Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sounds and lunatics

".. any way, no wild land is entirely still and silent. It has its own discords and detonations. Earth collapses with the engineering of the ants; lizards smack the pebbles with their tails; the sun fires seeds in salvos from their pods; pigeons misconnect with dry branches; and stones left loosely to their own devices, can find the muscle to descend the hill."

Wonderful language. Makes me think of flat pebbles bouncing on the surface of the water so lightly that they hardly makes a splash. I am reading Quarantine by Jim Grace. I like to read aloud the parts that strike me particularly.

Opening my mouth wide and articulating each word, trying to see it take form and spread its wings before flying away. What is the speed of the sound? In a few seconds, the sound viberations, rising from my vocal cords trembling like a diapson, spread out in the world, like children suddenly grown up and wishing to be independent, travelling kilometers in that unseen dimension, colliding with sound waves of that couple fighting, that boy whistling, the girl gasping... and finally coming to stop near that blade of grass, making it tremble exactly like the diapson of my vocal cords.

I read on.

"This was the season of the lunatics: the first new moon of spring was summoning those men - lunatics are mostly men. They have the time and opportunity - to exorcize that part of them which sent them mad. Mad with grief, that is. Or shame. Or love.Or illnesses and visions. Mad enough to think that every thing they did, no matter how vain or trivial, was of interest to their god. Mad enough to think that forty days of discomfort could put their world in order."

Lunatic. Touched by Luna, the moon. I think of my head line going up from the mound of Mars, going over the mound of Mercury, stopping just short of the mound of the moon. "Emotional, but balanced by the rational pull towards the Jupiter. This cross here, this is the island of death. It means the death of the persons, who will love you." That was the Pandit ji in Mohan Nagar ages ago in another life. What does it mean?

No one has died. Does it mean that people in my life don't really love me? Or does it mean that gods does not have the time to sit down and mark lines properly on our hands?

***

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

West African dances

Last night I went to see the west African dance show in the Villa Angeletti garden. It was supposed to start at 9.30 PM but at 9.40, when I reached there, it was not yet started. They had set up two bars on two sides, one of which was blaring out loud music and had a hyperactive DJ.

In another corner of the park they were showing the old classic film "Casablanca", but its sound was drowned in the loud music.

University students from near by Galaxy hostel thronged the place, drinking beer, chatting, smoking. At 10.30 PM, they had still not started the show. I told myself that I will wait for another 15 minutes and if they don't start, I will go away. They started just before it was time for me to leave. Some drums, they were not bad but not that great as well.

Then there was a group of Italian girls doing the dance with their west african teacher from Guinea Konkry. It was nothing like the lovely west African dances done by Footprints international from Ghana that I had seen in January.

I am gearing up for more travel. Rome, London, Quito-Cuenca-Gauyaquil (all in Ecuador), all in July. I am sure to get good pictures for the blogs.

***

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Holidays are almost over

The days have passed quickly in Bibione. Tomorrow we shall go back to Bologna, even if I don't start working till Wednesday 29th June.

Writing three blogs (in English, Hindi and Italian) has been impossible and I decided to give precedence to the blog in Hindi. I have written it in unicode even if because of the Italian keyboard, I am unable to write 'e' and some other signs.

Long walks along the sea, lot of sun, some swimming in the sea and some reading, that can be the summary of these holidays. I have turned darker and hopefully leaner in these days, though I am afraid to go and check my weight on the weighing machine!

Fortunately it is still not very hot but Bologna would be hotter and more humid.

In the June issue of Hindi magazine Hans, I have read Mini didi's poems and one very powerful self-story or atam-katha by a professor of journalism in Delhi, Mr. Shauraj Singh Bechain. It is really well written story of his life as a child labourer and his journey from being "Ganghi chamar's grandson" to the school. The contrast between the situations in the story and the holiday life here with the seaside tourists is so extreme. Probably because of it, words from his story keep on resounding in my head for days.

Here are some pictures from these holidays in Bibione.

