Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

An enjoyable evening of folklore and children’s theatre, 230314

March 23, 2014





Click here

to see my review of the evening (which was more than just the play), by Bangalore Little Theatre.

I’m glad I could show KTB a bit of children’s theatre in India!

KTB’s drawing, 050114

January 6, 2014

This is going to be an unabashedly proud-grandma post.

KTB, I must say, has morphed into “Boodi Ma” (which means “old woman” in Bengali..don’t ask me why I started calling her that….there is no logic for nicknames).

The last few days have been bitterly cold…tomorrow is going to be zero degrees Fahrenheit..and that’s the high for the day!

But being snowbound has meant that DnA are spending “quality time” with the children, and some of A’s efforts with KTB are here….she asked KTB to draw these buildings:

a k drw 1


a k drw 2

After that, this mythological being was produced:

a boodi god

Here’s A’s description of this god-monster being:

” Collaborative monster with a spear, quiver of arrows, arrows, a bow, rings on his fingers, encircled in flames, big hair, a multi colored belly button, nipples and, of course caught in the act of going multi colored potty.”

How I wish that I too was there with my little Boodi Ma, watching the flowering of her creativity! Well, I’m lucky that halfway across the world, I’m able to see and share in some of the daily activities, so I suppose I shouldn’t grouse!

The inventor of the digital timer….and other things…

October 8, 2013

Vince Eitzen was DS’ grandfather. Marilyn, his grandmother, left for Florida today…and was talking about her first husband (he was the first of her 3 husbands.) He must have been an amazing guy…

(She’s certainly quite amazing.. she flew from Florida alone, and back, and spent each day with us, especially a long day at the Zoo!)

Near as I can tell, Pappy/Vince appears to have invented the digital preset timer as we know it. Just think of the daily applications…microwaves, ovens, sports, wow!

Also, (see 3rd link), an automated, on-line (telephone) ordering system…he was way ahead of his time!





I cannot think, ever, of being able to invent anything, and the creativity required for this is beyond anything I can even dream of!

And…how interested he would be, if he were alive today!

KTB gets creative…

September 19, 2013

It’s most enjoyable when children develop their own personalities, and give their own spin to things!

Here’s KTB, singing the original words (with exaggerated expressions, ofkose)

and here’s her positive version:

Rhyme schemes…should one follow rules?

September 6, 2013

I wrote:

Why do I miss you so much?
I don’t know why…I only know
That I miss your voice, I miss the touch
Of our minds…the caress
Of your eyes…
The happiness that no
Other being on earth
Can give me….your worth
Is beyond price.
You are my life…no less.

That rhyme scheme is a never-before heard-0f


and it’s ten lines, not a sonnet…no category that I know of…

Should one follow the rules of poetry, rhetoric and prosody? Or, when the words flow, should one just pen them, and let them stand as they come into one’s mind (with perhaps minor changes)? I believe, the latter…so I’m letting this stand the way it is.

Creativity….arts and crafts

April 13, 2012

It’s wonderful to see things of beauty growing from nothing but a length of string (or wool). Knitting, crochet and tatting have always held a fascination for me. I liked knitting, but thanks to my myopia, the other two were beyond me. But when I saw my friend Savita engaged in tatting while she was helping out at our friend’s sadAbhishEkam (80th birthday ceremony of her father, when vows are renewed) I could not help trying to document that….

tatting small 110412

A little closer:

tatting big 110412

Savita makes these flowers and pastes them on cards, and her mother (who is 80 and living with fierce independence, in an old-age home in Koramangala in Bangalore) adds the paint, to make really beautiful greeting cards. Some of the tatting also ends up as earrings and other jewellery. Savita and her mother’s creations sell like hot cakes!

The Innovation Trap

March 29, 2012

Harish Bhat, who is a friend on Facebook, and posts a lot of interesting stuff, posted about

the flexible e-paper display launch .

Though I am impressed by the innovation in terms of material use and invention, I still feel that products like this fall into what I call the classic Innovation Trap.

The Innovation Trap is the phenomenon of designers being blinkered and hobbled by designs and forms that they are familiar with. In the case of the product above, it seems to be the goal to get as close in appearance as possible to laminated resemble some form of actual paper. But one wonders why that resemblance is needed at all.

The classic example of the Innovation Trap was when automobiles started being designed. Being familiar only with horse-drawn carriages, early cars looked boxy and square, exactly like the old carriages. It took a while to realize that though it was irrelevant for horse-drawn carriages, for cars, aerodynamics would improve the efficiency, and that the shape of the automobile must be very different from that of a carriage.

This problem was once again demonstrated when, in the era of tailfins and long lines, with the cars looking like ships, the VW Beetle was introduced. It was pronounced an ugly car…when it was actually very functional in design, and hence very beautiful.

In similar fashion, there is no need for outer-space-only spacecraft to have the sleek, aerodynamic, cigar-shaped look of the rockets that lift off from the Earth’s atmosphere. Since they operate in a vacuum, and there is no resistance from the atmosphere, outer-space-only craft (I am sure there is a technical name, very scientific) for such vehicles), they can look as clunky as they want to be, with antennae, and solar panels, and such, sticking out in all directions. Maybe design has to take into account the possibility of an aerial snapping when hit by a passing meteor, but in general, it does not need the shape that a craft that needs to enter the Earth’s atmosphere should have, to reduce the friction and heat of re-entry.

Another example of this is the “qwerty” keyboard, that is still widely in use. I know that many computer techies (like ) use

the Dvorak keyboard

and many mobile phones and keyboards have an “abcd” keyboard; but the majority of all keyboards still use the “qwerty”, which does have many problems. But…it’s as if we, when used to something, are often unwilling to conceive of

something different .

