Sunday, March 31, 2019

2517 : The Hungry

I love Shakespearean Tragedies. I especially love them when they are poetic. Earlier in 2018 I watched "The Hungry" starring Tisca Chopra and Naseeruddin Shah.

Its a stunner, straight up along with Vishal Bharadwaj's Maqbool, Omkara and Haider.

The music, the cinematography, the story, the writing, the background score....will haunt you till the end of days. This is what a good story should look like.

Go for it. A 10/10 if I ever had a scale to judge movies (I dont think I am equipped for that...but what the f)

On my overall list goes to the second spot

A Twelve Year Night
Nise(The heart of madness)
The Kominsky Method
Forest (The Foret)
Orange Mittai

2516 : Sarvam Thaala Mayam

I usually don't post about movies that I watched but did not like. Sarvam Thaala Mayam was so full of promise. Its plot, Rajiv Menon, AR Rahman.....the whole cast....

In the end, its a bit a microwave heated Crossiant.

Go watch it only if you love Classical music so much...else it is such a wasted (in a wasted way) kind of movie.

Venu gets the Pallakad Iyer accent to the T. I felt like home :-). Really did.

Not rated.

2515 : Tanha Tanha

I was listening to "Tanha Tanha" from Rangeela. Someone who was listening to it with me, mentioned how impressed he was with the lyrics when he was growing up.


Zameen aasman bhi kuch toh keh rehi hain,
Lehren bhi saahil se kuch toh keh rehi hain,
Chandni bhi chand se kuch toh keh rehi hain....

Kissi na kissi se koi kuch toh keh raha hain,
Tuh dil ki baat keh de, kehne mein kya hain....

I liked these lines too....especially growing up. Could not bring myself to admit this to him. Today of course it seems a little too plebian.

And Asha today sounds like was vacationing in South Indies in those times.....

2514: The line, the hit and the sinker

A straight line. One that leads me your way. You pause, "Are you lining me up?"

Two whacks on your plump shoulder....."not really, though I just tried hitting on you...."

2513: "I just mated"

Picture this.
I am working on a document. And from the anterior part of the room, comes a "fist thump in the air" moment...."yessssssssss.....I mated".

Now I look up and see my little monster, all of 7 years old staring into an Ipad....and my first reaction is of bewilderment.....has she been playing my teenage equivalent version of Larry's lounge (we all had our teenage daughter needs to know that I am definitely more flawed than average.....)

I walk up with trepidation and break into a broad smile.....she has just defeated Magnus Carlsen in the trainer at him aged 8 :-). Today...she is a world beater......:-)

A sheepish dad moment, quietly and miraculously transformed into a super proud dad moment.

2512 : On days like today...

I realise how weak I really am. I am not tuned to the world around me, to the politics around me, to the un-necessary rape around me...and yet I won't do a thing. I will choose inaction, and not because I believe in Zen.

I will choose inaction due to my cowardice. Due to my fear of having to do something.

I will die without having helped nobody, without having made an inch of a difference to nobody, without easing nobody's pain....I would die as a nobody. And I will be singularly responsible for that.

2511 : Save Girl

Driving around Powai Lake (going from Hiranandani towards L&T) under the overbridge there is unmissable hoarding of a godman smiling beatifically with large text around him which says "Save Girl" followed by a simple (1980s minecraft) CGI graphic of a girl.

Now that is ridiculous in many ways. "Save Girl" is just plain meaningless in English. Its an implore in a continuous form that is neither past nor present. Also....

Which Girl?
Why only a Girl, as in why in the singular?
Why not Girls?
Does it mean we have to save from the baba/godman?
Is he the perpetrator?
How to save a girl?

Meaningless hoardings making the city a completely ugly and overcommunicated pimping ground. Anything sells, as long as it gives someone the money.

My heart truly cries for the city I still call Bombay and I still consider my home. On one hand, it frustrates me and on the other hand, I know nothing shall ever change. Est Mort le roi, Vive le roi.....

Friday, March 22, 2019

2510 : Paul Allen take a bow :-)

Sachin recommended this reading and its totally worth it :-)

Its also totally worth knowing that there are billionaires who will want to understand the world (not just change it). Everyone wants to change the world....but in my head acceptance and understanding is the more urgent need of the hour.

Paul Allen (who the above article is about and who died last year) and Bill Gates are both role models amongst the billionaires who are working to accept and understand the world.

