Monday, December 31, 2012

The Ramparts of 2012

Time! on whose arbitrary wing
The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die
--To Time, Lord Byron, 1812

Post # 46 - 2012

A year, like never before and surely never like the ones that will come after it, is finally coming to a close. It has been the most challenging year of my life and has transformed it in ways that i couldn't possibly have imagined.

That apart, i've enjoyed the relocation, meeting with fellow bloggers - 3 of them this year, 2 of whom i've written about, the well-laden sub-cultural aspects of this tinsel town, unlimited dreams, endless possibilities and a whole lot more.

As we stand at the doorway of another year - i do not wish to envision it as merely another new beginning, but a continuum that will bring us happiness, compassion, love and timelessness.

A humble mention of my anchorage-extraordinaire, in spirit, in soul, for whom my gratitude is unbound - CD, thank you for everything.


The Ramparts of 2011

Monday, December 24, 2012

Rendezvous with The Rain Boi

Vikram Jeet Singh Parmar is not someone who can be labelled as being just a commendable blogger or a skilled photographer, both of which he very much is! He is someone who has transcended either - by venturing into the real world with a zeal to do something that he always wanted to do.

Having surpassed many a milestone he is now ardently following a dream, to realize his passion for photography that has led to him to embark on a journey of Recreating Reality.

For this intrepid soul from the hills, who calls himself 'a cautious observer and a reckless participant', there exists a dream to explore the world and immerse himself in it until eternity, seeking bliss unlimited.

Having read Computer Sciences and having worked for a while in a global organization, he decided to opt out of the increasingly mundane routine, in order to do what he does best - to be a writer, photographer and traveler!

The uniquely tied-to-destiny ardor he exudes of life can at best be summed up by the most appropriate of Ayn Rand's lines that 'the purpose of man's life is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.'

Oh, and i must thank him very much for letting me, the most amateur, fool around with his super toy - the awesome Canon EOS DSLR, the series of which i don't remember, the nomenclature of which i don't understand, but am fascinated about no end.

And, before i end, VJSP, thank you for making the ToI Literary Carnival 2012 happen for me! :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Times Literary Carnival 2012

It was chance that offered me to live a dream when fellow blogger and ace photographer Vikram Jeet Singh Parmar announced his intention to attend The 'Times of India Literary Carnival 2012.'

And so it began at the iconic Mehboob Studios with the ever lively Bachi Karkaria introducing the graceful Justice Leila Seth, who spoke about bringing up Vikram, her son who is today an internationally acclaimed author - most famously known for his creation - A Suitable Boy.

The Screensavers came alive next where Anusha Rizvi, Urmi Juvekar and Rajeev Masand debated storytelling in bollywood movies. And then there was the vibrantly eloquent Dr. Ramachandra Guha who spoke of his book, The Passionate Liberal, in a manner that was the epitome of passion. And my joy was limitless when i got to meet him, to come face to face with the man who had created a definite masterpiece of literature - India after Gandhi.

But delight knew no bounds when two critically acclaimed writers, Katherine Boo and Suketu Mehta, who work between India and the US compared notes about reporting across boundaries in an unequal, market-global age. It was a bigger sense of delight to have been able to meet Suketu Mehta, in person, in flesh and blood. Coincidentally, i am presently reading Suketu's classic, Maximum City, which is truly one of the best works that lucidly describes the finer and not so fine aspects of this megapolis, this metropolis, this wonder.

Day 1, for me, concluded with the master historian William Dalrymple launching his, yet another masterpiece - Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839 - 42. His ability to tell a story in its vivid, accurate and descriptive form is simply remarkable and unparalleled. It was rather unfortunate that i couldn't attend Day 0, which happened to be on a Friday, thus being taken up by work!

Day 2 began with a more closer-to-home point in case; the fine art of losing! Sarnath Banerjee, Shiv Vishwanathan, Shaheen Mistri and author Manu Joseph moderated that the winner doesn't take it all. A question that came up very pertinently - Why don't we teach our children how to deal with failure?

And then there was The Eternal Manto - translated by Aastish Taseer, read to us by the legendary Javed Akhtar and the poet extraordinaire Gulzaar, steered by the ad man Prasoon Joshi.

A group of the finest story tellers from South Asia then came together in the forms of Daniyal Mueenuddin, Rana Dasgupta, Jeet Thayil, Anjali Joseph and Nilanjana Roy to discuss inspiration and the craft.

And finally, to talk of the challenges of adapting fiction to film, and about her latest film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, was the charming, confident and intelligent Mira Nair with the celebrated director Shyam Benegal.

But, it was not all of this alone that made it such a wonderful occasion. I ran into long time inspirations, free souls; DK and JJ - sailors, from another world, free and blissful, something that i can today only imagine.


Image Courtesy - Vikram Jeet Singh Parmar

Image Description - With Suketu Mehta the author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

More pictures from the Literary Carnival 2012 - On my Flickr photostream

Monday, December 10, 2012

Real World Calling

There's a place in my mind,
it once used to be real, making me overjoyed - as one of a kind,

For me there, really, are no worlds beyond,
than the wonders of this heaven, with bliss abound,

Today, i find myself far away and apart,
yet so much longing to be within the magic of its art,

There are no promises, here, of anything whatsoever,
there is only the feeling of magical joy, bliss and content, over and over,

It is a place where time stands still,
as if to demonstrate a supremely divine will,

There's a place in my mind,
it once used to be real, making me overjoyed - as one of a kind,
i call it home - the place where i used to live,
now i call it home - the place where i will be in time to die.


