Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye 2013

It will not be an exaggeration if I say that the year 2013 has been life-changing for me and my family. I moved out of a city where I have been settled for more than a decade for a completely new city, a local language completely unknown to me; quit a job where I had been for half a decade to join my alma mater NIFT (same parent Institute but a different Center) as Associate Professor. My husband got transferred to the same city and my daughter changed school. It has just been a few months that we moved to a rented apartment here, so kind of still in the process for fully settling down, exploring and getting used to the new city. A lot more remains to be explored. My last few posts on this blog have been about my life in this city.

This new year 2014 will begin in a new city for us, working in our new offices (no holiday). I wish everyone a year full of happiness, love, laughter, joy, peace and prosperity. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Great Story-telling Clues by Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Video)

While looking for inspirational videos for writers, I came across this page 13 Inspirational TED Talks for Writers. Wanted to share a video which I watched here. It is a talk by filmmaker Andrew StantonAs Wikipedia describes him:
Andrew Stanton (born December 3, 1965) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and voice actor based at Pixar Animation Studios. His film work includes writing and directing Pixar's A Bug's Life (as co-director), Finding Nemo and WALL-E, and his first live-action film, John Carter. He also co-wrote every film of the Toy Story franchise and Monsters, Inc..
I found it a great talk in a very simple manner. I enjoyed watching WALL-E. I have watched Finding Nemo innumerable times with my little daughter who was first shown this movie by Ashish. She just loved it and used to watch it again and again since her pre-school days, not to mention that I loved watching it, too. When I saw the video caption, I wanted to find out what makes such a great story-teller, and I was not disappointed. Watch it for yourself if you are interested in story-telling or writing.

The video is embedded below and details about the video that are mentioned in the post are:
3. Andrew Stanton: The Clues to a Great Story
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, WALL-E) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Child Art - Painting on White Board

Eight year old's painting on white board

What do you feel when you look at this painting ? What style will an art critic categorise this in ? What is the medium ? Don't worry, I am not going to ask these questions or answer these questions. Just wanted to share a painting done by an eight year old girl, my little daughter.

This is a painting which she made on white board using paint and paintbrushes. Sometimes, she gets into the mood of painting and just creates something on her white-board, not on paper. I click some photographs and keep. I have given her drawing sheets and notebooks, but I things she prefers her white-board as a canvas and then wipes it clean after a day or two. her first canvas was the wall of our living room where she had started scribbling and drawing when she was one. Then we had bought a white board for her, to write on to learn alphabets and spellings, and of course to draw and scribble as much as she wanted.

My last two posts also showcased child art, some creations of my eight year old daughter, play dough / clay creations (flowers, burger, candle) and a multicolour caterpillar. Very often, child art can be quite fascinating as well as inspiring for us adults.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Multicolour Caterpillar Made of Play Dough/ Clay

A Multicolour Caterpillar made by an eight year old

My last post had some colourful creations made by my daughter, who is eight, using play dough / clay. Here is one more of her creations - a multicolour caterpillar displayed in her colour-palette, making it already look like a butterfly. Children do have wonderful imagination and creativity :) 

A Multicolour Caterpillar - displayed like a Butterfly

A Multicolour Caterpillar of Play Dough/ Clay

A Multicolour Caterpillar Made of Clay Balls

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Child's Play - with Play Dough/ Clay

Play dough / clay is a wonderful medium for children to create new and beautiful things and experiment with shapes, forms and colours. I have seen my little daughter enjoying working with it and creating different things since she was very young. Recently I gave her a book showing how to create different products and models using the clay. Since she is eight now, I want to encourage her to read and use books for her creative projects. Here are some of her colourful creations that she displayed on her new butterfly shaped colour pallette. So the creations as well as the display of products is done by her. Hope you like these :)

Play dough / clay creations and display by a child

Play dough / clay flowers, candle and burger

Flowers, burger and candle created using play dough / clay

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Diwali 2013

Diwali or Deepawali, a festival of lights, is one of biggest festivals in India. I saw that not only in the northern parts of India, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the sourthern part of India as well, as this year I was in sourtehrn India. Sweets, fire-crackers, lights and a general mood of festivity was there for three days, starting with Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali and Diwali.

