Thursday, January 25, 2007

Yantra Mantra Tantra

Recently I stumbled upon transcripts of discourse by Jaggi Vasudev (Inner engineering programme He explains mantra, tantra and yantra very beautifully; a subject I have been intersted in since I was in school. I first stumbled upon the subject of tantra when I read an article on " tantara" in one of magazines called "Tantra Rahasya" I found in my uncle's room. What fascinated me in the book was that it talked about the immense powers human can achieve by mastering certain latent forces of nature through Tantra and Mantra. That time I particularly liked a tantra yoga prescribed in book which if mastered, the book claimed could manifest in body the most beautiful woman one desired. I even seriously thought of trying it out but it proved rather too difficult as It needed lot of meditation, silence and weird rituals for which equally weird ingredients were required and success was not particularly guranteed.

Anyway from the discourse I quote "The Vedas are a series of discoveries , both outwards and inwards. It was the knowledge book(s) in past in Indian culture. It delas with various aspects, from simple things as to how to eat, to how to attain your ultimate nature". So essentially it laid a framework for living life for those who were looking for such a framework. It was a collective wisdom of many saints who gained this knowledge through yoga and their own experience. It is said that certain knowledge in Vedas was disclosed and imparted to thier authors when they were deep in meditation, like enlightenment. I think since Vedas are supposed to be so comprehensive, they were like wikipedia of those time, a huge knowledge base for everything. Fantastic, isn't it!

Einstein spent lots of time on relationship between matter (form) and energy which are interconvertible. Wheras matter can easily be converted into energy , it is difficult for condensing energy back to matter (law of entropy, universe moves towards disorder and not order). But energy does have a form. For example Sound which is a type of energy has a pattern attached to it which can be discovered by feeding it into an instrument called oscilloscope. Depending upon the sounds' vibration, frequency and amplitude, the oscilloscope creates a certain form (a apttern). So every sound has a form attached to it and similarly every form has a sound attached to it. The relationship between form and sound is referred to as Mantra.The form is called Yantra , the sound as Mantra and technology of using form and sound together is called Tantra. So what those sages did was to master the relationship between various forms of existence, and its corresponding sound. The Rig, Sama and Atharva vedas are mostly about this relationship so that we can let existence reverberat within ourselves by uttering a certain sound. By mastering over sound, we also master over the form. This is science of Mantras. Now do I understand why those mantra are recited during hindu ceremonies!! In ancient times, students of Vedas practiced many years in getting the mantras right since they are about a certain sound and the pattern. They learnt how to pronounce words to emit the correct sounds. Sometime when I see Brahmins (not the caste but one who knows) reciting mantars while eating half the words I cringe. Over the years, the science was lost and only stories remained which were exaggerated and misunderstood. And that perhaps was downfall of our culture. Only rituals remained the essence was forgotten. As Our country makes amends in fields we lagged for so many years, dont we have to make amends here as well, that is to bring back the essense and tone down the rituals.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Charge of the City

Is it our hunter mentality which makes us do it or is it that we have so conveniently forgotten where we came from? In past 2 months there have been 3 widely reported incidents where 3 hapless animals who ventured out of jungles and reached nearby human settlements were brutally killed. A hapless bear was lynched by a mob somewhere in Jammu , then a tiger in Nasik and then a leopard in Kashmir again. What makes these incidents extremely appaling is the way these animals were chased relentlessly, cornered and then murdered in most barbaric fashion when they could have easily and safely be captured by forest department and returned to thier natural homes.

Killing of wild animals is nothing new (not that it makes it right) and it is well known that more and more of animals species are becoming extinct. Project Tiger and intervention of Prime Minister himself has done little to change the ground realities for the most majestic of animals, Bengal tiger, which is soul of Jungle. You kill Tiger and you would have killed entire jungle with it. Poaching is a crime which needs to be controlled more systematically and dealt with firmly. Poachers needs to be given harsh punishments ,forest guards needs to be trained adequately and armed sufficiently to deal with poachers. But perhaps, this would not be sufficient as poaching is an organised crime and various links in the whole chain need to be broken to deal with it.

