Archive for August, 2006

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Desipundit or Desibandit ?

August 21, 2006

It is a well known fact that the United states always acts in its own self interest (nothing wrong in it within the right limits) .Though being a superpower, it tries to project that it knows best(pundit) what is good for the world at large, it is its own self interest(desi) that guides its decision making. It’s a different matter that it turns out to be short term gain long term pain(bandit) when such decisions prove counterproductive..

In the article “Why the war on Terror was lost” on Sunday,August 20,2006, editor of Hindustan times, Mr Vir Sanghvi describes how vulnerable the world has become because of terrorism despite all the measures taken by the US since 9/11. The recent Bombay bombings, the  shutting down of Heathrow airport, the stringent security regulations that all international passengers are subjected to, the US warning to India to guard against attacks in the subcontinent are all pointers to the fact that we are probably much worse off than we were around 9/11.

Mr Sanghvi further tries to explain the phenomenon of the terrorist(those who were caught) not belonging to any particular cause or organization but normal people like you and me. He says ,” By invading Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair convinced the world’s muslims that the west had targeted their religion. By failing to rein in the Israelis when they wreaked havoc in West Asia, they bred the fear that Islam had to fight for its very survival. In the process, Bush and Blair achieved what bin Laden would never have. They made Muslims feel like global victims and they radicalized Muslim youth from Bali to Bombay to Buckinghamshire. They gave terrorism a new raison’d eitre.”.  The US support to Gen Musharraf and Pakistan also made it a hotbed of terrorism as a majority of the caught terrorists hailed from there.

The article concludes that the world that we shall bequeath to our children shall be tense, hate-filled and a dangerous place.

The United states has a penchant for shooting itself in the foot and there have been articles on how its short sighted policies(desi) often boomerang on itself. Therefore, in this context we can conclude that Desipundit and Desibandit are one and the same and since it’s a superpower the word Videsi(International) can also be used instead of Desi.

Now for some sub-local and self terrorism:-

I have been blogging for over a year now and though I was vaguely aware that www.desipundit.com had a good reputation for recommendation, I had never bothered much as I went about my nomadic excursions through the blogosphere.  Then, when The Times of India  evinced interest in some of the contents of my other blog ( Make your passion your profession – http://mypyp.wordpress.com/) and told me to write a series of short articles(ironically the first article got published just a day following this post for details-  http://mypyp.wordpress.com/)-   after a reputed magazine had already published one article on it in April’2006.. It just struck me out of the blue that how come no recognition had come from Desipundit. Is the standard of the blogosphere more stringent than that of professional magazines and newspapers?

All kinds of doubts began to invade my mind. I began to wonder about the credentials of people at www.desipundit.com  One comes across examples of people who become critics when they cannot master the basic art and of some people who become judges when their practice as lawyers does not flourish. I started wondering whether the powers that be at Desipundit were in that category. Could their be a collusion between them and some of the bloggers? I sent an email(asking for advise) to the main  person behind Desipundit, Partix which went unanswered. This coincided with the controversy where  Kiruba Shanker’s blogstreet rating as the top Indian blogger was questioned by someone. This fuelled my doubtful mind even more and I began to wonder whether the top bloggers were trying to perpetuate their standing as some of our so called spiritual leaders.

 As it so often happens with me and poetry being the spontaneous flow of powerful emotions, I ended up writing a rather unflattering poem on Desipundit., Patrix, Kiruba and god knows who. My apologies. I am not desperate for recognition but I make no pretensions of false modesty either..

The way things turned out, Patrix replied to my second email and Kiruba Shanker himself made a post where he stated that the ratings of http://www.sunsuna.com  which rated him 24th were more reliable from a certain perspective. Patrix also pointed out that a majority of their recommendations were sent by others. This made me feel sheepish as a long time follower of Osho and Krishnamurthy as to what havoc even a slight lapse in an unobserved mind can do. 

Both have taught that witnessing is the essence of meditation and one had to be constantly be watchful of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Krishnamurthy in particular always stresses that the root of all kinds of conflict lies in the mind and the thought process itself and no real transformation is possible unless there is transformation at the level of the individual.. Even the root cause of international terrorism is belief in a particular system or and  strongly identifying with it. That is why both are against organized religion because that itself implies division and goes against a truly religious mind.

