Sunday, June 25, 2017

Siesta


warm, fearless, unaware

being from the animal kingdom, 
these two have two main choices: 
either to be the pets of mankind, 
or to avoid them as pestilence.

Footsie


apparently, no game here
apparently, serious business
no other flirtatious foot around
serious business of choosing and picking
fork, knife, or other accessory for
food for thought

Friday, June 23, 2017

Born to Die

1971

This picture was taken from a room in Calcutta, at the place where my mother’s head rested while I was being delivered. It shows the roof of a Jewish dharamsala, a charitable lodge for travellers.

Unlike what is most popularly but not totally believed, life has no purpose, it is not intended, there is no reward, and nor is there a cycle of birth and rebirth. (Most often belief does not arise from intuition but is forced by superstition, lack of understanding of what life is, and threats or promises of punishment or reward.) 

The reality is that two chromosomes with compatible DNA accidentally combine and form rudimentary plant or animal or human life. As is its wont, all DNA material has a span through which it traverses before terminating or dying.

In a lighter vein, I tell people that the first thing on being born was that I cried because I did not want to be born. In actuality, crying upon birth is caused by the loss of the familiar environs of the womb, the proximate rhythms of the mother's heartbeat, and other not very glamorous arrays of sounds in the company of which you are ensconced.

I have somehow believed that if I did not want to be born, I had automatically forfeited in principle my right to create a life. I will never know if I am paying the price, or if I would have been less at loggerheads with the act of living, if I had had a child. At this stage in my life, it more rather than less, does not matter. What matters however, is that I have not wavered from my conviction: that I did not want to be born, that I did not and will not believe that life is cyclical or predestined, or mediates in its own destiny; that it is accidental and contingent, each contingency contingent upon another, ad infinitum.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Food Chain


life is full of surprises
the food chain is not one of them
the one who feasts today
will be served on a plate
tomorrow

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Parliamentary Demolition


I received the following line in my email, concerning the prevailing Indian political scene:

"Todo fodo barbaad karo koi kaam na honey do aur jab sobe debris ke neechey dab chukein tab dhitaang dhitaang bolo."

Break, destroy, devastate. Prevent progress of all pending national agenda items. When everyone has been buried under the debris of mindless destruction, dance in ecstasy.

Are our elected Parliamentarians stumbling over each other in their eagerness to convert coalition politics into demolition politics, and worse.

What is happening to what goes by the name of human civilisation is so appalling that even if I were to exclude the rest of the world and just look around my own country, I would be incredulous and aghast if the people who are of influence and wield power to run it were to suddenly be hit by an avalanche of good sense. Have I reached the bottom or the pinnacle of cynicism.

---------------------------
Charu wrote:
Bhai,
 Politicians breaking, destroying all vestiges of decency and then dancing at the demise of due diligence and processes seem to have shaken the building to its foundations. It is lying on its back; or at least on its side.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gateway to Oblivion


for a man who did not want to be born
and having been born
wanted life to end early
and who continues to shout
about these or at least one of these

to unceasingly pry
into the origin of all possible life
in all possible parts of the vacuum
in which on a piece of a minor star
mostly called the earth
I am still alive

the path is alluring
the gate is blindingly illuminating
enough is enough
has been already forever
time to go

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Suicide

(Over 12,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide every year since 2013, according to the Central Government. 80% are driven to kill themselves because of loans given on such terms that they can never be repaid.)

The farmer's wife stands with her child
but where has the farmer gone?

The mother tries to shield the child
but her face asks
who will be my shield?
Who will till the fields
as dry as bones
since the monsoon failed?
Who will bear the burden of debt
now that the farmer has gone?

The hut is empty
the grain vessel is empty.
Their stomachs ache so much 
that they cannot feel
their hearts full of pain
now that the farmer has gone.




