Tughlaq at Ranga Shankara

As always, all entry points were closed in less than a minute after the 3rd bell. Rangashankara is 15 years old and I’ve been frequenting the theater in the last 8 years, and the scrupulous adherence with time has been an uncanny yet impressive characteristic of Rangashankara since always. I was in the theater for the 76th showing by Samudaya Bangalore of Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq just before the 3rd bell and hence had to settle for a seat on the back rows. The show was on 5th Jan, 2020 at 3:30 PM. It was a housefull showing.

The play is about the dynamic and turbulent rule of the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq . The sultan who is known less for his founding of the dynasty and is more infamous for his flipflopping policies, conflicted personality and his momentous decision of moving his capital city are the central pieces of this play. At two hours long it is a little demanding of the uninitiated modern theater audience who succumbed to the phubbing from time to time.

The play in itself requires no introduction and is a gem at each showing. Scenes showing the shrewd ploys by the sultan catch the audience unawares. Moments of helplessness due to conflicting thoughts make the audience edgy and the comic relief is well noted and appreciated with a lot of laughs. The audience of Jan 5th however was a little ill-prepared or expected a little too much comic relief from the play. Though the old school music had laugh cues to help out the audience, they ended up laughing at certain interesting non-comic parts of the play.

The actors were seasoned performers who have been with Samudaya Bangalore for long and have perfected the characters of the play. Malathesh who plays the Sultan’s role brings out the character’s feelings and emotions with ease. I got an opportunity to meet the crew after the play but couldn’t ask how long he had been playing the role. Online research later showed Malathesh and Sridhar had been with Samudaya Bangalore for at least 5 years, which is the case with most of the crew members.

Samudaya Bangalore’s production was near flawless with casting, acting, lighting showing maturity of the production house. The stage setup seemed to be mix of classic minimalism and modern lean symbolism. The sound however seemed to be a little dated with room for modern day adaptations. I personally thought they could’ve lost the laughter cues but the presence of many uninitiated theater audience changed my mind.

The play without a doubt is a must watch. Language and actors no bar!

The Strong and The Weak

Reflection-from-Mirror

The emotions they feel,
The dreamers, they dream,
The world doesn’t care, but,
In captivity, they breed.

The once expressing eyes,
Doesn’t wet, in good-byes,
Lost is the grin,
When the vibes are genuine.

Peeping in the subconscious,
Their manifestation, subtle,
Pushed back deliberately,
In the morning, eloquently.

The more they are repressed,
The better, it’s addressed,
The world needs the strong,
For the weak, always wrong.

Though the night, dark and long,
Stand still and stand strong,
For the weak always wrong,
Away from the weak, follow the strong.

AMA on Thursdays – Rahul Shaw

Today’s AMA is with Rahul Shaw, he’s a relatively new friend of mine and a colorful personality who just won’t shut up. Don’t get him wrong, he’s a soft spoken person, but isn’t afraid to take a stand. This trait of complaining and wanting the world just right is what intrigued me to take a deeper look into Rahul and probe around his way of life.

Q. Since poetry is on my mind, I want to know when and where did your poetry writing begin?

First of all thanks for having this AMA session with me. Feel really important and happy to be part of this. So I first started writing in 2010 after getting job. I was placed in Bangalore, far from my native Kolkata. I used to get up early and when everything was so silent, I used to get different ideas and feeling, which I started expressing in words. So that is when I started writing poems.

Q. You’ve actually published only after you started working, is it because you have more mental and financial means once you have a job or is there any other reason why you published your work after getting a job?

Well when I started writing, I never thought that I would be publishing a book. But after it had been a while and I had written more than 50 poems, I thought why not publish a book. It was a very personal decision and I did not think about making money. It was more of a personal achievement for me. Down the line, when I look back, I am pretty sure it will make me smile.

Q. That’s a really nice back story, I’m sure there are lots of people among us who might find themselves in similar positions and may have the gift of writing, do you have any personal suggestions to them to take it to the next level? And can you also take some names of publishers or agents who can help us publish our first book?

Yes, I feel any kind of productive work is beneficial for the person or the society. And as we all know “Pen is mightier than the sword__Rabindranath Tagore”, we can use it to change our society and bring relevant situations or topics in front of everyone. Publishing books is definitely one of them. I had published my Book with Partridge, but I have heard about other Publishers also, but am not sure if its good.

Q. Are you working on anything new currently? Can we expect another book to come out soon?

Yes I am writing new poems, but am not sure when I can publish a new Book. Previously I used to write often, but now I don’t get sufficient time to write, so I will definitely take some time for me to publish my next book.

Q.You told me you’ve been doing some astrology, is this out of self interest of do you want to venture to build something monetizable?

