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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

As a student and practitioner of architecture, everything changed one day when a simple thing dawned on me: “Detailing” is the art-and-science of how one responds at the seams. It’s what you do when two different forms/ surfaces/ materials come together. This one act shapes everything, at every scale.

So also in my music, visual art, writing… and so also in life. (more…)

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When a life artist offers something (a book, a song, a forum, a fundraiser, a show, a scientific paper, a surgery, a product, a service…), I needn’t go out there to “give my support” or “check her out.” A life artist is freely** giving of his soul, not taking or needing of support. So if I’m going, I must go only to openly and fully receive the gift s/he offers. In so receiving — allowing myself to be seen and touched — I become generous and give something of myself too. Then giving and receiving become One, without transaction or even exchange.

** Something given freely doesn’t mean it’s free, it means the real gift is beyond tangibles; it is invaluable and priceless.

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220px-Namak_Halaal_1982_film_posterAlthough I am no expert on the history of Indian or Bengali cinema, like many of us, it has touched my life in innumerable, and many a times, in profound ways – whether as a creative person, as an active member of society, or simply as a human.

Film has a uniquely subliminal storytelling power; it can immerse and transport us in time and space in ways little other art can do.  And while on one end it can be sublime art, on the other end it can be crass, vapid entertainment. So when we consider the incredibly complex nature of Indian cinema – born in the wake of a ravaged political history, broken socio-economic structure, an incredibly complex cultural / religious palimpsest – it is a contradictory mix of deeply humane, relevant themes and incredibly misguided constructs projected on big screen to help millions in poverty or otherwise floundering despair escape for 2-3 hours into a world far from their own; and so, it is at best a questionable influence. But powerful it is. (more…)

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You are Michelangelo CoverWriter and filmmaker Ann Hedreen generously tagged me in an online writer’s blog series called The Next Big Thing. Ann is finishing up her poignant book Her Beautiful Brain, which is about her mother, who, renowned for her beautiful brain all her life, suddenly began to forget a lot…losing her mind to Alzheimer’s disease. You can read Ann’s responses to to the ten Next Big Thing Questions here. And here are mine:

1. What is your working title of your book?

You Are Michelangelo…And You Are David! Awakening the Creative and the Creation Within (more…)

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Personally having transcended constructs of identity, whether professional, vocational, social, cultural, or personal, and living in ‘creative being-ness,’ it is poignant that an opportunity presented itself, to reflect on the astitva of two extraordinary queens of history from the Indian subcontinent  – poetess and saint Meerabai, and warrior queen Laxmibai – and their relevance to modern day existence. In its most rudimentary form, astitva is often taken to mean ‘identity.’ But, in truth the word has complex meanings from its Sanskrit lineage, also connoting ‘existence,’ ‘is-ness,’ ‘being-ness,’ and so on.

Meerabai, the queen-turned- poet saint who (more…)

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my title Ten Avatars and the unexpected commotion it stirred in a particular audience. This time I’m writing about a different commotion, coming from the other end of the political spectrum. What the two stirrings have in common, though, is that they’re about a name, and all the staggering propriety that can often go with it. This time it’s about the name of what’s turning out to be quite a movement –  Yoni ki Baat (the South Asian adaptation of Vagina Monologues).

I have the honor of directing Seattle’s YKB, 2011. This means that I get to have a small hand in a big movement – be a catalyst for shaping dialogue, championing transformation, building community, creating  art.  (more…)

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In August, I was grateful to be invited to be a part of “India Day” in Bellevue, WA, to speak at the well-attended function, as well as hold a signing-and-sale event for my book Ten Avatars. Being part of this milieu gave me a new window into the wild diversity of what being “Indian” means, and more still, what being Indian in America means.

Throngs of Indians attended the cultural program and strolled through the various stalls that offered everything from crafts and jewelry to donation options and informational brochures for non-profit organizations. (more…)

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