Thursday, April 29, 2021

3281 : What the edge looks like

As days proceed - being a volunteer takes its toll. Before we read on, spare a thought for the hospi workers, the crematoria workers.......they are facing this 18 hrs a day, 7 days.

The disconnect between the bureaucracy and us normal mortals has never been higher.

Back to me. I am soaking in the pain of my friends, my people, my country. A single day does not pass when I don't feel like I have lost. And lose, we do. Another half a dozen of known folks die every day.

This war of attrition is a "war" like no other.

I feel like cussing. I feel like responding to complete a**holes and telling them that positivity does not help when you are losing.

What helps is recognition, awareness, compassion, and kindness.

Positivity is best left to spin doctors.

We, as fellow humans, need to participate in the grief, and yet at the end of the day, help in uplifting our fellow humans. Today it's a pyre on their gates, tomorrow it will be on ours. ("will" not "might be")

A plague on both my houses.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

3280 : Folks who read this blog !!

I see signficant readership (lets say more than 80 unique visitors per day).
A whole host of these are from the US.

Who are you folks? :-)
Seriously curious. Write to me. 

Just like a scientist can never tire of talking about his published paper, I can never tire of hearing about your views on life. 

Reach out.

3279 : Razia Sultan by Jitra Dude

If you are on Spotify - find a little gem called Razia Sultan by Jitra Dude.

Listen to it a few times, its an addictive ear worm - wont leave you easily.

Link here.

3278 : In the eye of the tsunami

There have many times in my adult life when the world around me seems to be collapsing inwards, almost imploding. I mean my world. 

And every single time, I have sat in the middle of that implosion feeling despondent, and totally without hope. 

In the past - my way of coping with this - was to tell myself - that the axe can only fall only so much. Eventually, it will get stuck in the sand. And even if it falls into water, it will eventually find its resting place. The fall is never too deep as the core of the earth.

Makes sense? I really believe the above, that axes don't keep falling forever. Even if there are multiple axes aimed at you. Either you will die with 90 axes into you, or you will live to see yourself on a shore surrounded by 90 axes.

Either way, the pain will eventually end.

Today, I tell myself that this tsunami will end too. And I can bet my last money, that it will.

What I have never accounted well for in the past that - every tsunami leaves its destruction well beyond its ephemeral time. In the human context, this shows up as PTSD and some other even more permanent damage (like reputation, confidence, or sense of security).

The point is - I may or may not have PTSD from today, and this tsunami will pass. I am focussing on keeping myself healthy and happy for a tomo, that might be more amenable. Sometimes wars can last many seasons.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

3277 : Going back to BeBop

One of my first loves in music is BeBop (jazz), something I picked up in the last 10 years.

 For the past 2-3 days, its BeBop on loop.

What a time to still be in love with jazz.

3276 : Going back to reading and more silence

While I am trying to help in this apocalypse, I am running out of personal steam at times. The everyday frustration of not being able to do enough. 

I am slowly moving back to my reading, my silence, and focussing back on my innards.

The collective grief and pain of the world around me does hurt, but I also feel incapable of doing anything.

Will still help, will still reach out....but lesser and in a more focussed way.

3275 : Listening to Jimmy McGriff on repeat

Listen to the bop of Jimmy McGriff on repeat. Some of the finest organ jazz in the world.
Its such a salve in times like today.

I love "blue juice" the most.

Monday, April 26, 2021

3274 : Rajan Mishra

 One of my all-time fav singers is brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra.

Today Rajan Mishra died (died sounds more appropriate than any other metaphor, we have been cruel to him).....gasping for breath, gasping for oxygen of Covid.

I feel sad, and I feel devasted today.

I truly feel the pain.

Raga Chayanat is one of my favorites.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

3273 : Poetry

Poetry is the salve in almost any time.

I can understand and read poetry in both Hindi and English. Am blessed.

3272 : Humne tumko dekha.....

Love Shailendra Singh's voice.

This one from Khel Khel Mein is one of my all-time favorites.

This song always always takes me back to a happier place. Love this song.

3271 : Rage against (what?)

In spirit, I am angry. Just drowning in a mess called helplessness.

My response is to go quiet. Look inwards.

Channel this into something more creative....maybe.


