Friday, March 7

जड़

रंज में रोएगा आज आसमान, तू!

तनिक बादल पे गेरू नहीं,
न कहीं गहरे मन का नील,
बस सफाचट नभ तपे, तपाए
संगमरमर के मकान-ओ-मंदिर,
जैसे दिन चलते चलें, बिन आग, बिन बरसात,
और शिथिल उच्चारण में फँसे ओम,
वैसे बढ़े रोग, बढ़े दारू,
फैले अचेतना, न रंग न प्रकाश|

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Thursday, January 23

फ़ैसला

भोले, तू कहाँ चला गया था रे?
मेज पर किताबें रखी छोड़े,
सूरज की कॅंपन को अनदेखा करे,
जाड़े की रेशम-सी गलियों के बीच,
कहाँ निकल गया था, रे?

कौनसा संकल्प तू ने ऐसा बाँध लिया था,
कि भूल गया तू इस गुलिस्ताँ के
पाबंद मज़े को, नाज़ुक मोहब्बत की लड़ी को?
हैं रे? किस आग में झुलसा ऐसा,
कि सब ग़म को पी गया, न हँसते, न गाते?

देख! यहाँ आसमाँ के रंग नहीं बदले,
न वे कोने-कचुले जहाँ तेरे चर्चे रहते;
उसी उम्र में फिर मिलना हुआ
कोई रंजिश बिना, जैसे बिन मौके की बरसात
आज गिरी मेरे आँगन में, न दस्तक, न माफ़ी|

तू आया है तो आराम कर तनिक,
मेरी आँखों के सवाल हैं गुम, हैं अंजाने,
तू सुना, अरसा हुआ तेरी ज़ुबान सुने,
क्योंकि यही सामान ले कर जाना है मुझे,
कहीं दूर, जहाँ तेरी यादें हों, तू न हो|

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Sunday, January 5

बल

दो मिनिट में उठून्गा
सरदार के भेस में निकलूंगा
सीली टहनियों में थोड़ी आग लगाऊँगा
तड़कते मच्छरों की तरह मोस दूँगा|

इन भीने क़दम का रुख़ कोई समझे न
कि सोई ताक़त कब होशियारी से जग पड़ी,
जब तक जान रहे, कर दूँगा तमाम और भस्म
चार दिशा में हाहाकार, जग भर में जयजयकार|

प्रण है पर्याप्त, समंदर पर है सेतु बाँधना-
इस रौ के आवेश में, छलाँग है लगानी
तरंगों से तारों तक, मेरे बनानेवाले तक,
प्रार्थनारूपी शस्त्र से भेदूँगा, रोम-रोम को|

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Sunday, November 17

Ashes 2013-2014: II, Australia: Preview

The Ashes have been getting progressively short of some good cricket except in patches: the DRS dominated so much of the last Ashes that whatever good cricket was there (Bell's batting) was also completely overshadowed. It didn't help that two of the best bats from the team, Cook and Pietersen, never came to the party, nor that Clarke also was subdued for most of the time except for one big innings. Add to that stupid tactics by both camps - nod to rookie Agar ahead of Lyon as spinner-in-chief for the first part of the series, and England's bizarre selections in the last Test - and only DRS had a series to remember.

As the cricket moves to Australia, on truer pitches and with both sides showing more sense of selection and strategy, there's better hope. Australia have more importantly brought Bailey in: he might not prove to be a matchwinner in his own right at Test level, but he's a very mature person with a strong mental make-up. If he can stitch a couple of fine partnerships, that's all what Australia might need, especially since that I don't expect much from Australia's top three. Clarke should be at four, followed by Bailey, Steve Smith and the wicketkeeper (and I much prefer Wade to Haddin, but a divisive captain like Clarke will of course go for the latter): if Watson can't bowl, then I won't select him and the top three will be Warner, Rogers and Cowan for me (no Hughes or Khwaja). Mitchell Johnson will again be a liability: I never rated him as a good bowler and I don't see any reason to do otherwise. Performing against India, which he has always done, is a different thing: England rather face more problems against Watto's gentle bowling. However, if Australia does select Johnson, then they will have to drop a batsman (Cowan in my scheme of things): for they have to definitely have three men out on the field: Harris, Siddle and Lyon (except for Perth). I would select Faulkner over Watto and Johnson: that is the nut to crack for Clarke. And that could well set the momentum for the rest of series: one wrong spell by Johnson, and Australia can bid the series goodbye already.

