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Monday, December 5, 2016

Chale ?

Agar kahi mein gum ho jaau , to dhund lena mujhe
Magar usi waqt vapis aa jaane ki jidd Na kar baithna
Baithkar uus gumnaam jagah pe bagal mein mere
Shayad tum samajh paoge ,
Ki kyun aati hoon mein yahaan baar baar lagataar...
Iss gumshudi ke kohre mein khoye hue mujhe tum laut laana jab mein taiyyar ho jaau...
Shayad tum Kuch thik samajh paoge mujhe tab
Jab hum eksaath gum hone nikle

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Inhale...

BREATHE..... 
I love how places of worship create the perfect concoction of ambient comfort 
The temple... 
It's heady mix of flowers leaves , camphor, petals, dhoop , batti diyas, prashad, teerth laced with the tinkling sounds of bells and occassional arhythmic gong of the Ghanta
How could it ever go wrong???
A tad bit yes, if the mandir is of a celebrity idol like a Shirdi, Mahalaxmi or a Siddhivinayak and the lineage of superstar mega Gods
I always wanted to bottle this collective fragrance to take away with me for days when things go haywire to help recreate the feel good atmosphere...
I am intrigued at how I like the whiff of a fading diya until and after the moment it has completely extinguished , leading to a deep serious mellow fragrance...
Mind you its a different scent of a fading Oil lamp, ghee diya or a candle...
Wait and stand patiently until it blows off to witness the magic...
All three experiences uniquely alluring (at the cost of being labelled apshakuni mahila with weird fetishes like these)
I love the fizzy whiff a match exudes when it lights up.... ahhh... irreplaceable...
Had I been uneducated and unaware of the ecosystem, I d ignorantly light all matches of a match box smelling each burning match with equal awe...
The gas burner goes off on an occasionally windy day and folks run to the kitchen to extinguish it for safety... 
I wonder why men get down at the fuel stations and women sit back in the A/C ...
I on the other hand adore the heavy LPG, CNG, Diesel and other fuel smells...
Books? mmmmm.... can never get over the rustic old world vintage yielding smell of ancient hard covers with yellowing interiors, pages slowly breaking down with brown edges
And yes, I get a high while digging my nose right at the centre of a crisp new book copy, the fresh binding and karara texture....
Annnnnnd.... The whiff of the stud that works out beside me - irreplacable men's deo blended with testosteron... Killer!!!
I m a gym junkie myself, but one of the reasons to go to the gym, well of course are great smelling men with even greater bodies... win win situation!!! isn't it?
Our gym - house keeping mama has put up his cooking stove near our weight training area in a corner.
What a wicked tadka the man puts, oh boy... it is a punishment to keep pushing ourselves on the floor with his out of this world yummy dals khichadi and rassa's simmering a few feet away...
When he slow roasts his paranthas , you cringe while crunching your paunch in disbelief. 
How I d wish to offer him a cook's job in house!!! 
How can we forget the evergreen first shower of rains...
When rain makes love to earth to make it fertile and give birth...
I have got this one bottled though in the form of an Ittar called GIL.
Fresh Grass, dry grass, cut grass, lemon grass... well, any weed smells great! even the rockers would agree!!!
The old school favorites, Mogra,Chameli, Juhi, Raatrani, Rajnigandha...all the white flowers!
And  Soan champa's intense orgasmic fragrance, Genda phools festive whiff...
However, I dont like Roses of any kind. I feel they are tad bit over-rated...
I love the Jasmine oil and Ubtan smell of Diwali and the Browny, truty fruity, rum and Vanilla enfused Christmas and Khus entwined with Firdaus perfumed  Eid...
I love the way Hindu's serve their ghee laden banana sheera at satyanarayan puja's and the Muslim streets enlightened with out of this world smelling kebabs on the street corners, the dhabbas with authentic punjabi tadkas and the Thelas with divine jalebi's and malpuas... 
I hate spas that lure clients with Chocolate or coffee wraps, we might as well eat what we want and flaunt it on our faces and thighs instead of putting it on our skin... 
Secretly I ve tried both on skin at home.... it doesn't work... you end up licking yourself with shame...
The smell of first Hapus of the season... anyone???
The Sizzling browny after the yoko sizzlers???
The cheese that melts on top of nachos with salsa beside your seat in the theatre at the same day you have planned to eat clean???
The crispy deep fried chinese starters at a weekday wedding when it is NOT YOUR CHEAT EAT  DAY???
The unbelievable dollop of Ghee that is undisputedly laden on dal dhokli by your Gujju aunt??? 
These smells are eternally irreplacable...
You know what I like more.... the moment when a baby is unswaddled to check its diaper after a post bath nap....
The Johnson and Johnson with the dudh malai besan haldi on their tender skin..... Divine! 
I have always planned to have many babies just because I d like to smell them after their bath...
I know I am weird, don't give me those looks...
The Southern smells.... The pure mysore sandal soap , the chandan agarbattis , the rassam, sambhar, avial and the coconut oil banana chips with payasamn on a banana leaf.... 
I wanted to marry a mallu, a tam bram, a keralite, just for this.... Yes, yes roll your eyes!!!
The eau-de-cologne reminds me of cold strips of chilling water on my hot forehead while having fever... 
I have fond memories of falling ill, not because I am a sadist but because cologne smells lovely on a sick day!!! 
Talking of smells, pop corn and samosa aroma in theatre if nullified would never make the ambience set for watching a feature film...
The batata vadas in interval of a Marathi Natak are a must.... the garlicy eew to a few.... But thats how  Marathi Rangbhumi is set.... 
The whiff of butter franky at shivaji park and Paav bhaji at Canon, Sardar or Gypsy is world famous!!!
Going off food, people, I like Odonil cakes in wardrobes and napthaline balls in bathrooms too!
I love the phenyl, dettol , lizol, Glass cleaners and detergents, freshly washed moist clothes, squeakily crisp clean dried clothes, brand new linen... starched cottons, organic handlooms.... aaaaahhh....
The smell of ointment and balms... Vicks , Iodex, Amrutanjan, Zandu , Tiger... blissful!!!
The smell of Elizabeth Arden , 5 th Avenue , White Diamond perfume on women and CK Obsession and Davidoff on men.... ufff...
The smell of old spice or denim aftershave on my grandpa with a Brut spray on his shirt is a fond memory...
Smell of my nani's old saree turned into the softest rajai is a staple to sleep... 
The whiff of fresh minty breath and maybe musk on an approaching kiss is irresistable....
The smell of cuban cigar with live jazz playing on the background of a dusky campfire in an open grassland is a dream... 
Warm hands and a warmer hug on a chilling night under a star encrusted sky with foresty smell is a yearning....
The whiffs, the puffs, the aromas, the perfumes, the fragrances...
The way he tastes on my tongue resulting in a deep inhalation that can never be described in words, the entwine and intermingling is the best anticipation I've ever had...
An olfactory bliss...is this...



