Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

View of Bangkok from my hotel room

View of Bangkok from my hotel room
If you look carefully, that’s the river in the center that runs through the City. The photograph does not represents the true nature of the city (unlike my photo of New York), but when I saw this, I could not resist clicking it

View from my hotel in Innsbruck

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Isha and Disneyland, what a contrast !

Having spent a fascinating week of yoga, meditation and ayurveda at Isha ( Sadhguru’s fabulous centre), which I need to write in more detail about, I flew off to Hong Kong with my 9 year old daughter the day I finished at Isha. A greater contrast I could not have !
In any case for those of you contemplating going to learn yoga more seriously, and provided your golas are highe than just being healthy, I have one suggestion. Do it now. I am amazed I did not do it before. There may be many places in India to do Yoga, and each one of us is destined to go where we do, I went to Isha at the invitation of Sadhguru, and am hooked. There was not a single morning or evening session of Yoga that I did not hope would get cancelled, but then there was not a single session that I did not come out a different nd more compassionate human being. Yoga, if done with goals that are higher than health, is a life changing experience. I know most of you have done it already and am probably preaching to the converted, but for me this was a first. I am going back.
And Disneyland ? If anyone plans to come here, a warning. There is not that much in Disneyland to do. Kaveri and I finished the whole theme park in one straight 9 hour session. Thankfully the next day I explored Hong Kong through the eyes of a none year old. That was beautiful.
The real pleasure for kids though (and for adults too) is Ocean Park. If you are here, do not forget to atke your kids there. The rides are better (read frightening), and there is a wonderful accent on the sea, it’s beautiful life and how we must preserve it’s beauty.
And they do NOT sell you blonde american fairy princesses as a concept of beauty like Disney does. How do they get away with that ?

In Venice with A R Rahman, David Adjaye and SadhGuru

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Been traveling so I apologize for being off line for so long. I And then, like excercise, it is difficult to get back into a rhythm, part of which is writing the blog. Jet lag, the avalanche of undone things, and then the post holiday panic and guilt. Guilt ? Since when did writing on the blog become part of something I HAVE to do. It is something that I do because in sharing everything with the world, I find a beautiful release.
I was in Venice to celebrate the opening of my short film, Passage. It was a ‘magical’ evening as after the film was shown, a live Venetian orchestra played Rahman’s compositions from the film. Kavita Bagila, who sang the Arias for his song was there to sing live. She sings so effortlessly in an almost Angelic voice. Kavita is of Indian origin, but born and brought up in California. She is currently teaching at Rahman’s new foundation for International Music in Chennai.
Rahman’s compositions for the film include a new Waltz that he wrote and recorded in about 3 days. It is a stunning composition, and people were convinced that it was composed by an earlier Classical Master. But no, it is from our very own ‘Mozart of Madras’ as the Time Magazine called him – incidentally a name I coined in an interview to the same magazine. Then the evening was capped by Rahman holding the audiences completely spell bound when he played on the Piano.
David Adjay, one of the leading architects of the world and one my best friends came too. he is currently designing the new Smithsonian in Washington. He had inspired a lot of the Design work on the film.
But guess who came too. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev came and swept everyone of their feet. I will write more about my conversations with Sadhguru as we walked down the streets of Venice for hours, and talked about the Nature of Existence, Of Shiva, and the Universe.
I will add some some images that are not quite touristy – but which I found provocative.

another view

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Durga Puja and Singapore’s red light district Geylang.

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That is not my picture of Geylang. I picked it up from google images (and hope the author does not mind). But passed the place with my friend, Pratik Bose, on our way to the Ramakrishna Mission Temple in Singapore. Pratik is an ardent follower and I love to visit places of worship of all faiths all over the world. Something about the energy and vibrations that people of ardent faith leave behind that I find energizing. Funny thing about Singapore. this city of malls, order and discipline, turned into something that felt like a suburb of Buenos Aires. Chaotic, streetwise and interesting. And Singapore’s most interesting recent films at Cannes was a docudrama based in Geylang. Street life makes the most interesting films. Pratik, who is Bengali told me this :
“The clay for the image of Mother Durga which is made for the Durga Puja festival is often mixed with clay from various sources to prepare it for worship. One custom is to collect soil from a prostitute’s house in the red light district and add it to the mix.. The idea is that the divine mother is present in each woman on earth and each woman is potentially the divine mother, with this theme in mind, even the prostitute’s soil constitutes the mother’s image which is worshipped during Puja for sake of completion of the earthly image we create for the worship”.

God’s country

Just leaving Innsbruck for Singapore. Kept my windows and balcony doors open so I may breathe the fresh mountain air all night, and stayed awake listening to the gentle patter of rain. As the light broke over the mountains that I can see from my balcony, I saw fresh snow powdered over the trees on the mountains – God’s very delicate touch reminding me to come back here,
I am back here on the 17th of June for the opening of my Art Installation

Nicole Kidman to Baba Ramdev to Isabelle Adjani and the Parisian world of fashion

I was supposed to leave for Paris to edit my commercial with Nicole Kidman, when I got a call from Baba Ramdev to come to the opening of his new Yoga and Healing center in Hardwar. And who could say no to him ? The last time I met Baba Ramdev at a friends house in Mumbai, he just sat me down next to him and held my hand. There was such an auro of peace around him and I just hoped he would not let my hand go.
Can you think of a big center for Yoga and healing ? Whatever you thought multiply it 10 times. The centre can take in 10,000 people at a time and most of the treatment and yoga lessons are free. It amazes me how people like him get things done ! There is something about faith, passion and clarity of purpose that moves the impossible. The universe seems to buckle under the force of your passion and creates the path, like the seas parting for Moses.
There something there that we ordinary mortals can learn. That people with extraordinary passion and clarity refuse even to acknowledge obstacles, for in their vision they are already at their goal. They see their goal and themselves as one, almost in an eternal relationship. The do not conceive failure.
One night of being surrounded by the yogic ambiance and I was in Paris in the thick of the advertising world. Bold, creative, brash, but completely out of the box, French advertising is quite heady and out of the box. I worked with a new agency called ‘Fred & Farid’ run by two young men called (of course) Fred and Farid who have won more advertising awards than is possible, and are turning advertising into an adventure. More power to them. I really enjoyed working with them (and fighting with them over the cut of the film)
And so they arranged for me to have lunch with Isabelle Adjani to bribe me. They won hands down. Who could resist meeting one of the great actresses of her time ? Remember Le Rein Margot ??
After losing my wallet all my cash and credit cards ( it’s Paris – what do you expect ?), I arrived last night to my favorite place on earth. The Hotel Speckbacher near Innsbruck. Came to my room and opened the curtains to let the full moon stream in as she lit up the snow clad peaks in the back. Ahhh , I sat down and did some Pranayam as Baba Ramdev had taught me.
It all comes around in the end.

“Poverty is my art ….”

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In a village in the interiors of Gujarat this man’s family has followed the art of lacquer work on wood for many generations. Right from the making the thickness in castor oil, to the grinding and creation of earth colours, and finally applying it to wood to decorate anything from spoons, to furniture, to toys. His sons follow him, in what they feel is a dying art.
“Poverty is my art” He said ” for this art would not be kept alive if we were not poor”
Would that be true of any art ? Does wealth ultimately corrupt artistic endeavor ? Is the artist then confined to life long struggle to stay true to his art ?

Two last images of Innsbruck as I left

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Frozen stream
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The church behind my hotel