Friday, June 16, 2017

When I grow up I want to be.....

The other day got asked what one wanted to become when one was 8 yrs old. I went back in time and realized there was no definite goal that I wanted to pursue when I was that young. Only thing that mattered was to top the class by beating the guy who was a friend and a bookworm. And watch movies in theatres. I wanted to be many things. It depended upon the flavor of the season, experience of the day! 
When I was 8, I guess, I wanted to be Hema Malini after watching Razia Sultan! And then when PT Usha became the golden girl of India I definitely wanted to be a sportsperson/athlete. So seriously pursued Volley Ball, Badminton for a while. I wanted to join Ramakrishna Mission when a brilliant lady who had excelled in Bio-chemistry or something came to our School. I did try reading few books on Vivekananda and Shankaracharya. Everyone thought I was kidding but my cousins started calling me Ms.Vivekananda! At 13, after finishing GWTW, all I wanted was to wait for another 4 years and then marry. Who to, it didn't matter! I just wanted to be foolish. When Pamela Bordes made it to international headlines I wanted to become a call girl. Didn't even have an inkling how one becomes that. But started regularly checking out Life among other magazines in the library to become trendy and fashion conscious and designed my own clothes again for a while! Life was fashionable! There were so many choices one had when one was growing up!
Still get goose bumps thinking about how excited we were all about Life. How keen we were to explore and find out the meaning of this whole existence. How seriously we debated about what and why of Life! May be Kerouac is right. There is no point to this whole joint! Life is not glorious and sublime. But it can still be beautiful. It may not appear so at every moment of the day. But you realize it quite often. 
When you are troubled and in the middle of the night your friend brings a smile on your face with a PJ/KJ then you know Life is Beautiful.                         
When you wake up to the smell of your pet you know Life is Beautiful.       
When you start at the loud thunderclaps and realize that, that child is still there somewhere deep within and not all is lost, you know Life is Beautiful.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Cupboard of Unread Books...

Most people will have at least few books in their collection which they would have got thinking they will read it later. Once you decide to read it at some other point of time, more often than not, that some other time never comes. And in the meantime, those unread books keep falling behind in the queue. And at times they get forgotten also, if you weren’t very keen on reading them in the first place! For e.g books bought out of obligation, as courtesy at book release functions or books gifted to you by all and sundry (Everyone is a writer nowadays!).
I have – can’t tell the number, haven’t counted- a pile of books which have remained unread. Amidst that pile there are obligatory purchases and gifts, but a large number of books are those bought by me. Every time I open the cupboard, invariably I catch sight of more than one book that have remained unread. Standing tall, they accuse me of neglect and bias! And I feel guilty. So I have started keeping them on the reverse so that I don’t see their spine!!
Of course, there are some books I have deliberately left unread or incomplete like for e.g those Amish Tripati type books on Puranas, Mahabharat, which have flooded Airports. There are some, when I look at them, I immediately recall how skeptical I was even while purchasing them about actually reading. My gut would have laughed about the choice but I would have doggedly resolved to read them in order to, may be feel good about myself!  In to this category falls, books like Tao of Physics, Collection of essays by Russel, Jiddu, Osho books etc. As I look at them, I still feel I might read them one day but I also regret not trusting my gut.And there are some in the collection which I had read as young from the library. So may be a strong sense of possession and also wish for reliving those sweet moments would have forced me to get them. But I haven’t come around to rereading them yet. So now the very need for rereading has diminished.And then there are books on anthropology, ancient history, economics which I very much want to read but hardly get time. While growing up it was my dream to have a private library of my own with all those leather bound books in the backdrop just like in Classic movies!! Later, it got narrowed down to a collection of selected books. But unbeknownst to me this collection has become not so selected and chosen. It has everything!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Laughter and Lies

Amidst bouts of clear laughter
I listen to pointed but mayhaps harmless banter

Surprised, I watch that it never reaches eyes
And wonder why it is easier to peddle lies.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Random thoughts

Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself     -Hermann Hesse

Do we make up thoughts or is it the other way round? Or is it both ways? May be its both ways!
Just imagine treating thoughts as a separate entity from yourself! If only it was possible to pluck them and throw them in the bin! Is it even possible?

