Small Things#19 – Mona Lisa through a Kid’s Eyes

The art room in my kids’ school has a Mona Lisa painting. The little one especially has great interest in the famous lady as he feels that her eyes moves around. So, a little conversation took place between us to decode Mona Lisa and here is what the four-year-old thinks of the painting.

Me – Is Mona Lisa happy or sad in the painting?

LO – She is creepy… no… wait, creepy-smiley. She is happy but looks creepy too. She is not sad at all.

Me – What do you think is her age?

LO – She is 56 year old grown up.

Me – What is the best part of her face.

LO – Her lips! It’s just a line. And her eyebrows are down touching her eyes. She is always staring but if there is a staring contest, I will win.

Me – What else?

LO – She is wearing black and has a dupatta (veil) and her skin is yellow. See, mine is tan. She is standing by a mountain.

Me – What is she thinking about?

LO – She is thinking of herself.

Me (showing the painting of Mona Lisa on phone) – Do you want her painting in your room?

LO – (Runs away) She is creepy…nooooooo!

Images courtesy Google

Listening to Sonu Nigam at Minneapolis concert!

PAGE-SANKARA-SONU-NIGAM-SAN-JOSE-CONCERT-03-DSC_0721Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin – when Sonu Nigam crooned this song at a concert in Minnesota, the crowd went still. The singer’s voice had an amazing melody and depth that soothed the over enthusiastic, frenzied crowd and made them listen, intently. Before the singer’s entry, the concert was average, where upcoming singers mostly performed on the latest, peppy Bollywood remixes, but he transformed it into something special. When he sang, it was clear, he did not need additional accompaniments, suggestive dance moves and props to spice up his performance, his voice had it all!

Even when not singing, his voice, carried the same melody. And he did miracles with his song – lifting, lowering, extending, shortening, pausing – unpredictable twists that made the audience respond with thunderous applause. At one point of time, during the concert, the audience went so overboard that they blocked the fire exit, the singer had to make a request to restore order. The security had a tough time containing the crowd who had come to listen to one of the most well loved singers in Bollywood.

Sonu Nigam and Neha Kakkar, the two biggies of Indian Music Industry, are currently performing in a number of cities in the US and Canada. And we had the good fortune of attending one of those concerts in Minneapolis on Saturday, with our lovely family friends. It was a night to remember in amazing company!

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Now talking about remix queen Neha Kakkar –  she definitely had the crowd eating out of her hand, as she wriggled and danced akin to Shakira, but was not melodious. She had a shrill and powerful voice, that entertained, but did not really touch the heart. It was her latkas and jhatkas that entertained more!

Coming back to Sonu Nigam, his dedication to music seemed real, palpable and fame seems to be just one part of it. Small wonder then that he has held his own for decades despite a crowd of eager, fresh singers striving in Bollywood and changes in music style. Plus the guy doesn’t seem to age at all! To my great joy, someone in the audience requested to sing ‘Bijuriya’, and he sang with an amazing alacrity, giving it a perfect end with the famous ‘Moonwalk’ step!

If you ask for my personal favourite from his bunch of songs that included – Suraj Hua Madham and Hans Mat Pagli, I would say the song mentioned in the opening line of this post – Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin. That song was sublime!

As I watched the singer’s performance, one thing seemed sure. He did not belong to that rising group of people, who do passable work for instant fame. Unfortunately, the ‘chalu’ type of work has invaded all arts across the world. Integrity, dedication and hard work increasingly replaced by quick something for social media fame. Thankfully, the singer seems to belong to a select, small group of people, who practice art for sake of art!

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I have been listening to Sonu Nigam’s songs right from my teenage years and have always liked him. But it was a different experience to hear him live. In between the songs, the singer paused and remarked – ‘when I’ll die, this song will be played for sure.’ And he sang – Har Ghadi Badal Rahi Hai Roop Zindagi from ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. Well, none of us would like that to happen, ever. May he continue to enthrall us all with his soulful singing!

(First Two Images courtesy Google)

Small Things#18 – Here is why Buddha carried light on his head!

After observing this painting of the Buddha, which I had painted in 2014, the Little One asked – Do you know why Gautam Buddha carried light around his head? I shrugged and asked – Do you know?

“Ah, yes! He carried light on his head to see better at night while walking. And also because, this was his style,” he answered expertly. The answer left me in splits. What perspective!

Just a Thought – Camera!

We try to look and behave our best if there happens to be a camera around. We instantly change our expression from frown to smile and adjust our dress to look perfect. If we spot a surveillance camera somewhere, we feel conscious of being watched and behave lawfully.

But how about the ‘witness’ camera we carry within us all the time. The observer, the beholder, the watcher is always there watching us nonchalantly. Why are we not always conscious or aware of the watcher? Wouldn’t this awareness change us to be the best version of ourselves? Would something change if the watcher is watched back by us often? And is the watcher in you the same as the watcher in me? How so?

Ponder and share your thoughts, dears.

(Image courtesy Google)