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Tuesday, January 31

Almost Goa !

After numerous plans, twists and turns that included a cancelled trip to home, over the last weekend, I found myself in Karwar, a costal town in northern Karnataka, barely 10 KM away from Goa. Unlike my other trips till now, this was pretty laid back. Out of the 3 days, 2 were spent in driving across Karnataka and only one in Karwar and along the way, we also caught up with the Asia's highest falls, Jog Falls, although there was little to call it a fall really.

More about the trip later.

Friday, January 20

IITians turning a new leaf

Today I came to know about this . It is about 5 IITians who have gone ahead and launched a political party of their own. 2 of them happen to be my batchmates, people whom I have perhaps seen too closely to be able to visualize them in the bigger picture of politics. I am not even feeling like saying "Bravo !" or "Way to go !" or may be get inspired yes, but I would say "Best of Luck !. If that is where your calling is, go get it."

Politics is something close to my heart. I like it for I think it is only way you can bring about change in the longer run. Anything, any activity that would reach the masses will tend to become politicized sooner or later. Efforts to curb those tendencies will only be able to take you so far. And so for any nobel effort to succeed, it is very important that the politics around it is in good shape. Now what does "politics being in good shape" means is another matter all together. May be we can discuss that some other time.

One example that immediately comes to mind is RSS. I have come in touch with RSS at various points of my life and really like the basics, the principles on which it is based. However, they have tried to keep themselves strictly "non political" instead choosing to have a separate, a little too separate may be, political presence in form of BJP. The model has hardly scaled beyond a point. Till the party was small, leadership was strong, seats were less, power was far away and stacks were low, it worked fine. But it had to change one day and what is happening right now is for everybody to see.

In fact, it is interesting to see Congress in this light. What happened there is slightly different. They didn't have any reservation about politics since the beginning. That was the tool that they wanted to use to get independence and in the form of Gandhi, they found somebody that gave them strong moral and social underpinning. With Gandhi, congress was not a party, it was a movement that reached out to every Indian. Interestingly, Gandhi wanted congress to be dissolved at the time of independence. He was afraid that the movement that he created would become limited to a party. The change for which the whole thing had started had been achieved.
The new independent India was based on the principles of that movement. And now it needed a new start. For a movement that achieved such great success, it would have been pretty difficult to start from the scratch and that is what happened. In the beginning no one noticed because there were good leaders and more importantly, there was momentum. Once that momentum died down, cracks were wide open for everybody to see. The whole great movement was reduced to a mere party whose biggest claim to power was that it got us independence. Something went wrong along the way and nobody noticed.

But things go on and it is very easy to preach in retrospect. A new beginning is never too late. The particular beginning mentioned at the starting of this post, however, seems to be too early. But good luck and may God bless !

Update: On reading the post myself, I felt the need of writing some more. The comment in the last paragraph is not about the personal capabilities of the persons. I have my own convictions about how such steps should be taken and according to them, I find it a step taken "too early". Yes, I might be wrong and they may be wrong and despite that they may succeed. I would be a happy person if they do. I respect people that follow their hearts, they are so hard to come across, but that does not mean that I agree with them also. So with all due respect, my best wishes are with them. They probably have a good beginnign as sachan says in the first comment and people say, "A good beginning is half work done". However I think whoever said that probably never finished anything.

Wednesday, January 11

Books

The conspicuous absence of any mention of books from the last post was on purpose. I got book tagged a while ago by Diwaker . Although given a choice, I would rather choose not to answer the dreadful questions being asked in the tag, I will go ahead and do it. May be as a way to make up for all the visits when you come here and find nothing new.

The tag asks me for all the books that I read last year. But first a more interesting piece of trivia. How many books do you think I bought last year? I haven't counted but they will be over 50 any day, may be close to 60 which means one for almost every week. And how many did I read? Precisely 2. Now you know why I wanted to avoid the question.

Anyway, now that the ghost is out of the bottle, I would follow it up with another one. It turns out that this lazy bum who cannot manage to post regularly even on one blog, actually has another blog where he writes about the books that he reads. Of course, since I read only 2 books this year, that blog has very few posts. You can find them at Virtual Marginalia . For the lazy ones, here are the books that I read:

1. Catcher in the Rye
2. Lucknow ki Paanch Raatein

The second one has been a common read for a lot of people who are around me in the blogosphere and I can lay claim to that. I read the book on a train journey to lucknow from Bangalore and it was a magical experience. Read the rest at the above mentioned blog.

Apart from these 2, however, I have been reading some Hindi poetry, which I think can't be and shouldn't be counted as the books read. One of the best finds of the year was a old copy of Kanupriya that I bought without knowing about it from a second hand book store. If you have any taste for Hindi poetry, I would say don't miss it. New copies are available in Lucknow and I guess you can find it at other places also.

