Friday, December 26, 2003


Its interesting how different words describe & therefore colour otherwise one given state of inertia, event or action. And interesting too is the time and purpose dimension attached while forming our opinions. For example, a state of inaction could be called lethargy or patience, a telling of truth could be honest or tactless. And all of this so circumstantial, that one is constantly bombarded with a myriad of choices & therefore the consistency of our basic persona is violated every once in a way.

And to eliminate this incessant need to flex, we may decide to choose a fixed, well thought out demeanour for our social, personal & professional lives. However, this too in itself is not way out from this quandary. For one, its difficult to be tactful in your professional life & continue to be honest in your personal & social lives. Second, it is demanding at the least to isolate traits of oneself, change just that to a certain degree, & yet retain to a very large extent the pluses that one has. For example, if one chooses to be tactful, he or she sacrifices a certain amount of eloquence or flair at the same time.

So we come back to the struggle to find an equilibrium, to learn to live in our skins.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

A reason to smile

Cricket has always been a close accomplice! Right from the days of learning to divide faster & faster to keep up with the required run rate, to learning that a projectile thrown with the same force covers the maximum distance if released at 45 degrees - so that’s you throw the red cherry back to the wicket keeper - , to learning the art of chewing gum, to learning poetry from a lethargic, almost reluctant, Azharuddin flick past square leg, to learning flight from a certain Jonty Rhodes, cricket has been a constant, fun filled, philosophy of life.

In the recent Brisbane test, the Aussies were bowled out for a respectable, at best, 323. This after they got off to a brilliant start and getting upto 260 odd for the loss of just two wickets. They had lost 8 wickets for a paltry 60 runs. It was India's turn to bat.

India had had a despicable start to the tour & pathetic memories of Aussie stints in the last decade or so. They had a lost to a county side leading up to this test. There was moisture in the air & clouds further up. There were talks of 'chin music' that the Indians will face from the Aussies. We debated if we could save following on even if the rains curtail play. Our cricketing faculties were crippled and would perish, sooner than later, I concluded.

India scored a clinical 350 odd runs that day at an average of over 3.5, helped by exquisite strokeplay by VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly.

It isn't often that I get my cricket wrong. And It usually does not feel this good.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

American societal nuance

Two of top stories featured in CNN today tell the tale of a eleven year old child being starved & beaten to death by her parents and a woman biting off part of her boyfriend's tongue. The element of shock lies not in the sheer brutality of what ensued, but in my own vague rosy notion of a civilized society. I never did think that the USA was a country of freaks though I did see ample evidence of this during my stay in Minneapolis, more on television than on the streets of the city; but then America does on the whole come across as a wealthy, educated society which values the institutions of common virtues.

Is this a country of acute intolerance of even the slightest frustration? Is this a country of so many triumphs, of so many opportunities, of so many comforts that the flimsiest adversity knows no precedents?

Sometimes the burden of worries, problems and constraints on our shoulder keep our feet firmly grounded. It is not such a bad thing, after all.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

The cut

I remember how the protagonist in Andre Gide's "The Immoralist" was thrilled at the sight of fresh, warm blood oozing in profusion from the young finger of a child who cut himself while playing with a scissor. The protagonist was convalescing from what could have been a terminal illness and this crimson liquid that poured before his eyes filled him with a sense of health that was amiss and life that could have been.

I write this today as this imagery suddenly came back to me while I was staring with no insignificant fascination at the copious drops that squirted from a deep cut on my own little finger of the left hand. I marveled at its lusty volume, its lucid texture, at its engaging colour. I looked captivated as it traced its path around my palm and my wrist, wetting and painting them. I was charmed to see the water turn red in the basin, the skin split into a deepish furrow & the affliction of impudent, cold water on raw flesh.

I was enchanted at this sudden reminder of life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The separation

Detachment, on the whole & in the long run, is perhaps a good idea. I say 'perhaps' because there are times when doubt creeps in. In relationships, it always makes us the needed & never the needy, so much so that there is no or very feeble yearning in us to reach out, that separation does not make us bleed and that unions make for joys lackadaisical and ephemeral. It makes our memories, of happiness and sorrow, blurred.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The fan

What with a certain modicum of a Kingfisher Strong inside of me & the calm confidence that comes from tucking into a succulent leg of a chicken, I was hoping that the game that unites us a nation, mostly in despair, will have a surprise for us. And to top it all with a Foster's halfway through the game & to continue the spirited performance lacing our veins with Romanov, throwing in some potato chips in between, else they'd feel left out - you know- , and enduring a headache, and lucky distorted positions in the armchair, and not urinating as all the luck may flow out, letting in mosquitoes through the backdoor open exactly at thirty five degrees to the the normal, all that & more - and they go and lose the finals!!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Actionable Philosophy

One of the most captivating conversations I had recently was about the translation of philosophy into objective actionable entities in our daily lives. For all my reading, and only a certain portion of them have been what could be called philosophy, I really did not have any ready answer to that. I talked it over with a friend of mine later in the day.

As a first, I feel that this world we dwell in is not completely explained within the paradigm of logic, rationality and reason. If this were so, given all the problems we face today and the underlying 'facts', we would have solved a lot many problems than we have. Versions of truth are coloured by our own perception of it. I feel that philosophy can influence this perception of the world around us & from this changed perception will flow more granular, actionable items in our daily lives. So, essentially, I am trying to establish 'philosophy' as an entity differentiated from our daily lives, spent engaged in a lot of 'operational' details, which on the average are managed without a 'differentiated' point of view. And inculcating a perspective that does incarnate as things we do, is a process that is more gradual than sudden, and requires assimililation more than picking. So 'getting it to work' is a two fold process including 'getting the idea' for a start and then 'living the idea', each of which, I feel, is a time consuming process and also a very personal one. A process that necessitates a certain amount of unlearning, a lot of sensitivity & openness, & does not guarantee any tangible manifestations after all. And all successes or failure in doing so, are perhaps more manifestations of the person & than that of the philosophy.

Also, in addition to changing the actionable entities, a change in perspective can potentially colour the goals we seek. Given this holistic nature of change, we are therefore limited to pursuing ends which still retain their significance in this 'changed' world. So we can face a contradiction of sorts if we do not re-examine our whole world in this new light.