Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy Dassehra! Why is it the Internet of a Festival?

If you’ve been with me the past few days as I went round the blog floor in nine nights of dancing and corresponding colours, thanks for making it to the final culminating day.
The nine nights end with Dassehra – the final 10th day – again celebrated differently in different parts of India.
In a nutshell however the day represents triumph of good over evil, the victorious and the vanquished.

But for me the past nine days and the nine colours have given rise to more questions than answers and would love all of you to try and answer as many as you can down below in the comments section of the blog.

Question 1.
My friend RP happily suggested that these colours always existed and there is also a specific logic behind the symbolism of the colours for each day. I buy that logic 100%. The symbolism of colour in the Indian social and religious scenario is huge. But what beats me is something else – why are the colours different for different years?
Here are the examples:

Who did this? The Internet? The Gods? The Goddesses?

Question 2
While the Goddess worshipped on each day wears a colour that represents what She stands for, why do devotees wear another colour on that day?

Question 3 (and this one is simple!)

Did you follow the colours all 9 days? If yes, post your pics with the day and colour and we'll make a festival of it!

Question 4
I know this festival has always been celebrated with aplomb. But why do I feel this celebration has gone up several notches now? Is the net making it bigger than what it is? Are the colours a new phenomenon? 
Let's keep this conversation going. It's about 20 days to Diwali now! Stay blessed.

Have you been following the Navratri posts? Here they all are...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Internet of a Festival - The sky is the limit

It’s the ninth day of the fabulous Navratris, Nine nights of dancing. 
Nine nights of worshipping the Goddesses that represent power, wealth and wisdom. 
Really if you have these three, the world is at your feet and what you can do with it is up to you.

The sky is your limit now and significantly today the colour is sky blue.

In India, in Hindi, the word would be Aasmani – literally translated – that of the sky.
I know sky blue is a particular light blue but empowered with Shakti (Power), and the wealth of wisdom, today on the ninth day I wish to think more of the sky than just the blue.

Today you are empowered with not only calming effect of blue. But also the metaphor of the sky. Truly where you are concerned the sky is the limit as to what you can do.

Look at the sky, sometimes it’s clear, sometimes cloudy, sometimes blue, sometimes grey. Always changing. Always a pleasure to look at. Always creating that sense of space and calm, that sense that one can just reach out and touch it and yet it remains an aspirational goal one wants to strive towards. 

Today is your day to stretch, stretch your limits for the rest of the year… stretch them till you can touch the sky.

You’re blessed. Go do it.

Have you been following the Navratri posts? Here they all are...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Internet of a Festival. Go pink. Because you rule!

Remember the day you wore a pink dress and felt wonderful? 
Felt supremely confident yet compassionate? 
And felt like you could...well.. rule the world? 
Wasn't it the loveliest of pinks?
Weren't you quite the royalty?

Get this right, all you wonderful people. This is India. When we say pink we do not by any chance or quirk of fate mean baby pink or salmon pink. We mean Rani Pink.

Let me explain. The word Rani means Queen in Hindi and Rani Pink is the bright fuchsia pink that was a part of the wardrobe of the Queens of yore. 

And what better a colour to adorn yourself with, than that gorgeous richness of a jewel tone that encompasses the softness of a rose with the fire of a ruby.

This is Rani Pink, the queen of all pinks. The pink of the abundant bougainvillea, the pink of the cherry blossoms, the pink of the bridal outfit.

It’s the colour of hope and healing, a colour that tones down the fire of red but still imbues you with the assertiveness and maturity of a more responsible and nurturing love.
And most importantly, it’s the colour adorning the most beautiful of queens.

So get into the pink of things today.
Because you definitely rule.
Today is the eighth day.

Tomorrow, the colour is sky blue.
Stay blessed.

Missed earlier posts on this festival? Get them here - 

The Purity of White

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Internet of a Festival - The Purity of White

I love wearing whites and have a whole lot of whites in my wardrobe. But it’s important to know that while white is used for finer occasions, in India white has a somewhat serious meaning.

First, white technically is the absence of colour. And it takes on sombre tones in the Indian context.

In older more traditional times it was the only colour widows were allowed to wear. The reasoning behind that was that it helped her disconnect from the pleasures and luxuries of active and normal participation in society and life around her. Today it is the acceptable color at funerals and ceremonies that mark death in the family. 

But white also stands for peace and purity. Like the pristine lotus that grows beautifully in the murkiest of waters. In principle; white, as a color, repels all light and colors. And it repels evil. And today is the day when the Goddess protects her devotees from all evil. 

