Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"As Beautiful as Your Work!" Contest

Beauty, it is said, lies in the eyes of the beholder! As I behold my mother, Nalini Chandran, the beauty of the universe comes together, even as she lives life, queen-size, even at the age of 76. Do I feel this way because I fell in love with her, the day I opened my eyes for the first time, only to see her smiling down at me in wonder? Life was more vibrant when she was around, getting me ready for school, taking a history lesson where I was part of a rapt class, or moulding my nature to mirror hers as she made friends, with the ease of a butterfly drawing out honey from a willing flower!
She never preached, just led by example. Her home was always filled with friends who drew inspiration from her joie-de-vivre. A teacher all her life, she honed her skills, only to create a wonderful school, which started with six students and went on to take her home town by storm, as it took on her wonderful personality and made it its own. She loved being with children, as she turned into a child, gamboling with them like a frisky lamb. Yet she could be a lioness in her den with errant students or cursory teachers.
History and Literature were subjects which she adored! She took pains to make them come alive, as her silver tongue combined facts with trivia, and transported her students into a world of knowledge and pure fun. Whether it was the three witches in Macbeth or the advent of Mohenjo Daro, Nalini Miss, as she was universally called, would make it fun! No wonder, her students remembered her classes with fondness, years after they left school!
But that was not her only passion! “My students have to be citizens of the world!” she often declared. She made it her mission to instill ideas of etiquette and behaviour, soft skills as they are called today.  Respect to elders and honesty to the core were also part of her educational programme.  Her amazing sense of humour  and her outspokenness were also traits she shared with people, traits she loved to see in people around her.
The true beauty that we have seen in her, over the decades, is her zest for life that keeps her going. She can drop everything and decide to traipse around the country, with a crazy British friend, also a grandmother, and end up having adventures with gusto! Her heart is so large that she can be taken in by sob stories, and she loosens her purse strings with ease. Whatever the case, life can never be dull when she is around, and maybe that is exactly why her repertoire overflows with life experiences that could fill reams of paper! And maybe why  she shines on like a jewel,  even though she is unaware of her own lustre, a fact that endears her to many! May her tribe increase!

By Deepti Menon 

Mia, in the TV ad, embodies the true woman of substance. She is vibrant, confident and very much a woman of the world. Her Tanishq earrings go perfectly with her personality as they are fun, beautiful and eye catching, just as she herself is!

Real men trump celluloid heroes

Gone are the days when heroes in Hindi films ran after buxom heroines with coquettish pouts, dragging them down forcibly, and wooing them with typical caveman techniques, singing songs to kindle sparks in their fluttering hearts. Today’s macho man prefers to show off his six packs, and handle wicked villains with one flick of his arm, along with dialogues on orifices in the body. These men are unreal heroes, meant only for celluloid. Who is a real man in today’s world?
So much depends on upbringing. A man who abuses his wife, strikes and enslaves her will have sons made from the same mould. On the other hand, a man who adores his wife and does little things to keep her happy, and treats her with respect and love will father sons who grow up with the same values. The child is the father of the man, after all!
Real men do not think they are God’s gift to women. They appreciate their womenfolk, treat the elderly with reverence and love their fellow human beings, which brings to mind the wondrous poem Abou Ben Adhem.
Real men play sports and learn to win with honour and lose with grace. They work in tandem with others, without giving in to ugly rage which makes them lose their heads and resort to violence. Real men are never bullies, who start ugly fights with those weaker than themselves, and yet, turn into blubbering jelly when accosted by someone stronger. Real men can not only defend themselves, but those along with them, and always stand up for the truth.
Education and knowledge play a vital role in defining what one is, apart from one’s basic nature. These, along with generous doses of advice and grandma’s tales, go a long way in moulding the character of the young child. A boy who has a good moral grounding and a loving family will rarely go wrong in life.
The grown man is strong and tender at different times. He ensures that the women in his life realise their potential, and do well in whatever they want to do. His is the sturdy shoulder they lean on, but it is not unmanly to give in to grief and use their shoulders, in times of need.
Real men do not mind admitting that they enjoy churning out delicious dishes or buying groceries for home. They are ready to change diapers of babies at midnight or keep a hot water bag for their spouses who return home after a stressful day. A sense of humour can be a great ice-breaker. Little spats add to love, as long as they are not carried on till they turn serious. When things go awry, a really bad joke or a silly pun can bring back equanimity. A family that laughs together stays together. And a family that stays together will have men who care.
The key word in a great relationship has always been “respect” — towards every person who comes one’s way, chivalry towards women of all ages, and the realisation that every creature on earth has the right to live freely.

22nd July 2013 07:24 AM 
The New Indian Express

Master who Learnt from beggar, baul

28th July 2013 12:00 AM
Before becoming a household name, Sachin Dev Burman had become synonymous at the start of his journey with the Tippera flute, Tripura’s own instrument. So much so that for those who knew him “the haunting tunes of the flute in the dead of the night would convey the message far and wide: Sachin-karta was in town”!
Khagesh Dev Burman’s biography, translated from the Bengali version by the author and S K Chaudhuri, is filled with such delightful anecdotes and rich details of the legendary composer. It begins with a twist of circumstances, establishing S D Burman’s royal antecedents, and of how in the succession struggle that ensued, his father, Nabadwip Chandra, was deprived of his rightful due, the kingship of Tripura. As a result, he moved to his palatial home in Chartha, Comilla, where Sachin was born on October 1, 1906, the youngest of nine siblings. From the start he was surrounded by music. His father was a painter, sculptor and sitar player with an outstanding voice. His mother, Nirupama Devi, was from the royal family of Tripura and loved music and dance.
Sachin was deeply influenced by the two cultural streams of his lineage and the mysticism of folk music pervading Tripura. He once spoke of everyone in the Tripura palace singing – the king, the queen, the maids, the servants even. “Perhaps that is why I spent my entire life on songs and songs alone — music is my first love.” He imbibed the musical spirit of the common folk, breaking free of the palace culture to create a new tradition that would, one day, be revered. He started losing interest in studies, and was sent to Kumar Boarding at Agartala, and later Yusuf School back in Comilla, relieved that he could resume music lessons from his father, as well as roam around in rural Bengal, and “like a honeybee collecting and storing honey, build his collection of tunes and music”.
Sachin continued his quest for musical jewels, with no qualms about lessons from “the farmer and the boatman, the beggar and the baul, the fakir and the servant”, striding into film music to be one of the greatest.


  ‘Tales that Entail’ by Jaseena Backer is an anthology of stories that are hard-hitting and realistic. Right from the first story, the auth...