ELOQUENT FINGERS

Young Charulatha’s music belies her age

As we bend to hear young vainika Charulatha Chandrasekar speak, the strains of the veena come wafting from Infosys Hall, where Mudhra’s Veenotsav is underway. The melodious strains envelop you with a calmness and take you away from the chaos of Chennai’s North Usman Road.

Just minutes ago, Charulatha, dressed in a green silk skirt and blouse, was on stage presenting a 90-minute concert. That was the stage where she had left her mark with pieces such as ‘Alaipayude,’ ‘Vazhimaraithirukkude,’ ‘Ethavunara’ and a ragamalika tanam besides alapana and swaraprasthara.

Her music is not just about making the frets ‘sing’ or about plucking the strings to the beat. It has all the flavours of what she has heard at home from childhood and a quiet artistic determination. Trained by musician-teacher-musicologist R.S. Jayalakshmi, whose granddaughter she is, Charulatha seems to have absorbed the music of the best of contemporary artistes as well.

Deft handling

This 12-year-old, who deftly handles the instrument, which looks bigger than her, found it quite tiresome, as it is with all children, as a beginner at six. What then has brought her this far?

Charulatha speaks of that catalystic moment when she was seven. “I performed with a group in front of the Chief Minister at an event,” she reveals, her eyes sparkling at the thought of the day in the presence of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, the late J. Jayalalithaa. Veena Gayathri, the main performer, amongst many at that event, gave a space next to her on the stage for the little girl, who was inspired when the Chief Minister noticed her.

Another inspiring moment was playing with a group in a Vijay TV tribute show ‘Kattrinile Varum Geetham,’ to M.S. Subbulakshmi.

Once the child’s interest grew, besides perfecting her technique, Jayalakshmi would tell her to listen to the great masters.

“My practice is for one hour daily in the late evenings,” says Charulatha. That is when her grandmother guides her.

“She tells me to be aware of sruti and tala perfection. My grandmother vocalises the songs as she teaches. I think she wants me to think of the songs keeping the words in mind,” says Charulatha, who also learns vocal music at Narada Gana Sabha.

Charulatha loves to listen to Sanjay Subrahmanyan, T.M. Krishna, and Ranjani-Gayatri. Speaking of current veena players, “I like Jayanthi Kumaresh,” she says.

The ease with which she brings nadam and a tone-filled feel into her instrument belies her age, but gestures like the half smile directed toward her much-older mridangam and ganjira accompanists, remind us that she is a gutsy youngster.

She was eight when she first presented a brief solo; now she is a regular performer and has a long way to go. “While my studies will always remain important, veena playing will be equally important to me,” says Charulatha, a seventh standard student in a leading Chennai school.

Courtesy     THE HINDU

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LIFE IS A GAME PLAY IT

One day, a young boy came into the monastery and asked the Chief Monk, to give him some work and also food.   The Chief Monk asked him: What have you read? What work can you do? What do you know?   The boy replied: I have not read in school. I have no proficiency in any work excepting some stray jobs like washing food plates,  cleaning up the cottage etc., I do not know anything else.

The Chief Monk asked Are you sure you do not know anything else?  The young boy replied: Oh, yes, Sir, now I remember. I can play good Chess   The Chief Monk said: Oh that’s good. Now I shall test you in your game.  He asked another monk to come with chess board and coins and asked a table to be placed so that the game could start. Before start of the game, the Chief Monk said: Now see, I have a sword on my hand. If any one is defeated, his nose will be severed   The boy became nervous. However, without any other way to go, he agreed.

The game started. Initially, the boy made some mistakes in moves. His position on the board became almost hopeless. He then concentrated completely on the game and improved the position to a winning level. Then he looked at the monk sitting opposite and playing. He was not quite nervous but obviously disturbed a little. The boy then thought, “I am a useless fellow in life. Nothing will change the world if I lose the game and lose my nose.  But this monk, is well read person, doing meditation and is sure to attain Buddha Hood Why should he lose?  So the young boy deliberately made a wrong move, so that the monk sitting opposite could take advantage and win the game !  The Chief Monk suddenly flashed his sword on the table. All the coins flew into different directions.   He then said: The game is over. Oh boy you are IN. You will be with us in the monastery hereafter.  The boy did not understand.