So today dress up in your whitest whites. And stay blessed.

Missed earlier posts on this festival? Get them here - 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Internet of a Festival - The Flames of Orange

The colour saga continues. It’s Day 6 of the Nine Nights of Dancing, Navratri.

Today’s colour is orange. And if you’ve not read the earlier posts on The Colours of Navratri, the links are below.

While orange is everything bright and beautiful that India and Indians stand for what’s really worth talking about is the symbolism of orange.

Most people know that orange has immense religious significance because most of the monks wear orange but most also don’t know why they wear orange.

Orange or Saffron, actually represents the colour of Agni or fire. And fire is sacred because it burns away all the impurities, dispels darkness and gets rid of ignorance. There couldn't be a better representation of purity than with the colour orange. Orange flags, sometimes triangular, sometime forked, atop the perch of Hindu temples, are representative of this. The flames of orange.

In all its representations, the colour orange comes out as the shining symbol of the search for light, the light itself, the quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Besides it’s the colour of the setting sun, ripe tangerines, autumn leaves, the evening sky, and of the ubiquitous flower of worship in India – the thickset marigold. Get all of this in one colour – orange.

So brighten up today. What better colour to wear, no matter what it means to you. It’s bound to bring with it joy and vibrance and the shining light of knowledge.

And remember, Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge is watching. Stay blessed.

Missed earlier posts on this festival? Get them here - 

The Internet of a Festival - A Grey Day?

In continuation with my earlier post, (here's the link The Internet of a Festival) today’s colour is grey. I, religiously (pun intended, and how) wore a grey T-shirt today. 

Personally I don’t like grey as a colour. It doesn't do much for me (and I don’t mean on my hair!) It makes me feel low and dull. It’s fine where it belongs as a neutral shade to let other colours stand out. Else, it is exactly where it stands in the world of literature where grey days and grey evenings, grey landscapes and grey areas are nothing short of energy-sapping.

But today’s colour was grey so grey I wore. 

I thought ( a bit rudely perhaps) whether women around will be in Fifty Shades of Grey but my Inner Goddess quickly rapped me on my knuckles and I came back to focusing on other things.

The plan for today (being a Saturday) was to have a little excursion with two friends to a fashion designer’s studio. Yes. It’s a name that has caused many a ripple in sartorial circles. Salim Asgarally is doing fashion divas and the remaining goddesses on this side of the planet a favour – with a silver sale commemorating 25 years of his contribution to the sparkling world of high fashion.

So I went to his studio with two friends DO and SG. DO had been invited to his studio and since it was in the area where I live we had decided to go together.

For those who know Salim Asgarally, I don’t need to say the work was great. What I did love and appreciate about this work was the kind of style and elegance that I could resonate with and the classic wearability of the stuff. Many a times I have walked into a fashion studio and walked out empty-handed and with an empty feeling like I don’t belong to this world.

But this was different. And as we ooh-ed and aah-ed over the beautiful whites, the lace and cutwork pieces and the surprising yet elegant combinations of colour, style and form, I chanced upon something I liked.

A simple, elegant grey saree blouse. Just what I needed for a saree I had. I picked it up put it aside and went on to pick up many other stuff. Much trials (and tribulations) later… trying on various stuff of (sometimes) smaller sizes, I tried the grey blouse. Salim had graciously said he’d alter stuff in case it needed to be done… but this? It fitted like a T! (Not sure how a T will fit me… but oh well… English does have its expressions!) I had to have it.

And so that was it… this elegant, silvery grey thing was mine, mine, mine.

And then I realized in any case the colour of the day was grey! I mentioned it to Salim and he said, yes, that’s because the dress chooses you!

Lovely thought, isn’t it?
And below is the link to the film he made on this where he talks about the fact that there is energy in the inanimate. It’s not a very long film but if you’re pressed for time, watch it from 3:00 minute onwards and you’ll get it. 

Meanwhile, I will continue with my worship of the Grey Goddess of the Day.

