What it takes to be Number One..

19 06 2013

I read this today and I want to tuck this forever. Below speech by Vince Lombardi is what I exactly would wish to hear if I am facing a football match. 🙂

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“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.

Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”





Things Fall Apart

19 08 2008

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things Fall Apart ; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

—W. B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

“Things Fall Apart” novel is a widely acclaimed African novel in English, and often considered as a magnum opus in Chinua Achube’s literary history. Having throughly enjoyed ‘Things Fall Apart’, I could see the why. It acted as an eye opener for me, and made me discover the African cultural fabric in a much more wholesome way.

This book protagonist Okonkwo, is a self made warrior, driven by the fear of failure and the zeal to overcome weakness. In his passion to succeed against all odds, Okonkwo led his life and family with a iron hand, never giving away his affection or emotion. From rags, Okonkwo raises to fame as one of the reputed warriors in Umuofia by sheer hard work. Under the pretense of strength, he even survives the sacrifice of his adopted son’s sacrifice and endures severe hardships to earn his way as one of the most powerful men in the clan. Yet, inadvertently he commits a mistake and had to leave the clan for a period of seven years.

Here is the novel takes an interesting turn where we are introduced to the silently creeping change in the Igbo culture due to introduction of Christianity, missionaries and modern education. Rooted in the ancestral beliefs, Okonkwo finds it difficult to accept the shifting norms of the village under the colonial rule that altered many deep seated cultural customs of the village. With a dignified grace, Achebe narrates the cultural change that happened in the history to highlight how certain things would be so difficult to mend once broken. Things fall apart. Agreed and that could be a powerful perspective to explore the sweeping change in a cultural or a historical context. I loved the way Achube brought forth the complex norms of the African culture and dispelled the stereotypical imagery of the primitive Africa.

Here are some of the quotes from the book that moved me immensely.

“Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed inadvertently? But although he thought for a long time he found no answer. He was merely led into greater complexities.

Okonkwo looked away. He heard the blow. The pot fell and broke in the sand. He heard Ikemefuna cry, ‘My father, they have killed me!’ as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his matchet and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.”





How I Wish This To Be True…

8 07 2008

[W]hen the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl. ~James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

For all I need to make this true is only to believe it to be true.. Guess I am caught in the beauty of this thought. 🙂





What I Am Reading Now – Tag

17 06 2008

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”
“That’s some catch, that catch-22,” he observed.
“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

I just loved this book and there is no exaggeration here.

Raji has tagged me with “what I am reading now” tag sometime back, and since then I have been caught between work and home and those moments with Books and Blog have become rare. Now that am back from the hiatus, I got a reason to get this posted. 🙂

The rules to be followed for this tag are:

1) Pick up the nearest book
2) Open to page 123
3) Find the fifth sentence
4) Post the next three sentences
5) Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

Page 123 in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 talks about Captain Black, one of my favorite sections in this book that evokes a wicked grin in an instant. The six to eight sentences in that page are posted below.

“When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.”

Now for the people to tag, (its kind of easy to spot fellow bookworms 🙂 )

1) Lasya

2) Reema

3) Sai

4) Hrish

5) Salz

Go ahead and take this up. I hope it would wake many of you from that cozy slumber in blogosphere. 🙂





Never Let Me Go..

6 06 2008

What would you do if you find out that you are brought into this world for a special purpose? A purpose of brightening somebody’s life at the expense of yourself. What if you are made to live in an artificial world with sole purpose to unzip your organs when needed?What would you feel if someone walks up to you one day to announce that, “You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided.”

A thought so chilling to even to think about, finds life and voice in ‘Never Let Me Go’.

This novel is set in a school by name ‘Hailsham’ where cloned children are reared in an artificial establishment to be the donors of future. A world completely devoid of moral implications and incredibly insensitive to the sensitivity of human emotions. A world of three kids: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, filled with what seems like a benign bliss of childhood unravels into a great sham of artificiality, where simple words like ‘donations’, ‘complete’ assume grotesque ramifications.

Kathy’s observation about Madame’s revulsion: “Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders. We hadn’t been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being the spiders.”

Or the silent acceptance of donations reflected thus: “All the same, some of it must go in somewhere. It must go in, because by the time a moment like that comes along, there’s a part of you that’s been waiting. Maybe from as early as when you’re five or six, there’s been a whisper going at the back of your head, saying: “One day, maybe not so long from now, you’ll get to know how it feels.” So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you–of how you were brought into this world and why–and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.”

Subtly dark and infinitely sad, this book casts a fatalistic note on human lives that are led in a cloak of artificiality. Probably, thats why my heart didn’t ache for the characters, though it bled for the sheer helplessness of the situation. A deep seated loathness for a place from which there is no escape, rather than to await the dead end that is reserved by the time one is born. This book sets itself not to explore the technicalities of cloning or the perils of being a clone, but rather captures the fine nuances of humanity in minute detail and makes one wonder about the core definition of it. The context of the book feels artificial, the tone has a note of fatality, yet the people feel awfully natural. Albeit, cast in a cloud of cold desolateness. This book is not for those who are on look out for heroes. For all the characters are patient victims in waiting for their end, leading a life as if its on loan, with an air of detachment around them which they flaunt mercilessly, accepting in silence the grim fatality of the life that they are leading.

How glad I was that this story is still a piece of fiction and not a disgusting manifestation of the modern day genetic experiments that intend to deliver greater good to greater lot at the cost of assured unhappiness for some.





The Bridge Of San Luis Rey

2 06 2008

In early 18th century in Peru, a famous suspension footbridge over a deep gorge broke and took the lives of five people into the gulf below. After this unfortunate accident, Brother Juniper is haunted by the question: “Why did this happen to those five?” As quoted in the book: If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in a human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. Pondering over the cosmic order, Brother Juniper investigates the secret lives of those five people in rich detail in an attempt to discover the reason behind their demise.

Here is when Thornton Wilder excels in introducing us to the intimate details of those five people who seem to be united only in their longing for acceptance, and love. There is a rich, aristocratic and elderly Marquesa suffering from unrequited maternal love and pangs of loneliness, spends her time composing brilliant and elaborate letters to her cold hearted daughter Clara in Spain. Accompanying her is little Pepita, an bewildered and distressed teenage orphan girl trying to live up to the high expectations of an Abbesses who is grooming her as a successor. There is Esteban, the poor twin who is left alone and bereft in an uncomprehending world after his twin brother dies. Uncle Pio is a wise wanderer, a man of exceptional talent who has devoted the best part of his life for the flourishing career of actress Camila Perichole. He becomes disappointed when actress Camila Perichole renounces her stage career for becoming a Lady and shuns herself from the world when she contracts small pox. Uncle Pio requests Camila Perichole to send her youngest sickly son Jamie with him to Lima so that he could educate the boy into a gentleman. Little Jaime joins his Uncle Pio only to loose his life on the fated bridge.

