AAP & the art of gentle persuasion

 imagesEven as AAP comes to grips with the reality of governing, like several others, I find myself willing that it comes through as more than a loose conglomeration of well-meaning people.

We’ll have to wait and watch if it will repeat its Delhi triumph in other places, but I am immeasurably cheered by the wave of optimism that it has infused amongst the ‘aam aadmi’. I do not agree with the statement that the AAP is a party that has come to power on a wave of ‘negativity’ which can’t last.

The media hails Kejriwal one day, denigrates him the next – it seems it can’t make up its mind. After all, media people are among the ‘empowered’ class in this country.

I heard Prithvi Reddy, AAP national executive member and Bangalore-based industrialist, speak last evening. I will not report his entire speech here but suffice to say, he speaks quietly, but surely. He’s firm in rebuttals but not aggressive. He answered questions, some of which would have made seasoned politicians squirm. Prithvi Reddy did not impress with his panache, he impressed with sincerity.DSC_3386

For example, a journalist asked him, “AAP seems to help only the Congress by taking the spotlight away from BJP’s prime contender.” Prithvi replied:” Do you want to rid the country of the Congress or corruption?”

I asked him if AAP had criteria for members, he said since there were thousands of applicants, they could not screen members, but were definitely screening office bearers and potential candidates. I pointed that among the top business honchos, there is at least one, if not more, who have huge business debts. He promised that such aspirants would be in for a surprise when the list of candidates was announced.

For a contribution of Rs.50, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, her driver and her office boy, can all get to wear a badge that says, “I support Aam Aadmi Party”. So is there is a classless Socialist Utopia in the making? Will we all, like worshippers in the mosque, share an egalitarian space?

Will we not need power and/or pelf to process our papers? It’s the dream of such a day that I am sure has compelled the banking and IT honchos who have had their fill of navigating through murky waters, to quit their lucrative careers and join AAP.

AAP does not need conventional media of print and TV; skillfully harnessing mobile and internet tools with the good old fashioned personal meetings at localities is working for it, and this is a strategy that is going to bring it manifold returns.

PS: I have not signed up as an AAP member; I don’t know if I want to be an active political worker but I am watching with hope that it will indeed cause a change not just in the way politicians behave, but in the way we do.


Under the Raintree

Enlightenment is often found under a tree

I visualise Under the Raintree as a quiet, cool pasture of creative pleasure. Under the nurturing canopy of the Raintree, interactions are a sparkling composite of artistic expression and flair.          

It is a place for writers, poets, painters, playwrights, musicians and other artistes to share their ideas, styles and techniques through personal interactions.

Under the Raintree meetings are fairly informal and happen with the help of friends and well-wishers who share similar interests in the Arts. Meetings happen at different places – gardens, living rooms, hotels  and galleries.

I started Under the Raintree  a couple of years ago as, after my husband Allen passed away, I sorely missed the conversations  we had about books, movies, plays, music, art and more. With this non-profit initiative I hope to facilitate dialogue about the Arts.

Under the Raintree has facilitated:

1. The dramatised reading of Anita Nair’s play ‘Nine faces of being’ when it was a work-in-progress, directed by Arundhati Raja of ART.

Arundhati introduces the ensemble

2. A variety entertainment progamme by Madras Players featuring Mithran Devanesan, PC Ramakrishna, Vishalam Ekambaram & Sharanya Nair.PC Ramakrishna, Vishalam, Sharanya Nair

3.  Discussions on ‘Art & the City’ with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon & UA Vasanth Rao of BMRC, and a panel discussion on ‘Artistic Connections’ with Ravi Kumar Kashi, Vikram Sampath, Arundhati Nag, Madhu Nataraj, Pramila Lochan & Arshia Sattar as part of the launch of ‘Vriksha – the life and times of SG Vasudev’.

4. A mehfil of Hindustani classical music featuring an interactive session with tabla maestro Trilochan Kampli & vocalist Kumar Mardur.