Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Colour of Terror

The colour of terror is RED. Tears are colourless.

History of Earth as Written by Man

Although it has been the feeling of all people at all times, unfortunately or otherwise, WE ACTUALLY ARE living through the most historic times of human life; most determinist, and least tranquil; the only fortunate ones are those who are unaware of it. And the cosmos, to which it would not matter scenically as an event, or audibly, as a whimper. 

The purport of this statement and understanding is more evident today than ever before. Although unnecessary or inconsequential amongst larger contingent contexts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Universal Question

There is not, and cannot be, a universal answer; for that matter, it can be reasonably doubted whether, beyond mankind, as we call ourselves, there is any question or answer, let alone the notion of a universe. The tragedy, or comedy, of it all is that it does not even matter whether we feel good or bad about it.
Anonymous wrote:

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.

T S Eliot
I of Four Quartets

Extremely powerful image.
Looks like a pit dark and deep but with a safety hatch for those that have the capacity to cling on despite reality!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Transformation of Charulata

From Ahmedabad, 1967

To the United States, 1973

Was it your best effort or mine?
Absolutely and undoubtedly yours, Bhupen. You are the creator and transformer; I only took photographs.
And the subject herself had no role to play?!!
Indeed; without the subject there would not have been a Subject! Her role was to be the Muse; then one transformed and the other merely photographed. Does this satisfy the Muse?
Me, muse? I think not.

Whose effort, best or not; immeasurable.

Perhaps, mere two points in time, photographed telling-ly, in a process that led to a stage named here, "transformation"

May be, not an acceptable comment; just the same.


Kiss of Dawn

As my wife foraged through ancient papers and other paraphernalia, she found among things from my childhood, some photographs which I had taken, actually was forced to take, with some friend's box camera. It looks like the photographs have been preserved more than the subject/object material, not to mention the photographer/writer himself.

"Kiss of Dawn" -- Tiger Hill, Darjeeling (1948)

Burmese Pagoda, Eden Gardens, Calcutta (1948)

Gandhi Statue from window of the police chowki,
Juhu, Bombay (1953)

With nostalgia, my wife has written about them on her blog.
Anonymous commented:

Old film title:
Phir Subah Hogi / Dawn will return (morning will come sounds a bit prosaic as title)

Now running as:
Phir Subah Huyi / Dawn has returned 

kaali sadiyon key sar sey /
raat ka saaya sarka to
Pal bhar key liye hi sahi
kirnon ka aanchal faila to

The shadow of night has slipped from off the dark ages
The raiment of rays has spread albeit briefly 

my response:

Voh subah kabhi na ayegi,
Voh subah KABHI na ayegi.
Sarkar ko pucho; Lok Sabha ko pucho;
Aam janta ko pucho; NDTV aur baaqi saari media ko pucho; Priyanka ko pucho; Amitabh ko pucho; Bipasha ko pucho:

That dawn will never come
Ask the govt, ask the parliament, ask the people, ask media outlets and ask our BIG stars
Kya voh subah kabhi to ayegi?
Nahin ji: voh subah kabhi na ayegi.

Will that dawn ever come?
No sir that dawn will never come.
The lines stuck in my mind forever are:

Faqon ki chitaon per jis din insana jalaye jayenge, Jhino ke dahakte dozakh main aramana jalaye jayenge, yeh narka se bhi gandi dunian jab swarga banai jayegi, woh sbaha tabhi to aayegi...

Three tears for Sahir for writing
this verse.

Michael wrote:

What precious memories, captured so beautifully, from your childhood.

Like so many things related to the Internet, I'm not entirely sure how I wound up here. But I'm so pleased I did. Your photography is stunning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010








Anonymous commented:

1. The skewed anthropocentric consciousness is first struck by the humour

before realising

2. That rebellion is in the offing
and the clarion call seems to be: non human organisms of the planet unite!

A perfect synthesis too of word and image.

Thank you.
@NeelaVanam tweeted:

Their croaks well 'antony'ated! Superb. 

@hemantmmehta tweeted: 
Nice - A poem about frogs ... OOOPS ...

Rocks Before Being Sculpted...

... or is this picture also a sculpture?

