Monday, October 31, 2011


I recently saw my eight year old neice  in her Bharatha Natya outfit (clothes, jewels, makeup including makeup for eyes). She is a beautiful young kid who looks like any other eight year old in her usual clothes.
She however looked so much older when she had Bharath Natya gear on ! I simply did not like how old she looked ! She did look very pretty but so much older than her eight years !

Analyzing what contributed to her 'older' look, I find these things to be the culprits contributing to her aged look: The lines drawn around her eyes; the head jewels and her single plait(two plaits make a child look young while one plait, with central parting makes one look older); her Bharatha Natya  costume itself made her appear older as it is designed for a woman's body  than a child's; the oiled or gelled hair  under the burden of so many jewels such as the Chandra, Surya and the long thing on her parting in addition to the two pieces running along the two sides of her head ( I cannot find  names of these jewels on the internet !)

I wish the dance teachers of Indian dances made changes to the clothes worn by the dance students.  There has simply been no change or evolution to the Indian Classical  dance change in the clothes and jewels, no change in the music and also in the steps, since ......ever since I can remember i.e. at least 2-3 decades !

I have seen the changes and evolving of other dance types for example the dances which fuse eastern and western styles, eastern and western musical instruments, etc......but there seems to be no growth happening where Bharath Natya is concerned. Is it because the dance professionals believe that change is wrong? I do not know. But I wish they did change and incorporate the modern elements in the dance, music, clothes, make-up, themes, lyrics of the Bharatha Natya.

When I see little kids doing Bharatha Natya at various functions I clap dutifully at the end but I am not  really happy about so many aspects of the kids performances. It looks like the kids are performing very adult stuff especially some of the themes, stories and emotions depicted in the dances. It is not age appropriate and the little ones seem clueless about what they are doing(the emotions on their faces are all wrong or they are blank...especially the three and four year olds who perform on stages!)

I wish the Bharatha Natya dance Gurus came up with new dances and themes appropriate to the age of younger dancers i.e. kids. I also wish they changed the clothes and make up used on child dancers of Bharatha Natya.

My question to the Bharatha Natya Gurus is : Is change such a bad thing??? Does classical mean,  "To stagnate and never evolve"?

Some changes to the Bharatha Natya I can think of offhand, are :
  • If they could develop Bharath Natya  around themes which are contemperory, which  impart  modern values(such as gender equality, democracy, womens rights, etc) instead of continuing to dance to the age-old themes of  ancient mythology, Bharatha Natya  would be relevent and current today.
  • Instead of the exaggerated grimaces of the limited nava-rasas (i.e. 9 emotions) , they could incorporate a multitude of emotions, and express  in a subtle than the exaggerated styles of old!


How to justify Krishna's stealing butter (one of the Bharatha Natya dance themes) to a child dancer of Bharatha Natya and also tell the same child that stealing is wrong?  While Krishna's stealing can be understood in a meaningful and different light by an adult, why confuse a child by telling it this story when it is too young to understand or asking it to dance a dance, which glorifies Krishna's stealing?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books I cannot find in Goodwill Stores of Toronto:

