Posted by: Laxman | March 1, 2009

The Turtle Walk and the Terrace House.

Reader, the last couple of Saturdays have been somewhat of an experience. On the night of February 21, I started to walk a stretch of beach from Nilankarai till the Eliot’s Beach, an approximate coastline distance of 7km.

Walking with me were three other friends and scores of other such volunteers. Directed by scouts, who inspected in a certain way a turtle nest finder is supposed to inspect the sands, we walked along the coast accompanied by an army of sideways crawling arachnids.

The walk was both tiresome and pleasant in a queer way. A large party was there for the heck of it. A few gentlemen had imagined that they were on a date; while their dates were relishing their selves being sought after and cashed the poor bastards’ unpaid escort otherwise unavailable to them between midnight till dawn when and whether they chose to walk but for the turtles’ sake. Whereas the crowd itself escorted the dates from their gentlemen.

One of my friends was a budding expert, a final-year zoologist, walked with the scouts. I was there for the sound of the sea, the howl of the wind, the chit-chat, the sheer exhilaration and excitement that date but a night safari and of course lending my support to our amphibian friends who carry their mobile homes all the way back to where they were begotten with them, to respond in kind to their ancestors.

There were also other affluent families who thought that Turtle Walks were an upper class expedition in Chennai because that is probably the only time they walk apart from other walks to save themselves from heart diseases. Also because the fishermen had to fish and the beach vendors had to vend. All and sundry rallying around for an environmental cause, and I had no complains.  

The turtles, however, were discouraged by many effluent streams making the beach unfit to take a dip in, let alone trace their way past the pollution to the shore. Sadly, they quite don’t have that sort of a choice and unlike human beings they have to live their life in an order.

We were lucky. We found one nest right at the end of our planned walk. The experts did what they know to do best; and we did what we know to do best. We walked back to the bus stop and had our deserved early morning cup of chai.

On February 28, by 1740hrs, I was walking around a square at Royapettah. I was evading a typical Chennai traffic that lacks all sense of direction but works a weird design that audaciously challenges Newton’s Laws, the Law of Averages apart from other unimportant Laws and Traffic Regulations of the land.

At 1745hrs I reach what is know as the Madras Terrace House – an old building refurbished with a certain taste that its white walls were equally decorated by colourful paintings and kites, windows painted green and bordered by gold, chandeliers depicting lamps and lighting bright, the place was a total misfit like an engaged ring finger in a neighbourhood of sore thumbs.

I walk in and try to fit in. Deflecting stares and glares at my laymanly appearance topped by a dishevelled hairdo, I wait for the gathering to discuss what I was there to participate in. The chief guest for the evening, walking into what I have come to term as the “reading room” in a bright orange saree, Mrs. Vasudha Prakash seemed like she had walked out of the walls of the colourful House.

The book under review is Mark Haddon’s prize winning debut venture, “The Curious Incident Of A Dog At The Night Time.” A story from the perspective of a 15 year old Brit with Asperger’s Disorder.

Mrs. Prakash is the founder of a school in Mandeveli for children with special needs. The discussion is largely about autistic and dyslexic children. We all say what we had to say. We disperse by 2000hrs, two hours after we gathered. I reserve my verdict and leave the place with an ambivalent satisfaction.

Two Saturdays and two very distinct experiences. Good causes, I thought, but somewhat with deflated purposes. But, reader, here it only serves fair for me to mention that I am quite an optimist. I only saw the bright side of affairs. The curious case of a people searching turtle nests at night time; and the curious case of a people socialising an evening searching for insights into a rare adolescent condition.

Good causes, I thought, and I had no complains.

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Posted by: Laxman | February 14, 2009

Blog IV

READER, Keats said, “Beauty is truth; truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” I introduce to you Faith. Well, that would be a sweeping statement, wouldn’t it? I am merely introducing to you something I believe as Faith. The word in the connotation of The Ecumenical Church or The Temples and The Mosques of the world of all Gods might mean different things although similarly. The Faith I am introducing to you is what took me three essays till date and two lines for Keats to describe. For me, Keats has found the Truth he was pursuing. Johnny Keats died at a very young age. He has touched the Absolute within that lifetime spanning 25 years.

