Saturday, October 03, 2015

2253 : Personal greatness

Picture this.

I am on the NY transit one evening around 7pm returning back from work. 

The train is packed, so I end up standing holding onto the rail. As I bend down, my eyes catch this girl, white girl, she is no more than 20-21.

Guess what she is doing sitting on the seat of the metro?

wild guess?

she is practicing for a broadway play (I figured from the script in her was just a guess). She has the script in her hand. She was reading and then enacting with her eyes closed, she was still saying the dialogues with her mouth and lips moving, but no sound.

everyone around was ok about it.

I....I was mesmerized by this.

I will proud if one day, I can be so passionate about an art, or more so, if I can pass values to my kids that encourage them to follow their dreams.

2252 : Killing oneself

Killing oneself (or suicide) fascinates most of us...and that includes me.

I have known folks who have willed themselves to death, by devices like slow starvation, or by avoiding life criticial medicines. I have also known folks who have decided to withdraw from the real world, almost like a modern version of sanyas...which is kind of similar to dying.

I dont know whether knowing these folks has helped me understand life better or has further complicated my perspective on life.

I recently spoke to someone who told me that she was contemplating death. Being the "cool bloke" that I am, I decided that talking was going to help.

I suggested to her that we have a talk, a la unstructured conversation...and we ended up talking for over 3 hrs over 2 days.

While she spoke about the whole world and their aunts, if I were to pick on big themes in her conversation - they were
1) Isolation : A complete sense of being different and not included in the world that surrounded her.
2) Loneliness : Possible connected to the above, but also different from the above. This one contains the seeds of having no walls to bounce off, of having to feel like you are all alone in this game.
3) Ground beneath her feet : She did feel like she was not able to hold onto the ground that mattered to her. She was losing inches, and she felt as if she was losing the entire ground.

My only real help was to listen to her and it managed to do the trick. She was obviously depressed, she was obviously not ready to come out of the closet yet....and yet she was more alive in my eyes than the average.

Her grief in the world arose because she measured her life on a higher pedestal than the median.

In as subtle a way (at the risk of sounding pedantic) I told her that "personal greatness" is very different from what is considered as "greatness" by the rest of the world. That she must define her own roadmap and like a warrior, she must fight - because thats what our DNA is hardwired to do. Replicate, live, and survive.

Talking to her left me immensely humbled and maybe a wee bit wizened.

2251 : Rules

Mary Oliver, whose poems are not amongst my favorites, but her passion for poetry surpasses anything I have ever known.

She has written this beautiful piece about dancing, which I really like....

As long as you are dancing, you can 
break the rules
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending 
the rules

Sometimes there are no rules.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

2250 : What is love?

Picture this.

I am at Dubai Interational Airport, a swanky one. I have a 87 minute layover :-).
I run to the lounge, grab a quick cup of Dilmah :-). I do need my tea.

Then I begin my trudge to the gate for the boarding. By the time I reach there, just 35 minutes left for the flight to depart and 10 minutes for the gate to shut. I walk in calmly, I am usually the kind of person who snakes in just before the doors slam shut.

As I begin my walk from the gate to the plane. I have to walk along a glass wall, take a U at the other end, walk along the other side and then board the plan. Get the drift?

So I walk along the wall, and fail to notice anything. I have a bag full of chocolates and dates that I am dragging along.

I go till the end of the wall, take U and cross onto the other side of the wall...(which is transparent because its glass).....

As I walk to the other side, I see this young girl (25 odd...yes that is young from where I sit :-)), she is having a huge travel bag on her back. And she is talking across the glass to a boy (again 25 odd) across the glass onto the other side....the side I just came from.

As I wait there for a few moments, I hear her scream and talk....

"So you can hear me across the glass?"
He gesticulates a yes, and mumbles something which I cant hear.
"You really can hear?"
He says something again, which I cannot hear. Then he moves to the glass to smooch the glass.
In response she moves to the glass too. They both smooch across the glass.

They talk a few more sentences. Someone is waiting for my boarding pass to be checked so I am still stuck there waiting.

She then screams "are you going to come over or we both will miss our flight?" and she guffaws loudly. He laughs too, but does not move.

She then goes down on her knee and she says "Please my love...."

He guffaws now, kisses the glass again and then begins walking towards the end of the walk, where he can take a U and join us.

I found this whole thing utterly lovely. Greatness comes in all shapes everyday. Just watch out.

2249 : Movie "Ugly" "Papa Song" lyrics and english translation

This is about a song called "Papa" from the movie "Ugly" directed by Anurag Kashyap, sung by Shilpa Rao, and lyrics by Gaurav Solanki. The music is by GV Prakash Kumar.

I will make a hackeyned attempt to translate this song for you. Here goes.

Kya wahaan din hai abhi bhi..
Papa tum rehte jahaan ho…

Is it still a bright and sunny day, 
(I am sure it is) Papa in the land that you are marooned on....
(Remember this is a girl who is lost singing out to her papa, so in reality its she who is marooned)

Aus ban ke main giroongi..
Dekhna tum aasmaan ho…

I will dribble down like those heavy dew drops,
(Papa) dont you forget to notice me, given that you are my sky...