Mahabalipuram 1978

A. commented:

Rocks ARE sculptures aren't they?
And by what a magnificently creative team of sculptors:

and time...

stone submits
wind chisels
water softens 
time embellishes

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Open Letter to Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt

Dear Dr. Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt:

I have written many serious letters on the subject of the environment to you and to Barkha Dutt, and to your green ambassadors Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu through their websites. (copies attached)

I have yet to receive even a simple acknowledgment of a single one of my letters. I understand that you must receive many letters and emails, of which the majority may be considered unserious, and discarded as frivolous and a waste of time; but I have been a serious and concerned student of the environment for many years, and have written thoughtfully about these issues. At the same time, the environmental initiatives which you have espoused rely heavily on public outreach. If members of the public respond to you and are ignored, what is your accomplishment? Is it merely a show, in which telegenic people stand up, get their pictures taken and then leave for a film shooting?

It wounds me deeply that no one has had the courtesy even to acknowledge my attempts at communication, much less to engage with me on matters of substance which I have raised and on which I have expertise, both moral and scientific.

Some things which come to mind immediately are my Short Story, which was also sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram (whom I knew personally before he went into politics), Jayanthi Natarajan (who is a friend0; the Environment and Man, whether climate change can be halted or slowed, Satyameva Jayate. For your convenience, the letters are enclosed here so that you do not have to search for them.

You look and behave like civilised people whom I have respected. Please prove that also. If you do not want to engage, at least have your secretaries send a perfunctory note of acknowledgement.

Ramesh Gandhi

my letter re Satyameva Jayate
my letter re Short Story: Hang the Hangers
my letter re Climate Change / Environment and Man

(In response to the above, I received a letter from Bhashwati Sengupta. She is an activist working in the fields of education (setting up schools, teacher training, curriculum development), children’s rights, youth counselling, gender sensitization and the rights of marginalised groups, in India and abroad. She is also a poet and a linguist.)

…“Your insistence on being responded to, even if in mere acknowledgement, far from sounding like an eccentric old man's clamour for attention exposes an extremely important flaw in the systems that govern public life in this country. NONE OF THESE SYSTEMS (read individuals who constitute them) CONSIDER THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC.

The vast state machinery, the even more vast multi limbed media, institutions supposedly established to address the concerns of the people and several other bodies that we are forced to deal with on a daily basis, all of whom leave us damaged and bruised at best and completely destroyed at worst... the best of them seem to act and conduct themselves in a vacuum where they can connect with "us the people" selectively and 'photogenetically' to further their own agendas but never ever in a democratic manner where they and the people are on an equal footing, where they must show the courtesy due to the people who populate the land. What makes the relationship even more unequal and unfair is that the populace is unstinting, often going overboard in its acknowledgement of their existence, partly out of simplicity and partly out of forgiveable stupidity.

In that sense this particular letter is like a rap on the knuckle i would translate as, "Acknowledge or else... explain your existence"
And your demand, to my prejudiced (in your favour) understanding seems to be going out on behalf of a vast mass of unacknowledged people, regardless of status and location.
As one of them I thank you.”
  @edgarhopper tweeted: For me, when I was a magazine publisher, media was business, dedicated to making money to sustain itself. Most media adopt a point of view that they hope will make the business successful. Knowledge, maturity and merit are respected only if they help quite obviously, promote the point of view and the business. Sadly, valuable ideas often kare overlooked or forced to wait for a proper opportunity and climate of opinion. This is a net negative for the media not the content provider. My opinion Accordingly, although once a media person, I castigate them and support you my friend, while you are frustratingly patient!
@MatrixKape tweeted:  I found your letter to be very well written. Challenges them or shames them to respond to you. Good luck!

On 23 August 2010 I received an automatic "read" email from one Gagan Arora on behalf of NDTV. I awaited further response, to no avail, as Arora vanished. I therefore wrote to him today:

Dear Gagan Arora:

My computer gave me a message as below on the date stated. I have this justifiable curiosity, which should not meet with any civilised person's disapproval:

If my message is read, apparently by you on behalf of Prannoy Roy and/or Barkha Dutt, what are you supposed to be doing? Are you not supposed to pass it on, and either tell me that they would respond, or that they are too busy and on their behalf, write a line of comfort or consolation to me for my frayed feelings.

If Prannoy and Barkha are too busy, and I would understand that they are, what is Gagan Arora doing? Is he not supposed to represent them and comfort people, even by an unfeeling, unfelt expression of sentiment and empathy? Please do have this much courage to reply, even if briefly, if you are also as busy as your colleagues/bosses.  I hope you will not disappoint in responding to this minuscule expectation.

