The Cloud Forest in Singapore is another place you must visit. You usually get a combined ticket for the Flower Dome and The Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay. While the whole set up is artificial, the greenery still draws you to it.

There are various levels, around six if I recollect correctly. You’re welcomed by a towering waterfall that drenches a curtain of plants, orchids and a variety of other flowers. It’s mighty height ensures that a little water splashes over you if you go closer. Again, it is temperature controlled, so it is slightly more chilly inside.

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Day #1: Blissful moments

I have been yearning for some ‘me’ time for ages. At home, there is always something or the other going on and the little calmness you get is perhaps only when you poop or shower. So, this travel was solely to give me the ‘alone’ time and family time. Not that I don’t spend enough time with family, but conversations get mundane when you discuss only work and news – which is essentially work again in my case. A breath of fresh air was needed where we went back to giggling at old times, poking fun at little things and doing typical ‘Maithreya’ family stuff. (My big, darling sister is missed, I must confess) Continue reading


Chennai: Every day the world is taking a step towards ‘going natural’. From organic food to handwoven sarees, people are going back to the basics as they rediscover nature and now, music is no longer an exception to it. ‘Orisai’, an initiative of the No’Mad Projekt, focuses on preserving the original, raw form of Carnatic music by eliminating digital processing. It was launched on Sunday at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan with an enthralling performance by renowned musician T M Krishna.

“The concept of a carnatic concert production is seldom heard of. I wanted to give the listener a memorable experience of a performance by capturing the various elements of an ensemble in equal parts,” says mridangam artist Praveen Sparsh, founder, The No’Mad Projekt.

The No’Mad project aims to record music in its raw, organic form by eliminating processing. It also seeks to capture diverse creative mediums in their purest form.

The beauty of a song is often lost after it passes through countless processors. The high notes of the vocalist may drown the subtle tunes of the Chitraveena and the audience may skip out on a note or two of the ganjira. And the organic sound of the ensemble becomes history. But Orisai tries to bring back the natural touch to the musical experience.

These performances employ condenser microphones instead of the typical dynamic ones. They are placed at an angle, away from the source, such that they pick up the voice of the artist and sound of the instrument at the same time. Sound flows into a console only to be amplified and not processed.

“Orisai allowed me to hear true, real sound and respond to the music that is situated within that. In a normal miked concert, your voice escapes into the microphone and returns to you through monitors as an amplified and in a sense artificially designed sound,” says T M Krishna. “Therefore, you are not really hearing your voice from inside. In Orisai, the voice was as close to what I feel and hear naturally.”

With stage monitors out of the picture, dynamism is at its peak. Fast beats of the mridangam respond to the hollow sounds from the ghatam and the vocalist beautifully chips in to make it a melodious rendition.

“The performing artists are extremely sensitive to the dynamics in the ensemble. And they wonderfully communicate with each other on stage through their music,” says Praveen.

Elegant, simple aesthetics also form an integral part of this idea. The artistic makeover of the stage by art director Susha led to flashy flex banners being replaced with the Orisai logo cut out from plywood. And a dedicated light jockey ensured pleasant lighting.

In the long run, the initiative hopes to make musical communities rethink the nature of music. “Orisai will change the way the audience and organisers understand amplification. Today we have a situation where the microphones, speakers and monitors define music. Orisai inverts that, application is designed according to the nature of the musical form and its aesthetics. This is not audience or artist driven, it is music driven,” says T M Krishna.

[An edited version of this article was published in Times of India, Chennai.]






A good day is a day that has a little of everything and everyone I like and love. Art, history and culture is a part of this. I love visiting new places and seeing the historical monuments and paintings of the city or town.

A good day is also a calm day. A time when I am alone and just absorbed in the calmness and peace of nature. It brings inner peace and closure in many ways. Whether it is just watching misty mountains or watching the incessant beach waves, the feeling is unparalleled.

A good day is a day well spent with family and friends who you appreciate and whose company you love. They can make you smile in a jiffy and your problems are no longer existent.

Finally, a good day is when you are at a job doing what you love. A day filled with colour. A day filled with a little of everything that makes you happy. These pictures simply show the days I felt really happy, visiting new places and living each moment as it came.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Forces of Nature.”


The hues are a matchless pink. But it isn’t simply a clear-cut pink. Nature wonderfully brings with it a gradient from white to baby pink to a dark pink – so rich that it epitomises a kind of purity. A flower in all its beauty, blooming to the fullest. – Theosophical Society, Chennai, India.