Sunday, November 11, 2018

2424: Reading list 2018 : #19: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Most of you know that I am an huge Haruki Murakami fan. I just finished his latest book. It’s not as involving as some of his other book. Definitely not in the league of colourless Tsukuru or 1Q84.

I would overall rate this as 7/10.

Great philosophical underpinnings slivered into a sentence, almost as if by happenstance - typical Murakami. Magical world - typical Murakami. Complex plot - too many characters- typical Murakami. No loose ends - Murakami at his best.

Overall go for it, if you a huge Murakami fan, else wait for it to become cheaper :-).

The edition I read had 674 pages, bringing my 2018 total reading to 5709 pages.

2423 : Jonathan Seagull missing the Livingston

I am not making this up. I am sitting at the Amsterdam airport waiting for my Budapest flight, and the KLM lady announces, “Jonathan Seagull, please report to the desk”. My ears go Whoa!!, really is that a name?

Where did Livingston go missing?

In case you are missing the story, read up on Jonathan Livingston Seagull

2422 : Apple iPhone 5SE/SE/5C

I have been walking Europe for the past 2 weeks, and almost every other person who is carrying an Apple phone is carrying a 5SE or SE or 5C (the form factor is even better than SE). I like smaller phones. And for larger aspects, I love my giant iPad.

Apple if you are listening - please don’t abandon this form factor. There are dudes like me (and half of Europe) who adore this form factor.


2421 : Am in love with this.....

I am truly impressed with the the apple AirPods. It’s been my go to talking device in the recent months.
They dont need my vote, but I am complete in love with this Bluetooth earbud. Way ahead of the comparable league.
Take a bow apple :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2420 : Reading list 2018 : #18: The year of magical thinking by Joan Didion

If I have to choose one book that made me stop and think about my life (in recent times), it has to be The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Absolutely gut wrenching exploration of grief, of death, of old age and of mortality. Dealing with a spouse and a child's mortality is more than I have ever meditated upon.

I was overwhelmed by the language, the sincerity and the insightful observations.

Definitely one to read many times over during my living years.

Brings my total 2018 #read pages to 5035 pages.

2419 : Reading list 2018 : #16 & #17: Han Kang's The White Book

Image from thebookseller

Read this book twice. Its a small read, but in no sense light. Its poetic, its intense, its an exploration of grief and its unassumingly personal. Its her grief metamorphosing into ours. 

I just loved it. Its 128 pages of the most intense read I have had in recent times. I loved it so much that I had to read it twice.

Go for it. Definitely another one of those 11/10 books.

Brings 2018 total pages to 4818.

2418 : The two-faced Tusker

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival of the elephant headed God. One whose fame comes from resolving conflicts and leading mankind to happier zones. He is the pragmatic God who focuses on food, others "troubles" and knowledge.

So picture this.

Two days ago, someone I faintly know, decided to trample me. Why? Because he could. It was like a chess game where I was two rooks and the queen down. Did he have to? No. He could have chosen to let me go. Not a leaf in the world would have twirled, and yet he chose to add entropy just because he was in a position from where he could.

Today morning, I saw him pray with sincerity (or appeared so) to the "common" Ganesh idol. Of course, I was amused.

It was not all that weird that he was (possibly) dichotomous in my eyes. It was disappointing that he will never ever see himself as dichotomous.

The most dangerous emotion in this world is indignation. It reinforces the ego, and adds nothing to the world.  

Sunday, September 09, 2018

2417 : Reading list 2018 : #15 : Samantha Harvey's The Wilderness

Loss is usually personal, an individual experience. But there are losses which can be a community or a shared experience. Like loss of youth (all of us experience that), or death (we all approach death).

Samantha Harvey explores the second kind of loss in all her books and hence all her books are magical (at least to me).

They are meditative classics. They reveal to me, sides and shades that I have blacked myself to.

The wilderness is her debut book that deals with a protagonist and his un-reliable memory but unlike the sense of an ending, her exploration of the un-reliable comes from the inevitability of entropy.

Read, and be enthralled.

This was my third read of the book (I bought it when it debuted :-))

336 pages take my reading total of 2018 to 4690 pages.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

2416 : Reading list of 2018 : #14 : The Children Act by Ian McEwan

My first real Ian McEwan book. I had tried reading him earlier. This one is nuanced, and quite engrosses you. The premise is a strong real life metaphor dealing with belief and children.

