Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2188 : The college romantic

I grew up in the golden age of pop, and the best era for rock music. No wonder my music collection represents the eclectic 80 and 90s even today. For me (like for other oldies like me), music stopped in the 90s. We are stuck in time.

Even in that era, The Everly Brothers, from the 60s had a deep impact on me. I loved their entire collection....especially their classic "Crying in the Rain". And then in the 90s Aha did a redux on it, and made the classic a favorite all over again.

This song is no longer a hot favorite of mine, but everytime I hear either the original or the Aha version, it reminds me of my growing years.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

2187 : Eternal flame

When I was growing up....I used to love (and still like them) Bangles -  Walk like an egyptian, manic monday and eternal flame :-)

And today I am listening to London Philharmonic play Eternal Flame....I can hear the harp, the trumpet, the sax, the cello (or double bass maybe) and a flute that coos....The double bass is quite a funky hippo in that crowd....

And am falling in love again :-)

Take a bow !!

2186 : Wasn't there that morning, when he passed away....

Say it loud, say it clear....
you can listen as well as hear...
its too late when we die,
to admit that we dont see eye to eye....

Simple poetry, no metaphors, no word gyms...just home style.....and its indeed great advice for a day like today. Thank you dear Mike :-) (will ignore the mechanics for now !!)

Friday, April 24, 2015

2185 : Fresh prince and the rawness of the mango

The human brain for all its worth, is a chemical craving junkie...when you meet someone new and the oxytoxins are released..... the brain goes on a high.

This does not have to be a girl (for a straight boy like me), it could be a dog (assuming you like dogs like I do).

Newness is a drug, and your brain craves for it incessantly. In the modern world that forces us to replace our obsession with humans (and things alive like art and animals) to gadgets and materialism...

So the fix in this modern jungle is easier...much easier to buy a new phone than make a new friend...right...?

Get the drift?

A brain on dope - and a new friend in your life will suck away your mental time, your physical energy and your focus...but there is a good reason for it. Your brain craves for the fix.

Is this fix bad? No...nothing that ever makes you happy (including masturbation that has lost its charm ;-)) can ever be bad....if you can afford it, screw with your hand....


Here is what we can do....everytime we go down this path...this asphyxiated fix (nice subtle alliteration na!!)....the junkie's grail if I might say so...if we invest a little more...this fix can be truly a lifelong rewarding journey. Pray how?

So....imagine this.

You pick up a new camera because everyone and his aunt (I wanted to use a rhyming word with C, but resisted) has a mirrorless lens camera now-a-days (I still use the classical SLR...)....you fidget around for a few days, your brain has distinct highs...and as your brain wears out, you give up and walk over to the next new fix. Sound like a familiar hero's tale....

Instead stay with it for a few more days... Once you begin to see the camera enough, you will see beyond the beauty of the magnesium weather sealed body and the silver color...you will realise its essentially an eye, one that is focussed on telling a story...and another round of freshness begins...before soon though another plateau hits....and then you almost give up again...but persist.....and you soon again....shall see the beauty of still life in the world around you via your camera.....and so on....

Get the drift....the game is still the same....the biggest player in town is still is your ravenous brain sucking at the fix...the biggest draw is still the PYT arm candy :-)....but play this long enough...and live long rewards can pop out....

As every layer peels with your camera, or with your new best friend...or with your booty infused PYT  :-), as a human being, you are also seeing the universe better. One inch at a time you are moving towards nirvana...seriously....if this cannot explain it to you, nothing ever will....

So...next time you meet someone in a flight...and your hormones go raging...let it...because thats the bloody crying game, so play hard at the movie....but once you exchange numbers...persist with it......over years.....the next levels of the game will emerge and one day you will hopefully see the truth.

You will also hopefully see that falling in love is never really that hard on the knees :-). Chewing on a raw mango helps arthritis though :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2184 : The Hook

It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel that I'll convey
Some inner truth of vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far 
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job then it's your resolve that breaks


There is something amiss, I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near
To confuse the issue I refer 
To familiar heroes from long ago
No matter how much Peter loved her
What made the Pan refuse to grow


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2183 : The man who sold the world...he passed me by the stairs...

Picture this.
Its 4pm @ NY in the evening. I have been at office since 620am. After a long day (mostly tired, but partly frustrating), I head down to starbucks to grab a quick chai.

I order my chai, sip it, savor it, and then start my slow trudge walk back. Over years I have been walking slower and slower (intentionally - with a clear desire to become a turtle eventually,seriously!!).

