Winter Solstice & Relationships

“Buddhism teaches that however passionate two people are at the start of their relationship, over the course of time the intensity of that feeling will fade and change. This is because romantic love is all too often a manifestation of the world of Rapture, which is, by definition, short-lived. The passing of the rapturous phase does not necessarily mean that the couple will have stopped loving each other – although some people think this is what has happened and can get very worried – but that other aspects of the Ten Worlds have come to the fore.

For example, through the rose-tinted spectacles of Rapture, Ms A is beguiled by Mr B’s easy-going charm. But as Rapture fades, as it must, she’s increasingly irritated by what she now sees as his laziness and refusal ever to take a stand on anything. In other words, the tranquility that attracted her has begun to repel her.

It is in this confrontation with the reality of two people living their daily life together that the wisdom of Buddhism once again reveals itself.”
– Soka Gakkai Buddhism

Happy Holidays. Much strength to transform poison into medicine to those who are struggling in relationship, with themselves, their chosen or not chosen families and friends.

This can be a triggering time, please take care of yourselves- if possible, not by isolation but through gaining some new tools on conflict resolution, sharing in community and working through triggers…atleast that’s what helps me.

Tasting

What stories do you feed your lovers?
The rice has been boiling,
for over a week now,

I’m waiting

You taste of an old memory,
a bowl of greens beside me
you tell me
a secret,

But the rice has been boiling
over a week now,

I’m waiting.

The starch has started
to stain my lips,
the water is turning dry,
What stories do you feed your lovers?

I’m waiting.

And I’ve moved again

Image

I’ve moved to another set of streets to discover. This time, it is raining, not snowing. The little coffee shops have turned into tinier one-hall-kitchens, the streetlights are dimmer and twilight has vanished into a sultry, soaking heat that reaches the very top of my head. Bombay is a busy, busy town and my children are busier.

Working in the field of drama-in-education is opening up new staircases in my mind. Let us see where this one goes.

A link to our network of drama educators:

http://theatreprofessionals.co.in/mainlinkcontent.php?catid=1

And I’m Not ‘The Teacher’

I’ve always loved children. The younger, the better, the more enjoyable to work with.

This April, a few parents trusted me when I said, ‘ I want to provide a space for your kids to go crazy on paper!’ And that is what I did- went crazy with them.

However, I find it depressing to note how early competition and the competitive spirit is cultivated in children. The good workers are repeatedly rewarded for ‘being good’ and the naughty ones, or the ones less focused are repeatedly scolded for ‘bad behavior’.

My attempt at conducting an art and drama workshop for young children ( aged 5 to 10 yrs) stemmed off of an Education project I had done at Srishti under the theme of ‘Theatre and Pedagogy’ using Forum Theatre, where the FT structure broke conventional classroom technique and pedagogical structure.

I wanted to find out if I could float a project on my own boat, my own ideas of pedagogy, which are quite different from those that children, even as young as 5 are used to at school.  My liberal, self-directed approach with minimal spoon feeding and more space for exploration was recieved with much delight in the beginning. But as the month progressed and functional problems propped up, like the division between the ‘serious art kids’ and the ones there to ‘be naughty’, the questions of ‘whose work is better?’, ‘ Is this beautiful art?’, ‘How can I learn to become the best artist, better than everyone else?’ and so on, it seemed as if the kids were conditioned to hear me punishing the naughty ones, throwing them out of the class and rewarding the one who did the best. One of the ‘good ones’ told me that they were disappointed to see that I had no form of punishment intact for those who distract the class.

In the classroom, I want to step way from this notion of good,better and best. I want to see children really using a space for as much independent thinking as possible. It seems, as if, in the Indian context, even in the alternate pedagogical structure, this functioning doesn’t come easy.

Here are some outcomes:

This mural was developed using the ‘box technique’ of making a rough cross hatch pattern of lines and drawing forms on it. The forms are then made to overlap with other forms and the mural gets divided into small squares or rectangles that each child can colour using different colors, materials and textures.

