Friday, September 29, 2006

Feeling Great

Finally yesterday was a complete day off after almost two weeks of daily mindless slog. There are times when I start to think what value gain am I getting from the process of lending myself to 1.5 yrs of vella-giri ; but then I realise that i shouldn’t be asking myself such questions as I am doing a Management course ; ) so should pretty much accept these as ambiguities and move on.

But wait a sec, assuming my previous set of premises as correct, move on sounds to the real headway... and the final light at the end of the tunnel, but is it keeping up with the true spirit of Siddhuism, of an approaching train or is it caused due to enlightenment attained by someone while facing the camera lights on Aastha / Sanskar TV.

Now that really sets me thinking, so often we advice others and get adviced to move on. As a matter of fact one of my dear friend during a heart to heart kind of conversation adviced me the very same thing. For a change I was in the listening mode and actually gave her advice all due attention and thought. Infact, I too fully agreeded with what she said, that in life you have to at some point of time accept and acknowledge things and move on.

Accepting is fairly difficult thing to start with, accepting mean you acknowledge some problem/issue to a part of your life. It also means that you have decided for once and for all to stop running/escaping from it. And last but not least pulling all your defense mechanisms to rest. But after studying 17 types of coping mechanisms in Psychopathology and becoming a classic case of student syndrome, its fairly difficult to disregard. As has been said by one of my favourite philosopher, J.Krishnamurthy “Freedom from the known is the most diffucult thing to achieve”.

More often than not, we tend to get caught in a sub-set of thoughts which give us a very limited perspective of things, events and life in general. One way to break the monotony is to let the mind wander at times and follow some Freudian Free Association. Or indulge in some real intriguing and stimulating conversations, as I have had the privilege of doing in the recent past, but the only flipside being the kind of torture that the other may have to go through because of you may be a traumatic experience for her, and the bewildered looks and the frustration that keeps surfacing on Jay’s face after each round of conversations that we have is more than the required proof of what the poor soul has been enduring. Hope her punjabi DNA is strong enough to bear this kind of self induced endurance testing. But not everyone (including me) is lucky to enough to find such a sweet caring friend, and it’s not really fair to do this to someone everytime.

So going back to the previous option... Free Association. Something that really difficult to start with, because of so may restrctions that we have imposed on our mind from years of social conditioning and internalisation of ages of collective consiousness. I know these are big words to starts with, jargon throwing; but not with the purpose of impressing, instead to verbalise the complexities that run in parallel in mind, all so often. This is one way in which we follow our mind and meander through the labyrinth passages created by our perceptions. Perception of one being - “The process by which individuals organise and interpret their impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.”

There was something related to this that I had read a long time ago, it was something like, there should be a set of questions that one should keep asking himself at various stages in life and watch the answers change. There is a paradigm shift that keeps occurring in our lives on a constant and continuous basis but we are so engrossed in our fixed ways of thinking and living that we hardly ever notice. These are changes of a very subtle nature that keep happening and the slumber never breaks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Srimad Bhagwadgita, Chapter 2, Verse 14 : The contact between the senses and their objects, which give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain etc. are transitory and fleeting; therefore Arjun ignore them.

Thus spake Lord Krishna in the Chapter 2 which is called Sankhayoga or the Yoga of Knowledge. I have had the privilege of being exposed to Gita. In school we were made to learn Chapter 12 and 15 and recite 5 sholkas from them as a part of our morning prayer. So in the true spirit of the school education system followed across India, was imparted the great teaching through rote. It sometimes amazes how the land which originated the concept of guru-shisha tradition has completely lost its grounds and instead replaced it with an out-dated, out-of-context system of education which was create by Lord Maculay with the sole purpose of preparing a breed of clerks for the British Administration.

From the very start of education the entire focus is on the process of effective memorizing and reproduction, its like binge drinking and puking. Or as one of my prof use to put it - the " Jug-Mug" system, where something in the name of knowledge is passed from teacher (jug) to student (mug). And then we talk about knowledge, learning and gyan.

Then again as we tend to grow older more and more options are entrusted upon us by parents/peers to do things for the sake of social conformity. And hence contributing your part in the vicious circle.

I know the way I am putting these things, i may come out to be a very strong headed person; but the fact is that I am not so. I have also done and still doing so many things with the motive of not hurting the feelings of my mom. I know that at times she has pushed me real hard into things that I have been unwilling and reluctant to do; but with the only intention of my sole well being in her mind. Also, its only off late that I have been able to appreciate and realize that enormity of the pressures that she has to face. The straitjacket which has been transfixed on both her and me by the whatever way life turned out is a Catch-22 for both, we are both stuck in our own universe. Cant help but again draw a parallel with "Wish you were here" - Pink Floyd ; " We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears ....." .