Stay blessed all of you!
And don't miss this link - Salim Asgarally - The Dress

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Internet of a Festival

The festival season is upon us here in India. It’s non-stop celebration from now on. 
It began a while ago with the Ganesh celebrations some time ago and sashayed smoothly into what are called the Navratris.
For the uninitiated, Navratris literally translated mean 9 nights and these nine nights are celebrated differently across the country. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Today I want to talk about the internet of a festival.
It’s strange how the internet has transformed the way we celebrate our festivals. For instance, I always knew that in Gujarat and for most Gujaratis the Navratris are celebrated with 9 nights of dancing. When this is done well (and I don’t know how to do it well, but some women excel at it) it looks beautiful. In the dark of the night, women in their colourful finery dance in a circle with the clapping of hands or with sticks with their male partners. It’s amazing to watch as the circle moves to unison with the clapping sounds, swaying of the bodies and the swishing of the lovely skirts the women wear.
Now comes the internet.
And what I realize is that each day has an assigned colour. I’d love to know in which age this was decided. Was it in the Neolithic Age, the Paleolithic Age or maybe it’s the Fashion Age. Or the Internet age? (I have a few questions … like who decides on the colours but I will leave those for now.) 

Nine nights of the Fashion Goddess
Here for instance are the ‘prescribed’ colours this year.
Day 1     Red
Day 2     Royal Blue          
Day 3     Yellow
Day 4     Green                  
Day 5     Grey
Day 6     Orange
Day 7     White   
Day 8   Pink                        
Day 9     Sky Blue.

Now this is what you are supposed to do. On each of the days wear something of the specified colour. Simple? Right? I think so too.

Not only simple, I thought it was fun. Now I am not the religious kind but a little bit of a smile from the Goddess (and there are three here – Power, Wealth and Knowledge) would always help jog me along further in my life. And if it meant digging into some dark depths of my cupboard to look for (even) sky blue stuff, why ever not.
As someone who always has ‘nothing to wear’ I took this as a bit of a challenge. One - to convince myself that I do own the possible nine ‘divine’ colours that the Goddess would approve of. And two - to add some colour into my daily mundane work life.
So I have embarked on this ‘colourful’ journey.
Red for the first day was easy.
Royal blue was also right up there. And I was quite victorious at that.
If my closet is a bit awry, it’s because the yellow things was right at the bottom and some things did get upended on the second day.
But today was the fourth day and today green was a bit of, let’s put it this way, a challenge. So I used my resourcefulness and wore something cream with black and added a green jacket. I did wear green earrings. And just to appease the green goddess I also wore a tinge of green eye shadow. Ha! Triumph!
The way I look at it is this. If the Goddess of Green is looking around she is going to be assaulted by yards and yards of green with the women in sarees, long flowy kurtas and similar. When she sees that speck of green in my earrings, the dot that goes for the eye shadow and the thready lace jacket… isn’t she going to be impressed with my creativity? Don’t Goddesses also need a challenge? Don’t they also want some brain teasers looking for the green in the ones who chose to follow the colour circuit.
Well, here I am. I am feeling blessed. And the grass is definitely greener on this side.

(Four more days to go… I will update you in a later post as to how the nine days went! Am sure the Goddesses are waiting!)


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How do I write, when and... why!

I've been asked how I get the time to blog fairly regularly.
And I have an answer that does not make sense (at least initially).

And by traffic I don't mean the social media traffic of readers that beat their way to my blog. I mean genuine horrendous crawly mind-numbing traffic! Okay, may not be mind-numbing but definitely the clutch-brake-move-an-inch-forward kind.

Now you'll wonder if I write while I drive. No, I don't. I write on my desk in the office though it's mostly at home. But I think more than I write. Often a post arranges itself in my head before it forms itself into characters on the screen. 

Which is why the 'traffic' instead of a hindrance becomes a help. In my head, words are fighting to get into their places pretty much like kindergarten children running amok in a play school. It's only when I sit down in front of my keyboard that they sullenly fall into line, hands on the shoulders of the toddler in front of them taking tiny little steps to go back inside. 

Once that is done, it's a few revisions, few arrangements of the line, sending one errant child to the back of the queue, bringing another one forward, gently asking a third one to stand aside and await his turn for the next time.

Once all that is done, I read re-read, correct the typos... then it's off. 

Of course, I blog on varied subjects and platforms - random thoughts, Customer Experience and I also post short stories on another blog sometimes. So often it depends on what I am writing on and then of course it may take longer than usual - a short story invariably takes longer because I write so much more than necessary - then I ruthlessly edit.

That still does not the key question - why I write. I write because it's easier to express on paper (figuratively speaking now) than to speak. Years ago, when I actually wrote on paper it was putting that pen on paper that actually got the thoughts flowing with the ink. And as the words formed whorls and shapes on paper my thoughts took form and what was just a thought or just an amorphous mass of words getting sculpted into shape with the nib of my pen into something meaningful. 
Something that's more permanent than my thoughts in the traffic!

And here are the links to my three platforms.

Random Thoughts on Life

Insights into Customer Experience

Short Stories