Monday, July 23, 2007

Singapore Diaries - I

Finally, I travelled eastward from my home, for the first time. Really, even when I was in India, I had mostly been travelling towards north, northwest, south and southeast. For the first time, I have come to Singapore. I am going to spend a few days more here. But still, I couldn’t resist sharing my initial impression.

Singapore reminds me of Mumbai. Probably, due to similarities in their histories. Originally both of them were fishermen’s villages, the British recognised their potentials and today they are one of the most important cities in the world, especially in the corporate world. Even the weather reminds me of Mumbai: Humidity, heat and random showers!

Thomas Raffles (the picture on the right) identified the potential of this city and developed it into a busy port. After it’s independence in 1965, Singapore has emerged as an example of one of the best governed states that despite scarce natural resources has gained tremendous economic success. Singapore is quite a modern and organized city. The economic progress and a very high standard of living are quite visible. Dominance of modern architecture is an evidence that most of its progress has been quite recent. I am attaching a few images of Singapore.

The problem with a city full of skyscrapers is that you always have the feeling that someone is watching you. You are being looked at. But then, sheer size of these buildings along with crowds on the street, make you feel little, trivial, and anonymous. And anonymity is the biggest fear, that human beings have……..

Well, these are initial impressions, subject to change. Will write more later,

Monday, July 02, 2007

London Memoirs.....

First of all, I apologise for the long silence......

I have a lot to say. But well, let me start with sharing a thought about that "the art of acting" that came to my mind, during my recent memorable trip to London...

I decided to spend one afternoon in browsing bookshops that mostly sell old books. Nancy, who lives with my friends Chintan and Purvi, told me that near Charing Cross station, there are lots of nice book stores. I reached Charing Cross. The street adjacent to the Charing Cross station is Strand Street. Suddenly the name "Strand bookstore" came to my mind. I don't know, what made me think that Strand bookstore is on Strand street, but somehow I started asking people with full conviction as to, where the Strand bookstore was. After a few perplexed faces, I finally got a reply from an elderly gentleman. With a smirk, he replied, "Sir, Strand bookstore is in New York. This is Strand street, and there are some book stores here.

Well, then I started walking along Charing Cross street and started checking bookstores randomly. Can you believe?, I actually found the book I was looking for. It was, "An Actor prepares" by Konstantin Stanislavski. After I found the book and just couldn't resist to start reading it. I found an aptly tranquil place in "Café Vergnano 1882" (62, Charing Cross street) near Lancaster Square, and started reading.

Now, you may wonder, what am I getting at. What do I want to convey? Probably nothing. It was an amazingly surrealistic experience. It was as if, I had gone back some 50 years in time. I was browsing through all the old books in every possible bookshop. I was sitting in a café which commenced its operations in 1882. Reading Stanislavski was a great experience too. The person who made "Method Acting" so popular. The person revered by so many actors, like Marlon Brando, James Dean, Al Pacino and Lee Strasberg.

While reading his book, I started thinking about Acting itself, the process that an actor undergoes and the purpose of Acting. I don't want to confuse you with all the weird thoughts and metaphors I went through. The conclusion of my thoughts, I wrote down on a serviette. Before it gets destroyed, and I forget the conclusion of that wonderful afternoon, I am writing it down.

"It's the focus that counts

It's the shadow that cries

It's 'I' that surmounts

and It's 'me' that dies "