Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2011

The trip goes on

A recent attempt by me at an animated short film.

This one started on a whim. i created an image, then another and kept on going wherever the whim of the moment took me. Hence 'a trip'. I intend to continue this project as long as i can. I will keep on adding continuation in the trip as times goes by. lets see what i end up with.
hopefully, it will be entertaining enough.

Busyness is the opium of the cubicle-class - I

My laptop is crowded with many unfinished projects. By some miraculous grace of god some are beginning slowly to take some form of completion.This one is a little litany about life in cubicles. No, its no where close to the genius/ insightful/ funny of Dilbert. I didn't intend it to be that any ways. It was more an outlet to what i felt fleetingly at times in my previous job. A little snapshot of the thoughts that crowd around in a moment of frustration. But this frustration had hope, it contemplated the many possibilities. its the frustration of the young. :-)










To be continued.. hopefully soon enough. (the first two pages happened in a weekend a year back. The next two pages were done today. :P I shall persevere. i must. :) )

windows in the sky

In the twilight blue, a light shines through, a portal opens, and adventures ensue...

The shoe

The artist and his echo chamber

Have you ever shouted out in a valley and laughed out in incredibly playful happiness?
The marvel that is echo. (umberto, go sit down in that corner :P)
Isn't it beautiful? to hear yourself. louder. bigger. from unknown corners. delayed, almost leisurely. Whatever age you may be, the moment you do it, you turn 6 year old faster than the speed of sound. You may try to hide yourself, but don't you for that moment become that annoying little kid who gives you creases on your forehead in annoyance and ripples of laughter in your heart?

But this echo is temporary. after the 10th echo, you will start getting tired. (it actually involves physical efforts you know? yeah. really. the very concept of any real physical effort outside of a gym will soon become extinct, i know. hmmm.. whatever ) There is no more novelty to it as well. The echo is going to come out exactly the way it has been coming all this while. There is no more mystery left to it.

But, there is another magical echo t…

three kids

slow and certain

What do you think of, when you stare at the slowly moving progress bar on the flickering screen?
Or when you refresh the facebook feed?

What do people in desert think, when they stare at slow shape shifting of sand dunes?
What do aboriginals think when they gaze at the slowly moving stars on the dark screen overhead?

What do the old Parsi men think, when they read the day's obituary in Jam-e-Jamshed?

you and aam aadmi

Do you think you are an aam aadmi?
you are a voyeur in the great playground of this nation. You are outside the playground. You are a consumer. you earn your white collar dollars and spend it on processed snacks and shiny things. and that's the only thing that excites you or the people high up. They are concerned with nothing else about you. Sadly, neither are you.
The only things that hold your gaze are TV and your ever expanding belly. The shining rectangles are narrowing your minds and squeezing out all empathy you've got.
You whine for a while when shit happens. But won't try to affect any change. At this moment you pick up the placards in the name of aam aadmi and walk in circles in your living room. But there's nothing 'aam' about how you see yourself. You are world unto you. That world is small but richly invested with your emotions. That narrow world doesn't entertain logic or differing opinions. Once painted with a favorite color, the personal bub…

The rabid dog

saw 'pom poko'. Its a story of how an able, happy community of tanukis face their extinction in the face of rapid urbanisation that causes the loss of their homeland, their lifestyle and their food.
Its really amazing how Japanese movie makers so empathetically voice dissent while fully cognizant of the futility of it all. The sense of capitulation at the climax of many such movies are scripted in a way to invoke not a sense of loss, but a sense of preservation of whatever small life, pride and identity is left. Under the mask of laughter, there is a vigorous attempt at forgetting the loss and making the most of the present. I wonder how deeply has Hiroshima affected the Japanese psyche, or does this sense of 'interal triumph in face of imminent capitulation' goes beyond Hiroshima, in their amazingly rich culture?
____
while thinking of this, got reminded of the Japanese response to the Tsunami in march 2011. Had read about their belief of 'wa wo mottte toutoshi t…

stop hating justin beiber

Frankly, i don't know much about the guy. I don't watch TV, and don't follow much of any pop culture. But the amount of Justin-Beiber-bashing I come across is ridiculous. All sorts of unrelated videos on youtube have comments about him. As a phenomenon, he is certainly quite a brand; to command such humongous share of global mind space, truly amazing.The bashing might really be helping him consolidate his brand. But what irks me is the mindless obsession people have about his image. He is all of a sudden the yardstick of pop-cultural-degradation. Lets call the unit a 'bib'. so a jersey shore would be 1.9 bib, as compared to say lady gaga being 0.7 bib.
hmm.. i like this. guess will use it in this blog here-after. :P
I am digressing.

His music is supposedly for 13 year olds. If you are not a 13 yr old or don't feel like one, you do not have to listen to him. stop complaining. he isn't singing for/to you. there is a world beyond you. let go. let go of that m…

End of the world/ whatev..

In a world full of orphans, will anyone ever feel the heartache of absent parents?
Can you feel the absence of something that you never knew existed?
___
There are people who warn about the end of the world and then there are people who debunk it and laugh at the scare-mongerers. But the truth is both are right in their posturing.
The world is ending in a certain sense that the first group of people are aware of and scared therefore. For them what is getting lost is precious and irreplaceable.
Our children won't miss the chirping of birds that we grew up with. For some of us, its an end of a world that was pristine and beautiful. We didn't just lose the common sparrow, we lost the complete world beyond the 'me'. The high pitched chirping used to yank us out of our small world and present to us the beautiful world of colors and sounds and lightness; a world where little selfish creatures seduce the captive leaves and indulge in bantering with the winds.
People who nev…

Mixed signals

enter the void

how is someone's life worth more than someone else's?
I am watching 'enter the void' the second time. The first time, it was a total trip, like none before. Its an experience out of this world. But second time sober viewing left a few lingering thoughts.
The drug dealer dies a sorry death. But that does not mean its an end of existence of his soul. He finds a way of being with his beloved sister again.
If death is absence of life, then he never really dies. Then is it more important to live a life fully, or is it more important to lend a meaning to a life through affecting a change in the world we inhabit?
When we talk of worth of someone, is it fair to put the weight of world on him? Is Gandhi's life worth more than his assassin's? Is his life worth more than the little organisms who feasted on his remains?
And if we accept that every one has a role to play in this world, how do we perceive violence and love in it?
Gandhi wanted to change the world to a certa…

singing my song

I caught myself singing along to an English song. again.
*stop*
I can't go on. Once I realize that I am singing, i must stop. Well, its not that I am a terrible singer (not to my own ears anyways) or that i have any social qualms (quite on the contrary, I might sing loudly in crowded places just because I can) but its simply the fact that it sounds weird coming out of my mouth. You see, my English and the American/British English is wildly different from each other. Inadvertently I find myself trying to ape an accent that's not mine and I feel ridiculous.
*stop*
So while Indian English is almost my first language, i don't have a single art/ cultural reference to it apart from some stand up comedy. (and none of them unconscious of the accent. instead, more often than not, they are conscious jokes on the accent) I have no songs to sing in my natural English accent and language.
I can sing truly to Hindi or Marathi songs. but half the lyrics would be lost on me due to my s…

Colors. Space. light. tea. music. happiness. Beauty.

Right now my whole being feels like a pastiche of a million poetries. Thoughts have melted into curving, dripping, flowing ideas. I close my eyes and it feels like I am dancing... moving with the breeze... waltzing with dry leaves. Levitated... Light…
I am listening to Il Postino's soundtrack which has Neruda's poetry. And it’s beautiful. Often when I let lose this sublime world of poetry and beauty in my 10x15 feet room, the room as if takes a deep breath and flies up into clouds. I feel free as if I am jumping from one cloud onto another. At times like these, I have played with colors by throwing them on wall, or posting colorful post-its on my room window or in more contemplative moods just cleaned my room. It’s like life revolves around moments like these. You don’t age day by day… one grows with each such beautiful moment. The beauty in these moments is ever present and yet so transient. You can’t capture it, neither can you prolong it. But then again, there is beauty in …

To question or not to question, that is the question.

Earlier today I wrote here about Coke's new advertisement. Essentially I made an argument that its an irresponsible communication from a corporate giant who is not acting responsibly on ground and spreading message of hope through commercial communications. This two faced-ness is dangerous to our generation and a big bane for the health of our earth. However a dear friend made a valid point. That by creating ruckus with such campaigns, I am essentially robbing people of the optimism that these campaigns create.
and this made me think. Is it right for me (or for any individual for that matter) to critically question everything even at the cost of causing displeasure? Is it more important for a people to be happy than being truthfully aware of what they are being subjected to?
On a personal level too, I have faced this dilemma often and am now only beginning to learn to hold my views when the person i am talking to is not ready to listen to any contrarion thought or that the moment…

The anthem of the deluded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vKDOWAf5M8&feature=player_embedded

Sorry, can't seem to embed it here... 

See this new commercial by coca-cola.
Coca-cola: the glorious fizz drink maker who are making this world better by spreading happiness apparently (through making us drink pesticide laced poison and depleting our water table and spreading violence against labor union & wreaking local communities in  Guatemala and many other places)

This wonderful ad comes at a wonderful time in the history of the world. The planning team did an impeccable job, I must say. The world is in deep shit. People need consolation. People want to hear that the world will be better again. They can go gorge on ridiculous amounts of cheese, steaks and Mchumanity without any consequence. And lo and behold... the ad delivers exactly that.
However i have this urge to rip apart this charade of idiotic optimism which is nothing short of criminal. its perpetuating exactly the same mindset that got us …

There's a book in me

There's a book in me.
But its not just a book. Its a yell. Its a war cry. I can't just sit in the sidelines. I can't just live a life without a purpose. I can't let myself detoriate to a middle-class stupor, an existence stripped of any passions, any measure of being alive. I am a born stirrer. Though often I remain in sidelines cuz I believe that i don't have a right to interfere or fight on someone else's behalf; I am not going to just swim with my surroundings anymore. I am going to react to what affects me. I am goin to stir questions in people close to me. A life without questioning one's self is a life in coma. Its not long that I realised i was in coma for the last year or so. The stupor accelerated in the comfortable Hyderabad, where my job is morally defunct, intellectually empty and value worth zilch. All it did was made me fat with all that still sitting and emptied my brain with the stupor of mindless excel sheets and dead silence of office. T…

Jungle claims all..

This was written about a month ago. it was a heavy evening with clouds that refused to rain. 
____
My room is a 12 by 12 feet fortress. Books and loud music keep the outside world where it belongs. Buena vista social club, Sigur Ros and Inti-Illimani create the different layers of the reality that I want to belong to. The alien language reinforces the knowledge that that world is indeed exotic, but not inaccessible. Buena Vista creates a world of siestas, gentle dance and happy café shop conversations; Sigur Ros’s pristine beautiful sounds fills me with contentment and calm happiness; and Inti-Illimani’s simple earthy songs of togetherness promises me a better future. And then ‘Duniya’ from the movie ‘Gulaal’ starts on the shuffle. All the carefully constructed peace is shattered and I return to the anger that I was trying to run away from. The duniya (world) I was avoiding all along comes in with all its virulent malevolence through those speakers; the duniya that makes deception th…

Carry pepper spray/ talk at home

This post also features in my FutureChallenges blog with a few edits here
_______

We are living in a fucked up world.
For every incidence of sexual violence I get to know of experienced by my friends, a sickening feeling overcomes me & fills me with dread. dread for the many girls who will never tell their experience to anyone. dread for the unimaginably horrible world we live in. If very close friends too share such experiences only when they are sure that they won't be judged, I shudder to think of how many of the women I interact with everyday or pass by would have had to go through such ordeals as well. Is any woman/girl/child safe at all in this country? We might build walls. we might only travel in our own cars and never in the dead of the night. But is it any safer? How can it be any safer for women, if their world is built on the notions of shame, purity, 'decency' and so on? By defining our 'culture' squarely on the basis of men's right to ju…

what do you do, by the way?

Two weird things happened today.

one.
While walking back home, on the way there was a band baja barat going in celebration of Navratri. The bandwallahs had just started the ruckus and people were crowding around at the crossroads where the band was playing.
There was a clear difference between people who were clearly excited and stopped there, and the ones who walked away while glancing back from time to time. The one's who were walking away either had construction helmets or were wearing formal clothes with tucked in shirts. Both kinds were migrant laborers. While the first kind were busy building their lives through houses for others in this alien city, the latter were building theirs by sitting at one place for most of the day in air conditioned rooms.
People who called this lovely city as their home, waited in excitement of celebrations to follow. Migrants like me walked away eagerly to go home to wash away the day in a nice cold shower.
Its weird, this feeling of being a mig…

sand

While taking out the battery charger out of the camera bag, I noticed that sand was embedded in it. Well, the last time i went anywhere with sand was mui ne beach in Vietnam.

But then I saw some sand in the old camera bag too? it was different and sure couldn't be from Mui ne, because I was using other bag then. May be pushkar from last year? may be mcleodgunj, may be some other beach that I went to and forgot. 

Travel :D

The wonder box

Camera.
Its an amusement park packed into a small box really.
Holding it by its grip transforms the world around. At times, it turns me into a detective out to capture secrets of the world no one was supposed to known. Most other times, after clicking the camera on, I recede into inconsequence to the surrounding. Much like fishing, I do not stir and I consciously remove myself from the life of the world moving by. I wait and I move slowly. The act of anticipation is so beautiful, its almost meditative. But then the pictures I tend to take are anything but striking. While taking the picture, I do not attempt at crystallizing a metaphor of life in a frame, or even to depict a representation of some facet of life. I just try to remember through my camera how awesome the life is. So more often my videos are like photographs (still and intent) and my photographs are like videos (not restricted to just one element, context included).
With my camera, a sort of calm stillness fills me. I enj…

On why there won't be a revolution in India

Tunisia woke up after a young man driven with frustration doused himself in fire. He cared for his dignity. People in Tunisia recognized that systematic stripping of dignity that the government was subjecting them to. Out of the flames arose the call for dignity so loud that it toppled several dictators.
The pre-shocks of the Tsunami were felt at a town square where a shopkeeper could not take the abuse from the police anymore. He took up a fight on street. Quickly the whole town was baying for blood of police. Dignity had been earned back.

However, Indians have given up on the very idea of dignity long back. Crimes against humanity get internalized by families as rules of the world. ('Its like that only') The idea of right and wrong is very unstable. For example, if a young couple gets hacked to death for daring to love even though being from different castes, the society will turn it into a tamasha where moral eyebrows would be raised about the character of the young couple.…

On how it is ok to be ordinary

Ordinariness has such melancholic grace to it. Perhaps, its the finality of its evident fall that leads to submission, that stillness.
Just saw the movie 'The illusionist'. Its script was written by Jacques Tati, one of the most wonderful film makers ever. Most of his movies are keen empathetic witnesses to the effect of modernity on a simple human existence. When I saw his movie, 'playtime', I was spellbound with the many layers of stories woven in a comic portrayal of  a man navigating a modern city.
Watching the Illusionist, reminded me of the fragility of our identity. The movie is about a magician who is finding it more and more difficult to get work due to advent of modern entertainment of rock music and television. One scene is especially telling, when people in the cities are not at all interested in his acts, while in a village in Scotland, his acts gets appreciated. A woman tags along being awestruck with his ways. He tries to earn more to keep her happy, b…

The country of clouds

It never seizes to wonder, the flight. Up up and away! :D (Yes that's actually how my face looks like throughout the flight)
(The first time I flew early morning towards Leh, I couldn't restrain my glee. My hands clutched at the handle not with fear but with hope to tame down my excitement. I would strain my neck to see out of the window. I couldn't help but laugh out loud with helpless blameless happinesss pouring out through my being. Well, many delays and lay overs later, the same excitement grips me on every single flight still.)

Within moments you leave all that you have known. People shrink to impossible insignificance of small ants. Big imposing sky scrapers look like lego sets. As you peer down, you skip by distances so swiftly as if you have grown giant limbs and they are so far below that you can't feel them. Jumping over buildings and roads, my imaginary feet running with easy strides.