The relationship between the identical twin brothers Manuel and Esteban, when Manuel falls in love with actress Camila Perichole is beautifully highlighted here. “Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers, that even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other. There may be two equally good, equally gifted, equally beautiful, but there may never be two that love one another equally well.”

The beauty of this book lies in the description of these five characters. Thornton puts to use all the finery of the English language to delicately highlight the nuances of these five central characters. Sample these observations on Marquesa’s Son-in-Law. “the Conde delighted in her letters, but he thought that when he had enjoyed the style he had extracted all their richness and intention, missing (as most readers do) the whole purport of literature, which is the notation of the heart.”

Though we still are not sure whether the loss of these five people is by accident or by divine intention, this final words from Abbess sums up the meaning of love in life: “But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”





A Handful Of Dust

27 05 2008

… I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
THE WASTELAND

‘A Handful Of Dust’ from Evelyn Waugh is one of the first and finest satirical fiction that I read since a long time. With an intriguing title lifted from ‘The Wasteland’, Waugh indeed paints a satirical stylish picture of the society through the breakup of the marriage of Brenda and Tony Last. Laced with wry wit, sarcastic humor and subtle irony, Waugh elegantly draws out the superficiality of the upper class.

The novel begins with one of the friend’s of Tony quoting, “I often think Tony Last’s one of the happiest men I know. He’s got just enough money, loves the place, one son he’s crazy about, devoted wife, not a worry in the world.”

Tony is happily married to Brenda and to his Victorian Gothic country home. In love with the happenings around London and bored by the country lifestyle, Brenda fancies herself in love with an opportunistic and worthless social climber Mr. Beaver. When Tony’s Son is killed in an accident, Brenda reveals her affair to Tony and requests for a hefty divorce settlement that forces Tony to sell his home. Betrayed by his wife, Tony embarks on a harebrained expedition to discover a lost city deep in jungles, only to find himself as a prisoner to a Mr.Todd. The novel signs itself with Tony resigning himself to read Charles Dickens’s works to Mr.Todd in jungles for eternity, and Brenda marrying one of the obliging Tony’s friends as her lover Mr. Beaver leaves her for New York, whilst the house went to Tony’s distant relatives.

The novel is filled with impersonal and often cruel satire. Sample this musing of Tony towards the end: “He had always rather enjoyed reading aloud and in the first year of marriage had shared several books in this way with Brenda, until one day, in a moment of frankness, she remarked that it was torture to her.”

The casual tone in which Brenda’s betrayal of Tony is handled and the social sanction it received makes one wonder at the moral corruption of the society. Being Amusing, melodramatic, tragic and cold, Waugh brings out the phoniness of the aristocratic society in a subtle sarcastic fashion that’s beautifully supported by a vividly descriptive style. A great example of dark humor that presents a scathing commentary on the society and the phony relationships.






the CATCHER in the RYE

24 05 2008

“You know that song. ‘If a body catch a body coming’ through the rye? I’d like —“

“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”

“I know it is a poem by Robert Burns.”

“She was right though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.

“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

I was in half love with this ‘Holden Caulfield’ by the time I am through. I really am. For his age of Sixteen, I didn’t know anyone who is more clear thinking and muddle headed than he was. A bundle of teenage rebellion, that he indeed was, with little regard to play by the rules. He has these itsy bitsy darn complaints about the phoniness in the world that makes you dig into the childhood memories and offer a sigh at those days of carefree innocence. The disconnect that he feels from the world, the perils of growing up, the burden of responsibilities, the alienation from the society, the loss of his brother Allie, his pursuit for independent identity, and his naive frustrations – didn’t we all go through some of them in our adolescence?

Just like the Lagoon in Central Park which is “partly frozen and partly not frozen”, Holden comes across as an embodiment of teenager who is caught between the dilemma of growing up to a responsible adulthood from carefree mirth of childhood innocence. Holden narrates his two days of his life after getting an ax from Pencey Prep School for his poor academic performance. We share the deeply private fantasy world of Holden, through his candid confessions which fill the book and occupy your mindspace. Often endearing and often shallow, refreshingly, Holden remains the same simple ‘heart on my sleeve’ kid even as he ends his narration by celebrating Phoebe’s cheerful mood on a park ride. What is unique about this novel apart from Holden’s red hunting hat, is the flow of Holden’s experiences in first person which run as a simple commentary on life. Cynical, bitter, nostalgic and intimately introspective, one can’t help but appreciate the colorful innocent world that Holden inhabits.

Some Voice of Reason that Holden encounters in the novel:

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”





The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe..

23 05 2008

The TIME’s list has offered me a perfect excuse to read this fantasy novel, which I have been stalling since an year. I think this is the first time when I have read a book after watching its digital recreation.

And that indeed makes a huge difference. Every book unfolds a mystical world for me, and as I live through the magical fantasy it creates, my mind acts on flashes of inspiration to shape the actors based on the characterization and the flow. The movie already supplied the mental images of persona in vivid detail and my experience is that of an explorer venturing on a well-heeled ground. It did put me on an evaluative mode than on an experiential mode. I couldn’t help wishing for a first person narrative ( I have a huge complaint with the narration style), and a detailed characterization of Aslan though I think it would be answered by the rest of the books in the series. Overall, an entertaining book, and in retrospection, I admit that I enjoyed the movie better.

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My favorite piece of conversation from the book:

“That is more than I know,” said the Professor, “and a charge of lying against someone whom you have always found truthful is a very serious thing; a very serious thing indeed.”
“We were afraid it mightn’t even be lying,” said Susan; “we thought there might be something wrong with Lucy.”
“Madness, you mean?” said the Professor quite coolly. “Oh, you can make your minds easy about that. One has only to look at her and talk to her to see that she is not mad.”
“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

“Well, sir, if things are real, they’re there all the time.”
“Are they?” said the Professor; and Peter did’nt know quite what to say.

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The Fires Within..

18 05 2008

When Was The Last Time That I Did Something For the First Time?

I attended a dance performance by Natyalakshana, called ‘The Fires Within’ which was sponsored by Bosch Cultural Events at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall this Friday. For those who were wondering about my new found interest in traditional art forms, I have to ascribe due credit to those unconventional inspirations that result from boredom.

