Thursday, September 30, 2004

Its been a while since I wrote here...not as much because i didnt have the time to (that is always a convenient excuse you can give to anyone at any time!). The last week was an emotionally draining one...i wasnt too happy going through the week...i personally abhor politicking...and thinking about it in something as pristine as art--blasphemous! But nonetheless, went through all the machinizations and manipulations; tried my bit towards trying to make people see some sense but to no avail..they would rather slug it out in the corridors of India's legal system--so be it and damn the bloody movement for producing such listless, worthless, uninspiring followers and patrons---all driven by sheer personal agendas and motives ! Dont even want to lower the dignity of my blogspot by talking about a movement as cheap as this!

I was pleasantly amused to find so many people asking me why i hadnt updated here:-) Im sure i 'll be disappointing them by writing such trash about nothing in particular...for once, i just dont know what to write about...just letting the keyboard have the better of me!! Its like the encounters Ive had with so many people--with absolutely no intentions, no pre-planning...and then it turns out to be a relationship of a lifetime; (while those that i planned for failed in the worst possible way with deep emotional repurcussions!) happened before with SN, with AR, with KT...with a host of people...was happy to find, in the last few days, a person with some appreciable sincerity and sensitivity..someone i'd always known existed (n same vice versa)..but dont know why, never felt the need to interact in 'flesh-n-blood'. It always happens with me (as i figured out with this gentleman too!)...being laconic and reticent, many a time we lose out on many people who could have otherwise turned out be good companions--atleast great to talk to...with the proverbial and hackneyed cliched 'we share sooooooo many things in common' :-) some later point of time, one meets the same stranger in an impersonal manner as an e-chat or a tele-con and then you regret the lost times! Well, Shaggy is just the latest of the long lists of regrets ive had in life!!

The last few days were also very hectic in terms of coming to terms with the new lifestyle and environment at GE...have always been apprehensive of working in all these companies ...somehow the dog collar they make employees wear seems too too ominous and suggestive to me :-)) they end up domesticating and emasculating you for life!! But then, touchwood (and for ma's good luck!), ive not cribbed about the place (as i did almost on a diurnal basis in TI..much to her discomfiture!!)..

Ranji sprang a surprise on us all by calling us one lazy, wet Sunday noon and informing us she was getting engaged that evening :-)) The "prince charming" had come for bride-shopping from the US and everything happened so fast that it left our poor, dear Ranji gasping for breath--as much as each one of us were shocked enough to fall off our chairs..! For a moment i thought she was playing her characteristic pranks on me...after all she is a specialist in that since childhood! But it was true! Vinayak and me made it to the function that evening...reminiscing about school times and the "good old days" (gosh! we already sound like old men sitting by the beachside at their dusks of their lives and commenting about how milk and honey flew in days of yore!!)...feels odd, nah..may be a bit strange, to see people whom youve grown up with
getting married ! Vinayak asked me--WHY? I seriously didnt know why, but what the hell,...i just felt that way..Thats all !:-) Its tough to imagine people i've grown up with through the rough and tumble of childhood and adolescence, with out innumerable and countless pranks at school--- stand and pose for serious snaps as mature, responisble individuals with a partner the've chosen for life!
Very very strange indeed..! I wouldnt want to fall into the temptation that this is leading me comment on my pet topic of how little i thought about the institution of marriage...about how i touched everyonez raw nerve(especially those in love) by stating rather dispassioantely about how they would manage to overcome the fatigue of the other person, of how love is an exponentially decaying curve and marriage finally ends up as a socio-economic compromise :-)) Duhhhhh..imagine waking up to the SAME person in bed every morning--i told this to Vandy and she was prepared to dissect me with whatever she could lay her hands on !!

Anyways...God bless all newly married and to-be-married couple(t)s; like all our childhood fables and fairy tales always loved to end ' and the prince married the princess and lived happily ever afterrrrrrrrrrr'..... !

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

SPICMACAY Bangalore Chapter's Virasat series, I am told, has suddenly come to a halt or worse--a premature death..i had always heard that the water ran deeper than what we all preceived in the murky politics that has come to be associated with the chapter for sometime now...i for one, was least interested in which side the wind blew as long as it satisfied my selfish motives of being able to attend as many concerts as i could and experience as many art forms as possible...It was with this hope that i was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Dhananjayans..personally i find the idea of men performing Indian classical dances quite irksome..(no offences meant to anybody!)..somehow the feeling has seeped in that the Indian dance forms are tailor made for the women folk and suit a danseuse much better than her male counterpart! But then the Dhananjayans i was told were an exception and even a person with preconceived ideas as me would be floored by his Bharatnatyam...but alas! i am given to understand that either they have cancelled it on their own accord or someone has prevailed upon them to do the same...and i lose out a golden chance to see them in action...what a pity! i come all the way back to my hometown with the expectations of working for a movement that im madly in love with to the extent of being obsessed-- and the movement itself ceases to exist in my city--thanks to political machinizations! Dunno if the other events of the chapter in the coming weeks are slated to meet a similar fate...that'll deprive me of the singular passion that ive dedicated myself to in the recent months!