Image Courtesy - Arun K Selvarangam, from his Flickr stream. With appropriate permission to showcase this work of his.

Image Description - Nilgiris Train, A view from the Ketti Valley, shot on June 9, 2011 in Ooty, using a Canon EOS REBEL T1i.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Less is More

About a month or so before, the Daily Mail and the NY Daily News featured interesting articles about the world's happiest man. Having read them, at the recommendation of a very good friend, i felt it necessary to make a post of the excerpts (verbatim) from either articles, which i have detailed below. During the read, which i thoroughly enjoyed, and was greatly energized about, it wasn't lost on me that the path to true happiness is indeed a process of dematerialization in the personal space, with the message that less is more, truly!

"A French genetic scientist may seem like an unusual person to hold the title - but Matthieu Ricard is the world's happiest man, according to researchers. The 66-year-old turned his back on Parisian intellectual life 40 years ago and moved to India to study Buddhism. He is now a close confidante of the Dalai Lama and respected western scholar of religion.

The son of philosopher Jean-Francois Revel and abstract watercolour painter Yahne Le Toumelin, became something of a celebrity after writing 'The Monk And The Philosopher' with his father. This was a dialogue on the meaning of life. His other works include "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill" and several collections of photographs of the landscape, people and spiritual masters of the HimalayasRicard donates all proceeds of his books to 110 humanitarian projects which have built schools for 21,000 children and provide healthcare for 100,000 patients a year.

He addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos at the height of the financial crisis in 2009 to tell gathered heads of state and business leaders it was time to give up greed in favor of "enlightened altruism."

A prominent monk in Kathmandu's Shechen Monastery, Ricard divides his year between isolated meditation, scientific research and accompanying the Dalai Lama as his adviser on trips to French-speaking countries and science conferences. Ricard sees living a good life, and showing compassion, not as a religious edict revealed from on high, but as a practical route to happiness."

It can't get more inspiring than this, can it?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A New Bottle

Tired of the painfully flawed intensedebate comment management system, i decided to kick it out of the window and revert to the more reliable blogger interface, which now offers the threaded commenting architecture! Back then, when i migrated, this feature wasn't available.

On the flipside, however, i've lost some 1579 comments, right from May 09, 2010, spanning over a time-frame of 132 weeks! But, i've managed to get them all into an XML file which is lying frozen in cold storage, and will until such time that blogger allows a feature to exclusively import comments and append them onto their respective posts - now, that'd be a breeze, really ;-)

And then, the temptation of tweaking up on the look & feel - led me to apply the more contemporary, yet sober, Dynamic Views template!

So about post # 415, this one - old wine in a new bottle ;-)


Oh, i missed the big one: Mum & Dad - happy anniversary! The 34th!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Morning CD

Not long ago, i paused for a moment to wonder which way to go. Undecided, disbelieving and seeking, i stood before a forked road, which appeared to have more than many a path ahead of it, each leading to worlds unknown, unseen and fear-provoking.

The rumble within refused to calm, demanding more action, which to the 'trained eye' was a portrayal of extreme irresolution. Emotions stirred to incredulous pinnacles and angst grew in disproportionate measures.

But destiny, the omnipotent power, swung into action, invoking a memory, which soon enabled a powerful reconnect. An unusual, yet deeply gratifying process of refurbishment unraveled, much to amazement and then a sense of cognizance of the inside, the outside, the inside within the outside and the the other way around.

Today, there is no worry about any 'perceived maddening lapse' of time, which, thus far, was a matter of concern. This is only the least of all, so to speak, you know. There is a sense of stillness which is beginning to be experienced and relished.

And, as you say, this is only the beginning! There is more to come you pronounce, but i am ecstatic already, and quickly aware.

All of this couldn't have been possible without you!

Good Morning, CD

Monday, November 12, 2012

Western Winter

Winter here isn't anything about that cold, freezing, in the quilt, under the covers feeling! There's not even so much as a breeze.

But, there is a nip in the air. Trees look greener and birds appear puffed up. There is a thin mist that hangs in the air, only to make a quick disappearance when the sun is about to make its way up. And then the day is just like any other. This limited treat is only for the early riser. There is a feeling of tranquil, of real quiet, immense stillness and peace.

In the evening, on a walk yesterday, i noticed bright lights hanging down from trees, sculptured and ensconced within dandelion and inverted pumpkin like designs. The neighbourhood seems to have undergone a transformation. There is festivity and celebration in the air and warm aromas linger momentarily blending with the air and then giving way to the whiffs of trees.

There is a sense of childhood, that feeling of unexplained joy and limitlessness.

Rod Stewart's Young Turks plays in my mind. There's really something about the winter here.

Young hearts be free tonight.time is on your side,
Don't let them put you down, don't let em push you around,
Don't let em ever change your point of view.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Comments and More

There have been some strange upsets regarding Intensedebate, the comment management system i chose for my blog in the summer of 2010. That the administration and back-end support of Intensedebate is now defunct is beyond doubt. Emails written to their support remain unresponded. So much for the term support, let alone the attitude.

