Thursday, December 28, 2006
It has been nine crepuscular years. I still remember it vividly. It was as if mom had gone to a deep sleep. I looked at her face for one last time. She was still graceful in death, as in life. She had turned 42, a little less than three months back. I hugged my kid-sister asking her to not sob. “God wants her to look after a small heaven-garden, she will be back soon” I foolishly consoled her. In hindsight I reckon, there are many things in life we don’t have the power to change, even as we may wish to! You simply cannot talk to people who leave you forever, though you may snivel at this supreme injustice. You may dream your mom and then get up excited -- like a hen’s newborn chick -- to look around and find her no more. Such is Life. Bittersweet.
My mom lies interred in a beautiful, simple grave, in a green meadow, by a quietly flowing river, in peach-fragrance of countryside Kashmir. Shaded by Viburnum flower trees, the place appears utterly peaceful but it makes me feel unloved for some arcane reason. In life one has got to be lucky to be blessed with a mother’s noble, selfless, love. Like other kids I grew very fond of my mom. The mother's heart – it is said -- is the child's schoolroom. Mommy was sweet, loving, sacrificing, beautiful. Like all mom’s. I still feel good in my heart when my pals return to their mother’s for holidays or festivals.
Life teaches us many lessons the hard way. It allows us to absorb shocks; we otherwise think will knock us off. I recall my best friends in the US -- Suhail and Salah. They lost their mom in similar circumstances a few years ago. It was a wintry night, they later told me. A snowstorm was raging in New York. It was dark and cold and they stayed awake. Then the phone rang. It was the hospice calling. The storm had stopped, so had aunt’s feeble pulse. My friend tells me that he still feels her presence in his Manhattan home. Yet I know something is amiss. He experiences it, like me.
I can’t say what. An emotional scar, a sense of deep reverence or remnants of the gentle influence of a mother, perhaps. There is this terrible hunger for love. We all experience it in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it.
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
Mom, 28 Sep 1955- 28 Dec 1997, RIP
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
than an emotion. Do I love you
because I feel I do or because you
took the time to show it?
Love is supposed to come
from the windows of your soul
and not just from the chambers
in your heart.
So, is it my soul that feels pain
or my heart that cries when you're not there?
Love is supposed to be the best form of
communicating one's inner spirituality to another.
But if we keep away from one another,
is it our spirits or our words that
keep us a part?
Love should be me writing poetry
and singing silly songs of happiness,
blossom trees and turtle doves.
But if you don't enjoy or appreciate
any of these things, has my love
Love should be you
being able to look into my eyes
while gently caressing my soul.
Love is, love should be infinity
times infinity and a whole lot more.
But if you're the only one feeling it,
and I'm the only one showing it,
Can we still call it love?
Here another cool internet quiz:
What sign you really are?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Driving back home in Delhi winters -- at 3 in the night – I think of what New York must have looked like a century back, perhaps. It is calm and chaotic at the same time; trucks entering Delhi bring in milk and vegetables and plastic pipes and whatnot. It is an endless stream of automobiles finding their way in. Trying to satiate the appetite of the capital city of the world’s fastest growing economy. People – and there are loads of them – sleep, huddled together upon roadside kerbs. Trying to hold on to each other’s warmth on a harsh, cold wintry night. Some elderly beggars were trying to light a bonfire. From inside the thermal confines of my car, I could see their blankets were not warm enough to keep out the cruel chill. Even in 9.5% growth. Wonder, how those beauteous babes managed!
Back home, I hit upon some lines, I couldn’t help adapt. Ya, I know. Stupid, Sam, someone may think. It is not that I don’t think of life without my distant dream. It is just that one practically cannot stop dreaming. Moreover, the thoughts are not the remnants of any party line. It's just that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what I really think. Just me.
The lines, my friends, before I drift again:
Why do I holler inside?
Why do I try and hide
Why do I still care
Why do I think you there.
Why do I love you?
Why do I think you love me too
Why do I feel pain
Why do I feel I'm insane.
Why do I want you so bad?
Why do I get a li'l mad
Why do I miss you
Why do I need you.
Why do I still love you?
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Each tear does not signify lamentation/
As shutting an eyelid does not connote sleep/
I do love you/
But does love always mean concord
There are times when I feel like a falling star that has finally found his place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever. The thought holds me high for long hours and then a sudden twitter wakes me up. The bright star shining by my side is there no more. I hear distant echoes of a familiar kind. ‘You can take me nowhere’, my yonder star appears to suggest. Silently one by one, in infinite meadows, the shiny stars evaporate. Ah – the hex of the early morning sleep. Another morning. Time for gym!
I think it is so important to space our relationships. I’ve come to realize that relationships of all kinds are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains. The minute you hold it tight, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But held too tightly, the relationship may just slip away.
In our most innocent ways we ponder, why we fall into relationships? Bondings, which only make us hanker. Lose sleep. Yearn in the winter fog. When we wish to cut through the mist. To touch those teasing toes.
A little canary has been cooing on the iron-grilled railings of my balcony since dawn. What is the tiny two-legged beauty trying to say, I wonder? We fall for people who most clearly fit our love map. And this love map is largely determined in our heart. And though the head may try to reason, the heart understands none of it.
Tirche tirche teer-e-nazar ke lagte hain
Sidha sidha dil pe nishana lagta hai
Aag ka kya hai pal do pal mein lagti hai
Bujhte bujhte ek zamana lagta hai
Thy eyes dart me sharp
And aim at my heart
The fire that kindled in a jiffy
Won’t douse just so soon!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Very few people understand us in our lifetimes. A select few. Earlier I used to reckon, in my most naïve thoughts, that people really understand the silent gasps beneath our laughter and endless chatter. That is -- however -- not always the case! I understand people tend to mistake you, miscomprehend you, misread you, unless you express. They may know you but they often don’t understand you. There actually is a great difference between knowing and understanding something, as Kettering sees it: You can know a lot about somebody and not really understand him. Or even try to. Often enough the real pain is breaking of the shell that encloses understanding.
