Saturday, December 30, 2006

rambling again

Woke up early ... have been having problems sleeping of late and surprisingly, woke up at 5 this morning, and despite trying my best to sleep again, I could not resist the temptation to be up and about.

Brushed, made myself a cup of coffee, gave parents a wake up call so they wouldn't miss the flight home, and then decided to blog... after a stroll on the terrace, enjoying the early morning fog.

Since I prefer to write my posts in one go, generally I finish all my other browsing before opening the blogger page. Today, while I was checking my yahoo mail, my gmail, orkut and what not, (thanks to IE7 this is easier to do now without cluttering ur desktop ... though this feature has been around in other browsers that I have been too lazy to install).. I remembered an old poem that I really loved as a kid. Reproduced here, hopefully without any copyright violations (hopefully not as it is already available at a million sites all over the web):

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death - by W.B. Yeats

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;

My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

The number of views on this poem were numerous, not surprisingly. I was a little disappointed to find that most people are so tied up with the trivia though ... that this poem was written on the death of Major Robert Gregory.

The reason it had touched me then, and moves me even today is because of the passion in the poem. Unlike some reviews I read, I don't think this is so much a poem about pessimism as it is about passion. It is about choosing to do what you want to do, choosing it over all else, no matter what the consequence, and reaching the very zenith in the field of your choosing.

I realize that my view of the poem is just another view, taken from my point of reference and is neither any better nor any worse than the other views that I read and failed to concur with. As a writer, (if I may take the liberty of calling myself one) I realize that my writings do often get triggered by incidents around me. However, the writing is never really as much about the incident as it is about my interpretation of it. This poem may have been triggered by the death of someone he knew, but I fail to believe that Yeats was just trying to represent the martyred major.

When I decided to blog this morning, it wasn't meant to be about poetry. It was to be about something different. It was to be about finding one's center ... and how, finding your center is not really a one time activity. We are often led to believe that one fine day enlightenment hits you like a bolt from the blue .. and there you have it ... provided you have slogged for it :)

Perhaps self realization does hit you that way, the thing that isn't so obvious generally is that just like a bolt of lightning, it doesn't really stay with you. It hits you and it goes. And, there is no knowing whether it will ever hit you again.

Attaining self realization is not so easy as maintaining that state of self realization. If one were to withdraw from society and live as a hermit, perhaps it would be easier. However, while trying to live a normal life with its idiosyncracies and everyday glitches, it is quite easy to lose your center ... and having lost it, finding it again is as tough as the first time ... perhaps more so, since having been there done that, you get frustrated more easily when you find that it is still as elusive as it ever was. Imagine going from tree to tree in the hope of another lightning strike!

I don't know whether all this makes much sense ... it does to me though ... and to steal some words again (for someone has expressed it better than I can) "You teach best what you most need to learn" -Richard Bach (Illusions)

No disrespect intended, but I just realized it probably sounds better the way I render it : "You teach best what you need to learn most".


Monday, December 25, 2006

alone again

Haven't felt like writing for a while. Started writing a post on euthanasia a while ago but deleted it when I was halfway through it. I don't generally save posts as drafts to work on them later and post them - which is why, a lot of thoughts go unrecorded ... but then on the bright side, most of the posts that do end up getting written also end up being quite candid.

Parents left today. They are still around in fact. I came back home once they went past security, and they were to call once they boarded ... and they haven't yet ... (mom called just as I typed in that last ellipse ... they are boarding)... came back home, and decided to blog before I get back to my work ... which has been interrupted so often of late because of various personal problems ...

Living alone is a habit. And, like all habits, once broken, it takes time to get back to it. Coming home to an empty house, cooking for yourself ... I am not really cribbing. I love the solitude... I love the time it gives me to think ... uninterrupted ... it is because of these long periods of solitude perhaps that I am so comfortable with myself. Many of my friends tend to call on me regularly whenever they are alone because their family is out of town .. and many of them ask how I manage ... I don't manage. I thrive.

Getting back to the other side of the tale, it is difficult to let parents leave. Life has almost come full circle. I still remember the days when dad would take me out to get my shopping done before leaving for the hostel, and how we would sit together and figure out a budget and dad would give me enough money to last a while ... he lived in Arunachal for most of his life ... and the postal services were notoriously inconsistent, so I never knew when I'd be receiving my next draft ...
Now, I generally take them to a mall, get them what they need, and somethings that they aren't quite that certain about but I feel they need, and then I figure out the budget with them, and give dad the cash he wants, the tickets, the hotel reservations, checking and double checking, ensuring his cell phone is topped up, that they have all the contact numbers, that my friends will be there in case they need some help ... all the while, giving them the respect and sense of independence that they always allowed me ...

So there... alone again ... this time though, it probably wont mean that the number of posts will increase for I have tonnes of work to catch up on .... for now, let me enjoy the chill in the air ... and the sound of the ceiling fan (which I refuse to switch off despite the current weather) ...

I'd have watched TV .... But watching TV isn't half as much fun when you don't have to convince someone why the program that you intend to watch is any better than the program that they want to watch :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

unsung song

Tried writing songs for a while, while I was in college. We were hardly a band ... just spent many lazy evenings on the terrace singing whatever songs we liked and strumming the guitar ... summer of 69 used to be a favourite with everyone I remember.

Today, in the middle of an otherwise busy day, suddenly a couple of lines came to me and I thought I'd jot them down ... see whether I still have the art ...
I love country music ... and this is meant for the Kris Kristofferson kinda singer!

Disclaimer: Please don't take the lyrics to be my personal status in life ;-)

I don't pretend to be a singer
I don't pretend to be a star
I am just a battered old stranger
In my run-down old car

And there are times when I slow down
And there are people who think they touch
But all they ever feel is ...
Maybe it is just I that don't feel so much

As I drag on a cigarette
I wonder 'bout the past
For my dreams now lie in ashes
All hopes stubbed out in the dust

Yeah ... that's about it ... funny how life goes on.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

a death in the family

Reached home just a little while ago after a tiring but fun day at the mall with my parents.
The phone rang ... and now my uncle is dead.

English is inadequate as a language at times. It fails to capture our social and family structures. Though "uncle" sounds suspiciously like a friendly neighbor, I am talking about a blood relation today - the second oldest of my Father's brothers.

Have tried to continue for the last few minutes ....

May he rest in peace.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

et tu brute ....

then fall Caesar.

betrayal ....

It does not matter how many times or how often you are betrayed ... it never gets any easier to take. As Shakespeare had Mark Antony quote ... it remains the unkindest cut of all.

And so Caesar fell ... but I don't suppose he had much options then.

What makes man so different from most other animals is the ability to put that space between a stimuli and the corresponding reaction. So what do you do when you are betrayed? Do you fall? or do you stand? You sit perhaps ... from the shock and the pain ... just because you do not want to do anything rash ... to try and fully comprehend the magnanimity of the situation... incongruous ...

What do you do?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

lots to write

but finding it extremely difficult to fit it into my current schedule. Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30 despite having slept very late the night before, and for some reason, I could not sleep. The reason was that I was thinking too much. Can't quite remember what triggered it. This is what I can remember:

I woke up feeling a lot like Neo ... with that vague feeling that something isnt really right with the world ... something is missing or wrong ... The night before, the news had mostly been about violent incidents in various parts of the country .. and something I just cannot figure out is why.

At a time when we as a race are more technically advanced then we have ever been (at least with regard to documented history), when we have the power, perhaps for the first time to actually have some control over our lives ... At a time when man need not fear any animal or natural event that is short of a catastrophe, all of a sudden, the biggest enemy of man is man himself. I cannot walk out on the road without looking over my shoulder because I could get killed for my caste, my religion, my race, my nationality, my political beliefs ... it is so terrible and so sad.

When we have gone to the moon and found that there is no lady on it ... neither a rabbit, and when we finally realize that god isn't out there ... but in here, how can we still fight over religion? It is like going back to the dark ages ... crusades and stuff ... before you know there'll be dragon slayers.

