Saturday, October 31, 2020

3000 : The inner journey of a free radical

 It's very hard for the world around you to accept you (or see you) as a free radical. And I mean free as in literally unmoored. 

Like I am 44 and I cuss like a teenager. Most folks cannot adjust to it. I am married, but I am not really an ideal family man (I cook, I clean, I teach my son....but I am also essentially a loner).

None of these make sense to my friends or my family. They are perpetually shocked by how spontaneously combustible I can potentially be.

Am I wired this way?

Is this even a choice?

Do free radicals have a choice not to form a molecule? 

Free will vs a free radical !!

2999 : Raag Bihag Lat Uljhe Suljha Ja Balam by Dr. Soma Ghosh

Lat Uljhe (Uljhi) Suljha ja Balam by Dr. Soma Ghosh in Raag Bihag is one of my all-time favorite songs. I also like this composition by Pandit Jasraj, but Dr. Soma Ghosh is my choice for this.

Its a perfect contemplative love song (almost Thumri like).

Of course there is also the Bade Ghulam Ali version and Noor Jehan version of this song.

2998 : Is this blog me?

 Is this blog me? Is my Twitter account me?

It is indeed a representation. But it also a projection (maybe natural), which means this is how I come across.

And yet to conflate this blog with me is being hugely reductionist.

That's the post :-)

2997 : We know (it all)

I have recently been active on Twitter.

I learn a lot (or so I tell myself).


I can't help but marvel at people who don't comment, follow, or engage with you at all. And yet they are constantly posting some garble or the other.

One of the following is true.

1) Twitter is shit (then you should not be here).

2) Twitter is a distraction (again, you should not be here).

3) Too much noise (to which you are only adding more).

4) I cant learn much from twitter (and hence you cannot learn from others, period.).

5) I am only here to garble (and gargle).

2996 : A cup of tea

 I like my mornings (or nights). These are the few simple minutes/hours bereft of the everyday controversies - the yin and the yang of conversations/machinations where you know you simply don't belong.

I value my solitude immensely. With a cup of tea or wine - I can spend hours looking into myself.

Today I am having a cup of tea without milk (ran out!!).

As I sip my poison, I realize that soon the familiar avalanche will drench me again. 

I am waiting.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

2995 : Rajan Sajan Mishra

 A day long slow burning of their playlist.......

They along with Tai Kishori Amonkar & Tai Ashwini Bhide, remain some of my most favorite artists in Indian Classical Music. 

Definitely on my all time favorite list. I can listen to their playlist on repeat forever.

Images from

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

2994 : Laws of attraction

 She asked, "Do you remember Paula Abdul".

"Of course, I do. I am in my 40s and I am proud of it.", he laughed and then added, "I do know of FYC (Fine Young Cannibals) too and Pet Shop Boys.".

" off....I liked her one song....called Opposites Attract".

"Fantastic number. And Paula looked (and sounds) like she is having fun through the song.".

"Do you agree?"

"Agree to what? That she was fun?"

"Aiyoo no...thoo!!, but that opposites attract".

"Yes and no."

"Pray explain."

"When you are younger, you seek difference, you seek to stand tend to celebrate diversity. As you grow older, you realize that was just your hormones playing tricks on you. Its great for reproduction and genetics."


"In your fifties (very late I agree), you realize that similarity and congruity drive harmony. The best marriages or partnerships are those between aligned souls. Diversity leads to divergence....till, at some point, there is a neat single shard of a crack."

"So. We are different or similar? I mean we are cracking or coalescing :-)?"

"Hard to say. I think the impact of the Big Bang is still around. We are all specks on a balloon. Constantly expanding away. Till one point when the speck stretches so much, that what is left is just space and memory."

"Why so serious?"

"Nothing. It's a time war out there :-)".

Monday, October 26, 2020

2993 : Raga Durga by Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan

 On the day of the Divine Shakti (and her avatars), I urge you to listen to Raga Durga by Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. It's simple, its pious, and it's serene.

It also reminds us of a more benign and meaningful time when Muslim Geniuses sang paeans to the Hindu pantheon because they recognized that music is the best manifestation of the Divine :-). I hear that Muslim Ustads also fasted before they sang a Hindu Devotional song.

Difficult to imagine such a simple world today.

2992 : The break in our circle

 "Let's run away from home", she said.

"Runaway? You are not 20 anymore. You are on the wild side of 40."

"But I feel like I am 16."

"Totally shows...."

"Po ya, you are making fun of my dingy small-town roots."

"Pondicherry is not a small town."

"Agreed. It's a lovely town. Let's run. Get the car and drive over."

