Monday, March 27, 2006

Somebody made a very kind comment on a series of advertisements which I had designed for my company, and posted on my website:
Hey, loved it. Said everything. Ads ho to aise! Particularly when it is intended to market something like plastic, which always is looked at from a negative angle...

Here are three more, straight from the heart, for the nice things that were said about the earlier ones. These are from a series of twenty ads which were released in that particular year. A very senior former diplomat showed a great deal of interest in these, and asked my permission to use their contents in his lectures around the world, both during his term as a diplomat, and post-retirement.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


You say hypocrisy is fundamental. What about a person who openly declares that he/she holds no principles or idealistic attributes? I think I've come across a few of those. Is he/she also a hypocrite?


A declaration of not being idealist in a society which at least notionally believes in idealism, also becomes an ideal. Even the person who says that he does not believe in anything is also a hypocrite at the fundamental level, because he would have to do things for the act of mere living, and supporting a family and himself, which would be contrary to his being not idealistic: he would have to go to hospital to inquire after somebody’s health – that would be an ideal. He would explain it away by saying that it was out of sympathy. But then sympathy is considered an ideal. Going to somebody’s funeral or attending marriages is conforming to an ideal.

Can one really claim to believe in nothing, without making that itself an ideal? That is the essential hypocrisy, which is unavoidable in a conscious existence. That is part and parcel of living consciously, because you cannot live without contradictions at each point of transacting and going about the business of living your life. Making a compromise here, a sacrifice there, or fighting a battle on principal -- or without.

Even becoming a ‘non-idealist’ is a product of seeing hypocrisy in idealism. Even a sadhu can be questioned: Why are you even eating? If you don’t believe in attachment, why are you supporting and sustaining your life? That is a compromise, which is hypocritical.

The secondary hypocrisy – the kind we mean when we call someone a hypocrite, is not essential or endemic. And it is not all-pervasive – some people go about doing their work without any pronouncements of right or wrong, either because they have no notion, or because they are not articulate. They just go through living without making statements. They do not come under societal condemnation as hypocrites in the secondary sense. But people who make pronouncements which are contrary to their actions – they are secondary hypocrites. For example, by and large, politicians are in that category; socialites; most successful businessmen, who must function in a corrupt and inefficient environment.

I am an idealist entirely out of conditioning, and not out of reasoning, belief or conviction. Actually, by the very nature of my investigation, I cannot believe in anything. My entire life is a continuous contradiction of my beliefs.
Practising idealism, like being very sentimental, sincere, punctual, full of piety, nobility, virtue, et al., make me an essential hypocrite. I may or may not be considered a societal hypocrite, because I pronounce what I do and do not do in the exact and honest manner in which my actions are taken. I may, therefore, be spared from the secondary, societal, hypocrisy.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hypocrisy is part of being human. The contradiction between what we actually are and our human idealism, gives rise to hypocrisy. This hypocrisy is fundamental; we all share it, without exception. Animals, having no idealism, have no hypocrisy.

When we use the word ‘hypocrisy’ for someone, we are actually talking about an additional level of deception, pretense, falsehood, which, by definition, would not be common to all people. The endemic and the nonessential hypocrisy share the same name; and therefore people miss out on the fact that fundamental hypocrisy is total in all humans. This unfortunately detracts from one’s ability to differentiate between one form and the other.

This is not a complete statement on the subject, on which I will deal at length a little later.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I recently posted about a TV ad which I had found in bad taste. Several people wrote in the Comments that they agreed with me; others felt that there was nothing wrong with the ad, and advised me to leave it alone. The following is for those well-wishers of the ad:

Not to worry, I have no intention to crusade. The SBI ad can go on as long as it can go on.

Incidentally, this might interest you: out of 29 people whom I asked about it while they were visiting my home, 20 did not even know what I was talking about; out of the balance nine, five remembered seeing the commercial, but didn't know what it was about. The other two knew that there was some connection with SBI, but did not know what the message was. Only one person knew that it had to do with the SBI debit card, but had not established the connection between the SBI card and an ex-pickpocket.

Now, I am not laughing, but, tiny and unorganised as my survey sample was, and completely urban, from among educated and affluent people, fulfilling all the criteria for filing income tax returns ten times over, if these people did not pay attention to or understand the ad, whose money is it anyway, and who is harmed or offended?

The longer it remains there, the longer one can avoid watching it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Listening to, as well as reading, Javed Akhtar's lyrics for Breathless is a unique experience. I'm posting the words (thanks to which are just one long sentence, for those who have heard it and don't have the lyrics. (I beg the pardon of non-Hindi speakers, that I have not completed the translation I am working on. I want that also to be in one sentence, which makes it really difficult.)
Koi jo mila to mujhe aisa lagta tha
jaise meri saari duniya main geeton ki rut
aur rangon ki barkha hai khushbu ki aakdhi hai
mahki hui si ab saari fizaayen hain
bahki hui si ab saari hawaayen hain
khoyi hui si ab saari dishaayen hain
badli hui se ab saari adaayen hain
jaagi ummengein hain, dhadak raha ahi dil
sapnon main toofaan hain, hoton pe nagme hain
aakhon main sapne hain, sapnon main beete hue
se vo saare lamhe hain
jab koi aaya tha, jazron pe chhaya tha
dil main samaya tha, kaise main bataun tumhe
kaise use paaya tha, pyaar ke chehre pe bikhri jo julphen
to aisa lagta tha jaise kohre ke peechhe
ek os main dhula hua phool khila hai jaise
badal main ik chaand chhupa hai
aur jhaank raha hai jaise raat ke parde main
ek savera hai roshan roshan aakhon main
sapnon ka saagar jismain prem sitaron ki chaadar
jaise jhalak rahi hai
lahron lahron baat kare to jaise moti barse
jaise kahin chandi ki payal goonjey
jaise kahin sheeshe main jaam girey
aur chhann se tootey jaise koi chhip ke sitaar bajaye
jaise koi chaandni raat main gaye
jaise koi hole se paas bulaye
kaisi meethi baatain thee
vo kaisi mulakaatein thee
vo jab maine jaana tha
jazron se kaise pighalte hain dil
aur aarzoo paati hai kaise manzil
aur kaise utarta hai chaand jameen par
kaise kabhi lagta hai swarg agar hai
to bas hai yahin par
usne bulaya mujhe, aur samjhaya mujhe
hum jo mile hain, hamain aise hi milna tha
gul jo khile hain, unhe aise hi khilna tha
janmo ke bandhan, janmo ke rishtey hain
jab bhi hum janme to hum yahin milte hain
kaanon main mere jaise, shahed sa ghulne lage
khwaabon ke dar jaise aakhon main khulne lage
khwaabon ki duniya bhi kitni haseen aur
kaisi rangeen thee khwaabon ki duniya
jo kahne ko thee par kahin bhi nahi thee
khwaab jo toote mere, aakh jo khuli meri
hosh jo aaya mujhe
maine dekha maine jaana
vo jo kabhi aaya tha, nazron pe chhaya tha
dil main samaya tha, ja bhi chuka hai
aur dil mera ab hai tanha tanha
na to koi armaan hai, na koi tamanna hai
aur na koi sapna hai
ab jo mere din aur ab jo meri ratain hain
unmain sirf aansoon hain
unmain seif dard ki ranj ki batain hain
aur pharyaadein hain
mera ab bhi koi nahi main hoon aur khoye
hue pyaar ki yaadein hain (3)

For those who have not heard it, here is a link to the song, at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nancy wrote about a TV advertisement for State Bank of India’s (SBI) Debit Card, which we found in extreme bad taste. Several others who read her post shared that view and joined us in condemnation. As an exercise I wondered, if I was given the same script and had to use the same story, what would I have done. The theme being that pickpockets and petty thieves are out of business, as people do not have to carry cash around, thanks to the availability of Debit Cards (in this case SBI), and are also rightly condemned to suffer the rigours for their ill-gotten gains.