Beauty is perceptional, isn’t it? That, however, was not the ‘beauty’ that Keats was referring to in that verse from the Ode on a Grecian Urn. In a similar way, when I say Truth, it doesn’t simply mean the opposite of a lie, or Faith not meaning the adherence to a religious law. Legalism of these things cannot be justified. Truth, Beauty and Faith have to be sought after and personally experienced. No amount of words I utilize will elaborate the exact thought in my head when I talk about these things. Yet, the way I put it here might, in your mind, trigger the first domino of a thought process. The avalanche of thoughts that might fill your head thereafter will lead you to something which, without being so, will seem to be high fantastical.

What was Keats referring to as Beauty then, which he unequivocally equated to Truth? Well, Keats was referring to Truth itself. His Faith was Beauty. I am not speaking again of the unmatchable beauty like that of the Helen of Troy (or Sparta?) or the beauty pageant competitors of today. Although it must be admitted that Helen or a Miss So-and-so were not totally deprived of this beauty, they did not possess it in its entirety.

What kind of a Faith must have Keats possessed to encompass all the Truth and thereby the knowledge of this infinite world in just two lines?  Much like a medieval man from South India who is praised to have measured the world in 1330 such couplets.     

The Faith that provided him with the best tool to uncover Truth. Patience. The Faith that propelled his Freewill (Choice) from his past ways to his present positions to his future accomplishments.    

Alas, that is one part of the Truth which is divided from me by Time as well as Space. The two Universal Entities do not alter the Absolute Entity. They merely separate It from me, shunning me access of experience.

However, I have my own venture, in pursuance of Truth, to undertake as, I am sure, you do too, Reader.

…in pursuance.   

Posted by: Laxman | February 12, 2009

Swindled by a Smile.

A recent spectacle –

With probing eyes lighting her smile

The look from sideways sways

To and fro

Waiting for a moment opportune but then

Stealing a gaze, looks down and away

Hither and thither and everywhere

Making me a fool of her whim

Stealing a momentary gaze, looks down and away

Pretending to study a book in hand

One foot on the wall propped by her back

Stealing a gaze, then looks down and away.

 

Bemused and amused

But curious to figure

I resolve to pretence and drop my guard

There again, she stops to steal another gaze

I catch her eyes and she is arrested

Never looking down and away

I catch her eyes, question her theft

She offers a bribe:

A deliberate smile lighted by eyes!

Darn it! looks down and away

From behind her spectacles

Steals yet another gaze and away and away!

Posted by: Laxman | February 12, 2009

Blog III

READER, Truth is deceptive. I guess that is where we ended our last conversation at. Truth. Have you ever thought about Truth? I mean, every one of us do give some thought with respect to the reliability of someone or something. Does that mean that we are considering Absolute Truth? Why should we be even bothered about Absolute Truth at all when we are content and self-sufficient? We need not! But what about those who are not both content and self-sufficient? They go after whatever they need to acquire. Desire. A very important word in all our lives.

Desire is more important to us that Truth. That is why sometimes we don’t hesitate to lie in need of acquiring what we are after, little realising that the lie won’t get us far, let alone help us fully acquire our wish. Even if we acquire someone or something with the help of a lie, we only retain them till our lie sustains. As long as we hold onto our mask with a guilty gut and a blatantly simulated conviction.

Truth outlives Falsehood. The life expectancy of a lie is unimaginatively low. Sometimes we even lie to ourselves. We try to deceive ourselves. Why do we do that? Because we always believe that our stance is the ultimate. Self-importance, self-righteousness, self-sustenance, self-suffice, et al. We are blinded by what is not ours, believing them to be ours. ‘I cannot be wrong,’ is good conviction. ‘I, itself is wrong,’ is wisdom.

Sometimes a lie is more soothing than the truth of the matter to us, personally. It is easy to sustain by believing some lie rather than facing the alternative, bitter truth that will, for sure, hurt us. We dig a deep hole in our consciousness and bury it there, forever, to be forgotten lest it intrude even into our sub-conscience. But not for very long. There is no carpet in the world Truth can be swept under. It is only a case of whether an overwhelming majority knows It or not.

But why is Truth deceptive? Because there is no direct way to acquire Truth. It is not appealing and attractive like Desire and waits like a diamond buried between crusts of impurity; waits forever for us to discover It, while we ourselves wait for the need to go after It.

Besides there are entities like Perception, Judgment, Opinion and Attitude which are slaves of Time and Space and can transfigure in the most bizarre manners when treated by them. They are deceptively capricious. Yet, we operate only with these entities. Our system is up to the brim filled by these. However, no kind of collaboration between Time and Space can reset Truth. Truth remains. Truth prevails.