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Holidays in Bibione, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005
***

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Finally Holidays in Bibione

Finally the holidays in Bibione.

In my opinion, this is the saddest part of the holidays when they actually begin, since it means that soon they will be over!

I have a long list of things to do during these holidays. I want to start with the second draft of my book, write something in Hindi, make some interactive animations with the help of flash and a graphic tablet... For my birthday, I asked Miriam for a graphic tablet and it is wonderful to design with a pen on it and see the designs on the computer.

I am sitting on the terrace in Bibione and it is raining and there is a cold wind. I am back in Bibione after two years. Last time I had come for a couple of days with Meghna in July 2003. Nadia and Marco have gone to the supermarket. In the afternoon when we had arrived, it was sunny and warm. Marco had fixed the long beach chair and I had plonked myself on it with the newspaper, saying that after half an hour I will go the beach for my first swim. I think that I fell asleep after ten minutes. Two hours later, when I woke, the sky was already covered with clouds.

On the way to Bibione, near Portogruaro we had left the main road to go to Brussa, a small village lost among a vast area of green fields, small canals and lovely house, to an old restaurant called Mazorak, where they serve wonderful fried fish. You can also go there by boat and there is a Mazorak boat stop. I must have gone there for the first time with Miriam and Lino, probably in 1982 or 1983, before Marco was born. It was a simple place, eating there didn't cost much and food was superb even if their menu was limited. The menu is still the same, the food is as good, but the place is not so simple or cheap any more. It is now really famous with people travelling 50-80 kms to come and eat there.

The owner of Mazorak, once he knew us all. He would greet us like long lost friends. Marco, a small baby at that time, played with puppies in their house behind the restaurant, while his wife cooked polenta with corn flour. Now his children are all grown up and his grandchildren work in the restaurant. Today, his wife was no where to be seen and the owner, he looked old and sick, while a line of cooks worked like an assembly line production in a factory to produce roasted polenta for the thronging crowds. I am glad for their success but it made me feel a little sad.

Then, Nadia said, "One day we will come here with Marco's wife." I said, "May be we will come one day with Marco's children! While they will eat, we will take out the children for a walk." "You remember that time in Connaught Place, when Marco was crying so much, that you had to take him out and we had to eat by turns?" Nadia asked. Marco rolled up his eyes, he has heard this story hundreds of times!

Suddenly it is wonderful to be on holidays.

***

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Pictures from Bologna Per Tot festival

Came back from London last night.

My cold was getting worse and I had a board meeting, yet I found time to run to park of Villa Angeletti to watch preparations for Bologna Per tot parade. In the local Bologna dialect, "per tot" means "for every one". It is the festival for welcoming the summer, organized by students from Bologna University and local associations.

This year though summer seems to be hesitating if it should come or not. The Par Tot parade was a riot of colours. There were mainly students and young persons, a few smoking pot, almost everyone drinking wine and having fun. There was even an Anand Marg group in the parade with Acharya Kamleshwar Nanda from India.

I clicked a lot of pictures. Even after deleting many of them because they were blurred, still there are so many nice ones. Here is just a sample of those pictures.

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Par Tot summer festival parade, Bologna, Italy - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005
If you like these images and want to see more pictures of the Bologna Par Tot parade from different years, check them on the photo-archives on Kalpana.

***

Friday, June 10, 2005

Buskers in London underground

I am developing a cold. And I am back in London.

The underground train to Liverpool station stops every five minutes. "We are sorry for the delays caused by lack of sufficient staff in East London", they announce. Every day they make the same announcements. It sounds as if staff shortage is kind of disease or tsunami, a natural disaster. Perhaps, they are all ill with cold and fever? This is London, the capital of one of the most powerful and rich countries in the world!

I love the buskers in the London underground. They have their regular spaces authorized properly. Wonder if they have to pay for it. My favourite is at Piccadilly. It is always wonderful though I remember with nostalgia, once hearing a busker on saxophone playing Bolero. It gives me goose pimples, just to think of it. As escalators go deep down into bowels of earth, the acoustics are great.

