Kathputli Colony – Before and After Rehabilitation

Before Relocation

The spinning earth with dynamic cosmic energies and variable wavelengths is rotating, skewing and stretching every individual’s world. Luck, magic, illusion, wizardry, horoscopy and occultism; all being delusional words of perception are diluting the sagacity of being in the absolute tangible world. As we strolled through the majestic lanes of Kathputli colony, Shadipur Depot, New Delhi, I could recall every expression from Salman Rushdie’s book – Midnight Children. He glorified the ‘Jadui’ ghetto full of magicians, street artists, puppeteers, dancers, snake charmers, acrobats, singers, actors, traditional healers, and instrumentalists. The art is self incepted and caressed to perfection by each individual.

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‘Bhoole Bisre Kalakaro ki basti’ is what they call it, as the art is dying and the artists are dying from the death of art. Vinod, who belongs to Rajasthan, is carrying the family’s legacy of manipulating the strings of self made dolls and storytelling for the sole reason to entertain his audience. His experiences are vivid and waving in every respect. His artist neighbors from the slum are frequent visitors of Middle Eastern and European countries. But, the visits are short and not wealthy enough to keep them away from the narrow drains of the slum. The locality was a garland of cocoon where all the residents are tied with pieces of art, and children are willingly learning the traditional activities.

The originators of World famous Indian Rope Trick, Indian Basket Trick and Mango Trick had been the residents of this colony. Their progenies know the secrets to perform these tricks and are still trying their best to preserve the street art; but we, the progenies of fictional science, addicted to technical aspects of life are unaware of the esoteric virtuosity. We move on the rhythms of electronic dance music and we put the tunes of Dholak into oblivion. While the residents of Kathputli colony breathe on the nuances of traditional art forms.

After Relocation

Relocated from Kathputli Colony, Shadipur Depot, the residents faced a lot of problems to settle down. We fear, they might lose on the cultural heritage in the pretext of rehabilitation. Having said that, it is also true that their skills relocated too.

The transit camps are similar to refugee camps. It is one of its kinds of experiment for the redevelopment of the slum by DDA. The residents have inhibitions and concerns due to lack of trust for the authorities. DDA persuaded quite a few residents to shift but the relocation becomes useless, if adequate facilities are not provided. The artist used to get most of their work through phones, so change of location should not be a concern but small businesses were affected.

Anthropologists redefine the word ‘place’ by stating that ‘it is the way through which people constitute sense of being’.

“Social World is not confined to a particular place or marked by a boundary”.

-Emmanuel Marx

We truly hope that mental world of the residents of Kathputhli colony never gets disturbed.

Geographical relocation might be empowering if the residents are in a happy state of mind, which could result in social and material gains. But, one thing is for sure, every element of Kathputli Colony made it the ‘Jadui Ghetto’, we need to relocate all these elements – the physical, psychological and emotional elements.

 

 

 

 

What is an Ideal Society like?

Does the dream of a utopian society create blind followers?

Are we following rituals blindly? Or do we deny them boldly without understanding the reasons behind them? We need to discuss the logical threshold of such beliefs to understand the world around us.

The intent here is to analyse the psychological profile of the followers who are strong in numbers but weak in logic.  Is it the fear of God, hope for stability and prosperity, peer pressure or consuming what’s served on the plate – that drives people towards self-proclaimed Gurus and Gods. How shamelessly the people attack other fellow humans who are also created by their ‘beloved God’. So much in the name of God and the irony is none of the teachings of God have mentioned violence for nirvana.

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The ideal society ideas have several cells integrated to make the larger part functional. Perhaps, this could explain the crores of cells working together to form the ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ (Indian religious cult group) kingdom.  It took 15 years to award a sentence of 20 years to a rapist, the leader Gurpreet Ram Rahim singh. Does the blind following corresponds to that of the Hitler or Mussolini, who were dictators and ruthless in their own ways. Is it the same psyche which is attracting people to a power that they believe can change the world and create a utopian future for them?  And is it the same drive that is making people insensitive to the pathos of women because they think that ‘Gupreet Ram Rahim’ (former Indian sect leaders charged with several crimes) is the visible avatar of the invisible God.

