Stories from the Mystic land

Into the lands where folk music brings a thousand of travelers along in a quiet night, telling them stories of mystics under a canopy of a thousand stars, breathing into them the spirit and soul of the divine by invoking, chanting and connecting the two beings into one.

On a fine Sunday night, I walked silently towards the Madras Race Club, the cars were aligned perfectly and people that were walking in looked like they had all come in, to forgo the world and enjoy the calling of soulful music and stories that artisans bring with the soil they have toiled from at Ruhaniyat, a music fest that connects the soul

While I quietly took my seat, the aroma of incense that burned throughout quietened the brain chattering and the view of the trees that were lit up beautifully amongst the open sky was a perfect set up for the mood.

It was then that Prahlad Singh Tippanya and group that hailed all the way from Madhya Pradesh brought stories and songs of Kabir that opened my eye.Kabir’s Doha is something that we’re very accustomed to learning in the school curriculum but it is sheer magic to make people sing along and yet the lessons remain forever with the music.

The song that is filled the air with folk music where Kabir says

Oh, passenger awaken your soul, you’ve been asleep all this while, First, you were asleep in your mother’s womb, then you came out and when your family cradled you with love, you forgot to awaken the second time. The third, where you remained old yet your soul didn’t thirst for awakening and while on your deathbed you long to awaken but can’t.

Kachra Khan, the artist from the manganiar community from Rajasthan brought his song alive with the tale of Baba Bulesha. The song goes such that Baba Bulesha is from the Sayeed community, a higher cast that didn’t believe in distinguishing any community or person by class or caste and very often would mingle with the poor. His father on seeing his son’s traits was furious and gave him a good beating only then the words of wisdom fell from his mouth

“If by rotating a mala or bead, I would find god, I would find the largest bead,” to which he added that Just because one sits in a mosque doesn’t mean one finds god, only your true dedication will invoke the spirit and connect you even higher. When Baba Bulesha’s father heard him utter these profound lines he understood the very meaning and they both danced in ecstasy.

These very stories were told by the folk artists who are known for their great skill in the art of keeping stories from one generation to the next to bring a sense of awakening in a very material world, these enigmatic thoughts are mainly to sit back and ponder about especially in a world where we try to find peace outside rather than finding peace within.

Next came the spellbinding Qawwali session with Chand Nizami from Delhi who made the entire audience clap and their power packed performance with a  high throttle of voice and the high notes, just the right kind, to involve the audience along was a charm that the group left us with. They sang many qawwalis including Chaap Tilak. I met the artists backstage personally to thank them and on asking the amount of time one spends on practice, the young one in the group said at least 6 hours on a regular basis, but what’s more interesting is I found them so very humble and down to earth despite their astounding performance on stage.

There was an Indo-African fusion with Mamadou Diabate, from Africa with Kachra Khan and P. Nandakumar from Kerala, all different levels of percussion with songs that were on rains and a traditional song mouthed by the village community in Rajasthan an ode to Mehendi.  One could observe all different kinds of music and percussion yet united by the beat. Rakesh Bhatt and group from Uttarakhand were just as brilliant as the other artists with their mystical music traditions to transcend and communicate with the unknown

I was left spellbound by the amount of sheer music that made me want to dance, live the moment and even sing along, but what I loved best was to sit back and retrospect the true meaning of life in a different perspective. Wisdom from the saints, music that speaks volumes even without words and brilliant artists who know how to weave music and wisdom into a brilliant piece of art. I was exhilarated coming to this music fest, the journey of the simple yet extraordinary was put together by Banyan Tree events who curate such fests across India.

I left a lot happier, I was grinning ear to ear. As I walked back towards the corridor I saw a mirror placed in the center and as I walked towards it, I thought to myself perhaps the very meaning of life, music and love are to understand oneself and know the depths of who we really are, we are as we see the world to be.

Filling the Void

amreenmakhani

Is life all about filling that void with things, people and experiences or is it to let the void be without being too emotional about it.

The empty page on my computer and the arrow just blinking at me, pretty much like my life, I felt. The clock reminding me of the how unproductive I’ve been professionally and personally and the continuous battle with my mind and the heart. After much thought, I finally managed to muster up some courage to take a personal break from the nuisances of mundane life.

Tickets booked, bags packed and filled with dreams to my very first personal break in a new city, Coimbatore. After a few hours in the freezing compartment of the chugging train where I was fed to the brim and fell asleep quite so often, I almost fell like a toddler living his life.

Passengers scurrying about on their journey…

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Filling the Void

Is life all about filling that void with things, people and experiences or is it to let the void be without being too emotional about it.

The empty page on my computer and the arrow just blinking at me, pretty much like my life, I felt. The clock reminding me of the how unproductive I’ve been professionally and personally and the continuous battle with my mind and the heart. After much thought, I finally managed to muster up some courage to take a personal break from the nuisances of mundane life.

Tickets booked, bags packed and filled with dreams to my very first personal break in a new city, Coimbatore. After a few hours in the freezing compartment of the chugging train where I was fed to the brim and fell asleep quite so often, I almost fell like a toddler living his life.

Passengers scurrying about on their journey with bags of all sizes, some, peering ahead with full speed nudging others, while some coolly walking out. Platforms and train stations were places abuzz of full action of people, moments and off course home coming during festive seasons.

It’s quite an irony being in the city, which doesn’t feel a tad bit different that the one you’re home to but since it’s a break, I’m exploring, walking and finding nooks and corners reeking the smell of books at discounted price. Hunting for a space where I can lighten up may be even get inspired or bring a purpose back to my life. But maybe we say things and complicate them or we certainly feel things will bring our old passion and pull out that old character from a closet of characters stored up within you but you don’t end up finding anything.