While I liked the book - I struggled to rate it beyond 7/10. I would recommend you read it, if you are into light easy reads. And of course, if you like to pulled into light philosophical debates.

Not bad, worth a read.

At 224 pages bring my 2018 reading total to 4624 pages.

2415 : Reading list of 2018 : #13 : Chromosome 6 by Robin Cook

This book is dated and it shows. Whats great is that this book in 1997 gave folks a glimpse of 2017-18.
Unfortunately I read this in 2018 :-(

All about gene editing and CRISPR. Challenge is the book is written less as a book and more as a screenplay.

It could be a page turning thriller, but is at best a light read. I would rate it 5/10 or even lesser. some real science instead.

484 pages later, and no more wiser, I finished about 4400 pages for the year (wow!! a round number).

2414 : Reading list of 2018 : #12 : The days of abandonment by Elena Ferrante

She is possibly one of the authors who contributed to Jhumpa Lahiri going all Italian (including stopping to write in English, and learn Italian enough to write books in that language). Now if that is true, you don't need to plug Elena Ferrante.

Definitely wants me to go Italian. Her work is sheer, raw and scathing - all at the same medley of furies.

This year I read this book for the second time (last year was the first).

I came back more haunted, more wizened and more meditative on loss.

Absolute read. 10/10 again. This is a masterpiece.

192 pages brings my 2018 reading total to 3916 pages.

2413 : Reading list of 2018 : #11 : Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey

A most lyrical exploration of loss. This is (again!!) a book that I shall come back to read many many times in my life span. 

Its tragic, its intimate, and its immersive. Its an exploration of not just loss, but possibly revenge, possibly anger and definitely betrayal.

There is something vulnerable about being let down. There is something lyrical in weaving a narrative around it.

Personally - I have never believed in marriage, or anything that can be held like an edifice. An edifice's only purpose is to eventually crumble....then why build it? Of course, the perverse argumentative soul in you will say....every life has to die, then why live? You now what...thats a great question too :-).

Read this book. Meditate on it, will possibly show you how dishonest each of us, even in front of the mirror.

Rated 10/10

Another 256 pages of this evocative magic, brings this years total to 3724 pages.

2412 : Reading list of 2018 : #10 : A line made by walking by Sara Baume

Stunning!! Thats the only word which comes to my mind. Probably deeply stunning. A strange read in the voice of someone who is crashing and depressed. 

The writing is divine. I fell in love with the book in the first few pages. A difficult read again (at times) again. But go for will remain with you till you die !!

There is a fragile beauty in this construction. Savor it, more importantly tend to it.

320 pages of writing that I will read many more times in my life. One for the collection.

I would rate this 10/10. I could change nothing here.

Total reading for 2018 is now at 3468.

2411 : Reading list of 2018 : #9 : The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe

My first book from Kenzaburo Oe. He is a legend in a local sort of way (in Japan). Is a Nobel Laureate, no lesser. 

I found this book haunting, and yet very difficult to keep pace with. Especially in the middle it just lost me at times. 

Like possibly all Japanese books (this is immensely visual and immersive).

An eerie book. Worth a read. Absolutely. Am glad I read it.

Overall - I would rate this 8/10 - and thats just because maybe the translator lost me at some places.

A 468 page tome this is, so stick to it - it does take time to complete.

My overall 2018 read is now at 3148 pages.

2410 : Reading list of 2018 : #8 : Revenge of the non-vegetarian by Upamanyu Chaterjee

(Images from

A strange book by Upamanyu Chaterjee. Has none of that "potty humor" that is both hilarious and juvenile at the same time, but more importantly was his signature.

And yet, he retains his ability to notice and verbalize the everyday in some of the poignant ways. I have read all of his book (except Mammaries of the welfare state), and he is scathing and almost "goose bumpish" in his ability to be poignant about the everyday (Read the Last Burden if you must!!)

70 odd pages of a story that pulls you in - into a world from the 50s. 

Completely gripping, but not his best or the best I have read in recent times.

I will rate it 7/10.

Brings my 2018 reading total to 2680.

