Thursday, April 30, 2020

2794 : Heironymous Bosch

There is a lot in the Prime Series to like. The lead character is as tightly drawn as it gets. It an LAPD cop series, but the lead Harry (Heironmymous Bosch) is stellar off the curve person.

What I like about it, how it blends beautiful Jazz into the series. I totally love the Jazz across the series.

Every time Harry is in his beat car, there is some fab jazz playing.
And Thelonious Monk, and Sonny and the list goes on.....

And the turntable with the actual tubes and valves.

One day when the privileged me, resets the house - I shall have a fab Turntable and the sound system to kill it :-).

2793 : The dynamics of privilege

Recently someone I know died. For their funeral, they were allowed only 2-5 people - given the circumstances of social distancing and rules around gathering. For the record, this person did not die from Covid.
This person's family from a different city was not allowed to see him( or travel) one last time - given the lockdown.

And then today I hear that Rishi Kapoor died, and a special flight is bringing his daughter from Delhi on a private flight. Do I grudge that? No, not at all. In fact I believe it is the right thing to do.

For once our machinery has done absolutely the right thing.

But I also know the answer.....and I have no compunctions about it. If I die tomo, about 2-5 folks will be allowed, and none of my friends or family - most of whom live in Bangalore, will be allowed to visit me one last time.

I know my place, and believe me, that is a very comforting situation to be in.

2792 : My "Abhishek Bachchan" moment

I remember seeing the interview, wherein Abhishek Bachchan was saying (this must have been around 2000s), that an astrologer told him that if he needed to succeed, (as in if  ABJr needed to succeed) in his movies he needs to change his surname from "Bachchan" to something else.....and Abhishek smartly says, "That that is the point I walked away from the astrologer", because someone who is "telling me to change my surname" has no idea that "that is my biggest asset".

I call this my Abhishek Bachchan moment of truth. whenever someone tells me something absurd completely without knowing my context.

I recently had another "Abhishek Bachchan" moment, someone who is interested in my health - told me I should completely stop eating coconut....and at that moment I knew - I should stop talking to the guy.

For you....I am from Kerala. I survive on coconut, take coconuts away from my life, and it's like taking my life away from me.

When someone tells me to keep away from coconuts, I keep away from them :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

2791: Immortality

Here is a thought experiment.

I define immortality in a very strange way. "For how many years after you have died, will people (some people, if not all) remember you at least once every day?".

Get the drift.

So if I die in 2020, and people (some...maybe my friends or my grandchildren) remember me in 2050, at least once in 24 hours......for say 7 days in a row....then hey....I did something that extended my mortality.

By that rule, Shakespeare did well for himself. Buddha was (is) a rockstar. Christ is another one. So is Prophet Muhammed. Alexander The Great, did not do too bad.

But why does immortality matter? For an atheist like me, that's all that matter. Else you take away any semblance of meaning in my life.

I have contemplated on this for years, and "immortality" might be the only game in town.

If we agree on that (I mean only game in town) and if we agree with the definition then.....

I might not be remembered more than a year post death. So all the meaning in my life - adds to just 1 year to my mortal life. The Buddha, Shakespeare, Ghalib will last another 5000 at least. So they stretched mortality to another 5000-8000 years post their life.
Bill gates will all be forgotten in about 200 years. Jeff Bezos too. Mukesh Ambani in about the same time or even lesser.

Does that mean - somewhere the shift to money or power as a metric - killed meaning and set us (humanity) along a wrong direction?

Human race as we know it might not last more than 10000-25000 years from here on. When this kind of human race comes to an end, however it might be.....I can bet that even for the penultimate human - we shall play Beethoven's 9th Ode to Joy as an eulogy to her/his life.

Beethoven/Bach/Mozart will remain immortal, right till human beings cease. Even if that is 500 thousand years later.

Whats the point of this post? Nothing, beyond the futility of most of our lives. Unless we are aspiring to be Beethoven, we are playing the losing game. Even aspiring helps....."the road to greatness is lined with hope too". The rest of us are damned. Dead weight on this planet.

