Friday, 30 December 2016

Breathe In, Breathe Out: Faizah Afreen has a Few Tips to Relax our Way Into Life

My favorite way to relax is a bit strange. My parents often find it hard to believe that I love to relax in this way. Well, this is not the only way I relax but definitely, this is my favorite one. 
To me relaxing and serenity are closely related. So I close the doors and windows of my room and light a low powered light bulb to cut the outside noise and bright light. I live in a busy urban area so it is usually noisy around me.
I turn on the CD player and play slow melodious songs. I close my eyes and try to recall the happy memories of my childhood. This gives me immense pleasure as most of my childhood memories are spellbinding and magical. If I remain like that for about half an hour, I start to feel a sensation  that is utmost pleasant. I remain half awake and half asleep and an hour is good enough for me to get fully recharged and refreshed. Whenever I feel stressed or depressed I try to relax in this way.

My well being is also due to my connection with music. Sitting on the balcony and listening to soft music is an out-of-the-world experience that I often enjoy. When I am at work, I use my iPod to listen to my favorite songs.

My second best way of relaxing is by meditating. Meditation can be a great way to relax, especially if you are under a lot of stress. And meditation is pretty simple to do: just find a comfortable place, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and focus on ONE thing, whether it's your breathing, an object (a flower, or a painting) — or even a picture in your mind. Even a 10 minute of meditation in the morning is very helpful.

The third best thing that I love is spending time with my friends and family. Since I love travelling, at times I love to hangout with my whole group of friends and go to an adventurous place where we could climb mountains or do any kind of adventurous activities or play games.
This helps me finding my own self.  

I request all of you to make some time for yourself. Dancing to your own favorite music number when no one is around is also a good way. Though it may sound a bit weird but for youngsters it shouldn't be a strange thing. When you know what you like and what you dislike and the ways in which you can feel relaxed and be stress-free then stress won’t even step into your room with you. A fifteen minute walk after a long tiring day also helps a lot.

This is how I try to make my life better every day. Take one day at a time and make the best use of it. Trust me! Life will smile at you :)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Syeda Mahveen Sana Reports on the Workshop on "Performing Arts"

To commemorate the first anniversary of the Quills Literary 
Club, a workshop on “Performing Arts” was held at R.B.V.R.R. Women’s College, for three days i.e. from 13-12-2016 to 15-12-2016. Mr.Rathna Shekar Reddy, eminent actor and Co-founder of Samahaara Theatre Group was the Resource Person. After the completion of the workshop, a Valedictory Function was held on 16-12-2016. Mr. Rathna Shekar Reddy was the chief guest of the program. The function was attended by distinguished personalities like of Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy, Dr.M.Surekha Reddy, Dr.D Ramakrishna Reddy, faculty members of the college and former principals. The auditorium was jam-packed. The program started with the prayer song by students and was followed by the lighting of lamp by the dignitaries. A welcome speech was given by the chairperson of Quills Literary Club Ms. Grace Sudhir. Dr M. Surekha Reddy and Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy spoke about the role of Performing Arts as a medium of communication. 

The chief guest Mr.Rathna Shekar Reddy addressed the gathering with his speech focused on female empowerment. He encouraged the students to take up risks and change the way we live. The chief guest was facilitated with a shawl and presented a memento and . A Power Point presentation was made by Dr. Jhilam Chattaraj about the objectives and achievements of the Quills Literary Club. A short play titled, “Re-Imagining love” which was based on Sonnet 114 by William  Shakespeare was enacted by the students in coordination with faculty member Dr Jhilam Chattaraj. 

 The program concluded with Dr.Sumitra Jaiswal giving the Vote of Thanks to the dignitaries, faculty members, audience and all the others for their cooperation in making the program a success.
Later, Certificates were awarded to the participants of the workshop by Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

I Found Myself: Avani Rawal talks about Quills Literary Club

Since my childhood days I was keen on reading novels, and subsequently it developed into a favorite hobby. After a few days of joining this institution, I came to know about Quills Literary Club. Enthusiastic to know more, I went through the blog and found some amazing works by my fellow college friends. I found it to be a platform to showcase my talent and also as an opportunity to improve further.
I felt enriched and motivated through expressive writing and I was interested to be a part of many such endeavors. Being a part of this cub has also helped me improve my communication skills. I’m also grateful to the literary club for inspiring me to inculcate another parallel passion which can take me ahead.

