When in doubt, smile!

I have this friend, who loves and believes this line – “when in doubt, smile”. So this person, has actually followed it, for a long time in life, and has successfully managed to sound and be innocent. And I mean it, when I say the “be”… 🙂

So for a change I tried it for a while, and concluded that it works. So, when in doubt, smile 🙂

A new look

It’s been long since I posted; and very very long since I upgraded my blog. After borrowing some enthu from Sandy, who recently bought some web-space and domain name, I finally decided to upgrade my blog – for whatever that means.

It was not easy. Firstly, my earlier Wordpess was installed in 2004. For god’s sake!! I ran it on a version so old, that it took me four hours of careful reading on various forums, taking multiple backups in various formats, and a lot of coffee to get it working on 3.0.1.

Then, the theme. Impossible to choose – at least without the help of womanly whims. Somehow chose this new theme, little bit of Gimp work, some PHP tweaking and the thing was up.

Then I realized, that I now live in 2010. The world has changed a lot since 2004. There was no social bookmarking then, there was no twitter and no Facebook… Oh My God!! NO FACEBOOK!! So I got the right plugins to help people socialize from here.

All in all it took me a day with some break…. and here we are. Welcome back 🙂

BTW, any suggestions?


Talat Mehmood is one my favorite singers of all time, and Sham-e-gam ki kasam is by far is most soulful song of his. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the song for the 1953 film “Footpath” … and the poetry is equally matched by Khayyam’s music. Here are the lyrics:

शाम-ए-गम की कसम, आज गमगीं हैं हम,
आ भी जा आभी जा आज मेरे सनम।
शाम-ए-गम की कसम…

दिल परेशान है, रात वीरान है,
देख जा किस तरह आज तनहा हैं हम।
शाम-ए-गम की कसम…

चैन कैसा जो पहलू मे तू ही नही,
मार डाले ना दर्द-ए-जुदाई कहीं।
ऋत हसीं है तो क्या, चांदनी है तो क्या,
चांदनी ज़ुल्म है और जुदाई सितम।
शाम-ए-गम की कसम…

अब तो आजा कि अब रात भी सो गई,
ज़िन्दग़ी गम के सहरा मे खो गई,
धुंढ़ती है नज़र, तू कहाँ है मगर,
देखते देखते आया आँखों मे दम।
शाम-ए-गम की कसम…

And you can listen to the song here: http://www.saavn.com/p/song/hindi/foot+path/shaam-e-gham+ki/SARfcwdkUmY

It all started with the mind

Pronouns, for once, are the most important part of the speech. They mean more than what they say. They rely on the reader more for grasping of the extra-literal meaning that they present. In essence, their meaning is subjective.

And as many of you might know, I believe the world is subjective.

Perhaps, that’s why all great books and great people use pronouns for expressing deep things. Michale Jackson: “They don’t really care about us”. Mahadevi verma: “जो तुम आ जाते एक बार”. Jim Morrison: “What are they doing in the hyacinth house”. Richard Bach: “Was it really worth it?”. RigVeda: “Not even nothing existed then”.

“They”, “तुम”, “it”, “then” are all pronouns. The object they intend to qualify is not specified. Perhaps deliberately so. And still, these are probably the most clear poetic expressions ever. The clarity of comprehension is actually not subject to the verbosity of the truth. In fact, the pronouns make the truth stand out. As if, vindicating the claim of truthfulness, by the arrogant declaration that they don’t have to say it …

…  perhaps reminding us that it all started with the mind, and objectivity barely a creation of the mind.


Reason for this so very late night post… there has been a big change in life. And this is to mark the date. I don’t remember a bigger event in life so far. So it has to be recorded on the blog.

So you would ask, what the event is? No no no no… it’s not frivolous enough to be made public. The only thing I can say, is that an era has ended, and a new one is taking shape. As, Daagh Dehalvi, would have said it:

गर्म चश्मा है पत्थर के शिगाफ़ों से उबलने को,
ज़माना किस कदर बेताब है करवट बदलने को।

Until next time, stay tuned! 🙂

Sleepless in Mumbai!

Sleep, as always, is averting me. No, I’m not in love, neither have I been worried. In fact, it is the most wonderfully peaceful time of my life. But sleep, has its own whims and fancies. And so I blog at this dark hour.

So they ask, why do you climb a mountain? because the mountain is there. So why do you eat food? because there are so many wonderful things to eat. So why do you write? because there are thoughts that try hard enough to be heard. So why do you work? because there are unfinished jobs.

