Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Barcamp Bangalore 7 on 13 and 14 September 2008

The next Barcamp Bangalore, an interesting amalgam of events and communication, where everyone is a participant, is happening at IIM-B on the 13th and 14th September.

For details, visit

And if you want to know in detail what a Barcamp is, go to


Life savers at Sahai

Anita Gracias is a special volunteer at Sahai

Anita Gracias is a special volunteer at Sahai

In Bangalore, there is a dedicated suicide helpline that you can call and hope to find a friendly, helpful voice that gives you hope, courage and strength. To take that one step backward, turn around and face life square in the face. And that helpline is called “Sahai”.

I was talking to Anita Gracias, who also sits by the phone at Sahai as one of their special volunteers. She is ready to answer the phone and listen – as if someone’s life depended on it. She will then forge a relationship with a voice that cries out for help; and gently take it from darkness, to the light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s a lot of good work they do there, so I requested Anita to answer a few questions that could raise awareness levels among people. Hopefully, this interview will get people to work as volunteers as well.

The interview is a long post so I have hosted it at this link.
Please click here : Interview with Anita Gracias

"Antaryatra" at Ranga Shankara

India Foundation for the Arts today presented “Antaryatra” (“The Journey Within the Self”), directed and performed by Usha Ganguli, at Ranga Shankara.

The play was a self-referential one; Usha has led the theatre group, “Rangakarmee”, for about 25 years now. She spoke of her experiences as an actress (sorry, actor is the pc word to use, but here, the word has a specific gender meaning!)…and of her journey from the very first nervous day at the theatre, through the various roles she has enacted, as well as the many women she had come into contact with…all of which has shaped her life. As she said, “If I had learnt it in a school, I would not have learnt so much, or been moulded so much…”

Usha slipped in and out of the sutradhar’s part, and in and out of the characters of either the women in the plays, or the women in her life, effortlessly. Her mobile face expressed every emotion beautifully; that mobility allowed me to gloss over the couple of occasions when she fluffed her lines (and surely it must be a very difficult task to sustain a monologue for 75 minutes non-stop!).

The dramatization opened with memories of Kolkata…and being a Kolkata-childhood person myself, I empathized perfectly. Her training in classical dance informed her movements on stage, and they were fluid and graceful, and it was a delight to watch her for this reason alone, if not for her emoting!


"Retell" at Ranga Shankara

“Retell”, a series of narrative plays, was performed on June 5 and 6 at Ranga Shankara. The production was by Theatre Nisha, a group from Chennai, and the design and direction was by V Balakrishnan.

Some of the narratives were based on translations of the stories of Satyajit Ray, Gopa Majumdar, and others from the works of Goli Taragi, by Karim Emani and Sara Khalili.


“Bhuto” by Satyajit Ray


"Lilies" and "The Stronger" at Ranga Shankara

Yesterday and today, theatregoers at Ranga Shankara are fortunate to see two excellent plays– one, an amalgam of three playlets, Fawn Lilies, Water Lilies, and Black Lilies, written and directed by Gowri Ramnarayan, and staged by JustUs Repertory, and late in the evening, at 9.30pm, a very short play by August Strindberg, which was acted as a monologue by Claire Denieul (There, Aru, I think I have the spelling right!)

The 3-play series (for want of a better word) strings together three very different incidents, happening in the US; first, two people meeting in a park in Columbus, Ohio; second, two people meeting in an exhibition of Monet, at Houston,Texas; and the third, two people meeting in an airport lounge in Dulles airport in Washington.

In the first of the triptych, a dietician from Vijayawada has just been passed over by her boyfriend, who prefers war to love. She comes to the park to do some birdwatching, and gets talking to an unusual and interesting vagabond, who, in his own words, “lived in a tree for six months or so” when he was “down to his last quarter” and found himself espousing green causes.

In the second, an investment banker who is scornful of Monet’s paintings is intrigued by a Sri Lankan woman’s fascination with the painter, and they segue through a conversation about topics which start with art and meander afar.

The third piece has a young school teacher from Tamil Nadu on her first trip abroad for a conference, getting into a conversation with Hungarian novelist who isa Nobel laureate ..and showing him perspectives that he has not thought of before.


Women’s day, my take…

Passing by the defense area in the city, I watch her riding in an elegant posture which demonstrates great confidence.


As she rides her bike into the defense area, this lady in the uniform and (tough shoes!) makes me proud and inculcates a feeling of safety….


My salute to this unknown lady soldier of my country and many more who are contributing their best of abilities to make our lives safe and secure!!

Your city buddy

Well, there are city search engines and more city search engines. Every city worth its name has one or has folks with entrepreneurial spirit unleash one.

Why the barrage of them, you ask? Well, the ‘biggie’ search engine guys have found that search engine data show many users – roughly between 5% to 30% – searching for local or geography based queries which, in turn, lead them to a buying / availing a service decision. As there is money or potential money to be made catering to these folks searching, well, you get the idea. Of course, moving onto a revenue model at the outset is tricky so things do take time.

Bangalore is no exception to these online services. There are many local search engines here – a simple type on google with “Bangalore, local, city search engines” will give you a number of them and more. Here at MB, we’ve even profiled one of them. If you’ve gotten over that one, here’s one more for you.


Iron-ware, City market & Health connection….

Interestingly, while on my last City market visit came across a typical hardware store which has all iron utensils, a quick question came to my mind “in this era of modern cookware, why would anyone still cook the food in Iron cookware?”


You go girl!

I was on my evening walk somewhere in the neighborhood of RMV 2nd stage extension. I was earlier than usual, and didn’t see the regulars that I usually do. Instead, there was a whole other group of people who also seemed like regulars, and busy with their walks. One of them was a woman in her late thirties. Dressed in comfortable pants and t-shirt, she seemed serious about her walking. She was a few steps behind me, and as I turned into this nice street filled with flaming Gulmohar trees, I sensed her turn into the same street as well. And then, a couple of seconds later, I heard her ask a man in his late 40s, why he stared at all the women all the time. In her own words, “Why do you keep staring at all of us women? What is your problem? Tell me, what is your problem?’ Now obviously, never having expected to be taken to task, this man had nothing to say in his defense. I heard him fumble for words. She went on to tell him that she was going to complain to the police if he was not going to mend his ways. From what I gathered, he sits in a particular spot every evening and stares at all the women walkers making them quite uncomfortable. Nice, huh! He looks like a typical neighborhood “uncle”. I hope her threatening helps. Lets see. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her today, but do plan to go for my walk same time tomorrow to see if there has been any change in the situation!

Editing and adding a few more points:

Can someone explain what was going on?

While on my way to breakfast today, I noticed a little ritual that I’d never seen before. A woman was carrying a small slightly shabby ornately decorated chair on her head. It had carvings and peacock feathers and was maybe upholstered in red velvet. She was carrying what at first I thought was a single-tail whip, that she cracked on the stairs of the hotel/restaurant we were going to visit, then stood there expectantly. As I passed her I noticed that it wasn’t a whip, but looked like a very long gray plait! After a little bit a manager (or some other officialish looking person) came out and gave her a few coins and she walked down the street. I caught his eye as he was doing it and he just sort of grinned at me.

Can someone please explain what I just witnessed?

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