 The hidden talent of creative writing was discovered by Q.L.C. and I cannot thank enough the faculty of the English Department for unearthing this talent within me. It has indeed introduced the complete me to myself. The literary club of R.B.V.R.R. Women’s College provided me with the privilege of picking out a few pearls of wisdom that were spread across the Q.L.C.’s meetings to celebrate the life and works of the literary gem, Mahashweta Devi. It was indeed a great eye opener to know about not just her valuable literature, but also her social work, achievements and her devotion to the development of rural women through her work.  It made me think she was ahead of her times and her stories and books are still relevant in the Indian society today. 
Also, the recent workshop conducted by the Q.L.C. on theatre and performing arts helped me become more expressive, confident and outspoken about my thoughts and opinions. These experiences at the Q.L.C. will always be cherished by me throughout my journey as a student and I look forward to many more enriching experiences through the Q.L.C.

My Best Days: Suvidha Shares Her Memories of Quills Literary Club

A Quill is the symbol of literature. Whenever a person sees a quill they will recollect a poem or a story, a poet or an author who moved their heart with the magic of words. But when I see a quill, I will travel back in the time machine to the enlightening experiences of our Quills Literary Club.
 Starting from the travel poetry which took us from the confines of a room to adventurous quests on the sea waves or the emotional debate on impact of feminism on  society- every moment was an exposure that changed our mindsets.

 The illuminating workshop on theatre arts conducted by Mr. Rathna Shekar Reddy sir was definitely a milestone in the journey of our literary club. I am fortunate to be a part of the learning experience about theatre arts as I have always watched dramas but never been on the stage. I have understood how much of hard work is involved in finally putting up a play. During the workshop we understood the power of storytelling. From technical terms to simple logic that keeps the play going, from the work of a playwright to the role of an actor, from an idea to a plot to giving an end to story , all the areas were covered about how, where and why a theater works. 
I thank the English Department and Quills literary club for conducting such an interesting workshop where we all became a part of the fantastic world of theatre arts.

Suvidha Laharika

Friday, 23 December 2016

Workshop on Performing Arts, Day 3: The Art of Acting 15.12.16

Sir Explaining the Nuances of Acting
Acting was the dominant theme of Day Three. Rathna Shekar Sir started the session by briefing us on the basic job of an actor- to make viewers Feel, and empathize with the character. He stressed repeatedly on the importance of staying true to our honest emotions as actors and warned us against the trap of "overacting" an emotion. 

Our Class is On!

Learning to Walk
Sir then once again asked us to get on our feet, and put us through a series of activities which were focused on helping us observe the subtle ways in which a person truly becomes an actor. The nuances of acting like posture, body language, fluidity of movement and using rationale to act honestly became clear as we practically put ourselves through various scenarios and tried to act them out. This session took us on a wild ride of emotions ranging from acting bored, to acting in love, to acting like waiting for one of our loved ones outside an Emergency Room. 

After a whole host of tears, smiles, laughter and honest deliberations, it was time to thank and bid farewell to Shekhar Sir. 

Walk like an Actor
Art is a wondrous thing. If you're lucky, it finds you, and you are never the same person again. It, in many ways, fulfills the purpose of life. Shekhar Sir is one such person whose life is steeped in understanding and celebrating the majesty of art. It is obvious that it moves him every moment of his life, and the Quills Literary Club is wholeheartedly thankful for the fact that he has chosen to share his true passion with the young minds of this country. In effect, Sir fulfilled something- he kept saying throughout the workshop- A piece of art or a story has the power to touch and change lives.

His art, and his story touched ours, and we will never be the same again. 
Prof K. Muthyam Reddy, Suchitra Ma'am, Grace Ma'am and other members of the department of English watch as we transform into actors.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Workshop on Performing Arts Day 1: Tell Your Story! 13.12.16

On the first day, Rathna Shekar sir emphasised on the importance and power of storytelling. He asked us a simple question, "What is the human species' greatest invention?" Sir egged us on as we sifted through history in search of the answer, and came up with enthusiastic, sometimes hilarious guesses. We were taken aback, however, on finding the answer- a Story

Sir's explanation soon cleared things up. 

He told us that a story, when told properly, had the power to change the course of human history. The greatest example of that fact, he said, was the propagation, and exploitation of the stories people have been believing in across centuries as a part of religion, simply because, we as human beings were conditioned for stories. It was indeed a unique perspective for the students to listen to, and it challenged us to look at things from a different point of view. 

Sir told us that a good story makes us empathize.  It connects with our conscience, makes us better human beings, and takes us towards a higher state of consciousness. That, indeed, we learnt, is the basic purpose of our existence. 

The session ended with Sir giving us a clear, urgent and emphatic message, "Tell your story! For humanity's sake, please, do tell your story."