This leaves me in a huge dilemma now. Since May 2010, the Intensedebate system on my blog has aggregated some 1553 comments which will be threatened to permanent deletion should i chose to uninstall this now dead system. Strangely, comments from Intensedebate cannot be exported onto blogger.

If i have to choose Intensedebate as a permanent system, then i risk losing my equanimity in the process of uninstalling and reinstalling the html code, for unending errors, disappearing comments and so on, happening almost on a weekly basis now!

I've been reading up forums of all kinds, but in vain, and this is bothering me no end.

Does anyone know of a solution?

In hindsight, i'm wondering why i hadn't chosen a better comment management system for my blog! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rendezvous with the Technologist

A suburban train in this city ferries some fifteen hundred commuters during a single journey - a conservative personal estimate, that being. Mumbaipedia has gone a step further in defining a suburban train, which it claims to be a series of motorized carriages, in Mumbai, transporting a third of the world's population every year!

At close to half past six one evening, out from work, I ambled into Churchgate terminus and found myself ill-timed to have missed my usual ride. Boarding another, only minutes after, i chose to avoid, as i always do, the desperate battle-struggles of co-travellers to find salvation in being seated to begin their long and sometimes arduous journeys homeward.

At the next stopover, which like the others doesn't last more than a few seconds, in came someone i thought i knew. Uncertain, yet enthused by this pleasant happening of chance, i waited a while to make sure. Suspicion turned certainty after i sent the 'suspect' a text message seeking confirmation and then pronto - i came face to face and shook hands with the famous blogger and technologist, as I choose to call him.

Chirag Jethmalani was introduced to me by his blog some years ago and we exchanged notes on blogging, social media and the like, not ever having met before, without the possibility of meeting ever - until that evening. And my enthusiasm knew no bounds as i chatted away at this delightful happenstance.

Warm, exuberant, mature and with a distinctive poise, here was a person who had, fairly early on, understood the ramifications of technology and its influence on our lives and businesses in a very definite manner. Having incubated his own business venture and also pursuing higher education, Chirag is a corporate blogger engaged by a number of names in the industry. But he is best known to be the founder and editor of which is a platform for sharing the latest buzz on business in India and updates on technology. Today, over 700 articles, close to 4 years and some 75,000 pageviews later, Squamble commands a brand value.

And aptly, like he describes himself, he is an established blogger and comes across as a thinker, who admires creativity and innovation and is hungry for gyan with ideas turning him on.

But what could one say about a chance meeting, for the first time, on a suburban train - endless possibilities in the maximum city?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Time Check

Of considerable interest to me, though largely incomprehensible to my limited mind, is the marvel of time, its passage, and the sheer change it brings about in life.

Quietly, yet seemingly at rather fast pace, i have covered some 120 odd days in this Eden of people and concrete. I'm surprised at how yesterday gives into tomorrow and beyond and am equally amazed at how it feels that i have lived here for a few years now.

Maybe that is precisely why they say that time slows down at high speeds!

On another note, the railways here should consider issuing frequent traveller options like how the airlines do :-)

Monday, October 08, 2012


Today's thoughts run into a blank. The otherwise free flowing feel of the mind seems wrenched and there is no particular reason i can think of for an answer. I cannot be certain if it is due to a number of preoccupations or contrarily due to an inert state of nothingness. But today, my mind is drawing a blank and there isn't anything i can really think of, other than a feeling of scathing emptiness, that is different and a bit concerning too.

As if to reassure, i seek explanations from my weary mind, in assertive assumption as if it was a manufacturing plant designated to churn out a new product at every regular interval of time. Realization and reason further draw a blank when the mind fails to recognize the question and refuses to offer any response.

As a defensive rejoinder, i am relegated to dwell on logic, analysis and rationale - when i'm gently reminded by an inner voice that those attributes do not qualify one bit to describe the human mind. And then, there are the ringing words of Charles C. Finn which say that 'i will tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what i am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what i am not saying.'

Monday, October 01, 2012

Hello Burfi!

Dear Burfi!

Your acutely intensely portrayal of life amidst debilitating impairments moved me a great deal. Even more appreciable was the underlying theme of being able to proffer a smile at even the most incapable occasion.

I'm not sure if a lot of us are able to conduct ourselves similarly under comparable circumstances - of that i'm certain that i surely cannot! Life makes many of us malleable and ductile in ways we cannot have imagined, and then there are also some of us who grow terribly tempered to eventually breakup, losing the ability to withstand the tempest and remain tensile.

So, human as i am, i will relegate these 'rare' distinctions, commonly, or, only possible on celluloid!

I care not if you've been a snitch-job from portrayals across decades, classics, industries and people - for me it's been quite an out-of-the-ordinary 'weekend entertainer' that i enjoyed.

But, in the same breath, i wouldn't quite go bouncy about the Oscar part. Perhaps it is depiction of characters that was most interesting really!

And, you did manage to score a thing or two on the editorial of India's only entirely 'Page 3' newspaper, huh?


The Odd Buff

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wholly Elephant God

Wednesday last, for some of us, began, long before day break, with a short interruption, in an otherwise commendable scheme of power supply - This was as if by indication of what was to come later in the day!

Contrary to a lot many others, I was working that day despite the city welcoming the 'Holy Elephant God' in whose reverence this metropolis comes to a grinding halt, once, or perhaps twice, every year! And so, you'd  forgive me very much for lovingly, and deferentially, calling him the 'Wholly Elephant God!'

