Thursday, November 22, 2007


Change moves in spirals, not circles. The sun goes up and then it goes down. But every single time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you're a little bit different than the one before. We're always changing. And it's important to know that there are some changes you can't control and then there are others you can.

Such an inevitable constant it is.

Half Nelson, 2006]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guest Blogger: d SINNER!!!

Meenakshi opened the door quietly. A blank expression marked her face. Within a second her face became a canvas, a multitude of expressions came and went. Agony. Pain. Helplessness. Then it went blank again. She held her duppatta to her face, afraid if Riya would wake up hearing her sob. She sneaked inside the room, tiptoeing towards the bed where her only daughter lay!

She ran her fingers through her messy hair. She looked beautiful but ill and the marks on her face were rather obtrusive. How cruel could 'He' be, Meenakshi thought. Or maybe 'They'. Her hand reciprocated, caressing Riya's forehead but her eyes wandered elsewhere. She felt as if the remnant energy in her was sapped empty by a parasite. She felt sick as she got up and sat on the chair lying next to the bed.

An hour went by. She woke up hearing the doorbell ring. As if in a trance, she walked towards the main entrance. It was Riya's father, Alok! He came in and didn't even look at Riya. She knew it was hard for him too, so she let him be. After a fleeting fifteen minutes, he emerged from one of rooms. He glanced at Meenakshi, too many questions lay unanswered in his mind.

Alok: How's she?

Meenakshi: She is sleeping now.

Alok: Did she eat anything?

Meenakshi: Yes. A little.

Alok: Did you speak to her about it?

Meenakshi: No.

Alok: Didn't I ask you to? Meenakshi, she needs to be taken to the police station! Don't you realise it's a police case now?

Meenakshi could fathom his anger spliced with frustation. She sensed it. It was not always that Alok used to call her by her name.

"Don't you want to...."

Alok: What?

Meenakshi: ...see her, atleast for a moment?

Alok: No! No, I cannot.

Meenakshi: It's been a week since you came back…

Alok: I know. I know! But I can't...

He couldn't stand it any longer. The pain and anguish was unbearable. He quickly made his way to the other room.

It was 4'O clock in the evening. The maid was doing her mundane chores in and around the house. Meenakshi kept moving around from one room to another. She was so restless that nothing comforted her. Sometimes she would peep into Riya's room, only to find her sleeping. Trying to distract herself went in vain. She tried watching TV for some time, ran a few errands and even tried conversing with the maid about obscure things. But inevitably, a thousand questions clouded her mind.

Meanwhile Alok entered the room. Meenakshi wasn't aware.

"Wake her up".

Startled, Meenakshi turned around.

Alok: We need to report this to police and then we need to take her to the doctor again.

Meenakshi: Allright then.

Alok: But..But...why did you let her go?

Meenakshi: It was her birthday, Alok.

Alok: She could have invited her friends over here. It was your responsibility to keep a lookout on what she was doing, where she was going! You could have told her what to do, and what not to do. You should have disciplined her, after all you are her Mother!

He fell silent. He didn't want to say anything much. Rather he couldn't. But both knew that it was too late. And Meenakshi knew she was responsible.

She sank down on the sofa. Everything came back to her in a flash. It was Riya's birthday and she was turning sixteen. She had demanded a cell phone as a birthday gift. Alok argued on this subject with her and Riya, before leaving on a business trip to New York. He made no qualms about throwing a plethora of excuses at her.

"Why does she need a cell. She needs to concentrate on her studies now. These are crucial years and they make or break one's life. Doesn't she already chat a lot with her friends through the landline. Such a distraction should be avoided"

Meenakshi had strongly objected to Alok's thoughts.

"Girls of her age, need cell phones now. She is grown up enough to have one. Think about it this way. It will be quite easy for her to stay in touch with us, especially when we both are working and moving out of station, so often."

Riya was on her own but she did try to make her dad understand. But it didn't quite serve the purpose. He left for NY the very next day and Meenakshi, after her office headed straight to a shop to buy her daughter a birthday present. Riya had asked her permission to go to 'Alley', the famous discotheque in town to celebrate her birthday with her friends. Meenakshi didn't argue on this. She had alway seen Riya as a responsible child. But then she shuddered at the thought of what happened that night. If only Riya had been equipped with a cellphone before, things would have been so different! She could have bought her a cellphone instead! But why didn't she? She had only herself to blame.