Philosophical meanderings apart, I attended a superb lecture by the very acclaimed writer and one of my favs William Dalrymple at India International. The author delivered a talk on the Indian mutiny as a prologue to his latest book, The Last Mughal. Dalrymple is a maverick. A sheer delight to read. In The Last Mughal he has written an account of the Indian mutiny such as we have never had before, of the events leading up to it and of its aftermath, seen through the prism of the last emperor's life. He has vividly described the street life of the Mughal capital in the days before the catastrophe happened. In his one-hour talk, I stood transfixed, like many others. Simply Brilliant. This guy puts his finger deftly on every crucial point in the story -- which earlier historians have missed – and intersperses it with his characteristic wit. At the end of his lecture, the mixed gathering -- comprising of Delhi’s Who’s who -- authors, historians, writers, scholars, diplomats and journalists gave Willy a standing ovation. I kept standing for the entire hour. The auditorium was jam-packed!
I also went for a dinner over the weekend. It was sizzling Italian. I love their cuisine. Antipasti followed by pasta. I don’t know Italian but I guess antipasti means before pasta. Excellent food based typically on the Italian gastronomic specialties. I think it consisted of a variety of ingredients -- aubergines (stuffed, baked, grilled), green peppers, tomatoes, vegetables in oil and mussels. The food was yummy. My friend – I forgot to add -- was as ever delectable.
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. Outside we always fight for other things.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Years later, I still wake up a little late. I ensure that my office shifts do not align with my mandatory morning sleep schedule. I feel good when I sleep unruffled, after reading a delightful book overnight. The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t happen, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there. Life hinges on such sweet and sour possibilities.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. Brookes white once remarked. Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.
Yesterday, I laid my hands on an old tape. It played a haunting melody, almost mesmerizingly –
Lag ja gale ki phir
ye hasin raat ho na ho
shayad phir is janam mein
mulakat ho na ho
Transliterated, it simply means.
Come hug me/
For we are never sure if/
the sublime night will ever bless again/
We will never know if/
we get together again/
in this lifetime
I wonder the sonorous incantation says it all. There is so much beauty and ecstasy in the song. You can still listen to the fluent musical strands, long after you slip into your bed. Thinking, Life is like a beautiful song, only the lyrics are messed up. Another day is about to end, another cold, comforting night is going to blanket us.
Tonight, the stars twinkle. The night is chilly. You tarry for something? Sleep. Hug. Warmth. Eyes. Dreams. Tears. Love!!
pas aiye ki ham nahin
ayenge baar baar
bahey gale mein daal ke
ham ro le zaar-zaar
ankhoon se phir ye
pyaar ki barsaat ho na ho
shayad phir is janam mein
mulakat ho na ho.
I don’t need to translate it. You can’t express silly heart’s every faint rhythm. I better go to sleep.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I’ve made up my mind long back. I’m never going to give in to this fakeness. I can’t fake my hearts myriad little reveries. They are just too sacred to me to be wished away. A thrill still shoots through me when I think of love. Of eyes. Of stealing some cute glances in car mirrors. Of doing tiny somethings for someone, which I can’t bring myself to do even for me. The simple, innocent appreciation and respect for one another. My mind often reels as I step in my solitary room. I try to unwind, emote and enact the randomness of things! Think. And sit back to jot my thoughts.
When I go to sleep I always think of the countryside and all its loveliness and all its pureness. The trees and river streams. Quietitude. That’s when I unshackle my soul from life's numerous prejudices, vanities, riches and avarice. With a vanilla sky above and a grassed landscape beneath, my toes begin to tinkle. They tinkle alone.
The lovelorn thoughts chime in – always. It is already evening. Weekend. Cold. But beautiful. I am cheerful but I don’t know why! :)
Monday, November 27, 2006
Thou art not so unkind,
As man's ingratitude.
This is the onset of winters. When you live in Kashmir, every single time you see snow it is magical. Watching the snowflakes waltz their way from the heavens is surreal. It appears like a soft cross between sheer fantasmo and nature at her best. Though I am away from home, both in distance and time, I still love the chill about winters. Nothing strokes my spirits more than the nip in winter airs. In Delhi, the cold season lasts a little less than four months. It is cosy, warm and it smells of coffee wafts. And love. There is a certain slant of light about winter afternoons -- that oppresses, like the heft of cathedral tunes.
For some archaic reason, I feel alone as the frigid winds blow quietly outside. Last night, I came home and silently crept into my bed. I closed the door behind. I had no particular reason for my bareness. Sometimes in the silence of our hearts we listen to the odd mystic song of our life. I tried to listen to mine. I know no one would ever follow me; no one would come and stay. One by one, I appeared to take off my stupid desires. In my outstretched palm, they flickered for a while and then disappeared. I blew out all the candles, and the cold, calm night seemed both familiar and reassuring.
Curiously enough I had an impish dream overnight. I can only share little details here. It was like one of those many quick urgent dreams that overlap as you try to recount them next morning. My winter dream was a calm solace. Someone affectionately cuddled me. Told me that I am foolish to feel that there is no love left in the world. That I’m only enduring what is called the test of time. That I need to be cheerful. I tried to reason. Why? Why the rigorous endurance? There was a studied, elegant silence and then a tiny advisory: If you try, even you can control your emotions. But I don’t want to, I wanted to say. I didn't. They say any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.
Alexander the great was badly wounded during one of his fierce battles -- on his India conquest -- in the fourth century. The Macedonian king later recalled that he had had brief visions of everything he held sacred and beloved during his semi-conscious, mooning state: Vales with crimson flowers, a white robed Aristotle, familiar streets of Macedonia, his mom Olympias and ofcourse the countless naughty treks with Haephastion. It has occurred to kings and folks over hundres of years. The reveries almosy always transcend time.
My dream broke shortly before dawn. My World Space radio was still blaring. I got up, switched it off. I walked upto the window. I peeked out. There were no stars. A fine rain was falling. I slipped back into my feathered quilt. Trying to unbelong. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul!
Ah! The warmth of winter bed.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Reproducing an updated best-of-my-blog for the weekend special.
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
We must not miss lest we begin to love
Why does one miss? What is that makes us miss someone? How do we miss some and not all? Frankly, the very thought befuddles me. The idea is confusing, I understand.
