Actress Radhika Apte’s first film as a director — The Sleepwalkers — has won “The Best Midnight Short Award” at Palms Spring International Short Fest that was held online this year. “Thank you!! @psfilmfest we are so thrilled to have won the Best Midnight Short at the Palm Spring Festival! The winner of the Best Midnight Short Award is… The Sleepwalkers! Congratulations,” she posted on her social media. In a recent interview with IANS, Radhika said: “I enjoyed the process (of direction) a lot. I am excited because, hopefully, people can watch it soon. I hope I get to do more work as a director, maybe, let’s see!” The short film, starring Shahana Goswami and Gulshan Devaiah, has been written and directed by Radhika, and deals with the subject of sleepwalking. On why she took up such a subject, she had said: “What the film is about does not really come across in the trailer, so I can’t really give it away. I started diving last year and that’s where I got the idea.
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OF SOUNDS AND SILENCES
As I sit down to write on music and its relevance in our lives, the first thing I am aware of is the cacophony of various sounds around me. Seated on a bean bag with my device, trying to pen down my thoughts, I cannot but feel a tad irritable as the sounds from the construction site nearby intrude into my consciousness. ‘Whirr, whirr, whirr. Tap, tap, tap. Thud, thud, thud’. But having practised mindfulness through meditation for over a decade and a half, I realise that I have to stop being reactive, and quietly listen instead.
I had planned to write a piece about interludes. And here I am, on the verge of pushing away the very inspiration that the moment was offering me. Every sound that is threatening to interrupt my flow of thoughts is, in fact, an example of how our lives are filled with interludes. Almost all sounds around me, periodic thuds from the construction work, rhythmic rattling of the fan, and cooing of birds, consist of interplay of sounds and silences. And as annoying as they may be, I realise this cyclical play of sounds and interludes just represents the very nature of our lives. Literally and metaphorically, it brings balance to our lives.
In music, interludes are the life breath. Pauses and silences in between melodies are the building blocks for creating the conflict-resolution cycle in music. After the momentum of a piece of music builds up to a crescendo, it is the long, pregnant pause preceding the culmination that is critical to the rush of satisfaction that comes when we hear the finale note.
Even when we hear people speak, it is the poignant pauses that serve to emphasise their most significant points. The obvious example that comes to mind is Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. Filled with distinct pauses, it illustrates how the interplay of words and silence is the hallmark of great oratory.
Whenever I have had powerful experiences in my concerts or in imparting music through teaching or demonstrations, it has been when I have shown the listener interplay between musical parts and pauses. The ‘Shadaj’ or Sa, which is often the culmination note in many Raaga presentations, usually follows after a short pause of intense anticipation. When it is finally given to the listener, one can only describe the feeling as utter bliss.
I cannot help but notice analogies in daily life too. Starting from aspects of our anatomy like the heartbeat, menstrual cycle, and circadian rhythms such as the sleep-wake cycle, this prevalence of alternating patterns extends right up to the waxing and waning of the moon, day and night, and the seasons. The isolation resulting from Covid-19 is no exception to this. As the world hurtled towards an impulsive, fast, and self-indulgent way of life, the period of isolation post the Covid-19 outbreak ended up driving us into silence, humility and self-reflection. I do not think beautiful music is only made up of beautiful sounds. Music that touches the soul can do so due to the interlude of silences that help us appreciate those sounds.
A steady stream of even the most beautiful melodies cannot make sense without the silences in the right places. The silences help us anticipate and appreciate the climaxes of sounds that follow. Using silences well is an essential building block to music. Rhythm excites us for the very same reason. It is the even pauses between the beats, and the predictability of the next beat after the pause that allows us to connect with the rhythm and the minds of others listening to it. In Indian Classical taal ‘Sum’ and ‘Khaali’ do this job. Interludes signify balance, and in this balance lies a middle path, one that holds much promise, as much in music as in life. It is in this balance that we find genuine love, peace and the true song of life!
The writer is a vocalist of Hindustani and Carnatic Classical music with over three decades’ experience. She is also the founder of Music Vruksh, a venture to make classical accessible for its aesthetic and wellness benefits.
The easy way to progress spiritually
Those who take the spiritual path to self-improvement sometimes come to a halt when they lose sight of their goal. Doubts and uncertainties begin to trouble them, due to which they slow down.
They lack courage to remove the obstacles before them, or to bypass them, and tire of their efforts to progress. Some become disheartened, lose hope and feel helpless.
They forget the easy way to overcome obstacles, which is to remember one’s spiritual identity — that one is a soul playing a role in life, and that the role is not one’s identity. Remembering this frees us from the bonds created by identifying ourselves with roles, places, possessions etc.
Instead of bypassing an obstacle, such souls try to break or remove it, and become exhausted in the process. They forget that they can just bypass it, and thereby turn an easy journey into a difficult, tiring one.