And then comes the best part of it all. The clouds. :D Passing and cuttin…

Jealousy

was listening to Rob Dougan's 'One and the same'. Its such a beautiful song. If you close your eyes while listening to it, it gives you a feeling of continuous upward motion. Not flying, but floating upwards. Like having achieved all that your life was meant for. A content smile playing on one's face powering the upward descent. (Hmm.. christian influence on me?)
And then I saw a mosquito.. doing just about that. flying steadily upwards. I was jealous for a second there.

Imagination and all its sisters

What makes one cling to fantasies so dearly? I can understand the impulse to run away from your life. But what color is your courage that pushes you beyond the limits of truth? To suspend reality and recede in thoughts. To forget and to belong.

I just saw a docudrama 'catfish'. The movie chronicles online exchanges that is just about to evolve into a  relationship which takes a new turn due to uncovering of a deception. While I suspect that it might be scripted itself, it certainly strikes you with its reality. Our reality, that is only defined by the deceptions around us.

How fragile are we? To need to run away from reality so often? So your partner vice is the cigarette, his' is grass (respect!), her's is booze, but everyone's hooked onto the internet the most.

Kids slip deep under the blanket to escape reality. But when someone takes away the blanket, the kid has to face the real world. Game over. Grown ups shut down the world around and populate the world in…

I dislike

I have 445 people on my friend's list on Facebook. 41 yet waiting on invite list.
What does it mean? If I pass by these 486 people on the street, would we stop, genuinely smile and have a conversation? Would we really care when we would ask 'how are you?'. I know of these people, mostly. Some of them are really close friends. Some are people I would like to be friends to. But most others are only joined by an association. Mostly through my post graduate school, MICA.
If I do a test of walking by all these 486 people, how many would I have to remove from the list? why should I be bothered by this number really? Well, primarily cause it confuses me. Is it right for me to see these photos? should i comment? how will they perceive my comment? With people you know closely enough there is no space for these questions.
There are handful of people who I would turn to for any sort of help .There are a few more with whom I would like to share stuff.  The rest are mostly irrelevant.…

Why I repair my shoe

I have 3 shoes. One formal, One sport shoe and another a mix of the two. The last one is particularly awesome, cause of its uniqueness. It looks like a formal shoe, but is as comfortable and flexible as a sport shoe. I bought it for my first job in Mumbai. I was newly rich and was expected to behave like one. I found this gem of pure black leather in a Colaba Causeway showroom. Quite a find. But its been almost two years now and the shoe shows its age. For all its awesomeness, its quite a weak shoe, to give out so early. I have stitched it, got new laces, and strengthened its sole. It doesn't look shiny anymore cause the leather has suffered from a few hostile trespasses. I think, like a man, things too should be allowed to carry their scars. Shiny scar-less men are just so... irrelevant. 

Since childhood, I have been used to using things for long times. Clothes, equipments, shoes etc. I can't just throw things away cause they don't look as good anymore or they don't w…

The afghani cap

It was a wonderful piece of art, the aghani cap. Lovely patterns and colors. It took a while before it registered with me that it was not just a thing to be stared at but something that could be intimately mine. Mine to wear, mine to flaunt. It sat snugly on top of me. I would force my eye balls right up, as much they could roll and I could see nothing. That kinda sucked, but then there are mirrors you see. I caught myself beaming like a lunatic with that thing on my head. I was 18.

