Thursday, December 9, 2010

Entertainment Unraveled

Check out the ten minute entertainment news segment we made for our class. I directed and wrote this :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An excerpt from a story from my creative writing class...

The music started, the lights flashed. I'm not ready for this, she thought. And then she walked out onto the stage with ease. All eyes were on her. The beautiful gown by Niki Masters that she had on seemed to glow under the stage lights. As Danielle Rafi walked down the runway, cameras flashing all around her, images of her childhood began to run through her mind.
Flash. She was eight years old, running around in the playground after school. Shannon Mills, the class bully had come up to her and asked her if she was adopted. Confused, Danielle had asked what this meant. Shannon laughed and said it was obvious that Danielle had come from a family of giraffes because no human looked that strange. Everyone had laughed. Eight year old Danielle had been devastated. She was called 'Rafi the Giraffy' all through high school.
Flash. She was twelve years old and was playing around in her parents bedroom. She had on her mothers black pumps and was carefully applying her mothers lipstick on her lips. Her mother had walked in and asked her what she was doing. “I'm a model, mom!” Danielle had replied, excited. Her mother had laughed and said, “You're not a model. You're not pretty enough. Now go clean the kitchen”.

Flash. She was seventeen and in the hospital. Tired of being overlooked, overweight and overstressed with school, Danielle had stopped eating. She began to eat less and less each day, and was counting her calories and following strict 'diets'. Her goal was to eat less than 700 calories a day. She would look in the mirror and see herself as a worthless human being. So overweight. So many pounds to lose. It was only after months of specialized therapy and diet regulating that Danielle realized that she was never overweight – just under a lot of pressure.
Flash. Now here she was. Walking down this runway. She had overcome so much stress, so much drama. She had climbed and stumbled on so many steps up the ladder, and now she was finally here. Danielle felt like she had been such a disappointment to everybody in her life that this was her time to shine. No Shannon Mills to think that she was better than her. No mother to mock her modeling aspirations and tell her she wasn't pretty. No doctors to tell her she was anorexic because she wasn't anorexic anymore.
She stopped. She turned. She posed. Then she turned again and walked back down the runway. She was getting closer and closer to the wings. Ten steps...five steps...two steps...

She turned into the left wing and almost crashed into Niki Masters herself.
“Ow!” she heard Niki say as she brushed past her.
“Sorry”, said Danielle in a sincerely apologetic voice. But she couldn't stick around to elaborate on her apology. She had to change into another dress immediately.
“Models,” Danielle heard Niki murmur to herself as she went back to watching the show. Danielle hung her head. Her first real modeling job. And already, she had disappointed someone.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Fictional Truth

Hi everybody,

So I thought I'd update this to let everyone know that my first album, 'The Fictional Truth', is now out and available for digital download on amazonmp3, itunes, cdbaby, Rhapsody and all other major online music distributors.

I could not have made this album without the help and time of Vivek Vaishnav, who helped me record 7 out of 8 of the songs on this album, and also co-wrote 'Tin Man' (aka the best song ever). Also, Farah Vaishnav, who wrote the lyrics for 'Coffee' (one of my most popular downloads) and Manmath Vaishnav, who was the only family member to never question my dreams and the only one who fully supported me and always believed that I would make it, no matter what.

I would like to say that everyone is very happy for me and is very supportive. However, I'd be wrong. Most of the support I am getting is from people back home, thousands and thousands of miles away.

But I'm surprised to find that many people here in the U.S have either said negative things about what I am doing or haven't said anything at all - which doesn't show a lot of support, especially since some of these people are people I have known for years and years now.

I understand that the album thing came out of the blue - but why is it so surprising? I've been working on my music for years and this has been a dream of mine for a long time now. So what gives?

Here's how I did it.

I started searching around the web about a month ago as to how one markets their music. I learned that if you have a set of songs, you can sign a marketing deal with a company and they will market your music and make it available as an album for digital download. The music has to be approved for sale by all online retailers like amazon, itunes etc as per their own specifications, and once everything is approved - you're done. Your album is up for sale.

That's all I did. I recorded some songs with my cousin. The retailers liked and approved of the songs and they were up for sale. It's not rocket science. So I don't understand why people are so shocked. Anyone can do it if they can sing, write and record.

Want to buy my album? Click the links below. And if you can't afford to buy it, could you at least listen to my songs on and give me a good review?

Thanks everyone!


Buy my album at -

Review my album on amazon -

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Final Performance

Hello everyone who isn't reading this because I have no subscribers since my recruited P.R agents (my sisters) have had no time to tell people about this blog - how are you?

So last night was my final performance for my Mus 144 class. The class is kind of a training ground for singers because we get trained in vocal techniques, microphone use, movement and all kinds of other stuff. The class basically teaches you how to be a rockstar.

This is how it works:

During the semester, one is required to sing five songs from four different genres - Country, Pop/Rock, Jazz and R & B. The fifth song can be from a genre of our choice. The first time we sing our chosen song, Charlie, the professor (who trained Gwen Stefani by the way), critiques us and tells us what to do and what not to do (emphasis on the what not to do). In addition to this, everyone in the class fills out Performance Evaluation Sheets with three things that they liked about your performance and three things that they didn't. Then, the next week, we sing the same song again and this time, everyone just fills out the sheets. There is no individual critique.

This process repeats itself for each song you choose. It's kinda hard to get 5 songs done in a semester because the competition to sign up is cut-throat. If you don't stalk the door, rush into the classroom as soon as the door opens armed with a sharpie and sign your name on the board, you don't get to sing.

