Monday, April 29, 2019

2534 : Crimson Children

Just bought (and I am genuinely excited with the promise of an urban meditation) Autumn Light by my favorite Pico Iyer. As part of the prelude I see this passage and I am indeed overwhelmed.....

"Tonight the crimson children are playing in the west", wrote Emily Dickinson in the fall of 1854, "and tomorrow will be colder."

And I think and think.........What would I give to meet Pico Iyer once? My life is short.

2533 : Reading list 2019 : #11: Fat By Kalpana Swaminathan + Dr. Ishrat Syed

A book about fat, and how we became fat as an Indian society. Musings on Indian food. What I liked most was how it simplifies food as a process to be understood by each of us.

Am I fat? Yes. Am I a little more literate post this book? Yes. Am I going to get fitter? Don't know. Do I am to get fitter? Yes.

A definite read. Highly recommended. Any book which changes your relationship with food in a more deeper way (negative or positive connotations aside) is worth a read.

At 312 pages brings my 2019 reading to 2818 pages.

Images thanks to Speaking tiger books. Image below is Kalpana's.

2532 : Reading List 2019: #10: Erling Kagge : Walking

I loved this book. A small but brilliant meditation on walking.

Especially loved the author has similar rumination (to mine) on walking slowly (or walking as slow as possible).

Overall a classic read, good to re-visit every 2-3 years. Its intensely personal and forced me (and hopefully each of you) into reflecting on one's own life.

At 155 pages brings my 2019 total to 2506 pages.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

2531 : Toddler Cricket

My daughter is all of 8, and its fascinating to see the little kids at the class. They are like little world champions.

They wear the entire gear so are very cute looking....but whats even more fun watching - is their mannerisms. Like the way they will do a glove thump after every ball (two people thump their gloves into each other's hands), the way they celebrate a wicket.....the fist thump and the scream.

Or the way they all show immense balance in their stance. And the grace with which they play a cover drive or a flick.

If you have never seen little kids play cricket, then I believe you are missing the "little" pleasures of life.

2530 : Spin with your leg

My daughter goes to a cricket class, and yes she does :-)

And in that cricket class, there is one person who does not have one leg. And he works with prosthetic limb(s). He not only bowls, he dives, he jumps and he also fields....and I sit there and wonder.....why did I ever give up on my dreams?

Take a bow leggie :-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2529 : Menon's Dilemma

I was reading a book called Walking by Erling Kagge....and up comes along this passage.

Socrates wondered about something similar, "But how will you look for something when you don't in the least know what it is?". Philosophers have pondered on this dilemma - or Menon's Dilemma, named after the sophist Menon, who asked Socrates this question - for 2400 years.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

2528 : Modern Narcissist

Picture this.

I have a little zen garden (I call it Zen since I have used some of their principles) at my home. This one faces outside (as in the world can see it).

Recently a few folks in my apartment complex complained that since the trees were wild, they were not happy with the sight that caught their (sore) eyes.

Their solution. Trim the plants.

My objection. Why?

Finally. Who won?

Them. So we killed and trimmed a few plants so that they are better to look at.

I can write reams and reams around this, but really is this age the epoch of narcissism?

Is this what we want to become?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

2527 : Afreen Afreen

I must have written about this before, but today it struck me (again and yes :-) it strikes me everytime) that for once the nephew has beaten the uncle.

I mean Raahat Fateh Ali Khan has outdone the uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The Coke Studio version of the classic "Afreen Afreen" is really quite better than the original (yes the original featured Lisa Ray, and so agreed it was almost impossible to beat :-))

For the record, for me, NFAK is the God on earth. Really.

The harmony between Raahat and Momina Mustehsan is quite remarkable.

The original is at

The new one is at

2526 : Reading list 2019: #9: Judas by Amos Oz

An utterly brilliant meditative book that juxtaposes an individual against a nation divided. An individual who needs to decide only in one direction else be classified as a "Traitor" or "Judas".

Classic gripping writing. Very visual, you can imagine the whole book play out in front of you.

On a literary level, not very rich...but on a sheer scale of complexity and ambition, this is a classic.

On a scale of 10, maybe a 9. But a definite read.
At 277 pages brings my 2019 total to 2351 pages.

