All posts tagged: events

The Tempest – Singapore Act

Kudos to Sam Mendes & the traveling cast of The Bridge Project. Singapore is one of the 7 cities to be stricken by The Tempest. If you are or were ever into Shakespeare, watch it! Watch it for creative, insightful direction by Sam Mendes (of the American Beauty fame). Watch it for a mind-blowing performance by Ron Cephas Jones as Caliban. Watch it for Prospero’s ardor, Miranda’s innocence, Ariel’s fragility, Trinculo’s humor, Gonzalo’s frailness. Watch it for the love of theatre. In exploring the Shakespearean themes of betrayal, love, power, wisdom, sacrifice, forgiveness & magic, The Bridge Project team did every bit of justice (and more) to the written version of the play. The actors breathe life into the characters with oodles of imagination & emotions, backed by stunning sets, and an apt selection of sounds & music. “These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air, And, like the baseless fabric of vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe …

Graduation day

Commencement officially marks the end of student life, even though in our minds, the transition was made the day we finished our last exam in college. We’ve entered the next level of that video game that never ceases to fascinate us. Treasures have been found, hills climbed, landscapes traversed, battles fought and won or lost, accomplices identified, cheat codes memorized indelably. The time has come to remodel the avatar and refine the tasks. Staging black gowns and graduation hats, the class of 2009 officially ended its undergraduate tenure. There were smiles and flashes everywhere; Commencement 2009 at SMU (Singapore Management University, from where I graduate) became the culmination of all memories created and collected over 4 years. My own ineffability thus far was transcended by a sense of delight and hope, and a tinge of nostalgia. The commencement address, delivered by a member of the Keppel Coporation, was, in all aspects, disappointing, dismaying and demotivating. The R word was justified in being featured in the speech, but certainly not expected to consume it entirely. Tell …

Of Rural India & The Aasha Build

The soul of an Indian is incomplete without a journey into the heart of rural India. The 2 weeks I spent in the slum region of Hegdenagar / Kamanahalli (to which I partly owe my long absence from the blogosphere) has transformed my perspective on India’s development, and my own ambitions and issues. Hegdenagar is an ignored little village, about an hour’s distance from Bangalore city, and a few decades’ development. Honestly though, I had imagined a replica of the Dharavi slums, and Hegnenagar’s cemented, albiet small and dilapidated houses, alleviated, if only for the shortest time, my anticipation of the living standards of our rural countrymen. I learnt later that most Dharavi-styled slums stand on illegal land, and Habitat India has fought its fair battle to abide by the law and take Hegdenagar through its first stage of development. The same houses which teased us with a heartening peek into rural life, home 8-10 families in their 300-350 sq-ft boundaries, math that left me bewildered. Constructing new homes for such families that could afford …

Happy Birthday Blog!

T hree-6-5 days ago, this was just another wordpress.com weblog H ere its umbilical chord was cut, it became The Shooting Star. E nchanted by its first post, first reader & first comment, this blog S ang its way into the blogosphere, with cliched themes & bizarre. H ome to 105 posts & graced by 16,000 readers, now is a moment O f reflection & joy, and gratitude & celebration. O nce upon a time, a blog was merely meant T o be a goofy forum; today it redefines communication I n a world where time & ideas are hard to find. N ow I deviate from this happy, proud occasion, G lad indeed that The Shooting Star has defined S omething in my life that was once mere anticipation. T hrough this journey, my blog has become a part of me A s I write this, I think about the future and what has been R eally, all I want to say is, dear blog, Happy Birthday! On The Shooting Star’s first birthday, I …

Tagaytay City, Philippines

Somewhere among the clouds lie the highlands of Tagaytay, green and misty, 2 hours away from the busy city life of Manila, the capital. It is here that I spent the weekend, treated to a gorgeous view of the Taal lake, and among people so warm and friendly that it almost felt like home. The trip was sponsored by Accenture, for a 3-day Student Leadership Conference (SLC), during which all of Taal Vista was filled with what I believe to be some of the brightest minds in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me that despite our geographical remoteness, the journey we undertake as students tends to bind us in no time at all, like we were always in it together. The SLC was styled with seminars conducted by senior Accenture executives, and intersparsed with team activities that made me feel like a college freshie again! The highlight of the stay was the post-conference bonding with students from different parts of the Philippines, including Baguio, Cebu and Manila. It took me less than a …

Saturn & Stargazing

2009 is a special year in the night sky. The Earth is exactly at the same level as Saturn in space, allowing us Earthlings to catch a vertical view of the second largest planet in our solar system, a one in 15 years phenomenon. To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, the Science Center in Singapore has opened up its Observatory for free stargazing sessions every Friday night. This week, the main telescope was aligned to focus on Saturn and its moons, and it made for a spectacular sight. In the magnified view of the telescope, Saturn appears exactly like it was depicted in secondary school geography textbooks, complete with the rings. The rings, which are really pieces of dust and ice moving at tremendous speeds, look gorgeous! Of the 62 moons of Saturn, only 4 of the brighter ones were visible through the telescope, and appeared as though they were protecting the rings of Saturn. To the naked eye, or through a pair of binoculars, Saturn only appears as a bright star in the sky. …

Earth Hour 2009

To some of our minds, climate change is still a far-fetched issue, way out of our grasp and way beyond our time. Even as we speak, people are getting trapped in poverty and hunger all over the world. Our generation is suffering, and climate change is trying to make us reflect upon the well-being of future generations. I don’t know if it’s a just cause, but I do know that we are genetically coded to be futuristic. After all, we do all we do in our life time, so our race could survive further, consciously or sub-consciously.  Above is a glimpse into climate change. If you have ever been awestruck by the picturesque view from a hill top, been hypnotized by the turquoise blue of the sea, or simply marvelled at the sheer beauty of the evening sky, you know that our planet is worth saving. You can read more on CNN’s exclusive section Planet in Peril. Earth Hour is an initiative by the WWF, that tries to urge each individual, household and organization to …

I do?

One of the side effects of turning 21 is that the word ‘marriage’ seems to be floating in the air, all the time. It makes people emanate all kinds of sentiments – obsession, fantasy, detest, and the most boring, acceptance. Lately, too many of my discussions with people revolve around the subject, and I hope this post is going to be a closure.  Given how rapidly our Indian culture has progressed, generation gaps are so glaringly obvious. Apparently generation gaps work in multiples of 7, and on some level, I have started to notice that. Anyway, this cultural progression seems to have been segregated by community, and some orthodox ones are still in the 20th century phase of arranged marriage, where girls are showcased to boys and only one-sided approval is necessary. I won’t address such an outrageously ridiculous custom here.  Recently however, I had a long debate with a friend who compares arranged marriages to Swayamvaras of history. The similarity is uncanny, if you think about it. Back in the day, suitors would line …

The Aasha Build: Gift hope, build a home

Slumdog Millionaire has put the slums of India on the world map, albiet in an artistic way. Despite the obvious, it’s still hard to believe that some people don’t have a concrete roof over their heads, that they live in make-shift shacks even in this age and time. Apparently, India homes 17% of all slum-dwellers in the world, a figure which translates to about 170 million people! The odds are just slightly tilted in our favor.  If you have ever witnessed the poverty on India’s streets (in person or through CNN or BBC), I am sure you have wondered, even for a moment, if there was a way you could help. This is your chance. A few of us have started an initiative with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in a slum area in Devanahalli, on the outskirts of Bangalore, India. The 2 weeks we spend on site will involve an intensive 10 day build, with an aim of constructing 8 double-storeyed houses, sheltering 16 families or approximately 96 individuals. A house might sound trivial, …

While we were sleeping…

They came, they captured, they killed. Fear and frustration mark the days. I pray for those who became victims of the terror attacks in Bombay, those who lost loved ones, those whose lives have changed forever. A prayer for the grieving; a prayer for strength. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), life goes on. We continue to live our little lives in our little worlds. It hit me when I was following the coverage on CNN and they switched from the Bombay shoot-outs to another story in another part of the world, as though the former had moved nothing in their hearts. I know it sounds silly, but it still surprises me how we can just move on with our own lives.  We, as a country, have a very long way to go. And yet, most of us are happy doing what we do, criticizing what is, mocking what will be, never once asking what we could do. Even after all these years of our struggle for freedom, I really believe that we are genetically coded to be …