Thursday, January 26, 2006

A tag and some random notes.

What eight qualities do i look for in a perfect lover? This is the tag i've to answer to and it's good archana doesn't read my blog, though she wouldn't have minded this post. I think perfection is best left for God, we can only aim for excellence( Whose quote is this?) so i'll tell what eight qualities make an excellent lover for me.

* She should be a genuine person--unpretentious, honest and carefree.
* Someone who allows space for the other person--i.e. me--to be myself--not the tell-me-everything-about-you type.
* Great sense of humour. Who'd want be around anyone who's too serious and glum?
* Active and jovial. Laziness ain't tolerable even if she's an aishwarya rai.
* Aware about the everyday life, the world we live in---not cocooned in some bollywood style fairyland. Practical with great common sense!!
* This should go first---full of love and affection--towards life, towards everything worth loving.
* A good listener with the ability to empathise with others and share their joys and sorrows.
* Someone who's not stuck in life--modern, yet appreciative of one' s roots.
If my girl reads this she'll exclaim," Why, i never knew that you understood me so well. You've written about me!"

Now i'll invite elisa, jen and nick to come up with their lists.(Eight friends!--nope. Ash...You've already answered this tag and also tagged some other friends, so excuse me on this )
The rules of answering this tag are:
1) List down eight qualities you'd love in your perfect lover.
2) Tag eight other bloggers and inform them about this on their blog.
3)This is my addition---Modify this tag in a simple way before passing on to others. e.g.: add a rule, delete another rule--in short, make it richer so that if you happen to get it again, you should be able to reply without being repetitive. Put on your creative hats!
4) The last rule which i've added is this--- List out eight qualities your perfect lover would want to see in you.(Qualities which you may have or are yet to develop)

Nowadays i'm stumbling my way through some good blogs. This article sums up the spirit of blogging in a simple, direct way. Another interesting place is here if you've a leisurely afternoon and are searching for a plethora of great articles, film and book reviews, poetry and regular columns. This is the weblog of a writer and quite an inspiration for all would be writers(in the real sense)

Tomorrow is republic day, the meaning of which most of us aren't concerned with. We get a holiday to stay home or go out for a movie while the real workoholics slug it out in their cabins. Those with a patriotic fervour wear tricolour badges, dress up in white kurta-pyjamas or sit in front of the tv watching the republic parade in Newdelhi. Patriotism is fashionable for most of us, remembered and lived in flashes and conveniently forgotten most of the time as we go through our daily chores. This brings into memory a superb play in kannada by one of our finest writers, P.lankesh---the title can be roughly translated as,'Memoirs of a patriotic bastard'.

Patriotism could also mean a love for one's people, one's culture and tradition without getting blinded by the mistakes and shortcomings of the past or the present. It could mean a simple affection for another person who shares the same land, speaks the same language and follows the same customs as you do---an affection that can be spread to anyone who's different from you in all these respects. For me, it's another form of love and an inspiration to celebrate oneness with 100 crore people.

Maybe in the future we celebrate this oneness and love with everyone and everything on this planet. No countries, no boundaries and no Mullas, Modis, Bushes, RSS Chiefs and other 'patriotic bastards' to remind us who we are and prod us into a mad frenzy. Until then, here's wishing you all--Indians and non-indians alike-- a happy republic day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A shot at life

Two brothers look out at the green fields as the evening breeze caresses the ripe corns. The younger one has just lost his wife and is too numbed to talk. The elder brother, with moist eyes, ruminates:' I've followed every single rule, both man made and god made, all my life. And you've followed neither. But everyone loves you. My father, mother, the workers on this farm, even my wife. Why is it so?'

There's another story by Somerset maugham, 'The ant and the grasshopper', which addresses a similar issue. Two brothers---one, a god-fearing family man who leads a very ordinary life. The other, a charming rascal who enjoys life to the hilt and reaps success after success. In the end, the good guy turns out to be a bitter loser while the other fellow wins all the way to a great life.

The issue is not about being good or bad--- it's about being a confirmer or a rebel. Someone who plays it safe against another who takes all the risks. And fiction as well as life seems to favour the rebel. Fortune favours the brave. (I can hear someone running through his bible pages to bring up an apt quotation. I know the response already even if he doesn't post a comment here.) Maybe everyone wants to be a rebel--secretly. We would like to confirm to society and its norms and allow the status quo to remain but in the deepest regions of our hearts, we envy the rebels. We love to be like them. Our fantasies are full of their ventures.

