Thursday, 13 December 2012

Konark Festival

The Konark Festival was organized from the 1st to the 5th December this year. This annual dance festival, featuring major classical dance forms of India, is organized against the backdrop of the famous Konark temple, by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Odisha. I longed to watch this Festival by being present at the venue but since Konark is 60 km away from Bhubaneswar and returning at night is not convenient, I suppressed my desire. However, to my good luck, it was announced that the programme would be telecast live by DD Bharati. I was overjoyed. So I was glued to the TV from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM on all 5 days.

The first item of the first evening was an Odissi dance presentation by Madhavi Mudgal and Group from New Delhi. She is an established danseuse and choreographer and set the tone for the 5-day event. The other item of the evening was Kuchipudi by Raja Radha Reddy and Group from the nation’s capital. I was eager and curious to watch the husband-wife duo dance together. The stage at Konark is quite large and no solo or duet performance is included. The presentation of the Group was very enjoyable. I have written about Raja and Radha Reddy in my post ‘Pati Pani Aur Woh’. Raja first married Radha and later, her sister Kaushalya also married him. Kaushalya is an accomplished dancer in her own right. That evening, Kaushalya was in the group playing the accompanying music.

Raja and Radha were married when he was 11 and she, 5. Later, so impressed Kaushalya was by the dance-skills of her sister’s husband that Kaushalya insisted on marrying him without delay. They came to an agreement to be a threesome. The two sisters each have a daughter by him, Yamini and Bhavna. The children, two half-sisters also have taken to dancing. In the following two videos, Raja, Radha and Kaushalya’s daughter talk about their life and dance.

The two items of the second evening were Mohiniattam by Bharati Shivaji and Group from New Delhi and Odissi dance by Meera Das and Group from Cuttack, the former capital of Odisha. The first item of the third evening was Odissi dance by a Group led by Kasturi Pattanaik who has set up a dance academy at New Delhi. The second item was Bharatanatyam by Mallika Sarabhai and her Group from Ahmedabad. Mallika is the daughter of the famous space scientist Vikram Sarabhai and the dance exponent Mrinalini Sarabhai.

The fourth evening started with the Assamese Satriya dance by Anita Sharma and her Group from Guwahati. I had never had the opportunity to watch a presentation of this dance form. Here is a sample of it.

The second item of that evening was Odissi dance by Surupa Sen and her Group from Bengaluru. The item was a fusion of Odissi dance with modern and contemporary dance forms. The fifth evening saw presentations of Kathak by Malabika Mitra and her Group from Kolkata. The last evening started with Kathak by Malabika Mitra and her Group from Kolkata.    
The 5th and concluding day of the Festival saw a Kathak presentation by Malabika Mitra and Group from Kolkata and an Odissi dance presentation by students of Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar and of Utkal University of Culture.

On each evening, there was a jugalbandi of performing and visual arts. As the world famous danseuses and danseurs were presenting dance numbers with intricate nuances, the artist Baladev  Maharatha of B K Art College, Bhubaneswar, was busy painting masterpieces reflecting the theme of the dance numbers being presented on the stage alongside. It was a feast for the eyes. By the time the dance programme of the evening came to a close, the painting also was completed.

While the precincts of the Konark temple were reverberating with the dance and music in the evenings, an International Sand Art Festival was going on 3 km away on the beach of river Chandrabhaga. Thirty sand artists from India were busy every day, creating sand sculptures on the golden sand.   

Here is a link to the Konark Dance Festival 2012.

There is another annual event called Konark Music and Dance Festival which takes place nearby. It is organized by Konark Natya Mandap founded by Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. It is available on YouTube.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Hundredth Flower

This post is the hundredth flower in my garden.

My first post was published on the 16th May, 2010. I was encouraged – nay, prodded – by one who was later called by a fellow blogger,, as his ‘Blog Mother’. After reading this, I had commented that she is my blog mother too, although biologically she is my daughter whom I call ‘Daughter !!’. I must confess that I was a little – indeed, very - shaky to traverse the arena as I was –and am still - only a marginally literate person as far as computers and internet are concerned.

I still silently laugh when I recall the day when the head of the Circle Office of my Bank called me and told me, “From tomorrow you will be the TOE of the Circle.” I was at a loss to understand what he was saying. Then it occurred to me that TOE meant ‘Technology Overseeing Executive’. The earlier TOE had been transferred, (His earlier designation was DM-IT, Divisional Manager – Information Technology, and teasingly he was called “Dam-It’) and I was to step into his shoes and oversee the Technology Management of the Circle, in other words, look after the computerization of the Branches and Offices of the Bank under our Circle. Much earlier, I had once headed a partially computerized Branch but there were so many trained youngsters in the Branch that technical matters hardly came to me. This first brush of mine with computers did not rub me much. But I had now no escape and so had to accept the Big Boss’s diktat. Even then, my personal handling of computers was confined to sending and receiving e-mail. To my relief, my official duty was to ‘manage’ technology and not handle it much.

I used to send long e-mails to the daughters and these were narratives of my experiences, of the places I visited and, some times, my views. After my retirement, during a visit to Daughter II, she suggested a way for filling my free time. “Why don’t you start blogging?, she suggested. To dilute my fear of computers, she retrieved one of my old e-mails to her, chiseled it and posted it as my first blog-post. Then she prodded me to edit and convert some of my e-mails to blog-posts. Since then, I have progressed a little bit in the area and so here I am, releasing my hundredth post!

While doing this, I am reminded of the fact that a few months ago, Sachin Tendulkar scored his Hundredth Century and the cricket-world went ga ga over it. He has scored Centuries in 51 Tests and 49 ODIs, making a total of a hundred. Of course a few odd critics said that you cannot add 51 potatoes and 49 oranges and call it a hundred! In their view, a person can be credited with a hundred Centuries only if it is in either 100 Tests or 100 One Day Internationals!!

