Saturday, May 27, 2006


The media space is flodded with news on "Reservation" and the furore it caused.

Student protests culminating in self immolation and starving unto death.

Fraternity divided into 'Majority' and 'Minority' - It is repeating all over again just as Santayana said "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it!"

Found this interesting cartoon in "Outlook" magazine that tells volumes about the current predicament, so simple yet so deep in its metaphorical import.

Here we - 'we the people' sit in the corner and there they reach for the stars.

Am just reminded of 2 songs by Leonard Cohen. I have taken the liberty to mix them and rephrase (with due apologies to the Cohen Estate). The songs "Democracy" and "Who By fire" are infused with such deep passion for humanity as it is with delusion. It is much of a prayer and a rebellious scream as well.

The silence in between is the only time we have for contemplation and action.

So here is the mutated version with the title:

"Who by Democracy Fire"

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.

From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,

Is this Democracy on its way?

And who by fire,
who by water,
who in the sunshine,
who in the night time,
who by high ordeal,
who by common trial,
who in your merry merry month of may,
who by very slow decay
and who shall I say is calling?

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermons
which I don't pretend to understand at all.

It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:

Is this Democracy on its way?

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:

Is this Democracy on its way?

And who in her lonely slip,
who by barbiturate,
who in these realms of love,
who by something blunt,
and who by avalanche,
who by powder,
who for his greed,
who for his hunger,
and who shall I say is calling?

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

Is it coming around to the
cradles of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:

Is this Democracy on its way?

It's coming from the women and the men.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout "Come together"
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:

Is this Democracy on its way?

Sail on, sail on ...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:

And who by brave assent,
who by accident,
who in solitude,
who in this mirror,
who by his lady's command,
who by his own hand,
who in mortal chains,
who in power,
and who shall I say is calling?

Tachyons on ORKUT


Just started an ORKUT group called "Tachyons" - On Dr.E C G Sudarshan who is regarded as one of the greatest living Mathematical Phycisits. A celebrated scientist nick nemed "Rishi" at the University of Texas-Austin, Dr.Sudarshan surely deserved a Nobel prize for his pioneering contributions. It is worth knowing how he missed it and how others got it. It is indeed surprising that Sudarshan has not even been elected to the U.S. Academy of Science . Shouldn't we care to bother to ask why?

Here's a List of Relevant Webpages :

1] Sudarshan's letter

2] Elusive recognition

3] Scientists Question Nobel

4] First Runner-upWhen the Nobels are handed out, some get left out.

5] Nobel Doubts

6] Physicist Sudarshan's omission questioned

7] What will it take for a resident Indian to win a Nobel Prize

8] George Sudarshan :

9] E C G Sudarshan : WikiPedia

10] Wrong Choice For The Nobel

11] Ranjit Nair on this year’s physics Nobel

12] Nobility of the Nobel prize

13] Scientists petition Nobel Academy

14] Dr.Sudarshan's Home page

15] The Collected Works of ECG Sudarshan

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

WIth my Grandmother ...

Met my grandmother. This time she really looked old, she lost much of her interest in watching TV serials. She lost the patience to see Cricket matches too, she even forgot the name of her all time favourite star 'Sachin'.


Dependency must be crippling her spirits. Hope memories do not worsen it.

This time two more things got added to her existence - a new phone next to her bed and a walking stick. She refrained from having both till she could not live without it.

I touched her hand... her skin has now become a saggy flap wrapping her frame, I took her arm feeling the delicacy of lifting a baby and as I did it I could see her painted image on a porcelain plate in the cupboard - a rare honour of the Chinese bestowed on the then aristocratic Indians in Malaysia , she used to tell. I hardly believed it till I saw similar ones in the Mysore Palace.

These hands fed me for 23 years, it is with these same hands she tied a bracelet to my wife when she could hardly move around. Till very recently she used to cook her meals and others too . She keeps repeating “ I am 84 … and why this delay?”.

How easily she befriended the shuddering thought of death!

This time I asked her whether she felt un cared for and she replied : ‘ parents love their kids out of their own selfishness, they must not expect anything in return!”


It seemed like a revelation that rolled into a paradox to me seeing the words as isolated entities : Love – Selfishness - Expect – Return … but together it must make sense this comes from the depth of her being.

Hey..wait a momen,did she not tell in her own words , what Gibran said, without ever even hearing about his works…

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.” ( Khalil Gibran, The Prophet )

Truth sometimes comprises of mutually exclusive, contradictory entities if seen in parts.

… and how I desperately wish to hold her hand and take her for a walk ? To tell her that I owe her much, that she lived a life that was all giving. How I wish I could just tell it all at one go, and I tried it once. But I had to repeat it aloud so many times till I felt like some one who had to repeat “ no mention please “ few times.

Intense moments get mocked by acts made to execute formally.

Any way, I now realize I am late. Those words of Grellet flash forth … from the back flap of the notebooks my grandmother used to cover with brown paper.

I expect to pass through this life but once.
If, therefore there can be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do
for any fellow being let me do it now...
Let me not defer it, or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again. ( Stephen Grellet )


She saw me staring at it, a portrait painted during her thirties. She asked me to get it from the shelf and hand it over to her. Her shivering arms all stretched to take it...bridging over 50 years . She held it close to her chest...wiped it with her saree...and told, ‘take my new picture too so that you could keep it beside it’.

Young picture becomes old…and old picture becomes new, sure that must be another way of trying to live ‘in the present moment’ !

Just as I was about to leave, she told 'call me some times'... with a naughty grin she added this too ' you will come this side only when you have some work here'. I know she did not mean it for she knows me as the one who is impulsive and yet affectionate.

I take refuge in that for the time being ! I know she is still annoyed with me for not joining her on the last Onam.

Note: Of late I was reading on "Time Lapse Photography" , found this picture on 'Wikipedia' quite metaphorical of existence at the gross level.

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