The starbucks is 2 blocks away..as I start reaching approaching the office, I look up from the cup.

As I gaze into the street, I see a pleasant smiling face walking toward me. I cannot for the life of me, place this person.

Clearly a pakistani or a desi, he walks purposely towards me….and though I am walking diagonally away from him…he quickly catches up….

My drained (from energy) brain, is truly confused unable to place him. But his smile is implicitly reeking of intimacy and familiarity, as if I am supposed to know him, but my on-the-road-to-dementia-soaked brain - is raising an red singing alarm - “no record found”…..dementia or decoy.

In that brief moment of utter desolation, I also wonder, if he is smiling and walking towards someone else….possible…someone behind me maybe….

As I am thinking, I slow down. He walks straight at me, and still the same beaming intimate smile ….its not a salesy smile…I have learnt to detect that bull from a mile away…this smile is not in that category…its honest, and seems to be from a friend who I unfortunately seem to have forgotten how to recognize.

As he reaches me, he stands purposely a little further than “intimate” and continues to beam and says “how are you?” equivalent in shuddh urdu hindustani….

I answer back in my best hindustani….Post “my doing good” equivalent, I ask him, “How do you know me ?” and he answers in a high gain, confident sort of way “ We have known each other for years. Don’t you remember anything?”

I give him a look, which explains that I don’t recall anything. Then the following conversation happens in chaste Urdu/hindi.

He “Your face has changed, it is very weighed down. Is everything ok?”
“Huh”? because I still did not know how to place him. “who are you?”.
“I am your friend”….” we spoke recently”.
“I really don’t remember you”.
He pauses, then gives a deeply philosophical smile, “I want to tell you that come July you will become so much more happier. Focus on it. Don’t plan and scheme around it. Just wait for it to happen. Wait and have patience.”
By this point, I am freaked out, and tell him “look I am sorry. I need to hurry back. I am missing a meeting.”
“Nothing has changed in your life. You are always in a hurry. Slow down. Breathe in a deep. If you hurry so much, of course, you will forget friends like me.” Still smiling….

I tell him a hurried “ bye” and rush ahead. As I look back, he is still warmly smiling, and sailing out a wafting “bye”.

all the time this entire conversation is in chaste hindi….and this is NY Madison.

As I finished the day at 8pm yesterday and walked back…I meditated and wondered….what really had happened here.

My alter ego?
Out of body?

Left me with a very spaced out feeling. The universe always tries to talk back to us, telling us secrets….giving us chances and stony reminders.

On this occasion, the sterile me chose to dismiss this as a freak. Time will tell me, if I really missed a shooting star.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2182 : Pike place

I smell the rudderless coffee. It has a strange bite to it, especially when had without milk. The edge that always whipshakes me back into the present attention, more than the caffeine itself.

I stare at my tiny sleeping daughter. The poet in my believes and so bloody desperately wants to be her best friend, her pillar when she wants to post, and just everything a good partner in crime can be.

I believe in the future, when there shall be days when she and I will walk NY together, share a love for the photograph, and debate the poetry of motion over a rancid glass of cheap wine.

It could also be my niece(s).....at least one of them currently adores me. Essentially I am imagining a future where the generations meld and mesh.

In my own past though, I have been a terrible son, a disgraceful nephew (I deserted my favorite dying aunt!!), a difficult husband and a truly estranged brother.....Why will the roulette turn different this time? Its me who called the number, and I always called wrong. The others never gambled.....and were extraordinarily giving.

Me - for all the buddhist crap I mouth, I have never truly learnt to give, or to give up, or to give in. I learnt about singularity, and yet have focussed on the duality, I felt for their pain, but focussed on my high; I wanted their acceptance, but did not believe in losing inches.

Now, years later I know. I am afraid because of what I know. As I stare at the curled up princess, I am afraid of what she does not know. I am staring at her sprawled hair, but I am also staring at a future which I cannot imagine.

Very nervous of what I now know. The coffee reminds me of a future, that smells very different than now. The Razor's Edge.

Monday, April 20, 2015

2181 : Whiplash

As of yesterday, the only place I could still catch movies was on a flight. I seemed to have entirely lost my ability to be moved by moving images (strange and disappointing coming from a photographer right?).

My own inner sense of devolvement seems completed its course, on this long plane trip. Riding yesterday, I realized that my drive to see a movie has completely disappeared.

