Monday, October 7, 2019

'Time' is a function of Mind Space

This was like a nice 'aha moment'

And it came out of this seemingly opposing situation in my own current vantage.

How opposing?

Well, there's me sitting here feeling I have so much free time, and people around me saying "why are you taking on so many things"  "don't stress yourself out with so much" "how busy are you getting" "your plate is so full of so many different things".

I'm hearing so much of it, that it actually made me wonder if I'm missing something. But see, that's just how conditioning works. 

Yesterday I spent almost two hours playing this game on my laptop, and after one particularly difficult level that I won, I found myself literally prancing around....and I'm like "really? am I that busy"

And that's when the 'aha' happened.

When you have your mind sorted.....it's on a high....it's calm and at peace.....it's in good space, and you get to fill your day with a lot of stuff. And when it's stuff that matters to you, things you truly enjoy doing, even if it's work...... stuff which adds to fulfillment, it in turn keeps your mind on a high.......

and then......time seems to just expand 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Synchronicity

It's a wonderful term...a wonderful concept

One that was coined by Carl Jung to express "an acausal connection between two or more psychic and physical phenomena"

Simply put, they are the 'unexplainable yet significant co-incidences'

While coined by him over fifty years ago, it is now being made popular by the likes of Deepak Chopra, Sadguru, Wayne Dyer and..that ends my list.

We have all experienced it at some time or the other, those strange occurrences that happen together, you're thinking of a song and you hear it somewhere, the phone rings and you just know who's calling, you're thinking of an issue and something or someone gives you direction......that list is endless.

We call them coincidences.

Carl Jung said of it as "a meaningful coincidence where something other than the probability of chance is involved"

They are more than chance. They are 'meaningful and purposeful'. A pattern of connection not explained by causality.

While Carl Jung spoke about what it was, how it happened.......and he used the connect between the 'individual consciousness and the collective consciousness' to talk about it in psychology,  Deepak Chopra and Sadguru are taking it to the next level......they talk of how it is not about 'how it happens' or 'when it happens' but how we can 'make it happen'. 

A shift from psychology to spirituality in terms of approach.


It's akin to sharpening your radar, very similar to tuning a radio antennae. The universe is not just alive and intelligent.....it is intelligence itself. 

The more you tune in.....the more your body mind and spirit align.... the more you vibrate at your optimum frequency ......... the more you'll start to see synchronicity manifest in your lives.

"If you gain a little mastery over your mind, body, and life energies, you can become the master of your destiny" - Sadhguru

A quote that came in this morning's inbox...after I'd started writing this post. A full on live instance of synchronicity if you will :)

Another all time favourite quote of mine, from Jung, saying the same thing:

"Until you make the subconscious conscious, it will drive you and you will call it fate" - Carl Jung

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Facing our fears

From Seth


That’s unlikely.

If I’m lucky, I can glance at them.

But just for a second or two.

Our fears burn so bright that if we truly face them, we think we might be blinded.

Of course, we may think we’re looking at our fears, dead on, but it’s more likely we’re just seeing a distraction, a shadow of what’s actually holding us back.

Because once we’re truly clear about the fear, it fades. It might even disappear.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

On Oct 2nd

This is one of my most favorite b'day gifts I've received


Guess as with most anything, it can mean different things to different people.

Is it about transforming yourself to being exemplary of what you want the world to be? 

Is it about actually being what you think you should be? 

Is it about being who you really are?

Is it about aligning your 'real self' to your 'ideal self'?

Is it about aligning feelings, thoughts and action?

Each to their own I guess......on this day, thought it's good time to draw inspiration from :)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Cinemadamare - An Interview with Dhruva

'Cinemadamare', by definition, sounds like a dream program. 

A 'travelling movie campus' that brings together about 200 young film makers from across the world, travelling through Italy, over three months, one week in each town, making films and screening them in the town squares. Nothing like this seems to exist anywhere else in the world.

This year was Dhruva's second stint with Cinemadamare. Literally translated it is 'Love of Cinema'..... guess that's exactly what drew him there the second time too.

Once back, as Dhruva was talking of his experiences, everyone in the family was telling him that he should write about it. Yest when Dhruva was telling Praveen about it, he also tried telling him that he ought to journal it, as there's no way he'll remember it all.

When mom told him to write, he said "I know I ought to ammamma, but my form of expression is Cinema, not writing really".

And dad turns to me and says "why don't you write about it".

Guess that got the idea going. I did a formal interview with Dhruva, one that went on over three hours. Between that, and the innumerable other conversations, here's a go at trying to capture some part of his experience.

Me: Dhruva, full formal ok..........let's start with this. The other day you said; "I now feel I have more access to the world", I thought that was a fascinating line, tell me a little about what that means.

Dhruva: Yeah, it's a whole shift in feeling, one that no amount of travelling gives you. You feel that way because you actually spend three full months sharing your life with people from across the world, from so many countries. I now have close friends in so many countries. That's the literal access.

And even otherwise, we have this feeling about 'foreigners', one that creates distance. I feel that kind of drops away.... as you live their way of life .... do so much adapting....get really close.....you grow beyond that, to feeling anywhere is comfortable, anywhere is fine.