We miss even when we are physically surrounded. Not many can make out that these are the drab moments of absense that tickle us in our sub-conciousness. The hard pangs. When we miss like hell. Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
All of us miss. The strong and the enfeebled. I guess we miss because we care. And because we love. It is such a exquisite human arete. I face it. That deep lump in my throat. Heart skipping doubly fast. The bizarre feeling of desperation. Of helplessness. Of trying to obliterate the distances. Efface what's between us. Can't. Strange worldly affairs. Norms. Decorum. These notions have been strifling human desires for ages.
There are times when I just want to break free. I trust Søren Kierkegaard, the maverick 19th century Danish existentialist when he says, 'It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.'
Life throws these hard snowballs at me. I hope I have the courage to hold forth and duck and throw bigger balls back at her. Last night, my eyes turned torpid reading a book. I remember, the last lines I read...If I never met you, I wouldn't like you. If I didn't like you, I wouldn't love you. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't miss you. But I did, I do, and I will.
I vegged out soon after. A lost smile swimming in my thoughts. Only I know its destination!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I don’t want to sound cynical here. I’ve waded through a particularly rough patch recently. A freaky car accident, followed by bouts of recurring sickness and other little complicacies happened to me in quick succession. I’m glad I’ve a great support system, which I can always fall back on when I’m lying low. Then I’ve my angel. It gently chastises me – when I appear meek -- only to strengthen me as an individual. With so much love it gets easier to cut through - heavy, thick, suffocating, woeful layers of darkness.
I wonder why does it feel heavier at times. Why does life feel like a mini dream in a siesta or a prolonged nightmare? Why do my independence, tastes, indulgences, quirkiness and the “so-called” emotional intelligence seem like a threat? Why does the heart want to break free and yell, where no one can listen to the lovelorn hollering? Why does a genuine chunk of your emotions seem like the third act of a boring English play? Why do I feel like to plunge into the unknown and pray that I swim and not sink!
Often enough, melancholy hovers like a giddy butterfly around our left ear. Many things – visible and invisible -- conspire to make us feel gloomy, down, sick, and endlessly hapless. That is when you need angels. They kiss your tears away. They quietly take your hand. They kick your butt. They make you smile. By their little words and magical touch. They tickle your eardrums by the high pitch of their innocent voice. They make you realize that happiness is infact a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down peacefully, may alight upon you.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Yet we dream, think, wish, miss, wonder, regret, cry, need and love.
I can’t speak for others. I know me.
I am thinking about:
promises that somehow get broken – always – by me!
Stupid. I love you. I mean the latter, never the former
I want to,
be at peace with myself, with the people around me...
I had a cottage by the sea, so I could go for a moonlit walk every night – I swear I don’t need anything else if I have that!
someone, who often comes in my dreams and who thinks it is an exhausting emotion!
the music in my heart.
Would I ever be whole? Happy I am, but in a fragmented way! I guess it’s the wholeness that matters!
Nothing - ever!
a person oscillating between the extreme of emotions and situations – too caring, a tad sarcastic, too supportive, a believer and a heathen. Ecstatic and Depressive. My life is made of contrasting strands, that’s where my wild energies come from!
as in never….just tap my feet!
Often – all artists are a little touched!
not always,in the best of the moods… so I cant be a good company 24/7, but I definitely try!
what I feel, even if it gets to be too prosaic or philosophical and complex for others to decipher…but then, I am not simple
my work or anything I commit to, whether hell comes or high winds. This explains my disregard for sluggards!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
makes me feel confident
makes me feel as if
I can make a difference to somebody
makes me feel beautiful
makes me smile
I believe in angels, the kind Heaven sends. I am surrounded by angels and I call them my friends. Friends are such priceless assets. You have got to be lucky to be able to find the genuine ones. And treasure them, safely away in that sacred coffer called heart. Even though we change in life and find our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends. I am glad I've a lovely bunch of friends to fall back on, each time my cadency slows or accelerates.
In life, we often find a special friend. Someone who changes our life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes us laugh until we can't stop. Someone who makes us believe that there really is good in the merciless world. Someone who convinces us that there actually is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. The forever friend!
When I’m down and the world seems dark and empty, my forever friend lifts me up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem fulgent and full. That is when I realize friends are Godsend. I believe mine are. They have all played a role in opening a part of me up. Of forming me into the person I am at this moment. With their quirks and wild ideas. I love them!
I have jotted it somewhere and I mean it: I reckon we all have a few loose bolts upstairs. If we did not...we would not be human. And although the terms were perhaps intended for women, don't we all really bitch, crib, cry and smile from earlobe to earlobe in the company of our august friends.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
love without loss
I cannot fathom such a feeling
yet I long for it with you
And that longing is like a thousand deaths.
And as I long to be released from that pain,
I know it will never happen
because to be released from that pain
would mean being released from you,
and the pain of that is death in itself
So for the time I have left I will lie in
Your arms, hiding the pain that wells up
Inside and the pain that accompanies holding
Back the tears, and hope and pray you don't
Wake up, and catch me with those tears in my eyes...
The tears in my eyes that come from loving you.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I was in Kashmir, this last week. It was a whirlwind tour, as my sojourns always are. Five days. Six nights. Like some Mediterranean cruise where people jostle to feed you, pamper you, fatten you. I think I have put on a little flab. It makes me feel guilty, like nothing else. Kashmir was good. Ever beautiful, serene and quiet. Every time I go to the vale of violets and violence – I see very little change. The same gossips. Same old stories, I’ve heard a thousand times and yet I listen to them. I can’t reason, why? Midwives tales. Dull, drab afternoons. The famous nip in the wind. The chill piercing your toes. The unsettling feeling. Funny Urdu accents. Occasional bombs. On the flight back to Delhi, as you see the majestic Himalayas fade in the distance, you know you can’t unbelong to the crimson land that has spawned you.
