startling banals

11 June 2014

empty building-
the squirrel enjoys
her echo
link | 0
scaling the commode
for a better view
spider
link | 0

25 April 2014

morning-
sunbirds and bees
creating coconuts quietly
link | 0

19 April 2014

on the squirrel
and on the stork-
our daughter's face
link | 0

15 March 2014

dada says to inni 'it is such a beautiful day'
in my dream
did any day
start this way
in their half century
of married life?
link | 0

09 March 2014

the area cats
know
it's Sunday
link | 0

23 January 2014

winter night
a bat crosses
the milky way
link | 0

17 January 2014

the end comes
looking at oneself
mirror mosquito
link | 0

25 December 2013

sampling cake
on the foopath
cockroach
link | 0

23 December 2013

high up
in the treetops
kites and butterflies
link | 0

17 October 2013

nibbling away
even at the gates
of the butcher shop

link | 0

06 August 2013

the kite
swoops down
on an idli
link | 0
morning bus
the child calls it a river
naalaa
link | 0

07 July 2013

saturday morning
wafting groans
struggling mixer
link | 0

24 June 2013

monsoon night
the coconut's
restless rustle
link | 0

22 June 2013

away from the sea
the coconut
still blooms

holiday afternoon
the coconut sways
from angst to ecstasy

holiday afternoon
the coconut pines
for a lost love

afternoon rain
the coconut's
thousand dripping fingers
link | 0

20 June 2013

restaurant water
the lion at the bottom
of the glass
link | 0

10 June 2013

black keyboard
plastic fantastic
Dali-esque landscape
insect explorers
link | 0

04 June 2013

o sweet warbling bulbul
come shit
on my clothesline
link | 0

05 May 2013

under laden jackfruit
a fat garland
cow's breakfast
link | 0

25 April 2013

car
a rich lady
chases
a dog
parle biscuits
in hand
link | 0
old building
the nightwatchman explains
the sleepless pigeons' hunger
link | 0

21 April 2013

adopting
the new construction
campus dogs
link | 0

20 April 2013

bus stop morning
inspecting
akka's uniform
link | 0

03 April 2013

drenched banyan
the bull frog's
rain dance
link | 0

02 April 2013

cool morning breeze
over rooftops
translucent moon
link | 0
morning eyes
a patch of sun
moves over the red slippers
link | 0

25 March 2013

night train
the overflowing general
and the blind AC
link | 0
holding hands
down the slide
playgroup friends
link | 0

20 March 2013

evening sun
the canteen dog's
shining nose
link | 0

15 March 2013

bedtime
swinging like a maniac
the glowing phone
link | 0

27 February 2013

toddlers' sports day
the whole world smiles
link | 0

23 February 2013

dinner gulped down
gaping at the cow
girl-child
link | 0
walking
under the shade
of silk-cotton seeds
link | 0
tar road
shadows cross
swooping kite,
falling leaf
link | 0

14 February 2013

dusk
from the shadows
campus dogs
link | 0

23 January 2013

dead
yet beautiful
green dragonfly

link | 0

14 January 2013

Pongal morning
amidst raangolis
the lame street dog
link | 0
Pongal morning
loudspeaker mantras
smoking priest
link | 0
Pongal morning
through the darkness
faraway farts
link | 0

09 January 2013

night road
talking to each other
watchmen's sticks
link | 0
night road
going the other way
beetle
link | 0
last pages
of a gripping novel
the mosquito, dead
link | 0
coming home
to a rumbling
commode
link | 0

08 January 2013

enough time
to escape the broom
spider
link | 0

29 December 2012

the mind goes chasing
imaginary mosquitoes;
if it doesn't find any,
it breeds some of its own
link | 0

28 December 2012

marriage hall-
the shehnai player
a mobile addict
link | 0

21 December 2012

from hall to kitchen
and back
the child's running shadow
link | 0

19 December 2012

marriage hall-
between pieces
the shehnai player's
cellphone
link | 0
northward train-
the termite hills
change colour
too
link | 0

13 December 2012

why so restless
before biting me
mosquito?
link | 0

07 December 2012

ghat road-
jungle smells,
daytime chorus
of crickets
link | 0

03 December 2012

past midnight
the Coimbatore station dog eavesdrops
on the homeward-bound joking Oriya labourers
who have missed their train
link | 0

02 December 2012

night train
platform's edge
the tea seller's solitary smoke
link | 0

30 November 2012

its enthusiastic chatter
suddenly silenced
by a wailing child
neighbourhood TV
link | 0

29 November 2012

shimmering shadow
hovers over the book page
lampshade mosquito
link | 0

14 November 2012

fistfuls of warm sand
for her parents
toddler
link | 0

01 November 2012

drizzling sky
drenched banyan's
dripping roots
link | 0
rainy holiday
creeping up to the hostel
umbrellad parents
link | 0

31 October 2012

tonight she wears
a tarpaulin raincoat
area cow
link | 0

30 October 2012

the jetlagged eyes
of the busy station dog
link | 0

28 October 2012

making sure
the train leaves on time
station crows
link | 0

21 October 2012

the campus trees
wear higher heels
link | 0
the jungle crow
after a long thought
dives in the garbage bin
link | 0
chasing a crow
the gulmohar kite
link | 2
campus trees
never graduate
link | 0
already initiated
into morning walks-
grandma's favourite
link | 0
bangalore morning
dustbins overflowing
with fallen flowers
link | 0

20 October 2012

a difficult talk-
audience twists, turns and
understands better
link | 0

19 October 2012

aunty smiles
as we dodge the
traffic together
link | 0
polishing
her seductive hair-flicks
the young bank teller
link | 0

12 October 2012

wooded morning path
taking off
the early hawk
link | 0

10 October 2012

morning's the best time
for canopy flights
dragonflies
link | 0
falling facade
of a posh restaurant
as the workers walk in
link | 0

06 October 2012

railway platform
next to the loudspeaker
hawk-nest
link | 0

02 October 2012

carrying away a piece
of the morning biscuit
laptop ant
link | 0

29 September 2012

night train
passing by the home
of loud crickets
link | 0

28 September 2012

old friends
sitting back to back-
dog and cow
link | 0
moon
come see
our lunar powered love
link | 0
moonlit tits
sniffing around-
the occasional mosquito
link | 0

10 September 2012

almost dawn-
blue grey trees
through sleepy windows
link | 0

09 September 2012

old trees-
the heavy flight
of jungle crows
link | 0

27 August 2012

crowded bus giggles
as the plump conductor
wriggles through
link | 0

23 August 2012

hot bus-stop afternoon-
the talking watch
of the blind balm-seller
link | 0
construction site child
a yellow garbage truck-
early morning infatuation
link | 0

22 August 2012

village temple-
a bus stop
for schoolgirls
link | 0
hillside hues
of yellow brown green-
more trees than men
link | 0
descending
the ghaaT road-
family of free donkeys
link | 0
dry dusty city-streets
rainy mountain bus
link | 0

16 August 2012

walking backwards
away from me-
clothesline moth
link | 0

14 August 2012

awakened
by the watering of plants-
hardworking mosquito
link | 0

10 August 2012

stepping off
the thick novel-
ant
link | 0

08 August 2012

getting her hair combed-
naked on a rock
waiting
for akkaa's schoolbus
link | 0
home
is a brick kiln-
rooster
link | 0
usual bus route-
every day
the mountains look new
link | 0

07 August 2012

with careful steps,
descending into the drain-
scrounging roosters
link | 0
pausing to pick
the overflowing madhumaalati-
road sweeper
link | 0

23 July 2012

not minding
the civilized busfolk-
tobacco-chewing blouseless
adivasi grandma
link | 0
the unblinking gaze of the sewing nightwatchman
link | 0
ghaaT road-
the bus driver's
favourite cassette
link | 0
fleeing from the stranger
across slime and mud-
snow white rooster
link | 0

13 July 2012

swinging alone
behind the bathroom door-
hippy pyjama
link | 1

11 July 2012

garbage heap
in the mountain village-
dogs, hens and
a peacock
link | 0
rolled around 
upside down buckets-
gajraas for working women
link | 0
standing still
as the goats hurry by-
broken leg horse
link | 0
outside the school gate
a relaxed chat-
moped moms
link | 0
staring into the morning sun
he winks at the leashed pedigree-
stray dog
link | 0
traffic-jammed bus-
the passengers watch
the tailor at work
link | 0

