My Salutations to every woman…especially all those in my life!

Indira with Mallika and Svwara

My salutations to my mother, my sisters, my better half and my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my two daughters who have always been around me, and to every woman in my life – in all phases of education, professional and passionate pursuits of performing arts and fine arts – each one contributing immensely in one way or other in my being what I am. I also salute the woman in every male, who contributed to what I am!

I pay my respects and tribute through this beautiful and touching poetry of Ms. Ashanti Holliday, that I found on the vast web! Thanks Ashanti!

A Womans Worth

© Ashanti Holliday

She gave life. She is a wife.
She is a mother and she is a friend.
She is a sister a survivor to the end.

Appreciate her, we don’t dare.
Ask her worries, we don’t care.
Wipe away her tears, they are invisible as air.

She works cooks and clean.
She laughs, helps comfort, and hides her pain.
When you struggle she pulls you through

All this is she and what do we do?
Complain and create a mess.
Provide stress and leave her feeling depressed..
Push her away and ignore her advice.
Tell her she is nothing without thinking twice.

She was raped tortured and abused.
Told she was nothing and would always be used just for pleasure forget her pain.

She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside.
Does as you need in order for you to be free.
Ignores your ignorance and tolerates your flaws.
You call her Bitch, Slut, Hoe and Tramp
She answers with pride dignity and a complete loss of self.
You call her nothing.
I call her Strong, Smart, Sensual, Caring, Giving, Surviving, Tolerant and powerful
I call her WOMAN!


‘Take this Rs 2,000/- and be quiet; thank god your girl is alive’

What excuse shall we give for a 5-year-old being raped? Was she dented and painted! Was she not wearing the right clothes? Was she roaming with the wrong guys at the wrong hour? Was she giving the wrong signals to the guy?

Not a single day passes without a rape or two in the news, and I am sure thousands go unreported! There are prying eyes every where! Half of humanity is always under constant fear?! What a loss of potential! What a loss!

All Eyes are on me! what do I do to save myself?

An infiltrator violating the borders of Mother India is shot at and incapacitated. We take great pride in doing so and the nation unites eulogizing the spirit of defending our Mother Nation. But we see every mother, sister and daughter being violated around us and are hardly bothered. Our police will find ways to intimidate the family. Our societal elders will banish them out of the community or even from this world. There are enough lawyers to prove the culprit to be juvenile. And our acclaimed lawyers and judges find ways and means to delay the hearings. It will be a decade or two, by which time the victim would have been through a million deaths all the while the culprit gets patronage under one influential group or the other!

What have we become? When did we stop being humans? Where does this stop?
Is this the India which we want to live in? Is this the India we want to leave for our children and grand children? Does mere amending the laws going to find solutions?

Where does it start?

At every home, for sure. We do not want to have a girl child. Even before the young one comes into this world, the mother is subjected to all sorts. There is a great disparity in the way a girl child is treated compared to a boy child – Food to amenities to school to opportunities, she is always against the wall and he is the lord. What sort of messages do we pass on to the boys and the girls as they grow? What attitudes do these boys carry of the fellow girl children as they grow?

The boys end up being drivers and cleaners, policemen and lawyers, doctors and engineers ….while most girls find their progression curtailed by their family; and if not, the boys around, feel their progression has to be curtailed! What a sad state of affairs that we sow and nurture…

We need to start at home. Respect and celebrate every girl child and woman at home… Unless every home does it, we will have perpetrators at every nook and corner. The road is pretty long…

While it will take a few generations for the change to happen, bottom up, we need to do a lot in every space. The common theme though will be of infusing sense of responsibility and belonging.

The indifferent one! If only they can be saviours, our plight will be very different!

First and foremost has to be political and electoral reforms. The election commission should make sure that criminalization of politics is eliminated at any cost. The constitution provides all authority for the election commission to do so.

Every political party should realize that their future lies in decriminalization. They would be better off selecting responsible candidates and also not interfere in any administration appointments and implementation once the directional decisions are taken.