3270 : On a wing and a prayer

Jo bheji thi duaa
Woh jaake aasman se yun takra gayi
Ke aa gayi hai laut ke sadaa

Broadcast some prayers (your way),
They collided with the sky (and bounced back),
And now they (prayers) are just bouncing noise (in this world)

Duaa from Shanghai

Friday, April 23, 2021

3269 : Someone is on the way to heaven

Trigger Warning.

Someone (I don't know them personally), but they know someone who I know well - essentially a second-degree connect - an old couple - both passed away - as we were working to arrange ambulances for them.

They probably both passed away within minutes of each other.

On one hand - I felt numb. On another, I also felt surreal. Is this how all of us are going to go?

They must have suffered in their last moments but did not suffer the hospital's indignity.

I am truly broken on a day like today.

3268 : The politics of identity

A lot of folks think that Modiji will now face the heat, given their lack of execution around COVID and the lack of preparedness for the country.

My view is a little different. One he has over 30% of the vote share if I understand my demographics right. He has been elected to reinforce the privilege of upper-caste Hindus, and their belief that they are under attack from various forces.

To be fair to Modiji, he understands that segmentation really well - and he is delivering to that segment. He is on the ball for most of their goals and agendas. 

If I was in the upper caste Hindu segment, I would give him an 8/10 on performance.

So - will a failing economy, or COVID, or anything else - impact his vote share. I really don't believe that at all.

So unless something happens to him, he is going to be our leader for a long time.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

3267 : The unseen

What tomo holds for us is always unseen, and yet we, in usual times, hope and believe that tomo will be a fabulous day. Even on the worst of our present day.

And probably for most of all. Its almost universal. Tomo holds more hope than today.

Even when we are suffering from cancer, the hope is we shall heal tomo. Even when we have an earthquake - tomo we shall rebuild.

The only times when tomo, does not make sense, is when you know you are in your last hours. When you know tomo might never exist.

Otherwise, even a person who is dying, and has days, instead of hours, hopes for many days, instead of just a few days. 

Today, though, this universal truth is being challenged in the present. How many of us want to face tomo? How many of us have to brace for tomo? How many of us want to see tomo, but also unsee it.

The unseen is here. It's amongst us.

3266 : Another day in paradise

I am reeling. Just seeing and hearing the amount of pain around. I feel numb. I feel tired. I feel despondent. I feel helpless.

This one is quite the movie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

3265 : Acceleration of time

 From Semezdin Mehmedinovic's My Heart on Time-Lapse.

Where does our need to accelerate time come from? From impatience, to arrive in the near future into which we have projected our trifling desires. Our need to slow time down would surely be natural. But why this strong desire to speed things up? Why are we always in a hurry to reach the future? The process of the ice melting, which looks rapid in the photographs, is an image of time that can never be restored. But perhaps there is no such thing as time?

3264 : Reading My Heart by Semezdin Mehmedinovic

And for me, this book has to be the find of the year for me.

The book moves, singes and salves.

I am finding immense comfort in the book in these strange times.

Love it totally.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

3263 : Country juxtaposed with the organization

We have a raging pandemic. We would call in any organization (if it were a proxy for a country) a Level-1 incident (typically means all hands on deck).

As this pandemic kills people due to the inefficiency of the system (like lack of beds, lack of oxygen, etc), I have people I know who are dying. 

This pandemic is no longer a number, its names. I know people who have died.

This is the context.

Some of our administrators are doing stuff like commentating on cricket or administrating cricket - WTF is happening? Or some are busy with elections?

Would we do the same in our capitalistic organizations? Like we have a Level-1 incident, could I take a break and do a Ted Talk? How will that be viewed?

Could I order a new cabin for myself? Will even last hours at my firm if I do such foolishness?

Why do organizations work, versus sometimes larger bureaucracies fail?

Because we have a CEO who reports to the board. We have a public market that can vote you down (in terms of stock price). When in a democracy, we reduce or eliminate checks and balances - we lose the central mojo. We lose our ability to focus on what is the collective good.

Even elected officials should be capitalistic. They have to win again in the next election, but when they feel they can control the levers that control the outcome of the creates a dystopian game.

Am I complaining about a single person? Not really. We elected these officials. I cannot blame them at all. I don't blame anyone. Really don't.

As a passive observer, this dystopia is hard to watch and assimilate.

