Independence Day -Its Import

On 15 August 2020, India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day. Well, that’s an equivalent of one average human life for our times. So, what’s the growth story and what does the future offer. Let’s look at a few issues.

Perhaps, there is enough freedom this Covid season for all to realise the bondage of a lockdown, a self quarantined life or the restriction on travel to malls, beaches, mountains or near and dear ones. Perhaps, an oppurtune time to reflect on what it means to be really free. A closer peep into the run up to Covid highlights the way we have surrendered our freedom and independence over time.

Stepping into my son’s genr’s boots may well be the right way to understand the import of all the trending hastags…

#metoo #blacklifematters #mainbhichowkidaar #saffron #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #YesWeCan #IceBucketChallenge #BreakTheInternet #ImWithHer #teaparty #ArabSpring #AnnaHazare #chanakya #japanesetsunami #recession #depression #corruption #rightwing #obama2012 #resist #impeachtrump #chowkidaarchorhai #brexit #jesuischarlie #bluewhale #chinesevirus #makeinindia #migration #unemployment #atmanirbharbharat #cbi4ssr 3savethe planet #gogreen #globalwarming

As we may well see that there is an underlying theme of freedom or independence in most of these hastags. The focus on individuality and individual value comes out strongly through most of these. In a sense, many get together to voice their feelings for an individual/an individual movement. All the under the carpet stench is finally coming on the streets through protests, opinions, voices and movements. Digital reach and transparency has permitted each individual to be empowered. The highlight was the Me Too movement wherein, decades old suppression of gender was given a voice through a world wide movement through social media platforms and street protests.

The resurgence of this definition of freedom over the last decade is significant. Today’s meaning of freedom incompasses transparency, right to be, right to free speech and the freedom to be comfortable in one’s own skin. This geneartion is more involved in national issues by actual work rather than pushing down concepts or definition of freedom or nationalism or life. Its not surprising that many of them have left the American Dream and returned back home to throw themselves into the small town startups. It is heartening to see this generation rise up in resistence all over against the old ways of ideologocal, Economic Or Social concepts which are fast being trampled over in the streets of Delhi, Beirut, New York, London, Berlin, HK, Taiwan etc.

If one is to scroll through the list of protests in the 21st century then it will be clear in which direction all this is moving( The salients are like so,

So, what is there to cheer this Independence day? Well, I’ll say a lot. My faith and trust in this generation is profound. They are better equipped to handle global issues as they exist today. It will not be wrong to say that our generation and the previous ones kept talking of the generations to come and to make our planet a better place for them to live. Whether, that was possible or not will be decided by them. But for now, its time for the old way to retire and rest under the tree or by the beach. The baton must be handed over now. It will be refreshing for all. A new post covid world infused with fresh ideas. I think, this itself will be a win win for everyone.


The birthless is born

I am reminded this Janamashtami of the great poem by Dinkar.

वर्षों तक वन में घूम-घूम,
बाधा-विघ्नों को चूम-चूम,
सह धूप-घाम, पानी-पत्थर,
पांडव आये कुछ और निखर।
सौभाग्य न सब दिन सोता है,
देखें, आगे क्या होता है।

मैत्री की राह बताने को,
सबको सुमार्ग पर लाने को,
दुर्योधन को समझाने को,
भीषण विध्वंस बचाने को,
भगवान् हस्तिनापुर आये,
पांडव का संदेशा लाये।

‘दो न्याय अगर तो आधा दो,
पर, इसमें भी यदि बाधा हो,
तो दे दो केवल पाँच ग्राम,
रक्खो अपनी धरती तमाम।
हम वहीं खुशी से खायेंगे,
परिजन पर असि न उठायेंगे!

दुर्योधन वह भी दे ना सका,
आशीष समाज की ले न सका,
उलटे, हरि को बाँधने चला,
जो था असाध्य, साधने चला।
जब नाश मनुज पर छाता है,
पहले विवेक मर जाता है।

हरि ने भीषण हुंकार किया,
अपना स्वरूप-विस्तार किया,
डगमग-डगमग दिग्गज डोले,
भगवान् कुपित होकर बोले-
‘जंजीर बढ़ा कर साध मुझे,
हाँ, हाँ दुर्योधन! बाँध मुझे।

यह देख, गगन मुझमें लय है,
यह देख, पवन मुझमें लय है,
मुझमें विलीन झंकार सकल,
मुझमें लय है संसार सकल।
अमरत्व फूलता है मुझमें,
संहार झूलता है मुझमें।