The Administrative reforms are the next most important facet. There have been a few administrative officers in small pockets of the country who have changed the face of these places. We need every officer to make impact.

That cannot happen unless the government is as efficient. So political parties forming the government has to set their houses right. Each one of us as a citizen has the responsibility to cast the vote and select the right person.

The police has to be more conscious of its social responsibilities. Hence their training and orientation will have to change. They need to be deployed more for aam admi’s cause than that of the VIP duties!

We need to come out of “Chalta hai”, “Aisa hi hoga”, “Mera kya jara hai” attitude. Only then the aforesaid shifts can be implemented in right spirit. Each one of us has to be vigilant and feel responsible for everything happening around. Youth needs to play a pivotal role in making this happen. Unless we leave our personal, self-centric approach, we will not be able to bring the change. We need to evolve ourselves beyond the mundane.

It is a tough ask. Let us make it happen.


If I have a son….: Mahima Saigal

A good friend of mine, Mahima, an avid dancer and trained actress from NY, is very good at expressing her deep thoughts in the form of poetry. I found her expression of anguish translating into this thought provoking verses – If I have son… – a very meaningful one for all.

You can connect with Mahima on facebook


If I have a son

there are many things

I will make him learn


I’ll remind him I’m tougher than his father

For it’s a fact well known that women are

emotionally and mentally much more stronger


The power to give birth rests only with us women

It requires this overwhelming courage and stamina

which no man on God’s Green Earth could summon.

If I have a son…


I’ll teach him about the laws of nature,

the vital role of women; their functions and

how we are not some poor submissive creature


If I have a son I’ll teach him how to be a respectful boy

I’ll buy him gifts and items butwill

warn him that a girl can never ever be his Toy


If I have a son I’ll tell him; there are limits to your fun

He’ll be given lessons on chivalry, courtesy. Plus

Respect for Women will be central to his education


I’ll warn him never to ogle, jeer and stare

Because if he’s caught doing so

I’ll guarantee his entry into the intensive care


I’ll set some rules and regulations for him to follow

I would rather be a Hitler Mom

than let my son be the reason behind a girl’s sorrow


If I have a son

I’ll ensure words that degrade or insult women

are eliminated and exhumed from his lexicon


I shall refrain myself from treating him like a King

and will try my level best to keep his ears away

from the satanic verses of Mr. Honey Singh


I’ll teach him- ‘You must never make a girl cry,

A girl can be shy sometimes but if she says NO to you

you better not turn belligerent and ruthlessly ask her why.


Most of all I’ll teach my son to be a good human being

the one who considers women as equals, respects them

and is unlike the monsters the world is currently seeing.


Photo story series : Ma..Amma..Mutter…Moeder…Majka…Madre…Mom…Mother…

No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.
~Edwin Hubbell Chapin


The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh


The pleasure of being a mother, holding the young one, Indira and Svwara
The pleasure of being a mother, holding the young one, Indira and Svwara


Visit the full story on sreeniviews

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Visit the story stream on Flickr

Work is worship

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Work is worship, a set on Flickr.

Whether 19 or 90, the people who excel are those who give everything to whatever they do.

In my journey of life, I have been very fortunate to have had the camera by my side to capture a great number of people, eminent and also commoners, who are always giving 200% in every aspect of their life. For each one of them, the cause is the almighty and their work is worship.

I managed to put together these inspirations.