The Chief Monk explained:  “I did not ask you to play chess to find out your caliber in the game. But I was looking for two essential qualities that are necessary for Self realization. One is Maha Prajna. The Great Awareness. I found that in you. When your game became positionally bad, you put your entire concentration and attention on the game and improved your game. This is Maha Prajna.

The second is Maha Karuna – The Great Compassion. I found that also in you. When your opponent was about to lose the game, you looked at him with great compassion and deliberately made a wrong mistake so that he could win. These two qualities are adequate to do sadhana and make the life Meaningful….

YOU ARE IN, my boy….

_Life isn’t about winning or losing as in reality there is nothing to win and nothing to lose, there is only to realize, realize something more potent, something more sublime, ssomething more divine in you, that will elevate you, help you, free you to enjoy the state of  blissfulness._  *You can at best enjoy or suffer your limited time called Life but enjoyment or suffering is also only a figment of your imagination.*    *Going beyond enjoyment, suffering, winning or losing is the path that few choose to walk. That is the path of real sacrifice, that is the path of Nirvana, of Buddha.*

_Whether we  win or lose… let’s have a great life._

 

140 YEARS AND COUNTING

From its modest beginnings in 1878, The Hindu has come a long way — and is poised to advance in the face of new challenges, its chief asset being its integrity combined with the public trust earned over the decades.

When The Hindu launched itself on September 20, 1878 on the strength of nothing but the ardent patriotism and commitment to progressive social reform of six young men who had managed to raise a rupee and three-quarters as seed capital, nothing seemed guaranteed, least of all longevity. In fact, the founding editorial titled ‘Ourselves’, which is reproduced in this commemorative supplement, sounded a mixed note. It balanced clarity of public purpose — the pursuit of ‘fairness and justice’, the promotion of harmony and unity among an unfree people, the observance of ‘the strictest neutrality’ when it came to religion and the interests and demands of religious communities in a highly diverse society — with humility and diffidence about the outcome. Around that time The Hindu was only one among dozens of newspapers that had launched themselves across undivided India within the freedom movement tradition, in contrast to the press owned and edited by Europeans that stood on the side of the British imperialist Raj. But unlike virtually all its like-minded contemporaries from that historical era, The Hinduhas lasted the course, adapting to changing times, facing and overcoming a multitude of challenges, earning the trust and affection of millions of people across the country, and flourishing — thanks, above all, I believe to its fealty to the founding values, which have been contemporised in the Code of Editorial Values as well as the Code of Business Values adopted by the organisation in recent times.

Today the press, and the news media in general, across the developed world are perceived to be in crisis. Journalism, as we know it, is being described, obviously with some exaggeration, as ‘disintegrating’, ‘collapsing’, in ‘meltdown’. Its core values have come under assault and pressure from a combination of social, political, economic, and technological forces.

There is a sense, even within the profession, that news and the business model that sustains news have been ‘broken’. As a just-out book on the state of journalism and the need to remake it by Alan Rusbridger, former Editor of The Guardian, puts it, we are now ‘up to our necks in a seething, ever churning ocean of information, some of it true, much of it wrong’, there is ‘too much false news, not enough reliable news’, and ‘there might soon be entire communities without news. Or without news they could trust.’

Fortunately, in contrast to its general state in the developed world, the press as an industry is still in growth mode in India. But that does not mean the state of journalism is in good health, far from it. Freedom of expression, and as part of this, press freedom, has come under stress, pressure, assault, some would say siege, in India. The country ranked 138th among 180 countries figuring in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), a Paris-based independent organisation that dedicates itself to freedom of information. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has, after careful enquiry and strict verification, documented the work-related killing of 48 journalists in India, including 34 murdered ‘in retribution for, or to prevent news coverage and commentary’, since 1992. India is one of a dozen countries figuring year after year in the CPJ’s Global Impunity Index where journalists are murdered, the cases remain unsolved, and the killers go free.

And India is very much integrated in the global landscape of false and fake news, much of it divisive, toxic, and dangerous to democracy and to the health of society — a threat magnified a billion-fold by the business models, algorithms, bots, filter bubbles, echo chambers, and so forth created by the Internet giants, the so-called technology companies, chiefly Facebook and Alphabet, that exercise hegemony, refuse to accept accountability, and increasingly contribute to a news and socio-political landscape that begins to resemble a dystopia.