Stepping out at the usual stroke of the hour in the morning, I noticed a conspicuous absence of the otherwise long-flowing river of people. The usually overflowing bus, to the nearest suburban railway station, ambled in slow and 'attractively' unoccupied. At the railway station, some ten minutes later, a desolate sight greeted me and as a 12-car-snaking-string-of-a-train pulled up, I derisively chuckled, to myself, at how empty it was!

Riding the 65 minute, 20 mile journey, in perfectly blissful dreamlike solitude, I was differently edgy and strangely excited at how much space that morning presented, as opposed to the otherwise needle-stack-span everyday offering, which is earned after no less than battle-like bluster! It was a feeling of being blessed with countless luxuries than what could possibly be imagined, let alone enjoyed.

Jokes apart, the absence of flutter, mayhem and the coupled din caused me to wonder if I had landed up a place anew - only to realize that even the beloved 'Manhattan of India' is entitled to some rare slumber - this time, thanks to the 'Wholly Elephant God.'

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kurunjis in Bloom

Despite the present geographical disparity of some 730 miles, I go many lengths to stay connected to Ooty and be updated of what happens there, from time to time.

You can therefore imagine my elation when, on Thursday last, The Times of India carried a feature on the Kurunji bloom in Ooty, which is ongoing. Binomally known Strobilanthes kunthiana, the Neelakurinji are how the blue mountains, back home, got their famed name - The Nilgiris. These purplish blue flowers blossom only once in 12 years and served as a means for calculating age among the tribal folk!

Understandably, my mind is wandering about those pristine mountains now, envisioning the wonder, longing to be part of that heaven, forever and ever

On another note, my comment management system gave me a slip last post onwards. I have written to the support team of Intensedebate and am hoping that they right the wrong soon. Some of your comments have disappeared, in the past, and will, in all probability go down under this time too! Nevertheless, do please leave me your wonderful thoughts, as always. Nothing gives me more pleasure than hearing from all of you. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Oasis in the Maze

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you, so says the Holy Bible.

Here, in India's Manhattan, my wife and I have completed three joyful months and have now begun a new phase in what seems to be the closest I can get to calling it the lap of nature.

In the midst of high-rises and cobble stone pathways, studded with tall green trees and lush vegetation, our little abode opens out to a marvelous expanse of nature - Dawn brings with it a flock of pigeons, parrots and a number of other feathered friends welcoming the serene morning tranquility with a unison chorus of joy and cheer.

You can't possibly imagine my delight and contentment at the feeling of having discovered an oasis in this monolithically maniacal maze of human creation.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Leave a Light on

This morning, to bring back a sense of nostalgia, I'm featuring the yesteryear superhit pop track Leave a Light on by Belinda Carlisle from her 1989 album Runaway Horses.

It was released as the album's first single in the end of 1989 as a CD single, 7" single and a 12" single. The song reached within the top ten position in Australia, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands and the UK making it one of her biggest hits to date. In the U.S. it peaked at number 11.

"Leave a Light On'" features former Beatle George Harrison on the slide guitar.

All you folks, have a wonderful week ahead and 'leave a light on' for your loved ones! :-)


Inputs from Wikipedia.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Right Brain Fix

Of late, the desire to be a musician or a writer, or perhaps a photographer has been gripping me with an intensely overwhelming sense of passion.

Governed, boxed, ruled and most certainly blocked by a rigid analytically and logically driven left brain, I'm struggling hard to break out of the impasse, activate my right brain and step into a world of unlimited depths, exploration and mystic journeys - which I now seek so much to do!

I certainly will need to get my act together and envision a side of me that I haven't yet been and create a path which I hope to walk through and take a leap into that other world.

One life, after all..........need a right brain fix, real soon! :-) 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crusted in Canvas

Art is a wonderful expression, not just of creativity, but of life itself.

Forever in awe of this great wonder and greatly appreciative of people who possess this great gift, my senses were treated exquisite when I visited the Jehangir Art Gallery a few days ago.

Stepping into another world altogether, one so surreal, so full of expression and evoking powerful emotions, nothing could perhaps equate the outcome of the experience. For me, it was quite like reading pages of a very well written book - with a whole lot of meaning and perspectives that were unique yet sometimes very subtle.

Back home, I found myself floating in a world crusted in canvas, unable to let go of the wonder that had struck me that evening.

They say all destinations lead to the heart - mine is no different! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Faces in the Crowd

Two faces, a reasonable crowd, in a different city and 18 years later - what do you think would have happened?

Instant recognition!

V rang me up a few days ago mentioning he was here and I insisted we meet despite his hectic schedule - a first time meeting that would happen in 18 years, after school. We hadn't seen each other since 1994 but managed to stay in touch.

A brief lunch, recollections galore, memories unlimited and some thoughts later, the whopping gap seemed to vanish.

18 years later, nothing has changed! The same sense of warmth and camaraderie prevails with a many a nostalgic moment from back then, when life seemed less complicated and more blissful. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

400 Posts Later

My alter ego, friend for life, ever beside me, through bad and good times, sounding board of sorts, theorist and listener extraordinaire, another side of myself and most importantly my window to the world, constantly blessing me with some of the finest people and their creative expressions from across the world - my beloved blog turns 400 posts today.

Monday, July 30, 2012

When Sunshine Comes

Along the road of life, one pauses to meet people who leave a lasting impression. This is one such account, unforgettable and deeply inspiring. 

I met N for lunch a few days ago, regarding a certain business proposition he was to make. Backed up by a recommendation from a father-figure, I was quite convinced about my decision long before the meeting took place, nevertheless, this meeting proved to be one of sorts which would banish all my trepidations about life, let alone the 'business' we intended to conduct. 

Before me stood a young, 20s something boy, not very voluble, but warm and genuine in his efforts to facilitate my limited understanding of the subject that I sought very much to demystify. Characteristic of me, it didn't take long for the conversation to veer off into individual domains, which told me this was no ordinary 'boy' but someone who continues to battle hard with the singular intention of transforming his life and those others that matter. 

Close to an hour later, after a stirring foretaste of the circumstances affecting those lives that seemed so distant yet somehow connected, I shook hands with my visitor, masking gloom with enthusiasm, comforted and inspired by the thought of an individual's concerted will to overcome life's adversities.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

From Time to Eternity

Deep within my heart is a place, known only to me, cherubic, pristine, warm and ever-green. It is my ultimate resting place, where I will attain oneness with my creator. It is a place that I visit often, when I spend some intimate moments with myself.

It doesn't puzzle me anymore, but makes me happy, that this final destination will bring me comfort in the realization that the self will not, after all, need any identity or role for continuity or attainment of a purpose - a purpose to just be happy, merged with nature and blissful in existence.

And today, I'm reminded of William Penn who rightly said that 'death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.'

Monday, July 16, 2012

Between the Known and the Unknown

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.  ~Daniel J. Boorstin, Democracy and Its Discontents

A few days ago, I had the rare privilege of visiting a popular college here and being part of an interaction with some students over a certain subject, and in the process discovered how much more broader in thought the student of today has come to be. I was absolutely living a dream of wanting to be able to visit a vibrant campus and surround myself with youth, perhaps in a frantic attempt to reverse the ageing process that had set it on my mind!

Witnessing a remarkable sense of passion and fair understanding of the reality of the subject being discussed, I was amazed at how proficient young minds have cultivated themselves despite the inordinate, often highly demanding stakes of the present day. On stating this, one could perhaps face the argument that 'a student of today has access to limitless information along with more relevant examples which help in decision making and better understanding', a claim I will not subscribe to, but will be unable to disprove.

Now, as these already marvelous scholars prepare to step outside of their most prized state of being natural, creative, instinctive, and curious and then subject themselves to worldly forces to become 'analytical, logical and all the other junk', it is more of a social and national loss that will continue to occur - sadly!

And, as for me, humbled by the sights and sounds of an interface that lasted not long, I returned feeling young, blessed, happy and most importantly at the door of my destiny. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Bombay Meri Jaan

There are cities and there is Bombay! By no standards would you be able to compare it with any other city in India, or, for that matter, with any in the world! Among the first things one notices about Bombay are its stark contrasts - one of abject and desolate poverty and the other of incredible opulence. Perhaps, it is safe to assume that these disparities do not co-exist in any place else, if not always in such sheer scale and evidence. Yet, the more amazing of facts is that these opposites cohabit in harmony unmindful of one another and their way about within this hideously cramped milieu.

It is in Bombay that one would truly realize the value of space and the premium it carries. At any given moment, a good part of its 20 million odd inhabitants are constantly rubbing shoulders with one another seemingly restive and on the brink. It doesn't take long for one to realize that boundaries of personal space and individual realm are to be re-defined in the context of Bombay's standards.

There aren't many open spaces here, and the only massive open expanse is the sea that borders what once used to be the seven islands, now interconnected and once called the good little bay. It is quite another thing that it often tempts the articulating mind of mine to replace the word good with big, very big! And most certainly, it would be apt to replace the word places with spaces while referring to any part of Bombay.

Bombay is inimitable in its own sense, for there are sights and experiences one possibly wouldn't be treated to any place else. Massive edifices, relics of an era long gone, yet rich and elegant in splendour garland the popular financial esplanade along with corporate houses whose names one regular reads on the pages of Forbes and the like. Yet, not so far away a fishing community has made its home in the buzz of activity, hardly a furlong from where the Executive of the State claims to conduct its business!

If you could meet anyone from across the Earth on Times Square in New York, then on Marine Drive you could easily run into a Shastri, Subramanian, Saxena, Sheikh, Sebastian, Singh, Sharma, Sinha and many more all at once.

Walk eastward along the cobble-stone path and one would come face to face with Victorian structures draped in powerful stately appearance, a little away from the now worn, yet imposing £ 9000, Flora Fountain. Not surprisingly, each one of these super-structures, individually, make any other out-of-Bombay building unusually diminutive.

And then, there is the Kabuthar Khana, which if visited by Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, would shame his "Rats with Wings" statement and make Trafalgar look petty in the face of the marauding flurry of grays and whites with beaks and half-talons!

I'm beginning to take my baby steps in Bombay. My days begin at a time when any other city would perhaps be pondering over early morning thoughts during a semi-wakeful state, but by Bombay's standards I'm not so enterprisingly early in the crusade. Overpowered more by a feeling of awe than control, I set about and as I make my way to the nearest suburban rail junction, I am conscious of thousands more elbowing their way to begin their day. It doesn't take me long to realize that my ability to get on and off a train is more a matter of chance than will. Eventually, with experience, I'm told that this chance will become habit and routine, a routine that is best described as 'growing on you.'

