Tuesday, August 31, 2021

3786 : Buddha in Suburbia

 


3785 : On a leaf and prayer

 


3784 : My daughter's father

Daughter is turning out to be quite an artist. (I mean only in the sense of drawing and painting). She is not that good yet, but she is self taught.

She has started teaching me. So I will post some of my completely novice sketches.


Monday, August 30, 2021

3783 : Reading List 2021 : #11 : Hisham Matar's The Return

Good memoirs seem to be this year (strangely constructed sentence). I meant this year is incarnate with some great memoirs.

This one is stunning.

18/10 as I always say for outstanding books. Very similar to the Semezdin Mehmoodinnovic's My Heart.

This one is about Libya and a person's intimate connection with his imprisoned father. Such poetry in motion. Such a moving slice of real life.

Totally loved this book. 

At 304 pages brings my 2021 reading to 2372 pages.

Images from the Guardian.




3782 : Struggling with health

Have been struggling in the past few days. With health. With mental fitness.

Nothing dangerous, but an ailment all the same.

One day this too shall pass. Hope this "one day" is tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

3781 : Pakistan is better

Ha ha...the title was a click bait :-)

But yes, Pakistan is infinitely better in its music, and its food. I wish we could travel and mix more freely. I dont no grouse with that people. They are me.

If you dont trust this, listen to Coke Studio Pakistan......beats Coke Studio India by a million miles.

3780 : Totally addicted to Ustad Rizwan and Ustad Muazzam

I have been listening to them almost the whole day today. Not for the faint hearted, but their Qawalli's are Gold. Stirring.

As addicitive as Sufi can be.

https://open.spotify.com/track/6nkjhWoTpFHsfolWK1fmBY 

Give it a listen, esp if you like Sufi Qawwals. I can listen to this for the rest of my life - on repeat :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

3779 : Withdrawal vs losing

When you withdraw from a transaction or a situation (like the kind John Galt made fashionable), you often take away participation from the farce. From the personal tragedy that might be unfolding for you.

Versus, when you lose - you kind of give up or just wave the white flag. 

I am not sure which is better - but I always seem to be prefer the John Galt model. Then you can watch with a dispassionate eye, as the enemy infiltrates you.

Withdrawing is possibly more stoic too.

3778 : I have been devoring war tales

I am obsessed with Auschwitz, Gaza, Libya, Turkey, Partition....and almost every war torn story. And its not war that I seem to be really fascinated with. Its the displacement that it seems to cause. I find a great kinship with the displaced. 

How do you explain this?

How do I explain this?

I am reminded of this funny incident a few days ago. My dad was telling me that you will find kinship what the things that are from your previous birth and karma.

As I think about this, I chuckle with amusement, but wonder - how do I explain my great sense of wonder with displacement, even to myself.


3777 : The spiral

This happened some time ago. I was sitting across of him.

Neither of us talking. Me pretending or even actually reading the kindle. He just sitting with his eyes closed. Intermittently, those eyes would open, glance around and shut down again.

Either he was visually challenged, or never figured that I was still stealing glances at him. In those moments, I saw a deep resignation. The sigh and sign of a man who has started packing up from the scene. 

What part of him or his body made me feel that way, its hard for me to nail down. Maybe his shoulders, or his neck, or his expression.

As I think of it today, again, it was his gaze. His eyes. They were looking inwards into his nothing self.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

3776 : Khaled's Aicha

Listening to Aicha live on a system that brings my house down....is so satisfying.

Speaking Persian (or a variant of that) is the best thing you can do to your diction.

What a vocal range Khaled has. In a single sentence, he probably transcends an octave.

Listening to Didi after this song....and phew his range. Of course these are songs I have heard for a good 20 years. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW...goose pimples.

What perfect harmony and such great improvisation while the song is playing. Just watching him sing on stage is such an experience.





3775 : What we all want to be ?

"We want to be the poets of our life."