As for England, they will depend heavily on Cook and Trott: they cannot look every time to Bell to guide them out. Pietersen might play a brilliant innings here and there but also might get out early or into 20s and 30s often: he might be a bit scratchy, but still explosive enough to turn the match on its head whenever he feels like to. That's the beauty about Pietersen, isn't it? I do expect both Cook and Root to score very well: both are good backfoot players, and what better place than Australia for such players? Carberry is an unknown for me, but I back the move to have Root back at no. 6 for now: even if Carberry does that much as what Compton did in India, that should suffice. Anything over would be lovely bonus. I don't expect England batting to have much worries, except maybe at Perth and the 1st day of Brisbane Test (since they have a history of starting a series poorly): it looks much more solid with Root at 6, and Bairstow is not bad to replace an injured Prior. The problem for England is their bowling attack. Swann is now ageing: he's not been in the best of forms since some time now, injury or no injury. It's good that Broad looks in good nick, for Anderson might not be the most suitable bowler for Australian pitches: it's Broad in fact who has to be in prime form. But look beyond them, and we've got nothing. I cannot believe that England have brought three carbon-copy bowlers in Finn, Rankin and Tremlett here: Topley or Onions should've been there instead of Rankin in my opinion. For me, the third pacer has to be Finn, even if he's expensive: he's also quality when he bowls in the right areas and is unplayable every now and then. Sure, he will spray it around, but not like Johnson: Finn will also give you wickets every now and then. The thing to fear is though what if any of (or both) Anderson and Broad break down: then England will have to be ready for attritional cricket, trying to look for draws. Hence, it is important that England break their habits of these recent years and start the series on a winning note.

A good Ashes for England will go a long way to build up tomorrow's England: for players like Root, Bairstow, Ballance (hope he gets a game or two! maybe if England have wrapped up the series early on?) and Finn, this will go a long way to nurture their confidence at the highest level. They will be readier to take on South Africa in South Africa: when that supreme battle happens.

I only hope the cricket is of much superior quality this Ashes, and that DRS controversies remain in the background. The ICC has already created more stupidity by the new rules, but hopefully there won't be HotSpot in the series: so one completely unreliable technology at least won't be affecting match flow. And hopefully no rain-affected matches petering out in draws.

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Tuesday, November 12

trust

I have sown a few moons today
In the field of sunflowers.
The blind girl will come,
Knock on a snake's burrow,
All in the dark of a breezeless night
Where all the wind scurrying rats make.

My work is done, I lie asleep
Contented, hands stained with earthworms,
I will only rise to wait:
I will watch the river's edge
Where my broken boat's edges bounce
Off every little seed blown that way.

I will take grains of wheat in my hand,
Make them a rosary, count them and pray them,
As many times as the girl shall try
To come to me, to find a way,
Without ever taking a staff, she will need to
Walk and knock. And walk and knock.

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Sunday, September 29

तप

गहन ज़हन में प्रदत्त
न सीमा, न बेला का ग़ुलाम,
चूर स्वयं के आनंद में, जैसे
लाल चाँद में नहाए सागर की छटा;

जब छल से निकले कोई कश्ती
तब बन जाए वह कायनात का अभिन्न अंग,
पूजक और पूज्य दोनों ही भीतर,
केवल दिखे, अन-दिखे पूजा

और उसके कुछ हज़ार नाम;
भीड़ के चेहरे लड़ें, मरें, कटें
उनके लिए जो देखें, जिनका न रहे ईमान,
पर ज़िंदगी का वह मद-मस्त रहे तपस्वी,

रहे आसमाँ और ज़मीं की डोर|

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Thursday, August 15

वह तारा नर्तकी

वहाँ दीवाल पर नाचते हैं जिन्न,
कई रंगों में भस्म, कई घुटन के ज़ख़्म,
लेकिन न प्रेत कोइ कहने का वो
जो अपनी बदमाशी के आँगन में न छेड़े चिंगारी को,
हर द्रव्य की जड़ में ने खन्खोले चेतन को|

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Wednesday, July 17

no Other – paramatma – at home, but not

I got my answer of long time this morning: of what I used to feel missing when I lived in France. I was dropping two stranger boys to a bus stop who had put their hand up and asked me for a lift: could I have imagined that scenario in day-to-day city life of France? Often, I give and I see giving people lifts (rides, to go back to standard English) in India: it's normal to ask, it's normal to give. It exists more of a birthright than any swarajya: the other person  is going that way, so why won't he? so why shouldn't I? so what's the issue at all?