I guess every generation has its share of pessimists and believers in doomsday scenarios ... and though I try not to be one, I see very little hope for us as a race. What makes our times the saddest is perhaps because for the first time, man has the power to look beyond the known horizons ... even at the stars ... but all we are doing is de-generating into a medieval society.

Not sure how to make this post more coherent because there are a million facets to it .. and none of them very nice. From the spread of terrorism to the spread of anti-terrorism ... the creation of the virtual leviathan - the corporation - and how money is all that matters suddenly at all levels ... and how technology can be used to know everything about you ... the big brother syndrome ... being caged in the name of freedom ... being monitored 24/7 .... no higher purpose to life ... fast cars ... faster cars ... big houses ... bigger houses ... politics ... value education ... morals ...

Each bloody thing in that list is a topic on its own ... and though I got carried away and wrote a lot more than I thought I would, I realize that it is just incomprehensible babble .. much like my thoughts were in that half awake state ...

But we need to do something. We have to do something.
How can we make this a better place for the future generations?
How can we make sure that the future generations are better than us?

How? How? How?

Despite humans being .... well ... humans!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

half a century

Haven't blogged for a while, and as I sat down today to blog, I thought I'd name it "9 times" ... based on Cliff Richard's song:
9 times out of ten I tried to kiss you
And I even tried just 9 times again
But for every 9 times that I miss you
Baby I'll get you on number 10

... something like that ... corny... not sure that I remember the lyrics correctly and am too lazy to check them out. The reason that this song happened to be on my mind was because I'd just tried to log on to the office network about 9 times ... and i decided I'd leave the 10th attempt for later.

Then, as I logged on to blogger, I realized that this was to be my 50th post. A mile stone of sorts if you care for that sort of stuff ... I don't particularly ... but then, I had screamed on my 32nd ... so why not on the 50th. Actually, it brought to the forefront a thought that I have been having on and off ... whether I'd like to pass my blog on to someone down the line ... whether it makes sense to do so ... the thought was, half a century later (though I doubt I have that many years left in me), if I was still writing here, it would perhaps be time to look for an heir .. heiress perhaps :)

Otherwise, a typical saturday here. Trying hard to catch up on sleep that I have missed during the week, staying a few extra hours with parents since they will soon be heading home again.

December ... winter ... I try not to think about it. Clear blue skies, sunny days, but with a chill in the air.
As a kid, winter was a time of mixed emotions. Generally, our school would get over on the 1st of December or thereabouts, at 11:30 in the morning, after the last exam of the final term, for a full 3 months. The school didn't reopen till after holi in March generally. So, there was the happiness associated with not having to go to school for all of 3 months ... and not having to study ... but it also meant not seeing or hearing from your friends for that much time. Somehow, that was a little bothersome ... in a poignant sort of way. I never was certain, and am not, even today, if the nip in the air was the only thing that made the last day of school feel the way it did.

On the other hand, for me, almost every year, it also meant that I would be travelling to wherever dad happened to be living at the time ... so I would come back home to a house that was being prepared for a 3 month lock down ... throw all the stuff that can rot ... cover anything that can get dusty ... close the windows ... pack your bags ... sometimes dad would be there to take us, and sometimes we would travel alone .. as in my mom, brother and myself.

I miss that yearly pilgrimage. I miss those 3 months of carefree fun, when I could play as much as I wanted, and read as much as I could lay my hands on (yes I was a bookworm ... anything and everything in the library would get devoured) ... I miss that opportunity to rediscover one self, to rejuvenate ... and to simply live.

Life was a lot less complicated then. We did not know that anything could hurt more than a scraped knee. We did not know any pain more than a game lost. Not for ourselves, nor for those around us.

Pain isolates people. When you are in pain, all the empathy and sympathy just help you realize just how alone you are in your pain. And so much so, that even if a pain revisits ... as in even if you are pained by a similar set of circumstances, having known the pain does not help you come any closer to alleviating it.

So then, here is to pain, and our understanding of it .. and a little cliched perhaps, but to our childhood, and to innocence lost :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

thE mundanE

A really bleak morning. Cloudy and cold. The sounds are all muffled so, that even a city as noisy as bangalore seems to be quiet, as though in mourning.

Struggled to wake up and get out of bed. Eventually managed to do so by about 8:30 after mom had called a couple of times, dad had come in to check whether I was fine, and after I'd hit the snooze button of my alarm about 4 times.

Tumbled out of bed and down the stairs, took a mug (a mug is a bath taken with a mug and bucket, as opposed to a shower ... which is what you take when you stand under a shower to take that bath), chomped down the breakfast with as little effort as possible, and swallowed it with gulps of cold milk ... had to take almost twice the milk that I generally have for breakfast - an indication of how little energy I actually expended in the chomping .. and luckily, there are no horror stories to relate regarding the rickshaw trip to office.

So here I am, still sleepy enough for my speech to be slightly slurred ... coffee didn't help ... so I thought I'd blog ... start typing to just get the day started. It's helped some ... so I guess I'll contemplate starting my work now.

It is not like I haven't been thinking and don't have something weird to write about ... but really it is the everyday and the mundane that takes up most of our lives anyway .. so let it stay .. recorded here for posterity ... or till a hard disk stops whirring in some remote corner of the world.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Finding Forrester - a tribute?

As though to vindicate some of my previous posts, in "Finding Forrester", Wiliam Forrester says that you should write your first draft from your heart and edit it later with your head (something along those lines).

Tonight, after a long day at the office, and a million things still on my mind, while channel surfing, I realized that this movie was showing and decided to watch it again. Dad was watching too... and to my delight, he liked it as well. So there we sat, me explaining some of the quirks of western culture that our generation is more familiar with to dad - acting as his interpreter - as dad prefers to put it.

This movie touches me every time I see it. It is just right. The feel of New York, the sights and sounds of solitude, the aptitude, the attitude ... great photography, soothing background scores - you even get to hear the tabla in bits and pieces. Even the furniture in the rooms is just right.

I don't really know why it touches me so profoundly. Though the waters run deep, there are some things which I cosciously realize and appreciate.

What touches me, I think, is not so much Jamal's case - the contradiction inherent to being a 16 year old - the need to blend in, the thirst to break out ... yes those things are there ... I notice them. I believe what touches me most is the character of William Forrester.

The isolation that he creates for himself, the comfort he finds in his solitude, the discipline ... breath taking. The point when Jamal takes him to the baseball field on his birthday, the ability and the strength to taste your emotions ... letting it roll on your tongue while just stating the bare facts ...

Awe and envy at seeing a man attain more than one pinnacle in a life time. To be able to write a novel that is so good that it is the best. The satisfaction of having done something so well, that you don't even have the need to do anything ever again ... to have said it all.

As if that weren't enough, the satisfaction of nurturing something unique and seeing it grow and blossom - Jamal's talent... this probably fits in with the need to propagate ideas that I wrote about a while ago ... and even in dying, to have that last laugh ... and that last moment of satisfaction in knowing that you have done it again ... and that someone is there to see it through though you are no longer around.

And the desire to reach the same heights, live as richly and to die as peacefully.

Yes ... that is about it ... about as close to my emotions as I can get ... in words.

No. This is not a film review, and I am not asking anyone to watch it. The fact remains that if Finding Forrester the first time (pardon the pun) had given me great joy, rediscovering Forrester today game me equal pleasure.

So why do I write?

I write so that I may remember ... for we often forget.
And therein lies the sorrow ... of losing ...
And therein lies the joy ... of re-discovery ...

To find something, you may need to lose it first!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

the boggart

For those that read Harry Potter books, the boggart is not a new concept. For those that prefer not to read Harry Potter, a boggart is not what the dictionary defines it to be (I don't know if any of them have been updated so far to include the new definition).

The definition:
Loosely defined, a boggart is a spirit whose real form can never be seen because it takes on the form of whatever you fear the most whenever you look at it.

