If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
The Women’s Web ‘Love Your Leisure’ series will consist of interviews with a few female bloggers with fascinating hobbies, who’ve enthusiastically developed and fine-tuned them – and what’s more, write about them for the benefit of the rest of us! We hope you enjoy reading more about these bloggers and their passions. Presented in a Q&A format, this one is with Music Enthusiast, Meera Manohar who has a lovely audio blog, Swarasthaanam.
Intro: Tell us a little about yourself
I am a graduate in Dietetics and Nutrition, and did my post graduation in Human Development from the University of Bangalore. I currently work in a Not-for-Profit Organisation (NPO) which deals with domestic violence issues. I love music in any form, and enjoy listening to professionals and amateurs alike. My other passions include running, photography and traveling. I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, with my husband Manohar, and my 4 year old son, Ayush.
Q1.How did your interest in music come about and what sustains it till today?
I started singing at the age of 4 or so, and was always surrounded by music in some form, especially so in my formative years. My parents & brother were avid music enthusiasts and listening to the radio was an integral part of my life. I was initiated into South Indian classical music when I was 9-10 years of age, and that definitely kept my interest and gave me a much-needed foundation to pursue my passion. I started performing with a local band named Thillana way back in 2000, and I also freelance with other bands around the US. Today my passion for music still hold true, and has probably increased several fold given my exposure to it, in a country far away from home. Thanks to that exposure, my ability to enjoy different kinds of music has widened. Audioblogging on the other hand has given me the opportunity to interact with different kinds of musicians these last several years.
Q2.What does music signify to you? What do you find most satisfying about music?
Music signifies life and passion for me. I see it more as an extension of my soul than a hobby more often than not. The truth is, music has given me an outlet to every kind of emotion, doesn’t matter what, how or where. It’s interesting to step back, and look at how much music I actually do listen to every single day, and realize that I don’t even have to sing per se, but the sheer pleasure of listening to some form of it completes me in more ways than one.
I will split that last question into 2 parts. The most rewarding thing for any musician is when someone appreciates a good end product, and you know it’s worth all the effort that went in making that happen. And as a listener, the most rewarding thing for me is when I detach myself from my surroundings when I start listening to anything. Guess it’s absolutely a sublime feeling and a totally ethereal world that one has to experience. I would recommend it, very additive.
Q3.Who are your favourite singers/musicians?
Although I grew up listening to RDB, MSV, Ilayaraaja and the likes, I love listening to ARR, Harris Jeyaraj, Vidyasagar, G.V.Prakash in the current crop of musicians. I have learnt to appreciate the style of various music directors, and am very open to experimentation as well. Same goes for singers — I am in love with yesteryear’s stalwarts such as M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar or Leela, to the modern day Karthik or Mahathi. I believe most talented singers have their strong points, and most, if not all voices have invariably had something to teach me.
Q4.What does Swarasthaanam mean? How has your blog helped you in your passion towards music & singing?
The literal meaning of Swarasthaanam – swaram (note) + sthaanam (placement in say, a scale). I loved the sound of it when I was looking to name my audioblog way back in 2005, the year I started it. It was this venture of mine that introduced me to the world of audioblogging, and a bunch of talented artists around the world. Of course, over the years, I have migrated into other music portals such as Muziboo, Facebook, Reverbnation and Soundcloud.
Q5.What are your aspirations for your music/singing? What do you envision to do with it?
I aspire to bring a lot of satisfaction to my listeners. Personally, I believe strongly that there’s always scope for improvement, and am open to constructive criticism as well. I hope to be in the playback industry someday soon. I had a chance to interact with Shankar Mahadevan on a local radio program, and his feedback more importantly, was quite a huge motivation and boost to me. I am hoping all this audio blogging and live stage experience would help me gain a foothold there.
Q6.Which are some favourite blog posts of yours in Swarasthaanam? Also what other related blogs/ sites do you enjoy or find useful?
Some of my most satisfying renditions to date are Kaatrin Mozhi, Iktaara, Parayaan Maranna, Ninaithu Ninaithu, Kaatril Varum Geethame to name a few. I do have a bunch of people whose music I regularly listen to on Muziboo or Soundcloud. Most of them are upcoming composers, singers or instrumentalists.
Q7.How do you polish your music skills and to stay updated with the current trends?
It’s really interesting to note that the only reason I started a website, way back in 2000 was to keep in touch, and then I started to audioblog a couple of years after that, and that initiative was also just to keep in touch with something that I loved doing. Now, when I look back at my journey, from it having been a casual hobby to something more serious, where constant feedback, criticisms, and pats on the back have helped me hone my ability to explore tougher and more interesting areas with regards to singing. I don’t do anything special to keep up with it, guess the songs I pick make sure I work hard, and each song has been a learning experience. I always walk away at the end of any finished song having learnt a thing or two, which has helped me with something else.
Previous Interviews With Hobby Bloggers:
Art & Craft Enthusiast: Shruti Bhat
Movie Enthusiast: Amodini Sharma
Crossword Enthusiast: Shuchismita Upadhyay
Poetry Enthusiast: Saru Singhal
Baking Enthusiast: Monika Manchanda
Gardening Enthusiast: Priyanka Goel
Wildlife Enthusiast: Radha Rangarajan
Needlecraft Enthusiast: Nima Titus
Women's Web is an alternative magazine covering real issues for real women. This blog handle usually includes posts about happenings at Women's Web, interesting contests/events, people working on the website and so read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
Please enter your email address