Friedrich Nietzsche

3774 : Olivia Vedder My Father's Daughter

Phew!!

What a stunning song. Totally blown away.

I love Eddie Vedder and now his daughter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ18DXg7b7c



3773 : Tori Chab by Rustom Fateh Ali Khan

Found this on Youtube. Simply stunning.

But cannot find it on Spotify. Found it on Amazon Music though. Addicted to this sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMBD4ONmBk0



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

3772 : Salsa is hard

 One step 

    forward

two step 

    sideways

three steps

    stumble

four steps

    imbalance

five steps

    the song is fading away.

3371 : Learning to count

I was always bad with maths as a kid.

And then, as I grew into an adult - the list of open questions in my head - grew and grew. So much so, that I had to number them.

I have to learnt to count enough - that math is second nature to me.

3370 : Bring it all down

It takes years to build a home (use it as a metaphor for whatever else you want to replace it with). It then takes many years to embellish it. Another many years to engulf a soul into it.

And then it takes a day to bring the house down. Just a day. 

What does it mean? Nothing, much. Thermodynamics is correct - entropy is more natural than we shall ever realise?

And yet - we all contribute to that road rage. 

One day, someone will remember my home.

3369 : Caged in

The monkey looked out from his cage. Other monkeys were wildly swinging in the wild. Total wilderness and chaos, till at one point a predator swooped in one of the younger monkeys. And that set the cat among the pigeons. 

Every monkey worth their salt was now perched on a highest tree trunk.

While this monkey (our friend) sat calmly in his cage. Untouched and unbothered by this chaos.

He often dreams of freedom, but he also tells himself that where else will he be regularly fed, and where else in the world - can he sleep a good 8 hrs - without ever being disturbed?

The joys of being caged in are just another crack in the perspective.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

3368 : Out of rhyme (modern Haiku)

It is so true

that "you" never

does rhyme with "me"

3667 : The search

I hear you. You are damn funny. You are so magnetic. I am green with envy.

I observe every aspect of you. Is it your tone, your language, your eyes, your hands, your gestures, your timing.....? I can't figure it out.

Finally, I zoom in on your little finger. Love is like that little finger.

3666 : This and that

I read folks write happy poems, and I feel envy.

I want to write happy poems too. I cannot seem to do that at all.

Same with writing comedy into my fiction. I just cannot. It does not come naturally to me at all.

Monday, August 16, 2021

3665 : The doctor and the patient

I met you after years. You were now a doctor. We got talking. We never touched upon what mattered, and what we lost. We meandered.

At some point, you said, "is there something ailing?"

I said "yes".

"Tell me, I might be able to help."

"Its my heart. I have a hole in my heart. You might have been able to help. That boat though sailed a long time ago."

And I chuckled and add, "And you don't need to be a doctor, to be able to resolve this."

3664 : Touchdown by Bob James


I have been listening to Jazz for years....at least the recent 5-7 years.

And the more I listen, the more it draws me in.

And today, I heard Touchdown by Bob James for the first time.

Totally bowled over.

Phew!!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

3663 : Freedom

Freedom (both personal and societal) is lost in inches. A bit like the frog in the boiling water. You never know that you are about to be fried (and lose your freedom). 

To gain back the freedom, one has to go through a huge reversal. That journey is always ardous.

Today, I really meditate on what is lost, and why I never fought, and never fight.


3662 : Whats at the end of the world

We drove till what appeared to the end of the world. We expected to find a dead end, a cul de sac. What we instead found was a restaurant. Turns out after all, that Douglas Adams was on the money.

3661 : Lover's tiff

We drove upon a friendly road

    Before we had our lover's tiff

We thought the cul-de-sac was a node

    We turned into a free fall cliff


3660 : Born in the USA

Listening to a live version of the Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA" and its raucous fun.

Its probably one of the best anti-war songs I have heard in my life.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

3559 : The intellectual rabbit hole

At what point does, my pursuit of understanding become a mechanism of my own ego reinforcement? 

