Chaos is a Ladder

These are the excerpts from the Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 6. I loved the exchange of words between Varys and Little Finger. Read this and this for more detailed context. I however, loved the words a lot. I find them appealing personally in the world we live in!

I did what I did for the good of the realm.

The realm? Do you know what the realm is?

It’s the thousand blades of Aegon’s enemies. A story we agree to tell each other over and over till we forget that it’s a lie.
But what do we have left once we abandon the lie?

Chaos. A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again.

The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse.
They cling to the realm
or the gods
or love.

Illusions.

Only the ladder is real.

Depends what metaphor you attach to realm, blades, lie and illusions. But chaos rules ;-)

Tamilnadu Politics

I have had a nomadic, apolitical upbringing. I have appreciated logic, non-emotional and non-judgement way of life. I grew up in various SBI Officers’s quarters i.e. Orissa, Mumbai, Chennai and in Pondicherry. Also stayed briefly in the US in and around Berkeley. Then moved to Mumbai, Bangalore and then back to Chennai. I have never been passionate about Politics. I have voted only once in my entire life at Mumbai 4 years back and the candidate lost! In fact looked down upon it during my college days and continue to do so :-) I have always believed that the entire world is one country. An utopian or naive way of life. But over the last few years, I have come to terms with the fact that having been exposed to democracy as the way of life in the places I have visited it is important.  As part of work, I even participated in the Mobile SMS campaign for BJP as part of the last elections (in other words spam!)

I have always wondered why lots of my India friends have taken appreciating US politics more than India. Why the India TV channels create drama. Always admired the way students and people in US supported and had a view on the politics of its country. They way the US presidents talk, the UK House of Commons functions and why Indians mostly take up to yes-manism, chair throwing, buying votes. Pondered very briefly, Why can our representatives sit down as statesman and fix the real situation? And never get lost in who shouts the most and not have structured discussions. Whether if we were a dictatorship, India might be a better place to live :-) The statement from my physics professor who helped me prepare for IIT exams always comes to my mind when I think of these things : Thank God Physics doesn’t behave as democracy does. (He would ask a spot poll on what people think the answer is and the majority of intelligent people came up with wrong answers! ;-) )

Off late, Tamilnadu has been in the national news over the last few months. Main items have been the 2G scandal (which I don’t think is a scandal! Apparently Time lists the scandal as the biggest one after Watergate!!), AIDMK wining the state elections, Eminent fall of the DMK and now the Sri Lankan war crimes associated politics that have been affecting the Indian Nation. I think everyone should watch the video Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields  on youtube first before forming an opinion.

Anyway, the reason I decided to write this post was, I was not sure how do I get started to know or even started comprehending the political situation in Tamilnadu. And the best way I thought was history. But, I am very lazy when it comes to reading books and taking the effort to have a fact based opinion. Partly because at a gut level, I don’t care in my heart but my mind accepts I need to get educated! Its like if you are an engineer you don’t care about sales but for the success of the company sales is very important function! I happened to pick up a copy of Frontline (Jan 25, 2013 Issue) during my travels across india in Jan, Feb and Mar and it had very interesting articles about Tamilnadu politics and its history. Would love to discuss with some people who understand this more but just thought will blog it away for later reference.

The last article is very relevant to the current news that has lead the DMK to withdraw support from UPA and current TN Government deciding not allow Srilanka players to play the IPL while also making a resolution today to push for Sanctions, Trade Embargo against Sri Lanka and declaring that Sri Lanka is not a friendly nation to India. Though these developments are primary political in nature, the actions are being taken as a good portion does reflect the mood of the state. I think one should also see the movie Iruvar (also Aishwarya Rai’s debut movie?) to get a feel of the political climate then when AIDMK was founded. The rise of Jayalalithaa is also an amazing story, which I still don’t understand.

Tamil Eelam (A survey in late 2008 by the Tamil Nadu daily Ananda Vikatan found 55.4% of Indian Tamils in the state supported the separation of Tamil Eelam, while 34.63% supported a federal Tamil Eelam) is only point on which Tamilnadu stands together and no party wants to be seen lacking in terms of actions against it. Some quotes from the last article Tamil Nationalism – Then and Now:

The frequent references in Tamil Nadu and outside to “Tamil nationalist” and “Tamil protectionist” movements by leaders of the Patali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and other political parties are confusing and misleading.

These terms were initially used in the context of the struggle for Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. But their use in the context of Tamil Nadu calls for explanation. The concept of “Tamil nationalism” was initiated at the end of the 19th century mainly to protect the separate identity of the Tamil language. When a false impression was created that the pan Indian culture was Sanskrit, a section of educated Tamils asserted the point that Tamil culture was distinct from Sanskrit culture and demanded its independent recognition. This was followed by the non-Brahmin movement of the non-Brahmin upper castes (who identified Brahmins with Sanskrit) against Brahmin monopoly in education and employment in the first three decades of the 20th century and by E.V. Ramasamy Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement since 1925 and the Dravidian movement thereafter.

