Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Jun 25, 2017

READER: Why Jayant Kriplani Wrote Cantilevered Tales...

Well, in the history of my blog, this is the first time some one, other than me, is writing on this blog and I am happy that, that some one I could personally relate with - Jayant Kriplani. I have admired him from 'Khandaan' days on TV to '3 Idiots' short role and now that he is a fellow author, my respect for him grows. So here he is, talking about...

The story behind Cantilevered Tales
- By Jayant Kriplani

Why did I start writing this set of short stories that became one long story? 
I don’t really know. I was on way my back from somewhere by train and at Howrah Station a group of taxi drivers tried to extort a higher fare from me.  This was before the time of pre paid taxi booths.  Rather than shell out five times the fare I thought I’d take a bus. It was peak hour in the morning and though I did get a seat since the bus started from there, I hadn’t calculated the length of time I’d be sitting in the bus on the bridge. Forty five minutes of inching along later I heard a voice behind me say, “AitakiHaora Bridge na Laora Bridge?”
I knew exactly what he meant.
I knew then that I had the beginning of a story.
“Where are you getting off?” I turned around and asked.
“High Court,” he replied.
By now we had reached the East end of the bridge. It still looked like we’d be on the bus for another 45 minutes.
“Walk?” I asked him.
“Let’s,” he said.

And that as they say was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
His name was Khokon. He lived in Santragachhi. And because of that immortal first line, I called the protagonist of my story Khokon. In the book though, the line belongs to his colleague Ashutosh.

Some time later, I overheard a group of people talking about saving a water body from some unscrupulous builder. Arun Lal the cricket player might have been a part of the group but I’m not sure.  I started keeping tabs on them. Not because I was interested in saving the environment or even that small little lake.

I am not a crusader.

I hate getting involved with issues.

But if you live in Calcutta, even for a short while, trust me, you’ll get involved.

More power to the builder I thought after I first saw the lake if you can call brackish acres of sludge a lake.

What did interest me were the disparate lot of people, and some desperate ones among them, who were determined they were going to save a stagnant water body from becoming an office complex. Frankly in my opinion that lake had outlived its usefulness to be anything at all.

I didn’t give a damn what happened to the lake.

But over a period of time I did start worrying about the people. And of course fell hopelessly in love with them. Their wellbeing and their good health became a matter of great concern to me especially since I saw the array of ‘villains’ lined up against them.
So rather than concentrate on Builder v Helpless Citizen – enough stories had been written about them, I concentrated on their stories and their histories.

This is their story or should I say these are their stories.  Some of the people are real; some of the people who come to their assistance are thinly disguised caricatures of people I admire; some are just people I met on buses and trams in my journeys across the bridge who wormed their way into the book.

And that is how this book got wrote.

Book Blurb

CANTILEVERED TALES IS A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE, THEIR QUIRKS AND WHY THEY BECOME WHO THEY BECOME. AND LOTS OF LAUGHTER!

I overheard a group of people talking about saving a water body from some unscrupulous builder and started keeping tabs on them. Not because I was interested in saving the environment or even that small little lake. What did interest me were the disparate lot of people, and some desperate ones among them, who were determined that they were going to save a stagnant water body, which in my opinion had outlived its usefulness as anything at all, from becoming an office complex.

This is NOT a Builder v Helpless citizen epic. In fact that is the least important part of the book. This is about a group of inept people who you want to reach out and protect but you discover are more than capable of taking care of not just themselves, but of you too.


Author Bio
Jayant Kripalani is an Indian film, television and stage actor, writer and director. Known for his work in TV series like Khandaan, Mr Ya Mrs and Ji Mantriji, he graduated from Jadavpur University with a degree in English Literature.

