Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Way I'd like to end this year

Where it all ends...

We shall meet again next year, till then, ponder over this:

Beyond the point where the rivers
End and the mountains vanish
You have kept on walking
Originally the treasure lies
Just under one's feet
You made the mistake of thinking
That now you would be able
To retire in peace
Look: in your own hut the
Meditation mat has never been warm.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The annual meet

Let's Meet
I didn't do this last year, but I will be celebrating 6 years of blogging with 600 published posts at 6:00 p.m. on the 26th of Dec 2010. I used to celebrate thus except in 2008 and 2009. I hope to get back to what I used to do. Anyone who is in Bangalore and would care to meet, is welcome to drop by at the Cafe Coffee Day on 100 feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore at the said hour. Beverages on me!

What the devil!

It will be 6 years since I first wrote on this blog. 600 posts on this blog and still many to come. 6 beautiful, and some original, themes have come up on this blog (God-Devil post, Zen Koans, Translations interwoven with a story, Alvibest, 18 verses and Conscious Living).

6 6 6

That is exactly the devil that is going on here! :-)

This year too I will pick posts that I enjoy reading. I thank you all for stopping by to read.

I take this opportunity to specially thank Parvati-ji for her deep, loving and often insightful comments which many have found better than the posts with which they were associated. Thank you, Parvati-ji. Without waxing gratitude I can safely say that this blog is as much as yours as it might be mine.

I am also grateful to Loveena for her comments whenever she dropped by. She invariably raised some beautiful points.

Though I thank every commenter on this blog for participating in a discussion, I would like to thank a few (in no particular order) :

Meera: for getting me started and participating initially while this blog grew

Uma: Whom I don't know and seem to have lost, but whose comments were always welcome. I hope you return to this blog.

Vaidehi/Pingu: For her sensitivity to the poetry on this blog

Shivani and Manan: Whose depth reflected in the comments s/he made

Agni: For the sheer energy and creativity he brought and for also introducing Parvati-ji to this blog.

Anupama V: Who was very dear and commented sincerely on nearly every post. I seem to have lost her too.

Amrita: Anu's friend and sweet commenter whom I have lost too.

Wookie: Dear dear Wooks. I still remember your Liger post and how we met. Thanks for commenting on this blog.

Renuka: Who has nearly fought with me on this blog but remains a dear friend till today.

Ammani: Who was and still is the super-engine of activity and short stories!

Munmun: For her sweet comments and for what she said to me about her relationship with this blog! :-)

Sookie: For the intelligence she brought to her comments and the wonderful times we had.

JCU/Name of the Rose: For the sheer beauty she was and is. Her mind is one place I would love to invade.

Xena: Who was very dear to me

and recently,

Paramita: For there is something sweet I find in her comments. Thank you.

This doesn't mean that other commenters do not hold a place on this blog. Surely San, Ricercar, DreamVendor, Musings.., Biju, Rangakrishnan, Swarnakrishnan, Sapna, Abhilash Warrier (who embarrassed me so many times with his generous compliments), TAAMommy, Lavanya, Shubha Prasad, Raja and Kartik and many many others (I see Ardra has returned too) are not forgotten nor do they go unthanked! :-)

I am grateful to the friends I have made in this blogging world. I am sorry to all the old timers for not being as active as I once was in commenting on your blogs. So here are the ones I enjoyed reading from the near 100 I wrote this year:

  1. Eighteen Verses - Prequel
  2. Tour through the Himalayas
  3. Belle-Lettres
  4. Perhaps
  5. A Poem Revisited
  6. Hands Tied
  7. Fallacy of Patriotism
  8. Unbearable World (I enjoyed reading this)
  9. New Face of Tolerance
  10. Silhouettes
  11. Soul's Architecture
  12. Toe Tagged (for the sheer fun I must have had writing it)
  13. Truth Re-recognised
  14. Generation V
Poor output this year both in terms of quantity and quality. Still I enjoyed going through them. Hope you did too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fall

Fall, but slowly, beautifully

Nope! It is not about the season. At least not while I am in India. It is about the experience of falling down. Choose your style - tripping, down the stairs, out of the window, off your bike, from the train, off the bed when you were excitedly ... you know! I am not sure whether you have noticed, but there is a brilliant state of the mind which realises that it is falling but can do very little but watch its container simply fall. Thud!