It probably does. I recognize it. 

At what point does it border on the unhealthy?


Friday, August 13, 2021

3558 : Happiness

Why is "happiness" so hard for all us, including me?

For me personally, its not well defined too. I am not running to a goal, or a plan. I just have a vague idea of the destination, and hoping that just driving around - I might magically see the destiantion.

This has challenges. I don't think, I will not be able to recognize it when I see it.

So I don't know happiness. Dont know how it looks like. Dont know how to drive to it. Dont know how to stay put, if I reached there. 

This problem compounds exponentially if you are willing to go into your own rabbit hole.


3557 : Kabir says

I am listening to one of my favorite songs. Its by Kabir and sung by the brilliant Maestro Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.

Kehi Samjhaoon,

Sabh Jag Andha Re......



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

3556 : An act in 4 plays

Son. Brother. Partner. Father.

An act in 4 plays.

3555 : Rubber

Diaper.

Eraser.

Bands. 

Condoms.

Bullets.

The strange cycle of rubber in our lives.

3554 : Benetton Home Shopping Catalogue

 I dont know if its only me, but I distinctly remember seeing "Benetton Home Shopping Catalogues" in the early of the 90s at our homes.

Few, but a few, here and there scattered.

I can't seem to find any images on google images. Are there not remnants anyone has?

Is it just me, or a figment of my imagination?


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

3553 : Different boats

The boats were enough for just one of us. We sat in two different ones. 

It was supposed to be just a half an hour row to the other shore. The shore which housed our temple.

We clasped our hands, said "see you on the other side". At the shore. New beginnings. A better history.

One of our boats rowed faster than the others. We landed on different parts of the shore. That meant a uniquely different history.

Who's to blame - you, boat, the boatman, the rowing, me ?????

I know the answer. The river.

3552 : Clandestine

 We danced, and you said fine.

    We drank, and you said wine.

We bet, and you said mine.

    We thawed, I said clandestine.

3551 : The older me

My mom tells me, I was a very content baby. Even on the day I was born. I needed the food, and I needed my sleep. Singularly focussed.

The journey from then to today has been one of slowly devolving and slowly adding more discontent into my life. Possibly.

What it would take to slowly go back to that equilibrium?


Monday, August 09, 2021

3550 : What we dont mean (and mean)

I was talking to someone, someone much older than me, and he said "don't say what you don't mean". It was meant to cut off simple feel goodies like "take care, love you."

Now that person could have said, "don't say what you don't fully mean....", which would still have been easier.

My sense is when I usually (used to) say - "take care, be safe and love you", that usually signals that that's what I mean for the other. It's impossible for me to ensure any of the above, including "love you", because semantically "love" can mean such different things to each of us.

I still tell some people sweet goodies.....but I am careful. I don't want the other person to trip.

I usually mean well for others. In fact, I always wish well for others. Including those who I dont get along with. My sense is, them hitting the ball out of the park takes nothing away from me. 

So coming back......How do I now convey this to others? Especially to those I care for. That I care for, they mean a lot to me, and I do "love them".

I don't have an appropriate answer. Nowadays, I just say "bye". Most times thats my refrain, even to  the daughter.


3549 : The last shards

In the past 5 years, f/b I hear has shocked me. 

And it shakes my inner core. We all carry an impression of what each of us are. 

And as I hear things about myself, I realise how broken I might be.

It's like a great punch in your stomach. I am telling myself; I have to reinvent myself, through these bleak times.

Shaken and stirred.


3548 : Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra

Am listening to Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra....and they will continue to be one of my all time favorites. They always bring me such immense peace. 

I am listening to Raga Kaushik Darbari.



Saturday, August 07, 2021

3547 : Discontinuity

Sometimes in the middle of a chat I completely float away. Out of no dis-respect to anyone else. Its more my own sense of incredulity - is this chat real? Is this what I have become? Is this what we have become?

That uttter sense of disbelief that this is "me". Total and complete sense of isolation. 