The non-Brahmin movement of the Justice Party founded in 1916; the Justice Party’s rise to power in the 1920 elections to the Madras Legislative Council through the “communal electorates”—a major outcome of its non-Brahmin movement; the Self-Respect movement founded by Periyar in 1925 with his long-term goals of establishing a rational egalitarian society; C.N. Annadurai’s acceptance of Periyar as his leader in 1935; their work together for the next 14 years when they changed the course of Tamil culture, politics and society, with Periyar more on the campaign side and Anna on the culture side; the related groundswell and efflorescence of the Dravidian movement from the 1930s to the 1960s; Anna’s entry into the Justice Party in 1935 when it was in its last gasp, which, as he revealed later, was “to convert the party of the affluent into a democratic and socialist party”; the Justice Party unwittingly facilitating this radical change by naming Periyar as its leader in 1938 when he was in jail for the anti-Hindi agitation.

Anna and Periyar together transforming the moribund Justice Party into the Dravidar Kazhagam (D.K., or Dravidar Federation) in 1944, laying the foundations of Tamil cultural and political nationalism in the province; the rupture between Anna and Periyar in 1949 when Anna left Periyar and the D.K. and founded the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, or Dravida Progressive Federation); Anna’s election to the Rajya Sabha in 1962, even as the DMK graduated to become the principal opposition party in the Madras legislature; Anna’s demand in his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha expounding his goal of an independent Dravida Nadu (Dravidian country), which Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejected in the House later; the Sixteenth Amendment to the Indian Constitution, which proscribed advocacy of secession and the DMK’s decision to drop its Dravida Nadu demand, all should be seen as precursors of the DMK’s rise to power in 1967.

Anna, after he became Chief Minister, used power to achieve the goals of the Dravidian movement, of Dravida Nadu. He named Madras State Tamil Nadu, enacted the progressive legalisation of self-respect marriages, which was central to Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement, encouraged inter-caste marriages by awarding gold medals to such couples, and, daringly, abolished Hindi as a mandatory subject in government schools.

Anna pleaded with the Centre for a constitutional realignment in favour of the States, and believed that India could play an international role when Indians “are socially integrated, economically self-reliant and work out ostensibly what can be federal and State subjects”. Anna’s DMK pioneered the advent of regional parties in India’s polity, providing a safe and democratic outlet for regional aspirations within a united India and the espousal and accommodation of linguistic cultural nationalism in India’s complex plural ethnic and religious mosaic.

After the breakup of the DMK in 1972 when film actor-turned-politician M.G. Ramachandran formed the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK), later renamed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the political landscape of Tamil Nadu spawned many new parties, each for the promotion of a single caste, mainly to gain from the loaves and fishes of public office, have a share in the State’s caste-based power play and a larger slice of the cake in its caste-based reservation politics.

The PMK is a product of this caste-centred political churning. Its single-point political agenda has fostered the Vanniyar caste, first through the family of its founder, Dr S. Ramadoss, and then through “Vanniya Nadu”. For this, Ramadoss has been doing a Bal Thackeray in Tamil Nadu by appropriating what he fantasises as Tamil culture and Tamil nationalism, crying foul that “Tamil culture is in danger” without understanding the heterogeneous and palimpsest nature of culture, which is of multiplex complexity in a caste-ridden society.

The upshot of the power play and factional politics in the State is the conflict between the Scheduled Castes and the intermediate castes. The non-Brahmin movement was successful in highlighting Brahmin domination in every sphere of public life. The Brahmins retreated tactfully. It was a slow process. In the face of the social mobility movements of Dalits and their legitimate aspirations for a higher and better place in what is increasingly seen as a secular and not a caste society, that too after centuries of subjugation, sections of the so-called “intermediate castes” such as Vanniyar, Mukkulathore (Thevar, Maravar, Agamudayar) and Goundar, who once tried to move up the caste hierarchy by claiming Kshatriya status through Sanskritisation (briefly, imitation of Brahmin behaviour), are unwilling to yield social and political space to Dalits as the Brahmins did from the 1940s to the 1970s. (These castes were not really intermediate in the traditional fourfold Varna system but at the bottom of the hierarchy of the Sudra castes and are “intermediate castes” only now in relation to Dalits; Dalits were outside the Sudras and hence were characterised as Avarnas or Panchamas.)

HP31022C.N.AnnaduraiVCK_Protest

Death and All His Friends

Just finished watching Season 6 of Grey’s Anatomy. I somehow love Grey’s Anatomy because of the medical profession (always had the small desire to be a Dr – imagine saving a life!), close life and death experiences and perspectives, relationships, drama & gossip!

My parents had recorded the finales thankfully as I was travelling around a lot in Jan and Feb. Star World is very late in showing the seasons in India, Google says season 9 is out! :-) Just listing some of the awesome quotes from the episode titled “Death and all his friends” which I totally related to.

The human life is made up of choices. Yes or no. In or out. Up or down. And then there are the choices that matter. Love or hate. To be a hero or to be a coward. To fight or to give in. To live. Or die. Live or die. That’s the important choice. And it’s not always in our hands.

