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2007 September 9 [Sunday]

Chak de

Movies being the way they are (except the rare oldies like chupke-chupke, Butterflies are free, or even Bheja fry :-)) this is perhaps the first time I liked a movie enough to start blogging about it a week ago and finally finish it today :-).

I liked it for many reasons, chiefly for the way it portrays women and sports. Feminism, often portrayed in a negative light, in Indian movies is a cliche when ironically many worship Durga, the ultimate form of feminism ranging from white, black and shades of grey. But typically in our movies there is no black or even shades of grey, with greater importance attatched to the cliched self-sacrificing, kitchen-slaving, slim, fair and beautiful Bharatiya nari waiting to fall in love and live happily ever after. As far as sports (or sportsmanship) is concerned, few would know what that means, often limited to getting admissions via a sports quota or minting the moolah, a la Tendulkar. As a kid when I started learning karate, for self-defence and the mental/character strength and discipline it inculcates, many friends(?) used to tease S and me, the only girls in the whole school to join martial arts, which stopped with time... but I shall keep that for another post.

Team-spirit juxtaposed vis-a-vis women and a dash of feminism is symbolised via "ChakDe India" - based on Mir Ranjan Negi - about a gritty women's hockey team that is split by (personal) differences, selfish attitudes, (huge) ego clashes and conflicts of state/region, diversity & ethnicity. At the start of the movie we can see all of the above very clearly. However as it progresses the girls grow and learn via their coach and through the other players that life is not all "I, Me, Myself". A lot of values being portrayed there are pertinent in our real lives. Whether its the workplace or the volunteer world, each individual is uniquely different and yet has to remember that he/she works for _one_ organisation with a common goal. The girls learn to ignore negative traits, set aside personal preferences, and work effectively as ONE team with team-spirit, which is so rare and a tough act to understand and implement but definitely not impossible to achieve. They exhibit a win-win attitude which can only emerge when the team works as a team and stays a team. The coach manages to instill this and more in his protegees after some hard knocks and they overcome many odds to go on & win the world hockey championships. Chak de, after all !!

2007 August 12 [Sunday]

tracking progress

... or the lack of i ? hmm... thats coz I touch the books a few minutes before class, practice in class, return and it stays there till the next week when its time for the next class. Tsk.... its frustrating that i am unable to keep up my resolve to practice regularly and each weekend I feel guilty about it, so I am not sure if blogging about it is gonna change anything.

Today we continued with "Evari mata" a vilambit kala kriti by SriTyagaraja in Raag Kamboji. Its quite tough and definitely longer than any other kriti we have learnt thusfar, except perhaps the pancharatna kritis. The scales dip and rise so keeping up with the pallavi, A.P and charanam is by far the toughest. Needless to say that Telegu is a tough language but for me linguistic barriers are not important just so long as i can learn music. Its so easy to loose the svara and that is when I feel the pressure to practice more if I ever hope to pass the exams.

Till now I have never prepared for any government music exams and to be honest karnatic music exams were not promoted with the same gusto that Hindustani music has been in the Northern cities, and even if they are its not easy to find teachers who can match and train you in the deeper nuances of Karnatic/classical music. That needs patience, excellent knowledge and dedication to the art, a tall order for one human especially since the lucre and fame is manifold.