Dec 24, 2021

Ashokism 75 : Digital expressions in Art



This Christmas eve, I Am happy to launch my second book on the ashokism series:

_Ashokism 75: Digital Expressions in Art - a visual treat of my digital paintings on various themes! 

Visit https://indie-bookstore.com to buy the book.


Also available on Amazon.in

Coming soon on Amazon.com




Dec 19, 2021

Getting ready for Christmas !



Nativity (Manger) setup

 Finally got my tree ready! Wishing you all a merry Christmas in advance!

Dec 9, 2021

My Favorite 9 : Comedians on Screen


Comedy as they say is Serious business! Its not easy to make people laugh... There is a lot of intelligence, timing and context that go into making a comedy click and connect with the audience..I have a great admiration for the guys who have this knack to tickle our ribs... Here I have listed 9 consistent legends who made me laugh the most on the silver screen...

1. Charlie Chaplin - The Genius who made the world laugh starting from the silent movie era...He strongly conveyed socially and politically important issues by mixing them deftly into his slapstick comedy.
Whenever a Chaplin movie was screened in Madurai, my parents had taken me and my younger brother to watch it. My brother used to dress as Charlie Chaplin and entertain our neighborhood kids!
I was fortunate to watch even his not so famous movies thanks to a Chaplin film fest at Madurai ( in the Twin theatres - Sri Mappilai  Vinayagar & Manikka Vinayagar that used to screen only English movies in those days). 

2. Laurel and Hardy - The legendary duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy entertained us with their rib tickling slap stick comedy! I still remember the first time I watched their movie - It was screened on TV using a VCR at our school when I was in III std. It was a laughter riot to watch along with my class kids!

3. Nagesh - The 'Jerry Lewis' of India.. Nagesh was the first comedian to extensively use body language along with dialogues to make the audience laugh. His performance in Server Sundaram, Thiruvilayadal and Kadhalikka neramillai are the most memorable for me. His popular female comic pair in many films , Manorama  also needs a special mention in this list of comic legends. 

4. Eddie Murphy - I think "Coming to America" was the first Murphy movie I saw along with my friend Chella Kumar at the Mappilai Vinayagar Theatre... from then on we never used to miss any Murphy movie!

5. Jim Carrey - One of the most talented Hollywood comedians who caught our attention with "somebody stop me" in "The mask" and made us ROFL with his facial expressions and body language. His "Ace Ventura" series, Liar liar, Dumb & Dumber, Me Myself & Irene and Bruce Almighty are some of my personal favorites.

6. Robin Williams - One of the true legends of comedy! Good morning Vietnam,  Mrs.Doubtfire and Patch Adams are some of his comic masterpieces I greatly enjoyed watching. It was a shock to me that a person who gave so much happiness to the world had so much sadness inside and ended his life due to depression.

7. Rowan Atkinson - Better known as "Mr.Bean" , Atkinson is one of the legends of British comedy. He had a very unique comic style and made us laugh with just his silent actions in the "Mr.Bean" series. I enjoyed his 'Jonny English' series too.

8. Vivek - He was famous for his intelligent and satirical humor that highlighted the social and political ills and evils. His comedy was an indirect (and sometime a direct) take on the pathetic current affairs of our society and its belief systems. No wonder he earned the nickname "chinna kalaivanar" after the legendary satirical comedian Kalaivanar NS Krishnan!


9. Vadivelu - Arguably the greatest comedian of our time. His body language, timing and dialogue delivery can lift a simple fun scene to comic heights!  I have seen his comic on-screen characters around me while growing up in Madurai and can easily relate to his expressions and body language and relish the underlying humor fully.

Who is your favorite?

Dec 8, 2021

My Favorite 9 : Cricket Batsmen


Cricket is more than just a game in India. As someone who grew up as a kid in the 80s and 90s, cricket is part of my best childhood memories. Here is a list of batsmen , some purists and some entertainers, who gave me that joy...(in random order).

 1. Kapil Dev - One of the greatest all rounder of all times and my first favorite cricketer as a kid ! There was always a hope when he was at the crease. 


2. Brian Lara - the Classiest left hand batsman ever from west Indies! 




3. Mahendra Singh Dhoni - my all time favorite cricketer and arguably India's best captain (and an astute wicketkeeper aswell ! ) His "Helicopter" shot was such a treat to watch. His winning sixer to lift the 2011 world cup will remain as a cherished moment forever!

