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?