Wise Ones # 25

 

“The problem with human attraction is not knowing if it will be returned.” ( Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, HUsh )

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Halo, Halo: Do you see The One ?

“alone with everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and them men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but they keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else ”

( Charles Bukowski : Love is a dog from hell )

WISE ONES # 24

 

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I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” ( Agatha Christie) 

August in July

( Blogging after a hiatus 🙂 Was away taking care of my Mom who was unwell. Hope my blog pals and readers are doing great 🙂

Over lunch today with my colleagues, conversation veered around to books , especially by  Indian authors.

A very similar state of being as the main protagonist, Agastya Sen,  perhaps made me tell all that ‘English August: An Indian Story” by Upamanyu Chatterjee is one of the finest writing I have come across. When I read the book, nearly 18 years back, I identified with it so totally, it was uncanny! Years later, I still identify with it. But have accepted what the protagonist ‘s father tells him- he quotes Marcus Aurelius-that contradictions lie within us and we need to look inwards to sort them out.

The wit and sarcasm in the book is darkly delicious as Agastya embarks on a  path of self discovery.His irreverence is refreshing , but as he mocks and we laugh at the audacity of it all,   the deep malaise that afflicts the self and thus the State , cry out for redemption.

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 An excerpt from the book :  “In his essay,Agastya had said that his real ambition was to be a domesticated male stray dog because they lived the best life.They were assured of food,and because they were stray they didn’t have to guard a house or beg or shake paws or fetch trifles or be clean or anything similarly meaningless to earn their food.They were servile and sycophantic when hungry;once fed,and before sleep,they wagged their tails perfunctorily whenever their hosts passes,as an investment for future meals.A stray dog was free,he slept a lot,barked unexpectedly and only when he wanted to,and got a lot of sex.”

Go enjoy! This is essential reading, guys 🙂

And a song I am currently fixated on and plays on repeat mode An old favorite, though 🙂

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS BE ‘THE GREATEST’

muhammad-ali-training-at-his-pennsylvanian-mountain-retreat-for-his-fight-against-george-foreman

 

I don’t like boxing as a sport.

The violence and cruelty in the sport brings out the  worst primal feelings in humans, I feel. Why should a man beating up another man, excite,  I have always wondered ? Is that what ‘strength’ really is ?

Yet, Muhammad Ali, was my hero.

For  I saw and sensed in him an exquisite gentleness despite the brutality of his fighting skills. The mark of a true  fighter. A warrior.

 Growing up in India in the 1970’s & 80’s, I would read about Ali’s exploits in the ‘Illustrated Weekly’ magazine , which has been discontinued now. The sometimes smiling , sometimes contorted face of Ali would leap at me from the pages. I would read  about  his victories, his defeats, his controversial statements, his thoughts of deep conviction. In each, my heart would thrill to the passion this man had ,his unflinching courage and the absolute arrogance with which he held his beliefs, political or religious. I had  ( still have) a pair of red boxing gloves with ‘Everlast’ written on them; they were  pirated/fake ones which were sold in  the Gaffar market , Karol Bagh of Delhi, known for contraband stuff. Yes, Muhammad Ali reined everywhere! Like Barrack Obama said  he was ‘ a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden”. When television came in the 1980’s and quickly in its wake , the VCR ,my Dad and cousin brothers  (and later on my guy) would watch the legendary matches and fights , over and over again. I never did though,  still haven’t and possibly won’t in future. Violence in sports and  a violent sport will never really have my vote.

But I will continue to revere Muhammad Ali. He was not just ‘the greatest’ boxer. That’s selling him very short. He was a great human being, walking tall with the likes of Martin Luther King  and Nelson Mandela.There are men  so luminous…so powerful that they give us strength and vision to quash those niggling self doubts we all have when faced with choosing the right thing to do in the face of grave opposition and discomfort.