The late Chinese leader, Mao Zedong once said, “Let a hundred flowers bloom.” This was to encourage emergence of a lot of ideas. In the course of a speech in February, 1957, he said, “Letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and sciences and a flourishing culture in our land.” The slogan was used during the late 1950’s when the Chinese intelligentsia was invited to criticize the political system and bring to the surface, its flaws. However, it is suspected that the initiative was a deliberate attempt to bring out the secret dissidents into open by encouraging them to show themselves as critical of the Government. Such suspicion arose out of the fact that many of those who put forward views which were unwelcome to Mao, were executed.

This slogan is commonly misquoted as, ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom.’

However, the misquotation improves the idea of letting a number of ideas emerge.

To celebrate my 100th post let me a get a thousand Chinese hands dance.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Time Management

Very often, we hear people saying, “ I want to do this but I don’t find time.”? It was Henry Ford who said, “The busy man has time for everything.” When a person says that he/she has no time what it really means that he/she is not able to manage his/her time. Time-management is life-management. One who manages her/his time can manage her/his life.

When a person really wants to do something she/he will definitely find the time to do it. The way lies in prioritizing the tasks on hand. The most important task should get priority no. 1. This way, one should prioritise the things one wants to do in order of their importance. The least important task should be the last item in this list.

Stephen Covey, author of First Things First, narrates the story of a speaker who demonstrates as he speaks to his audience about filling a bucket with rocks, gravel, sand and water. He first puts rocks into the bucket and asks, “Is the bucket full?” The audience says, “Yes.” Then he puts gravel into the rock-filled bucket and watching him, people realize that the bucket can take more. Then he puts first sand and then water into the bucket and declares that the bucket is full. The audience realizes that it truly is full only now! Stephen Covey explains that if one tries to fill the bucket in any other order, not as many rocks, or as much gravel or sand could have been accommodated.

In this story, our time is the bucket and the big rocks are the most important tasks; the next important things are the gravel, sand and water in that order. If we start with filling the bucket first with water, sand or gravel, we would miss the most important thing, the rocks. The lesson of the story is that we should first arrange tasks on hand in order of their importance and start doing the most important task first. (Here we need not waste our time over the thought that if one first fills the bucket with water, the bucket can still take rocks, gravel and sand and the excess water will flow out. 'Water' here can be treated in a different sense and we can ignore this normal nature of water.)

If we do not prioritise the tasks, we shall miss out the important things.

Another way of managing time is to arrange things to do in order of our control over them. The item over which we have no control, for example the rush-hour traffic, should be on the top and the item over which we have full control should be at the bottom. We should try managing the time of items over which we have full control and move up to the next upper item, so that we will have some elbow-room while attending to tasks in situations over which we have no or least control.

The 80-20 Rule can be applied to time-management also. Eighty percent of the things we do in a day have only 20 percent value for us. Twenty percent of the tasks on our hand have eighty percent value. Hence we should concentrate on these 20 percent of the tasks, which should be our top priority. These are like the rocks in Covey’s story. If we fill our time first with ‘water’ or ‘sand’ in the story, we shall have no time left for the ‘rocks’, which give us eighty percent value.

In the present day of information-explosion and our unceasing accessibility thanks to mobile phones and communication-revolution, the demands on our time have increased manifold. Hence choosing what we can and should ignore has become one of the most important tools of time-management.

So throughout the day, ask yourself: What can I do now, which would be the most useful and beneficial this moment?


  1. When we go to some place where we know we may have to wait for some time, like going to the airport or railway station to receive someone or visiting our doctor or our hair-dresser, we can carry some light reading material like magazines which we plan to read, so that the waiting time can be gainfully utilized. The hair-dresser or the doctor may be keeping some reading materials to keep  the waiting customers occupied but these may not be of much use to you even if you read them for ‘time pass’ which will be really 'time-kill'.

      2. While traveling in a bus or car, which may not be suitable for reading, utilize the time for     
           thinking or planning.

       3.  Remember the Store Management Principle  PEEP - a Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. The second part is more important, everything in its  place.

So, keep back everything in its place after using it.   Arrange things in your kitchen, on your study table and in your office room properly and uncluttered, so that you don’t have to waste time searching for things. While working in my garden, I use different tools, big and small. Sometimes, due to laziness I would place the tool wherever I would be working and would forget to bring it while  leaving the spot. Because of this, sometimes I temporarily lose small tools and have to waste a lot of time searching for them. On one occasion, I found a lost small tool after about a year!!! It had got embedded under the earth and resurfaced when I dug the spot for some other work.

In the same way we have 'lost' some household items at the time of some of my several transfers when I was working with my Bank. We usually found these at the time of my next transfer!                        

  1. In office, follow the principle that you don’t have to see the same paper twice. Dispose incoming letters the first time you see them.

  1. Do not postpone doing things. Remember the saying, ‘Jo kaal karna hai, aaj karo; jo aaj karma hai, abhi karo’. (Do today what is to be done tomorrow; do now what is to be  done today.)
  2. Do not postpone; just do it. 
  3. Never put off till tomorrow, anything that you can dump for ever. 
  4. Nothing gives you more free time than being punctual.    

Q. What is the meaning of the word ‘procrastinate’?.

A. I shall look into the dictionary tomorrow.

2. a.I am going to stop putting off things - starting from tomorrow 

     b.Boss to subordinate: "Procrastination isn't your worst problem. I like it when you put off  
         your mistakes till tomorrow." - Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen