Just when I thought I was taking a break, I am back in the thick of the entrepreneurial space!
…So while it may seem like I’ve been missing in action, i’ve in fact been in the middle of too much action!
..And while I haven’t been really dedicated to the blog, I’ve been writing a lot!
And all this startup talk took me right back to the days when I had one, and when I wrote this:
Mumbai International Film Festival, 2012
Photo Credit: MAMI Website
Just read a book about running, by a man who’s immensely passionate about running. And something compelled me to not only read it but also write about it!
Those who know me, will be surprised about how the book landed up in my shelf, and secondly in my hands! Well, I have a fairly simple and plausible explanation to the first, I am married to a runner. So it didn’t so much land up on ‘my’ shelf as it did on ‘ours’. 🙂 What made me read it (at least at the time when I decided to) was the hope of finally being able to understand what makes running so precious to my husband. What goes on in his mind. Why does he call it ‘his meditation’.
Before you judge me as being naive, let me say this, I do understand that any form of physically intensive activity would be calming for the mind, but meditation to me is being able to channelize the mind towards something. It’s mastering the mind. In my Yoga practice, the mind is as much active and attentive as the body (I am talking of Iyengar school of Yoga). So yes, my practice is my meditation, it detaches me from the world outside and makes me focus within. But running? Forgive me for saying this, but isn’t it ‘a mind numbing exercise’, like literally!? How does that combine meditation then!? Well, I’ve argued about this for years, finally I decided to unravel the mystery. Not by running, of course not, so this book was probably my best chance.
So I was at Auroville last year. A community, an international township in the south of India, which is a melting pot of different cultures, people from different parts of the world, for whom this is home.
The idyllic setting and the lovely people creates the perfect atmosphere for both silence and conversations.
Amidst the organic food, the lovely workshops, concerts in the amphitheatre on a beautiful moonlit night, the stunning handicraft there swept me off my feet! Simple and charming. Soulful, like everything else in Auroville, and what the place stands for. Innovation, Beauty, simplicity, recycling, earthy, creating employment opportunities (some of the stuff is made by women from surrounding villages). Truly inspiring!
Here is a low down on my top picks:
The word ‘old’ brings to mind a vintage image – worn out, yet charming. An image that speaks of a time that’s gone by, and that lived to tell the tale.
One such magical place is Delhi. My fascination with the city began with reading City of Djinn. William Dalrymple’s account of Delhi, ‘City of Djinn, a year spent in Delhi’, is in fact much more than that. It opens your eyes to the abandoned ruins of the past and lets you see it come alive!
Among the various pockets of Delhi, one of the most fascinating is Chandni Chowk (a moonlit square) nestled in Purani Dilli (old Delhi). Chandni Chowk is one old paradise, where you see something new each time you go there. Built in the 17th century by the great Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, Chandni Chowk was once a grand market. Its full glory, a canal ran through the length of the street that reflected moonlight (hence the name).
A mystic, a poet, an artist and a singer, Parvathy seems to follow her heart like there isn’t another way!
In an interview with the Sufi journal, she talks about how she was drawn to the Baul tradition (hailing from the West Bengal in India. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baul). A chance meeting with a Baul singer in a train, opened her heart to it. She then found her guru in Shri Sanatan Das Baul and one afternoon, before she’d even begun any training, just started singing with him!
I had the privilege of watching her perform at ‘Ruhaniyat’, an all India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival. The organisers aptly describe the festival as the ‘call of the soul, enlivening centuries of spiritual wisdom’. It brings together musicians from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan etc. besides India. (Read more about the festival here: http://ruhaniyat.com/)
On a mystical night in Bombay, set in the Hornimon circle garden, among the Sema dervishes and the Qawwals, in walked Parvathy Baul and her magic!
Pic Courtesy: Ruhaniyat Website
What do you do when your best friend makes the most amazing, all natural cosmetics, and you are a sucker for handmade and handcrafted with a blog? Well, you put two and two together (it’s easy math ;-)) and proud as you are, you brag about it!
Meet Ilaria Zinzani and ‘La cosmetica in dispensa’.
I asked her a few questions to write about her and she, who always tells me how well I write, sent these beautifully expressed answers! So warm, personal, honest… so like her… and any interpretation by me, would have been a distortion, so I decided to let it be as is…
Hearing it now, straight from the horses’ mouth (with my little bits)!