I have had several falls though I am not prone to falling. Usually I have a leech's grip but sometimes, just sometimes, I fall. Cumulate over several years and that becomes several falls. A recent fall (off my bike) brought back fond memories which you know you had but the details are lost. It is like a feeling of knowing that someone did ruffle your hair in love and affection but never being able to answer who it was. I remember telling myself after every such fall to remember the experience and I have always forgotten. This time, I am writing about it.

The fall is life's gift of slow motion cinema. Everyone who has fallen might remember having felt something like this but not yet. Allow me to describe it to you.

You are walking along this floor shrouded in thick carpets. You see this girl across the floor and you continue looking at her. She smiles. You feel that that was expected. She turns to leave. You think you should go up to her. You walk a little faster and then your right toe gets caught in a carpet's mouth.

Now observe.

You know it was the carpet that caused you to fall. You realise that no amount of trying to balance will help you. You feel the muscles of your back and thighs tighten. You see the chandelier being raised to the ceiling. You notice your aunt wince as you are falling. You see the floor coming towards you and you probably already know how it is going to feel. You suddenly feel an immense lightness in your being as if you are strung to an end of a kite and all you will do is rise and fall. Your hands are swiftly moving to cushion your fall but to you they seem like slowly floating to the remaining space between you and the floor. The carpet is all that you see now and somehow the redness overwhelms and calms you simultaneously. Your mind is already aware of the impact, thereby reducing the impact for you already. You let the body complete its course and take the shock. The noise that surrounds you will wipe out any music playing in the background. The crunch of bone and tissue will feel like it is happening elsewhere but all around you. Nothing else will be felt, but this.

You might think that this is just my imagination, but it is not. I don't know if there is a medical term for it or whether this is even being studied (I don't think it can be as the mind cannot expect the fall and all participants in the study would typically know what they are expected to do unless the study is well designed to make the subjects expect something entirely different, like the fall of a tile from the ceiling and while they are waiting for it, make them trip and fall) but the nature of the mind in fall is beautiful and is an experience I wish for everyone.

The mind is the most focused and most unconditioned during that phase. Osho and tantrics thought that the orgasm was the only state where there is no ego and all images of the self are dropped. I think they were highly unimaginative. Thought I don't question their conjecture, I feel the free fall of a body with an alert mind (not an expecting mind) is beautiful in what it provides the mind, albeit for just a second or less. The mind cannot be instructed in that phase. All attempts at maintaining a persona are lost. The mind is probably in a highly meditative state watching your fall without condemning, judging, intellectualising, documenting, comparing or recalling. It is pure fall and the mind is nearly at its purest form. If one could just observe the mind when in that state, one would understand nearly all that there is to the mind.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Once in a while I come across something superbly brilliant and am immediately amazed at just how much there is to see and know about the world around me. I think the greatest contribution from the Internet is in essentially that respect where every single day when I read something new (or simply unbelievable) or see something new and I sit back wondering just how much more is possible.

I think what differentiates us humans from the animals is just this - the ability to be amazed and imagine possibilities. I doubt whether animals would ever find the Cirque de Soleil amazing beyond curious or startling. Even if they did see it all, I doubt whether they would mull over it and wonder what else is possible. Maybe it is their blessing.

A recent friend of mine introduced me to Riverdance (though not Irish tap-dancing). She is probably the only person I have met who could match or even surpass me in the sheer breadth of experience and excitement. Nearly everything interests her and she explores nearly everything be it food (and she is one of the 2 people who have recommended new restaurants to me and discussed a variety of cuisines), photography, travel, arts, etc. An honour to know her.

So, D, recently sent me some videos to keep me cheerful while I nursed my wounds from a recent accident (and people who know me ask: WHICH recent accident?). I was touched and a lot more excited by the variety and content of what she had sent me. Thank you, D. I share below a video of Riverdance. Riverdance is a show (I can't call it a group because they have different troupes or companies) which has mostly Irish dancers perform the tap-dance. It is amazingly well choreographed and I am glad that they have some variety (instead of performing the same piece of dance).

