Thursday, February 04, 2016

2290 : Gaud Malhar

I am tone deaf. I cannot make a C (from 3 octaves down) differ from the higher C....and yet I am music aficionado. I listen to music all the time.

For the past 5 days I have been listening to Gaud Malhar on repeat. Its fab.

Loving it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

2289 : The dark spot in my life

There is a little dark spot on the sun today,
Its the same old thing as yesterday....

These lines are refusing to leave me today. There is a dark spot within the sea of brightness. I wish to possess it.
(lines from sting's king of pain)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2288 : The real fight

As Yudhistra finished answering the questions posed by the Yaksha (in the form of a hunched crane), the Yaksha smiled. He beatifically said "Dharmaraja, you are truly wise.  I have heard stories  of your legendary focus on Dharma, but today with the 18 answers, you have made me a little wiser too."

He paused. Yudhistra allowed a tired and bellowed smile pass through his lips. The lips pursed as if they were constrained. The Yaksha noticed it and spoke.

"Raja, your own mother, when she was rearing you thought you were a little unusual in the way you always, even as a kid focused almost un-naturally on being "good"".

He paused and continued, "...and today, you have not just made me wiser, you have also restored to life your 4 dead brothers, by unwinding a past karmic bond that was bothering me. And yet, when I swim into your deep eyes, they seem despondent. How can such a wise man, who does not carry a shred of karmic baggage on him, appear so lost?"

Yudhistra started, "I have to live through my fate."

"And does that bother you Raja?  Do you miss the wealth,  the power, the palaces?"

"No, I dont miss it at all, except, honestly, I sometimes wish Draupadi had it easier."

"...and yet, Raja, you do look forlorn then?What then is the bother?"

"Dear Yaksha, there comes a time in every man's life when he is pulled into a strange fight. This battle is not for a kingdom, or for wealth, or for power. The war is on the inside, and the battlefield is the shadows of one's own mind. Whats at stake is the need to grapple with the very nature of our lives. All of us one day will have to deal with the fundamental question of who we are, and who we ought to be. They are far more perilous than the 18 questions you asked. The internal strife is akin to a hollow vessel cankering and hoping to find the answers in its own loud echo. What the vessel never understands that no matter how the question is posed, the echo will always be just a version of the question."

He paused and added, "....the question will come back appearing as the answer. If  deluded, we shall move onto the next question, and that path is one of righteous self delusion. I hope you never have to see such a day in your life, dear Yaksha, but today in my life - I am the vessel, the question, the answer and the echo."

With a final thoughtful wist he added, "I have become my own nemesis, and slowly that realization dawns. On that day, you really wonder what this battle is all about. When Yama, my dear father will come calling out to me, I will try ask him this - Father, was I am the victor or the vanquished?....and I think I know what his answer will be.  That answer bothers me."

2287 : HSBC's brand line

I love the entire branding of "This is the story of human ambition".

HSBC has gotten some really powerful visuals to go along with the tagline. And its a brand that connects immediately with me. It tells me that HSBC should be my bank.


2286 : We could heroes for just one day

I have said a million times before, and I shall say it again that I don't have too many heroes in my life. But one person, who shall forever remain an inspiration and a real life hero to me is Ayrton Senna.

If you don't know how the edge of genius looks like - you should go to youtube, search for Ayrton Senna Monaco 1988. In this race Senna was leading Prost (Alain) by over 55 seconds (which in F1 parlance is equal to a lifetime).....and yet on a slippery circuit, he pushed on the limits, whilst all others were slowing down.

And the result - he crashed two laps before the end of the race.

Its this madness that made him a real hero. If I had to choose between Niki Lauda and him, it will Senna all the way.

I don't believe in God or heroes, but I do believe in greatness, and Senna was greatness manifested within us mortals.

Take a bow genius.


2285 : In the company of dead poets


Koi Chara nahin by Hafeez Jalandhari - as I read and listen to this poem, I realise what binds the dying poet in me to Hafeez is more about a shared common experience, than our love for words. 
The metaphors in this song are telling.

Koi chara nahi dua ke siwa , koi sunta nahi khuda ke siwa
( I came to a point, where there was no other solace than hope and prayer, I felt no one could understand me anymore other than my own God)

Mujhse kya ho saka wafa ke siwa , mujhe milta bhi kya saza ke siwa
( What could I have offered you, my sweetheart, other than my unruffled loyalty, and what could I have gotten in return, but for unequivocal penance and punishment.)

bar sar-e-saahil-e-muqaam yahan,kaun ubhra hai nakhuda ke siwa
(when I reached that final step along the shores of my life, the only person who kept me company was the dignified boatman)

dil sabhi kuch zubaan par laaya ,ek faqat arz-e-muddat ke siwa
( My honest heart could surface every single one of my emotions onto my tongue, but for that one sentence in which I confessed my undying love for you.)

Saturday, January 09, 2016

2284 : Is the night always this dark?

I am Draupadi, sometimes called Panchali, at some other times Yagnaseni. My names are my identity. But these names were never really mine. Draupadi came from my father Drupad, Panchali because I am came from the land called Panchal, and Yagnaseni because I was born on account of the Yagna that my father sponsored.

I am the Queen of Pandavas, but I am also their wife, and thats my broken identity. I belong to everyone, except me.

I have never been “me”.

Like consider tonight. I don’t want to be alone, but neither do I want to seek our Arjun. I want Arjun to come to me. I want him to take me, than me feeling him.