This corroborates the views of blind poet Jhon Milton who said that the mind within itself(and outside if I may say so) can create a heaven of hell and hell of heaven. The unobserved mind can itself be a pundit or a bandit which can have either national(desi) or international (videshi) connotations. The source of misery is inside(desi) and the external is just a manifestation.

Digressing slightly, it would not be out of place to mention what Devdas menon says in his book “Stop sleepwalking through life”. He says the guru(dispeller of darkness) had yielded place to the pundit(learned scholar). “. Knowledge being food for the ego, it sometimes goes against the very essence of spirituality.It is not uncommon to find egoistical tendencies in the so called pundit whose spiritual knowledge has made him a bandit from inside. Only constant dispassionate watchfulness can curb such and other negative tendencies and therefore act as a guru. To put it poetically:-

Hope I have been able to convey the vagaries of the mind

My apologies to those who may have thought that I have been unkind

Just wanted to highlight what all an unobserved mind can think from behind

Watching  our thoughts, feelings and actions is a meditation and not doing so is tantamount to being blind.

 

Mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion

One should be circumspect and think ten times before forming an opinion

Whether it is an outsider or your lifetime companion.

To be objective, conditioning has to be peeled like the layers of an onion

That alone can reduce conflict in the stress filled 21st century and promote genuine union.

 

The Iraq war has proved that man can resort to war without any reason

For all democratic traditions and civilized conduct, it was actually a treason

Only an intellectually inclined world statesman with  the right vision

Can remove conflict permanently by addressing both the root cause and effect of division.

 

I hope I have conveyed that whether desi or videsi, it is the mind that is the real  pundit or bandit

Whatever research is possible on dispelling negative notions and thoughts, one should fund it

It is self introspection that acts as the best guru, one does not require a pundit.

For any conflict , thoughts have  to be observed dispassionately; that alone can  permanently end it.

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Kabhi Alvida na kehna, Osho ka kya hai Sochna?

August 11, 2006

Kabhi Alvida na kehna 

We saw Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna today,The movie is a good exploration(by the standards of a typical commercial hindi film) of extra marital relationships. The elaborate sets, the foreign locales, the Jazzzy star cast, the lovely songs, the elaborate song and Dance sequences, the engaging dialogues , the wirtty repartee etc. Some would rate it as Karan Johar’s best movie till date and it would be surprising if it does not turn out to be a super duper hit.

However, one cannot help but wonder about certain things. In his earlier movie, “Kabhi khushi Kabhi gum”, the way the brothers were seperated and united, we were wondering why they were seperated in the first place. In this movie, Abhishek Bachchan(Rishi) is married to Rani Mukherjee(Maya) and Shahrukh Khan(Dev) to Preity Zinta(Rhea). One cannot show too many things in three hours but there did not seem to have any great incompatibility problems that lead to the affair between Rani Mukherjee and Shahrukh Khan. My wife whispered to me,”  Why doesn’t she like Abhishek Bachchan.She is mad or what”. They have tried to show their incompatability but it is not something that could not be resolved. Actually, it seemed that Abhishek and Priety Zinta had far better chemistry and they should have had an affair, if any.

The movie tries to show that where there is marriage without love, there would be love without marriage. Its more like Abhishek telling Rani,” You won’t have a chance with me if you don’t dance( in the party and in bed i.e.show passion) 

I could figure out that on watching Abhishek, meri wife ko “Kuch Kuch hota hai“. I had to be on my guard about my own marriage. Kya pata, “Kal ho na ho ? As it is after ten years of marriage, the evergreen charm of bachelorhood and courtship can hardly be expected. Married life becomes Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum.

Jokes apart, that’s exactly what I felt about Preity Zinta. Who would drop pretty babe Zinta for Rani Mukherjee. “Jab Preity jaisi  Rani(wife) ho, tau Rani Mukherjee  ko koi bhi muhkar  jai. Dev ko Maya ya kisi aur Devi ki maya rakne ki kya zaroorat thi jabki koi Rishi ka bhi jiya hila deti Rhea.” Dev, yeh kaisi maya hai miya? Tum to experienced ho, Devdas jo reh chuke ho” .  As it is I am of the view that Priety Zinta ke saamne kisi ka chance nahin  hai banta.  Though the movie was good overall, I felt that Salaam Namaste which also dealt somewhat with the issue of compatibility between life partners was a lot cuter and was far more natural without any overdose of melodrama. The only common factor between the two movies is again the naturally cute Preity babe which only corroborates what I have said in the early part of the paragraph. This movie was more like  “Dilwaale dusro ki dulhaniya aur dulhe le jayenge“.

