August 27, 2009
So about two years ago I had linked to the blog of a guy called Anil Menon, where I had got a whole bunch of fundaes which I used to make questions for my KQA quiz. This year, I found out that Anil Menon is actually a sci-fi writer. Here is an interview of Anil Menon by Vandana Singh.
I found the blog because I had been searching for more information on the Tribhanga pose, which it provided in great detail. If you didn’t read that post when I first linked to it in 2007, read it now. It’s brilliant.
The tribhanga is a pose in which the body twists or flexes thrice – on the leg, the waist, and the upper body. Because this pose comes more naturally to women than men, Chola sculptors used it in their statues of Parvati to emphasise her feminity, something I learnt in V Ramachandran’s Rieth lecture on the neurological basis for art appreciation. I found the Reith lecture (and then decided to set a question on the funda) in a link from Ravages, who had been photographing the Chola bronzes. I can’t find the original photos he had posted then, but here’s one he posted more recently:
And here is a photo of a lady in Raffles City mall who is checking her iPhone while standing in tribhanga:
Her face is obscured, so there are fortunately no privacy issues. It’s also a happy coincidence that I got this snap – I was practicing manual focus on the awesome 50 mm f/1.8 lens while waiting for a friend to join me at lunch, and didn’t notice that I had got this tribhanga snap until I came home and transferred my pics.
Incidentally, the Wii Fit – in sharp contrast to Anil Menon – insists that the tribhanga is a terrible thing and that standing in this pose is the road to ruined posture, upper body weakness, and spinal injury. In a shocking display of Nipponese hypocrisy, the animations for the yoga and stength exercises show the trainers standing with their bodies flexed before the routine actually starts.
November 22, 2007
One of the disadvantages of making a quiz is that the people who’ll attend my quiz tend to also read my blog. So, you can’t link to really awesome stuff you find because it’ll tip them off to your questions, or at least the source of your questions.
One such awesome thing which I can reveal now that the quiz is done is a blog called Round Dice. There’re very few posts, and the author stopped blogging altogether this February, but all the posts there are most awesome.
Posts from this blog which eventually became questions include one on kolams, one on the tribhanga pose, and one on Bhaskaracharya’s Lilavati. The tribhanga post is especially awesome, because it manages to link Chalukya sculpture to structural engineering, the Vitruvian man, and Anna Nicole Smith. Read.
There was also one post which didn’t really have any question-worthy funda, but which I particularly liked. It’s on the difference between being traditional and being conservative:
As I see it, a traditionalist is someone who uses the past in his/her daily life. For a traditionalist, the past is neither dead nor inaccessible. If a particular tradition no longer works — slavery or foot-binding or burning widows — it is modified to make a new tradition. The modification is usually a series of minor changes: a sari may be exchanged for a salwar, a particular dish may no longer be cooked, a man may go to Lamaze class, a Bollywood movie may include a gay character, etc.
In contrast, a conservative’s relationship is not with the past, but with the future. The conservative does not love the past as much as he fears the future. The Shiv Sainiks flip out on Valentine’s day not because Urvashi never sent a “I heart you” to Pururava (she did), but because their version of the future only permits docile women. The actual past is quite irrelevant for a conservative.