Feels like ADHD, but actually its the complete opposite - you are actually very deeply mindful of the chat in the moment, observing it as a neutral person.


3546 : Why?

I was speaking to someone way older than I am. We got around to speaking about my writing (and hence eventually a bit about this blog too).

So the chat went something like this....(recreating from memory)

She said, "Why do you write?"

"It helps me collect my thoughts and ideas."

"Is that it? Or is there a deeper reason?"

"...and for posteriety?"

"Posteriety for whom, the daughter?"

"Possibly, even for myself. If I am 60, I want to look back and see how I evolved."

"Ok. I am old, but I would be hard pressed to find my evolution from my writing, unless I was a writer. Which means unless I wrote full time, or enough in a day, its very hard to document a real journey."

"Hmmmm"

"Are you sure this is not an attempt to leave legacy?"

"Possibly. Yes. That too."

"Why would people want to remember you or me? I am going to gone anytime soon. When we remember, we romanticize things. There is an inherent asymmetry in how we reminisce."

"Do you contemplate on not leaving behind any legacy? Or is that not even worthy of contemplation?"

"I just have one question, that I ask myself when I am faced with having to make a decision.", "and the question is", "Why bother?"

Friday, August 06, 2021

3545 : Children drowning in a pond by Peter Singer

I recent came across this conundrum. I am sure I am too old to encounter this for the first time, but then I am the King of Ostriches. Here goes....

https://www.philosophyforchildren.org/lessonplans/shallow-pond-charity/

Also hear Peter Singer speak here....


I have my views on charity. This helps me think a little more.


3544 : Seher by Farhan Rais Khan

 Listen to Seher by Farhan Rais Khan to know what possible fun classical music can be.



3543 : Together by Ustad Zakhir Hussian and Ustad Alla Rakha Khan

One of my fav albums growing up was Together, by the father son duo of Ustad Zakhir Hussain and Ustad Alla Rakha Khan.

Some of the most sublime pieces of tabla poetry. 

Listen to it. On repeat. Its mesmerizing.

Album was on Magnasound :-)

I paid Rs. 45 then, one the best Rs.45 I must have spent in my life.




3542 : Hopelessness

I experiment with my cup of coffee. I adore my coffee - as in the cup I brew. It's one thing in my day that I totally look forward to.

I savor the drink, tinker with the cup, watch the vapors as they emanate from the cup. All of this with a mindful tranquil - this is my most natural state of meditation and mindfulness. I am alert; I am enjoying this moment, and sometimes wish - life is just an endless coffee soiree.

And then - I realise I must rush back to the world. To the maze, I call my own. To a story that is so non-linear, that it's almost absurd.

To wit - this is how the end of the journey feels like. Always. Which journey you ask? Aw, sorry. I meant this one, the journey called "hope".

3541 : Randoland

Sometimes life is just about enduring. Or at most times it is.

Its not the stoic in me, who is speaking, but its the idiot who chooses, and then chooses again.

And yes, "Choice" in itself is not a choice at all.

What a merry-go-round we have constructed.

One day the FU moment will come.



Wednesday, August 04, 2021

3540 : Killer by Adamski

And finally.....Adamski singing Killer. (actually its Seal singing)

Be careful you can blow the windows away. I mean it.

The bass is so so funky. Such an eternally beautiful song. 

Can move anyone to tap his/her legs. Always.



3539 : Missing Todd Terry Mix (Everything but the girl)

On the same system, listen to Missing by EBTG - The Todd Terry Mix.

And feel the floor shake up.

What a lovely song. And fairly timeless.




3538 : Crazy by Seal

Listening to Seal's Crazy on a room shattering speaker is something of an experience.

The notes are pure - you can hear his octaves moving.......and the vocals dancing......

    We are never going to survive,

    Unless we are a little crazy

And then the total bass thump of the drums as the crescendo builds up.



