Finding Bah Kerios Wahlang

Some of the greatest treasures of our world are safely tucked away in distant corners of less traveled regions. But once in a while, you stumble upon an invaluable experience. Here is an account of one such treasure.
Folk Music Meghalaya
On The Road
I am escaping Shillong. There is a 48 hour strike by some political groups that want outsiders to obtain special inner line permits before coming in to Meghalaya. Incidentally Shajal, the driver of my taxi, is also an outsider. He is driving in nervous bursts like a mouse in a grocery store. We are traveling to the sacred forest of Mawphlang in the hope that outer areas will be less politically charged. On the way I am also hoping to meet a special person.

I land up in a small town called Mawngap. It bears a deserted look because of the strike.  We ask a car mechanic by the road for Mr. Wahlang, the musician. It turns out there are many musically inclined Wahlangs in the village.
Folk music -2The Search
For the past 30 days I have been traveling across many less known areas of the North East. Through forest reserves with beautiful villages surrounded by bamboo and betel nut trees, amidst green hills and meandering streams, I am searching for some exceptional folk music. On my journey I have met amazing singers and musicians and come across folk instruments of varying shapes, sizes and sounds. But there is something within that doesn’t click. There is a lock in my heart and the keys just don’t fit.

 While I am in Shillong, I hear about an old folk singer who composes his own songs and has an amazing voice. His name is Kerios Wahlang. But like all good things in life, many people know of him but not how to get to him.
Folk Music Meghalaya -4
Meeting Bah Kerios
It takes me days to find out his contact number. I finally manage to land up at his small house perched atop thick wooden pillars. Bah Kerios has just returned from seeing the doctor. He is running a slight fever. He knows very little Hindi and I don’t know any Khasi. I show him some of my earlier films and he understands. He asks his grandson to bring his Duitara, a traditional guitar carved out of wood.

 Tuning the strings with his experienced hands, Bah Kerios begins to sing. In his voice is a magic that transports one into a dense green forest full of old trees. A forest that is alive and singing in a deep voice. Later, Bah Kerios shows me a photograph of him singing besides a row of huge stone obelisks with a thick forest behind. It is the sacred forest of Mawphlang.
folk music 3The Sacred Forest
Leaving Bah Kerios Wahlang to get better, I head onwards to the village of Mawphlang. A village known for it’s monoliths and it’s sacred grove. Large vertical rocks are scattered all around the village. Mysterious stones arranged in circles. Stones shaped as benches or simply standing out of the ground like a giant’s finger pointing at the sky.

And at the edge of the village is a sacred grove. There are monoliths and stone structures spread inside the forest as well. The stones inside are covered in a layer of wet, green moss. The air is delightfully pleasant and filled with birdsong. Being inside the forest gives one a strange sense of calm. The music of Bah Kerios belongs to this forest and originates from it. He has been giving a voice to these songs of the forest for many years, but not many people outside of Meghalaya have heard his music.
Bah Kerios WahlangFarewell to Bah Kerios
Two days later, the strike has ended. I am headed back home, but on an impulse I decide to check in on Bah Kerios and take his picture. I find him smoking a pipe outside his house, soaking in the crisp winter sun. His army of little grandchildren are chasing the rooster and the hens in their backyard.

We sip some black tea and Bah Kerios brings out an old scratched CD. It contains one of the few recordings of his songs. The life’s work of a great folk master, preserved in a fragile disc. Bah Kerios holds the precious CD in his hand and says, “I wonder whether people will remember my music when I am gone.” I think to myself, I hope they will, Bah Kerios. I hope they will.

Slow – A film from North East India

Slow down. Take your time. Free your mind.
Watch this 90 second film from the amazing parts of North East India. In a fast paced world we are all trying to make the most of our time, but this film talks about a far more important task.

North East India

On rare mornings when the sky is clear, the rays of the rising Sun strike the Kanchenjunga peak and set it aflame. One by one the adjoining peaks catch this light and turn crimson. One of the few places in India, from where one can witness this match-light effect is the small town of Pelling in West Sikkim.

North-east-india-matchlightMeanwhile in Dawki, Meghalaya close to the border of India and Bangladesh runs a river with waters that are crystal clear. Clear enough for some people to catch fish simply by spotting and lifting them up.

Slow-poster-3And in the open grasslands of Kaziranga and Manas in Assam, one can get dangerously close to gigantic one horned rhinos. Close enough to hear them chew the grass as you sit on top of your elephant ride.

North East RhinoIt is surprising but many people don’t know about the treasures of North East India. Here’s a 90 second short film that captures the beauty of the less traveled Dooars region in North East India.

If you have traveled and experienced the wonders of North East India then tell us your favorite parts. We’ll try and include them in our next film from the North East.

film making mentoring 2NOTE: If you liked this film you can check out our collection of short travel films from amazing corners of the world at this link:
http://www.bit.ly/mind-travel

Folk Music Project

Folk Secrets Music Project

Folk Secrets Music Project rediscovers amazing folk bands from magical places. We explore far corners of the world to find out wonderfully talented musicians and bring their music to a larger audience. Here’s our first music video for Vayali Bamboo Band from Kerala, India.

Vayali Bamboo Band with all instruments made of bamboo comes from a small village called Arangottukara in Kerala. Surrounded by small verdant hills and lush green paddy fields with flocks of white egrets the village transports you to another world. And echoes of the bamboo music resonate with the beauty of this place. Hear the wonderful composition by the Vayali Bamboo Band and let their music take you on a magical trip.

