Ten LEADERSHIP reinforcements for my journey of life, from “Sirf #AAP” Elections of Delhi, 2015

Let us realize our potential and help others to realize!

Let us realize our potential and help every one around us to realize theirs! – graphic, courtesy world wide web!

The compelling verdict that the world is witnessing today in the Delhi elections, wherein @Arvindkejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party trounced, the ‘perceived to be invincible’ @narendramodi and #BJP, made me relive the last 18 months – from the run up to last Delhi elections, the coronation of @narendramodi, the Loksabha elections, the last nine months of Modi as PM of India, this Delhi elections and now the results.

I introspected at the intentions, the behaviour, the compulsions, the actions and the outcomes, and thought of the fundamental tenets that are integral to my own journey, and of course for any leadership. I thought of reminding myself, and reinforcing these values that are very dear to me –

  1. Every human being is special and has unique strengths. I will continue to be a good observer, learner and incorporate every good behavour and practice in my journey. Being a good human being is of utmost importance.
  2. I will always talk positive, infuse energy, contribute to and facilitate each and every person around me. I will talk to the concerned person, directly and share my thoughts and feelings, rather than sharing with someone else.
  3. I will convert the positive energy in every individual to create a compelling force for growth and prosperity of communities and nation.
  4. I will focus on developmental agenda to enable – myself, my family, my team, my community, my nation – to excel. Will create the agenda with active participation of every member thus involved.
  5. I will be constructive on challenges that everyone around is facing and make sure that we all together work in overcoming them.
  6. I will respect every faith and every community; we together will create a nation and a world of immense possibilities, immense value for generations to come.
  7. I will work towards identifying leadership potential from within the organization; support, empower and enable the concerned to realize that potential.
  8. My endeavour will always be to empower the team, to keep the morale high to conquer the impossible!
  9. I will always encourage and promote criticism; each and every critique is a pointer for me to introspect and become a better human being.
  10. I will remain humble, whatever I achieve. I will constantly strive to be better. I have so much more within me to realize – the potential is infinite.

Looking forward to an exciting journey ahead, of realizing that infinite potential within and that of the nation! Jai Hind!


An evening with Inspiring M S Sathyu

Thanks to my dear friend, Astha Dixit, the choreographer and lead dancer of the play Dara Shikoh, I was accorded two seats in Stein, for me and my better half, Indira. We reached the audi a couple of hours before the play commenced and I went straight to the green room to capture the candids at the back-stage. I had a wonderful time doing my captures, while listening to the interesting banters, especially in the green room of the ladies!

Dara Shikoh with his advisor

In the empty hall, an elderly gentleman, was quickly going around taking stock of the stage and then sitting in different seats on different rows at different corners of the audi checking the visibility of the stage from various directions before he headed to his place in the lights and sound room upstairs.

The play commenced and the action began with a dance sequence and quickly the entire elite audience got engrossed into the proceedings and I was deep into my clicking penance. The play was crisp as it traversed a couple of decades in the storyline before the curtains came down. The actors assembled on stage and were introducing the cast. They called the name of the Director, M S Sathyu. He was not to be seen and everyone was wondering where he was. The announcer realized that Sathyu was doing his duty today at lights, helping the apprentice. A few minutes later, the very same gentleman who took stock of the empty audi, walked in to the audi with a jhola in his hand and slowly yet surely, moved towards the stage and stood there for a couple of seconds to the grand acknowledgement with no emotions on his face. Then he walked into the audience space, took a seat by the side of an aisle and started gazing into the ceiling. That was M S Sathyu.

M S Sathyu at Stein, after the performance of Dara Shikoh

Meanwhile the audience went about congratulating the cast and shaking hands with the fellow audience. Also asking a question, ‘did you understand the dialogues completely?’  A couple of them asked me too.  The Urdu in the play made it difficult for the audience to follow the dialogues, leaving them a tad disappointed. It might not have had any impact on either the director or the producer, because they are passionate about their work..

“Dara Shikoh”, the modern classic is directed by M.S. Sathyu and written by Danish Iqbal, which encapsulates the play’s portrayal of the young Mughal prince and heir apparent to Shah Jahan. The play, being performed after three years, is once again being directed by the eminent director, stage designer and art director M.S. Sathyu and presented by Impressario Asia.

