-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Notes n Nietzsche....

The travelogue from India with my favourite pen and Nietzsche mug.The photographed page carries the previous blog entry.Pardonez moi cameraphone.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Salt Symphony...

Listen to what great a silence they behold: Sun in the clear blue sky, the vagrant breeze warm and dry.

The prelude draws its overtures from the reprise.
Slow and steady the tune is built.With the flats and sharps as they gather tempo together with the minors and majors.
Into an experience of this astounding resonance. The voice of orbital orgasm! Whither the moon? Whither the waters? The roar!
As the scale descends, the roar drowns into a death. Only to pass the dying refrain as the theme to the next.
The roar speaks in a million accents: of triumphs , of disappointments , of convictions, of negotiations , of a variety emotions and naked reasons.
In this brutal might there is beauty-- austere or magnifique; but nothing is permitted to last more than the lifetime of a wave.
This is no ordinary orchestra.
This is life, the concert writ against the horizon of constancy .

Agauda, Goa , India
June 2005

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Memes. Such mind masturbations. Disconcerting to collect pieces and divulge, yet pleasurable to indulge.But books are such cherished continents.Was tagged almost a month back. Had saved it for a rainy day! It’s raining and think it’s about time. So let’s do it.

Mr Dewey immortalised in a local library?

Total number of books I own: Well this question is meaningless. It’s like asking someone how many hairs you've got on your head? The answer wouldn’t reflect anything of the responder but only the prejudices of the asker. Besides, given the topic what difference would a number make? You obviously can’t judge someone by the number of books he owns. Anyway just to tick the box, I’ve never counted but I reckon, including my academic ones should definitely make a handsome figure.
Last Book I Bought:Oh! Complicated this.I usually buy about four to six books a month. And that too only after I’ve read them elsewhere and find them worth buying. This time however, my faith in my boys was well rewarded, so have been quite indulgent with books. Should have bought somewhere around 40-60 books mostly in bulks and bushels. To type them out here would be like molesting my keyboard. However if you insist on a few names, I would say Chomsky’s On language, Calvino’s If On A Winter's Night To A Traveller and Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of things past, Concept of man-S Radhakrishnan.
The last book I read:
The British empire - Stewart Binns
My brother’s keeper, James Joyce early years-Stanislaus Joyce

Books I am currently reading:
Architecture, a concise history- Christopher Hocher
Bitter chocolate - Pinki Virani
Essays bookmark now writing in unreaderly times- Kevin smokler.
An introduction to the language in Psychology- Peter Herriot.

Love in a blue time- Hanif Kureishi
Some kind of black- Diran Adebayo

First memory of a book: A dozen of Russian books for my third or fourth birthday. Still have them up the attic! Dont know how, but never quite took up to the comics.Just a bit of Calvin and Tintin in the early teens.So always had to face a huge anxiety in the fictional leg of dumb charades at college, that inspite of a friend's generosity of enlisting and quick profiling all the cartoon charecters like e.g.Weatherby-headmaster, not weatherman! Such shame.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
John Grisham’s The Firm.
Hell !! Kidding !
Five doesn’t even serve symbolism forget justifying any taste. Anyway shall try my best,

Signboard 1:Anti-joyceans take diversion here.

Ulysses- James Joyce
Call me obsessed, but this really means more than a lot. To me, there are books and there is this bible. Was quite young the first time I tried it, coudnt drag beyond page 34. Then after two summers, lots of waters had passed under the bridge and many more truths collected when I picked it up casually at a professor’s place and finished in three days flat.Each word made perfect sense. Rare harmony:that experience of consciousness.
The world became divided into BJ and AJ. Before Joyce and After Joyce. Of the truths if you are bothered, let me tell you this,I wasn’t born a joycean but will die one.That is the truth. Wish to have met him just once. But as I’ve come to learn that is quite a common yearning amongst Joyceans.

It is definitely not your regular novel; it is a sort of chronicle of human civilization. Joyce started this book as a response to his mother’s letter to write 'how the heart feels' and he has successfully done that. What is so impressive is how Joyce has integrated, his judgement of almost everything so effortlessly into his writing here. There are no heroes. Just commonplace life of a day in chapters. Each chapter is based on a theme and motifs run abundant.And within it lies woven the History of humanity.

I know abuses are hurled at it about being a difficult read and overrated et al But I think it’s just a feeling: either you are in or you are out. My later reads of the book were smooth and uniquely feverish. A celebration of simple life!
Let me quote this paragraph from the chapter Scylla and Charybdis
---Upon my word it makes my blood boil to hear anyone compare Aristotle with Plato.
---Which of the two, Stephen asked, would have banished me from his commonwealth?