Workshop on Performing Arts, Day 2: The Bonfire of Creativity, 14.12.16

Day 2, led us deeper into the mesmerizing  world of theater. Rathna Shekar Sir started it by giving us some idea on the origin of theater and then moved on to  explain the process of bringing a story to life on the stage. 
Shekhar Sir has the participants enthralled!
'Plot is Everything!'

He delved into the importance of a well written plot. We also learned about the important people involved in the creation of a play-  from the writer, to the  director, to the actors, and finally, to the audience. 
Celebrating Theater!

He also talked about the relevance of theater in the Age of the Internet, and said that as long as we have stories to tell, we will find Theater.   

Lighting the Bonfire of Creativity!
The chairs were then pushed to the walls as Sir asked participants to form a circle. He then challenged us to create a story together, with each member contributing a single word. There, in the middle of that circle, the spark of creativity was lit, which binded all of us in a sense of camaraderie as we set about giving birth to a story together. Sir then requetsted us to go back and develop it into a complete story individually. 

The bonfire of creativity did emit some fiery sparks that day, as we all were inspired to write, and write our best.

A thoughtful member contributing to the Story!

The Story Keeps us Engaged

Workshop on Performing Arts: The Inaugural. 13.12.16

On the occasion of its first anniversary,  Quills Literary Club conducted a three day workshop on Performing Arts from the 13th to the 15th of December, 2016.

Prof. Muthyam Reddy at the Inaugural
The inauguration was graced by the Principal of R.B.V.R.R. Women's College, Dr. M. Surekha Reddy, Correspondent cum Secretary, Prof. Muthyam Reddy, and Former Principal, K.Suniti Reddy. They talked about the importance of arts and theater in a student's life, and congratulated the club, and the department of English for taking up such an initiative. Muthyam Reddy Sir, in fact, announced the introduction of a separate course on arts and theater in the college syllabus from the next academic year. 

Principal Dr. M.Surekha Reddy, and Vice-Principal, Head, English Department,  Ms. Grace Sudhir congratulated QLC on a successful first year!

Resource Person for the workshop, Mr. RathnaShekhar Reddy
Resource person, Mr. Rathna Shekar Reddy, an actor with a National Award winning film, a director, a theater artist,  and the co-founder of the theater group Samahaara, captivated the young minds of the members of the club, and shared not just his knowledge of art, theater and acting, but also, his perspective on the world and it's many complexities. He said that though Art is a product of an artist's imagination, yet it is rooted in the artist's experiences with the world, and the people around him.

Grace Ma'am outlines the club's philosophy: Commitment to Creativity!

The workshop was expected to help students gain a better understanding of the nuances of theater. It turned out instead to be a life changing experience that dared us to break the boundaries of dreams, thought and action. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Art, Artists and Audience: A Note on Telangana Kala Mela, 2016 by Apoorva Sharma

The first Telangana Kala Mela was held on November 4th and 5th, 2016.  It was a great experience both  for the artists and the viewers. It proved to be a successful platform to promote the creative talents our newly formed state. There were several  artists from Telangana who are famous in others sates and countries but not very well known here. This mela gave them as well as us an opportunity to learn about the  artists who live around us. 

Prof. R.C Sharma, one of the senior and talented artists, who participated in exhibition, when asked about his experience said that the feeling was same; as if it was in an art gallery in Mumbai. The presence of other prominent artists and an enthusiastic audience made him realize the growing interest in art in our state. 

I, as a viewer enjoyed the Mela and was proud to see such a plethora of artworks in our state. I also,came to know a lot about Telangana  culture through the paintings. All the paintings had their own significance and were beautiful in their own way. I feel that such events must be held again and again and, for a longer duration i.e, at least for 5 days so that more people come to know about it and enjoy it.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Portrait of a Painter: Eleven Questions with Sravanthi Juluri

Internationally acclaimed painter, Sravanthi Juluri   recently launched the exhibition of her new works at Goethe Zentrum, Hyderabad, 6 November 2016. However, this time, she struck a different note.  Her creations were creatively adorned by a short play titled, "Tvameham". Derived from Sanksrit, "Tvameham" means, "I am You and You are me". 
Through this dramatic performance, she welcomed the audience into her world of colors, strokes, sounds and beauty. Sravanthi ushered her art with the affirmation that artists are not geniuses working  in recluse but human souls alive with love for the world and its people. 
 However, people are often full of questions about her work. And Sravanthi wishes to answer them through her performance. She responds to their childlike insistence  to attach meanings, labels and categories to objects born out of the deep crevices of her mind.  She does more than the needful to familiarize us with her work.  Her answers were beautifully etched out in her dramatic performance. Along with Lanka Vaishnavi who played her alter ego and her son Avish Juluri, Sravanthi put  up an unforgettable show.