Speaking of men - Krishna, you are not my Bhakti. I had always wanted that you at least participate in my Swayamvar, but you did not. You reneged. On the last day, you said you will participate - but as the chief guest, not for my hand. My hands had stopped moving that night. I remember gulping down a spoon of salt that night. I had so desperately needed it to keep my blood moving.

I sometimes miss water. I want to be drenched. I want to drip. On a night like this, I wish that the river would consume me, maybe even consummate with me.

Tonight I need a release. I need to wash myself clean. Just like the “other” day. On that day, they had stripped me bare. I had slouched on the floor, a simple loin cloth covering my angry breasts. How they had heaved. How I hated it, that even in that singular moment of disgrace, something in me had also been aroused. Let me admit - I was erect, and yet I can’t ever know what made me feel so. Today - the “only” thing I can remember is the undiluted shame, the opiate of lurid collective opprobrium coursing through me. But…but…but…I also remember a few other things. And the anger. And those eyes. And the jeers. And the humiliation. And the sear. And the wounds. And most importantly, I remember feeling so completely un-clean.

On that day - as we were about to begin, our walk to the forest, with nothing but the clothes on our bodies - I had requested the chambermaid use her bathroom for one time. And then….in that lonely evening….I had taken a bath.

I had taken a soap and scrubbed myself incessantly with fresh neem leaves. For me it had felt like a few minutes, but later Dharmaraja told me it had been close to 2 hrs. No one yet has ever asked me, why I had to clean myself so thoroughly (then). But….but…but….I had to….I did not have a choice. It was a war. I had been wounded. The blood had noisily clotted around me. I had to take a bath. I had to be clean. Actually I needed to come clean.

And today I admit - I have never been pristine again. Tonight is not the night for it.

Tonight as I stare at the dark night, I wonder if there is water on the black rancid moon. Is there a tree that I can pluck fruits off? Is there a someone there who will understand me? Is there a “better version” of me out there?

Is there peace? Is there solitude? Is there silence?

Tonight is not the night. Tonight even the stars are taunting me. And that bloody firefly who fed of my plate yesterday night, even he is glowing with happiness. Tonight is definitely not the night.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

2283 : The binds that set you free


“I have written something about you”, she said with a croaky lisp.

“About me, or for me?"

“About you.”

“Great can I read it please ?”

“No. Not possible.”

“....and....?? that's strange of you, is it not ? Thén why tell me about it.”

“I wanted to be honest. Hence mentioned it.”

“Holy mother of a tottering crankshaft, that's effing convoluted. You write something. About me. Don't want me to read it. But you want to be honest. So you tell me about it.”
He added with a grin, “found a few marbles yday. Wondered who they belonged to. I can now at least guess.”

“If you ever decide to walk away, I shall send it to you. Till then, it's wrapped around my finger."

She whistled as she let her ring finger gleam with its plain elegant nakedness....and then with a posse wasp added, “That way I have simultaneously, both handcuffed and .......set you scot free. Go figure.” Shé came up, pecked on the forehead and walked away.


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

2282 : What was there before "time"? (Prologue to the world)

As Lord Brahma was closing the day and each of his tired heads stooped a bit to rest, an ambitious thought re-occurred to him. 

While he had evolved into having 4 heads (5 not counting the one which Shiva cut off), one each to understand each of the 4 vedas….and he indeed believed that he did have a good handle of the vedas, what he needed as help from Vyasa (the “divider” and organizer of the vedas) to also create a guidebook on the human condition.

This “guidebook”, or the need for it, had been niggling at him for over the last 3 months. Eventually he had come to believe while just the vedas would help humans understand the minds and grand design of the Gods, there was also a need for a “guidebook” to help them (humans) wade through the everyday minutiae.

He sent via his emissary, a note to Vyasa, so that a meeting could be arranged in the next few days. And the day did arrive, when Vyasa walked into Brahma’s chambers.

Brahma greeted Vyasa with warm affection of a peer intellectual and after the proverbial niceties, proceeded to elucidate his “need” for the guidebook.

Vyasa pondered for a minute and said “We cannot write rules. Intelligence shall reject rules. We have to explain the frailty of life, and yet highlight the need for values, and this can best be done by an epic story.”

Brahma paused and heard with interest, “….and this story shall be about?......”

Vyasa let the silence be and then cautiously said, “About us, about me, about the Kuru clan, about Vishnu’s detour as Krishna….set in the land of Jaya. We shall call it Jaya and I shall tell the story as it happens with all its failings and grandeur.”
Brahma seemed intrigued, but respected Vyasa’s wisdom completely on these matters.

Vyasa continued
“It shall be about the land of Jaya.
It shall be about the feeling of bhaya (fear)
It shall be about being in laya (order)
It shall be about overcoming maya (charade)
It shall be about knowing the daya (way).”

And then with a big pause he further added,
“This story shall be very long, I will need a scribe. One who shall neither judge me nor the real world characters. One who shall recognize and yet be impartial to the human condition.”

Brahma thought hard and said, “the only person who can write fast and with such wisdom is the intellectually happy Lord Ganesha. I can ask summon him now and ask him if he is willing to help.”

As Vyasa nodded, Brahma sent for Ganesha. The elephant headed Lord happily ambled in, in a few minutes, and was given the context.

Ganesha liked the overall idea, readily acquiesced, but added a few caveats,
“ O Sage, before there were words, there were verses
Before there was this world, there were curses
Before there was a possibility, there were chances
Before there was any movement, there were dances.”