This is the onset of winters in Delhi. I don’t know how long I continue to breathe her hodgepodge airs. Right now, people in the capital are fighting street battles with the government because our courts have decided to seal a million livelihoods – in one quick order. With no rehabilitation or re-location plans in clear sight, I understand it is a desperate situation. The highest law of the land may throw law books at your face but try explaining that to a person with a family and no alternative income. No state social security. In the era of globalization. We pride to call ourselves the world’s biggest democracy yet spirit away the only means of sustenance available to an ordinary citizen of this country. Outside of our plush ac-cars and designer offices, life is but an endless struggle for the hoi polloi.
I sleep -- unconsciously fighting the virus-pack – subconsciously floating in my daffy dreams. Savoring in the delight of my heart’s sweet-ache. Yeah, Eyes. Those eyes come to say something to me. I never understand what. I never may! Yet I love them. Is it sane to dream in our times? I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time. Even in a time of 9.5% growth.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
When the remaining recounts and legal challenges are over, the Democrats may even have narrowly won control of the Senate too. Either way, the results change the political landscape in Washington for the final two years of this now thankfully diminished presidency. They also reassert a different and better United States that can again offer hope instead of despair to the world. Donald Rumsfeld's -- of the stuff happens fame -- resignation last night was a fitting climax to the voters' verdict. Thank you, America.
In US domestic terms, the 2006 midterms bring to an end the 12 intensely divisive years of Republican House rule that began under Newt Gingrich in 1994. These have been years of zealously and confrontational conservative politics that have shocked the world and, under Bush, have sent America's global standing plummeting. That long political hurricane has now at last blown itself out for a while, but not before leaving America with a terrible legacy that includes climate-change denial, the end of biological stem-cell research, an aid programme tied to abortion bans, a shockingly permissive gun culture, an embrace of capital punishment equalled only by some of the world's worst tyrannies, a president who frighteningly carries religion on sleeve.
Polls suggest that four issues counted most in these elections - corruption scandals, the economy, terrorism and Iraq. In the end, though, it was the continuing failure of the war in Iraq that has galvanised many Americans to do what much of the rest of the world had longed for them to do much earlier. It is too soon to say whether 2006 now marks a decisive rejection of the rest of the conservative agenda as well. Only those who do not know America well will imagine that it does.
The Democratic victory was very tight in many places, but its size should not be underestimated. November 7 was a decisive nationwide win for the progressive and moderate traditions in US political life. The final majority in the House will be at least 18. The recapture of the Senate, if it happens, will involve captures from the Republicans in the north-east, the north-west, the midwest and the south. The Democrats won seven new state governorships on Tuesday, including New York and Ohio, and now control a majority nationwide. Republican governors who held on, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and Charlie Crist in Florida, only did so by distancing themselves from Mr Bush. The statewide Democratic wins in Ohio give their 2008 presidential candidate a platform for doing what John Kerry failed to do in this crucial state in 2004.
The big questions under the new Congress will be the way that Bush responds to this unfamiliar reduction in his authority and whether the Democratic win will push the president into a new Iraq policy. Curiously, the departure of the disastrous Rumsfeld has come at least three years too late. He more than anyone else is the architect of America's humiliations in Iraq. It was truly an outrage that he remained in office for so long. American voters at last made this possible. For that alone the entire world owes them a deep gratitude.
It isn't yet morning in America, but for the first time in a long time, there's a morning star. Thank you, America.
Poop-- The Guardian
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Parting is such sweet sorrow, as they say. I am off for sometime. To Kashmir. Reasons, I've detailed at some length in the post, below.
This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.
I leave you with two of my fav snap-shots in recent months!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The place has another ugly facet. It is run-over by a ruthless lot who kill at will. Bombs go off in crowded markets. Bullets start a macabre dance – unexpectedly -- on tranquil afternoons. You are frisked and frisked till you go red in your neck and bitter in the eye. It is all standard procedure. It is a war-zone. A low-intensity conflict has been going on in Kashmir for 17 long years now. The majestic Dal may gleam with its gold fish and sequined Houseboats but the murky pale of death always looms large.
I think I’ve drifted here. It always happens to me. I am taking an unscheduled off and going to Kashmir because my kid-sister has hurt herself. Poor gal went to buy an innocent pack of tang juice for herself, forgetting for a silly second, that she is walking in war-zone. Kaboom, the bomb went off. Sending the fruit-vendor, opposite side of the road, flying a metre high in the sky. Next moment, another soul exited the phantom-vale. Dead. Such inexpensive is human life in our little paradise. Thirty others got injured. My sis got a splinter or two in her leg. She fell on ground, her juice tightly clutched in her hand. Live people were on fire, children bleeding, women wailing, many shivering. What can one say: A slice of the Armageddon, only this pain is too real to be passed over.
Thank heavens, she is doing fine now. Most people live perpetually under a dun shadow of death in Kashmir. It all boils down to a little game of probability. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I reckon, there is only one reality about war: People die. Incidentally I just finished reading Gen Musharraf’s ‘In the Line of Fire’. The guy appears chivalrous most of the time in his book, yet the only time he seems to loose composure is when he describes a bomb that went off near him. A top-rung commando, a General, normally used to booms and wars, visibly perplexed. Imagine the plight of ordinary people used to only Tweedle-tweedle.
Harold Pinter, last year's Nobel Prize winner for literature puts it rather succinctly and simply:
The bombs go off
The legs go off
The heads go off
The arms go off
The feet go off
The light goes out
The heads go off
The legs go off
The lust is up
The dead are dirt
The lights go out
The dead are dust
A man bows down before another man
And sucks his lust
Hope peace kisses the water birds again.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
I often doodle in my mindscape that humans must be the most interesting species that ever walked upon earth. All our lives we hanker for love. We traverse great depths to explore it. We sail and we soar, trying to find it. We ramble into obscure territories, often running into mean cul-de-sacs. Weeks give way to fortnights and then sheepishly turn into months but our little quest almost never ends. We keep searching for that real relationship. The various trials we endure and the countless tribulations we follow, only makes us strong. Astoundingly, it is a constant pursuit for love? A single person in a world of five billion! Whatever it is, it must be the world’s most pious hunt.