It was decided that Meenakshi would pick her up at twelve from the club. But she reached late at the night club, only to find
Riya nowhere. She hovered around the place like a madman, frantically searching for her daughter. She checked out every place around but Riya was nowhere in sight. The club wore a deserted look. The dark streets had an errie feel, with street lights casting ghostly shadows here and there. She tried reaching out to Riya's friends but she got the same reply from everyone.

"She was waiting for you, auntie".

Meenakshi cursed herself. How could she be so careless, she thought. The grim image of Riya's unconscious face, lips smeared with cheap lipstick, tangled hair held together by a gaudy ribbon, swarmed across her mind. She closed her eyes and tried to fend off the thought. The police had told them that their daughter was found in a shady hotel in a red light area, but the convict had escaped. She was found after two long weeks, unconscious and tied to the bed post. Time and again, such a thought tormented her. But now, she couldn't do much. Everyone around, knew what had happened but no one talked about it. Alok nudged her and told her to wake up Riya. But Meenakshi sat still. He understood her silence and proceeded to wake Riya up himself. She felt a bit relieved. She wanted him to go and talk to her. He stood beside Riya's bed quietly. Meenakshi knew what Alok was going through. She could see his eyes watering but he tried to conceal it. He touched Riya's hand. Riya started sniveling. He bent down and kissed her forehead, her hand held tight by him. Both of them felt strange when suddenly Riya got up in a daze, only to undress herself slowly.

Aghast and helpless, he ran out of the room, fighting back his tears and leaving Meenakshi behind, only to realize the untold!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dancers In The Dark

I gazed silently at those nimble pair of legs which moved in haste. A few steps forward, then a quick flip. A moment later, bending on the gravelly surface and writhing back and forth through a hoopla, without so much as to touch it. Pushing it aside the next moment, sprinting forward and taking a gravity defying somersault again. A young girl of the same age, fidgeted nearby, playing a small dhol tied to her neck and singing to the tunes of popular bollywood numbers. Another kid belonging to the same clan looked on, waiting for his turn next. I felt as if every single act of theirs, was smeared in a monotonous semblance. But then, it was their conditioning which blurred such an axiomatic display to a large extent. Helplessly I watched, however trying not to, at times. A sight as such made me dwell earnestly on the cruelties meted out to such pitiable young souls, clinging to a parallel world soaked in abject poverty and hopelessness....

Read my complete article at Writers Blend >> Dancers In The Dark

The Last Humanist

Milton:'s like a bag of fucking bricks. All you got to set it down. Let it go.

Lomax: I can't do that.

Milton: Who are you carrying all those bricks for? God? Is that it? I'll tell you. Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do? I swear for His own amusement, His own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time! Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Aha! And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fuckin' ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!

Lomax: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" that it?

Milton: Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began! I've nurtured every sensation man has been inspired to have! I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him! Why? Because I never rejected him, in spite of all his imperfections! I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist.

[The Devil's Advocate, 1997]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Once Upon A Love

That was a time I first fell in love
But now I wail, I lament
'Tis sad how I lost so much time
To compass my content

The day wherein I saw too late
Oh, the follies of a lover
The moment I felt such loss
As care shall never recover

That fateful night, the minute of mishap
Makes me thus to plain
The doleful fruits of a lover's pursuits,
Which labor lose in vain

Doth make me solemnly protest
As I in pain, parted from this clove
No time, year, day or hour
Nor a minute, good to love

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Indian Potpourri

Tamils are always proud to be Tamizhs; Quite courteous (that's what they think, at least!). They speak yenglish but sorry, no indi (Hindi). Saar, what da??? The plebeian Madarasi ( huh?) is an ardent fan of kireeket matches. Their counterparts in Mumbai think they live in America but speak Hinglish like..."are you sure ki Sujata aa rahi hai or I'll go akela!" And they take great pride in making stupid mistakes in Hindi Grammar. Hypocrites? ahem, probably the best in the world.

Thamizhs, are verrry lecky to have simble neighbors in the Keralites who are a komblex race of peoblle (they migrated around 2000 B.C. from the middle east, I guess; and now even the Sheikhs feel wary of them!) but they have excellent GK, eat a lot of chooclyte, own 99.998765% of tyre shops in the world and form 99% of nursing community.