Enough has been said about the interminable worthiness of Truth. How does it influence our everyday life? What kind of a relationship do we Arbitrary beings share with this Absolute Entity called Truth. With so many revelations awaiting us what do we go after? Here is where Choice plays an important role. To quote Tennyson conveniently, “We are part of all that we have met.” In other words, we are what our past has made us into; where our choices have guided us and placed us now, the present. Ergo, our path to the future lies in our path from our past. Our past determines our future; it tells us which part of Truth to pursue and catalogues our revelations for us.

Is that enough? Is that it? Of course not. We need to make a lot of allowances. Allowances for ourselves, the people we meet and the Truth we learn. We need to carve a niche for aberrations to be excused. We need to learn, practice and perfect a life that does not bind us to perceptions, judgments, opinions and attitudes which can be affected by Time and Space. Patience is the best tool to uncover Truth. But, ironically, the quality of Patience required for this venture, the pursuance of Truth, can only be acquired by Faith – i.e., to believe beyond doubts or even reason. Nay, I am not talking about religion.

 …the journey is on.      

Posted by: Laxman | February 10, 2009

Blog II

READER, I am back with my musings. The only difference between these posts titled “Blog” followed by the part in roman numerals and the other posts is that, these are an account of the ‘search,’ a search for ‘myself’ as I confessed in ‘Blog I’ while the others are carefully constructed articles. The search is not refined. I relate my musings first hand. Therefore I am bound to argue, substantiate, contradict and conclude in the raw method-less nature of a thought process. Yes, I guess, you can say that. This part of my blog is a thought process, so crude and raw that they retain the freshness with which thoughts are conceived in our minds. I am not looking to rhetorically decorate them in an attractively presentable language but typing them out as they appear in my mind.

When I say that I am searching for ‘myself,’ which I rather left unattended to in the last edition, I mean the search that each and everyone of us must embark on at some point or the other in our lifetime to understand what are we made of. I am not aware whether this search is spiritual, factual, historical, philosophical or psychological. I presume it constitutes of all these facets with which we approach the ‘self.’ Man began it unconsciously and Des Cartes brought it to his consciousness.

I look at the world today. I read about the world of our ancestors. I try to hypothesize the world that will be inherited by our children. I read various religious texts. My search is after that which cannot be bent; the imaginary ideal – the Absolute. Trying to observe the Absolute from an Arbitrary medium as an Arbitrary being is not very unlike looking out through the window from within a moving bus. The only other questions being – How big the bus (Arbitrariness) is? Where does it end? (the not-so-defined demarcation between the Arbitrary and the Absolute). The window? (the gateway from the Arbitrary to the Absolute). And then where does the Absolute start?

The past is full of fact and fiction. Fact mixed with fiction. In other words, we can qualify Absolute as the Truth immaterial of whether or not it is perceived by us; whether or not perceptible to us, Truth continues to exist, waiting for us to discover it. I am careful enough not to use the word ‘Lie’ in this context as a Lie would be a deliberate twist of what is ‘True,’ rather than a misinterpretation or misconception of Truth itself. The misinterpretation or misconception of Truth makes for the Arbitrary medium – the world and the Arbitrary beings – us.

Human beings have various constraints. The biggest being the two that support our existence/continuity itself. Time and Space. These two things separate us. They divide us. All those minds that have ever inherited this world have always been either divided by Time, Space or both. Which means that we have to constantly rediscover the Absolute. We are bound by our Arbitrariness. It is quite impossible for one person to know all the Truth in the world. Yet it is amazing, how, if you compile all the people, of all generations and put them into one confining world, then you have it there, the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.

…the musings will continue.      

 

Posted by: Laxman | February 8, 2009

Blog I

READER, firstly, a word of thanks for visiting the Top-Right Corner. Secondly, I invoke your patience for the following two paragraphs as I am compelled to dwell a little on my honest intentions behind blogging.

Although, I particularly find it hard to imagine a reading public of my blog yet, I am forced to attribute the lack of readership to my own irregularity and therefore it has now become my responsibility to post some rather readable material on a more frequent basis. Due to various constraints concerned with time and space, I might not find myself the opportunity to contribute here on a daily basis. Owing to which, I solemnly invoke the goodwill of The Supernatural Element to bless me with the providence to be able to do so. Amen.

