{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Hari was 6 years old. With his twin sister, Harini, he has created a world of his own with his mother at its epicenter. Mother used to sing, she used to dance and she used to make the kids laugh, sometimes loud and the other times just a sumptuous smile that fills the small heart of a child with happiness and forces the teeth out. She used to tell the funny stories how she was refused the vocal classes when the teacher heard her sing 'Mera Saaya Saath hoga' in raag Anandi and how she never wanted to learn any other instrument except tabla where she can beat her life off, thump her palms on it. After her marriage, twins came, and her dowry tabla was beaten by them till they broke it. Hari used to play, his sister used to dance, imitating her mother, although she can never smile that way and hence Hari was never satisfied my her performance and as a return gift, she was never with his. Mother managed to teach them 'Teen taal' and 'Kaherwa' or they just picked it up by listening. They laughed when she laughed, later they wept along with her, everything about her was infectious. She never kissed Hari, if he ate onions at dinners, those slices that are dipped in salt and lemon, he liked those but kiss was precious, he was lucky to realize it so soon in his life. She danced in some vague kathak form, some steps which she had picked up from her elder sister, the more beautiful one, the more admired one, she showed a respectable sibling vanity towards her. Her Kathak was funny but the children never used to laugh on her dance, or on her songs, the fact that she is laughing makes them laugh, the fact that she is happy, made them so, the sphere of influence of happiness. A child's power to be happy when he sees happiness. The stupid child's mentality of being happy just because someone is. That someone was their mother. Later she stopped smiling and moved more towards god and his glory, daily chores, children's education and their career and the usual social stuff, children moved to maths and physics books, now the stories are not told but read from story books. The smiles were occasional, the talkings were more rational, any laugh has to be accounted for, why are you laughing .., should there be always a logic to life is repeatedly asked by them, but as kids they were never able to frame the full question and never been confident enough to ask it out. She seemed to be at peace inside but happiness doesn't show outside, a disconnect that a child can see and be sad about. Hari started to eat onions at dinners.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ode to Kaavya !

What do those immense, wide, far-flung open spaces hold in store? Is it not here, is it not in you that some boundless thought will be born, since you are yourself without end ? [1] The problem is not exactly simple: a man must have experienced through both his strength and his weakness. If we are to bear any grudge against illness and weakness, it is the fact that along with it, there decays the very instinct of recovery, which is the instinct of defense and of war in man. [2]

Human nature has its limits. It is able to endure a certain degree of joy, sorrow and pain, but becomes annihilated as soon as this is exceeded. The question, therefore is, not whether a man is strong or weak but whether he is able to endure that measure of his suffering. [3] Resistance is impossible, if one could only understand what it is all for, But that too is impossible. An explanation would be possible if it could be said that one has not lived as he is ought to. There is no explanation. Death, Agony ... What for ? [4] On one hand its very unlikely, on the other hand its perfectly natural. [5]

There are exceptions here too. Theft is a crime, but the man who commit it for extreme poverty, with no design, but to save his family from poverty, is he an object of pity or of punishment. [6]

A theory of sorts, the same one by which one consider that a single misdeed is permissible if the principal aim is right, a solitary wrong doing and hundred of good deeds,... a theory of sorts - dividing mankind, you see, into material and superior persons, that is persons to whom the law doesn't apply owing to their superiority, who makes laws for the most of mankind, the material, that is. [7]

But yes we never give up hope. More, we never lose, ever for an instant, the sense of honor and privilege in being member of society. [8]

One lives for many years, with small regular recuperation, in visible glory, honored by the world, yet in spite of that , troubled in spirits and all the more troubled because no one would ever take his trouble seriously. What comfort could he possibly need? What could he possibly wish for. [9] But everybody knows life isn't worth living. Deep down, one knows it perfectly well that it doesn't matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living, and for thousand years, but it takes all the strength to quiet ones heart to be rational. [10]

So a rocket fades, its sparks, having grazed their way into the night, surrender to it, dark descends, pour over the outlines of houses and towers; bleak hillsides soften and fall in. [11]

Soul and body, body and soul--how mysterious they are! There is animalism in the soul, and the body has its moments of spirituality. The senses could refine, and the intellect could degrade. Who could say where the fleshly impulse ceased, or the psychical impulse began? How shallow were the arbitrary definitions of ordinary psychologists! And yet how difficult to decide between the claims of the various schools! Was the soul a shadow seated in the house of sin? Or was the body really in the soul, as Giordano Bruno thought? The separation of spirit from matter is a mystery, and the union of spirit with matter is a mystery also. [12]


[1] Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
[2] Ecce Homo, Friedrich Nietzsche
[3] The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
[4] The Death of Ivan Ilych, Leo Tolstoy
[5] The Stranger, Albert Camus
[6] The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
[7] Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
[8] Animal Farm, George Orwell
[9] A Hunger Artist, Franz Kafka
[10] The Stranger, Albert Camus
[11] Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
[12] The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

The title of the post of taken from here. The text of the masters are taken out of context and I tried to change them as little as possible.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Simpli-fly !