Trudging behind the kerals is the Telugu Desam, who are totally againesht flaunting their wealthu to the woruldu, though they occasionally come out withu brick red shirtsu and parrot green pantsu with pleetsu (pleet). Worustu, no?! But they (think) are greatu in CICSu, Microsu and COBOLu! Generally sane peoplesu (and so you can always findu them judgingu, probhingu, queschioningu othersu ...)

The Canadians (err, excuse me), the Kannadigas aor (are) the coolest lat dobun south but if there is political unrest in Hersogovnia oare (or) an ebola virus outbreak in Zaire, they bash up the Tamils in Karnataka. Damn! Cauvery crusade! Talking of the great Rajkumar, if a fly sat on his nose, they would burn the entire city of Bengaluroo to kill the fly! Dishoom! To hell with Silicon valley! I-ron, firshtu, girlu, Lasht Bussu, roadu, crickeatu, filamu are some of their favourites.

Maharashtrians are a conservative, rather confused, complex lot-kar. -Kar? that's because gavasakar, tendulkar, on, so forth. Take your pick. Confused? that's because sitting pretty in the southern part of India, they would ask the other person "err, are you from Maharashtra or from south India?" and genuinely wonder as to why the other person takes time to answer the question! They like the principles of pheejix and their favourite character in the alphabet is Zay (God only knows where that came from!). Though soft natured, peace loving people but they elect the Shivsena to rule them. Phew!

And right there next to the Maharashtrians are the Gujjubhais. They like to keep kes in the benk and their favourite past time is eating snakes (snacks!) like paav bhaji, masala papad and pijja at the local snake bar. They gobble down palak sev as if their life solely depends on it and believe in the brotherhood and sisterhood of man and woman (everybody is either a bhai or a ben!!!).

Stray further eesht and you meet the Oriyas in the land uf Udissa - the land of irron ('r' unsilent) where sombalpuroa and Bhubaneshbara are big towns. The people are bery cordial and if you are Vikram they bill soorly ask you B or Bhe. They do not sout, sam or soot but occasnally bawsh their phace at the wasbashin. James Bond Mohanty in our colleze had a roll nomber jero, jero, sebhen. LOL.

Bong Bong Bengalees are bery bery similor, but or bery proud oph Subas Chondro Boash and Shoatyojit Roy (WTF?! I know a director by the name Satyajit Ray who was quite a prolific genius). A friend of yours spots you and yells "ki Boka*****" or an unknown bystander greets you with a cacophonic "Dada" (I use to habe a friend by name, Dada. Still wonder...what his name was!) Bot I most conphess, Roshgollas are bery goooood, though!

Bihari kids are supposed to be the smartest kids in India (if not in the universe?!). How we wish they grew up the same way. But Biharees are bery phond of Laloo and Patna. "Kaa babua, isse bhadiya tumre pass kooch hai ?! SPIT. SPIT.

UPites and MPites are busy going to ischool and studying metals to make lots of ishteel. Loads of it!

Punjabis are the cherubic sorts but aggressive, mind you! I was asked, "Oye, Rotti ShottiKhayega?" I replied "No". Pat came the reply "Tage itu, yaar!" By Godu! Surjeetu, what happenedu, oi?! Then of course, everybody's a paappe or a kaakke. That my friend is Punjab for you.

Kashmiris are a peaceful lot living in the valley of diverse cultural imprints (Kashmir called Cashmir by many. May be because of the amount of cash spent to keep it in India?!) I know Roja (or Roza?) was shot (C'mon, I mean filmed!) somewhere nearby.

But at the end of the day, wherever you are on this planet...whether it is in Sunnyvale, CA; Birmingham,UK; UmmAl Quwain, UAE or Serangoon Road, Singapore...nudge yourself and ask them who they are and you'll get just one answer- "INDIANS".

[From the mail archives]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Scanner Darkly

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Way I See It

Art. Life entrapped in the eternal frame of a fusion of multifarious colors. Fixating compelling but transient visions in my mind, empowering me to prudently entangle the complex fabric of Life, thread by thread. With each soft stroke of my brush, an unbridled sense of joyous pride touches my soul. Suddenly, I feel at one with my creations. Resonating in unison. And as I silently gaze at them, my innate creative indulgence catalyzes my thoughts more and more.