This applies also when someone has made a true innovation. When Sony built the Walkman, for years, we saw me-too’s flooding the market. Now the iPad and the iPhone are cool things to imitate…even when their drawbacks are quite apparent.

I suppose one may also call it “design fashion”. One particular design becomes the “norm” and other designs, even if better, fall by the wayside sometimes, and are not commercial successes. The cathedral of “That’s the way things are always done” seems to loom large on the skyline of design, and sometimes real creativity is sacrificed at its altar.

How long it took for the no. of camera exposures to be counted downwards, or the fuel guage on cars to show how many miles the fuel available was good for (varying with the speed of the car) rather than just showing how much petrol was in the tank! With the innovation, one could get the actual information one really wants…how many exposures are left, and how many miles one can drive the car for. (Most cars in India still have only the old-fashioned petrol guages.)

But in spite of the Innovation Trap, true innovation and creativity continues to happen, and that’s the great thing about the human mind….!

Krishna Panyam: Origami, at Jaaga, 300112

January 31, 2012

I have had, as usual, a lot of interesting things to do…and one of them was the Origam workshop I attended at


I found that the teacher, Krishna Panyam, was someone I had met earlier, on the bus tour of the lakes of Bangalore

Here’s one of the pieces that Krishna made:

More photos can be seen on my FB album, if you

click here

(you need a Facebook account).

Here is Krishna, starting the workshop:

krishna starts orgmi 300112

Here are some samples of his work:

some smpls orgmi 300112

some more smpls orgmi 300112

rose orgmi 300112

Here’s a sample of (very difficult) curved origami:

Curved origami Krishna 300112

For more pictures, visit

Krishna Panyam’s Facebook album, click here

Wonderful….I enjoyed myself very much, as did all of us.

Architects, Genius, and Morals….

December 27, 2011

On KM’s classmates mailing list, we are having a very interesting conversation. It started with Vasu, who teaches in Ohio, posting a link to Louis Kahn’s work, designing the IIM-A campus:


click here for the link to Louis Kahn’s notebook and sketches

A fascinating set of sketches and more.

Today, Fareed Zakaria interviewed architect Frank Gehry on his CNN show. Gehry created the building that currently houses my office. Gehry’s initial sketches also resemble idle doodles.

Gehry said his buildings don’t look weird to him. He said other “normal” buildings look weird to him. That statement resonated with me. He talked about the need to provoke an emotion and gave the example of the Nataraja figure as something that has “movement” built into it. It made me look at the familiar Nataraja sculpture in a new way, even though I have been seeing it all my life.

We are toying these days with the metaphor of “management as design.” That view sees management as largely an improvisational art, like creating a building or a motion picture or a piece of exquisite art often out of materials that happen to be at hand. It is seen as a punctuated process, with lots of zigs and zags and not as the linear and overly rational kind of analytical process that most of us were exposed to.

The examples of “design thinking” in the above blog are giving me all sorts of ideas that I hope to incorporate into the redesign of my classes for next semester.

The design schools seem to be doing more innovating everywhere on management ideas than the so-called management schools.


To this, Raj replied:


Thanks for this. Did you know that this great and famous architect died a pauper and in debt? That he was a lousy family man? That he had two marriages running in parallel one of them being secret? I wonder whether the existence of one great skill can be a licence to do a lot of not so acceptable things.

It is a debatable point that if we did not have inventive or creative or other breeds of geniuses around, the world would have progressed much less or not at all. Equally it could be argued that the accolades and hero worship that geniuses get, make them take many things for granted, a bit of God play. I am at a loss when it comes to accepting such people with their sharp edges or ignoring them or despising some of them.

Here I am not talking about genuine handicaps that some geniuses do have. Like I attended a highly technical lecture by John Nash, a few years ago. One could see the ghost of man trapped in some kind of an invisible web, reading from a word document projected on a screen and even reading ‘comma’, ‘full stop’, etc. A genius struggling against all odds to do what a child of 10 could do so easily. That was a humbling moment. Not one, where one would despise a human for his shortcomings. But a great painter or whatever, running wild after any one of the opposite gender who is willing or unwilling, is something else. Some may argue that it is a problem coded in his/her DNA…and that the subject is helpless.

Can someone throw some light on how one can distinguish between condonable and the unacceptable behaviour of geniuses?


And my response was:

Raj, my mother had a theory that satisfies my sense of logic…she used to say that the same kink which made a person talented to the point of genius, also meant that the person would often not abide by “ordinary” values of life. “Magic often also means madness,” she would say, and after reading about the lives of many creative geniuses (genii?) I’d tend to agree.

Well, society (the middle class…the upper and lower class never seem to bother!) always has trouble accepting anything which is not the norm….here I am not talking about theft, murder or absolute no-nos, but those things where what is acceptable seems to shift from time to time..exposure of skin, living together, extra-marital relationships, same-sex relationships, drinking, and so on. Our sense of security seems to be threatened by those who do not conform. No, I have no easy solutions for this…I guess such geniuses will still go their own way, and be tolerated by some, and gossiped about (and detested, or secretly envied) by the others!


What are YOUR thoughts, all of you?

“Jugaad” in Bangalore!

December 6, 2011

“Jugaad” means, “innovation”, often thinking out-of-the-box. A mode of public transportation, with the engine of a tractor, has already taken on this name in several states of India.

On Sunday, as we were heading out for our nature trail on Bannerghatta Road, I spotted this tricycle-cart that had been fitted with a two-wheeler engine, and was puttering along happily!

I don’t think this gives very environment-friendly emissions, however creative and innovative it is!

What a pity that pedal-power is seen by the working people as something too difficult to sustain. I was actually thinking of an initiative to re-introduce cycle-rickshaws….