Saturday, December 27, 2014

inner strength

Thought behind the Thought

We are perpetually at war with ourselves. And we undermine our abilities, use our disabilities as excuses even, to justify giving up mid way!

We cannot and must not give up on ourselves, ever. In fact, that is the easiest and the most defeatist thing that we could do. Fighting on is the only respectable option, not just with the situation that is so bothering us, but with the inner weaknesses that we all have.

Just like these physically challenged artists who maybe disabled in the body, but not in spirit.

About the Artists

Members of the Indian Mouth and Foot painting Artists' association, they produce amazing art, without using their hands!

Formed in 1956, the MFPA is an international, for-profit association wholly owned and run by disabled artists to help them meet their financial needs. Members paint with brushes held in their mouth or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness that prohibits them from using their hands.

Over the last 50 years, MFPA has brought to the forefront, the aesthetic creations of these disabled artists by providing them a platform to express their artistic talent. Instilling a sense of freedom and dignity, the Association offers its members an opportunity to earn an independent, honest and secure livelihood through the sale of their artwork.

Source and credits for all information

Friday, December 26, 2014


Thought behind the Thought

Little children performing on stage are such a delight to watch! The way they wait for their cue, and break out into a jig at the sound of the first notes, the way they get into the whole act of dancing with fervor, and the way they lose themselves to the rhythm of their own tapping feet!
As I watched the little ones dancing away with abandon, I thought about the tranquility it had brought to my mind, that had been trying to work out the logistics  and the nitty-gritty of work to be done during the day ahead.

The sound of their song and their little feet dancing to it surely changed my mood, and elevated my mind to a happier place. Yet some kids are not so fortunate and have turbulent lives....can dance become their hope?

Can dance become a channel to move on to a better life? Rebecca Davis and her dance company are doing just that in Rwanda. Homeless children, victims of genocide, have a means to better their lives through dance.
RDDC is an international NGO that runs dance and educational programs for street children and underserved youth in post-conflict and developing countries. Using a three-part model, RDDC prepares street children to re-integrate and succeed in the formal education system while gaining valuable job skills through vocational training.
In Phase I, street children improve 11 cognitive skills through a standardized dance curriculum. In Phase II, children acquire job skills through vocational training (IT or English Language). In Phase III, top performing students are sponsored to attend local boarding schools – thereby exiting life on the street and giving youth the power to advance their own lives.
 Information and Credits:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

a pinch of salt

Thought behind the Thought

I wondered one day, as I heard a relative recount the loss of a dear one, what it means to love, lose and suffer! How does one go on living after having lost a person who was a major part of your life? 
How do you fill the hole in your heart? I guess, the human heart has a great capacity to restore itself. After all, doesn't it expand to accommodate a new person in your life? Maybe a friend, your spouse, kids?

The secret is to take both the situations in your stride and live life to the fullest. Happiness or sorrow, both feed your heart, only you have to take both with a pinch of salt!

This seemingly humble ingredient can raise the quality of life, both figuratively and literally. As demonstrated in this fantastic art created by salt artist Motoi Yamamoto in his 'Labyrinth' series.

About the artist:
Motoi Yamamoto is an internationally renowned artist, known for working with salt, often in the form of temporary, intricate, large-scale installations. Salt, a traditional symbol for purification and mourning in Japanese culture, is used in funeral rituals and by sumo wrestlers before matches. It is frequently placed in small piles at the entrance to restaurants and other businesses to ward off evil spirits and to attract benevolent ones. Motoi forged a connection to the substance while mourning the death of his sister, at the age of twenty-four, from brain cancer, and began to create art out of salt in an effort to preserve his memories of her. His art radiates an intense beauty and tranquility, but also conveys something ineffable, painful, and endless.

“Drawing a labyrinth with salt is like following a trace of my memory. Memories seem to change and vanish as time goes by; however, what I seek is to capture a frozen moment that cannot be attained through pictures or writings,” Motoi has said. “What I look for at the end of the act of drawing could be a feeling of touching a precious memory.”

source and credits for information and images:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Thought behind the Thought

I have lately been suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder ... to write! This writing is so impulsive, it seems almost as if there are all these words crowding my mind, waiting for their turn to appear on paper.
On being asked how I am able to write, and the origin of my words, the only answer I can offer is, "I don't know". Because I really don't. All I know is that if these words are put down with care, they surely communicate what I want to say, to the other person.

Where do these words really come from? Is it that words just 'are'? Or can we make our own words? If we can, surely it is a very creative act, an art in itself!

About the art:
In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make language better at expressing what we mean, and to create more ways for us to understand one another.