To persevere. To procreate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Guest Blogger: Jiggs


Being an aquarian, the first thing that crosses my mind is Art. Art is something which is innate to a person. The definitive way of expressing one's thought process and connecting with the outer world. It can be rendered in various forms, be it frolicking with a multitude of colors, in the nimble footed dance steps, the soothing tones from a musical instrument or just penning down one's perspectives in a coherent manner. It is, to put it simply, an outlet for emotions which are buried deep within us. Most often this brings out the best in us. It surprises us sometimes, when we least expect it do so. Quite unconventional but appreciated by a few.

Writing has been an essential part of my life. It has become an outlet for all the things which have been bottled inside me for a long time. It's been a while, that I discovered this 'talent' of mine (Yes, I like to call it so :-), which I always knew I had but never nurtured it completely. It came to me in full bloom when I was confronting one of the so called 'bad phases' in my life. And yes, it definitely helped me. It gave me the strength to come out of it unscathed and see things in a different light. I gained a better perspective of looking at things and started penning down my thoughts with ease. Submerged in essaying my views, I was really overwhelmed my the 'magic of words'. Day in and day out, ideas transcended my mind and coalesced on paper, catalyzed by a plethora of words, time and again.

Then blogging happened. And I was hooked to it instantly! Nowadays, its like 'if it happened to me, then its on my blog for sure'. Writing gives me happiness and a sense of joy pervades my mind. Sometimes when a good post comes along 'I literally jump with the excitement'. It's akin to a shell where I can conceal myself when things around are in a bad shape and gives me the much required succor when I need it the most. It helps me bounce back with a renewed zeal and enthusiasm every time. In the company of my writing and my blog, neither do I feel the pangs of loneliness nor do I feel left out in a solitary confinement.

Call it philosophy or plain conviction. I call it 'Aditism'. I can ranter on and on about my beliefs and things I adhere to. But rather than injecting the reader with an overdose of philosophy, I might as well stop here. Atleast for the time being and harp on something else.

History tells us about the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Charles Dickens, Franklin Roosevelt, Wolfgang Mozart. Illustrious figures, quite noted for the kind of work they did. On a lighter note, two more names can surely be added to the above aggregate. Abhishek 'ShAkE Inc.' & Aditi 'Jiggs'! No pun intended here, mind you ;-)

Ingenuity is a second name for an Aquarian. There is no denying this fact. I, being an aquarian know this rather too well. Working on the aesthetics aspect of my blog with another aquarian who goes my the moniker of ShAkE Inc. a.k.a Abhishek, has been a very stimulating experience. When two such people revel in a creative endeavour as we did, the end result has to be explosive.
My blog 'Writing Pad' bears testimony to this fact rather well. Talk about a blog getting 'pimped'! Really LOLzz.

His creative self coupled with the perfectionist streak, patiently dealt with my constant influx of requests, endlessly for several hours until the work was finally done. He has miles to go and lot more of his virtuosity is yet to peel off. But the world shall reckon this creative genius in times to come. That's one thing for sure.

Guess I have been the lucky one. But definitely it was quite an experience. And I do hope to see much more of his ingenuity flow in days to come.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

No Ifs. No Ands. Only Butts.




Something inside me
Has opened up its eyes

Why did you put it there?

Did you not realise?

This thing inside me

It screams the loudest sound

Sometimes I think I could


Burn this whole world down


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Confessions Of An Artist

Visions in my head
Colors surround me
Mind exorcised, soul enchanted
Freezing life for eternity

Colors satiating stark silhouettes
A breath of life infused!
Gazing through the looking glass
I pause, I reflect

Oh! the beauteous joy of procreation
Oh! how lovely, how so pure
I revel in such a consummate bliss
Never to let go

Stimulated from the depths of my soul
Enveloped in a passionate aura
Like soaking up the warmth of the sun
Like plunging in the unfathomable sea

I close my eyes
Renewed vigor, a new drive
I begin again
Never to stop, never to cease

Visions in my head
Colors surround me

Mind exorcised, soul enchanted
Freezing life for eternity

Mr. Mittal Says...