I’ve lived. I’ve really really lived. I’ve failed. I’ve been devastated. I’ve been broken. I’ve gone to hell and back. And I’ve also known joy. And passion. And I’ve had a great love. See death for me is not justice. It’s a … end of a beautiful journey. And I’m not afraid to die. The question is, are you?

I don’t hurt anymore. The pain’s gone. That’s a bad sign isn’t it?

Some other quotes from previous episodes of Season 6

Ask most people what they want out of life and the answer is simple – to be happy. Maybe it’s this expectation though of wanting to be happy that just keeps us from ever getting there. Maybe the more we try to will ourselves to state’s of bliss, the more confused we get – to the point where we don’t recognize ourselves. Instead we just keep smiling – trying to be the happy people we wish we were. Until it eventually hits us, it’s been there all along. Not in our dreams or our hopes but in the known, the comfortable, the familiar.

It’s a common belief that positive thinking leads to a happier healthier life. As children we are told to smile, be cheerful, and put on a happy face. As adults we are told to look on the bright side, to make lemonade, and see glasses as half full. Sometimes reality can get in the way of our ability to act the happy part though. Youre hope can fail, boyfriends can cheat, friends can disappoint. It’s in these moments, when you just want to get real, drop the act, and be your true scared unhappy self.

No matter how thick skinned we try to be, there’s millions of electrifying nerve endings in there. Open and exposed and feeling way too much. Try as we might to keep from feeling pain, sometimes it’s just unavoidable. Sometimes that’s the only thing left – just feeling.

The skin is the largest organ in the body – it protects us. Holds us together. Literally lets us know what we are feeling. The skin can be soft and vulnerable. Highly sensitive, easy to break.

We have to constantly come up with new ways to fix ourselves. So we change, we adapt. We create new versions of ourselves. We just need to be sure that this one is an improvement over the last.

He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn’t even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn’t, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn’t Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would’ve married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I’m finally me again, I can’t. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy’s page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again

Number one rule of surgery is limit exposure. Keep your hands clean, your incisions small, and your wounds covered. Number two rule of surgery is when rule number one stops working, try something else. Because sometimes you can’t limit exposure, sometimes the injury is so bad you have to cut, and cut big.

Doctors live in a world of constant progress and forward motion. Stand still for a second, and you’ll be left behind. But as hard as we try to move forward, as tempting as it is to never look back, the past always comes back to bite us in the ass. And as history shows us again and again, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

When we’re headed toward an outcome that’s too horrible to face, that’s when we go looking for a second opinion. And sometimes, the answer we get just confirms our worst fears. But sometimes, it can shed new light on the problem, make you see it in a whole new way. After all the opinions have been heard and every point of view has been considered, you finally find what you’re after - the truth. But the truth isn’t where it ends, that’s just where you begin again with a whole new set of questions.

What do you do when the infection hits you, when it takes over? Do you do what you’re supposed to and take your medicine? Or do you learn to live with the thing and hope someday it goes away? Or do you just give up entirely and let it kill you?

We begin life with few obligations. We pledge allegiance to the flag. We swear to return our library books. But as we get older we take vows, make promises, get burden by commitments, to do no harm, to tell the truth and nothing but, to love, to cherish till death do us part. So we just keep running up the tap ’til we owe everything to everybody and suddenly … what the.

We’re all susceptible to it, the dread and anxiety of not knowing what’s coming. It’s pointless in the end, because all the worrying and the making of plans for things that could or could not happen, it only makes things worse. So walk your dog or take a nap. Just whatever you do, stop worrying. Because the only cure for paranoia is to be here, just as you are. (Paranoia gives you an edge in the OR. Surgeons play out worst-case scenarios in their heads. You’re ready to close, you got the bleeder. You know it but there’s that voice in your head asking. What if you didn’t? What if the patient dies and you could have prevented it? So you check your work one more time before you close. Paranoia is a surgeon’s best friend.)

According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, when we’re dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinct stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone, angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain. We beg. We plead. We offer everything we have, we offer our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair, until finally we have to accept that we’ve done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.

Madras Music Season

Finally 45 days of awesomeness in Chennai. The real beauty of living in Madras ( Chennai ) is here to be enjoyed! Its winter (albeit some small rain hung over) and its time to listen to great carnatic music, great food, party over New Years and top it with some sports action of the Chennai Tennis Open.

A quick short guide on the MMS i.e. Margazhi Music Season

Locations of sabhas (halls) http://goo.gl/maps/GIOdh

Schedules
http://kutcheris.com/schedule.php
http://www.kutcheribuzz.com/december-season-home
http://www.indian-heritage.org/musicseason/sch.html
http://www.sabhash.com/home
http://www.chennaidecemberseason.com/

Schedule for Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan – best according to me :-) { AC and food just across the road}
http://www.chennaidecemberseason.com/2012/11/bharatiya-vidya-bhavan-music-festival.html

Best part is till Dec 14th all the Halls have free music. All you have to do is show up!

