Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Connect with the Beat Gen

Attached is a lucky view of the Himalayas from the fields in Guniyalekh (spent a night here in 2007, remember?)

And following is the reference image (source) that helped me identify the massif - with beat icons Gary Snyder, Peter Orlovsky, Allen Ginsberg in foreground, on their stay at Kausani.

Its the same massif that you can see in both the pics - Trisul, Nanda Devi, and Nanda Kot peaks, at almost the same angle, albeit about 80km apart (as the crow flies). Even Kausani (at 1890m) and G'lekh (at 1890m) are the same altitude.

Here is a second confirmation: a painting of the same by Arnold Henry Savage Landor, ca. 1900.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thus Spake Baba Damdama

"Give me, woman, thy little truth!"
"Thou goest to women? Do not forget thy whip!"

I can picture at least 6 faces in Indian media who regularly come and talk on the talk shows talking a lot more at the usage of the above lines, that come from a 19th century classic ("Thus Spake Zarathustra", by Fakir W Nietzsche). Yes, Nietzsche (hereafter referred to as N) was known to be a misogynist. Its nothing surprising, though, his perspective has been a recurrent one through history and cultures. There's always the occasional ruffle in media over incubation-chamber analogy of the female specia. My (narrow) anthropological finds, though, make me believe that the modern society (American?) seems a little better - see how Maroon 5 and James Blunt can change the world for the good!

Some other great anti-pickup lines from the same chapter:
: Everything in woman is a riddle, and everything in woman hath one solution—it is called pregnancy.
: Two different things wanteth the true man: danger and diversion. Therefore wanteth he woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
: Man shall be trained for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly.

I pretty much LOLd at every line word up there.

What makes me even more fascinated with this perspective of N is its resonance with that of holy men across the holy Himalayan circuit (as much of it that i've seen i.e. Hardwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath). Nothing better to start with drawing parallels than how the book starts:
When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of his home, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and solitude, and for ten years did not weary of it.

That makes N your average Baba Damdama (Baba = holy man) that you find sprawling all over the lower Himalayan tract. They (holy men) have little veneration for anything but their own philosophy, much like Zarathustra. They are filled to the cup with misogynistic takes on anything concerning the...uh...gyne. They make the male species seem like some divine mutation, out-of-line with regular evolution.

But those folks and my old roomie aside, we have good faith that the leading generations will not think likewise.
That is because soon after independence, Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned a scientific study to put an end to this woman-vs-man debate once and for all...
The average woman was found to have an IQ of 3 pigeons. The average man was comparably smarter, about 5 pigeons.* Don't be surprised - pigeons are smart and were considered appropriate benchmark at that time.

This performance - which makes 'venerate' a synonym to 'torture' - is no reason to make any gender generalisation.

* In marital union, however, their (man-woman's) combined IQ surprisingly reflected a huge drop, to an average of 1/2 a pigeon. This fact of an average Indian pigeon outsmarting an average Indian couple, is why pigeon was denied the status of national bird. The Peacock was chosen (though later studies proved that even the Peacock outsmarted the average Indian couple, it was too late to retract the Peacock, as our handicraft industry had already put this bird on over 1,80,000 export items - as the reader should know, that handicrafts lobby is very strong here in India, only next to the mixing-blood-in-ketchup lobby).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some parallel to "conceit" takes over when the body feels at too much ease. Words drop jumbled on the floor and they dribble into the hollow of the coffee mug. Halfway gazes. Incoherent emotions. Warm blooded that we are, action-packed days feel closer to my type; dull urban experiences are just the right ruin for the psyche. "wrong, wrong, wrong..." is the chant through the minutes following this realisation; then I will hunt for a new disease to take over, some infection to override however things have been, some insignificance to push aside the other insignificantnesses of the day to the seams, so that I can fashion a wholly-new blot of insignificantness on my day's fabric ("Fabrique", I like to go French) and secretly wish that it were to turn gold.
Something rushes, something dies, something resigns, something meanders through, something loathes, something that doesn't reek with stench of existential bromides like at present. Whatever it takes to get the groove back ON; shoulds and should-nots; browns of nature or synthetic blacks; light and darks; shades of gray; pestilence; petulance; corruption; kingdom come.

Vikram Betal विक्रम-बेताल

मित्रों की सामूहिक सहमती है कि मेरा शारीरिक ढांचा काफी संकुचित हो गया है| मैंने आज कल्पित किया कि मैं शायद - अपने छरहरेपन और केशों की लम्बाई की बदौलत - बेताल के पात्र के लिए उचित रहूँगा| रात में किसी पेड़ से टंगा, आपको किसी सूनसान विस्तार में भय से भरता हुआ | बस मुझे बेताल की वह रौंगटे खड़ी करने वाली हंसी का रियाज़ करना पड़ेगा - ही ही ही ही...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I should print this URL on my tee, so I need not say a word whenever somebody tries to elicit opinion on the "battle of the burbs". As a superficial response to a superficial curiosity, it should suffice.

