Sunday, November 18, 2018

Coming home

Coming home is a strange feeling.

What’s home? Is it the home I grew up in and am now back to? Is it the home in Boston I spent over 6 years in, the majority of my past 11 years and my time in the US? Any of the 2 homes in Buffalo when I was a poor student living with roommates? The room in Framingham that I kinda snatched and made my own for the first month after my graduation? The room in Hopkinton I rented for 6 months, while trying to ease into a professional’s life, clearing my educational loan and setting up my future life in Boston? The Milford apartment of 1.5 years which was my first home that was wholly mine and mine alone? The Somerville apartment I shared with a friend for about a year, getting the first taste of city life in the US and Boston? Stockholm where I spent 2 months in 2017 and visited multiple times, so frequently that I started feeling a sense of belonging there too and upended my life in Boston?

I landed in Bangalore early last morning. Just my second day back. There are so many things that are familiar, making me happy that some things haven’t changed. There are things that have changed, causing surprises and sometimes a tinge of sadness. And then there are those things that remind me of similar things in Boston, from the life that I left behind. Haven't I come a full circle? Until now this was the life that I had left behind.

How do I pay the porter - do I have Rupees or Dollars in my wallet? Which is the driving seat and which is the passenger seat in the car? Automatic or manual? Which is the “right” side of the road to drive on - left or right? How do I turn on the light in my room - flip the switch up or down? Can I drink water from the tap or do I need filtered water? Do I add or subtract 1.5 to my current time to calculate the time in Boston? Is it day or night for my friends there? Is it hot or cold there?

And just like that I don’t need to worry about New England’s eccentric weather patterns now.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Shiva slaying Andhaka - carvings at Elephanta Caves

A post shared by Madhavi Nadig (@m_nadig) on

What a difference there is from reading about the caves, the sculptures and the destruction in a high school history text to seeing it with one's own eyes!

The combination of history and mythology is so captivating. Why do the writers of history text books present only uninteresting, dull facts and dates to students?! The beauty of the caves is scarred by sabotaging colonists, still it shines through.

The sculpture reveals the full mythical story of the battle between Shiva and Andhaka. During the battle, each drop of Andhaka's blood that falls to the ground spawns another form of Andhaka. In this depiction Shiva pierces Andhaka's heart with his trident, collecting Andhaka's blood in a bowl while Kali drinks the blood, effectively preventing the emergence of more Andhakas. The asura's fault was that he unknowingly lusted after his own mother, Parvati. After being defeated, Andhaka realizes his mistake and submits to Shiva. Shiva forgives him and makes him the head of his ganas.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Masterclass with Benjamin Zander

Recently watched the delightful Benjamin Zander conduct a masterclass and coach talented teenage musicians at the Boston Public Library.

Benjamin Zander's teaching style was a performance in itself ... explaining to the budding musicians the historical context, motivations and emotions behind the piece ... conducting them repeatedly until he was satisfied, through several seemingly flawless performances ... involving all ages of audiences ... getting the kids to focus on involving audiences instead of their own playing, artistry or poise.

The kids were great at playing their chosen instrument to start with. The coaching transformed their performances, elevating them to a completely new level. Loved every bit of it!

After watching his TED Talk way back in 2013, I immediately picked up his book The Art of Possibility which left me inspired. I don't know much about Western Classical music, but have wanted to see him in action since then.

Was pleased to meet him in person after waiting 5 years. Since the only thing I collect is books autographed by their authors, I happily bought his book and he graciously signed it for me. A new addition to my small but growing collection. Made my day!