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The infamous case of mass suicide at Jonestown at Guyana is another example of the devastation caused by blind cult following.  913 People committed mass suicide/ murder on November 18, 1978. The leader Jim Jones was a self proclaimed churchman. When he realized that some of his followers wanted a way out of the set up, he ordered all of them to gather and drink poison. A few followers obeyed and the rest were made to do it in on a gun point.

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Inspired from such examples of cult following, Canadian author Margret Atwood wrote ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ which has recently been documented as a TV series was based on the fact that followers are made to blindly follow the acts that is being fed to them as ‘God’s will’. ‘The Handmaid’s tale’ is a dystopian novel about the manipulative power of the mighty – a class of women called handmaids are kept only for the purpose of reproduction and are forbidden to perform any task that can be even slightly related to freedom of expression; all done in the pretext of a better future.

Indian mythological characters can help us to understand the concept of the two famous kinds of kingdom we had. However, any profound example of an ideal society hardly exists. Simplifying the definition of an ideal society we can deduce that it is ‘a man’s dreams of a better world’.  So, let’s compare Rama’s and Ravana’s Kingdoms, as they portrayed a clear distinction of thoughts that ruled both the societies

Here are some points that mark clear differences in their approach

 Rama ‘s Kingdom Ravana’s Kingdom
Society Person belonging even to the lowest strata of society can also question the king Even the king’s own brother cannot question him
Environment Art of living in harmony  with nature Kumbhakaran was given 6 months of sleep, otherwise he would have eaten up a lot of  food
Wealth Use of wealth was aimed at fulfilling the necessities Wealth was collected for pleasure and show off
People Everyone was happy The happiness of the society could be killed for the king’s pleasure
King Deedful and lived for people Was indulged in pleasure and devoted his life to become powerful
Family Difference of opinion was permitted but they shared the same feeling of love for each other No one was allowed to differ in opinion from Ravana

But the situation is quite tricky, irrespective of the presence of various intellectuals trying to build a model society; ‘my ideal society’ never came into existence. There could be various reasons for it; clash of egos, or too many possible outcomes from combining different opinions that affects decision making skills.

Even today, if we get all the intellectuals to decide the country’s future, the possibility of building an ideal society will be one in a million. Now, if we factually know that even the great epic like Ramayana couldn’t create an ideal society, how can proxies from all around the world, who have no right to rule the fate of thousands of people can create a utopian society for them?

Fuck You Zindagi (life)

As a naïve knowledge seeker I came across the ruthlessness of life and so I run away to the wild where I find my peace in collecting berries, building leaf houses and catching butterflies. I do miss human interaction but I don’t have to pretend anymore, I now am a mannequin of my own choice – I can freeze or move, my logics are concrete now. Everything falls into place; my memories behold me and drag me often to the city that stands across the hill.

I seamlessly want to enter the void following the visible smoke, totally vanishing into oblivion. The evils in the Pandora box could be alive or dead but as long as I am told that I am alive, I need to smoke up the reality and get stoned till infinity. Here, my oblivious world of finite thoughts is crippled and insipid because some real thoughts are frequent passers-by.

We spend hours thinking about the ultimate motive in life – the so called ultimate truth, rendering around secret societies of sarcasm, procrastination, weighing humanity, analyzing profanity and integrating languages, geometry and poetry together. Apparently, the more one searches come closer to the truth but as the velocity becomes zero, the speed never decelerates. And when one rests or loses hope, what we see becomes reality, – ‘the so called ultimate truth’.