mittal says

........I visited Jamshedpur over the weekend to see for myself an India that is fast disappearing despite all the wolf-cries of people like Narayanamurthy and his ilk. It's one thing to talk and quite another to do and I am delighted to tell you that Ratan Tata has kept alive the legacy of perhaps India’s finest industrialist J.N. Tata. Something that some people doubted when Ratan took over the House of the Tatas but in hindsight, the best thing to have happened to the Tatas is unquestionably Ratan. I was amazed to see the extent of corporate philanthropy and this is no exaggeration. For the breed that talks about corporate social responsibility and talks about the role of corporate India, a visit to Jamshedpur is a must. Go there and see the amount of money they pump into keeping the town going; see the smiling faces of workers in a region known for industrial unrest; see the standard of living in a city that is almost isolated from the mess in the rest of the country.

This is not meant to be a puff piece. I have nothing to do with Tata Steel, but I strongly believe the message of hope and the message of goodness that they are spreading is worth sharing. The fact that you do have companies in India which look at workers as human beings and who do not blow their software trumpet of having changed lives. In fact, I asked Mr.Muthuraman, the managing director, as to why he was so quiet about all they had done and all he could offer in return was a smile wrapped in humility, which said it all. They have done so much more since I last visited Jamshedpur, which was in 1992. The town has obviously got busier but the values thankfully haven’t changed. The food is still as amazing as it always was and I gorged, as I would normally do. I visited the plant and the last time I did that was with Russi Mody. But the plant this time was gleaming and far from what it used to be.

Greener and cleaner and a tribute to environment management. You could have been in the mountains. Such was the quality of air I inhaled! There was no belching smoke; no tired faces and so many more women workers, even on the shop floor. This is true gender equality and not the kind that is often espoused at seminars organised by angry activists. I met so many old friends. Most of them have aged but not grown old. There was a spring in the air which came from a certain calmness which has always been the hallmark of Jamshedpur and something I savoured for a full two days in between receiving messages of how boring and decrepit the lack lustre Fashion Week was.

Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata had created an edifice that is today a robust company and it is not about profits and about valuation. It is not about who becomes a millionaire and who doesn’t. It is about getting the job done with dignity and respect keeping the age-old values intact and this is what I learnt.

I jokingly asked someone as to whether they ever thought of joining an Infosys or a Wipro and pat came the reply: "We are not interested in becoming crorepatis but in making others crorepatis." Which is exactly what the Tatas have done for years in and around Jamshedpur. Very few people know that Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global Compact City, edging out the other nominee from India, Bangalore. Selected because of the quality of life, because of the conditions of sanitation and roads and welfare. If this is not a tribute to industrial India, then what is? Today, India needs several Jamshedpurs but it also needs this Jamshedpur to be given its fair due, its recognition. I am tired of campus visits being publicised to the Infosys and the Wipros of the world. Modern India is being built in Jamshedpur as we speak. An India built on the strength of core convictions and nothing was more apparent about that than the experiment with truth and reality that Tata Steel is conducting at Pipla.

Forty-eight tribal girls (yes, tribal girls who these corrupt and evil politicians only talk about but do nothing for) are being educated through a residential program over nine months. I went to visit them and I spoke to them in a language that they have just learnt: Bengali. Eight weeks ago, they could only speak in Sainthali, their local dialect. But today, they are brimming with a confidence that will bring tears to your eyes. It did to mine.

One of them has just been selected to represent Jharkand in the state archery competition. They have their own women’s football team and what’s more they are now fond of education. It is a passion and not a burden.

This was possible because I guess people like Ratan Tata and Muthurman haven’t sold their souls to some business management drivel, which tells us that we must only do business and nothing else. The fact that not one Tata executive has been touched by the Naxalites in that area talks about the social respect that the Tatas have earned.

The Tatas do not need this piece to be praised and lauded. My intent is to share the larger picture that we so often miss in the haze of the slime and sleaze that politics imparts. My submissions to those who use phrases such as "feel-good" and "India Shining" is first visit Jamshedpur to understand what it all means. See Tata Steel in action to know what companies can do if they wish to. And what corporate India needs to do.

Murli Manohar Joshi would be better off seeing what Tata Steel has done by creating the Xavier Institute of Tribal Education rather than by proffering excuses for the imbroglio in the IIMs. This is where the Advanis and Vajpayees need to pay homage. Not to all the Sai Babas and the Hugging saints that they are so busy with. India is changing in spite of them and they need to realise that. I couldn’t have spent a more humane and wonderful weekend. Jamshedpur is an eye opener and a role model, which should be made mandatory for replication. I saw corporate India actually participate in basic nation-building, for when these tribal girls go back to their villages, they will return with knowledge that will truly be life-altering.

