Sunday, December 29, 2019

2686 : Its a circle that never seems to open oxymoron....

Yes....its a strange title for a post.

At for the last 6 months I have been struggling. Struggling is actually an understatement. I have gasping for some silence and for some breath of focus. I have hardly finished books. I have about 3 dozen of them half finished, which means I am still reading, but I am not finishing these books.

And I have been terrible at writing. I mean real "focussed" writing.

All of these indicate a deterioration of my mental facade.

Will I recover? Yes, I believe so. Will I finish the circle? Yes. Of course.

Till then, its just another day in Paradise :-).

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2685 : What good content feels like (Anurag Kashyap + Neelesh Misra)

This is what an intelligent pair of human beings look like. This is what honestly looks like. This is what vulnerability looks like. This is what good content looks like.

I love Anurag Kashyap.....even more...after this. 
This is what a good human being looks like.

(Listen to the last minutes....and he says...I never gave time to anyone.....he says it in different ways multiple times...and then after a pause....he says with a finality....."now, today, after all these years....I just don't know how to give time..."....sounds like my voice :-( )

Friday, December 27, 2019

2684 : Poetry

I have said this many times before...shall say this entire love and understanding of poetry comes from my music. Music and songwriting has shaped me entirety and my whole life, possibly.

Its one of the real truths I know in this life.

Whether its an Abhang by Tai (Kishore Amonkar) or a Pink Floyd (to whom I owe my entire education) or Gulzar......

I learnt my love for life from songs. My epitaph should be a song. Remember that :-).

As I write this....the boombox speaker behind is starting up "Mar Jaawan from Madhur Bhandarkar's of my all-time favorites.

Soche dil ke aisa kaash ho,
Tujko ek nazar meri talaash ho
Jaise khwab hain ankhon mein base meri,
waise neendon mein silvetey padi teri

I wish that someday even this shall play out,
Wherein you shall be yearning for one glance for (me) round and about,
Just like the dreams that are dancing on my eyes,
(I hope) that (your blissful) sleep is creased (made uneven) by my cries.....

2683 : Silence and the art of alternative rock

As 2019 comes to an end, I have re-discovered my love for alternative rock. A genre that died with the 1990s and 2000s - I think. A whole generational angst came to end......

And here I am suffering a late resurgence of angst.....

As Eddie Vedder sings "Even Flow" I can feel my blood rising again.

Am I regressing? Maybe.

But tell me who can write lyrics poetry like
"Kneelin' looking through the paper though he doesn't know to read, ooh yeah
Oh, prayin', now to something that has never showed him anything
Oh, feelin', understands the weather or that winters on its way
Oh, ceilings, few and far between all the legal halls of shame, "

I can never write like that, and that shall be my epitaph....knowing that I could never write magic like that.

Why the subject (of the post) and "silence"?
I have started sometimes (one off) listening to a few of these songs with eyes closed....doing nothing, and being nothing....and when the song ends...I emerge out of a if I was in a trance....always happens....and that magic rush always leaves me the beauty of the exerpeicne essentially coming out of violent sound. 
(Try listening to Green Day singing "When I come around...." with eyes closed and a noise cancelling earbud....and I believe you shall know what I mean or try Collective Soul's singular genius of a song "Shine").

From Shine
Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

2682 : Sagar Jaise

And one final song for the night.....

Also heard an old low res recording of Saagar Jaise Ankhon Wali (from Saagar)...and had goose pimples.

Kishore Kumar, RD Burman and Javed Akhtar......if this is not magic, what is ?

Lyrical magic....and the harmony (notice the chorus) are just pure genius. Undiluted.

And as Kishore da changes the notes (he moves one octave lower (or so I believe)) in a certain section...(when he says....Dil Kehta hain....tu yahan toh.....)......what a charm!!

On a whim went out and saw a grainy video on youtube too.

And if you don't fall for Dimple all over again(if you prefer girls...that is :-)), there is something completely wrong in your wiring......

On a melancholic note.....was hurting for a love that I seem to have lost along the way. And no google maps can help you along this journey, of the heart, as the poets would call this :-(.

Jade and diamonds form part of the black rain :-)

2681 : Sofia Karlberg singing Smells Like Teen Spirit

I am a Cobain (Kurt) fan....and then I love the Sofia Karlberg cover.....Its raw and hurts.

And then I heard it on my Master and Dynamic MH40 and I was blown away. 

Hear her singing,

"Load up on guns, bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's over-bored and self-assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word" singes....

If I hear music like this on this kind of sound, I can work for 20 hrs a day......

I mean it.....

2680 : Master and Dynamic MH40

I picked up these headsets 2 years ago, and yes I love the finer sounds in life :-). 
Judge me, but I am quite a sucker for the sound.

And today I unwrapped them. Yes, I am lazy too.....:-)

And spent over 5 hrs listening to songs on this.

And then I played "Where the streets have no name"....and I mean it, it was like heaven, peace and bliss had descended into my world.

The sound is out of the world....its nothing like my bose buds I otherwise use. The range is raucous. 

Worth the top dollars these cost.