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Courtesy: pinterest

“Main apni Shadi main na jayu, meri marzi” – this line stole my heart when I heard it for the first time, the concept in magnificent and pardon me when I compare it to the classic ‘Catcher in the Rye’ feeling. I know the comparison is catastrophic but don’t you think there is a vague similarity in the gist – basically the right to choose for yourself. We encounter many moral dilemmas, those that fall in the grey zone – there is no right or wrong. Certain situations exhibit confused minds traveling between one extreme pole to the other. And accepting that you are a pole dancer who is clueless about the next move makes you a naive seducer; the one who is constantly after cynical schizophrenic accomplishments. Even if mentally you achieve it, you lose the curve via which you reached your destination. The accomplishments remain a state of mind. The curve also remains a state of mind but a legitimate one.

In any case, whatever you choose leaves you with the curious mind asking – what if I would have chosen the other option? And in mind, it licks you just a little bit above your senses of realization.

The only thing I understand is that I will consume life as it comes to me, I will go with the flow without any pre defined notions;

I am the one who knocks – ‘Fuck You Zindagi (life)’.

 

Director’s Special : Onir

Every director has a pattern, a lens through which he visualizes his/her movies. The lens could be a prime one or a one with rotating zoom, depending on how he/she perceives the society at large. Huge chandeliers, extravagant makeup, larger than life sets or daily struggles, injustices, real issues – we need fantasy at times to relieve ourselves from the daily bread battle, it empowers our imagination and sprinkle glitters on our polaroid view. But, at the same time, movies also reflect the reality, and some directors take this unconventional route to magnify the disturbing facts of life with nuances.

Director Onir is one of them, with movies like ‘I Am’, ‘Sorry Bhai’, ‘Bus Ek Pal’, and ‘My Brother Nikhil’ – he tried to coherently sabotage the higher status that patriarchy enjoys in a society like ours. So, all his movies have a few common elements, like –

Social Issues: Onir has raised issues like LGBT rights, child abuse, molestation, women empowerment,the plight of the people of Kashmir in his movies. He has dedicatedly immersed himself in the flowing ripples of societal bondages.

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Insecurity / Complicated Relationships: ‘Sorry Bhai’  narrates the story of a complicated relationship between a girl and two brothers who are in love with the same girl, although it looks like a normal love triangle, the twist in the story is that the girl had been already in an established relationship with one of the brothers and everyone knew about it.

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Minimalistic Approach: All his movies are economically made without expensive production elements. Shadows and murmurs highlight the depth in the story and not the blinding lights.

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A still from ‘Chauranga’, Produced by Onir, Courtesy: ndtv.com

 

Gyno-centric : The female leads are always powerful. Thinking from a women’s perspective his movie was named ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and not ‘My Sister Anamika’. Against all odds Juhi’s character supports her brother and fights against the phobic society, where sex is a taboo and a person affected with AIDS is considered an anathema. In ‘I AM ‘, Nandita Das decides to become a mother using a sperm donor. The movie was released in 2010 but still a decision like this in our society is explicitly difficult for a single mother.

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Courtesy : rudrastech.com

Defying Heteronormativity – Onir’s movies break stereotypes of males and females of the society having predefined roles. It is individuality that matters and not the gender.

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With all these common features we are looking forward to ‘Shab’ which is set in the cosmopolitan city of Delhi, about people coming from different walks of life –  some in the search for love and some towards realization of their dreams.

Let’s see how differently this movie has been treated, where we are again expecting the bold characters to defy societal norms.

Shab is slated to release soon

Trailer : Shab

 

 

 

 

Life In Colors

By Anuja Sachdeva

The play of shadows and lights is intensive and it reaches the psyche in its purest form. Shadows contain embryonic and enclosed potential of all kinds. Darkness and light co-create and co-exist. Every color has an emotional belongingness. Delayering the folds of this enclosed space exposes us to the immense scope of expanding our horizons.

Anuja Sachdeva Hidden BeautyPrice Rs.45,000

Hidden Beauty

Anuja’s Story 

Anuja rediscovered herself when she met an accident, although she was into designing always. She got into painting to kill time as she wasn’t able to walk due to her broken leg.  What started as an activity soon got polished with professional finesse. With great acceptance, she joined the art world and is now exploring her newly acquired skill.