Corporate India can do it but most of the time is willing to shy away. For those corporate leaders who are happier winning awards and being interviewed on their choice of clothes, my advise is visit Tata Steel, spend some days at Jamshedpur and see a nation’s transformation. That is true service and true nationalism. Tata Steel will celebrate 100 years of existence in 2007. It won’t be just a milestone in this company’s history. It will be a milestone, to my mind of corporate transparency and generosity in this country. It is indeed fitting that Ratan Tata today heads a group which has people who are committed to nation-building than just building influence and power.

JRD must be smiling wherever he is. And so must Jamshedji Nusserwanji. These people today have literally climbed every last blue mountain. And continue to do so with vigour and passion. Thank god for the Tatas!

[Thank you Mr. Mittal. Exemplifying the glory of my hometown in a manner as such brings a gleam to my eyes. Born and brought up in the cradle of fervent industrial growth amidst lush green environs, I harbor an unbridled joyous fervor. Difficult to suppress. Impossible to let go. Call it Jamshedpur, Jampot or simply's my home. My Town. And I'm proud of it.]

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Office Buzz : Do The Doodle!

office buzz

One of those snoozy afternoons. Trying to avert the soporific allure by doing what I do best.

Suddenly out of nowhere.

Boss : So, what's happening?

Me : uh..huh...(bit rattled, turning around). Oh, well...nothing much (trying to conceal the sheet of paper and promptly building up a 'I'm busy at work' demeanor)

Boss : NOTHING MUCH?!!! The reports are due since yesterday. What about th... (glances at the sheet of paper)...oh I s-e-e! So doodling again, eh?

Tries to play peeping-tom and makes a herculean attempt to gaze at my objet d' art.

Me : (putting up a brave front) No actually...actually, was working on the reports and...(quickly folding the sketches and casting them aside)...and was stuck on one of the scripts. But I am trying....

Boss : Hmm...I s-e-e (apparently miffed). So you are stuck. And you need help, don't you?

Me : Ummm...Ya...I g-u-e-s-s so (threw a swift 'need some more time' look at him)

Boss : (bends down) Then Mr. Picasso, you should try Google not doodle! (a pause and then his voice cracks) 8:30 PM is the deadline. No more extensions!

Whizzes off to his cabin in a huff.

Muffled, I stare at the screen.

Damn! There goes my artistic fervor down the drain. A dreamy afternoon wasted.

So much for deadlines. Boo-hoo :-(

Friday, October 5, 2007

Breaking Free

No rack can torture me
My soul's at liberty
Behind this mortal bone
There knits a bolder one

You cannot prick with saw
Nor rend with scymitar
Two bodies therefore be
Bind one, and one will flee

The eagle of his nest
No easier divest
And gain the sky
Than mayest thou

Except thyself may be
Thine enemy
Captivity is consciousness
So's liberty

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Phildickian Gnosticism

I write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards. In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.

I saw the door open. A gentle push. The light flittered incessantly but I could see him. Reclined on his chair, with his eyes wide open. Something was amiss. I sensed it.

"Are you alright, Mr. Dick? ", I enquired.

He lay still.

"Mr. Dick......".

"Huh...uh...err...nothing, nothing at all ", he replied.

"But something's wrong with you. I have a feeling ".

"Well, its actually...actually...."

He halts and gives me a queer look. I stand there trying to read his thoughts.

"I...I am having strange visions. Things which I shouldn't be seeing. Things unknown..."

Maybe it was the effect of the prolonged medication that he was undergoing. But I was not quite sure.

"What is it that you see? "

"Vesicle Pisces ".

Vesicle Pisces? I hadn't heard that before for sure. What could that be? I pondered frantically.

"I experienced an invasion of my a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly...suddenly I have become sane now ".

"I see Jesus. The ancient Rome. Thomas. Does all this make any sense to you. Tell me...does this have any religious significance? "

I didn't have an answer. I shook my head in dissent.