Danish Iqbal, the playwright, talking to the Hindu, attributes his knowledge about writing and stage skills to Sathyu. “He’s a grand old man of Indian theatre. He has a terrific sense of aesthetics. He makes sketches of every scene before the performance, to work out how the stage characters, headgear, beards, dresses, everything would look. He’s a very meticulous person. It’s a pleasure working with him. His art work is tremendously beautiful.” Iqbal adds that while he has indeed provided the dialogues, characters and content of the play, they’ve been given shape by Sathyu.

I slowly went and sat next to Sathyu ji, at his feet on the aisle, and started talking to him. This young man of 84 is brimming with enthusiasm, talking about his flight today to Mumbai to work with the cast from IPTA for the play scheduled on Feb 5th, at Prithvi, and then heading to Bangalore to take Dara Shikoh, on an eight town tour including Bangalore, Davengere, Bellary, Mysore etc, all in the month of Feb. He was very delighted to share that the play will be staged in a school of theatre set up by an ashram in Davengere. I also gathered that he designed around eight new arenas for theatre in Bangalore including Rang Shankara where Dara Shikoh will have three shows. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Indira and Astha with M S Sathyu

Indira interacted with Sathyu about his films as she has been a fan of his work from the days of the film “Garam Hawa.” Sathyu shared about directing Habib Tanvir and Safdar Hashmi in a play and  the discussion about his works went on…

Sathyu who started his journey as an art director, went on to design sets, lights for productions and then directing plays and finally films. In films, he has worked as an art director, camera-man, screenwriter, producer and director. His filmography includes over 15 documentaries and 8 feature films in Hindi, Urdu and Kannada.

It was an inspiring evening with M S Sathyu. as active and energetic as ever, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm even at 84. Indira and I will treasure this interaction for life time. Looking forward to meeting Sathyu again, very soon.

SPANDAN : curtain raiser on Rajya Sabha TV and Complete recordings

The Curtain Raiser of SPANDAN introducing the three dancers – Nikolina, Carolina and Nitisha Nanda appeared on Rajya Sabha TV. The complete program is scheduled to come any time in the near future.

If you wish to watch, here they are, as captured by my film team –

Nikolina’s Bharatanatyam – Bho Shambho

Carolina’s Chau – Nataraja

Nitisha’s Odissi – Jayadeva’s Shiva Stuthi

Quincy Kendll Charles’ Kathak – Taal Damaar

Paola Santa Cruz’s Flamenco

Nikolina’s Ballet

Carolina’s Columbian Cumbria dance

Nitisha’s Egyptian Classical Belly dance

The first segment of the SPANDAN world dance evening had an interactive session with Eminent photographer Shri Avinash Pasricha anchored by Mrs Leela Venkataraman, eminent dance critic and Mrs Geeta Chandran, celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer.

I loved conceiving this unique festival and bringing it to you. Looking forward to bettering it every year. Kindly leave your feedback so as to help me.

Love and regards.

SPANDAN – Previews and Reviews in media of Sreeni’s 10-day World Dance Festival @ IHC



All previews and reviews being listed here for every ones benefit. My humble gratitude for all facilitators and well wishers who have made it happen. Love. Sreeni

The preview of SPANDAN, celebration of human spirit, in the form of dance appears in FIRST CITY. A 10-day festival of dance with

a. 16 large format dance photographic installations of 9ft X 9ft – all visual treats from Srinivasan Ramakrishnan 10 years of dance photography

Here is the link to my FLICKR photostream of the photographic installations of SPANDAN, that lasted 10 days

SPANDAN, Sreeni's Photo Exhbition

b. An evening of WORLD DANCE on May 3rd with three masters – Sri Avinash Pasricha, renowned dance photographer in a discussion with Eminent dance critic Mrs Leela Venkataraman and Celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer Ms Geeta Chandran

This was followed by five brilliant dancers performing eight forms in the overflowing Stein Auditorium of IHC

– Nikolina Nikoleski (Bharatanatyam and Ballet) Croatia
– Carolina Prada (Chhau and Cumbria) colombia
– Nitisha Nanda (Odissi and Belly Dancing) India
– Quincy Kendell Charles (Kathak) Trinidad and Tobago
– Flamenco Paola Santa Cruz (Flamenco) Peru

and culminated on May 5th with an evening of Drums and Music.

