where the mind is without fear...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

One year. The search continues.

This blog completes one year today.

One year in the reckoning. A passionate quasi-emotional journey, still seeking an insight into the essential wholeness, completeness and the perfection of reality. A journey still searching to fulfill. Vacuums filled. But new ones searching to be filled. Longing wishes and craving emotions hoping and searching for that elusive hug of life. Dreams and their feelings searching for a wake-up kiss.

Lessons learnt to love and to know that love comes with pain, and to continue to love. And to keep loving. Different thoughts playing musical chairs trying to gain a hold on the heart, teaching the hard way to sit back and wait if you don’t get what you want, because better things are waiting and the best things take time. The ease with which simple inadequacies of our living inundate us, only to realize to do things we would otherwise not have done, simply because they have to be eventually done anyway.

We complain about complexity, about shades of gray but we often take refuge in these things. Complexity offers refuge from choice and thus action. In many situations, most of us would prefer to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do. How often we keep searching for that Perfect Life we always dream about. Perfect – with a Capital P. Sometimes in life, superlatives don’t matter. Just good is good enough. A no frills, no fancies, plain and simple – good. Good is beautiful! Good is great! Good is perfect!

The mind continues to wander. Memories act as intermittent oasis in its long walk through the desert of life searching for its own identity. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not. Guided by the pleasant stopovers of nostalgic memories, the mind wanders, searching through the dry stretches of the present, in a quiet joyous expectation of good.

Prabat! The Dawn, is not far. But there is distance to be traveled. There is work to be done. There is sweat to be lost. There will be a stumble here and there. But it stumbles only because its on the move. The mind continues to wander. Still in search of… Shubh Prabaatam!

And that accounts for one year. Now, I just have the rest of my life to go.

posted by Kishore at 10:30 AM   |   |
Monday, February 13, 2006

Lean on Love

Remember the first time your eyes fell upon that person, with a tiny tingle in your nerves and that smile which never shows up on your face even though you are all smiles and giggles inside. Or that little bit of animated talking to yourself, trying to visualize that person with naughty bits of assumptions and sneaky ideas to stamp your impressions. Welcome to the first prick of Love!

Thoughts are often deceptive. Trying to decipher our own thinking becomes an experiment in itself. But there are certain thoughts and feelings that stem from a deeply rooted emotion. Something beyond the comprehension of a human vocabulary. Something that is subjective and strange, but lucid and serene. Something not visible to eyes, but is there all over you. Something which suddenly adds a new meaning to the whiff of wind blowing over your face. Something which made you today, what you were not yesterday. Something which you knew never existed, until you came face-to-face with it.

And with some new feels, you begin to have some new needs. A need to lie helplessly in someone’s arms, a need to relish the grace glowing out of someone’s face, a need to smile and a need to see a smile on someone’s face, a need to shed a tear of affection, a need for reinstatement of an ever-present someone near you, and a bittersweet need to hear someone say “I miss you”, a need to keep speaking those words which would never be actually spoken.

Well, it’s an elementary truth, that our life and our happiness and that of those connected with us, do depend on our understanding the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and complicated than a game of cricket. The world is a complex spaghetti of invisible connections. Certain feelings do not lend themselves to conversational descriptions. Amorphous and inexplicable in their own subtle ways and rooted so deeply that they remain as recurrent oases all through the trails of your voyage through life. They are not a periodic feel that engulfs you in a certain age and fades away with the grinding routines of life, but they become one of those feels that you carry through all of your life. A self-preserved emotional shelter that offers you refuge in your future times of need.

A day for this emotion. A day to celebrate those feelings that lie beyond reasoning. A day to enjoy an excitement. A day to bow to a heavenly bliss. A day to introspect what those invisible connections lead us to. A day to redefine what we are. A day to define what we would be. Happy Valentine’s day!

And as they say, Love takes you by the tip of your hair and shakes the hell out of you. And eventually, makes you a new person altogether.

posted by Kishore at 9:54 PM   |   |
Monday, January 30, 2006

Naanaati badhuku naatakamu

It was a good two minutes after the delicate strains of the thambura faded into my ears. Vocal chords still unable to wake from the waves of Revathi raagam and the mesmerizing voice of MS Subbulakshmi. Eyes closed in a deep trance staring into the invisible horizon. A physique frozen as though through eternity, conscious of every elongated breath being pulled in a synchrony, harmonious with the slithering tears streaming its way out of the overwhelming eyes.

