 4 weeks I set about executing it. And so, I am proud to present to you, Mr Paper.

This is an advertisement for a fictitious company named Papyres. The spelling mistake is intentional. I had intended it to be Papyrus, but after I had almost completed the animation, I searched, and found out that it was a real company. So I had to change it.

That brings me to the disclaimer – this video is a purely creative venture and not made for any commercial purposes.

So what does all this have to do with campaigning? Well, this video was short-listed for the viewers’ choice award. Yippee 😀 So now I have to get people to ‘like’ this video on Facebook. Being one of the rare breed of people not having such an account, I decided to post it here. So if anyone accidentally stumbles on to this blog, I hope you have a look at the video. Liking is not compulsory, but I do hope you enjoy it. I, for sure, enjoyed making it. 🙂

* * *

For those interested in ‘liking’ it on Facebook, it is posted on this page:

https://www.facebook.com/Competition.WideAngle2012/posts/411233848887855?ref=notif&notif_t=share_reply

Update: The competition ended in the video being nominated for the award. It was showcased during the cultural programme and award ceremony :). The response on the facebook page was overwhelming and I have a lot of people to thank for that! Thanks everyone! 🙂

PS. The above link no longer exists.

The Taste Of Life


The summer has already set in and the heat is becoming unbearable. If its this hot in April, I fear to even think about May and June.

The past couple of days, have been a little different though.

Today, the wind is blowing hard. The sky is overcast, but there are some rays of light, which have managed to sneak past the clouds to get a glimpse of the world.

In the balcony, the plants are having a ball. For the past few weeks, they’ve gone crazy. Everyday they’ve been dressing up in their best outfits. The Nandiyavattai*, the common purple Flowers*, Hibiscuses, Loudspeaker* Lilies, and even Jasmine flowers, have come out in large numbers after a long, long time.

Today, also happens to be the Tamil New Year. Although there isn’t much we do to celebrate the new year, our mother draws a special kolam** at the entrance of the house, and prepares a special dish.

This dish has all flavours – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spice, and pungent. The dish represents life, and its ingredients, its different flavours. In life, some moments are sweet, others, bitter. We experience a wide variety of emotions. On the first day of the year, this dish is prepared to remind us, that the future will be filled with varying emotions. We must, not only prepare ourselves to face life, but also learn to enjoy its different flavours.

Puthandu vazthukal (happy new year), and a happy Baisakhi to all.

* * *

Nandiyavattai – The Tamil name of a plant, whose name I did not know – till now. Called ‘Moonbeam’ or ‘Wax Flower’ in English, ‘Chandni’ in Hindi and ‘Tabernaemontana coronaria’ in Science.

The Common purple Flowers – Another plant whose name I found out today. Called ‘Madagascar Periwinkle’ in English,  ‘Sadabahar’ in Hindi and ‘Cantharanthus roseus’ in Science.

Loudspeaker Lilies – They look like a pair of loudspeakers, hence we call them that. The internet world does not seem to recognise that name. So its just plain old lilies.

**Kolam – Patterns drawn with stone powder at the entrance of the house.

For the love of the game


April 4, 2012 (sometime at night)

The flu season is here. The newspaper is full of reports about this bug called IPL* that seems to have infected thousands, if not millions of people. A few years ago, I too, had been a victim of this bug. It had crippled me during evenings. I couldn’t move out of the couch and would get into a fit every now and then, which would set my pulse racing.

I am happy to report, that I have since, become immune. Although the front page, back page, and practically every page in between, was covered with ‘news’ about the opening ceremony, I found it easy to ignore them.

In the middle of all these reports, one article, stood out like a sore thumb. It was about an archer who had won several titles for the country in the recent past**. She revealed that during her stay at the academy, she was paid a ‘stipend’ of Rupees 500. Her family is living in poverty. To make ends meet, she sold a silver bow for a song. The saving grace for this lady was that it caught the attention of someone who reported it.

Cricket is a popular sport in the country. Why? I don’t know. Those who make it big even for a short while can live a luxurious life. And so every kid wants to become a cricketer. And every business house wants to sponsor them.

* * *

There is a sports complex nearby. On week days, children attend football coaching sessions there. At the end of the session, they run away from the ground like prisoners escaping from jail. Some of the older kids lean on trees at the edge of the park wearing large headphones, sipping sports drinks. Sometimes, I wonder if they really play because they want to, or because it looks cool.

As the week draws to an end, I am reminded about what’s in store for the next two days.

On week ends, the park has a different story to tell. It becomes a training ground for professional rugby players of the local club. They come early in the morning and spend several hours running and playing.

A certain energy engulfs the ground when they run and pass the ball. The energy is contagious. People, out on their morning walks, seem to walk faster, and the joggers put in extra miles.

The players train for national events, most of them, hoping to make it to the national team. The sport probably does not give them a handsome pay cheque. And it doesn’t get any dedicated columns in newspapers and magazines. But the players still play – because they love the game.

* * *

*IPL – Indian premier league – a deadly mixture of money, politics, business, glamour and cricket.

**Poverty forces former archer to sell bow