Monday, January 27, 2020

2714 : Tu Kisi Rail Is from Masaan

"Tu Kisi Rail Si"from Masaan has to be one of the most inspired recent pieces of music that I have heard.

The poetry is pure magic, and if I was wooing a partner - it would absolutely be the song I would sing. Lyrical magic.

Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
Main kisi pull sa.. thartharata hoon
Tu bhale ratti bhar na sunti hai
Main tera naam budbudata hoon

Varun Grover is the new king of good writing. After Gulzar he is one who gives me hope. Just unbelievable metaphors. Who even thinks of such lines. (I know the first two lines of the song are inspired by another poem...but still).

And the genius of getting a fellow lyricist to sing the song. Swanand Kirkire is a lyrics writer who sings it.

The picturization is pure nostalgia.

2713 : Gazab ka Din...

Call it nostalgia, but nothing will ever take away the romantic allure of Juhu Chawla (Alka Yagnik) singing "Gazab ka din" from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

Its just inspired, especially the way....Alka brings in the delectable sigh in the middle of the song. A pang of teenage love, that is just breaking out.

Makes me want to be 18 again. Most of it, it takes me to a part of me, that never stopped believing that good music is the one with the faint touch of imperfection, the natural drop....that just endears the listener to an otherwise perfect composition.

The part where she sighs and says "Dekh lo hamko kareeb se"....a touch of magic, I say....

1988 will always remain a magical year for a boy who never ever grew up.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

2712 : My death ?

How different the world is
When the identified individual (me)
is Absent from it.

- From Master Wu Hsin

2711: Reading list 2020: #3 The Billion Dollar Whale by Bradley Hope and Tim Wright

Just finished my 3rd book of the year....and realised that if money is one of the only things I want in my life, then I am so way behind in the methods and the means both.

A tale of opulence and indulgence that would put almost any other living being in history to shame, save some kings and emperors.

Go read it, worth every penny of your time, especially if you work in finance as I do.

At 400 pages brings my 2020 total to 848 pages.
A reasonable good start to a year - what say? 
Also the books have been awesome.

2710: My first real smoke

I met up with a bunch of twenty year olds and we ended ups smoking for over 4 hrs as we spoke about the life, universe and everything.

I had never had a proper puff before this day.

And on this day, I smoked like I was Lord Shiva, discovering his centuries old passion. A good 4 hours of smoking, does make you taste enough smoke :-) so as to get you completely gass mocked.

For a few hours, I became "Bhole"!!

2709: A grim reminder

Time eats everything.

- Again from Master Wu Hsin, a great reminder that everything eventually is eaten up by time. Everything including our earth, sun and the universe - given enough time.

2708 : What is perfection?

Perfect Archery.
Has no archer.

A fantastic insight into duality. Lovely from Master Wu Hsin.

2707 : Wu Hsin

I am a huge life avowed fan of Master Wu Hsin and his writings.
I have never felt as much enlightened as when I read his work. (On an absolute scale I am still a non-starter in terms of seeking, but Master Wu Hsin makes me feel better along this quest.)

If there was one author/person who has made a profound impact on my life - it has to be Alan Watts @ #1, and Master Wu Hsin @ #2.

Its arguably in terms of how much Master Wu Hsin inspired Alan Watts.....I believe a lot.

I discovered him about 10 years ago via some blogs. Since then I pretty much have read everything he has written and many times over.

As I always say, this blog is my instruction manual to my daughter and to show to her that her dad was both a trier and a deeply flawed human being, both at the same time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2706 : Stand up is the new post modern truth (Punit Pania)

Listening to Punit Pania makes me want to believe in this world. In its goodness and its grace.

He is God-send in an universe where everyone else is slowly turning into a caricature.

Take a bow, Mr. Pania.....I will genuinely pray for your long life.

His overall posts.....are at 

2705 : Diction is....

Reached here via Scroll link. Mashup of Fiaz's Hum Dekhenge and "where the mind is without fear".

The video can be reached directly. The diction is worth a million lives.
I would show it to my daughter, and tell her every single day, that this the power of perfect diction.


Friday, January 17, 2020

2704 : Immortality

The mother, the father and the calf were ambling around. The calf was all of about 12 months. He had spent more time in his mother's womb, than in the world outside. Almost one half more.

The family looked lazy and on Mount Kailas, you did not need to do much.

Papa asked the calf, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", and he said "I want to be big, bold and huge like you. I want to scare the lions away. I want to grow four tusks, sharper than the spears that human carry around. I never want to die. I want to be on earth forever. I want our tribe and the world to remember me as the one did not flinch when he saw a fallen tree or a lion. Instead he just jumped over the tree and trudged along."

His papa laughed and bellowed a trumpet which almost sounded like a squeal. The mother looked the other way, and smiled more coquettishly.

Papa growled, "Be careful what you wish for, The-One-Who-Never-Dies. No one wants to be trapped on this planet forever, except the Gods. Now unless you decide to be one.....And remember the lions....they scare me. And my tusks, well....thats what humans hunt me down for."

Papa continued to laugh. A delirious mirth that only filial love can afford.

The calf looked up lovingly, adoringly and with the twinkle of someone who adores his hero-his dad.

In jest he began to run amok. Running further from the pack.

Papa screamed, almost a growl, "Hey, don't go near the humans, they will first offer you to the Gods. Then they shall supplicate to the act. Stay away, they cut both ways."

The young one laughed and ran around. The mother lovingly landed her trunk on the father, almost entreating him to "let the calf be....weren't we all the same as young calves?".

Minutes had passed before the air was shattered by a loud painful screech. The pain of death, that came upon someone - far too suddenly and far too unbeknownst.

Papa stalled. It was his calf. And like all papas, his heart went "can't be...heavens can't be. Please make this moment go away. Please."

The mother almost collapsed.

As the father and the other leads in the pack, hurtled towards the source of the sound.....every stride led them to confront the inevitable.

In a few seconds they were in a clearing. And in that lay the clarity of hurt - the calf was dead. Killed by a huge human. Almost 10 feet tall, with a set of large locks - almost dreadlocks. Blue and dark as an ocean at night. Ash on his forehead. He looked imposing. He looked divine. He looked invincible.

His stooges were carrying a human boy with the head missing. And as the papa (and the pack) reached there....they saw the blue divine human join the calf's head onto the human baby torso. As the minutes passed by, the elephants were stunned. So were the humans, and so were the stooges.

After what felt like hours, but were just minutes....the human baby with the elephant head spoke. He spoke like a human, but showed elephant characteristics too (especially the tiny tusks and the trunk and the trumpet).

As the child with the elephant head spoke, the humans rejoiced. The stooges danced.

The 10ft blue human announced to the elephant headed human baby. "you shall be a God. One who resolves who stops at nothing. One who humans will love more than any other God.".

That evening, as the world settled, and the sun set - a silent pack of elephants in the Kailas - skipped their meal- and performed a delicate mourning dance.

And that went completely un-noticed in the world. The calf had indeed become a God, and would live in this world forever. His parents though, would silently still mourn for him. 

2703 : Reading List 2020: #2: The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere

Now that should ideally have been my first book for 2020.

Fantastically written....and totally absorbing. The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere is a book about a person who just ends up living a complete double life. But this person is not an FBI agent, instead he is a humble "doctor" (or pretends to be one).

Fantastic read. Totally engaging.

Gives me hope :-). I need to pull a fast one on some people some time soon too. Just joking :-).

Go give it a read. On a scale of 10, about 8. Totally worth your time.

At 208 pages brings my 2020 total to 448 pages.

More on the book @ Wikipedia here. Image below from

2702 : Reading List 2020: #1: Sonali Deraniyagala's The Wave

I read Sonali Deraniyagala's book The Wave with interest. Its a strange book to start 2020. The pain hits, so does her grief.

But somewhere...and forgive me for saying this (because it will almost appear that I disrespect another person's context).....especially in the second half of the book, the authenticity went completely missing.

In contrast, the first half pulls you in.

Its basically a book about the author, and she lost her husband, two sons, and her parents in the Sri Lankan Tsunami. Lost as death.

images from

Overall a decent read. Well written, though the second half was a bit of a defeat for me. 
On a scale of 10, say about 7.5.

Brings my 2020 reading total to 240 pages.

In terms of human interest, Sonali found love again and is now married (to actress Fiona Shaw). Read about it here...