A sub-conscious self, ever-wandering in search of that gift lying somewhere around the corner, but still invisible to its innocent intellect. kaanaka kaanadhi kaivalyamu… The search continues. And the conscious self spirals itself up, into an altogether different world.

A new world. A world, where the threads of emotions are twined together and dreams are woven. yetta nedutagaladi prapanchamu… A dream where emotions gather an instant fervor and hop actively inside an already brimming heart. A heart that longs to be embraced and pumps itself feverishly fuelling the search for the hitherto invisible gift. kattagatapatiti kaivalyamu…

A world, where, oscillating between the vacant realities of a daily routine and cheery visions of filling the growing vacuum, is a dream. kuticedannamu shoka cuttedidi… natu mantrapu pani natakamu… A dream twined by threads of hope. A hope born to the painful learnings of battered emotions. Emotions battered by the vigor of time. tekadu papamu tiradu punyamu…naki naki kalamu natakamu…

A world, where emotions are battered and slender, but still cling with an indomitable might to the sole panacea leading its way to the gift – Hope. They continue to hold on. Come a gust of heavy wind or a treacherous flood. Come a seething pain or a drowning pang. They continue doing their little bits. They continue to hold on. They continue. vodigattu konina vubhayakarmulu…atidatinapude kaivalyamu…

A world, where a heavy pounding hardly impacts the strength of those emotions, well and truly on their way to the nostalgia of rediscovering their own self. Sailing themselves away from the world of the ordinary, finding ways to cure themselves. yevakune shri vengkateshvaru telika…gakhanamu mititi kaivalyamu… Overbearing the pangs of the world, curing themselves, by the strength of their own self. The strength to reach that ultimate gift.

The gift. Still invisible. Still elusive. But ultimately bowing to the unbelievable strength of a longing emotion. The emotion that wove the dream. The dream that finally awakes. Awakes into a heaven of bliss.

posted by Kishore at 2:06 AM   |   |
Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ladies Coupé - understanding the emotional
intelligence called woman

“Hello. This is Akhila. Akhilandeshwari.” The last line of the story. A culmination of an emotional journey where each of those words radiates a vibrancy of confidence, of a woman who realizes the need for a life of her own. A man of her own. She may be 45. But she’s still a woman. A woman who is still in search of an unknown emotion. A woman that is a fascinating creation of God. A bag of biological and emotional complexities bundled meticulously into a startling weave of life. The very fascination that often results in a point of contention.

Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé, is not just the story of a 45 year old single woman going through an avalanche of emotions through the span of her life, but a reflection on the subtle and intricate but powerful emotions that women undergo as they play a multitude of roles starting from being a kid, to a wife, to a mother. A telling narrative of the thought process of a woman when she is a kid, the puzzling emotions of puberty, the first yearning for a man’s presence, the intricate mix of love, lust and fear when she lets her man beyond intimacy levels, the bipolar role of a wife pleasing her husband and a mother responsible to her child, and the factor called family to go with all of this.

The story revolves around five persons with varied life and backgrounds, but bound by the common thread of being a woman. And their stories, sends Akhila ruminating about her own life, the decisions she made and would be making. Janaki, an elderly lady, the typical Indian wife, whose man was decided by her parents, who is confused to understand that though she hasn’t even spoken to the man until their first night, it’s suddenly ok even if he undresses her and that as her aunties said, it was the solemn duty of every woman to please their husband and keep shut to whatever he does. From a wife to a mother to a grandmother, Janaki’s life and actions revolves around the necessitated care of her husband.

Margaret Shanti, who pendulums between a blinded love for her man despite his self-gratified outlook on her, be it her cooking food for him or ordering to abort their offspring, to being the woman who tames him to her whims. Margaret may not be an example of a typical woman in an Indian household, but she does depict an image of those women with emotions and desires concealed for gratifying a dictating husband.

