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”