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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Mouth Licking What You've Bled

A list of books banned in India.

Hindu Heaven, Max Wylie (1934);
The Face of Mother India, Katherine Mayo (1936);
 Old Soldier Sahib, Frank Richards (1936);
The Land of the Lingam, Arthur Miles, (1937);
 Mysterious India, Moki Singh (1940);
The Scented Garden (Anthropology of the Sex Life in the Levant), Bernhard Stern, translated by David Berger (1945)
What has Religion done for Mankind, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (1955);
 Rama Retold, Aubrey Menen (1955);
 Dark Urge, Robert W. Taylor (1955);
 The Ramayana, Aubrey Menen (1956);
 Captive Kashmir, Aziz Beg (1958);
 The Heart of India, Alexander Campbell (1959);
 The Lotus and the Robot, Arthur Koestler (1960);
 Nine Hours to Rama, Stanley Wolpert (1962);
 Unarmed Victory, Bertrand Russell (1963);
 Nepal, Toni Hagen (1963);
 Ayesha, Kurt Frishchler, translated by Norman Denny (1963);
 Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence (1964);
The Jewel in the Lotus (A Historical Survey of the Sexual Culture of the East), Allen Edwards (1968);
 The Evolution of the British Empire and Commonwealth from the American Revolution, Alfred Le Ray Burt (1969);
 A Struggle between Two Lines over the Question of How to Deal with U.S. Imperialism, Fan Asid-Chu (1969);
 Man from Moscow, Greville Wynne (1970);
 Early Islam, Desmond Steward (1975);
 Nehru: A Political Biography, Michael Edwards (1975);
 India Independent, Charles Bettelheim (1976);
 China’s Foreign Relations Since 1949, Alan Lawrence (1978);
 Who killed Gandhi, Lourenco De Sadvandor (1979);
 Understanding Islam through Hadis, Ram Swarup (1982);
 Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim, Sunanda Datta-Ray (1984);
 The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (1988);
 Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada, Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew (1989);
 The Polyester Prince, Hamish McDonald (1998);
 The True Furqan, “Al Saffee” and “Al Mahdee” (1999);
 Islam: A Concept of Political World Invasion, R.V. Bhasin (2007 – Maharashtra);
 Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India, Joseph Lelyveld (2011 – Gujarat).

List courtesy of The Hindu. Link to full article.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Caress.

How do you define a sense of belonging, of home? Most times I have tried to ruminate on the question, I come up with  - where I find love and all that entails. Where I am accepted for who I am. Its true. But then on trying to probe it any further, I kept drawing blanks.

I can maybe try to answer that today. Its where I am allowed to be my strongest and yet be at my most vulnerable.

Vulnerable - that very word conjures up a connotation of weakness, a sense of inferiority and a distrust, where strength is needed. Maybe it is all those things. But perhaps what isn't quite grasped in this harangue is acceptance. Acceptance of what you are at the germ of your person. It does sound simple enough, but its more like laying yourself naked. Revealing an oozing wound. In other words, being vulnerable. 

So when time comes, where you live in a commune of people who are as vulnerable as you are. And through what can only be described as limbic resonance, is this vulnerability visible to us. Through the physical senses we reach these vulnerabilities and talk to them. Laugh and maybe cry about them. Maybe take some walking steps together. And in doing so, feel relieved and at ease that we are there. 

So, here is my love letter to them and with some measure of gratitude. We adopt a facade to lead life, navigate its various vicissitudes and hope for survival. To you, I am completely bare. And here therefore, I belong.  



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dead Letters

The interstate is no place for locked  memories and feelings to surface.

Barreling down the tarmac at more than legal speeds, looking for the next asshole who is going to cut across you and another lane to get to an exit they should have known was coming up - this isn't emotional milieu. For memories to come rushing out and images to fly across your eyes, safer places and substances have been known to mankind.

But then what does prepare you for anything? Not happiness, not tragedy and not nostalgia - none have an appropriate time and place. These lemons are tossed in your apple cart and all you can do is handle the tumble as best you can.

All I wanted to do, was say goodbye. All I want to do is feel him, before the light went out of his being. Lay eyes on him before the flames reduce him to ashes. Time to grieve helps but leaves ascatter shards that lacerate the stoic envelope at the most inopportune moments.


Survival instincts fortunately do mean that you box up the tear and press down harder. Away from your eye, and force your hands and feet to coordinate.

The car that cut across just makes its exit. Maybe they are rushing to be by someone's side in their fleeting moments. Hopefully they get to say goodbye. Hopefully the entropy of memories only finds pleasant form when examined.

As the engine ticks cool, under the canopy of the starlit sky, I allow myself a sigh of anguish and sing a borrowed paean. I loved that man, his flaws and all. For that, I can only say thank you.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bliss

Today, now, I am happy.

Most days do not lead to this. Most days are made of check lists, tasks, regrets and memories.Missing family and friends. All drowned in the white noise of music.

In the cold isolation of this morning, the shadowy foreboding of the same still lurked. It is the baggage that I have accepted - that will not vanish. In the din of the game, in the middle of a hot cup of tea, the tedium that has visited on previous days, taps again on my shoulder. And as an old friends I hug it, falling into its familiar sentiment and trap.

This rapid descent was slowed by a few laughs and the brilliance of the sun coming through the full windows. Its cold outside, but I feel the warmth of the sun. Magnus Carlsen - I am introduced to this genius today. Familiarity with his name had helped me avoid the discovery of his person. To my own ignorance, to say the least. It is wondrous this revelation. The sun rises to mid day. I lie basking in its brilliance. And notice the shadows it casts. The rapid descent has been brought to a crawl.

I try to capture the shadows that are cast in my living room. The colors that are brought forth. And the objects that fall obscured by the wayside in the brilliance. Viewing through countless electrons, what I could see in plain sight, is for some profound reason extremely comforting. Maybe I have bent this device to my will. Meet Rene Redzepi of Noma. The crawl has diminished to barely understandable motion.

That this outsider with a potty mouth can create his own language, carve his own identity on a plate and serve it to whoever would dare. Listening to waves crash on the shore make sense in the very same way. It commands attention and focus. It asks for an open mind. It begs for innocence.

Yeast is well understood and still mysterious to me. Every time I see the risen dough, the facade of mystery falls away to push forth a smile. I don't want to know its nature - its function is all I need to know and harness. Kneading the dough, until smooth. And then proof.

I have come to a stop. There is nothing here. Nothing that I need to look for. I can just sit here and be. Its not unsettling anymore. I, just, am. My mind is at ease. My journey is at an end. I am happy.