So on a 18 hr haul, I managed to catch a single movie - and it was worth the 2 hrs I spent on it. (The remaining 16 - 9 working, 7 sleeping).....

The movie is Whiplash, and it focusses on the journey of a young drum prodigy finding his own personal greatness in Jazz land. Not only did I find it supremely inspirational, but it reminded of my lost quest....

For years I have been obsessed with the definition (and hence pursuit) of personal greatness. When I look back at my last 24-36 months, I do realize that I have completely lost the plot and pursuit.

A story like this is an amazing reminder, that nothing matters but “greatness”, however your choose to define it in the confines of your head. Personal "greatness" is worth every price you can conjure, as long the greatness matters to "you".

This movie should go into our DVD collections.

Terence Fletcher as the maniacal and crazed teacher is sheer brilliance (a role played by JK Simmons). Its a character which will haunt you for years.

On my own journey - yes, I will recoup and get back on track on the ride soon. Here I come again..the lost puppy me :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2180 : Fully perverted

Picture this.

My wife gets this mailer from one of the prominent pseudo religious organizations (the fake guru types...get the drift!!) within the country.

Its a long mailer that expounds on the inconsequentiality of our "blink and miss" life (how charming this thought...no wonder we are a nation of fatalists!!)......but it contains 1-2 sentences which are just hilarious.

There is a question, which asks "Do you want to feel fuller?". Also somewhere else it says "Do you feel you are not able to live upto expectations?" or something to that effect.


2179 : New beginnings

How is beginning defined?
Is it the birth of the baby or
Is the birth of the its mother?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2178 : Senna again !!

If there is one person who means a lot to me as a hero, it has to Ayrton Senna. He represents a lot of things, but most importantly he represents the fact - that in life (and racing) - the only thing that matters is gaps and inches. If you see a gap, go for it, as if your entire living soul depended on it....and he died to prove that point to us.

And then this weekend we saw Marc Marquez, and I do believe Senna is back, and he is just as inspiring as in his previous avtaar :-) (Read : http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a25508/why-you-must-watch-motogp-at-circuit-of-the-americas/ )

Insanity will never ever go out of fashion.

2177 : On the death of a secret

I have seen far too much of dying and devolution in my limited life. And my usual response to this full stop, is a few moments of pause and then "all systems go" again. I don't let myself be numbed by this discontinuity, though at times it still does distracts me immensely. In most cases, like a masked superhero, who is fighting to save Gotham (and participating in a fancy dress :-))- I tell myself that death is just another statistic.

And then Monday happens. I hear of the death of a dear friend - someone who I have met all of 4 times in my life. How does that make her a dear friend?

If that explains anything at all - we shared secrets. Far too many of them, and far too intimate ones. We were both absolutely in love with poetry, wine and music. We both could spend hours talking about the merits of a poem or otherwise. (I dont know any other person in my life who I have had so much fun talking on poetry.) And she had wisdom which was far beyond me. The timeless beauty that can only be born out of age, compassion and the sheer purposeful goodness of her life.

She was the one who taught me (without ever saying it) that giving can sometimes cause immense pain, but give we must - especially if we are fighting to score a win. She would joke and say that she was incessantly carving little parts of her own heart and perennially losing them along the way. Like signposts for her soul, an autobiographical cartographer if one could think of such a metaphor.

I learnt a lot from her, and yet I learnt too little. There was so much in her that I hoped to imbibe into my battle weary soul.  I had hoped to grow old - stealing from her pile of wisdom. What once was, is no longer. (I had not met her for over 8 months now, and not spoken in over 4 months.)

Come Monday, it occurred to me that I indeed had lost a little piece of my broken heart, quite inadvertently - just like she had suggested I should learn to do.

Here's to a dear friend, who never really was one, but ironically, was a real dear friend. Bearer of shared secrets, rest in peace. I will never know what I dont know now.

The poet is dead. Long live the poet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2176 : This is the end of the innocence

Why are you so afraid of life?
Why do you distrust it so?
Why must you control 
Every aspect of 
The environment around you?
Why must you defend yourself
Against another's words or actions,
Regardless of how trivial?

My relationship with violence has always been very fractured - its layers have had a deep influence on my life - immense and autobiographical. I have meditated on its layers and its a deep metaphorical undercurrent in (my) our everyday being.

Its omnipotence is mesmerizing - physical, mental, social and even sentimental (now that was a cheesy one:-). In the higher realms of consciousness, there is never a good ground for it - its always rooted in abuse, and there is never ever a good justification for force. Buddhism and Zen abhor violence for the very reason that it sustains the karmic recycling.