Take a bow both of you :-)

2509 : A tale of aneuryism

Emilia Clarke’s tale makes for the most fascinating reading. Read it, and be rewarded for its honesty, for its gratitude...and most of all to remind ourselves......we are so shaky and fragile...Now here, gone next moment !!

2508: We all need crutches

Sachin (not Tendlya :-)), but my dear friend Sachin - yes the same one with whom I love having some free wheeling speak easies. We both drink like fish, one half of us smokes like a chimney, we both eat like we are always hungry and one half of us always smirks :-) (Now figure !!)

Sachin and I were speaking recently when he told me a fascinating story. At his workplace he supposedly usually goes down at 4 for a tea and a smoke. One day (and it was a Tuesday), he went down around 3.30pm.

He met someone needy and decided to buy them food. (and I dont know of someone who is a more role model buddhist than Sachin....he truly practices buddhism, maybe he does not call it that).

As he ordered food, the person whom he was buying food for - supposedly requested a smoke and began chatting up. In sachin’s own words - in chaste English :-)!!

It transpired that the person lost his job in Dubai, post a horrific accident, which is what put him onto crutches. He begs for a living. He has a whole roster of the city he needs to traverse. And supposedly he is around Sachin’s workplace at 3.30pm on a Tuesday.

Over the next 4-5 weeks Sachin met him every Tuesday. The person had a target of 1000Rs per day....and he needs to work for the next 3 years till his sons pass out from engineering.

What amazed Sachin was - the person had no resentment or anger towards the society. He looked at seeking alms like a job/role that he needed to do everyday to make 30k a month.

Sachin has not met him in the last 4 weeks. But he has promised to reach there at 3.30pm on a Tuesday soon, and the person has promised to this time buy Sachin a smoke :-)

I found the story heartwarming, a reminder of how lucky some of us are (I am indeed extremely blessed), and what my life could have been.

Thanks Sachin for sharing. Thanks Sachin for allowing me to post. Thanks Sachin for being a Buddhist role model that I wish someday to aspire to be like.

2507 : Innocent (Masum) Turkish Series

I watched the entire season 1 (and I think that’s all there is to it) and I was spellbound. By the visuals, the writing (though I dont understand Arabic), and just the taut story.

The actors were truly a class apart. Take special note of Taner’s eyes. They tell a story in almost every science that he participates in.

On a superficial level its a simple tale told non-linearly. On a personal level, I loved it because it caused what I call as Karma Roulette spin. Like who is to blame?

The father Cedvet?
The son Taner? His wife Ruya?
The other son Tarik? His wife Emel?
The cog in the wheel Yusuf?
His lovely daughter?
The police chief?

On a karma level, this becomes like Mahabharata. Who is the first sinner. Who cast the first stone?

Watch it. And if life permits, watch it again. The layers will peel itself and reveal the song.

Speaking of songs, am completely addicted to the title track. On my all time list this fits in here....

Overall ranking

A Twelve Year Night
Nise(The heart of madness)
The Kominsky Method
Forest (The Foret)
Orange Mittai

2506 : Hall of Mirrors - Sharanya Manivanan

Never love a man with more faces than a hall of mirrors. He will never be able to tear his eyes away long enough to look at you, a luminous thin, blinded by the dark gravity of your love.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2505 : The safar song from Harry Met Sejal

There is something very endearing about this song. Whether it is the raspy “drunk like” vocals from Arjit (whom I absolutely dont like), or the stunning lyrics....or the way the song makes you meditate.

I love this song, on repeat or otherwise. With Arjit too, even better otherwise :-).

2504 : The monk who is teaching us to die

Thich Nhat Hanh is approaching the end of his life with the same equanimity that he taught all of us to have.

I read this a few weeks ago, but even then, and now - I cant help but anguish over - “are we mere accidents?”. If yes, then why is Thich Nhat such a more adorable and “Want to emulate” role model than lets say a politician like “Trump”.

I feel immensely sad facing the prospect of his death, almost as if, the last beacon of hope for humanity is slowly being extinguish....I know its not true...but the despair in me is real. For me, folks like Thich Nhat and Dalai Lama are the last bastions of humanity. Once they too have fallen, the world is a riot. All Amok.

I grieve the moment of its passing. I grieve the oncoming fall of a wall.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2503 : The living years

I dont think most of us glance at 3-4 generations’ (of our own) photographs. I just did that today and it occurred to me how every generation is different, but overall all the same.