Prabha Devi, a bit in the mould of Lakshmi (played by Shobana) in Mitr-My friend. A rich family, understanding husband and life could never be better. But as things move into its weary routines it becomes hard for her to accept that life is just moving past her with her husband controlling its direction whether she liked the turn or not. This is my mother-in-law…this is the woman whose son now rules my destiny and dreams. My thoughts have been reduced to whether I should cook rice or chappathis for lunch, fry okras or aubergine; load the washing machine with cotton whites or cotton colored. And so much as Lakshmi does, she manages to bring out the energy within her.

With Sheela and Marikolanthu, there seemed to be a touch of disconnection with the closed quarters of family-oriented emotions digressing between a kid’s mind to a molestation to lesbianism. But, even if it means one may not be able to identify themselves much, its womanish emotions all along.

All the while, Akhila listens to them and contemplates on her own life. A girl loaded with the responsibility of being the man of her house after she loses her dad. A family that assumes her to think and act and be just as responsible for everything as a man. Only that, she’s still young and she’s a woman. A woman who could only wonder all her life if her family ever worried of her need for having a life of her own. The eventual transformation that Akhila, now 45, undergoes ultimately making herself up to spend the rest of her life living for her own sake with a man of her own, forms the crux of this emotional roller-coaster.

Any woman would identify herself with the exposition of emotions that Anita Nair has portrayed, and as for men, a lesson or two on how to understand and behave with your woman. Ladies Coupé, is a meal sans appetizers and desserts and garnishing, but does more than enough to satiate a hunger.

posted by Kishore at 10:24 PM   |   |
Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Birthday 2006

It seemed like just yesterday. A new baby was born. Cuddling itself under the wraps of her mother. Leaving behind the miseries of another woeful stretch and taking forward all the gains of goodness, she was born. Born with a lot of promises, a lot of unfulfilled desires, to seek the sought after, to give the ungiven, to share the unshared, to hope the unhoped, to make herself better with a hope of joy, to unleash an infectious aura of laughter.

As providence would have it, her path became not all that breezy. She trampled over every hurdle, bruised and battered in the sea of changes, her eyes bloated and dried, her heart beaten and sunken, mercilessly pulled either ways by the vagaries of the world, death and destruction being her daily cuppa. Short specks of brightness and smile amid all the miseries were but an interim relief. The goodness of the smiles is etched in her, but the sadness of miseries is what soaks her. She has lived through the trauma and died through her life, carrying the little smiles between her lips that nourish her heart.

Today, she gets a reincarnation. A new baby is born again. And as she peeps her head out of her mother's womb, her benevolent eyes sees in the distant horizon the solitary panacea to all her past miseries. Hope. And she prays the hope endures with her all through her new life, as she gears herself to jump into the new ordeal.

May the Lord, carry her through her challenges and guard her through all the treacherous paths she would traverse. May the world loft her to cheer. May her company solace the languishing tears. May the goodness bestow her with an indomitable grit. May she come out with a fulfilling smile.

Bless you my dear!

posted by Kishore at 10:30 AM   |   |
Friday, December 09, 2005

Tête-à-tête with Bill Gates

I was having breakfast and they gave me something called oopuma. Whatever it was, I liked it… I accidentally put my hand in that and I heard its actually ok to use your hand in some parts of the country.
- Bill Gates on South Indian food, in conversation with Shiela Gulati

No bags. No food items. No cameras. No mobile phones. All in the name of the “for security reasons. Your cooperation is highly appreciated” thingy. Well, thanks for your appreciation!

Walking past 6 stages of verifying the bar-coded identification, 4 stages of photo identity verification, 4 stages of frisking, two of those with metal-detectors and with a half-human feel in the absence of my mobile phone, I was helped to the delegate luncheon and finally found myself seated as far as the 10th row from the dais and beginning to play the waiting game, waiting for the VIP of the day who has spent over 30 billion dollars in aid of the poor worldwide, who runs a foundation managed mostly by his wife, who frequents the lesser privileged nations of the world doing his bit to its people, who is better known as the chairman of Microsoft and even better known as the richest person in the world. William H. Gates aka Bill Gates.