When I stop at traffic jams, I often talk to the people waiting next to me - in spite of the language barrier. Today I asked the guy waiting at a train crossing like me that where did that bus go (its number was strange, and I hadn't ever seen that number). He offered an answer - it looked to me an invented one, since in India we seldom like to say that we don't know, but maybe his answer was correct; that's not to the point - and then both of us discussed buses - green, red, different numbering schemes, etc. The train came only in another five minutes, so I had plenty time to learn more. As the train barrier rose, we finally broke our conversations (yeah, without any "bye," just like I had directly asked him the question without any "ahem" even, forget a "hello"): and we went our ways.

I don't have to go to Hindu philosophy to feel the paramatma ("supreme soul" shared by all): I can already experience it in India. Is it Hindu thought? A common background of difficult conditions and poverty? But then India was the golden bird: merchants of India have been there since time immemorial the richest and the shrewdest, so it can surely be not the poverty? What is it in this land that does not have a bonjour - not because we are rude, but because one doesn't say bonjour to oneself (with increasing narcissization, I guess though we are already there): because there is no feeling about otherness about any other. All Lacans and Foucaults fall flat on their faces in this land: there neither is nor is not the Other, an Other, Other. There simply is life. There simply is the temporary abode of soul: the inn where we stay. Some people ask for proofs of God and soul: I wonder if those same people ask for proofs of life when they go to watch theatre. Thankfully, this infantile state of mind is already not much to be seen in the land of lands: because we live our thoughts and thought systems. We act like children of the earth.

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Tuesday, July 2

Ashes 2013-2014: I, England: Preview

Ten Tests of Ashes within six months: an overkill? Not for any Test cricket fan. There will certainly be one team wanting revenge when the latter half of five Tests commence in Australia: there will have been some heads rolled, many new, fresh faces introduced (esp. in Australian terms, given the muddle they have been in during the past couple of years, combined now with Ponting and Hussey exits), and the world of cricket much richer. A chance to dream if Root can be the poster boy of English cricket: he will certainly be if he does well in an Ashes. A chance to watch if it is only negative thoughts and ill-confidence that have been ailing Australia: or is it plain mediocrity? On the evidence of their Champions Trophy one-day match vs. England, it certainly seemed the former to me. English bowling, which has been a worry now to me since some time and will continue to be so all throughout the Ashes, wasn't anything out of the decent: and yet Bailey's side played as gingerly as if they had never seen a cricket ball in their lives. Lehmann's dramatic appointment as coach will certainly bring fresh energy and some missing attitude to Aussie players: which can only be good, as one wants to see two evenly matched sides in action, at least as far as possible. However, in the long term, I am not sure if this is a good move: this team is now Lehmann's team, and Clarke, quite an arrogant man in general, wouldn't like it one whit. He doesn't have too much of a say right now, after the India fiasco and his own troubled back, plus his known history of getting good players (Katich, for one) ousted just because he doesn't get along with them doesn't help him: if Australia start winning, all will be good, issues will be swept under the carpet, but if they don't - then I don't expect the Clarke-Lehmann combo to be comfortable. Clarke is an authoritarian, and he was comfortable with Arthur, a middle-management person: what Australia needs is someone like Kirsten or Moody, who is not as weak or bereft of ideas as Arthur, nor as attention-hogging as Lehmann, rather gelling in with Clarke, let his team be his, but slipping in good management, good advice and good consultations almost unnoticed.