We meet many interesting and not-so-interesting blokes on this journey. Some we never think about again. Some, we wonder what happened to them. There are some that we wonder if they ever think about us. And then there are some we wish we never had to think about again. There are times we dangerously delude ourselves about. Foolishly enough, every time we try find a reason to the heart’s furor. However in the most private realms of our mind, we soon realize it is only companionship, settlement, and physical compatibility. Not love. Not that sacred little thing.
Not love. How can it be? Love allows you to listen to the still voices within. Then obey them. You know it occurs to you when someone can listen to your heartbeat without being anywhere near you. It makes your eyes go moist suddenly, unexpectedly – for no reason. It makes you say a tiny prayer in a long time – not for yourself – but for the one you love. It is selfless. Always!
And – then it occurs to us. We aren’t even looking for it. Suddenly it comes, as if Godsend, to whisper a beautiful secret in our ear. How can one put it in words? Magic without magical spells. Happiness without reasons. Conversation without words. Celebration without occasions. Togetherness without being together!
No feeling is more comforting and consoling than knowing that you are being loved. Frederick Nietzsche was one of 20th century’s most influential philosophers. I quote the old German: There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.
Need I say more?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Earlier in the day, I’d loaded my apple I-pod with the latest I-tunes. With ‘The Zahir’ by the mystic Brazilian Paulo Coehlo for company and Ajnabee Shehar (Strange city) soothing my acoustic senses, I knew I was in for a delectable trip. Enjoyable as it was, the entire route to Chandigarh was lambent. Lit up, as if some royal carriage was scheduled to pass by. Chandeliers glowed on naked trees. Old houses wore a luminescent look. Every time I gazed out of the ac-gilded windowpane, a band of boys and gals would smile their best smiles. Everything was bathed in a strange mirthful hue. Festive airs!
Punjabi’s are known for their heartiness. Jatin's entire family stood at the belvedere -- of the train station -- to receive me. I felt touched in my soul. It was hospitality standing along with gladness. Such beautiful-warm people. I hadn’t expected this! I was led to Panchkula, a five-minute drive from Chandigarh. Surrounded by the valleys of Himachal and the air-force runways of Ambala, Panchkula is an exotic, historic place with an overall laid-back feel. The roads are wide, clean and everyone seems hell scared of the traffic cops. Law is followed to the last little detail. I learn’t that Panchkula is prone to unreliable rainfall and has a great variation in temperature. It actually rained on Day-2. The place was true to its form.
Night-1 was Diwali. The carnival of lights. We quickly gobbled a rather finger-licking dinner. They are too good at it. Sanso da sagh aur makki di roti (No English equivalent, no translation – at least I don’t want to attempt). It was a sumptuous meal with dollops of ghee. Normally – in Delhi – I shriek at the sight of extra oil. Here in the middle of an effervescent place, with a magical family surrounding to feed you, I simply gave up. It is better to indulge once-in-a-blue-moon.
We burst crackers. We lit candles. We fired rockets. We toggled little atomic bombs, with no fear of a reprimand from Prez Bush. We set aglow a few dozen fuses. I’ve never allowed myself to be absorbed to such daring, on any previous occasion. I admit, however that I do love fireworks, and I have missed them before, and I couldn’t miss them again-oh! It was a little team-effort. Jatin, his naughty nephew – Aman, his sis Meenu di and me. Together we added some more decibels to the myriad booms, which rented the usually tranquil evenings of Panchkula. Uncle and Aunty clapped on the porch. The stars twinkled. It felt relaxing. Homely.
Day-2 began on a rainy note. It poured. A cold morning and hot bed-tea is always a terrific idea. The tea smelled of ginger and nectar. Balmy. After a rocking night – fireworks continued long into the morning – it came as an elixir. The rain stopped towards afternoon. In the meantime, we sat – a brainstorm – to create a small poem for Aman, for his fancy dress competition. I wish the witty master wins.
I drove to the Rock Garden in Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh. I was amazed. They say the lotus blooms in the mire. Built of industrial waste and thrown-away items, the garden is perhaps the world's most poignant and subtle statement of a possibility of finding beauty in the unexpected and accidental. It expresses so elegantly -- fragility of the environment, need for conservation and importance of balancing industrial development. I loved the architecture, conceptualization and art of the garden. Replete with imagery and layers of meaning, it offers you lots.
We gadded about in Sector-17, Chandigarh’s fashionable shopping street. The Punjabis enjoy life with a shade of humor, which I truly admire. I laughed out loud with them.
A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Some joys spill love loads
on a love lorn world
Touch us in ways unknown
to rekindle our soul
When lights, glows & wicks
Lap the lands,over
Moments which one wished
stay on for ever
Endless stars and sparkles,
dazzle in the night sky
Big bangs rent the skies
to a myriad eager claps
When a hug undoes hatred
when blooms wipe off bombs
When sweets mix with smiles
and joys meld with love
It is Diwali time folks,
when God loves our shimmer
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I must confess: I like my desires. I carry some images home to stay awake with. I think there is nothing wrong in me except, perhaps, my imagination. It runs too far, too wide, too unbridled, too luxuriant, too raving. It takes me to the most unchartered of the territories, to forbidden frats, to old abandoned churches, to the strums of a thousand guitars, to melancholic operas, to ancient alleys. To unbroken time. I hold a flocculent hand. If you ask me whose hand, I won’t answer. Not because I am afraid. I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate us.
I desire to be an enthusiast, never dogmatic. To be full of ideas and good humor. I desire to walk holding that hand on a heavy snowy morning, when the city looks like a gigantic Christmas card. I desire to sit near the fireplace looking at the most winsome eyes in the world. Eyes that promise intimacy. And say nothing. To let the silence sit in one corner and do the talking. I desire to make love on a solitary deck, under the stars with the soft fragrant breeze cooling our nakedness. The feeling is unsettling but an exact desire.