Coming back to incidents I mentioned earlier, they are not case of poaching but murder. They are far more serious because they once again lay bare symptoms of larger underlying problem. The problem of ever depleting forrest cover and ever enlarging and encroaching city (I use this as a general term for any kind of human settlement). Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time our planet was a huge forrest (generalisation but ok when we are dealing with millions of years) and many animals lived there, coexisting in a fine natural equilibrium. Then one of the animals got intelligent and intelligent and more intelligent and cleared some forrest land to make settlements exclusively for itslef. As years passed, these settlements kept on growing and the animal kept on proliferating and forest kept on shrinking. Shrinking of forest also led to decrease in animal population which still lived in forrest. The intelligent animal invented ways and tools to control enviornment where it lived and it created needs to satisfy which it was dependent upon the forrest. It took from forrest almost never returning anything back. Forrest was magnanimous and generous so it gave without complaint and hoped that one day the intelligent animal would stop and realise that forrest was its original home and benefactor and that it could not give forever. The day has not yet arrived, forrest was wrong ; intelligent animal has been blinded by its own intelligence. It is still spreading its settlements ruthlessly by clearing the forrest and killing numerous others who live there by destroying thier habitat. It has forgotten that forrest is a home to many and it is destroying their home to satisfy its own never ending and self created needs and in doing so it is also digging a hole for itself.

When the bear in Pulwama (if I remember), had wandered into a nearby village, it had no idea of what was in store for it. Its own home was encroached by villageres and pilfered regularly. When villagers noticed a lethargic bear suddenly roaming around village , they did not perhaps knew or cared that it was lost, scared, hungry, and tired and wanted to turn back. They could have easily scared it to go back to forrest but they wanted to teach it a lesson, a lesson for trespassing into thier property. They started chasing it , scores of them if not hundreds, and pelting it with stones as it was running away. Suddenly hunter ape in villagers was aroused and hunt was on. They surrounded it, always keeping a distance and throwing whatever they could grab and blocking all the ways of its escape. Chase and attack from a safe distance untill prey tires and then go for the kill, a very old hunting tick. When it was severly hurt and wounded by rain of stones and sticks it fell into a ditch perhaps by exhaustion and pain. Few of valiant villagers pushed a rock into the ditch hitting wounded animals on its back. I dont know if it cried or made any sound, only sound I could hear was of villagers who were increasingly looking and sounding like a warring force fighting a battle against dreaded enemy and smelling victory. As if it was not enough, some crazy lunatic threw a burning piece of cloth on it and set the animal on fire. As it caught fire it made last attempt to run but a barrage of stones again stopped it in its way. It kept burning for quite some time , limping , falling and still trying to run while on fire. It appeared as if death by delaying itslef was also getting a perverse pleasure out of poor animal's agony. When it eventually died, its remains were put on a cart and taken around the village in a procession. Few of villagers atop the cart waved like victorious generals and many more ran after the cart like soldiers who had just vanquished an enemy army and saved pride of thier land.

Almost Similar events occured in other 2 incidents as well, differing only in degree of torture imparted to the trapped animals. In one of incidents (Nasik!!), untrained forrest officials also contributed in torture by suffocating and lethaly wounding a leopard under sticks and stones. May be they have not heard of tranquilisers. May be it is not that surprising, afterall, we are capable of doing much more barbaric act to our own ilk as well. But to do it to a animal which is speachless, lost and trapped and only looking for way out is to prove that we are more animal than those we left behind in jungles. Why have these incidents been happening? Becuase we are proliferating, decimating forrests and taking up the places where these animals live. Where would they go? We are cutting forrests and cities are spreading deeper into jungles. We go and kill animals in forrest and destroy their homes and food and then if they dare to venture out we kill them mercilessly. Dont we understand that our survival is very much dependent upon how our enviornment is and by extenion how other species and animals are. We are not alone here. We have to coexist with varied of animals who are important part of our food chain and environment. We dont have unlimited resources and we are already stretching them.