Let's move on to the Ashes itself. The game is this time primarily between Aussie bowlers and English batsmen: so let's review the weaknesses first, English bowling and Aussie batting. There's not much going on for English bowling now since some time, except for the top-class Anderson and Swann. Broad is an overrated bowler who might chime in with some destructive spell at some point of time, but is otherwise too profligate and nothing to worry about; Finn is yet to develop, and has somehow lost his hostility, though he does have a golden arm, it must be said; Bresnan is no bowler at all, rather just continues the now-ages-old English policy of bits-and-pieces cricketers who don't contribute neither a bit nor a piece when it matters; conservative England under Flower hasn't tried Topley, Meaker and Rankin so far in Tests, which they should have had in New Zealand; Tremlett might find himself on the plane to Australia, but right now it's too soon to call him back in; Onions is a decent bowler, and if cloud cover and other conditions assist swing, I would select him over Broad, but would the conservative duo of Flower and Cook do that? I doubt that. Swann himself is a bit of worry for me: he has not been in great form in the last couple of years (yes, he bowled well in India even with that lack of form: that just shows how good he is), plus now he's got this surgery done. Fingers crossed if he continues to be the good spinner with a very good control that he has been. The only positive for England on the bowling front is that in Joe Root they have discovered a very good part-time bowler and potential golden arm: in some years' time, Root might be even as useful as Gayle/Samuels are for West Indies (largely in one-dayers), or maybe even more, but that has to wait. If in these couple of Ashes, he just picks up a wicket or two, breaks some bedded partnership, then all of us would be more than happy: of course, there are no expectations of him on the bowling front. If he doesn't, well, he doesn't. He is just a Samuels-type wicket-to-wicket bowler, Bopara in spin version. My four bowlers would be in fact Anderson, Finn/Broad, Onions/Broad (if conditions assist swing, the former), and Swann. I would keep Rankin in the squad, to keep Broad and Finn interested: if these two fail, get in Rankin, and Tremlett if he's doing well on the county circuit. Or even Topley. But, please, no Bresnan anywhere near the team. Please, no!

What is the mitigating factor here for England is that for Aussies, it is their batting that is the main problem: they are susceptible to huge collapses, especially when Clarke does not fire. They are over-dependent on Clarke; I like the new coach's move of moving up Watson in opening, and giving him Rogers as partner, with Cowan coming one-drop. That does inspire a lot more confidence than what the Warner-Cowan duo did. However, if two wickets fall early, which could happen easily in English conditions, then it gets much trickier: both Khwaja and Hughes are simply not Test quality, and I do not expect Clarke to keep churning out double hundreds as he did in the last year. Simply put, there is no more Michael Hussey in the Australian side. What they have is Khawaja, Hughes, Wade, Smith, Haddin and tailenders like Starc who can bat: all of these to cover up for one man, Michael Hussey, and I am afraid all of these combined won't be as good as the man. A middle order comes rarely as spineless as this one: and this is where England's advantage lies. However, since it is the England bowling that is the weak link to English defence of the urn, this is where the fascinating battle lies: can England find bowlers outside of Anderson and Swann to expose this mediocre Australian middle and late order?

On the other hand, the English batting order does inspire loads of confidence. They have Cook, they have Root, they have Pietersen. What more can any team in the world ask? If these are not enough to inspire visions of 500+ totals and innings wins, then there is Trott, the ideal run machine (and good though Australian bowlers are in general, the likes of Starc keep straying on the legside every single over: Trott will love it so, so much!). So, among the 7 batsmen, we already have 4 solid run machines (with one of them, KP, a real murderous, game-changing, come-to-watch-just-me man, and I fear would be at his best - seems finally matured), all 4 hard to dislodge; plus Prior, the busy, attacking keeper, a 5th bat. The only debate is about the remaining 2 bats: I would personally prefer to have Compton as opener, at least for this Ashes and then think about the one later on in Australia, and keep Root for the time being in the middle order. As Bell has not been in any form now since a long, long time, a middle order of KP, Bell, Bairstow looks wobbly (remember, KP is coming in from a long break). If I have the utterly reliable Root there (KP, Root, Bell/Bairstow, Prior - as per my preferred order), then that looks much more solid. I would personally select James Taylor in fact over both Bell and Bairstow, but somehow inexplicably the guy has been utterly forgotten: in that case, I'd go for Bell over Bairstow for the first couple of matches, and if Bell doesn't strike form, then Bairstow for Bell. But I would keep Compton as opener and Root at 5 (6 is too low down for a player hard to dislodge: he would be wasted if he's playing half the time with tailenders). It's good by the way that both Bresnan (if he's selected) and Swann have struck some useful form with the bat: the latter in particular is a really good batsman (wish he could take it more seriously!).

