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Showing posts from August, 2014

Writer

Madhuri had reasons to be chagrined: her idol had deserted her.  She had deserted her family, defied her beloved father, to live with her idol, the famous novelist Amitabh Sinha.  Her devotion to the idol was such that she took all the necessary precaution to avoid getting pregnant.  Children would divert her devotion from her idol.  Five years of selfless worship.  Yet he deserted her.  What’s unbearable was that he took as his beloved the woman whom Madhuri hated the most.  Sheila the witch with her two kids one of whom was a moron.  Madhuri had first fallen in love with Amitabh’s novels.  The love grew into admiration and it spread like a contagious disease from the creation to the creator.  “Don’t trust writers and such people,” Madhuri was warned by her father.  “They can’t love anyone except themselves and their works.” Madhuri was sure that Amitabh would love her.  How can a god ignore his most ardent devotee? Such devotion brings devastation when it is s

Children of Lust

Lot and his daughters - a painting Self-righteous fool that Iam!  Lot beat his chest and lamented.  His cries rose to the heavens, “Yahweh!  Forgive me, forgive me.”  Lot’s sin was manifold.  Lust and incest.  He copulated with both of his daughters.  His daughters’ children would not be his grandchildren as it should have been.  How disgraceful!  The mountains off Zoar echoed his laments. Lot had fled Sodom because of its immorality.  The people were like pigs wallowing in filth: they wallowed in sex and sensuality.  Bored of the women, the men of Sodom sought and found their delights in male bodies.  Left to themselves, their women too discovered their own delights: in the bodies of each other.  Bodily pleasures.  Damnation.  Death. The wombs of Sodom cried to the heavens for seeds to germinate.  The heavens heard the cries.  Yahweh opened the gate of the heavens and told Lot to move out. “You have been a temperate man,” said Yahweh to Lot.  “You did not forsa

The new page that’s tomorrow

“At the age of seventeen, working as a delivery boy at Afremow’s drugstore in Chicago was the perfect job, because it made it possible for me to steal enough sleeping pills to commit suicide.” Sidney Sheldon That’s the opening sentence of the autobiography of a man who became a best-selling popular fiction writer apart from making a name for himself in Hollywood, Sidney Sheldon. Born in 1917, Sheldon had to live his adolescence through the Great Depression.  His mother, Natalie, was born in Russia, a country which drove her family out along with many others during a pogrom against Jews.  She was a dreamer, according to Sheldon.  She dreamt of marrying a prince.  But the husband she got was Otto, “a street fighter who had dropped out of school after the sixth grade.” Poverty at home.  Great Depression in the country.  Nothing to cling on to, nothing to look forward to.  The young Sheldon managed to grab enough sleeping pills from his workplace, enough to kill him.  H

Party is Important

“Get lost, you common aadmi,” shouted Meena.  She knew too well that it was her boyfriend, her beloved, her fiancé, that was at the door.  A door that any beggar could knock down with one punch. “I’m sorry, Meena. Can’t you forgive me?  Please yaar.” Arvind pleaded. “Go to your Deepa.” “Please understand yaar.  Deepa is a party worker, a senior member of the Average People’s Party.  APP zindabad.” “Get lost with your APP.  You think I’m just average and you can play your male chauvinist games with me.”  She had learnt that phrase ‘male chauvinist’ from her slum mate, Sugandha. “Dee... Mee.. Meena, I love you, and I love you only.  Open the door at least yaar.  Let me explain the whole bullshit.” “Cowshit, you mean, you scoundrel!  You are running after a lot of cows these days.  If I open the door I’ll have to slap you.” “Okay, slap me, but open the door yaar.” She opened the door and gave a slight slap on her fiance’s face.  He was not prepared for

Importance of Flattery

Self-actualisation is the only motive that drives an organism.  Psychologist Kurt Goldstein said that. Self-actualisation, in simple words, means being (or becoming) what one can be.  What appear to be different drives such as hunger, sex, power, achievement and curiosity are merely manifestations of the ultimate purpose which is self-actualisation.  When a person is hungry he actualises himself by eating.  Even a rapist is actualising himself, but in the most pathological way possible.  Pathology is too complex an issue to be discussed here.  So let’s get back to our topic.  For the psychologically healthy people, self-actualisation is the organic principle by which the individual becomes more fully developed and more complete. Every individual has various needs.  The fulfilment of each need takes the individual a step forward in the self-actualising process. Some people read and acquire more and more knowledge, thus fulfilling the need for knowledge which for them is

Wisdom and Relationships

The above illustration is from the book  Introducing NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) byJoseph O'Connor & John Seymour. A quote from the book: "Acting wholeheartedly with wisdom means appreciating the relationships and interactions between ourselves and others." We live in the age of the WorldWide Web and the Internet.  Web and Net.  Very evocative metaphors. They bring to mind images of relationships.  They do build up a lot of relationships too: on social networks and chat sites and so on.  Yet why is hatred increasing in the world?  Why more and more of egoism, cruelty, and one-upmanship? Maybe, we have relegated relationships to the virtual world altogether.