The last week saw some amazing folk art in the form of Yakshagana by the famed Shambhu Hegde troupe of coastal Karnataka...despite having lived in Karnataka for eons now, i hadnt seen one myself..managed to catch a glimpse and was left spellbound....the manner in which Shambhu ji held a huge school crowd in raptures during the 2 hour workshop when he displayed to them the intricacies of his art---the headgears, the costumes, the make ups...and then the grand finale--the performance--Gadayuddha episode from the Mahabharath--leaving the kids dumbstruck and asking for more..i stood at one corner, amazed by the 40 minute question and answer session that followed...the kids had questions about every perceivable aspect of the art and Shambhu ji in his characteristic wry humour pandered them to the fullest extent! WHile leaving the school, he too was completely satisfied! he said he had never seen such a response anywhere else and frankly speaking didnt expect this kind of a feedback from school children...

Little did i know that that would be the last of the series for the season...whatever it is and whoever it is who needs power and what nots( duhhhh, a cash strapped organization like this, power and post is somehting i'd personally wear on my toe!--wish all our adult , middle-aged warriors had similar intellect ) sorts it out at the earliest so that art lovers like me arent left deprived....

Sunday, September 19, 2004

It was Ganesh Chaturthi yesterday...this time around it passed off as just another day with not too much fanfare as is usually the case. We are in supposed mourning period for one year--though i dont see half the grief in most of the members of the family! each his one!
But the day really brings back lot of lovely memories of childhood...for the Maharashtrian half of me, Ganesh chaturthi is what Durga Puja is to the Bongs--gives a kind of a cultural identity. Its interesting to note the manner in which the festival has evolved over the years and the kind of themes that our benign elephant headed God lends himself to! Who could forget the kind of social and political transformation the festival brought about in Tilak used it as such an effective way of community worship, celebration and togetherness--traits that Indians, in general, lack:-) Even to this day, all over Mumbai we have these "Mitra Mandals" that organise the Pandals --though the degeneration to crass orchestras in many places is sad--still the feeling of community is smthing that Ganesh brings along! And you have the wierdest of murtis being made--a Ganesh flighting Pakistan at Kargil or one fighting for the environment or the plight of the hapless CET aspirants in Karnataka--the contemporariness of the single tusked God lends to his popularity among the masses.

At home, those days, it would always be an elaborate 10 day affair-with the final Visarjan on the Ananth Chaturdashi. Ajji would most often get into action from 2 weeks prior to the festival...wonder how she managed to muster that kind of enthusiasm! Elaborate decorations for the idol, a huge mantap with lights and hanging fruits et al, a million goodies made laboriously over days( i remember her slogging over the Modaks and Puran Polis!), sitting up all night at times! I mean, what was achieved at the end of it all, was smthing only she would have an answer to! At Kakimaa's place, it was a different ball altogether. After she was made the president of the Maharashta Mandali in Bangalore, the huge lawns at her place would become a gathering spot of most of the Maharashtrian folks living in this part of the long pujas and havans, and evenings filled with fun, music competitions that i'd merrily take part in and never a dearth for delectable edibles:-)

But thankfully sense has dawned and things have been a bit low-key since the past few years or completely absent like this time! May be quiet contemplation and introspection is better than hoopah!? Dunno, really!!

P.S: Its flattering to note that people have been spying on my blogspot!! Haah! ANd its contents so widely discussed and debated! Hey all you worthless spies...get urself a life.. and a bit of a spine and face me frontally--if you have the gall that is:-)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Was a long tiring day today...on the spicmacay trail through the day..lugging along the length and breadth of Bangalore city, with Jayanthi ji--an artist i greatly admire and respect--for her tremendous knowledge and at the same time an unassuming simplicity about herself thats hard to find these days..even half baked virtuosos end up being so pricy and here was someone who emanated music in all that she did and spoke, yet so down-to-earth..

