Sunday, April 30, 2006


Dear All,
I am off blogging for a while, and how long that might last is unknown to those I know (completely or partially, including myself). But I shant leave without telling you a story. :-)

In the plateaus, which are so called because they are level with the mountains and cannot be called the plains, of Tibet there was this young boy called Ichtang Korya. Ichtang was nearly an omen in his village; see him early in the morning and your day will be pleasant, at night the dreams are memorable at the break of dawn. Adults and girls pulled his cheeks and bullies had no heart to trouble him though they occasionally pushed him away from their path, only to watch his face turn a shade of red that evoked tears in him and guilt in their breasts. He was very obedient and his parents had least trouble in managing him. He studied fairly well in school and was scolded once for not doing his Math homework, but that was three years ago. In short, he was someone who would never make a spicy character in any novel.

But he did.

He continued to be a child while others grew around him. Initially, they found it queer, then weird. Soon they disliked his manner of living and were eager to mutate that dislike into hatred. Some even said that he wasn't like a child and some called him vile. One fine day he vanished in the Himalayas that surrounded his village. So sudden was his departure that people energised their rumours with the shock of the incident.

I am blabbering... :-D See you guys later...
Naaah! Don't get high on speculating. I just wanted to write a 2 line "bye for now" and let my fingers flow. Then I realised that it is 22:05 and I have to sleep. The story was going nowhere!! :-D or maybe it would if I let you into the next two lines of the story:

maybe later... :-)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Animal Instinct

"We ain't yet humans, man!"
That wasn't meant to invite discussion. It wasn't meant for anything other than pushing that gulp of beer further down. He let his hand drop and hang from the hammock while the beer bottle swung freely between the knuckles of his fingers. His other hand was busy scratching his stomach. He fountained the last sip of beer and let it land with a splat on his chest. I didn't complain. This was his territory, his castle. In a minute the bottle slid further down and settled on the floor with a glassy clink.
I wanted to let him sleep before I left but he turned sharply and asked me, "Have you ever felt that?"
"You know," and he turned hastily in his hammock making it swing from under him and releasing his sorry mass onto the floor. I rushed to help him but he simply raised a hand. "I am fine. " He lay there as an imploding lump of flesh, bones and everything human.What we really are
"Have you ever worked, slogged for months on end? So much that you can feel every muscle in your body rush to find the softest lump on your bed while your eyes pull themselves to the back of your head and try to bore through them and escape? Have you felt your nails hurt, man? Your damn nails. Throbbing, itching and when you scratch the bed or your thigh it might peel off, it damn pains, but so good. So good. Aah. Have you felt it man? The sun beating on you and you falling under the force of that strike? Your feet sticking to the ground and you simply crashing? Inertia? Just a wonderful fall and the pain of that fall is nothing compared to what your damn slogging gives you? Have you?"
"Well no. I am a writer, so I rarely slog the way you do. I either write or read. And when..."
"And you guys make the theory of being human. Its all bullshit, man. We ain't no human. We are all still animals, hungry thirsty, lusty, scared, aggressive... animals man, like dogs or wolves or leopards. We ain't different. We like to be, but we ain't different."
"I think it is a matter of one's will and core strength."
He laughed and slapped his hands on the floor. He was roaring and rolled on his back and slapped both his palms on the floor.
"God-freakin-damnit!! Core strength!" and he laughed and rolled all his contempt into a bout of spasmodic coughing where he let the spit freely and tenuously drip out of his mouth.
"You guys are invalids. Go pick a tonne of bricks for half a year. Go work in the mines, with a lumberjack, pick garbage, pick shit man and you will know. This world ain't made of air-conditioners and peons, man."
"So what is your point?" I was getting irritated. The last thing I wanted was this man telling me that all that I had achieved in the past so many years was nothing because I couldn't haul coal.
"The point is this, sweetheart, you ain't human. I ain't human. When you are lying in your bed and your flesh leaves you hell-ward and your bones creak as they move together like willow branches in the winter wind, you ain't human then. You are animal."
"So being tired makes you an animal? I don't..."
"You don't get it, man. That is when you are so tired, so beaten up that you cannot pretend. You cannot be all fashionable and sophisticated. You can't be all oh-my-dahling-cool. You're butchered, man. You are stripped off all shiny armour, baby. That is when... what is that word... some cute French thing...."
"What? For what?"
"All tired and tongue flopping on the side and bored and ... some French thing you keep saying..."
"Yeah, ennui, on-my-crazy-wee-wee! That is it. You are so cute. Yeah, that is when ennui comes to you or you become ennui or how do you say it..."
"Ennui sets in. ... How does it matter?" Irritation trembled in my voice and made me push myself off my chair.
"Yeah, how does it matter? You right, honey, it doesn't, because we become animal then. So blessed beaten up and done that all we want are animal needs. Food, drink, two long legs around your waist, you know," he smiled, "and rest and sleep and all things animal. You want to prowl, grab, divorce. You don't want no crazy innovation or muse bugging you. You don't want to think straight. You don't care about anything straight, because even the crazy Tower of Pizza is bent when you are with good 'ol ennui."
"The Leaning Tower of Pisa is...well, leaning." I said and shook my head at wanting to clarify things to this muddled creature.
"See? You too with good ol' ennui. Wee. Weeeh. Wee-wee-wee."
He poured the beer on the floor and started lapping it up. I had to leave and got up hurriedly. I rushed to the door and caught sight of his hand waving me goodbye.
"Sweetheart, man is always an animal, ashamed of being that and calling himself human."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Zen Koan