06 July 2012

from the fencepost
looking over the 'institute for development education'
jungle peacock
link | 0
crowded bus
getting up for her friend-
a wrinkled paaTi
link | 0
early morning
the gods are bathing-
ghaaT temple
link | 0
bus journey-
staring at the sleeping people
from dad's lap
link | 0
in an AC car
zipping by our crowded bus-
saffron swami
link | 0
on a leash
out to graze-
the favourite sheep
link | 0

04 July 2012

dodging
a stray plastic bag-
cyclist
link | 0
helping her parents push 
a brimming fast food cart
on the way to school
link | 0
rush hour bus stop-
glancing at the mobile,
into the distance
she smiles
link | 0

14 June 2012

full speed ahead
the pony flicks his locks.
in the Taangaa-
gleeful smiles
link | 0
rush hour,
stretched out over sacks-
area beggar
link | 0
morning line
to buy a coffee-
area beggars
link | 0
railway platform-
the train worker gets a discount
from the mango-seller
link | 0
behind the SUV
having his morning coffee-
area beggar
link | 0

10 May 2012

sharp knives
slish-slashing on the chopping board,
looking for food-
the brave ant
link | 0
Sunday morning-
in her new dress,
the waiter's child tags along
link | 0

02 May 2012

cement neighbourhood
drying clothes
you picked the right shade-
locust
link | 0

13 April 2012

New Year morning-
her husband's scooter
turmeric saaDi grandma
link | 0

09 April 2012

tied calf-backyard,
a filthy pond-
home
to the flashy blue kingfisher
link | 0

28 March 2012

aayi

summer afternoon-
reading about her ailment
she dozes off in front of the computer.
the sweat collects in tiny drops
link | 0
the mosquitoes long gone
haunt me inside the new net.
in my sleep i slap my limbs in vain
link | 0

12 March 2012

lying down
they watch
the dirty moon rise-
railway platform dogs
link | 0

04 March 2012

the village
of happy children
is by the sea
link | 0

23 February 2012

today's luck
in a different street-
old beggar
link | 0
clop-clop
to school in a Taanga-
best friends
link | 0

07 February 2012

blooming paLas
she rubs her neck
tied cow
link | 0
eyes closed tight,
before the busful of dust goes by-
school boy
link | 0

29 December 2011

sunlight breaking through rain clouds-
the moments flicker
link | 0

28 December 2011

cloudy day
looking out of an empty restaurant
chef
link | 0

08 December 2011

we are born
on a rainy night
on bare branches
to shine, fall
and flow back
to the sea
link | 1

26 November 2011

cars waiting
for a strolling pigeon
the light turns red
link | 0
4AM-
from darkness
to darkness
raccoon
link | 0

25 November 2011

`Thanksgiving Day'-
the university reclaimed
by squirrels and sparrows
link | 0

24 November 2011

chilly night-
the stars
burn brighter
link | 0

09 November 2011

their lunch boxes
big enough
to feed the cop-
construction workers
link | 0

08 November 2011

coming home
to a flooded room-
moonlight
link | 0

23 October 2011

2AM-
out for a walk
pigeon?
link | 0

19 October 2011

past midnight-
silhouette in a coat and hat
pushing a shopping cart
full of empty beer cans and bottles
link | 1
midnight moon
chasing each other
two bats
link | 0
where to?
tree shadows
on the train floor
link | 0
their eyes wander
all over the room
cheating students
link | 0
the smell of steam
from a tea cup
after a sleepless night
link | 0

18 October 2011

remember the sunrise
from the day
you were born?
link | 0

16 October 2011

flickering light-
this elevator,
a dystopian movie
link | 0

13 October 2011

helmet
glasses
raindrops
trickle
drip
drip
link | 0
rainy morning-
biking behind
a garbage truck
link | 0

11 October 2011

quiet afternoon-
arriving through the driveway
butterfly
link | 0

07 October 2011

awkward glances
of fellow passengers
afraid to meet eyes with
yet curious
link | 0
last train-
the camaraderie
of drunk girls
shrill but sweet
link | 0

03 October 2011

cloudy morning eyes-
yellower than sunshine
the fall foliage
link | 0

30 September 2011

no one in a hurry
last train
link | 0

28 September 2011

and i wish for a night ride in a plane made of glass and we switch off the lights to watch the stars
link | 0

27 September 2011

creeping up
behind the police car-
sparrow
link | 0

24 September 2011

crowd at railway station-
crossing the tracks
squirrel
link | 0

08 September 2011

in the wash basin
every night
you wait, spider?
link | 0

05 September 2011

by the clouds-
clear ancient
dusk-gold
link | 0

21 August 2011

used book shop-
stoic fat
dictionaries
link | 0

26 July 2011

wings outstretched
yet walking-
undecided?
ant or wasp
link | 0

14 July 2011

midnight-
took the right train,
moth?
link | 0

09 July 2011

overnight showers.
in their best clothes-
station sparrows
link | 0

08 July 2011

do you also
dream of trains,
station sparrow?
link | 0
sensing the smile
in her son's voice-
blind woman
link | 0

30 June 2011

for your child,
over here!
a fat ant-
railway sparrow
link | 0

26 June 2011

train window

to houses, trees, fences-
the child waves bye bye
link | 0
A homeless guy at 10:30PM: Give from your heart.. Give me a quarter, anything you can, a dime, a penny
me: I am sorry I don't have any money
him: Anything you have..
me: I'll meet you here tomorrow
him: You won't see me here tomorrow
me: I'll come where you are. Where will you be tomorrow?
him: The Dunkin Donuts round that corner
link | 0
train ride-
all eyes
on the tender blind couple
link | 0

08 June 2011

noon
empty road
strolling
pair of pigeons
link | 2

06 June 2011

sunday morning.
sneaking in the train's shadow-
lazy pigeons
link | 0

01 June 2011

train ride.
singing and playing
an air guitar
in grandpa's lap-
chubby boy
link | 0

31 May 2011

one sparrow
makes them all
look like sparrows-
pine cones
link | 0

30 May 2011

combing his
flowing white
hair and beard.
his mirror-
a barber shop window
link | 0

28 May 2011

rising and falling
on gravel and train tracks-
thick shadows
of summer leaves
link | 0

15 April 2011

starting off together-
flock of sparrows
bunch of leaves
link | 0

03 April 2011

blowing a kiss
to the blind man's dog-
baby boy
link | 0

27 March 2011

hurrying into the bush-
for a fight,
sparrow?
link | 0

19 March 2011

the snow gone
they scatter again-
fall leaves
link | 0

18 March 2011

nibbling fingers
cigarette in hand
emerging from a cafe
in a raincoat-
the usual postman
link | 0
"this is home"
train station sparrow
link | 0

26 February 2011

rainy day
looking out
through foggy train windows-
baby girl
link | 0

15 February 2011

emerging after months
under snow-
park benches
link | 0

12 February 2011

newspaper in hand
a few white hair
and a single tooth
link | 0
opening the window-
the wind
hasn't frozen
link | 0

27 January 2011

through mountains of snow she went
link | 0

24 January 2011

kitchen sink-
worked all night,
ants?
link | 1

15 January 2011

night
laptop light and
the sound of fingers
from the other room
link | 0

23 November 2010

on the train
vacant eyes
heartbroken?
link | 0

19 November 2010

from a leafless tree
one berry at a time-
starling
link | 0
bus stop.
transfixed by an electric pole-
infant
link | 0

01 November 2010

these days
she flies with sparrows-
starling
link | 1

13 October 2010

out on the streets-
the sun and
drunk toddlers
link | 0

29 September 2010

like a top
spinning around itself
falling leaf
link | 0
there was a baby boy
humming to himself
on the rush hour train
i smiled
he smiled back
i pretended to sleep
he looked away
giggling shyly
link | 0

25 September 2010

a baby on the train

with one hand
drinking milk from a bottle
and holding mom's forearm
with the other
link | 0
streetlights, billboards and cars
hanging heavy on the horizon-
an orange moon
link | 0
today
an old employee
who sits on a stool every day
at the train station,
was applying lipstick
hiding
behind a booth
link | 2

