Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Myth of Sisyphus

There was time in college when I was attracted to existential novels. I went through novels of Camus, Sartre and Kafka et al.  One day I saw this book in the library ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ couldn’t resist picking it up for the title was so mysteriously attractive. I was soon disappointed. It wasn’t fiction but heavy dose of philosophy. I didn’t have the mental perseverance to go through that philosophical assault so left the book back to its shelf.  I haven’t read that book even now but we can read the summery in Wikipedia and save ourselves a lot of trouble. In the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the wily King who even foxed God of death but eventually so incensed Gods that they punished him to roll a heavy boulder up the hill ad infinitum which would roll down as soon as it reached the summit. It appears Camus used Sisyphus’ pointless effort as a metaphor to explain his philosophy of absurd and reaches the conclusion that only in moments of realization of the futility of meaning of life we are unhappy, however persistence of the thought would eventually lead us to a situation of contented acceptance therefore to a state of happiness. In essence he says, we must assume Sisyphus contentedly resigned to his fate therefore was happy.

While I have no quarrel with Camus’ conclusions even though his conclusions are dicey but another aspect of the Sisyphus myth bothers me. Do we need to have tougher punishment available to enforce a punishment served on a fellow? The point is what happens if Sisyphus refuses to roll the boulder up the hill?

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Phoenix (pronounced finiks) is a mythical bird. It rises from its ashes reinvigorated every 500 to 1000 years. This is an interesting concept coming out of Egyptian mythology. This virtually means immortality with some painful but short interludes. One story that is common suggests a phoenix builds itself a nest of twigs and branches then sets it on fire with itself occupying the nest. Both, the bird and the nest, burn in a fiery fire. When all is reduced to ashes the bird rises from it alive and young to live another 500 -1000 years.

This is common knowledge but the paradigm of phoenix has profound meaning. To remain immortal is our hardwired trait. There is no escape from it. A miniscule minority does have nihilistic bent of mind but they are the aberrations. In nut shell, the myth of Phoenix is paradoxical in the sense it doesn’t circumvent death. Our wish for immortality does not take into consideration an interface of death at some standard intervals. In fact, given option like Phoenix i.e one can rise from his own ashes, how many of us will be willing to rise again young from our own ashes and how many would simply want nothing to do with life? It is not life we love so much but the death we fear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Flann O’Brien wrote a novel ‘The Third Policeman’ which was published some thirty years later after it was written because no publisher would entertain it earlier. The novel is a kind of dark comedy; some say it is a post death narrative whatever, it is a celebrated novel. Flann has a way of taking comedy to absurd without sounding gross. You can find more about it in Wikipedia. However, I have mentioned it here to point out that someone has accused me of lifting its entire passage pertaining to De Selby’s ‘mirror extension principle’ verbatim in my piece Aarasii  V.  Briefly De Selby’s theory is … the image we see in a mirror is actually an image from past. The reason being the light takes time to bounce off the mirror and impinge on our eyes to cast the image so no matter how short the duration, the image is still from past. Extending the argument De Selby continues that when two mirrors are placed in parallel, they cast infinite images with each receding image going further back in time so much so that the image he saw at the far off edge was that of a beardless face of a young man. De Selby says that if wasn’t for the limitation of his telescope and earth’s curvature he could have seen himself in a cradle. .. I hope you get the drift.

 My grouse against his accusation is that De Selby’s conclusions are utterly false therefore I couldn’t have copied any passage from Flann’s book willy-nilly. You see De Selby offers right argument but draws wrong conclusion. My point is that when you are able to see the image at the horizon it is your image ‘hu ba hu’ but you will  not be able to recognize the fellow with wrinkled face who walks with the help of a stick, in short one leg dangling in grave, sitting in front of the mirror. ….

Friday, November 25, 2011

A A R A S S I - V

When two mirrors are place opposite each other they produce countless images. But viewing these images is not possible; your body obstructs the viewing. The remedy for this is easy, turn one of the mirrors a wee bit and you will see the series of images turning away in an arc. But the point is not of viewing the image that you can do with just one mirror. It is the quality of mirrors to produce mountain of images. We were witness to this characteristic of mirror in our social milieu today with some cracking effect.