Bombay is more of spirit than a place. It is a lifestyle far from any defined culture, and more of practical possibilities to ensure survival and eventually thrive. In this myriad world of high-rises, celluloid, furious monsoons, million-dollar corporate deals and sleepless roads, every person nurtures an ambition to make something out of life. Perhaps, Bombay is where one can come closest to realizing one's passion! Some visit and depart, while many others haven't ever ventured outside the city's confines, and yet some others visit and stay back forever!

Of all that has been written so eloquently to illustrate Bombay and its soul, it is the words of lyricist Javed Akhtar that stand out for their aptness. Quite like how he once felt, I'm sure, there are several thousands, like me, who wonder "what a large metropolis is Bombay and how insignificant am I? Once in a while even the bravest can feel fear."


Title, meaning Bombay - my life, adapted from the song "Ai Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahaan" sung by Mohd Rafi and Geeta Dutt, composed by O. P. Nayyar and picturized on Johnny Walker, in the 1956 Hindi film CID.

Monday, July 02, 2012

My Immortal Chennai

I am more than just surprised at myself, for the sense of disconnection towards blogville that I have gotten into. It is hard to believe that I could stay away from blogging for so long, and in such dispassionate manner. 

I cannot say if marriage has been the reason, but I will not dwell on it any more than I already have, for being here is more important and enjoyable than being explicatory about the reason for absence. 

Anyhow, after a long pause, which perhaps may not immediately be remedied, I wanted to visit here and make a mention of some events that have, once again, brought about a change into my life. 

I've been calling Chennai home since September of 2010, and it has been a very different category of experience in this hearty Tamilian hinterland. The city, its people, its culture, most certainly intertwined with temples, movies, colours, dosas, music and vermillion, to mention a few that is, have actually been very deeply connected to the process of my growing up and growing well. The beach on the East Coast Road, with its close-to-arid, yet quiet, expanses, has practically been my courtyard for what now seems to be the most memorably happy part of my life. 

Away from the complex orchestration of collective human routines of commute in quest for destination, and supposed purpose, N and I found comfort in the tiny green oasis where little neem trees swathed in the evening breeze and echoed the calls of cuckoos while people residing in vicinity were returning home after a hard day's labour. Dusk's arrival was signalled by a mellow grey overhanging curtain of dim light accompanied the toll of a distant temple bell, with which followed a long chorus of classical hymns belted out from a creaky cassette player that was perhaps as old as its owner. Now, these scenes are forever frozen in my mind, with the ability to be recalled at ease, hopefully, well into the future. 

To some, Chennai is expressive of true warmth draped in 'absolute' conservativeness which cannot be categorized in any relative term of equivalence. It is an amalgamative state of culture, aspirations, values, youth, exuberance, co-existence, and a laid back attitude and yet home to people who fervently live of unending hedonistic delight, in the most positive sense. 

In a sense its core has changed little with time and perhaps will remain benign and irreversible despite the onslaught of the new age revolution seeking to intersperse the old and the new, the modern and the classic, the concept and the conceiver!

On 5th June, I bid a tearful adieu to this remarkable institution of my life that had so sympathetically and patiently taught me love and compassion. The sun had set as I began my journey of departure, and the roads were crammed with automobiles ferrying many a weary traveller back home. A not so dark sky heralded growing clusters of dazzling lights that illuminated surroundings and minds alike. Musky incense spreads through the air, marking a change of time and the beginning of dutiful rituals in reverence of the divine creator. 

The clamour of the evening hardly distracts my thoughts as I leave. Pausing on occasion, I notice a lull, and return to the chatter of people and the noise of the surrounding. A cascade of strong memories envelope me and I realize I am not departing, after all. A great deal of Chennai is within me in the form of experiences and memories and a good part of me remains through the eyes and spirit of all the wonderful people that I will be connected with forever. 

In truth, this is not the end where there are goodbyes and apprehensions of parting, for this is just another beginning, a mere extension of time and place, deeply interconnecting the future with the past, being played out in the present.


Sometime in the evening of Tuesday, 03 July, 2012, I received an email from a webmaster of Blogadda, a popular Indian blog directory service stating that this post "has been selected as one of the top posts for this week's 'Tangy Tuesday Picks'. We loved reading the post."

I wanted to scribe a few words of gratitude for Team Blogadda for having found this post worthy of such distinction. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

13 Years Later

A lot changes over 13 years, but we realized that the camaraderie we shared was not one among them, thankfully!

K and I have been good friends since 1996 and shared many a wonderful moment in the company of sworn comrades. Those were times of bliss that now seem from a different era altogether. Together, with several others, we've seen the passage of a phase which marked many a wonderful moment of life that is now etched deep within as an unforgettably iconic spell, which I'm certain will be related to posterity with deep passion and enthusiasm.

As time took us our different ways, we drifted out of touch, momentarily, and then re-connected, thanks to the ever so far-reaching capabilities of new generation technology!

And now, just sometime ago, when K announced a visit to Chennai, I was thrilled beyond words. We met, after a whopping 13 year interlude, like old-timers, who parted fleetingly, only to come back into the fold once again. Over a fare of exquisitely spiced Indian fare, we caught up on times that were fresh in our minds, yet seemingly so distant. Reliving those times, we became young once again, transported back to a phase that we continue to relish and will do so forever.