2790 : Irrfan Khan

Irrfan Khan dies and the outburst of collective grief is unprecedented. I personally feel its much more than what saints of political leaders inspire because for a lot of that lot (saints/political leaders I mean.....also "lot of the lot" has a nice ring na....) the grief or the emotion is often mirrored/manufactured. This means you feel something when a leader has died, but in shock, and less of grief.

With Irrfan Khan it feels (especially to people I am talking), that the grief is personal. Its mine. It's yours. It's ours.

Maybe that is what true art (and hence an artist is). It binds and makes everything personal again.

RIP Irrfan. Long Live Irrfan.

Monday, April 27, 2020

2789 : What once was

I look at my life and see a long series of episodes. And I know I have at times gaslighted my own present.

And yet, I believe I have lived a very principled life. Never have I compromised on any value that is dear to me or my Buddhist roots (it's easy to call that out....and hence proxy my values....than list a long diatribe around values)

I have not done anything that I ever felt was wrong. Including being evil towards anyone. That would be bad karma in my book.

So would hurting someone. So would pulling the rug. I believe life is about making the most of what you can, from where you are, but by never ever shrugging off your core values.

You have to face every single misdemeanor at the hour of death.

Will I die with regrets? Some of course. Will I die with a blemished conscience? I hope not. I believe not.

And yet, in spite of all of these - I feel I have lost a lot....that perennial sense of having lost a lot.

What keeps me going on low days, is the fact that when I do die, I will be just like any other human being on this planet. Just another soul fading out. My life won't matter zilch.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

2788 : X vs x

Belle can sometimes get very down when tom does not text her a big X at the end of the message but just a small one, even though when you type a full stop, the big one comes automatically and so he's gone to the trouble to replace the capital letter with a small one - we say to each other, "There's a drowned butterfly inside me". Then we simply nod, knowing exactly how the other feels.

From The discomfort of evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2787 : What is sadness?

Belle says, "Sadness doesn't grow, only the space it takes up."
Its easy for her to talk. the space she is talking about is only the size of a fish tank and came about when her two guppies died.

From The discomfort of evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2786 : What is death?

"Is your brother really dead or is Death your brother?" she asks at last. I shake my head and study the toes of my shoes.
'Death has no family, and that is why he keeps looking for new bodies so that he won't be lonely. Until that person is under the ground, then he looks for a new one.'

From The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2785 : Reading List 2020 #4: The discomfort of evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

The discomfort of evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is a strange book. Unsure to make of it. It did not move me like Ellena Ferrante, Sara Baume, or Samantha Harvey....and yet I loved the writing.

The book has the same depressed zone, the tonality of being weighed down by life's realities. It's real, it makes you squirm. It is spoken in a child's voice, and yet the writing is mesmerizing, especially in terms of certain gem sentences, that would make the best of writers blush.

And yet the book is strange, I might not read it least not much as I would love to re-read a Ferrante, Baume or a Harvey.

Is it worth your time? Absolutely. It way above normal league. It just does not count in my best, not yet. The book is haunting, so maybe it will grow on me with time.

Go for it. Worth a read and it's humbling to know that a 30-year-old wrote it :-). What talent....:-)

At 272 pages brings my 2020 total to 1120 pages.

Images from the Guardian and Amazon

Friday, April 24, 2020

2784 : Sergio

I watched Sergio on Netflix and was completely moved.

I know these kind of tales, romanticize the man more than he really must have been. And yet, still the sense of purpose, belief and desire to make the world a better place - makes him commendable.

I never knew the man, as in even from news, but post the movie, read a bit....and am truly impressed by the sense of purpose, meaning, and direction he brought to his job.

There is a sense in that movie, that at times successful folks over-reach (and sometimes fail). I cant judge my own success, but I have over-reached a few times......and I have miserably failed. And I know that feeling still hurts.