When some reporter informed Anna Hazare that someone slapped Sharad Pawar in full public view he immediately responded with, ‘bas aik hi…?’ If you have high stature in society, a tight leash on tongue is desirable else…………. The mirror knows what to do!   

Friday, November 18, 2011


Soon he realized this qaafila didn’t have a starting point or a destination. His joining it was usual, a few were indifferent, some cranked up nose and some tried to be friendly. It was moving in changing circles often overlapping so stations would repeat albeit irregularly. In a few days he became aware of the working of qaafila. The travelers knew where to buy merchandize cheap and where to dispose them at profit. But it wasn’t always a profitable business. Sometimes too many of them would collect same merchandize creating a glut at disposing station resulting in a loss. The only fellow always making money was the leader of qaafila charging a fee from every one of them for joining the circus.

He too began to make some money and then started acquiring assets at a station he liked in the loop with the purpose of eventually settling down. The thought of settling down to a life of easy drift, of leisure without worries excited him. The problem was he didn’t know what would be a comfortable corpus that would sustain a life style he coveted. While he was still debating the right sum to retire with, he bet high, suffered a crippling loss. So he had to mortgage assets he built up to raise working capital to run his business. Back to where he began he reassessed his goals and objectives. That is when existential questions began to bother him.  

A dervish in the qaafila was like the leader of the qaafila, did nothing yet led a cozy life. The fellow appeared sedate not prone to exhibition of excitement, spoke in impressive halting deep voice full of aphorisms. The queer thing about him was he never seemed to be short of cash. Close scrutiny revealed, he served an abstract need of travelers, resolved their spiritual predicament. He spoke about life advised fellow travelers on spiritual matters, some abstract blah blah on life impressed travelers, gave them a quick spiritual high. Recharged, they would part with some cash in token of their gratitude. The glib talk of dervish did not make sense to his hard rationalism. He confronted dervish one day,
‘What do I seek from life, dervish?’
‘That’s very easy son, you seek pleasure, you seek meaning but important thing is what we get?'
'What do we get dervish?'
'We get death!’
‘Really! You don’t tell anything that we already don’t know?'
‘Yes, indeed! But I add spirituality to it? A little complicated. Let us see, suppose you get a bright idea and confide it to someone important. Now this important person ratifies your idea, what do you get? You get a high from his approval. I do the same. I don’t tell anything new just dress the thing differently, my stature with folks adds aura to it.’
'So all the spirituality comes from your stature with the people; how folks rate you?'
'I get the picture. Thank you.'

Saturday, November 5, 2011


It is an old building in gothic style reminiscent of colonial times. The passage to main entrance shows no sign of trampled grass clearly no one has walked up to the house in a long time. Who knows when the last guest walked away from this house or is the guest still trapped there? Why does neglected building evoke a sense horror even in day while at night come alive, truly acquire a persona of staggering malevolence. I guess it is in the mind.

Does a person born blind has the same sense of heightened fear at night? He wouldn’t tell the difference between day and night! But dark isn’t about not seeing, its other attribute are as disturbing; loneliness and silence. A blind fellow would most certainly be affected by loneliness and silence. There is a story here. A blind fellow walked in the hope of free shelter. Soon a thunder storm disturbed the eerie silence. The rattle of things moving in storm and the knowledge of being lonely wasn’t comforting. He heard voices whispering in alien language and felt an unfriendly feminine shove, sound of bangles clinking. Then they were playing with him. Voices pushing him up the stairs and eventually a fall through the window. He was caught in the branches of large Imli stayed there and starved to death. Nobody goes to this house anymore. There is an angry blind fellow patrolling the premises. Tangle branches of old Imli tree in front of the house leave a cryptic message.  It says in Latin,

Nunc hinc, aliud mori!  

(Stay away else die)


Thursday, November 3, 2011

YAKSH PRASHN Kim Aashcharyam!