Here is the link to my FLICKR photostream of the evening of WORLD DANCE

Just a beginning. Many more to come. Thanks to all dancers, gurus in my life who have showered their blessings and, IHC and Career Launcher (CL Educate) for making it happen.


In The Hindu

In The Indian Express

On the respected website for dance anchored by Eminent dancer Ms Anita R Ratnam

In business Standard

On habitat world listing

On Priya Lasya’s blog

Also appeared in WHATs HOT of The Times of India


In The Pioneer, by sri Utpal Banerjee

In The Deccan Herald, by Ms Henna Rakheja

In THE HINDU, by Mrs Leela Venkataraman

This whole week/month, I look forward to many more reviews. THE SUNDAY INDIAN of the next week and many many more…

Also SPANDAN appears on NDTV, DD Bharati and DD Rajya Sabha TV. Will post the links if they appear on YOUTUBE ore else where.

ITIHAAS : WORLD HERITAGE DAY 2012 – An inclusive programme for children with Disabilities.


I am very proud to be part of ITIHAAS. It is one of a kind movement to facilitate children be aware of their surroundings and rich cultural heritage. Help children to contribute to make their immediate context vibrant and valued.

Here is one more reason why….. how to help the marginal members of the society valued and involved..

ITIHAAS celebrated, WORLD HERITAGE DAY 2012 with ASI – An inclusive programme for children with Disabilities.
18th April, 2012, Purana Quila, New Delhi

The Archaeological Survey of India celebrated the World Heritage Week on 18th of April, 2012 in collaboration with the Indian Traditions and Heritage Society, ITIHAAS. To take our commitment to Heritage Education forward, ITIHAAS organized a special study tour for 500 children with disability on the World Heritage Day, 2012. This was the first ever such visit of the Purana QUila organized by The Archaeological Survey of India and ITIHAAS. ITIHAAS, an educational trust active in the area of heritage education and working with school students since 2004, conducted a study tour of the Purana Quila for children with special needs. This
was the first such Heritage Education programme in the country which reached out to the Hearing impaired, those with Visual impairment, autistic children as well as those with special needs. The study tour brought alive the dead past for these children by making them active participants in taking our heritage forward.

The program began with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by senior ASI officials, Dr. Gautam Sengupta, Director-General (ASI), Mr. Mohammed K.K., Regional Director (North Zone), Dr. D.N. Dimri, Superintending Archaeologist (Delhi Circle) and Ms Smita Vats (Founder-Director, ITIHAAS). Address by the guests was
followed by a song, composed and sung by one of the ASI officials from Mysore.

The event ended with the children getting certificates of appreciation from the ASI, study material and worksheets by ITIHAAS and refreshments. The children enjoyed the programme thoroughly and it was equally appreciated by their teachers, guardians and facilitators.

A view through the Patina with Anjolie Ela Menon – by Indira Ganesh

With her creation Dropadi

With her creation Dropadi

A nice monsoon evening at India Habitat Centre turned into an art Odyssey for our family. As I entered the precincts of the hallowed premises, right at the entrance my daughter pointed Anjolieji’s painting of Guru Shishya to me. Well she knew that Anjolieji’s works were on display thus making the identification of the artwork easier.

We walked into the gallery and the next hour passed on by looking at the colourscapes on masonite and canvas. At the outset anybody will be drawn into the seductive world of colours with the familiar motifs of the crow, the chair, the window and the frame within frame themes. A deeper study revealed an artist with myriad moods, playful in a trice and melancholic in a moment. Anjolie jis works are mostly in response to stimuli around her at that moment. Her latest muses were the Naga Sadhus in their gay abandon.

Also considering that she is a much sought after artist, the pieces on display were largely from personal collections and hence autobiographical. There is an unmistakable resemblance between the artist and many of her artworks. It gives a surreal sense of someone entering a canvas and taking on a new life, idiom and metaphor. There also seems to be the recurring theme of mother and child reminiscent of Mother Mary cuddling the infant Jesus. She has painted both her daughters-in-law with their infants.

There are artistic responses to the happenings around her at any give time – be it the war in 1971 which was the midwife in the birth of Bangladesh. She has depicted the birth of a nation drenched in blood and a war which claimed two of her close friends. Similarly there are other expressions of events that have left a mark on her psyche. She is touched by the places she has visited and the textures of things that she has experienced urging her to creatively document her experience for posterity.