By the way, Ash tagged me and because it's a small tag, i'll answer her in the next post. Ro had done it last month, and i'm yet to reply to her. Maybe next week.

The scene i mentioned above is from the movie,'Legends of the fall'. A beautiful movie with powerful characterisations and a rich atmosphere.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

On the road to Mandalay...

What does that mean? Where on earth is Mandalay? There's a story wherein two small girls on a train sing repeatedly,'On the road to Mandalay....Mandalay, Mandalay', and the fellow passenger is irritated as hell even more so because their aunt whose with them doesn't seem to bother. Later on she tells them a story with a good moral to keep them busy but the girls aren't impressed. The man ventures to entertain them with a story, and he tells the story of a very good girl--well mannered, polite, obedient, etc, who gets eaten by a wolf because of her extreme good qualities.....Well this wasn't what i wanted to write here.

I'll be visiting Pune by this month end on a very short trip. I wanted to blabber about that and ended up rambling about mandalay. Pune is the karmabhoomi of good ol' Osho, whom,i almost allowed to mislead me( Through his books, of course), so Pune is a bit special for me. I'd visited this small town twice, some 8 years ago and on one occassion, came very close to death. Somehow Pune arouses bitter and humiliating memories in me. It's also a very silent and peaceful city--like our very own Mysore--a kind of cultural centre. Maybe i'll be getting acquainted with this facet of this city in this trip.

There was a time, not so long ago, when i was wondering about my confinement to bangalore for more than 6 years. In all these years, i hadn't ventured out of the city and it never occurred to me that i should have. Somehow i'd stayed put in this city, engrossed in my pursuit of elusive dreams, worried sick about the success-failure equation, getting bored with life, trying to forget the slipping of time in aimless reading....

Confinement needn't be just physical--it could also be getting stuck in a state of mind, or in a state of living. So journey also means moving from one state of living to another. I've made this journey -- from normal to bad to worse and again back to normal and positive. And the journey in consciousness about which nothing much can be said---except that it's best left for one to experience directly.
Coming back to pune---it's going to be a trip with my closest friends. A big function is being orgainised in the city to honour my master. Once that gets over, we'll be heading to Paitan--the birth place of Sant Eknath, then to Ajantha-- Ellora caves, a few more places and then to Mumbai. Half a day in Mumbai and back to Bangalore again.

Somehow this time of the year has been all about travels. Recently i happened to read a very beautiful piece of travelouge--which also won the first prize in the outlook-picador non-fiction contest. It was a real surprise when i came across the writer of this piece in blogosphere. This is where he lives. And if you want to treat yourself to half an hour of uninterrupted quality reading, this is the award winning write-up.

That which moves remains fresh. Maybe this is true both for the outer as well as the inner journey.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Things fall apart

Things fall apart
The center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world.

Whose wrote this? Maybe Eliot, i'm not sure. But i remember the novel,'Things fall apart' by chinua achebe--we had it for our english non detailed text in Bsc. Much of the story has faded from memory but the gist remains---it's about a village chieftain in deep african jungles who helplessly watches the decline of his tradition and culture when the white man comes to his village--bible in hand-- to preach, convert and civilise the 'uncultured' 'uncivilized' villagers. For some strange reason the poem keeps resonating within at times.

Ever heard about the myth of 'Shangrila?' It's a mysterious kingdom hidden behind the Himalayas where highly evolved beings reside. Many have tried to locate and those who've discovered never return. I read a novel about it in my childhood and recently, got hold of 'The secret of Shambhala' by james redwood. Don't know if it's just an imagination or a reality--but wish it were real. This place, it's said, holds the key for our future. All guidance and light comes from this place. The darkness we're passing through both individually and globally finds its end in the light of 'Shangrila'.

When things begin to fall apart within, i remember 'Shangrila'. It gives hope and succor--to dream, to get up and move on. Life will be bright and beautiful.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Life at the moment is.....

... a mix of many colours and tastes. It's a good roller coaster ride, and i'm unable to decide whether to worry, smile, cry, whimper or celebrate. Looks like it's better to just observe how everything turns out.

Got up at 5 today morning, after many months. Had a bath, meditated for five minutes, and gazed at the brightening horizons from my terrace, inhaling the freshness of the morning. Sat in front of the computer and finished half of the translation work before breakfast. The rest, i should finish by tonight and submit to the printers by tomorrow.