They create a storm of waste thoughts, and then begin to shake in that storm. They weaken their own faith by wondering whether or not what they believe is right, whether or not God is true and they can share their beliefs with others.
These doubts create uncertainty in their mind about the future, and their spiritual efforts falter. Just as a storm makes travel difficult and blows things far away, the storm of waste thoughts slows them down and carries them away from their path.
At such a time they need to ask themselves if they trust the Divine and believe that they will be successful. One who has this faith will be free of fear and worry.
One who is progressing spiritually, becoming a stronger, wiser, more mature person, will enjoy their spiritual journey instead of being wracked by doubts.
A spiritual life, lived the right way, is a life of learning and growing. There is an increasing sense of fulfilment as one acquires virtues and inner strength, and problems begin to look like trifles. As the clutter of vices is removed from the mind, it becomes clear that the right way to overcome hurdles is to remain courageous and enthusiastic so that one can help oneself and others.
B.K. Sheilu is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
ABSOLUTELY TOP KNOCK FROM RAHANE: VIRAT KOHLI
MELBOURNE: Virat Kohli was all praise for Ajinkya Rahane on Sunday after the latter’s 12th Test century put India in a commanding position in the second Test against Australia here. Rahane ended the second day of the Boxing Day Test on 104 off 200 balls, helping India take a lead of 82 runs. “Another great day for us. Proper test cricket at its best. Absolutely top knock from Jinks @ajinkyarahane88,” Kohli tweeted after the end of the day’s play. Rahane is captain of the Indian team for the rest of their four-match series in Australia as Kohli returned to India for the birth of his first child after the first Test. He came in at no. 4, the position that Kohli occupies in India’s Test batting lineup, and shared partnerships of 52 and 57 with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant, respectively. Ravindra Jadeja then dropped anchor and the pair will start the third day on a partnership of 104. Jadeja himself ended the day unbeaten on 40.
Rahane scores a ton, helps India take control of 2nd Test
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane was unbeaten on 104 while Ravindra Jadeja was at the crease on 40. India ended the second day’s play, comfortably placed at 277/5, and 82 runs ahead of the hosts Aussies, who were bowled out for 195 in the first innings.
MELBOURNE: India skipper Ajinkya Rahane played a captain’s knock to score his 12th Test century and help India take control of the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. India ended the second day’s play, comfortably placed at 277/5, and 82 runs ahead of the hosts Aussies who were bowled out for 195 in the first innings on Saturday.
Ajinkya Rahane celebrates his century during the second Test match between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. (ANI Photo)
Rahane was unbeaten on 104 while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was with him at the crease on 40, the two having added an unbeaten 104 for the sixth wicket.
The India stand-in skipper shared half-century partnerships with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant to rescue India after they were reduced to 64 for three in the first session.
Resuming day two from 36/1, Gill and Pujara weathered the storm during the first hour of the play. However, their 61-run partnership was ended by Cummins as Gill (45) fell short of his maiden Test half-century. Cummins made sure Australia didn’t lose any momentum as he sent back Pujara (17) in his next over. Skipper Tim Paine took a superb one-handed catch to leave India at 64/3.
Rahane and Vihari rebuilt the Indian innings after the double strike by Cummins. The duo ensured that the hosts did not lose any more wickets before the end of the first session. Both batters then started the second session after weathering the storm before lunch. The duo had steadied India’s ship before Nathan Lyon sent Vihari (21) back when the batsman tried to sweep.
Rishabh Pant then joined Rahane at the crease and the duo dominated the Australian bowlers in the second session. Pant scored runs at a strike rate of 72.50 while Rahane welcomed Cummins with a boundary in his fresh spell. However, Mitchell Starc ended Pant’s (29) innings in the 60th over of the innings.
At the tea break, India’s score read 189/5 with Ravindra Jadeja and Rahane at the crease. After the break, both Jadeja and Rahane looked reasonably comfortable at the crease and the duo ensured that the visitors also take the lead in the first innings.
The final session of the day saw Rahane bringing up his 12th century and he along with Jadeja ensured that the side does not lose any wickets in the final session of day two. In the final 2.5 hours of day two, India managed to score 88 runs, and the visitors extended their lead to 82 over hosts Australia. Rahane’s catch was dropped by Steve Smith and Travis Head off the bowling of Starc and Australia had to pay for the two misses dearly.
On day one, India had bundled out Australia for 195 as Jasprit Bumrah scalped four wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets.
Brief Scores: Australia 195 vs India 277/5 (Ajinkya Rahane 104*, Ravindra Jadeja 40*; Mitchell Starc 2-60).
Resuming day two from 36/1, Gill and Pujara weathered the storm during the first hour of the play. However, their 61-run partnership was ended by Cummins as Gill (45) fell short of his maiden Test half-century.