Since it is mostly only step-dancing, the traditional Indian elements of bhava and laya are nearly all but absent. Nevertheless, the sheer rhythm and beat of this dance form is energising! Please do watch esp. the piece at 3:36.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wikileaks and what it augurs


Fear is the basis of all oppression. I wouldn't be far from truth if I went on to say that fear is the cause for all that is ugly in this world of human beings - fear of being found out, fear of losing what one has, fear of disrepute and much more.

Such is the fear that has gripped the governments and institutions of the world. And the one who has most to lose is most delirious. The American government recently has shown its inability to uphold what it supposedly guards the most and invades every other country in order to establish the same - democracy and freedom. While I have loved the people I have gotten to meet in that country, my disrespect for the government grows every single day. Here is a government and institution which is the ugliest and most hypocritical. While other governments can be blatantly corrupt and murderous, US of A is insidious in its ways and sickens me in the pit of my stomach.

So I take a reality check. I approach an eight year old and ask him things. Here is how the conversation goes:

Me: If I took money from you, should I have to tell you what I spend it on?

Boy: Yes

Me: If I break your cycle, should I confess to you?

Boy: Why did you break it?

Me: Because I thought I was protecting you from getting hurt.

Boy: But you could tell me first, right?

Me: I suppose I could. What if I go and break your neighbour's cycle?

Boy: Why are you breaking cycles?

Me: Because I think your neighbour is bad and by breaking his cycle I am ensuring that he won't be bad.

Boy: But you could talk to his mommy and daddy?

Me: I could, but I don't have time and I am afraid they might not listen.

Boy: You shouldn't break things which are not yours.

and it goes on thus. At the end I realised that the ethics and clarity an eight year old has is nearly entirely lost as they grow up to create governments. I spared him the questions that highlight actions resulting from fear as I didn't want to inorganically corrupt his mind.

Such is the numbing fear of the US of A that they have passed the Kill Switch bill. This gives the American president the power to turn off networks (private and public sector) for 120 days or so. This means nearly all DNS routing would be lost. Anything hosted on American servers (which is a significant portion of the Internet), would be lost. Your mail service would be lost. Your ability to search is largely lost. I hope you get the picture. One skewed government's sense of threat and security can deprive the entire world of what was once called the borderless world. Other countries (China, Russia) are following suit.

When I spoke to people and asked them about the WikiLeaks, I got answers ranging from "Something happening in the US" to "Some government documents were leaked and the government of the US of A doesn't like it". To me that is a secondary concern. I think the WikiLeaks issue reveals 3 primary issues which, if not dealt with immediately, would destroy all vestiges of freedom and decency that we all cherish.


The American government is extremely ashamed that the truth about their conduct over the past several decades, including war crimes, economic strategies, political moves, foreign affairs etc. has been brought out into the open. Their complaint that the cables were leaked is as stupid as saying that the store is at fault for having recorded my theft. That I stole is not to be discussed. That I killed the storekeeper's daughter is not to be discussed. And anyone who knows it should never disclose it. I will, in the meantime, proclaim myself to be the most ethical man who never takes from others and who considers murder and even violence as something utterly horrible. Now that I have proclaimed all that, you will dare not talk about the store incident.

Somehow, people are not interested in addressing the elephant in the room and are talking about other matters. I think the people of every country are entitled to know the doings of their government as it was elected by them. People instead are talking about freedom and democracy. I think people should first talk about necessity for every government to disclose each and everything that they do. Every citizen must be given free access to all government information, else who is the government protecting? If the government is indeed protecting its citizens, then why hide from them? If they aren't sure whether to trust the citizens or not, then whom are they protecting? Some fictitious image of a country by alienating and indecently oppressing the very people who are citizens of the country?

I think the government should be nothing more than a bunch of people who represent our views and carry out the necessary things for the entire country. They take input from the people, identify needs and goals, prioritise them (based on values that the citizens adopt) and implement them. I doubt there exists even one government which does this without exploiting their own people or superseding their wants and creating an image of the country which they care more about than the people themselves.

The minute we start dealing with images, we run into problems of the ego (individual or collective) and with that comes the fear of being alienated or being proven wrong or being seen as weak, etc. America is going through exactly that. They wish to protect their image of being the greatest country on earth (which they clearly aren't). The very capitalism they think they represent is clearly politicised and corrupt with the government intervening to protect the moochers (so clearly out of Ayn Rand's books).

When the core is flawed, as is the case with the US of A, then being honest and facing the lacuna is far more frightening than covering it up with washed linen and acting as if they represent all that is good. Hence, their fear that China and earlier, USSR might supersede them drove them to pick on them and make life difficult for them, because when a person with a different view succeeds then the people in my club will doubt the greatness of all that I claimed is true. Hence, religions fight, political parties fight, generations fight, heterosexuals and homosexuals fights, Jews and anti-Semites fight, rich and poor fight and countries fight.

When the cables revealed the ulterior motives and sheer barbarianism of the US, the government feared that their own people will lose faith in them and decided to censor the cables. This is the same behaviour that is condemned in China or Russia. But when USA does it, it is national security.

This dishonesty and hypocrisy is the primary concern of mine. If the US of A has its way, then dishonesty and hypocrisy will become the norm. Maybe we will adapt to it and continue to eat our breakfast cereals, but I don't think I will be able to sleep peacefully or speak about truth anymore.

Big Brother Re-Lived:

When the US recognised the threat that the WikiLeaks posed, they decided to twist the arm of, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and now Bank of America (well, the govt. didn't spend all those hundreds of billions of dollars rescuing them from the financial crash for nothing). which was hosting the WikiLeaks has taken them off, buckling under pressure from the govt. Visa and Mastercard have blocked donations to WikiLeaks and not of their own accord. Julian Assange (editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks) has been arrested on lame charges and held up in the UK. He might be extradited, again, under a lame pretext to the US. A secret grand jury has been suspected to have convened to discuss charges to be levied against Assange.

The US of A will mow down anyone who stands up in favour of the WikiLeaks and will take down any site which hosts the content. If any company does that on their private servers, then that company will be shutdown for sure. Please read about the Kill Switch bill that I mentioned at the outset (and the commenters on Schneier's blog are quick to point out how stupid the US govt. is in assuming that they actually have a switch). If any country hosts these WikiLeaks on their local network, then the US might surely find some weapons of mass destruction and charge! Unfortunately, most countries are slaves of the US and will hand over all those servers and their citizens to the US soldiers to be kicked around and whipped.

This is scary because this means that if the US govt. doesn't like something then we can't like it. If they don't like chocolate mousse tomorrow, I can't legally have it!

Freedom of Speech and Human Rights:

I am reminded of the verse from Tao Te Ching (chapter 18):

When the great Tao is forgotten,
benevolence and moral codes arise.
When shrewdness and cleverness appear,
great hypocrisy follows.
When there is no harmony in the family,
filial manners are developed
When the country is in disorder,
ministers appear as loyal servants.

We are in a world where we need to demand/ask/request/beg for the freedom to speak and human rights. Had the Way been observed, this would never have been the case. Alas, we are left with just this and now, even that will be snatched out of our hands because a power mightier than us, than decency throbs in the valley. I find it vulgar that we even need to ask for the freedom to speak. WikiLeaks assumed that they had it only to be rudely shocked into reality that no one has it till the government that rules allows one to. Had these WikiLeaks been about Britney Spears and Ricky Martin then there is nothing to worry and the petty race can revel in their base entertainment but when the rulers themselves are threatened to be the point of ridicule, all laughter is considered treacherous.

What this augurs is the end of an ethical world to live in. I don't think we can do anything (no matter how much we speak, how much we rant about it, how much we raise slogans). Assange might be tried and found a traitor. We can boycott and stop using our Visa and Mastercards and nothing will change. The only thing that will save the human race is ending the tyranny of governments like in the US. That will never happen. More governments, the world over, will follow the example set by them. Honest ethical living will be given the corner alcove on the first floor of the museum of history.

If you are less cynical than I am, please connect with the likes of Ola Bini and several others who feel strongly about what is happening. Each person has their pet spot to focus on. You can take your pick. I will just spend my time in that alcove in the museum.