And then added with a flourish,
“For the story to be narrated in truth and bare,
We both will have to work as a synchronized pair,
If you pause and halt as you bring the story to light,
I will too have to stutter and sputter as I write,
And such a story when it is eventually read,
Men will behold and wonder, what really happened, and what parts were figmented in our head,
Hence my request to you, O respected sage,
We write without a rest, and never revisit a page,
When its ready, it should be without a time and age,
For generations, this should be re-enacted on the world’s stage,
As we embark on this documentation of the human condition,
I do want this to be a very honest to God rendition.”

With this litany, Ganesh sat down and began munching on some much needed food. In those brief moments, all three of them looked at each other and smiled. Vyasa sporting the smile of benevolence and happiness, Brahma, the smile of tranqulity and Ganesha, the smile of youthful exuberance.

After the many silent moments, Brahma said,
“The Jaya will indeed be the tale of human greatness,
With you both in charge of this, I feel light and weightless,
For milleniums to come, this shall be the song to sing
In every moment, its truth will be the one to bite and sting,
At every corner, the honesty of this shall ring,
This will be the finality of both duty and beauty – on a prayer and wing”




With these words he whispered a blessing to both Ganesha and Vyasa, and set the wheels of Jaya in motion.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2281 : The age of the un-necessary convenience

I find these times troubling. The number of times I have looked at an invention and said, "I dont really need it. Makes no difference to my life" is almost disturbing.

Like I look at this new fad of hoverboards and wonder, "Why?", WhoTF needs these and why?

Or I look at my modern smartphone (of which I use very little features) and I wonder....why does my phone come with a proclivity to be connected.

What is this life that we have created for ourselves?
Are those who incessantly checking facebook really happier?

I have avowed to steadfastly simplify my life....and yet its difficult.

You cannot avoid these un-necessary conviniences. Like the button which allows you to open your car's boot. Really? If that a a game changer?

And pray why?

How many of us understand that the true test of a good car is its engineering and the thrill of the untamed horses, and not the gawky buttons that you press and depress?

This post sounds like a rant, and it is one.

I will one day find my place of resting. A palace where there shall be none of the un-necessary conveniences.


2280 : Arjuna's dirge

Oh, my hero born as Abhimanyu, where are you?
I was told - the world has you, and then a few,

Today, as I weep over your mangled face,
With blood clotted over, stopped in its pace,

I remember you as the unborn silent learner, 
Chakravyuh - its tricks, and you were the yearner,

When Subhadhra told me of your charming kicks,
We had both laughed and then smothered with kisses and licks,

Today, this evening, what do I tell your lovely mother,
That you have left this world, for the charm of the other?

They will tell her you were both a hero and a martyr,
Your young cheek is snarled, tell me it was whose spear?

Tell me, who was it - Karna, Drona, Bheeshma, or Duryodhan,
The mighty generals on the other side, on our side just one (you),

When you were a toddler, you once haughtily said,
For you, dad, I will fight and be readily dead,

I had a laughed and stroked your tiny goldirocks,
How I miss those moonlight walks,

You holding and grasping my aged palm,
The little fingers strong, still and yet so warm,

Where have you gone Abhimanyu, there is so much grief tonight,
The sun is gone, but the moon on your face still breathes light,

Come back as a ghost who can do nothing else but talk,
I will gladly take that, anything to get you on my nightly walk,

Son, what kind of a father lives to see his shadow dead,
I have counted, you have 108 wounds through which you have bled,

I will not rest, till I personally get each of those generals to die,
Just like me, I want, their loved ones to cry a goodbye,

So much pain, I wish the earth swallowed me in,
After all this, does it matter if we even win?

Your mother will grieve and she will wail and cry,
Today, I cannot even muster to look into her eye,

When these times are past, and our stories are told,
You son, shall be the role model to behold,

I know you will be the hero and the anchor within this history,
Your skills will be regaled, though Chakravyuh (to you) remained a mystery,

My chest heaves, and I feel a pang of gloat, 
As I know the poets of the future, will make your persona bloat,

But tonight, if I had a choice to make,
I will still take you alive in any form or shape,

Rest in peace, my son, the fields are soaked in your blood,
It will always be an honor to me, that you chose to make yourself in my mud.

2279 : Little birdie has flown away

I have posted on this before. I love this song from Queen, "Jugni"...It has to be the song of the year for the year of 2014/2015.

The lyrics are outstanding. The music is infectious. The harmony is impeccable.

Its the year for the little birdie to fly away, and she now has a theme song.

2278 : The son of my mother

When Tara was first confronted with her dilettante, she looked at Brihaspati (Jupiter), the teacher of (for) the Devas, and her avowed husband - with a mild look of amusement.

She was unsure if she was being chided for having an amorous relationship with Chandra (the moon), or whether she was being censured for dis-respecting the confines of a relationship, or here she was being prepared for a public butchering.

Whatever it was, she did not even once deny that she was passionately in love with Chandra. That infuriated Brihaspati even more.

It was only when a few days later, that Brihaspati made his moves on her and she resisted, did the other pressing matter come to light.

"Why are you resisting?" Brihaspati asked with a tone of mild irritation.

"I cant do it with you now.", was her mild and only answer.

"Is this the time of the month?"

"No."

"But wait a minute....", he said, as he calculated again, "isnt it the time of the month?"

"No."

"What does a 'No' mean? It is, I am keep my time precisely around the Sun, and know exactly when it is your time. I don't miss the beat ever.”

"You are right. It is indeed my time, and yet it is not the time."

With a long pause, she added, ”I am pregnant, and a tiny soul is wrestling within me."

"Am I the father, or is it he?"