Mornings made the mountain bleed along a scar of a path which broke away from the monastery above to the valley below. This carmine cascade was pockmarked in yellow at various points. Farmers in the valley looked up and bowed their heads to the diurnal procession of monks. When the monks reached the valley, the monks slowed down but the breeze, caught often in their habit and adding volume to the frail frame that walked within, gave the monks a phantom vigour and mobility which their eyes and hearts lacked.

Sanchen, Pizkog gathered around a low wooden table which served but one old monk. They bowed low to him and then sat equidistant to each other. The old monk smiled at them and gathered the warmth of his cup of tea with hands that trembled more with love for them than of age. He sipped his tea and pursed his lips savouring the fluid in the collapsing caverns of his mouth. When he opened his eyes, he let out a breath of contentment. Sanchen ordered for jasmine tea and while they waited he decided to continue with their conversation of before their occupying the table.

"Pizkog, may we continue till the tea arrives?"
Pizkog nodded his head and looked at the old monk. The monk smiled and Pizkog returned his attention to Sanchen.
"So as I was saying, life is not always about achieving. There is certainly more to life than achieving."
"But isn't that "more" also a want for achieving, now something else? Isn't it but a diverted desire?"
"No, it wouldn't be driven by desire. The more of life is not something one seeks for self-propagation."
"Then why do we seek it? Isn't it either another covert means of self-propagation or escapism with the intent of self-propagating beyond the realms of ineptitude?"
"No not really", said Sanchen and turned towards the monk. "Dear Sir, would you be kind enough to guide us confused farmers on this matter?"
"What do I have to say? Let us wait for the tea, as the leaves of the mountains impart wisdom."
The monk continued to sip on his tea and after every half-mouthful he stretched his chin towards the ceiling and returned with a smile and warm eyes.

Sanchen reached for the mud-cup of water to occupy himself while they waited for their tea. He gulped it in one shot and placed it on the table. While reaching for the pitcher to refill his cup, his sleeve caught it and it toppled over.

"Thank god there was no water in it! It is always better to leave a glass empty", said Pizkog.
"I partly agree, but it would be better to have a filled cup in case one needs it urgently. What about when a man has a violent fit of hiccups? Wouldn't it be better that the cup was already filled?", asked Sanchen.
"But such accidents could ruin clothes and food laid on the table."
"What are the chances that such accidents would happen?"
"I feel the chances are higher than a man having a fit."

The monk, having finished his tea, reached forward and filled his cup with water, swirled the contents and drunk it all. He bowed and smiled at the farmers and ambled back to the mountains.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Honesty vs Stupidity

A long while ago I made this statement to a trapped friend of mine: "There is a very thin line between honesty and stupidity" He put forth his wonder about such a line and I continued thus.
"When one is called upon to present oneself, vocally or otherwise, then one must be true. That is honesty. While a stupid man is one who believes that in the name of honesty he must go all over the world and tell everyone what he believes to be true and shout it down ears, interested or not."

I believe I had made myself clear to my friend and myself. At least to myself. When not requested or (its aggressive brother) demanded, presenting oneself is stupidity. Who asked for it? Or so I believed.

Over the recent times of my life, I have come to realise that being honest even when called upon to present oneself is pure naivete. Before I proceed, I must confess that I haven't been honest always. I have told my share of lies especially when it was in relation to missing cookies or being late (which is a recent disease of mine). But regarding what I believe and what I feel I have, as of today, never been dishonest. I assure you that "never" was not accidental.