Diwali crackers - Chakras

Diwali crackers -
Anaar or the Flower Pot

Diwali crackers -
Anaar or the Flower Pot

Diwali crackers 

The entrance of the house is decorated in various ways and lighted with diya (a traditional oil lamp usually made of clay) or candles to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Some decorate the entrance with Rangoli, some with Alpana or Aripan. I decorate with Aripan floor decoration every year. These are all folk art forms of India used for floor decoration, specially during various occasions and festivals.

Lighted entrance of house decorated with Aripan

Entrance of house decorated with Aripan and diya

Entrance of house decorated with Aripan and diya

Some earlier pictures of Diwali are here. I had a wonderful Diwali with my family and I hope those of you who celebrated Diwali, enjoyed it, too.

Photos: Seema and Shikha

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Sunrise at Sea Beach

Moved to a new city that has a beach. Decided to go for a view of sunrise at the sea beach. Surprisingly, the beach was already full of visitors, joggers and other people. Here are some random photographs that I clicked.

Sunrise at Sea Beach

Sunrise at Sea Beach

Sun behind the clouds

Sea without the Sun

Sunrise at Sea Beach

People at the sea beach at Sunrise
Photos by: Seema Kumar

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Visit to the Government Museum at Egmore, Chennai

I visited the Government Museum at Chennai with the students of Foundation Programme, National Institute of Fashion Technology, on On 22nd October 2013. The museum is quite big with many sections like artarchaeologynumismaticsgeologyzoologybotanychemical conservation, and children's museum.

Government Museum at Egmore, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Government Museum at Egmore, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar 
 This Museum, established in 1851, is located in Egmore, Chennai and is the second oldest museum in India, the first being the Indian Museum at Kolkata, started in 1814. It is also one of the largest museums in South Asia. Quite rich in archaeological and numismatic collections, this museum has the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe. Many of the buildings within the Museum campus are over 100 years old. (Source: Wikipedia)

Stone sculptures displayed outdoors at the
Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Stone sculptures and fossil tree trunk displayed outdoors
at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Architecture at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

The national Art gallery at
the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

The national Art gallery at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Attraction for Children at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Cannon at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Cannons at the Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar
I particularly liked the art section which has many original paintings by eminent artists like Raja Ravi Varma. The Bronze figures at the Archaeology section had many statues of interest, including the Nataraja bronzes. Thanks to the management who took time to give a talk to the students and took them on a guided tour to the different sections of the museum.

Natural conservation at the
Government Museum, Chennai
Photo by Seema Kumar

Friday, October 18, 2013

Esthetique 2013: An Exhibition by the Fashion Design Students at NIFT, Chennai

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is a happening place in terms of design and development of fashion and apparel products. Events keep happening at the campus to keep the students motivated.

Here are some photographs of a departmental exhibition of work of students of Department of Fashion Design at NIFT, Chennai, from 15th to 17th October, 2013. The exhibition displayed the work done by Fashion Design students during the course of their learning, including their term garments, illustrations, artwork, craft-work, and other creative work.

ESTHETIQUE 2013 board
for comments by viewers

A view of the exhibition at NIFT, Chennai, displaying
some artwork development by students

A view of the exhibition at NIFT, Chennai, displaying
tie and dye fabrics developed by students

A view of the exhibition at NIFT, Chennai, displaying
craft work, artwork, illustrations, and other creative work

A view of the exhibition at NIFT, Chennai, displaying
craft work, artwork, illustrations, and other creative work

Some fashion illustrations done by
Fashion Design students of NIFT, Chennai,

Some illustrations for kidswear done by
Fashion Design students of NIFT, Chennai,

Some artwork and still-life done by
Fashion Design students of NIFT, Chennai,
during their foundation programme

The Director of NIFT, Chennai, faculty and viewers at the exhibition

A view of the exhibition at NIFT, Chennai, displaying
the work of Fashion Design students
As a faculty at the Department of Fashion Design at NIFT, Chennai, I worked with the students and other faculty members of the FD department to set up the display.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Earthquake on 16th April 2013

Experienced another earthquake a short while ago in Gurgaon, just like another earthquake experience earlier. Was on 6th floor and by the time realised and went down the stairs with my colleagues, the tremors had stopped. Did not record the exact time but it was shortly before 4:30 pm on 16th Jan.