Sunday, January 12, 2020

2701 : The reading tree

I have immensely struggled to read in the last 4-6 months of the past year. I have had excuses - tons of assignments, a very demanding work schedule, a daughter who is growing up and always needs more..... was me.....and the lost art of balance.

Here is to 2020, and how to get back to reading.

Ended 2019 with 29 books and 5177 pages. 
Vs 2018 was 35 books with 10816 pages. 

How the mighty have fallen :-).

Sign of times. The flautist is crooning.

2700 : The keeper of bees

When I was younger, one of the life lessons I had learnt that "secrets" were bad. Period. Secrets gnaw at the trust in a relationship. And trust is almost foundational in any partnership or relationship.

And for years, I took that at face value and frowned at anyone (including me) who was beholding secrets.

Today, years later, I am a keeper of not just one but many hundred secrets. Each secret housed in their  own customised "made to order" hidden cache.

Each secret nursed and groomed over years. Each an earthworm who was on its way to become an anaconda.

I was silently introspecting today around this, and it occurred to me, that "secrets" are like "bees". Almost had a moment of epiphany around this......

A keeper of bees (just like the keeper of secrets), hides them in a cache. A million little needles that when disturbed could sting strong. The beekeeper though, is long past the pain of the sting, for now, his game has categorically changed. His score now is no longer the bite of the sting, instead it is now the lust of the sweet honey.

Very much like secrets, what say?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

2699 : We did start the fire

By my own admission, I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. And for each of those I have lost a lot. (Gambler's remorse anyone ??)

I never got over losing some dear friends in life. The big losing at work, feels just like it was yesterday. That lost love still immensely singes. That one mistake that took you down in a spiral. And oh...not to forget.....the other bloody mistake that started the flagrant fire. 

On a day like today, I do feel the burn, the blisters still feel fresh in the now.

Loss is a hungry dragon who breathes fire.

2698 : The gift of being an artist (or days I wish I was a Pakistani)

Pakistani's who speak Urdu or Hindustani....are naturally gifted. Their larynx's are so well toned....that when they sing.....they sound ethereal.

I was speaking recently to a friend of mine, that, when Indians (trained especially) sing in the movies or for a performance - they are on so focussed on getting the notes right.....that they almost sound so smooth, that it appears too "flawless" to be normal.

But when Wadali Brothers (a good dozen of them singing together) sing "Tu Mane Ya Na Mane".....they make you feel empathy, for their Lord, whom they are singing this paen. In that moment, you are with are one with them, and their Lord too :-).

And that is the beauty of art. Art is something that should make you aspire. Art if done right, it should make you feel a mood....almost make you yearn for a time and day, that has escaped in the past.

Still not convinced? Listen to "Crazy Little Thing called Love" by Freddie Mercury, and the edge which be brings to the perfect notes....just that little edge, which makes you notice beyond the notes' sheen and gives you goose pimples.

So its a combination of tone (voice) and just that while performance, a Pakistani Sufi singer, or Freddie, bring just little extra which make it a little edgy, and a little more personal.....a infinitely more memorable.

In praise of the performer. In praise of bringing the "raw" back to music.
In praise of knowing that all art is a way to know the secret(s) of the universe.

2697 : Good music sounds great when its on a better system

I am a pseudo audiophile :-)
Which means I can speak like one.

And honestly I love my music....and admire the little differences a good reproduction can make you notice.

Including on some of the bootlegs, you can actually hear the audience or the recording crew exclaiming like an "aha" moment, which you know was also an "aha" moment for you.

And there is great magic in having a lovely soundstage :-), I can't tire of speaking about it to folks - who might have never had a chance to experience it yet.

And I can't emphasise on how fantastic my Master & Dynamic is. Its like the genie lamp that is just giving back :-).

In that sense I am a purist....I won't click a snap (even today) on my phone camera....and music always has to be on an "awwal darja" music system or headbuds.

The bloody snob in me.

Monday, January 06, 2020

2696 : Love in an unknown language....

He was always been terrible with picking up language. Actually, that's not true....the two/three languages he spoke (and wrote) natively, he seemed to know the extreme contours of them - which meant he knew those languages and all their inner secrets.

Living in Europe, he had also been exposed to many languages/dialects which he could have easily got a tongue for, but he did not.

Speaking of tongues, a few days, they kissed (he and her).Not for the first time, but, still fresh, not yet as plebeian as it would eventually get (I know the drill :-)).....