Interesting some times be a third-party and observe your thought process wander and you to the by-lanes which you thought never existed. In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned the fact how at times I have felt uprooted from a  place and a time which I keep referencing all to often; but what was even more amazing was the feedback I got from one of my dear friend; she said "The fact that you want to dis-associate from your home, home town and the memories attached is more than sufficient proof of your home sickness and yearning." I was initially a bit startled by what she said and hated to acknowledge this as a fact. But again having slight bit of faith in her prudence and emotional intelligence over period of time (an overnight sleep) I finally was able to accept that as true.

I was hit a funny kind of analogy this morning when I was rushing to the college on Monday morning. My current condition is similar to that of a water-hyacinth which floats over ponds and has its roots just hanging loosely in water, with nothing really to "grasp" hold of. And a contrast to this will be and young plant being directly uprooted from soil and then sown at a new place. The plant may or may not adapt to the new environment and has to go through a complete process of adaptability. Now coming back to my previous example of water hyacinth, this is one plant I empathize with for the fact that its ordained for a life of driftlessness in which its in a constant state of flux but at the same time the greatest advantage it has is of having got the opportunity to experience the tide and the flow first hand and to experience. This is what according to me should be the ultimate objective of life.

Honestly, I have hated uncertainty which has been a constant companion through all my ups and downs. There has not been a single phase wherein I had the luxury to think/ assume my baselines to be true and enduring. I have taken a long time accepting this as a preordained fact of life. And the very acknowledgement has made life so much easier for me. Now after the agony of self torture has gone I can accept things as and when they come to me and live/experience every moment in its entirety with neither the hang-ups of the past nor the stoneful expectations of the future. Living for the moment is the most crucial and vital sign of being alive. As goes the song " Kacche rang  utar jaayege, mausam hai badal jayege…"  

Everything in life changes, whatever be the reason and whatever be the consequence, resultant of the change, we cant control it not matter how hard we try. What we can change is the way we look at it, and relish whatever life has to offer, with full and open heart. There is enough sunshine in the morning to brighten the day and enough calmness in the moonlight to replenish a weary soul.

P.S : Thanks Jay.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Free Flow

Nothing to do with the Tata Salt advt. (Although I loved the jingle "Namk ho TATA ka.... TATA namak")  ;)
But just found something that I had scrapped a dear friend of mine about a month ago -
".....just free flowing with the life... jaha le jaye, wo hi sahi... believe me this the most stress free time of my life.... aisa nahi hai ki sari problems chali gayi hai, its only that there is a change in perception... and the openess is for real, not just to applease... there is a saying which goes "relationship is ugly, relating is beautiful" ..... just getting to realise the meaning of the same.... i knw relationship & freedom are contradictions, but somehow/somewhere i have a belief that parallels meet... and would like to explore the possiblity to as far as it takes me (wish me luck) "
Trying to doze off with a headache, sore throat and some lines echoing somewhere deep within -
"The station is ominous at midnight.
Hope is a dead letter. Time to change trains for something better.
No local train now, long since departed.
No way of getting back to where you started."
- From "Night of the Fox"  by Jack Higgins

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pep Talk Helps

Well... time once again to do some pep talks... to start with (sigh) I can/will certainly/for sure definitely and ultimately be able to handle Eco (now let me concentrate on this power statement, do some power breathing and repeat ten times with full conviction).

And after the complete exercise lets hope it works

And amazing now I have completely forgotton what else I wanted to rattle, so at least all this seems to be working at least on the surface.

Listening to Bombay Vikings after a good deal of time. A classical example to Business Process Re-engineering. Keeping the outline and the framework as it is, bringing an all together new perspective where people thought none could be possible. Neeraj Shridhar entered the music industry when there was a acute dearth of good sounds (leave alone songs and lyrics). All that people where throwing on your face in the name of remixes was some techo bumble (some thing which was pioneered by Bappi Da in the eighties) added to a decent song of the yester years and a raunchy music video. The only difference being that the music Bappi Lahiri created in the eighties now seems to be some much cleaner and creative as compared to the junk that we get to hear these days (remembering Kanta Laga and all which followed), sometimes the resultant final piece so na├»ve (musically speaking, the videos are all together a different ball game  ) that at times I think that with the simple plugins available in Jet Audio, I can come up something surely at par if not bettter.