I'm always in awe of how life is a giver - a giver of good things, times and people that make living truly a blessed event.

Like every coming together of such epic proportions, there is always a before and an after - and this time too, I found that the only difference was in the pictures taken, back then and now! 

Friday, March 02, 2012

Privacy & Google

There's a lot of hullabaloo about Google's new privacy policy that kicked in, effective yesterday. As I leafed through some pointers, a few mentions, I thought, were worth making a post, given that there is an increasing blur in the lines that divide an individual's privacy and the public domain at large.

I found these quite interesting, so to speak.

Is there a way to prevent Google from combining the personal data it collects from all its services?

No, not if you're a registered user of Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, or other Google products. But you can minimise the data Google gathers.

It's important to keep in mind that Google can still track you even when you're not logged in to one of its services.

But the information isn't quite as revealing because Google doesn't track you by name, only through a numeric internet address attached to your computer or an alphanumeric string attached to your Web browser.

Is Google's new privacy policy legal?

The company has no doubt about it. That's why it's repeatedly rebuffed pleas to delay the changes since announcing the planned revisions five weeks ago. But privacy activists and even some legal authorities have several concerns.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy rights group, sued the FTC in a federal court in an effort to force the FTC to exercise its powers and block Google's privacy changes.

A federal judge ruled the courts didn't have the authority to tell the FTC how to regulate Google. The FTC says it is always looking for evidence that one of its consent orders has been violated.

Earlier this week, the French regulatory agency CNIL warned Google CEO Larry Page that the new policy appears to violate the European Union's strict data-protection rules.

Last week, 36 attorneys general in the US and its territories derided the new policy as an "invasion of privacy" in a letter to Page.

One of the major gripes is that registered Google users aren't being given an option to consent to, or reject, the changes, given that they developed their dependence on the services under different rules.


Excerpts from a slideshow article on Google's privacy policy featured in the Times of India

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ccTLD rollout on Blogger

Over the past couple of days now, Blogger has been gradually rolling out redirects to country-code URL’s (or ccTLD’s) for all Blogger sites.

What this means is that "if you are in India and viewing [blogname], you will be redirected [blogname] A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader’s current location."

Unfortunately, this update has been a cause for some major issues where the same post will show different sets of comments depending on which ccTLD readers visit. Which explains why some of your comments remain hidden away, while yet some others keep doing the vanishing act once every while.

I have written to the support folks at Intensedebate and have been in the process of a number of un-installs and re-installs, but technology sometimes can be geekier than the geek! ;-)

I'm hoping that a solution emerges soon - meanwhile, for those who have been so kind to comment on my posts, I'd like you all to know that your comments are safe, though invisible - which I'm told is a momentary lapse of reason on the part of Blogger! :D 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Remembering Jobs

He'd have celebrated his birthday today had he been alive.

Redefining Oblivion remembers the pioneer Steve Jobs and how the landscape of technology changed due to one man. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Foggy Chennai

Woke up to a foggy grey morning! Confusing weather here in Chennai, something that people say hasn't occurred before.

One usually sees the likes of this in parts of North India where winters mean foggy, dull mornings and days.

Here, this surely is different, very different. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jitters of War

The situation concerning Iran and the US-Israel backed alliance is hotting up and growing more and more concerning.

Today, more specifically, the world needs to be at peace and instances such as these threaten to destroy the very fabric that we so protectively guard.

Explains how fragile maintaining peace can be.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goodbye Whitney Houston

Many nights we prayed, with no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hope for a song, we barely understood
Now we are not afraid, although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains, long before we knew we could.
There can be miracles When you believe
Though hope is frail, It's hard to kill

Redefining Oblivion pays deep homage to the evergreen Queen of Pop Whitney Houston who passed away on Saturday. Her voice enthralled millions worldwide and I am "grateful for the GIFT of her."


Lyrics from "When You Believe" by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. The song was written and composed by Stephen Schwartz for the 1998 DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. 

"When You Believe" was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 71st annual ceremony on March 21, 1999.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Blogger Error

My comment management system powered by intensedebate has been acting up lately. Some of your comments on the previous post have disappeared, and some remain hidden away, unknown and inaccessible.

Upon login to the comment aggregation system, I see two links of my previous post, one in html and the other by the title itself - something that hasn't happened until now.

I'm imagining that this error was possibly triggered off by blogger changing local domains from .com to .in which may have upset a number of plugins and associated systems.

I'm hoping that this is momentary and presume it will be resolved.

Meanwhile, has anyone of you noticed your domain changing over from .com to any localized suffix?

Friday, February 03, 2012

The Times of Ooty


Picture taken during my snap vacation in Ooty during the last weekend. Changed a great deal, yet, this place is charming as ever and will forever remain closest to my heart wherever I go! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Republic Day - The Making of a Superpower?

Some excerpts from an article on India's growth featured in the Times of India on Wednesday, 25th January, 2012;

"But just adding new hands to the workforce won't help. The government has to make sure that kids get a good education at schools and colleges. This will need money, but more importantly, some checks to make sure that schools actually get built and teachers do their job properly. By 2007-08 , more than 82% of the world's population was literate. In India, the number is 67%.