Aussie bowling is though sharp: if conditions assist, they will be real handful. I will be particularly wary of Faulkner, Pattinson and Bird (if he plays). Siddle will put in lion-hearted efforts here and there, but I don't expect him to be a consistent threat; Starc does bowl some great deliveries, but all around them are cannon fodder, so he's hardly a worry for me. I haven't seen Harris bowl, so he's an unknown quantity for me. The chief worry for Australia will be to keep their pacemen injury-free plus fresh. If they can manage to do so, then this Ashes will be close. Plus, there is Lyon, whom I don't rate badly: he is a good, attacking spinner. I think he doesn't get enough support sometimes from Clarke, or he would be an even better bowler. I don't know if Watson would be able to bowl, but if he is, then he would be a real threat in English conditions.

Cricket is a mind game more than anything else or more than any other sport; Australia will come out bounding with some fresh energy fed to them from the new coach: if England, normally poor starters, can for once not start badly and win the first Test, then the series might already be a doomed one for Australia. But if Australia can take their best chance, the first Test, then you never know what may happen: the series might be close, but there might be an upset at the end of it round the corner. England must learn to be not conservative, not complacent: two evils they are often accused of, and rightly so.

For me, the stars of the first Ashes leg may be Root, Pietersen and Anderson from England, and Pattinson and Rogers from Australia. I am not selecting Cook and Clarke, the two premier batsmen of the series, in the list: I think both will have good enough series, but I think middling ones, not the mammoth ones both are used to. I don't mind getting it wrong in Cook's case, but in Clarke's case I would like to get it right!

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Saturday, May 25

writing poetry

since we are treating of culture chiefly as expressed in words, we shall identify culture with “poetry”; not having in view the kind of poetry that nowadays babbles of green fields or that merely reflects social behavior or our private reactions to passing events, ... [Ananda K. Coomaraswamy]

To arrest the fleeting images that fill/The mirror of the mind, and hold them fast,/And force them sit, till he has pencilled off/A faithful likeness of the forms he views ... [William Cowper]

There cannot be a starker contrast between two statements as in the above two quotations about the same thing: poetry, and its role. And it is unfortunate that the world has gone on the path of Cowper, that of Keats and Wordsworth: mere artisans who weren't craftsmen, mere beauticians who didn't know how to breathe soul into words. Rather, they were bent upon extricating the soul from the words themselves, lost in plays of words and their sounds and the metaphors that became ever more ingenious: photoshopped photographs. The world had changed directions: reason was sought everywhere, even in the conduct of man (psychology); testimonies of miracles are scoffed at or sought to be explained by something or the other; and suddenly man, who has always been so superhuman to me, made himself so puny. He discarded the magic of believing, of living, of what lay beyond the "wordery": the mystic Rumi gave way to banal eroticism of Neruda, and worse: reading any American MFA graduate makes you wonder, why is the writer whining (which poetry does not) instead of singing (which poetry does). From the sunny day to how the lovemaking session went last night, from the man fondling a minor to the descriptions of a city's streets or immigrants - this is where we have come to, with poetry.

Yes, this is where. Now, poetry serves also as travel vignettes, as slices of life, as witty conversations, as a manifesto against something or the other in this label-riddled world, as confessionals in the world of religiously atheists and agnostics (whatever the latter term could mean; I doubt a sane person would be able to make anything of it), as vents of anger/frustration/drive/desire; anything but poetry. Now it is not deliverance, not praise, not seeking; not intangible smoke; not wonder, not burning curiosity; not happiness of pain, and pain of happiness. Now it is semotics; it is preservation; it is photocopies; it is residue.

It's a pity. It's a bit difficult to sometimes live in a world which is so hellbent against poetry: not too difficult, though, as any true poet knows to make and distill his own poetry. The voices have died already, they are no more to be heard in the public sphere: no publisher would ever publish real poetry. Not many would be writing it anyway. But the few who will be, will have charming listeners: their own souls as they converse with the bees and the clouds and the thousand joys that transport them - and they will ask whereto? wherefrom? Not content with painting still lives of the wind and the tossing grass, they will seek alternative bodies, other universes and new names of God: in eternal quest, these few will live in every song that ever will be breathed, in the joys of a fire kept during a cold night, in the noise and tumult of birds as much as rolling tanks: eternally.