Take a bow, Mr. Chaterjee, I do wish I could write like you. I really do !!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

2409 : Reading list of 2018 #6 & #7 : Sense of an ending by Julian Barnes

Very few books have left me with a such a strong sense of unease (as the Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes). It’s eerie (not evil), and it hits you hard. Especially in the last 25% of the book.

I do make it a point to read books that I like again. This is one of the few times when I have read the book twice in successive months (March and April).

This has to hands down one of the best books of my life. Haunting is the only way to describe it. A bit like Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness....just that “Sense of an Ending” is written by a master and it shows.

On a scale of 10 I would rate this book 11. Goes straight into my top 10 book list, maybe even at the top, only if Rushdie and Kundera did not crowd it out so much.

Pp 163 pages of pure literary magic. It’s like reading poetry.

I am going to so far as to say, that if I am dying...I want someone to read this book slowly to me. Thre is a truth here, that is more perverse than the lie.

Overall 11/10 (ha ha !!)

Brings my 2018 reading total to ~ 2610 pages

“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not,except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it,and how this affects our dealings with others.Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it;some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.” 
― Julian BarnesThe Sense of an Ending

“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.” 
― Julian BarnesThe Sense of an Ending

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

2408 : When genius failed (Amy Winehouse @ North Sea Jazz festival)

Amy Winehouse singing “What is it about men” @ the North Sea Jazz festival is so divine, its almost evil !!

I am truly obsessed with this song in the past couple of weeks. The vocal are sublime, they are melluflous; the jazz is so melancholic...and the lyrics are simply great poetry.

I can never get over the fated fact that Amy would rhyme words using the tongue and its twirls. If there are days, when I feel depressed about “death”, its only during times like this - when I have glimpsed what it is be floating in God’s own dream.

Amy is dead, long live Amy....


Understand, once he was a family man
So surely I would never, ever go through it first hand
Emulate all the shit my mother hated
I can't help but demonstrate my Freudian fate
My alibi for taking your guy
History repeats itself, it fails to die
And animal aggression is my downfall
I don't care 'bout what you got, I want it all
It's bricked up in my head, it's shoved under my bed
And I question myself again, "What is it about men?"
My destructive side has grown a mile wide
And I question myself again, "What is it about men? What is it about men?"
I'm nurturing, I just wanna do my thing
And I'll take the wrong man as naturally as I sing
And I'll save my tears for uncovering my fears
Our behavioral patters that stick over the years
'Cause it's bricked up in my head, it's shoved under my bed
And I question myself again, "What is it about men?"
Now my destructive side has grown a mile wide
And I question myself again, "What is it about men?"
Ooh, it's bricked up in my head and it's shoved under my bed
And I question myself again, "Now what is it about men?"
My destructive side has grown a mile wide
And I question myself again, "What is it about men? What is it about men?"

Sunday, April 29, 2018

2407 : Back to Black with Amy

I recently watched "Amy" the documentary about our lady Winehouse. Not once but twice. And its rekindled my love with her music, so much so that I have been listening to her on repeat. And I must admit, that I am so overwhelmed by her music.

She is genius, she is lost, she is bloody hurtful. Of course I am old, so there are so many places the lyrics appear naive, but at other places, the poetry is just so conveniently divine.

I can listen to her till I die :-).

Dear Amy, take a bow :-).

As I write this, the rhymes and bars of "you know I am no good" play in the background. I want to say "we are ten men down like roger Moore"....

A silent prayer for the candle that outshone the sun and then just went kaput :-).

The jazz riffs on "you know I am no good" are divine :-)

Sunday, April 08, 2018

2406 : Neurosis

In a Gaurdian Article on Facebook, read this quote on Neurosis. Quite liked it.

A neurosis is a secret that you don't know you are keeping.
- By Kenneth Tynan

Monday, April 02, 2018

2405 : Wanderer Nightsong II by Goethe

I discovered this poem by Goethe from Milan Kundera’s Immortality. He states every German worth his salt must know this poem (or song if you can recite it to the difficult meter).

Above all summits
it is calm.
In all the tree-tops
you feel
scarcely a breath;
the birds in the forest are silent.
Just wait, soon
you will rest as well.

In German

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

2404 : Reading list of 2018 : #5 : Julian Barnes' Noise of Time

Just finished my 2nd read of Julian Barnes “Noise of Time”. It’s easy to wonder why anyone would want to read a fictionalised account of Shastokovich’s biography.