In his last moments, did Sergio feel like he over-reached? I mean, we will never know that answer. But that question is very important to me. I wish and believe he would have not. I pray, hope, and believe, that he died like a hero.

Take a bow :-), dear Sergio :-).

The movie itself is fabulous. Each scene is so well constructed. Some Fabolous writing. The movie has its goose pimplish moments.

Definitely a watch and definitely one on my all-time list. Wagner Moura is a blessed actor.

2783 : Tune Kaha by Prateek Kuhad

The song is fking brilliant. Its humming in my head, long after I heard it.
Both the lyrics as well as the instrumentation.
Go listen and be mesmerized :-)

2782 : The urban lonliness

Its amazing to be locked into our house, while we watch the broader world burn. I meant "amazing" in a weird sort of way.
Is this normal?
Is this what a tribe would have done?

It takes a village to live in peace, and to die in grief, you have to be all alone.

2781 : Prateek Kuhad

I must be the last person in the world to fall in love with Prateek Kuhad's music. I started listening to him during this lockdown and he has become a part of my longing.

What genius lies hidden in humans. We, humans, are capable of greatness, possibly this is what is called spiritual.

I have been reading around music and its purpose in our evolutionary cycle and its fascinating reading evolutionary scientists and physicists decompose the purpose of music in our lives.

Coming back, I love his Hindi songs just as much as I love his English tracks.

Unbelievably good music. I will forever associate Prateek Kuhad, Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart and The Dynamics with the lockdown - till I die.

I moonlight as a poet, but if I could write like Prateek, I would quit and become a full time writer. The lyrics of cold/mess (On Obama's list of 2019) is pure genius.

Lyrics from

When I feel cold
I'll keep you close
And if I could hold you
And take you home
And when at night
Your toes touch mine
I'll sing you to sleep
If you were mine to keep
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
With your breath
To sway just like
It was Friday night
And all the lights
Will blind me dry
My lullaby
Is your sigh
And I can feel it
When you cry
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
With your breath
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
With your breath
When I feel cold
I'll keep you close
And if I could hold you
And take you home
And if I could hold you
And take you home

Thursday, April 23, 2020

2780 : Mortality

Being confronted by mortality is not new to me. Being a Buddhist and seeing enough of my loved ones pass away - I thought has prepared me enough.

Not really it appears - I was reading

and I almost had a weak heart. Its a moving story....and makes us realize what the Buddha always said, "We will only know the life we have lived when we are about to confront death.".....

Death can be a gentle humane experience. And from the story above, it seems, it partly was. But still intubation, ventilators - I have my doubts, how much of it conflates with our living experience.

Its easy to shrug away death under the carpet. Just remember, one day, it will escape and surprise you.
Better make your morality your best friend.

From the genius called Chris Cornell (soundgarden) singing Black Hole Sun
Stuttering, cold and damp
Steal the warm wind tired friend
Times are gone for honest men
And sometimes far too long for snakes
In my shoes, a walking sleep
And my youth I pray to keep
Heaven sent hell away
No one sings like you anymore

Monday, April 20, 2020

2779 : A Salve

On a day like today, Bob Dylan is a salve :-) that the broken world around me needs.
Dylan is on repeat on Spotify :-)
And the world suddenly seems fair again.

I'll be your baby tonight :-)
Close your eyes,
Close the door, 
You don't have to worry anymore 
I will be your baby tonight :-)

2778 : Blur

Sometimes life is such a blur. We are surrounded by people who all expect something from you - office folks, partner, daughter, friend....and the list continues.
Each of them see you as "not doing enough".
And you know - you are really trying to make ends meet - in every sense of the word. Its a strange world.

One day (and it could be tonight), we are all going to drop dead. Then why stretch?

Blur vs the stretch?

2777 : Benevolent leader

It is interesting to see how polarising a Modi or a Trump is. In some sense that automatically makes them divisive. Is that bad? Politically. No. Philosophically. Maybe Yes.

The beauty of being a benevolent leader, or appearing as one is - that you can do actually no wrong. If Trump opens the nation, and people die, he shall always find some weak link in the chain who can take the fall.