Unsheathe your dagger definitions. Horseness is the whatness of allhorse.Streams of tendency and eons they worship.God : noise in the street: very peripatetic.Space: what you damn well have to see.Through spaces smaller than red globules of man’s blood they creepycrawl after Blake’ s buttocks into eternity of which this vegetable world is but a shadow.Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.
This is from a conversation in the library; notice how the lines carry so many tangents. If you haven’t read Plato it becomes demanding to pick up and appreciate such references like horse, stream, space, God and then how and why Blake comes in and the ideas of future and past. All put in such sublime parody as Joyce speaks through Stephen.
The book is full of such styles and references.Just to mention this one other chapter called sirens- is a wonderful take on musicians. An understanding of classical music is required to enjoy the chapter as words and sylabbles are placed in chords and such musical themes. Since I have quite a discountable idea of classical music, am still figuring out the intricacies involved.

For its ambition, style and universality, Ulysses is unique and shall stay unparalleled for eternity.

Signboard 2:Welcome back Anti-joyceans

The Great Gatsby- Scott Fitzgerald
What is it of? Some 200 pages? And with every page, every word Scott poisons you with his overpowering madness. Undoubtedly one of the greatest fictions ever to find words, this book belongs to the class which commands you to stop reading midway, to pace up and down and finally crush you with a powerful urge to discontinue reading because you do not wish the book to end! Wistful ache and all maddening beauty, this is the best of the refined wine of words. Amazing how a crazy drunkard can overwhelm anyone with such simple sentiments.

The brilliance obviously lies in how the characters are developed - through the eyes of other characters and by the constant past references, so at the end you realise the characters are just a mosaic of impressions left only to be judged by the reader.
The famous last lines are haunting……
He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past

When I read this book first, went incorrigibly mad for a good three days! That apart, it means much more because this was the book that carried my first letter of love to my first love.

Beyond good and evil-Frederich Nietzsche
Freud described Nietzsche as the only man who knew his mind. Although both were quite mad there is no doubt about the veracity of the statement and this book just proves it. Written by an old, less passionate Nietzsche it dissects the human understanding and life with incredible precision. Mostly assorted in metaphysical aphorisms, it’s a summary of his pitiless quasi-objective observations. The question simply is.. Are you up to it..?
Daring in attack and assertive in defense this book’s only misgiving lies in the demand to be acquainted with the ideology of his earlier works. Although that makes it a lot skewed it’s nevertheless a charming read.
The following excerpts must define what laconism is.
From apophthegms and interludes:
*The belly is the reason why man does not so readily take himself for a god.
* Dreadful experiences raise the question whether he who also experiences them is not something dreadful also.
*A nation is a detour of nature to arrive at six or seven great men.-yes, and then to get round them.(Hegel in one line)
*We are most dishonourable towards our god he is not permitted to sin.

From what is noble:
Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood .The latter perhaps wounds his vanity; but the former wounds his heart, his sympathy, which always says: Ah why would you also have as hard a time of it as I have?

As I type this, I’m filled with memories where friends at college debated these passages all through night. For the treasure of insight it beholds it’s definitely worth it, that, if you look- beyond the Nazi interpretation and a few later passages on feminism with comical indignation. If you have lived your prides, prejudices, convictions, defeats, victories, sit and read Beyond good and evil in one piece.

The English patient - Michael Ondaatje
Michael mesmerizes by feeding lyrical overtures into building the hearts and souls of the characters of his novel. What is striking is the sense of delicate balance in the plot set in the background of the Second World War in its terminal stages. And I cannot recall of any other contemporary novel, portraying such an incisive understanding of a variety of consciences affected by any tragedy.The anger and the confusion swallowed up by the countenance of immunity, drives the novel as a hidden keel all along.Weave to that one of the haunting love stories, captured in the poignancy of Ondaatje’s zephyrical prose and the result can only be a heavy heart!
And of course the suprasternal notch is by now a legend.

She picks up a cushion and places it onto her lap as a shield against him.
“If you make love to me I won’t lie about it. If I make love to you I won’t lie about it”.
She moves the cushion against her heart, as if she would suffocate that part of herself which has broken free.
“What do you hate most?” he asks.
“A lie. And you?”
“Ownership,” he says. “When you leave me, forget me.”
Her fist swings towards him and hits hard into the bone just below his eye. She dresses and leaves.