3262 : The best of times, worst of times (from Dickens)

I have gotten a lot of folks telling me that if this pandemic is indeed overwhelming (and on a day like today it feels like hell's fire), then I must switch off and focus on what is important to me (work and family).

They are correct. Absolutely correct. 

Have thought about this. Like today in my little walk. Here's my gist - I am not going to shut my eyes or ears. I am going to go through this turmoil (though sheltered by my immense privilege), but I am going to experience this. I want to remember these times till I die.

I want to remember what I saw in the shallow bucket of the petty leadership around me - but I also want to remember the goose pimples when seeing something like Twitter, become a superhuman collective - a self-willed macrocosm that organized around this cesspool and still recreated hope, magic, and immense compassion.

Have seen some personal friends - withdraw into shells (even into their rooms and homes), and others become compassionate cheerleaders.....transformed into positive fiery superheroes. 

Have seen random strangers contribute to my own - like someone, today who contributed plasma to a friend's family.

In this infinite runtime, we are capable of greatness where some others might be focussed on their fked up self-centered lives.

I want to remember these times for what is possible, even in the worst of times.

3261 : Down

A lot of my near and dear ones at work (and otherwise) are totally swept under this virus business. Which means they are impacted. 

I genuinely have a cold bone in my body and don't mind this grim talk of mortality and apocalypse. (should be apparent from the blog too!!).

And yet today, as I spent hours talking to my colleagues and friends and family......I felt totally spent. That eerie and bad hunch in your stomach, that something is totally off. That the duststorm is just starting and we are in a naked desert.

I feel quite down today, and the more I reflected on this during my brief walk, I realized its my helplessness and the utter resignation to the fatalistic outcome that is bothering me. It's not the outcome itself, which "it too shall pass" and "we shall survive", I am sure of both.

Have never felt more helpless in recent years.

3260 : Have been listening to Bach's entire fugue collection

Have been listening to Bach's entire fugue collection on repeat. I understand jackshit about classical music, other than - it sounds good. I know what a fugue is but cannot identify one for the life of me.

I have been listening to it happily all day. Reminds me of the inherent meaning in all of life (possibly).

Thats the post.

Monday, April 19, 2021

3259 : First Principles alone......

We are all in the constant journey around an escalator, focussed on Maslow's hierarchy.  All of us.

A lot of the Maslow theory works only if you have basic necessary privileges at every level. I was poor once but had access to books and an English School. And then at every level, I have lucked out.

I believe luck and privilege are key in this game. 

Today I was thinking - how much far does a focussed first principles approach does actually get you?

Maybe far enough. But without privilege and luck?

Sunday, April 18, 2021

3258 : Being on twitter is like being on a rabbit hole

In these times, just the amount of pain and sadness that is there on Twitter - is quite overwhelming.

And yet, I want to be part of this movement. I want to be able to assimilate this time, this era.....a time and place where we are seeing the best of people and the worst of people.

Complete strangers are helping others. And our own friends, leaders, and sometimes family are (sometimes) completely absent.

I am fascinated when someone says, I will take care of you (a complete stranger) and puts his/her life at risk to deliver food/medicines and other critical care for others.

I am also genuinely so overwhelmed by the medical staff. Doctors/nurses and the ilk - I can't fathom what drives and motivates these folks other than a sense of immense internal purpose.

Summary of this rambling post - I am so tempted to leave Twitter or mute it for the next few days - but it will take a very essential human experience from my lifespan. Also, the reason I spoke of good doctors and samaritans, why do they exercise the choice to live through this pain and help. Its definitely an innate calling.

I want to try and help too. I do try and connect 1-2 people to some need of theirs. I hope one day to do much more.

Totally rambling post - call it post vaccine trauma :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

3257 : Trigger warning (shaken while posting this)

Trigger warning.

I saw this on Twitter. If it is true (I have no way of confirming this).......

Someone died as he was asking for help on twitter.

If this is what we have become, I am not sure how we will ever become a superpower or any shit.

We will be running behind nincompoopery and will forever be trapped in that race.

This country will close in.

We all shall be the fuel to the fire.

Shaken, but more than that extremely despondent.

3256 : NDE

 What if, just like an individual suffers from a Near Death Experience, is it possible that a whole nation or society could suffer from it?

Is that moment now?

How long with the PTSD from this time and era last?

Will our children really be wired differently?

Friday, April 16, 2021

3255 : My choices

I do regret some of my choices. In hindsight of course. 