I would read this book any number of times. I just love the way Barnes weaves his literary prose.

There is magic in going back to the Russia of the 50s and 60s.

A great read - overall 9/10.

A 201 page read. Brings my 2018 reading total to ~2290 pages :-)

Worth every minute of your time.

2403 : My dark fantasy

There is a new poison in town. Ice Cold coffee with a little bit of sweetener, or even plain natural bitter. If there is sweetener I prefer Milkmaid.

The resultant drink is plain manna. In the last 2 years I have substantially increased my coffee intake. My intestines seem to be loving it.

2402 : The classist Holi

Picture this.

Over two weekend(s) ago, that just went by, it was Holi - the festival of colors. I now live in a fairly large apartment complex in Mumbai.

There is something complicity classist about celebrating Holi in kind of place I live in.

The whole complex is singing and dancing in the “rain” party that is usually organised. This includes women, men and children. All dressed up in white or skimpy pieces or whatever rocks their fashion boat.

Everyone is swigging large moats of “bhang” (datura) or beer or some having Johnny Walking with them.


The maids and the security gaurds have to be excluded. Of course, how else will the complex continue to function. In fact this year I had the pleasure of seeing some inebriated urban rainbow colored hooligan scream at the gaurd for “being lazy” and not opening the door (parking gate) fast enough.

I keep telling myself, that there is bad blood on my hand. The amount of bad karma I accumulate everyday, I am sure the Devil thinks I am responsible for the run on “his” bank.

2401 : House of cards S5

It was eerie watching House of Cards S5 and realising that Frank considers "Double Endemnity" as one of his favorite movies. Its nice to see Claire and him play along with the movie.

Funny that just a month ago, I read the book. Now thats a universe's version of deja vu.

2400 : David Warner + Schadenfreude

I remember just a couple of months, I saw David Warner in the elevator @ Taj Krishna @ Hyderabad.

He walked out with me onto the ground floor. He was confidence and achievement personified. I could not help but be in awe of both the Vivre-de-Joie and what human beings are capable of achieving in a short run.

And then the last 2 weeks played out. And today David is saying he is completely broken.

Like the Buddhists say, everytime you see a living being, also see his/her dead self. As in logically - every living person will one day die. Similarly, who could have seen David in the elevator on that day and said "this too shall pass".

I am fascinated by the circle of life. I see it all around me. I have personally seen it very closely in my own life in the past 4 years. Its been a journey.

This too shall pass :-). As for schadenfreude - hold that day you will get to be the star too !!

My heart beats for David for will be one my favorite players.....he deserves forgiveness. He has all of mine. I would be proud of his life. Take a bow David and remember, this too shall pass :-). I speak from deeply entrenched experience.

Friday, March 02, 2018

2399 : Reading list of 2018 : #4 : Double Indemnity by James Cain

Picked this up on a whim. A very old book from the 30s I think or around. Was also converted into a movie.

The book is great for its plots, turns, twists....but most importantly it gives a sense of how life was in the 30s. I like the book, though I would still overall rate is around 7/10.

Its a small quick read 144 pages only.

Go for it, but dont expect the world to be like the sopho thrillers which we have seen in recent years.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

2398 : Khamma ghani

Someone at work has taken to wishing people by a pronouncedly exaggerated gesticulation and then loudly proclaiming "Ghani khamma".

Quora helped me understand this.

Marwaris wish others as "Khamma Ghani sa" (means colloquially lots of good wishes and blessings). Response is supposed to "Ghani Ghani Khamma Sa".

Of course there is also Ghani Kumbha sa - which refers to Rana Kumbha and bestows tons of "sons" on the person you wish to...and each son as brave as "Rana Kumbha".

Me is massively amused and tickled. Funny hain. I am going to make this my default wishing on my lighter days :-)

On a related note - Take a bow lady for the lightness you bring to work :-)

2397 : Durga Chew Bose on Sharon Stone's shoulders

From Durga Chew's book "Too much and not the mood"....she is easily one of the best writers I have ever read. Ever.

