Blue Water Skate ...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

One among a colony of such fascinating water skating insects.

This from a small irrigation reservoir catchment area, Thumburmuzhi near Chalakkudi, Kerala. Zen is what is called for if you wanna photograph one of these things with fairly decently results, i.e extreme patience and the knowledge that you ought to have it ... :-D

But even then, I was not quite prepared for this metal sheen on its shining ballistic-missile torso, makes me wanna say that again, God has an interesting pastime!

And this guy just when you think he's gonna gently relax a while after skating down here so fast, he does indeed seem to be doing so, but in not so much of a split second he blasts off, super fast, to some half a meter forward.

How does he do that? Remember he's floating on water, without even breaking the water surface, how does he generate the thrust to shoot forward with such speed?

Collective Chaos ...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Looking at the sun, up a Banyan tree.

Makhmalbaf family film festival by collective chaos; Never before have I watched six movies in a single day, though of much shorter lengths than the more popular versions. And quite to the contrary of expectation, I did not end up with an aching head. End of the day, it could aptly be described as an aesthetic, visual, musical, provocative, sensual and semantic overload.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf's 'The Cyclist' somehow reminded me of Paulo Coelho and his novels. In the movie and in Coelho's novels I sense and feel similar kinds of expression, the connection mostly indescribable but not intangible. Probably might have to do with viewing life as something hypothetical, but not just that either. Maybe I should say it rather makes me 'observe' feelings, and hence I can't really say I felt them. Or maybe I should say the plane that splits the 'sensual' and the 'elicited' in any form of artistic expression is more tangible in them for me. And I particularly liked the way he uses darkness, and light, in so many parts along the whole movie.

Samira Makhmalbaf's 'The Apple' is a crisp, sensual and poignant tale told very skillfully, which in some sense ended up being my pick of the day. Not very sure if I'm just prejudiced, but somehow I could sense a feminine charm in story telling compared to the previous one. And boy! didn't I like the background score, is it Iranian traditional songs, Quawaali, Sufi or Gypsy songs? Where will I get them?

Five in the afternoon, again by Samira, is one much visually appealing film. It's poetic in its visuals, coherent in its theme and sincere. Agheleh Rezaee who played 'Noghre' the protagonist has done a splendid job and looks just the right person to do it. I could say, the two films together made me a fan of Samira. And again, I was riveted to the background score.

From 'When I became a Woman' what do I remember; I remember 'Hava'. Hava inevitably reminded me of totto chan, and made me sad. And in some minutes something made me very happy and I smiled, it was the sparking moment when I kind of figured out how it was possible to execute those looong smoooth steady shots following the cycles by the side as they race along a beautiful coastline. I hope thats how it was :-D I'm not killing the suspense here if you ever get to watch the movie :-D And I felt something, something non-opposing, with the old lady who buys everything she ever wanted, with colorful knots tied on her fingers to remind her, and I liked the way the three strands of the film were glued together at the end. And I was ah, happy to see Hava again, at the end.

'Afghan Alphabet' by Mohsen is a very stark, disturbing, and provocative short film. One thing striking in that, the twelve year old girl who refuses to uncover her face in fear of the punishing God did not feel stupid to me; she's indeed very intelligent and she argues very coherently; she's not a fool at all. And as I kind of guessed, her face did look very intelligent to me when she finally lifted her veil. Its just that she is not initialized in a way that is consistent with what we feel is better. As a child I used to scheme of inventing a device which would change the way what all is taught and how, in all schools, all of them, across the world. Maybe everybody hopes so once, and forgets.

The last film was 'Gabbeh' by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, in close contention for being my pick of the day. Maybe the one thing that made me choose 'The Apple' is the crispness. 'Gabbeh' is rather like a flowing stream, dotted with lots of swirls and placid corners and rushes and bubbles, an idyllic visual treat. And brimming with some slow sweet pain refusing to stay still in my cupped palms. If I want to watch one of these films again, that would be 'Gabbeh', not just for the stunningly poetic visuals only.

Getting lost with a comic book, a map and some snacks ....

