Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Javed Akhtar on Spirituality

A good friend e-mailed me the text of Javed Akhtar's talk on Spirituality at the India Today Conclave of 2008.

You can read the text of the talk here. Brilliant.

While looking for more information on the subject, I came across the apparent response of Ravishankar of the Art of Living Foundation.

The response sounded insipid and defensive and often self-contradictory to me.

I sent the text to some friends who practice their respective religions. They all came back and said that the talk was very good. That has left me almost confused, but happy.

At one point in his response, Ravishankar challenges - does anyone criticize (Mother) Theresa or Dalai Lama. ( Well, I do.) This is a very well worn ploy of "(poor) us against (the evil) them" used by many to garner support. Christopher Hitchens even wrote a book about Theresa - provocatively titled "The Missionary Position". You can get a taste of his views here.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Jeffry Archer in Bengaluru

Jeffry Archer in Bengaluru

I got off the office bus and walked to Reliance Timeout to see and hear Jeffry Archer. I had wondered if it was worth the trouble after a particularly tiring day at the office and my feet hurt in the hard soled leather shoe - a far cry from the sports shoes that I normally wear.

It was. It was great fun to listen to him speak and act. Yes, act. He regaled the audience with stories of some TV interviews that he did in the US - acting various parts of it. Very funny.

He said things that impressed me very much. It was about talent and hard work. He gets up at 5:30 every morning and writes for two hours. Then takes a break and writes again from 9:30 for two hours. This write-and-break routine goes on the whole day. He said talent is one thing but you have to work to make something out of it!

I hope young and old, who aspire to do something and get better at it, are listening.

Some snippets:

He often writes about Polish people because he likes and admires the Polish "race". (The last

word sounded odd to me) The reason he gave was that Poland was the first country to bear the brunt of Hitler's Germany and many Poles came to England and became air force pilots to fight Hitler. hmmmm

His favourite artist is Caravaggio and favourite sculptor, Bernini. Interesting.

"Indian women are so pushy!" he says to the men in the audience, "You are finished! You are done for. Beware! Run!"

Like a true showman he answered the question, "What inspires you to write" you! (Applause) What drives him to put in all that hard work is that he reads Steinbeck, Graham Greene, R K Narayan and knows that he has to get to be like them and that he is not. The aspiration to "get there" drives him.

He finally said that he will be "here" until the last person had his autograph even if it meant that he will go directly to the airport tomorrow to catch the flight at 9. (Applause) And he insulted Indians. And we deserve it. He promised to autograph the book of every last man (woman) provided, "You do something that you are not accustomed to do at all! Stand in an orderly queue, you guilty lot" he roared!

(These white men do not get it. The Japanese use fuzzy logic to do anything and everything - wash clothes, take better pictures, sweep the floor, flush the toilet and what have you. We Indians form a fuzzy queue, and spit all over the place while we are at it, as long as we are not busy honking the horn at all impediments in our paths including road humps.)

Here are some pictures of the event and a video too - for those who wanted to or would have liked to be there but could not or were not.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Workshop on Watercolour

It is conducted by George Supreeth. To know more about him just google with "george supreeth" (with the inverted commas) and you can see a wide variety of his works.

I have to juggle stuff, but attend it I will. If you are even a wee bit interested in doing watercolours, you should attend it too!