And how glad I was that my whim took me there. How I thanked my friends for their exotic and audacious suggestion to take me there! The show was a beautiful symphony of music, dance and art, where flying feet gave voice to age old legends. The legendary poems represented are selected verses from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’, Bharathiyar’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and a few selection of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Kathak. I loved the ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Ghalib’s poetry representation, where I felt that the dancers delivered a magnificent justice to the poems.

Shama and Sanjay’s ‘Dikku Theriyada Katil’ and Hari and Chandana’s ‘Mirza Ghalib piece’ had a delicate balance of perfection and expression and they held me in rapture through out. The dance drama that followed, called Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’ was a little bit disappointing, but the blame rests with my expectations which reached the sky by the end of the first two performances. If I have to define the experience, words would surely fail me as I am running short of superlatives. I could never realize that poetry could be so brilliantly enticing and soul wrenching. I was swaying in a world, so out of myself and the feeling is liberating. I believe that the credit of those beautiful moments goes to those on back stage as well. A special mention for Usha Venkateshwaran, the director of Natyalakshana who choreographed and produced the dances. Simone for the wonderful sway of lights and Sri Gurumurthy and Ustad Faizal Khan for their mellifluous music.

This event did make me reflect on my opinions towards conventional art forms. For to achieve perfection in blending, a music so divine, a dance that lent life to poetry and expressions that tugged heart, it must either have been Divine’s grace or years’ practice. It did teach me a thing or two about the immense beauty that’s submerged in Indian tradition and art. Like a welcome summer rain, my heart kissed the joy and danced along enticed in the magical world of dance, music and poetry. A worthy life long memory that’s for me for keeps.

Here are the translations in English for the Ghalib’s poetry that’s recited in the Event.

“O God Thy blessings on the soul
Whose name just came to my lips.
And as I willed that it be sung,
My speech rained kisses on my tongue.

These images drawn by Thee to make
Thine grand image, this world
Stand there like supplicants bowed in prayer:
Their burden they can’t bear.

The Fire in me, it rages high,
Though I be bound in chains.
The chain rings bounce,for they are light
Like hair all curled by flame

No simile matches her playfulness
And her quick-silver, passionate ways,
For, lighting lacks, by far, her play
And her temper is hotter than a blaze.

It is the nature of love, no doubt:
A kind of freak fire, which
You cannot start just when you wish,
Nor can you put it out.

A fire is raging in my heart
On this lonely night
My own shadow doth run from me
A smoke from fire takes flight.

It is ages since my beloved’s feet
Did cross this poor threshold.
So let her, with her twinkling cups,
Light up my dark abode.

My bustling crowd of desires
Each took my breath away!
Though I could quench many, many of them,
Yet millions remain un-slaked.





The Kite Runner…

28 04 2008

“Now there is a way to be good again…

For you, a thousand times over.. “

And so those words sang in my head when I spent my time with Amir, Hassan, Baba and Sohrab. It been some time after ‘Gone With The Wind’ since a book has deeply stirred my emotions and swirled tears in my eyes.

‘The Kite Runner’ is in a way, a celebration of human spirit and life in all its totality. Filled with human vices and touching emotions like love, sacrifice, selfishness, envy, rivalry, guilt, loyalty, betrayal, cowardice, love-hate relationships, lies and redemption, this little work of fiction feels so much human in its element that it strikes a chord and leaves lasting impressions.

This book is about two brothers Amir and Hassan, who share a unbreakable binding vine of kinship and love despite their ethnic, social and religious differences, being reared by a father who loved them differently. Though the story is narrated by Amir in first person, its that idealistic sacrificial and loyal love that Hassan showers over Amir that tenderly tugged my heart. While wadding through Amir’s guilt and his escapist choices, somehow my bitterness and hatred towards Amir effaced into thin air towards the end of book, as he tries to live up to Hassan’s love and atones for his sins. I was enraged at Amir for his betrayal of Hassan, yet I couldn’t stop myself from forgiving him when he redeems himself from his fallacies by running for Sohrab’s kite. Made me wonder, if deeply moving love can make one raise up to its worth. Is that cosmic justice, or is it the flow of life? Aptly titled, this inherently beautiful tome left me aching for more and I am sure I would treasure this forever in my private collection.

Here are some Phrases/Quotes from the book that I enjoyed…

““… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering it things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

“She said, ‘I’m so afraid.’ And I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘Because I’m so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening.’ I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you,’ and I said, ‘Hush up, now. Enough of this silliness.'”

“Because when spring comes it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting”

“”He knew I’d betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone…”

“”I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. Was it a fair price? The answer floated to my conscious mind before I could thwart: He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he?”

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. ”

“I thought about Hassan’s dream, the one about us swimming in the lake. There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster.”

“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”

“I throw my makeshift jai-namaz, my prayer rug, on the floor and I get on my knees, lower my forehead to the ground, my tears soaking through the sheet. I bow to the west. Then I remember I haven’t prayed for over fifteen years. I have long forgotten the words. But it doesn’t matter, I will utter those few words I still remember: La illaha il Allah, Muhammad u rasul ullah. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. I see now that Baba was wrong, there is a God, there always had been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets. There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need, I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is. I bow to the west and kiss the ground and promise that I will do zakat, I will do namaz, I will fast during Ramadan and when Ramadan has passed I will go on fasting, I will commit to memory every last word of His holy book, and I will set on a pilgrimage to that sweltering city in the desert and bow before the Ka’bah too. I will do all of this and I will think of Him every day from this day on if He only grants me this one wish: My hands are stained with Hassan’s blood; I pray God doesn’t let them get stained with the blood of his boy too.”





Money Matters..

3 04 2008

Throughout all my years of investing I’ve found that the big money was never made in the buying or the selling. The big money was made in the waiting. – Jesse Livermore





A Take On Beauty..

10 03 2008

This post is dedicated to Anita Roddick for she led my personal favorite campaign on Self Esteem called ‘The Ruby Campaign’. Ruby was a realistically and generously proportioned doll that tried to mock the all so perfect Barbie which hammered the young girl generation in to getting into that perfect shape at any cost and there by falling prey to eating disorders, bulimia etc. Being a part of the very cosmetics industry, Anita champions an ethical revolution by quoting, “It makes me angry, not only because it is a male-dominated industry built on creating needs that don’t exist, but because it seems to have decided that it needs to make women unhappy about their appearances. It plays on self-doubt and insecurity about image and ageing by projecting impossible ideals of youth and beauty.” Though am a self confessed prude, I cant resist posting the Ruby posters over here for the benefit of folks who are discovering Ruby right now.