And to say that we proud ourselves for a culture which speaks about all the life forms being same, orginating from same source!! Our ancestors understood it better than anybody else anywhere. Our scriptures are full of stories where a king becomes a lion in one life and deer in another to show how same life energy transmorgify into different beings (matter). Advaita or philospohy of "oneness" says that all forms animate or inanimate orginate from same source or life energy. Ours is such a society full of paradoxes. One day we can worship a snake which has come out of its hole to enjoy some sun and on other day we can turn ourselves into a ruthless mob hunting a poor animal in most barbaric of fashion.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bobo's House

Some paragraphs from story "Bobo's House" a semi-fictional story that I am "trying" to write.

It was gloomy, dark, wet and cold winter evening like most late December evenings are up in North. It had been raining for most of the day and dark thick clouds had ensured early demise of whatever was to be left of twilight. Melancholy and deafening stillness was looming large all around and seemed to have engulfed everything, like the winter fog which appeared to born out of river below the town and spread rapidly but silently all around it. I somehow managed to carry my unwilling body from warm bed to bathroom to take a quick shower. As I put on my clothes and checked my appearance in rather unflattering mirror, I suddenly felt uneasy about what lied ahead in evening and I wondered if the gloom in weather was a mere outward projection of gloom inside of me.

Ever since I had left my small hometown in hills to pursue my higher studies and later job in cities far and beyond this place, I ritualistically returned home once very 6 months or so and every time I came back I would do it . I would go and visit Bobo’s house. Every evening, I would trek down from house my father had built in one of newer colonies of town, perched on hillock adjacent to the main road leading to Bobo’s house.

Bobo’s house was in one of oldest areas of town, located just above the foot of the majestic Bandla dhar (hill range), above the river bank and what once used to be a fertile valley. The colony was first built when entire old town was uprooted from river bank and the valley and relocated higher up on the Dhar . Bandla Dhar was one of the many Dhars in region and one of numerous such Dhars which made up most of lower Himalayan geography. It rose in rather meager elevation from valley around river bank before it suddenly gained height to make its upper portion almost uninhabitable. From a distance, it looked like some Giant engrossed in deep meditation on a river side, generous enough to allow human activity on its lap but keeping its head unreachable so as not to be distracted by human presence and its daily mundane, unending theatre of life. Old town was moved from valley a good 50 years back when a slender, agile river was tamed and turned into a bloated and slow body of water engulfing fertile and beautiful valley it had created and nurtured assiduously over countless centuries. Some of surviving temples of submerged town which were partially visible when water in river receded during certain months of every year, stoically reminded how they were deserted on alter of modern day temple. New temple built to produce electricity for numerous towns and cities which were located downstream around river’s way into Arabian sea through the plains. Bobo’s house was located almost on a cusp of Dhar and river. Rear of the house was a constant spectator to the river and many remaining temple spears of old sunken town which could be seen peeking out of water, stubbornly resisting decimation by years of water and silt attack. Front of the house towards the eastern side, opened to overwhelming view of the Dhar. Bobo’s house was one of the oldest house in new town and it was as if it had consciously turned its back on its past to look ahead just like its denizens.

Bobo was a constant of the house like the old wooden bed (Takhtposh) she would invariably be found sitting on. Takhtposh was kept in Verandah which was main entrance to house from across main road through heavy, perennially rusting Iron Gate which was rather mysteriously covered by ever enlarging and shamelessly encroaching Bouganvalia tree. Gate opened into a large open ground, half of which acted like kitchen garden with a smattering of Guavas and Anar trees and other half as playground for all sorts of games from Cricket to Badminton, depending upon seasons. This was also the place where guests during marriage or religious ceremonies were seated and dined in nicely put up Samianas. From open ground, approach to Verandah was through an uncovered, stone floored patio which had the common kitchen of house on one side and its other side was flanked by wall with a huge “Shivlinga” kept in vicinity. Shivlinga, which was so huge that it took 5 people to lift it and which was constantly kept wet from water-drip contraption installed over it and made with a small hole drilled in bottom of bronze pot softly plugged with bunch of grass leaves. Verandah was the most interesting and eventful place in entire house. May be, because it was the main access point to entire house. That is where people came visiting, that is where you came if you wanted to go to room located on upper floors of house or if you wanted to go to common kitchen or pooja room . And it was right in front of Bobo's bedroom. Verandah was a fantastic place. It was busiest place in entire building which must have been quite palatial and grand in times when it was built. Verandah was the place to sit in idle summer evenings watching people pass by on road as one sipped on cups of tea perennially being served for some or other visitor or for any of seemingly innumerable denizens of the house emerging from their rooms from extended afternoon siestas. Many a story were told and retold in gatherings in Verandah. In winters, this was the place to be since that is where you could sit and enjoy much welcomed but rather infrequent winter sun whenever it emerged from behind the Dhar. Or, in evenings and nights you could huddle around the Angeethi kept there and warm your chilled bones while munching groundnuts and exchanging some gossip and familial banter. The untold rule was that if there was nobody in Verandah then there wasn’t anybody anyway which never happened in Bobo’s house.