In the Act: Sravanthi Juluri and Lanka Vaishnavi performing "Tvameham"  

Sravanthi's  works are popularly identified with the Abstract genre. They are startling, beautiful and complete in themselves. The gorgeous ravines and rivulets of colours, patterns seem not formless, but concrete expressions of a creative, meditative and emotionally powerful soul. Sravanthi's latest collection is based on the Nine Rasas of Bhartha Muni. They were curated by city based artist and curator, Koeli Mukherjee Ghose.  

Myriad Emotions of the Artist

Little Gem: Avish Juluri

Ecstatic as I was after her performance, I was also filled with questions. I thank Sravanthi for taking time out and answering them. 

 Eleven Questions with Sravanthi Juluri

  1. What does Art/ Painting mean to you? Is it a catharsis or an escape?

Art, for me has always been a deep rooted expression of an artist's thoughts. I always say that my paintings/creations are an extension of who I am and what I think. I never thought of my art as an escape but more like an explosion of emotions. My work had been a catharsis during my struggle with a personal turmoil; When I was fighting a long legal battle against domestic violence, I met many women who were survivors of sexual abuse, violence etc. It was a personal connection that I felt with them and my paintings at that time expressed my feelings about atrocities against women and the girl child. Each painting expressed many emotions. I used a lot of symbolism and depicted the loss of innocence in morbid situations. It left a deep rooted impact not just on me but also on my viewers. I felt these works acted as a cathartic medium not just for me but also to many women.

    2. Popularly your work has been identified with the “abstract”     genre. Do you agree with such a categorization?

Though I had been doing a lot of paintings which was very symbolic using metaphors that I connected deeply with, now I am working in the abstract form. I feel abstraction is my calling as it creates a stronger connection between the art and the artist. I agree with the categorization but would not like to limit myself.

3.  What inspires you to paint? Any artists whose works have 
      been a guideline?

Emotions! When I look back at a certain experience and the emotions that churned in me, I have a strong urge to capture it. I paint the energy that I felt when feeling these emotions. And I believe emotions cannot be contained, just like the energy they give or take from us.
I definitely feel intense energy flow through me when I see Pollock's work. I also connect with Frida Khalo's work at a very deep emotional level. 

Melting colours!

4.What other forms of art have influenced your work? Any 

favorite writer, musician, dancer?

Well, I was first introduced to the world of art through glass arts. I had my roots in glass arts, be it stained glass, glass blowing, sculpting. The vivid colors of molten glass being manipulated, still runs in my head and to a great extent still influences my style of painting. I thrive on music to create. Like I said, emotions make me create, and when I start painting I need myself to remain in the same state of mind, and to achieve that I listen to music. I would say the choice or influence of music always depends on what emotion I am expressing.

5.    What are the difficulties that you face as an artist? (social,      cultural, emotional, psychological)

An artist's life is a roller coaster ride! I should say being from a family with a creative background, I was blessed with the understanding and a need to constantly express. But I would constantly get asked questions on my choice of career, why an artist? Why not an actress like my mom? Which was quite difficult to answer when I started my career at 21. I feel there is a wider scope and acceptance for an artist today than compared to when I started. But I still feel it comes with a little stereotypical notions of the mind of an artist at times. Psychologically and emotionally it does get challenging when people tend to judge you and throw questions on the need to express as an artist. And my recent show is an answer to all the questions thrown on me by people who look at art through a key hole.

6. Besides the romantic dimension, art has a commercial function. Could you let us know about the present market demand for art by Indian artists?

A Stunning piece by Sravanthi

Today, there is a bigger platform for Indian artists on the global front and it is not limited to the artists who work with a particular genre that, for example, showcases Indian deities or rustic Indian scenarios anymore. We are gaining 
appreciation and market for works that are different and expresses something unique.

  7. You have based your work on Bharatamuni’s nava-rasa. Which one of the Rasas was the most difficult to realize on the canvas?

I felt  that each Rasa had its own significance and challenge. As in my performance, each Rasa had a narration from the Ancient Hindu scriptures and at the same time connecting its significance to the present day incidences was a challenge to create, it also required me  to put myself in that space to be able to pour down my emotion in creating a painting that depicts these dialogues and emotions. Disgust was an emotion that was particularly challenging as we spoke to Lord Shiva, the aftermath of death, decomposing bodies, self realization and that death is evident, natural calamities and war killing people, and for me being a deeply spiritual person, death is viewed through a very different perceptive. 

8.  Art for art sake or art for society’s sake? 

Art for the sake of connecting within!