SOPA was supposed to be discussed in the American Senate today yesterday. No updates on it yet.
On personal thought space, shifting the responsibility for copyright protection from copyright holders to service providers is futile. It will also kill Google - in the aftermath of this shift, search engines outside the US would see greater traffic.

"Coming Down" by NO from Donald Mahoney on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life Averages

Divine Comedy begins at the halfway junction of Dante's life, which, guess what, is not 50, but 35 years. This comes from the biblical life expectancy figure, that was 70 years (Psalms 90:10).
Since childhood, we've been led to believe the commonality of 100. People turn 100, then they die. Can't understand where the dumb figure of 100 came from - is it our decimal number system?, or were we brought up on an overtly-simplified treatise on life (100 sounds way more exciting than, say, 72, or 99)?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend, Aurally

The past weekend gave me a bumper opportunity to refine my aural taste. I was off to Rishikesh, that promised at least 12 hours onboard those rickety sarkari buses, another 6-12 hours of rambling about, and a chance few hours through a sleepless Saturday night (my body clock's messed up). The newly-possessed iPod Nano was guaranteed to be my best companion, if not some smalltalk-hobbyist in the bus or during my hike. So right before leaving, I loaded it with 'appropriate' music (a very selective choice, as dictated by my then-mood and sentiment); and further created a 'todo' playlist for the new stuff. Of the (potential) two dozen hours that I imagined I'd be plugged in, reality saw me at it for only a third of those - half the hours in the bus were dedicated to sleep, Rishikesh ghoom went sans any accompanying iPod, and the hike was best-enjoyed (and best-survived, too) tuning my ears to nature. But even those few hours gave me enough to listen, like, and reject.

Dooba Dooba

me underwater

keepin' it crazy, keepin' it fun. HIGH FIVE!
Back from Rishikesh, dodging all make-believe spiritual invalidation again. Great Success!

Its Leucauge Venusta time!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend Mistress

In the autumn I set out for my spring.
in whose veiled face, I'll search
for the pieces to put together in the grand puzzle.
In whose playful heart I'll search
for the warmth that leaves me cold each day.
Fluctuating, receding, displacing,
you, to make me forget
some things that forget me.
With you,
I'll spend some hours under the sun,
endless and singing.
My weekend mistress, here I come.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Wrong Math, Sir, Wrong Math!

I have a secret game. I had expected its disclosure with the publishing of my best-selling biography around 2030AD; but that motive can be given up for the short-term reward of sharing with a close circuit of netizens my worldly misadventures, and another malicious aspect of urban existence.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

And... screw the day

The background music - generic piano mashing to what seems like Murder 2's "ऐ दिल संभल जा ज़रा" by who looks like Korky Buchek over at my neighbor's - to the time of my writing this blogpost was un-invited for, but it merely adds to the detail of this lousy day. It is 2150 now, when I had imagined either satiating myself on one of the world cuisines that Toystory was to introduce me to, or chilling out in the company of Sir R - a paranoid parallel to DFW, or out on a weed-hunt with the Pope.

I've been wearing the same yellow tee with "Tennis" print on the front that I had on myself the previous night, the one that was subjected to abuse by an uncapped red marker over the entire night, as I twisted and turned in my sleep, to now look like what I'd believe reminds of when Chip was mutilated by the twins in Submarine (but really it bears more similarity with the blood brothers scene in Superbad). My bedsheet also soaked up some red-marker love, and now bears eerie red patches, besides the black ones acquired from the uncapped-Parker-Pen-tragedy a couple of months back. Right now I will have to convince people that it isn't human or vampire menstrual blood. But some more misfortunes of this nature, and I can go entrepreneurial and try selling it off as an authentic Polka Dot bedsheet.

Visited the market sans any currency, only to find the ATM machine down as well - engaged for a while in learning about some old sethji's distress at the machine approving of his transfer but no cash being dispensed. Loitered a few blocks. Got lost. Disrupted my cousin's sleep, and mooched off some Peanut Butter while at it. Double Unders with the jump rope on first attempt.