Zahir – Freedom, Happiness and Letting go

Some great quotes from The Zahir (by Paulo Coelho) { From Wikipedia : In a recurring theme in the book, Coelho[3] compares marriage with a set of railway tracks which stay together forever but fail to come any closer. The novel is a journey from a stagnant marriage and love to the realization of unseen but ever increasing attraction between two souls.}

I loved reading the book around 4 years back. Recommended it to a friend recently, wanted to blog these quotes that I got some online sites from the book some 3 months back. Here are those quotes that appealed to me as absolute truths.

We don’t always choose the best solution but we carry on regardless, trying to remain upright and decent in order to do honor not to the walls or the doors or the windows but to the empty space inside, the space where we worship and venerate what is dearest and most important to us.

I was not I, I was nothing – and that seemed to me quite marvelous.

In the world of my imagination, Esther was still my companion, and her love gave me the strength to go forward and explore all my frontiers. In the real world, she was pure obsession, sapping my energy, taking up all the available space, and obliging me to make an enormous effort just to continue with my life. How was it possible that, even after two years, I had still not managed to forget her? I could not bear having to think about it anymore, analyzing all the possibilities, and trying various ways out: deciding simply to accept the situation, writing a book, practicing yoga, doing some charity work, seeing friends, seducing women, going out to supper, to the cinema (always avoiding adaptations of books, of course, and seeking out films that had been specially written for the screen), to the theater, the ballet, to soccer games. The Zahir always won, though; it was always there, making me think, “I wish she was here with me.”

Free again, but it’s just a feeling; freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit yourself to what is best for you.

Some people appear to be happy, but they simply don’t give the matter much thought. Others make plans: I’m going to have a husband, a home, two children, a house in the country. As long as they’re busy doing that, they’re like bulls looking for the bullfighter: they react instinctively, they blunder on, with no idea where the target is. They get their car, sometimes they even get a Ferrari, and they think that’s the meaning of life, and they never question it. Yet their eyes betray the sadness that even they don’t know they carry in their soul. Are you happy?

That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.

This is from the movie Remember Me (not sure though)

Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it, because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your Iife, and haIf of you says, “You’re nowhere near ready,” but the other haIf says, “Make her yours forever.”

Environmental Flashpoints in India

The article in Tehelka titled Flashpoints by Jay Mazoomdaar had a very interesting graphic. Captured the one shot perspective on whats really wrong environmentally in India due to different factors. Do read the article.

Flashpoint India from Tehelka

I am passionate about sustainable living and design. I hope to sometime visit these places and try to understand their ground level reasons. Meanwhile just some notes from the article for myself

The article and issue per se was not deep enough. Didn’t merit the journalistic quality of Telhelka for a Environmental Day Special. But I guess that is what happens when you try to pick a theme that is not your forte while you want to cover all area of India. I hope they will sometime in future do a follow up drill down issue during the year. I like the way the magazine gives1-2 pages for environment every week.

Most of the issues in various states is a direct reflection for India’s need to grow i.e. power, industry, tourism and infrastructure

Andhra Pradesh | Uranium Mining > Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam
Chhattisgarh | Coal Mining
Goa | Iron Ore Mining > Sanguem
Arunachal Pradesh | Hydroelectricity > Siang Dam
Karnataka | River Linking
Manipur | Tipaimukh Dam
Bihar | Arsenic Contamination > Bhojpur
Assam | Encroachment > Sonitpur
Uttarakhand | Real Estate
Jharkhand | Anti-Insurgency Ops
Mizoram | Lawngtlai Highway
Gujarat | Industry
Himachal Pradesh | Power Tunnels > Sutlej
Haryana | Groundwater > Rice Belt
Kerala | Tourism Mess > Munnar
Jammu & Kashmir | Road Construction > Ladakh
Madhya Pradesh | Diamond Mining
Punjab | Pesticide > Bhatinda
Odisha | Mining > Khandadhar Hills
Meghalaya | Rat-Hole Mining
Nagaland | Wildlife Trade
Maharashtra | Coal Mining > Chandrapur
West Bengal | Population > Sunderbans
Sikkim | Hydropower
Delhi | Lost Rivers
Tripura | Rubber Plantation
Lakshadweep | Overfishing
Uttar Pradesh | Pollution > Kanpur
Rajasthan | Weeds > Aravali Hills
Tamil Nadu | Industrial Mess > Gulf Of Mannar

The wall and the egg

Just read an amazing article about a speech by HARUKI MURAKAMI {About him from Wikipedia: His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and the Jerusalem Prize, among others. Murakami’s fiction, often criticized by Japan’s literary establishment, is humorous and surreal, focusing on themes of alienation and loneliness.[2] He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised Murakami as “among the world’s greatest living novelists” for his works and achievement}

The article The novelist in wartime at Salon talks about the individual (egg) and the System (wall). Some nice excerpts (for my reference mostly) – applies a lot to India!

“Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.”

Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is wrong; perhaps time or history will decide. If there were a novelist who, for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would such works be?

What is the meaning of this metaphor?

It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: it is “the System.” The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others — coldly, efficiently, systematically.

Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow the System to exploit us. We must not allow the System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made the System. That is all I have to say to you.