But the real beauty is - Trump does not have to find that weak link. In the surreal world we live, his Red Followers will rationalize it to make it look like someone else made their dear leader fail.

Is that weird? Not really. Great religions, countries, and movements were formed on the simple trick of being a benevolent leader.

From a sheer political or a movement judgment - a Trump or a Modi are born and gifted leaders. They are worth their weight in Gold and whatever else. They can coalesce the followers, and dispel the skeptics....a perfect FILTER.

Will we have collateral damage? Of course, we will. But we must remember that every movement worth its salt, had damage. Out of some of these came great ideas and civilizations. Out of some others came horrors and destruction.

Human beings are a sucker for belief....and in that game the Benevolent Leader is like having four Queens in a game of chess (and the other side has one queen!!).

Thursday, April 16, 2020

2776 : What is a funeral?

From NYTimes

Apt in these times, when we might not be allowed to mourn too.

Howards End,” Chapter 12, Margaret privately mourns Mrs. Wilcox: “A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.”

Sunday, April 12, 2020

2775 : Looking inwards

I have a friend called Abhi (who sometimes also reads this blog :-), so Hi Abhi :-)).

There is something unusual in the way he shows me the mirror. Like he is almost reflecting my own inner demons back on me. And always, he seems to be right.
The challenge is the demon is not facing outwards, I have to tame the demon myself :-).

Like recently I was talking to him, and in the chat I realized, that I was complaining about the "chattiness of the world around me"....and he almost silently told me.... " that the silence I seek, is inside...", searching it on the outside is foolish.

He is humble, understated, and he almost guides me to a spot....lands me nicely, before he gives me a friendly whack to show me the mirror :-).

This sort of friendship is invaluable, and often - its this mirror that keeps us ground. Abhi is worth his weight in gold.

Funnily, now some of my best friends are in Bangalore, and they all show me the mirror (Nilesh, Sachin, Smita and now Abhi :-)

2774 : Blaming Covid on a religion

One of the Indian writers I really like is Samar Halarnkar of I think he is brave, he is anti-establishment, but in a positive sort of way. The continuous edge of the needle that pokes the world into action.

I read him in Mint, sometimes in Scroll and always enjoy it. I remember reading about a memory issue he has (post an accident), but can't seem to find it.

Like Miss Roy, he is another one of my favorites.

His recent post in Scroll is a masterclass in good journalism. Do read here. Its about we should be careful not to blame a religion (Muslims) for Covid. That personally (blaming I mean) does not make too much sense to me too.

Some of my best friends are Muslims, and I would hate for something bad to befall them, especially because we blamed them as a lumpen.

2773 : The anatomy of abuse

I was speaking to my wife and she brought out a very insightful point. She pointed out, how most of us (maybe with a few begrudges) have adjusted to the new reality, and at times, draconian rules (and I don't mean the government, but more so broadly, like local apartment complex).

I have always observed that in any social organization - the rules often fall to the lowest common denominator. And I don't mean that as a lament, instead, I mean that as a fact.

Even within 6 friends, the conversation will fall to the lowest common denominator.....or in other words.....the highest level of abstraction that pervades amongst the 6.

Anyways, coming back to the point my wife was making.....that adults and children normalize, especially children. She said that should explain why child abuse is so prevalent....and why children rarely complain....because they normalize it, and start telling themselves that this is how their life is/will be.

As adults too, we normalize too often. I have seen this in myself, that I need to exercise an immense level of self-awareness - and thereof motivation - to recognize normalization and then work on slowly working myself out of it.

2772 : The Decline on Netflix

I watched this movie on Netflix. It's about a bunch of survivalists - and things going wrong in a survival camp.

Apt for a time like today. It makes you wonder, how much of this "nonsense" is actually not that far fetched.

Almost every science in the movie is well etched. Excellent storytelling. Might make you introspect. Except towards the end, when it gets too dramatic, but for most parts a fantastic watch.