About the artist:
The co-founder of Reverb Technologies, and the maker of the online dictionary Wordnik, Erin McKean is reshaping how we interact with language itself.
Erin McKean's job as a lexicographer involves living in a constant state of research. She searches high and low -- from books to blogs, newspapers to cocktail parties -- for new words, new meanings for old words, or signs that old words have fallen out of use. In June of this year she involved us all in the search by launching Wordnik, an online dictionary that houses all the traditionally accepted words and definitions, but also asks users to contribute new words and new uses for old words. Wordnik pulls real-time examples of word usage from Twitter, image representations from Flickr along with many more non-traditional, and highly useful, features.

Source and credit for all information and video:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

madness and sadness

Thought behind the Thought

My partner and me, between us, share a very strange pair of minds! Often I have realised that what was just a caterpillar in my mind, turns into a butterfly when I pass it on to her.
I sat down to watch a programme one day, having just finished sharing a mad idea with her. While I sat engrossed in the stage performance, the thought grew in her mind and by the time the programme was over, it had turned into an idea that added immense value to the work that we did together.

That is when I thought, that the madness in our mind simply multiplies when it is passed on, because there are now two minds in the grips of the same madness. Sadly, the same is true for sadness, which when passed on also affects the other!

This 'quality' of multiplication of madness is what comes through in some of the great group performances or duets too! The individual qualities and creative talent simply pools together, to give birth to a scintillating performance!

Taufiq Qureshi and his band 'Mumbai stamp' live performance

Taufiq Qureshi and his band 'Mumbai stamp' live performance

About the art: 

Recently, in 2005, Taufiq conceived his own unique band ‘MUMBAI STAMP’ It is an innovative band formed by Taufiq, where trash material is put to use creatively to explore new rhythmic horizons. ‘Mumbai Stamp’, led by Taufiq; consists of 5 to 6 young drummers who play on all sorts of waste materials like bins, cans, tin boxes, buckets etc. Vibrant patterns of rhythm originating from these non conventional instruments take the audience to another level of energy. The power emanating from these spirited trash boxes, the superb co-ordination of the band and the phenomenal ability of Taufiq to stroke a rhythmic cadence out of any surface make MUMBAI STAMP a unique band. ‘Mumbai Stamp’ has entertained many an audiences, all over India. The amazing rhythmic motifs Taufiq weaves along with his band members leaves the listener wanting for more, the band enjoys the appreciation of all types of audience-be it music lovers, corporate world or the novice. This band catches the pulse of the audience and in fact is a spectacle to watch as well.

Taufiq Qureshi and Shankar Mahadevan: jugalbandi

About the artists:

Taufiq Qureshi, an ace percussionist of India, is also an acclaimed composer. Being the son and disciple of the legendary tabla maestro Ustad Allarakha; Taufiq’s performances showcase the traditional flavour and intricacies of Indian rhythm, interwoven with his phenomenal command and sparkle of contemporary world percussions.

Taufiq’s trademark style incorporates body and vocal percussions to create unique rhythmic motifs spanning across cultures. His sense of tone and his command over a wide variety of percussion instruments and styles is commendable.

Taufiq’s albums have been released world over and he has performed at prestigious music festivals all over the globe. Taufiq has been featured as a performing artiste on the 2009- Grammy award winning album ‘Global Drum Project’. Taufiq’s album ‘Rhydhun’ amongst others is said to have set new standards for world music in India.

Taufiq Qureshi is the worthy torchbearer of a rich legacy of percussion, being the son and disciple of the legendary Ustad Allarakha and brother of the maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. Taufiq has been greatly influenced by his illustrious brother, Ustad Zakir Hussain and is privileged to receive guidance from Ghatam Vidhwan, Pandit Vikku Vinayakram.

After a long and arduous journey of over twenty years, Taufiq continues to evolve as a percussionist in the ever- inspiring world of live-audience performances.

By virtue of his amazing versatility as a percussionist and as a composer of sorts he has carved himself a special niche in the field of world music and is fondly referred to as: Prince of Percussion.

Shankar Mahadevan  is an award-winning musical composer and playback singer who is part of the Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy composing trio team for many Indian films.

Information source and credits:

Monday, December 22, 2014


Thought behind the Thought:

The thought came to me in an auditorium, when there was a thunderous applause after the curtain fell. The little performers on the stage had given their best to the act. They were beaming with pride as they presented their performance, decked up in their costumes and wearing their make-up. I could sense their excitement, and also the need for appreciation. Should we have clapped while they were on stage, instead of waiting for them to exit?

And is this not what happens in life too? We are all giving our best to this act of living. Some  get their applause while they are still on stage, and others receive it only after the curtain has fallen. But that does not change the fact that we are all performers and we all need the applause.

And also that, if your have given your best on stage, the applause will follow; even if it does so after the curtain falls!