I had a privilege to board an Air Deccan flight after a gap of 2.5 year. It has changed a lot. The air plane has got bigger and things like that. This time it started only 30 minutes late, practically on time and all the passengers looked happy and rushed to the plane to catch hold of their seats in the free seating arrangement, which near matched the rail-coach frenzy. The flight from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad ascended the air taking a mini India with it.

My interaction with co-passengers started in the boarding pass line itself where people with the printouts are shouting at Air Deccan staff for no apparent reason, its one of the ways to fight the heat outside and forget family tensions. Some young guys even chatted with the young girl at the Air Deccan counter, inquired about her working conditions and asked her to take a better job and gave some tips too. It was like flirting but not as effective. She smiled and smiled like a true girl. As usual, middle aged men cribbed how precious their time is and they have connecting flights, and older persons talked about how flights used to on time at their times and the whole bit about privatization, other have nothing to talk about so they talked about hot weather and how this time is even worse than last year and AC sales have gone up, they discussed more such unimportant things. The young ones were crying as usual. Its a good omen for flights because children sleep after a good cry. Some mother even slapped their children to make them sleep later but such practice are rapidly going extinct with the advent of over-protective super-moms.

The person behind me in the line was happy to the core, especially when he saw my print out and saw I bought the ticket for 2K+, he showed me his, it was a Rs 500 ticket. He was as happy as a lottery winner. Later I realized that he booked the ticket early this year and he is not alone but has a whole marriage party with him. It seemed that they fixed the marriage date depending on the tickets availability. Truly Indian. But the real fun was still to come. As our flight moved above clouds and people loosened their seat belts, party time began.

Flamboyant gujjus were every where. All relations and all friends. Pure delight and full fun. I was literally shocked when I saw three girls moving all over the plane with handycam photographing each passenger and even clouds outside, I even thought of taking out my SLR and flaunt, such was the passion on plane. The good smell of eatables and sound of munching was everywhere. Since Air Deccan doesn't offer anything except the good flying experience, so they have come loaded with all sorts of namkeens and beverages. They sang and if space were sufficient, no one in the world would have stopped them from dancing. Only kids danced in the narrow pathways. I was pleasantly surprised how the whole plane was hijacked with love and affection, song and dance.

Next was thing that my friend told me long time back and I never believed it. Where there are gujjus, there is antakshari. The whole aircraft was soon divided into two groups and antakshari started. As a customary for warm up, they did the 'Maine Pyar Kiya' version in chorus first. Its a satisfying experience to hear songs from the long forgotten films like 'Police Mujrim' and 'Dulha Dulhan', also they sang some of favorites. When it was announced that we are moving through the turbulent weather, they sang situational songs. The guy who is going to marry, was on the plane, his name was Mayur and girl's name was Mansi because they were replacing the original names in the songs with Mansi and Mayur. It bought back the memories of buses with stickers 'Mayur weds Mansi' or 'Mansi weds Mayur', from bus to airplane, 'Baaraat' is the same fun. They sounded like professional, singing full songs with dialogues in between (do you remember the dialogues from 'Ijazzat', they did, all of them). Air hostess were mesmerized and didn't even attempt to interrupt. They just stood near the toilets and heard the concert. Hope Bharjatiyas would have seen their impact on society and probably conceived a film on marriage in air, near god and heaven and then we can get such out-of-world experience more often, films mirroring life and vice versa.

With all this going on, I tried to read Kafka to keep the air-plane on balance (or balance on air-plane). I usually carry Kafka on flights, to fight the fear but this time there was no need of Kafka. The guy next to me didn't like the songs nor the Kafka. He cribbed and tried to sleep. Later he even asked the flight attendant that where can he fill the feedback form. God knows what he will complain - ban the families on board. As for me, I really loved the experience. These one hour and forty minutes were the best one can do to fight the altitude nausea and the relative disorders, its a therapy like a Bollywood movie.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Fall

There is a beauty to see people fall
Gracefully, without succumbing, like wall

Neither yielding, nor tussling, gracious sack
Like a dip in still water, never to come back

A speck moving down slowly, to settle with more specks
No rejection, no protection, no checks

A liberal dive into nullity, with faint thump
Limbs lost on ground, all there and all dump

The fallen falls knowing there is no escape
And there is no running away from destined rape

So, the fall is enacted daily, to reject the saddle
and he descends every time he is tired to paddle

Yeh, a beautiful fall, descent into no zone
That look of acceptance, embracing the unknown

Again the time has come, to be loose, to hang in air,
And to touch the divine ground, without any despair

This is the time, the free moment of the dearest fall
He want to keep only this memory, and erase rest all.