Comes pretty high up on my all-time list.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

2771 : Ode to a city

If I could write an ode to a city, it could not be more poetic, more love singed than this one here for NY.....Forgive me NY

2770 : Are you really nude?

Interestingly the Czech police have been chasing naturalists (nudists) to wear masks.
I mean if you are on a nude colony, and you wear masks, are you then really nude?

Sign of times :-)

Friday, April 10, 2020

2769 : Fear

You can see morbid fear in people's eyes as you cross them along the street (nowadays I mean). This is the fear of "I have power, I have money  - but this time I feel cornered.". Sorry if I appear as I am judging them, but I genuinely see the fear and the confusion.

The confusion because, "I have power and wealth, but I cannot beat this shitty virus.". And they know, "this time there is a real chance, I might not."

Some of the wealthy ones I know (or hear of) seem to be procuring ventilator(s) and installing it in their homes. Really, I heard that. It could be just a random rumor, but if true, betrays a state of mind.

Coming from a Zen Buddhist school - I wonder why "we are all petrified of death". That's the only real truth we are assured of, especially once we are born.

That does not mean, I lick a swab of virus daily....but that means I will not let my spirit flag because of a virus, because of cancer, or because of debilitating conditions.

There is science which proves that - fear and social isolation - both which we are practicing in tonnes at this time - makes your body a ripe hunting ground for the malaise. Be it the virus or even something more sinister, say a tumor.

I would say- the best each of us can do for ourselves and our families is to be brave and confront our own apparent mortality.

I tell myself I might not live to see the year-end....and I say this hundred times a day. I truly acknowledge that statistically, this is about 0.1 to 0.5 (about 1/1000 to 1/200 range). I also tell myself that in my own estimate - I might see between 2-5 people I know, die in this period, especially if I am alive to see it.

Death is always near. If not virus, its cancer, if not cancer, its an air accident. My Buddhist roots teach me that, death is always just 60 seconds away - always. Live with that assumption.

On a more worldly note - one day - when I can afford it - I want to build a world-class hospice in India. I really want to. That is my life's calling. If today I had money, I would quit and start on this. I really mean it. We need to approach (and help others approach) death with dignity.

2768 : Fart

I must have been 8 years old (or around).
And my mom told me that some people in this world are very rich and very weird. And I being I, asked, "how weird, explain?".

And she said, trust me, I am not making this up - some rich people will pay you Rs. 500 (which at that point was immensely huge), just to fart in their ear.

And hope you can see, how this mucks up in an 8-year old's imagination. As I have grown older, I have laughed so many times about this memory, but the graphic image never left me.

It's left an indelible mark on me :-), some rich person paying me Rs.500, for me to fart in his ear.

2767 : Haloa

When I was around 12 - there was a movie called Haloa which was released. Yugoslavian movie (I think). I remember the name clearly, but not much.
I never caught the movie, but this movie played at Pratap Cinema at Thane :-).

More on this movie at

We were a bunch of hormonal 12-year-olds and this movie does supposedly have some steam (or so google tells me now).

At school all kids started telling each other - how is carrot Haloa? I ate a carrot Haloa. I bought carrot Haloa.

Essentially any statement with carrot and Haloa in it. Folks would laugh a lot as if it were private joke.

And since then, till today, whenever I eat carrot halwa, it always brings a sheepish smile to my face. Every single time......I cannot say Carrot Halwa without thinking about the movie poster once.

I found this a strange happy memory.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

2766 : What will the world post Corona look like by Simon Mair

This article by Simon Mair is some of the most insightful writing I have seen in recent times. The first half of this article especially is phenomenal. The second half is a little too bookish or hawkish.

Give it a read. It might open your mind a bit.

2765 : Our real casualties (The disabled in these times) - the loss of our "humanness"

The virus is preying on the disabled.

This artcile from literally hit me hard. I was overwhelmed.
No wonder for a lot of us - who have experience NY, it will remain one of most beloved cities of all. The city has a soul. Its almost unreal.