LIFE IN COLORS
The Art Palate, The Club, D.N Nagar, Andheri West, Mumbai
1- 30 June, 2017
11am – 9pm

Anuja Sachdeva True Love Rs 70,000

When Me is My Muse

Imagine the muse in the centre and artists around him/her observing every breath, moving eyelids and trembling lips. The elegance is documented in measured smile and body curves are depicted with bold strokes, but how about watching oneself while illustrating the nuances of one’s features. The first thing that comes to our mind is the perfection of the mirror image. One cannot possibly authenticate the reflection of inner emotions while drawing? Isn’t all about peeping deep into the body vs soul conflict – amalgamation of inner and outer self?

Most of the times it is expressing one’s delusional state through colors and canvas, what we call as a self-portrait, when deconstructed, it narrates the story of the artist’s mind.

  • Titan(Tiziano Vecelli, 16th century Italian Centre) in young age was reluctant for self –portraits but with old age he was keen to portray the elements of his old age in a poised way to express pride and narcissism.

 

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Pic Courtesy : wikipedia

Dolce quoted  “Titan’s portrait are of such great excellence that there is no more life in the life itself and are all of Kings, Emperors, Price, Popes or other men of stature.”

  • Rembrant (17th century Dutch artist) was incredibly present in all his self-portraits, his art teach us the ability to observe and on looking closely at his expressions we realize the integrated maturity that the artist has experinced throughout his life.

 

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Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

 

  • Artemisia Gentileschi (17th century Italian artist)- her paintings are inextricably bound to her social circumstances.

 

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Source : wikipedia

“ Artemisia’s rape caused her anguish is an admissible hypothesis about her, , but it is not thereby a fact about her art. The story of the artist is not the story of the artist’s art.” (Silvers, 1990, 365) He discounts the idea that circumstances outside of the art itself could in any way contribute to how it is produced and the genius inherent in it — a “purist” interpretation that theoretically effaces the creator in favor of the creation”

– Anita Silvers

Although Selfies are the new self –portraits that freeze time and emotion, the art of creating self portraits can portray clouded emotions, colors of contemporary society, metamorphosis of oneself and the turbidity of time.

Likewise, Neonwhitexyz(Instagram handle- @neonwhitexyz) is an artist who uses vivid colors to glorify psychedelic tenderness. His delusional vision reflects the mirage of life and merges his sub conscious thoughts to his consciousness.

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Instagram : neonwhitexyz

The Curious Case of Lost and Found –

The Story of My Great Grand Mother

Even if the wrinkles have transformed your caricature, and white hair has camouflaged your structure like a thread like snow cover, the beauty of growing older with your heart growing younger is something beyond the horizon; an unexplainable experience of being mature and childish at the same time. Only one thing comes to our minds while chatting with our grandparents – ‘It is beautiful to grow old, the only thing you need to sustain the beauty is to be happy’.

That reminds us of these lines from the song ’Dil to Bacha hai Jee’.

“Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi

Dil to bacha hai ji”

– Gulzar

My Great Grandmother (My mother’s Dadi) was no different, she was a character straight from a Bengali novel – always draped in a serene white sari she would carry her own utensils and pooja items.  She would accompany her grandchildren in reading at night, just by sitting at the corner of the room with a lamp burning alongside. Her pure bright aura was profoundly sensitive to love.  She relished the emotional bonds with all her loved ones.

Although, she was one of the cleanest of the souls wandering this earth, she had to go through hard times that changed the course of her life. While coming back from her daughter’s place from Bengaluru to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, she lost her way and ended up wandering without knowing any local languages, as she could only speak Bengali. She was made to sit in the ladies coach and a male colleague of her daughter was supposed to help her change the train in Allahabad, who was traveling in the same train but in a different coach. The person responsible fell asleep and the coaches were separated. Who would ever know that such a trivial mistake could become disastrous for her?