And as she exited the love act, she exclaimed "Le seul vrai langage au monde est un baiser". 

She smiled wistfully as she said that.

And for the first time in his life, he rued the fact that he had not yet learnt the basic ropes of French.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

2695 : Missing

You invited me to your house at Goa. You told me "treat it like your house."
You hardly knew me, and yet you gave me a gift that I still treasure. A book of poems by Tomas Transtromer. In some sense you introduced me to Tomas Transtromer. You gifted and implored me to give an ear to Rachmaninoff. And I do that till today....

I will never forget you. Or so I tell myself.
And yet, conversely,  my memory blinds your name. Always. You become Satish, you become Sandip, you become Salil....your name is from S....and yet none of these are correct.

You said, "You are like my brother.". You said, "We have a soul connect."
And I genuinely loved talking to you, as I very rarely do with another human being.

And then one day, I hear - that you were gone. At 47 (or was it 48). You died. Left a hole in my heart. I remember you very often. Your face. Cant remember your name - which I keep blanking out.

And now....I massively struggle to travel to Goa. I was there last year, but I faltered. Personally I felt lost. Without you, Goa felt like a ghost town.

After all, it was my the city of my sister's house.

2694 : Sweet dreams are made of these

He picked up the earthworm cocoon, on a just freshly torn shard of newspaper. It sticks to the paper, he balances it gingerly and lay it into one of the pots.

She asks, "And you believe you saved the world today?".

"Not really. Just that life is precious. Plus the plants love them. Why not?"

"Check 15 minutes later, and this tiny cocoon will be gone. A pigeon would have stolen it off your garden."

"True. Very much possible."

"Then why save it?"

He says with a chuckle, "This naughty one dreamt of being a python one day. Thats why....".

2693 : A run-time called Life

I have posted about this before. Here is a thought experiment. In this experiment, I am the creator (Call me the "God" or "Evolution", whatever suits your belief), as in, I have coded this piece of software.

Imagine a Java run-time (essentially a sandboxed space, within which your piece of software runs). I could easily write a program that create individual objects (say H for humans). Each H can randomly float onto the defined constraints. I have seeded the program with 10 instances of H (namely H1....H10).

When two floating 'H' collide against each other 5 times (call the collisions as "sex"), then post 1 minute (partum) of the 5th collision, a new object called B (baby) is initiated into the sandbox.

If a B (baby), who can also float onto the space, crashes or collides 10 times into the constraints - then we assign this object for "garbage creation" (or death). Eventually this B shall disappear.

On the other hand if the B can last 18 minutes without crashing into the walls more than 10 times, then we upgrade this B to an instance of H.

In this way, the # of H can keep increasing (or decreasing). So can B.

Now I can introduce other constraints like T (trees) and A (animals) who I can program - H needs to keep killing to continue their life span. Lets say 1 T or A per minute.

Get the drift of this system?

Now some H are smart. They look at all the other H around them and figure out the broader patterns. Which means not just simple ones like 5 collisions with the same "other" H yield a B (Baby) but also more complex ones....that every time three H are around a B, the B dies (or becomes a H). These are random co-relations (not causations....if you know the difference in statistics...a causation, causes something....versus a co-relation...just happens to happen at the same time or in relation).

And these smart H (scientists, philosophers, Godmen....who call see the patterns) start creating complex theories and "Gods" around these to also explain "causation".

Still with me, get the drift...?

I as a creator, have created a complex self continuing which extinction is also possible....but once I have hit "run" (as in started the game)....I am out.....I am now programming my next piece of software.....I might be interested in "post game analysis", but I am definitely not going to help H24 or be biased against H37...they are all inconsequential transient objects.

And of course....I could do a "CTRL C" and cancel the complete runtime....and have a big bang kind of singularity. As in the event horizon, where time collapses.


Some H (like the esteemed Buddha) figure out that one way of being part of this to seek a positive outcome in the "prisoner dilemma"....which means be good to the other H, B, A, T and the overall "sandboxed runtime"....and being "good" means respecting the resources and others.

Is that a good philosophy...yes.....

But it does not protect against the "programmer" (me) doing a "CTRL C"....or it also does not protect against some H who believe Auschwitz and gas chambers is the way to play this game (from the inside).


