Wednesday, July 29, 2020

2874 : Run Around by Blues Traveler

I have been struggling a bit with both my physical and mental health. 
On a day like this....Blues Traveler is the salve for a singed heart :-).

Listen to "Run Around" and discover hope all over again :-).

Request: Listen on a good earbud or a great speaker system. The soundstage of this song is so overwhelmingly adorable :-).

2873 : What's a war that leaves a host of dead relationships around called?

Chaap Tilak :-) sab cheen li re,
mohe naina ladaiyke !! (original reads as milaikye!!)

2872 : What if you like an artist, but then you realise that we are ideologically different?

I just fell in love with a singer, and then discovered she is celebrating the creation of the Ram temple (now as we speak).

This is an ideological difference which we should ideally encourage and respect. 

And she sings like a million bucks :-), I am inclined to suck it up.

2871 : Aik Alif

You can listen to this song on Coke Studio. Like all Sufi/traditional devotional songs....this one signed at your biases.

The lines are a classic....

jo na jane haq ki taqat
rab na deve usko himmat
jo na jane haq ki taqat
rab na deve usko himmat
hum man ke dariya me dube
hum man ke dariya me dube
kaisi naiya kya majhdhar

[Those who don't understand the belief that powers (one) along the path of righteousness, 
Even God's strength abandons them,
As we drown deeper into this river of our own mind,
Does it even matter, where is the boat and who is rowing it?]

Bas kareen o yaar
[Dear friend, can you not see it and stop?]

Ilm-oun bas kareen o yaar
[Can you stop this infinite seeking of knowledge]

Monday, July 27, 2020

2870 : Passage

A tiny voice whispers.
This too shall pass.
Really? Will this pass, or will I pass?

2869 : On the dying away

Someone I knew really well at one point (now estranged....story of my life) died recently.
He was probably my age, but what stood out in his case - was his immense passion for life. Its not a common quality, no matter how plebian it sounds to you.

What shook me - was not another death of a close person (or once close person), but instead what rattled my core is how meaningless life can seem in these times.

Our dearest ones are usually estranged. At least for me they are. I could die today of a strike in the next 5 mins, and all the passion, intelligence, the million lines of ideas that I have in my head...all gone kaput in the next 5 mins.

The desolation of that possibility hurts my fragile fragile (and wrong headed) point that my life, my existence, must definitely mean something.  To someone. Somewhere.

RIP for a friend. Though RIP means nothing in Buddhist context. A Buddhist believes there are real struggles post death too. 

Is life truly non-dual as all my teachers have always taught me. Then why do I feel singular?

Why does it hurt so immensely on the death of someone whom I respected and admired?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

2868 : Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

I have posted at least 10 times on this :-).
It has to be one of the happiest songs on this planet. 
I can listen to this song on repeat forever.

And then today.....Peter Green dies. And I am heartbroken :-( totally.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

2867 : The case of missing vegetables

Nothing excites me more than a full course south Indian meal, which usually has at least 3-4 dry vegetables. I love such meals.

And then today I read this.

Totally relatable.

How I miss good spread south Indian meals :-)

2866 : Art as a proxy for my values

I famously avowed not to read Pablo Neruda - because of his rape (inflicted by him) in Sri Lanka. Something in me does not want to support an artist who disrespects women.

But then.....I still read/adore Salman Rushdie.

If you believe Padma Lakshmi's versions - then Rushdie is an archetypical abusive male. (Not raping, ....but he treats his partners unequally).

Get the drift.....we are now on shifting sands? Agreed?

And then comes the big bugbear of Carnatic Music - which is essentially oppressive in its roots. Don't mistake me, I love the music, but as TM Krishna often correctly highlights, Carnatic is nothing but a Brahmanical pulpit.

Versus, Hindustani Music - which is still very democratic....or Jazz - which literally emerged out of African American streets.

As this germ continues to niggle me - I must admit that my admiration for some of my favorite Carnatic Artists continues to falter.

Am I being too puritanical? Or too convenient? Making virtues of my necessary choices? How empty is the vessel that judges art on his/her values?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

2865 : Inner demons

Lockdown is kind of a perfect time to look inwards. While I have never been a fan or practitioner of active meditation, I am what you would call as a "silent introspective/contemplative thinker".

If that sounds cool, its just means someone who varnishes and polishes ideas/thoughts endlessly in a quest to see what's hidden beneath or behind them.

In this lockdown - I have had time and courage to face my inner locked boxes, my inner demons. And they are not pretty. 

As I examine my deepest fears, my deepest wounds, and my faintest of biases - I realise that this Jenga is quite unstable. A small gust of wind can make this fall.

In my most contemplative moments - I wonder if it just as unstable for everyone around me - for the rest of the participants in this universe.

I shudder because the ship looks awry. The ocean looks calm now, but a ship should know how to ride waves - right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

2864 : Suryakant Sawhney and The Peter Cat Recording Company

Have been listening to Peter Cat Recording Company's Potrait of a time on repeat. Totally besotted (yes that's the word) with it.
Can't help falling in love with you :-).

Like what kind of upbringing does bring this stellar music from a person/group?

I will always wonder, and savor these gems :-)

Images from Bandcamp and wikipedia.

2863 : Reading List 2020 : #13 : Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy

There is something so lyrical about Meena Kandasamy's writing. I wish I had written the book. Exquisite lines. 