Measureable quotients for everything- Intelligence, Emotional, Spiritual. Why not develop a quotient to measure criminal, fraudulent, machiavellian instincts!

Why do we give so much importance to learning? Can everything be learned? Is it even desirable to learn everything? This tendency to measure and understand where one requires learning, improvement and then forcing one to act upon it is totally unreal. It is like using academic cosmetics for air brushing your personality!

I don't know if  I am being negative.  But it just feels so distasteful!  As if it was not enough for the world to dive deep for showing up as the ideal body and face, now all these sugary sweet know thyself analysis to prep the mind and soul for a better version of oneself in the manner of softwares that get upgraded every once in a while.

Coming to Hesse, he is so right about that stillness! But what happens when one does not want to come out of that stillness? The world I know is the one which makes noise and talks loud. Even those who talk about silence make nothing but noise.  How do we listen to the sound of silence?

Is it only possible in death? I remember listening to the sounds of silence when Anna died. It was 4 years ago! But it still feels so recent. I understood the meaning of the word Smashana Mouna- Silence of the graveyards, back then. Somewhere I had read- or is it a line from a movie- a girl grows up when her hearts broken or when she loses her father. Even if you don't care much about the impression you are giving to the world, the world will make one and you will live to fight against it, a friend had warned back then in college. I had laughed. Oh, the confidence of the youth! So Hesse does make lot of sense. Silence can teach, but it can numb you to inactivity and stillness.  May be problem arises when one feels more productive in being inactive and still!!

"The Sound Of Silence" - Simon & Garfunkel

                                
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Attack on Sovereignty, Democracy.. anyway pffft?

Afzal Guru has been hanged for his role in Parliament attack case. Without fair trial claim many legal experts and their opinion is repeated in top newspapers in their reports and in editorials which describe it as a 'political execution'. I really am not in a position to take a stand on that but the fact is he was hanged, the govt chose to inform the State CM over phone the previous day itself but disregarding all tools of modern communication it opted to send speed post to the family with the information perhaps that the head of the family would be sent to the gallows on such and such a day and at such hours. I wonder who would have thought of this brilliant idea? May be the team will get PM's award come next April 21st! 
While reading about the execution I could not help recalling the execution of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukh Dev.  This link shows the front page of a newspaper day after the execution of the trio. What striking similarities! Is it very strange that whatever happened to Afzal guru was the same thing that happened to those three. I am not comparing those three with Afzal Guru. I am comparing how the ruling government dealt with the executions, then and now. Post-independence Bhagat Singh & Co became freedom fighters but for the rulers who passed the verdict they were perhaps just murderers and anti-social elements, a threat to the law and order. 
Bhagat Singh dropped bomb in the central Assembly hall of the Parliament to 'make the deaf hear'. That was the motive. The attack which actually never happened on December 13, 2001 was intended for what purpose, God only knows. I really doubt that a bunch of five men with one IED loaded car believed that they could reduce Parliament to rubble with a single strike.
The government allowed the hanging of a man for his role in attack on Parliament, which houses nearly 250 MPs facing criminal charges because it was a treason and it was an attack on country's sovereignty hence needed to be given the highest punishment for the 'collective satisfaction of people'.  Is our sovereignty embedded in a century old structure? While the things that define our country like land, water, mountains, forest are simply exploited/eroded to satisfy man's 'corporate greed' right under the nose and eyes and may be covertly facilitated by the Government. 
One of the most blood boiling chapters in our history reading years for me was Dadabhai Naoroji's 'Drain Theory',  Poverty and un-British Rule in India, and how India was systematically and continuously bled of its wealth and resources. Britishers were outsiders/colonisers and may be they were expected to plunder and drain India of its wealth. But what happens to the country if its own people turn in to marauders? The looting is omnipresent. The loot is happening directly in all sectors and indirectly under the guise of myriad of welfare schemes. You will only have to see denuded areas in many mining regions across the country in AP,Karnataka, Orissa,MP, Kerala etc for iron ore/coal/thorium etc. Not a day passes without some report of some real estate scam or some other scam in which either centre or state governments are directly or indirectly involved. 
And this Government hanged Afzal Guru for his role in the aborted attack on Parliament, India's symbol of sovereignty while wearing proudly this symbol, those inside are shredding to pieces the whole and the leftovers without any vision, without a thought for the posterity. May be posterity will have to just do with sovereignty while the country is again in the hands of rulers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flight of death