Friday, November 18, 2016

Kingdom across

For the first time ever
I tried to hold the ground
With my hands literally....
Lying flat on sand, mud, rocks and grass
Trying to get what I could
Seep, sink, absorb, nourish
All in my pores that kept it moist
Deep within....
The cool warmth reached
In waves of flourishing nurture
I felt the moment in my centre
Miniscule energy soared
Cells swollen, sprouting covered
Life made its presence felt
There was hope, movement, joy
There was some red and green on me
It takes time to happen I was told
I waited to see it unfold
I saw the rays that enveloped...
But suddenly there was storm....
Strong blow, whip, snap, flutter, flip
I was weakly held by my black mum
Her womb though able
I wasn't 
And then a blow flew me off her chest....
Right to a gutter of sluggish mute
I whispered with faint beats
The last trinkets of life within....
My call was heard...
His hand I saw...
He picked me up...
Held me close....
I was dim, damaged and lame
He dipped me in the fluid of purity
Washing clean my tarnished bod
Placed me in a cosy pot of brown...
Looked over me with gentle concern....
I layed... I just had to be...
Everything else was taken care of...
I rooted and shooted and sprouted and spruced...
He replanted me in open when I was strong...
I grew I budded, I branched, I rose...
I held high I bore flowers n fruit...
I gave shade, I fed, I was support
I felt better by the years....
I wanted to find out who he was...
Where he came from and about his role
His touch I still feel in the delicate inner core....
I shiver on windy nights
Not because I cannot sustain...
But imagining what it could have been...
How I wished that he was near...
and I knew that he was dear...
I longed to see him and to have him hug my bark
To make me feel at home again...
I keep searching for him in faces of all that pass
One by one, day by day...
I hope he revisits me on my last
To make the journey as memorable on the other side...
I wish him to be my final face...
I am blessed and so is he....
Till time comes when the giver the taker both become trees....
All this while I have'nt spoken a word
I have given my best and all
Accepted what nature readily gave me to thrive
I crave for just one thing....
Him....
I wish I could scream and yell out my wish to one and all...
No but we are'nt supposed to want 
We aren't supposed to say
I was happy giving anyway....
One day as I saw my roots cut to bring me down....
I wondered if I could ever see him again...
Finally I blushed in sorrow....
As I came to know....
They are taking me...
To cremate his lifeless body...
As we both Ignited in flames
Burning together our physical last
I saw his light way above
With open arms and a wonderful heart...
My light rose high and met him there
There was a union of sorts in the air....
The fused energy reached a level of vibe
Where we were welcomed by our tribe
It was where we were told a tale
From then onwards I ve never felt frail
Now we were one me and he
And this is the what they call
'Being free'....
- Prajakta Sathe

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Starved

Petals and bullets
whipped icing of Harp 
pretending to know the works by heart
club sandwich of him her and it
Love and longing shredded to bits
Some like their sandwiches open 
A few cut them through 
Others dip them in mayoexpect drab
In hunger they searched 
Found frantic tadka in bags 
Swords on plates which were
Found and never lost 
By night there was air in the whiffs
Of fried meat flung across the cliffs
Famished hawks jumping over the waste
Urge in wings lust in taste
He and she holding on to it's now
Dancing their way to the final bow
Three shots one hit 
Nothing crashed 
Two missed bullets
Rolling down the slope 
Landing in plates 
Of Duds with hope 
Yes love makes noise 
No it isn't immune to death 
By dawn we will be swollen and raw 
Cooking the imagine on mellow Simmer and stir with our paw
We will cuss, shudder while pounding the grain
Aborting the outstation 
Off the kissing train 

- Prajakta Sathe.

