Hyderabad is a Plastic Jar

Hyderabad is not a city. It’s a plastic jar. With flowers. without the handle. With water. Without the lid.

It had not grown out of nature, like a Banyan tree does. It has been planted, like a wheat plant is. It feeds well, but has shallow roots. It has many indistinguishable cousins, but has short life. Next year, a new hyderabad would be born. It’s seasonal, it’s stale.

There are some people who think that they are living. There claim of life, is almost as real as Kapil Sibal’s credibility. Most of them live in Hyderabad. In fact, on the outskirts of it. Almost all of them write code. At least, most of them think that they do so. Very few of them really do. They get paid well. They remind me of seagulls.

Then there is some water, in the lid-less jar, evaporating quickly in the dry Hyderabadi heat. Most of it full of life, like most water is. And it lives in the old town – near the Charminar – fast evaporating. But still not leaving its leisurely-ness.

And then there is Secunderabad – the colonial hangover. It is not bad. They started making plastic there. When they had enough of it, they built a jar – on the outskirts – but forgot the lid – without which the water, and with it the life, evaporates.

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. 🙂

Being Thoughtless

I don’t like thinking anymore, and so stopped it. Yes you read it right. I have stopped thinking. There are no similar-sounding verbs to “thinking”, still for those with impaired hearing, or exaggerated disbelief on their faces, I repeat – I STOPPED THINKING!!

I know what the Indian philosophy/yoga types reading this stuff are thinking. They are imagining the descendants of Ekta Kapoor, three hundred years from now, making a television serial on me, the saint who stopped thinking – thoughtlessanand baba (the pun is, of course, intended), in which the last episode shows my soul, portrayed as thin yellow glowing gelatin-like ellipse, merging with another much larger yellow glowing gelatin-like ellipse, obviously representing the God’s soul – paramatma. (Disclaimer: ellipses could easily be ellipsoids, depending on the advancements in television technology of the time) But nothing like that has happened – I have no gelatin around me right now, and the last ellipse I saw was Yuvraj Singh’s wagon wheel, digitally representing the Kingston stadium, where India defeated West Indies. Now that you have pained your mind enough deciphering the large comma-studded sentences above, I’m sure some of you might like to stop thinking. And in somewhat similar fashion I stopped thinking. Sorry to disappoint the glowing-gelatin-ellipse-lovers.

Oh! and I don’t love Ekta Kapoor. I’m thought-less, not mad.

However, the thoughtlessanand baba has economic value. I am sure friends, families, parents of some of you seek or have sought some sort of spiritual support from some sort of spiritual beings. The world needs babas. From management to spirituality you need the babas. And like in spirituality, so in managment, the less the baba thinks the better he/she is. So the world surely needs a thoughtlessanand baba. And for you, I am sure you would be more comfortable with your friends, families, or parents seeking support from a modern baba like me, than the traditional saffron clad ones. See I sold it to you as well. I know you are thinking where does the “economic” part come from. Well the thoughtlessanand baba, like all other babas, wont charge a fee. He’d only help grow the pie. With less thought there is more pie. Now let the Peter Drucker‘s of the world explain that to you. And if you dont like the jargon-filled books, and still need to get the “less thought, more pie” funda – watch the waitress, the movie I mean.

For those who still doubts the truthfulness of this post, I am sure this post itslef must convince you that I have stopped thinking 😉

PS: I did consider “Surrealanand Baba” as the branding, but that’s a bit too much disoriented for people seeking spiritual help. Being inconsiderate is something they are anyways expecting.

Arpan

I wrote poetry after a long time. And this time, unlike all other times, I am feeling very satisfied with it. I called it अर्पण, a dedication. Here’s the poem:
घन उपवन मे थे फूल चार।
कुछ संजो लिए, कुछ बिखर गए।
जो संजो लिए, वह तुझे चढे।
जो बिखर गए, वह तुझे मिले।

नक्षत्र प्रचुर विस्तृत नभ मे,
कुछ दिखे और कुछ छुपे रहे।
वे छुपे तुम्हारी झोली मे,
औ’ दिखे तुम्हारी रौनक से।

बहती नदिया मे जल अपार,
कुछ बहा दिया, कुछ भर लाया।
जो भरा, तुझ ही पर चढा दिया,
जो बहा दिया वह तुझे मिला।

वन पथ पर कटंक बहुत मिले,
कुछ चुभे और कुछ पडे रहे।
जो रक्त बहा वह तेरा था,
जो दर्द हुआ वह तुझे हुआ।

जीवन पथ पर सौ लोग मिले,
कुछ साथ रहे, कुछ चले गए।
तुझको देखा हर साथी मे,
और उनमे भी, जो चले गए।

जो तूने खुद को तृप्त किया,
आभार किसी का क्या मानूँ?
जो दर्द खुद ही तू भोग रहा,
क्या खेद करूँ, और क्या रोउँ?

Onwards and upwards

Life, I say, is like, well, Vicks Vaporub.

Didn’t you expect nonsensical metaphors here? You haven’t read my earlier blogs then. Please do. 😀

Okay, so back to Vick Vaporub. You rub it on your chest, your neck, around your nose, may be if you mistook it for Zandu balm, then on your head. You do it when you are sick. It makes you feel better. And it makes you better by evaporating itself, when it leaves your skin.

Life is something that you rub on yourself superficially. Haven’t you heard people (especially brown-haired, satin-skinned, beaming-eyed woman) telling fat nerdy bearded geeks – “You’re sick, Get a Life!!”. So typically those geeks would try and get a life… by rubbing it superficially… they’ll go and swim, play a game of pool, or watch a movie, or chase girls, play guitar, sketch, paint, flirt, write, drink, drive, act, debate, code, design, orkut (v), discuss etc… Drinking following driving in the above line is purely incidental. (To be legally safe, the author does not take any responsibility for the urges emanating in the readers mind) 😀

So yes, it seems they got some life rubbed on themselves. But they still feel sick. Because, life, like Vicks Vaporub, makes you feel better only when it leaves your superficial skin. When it evaporates.

But, why?

Because, it has to get in to you, to be able to treat you, to be able make you feel less sick. And it can get in you only when it evaporates, only when it enters your lungs through your nose. It opens up what is clogged inside. That something, which is preventing you from breathing freely. That something, which is making the head heavy. It enters you, settles down and you start breathing freely.

Life is also like that. There is nothing intrinsic about those get-a-life-actions that will give you a life. Let it be, putting some colors on a canvas, or some charcoal on paper, or letting the visuals of a movie reach your eyes, or letting your body float on a swimming pool, or writing poetry for a woman, or putting your leg hard on the accelerator while driving on an empty highway. There are no measurable units of life in any of those acts. They are just superficial rubbings. You have to let it evaporate, let it leave your body, and enter you on its own.

But you still have to start by rubbing it in, and have faith that it will get inside you on it self. And remember that it would not get in, if you don’t rub it, to start with. You have to make the effort and let it go, and have faith that it will enter you … relief will follow 🙂

Good punch line for the Procter and Gamble guys … right? “Relief will follow” 😛

So, life, like Vick Vaporub, being volatile, will leave your skin and go onwards and upwards, and finally get inside you. 🙂

So, what’s the conclusion of the metaphor? It is not new. Somewhere in the planes of Haryana, some 5,110 years ago, a saarathi told a dhanurdhar – “Do your job well” 🙂

Some Page

This is some page.

Somethings are known about it. Such as, it is some page. But, there are some other things which are not known about it. Like, someone must have written it. We don’t know who that someone is. There might be someone who might tell us who that someone is, but we don’t know this someone as well.

Anyways, lets talk of something else about this some page. So, it was written at some place. Though, we don’t know where this someplace is, but we surely know that it was a place. We say this with some certainty, because things are usually written ‘at’ places.

We thought for a while, and asked ourselves – is there something else we can say about this page with some certainty. And we found that it was written on some day. Perhaps, may be on some night. Or maybe some such time which can’t be classified as day or night without some error in judgement. Or maybe because you can always find some place where there is night right now – and also some place where there is day.

Hey, wait – there might be places where there is no concept of day or night!

Okay, so we conclude that this page was written at some time.

Further, there must be something this page was written for. You know, some purpose, some tangible outcome the writer was looking to achieve. But then, we cant say this even with some degree of certainty – there are some people, who do somethings, without a purpose.

By this point, we surely have reached a stage to talk something about the content of this some page. So this some page, predominantly talks somethings about itself. It is fairly egotistical. Well, though it is sprinkled with a lot of self questioning gestures, so reminiscent of the ageless wisdom of the East.

Some of us might find it somewhat absurd. Some others might find some of it absurd. Still others might find it thoroughly absurd.

The logician might stop midway in the page because of fear of finding paradoxes due to the self references. The Vedantin might be pleased by seeing ‘self’ being discussed so many times. The Buddhist or the agnostic might be thrilled by the importance given in this page to the ‘uncertain’ pronoun ‘some’. The skeptic would detest the ‘some’ and would strongly affirm in a knowledgeable sounding tone that ‘nothing can be known about this page’.

The physicist, might find the affirmative singular used in ‘some place’ incorrect. He would be happy with the ‘fact’ that the page might have been written at many places with varying degrees of probability. The chemist, well what can a chemist ask or think? Let me think of something – may be “what ink was used?”. Well forget it. The mathematician might find this page amusing as it might remind him of the Cheshire Cat saying – “We all are mad here. You are mad. I’m mad.” No wonder Lewis Carroll was a mathematician – they all are mad.

