Monday, February 18, 2013

1974 : The web of beeing

The bee buzzed around, flitting from flower to fauna, and then quite suddenly, it found it had hit a wall, where it thought none had existed.

A spatial dilemma…..a spider’s web.

Not too big, not too small…yet enough to stop one in its tracks. Enough to halt the march of the carrier of honey.

As it grappled with the visual disconnect, its realised that the world was quite surreally and completely closing on it, and for a few moments, it stopped buzzing.

Stationary and still, stuck in a point within 3 dimensional vectors. The clock waits…to allow space time to freeze.

And then…it begins its rapid incessant flapping. A mad buzzing that is shaking the whole web…making the duo of spiders tremble, their whole world quaking….in fear and violence.

The buzz gathers its own crescendo…..and soon there is resonance….there is a tiny tear in the web, and another, and as the silk tears, shards stick to the wings of the bee.

The spiders are spellbound, unable to comprehend the fightback, unable to believe this could be real.

Soon enough the web snaps.

The spiders fall off the web onto the parapet. The bee, falls down, tired, broken flaps and covered in tiny splinters of the web. Its unable to move, and soon enough it shall die, either of exhaustion and heat….or if the spiders are brave enough to walk the walk.

And yet….

There is duo of scared spiders and yet… there is something heroic here. The war is lost and yet…there is something instructional here. There is an imminent death…and yet there is something alive here. There is a whimper, sigh and gasp here….and yet….there is the last eternal hurrah!!

1973 : Amongst the believers

Islam as a religion (more as a political movement) has its shares of downs. Intolerance of another idea (Rushdie or the Cartoons) being one of its most infamous…..


There is something eternally fascinating (and endearing) about its music, its people’s devotion, simple acts like the sajda  and just the heart of  its people.

As I walked into one of the poorest neighborhoods of Bangalore, a traditional Muslim ghetto, I was greeted by sights and smells of dirt, grease and grime.

And yet…..

As I walked around, lost and searching for something….I have never heard more polite voices answer my question. Every single person, who I stopped and asked for directions, was covered in grime, and yet he/she paused, smiled, their eyes lit up, and they answered me in a language of utmost respect and politeness. (probably the urdu equivalent of lihaz)

I came out of the ghetto, feeling very humbled…and yet cared for. I did not feel insecure, instead I felt as if their world would happily envelop me.

I am an atheist, but sometimes do feel strongly that this religion is maligned, misunderstood…al because a petty handful, give the many a very bad name.

PS : My mom speaks very fondly of her trips to Lahore and Karachi. She would relate to this.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

1971 : Poise and grace

I have been dealing with a few senior educator(s) in the past few days. These are folks who are primary caregivers to toddlers.

What's amazed me is the complete lack of poise, grace and compassion from the lady in question.

If you don't have dignity while traversing the vicissitudes of life, I wonder how you can ever be the role models for the young fledglings.

I am a big fan of Dalai lama, and I always have maintained that dignity, grace and compassion....three most difficult things to acquire.

The rest money can buy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

1970 : Exile

Have been reading quite a bit on exiles (more on that later), but it does remind me of my own sense of exile. Exile can be locational, situational or just a sense of being out of place.

In my case the sense of exile comes from a yearning for what I have lost. I do hope that I don’t ever have Alzheimers, I do want to remember every single thing that I loved (and lost).

When the times comes, that for me shall be my “completion”, (and) that for me shall be a life lived.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

1969 : Kiran Nagarkar

Read this lovely quote from Kiran Nagarkar recently :

“Let nobody fool you, most couples are conjoined on earth. The mismatches, now they are a different story. They are made in heaven.”

1968 : A dream in 4 strokes and half a litre

In one of my recent house moves, this is what the packers did. I think this is a sign Smile. Or so I would like to believe. Dil ke rakhne ke liye yeh khayal bhi accha hain.




(Credit : Image from

Sunday, February 03, 2013

1967 : This one is quite an observation

Once again from Open. It noted that Sobha Karandlaje, who recently quit from Energy Ministry of Karnataka, had offered to use the “underutilized” 24 hr helpline of Bescom (the electricity provider), to also double up as a emergency helpline for women in distress.

Open noted, and now it seems fair, “how can someone trained to deal with faulty electric bills, help someone who is being stalked”?


1966 : Open your heart, and you shall see

This is why, I continue to read Open. Its one sane voice in media lost to Rapsody.

And Madhavan continues to impress, inspire and instil hope.

The link for this article at Reproduced below for easier reading.