As it did for the great artists who created the world famous painitngs at the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, India.The highly acclaimed art of Ajanta was hidden for centuries until it was discovered by a British army officer in 1819, and today it is a world Heritage Site, one of the most vivid displays of ancient Indian art!

  Padmapani Bodhisattva

 celestial musician


 scene from mahajataka

  ceiling decoration

  ceiling decoration

About the art:

The world famous paintings at Ajanta fall into two broad phases, t
he earliest  being datable to the second century B.C. The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries. The main theme of the paintings is the depiction of various Jataka stories, different incidents associated with the life of Buddha, and the contemporary events and social life of the times. The ceiling decoration invariably consists of decorative patterns, geometrical as well as floral.

The paintings were executed after elaborate 
 initial preparation of the rock surface. The ground layer consisted of a rough layer of ferruginous earth mixed with rock-grit or sand, vegetable fibres, paddy husk, grass and other fibrous material of organic origin on the rough surface of walls and ceilings. A second coat of mud and ferruginous earth mixed with fine rock-powder or sand and fine fibrous vegetable material was applied over the ground surface. Then the surface was finally finished with a thin coat of lime wash.
Over this surface, outlines are drawn boldly, then the spaces were filled with requisite colours in different shades and tones to achieve the effect of rounded and plastic volumes. The colours and shades utilised also vary from red and yellow ochre, terra verte, to lime, kaolin, gypsum, lamp black and lapis lazuli. The chief binding material used here was glue. The paintings at Ajanta are not frescoes as they are painted with the aid of a binding agent, whereas in fresco the paintings are executed while the lime wash is still wet which, thereby acts as an intrinsic binding agent.

Source and credit for Information and images:
Archaeological Survey of India

Sunday, December 21, 2014

traffic lights

Thought behind the thought:

As I waited patiently for the traffic signal to turn green one day, a whole army of cars and scooters and buses even, whizzed past me, as if the traffic lights were non existent.

It set me thinking about the purpose behind making rules, and the reason behind people not following them. Maybe, I thought, Rules are for the likes of me, who are 'followers', not 'rule makers'. Maybe I will never understand that people who can make their own rules, need not bother about rules that others have made, for their own safety!

I am sure I sound cynical as I write this, but for these rule breakers, Traffic lights will remain a source of entertainment while mere mortals look at them to guide them towards a safe journey.

But, on a lighter note, traffic lights could indeed become a source of joy and liven up the dreary road landscape, like the sculpture installed on a busy traffic roundabout in London, now removed.

 The Traffic Light tree created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant 

About the Art: 

The Traffic Light tree was created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency. It was situated on a roundabout near Canary Wharf, in one of London's financial districts.

Eight metres tall and containing 75 sets of lights, each controlled by computer, Vivant described the project thus:

"The sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities."

The Public Art Commission Agency said that "The arbitrary cycle of light changes is not supposed to mimic the seasonal rhythm of nature, but the restlessness of Canary Wharf."

The Traffic Light tree was installed in 1998 on the site of a plane tree, that was suffering as a result of pollution. It was initially intended that the lights would be triggered to reflect flurries of activity on the London Stock Exchange, but this proved to be too expensive to put into practice.

Although some motorists were initially confused by the traffic lights, mistaking them for real signals, the sculpture soon became a favourite among both tourists and locals. In 2005,Saga Motor Insurance commissioned a survey asking British motorists about the best and worst roundabouts in the country. The Traffic Light tree was the clear favourite.

Photo and information crtedits: 


Thought behind the thought:

December is the month of weddings in India. Come December and one gets a front row peek at a spectrum of designer collections from shoes to jewellery. It’s an image conscious world today and what you wear is who you are and the projection of whom you are very important. Jewellery is of many kinds; designer, Indo-western, fusion, branded, imitation, natural, rare, junk, punk, real etc and the list is never ending. Surprisingly each kind of jewellery manages to make its own statement. It’s a layer added to ones persona and it becomes that individual’s identity.

About the art:

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a painting that was originally titled Girl with a Turban. Painted by Johannes Vermeer it’s a masterpiece regarded as the Mona Lisa of the North or the Dutch Mona Lisa. It is currently displayed in The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands. The focal point of this painting is the pearl earring that the subject is wearing. Vermeer has eleven such paintings with women wearing pearls. There is a lot of speculation about the painting because allegedly pearls did not exist back then. So two inferences can be drawn from this that he painted the earring from his imagination or that he painted the earring such that the light quality gives it the characteristics of a pearl. Interestingly the pearl adds a new dimension to the painting. One that of mystery and enigma. Jewellery adds a lot to a woman, question is what does she want to add?