Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mazha

കണ്ണുനീരൊക്കെയും പെയ്തുതീര്‍ക്കാം
കണ്ണുള്ള കാലത്തില്‍ കാഴ്ചയാകാം
ഒന്നേ മഴ നമ്മളൊന്നേ പുഴ നമ്മ-
ളൊന്നിനി പെയ്യാതെ പെയ്തുനില്‍ക്കാം
തോരാതെ നമ്മള്‍ക്കു നിന്നു പെയ്യാം
തീരാതെ നമ്മള്‍ക്കു നിന്നു കൊള്ളാം.

ha the charm of dead poets. And here is a poet who joins words in such a way that defies translation.

Like the feeling the words "mazha" and "puzha" invokes only in Malayalam. Often wondered why the english called it "rain" and "river", the harsh 'r' sound is misplaced in something that flows freely.

I wish you were out there with me in the summer's first rain
I name each rain drop. I call each of them by your name.
I keep raining on you one drop and then another.
Till we are one rain.

ഈ പുതുമഴ നനയാന്‍
നീകൂടി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍
ഓരോ തുള്ളിയേയും
ഞാന്‍ നിന്റെ പേരിട്ടു വിളിക്കുന്നു.
ഓരോ തുള്ളിയായി
ഞാന്‍ നിന്നില്‍ പെയ്തുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു
ഒടുവില്‍ നാം ഒരു മഴയാകുംവരെ.

As I said, it defies translation.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's the starting of winter

As the story goes, a young monk came to live in the monastery. The people who lived in the town outside the monastery were holding a series of festivals in which they sang and danced all night long. When the monks would rise at three thirty in the morning to begin their meditation, the parties from the night before would still be going strong. At last, one morning the young monk cried out to his master, ‘Venerable One, the noise is interrupting my practice — I can’t meditate with all this noise!; ‘The noise isn’t bothering you, ‘ the Master responded. ‘You are bothering the noise.’

Winter is starting.

The middle aged woman hipster, who reads long form Dickensian classics, outside the coffee shop next to where I work brought a huge burgundy pillow for her massive brown dog today. As Miss Havisham asks Pip to play, the woman sips her pumpkin spice latte, and her massive brown dog raises its head to look at cars pulling in for coffee stops, and you realize it's the starting of winter.


Some silences are like the winter's silence. Have you heard it. ‘Silence is not a function of what we think of as silence. It’s when my reaction is quiet. What’s silent is my protest against the way things are.’ In winter the bear goes inside the cave to hibernate, and is comfortable with the hot cup of steaming instant coffee and drawn blinds and turned on television, is comfortable enough not to talk about the way things are. All the bears are inside their caves in winter. Only silence lives in the outdoors, one can listen to it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You should not Thank God...


...it's Friday.

Because this scary thing about living in the leftest coast of the world is not only the fact that the sun finally goes down into the pacific ocean here heightening propensity for earth quakes but also the constant annoyance of reading social media updates of your contacts from the moment you wake up  celebrating the  weekly fact that it is Friday and the weekend is upon them. By the time Apollo drags his lazy rear down to California to make that final plunge into freezing Arctic current Californicationans' activity streams are deluded by mundane messages on how good Friday feels like in many eerily irrelevant sad, cold, and at times dusty and hot, and most all time intolerant, parts of the right side world.


The point however being to change it, I think the whole idea of week starting on Mondays, and reaching its historically inevitable conclusion on Fridays, followed by two days of bliss, is a conformance to Judeo-Christian-Marxist view of the world that believes things, and time being a thing, started somewhere and are moving towards something. The semantics of whether Christ will come back or Marx will, or whether we are moving towards the rapture or the revolution does not interest me a bit. Because that is not the point.