He has played character roles in movies like Heat and Dust, Rockford, Jaane Tu. . .Ya Jaane Na, 3 Idiots and, most recently, Hawaizaade and The Hunger. He has directed and produced a number of films and is actively involved with theatre. He
wrote the screenplay for Shyam Benegal’s film Well Done Abba. He is the author of the heartwarming and nostalgic New Market Tales, set in the historic New Market area of Kolkata in the 1960s and 1970s. His recent foray into writing performance poetry has brought him acclaim in poetic circles around the country. When he is not in Calcutta, he is either fishing in Himachal, pfaffing in Bombay or being a beach bum in Goa.



__
Shashi 
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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Apr 30, 2017

WANDERLUST: My Journey of Re-affirmation...

Between Mirrors of
Life and living, I reflect
'Now', eternally.


Some times as the life changes gears, the path that you have taken takes a turn that leaves you wondering - where I am going? As I reflect about last few months, these lines from "Songs of the Mist" comes to my mind...


"You sit here wondering where you are going to go today. Life all around you is new, based on the sensation of living but the moment you bring yourself down to thinking you realize that it is not one straight line. You start with one point and just as you are about to reach, you have another crowding your space. You force that out of your path and you get pushed into the other. And you pursue that further, feeling what is it like to be, how that one made you smile, how that one made you cry, and you are overwhelmed in feeling the highs and lows, but then find yourself somewhere down in the dark depths of unknown, as if that a person is taking you home but you never had a home..." - Calliope on the banks of Holy River Ganges (Page - 135)


It takes a life time
For a sigh to die; Living
Still flowers in pain

And in situation like this, you have to have that undying faith, that out there, there is some one with a cosmic design in which you have a particular place and with your own karma you fill that particular colour required in universal fabric of cosmos with the thread of your living in 'now'.

But as is the case usually, we are not enlightened enough to know that design, so we have doubts, waver with uncertainty of going nowhere and these are the times, I have come to realise, when one has to reaffirm his / her faith in divinity, in the universal energy that is within all of us. And time to time, we need to touch base, reach out to hold that cosmic energy within us from external sources. The last few months have been one such period of exercises, in which I went all around Tamil Nadu to reconnect through service, meditation and spiritual travels.

My Journey of Re-affirmation 

Faith:
There is a beautiful temple of Sai Baba on East Coast Road of Chennai, where I have been many times before, but I needed something more. So one day me and my friend reached early morning at the famous Sai Baba temple on the banks of Bay of Bengal and I asked for the way. I not only get to know where I have to go but also I found a fellow traveller on my path. I, quite literally, handed over my baggage to him and got ready to walk...



Service:
There was a group of pilgrimages, coming all the way from Bihar (on a round trip of almost 3500 Kms), who reached Kanchipuram, famously known as Kasi of South, and my friend took me along to serve them food. 


There are only two types of daan (To Give) that has a direct connection with the cosmic design and your place in it. One is to feed some one (Ann Daan) and the other is to actively / physically do something for the upliftment of down trodden and needy. 


The whole day we spent feeding more than 50 pilgrims in one of the ashrams was more than one can get by visiting numerous places of worship.


Meditation:
When I came to Chennai for the first time, I have had a great personal experience with Goddess Parvati of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. After almost 20 years of that experience, I had the desire to see her again. We started one early morning, reached Tiruchy for over night stay and then next morning reached Madurai. 


The thousand pillar temple with its grand gopuram and golden dwaja stambha (Flag Staff) was glittering with golden sparkle, turning the dark long corridors into colourful golden hue, being reflected in rainbow colors of the mural on the roof. 




There was the same connect, which had not diminished over two decades of my absence in these premises. The huge wet rose flower garland in my hand looked like the rosary bead and within my heart, there was a peace that comes from knowing that all is well all around. 

The walk within and within the walls of the ancient corridors with huge sculptures of dancers, devas and Dancing Shiva filled the space, emptied by darkness of unknown.


And as I sit here, writing about the journey in Bengaluru, I reflect upon the ripples of time that have flowed by, and remember again Calliope's thoughts...

"...in times of desperation you try to seek out who has the reins of your life. You go beyond the cause and effect and seek within that deepest cognition, with all your logic and understanding of how you came to be here." - Calliope (Page - 137)


In eternity
We live. Come from. Life is one
Series of footprints.

