Popular Posts

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Cinema-Houses of Kolkata

In the recent past, I have picked up, like most Kolkatans, the habit of watching movies at the multiplexes. The chain of multiplexes - Inox, Fame, Adlabs - rule the roost in all the metros and Kolkata has been no exception. The multiplex culture has hit us late (not counting the pioneering State-sponsored effort called Nandan, a standalone film cum cultural centre that came up way back in 1985), compared to some other Indian metro cities, but now we are all used to it and have adopted it in style.
Movie-going now comes with add-on options - luxury shopping, dining and pubbing, to name a few.
But, in my childhood, and even a few years back, watching movies in Kolkata meant visiting the single screen theaters of all shapes and sizes, in all kinds of localities. Watching movies in these cinema halls, better referred to as 'Cinema Houses' by the elite and the intellectuals, meant soaking in the ambience of cross-cultural traditions, and taking a peek at the cross-section of society, unified only by their love for cinema. The cinema-houses, needless to assert, were open to all, irrespective of race, caste or class. As the patrons were from all sections of the society, the audience had quite an egalitarian and representative character.
One of the reasons multiplexes are replacing single-screen theatres in the city is that people are becoming more affluent. The exorbitant prices charged at the multiplexes deter the not-so-affluent to watch movies there, at the same time extra comfort and cutting edge sound & projection systems make movie viewing a delight for the connoisseur. Thankfully, after the multiplex boom, some halls like Priya and Menoka have been wonderfully renovated, without letting the entry prices soar to the skies. It seems quite an irony that, financially, single-screen theaters are difficult to run. The market dynamics have changed so much that many of these spacious single screen cinama-houses started resembling like the dinosaurs that had to be edged out by the plexes.
Now, on a personal note, maybe with just a tinge of lament for the bygone era, here is the list of cinema-houses of Kolkata which I have been to, till date. Incidentally, some of these just remain in the oldtimers' nostalgia, as they now cease to be; sprawling malls and shopping arcades have come up in their place. Some are still very much functional and some have come back in business after a hiatus.

New Empire
Minerva (renamed: Chaplin)
New Cinema
Ahindra Mancha

My Creative Pastime

In the daily rush to meet deadlines and fulfil obligations, our creative self often gets shuffled to the sidelines. And that's not a good thing as our creativity is so closely connected to our sense of self-fulfillment. Creativity helps us to experience the magical and playful side of life. It lets us explore our passions and express ourselves artistically.

In my case, my preferred creative passion is my blog. I love spending time blogging on things that are close to my heart, which gives me with much joy and satisfaction. It is a very grounding pastime, and one that I also get to share with others as I spend glorious hours writing about personal experiences, and issues, mostly impromptu & unrehearsed.

Sadly, many people don't consider themselves creative, especially if they don't write, paint or play music. But that is a limited perspective of creativity. There are many forms of creative self-expression with different kinds of execution and levels of expertise. Within each and every one of us exists an artistic being just waiting for the opportunity to shine.
Our creative expression touches us on a very personal level. It can be as simple and spontaneous as singing in the shower or the car. It can be a playful moment of making up a silly limerick or strumming chords on a guitar. Or it could be a more directed and focused activity such as sewing a quilt, cooking an exceptional meal, or making home a special place to relax and enjoy.

So, friend, how do YOU express your creativity? Just open yourself up to the possibilities around you, and hopefully you will find ways to explore, nurture and enjoy your creative side!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Space of One's Own

There are times when each of us feels that we need some space. 
 Actually, what we need is some time to ourselves and some place to recharge our batteries and renew our spirits. 
 In ancient times, such places were considered sacred and were often found in nature – a grove, a hill or valley, or a mountain.

But we don't have to go outdoors to find a sacred space. 
We can create a sacred space right in our own home. 
It doesn't matter how small our living quarters are, even a corner of a room can do nicely, provided it fits the bill, that is to say that it satisfies certain parameters. 
A sacred space is an area where one can sit and meditate, contemplate, or let one's mind wander and relax, ponder, and dream. We can place a small table or a shelf in a corner on which we arrange images or photos or pieces of artwork that hold meaning for us. 
We may incorporate Nature with perhaps some flowers or a small plant, or seashells, or perhaps a crystal. 
Lighting a candle or some incense, or an essential oil diffuser can add to the atmosphere of serenity. 
All we have to do next is to place a comfortable chair there, or even a mat will do. A wind chime or some bells, or playing a cassette or a CD of soothing music can also help us set the scene. 
A space of one's own can help one actualize one's goals in the best possible manner, needless to say that it becomes just the first step where one can afford a frank and intimate soul-searching. In case of a pre-generated conflict, a discussion about possibilities of 'an esteem boost', and of 'who gains and who loses by changing or not changing things', becomes vital. Instead of rolling around in a fog that dangerously confuses one's indifference and passivity against active intolerance, one can genuinely want to be inspired by the good and the great to imagine what is possible – in that place where all life prospers. A conversation, with one's own self, initially rigorous, can eventually be constructive and compassionate in the arena of personal space. A conversation, that is both logical and passionate, thus ensues and releases one from feeling stifled. 

Endnote: Joseph Campbell, the famous American author who wrote about myths and incorporating them into our lives, understood the importance of a need for a sacred space. He says it best, and I quote: "If you have a sacred space and take advantage of it and use it every day, something will happen… Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Defendit Numerus

Defendit Numerus (There is safety in numbers)

"The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful."
(Metaphysica, 3-1078b)

Check out these cool numerical formations, resembling staircases:

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111=123456789 87654321

Brilliant, isn't it?
I wish life too had as much symmetry & predictability as in Mathematics!

According to an old Indian saying, "As the crest of a peacock assumes a place of pride in its resplendent beauty, mathematics too does the same at the head of all knowledge".