News & Views
Official Selection at Dawn Breakers International Film Festival, Take6/2012/Switzerland
We are thrilled that our film has been selected and will be showcased in this year’s Dawn Breakers Int’l Film Festival in Switzerland and in other parts of the world in the year to come. You can get more info about the film from its Official Page on Face Book and hope you can also ‘Like’ the page here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lotus-Sutra/178680765610460
Baby steps towards our dream project…
Neha’s Diary of Dreams – My journey at Dream:IN since the dawn of year 2011 has been of reinstating the faith in the power of dreams. There is often an inward shutting off or drawing back of our dreams in the daily rut of life. The extraordinarily vivid dream capturing process made us revisit the endless stretches of Indian dreamscape. Attempting to touch the actual problem and inner conflicts of every Indian.
The learning from the conclave discussions led me to recognize the limit of government in solving all of society’s problems. New connections were discovered so that the rapidly growing resources could flow in to deliver greater value to society. Many number of new opportunities emerged from this project, which will eventually find their way into design thinking theory and practice.
As for the storyteller soul in me, it has established an evolving relationship with the Dream: IN project. The final destination is yet to be determined but my dreams float free of boundaries and lines… to create something new, to feel whole in my expressions! Please do visit the DREAM:IN blog to speed read about my work and journey – www.dreaminin.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/neha-chopra/
And, do upload your dreams on www.dreamin.in
My first byline…
when i interned with Indian Express for a month in November 2007, in total i had 8 bylines… searching for the others… post soon!
I had been toying with this idea for a while now… it was Time I did it… I took a friend with me for moral support… my friend cum soother in times of pain had already made me practice the art of breathing and refresh my expletives word base. Both of which seemed useless until it was time for my first rip.
The ‘Lady Love’ beauty spa was all minty and fresh, the aromatherapy was invigorating and fake flower arrangements displayed against soothing walls were having their Zen effect. Ms. Mona – my beauty expert, stood at the counter and greeted us with her daily-used-quasi-warm smile. After this she spoke her well rehearsed beauty awareness lines “Body waxing is an economical, effective hair removal method which leaves the skin feeling wonderfully smooth, but it comes at a price. There can be considerable discomfort or pain, depending on your level of sensitivity”. I think it was a way to justify the excruciating pain she was preparing to put me through.
Once I was “O.K”, Ms. Mona applied a one-by-two inch patch of warm-brown-wax on my legs (like one applies jam to bread); my friend signaled me to take a deep breath but before I could exhale – there came a ‘firm-quick-yank’ with absolutely No Warning! After some very bad words escaped my lips, I noticed the handful of hair that were uprooted from their happy little homes and abandoned in the bin. Ms. Mona just rolled her eyes as if trying to tell me that I was being over dramatic. But believe me I felt a cramp in my leg; was almost on the verge of hyperventilation while sweating profusely. The story had just begun…
The Expert (rightly called-so) sanitized and powdered me from time to time to protect my skin. Then, spread the patch of wax and finally with the strip of paper and flick of wrist, pulled off everything underneath… I kept wincing, yelping, stinging, crying but the expert was aptly trained in talking my ear off so that I don’t notice when she rips my hair out. She almost managed to help me forget, that I had paid them 500 rupees to hurt me… While my skin was cooling off under the therapeutic effect of Ice cubes I turned my head around and looked at other routine clients. There was this client, chatting noisily with the beauty expert about her trip to Paris while the expert gave her an intelligent-I’m interested in listening to your crap-nod and spread the wax. Rip. They talk about the latest fashion trends. Rip. The rhythm sounded something like this – spread and rip, talk and rip, rip-wince-rip again and talk some more.
The end result of all the eewww’s and oowww’s was that when I entered the steaming hot perfumed shower, I instantly forgave Ms. Mona for hurting me with such eagerness. After undergoing the entire ordeal, my mantra is – close your eyes, relax your muscles, take a deep breath before each Rip… and if that’s not enough then let out a few curse words (caution – under your breath) or else you might run the risk of upsetting the beauty-cum-rip expert.
Nowadays, I cautiously smile every time I see streams of women aged 17 to 70 walk bravely inside ‘Lady Love’ beauty spa. I just close my eyes and hum these lines like a nursery rhyme –The wax goes drip;
The expert goes rip…Ouch!
The pain is quick – just the price of beauty… Rip-Drip-Rip
The pain is quick – just the price of beauty…
Khoon Chala days…
It was a Sunday where most of us got up at 7:00 a.m. instead of our usual 10:00 a.m. snooze time… the excitement and zeal was infectious – Khoon Chala types… Enthusiastic CDC students kick started the 1st event in the public zone… and it was a big success with the help of so many who made the day happen. The program was well received and the range of performances was very much loved by the children.