When I used to visit Bobo's house during my school holidays I used to find Verandah an incredibly large place. First of all, the concrete sidewalls on the staircase leading from first floor to verandah was ideal place for us kids to play many games like jumping from the stairs or sliding down the sidewall. It is interesting how things in childhood are always bigger than they actually are. Or perhaps they become smaller later because we grow bigger. Then there was this forbidden entrance to a cellar which was probably scariest and mysterious place in building like all cellars usually are. I and my cousin had once ventured into cellar while playing hide and seek when in excitement of game and not wanting to be caught we could for a moment let go of our fear of the place. We had discovered that there were two rooms in cellar. First room was used to store various provisions for kitchen and second was always inaccessible as it had a big fat lock on its door and I always thought that it was perhaps never opened and probably by now its key had been lost. It was only much later when I went to room and saw the treasure in form of one of heaviest sword and biggest rifle I had seen. It had perplexed me why anybody in house ever wanted to use them or even used them.

Bobo was a very religious lady. Lots of her time was spent in pooja room with innumerable pictures of Gods kept there. There was a picture of Goddess Sarswati with Gayatri mantra written on it, picture of Sai Baba with mysteriously appeared honey and holy ash dripping from it, picture of Lord Ganesh with his huge trunk, large belly and a mouse nibbling on sweets in its feet, picture of Lord Shiva with his one hand resting on a two pronged twig and other raised to bless. In the centre of all these was a small miniature bed made of silver and on it was kept a small idol of residing deity of house. I don’t remember what God was it but it was accorded special privileges in every morning bath and change of its clothes made of fine silk. Everything cooked in kitchen or any sweets brought by anybody were first offered to this deity. In evening, Bobo would without fail sit on her Takhtposh and would make Shivlingas and lord Ganesh’s idols of sand, sand which milkman Madu used to fetch for her from old Bamis (ant hills). Every morning these idols were bathed summarily while Bobo recited incantations, offering milk and leaves of some holy tree. At end of every month entire lot of these sand idols were put in a sack which Madu would then immerse in river. Bobo followed this routine everyday without fail for many years that I remember until she was perhaps not able to do so due to being grown too old. I don’t know if she stopped this daily ritual because Madu died of old age and his sons were reluctant to continue their father’s strange profession of supplying door to door milk and leaves and sand.

Bobo's was such a magical place. Thats where we cousins would meet during our school holidays. Thats where we Would play hide and seek cause it was such huge house and thats where kitchen would keep making sweet paraths all the times. There was never a dearth of kids in Bobo's house. An entire generation of us, may be 2 dozens of us were brought up in some respect or the other in Bobo's -house. Many of us were born in Bobo's room and I always thought that there was a smell in room which must have come from the fact that it was inhabited by so many preganant women and their new born. It didn’t semll bad at all, but it was smell of warmth, comfort and nurturing which just lingered on there permanently. And nurtured she did. Every single new born baby in family passed through Bobo's caring hands. She would oil their delicate limbs, place them upside down on her stretched legs and massage them, elaborately bath them in scented water and make them sleep singing lullabies which only she knew when their mothers didn’t know how to do this or were too careless and wayward in ways of newly got motherhood. She knew something about babies which nobody else did, not even baby's mother.