The buildup:
While reading Harry Potter, I was absolutely amazed at the ingenuity of the author for having created such a lifeform .. or deadform as it were ...

The relevation:
Today, while I was thinking of something else, it suddenly struck me that a boggart is really a simplistic derivation of a phenomenon that is very common to the world around us.

If you think about it, of all the people that know you, how many people really see you for what you are? Aren't we all boggarts that take on the form defined not simply by fear, but by every other human emotion, whether defined by a word in our language or not.

You and I might think of us as simple human beings ... but every time someone looks at us, what they see is really a combination of numerous human emotions ... hate, love, hopes, aspirations, expectations ....

Welcome to the other world!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

yet to decide

on a name for the post.

Haven't logged in for a while to blog. Partly because work has increased, partly because I am no longer living alone - so there is a lot more conversations on the outside than on the inside, partly because I have been caught up with things that seem to come so easily to others, and partly because I have been spending enormous amounts of time trying to chase down the eureka forbes guys that sold me a defective aquaguad, and haven't replaced it for two weeks now, despite reassurances to the contrary every day from the "group leader".

I am generally clueless about the topic when I start writing my posts, however, today, I am more clueless(if there be such a state) than usual ... apart from that, I have a feeling this is going to be one of those morose posts that cause many people to lambast bloggers as a set of disgruntled people who have withdrawn from life to live it on the net.

In the meanwhile, I logged on to one fine day, and in a moment of weakness, decided to claim my blog for myself, announced my name to the whole wide world (or whoever wants to sue me), that the blog is an Indian blog, and have since had the satisfaction of seeing my rating change from 5104 when I started to five thousand two hundred something. Being a programmer, I can't help wondering, if the rating of my post happens to be an accurate indication of the number of people registered at this blogstreet thing :)

On a more somber note, tong, dong, tadang .... it is nice to know that there aren't a lot of people reading my blogs ... so I don't have to read the paper with the sole intention of regurgitating the contents later for easier consumption of the masses or write movie reviews ... on the whole, I can stay just the way I am, write just what I want to write about, and not worry whether the erudite find it particularly enlightening or not :)

(This post is getting nicer than I thought it would be)
Now, to follow the train of thought from the last paragraph, (my thought trains derail so frequently that I could Indian Railways a run for their money) one may argue that just because there are people reading your posts, you need not change ... they might take it to be a test of true character and whatever else it is morally fashionable to be these days. However, the fact is that though I just write for the sake of writing, I do appreciate readers, and I do appreciate comments ... and being human, is all about interaction ... it is quite natural for a person to react to stimuli ...

Not reacting to a particular stimuli is a reaction in itself ... and how can we say that one reaction is superior to the other in an absolute sense?

And if we are to judge decisions on an absolute scale, perhaps the only criterion is to judge the decision based on whether it allows you to live longer ... and propagate further...

In which case the writer who changes based on feedback, thus gaining popularity and wider readership is making a superior choice to the one that does not change ... stays true to himself or herself and gets wiped off most reading lists (This is just an argument ... I am not saying that this is what I think ... but I am thinking it and writing it ... but let us not worry about that for now!!!)

Humans being more complicated than other organisms, there is another thing with respect to survival ... for us, the concept of survival and propagation is not limited to our genetic material anymore. People often make decisions to ensure that their ideas survive ... so that their ideas propagate ... be it a philosohy ... a way of life ... a belief.

Well, that should be all for today ... because there is really no logical end to something that never logically began ... to begin with!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

David Swan

Been thinking of writing this for a while but time hasn't permitted me to write a new post.

I am not sure how many of you have come across the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne ...
He was an American novelist and short story writer.

We had his short story - David Swan - in one of our literature books in the 10th standard. It is a remarkable story ... umm ... it may be easier to take the gist out of the story itself .. and i quote:

"We can be but partially acquainted even with the events which actually influence our course through life, and our final destiny. There are innumerable other events--if such they may be called--which come close upon us, yet pass away without actual results, or even betraying their near approach, by the reflection of any light or shadow across our minds. Could we know all the vicissitudes of our fortunes, life would be too full of hope and fear, exultation or disappointment, to afford us a single hour of true serenity. This idea may be illustrated by a page from the secret history of David Swan."

The other day, on orkut, I realized that every item that we enter in our profile under interests etc. becomes a hyperlink that allows us to find other members with similar interests. This intrigued me, and as I had some time available, I decided to check on the results for the people who liked the same books that I do.

The lists were huge, and after clicking on a couple of profiles, I realized (with some sadness), that there was no point in pinging any of these people .. for given my history of maintaining (or not maintaining) my existing friendships, it was hardly logical to try and acquire new ones.

I couldn't help thinking however of all the people in the world I haven't met who would have been as good friends as the ones I already have ... of all the people that I shall never know ... whom I might have liked knowing, and of all those people who shall go through life without the privilege of having had my exalted company =/;D

That is what reminded me of David Swan ... not with respect to events .. but with respect to people ... there are so many people that we almost meet and we don't .. so many people that we do meet but never really get to know ... perhaps because we are too caught up with our daily lives ... or maybe because of certain social prejudices ... out of distrust of strangers perhaps ...

And that made me think of the friends that I do have ... the ones whose presence we take for granted ... the ones that have always been there. Isn't it mind boggling ... the probability that this person would ever be in your life given a slightly different set of circumstances?

Here is an idea ... as usual, the bulb lit up as I was typing ... and I'll probably be too lazy to do anything about it myself:
Can you think of the first time that you ever met some of your friends? Recall the circumstances that led to the meeting and calculate, what are the chances that you'd actually ever have met!!!

(oops!!! the language is a little convoluted up yonder... especially at the end ... but try and get the soul of it without getting into the language)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a why to live ....

If I remember right, and if it is not a figment of my imagination, there is a saying that goes something like .... if you have a "why" to live for, you can answer almost any "how".

So, this morning, I was trying to figure out what my "why" is ... and whether I can see a "why" in the lives of the people around me ... and it struck me, though I realize that this may be just a perception based on my own state, that most people probably don't have a "why" that they really feel is worth it.

Given my tendency to generalize, I think that this may be a root cause of all the turmoil we see around ... people searching for a "why" a reason ... a cause .. if you may ... to help them answer the "how"s that they need to answer on a daily basis.

I am not very comfortable discussing my "why" or the lack thereof at present ... but this sort of leads me to another question ... something based on the end of the Lord Of The Rings triology ...

I do not have the LOTR with me, and despite googling for it high and low, I was unable to find an e-text version of the same. However, if I remember correctly, just before Frodo takes off for good, he leaves the book that he was completing with Samwise ... so that he may add his bit to it. Which presumably Sam does, and then sends to a publisher and he lives happily ever after on the proceeds from the sales. Evidently, whatever Sam himself does after Frodo leaves is not worthwhile or interesting enough to be in the LOTR ...

The disturbing part is that Frodo having completed his quest leaves ... Sam, is stuck here. In a book, it is very convenient for Frodo to disappear into the blue ... but, in real life, every "why" that we have may not last a life time ... every reason, every cause, every quest may and eventually do come to an end. What then?

In LOTR, Bilbo Baggins faces that problem ... but we are so caught up with Frodo, we don't realize this till ... well, I realized it now as I am typing this out. So, even for those that have a quest, a "why", there may come a time when there is nothing left to do.

It is therefore not enough to have a "why". One has to continually re-invent this "why" ... probably through introspection ... which unfortunately, we don't seem to ever have enough time for... and so, slowly over time, we slip into a world where there are no quests ... and unless you have been on a quest that has given u enough satisfaction to last a life time (I doubt this is possible), you are haunted by a vauge formless unease which (today I feel) may be your realization that there is a big un-answered question ... what is my next "why"!

So ... do you know your "why"?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

found a shamrock ...

This morning, on my lawn, to my surprise, I found shamrock growing in small clumps scattered all around ... I even photographed one! Add to that a single forlorn daisy ... the first I have seen since coming here ...