But recent times makes me rethink this whole business of honesty. A dear friend of mine coaxed me into reading Fountainhead, something I have been resisting for nearly 10 years now. I still don't find it great, but certain aspects of Mr. OrangeHead make me sit back and think. My friend compared me to Mr. OrangeHead (and I shall have a separate post about the different names I have been given. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, believes I am who I am) and I failed to see the similarity (as I always do!). One thing I liked about him was his honesty. He was clear and honest about what he believed in and his seemingly misanthropic nature helped not care about what people thought or felt towards him.

People are prompt in preaching about honesty. Whether they stick to it or not is a matter which helps the world go around. I do not believe that honesty is the best policy (and did you know that good ol' Shakespeare said that?). I enjoy and love being honest and hence I do that except for days when I have hiccups! What gets my near invisible goatee is the double standards people prescribe to honesty. Everyone should be honest but they will decide when the right time for honesty is.

Recently I have had startling incidents when people have surprised me and enjoyed lying and using honesty as a weapon rather than a simple reality as light as the early morning breeze.

A while ago a person who is up in the hierarchy of things was discussing with me the problems that one particular product release had had. I had been crying wild since day one as I disliked the design and the technical details, but they fell on stone deaf ears. She said, "E, let us put aside all those technical issues and revisit them later. Now tell me honestly (damn! she had to use that word), do you see places where the team fell short of expectations?" I thought she was serious to analyse the situation and listed out areas where the team had not been wise enough to do things correctly and the like. A few days later she used those statements against me and bypassed all the technical flaws that we were supposed to revisit!!! All I could do was laugh.

Its not just this. I am sure each one of us has several incidents when we come across a blatant lie selling better than the truth, or the truth being the last nail on your coffin for the day. Honesty is often equated with ruthlessness. The most common class of incidents that I have faced are ones in which character X would say something and I would refute on the grounds of having data which would prove otherwise. They would try their bluff for one more time. When I go out and bring in the data they would yelp and call me ruthless or heartless or "E, you aren't the same guy I knew!"

What happened to truth? If people don't like being honest then why can't they rather accept it and admit to it. Why keep saying that people like the truth when they actually don't, or they like it as long as it serves them favourably?

Truth has become chattel and whore to a man's whim and it is unfortunate to my sensibilities. Truth has become a function of one's ego and insecurity and it is disappointing to see it become thus.

And then it is also a thing to be discarded if one of the debating parties is emotionally wrought. I have heard my mother say so many times, "Why do you wish to stick to it? See the poor girl is crying." and I would reply, "But then what about this matter at hand?" and I would be asked to take it with me to hell (no, not by mom. Mom never used the word hell!).

Once in college a guy and girl (and I think another couple too) who were going around were caught being inappropriate and it became a big issue. The guy was all set to rake in support and go against the senior batch which was planning to impose curbs on our batch in case the guilty party didn't come forth and apologise. He wasn't ready to apologise. For some strange reason, I was called upon to sort this matter (I think that is when the batch started considering me to be a pain). I stood before our entire class of tickled and nervous students and started thus, "I assume we are all serious. Now, let us get the facts of this together..." What came out was unacceptable to the man of the couple and his girl huffed and puffed and walked out. He came forth and said, "See what you have done now. You have got her so distressed that she is crying and has left the room (like I didn't notice!)" I had to assure him that all I was juggling here were facts and though the class agreed he never did and didn't speak to me for a long while.

I ask not for much but the last act of honesty from an unwilling soul, not more, just one act when they ponder long and finally decide whether they care about honesty or not and stick to it. Let us spare truth and not twist it. Please.

I think it helps at times to be a misanthrope like Mr. OrangeHead! :-)
Naaaah! Not worth it... :-D

Music and blogs

There is nothing more thrilling, more laden with suspense than when a singer hums and modulates her voice before she embarks on the song itself. For that initial 2-5 seconds, it could be anything, absolutely anything that could come out and mesmerise you, and the suspense (in case the singer doesn't provide the details apriori) is what adds an extra zing to the rendition.

I have admired a few blogs for their literary content. Most of them can be found on the left pane on my blog. But there blogs which shine not purely for their literary content but they are art nonetheless. Dheepak Ra's blog (sudasudacoffee in the left pane) had commanded a mention a while ago for the sheer beauty he combined (on a regular basis) using photographs, quotes and some personal reflections. An amazingly wonderful blog.

Recently a dear friend of mine sent me an MP3 of her friend's singing. I downloaded it and was about to head for my breakfast when the piece (after downloading) started playing. This lady with the gift of the finest divine spirits, started with a level humming and I stopped in my tracks (why do people tantalise me thus :-( ). Then she started snaring me in the immense beauty of her voice.