Hope everyone around is safe. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Photographs from a Botanical Garden - 1

One day, I was talking to my little daughter, student of grade 2, and realised that she does not get to see birds and animals in the concrete jungle of metropolitan cities where we live, other than the zoo. She gets very few opportunities to go to rural and natural surroundings and that may not be enough for her to recognise birds, animals, plants and trees, etc. As children, in smaller towns, we were much closer to nature than we are here.

One fine morning in early March, we decided to go for bird-watching at sunrise. I took my daughter along with my cousin and mother-in-law to a nearby botanical garden. It was a pleasant weather, neither hot, nor too cold. Saw a few birds, the names and details of which were given by my cousin who is a research student in Environmental Sciences. However, I enjoyed seeing and taking photographs of some flowers, plants and trees. Posting a few photographs here and more in next email. I have also posted some photographs on my facebook page.

Sunny Orange Flowers

Pretty Pink Flowers

'Holi', the festival of colours was just around the corner.When I see the 'Palash' or 'Flame of the Forest' flowers, they always remind me of the Holi season and how as children we used to try making colours using the flower petals.
The fire red 'Palash' or 'Flame of the Forest' flowers
Photos: © Seema Kumar
Camera: Nikon D5100
Date clicked: 3rd March 2013


Monday, March 04, 2013

Creative Individuals and Their Careers

When we talk about creative individuals and the careers that they pursue, we come across some interesting facts. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, in his book "Creativity- Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention" (pg. 193.) says, ".. creative individuals are usually forced to invent the jobs they will be doing all through their lives. One could not have been a psychoanalyst before Freud, an aeronautical engineer before the Wright brothers, an electrician before Galvani, Volta and Edison, or a radiologist before Rontegen. These individuals not only discovered new ways of thinking and of doing things but also became the first practitioners in the domains they discovered and made it possible for others to have jobs and careers in them." So, "creative individuals don't have careers, they create them".

But what about some of the other professions, which are old. Mihaly writes, "But what about writers, musicians, and artists? These are some of the oldest professions. So it must be wrong to claim that a creative poet creates the role of a poet. Yet there is a very real sense in which actually is true. Each poet, musician, or artist who leaves a mark must find a way to write, compose, or paint line no one has done before. So while the role of artists is an old one, the substance of what they do is unprecedented.

The book is based on 30 years of deep research on the subject of creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. I find this research based book quite enlightening. In fact, this book has motivated me to choose my Ph.D. research topic in the area related to creativity and creative expression of Designers.

This book was written after interviewing a group of ninety-one exceptional individuals. The three main conditions based on which the respondents were selected were:
"The person had to have made a difference to a major domain of culture - one of the sciences, the arts, business, government, or human well-being in general; he or she has to be still actively involved in that domain (or a different one); and he or she had to be at least sixty years old" (in few cases, when circumstances warranted, respondents who were a bit younger were interviewed).

I find this book extremely fascinating, not just because the topic of creativity has been of my interest since many years, but also because like the author himself says, "It is the extraordinary people whose voices fill these pages who tell the story of the unfolding of creativity". When different creative individuals share about their journey, a person interested in exploring creativity would indeed be interested in reading about it. Would like to talk more about this book in some of my later posts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Failure Is Not The Worst Outcome, Mediocrity Is"

Came across an article on http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130129175923-658789-failure-is-not-the-worst-outcome-mediocrity-is which inspired me and thought of sharing.

Inspired by his friend Drew Houston, the founder and CEO of Dropbox, the author Dharmesh Shah talks about why, for startups, the worst is not failing but being stuck in a quagmire of mediocrity. Though few entrepreneurial endeavors are wastes of time, just sub-optimal. Some things to ponder upon are:

"what's worse than failing is going sideways for years and years. The reason mediocrity is worse than failure is very simple: Failure lets you move on, mediocrity stalls you and keeps you from reaching your potential."

"Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried." - an idea that Tim O'Reilly planted in the author's head.

"It's hard to give up something you've toiled away at. It's hard to all of a sudden admit "you know, my friends may have been right..." It's hard, because we're human and we become emotionally attached to the things we build. Particularly things we've had to defend against the cold, hard world. Things we've had to nurture and defend. Things that in some ways define our identity. I have no brilliant insights other than: Be honest with yourself and be mindful of your opportunity costLife is shortWe have a limited amount of time to achieve our potential."