She remained mum on that question, and instead answered in a roundabout manner,
"I am the mother, and I refuse to divulge the name of the father. As for the name, he needs neither of you, and I shall give him mine. As for the love, he needs it from both of you. I want him to have three parents."

"Tara, this is un-reasonable, I need to know, and need to know now, who is the father?"

"All the father does is release the seeds. The mother toils for the soul to become a child. Why should even I be bothered on who is the father?"

Brihaspati was aghast, certainly not amused, and soon enough this matter reached the doors of Indra, the Lord of the Devas.

Indra called Chandra, Tara and Brihaspati for a 3 way dialogue.  He started by asking Tara,
"Dear daughter, I know that you have a child within you. Who is the father, we would like to know."

She answered, "Lord, both the fathers are present here. Why should the mother answer this? Would they not know within themselves, who has sown the seeds?"

"Tara, you are being difficult, tell us. Its important we all know the truth."

"Lord, except for the child and me, no one else ever needs to know the truth. The child has not asked yet, and when he does, I shall tell him what I know.”

Indra then nudged the child within and spoke through him, almost a la like a ventriloquist. The child asked "Mother Tara, who is really my father?"

Tara figured the trick that Indra had played on her, and considered for a moment whether she should answer in public, or whether she should stick to silence. After a minute of considered options, she spoke in verses,

"Dear Child, I am pregnant with you all should know this now,
Carrying the seeds of Chandra within me, and his passionate love,

I adore him (Chandra) and his love for me,
What will it take, for the world to just let us be?"

Indra was shocked, but with practiced composure he asked,
"And Tara dearest, why did you choose Chandra over your burly husband Brihaspati".

She again chose to answer in verses,

"Chandra is tepid and cool like the milk adorned rice,
He (Brihaspati) on the other hand is angry and huge with red blooded eyes,

On the nightly bed, Chandra just lets me be,
Its never about him, its always about we,

With Him (Brihaspati) he is the biggest and brightest as all of you can tell,
I can never ever be his real consort and his equal.”

Indra looked at Briahspati and asked “Is it true, O wise one, that you have never treated her like a partner?”

All He did was look downcast, and in that silence there was an implicit answer.

And then Indra moved his gaze to Chandra, who looked weak and cornered, and yet spoke,
“She has always been more equal than me. 
She is the one who lends my composure some fire. 
She is the one who balances out the flame of my desire.”

As the assembled audience gazed at all 3 of them, Briahspati, seething with anger announced,
“This son of Tara, who belongs to no one, will also belong to no gender. 
He shall be neither here nor there. 
He shall be laughed upon even by the fools of everywhere.”

The Devas and Indra were shocked. How could their teacher, lose his cool and curse a little innocent child.

Indra jumped in and said (in verses)
“Brihaspati, this child shall be yours and shall carry your name,
If he is indeed cursed, then you shall too carry the shame,

He shall be named Budh (Mercury) and will always be the God of wealth,
I wish him knowledge, a happy childhood and years of health,

Brihaspati, from today you shall be responsible for this child,
Never mind, that you cannot forgive Tara for being so wild.”

Finally, after a pause, Indra asked Tara,
“O Goddess, where would you rather be, with Brihaspti or with Chandra?”

She answered in verses,
“I love Chandra for his passionate ways,
With him, I have realized some of my happiest days,

Between the burly husband and the tender calm,
I choose Chandra for being the soothing balm,

If in the future there are questions about me being chaste,
I will repeat and say, Chandra was a matter of good taste,

And if ever, the world forces me to re-enter Briahspati’s house,
That shall signal the end, I shall light my own douse,

For years to come, I want the world to say,
Tara chose the Moon, it was her choice to stay,

I still choose the Moon, because he has flamed my lust,
Its never physical (she said looking at Briahspati), its always a matter of safety and trust,

Years later, when we all are gone for long,
I want the world to remember, in these matters the heart is never ever wrong.”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2277 : The angry sea

We sometimes internalise another's way of looking at the world.

So as an example, I have this friend - who almost everytime we pass by the ocean (in Mumbai) - he says "The bloody ocean is angry", and when I have asked "why" a few times - the sardonic answer is because "she is restrained", "you have built land on her frayed edges".

Yesterday and today as I drove past the worli-south mumbai ocean, it occurred to me, my friend is indeed right. I could see the "sea being angry", lashing at us - almost growling, almost irritated.

Am I seeing the world through my friend's eyes. Maybe yes, but I am glad - because today the "bloody ocean was indeed frothing".


Friday, December 25, 2015

2276 : When the will falters

This has been a wasted year for Arjuna. Dwaithavana did not require him to use his sniping skills, and though he indulged himself in a hunt every now and then, it was never going to replace the battles of the real world.

In this past year, his efficacy had been faltering. He tried to take help from his brothers and then from the local seer. "More practice" and "better reflexes" was what he was reminded of.

Months passed, he spent three hrs every morning, honing his own skills...and yet he himself knew not an inch had moved. He was driving retrograde.

Finally, the local seer told him, "Arjuna, you have struggled for months. I have a suggestion - make a visit to the great seer, Kailasa in the Himalayas. He is the One who can make even a broken arrow heal itself. Go, he is the one that the wind is sailing towards."

Arjuna bowed, prostrated at his feet, and next morning proceeded on his month long journey to the North. The high peaks of the Himalayas were a North Star in themselves.

Reaching the mount, finding Kailasa was not difficult at all. The birds, the monkeys and even the local seers knew exactly where he was based.

