Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy "Independence" Day


Yesterday we celebrated our 64th Independence Day. Unfortunately, the shining IT fueled economic success of recent years sometimes hides the fact of how far we have to travel before we can realize Tagore's vision of India.

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Mumbai 26/11 - CST

Mumbai 26/11 - The Taj
Where knowledge is free;

Police action against student protests in Bangalore
Self Immolation in protest against Mandal Commission 
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; 

Protests in Kashmir
Raj Thackarey's thugs beating up a taxi driver in Mumbai
A Naxalite encampment in Chattisgarh
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; 


Caste politics still dominate the nation

Manoj and Babli, who were murdered in cold blood on the orders of Khap Panchayats
Child marriage is still widespread

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake." 




Half of the children in India are underweight

Happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catching the mist

When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot time trying to catch the mist. Not water, but mist. I would take an empty glass bottle, and run around helter skelter, always hoping that some of that mysterious, white, wispy, magical “thing” would end up in it. At night, snug in my bed under the warm covers, I used to dream of elaborate schemes of mist-capturing. Quite why I wanted to do this I still don’t know- it must have been some silly childhood notion or something. Then I grew up and understood what mist really was. Like all the stupid things we do as kids, I grew out of it.

Or did I?

I was going through some old photographs when I suddenly remembered this story, and I realized that all my life I have been trying to catch the mist. Running helter skelter, after some “thing” about which I only have the vaguest idea. Education, job, hobbies….. Once you take a step back, you realize how meaningless it all is.

Now I know what you are thinking – Enough of self pity! This guy is just disillusioned! Srsly, dude you need to get a life!   

You know what, I agree. I would love to feel driven about something. I would love to passionately care about some ideal. I would love to have goals in life. Love, hate, relationships, a cause... something. But from where I am right now, all I can see is a sheet of grey smog around me. Vague shapes surround me, gliding about slowly, and untouchable even if I wanted to. It’s like drifting on a quiet lake in a boat without rudders and oars. And without an anchor.

Perhaps that’s when life will make sense - when I have an anchor. Something to bind me, prevent me from drifting about. But isn’t the very notion the antithesis to being free spirited? How can I say that I am truly free if I am bound to something or someone? This is one paradox I am truly incapable of solving. I do not know.
I do not know what matters to me. I do not know whether something should matter to me. In fact, I do not know whether there is any point in anything mattering to me. I feel like a freak, living in a cocoon where time moves at half the speed, while all around me the hustle and bustle of daily life increases in tempo. In fact, just like in an out of body experience, I can see myself going through the motions – mechanical, meaningless and pathetic. Perhaps I am too cynical, or too logical. Or just a plain old pessimist. Whatever.

In the days of antiquity, sailors lost in the Mediterranean were guided to Alexandria by the great light house of Pharos. But in the sea of life, not all lights guide you home. A Pharos for me? I hope to find it once I wander out far enough.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another swing of the pendulum

All good and bad things come to an end.... eventually. This is my last night at Mumbai - I will be leaving for a brief stay at my home in Kolkata before joining Electronic Arts at Hyderabad. The last few days have been very hectic - completing all the formalities at work, getting vehicle clearances for my bike and arranging to take Gogo with me back to Kolkata - without out of course missing a single world cup match. On a separate note, thus far all the matches have been extremely cagey and tactical without much technical skill being on display, which gives my team Italy a huge chance of winning it.

Before the world cup started, I hit upon a novel idea for entertaining myself. Since I was living alone in my flat for  these last few days, I decided to start watching the best, gruesomest and the most fucked up recent (or classic) horror movies from all over the world. I found out that I was too jaded- nothing shocked me anymore. Perhaps if I wanted to see a horror movie, I will have to watch Kites or My Name Is KKKHAN :( I also found out that regular Japanese horror like Ju-On doesnt age very well, unlike true masterpieces like Imprint or Noroi. And the French are the new masters of the genre. À l'intérieur is highly recommended for the discerning horror aficionado.

Another recent development is that I have picked up a slight taste in Hindustani classical music. Actually I randomly came upon this clip, which for some reason i liked immensely. After that, I started listening to different renditions of the same raag, Miyan ki Malhar, and finally gathered enough courage to explore other raags. Its pretty much awesomely exciting to uncover something which is so fascinating but was hitherto a closed book to me.