This movie is similar to “Silsila” that came twenty years ago which featured Rekha and Amitabh Bachchan.He had an affair with Rekha in the movie( only?) but could not get her and had to return to his wife. In this movie,as a naughty old man  he seems to be making up for lost time and crosses the Lakshman Rekha and flirts with a bevy of lovely firang ladies. Needless to mention, he carries it off with aplomb along with the serious scenes and die hard fans like me would want to tell the Superstar Emeritus to keep raising bar, to keep crossing even more rekhas where acting skills are concerned. In the movie, he dies in the end but I would like to say- “Please keep acting, Mr BachchanKabhi alvida na Kehna.  This holds true for the father-son duo; their chemistry is fantastic and they really rock together.

Though everybody has acted very well, the movie is over melodramatic in certain phases like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum. They have shown the couples parting in what can be deemed a bold end but unnecessarily prolonged the end by making Mukherjee and Shahrukh remaining separated  for another three years for no rhyme or reason and  the railway station scenes in the end were too long and artifically hindi-movie like. For a movie that has a title ,”Kabhi alvida na kehna”, this is a lot of unnecessary and artificial procrastination. It was an endless silsila that they could have done without.

On a more serious note,here are the views of the great revolutionary mystic, Osho Rajhneesh(taken from http://www.barnet.sk/software/sos/osho/osho-talks/seltops.htm) on the subject of marriage per se which are quite relevant in the context of both this movie and that wonderful movie, “Salaam Namaste”What is expressed by Osho seem live solutions and have been expressed in Bold:-

“People go on living in misery thinking that, “Next life I will find another woman — or another husband — but this life nothing can be done. It is better to accept.” So people remain somehow satisfied, whatsoever the situation is, and they call it contentment — it is only consolation. And they have rationalized all these ugly things in many ways.”

Solution no 1- Pre-marital relationships as a gauge of compatibility- This was shown very well in the movie “Salaam Namaste”:-

“Now this is so illogical. Unless a man or a woman has lived in many pre-marital relationships there is no possibility of choosing a right partner. This is such a simple phenomenan! Unless you have experienced many women and men in your life, how can you choose who is going to be the right person to live with? But they don’t allow any pre-marital relationships, so people start falling in love at first sight — which is nonsense. Then, of course, the same people say love is blind. First they throw acid in your eyes and then they say love is blind! You see the strategy? Don’t allow boys and girls to meet and mingle with each other so that they can experience many people before they decide — don’t allow them. Suffocate their sexual energy!

Pre-marital relationship is a very scientific phenomenon. It has to be allowed, it has to become part of human rights. It should be one of the basic rights of every human being to have love relationships before one decides for some intimacy, to live with somebody for a longer period. I will not say for your whole life, because who knows, life is a big thing, but for a longer period. Tomorrow you may find a far more beautiful woman, a far more beautiful man, then your intelligence will say that it is better to choose. Then why go on being tortured by your past? Remain free for the future, open to the future. So I say only for a longer period, when you decide.

When you have enjoyed many relationships you will be able to choose, you will be able to judge what kind of woman or man suits you, what kind of woman or man is a nourishment.

I am all for pre-marital relationships. Without them man will remain insane.”

Soltuion no 2- Extra marital relationships

“And he says he is also against extra-marital relationships. That is a little more complicated, but it has to be understood. That too is one of the latest psychological findings, that extra-marital relationships help marriage, they don’t destroy it. It is always good to have a little change, just at the weekend. It does not harm at all. That idea — that if a man starts having a little love affair with some woman other than his wife it will destroy the marriage — is absolutely wrong. It will help, it will renew the relationship, because one gets tired. Man is, after all, human. Don’t ask impossible things! One gets tired — the same woman, the same man. One loses all taste.

If you have to eat the same food every day, like I do, you will get fed up.

Unless you are enlightened you, extra-marital relationships are good. So please have as many as you can have before you become enlightened, because once you are enlightened I cannot help! Then you are finished.