What is captivating is how amazingly one of my favorite themes- adultery, is treated. I have been always fascinated by women seduced into adultery.Ive come to regard that it must be a powerful all-pervading force that pulls a woman into adultery and caught in the cause and consequences of such a force, the throes of a female conscience is an interestingly wild subject to say the least.
One other melodious example that deserves a mention is Vikram Seth’s the equal music.
English patient is definitely more than a novel. Its a lovely gospel.

The Republic- Plato
Guess it was Socrates who once famously asked..Any man sooner or later has to face the challenge of asking himself how best his life has to be led? It would be only fair to say Republic has answered that in a large sense. Structured in the conversational form Republic is equally humorous as it is remarkable in the analysis of political and social facet of the working truth rather than metaphysical abstractions. So most of the debate here concerns itself with balance of understanding and its application to the practical way of life instead of chasing an elusive concept of truth.
From the popular and exaggerated metaphor of the cave to the astute formulation of the role of philosopher-king’s construct it delicately spells out the need to identify one’s own role in the scheme of things and to act accordingly.
If syntaxes of ancient English are not a barrier, this book is worthy of a detailed read. And several rereads. Also it makes a wonderful reference to understand the dynamics of a meaningful debate. Some ridiculous portions with its myopic visions and a few redundant ideas are pardonable and solely to be blamed on the ancient Greek thought and perhaps wine too!

Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this
world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils, --nor the human race, as I believe, --and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day. Such was the thought, my dear Glaucon, which I would fain have uttered if it had not seemed too extravagant; for to be convinced that in no other State can there be happiness private or public is indeed a hard thing.

I always thought this book was a compromise until I read Nietzsche's aphorisms.On the skin it may come across as social rant but savour it slowly and it shall grow on you.

Books looking forward to be consumed:
(For the benefit of those who wish to show their love)
Soul Mountain- Gao Xingjian
The Argumentative Indian -Amartya Sen

Books that are underrated: I think most of the books authored by Russians are unfairly underrated. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nobokov are second to none in their efforts to explore the prison house of human consciousness. That they churn out tomes is lame even for an excuse.
Some of the autobiographies are worth more than their money.

E.g. My experiments with truth by MK Gandhi, such a wonderful chronicle of the growth of consciousness, is the world’s cheapest autobiography!

Books that you think are overrated:Books usually tend to find their places in the scheme of things. However some books are exaggerated into something they are quite not. Glaring examples are the works of Ayn Rand and Robert Pirsig. Ayn Rand’s characters are mindless cartoons who talk for lengthy pages. Burning down buildings and hiding in caves? You call that philosophy?
Pirsig has no idea of what he himself is talking forget conveying it to others. He is so popular that I had to reconsider him before gathering a good deal of imagination to declare him a huge waste of time. Agreed that some passages are insightful but passages don’t make philosophy, Hell! not even an engine manual.
A more sophisticated version is Sartre. He is a decent playwright. And that is the end. Existentialism was lived and articulated by Kierkegaard.Perhaps with the exception of Kafka*, The bunch that followed is absolute humbug. Amen.

It took me exactly 83 minutes to type and post this blog and It carried me to memories, friends, disagreements, bargains and the smell of yellowing pages. Books! Such moral suicides!

But count me not as a Samaritan. I shall surely share my syphilis. Thus the Azazel moves…to Sashi,Fuego,Prat,Rajesh and :a: or anyone else who wants to write about books.


PS: *Try the Diaries of Franz Kakfa if you like, you woudnt know who is depressed him or you?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why do poetry?

Why do poetry?

So you did live?

and since you did

you did smile?
and of course
wept too…??

Wept with your heart?

the same heart that loved
one time or other…

a love of laughs?

tears too?

To fill a pen
Over a paper?

Monday, July 18, 2005

For Martin, more London in pixels....

Dug up a few colours from the old box...

Canary wharf...

It was friggin cold and windy and just about to rain with the dreaded workforce streaming past all across in full might at the end of the day.Was feeling like a real daftie, with a stupid camera. Obviously this is nowhere near virgo's, forget yours. Should have been more closer.

City hall...

City hall ; Was so munted that I had to go back and check the next day it was the same building!

Canary wharf...from west india avenue.

This one was a surprise because I had clicked this crossing a signal with my arm stretched up!Just about perfect, save for the focus!

Since the docklands and the wharf offer wonderful subjects , guess a bank holiday weekend would be the best bet!If you are into capturing people and more of life I would also suggest Camden , Cutty sark and the sidewalks of the tower bridge.
so long...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Meeting Pune...