So, just pumping in money and sarkari schemes after education won't suffice. Governments and progressive politicians will have to chip away at deep-seated social and religious prejudices.

A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. India's state-led healthcare system is tottering. Data like the number of new hospital beds added in every state hide the reality of large-scale graft, nonexistent infrastructure, spurious drugs and abysmal healthcare management.

To find out which states have the worst public healthcare systems, you just haveto see the list of states where over 80% of the spending on healthcare goes to private hospitals , clinics and doctors. The list includes Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh.

Only 11% of India's population has any kind of insurance, so it's easy to understand why for a poor family, a debilitating disease affecting an earning member can be a financial disaster. Just like we saw with education, across nearly all health parameters , Muslims, backward classes and women fare worse than other Indians.

The eight northeastern states of India are not only landlocked, but locked away from mainstream public imagination. That's a pity, because northeasterners are among India's best-educated and healthy people. We need more roads, airports and rail routes to connect the region to mainland investors, markets and opportunities."


Excerpts from an article by ToI reporter Abheek Burman.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The 381st

This post marks the completion of 381 posts on this blog. Spanning a period of 6 years and from across several locations, I feel elated at the manner in which I can now reach out to all of you who are some of the finest harbours of creative excellence.

Thank you all for Redefining Oblivion

Friday, January 20, 2012


Some excerpts from Mashable's take on why SOPA will take us back to the dark ages;

"It’s not just books, music and movies. The Internet is empowering people to create all sorts of businesses and distribution systems. They leapfrog the old hurdles, ignore the gatekeepers and go straight to the public.

Yet the language in SOPA is so irrational that I can only assume that the authors and backers wanted nothing more than to fundamentally change the rules of the web: To shut down the open post fields, kill reposting (goodbye, Tumblr), end shared videos (sorry, YouTube), expand the definition of what it means to infringe (sorry, Twitter, no sharing links that aren’t yours).

When you turn copyright infringement into a felony and say that anyone can accuse a website of providing ”infringing” tools (and apply severe penalties whether or not you do something about it), you are essentially making it impossible for anyone to do anything online without fear of retribution."


This post contains excerpts of Mashable's opinion on SOPA.

Redefining Oblivion firmly believes that Copyright Infringement cannot be condoned and hence they are not bad words after all, but to think that one will possibly no longer be able to re-post links that aren't yours is quite  something else.

So technically, in future, this post will constitute a violation, perhaps?

Are we ready yet?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Human Nature

Though numerous other understandings of human nature exist within the New Age movement, all agree that some form of the divine exists within the self, and all similarly look to practices of self-development as central to cultivating knowledge of that divine essence.

This fact reveals one of the most important commonalities across all New Age approaches: the New Age possess a strong belief in individual human evolution.

Evolution within the New Age worldview does not mean biological evolution in the Darwinian sense. Rather, New Agers believe that individual human beings ideally evolve over their lifetime (and multiple lifetimes), achieving greater and greater awareness of their divine natures.


Excerpts from a very interesting article on 'New Age Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence' I came across. Makes good reading. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Streets of Philadelphia

Staying with music, Streets of Philadelphia is an Oscar winning song, by Bruce Springsteen. It was sung for "the first mainstream film on HIV/AIDS" in the 1993 film, Philadelphia, starring Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. The song was an absolute hit in a number of countries, particularly Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway, where it topped the singles charts.

It was included in the album 'All Time Greatest Movie Songs', released by Sony in 1999 and is among my most favourite soundtracks of all time.


With inputs from Wikipedia

Monday, January 09, 2012

Birthday Boy - Page

Composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of the British rock band, Led Zeppelin in 1971, Stairway to Heaven is 'often considered one of the greatest rock songs of all-time.'

In the words of Page, Stairway to Heaven "crystallized the essence of the band. It had everything there and showed the band at its best... as a band, as a unit. Not talking about solos or anything, it had everything there. We were careful never to release it as a single. It was a milestone for us. Every musician wants to do something of lasting quality, something which will hold up for a long time and I guess we did it with "Stairway". [Pete] Townshend probably thought that he got it with Tommy. I don't know whether I have the ability to come up with more. I have to do a lot of hard work before I can get anywhere near those stages of consistent, total brilliance."


Today marks the 68th birthday of Jimmy PageRedefining Oblivion pays tribute to this legend who is one of the most influential and important guitarists and songwriters in rock music, and salutes his journey of excellence that began with The Yardbirds until Led Zeppelin, and beyond. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

Dusting into Time

A few days ago, I was leafing through some blogs that were, once upon a time, very active and current. Over time, however, I notice many of them have remained 'unfed' or worse - discontinued.

And I wonder, what is it that makes people abandon something that they have been so passionate about. Is is the lack of time? But when one embarks upon a journey of passion, one certainly takes the effort to make space and time to further that activity. It is perhaps a feeling of loss of thought or block that comes with time? Or, for some, was it really something that was chanced upon merely by accident only to notice and understand later that the 'once-upon-a-time-cool-thing' isn't cool anymore? Now, how uncool can that be?

Whatever the reason, it ain't a very pleasant sight to see a lot of dead blogs floating around! 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Opening Statements - 2012

Eschatological beliefs, transformation, mysticism, transition, apocalyptic and other things apart, it is hoped that this year will bring about positive change.

Redefining Oblivion wishes all of you a Very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Purposeful 2012, and beyond.


Opening Statements - 2011