2 February 2013

On the contrary

Madhavankutty Pillai has no specialisations whatsoever. He is among the last of the generalists. And also Open’s chief of bureau, Mumbai


The Story of Their Experiments with Truth

What the screening of a one-minute montage on Thackeray before a movie says about your standing in India

SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE A movie of your choice is not all that you will get at cinema theatres in Mumbai

SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE A movie of your choice is not all that you will get at cinema theatres in Mumbai

If you got to a multiplex in Mumbai, then you will soon get acquainted with Devendra Khandelwal. He makes the public service films that are aired before the movie starts. You will remember these clips forever because of the absolute absence of drama in them. It’s easy to produce a bad work of art, but to make something devoid of art is talent. For example, in Khandelwal’s film, there will be a man throwing garbage on the streets and someone will tell him not to. That’s it. It is so bland that it could be farce.

Khandelwal is not the only man to assault your senses when all you want to do is watch a movie. There are several short messages on tobacco consumption. These are an antithesis to the Khandelwal fare. Here, a piece of sponge is wrung and black liquid comes out of it with a voiceover saying that if you are a smoker, this is your lung. Another film has a cancer patient with a tube attached to his face regretting the tobacco he chewed, and later, a line on screen tells you he died in 2009.

Recently, for five days, without the consent of anyone who buys tickets, 200 theatres agreed to air a one-minute montage of Bal Thackeray. It was to mark his birth anniversary. There was nothing special about the number. It was not his 100th anniversary or 75th anniversary. If he had been alive, he would be 87. The one-minute fleeting memorial had been thrust on the theatre owners by a Shiv Sena affiliated union, Bharatiya Chitrapat Sena. The montage tells you that you are in Thackeray’s debt for what he did for Maharashtra. Unlike Khandelwal’s movies, it has some production values, like fade-ins, fade-outs, a background ditty of piano keys. If you don’t consider yourself in Thackeray’s everlasting debt, it’s rather pointless to show you all this. The Bharatiya Chitrapat Sena’s name appears in the credits at the end. There are also images of Uddhav Thackeray. This is good free advertisement, yet another avatar of the extortion that the Sena has made such an art out of.

In addition to Khandelwal, tobacco consumption, the Thackeray montage, a man who buys a ticket also has to see commercials and stand up when the national anthem is sung. The anthem was forced onto Mumbai’s theatres 10 years ago. Some have been stupid enough to be brave and not stand in attention. Random strangers have pilloried them and then put up Facebook updates of how they taught the traitor a lesson. After a decade of such conditioning, even those who know that it is absurd stand up. You can spot them by how they fiddle with their phones or munch something.

Note that when something stupid is couched under the label of ‘patriotism’, how easily it is swallowed. When a Shiv Sainik says ‘My view of the world must be your view of the world’, secularists find it offensive. But many of them would also find it offensive if someone told them ‘Your patriotism is not my patriotism’. Or that patriotism is just another form of superstition because it’s blind. It’s a tool to brainwash the citizen to make him feel that he is relentlessly in debt to the country. And as an individual, he must suffer for this abstract idea—the ‘nation’.

This is also the force at work that makes the 10 minutes before a movie not his own, but of arbitrary agencies seeking to coerce their agendas onto his consciousness. Take the tobacco consumption clip. It is good that it is shown. But then there’s this question: why tobacco consumption? Why not any of the hundreds of other social evils. Film stars smoke on screen and set a bad example. But they also race cars, so why not have a short message on the dangers of rash driving with a mutilated accident victim? Women are raped in movies. Why not a short message on the advisability of not raping?

Is there a measure by which there is a list of priorities to decide what is shown? If there is, then what makes the national anthem and tobacco clip head the queue? Shouldn’t there at least be a shuffling of order once in a while? Tobacco for two months, then alcohol, then rape, a one-minute montage for one political party each month. There is really no logic by which these experiments are done on you to make you a model citizen. The loudest voice owns your attention.

1965 : I can get no satisfaction

I dont remember the exact circumstance, but I do remember the occurrence photographically…here follows.

A few months ago, I was in a lift (elevator) with 2 women, presumably from North Indian (sure? yes, pretty much!!).

On the journey down, one of the ladies (I can still picture her), slightly plump (from all the butter and paneer maybe!!), was telling the other in typical Punju hindi….and hell no, this is true….I am not exaggerating the content at all :

“Mere huzzbend se mujhe na, bohat hi setizfection milta hain. Mujhe kabhi na nahin bolte, jo manga woh agree karte hain.”

What can I say, I was so unhappy that we reached the desired floor soon.

1964 : Underoid phone

I am an unabashed Google fan. I love their innovation.

I am an unabashed Microsoft fan. I love their products and the ease of use.

I am an unabashed Apple fan. I love their experience.



I just dealt with my first Android device. Jellybean 4.1 and it sucks big time.

Battery is abysmal, and signal adherence is worse, and the experience is tacky. If Apple’s experience is 9/10, this one rates at 2/10.

Once bitten twice shy….I think my next upgrade will be a Lumia phone.

Nokia here I come soon.

1963 : Trapped in my body

Picture this.

