Thursday, October 23, 2008

If it's not for you, it's not for you

The first time I saw this one, I just felt it was way too intelligent. The second time I saw it, I thought the tag line sounded almost prophetic. The third time I saw it, I chose to forget my earlier promise (of not linking to YouTube videos) and decided to put it up on the blog, anyway.

On dull evenings

For the last few days, I was a little annoyed with the fact that my reading had taken a back seat. Each evening after coming home I would be overcome with a strange sense of futility for all things I do, reading included. And all I really wanted on these evenings was to blot out my thoughts altogether, if at all that was possible. I was reading less not because I had been busy doing other things, but because I was overcome with a strange sense of – what can I call it – ennui, maybe. Each day, I watched at the pile of books lying unread, and I got more annoyed with myself. And the more I thought about them, the more I became aware of the time passing me by, most of which, I am afraid, rather gone as a waste.

Still, the little I read recently, I read mostly by jumping from one book to another. As a result, I have a series of unfinished books, strewn all over the place.

I don’t know when I am going to catch up with my reading. But, in the meantime, I am busy with something else – watching Kieslowski’s Dekalog (or, The Decalogue), one part each evening. I watched the first two parts of this Kieslowski masterpiece two years back at Pune International Film Festival, and was completely bowled over by what I saw. And, it’s been a wish since then to catch all the ten films of Dekalog someday. As it happens, I have recently come across the complete Dekalog. And thus, at least for 10 days, I have my evenings occupied.

I have read/heard so many different accounts from people declaring how Dekalog has changed their attitude and perspective to films that I am mildly excited to find out how my own experience will be. Of course, the first two parts were influential enough, but I wanted to see the whole thing and then decide for myself.

So, for now I'll be just watching a part each evening and hopefully, I’ll try to write about my experience when I am done watching the complete Dekalog.

Monday, October 20, 2008


  • A few days back, coming home late one night, I felt a mild chill in the air. It’s mid-October, and winter is slowly making its way, I realized. Of course, the days are still warm, sometimes even hot, but the evenings have started to show distinct signs of the changing season. However, unlike the other places I have lived, winter here is mild and short-lived – none of those thick shroud of fog or biting cold days are seen here – but it’s pleasant and enjoyable nevertheless. As I was riding back home that evening, my mind flew back to many winter days and nights from yesteryears – the sound of dewdrops dripping from the mango tree near the window at night, back at my home; the fogs floating over the surface of the lakes in my college campus, adding bits of mystery to the drab winter mornings, when I walked to class; the bonfires I saw at the grandparents village, which besides giving warmth on winter evenings, were also a huge attraction in my childhood, often the smell of smoke clinging to the clothes as I fell into a cozy sleep; the grey winter mornings of Delhi, which seemed extremely dry, cold, and cruel. Also, not to forget, the heavenly delight of eating oranges sitting in the mild winter afternoon sun, especially after a siesta. Ah, I never realized I had been through so many winters already!
  • In my building, just near the place where I park my bike, there is a pair of trees with tiny fragrant flowers; the air around them gets heavy and fragrant in the evenings when they bloom, and in the mornings they fall off and the ground becomes almost a white carpet of flowers. I know the name of the flower – shewali it is called in my tongue, but I think it’s known as prajakta here, also harshingar in some other parts – it generally starts flowering early October in eastern India and signals the arrival of Durga Puja. Though it’s associated with a happy festival, for some unknown reason it is known as a ‘flower of sorrow.’ Maybe, it’s because of its haunting fragrance, or maybe because the poor flower cannot withstand the harsh light of day. I don’t know, really.
  • The other day, when I was in one of the training sessions, the talk veered to the concept of trust. The presenter said, “Trust is something like a tree – a long time is needed to make it grow, but it can be sawed down in minutes.” For some reason, I liked this definition, and it got into my head.
  • Deepavali (or Diwali), the Indian festival of lights, is just a few days away. In many ways it’s a beautiful festival, especially with the rows of lights lit up at each household. The last few Deepavalis, I have mostly spent alone, watching the flickering earthen diyas, and it made me be at peace, despite the shattering noise of crackers in the neighborhood. These days, I realize, Deepavali doesn’t make me very cheerful or upbeat like yesteryears, but neither does it make me outright gloomy; only a feeling quiet well-being and contentment surrounds me on the festive evening, just like the soothing light of the diyas – it keeps the darkness away, but it's not so bright that it can dazzle the eye. Well, this is strange analogy, maybe. Growing age really does strange things to you!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Atlas found