The first concert of the day at the remotest outskirts of rural Bangalore -lapped in lush greenery and foliage all around, for all its lack of amenities and arrangments, the faux-paus of the management et al notwithstanding, was a pleasure to attend. Sitting amidst a group of young, intelligent, musically-conscious children was in itself an honour. There was this rare breed of sensitivity and receptivity in those curious little eyes; waiting as they were for the magic to unfold--at the mercy of the ever untrustworthy Karnataka Electricity Board;-) Was bowled over by the invocation hymn that a little girl sang at the start of the programme in praise of the Goddess of Learning and Music. The genuineness and the innocence of expression was something that really swept me off...sometimes i wonder where and how and why we lose out our innate nature; our innocent selves to the caprice of the external world...its always intriguing to see the transformation of a toddler to adolescence--as biology and the knowledge of it, ensures the kid in him/her is killed forever...can it ever again be possible to revert back to that state of harmless innocence and purity of thoughts, mind and action!? My thoughts were interrupted by the thunderous applause our little diva received:-)

The afternoon concert was one that was for the more sophisticated, snooty, 'know-it-all' kinds who were there 'cos they were told to ! I was tired, irritated, generally a bit peeved at the happenings of the day...not until Raga Dharmavathi was played...though it was an extremely small improvisation that was done keeping in mind the age group of the audience--it was mesmerising...and it wouldnt be an exaggeration to say that i was mesmerised and my hair stood at its ends! The pleasure that music gives is something that nothing else can even hope to replicate in the vaguest attempt...through the evening i sat reflecting on my own musical journey which has meandered through thick and thin...yet, with the grace of the One above, not dried up entirely:-) It feels like another era when i gave my first concert in Tanjore and another at Dad's ancestral Rama temple in countryside Tamil paternal grandfather, whom ive never met, was supposedly the one who built that magnificent temple apart from many other philanthropic pursuits and served as its trustee till death...i was 13 then and had absolutely no inhibitions whatsoever about throwing my voice at the highest of octaves that it could possibly reach...and being the ex-trustee, founder's grandson helped too:-) though at my age then i was blissfully ignorant of the reason why people around were showering the special attention ! Was told then that I'd scale the greatest of heights in the world of music possible, that i had been god-gifted bla bla bla by the man who compered the show, in such chaste tamil that i could barely understand even a word of....but with academics and health issues catching up big time, music has been the worst casualty...and this fetish for organizing concerts has to some extent taken over the zeal to hone (in fact re-learn) my own musical skills--if they existed ever?!

Sitting there, drenched in music, i was somehow reminded of that compere today--just like that, from nowhere ! Wonder what he'd say if he heard me "sing" today:-))

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hey! I FINALLY got what i loved getting--HATE MAIL :-)) Obviously some people who read my previous post didnt like it or plain thought i was talking crap; they didnt want to identify themselves or post comments on the blogspot for reasons best known to them. SO they chose the easier route--send me a hard hitting stinker of a mail ! this in fact reconfirmed the claim I made in the post --that the fear percolates across civilizations, continents, religions and Time. of the 2 mails that i received, one was of a Hindu zealot and the other a Christian:-) Yet both had almost the same things to tell me !

For some strange reason I dont feel like doing a copy-paste of the mail contents here--may be im in too mellow a mood to screw anyone'z happiness as such ! But then my Hindu friend would do well to understand that its not just he, but me too, who is as much of a 24 karat Brahmin as he is :-) And the weight of our Brahmin-ness lies not in the number of beliefs and dogmas that we are made to believe, but the kind of thoughts we have. He would do well to pause for a minute and introspect on the fact that the very mantra that initiaties him into this "hallowed world" of Brahminism is the Gayatri Mantra ! One of our sacred texts says- "The Gayatri is Brahma, the Gayatri is Vishnu and it is Shiva Himself. The Gayatri is the embodiment of the Vedas". Gayatri later began to be personified as a Goddess--a 5 headed Woman witht he 4 heads representing the 4 vedas(shez called the Veda matha in the daily religious ablutions that all you 24-karat brahmanas blindly indulge in--and unfortunately for you therez no veda-pitha till now:-) !) and the 5th head represents the Divine. any thoughts, Mr Bigot about why this is so? No Yajna in Hindu rituals is complete without a woman beside the kartha or the doer..even Lord Ram needed to instal an idol of Sita --whom he had most unjustly driven away in her most pitiable condition--to perform the ashwamedha yajna...what a pity people dont read their own scriptures and would rather send out torpedoes of insinuation:-)

