Tuesday, February 24, 2015


but not falling

founded strongly 
reinforced with people's pride in its being

holding its head high

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Salute, Ants

From mid-childhood to adolescence, ants and their social network fascinated me beyond words. I am sure that many others of my acquaintance were also curious about ants, but they were not vocal, nor willing to share my delight in observing them scamper, rub noses, appear from nowhere, disappear somewhere.

I remember that some teachers or scientists mentioned that ants were superior in their skills for organisation and survival to human beings, who seemed then to be the pinnacle of evolution.

I also learned, first in disbelief and then fascination, about the divisions within the ant colonies: workers, some who were procurers of food, others builders, or nurses of infants; others who were soldiers, defenders of their territory, and, most important of all, protectors of the queen and her eggs, which seemed to be produced in hundreds of thousands.

Later, I learned that the queen and the drones actually had wings, which they shed following their intercourse in the air, and then settled to form for each queen a new colony -- and who selected them? -- the army of workers, soldiers, midwives, drones.

They seemed omniscient and omnipotent, and yet so frail, fragile. Crushable too, but not before I spent time staring at them, absorbed in them: red, black, or any other hue. Can you believe, the red ones actually bit? It was something black ants never did. What gall! Two ants would cross each other, rubbing noses and passing on quickly to carry out their business.  I wondered, what did they exchange in that moment of contact? What information, what warnings?

Sometime in the 1960s, through my fascination with cinema, and scholarship on that subject, the name of Saul Bass appeared on the screen of my mind. Bass was mostly known for revolutionising the titles of many films, some of which were more famous for his titles than because of the films themselves. In 1974 he made a science-fiction film called Phase IV, in which humans battle ants, who look as though they are going to be the victors. Those who have shared my fascination with ants and their social organisation, may be interested in seeing the trailer for Phase IV below.

Any one of you who has come this far in reading my salute is most sincerely welcome to exchange, share, or join me in enhancing our understanding of ants.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Emperor Waltz

I have no knowledge as to whether the waltz as we know it through the past one and a half centuries existed before, even if with another name, or was entirely the creation of Johann Strauss, which was enhanced by many of his family members, and many other composers too. But from an early age I became inseparable from the waltz of the Blue Danube, as it was, or as it got vastly enhanced by Stanley Kubrick in his opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey, conducted by no less than Herbert von Karajan, who has been arguably considered the best conductor of all.

As I took this picture, however, the tune that would not leave my brain was the Emperor Waltz, also by Johann Strauss, and hence I have taken the liberty of titling it so. Seeking both understanding and approval. Outright praise would not be unwelcome. Thanks.

Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 (Emperor Waltz) is a waltz composed byJohann Strauss II in 1889. The waltz was originally titled Hand in Handand was intended as a toast made in August of that year by Austrianemperor Franz Josef on the occasion of his visit to the German KaiserWilhelm II where it was symbolic as a 'toast of friendship' extended by Austria to Germany.
Strauss' publisher, Fritz Simrock, suggested the title Kaiser-Walzer since the title could allude to either monarch, and thus satisfy the vanity of both rulers. The waltz was first performed in Berlin on 21 October 1889. The original cover of the piano edition bore the illustration of the AustrianImperial Crown... (see more)

Anonymous wrote:

So i offer understanding, approval and outright praise.
But i must mention that my offer is not merely in response to your seeking it. i totally understand the allusion and the connection and approve of it. And i extend outright praise for the awesome composition. It could not have been easy to keep a steady hand at the angle needed for this view. 
Outright praise also for the synchronicity of title and image.

The grandeur is undeniable and so is the impression of slow smooth motion that the combination of dim lit and dark backdrop is creating. Emperor Waltz is what it is.
Thank you for elaborating it in the accompanying text.

Charu wrote:

I laud the photographer, the composer, the conductor and the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra. The cellist, the flutist and the harpist did a fantastic job in last two minutes of this concert. 
All mentioned above are masters in their respective craft. Who am I to pass a judgment? Approval is not mine to give. 
I heard the glorious piece. I enjoyed it well. I know not the nuances of music. I cannot separate sharp from flat or crescendos from diminuendos. But I know this I swayed with the music. While entirely inept at dancing I would have learnt Ballroom dancing if not for any other reason than the glamour and romance of Waltz, music as well as the dance. 

The beautiful picture of decorative lighting on the ceiling is reminiscent of a hovering spacecraft in the 2001 Space Odyssey which reminds one of the waltzing music of Blue Danube which leads one to think of Emperor Waltz, thus the association.

My reply:

The 'spaceship' in my picture conveys a strong impression of rotational movement. It extends one's imagination to the romance within the assured safety of the spacecraft. Thus, Strauss's Blue Danube and/or Emperor Waltz inevitably instill in our limbs  the rhythm, romance and lingering yearning for space.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reflections in Old Age

Anonymous wrote:

the aged exterior of dead wood, the artifacts within and the fan above, are all unmoving but the embedded patch of light infuses the static object with life much as memory keeps alive the dead past, in our consciousness.

Mosquito Parlour

come or else
I'll suck
play mischief mischief
torment you
and make you ill

Friday, February 13, 2015


in the innards of earth
more than a million years ago
to turn into
coal, gas, diamond
volcanic exudate


something else


who knows
even perish

Anonymous wrote:

What reaches us as fossil is the ultimate embodiment of tenacity in nature and yet the image you present is so delicate and fragile.

Once again im not speculating on what it might be.
It is beauty, nuanced in tone and texture and compelling.
The text compelling in its brevity and subtly depicting transience of life itself.