Monday, March 30, 2009

To Bee

Life - now that's a big word- but well written works make you shed your inhibitions and wax eloquent on such weighty stuff providing you the temporary illusion that you are equal to it.

Anyway, life is a string of evidences. Thoughts, tendencies and such formless things do not by themselves complete life. Life demands occurrences as concrete proofs of these things. And these demands are not externally placed on us. Each of us demand it of ourselves. Only events leave their impressions on life. Possibilities that did not materialize wane in definition over time. States of mind and pressures that dominated our consciousness at some point vanish without a trace. Only events stay.

Where does this event-based memory start ? From one's actions ? Or from occurrences one recalls ? If so, then occurrences one recalls precede one's existence. Why they are indeed more vital considering the germ of one's existence is from the action of two individuals. It is inevitable for man to see his existence as a mere link in a series of actions. To convince oneself that this is desirable would be delusional urgent clamor for balance. When even slight deviation from balance sparks off fear, is it credible to call that existence 'free' ?

It is natural for one to be annoyed to see one's existence as a mere link in the chain of history. As the future is yet to occur one can assume that atleast in some small way one's choices affect it. So all the rage is directed squarely at the past over which one has had no control. The inherited past may be a falsehood. The past was perhaps inflated to impress and one has to bear the yoke of it. Or worse still perhaps it is indeed true and one has to live up to impossible standards and is thus doomed to fall short.

Can a bee refuse to be interested in the hunt for nectar ? Is vocation nature or choice ? At the verge of the nectar-hunt pulling out is withdrawing not from the event alone but withdrawing at the last stage of a journey full of effort and recommendations. To negate history, to render meaningless time and effort and more importantly to let down those one values. But proceeding would be to wed one's future to the past. Basic courtesy demands of the bee to explain why he won't participate in the nectar-hunt. Or worse still explain what is that interests him instead. Rather than explain he pretends submission to the hunt-cries and joins the band.

Karna's predicament is unique. In that he is doomed to ignominy as a perceived non-Kshathriya. To prove to be a Kshathriya is to earn the wrath of his Guru Parasurama. The world is restrictive in definitively assuming talents and tendencies to be innate. By bearing the sting did Karna defy the possibilities his ignominous birth afforded him ? Or (as his Guru alleged) is the event to be taken as evidence of his being a Kshatriya. The first possibility should give him sheer joy of accomplishment. The latter should again give him joy as it liberates him from the ignominy he has suffered till then. Alas he only suffers the cursed sorrow of one who declines in the eyes of those one respects.

To dodge is victory the bee is taught. In the artful dodging, the bee understands, is the suffocating repression of being put in place. In a fit of fatalistic liberation he breaks the rule and drills into the thigh of Karna. All he achieves is the prevention of another breaking a social code.

Creation is perhaps His preserve. Mortals can merely translate one destruction to another.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

பாலைப்புயல் '98

பாலைத்திணையதில் வாகைக்களிப்பதை பொருத்துவதில்லை நற்பாணர்
சாலைக்கடந்திட தேவைநெறிமுறை மீறுவதுண்டே சிலபொழுது
ஏழையிவனது உவகைநினைவுகள் உட்படவில்லை சட்டகத்துள்
காளையுட்புகு பீங்கான்கடையதை நினைவில் நிறுத்திய ஒரு பொழுது

மாலைசித்திரை வெயில்மணலது சூறாவளியில் சுழன்றதுபோல்
ஓராளை எதிர்கொள மஞ்சள்ளணிபவர் பத்தோடொருவரும் உழன்றாரே
வாளைவீசுடும் வேங்கையொன்றதை சொல்லிலடைப்பதும் சாத்தியமோ
ஏழையிவனது ஆசைக்கெனவோர் அரிசிப்பதத்துடன் நிறுத்திடுவேன்

ஜ்வாலைப் பார்வையை கண்ணிலிருத்தி சடுதியில் வீசிடும் காஸ்ப்ரோவிச்
பாலை எதுவோ மிதசுழற்பந்தன் எவனோ ஒருவன் போட்டதுபோல்
சேலை அணிந்திடும் மாதர் அவரது நளினம் கலந்த கொலைவெறியில்
மூலை ஒன்றதில் ஆழக்களித்திடும் மாந்தர் இடமதிற் பதித்தானே

நாளைமுதுமையில் பேரும் பாலும் உறவும் மறக்க நேர்ந்திடுமோ
ஓலைப்படுக்கையை நோக்கிடும்போது நாரணன் பேர் சொல மறந்திடுமோ
ஒரு வேளை - அதுபோல் இதுவும் ஒருநாள் மறந்திடுவேன் என பயங்கொண்டே
வாலைப்பருவ காலத்தில் கண்ட பேரழகிங்கிதை வரைந்துவைத்தேன்

ummAchchi - Left Arm Fast

"Ma'am, Prabhu here doesn't believe in God" he said.

He was a typical specimen I was forced to spend school-life with. Uglier in the same uniform with an expression displaying unfathomable levels of stupidity and cruelty. There are numerous ways a nine year old can mess with another. I don't recall what I had done. It could have been something as mundane like flicking his pencil. The vindictive rascal gets back at me by putting me in a spot in value education class. He was a clever chap, I must grant him that. That "gotcha" grimace of his made it clear that he understood putting me in a spot where I had to explain myself to the rest of the class was more painful than socking me in the jaw.