Once in a while just a little taste of a new woman, a new man revives your interest in the old woman and the old man. You start thinking, “After all, she is not so bad.” A little change is always good.

I am not against extra-marital relationships. The people who are against them are really teaching you possessiveness in an indirect way.

When I say I am not against extra-marital relationships I am teaching you non-possessiveness.

Just see the point: if I talk about non-possessiveness people think, “That’s spiritual, that’s religious — that’s great!” But if I talk about extramarital relationships, the spiritual and the religious are immediately offended.

But I am saying the same thing. Talking about non-possessiveness is abstract, talking about extra-marital relationship is concrete. And you cannot live with abstractions, you have to live with concrete life. And what wrong can it do? If a man is tired of the same woman — the same contours, the same geography, the same topography — once in a while a little bit different geography, a little bit different landscape…and he comes home again interested in exploring the old map. It gives a break — a coffee break. And after each coffee break you can again get involved in the same work, the same files, and you open them and you start working…. The coffee break helps you.

I don’t want people to be interested in impossible ideals. I am not an idealist at all. I am down-to-earth, a pragmatist, a realist.

If people want to live together in a deep intimacy, they should not be possessive. They should allow freedom. And that’s what extra-marital relationship is: freedom. But people are very strange.”

Salaam Namaste was all about pre-martial exploration and Kabhi alvida na Kehna is about extra marital exploration. Osho or for that matter his great contemporary Krishnamurthy were men too ahead of their times and many of their teachings went unimplemented during their lifetimes..

On fhe face of it, what he says does have substance but there is a slip between the cup and the slip and one wonders how practically feasible it is to implement such ideas. One school of thought is that “Expecting perfect compatibility in marriage is like expecting a Utopia and people who keep changing jobs and marriages exchange one type of problems for another do not realize that the problem lies with themselves and not with the external circumstances”. This too is relevant  in some other cases and one should contemplate a change only if there is drastic incompatibility. In my view, teaching practical psychology(management of people) in schools to gauge incompatibilty in advance to the extent possible( the only foolproof way is to live together as shown in Salaam namaste)and also cope better in case of maladustment. This is as important as sex education.

I can sense some naughty opportunisim in the young people who have read Osho’s views but hard facts are that like some of the  books which get banned, this is too radical a change for Indian society to accept en-masse. Osho in his life was revered for some of the fantastic things he said till he started talking about subjects like sex and what is mentioned above. Variety cannot always be the spice of life.

Our society is simply not ready for such explorations. So let me introduce to another exploration.. This has to do with the other major decision of one’s life- the right occupation once again by  Osho, President Abdul Kalam and Shahrukh khan among others  “Kabhi alvida na kehna – Hamesha ke liye alvida kehnaa” – http://mypyp.wordpress.com/2006/08/11/kabhi-alvida-na-kehna-humesha-ke-liye-alvida-kehna/ 

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Should we not try to redress a Gravewrong the way we admire Greatbong?

August 5, 2006

It has been more than a year  since I started blogging and I can say without any hesitation that http://www.greatbong.net is my favorite blogger(read writer)Whatever be the issue, he never ceases to amuse and amaze with his inimitable style and dexterity with words. His post, “A letter from Andaman Cellular”(http://www.greatbong.net/2006/01/26/a-letter-from-andaman-cellular-jail/) is the best post I have come across so far.

Recently somebody told me that in India, only Khushwant Singh has been able to make a full time living as a writer which also corroborates the views of Shashi Tharoor, India’s representative at the United nations and an eminent novelist who stated frankly that “The full time writer is a rare breed anywhere”.

Hope Greatbong breaks the commercial blogging barrier in India if it ever happens. As far as I am concerned, like his recent post ,”Ek se bad kar do, do se bad kar teen”(http://greatbong.net/2006/08/01/ek-se-bhale-do-do-se-bhale-teen/) , his posts too are “Ek se bad kar ek” and I am an unabashed fan of his.

Though I cannot be amusing like him, there are certain hard facts that I find far from amusing. Recently, there was this case of the wrong leg being amputated in Rajasthan. The concerned doctor was rightfully rebuked by both the public and the media. The issue, however is whether you and me, the common man always gets such justice with any degree of consistency?