Just scraping the image from the article. Do read it, its gut wrenching.

Credit...Johnny Milano for The New York Times

2764 : The Goddess of small things

I read Arundhati Roy's article from FT a few times. I am an unabashed fan of hers, and that makes me a rarest of rare human beings in these fractured times.

The article is here.

Some passages from this article.

Who can use the term “gone viral” now without shuddering a little? Who can look at anything any more — a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables — without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unliving blobs dotted with suction pads waiting to fasten themselves on to our lungs? 

But unlike the flow of capital, this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has, therefore, inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of the flow. It has mocked immigration controls, biometrics, digital surveillance and every other kind of data analytics, and struck hardest — thus far — in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt. Temporarily perhaps, but at least long enough for us to examine its parts, make an assessment and decide whether we want to help fix it, or look for a better engine.

What I admire about her, is her passion to drive home a contrarian point. Her poetic sense of articulation. What I sometimes struggle with is her anti-establishment stand. Whether I like Modiji or not is very secondary. Same for my views on Trump.

A Modi or a Trump are democratically elected. Labeling them as fascist is admitting implicitly that democracy is rigged. And if that is indeed true, then why even bother to write against them at all?

Get my point. I have very strong views on a lot of things. Including Trump, Modi and Rahul Gandhi or Joe Biden.

While I admire she brings out the challenges of a disadvantaged and marginalized set of people - and my heart truly beats for her (I tho totally love her :-)) and the disadvantaged people - but blaming a Modi or a Trump is super simplifying the problem. 

The real problem is not Modi or Trump. It's me. Its people like me. We are far too privileged and far too be bothered by migrant labor or the Narmada Dam.

Its "me" who is the real grouse she should have with. I represent everything that is wrong with the world. Or at least the parts she is highlighting. 

Do I feel guilty? Of course. Karma is an important part of my life and I try and keep the count. 

Do I grudge Modi or Trump? Not really. We have to make this world a better place, in spite of whatever we might consider as obstacles to the "betterment"?

And the world won't become better, by me blaming my sterile inertness to the world around me, on either a Modi or a Trump.

(That's about as political I allow myself to be :-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

2763 : Entropy

I in my infinite ego, felt I knew my physics very well. Don't we all do that?. We like to believe what we think we know. (Dunning Kruger effect anyone?)

And I am reading this fascinating book (more on the book later) about meaning and physics....and it has a fantastic argument about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. It states that entropy can reverse, which means we can get to a lower entropy state from a higher entropy state, but that requires some fantastic probability and coincidence to work in your favor.

I found that thought very insightful. Very very insightful actually. It had me thinking for a long time after reading it - that's so bloody true. The example the author gives is you throw 100 coins on the floor and all of them turn heads. Possible? Yes of course. But this requires some impossible probabilities to work in your favor.

And a low entropy state is defined as one - in which the options are much lower - example 100 heads, versus 50 heads+50 tails (where state options are more)....which is where entropy is actually headed.

I realized that I had always understood entropy slightly wrong. My physics refreshed and my ego crushed :-).

2762 : The secret to growing um.....

"Will we ever grow some?", Belle asks.
I shake my head. "We shall stay tit-less forever. You only grow them if a boy looks at you for longer than ten minutes."
Belle looks around at the boys who are getting ready to dive through the hole. We're not being looked at, only observed, which is something quite different.
"Then we'll have to make sure they see us."

from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2761 : Time as we know it

From the same book, the book re-iterated what I have always learned and remembered, that time as a dimension is meaningless from most other vantage points in the universe. It only makes sense in the context of the observer.

For the rest of the universe - time is just another random metric.

That is strangely a very very humbling thought, especially once you have internalized it.

2760 : A thought experiment

I was reading a book about the end of time (yes physics continues to be a love for me), and a strange thought occurred to me. Let's say all organic life dies in another 4 million years (approximately, lets say)...including the last small bacteria (or uni cell being).

