Saturday, August 27, 2005


If serendipity were a charity organisation, I would bequeath my entire property to it!! :-D

I was running between psychological states like one does between signal lights in a busy city roadway and it was threatening to consume me in a way life does death (no typo). I was busy mentoring people in my organisation and without and it was getting very troubling to watch so many people frustrated with life. Like most human emotions, this rubbed on and a few things ensured that the pseudo-frustration stayed on for a while. With no one around to tackle it with me (or for me) it kept getting worse like a festering wound. After spending sufficient time in meditation (which is not conducted under some fashionable tree with me under it wearing a top-knot and yellow robes! Why yellow? Yuck!) I came out of it but the coals of discontent were smouldering with an ash-cloaked redness. The night gave me a good sleep with interesting dreams (in technicolour) and I woke up to be reminded of my earlier confusion and unrest. I sat back to wonder whether such dissatisfaction ever had a way out (btw, this post and the previous aren't even remotely related. Again serendipity). Is there a solution? I had a few emails come in from people I knew (and didn't) asking me to help them with planning their career move or their domestic problems. Feels nice to be of use, but what remains is the question: Will we always be dissatisfied about something or the other? Is this inevitable?
Today I was surfing for some stuff (no, not THAT) and saw an icon on my desktop. It was a tree (something that Windows supplies) and it was for launching JK's Book of Life. You could download the source from Sourceforge. It generates a snippet of JK's views on a daily basis. I had a book for this earlier but hardly read it. This was something nifty and I had installed it, but, again, rarely launched it.
I told myself: Let's see what JK has to say today. And here is what I found:

What is it that we are discontented with? Surely with what is. The what is may be the social order, the what is may be the relationship, the what is may be what we are, the thing we are essentially- which is, the ugly, the wandering thoughts, the ambitions, the frustrations, the innumerable fears; that is what we are. In going away from that, we think we shall find an answer to our discontent. So we are always seeking a way, a means to change the what is- that is what our mind is concerned with. If I am discontent and if I want to find a way, the means to contentment, my mind is occupied with the means, the way and the practicing of the way in order to arrive at contentment. So I am no longer concerned with discontent, with the embers, the flame that is burning, which we call discontent. We do not find out what is behind that discontent. We are only concerned with going away from that flame, from that burning anxiety. This is enormously difficult because our mind is never satisfied, never content in the examination of what is. It always wants to transform what is into something else- which is the process of condemnation, justification or comparison. If you observe your own mind you will see that when it comes face to face with what is, then it condemns, then it compares it with "what it should be," or it justifies it and so on, and thereby pushes away what is, setting aside the thing which is causing the disturbance, the pain, the anxiety.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Multiple lives...

There is a life we lead and then there is the life we dream of leading; of hilltops and lakes and affluence and birdsongs and a sunrise to hug and a moon to kiss you to sleep of peace that sings in your heart while you bring peace to a dear soul by singing.

Is happiness, then, watching these lives merge and become one or is happiness in dreaming a livable life?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kids... so adorable

This was the cutest thing I caught on camera. This little kid was trying to open this heavy door and wasn't able to do. She somehow managed to open it a bit and then this man walked through it, so she had to let go and move fast enough to get through. She let go and the door swiveled back and she caught it and was pulled along (notice her feet sliding)!! :-))
They sure are the sweetest specie created by god!!

Then I asked her, "Sweetie, do you want me to open the door for you?"
She gave one look at the door and then at me and nodded her head.
Once I opened it wide enough for a dozen people (no point making them feel small and puny) she entered the cafe and turned around, gave me a toothy grin and said, "Thank you uncle!" with her head tilting to the right as if trying to press the words down and compacting them for me to carry in my pocket... or my heart!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Of miracles and confusion...

Well, I am back from my vacation which only vacated my hope of having a good vacation. Apart from a few incidents I really don't seem to have enjoyed this one. My mom thinks I can never be satisfied. My friends in Bombay think I was very happy and satisfied and I think that I shouldn't be thinking now...

I decided to get some things straightened up, like my room (which is a perennial activity. I wonder who keeps dirtying it! ;-) and my mails and you know... the usual stuff. I realised that I wanted my littlish, longish, smallish book on Mutual Funds. I love reading it once in a while and then doing nothing with my money! As an aside, MFs aren't that bad or scary as I thought them to be. I was always afraid of money and speculation, but I soon realised that they aren't half as evil as I thought them to be. Anyway, I got to searching it here and there and nearly everywhere... which I suppose you know to be everywhere!!

A few months ago I had purchased a Louis Armstrong (no, not related to the guy who went to moon!! Jeeesus!) collection on CD. I love his works. So I came home, and before you lose track of time, it was nearly 4-5 months ago, so feel a little younger when you imagine this piece. So where were we? Yup, 4-5 months ago I bought this CD of some of his love songs and played it on my system (its a 5 CD changer and this detail is relevant). We sat to eat some samosas and I was enjoying Jazz forcing myself to get into a dreamy state which is supposed to accompany all Jazz performances!! After a few songs I decided to go do some reading and my sis said, like a true patron of art, "If you aren't listening to that then please turn it off." I turned it off and went about my work. After a day or two I wanted to listen to it and didn't find it any of the CD chambers (I searched all 5. See? The number is relevant). And like any mature grown-up who has lost his dear possession I shrieked and brought the roof down!
My sis has this trait of coming to my place and ensuring that something goes amiss. I don't know where my walkman is, nor my alarm clock nor my camera. So many things. I am not accusing her of anything, but simply making a point that things vanish when she appears!! :-))
So she decided to search for it and she looked everywhere, which by now you know to be everywhere! and she couldn't find it!!!
After a few days I realised that my Tibetan music CD (for Tai-Chi) was missing. I looked at my sis through squinted eyes and she unpacked everything to prove that she hadn't taken it. We searched everywhere, say it with me, EVERYWHERE, but didn't find that one too. Unfortunately, I hadn't backed up either of those CDs. :-(
This was spooky. How could a CD vanish from a music system? The maid servant didn't know how to operate it. So, who was making them go?
After 3-5 months I still look at Louis Armstrong holding a microphone stand but singing nothing. Why? BECAUSE THE CD IS MISSING... :-(
So, yesterday I was searching for my littlish, longish, smallish book on Mutual Funds and by jove! under a pile of very important papers (which I have hardly read) was my Tibetan music CD. I hadn't written anything on it so I wasn't sure whether it was that or was it some software CD in the wrong case. I rushed to my system and decided to load it in chamber 1 (I prefer progressing numerically). Out came a chamber with some CD in it. I noticed that it was some old CD and pushed the chamber back in. The CD tray got stuck and didn't allow me to open other chambers. I slowly reopened the 1st chamber and then pulled out the stuck CD. Then I decided to open each chamber and check if any other CD was stuck. 2 nothing. 3 nothing. 4 nothing. 5 wait wait wait. What is this????
Say it with me guys: LOUIS ARMSTRONG IN FLESH AND BLOOD (well, not really)
After 5 months I found both my CDs while searching a book on Mutual Funds. They sure are a profitable thing to pursue!!
I called my sister to tell her that I found the CDs. She was happy and lovingly asked me to find a nice spot and kick myself in the rear! And I told her that the irony was that I was searching for something else.
"Naah. Nothing. Just a book."
"Which one?"
"That littlish, longish, smallish book on Mutual Funds. Must be here somewhere."
"Oh! That one. I have it with me."

Sunday, August 14, 2005


How so futile it seems
I search for the ideal in one
In vain pursuit one gleans
The ideal, but, thrives in none

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Open for discussion

Certain articles from the Aug issue of Alvibest are thrown open for discussion on Alvibest's blog. Feel free to participate in any of them.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On faith, science and the human mind...

I received this in a mail from a friend today. Very interesting, so please do read through it.

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty. He asks one of his new students to stand and.....

Prof: So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him.Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
Student: (Student is silent.)

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
Student: (Student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
Student: (Student has no answer.)

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No , sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't. (The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn
of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light....But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
Prof: (The Professor shakes his head with a smile,beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavour, are you not teaching
your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?
Prof: (The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
Prof: (The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it?.....No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

Prof: (The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir.. The link between man & God is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

I enjoyed this tale, but I only pity the professor for not cultivating a sound rebuttal to a slightly flawed set of examples that the student provided, although what the student had to say had truth intact. But that is besides the point.
This mail reminded me of a conversation I had had with a friend into the night. We spoke long enough to exhaust the charge in her mobile! We were discussing purpose, destiny and the like, God not spared! Its not the content of the discussion and this mail that are similar but the whole nature of the human mind and the various things we have constructed for ourselves.
Man created a stream of scientific thought and pitted it against a creation of belief which stems from the same source of human creations - the brain. Countless men and women walk this earth and can swear by miracles that they have seen happen in front of their eyes, but are ridiculed because these miracles cannot be reproduced in vitro. We create a stream of thought and expect everything to be encompassed in it. The religious man wants the illness to be healed by a miracle, and the scientist wants to explain why every healthy member of the family died in the earthquake, save the 8 month old babe. Many philosophies were created and some got transformed into religions and soon we expect everyone to agree with "my religion". We create boundaries on undivided land and train our armies against each other. The natural phenomena would have existed without science and miracles would happen without religion and god. We push these to the extreme and create a little good and a lot of unacceptable results.
After the conversation with my friend, I tossed on my bed trying to figure out what was wrong. What she held as her belief didn't appeal to me and couldn't stand the onslaught of my barrage of questions, prepared of years of clever conversations and sophistry. I felt stupid at the end of it all. Simply stupid. To think that her belief, and her beat must stand true to the touchstone of my understanding was the most stupid thing I could ever indulge in. I spent another hour retracing the discussion and trying to figure out where I had broken away and took that stance. It helped, although it was very exhausting.
I don't think the entire world will ever agree about nearly anything and it takes a lot of discipline and tolerance to realise that and quit imposing our views and our beliefs on others. The popular sport of ridiculing another person's ideas or beliefs is best left as a sport to tease someone very close to you, who is aware of the prank you are playing on her/him. Science might insist that this is the best means of establishing the truth and thereby forcing empirical means of proving something on demand. I think the world does not go round because science is able to establish something or not. Science is still not able to predict natural calamities, and the world has been around for billions of years. We really think we and our beliefs are so important? To discuss is healthy when both parties are open to discussion, but establishing our point of view is not always essential. I was striving to do so over the conversation, although I was telling myself that all I was trying to do is help my sweet little friend understand what she was saying and see things from a different POV. It seems to have gotten her thinking!! :-D But...
The world really doesn't need me to establish anything nor is it looking towards me to provide any definitions and/or tenets.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bombay City

Every day I realise why I love that city more than any other city in the world that I have seen. That city has the spirit and the zest to live, come what may and I love how Uma captures the spirit of the city. I rely a lot on her blog for what is happening in Bombay. Her posts about the recent rains and the devastation moved me and at the same time made me feel proud to be associated (for the longest times in my life) with a city as beautiful as Bombay. This is the only city where the slums can be beautiful.
The last week saw me make frantic calls to my friends in Bombay. Most of them I could not reach till the weekend. It felt nice to know that they were all unaffected, but none of them spent more than 20-30 seconds talking about themselves. They were talking about what they were planning to do to help their servants' families and the houses/shops in the nearby areas. That's the spirit, guys, that's the spirit. That's Bombay City.
I should be there in Bombay next week and I hope I still have the chance to do something out there.

Please visit/link to the following blogs:

Mumbai Help

Cloudburst Mumbai


Phew! I am tired. Really am.

Guys, the first issue of Alvibest is out. I would like to thank all those who supported this effort.

Thank you,