Books I cannot find in Goodwill Stores of Toronto:
I swing between 2 opposite beliefs, depending on what is happening to me at the moment and I cannot have faith in one belief like most devout people. When things are going Good, I hardly think of God or thank him briefly. When things are not going right especially for my friends or family (NOT ME), I lose faith in God and wonder if he exists at all!
Similarly I sometimes believe that one can get any book one wants at the Goodwill stores,  if one is patient enough to wait until one finds the book at this store…….at other times, I believe that certain books will NEVER EVER come to Goodwill stores and one is better off, buying the book in a used book store or book store or online. ( I am convinced one can get ANY BOOK online, if one is willing to pay).
Some of the books I want and did not get in Goodwill are books by authors like Stuart.M.Kaminsky (the inspector Rostnikov series), Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallender series, Modesty Blaise graphic novels by Peter O Donnell, Phantom & Mandrake comics by Lee Falk, Beetle Bailey comics, Beau Peep comics, novels by Haruki Murakami. One also cannot find authors like James Hadley Chase, Fredrick H Christian and Oliver Strange, Enid Blyton, in Goodwill, Canada(or anywhere else too as these are not new authors; Christian & Strange are also out of print; Blyton is constantly reprinted while Chase has been recently reprinted)
I can understand not getting Beau Peep comics----they are old, no longer in print and from Britain which means it is difficult to get them in Canada.
I can understand not getting Modesty Blaise graphic novels in the Toronto Goodwill stores: these graphic novels  have only been recently  republished in book form and only a few people i.e. those above 40 years seem to be aware of this comic-strip.…as we read it in our childhood when it was a newspaper strip in the 70s. I am sure the buyers of these graphic novels buy to collect and do not dispose it at goodwill stores. The same reasoning goes for not finding Phantom & Mandrake comics and Beetle Bailey comics.
I din't know that its impossible to find James Hadley Chase, who seems to be unknown to Canadian readers, even in the past; I can understand that Enid Blyton was more popular in India and other British ruled countries than in Canada; Canada produced  it’s own authors of children books and they had no need to import Enid Blyton books from UK; I know that the Western books by Christian and Strange, are maybe a century old and one may not find those books today; that other Western authors may have been more popular in Canada than the two British authors who wrote westerns i.e. Christian & Strange.
I cannot understand why I cannot find novels of Murakami, Mankell and Kaminsky in Goodwill stores ! Mind you, I am not saying I did not find even one…I did find about 8 of Kurt Wallander series, 2 of Kaminsky, one of Murakami in Goodwill but I cannot understand why my collection is not complete, though I have been searching for these authors for over 2 years!
Maybe buyers of Murakami are "Murakami collectors'' or anyone who buys a Murakami, keeps it is worth keeping and re-reading ( I read in the news that his new novel sold more hard covers than Kindle editon as his fans want to feel & own the book than own or read it on  kindle!)
Some authors I rarely find in Toronto’s Goodwill stores are P.G.Wodehouse, Alistair Maclean( I find more Alistain Maclean than Wodehouse). I also find books on Greek mythology & English Mythology (i.e. King Arthur,etc) in Goodwill but not much of mythologies from other cultures. Sometimes, one will find Indian, Egyptian, Native Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Norse mythology books. But it can take years to have all mythologies in one’s collection, if one depends on Goodwill. One can buy books one wants more quickly in online stores,in  new book stores and at the private used book stores, but then, one has to pay more!
 I did however buy several good  & a few really amazing books at Goodwill for which I am very very grateful! Some books I  bought in Goodwill and really cherish  are:
  • A few comics such as The Wizard of Id, Calvin and Hobbes, Herman, Charlie Brown,
  • Complete works of authors I like such as Lawrence Sanders, Dick Francis, Martin Cruz Smith, Alistair Maclean, C.J.Sansom, Le Carr, Salman Rushdie, Agatha Christi,
  • Many classics which are like brand new, hard bound, with original illustrations, faux leather bound with gilt edged pages and book marks such as Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom’s cabin, Charles Dickens works, etc.
One really rare book I got at Goodwill include a new looking illustrated copy of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, which may be more than a hundred hears old(There is no date of publication) . I  also  got a wonderful biography of Oliver Sacks, called Uncle Tungsten.
February 2016: Goodwill stores in Toronto are closed since January 2016. This seems to be due to the gross mismanagement of funds at the management level. I am appalled by the disgusting behaviour, lack of ethics and work-skills of the management of Goodwill stores, which were helping so many people of Toronto. It was providing employment to many people who are now jobless; it was providing cheap affordable items to lakhs of people in Toronto; these stores helped to recycle things which would otherwise been wasted. SHAME ON THE MANAGEMENT OF GOODWILL STORES. SHAME ON THE CEO OF GOODWILL.