See I started and ended the last paragraph with the same two words, and now on this unique paragraphing technique will be named after me. Well that again, is not the point. The point is time is not a thing, and it never started and is not moving towards anything, and Fridays do not mean a thing. The longest surviving Greeko-Indian view of the cosmos clearly states that time is cyclical, that time neither starts nor ends, and Friday is irrelevant beyond recognition. Greeko-Indian theorists did do their math, and had to invent a new numeral to underline the unimportance of Friday. I am talking about the Greeko-Indian concept of zero. The cynicism creeping out of conformity to the Judeo-Christian-Marxist view of the week ending might beat around the enigma of the void bush of zero to prop Friday up, but sadly Friday has no enigma, its value is void.

The Greeko-Indian idea fits well into California ethos since half the population defaults to cyclical view of the world after getting stoned on cannabis, and the other half gets stoned when wildfires and winds in summer waft the burning cannabis smoke into the valleys and hills of the left coast.

Unless not celebrating Fridays hinder your pathway to paradise, or hurts your religious or political sentiments, which of course has not done its math, I strongly argue that you stop sharing your happiness around a day which has no value in the cosmic scale of things.  Even the seers from the Judeo-Christian-Marxist pantheon had seen this coming -

Luke 26: 17-19 "Do not take or share pleasure in weeks ending, my dear friends, but leave room for God to decide when days end, for it is written: 'It is mine to decide; I will decide,' says the Lord."

Marx & Engels in Approach Paper to Manifesto "It is inevitable that the idiocy of village life which celebrates days of the week be replaced, scattered populations be agglomerated into cities and towns, centralize means of production and concentrate property in very few hands. This will in turn remove all separate interests in celebrating individual days, and integrate everyone into one colossal system of production."

Now some of you might go and check these books, and comeback saying there is no chapter twenty six or an approach paper, but I hope we can bury those petty differences and stop this pagan ritual of jumping up and down as sun sets on a Friday while our brothers in leftward states of the world are just beginning their day. And some of you might might bring up the colossal failure of the Greek economy to undermine the Greeko-Indian cyclical view of the cosmos ignoring the very fact that economies work in cycles, and I'll politely request you not to evaluate a person or an idea by how much money he or she or the idea makes. Jesus was a poor carpenter, not an investment banker you see.

The last desperate but lazy few of you will go "...well...that's just....like your....opinion...man". Is that it? Is that your last line of defense? Well answer is yes. And that's the whole damn human comedy dude.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Ouagadougou

"Whats the capital of Burkino Faso?"

- "bul bul bul bulo bul"

"Wrong. What is the capital of Ukraine?"

- "bula bugh bula"

"Nope. What is the capital of Mongolia?"

- "boool bula bool bool bul"

"No. You lose"

- "bul bul bul...bloooo...blum"

Lord its tough to play quiz with morons who think they are cute.

Friday, December 24, 2010

On Pushing it...

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

- Bruce Lee (died young doing something stupid)

Some of his saner contemporaries live on. With little left to die though.

The last real post in this space had me panicking on growing old and ranting about strangers empathizing. I've grown a year and half older since then and all the while I've been relentlessly pursuing happiness and a way to escape the whirling thread of instant karma. And I've been a little late in putting my plan into words, though the plan to stay young dawned on me a few months back. I was in California, and well aware of the fact that some people have plans, some don't, and even those people with plans don't outlast more than a hundred years. May be it was not California, now that I seem to recall, it was in Lake Atitlan, in one of those multiple volcanoes rising into the sky and drawing a circle in those Guatemalan highlands. And there I was climbing this vertical outcrop with a ex-US marine and a professional backpacker who both had seven lungs between them, and lo quarter way up and I fell down and died. Not really but I literally showed them the universal sign of total defeat. 

Now that I remember, it was two days before that, and fifteen of us were climbing a live volcano, and three of us injured ourselves pretty bad, I burned my finger making bread toast using flowing lava, and two days later the rest twelve had opted out of another climb. Them pussies. But that wasn't it. It was perhaps ten years before that, and one rainy day in summer, must be eleven o'clock in the equatorial afternoon, and I was lazily lying around in bed reading Nehru. Now Nehru talked about this out of the world experience he had walking through a ledge in the upper Himalayas at cold dead temperatures in a treacherous terrain, and then he said - that's when he figured it out. 