He also told me to understand whatz written in the Gita, of Krishna being the Supreme and none beyond Him. the issue here was not to decide who among our 30 crore (or more!) Gods and Goddesses are the best! Letz engage in more meaningful recreations! And the Gita, to me, isnt a mere compilation of verses that the "religious" love to parrot without following what it means. I've been trying for ages to get to understand the Gita and failed...and i know it'll take me a lifetime. Chapter 1 itself is so intriguing...have you ever thought, like i have, that Chapter 1 is more than just a description of the kaurava and pandava armies? that all the kauravas--be they Duryodhana, Karna or even Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Drona and the rest are NOT mere mythological characters..they are all states of mind...our own inner enemies? One represents ego, some other for anger, passion, blind love, pride, jealousy--all laid out in the Kurukshetra of our Own Minds? the eternal inner battle goes on on how to vanquish which one of them...and since these are all our very own emotions, we are so attached to them that like Arjuna felt, we too are reluctant to kill them?(as he asks how can I kill my own teacher, my own grandfather, my brothers and their sons?--an allegory to killing my own passions, my own shortfalls--they are after all MINE!) . What Krishna has tried through this 'Song' is to give humanity a kind of a prescription to attack these very enemies and emerge victorious...If you or anyone ends up getting this mapping right, then applying each of the chapters of the Gita to killing those interal enemies --be it through Gyana yoga, or Karma yoga or Bhakti yoga becomes so much more easier...all our epics and poems and music are dripping with Chhayavaad or allegory( a weak translation of a uniquely Indian term!) and its almost suicidal to take most of these at face value and not search for deep, hidden gems..have you ever thought this way Mr Brahmin or is it just that you remember Chapter XII, Verse no XYZ?

My Christian friend was a bit less vitriolic. But he said the Mary Magdalene stories are a figment of imagination of deranged minds. But Sir, how do you defend the plethora of evidence to the contrary. the verses in the Bible itself which allure to the fact that she bore Jesus's child? that she was pregnant during the Crucifixion and was driven away by the disciples of Christ so that they could portray a larger than life image of Jesus and in the bargain end up with an influential position in society for themselves? That she lived in abjure poverty and great suffering for the rest of her life? The very fact that the versions of Luke, Matthew , John and the rest dont match, is proof enough to show that the Bible is no Divinely-Ordained book that fell into wretched mankind's lap from th Mighty Heavens...but was yet another marvelous piece of literature that mankind spun for itself. this punctures the claim of the church to be the carrier of the "Truth--the Gospel" and also of Christianity being the ONLY hope for salvation and all the proselytization actions around the world thatz leading to so many social tensions.

hey, but there were 2 other comments too! One was from someone I love dearly to read up Jayshankar Prasad's Kamayani..Yes Sir! Shall try to lay my hands on the book ASAP! Thanks for that suggestion:-) Another mail from Kakimaa--strangely, she seems to be following my blog!! She said--im so glad that you ATLAST became a feminist! FEMINIST? My foot! they are the silliest bunch of idiots that Planet earth has ever seen...i wouldnt even want to venture into why I just hate this bunch of nincompoopish buffoons who have no other agenda but to run protest marches on streets. Expressing anguish on the fall of THE WOMAN in our religious-social-and cultural lives is no reason to be branded a feminist...being sensitive to the important and indispensable role the 'fairer sex' plays in life and the kind of magical power they wield is something which every man worth his salt should realise--this is the least they owe to their mothers!

Anyway, i loved the criticisms:-) Criticism literally feeds my fountain of thoughts! So Messrs Bigots, plz dont rest and carry on the gunfire!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Its always tough to reproduce one's thoughts..especially those in the written. According to me it then becomes no different from plagiarism. But then as i remember having read Ralph Emerson saying somewhere that "It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion"; gives me some kind of satisfaction to realise that its no cardinal sin i commit by plagiarising my own thoughts!

ever since my post made a mysterious disappearence, despite my non-involvement in the whole affair, its been gnawing on my vitals...not as if the world lost a great piece of literature or so...but then it certainly made me realise that my posts meant something to me atleast! It was an expression of the self and any expression of Oneself is art in its own standing. After all, even the performing arts are but just this. Music, of which i can claim to have some rudimentary knowledge is also an extension of the self where the catharsis that happens is an extremely personal expression of the same notes need not and cannot be the same as yours, just as my writing style and someone else's dont match. so, seems like the sense of loss is pretty plausible! But then no point trying to recreate the same things--cos it wont have its original charm and effect in any!!