***

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Hyde park and colourful India

Today after the meeting, together with Gio and Davide, we all went to Hyde park. Gio said that he wanted to see the speaker's corner where some body can go up on a podium and speak his or her views. We went around the rose garden and walked along the serpentine lake. I took lot of pictures of ducks. But we didn't find the speaker's corner.

It is in that direction, a guy told us, pointing vaguely in the opposite side. Walking through the park, there were some really nice trees with trunks swollen like pregnant tummies over centuries. Any way, we gave up before reaching the speakers corner. It was too far away and after two hours of walking I was tired.

I also saw initial parts of Bunty & Bubli up to the Kajrare song. This film has very nice colours. It is also nice to see Rameshwari and Kiran Juneja after so many years. However, the film seems kind of synthetic.

After reading Mukul's blog, I could appreciate the subtext of the background song from Umrao Jaan and dialogues when AB Sr meets AB Jr.

The part about selling Taj Mahal with Mayawati-kind of person is really good. Kajrare song is also good but didn't like Ash in it. Her vigorous heaving of bosoms makes her look like a transvestite. Watching her reminded me of Praveen Babi when she was forced to wear bhartiya nari kind of clothes. Her jhatkas are good but on the whole it looks like she is trying too hard.

Later, I watched Bride and Prejudice. It was not that bad and Ash was ok. I wish though they had reduced the " colourful Bharat" a bit. Made me wish I was kind of colour-blind.

***

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Ballet in Trafalgar square

I am in London. After the meeting, I went to Piccadilly circus, walked down the Reagent street to Waterloo place, where they have statues of Lord Lawrence, governor of Punjab in 1857, and of the better known Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. There is an intriguing house there with a golden statue of Athena.

At Trafalgar square I found a big crowd, sitting on the stairs watching a giant screen showing a live broadcast of Royal British Ballet company. It reminded me of going to watch films in Ravindra Rangshala in Delhi. Only my bum has got softer or perhaps it is the age, after a while, my bones seemed to press on the hard stairs, making it difficult to sit. So finally I left it and resumed my walk.

British modern art gallery behind Trafalgar square has lovely red colured boards announcing some exhibition, wonderful as a background to take pictures. Seeing a couple of British policemen (actually policepersons since one of them was a woman), I quickly clicked. I Love taking pictures of uniformed persons.




Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

Trafalgar square, London, UK - images by Sunil Deepak, 2005

***

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Black memories

I suddenly thought of the man and his daughter. I was writing about the daily "Sofie's choice" that you make as father or mother, when you don't know if you are going to eat that day, when you decide which of your children is going to eat and how much, if you can take your child to the doctor... and I thought of them.

He was from Rajasthan, he had said. His thin sun-burnt face was creased with lines. He had come to Delhi to break stones on the roads because there was nothing to eat in their village. His wife and two children were dead. Only that girl was left. 8-9 years old, thin with wise eyes. She was sick, swaying slightly. She had diarrhea and vomiting. And she was dehydrated.

It was Sunday afternoon and I had promised Nadia that we would go out. I gave him some medicines for his daughter and told him to come back next morning. There was no other way.

I saw him after a few months. How is your daughter, I had asked. She died that night when we had come to see you, he had said simply. Without any hint of resentment or anger in his voice.

Every now and then I think of that woman, the mother of five daughters, whose husband wanted a son. In the servant quarters. Blood was soaking her sari. I was sitting there with blood on my hands, unable to do any thing.

She still comes in my nightmares, making me wake up with my heart pounding in my chest. Her daughters must be grown up and married. Wonder what kind of lives they had? And did her husband remarry?

***

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Springsteen in Bologna

Last night Bruce Springsteen was here in Bologna. It was his first concert in Italy. When I heard about it, it was already too late. There were no tickets left.

Fortunately our local TV channel transmitted parts of it.