The photo essay has come up. Make sure you go through it. You will love it. Work is worship


Alarmel Valli - Bharatanatyam at BVB utsavArangetrum-Saroja V's disciples -2008-08-09-0050World Dance Day - Natya Vriksha Young dancers festival 2011Arangetrum-Saroja V's disciples -2008-08-09-0033Alarmel Valli - Bharatanatyam at BVB utsavWorld Dance Day - Natya Vriksha Young dancers festival 2011
Malavika Sarukkai's Shakti ShaktimaanAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupWorld Dance Day - Natya Vriksha Young dancers festival 2011Malavika Sarukkai's Shakti ShaktimaanMalavika Sarukkai's Shakti Shaktimaan
Dr. Sandhya Purecha and disciples @ Parampara festival - TrailokyamGuru Purnima - Dance tributesArangetram - Praneeta ChaudharyAlarmel Valli - Bharatanatyam at BVB utsavAnanya 2010 - Day 2 - Natya Vriksha - Geeta ChandranAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and Group
Ananya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupAnanya 2011 - Bharatanatyam by Priya Venkataraman and GroupIndus World School, INDIAWorld Dance Day - Natya Vriksha Young dancers festival 2011

Bharatanatyam, a set on Flickr.

Bharata Natyam or Bharatanatyam (Tamil: பரதநாட்டியம்) is a classical dance form originating in Tamil Nadu, India.

Natyam is usually accompanied by the classical music. It has its inspirations from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. Bharata Natyam comes from the words Bhava (Expression), Raga (Music), Tala (Rhythm) and Natya (Classic Indian Musical Theatre). Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by many dancers all over the world.

I have had the privilege of capturing very eminent artists and gurus including Smt Vijayantimala bali, Malavika surukkai, Alarmel Valli, Saroja Vaidyanathan, Geeta chandran and many young and brilliant performers who will carry the torch for long time to come… enjoy..

Being a mother…. bringing a new life into the world..

Mallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister Arrives
Mallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister Arrives
Mallika's sister ArrivesMallika's sister ArrivesMallika's Sister ArrivesMallika's Sister ArrivesMallika's Sister ArrivesMaagu and her sisters..
Maagu and her sisters..

Mallika’s Sister Arrives, a set on Flickr.

When, as a father, I am loving the whole process, what it must be feeling like to be a mother once again…. bringing a new life to this world. My sincere tribute to Indira, every mother and every girl child in this world.

It is a miracle, how the mother facilitates the creation of the cell, multiplication of it, then the formation of various parts of the body – internal and external, then the addition of the soul. Feeling every movement of the child in the womb, relishing every moment, though with a certain amount of anxiety whether she is doing everything possible to help the child emerge in the world hale and hearty.

Though I have been traveling a lot, I have been completely involved in every moment of the last nine months experiencing the pleasure of observing, anticipating, interacting and sharing with Indira.  Mallika became integral to most of the interactions and observations, joining us to innumerable ultrasound scans, each time observing the movements of the child in the womb, trying to identify the eyes, nose, mouth and limbs and enjoying the child’s activities there in.

This Monday, May 23rd 2011, the baby emerged at 12:00:48 pm, not without her share of adventure.- with two opposite loops of the umbilical cord around the neck. The doctors were surprised that why Indira is going through such a struggle to push the child out. The child was stuck at the entrance and was not emerging out, only to realize that there are two twists of the cord around the neck when the head emerged.

Looking at the child’s perspective, what must she have gone through. From the serene, comfortable, fluidy and predictable world inside without much of noise and light, the emergence into the world of pollution in every sense and that too to fight with the cords around her neck to emerge.

Everything is different and strange in the outside world – temperature, sounds, lights, touch and feel… the first few hours and days are certainly traumatic.

“The lifeline, the cord that fed me over the last nine months has been snapped. The heart has to beat to keep me alive, the lungs have to pump with my breath bringing in oxygen. My mother has to help me feed and I have to know how to feed, more important, my mother has to produce enough feed to feed me… I do not know about functioning of my system… I do not know how it works.. how does it handle what I drink, how does my body feel about what goes in…  everyone at home are waiting in anticipation… and I do not recognize them by appearance though I might have heard feeble noises when in the womb.. how do I relate the noise to the appearance…”…

What a challenging first week it is for a child and also for the mother… the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, social…. the journey of bringing a new life is amazing. No experience in this world can come anywhere close to this….

My salutations to every mother and every girl child….

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