The first night, Arjuna shacked up at the foot of the hills. Thakshak, the giant snake from Kuber's land, made an unannounced visit in the form of a dream, and warned him - "Finding Kailasa is easy, but you cannot break his meditation. It can sometimes take a 100 years before he opens his eyes. In the flux of his meditation, the massive forces of the universe are being balanced and repositioned. If you disturb him, it could wish armageddon upon us."

The morning Sun woke him up, and he remembered the encounter with Thakshak. By afternoon he was at Kailasa's feet. As described to him, Kailasa was a picture of stillness - so much so that moss had engulfed part of his feet and hair. His face though was clear and radiated not just life, but the colossal cosmic energy that he carried on his shoulders.

From the looks of it, he had probably been mediatating for years already. How long before his spell broke?

No one knew that. Arjuna setup camp near the hermit's stasis. Every morning he would wake up, practice just like he would do back in the forest, and then sit at the foot of the seer waiting for him to open his eyes.

Months passed. Arjuna's game still deteriorated. Meanwhile, he was losing hope that the seer would ever open his eyes, within his (Arjuna's) lifetime. That thought combined with the hope of a magic bullet from the seer, and now the receding possibility of it - killed his life force further.

Four months into the wait, one morning the seer stirred. Arjuna knew this was the day. Mid-day as the sun shone bright, Kailasa opened his eyes. They were like laser, and yet calm and encouraging, they were like icy, and yet warm and welcoming. The moss from his hair melted away.

It took Kailasa less than a moment to grasp the current reality. Appearing as if he had aware (and awake) all along, he benevolently smiled at Arjuna.

Arjuna bowed and lowered his eyes.

After a few moments of reverent silence, Arjuna said "Lord, I come here to seek help. I am Arjuna- Drona's disciple- he has anointed me the greatest archer in the world, but I am steadily losing my edge. I have been told you are the only one who can help me get my mojo back."

Kailasa smiled again, still exactly like a father would at his son and said, "O Archer, I can see a mango tree in the far distance. Can you shoot down the third mango from the top - it appears ripe and tempting."

Arjuna quivered. The tree was really quite far away, and he was nervous. He could not even see the mango well, if he missed - he would fail in Lord Kailasa's eyes.

With the movements of his eyes, Kailasa goaded him. Arjuna bowed, closed his eyes, focussed and shot the arrow. In the blink of an eye, the target was hit, and the mango fell down. A young rabbit scurried towards it to fetch it back for Kailasa.

Arjuna was elated, he could not believe his shot. He beamed like a baby. Before he had even finished smiling, Kailasa spoke again "While the rabbit brings it, can you shoot a leaf off the short banana tree above my head. We can use the leaf as a plate for the mango."

Arjuna was stunned. The banana leaf was so close, he could have plucked it by hand. He could have shot this leaf when he had just started learning at the age of five from Drona. Today he was on a roll.

And yet, out of respect he bowed and he shot. And.....he missed.

He could not trust his eyes. He looked at Kailasa in complete disbelief.

Kailasa looked at him, and said, "Oh looks like the rabbit is almost there (at the foot of the hill). I dont mind another mango. Why dont you should the other one near the top too. He will get both of them along."

As requested, Arjuna shot this time again into the far tree. And to his complete shock, he hit the mango again.

Kailasa said, "O archer, great work. We still dont have the banana leaf, can you try again."

Arjuna again missed. Befuddled he feel at the hermit's feet.

"Lord, what is happening?"

Kailasa said "You are the greatest archer, you should know. Did Drona not train you well?"

"Lord, I need your help. Tell me what am I missing".

"You are the greatest archer, because the universe aligns to you. Not the other way around."

"Lord, what does that mean?"

"The arrow(s) you shot towards the mango wanted to help me to be fed. It wanted to bring the mango down. And lo, you become the sharp shooter. The ones you shot at the tree above, did not feel interested in plucking a banana leaf. And you missed your target. So as an example, unless your arrows want you to succeed, you will not win."

"Lord, does that mean, I control nothing. The arrows will decide my fate?"

"Archer Arjuna, you control everything. The world is a function of only one thing....Intention. The way you and I can surface our intention is by Focus. And the only way you can bring Focus into your game is by having a deep Longing. Focus is nothing but a longing."

Kailasa paused and then added, "Longing - my dear archer I cannot give you. I cannot impart that to you. Longing comes from an internal passion. The passion which says, either the arrow brings the mango down or it rips the heart apart."

In what appeared like moments - Arjuna bowed and contemplated on this.

When he looked up - the seer was deep in meditation. The moss foliage was back on his hair, exactly as he had earlier seen it, almost as if the past few moment was nothing more than a whistler dream.

He bowed, packed up and left. The journey was now going to be the lesson.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

2275 : The touching game

"Will you please stop trying to feel me up?" she said with a sardonic smile.

"Whaaaaaat?" he asked with a grin.

"I said stop groping me."

"I have not touched you at all."

"You have. You keep asking me such deeply personal questions."

"Don't answer them. I have always told you, you can refuse any of my questions.", with a pause, he further added "and how the f is this connected to inappropriately touching you."

"Did I say 'inappropriately'?"

"Either your english is effed up or mine is. When did 'groping' become acceptable?"

"Hmmm...."

"Beside the point, how is asking questions related to feeling you up?"

"When you ask me those intense questions, it feels as if you were trying to caress me.", she said with a mischievous smile.

"And?"

"Those questions make the exact same impression on my soul, as your paws on my body." with that she guffawed loudly.

2274 : Time to heal

That morning, as Draupadi looked at Yudhistra she knew that he had been weeping. As they sat wordlessly sipping the hot tulsi tea, she looked at him with the respect that one accords the eldest in the family, and slowly spoke.