03 August 2010

old woman sitting between grocery bags
smiles as i pass whistling by
link | 2

05 June 2010

turning back
she offers a seat-
thousand wrinkle smile
link | 1

31 May 2010

the lull
before
the next gust
of wind-
arboured river bank
link | 0

27 May 2010

steam wafts
over tar roads-
nighttime thundersprinkles
link | 0

29 April 2010

between the railway tracks too
spring arrives-
young saplings
link | 0

27 April 2010

a crooked beauty
just like in Japanese paintings-
blooming cherry
link | 0
flying into the wind
she goes up straight
to perch
on a twig overhead-
sparrow
link | 1

10 February 2010

after dinner
coming out again
a new star above
link | 0

01 November 2009

smoking
the moon sets
behind a building
link | 1

22 September 2009

looking left, looking right-
waiting for a bus,
sparrow?
link | 3

13 July 2009

a street nook
crumpled beer cans
homeless hideout
link | 1
passed by a squirrel
throwing long shadows
sitting on its bum
with its back
to the setting sun
link | 0
red stains
cherry seeds and twigs
quick to dry up and wrinkle
link | 0

10 July 2009

getting out of my way
it only hops-
sparrow child
link | 0

09 July 2009

seeking buried treasure
day after day they come
huge iron-clawed machines
link | 0

06 July 2009

dark sleepy bathroom
lights up suddenly-
clouds passing by
link | 2

05 July 2009

happy kids on bicycles leaving behind lit fireworks in the middle of the road
link | 0

04 July 2009

buffet feast
crows flutter
hanging jackfruit

mine was 'crows come and go'
junuka suggested 'crows flutter'
'फण्सावर फड्फड्णारे कावळे'
:)
link | 0

03 July 2009

rainy weeks
strong-scented grasses and leaves
madikeri mist flowing between yellow street lamps
link | 0

02 July 2009

our space -
an ancient hidden stony water-dripping underground prehistoric shrine
link | 0

29 June 2009

the workaholic washing machine
in your bathroom
worries about you
when you are away
link | 2
an ocean
with waters so dark
we forget it's there
while rhythmic
we row our boat
under this star-crammed sky
link | 4

26 June 2009

dawn over the lake
scattered in a corner-
fifty motionless geese
link | 0

24 June 2009

cloudy morning rests on swept floors
cool calm
link | 0
will you stay there forever?
-bookshopwalla
@ mumbai airport
link | 2

23 April 2009

a small black bulldog
sniffs at my lunch bag
while passing by
link | 6
backyard morning
kid in bedclothes
rolling over a dust-laden abandoned car
link | 0

21 April 2009

before i can look back
each wooden stair
creaks back into shape
link | 0

17 April 2009

spring
sparrows scavenge
under cafe tables
link | 0

07 April 2009

cut open your heart
to let in
these beloved clouds
link | 4

06 April 2009

dusk
geese yell
from all parts of the swamp
link | 0

29 January 2009

top-down approach

the sun rises and starts warming up buildings from the top down
link | 7
shivering memory of watching a tent fly away in a roaring snow storm atop mad mountain night of sitting round a pot of water boiling over campfire dipping fingers that had turned to stone
link | 1
when the wood floors creak
he wonders if people downstairs
also feel like getting off their ass
and walk around
setting off a chain of walkers
that go on till infinity
link | 3
cherries live in ponds
when they grow too heavy
to climb trees
link | 0
relentless torrents rush down streets
desperate for a taste of sea
link | 0
the night fell on the walls in his room
but not a single leaf to cast shadows
link | 0

15 January 2009

the sound of running water travelling through the plumbing
revealed the presence of other insomniacs in the building
link | 4

01 January 2009

A toast for the new year!

Here's to all dear wayward lunatics out there!
Cheers!
link | 0

25 December 2008

some snows melt in winter
link | 4

05 December 2008

rocks resting in the attic
wake them up tomorrow
show them your newly-cleaned room
nudge them
shake them awake one by one
hear them murmur memories of mountain streams
promise you'll always remember
for ever and ever
sleep surrounded by dreaming rocks
link | 5

19 November 2008

if only full stops felt less final.
link | 2

13 November 2008

(public domain photo)

Sings beautifully behind my building for some time just before sunrise.

A recording
from 'Learn Bird Songs' by Lang Elliott

Northern Cardinal: what a boring name. The Native Americans must have had a nice name for this bird, some name chosen with love, that tells us what's so special about it.
link | 5

30 October 2008

no moon tonight-
lunatics bathe
in starlight
link | 2

15 October 2008

Very happy for Aravind Adiga

He really deserved the Booker for his book! The protagonist of 'The White Tiger', Balram Halwai will get the recognition he deserves. I hope everyone reads this book. It is the best critique of Indian society! And a dark and hilarious one. Makes sharp fun of all our contradictions and hypocrisies. The story is completely contemporary and we don't have to strain our imagination at all. The scenes and people described are the ones we meet everyday. The book is Balram's smooth narration of his life-story, his rise from tea-shop helper to businessman, addressed to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao who is about to visit Bangalore to learn about entrepreunership. It is full of wit - a straight-faced report of incidents that is tragic, humourous and saddening at the same time. How can stark realism be full of so much light-heartedness? How can it burn us as we read it and still make us happy? As the chairman of the Booker Prize judges, Mr Portillo said, "..this one knocked my socks off"

Thank you Aravind Adiga for writing this book!
link | 1

13 October 2008

this cool night sky
crisp transparent..
the moon, a spotlight
link | 0

06 October 2008

from a train window

receding scene of two dozen geese standing lazily in a lush green football field
link | 2

28 September 2008

last night's mist
rained all day
link | 0

26 September 2008

bache are the best flirts
link | 0

28 August 2008

romantic long-distance train journeys
link | 4

13 July 2008

do you also
stare back
moon?
link | 5

08 July 2008

hang from a cloud
drift away
link | 0

03 July 2008

morning siesta

library window
a huge circus tent
blue with yellow designs
eyes open, eyes close
dozing off in a cosy chair
resting head on the side cushion
on the table, this beautiful book-
'The English Patient'
laughs and invites
with open pages
link | 0

30 June 2008

king
of the parking lot
sparrow
link | 0

21 June 2008

river
is it only
your surface
that flows?
link | 7

18 June 2008

moonrise.. i sleep
sunrise.. wake up
link | 2

14 June 2008

squirrel
you watch
too many cartoon films
link | 6

02 June 2008

Women poets of yore - from Greece, Japan and India

Sappho was a Greek lyric poet from the 7th century BC, belonging to a cult of Aphrodite. Her vivid and sensual poems are like a celebration of life. What can we say about poems that have survived two thousand six hundred years! Their beauty is truly timeless. What makes them even more interesting is the fact that she used to sing them with her own music that she played on a lyre. Sappho also wrote poems of love among women which suggests that ancient cultures were probably very tolerant. In fact,the word lesbian comes from Lesbos, the place Sappho belonged to. These poems are from the book 'Sappho' by Mary Bernard.

With his venom
irresistible
and bittersweet
that loosener
of limbs, Love
reptile-like
strikes me down
_____

Standing by my bed
In gold sandals
Dawn that very
moment awoke me
____

When they were tired
Night rained her
thick dark sleep
upon their eyes
____

Pain penetrates me
drop
by
drop
____

The evening star
Is the most
beautiful
of all stars
____

Love has shook
my senses
like wind crashing on
mountain oaks
____

At noon time
when the earth is
bright with flaming
heat falling straight down,
the cricket sets
up a high-pitched
singing in his wings
_____

You may forget but
Let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us
_____

I asked myself
What Sappho, can
you give one who
has everything
like Aphrodite?
_____

Izumi Shikibu, a Japanese poet from the 10th century AD, was a member of the royal court of Kyoto and practised Buddhism. She is famous for her diary about her affair with the Emperor's son, prince Hatsumichi. These poems are from the book, 'The Ink Dark Moon' by Jane Hirshfield who says that they are messages that she sent to her lover through servants.