I’d heard talk of Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs in that infamous interrogation scene, but when I finally saw Basic Instinct, it was her shoulders pushed back on the chair that totally stunned me. I’d never experienced shoulders accelerating my pulse. I’d never seen a pair of shoulders communicate point of view. Liquidate a room of all its men and their presumption. Sharon Stone’s shoulders pushed back were like Whoa.

2396 : 1Q84 (Shadows and light)

“Where there is light, there must be shadow, where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow.... We do not know if the so-called Little People are good or evil. This is, in a sense, something that surpasses our understanding and our definitions. We have lived with them since long, long ago-- from a time before good and evil even existed, when people's minds were still benighted.”
Haruki Murakami

2395 : Narcos

I am now a avowed Netflix fan.

Add that to my dichotomy list. I am atheist who believes in Buddha. I am a peace loving person who eats eggs. I am Buddhist who kills. And now.....for someone who detests visual stimulation, I adore Netflix :-). Now counter that :-).

Production values, taut script, immaculate actors, brilliant Hollywood and Bollywood by a long mile.

I loved the dialogue "The purpose of war is peace".....its immensely philosophical.

I also loved the existential question - "Plato o Plomo ?" (Silver or Lead)

Or at somepoint someone says "Give him lead" (shoot him).

Take a bow Netflix :-). You have in me someone who is not even a cord cutter. I never had a TV, but now I am a Netflix fan. Of course it helps that I now hit the gym everyday, because thats where I catch this new crack :-).

2394 : (Art and the) Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

"Art belongs to everybody and nobody. Art belongs to all time and no time. Art belongs to those who create it and those who savour it. Art no more belongs to the People and the Party than it once belonged to the aristocracy and the patron. Art is the whisper of history, heard above the noise of time."

Friday, February 02, 2018

2393 : Faith will always point you to your true north

At a recent visit to a religious shrine, a certain vision struck me.

Picture this.
So I am meditating near the shrine's sanctum....and thats when I see this man who is blind (clearly so)....walking with the aid of a walking stick.

He is old, slightly decrepit (signs of poverty), slightly portly and his trousers are distraught. He slowly is walking towards the sanctum where the main body of consecration lies. He is walking across the ocean of people near him. Both oblivious and yet aware. One of the other devotees, notices him and holds his hands and guides him for the next 50 steps till the altar.

Here the blind man, silently prays for a few minutes, then he removes some money and drops it into the offering box. And then he slowly (laboriously) bends down. Very slowly infact.....he is trying to prostrate to the divine.

Thats when you realise that he cant seem to bend his right set of limbs. He seems to either have a stiff set of bones or a broken set of bones.

But over a good 30-90 seconds, bend he does. He touches his head onto the feet of the altar. He shudders as if he is weeping or as if this is a very profound moment for him.

A good minute or two later, he extricates himself off the floor. Again a slow process of getting up. And then once he has stood up, adjusted himself, regained his composure, he walks slowly backwards with his face to the shrine.

In this tiny sliver of my life, I have felt more divine than a million Vedic chants and a zillion tyrannical evangelists.......

This, to me, is what the human greatness is about. This is about what human beings are truly capable of. Being heroes and devotees at the same time. Being respectful and humble-nothings at the same time. Being blind and still seeing visions at the same time. Being able bodied (like me) and yet malformed at the same time.

Blind man who taught me how to see :-). Take a bow.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

2392 : Reading list of 2018 : Book 3 : 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

By now I have become a completely avowed Murakami fan. I just finished 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and its immersive, magical, surreal and yet very deep. Its like the Wind up bird chronicle, leaves you with very deep images - you almost get immersed into the story as if you were living it.

You form mental images of the characters - you see, hear and learn to understand them.

This book is in three parts spanning 1328 pages.

Completely worth a read. On a scale of 10, I would rate this 9 for its magic and its depth.

Total reads for 2018 now total around 1950 pages :-).

Good start to a year what say ? :-)

(Images courtesy google images)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2391 : Existential question - "Abhi bata tu raat mein kya karegi?"

So I am at CP (Delhi), post a meeting at around 940pm at night. I book a cab ride back to the hotel. As I wait in the pick up area, I hear this totally existential torrent, that is both bizarre and fruity-nuts at the same time.

So picture this.
A young couple are waiting near me. Guy is portly full of himself and the Girl is dressed like any other Delhi girl....leather jackets, knee length leather boots. Very chic (supposedly), but very un me :-).