The hall darkened, lit dimly only on the stage, and accompanied by a heavy music blaring the ears an all-smiling Bill walked in, even as the 4000+ electrifying audience rose to its feet thundering a harmonized applause audibly merging with the heavy music in the background. “This is the liveliest developer audience I’ve ever seen”, and so saying the chairman-of-Microsoft personality in him came to fore. He would spend the next 40 minutes talking the strides technology has made personally for him and for Microsoft per se, unveiling bits of his vision of what technology roadmaps would read in the near future. There were mentions, among others, of research initiatives of my-company, including the one I belong to – a moment for a goose bump!

That was followed by a demonstration of the technologies that were launched during the event. And Bill was soon back again on stage, this time flanked by the glamorous Shiela Gulati, Director of Microsoft India. The next half hour would be a tête-à-tête between the two, staying quite apparently away from technology and business. “I would have been inventing medicines if, for some reason, I was not allowed to code”, and on a question about cricket, Bill said “I was glad to know the Indian cricket team uses Microsoft Media PC to train their players” and a deafening round of applause acknowledged him.

As he waved his hands to the applauding audience, the rock band Parikrama began playing some heavy metal ear wringing stuff to the gaping audience and their evening snacks, both of which were disappearing fast. Well then, Bill would be on his flight back home at this time. Thanks for being here, Bill. Hope to see you soon again!

As for me, after receiving the delegate collateral inclusive of software and a hip-pouch (call it job perks) I swiftly returned back home until I found a safe haven holding my mobile phone in my hand for the first time in 8 hours.

posted by Kishore at 9:52 PM   |   |
Monday, December 05, 2005

Shalimar the clown - an absorbing trinity

Some stories are appreciated for their suspense and thrill. Some for their surprising climaxes. And some for their emotional feel. Shalimar the clown doesn’t fall into any of these. The distinctness about Salman Rushdie’s latest novel is that, it’s a story narrated by the intricate tussles between the emotions carried in the heart and the hallucinating thoughts in the minds of its characters, set in the backdrop of a torn paradise called Kashmir.

Max Ophuls. A war ravaged hero, the American ambassador to the country, who looks to the outside to satisfy his sexual appetite being rather indifferent to his wife’s inability to do so, and the father of his daughter with Boonyi. Boonyi. A teenage dancer who loves and marries Shalimar the clown, only to be clutched between the pincers of infatuation and juvenile dreams of glorious futures. Shalimar the clown. Possessed by his demonic love for Boonyi, betrayed by her and driven to extremist limits of terror with the sole agenda of exorcising the demon.

What is most opulent, is Rushdie’s expressions of thoughts and his descriptions of the path those thoughts tread on their way to making life’s choices. What had to happen should be allowed to happen or it could never be overcome. And thus Boonyi makes her choice to make love to Shalimar. She was recklessly pouring out Pachigam’s supply of good luck while bad luck accumulated like water behind a dam and one day the floodgates would open…and everyone would drown. And thus appear the first strands of terror in the hitherto tolerant Kashmir.

However Rushdie’s narrative of the terrorism part has a few disconnected links. The abrupt appearance of the fanatical mystic Bulbul Shah leading to the slow incubation of terrorism in the land, Shalimar donning the hat of a terrorist ultimately to keep the promise he made to his father and father-in-law that he would not take his revenge on Boonyi until the fathers have died, the extra-long narration of the holocaust times to bring the context of Max’s marriage with his wife, the military General Kachhwaha making frequent insignificant appearances. Perhaps Rushdie aims to draw us into the typical emotions of an unmarried military man caught between his need for a woman in his life and his escapades of war and hence realize the terrors of war, but they all fall short of doing just that.

But what Rushdie does manage to do, is take us deep into the roller-coaster travails of pain beneath a betrayed heart of Shalimar and a love despite betrayal of Boonyi. When death beckoned Boonyi, in her husband’s form, Rushdie paints the picture of a woman who prepares herself for the ultimate honor of being rendered dead by the person she still loves, and has always loved. She knew he was coming, could feel his proximity. She wanted him to know she loved him. He came on foot, holding a knife… Now, she commanded him. Now.

In Shalimar the clown, the story moves not with the conversations between the characters, but with their contemplations of emotions and relationships. It’s more of monologues and retrospections that hold the roost in binding the branches of the story together. The novel is not flawless, but nevertheless, a compelling trinity of love, betrayal and revenge.

posted by Kishore at 10:10 PM   |   |