‘उदयाचल मेरा दीप्त भाल,
भूमंडल वक्षस्थल विशाल,
भुज परिधि-बन्ध को घेरे हैं,
मैनाक-मेरु पग मेरे हैं।
दिपते जो ग्रह नक्षत्र निकर,
सब हैं मेरे मुख के अन्दर।

‘दृग हों तो दृश्य अकाण्ड देख,
मुझमें सारा ब्रह्माण्ड देख,
चर-अचर जीव, जग, क्षर-अक्षर,
नश्वर मनुष्य सुरजाति अमर।
शत कोटि सूर्य, शत कोटि चन्द्र,
शत कोटि सरित, सर, सिन्धु मन्द्र।

‘शत कोटि विष्णु, ब्रह्मा, महेश,
शत कोटि जिष्णु, जलपति, धनेश,
शत कोटि रुद्र, शत कोटि काल,
शत कोटि दण्डधर लोकपाल।
जञ्जीर बढ़ाकर साध इन्हें,
हाँ-हाँ दुर्योधन! बाँध इन्हें।

‘भूलोक, अतल, पाताल देख,
गत और अनागत काल देख,
यह देख जगत का आदि-सृजन,
यह देख, महाभारत का रण,
मृतकों से पटी हुई भू है,
पहचान, इसमें कहाँ तू है।

‘अम्बर में कुन्तल-जाल देख,
पद के नीचे पाताल देख,
मुट्ठी में तीनों काल देख,
मेरा स्वरूप विकराल देख।
सब जन्म मुझी से पाते हैं,
फिर लौट मुझी में आते हैं।

‘जिह्वा से कढ़ती ज्वाल सघन,
साँसों में पाता जन्म पवन,
पड़ जाती मेरी दृष्टि जिधर,
हँसने लगती है सृष्टि उधर!
मैं जभी मूँदता हूँ लोचन,
छा जाता चारों ओर मरण।

‘बाँधने मुझे तो आया है,
जंजीर बड़ी क्या लाया है?
यदि मुझे बाँधना चाहे मन,
पहले तो बाँध अनन्त गगन।
सूने को साध न सकता है,
वह मुझे बाँध कब सकता है?

‘हित-वचन नहीं तूने माना,
मैत्री का मूल्य न पहचाना,
तो ले, मैं भी अब जाता हूँ,
अन्तिम संकल्प सुनाता हूँ।
याचना नहीं, अब रण होगा,
जीवन-जय या कि मरण होगा।

‘टकरायेंगे नक्षत्र-निकर,
बरसेगी भू पर वह्नि प्रखर,
फण शेषनाग का डोलेगा,
विकराल काल मुँह खोलेगा।
दुर्योधन! रण ऐसा होगा।
फिर कभी नहीं जैसा होगा।

‘भाई पर भाई टूटेंगे,
विष-बाण बूँद-से छूटेंगे,
वायस-श्रृगाल सुख लूटेंगे,
सौभाग्य मनुज के फूटेंगे।
आखिर तू भूशायी होगा,
हिंसा का पर, दायी होगा।’

थी सभा सन्न, सब लोग डरे,
चुप थे या थे बेहोश पड़े।
केवल दो नर ना अघाते थे,
धृतराष्ट्र-विदुर सुख पाते थे।
कर जोड़ खड़े प्रमुदित,
निर्भय, दोनों पुकारते थे ‘जय-जय’!

It’s a tribute to Krishna. It’s about his infinite and orginless attribute. It’s a pointer to the callousness of a foolish prince. Read the underlying lines again…

दुर्योधन वह भी दे ना सका,
आशीष समाज की ले न सका,
उलटे, हरि को बाँधने चला,
जो था असाध्य, साधने चला।
जब नाश मनुज पर छाता है,
पहले विवेक मर जाता है।

When one is on the path of self destruction then the first casualty is the intellect. How could the prince have not seen this. How could he be  in ignorance of the very truth as enunciated by Truth himself. But such is the state of many who harbour greed, arrogance and false pride.

Everything or Nothing

Krishna assimilates all the seven rainbow colors 🌈 and much more. He has hues, tones and colours of infinite numbers. Way beyond the comprehension of this finite equipment. The boundary of his other end is beyond measurements.

