Illayaraja, appa and some nostalgia :)

Credit:tamilminus1.com

The Maestro, the Genius, the King of South Indian film music.. Music that makes people want to listen to every waking moment. Music that gets people through their life, through ups and downs, through love, joy, happiness, heartbreaks, death, loneliness. You name it and he has a song associated with it. Songs that will make you experience the emotion and get through them. Continue Reading

Chennai is flooded, so is love, compassion and humanity!

Every calamity in this world pains us and we always pray for things to get better. I was looking forward to starting off December on a happy note but it is disturbing to see my city being battered with rain. This has been happening for a few weeks now but somehow they got through it.
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The one this week seems especially bad and it is amazing to see the whole city helping out each other with flood relief,  distributing food, doctors ready to help out pregnant women and sick people, Google forms going around asking people to fill their details if they can accomodate the ones whose houses are flooded into theirs, cabs/autos/people with big cars scouting the city trying to rescue those stranded or whose vehicles stopped functioning.

I hope the city overcomes soon. Looking at all the humanity around, I am positive they will get through it. My prayers to the families who lost someone, who have been sick, whose houses are flooded and who escaped but have lost all their belongings in the water. I hope you find strength to overcome all this.
A special thanks to all personnel who have been working day and night to clear the roads, rescue crews, policemen, traffic inspectors and everyone else! Being far away , I owe you this for keeping my family, friends and fellow chennaiites safe.

So, if you are reading this and wish to help, this is what you can do. I, along with my friends were helping out those during relief measures on the ground last few days. We have a fundraiser set up in Milaap. We are personally verifying and distributing the funds to the volunteers who have been working hard the past week. The initial donations were made to help people and animals receive food. The current need is clothes, blankets, mosquito coils, sanitary needs and the long term plan is rehabilitation.

This is the link: https://milaap.org/campaigns/chennai-flood-relief

Please help us in fundraising and helping our city get back on its feet. Even $1 will go a long way at this point.

P.S: The biggest crib other than the fact that the roads have been constructed badly is that so-called national news channels did not cover the news about one of the major cities facing crisis. It’s okay newspeople , this motivated the whole city to connect with themselves using phones, social media hashtags, groups, hotlines etc etc. This proved that they don’t really need you to cover our city and update the. We have had amazing tweeters, bloggers, instagramers giving updates all day and helping Chenaiites.

Chennai to Broadway

I had been wanting to indulge in the “Broadway experience” for over a year now. With my roommate having raved about shows she saw, I was waiting for the opportunity. I did not have a particular show in mind and ended up buying tickets for the one which was available for the long weekend and that was fairly inexpensive. And that was “An American in Paris”. A post on why everyone should try to appreciate live stage performances or experience at-least one time in their life. No spoilers ahead!

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For those reading from India or particularly Chennai, where I come from (If not you can skip to the next paragraph). I grew up attending plays and dramas (dragged to by my dad!) of the leading artists such as Cho Ramasamy, S. Ve.Shekar, Y.Gee. Mahendra and Crazy Mohan and many others. They are all amazing stage artists with an amazing sense of humor and content filled with satire. Over the years I began to appreciate everything live, its organic , pure and even any flaws will make me sympathize with them rather than otherwise. Live music, plays, musicals, stand-up comedy – everytime I watched them I would imagine a hundred things that could go wrong from forgetting dialogues, bad make up to even a set falling down on an artist. Every time a team have a great performance, despite its content and quality it is an achievement just to have performed for few hours.  Not that I want to compare but film artists perform a few times on-set which is aired a thousand times on-screen while live artists have to act each time and are critiqued much more every single time. One bad performance or flaw and they lose ticket sales. Same with singers or dancers too. The reason why value live performers much much higher than those who sing only in studios or give recorded performances.

As I got into my late teenage years I began to appreciate English plays and Mummers in Chennai such as Evam, Madras Players and Unarviyam. Having had the privilege to be friends with the core team of Unarviyam, I got to work in public relations, be a critic , even a back stage professional for a brief period of time which taught me the struggles artists face and all the hard work that goes into it. You don’t just pay for a three hour performance but for months of script writing, hours of practice by actors, sound engineers, set designers, PR and many others. You are watching team work at its best.