Especially I liked her left leanings. Her implicit disdain of established world order (especially power plays like patriarchy, or even in music or art or movies). 

I went out and bought all her books. This is a book I loved both for the insight into the author and just simply great writing. 

When I give 12/10 you know she is great. She is still not Samantha Harvey or Sara Baume for me....but in a different league, very lyrical, very poetic.

At 122 pages brings my 2020 reading total to 3616 pages.

Images from Gaurdian.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

2862 : Reading List 2020 : #12 : Megha Majumdar's The Burning

I so totally loved this book. Easily a 10 on 10. 
It's a poignant reminder on India's political climate. The book reminded me of Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance - a book that comments on the political day and age, without commenting on it.

I loved the way the book made me feel for the characters for the bylanes of Bengal. Delightful prose, inventive language and totally immersive plotline.

Definite read. On a scale of 10, 10.

At 304 pages, my total for this year comes to 3494 pages. 

Photo from Penguin

2861 : Zubaan by Gazi Khan & Parvaaz

Listening to Zubaan by Gazi Khan Barna (from Manganiyar Rajasthan) and Parvaaz on a decent mid range system is such a high. The song has a 360 sound stage, almost as if you were in a stadium.

Listen to it, and love the deep (both range as well as meaning) vocals, and some fantastic guitar work.

And if you still don't love the the video....that will make you a fan for life.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

2860 : An atheist's dilemma

I am Buddhist who is also an atheist :-). See how confused my life is :-).

Here is my fundamental dilemma.....Let's say I die next minute of a massive stroke (let's call this as T=1). 

If we were to look at all my critical indicators (blood, sugar, oxygen......and all of that) T=0, and if you were to compare it to my T=1 similar bet is there will be not be an indicator for my "death".

So who or what decided that I should die at that very minute? Why not 5 mins earlier or later?

In a deterministic world - someone/something must be taking this decision. And this decision must be based on something.

Take another example....I am sitting in my living room. And there is a sitting stool at the other end of the room. The leg cracks and falls off.

And I am startled by the loud sound and the breakage.

Who or what decided that this was the exact time for the stool to crack.

If the world is deterministic (as physics more and more believes at a macro level)....then how come this comes across as randomness.

We can model this in terms of a probability cloud, or we can model this on entropy momentum.....but seems like hocus locus, right? Something intuitive seems off.

So who or what decides. Is that dear God?

2859 : The Startup founder as a Messiah :-)

I have recently become active on twitter, treating it as a primary source of news. I also follow quite a few startup founders and stalwarts.

And I cannot help but notice how almost every single founder (notable exception being Naval Ravikant - who does spews some genuine wisdom), is busy mouthing random truism. A lot of them claim they are mindfulness experts or have years of meditation under their belt.

And then they mouth stuff like below.

Don't aim to be rich. Aim to be wealthy. Wealth sets you up for Generations and Generations.

Get the drift?

What amuses me is the low levels of self-awareness that is manifest in such truisms, or the implicit large ego - that lends one to believe - that "I can spew" and someone will listen.

Whether you are a startup veteran or a simple learning human being - our primary goal has to be only one, right! - constantly attack our own ego. Face your demons in the mirror. At least confront your blemishes, if not celebrate them.

What does this level of living room preaching incidicate as a bell-weather for our social fabric?

This is the post.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

2858 : The Great Filter

The more I  read, the more I learn.

It's only in recent months that I have been exposed to "The Great Filter".
Essentially this means - (and this is me surmising my understanding) - that as we progress further and further (as an intellectual race) - at some point we turn on ourselves. Which means our own smartness will obliterate us.

This is the basis used to demonstrate that there are so few (nil as far as we know) smart races across the known universe. The belief is that each of the races, raced ahead and then shot themselves "proverbial".

And that is the definition of "The Great Filter".

Thats the post :-).

Saturday, July 04, 2020

2857 : Ghee

I eat ghee, and lo that makes me a murderer.
Something is gnawing at me on my inside.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

2856 : Rat Race

In my meditative moments, I realize that I am firmly entrenched in the rat race, both participating and perpetuating it.

And then I also surreptitiously wonder, if I had say a million dollars, would I eat any different, or drive any different or love any different or parent different or breathe any different.

And in almost all cases, the answer is a resounding no.

And in that moment, I am strangely reassured. The earth will continue spinning for a full 5 billions years (at the least) post me.

And that is this post. Nothing.

2855 : Naina by Anand Bhaskar Collective

I might have posted on this earlier, but this song is incredible.

The poster art is one for the keeps too.

2854 : Stuck at a reader's block again

A disarray of about 11 half finished books. 

Need motivation :-)

2853 : I found this earth shatteringly hilarious (found via twitter)

2852 : Sona Mohapatra

I adore this girl. She is feisty, kicks in the gut (and balls probably), is ready to take stands....and sings like she was born out of the divine itself.

Take a bow Miss Sona :-)

Listening to her croon Naina from the movie Khoobsurat :-)

2851 : Its humbling on twitter

I have been on twitter for a whole of 3 months....and its kind of adorable and amusing (and probably humbling) to see 24 somethings mouth worldly wisdom.

No, I am not judging them. At 40 I know....that I know very little....almost nothing. 

But at 24 I was just as fullish (full of your own certainty).

Ah...the joys of being young. I miss it.