Of all the children in family, I probably had a special bond with Bobo, or so I believed. One of my earlier childhood memories are when I would visit her during my school holidays. I would sleep with her in her room and I remember very often for no apparent reason I would wake her up, start crying in middle of night and pester her to tell me story right at that unearthly hour and it was not important what story she told me but just that I could have her tell me story would make me peaceful and happy. I enjoyed asserting my power on her for some strange reason. I enjoyed the fact that I was important enough to wake her up and demand a story and that she would comply. She was treasure of stories, stories from Ramayan, Mahabharata or scriptures or other stories which ended with a moral. Stories which taught goodness, honesty, and glory of god. Stories which created a magical, mythical and glorious world which was to linger in my consciousness until I became suspecting, questioning and rational adult. I used to be hugely excited when it was time to go visiting her. My father then worked in a far off, small village and summer holidays were chance for me to go to Bobo’s place which in my childhood imagination was a very big city. It was a city for me since it had rows of lights on streets which would switch-on on their own, a bazaar which was open in night and where I could get small chocolate toffees sold in small fancy plastic container which once empty could easily be turned into a toy bus without tyres. I would collect vegetables which we grew in our kitchen garden to gift her and I would be miserable, fretting and reluctant when summer holidays were finally over and it was time to go back. And every summer vacation I invariably returned for more stories. Even when I grew younger and passed the stage of listening bed time stories, my bond with Bobo remained intact.

Times change and people change. As my livelihood took me to faraway places, it also took me away from Bobo. Every time I came back visiting during my vacations, I knew that I had grown a bit distant and unattached from Bobo and her world. But she was still the same. She never changed. She had stopped changing a long back I guess. I don’t think she even thought that it was necessary to change in any way. For her everything was still the same as it was when her husband, that’s my grandfather, had died a good, 30 years ago. It was not that she was ignorant or didn’t know what was happening in her immediate surroundings. She was fond of watching those religious serials after cable TV invaded the house and occasionally she would discuss even an old Hindi movie. And she liked to have ice creams and cold drinks along with kids. But I knew somewhere she was still living in world she has seen and known 30 years ago. That was the time when her husband was an influential person of society as a judge of high court and as a local MLA. In those days that must have been a heady thing. Those days society must have been so very different that it is today, with set, defined roles for woman of the house. As a young wife of high court judge, she probably would be looking after a rather busy household with frequent visitors and guests. I would never know for sure how her relationship was with my grandfather. She was married when she was probably 10 or 11 but it was not unusual for those times. I had seen picture of hers with my grandfather with if I remember probably a studio painting of Taj Mehal as background. My grandfather prematurely bald and Chanderkanta her real name, sitting close to him visibly young, shy and demure. She must have been proud and happy of the fact that her husband was such an influential figure and so educated for those times. She often told me stories of Bauji ,that’s how she referred to him never taking his name, of how he had studied in difficulties in Lahore and how he used to help people as an MLA. She would also tell me about her father who was a Jamadar in police and how people use to respect him everytime he ventured out in village. Another story which she told me umpteen number of times was when she had visited Bomaby with Bauji and her tarvel in train. I often wondered if that was the only place she had ever visited, since I had never seen her going anywhere. She had stopped going out of house for quite some time ago as she had trouble walking and climbing and she did not enjoy going in car either.

In my subsequent visits, I started realizing that Bobo’ house was disintegrating slowly but surely and she was trying to keep it together for that was all she had. Her house was her world and it was dying , in front of her eyes.

That cold evening when I reached Bobo's house, it looked haunted, the Verandah which was converted into a rool some years back was deserted and Bobo's room door was closed. I pushed the door opened, a strange smell of deacay made me nauseated. I stepped hesitantly almost in trepidation, part of me wanting to run away. How it must feel to have your body weathered away with your soul and spirit still trapped in it. How would it feel to waste away in a corner of your room with light of life slowly but painfully fading. How would it feel to know that everything is soon to be over. But I knew that these were all my thoughts. They were my thoughts emanating from my worldview of seeing the suffering . For Bobo, it was not the end but start of next journey ............................................... to be continued.........