The shamrock reminded me of ireland. I would like so much to believe that somehow a few seeds came with me and that is how these flowers have suddenly appeared ... though that is so far fetched!!!

In a while, my posts will probably again take on the usual hues ... at the moment, my vacation is still very much in my mind.

Here is my favourite kitten ... this one kept me company almost all the time that I was at home, following me around like a puppy during the day, and even following me to the bed at night to snuggle by my feet ...

The bigger one ... She'd come over too but generally preferred to keep to herself apart from meal times ... here she is raising a friendly paw ...

The dog took a long time to get used to me ... allowing me to actually touch her only on the last few days. It is kinda weird to see two cats and a dog living in harmony ... there is so much we can learn from animals ...

Here she can be seen sniffing the air suspiciously and pretending that I am not even there taking the photograph.

Cute things aside, why do you think so many of the rich and the famous are so concerned that you and I have our daily dose of Cola? From early in the morning to late in the evening, they keep appearing in the middle of myriad programs to remind us that they are still taking their daily dose and it is recommended that we take ours. I can't help wondering whether it has to anything to do with the fact that we have to pay for drinking the concoction ... sometimes shelling out an additional buck to have it chilled ... whereas these big shots get paid for taking their little gulp infront of the camera (and spitting it out as soon as the camera stops rolling (perhaps))!

Assuming that these Colas do get manufactured under stringent conditions and are not the bane that some would have us believe they are, could the point of contamination be the bottling plants... and the bottle re-cycling process ... what sort of water do they use to wash and clean the bottles? What do they do to ensure that there are no solids in the bottle ...

Why does any one drink colas at all? (apart from adding it to old monk or whatever)

Getting there :) getting into form ... juss gimme a lil time!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

been a while

itz been a while ... a pleasant while.
not much to write really (as usual) ... just getting used to the feel of the keyboard again.

the break was great ... as was darjeeling ... as were the 2 cats and 1 dog that kept my company for most of the last coupe of weeks.

add to that meals cooked by mom, fruits from trees that grow in your own back yard, afternoon naps, blue skies, snow capped mountains in the distance, and an irritating wasp trying to build a ... what do u call em ... nest? ... in the room. if this isnt a picture of heaven as it ought to be .... picture the room itself ... absolutely crammed with books from my childhood ... from the entire set of britannica to other assorted new age encyclopedias to enid blytons to george g gillmans (edge and adam steele) ... cowboy comics and commandos ... you name it ... i even found a richie rich lying in the stack :)

yeah ...

i'm back!

Friday, September 22, 2006


here we go ... as purple as phantom's body suit! I guess he hadn't heard of camouflage dressing ... or perhaps, it was easier for the cartoonist to show him clearly against a jungle background and make sure no one missed who the hero of the comic was ...

thanks folk's ... some of you thought i was gonna stop blogging .. that aint happening yet ... though the back problem did stop me for a while ... and i am taking time off (from work and the internet) for the next 3 weeks .. so wont be posting till mid october again.

this morning, as I was bouncing along in the rick towards office, I noticed an auto on the other side with the banner "Infant Jesus". Which reminded me that I have seen that on quite a few vehicles of late, and made me wonder whether it has anything to do with our country's fascination with having a male child. After all, the name of Jesus generally conjures up the image of a young man with a flourishing beard and rather lovely eyes as depicted in most pictures that I have seen so far ... why the obsession with his infant avataar?

Which got me wondering that though almost all the names from the bible are in common use even today, the most important one is never used .. or atleast I have not come across anyone named Jesus ... there are Johns and Jacobs, Mathews and Marys ... but no Jesus ... and I wonder why?

Would it be blasphemous to name a kid after the prophet? That goes against our traditional concepts of naming ... the names of almost every other prophet that I know of are in common use even today. In fact, hindus even name their kids after their gods ... one reason being that every time you call out the name, you are also calling out to god ... and that is good for your health in the afterlife.

One other possible reason, I deliberated, might be the way it all ended ... while most of the other prophets had a rather peaceful ascension, this was rather painful ... and perhaps parents are reluctant to name their kids after him out of fear that their progeny may meet a similar end?

That reminded me that the name of Judas is also not used ... which reminded me of Bivhishan closer home ... and then I thought given an option, of being in another Ramayan, would I rather be an Indrajeet or a Bivhishan .. and I settled on indrajeet (this might have something to do with the fact that the Indrajeet on our national telivision's version of ramayan looked quite a bit more rocking than poor Bivhishan with his paunch and bad skin etc.)

Around this time, the auto finally rattled to the front gate of my office ... with the meter reading at about 4 bucks more than what it should for 3 kilometers ... which after some quick calculation I realized meant that the meter was running at 30 paise more per kilometer than what the govenment recommends ... and there began my day ... with my version of the battle of kurukshetra :)

Thoughts fleeting by... slipping and sliding into one another ... as though they were all slithering on ....

yes ...

turpentine ...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

off blogging for a while

My back is still kinda killin me...
Dunno how many ppl actually read this space (apart from my conceited self) ... however, thought i'd let ppl know ...

should be back by next week hopefully ... else it'll be mid october (after durga pooja)!

lots to write about though ... darn@!%#

Monday, September 11, 2006

whatz with monday mornings?

woke up with a neck so stiff that breakfast had to be milk with painkillers ...

struggled downstairs and sat on the couch in front of the TV, after having unlocked the gate and brought in the newspaper. A rather beautiful morning but for the fact that I was struggling to hold the newspaper while the maid came in late and tinkered around the house in the pretense of cleaning it. Finally draped a towel around my neck and shoulders and tried some vague stretches ... that probably just worsened the condition.

Eventually managed to get up, take a shower, and crawl to the auto stand. Autos don't have good shock absorbers, and auto rides are bumpy. Two axioms as it were, but I realized just how true they are for the first time today ... with every jolt, my neck would go into a spasm of some kind.

Reached office, tumbled down to the cafe, grabbed breakfast and was just beginning to feel better when I happened to feel a small bump on the left side of my temple ... now there is a whole bloody line of them, stretching all the way from my receding hairline to my relatively dense eyebrows. What is interesting is that the ones higher up are bigger than the ones lower down .. like air bubbles in a swimming pool. Now I don't know whether this is an allergy to the pain killers or some creepy crawly got me good!

Just another bloody monday morning! Good morning folks!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finally it didn't take a Darth Vader ...

to destroy a planet.

very conveniently, innocuously, discreetly seated in some squat white washed building with glass doors and the AC humming as it spews out CFCs, someone quietly destroyed a planet.

Lo! And Behold! Pluto is no more ....

My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Planets!
That is how we remembered the planets and the order of their occurrence back in school.
Now, our kids will have to conjure up the image of a mother with some debilitating illness perhaps, that has claimed one of her fingers, very enthusiastically bringing up both her hands to give a high nine! sigh ..

So for all those who think star wars is hog wash, as a race, we have destroyed one planet and are well on the way to quite literally destroying the one we happen to be sitting on as well.

3rd grade astronomy classes aside, this also shows how short sighted we can be with respect to what we perceive reality to really be. I often hear people say that there is something wrong with Hindu astrology because 2 of the planets there in, do not correspond to any of the nine planets in our solar system. I am not taking a stance on astrology here but isn't it obvious now how we can have 2 planets in an ancient system that disappear in the next only to be replaced by some other planet with a name like XC12345%$^&*!