The learning outcome these activities is the hands-on experience to deal with various facets of day to day life and also to get a bird’s eye view of the problems faced by our community.
Unnaturally thin sexual objects…
Flipping through the pages of one of the leading fashion magazines made me wonder how absurdly they portray the image of women – “beautiful women”
Sometimes when I meet my fellow girlfriends I don’t quite feel the difference between an on-screen model and real life mock-up. But I don’t blame them either – the range of cosmetic products launched in the market goes on to indicate how easily we are being convinced to stay skinny, super white, pimple-free, unwrinkled and ridiculously made-up. Generally speaking the kind of role models that are MADE to stand in front of us are one or all of these – an acidic corporate player / dutiful & devoted housewife / sexy bombshell / or a wild spinster.
The beauty bug has bitten growing up girls big time, though it stings grown ups equally – perfect abs, glowing skin, shiny teeth, silky hair… picture perfect. I don’t want to generalize it on the entire women species, because I DID meet some women who are confident in WHO they are … while others just keep wishing and sighing over longer legs and flawless complexion
Have you ever heard of designer wear depression – the syndrome wherein there is a lot of pressure on the girls who HAVE TO dress themselves in trendy “haute couture” fashion… this kinda stuff doesn’t come CHEAP, most of them can’t afford it and feel left OUT – hence, the depression. While others who manage to beg, borrow and steal money $$$ buy the dress but go under because there is no place to wear and flaunt it, ‘coz the high fashion platform to showcase such riches doesn’t come free, the dress just waits flashily in the closet – hence, the depression.
First lessons in characterization…
Shri Mahipat Kavi, dada as we lovingly called him, said,“Puppet is not a TOY… Puppet is the Character of Drama”. This established a relationship of creator-creation amongst us and the puppets that we were going to create in the coming few days.
Puppetry is a very old, traditional art, still active in almost every culture. Its a cross cultural art form that can overcome language barriers by providing a non-verbal, visual theater experience. Puppets can be made from almost anything. We practiced and created table top and string-rod puppets, we played with different materials like chart and craft paper, stapler, sketch pens, cello tape, colors paints etc. We also performed the folk dance of Gujarat Raas-Garba with the glove puppets. It was an outlet for our creativity and kindled our imagination.
Puppetry involves everything – voice, acting skills, music, dance, expressions, characters, emotions, script, stage and set etc… it has all the qualities of mass media. A puppeteer requires a lot of practice; one needs not only be impressive storytellers but also jack of all trades.
Dadaji’s extensive knowledge of teaching and learning principles resulted in giving us hands-on experience where we created, enjoyed, and learned all along… As a Development Communicator, I had insights into the use of Puppets as a tool of communication at local and global platforms. The puppet being a Visual Story representing ‘real life’ can become alive and interactive. It can bridge language and interpretation barriers to bring people together. A Puppet is entertaining and educative; it enables people to laugh at themselves and yet it can deliver a strong message in a light-hearted manner without offending or frightening the audience.
I am an OnionAn Onion is full of layers, we start off by peeling an onion… layer by layer we touch the first papery – light and soft layer moving on, removing layers, trying to get somewhere… Trying to find what is hidden between all those layers…layer by layer… where is the end.. what do we get.. is the mystery solved? Or, Oh! its empty… umphhh… No, not empty… it is full of nothing hiding nothingness in itself…
Real Ms. Universe!
5,4,3,2…1… Ms. Universe crowned with a headband gently setting her free flowing hair back. TaLL, dressed in a deep blue overall, whilst the mic technician made adjustments to the microphone to her height and she giggled and noted, “this (mic) seems more complicated than space travel…”. She was back home after 10 long years… and ministers showered her with all sorts of over-imaginative adjectives like ’antariksh pari, gujarat ki dharti pe ayi’ (outer space fairy lands on Gujarat land)… Sunita aka our space fairy came back from the space with a realization that the ‘World is Borderless’… she represents herself as a Citizen of Earth. Gravity brings us all a sense of stability and organization, but in space everything and everybody is floating around. Sunita exclaimed, humorously, “Things don’t sit in space because gravity doesn’t work”. Ms. Sunita Williams, signed off by saying, “Atmosphere, the thin-blue-line covering us all, needs urgent protection, because beyond this cover lies an unimaginable black space full of infinite darkness.I will be old, you are the future, I challenge you to take my place and break my records”.