As in they all look the same (I mean precisely the same) when they are young, middle age and old.

It’s a very humbling feeling to know how you will look when you are 80 years old (if you do live to that age). Frail, muscle beaten and overwhelmed.

Co-incidentally I was listening to the 1987 Grammy classic “The Living Years” by Mike + Mechanics (Mike Rutherford).

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door
I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got
You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence
Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late (it's too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don't see eye to eye
So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts
So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be okay
So say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
Because it's too late, it's too late (it's too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don't see eye to eye
I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late (it's too late) when we die (it's too late when we die)
To admit we don't see eye to eye
So say it, say it, say it loud (say it loud)
Say it clear (come on say it clear)

2502 : Tamil Poetry by Salma (The Worm)

The worm appears, slithering in the food 
as, with extreme hunger, 
I prepare to eat.

There is no reason for me to be hostile 
towards this slithering and sliding 
green, soft body.

Even though I learnt to cast it aside
and continue to ear, everyday 
it appears quietly, creeping towards me.

Today I being to learn 
to endure it.

In the years to come 
it grows, shifts shape 
climbs on me and crawls about 
sucking its food from my body

Frightening me 
with its stranglehold 
of possiblities.

2501 : Honda classic bike in the Forest (driven by Eve Mendel)

Alexia Barlier’s Eve Mendel character in the forest drives a Honda Classic bike. In my little 8 inch screen I could figure which model is it exactly but I believe it is either a CB350 or CB400S.

Either ways its a classic beauty (move over Bonnevilles) and its fascinating to see a lady (Alexia Barlier) drive a classic. The stunning visuals combined with a rich sense of class (and classics) is truly a visual treat.

2500 : The Foret ( French for The Forest)

I loved the series (The Foret), or The Forest. It’s simple in its plot, but the visuals and the acting both are bewitching. I was truly captivated by it. I was drawn into the story. Totally in love with this series.

Strongly recommended as a watch, especially if you like the visuals and some great acting.

2499 : Tamil poetry by Salma ( An evening, another evening)

Just a few lines from this poetry which I loved

There is no chair anywhere 
On which I can sit
And swing my legs.

If only the baby
Were to lend me his cradle
It might be possible to sleep.

2498 : Tamil Poetry by Salma (Paths)

Upon the alimarah
Against the room’s walls
Between the swirling fan’s blades
A bat clashes,
Falls, scatters.

But birds, thousands of miles away,
Fly across the blue of the sky
And the massing of mountains
And have never, so far,
Lost their way.

2497: Too harsh on Shah Rukh?

Taking it ahead from my recent post, am I being a little to too harsh on Shah Rukh Khan (just a symbol, I have nothing against him at all). Am I being harsh on him for dancing or performing for money?

Let me explain. How different is Shah Rukh dancing at a wedding for money, versus Obama speaking on the circuit for money?

And yet...I (obviously) in my own limited view, look down upon SRK, but don’t necessarily condescend on Obama.

My bias at work?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2496 : Women's day being auspicious

I think as a race we have somewhere lost a few plots and "women's day" is somewhat strange in the way it is constructed....but more on that later.

As I boarded my late night flight on this International Women's Day, the pilot announced, "Congratulations to all of you on this auspicious day"....and I could not help and marvel.....we have lost "basics of English (language)" along the way as well.

2495 : The wedding story

I woke up today to be greeted by tons of images/news which are celebrating the fact that Shah Rukh Khan danced with Nita Ambani.

Before I write further, wanted to clarify - I don't grudge anyone their money, their power or life.


I sat and wondered, "Would I actually like/want Shah Rukh dancing at my wedding with my mother?". My answer is beside the point, more importantly "Why?"- as in why would anyone want Shah Rukh to dance at their wedding.

Secondly, I also could not help and ponder, "Would Shah Rukh even agree to dancing at my marriage, if I was who I am. I am just a nondescript middle class lumpen."

My answers in both cases, "its a distraction....". I don't want any celebrity or even outrageous folks gracing my wedding. I just want my friends and my family. My childhood buddy being there would make it special, but thats about it.

I recently added a regular wedding where a celebrity guest came in, and the whole wedding's spotlight shifted from the couple to the celebrity.

As I meditate on this, it occurs to me - we stopped being a "thinking" and "purpose driven" race many many moons ago. "Purpose?"....whats that?