If the world is indeed this kind of simulation, then everything is meaningless.....because we are an artificial figment of some other context (the programmer's runtime in this case).....and some day the illusion "maya" might collapse.

The beauty is, the Buddha saw some of these dynamics, sitting inside the run-time....he found a wormhole in the sandbox....a small one at that....but thats what he did.....he tried to warn all of us.....the run-time is just a are just a bit in the RAM of the program memory that is running this game......

He also correctly prophesied, that there is no way out of this futility....till we call it out for ourselves.

And each of the H who are still trapped in the run-time....the only game in town is the "run-time"....a crazy little routine that we call as "life in this universe".

2692 : The hard things about hard things :-)

From Nirvana's Nevermind...(Smells like teen spirit)

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it's hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

2691 : The circle of life

As I confront the mortality of my parents (who are still alive :-)), I often end up wondering "have I been a terrible son?".

And while it sounds like an existential question - it's actually a very pertinent question to me. My parents are the only reason - I exist. The "only".

I have been through more downs than ups, and through all of this, they have not just supported me, but they have seen my silver lining.

Over the last 20 years, the edges have frayed.....and as the chasm has widened....their loneliness has increased and to complement it, so has my sense of "failure".

What am I doing about it?
Nothing. Nada. As days pass, and months too, and years chomp by....eventually the candle will extinguish itself....and what once was, will no longer be.

I dread that day, and today I continue to be haunted by our own collective mortality.

If all we are is reduced to "this" - then is anything at all worth fighting for?

2690 : Mohd Rafi

Growing up (and even now) I never grew to liking Mohd Rafi (and that not someone like him shall ever need my validation).

But I love three of his songs....
1) Suhaani Raat Dhal Chuki
2) Chand Mera Dil (From Hum Kissi se Kum Nahin)....adore this song....
3) Dard-e-Dil, Dard-e-jigar.....

Fantastic singing, fantastic lyrics and will remain in my all time favourite list.

2689 : Artificial Intelligence

My work requires me to work within machine learning and a few other related items. The more I have been reading, I have become obsessed with the idea of what "being human" means....all in the context of "artificial intelligence".

This year is going to be a year of reading AI books. I am already in the midst of two such books. (Ray Kurzweil I am coming for you :-))

Actually I hope this year is a year of reading again. Last year I struggled to read in the second half.

Here is to a better more educated and wiser version of me.

2688 : Black hole sun by Soundgarden

The genius called Chris Cornell passed away(presumably suicide) in 2017. A staggeringly wasted death. I have one of those rare recordings of him singing "Come Together".....and "Comfortably Numb"....and yet......"Black Hole Sun" shall remain the classic that it always has been.....

Its the work of a genius.

In my eyes, indisposed
In disguises no one knows
Hides the face, lies the snake
The sun in my disgrace
Boiling heat, summer stench
'Neath the black the sky looks dead
Call my name through the cream
And I'll hear you scream again

2687 : What burns is the fire, what is alight is the cause, what remains is my heart

THE VIDEO and THE POST IS GRAPHIC - skip if it bothers you.

Volumes have been written about Thich Quang Duc - he is the Vietnamese Monk who immolated himself as "piece of resistance" against the government.

I have watched this video and read a few articles around him.

Over years, he has become almost like a role model. What he did is the purpose of life. To push, to evolve, to stand for something. And yet be dignified. Always. Civility and dignity are the core of Buddhism, but so is the betterment of the entire ecosystem, including everyone.

Duc has and always remain a symbol of what life should be. A journey and a cause. And the purpose is betterment.

For years I have included him in my silent list of Boddhisatvas and he shall remain enshrined there.

David Halberstam wrote:
“I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think… As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him”.
For me this is the symbol of what 2020 and my life should be. In the end we shall all die. All our lives are very tiny in the context of the world around us. We are nothing but an accidental collection of cells (that's the atheist in me speaking). 
Our friends, family, homes, wealth and almost everything is completely irrelevant in the larger context - just as we are. 5000 years one will remember Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. They might (and I hope) remember The Christ or The Buddha. 
5000 years later there might not be humans around at all. Possible. 
And yet the one fire that will remain burning for eternity - is that of the Monk Duc burning in the quest of betterment of this universe. That is the mission and the value that makes having this ego and life worthwhile. 
Monk Duc and the Buddha help and bless the atheist in me :-).