So the girl books an Ola using her phone. And the guy tells her in goes.

Guy : Ho gaya? Done.
Girl : Yes.
(Then they both peer into the app with deep interest and curiosity....and then something happens...not clear to me,)
Guy screams at her with a totally Delhi level-10 indignation: What the fuck are you doing? (He is literally angry). Meine bola tha tu Ola app nahi upgrade kariyo....aur phir yeh (I had told ya not to upgrade the app...and yet you did this).
Girl sucks up the indignation.
Guy looks at her with rage and disgust. Then with a complete frusto look, adds to his previous tirade.
Guy : Abhi bata tu raat mein kya karegi? (Now what shall you do at night?)

And to me this is as bizarre and weird as the existential gold standard "Toh problem kya hain?". Watch Karan and Biswa above....Both of these phrases are now permanently part of my vocab.

My wife says - she is going to drive to the sea shore.
Me : Abhi bata tu raat mein kya karegi?

Sis says : I think I am going to take up the new job.
Me : Abhi bata tu raat mein kya karegi?

Friend says : I feel guilty, I ate two samoasas.
Me : Abhi bata tu raat mein kya karegi?

Get the drift?

2390 : The oppression of language

I have been besotted by the idea (in recent months), that language is indeed a tool of oppression. Like were the Vedas (in their abstruse greatness, I really do love them!!), intended originally for the sly purpose of "bucketism" by language?

Possible, right?

At least to me yes.

Today I watched this.....

I thought both the slam poetry and the narration were equally terrible. Apologies Diksha, I know you are young, but being authentic is usually ageless....and I am the angry judge, who you don't care and should never care about....but judge I will.

And yet....her central idea is bang on.

Not because I am a vernacular fan. I am in fact exactly like her, tormented by the malaise that is called much so....that English is my only primary language.


Also take a bow for someone like Jhumpa Lahiri, who just decides to permanently think and write in Italian because she likes Elena Ferrante. (On side notes, Jhumpa is gorgeous both as a person and a thinker, and Elena is a Goddess in the way she writes...:-)

In summary....think and look inward.

Friday, January 26, 2018

2389 : Moon face

“The moon had been observing the earth close-up longer than anyone. It must have witnessed all of the phenomena occurring - and all of the acts carried out - on this earth. But the moon remained silent; it told no stories. All it did was embrace the heavy past with a cool, measured detachment. On the moon there was neither air nor wind. Its vacuum was perfect for preserving memories unscathed. No one could unlock the heart of the moon. Aomame raised her glass to the moon and asked, “Have you gone to bed with someone in your arms lately?” 
The moon did not answer. 
“Do you have any friends?” she asked. 
The moon did not answer. 
“Don’t you get tired of always playing it cool?”
The moon did not answer.” 

Haruki Murakami 1Q84

Monday, January 15, 2018

2388 : The dark side of the moon

In the last two weeks - I have heard folks say

"I am the most happy and motivated leader at work."
"I have defended and driven collabration through some very difficult times."
"I drive a sense of peace, calm and purpose across the firm."
"If I give up, I shall take the ship down with me."
"I have saved and salvaged someone, who otherwise would have gone down a spiral."

First of all, big thank you !!. Really mean it.

If you ever saw me in my personal life, as I appear to my wife, mother and sister(s) (ah! the women in my life!!), you might see that the calm ocean soothes a turbulent volcano underneath. They would tell you I am a terror. I am monster of epic proportions. (They actually might use those phrases).

What causes a human to drive so much peace, calm, purpose @ work, but somehow be a sly failure in his personal endeavors.

Its strange, but true, and I have no qualms admitting to the Loch Ness that I sometimes can be.

One day, I hope the women in my life think and say things similar to the positive flowery phrases above. Till then, its my job to admit to all of you - that this moon does have a dark side, and its outlandishly black. In that part of me, black is the new black :-).

2387 : My ego bloats

I recently read that the habit of listening to a song on repeat ad nauseam is a sign of a very fertile creative mind. Supposedly only those who have a still mind can enjoy this ordeal :-)

Ha ha :-).

I do it all the time, and for once, I believed this research. I would like to believe I am the next Frida.

Right now I have heard Naina from my previous post some 20 times since I work on some complex powerpoint.