Now that I am a sucker for figuring it out, that my idea of figuring it out is closely linked with walking treacherous slopes in the upper Himalayas some time in my life, and before I set out out to hike the Indian Nose in Guatemala that fine morning I stood a better chance at figuring out things compared to the twelve little pussies who quit, but there I was quarter way up the steep slope, almost dead, showing the universal sign of total defeat, and it passed my mind, and I suddenly felt the paralyzing white fear that I would never make it to the treacherous slopes of upper Himalayas if I quit, and that I would go six feet under like most of the boys I played cricket with who will never figure it out.

We compete with different people at different times. I used to compare myself with the boys I used to play cricket with, and it is very amusing to realize that I do not care about where they are any more. Not in a competitive sense. I was very sad for a couple of days when one of those boys died in an accident. And we do not compete with dead people. Mostly.

But these comparisons were mostly, till a few years back, linear. Academics, chicks, jobs, salary, chicks, city, mobile phone, expendable income, chicks, car, bike, chicks - mostly. Those comparisons made sense, but most of us have stopped competing in the linear. Because some of us have things to settle in life and have no clue how things are gonna work out, or how things are gonna be a year or two from now. Uncertainty nibbles on our little toes when we go to bed, and the dinosaur is still there when we wake up. Because some of us have given up the possibilities that uncertainty throws up, and settled for some spectacular cuddly certainties. And now gaping at those certainties think 'is this it' when we go to bed, and that thing is snoring next to us when we awake.

Back to my plan to remain young forever, now that it is clear that we are not competing anymore,  and that the terms in which many of us think of reality are different. I figured that the only way to do that is to keep pushing the limits. Now there is no place to push your limits like sunny California, and I decided to run long distance. The fact that I was able to make it to the top of the steep climb at Lake Atitlan, though like a dead man walking, which helped me understand the freedom total death brings, but that's another story, gave me the little confidence I needed to push from half to a six mile improvement in pushing the frontier. 

After that I tried it on a couple of other hikes and I realized that I was growing young after each of these experiments. And in Tahoe, near the Nevada border, one of my fellow hikers pointed to a steep slope of decaying wood and claimed it was infested with rattle snakes. I don't remember if it was my disliking for the guy, or my frontier strategy which made me run down that hundred feet slope with a long piece of wood in my hand shouting like a mad man. Another fellow hiker followed suit, but then he was a mad man, and our collective battle cry much annoyed the squirrels who were intensely collecting whatever they collect for winter. But then, my strategy wasn't so much different from the squirrels.

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example-
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.

Now the day, you stop pushing yourself, you start growing old. You are out of Shangrila.  The day you say you can't make new friends, you have to get eight hours of sleep, you cannot miss breakfast, you cannot run ten kilometers, you cannot stone a cat, you cannot help a beggar, you cannot lie to someone, you cannot be politically incorrect, you will not try a cigarette, you will not pray, you do not find all women hot - you grow old. Because young people do all this. And my pal back in Cali was my first convert. So we went up the highest waterfall in north America, and spat on the rest of the world from top of it minutes before lying in the upstream river and secretly urinating while pretending I wasn't, using the part of my body visible above water. All I want to tell the hundreds of pussies who were bathing couple of thousand feet below us is that the water that day was not so clean as they thought.

We pushed it a little further when this dude and I set out on a five thousand kilometer road trip coast to coast on a twelve year old car, driving through the night at enormous speeds, and in the middle of the Nevada desert, the red light on the dash went off saying 'break failure'. The next day I was musing, driving through the desolate salt lakes of Utah, with the break light going off again - 'I wonder why we are doing this'. And he replied casually without a tinge of sarcasm 'We have to keep pushing it, because, the day we stop pushing it, we grow old'.

And I listened and nodded as if I was hearing it for the first time, though I had invented it. As always, like most of the things I know. I invented it.