Friday, August 23, 2013

2068 : Endearment

Feels very good when someone very close to you, refers to you by a term of endearment, every other time she refers to you. Its even better that it comes naturally, and is just the reflection of a statement of mind. Like when someone constantly calls me "darling" or kanna or sweetheart.

These are what the English language calls as "sweet nothings" me they are a positive reinforcement of the few things I consider as precious.

(PS : I do the same for my daughter. I already have more than 3 monikers I use for her....and whenever I say that, (without planting it in),  I always feel a gush of emotion hit me).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2067 : Adab aur adaa

So the other day, I walked up with my mom to a hidden dargah near Haji Ali. She is of course the walking talking expert on everything Mumbai, and she knew the secrets of the dargah which she explained to me in great detail.

As mom and me sat at the entrance of the dargah, here is what happened.

Picture this.

A man (in all probability from middle to lower middle class), the kind who can afford BEST buses, but not rickshaw's in Mumbai, and his son - both were at the mouth of the dargah, about 20 mts from where mom and I stood. The man wore brown polyester shirt with a dark brown trouser, and a white Muslim headgear, and the the son wore blue jeans, with dark blue shirt, and a similar headgear.

As we stood watching, they both stood at the mouth of the dargah, head bowed in deep humility and respect, with their backs to me, and their face to the dargah. As they prepared to leave, they did something very touching. Both of them walked backward, taking one careful step at a time, at times looking through the corner of their eye to ensure that the path behind them was clear.

They did this, right till the entrance, where mom and I sat. You get the drift, right? A father and his probably 8 year old son - with their face to the dargah, walking back one step at a time, taking almost 35-50 steps, till they reached the entrance, upon reaching which they walked back till they found their footwear, face still facing the dargah. They slid their feet into their shoes, and then, after one last look, turned around and took the steps out.

It was still fascinating to see....and it was a lesson, which no one has ever taught me. Never turn your back on something so pure and worthy of respect. I have rarely if ever felt so humble by another human being's gesture.....but these two men, had told me, without telling me, that I was in the presence of a power that was worthy of looking upto.

That picture of the father and son, will stay with me forever. And it also reinforces to me that Muslims (especially everyday Muslims whom you and I touch and feel) are one of the most gentle and refined races you shall ever encounter. The handful of fanatics, give this whole race such a slur.

Thank you bhaijaan.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

2066 : Why I love Woody Allen

Woody Allen is self effacing, very unassuming, and talks with a honesty that is extremely extremely rare in our times. Read it with a good cup of chai. Ponder on what he says, and you might just fall in love with him as well.

Here is his recent interview in esquire, that made me fall for his genius a little more.

Reproduced here for easier reading

Published in the September 2013 issue
Allen was photographed on June 3 at his office in Manhattaan. His forty-eight picture as a director, Blue Jasmine, is now in theaters. Interviewed June 4, 2013
My two teenage girls think of me as ancient. But I'm up before them and wake them to go to school.
What people who don't write don't understand is that they think you make up the line consciously — but you don't. It proceeds from your unconscious. So it's the same surprise to you when it emerges as it is to the audience when the comic says it. I don't think of the joke and then say it. I say it and then realize what I've said. And I laugh at it, because I'm hearing it for the first time myself.
Without fear, you'd never survive.
My dad didn't even teach me how to shave — I learned that from a cabdriver. But the biggest lesson he imparted is that if you don't have your health, you have nothing. No matter how great things are going for you, if you have a toothache, if you have a sore throat, if you're nauseated, or, God forbid, you have some serious thing wrong with you — everything is ruined.
A corned-beef sandwich would be sensational, or one of those big, fat frankfurters, you know, with the mustard. But I don't eat any of that stuff. I haven't had a frankfurter in, I would say, forty-five years. I don't eat enjoyable foods. I eat for my health.
Marshall McLuhan predicted books would become art objects at some point. He was right.
My mother taught me a value — rigid discipline. My father didn't earn enough, and my mother took care of the money and the family, and she had no time for lightness. She always saw the glass a third full. She taught me to work and not to waste time.
I never see a frame of anything I've done after I've done it. I don't even remember what's in the films. And if I'm on the treadmill and I'm surfing the channels and suddenly Manhattan or some other picture comes on, I go right past it. If I saw Manhattan again, I would only see the worst. I would say: "Oh, God, this is so embarrassing. I could have done this. I should have done that." So I spare myself.
In the shower, with the hot water coming down, you've left the real world behind, and very frequently things open up for you. It's the change of venue, the unblocking the attempt to force the ideas that's crippling you when you're trying to write.
If you're born with a gift, to behave like it's an achievement is not right.
I love Mel Brooks. And I've had wonderful times working with him. But I don't see any similarities between Mel and myself except, you know, we're both short Jews. That's where it ends. His style of humor is completely different. But Bob Hope? I'm practically a plagiarist.
We took a tour of the Acropolis late in the morning, and I looked down upon the theater and felt a connection. I mean, this is where Oedipus debuted. It's amazing for someone who's spent his life in show business or worked in dramatic art to look down at the theater where, thousands of years ago, guys like Mike Nichols and Stephen Sondheim and David Mamet were in togas, thinking, Gee, I can't get this line to work. You know, I've been working on it all night. And that actor, he doesn't know how to deliver it. Sophocles and Euripides and Aristophanes. The costumes are late, and we gotta go on!
It's been said about marriage "You have to know how to fight." And I think there's some wisdom to that. People who live together get into arguments. When you're younger, those arguments tend to escalate, or there's not any wisdom that overrides the argument to keep in perspective. It tends to get out of hand. When you're older, you realize, "Well, this argument will pass. We don't agree, but this is not the end of the world." Experience comes into play.
Back when I started, when I opened Take the Money and Run, the guys at United Artists accumulated the nation's criticisms into a pile this big and I read them all. Texas, Oklahoma, California, New England... That's when I realized that it's ridiculous. I mean, the guy in Tulsa thinks the picture's a masterpiece, and the guy in Vermont thinks it's the dumbest thing he's ever seen. Each guy writes intelligently. The whole thing was so pointless. So I abandoned ever, ever reading any criticisms again. Thanks to my mother, I haven't wasted any time dwelling on whether I'm brilliant or a fool. It's completely unprofitable to think about it.
You can only do so much, and then you're at the mercy of fortune.
Me sitting down for dinner with Ingmar Bergman felt like a house painter sitting down with Picasso.
It's just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don't have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we're just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it's Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There'll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.
A guy will say, "Well, I make my luck." And the same guy walks down the street and a piano that's been hoisted drops on his head. The truth of the matter is your life is very much out of your control.