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Sunday, March 31

वार्ता १

तेरे डेरे की हैवानियत पर
गुमान तो है आ बनता,
कम्बख़्त किस बवाल-ओ-कोहराम का
बखेड़ा तू ने ख़ल्क़ किया;
फरामोशी का नाम मैं रह गया बन कर-
गल नहीं, गर हमशक्ल न होता
वह मोती असीम लोट्ता तेरा और मेरा,
तब क़ायनात के किरदार में तू न जंचता|

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Tuesday, March 5

Rooting for Root, and directions English cricket's taking

The emergence of Root - with his startling maturity, poise and ability to adapt himself to all paces of cricket - has suddenly made the English top order, which was looking a bit wobbly some time back, look so solid that I can't remember a top order more solid than this across conditions in the last fifteen years barring that Hayden-Langer-Gilchrist golden team of the Aussies. Suddenly, even England A is looking solid: the likes of Taylor are likely to stay awhile there, and Bairstow, Morgan and Bopara's Test hopes look to recede further and further away. Bairstow will at least hope that Prior will hang up his boots in two years' time, maybe after the twin Ashes: but will Bairstow be the number one keeper then, or will it be Buttler? Or someone else: in cricket, you never know!

What Root has indeed given to cricket overall is a refreshing batsman who can stick there like his captain, Cook, but who can also play murderous and innovative shots when needed: someone who is supremely talented, and in this he goes even beyond Cook. To say it another way, if Root can apply himself even 70 percent of what Cook does, he will be an all-time great: of course, it's easy to say that, hard to do, for people like Cook and Andy Flower are superhuman. They bat and bat ... and bat. Let the sun beat down or the ball swing, let them be beaten or let them complete a glorious century, the thing on their mind is keep batting. Unfazed - by failure or adulation. I personally think, though it's early days, Root, too, has such a balanced head on his shoulders: of course, if he does become successful, it will be interesting to watch how he copes up with IPL's lure, and will he remain the player he could be otherwise: in the modern era, it's much, much more difficult to achieve greatness, not only because the distractions are many, but also because greatness often finds itself decried and shunned. After all, droves go to watch a Chris Gayle, an ordinary batsman with great power; or even some Maxwell...

Coming to England, batting is not a problem for the foreseeable future, not until at least both the Ashes are over: my chief worry is a bowling attack that is getting thinner. Bresnan's career is over for me, we don't know if Tremlett would be that effective or not once he returns from layoff, and Broad is struggling with being out of form since a long time now (he was never a great bowler, anyway, though he has the potential to be). Finn is injury-prone, even if an excellent bowler: I can't see him lasting even these three NZ Test matches, let alone the 10 Ashes matches lined up! That leaves Anderson all alone, remarkable though he is! I think it's a big mistake by the selectors to not play Meaker in New Zealand: I don't see Woakes as a Test bowler, and Onions wouldn't trouble the Aussies much anyway, even if he were to regain his pre-injury form. Looking into the future, I think England must try out Meaker and Reece Topley in the whites, and soon: even in New Zealand, if one of Anderson or Finn does get injured, the English attack could really struggle! It's a solace that at least England's spin department is in good hands.

The times ahead are exciting for English cricket: it would be lovely to watch Root, KP and Cook in one team; hopefully, they can win the Ashes and carry that momentum to beat SA at home, because right now SA is being made to look a better side than they are.

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Sunday, January 27

la houle

Across blank seas, no ship will sail,
I shall wait here, like burning rock steadfast
.

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Tuesday, January 1

often

Rain has filled those sunken footprints,
Now, water shall seep inside like
Pain does, to every pocket of air.

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Friday, November 30

nectar at edges

‘other versions of myself, / familiar and strange, and swaddled in their time’ John Burnside

Fantasy is good but if it has the courage to transcend oneself, one’s fate and one’s condition. And it has the rarer courage to not think this as fantasy. To scorn the so-called objectivity.