Under such fraught and challenging circumstances, the need to strategise, renovate, remake journalism and centre-stage its core principles of truth-telling, freedom and independence, fairness and justice, humaneness, and working for the public good stands out as a top national and patriotic priority.

The Hindu, with its priceless asset of public trust earned over 140 years during which the world changed beyond human imagination, re-commits itself to this mission.

N. Ram is Chairman of THG Publishing

congrats    THE HINDU

COURTESY     THE HINDU

How can I improve myself within a month?

20 ideas -:

  1. Detoxify your speech. Reduce the use of negative  words. Be polite.
  2. Read everyday. Doesn’t matter what. Choose whatever interests you.
  3. Promise yourself that you will never talk rudely to your parents. They never deserve it.
  4. Observe people around you. Imbibe their virtues.
  5. Spend some time with nature everyday. 
  6. Feed the stray animals. Yes, it feels good to feed the hungry.
  7. No ego. No ego. No ego. Just learn, learn and learn.
  8. Do not hesitate to clarify a doubt. “He who asks a question remains fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever”.
  9. Whatever you do, do it with full involvement. That’s meditation.
  10. Keep distance from people who give you negative vibes but never hold grudges.
  11. Stop comparing yourself with others. If you won’t stop, you will never know your own potential.
  12. “The biggest failure in life is the failure to try”. Always remember this.
  13. “I cried as I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”. Never complain.
  14. Plan your day. It will take a few minutes but will save your days.
  15. Everyday, for a few minutes, sit in silence. I mean sit with yourself. Just yourself. Magic will flow.
  16. In a healthy body resides a healthy mind. Do not litter it with junk.
  17. Keep your body hydrated at all times. Practice drinking 8–10 glasses of water.
  18. Make a habit to eat at least one serving of raw vegetable salad on a daily basis.
  19. Take care of your health. “He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything”.
  20. Life is short. Life is simple. Do not complicate it. Don’t forget to smile.

courtesy     whatsapp

Distinctions between *Intelligence* and *Wisdom* 

  1. Intelligence leads to arguments.

Wisdom leads to settlements.

  1. Intelligence is power of will.

Wisdom is power OVER  will.

  1. Intelligence is heat, it burns.

Wisdom is warmth, it comforts.

  1. Intelligence is pursuit of knowledge, it tires the seeker.

Wisdom is pursuit of truth, it inspires the seeker.

  1. Intelligence is holding on.

Wisdom is letting go.

  1. Intelligence leads you.

Wisdom guides you.

  1. An intelligent man thinks he knows everything.

A wise man knows that there is still something to learn.

  1. An intelligent man always tries to prove his point.

A wise man knows there really is no point.

  1. An intelligent man freely gives unsolicited advice.

A wise man keeps his counsel until all options are considered.

  1. An intelligent man understands what is being said.

A wise man understands what is left unsaid.

  1. An intelligent man speaks when he has to say something.

A wise man speaks when he has something to say.

  1. An intelligent man sees  everything as relative.

A wise man sees everything as related.

  1. An intelligent man tries to control the mass flow.

A wise man navigates the mass flow.

  1. An intelligent man preaches.

A wise man reaches.

 

Intelligence is good

but wisdom achieves better results.

courtesy       Whatsapp

 

Bawas of Hyderabad

 

Here is how the lovable community made Hyderabad their home

The name Parsigutta for a locality in Secundrabad gives a hint about the presence of Parsis in the city.  Chenoy Trade Centreis another name that harks backs to a time when Parsis were the leading lights of Hyderabad’s business and financial establishments.  Parsis have been one of the most powerful and vibrant communities in Hyderabad since they moved here a few centuries ago.

In the Boggulkunta ariea just before the area merges with King Koti is an almost invisible gateway painted white leading to a Parsi Agiary called Bai Maneckbai chenoy Fire temple. Surrounded by a leafy courtyard and residential quarters the agiary is a small area that tells a story about a small community that did big business in Hyderabad.   With an almost fanatical work ethic the community did wonders.   “ Our scriptures enjoin us to pray five times a day. There are set times for prayer.  But if we have work we finish our work first. Work gets priority” says Mehernosh Bharucha of the agiary.