2679 : U2 - Where the streets have no name

I was just a little away from my teenage years when in 1987, I heard (saw) "Where the Streets have no name" by U2 on Doordarshan (DD as we call it in India).

For a long time I believed it was NY it was shot in. It was recently that I read it was actually LA.....wikipedia says it was " roof of a liquor store at the corner of 7th St. and S. Main St.".

I had never heard this song (before 1987) when I saw it on DD, on a 30 minute show that showcased the "Grammy Nominees"....and yet the first time I saw it, I was truly blown away.

One listen (or see) and I was completely hooked. And 32 years on....I still adore this song. And the video. I don't think I shall ever tire of this song.

As an aside And I remember the other nominees that year were (which also played on the 30 min slot - 9 to 9.30pm I believe) - they played Graceland (Paul Simon's immortal classic) and Barbara Streisand's Somewhere. Quite an eclectic list....not all of the ones were actual Grammy Nominees, as I later understood.

Also another side, I just got my daughter hooked onto this song. She loves this :-)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

2678 : Refrigerators and the sounds of silence

Urban life does not allow you more than 10 seconds of silence. I am not exaggerating. Its what I feel. Sons and daughters, family, social media, phone, door bells, random screams (and yells) from the apartment complex....and the cacophony goes on. Each yanks you from your reverie.

What would I not give to get a few hours undisturbed, with some funky BB King or Dire Straits in the background.

And then, when someone asks me why do I struggle to write....all I can do is look at them with anguish and helplessness.

Silence is such an integral part of life.

When a tree fell in the forest, no one heard it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

2677 : How to win a fight

One more from NYtimes....

It was a good year to pick a fight. In his novel “Machines Like Me,” Ian McEwan had advice for winning one: “In a full-on row it was not necessary to respond to the last thing said. Generally it was best not to. In an attacking move, ignore bishop or castle. Logic and straight lines were out. Best to rely on the knight.

2676 : I am a lie

From Milan Kundera's Laughable Loves.....

"You see, Klara", I said, "you think that a lie is a lie, and it would seem that you are right. But you are not. I can invent anything, make a fool of someone, carry out hoaxes and practical jokes - and I don't feel like a liar and I don't have a bad conscience. these lies, if you want to call them that, represent me as I really am. With such lies I am not simulating anything, with such lies I am in fact speaking the truth. But there are things I cannot lie about. There are things I have penetrated, whose meaning I have grasped, that I love and take seriously. I can't joke about these things. If I did I'd humiliate myself. Its impossible, don't ask me to do it, I can't."

2675 : Who is a tyrant?

And from the same article (referred earlier), comes this other gem....

Plump new collections of Wendell Berry’s nonfiction were issued by the Library of America. In one essay, Berry described a lesson learned in military school: “Take a simpleton and give him power and confront him with intelligence — and you have a tyrant.”

2674 : Whats 29000 cigarettes worth?

From the article in NyTimes....comes this gem by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“The best writers are the ones who tend to write less and smoke more,” Márquez wrote, “and so it’s normal that they need at least two years and 29,000 cigarettes to write a book of 200 pages. What that means in good arithmetic is that just on what they smoke they spend more than what they’ll earn from the book.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2673 : The long tail

Here is a thought experiment.

“When was the last time you sat down (or focussed), closed your eyes (or remain undistracted) and totally completely immersed yourself in a song?

No reading, cooking, walking, gymming, exercising, talking to friends.....nothing. 

Just you and the song.

My bet is most of us would struggle to remember the last time we did this. As in, it would that long in the past. In most cases years, if not more.

And I mean, “hearing” a song, not “seeing” one.

I can speak for myself. I have lost the ability to immerse myself into anything, other than a movie. But even a movie (I can be completely into it), not because of my powers of focus, but because the movie shuts off all of your senses. As in, in this case, the movie does all the hard work - I just submit.

I cant remember when I sat down and read for 1 hr+ undisturbed. Or listened to a song undisturbed by anything else.

And that state of affairs, in my own life, makes me feel “as if I have let myself down”. As if, I have sent myself to the cleaners.

The Buddha in his wisdom said - look inward. I in my life, do nothing but escape myself. And that’s all I do - for years on end. 

Something does not add up. Something will give. I will pay.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

2672: Filler

I don't understand a lot of the world around me or its rituals.

For example, take us paying a lot of money for average-to-shabby food in an expensive food joint. And we rationalize it saying - "its all about the experience".

And yet, something does not add for me at al.
The crumbleass tasteless decor (lacks complete personality), or the sad looking servers (who you all-the-time-in-the-back-of-your-head know are an extremely exploited lot), or the sadder looking food (which looks and feel industrial), the un-recognizable drone of a music playing in the background.

And this is the sample description of not a hole in the wall, but a good "upscale" five star, or even a fine dining place.

The reason I think this dichotomy exists, because that enterprise's primary goal is cost optimization and to make money - at the heart of even a very glamorous five star, is usually a stressed business.

Contrast this with your father, or your friend who cooks for you - he/she is not stressed, they are cooking with you in mind (even if they don't know enough, or cannot cook to your tastes). The point is, their goal is still to make "happy good" and "for you."