More at The Real News

The Visual Poetry Project

Since it does seem to be happening, I will post details about it. Recently, Madness Mandali decided to organise a visual poetry project. 33 poets were chosen from around 150 and the artists were assigned to each poet. The artists and poets worked closely to come up with a poem-art combination. I would love to post the final piece my artist developed for my poem which was chosen but I will have to wait for a green signal from Madness Mandali. It seems that the book might be available for ordering sometime next week. Let's wait and see.

I think the selection of poems is pretty good (since I got to read everyone's). I would recommend this book because the combination of art and poetry is something I wanted to do a while ago but couldn't. Maybe I will eventually do it. :-)

Here is the project flyer that was put up a while ago:

Here is the poster I made for the publicity!

Here is the cover of the book:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Artificial partitions

As I go to sleep

The noon sky is divided

By my eyelashes.

A beautiful quote

Mathi MathiTrying to find a buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no form. It's not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can't grab it. Beyond this mind you'll never see a buddha. The buddha is a product of your mind. Why look for a buddha beyond this mind?

- Bodhidharma (d. 533)

(bow down to DailyZen)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Letting Go

So here it is, in front of me, glaring at me with all its vulgarity and perceived ugliness. I detest it with all of my being and have found means to achieve that seeming heaven. Please note, gentle reader, I have the means to rid myself of this sore, I hold in my hand the key to the door through which I can send this wolf running out of my life and I am simply holding that key and staring at it. There is an immense pain that fills me at the thought of letting go of this miserable thorn embedded deep into my flanks. The thought that I might no longer have this, with which I have spent a long time, makes me disappointed and my heart grows heavy with the weight of that realisation.

Nevertheless, I open the door and watch this witch walk away through that door and in her wake I feel pain. I feel a deep longing for what might have been possible had this headache not become thus. An urge rushes to my throat to call out and ask it to stop and undo all that made it sickening and gross.

But I don't. I let the snake slither away and watch with amazement at the sheer volume of remorse that shrouds my heart and mind. How could I, who hated this city or woman or job or bike or some such disposable entity (and what isn't!), yearn for it to remain with me after having suffered untold pain in my association with it? It amazes me.

Recently, a friend of mine too went through something like this as she quit her job with a company which hardly gave her anything and treated her poorly. I had also gone through similar pain when I left a company that I so eagerly wanted to quit. But on the day I quit, I felt innumerous misgivings and sadness and I kept turning around to see the building fade behind others as I drove away.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Unheard Whimper

As you take the bus on an overnight journey to some far away place, you stop where everyone must get down to stretch their legs or relieve themselves or grab a bite of the oily produce of the roadside vendor. While you get down wondering about what you have left behind and what you have waiting for you at the end of the journey - as if journeys end - you catch a glimpse of this extraordinary beauty haunching over a pile of vessels pushing her lovely hair behind her ear as she scrubs a wok. You stare at her wondering whether it is merely an illusion or her loveliness is real. How could someone so lovely be planted in the middle of nowhere scrubbing stained vessels?

The fate of the grand and remarkable placed in oblivion is a rude tragedy which reminds me of wonderful sunrises through which people sleep. How crude a joke when the finest nightingale sings her finest song only to be heard by none! So be it with Shakespeare composing sonnets while mopping the floor of Chittagong railway station or Da Vinci painting remarkable outlines along walls where people aren't supposed to urinate. Beauty stands insulted and neglected when confined to the amnesia of time. When the nightingale's song might never have been, what is one to speak of dulcet notes? When a lovely woman is not worshiped by many and stone doesn't chip itself into a monument for her, what shall we ever know of such beauty? The finest thoughts are so when they come out into the open. The cloaked phenomenon might never have happened. So be it with that sage who spoke to God but died before he could tell anyone about it. He was found on NH73, dogs tugging at his carcass.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Old memories

A torn prayer flag

Rises, limp, in the wind to

Be what it once was.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Well Said

I read this somewhere and I totally loved it:

Of all the riches that we hug, of all the pleasures we enjoy, we can carry no more out of this world than out of a dream