"Our children will report as having eloped."

"Good na, we shall be their role models."

"You cannot drink and drive, so I shall have to drive right till Pondy."

"Even better."

"What if we drive to Pondy and discover it to be just like Pune. The world is a circle, you know that right?"

Chewing on the toast, she said, "Our world does not appear to be a complete circle. Else we both would have met earlier on the perimeter, ages ago."

"Some circles are best left open, that way we can always walk out."

Sunday, October 25, 2020

2991 : Paul and John (Peated Whiskey Single Malt)

I am not a whisky fan, but I am beginning to like peated whisky :-). 

A lot.

That's the post.

2990 : The fraud


"To write fiction you have to engage in organized fraud, the laundering of experience into the offshore haven of words."

— Samantha Harvey (The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping)

2989 : What exists between?

 “A note exists between two notes of music, between two facts exists a fact, between two grains of sand no matter how close together there exists an interval of space, a sense that exists between senses — in the interstices of primordial matter is the line of mystery and fire that is the breathing of the world, and the continual breathing of the world is what we hear and call silence.”

― Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

2988 : On days like today....

 I wonder if I would have been happier as a musician. This thought crosses my mind at least a few times every now and then.

Thats the post.

2987 : Ustad Raees Khan playing Hans Dhuni (Hamsdhwani) on Coke Studio

Ustad Raees Khan playing Hans Dhuni (Hamsdhwani) on Coke Studio is the trippiest addiction I have in recent weeks. 

On repeat - an addiction like love :-)

This is what my version of God looks like (I mean the Ustad). This is my ideal rock concert.

Watch the video (highly recommended). Watch a real Ustad jam with youngsters and have goose pimples.

This is what music was meant to :-).

2986 : Learning to Fly (Live) by Pink Floyd

Turn on your surround system. If you don't have one, get one :-) Turn all 7 or 9 speakers. Turn on the tweeters and woofers.

Close your eyes, and then press Play. Enjoy the sound as it travels through the room.

You will be flying on a wing and a prayer :-)

There is no sensation to compare to this :-)

Go experience.


2985 : Hell is my maximum

 Hell is the mouth that bites and eats the living flesh with its blood, and the one being eaten howls with delight in his eye: hell is pain as delight of the matter, and with the laughter of delight, the tears run in pain. And the tear comes from the laughter of pain is the opposite of redemption. I was seeing the inexorability of the roach with its ritual mask.

Hell is my maximum.

From Passion according to GH by Clarice Lispector

Friday, October 23, 2020

2984 : If you want to hotstep

 Listen to Arianne Grande, Pharell Williams, and the inimitable maestro Arturo Sandoval eponymous song.

Turn up the volume. Let the woofer hit you. I promise you, you will be humming this till you sleep. Addictive hook.

2983 : Linger by Cranberries

 I will never get over my love for Cranberries :-) (both the group and the sour ones!!)

What lyrics for a day like today.....

So why were you holding her hand?
Is that the way we stand?
Were you lying all the time?
Was it just a game to you?
But I'm in so deep
You know I'm such a fool for you
You've got me wrapped around your finger
Do you have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

Let this song linger around your cranium. Very hard to stop humming this.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

2982 : Einstein's wisdom

Albert Einstein said, "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." 

2981 : Mata Kalika by Jasraj (Pandit Jasraj) and Tripti Mukerjee

 Listening to this song as close to divinity, an atheist like me can experience.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

2980 : On a day like today, its gets very lonely....and.... question every foundation that you built you life upon.

I just dispersed the ashes of my blood into the river.

And the cruelty of the whole business ( no one to blame, it's just how underprepared my mind is/was) hits you very hard.

2979: Fictions

 We often indulge each other in fiction. Like I might tell you that you have some degree of control in my life. In reality, you might not.

For example, my mom thinks she still controls a large part of my world. I allow her this fiction, because its good for both of us.

I get her wisdom, she gets her peace.

Except once, 10 years ago, in a bout of anger I destroyed her facade. The challenge with these type of charades, is once you see through it, you cannot unsee it.

Till today, my mom and I share a slightly strained relationship.

Thats the post.

2978 : Jorge Luis Borges

 Reading some of his interviews.....and one of the things that strike me is how self-effacing he is in the face of the possibility that he cannot read (he had lost his sight by then). He honestly admits that all "he now reads" is heard and all that he writes is "dictated", and then goes onto add that he would rather "read than be read to....because as you read, you can omit, re-read, dwell.....

All so true.

The pleasures we take for granted.