"I don't seem to be myself. I...I feel like I'm somebody else. But who? Who can I be...? "

He rambled on. His face swept with undulating emotions of anger & exhilaration. This was strange. For a moment, I thought I knew him. The other moment, I didn't. I stood there, fixated on him.

"VALIS. GOD. I see it. I see it now."

He turned to me and said, "Leave me alone ".

I couldn't do much. I had to leave. As I inched towards the door, I glanced back at him. I wondered what had befallen this great writer. The greatest of all times. The man who seamlessly bridged the gap between alternate history and science fiction in his writings. The man who brought forth the ideas of shifting universes and made complete sense out of surreal fantasies. The same literary virtuoso was now not in touch with reality. How pitiable. The effect of drugs and intermittent bouts of schizophrenia had taken its toll on him. However the fact remained. His paranoiac self was a genius. A genius whom the world will remember for eons. Only time will tell.

[During the period of February and March of 1974, Philip K. Dick encountered a series of visions, which he referred to as "two-three-seventy-four" (2-3-74). He described the initial visions as laser beams and geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and of ancient Rome. As the visions increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live a double life, one as himself, "Philip K. Dick", and one as "Thomas", a Christian persecuted by Romans in the 1st century A.D. Despite his history of drug use and elevated stroke risk, Dick began seeking other rationalist and religious explanations for these experiences. He referred to the "transcendentally rational mind" as "Zebra", "God" and, most often, "VALIS". Dick wrote about the experiences in the semi-autobiographical novels Valis and Radio Free Albemuth.

Resorting to such an overt dramatization comes easy when one reels under the profound effect of his writings. I call it the 'PKD Syndrome'. Try running through his literary works and you shall know better.]

Monday, October 1, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

calvin_art thoughts

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace


Foo Fighters make a much awaited comeback to the rock scene with their new album 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace'. David Grohl and his team display exemplary sonic skills, yet again. Expanding on their signature sound, the band infuses alt-rock with folk seamlessly this time resulting in a sound which veers upon eclectic and a bit aggressive at times. The perfect mix of soft and loud rhythms, it grows on you as you listen to it. Have to admit...this is the band's most mature & well balanced composition till date. Heady stuff all the way. Hmmm...."Radio friendly unit shifters".....anyone?

I'm the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I'm the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I'm what's left, I'm what's right
I'm the enemy
I'm the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend

What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

Friday, September 28, 2007

From My Art Diaries : The Female Nude...Art, Obscenity & Sexuality

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection

Are you appalled? Or rather, do you feel yourself positioned in a 'perpetual state of shock' at this juncture? If you ever found it an arduous task to differentiate a Ruben's nude from a Playboy pinup....then my friend, you are looking at the wrong place. My apologies. From a common man's point of view, I do understand your conservative predicament. But alas! my outlandish self. Time and again, the inherent eccentric streak in me compels me to undertake such avant-garde strides. You say weird, I say valorous.

The artist in me has always been beguiled by the female nude form. Well, it does sound rather unconventional and maybe a tad schlocky. But hey! Try gazing through an artist's looking glass, and you shall know better. A layman will mostly visualize the 'female form' and it's 'nude' as two completely separate identities. As a result, this premise basically makes him treat the female nude just as a means to satiate the male libido. I strongly differ here. Looking beyond the obvious, I realize that the nude does not simply represent the body. In fact it's the body's analogous self, to be precise. The embodiment of both as a single unit, emanates the very definition of beauty. A beauty so virginal, so divine! Beauty which inspires an artist, having a clear cut understanding of such a complex phenomenon, to come out with extraordinary pieces of art work. Describing it through mere words, I believe, is an attempt in futility. Well, of course one can. But the real connect comes when one defines it through the medium of art. While depicting it's sonsie form in it's subtle, enshrouded artist actually 'negotiates' his innate aesthetic ideologies with this female form. This in particular, can be aptly termed as the 'complete sensual experience' which doesn't veer towards the obscene or provocative. Quite strange, but true. The understanding of this very intertwined relation, helps an artist clearly make a distinction between 'aesthetic' and 'obscene' and so makes it easier for him in the complex representation of the female body under an unassuming aesthetic category.

Thus I opine. But the inevitable question you concur? If that artistic streak prevails in you, then you shall. Or atleast you will try to. As for the others...I pity them.