"Dharmaraja, how long will you continue to wallow in your pain? You think you have made mistakes. I know you have made mistakes. Your brothers think often about the mistakes too. And yet...unlike them, you seem to be consumed by this endless meditation, of what could have been? Am I reading you wrong? I can see your eyes. It looks like they did not sleep a wink, and conversely they probably leaked a complete ocean. Why?"

"My dear Panchali, I am a victim of my own little multiplicity. I am responsible for what I have become. I look at my life and realise how easy it was for me to be happy, to keep all of you happy - and yet, how easily I have brought all of you to the brink of this forest. My wayward ways have brought this upon all of you. Can I reverse a day of my madness? Can I put the hand on my heart and claim to true to my dharma?"

"Dear Raja, more than dharma, this is our karma. Is it not? You chose to gamble. We chose to be on your side. I could have asked for the entire world back, when I was given the option, and yet, in my anger, I frothed like the Goddess and almost cursed them. Are we all not responsible for what we have become? And yet, I want to fight this nihilism off, my own fatalism off - I look forward to being the Queen one day. And for that one day, I will live everyday today, and I will learn everyday to move another inch towards winning. Winning the world, the land, the "us" and most importantly the "me" back from from this life. Thats what keeps me going."

"Panchali, you are wise. I wish I had your wisdom and poise. I have neither. I am on the frayed edges of time."

"Raja, you are becoming more and more inward. You are becoming a magnet for unhappiness. Its almost as if you are so looking forward to be being unhappy. You seek the worst in me, the worst in yourself, the worst within us, the worst within the situation and then infinitely rehash and meditate on me. Start the process of winning back your inches."

"Sweetheart, I am built like that. I need to meditate on these matters, to know the subtle nuances of each aspect of dharma that I have flouted. This meditation is my punishment and is an essential part of my recuperation."

After a long wistful pause, he further added "The healing you are referring to can start anytime. Healing starts whenever we are ready. Unfortunately I am not ready yet."

2273 : 45 years - the movie

I read this review with riveted attention. As I read through it, I wished more and more that I had written this screen play. (Yes I do have a penchant to convert stories to screen play).

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/columns/columnists/trisha-gupta/The-time-of-our-lives/articleshow/50251077.cms 

Read and be enthralled. I liked the passage where the lead male protagonist says

He knows age and illness has taken its toll, and he was prepared for a quiet last innings - until the arrival of the letter seems to change something in him. "She'll look like she did in 1962 - and I'll look... like this!" he announces with something like disgust. 

2272 : Ek Din Achanak - related to the previous posts

Just to complete the series of posts, in what can be easily misunderstood to be nihilism or escapism - here is one last of my favorites. This is about a movie called Ek Din Achanak.

In this movie, a professor, goes out one morning on his regular routine and just disappears off the face of the earth.

Whether he is kidnapped, murdered or has he just escaped is left to complete conjecture.

But as the family begin to piece together his last days, months and years - they begin to startling realise aspects of his life, which they had completely not noticed.

Its a classic. I saw this way back in 1993 (in my teens) and till today this movie seems like a harbinger of urban isolation and loneliness.

Do watch if you get a chance.

2271 : Silence

I have posted on this a million times (exaggeration) already. On a day like today (and like many others in my past), all I crave for is undisturbed silence.

Physical. Mental. Vocal. Peace. Silence.

My desire to escape is "complete"and "overpowering".


2270 : My own review of Disgrace is outstanding :-)

Hey folks, sorry for being the narcissistic me, but read this. I wrote this 14 years ago, and I am completely and utterly proud of "the me" from then.

Read....Please do.

http://spinningawheel.blogspot.in/2010/03/1076-my-2001-post-on-disgrace-by-jm.html 

2269 : David Lurie from JM Coetzee's Disgrace

The other character that I relate to completely (from within fiction) is David from JM Coetzee's Disgrace.

Here is the quick summary of David (I am writing from memory so excuse my errors)
- A good successful professor at a South African College.
- He falls in love with a student (which clearly is a taboo there).
- He not only has a passionate affair, but he also helps her falsify her grades.
- At one point because of pressure from her father and boyfriend, she accuses him of rape.
- Instead of defending himself, David accepts all of it upon himself - to the point that one inch at a time - his life rapidly begins to unwind.
- He loses his job, his respect, his credibility - inshort his complete integration into society.

And instead of fighting back, David chooses to accept the collective judgement thrust upon him and he walks away. He almost makes it look like "if this is the price I had to pay for doing what I thought was right at that point, then I am willing to pay the price. I would rather accept my fate, than live by your rules."

He never actually says anything like this, he never rationalizes his behavior for us through the book, but you can see it if you read between the lines.

In the last 15 years I have truly become like David, I will not fight to fit into a world - whose rules I might inherently not agree. Everytime I am faced with such a dilemma, I always accept the judgement and walk away.

It makes me more and more on the fringe, but it also makes me more and more sharper, clearer that the world I belong to will grind me to coarse earth in its attempt to make me fit in, and I, owe this responsibility to my own cells - I need to be true to myself, more than fitting in.

We all die alone, and when I die - in those last moments I do want to look back and feel that I lived a life of honor, that I was honest to myself, never compromised on my own values, and I never bend to fit in. If at that moment, I can recall any incident where I had bend over, I will die a very unhappy man.

2268 : Malik Solanka from Fury re-visted in real life

There are a few times when you see a movie, or read a book, or a piece a music, that intensely resonates with you - almost as if it were meant only for you.