The grammarian should find this page ‘correct’. They found this correct. The linguist would frown at the page as utter abuse of language as a means of expressing nothing. The poet might smile. The muse might blush. She would have blushed anyways – without this page.

Heisenberg was right – somethings can’t be known. And, Salvador Dali would love it.

This page has many stakeholders, it is hard to say what it is, it can be passed as anything, it is accessible on the web, it is created after 2005, it is useless, and it is blogged – Tim O’Reilly may find it Web 2.0.

This is one of the many ends of this page. The other one is above. Some people count two as many, sometimes. Others don’t. We are not others.

I know it is enough frustration you have already gone through if you are reading this line. Rest assured it was not to irritate you. I just needed a break from sanity.

Hmmm… for the lack of a good title

I have neglected this blog. And have neglected it for long, probably longer than an average television soap opera duration, and probably more that how much an average television soap opera screenplay writer neglects common sense. Anyways, I’m here again. I don’t know for how long, but at least for the next fifteen minutes. It’s a break. Break from work, which is probably going to see tomorrow’s (or is it today’s?) sunrise.

So then, why the hell am I blogging? I should be working. Yes, yes, you are right. And I’m wrong. But then, I just decided to be wrong today. 🙂

So here I am, for the next thirteen minutes and thirty seconds. So I decided to write about the one single most important thing that has happened in my life in this time. And it is the fact that no single important thing has happened all this while.

*sighs*

More than one, and much more than just one important thing, has happened. Things as important to me, as probably a Baghdad bombing is to the next journalist going to question Tony Blair. Ya ya, that’s old news, I should have said the Iran Hostage Drama. Oh even that has gone stale, may be.. the new Fatwa from the Islamabad’s Lal Masjid against Bakhtiyar Madam. But hey stop, we were not supposed to talk news here, I was discussing the single most important thing in my recent life!!

So, just because of shear lack of time, I restrict my self to this small incident – I woke up one morning (was it really morning? May be afternoon) to find my door being knocked at with quite huge knocks. They were knocks of being hurried or excited, like may be someone is being chased by armed dacoits and is desperate to get in, or may be someone has just being stared at by the girl living next door and is excited to tell me how she might be interested (That girl is humble, quite, and nice, she only stares at the local cats, but then who cares), or may be just that someone is eager to give me some news. Yes that precisely was the case, there was an old friend standing there, who has come to give me some good news, in the traditional Indian way, with a dabba of mithai in his hand. He stood there for a while, smiled blissfully and said – dude, I’m engaged!!

And you know, how the times have been for me, so I replied, with even more blissful smile – “to what?”

All, the bliss on both our faces, and in our lives, suddenly got wiped out by that sharp noise, which could easily have been mistaken for the sound of a missile hitting the factory behind by apartment. I made from the aftershocks of the sharp noise, which left my ear drum vibrating for a while, that it was him shouting at me saying – “what do you mean, to what?” By this time, I had realized my mistake, and before I could say a sorry for this realization to the fact that he has actually got engaged (as in to get married in a while), a second realization struck me – “Oh my god, this guy is engaged!!” – yes, yes this was a “second” and a “different” realization. It was followed by an “oh my god”.

OKay, time up!! sorry, the rest of the story some other day.

 

 

 

 

 

Midsummer Nights Dream

Yes. Its still summer in Delhi. And its night right now. And I just woke up in the middle of it, mostly because of a dream, and partly because I reminded myself that Germany has lost the semis to Italy.

Anyways, the night gave me an opportunity to finish an unfinished gazal of mine, so here it is:

शायर भी हुआ है कोई ये राह छोड़कर
इन मय से भरी आँख़ों की पनाह छोड़कर

बरसी न घटा इस कदर है सदियों में कभी
जिस माह तू मिली वो इक माह छोड़कर

सह लेगा दिल मेरा कई जामों का बिछड़ना
न कट पाए ज़िन्दगी तेरी निगाह छोड़कर

जब से सुनी वो नज़्म हुआ दिल पे वो असर
दिल कर रहा है आह, खुद ही आह छोड़कर

बुला रही है रौशनी सहर के उस तरफ़
जाऊँ तो किस कदर ये रात स्याह छोड़कर

तू चाहता है छोड़ दूँ ये ज़िद मेरी अभी
हर चाह मान लूँ तेरी ये चाह छोड़कर

कर के वो गया बात बड़ी सूझ से भरी
गया वो आशियाँ मगर तबाह छोड़कर

Dont ask me contexts. Many things have contributed to the gazal, the night, the summer, the world cup, and the mail from a friend that I just read. 🙂