As a nation we talk about patriotism and nationalistic fervour but we do not hesitate to club Republic Day, Independence Day and even Election Day with weekdays and enjoy an extended weekend holiday. So, we cannot blame the kids for their ignorance about such matters when their only exposure tends to be badly-taught Civics subject in school and a detached viewing of the Republic Day Parade on TV.
Children have the delightful habit of asking questions most of which the adults find difficult to answer. Since it is Republic Day tomorrow we, at Mumbai Mom, have collated some interesting facts about the national festival which you can share with your children even if they are engrossed in their iPads (though some aspects can make delightful viewing on the iPad – check out the Original Calligraphed and Illuminated Version of the Constitution).
The British had ruled over India for almost a hundred years (200 if you include the activities of the East India Company) before they finally handed over control to India on 15th August, 1947. Since this is the day we got freedom from the British, 15th August is … (read the rest of the post here on Mumbai Mom).
When my bank opened a branch closer to where I live I was quite happy. I could multi-task. I could go to the bank later in the evening, walking. This would take care of both my fiscal and physical being.
It went well the few times I went to the bank. The road to the bank included one long lonely stretch.I found it wonderful for ambling, mind free to travel wherever it wanted to. (I think every writer needs those stretches of time).
But one day, I went to the bank a little later than my usual time. By the time I finished, it was dark. As usual I started walking back home. I reached the lonely stretch and I stopped short. This road which had been my “day-dreaming” stretch was now a “No Safe Zone”. It was dark. No street lights. One side of the road was a very high wall in front of which broken-down, rusted cars lay abandoned. On the other side were buildings in various stages of construction. The weak glimmers of light came from a couple of bulbs hung from the rafters of the buildings.
My mental antennae tuned up and I started walking briskly along that stretch. Every person coming from the opposite side was a potential danger. My mind firmly on a leash I completed the stretch without any untoward episode. But it was an unpleasant experience. I realised if the road had been well-lighted there would have been nothing to fear.
It is the same with life. We encounter many “No Safe Zones” aka obstacles in our life paths, but by shining the light of understanding (through reading and deep thinking) and faith (through meditation and prayers) we can navigate them safely.
The only person she can turn to for help is Kabir Shorey, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan.
Business-journalist turned fiction-writer, Adite Banerjie’s latest book is a romantic-thriller No Safe Zone, published by Harper Collins India. She has penned two books for Mills & Boon (The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name) and written several screenplays.
You can grab a copy of No Safe Zone at Amazon.in by clicking HERE.
Today is Janmashtami and as most of you must be aware, it is the birth celebrations of one of the rockstar deities of the pantheon of Hindu Gods aka Lord Krishna.
Krishna is a fascinating figure and adored and reviled (for apparently playing politics during the Great War) in equal measure.
It would be naive to think one can understand him in just one reading of his life and his exploits but there are always lessons one can learn from the reading.
Come over to Mumbai Mom where my post, ‘Lord Krishna: 5 unsurprising reasons why he’s my idol’ is published.
Dairy product junkie. Lover par excellence. Management guru. Aka Lord Krishna.
Why does Krishna ignite our imagination? Among the supposedly 33crore Hindu gods, Krishna has staked his claim as the rockstar of Hindu deitydom. Almost like a Global Idol.
Born in dire circumstances. Saved from sure death by being substituted with Ma Durga (in baby form) at birth. Naughty child. The imparter of the ultimate spiritual wisdom. His entire life is full of surprising lessons which we can imbibe to improve our own lives.
Young Krishna was a handful. Read the rest here.
The very name Bollywood conjures up images of songs and dances, action and comedy. Women in scanty apparel gyrating to lyrics that often cross the thin line between naughty and lascivious. The lone hero outnumbered by but unhesitatingly bashing up men twice his size. The female lead more often than not playing second fiddle to the hero. Not the raw materials of India’s finest films, surely.