Quad

They got a chance much early in life
to experience the forbidden rare
He and him though detached 
Making most of the equation in dare 
Laying Silently on bed that night
He recalled the moment and blushed
The noon after 
His him used it as an inspiration 
To muffle up the courage 
To ask his crush out that night

Spring festival
The wasp chooses a new flower
Unbreeding polygamy

- Prajakta Sathe.

Rein-dear

Christmas eve
fairy lights
snowflakes on my ice lollies
Numb tongue with cheerful hue
Spring in the step with my giggling crew
Polka ribbons and girly dresses
Hands in hands and careless tresses
A boy, an uncle , a man , a stranger
Walking past us with an unobtrusive gait 
One stop and we turn around 
To see them watch us like a bait
What happened? we thought...
why us? why now?
What's different, What's new?
We asked ourselves as the dusk birds flew
And then she squeezed my hand with fright
Her eyes drawing down to the sight
Two spots ; a bright and a faded dark 
Blotted beneath to stay and stark
Shock, disbelief, confusion, fear
Covering walking clenching till our house came near
Last mile and we run like galloping dames
Panting and ranting to motherly claims
Cleaned and shielded and dressed anew 
How I wish that night if our childhood knew
That innocence percolated 
Through layers of shammy cotton 
Draining my babyness to seep and rotten
Dropping freedom and childlike gaze 
Into whims moods and a stripling phase
Wonderment, fearlessness, spontaneity all dropped
Anxious zits cryfully popped 
Curves and hair and a thumpounding heart 
Fashion mags, clearasil and tampons in cart 
Teasing and crushes and boys that stare 
Asking out , dates and a kiss that was rare
Making a lady out of a girl that was me
This was how the little one managed to flee
Now Santa was a man 
I d never sit on his lap 
Looking at his carriage
In my nervous juvenile gift wrap


- Prajakta Sathe.




Gasp

Over the extremes 
When I fancy the dark , the darker 
And the not so dark
The night crumbles like hot vanilla cookies straight out of the oven of
sensuous cravings
The night invites me
To embed my mouth in its arms 
To hold my breath till I can no longer sustain
Smelling the musk drops in its pit 
Laying still as it engorges me with its vibes 
And we begin to resonate in the sorbet of crushed ice of feelings 
That soothe and sting into a comforting null 
I and it meld into the fading black 
The loop is on
Rivets continue to pound the marks of relish with precision 
The pain satisfies the union 
It's face keeps changing with the myriad of a howling pack 
Surge creates patterns in wilderness
Outs applaud 
Some outs aspire to bask 
Some refuse to be uprooted 
Others run off 
I stay put 
Enjoying the layers of pseudo bubble popping 
In broad daylight

- Prajakta Sathe

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kathak Symposium synopsis and Afterthoughts.

21st September 2016 was spent at the breathtakingly lush green campus of IIT Powai where one of its kind Kathak Symposium was organised by a senior Kathak Exponent and my gurubhagini Smt. Ranjana Phadke. I was accompanied to this by one of my Senior Kathak Graduation Student. As we entered the venue we were presented with a very warm welcome by the traditionally saree clad volunteer girls and Dressed dapper in Kurta Boys. A huge Sanskaar bharati Rangoli adorned the Auditorium Gate. As we confirmed our registerations, we were welcomed in for a scrumptious south Indian steaming hot Breakfast and Tea Coffee. Post that we ventured into the Auditorium , it was decked up with fresh flowers near the podium with a serene Natraj statue stood enthralling everyones attention. The seats were first come first served basis however the digniteries occupied front few rows. The seating arrangement of this place is incredibly well formed and the stage is easily visible from anywhere from within.
The symposium started with a tribute to the greatest Kathak Legends 
Madam Menaka
Dr. Damayanti Joshi
Guru Roshan Kumariji
Guru Madhurita Sarangji
Guru Sitara Deviji 
Pt, Natraj Gopikrishnaji
Pandita Rohini Bhateji 
Guru Ashatai Joglekarji

The very first session started with a unique combination of speakers on stage.
Four Kathak Gurus representing their respective Kathak gharanas
Guru Ganesh Hiralalji - Jaipur Gharana
Guru Sunaina Hazarilalji - Benaras Gharana
Guru Uma Dograji - Lucknow Gharana
Dr, Rajkumar Ketkar - Padmashree Natraj Gopikrishna Nrutyashaili

Inviting and  collaborating such a dynamic combination on stage was a rarity and equally a risk. However as great as their names, the conversation was on a very cordial level where each Guru shared his or her experience without intruding on each others space. 