This heart is not
a summer field,
and yet...
how dense love's foliage
has grown
_____

One by one,
at day's end,
the birds take flight
in all directions-
which could lead me to you?
_____

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house
_____

If you had
only stayed away
when I first missed you,
I might have forgotten
by now
______

What colour is
this blowing autumn wind,
that it can stain
my body
with its touch
_____

(..the sound of the night monk's voice reciting the Sutras mingled
with the sound of incessant rain..)
Should I leave this burning house
of ceaseless thought
and taste the pure rain's
single truth
falling upon my skin?
______

Watching the moon
at midnight...
I wonder
whose village
he watches it from
______

(On retreat at a mountain temple)
Although I try
to hold the single thought
of Buddha's teaching in my heart,
I cannot help but hear
the many crickets' voices calling as well
______

When the water-freezing
winter arrives,
the floating reeds look rooted,
as if stillness
were their own desire
_____

This heart,
longing for you,
breaks
to a thousand pieces-
I wouldn't lose one
_____

Chiyo-ni (1703-1775) was from the school of the great Basho, the inventor of haiku poetry. Haiku is a unique form of Japanese poetry that consists of seventeen syllables. It is its briefness that makes haiku so powerful - evident from the fact that it is one of the most popular contemporary form of poetry. It is a matter-of-fact kind of poem that is supposed to convey a specific mood without flowery adjectives. Since many haiku poets were wandering Buddhist monks, it is also some kind of meditation on life. The haiku of Chiyo-ni has a deep connection with the natural world around her. She creates great effects through very beautiful observations about nature and her poems also have a deep personal touch. They have a surprising effect and many a times we have to read a poem all over again to understand what it really means. These poems are from 'Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master' by Patricia Donegan.

over the flowing water
chasing its shadow-
the dragonfly

moonlit night-
a cricket sings
out on a stone

sounds of the waterfall
diminishes in the peaks-
cicada's voices

only in the river
darkness flows:
fireflies

snowy night-
only the well bucket's
falling sound

squatting
the frog observes
the clouds

the butterfly
is standing on tiptoes
at the ebb tide

(probably about her child)
in what windy land
wanders now my little dear
dragonfly hunter

little pine mushroom
but also
a rain shelter (for frogs)

one moutain after another
unveiled
the first mists

waterweed,
floating away, despite
the butterfly's weight on it

Gathasaptashati (Seven hundred poems in 'gatha' form) is a collection of Prakrit love poems compiled by the 2nd century Satavahan king Hala - from the dynasty that made the mural paintings of Ajanta. Amarushataka is an 8th century collection of Sanskrit love poetry selected by king Amaru of Kashmir. Many of these poems were written by women - prominent among them were Vidya, Shilabhattarika and Vikatanitamba. These poems are sometimes bold, humourous and full of natural imagery, about trysts between lovers and have an honestly sensual voice.

Aunt, can a glimpse
Fulfil?
Dreaming of water
Slake thirst?
____

O Mahua
blossomed
on Godavari's
arboured banks.
Shed your flowers
one
after
one
____

While the bhikshu
views her navel
and she
his handsome face,
crows lick clean
both ladle and alms bowl
____

Ask the nights of rain
and the Godavari in spate,
how fortunate he is
and unwomanly my courage
____

Eyes closed
she imagines leading him
into her bed
she touches her own breasts adoringly
on her arms
the loose bangles
___

Cool thickets
leaves the colour of clouds
cane groves breaking the sunlight-
but you've forgotten-
forgotten the river Narmada as well
how we washed
in it afterwards
___

Please mother
get the cage out of our wedding hut
this parrot has taught the whole village
to mimic our
love cries
___

Why are you crying, friend?
That's how love is.
A cucumber tendril
Its emblem.
___

As the traveller, eyes raised,
cupped hands filled with water, spreads
his fingers and lets it run through,
she pouring it reduces the trickle
___

Not knowing me,
Vidya,
dark as a blue lotus petal,
the critic Dandin
declared our goddess of verse-craft
and learning, entirely white
___

Where to
girl with bright thighs?
There's no moon tonight
'Out to my lover'
Not afraid, young in the darkness
to travel alone?
'Can't you see - at my side
with lethal arrows
the love god?'
___

Young men
used to slip this
wooden Ganesh
under my head for a pillow.
Today
cursing old age
I bow down before it
___

Whispers, deep kisses,
bodies perfumed with slippery oils,
betel nut cooling the mouth.
To make unhurried love
the whole night before you.
Ah! But a hundred,
a thousand times sweeter the
quick and forbidden-
done in a moment
gone like a thief.
___

I remember this pleasure-
he sat at my feet
without speaking
and my big toe toyed with his hair
___

Talking's no use
all that's written sounds trivial
do we alone
know how it hurts
to be separate?
___

She conceals herself
where the forest is thickest
and waits for the sound-
dry leaves of
autumn
someone approaches
link | 2

28 May 2008

drying rain-washed roads
same everywhere
link | 0

24 May 2008

sparrow
so far away
but i hear you
chirp
link | 0

23 May 2008

Is there anything
as ghostly or
magical
as moonrise?
link | 2

18 May 2008

even on one blade of grass
the cool wind
lives
-Issa, 1814
(translated by David Lanoue)
link | 0

09 May 2008




When I die, my body shall be burnt.
but no one is to be present.

Spread the ashes on the earth...
in the middle of a big, big field.

Plant an oak there and write:

I, too, was once a human being.
My name was Sabina Spielrein.
link | 4

08 May 2008

Opening of 'Out of Africa'

I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.

The geographical position and the height Of the land combined to create a landscape that had not its like in all the world. There was no fat on it and no luxuriance anywhere; it was Africa distilled up through six thousand feet. like the strong and refined essence of a continent. The colours were dry and burnt. like the colours in pottery. The trees had a light delicate foliage, the structure of which was different from that of the trees in Europe; it did not grow in bows or cupolas, but in horizontal layers, and the formation gave to the tall solitary trees a likeness to the palms, or a heroic and romantic air like full-rigged ships with their sails furled, and to the edge of a wood a strange appearance as if the whole wood were faintly vibrating. Upon the grass of the great plains the crooked bare old thorn trees were scattered, and the grass was spiced like thyme and bog-myrtles; in some places the scent was so strong that it smarted in the nostrils. All the flowers that you found or plains, or upon the creepers and liana in the native forest, were diminutive like flowers of the downs - only just in the beginning of the long rains a number of big, massive heavy-scented lilies sprang out on the plains. The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequaled nobility.

The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it. was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever-changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue. In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning; it scintillated, waved and shone like running water, mirrored and doubled all objects, and created great Fata Morgana. Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.
link | 6
silent sparrow
eating bread
in grass
link | 0

06 May 2008

All rivers run to the sea;
yet the sea is not full;
unto the place from whence
the rivers come, thither
they return again
-Ecclesiastes
link | 0
There is witchcraft on your lips,
an abyss within your gaze
-Karen Blixen
link | 0
Love has shook my senses
like wind crashing on mountain oaks
-Sappho
link | 0
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house
-Izumi Shikibu
link | 0

05 May 2008

अगर तुम अपना काम enjoy करते हो तो life happy हो जाएगी
ऐसा काम कहाँ मिलेगा..
वो लोग कितने lucky है न जिनको life का passion मिल गया है
ऐसा कोई permanent passion नही होता है life का
permanent की बात नही.. for example, जो मैं अभी कर रहा हूँ वो मुझे पसंद नही है। i really don't feel any passion for it. i want to find something else so that i am happier. अगर life के centre में जो है वो अपनी मर्जी से चल रहा है तो आजू-बाजू का pain बरदाश कर सकता हूँ। life से satisfaction मांगता है यार
true. but wait! don't do anything crazy.
how will you earn money?
are you sure that 'something else' will make you happy?
i must try at least
link | 2

20 April 2008

abandoned nest
now hidden
in cherry blossoms
link | 6

18 April 2008

The Look -Sara Teasdale

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.
link | 7
kid leaping
out of
mom's arms
to see
who chirps
in the bushes
link | 0
can you wake up before the birds wake up?
but some birds don't sleep all night
link | 0

Within a gate by the sidewalk

a small bulldog
stands still
with a faraway look

a very old woman
brings his chain
barely able to walk
link | 0
is it me
or you
who sees-
the moon
through
broken trees
link | 1