Friday, July 29, 2005
exploring - letting your energy carve new paths in a whole bunch of unknown frontiers, not for finding anything, but for the enjoyment of exploration. The question of destiny doesn't disturb you for you are sure to be not looking for anything. You don't care if you have stopped or are on the run as there never is any dearth of paths still unexplored. You have this ever filled bowl of energy that never fails you; and which makes you yearn to wake up each day, every day. You might very much be on the ground, but you are indeed flying for well, everything that ever matters. The world you wake upto always opens up its freshness just for you, fresh air, clear water, and a good nights sleep. You are sure you know you well, for you never really can be so much at peace otherwise. Will one day you wake up and see, that there was a whole lot of sea around you and ask yourself what made you so happy ?

exploring - to be always searching for something which you never quite find. Where though you enjoy the path, you are not quite sure of it for you are uncertain about what you are searching for. And because of that very fact itself, you don't feel the need to stop anywhere. You will not sigh at the mist you leave behind in your rear-view mirror for you don't keep one in the first place. You are free, in a purest sense, untied, and unsettled. The cauldron of energy thats brimming inside you takes you from here, to where is of much less concern as long as you are in motion. Each time you wakeup, you see different flowers and smell queer scents and thats freshness. You don't necessarily need to know you; even if you try to, by the time you are getting at it, most probably you would've become different. Will one day you stop, and think that you were running all the time, not getting anywhere particularly ?

smile, :-)

I made a big decision a little while ago.
I don't remember what it was, which probably goes to show
That many times a simple choice can prove to be essential
Even though it often might appear inconsequential.

I must have been distracted when I left my home because
Left or right I'm sure I went. (I wonder which it was!)
Anyway, I never veered: I walked in that direction
Utterly absorbed, it seems, in quiet introspection.

For no reason I can think of, I've wandered far astray.
And that is how I got to where I find myself today.

--Bill Watterson, The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes.

Lost N' Found ... :-)

Friday, July 29, 2005

I lost my black pearl .... and got her back too ...


Sleeping through moist cold night ...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Cat on the doormat, at my home.

Rain, everywhere, in an even, sedate, continuous rhythm, gleaming in the headlamps, frosting up the wind shields, drumming on the umbrellas, dripping down the tree tops, rustling between the leaves, tiptoeing over the puddles, flowing through the sidewalks, dancing on the roof tops, spraying through the windows ...... slowly wrapping the world under its cold blanket ....

and bringing back memories, moist cold nights, hugging me and lulling me to sleep ...

Sweet Child O' Mine ...

Monday, July 18, 2005

She's got a smile that it seems to me,
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky ...
Now and then when I see her face,
She takes me away to that special place
And if I'd stare too long,
I'd probably break down and cry ...

woah oh oh ...
Sweet child o' mine
woah oh oh ooah ...
Sweet love of mine

She's got eyes of the bluest skies,
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain ...
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place,
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder, and the rain,
To quietly pass me by ...

woah oh oh ...
Sweet child o' mine
woah oh oh ooah ...
Sweet love of mine

-- Guns N' Roses, Sweet Child O' Mine

Age of Loneliness ...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This in tribute to the song 'Age of Loneliness' from 'The Cross of Changes' by Enigma.

In the song, you hear a peculiar sound, of some weird instrument, something like a foghorn, something probably coming from a long large and hollow brazen tubing, something very coarse, something very lonely and very painful. It might as well be a synthesized tone. That shrilly tune is amongst the most distressed of sounds that I have ever heard.

It starts not so very separate from the ambient noise, like just another small wave slowly rising from a turbulent sea. Something like a faintly stirring sea of souls, of souls bearing suppressed pain. And it builds itself, rising every moment, serpenting up the pitch range, wavering gently, shaking with distress, suffering great pain in raising itself and summits to a treacherous and turbulent explosion of agony. A hollow and deeply pained cry follows. And the slow stirring of the sea again.

Flaming Red Mirage ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

An unexpected delightful surprise, 1:24 Ferrari Enzo, flaming red ...

