Kalpana Sharma at H C U

            Kalpana Sharma, veteran journalist and writer, delivered a lecture on the topic ” Journalism as if Gender Matters” at the Dept of Communications yesterday. Me being a regular follower of her column ‘The Other Half’  in ‘The Hindu’, was absolutely thrilled to finally see her in flesh and blood. It was almost as if someone very near to you had come to town! ( Well, I had the same feeling when Paul Krugman won the Nobel for Economics last year, courtesy the ‘Paul Krugman column’ in the same newspaper!)
She talked in length about how developing a gender sensitive approach is crucial in contemporary journalism. The talk was followed by an interactive session with the audience. Crucially, the ‘inside view’ that she as a journalist of immense experience could bring was clearly visible throughout the talk
To top it all, I also managed to have a little chat with Ms.Sharma after the session. It was a delightful evening, indeed.

N.B:  to know more about Kalpana Sharma, please check out this website- http://www.indiatogether.org/opinions/kalpana/

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Portrait

Cycling, as always on the wrong side of the road
to the campus,
as unsuspecting as on
any Monday morning,
I  confront winter :
a tree all alone
with branches forlorn
and leaves stripped off;
yet, rides away, only faster,
no turning back
no second look.
Winter, I don’t want to write about you.
The way you devour the colours and
turn everything into a grey,
the way your every image
manifest loneliness,
oh winter, putting it down on paper,
I always end up
doing something i would never want to do,
a self portrait.
*Meaning
A poet died
back home
and I,
miles away
couldn’t make out
what it meant.
He had died before also,
almost, I mean.
Like a frog run over by a truck
many a times he had
fallen down on the black mud
of the streets,
drenched in blood,
in wine,
spread eagled,
almost dead.
There were his other deaths too,
less physical,
but more intense.
Mostly murders, i guess.
Love hate lust
and folks like you and me
together had him dead
at the cross, many times,
and yet, from his blood,
holy in its unholiness,
had risen like fire,
words,
burning their way 
right into you.
They called him an addict
and made fun at his back,
but were silent as the stones 
when he rode,
with his ‘bird’ and the ‘snake’*
like a king 
on the streets 
in the rain 
of molten, acidic,
black ink.
I asked a friend of mine
what it means when
a poet dies;
don’t know why, but she said
probably it was a 
‘trick question’.
May be 
that’s what it could mean
when a poet dies.
A trick
to end the agony 
of being shackled to life.
A question
that keeps screaming
in your head, 
never letting you 
forget. 

* In memory of the Malayalam poet A. Ayyappan who passed away recently. The poet who had led a tumultuous and lonely life remained lonely in his death also. His body remained unidentified on the roadside for hours.The poet had recently won the coveted Aashan prize.
* The poet’s favourite metaphors, the ‘bird’ and the ‘snake’

 The Peacock Lake


One of the most favourite hangouts in the campus. It’s almost a surreal experience to be here in the evening. You are tempted to believe that you are actually in a tourist spot and not in a University!! Although the place resounds with peacock calls all the time, am yet to actually see one  here!
The Peacock Lake

An evening drenched in Banjuri

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasya  performed here in H C U as a part of  Viraasat, a cultural fest organised by SPIC-MACAY(  Society for the promotion of Indian Culture, Music and Art Among Youth ). He was accompanied by Vijay Ghate on Tabla. The chief component of the performance was the ‘Kalyani’  raga. The artist later obliged to a request from the audience and played a mesmerising ‘Pahadi’ tune. The dual between the flute and tabla also proved to be a real delight as both artists soared to higher levels of competence and skill. The evening  turned surreal with the splendour of music, rejuvenating the soul and soothing the mind.
Undoubtedly a welcome change from the academic routine, it also brought back memories of my Trivandrum days, where I used to spend whole days drifting through venues in the city!