Even before the Hindi film industry got its new moniker (Bollywood), films played coy in portraying romance and making do with two roses bending seductively towards each other or then two birds beaking vigorously.
One would then be tempted to imagine (especially nowadays, when Bollywood stars and movies have become so popular overseas) that the film industry was always making fluff – feel-good movies that lifted you outside of your dull, drab life for three hours into the glamorous world of bold and beautiful people, the film stars.
But it was Bollywood that gave us Mirch Masala, a film that showed not just class struggles and the lowly status of women in society but was also a strong statement of women empowerment achieved with solidarity between women. Smita Patil’s performance in this movie was listed by Forbes on its list, “25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema”.
The viewer will experience over the next few months a selection of some of our landmark films packaged with some interesting trivia. A true spread for the Cineaste ! This is also a great moment to acknowledge the contribution made by the filmmakers and the film talent who walked with us on this journey and created these endearing works of cinematic expression ~ NFDC spokesperson, Ms. Nazhat J. Shaikh, Director (Finance)
Who can forget India’s entry to the Oscars that swept away the awards. Yes, Gandhi , the film based on the life of the father of the Nation, and which took 20 years to finally be made. Every Indian who saw this move no doubt felt her heart quiver with the intense patriotism that movie inspired.
“Apne pasand ki cheez milna badi baat hai.
Agar sab kuch mil gaya, lekin apne pasand ki cheez hi na mili toh matlab kya hai jee kay!”
(“It is a big thing, to get what one desires.
If you have everything, but cannot get that one thing you desire, then what is the point of living!”)
The quote above is the reason the elderly maid in the eponymous film Gangoobai, strives to accomplish her dream of buying a costly Gara sari and changes the lives of individuals she comes in contact with while in Mumbai to purchase the sari.
These films, part of the parallel cinema, portrayed the hope, dreams, desires, anger and angst of a generation and they invoked intense reactions within us, also hoping to change the mindset of people by addressing subjects which were important but difficult to talk about.
Indian Cinema, over the years, has beautifully transformed and re-invented itself. From socially relevant topics of child marriage, dowry, female feticide, re-marriage to a simple love story, film-makers have done it all.
I personally feel Zee Classic’s initiative is a very good one. It will help to keep alive the film culture of our country and Zee Classic is in the ideal position to do this. ~ Mr. Shyam Benegal
These films would be difficult to access were it not for the television channel, Zee Classic who tied up with National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) in ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’ to bring these iconic movie classics and new age cinema and showcase the creative talent of that timeless era not just to those that remember seeing the movies in theatres but also to today’s young generations.
Starting 16th July, every Saturday at 10 PM, Zee Classic will premiere ‘India’s Finest Films’, a distinguished property showcasing masterpieces like ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Ek Doctor kiMaut’, ’27 Down’ and ‘Salaam Bombay’ amongst many other such gems from the NFDC library.
These movies mark the debut of icons like Irrfan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and many more.
Here is a list of the 14 ‘India’s Finest Films’ that will be showcased by ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’
And if you are like me, loving to know more about that which catches your fancy, ‘India’s Finest Films – A Parallel Journey’ will appeal to you. It includes views of stalwarts of Indian cinema like ShyamBenegal, Mahesh Bhatt, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, RohiniHattangadi amongst others. Catch it on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDRbplMpfOI or on TV as a prelude to ‘India’s Finest Films’.
~So hurry, grab the popcorn and your favourite seat on the settee starting 16th July onwards, 10 PM and tune-in to Zee Classic for ‘India’s Finest Films’ ~
(All pics courtesy: ZEE Classic)
A writer’s eye looks at things in a different way than a layperson’s would. Hence her head is full of ideas and it would take lifetimes to actually use them all in the writing. But sometimes, this faucet seems to be tightly closed. And try as they might, the writer is not able to wrench out a single word. This situation is fondly called, Writer’s Block. But this need not be a permanent state of being.
(If you are a writing your first novel, the first draft would mostly flow out. As is popularly said, everyone has atleast one story within them. Make the most of this beginner’s luck).
