startling banals

29 May 2007

A scout for the invading army
That presses on from South-West
Carried out his reconnaissance orders
A glimpse of things to come
Leaves us anticipating
Life under occupation
By the Monsoon Sultan
Our Seasonal Savior
I have heard that there is an 'Itr' that smells like the dry earth quenched by the first rains. Difficult to believe. Also since its not only that particular intoxicating fragrance but the whole atmosphere - the wind, the birds, the trees, the clouds and everything else in proportion that create a whole thats not just a sum of parts. One cannot describe the joy of the first rains to someone who hasn't been here. That is what makes it special.

The non-reproducibility of this phenomenon. An experience that cannot be turned into copies of copies without any trace of the original (simulacrum) that can be sold in again identical shopping malls. Something that tells us we are alive and unique - independent of any particular social political economic whatever system that we find ourselves born into when we come to. Something that Lefebvre would have called a magic moment of genuinely experienced life when we escape the 'Society of the Spectacle' in a world plagued by the 'Colonization of everyday life'.

Which is what great books, great music, great places and great movies give us. A sense of living independent of the exigencies of carving out a livelihood in an increasingly monolithic hegemonic and non-inclusive inhuman society. 'My name is red' has been very enjoyable. I place Orhan Pamuk next to Gabriel Garcia and Isak Dinesen.

The rains over Vihar lake can be seen from a relatively high hill (Dongar-Baba) nearby. The approaching rain perturbs the surface of this otherwise calm lake creating a distinct boundary marking the net progress of wetness. This progress is exceptionally quick as there is a swift wind accompanying and the sheet of drenching rain comes to you over the expanse of the wide view.. The big lake, lush green parallel hills of Borivli national park beyond it, a hint of the Arabian sea to the left if visibility is good, Hiranandani and the bisected hills, the creek, Vashi bridge and urban sprawl in the distance. After this it is the perfect time to go to staff canteen for a chay sutta. Even more thrilling is climbing at night around 3AM with the added possibility of leopards out on the prowl nearby. It can be cloudy, windy, or a clear moonlit night. Many variations exist. Then you reach the 'summit' and wait for sunrise. Life couldn't be more satisfying. How liberating life in a hostel can be. Could I have done this if I lived at home?

Home. Personal space. The US and India seem to be two extreme poles in this respect. A country that worships the individual and a country where the concept of personal space does not exist. People will be always there to help you but they won't ever leave you in peace alone either. How do couples adjust in a 'joint-family'? Must be a tremendous challenge.

My grandma just gave me roasted peanuts and jaggery :)
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16 May 2007

Illinois baby obtains gun permit

Illinois baby obtains gun permit
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Ubuntu - Vista

My friend Sid sent me this today:
Microsoft running scared from Linux
which convinces me even more to migrate to Ubuntu by the end of this year (or earlier)when microsoft is rumoured to stop 'supporting' XP.
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04 May 2007

6 AM

Moonlight through back and side windows.. and sunlight through the front ones. To remind us that we live on earth.

The moon beams come in as well-collimated shafts of light. They look almost magical at night when you turn off the lights. And then you bend to have a look at the full moon. La Luna Chaand Chandaa Chandamama Chandoba.

Woke up at 3.45 AM half-eaten by well-meaning mosquitoes who just wanted me to see the beauty and glory of night. This was after i had spent the whole day in the sun traveling on local trains and walking on roads floating in the human and machine sea of sweat. In a city pushed too hard to become Shanghai whatever that is. Construction work everywhere. Cement dust that enters your nose and eyes and blows on your face when a bus or truck passes by. How can there be any beauty in concrete? But in the age of survival, utility overrides beauty. I shouldn't be so harsh on Bombay.

Also saw the height of post-modernism and the age of contradictions. The bastion of retrogressive political thought Shiv Sena bhavan at Shivaji park- renovated - looking exactly like a shopping mall with tall glass windows.

Cut to present. The night was too good. Especially the mild breeze and the calm. There were some sleepless crows cawing. And as dawn broke amid the sounds of warbling bulbuls, fantails, sunbirds (maybe there were golden orioles, drongos and green barbets too but i didn't hear them) and of course chirping sparrows, I drank the morning in. The perfect opposite of what I had seen and been through the earlier day. Natural bliss after urban angst. A male sparrow came to the window and I said hi in his language.
Cool summer morning
A sparrow peeps in
"Yes, I'm here"
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