Silence please, he had asked for it and got it, to sing about the invisible world, the world of war, peace and loneliness of emigrants. Plain simple words, accompanied by his guitar or harmonica. There was no orchestra. Wonderful.

Made me think of Gulzaar. "Hamne dekhi ha un ankhon ki mehkati khusboo.., sirf ahsaas hai yeh ruh se mehsoos karo..".

***

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Development of sexuality

Suddenly I thought about the differences in the male and female bodies. Why are males full of force and muscular strength but have lower life expectancy while women have less muscle force, are apparently weaker and have longer life expectancy? It is because they have to carry babies in their wombs, I thought, so they could not have participated in hunting and gradually over time, we ended with men developing muscle power and women developing other powers.

May be that is true for humans but is a tigress or a lioness, as strong as a lion or a tiger? I don't think that it is males who go for hunting while females wait at home, so both have to hunt and find food. So then why did nature create males and females? Wouldn't it have been better to have hermafrodites, both males and females in the same bodies? It would have been more practical and reproduction (continuation of the species as the most important primordial impulse) much easier? It has to be something to do with mixing of genes so that if there are any defects in genes, they can be overcome. Confused? I don't know where this kind of thinking is supposed to lead but I am still thinking!

***

I like the way they use old buildings in Italy to put them together with new things and the result is wonderful. Bologna has a wonderful university auditorium that was a 2000 year old ruin and they have kept part of old walls and added glass and steel to make a remarkable structure. Or the way, they use old fountains and stairs, like the Spanish square in Rome that is used for fashion shows. In India too we do it, like the Khujaraho festival, but we use old buildings for classical dances and similar things so it is beautiful but not contrasting.

***

Friday, June 3, 2005

Hindi Webring

Today morning I was looking for new Hindi fonts. I like Susha, it is really easy to use but there are some signs like the "half R" that I can't seem to get. So I was looking for new fonts and discovered a group called webrings, where they have list of blogs in Hindi. Really great. Result, I have started even a Hindi blog on Kalpana - Jo Na Keh Saka.

I am still without a good Hindi font. Perhaps the problem is with my Italian keyboard and probably people working on Hindi fonts make them for English keyboards. Since keyboards don't cost much and next week I am going to be in London, so I will see if I can find a new keyboard to bring home and then try it for writing in Hindi.

Took some pictures of Marco and Brando today. They have come out really nice.

***

Thursday, June 2, 2005

My brother Nikhil & Jia

We watched Jia today, with Angeline Jolie in the role of famous American super-model Jia Maria Carungi, who died of drug addiction and AIDS at the age of 26 years in the eighties.

Very obviously My Brother Nikhil is inspired from Jia (in the way it is structured). Compared to MBN, Jia is much more layered film and characters are more gray. Jia perhaps loves Tom Junior and he probably loves her. But the real love of Jis's life is Linda, the make-up woman. In terms of sexuality, the film tackles it head-on with a long scenes of love-making between Jia and Linda. MBN also copies the way story unfolds in the film through a series of flashbacks of people involved in Jia's life, so that some scenes are seen through different persons' point of views. Thus while some of the men in Jia's life see her as a sex kitten, almost nymphomaniac, women are more understanding about it, they see it as craving for affection and stable relationships.

Film has long sequences of Angeline Jolie in the nude and some scenes are very explicit. Watching them, I was thinking about all the big ho-ha Indian actors and actresses make about nudity and kissing. Why are we so shy about our bodies? and about sex? Perhaps it is not so much about being shy as about our image of being a good boy or a good girl? And if you expose, you are not respected any more. But perhaps even in India, times are changing. Persons like Pooja Bhatt could get away with it 15 years ago and persons like Mallika Sherawat are extending the boundaries today.

It is a national holiday today in Italy, the republic day. People just needed one day leave tomorrow, Friday 3 June, to make a four days long weekend and it seems 75% of the country has decided to do that. Bologna seems empty as happens usually in August when every body goes on summer vacation. So roads have very little traffic, buses are empty, finding a parking place is not a problem.

***
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