But....shift the perspective to the animal kingdom and the larger universe, and in sudden contravention of the above - violence is all around us under the guise of entropy, in the guiles of the charming attacker, in the fear hidden within the prey and most importantly in the process of dying.

If we agree and believe that we all are dying all the time, then violence is a deep rooted symphony within the seat of that process - its almost essential. A cancer, a snake bite, a slaughterhouse, genocide, infanticide....and then of course we living beings inventing incest, rape, war and pillory - all are karmic aids fuel the cycle.

If dying is essential to the living, then violence must exist - and funnily it finds its invariably way to snake itself in. Remember we are never more than 60 seconds away from our next violent act. (Think mosquito swatter!! as an example)

Deep rooted in Zen, is the belief that one should abhor violence, since it essentially creates more entropy, but conversely...... and counterintuitively - it also states one must not resist violence. Death by cancer, the shame of incest, the ignominy of loot and the carcasses of war - they come because we inflict themselves on us. Not in a fatalistic way, but in a more connected world sort of way. The world is us, just like the cancer of the body is our body taking its sweet revenge on itself.

If my body is being attacked by cancer, and cancer is essentially cells of my body, then my body is attacking my own body - where is the cancer, where is the violence, what am I running away from? If on the other hand the cancer is outside my body, then where am I?

Finally, undeniably the world is indeed a sadder place due to violence. As an example, we kill a hundred thousand farm animals daily.....and that unfortunately is the bloody circle of karma.... that manifests itself via cancer, senseless wars, rape and not to mention abuse.

Who pays the real price..... the dead are blessed. They are churned into their own ashes. The "surviving" and the "living" are consigned to reliving the violence every day. And that is our fatal punishment. Live and burn through the re-imagined horrors of the past. This is our fate !!

Its easy for the couch artist in me to sit and pontificate within the confines of my brilliant living room - the real incessant war, on the other hand,  is being fought everyday on the street..... and I dont participate in it. I sit there - meekly gazing - completely sterile, muted and numbed by the tribulations. Sometimes I weild my pen as a poet, but then its the ......Arm chair warrior I.

"Happily ever after" ends
and we have been poisoned by these fairy tales....

Offer up your best defense
But this is the end....of the innocence.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2175 : Run like hell

The temples and monasteries
Cannot hide you
When you are running away
From yourself.

There is no sanctuary
Other than to dive inward and 
Investigate who is running away
From what?

A perfect koan to slow down the escaping me.

2174 : Game of inches

How do you fall in love? Remember that slow build up of tingling.
How do you fall out of love? The crawly creep of bitterness.
How do you win in a battle? The awkward climb towards the top of the hill.
How do you lose a battle? The steady deterioration.
How do you curse a enemy? Voodoo dolls pricked one pin at a time.
How do you bless a friend? A hug and a kiss for every smile.
How do you dance in the wind? Fall three times before you can keep the beat.
How do you still the mind? Fail three times before you can kill the beat.
How do you evolve? One revolutionary staple at a time.
How do you devolve? Every crumbling brick takes the shine of 3 others along the way.
How do you learn to live? One day at a time.
How do you learn to die? Over the life time.

This is indeed a game of inches. I am beginning to realize, that this is what Shakespeare probably meant when he said " a plague on both your houses."

2173 : Your place or mine?

Bade itafak se milte hain milne wale mujhe 
Woh mere dost hai, teree wafa me jite hain
I love these lines from Jagjit Singh's Tere Khayal
(from the movie Leela, lines by Gulzar).

Translated this is how it shall read:
I marvel at the strange coincidence that every single time, when I do bump into friends - they claim to be "mine", but ironically only you seem to be occupying their immediate mind. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2172 :The life and times of Michael K

Like K His life was slowly devolving.Sometimes in steps, sometimes in weeps. They dystopian fallacy of assuming experience will lead to happiness was being assiduously destroyed, one smile at a time.

His relationship with consumption was retreating, a mild erosion seeping in every moment.The proverbial inner sense of sanctum was leaking. What was left behind was the carcass of items marauding away with atrophy, the slow disease of death.

Today as he sat down at the table, the food on the plate made no sense to him - just like a simian would stare at a key fob and wonder why did we need one in the first place. He gazed, a look very akin to the staring matches in animal land. For some reason he was reminded of Bono, his erstwhile bull terrier.