Ramesh Gandhi
Update: On 22 November 2010, Gagan Arora wrote:

Dear Mr Ramesh Gandhi,
At the onset I would like to apologise for having missed your communication earlier. We greatly appreciate your contribution towards the Green movement. I have forwarded your letters to the team which oversees the Green project at NDTV. They shall get in touch with you in case they require any further information/details.
Warm Regards,
Gagan Arora

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Residence With Attached Kitchen

Update: Anonymous wrote:
Anything else will be redundant.
Thank you for feeding soul and sense with such exquisite sights.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Dawn in 1950

There may be many similarities between dawn then and dawn now, but the dissimilarities are countless, and in some old-fashioned opinions, worthless.

The strength of this picture, as far as I am concerned, lies in my having caught the bird as it took to flight. This lent the picture a momentum: the bird in flight, the fisherman pushing the boat, the sea surging.

Ennore, Tamil Nadu, 1950

Saturday, August 14, 2010

To tweet or not to tweet

Dear Shraddha:

I have been waiting for someone to ask ... "but why do you have to mention your blog and website url every time you write?..." with or without due respect... Thankfully, the question got asked, and now I can offload the answer, which is struggling in me to get out, to be announced and declared.  Here goes:

I feel insecure about my relevance to the world my heart throbs in, causes me to breathe in, proving that I live, I exist. Even though tweeting is the least communicative connectivity with my concerns, ideas, and discoveries, which I am unable to live without sharing, I am using this particular medium, that is, tweeting. I will use any means at my disposal for the same purpose. It is only a temporary means through which I can divert the attention of people who might get interested in larger issues of the universe, god or no god, and all the other epistemological concerns arising out of these. In simpler words, I am writing my address again and again out of this compulsion. Whether or not it will eventually succeed is not known; it would eventually enable me not to be part of a medium where I am a complete stranger, dealing with incomplete characters and matters like

"... Hello, Hello, Did you sleep well? I'm exhausted after the day's shoot, Looking forward to watching your movie, You should look forward to watching mine..."

I am not making fun of these people, but I know that I do not belong there, and I know I am not at an age when I can learn to belong.

My knowledge of the Internet being inadequate, without any desire to enhance it, and therefore to put in more effort to grasp it, I suffer from lack of knowledge as to how the message that I tweet would appear on the screen: accidentally, or by someone looking for it. Therefore, to make sure, I remove the ambiguity rather than suffer from doubt, by linking to my sites every time fully.

Finally, I have never been able to consider it possible that what I assume to be my specialty would interest and draw people towards not only listening to me, but fulfilling my obsession by either arguing, acquiescing, or sharing altogether.  Therefore, the naive notion that if keeps getting on the screen, and therefore on the nerves, people might think "Go, take a look at him - get him - and, if necessary, get him out of the system."

Perhaps you will understand, perhaps not. But this is the entire explanation; probably more than you wanted or would like to countenance. So there you are.

Ramesh Gandhi

Thursday, August 12, 2010



from inside (1973)

from outside (1989)


stormy winds
whispering urgently
that the snow will not renew
that the rivers will dry
that global warming will ignite
and rule

bacteria and viruses?

Before, During and After Human Life...

... these exist

like it or not
in our space and beyond
benign or malignant

in our homes
in our food
in our water

in our washrooms
in our viscera
in our pathology
in our physiology

often even in our dreams

Monday, August 09, 2010

Homage to a Musical Genius: Kishore Kumar

Kishore Kumar: picture from here

zindagi ek safar hai suhana
life is a wonderful journey

yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana
no one knows what will happen tomorrow

maut aani hai ayegi ik din
death will befall all of us one day

jaan jaani hai jayegi ik din
the spark will depart one day

aisi baaton se kya ghabrana
why worry about such trivialities

yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana
who knows what the future will be

zindagi ek safar hai suhana
life is a wonderful journey

yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana
no one knows what the future will be

Is it a fatal flaw in human civilisation, that when we find genius we must connect it to madness? Today I am thinking of Kishore Kumar. Examples abound: Goethe, Mozart, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Van Gogh, Howard Hughes, Bobby Fischer; for many, even Hitler.

My problem with understanding what mankind has, over the ages, including currently, recognised as endowed with that special quality which would transcend intellectual and innate creativity, and other virtues without the accompaniment of one or many strains of insanity, has generally remained unqualified for being titled a genius. Believe me, this is not even a complaint. It is just a rumination I am sharing with others who would like to think about it and either share with me this puzzlement or dispel it by throwing light on it by rational explanation. Like even recognition of exceptional merit being endowed generally after the demise of the concerned person, as if true value lies only beyond death, and genius is only if there is creativity, but in the midst of any or all kinds of perversity.