Essentially when the death of organic stuff happens, then the cycle of evolution will invert. All complex beings will die first, then in almost reverse order of evolution, the simplest unicellular organisms will be the last to extinguish off this earth.

So we are at a point 4 million years from now, and all living cells are dead. There is one iPod - which is connected to a power point - which powers from a nuclear substation - that has stored power for about 10 years (just a hypothetical example.).

This iPod is on continuous shuffle and has a playlist of about 1000 songs. It keeps deciding which song to play and keeps playing music for the next 10 years till it eventually runs out of power.

Question - is the silicon in the iPod which is taking decisions - constitute digital life? Which means would we say life (or some form of it) continued on earth for the next 10 years?

Also my zen brain - asks the classic Zen koan - if no one is listening, is the iPod make a sound?


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

2759 : Totally addicted to "The Dynamics"

A single song "You Get What You Give" was in my blues playlist for quite some time. But given my blues playlist has over 900 songs, this did not come often - but I do like this song.

Then on a whim, I go on Spotify and listen to some of their albums. And now I cannot stop. This has been my play list for the past 4-5 days.

I researched a bit, looks like "The Dynamics" was a 1960s Detroit based blues/soul/R&B act. The compositions are so addictive - they are almost falling into modern funk category.

Love the music. What a find.

What a time to find them :-).

Listen to them at

Totally trippy.

2758 : But anyway

Something a friend of mine said today, immediately brought the lines "state of affairs, state of emotions" to my mind. Strange of how our memories work.....:-).
The poetry is magical, and they fit of lot of situations in our modern life.

- From But Anyway, by Blues Travellers

It's a state of affairs and a state of emotions
The kind of thing that you must understand
I tell you one thing, you'll tell me another
We walk away, maybe even then shake hands

2757 : Kabir

Ek dui hui toh unhe samjhaoo re,
Kehi Samjhaoo, Sab Jag Andha re,

Kahat Kabir Suno bhai sadho,
Ek din jana hain doosre ke khanda re.....

For folks who cannot understand it intrinsically, the beauty might be lost by a hawkish translation....but here goes.

If it was just one or two (of them), then I might still attempt to drive sense into them, but how many people do I show the light too....there is a world full of blind people out there....(essentially its a hopeless task).

Listen to Kabir and remember this, my friends,(who are drowned in piety), whatever you do, however you live, eventually we all have to depart on the shoulders of others ( a reference to the Asian tradition of lifting the dead on their shoulders).

Monday, April 06, 2020

2756 : Where does sadness end up?

Mum doesn't touch me once while portioning out the omelet, not even by accident. I take a step back and then another. Sadness ends up in your spine. Mum's back is getting more and more bent.

from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2755 : How to lose your belief

I've discovered that there are two ways of losing your belief: some lose God, when they find themselves; some people lose God when they lose themselves.

from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2754 : The ones who pray

"Only people with a lot of sins pray for a long time", Obbe whispers.

from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

2753 : What's a hollow?

I want to be approached with the same caution because every morning I'm dragged from Matthies' hollow by my dad who pulls the duvet off me and says "Cow time. They're mooing with hunger. Its easier to get into a hollow than to come out of one.

from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Sunday, April 05, 2020

2752 : The macro juxtaposed with the microcosm

As the COVID (Corona) juggernaut continues to gather steam, its fascinating to see how it reveals deep cracks (and infractions) in our collective equations. The fear, the reptilian responses, the complicit nature of a fleeting free will, our own prejudices, and the depth of our collective degradation.

Sounds doomsday?

Nah...the poet in me says, it was expected. A society and a race that takes so much effort to build abstraction (over abstractions), take our online avatar's for example, very unlike the Buddha or Jesus or Confucious whose very goals were to show us who we were - is bound to be in a race to the bottom.

The goal of human beings should always be to seek to remove layers and see life for what it is. In the long run, we are all dead. Dead with a capital D. In the long run, our earth is Dead too.

We have a brief moment under the sun, will we use that to rupture each other - slit mother earth?