The most common reason for a block is not knowing enough about the subject you’re writing on. If it is fiction, then perhaps you are not completely clued in to your characters, their likes and dislikes and their propensities. Going deeper into their psyche could give you enough matter to break any blocks in your mind about them.
Yet another reason for the Block is not believing that you have a story to tell, especially when you read the books written by the writers whose writings you idolise.
But the fact is that if you felt within you a spark (to write a novel)that wanted to burn bright then that is a sure sign that your story is worth writing.
Sometimes the writer gets into the rut of misconception that every word that flows out of his pen into the page must be brilliant and final. Every writer knows that words have to be written and then re-written a number of times before they flow and you know you’ve got the best words that will work for you story. This is VERY HARD WORK. So avoid the self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviour which prevent you from writing, and blaming ‘Writer’s Block’ for it.
Stop thinking about what the world will think of your story, whether they will like it or not, whether they will approve of it or not, whether they will still respect you after you write your story or not (hey, do you really need such people in your life?).
Just write the words that excite you, that want to be written by you.
Write like no-one is going to be reading what you have written.
A practical way out of the Block is by free writing. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write whatever comes to mind about a subject of your choice, perhaps the character who’s causing you distress or even your story. Write uninhibitedly and soon you might find gems that could give you a breakthrough.
What are the methods you use to get over Writers Block?
DO YOU HAVE A WRITING BUDDY?
“Anything you do deeply is very lonely. There are many Zen students here, but the ones that are going deep are very lonely.”
“Are you lonely?” I asked him.
“Of course,” he answered. “But I do not let it toss me away. It is just loneliness.”
~ Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg.
Writing is a solitary pursuit. The visualization and the capturing of the inspirations and the impressions, all need to be done in quietude. But many times, we need a certain push that only another writer can understand and provide.
It is a proven fact that accountability can make the difference between the success and failure of a venture. Going on a diet? Going to take 10,000 steps daily? Going to write daily?
Accountability will make you feel like taking action even when you’d rather just watch television or surf the net.
These are buddies. Gym buddies, diet buddies, walking buddies, writing buddies.
Identify one such friend, or two. Whose writing strengths match yours. Then, fix up the time and amount of writing you will do.
It could be timed writing. Or even timed editing. Buddies remind you of your writing goals when you forget them. And they goad you to follow up on your promises you made to yourself and to others. They read what you’ve written. They tell you what is working and what isn’t. When they give a patient hearing to your ideas, the vision becomes clearer and the story becomes stronger. We can never be objective about our own writing. Our buddies point out to us our weaknesses, whether it a skewed POV or a rambling text or even a sequence of plot events which is implausible.
In the earlier days of publishing, editors at the publishing houses took on the role of writing buddy, in a way. Through encouragement and regular but constant goading, they ensured the writers completed writing their books. In fact, well-known Canadian author, Mark Anthony Jarman, in a writing workshop by Avid Learning held at the Kalaghoda Art Festival, revealed it was thanks to this unceasing badgering by his editor that he was able to complete writing most of his books.
Writing buddies are invaluable. If you don’t have one, you need to get one ASAP.
But remember, worthwhile relationships are never one-sided.
Will you be a great writing buddy, too?
Like I promised last week, here I am with some light to throw on PHYSICAL CREATIVITIES.
Ask hundred people the definition of creativity, almost eighty would say it is about “thinking out of the box”.
All this while one would have thought that this box referred to must be some hypothetical box, which one had to jump out of if one had a wish to be creative.
But what would happen if you were actually put inside a life-sized box? A sealed box. Bet you’d try all the creativity at your disposal to get out of that box. Besides of course, hammering on the sides with your fists, hoping SOMEBODY would hear you.
Jokes aside, according to research done, those outside the physical box scored more points on creativity, than those inside it.
Here are some ways in which physical actions can jog your creativity into higher gear:
Which is your favourite creativity-inducing physical activity?