The teacher was waiting with an unasked why. The class was teeming with rebuttals to whatever smartass logical arguments I may make - just that I had none. It was something that happened. As a nine year who could spell agnostic, things were never going to be smooth. So in a whiff of public speaking genius I went for the incredible. A story. A friend, I said, was terminally ill and I prayed fervently that he be saved. God, I ended my macabre story, did not. And there ended my relationship with the alleged Omnipotent.

That instant concoction served two purposes. The second being it put the fear of God into anyone who ever wanted to befriend me. But first, it started off a long history of suiting myself to the audience's understanding and presenting lies with skillfully masked condescension. It is perhaps no coincidence that I am "gainfully employed" today.But to be fair to myself it was a bid to deflect conversation back to the realm of the familiar. Everyone is happpy. The teacher got her cue for the "goodness" and "sometimes thing happen but faith is...." spiel. She generously let me be with the hope that I'd come around. I nodded with understanding. Perhaps the girls had their hankies out, I wasn't crafty enough to make the most of such things (now see how I craftily use past tense). I shot a sideways glance at my assailant. Things had quite obviously not gone his way.

That was when he got me into something I could never hiope to get myself out of: "Ma'am he also said that.... Wasim Akram is God".

Damn ! I always chose the wrong person to come out of the closet to. There was no explaining that to folks who did not see it for themselves this very day 17 years ago...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Say something

'Plain quoters are a dozen a dime
So add your take don't lay it bare'
'About a craftsman in his prime
An explanation I shall dare
When it's a True Artist I'm

Contended just to gape and stare
Perhaps write a doodling rhyme

And just proceed to humbly share'

From 'Chicago Zen' by AKR

Watch your step, watch it, I say,
especially at the first high

and the sudden low
one near the end
of the flight

of stairs,

and watch
for the last
step that's never there.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Men have always been connoisseurs

அணங்கு ஆயினள் தான் பிறந்த ஊர்க்கே
மருதனிள நாகனார் (புறம் 349)

Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

- Christopher Marlow, Doctor Faustus

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Winters Rains and Consolations
Broken rubbers, Miscalculations
These are our Honorable Roots
Whether or not it suits
Our Thoughtful Interpretations


Friday, March 13, 2009

You're talking to me ?

Think of what you're saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it's all right.
The Beatles

Jack : When people think you're dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of just...
Marla: - instead of just waiting for their turn to speak?
(Fight Club)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Consumption Vector

Don't think of it as dumbing it down. That is condescending and incorrect. But when you can snip out aspects of your personality which are not as essential as you would like to think they are, then you - and I mean everyone - would be more accessible and categorizable.

But isn't it all about growing in all possible directions and realizing all that we can.

Most welcome sir. But for your own good, keep the dichotomy between "what you are" and "what you do" clear. As in "You like flowers" vs. "you are a flower liker". To expect "like like same same"s is to inflate your liking for flowers. You don't like them that much really.

Confusing causal cycles there but worth trying. But it's going to be tough.Particularly with others, what they do is what they are. They are either that or not. Poetic appreciation for instance. Let me use a lovely phrase from நற்றிணை for example.வினை முடித்தன்ன இனியோள். Roughly translates to "she who is as sweet as the feeling of accomplishment". Flooring huh ! And that's over 1500 years old. Yes we overdo our similies but one such as is sufficient to suffer a bookful of bad ones. This is just hit or miss - no pun intended. What do you say ?

I say that a man reading ancient poetry, will find a way to work it into conversation.

Awkward silence followed... broken by the observation "This is one good weather city"

"Free one too. A two-wheeler rider can wear a World War I soldier's hard hat and rexin earflaps and pass it of as a helmet. "

"Well who's going to arrest him for that ? The policeman on the leopard-spot style motorcycle ?"
Smiles around..

"It's a good city to be young in"
"Indeed it is.... now, is age something you are or something you do ?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Baldrick: I heard that it ( World War I) started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry.
Edmund Blackadder: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.
Baldrick: Nah, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir

DAE: You don't not exist in vaccuum. Reactions to the world and its realities are expected from you. You can't just keep talking about yourself and expect people to be interested.
Me:I see that...but the problem with opinions is one things leads to another .... I stick to stuff that interests me
DAE: Cricket interests you and yet there was not a word about the attack on cricketers in Lahore...
Me: ...There is carpet bombing and mass murder happening next door as we speak, it would be inconsistent and absurd to make noise about this minor hassle
DAE: Okay if that disturbs you so much why don't you write about it ?
Me: Wall perching is better when you don't know enough about the facts
DAE: Then why don't you get to know the facts ?
Me: The more I know the more intellectually paralyzed it leaves me. Shades of grey on either side and all that.....
DAE: Do you wait to understand the physics of the universe when you want to cross the road ?
Me: Well....I actually don't want to cross the road...I want to wish the road away....think of pastures instead
DAE: This is disgusting
Me: The world is not black and white, you know
DAE: Oh shut up !.....just insert an escapist quote and we'll end this bleeping conversation.
Me: "Let us leave indiscriminate killing and injuring to the Government--to its Statesmen, its Stockbrokers, its Officers, and its Law." - L.S.Bevington

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It shows

Snooty literary standards are injurious to health.
Poets are nasty, particularly about other poets. Perhaps being nasty in poetry is a way to assure oneself of his poetic status. Add to that something that can be retrospectively be labeled as both chauvinistic and juvenile. Or just plain naughty....

It Shows

Ugly Sight.
What's the honest thing to do ?

All that matters should be the mind-content
But honestly its only the beauty.

One has to be cruel with a kind intent
And do a friend's moral duty.

Thou art lover summon some gall
To tell her straight she'd rather shed all

Pretensions of art.

When her poetry has no fire

It shows.