03 April 2008

"Out on the safaris, I had seen a herd of buffalo, one hundred and twenty-nine of them, come out of the morning mist under a copper sky, one by one, as if the dark and massive, iron-like animals with the mighty, horizontally swung arms were not approaching, but were being created before my eyes and sent out as they were finished. I had seen a herd of elephants travelling through the dense native forest, where the sunlight is strewn between the thick creepers in small spots and patches, pacing along as if they had an appointment at the end of the world...I had time after time watched the progression across the plain of the giraffe, in their queer, inimitable, vegetative gracefulness, as if it were not a herd of animals but a family of rare, long-stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing. I had followed two rhinos on their morning promenade, when they were sniffing and snorting in the air of the dawn...and looked like two very big angular stones rollicking in the long valley and enjoying life together. I had seen the royal lion, before sunrise, below a waning moon, crossing the gray plain on his way home from the kill, drawing a dark wake in the silvery grass, his face still red up to the ears, or during the midday siesta, when he reposed contentedly in the midst of his family..." -Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen

link | 0

16 March 2008

9/11: A barrel of conspiracies

This article by Ganesh was published in Mid-Day on Sept 11, 2005 (and the editor was fired in a week)
http://www.geocities.com/anishloves/ganesh.pdf
link | 0

Scrap of paper from 2001

(from Henri Lefebvre: Love & Struggle)

Vaneigem argued that even the tiniest of gestures - opening a door, holding a teacup, a facial expression - and the most private and individual actions - coming home, making tea, arguing with a lover - have always already been represented and shown to us within the spectacle.

With all meaningfulness confiscated, turned into spectacular forms, everyday life is 'devoid of its glamour representation, experience becomes almost embarrassing, something of which one feels ashamed; an event without a camera', uncool. The spectacle is the ultimate alienation, in which not only one's own handiwork has to be bought back from a store at the end of a working day (old-style alienation) but also one's identity and dreams have been commodified, turned into spectacular, generalized lifestyles and images and sold back to one. The spectacle thus is the triumph of media transformed into commodity. Sadie Plant - 'images and commodities... effectively represent their life to them, people experience reality as second-hand. Everything has been seen and done before..'

Lefebvre shares this vision but at the same time regards everyday life as the plane of immanence in which moments of enlightenment emerge and flash, like sparkles of light on a field of snow. While everyday life is colonized, and even when he adopts the terminology of banality of everydayness to describe it, Lefebvre maintains that everyday life is also the site of the authentic experience of self, of the body and of engagement with others. In effect, he presents a dialectical notion of everyday life which involves a double essentialism - everyday life is both, by definition, alienated and, in essence, also unalienated or authentic material. When this material is recognized for what it is, when it is broken free of the contradicting and mystifying veils of the spectacle and false authenticity, the everyday is suddenly synthesized as unalienated experience, brought to consciousness as the truly authentic. The taken for granted is broken down and an individual attains - even if only momentarily - that status of the 'total person'.

The project was thus -
to conceive everyday life in such a way so as to retrieve it from its modern state of colonization by the commodity form and other modes of reification. A critique of the everyday can be generated only by a kind of alienation effect, insofar as to put into contact with its own radical other, such as an eradicated past.. or an imagined future.
link | 0

Danse Macabre & Ride of the Valkyries

Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) is a fascinating medieval myth from Europe. Two months back, our senior David Drosdoff who is the second violin in Cynthia Wood's group at Cambridge Symphony Orchestra invited us to a concert. They played a composition (1875) based on this story. They also played Ride of the Valkyries (1851) by Wagner - based on a Nordic myth. Both of these compositions sound very familiar since they have been used in many movie/cartoon soundtracks. Check them out on youtube!
link | 0

14 March 2008

Sparrow haikus by Issa

spring peace--
after rain, a gang war
garden sparrows

waiting for spring
sparrows also make a home
in the bamboo

dewdrops scatter--
the sparrow sings
of next-life salvation

dance, my little
dervishes!
sparrows at the gate

on a snowy day
the temple is packed...
pigeons, sparrows

(translated by David Lanoue)
link | 0

06 March 2008

Take me home and I will love you forever

Their mom is no more.


Update:

They found a home in Railway Colony Thane - very few dogs there - so no territorial disputes with established dogs - great people to take care of them - and lots of open space to play around!

Breaking News!

They have chosen their own separate homes in the Colony!

link | 0

22 February 2008

caress my face
rest on my coat
and hair

snow
keep falling on me
forever
link | 0

12 February 2008

Gloomy Sunday
Kukushka
Black Book
Stardust
A Heart in Winter
Kontroll
Maria full of grace
Day for night
Once
The lives of others
Life is to whistle
The wind that shakes the barley
Nowhere in Africa
Antonia's Line
Juno
The Star Maker
Camera Buff
Blue
Red
The 400 Blows
Antoine et Colette
Stolen Kisses
Bed and Board
Love on the Run
Jean de Florette
Manon des Sources
The 39 Steps
I Heart Huckabees
Me and You and Everyone We Know
The Science of Sleep
The Gleaners
Pocket Money
Spellbound
Witness for the Prosecution
Bread and Tulips
My Name was Sabina Spielrein
But Forever in My Mind
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
link | 4

01 February 2008

water by the road-
ripples roll into waves
violent flags flutter overhead
people stagger.. struggle directionless
a day of wind
after
a night of rain
link | 0

25 January 2008

Filling forms
Running around
Getting signs
Out for lunch..
Checking rules
Being polite
Tired satisfaction
Work done
God.. I miss bureaucracy!
link | 6

21 January 2008

deep clouds full of meaning
where does one end
and the other start?
fly up and
watch them hide the city
link | 2

18 January 2008

Bombay Hospital old man

early jan 2006
me n santo smoking near gate
2 rupaya denge saab?
puts coin in pocket.. happy
takes out bidi bundle.. lights a bidi
aapka naam kya hai?
shankar...
kaha se hai?
gujrat 20 years back.. nadi kinare ghar khet.. floods. everything washed away. son n wife dead.
came to bombay.
starts crying..
tells his life ka intezaam here
eats at dargah at night. some shopkeepers give him lunch.
new year pe beer mila. some drunk seth stopped car and gave him 2 bottles.
sone ki jagah fixed
everyone knows him in area
police friends tell him when gaadi aane wali hai to pick up people living on streets.. shifts to some other area for that time
finishes bidi
shakes hand. walks away
link | 2

02 January 2008

Black tombstones ancient uneven
Scattered in clean white snow
link | 0

01 January 2008

Flying East

All the clouds
Sleeping
In Amsterdam

Citylights of Europe
Yellow on black
Left behind

Stars
Have ruled
This moonless night

A red line
Gets bolder
All over the horizon

Changing colours
Everywhere
Here comes the sun
link | 0

31 December 2007

And all this snow
Was hanging
All the way..
Up there?
link | 0

23 December 2007

NRIs celebrate Modi victory

Modi win:Champagne flows in US

Shame!
link | 0

22 December 2007

a tired night-
quiet, unchanging
not a leaf moves

while secretly ..

a witches' sabbath
rages insane
in my heart
link | 2

19 December 2007

Jab We Met director interview

Imtiaz Ali - the prodigal director has two successful genuinely romantic and fresh movies (Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met- yet to watch). I read a one-page interview in the latest Filmfare (everything else was complete bakwaas) in my dentist's waiting room. Some interesting kissey-
-----------------------------------------------------------
Did you have problems working with Kareena?
IA: Kareena is not exactly my favourite actress .. but she has her good as well as bad films. But she is capable of giving strong performances. She is very well behaved, punctual.. Director's actress - if I had told her to jump in front oif a speeding car - she would have done exactly that.

One day I told her that she won't be wearing any make-up for most scenes and only simple punjabi dresses. She asked me -'Oh.. So you want the no make-up look?" I said - "No! I want you to wear no make-up".