I'm made responsible for executing a particular testing process. All the other teamguys are on a different project and i'm all alone on this one. Feeling sort of lonely as well as confident. At the end of it you learn a lot and feel good if things work out well. Appraisals are yet to happen but stopped worrying about it. I don't give a damn anymore--too much load breaks the back and i'm not interested in taking on anymore worries. Whatever happens, i'm comfortable with it.

Archana is well adjusted to my family--infact, i'm more adjusted ever since she came here. We were into joking and pulling one anothers' legs before marriage and the tradition continues, even more ferociously nowadays. She wants to be more of a housewife than a careerwoman although she wishes to continue working--at least for the time being. We have very different aspirations than an average couple, and it's good that both are looking up towards the same path.

Last sunday was exhilarating. At around six in the evening, we all were huddled around my master as he spoke about the future, the course we're going to take, the dreams that need to be realised, our preparations, etc. We lost count of time as the life we all so longed for began to unfold before us. I feel humbled and blessed to be a part of this beautiful dream.

Watched two good movies---'The siege' and 'A civil case'. 'The seige' tells the story of terrorism in Newyork city and how the FBI and the Army clash against each other as they try radically different methods to bring the culprits to justice. It'S a kind of 'you ride a tiger and one day it eats you' story, where the distinction between the culprit and the victim gets blurred and you don't know who's who. The movie also portrays the dilemma and fears of a minority, which is the same all over the world, in every area---not just in terms of religion. Denzeil washington was awesome, so was bruce willis. Had seen this a long time ago on Starmovies, but yesterday managed to follow every detail, every nuance and every shade of this fantastic movie. 'A civil case' is a real life transformation of a cynical, corrupt lawyer who puts all his money, assets, friends, reputation and career in line to pursue justice---and truimphs. He loses everything materially and goes into debts but stays true to his heart and brings truth into limelight. It made me feel warm even long after the movie ended.

Everything in life is hardwork--atleast most of it. This i'm beginning to experience slowly. There's no goddamned free lunch here. If you want to stay in your job, meditate and raise your awareness, get a promotion, save time for yourself, get something done in the outside world or just sit and need to earn it, hardtime. Sometimes you feel the oppression of some unknown force that puts you down and sits on your chest----you want to get up and move but can't. You feel helpless, but it doesn't shatter you. Somehow you cope up and comeback to the battlefield tomorrow.

My bookshelf is full of unread books. Added three books from the british library and one from a roadside vendor. I wonder when i'll find the time to read all of them.

Can you be blissful irrespective of anything that happens in life? Is it possible to be free from the effect of your emotions? Can you rise above them and look at them from a distance? Whether you encounter failure or success, boredom or exhilaration, praise or humiliation, loss or union---can you be equanamous in any situation? Can you keep your head balanced in great truimph? Or can you smile even in loneliness and downfall? Emotions rule our life, but is it possible to master them? Trying.....

Realised something that is of great significance for me. You are taken care of, no matter what. This is contradictory, i know, but as far as i'm concerned, everything exists in contradictions. Life doesn't break you inspite of a thousand lashes. Someone somewhere provides hope, shows the way and even leads you at times.

Life is a mother!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Unknown faces.......

"What do you do when life kicks you below the belt, and you can't even get up?"

"Do nothing. Stay put for a while until the storm passes over. Then get your ass off the ground and start walking again. And yeah, don't forget to thank life for the kick. Without it, you probably would've taken life lightly."

It's a late friday afternoon and i'm waiting in my cublicle for my manager to call me for the appraisal meeting. Slightly nervous although i know damn well that i'll have to wait another year for a pay hike. Read chez's response, sent a comment to ash, and as the hot badam milk burns my tongue, the above conversation pops up from memory.

It was nearly 10 years ago on a day, when i was conversing with a distant relative of mine. He is a peculiar character, and even today, he amazes me with his resilience and strength in the face of life's disasters. I was reeling after an overdose of failures and purposelessness, and while wandering on the beach, i found this fella sitting on the sand staring into the distant horizon. He'd just lost his work in the shrimp fields after discovering that his wife had all along been sleeping with his immediate boss(?), and probably had walked straight to the sea-shore from the toddy shop. In a small village like ours, news travels faster than a fart smell and such news runs at super fast speed. When i saw him there, i suspected that he'd come there to drown himself. But he was cheerful and within five minutes of blabbering, he spoke out the above lines. Today, he's still there in the same village, working in the same shrimp fields, and his wife still sleeps with someone else. He's the same cheerful fellow. I don't know whether to call him a success or a horrible failure. Nonetheless, he's a good man and the advice he gave that day, somehow has stayed in me.