When I first read Salman Rushdie's Fury in 2003, it immediately captivated me. Haunting me to a point where I felt the parallels between his life and mine were immense.

Since then I have read that book a total of about 7 times - and every time I am more sure that Malik is my doppleganger.

In summary here is what I relate to:
1) Upper middle aged Solanka is successful in his own right. By every benchmark he must be very happy, he lives in London - with a wife whom he very much loves and a kid that sounds adorable.
2) He makes enough money to make him appear noveau.
3) He is creative, full of life and is admired in the world.
4) And yet.....
5) One fine morning (which is when the story starts), he picks up his bags and flies off to NY - leaving his wife and kid behind. While he informs them later - where he is - he is sure he does not want to come back.
6) He loves his son, and very much wants to connect back with him (including the last very poetic and yet real scene of the book) - Aasman is the one that he really wishes to connect back.
7) He seems to love his wife too, just that his need for being alone overtakes all of his desires.
8) While he flits in and out of life, getting involved in with a lively girl, fighting a political battle - he never fully recovers becoming part of mainstream ever.
9) In the end, he is still lost, maybe a little wiser, but still very much lost.

In my head, Malik's over-arching need is for silence. To escape a world - which he built himself, but does not relate to anymore at all. He wants to make a fresh start, but life cannot offer him that choice at all - and hence he makes the best possible shot - escaping off to NY - to try and get close the "fresh start", almost steal it from the circumstance.

Most importantly Malik is real. Malik is possibly me.

Salman bhai, take a bow.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2267 : The other one

Its no secret, that Panchali never fully reconciled to the world of forests. While she did adjust and survive in Dwaithavana, she never fully soaked it into her skin.

The Queen Mother Kunti did not help the problem. She was one who held the Pandavas together with the proverbial iron shackle. To Draupadi, it did not feel like another woman or person in the room, it felt like the proverbial counterforce - the doppleganger who is not wanted or liked.

On the day of this tale, Draupadi (Panchali) was angry and upset about the state of her world, the anguish in her life and the wasteral nature of their ephemeral lives.

The King of Dharma returned late in the evening with a collection of fruits, vegetables and wild berries. He was tired, pensive and unfortunately did not feel very upbeat himself.

Yet...being the King of composure too...he silently unpacked the food from the banana leaf he had packed them in. One item at a time. As he doing so, he came across the pomegranate he had picked up in the afternoon. He looked at it wistfully, shined it off with his hand...looked again...shined it again....looked wistfully at a distant nothing....and then proceeded to keep it aside from the rest of the fruits he was unpacking.

Draupadi had caught him doing this. Her side glance distracted by his actions.

As he was unpacking the other fruits, he was preparing how to present this to Draupadi...he knew she was low, he could sense it, he wanted to perk her up, spike up her mood. He believed a rare unique pomegranate, might just be the catalyst that made her bubble over. He almost anticipated the eager look of delight and the bright smile of surprise which he hoped her face would morph into.

Unpacking done, he picked up the pomegranate and slowly trudged towards Draupadi. Without saying a word, he stretched his hand and offered the fruit to her, looking down (at the grass) and at her face alternatively.

In her bile infested mood, she asked him "Was this really meant for me?". As she spoke the fruit dribbled off her hand and fell to the floor.

"Why do you ask?"

"I saw you shine and contemplate over the fruit. I also saw you stealing side glances at Mother at the same time. Are you sure this is not meant for Mother Kunti?"

"Do you really believe that? Is that the first thing that struck you as I gave you this fruit?"

"Did you really mean this for me? You have to answer that first?", she said bosom heaving with anger.

"It now does not matter what I really meant.", saying that he picked up the fruit she had inadvertently let fall. He shined it by hand again. Purposedly walking towards the center of the shed, he placed it near the family dog.

"You still did not answer", she asked icily.

"It does not really matter now.", he repeated, without turning in her direction.

He prostrated to the dog, as if it were the family deity, and then proceeded to walk out of the shed. Silently he took a seat on the grass outside and stared at the sky.

The sky was full of stars. The crescent moon looked like it was scornfully smiling.

2266 : That girl with bouncy hair...

I visit a particular coffee shop at Powai often...and I do know that at a particular time everyday a strikingly noticable girl is around.

The first reason she always catches my eye, because she has great happy bouncy hair. Almost deliciously pixar like.

She also has a penchant for wearing some of the most classily fitted (one piece...is that what they are called...google could not help me....the one where the top and the skirt and one piece like a LBD almost...) dresses. Its almost her signature style. Her own signature little style and she seems to so comfortable in her skin, its almost divine.

Now rarely I go into the coffee shop alone, its usually with someone I need to schmooze with. And yet....on the few occasions when I do, I do pause for a minute and steal a glance.

I don't think its either lust or infatuation, I honestly don't even want to get to know her (By now you know I am old 50 year old hag...with my teenage hormones long dead :-) hee haw:-)).

The reason I pause to look is more simple...admiration. Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder and aesthetic beauty is most definitely even more in that zone.

To me there is something infinitely magical about having such a sense of grace and poise. There is also an ethereal quality of being "almost unreal" (like Mario brothers ha ha :-))...to the extent in some of these examples I want to pinch myself.

This also brings me to my other fav everyday question? How can you form a view, admire, or think "good" of a person you have never known or met.

Be it Smita Patil. Or Sona Mahapatra. Or Arundhati Roy. Or Bouncy Hair :-)

Universe. Magic. Delivered.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2265 : Chand Tanha Hai by Meena Kumari

I like Meena Kumari singing Chand Tanha Hai. The lines are haunting, her voice is too. The poetry is mesmerizing. (She has written the words too).