Since the acad front is pretty lean these days, ive been up to some unusual reading..have been trying to catch up with themes that shake our beliefs and well-established value systems! it began with the Da Vinci code..i was fascinated by the underlying theme of the true story of Christ and the way the Church had been stifling it; often through deceit and violence for centuries now. Did a lot of search on the net and also in the library and was quite amazed to find a wealth of information on the Holy Grail, the Sacred Feminine and Mary Magdalene--whoz supposedly Jesus's wife, who also bore him a daughter Sarah! And how the Church, just to give Jesus a larger than life image kept portraying as one beyond the 'mortal desires of lust and sex' and even portrayed Mary Magdalene as a prostitute; whose life changed after coming into contact with Christ! And to think of the fact that generations have been fed on falsehood and all the psalms that we were made to memorise in school were a bunch of lies is quite nerve the same time, its quite disheartening to note how very unfair mankind has been to the 'fairer sex'. In fact, it was an extremely interesting chat i had with a learned friend of mine about the shockingly similar parallels with Indian mythological symbolism.

Some of the earliest epics of Hindu mythology mention the pre-eminence of Adi Shakti as the primeval originator of all Life and the trimurtis and others gods and demi gods as having sprung from Her. in fact we were quite amazed to realise the geometric similarities between the kind of shapes that depicted the sacred feminine in christian mythology--the chalis or the cup(indicative of the woman) and the bow(indicative of man) anf their perfect intersection resulting in the Star of David (symbolising the man-woman unity, the yin-yang , the purusha-prakriti concepts!) and our very own Shri Chakra which has almost identical geometrical patterns. What happened to the sacred feminine at the hands of the Vatican, happened to Adi shakti at the hands of Manu and the later vedic era; where She lost Her pre-eminence to male subjugation. Manu affirms that woman has no right to freedom and is better off under different roles of men in her life--father, lover, husband and son..that her work is to be a dutiful daughter, a sincere devoted wife, a loving mother and a whore in bed. What a fall from the times when all the gods would run up to Her for advice and help in times of crisis. the concept of Mother Goddess goes beyond civilizations--right from the Harappan times till the present..the feminine is always given a certain aura, a certain mystique which a man lacks; come on! u dont have a Father God or a Father land(germany excluded!). its intriguing to think of the immense insecurities that men folk faced at this glorification of women--and this across continents, civilizations and religions. The best way to subjugate them was to take advantage of their weaker position when it came to matters of sexuality. what is more of a biological inevitability was yarned into a kind of a punishment for lecherous behaviour and the Original Sin stories of the Old Testament. Interesting to see the gradual fall of the feminine...from Mother to whore, shez covered a real long distance.

As i sat sifting through rather bulky material that ive ended up collecting on the topic, there was a sudden change of course that took place ; especially with regards to the early indian civilizations. The much debated topic of Aryan invasion or rather non-invasion! the etymological proofs that exist of the similarity between Sanskrit and Tamil ; or the dissimilarities. Questions that have a tremendous impact on our country's framework. are North indians and South Indians genetically different? is that what explains the rather strange but marked dissimilarities? Some studies point out to a similarity in the genetic maps of South Indians and Iranians, but total chaos when it comes to the Northies and the Southies. is that why the 2 clans seldom get along:-)?

But seriously, by the end of the day, ive been overcome by what i'd prefer to call intellectual fatigue. Therez too much info on hand and that by itself is getting to be too intriguing and exhausting. For a while this evening, my mind just refused to think just said shut this crap up, go for a walk down Juhu beach, see a movie or plain sleep!! I called my friend up and told him about the new ideas that had emerged from what was hitherto a study of the Power of the Feminine across religions and continents and its gradual decadence. He asked me to save all the information for the time being...after all historians, anthropologists, archaeologists have been putting decades of efforts on this invasion theory or non-theory. and we amateurs cant hope to find a quick-fix solution in a single day! Fair enough! But we ended with the firm resolve that once we are saddled firmly in our respective careers of Finance management and Solid state Physics(!), we'd definitely pick these issues up for greater study..may be over weekends..may be as an interesting hobby...or may be just for the heck of it!!

the past and questions about the source and origin of things is always an intriguing and interesting proposition...something that makes you proud of the blood that runs in your veins..something that helps you live beyond the mundane..something that helps you not to re-commit the same damn mistakes all over again..after all as they say History repeats itself cos no one was listening to it the first time:-)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Strangely n mysteriously the latest of my posts has disappeared from the page:-) heaven knows how..considering the fact that i'd written something here after a month and that it was written in the middle of a 104 degree fever, thought it was indeed too much of a loss..and i have no idea how to retrieve this piece of shit!