I don't think I ever applied the regret minimalization framework ever. So it's mea culpa.

If I ever to today cut my losses, of everything I believe that is not working (at present), it will mean carnage.

I personally don't think cutting your losses works in life. Especially with investments. As an example - I now a daughter - I cannot (and don't want to) cut my losses with respect to her.

The only way out of life is to make more meaningful choices from here on, and soft-land your previous outcomes in again meaningful ways.

Is that easy? No. It's incredibly hard. 

Do we have time for it? I don't know.

Time will tell.

3254 : The shape of my privilege

I just returned home. From my vaccination (first dose).

I am privileged in this country by speaking English and having some money. I also can call people if I need help. This means I am not powerful, but I know a few folks who might be deemed "powerful". I have also have two doctors in my immediate family, and a renowned surgeon as one of my best friends.

That sets the context about me.

I registered on Cowin (which is a masterclass in UI/UX design!!) and went to one of the Mumbai hospitals as a regular middle-class individual.

Here is my experience

1) The hospital is choc-o-bloc. Don't blame them, it's covid.

2) The process is quite literally all over the place. I have to move between 2 floors and about 5 different windows.

3) One place to collect a manual form (do we need it post COWIN?)

4) No pens to fill the form.

5) A different place to go line up.

6) About an hr long queue. That's probably because I reached at 1.30, which is lunchtime.

Also in that 1 hr, about 30 people joined directly the head of the queue - I believe people of power, politicians, etc. Very blatantly, no explanation. They looked entitled. So all of us meekly gobbled it up.

7) Another window to electronically register.

8) Next window (at a different place), where my manual form is verified.

9) Another wait of 20 mins before I get the vaccine. 

10) No spirit, no dabbing - just a jab in less than 10 seconds. No patch to cover up the wound of the needle. Wonder is this safe.

11) Next window (6 by now???) for submitting your manual form and waiting for 30 mins.

12) Not enough place to sit in the observation zone. So I am supposed to be watching for symptoms, but standing. Seats did clear up in a few mins, but I let the elders take the seat.

13) I am sweating like a pig. Most of us are, including the staff.

Call outs

1) Staff is all contract workers, none of them seem like hospi workers. But super sweet and super polite. Big call out to them :-)

2) Vaccines are coming off a card box. No idea if these were ever refrigerated.

3) I believe a setup like this is a super spread in itself.

4) Common air-conditioning and zero safe distance. We were all standing like we stand in bus stops @ Mumbai. Literally our dick poking into the next guy/girl. If this is not a superspreader, I wonder what is?

5) It's free. So I paid nothing. 

6) Should this not be done in the open 4 acres that the same hospital has? Like china does - or at least I saw photos.

Fun facts

One Gujju lady (not being racial, she was gujju and that is my 3rd language), was not wearing a mask - but she had her dupatta covering her mouth, not her nose.....and she was all the time (ahead of me) - through all the windows - and through the journey - she had an app one - where she kept pressing a red button - and one more "Ram" in Hindi appeared on the screen. This is the digital equivalent of writing Ram 108 times or a million times on paper.

My mom used to write this when I was younger. So I have no disrespect or mirth in this. Still, the irony was not lost on me - you don't wear a mask, but you chant Ram.

Faith in my view can move oceans, but the virus can attack your heart and lungs :-)


I do feel thankful at the end of the day, I saw people from all strata getting the vaccine. So I do feel gratitude to all the human beings involved in the value chain - who made this happen for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

3253 : Education....

Is there sense in worrying about the daughter's education?

The world of today is almost disrespecting formal education at this point.

Wondering. Write to me. Genuinely curious :-)

3252 : I worry

I worry immensely about the times we live in. There is so much subterfuge and so much misinformation. This is in the middle of a pandemic, and we are all living through it. 

The least I expect from my administrators is a good honest answer. 

Where did we so completely pivot from administration (government) being a service to government becoming one more aspect of our lives that we have to manage, and do well "despite of".

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

3251 : Its a sea out there

This pandemic is no longer a number, it's already become a series of names. Names, either very ill or plain simple dying.

I am almost numbed every day with people who I know who are getting impacted.

And still, the discourse (even in my circle) continues to be "us" vs "them", about how "others" deserve it......and the saga continues.

In a matter of days, the story will be at our (my) doors. I am aware and humbled that I might become a statistic from being a name.