The nudes in her collection have a softness to them as only a woman can draw them because while drawing a nude, perhaps a woman sees her own reflection and is kinder in their portrayal. The result is sensuous and not sensational or titillating. All her works in this particular exhibition is displayed theme wise—There is a family and friend wall, the landscape section, the nudes, the kitsch, so on and so forth. We were quite happy being together as a family wrapping up the day watching the retrospective of a great artist but hardly did we know that the evening had much more in store for us.

Anjolie and OP .... half a century of journey for the sake of arts...

Anjolie and OP .... half a century of journey for the sake of arts...

What we were to witness was camaraderie between two artist friends who were discussing each other’s contribution to their art. Mr. O.P. Jain, a visionary in Indian Art world, and is founder of Sanskrit (the artist village) had come to see his friend Anjolie’s exhibits and he got a very warm welcome from his friend of more than 50 years. “Hey OP, I drew your picture without even looking at you. That is how well I remember your face” remarked Anjolie. OP on his part mentioned how she had refused to sell his portrait when it was being sought by a buyer in Shridharini gallery.

We were asked if we would like to join a guided tour of the art on display by the artist herself. A few students of hers also joined in and it was nice to see the SPICMACAY protégées sharing space with her. It was a proud moment for me and sreeni for we facilitate the Guru Shishya scheme every year for SPICMACAY. Sreeni put the camera on ready mode, mallika put on her —I -don’t- believe- it –you- want- to- see- it -again expression and yours truly joined in the walk that was replete with anecdotes and tales.

In one of her exhibitions, Anjolieji was required to frame a picture. She went to OP and said, Isska frame nahin hai, kya Karen. OP went to his backyard and pried a window for its frame. They stuck (thokoed) some nails and lo and presto, the frame was ready. Anjolie did not want the painting to sell. So between her and OP, they devised a price of 17000 for that painting making it unappealing to the buyer. Anjolie did not want OP to loose out on his window and by her own admission, she found the whole idea tacky. But there was a surprise that evening. Anjolie gets a call from OP saying that the painting is sold. Anjolie’s first reaction was one of complete joy for having secured the tuition fee for her children for three years followed by another realization that the window that was to be used temporarily was permanently gone!!

OP added that a few years back he went to the house of Modis whose daughter-inlaw had purchased the first window painting and that painting with OP’s window was still very much on their wall. Anjolie seems to have requested OP to get her many more window frames from the Kabaddiwala. While discussing this, they stopped in front of a painting which was ensconsed in an antique door frame from Gujrat. It was nice to hear OP adding to Anjolie’s description of that particular painting. It was one of a kind, as it was the only painting that Anjolie made to fit the door, otherwise it has been other way around!!

We saw a nude painting that she had drawn as a 17 year old. Sunil Batra, one of our enlightened mentor from the space of education, was curious to know as to why she used the rough side of the plyboard for painting. She nonchalantly said—-“Well I usually painted on both sides as I did not have the money to afford my canvasses”

Then she fondly recounted how OP had taken her to the Chor Bazaar of Bombay and how he would just point to things and say—two of these and three of that. On the way back they realized that OP had lost his wallet in Chor Bazaar. They were mentally writing off the purse when it was restored to its rightful owners. Her sacred prism collection was also explained.

Two students of SPICMACAY started chatting with me and they were reprimanded by Anjolie for not listening to OP. She said, he was an institution in himself. OP then discussed about art and how increasingly it was subjected to newer classifications and prejudices. He said for every good artist making it big, there were at least a few hundreds who don’t get their due and are languishing in anonymity.

Anjolie rued the fact that systemically history has undervalued the contribution to art by the women – women who had assisted the likes of Da Vinci and Michael Angelo and never got any recognition for their contributions. The conversation veered to how art was classified as high art and low art. Anjolieji wryly remarked that maybe in five years, her art won’t be relevant. Then after thinking for a micro second, she added —–but then I really don’t give a damn. It was nice to see her feistiness alongside her childlike enthusiasm while showing off her work to her friend OP who had been a co-traveller in the artscape with her for over five decades.

Long live art and long live friendship!! A memorable evening for all of us !!

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