__
Shashi 
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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SPOTLIGHT: ‘Path to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas’ by David J Bookbinder

Spotlight is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.
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“The most profound form of courage is the willingness to face deeply entrenched fears and self-limiting beliefs and to move beyond them" - David J Bookbinder

On a spiritual path myself, I keep looking for fellow traveller who long to be fully present in this amazing journey, we are born into, and often I find them. David J Bookbinder is one such traveler and he shared with me his thoughts in the book form “In Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas”. He is a psychotherapist, writer, and photographer who bring his capacity for inspiring personal transformation to his readers.


When I asked him about the purpose of his book, he says that the primary purpose of Paths to Wholeness is to articulate the best of what I've learned about helping people to become the fullest versions of themselves. It draws on his experiences as a therapist, a writer, and a photographer and combines words and pictures in order to communicate what neither can get across alone. One of the fundamental messages I'm hoping readers receive is:

"Keep going, even in the darkest times. You never know what's around the corner. Something wonderful may appear." - David J Bookbinder

As we discussed further, he said, people have told him to stop writing, over the years - most notably his father but he kept writing anyway. He did stop writing for a decade many years later, when he decided to become a therapist and wanted to hit the ground running by taking trainings and workshops in addition doing the coursework and internships for his degree. But he couldn't stay away indefinitely and the result is the book “Path to Wholeness.”

Find balance, build resilience, and expand your heart with this visually striking guide for successfully traversing the hills and valleys of our existence.

Combining insightful, pragmatic essays in the lineage of Carl Jung and Mark Nepo with 52 award-winning Flower Mandala images inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and Harold Feinstein, David both shows and tells the tale of a spiritual seeker who, having traversed his own winding path toward awakening, now guides others to find balance, build resilience, overcome fear, and to expand their hearts by listening deeply, inspiring hope, and more fully loving.

BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David J.Bookbinder is a writer, photographer, and psychotherapist. His award-winning Flower Mandala images were inspired by the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and the flower photographs of Harold Feinstein, with whom he briefly studied. David has been taking photographs since he was six. He came to psychotherapy after a transformative near-death experience shifted him toward art and healing. David holds Masters degrees in Counseling Psychology and Creative Writing. In addition to 'Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas,' he is the author of two coloring books for adults that are based on his Flower Mandalas, as well as a book about American folk music and three books about computer software.

INSPIRATIONS
I'm motivated by the twin desires of finding out what I think/feel and conveying something I hope is helpful to others. Many of the people who have most influenced me I encountered in the pages of their books or in exhibitions of their work, but as I took in their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imaginings, my interactions with them felt like a personal relationship. In my own writing, I hope to convey the outline of my own path to wholeness, the teachings that have guided me, and insights I’ve gained along the way, and to offer them in the same spirit that authors and artists from the past have shared their teachings and experiences with me.

CHALLENGES
Condensing each of the essays down to less than 800 words, from original essays that were often about twice as long.

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK


"The most profound form of courage is the willingness to face deeply entrenched fears and self-limiting beliefs and to move beyond them: to see obstacles not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth. This is how we transition from surviving to thriving, victim to victor. The difference between those who successfully reach the end of their Hero’s Journeys and those who do not isn’t better opportunities, more strength, or superior allies, but the courage to get up and try again, even when the odds seem insurmountable and discouragement feels overwhelming."
I see a great deal of courage in my practice as a psychotherapist, and after years of doing this work, and 65 years on the planet, this internal courage, the willingness to face our demons, seems to me the most profound.

"When I raise the shades in the morning, sunlight filters through the Venetian blinds. When I open the blinds, it comes into the room in a rush.  Joy is like that. It is rolling up the shades, opening the blinds, letting the light in and then basking in its warmth and brilliance, like a cat in a sunbeam."
I wrote this at a very difficult time in my life, when Joy seemed almost impossible to access. Then I understood that it is always there, and getting to it can be as easy and instantaneous as opening the blinds.