Even the Venice Film Festival, right? Earlier Hollywood was this fantasy land, A distant concept, abstract, something you saw only in movies, in the Oscars. Being at the festival, standing by the red carpet, meeting eyes with stars... seeing them all in real time....just brings it all within a reality realm. It's like being 'in' Hollywood, Hollywood doesn't feel impossible anymore.

Me: Wow, that's a lot. So the participants in Cinemadamare....how many countries were they from?

Dhruva: About 50 to 60 countries, and it's not just meeting them, You get to know them personally, intimately. In fact I now have people there I know well enough to  consider family

Me: Who's close enough to be family? (the word caught me see :)

Dhruva: I hung out with people from Belgium, from Brazil...like Raphael....and this time I got really close to Uruguayians. There's Augustina...and Belen and I just love their accent and their style of speaking English. Listen, it's so cute.

And the friends from Uruguay cooked a lot, so I cooked and ate a lot with them.

Me: This time you said acted in two films. One as Jesus (which ammamma didn't find surprising at all) and one in a lead role too. How was the acting experience?

Dhruva: Not two, I was in about five to six films. Two were like lead roles. It was tough. Tough and interesting. It taught me a lot about what an actor goes through.

A director runs on adrenalin....once the shooting starts it's all a blur.... days on end go into a blur. Even the tiredness comes in only after the shoot ends.

But for actors it's different, they feel it even during the process, as they are emotionally there.

It has helped me be more empathetic, helped me bring out their best, and that in turn brings out the best in the film.

I understood how difficult it is for actors to hold the emotions of the character...for example, I now realize why it's important  to bring them onto site only just before the shoot.

It's like an exam, how much ever preparation happens earlier, those last few minutes matter. Often,  they are called in earlier, and that's so distracting for them as those last few minutes matter so much.... we need to give them that.

Me: Tell me about one difficult experience during acting.

Dhruva: This was a film of Viktor's, he's a really good director...... eccentric, abstract vision. I was this character who hated water. This was a scene where I was lying on the ground, with a burning cross behind my back, and people were throwing water at me. No shirt on and it was really cold...... and it was intense emotions.

And acting is tough because sometimes you reach those emotional spaces with so much difficulty that you can't switch back out and in, so you stay in character for the duration of the shoot, and that makes regular life difficult. So yeah.

Me: Woah, that sounds intense. Will we get to see that film?

Dhruva: Yeah, but I think he's still editing it. I'll ask.

Me: Other then acting did you do any other facet of film making?

Dhruva: Did one editing, which was also tough as the Director didn't seem clear on what he wanted and the DoP and I had different opinions.

I also did 'sound' for six to seven films this time.

Me: Nice. How many films did you yourself do, like direct? Tell me a little about them.

Dhruva: I made 4 films.  One is called 'the pyre', it's in Italian. Two of them are like a series, the series was interesting because it gives opportunity to play around with many facets of the film. They are about 'nature' and 'man'. And how nature enters one man to represent itself, and how that conflict plays out in him.

The fourth one was inspired by a town there. The first three I had the concept in mind even before I went, for one I had even written out the screenplay, the script.

Me: Would you say Cinemadamare is what enabled you to shift from animation to live action?

Dhruva: Well, no, not really. Even in my fourth year of college I started getting more interested in 'live action' and guess would have done it anyway....but then, Cinemadamare helped me get there in a comprehensive kind of way.

Me: What would it have taken for you to make these films here? Why did you need to go there for it?

Dhruva: It's not like you can't do it here, but there the entire crew and cast are handed to me on a platter, there's people with expertise in every facet of film making. And everyone's there with the talent, the expertise, the intent...it's to create film and learn, which is a whole different energy.

Plus the nice feeling that soon as it's made, it's going to be screened for the entire town, and they are very enthusiastic about it.

Me: What about language, did you have an issue with that?

Dhruva: We're mostly in small towns, so yeah you need to know some little Italian, especially as director as we need to find a producer who will help put together locales and some basic props and stuff. We also need it in the supermarkets or restaurants as they don't understand english there at all.

Me: So, can you speak a little Italian now?

Dhruva: Well, I can manage a little. I guess I can understand in context. I also need to introduce the movie in Italian, so yeah I do a teeny weeny bit.

Me: Tell me some of the most difficult or challenging facets of the experience.

Dhruva: Privacy. There is no privacy for the entire duration of the three months. None at all. Not to sit, work, stand, talk, no alone time at all ....none, infact not even to shower. Initially the guys showered in one section and the girls in another, but after a while even that disappeared. It's hard to explain how it changes you. Some places even the bathroom doors don't lock.

You just can't be physically conscious about anything. At some level it just makes you so much more comfortable with your own body.

But yeah, a lot of this keeps people on edge. And at times it's difficult to handle it, for some even more than for others.  There was this really sweet guy from Japan, mid thirties, a teacher of Manga (Japanese comics). His Japanese etiquette was really interesting.

Me: What's your biggest challenge as a Director?