Moments added upto to minutes and then to an hour. His phone rang, kicking off the reverie. Not caring to look who was calling - he picked up the car keys, abandoning the ringing device, he purposely walked out of the door.

Turning on the car, he started driving. Some time into the drive, he realised that he was not driving to a destination. He was going nowhere. There was nowhere to hide. He was running away without a new address.

It occurred to him, maybe this is what death might feel like. Hurtling full speed somewhere, but still stuck in an unexplainable nether. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

2171 : Still the mind

I have posted on this quite so often, and its a recurrent theme in my allegory.

On a day like today, I have this mad crazy rage in my head going "still, still, silence, silence, still, still, silence, silence......".

Maybe its an urban hippiedom kicking in, but I have this relentless primordial scream in my head which quite poetically tells me to go all dark.

Physical. Mental. Verbal. Silence. Zen. Nothing. Numb. Sore. Itch. Still. Ostrich.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

2170 : The world is made of wood and a lance, and the string that holds it all up....till it falls !!

Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Two fallen heroes. Two angels who lampooned with the devil. The price, a total complete excorcism.

As I read http://www.businessinsider.com/tiger-woods-happy-masters-2015-4 it reaffirmed my faith that the as much the world loves a hero, it loves nothing more than a fallen star....He then becomes the new Atlas.

He bears the burden of our fears, tribulations, accusations and of course, holy cow!! - the ultimate mother of all all punishments - eternal damnation.

Tiger of all things, was only having an EMA, which probably half the world's pricks are guilty of. (Of course the poor men are slaves of their pricks right!!).

As for Lance, I think I have said this before and I shall say this again.....

How many folks after Chemo, can come walk to work? The psychological damage from chemo is far far more than the physical drain. Believe me, I know that script intimately. I have seen enough to bear the scars. Albeit vicarious.

To come back from Chemo and win The Tour De France is commendable. EPO (and the ilk) be damned. Remember the use of EPO in cycling is similar to me paying the cop off every time he stops my car (and I have been forced to do that more than 5 times in my 18 year driving history) - its just the lay of my land. Or similar to me paying off the commissioner to register my house in Mumbai (make that 5 times again!!) - its me getting laid for my land :-).

Of course, the phucking dorks amongst us will always say, just because there was an orgy of EPO all around, does not make it all right.

Its just as easy for me to take that pedantic living room hare brained mike too - but I know and I admit, I am just as guilty of bribes and crimes, and yet I live scot free. I am allowed to savor my victories and the defeats go un-noticed....and I feel bloody lucky and blessed for it.

I love and adore these fallen heroes. I especially love the fact that despite their obvious blemishes (some very deep, like Lance lying through his skin), demonstrate to me that - that one sweet day I can rise to the epochs of the world, inspite of my philhilly follies....and ride it cowboy style....as long as I don't get caught with my pants down (for either the EMA or EPO) :-). Conclusion - keep the payjamas jammed shut!!

2169 : Whats the good word?

Maybe my neurons are mis-firing but every time I listen to Morazrt's 40th, my brain immediately kicks up Sabira Merchant and "Whats the good word?"....

In my head, the title piece of that show was a rip off the 40th.

I have been listening to the 40th (and Beethoven's 9th...my other favorite) for over 30 years now....and must have heard it over 1000 times at least, but I can never tire of both of these lilting pieces.

Our memories are certainly strangely organized. Like the other day, a friend of mine mentioned "God" and the crazy brain of mine goes "Nine billion names of God", the haunting tale by Arthur C Clarke.

Monday, April 06, 2015

2168 : Poetry is child's play

As I sit with my child and try to explain to him poetry, especially hindi poetry - the scene is riproariously funny.

So in my precise urdu diction, I tell him "Na Bolu mein toh kaleja phooke"....(Quite literally.....If I dont speak, then the insides of my liver burn down with that suppressed secret")

And my 4 year old goes, do we need the fire engine then? Also, what is the liver? I tell him its similar to the heart. Oh, then why do we need both? They are different organs. (I have taught him the rough size of the heart). Is the liver similar sized to the heart? Not sure, but I will get back soon to you. What does the liver do? Removes poisons. But I tho dont eat poison? Ah, ok also digests fat. Does that mean it will digest mumma ? No, no, its digests fat and not fat people. You are tho fit na? Not sure, I too have a lot of fat here and there. Does that mean your liver does not work?...........