[My endeavor to portray these vignettes involved pencil/pen sketching & a subtle usage of B&W watercolors ]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indian Cricket 4.0

Fireworks. Jubilations. Oh, how gleeful one can be!

From an obscure horizon, India has finally bounced back. Never before has Indian Cricket been so impregnable and dauntless. An irrefutable force to reckon with? The world knows better now.

On the night, after the India-Pakistan game, as I shook hands with the zealous revelers waving the Indian flag and engaged in a light holler signifying India's triumphant win in the Twenty20 World Cup finals...I felt proud. That quaint feeling in one corner of my heart was never felt all these days. It returned that day, yet again. To be frank, I have never been an ardent follower of the game, in the viewing sense per se. And with India's ever swerving fortunes, my cricketing loyalty has shifted endlessly. Now on, now off. And I, for one, prefer undertaking the physical rigors of the game. Whenever, wherever.

Well, so it was Monday night. And the big game was on. While the entire nation sat glued to the idiot box watching the Indian heroes sweat out in the greens, I was sitting in my near empty office. Glued to my machine, engaged in a never ending blitzkrieg of 0s & 1s, I rambled over my pending tasks and crucifying deadlines (Phew! The less said about my workaholic self, the better). Checking the score at intermittent periods was the usual norm all these days during the Twenty20 World Cup. I did catch a fleeting glimpse or two of some of the significant matches though. As I said, I had never gone gaga about watching India playing. But somehow this time, my attention was transfixed on the way India was performing of late. What I heard, and a bit of what I had seen in the past few days, India was definitely on a roll and how! Infectious, to say the least. And then at that moment, I couldn't resist the rising urge. I gave up.


Within minutes, chucking aside all official hokum, I scourged for the live streaming of the ongoing match over the internet. And there it was. Right there. Cricket at its very best. Faster, zippier and gripping than I could ever imagine. With the onset of the new format, Cricket was now high on thrills. A revolutionary approach to the game, in which one has to hit right at the word 'Go', can never get a purist's nod. For he believes that this will ruin the technique and the very finesse of the gentleman's game. Those cover drives, long drives, late cuts and fine leg glances would be a thing of the past now. For him, the new rules of the game can spell doom, not to mention rewriting old ones.

But we care less. Fact is...with Twenty20, cricketing boards are raking in the moolah, world over. Real big money. There is no denying this fact. More so, every die hard cricket lover on the face of this planet is going ballistic over such an edge of the seat entertainment. So the question is...will anybody pause and muse over what a purist thinks? Oh, Puhleeez!

Not even for a moment, I could take my eyes off such an adrenaline packed sport. The usual technique for batsmen to hit the ball along the ground was tossed right out of the window. In fact, the ball persistently following the long trajectories as a result of incessant hard hitting displayed by the Indian batsmen, all over the ground. Those murderous onslaughts over the cow corner, reverse sweeps over the keeper's head and swift hoicks over no man's land, made sure the ball was kept busy all the time. In such a short version of the game, the perfect connect between the bat and the ball coupled with some brawn, is all that is required to keep the fours and the sixes raining. The crowd definitely needed some headgear to ward off 'injuries', I felt.

Guffaws. Lol.

Led by the gutsy and intrepid captain Dhoni, the new India is an opposition team's nightmare. It showed clearly in the players' body language and the dotty approach to the game. Pathan, RP Singh, Sreeshanth, Yuvraj...each and every one in the squad was a live wire on the field. The usual lackadaisical approach was long gone. Such an overnight transformation was tough to digest. (I reflected over Yuvraj's 6 sixes in an over during the India-England Match. Whoa! What's gotten in them? I pondered). With every passing moment, the Pakis seemed to be burdened with the relentless Indian attack and not long after, they crumbled completely. As Misbah lofted the ball over the wicket keeper's head straight into Sreesanth's hands, the cacophony & fervor amongst the crowd was remarkable. Truly, the win was a much required shot in the arm.

Sigh...An arduous wait of 24 years was finally over. The entire nation rose to applaud the new world champions. This was all that a cricket crazy India cared for. A long cherished dream fulfilled.

As for me, it's a new found craze to watch India play again...and yet again. And with a format such as Twenty20, I know rather will never be the same again.

Guess it's time I kept aside my 'Die Hard 4.0' DVD for now. Action has a new name. Call it Twenty20 or India. I choose both.