Dhruva: Ego gets crushed. You have to put your whole cast and crew together yourself. Ask around, until you find all the sign ups.....then make sure everyone's mood is right, all factors come together, and knowing there's only one week per film. It's tough.

Everyone has their own challenges, it's either mentally, physically or (at times 'and') emotionally exhausting.

Me: Sounds tough. So what draws people to Cinemadamare?

Dhruva: It's the whole concept, it's so beautifully packaged that given the opportunity you just want to experience it. I went back again didn't I? There are people who come on very tight budgets, maybe do it for just a couple weeks, but they'll still come.

Me: Having taken to Directing, how would you say you've grown as a director over these last two years?

Dhruva: I am constantly exposing myself to learning, be it through watching cinema, watching backend interviews, finding the research and break down of the films, watching masterclasses...I'm always at it.

Me: What about in terms of general growth. How does that fit here?

Dhruva: It's tremendous. You become aware of how little you know, especially about other countries and cultures. You come with what you later realize are your own assumptions and expectations....and people can be just so different, and at times so similar......... sometimes even what you think is fact you'll see is different. For instance I learnt that China doesn't think Kashmir is part of India, that's how they teach it in school.

It widens perspective, you just constantly become so much more aware of things.

You also stop caring about judgement, opinion.....you also become less judgmental..... you stop being conscious of so many little things that take away unnecessary energy.

Me: Were there any moments that you got homesick?

Dhruva: No, not really, because you are so involved, and enjoying every minute of it. Material comforts, sometimes yes, but otherwise no.

We're all there for the love of films and to make films, to be part of films...... it's such a creative environment, and at times even competitive ....  overall it is an addictive environment I'd say.

Me: Did you ever get into any risky spots?

Dhruva: There was one shot that I needed to get the town square in the dark, and I got permission to access the street light switchboard. But somehow we missed picking up the key, so i got a ladder and climbed and I did it a couple of times, and I guess I didn't know it was LED and takes time, so something made a weird noise and I thought I had blown it, like ruined the whole switchboard. We all actually ran.

It was damn tense. Until I was back in Rukan's restaurant it felt scary.

Me: Who's Rukan?

Dhruva: This was in a little town called Monzambano, and Rukan is this lady who runs a family restaurant. She became close friend. She's a yoga instructor, and she likes anything India. She infact adopted me for the week.

I go to know her whole family, and one night they even let me stay over in the restaurant, they locked me in as I had to do an all night editing. I walked her dogs for her and all.

Another time was when we were shooting in tall grasses, at night.....and we suddenly saw this largish animal move..... they have a lot of wild boar and bears.

Me: Did you face any kind of racism there?

Dhruva: The most racist country I've seen so far is India, nothing can even come close.

Me: How was your visit to Rome?

Dhruva: Really nice. I did one day of sightseeing with Belan from Uruguay, and another two with Rafeal from Brazil. Rafeal and I watched Angels and Demons before going to the Vatican. The art and sculpture is at a whole different level, imposing, intimidating....so extremely beautiful. I'll show you that through some pictures, though I didn't take too many.

Even Venice, it's as beautiful and fairy tale like as we hear. But even that through pictures.

Some pictures:

Rukan, who runs the restaurant in Monzambano.


With a group of friends


Playing Jesus in a film


Another shoot, this was apparently an ambitious project shot in the waters


Rafeal, from Brazil, who has become close friend


With Belan, when the two of them went off to see Rome


Chilling, very apparently


So pretty


With Krzysztof Zanussi, a well known Polish director, who did a master class for them


A campfire night


One of their town square screenings


One of Dhruva's instagram pictures with caption 'most of these folks transcended into family'


Picture card perfect...he said all the houses in this town have these pretty paintings on them, like this one here


With Johanna from Poland


St Peter's square at the Vatican


They apparently spent all night on this wall


Another instagram picture of his



They acted as zombies in another film. That's Dhruva standing right, I didn't recognize him until he told me :(


With Izem, a close friend from Turkey


What a beautiful sunset to chill with


A little video clip at one of their town square screenings.  Apparently a group of them started dancing in the middle of the square after the screening, and initially the town folk were taken aback, but gradually they also joined in and it went on till late into the night



These are pictures I happened to have as he'd sent them to me earlier in some sorting process, so there's no real sequence or anything.

Dhruva, I realize we've likely touched just the surface level of the experience, but glad we had this chat. It definitely widened my perspective, of not just your trip, but also of you.

It sure is one intense experience. Glad you discovered it, got selected, did it not once but twice. Way to go Kanna !!

Of course it could be better

From Seth

That’s not the question, not really.

The question is, “what are you going to do about it?”

And, to follow up, “what effort are you willing to put in to make it better?”

If you’re not willing to make it better, it’s probably going to stay the way it is.

The first day of summer is right around the corner (or winter, if you live in the other hemisphere).

The changing of seasons is as good a time as any to say, “now, I’m going to make it better.”

The key word isn’t ‘better’. The key words are now and I.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Where do I begin......







Words.......for times when that's all that we have...and for times when it's all beyond.