Chinese Sati Savitri in San Francisco!

Chinese Sati Savitri in San Francisco!
On my recent trip to San Francisco, I was strolling around China town and saw a sight which reminded me of the countless stories of ''Pati-vra-te's'' i.e. Sati Savitri type women my grandmother told me about when I was a kid.
I saw an old  man, who seemed to be Chinese and about 70 years old, walking  up a steep road, with his arms clasped behind his back. Two plastic tubes were running from his nostrils to somewhere behind him. My eyes followed the tubes running from his nose to .......a bag slung on an old lady's shoulders...she was walking slowly behind him  with the aid of a cane.  I assume she was his wife ; she was lugging his oxygen container in a shoulder bag and following  him!
I asked my husband if he would lug my oxygen tank if the need arises when I turned old. Just as  expected, he  laughingly refused and said, “No way! I will put you in an old age home and run away with a young lady”.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yosemite National Park, California

Been to Yosemite National Park in California last week. It was beautiful ! I saw great big granite mountains, waterfalls, huge Sequoia trees, meadows and a few deer. There was fog in the morning, covering areas of the mountains; a play of shadows and sunlight on the granite peaks…… black shadows in some valleys and golden sunlight covering some cliffs, it is an amazing sight and one could take a hundred different photos of the exact same spot, at different times of day, night and  weather conditions.
We drove up 7000 feet to see Glacier point. I was amazed to see snow and experience chilly weather  at Glacier point after experiencing about 20 degree Celsius just before we started the climb.
Saw a girl at Glacier point, who, inspite of a board warning people not to go to the edge of the cliff, jump easily and smoothly to the edge and sit there, doing all sorts of antics (going to the very edge, lying down, taking photos, standing). She was watched by me and other tourists, who were pretty annoyed with her and asked if she was crazy. One guy, felt so sick seeing her at the edge of the cliff, he went away, unable to bear the sight! Then she was joined by two young guys, who were prudent enough to avoid the very edge but one guy had more antics up his sleeve than her. He posed on his hands in a horizontal position near the cliff edge!
I loved the smell of .....I am not sure if it was..... grass or if it was the evergreens in Yosemite. It is an amazing smell and I cannot describe it better than that. The water falls too were amazing. We saw the mirror lake and I loved the hundreds of places where water flows by, hitting rocks, creating beautiful white waters. 
The forest fires , on the way to glacier point, had darkened the trees and the colours around us were rich and beautiful…..reddish brown trees, blackened trees, white snow, grey granite cliffs, the evergreens leaves, the grey clouds with silvery sunshine at times, golden sunshine at times and an amazingly coloured sky in the evening dusk. I could not take photos of several things I liked for many reasons….we could not stop or park as we are on a mountain road, light was not good, against the sun, electric wires getting in the photo, the eyes see what the camera cannot capture (like the water drops on the fir trees looking like diamonds to my eyes but just not capture-able by the camera!)
I hope to visit Yosemite again and climb to the top of Vernal falls. I dont think I have what it takes to climb the famous  half dome.......this granite mountain reminds me of the Madhugiri Betta in Madhuguri, Tumkur district of Karnataka, India.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Linwood Barclay

Hey guys!

I discovered a new writer....Linwood Barclay. Reading his 'Fear the worst' now and enjoying it.
Hope to read more by this writer soon. His books are crime fiction thrillers which  are fastpaced  and hold your attention.

And guess how I heard about this of my clients told me  ....I work in an organization for developmentally delayed clients and one of these clients told me! It makes me think..... Wow!....if my client could read and appreciate this, where would she be if she did not have this damned delay.

Every day I am surprised by my client's strengths and abilities. I am humbled by their strengths and courage and the way they deal with their lot.

Last walk at Sunnybrook park by the stables

Last walk because I can't take the mosquitoes.  I found this tree unusual... I dont know what these red berries are but th...