Guru Ganesh Hiralalji has crossed 90 , but his sense of humor and his readiness to accept new concepts theories and respecting other gharanas and Gurus is incredible. He explained in detail as to what kind of Impact a Solo performance has on the audience of thousands. One look and an adakari results in hypnotizing a full stadium full of spectators and Rasiks. 
Guru Ganesh Hiralalji mentioned his journey from Delhi to Calcutta and finally Mumbai, he also mentioned the routine of Training, Riyaz and Teaching in his times. He mentioned the emergence of very first schools of Dance back in that Era which were Triveni School, Damayanti Joshiji's school, Mathur Bhatia School, Rama Rao school and many more. He mentioned the impact of Pt. Durgalalji and Pt. Sunderprasadji on the progress of Jaipur Gharana. 

Dr. Sunaina Hazarilalji spoke about her journey in Kathak and about how it has changed from times back then and now... She believes that it has indeed changed immensely. She found the use of Hindi, Bhojpuri, Mithili, Brij and Sanskrit in Kathak very unique and easier to adapt. 


She commented on how technology has made it easier, students take snapshots of todas n tukdas, shoot composition padhants and choreography and take away back home... Today maybe dancers need contacts to come ahead, she expressed her concerns. Kathak was primarily a solo dance then how has it turned into a group dance? she asked. She also raised her doubts about the capacity of a group to tell a story as effectively as a solo performer. Dr. Sunaina ji was upset about the preference that group dancers get over solo dancers and also stated that the Lyrical beauty in it has disappeared due to dance happening on pakhavaj and tabla bols instead of Natvari and Nrityangi Bols. Taal compositions have to be made according to its 'aang' where in the intonation, accents, recitation have to be carefully rendered by the artist which seldom happens. The performance has come down to about 30 mins with just about 7-8 mins given to abhinaya ang which is something which isnt taking the essence of kathak ahead. She stated the importance of attending live performances more often and underlined the fact that the Dancer is never bigger than the dance form and the character should overtake the dancers personality.

A new trend of participation fees for a Kathak performance and show has been prevalent. Students graduate in a matter of less than a decade and start teaching right away. Is this going to pose a threat to creating a new set of less competent non tayyar dancers? One of the very first and common questions that a parent or a student who is about to join a kathak class is "when would the first show be?" This lead to a hilarious uproar among the artist audience.

 Benaras gharana was initially also known as the Janakiprasad Gharana. Tales of compositions been given among the families of Kathakaars in Dowry are still prevalent. Janakiprasad initially from Bikaner was coaxed by the Queen to travel to Benaras where he was told that his art would flourish, The beauty of Natvari Bols where Ghungroos are considered as the pure percussion creator and bols like 'Ta Thai/ Dig Dig/ Tharr' are used and not Tabla inspired bols. Use of exclusive Natvari bols is a forte of Benaras Gharana.


Dance existed even before Krishna and Shiva, so why the Gharanas have been brought up? Artists must think about just progression of their Art and nothing more. The topic about Kathak Kendra came up and memories about Acchan Maharajji, Reba Vidyarthiji, Pt. Birju Maharajji, Kundanlalji came up by Uma Dograji. She fondly recollects the fact that Pt. Durgalalji asked her to take the permission of her earlier Guru Pt. Birju Maharajji before she joined him. In those days it was mandatory to learn either pakhawaj or tabla, Harmonium/Vocal and Yoga when any student joined to learn Kathak. Rebaji and Umaji then performed in many productions of Kathak Kendra like Kumar Sambhav, Malati Madhav etc.

Umaji used to practice along with other disciples of Durgalalji from 9 am to 2 pm and then again from 4.00 pm to 7.30 pm every day. She also shared a memory where she along with her classmates from Kathak Kendra started their Riyaz early in the morning and Guru Durgalalji forgot about them and suddenly remembered at 4.30 about them. He was so touched by their dedication that he took all of them to eat out. The students were asked to practice in a room filled up with sand on Sundays. She emotionally shared precious details as to what all her Guru taught her beyond Kathak, cooking, Ironing, Stitching. He also taught her Padhant in a form which rarely is taught now a days 'the emphasis on the terks, the force, the chalan , the chand'


Dr. Rajkumar Ketkar shared his journey with his Guru Padmashri Natraj Gopi Krishnaji. Sukhadev Maharajji  has described almost 1600 Nayikas. Ketkarji emphasised on the importance of Laya Taal and Sur on the foundation so as to create Tikaav and patience in the carving of an artist.
We dispersed for a satiating Lunch at around 1.45 p.m. and resumed the second session by 2.20 p.m. Noon session was conducted alongwith Paulami Mukerjiji, Jayantimalaji, Mauli Dasji and Keka Sinhaji.

Jayantimalaji recollected the tug of war between Sukhdevmaharajji
(tabla maestro), Alaknandaji (Gopikrishnaji's mother) and Sitaradeviji (her mother) in the same family as to how to make little Jayantiji dance Kathak in a particular way. All stalwards in Kathak and seasoned performers, Jayantimalaji was blessed to be born in an artistic family. Her father stayed in an Artist colony in Benaras however he was force shifted by the Britishers to a place called 'Godalia' right in the middle of a market. He started a school called 'Radha Krishna Vidyalaya' there. At that time only men used to dance, however he taught his Daughters too. So the Britishers came to test. Hence Chaube Maharajji and Pade Maharajji accompanied the three daughters Tara Sitara and Alaknanda on instruments and padhant, Curtains were made of the household textiles and the sibling trio performed Kaliya Mardan , Draupadi Cheerharan and also performed Mahabharat on Shadow play. The DIG was mighty impressed with the performance and was rest assured that what was practiced in the house was pure art and nothing beyond that.