Yaksh:  Yudhishthir, son of Yama; what is deeper than ocean?
Yudhishthir: Yaksh, deep is merely a concept of relative space for us. There cannot be an absolute answer to this question. Water level in a dark well may be deep for us but a frog in that well would consider bottom of the well under water to be the deepest. The question therefore becomes ambiguous so needs to be answered in ambiguous way. Thought, Yaksh! Thought can be stretched, there is no limit to its profound depth therefore is deeper than ocean.

Yaksh:  What is faster than wind?
Yudhishthir: Fast again is relative concept. We seem to be standing stationery on earth but the fact is we are moving along with the spin of earth. Earth itself is orbiting around Sun and Sun along with all the stars are in a whirl around a massive black hole deep inside of our galaxy. There is no straight answer to your question, Yaksh!  Imagination, flight of imagination has no boundary. And it can move faster than lightening or anything all you need is a man with imagination.

Yaksh: Kim aascharyam?
Yudhishthir: Now you have me stumped. Guess you expect the same answer I gave five thousand years back. Sorry Yaksh, our desire for immortality is no laughing matter. It is the crux of our existence. Remember what Buddha said? 'Being born is the cause of our misery.', so why would anyone want to live if there is no irresistible desire to live? 

Our faith is God is the most amazing thing. There is no interference from Him, events appear to be occurring in random fashion. A building crashes; all save an infant perish. Is this a miracle? No Yaksh, an infant occupies least space, has the maximum chance to occupy cavities formed in crashed debris. This is probability not miracle. Miracle will be when a building crashes and everyone survives. God is our remedy for unexplained, a peg to take support from when dice falls the wrong way. God is byproduct of our ability to think. I guess concept of God is the most amazing thing.  

Monday, October 31, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part VI : Final Secret of Life

Next day Sushant found the crocodile still under the banyan tree. There was something churning in his mind, a complete metamorphosis had taken place. Crocodile appeared to have reached a realm of neutrality. Happiness and sorrow seemed fake to him and the world, play of Maya. He no longer had that irresistible desire to know more, like the ascetics he wished to waste away …

Sushant said, ‘Chief I see that you are no longer interested in knowing anything more in life. But trust me there is something you must know. But, for that we must climb the hill first.’ So they began slowly going up the hill. Half way up they reached a flat space where a perilously hung rock jutted out of the hill its one end wedged and locked to hill while bulk of it suspended in free air. Sushant jumped over the rock, croc followed him over as if in trance. Once atop the rock; looking down they could see below Trishta flowing in rapids. A fall from there was certain death. Sushant said,

‘Chief, I see that base fear for preservation of life has left you else you would have hesitated to climb on to this rock. Death is finality of life. You asked me, how did I know that you will die in exact three days? I am no oracle, nobody is. I carved your future therefore I knew you will die in three days. You see, Chief, I planned to kill you here. But be happy dying isn’t such a bad thing, being born is. We live therefore we suffer. Die in peace friend.’

Sushant jumped from the hung rock and kicked hard at the piece of boulder holding the hung rock locked in a wedge like grip. The boulder moved causing the giant rock hurtling down the hill……….

Sunday, October 30, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part III : Second Secret of Life

Next day Sushant found crocodile right under that withered Jamun tree still mulling over the revealed secret of life. When he saw Sushant, said in appreciative voice,

‘Sushant, you are right. Ever since I diverted focus from preserving to living life there has been a defining change in my perspective. For the first time I observed songs of birds flying past this tree, I saw the twinkling stars in dark night, fascinating view of briefly frozen trail of shooting stars across the dark canvas. My thought horizon has expanded many fold, grossly alert predatory reflex subdued allowing for calm observation. I seem to have plenty of time to observe things, kind of living in slow motion. A sense of transcendental serenity pervading my being. The past night seems to have lasted over a life time. I am now fully primed to receive second secret of life ……’

“Chief we need to walk further up the river, to the base of that rocky hill before I can reveal second secret of life.’

So they began arduous walk up the river under the bright sun, eventually reached the base of a rocky hill; barren, dusty, filled with boulders not a blade of grass growing there save for a lone Banyan tree at the base. In the sea of wilderness, Banyan tree was the lone representative of life. Under its shadow Sushant revealed the second secret of life,

‘Chief, life must be preserved’

Crocodile looked at him incredulously, ‘But you said life must be lived not preserved.’