That tiny subtle difference in intent, makes all the difference. I have now grown so tired of the "food experiences", that I crave for either my own cooking or food from someone who I know and is cooking for me.

My favorite chef/cook of all time remains a neighbor of mine called "Mamta Pias", who I used to call as "Mamta aunty" who was a bengali married into a christian house.....and the mutton curry she made - was manna. I got my first taste of meat in her kitchen, and though I am off meat now (except eggs) for almost 4 years now - I would not miss a beat sampling her curry again, only if I could.

I say that "only if I could" wistfully. "Eating out" is a filler (of time and an expensive way to waste your time). "Good food" on the other hand is a filler too (but of the soul, the well-being and the eternal human desire to fly like an eagle). 

Friday, December 06, 2019

2671 : Stock up on the gold

Walking on company, swimming in froth, running away from the flurry.
Silence is golden. 

2670: I am not the man I am

Sometimes, and I don't mean it (the “sometimes”) as deprecation, but sometimes....actually no, maybe often, I feel completely out of place. As in, almost like an out of body experience.

“I dont belong here”. And I dont in those moments. I am sitting with a bunch of people, wondering, why am I here? And more so, why I am being someone I absolutely am not. Someone who does look like me, think like me, or talk like me.

I am at these points trying to be someone who I am absolutely not.

Is that often? Is it good to be a fake? Don’t feel proud of it.

I feel shabby, empty and deeply hollow when I recognise these moments.

Is there a way to improve on this?

Yes. My answer is yes. Go silent. Go inwards and in those murky depths, I shall see, “I am not who I am trying to be.”

The insincerity of my own personality, and my cognition of it, leaves me lost. No personal compass. No personal north. Just a unhinged free fall.

Monday, December 02, 2019

2669 : Dilemma of love

Picture this.

In the same block as I live, lives an older lady (say about 60...unsure, but lets assume that). She is already a grandmother and her entire immediate family lives along the block. So there are at least 4 sons/daughters/cousins and about 6 grand children.

And the family owns about 8 cars amongst themselves, employing 4 drivers as well. And they also have two dogs. One of which is quite literally adopted off the street (after an accident crushed one of his legs). So he has only 3 legs.

The key highlight, is the entire family loves dogs. So much so, that the matriarch (the lady I mentioned above) prepares about 12 boxes of food everyday (via her cook) and has her driver deliver it to junction (point)within the apartment complex, where about 20 stray dogs collect at the appointed time for this grub.

With me on this drift? She is appreciable, the intent is even more poetic, when you actually witness it yourself (like I have done innumerable times).

I love dogs, so I get it.

So yesterday I met the driver (who delivers the dog food), a muslim (that's incidental), and someone with whom I have a chatty in quite literally, we chat when we meet.

So after the niceties, I smiled and asked him, in Hindi, "Dog food?". He smiled and nodded. And I said, "Daal Chawal Roti?", as in rice-lentil soup and wheat bread.....and he said...."".

And after a pause, he continued, he said, everyday about 2 kgs of chicken meat is cooked. And he said, "I know it because I buy it.".

Now comes the interesting bit. I am wondering what's going on in the driver's head. An average driver in India makes between 15k-25k rupees. A kg of  chicken meat costs about 250-300 rupees.

The driver at best can afford 1-2 kgs per week for his three daughters, and that is if he really stretches.

And yet, he helps the matriarch, feed about 2 kgs of chicken to the dogs every night.

This whole story - brings two questions into the spotlight:
1) Is it fair that the matriarch feeds 20 dogs every night, versus her driver's children might not have access to the same quality of the food? (My answer is, its just a question of perspective - so this is a choice)
2) Is it ethically ok to kill about 1-2 chicken at night everyday (so about 500 chickens a year) to feed the 20 dogs? (That in my view, is the real ethical dilemma).

I am also wondering, what would the Buddha do?
Really...what would he do?

Sunday, December 01, 2019

2668 : Monogamy

Monogamy is quite a dastardly concept. Not only does it shackle you to something that is absurd, but it also adds layers of insecurity into the world around us.

If that is correct, which means - we think this might be plausible, then why does it exist at all?

My understanding is monogamy is a Christian construct from the 1500-1600, which was more political and plebeian (as in applied only to commoners, not to royalty). 

What started off a political gimmick, has become a monster of its own. 

Its bizarre and makes little to no sense to me - and I mean there is no driver for this drivel other than political and legal motivations.

Would I still practice monogamy? Technically I do. 

The real q - is that what I think makes the world a better place? Fk that. Will I tell my kid this is a core value to my being. I think this is not even a core value to simians, and we are more evolved. 

Its almost like asking - is "not killing" a core value? Try asking that to a samurai warrior. Living in "isolated peace" and manufactured structure allows us to chase randomly constructed values like "non violence". 

The real world is full of violence. Every single step. Every moment, large parts of this world (even just our microcosm, forget the larger universe) are violently being killed and yet are feeding newer organisms/processes, which shall help something else start anew. Take volcanoes as an example. Take earth's core as an example. We depend for everything on the sun, which is nothing but "pure undiluted violence.". 
Assignment for each of you :-). Now go figure. The real world does not understand monogamy :-).