Awakened by the cold breeze, I realise that I’m on a night bus on way from Bombay to Pune. A Volvo if you like. “volvo hain saab. volvo hain saab” The guy at the counter had insisted proudly to coax me to buy the tickets.
In India a Volvo is more than a Volvo.
You even got a bottle of mineral water for free!!!

I could hear Bono singing electrical dreams in my ears. I had dozed off without turning off the mp3 player. I checked the time, it was quarter to three.

The Volvo sped smoothly over the hard-metalled road.

The road something of an Indian motorway is very impressive considering the traffic it handled daily. More so for the fact that majority of the traffic comprised of heavy motors, owing to the industrial background of the region. I swear I saw four trucks driving shoulder to shoulder once. A very rare sight in India.

Through the pitch darkness, the only landscape was distant factory chimneys and the frequent orange glow of the small towns along the way. The breeze was pleasant and the ghats silent. All this would change by day fall.

Nearer to Pune, the concrete heightened. Most of the buildings had a shanty worn out look and I searched hard through the halogen lit streets to find something modern. Something relatable. No joy. Was sort of disappointed, given what I had read and heard of Pune.

The 'volvo' brought us to the Pune bus stand , which was,.. just like in many other Indian cities, right near the railway station.

The supposed bus stand is a public tragedy to say the least; shambled, filthy and breath full of stink, it looked more like a ruins of a neglected monument. People lying down all across.Some even asleep.
To my misery I learnt they didn’t sell any fags at the shops in the bus stand. I could see two dozens of cigarette buds lying all over. Such a sweet irony!

The junction of city centre outside is a direct scene from one of those old British Indian movies.

Sprawled across the pavements were variety of vehicles- two wheelers, carts and many other commodities which would be geared active by the sun, brown puddles of water in potholes by narrow road with its stalking rickshaw drivers. Aligned shops, bakeries selling morning bread, tea and the day’s first newspapers.
The scattered apartments and other small business structures looked sodden, grey and sleepy.One particular building right opposite the train station was striking in impression; blackened and rot,it looked charred, as if so by fire; the horror being , as I later discovered, it stood charred by damp, grime and irresponsible laziness.A tribute to the unaccountable sloth.

Outside the city railway station, half the letters of whose huge neon (?) signlight wasn’t functioning, stood a curved line of fastfood carts with their dusty naked electric bulbs. The air was intensely hot and oily, a strong tea with a much deserved fag completed the initial experience.

Would sleep visit now?

Pune June 2005—draft edited later.

Pune: A west-Indian city near Bombay.
Volvo hain saab: Its a volvo, Sir !
Ghats: Long range of mountains.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

In Bangalore...

The road that links the airport to the Bangalore city centre is a longish curve through the heart of the city. It runs flanked by a million different things.
The geometrical mirror-windowed buildings of software firms inside which codes and programmes are written ceaselessly, unusual looking hospitals, a random shopping mall or a big shopping complex that pops up between frequent bus stands, colourful and crowded hoardings. Even army offices. A synthesis of sorts.

Heads and more heads and many more heads…..

Among all these, crawls a motley traffic interrupted by umpteen traffic-signals. The ambience is of a carnival. Amidst horrible honks, idling engines, shouts etc, a radio jockey keeps on screaming in the background.

It may be somewhere at the fourth signal I roll down the window, only to receive a multitude of looks and stares from the jam packed crowd beside.

No, not just looks. Not just emotions either.

The absolute horror of blatant judgements on the faces!

This observation, I have it strongly reinforced again and again... ..over time, across dinner tables and even in professional transactions…...'Most Indians are very uncomfortable in hiding their judgement, even if they make any effort, it comes across quite easily'.

I quickly realise what I have forgotten and remove my tie.

May 2005

Saturday, July 09, 2005

To the city of London.......

Within one week,
We, pioneer for a righteous cause....
rejoice the success of a tough-campaign .......
solve crosswords while under attack.........
carry on next day.... like clockwork.....

This is London. This is the capital of life.

in case you failed to notice
allow us to tell you,

We shall
god or ghost to
change that....

long live london.......

PS: Thanks Nicolas for the lovely snap.
You can visit him here

Monday, July 04, 2005

Heat of the Moment...

You want to remember badly who actually told you this; the sum of temperature in Fahrenheit and percentage of humidity above 180 is hell. You cant recall. The mobile phone shows 90% humidity and 40 centigrade. You had 6 l of pepsi since morning and couldn’t squeeze a drop of wee. Your t-shirt is wet with your salt. Then you stand there and smile at the camera .Wondering about this all.Probably this is how it would feel when you just have a century against your name?

~Gateway of India

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