4. Rahul Dravid - " the wall" - my most favorite batsman in the Test format!


5. Md Azaruddin - stylish batting wrists (and also my inspiration in fielding )!

6. David Gower  Left hand batsman and English Captain of the 80s..   There was a charm and elegance about his batting.. 

7. Sir Vivian Richards - Jamaican icon! Style and power combined in his batting! Every bowlers nightmare!

8. Sachin Tendulkar - the greatest batsman of our era! From his first match as a 16 year old till his retirement from the game, he has given us so much entertainment on the field!


9. Krishnamachari Srikkanth - the swashbuckler and entertainer who invented pinch hitting as an opener! 




Dec 6, 2021

My Favorite 9 : Classic Songs (English)


 A very difficult task to limit to 9 of my favorite songs from my younger days...But finally here is the list in random order. What is your favorite ?

1. Still got the Blues - Gary Moore

2. Still Loving you  - The Scorpions


3. Careless Whispers - George Michael

 4. Cocaine- Eric Clapton

5. Hotel California - Eagles

6. Smoke on the water - Deep Purple


7. Smooth - Santana with Rob Thomas

8. Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits

9. Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull






Dec 3, 2021

My favorite 9 : Percussionists


My first interest in percussion started as a 4 year old watching Chanda mama ( my uncle) play the double bongos. Drumming was something that came naturally to me and soon I was drumming on anything I could convert into a drum, like plastic buckets, kitchen containers, metal stools etc. But I never took drumming seriously till college. A new drum kit was purchased for the college band and a drummer was needed. So I just took up the job with both hands & feet and started playing comfortably from day one even though I had no training and have never played the instrument before. Years of hand drumming on the school desk and along movie songs had imbibed in me a good rhythm sense. I was lucky to have Praveen Thiagarajan, another percussion enthusiast like me, as a classmate when I joined School of Architecture and Planning, Chennai, for my masters degree. The jamming sessions at SAC and inter collegiate shows we did are great nostalgic memories for me. Today I look back at some of the legends who had directly or indirectly influenced me as a drummer...

1. JSM Jeevanraj -  Mr. Jeevan was a prominent name in the music circuit of Madurai in the 1980s. His "Jeevan Superstars musical troupe" was a popular local band . He was the first drummer I saw in live action when his troupe played in our TELC Salvation church. The troupe was also popular at wedding reception parties where Mr. Jeevan held the limelight with his cool stick tricks! His son Godwin, was my school classmate and excelled as the drummer of the school band.


2. Puroshothaman - Puru was the chief drummer for Maestro Ilaiyaraaja right from his "annakili" days.  We can see him performing in the song "madai thirandhu". His stylish manual drum can be distinctly heard in the 80s Ilaiyaraaja classics ( listen to the disco number va va pakkam va) and as the percussion moved to rhythm pad / machine fed beats in the late 80s, Puru pioneered that too. (Listen to raja rajadhi rajan indha raja


3. Phil Collins - Best known as the drummer for the rock band 'Genesis' , Collins is one of the coolest drummer cum vocalist I have seen. I heard his song "Another day in Paradise" performed by the Madurai Vikaasa school band in 1991 and immediately became a Phil Collins fan.



4. Sivamani -  Drums Sivamani is one of India's leading percussionists known for his experimental collaborations with many famous musicians and live performances. He has played for most of the composers of India including legends MSV , Ilaiyaraaja and more recently AR Rahman.



5. Zakir Hussain - Ustad Zakir Hussain is one of the greatest tabla legends of India. His fingers are just magical! I can watch his performance for eternity! 


6. Nick Mason - Architect and founder member of Pink Floyd, Mason had a unique laid back style that mesmerized me as a Floyd fan! 


7. Don Henley - The drummer and singer of my favorite rock band Eagles . "Hotel California"  still remains my all time favorite and I think I have most enjoyed playing the drum for this song!


8. Sundar Subramaniam - A legend in his own rights, Sundar has played for legends like MSV , Ilaiyaraaja , Naushad, AR Rahman and many more. He plays more than 30 percussion instruments and has been part of many of my favorite Ilaiyaraaja classics. He is a joy to watch on live shows.