And finally I got to watch THE BROADWAY!!! The most acclaimed place for live performing arts and my reaction was nothing but exhilaration. I watched it at one of the oldest theatre called Palace Theatre on Bradway ST, NYC. It was built in 1913 The theatre itself was a treat with palace like architecture.

An American in Paris, a true Broadway experience. If you ever get an opportunity to watch one do not miss it. As I mentioned before, the story and people will not be discussed but the experience. The sets were AMAZING!! I watched from the balcony so actually got to see people coming after every scene to set it. It was beautifully done with finesse and sometimes in rhythm with the music. It was absolutely flawless from an audience point of view. The live band played from below the stage. the dancers, the music , the acting, set designers, every single person deserved credit for giving us this experience. I can never do justice with words to describe it 🙂

So in conclusion, whichever part of the world you are, please appreciate performing arts around you and encourage artists. They do it to pay their bills but more for the art as well. In the end the standing ovation and an appreciative audience is what will make their day.

All images were used from the internet!

What is your favorite performing art? Or What was the last one you saw? Let me know!

Let’s talk about the cool Maamis and Mamas!

So you must have heard the youngsters crib about how the mamas and mamis are behind them asking their scores,
jobs, salary, marital status , birth control or the lack of it(!) and what not! I being one of those people, felt that I should also give credit to the cool mamas and maamis out there for diverting their energy into more cooler things other than somebody’s personal life :D. So here are a few I have observed around me:

The Chef maami

Amazing chef who doles out a variety of dishes and feeds her children and everyone else’s children all the time. Her goal is to make sure everyone is kshemam (happy/satisfied) by feeding. The latest version of her makes all traditional food healthy style by substituting rice with quinoa, brown rice, oil with olive oil and yet they taste amazing. And that might be a reason why her children have so many friends 😛

The Style maami

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Image created by sasank gopinathan

This is my bff’s mom. She loves shopping. It is not just for sarees or gold but for the latest trends. She shops for my friend to make sure she wears the latest trends out there (sigh! J) She also wears clothes that are fashionable and age appropriate. She sports sunglasses and tees. She travels and shops weather appropriate as well.

The Blogger mama

This mama blogs about everything under the sun on his blog. He has a wonderful command over English or a language of his choice. He knows history, philosophy, politics , business and sometimes even gives relationship advice.  He reaches out to everyone and has a fan following. He is progressive, wise and probably is his son/daughter’s best friend.

The Retro patti

This is mine (Proud!). .  Her advice to me when I was 22 was ” Study, travel and shape your own life.” When i was 24 was ” Find love, chuck horoscopes and be with the person who matches your heart not your horoscope” When I am 25, she follows all latest wedding trends on her tablet and emails me all updates 🙂 She cooks pasta and pizzas at home. She can make all smoothies you can think of. She bakes, knits and maintains a rooftop garden. (Happy tears)

The “Sports” thatha

This is mine as well..His exact words every time I call is “Hello my dear granddaughter”. He loves sports , watches all cricket and football matches aired on TV and has even pulled all-nighters. You will probably see him making a long conversation with someone only when it involves sports, gardening or something worthwhile and not someone’s personal life. He loves travelling with his significant other and wears tee-shirts that I get him. The last one I got him had a quip about beer on it 😛

The Gadget and Social Media Gurus

They have a smartphone, tablet or an iPad on them always. They tweet, Facebook and whatsapp. They follow their kids, nephews, nieces, kid’s friends and also create all kinds of whatsapp groups. They are tech savvy, know online etiquette (most of the time), connect with like minded people -be it religion, cooking or sports and know how to have a good time with gadgets. The only con is they sometimes tend to embarrass their kids by commenting inappropriately or update a personal message as a status instead of sending it personally. But once they cross the initial glitches they do work towards becoming pros.

So do you know any of the above kinds of aunties or uncles? Maybe a different kind? Let me know 😀