Before I forget: Nearly nothing, NOTHING, makes me give up my food unless I decide to fast. So expect the world of rudeness if you ever interrupt me while I eat!! ;-p

Her voice held me securely in my chair and I kept listening to it over and over again. Is her voice control the best; not entirely. Would I laud her as the best singer; too early. But she is deep and spiritually intense in what she renders. Such secure lodging in the other-world made me forget my breakfast and I put my ear close to the speakers to listen to the various flows of her voice. The song (which is something of a bhajan/abhanga composed by, if I recall correct, by Sri Adi Shankaracharya) was well rendered and made the emotion clear and beautiful.

I am not sure how many believe (or have ever thought in these terms) that a song must be filled the emotion due to it. When a song of plea makes the listeners heart beg, then it is well rendered. When a song of love makes love blossom in your breast then the song has been rendered in all truth. Hence, it is essential to understand the lyrics and the context of the composition. Many wonderful singers don't know what they are singing or why/when/how the composition came to be born (I refer primarily to classical Indian music with a bias towards Carnatic) and it is very unfortunate when they seem to apply a standard template manner of singing every song.

Another very important aspect of singing is mouthing each word correctly. I think the dear reader might be interested in this post that Padma put up on her blog where another Aacharya (I bow to him) explains the silly manner in which lyrics are messed up (because Indian languages with their rules of sanddhi can create funny partitions!). Some singers stress so much on semantics that they forget to do justice to the raga/tune (I am illiterate as far as ragas are concerned).

This young lady had rendered the bhajan beautifully and hadn't messed up the lyrics. The recording was crystal clear and replete. I fell in love with the voice and it occupied most of my waking day. Another song from her (proxied by my dear friend) sealed my decision to write about her voice (I know nothing about her). I listen to her wonderful voice as it sings a song titled "Pani Thirai". I have heard this at least 10-20 times since I woke up and I listen to it while I type this out.

I later got to know that this wonderful singer has two blogs to her credit. For those who enjoy good music sans language, please do visit her Music Blog and those who wished to interact with her through her writings on matters spiritual (and such matters cannot be judged as good, bad, beautiful or contorted), she has another blog.

I wish the Goddess continues to be pleased with her and nourishes her voice like Her very own child.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lucrenifor: Lover... lost

There was once a time, and such times haven't yet ended, when the God and the Devil walked beside each other and indulged in long evening strolls while they discussed the many doings of this world. To some watchers, they were but object and shadow, each changing into the other ad infinitum. The tale told here is of one of their conversations on one beautiful evening.
It might seem that the beauty of the evening extracted such dialogues from the hearts of the duo. It might also be that the conversation needed the backdrop of such resplendent fibre, for the evening skies were dressed in astonishing finery. Puffs of crimson were trapped in the grey cotton wool of clouds and from this sanguine game of peek-a-boo, the firmament stole the most divine gown of dark velvets bleeding beautifully. The conversation was, after all, about the heat in human blood, which causes the heart to beat to the rhythm of a hummingbird's wing and moistens the eye with untold pleasure and pain - each fairly indistinguishable to the affected heart; the Devil spoke of love and the God listened.
As the Devil described the lightness of the heart and the mind when trapped in the presence of the lover, the skies broke in claps and sprinkled fresh stars as far as the echo traveled. God was amazed and sat down lest the walking as an activity blunt the brilliance of such a conversation. The earth blossomed in marigolds and daffodils punctuated with primroses where God was about to sit.
"And thus are the ways of a lover, a true lover, my friend."
"But is there any truth in love?"
"Why indeed!", gasped the Devil, "Love is truth, and one never searches wetness in water."
"Is it? Amazing, indeed. And you say it is not of class or clan?"
"Not of skin nor skill."
"Quite a wonder you have made for your entertainment, dear Devil."
"Not much of my volition, dear God."
And the Devil sat beside God, and the earth was nourished where the Devil sat. Silence spent their time together, for beauty and words make mean companions.
"Lo! Who walks there, dear Devil? Is that your love-child Lucrenifor?"
"Such handsomeness can't be of another, dear God. Yes, indeed that is he."
"Love as you describe it cannot be foreign to his blushing breast."
"Alas! It is. He lives in the pure world of absolute beauty and the brushes of love are yet to paint on his heart's canvas."
"Then it should be today."
The skies parted for the honey of the evening sun to trickle down to the horizon and, after gathering over the sparkling waters, cascade along the never-touched line which separates the earth and the heavens as much as it does man's sense of reality and his world of beliefs.
"So be it, brother."
"You shall present him with what you can, and I shall give him the best of my might."
"Generosity colours the world today, dear God."
And they watched Lucrenifor walk down the dried bed of the Santory stream. Such grace and firmness of walk was unknown and the sturdiness of his calves were only matched by those of a panther. A wide shoulder trimmed its way down to his waist fastened at the right places by rippling muscles. His knee was prominent and so was his chin, but both were softened by the flesh that surrounded them. Dreamy eyes caught the slightest wonder and left his full mouth half open with the edges of his lips not wishing to come apart. Lucrenifor was made to tear out the heart of every virgin and every woman who wished she was virgin again.
As he climbed over the bank, the taut muscles of his derriere supporting the entire weight of the lady-killer, he spotted something. He bent down to pick it up.
"What is it that catches his eye, dear Devil?"
"You might want to go and find it out for yourself", Devil said and smiled.
God rushed to where Lucrenifor was on his haunches, and cleared his throat. But so absorbed was Lucrenifor in what he held in his hand, that the voice of God fell on deaf ears. God looked sheepishly at the Devil and returned to address Lucrenifor.
"Dear son, what is it that you hold?"
Lucrenifor smiled at his palm and brought it close to his breast where he held it with great devotion.
"What be it, that pulls you dearly, son?"
But Lucrenifor replied not. Slighted, God returned to where the Devil stood and failed to hide his disturbance.
"What troubles you, my friend?"
"He refuses to respect God."
"Such be the power of love that he holds in his heart now."
This didn't quieten the agonised God and he continued to grumble under his breath.
"Suffer not, my friend, for that is the way of love. The infected see not time and feel not hunger. The world is nothing to them, and at once is everything because it houses their lover. What could you then possibly wish from such a lover's heart?"
God stared deeply at Lucrenifor's blissful expression and smiled more towards his left ear.
"So be it, but I shall fill his heart with the need to rationalise it and place it on the leaden pans of pragmatism to weigh it till he lives not of his love."

Friday, April 07, 2006

And now I reveal the plan

A long while ago, this blog had featured a post which then seemed like just another tag-post sequence. Frankly, I didn't concretely know why I was starting it, but I just felt that it was going to be a trend for something that nagged me at the back of my head. Many people thought that it was pointless, and maybe they were right.

The day before yesterday I read this article in the newspaper. Maybe what I started in Oct. has some meaning now. Unfortunately, it was death by neglect... :-(

For some strange reason I believed that a book would grow out of it. That it would be the first (at least one of the 1st) book to be published in collaboration, without regard to spatial location of the authors. I wanted to give it one year and at the rate of 100 words per blogger and branching wildly, I expected a decent sized novella (or two) to spring to life. The picture in my head was clear (then). But with such a mushrooming growth, the clarity could not be sustained.

Serendipity cannot be planned as much as life.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Shall I play along? Let me stretch myself a bit before I suggest the plan that is smouldering in my mind, for the pleasures to strive at rekindling the dying nuggets of coal far out-excite those of pouring out the details quickly and fervidly. Lean forward, mate, as what I have to say is better festooned between your ears and my tongue.

I wish to write a retro-graphy. Don't wonder about what it means as it means what I want it to. I shall write a detailed tome of my life starting now and till the age of 60. It should take me about 12 months to do that. Help me a bit and we can pack it in 11. So the next 11 months of my life will be excluded. It should be easy to understand the plot. I will write about my life 12 months from now till I am 60. Now here starts what makes me smack my lips like a tongue of mango pickled in lime and salt.

I shall live my life according to that book!! What say, mate? A little over 40 years lived according to the Book of E. What say, mate? I promise you I won't chose anything otherwise. If I mention a Monday spent in a blue shirt with camel trousers to go, then so shall it be. If I don't mention it, I ain't no violating! What say, mate? People will know me before I die. But the fun starts here.
I can write about murdering someone and that the jury forgives me. Well, I will murder that blessed fella, but the jury must forgive me. We can't have a retro-graphy go wrong, can we, mate?
And then I will write about investing money in some stocks and they will all grow and make me rich. Its upto the government to see that my retro-graphy works out to be true. They owe truth that much.
Then I will write about marrying sweet Charlize Theron or some younger actress (I think a Mary or a Julia is common enough to happen at Hollywood) or maybe both. I won't give the lady's name but write that I changed it to a Susan. This will let me pick any woman I want and change her name. What say, mate?
I will write about being the single man responsible for stopping the damned war. I am sure the US won't pull out for many years now, so I can safely put that into my book. If they do pull out, we better have them attack good ol' Iraq at the time mentioned in the retro-graphy. The world must support truth, eh! mate?
Think about all the Nobel prizes they will want to give me and beg me to come and receive. Think about all the villas they want to build for me. Think about all the damn good things in life that people will sponsor for good ol' me. I will have it all in the retro-graphy.

What say, mate?