Monday, March 04, 2019

2494 : Parrikar Manohar, Goa CM

The Goa CM, Manohar Parrikar is supposedly in grade 4 pancreatic cancer - and yet, he is refusing steadfastly to give up on his power.

READ MY LIPS - I am not making a moral or ethical judgement.

But here goes...

He has had years of power, so he now knows what the corridors of power shape like. He probably has enough money to last another 100 years (I mean it!!). He probably has indulged in very vice (that gives pleasure and lures all of us humans equally).

So my philosophical dilemma is - what would I do? Faced with such imminent death - I would want unequivocal silence. I would want unbridled peace. I would want to face death on whatever is meaningfully my own little control - my own little set of terms.

And yet, he, an accomplished man...chooses to deal with death as if it is an elephant in the room. Its not "an", its the only elephant in the room.

Mr. Parrikar, there is a Buddhist in me, who wants to gift you a copy of "The Tibetan book of dying and liberation". And trust me, not a bone in my body wishes bad for you. I only wish you a peaceful death and definitely a clear shot at liberation.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

2493: My desire for silence

My desire for silence, both physical and mental is all consuming. There are days and hours where all I need is silence.

Not just difficult, but even impossible in this modern world. So much sound, so many noises.

On more clearer days, I know for sure, that the only chatter that seems to matter is the one on the inside. And that like Indrajit would say, is not a war, but the war.

2492: Ravana believes Vishnu will lose - from Sitayana by Amit Majmudar

Ravana explains to Rama, why Vishnu is playing a losing game.

Rama - "The naive God. The ascetic God."

"The God of Destruction, Rama! Don't you know who I am? Why he loves me? The wheel of Time needs somebody to grease the axle. I am bringing us into the Kali Yuga. I hasten the end of it all. If you think my ten heads are evil, wait till you see what's coming - the thousand-headed bureaucracies of murder and the murderous million armed street mobs. What are you trying to accomplish, with your milquetoast goodness? The add of pious sons and faithful husbands is over. The future is one long dark age until the dancing asetic stomps it all flat in his sphere of fire."

"Shiva can't save you here. Not from me. And once I kill you, you'll belong to Yama. The God of death is deaf to hymns. Let my wife go, Ravana, and I will go from your destroyer Shiva to your sustainer Vishnu. I'll keep you on your throne."

"The more Vishnu sustains this species, the more damage he ends up doing. If the two of us could wreck planets and moons up there, imagine what ten billion people will do to one ball of mud. The more life, the more death. Vishnu plays a losing game."

2491: We are war, Indrajit's dirge in Amit Majmudar's Sitayana

In the midst of the gory man to hand combat where both are losing their life force, Indrajit hollers to Lakshman
"You and your brother. You're only human beings. You can't compete. Not against mixlings like me and my dad. You make war. We are war. On the inside."

2490: Indrajit's son's sacrifice from Sitayana by Amit Majmudar

The book is interspersed with some of the finest writing I have read in recent years. Just pure inspired genius. In the next few posts, I will look at some of my favorite lines.

As Indrajit gets ready to sacrifice his son to save his father (Ravana).....

"The pulse at his neck keeps pace with the pole star blinking red red red. I will do this. For my father I will do this to my son."

2489: Reading list 2019 #7: Sitayana by Amit Majmudar

Just finished a masterful re-telling of the Ramayana by Amit Majmudar. If all classics were written like this, then I would read them all my life.

There is a strange bit though. The plug artists, the spin factory - are saying this is Ramayana told from Sita's perspective.

Actually I found that the weakest character (in terms of development) was Sita. I found myself rooting for Indrajit (Ravana's son the most) and Kumbhakarana (Ravana's brother).

In the last two chapters, you do feel Sita's pain - and root for her. But its too late in the book.

Overall, this is a fabulous book. Worth an addition to your book shelf, worth a legacy to leave to your daughter.

Overall a perfect 10/10. Some truly goose pimple evoking writing moments.

At 194 pages brings my 2019 list total to 1754 pages.

Image from witty feed

2488: The big hollow moon Saturn's Amitabha

I have been reading some epics re-told. And there I discovered an interesting part.

The giant Saturn has many moons, one of them being a hollow one, called as Amitabha.

For years since childhood, I have had a personal affinity to Saturn and its magical rings. I have been devoted to its sense of beauty and loneliness.

The zenith of devotion is to become a moon. Did I just?........