Then they travelled to Calcutta and Rabindranath Tagore saw young Sitaradeviji perform for a function at Shimla House. He was so mesemerised with her art that he bestowed her with the title 'Kathak Samradnyee' Sukhadev Maharajji's cousins Acchan maharaj (laay specialist), Lacchu Maharaj (Bhaav specialist) and Shambhu Maharaj (Performer) all taught Sitaradeviji. Her much acclaimed Snake Dance from the film Anjali was showcased in the session. Jayantimalaji is the 9th generation of Kathak performers in Benaras Gharana, the 10 th generation taken forward by Vishal Krishnaji. She calls her's a 'sangeetadnya family'. We then saw a few curated pieces of work by Sitaradeviji specially the 'Snake Dance' from the film 'Anjali'.


Then Renu Sharmaji spoke about Lucknow Gharana right from the time of Acchan Maharaj and Vikramsinghji along with the momories of 'chandrawali ballet'. She got nostalgic about her time in the Hostel where the time slots were peacefully shared by her contemporaries for the Riyaz Room sharing. She stated that once the piece is taught the Guru's duty is done with, then the responsibilitey lies over the shoulders and feet and body and hands and soul of the student 'jab tak wo rag rag mein samakar jehen mein na utar jaaye'. She suggested students to become 'mediums - maadhyams'

Mauli Das ji then took over the microphone sharing her memories by her Guru Damayanti Joshiji. 
There were three Dancers in those times that were at the headfront Damayantiji (Disciple of Shambhu Maharajji) , Bela Arnab (Disciple of Lacchu Maharajji) , Maya Chatterjee (Lucknow Gharana). Damayanti Joshi ji was a performer but not a teacher. She taught how to learn through observation via the steps 'Najar dekhna, Seekhna, Parakhna' apart from the Teachnique. She (Damayantiji) was a performer who could elaborate and perform 'Thaat' for 45 mins straight. 

Next Keka Sinhaji communicated with the audience about the Legacy of Shambhu Maharajji who was instrumental in shaping some phenomenal artists like Parimal Krishna ji (Disciple of Ram Gopal Krishna ji) her first Guru, Reba Vidyarthiji her second Guru and Vandanaji her third Guru, She spoke about the importance of allignment in Dance where the dancer may be asked at any point to stop dancing and freeze, the resulting stance MUST be visually aesthetic, she also spoke about the importance of filling in the gaps between two 'Bols'. 


The panel discussed about an incredible artist that Late Bireshwar Gautam was, trained under Damayantiji and Gopiji and how he was known for intricately utilising the time between two beats. About how the neck and the spine moved like a 'dori' inan utmost delicate pattern laced with an even subtle beauty of 'kasak- masak'. The importance of 'riyaz' was also explained by Jayantimalaji with examples of three Gurus Tara mausi , Sitara amma and Chaube maharaj in her own home humourously creating a chaos of sweet confusion of influences at her young age, They also agreed upon how the community can stand up for each other strongly resolving the differences between them for the ultimate good of the art that Kathak is. 

 Paulami Mukerjee's founder and faculty of Bharata College Of Performing Arts gave a presentation on Kathak NrityaDarpana was short crisp, however I wanted to hear more and the time ran fast when we had to take a break for Lunch. Her words still ring in my mind about how anyone who teaches us even for a day becomes our father for a lifetime. 

The Lunch was piping hot, tasty and in a conveniently open spaced setting where we could intermingle and talk around with fellow participants and have sharing of sorts. Lunch time dragged a bit allowing us to go through a book exhibit near the stage arranged for participant viewing. 
Post Lunch session started on a high energy note hosted by younger artists hosted by Aditi Bhagwat who interacted with Sanjukta Wagh, Ayan Baneerjee and Sunil Sunkara.


 Sanjukta (disciple of Rajeshree Shirkeji) spoke about the permutation and combination of Form and Approach. She gave example of how poems of a few artists were performed on varient Jaatis in Kathak. She spoke about working across forms through Dance , Literature, Music, Art by the artists in an Interdisciplinary approach in a higher perspective of performing arts context Kathak as a strong medium with a capacity to become a language, She also elaborated on the concept of having the classical form interpreted in a contemporary approach and vice versa. She used the term having your roots in your mother dance form and yet being comfortable in the no man's land when it circulates in and out of your system. Kathak being assimillative of Kathakaars, Nazakat of Darbar Tradition , Influences Of Ballet and yet come forth as having its strong unique individuality. 