The objects came from a story that each child developed around the question, ‘What is the one thing most important to me?’

The Land Part with its birthday parties on a boat and multicolored fishes

Underwater

Stories under the sea were visualized. A flower making workshop lead to accessorizing the mini coral reef.

Some of the participants of the workshop posing with their name tags

A Dedication

On my birthday, a beautiful watercolored gift from a friend.

‘What is there to know
this is what it is
you and me alone
sheer simplicity’

Thank you, Kinshuk.

Visit him and his Kolored Kites here

This Thing I Feel, This Hungry Thing

Oil Pastel on Acrylic on Canvas

So I’ve been a part of a group that facilitates art workshops in prisons around the state of Michigan, as part of the PCAP project.

As an experience, of course, it has been incredibly enriching but more than that, it has been emotionally exhausting. By meeting inmates at such a close level, I not only found myself questioning the things I had taken for granted for myself, but also, found myself trying to imagine myself in their situation often.

How would I feel to be treated as almost inhuman? As an animal, all caged up and expecting to be corrected? We forget the reasons of crime and as a society enforce a punitive justice system that forces us to look at justice as revenge.

I painted, in response.  A poem by an inmate published in Judith Tannenbaum’s book of prison poetry and her experience titled ‘Disguised as a Poem’ , really appealed me to me and I decided to express that visually.

The poem by an inmate named ‘Elmo’, goes:

“How can I give this thing

a  name?

This thing inside of me

This thing I feel

It is a hungry thing

and my greatest fear

is that it wants to

consume me.

How do I fight this thing?

This crafty thing

which moves in and out of me

like a tide

moves through me

with the force of radiation

deadly but unseen

How shall I fight thins thing?

And how much of it shall remain

when the battle

is finally over?”

Ganesha is the destroyer of fear, of evil, we believe. Ganesha, the elephant God that frames the picture with butterfly wings behind him. Darkness suppresses, threatening to overtake in the sides.

I was deeply inspired by Judith Tannenbaum, the author of ‘A Place to Stand’. Highly recommend reading about her.

Bye Bye Ann Arbor! (For Now)

It has been one whole year and my stay in Ann Arbor is nearing an end.

As an ode to this city, and a goodbye to my friends, lovers, enemies and strangers who shaped my stay here, I am presenting little frames of mixed-media work.

For all those who are reading this in Ann Arbor, you just might receive one soon!

🙂

:):)

Mural Making at Ranga Shankara :)

I’m back in Bangalore for a bit and working at the theatre, Ranga Shankara.

As part of the AHA! International Theatre for Children Festival’11, I used Arzu Mistry’s mural making technique to facilitate a workshop, making murals with children aged between eight and thirteen.

Participants: Akhil, Asawari, Shishu, Mrinalini, Anush and Avni

This mural was created using the scaling up and scaling down properties of an overhead projector. The participants of the workshop were asked to create stencils on transparencies, on themes revolving around the elements of artwork for the AHA! International Theatre for Children Fest’11. Each participant was made to take their photograph on a webcam, which was connected to a projector and projected onto 9 foot long plywood. The image was then scaled up and down according to the composition visualized.The stencils were also traced and then overlapped to create a composition of black and white shapes.

Next, each shape was filled in with a different shade of a particular color. Groups of shapes were demarcated for different color families and this technique was followed to fill in the entire mural.

Memory Frames

To hug, to hold, to kiss

then breathe

She needs to be alone

inside that thought

is a melting pot

of connections

she could never make

Another time,

on another page

she will be lost

in time

in a memory

and a longing

to capture

what she can’t

find

Blue skies, sad skies, my skies


Taken with a Lomography Action Sampler

I looked outside

and saw my friends

blue eyed frosted cynics

inviting me in.

As they laughed and shook

their foreign heads

I asked,

Is the moment

more important

or the person?

Glass doors

they seemed opaque

but strangely

filtered some light in,

tiny streams

of yellow murky brown,

through the snow

of people

who belonged here.

More lomography? Find some here!