News is no News

We all know what the Indian News channels have come to become. They have proliferated like mushrooms and have left some of us wondering if those days of conservative Door Darshan were better. In quest of TRPs and beating the competition at any cost, these news channels have denigrated news into cheap sensastionalism and tabloid gossips. Anything can become a breaking news, even if it is hardly a news. Every news channel repeats the same story and claims the first one to break it. Most of their field reporters have no sense of what news and reporting is all about and their presenters sound uneducated (there are very few Mini Menons and where is Barkha Dutt!!). Even some of better channels like Star News have consistently gone the downhill.

We know that large number of masses like to know about celebrities and their lives, so recently when engagement of Abhishek Bachachan and Aishwarya Rai was announced, it was no surprise that all the news channels were on it immediately. But, what defeats me is the way it was covered. I don't understand why it was necessary to invite "pundits" and "astrologers" and ask their opinion about wheather marriage would be a success or not, or what chould be the date of marriage or scores of such stupid questions. In doing so, these channels are also indirectly promoting some superstitious practices and thier practitioners. The whole reporting on Aish-AB affair was nothing but tabloid news and channels acted like paparazzi. Why is it so important for nation to know what temples these guys went to and what pujas they performed or what pujari had to say!! Why should a new channel extensively report on how couple's new house is being done up and how many swimming pools it has!! How is it a news when Bipasha Basu is rehearsing for one of 1 million bollywood award functions !! And sample the news caption "Bipasha ke Jalwe"..."Bipasha ne bikhera husn ka Jaadu" . I mean there has to be some distinction between serious news and this kind of "page 3" , peripheral reporting which can be left to channels like Zoom.

There is no doubt that media as such and TV in particular has been largely instrumental in making people aware of various issues, keeping issues in focus (Jessica Lall for example) and forcing lethargic government agencies and institutions to act. TV has also made many corrput politicians and officials mend their way and has instilled a fear in their heart as nothing escapes the media these days. Media is one of 3 pillars of democracy and news channels have such an important role to play and they must not let their reputation and credibility sullied by irresponsible and amateur reporting. They need to move away from thier fixation with bollywood, celebrities and Cricket. They need to understand distinction between reality, triviality and sensationalism. May be it is just that this medium is new in India and has not yet reached maturity which is desired out of it. With great power comes the greater responsibility.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Justice Killed

Imagine this..... around 30 children disappear in span of 2 years in and around a town called Nithari, a stonethrow away from capital city of Delhi and nobody did anything, nobody knew anything. Untill, of course skeletons of these children were discovered in a house of a rich man in Nithari.

This shows yet again how well our society is policed against crime. What was Police doing for all these years when these kids were disappearing, all within radius of few kilometers!! Yeah, well these things happen. Crime happens. Pshycopaths exist. But so does the Police. Why did Police not act!. Or forget acting, Police in India always reacts. They need a complaint and then they investigate. So lets say if Police has videographic evidence of group of rowdy youth molesting a young women in crowd celeberating new year, they dont do anything about it since there is no complaint. How Crazy is this.

But in case of Nithari, the issue is far more serious and is an idication (yet again) of what a bad state our Police is in. Apparently, Police in Nithari did not even register FIRs of parents whose children were disappearing. And this was because these people belong to lower income group, they are migrants from hinterland, live in shacks and do petty jobs to make a living. They are socially inferior. Police is not obliged to protect them or even listen to their complaints. They are the outcast, the lower class. Most of them are not aware of their rights as citizens because they are not educated. Police is a power which they are afraid of. Some of parents were told by police that "itne bacche paida karte ho phir hum unko dhoondte rahen kya!" or "tumhare bacche ko seher ke hawa lag gayi, bhaag gaya wo". These statements by a law enforcing agency represents how we are as a society, a very prejudiced society, afterall Police is also made up of people from among us. We are prejudiced agianst those who are below us in social ladder, who are under previliged. We treat them differently than those who are equivalent to us (middle classes!!) or higher than us. They almost never get heard , forget about the justice. I mean , all the media, print or elctronic, all the institutions are run by middle class (more on it later).

Anybody who has any experience with Police in India would know that most of people are scared of approaching the Police. They are corrupt (again our society is such) like most of our other institutions. But since they (Police) have tremendous power their being corrupt is extremely dangerous for a society. I was wondering how many movies we have where policemen are depicted as corrupt and protectors of crime itself. Even if we have to discount the dramatic exaggeration of Bollywood, it still reflects on a reality which can not be ignored. That Police, a very vital of instituion in a democracy for protecting law, has serious problems in India. So serious, that a large mass of our people can never trust it for justice.