Friday, June 09, 2017

The First Breeze of Spring


let the flowers fill with colour, let the first breeze of spring blow;
and you, you also come, so that the garden can begin to bloom

there is sadness in this prison, friends; say something to the breeze:
let me hear the name of my beloved, for God's sake, at least somewhere

just once, let the sun rise from the corner of your mouth
and let the night be filled with the scent of musk from your hair

the bonds of pain run deep; this heart is impoverished;
let people come to comfort me, only because of what you mean to them

whatever I have suffered, is done with; but may my tears on the night of separation
not be wasted, but adorn your future

my frenzied desire to be with my beloved
I tied in the rags of my collar

no place held allure for me;
after being separated from my beloved, I went straight to the gallows

-- Faiz Ahmed Faiz (a loose translation by me,  of Gulon Mein Rang Bhare)

image shayari for gulon men rang bhare baad-e-nau-bahaar chale
chale bhi aao ki gulshan ka karobar chale
tumhaare na...


This ghazal by Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-84) was most famously sung by Mehdi Hassan.




 Many others have also sung it, including Jagjit Singh.  Recently, an English singer, Tanya Wells, recorded the first two couplets, in a very simple and beautiful rendition:




-------------------------
Bhashwati wrote:
Ah what lovelies you have put.
The photograph, the ghazal by mehdi hassan, the translation by you and the rendering by Tanya.
That gave me goose pimples

Its like a rainbow riding a breeze!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Mask


fear 
or fearsome
protecting 
or annihilating
gender subjugation
or submission
ideological surrender 
or adherence
benevolent obeisance

one or all

Thursday, June 01, 2017

On the Road



Nothing But the Best:
the slogan of the maker 
of the terrestrial machine

does it envy the satellites
which watch over it
from space,
and often guide its course?

will it, can it levitate
to fly?
its whirrr surely shows
it is eager 
to rise






Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Genome


We do not comprehend our lives as we live them, in terms of societal connectivity, the environment, not to mention our own domestic and interpersonal situations, let alone those arising from different cultures, different countries and different civilizations on our shrinking, wounded planet. We do not understand our deaths.

Yet the thirst for comprehension of life's origin, and the entire gamut of scientific discipline, works to find out its chemical, physical and perhaps mechanical functions. At the same time, we want to ensure that our discoveries are presented, and bring cultural revolution, in our own individualistic, didactic ways.

Those involved in the search, with great qualification or insatiable curiosity for understanding, can come out with theories and what would appear to be supportive evidence and proof, which gets altered or enhanced by some other so-called truths, at other places and by other seekers.

Hence the search of more than a millennium brought the knowledge of DNA. In the recent past this knowledge has led to the desire and ability to create DNA in the laboratory, even though such an empowerment has led to apprehensions, ethical and legal questions, outrage within religious communities, charges of blasphemy in tinkering with God's work and plan, and so on. 

And now it is the genome. And then, do not have doubt, something else beyond it, ad infinitum. The purpose is questionable because the goal is eternally shifting: no matter which point man reaches, he wants to seek another point, the cost notwithstanding. At worst, if not condemnable, perhaps in the long run, in terms of absolutes, the effort, although seemingly fascinating, is futile.

---------------------------------
Charu wrote:
Strands of DNA swirling in, perhaps, a red primordial soup, a bolt of lightening and resulting fire all but end in futility not unlike the last word of the write-up; unless of course, soup happens to be 'Cosmopolitan' with lemon zest garnish.

my reply:
One Cosmopolitan with lemon zest garnish, coming right up, for the lady.
--------------------------------
Bhashwati wrote:

Decoding Genome


The strands that bind
The genes that define
A marvel to unravel
A spectacle to behold…
The flaming dance of life
Encircling generations  
Bequeathing tricks and traits 
Of conscious life
Through unconscious transfers 

About the composition I don’t even want to know what you did to whom. It is enough that you caught in a frame the music of the spheres and the dance of life.

The colours for me embody all the elements bound in a dynamic dialogue.  It is a mesmerising spectacle. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tainted Mirror


mirror of stained memories
fogged
or old
or of old age

cranky
distancing
persistently impertinent
unfocussed

progressing
to be
forgotten