Life is good

I came across these amazing words while watching various seasons of Dexter. Simply love the seasons – great acting, direction and screenplay. Just wish the Indian TV Mega serials come up to these standards in the next 50 odd years! :-)

Last 2 years have been challenging. I am slowly recovering and my views about me and the world around me are evolving. Loosing control, grasp of reality and then choosing to forgive and moving on – a circle I am experiencing second time in life. Just sharing these hoping someone will read and reflect.

This is Dexter at the end of a season thinking where he stands in life

Maybe I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. But who’s perfect? Certainly not me. Sure I’m still who I was, who I am.

Question is what do i become? There are so many blanks left to fill in.

But right now at this moment I’m content. Maybe even … Happy!
And I have to admit when all is said and done … Life is good.

Dexter and sister have this conversation on how she got back to being normal post the trauma of finding out that her fiance was the killer she was trying to investigate and she almost got killed by him

I’d have done almost anything to get out from under the weight of it all.

How’d you finally do it?

I just – just saw through it. You decide who you are, who you want to be… and you hold onto that and ride it out. Like an old-west sheriff.

And Dexter’s thoughts when he starts learning that his Dad was not a perfect man and he needs to choose his own path in life and society

I’m a master now. An idea transcended into life. And so this is my new path. Which is a lot like the old one. Only mine. To stay on that path I need to work harder. Explore new rituals – evolve.

Am I evil? Am I good? I’m done asking those questions. I don’t have the answers. Does anyone?

You squeeze me like a lemon

The Speaking Tree’s column yesterday was simply superb. A simple letter by Janina to Life :-)

Dear Life,

You promised me a lot. But what you have given me has surpassed all that you promised. I knew that both beauty and ugliness would come my way for nothing comes unalloyed in life. My life has encompassed both good and bad because you have made me understand only too well that nothing comes unalloyed. When i look back and also regard the present, i realise that the richness of life is in bringing all these experiences together and weaving a beautiful tapestry of them.

When i try to achieve my goals in haste, you slow me down. You teach me patience; the value of waiting for what is worthwhile. You teach me that life is ever-flowing; like the river that gets around so many bends and boulders, you also make me flow over and around obstacles and difficulties.

The trajectory i choose for myself now is different, on account of the lessons you have taught me. By choosing not to identify myself completely with difficulties that come my way, i look beyond them and myself, despite my multiple identities, to the spiritually awakened Self that’s inside me.

I had the same expectations as many others do – marriage and family. But you showed me that there are infinite ways of reaching my full potential. There are conventional structures and landmarks, but not all of us pass by the same way.

You often squeeze me like a lemon and so stress, pain and defeat become part of my experiences. You make demands on me. I was made to take on responsibility, to care for others and to give something back to you. However, when the demands became excessive you have shown me that sometimes i have to be squeezed to give out my best.

You have also given me the chance and opportunity to recover when the feeling of being squeezed of all energy threatens to take over. There comes a healing touch – or there is sickness that forces one to stop and take stock, and helps one emerge fitter and stronger for the experience.

Looking, back, i find that you have enriched me with a gamut of experiences. You’ve let me experience the fact that being tested does not mean one has to seek escape from you. When we say ‘yes’ to life, we are really saying ‘yes’ also to surprises, setbacks and personal tragedies, and not only to happy times.

In the course of my life, so many things have happened, but not every happening was significant. I have now learned to skip and not mull over or get bogged down by happenings that could have been accidental, coincidental or negative, and therefore they do not say much to me anymore.

Life, you are a twin sister of Time. In learning to make the best use of time and putting our talents to best use in activities that are essentially time-bound, we are really living life to the full. There is time for everything under the sun. But you have impressed upon me that i should do and undertake only work and activities that promote life, not destroy it.

Yet, may i request you: Please don’t squeeze me like a lemon. I have learnt my lessons and the need to put up a good fight and keep the faith. I will celebrate you and not waste the opportunity.

And when i whisper a prayer, i will say, ‘Thank You Life, for the gift of Self to me’.

With gratitude,
Janina

The items in bold appeal to me a lot! From my heart – Thank You Life. I will try to keep the faith to continue to celebrate you and not waste the opportunity. Love, +Vinu

Innocent Crazy Mind

I chanced upon the song Bavra Mann sung by Swanand Kirkire from Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (Hindi movie released in 2003) last night thanks to the random mode on my ipod classic. And yet again I have been listening to the same song for the last 4 odd hours after so many years:-) thats a 3 mins song looped over 240 mins!! Such an amazing melody. And hour into it I realized I dont fully understand the lyrics and here I was slightly crying listening to it the 25th time! I searched around for the lyrics on Google (here and here) and then dug around more for the right meaning. Unfortunately no one seems to have even translated these amazing lyrics and song in a proper way! I am no expert in Hindi (in fact I suck at it!) but the contentious point in these translations in the word Bavre/Baawra. Some seem to translate Bavra as be-witched or crazy or wandering.

I think it stands for innocent. Some people in the comments of Ayanwonders are almost right. Especially one by sukhmani (i think the translation bewitched is wrong here. that would be baanwariya. banwara is very difficult to translate but its close to innocent or naive) and another (bawra in this song describes a person with dreams. literal meaning of bawra is one who is mad in the eyes of the world)

Anyway here go the lyrics

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna
Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

Bavre Se Mann Ki Dekho Bavri Hain Baatein
Bavre Se Mann Ki Dekho Bavri Hain Baatein
Bavri Se Dhadkaane Hain Bavri Hain Saansein
Bavri Si Karwaton Se, Nindiya Door Bhaage
Bavre Se Nain Chaahe, Bavre Jharokhon Se, Bavre Nazaron Ko Thakna.

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

Bavre Se Is Jahan Main Bavra Ek Saath Ho
Is Sayani Bheed Main Bas Haathon Mein Tera Haath Ho
Bavri Si Dhun Ho Koi, Bavra Ek Raag Ho
Bavri Si Dhun Ho Koi, Bavra Ek Raag Ho
Bavre Se Pair Chahein, Baavron Tarano Ke, Bavre Se Bol Pe Thiraknaa

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

Bavra Sa Ho Andhera, Bavri Khamoshiyaan
Bavra Sa Ho Andhera, Bavri Khamoshiyaan
Thartharati Louh Ho Maddham, Bavri Madhoshiyaan
Bavra Ek Ghooghta Chahe, Haule Haule Bin Bataaye
Bavra Ek Ghooghta Chahe, Haule Haule Bin Bataaye, Bavre Se Mukhde Se Sarakana

Bavra Mann, Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

And the meaning according to me (please feel free to add or correct the interpretation):

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna (2)
The innocent mind is on its way to dream
The crazy mind is on its way to dream

Bavre Se Mann Ki Dekho Bavri Hain Baatein (2)
The innocent mind has some innocent thoughts
See the crazy conversations of the amazing mind

Bavri Se Dhadkaane Hain Bavri Hain Saansein
Crazy are the heart beats, crazy are the breaths
Bavri Si Karwaton Se, Nindiya Door Bhaage
Why does sleep run away due to these maddening twists and turns?
Bavre Se Nain Chaahe, Bavre Jharokhon Se, Bavre Nazaron Ko Thakna
The wandering eyes long to watch some crazy sights, through the amazing closed balcony

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

Bavre Se Is Jahan Main Bavra Ek Saath Ho
In this crazy world, I wish I had some innocent companion
Is Sayani Bheed Main Bas Haathon Mein Tera Haath Ho
I wish I had your hands in mine With this evil scheming crowd
Bavri Si Dhun Ho Koi, Bavra Ek Raag Ho (2)
Wish there was an amazing melody to go along with wonderful composition
Bavre Se Pair Chahein, Baavron Tarano Ke, Bavre Se Bol Pe Thiraknaa
My wandering feet have the desire to dance to these amazing tunes of that wonderful song.

Bavra Sa Ho Andhera, Bavri Khamoshiyaan (2)
Let there be a crazy like darkness … crazy silences
Thartharati Lowh Ho Maddham, Bavri Madhoshiyan
Let Shivering flame be stable … crazy intoxication
Bavra Ek Ghooghta Chahe, Haule Haule Bin Bataaye
Bavra Ek Ghooghta Chahe, Haule Haule Bin Bataaye, Bavre Se Mukhde Se Sarakana,
Crazy one veil wishes to slide down slowly from a crazy face without telling anyone

Bavra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna

Diminishing Pain

Howard Cutler and (some google books by him)

To diminish the suffering of pain, we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain of pain, and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify the pain

Strange, just realized thanks to wordpress I am reading the quote again and felt like blogging it. Last time it was Jan 30, 2008 – 2 months after I returned from the US! Also had a photo taken of a co-passenger lost in deep thought. Possibly I was still experiencing pain. This time I am out of it (finally after 15 odd months) and would have to say I have experienced the quote truly. Around a year back, I came to the same conclusion on my own :-) Possibly absolute truths are best when self-realised :D strange uh? deja vu!

Spiritual Adventurer

One of the quotes that appealed to me today, Arnaud Desjardins

You cannot live sheltered forever without ever being exposed, and at the same time be a spiritual adventurer. Be audacious. Be crazy in your own way, with that madness in the eyes of man that is wisdom in the eyes of God. Take risks, search and search again, search everywhere, in every way, do not let a single opportunity or chance that life offers pass you by, and do not be petty and mean, trying to drive a hard bargain.

What should I do with my life?

I came across a book lying on my Dad’s table.  The titled read “what should I do with my life” by Po Bronson. As I been on a break for close to a year and its one question has come across my mind often. I decided to grab and see what special gyan this book was going to help me with. I initially thought it would one of those 10 steps to be a millionaire books :-). Surprisingly I felt it was worth the read! Po Bronson has written this  book in a way that appealed to me. The author has collected around 60 stories after interacting deeply with people who tried answering the question or atleast had the will to go looking got it rather being stuck with existential view of life. Check out the link for some sample stories.