Read more: Woody Allen Interview 2013 - Blue Jasmine Director Woody Allen on Movies, Success & Life - Esquire
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2065 : Believe me, because Jesus told me so !!

I have been reading up a lot on how the human brain creates the illusion of the world around us. One of the most fundamental aspects of being human is believing. If we stop believing, the world around us will spook us to death.

Religion, dogma and just plain faith works on harnessing this basic hardwiring that our brain is hooked on to.

Like today morning, my lovely sister called me and gave me this passionate spiel on the efficacy of homeopathy :-) I have said it before and I say it again - that piece of humbug quackery does really work in some cases, and I shall not debate that at all, but is it remotely rational or scientific? Now thats a different leap of faith. And speaking of faith....even urine therapy works, and Ajmer Baba is beatifically gifted, and cow dung pellets in your tea are definitely the next elixir for an eternal youth.

The power of faith/belief is immense, and it can in turn act as a turbo boost to propel you in the direction of the faith....and thats what possibly causes the magical outcomes.

On a related note, its worthwhile remembering the fascinating Electric Monk from Douglas Adams. Unfortunately in the business of belief I am autistic and cursed. I have just no capacity for any sort of belief, and that makes this world a spiky six flag ride.

I wish I could really buy a Electric Monk :-(

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

2064 : We dont need no education

A colleague of mine sent me this link, and I just immediately fell in love with it, from the moment, Sugata begins to talk. (Thank You Ramakant)

Almost every idea he says, I have grappled with in my debate with educational systems. In addition to everything he says, I also suggest that every parent, who ever says "No" for anything to a child - I reckon count that - every time you say "No" - you kill another 100 neurons in your child's creativity. You shall be surprised that stats suggest, that an average child gets told about 300 "No"s in a day. At that rate, it just takes about 10 years to create a moron :-)

Do watch this....HIGHLY HIGHLY Recommended.

From Ted Talks about Sugata
Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

The "Hole in the Wall" project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who's now a professor of educational technology atNewcastle University (UK), calls it "minimally invasive education."
At TED2013, Sugata Mitra made a bold TED Prize wish: Help me build a place where children can explore and learn on their own -- and teach one another -- using resouces from the worldwide cloud.

2063 : Ghar ka Khana

Always nice catching up with your mother or sister for a nice early breakfast of upma and idli, or a ravishing cup of lovely coffee.
Thats why its nice to be back in this city. 

2062 : The water runs dry

While I jog, I often bump into parents with grown up kids (anyone who is more than 6 years of age), and almost in that second of unguarded moment that they have during their walk, I can gauge if the parents and children have a healthy relationship (which to me means honest, fun and evolving)....

Its sad, but I do see some very strained relationships - but I also see some very bright (relationships) ones....and usually the bright ones are invariably those where the father or mother is being can clearly make it out, the ones who are different - like the mom with a tattoo, or the mom with the graceful ageing grey hair, or the father with the Shikar Dhawan moustache......

Maybe there is a lesson in life hidden somewhere in these sights.