One of the most viewed posts on my blog is my experience of visiting the Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. This morning, as I logged in to WordPress and saw that this post from October 2012 was once again viewed and that too, from someone in North America, I began to imagine the kind of person who would search for information on the museum. Sikh immigrants of course, besides students of architecture and those researching museums of culture. What’s more interesting is that Moshe Safdie, who designed the museum, is of Israeli origin. It’s confusing, these cultural and nationalistic identities. It’s tough to be accepting and think beyond the stereotypes propagated around you.
I thought about this film- My Dear Americans, made by my friend Arpita and how, in a very short span of time, it explores the overlap between cultural and religious identity and human individuality.
In its own way, the film tells us that we need to think about who we are and what kind of a world we want to live in and how we can, with our own small actions, create a world we love. Disturbed intensely by all the violence in the world- the rapes, the killings at Gaza and the shooting down of another Malaysian Airlines plane- and struggling with how to reconcile these with the daily ups and downs of our lives, I see films like these as slices of truth. Small vignettes that keep me sane, that tell me that life is complex and that, despite its overwhelming complexity, my actions (however small) do matter.
You can help My Dear Americans win at the 2014 PBS online film festival by voting for it here
We walked and walked till our feet ached everyday…
This sort of sums up our summer Europe travels to The Netherlands and Germany. It is also a commentary on the wonderful ease of walking in European cities, something that never ceased to amaze Udai, who celebrated his tenth birthday during the vacation. Aadyaa’s boundless energy continued to delight us. We were right in assuming she is now old enough to be a proper type tourist, we told ourselves in congratulatory tones!
Perhaps it was the ideal temperature or the infectious happiness of being on holiday, but each evening we still had the energy to turn on the TV to cheer our favourite players and teams at Roland Garros and FIFA 2014. Of course, Team Oranje’s (Dutch) two fantastic wins against Spain and Australia as well as Germany’s good fortunes in those first few matches would not have been possible without Udai and Rahul’s lusty yells and Aadyaa’s somersaults!
And thus start my posts about our travels. In the season when travelogues inundate blogosphere (and FB is flooded with happy family pics that have the power to make you laugh or howl, depending on your state of mind while viewing), I’m hoping my accounts of our Europe trip will both entertain and inform. In 2011, when I returned from Barcelona after our first long summer vacation with both children (then 7 and 3), I was new to blogging and had compressed my experiences into one single, long post addressing one single theme. By our 2012 Istanbul couple trip, I had learnt to break the experience up into smaller easier-to-digest posts that carried more pictures. Earlier this year, I recorded my girly road trip with my two besties in a chronological-cum-thematic way. This time round, I’ve chosen to not blog real-time and am mulling the best way to write my travelogue, wanting to give it a fresh twist that I’m yet to find. Wish me luck and keep your eyes peeled for the many posts that are bound to follow!
I consciously decided to refrain from writing my travel experiences in real time. I learnt that from our Istanbul trip a couple of years ago that while it’s a joy to write when everything is fresh in my memory, writing every day takes away a bit from the real feel of a holiday. Frankly, not so much for me. I find writing therapeutic. But certainly for my family, who do not enjoy the ‘shut out’ time that represents me writing my blog while they would rather have me in the moment with them!
Today is the last day of the longest vacation we have taken in a while. We are in the Netherlands today and we’ve done a short visit to Berlin. Tomorrow we head back home to the burning temperatures of Delhi and the warm feeling of home.
I’m a bit sad to leave, but I’m also happy to get back to routine. To work, and to the final flurry of activity related to the children’s vacation time before they get back to school in July. And most of all, to my blog, which I have missed tangibly and which is crying out for me to return to its comforting and invigorating pages!
In the midst of the excitement surrounding the swearing in of our new Prime Minister and the array of ministers that he is bringing in, I celebrate the sounds of Indian Ocean’s new album, Tandanu. The sounds have been playing in my head since last month. This morning, The Hindu supplement carried a piece about the band and there’s a curious piece of information about why they named it Tandanu.
It’s the name of one of the songs in the album, but has no specific esoteric meaning or symbolism. Of a bunch of names, they chose it because it sounded musical and nothing by that name showed up on the Internet! Amused and laughing, I wondered at the simple logic of the choice. What a great branding strategy and one we all use everyday, to stand out and be unique on the Internet, the entity that my 20-something year-old cousin Shruti called “a very happy place” when we met up yesterday!
Just last week, in branding ideation sessions for two separate business ventures being started by close friends, the teams struggled to wean themselves away from the trap of logic and rationale, meaning and association. To venture into that unique world of whacky and catchy. To take that brave new step to choosing names that stick in the head, make the reader screw up their faces with question marks on their foreheads.
It’s not always possible. We are a generation still mired in the old ways, but we’re beginning to open up to new possibilities.