‘No Chief, I did not say life should not be preserved, I said the entire focus was on preservation of life but life cannot be lived unless it is preserved. Of course individual life is to be preserved but I mean life in the sense of life of species, races and the creatures occupying the land. Unless there are fellow creatures, life cannot be lived.  Look at this Banyan tree; it is flourishing in wilderness giving moisture to earth, supporting a variety of life forms. Its roots shooting down from branches creating a miasmic world under its shade. Colonies of ants and other life forms feeding from sap excreted from its limbs; thriving and becoming food for higher insects, recycling and eventually creating a self sustained eco-system. It is a world of give and take balancing leading to peaceful harmony and coexistence. Take only what you need and give back what you can without demur.'


B O D H I S A T T V A - Part II : First Secret of Life

There was something in Sushant’s voice, a strand of compelling truth, a sense of finality. The Crocodile now looked bewildered, waited for a while then let go of his leg, said

‘I know Sushant, you are wise and very able but how can you be so sure that I will die in three days? You may as well know your own fate then. Did it occur to you that your own end could come in just a few moments! When do you think you will die?’  
‘Chief, I cannot know my own fate, it will set the nature’s equilibrium off balance, unleash uncontrollable resonance resulting in destruction of human kind. Can you imagine where the knowledge of their invincibility will lead humans?’
‘But you just said I will die in exact three days!’
‘Yes you will!
‘So what is the deal?’
‘What deal, Chief?’
‘Surely you must have something in offer. After all consuming you may not be such a huge reward to me if I have only three day left to live but letting you off is a huge reward for you?’
‘Yes, indeed. Wise Chief, I have something in return for your kind act. I will reveal three secrets of life to you one on each of your remaining days so that when time comes to depart there will be no regret. Today I will reveal the first secret. But before that we will have to walk over to the tree yonder.’

So they walked about hundred meters upstream of the river where on the bank was a lone Jamun tree, withered, lifeless.  Once under its shadow Sushant said,
‘Chief, first secret of life is that we have to live it’
‘But this is no secret Sushant, we all live life?’ said the incredulous crocodile.
‘Really, Chief? Do we live life or we simply preserve it? All through the drift of life our actions are focused on preserving life while many windows pass by, we don’t even look through them. You see this Jamun tree withered and apparently lifeless yet attached to its dry and juiceless trunk there is a thriving evergreen Peepul living life to the fullest. Think about it, tomorrow I will let you into another secret of life.’

Saturday, October 29, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part I

When nature conspires, it picks a pleasant day.

Sushant, as Bodhisattva, was the chief of his herd. Contrary to general belief deer prefer open vistas, stretch of grasslands and not the dense forest as it deters predators waiting in ambush. Sushant and his herd had easy life at banks of river Trishta. The herd was growing, clear sign of natural equilibrium on the drift as a testimony to Sushant’s skilled and able leadership. Although there was relative peace on the land yet danger lurked on the river infested with ferocious crocodiles. They all had to go to river to quenching their thirst therefore had to deal with the crocodiles and occasionally become their meal.

 It was a pleasant day, Sushant, despite his skill, vast knowledge and clever ways lost focus due to all pervading sense lethargy. He was caught by the mightiest of the crocodiles perhaps their leader. Before the crocodile could begin his ferocious spin to rip his limbs apart, Sushant quickly regained his composer, said in a profoundly calm and persuasive voice…

‘Crocodile Chief, this catch is pointless, a wastage!’
The curiosity causing words had desired impact. Crocodile halted but did not loosen hold of jaws on Sushant’s leg, but waited in curious anticipation. Noticing the impact of his word on the crocodile, Sushant continued…

‘I will make a very big meal for you, Chief.  Perhaps you will not need to eat for another twenty days. Imagine the wastage when you are sure to die in exact here days from now!’