Rishikesh: back ON

Anticipating to be spending my next weekend at Rishikesh - the holy city of thug monkeys, misogynistic sadhu babas, and avant-garde architecture. Of all the commitments I've failed to meet (repeatedly) lately, Rishikesh would be there at the top. Having entertained my friends with the restrictive urban outings, and having entertained the demands of microscopic family politics, I can now briefly reveal the digit next to the index to all these factors, and go shuffle aimlessly about in the white sands, pet unpet dogs, chase away urchins, eat sooji (semolina) cookies prepared in teeny-tiny roadside ovens, and fight off monkeys (that often attack to steal those cookies). Also hope to catch on lots of narcissistic, Fritjof Capra wannabes wandering about with a predatory eye to anybody with a nice body, or a heavy pocket, or an empty expression - weekend peddlers of concepts like "light", "time", "being", "god", "oneness", "life", "death", "nirvana", and myriad others.

Last, I remember being there with John, and hold fond memories of a bongo drum that I, sadly, couldn't steal off a weed-smoking Sadhu Baba who lives in a canvas hut near the river (the whole plan was to get him high as fuck, then run away with the drum, but we were short of time on the last day).
Before that I remember spending mere hours in Rishikesh with Saurabh, on the last leg of our suicidal retreat from Dodital. We had Paranthas, then we rushed for our bus.
And on the visit previous to that, I had befriended a Solvenian soul-traveler - our soulful bond born of her thin appetite that always brought forth an invitation to share, which made for my primary motivation to stick around her, especially around the meals - who was a tolerable company, until she came to sharing her spiritual quotient. In the end she was overtly joyed with our time together, I was too busy identifying the last of that banana cake on my tastebuds.

I'm already sniffling. My (pocket form-factor) scribble-book has re-emerged from the depths of my drawers. Rishikesh mode seems ON.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Manhood Cure विश्वास के साथ

Step I. Build up a cogent argument:

"Upon marriage the man cannot satisfy his woman, has to bear the embarrassment because the female has manifold lust inside her, and wants only the man who is abundant - not one who comes too early and goes limp. The female starts to loathe such men. At that time the man - who is ill of the disease of impotency - feels great pangs in his heart about why he's weak, why he doesn't feel the hunger, why his disposition is such, and why he has to face ridicule because of his lower stamina. Even with a proper diet there's no improvement in his body - waist, chest, and legs, why they develop a pain? When he sees all this, he is scared and feels guilt at his past actions, and in such agitated state, says to himself..."

Step II. Entrust faith in (quack) cure:

"You or your friend caught in any kind of illness for a long time, and finds wasting thousands of bucks on ridiculous medicines, and is depressed, then without hesitation visit our regal store.
We will give you good advise that you shouldn't worry everything has a cure, but to understand it you need experienced practitioner and proven medicines. We have been into this for a long time, curing all complex and secret illnesses, and have thousands of patients who thought their life was a disaster but with our cure they regained their original potency and felt joyous, and have managed to make children. Come, today itself, to be filled with vigor and change the impotent man to a man, and the man, to a young man..."

Step III. Profit!!!

[१० रूपए की मूंगफली के साथ मिली काला नमक की पुडिया पर यह ज्ञान प्राप्त हुआ]


This page on sinkholes around the world is sure to pep Aditi up - she's very 'pakka' of the popular 2012 doomsday theory. The collection of pics on that page is quite daunting - even India (Ahmedabad) features.

How'd I latch onto the trail of sinkholes this morning? While at inside the Dhankar Lake, in Spiti with Yogesh, locals sitting along the shores of this desolate location shouted to us about a 60-ft "window" at center of the lake. At that time, both of us, n00bs at swimming, got a scare, and decided to stay to the sides. I have been intrigued by the prospects of dying of a fall into an unanticipated sinkhole ever since.

Sinkholes are also some fodder to thought: if such sinkholes would be common on our planet (something which the doomsday proponents would have certainty in), then would our societies have a more depressing take on life itself? This leads from the existing metaphors that derive from nature - i.e. mountains to suggest a challenge, or bogs to suggest decay, or a tree to suggest proliferation/prosperity, etc. What metaphors would a sinkhole give rise to? Would it lead to anxiety towards continuity in life? Would it lead to wisdom like "On the best of your days, you might find yourself buried 100ft under."?
Second line of thought (a straight inspiration from David Cooper): that if acknowledgement of such large un-fillable holes were common, would we ultimately - note that this is the far end of my deductive chain - see women in a more potent role in the society? The 'hole' - void, gap, vacuum - has traditionally been seen as something incomplete, and an invitation to 'filling up'. This consensus that a hole needs 'filling up' also derives from a certainty that it is always a minor fault in a major feature. But what when the hole is the feature itself? Women have also been, too often, compared with something incomplete. These are metaphors intersecting here. Go infer.

While we're at speaking on sinkholes, I'd rather pay for this {insert synonym list for 'incredible' here} 4:18 short, than Ra-One types shit in the multiplexes. Presenting: Dean's Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt.