Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sheltering Sky

...or should it be, Vanishing Sky?

Temperatures all over the world are completely going awry (in so many parts of India, already touching 48-50' C), inevitably to be followed by other inclemencies: showers which would make rivers out of villages and cities; storms and snow, floods and drought, anywhere in the world in unprecedented quantities.  

I would like to draw the attention of anyone who is interested in this picture and what I write, to my comprehensive dissertation on the impossibility of man's ability to control or be in charge of Climate Change. (Please refer to my blog, which has remained unsupported, perhaps even not read, but definitely not taken seriously, apparently, by anyone, anywhere: )  

I urge people not only to peruse, but either to support or put their argument/s against my hypothesis and prognostication about the inevitable perdition of mankind.

I thank those who would respond to this appeal by dropping in a line in support, in opposition, or to question the validity of my arguments. Thank you for your patience, if you have come this far.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sanctum of Incertitude

certainty is always found 
when it ceases to matter

Malaysian Airlines Flight #370, from ABC News

Many utterances have been made by Malaysian officials and heads of state of various nations, and representatives of Boeing and other manufacturers whose components went into the plane or into the search for it, in solemn gravity or apparent casualness. However, for reasons which cannot be fathomed, the substance of what they say is not satisfactory to anybody who is concerned politically or personally. Along with the plane, the truth appears to be the second major casualty, lost in the verbiage of obfuscation.

For me, at the moment, for all practical purposes, the entire volume of the tragedy lies in the Sanctum of Incertitude.

Anonymous wrote:

i can just not imagine how you saw this and composed it and what would it become in some other colour?
The title makes a lot of sense because of the blue but i wish you had written 2 lines more or 4.
Anonymous wrote:

It looks like a three dimensional black hole that can devour uncertainty with certain finality.
The grained texture (on the fabric?) seem to serve as a hypnotising agent beckoning one towards the doorway for a swift descent into still certainty.

Existentialism According to Ramesh Gandhi

For those who either did not know it, or, if they knew it, did not understand it; understanding it now, not guaranteed.

Around the age of 12 (1948), in a Gujarati charitable school, millions of questions, ideas, curiosities, began to make their rounds through my mind.  Today I am unable to fathom how it happened, when the school did not have a library with works of thinkers or scientists, nor a teaching staff which was educated enough to rouse the fire of hunger for knowledge. Among many names, from various mythologies, sciences and civilisations and history, which threw themselves at me for me to grapple with, were philosophers of the past two or three hundred years, mainly from the West, like Socrates, Schopenhauer, Voltaire, Kant, Heidegger, Hegel, Nietzsche, Camus, Bertrand Russell and, most relevant to my writing today's essay, Jean-Paul Sartre. I had no access, either to the English language or to a mentor for consultation or engagement. My familiarity, therefore, with these and countless others, forever would remain a mystery to me.

I am writing today specifically about how existentialism became a brand philosophy, and Sartre its ultimate spokesperson. I confess I was no less fascinated by it than was war-torn Europe, especially Eastern Europe, which, impoverished and forlorn, embraced existentialism in its variegated forms. It probably still continues to do so, even as, as far as I know, Sartre's relevance, if any, is fading elsewhere.

For four to five years (between the ages of 15 to 20), I began to feel that I had found my ultimate calling: existentialism was my philosophy and my religion. But then, I became another man, which is another story (Theory of Contingency and Inevitability of Inevitability). But I did not lose my verve as an explainer or spokesperson for Sartre and company, and began, in lighter moments, to claim that my frivolous interpretation of it was the real one. In other words, I re-shaped it in words and in my narratives, and in parables that I built to illustrate existentialism.

Today my wife, Nancy (@nancygandhi), came across the 3-minute video by Will Braden, Paw de Deux. The moment I saw it, by happenstance, I found in it the definition of my interpretation of  the brand of existentialism which was perpetuated by Sartre and others, which the author of the video almost certainly did not intend.

I am delighted to present, through the courtesy of M. Will Braden, my brand of existentialism. I hope you exist as you enjoy, or vice versa. Bonjour. (Please watch both Henri Part I and Henri Part II - Paw de Deux, below.)


Charu wrote:

If I did not understand your version of existentialism the cat, a twin of my Murphy, did a good job of explaining it.

The cats do lead a life of existentialism. I have seen it led, first hand.

While you do not like them as much I think Murphy will do a great job being an insignia for your version of the theory.

Just joking.


Rameh Sir,

I never had a cat in my house. I used to not like dogs till we acquired a great dane. He was all of eight inches high when we got him as a two month old puppy. In three months thereafter he grew to thirty two inches and he was huge. He reminds me so much of the cat featured in the video. I was seeing my dog and not the cat in the video.

Dogs, too, lead a life of existentialism.

Unfortunately, my dog does not exist in our house as we had to give him away. 

I do not know how I exist without my dog.

Thanks for the tour.

V T Narendra

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


in fragments
in quest of reality

casting doubt
asking in silence

the purport of its origin
as much as of its existence

Bhashwati wrote:
If a form without its substance is a shadow, can we refer to all that is substance free as shadow?

That will have to include almost everything around and within us: emotions, intelligence, society, institutions, politics ... an endless list of consciousness induced phenomena, each item on which seems shallow and devoid of substance. One could be declared antisocial anti national anti life for declaring all of life nothing but a shadow of what one imagines it to be.

(as they say on facebook)  

But at least the shadow in your composition seems real if fragmented and pieced together.

Your text already says it all:

casting doubt

asking in silence ...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Palm, Calm, Lost

Bhashwati wrote:
So... both palm and calm are lost hmm.

It looks like a painting and as always i dont know if that is a compliment or what.
What i mean is that it looks like the real thing but then it is the real thing is it not?
the lines and colours and textures are all of life with its burns and blisters and warts and scars and of eklavya's severed thumb, the nerves and tissues remain perhaps to regain life in some other life.
i see many analogies but they will only take away from the power of the lost calm of the palm.
M Manikanda Prabhu wrote:

Title, photography and writing - beautifully blended. Your photography of the nun was fantastic. Divine charm. Thanks for sharing and, keep blogging Sir. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mother Catherine, Sister Bernadette


I knew her first as Mother Catherine, and later as Sister Bernadette. I joked with her, wondering how one could be a Mother first, and then a Sister. She taught French (she was French-Canadian) at Stella Maris, one of the most prestigious colleges in the South.

Sister Bernadette became interested in me because of our shared interest in religion and in Sartre, and Existentialism, a branch of philosophy which was very popular, especially after World War II.  She also asked me to direct a Manipuri dance drama performed by the students, and to lecture at the college, even on atheism, which was my forte.

She came home often to meet me and my wife. We had many great conversations over dinner, and then I would drop her back at the college. Interestingly, by the time the evening was over it was almost always after ten p.m., when the gates of the college were locked. She always asked me to park a little away, and climbed over the compound wall, and jumped down inside, so that the watchman would not be disturbed, and nor would the college rules. I jokingly named her The Jumping Nun, a reference to a popular movie of the time, The Singing Nun.

Sister Bernadette eventually rose to become the Principal of Stella Maris, and then, before ending her career in India, she became the head of the entire complex, including schools and a convent. Many years after she had returned to Canada, she continued to be in touch with me. Then, after a long gap, I was told that she had passed away. But I smile even now, remembering the Jumping Nun, scrambling over the college wall in the dark.

Incidentally, she always refused to have her picture taken, but she made an exception for me; in fact she requested me to photograph her.

Saturday, April 09, 2016


receding to darkness
or advancing to enlightenment

Bhashwati wrote:

Jeevan aur mrityu ka bandhan atoot hai jaise
Prakaash aur tamas ka aalingan bhi vaise
Ek ke astitva se hi doosra paribhaashit hai.

Inseparable like life and death
Darkness and light remain in eternal embrace   
The existence of one defining the other.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Friday, April 01, 2016


elixir of countless moons
in a teacup
forming pearls of temptation

Bhashwati wrote:

Just now i realised that you have turned one crescent into countless moons!!! like the mythical grain of rice that Krishna turned into a feast for the untimely guests..

but i repeat that i heart the arrangement of the words a lot. Each word is like a pearl plucked.