I am sitting in my room in the hospital, when the peace is broken, by a shrill female voice, screaming at top pitch “Main Pagal Nahin Hoon”….and she continues to do this for at least 20-40 times. Its coming from the floor above me, but I can see the whole hospital seems shaken. Everyone is peering up.

I dont think we shall ever know what it is to be trapped in the soul…but the lady does, and she is unfortunately chained to her body for life.

1962 : Homeopathy

Speaking of scientific quacks (continuing from my previous post), Homeopathy is another fascinating topic.

I can speak with a fair amount of accuracy, I have not only read Hahnemann’s treatise from the 1830s, but I have also been reading a lot of recent papers and research.


Well some of my close friends, mentors and my own wife believes in this.

The more I read, the more I am convinced that this is plain and simple quackery. Scientifically there is so much bull here, that it almost begins to look like a large organized scam. Read Memory of Water, if you must.

And yet believers say, it works.

I am sure it does. And I dont mean it sarcastically at all. It most definitely works.

But so does, Lord Guruvayoor, Lord Tirupati Balaji, Govt of India, Salman Khan’s Tiger formula, Placebos and the ilk…….

Get the drift.

All things work. Question is, do we understand, why they work? And how do we rationalise it?

My only argument with Homeopathy, it does not work because it is scientific and rational. There are other aspects at play here. And in a tribute to modern society and its RIGOROUS spirit of enquiry, looks like we are more pleased with the end than with the journey.

1961 : The ghost in the machine

Picture this.

I am sitting outside this ICU room (outside the room!!), in the waiting area. Since I have nothing much to do, I whip up my tiny samsung netbook and begun to type out to glory. I dont have any wires or internet dongles. Just passive typing.

A few minutes later, a serious looking doctor types comes along and tells me “Dont you know there is an ICU inside? No using laptops here. It can interfere with devices inside.”

Its patently absurd, but still fair enough. Since I see everyone using phones, and I myself have my Nokia and Blackberry at hand, I ask him politely “Are phones allowed?”. And he says with a constipated, self effacing look, “Yes, but dont speak too loudly.”

I silently shut my netbook, apologized to the person….and my returned to my phones.

My brain did scream WTF, and I soon realised that what we are essentially doing is replacing our “older religious symbols” with new “mythical and archaic” technology biases, most of them which have no grounding in science, but instead are thought by some overzealous pious bigot, who has no context or understanding of how the world of atoms really work.

Religious rituals are dead, long live scientific quacks.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

1960 : Zense

Ganesh who is a colleague of mine, sent this over from his camera. Hilarious!!

They sell Zense and Baneans Smile



1959 : Sun dried tomatoes

Yummy!! is the only word for them.

Sun dried tomatoes with pasta or with Omlette or with bread/pizza….how more divine can this get.

I have now found a good source for these manna in my homeland. Fingers crossed Smile

1958 : The modern Hippocrates

So here it goes. I am in a hospital again. Again, to ensure that my precious ones who are admitted are treated with care and respect.

And mind you, for the record, I am in one of the more prestigious and gigantic hospitals.

And every one of these hospitals never ever fail to remind me, of how medicine and patient care and just charades, the really story is about being a giant green (money) sucking squids.

From the simple toilet cans, to parking, to a cup of tea, to newspapers….everything here has a sticker tag, with a bar code. (Its a bit like the coffee shop Mocha, where once upon a time supposedly everything you saw was on sale… long as you paid the right price).

While leaving this place, I have told myself that, in the suggestion box I am going to mention that they should also charge for toilet paper, electricity and water…..there is more to be extracted. If you have the patient already by their balls, all you need to do is continually squeeze a little more harder.

1957 : In the land of the fertile

I live in an extremely gravid and generative lands. We have such an abundance of fruits, that we might need to rename ourselves as banana republic.

Oh BTW, did you read the TOI headlines today?

It says that “Govt moots death penalty for the culprit, in cases where the rape victim either dies or is permanently maimed.”

Even a 4 year old can see how fair we are as a society. If you take an eye, then we make you lose an eye. But if you just try and knife someone’s eye (and fail), we think you can go through our “corrective facilities”, so that life offers a second chance (to knife another eye again, and hopefully succeed!!). Wah Wah.

Arrey, to make it fairer, here is my utopian idea. Dance bars in the country have been closed down. So many poor bouncers (big burly alpha males!!) without work. Lets round these folks up, and create an army of sodomizers….only this time, they work for the govt. Every person culpable rapist is handed over to these professional sodomizers, who carefully rape them, MAKING SURE that this neither kills them nor permanently maims them.

And for the media who always loves to be part of this bipartisan justice, here is my million dollar (quite literally) idea. Create a reality channel called RapSody, which plays these bouncer-turned-sod-dispensing-justice-to-rapists, live and screaming.