The sea will consume all those who fight its waves, it will also consume those who don't see it for what it is. The seas know no boundaries, including land. It will hit, it will hurt. Unless we learn to respect her, and our own.

The pandemic will soon become us.

3250 : What we compensate for?

I was reading something to the effect, that we all overcompensate in lieu of the "demons" we hide.

This means if we are super nice, or super affable - there is a good chance, we are internally battling either active "demons" around being "cold" or are actually "cold".

And before you look the other way, I believe we all have demons. All of us. I am sure I have a closet full of them.

I am usually (as a value and a personal direction) - kind, compassionate and empathetic?

Today I am wondering - is my real self evil, narcissistic and problematic?

This indeed a strange rabbit hole.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

3249 : (Il)lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming is when you are dreaming - and your conscious mind takes over the dream. It can be a great tool to explore your unconscious self.

I can't do that. I am not even a kindergarten expert at this :-). So Nada.

I have the reverse problem? In my dream - I sometimes think I am completely conscious. Like I feel I am controlling the narrative, but actually, it's the dream that is creating that illusion too.

It happens to me often, say once a week.

Should we call this illucid dreaming?


3248 : We tend to focus on.....

The one thing that is told to us - that is negative about us, in spite of the million good things we might carry.

I have burned in anguish in the past week months of exactly this mad canyon trip.

And today, of all days, I realized - this trip happens, because that one "negative" which has tripped us so much - is possibly actually based on facts. I am actually negative on that one aspect.

What a day :-(

3247 : Dua from Shanghai

I am listening to Dua on loop from Shanghai.....of course, a Nandini Srikar loop.

So enamored by her range. The authentic female voice that we have been missing in a generation.

And perfect diction (for a possible south Indian).

Monday, April 12, 2021

3246 : Reading "The Book of Sleep" by Haytham El Wardany

Sometimes the social space ceases to be an arena for negotiation and conflict, a forum for exchange and dialogue, and another hidden aspect of the social aspect emerges -  shared silence.

Sleep on public transport and in public squares, in lecture halls or at work, is a two fold rejection of the social act, because it takes place - not in our private bedrooms, but at the very heart of our social interaction.

Sleep taps the public sphere with its wand, and transforms it from a place of mediation nd competition, into one of silence and absence. Silence and absence are no longer a private matter, but a collective act.

3245 : New love in town

I am absolutely in love with the range and repertoire of Nandini Srikar. She is so fab, so fab in her range and her authentic voice. 

Go listen to will be so rewarded.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

3244 : Old today

I am at an age where the life (remaining) - ahead of me, is definitely way shorter than my past.

When you are at an age like this and a whole host of things in your life seem to be wrong investments. You do have a future to look fwd to, but also know that your ability to positively impact the world is like an inverted hockey stick.

And then there is unfinished business. Folks who you have inadvertently hurt (of course they don't see it that way at all)......

On a day like today - I am immensely worried about closure.

Today I feel like resting. Just switching off.

3243 : Inverse of a Mic Drop

Think of a Mic Drop (which is usually applause), but in reverse. What if someone drops the mic on you to slap you?

Does not happen to me often, but has happened with even (folks) who once I considered as my best of friends.

The fact that time does not repair such mic drops....infact it hurts more.

This is the stuff my biggest failures are made of.

3242 : The consequences of the wall....

I often reach out and try and share things with almost "strangers". Like I will notice you making a presentation and reach out to you - that if you possibly reduce orange color (as an example) - the deck and the message would be more clear.

I have no interest in knowing people. I do this because it's my way of pay forward. Also it's my way of ensuring that honesty prevails in my world.

Some of these interactions backfire (rightly so!!), some get converted to lifelong friendships....and some just float away.

Today one person basically told me (in more polite ways), STFU, and buzz off. She is correct in doing so, actually, it's none of my business to do an unsolicited reach out.

I am still unable to find my way with the world :-). At most times.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

3241 : Reading list : 2021: #2 Is it tomorrow yet? by Ivan Krastev

I don't speak much about politics (count that as the ills of fatalism), but I do read all kinds of books - especially those that meditate on power and motivation.

I just finished reading Ivan Krastev's "Is it tomorrow yet?"

It's a tiny small book (you can finish in about an hr), but it will teach you to think along political lines....especially in these grim times.