Again got carried away by one of my all time favourite numbers, "Anjanee" by Strings. There first album was so full of freshness; simple guitaring, neat percussion, fresh voice and simple lyrics. It almost seemed that the both the band members had composed the entire album during one long jam session. And by the way, the band still rocks after all the years, coz of there simplicity. The songs of "Zinda" are point to case

And then in the very next song get to hear the soulful voice of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Tere Bin Nai Lagta". The way he took sufi music to new heights of popularity and left behind a fan following spanning countries, religons, reigons; is awe-inspiring to say the least. When I got the taste of his music about ten years back, I was too young to grasp it in its entirity and depth (not meaning that now I have become an expert) but some chord deep down stuck and eversince have been hooked to his voice. Do remember getting to hear the live qawalli's he use to render at the annual Urs at Ajmer Sharif, which use to be telecasted live on the All India Radio. Listening to those echoing voices and the almost trance like state induced there after was probably one of my first experience of the liberation that music can make you experience.

More on this to follow sometime for sure (self-delusion i know, but isn't khush-fah-mi the key to life  )

As of now trying to focus on the B-Plan that I am trying to formulate which a friend of mine, trying to actually to put it in a structured format so that it can be submitted at the B-Plan contest at IIMA. I know this might be an overshoot kind of situation, but whats the point unless you live life on your terms and keeping streching to reach for the near impossible. Some call Atlantis and delusion but for people like me the very concept of Utopia is the fuel cell of life. And with so much of verbal warm up and about 2 hours to spare, going back to what drudgery of some dry write ups.....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Omkara - Music to Ear

Ever since landed in Mumbai, with a brand new laptop. And absolutely no music on the hard drive (only the Pink Floyd CDs burned as backup longtime ago came to rescue) was having a very listless life. Then started the process of begging and arbit dumping of whatever I could find in English/Hindi/Instru. I have to yet to do a lot of sorting and as always direct most of the stuff in the recycle bin, but by also at the same time found some good albums which can be classified for long term listening.

Amongst the Hindi mp3s had a real assortment bombarded on me. Of the latest movie releases decided to dump three albums, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Pyar Ke Side Effect and Omkara.

KANK proved to the most disappointing, except for Mitwa hardly anything to listen to both lyrically and musically.

Pyar Ke Side Effect for the peppy "Paape Pyaar Ka Ke"  

Omakara was movie which had some amazing cinematography. I vivdly remember the scene where Ajay Devgan gets into a fight in a brick clan, which immediately followed the title track of the movie. It was such a amazing piece of mastery over the medium of narration. The entire sequence still echoes in my mind as I am once again listening to the full toned title track, the precussion sounding so much like the traditional  nagada still used in parts to rural Uttar Pradesh. And the kind to energy put by Sukhvinder makes a real treat to listen to.

The song (O Saathe Re) has a surreal feeling to it, the lyrics have been tenderly laid making it a multi layered song full of depth and tenderness. And being a duet, lends it a fair bit of romantic appeal.

Beedi is a song written and sung in a typical raunchy way making it a full blast nautanki song, so typically of the kind of sounds/songs you hear in a village mela. Which also by the way reminds me of similar experiences that I have had first hand when I use to visit the dusshera melas around our native village as a kid.

The last song "Namak" has catchiness, teasing and at the same time highly metaphorical lyrics sung in a semi classical way by Rekha. Having touches of qawalli and sufi style to it makes it a good choice to not only end but actually complete the album. 


Between two local stations

in the fast local

life rushes

No time to breathe

and lesser to live

platform # 5 and the 8:13

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lost in transition

After sinking neck deep into loads of activities came the flash of realisation that its been an amazingly long time (slighty more than a month by the calander) ever since I have collected myself (as goes the cult classic song from Dark Side of The Moon - "You re-arrange yourself till your sane".. ;)

Well so much has happened since the 12th of last month that upon lookin back dont know how to put things in a chronological order and a perspective. Last night I was thinking about how the concept of "home" has changed for me. Its been more than three years since I have left home (12th May 2003 was the first time I ventured out, bag'n'baggage or rather boriya-bistar samet sounds more fitting). Ever since then have been in constant touch, calling back almost on a
daily basis. And thinking of the place of and on but with a strange sense to detachment. The typical sense of warm that use to strike at the very first thought is now taken over by a very impersonal feeling which for a long time had tried to repress and later when finally acknowledged, still struggling to put it in words..

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