My father, while taking his mother to the hospital was advised rest and a checkup was forced on him because he looked emaciated. The bloodpressure did appear less than normal but he was advised to stay in the hospital for the night and a temporary packemaker was inserted in his body. Later, a permanant pacemaker was put in its place next morning. This entailed a lot of cost and till today, he is not sure whether or not this was required.

I myself sufffered from slipdisc five years back. I was advised surgery but since spine surgery is dicey, we thought better to take more than one opinion. All the three doctors adivsed surgery but two of them proactively asked me whether or not I had a medical insurance. The manner in which the question was mooted reeked of something amiss and what hurt more was that one of the doctors was known to me from before. However, I found a remedy in alternative medicine when some person in Sona near Delhi cured the slip disc without charging anything. He is kind of accupressurist who does this seva from 5 am to 11pm and I have seen all kinds of patients from Arthritis to severe paralytics there. He has cured five more people known to me and the very fact that he gets 500 people on Sundays is a testimony of his efficacy. I wonder at the plight of other patients who may not have been so lucky. Should not the mainstream media or blogging for that matter highlight such people and issues? Vipasana meditation cured my 15 year old insomnia problem forever which no doctor could and here too I payed through my nose to the doctors without acheiving a damn thing and the meditation cured the problem free of cost as that too is a voluntary service.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon to come across “professional doctors” who can really fleece. One of my friends told me once how his father’s friend, an opthalmologist had tried to cheat him. Another friend told me about how his father who was on his deathbed was overcharged for so many things in the hospital. A Delhi hospital has a notorious reputation as a business hospital and hearing about how some doctors seem to work in collusion with testing labs hardly raises eyebrows anymore. I once also heard about a commercial paediatrician of all things. Even children have  started being treated like commodities. How can a common “banda”(man) cope with such obnoxious, self serving “dhandha”(business in the guise of profession)? If I may add, since justice is delayed and andha(blind), to stop all this who can weild a danda(stick)?

One hears of some lawyers as a “remedy being worse than the disease” because of continuing to delay cases and some chartered accountants working in collusion with tax officials to the detriment of the clients. One can go on and on but what can an individual do in such a situation? Isn’t he totally helpless? The mainstream media cannot reach everywhere and a Jesicca Lall happens only once in a while and that too when things go out of control.

Blogging now is a potent symbol of the information revolution and mass communication and quite a powerful tool in the hands of the individual. Unfortunately in “Individual v/s Institution” the optimal results are achieved only by the “Unity is Strength”   syndrome just the way some people fight property issues against a builder collectively. Can something like the bloggerscombine which was formed recently to combat the bloggersblock or something similar be used for such purposes? This could be in collusion with the mainstream media at times  but should be done with great care since somebody’s reputation is at stake. This may seem far fetched currently just the way everybody laughed when CNN introduced the 24 hour channel first. Who knows how a medium may evolve in the future?

Its not for nothing that the chinese governement is scared of blogging and our legal system being what it is, “Why not actively use blogging as the alternatives are tantamount to slogging”  or to put it in a lighter vein and borrowing a tune from yesteryear’s fillm:-

Ding-a Dong, oh baby sing a song

If you like, read Greatbong

If you can,also redress a wrong

The individual has always drifted like ping-pong.

Blogging, if used effectively can make him King-kong

Since With blogging, we can throng( collectively)

Justice can be swift, why take long?  

Considering its potential, if not used effectively, blogging shall  be confined to entertainment or intellectual masturbation. I take this occasion to float my third blog- for those interested, it is “Cust-se-mar- Customer” . (http://custsemar.wordpress.com/)

(After writing this post, the best Tennis player in the local club told me how despite the approval by the Tennis Academy, the powers that be in the club continue to indulge in politics and  refuse to install lights at night to enable children to practice since in the morning they would get fatigued and not attend school properly.Why should my son’s future as a Tennis player be affected by all this and who wants to go to the long drawn procedures of the courts for all this? How is this different from Jesica lall’s murder- you are murdering somebody’s future.

Since the Tenant members are treated as second class citizens( this in Delhi, the capital of India), my father had to fight twice through the court to get his membership restored and I too got it after a long time. One really wishes there was a more practical and faster system for the indvidual. Panchayti Raj should highlight local issues- whether urban or rural and the mainstream media is also looking for stories- it could be a win-win situation for both- individual bloggers and the media- you scratch my back and I scratch yours but not in a derogatory sense)