Already offended by what is bandied, in the first place I would not like to do the story. If forced, however, my story would tell about rehabilitation, restitution and honour in work, however lowly, like shining shoes, selling paan, magazines, being a porter, being in plain labour, whatever.

I started with the basic assumption that all government advertising – and SBI is largely government-owned – must contain a social message; hence the idea in the original ad that the pickpocket must be punished. I imagine that the ad agency’s defence of their product would be that it was necessary to show the ex-pickpocket as suffering.

I would show the pickpocket as reformed, rather than punished. My version loses the so-called ‘humour’ of the original. The obsession for making every advertisement humorous which prevails now must inevitably drive people to make mistakes. The best ads of this humorous type are a pleasure to watch, but when they fail they fall, with a thud.

Here’s my version of the story:

A customer comes up to a paanwala, or a shoe shiner, and asks, “Have I not seen you somewhere before?” The paanwala says, “Yes sir, I was a pickpocket, but now nobody carries cash, so I had to turn to some honest, decent business. And hey, I actually like it. The family loves it.” There is a great glow on his face, and cut to the punchline reading something like this: “SBI cards protect you even as they reform.” Or whatever.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A question, and my reply, from a comment on my previous post:
Question: I find your thought and postings fascinating.

I am an (old) student of philosophy.

Have you come across the book " The Selfish Gene ?" If so, could you please post your thought on it here ?

Answer: DNA's primary function is survival. Any deviation from this function is forced, adapted orartificially induced and therefore not permanent. Being selfish, as opposed to being unselfish, is cardinal to the principal of survival, and therefore automatically part and parcel of all living beings - as we know them, in our world.

Humans, however, unlike other beings, have moved beyond genetics, as is proved by the fact that they are in the process of destroying themselves -- not because of being 'unselfish,' but because of being conscious of their existence, and therefore creating the instinct of curiosity and enlarging it way beyond the instinct of survival. I'd like to expand on this crucial point later on. . .

Saturday, March 04, 2006

All relationships are transactional; and because they are transactions, they are also negotiable.

Friday, March 03, 2006

This picture is the glamorised version of the place from which I would wish to have come, if at all.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Ever since I began to think and use thought as a tool, to question, I have taken all my decisions, rationally or emotionally, under my own influence, and with my full responsibility. If I have allowed to pervade in me and my attitudes and behaviour some of the conditions which were forced upon me by my environment and the world that my mind explored, that was done by choice, and I own up full responsibility for it.

My will, especially when it comes to dealing with quotidian human situations, has been paralysed for the past 45 years, and every confrontation, when forced upon me by the mere act of living, of being, of breathing and therefore of being, becomes repugnant to the extreme, tiresomely unwelcome, as undeserved. I live in a miasma of paradoxes, where to act becomes an error, as much as not to act.

Arjuna's Kurukshetra had an alibi called Krishna. I divested myself of all alibis in the stupid pursuit of intellectual integrity in my evolution, without compromising fairness to others who chose not to, or plainly, did not evolve, even if it crippled me. I have no Krishna, although, astonishingly, I do not have just one Kurukshetra, but a million.

Update: Someone made this comment:

Krishna is not an alibi but a resolution to the anxiety of living.
All you need is love. Redundant? The alternative is insanity.

I replied:

Krishna is cardinal in the epic Mahabharata, as the conscience of all the characters in the narrative, as they played, or did not play, their various roles, treacherous or benevolent. Krishna's recitation of the Gita provided them all with validity, by justifying every lie, duplicity when necessary, even murder. He provided them all with an alibi, to ease every mind of its need to resolve all the contradictions man has to live with.

I would not recommend to anyone not dying or contemplating suicide, to renounce the ability to believe in conscience, to make adjustments with the difference between thought and action, and to derive respite from alibis.

What I wrote was a lament over my failure, very early in life, to retain this ability. If, therefore, your definition, and your understanding of it, are universally acceptable, then I am insane.

But remember yet again: I was not making recommendations to other people, or preaching to them. I was only describing my situation. You are welcome to your abilities, which you employ in the conduct of your life, as are others. My permission is unquestionably not only not sought, but definitely not required.