For the record, deepens my Israeli connect :-)

2525 : Honda Africa Twin

Watching Fauda and seeing Doron driving the Africa Twin (by Honda) was I must admit a fascinating sight.

One day I hope to own and ride the twin :-)

2524 : Fauda

I was totally mesmerized by this series. It's about the Israel-Arab conflict and its totally raw. It has dramatics - quite a bit of exaggeration, but you feel for every single character, including Nurit, Moreno....the whole gang.

Somewhere I feel very deeply connected to Israel (and hell no, I am not a Jew sympathizer) or otherwise. But I truly feel a deep connection to Israel. I am beginning to love their books, and of course, now I have some Israeli :-) friends.

I watched Fauda over 2-3 weeks but loved both the seasons. Politically I wish the region were more stable and peaceful.

Go watch it, if time permits. Worth your time.

On the overall ranking sheet, here it goes.....

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

2523: Weightlessness

"The air seems heavy".

She said with a smile, "there is love in the air".

"Does that mean love is heavy?"

"Can I ask you something? Why did you marry me?"

"Because you made me feel that I could go somewhere. With someone. Then."


"I sometimes feel the chains and shackles."

"There. Its not the air, but its your mind which is weary and heavy."

2522 : Reading list 2019 #8: Re-reading of A line made by walking Sara Baume

I promised to read this book every year till I die :-). So here is my second read of this book and felt just as rewarded.Worth a copy in every room's library.

At 320 pages brings my 2019 total to 2074 pages. 

2521 : Excerpt from Judas by Amos Oz

He has sown the seeds of nationalistic radicalism within them. "The real tragedy of humankind", Shealtiel used to say, "is not that the persecuted and the enslaved crave to be liberated and to hold their heads high. No. The worst thing is that the enslaved secretly dream of enslaving their ensalvers. The persecuted yearn to be the persecutors. The slaves dream of being masters. As in the book of Esther."

2520 :Excerpt from Judas by Amos Oz

He lived the last years of his life under self imposed house arrest. He never went through the gate. Not to the shop, nor to the newspaper stand, nor for an afternoon walk in the field at the bottom of the lane. I thought he was punishing himself, but I was wrong, he wasn't punishing himself, he was punishing the world. He never spoke to me or to Wald about the establishment of the state, for example. Or about our winning of the war.

2519 : Retribution that baffles

So a 20 year old cop was making love to her boss/lover, meanwhile her kid died due to the heat in the car. The kid was 3 years old. Thats the gist of this gory story.

My view ?????
Yes, a mistake or even a big slip up has indeed happened. No flip flopping on that one. We all agree that a huge error has happened.

And ?????
The mother (the 20 year old) has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for this. 

This is where I am baffled. Assume she is indeed culpable, but (hopefully) without a real intent. As in the death is her mistake, but her intentions were never malicious. Does this sort of societal retribution aid in helping her (the mother's) soul or even in preventing  a similar mistake from others in the society. 

I often wonder - how much of prison is just about fairness (eye for an eye) versus real societal improvement or correction. Prison/jail/retribution focusses on deterrence, but not on improvement. This particular sentence does not seem to be effective in deterrence too.

The mother killed her daughter. Agreed. Inadvertently. Agreed.
We killed the mother. Agree?. With intent. You better not disagree.

Do read The Flower Girls for a similar deja vu. Of course this comes from the land of fiction.

2518 : The murdering Jain

Picture this.

A Jain is finishing his meal. As he goes to the wash area to clean his hands, he sees a few ants and creepy crawly insects around the area. He freaks out and he starts the flow of water in full force, so as to drown the insects. Once that is done, he heaves a sigh (of relief), washes his hand with soap and comes back to the table.

Now, this is a Jain - who is a practicing Jain. Visits a temple 4 times a week, implores me to give up on my diet of eggs and requests me to cut down on Garlic and Onion since it increases my "tamas" and hence my "violence".

I have always known that human beings get stuck in symbols and abstractions, but this one is quite something. I am not even aghast. I am just sore.

The buddhist in me believes, that every life and every rock matters. I have to exist inspite of the world around me, and thats what usually drives my decision making.

Of course, I am a failed buddhist. And yes, as a race, we have failed our insect friends.