As a blogger, I believe in a one-to-one relationship with you, the reader, and therefore you might take some time getting used to this most direct way of addressing, begging your attention to the topic on hand. I have been blogging for almost two years now. You might ask how qualified am I to claim so only on my third post here (you are entitled to ask me absolutely anything.) My only honest explanation is that, it took that amount of time, for me, to get accustomed to this new (!) media and I, rather naively, have been writing sporadically over multiple blogs without realizing the significance of creating a substantial virtual space for myself built around a single consistent platform. Hence, to begin with, I shall, here after, blog but with WordPress. You can certainly have my word for that.

Now, allow me to give you an insight upon the crux of the topics you might expect to be debated here. I am on a constant search; of course, everybody is on one or the other! However, I am on a constant search for myself and hence, reader, you might expect to encounter, mostly, those topics that concern the absolute, the arbitrary and the abstract. I am looking to find some answers to some questions. I am not a total spoil sport, mind you, in which case there will be the odd poetry, essay, critical appreciation of things worthy to be subjected to, reviews of current affairs of the globe, even otherwise some fantastic story, et al. That is to say, you shall not be disappointed by boredom here; however I shall try not to inflict that upon you by my humour.   

I am, by birth, one half Hindu and the remaining Christian Protestant. I, however, reserve myself to no particular religion or caste (as an Indian, I am forced to touch upon that word, even while disqualifying it in my domain.) Once old enough to individually hold on to a particular faith, I was inclined to believe that I was a Hindu for a period of time until I found one part of me begotten from a Christian genealogy. And then, I was inclined to believe that I was an agnostic until I discovered that it was merely a concept, besides being based on a rather fragile belief system. Later, I was inclined to believe that I was going to be converted into a Christian until I found that most Christians by nomenclature and denomination were hardly any by practice, by the definition of the term in its entirety given to us by The Theocrat. I have enroute studied various gobbledygook bearing the –ism and –ist suffices which have managed to capture the attention of a particular age for a certain period in time before appended into the history of mankind. I have to my amazement discovered a little bit of myself in each of these above though not wholly. Thus, I am forced to declare this constant search of myself, which I little believe would end till my intellect ceases to reason at all.

Today, I shall not delve further into the details of a topic. We shall reserve it for the next edition of this blog. However I would like to maintain continuity with respect to this segment of my publishing. Therefore, until we meet again, take good care of yourself.

                                                                                                                   …will be continued.

 

 

Posted by: Laxman | February 7, 2009

Title Description.

He driveled the ball through the defenders after taking the pass from his Center Back. The left wing was his, his own to rule. He had two personal markers, people who always saw to that he never had his way with his feet. If they could not take away the ball from him, which mostly was the case, they aimed for his ankles with their boot nails. He would dodge. Con them one way and retrace his swift feet over the other and bamboozle them between themselves and would be beyond them in a jiffy. Once a clear field ahead he ran;  and when he ran, no one could catch him. Once he reached his range, he shot; and no one can bend it like him with a right-footer. The ball heads for some distance wide of the mark. The keeper dives and in vain, grasping nothing but the nothingness of air as the ball dodges his outstretched left hand and heads for some distance wide of the mark. Once past the keeper, the ball swerves inside; and nothing else swerves as a shot from him. It dodges the right up-right and the top beam and dives into the perpendicular. Only one thing conquers the ball among the opponent elements – their net. It pulls it back, caresses it and gently allows it to subside to the green top, only one of the two lesser blocks which matter most in the game. Lets set the ball rolling again. 

The winger has hit the top-right corner.

Posted by: Laxman | October 1, 2008

The Moment of Truth; The Moment of Trial!

Reality TV rocks. It really does. It is the in-thing as far as the Proverbial Idiot Box goes these days. The top networks around the world have caught up with the rising TRPs and are more than willing to exploit the inquisitiveness of billions of unassuming couch potatoes for commercial space, time and the interminable inflow of revenue from advertisements. There used to be a time when seasons of episode after episodes of numerous television series secured the topnotch; ranging from drama, comedy, action, adventure to historical and sci-fi, fictional and entertaining, these genres occupied the prime time of television around the world. They were these which came with the ‘Emmy-Nominated’ and eventually the ‘Emmy-Award-Winning’ tags.

