The champagnes have been popped, the toasts have been made, the celebratory jig has been danced and the wishes have been made. We have welcomed 2017 like we welcome any new year with open arms, loads of hope and a tiny dash of anxiety. 2017 could turn out to be what 2016 could not be.
It is 9pm at night. On a small TV screen that is playing in mute, Guy Fieri is in that diner show. I have forgotten my glasses home so I cannot see clearly either. I am still staring into the TV screen while watching Gina do things around the room and use the foamy hand sanitizer every 30 seconds. She looks at another little screen behind my bed and makes some notes with great concentration. She shuts the blinds and layers another blanket at my feet.
For the millions of Indians who live in the United States (4 millions approximately), a Diwali celebration at work or school or in the community is becoming as common as are the celebrations for Christmas or Hanukkah. Diwali traditions such as creating the Rangoli or decorating and lighting of the Diyas are as mainstream now as much is decorating the tree for the Christmas. The White House too officially celebrates Diwali every year now with much enthusiasm.
Authors, storytellers and artists have a special place in this blog. It stems from our love for stories and immense respect for people who are still working hard to put art and stories out to the world. Until last year, we did a series called “Living Your Dreams”. The stories on “3 Curious Monkeys“, “Kitab World“,”MeghDoot” and now “Ten Gulab Jamuns” are the stories of people who are living their dream, quite literally. Much of this is happening in the Bay Area. In this post, we sat down with Sandhya Acharya to talk about her dreams of being an author, her first e-book and the kickstarter for the second one.
The artist and curator talking about “Meghdoot” at the exhibit.
In the year 1997, a young artist, was exploring and studying different art forms and mediums as part of her doctorate (PhD). For the artist, there was no limit to art forms – paint, performance, visual art and words, she was exploring it all. The same year she immigrated to a new country. In the foreign land, every thing was new and needed to be built up again. You could hole yourself up in a room and wait till destiny changes its course. Or you could take a copy of the papers of your thesis in your pocket, step out of home, strike a conversation with absolute strangers and ask them if they could make a paper boat of one of those thesis papers. And then with those paper boats, you could create art installations.
I love reading children’s books. Picture books with colored illustrations are my favorite. I enjoy them as much as my children, sometimes even more than them. But as I read them “The Day The Crayons Came Home” or the Elephant and the Piggie books or even the classics like the Red Riding Hood, I also crave to read to them books that I have grown up reading. The Panchatantra, The Folk Tales from India, Akbar Birbal, Goplal Bhad (in Bengali) and many others. I would put in a request to whoever was traveling to India to get some books or search on Amazon like a mad woman. Continue reading “Kitaab World : Diverse Is Beautiful”
Stories that are evolving, still forming. Stories that have not yet been published or exhibited or told before. Stories that are not inscribed anywhere but are part of daily lives. Stories that have a beginning, but there is neither a climax nor an end. Stories that not just writers, artists and authors are churning out. Stories that are instead coming out from all walks of life, from people who are living those stories. Stories that have not formed yet. Stories that are liquid.
Two beautiful little children, sitting on a shopping cart along side a blanket, a small bag and a neatly folded blue tarpaulin. A young woman stands next to them, fearful and apologetic, begging to feed the little bodies beside her. The woman holds a cardboard with a sign – “Please help. Hungry Children.” Most eyes that meet her’s are sympathetic but not generous.