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Showing posts from December, 2018

New Year

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A view from a residence whose housewarming I attended yesterday I loved it. Yet another year is ending and a new year is beginning. But my job continues as usual. There is no holiday in the name of New Year. I like that. I don’t believe that life has any such endings and beginnings. The earth goes on revolving round the sun. Cyclic processes go on without any distinct beginnings and endings. Where is the beginning of a circle? Where is its end? Time has neither a beginning nor an end. Your life has a beginning and an end. But time is independent of your life. Time has no calendar. You made the calendar in order to tame time. But time tames you eventually. Time is the master. You are just a particle in the electrifying, electronic march of time. New Year resolutions are good in order to assess your place in the glorious march of time. Where do you belong? Where have you gone wrong? How can you make your place safer in that thundering juggernaut of time? Make your re

Scarecrow at the threshold of New Year

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Image courtesy Here I’m a scarecrow on a landscape without a trace of crows. Silence is not really required to protect me here in this arid wilderness. What have I got to speak, however? As another year ends, As time draws on having etched yet new lessons on a soul that is already etched with too many scars and scares, what they would call lessons of life, I have understood the worth of silence. I have learnt to stand here patiently resisting the inner urge for crows to scare. The crows have flown away. I should consider myself a fulfilled scarecrow! What is the purpose of my existence now? Maybe, it’s time to put on new motley As the old calendar is discarded into garbage. Wish you all a Happy, happy New Year.

Merry Christmas

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People like the Buddha, the Christ and the Mahatma were acutely aware of the absurdity of human life and sought to bring more meaning to it. Their perspectives differed significantly from the ordinary man’s. They looked at life in substantially different ways, in other words. Jesus’ focus was on love and compassion. He was born a Jew and the Jewish people were highly ritualistic and juridical. Jesus questioned that way of life which was plainly more absurd than the life of people who practised other religions which the Jews regarded as gentile and inferior. Love is the ultimate foundation of Jesus’ teachings. That is diametrically opposed to the Jewish weltanschauung. The Jewish God was a whimsical entity characterised by jealousy, short temper, vindictiveness and a ridiculous share of frivolousness. He created the Paradise apparently only to drive out the human beings from it. He could ask Abraham to sacrifice his own son just to prove the authenticity of the latter’s l

Beyond seas and hills

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On Kozhikode beach in early 1990s The oceans and the mountains have their unique charms. The mystery of the mountains and the infinity of the oceans can hold us spellbound. Sometimes they invite us to meld into them and vanish altogether. The cliffs have often invited me to jump off them and the seas have stirred similar longings.   At Malampuzha Dam in late 1980s There are other places too without seas and mountains but with a lot of charm and grace. They may be the trails through a village whose pristine beauty has not been swallowed by the octopus of development. Even a desert has its own music to entice us with.   Maggie melding into a shrine at Mahabalipuram in late 1990s A year ago I visited Mango Meadows , world’s first agricultural theme park. It is in central Kerala, 30 acres of land tucked into typical Keralite villages. It has an amazing variety of plants which were once used in Kerala’s traditional medicines. Apart from them, there are also othe

Fireflies in the dark

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My front yard at night The pain of life is aggravated by a flicker of beauty here, a glimmer of love there, and an occasional touch of compassion here and there. If love went invariably unrequited, if filth was all that one could see around, and if insensitivity was the universal rule, we would learn not to expect anything better. Every flower that blooms in my little garden gives me the impetus to keep fighting the weeds. The weeds are vindictive. They keep smothering the flower plants incessantly. It is far more facile to buy flower pots from the nursery and line them up on my drive walls. But those flowers don’t smile as do the ones that I nurture personally.   The struggles of the little saplings against the mighty weeds remind me of the terrors that life throws along the way. If there were only terrors and their disgrace, however, heaven and hell would have been redundant notions. Where there is only agony, there can be no concept of bliss. But life loves to poke

Orgasm of Gadgets

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Certain gadgets have become as inalienable parts of life as our mates. The mobile phone, for example. It’s there with us wherever we are, even as we stand before our deity with our hearts seeped in prayer. Life without the mobile phone is quite unimaginable. It is my link with the world through the density of the internet and the trivia of the social networks. It comes with all the indispensable accessories like the camera, the calendar, the note pad, alarm clock, reminders, and their concomitant orgasms of various degrees. My mobile phone can provide me with all the music I want and even movies.   Smart Watch I spend most of my daytime with young students who possess a whole lot of gadgets which have become part and parcel of their life. They are usually the Smart Wearable gadgets like wrist bands and watches which have built-in GPS and altimeter, activity rings and health apps. When there is a requirement for a speaker for practising a dance, the students come up with a

Story Writing

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Half of my stories come from history or mythology and the other half from my imagination. Whatever the origin, each story has something to do with me; each one is an expression of some conflict within my being. “I knew you would come to deliver me from my stony existence,” Ahalya said touching Rama’s feet. That’s how my story Ahalya begins. Ahalya of that story is as much a character from mythology as an expression of my own longing for deliverance. Something similar can be said about each story of mine. I think for all good writers each story is originally an agony within. It is an agony that seeks deliverance. In the words of Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The inner agony is metamorphosed into characters created by the writer. The characters may be from history, mythology, the writer’s imagination, or just anywhere like the house next to yours. Whatever the origin, the characters you create in your stories have something