Finding herself in the middle of nowhere she was baffled and shocked. She somehow analysed that following the rail track would help her reach home. So, day and night it was the railway tracks that she kept on following. She reached Itarsi(M.P), i.e around 234 kms from Jabalpur, but the walking took over her mental and physical health. Children who played on the tracks mistook her as a mentally unstable old lady and had hit her with stones. Fully drained of energy she met an affectionate  middle aged couple who lived by the railway tracks.

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They provided her with the life’s essentials and asked her about her family. She would eat only fruits because eating cooked food at someone else’s place was forbidden for widows. Days passed by and nothing happened. One day, while talking about something else they came to know that she used to live in Jabalpur.

Meanwhile, my grandfather’s family held themselves responsible for the incident. But in 1966, one couldn’t post the videos online or wassapp images to make the search convenient. The only ray of hope was to believe in fate. When the couple brought her back to the city, she started remembering the landmarks and met my grandfather’s friends in a factory who knew her. That was the moment to rejoice, could meet her family and love her grandchildren again.

Back from a traumatic journey, she fought back like a rebel and worked hard to regain her mental strength. It was not easy for her to forget everything at once but as you say, love cures everything.

She was about 66 years when this happened but she lived up to 88 years of age to elegantly deal with her problems of old age. Sometimes, a golden kiss on the forehead, a misty touch, or just a smile is needed to make people live again and not just survive. She was fortunate to have a loving family.

But what would be our motivation when we turn 80?? Being Mortal – we need to beautify all stages of life, isn’t?

Ton Sai Beach – Art & Adventure

Your sweat drips down your face with no hindrance and your muscles stretches to the maximum – but  you give your best shot to climb the hardest of rocks – Ton Sai beach in the Southern province of Krabi, Thailand is every rock climber’s dream. One can see many climbing ropes hanging in a row on a fine day, and the voices of their effort echoes from every direction. It is mesmerizing to watch rock climbers creating their own mark on the stones untouched.

It is a place where artists, bag packers, wanderers, mountaineers, and beach lovers dwell in peace to enjoy the everlasting scenic beauty. If you stay at Railey Beach(mall peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand), then there are two ways to reach Ton Sai – One is the Hansel Gretel Forest Walk and the other is a rocky path. While the forest route is mysterious, the rocky route is adventurous with no sign boards and one can get confused often. I suggest, one must take both the routes to imbibe the true sense of nature.

The tree houses here teleport you to the amazing forest set up of the 18th century where electricity was a farsighted thing. The vividly colored graffiti on the walls are a sign of a revolution that indicates the accumulation of think tanks at Ton Sai. People indulge in music, philosophy, painting and express themselves through different mediums.

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Ton Sai is amazingly flooded with cats and insects , which shows how urbanization has taken over and claimed the spaces which truly belonged to all living beings and not only humans.

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If you need a break from the monotony, and then Ton Sai is the best place to relax, climb mountains, or to enhance creativity.

 

How to Reach

From New Delhi

Air Asia Fligts Till Krabi, Thailand

Take a cab till Aao Nang, Long Tail boats or ships can take you to Ton Sai

Is God Deaf

Why the noise surrounding me is slitting me into pieces, turning me into a robot and boiling my heart? Why are we poking our nose into someone else’s business constantly? And the most important question – what have we become?

The recent incidents where the discussion goes beyond logic, makes me wonder the authenticity of being a human. Religion fanatics are butchering people and announcing death sentences in the name of God, so I ask loud and clear –

Is God deaf?

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Source : fedsig

Singer Sonu Nigam ranted on Twitter about the disturbance caused by religious rituals/ceremonies, and then no stone is unturned in abusing him online for expressing his views. Everyone is mum in the name of God- no one can touch the subject because for sure hell exists and the dead human skin will peel off; leaving skeletons to suffer. Ironically, the same people have myriad problems when the youngsters party. So, are your ear drum prone to the sound of bells and religious sermons, and only on other musical beats do they create chaos in your mind?

The question remains the same –Why do you think we need to shout the sermons –

Is God deaf?