Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be a part of the transformation

Filmed during the Transforming Steps project in Kolkata, India, this clip shows choreographer Mafalda Deville working with women from Kolkata Sanved (www.kolkatasanved.org). The piece they're developing will be performed at Sadler's Wells, London in March 2012 to raise awareness of the global problem of human trafficking. There's an opportunity to contribute towards this ground-breaking project - there are currently funds to see four of the seven women come to London, we need to raise funds to ensure the remaining three women can join them. Make a difference, donate at http://www.indiegogo.com/Transforming-Steps

Monday, January 23, 2012

Something T & T can learn from India

Close up image of sacred garland,  Kolkata
In India I was impressed by the girl at the grocery entrance greeting customers each time in prayer pose, with a slight bow and pleasant "Namashkar". In general, interactions with people felt sacred. Being there, if you have any inherent respect for each other, it is inevitable that you also start putting your hands together and even just bending your head to others as you meet or part. 
The meaning of "Namashkar" was real: "The spirit in me respects the spirit in you." Humility and reverence for everyday people. 
On Sunday, I briefly went out for the first time since returning to Trinidad and was met in stark contrast by a sour-faced girl mumbling at me from behind the cash register. I'm not saying people in India are perfect and Trinbagonians are not, but culturally this is not a society where we naturally treat each other with reverence ... Which brings to mind Kamla (our Prime Minister, for those who don't know) bending to touch the Indian leader's feet. So what? Maybe instead of wasting time complaining about that, Trinbagonians should take an example from her . . . not to literally touch each other's feet when we meet, but to have some more "Namashkar" between us in our everyday lives.

Update: ... until February 14th, 2012

Dear All,

Concerning the Transforming Steps project and the call for funds to aid three of the dancers in getting to London to perform ...


Interest has been expressed in donating, but some are uncomfortable using their credit cards online. I understand. Therefore, I will accept donations from those wanting to give on behalf of the dancers, and will pay the lumpsum with my card. I am setting a symbolic lumpsum deadline of FEBRUARY 14th, 2012 to receive whatever you, if inspired, are able/willing to give.

Having personally met & worked with these brave & inspiring young women, I vouch for their potential and know that this will be life-changing not only for them, but for many others. The required amount of $5,000US (roughly $30,000TT) adds up easily when (working with multiples of ten to keep the maths simple):

1,000 people/organisations donate $30TT each
100 people/organisations donate $300TT each
10 people/organisations donate $3,000TT each
1 person/organisation donates $30,000TT
Or 300 people donate $100 each, etc ...
Thank you.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Help change these lives and more...yours included

In connection with the Transforming Steps project which we recently embarked upon in Kolkata, India, please visit this link to see how you can help/be involved http://www.indiegogo.com/Transforming-Steps

Let's say the target of only $5,000US works out to roughly $30,000TT. Working with multiples of ten to make the maths simple, this amount can be raised very easily if:

1,000 people/organisations donate $30TT each
100 people/organisations donate $300 each
10 people/organisations donate $3,000 each
1 person/organisation donates $30,000TT

Thank you for contributing to and/or spreading the word on this worthy cause.


Monday, January 16, 2012

What's happening

If you see a lot if spam in the side bar under comments, ignore it. Even though reported to Blogger, these spam comments continue to come. They are either about gold or weddings. I've given up deleting them every time I see them.

In other news:
1. The temperature is one degree celsius according to the internet. In no hurry to leave the house, but will soon.

2. Meeting Andrew (one of my best friends from Cambridge days, whom I met when we did Criminology together) for lunch, then returning home to resume our edit of the videos the girls created during the video workshop in Kolkata.

3. Bought two children's books yesterday, to help me learn Bengali. Starting with the alphabet...how to pronounce and write the letters. The other book is a picture dictionary featuring some common words in various categories. So far for the morning have learned to count to ten (N.B. spelling somewhat as pronounced): ek, dui, tin, char, paach, choy, shaat, aat, noi, dorsh

Looking forward to being able to put together sentences and converse, even if just the basics for now. Better yet to be able to write using Bengali script. So calligraphic.

Location:Brewhouse Ln,London,United Kingdom

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kolkata to London

Goodby for now, India ...

Flying over some snow-capped mountains ...

I believe that's Venus to the top right. The planet of Love and Beauty.

Flying into London. Such a change from Kolkata.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Raining petals

Among other things, we had fun with garlands and petals yesterday.

Location:Kolkata, India

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My 11th Anniversary

Today, eighth January 2012, marks the eleventh year of me not being a smoker.

Location:Kolkata, India

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bengali name

Elspeth, written phonetically in Bengali, by one of the girls in the workshop. Read more about the project here.

Location:Kolkata, India

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's working again

Finally got the Blogpress for ipad app to download again after it crashed ... So I can post photos again. Above, some devotional garlands I bought from a man at the corner of the street where we are staying. The image shows them sitting in the centre of the courtyard where we do our video workshops with the girls. Read more about the project at the work-in-progress blog being created by Sydney at the office http:// transformingsteps.blogspot.com A fantastic experience being here in many ways: getting to know the girls involved in the video workshops, the teamwork, creative exploration, being in India for the first time...and more.

The man who was selling the garlands - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Kolkata, India

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Greetings

Happy New Year to all.
May it bring all that you need. And may all that you need be what you want. And may your needs and wants be what the Divine selects for you.

We celebrated last night with a ride in one of the dangerous-looking autos. They seat three to five people squashed together and look like small green and yellow eggs with wheels speeding through the streets. We then walked through the streets looking for "something" happenin, but there was "nothing". Yet, in nothing there is everything.

At midnight we wished each other happy new year on the sidewalk, observed some fireworks and sidewalk explosions ( ie festive explosions) and returned to the hotel.

I was in 2012 ten hours ahead of TT, which, as I write this, has just crossed into the new year.