Yet, there is this beautiful virtue that exits in all of us. The virtue of celebration. Not many can fathom the depth or import of this virtue. So intertwined are the masses that they fail to dwell in simple moments of ecstasy and joy. Krishna’s life story is a saga of such celebration. Pickup any role or chapter and you will find resonance imaging. One can meet him only when one sheds the viels of pretence and falsehood. It’s when one’s darkness melts his light is seen. Only pure love and abject surrender alone allows a free VIP pass to witness the grandest show in this theatre of Life. Once inside this theatre, there is no need to step out. This is one movie which I love watching or witnessing. It’s the No one best-seller and an unparalleled box office hit. There are only two persons in the hall. Me and me watching myself.

Meeting the Unknown

For me life is mystical. It’s mostly unknown for most of us. From birthday to deathday, we keep up with the chase to know the unknown. Oftentimes, we learn something n on other occasions we just fail to.

For me Nature and the Universe have been great teachers. The sensor within seeks unity with that All – whatever it is. It’s almost like a magnetic pull. The All is one pole and the other one is buried deep within me. The two seem to have seperated at birth and now seek to meet up along this journey. So intense has been my attraction that I automatically get updated by the experience of this journey, which acts like a courseware software.

The Final Frontier

The elements act as my five compasses. Each has an algorithm at play. Each has a Mozart’s symphony inside it’s frequency. There is another movie out there inside of these elements. The chemistry, physics, algebra n geography of these is what I study as a Life Student. The interplay, interconnected geometry and the overall equanimity between each is what has left me experiencially rich. I, through my experiments with this vehicle n its journey in n through these elements have been continuously gaining deep insights into how actually this whole Maya or the Illusion comes into effect.

Some seek love, some seek money and fame. Others just stay in the moment and allow the serendipity to run their vehicles. It’s different for each. For me, the vehicle has to run, it has to be filled up with gas and it has to travel to its destination and finally return back and rest in its parking place. Over many years now I have first learnt about my vehicle. Perhaps, it’s the most challenging part. Afterall, not many go through the user manuals which are given for each vehicle. I got none. However, over 40 years I kept my dangree on and kept checking in n out my vehicle’s user manual.

The effort has been rewarding. I have a fair degree of understanding of my apparatus n how it is configured to run the grandprix on the racetrack of Life. So, first the vehicle was engineered and understood. Then, came the racetrack itself. That learning was easy. The elements taught me almost everything about most of the curves and bends on this racetrack.

The Racetrack of Life

Today, past 50 yrs, I don’t drive the vehicle. Nor do I carry a Google map. The urge and anxiety to be in the driver’s seat and drive the vehicle has long extinguished. Today, I just sit behind in the passenger seat and watch the beautiful scenery outside the window. I have finally understood that the vehicle is intelligent. It just knows. It must be trusted. It will take me to my correct destination everytime, I trust it n let it drive me.

The Vehicle Knows

Just as the iron fillings know that they will reach the magnet’s pole I know that my vehicle knows that it will reach the parking place. All I do is enjoy the ride.

The Vehicle itself is the GPS
The waves will shore us all
The Way is the Way

Witnessing the Movie

The World After Assange and COVID

History has many time tags. BC is before Christ. AD is Annoying Domini. Then there are periods of industrial world to the Information Age. Atlas Shrugged, World is Flat, The Road Ahead etc define benchmarks of time.

I have followed all of it and find that there is no mention of a post Assange world. Snowden and Assange have been the defining characters who have virtually redefined how governments work. For centuries the rich and the powerful would hide items of transparency under the carpet of deceit, secrecy and misdoings. Well, these two gentlemen changed all that. What they did is to bring a new era of need to know the truth as it actually happened. No more of hiding behind the veil. They exposed so much in such a short time that it obviously caused tremors in the highest corridors of power all across the world. Even though both came under legal scrutiny for their acts but it was sufficient to empower the citizens all over to ask for the truth. Suddenly, truth could no longer be hidden. By way of leaks or Right to Information etc the public became closer to truths of government functioning like never before.

All the corruption, malpractices, lies told to the public over many decades were unravelled by the leaks. Technology helped just as much in this new quest for knowing the truth. From the lies of Iraq war to the Russian interference in US elections or the killing of a reporter in Turkish Embassy all became truths in the now. This obviously pushes the authority towards transparency, probity and integrity. There is a new requirement of serving correctly or else to resign and move on. This has touched all aspects of our lives.