By now, the original song is lost. Gulzar is dead. Poetry is buried under a treasure trove of trivial (but important clarifications). I have not even told him that the next line (Joh bol doon tho zaaban jale hain.....will mean....If I do speak, then its my tongue that is scathing")......

Because that is for another equally tipsy blogpost.

2167 : Saucerful of secrets

Between two individuals, just like "boxing" is essential to build trust, so is a need to have shared secrets. And no, I don't mean that in a Peter Theil kind of way (Google that...:-)).

A secret is a shared recipe for a hidden almost obscure way of firing a series of neurons. Like how do I get your brain to read a sentence and think of Arthur C Clarke's A Billion Names of God, without really saying it directly. For a try, I could say "I would rather watch Clark Gable in Gone with the wind a billion times, than spend time reciting the name of God.". (I know I know...stop those brickbats....Its a very cheesy, very kitschy example to make up!!....but I got across my point!!).

On a more subtle scale, the word games (either in speech or writing) is like leading the reader through a thought process which is similar to yours and hoping she cartographs in a similar lean. Like why the earth is full of sales people according to Douglas Adams (do google that up, its very interesting and funny).

Finally, a shared secret can also be an oblique way of throwing a listener/reader's brain into a lateral tizzy. Example is the classic koan "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?". Its a classic to remind us of the observer/observable relationship and almost always gets the person the first time he/she hears this.

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite rock bands, but more importantly if you search up on the image of this album on google, you shall come up with a true puzzle. It contains eons of secrets, and hence the name of the album.

Get the drift?

Sharing a secret (I mean implicitly sharing, without ever directly mentioning it) also creates a shared conspiracy and build trust.

Like the Clark Gable above is a reference to when he was Gone with the wind, and the female protagonist of that movie is....well whatever...lets leave it there.

Shared secrets. Secret sauce. Master Wu Wei. And I am still trying :-)

Sunday, April 05, 2015

2166 : Creep

I grew up listening to Radiohead croon "Creep", and then 4 years ago, I discovered Karen Souza do a jazz rendition of this grunge classic....and guess what, my favorite "Creep" today is the Karen one.

I just love her voice on that song, she actually sounds sozzled and in a trance. The crazy energy of the song, blends wildly with her drink induced rasp.

Do listen to her, and you will know why I like it more than Radiohead.

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

2165 : Myth ?

Myths are our self-interpretation of our inner selves in relation to the outside world. They are narrations by which our society is unified. Myths are essential to the process of keeping our souls alive and bringing us new meaning in a difficult and often meaningless world.

- Rollo May

2164 : Where did that go?

She saw me sitting with one of my favorite teapot, peeping in, she chirpily exclaimed "its empty?". I lazily corrected "its filled with emptiness.". Hit by that unexpected oblique thought, she shuddered back for an instant. I had won this round so very comfortably :-).

A few moments later, she lovingly picked up the pot, almost sensuously caressing its outer walls. Then with the look of the crazed butcher about to do his job, she focussed menacingly on the ceramic and then in that instant frozen in time (matrix style), she let gravity take over. She let the teapot fly without any wings.

In what seemed like seconds, I saw my favorite pot crash and shudder, go to a million pieces, loudly gasp and eventually whimper and die.

Broken from my lazy reverie, I looked up in complete shock - and she said "Where is the pot now?". Regaining some limited composure, I mustered a weak, "Its gone now. Its dead. The cruel you - you absolutely killed it. Murderer."

She stared icily into my eyes, still no sign of either an apology or a victory, and then waspily said, "and the emptiness it was full of? Where is that now?"

Her curve ball. A perfect strike.

2163 : Buddha as a speed hump

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am surrounded by symbols of The Buddha. For me, he represents not a way of life (definitely not, I disagree with a lot of aspects of Buddhism), not a religion, not a God (I am an atheist!!).....but to me....he is an Ideal. Thats it. A simple real world ideal.

An Ideal of someone who wakes up one random morning and walks away from everything his life has offered him. Only an eternal optimist can do that. Only someone who is very sure that he can come back to all that he gives up, will do that, and only the frail edges of what would be classified as modern day "insanity" - could allow such behavior.

I was talking to someone and she said in all well-intentioned kindness "being surrounded by the symbolism" of Buddha, would lead to my life slowing down (I am assuming this comes from some Feng Shui mumbo jumbo or the ilk). I think she might have meant it as a "warning", am unsure.