The long hours I spend on the internet – in pursuit of knowledge of wisdom, of course – I discover many things. The one I found today is Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas Of The Planet Earth – which provides us with nuggets of knowledge about nearly all the countries in the world. Well, the website just gives us a sneak peek; the full book in print needs to be bought to be savoured.

Anyway, couldn’t resist giving you some of the country profiles I enjoyed reading (in total random order):
Once home to some of the most diverse and undisturbed wildlife in the world, the nation of Australia has fallen prey to a deadly scourge of nature shows, with dozens of endemic species being poked, prodded, and bothered to the brink of extinction.

The merry nation of Estonia has been under foreign control for most of its history, due to the fact that its main form of defense is holding hands and singing.

Home to Earth’s entire population of 62.7 million people, every single one of the planet’s 427 cities, and all of its history, culture, and beauty, France is the only country in the world.

While known worldwide for its delicious chocolates, mouth-watering waffles, and extraordinary desserts, there is a lot more to the nation of Belgium than first meets the eye. For instance, the country is also home to delectable pies, scrumptious pastries, custards, ice creams, and truffles.

Mired by rising poverty levels, polluted groundwater that threatens the lives of millions, and a rapidly crumbling infrastructure, the nation of India have every intention of addressing these problems just as soon as it finishes telling Midwesterners how to install Windows XP on their home computer.

With over 700 billion citizens manufactured since 1892, China is the world’s largest mass producer of Chinese.

United States
The United States was founded in 1776 on the principle of life, liberty, and the reckless pursuit of happiness at any cost – even life and liberty.
Go find out more from the website, if you, like me, are in endless pursuit of knowledge, often from nooks and corners of the vast world of internet. I, for one, after going through Onion's atlas, figured out where exactly Estonia is on the map.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

We make memories everyday

Ah, so I come back at last.

No, there’s no excuse for being quiet all these days. And neither is there any reason for suddenly coming alive today. It was simply purely whimsical of me. Or maybe, as they say, real life intruded; so, was probably busy dealing with real life.

Anyway, if you are wondering about the title of this post, I must admit I stole it from a random comment on, which I sometimes visit for the numerous wonderful, informative, and thought-provoking videos posted on the site. There was something I liked about that sentence, and I thought it should be the title of my next post (whenever it was going to be written).

As it turns out, something about today (I don’t know what) made me put up a post.

So, what was about that sentence I read that struck me, I asked myself later. After all, it’s just a plain statement, and it doesn’t even tell us anything that we don’t know already.

Well, maybe, it struck me because I somehow realized in a flash that all these routine, mundane, and uneventful days I am living are in fact quietly turning into a vast pool of memories. Everyday, unknown to me, I am building up memories – the people I meet, the things I do, or don’t do, the thoughts that cross my mind, the things I avoid, the hours I spend working on my desk, the smiles I share, the words I speak, the meals I eat, the books I read – all these end up knitting an intricate web of memories; how and when these memories will finally emerge I cannot tell. Which seemed mysterious because I don’t know how much of what will stay in memory and at what unexpected time I will remember them again.

I often tend to remember some utterly insignificant things when a much more important thing was happening to me. For example, every time I remember the meeting at the railway station when I was seeing someone off for the last time, I remember the red blinking lights of a weighing machine on the platform. Or, when I try and remember some particular conversation, I remember the cramped PCO booth with dangling wires from where I was making the call. Or, when I try to recall a very old incident from my childhood, more than anything else I remember a steel glass rolling on the floor, the spilt milk getting soaked into the sand.

Memories are indeed trickier than we can probably imagine. Who knows what I’ll remember of these days when I look back. What of these days will remain?

I guess I am just rambling. Better shut off now. Until later.