Then came a time of the talk shows. Your Oprah’s, Leno’s, Helen’s, Kimmel’s, Kumar’s at 42 – if you happened to be in India – Shekar Suman’s, Coffee with Karan’s, Yuki Sethu’s, Hari-Giri Assembly’s where eminent celebrities were interviewed by these tongue-twisting, loud-mouthed, non-stop talking machines who asked them the ineffable and yet got away asking them alright, questions, for which a sincere journalist at an official press-meet would have received acerbic answers with piercing icicle stares. Back in the studio, in front of live audience and later aired on national television, the celeb quips, laughs, smiles at his/her vagaries, indulges in self-inflicted comedy, tries to imitate the host’s stand-up lines, fails, looks sheepish, jumps on couches, dances, shares a light moment, another dense one, becomes sentimental, sheds a tear or two, gathers support for a noble cause amidst rhythmically co-ordinated theatrical applause.

Everything, literally, every’thing’ has an initial period of establishment when introduced. If found decent, it gains an upward momentum. If found good, a further steep inclination on the graph. If found very good, keeps on climbing till it reaches a peak. And unfortunately every’thing’ has only one peak; one prime. Then the declination process starts as another ‘thing’ manages to replace it in its position at the zenith or even soars breaking the vertical barrier to never before discovered highs.

It is quite tedious to cite in particular the first ever reality series on worldwide television. However, it is of little significance under the context. The talent hunts comprise a galaxy of their own. The mean and ruthless Simon Cowell has come under the scanner of many a critic that it becomes rather redundant to dwell on such shows that consist the likes of him with the accompanying two other decoys. The focus right now is on an American game show that sells itself beyond the amount of prize money involved; beyond a hype that can ever be associated with RAW or Smackdown; beyond issues or intellect. It is a game show which with a little help from technology goes after the universal deceit, truth. Truth is something, they say, which can never be swept under the carpet and sustained beneath it for too long. Oftentimes, the length of ‘too long’ is quite elusive and undefined in such a statement that denial prevails in the form of delay.

However, in this tuesday night primetime telecast of ‘The Moment of Truth,’ on Star World, there is no room for terms such as denial or delay. The person seated on the hot-seat, quite practiacally, is questioned on some of the most uncomfortable, the least to say, shocking private affairs that it seems as if all world around them is falling apart when they attempt in vain to make some money losing a lot of reputation. The pyramids detailing the dollars won based on levels cleared might be the participant’s own catacombs. The maximum is $500,000 but even that kind of gold seems to be undeserving of the kind of information a participant will be bound to impart to the general public and in particular the ones from whom they had been keeping it from till that point. Before the participant, in a couch, is seated a display of overwrought wife/husband, parents, siblings and all and sundry and one is made to confess ‘truth’ which until then ‘the liar’ had convincingly managed to make-believe of them as otherwise. The attrition rate beyond level two is immense and we witness people returning home empty handed after reaching $200,000 and overthrown on one of the relatively simpler questions with a punctured ego, distraught and deprieved off the strength to face their kinsfolk.

If ‘The Moment of Truth’ is believed not to be a simulation and it’s legitimacy unquestionable, there are a few bothering implications which sprout around the overgrown greenery of its glory. After witnessing a substantial number of episodes one can conclusively gather all the participants of the episode so far in a sample representing the pied american pie-chart of the larger general population. With samples we associate statistics. With statistics we associate a thesis; more colloquially a bottomline. The questions asked fill the studio with a hard to breathe air of disconcertment. Each question is punctuated by the reflexive ‘ooohs…’ and ‘aaahs…’ from the audience. It is not so much a response to the question than an acknowlegdement of feeling fortunate that one is not cursed by fate to be on that seat facing that particular question. The weightage of these questions designed to disorient the despondent dice thrower willfully bowing into the guillotine is most with regards to his/her sexual life.

‘Have you ever been paid for sex?’ 

‘Have you slept with over one hundred women?’

‘Have you ever slept with any of your friend’s wife?’ 

‘Yes’

‘Yes’ and

‘Yes,’ goes the answer from three different participants. All through the season, so far, there has hardly ever been a human being who has not been found to have slipped and fallen on-top or underneath someone they are not licenced to be. The stereotypical promiscuous American Citizen never fails to entrall the viewership. The Sex and the States are inseparable, mostly pre-marital and otherwise extra-marital. And most of these brave men and women don’t even get paid for their act. They should have perhaps risked the cynicism of Simon Cowell rather than embracing themselves to face the deceitfully amiable Mark Walberg.

It is quite hard to fathom how such a reality concept would fare in an ethnically proud and profound country as India. The chaste and the haste will be put to their place if a replicate was to hit the Indian television. Whatever the outcome is or how much ever the prize money is, the sensible soul will choose to stay out of such diabolical duel against truth until when it is most called for, during ‘The Judgement Day.’

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