Here is how I read that, though, completely polarized from her view point...... I looked around, yes I do live in a land of overwhelming Buddha symbols...and lets say for a moment, I did believe her goodness and it all does slow me down.....Funnily, I am actually worried that I am still very fast. I need to decelerate rapidly else I shall miss the runway.

In conclusion....We are going to need a lot more Buddha(s). Lets double down. Dear friendly Buddha(s), I am coming to get you. I need all the help you can offer. We need to halt this speeding juggernaut.

2162 : Buddha of doom

The Buddha expounded the nature on life and its intricate dependency on the mind which causes a sense of suffering. We have all read this a million times, at least I have.

I have slowly in the past years come to realize, that the more I know, the less I comprehend and paradoxically to put to poetically...the more I know, the less I know.

On an experiential basis, the duality problem posed by our egos, and the nature of life, which sucks you into its warp...With an inch of progress in either direction, both seem more and more inane.

I am no evolved Zen teacher, but I am definitely at that point - when similar to the Buddha - I am looking at "my" kingdom, and most definitely pondering "where does this all lead to?", "what are we chasing?"....essentially a lot of why(s).

Also, I am beginning to realize that breaking the non-duality illusion of a theorem is difficult if not impossible. And trying does not help. Actually letting go helps.

Child. Wife. Job. House. Car. Camera. Mont Blanc. Mother. Father. Shiraz. Tablet. School. Looks. Books. Hooks......and the list continues. Where is happiness? Where is peace?

Something is wrong. I am very nervous of the knowledge I seek.

2161 : Roll Model

The other day I bumped into her, quite by chance. She gave me a full bodied warm hug and screamy out "Hey, great to see you." To a bystander, she sounded as if she was seeing me after 7 years (in Tibet or otherwise :-)).

Released from her vice like bear hug( which indeed did get my oxytoxin(s) running high)....I was genuinely happy to see her and smilingly complimented her on her gorgeous looks. (Now I rarely can bring myself to call a lady beautiful unless she is truly a 24 hr Goddess...but more on that later...Gorgeous though, is a compliment I often pay to people who are looking far better than they usually do :-). If she ever reads this, she shall kill me.)

A few minutes of ball talk followed, post which she said, "Would you mind teaching my daughter photography?". From the little I knew of her daughter, she must have been all of 6-7. Unprepared and not expecting this line of conversation, I lazily hummed "Hmmm...".

As she continued to speak, her little angel ambled in from behind her, stuck on the IPhone, and playing some loud and colorful first-person game.

I called out to her and said "sweetheart, would you really want to learn photography?". She did not look up, but she nodded her head.

The mother meanwhile got a call on her own cell (different from the IPhone). She proceeded to talk for a good few minutes. She then came back to my gaze and said "Where were we?".

We did some more moonlighting talk, before I saw her car come alongside. She perfunctorily hugged me again, jumped in tow, with her bags and the daughter.

As the car drove into the horizon, turning into a little red dot, I realized that I had not said what I intended to say.  To capture the world on a film (or CMOS), we only need to pause. We need to still the mind. We first need to make time for the world, and finally, we need to kill the "busyness" of our everyday modern urban life.

Would I still teach the little darling photography? Of course I would. Would the little girl ever be a Henri Silberman, or a Vivian Maier, of course she could be. Our capacity for greatness is usually not bound.

But whatever she does, wherever she eventually reaches, she would twice as good as that - if only she could just jump of that bloody hazy treadmill.

2160 : Karma Chameleon

On the same walk today, I saw another strange sight.

A lady from one of the complex apartments, came along in a old silver colored Toyota Qualis. Her driver parked it right at the entrance of the shanty. She got down, and with the help of her driver unloaded heaps of plastic bags from the car.

These contained packs and packs of potato chips, biscuits and cheetos (or the ilk). There must have been at least a 100 of these packs.

Then she politely walked into the shanty and requested for all children from within the worker families to come out. Soon about 40 children were out. She asked them to pick up whatever they fancied.

Very soon the packs dwindled into just about 10 left on the floor near the Qualis. She wanted for a few minutes to see if more kids would come out. (The kids who had collected almost immediately rushed back into the shanties, as if they were afraid of the urban world and its ravages....)

No one came (which I thought was strange). She picked up the remaining 10 odd packs. She beamed a huge smile to the mothers of the children who by now had come along, waved "bye" at them, sat in the Qualis and was gone.

I don't know what to fully make of it, but I will tell you what it did to me....just this sight made me happy. It made me feel the world still has hope. A cynic like me, was devouring optimism...and I pursed a tiny hidden smile, just enough not to be seen.