Monday, October 24, 2011

Aarasii IV

The park I frequent is not big. In fact it is about the size of two large traffic islands you see in New Delhi; like the one at Janpath and Akbar road crossing or one near Udhyog Bhavan.  Its shape is like a loose rubber band, uneven oblong. It mostly has fragile Rain trees along the periphery. Their grip of earth is very weak therefore often uproot in stormy rains. Rain trees normally form nice round dome like canopy but here they are in competition with tall buildings for sunlight therefore take vertical route for growth. The result is; the park looks like bottom of an irregular shaped high walled vessel. There is a raised walking track along the perimeter just enough for three people to walk abreast. A circular pagoda like shed at one end of the park is used mostly by smug but stern looking wise women/men imparting wisdom to lesser mortals. Inside of walking track on the lush green are concrete benches for people to relax.

I generally take a few rounds of brisk walking then settle down on one of the empty benches to catch my breath, spend time observing people. To each his idiosyncrasies! Like any other day the stretch of grass was dotted with islands of human clusters. Groups of ladies were gossiping while attached children having fun around them. Occasionally someone from them would yell out some instruction to children ‘don’t  do …….’  The group near me had a south Indian woman, young absentminded, striking for her detached demeanor. Dark complexioned she had that fatal appeal, not the sexy kind but of feminine vulnerability that spurs men to reach out and protect them. Suddenly she became violently animate…..
I could see a dark malevolent man standing behind the fence on the edge of park. Just the torso visible making deep guttural threatening sounds the kind hardly audible in lower range but very disturbing. The woman got up began speaking animatedly with in her native language with exaggerated gestures. She stayed rooted to her spot, staccato outburst quickly changed tone, now indignant, now cajoling and now issuing threats.  The man at the fence kept steady supply of provocation lest the woman relax.
Everyone of the group had now risen looked at her in stultified horror some totally flummoxed. I was surprised that none bothered to confront the offending man. The old man sitting next me on the bench whispered, ‘She is schizophrenic!’
‘What nonsense! Can’t you see the man on the fence threatening her?’
‘What man?’ he looked at me bewildered.

I saw what she saw because I also had the same mirror to see......

Friday, October 21, 2011


Mist lets you see partially therefore word automatically acquires a sense of mystery. It also has the ability to place a layer of shroud over things therefore removes ugliness of a scene. Mist is like nostalgia, it purges unpleasantness of past, presents a hazy romanticized picture of past with blunt edges fudged out a le fantasy in slow motion. When I reminisce past, I see an innocent kid running with a kite or on a swing in wet monsoon or climbing Jamun, Ber trees; not the brutal schools, difficult parents or general deprivations. Hard truth is, I don’t want to live out the past all over again. I suppose nostalgia evolved in the context of evolutionary scheme of things to purge unpleasantness from our mind else collective garbage from past wouldn’t let us move on unbiased.

This amazing picture shows in a metaphorical way conclave of serious individuals busy in a hushed conversation.  . . …..

Beautifully captures essence of Mist!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The hillock was mostly bald with patches of green but largely ugly brown. At the summit were two skinny trees with little leaves and not too many branches. The larger of them had Y shape; appeared like a woman mulling with one arm, elbow bent, resting on her hips. The other looked like her child with a basket on head. The visual was disturbing.
Beyond the hillock was a forlorn railway Station. It was mostly empty of people; a single train went up in the morning, the same returned in the evening. The platform was not raised but its vague boundary was marked by red bricks dug into the ground upright. It was at the same level as the railway line. A small three room building in very bad shape served for the office of station master, ticket window etc. Signal towers at each end of the platform and a steel structure at one end of the platform holding a small water tank completed the station complex.
It was twilight time. A lone man with crisp white shirt and dark firmly ironed trouser with a brief case in hand was restlessly strolling up and down the platform. He looked very odd in that milieu, apparently an agriculture implements salesman. He had already enquired with the station master several times about the arrival train. The place appeared to him stuck in some kind of time warp. There was nothing he could do to accelerate passing of time. Then he saw some hope. At distance he saw movement over the railway line, a train was arriving. His hopes were dashed when a goods train came to a halt with nasty shrieks of breaks moving down the train decaying in a wave like surge. The trade mark guard’s cabin was in the middle of the train. He saw a funny character jumping from that cabin, immediately began running towards the engine. He began attempting to climb to the roof of that engine. Strangely it was a diesel engine so the effort made no sense to the man at the platform. In fact he felt fearful for the guard as a high tension wire ran over the track. He hesitated briefly then briskly walked over to station master’s room to report this bizarre happening. He expected a minor eruption of temper but the station master looked at him sympathetically through the thick glasses, which made his eyes look grotesque, said ‘Sorry fellow, a goods train will pass first before your train arrives.’
‘Goods train will pass! It has already arrived and halted. I have come to report the same. A crazy fellow is trying something incomprehensible. Please stop this crazy man.” 
‘What are you talking? The train hasn’t moved from the last station!’
‘I was about to tell you about that crazy guard in that goods train. The fellow will get electrocuted? You must stop him.”
The station master looked at him curiously and got up. When they came out, the sales fellow was shocked to see an empty station. There was no sign of the goods train.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