Astrology is something I was interested since my childhood. I started with palmistry, when I was in 8th or 9th standard and then slowly as time went by, I became interested in Astrology. Once again after starting my professional career, I started getting involved more in Astrology. I started learning palmistry and astrology because I was interested in knowing my future, which most of us are, but then slowly I gained some knowledge to start predicting for others. But I feel its a gift from God, that I am able to predict the future, so I don’t charge money from anyone, but I take my time and the situation of the person and his behavior, before doing these analysis.

Q. Where can we find your book? online or any libraries in town?

You can find my book “Whisperings of a Common Man” in amazon.in, amazon.com, Google Books. You can also find them in Atta Galata in Koramangala and Just Books Library. I would recommend reading the hard copy as the feel and design will give a much better experience than an ebook

Last question: Kya Aap Aam Khate ho?
Sorry, bad joke, because I’ve only been asking questions to make you look good, it felt I should ask you about the aam.

No Answer

Q. When someone has a hobby for a long time, people say that in course of time they will have some achievements.. do you think this is essential? to have some measurable achievements attached to your hobbies?

Well yes, its true. To be honest, during my MBA interview when I was asked about my hobbies, I could tell about my book, astrology and playing in different TT tournaments and I cleared the interview. So yes any productive activity will result in positive outcome if the proper path is followed and if we can continue with it for a considerable amount of time

Q. Just a small follow up.. do you think these achievements are required? can someone not paint just for their joy and leave it at that?

Yes why not?? I used to write for myself and never knew that I would publish. So people can definitely do things which make them happy and give them a breather from their daily mundane tasks.

Rahul’s book is available on Amazon.in and at popular libraries in town. He is also a guest author on this site and posts poetry from time to time.

~*~

A Girl in Red

It was the weirdest part of the trip. What was supposed to be a 4 nights 5 days trip in the himalayas was gonna go wrong. OK calm yourself, no one died, no one broke anything and no one was lost.


It so happened that my company had taken on a stupid stupid client and we were trying make a lending software for this hard nosed stupid ass. I was the BA leading the calls and I messed up. Well, that’s another story, maybe for another day, but for now there was a stupid stupid client that I couldn’t drop and I was in the Himalayas.

With regret I had told my guys I was gonna stay back in Mcleodganj. The initial plan was to drive up to Manali from Mcleodganj, try skiing and any other adventure sports available and maybe play in the snow! But I couldn’t. So the guys went ahead to on the trip and I stayed back alone in the hotel room with my laptop. There was no heating in the room and there was no room service in the hotel.

The guys left for Manali early in the morning, at around 5:30 AM. I just woke up to see them off and went back to bed. No one was gonna be in office before 10. I don’t need to log in at 5:30 to prove anything. To my pleasant surprise, when I woke up by 9:30 AM, there was snow! It had started snowing in Mcleodganj in the 4 hours that I had been asleep since the guys left! The gods must really like me to have made it snow so that I didn’t miss seeing snow! It was the first time I saw snow in my life and it did feel new and fresh and unique. I walked out to the front porch of the hotel and stepped on the snow. Took a couple of steps and turned around to see my foot steps in the snow. The feeling was surreal. I had just taken 3 steps on flat ground in front of the hotel and it got me excited. So weird!

The kids who were manning the hotel started playing in the snow. A couple of them started making snowballs and throwing at each other. The 3rd kid wrote a girl’s name in the snow and was taking selfies with it. They were not kids per say, they might’ve been 18-20 years old but they were playing in the snow like they were 8 year olds! Snow is the beach of the highlanders I suppose.

I asked if breakfast was available, there was nothing in the hotel. Not even noodles or eggs or bread or even chai. I was asked to walk down to a small town center, a center circle like the town plaza which had a line of shops. I decided to take the chance. It’s not like I was hungry, but I liked the snow and a walk in the snow and a spicy fried egg seemed more inviting than drafting lengthy unconvincing mails.

I wore literally all the cloths I had with me. I hadn’t packed mustang, so I wore my thermal inners, 3 layers of cloths on top and then the only jacket I had. Gloves, socks, shoes and the cap too. I started walking down, the snow wasn’t think and since it was the first day of snow, there was no frost and it was easy to walk. I walked down to the plaza and found a neat eaterie. It had colorful interiors and looked like a library cafe. I picked up a political magazine, quite an anomaly in the otherwise “love all – no boundary nation ” theme of the cafe.

As I walked in I noticed there was no one else in the cafe. I was afraid I was gonna be turned down, but thankfully not. Another 18-19 or 20ish kid came up and took my order. I ordered a masala egg and cup of hot latte. He wrote it down, turned on the music to loud blast, gave me smile and ran down. It felt good, I was important. Perhaps in the himalayas when there is snow and bad weather all around, even a single customer ordering a single egg is important.

I ate my egg slowly sipping the latte. It had stopped snowing and there was noise outside. It was a Monday, so children had started going out to school. Few other eateries started playing music and other shops and establishments started opening up. Each with one or two guests.