Good karma can never really go out of fashion, can it? :-)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

2159 : Like a mother to the child....

I live in a fairly well to do complex, parts of which were built by destroying a hill. The remnants of the antiquated hill serve as a single oblong slope, actually a fairly steep one, with a gradient close to 30 degrees. I use this slope for my daily meditative walk. On the aside of this slopes are shanties which host construction workers and equipment.

Today as I walking, I saw some images which struck a chord in me.

Picture this.

A small child (around 4 maybe) from the worker family fell of a cycle, and he hurt his nose. The nose started bleeding. Out of nowhere a few dozen boys and men jumped in to help. I was tempted to offer to help, but it seemed like a crowd already.

As I finished my walk down, I did a 180 and resumed my perambulatory walk up. When I passed the child again, his mother (presumably) had arrived by now. I could see her using the edges of her saree to wipe the blood and comfort the child. (I remember the saree as a white/yellow faded one with lots of floral patterns. The red stains stood out.)

The child dazed and hurt, was still not weeping. He had a stony look of resilience, as he faced up to the helpers and the mother.

Finally the mother lifted him in her arms and him horizontal (presumably to stop the bleeding) before she carried him inside the shanty.

I could not help wonder, what would happen if my daughter (similar aged) would have thumped her nose. Would her friends and ecosystem jump into similarly help? Would she remain stoic and silent with the shock and the wound? Would her mom, also stain her clothes (faded or otherwise)? Would we also just carry her inside our house and just forget all about it?

In my head - the world is similar, sometimes dis-similar and yet it continues through it motion relentlessly, whether we choose to pause and behold, or we just let the river flow by.

Friday, April 03, 2015

2158 : Run

Running is usually meant to be a good sport, it means you are usually getting fitter.

What if instead, you are running away from something, running as if you life depended on it, and the further you run, the further you are adrift. Its not even a treadmill....its a river.

As Wu Hsin would say famously
"We are afloat 
in the Great River.
All are carried along.
Some swim against the flow.
They too, are carried along."

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

2157 : Bokeh

He saw her through the glass, a jagged out of focus, blurry edged lifeform. She was being sustained by a series of life support instruments.

In that melange of the glass and its own reflection, and the hazaar floats of wire, he could still discern those eyes, the very ones which had been struggling to deal with color and focus in recent years.

They were snapped shut and seemed to just break the still rhythm, if only to keep pace with the breathing circadian.

He kept staring, neither expecting a voluntary movement, nor a spoken word. Through the glass the words would have meant nothing more than a silent gasp.

Years ago, one day, she had beseeched him to sit and talk. He had sat down. She had spoken for a few minutes, words laden with anger, pain and disgust. She had also lamented on the terrible sense of loss. He had given her time, he had sat down, he had heard her voice, he had said nothing....and most importantly, he had not listened. She was drawing fish on water. Her fingers had moistened up, but the water just regained shaped and had moved on.

Today, he knew even if he tried, he could never ever know or remember what she had try to make him see that day.

He slowly made his way out, and he chuckled, the soft under the breath chuckle of being had by life and its swollen experiences, of the sadness that hits you when you realize....that all along you have mistakenly fighting the wrong war, and sadly you are designed to now being consigned forever to be a loser.

It had occurred to him, that in this strange last moments, the "viewer" was a still, yet breathing alive lady. The "exhibit" was a long gone dead figurine.

Maybe, she probably always saw him through an elaborate bokeh.

2156 : Tomas Transtomer

Its a chilling telling on our world, that when Tomas Transtomer died on 26th March, I almost did not read about it till 29th...and I read quite a bit. I do make it a point to understand and assimilate the world on my terms.

And poetry is the gold nugget in my "terms"....and yet I missed this.

I have read only one of the books, the collected poems, and I have to doff it off the the legend. His metaphors were haunting and the images stark and real....exactly the way I see and percieve my everyday world.

Which brings me to one of my favorite meditation?

What does a poet do?

A poet is a rouge photographer, who instead of working with images, records words. He revels as a raconteur of stories told with a meter or otherwise, of memories which otherwise would be forgotten. He is the cartographer of our life, our social travails and he is also holding a mirror upto long after we have stopped ever looking.

On the death of another poet who made a real difference in my outlook to life, my heart weeps a silent tear.

From his poetry collection "The great engima"....

Death stoops over me. 
I’m a problem in chess. He 
has the solution.