2977 : Reading list 2020 : #22 : Paradise in PlainSight by Karen Miller

 If I had to choose the one book that has helped me in modern  times, it will be Paradise in PlainSight. A book on Zen and living.

This is my 7th read of the book in about 4 years. I adore the book and I adore the author. Treat her like my guru.

I would love to meet her one day if I could.

At 224 pages brings my 2020 reading to 6887 pages.

Images from

Saturday, October 10, 2020

2975 : What is the moral problem?

 “Would it be simplistic to think the moral problem with regards to others consists in behaving as one ought to, and the moral problem with regards to oneself is managing to feel what one ought to?”

― Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

2974 : Anxiety

 I was at a funeral today morning. And on the faces of each of us (including me) was writ with anxiety and fear. Very few of us other than the son and immediate family had "grief".

Of course, we had varying degrees of anxiety. But the question for all of us, including me, should death or aspects of death cause us anxiety?

But is this another modern pandemic?

Anxiety will kill us before cancer can.

Thats the post.

2973 : Reading List 2020: #21 : The psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

 (Images from

Hands down one of the best books I have read in my life. I wish, and I so wish I had read it in my 20s.

But I read it in my 40s and I am going to make it count.

I will work my way up on this book.

Its a book about money, happiness, needs, planning and just life.

This goes into my gifting list. Many copies coming your way.

Read it. An absolute 18 on 10 (my quirky rating for a fab book).

At 256 pages brings my 2020 reading list to 6363 pages.

2973 : Reading List 2020 : #20: Absolutely Music by Haruki Murakami (and Seiji Ozawa)

 This book is such a surprising gem. Especially if you like Western Classical. I know very little about it but listen to lots of it.

Read this book and it might just show you an inner peek into the mind of musicians, conductors, and the author.

Definitely a read. On a scale of 10 around 8.

At 352 pages brings my 2020 total to 6107 pages.

2972 : If I were only to recommend 5 authors to my child those would be (for fiction I mean)

 The 5 authors in order would be

1. Clarice Lispector

2. Jorge Luis Borges

3. Milan Kundera

4. Samantha Harvey

5. Ellena Ferrante

and if I could cheat and add a 6th, it would be

6. Ted Chiang

How my world has completely changed. This list has no mention of Rushdie. He would not even make my top 10.

Because at

7. Sara Baume

8. Franz Kafka

9.. Arundhati Roy

10. Meena Kandaswamy.

2971 : My meditation

 For the past 6-10 months, a lot around me is wilting away. Call it the COVID effect. COVID has given has time and space to examine our own lives.

Here is where I have reached on the examination of my life with my close ones.

"With you, I want to focus on the things we enjoy together. I will continue to judge you as I always do, and I shall justify it saying -'I am so invested in you'. In actuality, I am just a weak person. Accept me, because, when I am not with you, I feel lonely, lost, and sometimes hollow too.

I want to be a better person. I want to be a more accretive person. From where I am, that journey of improvement could take my entire remaining life, but I will make the effort.

As for you and me, I want us to focus on what it means for us to be happy. What it means to be doing 'our thing'. I might be a terribly flawed person, but as an example, I could be a very good cook. Care for it?

You mean a lot to me. I truly internalize you. If I could as Sahadev, eat a piece of you and instantly imbibe your wisdom into me, I would do that.

You are wise. Stay. You are beautiful/handsome. Stay. You lend me meaning. Stay. You help me see my faltering ego. Stay. You are my dearest friend. Stay. You are me. Stay."

2970 : We are all mortal

 We are all mortal.

And the petty battles, the corporate shenanigans, the mindless power trips, the senseless ego journey.....and the continuous accumulation of bad karma (think of it as adding more entropy than needed).

If you are reading this, chances are in the next 50 years or so, you shall be gone too.

If that does not humble you, then remember that in 5 billion years space will be cold (sun will be gone) and all of life as we understand will cease to exist. All of life.

Now let that sink in.

2969 : Judgement

We live in a weird world. Everything including death is under the constant cynosure of judgment. We (thankfully) don't blatantly judge the dead (which might be ok too....if you have strong views), but we "petty" judge the living. 

"See how unusual, their habits are......with habits like these, are you surprised that their dad died?".

Get the drift?

Its petty, its nonsensical, and we must all remember - we all live in glass houses too!!

2966 : On the way

 Someone close to me died (and I prefer that cold yet perceptible word to the ambiguity of "passing on/passing away"). Any death always is an opportunity (God Sent???? maybe....I am a pukka atheist!!) to meditate on my own mortality and the collective sense (or lack of it at times) called life.