Vayali is a registered non-profit. It consists of a group of young people, engaged in preserving their folk roots. Please share their music far and wide and if possible invite the band for shows and performances. Know more about them by visiting their web-site: www.vayali.org

Folk Music Secret Project

Folk Secrets Music Project

Sign up to our mailing list to get an update on the Folk Secrets Music Project when we release the next music video. We will also mail you a download link to the Vayali Bamboo Song.

India Travel

India. Travel to Paradise.

India. Easy to explain, difficult to understand. India. A sea of stories. Here’s an inspiring story from incredible India. This film was shot in Kolkata. A city that will amaze, inspire, and enchant you. In case you ever get a chance to visit, I am sure you will have your own story to tell.

Please leave a comment and don’t forget to share.

Credits:

Film by: Nitin Das  
http://www.filmkaar.com
Special thanks – Tulika Bhattacharya
Music: Avinash Baghel

India Travel

Travel to Paradise (Text)

We are all travelers of life
Walking into the unknown
Some are driven around
Some fly
But some…are just pulling their way through it.

The journey is never easy,
There’s chaos and confusion
There are cross-roads and road blocks
There are laws to follow and laws to break
and there’s the endless waiting
waiting… to reach somewhere in life.

So what fuels our travel?
For some it is adventure
For some it is ambition
For some it is wealth
For some it is love
For some it is faith

Our paths and vehicles may vary,
but the journey’s end is the same for all.
And beyond the bridge
some hope to find Paradise.
But some
have already found it.
For they know,
We are all travelers of life,
but the real journey lies within.

Crazy Gurgaon

Crazy Gurgaon

This is a story about crazy Gurgaon. Gurgaon, popularly known as the ‘Millennium City’ is a shining example of India’s development and growth. But that is an incomplete picture. To really understand Gurgaon and maybe India, you need to see the crazy side of the city. After all it is the craziness that gives a place it’s character. It’s the crazy Gurgaon that will stick in your head and perhaps if you visit, turn you a little crazy too.

Crazy Gurgaon

Crazy GurgaonPic 1. Beer is available at every corner, but to buy milk you may have to go to a mall.
Pic 2. Developers have used every inch of allotted space to build houses and offices, but they forgot to build the parking.
Pic 3. Forests are dying, but jungles are being built.
Pic 4. Gods and dogs share the same office.
Pic 5. Even the lamp posts are crazy.
Pic 6. Parks and Wildlife – Gurgaon version.
Pic 7. Tractors race along the roads. They are ideal for the potholes.
Pic 8. We live in boxes, with strangers for neighbours.

… to be continued.
What’s your crazy story about Gurgaon? Please leave a comment.

Note: This is an artistic opinion of Gurgaon and not a scientific one. There are many positive aspects to the city and it does have some happy people. The aim of this feature is just to highlight the quirky side. In case anyone feels offended and experiences a change in blood pressure after going through these statements, please see the film below.

Secret Gurgaon

This crazy city holds a few secrets. Secrets that have been forgotten and lay hidden for the explorers to uncover. Here is one secret.

Valley of Clouds

Valley of Clouds

Valley of Clouds shown in this film is a beautiful valley situated in the Himalayas. In the mornings, the valley gets filled up with a sea of clouds. The clouds cover the forest, mountains and villages in a blanket of white. It’s a beautiful symphony orchestrated by nature. For more fables visit: http://www.elfproject.org/fables

Credits:
Valley of CloudsFilm by: Nitin Das
Special Thanks: Gurpal Singh for organizing the M.A.F.I.A. gathering at www.himalayanvillage.com
Ashish Arora, Deepa Pathak for hosting us:

Learn to make movies like this one>>

Valley of Clouds in pictures

Zen-movies

3 Chocolate Zen Movies for the Soul

Zen movies:  What can a bar of chocolate teach us about happiness? In this collection of short zen movies a humble bar of chocolate will take us on a journey of envy, expectations and the race called life.The inspiration for these 3 short zen movies comes from one of the basic tenets of Zen, which is simplicity. Simple everyday objects can teach us profound lessons about life. The next time you have chocolate, think about these zen messages!

Zen Movie #1 Rat Race

Making of Chocolate Zen Movies:

These  zen films were shot with the nuns of Themisgam nunnery in Ladakh, India. Situated in a secluded valley, the nunnery is home to a small bunch of nuns from Zanskar. Besides their buddhist teachings the young nuns also get basic education in english, hindi and math. The little nuns had never acted in front of the camera, and were initially very shy. But it was wonderful to see their dedication and energy. In the icy cold desert of Leh, their smiles were heart warming.

Cast: Dolma, Chuskit, Palkit, Rigzen, Padma, Tsondus
Special Thanks: Themisgam Nunnery and Avalokitesvara Trust for facilitating the theatre workshop with the little nuns

Zen Movie #2 Expectations

Music for Zen Movie #2 courtesy: Tashi Morup. Music Produced by Upland Plateaux

Zen Movie #3 Envy


How to use these Zen movies
: The surprising thing about these short zen movies is that different people take out different messages from each film. E.g. For many people in the corporate world, the ‘chocolate bar’ represents the annual bonus. When one sees the films with that perspective, we get a totally new meaning. We’d love to know, what your interpretation is?

What next: In case you enjoyed these movies, you might like to watch our collection of 6 more short films for the soul. We are in the process of making more of such films. To stay updated, please subscribe.