"When we are on a path with heart, the going may be no easier than when we are on another path. But we don’t mind. We sense that we are not just passing time because we can feel the path taking us where we need to go. And when we come to the end of our days, we know that our time on the planet has not been squandered."
I spent many years wandering down paths that, for me, did not have heart. Once I found the ones that did, what might have seemed impossibly hard seemed no easier, but none of the effort felt wasted.

"From my refuge of internal silence, I can also better hear what others are saying without words, without even gestures, but with their hearts, and pay fuller attention to the still, silent places in them, where acceptance incubates and from which positive change emerges."
The key, for me, in toning down the noise of the world so I can really listen turned out not to be in the world, but in myself. Once I understood that, everything got deeper and quieter than it had ever been.


______

David is motivated by the twin desires of finding out what one think/feel and conveying something he hope is helpful to others. Many of the people who have most influenced me, he encountered in the pages of their books or in exhibitions of their work, but as he took in their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imaginings, his interactions with them felt like a personal relationship. In his own writing, he hopes to convey the outline of his own path to wholeness, the teachings that have guided him, and insights he has gained along the way, and to offer them in the same spirit that authors and artists from the past have shared their teachings and experiences with him.

When I asked him, how long it took you to write this novel, he says that this book is a collection of essays and images, not a novel. It took him about a year to select and refine the images, six months to match them with inspirational quotations, a year and a half to write the 52 essays, and six months to revise and edit - a total of 3 1/2 years, though he confesses that he had spent 10 years creating the body of images from which he selected the 52 used in the book.

His favorite spot for writing is at his cluttered desk, in front of his computer screen.

“It took me many years to fully understand that writing is a job, like any job, and that the first step in completing any job is showing up for work. My desk is where I show up for the work of writing, and also for the joy of it.” David J Bookbinder

However, he also likes writing on trains (nobody can interrupt me), at artist colonies (it's really my job to get writing done there), and in Paris, where art is in the air like no other place, he says, he has been so far.

He has four unfinished books which he would like to complete: A novel about coming back from a near-death experience; a nonfiction book about attorney theft of client funds; a coming-of-age novel structured around birthdays; and a book of photographs and stories about New York City street people in the 1970s.

He would also like to do a short book of images and essays around aging, using a series of leaf photographs as the visual metaphor. As for timeline, that remains to be seen. He says, he can typically only do one major task on top of my work as a psychotherapist, and interestingly he himself is not sure which of those projects he will tackle next.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS
Celebrating Birthday
In 1993 he had a near-death experience that changed his life.

He returned to motorcycling three years ago after a 33-year hiatus.

He is a Buddhist who has been an avid science fiction fan since age of 10.

His three favorite places are: the mountains near Abiquiú, New Mexico, where Georgia O'Keeffe lived for many years; Paris; and the towns and farms surrounding Hamilton, New York.

TWO BIG THINGS OF LIFE
The more recent achievement is becoming a psychotherapist starting at age 51. In this occupation, I have helped many people over the past 15 years, far more than I might have in my previous careers. Overall, I think my biggest achievement is transforming from a person locked in a shell of shyness into one who thrives on connection.

FAVOURITE BOOKS
GENRE: Literary and Science Fiction
His favorite genre is fiction, and within fiction he is most inclined toward literary fiction and science fiction.

BOOKS:
In the literary fiction realm, he has been drawn to the novels of Haruki Murakami like “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” and the “End of the World”. These books, he says blends real-life scenarios with fantastic and imagined ones in a way that is unsettling at the same time as it's profound, and his work stays with me long after the last page has been read.

In science fiction, choosing one best-loved book is also impossible, but ‘Son of Man’, by Robert Silverberg, stands out as one book that permanently shifted the way he sees human beings and our legacy.


TO BUY David J Bookbinder’s book “Path to Wholeness:Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas” … CLICK HERE
________________


– by Shashi 
Works for a Multinational Infrastructure Consultancy Firm
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” & "Kuhase Ke Geet "
Haiku Poet | Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind
(Global Ranking #36)



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