Then once I joked-"Kareena what about your reputation as a star? You should throw a tantrum on the sets now and then.. Come late once in a while"

What about your next film?
IA: I don't have a 3 - film contract etc with any production house. So I am going on holiday now.. To get this film out of my system.
-------------------------------------------------------

Kya cool peaceful bandaa hai!! :D

On the sets of Jab We Met
picture gallery from BBC

Two post- Socha Na Tha interviews:
Kaffeeklatsch with Imtiaz Ali
Talented Mr. Ali
-------------------------------------------------------

Good movie.. complete masti. An uncle-aunty were getting naughty in the next seat ;)

-------------------------------------------------------
link | 0

18 December 2007

Night
Lonely road
Crows race a cyclist
link | 0

13 December 2007

Aankhein Teri Itni Haseein..

link | 2

Homeless in Narmada

Rehengyaa Bongyaa Vasaave
He was one of the 500 tribal people from the Narmada valley who were at Azad Maidan in Bombay for a week in August 1999. Their villages were going to be drowned by Sardar Sarovar Dam. They had accepted the rehabilitation package of the Maharashtra government but received almost nothing. The week was spent in demonstrations, petitions, delegations, being arrested, meetings with ministers and secretaries etc. One day we stopped Bal Thackeray's speech in the Press Club. We kept a watch secretly and shouted him down from outside :D Those were the days of the Shiv Sena BJP govt when their dadagiri was at the height. I had a nice time and took the kids to see Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Colaba, Malabar Hill etc.

The day before they left, their leader Pratibha Shinde came to me with Lotyaa and Jiryaa Kaarbhaari. Both seemed to be near 40 - short, dark and of a small frame. I had heard the story of Lotyaa's family. His parents were no more. He had two brothers. All the years of displacement and struggle had devastated them. One of them had simply gotten off the train somewhere in Madhya Pradesh on the way to Delhi for a morcha and no one had noticed. The youngest - Rehengyaa Bongyaa Vasaave had gone mad and had been left in the Mental Hospital in Thane around two years back. We decided to go to Thane first thing tomorrow morning.

The next day, Lotyaa and Jiryaa were waiting for me. Moving about as a group is easy because traffic stops for a morcha and generally there are police accompanying with their vans and jeeps. But here I had to hold their small hands and cross the road between Azad Maidan, GPO and VT station (The subway work was still going on). They were barefoot. We sat in the local train and they looked completely out of place with their old clothes and turban. While everyone else was trying to occupy as much space as possible, they were sitting as close together as possible. But still with a bright and radiant smile - as if amused by all the people staring at them.

We reached Thane, took a ricksha to the Hospital and went to the office. It was spacious and well-shaded by very old trees and it was very quiet. I was expecting a horrible inhuman atmosphere like other government offices. But the staff, doctors and nurses were kind and helpful. They gave us tea! We learnt that Rehengyaa had been cured and was waiting to be taken back home for 6 months in the recovery ward. They had sent a letter to their village which either did not exist any more or the postman never went there. We had to wait for an hour for the official process. He came out and they cried in each others arms. They left the next night from Bombay Central station. Two faces in a sea of 500 others.
link | 0

06 December 2007

6 dec

The day Dr Ambedkar died in his sleep. A man who changed the lives of crores of people, worked tirelessly and selflessly with a firm determination and unshakable confidence in the truth of his beliefs and convictions. A true scholar and compassionate human being. A constant source of inspiration for not only people from his community but everyone who feels strongly about social justice and equality.

Also the day the Babri Masjid was destroyed by insane volunteers of the RSS, VHP, BJP and Shiv Sena - the incident that polarized India for a long time and brought the BJP to power at the Centre and some states. The culprits - L K Advani, Uma Bharti, M M Joshi, Ashok Singhal who are directly responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people have not yet been punished.
link | 1

27 November 2007

Orion from an aeroplane window @ 39,000 feet


Of course
I have seen you before

Sitting huddled in
Narrow train doors

But never
Never from this close
link | 2

19 November 2007

11% in 11 months

Thats how much the dollar has fallen wrt the rupee - from 44.2 to 39.2 since January. If this trend continues, it will be 34 Rupees to a Dollar by next November.

The corresponding drops with respect to other currencies:
10.4% Euro, 5.9% Pound, 6.5% Yen, 7% Yuan, 9.5% Ruble(till October), 13.4% Australian $, 11% Danish Kroner, 15.4% Norwegian Kroner, 19.5% Canadian $!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_market
http://www.currencybits.com/

But if you watch too closely, you could miss the big picture.
link | 0

15 November 2007

Reign Over Me

An established dentist in New York, Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle - Crash, Hotel Rwanda) sees his college room mate, Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) driving a kids' scooter on the streets.
Charlie refuses to recognize him. He is suffering from post-traumatic stress after losing his wife and daughters on 9/11 and stays away from anything that could remind him of his life. He lives a hedonistic isolated existence of complete denial and gets agitated if anyone tries to make him remember. Alan himself is stuck between family and career and has lost touch with his true self. He decides to do everything he can to help Charlie and starts meeting him more often.
A touching and beautiful story of friendship, loss and hope. A bit too Hollywoodish but surprisingly great acting by Adam Sandler. He can act! Don Cheadle is very good as usual. Reign Over Me.
link | 0

12 November 2007

What does it mean to be homeless?

Cambridge:

Fredgy runs a used books stall in Harvard Square. I think she must be around 60. Old clothes, kind weathered face and just a bandana to protect her from the cold. She talked to me as I was browsing.

F: Each one of these is for 2 dollars.
A: Hmm.
F: We have fiction here in this row, next is poetry, then drama, biography, on the other side - scifi, novels, old books.
A: (Pointing out Isak Dinesen's Letters From Africa) Do you have more books by this person?
F: I'm sorry I can't keep track of..
A: These books are really good.
F: Yeah look at this. You won't get this anywhere. We have rare books. Every Friday we get a thousand new books and replace all the shelves.
A: Wow! I'll come here often.
F: We are open on all days unless it rains or snows, till 11 out in the cold.
A: Do you live around here?
F: Do you know about us? I was born here and grew up here but now I am homeless. Some of us started this to get out of the streets and back home. We are not alcoholics and we don't do drugs - but you know the stereotypes - if they are homeless they must be drunks. The City wanted us to go. We got arrested thrice - handcuffs and all - but we fought them. First the City then Cambridge Police. And we won. They had violated our rights according to the First Amendment - our Freedom of Speech.
A: How did you manage a lawyer and all?
F: They arrested us so it's their responsibility. The City said 'We don't have a permit to give them for the next 30 years' The judge said, 'Then make them one!'
A: Great!
F: Nobody bothers us now. Are you in school?
A: Yes I go to Northeastern. I am Anish. (Shook hands)
F: Aani?
A: Anish. Whats you name?
F: Anish. I'm Fredgy. Nice meeting ya. Many students come here. Their books are so expensive like 80-90$.
A: Yeah. And most of them are paying off their tuition loans for a long time.
F: Yes everyone has payments all the time. You know.. MBTA (the municipal transport) also wanted to throw us out of here - but Cambridge Police came up and told them not to try. We have been successful in New York. According to federal and Mass law we don't even need a permit. And state comes over city. We have been running for two years now.
A: I am so happy this happened.
F: If you go online you can see our story - look for sparechange.

http://www.streetnewsservice.org/index.php?page=archive_detail&articleID=756
http://sparechangenews.blogspot.com/2006/12/tale-of-kenneth-obrien.html
http://www.homelessempowerment.org/

(I got three good books: Letters from Africa -Karen, Buddenbrooks -Thomas Mann and Watership Down. There were some more details like bail was only $40 but can't remember everything; I can't bring in her accent either)

Shorter accounts from Boston and Bombay comng up.
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Zindagi Khwaab Hai (Jaagte Raho)

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03 November 2007

Beth Gibbons & Rodrigo Leão 'Lonely Carousel'

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6 months of winter and static

Innocence lost-
About time
To be afraid

Sparks gonna fly

Lightning
No longer
Only in the sky
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28 October 2007

Is it possible for humans to live without killing the earth?

The population of the United States is 300 million and the number of passenger vehicles is 240 million. If everyone consumes energy and resources by the US average, only 1/6th of the human race can live. And everyone is rushing to meet the American Dream even within their own countries. Going by example, China and India will have to invade Central Asia for oil for their booming economies.