2386 : The truth that we make believe

Speaking of besottment (from the previous post), I cant even explain how obsessed I am with the song Naina from Omkara.

Essentially a song about how our own eyes can drive us to believe what is not. If you love poetry, this is just madness at another level. A whole song, that drives the point that "dont see what you already believe in:-)".

Metaphorically thats so true - we often see what we already believe in. I have been part of the jury and the judged in this game. The song resonates with a deep blur red in my heart.

Rahat is magical.


Rashid Khan is divine. Its beyond goose pimples.

I dont know at how many levels should I bow to - Gulzar, Vishal, Rahat, Rashid. This is truly sublime.

2385 : Velocity of Thought by Mia Muratori.

I came across this art from

And was immediately besotted by this :-). Just love it.

If I could get a print, I would buy this. Canvas ideal :-)

2384 : Chekhov on guns (Via Murakami's 1Q84)

“According to Chekhov," Tamaru said, rising from his chair, "once a gun appears in a story, it has to be fired."
"Meaning what?"
"Meaning, don't bring unnecessary props into a story. If a pistol appears, it has to be fired at some point. Chekhov liked to write stories that did away with all useless ornamentation.”

Background to this is - Aomame (the protagonist) is asking Tamaru (a bodygaurd) to somehow source her a gun (with just one bullet) so that she can kill herself if she is ever captured (in the process of committing a difficult task).

I found this deep and very insightful. Its simple, but immense in its implications.

(I did not plan on it this way, but coincidentally this post ends with 84 :-))

2383 : Brilliant Disguise

Fabolous song writing @ Brilliant Disguise by Bruce Springsteen. If I could do away, I shall do away with the "baby" but the rest is truly mellow.

Now you play the loving woman
I'll play the faithful man
But just don't look too close
Into the palm of my hand
We stood at the alter
The gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied
So when you look at me
You better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2382 : What is Litost?

“Litost is a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.”

 - Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

2381 : Reading List of 2018 : Book 2 : The Book of Laughter and Forgetting : Milan Kundera

Just finished the read of Milan Kundera's masterclass into introspection around both Forgetting and Laughing.

Its immersive and addictive.

I could write pages on the beauty of this prose.

On a rating scale of 10, I would rate this a good 9.5. Milan Kundera will forever remain one of my favourite authors

Total pages : 320

On a related note, I have read the Henry Michael translation and I find the lyrical, poetic and just beautiful. Which also means other than the central idea, pretty much the prose and the lyrical quality of it, should be attributed to Henry Michael.

Does that mean I like Henry Michael more than Kundera? Think :-)

(all images below from tumblr and goodreads)

2380 : The scooter chronicles

Picture this.

In the complex I live, there is a runner's slope with a gradient of about 25 odd degrees. Whenever I can, I try and jog a bit to feel better - both about my weary and weak heart, and about the silences that running can offer. 

At various points, I have run during both mornings and evenings. And now I have noticed that a "lower middle economic" youth (swear don't mean to be classist, just wanted to leave you with an image) drives over in a black Honda Active with two huge bags of steel boxes. These are the small round steel boxes which can possibly feed an adult.

This "person" lets call him Mr. Good - parks it on top of the slope (hill). As he parks, his scooter has an entourage of some 10-15 stray dogs who run behind like a sequenced motorcade. He then opens up some 15 boxes with the precision of a server who has forever been feeding at banquets - which means fast, smooth and still courteous. 

The boxes include rice, some lentils and some veggies/meat. Each dog grabs a bowl (no sharing....) and finishes the meal off in about 40 seconds. With the same mechanical precision that he had opened it up, he closes the boxes and begins his drive down the hill. He parks at the bottom of the hill and another 15 boxes open up - and a different set of 10-15 dogs finish the job on hand.

Post this, Mr. Good packs up and drives off. This whole scene then repeats itself in the evening. With clockwork precision.

As I have watched this over and over again, I do posit - Good karma is never hard, it just "is".  

Secondly, an odd thought crosses my mind - what happens on the day Mr. Good falls ill, or breaks a leg or just dies. Does that event mean this "movie" temporarily either stalls or ends. 

There is a short story hidden in this imagery. Coming one day soon :-)

2379 : Destroying a people(s)

Various writers have written about this, that the easiest way to destroy a people(s) (read a community, country or identity) is to attack its culture, language and ethos.