Look at this current pandemic. Already, the world is baying for China’s blood for having hidden the truth. Now, even a person sitting in the remotest corner knows who did it. Truths will emerge and the lies can no longer work. Look at the run up to the next US elections. It’s a clear cut case of fake vs the truth. No matter who is the candidate, eventually truth will emerge victorious.

COVID has changed the way we live. Our lifestyle has been dented. There is a natural pressure to change. Lockdown is doing many things simultaneously. It’s leading to a new paradigm wherein, both at the emotional and psychological level we need to do a reset. The society needs to realign it’s priorities and then steer itself into the future.

The future has many new gifts. Our social support system will change. How we relate to each other outside of office and work will change. There will be a better understanding of the needs of the migrants or blacks or women in workplace. If the PM of a country can go down on his knees to support a cause then it’s clear that Government’s Mission goals will change. How we relate to money will change. Maybe there is a need for a new currency or a fresh way to trade. The present algorithms have failed and have forced us into recession many times over in the last three decades. Obviously we are not doing the right things economically.

Another major change which will impact us will be that of energy and environment. While so far we have given lip service to these two important issues it’s time to seriously address them. Of course, medicine and healthcare will see a major rejig. While, the virus is still around and lots will emerge post its death, much has changed and is changing. Depression, job losses, layoffs, salary cuts, tariffs etc much needs to be done to be able to return to a normal.

I always believe that the world post Assange and now COVID will be a new world. It’s a wake up call for all of us to plan and prepare to do things differently. Any attempt to resist and seek the old normal will be catastrophic. From here on we have to prepare each day, each minute.

The clock is always ticking…

The Black Canvas

I started serious photography in the Autumn of 2012. I bought my first DSLR from Connaught Place Delhi and was mighty thrilled with the twin lens package which came with the Canon bundle. Since then I have spent 8 years learning and clicking. It’s been great for me.

As against the colour, I have always been attracted by the black and white clicks. They offer more for a simple click. In fact, I would urge all beginners to avoid the trap of the coloured clicks and get lost in the endless learning of hues and tones and curves. It’s easier to just click simple black and white and first grasp the only two things needed to become an artist – Light and Shadow. It’s only in a black and white click that one can actually see the beauty of light and shadow.

Last Saturday, I stepped out in these restricted Covid times and just took my One plus 5 phone and a macro and wide angle lens from Skyvik. It’s lovely to be out during monsoons in Kerala. The skies are great and the rain drops on the flowers make it just perfect to click.

I always do either of the two things when I go for long walks. Either, I carry my camera or I carry my headphones. So, as I clock the road steps, I keep halting to get down close to a flower or some weed or a moss or an ant. Just decide on the direction of light and click.

There are no words needed when an image can say it. Beyond that, there is no image needed when silence can say it. Ansil Adams said something like this. He is the father of black and white photography. Now I know why.

Reaching Out

I am trying hard to get it right. I know I will get it right. The camera and the subject are my witness. One day, my silence will say it all!

Sushant Singh Rajput : His Legacy

Today, the Nation went into a shock when the TV Channels announced of Rajput’s death. Perhaps, it’s the alleged nature of his death which raises both questions and sadness together deep down.

He was all of 34 years. A budding Talent in Bollywood and doing well. He made his mark when he played MS Dhoni and gave us a peep into what he was capable of. His many other movies portrayed him as a dynamic and versatile actor.

The news says it’s suicide. Well, one must honour his life by the work he did and not dwell into the reasons thereof. Sometime, it’s best not to attribute any questions to any such cases. They all point only to one single thing – one decision taken badly. Now, nobody can actually sit in anyone’s mind to find answers but it still leaves the fans in sadness.

I always say that as humans our weakest and the strongest virtue are our Emotions. They can emerge as Love on one extreme and depression on the other. Somehow, this particular virtue has not evolved or matured enough in humans. Otherwise, why would humans indulge in acts of pointless mass murders, assault, rapes, abuse, addiction, murder, Revenge etc. There still remains much work to be done by our society to address this vacillating emotional Quotient of humans. Infact, animals fare better in their overall management of emotions. Somehow, humans have weaponised emotions to self destruct themselves. A lot remains to be done.

Sharing and caring may well be the simple remedies for handling emotions. The false sense of Identity associated with emotions oftentimes proves counter productive and causes more harm than anything.

Rajput has gone. He lived a dream life for a short period as many would seem to be seeing from outside. Was it worth a shot? Only he would know.

For now let’s respect the actor and his legacy. RIP

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