Recently I heard a very good talk by an economist from India who is probably a member of the Planning Commission, about how rigourously growth rates and poverty rates are actually calculated. But none of the experts talks about the simple numbers of a sustainable lifestyle. Rahul's home in Indore is an example of a beautiful natural urban life (Watch the video).
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Steve Jobs speech (thanks to Siddhartha Mal)


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27 October 2007

Justice to all

Tehelka has exposed an open secret. Inspite of all the evidence in front of the Nanavati Commission, the big fish have managed to escape till now by using the loopholes in the system. But justice will prevail and Gujarat will someday rid itself of the disease to its social milieu along with its symptoms (Modi and co.) just as the rest of India and Bombay recovered from the Ram Janmbhoomi madness and the tense atmosphere after the riots and bomb blasts. Thackeray and Advani must get their punishment and go to jail in the same way as Dawood must. Preaching forgiveness is easy if it is someone else's loss. I am not calling for retribution but I hope every Indian who has lost a dear one to riots, communal killings, genocides and terrorism will someday get the satisfaction of justice been done. Someday..
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Red car-
No longer red.
Fall
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23 October 2007

Shelfari - horrible!!! Stay away from it!

This website is a cheat! It will send emails to your yahoo/gmail addressbook contacts in your name without asking you. I created an account just for the sake of curiousity and now it has taken a life of its own. Instead go to http://www.librarything.com if you want to.
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17 October 2007

Tree

I am a tree-
Not the tender seedling
Young, vulnerable

Nor the supple sapling
Flirting, flaunting
Greenery in the wind.
I am a tree-

I am a tree-
Broken, gnarled
Rooted fingers
Clutching desperately to my soil.
Battered, bruised shoots
Struggling fiercely towards the sun.

I am the tree
You chopped.

-Colleen Smith-Brown
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15 October 2007

Download your blog

My friend Maymon showed me a command wget three years ago. I used to download my homepage using wget (This wikipedia article calls it your own personal web crawler) You can download entire filesystems of not so secure websites like those hosted on geocities without having to login. It can be very useful if you want to download a file that has a broken link - simply download the whole filesystem of that website - you will find your file somewhere in there.

But this means that there is really no such thing as privacy on the internet. It must be easy to download our emails too for someone chaloo enough in this creepy web-crawling game.

"wget -r http://quitsmoke.blogspot.com ." will get my whole blog to your current directory nicely arranged in archives the way blogger stores it.
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09 October 2007

The morning I saw the daydreaming sparrow

My advisor sent me to Radioshack to buy some special batteries for the lab. I had a 4-5 day-old beard and the middle-aged guy at the shop joked(?) - 'Is this for a terrorist project?' Very funny huh.
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Biology 101: Response to stimulus = You are alive

I remember the consoling comments from friends on one of my homesick posts. Back then I was completely sick and tired of the sanitized and planned nature of the American city I live in. Also I missed the company of friends and my familiarity with Powai terribly. I really identified with them strongly. Something you take for granted over the years, to realize it's gone only when you suddenly find yourself in a new system with a different set of boundary conditions. Then you welcome existential angst with open arms and even get married to it.

Meanwhile, people tell you - 'Get busy and forget your feelings'

Chitra's cartoon 'Feeling Hollow in America' and some blogs that told people (non-desis who were planning to shift to India) not to expect order anywhere - which would make living in India easier. We can conclude by combining these two that the key factor that makes life in these places seem so starkly contrasting is the external stimuli that we are bombarded with. Its sheer volume in a bustling city in India overwhelmingly exceeds anything found in America. I won't go into listing all the stimuli. It is too obvious. Still, allow me to shout.. "Eureka!! Eureka!!"
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08 October 2007

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion

A moving account of the recent history of the people of Tibet. A ray of hope and reason in the increasingly hopeless situations around the world. There is so much for everyone to learn from their courage and compassion. I am lost for words.
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04 October 2007

Window Shoppers

too much choice
confused sparrows
in a heap of straw

one of them
makes a choice
cruises away with confidence

low flight
parallel to the ground
precious cargo in her mouth

the way shown
quick choices are made
the others follow

two birds stay
shrugging
"just came to watch"
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28 September 2007

Bali-Rajya anyone?

I remember celebrating Diwali at home. On Bali Pratipada, people in Maharashtra say 'Ida Pida Talo, Baliche Rajya Yevo' (May all dangers and difficulties go away, May the rule of Bali return). Bali was this powerful just and popular king south of the Vindhyas and in his kingdom there was no misery and everyone was happy. The most popular story about Bali is the one in which Vishnu as Vaman takes advantage of his generosity and kills him - asks him for land that he can cover in three steps, covers heaven and earth in two steps and then steps on Bali's head.

Somehow in all Hindu mythology the gods especially their king Indra (like Zeus in Greek mythology) seem to be very shrewd, cunning and to an extent even evil and they always trick and defeat the naive demons. And all this killing of the so-called demons is justified in the name of protecting cows, brahmins and Dharma. Now our much-maligned Ravan was supposedly a great scholar and the greatest bhakt of Shiva. The part I like most about Shiva is his passionate and energetic Tandav dance and that he is the only mythological figure who lives a carefree life in the wilderness, makes love to the mountain king's daughter and last but not the least smokes marijuana. If I ever believed in any god it would be him.

There is such a nice collection of articles on mythology on wikipedia. Nordic mythology is also so rich. Wikipedia takes you on trips round the world and it took me to the legend of Valhalla and the Danish animated movie of 1986 available on youtube in seven parts. Internet zindabad!

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27 September 2007

India got to

help the pro-democracy protesters in Burma
give more recognition to the national hockey team that won the Asia Cup
help the people fighting corruption in J n K
take the babus to task and make them implement the national rural emploment scheme in all states
congratulate ISRO people for the successful GSLV launch
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a breeze
wooden window
curtains reveal
the moon

a silent night
the moonlight gives
a blue tinge
even to things indoors

what they say is true
its a different world at night
smooth outlines and shadows
lust or love?
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22 September 2007

Indian scientists cowards!

BVN's post on the latest desperate drama to return to power of the RSS/BJP - Ram Setu. As with most of their potential non-issues that are kept on the back burner till the time is right, they have been doing a lot of cheap canvassing for years via innocent-looking forwards showing NASA satellite photographs of this limestone shoal.

Yet another scientific truth sacrificed at the altar of not hurting the religious sentiments of people. Can't a single Indian scientist stand up and explain how it is a natural structure? Are they afraid of attacks by the VHP or of losing their government jobs? Don't they have any self-respect or confidence in their own science? How many geologists does it take to explain these facts. Is it their own condescending attitude towards the Indian public's intelligence. The pious ignorant people of India who are so hyper-sensitive about religion. Bullshit.

Can't scientists have any scientific sentiments that can be hurt like religious sentiments? Don't they feel offended when someone publicly mocks their life's work and makes political capital out of it? Don't they feel like going on a mass strike till justice is done and the liars accept the truth?

What government is this that deems scientific knowledge so inferior. Isn't our PM Oxford educated? What good is all this education. Isn't this pseudo-secularism (to steal a phrase coined by the RSS itself). That a Sikh Prime Minister cannot talk about Ram.
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13 September 2007

Dream on sparrow

Yesterday morning I saw a male sparrow right in the centre of the footpath staring ahead into space oblivious to anyone approaching. It would have been so bad to disturb his contemplative trance. God knows what great thoughts were going through his proud diminutive dignified head. It was best to leave him undisturbed. A bird meditating on life and destiny or maybe just enjoying the warm morning sunshine.
fresh clear morning
sparrow daydreaming on the sidewalk
i change my path
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12 September 2007

such continuous drizzle sky overcast as if it will never lift still a fresh breeze blows soothing nostalgia about campus lazy days wet black grey roads lazier clouds rest on violet green hills cows walk in no hurry make dung cakes for us to cut struggle to keep cigarette dry lazy smoke comes out thicker than usual same colour as clouds trees drip big drops that fall faster when they sway in the wind dark afternoons no light on purpose to enjoy lying in cosy bed small trek to staff canteen loose change a ten rupee note in pocket dearest friends share tea and smoke converse happily about life in general cut to present eight silent sparrows sit in a line on bare tree branch under lush leaf cover as i watch madly happy for no reason confident i can fly
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23 August 2007

No Smoking

Anurag Kashyap's next movie (releasing on Oct 26) promises a lot. Starring Ranveer Shorey, Paresh Rawal, Ayesha Takia, John Abraham.
hmm produced by Vishal Bharadwaj
A fundoo link from Passion For Cinema.

