Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Pale Blue Dot

My earlier blogpost on Carl Sagan, concerning my association with him, which is one of the most valuable and enriching experiences of mine; and thoughts on Cosmos, both his, where we were convergent, and mine, where we were divergent; but which did not diminish my admiration of the man, his vision, his zest for science and beyond, into the secrets of the universe:

Bhupen Gandhi wrote:

In 1978, USA sent a satellite "Voyager 1" in space on a fly-by mission to view our planets up-close and photograph them for the first time, and then continue its journey beyond into interstellar space.  At the time Carl Sagan, the most famous astro-physicist of our times and adviser to NASA, convinced the agency, to turn the camera of the satellite towards earth for the one last time, to take its picture just before leaving our solar system.  After 36 years, "Voyager 1" just did that, four months ago.  The photographs of the Earth and the Moon, taken from beyond Saturn were published by NASA.

In 1980, Carl produced  "Cosmos",  an entrancing TV Series, most widely watched by the public around the world (perhaps, it should have been called, 'Everything you want to know about our Universe").  At the end of the series, he had made a profound concluding speech that was so relevant then and is more so, now.         

Recently, Ann Druyan, Carl's widow, produced "Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey", a follow-up to the earlier "Cosmos"  It was hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astro-physicist and director of the New York's Hayden Planetarium.  This series was just as exciting.  At the conclusion of the new series Carl's speech from the original was revisited.  It is truly prophetic; a must see and listen video. 

Satellite Apartments

in space
for aliens
or humans

38,000 miles per hour

within earth's orbit
sunrise sunset
every hour


being thrown out
by internal controls
or external objects
or gravitational
or magnetic forces

other planets

galactic debris
or stars
or whatever

its longevity uncertain
as when terrestrial
so also orbitally

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Light and the Darkness Under It

I am a flame
like a wick
and burning with it

I have been asked, variously, by people who care for me and respect me, about the intent and purport of both the visual of The Light and the Darkness Under It, and the poem which accompanies it. Here, in all humility, is my explanation, as I can understand it and expound it:

Essentially, the intended message is visual. The meaning is left to the viewer, who can choose what and how to interpret it, care for it, or be dismissive of both picture and text. 
However, if I had to describe it, I would say that  whatever the size and volume of light, and wherever it may be, the darkness which surrounds it is always even greater. In the context of human existence and civilisation, this metaphor becomes even more emphatic.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Furling Unfurling

the sun
furling and unfurling

a new day
a new beginning
a new arrival
a new departure

the new 
as in old

Bhashwati wrote:

The words,

A new departure

the new
as in old

holds the key. 
The day furls even as it unfurls, the hours of light pass into the depths of darkness. The same familiar cycle forever and yet often the heart craves and the mind yearns for lasting light, for arrivals divorced from departure, for life free of death... as if such were even possible. 
But if conscious life must live, it can only do so by denying all consciousness of reality.

And the image brings to mind an old song by Jaan Nisar Akhtar, Javed Akhtar's father, : 

Katra katra pighalta raha aasmaan
Rooh ki waadiyon mein na jaaney kahaan
Ik nadi dil ruba geet gaati raahi

Friday, October 24, 2014

Warp and Weft

weave as delicately as you touch
for it may wither

a will-o-the-wisp

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shade and Shadows

under the branch
of the sun
shadows and shine

Anonymous wrote:

Donon tasveeron ke naam bhi tasveer jaiseyi badhiya.

Shade and shadows is like a jugalbandi between the two artists, light and shade producing an elegant canvas of delicate leaf lines held in the bold dappled embrace.

Transit, Transitory

lighted lobbies 
unaware of day or night
of people

concealing them
inside or outside
as they transit
cities and continents

countless mysteries
within their innards
invisible services
to pick 
from spick and span

untold stories
folding, unfolding
within its facade
telling you nothing

Anonymous wrote:

Your title transit and transitory glides up and down the long "unaware" passage. So right that it (the passage) should have no sign of (human) life, which for all its self indulgent sense of importance is merely another being in transit through time and space, also notions created by him like this embellished passage.    
The lives concealed and concealing along these passages fascinate me in a morbid kind of way but im happy to remain unaware. The secret of other lives is best left to mystery. It is enough that consciousness must constantly span the mess of the commonplace. Let some places remain spotlessly silent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hush, Hudhud

meek silence 
under the earth

due to and during
nature's fury
in full display

through wind velocity
and oceanic storms

proof, as if required
that all the ingenuity of man
is ultimately vanquishable

against nature
man and his adventurism
are ultimately absolutely
reducible to
unrecognizable smithereens

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Believe It or Not

Posted on facebook:
Dzigar Kongtrul RinpocheJuly 17, 2012 · 

Compassion: This incredible photo marks the end of Matador Torero Alvaro Munera's career. He collapsed in remorse mid-fight when he realized he was having to prompt this otherwise gentle beast to fight. He went on to become an avid opponent of bullfights. Even grievously wounded, the bull did not attack Munera. May we all support the welfare of non-human species.

My comment: The extraordinary thing about this incredible picture is the 'expressions' , both of the matador and the bull, which make the picture extremely sensitive to human perception, and denote an unspoken eloquence. Whether the photographer took the picture with the sensitivity which it conveys, to me and most other observers, hopefully, intentionally and understanding its momentous emotive expression or not, and therefore the picture is accidental or part of a larger video from which it has been singled out, is rendered immaterial in this very large and profound context.

Pravin Gandhi wrote:
Reminds me of:

My Reply:
Reminds you rightly so; but the similarities end there: one ended in gruesome misunderstanding between man and animal, whose biggest threat he is, and the other, in man's deepest remorse, when he surrenders his life, which the animal is too baffled to take.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


soft and smooth
to the touch
but like a silkworm
within or without
the woven cocoon

Anonymous wrote:
That you composed with the mesh aslant and not straight adds to my picture of the bird having struggled before breaking free. The whole idea is metaphorical of course since no winged or feathered creature can escape from those tiny squares much as it might want to.

The doomed 'form' always wanting 'out' whether from life's constraints or from life itself.  

The feather in the image disturbed me. The magnified mesh looks like the grill of a hen coop and a feather stuck on it is suggestive of the body it must have been part of  So the word that stands out for me in the text is 'lifeless', in the sense of without life. It feels almost like life escaped through the gaps leaving a disembodied memory behind.

Saturday, October 04, 2014


No system is all bad, or entirely perfect. 

That makes all choices imperfect.