I really loved his final summary. Very appropriate one. It goes as (verbatim from the book):

Some of the important things I have learned:

A calling is not something you know, it’s something you grow into through trials and mistakes. Work shouldn’t just be fun. Work should be like life – sometimes fun, sometimes moving, and defined by meaningful events. Attack your fears, rather than shy away from them. Bring what you do in alignment with who you are. Freedom is the confidence that you can live within the means of something you ‘re passionate about. Failure’s hard but success at the wrong thing can lock you in forever. Don’t be seduced by artificial love. Be open to defining experiences. Don’t mistake intensity for passion. You don’t find your purpose about you neck, you find it below the neck, when you are transformed by what you have witnessed. You can get good at what you need to serve what you believe in . Get your mind 80 per cent of the way there, then go looking for the catalyst. Look backward as much as forward, inward as much as outward. Nothing helps like knowing you are not alone. There’s a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Create an environment where the truth is invited into your life. If you develop the character, the odds are pretty good you can succeed. Success is defined as when you’re no longer held back by your heart, and your character blossoms, and the gifts you have to offer to the world are apparent. Don’t cling to a single scenario, allow yourself many paths to the same destination. Give it a lifetime to pay off. Things you work hardest for are the things you will most treasure.

I used to think life presented a five-page menu of choices. Now I think choice is in whether to be honest, to ourselves, and others, and the rest is more of an uncovering, a peeling away of layers, discovering talents we assumed we didn’t have. I used to treasure the innocence of first love. Now I treasure the hard-fought. I used to want to change the world. Now, I’m open to letting it change me.

I think lot of people in my generation have started thinking about this in India. As the Indian economy has grown and the world has shrunk due to increased connectivity (transport and communication technology) has given way to increased opportunities. Unlike my parent’s generation who were really not able to question traditions and take risks in their work life. Bunch of stories spoke to me personally. The way I look at life now tells me that I need not regret that I feel I will keep doing things in my life (instead of having one specific calling). Keep exploring and solving tough, meaningful problems in life and move on to newer things. Its the journey and not the goal. Till now I have followed my heart and have always given my best in all the work I have done. Luckily I have been only held back by my health. Have a great family that has supported me always and good set of friends I can lean on. I will always cherish the role of serendipity and look at opportunity in every challenge thrown at me :-) And yeah, its never too late!

understanding anger

Over the past 7 years, my biggest learnings have been about emotions. How emotions affect our mind and behaviour !? I have been into one intense relationship and you are surprised as you discover layer of your own personality that you never imagined! Of all the emotions, the one that tops the list in having control is anger! Anger was the root cause for my bipolar manic phase 7 years back … and it has in various ways ruled small important moments of my life after that. I feel I have kind of understood anger 2  years back , came up with a basic model I use to overcome it whenever it enters my mind and then reduce the half-life (the time) anger stays with in the blood (yes you can feel it!).

The acronym I use when I realize that I am angry is ANGER = iME. Its a 3 fold model that helps me diagnose the problem and then the situation helps adapt to come up with the solution. I have even come to create anger in my mind at some situations so that I can force to be angry and get things or some action done in my life. Yes, it means being manipulative but we all sign up to be manipulative or manipulated in this world in all relationships :-)!

the 3 step process in iME stands for:

inability to understand the situation : Often we don’t have the mindspace or all the information to understand why something has happened or why someone is acting in a specific way. We may subconsciously tend to get anger but we must try to reflect if the response is right after getting all the information!

Mismatch of expectations : sometimes or most often depending on luck ;-) things happen or don’t happen according to your expectations. In which case for most people anger is the first mode of response when they realize they are no longer in control! For example : your open the shower knob and there is no water! Typical indian scenario!! You expect your parents to trust in you and many more things

Empathy or lack or it : When we get angry with someone we must be willing to empathize from their perspective before talking or acting on the emotion. We need to try and understand (most difficult part) on why someone acted like that! For examples you need to talk to me over coffee ;P

Apart from these scenarios, sometimes I am very irritable that lowers the threshold to get angry! This is a Physical aspect – less sleep or hunger!

The best way to get over anger is to forget and forgive. The faster you learn to do it the better it is. Sometimes its difficult sometime its not. Very difficult when its you getting angry over yourself for letting yourself get angry ;-) Anyway, this was a post I wanted to write for a longtime! Finally it had its moment of flow!

Marriage blues … (via Vinu’s Online Cloud)

awesome!

Marriage blues ... One of my friends is getting married next week :-) (you can expect some snaps on that front next week!) I am just returning after having a sunday lunch with her. She was telling she is having marriage blues. On one hand she is looking forward for it but she is also slightly scarred about the commitment thing! what are your thoughts folks?? The above picture is around 25 years old. Its from my parent's wedding in 1980. Look at the happiness in eve … Read More

via Vinu's Online Cloud

silence economy

I have been thinking and feeling a lot about silence. You can find posts on this topic in my blog : silence : Infact I lived the last 2 years of my life trying to appreciate in better :-)

This quote by Lao Tzu is so profound! Silence is a source of great strength

Buddha

Meditating on silence

I mention about it in the following posts : Being Creative ; Creative Silence ; LoCuSt Theory . 2 years back i was so much into internet and mobile, I suddenly felt if I was too dependent on it. What if, I asked myself, I don’t have the connection? Will I be okay and happy? Am I too social? Can I be happy with myself and people around me? Or am I addicted to the internet to the extent that its a relationship I am dependent on? Hence over the last 700+ days I completely withdrew myself and now I am back to full form myself. Happy to say, I can go to an island and still remain happy with out electricity :-) The internet and mobile with facebook, twitter and google definitely keep me happy and entertained. But I shall be happy and thriving without it as well …

Coming back to the topic of the post, I see the whole world economy as a result of the human kind not be at ease with the silence. As I said in my earlier post, Locust Theory : The whole universe is built around Nothingness or impermanence. Actually a massive silence. The absolute truth is nothingness or silence!

The whole modern materialistic, capitalistic world seems to be making money from the inability of people to be at peace with the silence. The economy of the growth i.e. GDP is a measure of how much the country is working towards filing this silence! The only problem I see with this is its fundamentally unstable. Growth where the foundation of the economy is silence is more sustainable and democratic. Growth that is more thought out – a step though slower definitely towards a stronger, better and richer tomorrow. I think India’ growth trajectory is in the right direction with focus on sustainable development, long term development as the future i.e. as per needs and abilities. Of course, there is a balance of power, a big gap in the socio-economic structure. But the inclusive development will happen in sometime … if not now definitely by 2050! the internet and mobile will play a very critical role in this.

HAR PAL … KUCH ZAROORI ( www.mytoday.com Every Moment … something u need ) a new product we are re-launching and re-branding where I work. I guess this will add more fuel to the economy in general : ;-) and we take a cut! Hopefully in the more sustainable way.  Only time will tell but I am sure we are onto something really big here. Possibly the next google or facebook? I am sure this will be addictive. Atleast thats my job role to make it addictive – hope I live up to the expectations!

Coming to the more details of the silence economy, this is how the economy functions. In order to get away from the silence, a person, institution or group of people can do one of the following things:

  • create
  • consume
  • comment
  • curate
  • collaborate (co-create)
  • destroy
  • share

Depending where you are in the value making or consumption chain your either make or spend money! Thats the gyan session for today :-) too much philosophy. Next blog post on ‘life’ would be either on anger or how / why the future of money will be barter in the open, social and free world :-)

Being Creative

I have been following a process internally for the last 3 weeks to be creative. Sharing it everyone so that we can have a conversation and improve it such that it scales for everyone. Creative tendencies are still seen as a stroke of luck of pure genius! I think its a science yet to be discovered. So, we can have schools of creativity! Schools that can teach you to be creative in general ;-) Would love to do a PhD in this field and possibly start a ‘Department of Creativity’ ;-)

Here is the simple 3 step process:

  1. Keep your conscious mind blank or empty or silent (one step process for happiness! enjoy the silence!)
  2. Do something new
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2

At a fundamental level lot of people find that keeping the mind blank is difficult. Suggestions to make that a process – write down thoughts that come to your mind in paper and assure your self that you will think about it later :-) Possibly use technology (mobile?) if you cannot have paper and pen always! Better if you can read Getting things Done by David Allen

Next, when we keep our conscious mind blank (which I do naturally!), we are very sensitive to emotions. Especially destruction emotions. The book by Daniel Goleman – Destructive Emotions helps to give you an insight a lot! A quick summary – the three core ‘poisons’ from a destructive point of view are anger, craving and delusion!

On the delusion angle, basically  ego, the book by Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth gives you an insight.

The first week, I was doing this actively. Now, I am passively in this state without any effort and I am experiencing pure bliss :-) Filled with energy in terms of mind, body and spirit! Is this awakeing or nirvana or the buddha moment? You feel very child like with lot of empathy.

Just thought will blog it into Ether and see what people think! This is true spirituality with no religion. A process to be creative in all aspects i.e. love, curiosity and strength (my model of life – some time to be blogged later! already did that!! LoCuSt Theory) Have a good day all!

crash and burn

Was listening to Savage Garden‘s Crash and Burn today while driving and I spontaneously cried. I find the song very touching. In the past, I have cried (something that has been difficult for the last 7 yrs!) continuously for hours listening to this song in repeat mode! :-)

This song basically represents the concept of true love (family, friendship, partnership, companionship!). Do find the lyrics and some graphics to get the visual element. Youtube for video. Have a good day! Pictures take from the internet.

2_crash_burn

4_crash_burn3_crash_burn

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please to tame your wild wild heart
I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you
It’s hard to find relief and people can be so cold
When darkness is upon your door and you feel like you can’t take anymore

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I’ll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You’re not alone

When you feel all alone
And a loyal friend is hard to find
You’re caught in a one way street
With the monsters in your head
When hopes and dreams are far away and
You feel like you can’t face the day

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I’ll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You’re not alone

‘Cause there has always been heartache and pain
And when it’s over you’ll breathe again
You’ll breath again

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please
To tame your wild wild heart

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I’ll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You’re not alone

crash_burn

Being Happy

Anonymous (source anyone?)

Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.