Burnside’s above lines remind me always of Hesse’s Steppenwolf: in particular, the theatre of Pablo. Many are unable to imagine anything temporally removed; still some are unable to think of themselves in other forms. Yet, when I am in Chennai, it’s not difficult for me to imagine Bangalore. Why should it be then the case for time or shapes? In myself the today-sad one, I see the germ of wisdom growing, that which will make me happy. In myself the today-sad one, I see the vinous tracing of thoughts and desires, of actions and graspings that thought led me to, and that makes me now-this-self. I am thinking: at every moment, I am changing. The next moment, I will be then-that-self. I will not remain now-this-self. Now-this-self will not be just history, but also a historical perspective from the point of view of the new now-this-self, the former then-that-self. And this new now-that-self will never equate to the former then-that-self, for the latter was dependent on my imagination and the former is dependent on reality - including the ever-changing reality of me, not just whatever lies beyond me. This flux, let’s call it with Reality, the one with capital r.

‘our world has nurtured in us such a multiplicity of modes of awareness that it must be impossible to bring them to a common focus even for the notional duration of a step’ Tim Robinson

When I see the walls of Brihadeeswara, the dried moat, the fading panels, the heavy Nandi, when I see them across centuries: people of several hearts crossing these stones, today a royal pomp, tomorrow a milk abhisheka of the Celestial Cow, the drawbridge raised up and inside only stars playing and running around, every night in secret joy, with the devadasi dancing interminably: boy selling dates and woman selling flowers, smell of roasted coffee somewhere in a morning that I don’t know is it already been or is still to come or is: in one step, a leap much more gigantic than Armstrong’s, I, unlike Robinson, do not try to bring these multiple existences into one common focus. Rather, I live them and let myself be maddened, be dazzled and be distracted by each one of them. Rather, I celebrate life.

                                                'All night, on the surgery ward,

you were still playing catch on that strip
of lamplight and grass between home and the rest of the world'

                                                                        Burnside

Home and the rest of the world this duality exists only inside the narrow, spatial world some choose to confine themselves in, for they are afraid of an undefined space. The man asks, keeps asking, so … how much is mine? He keeps on marching, with interminable steps, to know the bounds of his possession; he’s already conditioned to think in dualities. He’s conditioned to think in right and wrong, true and false, good and evil, light and darkness. He will even try to disprove God, the One, through Two, the duality. For him, life is Venn diagrams minus the Universal set; for him, darkness is where light is not, not another form of light. But, yes, as reasonable men, even if not reasoning, everyone starts out from home.

What when we step on the border, that separates home from the rest of the world? Can we go to and fro, transcend limits as and when we wish? Can we belong to space rather than to home or/and to the rest of the world? Reason will be useless away from home: it will ask, what are you doing away from home, in the land of aliens? Reason will only be blind. How then shall we move back and forth? How shall we cease this movement, finally, but rather hover in space? Since there is no Pablo, I only have the choice of my infallible guide: Intuition.

'no one survives the hunt: though men return
in threes or fours, their faces blank with cold,
they never quite arrive at what they seem
leaving a phrase or song from childhood
deep in the forest'

                                                                       –    Burnside

Reason will try to construct a sequence of now-this-selves. It will try to construct a necklace of them, threaded through causality: it will call it saneness, order and civilisation. Reason will say the phrase or song lost in the forest is trivial, is useless, doesn’t affect causality. It will neglect it like some infinitesimal part, as we often do in equations in our classrooms. I wonder about those phrases and songs left in the forest: do they assemble together and make something wonderful of their own, without being subject to self-doubts, without rejections of each other just because they sound a different tone?

And what will he do, without that song or phrase in the heart? He will try to fit up a part borrowed from Reason there. He can breathe, walk, drink. He can live. Even if life is bereft of song. Songs are not logical; the tendency to make one shall be explained soon. Once we have the cause and the effect, the thing itself doesn’t matter. We know why we make songs, we know what a song is made up of, we know what effect a song has and why does it have so, we know what effect the song will have on whom in what precise degree, we know what the song’s presence tells about the man who lost the song. Now, since we know all this much, we can forget the song itself. Song is data.

Like, ‘the sense I have of my place in the world becomes a static, meaningless fact’ (Burnside). So with the song.

But I shall not choose to do so. I shall always make songs. For only through prayer, only through repeated explorations of the borders between, I will rise above facts. Above duality, beyond Reason - into Intellect, to Wisdom.

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