Rise of nationalism, rejection of science/data, information disavowal, disinformation disbursal, disruption of what is "local", what is it to be "political" trapped in your own room......

Fascinating. Worth a read. It might open up your thinking pathways. Did for me.

Brings my 2021 reading to 210 pages. 

(Haha I am reading a little more than this partly sum, I am struggling to finish expect a flurry of books coming up soon).

Images from GoodReads and Democracy Institute

3240 : Affirmation asymmetry

I work deep in data. And one of my fundamental learnings in the past few years has been to "trust the data"....not necessarily presented in terms of an excel, but also observed/measured or seen data.

Take the example of the affirmation (or reservations) or benefits for the disadvantaged.

So I believe my household help (never use "maid", just learned from an indignant Twitter rant.......semantics :-))fits into the disadvantaged curve. She is poor, she has to fend for her children and works triply hard to keep her head above water.

From my limited understanding - very few affirmations reach her (including something as simple as rations - or subsidized food). She has very little access to cheap(er) food or good water or loos.


Let's say she makes about 12k a month with the 3-5 jobs she does. 

If somehow she started making around 25k, and she would suddenly be in a slum rehabilitation program, she would get a ration card, and also access to cleaner loos and water.

And yet even at this level, she won't be able to take advantage of a subsidized loan or education loan waiver. For that, she would have to be at around 40k, so that she can at least put her children in a reliable school.

The point I am saying is this is a with a huge base.

Most of the benefits of affirmation are chewed off by the top of the pyramid. The bottom gets little or nothing.

That makes the world we live, a very self-serving world. Also by NRC or CAA or something equivalent, we are cutting away the bottom of the pyramid from ever having the chance to be included at all.

And since they don't have any incentives at this point - we don't have a "lever" on them, and hence cannot control how they vote. That singularly makes them dispensable.

A grim aside thought - take the top of the pyramid - they do take a lot of state benefits (affirmation or otherwise), but possibly don't count their blessings. They assume it's their right. So they are inert to the "levers"

Are they hence are dispensable too? And when is that happening?

3239 : Thinking....

I have often wondered what drives someone to kill another with poison gas (like in the concentration camps), or closer in time, the mass-organized pogroms.

And I often hit a dead end - I am not able to decipher - how one's work can make someone so blind to the possible evil that lurks within. 

As I was reading Agyega I realized, he has a point. Hate and suffering can both be weaponized. If you don't have "hate", manufacture enough of it, if you don't have "suffering", manufacture that too.

.....what you now have fomented is a heady cocktail of weapons that can be used in your "revolution".

I made some progress in my mediation on the machinations of power.

3238 : Hate & revolutions

Because revolutions are endless, permanent because, amongst their mechanisms, the most productive tool after love is rational hatred. 

Except for suffering - terrible suffering. Because suffering is also high quality and a very pure weapon.

From Shekhar A Life by Agyega

3237 : Hate

Amongst these pure sins, one very important sin worth committing for a revolutionary is hate.

The capacity for an immense, comprehensive love is certainly within the repertoire of the revolutionary, but another element is also necessary, essential, alongside it - the ability to hate. An enduring, burning, terrible affliction, but despite being all of these things an objective, pure hatred, by which I mean the kind of hate you can experience with an attentive mind, not the kind that completely destroys us or drives crazy and enslaves us.

From Shekhar - A life by Agyega

3236 : Claustrophobia

I see photos (and read news) of animals being transported via closed enclosures - post their rescue. What always intrigues me, what if one of these animals like me - claustrophobic?

Seriously asking?

Friday, April 09, 2021

3235 : Earworm 2 (Kalyanu Vayasu)

Parts of this song (are accused) to be plagiarised, but I just love how fresh it sounds.
A totally new way to engineer a sound, especially in urban music. Throws structure out of the picture, it's not rap or hip hop either. It's just a new sound.

This limited Tamil I can understand. 

Hear and explore this....

3234 : Earworm 1 (Kutty Pattas)

If you don't understand Tamil, crap that feeling.

Just going with your brain and its ability to decipher patterns.

This song is a complete can play it on repeat for some hours at least.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

3233: Tomorrow

From Ivan Krastev's book..

There is something disturbing about the world of yesterday. We can never know the future of the present, but we have already lived the future of the past.