Another important thing to remember at this point, is that all classifications are made just so we can comprehend reality. Our classification of reality is NOT the reality itself. (refer to Quality and I - my second post). Irrespective of whether you call Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet or forget its very existence, nothing short of a genuine Darth Vader can stop the little runt - held together by gravity and goo - from hurtling at thousands of miles per seconds, cutting across the orderly orbits of the other planets like an Indian motorist, from doing just that ... as it always has! So, someone has gone and changed its classification, and someone wants to organize the folks to give it back its planetary status ... hah!!! (arms wide palms extended outwards, eyes staring at the ceiling)

A good time to think of what Don Shimoda had to say about negative attachments too ... when Richard is practicing cloud vaporization, and trying to hit out at the cloud with all his lasers and stuff, Don wonders how the cloud actually vanishes despite all the negative attachment (attachment being the keyword here). Don explains how to make a cloud vanish, you just need to remove it from your thoughts! Well, for the unbelievers, how did it feel one morning to wake up in a solar system that was one planet short ... darn it disappeared while you were ... ahem .. anyways.

Somehow we never ever thought that USSR would ever become just R, and well, the solar system, it was here to stay. It began way before our times, and it would stay long after we were gone ... till Sun became a red giant and gobbled up Mercury and Venus and singed our mother planet before shrinking back and finally going out ... not even massive enough to be a black hole ... and there in some dark corner of a spiral arm of the milkyway galaxy, to revolve forever around a dark center ... constant ... and damn that changes too.

On the bright side, perhaps this will open up the possibility of more things getting included in the solar system ... what was it? The Krupier belt I think ... a few more objects on the periphery of our perception ... and perhaps we will be better equipped or prepared mentally to cope with the even bigger changes that are yet to come ... in things as fundamental as how we govern ourselves ...

So, on an otherwise pleasant September morning, I raise a toast for the dear departed ... Pluto ... that it may be happy wherever it is. And should it be re-incarnated or resurrected, we shall be here to raise another toast to it ... (wonderful isn't it ... this whole raising the toast thing ... I think I'll raise one more to the ingenuity of the folks who created this whole toasting tradition ... hic!)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

understanding and agreement!

i realize that this is related to my last post ...

the other day, it occurred to me that often people don't really believe that you understand them unless you agree to the point of view that they are expressing.

if it is difficult to visualize this in an abstract way, think of a time when you have explained something to someone. at the end of it, if the person said something that was not in agreement, you would try to explain again ... if the person claimed to understand, you smile at yourself and say, he thinks he understands ... i know he doesn't.

i am not getting the words right... perhaps because something as simple as this should not require so many words ... in short, comprehension need not lead to concurrence. and we need to give people the space to disagree.

this sort of fits in with the teaching/not teaching thingy i spoke about last .
when i say that i need not agree with you just because i understand you, it probably appears to be obvious. however, in our daily lives, we sometimes forget. and in having put it in words, and having reminded myself of it, i have now created the space wherein I can allow you to disagree!

agreements disagreements understanding and misunderstandings aside, the other day a friend of mine gave an extremely beautiful example of how we need to understand another person before we can help them ....

it is similar to that proverb that says that in order to learn, one needs to be like a bucket ... and relate to the teacher as if he were a tap ... as in, to learn, you always need to place yourself below your teacher ...

what my friend had to say, was that if you want to bring somebody up to a common platform (assuming that your evaluation of their current status vis-a-vis yours is right and they have any desire of accepting this benevolence on your part) think of it as helping a child to watch the parade ... to raise him to your shoulders, you need to kneel down to his level first ... please don't argue that you can pick him up and toss him on to your shoulders :)

so finally, what does all this mean? that any relation, binary or otherwise, needs to be based on respect and understanding. while the student needs to have humility and patience in order to be able to learn best, the teacher needs the same attributes in order to teach best.

humility is not about debasing oneself infront of another but about recognizing the strengths of the other and giving them the proper respect for that.

darn mosquito!!!!
this post shall be served half baked so i can take care of other contingencies!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not teaching anymore!

Like Morpheous tells Neo in Matrix, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

A problem that I had identified earlier with knowing the path and walking the path is the desire for teaching the path. This phenomenon is different from knowing or walking and is the root cause of most problems that we find in the world.

Having known a path, and perhaps even having walked it, people usually want to share the experience with others so that they may experience the same feelings that they have had. What begins as a mission of doing good for others oftens gets lost as the teacher starts believing at some point that there is only one path and that all other paths are wrong. This holds true about all things ... from religion ... to designing a piece of software to what you eat, whether you exercise, where you invest your money, how you comb your hair, the party you vote for, or whether you vote .... the list is endless.

There is a fundamental difference between the way western and eastern cultures look at these paths. We all know "where there is a will there is a way". Here in India, we say (at least I have heard a bong saying) "Joto mot toto poth" ... a rough translation of this would be "as there are opinions there are ways".

The western version seems to imply that "will" is required to create a path ... somewhere implicit in the statement is the fact that a path has to be created, and that it requires will/determination ... force ... the creation of a path requires energy ...

The easter version assumes that there are an infinite number of paths ... and taking a path does not really have to be willful and forceful. It comes as easily as having an opinion. The path exists independent of the traveller.

If you have spent a long time hacking through the undergrowth, fighting faitigue, moaquito bites, snakes and god only knows what else, the attachment to the path that you have created increases ... this is my path ... I created it ... and from this perhaps is born the missionary zeal to herd other prople along it, irrespective of where it leads to or whether it is even complete ... ofcourse, herding people along the path (in continuation of the allegory) prevents the path from getting over grown again and leaves it open.

Now, if the path is something that you take for granted, like a six lane highway that is open all the time, and which will stay irrespective of whether other people use it or not, the choices are more. At every intersection, you are more open to the idea of turning right or left, changing lanes or stopping for a coffee. Creation of the path ceases to become the journey. The journey becomes distinct and separate from the process of path creation and at times even oblivious of it. Someone keen on travelling rather than creating a path does not really worry about how many people he has along with him ... except for company perhaps ... and many are quite fine with the solitude that gives them the time to think what they will, eat what they will, listen to whatever song they wish to, and have the ac turned on or off. If whatever path thy have taken is used so little that it closes behind them they don't need to worry about that either for it shall open again when the next traveller comes along.

Our perception of reality is the only reality we know. It would perhaps be wrong for me to say that most people are grappling with the western paradigm as opposed to the eastern one in their everyday lives. However, for me personally, this shift has taken place. It has dawned on me (slowly) that I have shifted ... I don't know when or how or why ... but somewhere in the last 8 years, I have shifted from the eastern to the western paradigm ... and because most of my other fundamental believes are still based in eastern ethos, it has createdan imbalance ... for this is akin to a portion of the foundation having shifted, leaving a lot of the superstructure in thin air!

Awareness is only the first step ... though it is vital. Once you are aware of what is happening, you can decide what to do about it. For me, the thing to do is to go back to the eastern way.

It means a lot to me to get back there, the primary of which is peace of mind. For then, you may decide not to litter the streets and reach every appointment on time but you stop expecting other people to do so. You may follow traffic rules, but you do not hold it against others when they don't. You may believe in what you think is basic human decency, but you are ok with what others perceive it to be.

To me, this paradigm shift means that I do not need to go through the pain of having to hold on to my beliefs in a world where other numerous contradictory beliefs exist, it also saves from the pain of changing my own beliefs to be in sync with that of the majority. Escapist? Not really. All that the paradigm shift removes is the pain and the inflexibility. I shall still hold on to my beliefs but not with pain, and I shall still change when required but sans pain.

I can never get over what Carl Segan penned ... "we are butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is eternity ..." though the context was entirely different, it never fails to put life into proper perspective.

Life is a journey, it is about taking whatever path you choose ... it may mean walking a path, knowing a path, being oblivious to the concept that there are paths, or not choosing ... very open ended ... it may also be about teaching ... however, I shall not teach. I do not want any converts to my path, and to my definitions of right living and right thinking.

Freedom at midnight? Naaaahhh .... freedom at midday actually :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday morning

Woke up early to a beautiful day. I opened the door to the terrace, pulled back the curtains a little and thought of sleeping for another hour or so. However, the blue of the sky and the gentle early morning breeze was too tantalizing to let me just lie around in bed.

Got up. Made myself breakfast.