It scurried over my

feet, as I sat

Pondering over what
To ponder.
The Cockroach came from,
I was not sure where

But I watched its flurried

Movement from one end
To another wondering why.

The trouble started when

It showed it could fly

And fluttered right in my face.

I thought then

The creature is creeping me out,

So had to be gotten rid of.

The question of how

Was answered by the
Bottle of spray.

The tiny thing probably sensing
the impending

Doom slipped into a crevice. 

Not giving up I sprayed the spray
around the hole.

In the morning when I saw its

Upturned body, I said

If only you had not taken wings.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

eReading and eHearing

Are we letting the technology run our lifes? Are we sprucing up ourselves, thinking and voicing our thoughts in such a way that in the virtual world we have many a friend? We play with playstations. We sing with karaoke. We read on Kindle. We replaced pen with keyboard. We share info via social media. We protest via social media. So are we embracing technology just a little too much? This is the question that came to my mind after reading this article about ebooks. If you read this paragraph, then you can decide whether my question has any merit or its just a  babble of a paranoid, techno-illiterate person.
In an effort to underline the uniqueness of the physical book, many publishing houses have begun placing more emphasis on well-designed books — at least for the most prominent literary books on their list. It’s just a matter of time before publishing houses start exploring the many – and unusual – possibilities of ebook design. There are already sites that release editions of Rushdie and Garcia Marquez novels with sound effects, and some of the indie publishing houses are focusing on creative typography, understanding instinctively that the ebook also opens up possibilities that the plain printed page can’t match.
Books with sound effects? Incredible. What next? Would digital books in future carry instead of just illustrations visual effects? Or better still, the story acted out by the best and the worst of the film and tele-industry? That way you won't have to work up your mind constructing the people, the place described by the writer. Just imagine reading God of Small Things on Kindle with all the Kerala scenery duly picturised for you, and may be sponsored by the tourism department of the God's Own Country and the traditional Kathakalai all night performances so richly described by Ms Roy in the story of among other things, the twins, who among other things, break love laws. Do you like the idea? But I wonder how these over-zealous publishers would be able to give you the smell and the taste of Kerala that she so masterfully turned in to words? Or they will put ebook of GWTW along with the film version as a package to woo readers. Methinks generally movie version of any good novel is never as good as the novel. This includes GWTW.    
I should admit that I have not read a full length digitised novel or any bulky book though I am not against it. Short stories, yes. Essays, yes. Short fiction of about 50-75 pages, yes. But not a novel. So I don't know the feel of it. I know it would be very convenient to carry them around while travelling. Only reason I have not yet completed Guha's IAG is because its so huge and hence one cannot carry it around. You have to put it on a table and read it like old people read Bhagavad gita placed on that, I don't know what its called, small reading desk kind of a thing. So in such cases ebooks will definitely help. But if it comes with sound effects/visual effects and may be arguments and counterarguments about things stated in the book then it would not be fun. Because you will end up as just a receiver in the end. When you read any thing you usually undergo what the writer himself might have undergone while writing it i.e visualise the content wherever possible and necessary. And also start a dialogue with the writer in your mind, which is a good thing in my opinion. But if the ebook offers you everything then it puts an end to that process. Anyway everything has its own merits and demerits. Its for us to choose. But then what I found inconvenient about reading digitised thing is that you cannot easily mark or make a note alongside whatever you are reading. It requires effort. May be Kindle has already come out with something to solve this problem. I don't know.