The appraisals are going on in the next room, and looking at the pace, my turn seems to be scheduled for monday. I usually blog in between office hours and during lunch time. So one thing that makes this work more tolerable and enjoyable is the occasional dip into the world of blogs. It's been 6 months since i put shop in the blogosphere. So I'm a six month baby in the blogworld! My first visitor was Jen! She writes spontaneosly and i love her blog irrespective of any lack of fancy and high fireworks. Then came Bookworm! He wrote from a bookstore from timbuctoo and wrote very well too. I wonder where and why he disappeared suddenly. One of the most promising bloggers was Jen from states! I got into a very good discussion with her on two occassions and although, we differed in our views, it left no bitterness, at least in me. Now a days she writes very less, and i miss her intelligent views on a variety of issues. I also discovered some interesting blogspaces like those of Jay, Nick, and now recently, Blogchaat! Made good friends with Ash, who's a mix of sugar and chilly!!! Pulled Chez's legs on his Christian sermons and realised the futility of those stupid discussions! The other regular friends whom i visit often are Ro, Edu, Val, and recently, Elisa. Also encountered a hot headed idiot, Adrian and a very talented--don't-care-girl from orlando, Natalia!

In these 6 months i've had a fantastic time in the blogworld. I've learnt a lot from the writings of these friends and countless others here. I've written intermittenly on a few things and got patted on the back for the mediocre efforts. In short, it's been a fascinating experience for me--- posting my thoughts, reading the comments of these unknown friends, responding to those comments and watching friendships grow, visiting other blogs regularly and learning about the authors through their thoughts.....Never thought about all these when i wrote my first post on a rainy afternoon in early august.

As Nick said, what makes life possible is an intolerable anxiety of the unknown tomorrow. Hope the tomorrow brings more of such unknown gifts to everyone!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Living aimlessly

I do this most of the time but at some moments, something jerks me back into reality, making me ponder over life and the direction it's moving in. Maybe it happens to others also, but the number of people who are really focussed in life, who know where exactly they're going and what they're doing, and who have a kind of control over their life--- this number must be a humble figure. Otherwise we'd be living in a better world.

I stepped into spirituality and began meditating nearly 6 years ago. Today if i ask myself where exactly i am, the answer is almost non-existent. I don't know where i am! It doesn't mean that i've not moved an inch, or that i've slipped down. But if i had a goal, and had really applied myself into working towards it i'd have reached heights in the spiritual world. The progress i've made is really pathetic if i take into account all the opportunities that've been provided to me. Everytime i sit before my master, this awareness of aimlessness pricks me, but once i return to my daily life, it's the same old story.

Such aimlessness is also evident in other areas of my life like writing, my profession and self-improvement. A friend touched upon this point when he said " This life has a strange grip on us; it keeps us involved in a kind of routine, most of it utterly useless as far as our progress is concerned." I think we ourselves contribute to this grip by surrendering to it, by enjoying our comfort zones, by not thinking much about the direction we want to move in, and by losing ourselves in the everyday 'easyness'. And after a decade or so, if we stop somewhere and do a bit of soul-searching, we'll be in for a shock. True, we'd have progressed, built homes, married, raised children, switched jobs, earned 5 figure incomes, travelled abroad, etc.... but what was the potential that went unused? What was the huge amount of energy that remained locked within all along? How much more were we capable of doing but never gave a thought to it? And one day, we just end this life, leaving behind an ordinary life that could've been something special, something extraordinary. Muhammed ali summed it up aptly when he said,"If at 60, you're doing the same thing you did when you were 30, you've wasted 30 years of your life."

Whenever i've done something as a part of a goal instead of doing just like that, i've observed that the work gets done faster, with lesser effort, and gives great satisfaction in the end. It also reveals other shades, brings more benefits that were not thought of in the beginning. Having goals in life is one of the most important attributes I need to cultivate, at least in this new year. I need to sit down and do a complete overhaul of all the areas of my life. I should find out where i stand in each field, where i need to go, what's the road that takes me there, and what i need to do in order to reach there. I need to bid auideu to aimlessness.

I wish everyone a very happy new year. Let everyone find the source of great strength and wisdom that's hidden within. Let everyone resolve to attain their true potential and take great strides in their individual fields. Let their be more light and love everywhere. Let us all enter this new year with a resolve to start our journey towards our own greatness.