It was winter then, and hence no winter evening was to be wasted without the cap. But my gray/black/white T-shirts were so lacking in character that I had to dig a little deeper in my small wardrobe to find winter clothes to go with my afghani cap.Perhaps that is the only year in my life until now, when I was so particular about my clothes and made an effort to look sufficiently disheveled. But this exotic cap demanded me to give myself a little more respect. Thank god for mom, I had a decent sweater to p…

two of them

A couple attending the mass outside the church in Hanoi

Traveller - I

Bagsu, Vietnam Traveling is a kind promiscuity. Cheating your homeland, escaping to lovely bosoms of beautiful strange lands. Wild euphoria and sudden disenchantment. heady love and stinging loneliness. promises of coming back, and promises of giving back.
Gokarn, Pushkar Traveling is an escape. Running to an unknown face, running away from the older known ones. Alone and with everybody. The warmth of unprejudiced smiles. An attempt to bear no mask. or to wear one of your choice, not somebody else's. A relief of not having to rebel every time you want to breath.
Himalaya Treks, Ladakh Traveling is to return to your self son of the ground and the sky. The air is you.  insignificant. but integral. everywhere, a nomad. alive and about. Clear free.

trembling silence

Tonight while walking on the street out of my place for dinner, I saw a guy at a distance standing in the middle of the road. He seemed weird, standing like there, staring at some place. Nodding head at times. Walking and stopping. Looking back. Staring again. Hesitation personified. Gathering faith in his fists.
My brain is like an ajax-less 1990's browser. I have to refresh my conscience to join the dots.I was left confused by his behavior. I tried to ignore it and went ahead and put my earphones on to 'the dangling conversations'.

A little ahead, while crossing him I saw him a little more clearly. Apprehension was written all over him. His eyes were wide open; mouth half open, as if he wanted to say things but words were not yet ready to come out. I followed his gaze to find they were squarely trained on a window in an apartment nearby. The window framed a silhouette of a girl. she was holding the bars on the window, quite dramatic really.

A silent persuasio…

buddha makers

Sigur Ros makes me cry and then their music fills me with contentment and equanimity. Like everything in the world is beautiful and so wonderful and true. It paints the world in the colors of innocence. Makes me want to hug all and everything.
Sigur Ros's music is sheer beauty.
Buddha would have loved them.

the transient and the ever present.

"A favourite pastime in summer is watching the sand dunes whirl and inch their way right through the twisting narrow streets of the old town, to exit back into the desert again."
so says an article in Outlook. Must sit there, roll a joint and stare out at the desert again. Pushkar had its charm, but I have never yet given deserts it due. I must spend some time in awe of the magnificent Thar soon.
Reminds me of the lovely, dreamy movie 'road,movie'. Its not a movie actually. Its a dreamscape on celluloid. Watching it felt like watching '2001, a space odyssey' when high. Its feels like flying in infinity. over vastness. being part of something great yet being just a mr. nothing. The vast expanses of dry land and blue skys. What a movie.

of a dead golden city

I saw two Mumbais this weekend.One through the movie- 'Dhobi Ghaat' and another through 'City of gold'; two completely different mumbais but all the same. Completely different narratives, but still gave the same stale smell of mumbai's stifling sea of humanity. While one movie had its politic about mumbai, the other was completely personal and intimate. Both talked about classes, but while one made me glad that I am from the privileged class the other once again filled me with nostalgia.

I found 'City of Gold' to be very dark and over powering. I couldn't help but identify with the narrator's constant disgust, this sense of suffocation throughout the film. Even the scenes of happiness were quickly curtailed with the knife of cynicism laced violence. The movie laid out its politics, its helplessness, its accusations bare. The rich mill owner's disgust of the workers ("Bhikari" he keeps on barking, even before his imminent death) and his…

getting my act together - I

As a kid I always loved cartoons. I would watch them all day and I would buy those disney/painting books to copy draw those characters. Every single cartoon character that I found interesting would promptly get reproduced on one of my drawing books. exactly. I was messy with water colors and like. so I would stick to pencil and sketch pens for these. I would not bother about the colors, but the form was something I could exactly replicate. with pen you can exactly draw what you want. but with brush it requires discipline, something that nothing i have tried my hands at has been able to bestow upon me. 
So it was a little weird for me when I first started attempting to use water colors.  With paintings, the colors take primacy (especially in landscape or imagined drawings) over how the image is to be created rather than the boundaries as would be the case (or i thought) with pencil drawings. That is a huge learning i had much later, until which i had given up on painting. If you ar…

what if

what if all the body hair is essentially flags of little organisms living on our body. dividing us up in territories, fighting for flags.