Death (especially one I have to face) makes me very deeply meditative. I see my life as a deck stacked against the person (not for worldly achievements, but more so as a report card of how life is to be lived), and her/his own card.

And I often find the answer in greys.....not in black and white.

Friday, October 09, 2020

2965 : React

 It's hard not to react to the world around me.

I feel like I want to contribute. That's what keeps me going.

And then on a day like today....I remind myself that the world happens despite of me. And will continue to do so forever (almost) after I am gone.

I just need to shut up.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

2964 : My work

 My work is the biggest chink (or chunk) in my identity.

Often I get into a (needless) rut on that could have been better.

And then I tell myself....what matters is the today. Pick up the pieces....and rebuild.

The next successful "me" is only 2 years away. Always.

2963: I am coming home

Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?

Open your heart, I'm coming home

From Hey You by Pink Floyd

2962: Reading Poetry and why it makes no sense

 I was talking to someone and it emerged during the chat, that I read copious amounts of poetry. To me, poetry is prose/poetry where emotion is conveyed via a veil/abstraction. Like one of my fav books remains Sharmistha Mohanty's Book One. It started my love affair with poetry and it never ended since then.

Its a  prose book, but singes, cuts, and hurts. Its a book of passages with no context, no have to do the hard work and fill in the gaps.

Back to the emerged that I read a lot of poetry. And the obvious debate was "why?". I said for the same reason, she watches Christopher Nolan movies. It does something for "my brain's" pathways. Poetry is a meditation into my own solitude.

It also makes me more creative than usual. My verbal and written communication is slight notch above normal due to this habit of mine.

But as we chatted (she and I), the talk veered towards the uselessness of poetry, and the fact that it won't be around as a content medium in the next 2 decades.....(which I may possibly agree....and lament).

In my limited life, the ephemeral vestiges that have paid the most dividends are around romancing the abstract. My poetry, my Buddhism, my zen, my sense of isolation from every day have made me a very sharpshooter at work and in everyday chats.

They also made me respect and adore the universe a little more.

Now do you still want poetry to die in the next 2 decades?

2961 : Zen is a weapon of harakiri

 The more I seek, the more I know.

The more I know, the more I am crumpled.

The more I am crumpled, the more I see.

The more I see, the less I can unsee.

Get my drift? What I am seeing in myself is like entering a haunted house full of chambers. I am truly getting nightmares (on some nights) on what I have become.

Satori - I dont know.....but I do feel like my vision has expanded to 360 degrees. I can see whats in my past, for that it really is.

One day I hope to win my battles. And I promise I shall write about those, both here as well as in a book. 

On the positive side, is this making me a better person both intellectually (at work) and with friends (emotionally).....yes....I think so. So thats one positive spin out of this.

I would not wish this inner journey on someone (not yet), not unless I have seen how this ends :-)

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

2960 : Knowing each other too well

 I know I am a terrible listener. This post is not about that though. Its how all of us (including me) often don't hear at all. This especially happens between dear friends.

So I shall say "I find no meaning and purpose in this new activity" and by the third sentence, the person I am talking to - ends up with the prognosis, "Oh you are depressed." 


another example is I shall say "look I want to get my equation with you better". and by the second sentence, the person says "are you saying I am broken, we are broken?".

Too much familiarity can kill any conversation. Especially a chat where one is trying to heal oneself.

Friday, October 02, 2020

2959 : "Do you really know me?"

 I was talking to a dear friend of mine. We have known each other for about 2+ years and we both (possibly) like and respect each other immensely.

In the middle of a conversation, I was telling him, "I would not do this with Arjun" (another common friend, and the "this" referred to investing together), "BUT....if it was you, then I would do it more easily."

And my friend rightfully asked, "Why more easily with me, Amit?". And I without too much of a deep thought said, "I trust you" (which I indeed do) and "I know you much better".

To which my friend did not even allow me to finish my sentence, almost at the very instant my last word trailed off, he spoke up like a dam....

In a polite, very calm, and reassuring voice he asked me, "Do you really know me?"

It was classic Zen rhetoric. One (like any other rhetoric) that, once you have seen, you cannot unsee. I muttered something to him, but I was slightly flustered. In the future, I will be more mindful before I say something like this to the other person (not just this friend).

I am in my 40s and still every single day, someone/something teaches me something very basic with a very basic zen stick.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

2958 : Playing Evenflow (Eddie Vedder's genius) Pearl Jam classic

 Playing EvenFlow at a reasonable volume at night is the perfect salve for a day like today.

And as I finish this post Green Day comes with their maniacal "When I come around".....