3232 : Shivaji Savant & HS Vatsyayan

 I love translated books. Across languages. I love translated moves too (but that's another post).

There is a certain depth in a Spanish, French, Italian, Hindi, Malayalam book that a English book rarely captures. 

I read pretty much any book translated, the more obscure the better.

Today I got a recommendation for Shivaji Savant (am excited about getting into the book). Reading both Yugandar and Mritunjaya.

Images from

Also Shekhar: A Life by SH Vatsyayan. 

3231 : Us vs them

Today on Twitter, I heard someone say that we should prioritize vaccine (supply & administration) by the amount of tax-paying that we each do - or something similar to that effect.

I also have some acquaintances who have mouthed similar views.

There is a sense of entitlement because "I am doing" something for the nation. Is that exactly what we grudge others too - when they do it? Why does Ambani have a separate line at Tirupati. Because of his wealth, but we grudge him that, right?

The challenge of these biases (let's call them privilege) is that you cannot unsee them once you see them. Ever. 

It has taken me forever to see my own failings. I now know how broken my personal construction of the world around me is.

Egalitarian, equalist - these are fundamental values - we should all hopefully aspire for. The world does become a little more beautiful and happy when it is equitable.

It's also more ego-leveling. Makes us realize that we are the same. Everywhere.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

3230 : Top Tucker

I like Badshah's Top Tucker :-).

I almost want to use it in my vocab, like you are a "top tucker", just unsure if colloquially it means more than it means :-)

Love the song though.


3229 : Probity (came in via twitter)

A poem by George Oppen

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

3228 : What epidemics teach us

From "is it tomorrow yet"? A book I just started reading.....

Saramago (of Blindness fame) doesn't believe that epidemics transform society; in his view, they help us see the truth about our societies.

3227 : Poetry

So someone was asking me today, why I love poetry. 

Hard to say, I am usually intrigued by the play of words. I think poetry is like a Zen Koan, when you get it, it hits.

I still read a lot of poetry. I also write some. 

I do wish I would write more.

3226 : The exile

 “Thus the first thing that plague brought to our town was exile."

Albert Camus' Plague

Saturday, April 03, 2021

3225 : The night

Baat poore ho kaise aadhi raat ko

 ....raat hoti shuru hain aadhi raat ko.....

You absolutely know which song I am listening to. Hee haw :-)

3224 : Namesake

I have always maintained that I don't have a fav in male actors. Though things are changing.....especially in the last 2-3 years, my answer is veering today my namesake (Amitabh, Big B).

I did not watch movies growing up. 

But as I watch some snippets of his older movies, totally awed by him.

Totally awed by his life too.

Has he dissed people? Probably yes.

Does he have my respect? For now, yes.

I admire his voice, his acting, and his conduct overall. I would love to be friends with him.

I really would.

3223 : Palindrome

 Thats the post number :-)

3222 : Rhim Jhim Gire Sawan

 Listening to this song with the dialogues on (Amitabh's voice).....and I do enjoy this more than the other versions.

I also love Lata Didi's solo.

This song is such a classic.

Mumbai looks ethereal in that video.....and Moushmi Chatterjee(uff!!).

What a time and era.

Friday, April 02, 2021

3221 : Vaccine

For the record, I am for the vaccine. So this post is not anti or for.

Something does bother me. In my nation data is sparse. Information is even sparser. There are two options, and there is no intellectual way to choose between the two vaccines.

What is a little odd to me - is that almost the entire country, including the intelligentsia (let's call them STEM), is choosing the vaccines at random.

I really have no judgment on them. Really don't.

Infact I might myself get vaccinated in a couple of days. 

My dissonance in the process comes from the fact that  - our almost absolutely blind belief in science. What we are not recognizing is that media is a systematic mechanism to hijack our preferences and choices. 

This means - if all the outlets scream vaccine is great, our subconscious switches to that belief. We have to exercise a huge amount of self-awareness to question and investigate a different path of the decision tree. 

In some countries, like my nation, the knowledge might (will) not help, make any decisions - since in most cases the decision is already made for us. So should we hence not dig deeper?

This applies as much to India as to someone living in Finland or US.

I am wired to always know and understand. Am I hence weird too?

This post is more about how our thinking is completely hacked and hijacked into already.

3220 : I did not work today

I should have, had loads of work.

I was feeling sluggish - totally and intellectually bankrupt :-)

Is this what burnout possibly looks like?