Anurag Kashyap's interview - 'Don't think of doing it. Do it!' part1 and part2
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21 August 2007

The Blue Umbrella (Chatri Chor)


Pankaj Kapoor plays an endearing role of a tea-biscuit stall owner 'Nand Kishore' in a quaint Himachal village. Based on a Ruskin Bond story. A beautiful movie by Vishal Bhardwaj. Halo by Santosh Sivan was also a very good childrens' movie.
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15 August 2007

A morning

Guru Dutt and his talented team made beautiful movies - Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam, Mr & Mrs 55, CID, Pyaasa, Kaagaz ke Phool and Aar Paar. Chaudhvin ka Chaand was bad. But everyone makes mistakes. Johnny Walker played his best roles here. 'Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan' from CID is the immortal song that defines Bombay even today. 50 years ago my grandfather was 35 and my grandma 33, my parents were kids. This song was shot in the city they lived in. Great art that effortlessly transports us in time.

A day I will never forget. In school we used to write essays on this subject an unbelievable number of times. Everyone came up with patent lame false stories. But now I believe that such days exist. Days you recall with clarity, insignificant days having no particular life-altering events. I remember one such morning in 2004. It was a pleasantly cool Sunday, the day after Diwali night - a grand finale of loud crazy firecrackers all over the city. I had some work near Marine Drive at 9. Thanks to a night-out at the hostel, I reached VT at 7. To pass two hours, I decided to take the longer route via Fountain - Churchgate instead of Azad Maidan - Fashion Street, at a very relaxed speed.

I walked in a dream. On the entire stretch from VT to Fountain I saw ten people. Zero traffic on the roads - only an occasional speeding almost empty BEST bus screeching to a halt at a bus stop in a well rehearsed swift short symphony played by the conductor driver duo.. ting, brakes, halt, ting-ting, first gear, speed, second gear and away. Even at Marine Drive the regulars were missing. Very few people from Nariman Point to Girgaon Chowpatty and even beyond. Lovers, people in shorts walking their dogs or on their morning walk, sea-gazers, tea sellers on cycle, time-pass peanut vendors - they had all mass-bunked. Meanwhile, Silence paid a courtesy call.


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14 August 2007

Karen Blixen again

From the story 'The Old Chevalier' in 'Seven Gothic Tales'
I was so young then that I could no more than other young people give up the deep faith in my own star, in a power that loved me and looked after me in preference to all other human beings. No miracle was incredible to me as long as it happened to myself. It is when this faith begins to wear out, and when you conceive the possibility of being in the same position as other people, that youth is really over.
We sat down to supper, Nathalie and I, high up there in my warm and quiet room, with the great town below us and my heavy silk curtains drawn upon the wet night, like two owls in a ruined tower within the depths of the forest, and nobody in the world knew about us.
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06 August 2007

The magic of latex ;)


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The Fugitive Cat

Just take care while you write. Don't let anyone guess you are a psycho. Let them think you are normal and write logically. No controversies. Just plain apolitical and normal-guy stuff. All topics carefully filtered out. Cute observations and mainstream fun. Sound sorted-out, well-informed and confident. But don't overdo it please. No normative judgements. Only objective-sounding statements supporting the status-quo. Its time to project a new you. A conformist and post-modern you.

Don't tell them things like the scene you just saw. That you saw no humans in your university tonight when you went to the lab at 12 (Don't tell them that!). Instead for the first time in Boston you saw a cat on its own. A few hours past moonrise. They have such efficient animal-control here. This Indian-looking white cat with brown patches. And what was the cat doing? Walking close to the buildings with graceful proud strides that accentuated its long white legs. Yet walking in the shadows like it had escaped from jail. Looking suspiciously at you as it sneaked away. Don't even mention that you thought of calling security to take it to a shelter. That would have been treacherous. Robbing an animal of its freedom to be "well-treated" in an appropriate secure environment. But if humans the dominant species can't live as they want to, how can a cat expect such liberty. It should also learn to fit in. Like me.

The Cat That Walked By Himself
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05 August 2007

Mysteries by Beth Gibbons

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04 August 2007

Is living outside the system more difficult today than it was in the past? Is the "abundance of opportunities and jobs" today nothing but the shrinking of alternatives?
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31 July 2007

Great German biker

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29 July 2007

Wong Kar-Wai

He is a film director from Hong Kong (a friend of Tarantino) - people were crazy for his movies which were popular on ftp servers in iitb. 2046 and Chunking Express are two of his very good movies. I haven't seen In The Mood For Love which I am going to watch on youtube right now! Tony Leung (the undercover cop in Infernal Affairs acts in all these 3 movies)

'Siboney' - supposedly a sensual classic song in Spanish has been used in 2046. Someone has made a mock video on youtube. The lyrics and approximate English translation. I really like this song.
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25 July 2007

Julie Delpy's new movie

The star of 'Before Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset' has written directed and played the lead role in 'Two days in Paris' that releases August 10.
First day first show!
http://www.2daysinparisthefilm.com/
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24 July 2007

Disciplined Minds

"Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives" by Jeff Schmidt

All of us can relate to the theme of the individual in an overbearing system that demands conformity. There is a website about the book.

I had read a book 'Of Men and Galaxies' by Fred Hoyle that my friend Girish had suggested. It is a collection of 3 of his lectures given in 1964. These are very brilliant thoughts of a great scientist but the first lecture is most interesting. It is a brief appraisal of scientific research and its culture over the years and the way it has changed and become a game of cornering the most funds and wearing an attitude of 'professionalism'. He warns scientists of such tendencies and suggest an alternate fresh outlook towards research.

Prof Yashpal in his lecture at Techfest 2004 in IITB had said that the best ideas in research do not come up so much in labs and offices as in university canteens and cafetarias and joked that spending time in canteens should be made compulsory. He was appealing for an open-minded approach to studies and research, reminding us that learning and discovery is supposed to be fun.
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22 July 2007

Deseo mirar dos peliculas por el director de Amelie

Delicatessen
The City of Lost Children
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18 July 2007

Monty Python Madness

Crazy stuff. Best fun under the sun. The British know how to laugh at themselves. Watch the best episodes of this TV show on youtube.
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14 July 2007

Ozymandias

A friend Bijoy had read this poem at his home during a mehfil many many years back. It was a quiet dark night in the rainy season with dim lights and people happy and light tipsy with some nice wine. Such times are fond memories now.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
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11 July 2007

Isak Dinesen - Life of a storyteller

From the book:
Kamante was "the kind of stuff from which, in the olden days, they made court jesters." He was "aware of this separateness of his, himself, with the arrogant greatness of soul of the real dwarf, who, when he finds himself at a difference with the whole world, holds the world to be crooked." This is a quality found in many of Dinesen's heroes, and one she cultivated in herself. It is the heroism of the dreamer, the eccentric, and the pervert: all those who have been planted in life with their taproots bent and who never thrive, or bear fruit, but who seem to flower "more richly than the others."
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11 July 2006

Bomb blasts in local trains killed 187 people in Bombay - tired people returning home in the evening. Blown up for no fault of their own. Followed by Malegaon blasts on 8 Sept 2006. More people killed. Survivors left to face the horrors of the day's memory. Does life have to be so miserable?
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10 July 2007

Kafka

Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate... but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.
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09 July 2007

Wish list

Trek in Kumaon, live in Kausani for a few months.
Live in Goa and learn Goan, eat tons of fish.
Cover my backlog of books to be read.
Visit Mombasa and go to safari, Mt Kenya, Embu-Meru, Malindi and the Rift Valley again.
Visit Denis Finch-Hatton's grave on the Ngong Hills and Karen's home.
Do some worthwhile research
Go bicycle trekking with Youth Hostels in Ladakh.
Visit Coorg and verify its beauty.
Taste all the fruits in the world.
Sketch beautifully.
Live in Prague for a while.
Compose less cliche poems.
Extend my attention span to more than a few dozen seconds.
Be good to good people.
Respect differences in peoples' lifestyle, attitude, outlook.
Offer criticism without being judgmental.
Be inclusive without giving up my own views in spite of my confusions.
Live on a ship for a few weeks.
Visit Machu Picchu.
to be cont'd..
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