After Yogi and the Bear tickling ribs across the country, Alex is getting ready for his solo standup special “Alex in Wonderland”. Here’s him telling us what it is about!!
This is the third year since I left my 15-year long corporate career to do performing arts. If you are reading this, you are indeed a part of this journey, directly or indirectly. I thank you for being there. In case you have not heard, I am launching my solo standup special ‘Alex in Wonderland’ in September. You can find the tour details in bit.ly/alexwonderland. (Just getting this out of the way. That’s all :) ).
It has been a fabulous three years. I feel grateful to have come this far. At this age, there is plenty to look back into. There are wonderful things to be happy about. But then, there are always things to fuss about. If you can laugh at all of them with child-like optimism, then, that, according to me, is your wonderland.
What do I talk about, in this show? Parenting is one thing. More than sharing my parenting stories, I am keen to share things I will want to tell my children. If I have to write a letter (like how Poet Na.Muthukumar did for his son), which my kids will read long after I am gone, what will that be? I have not written and performed much about parenting, yet. That ‘Sishya School’ comedy is one of the few. That story too is not so much about Sishya but about how we have managed to create Sishya like situations all around us. We get the kids up on the competition mode even before they are out in the world. It looks like, the world can not run without competition anymore. You switch on the TV, it is filled with competitions. Almost all shows are competitions. Be it singing or dancing or cooking, you have a competition. Even a small group of people living inside a house is now competition. More than the art, so much of attention is given for the drama around it. A great amount of time and energy is going into watching and wondering about other people’s lives. If only, we can spend half that time to watch our own lives!
Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti has spoken some wise words on how competition form the foundation for all the conflicts, wars and ruins in the world. I hope the world heads towards a comparison-free, competition-free, and a war-free world. No more losing millions of lives over pieces of land. I hope we move towards the world, where peace of mind is valued over and above a piece of land. We should hope for a world where there are no comparison and competition, but only collaboration. When you collaborate, you will get to focus on YOUR strengths, rather than worrying about getting better than someone else’s strengths. Focusing and building on your own strengths will be so much more fun.
Then, I want to talk about Jallikattu. I know, it is not in the headlines anymore. but, hey, we spent weeks sitting in the beach. We have to hold on to that cause a little longer. I grew up in a village in the 70s and 80s. So much has changed in these 40 years. Jallikattu issue was a moment for us to wonder whether these changes have done good to us at all. In these four decades, most of native seeds have disappeared to make way for the genetically modified seeds from the Trump land. Plants are not having their pollination fun anymore. We now come to know about how native bulls and cows are fast disappearing. In many states, natural insemination is banned and artificial insemination supplies are coming from Trump. Yes, the cows and bulls are not having fun together anymore. The next step, who knows, could be for humans. Or maybe it has started already. So many things changed. While I was growing up, we were roaming around the fields and farms like the country chickens. (They were called just chickens back then). Now we all have migrated to the cities and living in the corporate cubes and the same have happened to the chickens too. Somewhere a balance and restoration of natural living is needed. I think this is worth talking/joking about.
When all else fails, I truly believe, there will always be art. Especially music. Music is God’s own mocktail. You can drink as much as you want. It’s all good. I believe good music gets the soul to secrete love and compassion and good things start happening. Growing up in the village, I always woke up to the intense high pitched singing of Seerkazhi Govindarajan from the temple early in the morning. Temple’s loud speaker was the common alarm for the entire village. Seerkazhi’s ‘Vinaayakaney Vinai Theerpavaney’ can release you not just from obstacles of life but can also get you out of bed. We would wake up and head to the church for the morning service. On the way to church, walking around a big pond by the fields, you can’t miss but hear the voice of Nagoor Hanifa from the mosque in the neighboring village. Nagoor’s “Iraivanidam Kai Yendhungal” will be so convincing that you will believe asking God will always work. When we return from church, All India Radio’s ‘Bhakthi Paadalgal (Devotional Songs) will still be on. Seerkazhi and MS Subbulakshmi and Yesudas and Nagoor would be filling the air. That old radio box filled us with MS Viswanathan and Ilaiyaraja. (Rahman broke all the radios and records. That’s a different story).
Alex in wonderland is all about me happily wondering about all these things with insane optimism. Yes, be assured that it’s a comedy show. I am telling you all these now, because when we get on with humour and music at the show, we won’t get to talk about all these in detail :). In any case, keep wondering and count the wonders around you. Don’t underestimate the power of wondering. Remember this, those who wonder are not LOST!
Alexander The Comic