Another one was a collection of love poems by Ashok Vajpayee. The book is no master piece and is in fact quite ordinary for most of the part. The emphasis on being explicit, almost nude if we can say that, leave you with bad taste again and again. According to my classification, half of the book is nice material to be included in a Sex education text book where it would be more in context. There are however, instances of brilliant imagination, some sparks here and there and as anyone reading poetry would tell you, one good poem can pay for all the effort spent reading the ordinary ones.

The striking feature of the two books has been that they are in free verse, almost prose poem. I have a strong bias for rhyme and flow in poetry but Kanupriya showed me how any medium or any form can come alive in the hands of a master. When filled with content appropriately, any forms can work wonders. The problem comes when the form in there just for sake of itself. When form and not the content, becomes the symbol of rebellion, the revolution is achieved only in minds and not in the hearts.

Anyway, I am still too inexperienced to comment on such things. My aim this year is to finish all the books that I amassed last year. Hopefully in the process, I would waste some more margins :)

Saturday, January 7

क्या भूलूं क्या याद करूं ?

Isn't it strange how the end of a calander year actually feels like as if something really ended and how we wait for the new year as if the next morning is going to be different, sun brighter, air fresher? And isn't it even stranger that we infact find them to be so? Year after year, we look back at our lives at the end of the year and try to measure what we achieved and what we lost. And we take resolution. We promise to ourselves that this time, this new chance that we have got, we will not screw it up and make the best of it. Sometimes I wonder wht will happen if there would be no years to end, no months to count, no hours to spend and no minutes to fill "with sixty seconds' worth of distance run"? A continuous stream of existance as opposed to the discrete life that we are used to ! When will we look back then? When will we start over? And does the answers to these questions change simple because somebody decided to measure our lives in seconds, minutes and years. But man is a creature of habit and so I can not help looking back at the year that was. And more so because in the 24 years of my existance, almost none was better.

Or may be that would not be a fair thing to say. Since even if we remove one year from the remaining 23, 24th wouldn't have been what it was and so I tend to look at this as a particularly beautiful patch on the journey of life, nothing more, nothing less. And didn't I know that on the very first day of the year? On the very first day, along with my best friend Akshaya, somewhere in the wilderness of Panchet, I got blessed. The rays of setting sun took away with them, all the dilemmas, all the worries and set me free, free to roam.. free to wander.. and I wandered like never before. From Panchet to Mangalore, Udupi, Marvanthe, Ooty, Pondycherry and Mysore and add to that 2 trips home.

Everyone has a dream in their lives. No, I am not talking about dreams that talk about lots of money, lots of fame, a trip to US or things like that. Even deeper inside, there lies a dream where we see ourselves. Somebody finds himself sitting in a rocking chair, looking at the setting sun with all the nature turning into gold. Somebody else finds himself in the embrace of his/her soulmate. I see myself flying... flying free and high, souring through the wilderness, towards the moon, into the sea, looking at the stars from the mid ocean where there is no light apart from the stars. But we all know that humans cannot fly? Right? Wrong ! They can and they do. When their souls are free and when their hearts are lite. And it is in travelling that I find that feeling. If their is one ambition I have in life, that is to travel. To travel far and wide and this year has marked the beginning.

On a different note, the year also saw me losing two grandparents and suddenly I have realized that there are so many loved ones whom I would probably have to see dying. Not that it was a revelation but it feels strange.

Btw that reminds me that this year I also got a chance to listene and see Ustad Bismillah Khan live. This was my long held wish and it was wonderful watching the great maestro perform in front of my eyes.

I also happened to watch some excellent plays this year, best among them being "Seema Paar" by the NSD Reportry group. It is based on the last 5 days in the life of Bhartendu Harishchandra who is considered to be one of the first and most influential people to write in Khadi Boli, language that later evolved into Hindustani and then Sahityik Hindi. Other plays include "A heap of Broken Images" by Girish Karnad and "Evam Indrajeet" by Badal Sircar though I would like to see a production of the later play by some other group also.

However through all this, there is one thing that I majorly lost out on and that is keeping in touch with junta. As time passes by, the links are weakening and the bonds are cracking up and I am not even sure what to save and what to let go. Perhaps the best way is to throw everything up in the air and just stand with your hands spread out. That is how we came to this world and that is how we will leave. It is not a bad idea to remember that once in a while !

Friday, January 6

The New Beginning

New Year, new beginnings ! Thanks a lot to everybody who kept coming back and kept poking me :)

Hope the coming year would bring you new aspirations and show you new ways. And that through all that you will keep coming here.

पु्नरारंभ अस्तु , शुभारंभ अस्तु !!

Image: 31st Dec, Pokkot Lake, Wayanad.