There was a quick informative sessions where Nutan Patwardhanji and Sheetal Kapole read out their writeups about Examinations and Evaluation in Kathak. Preeti Valunjkar, Nalini Bhavsar and Jonaki Raghavan then engaged in a talk with Medha Diwekar about Career options in Kathak. This was followed by a quick brush through module on Lights Music and Makeup by Puja Pant, Smriti Talpadeji and Richa Shrivastav. Dr. Tina Tambe, Rajeshri Shirke and Varada Pandit spoke about research in this field. A quick vote of thanks and photographs marked the end of this fabulous day, 


The essence of this Symposium in my understanding would be that Dance is what? It is a spectacle, it entertains, it communicates, it Transforms, its a play of sound and space, it is action , it is meditative , it is self indulgent , it is a Dream, it is Breath. Making dance a burden or a buddy is in our hands, it is a craft and everything is technique ; however how you use it and where makes become a narrative. More power to you Ranjana tai and team.
Having said that I would conclude this article by saying As a practitioner , performer, dancer, artist and a teacher of Kathak I would say that it won't matter how you move however it is pretty damn interesting to know WHAT moves you? Amen to that. 


- Prajakta Sathe. 










Huge spoilers on messenger

1) Pinging as soon as the friend request is accepted
2) Pinging at any hour of the day (read post 10 p.m.)
3) Constantly greeting Good morning
Good afternoon Good evening Goodnight
4) Incessantly pinging Hii for no reason. 
5) Asking personal questions like 
'khana khaya?'
'aaj jaldi uthe?'
'Itne jaldi sote ho?'
'kay karteys?'
6) Addressing acquaintances or someone you have never met before as HI DEAR...
7) Feeling offended when there is no reply/ expectations of a response at any hour and for irrelevant things.
8) Asking about marital status upfront...
9) Asking for contact number...
10) Speaking in a language that one isn't comfortable with... An absolute turn off.... 
11) Mass tagging us in Irrelevant posts.

- How does it matter? We have a standard reply to new acquaintances about our name profession and a brief about our family when needed. 
This must suffice.
Rest of the information is always on our profiles. Unless there is any professional proposition why in the world do people have the audacity to enter personal private spaces of each other. 
Live n let live... 
Respect each other's comfort zones.
Social networking for professional interests does exist. 
Unfriending / Blocking are options yes... However much could be achieved if there were social networking etiquettes followed!!!

Unless one knows how to handle intruders of sanctity, one may become a victim of messenger bombardment.
Assertiveness is a virtue!!! Do not chose to be a victim....

Arrrrrgh.....


It was not the best ever kind of a day in the morning. 

I was all sleepy and dreary... Had my doubts about going all the way and pushing myself giving my best during the daily workout. 
Nevertheless dragged myself to the gym and my trainer comes up with a surprise! We ll again do legs today. 
I am like - Really???? 
But Trainer's wish is my command! 
Started working out...
As the Sets passed I started feeling better 
As the reps increases I was happier 
As the plates increased I was more excited!!!
This continued till I listened to every bit that he asked me to do and both of us were pleasantly surprised since I had surpassed the threshold we had expected for the day... 
As I stretched myself after most exhilarating hour and a half, I got calmer and more confident and felt 10 times more energetic than when I started. 
The post workout mood high stays at peak for many hours and lends a glow which is difficult to miss
Cheers to all those who hate the leg day @gym but go for it nevertheless... Those 90 mins of torture lead to hours of blissful sweet pain through the rest of the weekend. Soreness is a constant reminder of what you were capable of and what is yet to be achieved... Week after week as the reps, the plates on the bar and/or the Sets increase... We get stronger , better than we used to be... But the crux lies in the NOW... Actions will lead to results not plans...
Adrenaline pumping...
Endorphins gushed...
Red in face...
Walking with an ouch...
Workouts Rock!!!

A better world is waiting on the other side...


 :)


Unusual random...