3537 : Impaired

I work very hard at work. I also work very hard to be a positive pleasant person. My natural state is broadly optimistic. 

And yet, there is a fair bit of me, which people close to me see - they can easily think I am a cynical bughole. I can be a cynical person. 

I don't know what to make of this world. I dont have the learning or mechanism to make sense of this world. 

I am impaired.

3536 : Mortality

I was talking to someone much older than me. She is in her early 80s. I was very humbled that she chose to speak to me. What I learnt was even more of a leveller.

She told me its very hard to face up to a life - in which you know you probably dont have more than a few years left. 

I said what about - if she hits a 100? She said, even if she could, she did not want to, because her quality of life had substantially deteriorated.

That made the whole chat so poignant. Two souls sitting and contemplating mortality, without knowing what it means to even do so.



Tuesday, August 03, 2021

3535 : Times pass. River rolls

When we used to talk, it used to feel like a song,

    There were the right tones and hitting the high notes.

Many years since, today it feels so convoluted and long, 

    I have all my daggers in place; and you have your jagged coats.

3534 : Assing task

So daughter starts online school today. In the first class, she asks the teacher, "do we have homework?" and teaching says, "no async task, this year".

Our smart fairy, notes it down in her notebook as "no assing task, this year".

What can I say - she is beginning to sound more and more like me.


Monday, August 02, 2021

3533 : Age

So my daughter is in an online class. And I hear her tell someone her age. 

Thats the end for then.

Later, I am talking to her during dinner, and she says, "my teacher was asking me to manage the ages", and "I told her my age."

So, I tell her - "terrible English, what are you trying to tell me?"

She says, "No, this is what really happened. My teacher said, manage the ages."

This convo goes on. But to summarize. Her teacher is from Pune and was telling her to manage the "edges".

And she figured it, midway during her class (I mean the daughter figured it out.). She continues though proudly, "but I just wanted to frustrate my teacher".

Sometimes I am so proud of raising a racist bully :-)

3532 : Granddaughter and grand auto theft

So my daughter loves to listen to ghost (and I mean really terrifying) tales. She also loves listening to real crime stories.

So my dad goes and gives her gyaan. He says, "Beta, if you keep doing this. You will be soon corrupted, and like the stupid Americans kids, you will start killing people with a gun too."

So the daughters sucks this in.

Some time passes, and she catches me dad watching some news and other channels. In all of it, there is some violence. 

And she shoots at him, "So tatha, how come you don't get impacted by violence, you watch it far too often too."

And my dad sulks, tries to escape and finally shuts the TV.

What can I say - the daughter is a sharp shooter :-)

3531 : Whats at stake?

You and I had a thing

    Would you call it just a fling?

You and I had a bet

    What would you have staked, if we had just met?

3530 : Smoking Gun

Its easy to frown on smokers and smoking.

Would I give a piece of me - for 7 mins of introspective silence? Sometimes yes. A walk with a smoke in your hand can sometimes clear up your mind. I dont smoke, for me its coffee. A strong decadent dark roast. I sometimes drink coffee at 10pm at night. 

Sometimes we dope up on poison, to blunt the pain of our every day. And that insight, is my smoking gun.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

3529 : In this strange world

In this strange world, I often do seriously contemplate - what would go wrong - if I did not "fight" for it. As in, I did not put in the effort. My philosopher side, assumes this has some sort of butterfly effect, but my practical anarchist side - screams what a load of bull.

Nothing would matter. Not even bit.

I need to redefine the rules of my gameplay.


3528 : One two three four

 One for the like

    Two for the love,

Three for the knife

    Four in the now

3527 : Touche

 Today as I was walking, one totally random aunty (she must have been around 70), gesticulated at me (with total disdain) that I should walk on the other side of the road.

Picture this, I am walking towards her. She is somewhere further along on the road. She is stationary; I am walking, and she gesticulates to me - to move to the other side.

I crossed over, but never understood - why, what, and the inner meaning of this sign from the universe.