by Kali Hawa

The sea was calm and the wind a steady drift. That lone bloke standing on the deck was thinking, the ocean looked so refreshing and endearing in the middle of the day has morphed into a sinister maelstrom in the darkness of night. The lit cigarette held between his fingers was making fascinating crisscrossing patterns in the dark canvass. Occasionally some spark would detach from the glowing head, for a moment swing around, abruptly die. In the loneliness of night he could see ruins of a towering structure not far away. A light-house perhaps!  Like the kalaiwala*, ruii-dhunnewala, and pager, it’s time to fade away has come leaving space for more glitzy and efficient contraptions. Who knows how many flotillas, barges or even pirate ships corrected course taking cue from its simmering beacon; now this grand relic is having tough time asserting its usefulness. Surging waves would fill up its shaft and when receding, fountains would burst out of the crevices on wall, declaring audaciously its struggle for existence. 

Suddenly he felt a large blob of light hung in the air some distance from him. He then heard someone whispering to him…

rukaa kuch bhi nahiin hai
sirf rukne ka ehsaas hai 
zindagi ka markaz aik equilibrium  hai
uske ird-gird pendulum ki maanind ghumati hai 
raftaar ka ehsaas jiine ki shakl hai............'

[Nothing is still; what seems still is only our perception.  Life swings around an equilibrium and the feel of motion is our sense of living]

‘Who are you?’
 I am your God!’
My God? Does every individual have his own God?
Yes indeed. I am merely projection of your thought.
What is with the sphere shape?
It looks the same from every side!

Abruptly the blob of light went blank; everything sank in an abyss of darkness. Then he realized the light from the tower that was focused on him had gone off instead a dull dying white glow occupied that spot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aarasii III (Mirror)

The man entering the room was a psychic. The room was about twice as long as its width, looked largely bare with minimal furniture, a couple of pictures hung on the side walls. It was brightly lit, walls painted in matte white finish. He could see a high mirror neatly embedded into the side wall on his left in the middle of the room. It had varnished wood frame delicately worked with flowery patterns as if it was a celebrated painting.  As he entered the room, the door swung back slowly, closed with a mild thud.

Nothing to do, he walked up and down the room scrutinizing the little furniture and looked at the paintings on the wall critically. Eventually when he looked at the mirror he felt a surge of fear running down his spine. All was normal except the mirror didn’t reflect his own image! In reflex he looked at his hands, bent his head to look at his torso for reassurance and then looked back at the mirror, nothing; his image still wasn’t there. He was a psychic, he knew it was just a trick, mostly sleight of hand to fool people, sometimes strong persuasive suggestions to warp consciousness and fool the mind but brazen disappearance of image was not explainable. In auto reflex his hands moved up to mirror to feel it. He was surprised that there was no mirror at all. It was open space, a pane less window. In fact an identical room in the style of mirror image of the one he was in; complete with reversed pictures and furniture existed on the other side.    