All the singing in class is done with a pianist. No live band or anything. But when it comes time for the final, we have a whole band backing us up - and we don't get to rehearse with the band beforehand!

It's a nerve-racking experience, but still a lot of fun. The show was awesome and everyone shined just the way that they should. The band was awesome. They were all successful industry musicians who had worked with artists like Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, James Brown and more. Here's a little taste of what the show was like:

This was my first time singing with a live band, so it was a new experience. I had a blast though, and if I didn't just graduate (yesterday, in fact. I ditched the ceremony to perform with the band instead - great decision btw), I'd totally take the class again.

All in all, it was an awesome night and I'm glad I got to be a part of it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dancing on The Beach


for my Dance Improvisation Workshop, my teacher thought it would be a fun idea to dance on the pier and on the beach in front of the WHOLE WORLD. I thought she was nuts and that it would be super weird to dance in the middle of the promenade with tourists and beach goers ogling at us, but I have to admit - it was a lot of fun.

We put on quite a show, randomly moving through the crowd, interacting with each other and pairing up into partnerships halfway through the dance as if we'd read each others minds. Everything that we did was improvised, which was amazing. We danced on the pier and on the sand and it was pretty much a perfect day to be outside doing exactly what we were doing.

We have a four minute performance in the school show on Tuesday, which will be my first dance show since junior high.

The dance shows I used to be a part of in junior high were cringe worthy - not because the dances were bad, but because I was so bad in them. I have always had two left feet. I do not know how to move my body gracefully and have often been told that I am very stiff with my movements. The only dancing I can do is Salsa dancing because I'm good with hip movements.

In fact, now that I'm here, flashing back to junior high, I can't help but think about that one time we had an inter-school dance competition that our school hadn't won in years. I was a member of a school club called the Interact Club, which is why I ended up being a part of the dance in the first place. The club did all sorts of fun things like plays and dances as well as things for charities like donations and volunteering. Since our school decided to enter the dance competition at the last minute, anyone who volunteered from the club was put into the dance troupe.

Rehearsals were a little cringe worthy since the choreographer kept giving me the evil eye, but other than that, I think I did pretty okay. I didn't trip over my own feet or anything.

The day before the competition, I went out an bought the costume for the dance. The next day, we all went to another school where the competition was being held.

Upon arriving at the school, however, I was told my one of my professors that I had been "removed from the dance because I was a bad dancer". This, after I had bought an outfit and traveled all the way to the other side of town with the rest of the dancers. My little 13 year old brain could not comprehend what had happened and I spent most of the afternoon crying in a random bathroom stall.

Later, the teacher who threw the thirteen year old child out of an inter-school event got fired. I'm not sure if it was due to my mothers complaint letter to the principal, or due to the eight other complaint letters that this particular teacher had received against her, but she didn't even complete the semester.

After that incident, I didn't dance again until now. Taking this class has been a lot of fun and I'm glad I chose to dance because I feel like I've gotten over my fears from junior high. I mean, at the end of the day, who care's if I'm not a great dancer? At least I'm not afraid to have fun and make a fool of myself.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Creative Life

Everybody's doing it.

I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little late, but I guess it's better late then never. I mean, who knows? Someone could think my blog entries are actually interesting, and I could get a book deal like Julie Powell did when she wrote about the whole Julie/Julia project.

Probably not though.

In any case, I was just sitting here, looking at my 67 photo albums on Facebook and thinking, "God, I've had an awesome life. I should blog about it."

So here I am.

I may not be the worlds best writer, but I have a lot to write about. It begins with my family.

I grew up in Mumbai, India. My mother is a journalist and is the managing editor of a fabulously fabulous Fashion and Lifestyle magazine that shall remain nameless. Let's just say that when my mother walks into an event and shows her business card at the counter, people stand up to greet her.

My father is an orthopedic surgeon. That's a bone doctor for all those who don't know. So, you know, if you ever break a leg or an arm or now know of a good doctor who can set things right. And that's just what my father is - a good doctor. He's honest when it comes to his patients and never overcharges or takes advantage of his patients. No wonder we're poor. It's always the evil that are rich.

My sister is a copyrighter at an advertising agency. Her achievement is that she not only eats, sleeps and breathes advertising - but she magically manages to have a life too. She's always out and about, leading a very Friends or How I Met Your Mother kind of life.

And then, there's the cousins.

My fathers side of my family has always been very musically oriented. Almost everyone sings or plays some kind of instrument. Growing up, my dad would sing Beatles songs to me and my sister, which impacted us greatly.

And this is why I am a writer, a singer and a filmmaker. I got the writing from my mother and sister, the music from my dad and cousins and the filmmaking from within. Plus I'm sure the random drama caused by Rani, my maid, added to the whole filmmaking thing.

But even though I've been working on the three creative arts mentioned above, it still hasn't been enough for me. I want to experience all the creative arts out there. I have worked in fashion and event planning. I have been a web designer, a songwriter and a poet. Now I want to work on photography and playwriting. I've started dancing and have taken an interest in theater. I want to learn how to paint and draw (which I currently suck at) and how to work with animation.

And that's what I intend to explore in this blog. Creativity in all it's forms. My goal from now on is to take on and learn about all the creative arts, and document my experiences in this blog. I am undertaking a really fun journey here, and I hope my readers will travel to my crazy destinations with me.