According to community estimates about 1200 Parsis live in Hyderabad. The story of Parsis in Hyderabad begins with the brothers Mirji Pestonjee and Mirji Vicajee making contact with the Hyderabad nobleman Chandu Lal. Sometime in 1835 Pestonji Mirji met the Nizam’s premier Chandu Lal who managed the finances of the princely state.  This led to the foray of the firm Pestonjee   Vicajee into Hyderabad’s banking scene.  As their business grew in the area they took over the older establishment in the area.   A glimpse of the power and glory of the establishment can be seen in the building that currently houses the ENT hospital in Koti.

At that period banking or rather lending was as risky business as it is now.  While the borrower can now flee the country   earlier he could tell the lender to go and count the stars.  This had ruinous consequences if the banker didn’t have a powerful backer.  Pestonjee Vicajee firm stepped in after Makhdoom Seth’s firm ran to ground due to recalcitrant borrowers.

Makhdoom’s son Syed Ahmed had a plan for recovering the monies to his father and he implemented it.  In 1846 he spread a word about a 5 day party and invited the children of leading bankers officials and noblemen.  Then he locked them up demanding payment of his dues for release of the hostages.  The ruse did not pan out the way he wanted for Syed  Ahmed as the Nizam Nasir Ud Dowlah sent in his troops to join the family members of the hostages.  Not only Syed Ahmed did not recover the money but his family members had to spend time in goal.

But the Parsis thrived and prospered.  They scooped up a bounty when the American Civil War disrupted cotton supply to the textile mills of England.  The Parsi families pitched in on the logistical financial and agricultural side to boost cotton farming the Berar region and transporting it to the dockyards of Bombay for an onward journey to England.

One of  the biggest clothing store in Hyderabad still is Chermas which was on of the first shops to popularize readymade clothes in the city. Hyderbad’s  romance with Parsis cotton clothing and money still continues.

 

COURTESY    SERISH NANISETTI     THE HINDU

THE TIGER AND THE COW

Once upon a time, a cow went out to graze in the jungle. Suddenly, she noticed a tiger racing towards her. She turned and fled, fearing that at any moment the tiger would sink his claws into her. The cow desperately looked for someplace to escape and at last, saw a shallow pond. Barely evading the tiger’s reach, she jumped into the pond, and in the heat of the chase, the tiger blindly leaped after her.

To the surprise of them both, the pond was extremely shallow yet filled with deep recesses of mud. After toppling over each other, the cow and the tiger found themselves a short distance apart, stuck in the mud up to their necks. Both had their heads above water but were unable to free themselves no matter how much they writhed.   The tiger repeatedly snarled at the cow and roared, “I am going to enjoy the sound of crunching your bones between my teeth!”He thrashed about in fury but soon became fretful as he found no prospect of escape.  The cow thoughtfully laughed as the tiger struggled to free himself and asked him, “Do you have a master?”  The tiger disdainfully replied, “I am the king of the jungle. Why do you ask me if I have a master? I myself am the master!”

The cow said, “You may be the king of the jungle, but here all your power has failed to save your life.”  “And what about you?” Retorted the tiger. “You are going to die here in this mud too!”’The cow smiled mildly and said, “No, I am not.”   “If even I, the king of the jungle cannot free myself from this mud”, snapped the tiger, “Then how can you, an ordinary cow?”  The cow gently replied, “I cannot free myself from this mud, but my master can. When the sun sets and he finds me absent at home, he will come looking for me. Once he finds me, he will raise me up and escort me home sweet home.”   The tiger fell silent and coldly glared at the cow.

Soon enough, the sunset and the cow’s master arrived. He immediately recognized the plight she was in and lifted her to safety. As they walked home, the cow and the master both felt renewed gratitude for one another and pitied the tiger they both would have been happy to save if only the tiger had allowed them.The cow represents a surrendered heart, the tiger represents an egoistic mind, and the master represents the Guru.  The mud represents the world, and the chase represents the struggle for existence therein.

*Debrief*

Its good to be independent and not rely on anyone. But don’t take it to an extreme, you always need a partner/coach/mentor who will be always on the lookout for you. Having them does not mean you are weak, it’s just that you can be stronger with their help.