Tin ke toote kanastar..
Se zara boondi churaakar…

(From the) Broken tin trays,
I am stealing remanants of sweetballs
(Usually the sweet shops do keep sweets in tin trays, this is a reference to that)

Bhaagti hai koyi ladki..
Kya tumhe ab bhi chidhakar…

The girl still runs on(post the stealing)
Teasing you, taunting you, as she always would...

Farsh ab bhi thaam ungli..
Saath chalta hai kyun papa…

As I crawl on the floor on my fours, 
I find my papa still walking with me...surprising!!

Bhaag ke dekho re aagan..
Bhi machalta hai kya papa….

And then I tried doing a dash in the garden,
And I found my nervous papa still following me...surprising again !!

Aag ki bhi chaanw hai kya..
Cheentiyon ke gaon hai kya…

Do parts of the angry fire contain a peaceful shaded zone,
Do the army of ants belong to one particular village?
(Obviously a construct to make chaanw and gaon rhyme...but both metaphors are so strong)

Jis kuye mein hum gire hai..
Us kuye mein naav hai kya…

In this particular well I am drowning, I am marooned,
(Papa do you know) Does this well have a safety boat, something anything that I can latch onto?

Kya tumhe kehta hai koyi..
Ke chalo ab khaa bhi lo…

Papa is there someone still who is telling and chasing, 
Come on, have your meal, take a bite 

Dibbiyon mein dhoop bhar kar..
Koyi ghar laata hai kya…

Who (ever) fills the sunlight into tiffin boxes, (ridiculous na?)
and then (also labours to ) get these boxes home?

Chimniyon ke is dhuyein..
Mein mere do khargosh the…

In the wanderlust of the smoke arising of the chimney,
I had two of my pet rabbits
(Reference to the shapes we all make out in smoke, and eerily I always have visualised rabbits in the smoke too!!)

Ve kabhi aawaz de toh..
Koyi sun paata hai kya…

(If these rabbits) ever made a real sound,
Would any of us ever hear them?

Gintiyaan sab laakh mein hai..
Haath lekin raakh mein hai…

Here all the numbers and counting are in millions,
(Fools - cant they see?) their hands are all immersed in ashes...
(Million is a reference to money)

Chaand ab bhi gol hai kya..
Jashn ab bhi dhol hai kya…

Is the moon still a round shiny happy place,
Are the sounds of happiness in harmony with the sound of drums and music?

Pee rahe hain sharbatein kya..
Kya wahaan sab hosh mein hai…

What nectat are all of you drinking,
Are you all still in your right senses?

Ya ki maathe see rahe hai..
Do minute afsos mein hai…..

Or are all of you brow beaten, with nervous wrinkles in your forheads,
Silently praying and mourning for the loss (that you still dont know of)?

2248 : Ugly movie "Papa Song"

You should know this...I hate watching movies. They usually leave me with a bitter taste, almost making me feel that I wasted another 3 hrs of my life.

I usually now catch movies (in the last 8 years) on flights only. No TV no cinema halls.

And this time around I saw Ugly because I like Anurag Kashyap. I liked the movie and almost stretched to say this was an ok 2 hrs that I had lost....and then towards the end the song "Papa" comes along.

The first time I hear it, and I am so bloody hooked. I could spend 20 hrs just to have found the song.

Shilpa Rao has sung it in such a mesmerizing voice.....I want to live to hear her voice a 1000 times. If you can fall in love with a voice so completely it has to be this for me. I dont know her, I have never seen her, and yet I am totally latoo on this voice.

The lyrics by Gaurav Solanki are poetry that I would be glad to write and then immediately die. I could not do any better. The metaphors are so bloody dark, and have such a hook to them....

The music by GV Prakash Kumar is haunting. The song goes on in an infinite loop in your head.

My next post I will try and translate this song....just for old times sake, just like I used to do in the past.

Anurag, Shilpa, Gaurav, GVP - all of you take a real heartfelt bow. This is not just awesome, its awe inspiring. Let the greatness of the song soak you in.

Goes straight into the list of all time favorites. I will listen to this song till I die.

Catch the song at

2247 : Collective greatness

To those who don't believe that greatness exists, and more so in a collective soul is what I suggest - listen (or better) watch a philharmonic play the entire 9th of Beethoven with all its movements including the choral.

As an example the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

If you dont get goose pimples watching/hearing are blind to greatness.

This is what life is. The essence of life is summarized in that one experience. All other words and gyan are useless.

Go be enthralled.

2246 : Half life

She passed me by the stairs (just like David Bowie once encountered her !!). In her I saw my own scribbles. 

The mountains they are talking to me, the crabs that line the sea shore, they are crawling towards me, the flowers are screaming "Kiss me as I am dying", and the wounded fish, that is still swimming inspite of the lost tail says, "I wish I knew what it was to be a bird", and as my brain is shutting down, I hear the whale sing out to its daughters.....

I am radioactive. Today is one more ending of my half life. Today - Here I sat drinking honey from the flowers.