Its not an unusual story... 
A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE that happened around me...
They are a nuclear family of three.
Husband in an MNC , wife self employed and a preschool Daughter.
Husband spends long hours at work (read more than 12) every single day and even logs in over the weekend.
He says he has a high pressure job.
He says that he needs to maintain their standard of living
In the hope of getting a better appraisal and an increment he finds himself on his officially online mark 24X7
He leaves home at 9 am and returns anytime after 10 pm
It could be a 13 , 14 , 15, 16... work hours in a day....
He says he doesn't find to even have his meals on time.
He eats his breakfast at lunch hour (stays hungry till then)
Skips lunch and has a direct late night dinner sitting on home couch in front of the Television and directly goes to bed without any movement post dinner.
Physical activity ZERO... 
Spends weekends LYING ON THE BED with Laptop in front for most part of the day getting up just to eat and to catch up with sleep in the noon. 
He spends some time reading out to his daughter or teaching her how to skip or play basketball (read 1 hour)
He has NO REAL FRIENDS, NO HOBBIES, NO SOCIAL LIFE.
He loves sports, news and movies.
He takes out his wife n daughter out for a meal or a movie once in a while. 
He never looks in the eye when he talks with his wife.
He is surfing net , watching short films or shopping online for the most part of the weekend when he has logged in for work on one hand and appears occupied.
He aspires to have a fleeting career and can put in whatever is needed...
His wife has accepted this as a way of life, of him being unavailable... 
She loves her work and taking care of their daughter and looking after the house...
She has many friends (for real) She socializes well.
She keeps busy updating herself in her work field
She keeps fit eats clean and makes sure her daughter does the same too
Just that the daughter misses her dad much
She has bouts of crying for reasons which are far deeper than anxiety
She yearns for her dad
No matter how well she tries, her mother can naturally not fill the gap of a father...
This was is personal struggle for both the mom and her daughter to try and fill their voids...
The daughter never sees her dad in the week since her dad always comes from office after she sleeps and she leaves for school before he wakes up...
There is NO COMMUNICATION, NO SHARING, NO INTERACTION, NO COMPANY ...
Kids need to see happy dynamics between their parents to grow up as healthy adults.
She can see none of that...
His late nights disrupt sleep cycles of his wife and daughter.
With a heavy heart but an assertive tone the wife took a decision to keep food ready in the kitchen and bed ready in the other bedroom for the Husband. 
For the sake of better working health schedules of at least two family members, this was good decision.
This lead to a leeway to the husband to come as late as he wanted and then watch TV or surf till wee hours and sleep whenever he fancied...
He never felt there is a problem...
for him it is all good...
Intimacy ZERO... (bothers the couple)
What is work life balance???
He will grow well, earn well, get ahead and achieve everything...
All three of them will enjoy comforts and luxuries.... yes...
But at what cost???
time flies and their little girl will be all grown up...
In her teens with her friend circle and will have her own world
she ll study go abroad may be , date , live in or marry....
And He ll only remember her image.... SLEEPING...
No he is not a vilian 
No she is not a hero
No their daughter isn't a victim
But they better fix it RIGHT NOW in some way...
God help the couple and their princess!
Realization, awareness, action...
Welcome to the real feel world...
Where is the Health?
Where is the awareness ?
Where is the sensitivity?
Where is the family?
Where is the marriage?
Where is the individual?

Samay...

It's high time we start speaking in a language in which we are better at w.r.t. communicating our thoughts. It's sad how people deliberately use English in spite of having great command over colloquial languages.
Use of words , phrases, abbreviations and short forms without awareness may create misunderstandings both professionally and personally.
I have cringed at the thought of continuing with a conversation which starts with inappropriately addressing an individual.

Such chats which usually start on an awkward note and can neither head towards a decent exchange of information nor lead the people involved anywhere...

Unfriend
Untag
Block

Am I just alone or are there more people who feel OUT OF PLACE , ALIENATED and unable to Read into what the person is trying to convey... 
Bhai Saab , Sir, Janab, Mahashay, Mahoday..... 
Bhavnaonko kaise, kaha, kis tarah se aur kyun samjhe???

Fact File



A student recently joined the Kathak batch a month back. I get a panic call from her saying that we have been doing basic stuff for too long and she is worried as to how she'll cope up with the syllabus and exams.
(Remember she has joined just month ago) She had earlier asked me to allow her to video shoot in class which I denied to. I gave her a solution - Why don't u go home and ask someone to record what you have learnt in class right away... This way u have a fresh replay, plus backup in case you forget, for the sake of recording u will revise as soon as u reach home. This will help you if want to go back to confirm anything while you practice...
Now, this student never practices. First few seconds of any student's gait, stance and footwork tell us if the student has done their homework and Riyaz.
JUST PLANNING FOR WORKOUTS WILL NEVER MAKE YOU FIT AND STRONG. 
JUST HAVING MEAL PLANS ON PAPER WILL NEVER MAKE YOU EAT RIGHT AND CLEAN.
NO MATTER HOW MANY RECORDINGS YOU TAKE, IF YOU DON'T TIE YOUR GUNGROOS AND PRACTICE EVERYDAY ,YOU AIN'T GOING ANYWHERE....

I remember at the annual Kathak Symposium this year where we had discussed about how our GURUS spent months teaching us just 'Ta Thai Thai Tat' The very first step of learning anything new is TRUST , on yourself and your teacher. 
If learning for exams is a motive, one may never dream of becoming a performer. 
Having said that I have faith in grading system and support the evaluation process of university. I am an examiner and a paper setter myself. 
But how will this mindset create future artists? 
Yes Skype Lessons are popular and may find a decent following. 
But what happens in a class , with the group dynamics and riyaz in front of the teacher can never be replaced...

One can't be learning an art form and remain oblivious and uneducated and unaware of other mediums of expression. 
I always encourage my students to go visit art galleries, painting ,sculpture , ceramics, handloom, handicraft exhibitions, I ask them to hear world music, I encourage them to watch international films, attend music concerts , ballets, festivals, I tell them to go travel , read, meet and talk to people , play with colors, learn pottery , photography in their free time, reconnect with nature... Get inspired... Sing, write....
One has to be exposed to a plethora of experiences to evolve as an artist.

Art forms, in fact nothing in life is a quick fix unless you be at it consistently , diligently , sincerely and regularly. 
Gym change, dietitian change , trainer change, class hopping, school change nothing will help unless ONE DECIDES TO CHANGE FROM WITHIN.