Any other answers, such as – “we climb to make a world record”, or “we eat to nourish our bodies”, or “we write because that might make us famous”, or ” we work to make money” … are lame answers. Okay, wait – this is not one of those blog posts meant to make the point that one should work for oneself and not others. And to prove it, I say – equally lame are the answers such as “we climb because we have strong urge to reach the top”, or “we eat because we are hungry”, or “we write to express ourselves”, or “we work because we love working”.

On such sleepless nights, the philosopher in me wakes up – the one that loves to inquire, because he wonders, not because he doubts. And asks simple and beautiful questions, like this one – why do we act? And after deep thought all answers that it gets finally amount to “for the heck of it”, “for the bloody heck of it”.

No purpose, however lofty, is justification enough – eventually. The more deep I go in thought, in action, in emotion – the more hollow the purposes seem. Purpose is a funny word. Sometimes, it means the “urge before we act” … and sometimes its “the result we hope to achieve after we act”. The assumption that these two are same or linked – is dangerously insane. Sanity, for that matter, does not rest on this insane assumption – though it is made to believe by our schools.

To those who have read him, I might sound like Roberto Calasso, no wonders. His book Ka has been quite an influence.

So this assumption, that our urge to start an action is somehow linked to the results of the action, is what the Buddha called “the concept of causation” … a sort of cognitive association we form between two events separated in time – the earlier one being assumed to be the “cause” of the other. This concept, according to Buddha, is a myth. I don’t completely agree with him. Not because I think he was wrong, but because knowing it, really doesn’t help. And in Calasso style – I ask the Buddha: “what does it mean to help?” … and he replies: “again, ‘to help’ is a concept that presupposes cause. In other words, why do you think – things should help?” … I actually didn’t get his question at first, I thought for a while before I inquired again – “no I don’t think all things should help. But then, I shouldn’t care about those things which don’t help – right?” … Buddha as usual smiled, and said “you think you can control what you care about” … and then I smiled too. 🙂 What I saw in the moment was the fact that I care about things which are not necessarily consequential (consequence is an opposite of cause) … and many times I don’t care about things which are consequential … similarly I many times have “passionate urges for things” which I don’t care about… and many times I’m dispassionate about things I care about….  basically I realized that “caring for something or someone” is more fundamental, more profound, more important, more desirable, more right … than “expecting a consequence” or “pursuing an urge” … I felt nice!

“To care for”, is what the Buddha called Karuna .. and it does not have a “why?” to it … it happens for the heck of it.

For those, who are wondering how I happen to talk to a person who lived 2,600 years ago, I’ve just this to say – that, according to me, is the most inconsequential question to ask. 🙂

Ahir ki chhohariya

Time to say happy birthday to Krishna! So, here’s my favorite piece of poetry (by Raskhan) about him:

सेस, महेस, गनेस, दिनेस, सुरेसहुँ जाँही निरंतर गावें,
जाँही अनादी, अनन्त, अखण्ड, अछेद, अभेद, सुवेद बतावें,
नारद से शुक व्यास रटें, पचि हारे तऊ पुनि पार न पावें,
ताही अहीर की छोहरिया, छछिया भर छाँछ पे नाच नचावें।

… whom all the mighty beings: the Shesha (the celestial remainder mighty snake), Mahesh (the almighty Shiva), Ganesha, Dinesha (the sun god), and Suresha (the king of god’s Indra) eternally praise,
… who has always been described as the one without begining or end, who is complete in itself, is impenetrable, itself is the undifferentiated reality, and obviously is the omniscient,
… from Narada to Shuka Muni to Vyaas are tired of chanting whose name, and still could not understand him completely,
… he himself dances to the tune of a bunch of cowherd girls, just for a pot of buttermilk.

Besides, I love the god who sets nice precedents like stealing clothes of girls bathing in a river. 😉

Harih Om!

Dhandhe ki baat

Indian society, of today, is slowly restoring the respect and money deserved by those who serve arts. Arts of any kind, those involving colours, vocal chords, words, body gestures, thoughts and what not. But no society can do without those artists who feel rejected by society … from Kalidas to Ghalib, from Majaaz to Nagarjun … some time in their lives did feel rejected. I somehow relate to them, somehow find myself thinking their thoughts. Though, my profession has not much to do with arts (yet); and as an entrepreneur, I feel the world has been quite nice to me. But still, it seems their is a poet within, who yearns for rejection, so that it can aggravate the fire in its belly.