9. Nagi - a much under rated percussionist. I first started noticing him in Raja's live concerts, playing with precision and without any flamboyance usually associated with drummers! Nagi has been a part of many super hit Tamil songs.




that's me playing @ Sobha day concert!


Dec 1, 2021

My favorite 9 : musicians...


 These are 9 of my favorite musicians who have been part of my growing up years. 

1. Eric Clapton - One of the greatest guitarists of all times. I heard his song ("wonderful tonight") for the first time from my senior Shamim who created our college's first music band. "Tears in Heaven" which Clapton wrote in memory of his son was one of our favorite songs. As a Bass guitarist I enjoyed playing " Cocaine" in many concerts during my college days!



2. David Gilmour - Pink Floyd had been a great influence during my college days. Pink floyd music filled many of my long nights when I stayed awake on my design table!



3. Roger Waters - Architect and founding member of Pink Floyd along with Nick Mason. "The Wall" written by Waters remains my  favorite till date. I remember my younger days...playing the drum and my friend G.Prabhu (jeep) on guitar singing "the wall" at the terrace of his house, disturbing the whole neighborhood! 


4. Carlos Santana  - the legendary Guitarist  ! His album "supernatural" is one of my favorites. I simply love his creativity and style of playing the guitar. 


5. Maestro Ilaiyaraaja -  The greatest film music composer India has ever produced. His music has defined every moment of my life from my childhood till now. Even today its Ilayaraaja songs that cover my car's playlist when I travel. All the songs that I have sung so far on stage are songs sung in Ilaiyaraaja's voice! 




6. Gary Moore - I fell in love with Blues Music after listening to his "Still got the blues"... He soothed my long starry nights in my 20s.


7. Kourosh Yaghmaei  - I discovered this stylish Iranian singer a decade ago and just fell in love with Persian music of the 70s. I love his song "havar havar" that later came to bollywood as the popular "hawa hawa". 


8. A.R.Rahman -  India's leading music composer of immense talent who has won several international accolades including academy awards and the Grammys. 

9. Michael Jackson  - My favorite musician (and dancer) as a kid. There is some magic in his numbers! 


Nov 30, 2021

The Life Series Art 11 - The Catch

My Painting inspired by the photograph of R.Ashok and my childhood memories of fishing in the murky Vaigai river, Madurai.




Nov 25, 2021

Raja's album 1946 - Part 09 - Singapore

We come to the last part of the album that has a collection of photographs of Singapore from the 1940s. Anyone who has seen the modern Singapore will greatly appreciate these vintage snaps that take us back by 75 years!



 St. Andrews Cathedral, an Anglican church in North Bridge Road


Cathay Building

Town Hall

Originally known as the Edinburgh Bridge to commemorate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, its name was changed to Cavenagh Bridge in honour of Major General Orfeur Cavenagh, the last India-appointed Governor of the Straits Settlements, who governed from 1859 to 1867

Raffles Hotel


 Fullerton Building, then the General Post Office Building...now a Hotel


 In front of the Fullerton Building, also known as the General Post Office Building

Capitol Theatre now a Hotel

National Museum of Singapore then known as the Raffles Library and Museum

Cavenagh Bridge

Sultan Mosque


Nov 23, 2021

Raja's album 1946 -Part 08 - Koraku-en

KĊraku-en is a Japanese garden located in Okayama.. It is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, along with Kenroku-en and Kairaku-en. Korakuen was built in 1700 by Ikeda Tsunamasa, lord of Okayama. The album has a lovely set of bookmark colorized postcards collected by Raja that tell us how lovely the garden looked  more that 75 years ago!







Nov 21, 2021

Raja's album 1946 - Part 07 : Budding Geisha

The album would have been incomplete without the collection of the "budding geisha" issued by the Japan travel bureau. Geisha are a class of female Japanese performance artists and entertainers trained in traditional Japanese performing art styles, such as dance, music and singing, as well as being proficient conversationalists and hosts. I remember there was always at least  one kid who dressed as a Geisha in school fancy dress competitions.










Nov 20, 2021

Raja's album 1946 - Part 06 : Kyoto

The album has Raja's lovely collection of colorized pictures of Kyoto city issued by the Japan travel bureau. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a city on the island of Honshu. It's famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. If I ever travel to Japan, this is one city I should not miss...