Ghosts

Fiction It was years since I had left Kochi.  Sitting on the shore of the Vembanad backwaters sipping beer with an old classmate, I remembered those days of my life as a college student.  Professor Leela Menon wafted into our conversation as naturally as the breeze from the lake set the coconut leaves nodding gently.  “She retired more than ten years back,” said Mohan.  “She now lives all alone in a villa facing the Vembanad.” I decided to visit her.  I was one of her favourite students.  I adored her poems as well as her lectures on literature.  I participated in every essay competition to which the college was invited; I participated more to please her than anything else.  Professor Leela Menon was a poet and a social activist.  She did not marry; her life was dedicated to social causes.  She was bitterly opposed to the kind of development and that was overtaking the city.  She hated people cutting down trees in order to widen the roads.  She deplored the roar of the tr

Maid – an obituary

She died a few days back and I got the news today.  She was a nobody in the village.  For me she was a symbol of fortitude. From the time I can remember anything about my life she was an integral part of our household.  I remember her carrying things from our house to sell in the market four kilometres away and bringing things back we needed at home.  I remember her bathing my little sisters when they were infants.  I used to watch her bathing the infant.  In the leaf of an arecanut tree.  I remember being astounded by her dexterity.  The infant would laugh at her touch.  Even when she poured cold water on the body, my little sister would laugh.  I used to be fascinated by the sight.  My mother couldn’t extract that kind of laughter from her children. My mother cannot be blamed.  She had too many children to look after.  Too many servants too.  Workers of the fields were numerous and I can’t recall the names of any one of them.  Mother had to prepare food for them in a kitc

Power Games

The primary objective of power, particularly political power, has seldom been social service.  A peep into the history of political powers of various types will convince us of that without any doubt.  Political power is an intoxicant: as good as a drug is to the addict.  People don’t capture power by spending billions of dollars or crores of rupees on image building and propaganda in order to render service to anyone.  People ascend the rungs of political power because the heights intoxicate.  Putting it in a more acceptable way, success gratifies or gives one a sense of fulfilment. The Hindu Self-actualisation is the highest goal for any individual, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory. Alexander the Great had as much right to make his conquests as Diogenes had to sneer at those conquests.  Albert Einstein would have been as out of place on a Prime Minister’s chair as a Prime Minister would be in Einstein’s shoes. So, let each person gratify himself.  But let

Insanity of War

Book Review The Cellist of Sarajevo Author: Steven Galloway Publisher: Atlantic Books, London, 2008 Pages: 227 War is madness.  It takes human civilisation back to savagery.  It dehumanises people and makes of them cowards that hide themselves in holes like rats or ravenous beasts that ferret out the quivering rats from their holes.  It strips people of their dignity as human beings.  Food and water become scarce commodities.  Famine and diseases replace the zest for living.  Friends become foes.  Hatred spreads like a plague. Steven Galloway’s novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo , explores the theme of war through the eyes of four persons: Dragan, Kenan, Arrow and a cellist who is taken from the history of the civil war that rocked Sarajevo in the first half of the 1990s.  The disintegration of the former USSR in 1991 led to a brutal civil war that caused almost a quarter of a million deaths, the worst violence in Europe since World War II.     “At four o’clock

Happy Independence Day

If there is one starving person in your country, your country is not independent. That old man called Gandhi said it.  May he rest in peace.  I live in a country of beggars.  The helpless beg, the slightly less helpless steal, and a few are billionaires.  Quite many others are our leaders in the Assembly Houses and the Parliament Houses.  And a few others are religious beggars, a very fascinating lot they are: they provide us with our daily sustenance of fun. Five individuals in my country possess assets worth Rs 5,23,897 crore rupees.  Mukesh Ambani's wealth amounts to Rs 1,49,474 crore rupees.  But he will sell our petroleum abroad and not give it to us.  That's called "the Gujarat model of development".  For more about India's wealth and beggary, read the report by Wealth-X . "Don't be a spoilsport," says M.  "Let us celebrate our Independence." OK.  I don't want to burst the balloons on Rajpath.  Quite a few crore rupees of

Patriot, I am

Source: The Hindu Patriotism has reasons to surge in me. I live in a country whose supreme leader requires even more security than the supreme leader of the world’s superpower.  My country has a leader who matters.  Matters so much that no citizen can approach him within a radius of 3 km.  “Anyone who enters within 3 kilometre of the cordoned-off area around Lal Quila will be shot.”  On the Independence Day of my country. My leader is not just a Very Important Person, he is beyond scales of importance.  I have now reasons to be a proud citizen of my country.    The other day, another important leader of my country drew a parallel that also surged the patriotism in me.  He compared my country to Germany where all citizens are Germans and America where all citizens are Americans.  Similarly, he argued, all citizens of India should be “Hindus”.  Why not Indians?  Because, in his terminology India is Hindustan.  Never mind that the Constitution of India does not recognise

The Burden of Individuality

Franz Kafka Franz Kafka’s [1883-1924] novel, The Castle , tells the story of a man called K who is on a futile quest.  K arrives as a land surveyor in the village which is under the jurisdiction of the Castle.  But his summoning is caused by a bureaucratic mistake committed in the Castle; a land surveyor is not required in the village now.  K meets Frieda in the inn meant exclusively for the Castle’s bureaucrats though others are allowed to buy food from there.  Frieda becomes K’s fiancée, leaving her job as a barmaid in the inn as well as her enviable position as the mistress of Klamm, the Chief of the Castle.  Nobody in the village can enter the Castle though everybody’s life is controlled by the Castle.  K wants to meet Klamm but never succeeds.  Finally Frieda leaves him and goes back to her former job in the inn and also accepts one of the two assistants of K as her new man. The Castle towers above the village as a symbol of both spiritual and temporal powers.  It