Rejection, it seems, is the spark needed to ignite that fire in the belly. Sarasvati’s eluding of Brahma’s sexual advances is what creates the fire in Brahma that made him create. Sarasvati is the primordial goddess… it manifests as the world when Brahma manifests as me, it manifests as the muse when Brahma manifests as the poet, it manifests as the wealth when Brahma manifests as the entrepreneur. And she always rejects him first … that creates the fire … the fire that creates … the primordial fire Agni that threatened to swallow Brahma himself (according to Rig Veda).

Okay too much serious talk, here’s one humorous expressoin of that poet’s fire, when recognition eludes him. It’s a song from V Shantaram‘s legendary film Navrang:


कवि राजा कविता के ना अब कान मरोड़ो
धंधे की कुछ बात करो, कुछ पैसे जोड़ो।

शेर-शायरी कवि राजा ना काम आएगी,
कविता की पोथी को दीमक खा जाएगी।
भाव चढ़ रहे, अनाज हो रहा महंगा दिन-दिन,
भूख मरोगे, रात कटेगी तारे गिन-गिन।
इसीलिए कहता हूँ भैय्या यह सब छोडो,
धंधे की कुछ बात करो, कुछ पैसे जोड़ो।

अरे! छोड़ो कलम, चलाओ मत कविता की चाकी।
घर की रोकड देखो, कितने पैसे बाकी।
अरे! कितना घर में घी है, कितना गरम मसाला,
कितने पापड, बडी, मंगोडी, मिर्च-मसाला,
कितना तेल, नोन िमर्ची, हल्दी और धनिया।
कवि राजा चुपके से तुम बन जाओ बनिया।

अरे! पैसे पर रच काव्य, भूख पर गीत बनाओ।
अरे! गेहूं पर हो गज़ल, धान के शेर सुनाओ।
नोन मिर्च पर चौपाई, चावल पर दोहे।
सुकवि कोयले पर कविता लिखो तो सोहे।
कम भाडे की खोली पर लिखो कव्वाली,
झन-झन करती कहो रुबाई पैसे वाली।

शब्दों का जंजाल बडा लफ़डा होता है।
कवि-सम्मेलन दोस्त बडा झगडा होता है।
मुशायरे के शेरों पर रगडा होता है।
पैसे वाला शेर बडा तगडा होता है।
इसीलिए कहता हूँ न इससे सिर फोडो,
धंधे की कुछ बात करो कुछ पैसे जोड़ो।


New poem, just written. And quite satisfying like the last one 🙂

गुरु बोले – “जा खोज के आ
कि फूल है क्या?”
इक फूल दिखा,
मै मुस्काया।
उसके सौरभ को,
प्राणों मे भर लाया।
मन सुख मे नत हो आया,
तब मैनें जाना – फूल है क्या।

जब लौटा, तो गुरु ने पूछा –
“बता शिष्य कि फूल है क्या?”

मन ने सुन्दर आकार लिया,
पर शब्द रुके मुख तक आकर।
क्या पीत-श्वेत-लोहित मरमर,
यह कह देंगे जो मुझे दिखा?
कैसे समझाऊँ सौरभ को
जिसने प्राणों मे रस घोला?

शब्द खेलते आँख मिचौली,
बुद्धी धूंडती शब्दों को।
कभी तीव्रता से जा पकडे,
पर पाए फ़िका उनको।
कभी ऊंघते शब्द स्वयं ही,
आ जाते सम्मुख मेरे।
पर उत्तर फिर भी दे न सका
आखें औ’ सिर नत मेरे।

गुरु मुस्काए।
मुझको देखा।
कुछ कहा नहीं,
और चले गए।

मैने माना कि विफल बुद्धी।
शब्दों के होते मुक्त प्राण।
बंधन मे उनको बांधोगे,
तो भागेंगे वे बचा प्राण।
मान बुद्धी को विफल अगर,
उस फूल मे मन को रम लोगे,
तो शब्द तितलियों से आकर,
खुद ही मन पर मंडराएँगे।
बिन लगाम के बुद्धी की,
तब गीत कण्ठ गाए मेरा।
जो जिह्वा से उस पल निकला,
वह सहज बनी मेरी कविता।

मैं बहुत खुशी से लहराया –
“कह दिया है मैने फूल है क्या।”
पर दो पल रुक कर सोचो तो,
क्या मैं हूँ कवि इस कविता का?