And then.....

As this play of fracking continues on the larger society in IMAX cinematic perspective - I am also aware that this COVID period is showing me how fractured my own life is. My microcosm is just as broken as the larger society. I have tyrant nannies too, I have the virus too, I have reptilian responses too, I have huge prejudices too....and my internals are degrading too.

A tiny virus is holding the mirror to all of us, most of all to me. As I see the mirror, I can see a man with a million broken pieces. And that for today is a very humbling thought.

2751 : Spotify

I just jumped onto Spotify a few days ago, and I cannot turn back now. Its easily one of the best music services - that is there.

Its like once you have eaten sourdough bread, difficult to go back to regular bread.

Spotify is like heaven for a person like me. Has some awesome Indian classical, Blues and Rock collections.

My player has been on loop, playing through the day.

Spotify trumps (is that a wrong verb in these PC times?) Apple Music on almost every aspect.

Loving it :-)

2750 : A home made recorder

I've just pricked four holes in a string bean with my fork - the juice is seeping out and now its a recorder.

Unbelievably good writing from The Discomfort of Evening - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

Friday, April 03, 2020

2749 : I love being mothered :-(

So picture this.

Some smart alec in my apartment complex has rigged the messaging system (intra complex) to have the "respected" chairman - "request" me not to leave my house till the 15th April.

So before I can dial - its a good 12-15 seconds of meaningless (and completely inauthentic message) from some dope in my complex.

While the text of the message is structured like a "request", the tone is a perfectly toned "admonishment".

And I sit and wonder - why does someone feel they have to be a patriarch to me, or mother me....or just exercise this level of arrogance in his speech towards me.

And dear chairman, if you indeed have to mother me, then please, can genuinely "care a f**k" and show some authentic empathy.

I know the world means good, but "box ticking" good, never worked, ever.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

2748 : I am not a big fan of suppression

I am not a big fan of suppression personally. I mean this whole totalitarian lock down thingy. 
Just my personal dislike. Is it effective? As I said, before, YES, it flattens the curve, but hell, I don't like it.

Neither should most of us -, especially as a virus avoidance strategy. Unless you plan to lock yourself up in your room for the next 6 months. With no vegetables, meals or clothes or shopping.....

Get the drift? Strains of the virus will be around for the next 6 months at least.

So? While it works, it might not work for me. My work, my life won't allow. I have to take a calculated risk. 

For most of us, at some point fatigue and weariness (from the lockdown) will kick in - and we shall say "fuck it, let's take the risk".

I am not enjoying that option - but looks like its another one of the Hobson's choice.

2747 : Is the economy dead?

My views are, suppression/social distancing and isolation can only work towards flattening the work. And we can do suppression for weeks, not for months.

I have friends suggesting another 90-day lockdown. I am afraid, the economy will just die.

I read a similar note in NY Times. Read Here.

My simple view, flatten the curve, and however it is, we must work towards restarting by May....our economy cannot deal with a 90 day lockdown.

At least not according to my limited knowledge.

We might emerge in Q3 without a job, economy or a society to look fwd to. The Hobson's choice is to restart sooner than later - and hope for herd immunity to kick in sooner.

Suppression (and then re-starting) also creates a massive risk of re-infection.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

2746 : Ek Hi Sang Hute by Tai (Kishori Amonkar)

I must have posted on this earlier. Even in my blindspot for Tai (and anything she has ever sung), I still love Ek Hi Sang Hute from Drishti (one of the only movies in which she gave music). Post Drishti her mother threatened to ostracize her (Tai), if she chose to be a sell out.

What kind of world did these "Gods" live in? (And I really mean it completely out of respect and affection:-)).

Tai in this case is the revered Kishori Amonkar.

2745 : Lat Uljhe Suljha ja (Dr. Soma Ghosh + Ustad Bismillah Khan)

Listen to this classic if you have not heard it. Soma Ghosh is ethereal.
One to carry to your grave. Easily one of my most fav songs from my lifetime.