Some facts that the Ruby Campaign highlights is

“# There are 3 billion women who don’t look like super models and only eight who do.
# Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14.
# If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
# The average woman weighs 144 lbs and wears between a 12-14.
# Scaled to life size, a Barbie doll would be 7’2″. She would have a 40″ bust, a 22″ waist and 36″ hips.
# One out of every four college-aged women has an eating disorder.
# A psychological study in 1995 found that three minutes spent looking at a fashion magazine caused 70 percent of women to feel depressed, guilty, and shameful.”

Ruby kind of explores in a deep way the notions of beauty, desirability and the society induced guilt which propagate unwholesome psychological needs of beauty. And now men are not left either in that pursuit of unreasonable Adonis. With all media going gaga about the chiseled muscle men, many of the guys are pumping their Testosterone in those high intensity workouts for that perfect V shape. Yesterday, in one of those engaging discussions with my pal, I had my first brush with this guilt in a guy. Though it gives a grim satisfaction if I consider those issues of equality in dark humor, I couldn’t digest my friends going through this phenomenon without an awareness of the baggage that they carry. If we are chiseling ourselves for being good enough and attractive to that illusionary partners, we are piling our subconscious under a mountain of guilt and inferiority complex. And tell me this. How can I expect to be loved for what I can be, if I don’t love myself for what I am? For love with oneself is expressed in the way we relate to humanity. Unless I am comfortable with myself and accept myself for what I am, I can never accept the other person for what he or she is. I would burden him or her with unreasonable expectations and may build pressure on them to live up to my love, almost expecting them to pay a price for a chance at a relationship with me.

Guess, I need to clarify here, as I have indeed suggested diet plans for a couple of my friends while advising them to keep their weight in check. I did so, as I experimented with myself with various diets and I indeed believe that holistic life includes being right sized for flexibility, health and activity. I do believe that a well balanced holistic lifestyle attuned to nature wouldn’t store excess fat or flab on body. Yet, we are the way we are based on the trade offs and the choices we made. I am comfortable with what I am and I won’t let some external entity alter my views on beauty, femininity or the acceptability or desirability of myself. To put it simply, I use or try things based on my interest or curiosity and not because ‘I am worth it’.

If I look at the entire process and concept of beautification, I feel that its an attempt by all of us to be loved and accepted a little more. Isn’t it? Yet, my appeal for all is to do it for oneself and internalize that idea of beauty that you have after keen reflection. I hate to see anyone being plagued by a concept called alienation: of being a part of the world you don’t want to be in and working for a goal that you can’t own in heart for societal or for ‘the significant other’s’ sake. We all try to change for those we love, yet do keep this in mind. Those who reciprocate wouldn’t care whether we are good enough and those who don’t doesn’t matter. Falling in love with oneself, and wearing that narcissistic hat once in a while is a great way to catch that conceptual perfect unicorn for yourself. Cherish all that is you, coz you are unique in our own special way just like everyone else is and noone can take that from you.

Here’s my favorite Darren Hayes’s “Good Enough” song for you all. I loved this song both for its lyrics and the music. 🙂

“If I woke up late
Couldn’t get out of bed
If I bought you a cafe latte instead
If I lied when I said
32 inches was the size of my waist
And can I admit
Every once in a while
Even though I dig alternative style
Occasionally
I can be caught dancin’ to Brittany
And can I confess
That art house doesn’t turn me on
But I like every single thing that Speilberg’s done

Could I be good enough
Could I be good enough
If the going got worse
And the worse got rough
The days became endless
And harder than tough
I’d be good enough
Better than best
Would be simply to be good enough
If everything I give
Doesn’t seem like a lot
If it’s all that I got
Baby tell that could be good enough “





Happy New Year..

1 01 2008

Cheers to a new dawn, to a new beginning, and to another chance. I loved the gay festive mood the new year bought, with loads of lovely wishes floating around as it offered a wonderful reason for celebrations, resolutions, experimentation and prayers. Wish you all a wonderful time ahead.

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“What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of a year.”

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Noise, Noise, Noise Everywhere..

28 12 2007
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The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire — we hold history’s record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ear, through the realms of fantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s core of wish and desire. Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose — to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its Divine Ground.

— from Silence, Liberty, and Peace by Aldous Huxley

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Just sharing a lingering thought of the day which made me reflect on the FM Generation.




Thought For The Extended Weekend..

21 12 2007

“Most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing in enormous stadiums. Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records cut by millionaire musicians. Instead of making art, we go to admire paintings that brought in the highest bids at the latest auction. We do not run risks acting on our beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend to have adventures, engaged in mock-meaningful action.

This vicarious participation is able to mask, at least temporarily, the underlying emptiness of wasted time. But it is a very pale substitute for attention invested in real challenges. The flow experience that results from the use of skills leads to growth; passive entertainment leads nowhere. Collectively we are wasting each year the equivalent of millions of years of human consciousness. The energy that could be used to focus on complex goals, to provide enjoyable growth, is squandered on patterns of stimulation that only mimic reality.”

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi





A Touch Of Madness…

19 12 2007

Whenever I think of Madness, a wickedly grinning cheshire cat flashes in my mind and somehow my mind fondly muses on this conversation from my favorite book..

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Alice went on. ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. ‘What sort of people live about here?’
‘In that direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives a Hatter: and in that direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’
Alice didn’t think that proved it at all; however, she went on ‘And how do you know that you’re mad?’
‘To begin with,’ said the Cat, ‘a dog’s not mad. You grant that?’
‘I suppose so,’ said Alice.
‘Well, then,’ the Cat went on, ‘you see, a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.’

********************************************************************

Every time I go through Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat’s conversations and its famous grin, I discover a new meaning. Yet, thats not the point here. Let’s stick to madness! 🙂

My little role model in celebrating madness is the Cheshire cat of ‘The Alice In Wonderland’ fame. Living through the chaos in this mad world which seems to operate in no defined sense of logic, I honestly believe that a glint of madness is essential to survive through the day. Everyone has their own little crazy world where we celebrate insanity in a splendid fashion. Our own artificial paradises where we play the little escapist helps us address the everyday madness that we encounter in every form. Guess we all fancy our own private interpretations of madness, don’t we? Yet, we thrive on it, come terms with it and indulge in our share of it! 😉

Next time, when the everyday frenzy gripes your sanity, try this. Do a little jig, be stupid at least once a day, perk up the spirits in your own little odd way, shoo the tension in a little corner and celebrate life in your own private madness just like that wicked cat with a huge grin. As they say, when you have to walk in rain, you might as well dance.





The Doors of Perception…

18 12 2007

Guess through sheer luck I came across this book called ‘The Doors Of Perception’ by Aldous Huxley. I am amazed by the depth of insights it houses. Sample these..

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern. “

I can actually relate to what it says. There was this session where we are asked to jump over a six feet wall without a bit of support. I went, I saw and then said, there is no way I can do it. And I actually saw people with 5 feet or less height jumping over it with relative ease, after some mental training and exploring their fears and perceptions. Guess we are limited by our beliefs and perceptions which we cultivate and develop since birth. Constant challenges are needed to unsettle that Phoenix locked inside the Jean ( a visualization that I cant seem to resist from the X-Men3, the last stand fame) to be aware of our limitations and potential of what we can be.

On a closing note, let me share this beautifully stated quote from this book again.

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies — all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”





Don’t Giveup On Faith..

16 12 2007

Came across this quote on the wall which made me pause by and think.

“A faith that can not survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”

How true!

I always have this concrete belief that most of the vital and important things in life are run on trust, faith and all those intangible things that can only be felt. Many of us go through a lot of suffering and pangs as these convictions go challenged, yet guess thats what life is: adding new dimensions, new perspectives and enhancing our outlook while holding on to faith. What makes us more human is that pathological need to hope and long for all those rational and irrational things on earth while baring ourselves open for those logical rationalistic reasoning attacks. I for one, is of firm belief that I may not remember what logic I applied to sort something out, but would sure be able to expand on those moments that touched my heart. I can be quite verbose, trust me! 🙂





Sharing Some Sunshine..

13 12 2007

This is a beautiful song from Dahek with a lot of cheer… It felt so nice reading through the lyrics and singing along. Thought I would share it with you all! The video of this song can be found here.

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Andheri raahon mein mile na mile humsafar
Yuhi tum befikar chalte raho
Nigahon mein kahin sapno ka hai basar
Sitaaron si raatbhar jalte raho

Ho khud pe ho aitbaar to mumkin hai sabhi
Zamana tumse hai zamaane se tum nahi
Andheri raahon mein mile na mile humsafar
Yuhi tum befikar chalte raho

Phasale manjile har mod par hain nayi
Josh hain jab talak haarenge hum na kabhi
Mushkile aani jaani hain, beharon ko behane bhi do
Jamake phir barase har khushi, kaash yun bhi to ho
Andheri raahon mein mile na mile humsafar
Yuhi tum befikar chalte raho

Kyon kare taaron ke girane ka hum intjaar
Sach hame karana hain apane sapne hajaar
Chaar pal ki hain jindagi, apane dil ki suno
Ji lo ji bharke aaj tum, phi ye pal ho na ho

Dhadkane gaye jo san gungunaye sama
Paao mein ho zameen sar pe rahe aasmaaan
Hosla kam ho na kabhi chahe jo halaat ho
Bekasi mein chupi hui nagmo ko pehchaan lo
Andheri raahon mein mile na mile humsafar
Yuhi tum befikar chalte raho
Andheri raahon mein mile na mile humsafar
Yuhi tum befikar chalte raho
Nigahon mein kahin sapno ka hai basar
Sitaaron si raatbhar jalte raho

Ho khud pe ho aitbaar to mumkin hai sabhi
Zamana tumse hai zamaane se tum nahi

hmm hmm hmm….chalte raho
hmm hmm hmm….jalte raho

***************************************

Thanks for that sweet pal who discovers those songs of my mood with amazing ease.





On Possessiveness and Love…

7 12 2007

There is once a popular song in Hindi that sings that ‘Life Is A Song Of Love’.. Always made me pause and reflect. In our attempts to discover and reinvent life through the journey of love, guess many have been tugged by this emotion of possessiveness sometime. I hear many times about this rolling out as a candid confession in conversations. Guess everyone might have heard of this perspective, but when I came across it in my mail box, I couldn’t resist posting it. Coz, there are certain lessons and learnings in life, that demand conscious effort from our side to put them to practice.

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I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: “You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love.”

This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand gently open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds. This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love. They try to posses, own, demand, and expect… and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you. For love is meant to be free, you cannot change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

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Sounds such a simple perspective, but how difficult to internalize! I have seen relationships collapse due to a possessiveness overdrive and power struggle. Well, we can never reason out our actions in relationships, but awareness always helps in defining our perspective. Love like joy and cheer is meant to be shared and isn’t limited like a piece of cake. Still, we feel as if we own the person and haggle for our share, how strange!





Some Thought..

6 12 2007

“Whatever we never seem to learn is that the world runs on a few dozen cliche’s. We spend our lives repeating ourselves..”

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Thats the SMS that I received over my mobile from a Pal who loves to capture the beauty of expression from the books he engages with. What struck me is the potency of the thought in that simple statement. How true!

Many a times we are challenged by the circumstances to be true to ourselves.. Though the lessons and knowledge are universal, and we are equipped to deal with the world with enough cliches since childhood, the choices that we make in those moments of life are intensely personal. Choosing right over convenience, love over hatred, sharing over selfishness and honesty over deceit.. These are the choices that make our journey of life intensely personal.. These are the moments that ascertain our purpose of life and define its direction. We indeed spend reaffirming ourselves though the choices we make..

Indeed, life rolls in patterns!





Of Thorn Birds, Pain And Sacrificies..

29 11 2007

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” There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then singing among the savage branches, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen , and God in his heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain………Or so says the legend…”

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The only one reason why I came across this paragraph in ‘Thorn Birds’ by Colleen MacCullough is due to the effective PR of a pal who can’t help himself from sharing anything beautiful with the world around him. I loved this legend for the beauty of expression more than anything. Yet, I go back to it often and wonder.. Why do people feel pain is gain? Though my views have grown more tolerant towards pain, this legend reminds me of an achingly painful and purposeless sacrifice of the Nightingale for making of the red rose in the Oscar Wilde stories.

When I reflect back in one of those lazy chair moods, I wonder why is that we have so much love to pain? Pain is intense, private, overwhelming and absorbing. And guess we enjoy the high of being heroes of our lives, fighting all those unpredictabilities, chaos and let downs of life all alone. And guess thats why we remember and relate to the Romeo-Juliet, Heer-Ranjha’s of the world more than many happily ever after stories (I can’t even quote a popular love story with a happy ending! Ahem!) . Yet, We love to rationalize the pain, agony, sacrifices and sufferings of life with strange reasons best known to the cosmic entities. And we idolize those sacrifices and sufferings too. Of all the mysteries of life, aren’t we being masochistic by celebrating pain?





Silent Despair..

28 11 2007

Most people resign themselves in life for that. At times I do that too. Dreaming for four leaved cloves while the life is happening around me. Is it ennui or desperation?

These days, life is filled with silent despair..

So much that there is little interest left in anything. Running through one of those phases of life where patience is everything. Whats keeping my sanity is some calming and soothing music.

Soul searching is like peeling an onion. I never know whether I will end up with a a valid criticism, reason or a perspective for all sorts of actions that I do. Boredom is winning the battle with me these days and guess I really cant relate to those multitude of things that cheesed me off. The chaos around me is affecting my composure and balance with blank noises. I know naught what I feel anymore.. Hmm.. One of those muted times..





Dilbert Managers

14 11 2007

I guess we see a lot of absurdities in the professional world. I love Dilbert’s way of looking at some of those things. This forwarded mail gave me a reason to cheer! On a serious note, it indeed give some food for thought too.. 🙂

This is one of my favorite Dilberts’.. 🙂

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A while ago, a magazine ran a “Dilbert Quotes” contest. They were looking or people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers.

Here are some of the submissions:

1. As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday And employees will receive their cards in two weeks. (This was the winning entry; Fred Dales at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA)

2. What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping)

3. How long is this Beta guy going to keep testing our stuff? (Programming intern, Microsoft IIS Development team)

4. E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business. (Accounting Mgr., Electric Boat Company)

5. This project is so important, we can’t let things that are more important interfere with it. (Advertising/Mktg. Mgr., UPS)

6. Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule. (R&D Supervisor, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing /3M Corp.)

7. My boss spent the entire weekend retyping a 25-page proposal that only needed corrections. She claims the disk I gave her was damaged and she couldn’t edit it. The disk I gave her was write-protected. (CIO of Dell Computers)

8. Quote from the boss: “Teamwork is a lot of people doing what ‘I’ say.” (Mktg. executive, Citrix Corporation)

9. My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my boss, he said she died so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, “That would be better for me.” (Shipping Executive, FTD Florists)

10. We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees. (AT&T Long Lines Division)

11. We recently received a memo from senior management saying, “This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above.” (Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division)

12. One day my boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, “If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!” (New Business Mgr., Hallmark Cards)

13. As director of communications, I was asked to prepare a memo reviewing our company’s training programs and materials. In the body of the memo one of the sentences mentioned the “pedagogical approach” used by one of the training manuals. The day after I routed the memo to the executive committee, I was called into the HR Director’s office, and was told that the executive VP wanted me out of the building by lunch. When I asked why, I was told that she couldn’t stand for “perverts” (pedophiles?) working in her company. Finally he showed me her copy of the memo, with her demand that I be fired, with the word “pedagogical” circled in red. The HR Manager was fairly reasonable, and once he looked the word up in his dictionary and made a copy of the definition to send to my boss, he told me not to worry. He would take care of it. Two days later a memo to the entire staff came out, directing us that no words which could not be found in the local Sunday newspaper could be used in company memos. A month later, I resigned. In accordance with company policy, I created my resignation letter by pasting words together from the Sunday paper. (Taco Bell Corporation)

14. This gem is the closing paragraph of a nationally-circulated memo from a large communications company: “Lucent Technologies is determined to promote constant attention on current procedures of transacting business focusing emphasis on innovative ways to better, if not supercede, the expectations of quality!”

15. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We’ve been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I’ll let you know when it’s time to tell them. (R&D Supervisor, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing / 3M Corp.)

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Skeletons in The Cupboard..

8 10 2007

This is one of those persistent echoes from one of those intellectually stimulating conversations that I relished and indulged in grandeur. How do we deal with broken dreams, unrequited love, and breach of trust? How do we handle with that muted voice of the Maverick that lies with in us? We all have our own little skeletons in our cupboards from past. Everyone emerges different from similar experiences depending on how they chose to deal with them.

One of friends’ shared with me his perspective one day. Since I know he wouldn’t mind, am quoting him verbatim.. “Heard “Ekla chalo re?” All of us are individuals, responsible for the fruits and pitfalls of our individual actions. Ever since I was a young, I hardly remember a time when I didn’t suffer from crush pangs. Grew up like that, got ditched a couple of times, but picked up the remnants and carried on. Anyway, you never know who is trustworthy and who is not. I trust everyone and no one. Even if I get ditched, I’m not affected, and if I am not, I’ll have won over someone. Life doesn’t play safe. You’d either be endangered or as safe as in Fort Knox.“

Some choose to live in profound confusion and conflict quagmire, finding it hard to let go of past and some are able to pick up the pieces and move on savoring life moment by moment. Whatever that we choose to do and how would we deal with the skeletons in the cupboard in the end is our personal choice. It’s about being comfortable with our thoughts, value systems and ourselves. What’s life if it’s not spiced with joy, mirth, sorrows, complexities, love, fun and friends? We all have our own wars to fight, storms to rage, dreams to conquer and dragons to slay. Sometimes we may end up with terrible wounds, raw pain, and shattered dreams. I heard someone saying Pain is Gain. How true! Life is a learning process for sure. Hold on to that inner spirit and enjoy the ride.





Soulmate Thoughts..

18 09 2007

I have always loved Fairy tales. The Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the Knight in Shining Armour.. As I grew up, I resisted all those hard practicality knocks and held on to those dreams.. Somehow I always felt that there is this ideal soul mate made to order for me, who complements and completes me in the journey of love and life. Its tough at times to keep on hoping, not to melt those unspoken dreams at the test of times. Whenever I trade off those pieces of dreams for fragments of reality, it leaves a hollow in heart to accept that in life those little dreams may not take shape at all. That dream home can turn out to be a loveless cramped apartment, those peace filled surroundings are in actuality dull roads filled with roaring vehicles, that picture perfect world will end up as a portrait, and that ideal Mr. Right could turnout to be a frog..

Sometimes people can actually mess up and trample those treasure trove of yearnings and mock our dreams that we hold so dear. How I wish I can curse with all my might and force them to walk in my shoes to understand the hurt that they carelessly inflict. Sharing life, vision, dreams and memories with someone are like placing a hammer in the hands of people and begging them to hit us back. Yet we trust and hope with all fervor, suffer the wounds in private and face the world with renewed twinkle in eyes and rigor in action. Aren’t we amazing?

Yes just as Richard Kincaid says ”The old dreams were good dreams, they didn’t work out , but I am glad I had them”.

For now, its time for some reality bites! 🙂

“We wait all these years to find someone who understands us, I thought, someone who accepts us as we are, someone with a wizard’s power to melt stone to sunlight, who can bring us happiness in spite of trials, who can face our dragons in the night, who can transform us into the soul we choose to be. Just yesterday I found that magical Someone is the face we see in the mirror: It’s us and our homemade masks.”

-Richard Bach

When the glamour [of one’s marriage] wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only – . Hence divorce, to provide the ‘if only’. And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgement concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the ‘real soul-mate’ is the one you are actually married to. You really do very little choosing: life and circumstances do most of it (though if there is a God these must be His instruments, or His appearances).

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43





Quote World..

15 09 2007

Thats where I spend my time when am immersed in some mood, thought or when life demands patience, waiting, and inactivity. Quotations feel like pieces of soul, wisdom, learning which glitter over the sands of time. I happened to chance upon a collection of Meridith Grey’s Quotes and fell in love with them in an instant!

Here is my favorite collection, stolen from here and here.

On Career:

I can’t think of a single reason why I should be a surgeon, but I can think of a thousand reasons why I should quit. They make it hard on purpose… there are lives in our hands. There comes a moment when it’s more than just a game, and you either take that step forward or turn around and walk away. I could quit but here’s the thing, I love the playing field.

On Procrastination:

A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that till tomorrow, he said, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity. You think more people would listen to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I’d have to say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you’re wrong? What if you’re making a mistake you can’t undo? The early bird catches the worm. A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can’t pretend we hadn’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin really meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.

On Greed:

I have an aunt who, whenever she poured anything for you, would say “Say when.” My aunt would say “Say when” and of course, we never did. We don’t say when because there’s something about the possibility, of more. More tequila, more love, more anything. More is better.

There’s something to be said about a glass half full. About knowing when to say when. I think it’s a floating line. A barometer of need and desire. It’s entirely up to the individual. And depends on what’s being poured. Sometimes all we want is a taste. Other times there’s no such thing as enough, the glass is bottomless. And all we want, is more.

On Faith:

You know how when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales, that fantasy of what your life would be, white dress, prince charming who would carry you away to a castle on a hill. You would lie in bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Prince Charming, they were so close you could taste them, but eventually you grow up, one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is its hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely cause almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope, of faith, that one day they will open their eyes and it will come true.

At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.

As surgeons we have to be in the know. But as human beings, sometimes it’s better to stay in the dark, because in the dark there may be fear, but there’s also hope.

On Pain:

Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way. Because without it, I don’t know; maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying? Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.

The fantasy is simple. Pleasure is good. And twice as much pleasure is better. That pain is bad. And no pain is better. But the reality is different. The reality is that pain is there to tell us something. And there is only so much pleasure we can take without getting a stomachache. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams.

Look at this. Everybody wants a life without pain. And what does it get you? She needs to be on a poster somewhere to remind people, pain is there for a reason.

Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breath deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed but sometimes the pain gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can’t outrun it and life always makes more.

On Communication:

Communication: It’s the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need.

At the end of the day, there are some things you just can’t help but talk about. Some things we just don’t want to hear, and some things we say because we can’t be silent any longer. Some things are more than what you say, they’re what you do. Some things you say cause there’s no other choice. Some things you keep to yourself. And not too often, but every now and then, some things simply speak for themselves

On Happiness:

Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

On Intimacy:

Intimacy is a four syllable word for, “Here’s my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.” It’s both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without.

Intimacy also comes attached to the three R’s… relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can’t escape. And other things you just don’t want to know.

I wish there were a rulebook for intimacy. Some kind of guide to tell you when you’ve crossed the line. It would be nice if you could see it coming, and I don’t know how you fit it on a map. You take it where you can get it, and keep it as long as you can. And as for rules, maybe there are none. Maybe the rules of intimacy are something you have to define for yourself.

At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing, where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, is usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we’ve chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them, the people that are still with you at the end of the day – those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need.

On Growing Up and Hope:

I’ve heard that it’s possible to grow up – I’ve just never met anyone who’s actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way, we whisper secrets with our best friends in the dark, we look for comfort where we can find it, and we hope – against all logic, against all experience. Like children, we never give up hope…

We’re adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?

On Boundaries:

At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines… that are way too dangerous to cross.

I’ve been lying in this bed for close to a year, and I’ve had a lot of time to look back on my life. And the things that I remember best – those are the things I wasn’t supposed to do and I did them anyway. The thing is, life is too damn short to be following these rules.

On Denial:

Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired, we are scared, denying it doesn’t change the truth. Sooner or later we have to put aside our denial and face the world. Head on, guns blazing. De Nile. It’s not just a river in Egypt, it’s a freakin’ ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?

The key to surviving a surgical internship is denial. We deny that we’re tired, we deny that we’re scared, we deny how badly we want to succeed. And most importantly, we deny that we’re in denial. We only see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and it works. We lie to ourselves so much that after a while the lies start to seem like the truth. We deny so much that we can’t recognize the truth right in front of our faces.

On the “Real World”:

Surgeons are control freaks. With a scalpel in your hand, you feel unstoppable. There’s no fear, there’s no pain. You’re ten-feet tall and bulletproof. And then you leave the OR. And all that perfection, all that beautiful control, just falls to crap.

On Excess:

When you were a kid, it was Halloween candy. You hid it from your parents and you ate it until you got sick. In college, it was the heavy combo of youth, tequila and well, you know. As a surgeon, you take as much of the good as you can get because it doesn’t come around nearly as often as it should. ‘Cause good things aren’t always what they seem. Too much of anything, even love, is not always a good thing.

How do you know when how much is too much? Too much too soon. Too much information. Too much fun. Too much love. Too much to ask… And when is it all just too much to bear?

On Loneliness:

Four hundred years ago, another well-known English guy had an opinion about being alone. John Donne. He thought we were never alone. Of course, it was fancier when he said it. “No man is an island entire unto himself.” Boil down that island talk, and he just meant that all anyone needs is someone to step in and let us know we’re not alone. And who’s to say that someone can’t have four legs. Someone to play with or run around with, or just hang out.

On Secrets:

Secrets can’t hide in science. Medicine has a way of exposing lies. Within the walls of the hospital, the truth is stripped bare. How we keep our secrets outside the hospital –well, that’s a little different. One thing is certain, whatever it is we’re trying to hide, we’re never ready for that moment when the truth gets naked. That’s the problem with secrets –like misery, they love company. They pile up and up until they take over everything…until you don’t have room for anything else. The thing people forget is how good it can feel when you finally set secrets free. Whether good or bad, at least they’re out in the open…like it or not. And once your secrets are out in the open, you don’t have to hide behind them anymore. The problem with secrets is –even when you think you’re in control, you’re not.

