Sunday, 2 December 2007

November Highs- Museums, Music, Meditation and a lot more

Russian pop star Dima Bilan at the Ice Palace

November 2007 has been one of the finest months in my life and career. Throughout the month I have been engaged intensively in work and intellectual pursuits.
In the sphere of work I have successfully managed to perform the given duties in independent capacity and turn the organizational energies towards meaningful pursuits. I have been able to bring people together and instilled within them the pride of being the member of a great team.
We celebrated the festival of lights 'Diwali' with great flair and it was a great team effort. I have already posted about it last month on this blog. We organized the screening of the film 'Parineeta' with English subtitles for the young Russian viewers from St. Petersburg State University, the 'Hindi School- School no. 653' and a number of other institutions.
On cultural and intellectual front the last month proved to be very productive. I watched almost all the movies made by two acclaimed Soviet directors Andrei Tarakovsky and Sergei Eisenstein. I got the opportunity to attend the concert of currently the most popular pop star of Russia Dima Bilan , the best living interpreter of Beethoven's piano sonatas Andras Schiff, the violin maestro Shlomo Mintz, the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir and the award winning Spanish Pianist Antonio Ortiz. Besides that I visited the recently renovated state of the art Marinsky Concert Hall to enjoy the opera the Golden Cockerel by the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsekov based on a poem written by the poet Alexander Pushkin. I also came face to face with the amazing world of Spanish Dances including Flamenco and the Rhapsody of Valencia towards the end of November.
Besides concerts, I had the privilege to visit the Russian National Library where I had the rare opportunity to see and read the original hand written letters written by the statesmen like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams and others. I was struck by the their letter writing style and language. For example one letter by George Washington ends with - 'in all cases I am your friend and humble servant' and he is not alone in ending the letter with the above quoted sentence:)
Last month I also had the opportunity to visit the famous Russian Museum where the icons and paintings of the some the great Russian masters viz. Andrei Rublov, Kuinji, Ilya Repin, Surikov, Vasnetsov, Brullov, Venetsianov hang on the walls.
I also visited the Hermitage where two very interesting exhibitions are currently on display - The return of Buddha and The Dance of Quill and Ink. Contemporary Art of the Middle East.

Last month the Russian Ethnographic Museum celebrated 140 years of the exhibition titled 'The Slavs of Europe and the people of Russia". They had put a large number of mannequins dressed in their ethnic wear depicting their way of life. The occasion was used to make speeches about the Pan Slavic movement by a few dignitaries who were present there.

Not only that I also had the opportunity to meet a number of poets and writers from the Russian Association of Writers- St. Petersburg chapter. They offered me a great insights into the world of contemporary trends in Russian literature.
Last month I met two very interesting persons- A historian from the St. Peter & Paul Fortress who is an expert on Russian royalty and it was indeed pure pleasure to discuss Russian History before the Revolution with her and to hear her take on India from where she had recently returned. The second person I met was a Yoga teacher who is well conversant with all the major schools of Yoga in India. I heard for the first time 'Chants of India by Pt. Ravi Shankar' at her Yoga studio and loved 'Asto Ma'. Since then I have put it as the background music on my website. The Yoga teacher introduced me to a Vedic vegetarian restaurant 'Botanica' located in the centre of the city. Botanica offers great 'Pumpkin soup' and 'Veg Sushi'. It's 'Ginger Drink' is exciting too.

Books- Read 'One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich' by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. You can read the review by clicking here.


Blogger lindsaylobe said...

Hi Abhay
You are certainly experiencing many other cultures, yet we all share that common humanity !

I also like your background music, taken from one of my favourite opera’s!
Namely from the classic love story of La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi and the aria the Drinking Song~Libiamo ne’ lieti calici~ (Alfred & Chorus).

Obviously like Alfredo Germont and the Chorus who sing the drinking song ~my friends embrace this alluring occasion. Let’s revel and laughing until dawn ~`you are also celebrating an interesting life, but in moderation ~ in Russia!
Best wishes

7/12/07 4:38 pm  
Blogger abhay k said...

Hi Lindsay,
Thank you so much for visiting me! Last month has been truly amazing! Perhaps more than words can say!
I highly appreciate your visit here and your enlightening comments. You know so deeply about the Operas and composers like Verdi and Puccini. I really love this background music. I feel like listening to it many times since the time I listened to it for the first time. Tomorrow I am going to listen to Bryan Adams- one of my favourite singers.

8/12/07 12:55 am  

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