I know I will live my desires. I can wait. Albeit not too patient, I have reconciled to the idea of tarrying. Sometimes the shade of melody, having hovered for days on the edge of hearing, unfolds and blessedly reveals itself. That is when the desires come true.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Khalil Gibran – one of the greatest philosopher-poets of the 20th century
I am a complete romantic. Mercurial. Caring. Protective. Buddy. There is an ancient cadence deep down me that prods me to feel a special bond with my loved ones. Basically a very small charmed circle, it contains my small family and friends. When it comes to life’s tough trials, I wish to protect myself not by some fence, but rather by my friends. Always a kid at heart, I still dream about Jack and his beanstalk. I do not want to shatter some sweet myths. We may evolve and grow up; we may go places but our memories must always remain ensconced in cartoons and lots of cornflakes. That’s how I feel. In life’s superfluous baggage, I keep a corner for some innocent dreams. Yet I know life is never easy for those who dream.
I have a recurring dream and I often see the love of my listless life in those tiny dreams. From a distance, I can see drop-dead beautiful eyes. They tease me on solitary nights. I wake up suddenly from my slumber and find them gaze intently at me. However hard, I try to sleep, I cannot. The images have haunted me since childhood. However, I could see them clearly, only about a year back. In blood and flesh. Smiling. Innocent. Truthful. Daring. Elegant. It appears for real. It is not an apparition, I can vouch.
Ironically my delicate dream does not come to me on clear, sunny days especially when I am alone and I so need it. It even skips me on romantic evenings. It makes me tarry and tarry. Yet it walks upto me in the middle of the night. Unexpectedly. On a starlit night, when there is sound of water gushing in transparent brooks and fish plop. It swaddles me in its entirety. It drinks my scents. And leaves me completely perfumed. I don’t want to let it go, I swear. Not at my life.
Like the tender shard of a broken dream, I sizzle. When I am alone and have no one around, I wish the dream appears to me. With friends and family taken-in with the day-to-day rigmarole of life, whom do I turn to in my most private, passionate moments? Amidst all the lovelessness and the sparkle around our fast-paced, artificial lives, I look for my friend – the sacred dream.
It is a picayune present I’ve given myself. It is distant, yet so close to me. It caresses me, as I shut my eyes. It is a dream – true -- yet it is mine.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Sam's highly recommended:http://linux20230.dn.net/cgi-bin/pop/card.pl?8.29.064210.05
Culled: Best of my Blog
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
The premise is basically simple: When someone comes in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need that you have expressed. They come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem godsend and they really are!They are there for the reason you need them to be. They give you a reason to cheer.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace and make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They give you an unbelievable amount of joy. We reckon it is all so very real, the prayer we sent up has finally been answered and again the heart gladdens.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. They are people in this blue little planet who love you selflessly. One lesson one must never forget in life is this: Friendship without self-interest is one of the most rare and beautiful things of life. Our job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said – and rightly so -- that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Often, I think about the places I need to go. About relationships I need to take along. About times-zones I shall trundle on. Much of it seems yonder, yet the dream lulls me to believe that it is so close. Within grasp. I am going to clench it one day! Nin, one of my fav French writers says, our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together. It is this beautiful act of putting together one and one -- Dreams and action, that we actualize our dreams.
More often than not, I have these dreamy, fluffy clouds in my eyes, making me doodle the most innocent of things. I am holding hands and ambling across the orange sods of some European countryside. Quietly with my love! The small crackling sound of the autumn-fresh leaves under our feet. Looking ahead. Listening to the silences. Happy in the mind. And soul.
I have dreams about a little moron, I really adore. I wish to see my family jolly. Simple pleasures in life one cannot buy but cherish. Sometimes you don't know what you're missing until you reach out to touch it. Sometimes you can't see how soulful something is until it steps back into the sun. When you need love, dream.
There is a silly hang-up that troubles me at times. I find myself unloved. It is at these moments I try telling the only beautiful heart I have known -- in my dream: You might have loved me, if you had known me. If you had ever known my mind. If you would have walked through my dreams and memories. Who knows what treasures you might have found. Yes, I know you love me, stupid.
We live a small life. I want to live this short life -- Full -- in all its tiny moments. No one knows which way life takes us. Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don't collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don't really mean anything!
I too have a dream today.
To sleep! perchance to dream:--ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Hamlet ACt III Scene I
Friday, September 29, 2006
As a jaded 20-something hack, I've always attempted to look at life through the kaleidoscope of love and longing. Often using my humor to stop myself from falling into life’s cruel travails. The stressful rigarmarole. The past month has been rather anfractuous for me. I’ve laid low. I met with a near-death accident. Many things indescribable. I celebrated my birthday with very special people in the best of places. I cried. I laughed. I canoodled. I hugged. I felt spent. I felt loved. If there was any divine meaning to this mink mélange, if there was any profound lesson to be learned here, I couldn’t think what it could be. At one level it appeared to me the same old human circus of passion and love, stupidity and semblance, selfishness and selflessness. Only the players change. Alexander the Great ventured into it. I am in same territory. It is called the sweet life.
More of my musings to follow.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Tagore is one of my fav Indian philosophers. I can’t bring myself to disagree with the wise old man of Shantiniketan. I'm lost in the middle of my birthday, the great man quipped once. I want my friends, their touch, with the earth's last love. I will take life's final offering, I will take the last human blessing. As always, my friends overwhelmed me. Wasy – my best buddy -- was the first one to call. Jitz followed up. I think Wasy beat him by fraction of a second. Texts kept trickling in from all over. Tanseer, my childhood buddy, chipped in with a sweet one from Baku, good ol' Brij texted from Marine drive. My sis rang me. Curiously enough even Dad remembered my birthday. I got a complimentary call from him just now and I feel double blessed.
I’ve already sliced two Birthday cakes apart. From end to end. I think Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake. In hindsight, I think Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest. On a more serious note, I reason, it is so important to know right people in life. Those who care for us. Those who understand the true meaning of care and love. They bring us joy and cheer. They are the one's who make life worthwhile. I am glad I know a few such people!
Because in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
Happy birthday to me!!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
It also keeps the humor intact. Through humor, we soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful the situation might be, we can survive it, Bill Cosby feels. I feel the same. One must never let hope die. Isn’t it curious that when we have nothing, we still have a wonderful thing in us? Hope. The most exciting thing in life. If we honestly believe that love is out there, it will come. And even if it doesn't come straight away there is still that chance all through our life that it will.
