Monday, September 30, 2013


Anonymous wrote:
What has the head of Spielberg's ET, the feet of a duck, plume of a peacock and sits inside the petals of a lotus?
Chiaroscuro of course. All i remembered was that it is a word connected to art and the renaissance and so i looked it up and found that among other things it is a technical term to define the contrasts of light used to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects. Applicable also in cinema and photography. 


like an empty glass
unfilled yet
but not for long

imbibe then
swallow or drown
in the name of sorrow
as you fall in love
or better
just plain


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Study by the Poolside

Remembering Kissinger the Machiavelli

I recently read a review in The Economist, of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary Bass. (Click this link for the review)  The review says this about Kissinger’s role in American policy towards India and Pakistan at the time of the Bangladesh war:

... Pakistan was a loyal cold-war ally, whereas India was seen as leaning towards the Soviet Union. Crucially, Mr Kissinger early in 1971 was using Pakistan as an essential secret conduit to China. He flew via Islamabad to Beijing to arrange for Nixon to make his own trip to see Mao Zedong. Better relations with China would allow America to wind down the war in Vietnam. 
Ultimately, Mr Kissinger did much to set America’s course. He argued that America should pay no heed to domestic horrors in Pakistan, saying “you can’t go to war over refugees”, and warned that India was a greater threat to international order. Indian “bastards”, he agreed with Nixon, needed a “mass famine” to cut them down to size. Mr Bass depicts Mr Kissinger as increasingly erratic, perhaps overworked, as East Pakistan’s secession became inevitable. He is quoted calling the conflict “our Rhineland” (in reference to the start of the second world war) and warning that India would “rape Pakistan”...

Henry Kissinger

In 1973 in my visit to America I saw American taxis and vehicles carrying bumper stickers declaring ‘India, vacate the aggression’. I was baffled and uncomprehending. What aggression, and why was India being so maligned?Who was responsible for this lie to the American people, and perhaps by extension, to a larger segment of the world. 

Returning home, I began to do some work, and found that the distortions, both political and historical, came from the Machiavellian mind of Henry Kissinger, who appeared to fancy himself above all thinking people, whether democratically-elected heads of state or monarchs, or ruthless dictators. I concluded that he felt that even the American Presidency was run by him, and in his view Nixon as well as everyone else in the world was inferior to him. I also realized that his weakness for self-aggrandizement obscured his ability to perceive American interests, or the interests of the United Nations or the world at large.  

In his limitless vanity he even accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, for which he was nominated together with North Vietnamese Politburo Member Le Duc Tho. Le Duc Tho, at least, had the decency to decline the award, saying that peace had not yet been restored.

Even inept, inarticulate, alcoholic, tormenting dictators were acceptable to him so long as they flattered him personally. It did not matter to him if such a selfish, self-centered personal agenda, given the power he wielded as an American Secretary of State, could be perilous to the rest of the world. His own personal supremacy and power came first. He therefore loved Yahya Khan, Sadat, the Shah of Iran, and various other weak heads of state and policy makers. 

Yahya Khan

Mujibur Rahman

Those who showed independence of him or deviated from his worldview were therefore to be castigated. A story that exemplifies his attitude towards people who expressed superiority or at least equality to him, though perhaps apocryphal, goes like this: in one of his meetings with Indira Gandhi, probably the last,while en route to Peking via Islamabad, in a superior tone he tried to advise her on her conduct of Indian foreign policy. Indira Gandhi’s retort, “Mr. Secretary, the interview is terminated.” In consequence of this, Kissinger subsequently distorted everything Indian and brought about the worst period in the history of Indo-US relations, including characterizing India’s support of Bangladesh as invasion of Bangladesh and decimation of Pakistan.

Indira Gandhi

I was very disturbed, and during my visit to the United States in 1974 where I was invited by the University of Rochester Head of Psychiatry for an Open House, I lectured on various subjects, but spent a  great deal of my time on calling Kissinger one who could easily be a claimant to the rogues’ gallery of the 20th century, not only for his lies but for the environment of falsehood which he created and thrived in. Unthinkably, he even managed to escape any noticeable damage from the outcome of the Watergate scandal. I even dared to theorize at that time as I spoke to American scholars and historians, that it was not impossible that had Kissinger not been there in a political position of power, perhaps the environment of falsehood and deceit from which arose Watergate, and disasters to many lives, would not have occurred.

My indignation and rage against Kissinger and his arrogance diminished only when he slowly became less active, and almost stopped writing books which extolled his role, and which were self-centred and self-justifying. Now I am old, and grateful that he is older, and I am not in touch with what he speaks or writes. Secretly I am sure that he must feel some gratitude to have escaped retribution for twisting and grievously distorting world polity by his megalomania.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bracket Fungi

This bracket fungus from the Coorg rain forest resembles a copper bowl. It traps rainwater, in which some frogs lay their eggs. It is a minuscule part of a great ecosystem.

The Life Aquatic

Buttermilk Forest

Have you seen one? 
Now you have.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shabari's Fruit Basket

According to the Ramayana, an elderly devotee of Ram, Shabari, longed to achieve moksha, which she believed was possible by touching or serving Ram. Every day she would collect fruits from the forest, taste them to select only the sweetest, and keep them in a basket for Ram, awaiting with profound patience his impending but unfixed arrival, until she grew old and bent. One day Ram did appear before her, accompanied by his brother, Lakshman. With love she offered Ram her basket of fruit. As Ram was about to eat one of them, Lakshman objected that Shabari had already bitten into it, and it was therefore unclean, impure [jhoota]. Ram explained to Lakshman that any offering made to him with devotion was sweet and pleasing to him: what mattered was the intensity and sincerity of devotion, and nothing else. He ate the fruit, and thus, supposedly, Shabhari achieved liberation, for which she had waited all her life.

It is most unfortunate that Shabari's liberation does not equate with women's liberation in what we call our human civilisation; women still suffer from inequality, objectivisation, commodification, and exploitation. Given man's dominance, with no hope in sight, I have been apologetic for this inequality and inequity. For me, Ram was among the classiest examples of male chauvinism, and while my fruit basket may, to many, look very enticing, I hasten to inform that no guarantee as to its quality or any divine intervention or elevation is attached. Forgive my imperfections, and bite at your own risk.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


not C17H21NO4

Whether or not Things Go Better With it,
on a sultry noon, evening, or even night,
the looks of it certainly allure.

Friendly Persuasion

It is believed
that no man is an island

in a life
aware of its indeterminateness
cannot but be fickle

Silent Wail

there are no tears in the eyes
left to shed

but friendly clouds
confer in collusion
to darken, to disintegrate
in trails of countless droplets

to over-compensate 
for not crying

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Khayyam ka Khayal

Jo mera bhi

khaali se khaali tak:

The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop, 
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one. 

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy said...
Huzoor jo bhi ho,

"Khote na ho jo hosh
Unhe ghar bulaake pii
Ya phir buton ko saamne apne bitha ke pii
Be-had ne pii, na bol bohat (bahut)
Josh mein na aana
Ruk ruk ke pii
Sukoon se pii
Sar Jhuka ke pii"

Khayyam ka aur ek khayal ki wajah se
yeh dubaara peshkash :-)

Inhe duniyawalo
sharaabi na samjho
yeh pite nahin hai
pilaate zaroor hai

yun to huzoor-e-ala
dekhte hain door se
pyaas ho to kya hai

duniya o duniya
inhe maaf karna
piye ya na piye
bade achhe hain inke
khayaalon aur khayaala