I was thanking the fact that today was a holiday - wonder how it would have been - had this been a regular working day.


3219 : Still shaken

When someone in your life tells you that broke a value ("fundamental value")...something akin to basic to you.

For example, when someone close to you tells you that you are narcissistic (just an example) or a compulsive liar (another example).

Let's say this is your mother - she has seen you all along - so she has a million data points on you. And if she is a rational analytic human being, the chances of her being totally wrong are low.

No sense in defending against this view.

It just immensely shakes your insides. And rightfully so.

3218 : My love for hindi songs and poems come from......

My entire education in Hindi music and poems is down to my brother. He used to (he is still around :-), just that we don't talk music any more!!) keep playing Hindi songs.

I was always inclined towards English (American) music. 

At some point, we diverged, but can never thank him enough.

3217 : Jaane Kya Baat Hain (from Sunny)

I sometimes find Lata Didi monotonous, but she has a huge cache of genius....that sometimes shines out in brilliant songs. 

Like Jaane Kya Baat Hain (from Sunny). It has some totally brilliant lines.

I have not seen the movie.

I have seen the video. The way Sunny looks at her singing on the good acting. And a great real emotion.

Easily one of the finest songs of an era.

3216 : I have enough backlog

I have enough backlog to keep me tied to the desk for over 40 hrs. And everything has to go before Monday :-).


I feel a strong dissonance, not from my work, but from the sense of being disjoint, being afloat in a river.

Alone and rudderless.

3215 : I am plussed

When I see a perfectly sane affable urban person - speak with indignation against a caste or identity. Adding with a perfect tense, that "they deserve the rape and plunder"......

It really makes me recoil. Not because of just my values, or preference.....I also genuinely believe that violence propagates battles. 

One day (soon) we shall all be gone. We owe it to our children, that this world remains sane.

Nothing, nothing, will ever make me feel that arson, rape or murder is ok. And the ones who tell me, that would you say the same, "if your child was killed"......

I pause, I shudder.....I don't want to confront my child's death.....but here is what I will say. I WILL NOT propagate the cycle. I will fight in court to have corrective therapy for the murderer instead of jail. And if there is no corrective therapy (like possibly in India), then I will walk away. I don't want a court case or justice.

Justice means nothing in this dog-eat-dog world. It's a moral luxury that we claim to afford, but actually have no sense of balance around. 

3214 : Papa Kehte Hain from QSQT

I am listening to this after many months, years.......and totally loving it. Its fun, reminds of me of something to be cherished. 

Anand Milind are brilliant, so is Udit Narayan.

I am beaming.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

3213 : Othering

I live in a slightly upscale and secluded apartment complex in central Mumbai. It has a bunch of oddities including me. But this post is about something even odder I goes.

So most cars have chauffeurs in my building. Most cars are the mid-range Crysta kind of wagons. And most cars that have drivers have this strange plastic contraption on the inside.

In these COVID times, a sheet of plastic isolates the driver from the passengers (owners). This is in private cars and not in cabs. I don't know - I somehow find this very classist.

I know I am passing judgments on the sly. It's your chauffeur, someone who has been driving for you for years. Why would you separate him from yourself or your family? What is the message that is going out?

Is it because he in all probability comes from a ghetto or a slum?

If that is icky, why would you want a driver at all.

And who will tell these STEM graduates (I mean the owners), that when you share the AC, the air is circulating and the virus has a fun time moving around in the air, including passenger seats.

Best luck with Covid.

3212 : Turncoat

I grew up in a rabid rightwing a pukka brahmin household. And I am no apologist for it.

I turned out ok. Today I would classify myself as a left-leaning liberal progressive. I switched steadily over years - till one day I was an atheist, then another day I was aware of my privilege, and the third I rejected "otherism", and by the fourth, I was pushing for egalitarian equalist values.

I know a few folks who were exactly this - and went the other way (the reverse direction) - they were liberals who are now totally engulfed in their right-wing conservative ideology.

What are the chances, I wonder, that my daughter one day might turncoat, and turn into a hardcore right-wing warrior? If that happens, something in my "today" tells me I will be disappointed. What I am challenging myself though (about this) -is, does that mean - my parents were left equally disappointed when I turned on their values. 

Should I be disappointed? Or should I instead celebrate that my daughter turned into an independent thinker?