You walk you juggle you misinterpret you struggle you pull you push you fight to bring drama to life. And all this happens when you decide to travel hoping it may bring back the unknown part of yourself back to life. The coffee feels a little cold while you contemplate life and invigorate it piece by piece as if by doing so it’ll somehow go back to being what it used to be.

Clearly the past doesn’t divulge into the present, streets look the same yet the change so much it’s hard to accept when you look at them. Clearly we’re not discussing streets here we’re talking about ghost towns. The only difference between things was and things now are probably the world of our vivid imaginations that are full of warm fuzzy feelings that you want to feel again but all in vain.

Perhaps what we take we must leave behind and the doors that we open must be closed isn’t this life after all an act of filling the void with things and then slowly things making you emptier with a bigger void.

The Truth about growing up

I feel like a kid stuck in an adult’s body, acne scars and what not. No matter how many birthdays go whizzing past, you still feel the same within.

Then there are these eating habits which affect your physical health, forget mental because, well, let’s pretend we’re all doing so much more better in life.

Then comes the dreading hair fall, even if you keep this aside, the essence of happiness is just lost and life become more of the what you do for a living than what keeps your soul alive.

Then comes priorities, if you’ve watched friends until the very last episode, it just reminds you how shallow life is, people will leave you in ways you couldn’t imagine, and you’ll have to go on with your journey and if you’re lucky enough, you get to keep the memories.

You’ll really want to quiet the brain chatter , you’ll even succeed at times with a strong willpower and at other times you’ll fail and feel miserable.

Yes, the workload will be as usual and yes, you’ll cry plead and somehow get things done before a deadline, sometimes even after.

Then on a random day you’ll wake up feeling a year older and may be, just may be life will not seem so bad afterall.

 

 

Weighing out

Have you experience a phase of anxiety coupled up with binge eating mechanisms and then you just keep stuffing yourself until you feel better. But does this cycle ever end ?

Yes, I’ve actually had a lot of food and no, I still don’t feel any better. No amount of optimism on the internet is helping me calm myself.

There are lists piled up in a corner and deadlines soon approaching and all  I can really feel now is a rage of it own. Rage about self and every other decision in life perhaps.

The rage cycle doesn’t end with you feeling very fidgety and then regretting decisions about eating the very next day.

At times it feels so difficult getting through a day without your inside voices going all ballistic on you.

I’ve tried almost everything and I just want to give up, at times it feels like the problem is a bigger word than I am. I don’t know if its just me who at times want to scream out alone at things I really don’t have control over.

Also, how often do people really listen to us or they sit back and judge you on your choices of food and lifestyle without knowing the background.

While the struggle has always been with yourself you and the person you think you want to be vs those back stabbing mind voices that vont stop taunting you at every level, until you cry yourself to sleep.

A Swanky Ride

There are times when you commute from a long hard day and all you want to do is avoid people. Sometimes I think, if I were a cartoon character, it would have been amazing, Pull the time traveling door  and Voila you’re home.

While I tugged my bag and got out of the building, surpassing all the yummy smell of hot fried bhajji, which I  wanted to avoid eating after a really heavy snack . I walked through the rickshaw stand, not one in sight.

 I finally managed to catch an auto and sit back into my thoughts maze-like how traffic swiftly passes by .Suddenly I hear a really loud Hindi track and then realize it’s coming from the auto, a really old Hindi music track admiring the lover.

For a minute I sit there giggling listening to this track and  then all of a sudden the auto driver changes the track over and come’s another song with more cheesy lines while I try not to laugh. I take a good look at the auto it has a small green bulb and a sound system which is easily noticed when the blaring sound of the music hits the commuters and is embarrassingly observed by gawkers on the road.

While I had a smile on my face to the amount of situational songs the rickshaw walla had on his personal playlist. I reached home in no time and that too with free entertainment.

Perhaps all it takes is a moment, to change your mood.

My tryst with waffles

When you have friends, that have a sweet tooth, you end up eating what they crave. Pair a gloomy day with a Friday feeling and call it a dose of high sugar.

We wanted to try out waffles from Waf’O’Bel which is tucked in a narrow lane full of greenery in chetpet.

The entrance to the building is like you’ve entered a Zen zone filled with green spots here and there. 

When you enter the café it’s pretty spacious with frames of comic characters like TinTin hanging on the wall. There are a lot of comic books around to get your nose into while you wait. 

The menu is simple and explanatory by itself. While we were waiting we picked up a few tinkle books lying around and we chose a place near the window so  we could peer out for a view.

I ordered the ‘dream team Waffle’ and my friend wanted to try the ‘black and white Waffle, she’s more of a sweet tooth.

So what does heaven really feel like?  Imagine biting into  a Nutella oozing warm waffle topped with  fresh cream chocolate and a mango icecream.The yum crunch of the waffle with Nutella and the melt in the mouth feeling. I could call this a Friday feeling.

My friend on the other hand wanted to try the green tea infused with rosemary after her waffle affair. She felt the subtle taste of the rosemary was lingering even after. 

The place is spacious and there’s quite a lot to try on their menu. Waffles, sandwiches in a creape which have interesting stuffings like corn, spinach, paneer stuffed into a nice thick crepe or you could sip on some hot/ cold milkshakes or tea.

The server recommended a cuppa hot chocolate after I finished my tryst with my waffle but I decided against it, as I was happy with my quota of dessert for the day.

Value for money and delicious lip smacking waffles to dig your blues away.The best place for those keen on trying chocolate oozing waffles for dessert.