A few kids, again 20ish kids had started playing cricket in what looked like a small park. There were some younger kids and some older ones. In fact the older ones were the kids who were running these cafes. They all played together but ran different cafes. Seems strange at first, but guess that’t the life in mountains.

I walked back to my room shivering in the snow. A girl in a red knee length coat was walking down towards the plaza. She was alone and didn’t look like a tourist. Our eyes locked, I nodded as a way of wishing the morning and she gave me a smile. I never saw her again, but the memory of this split second exchange of warmth still keeps me warm on cold lonely nights.

~*~

10 Reasons why Pigs are Going Yellow

Let me cut to the chase right at the beginning. The headline is a sham. Pigs are not yellow, and they’ll never turn yellow. Unless they jaundice like humans ( and they don’t) so why the stupid headline? Simple, to hold out a mirror and show that we would give anything a click if it had a title like this.

I’m serious, how many times have we seen headlines like 4 reasons for a healthy mind, or 6 reasons why the Chinese love math, 8 reasons to have children before your first marriage. Yea sorry I went a little overboard with the examples, but these are the kinds of blog posts we as bloggers are putting out there. Why? Well simply because these are the kinds of blog posts that we think and are told that readers like to read.

How to run a successful site? How to write catchy blogs? And how to engage the reader? These are the basic questions every blogger has while starting or running a blog. The most common answer recieved is have empathy; who reads long posts anymore? While it may make sense and actually seem to be common sense, we would all also agree that common sense is generally inadequate.

All of us have long stories to share, all of us are full of theories and concepts but we can’t expect the reader to read every line and every word of our long scripts and monologues. Hence the gurus suggested listing. Make lists, highlight content, categorise, compartmentalize, and then expand. This would do two things:

1. The not so interested reader won’t miss the gist of what you want to say

2. The interested reader – well actually it doesn’t matter to them, they’re interested so they read on.

And let’s be honest, not all bloggers are great and not all blogs are interesting, and most blogs these days are long. So the listed points help. But the lists may not always be accurate. If you notice, most of the listed blogs are not about factual topics. If someone said 5 points in the bill of rights that needs amendment. It makes sense – because it’s factual. 6 reasons why teenagers don’t want to invest in stocks is pure fantasy (unless based on a survey)

Ok did I write this to say the numbered points type blogging is good or bad? I’m sorry dear reader if you expected a black and white post. The world is in black and white only for the ignorant. In reality, while there are good things about the listed writeup, the problem arose because the classic “too much is too bad” situation.

All bloggers have started writing – why bloggers, even mainstream media houses and reputed columnists have fallen prey to this novel cause of making it easier for the reader. But the reasons on the list are completely subjective and have been conjured in the mind of the blogger. (Unless it’s a factual post)

So the next time you see a headline like 3 reasons democrats like pork or 6 things you should do before sleeping, just ask yourself: can I guess the items on the list? Or can I think of items to add to the list? If yes, then you know what to do.

Easy because we are lazy

Being able is not the reason,
Neither is it our wisdom,

Not that we care,
Not that we are scared,

The uncertainty of our ability,
The certainty of the infeasibility,

The mind takes a guided course,
Of which, it itself is the source,

Which it does frequently,
Carrying it out eloquenty,

Doing things because it’s easy,
Promoting the ignorant and the lazy.

#Easyway #BeingIgnorant #BeResponsible #poem

The Paradox of Vocab

Cat one: Aren’t you too drunk already?
Cat Two: Bro, do you know what happens when I drink more?
Cat One: What?
Cat Two: My hands shake more; and what happens when my hands shake more?
Cat One: I don’t know
Cat Two: I spill more!
Cat One: Okay?
Cat Two: And the more I spill the less I drink
Cat One: Yes?
Cat Two: And so you see Dear Watson, the more I drink the less I drink, and in order to drink less I need to drink more.
Cat One: uh! I need another drink.

Kitty Party

Cat One: That’s balderdash.
Cat Two: What the hell’s a balderdash??
Cat One: It means nonsense, I meant you don’t make sense.
Cat Two: Oh, why didn’t you say so?
Cat One: I did, and I used less words in doing that, it’s called using your vocabulary.
Cat Two: And how do you earn this vocabulary?
Cat One: By reading – by learning more words
Cat Two: So you mean to say, I have to learn more words so that I can speak in less words?
Cat One: Yes!
Cat Two: Isn’t that just like my drinking paradox, my Watson?
Cat One: Balderdash!

~*~

Inhuman or Insensitive

I feel all of us go through some tough times and we have no option but to be strong. There can be a clear mismatch as to what our mind and what our heart wants us to do. I wrote the below lines, keeping this in mind.

Let me know if you can relate to it and answer the below questions:

**************************************
When the moments are frozen in the heart,

When the tears are frozen in the eyes,

When the mind dodges the emotions,

When the gestures betray the feelings,

Are we living the moment?
Are we becoming more mature?

OR

Are we becoming more inhuman?
Are we becoming more insensitive?

**************************************