On Love:

He doesn’t make me feel like I’m a pretty girl. He makes me feel like… like me.

Even now, I believe for the most part, love is about choices. It’s about putting down the poison and the dagger and making your own happy ending, most of the time. And that sometimes, despite all your best choices and all your best intentions, fate wins anyway.





Shantaram By David Gregory Roberts

28 05 2007

“I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum security prison.”

When a book starts like that, you can’t help being intrigued. Shantaram of David Gregory Roberts piqued my interest the moment I held it between my hands and kept me engrossed till I turned the last page. This is one book that I never wanted to end.. To me, Shantaram serves as a deeply enriching and engaging testament to the indestructible nature of human spirit.

It describes the experiences of an Australian prisoner, who makes his lucky escape to India, and has his share of queer experiences like living in Slums, in Arthur Road Prison, Afghanisthan. Shantaram brings out the humane side of the Lin who couldn’t help but fall in love with innocence of people and led his life in abandon savoring each and every tide of life in his own stride. As his life entwined with engaging characters like Prabhakar, Karla, Didler, Abdullah, Khaderbhai, Qasim Ali, his journey delectably brings out the perseverance of human character against all odds, and his pathological optimism in humanity.

“That’s how we keep this crazy place together – with the heart…. India is the heart. It’s the heart that keeps us together. There’s no place with people, like my people, Lin. There’s no heart like the INDIAN HEART.”

Lin’s insight into the culture of India is quite perceptive and close to home. It made me reflect on Indian Values and how much essence we place on instinct, trust and the judgment of heart.

Here I don’t want to start a discussion on what part of that book is fiction and what part is autobiography, because even our life is a mixture of the experiences that we have and our perceptions of how they can be. This is one book that makes you cheerful and reflective at the same time. This racy, scintillating and engaging story is worth reading even if it’s a figment of fiction as those touching insights can’t be written if they are not felt in heart. How I wished Karla is real! Throughout the book, I was captivated by her meaningful and poignant observations on life.

Savor some of her quotes here…

“Loves are like that. You heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self-respect and independence. After a while, you started throwing people out – your friends and everyone you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking, and you know it’s going to take down with it. I’ve seen that happen to a lot of girls. That’s why I’m sick of Love.”

“The world and I are not on the speaking terms. The world tries to win me back, but it doesn’t work. I guess I’m just not the forgiving type.”

“Men reveal what they think when they look away, and what they feel when they hesitate. With women, it’s the other way round.”

“You said it’s important to have freedom to say no, but I think it’s more important to have freedom to say yes.”

“Sometimes I think that’s what heaven is- a place where everybody’s happy because nobody loves anybody else, ever.”

“People always hurt us with their trust. The surest way to hurt someone you like, is to put all your trust in him.”

“I don’t know what frightens me more, the power that crushes us or our endless ability to endure it.”

“Mistakes are like bad loves, the more you learn from them, the more you wish they’d never happened.”

“The truth is a bully we all pretend to like.”

“I could never respect a man who didn’t have the good sense to be at least a little afraid of me.”

“Sometimes you have to surrender before you win.”

“Wisdom is just cleverness, with all the guts kicked out of it.”

I’d only give you advice if I didn’t care what happens to you.”

“If fate doesn’t make you laugh, then you just don’t get the joke.”

“I take everything personally- that’s what being a person is all about.”

“It isn’t a secret, unless keeping it hurts.”

“Depression only happens to people who don’t know how to be sad.”

“Luck is what happens to you when fate gets tired of waiting”

Shantaram emerges as a shimmering tribute to the indomitable human character entangled in all its glories, and fallacies. Though his life takes him through nefarious lanes, he comes out decent, vital, enduring and oddly human!

There are so many insightful excerpts that I wish to share, yet I could collect only some of them. Do Enjoy!

Some Of My Favorite Quotes from Shantaram By David Gregory Roberts…

“Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that’s all we have – to hold on tight until the dawn”

“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”

“A dream is a place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and fear are exactly the same, we call the dream a nightmare.”

“Fear dries a man’s mouth, and hate strangles him. That’s why hate has no great literature: real fear and real hate have no words.”

“You are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely to a child. And you are not a good man until you earn the love, truly and freely, of a child in return.”

“Be true to love where ever you find it, and be true to yourself and everything that you really are.”

Hope you are sold! 🙂 Rush to pick it up and be assured of an enticing and unusual insight into the adventure called life!





Siddhartha

21 05 2007

“Wondrous indeed was my life, so he thought, wondrous detours it has taken. As I boy, I had only to do with gods and offerings. As a youth, I had only to do with asceticism, with thinking and meditation, was searching for Brahman, worshiped the eternal in the Atman. But as a young man, I followed the penitents, lived in the forest, suffered of heat and frost, learned to hunger, taught my body to become dead. Wonderfully, soon afterwards, insight came towards me in the form of the great Buddha’s teachings, I felt the knowledge of the oneness of the world circling in me like my own blood. I went and learned the art of love with Kamala, learned trading with Kamaswami, piled up money, wasted money, learned to love my stomach, learned to please my senses. I had to spend many years losing my spirit, to unlearn thinking again, to forget the oneness. Isn’t it just as if I had turned slowly and on a long detour from a man into a child, from a thinker into a childlike person? But what a path has this been! But it was right so, my heart says “Yes” to it, my eyes smile to it. I’ve had to experience despair, I’ve had to sink down to the most foolish one of all thoughts, to the thought of suicide, in order to be able to experience divine grace, to hear Om again, to be able to sleep properly and awake properly again. I had to become a fool, to find Atman in me again. I had to sin, to be able to live again. Where else might my path lead me to? It is foolish, this path, it moves in loops, perhaps it is going around in a circle. Let it go as it likes, I want to to take it.”

Siddhartha is an philosophical novel written by Hermann Hesse. Set in ancient India in times of Buddha, this novel delineates with the spiritual quest of the Siddhartha, a handsome Brahmin boy. This novel explores the journey of Siddhartha, his search for enlightenment, desire for self-knowledge, experiences of materialistic conquests, practice of self denial, understanding of the timeless unity and finally the discovery of enlightenment with a Buddhist perspective.

With a strong narrative and a compelling evolution of thought, Hermann Hesse explores the life’s journey of Siddhartha in all totality to offer some food for soul. One may wonder the relevance of the ‘state of being’ for the current day fast track generation, yet this book gives a joyous ride to the old age values of contemplation, wisdom of indirection, introspection, learnings from life, role play of love and the concept of Om.