I did watch Ali light the Olympic torch at Atlanta in 1996, though. His hand trembled a little. The dreaded Parkinson’s disease had ravaged his body. But nothing could take away that warrior’s pride.

koi janey naa yeh josh tera….
koi janey naa junoon tera…

(No one knows/knew your passion….no one knows/knew your madness)

…so go the lyrics of a beautiful song by alternate rock band ‘Junoon’…seems fitting for a man who will always remain ‘The Greatest’.

It is an unusually still Sunday morning here in New Delhi. The air is heavy. Redolent with the promise of rains .

From somewhere in the neighborhood, the husky and beautiful voice of Rekha Bharadwaj, floats down to me singing ‘Tere Ishq Mein”. I leave you with that. And the accidental sufi smiles at her self…dil sufi  yeh hai,hum chal diye , jahan le chala , tere ishq mein  🙂

The Housing Woes Of Lord Jagannath

jagannath-temple-puri-1

( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

Everything about we Oriyas is connected to Lord Jagannath . The Lord is a highly humanized Deity. He brushes his teeth, takes bath, changes his clothes umpteen times, falls ill after  an extended bath on his birthday  that is celebrated as ‘Snana Yatra”, goes visiting his  Maasi/Aunt Queen Gundicha along with his siblings, loves jewellery, enjoys gourmet meals  ( 56 varieties of food ) . Well, you can say, He really lives it up in style!

We Oriyas have a very special bonding with Lord Jagannath where we believe that he is just one of us … someone in our gang. So much so that we take the liberty of lying in his name too! I keep telling non-Oriyas that they should be a little skeptical if an Oriya swears by the Lord! For you see, we believe that Lord Jagannath  will bail us out of ALL tricky situations, even if we have  been a trifle naughty. Yeah, He is that cool…our Jaga Kaliya, as we affectionately call him .

My charmingly laid back home state has been, of late, become witness to flurried activity. Hardly has the heat about  the origin of the ‘roshogolla’ and the alarmingly passionate debates (euphemism for insults) with our worthy Bengali neighbors cooled down, we are stuck with acute housing problems of our Lord Jaganath. There you go! Housing woes affect the Divine too!

Reportedly, the structural condition of Jagamohan, a sprawling prayer hall facing the sanctum sanctorum of the Jaganth temple is highly unsafe and might collapse anytime.

That spells disaster of epic proportions and thus too many ‘cooks’ are busy cooking a broth to save the situation (and themselves).   The chairman of a technical core committee set up by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for supervision of the conservation work at the temple resigned in a huff allegedly because the ASI rejected an estimation and repair plan of the Jagamohan hall, prepared by the core committee. The rather   poor upkeep of the magnificent temple  has become a  highly politicized  issue with  the ruling BJD and opposition Congress and BJP baying for the ASI’s blood. Apparently, the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister have exchanged letters. High level meetings and debates about the ‘right thing to do’ are on.

But delays due to such extraneous factors only will worsen the  already precarious situation. I am reminded  rather gingerly of this “How many twenty-second-century bureaucrats did it take to change a light panel?
We’ll have a sub-committee meeting and get back to you with an estimate.” ( Peter F. Hamilton ‘Great North Road’)

As an Oriya, a devout bhakt of Lord Jaganath and also an individual who since childhood has marveled at the magnificence of the architecture of the temple, thrilled to numerous legends/stories connected to the temple told by my grandfather, I also wait  very anxiously for everything to become alright once again.

Do I sound terrifyingly ‘religious’ or ‘parochial’?

Well, I would echo  Abraham Lincoln’s words “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” And that’s what loving Lord Jaganath has taught me. That’s what every God teaches us. Like John Lennon said ‘ I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

Meanwhile, I think   my highly human Lord Jaganath must also be a tad worried about his house repairs? Hopefully he would not have to call his chief architect/engineer the Lord Vishwakarma to bail him out? What with the poor mobile connectivity there….tsk tsk.

Last word: Jai Jaganath!

 

 

WISE ONES # 23

“There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.” (Audrey Hepburn)

Happy Saturday, ladies 😉 Make him sing ‘owwwww….she has got it all ‘ 😀