Category Archives: Projects

Freedom Today

This was the poem I recited on Independence Day and for which I bagged the second prize πŸ˜‰

It’s a poem by Maya Angelou titled: I know why the caged bird sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

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Shigmo Saturday

Shigmo (Shigmotsav/Shimga) is often called the Goa’s version of Holi (Rang Panchami). The annual Shigmo parade held on Panaji’s 18th June Road is the culmination of Shigmo celebrations. The parade is a kaleidoscope of Goa’s Hindu roots through folk dances in resplendent traditional costumes and larger than life floats depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

Shigmo Goa - the stage

There are three categories on display: fugdi, romtamel and tableaux

The procession is led by a series of such Kunbi dances (a folk dance performed by village tribal women, dressed up in colourful sarees).

Shigmo Goa - Fugdi

The Romtamel included various village groups clad in their festive colors, their pulsating drums and blowing flutes accompanied with multicolored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spotted Dwajas

Shigmo Goa - RomtamelShigmo Goa - Romtamel

and this is the amazing goff (the ‘ribbon dance’, through co-ordinated dance moves the dancers intertwine numerous ribbons into a braid)

Shigmo Goa - Goff

These were interspersed with lots of individual fancy dress entrants…

Shigmo Goa - Individual entrantsShigmo Goa - Individual entrants

And finally came the sights that I was waiting for the whole evening… chitrarath… the shigmo floats!

It began with Laxmi bestowing blessings on everyone

Shigmo Goa - Laxmi

and a series of other floats depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata

Shigmo Goa - The ExileShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo Goa

The waking of Kumbakarana, complete with a two-truck long float and the evil laughΒ hehe hahaha (which left me in splits!) was a sure shot prize winner!

Shigmo Goa - Waking Kumbakarana

And three others that were strong contenders were:

Shigmo Goa - Heaven on a float

The heavenly abode

Shigmo Goa - Abduction of Sita

The Abduction of Sita (Sita Haran) with Rama in close pursuit

Shigmo Goa and The Dance of Shiva

Shigmo stands in stark contrast with the commercialisation of Carnival. It is truly a celebration of community, culture and creativity.

In a different light

Light has the power to facilitate activity. The power to rejuvenate.

Lights in Goa - Kala Academy Promenade

This is the theme of LIGHTS IN GOA, an International Architectural Lighting Workshop and seminar for “Activating public spaces”. This is a collaborative effort of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IID-Goa) and the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association (PLDA, Germany)

Lights in Goa - indi designs

Lighting designers embarked on transforming urban spaces using professional designed lighting and make them pockets of social activity! Here is the one that I happened to chance upon–Kala Academy.Lights in Goa - PRAKASH

It took me a while to figure out the writing in light… but then I did have some help from an Hindi expert πŸ˜‰ The symbols read prakash (which is light in hindi)

Lights in Goa - indi designs 2… somre more Indian Rangoli in light

Lights in Goa - Blue bamboos

Lighting the tree-lined Kala Academy promenade that was the work of light designer Martin Lupton from UK and his team of students. The latter fashioned waste materials like empty cartons and soft drink cans into lanterns and lighting artefacts.

Lights in Goa - Lighting of wasteLights in Goa - Lights from waste

The science of lighting is enlightening indeed! πŸ˜‰

If you are interested in knowing more, here is the official brochure of Lights in Goa

A Rose by any other name

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

~ Juliet (Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2))

This is a quote from Shakespeare’s lyrical tale of “star-cross’d” lovers. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall in love, but are doomed from the start as members of two warring families. Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called “Montague”, not the Montague name and not the Montague family. Romeo, out of his passion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to “deny his father” and instead be “new baptized” as Juliet’s lover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play.

I on the other hand do not want to dwell on the vagaries of love in this post but on a feature I rarely use on my camera… Infra-red mode.

Here are a few sample pictures of The Rose πŸ˜‰

Infra red rose

Infra red rose (1)

This is IR under a focus lamp

The pictures are clicked in pitch darkness. I think cats can sense IR, and the more adventurous of the two, leaped onto the table to inspect the object of my affection πŸ˜‰

Infra red rose (2)

And if you are wondering how the original was, then here it is:

Infra red rose (4)

UPDATE: Here is the same in fractal format….

Infra red rose - Fractal

Chocolate Man

Melt and pour. Melt and pour. It sounded simple. That was all I needed to remember to make chocolate

Chocolate-making is something I would not have dreamt of venturing into if not for a very supportive better half, and lots of valuable suggestions from colleagues at work!

We bought the chocolate compound, searched high and low for the molds, kept the cats out of the kitchen (who found the chocolate aroma even more irresistible than fish!)

And then I realized…. Chocolate-making is a messy affair! The recipe was simple, but for me the simplest situation can turn into an emergency! But I stood the test! And after an hour of messy fingers, messy microwave and messy kitchen top, there were some yummy looking chocolate bonbons!

Chocolates-bonbons

You are all invited!!!

Mother of Pearl Christmas

In the world of digital communication, sending and or even receiving, a “real” Christmas card is a rarity! So this Christmas we decided to get back to the drawing board… and make our own “cards”!

It was a spur of the moment decision that my wife and I headed for the Bambolim beach for a quiet evening. And there we made a chance discovery. In a tiny stream opening out into the sea were numerous of these shells tossing along. We challenged each other into collecting the most, little knowing that they would end up as our Christmas cards.

Mother of pearl Christmas Card

These “shells” are called Mother-of-Pearl. They were once a common site on the windows of Portuguese villa houses (and today adorn a number of resorts!)

Mother of Pearls are considered an organic mineral and created by mollusks, either oysters or abalones.Β  These mollusks secrete fine proteins whose chemical compound is calcium carbonate, the same that is found in marble and aragonite. This substance is primarily secreted to protect itself from parasitic organisms. The substance of Mother of Pearl is the same substance created when an oyster forms a pearl! While Mother Pearls are usually a glossy or very shiny white, they can also be a slight gray or iridescent color.

Mother of pearl finds itself chopped up as part of tiles for flooring, it is also used for coating sinks and was once used extensively for buttons on jackets, coats and shirts.

On a mystical front, the white iridescent color of the Mother of Pearl can make one feel very peaceful and less stressful and calm!

An appropriate way to wish everyone the peace and warmth of Christmas!

Mother of pearl christmas cards

Sunshine is Good

In the storm of hectic sessions, articles for newspapers, managing two blogs and home-related work came a distraction I would never have expected would keep me gripped… Plants vs Zombies! What I initially claimed to be a “completely brainless game”, kept me occupied for hours in the evening and sometimes even late at night!
Plants vs Zombies wallpaper
PvZ is about killing zombies using various strategies, your defences being plants of varying powers and skill sets!

But I was in for a bigger surprise! My better half gifted me this toy to remind me that life is more than Plants vs Zombies πŸ˜‰

Solar Dancing Flower Flip Flap
Its a common site on most car dashboards (and now adorns my own). This “Solar Flip Flap Dancing Flower” is supposed to give you positive energy… I think it does! Everytime I look at it I can’t help but smile!