Have almost perfected the poha:
pour out the beaten rice in a bowl, soak it
let it soak while you chop and dice the chillies, tomatoes and onions (in that order)
pour out some of haldiram's "aloo lachcha" (similar to bengali aloo bhaja) and some fried ground nuts in a bowl
put the frying pan on the stove, and pour out some oil
wait for the oil to heat and put in one dried red chilly torn in two
pour in a mix of 5 spices ... just a lil (panch phuron)
next add the onions ... and once they are fried crisp, the tomotoes and chillies
stir the stuff till everything is well done
The beaten rice will be soft by now... add that to the pan
Add turmeric powder, salt and a hint of chilli powder
Add just a little more water and mix everything in properly.
Put it aside .... and make yourself a glass of delicious chocolate milk shake to have with that ... just chilled milk works as well :)

Post poha and chilled chocolate milk, decided to soak in a little more of the silence ... logged on and read a couple of blogs and decided to add a few bytes myself .... hence the recipe.

This isn't really what I have been intending to write about. It is just that the morning is way too tranquil. The other stuff will just have to wait!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hope (or the lack thereof)

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."

-Abraham Lincoln

Take it out of context, and this may very well be the definition of communism as well ... if I understand the two systems that is.

Frankly, I think that for all our iron curtains and Berlin walls, as Billy Joel so aptly put it:

"shades of gray wherever I go
the more I find out the less that I know
black and white is how it should be
but shades of gray are the colors I see"

-Billy Joel

Though we like to think of different ideologies as being well ... different? Some fundamental things remain the same. Perhaps the biggest difference between these two approaches to governance is the right of the individual ... which, theoretically is better protected in a democracy:
The right to be heard. No! Make that the right to talk ... a listener is not guranteed under this right really.
The right to have your opinion or vote counted ... though at the end, it is the sum of the votes that decides ... which means that on the whole, the collective will is the only will that shall be heard.

I often wonder whether deciding on the winner based on a count of votes is akin to saying that if the two parties were to fight it out, one on one, the one with numerical superiorty would be the more likely winner so why get into the gory stuff ... but then that leaves out factors like the physical strength of the members of the parties involved, their intelligence, their ability to plan, the weapons and other resources available and so on ... which perhaps one may argue is exactly what a vote rules out ... opinions are the only deciding factor and everything else gets ruled out in an election ... but doesn't that make it a very flawed version of might is right ... which in this case is just abstracted to a numerical might?

What pains me is that somehow, with democracy, we as a race appear to have decided that we have reached the pinnacle of thought as far as systems of governance are concerned. That bothers me .. for unlike science and even commerce for that matter, where we strive to improve things every day, from a social perspective, we appear to have reached a sense of complacency, and a sort of status quo has resulted because of that.

If you were to judge political and social systems based only on their ability to provide stability, in modern times, democracy has outlived everything else. But one should keep in mind that democracy takes into account some of the flaws in the other systems and compensates for them. Hence, by having an election every 5 years, it ensures that the ruling party may change every 5 years, while the overall political system remains unchanged. By ensuring that the same person cannot be re-elected more than twice, it ensures that we do not end up in a monarchy ... though it leaves space for the same party to remain in office under a different leader to ensure the consistency of governance and ideology.

So, democracy works because it allows certain things to change frequently (as fast as people get dissatisfied and disillusioned) while allowing certain fundamental aspects to remain unchanged. Certainly beautiful, but hard to believe that it is perfect.

Another important reason for the success of democracy is that it gives people the illusion (and to an extent the actual power) to contribute to their own governance ... though with so many levels of delegation, it is really an abstraction of an abstraction ...

The right to be heard ... or to talk is another huge reason for its success. A system that allows dissent and brings it into the perview of the system is nothing short of pure genius. It is like failsafe software ... it builds in a self correcting mechanism that allows the system to change from within. In the short term, it also allows people to vent their feelings verbally without resorting to more violent means.

Brilliant ... effective and all that ... but still not perfect. Whenever I look around I see too much violence and other things to believe that it is. Perhaps, that brings us to JFKs addendum to Abraham Lincoln's quotation:

"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

This statement is what really brings it home ... the term "people" is really talking of numbers .. large numbers ... large, unpredictable numbers. JFK takes that term, turns it around and puts it on its head! What the people? Who the #$%#@ people?

You dammit! ... and I!! ... the individual!!!

Perhaps we should re-read the first quote as .. a government of the individual, for the individual, by the individual ...

But if it is an individual that we are talking about than what governance? Isn't this like a catch 22?

so here we are ... version 3 of the first quotation:
... a government/governance of me, for me, by me ...

(please dont mind the grammar. I request you to remember that a language is only meant to convey ideas and once the idea is understood, the words can be forgotten... and if you haven't got the idea yet ... well :) its a free world so who am I to tell you what to do?)

and so we were passing the buck all along till the buck came rolling and sat splat on your doorstep (check if no one is wathing and roll it off again! what!!)

On the eve of our independence day, conversations at the canteen revolved around themes like democracy and corruption and where our country is headed. We realized that we are all willing to fight for it ... and at the same time, there is .. at least for me personally and for many others I am sure, a feeling of utter hopelessness and helplessness.

Here we are in a country with a million and one critical issues that are crying out to be resolved at the earliest ... but all we have is a set of politicians who can look no further than themselves ... and so the most critical and important of bills are the ones that ensure that the politicians can retain offices of profit, and a reservations bill to ensure that the current party remains in office for all eternity by playing the divide and rule card that we have so well adopted that we can call it our own ... not to mention the bill for the amendment of the right to information act ...

This when the same set of people cannot decide on something as fundamental as to whether helmets should be made compulsory for two-wheeler riders ... though they are dying by the dozens each day around the country ... not to mention what the future of public transport should look like ... and then there are the airports that are always getting built ...

I wouldn't even go so far as to hope for running tap water everyday, electricity on weekends, roads with fewer potholes, fewer stray dogs to chase me home at night, fewer cases of mugging and violence on the streets ...

And what can the govenment do anyway when each of us is well ... a shade of gray .. lighter or darker depending on the day and time when we take the rain check ...

I do wish some things would stop though ...
like my neighbors would ensure that their dog does not doo at my gate (or anyone elses for that matter)
that when people clean their houses, they ensure that the garbage is collected and thrown into a garbage bin instead of the next porch ...
that when the person repairing my sump says it shall be done in 4 days, it takes a little less than a month
that when a person is overtaking from the wrong side, even if they happen to have the bigger car, they do not frown, and honk and shout as well ...

:) not very nice .. coming up with lists ... especially when people have already complained about the length of my blogs ... yeah and this is one would be one hell of a long list. (Not listing out!!!)

Perhaps, it would help if we all took a little more pride in being human first and then perhaps being an Indian ... and then whatever else ... but pride yes. and perhaps if we are not asking for too much here ... some thoughtfulness?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

writer's block?

Nah ... just a little short on time ... I don't think you get such blocks unless you write for money ... when you have deadlines to meet and stuff to churn out ... but within a fixed time ... whether you like it or not. Today I think I'll say it with pictures :) Found some of my digital art lying around in a folder that I was about to delete!

Maybe I'll write a lil on each pic :)

This one is called "The well". What is not apparent in this is that in the actual drawing, the canvas is actually about twice the size of the drawing. The drawing is truncated on the right, and a space equal to that of the drawing is left blank. I don't think I want to explain why. The viewer is left to think about it.

This one is called "sunset". It is what it claims to be. A sunset. The silhouette of a hill against the backdrop of a bright sky ...

An experiment with 3D representation and effect of lights and shadows ... the light source is assumed to be on the top-left portion of the image.

And the last one ... my all time favorite .... this one is called "choices". I have a few other versions of this drawing. Consider at any point in life, when we are taking a major decision. It is like standing on one side or the other. We do not know what is on the other side till we get there. Now, what do we weigh the risk of falling into the chasm against ...