Failing gracefully

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Neither Narendra Modi nor Amit Shah knows how to handle failure, it seems. There is audible rumbling within BJP about the majestic leaders’ refusal to share the blame for the devastating failure of the party in the recent elections. They have held “victory marches” whenever the party won an election in the past four years to take the credit. Why not share the blame now? Failure is not fatal, but the refusal to accept it gracefully and learn the required lessons is. That is the most fundamental principle about failure. Perhaps the only useful thing about failure is the learning of the inevitable lessons. Those who sulk over it, those who rationalise the failure, or those pass the blame to others don’t learn the necessary lessons and stop far short of being great in any way. BJP’s failure in the recent elections in five states has been too resounding to be ignored. The whole country has been looking forward to hear from the two great leaders about how they view the failure

No Regrets

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It's been quite a journey together Some nights are very didactic if not entertaining. Last night was one such series of dreams. I wake up from one dream only to glide into another as seamlessly as a train stopping at a station and then moving on. They are not nightmares. On the contrary, they are quite amusing. Only two of last night’s dreams remained vividly in my conscious memory in the morning. In one, I was travelling by a bus with Maggie. Since the bus was overcrowded Maggie and I were in two different parts of the bus: the masculine and feminine halves of Kerala’s buses. Just before my stop arrived, which was near Maggie’s house, some passenger asked me a question. My answer started off a discussion which engaged me so much that I missed my stop and the next and the next. It’s only when Maggie’s call arrived on the mobile phone that I realised my mistake. Maggie awaited me at the right bus stop with her usual smile of amusement and sympathy. The other dream h

Friend

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I felt immensely bad when I had to say No to a friend yesterday. He wanted my phone number and I didn’t give it. He became my friend through blogging. I love his blog posts and he hates mine. He is a supporter of BJP and I am an avowed opponent of BJP. He unfriended me from Facebook once and then befriended me again. I know that he is as good as I am. As passionate as I am about a whole lot of things. He loves life. He loves. Just like me. I love too. Love has no borders. Love knows no caste, no religion, not even gender. It is only those people who want to rule over others that bring restrictions in love. My love has no borders. So religious people hate me. My cat has no idea of religion, thank god. And he doesn’t need words either. Words. I hate them. I love them. I love them in writing. I don’t want to talk. I can’t. I hate it when I have to talk to people except my students. That’s why, dear friend, I had to say No to you yesterday. I know you are genuine. I know

Half-made blogs

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In his 1962 book The Middle Passage , V S Naipaul described his native West Indian people as “half-made societies that seemed doomed to remain half-made”. His argument was that the people lacked self-knowledge or the will to reinvent themselves. I don’t know how far West Indies changed after that damning judgment of god-like Naipaul who made similar statements about India too in a later book of his. Naipaul was a ruthless writer with an ego that would give Narendra Modi’s ego a good run for all his (country’s) money. He had the messianic instincts without the necessary humility. Just like Modi, again. Just the antithesis of the Buddha, Jesus and the Mahatma. But Naipaul had brains of a different calibre in contradistinction to our own egotist par excellence. So he excelled in writing. Naipaul was a great writer. What is a writer without his ego? Without the conflicts within his soul? Without the struggles with his own inner hells? Naipaul won the Nobel Prize not for noth

Memory of another Dec 6

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Image from India Today On 6 Dec 1992, a huge battalion of people who called themselves kar sevaks (volunteers) led by Prime Ministerial aspirant L K Advani demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodya. The professed goal was to strike down the historical symbol of Islamic ascendancy in the country and mark the beginning of a Hindu Rashtra. The real goal might have been to catapult BJP to political power and ensconce Advani in the PM’s chair. One of the few intellectuals who supported the move was Arun Shourie, an admired journalist in those days. Shourie wrote then that the Ayodhya events demonstrated “that the Hindus have now realized that they are in very large numbers, that their sentiment is shared by those who man the apparatus of the state, and that they can bend the state to their will.” He also expressed his hope that the Masjid demolition was “the starting point of a cultural awareness and understanding that would ultimately result in a complete restructuring of the Ind

An Open Letter to PM Modi

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Dear Modi-ji, I belong to your generation though I’m ten years younger than you. My memories about Nehru and other genuine Indian nationalists were shaped in more or less the same time-period as yours. Yet the memories differ tremendously: your villains like the Pundit and the Mahatma are my heroes. Do let me remind you of certain irrefutable facts. India was indeed fortunate to have a learned statesman like Nehru as its first Prime Minister. It is he who gave us the Navratna industries like the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Hindustan Machine Tools, Bharat Heavy Electicals, and so on. Who established the steel plants in Bhilai, Rourkela, Durgapur and Bokaro? Who ushered in the technological revolution in India? Can we ever forget the marvellous contributions of the Council for Scientific Research (CSIR) which had labs all over the county? Can you recall the beginnings of the Atomic Energy Commission and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre?   Who started the IITs in Delhi, Bombay, Kanpu

Backlog of Karma

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Fiction My car growled on the first gear as it negotiated the steep ascent. It was a narrow road flanked with mammoth rubber trees that had outgrown their natural lifespan. Among those trees stood here and there like aberrations a few cashew trees and an occasional mango tree. Tall grass and weeds covered the entire ground. Why did Ananthavishnu buy a house in such a place? I wondered. But there was nothing surprising about it on second thoughts. Vishnu, as we called him usually, was always weird. He needed reasons, clear scientific reasons, for everything. When a girl of our class professed her love for him, he asked her, “Tell me at least one reason why you feel this way for me.” Vishnu and I studied five years together in college: pre-degree and graduation. He went on to study further until he obtained doctorate in astrophysics and landed a job in ISRO. I changed from science to literature and then became a teacher. Soon after his recent retirement he bought t