Discipline, mind over matter, patience, faith, experience - everything counts... 
Art is a way of life :)

Filling...

Mid-days have some magic in them 
The breeze gets a hint of musk...
As if we are celebrating the sweet accidentally communion of earth and water...
What we understand as a coincidence may be a divine synchronization...
The moment of creation becomes inspirational...
The vibrations are relaxed but fresh , calm and accepting...
Such is the prelude to something even better and enticing...
The evening... Waiting to hold the coy noon in his arms... To gently merge into a magnificent night...
Finding love and air in the random...
Making spaces to breathe is a way to get away from the mundane exasperation...
Such my dear is life...

Prajakta Sathe.

Health woes...

With a swollen thumb due to an injury followed by an infection I had to call off my Saturday workout. Antibiotics worked as my thumb began to heal... I can't tell you how bad I felt when I knew my mind was ready but my hand wasn't... Sedated and in pain I took the weekend off. Instead attended a workshop on Sunday and took it slow... 

I would be lying if I said I didn't have my doubts about performance today, still in pain but subsided swelling I entered the gym. My trainer gave me a reassuring smile... I trusted him, he knew about my hand. He said let's give it a try and see. We tried... And with God's grace the try succeeded into a fabulous workout. Form regained and a few more variations added.
The purpose of writing about the journey is not to flaunt or boast...
Most of us care about ourselves and devote time for fitness, for those who don't - let this be a that bit of push to give it a shot...
Workout because you love yourself, you deserve it.

Day next...
Was down with stomach infection and high temperature and had to take a break from Thursday till yesterday... 

So practically spent Diwali in bed resting and healing...
Post diwali and post illness gym reunion happened... 
What a pleasure it was...
I can't tell you how fresh rejuvenated calm and happy I feel... 
Again hats off to my Trainer who doesn't leave a single stone unturned to push me till the best threshold...
It takes time to get back to form even if one has to skip working out for 3-4 days. 
The sickness takes a toll on the muscles...
But it gets back to where it was within a week or so...
Of course only when paired with clean eating and adequate sleep. 
Today we did two muscle groups instead of the usual one...
We checked out our limit on full plate weight seated row in the final set and could reach 10 reps which is a huge personal milestone. 
Happy is the vibe... Eagerly waiting for tomorrow...
To keep challenging myself, getting better, fitter and happier by the day...
To those who haven't had a flavor of this magic potion of workouts, please gift yourself a personal trainer and a gym membership this year and thank yourself a few months from now... 
You owe it to yourselves... 
Love !



Yes, it is festive around , there are lights and merriment and shopping and food and feel good...
And then there is this huge overload of internet and WhatsApp wishes... 
256 WhatsApp wishes per hour and around 4 FB ping wishes per min...whoa... Where are we??? 
The shopping frenzy is alright to handle the sarcastic posts are okay... 
About giving back and not bursting crackers about intolerance about patriotism about gender sensitivity etc......
Easier said than done... I am not even mentioning the name of this festival yet since it's like almost over riding our senses... 
Why not have light in our thoughts and be on ground and take it easy and be normal. 
Every single person around is on some different trip somewhere high...
Be with family friends eat sleep travel smile and have memories... 
Love the festival but the hype ain't going well with me...
Well, it appears amusing from here though...

 Prajakta Sathe

Gym pori GYM!!!

They say kill it or get killed is the only way to go (well sometimes)
Not all days are the same, some are rewarding while others are not 
Working with progressive overload has lead to a sense of manifold revelations

A) My body won't give similar results every single day
B) Many a times the progress lies less in the muscles and more in the mind... If my mind is ready my body will follow 
C) Not every workout will lead to an upward stint...
Some are bound to go down ward some will remain at the same level that they were the previous week and most of them will be a step ahead. It is alright to expect the best of every day however it's foolish to get marred by a not so good day. 
D) In spite of clean eating and adequate rest there will be challenging days in the gym. I cannot underestimate the stress levels the rest of the day imparts on my body. If I am stressed it will show in the performance. 
E) Relaxation , calming techniques , meditation are as much a part of fitness as the physical part is... Doing things which we love doing , being around people we vibe well with and more so accepting yourself unconditionally is the key...
F) I must learn to take both the flowers and thorns well, it's a part and parcel of growth. I have been working on both these parameters for quite sometime now. I get extremely conscious if someone wears their judgemental glasses to look at me... 
It's a wonderful world of many shades, that makes us such a brilliant bunch of humans... 
G) I can look at every co- gymmer's journey with awe and fascinating and the very fact that they made it to the gym makes them winners in their own right... Their struggles , their body , their journey will be so unique and I have renewed respect for every soul around...

P.S. It was leg day and I was down by one plate in all exercises than I did the last time. 
My trainer said it's okay and that I m doing just fine. I felt ashamed and frustrated and he saw it in my eyes... He let me feel all that I was feeling and told me , you are on the right journey and it's showing. 
There is this feeling of utmost satisfaction that I have given my best today (though it wasn't at par with last time's performance) I am sore and tired as hell...

But I am neither happy , nor sad... 
It's a good place to be.


Prajakta Sathe