It just came up in Milan Kundera's "The Book Of Laughter and Forgetting" again.

Of course over years, I have had the luxury and pain of thinking and introspecting on this topic - both in my wannabe "social anthropologist" and my "Marco economist" avatars. 

The more I have meditated, I am more and more sure that folks are indeed correct. Even a subtle attack on culture (shared wisdom) is a dent in an identity. This just not does not apply to despots and countries, but it equally applies to "corporate leaders" and organisations.

Though I think of this usually as a "mass destruction" weapon....and hence "destroy" in the subject line.....I completely recognise that sometimes it can also be a vehicle for change....albeit very rarely.....a related question is, how many times has culture (shared wisdom) been grossly wrong?

Its a deep insight that this thought leaves me with, and I don't like the aftertaste.

2378 : Age is just a number

I have never been more aware of my age. As I continue to share my workspace with 20 somethings, it never fails to amaze me how much more they are intelligent and "arrived" than I ever was in my 20s.

Of course, I have been successful in forging the fragile balance where we marry their immense skills and confidence, with that "age old" gold sometimes recognised as "wisdom".

Today as I listened to the song called "Dil tho baccha hai ji", the Gulzar classic from "Ishqiya", I realised that the song is essentially an "old man's ode" to his own "young heart". Notice the words "man" and "ode". Yes thats what the song is all about.

One line never fails to catch my ear there "
Saari jawani katra ke kaati
Piri mein takra gaye hain
Coarsely translated as "
I have spent my whole youth guarding against the fall,
And look at the irony, today I bumped into her at the market" 

I can completely sing in chorus with Gulzar. The young heart trapped in an ever raging body.

Take a bow.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

2377 : Milan Kundera

Have eternally been in love with Milan Kundera. In my troubled times, I seek solace in him. He occupies a special place in my life, in the same pedestal as Alan Watts.

Over time I have of course, added (Salman) Rushdie and (Haruki) Murakami to the list. I can pretty much-read anything they have written and know that I can find my peace and solace in them.

While Alan Watts forces my mind to still, Rushdie steers me to joy and epiphany, Murakami transports me into a world that is as real as the wort on my feet...its Kundera who always evokes the poet in me.

Makes me introspect and pause. Makes me want to not read fast enough so that the book never ends. Quite seriously.

How does a stranger I have never met, impact me in such deep ways.....difficult to explain. Elena Ferrante makes me want to learn Italian, Murakami makes me want to learn Japanese...but Kundera makes me yearn to be Czech....not just to learn French or German. Get the drift?

Take a bow, dear Kundera. I have been blessed to discover and read you.

Image from A2ZQuotes

2376 : The genius called Morporia

From Mumbai mirror dated 2nd Jan 2018.

Take a bow :-). This is around the time BMC went on a rampage and tore down about 400 restaurants with illegal constructions post the Kamala Mills Fire from prior days.

The genius of a comic is that he can evoke a smile even in depair. He is appealing to your melancholy by telling you what you already know....but surfacing the "unsayable".

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

2375 : Zen by Alan Watts

I like this quote around Zen. Its simple and yet it is true.

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.

2374 : Reading list of 2018 : Book 1 : Haruki Murakami : Colorless Tsukuru Tzakai and his year of pilgrimage

So today on a flight, I chose to read instead of working. And the book I started yesterday, I finished it up.

This is true magic in the way Murakami can pull you into his world. I was hooked - though this is not a thriller or a pot boiler...its everyday humdrum, that just pulls you in with its surreal imagery.

On a rating of 10, I would rank this 9.
Definite must read again someday.

Go for it. Approx 300pp. Worth ever minute of your time.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2373 : Rage

Looks like Rage is the emotion to define 2018 :-).
The angry man in me is back :-).
Rage is back. So is murder :-)

2372 : Riding with the king BB King + Eric Clapton

One of my all time favorite songs....Eric Clapton with the King (BB King).
This song can get me into the mood anytime of the year.
Play on a loud speaker system and be enthralled with Eric's vocals and the overall jazzy sounds.

2371 : Time by Pink Floyd

A good reminder for the start of 2018....from my all time favorite folks....

“And then the one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun”