Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music has always been one of my favourite movies. So obviously I would not have missed watching the theatre format of my favourite musical.

I managed to get 2 passes and decided to invite my little friend Renee (Juanella's daughter) as she said Sound of Music was her favourite movie too. I think Raelle Padamsee and team did a fantastic job adapting it to the stage in Bombay. The talent on stage was uplifting and I particularly loved the way they integrated underprivileged children into the main performance. The Happy Home School of the Blind sang the Amazing Grace and in the play, they won the talent contest.

There were a lot of kids in the audience as well. Age was no bar with both adults and kids joining in the singing. Overall it was great and I had a blast.

A day trip to Nashik

Nashik is about 188 kms from Mumbai. Did a day trip last weekend to first visit the Infant Jesus Shrine and then taste some wine at the Sula vineyards.

The shrine is dedicated to Infant Jesus of Prague

Come to Me.

The Infant Jesus Shrine has a lot of followers. I have been meaning to visit for ever so long, but for some reason or the other did not make it until this year. I think despite the crowd that landed up for the noon mass, it was still quite serene and peaceful. One can easily drive down from Bombay for the Mass at 12 and then follow it up with a visit to the vineyard.

The vines looked very dusty as did all the flora in Nashik!

I loved the Rose and the Chenin Blanc

The Sula Vineyards are located in Nashik and Dindori. The Tasting Room is where you can do a tour of the facility and taste 4 wines for Rs 150. The selection - Sparkling wine, Savignon Blanc, Rose and Chenin Blanc. There are restaurants on the premises - Little Italy and Soma. However be prepared for extremely slow service though the food at Little Italy was very nice but ofcourse vegetarian. The Sula Fest held once a year is their highlight event. It was a held a day prior to our visit and it left me wondering how the staff would have coped with the large number of people attending.

Symphony on the Lawns

For the first time, a symphony orchestra performed at the Turf Club. It was a formal event and had the "who's who" of Bombay attending. This extravaganza was a collaboration between NCPA and the RWITC.

The concert was conducted by the internationally acclaimed virtuoso violinist, Marat Bisengaliev from Kazakhstan. There were over 65 musicians from 14 countries playing from music arranged in Canada. And the finale was a song sung by Kailash Kher accompanied by the SOI. It was awesome to be seated in the historic grandstand with the race course in front of us, listening to music that stirred one's soul and brought out a range of emotions from despair and sadness to joy and ecstasy.

Listening to them, I was instantly alerted to the simple facts:
  • The orchestra is a perfect example of teamwork where every member makes a significant contribution.
  • Even if there is a "Star". He is nothing without the support of the others.
  • Generally there can only be one star performer but if there are 2, then there has to be compromise for the partnership to be successful.
We ended the evening with sumptuous dinner catered by Master Chef Farrokh Khambata.

Leap Talks at VJTI

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be giving a motivational speech to engineering students at VJTI. So when I was invited by my ex-colleague Najeeb, I grabbed the opportunity.

LEAP Talks, is a platform where 4-6 powerful speakers share their knowledge, excitement and inspiration; where ideas and innovation are showcased; driving the audience to excel and outperform. A 2 hour monthly seminar where 4-6 dynamic and inspiring speakers talk about driving change. Using instances from their lives and what they've achieved they inspire audiences to believe in themselves.
Who - Change makers, Collaborators and Enthusiastic young people who we need to watch out for.
When - Every last Saturday of the Month/ Or as scheduled otherwise
15 min speeches, preferably using visual aid and multimedia on how they Beat the odds to get where they have reached and what they aspire to achieve in the next 3 years.

Create a strong dedicated audience that walks out amazed, eagerly looking forward to the next one. Build the LEAP Talks brand, where only the most inspiring and powerful speakers share the podium and convey what life’s greatest lesson to them has been so far.

Date and Timing:
10th February,2011 @ 5:30pm. till 7:30pm
Address: VJTI College, Matunga.

Address: More than 400-500 students of VJTI. this program has been organized as an extension to their Annual Festival "Technovanza" and is being organized as one of the main draws for their Annual celebrations.

I had no clue what was expected from me, so had to ask Najeeb for a little more background and his brief to me was - Well it would be preferable to keep it focused on yourself, who Elsa is as a person, how she has grown in life and most importantly, what has been the turning point in her life - professional/personal and how she has done things differently which is why she is here today but others (who might have started their career about the same time as Elsa) could not achieve. And what difference she has made as a human being to the society.

Anyway, so with mixed feelings - excitement (to be able to address the students), a bit of anxiety (to ensure that I had the right content; being the perfectionist that I am) and a bit of wonder (God works in mysterious ways and what was he trying to tell me?) I went to VJTI. I met the General Secretary Benjamin and he explained the various events organised for the fest. I was quite impressed with the students ideas which was based around India and how to make it a superpower.

My co-speakers were a varied and eclectic lot:
  • A scientist from BARC who specialisation is robotics. Meher is not only a woman in a highly specialised field of robotics but is also a kind hearted lady who runs her own NGO - Hana foundation. She truly touched my heart.
  • An excise commissioner, Mr. Patel, who started off as a cowherd and today helps others in career selection and trains them to appear for competitive exams. He has a library with over a lakh of books.
  • An entrepreneur who worked with Microsoft for over 8 years, had a green card but gave it all up to return to India to set up his own IT company. He now has offices in 8 countries and does a lot of philanthropic work.
  • An astrologer, Hitesh, who chose to follow his dreams and passion rather than join his father's business.
I was truly humbled hearing their experiences and I definitely learned a lot. But through it all, I was reminded that success is not about designations but actually fulfilling your passions. Success is when you are happy, satisfied and when you can touch other people's lives. In order to achieve it, the path is fairly common - commitment, honesty, integrity, openness, thankfulness, sensitivity to others, willingness to adapt and change, courage to take risks, passion and most of all belief in yourself.