Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Zakir Diary - Thadhiginathom: Part 21

A benefit in time

Sadness – It furtively propels living beings to find new ways for survival. Living beings that were ambulatory started sharpening their senses to aid them in avoiding and escaping the fury and adversity that nature unleashed on them. The suffering of the body is common to everyone. The human race’s evolved capacity to reason also brought with it suffering of the mind. Medicines and luxuries were invented to alleviate the mind and body of these sufferings. Intoxication, though it hurts the body, can be medicine to the mind. There is another medicine that excites the body and mind alike. It is bhakti – piety. It is a great medicine that alleviates the mind of all its sufferings without harming the body. The fact it later led to abusive power and many other ailments that afflicted the human race is indeed ironic and tragic. The human mind that was seeking relief from pain was made to suffer much more. To correct this, many texts were written on justness. Collectively they came to be known as Dharma. Even that changed according to periods and people. In the end, the human race got trapped like fish in a web of sufferings and started swimming in it with the hope of achieving redemption someday. No one has yet overcome these sufferings.

“Zakir! Did you know that the Central government’s cultural department is giving financial aid to students learning natyam?”
“I didn’t know, Aunty.”
“I got two applications by mail from Delhi. It’s for you as well.”
“Thank you very much, Aunty.”

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Roving Eye curated by Anita Ratnam - August 2020

Anita says...August 2020

Writing the history of the Devadasi with “white ink” is problematic.
When the word DEVADASI was substituted with ISAI VELLALAR, the women stepped back and the men stepped forward.
The English language is a privilege and a burden.
We need a new glossary of terms with which to discuss the dance history of South India.
Pass the mic but don’t stop speaking.
- Quotes from Prof. Avanthi Meduri’s Facebook conversation with Dr. Swarnamalya Ganesh on DEVADASI- HISTORY, IDENTITY, POLITICS, PRIVILEGE, July 30, 2020


There is a beautiful image as imagined by PATANJALI, the originator of Yoga.

STHIRAM and SUKHAM - - Stability and Ease

It stems from the pose of Vishnu reclined upon the serpent Adisesha while floating on the milky ocean. How adeptly the serpent has to adjust the coils so that the Lord can continue to sleep. For Mahavishnu to experience SUKHAM (ease), Adisesha has to practice STHIRAM (stability-balance).

How does one flow in the YOGA OF DAILY LIVING using these two images?
How does one live life with these two words as metaphors or gateways to harmony?

We now know that these past 4 months are going to last for at least another 8.
That this year should now be referred to as #DELETE2020.
That we are now locked in a DIGITAL EMBRACE into the first quarter of 2021.

So how do we even begin to consider the ideas of STHIRAM and SUKHAM?
How can we even fathom these qualities when everything around us is being thrown into disarray?
We are off balance more than ever.
There is less and less inspiration and motivation to continue to feel optimistic and positive about life and art.
So how can we even begin to understand SUKHAM?
The cheerleading squad who proclaim that "Dance can surmount anything" now sound weak and unconvincing.
We see depression, melancholia and listlessness all around and even the best and strongest among us are feeling vaguely unsettled.

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Friday, 31 July 2020

Zakir Diary - Thadhiginathom: Part 20

Vanishing bloom, Fading music

Friendship, ‘natpu’ – It is the invisible force that moves the earth. Friendship is the abundance of love. Love is the abundance of friendship. Love and friendship are like seeds and sprouts. A friendship may form between any two people on this wide earth. A friendship rooted in love transcends parsing and practices. Those who form a friendship are called friends. This is common for plants and animals as well. However, it is hard to provide apt meaning to the Tamil word ‘natpu’. Valluvar has written an entire chapter on ‘natpu’ in an attempt to define it. According to him, friendships are hard to form. In a world that has turned materialistic, the characteristics of ‘a friend’ have also changed. In this day and age no one is going to sit facing north and fast unto death like Pisiranthaiyar did for king Koperuncholan. The kings today know this as well. Therefore, no one reserves a seat next to them on their deathbed. As the humorous adage says, when the king’s dog died the entire country mourned. When the king himself died, no dog mourned it. Those who find good friends in life are blessed like the Devas of the heavens.

Article - Freedom Diaries: At the stroke of midnight

August is the month of marking India's 73rd Independence Day. We spoke to several dance seniors and asked them to share a memory of what that day was like!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Zakir Diary - Thadhiginathom: Part 19

Learn, even by begging

Education and experience both sharpen one's mind. Of these, education is when you study and understand the thoughts of others starting at a young age. Experience is when you put to practice in your own life what you have studied. That is why in Tamil, it is said, study even if it means begging for it. Those who were able to record their thoughts by putting pen to paper were called 'creators'. Those who learned it were considered 'educated'. The ideas exchanged through words formed the relationship between the creator and the educated. The educated were not compelled to accept the ideas written and the creator was not compelled only to write down ideas that were acceptable. God does not care to check if anyone is worshiping him. And the devotee does not pause to verify if god accepted his prayers. If these two thought processes meet each other at a single point, that becomes the moment of bliss. This will also apply to a leader and a follower both of whom have accepted a common vision. The purpose of pious devotion is to reach this state. Until then, one must continue to learn. A society that encourages learning should also confirm that those who learn establish themselves among the learned. Only then can the education of a society be accepted as a reflection of its collective experiences. If not, it will lead to a state where the learner spoiled the text he was learning and the singer spoiled the song he was singing.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

New York based Arts from India presented Navarasa online - Footloose and fancy free with Dr.Sunil Kothari

In present Corona virus times, there are few enterprisers who have been active assisting dancers to perform choosing a thematic content. Among them Ajayveer with help of Kathakali exponent Prabal Gupta and New York based celebrated dancer, curator, organizer, commentator, choreographer and well known for her Sutradhari Natyam, Rajika Puri as an anchor presented live concert of Navarasa recently. The timings were for USA - New York 9am till 11am and for India from 9pm till 11pm. However, with Q and A with Rajika Puri and dancers, the program extended by another 45 minutes and it ended at 11.45pm! There was admission fee and the audience had to buy tickets for viewing.

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