The above was merely a writer’s way of creating allegory, a powerful allusion or metaphor to make a point. There is nothing in the world we can say with finality. If I say am agnostic, it is only at conscious level I reject super-normal and irrational but I have no control over my subconscious. It is still ruled by occult, paradigms of superstitions and belief that my destiny is enshrined in wriggly lines on my palm. Is death then cessation of existence? Indeed it is at rational level but life is a lot more complex, there are mindboggling thoughts that prevent us from acknowledging this possibility. When I think of life after the death it seems to me that secrets of the world will be revealed to me after the body’s expiry date.  It doesn’t quite gel. If the secrets are revealed, our reason to exist in any form will also evaporate. Paradoxical, isn’t it. We must live to know that we will never know why Universe exists!  There really is no mirror on the wall to show us what we are, why we are. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Aarasii II

[Bizarre world on the other side of Mirror]

The door didn’t open to the room instead a short passage and then a large room. Peering through the smudgy glass on the door, he opened his eyes wide to make out what was in the room. The passage had blocked major part of the view of room but a mirror on the side wall reflected clearly an emaciated body sprawled in the middle of the floor.  Another woman reclining on an easy chair, as frail as the one sprawled on the floor, was trying to snooze oblivious to the inert body on the floor. In fact she pushed lightly the frail body with her right foot to get some space to spread out her legs. Amazingly the presence of inert body didn’t bother her at all. Suddenly she stood up walked over to the adjoining room, returned with a glass, not washed in weeks, with water, lifted the woman’s listless head, poured a few drops into her mouth. She then whispered something into the woman’s ear, didn’t wait for answer. All the effort had drained this woman as well. She slumped back into the chair and sank into a bout of delirium.

They broke open the door. A burst of foul stench whiffed past them. They softly lifted the bodies and carried them over to waiting ambulance. The melee in room had knocked the mirror off the wall, crashing, shattering pieces on the floor. The women who was still half conscious, briefly opened her eyes, thought …..

The delicate equilibrium of life has slipped from its peg, who knows where it will settle now!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Aarasii is a mirror as in the muhavarah “haath kangan ko aarasii kyaa”. But a mirror is a great metaphor because it is so graphical. It shows us our image, tells us ‘this is how you appear to others’. So we make superficial alterations to present ourselves in a way we want to tell the world ‘this is how I am!’ Mostly a fake exaggerated copy.  And we make the mirror lie to us and for us.

But in spiritual realm Aarasii is profoundly more substantial. The aura of the other side of mirror is mysteriously bewitching. Sometimes, when we have time in hand and are all by ourselves, the urge is to cross over to the other side of mirror, begin peeling off the farcical layers, heaven knows how many and see what we really look like. It appears to be one access point of our quest to unravel mystery of our deeply buried inner-self, tantalizingly so near yet impossible to reach. It occurred to me that our world has a small place that emulates the other side of mirror.

When I see Anna Hazare! Seems like there aren’t too many layers over him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anna Hazare Logjam

The government can break this logjam if it shows real sincerity. We have a potentially explosive situation in India where politician have zero credibility with people and a bullheaded Anna trying ram through a bill in parliament which itself is creation of a handful of people. What we need is some sanity. The bill presented by Anna gang can cause serious harm and bill presented by the government appears toothless. There is an ocean of gullible nation willing to throw their lot with Anna because the other side has completely lost faith of the people therefore we need another set of people who are beyond reproach, have proven wisdom and confidence of people to judge. Government should institute a panel of such people such as Amartya Sen, Narayan Murthy, some eminent judges, some top educationist and some eminent lawyers and let them go through the two versions of bills and make a compromise.

They can also utilize this great opportunity to find means to cleanse the parliament of criminals. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


An aged Neem tree by its side and cluster of decrepit single storey houses surrounding it; the well was left alone for a long time. Unused, sans pulley and the frame to hold the contraption, the brickwork rim at its head was crumbling. It was a dark well, very deep, if any water in it, you cannot see due to the contrast created by dazzling afternoon sun. There was still some moisture around the circle of wellhead. A constant stream of ants trailing from the base of Neem tree to the edge of well kept the day in perfect balance. ‘Andha KuaaN’, why it is called so, beats me! Dark has intuitive association with blindness but they are entirely two different things. Not seeing is not the same as seeing dark; blindness has no concept of color.

Then this focused woman came, look around only once. She had glazed eyes, seemed to be walking in a trance. Unhurried she walked on straight to the well, without fanfare climbed the broken brickwork of wellhead and in the same tempo carried on……….

The balance of the day was irrevocably broken.