Feb 14, 2007

Of love and other monologues...

I have been wondering if we could shed dead-skin like a snake.
Errrrmmmmm.....Or maybe there is a way...

I watched two very interesting plays last week, ‘Anything but Love’ and ‘Vagina Monologues’. Both were extremely entertaining and the latter one deserved nothing short of a standing ovation for the women who shared their stories of rape, incest, female genital mutilation, child molestation, sex and so on; for the women who collected these stories and presented it in the form of a play; and for the women who performed it in front of a huge audience describing and enacting some interesting facts that shocked us, amused us and finally touched our hearts. Jayanti Bhatia deserves a special mention. She was surprisingly outstanding with her bits of performance. Maybe you ought to go and find out for yourself why? :ppp

Oh yeah, its Valentine's! Wish you all good luck in finding your soulmates:-)
I keep telling you, they exist:-)))))

Feb 7, 2007

Jaipur - the colorful land of Maharajas, their grand palaces, literature feast and more...

I was really keen on visiting Jaipur for a long time now and finally I put in my plans together to explore this Pink city. Needless to say, I was quite captivated by the grandeur of the huge palaces, the vastness of the ancient forts, the widespread boundary walls that encircled the city on its periphery, the colourful bazaars, the spicy food, the rich culture and the warmth of the people. It was indeed a memorable experience that was not only satisfying but left me in complete awe of our heritage, art and culture.

I left from delhi early morning with Ramchander bhaiya and a friend. We stopped at the Neemrana Fort-Palace and were completely taken in by the beauty and the magnificence of its structure. Carved into a hill, the stepped palace offers splendid views of the village around. The ruins around the fort almost tempted me to stay there for a few days and unearth the stories that lay buried.

As we reached Jaipur, we could see the boundary walls of the forts spread on the hilltops surrounding the city, dozens of multi-colored embroidered umbrellas spread out on the roads and puppets hanging in every shop of the market-place. As we entered further into the city, everything was red, the building structures confined to the old architecture – Yes, we had reached the Pinkcity.

I checked into my hotel and rested for a while. In the evening, went to the Diggi Palace where a major part of the Literature Festival was being held. I met a few of the Caferati members and sat through a poetry session and listened to the three readers - Jeet Thayil, Jane Bhandari and Keki daruwalla. I loved Jeet’s poem, Ghazal, which you can read below:

Ghazal: Jeet Thayil

Listen! Someone's saying a prayer in Malayalam. He says there's no word for 'despair' in Malayalam.

Sometimes at daybreak you sing a Gujarati garba.At night you open your hair in Malayalam.......

Visitors are welcome in The School of Lost Tongues.Someone's endowed a high chair in Malayalam.

I greet you my ancestors, O scholars and linguists.My father who recites Baudelaire in Malayalam.

Jeet, such drama with the scraps that you know.Write a couplet, if you dare, in Malayalam.


After this I headed for Chawkidhani. I liked the hospitality of the people who served us the typical Rajasthani food on patals, serving us loads of sangar, lasan ka achaar, baajre ki khichdi, maal poha and god knows what all.

The next day I was headed to visit the forts and the palaces that defined the city and its culture. The first one was called HawaMahal – Palace of winds. The Mahal has numerous Jharokhas that form an interesting fa├žade for the palace, overlooking the busy bazaar.

Next on my schedule was the prime attraction – the three forts, Amber, Jaigarh and Nahargarh. The short drive uphill was lovely and I could not stop raving about the splendid view we got of the city. We reached the Amber Fort and let me tell you, it was a breathtaking sight. We hired the services of a guide and then went about exploring the entire fort and the Amber city built by Raja Man Singh.

You can view the rest of the pics of the Caferati evening here


To be continued...

Feb 2, 2007

Neemrana Fort-Palace

Neemrana Fort-Palace is Rajasthan's closest palace from New Delhi. I stopped here on my way to Jaipur for a while and I simply fell in love with the grandeur of this majestic palace. The fort has been turned into a hotel and does provide the luxuries that it must, including a swimming pool on the terrace, lavishly done up rooms, open-air -theatre etc.

But what I simply loved about the palace were the wide aangans in the middle of each block, the barsaatis overlooking the fields, and the old-fashioned dahleejs that stood at each entrance. It reminded me of my ancestral house where we lived before moving to Delhi. I particularly enjoyed the jeenaas that led from one part of the fort to another and would have been just perfect to play hide n seek. Also, I loved the rustic feel given by the use of kachhi-mitti at a few places and the laltens that hung around to light up the palace in the night.

I really wanted to spend a day there, perhaps with my family, to relax those stressed nerves of mine that deal with the everyday chaos. But alas! I had to leave, and Neemrana lingered on in my thoughts.