As humans we often get glum. Thinking we have lost everything in life. It is in these difficult moments that people, who really like us, come to brush a tear away. You suddenly discover cute angels, you never knew existed. A friend of mine said a million dollar thing, over a cup of coffee, the other day. Sam, he whispered, in all things it is better to hope than to despair. Never feel sorry for yourself. Have faith. Hope.
Interestingly, the most introspective moments in our life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection we feel rise in us a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. We count what has to be counted. We pledge. We think. We sob quietly. We get up next morning -- not great -- but not sorry as well. Still aching softly in the heart but hoping nonetheless!
I remember, an angel saying,” Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
Thursday, September 14, 2006
You say it best
when you say nothing at all
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I reckon I could never grow up -- in conventional terms -- in life . I always remained a kid from within. True, it has helped me be distinct and look at the world from a detached, innocent angle. I think I am unconventional. I like cartoons; I like to make the kids laugh. I like the tender shard of an unfinished dream. Tears come to me whenever a good samartian dies in a movie. My peers must laugh at my antics. My best buddy told me on my face that I look down upon weak people and behave like an elitist. I don’t think he is right. However, I agree that he may not be entirely wrong also: I may appear so. That is because I have never cared about such intricacies in life.
Am I being stupid? Is there a little fool jumping up and down in my tummy? Questions I have asked myself. There are no answers. I think I must learn to love the fool in me, the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, laughs and cries, hurts and gets hurt. Hurt. God, that stings. I've been hurt but I'll continue to love, for that gives me courage to go on with my life. It is very difficult in reality and something in me shifts and moves even right now! I try to shut out the hurt. I seem not to!
I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
My cousin was on the wheel. All of a sudden, I could hear the screeching of breaks being applied. The car skidded for some distance. The dream met a loud interlude. An accident. I could see we were slammed up against a monstrous truck. My car was hugely damaged. Both of us my cousin – and – me were safe. A split second decision saved us the day. Had he not braked quick enough, I’d have been a memory myself. I still have nightmares. After a long time, I thanked heavens. How selfish humans are? God must smirk.
More than a week after the mishap, I sit and contemplate. The famed French monarch Napoleon Bonaparte once said that there is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. I think it was in my fate-book to survive. Yet the crude jolt tickles me. I don’t want to infer any arcane meanings from the experience. One little lesson learnt is perhaps to never make haste. Rashness is like a storm, which only breaks, and wrecks things. Nimbleness -- on the other hand -- is a full, fair wind, blowing with speed to the heaven.
My Kashmir sojourn posts will follow soon. I am just trying to compose myself. I’m down but not-out. I have lived to tell you more tales.
See you, soon.
Friday, September 01, 2006
I'll be posting my Kashmir sojourn -- with lots of pics -- in parts.
Scroll down for some pics from the thrilling trip.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
We inhabit a violent, merciless world. There is so much of pain. Killing. Blood. Gore. Terror. Lies. Double standards. Humans have this tendency of creating chaos out of the most ordered of permutations. Right now, as I post, some diabolical Israeli warplane must be bombing the shit out of a Lebanese village. Smoldering its petrified residents. Alive. A barrage of Hizbollah rockets must be on their way to another café in Haifa. As the politicians of the civilized and the not-so-civilized world slug it out, the agony persists. 24 X 7.
War is so futile. Always. I cried as a kid when I read Hemmingway’s ‘For whom the Bell tolls’. It speaks about the brutality of war. War. It only separates friends from each other. Moms from kids. Wives from husbands. Children from their Dads. As someone rightly remarked, if you give me the money that has been spent in war, I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. Yet I understand this ode can never pass muster. The armament industry will never rest. Or let the planet rest in peace. The injustice has to prevail.
I have been following developments in the Middle East and other conflict zones for a long time. Err…I am not too old, must I add. In the 16 summers of my love for books and the world affairs, I observed only the hollow twanging of war. The misery that violence begets. So many tomes of it. Hatred for one another and for humanity. Americans burning 10-year old girls in Iraq. The insurgents slaughtering worshippers in mosques. Russians carpet bombing Chechen villages. The Chechens hacking to death school children. Israelis humiliating the Palestinian women. The list is long and sad.
There are only blame-games. Slander. Ignorance of other cultures and a lot of indifference. Yet it is love that sustains the world. It keeps the children smiling and the adults hoping. Against hope. But hoping nonetheless. What this planet needs is more mistletoe and less missile-talk.
Amidst this backdrop, I am weary. I think I must shut myself from more of this mayhem. No laptops, no unfolding of abortive suicide attempts -- on British aircrafts -- beamed on Live TV. No bad tidings. Just the fragrance of a thousand daffodils in full bloom. I have decided to go to a very beautiful place where the water is pure and nights are cosy. Where the mountains whistle to you on solitary evenings. Where a blue sky kisses your nose on gorgeous noons. Where the moon appears like a cheese, you want to squeeze and chomp. I am expecting some great company.
God is holidaying. So am I!
See ya soon. Here, I leave you with a couple of images that have haunted us in the days before. There are other images that one never wishes to tear one self from. Let's continue to hope!
[The next blog will be posted September 1, 2006]
The green-peek: A beautiful world.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
However --nothing can take away from me my love for rains. Not the bad roads, maddening muggy evenings with power outages and a million mutinies, as the ever-acerbic Naipaul calls us. The sound of rain on trees, lampposts and lushes across the sidewalks continue to fascinate me. I try to make some sense out of the gentle pummeling of silvery driblets on my car-pane. Upon streams. On dark evenings. I love the hurriedness about it. People trying to run for cover. How it – rains -- bring to life, the bleakest of hopes. I think anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.
[Rain through the pane]
The 19th century American poet Henry Longfellow says the best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. It is when the fleecy clouds can hold it no more. The weary earth drinks the drizzle. Rivers lap the rains. Old wells in the countryside stock the reserve. Flowers nod. Gazelles hop. Birds break into a song. Peaches blush. A little rain, I think, is an elixir. Into each life some rain must fall, Longfellow must agree in his mossy grave. Rain never disappoints. It rains on the dead, as much as on the un-dead. The unqueer and queer alike.