       9. Which is more influential in your work: Emotions or                        Technique?

Emotions play the highest role. But my technique is the test! Manipulating liters of paint requires lot of skill.

 10.    Any suggestion to budding women artists?

Follow your heart and gut instinct! I believed in myself, my creations and stood firmly by my faith. I never gave in to the words of people that I needed to change my genre. Dare yourself!

11.    What are your future art goals?

Honestly? Paint till the world runs out of color! But on a serious note, I am working on expressing strong spirituality based on ancient Indian texts that people can connect with in simple forms through my work. 

When Ashen Emotions Flow! 

When the Mountains Echoed Literature: Ooty Literary Festival, 2016

This year, the hills of Ooty echoed voices of poets and writers who gathered to celebrate the first Ooty Literary festival. The two day festival was conducted on September 16th and 17th at the charming, warm and very Gothic, Nilgiri Library.

Ms Sajidabanu Iqbal, Former Teacher, Laidlaw Memorial College, Ooty, shares with us her experiences: 

Ms Sajidabano Iqbal, Laidlaw Memorial College, Ooty

Becoming a member of the Nilgiri Library has opened new horizons for me in every direction. I have met people and had experiences which would not have been possible for me otherwise.
The building is very old and is a heritage site. It is beautifully preserved and well maintained. The reading room, especially, is just pure pleasure for anyone who likes to read. There are huge windows that provide warmth and light to the place. They have the best brown leather arm chairs that are wonderful to curl up in. It is an oasis of calm and quiet in today’s noisy world. My only regret is that I do not spend enough time there.

We have a monthly Book Club meeting every second Saturday and the Book of the Month can range from very technical and high-brow books like 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' to 'Alice in Wonder land ' or  'The Jungle Book'. We have our share of home grown authors and poets who may launch a book here. We have Tanya Mendonza, the local poetess. We also have Col. Vinod with his book, 'Blue Jeans to Olive Greens'. We have Dr. Chabbra who has made an extensive study on the Todas of the Nilgiris. He has lived with them,  learnt their language and studied their customs and beliefs. He has also studied the Nilgiri biosphere and has discovered a rare Rhododendron.  We have a lady who has written a fascinating book about the kolar gold fields who was filled with regret  that Kolar has now become a ghost town after the gold reserves were depleted. She is also a reporter  who has written about surrogacy. There was Shibu Kochery who has written about hydroelectric power is the Himalayas and now we have our own Dilip James who has recently launched "NeoClassical Physics or Quantum mechanics?"

The high-light last year was the Lit Fest . It was the first one I ever attended but it gave me a real high. I have never been so pumped up.
The unique memento presented to all the participants
    We had been planning  it for a year but suddenly on that day there was a  bundh because of the Cauvery  water disputes.  But nothing could stop it.  The hall was overflowing with literature lovers, and a CCTV covered the event under a Shamiana  for those who could not get in. There was a food count serving snacks,  drinks and meals.
           The event itself was meticulously  organised. There were school children from  Lawrence school, Lovedale  issuing identity cards and a cute book mark of Toda embroidery. The Todas and the Kotas, native tribes of the Nilgiris were there to welcome us with their traditional dances and music. There was a welcome speech by our president Geetha Srinivasan, granddaughter of C.P. Ramaswamy  lyer and wife of our distinguished Physicist, M.R. Srinivasan.
Beautiful Book marks

C.S Lakshmi and Ms Arundhati

C.S.Lakshmi, Ms Madhavi and Col. Vinod

A Session in the Fest

Then the session began.  We had authors, publishers, poets, translators and children’s  authors. You name it and they had it!
But the two people who completely captivated me were C.S. Lakshmi  who writes under the name of Ambai in Tamil and  M.T. Vasudevan Nair,  who writes in Malyalam and was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Both these authors have translations available in English. Both have published in there teens and held us spell bound with their anecdotes  and remembrances.   Mr. Vasudevan is 88 and was really impressive.
   Ambai has an oral history archive in Pune called ‘Sparrow’.  She believes that women’s histories journals, poems, stories even if written were not accorded the importance it deserved. And many stories have perished with them. She came across a journal of a great aunt and was told that all her other journals and work was cremated  with her.
         She is an inspiration.  So much spirit and an activity and just throbbing with life. She explained how women have always been changing history. She cited the example of the dog who is not allowed in the kitchen but would have only his tail and hind legs outside to appeared as if obeying but is making his own rules. She lived in a repressive society of Chennai in the sixties, but did her own thing.

Just to stand in the same space as these people is to feel the ecstasy. To be touched in some way by their greatness is to be enveloped in the fragrance of incense in a shrine.

To know more about the festival, visit: