While the dreaded but plebeian influenza virus wreaked havoc on my sinuses, I chanced upon a photograph taken on my birthday 5 years ago. This was one day after my appendics was yanked out of my left side, supposedly moments before it decided to screw it all and burst. As you can see, one of the side effects was inadvertently drawing a bevy of beautiful women to my side. Unfortunately, this was painfully temporary. Truthfully, the girls arrived just before the guys because they (the guys) were too busy taking a walk around the corner. As my gleeful expression has no doubt conveyed, for once in my life, I was glad I wasn't taking that walk with them. :)
As the tell-tale plumes of smoke dissipated in the 'green' tent, The Mad Professor was warming to the idea of being interviewed. He had just got off stage, after a set that got the groove going on the afternoon of day one. Dub, trip-hop, rap, reggae all mixed and mingled as the Professor spun his stuff with panache bordering on the disdainful as slightly distorted silhouettes of palm trees danced on the giant screen behind him. But he wasn't as he recalled his Indian connection in hometown Guyana, sneaking out of school with his buddies to watch Amitabh uncle's films. Neil Fraser got his moniker when he was a young lad, preferring to take apart radio sets rather than play a game of cricket on the beach. It was a quite an experience, chilling with the grand vizier of dub.
It's 2am. A car purrs up to the pavement furtively and doors are shut rather frantically. A man carries a little cradle, with a 6 month old baby. She is painfully tiny and rather sickly. His wife gone, he can't deal with this anymore. He opens the gate, trying not to cause a stir, lowers the infant into a swinging basket and rings the bell. There's no turning back now. He slinks away into the darkness, an engine is given life and that's that. For him.
For the baby, it has just begun. And this is just one story. There are hundreds more, behind each wistful smile, each stifled giggle, each lost gaze. The law doesn't permit me to put up my photos of the children, so I hope that those who chance by this are willing to imagine.
Ashraya's Children's Home has been responsible for turning many lost gazes into stifled giggles. Maybe someone out there can help them out in their tireless, happy endeavour. By visiting, passing on the information or contributing more. Read on at HUMANS FOR HUMANITY
The man resides within the man Inside a strong armour, cylinder shaped, Made of the five elements, designed of eight lotuses.
The power of yoga is his ornament, He resides in the muladhara; He journeys upward, he lights all the seven lights He illuminates the secret room within the man. --Gopla Khapa
Narayan Chandra Adhikari is 74 years old. He has been practising the art of Baul even before my parents were born. And yet, he still sings with as much gusto, still stalks the stage like a panther and still dances, the sound of his Nupurs dogging his every step. Here he's playing a version of the dotara that hails from the Bangladesh border.
Exactly 27 years ago my mom went out to get the morning paper and never set foot in her father's house as an unmarried woman again. My father, the slightly scruffy looking lad (look who's talking), was waiting in an ancient fiat with his friend to whisk her away into wedded bliss. The marriage took place at a close friend's house, while my mom's dad warmed up his shotgun (hot blooded army type with a heart of gold).
Well, that was long ago but they did celebrate their anniversary 2 days ago. Amma and Baba, a very happy anniversary to you and a saluation to your patient love. Keep smiling always.
Sheila Chandra is an anachronism. She spouts sarci tales about her life in her clipped British accent, while singing songs that are 400 hundred years old. Her modern jazz and pop sensibilities are strangely swirled with Indian classical and traditional Brit folk. The background music is wispy and floaty but her strong sensuous voice gives it weight, momentum and direction. After a couple of songs I noticed that all the men in the audience(me included) were gaping, mouths ajar, not the least bit salaciously but the way you would look at Audrey Hepburn, in abject admiration. She had this quality about her that transcended her genres or even her voice. It was magnetic. It was magical. It was Sheila Chandra.