PM MODI TO INTERACT WITH FARMERS TODAY, TOP MINISTERS TO CAMP ACROSS COUNTRY
When the Prime Minister will release Rs 18,000 crore to over 9 crore farmers, several Central ministers, MPs, MLAs and BJP office bearers will be present among the electorate to further push the government’s viewpoint.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to farmers across the country with a message that the new farm laws are only meant to benefit them. Keeping this in mind, PM Modi will interact with farmers from six states on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday, and as he would be interacting with them, several Central ministers, MPs, MLAs and BJP office bearers will be present among the electorate to further push the government’s viewpoint.
During the event on Friday, the Prime Minister will release Rs 18,000 crore as next instalment under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme to over 9 crore farmers. He will enable the transfer of the amount through the push of a button.
Sources said several Union ministers will be in their constituencies or in other parts of the country.
Union Home minister Amit Shah and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will listen to PM Modi’s speech in Delhi.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari will listen to the PM’s interaction with farmers in Assam’s Silchar, while Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal will be in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh.
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani will be in her constituency Amethi while Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan will be in Jagatsinghpur in Odisha.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is expected to be in Jaisalmer whereas Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will listen to the programme from Patna. Union Minister General (Retd) V.K. Singh will be in Ghaziabad, his parliamentary constituency.
Meanwhile, as the farmers’ agitation entered the 29th day on Thursday against the three contentious farm laws, the Central government again invited the farmer leaders to resume talks, saying it is “ready for a logical solution” to all issues raised by the farmers.
Taking cognisance of Wednesday’s letter sent by a group of 40 farm leaders under the banner of Sanyukta Kisan Morcha who are representing thousands of agitating farmers sitting on demonstration at Delhi’s different borders, the government conveyed its message through an official letter inviting them to hold a fresh round of talks as per their time and schedule.
“The Indian government again reiterates its commitment that it is ready for the logical solution of all the issues raised by the farmers’ organisations,” said the letter accessed by IANS.
Citing the government’s stand communicated through its earlier letter sent to the farmers on December 20, the fresh communique mentioned that “it is already informed that the government is ready to hold discussions with the farmers on a positive note to address their written as well as oral issues”.
In the latest letter, the government clarified that it is always ready to hold discussions with all farmer organisations as it is the responsibility of the Centre which cannot be ignored. “The government has held various rounds of discussions with the farmer organisations in the past and it has also showed its initiative to hold further talks.”
Reiterating that the government is ready to discuss all aspects and objections raised by the farmers, the government clarified that “there is no impact of the three farm laws on the purchase mechanism of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and it is informed in all rounds of talks with the farmers”.
The government also made it clear in its letter that “it is totally illogical to come up with new demands which are out of the purview of these three laws but the government is ready to discuss on these issues”.
The government again appealed to the farmers to end their protest and begin talks with the government. “The government will discuss on all the issues and objections raised by the farmers. Please provide a detailed list of your issues. The talks will be held in Vigyan Bhavan as per the specific time decided by the farmers,” the letter mentions.
There have been a total of five rounds of talks between the government and the farmers to resolve the issues raised by the protesting farmers who are seeking withdrawal of the three farm laws which were enacted in September during the monsoon session of Parliament.
WITH AGENCY INPUTS
INDIA CONTRIBUTES $1 MILLION TO WADA TO SUPPORT CLEAN SPORT
NEW DELHI: India has pledged a sum of $1 million to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) towards its scientific research budget to ensure an atmosphere of Clean Sport globally, which will allow the global agency to develop innovative anti-doping testing and detection methods.
The money will also be used to further strengthen WADA’s independent investigations and intelligence department, a statement from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) read.
India’s contribution of $1 million is the highest among contributions made by other world governments, including China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The total contribution of all member nations will be matched by an equal sum by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create a corpus of $10 million. The decision to build this corpus was made at WADA’s Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Katowice, Poland in 2019. This contribution is over and above the annual contribution made to WADA’s core budget by India.
Writing to WADA president Witold Banka of the contribution, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “I am happy to share with you that the government of India is pledging a “one-off” financial support of $1 million to this WADA Fund for scientific R&D and (I&I) with the hope that this contribution from India will boost the efforts to achieve the target of $10 million for this fund.”
In a previous meeting with the WADA president, held on September 8 through video conference, Rijiju had stressed on the need for clean sport and the Indian government’s commitment to strengthen the anti-doping program globally. He had also assured India’s support to WADA in the form of scientific expertise and resources.
“This is a massive boost for WADA and for clean sport. The agency is grateful to the government of China, Egypt, India and Saudi Arabia for supporting the protection of sport in this way,” Banka said as per a press release.
“These generous contributions can be seen as a strong commitment from these nations and will be put to good use enhancing scientific research, as well as the work of WADA’s independent (I&I) department.
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