God, I may drift. I need to end it now.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I have another weird component in me. I dream a lot. It was one of those blue-tinted dreams last evening. I saw the stitching on my shirt change color from green to electrical. Or florescent, was it! The world’s most enchanting pair of eyes floated in front of me. Magical, seditious and adorable. Angel, Am I dead, I thought. This must be heaven!
I could hear the bells toll in my head. Suddenly the phosphorescent lights went off. As if one a cue, rains came. In showers. I didn’t want to take my eyes off the beautiful image in front of me, perched on the couch. Basking in the glow. There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that shines. The face has both!
There are times when we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. They laugh with us on solitary evenings. They sit silent with us on noisy noons. Laugh along over un-scheduled dates.
Ah, the lovely laughter. The flowered remnants of which, go on long after I am awake.
And only I am not harsh on myslef, others too are!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Let us stop taking sides for a while. Imagine the plight of ordinary people caught in the middle of a vicious vortex. I felt terribly bad for the poor children – including infants -- as neighbors scrambled to pick their contused bodies from the mangled rubble of the four-story building, razed by an Israeli air strike last night. If there exists a devil, it must resemble a Zionist fighter jet, I am sure.
Southern Lebanon is the most dangerous spot on earth right now. An aggressive, unstoppable, US-sponsored Israel is on rampage in the area. Like one of those mad Spanish bulls. It hits anything that moves. Anything that slithers. Anything on two legs. Six-month old babies in their mothers’ laps. Elderly women on wheel chairs. The people killed overnight at Cana could not afford to leave their old village. They all crouched together on the ground floor of the building, hoping they would be safe. They are all dead!
New York Times reports that the two extended families staying in the house that the Israeli missile struck — the Shalhoubs and the Hashims — had discussed leaving several times over the past two weeks. But they were poor — most worked in tobacco or construction — and the families were big and many of their members weak, with a 95-year-old, two relatives in wheelchairs and dozens of children. A taxi north, around $1,000, was unaffordable. Little did the poor folks know that a sinister Israeli bomb was going to gobble them up, very soon.
The strike was a precision-guided bomb dropped from the air, the same kind of bomb that destroyed a UN position in Khiyam last week, killing four UN observers. Writing on an olive green fragment of the munition which caused the explosion read: GUIDED BOMB BSU 37/B. A precision guided missile, mind you. In more advanced terminology, that means -- the bomb is programmed what to strike and where. If Israeli extends an apology now, taking the world public opinion for a ride, we can safely consider it a farce. [Laser Guided bomb: Source: The Guardian, London. www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1833884,00.html].
Mistakes happen once. Israel has a history of such blood-thirst. A 1996 Israeli artillery bombardment that hit a U.N. base in Cana killed more than 100 Lebanese who had taken refuge from fighting. That attack sparked an international outcry. Ten years later, the attacks didn’t come as a surprise. The same outcry? Ironically, in the context of America's war on terror, anyone claiming to be engaged in the fight against terror gets carte blanche to do as they please. We can see who is the culprit here. Can't we?
Not surprisingly, Israel was at pains to explain that -- one -- it asked the people to leave southern Lebanon and two -- there were rockets fired from near this building that was hit. The answers, I reckon, aren’t too difficult.
The road leading to the north has gotten a regular pounding by Israel, rendering it hugely unsafe. Ambulances and Red Cross cars have been taken down by the Israeli air force. The Guardian comments, Israelis blame mainly Hizbollah for using civilians as human shields. But a UN report noted many inconsistencies in the Israeli account and said it was "unlikely" the deaths were the result of technical errors (on part of Israel). It has infact been part of the Israeli propaganda factory to come ready with excuses much before it commits any of its heinous acts.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities, Voltaire, the great Frenchman once quipped.
Mrs. Hala Shalhoub, who miraculously survived the strike in Cana but lost two of her daughters, ages 1 and 5, has been moaning and rocking slightly in her hospital bed. “I want to see my children,” she said slowly. “I want to hold them.” No one attempts to console the poor mom. Let her cry, a sobbing relative says. She has after all – lost her whole world.
[Source: NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31scene.html]
Hope hate transforms into love. Isreali bombs into tiny ducklings.
We desperately need another miracle. Jesus!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
I often wonder, What if I wake up one morning and find myself dumb? Unable to express myself. Gesticulating for a cup of coffee. Not being able to talk. That would be the scariest nightmare, the crummiest thing to happen. Gives me goose bumps. Yet I know such a thing may never happen. These irrational fears are only figments of one’s naïve imagination. Well…that almost happened! Nearly.
The largest democracy in the world nearly took the right of expression from thousands of its citizens, overnight. In what can safely be alluded to as ‘Censorship’ of the worst kind, a stupid Indian government order asked Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to several blog sites. The nervous ISPs blocked not only the websites but entire services. Reputed weblog publishing systems like Blogger owned by Google went blank, in a jiffy.
Now technology can at best of the times be misunderstood. The ISPs, in an ignorant gesture, pushed India in the same bracket as some communist regimes like China, North Korea, an autoritarian Russia, several repressive middle-eastern countries and so on. The infamous list is long and really infamous. We joined them briefly last week. At least a serious attempt was made to club India with all intellectually bereft nations of the world.
The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. But India, being India, the media never let the guard down. Next quick phone calls went to the political leadership.
International attention followed. People began asking questions in US and Europe. India, many taken aback, banned blogs!! Are you serious, my American friends asked? "A lot of people are saying, 'Wait a minute. This can't be happening in India. China, yes. Pakistan, understandable' The Tribune, USA ran a headline. Across the Atlantic all major newspapers and TV channels carried commentaries. BBC world to New York Times. India was in news, for all the wrong reasons.
Half sleepy, the Indian government was clearly caught off guard. What is the noise? Suddenly some silly official realised the fallout of the stupid, incomplete order. Another swift order went: Lift the ban. We are the world’s fastest growing economy. Numero Uno investment destination. Mecca of Technology. LA of outsourcing. In a globalized world, how can we impose Censorship? Well, they say, you can cage the singer but not the song.
In a jiffy, the services were restored and your loyal blogger is back. I knew we are not North-Korea.
Long live India. Gosh, that was close!