A youngish Pandit Bhimsen Joshi performing Miyan Ki Malhar  

Finally, a question to all - Do androids dream of electric sheep?

The time for my flight approaches - so thats it for now.
Goodbye Mumbai!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Paranoid

It was a room which was completely dark. And by dark I mean DARK, pitch black. I didn’t know how I wound up there- it felt as if I was in that room forever, and on the other hand I was fairly certain that I had been somewhere else in the recent past. Kind of like an uneasy calm, you know.

How did I know it was a room? Actually even I was puzzled. I would not deny that there was a claustrophobic aura about that place, which I cannot explain. Sounds silly I know, I mean the very notion offends me as it should offend a man of rational sensibilities, but you can’t have it all your way. I mean to say I just knew it was a room, you know. It’s like that place had to be a room, since the whole point of the setup was to trap me.

Yes, to trap me. You think I am paranoid don’t you? “Laugh at this guy, he is a fucking loon.” I assure you, with all the sincerity my black heart can conjure, that insanity was the farthest thing from my mind. I had no clue why anyone would like to trap me, in a dark room, but I had to face facts. So I decided to face them.
I sat down and started thinking about my life, with a certain detachment I had never achieved before. Incredibly, I realized just how insignificant it had all been. In fact, I couldn’t find a single person who would hate me enough to lock me up in a dark room forever. This was the point I broke down – people swat down mosquitoes, commit suicide, and wage wars, but no one cared enough to hate me!!!! It felt as if I had totally wasted my years of freedom.

Suddenly the darkness started to clear. I mean, it was not as if bright light filled the room, but rather it became less dark. It was like a kind of dirty twilight you know, like muddy water, a sepia toned world. It was then that I fully realized my predicament, for I was an exhibit in some sort of cosmic zoo!
It was a room which had no right to be where it was –as if some sick joker had placed a structure out of nowhere in the middle of nothingness.  I noticed that the room had glass walls, and curious faces were peeping from the other side.  Faces I knew. Mocking faces, puzzled faces, happy faces, foolish faces, indifferent faces, ugly faces, beautiful faces. Lots of faces. With dead fucking eyes.

With a cry of rage, I threw myself at them. But the glass barrier was too strong, too hard. I banged my fist against it, and shouted and cursed, but the dead fucking eyes remained dead fucking eyes, and nothing changed.

They don’t care what I do.

I will go to sleep now. Maybe when I wake up, I will be somewhere else. Somewhere equally horrible.
The minstrel sings,
The land I call home,
It’s not my own, It’s not my own.         

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A little bundle of joy!

At last something to look forward to in life. I am already feeling paternal :P
Her name is Gogo and she is a two month old Labrador Retriever.



total golu molu roly poly

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ramblings

There is something truly sinister about the universal cheer and the joie de vivre that the holiday season brings. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the celebration of hope and spending time with the family and looking forward to a new beginning and what not. In fact, I will not deny that forgetting all your worries and living for the moment has its glorious charms.
However, the thing is that the moment passes by, and we are left alone to clutch at the memories of those fleeting hours of joy as we continue our journey through the Stygian expanse of life. Therein lies the true terror of our condition, that in our ultimately meaningless existence, we are truly alone.
Desperately we try to take our minds to those times of happiness, through photos and videos and converstaions starting with "Remember the time.." - it is but trying to catch the mist. It is again the bleak monotony of waiting for the next "occasion" as decreed by the Greeting Card Manufacturer.. and the next and the next... ad infinitum.
The problem is Hope - that glorious symbol of human aspiration. Hope is like the Indian Politician - its always there, seldom comes true and when it does it gives rise to a ludicrous amount of Hope-lings which have an even lesser probability of coming true. Yet we cling to our hopes, refusing to take off our glasses and look at life in the harsh glare of realities and probability. That is why I think we have survived as a civilized (so they say) species, because the stark reality, unadulterated by any human emotion, would surely have pushed us over the edge.
Something is not right, I can feel it in my bones. Time rushes by, punctuated by meaningless actions, unrecognisable milestones in a barren landscape. Has my existence been reduced to this, being a cog in a machine veering out of control at the rate of 24 hours per day? I am a stretchered man on a roller-coaster. Time to jump.