Listen to it on yourtube at

rough initial translation

the lonely moon is cavorting the solitude of the sky,
I do bump into my lonely heart at completely unexpected places,
I have lost all desire, and even the shooting star has deserted (me),
I can feel tremors, is that my life quiverving?


2264 : Karthika Nair and her book Until the Lions




I have always wanted to write a poetic interpretation of Mahabharata, and one day I will.

Till then, I was pleasantly surprised to read Karthika Nair's Until the Lions.

Truth be told - I am a big fan of anyone with clarity and a sense of purpose. And she has oodles of it. She really has.

What I struggled with is sometimes her abstruse use of words and metaphors.

Poets, can be understood by reading their works. And hence they are essentially naked. If I were to apply that yardstick to her, at points she comes across as wannabe.

And yet, and not to take away from her real coup de grace, she is brilliant, full of purpose and outstanding. At times her poems and imagery are brutal. Miss Nair, take a heartfelt bow.

From her book a sample which I really liked

Before a battle,
grow inwards, like root and rock:
shred eyes, ears; shred words.
Let us speak, your skin to mine.
Touch alone scores memory.

Touch alone will survive
Time


2263 : One more on Smita

I have often wondered, what does it take for people of entitlement (folks who are born into riches, or wealth, or access to right resources) to not achieve what they want to.

And yet, I often find that children of entitlement usually don't achieve much (even as compared to the median), forget even comparing them to their parents or achievers in the family.

Smita was an entitled child by every measure. And she could choose whatever she wanted to. She was also of modest looks and gait.

And she did make choices. Strange ones. But every single one of them made her real, alive, one amongst us and a standout amongst us humans.

She acted. She acted in strange movies. She did strange roles. She never apologized for her looks. She married whom she wanted to. She lived her life. She had a kid. She died she was too old to live. She made a mark.

Take a bow again Smita. RIP.

2262 : Aaj Rapat Jaye as per my daughter

Folks who know my daughter and me, know that she has a penchant for hindi songs, I have a penchant for diction and translation.

Picture this.

So she often asks me translate entire songs on the fly. She is good with Hindi, but probably struggles with new words and metaphors.

So this time she asks me to translate Aaj Rapat Jaye....

"aaj rapat jaye tho hamein na uthaiiiyon"

and I translated for her saying "If I roll/slip and fall, dont try and pick me up because I might pull you down too."

and guess what, she has taken this to heart. She walks around explaining this to all.

Its cute, funny and hilarious.

Aaj Rapat Jaye from youtube




2261 : The girl with the golden Smile :-)





Actually she did not smile much. As an actress Smita Patil, has probably to be my #1 favorite actress. Most people catch onto her intensity or rawness - I prefer to call it naturalness.

She got into the skin of the moment. I am assuming if she could do that for a shot, she could do that at will in real life too - what is this life if not a stage (Shake the spear :-)).

Yesterday it was 29 years since her death, and I was reading a short bio. And the transcript said, she supposedly was made to feel that she was selling her soul to the devil for doing "Aaj Rapat Jaye" with Amitabh.

I have to stop everyone there. In my eyes (and I have not seen the video in the last 15 years), both of them are fab is an understatement. Its like two powerhouse natural actors doing one heartfelt number.

It does help that both Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosale have sung this song as if they were actually a pair too. Especially the way they naturally bend the notes they are signing, with their mischievous voices.

When Asha sings at one point that "tujhe toh aayi haasee......meri toh jaan gayi re."....it almost feels like the real life banter of a couple, where the girl is admonishing her love for being too much of a dilettante.

Smita Patil will remain my #1 favorite actress forever. Possibly. Period.

The song shall remain one of my #100 songs of my life.

As for she having to feel demeaned for doing the song...what can I say....folks, you can put fingers wherever you want to. Its your finger any which way :-)

My dear Smita, who I will never meet (or even watch all her movies)....a heartfelt bow and RIP.

I picked up the image from mangnamags.com and this artcile is lovely. Explains a bit of an insight into her as a person. Read at http://www.magnamags.com/stardust/blast-from-the-past/the-paranoias-and-phobias-of-smita-patil/2593 

Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smita_Patil 

Aaj Rapat Jaye on youtube 



Friday, December 11, 2015

2260 : Why harmony matters....

I have gone back to 1994. I am now listening to a particular song from Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa by Kundan Shah starring Shah Rukh Khan, Suchitra Krishnamoorthy and Deepak Tijori.

The song is a "Deewana" a duet between Amit Kumar and Udit Narayan.

Music by Jatin Lalit - this song is an awesome example of two male voices singing in perfect harmony.

Where one male voice ends and the other begins is almost difficult to figure.

It has a very operatic quality, most of the lines are in high + bassy (I know there is a contradiction) notes.

Some lines are just brilliant.....

Toota sitara tho maanga tha rab se,
Tujhko hi jan-e-jaha,

Jo toot jaye taare tamam,
mangoo wahi ek dua.

(When I saw the shooting star, the only wish I made was you,
If all the stars decided to go kaput one by one,
(guess what!!), I would still ask for only one thing (and thats you). )

Dil se laga kar ke rakha hain ab tak,
Resham ka tera roomal,
Aage kahoon kya jaane man,
Aa dekh jaa mera haal....

(The one muslin kerchief you forgot the other day, still sits in my breast pocket,
What more do I say sweetheart, if you want to still check on me, come over you will still find me lovelorn)