It's actually pretty convoluted ... I'll leave it at that. Go figure!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I logged on to the blog with nothing particular in mind ... apart from the usual vague feeling of unease at letting life slip by while sitting in a 6 by 6 cubicle, lighted by 4 neons overhead and a computer screen in front.

The cubicle walls in brown and white pre-fab boards that can be easily replaced, interspersed with small glass windows and white boards ... through the glass windows, you can see some of your neighbor's ceiling while seated, and your neighbor when standing. The windows and boards all filled with markings ... hieroglyphics of our era ... we the temple priests creating the magic that runs this world, arcane, convoluted, and invisible ... allowing the vast populace to use things totally unaware of the huge complexity that underlies the simple buttons that he or she presses.

The first two paragraphs however are just a minor digression from ... well, I am not quite sure what. However, when I logged in, I noticed that I have 31 posts in the last 6 months or so since I started blogging.

This then is the 32nd post ... and that is important because we are supposed to have 32 teeth, the last 4 being the wisdom teeth, and somebody haveing 32 teeth by virtue of being toothy is supposedly wise as well.

So here, this 32nd post of mine should have been full of wisdom and such stuff.

However, this blog has now been delayed due to unavoidable circumstances.

Friday, July 14, 2006

BHAPA HASHI of the planet asprin!

There you are ...
The Jedi name generator (available on the web) christened me this after asking some random questions.

And why on earth would I be looking for my Jedi name you ask?
Well, I have been thinking a little and feeling a lot since the Mumbai blasts took place.
And in thinking, and in feeling, I realized the truth in the Starwars saga: one of the biggest dangers in taking on the dark side of the force is that you become a part of the dark side, for, something as simple as hating your enemy converts you to it.

It holds true today. How can you fight evil without becoming evil yourself? How can you use just the amount of force that is required to nullify the threat without using excessive force? One false step and you are one of them ... just a small transgression of a line that is murky at best and the defender becomes the aggressor.

Hate is generally the culprit ... it is what causes the good to cross the line and join the ranks of the bad. If we could be perfectly objective, we would recognize the exact steps that are necessary in order to eliminate a threat without indulging in atrocities that give birth to the next incarnation of the threat.

But then, I now realize, humans can only be humans (apart from Zidane ... who became God the other day - because of a human fault). We are probably the only species on this planet that have the capability of choosing what to do. We are the only ones that can consciously put a space between stimuli and response. We are the only ones that can go beyond our natural instincts and do things that are contrary to our fundamental instincts ... like putting our own lives into jeopardy in order to save another (apart from Dogs I realize ... especially wrt this particular example).

We live in an age when technology has made it possible to live longer than ever before, and to do so with good health. However, we have created a million boundaries which do not have any physical reality ... but then mental reality is the only reality that there really is ... and now we fight over and for things like religion.

What is wrong?
Provided our race actually manages to survive for a few more generations without triggering some cataclysmic event that destroys civilization as we know it, there may come a time when our progeny look back at these years and wonder what sort of barbarians could possibly do the things that we are doing today. What sort of morals and what sort of religion could cause people to kill other people senselessly. What sort of governance could ensure that such events take place ... and more importantly, what sort of individuals could possible constitute such a race and such a society. (A lot like what you felt when as a kid you looked at the first depiction of the neanderthal man ... before they realized that homo-sapiens did not evolve from them but were a parallel lineage)

Look at it objectively, and how are we any better than the Englishmen who dunked old women in water or burnt them alive for being witches ... how are we any better than the people that burnt Joan of Arc at the stake in the name of religion? How are we any better than the perpetrators of the holocaust? .... People that we look down upon and consider barbaric and inhumane.

Perhaps, this is not a problem at all. What we are is not the problem. Perhaps, the biggest problem we have is the inability to accept ourselves for what we are ....
a composite of evolved brains cause a duality where we are capable of thinking beyond what we are but incapable of actually acting it out.

Another problem is perhaps a dearth of philosophical and religious thought in our times.
Our socio-political system is mostly driven by western thought ... and western thought by the greek schools ... but in all these centuries after plato and socrates, we don't really have an alternate thought structure to replace theirs. We are living at a time when a social breakdown will perhaps force people to re-think phiosophy and re-create society more in keeping with the current conditions of the world.

Look at our religions ... apart from some which are based on nature, all are based on worshipping one son of god or the other ... a multitude fighting over prophets and seers ... quirky because these days the same people would rather promptly lock up any one claiming to be a son of god in some mental institution.

Our society is too full of cynicism and high school science to ever give birth to another prophet. We are a lost generation who have enough science to be unable to accept God (and his incarnations on earth) with the unwavering faith of our ancestors ... and not enough science to believe otherwise.

This restlessness is bound to vent itself in a million ways. Every generation shall have its own excuse for violence and blood shed, and it shall never end.
This is not a statement of hopelessness but an acceptance that humans are humans, and so much like the philosophy of yin and yang, the primal and the Godly are so mixed up in us, we cannot be one without being the other in turns.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

a need for silence

In memory of those that lost their lives in the Mumbai blasts.
In prayer for the loved ones they left behind ... that they may have the strength to live on.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I am with you Zidane!!!!

I have written about this before ... in our current world, sitting on the fence and not having an opinion are so much in fashion that we appear to have just a social concience at the loss of the personal one.

A lot of people think that what Zidane did was wrong, and I can empathize with their thought structure. However, I personally think that it is one of the traits that makes great people great. If I were to be on the field playing the world cup football final, with the entire world watching me, the desire to be socially and politically correct would be an overpowering force to reckon with. I doubt I would have the personal strength to do what Zidane did.

It reminds me of a song - The Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers - ... and I quote "... I should hope you understandSometimes you gotta fight when you're a man..."

I admire Zidane now not only for being one of the greatest footballers ever but also for having the guts to do what he felt was right irrespective of what the rest of the world would have to say about it.

My friend commented last night that because of this one action, Zidane stopped short of becoming God.
I think this one action was the last step that made him God.

If I understand it right, even religion does not judge an action to be good or bad, independent of the intention with which it is performed and I hope people stop crucifying Zidane based on their notions of social propriety.

Friday, July 07, 2006

i dont have anything to write

Which probably means that this is going to be one of those long rambling posts again.

This is something that is perhaps a bit of a paradox ... but, in general, the more you know about a thing, the less time and effort you take to explain it.

Like in the exams, if you know the answer, it is a half-page at max ... if you don't? Well, then you don't measure it in pages ... you measure it in kilograms ... the weight of all the paper that you managed to fill up in the process of answering that simple question.

I can't seem to concentrate enough on the things I really want to do. Of late, the mere act of staying alive is taking up so much time, that there is very little left to really do things in. Have been sitting on important stuff in my personal sphere for months together ... and now it has become a dull throb in the appendage that I have used to sit on them.

A lot of things to sort out ... a lot of clutter ... in and around the house, and in the mind. Spring cleaning wont happen before autumn this year I fear. Which is ok really ... in many ways, I like autumn as much as I like spring ... if not more. And no. I don't have to be in Chicago to appreciate it ... though that does help ..

I don't know if there are a lot more people like me or this is a malady tailored just for me:
This feeling of restlessness, of things not done, of time slipping away ... so much to do ... so little time to do it in!

The vedas give man a 100 years to live and neatly divide it into bramhacharya, grihasta, vanaprastha and sanyas. I however live in a blur where all the four states seem to co-exist at the same time ... like a particle following Heisenberg's uncertainty principle ... all that my age determines, is the state that I am most likely to be in.

What it cannot change is the real state of my mind ... which fluctuates from the fire of the bramhacharya trying his best to learn as much as he can while avoiding all temptations, to the dreams and aspirations of a grihasta which fly but on clipped wings ... to the resignation of the vanaprastha .. to the euphoria of the sanyasi.

Attachment, detachment, a need to grow, a need to shrink, a need to stay, a need to move ... a plethora of opposites reside in me ... I am a plethora of opposites. Like a vector problem with myriad arrows diverging from a common center ... each pulling in a particular direction and the amplitudes as uncertain as the directions ... me just a point mass ... a negligible that gets over shadowed by these forces that push and pull in all directions ... the unattached ... the unassuming... the I.