There can not be a true democracy in a society when it is prejudiced, when justice is not delivered to large segment of people, when law does not treat evey citizen equally regradless of his/her class, cast or creed. There can not be democracy where most of our people are afraid of a law enforcing agency. There can not be democracy when justice is denied to lower classes and is bought by higher classes.

A democracy wihout equality and justice is sham, absolutely sham. A society can be judged by how it treats those who are less fortunate and by that standard ours is a society which has a long way to go. We dont become a developed country (forget being a superpower) just by gliterring shopping malls and high rate of GDP growth...well not untill a poor, uneducated, migrant can fearlessly approach Police and register complaint of his missing child. Atleast he deserves that much of right in a civilised , law abiding country.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Rocking Life

After a long long time I recently heard a fantastic rock number and it brought back some memories . First english music album which I bought was Dark side of the Moon. That was long time back and I didn't like it at all. I found the lyrics intriguing and music sounded jarring to me. It gathered dust in my room for next couple of years untill I was to rediscover it and along with it the fantastic group called Pink Floyd. In that period I heard many bands and liked many of them, mostly the rock and hard metal bands. Iron Maiden is one of my favourites and I can never get enough of the way they use guitar in Hallowed be thy name. I got hooked to Metallica after I started frequenting Purple Haze, that nice, little pub in Bangalore during my college days. I must have heard King of Nothing a hundred times. Def Leppard had such a unique style and sound to their music and I think Hysteria was thier best album ever. Deep Purple was amazing and they have lots of good numbers in addition to most popular Smoke on Water. I had heard them live in Bangalore and it was magic. Nothing can beat a live rock show, the kind of energy it has is mind blowing. Black Sabbath was the band I liked a lot with lyrics which talked about occult and black magic, appealed to me at a stage of my life. Paranoid, Heaven and hell are some of best tracks by them. They were the guys who started metal genre. Ozzy Osbourne with his acts on stage symbolized the darkness of thier music. Led Zeppelin and thier Stairway to heaven is amazing. Such layered music. I mean not only lyrically but in terms of sound also.

Pulse by Pink Floyd is one of most amazing live video albums of their 1994's concert tour. Nothing else captures their aural and visual magic the way Pulse does. We spent countless evenings listening to their phychedelic music. Remember Diggu!! We almost thought Syd Barret, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain were geniuses. Ah those days!!

Some say that Rock is dead but hardly so. Rock was never meant to be mainstream and would never be . Hard Rock is about youth, rebellion and nihilism. Hard metal can be dark and decadent. Rock is nothing without sex and drugs and long hair and a certain life style. But like everything else in life, you grow out of it. Give me that blaring elctric guitar sound anytime and I am hooked.

Hanging Business.

These days every news is "exclusive" on numerous news channels. All the new channels were showing same video of saddam hussien being hanged and every channel claimed it to be exlcusive. Saddam was no saint and few would have felt any sympathy for him, but why show videos of his hanging so openly!! I know this is the age of Utube and phone cameras but why to provoke so many people who are bound to think that Saddam was killed becuase he was fighting against America!! The way he was hanged, I mean the kind of hurry shown in putting him to death smells of a revenge , kind of signal from America that none of its so called "enemies" would be spared regardless of how big the backlash be. It is only bound to broaden the chasm between America and Arab world. So much is written and spoken on this already, but the bottomline is that any conflict happens when two parties are not open and receptive to each others views and are adamant that their view is the best and even want to force it on others. I wonder if America really "thinks" that she can force democracy on others . Democracy is such an evloved concept that only when a nation of people truly understand what it mean, can they put it in practice. It comes from within the people. Outsiders can only play a catalytic role. I remember a guy in my college who was such a bully that he would pick fights on trivial of matters and for him it was either his way or the highway. We use to call him "America". That is the preception America has...of a bully. For all the good and ideas that America stands, she does not understand that true power lies in not using the force.