Words, words and more words. I can use them to paint a sunset. I can use them to paint me. I can use them to express, and I can use them to impress ... but what I can never forget is just how trivial they are ... and for all the expression and all the impression, how empty I feel at times. Empty and in peace, and empty like a reverberating war drum ... damn.

A 100 years is not long enough. A 1000 years is not long enough. 24 hours in a day are not long enough.

So how can I live?


I shall plagiarize and misquote ... and borrow another's poetry to be my guiding principle in life:

My candle burns at both ends ...
It shall not last the night.
But, Oh! my foes, and Ah! my friends,
It gives a lovely light

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

post lunch yet again

not feeling so good today ... apart from the eggs that i had for lunch which didn't taste too good, partly because of the way they were cooked and partly because i don't eat 'em much since bird flu became the latest fad ... there is something else bothering me. can't quite a finger on it though... or a toe for that matter.

so should i go out and have a smoke? always a possibility ...

checked all my mail accounts, my account for more comments and ratings, orkut, my girl's scrap book since she can't get online these days .... and then came back to my blog space.

i don't really understand the modern economy. how, someone makes money by providing me with space on his hard drives for free ... it works for me though ...

the ramblings of an anonymous, stored on some disc somewhere in the world ... i don't even know where ... probably in a bank of disc whirring quietly in the airconditioned comfort of a low lying building somewhere in the temperate zones ... all my thoughts and feeling and my hearts out pourings stored using something as ethereal as a magnetic media which is meaningless to the naked eyes ... something that shall be discarded as useless by coming generations when they dig up the ruins of our civilization centuries after the great wars .... when we will be to them what the egyptians are to us today ... and their technoogy probably at par with ours when we opened tut's tomb.

gives a proper perspective to ouur life. full of our own self importance, we forget that we are just the whim of the universe. A possibility that is so remote that probably we don't have numbers big enough to describe the denominator of such a fraction ...

in a universe that is endless ... mind boggling ... an integer scale that is endless ... how can we be so comfortable with the infinite? how can we be uncomfortable with it either? aren't we just one of the infinite possibilities?

we live on the 3rd planet of an insignificant solar system lit by a not very remarkable star on one of the outer spiral of a spiral galaxy that we call the milky way ... one of a million trillion billion such galaxies ... in an universe that has no end ... and we are the only things that are important to us .. life .. career ... love ... family ... job ... job satisfaction ... artificial .. natural ... man made ... short films ... art ... documentary ... bullshit .... cowdung ....

here we are, full of our own importance, sitting in a corner, trying to sort and classify the infinite. if there were such a thing as a universal being ... we would probably register on its radar about as prominently as a flea in a dogs tail on the radar of an f16 flying to bomb god only knows what next.

no. in case you are reading this and wandering where it is going, it isnt really going anywhere. and i am quite happy with that. if the earth can keep going around the sun for millions of years, and sun around the galactic centre, and the galaxy probably around something that we haven't fathomed ... unless stephen hawkins is right and each is like a spot on the surface of a gigantic 4D baloon pulling further and further away from everything next to it ... i am ok with not going anywhere with this .. at least for today afternoon. for, decry it as i might, i cannot give up my own self importance .. and get on with things such as my work, and my deadlines and all those things that we have made important in our lives ... i have no clue why.

there was a time when a man coul only do the things that allowed him to live for another day .. to ensure that the species survived. anything non-essential could not be indulged in ... for it would threaten his very existence. sure you could sit and sing all day instead of hunting or sharpening your bows and swords ... but then the singer would be an easy meal for the hunters of the night ... all his singing would not stop the blood gushing out when the sabre toothed tiger's teeth sank into his throat .... there was no choice apart from the choice between surviving or dying.

with time, we have managed to lessen this fight for survival. we have hardly any natural enemies ... apart from other men. and given the history, one would assume that when man got the time to choose between things other than death or life, he would choose to do things that made him better .... gave him more joy ...

but here we are, in a world that is run by greed ... money is the only thing that operates the current world ... economy ... and markets and the number of zeroes in your paycheck .... nothing wrong with that. i love it ... there should be something in life to fight for. some spear to sharpen, some bow to perfect, sme foe to overcome ... i cannot yet overcome so primal an instinct within myself ... but i do not understand why modern life has to be so abstract and so far removed from reality and yet leave us with so little space to do what we really want to do. why all this mindless paper pushing .. or email sending ... endless discussions over trivialities ... a life that is so bogged down by the structure that we have created around it!

society instead of forming a pipe through which all of life can be pumped furiously at a remarkable pace has become like a huge haversack that we lug around all our life ... till our back breaks from the sheer weight and we just give up the ghost and die.

there has to be more. we have to find it. we need to break out of this existence ... this cannot be life ... this cannot be something .... that something as full of its own existence as ourselves can accept. the new mission would be to find that .... to search to seek ....


Monday, July 03, 2006

post lunch

and a short breather before i get on with the rest of the day....

feeling peaceful today. can hear the hum of the air conditioning and the fan behind the cpu unit.
each keystroke sounds like a drop of water in a still pool.

i was wondering about a blog i read recently .... "dance like no one is watching ..." or something to that effect ... and noticed how people seemed to relate to it ...

is it the universality of dancing ... and all things physical ... something that goes beyond the barriers of language ... the reason that so many people can relate to that blog/feeling?

After all, all things physical have always transcended language. You don't need to to know the other nation's language to make war ... nor do you need to know the other ones language to make love. physical needs are like a part of the actual reality instead of the virtual reality that we sometimes perceive thanks to the languages bind our thoughts and hence our minds.

There is always the possibility that there is no such thing and the only reason that there are so many people that concur is because the author of that blog is a rather beautiful girl ... but even factoring that in, I still think the physical theory is true.

That brings me to a different phrase:
Dance like no one is watching ... is what you tell the dancer.

However, in life, there are more watchers than dancers. Always ... in every situation, in every society, there are more watchers than there are dancers ... think of it this way ... there way of dancing is watching ... but what could you tell this vast majority?

Watch like no one is dancing ???

I wonder ...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The end of world cup 2006

It no longer matters who wins.
What matters is that Argentina will not be playing any more.
As far as I am concerned, this is the end of world cup 2006.

Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes ....
and the Argentinian team, back to Argentina.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

not quite my day yet ... and whatz the deal with 2?

.... but definitely getting there!

Started the day early today again, and in a much better mood ... so I have already put in an 8 hour day and it is hardly lunch time.

Worthwhile to spend a little time ruminating and such before going down to the canteen for my chow.

The better mood does not change how I feel about bangalore... refer to the last post ...
Now, the status is that the landlord thinks he will get it repaired but it will take a week when I will be stranded high and dry ... literally dry and well, I am spending time deciding where to put up for that time ... knowing these people, if they say 1 week, it will take 2, and at the end of it, i will be most surprised if the problem is fixed.

Cynicism aside ... the other night ... before I had realized that I was drinking sewage water, I was wondering about numbers ... how the universe seems to favour the fibonacci series and so on ... when I thought, what is so special about 2 when it comes to higher forms of life. Why the bias for 2?

Apart from protoplasms and such who I understand can pretty much "do it" with anybody, all other lifeforms seem to have just two sexes .... i aint a biologist or botanist or whatever so correct me if I am wrong ... and I am sure there are exceptions like the earthworm that I don't know about ...

I remember reading that the reason why reproduction requires 2 is to increase the genetic variance and to enhance the species ... it is what makes mutations possible (apart from radioactivity, oxidation and whatever) ....

What I don't understand is why not more ... wouldn't all those things be possible even if there were more than 2? Why not 10? 20? why have a limit on the number ... and why 2?

Why 2? Any comments? Any answers? any questions?

WHY TWO!!!!!!!!!