I had this severe affinity for toy cars when I was a kid. All kinds of them, from itsy bitsy plastic ones to freewheeling miniature models. I used to build city highways and lots of traffic intersections with chalk on the floor, and mountain roads crawling up sand mounts with twig railings along steep cliffs and little rocks here and there. But as I remember, mostly I did not push or pull my cars along the roads; I will just leave them on these roads, as if waiting at a traffic intersection, or parked near a steep cliff by the side of a mountain way, like starting to climb up a rising patch of road, and look at them from different angles. And at nights, when I was alone, I used to put them up on the dining table, in bright light, when its all silent around, and look at them, standing still, tyres and all, with the faint hum of the fluorescent lamp in the background. I still can't seem to explain how it feels, its, its like a toy car standing still, on a plane surface, when all is silent around, except a faint hum of the fluorescent lamp in the background.


Purple Haze ...

Monday, July 11, 2005

A pebble from the Chinese Solitaire, quite stubbornly held at my Canon's lens.

I walk up the stairs feeling the faint tremoring sensation, looking up, getting my ears to acclimatize with the roars; at the end of which I enter the dimly lit room, a small room filled densely with rolling thunder, a room filled with hazy smoke, into a frenzied and shaking crowd. In that first one tiny moment, as if hit by a huge boulder, my senses are blasted away into a zillion pieces by a deep reverberating explosion on the drums; and dragged savagely through thin electric slopes by a violently shrieking Guitar. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see the song dying down on the huge screen, over the hollering crowd.

Slowly my senses pick themselves up and squeeze back inside my brain, pushing and pulling each other. The screen clears to the next video. A huge drum set appears on an empty stage. Lars Ulrich, Metallica drummer, appears from behind and perches himself at his seat behind the drums. With his little sticks he starts pounding them, and makes me feel like being lifted off and suddenly dropped in the middle of a herd of charging wild Bison. Like a hundred canons firing together from a dreaded pirate ship, like I have kept my ears on the rails after a heavy goods train thats just gone past me. This is just drums, all drums, no song this, no other things, he is just beating the drums. He is making them tumble down like huge boulders of rocks in an avalanche, he gets them to pellet like mad machine guns firing indiscriminately, he makes them roar. I stand there, gently shaking, with a dizzy beating heart. He sits up there, long haired, engulfed in white fumes, like some thunder God with his little lightning rods commanding the clouds to roar.

And slowly the alcohol starts sneaking into my brain's control centers, making me sway more fluidly. I close my eyes and follow the lead Guitar. I let it fly after it amidst burning clouds, atop electric fences, on hot summer highways' fuming mirages, turning and twisting, swaying away, falling sharply and rising like a Phoenix and exploding. At times I catch a glimpse of my mind as it is flying past me, and it smiles at me.

I bang my head, I sway, I thump my feet, I sweep the air with my hands, and build up a cushion between my consciousness and its hosting physical artifacts, stepping on which it can push itself away from them, and stay that way, for some good amount of time. Slowly you sense your motor controls relaxing, your arms and legs following your orders with just a tiny micro second lag, like alien appendages you have painstakingly won over. It feels good to let go and still be conscious about it. It makes me smile.

Towering Girth ...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

One bare, slippery, rocky mount gaping into the sky in Hogenakkal, Tamil Nadu.

The ritual of scaling a rocky peak begins when you stand on level ground, just at the bottom of the mountain, or cliff, or the rocky peak. And you look up in awe, in some indescribable reverence imbued by the wilder instincts. And you wonder how the wind would feel at the very top. And you see the seductress teasing you, with her fleeting coquettish giggle; come, come try me.

And some of these temptations you ward off, giving into the stern voices of your gently patronizing guardian angel. But some, are like just striding on the verge of nonsense, and a very riskable exhilaration; so you may choose to risk :-)

And sometimes when you are midway to the top, perilously perched with one foot in a shallow crack and other wedged between some frail grass stumps, your mind inevitably races with the thought, oh dear, so much more to the top now, so much more being on this high strung edge, so much more of holding on tight, so much more scrambling, and just so so much more again that I can go back down and breath at ease.

So have I backed down? Of course I have, remember the guardian angel? Yeah, She's indeed a life saver at times. But I would mostly try to go around and find a less steeper trail.

And one thing I so very predictably end up doing when I manage to scramble to the top is to stand erect, very still, feet apart, arms stretched out wide, open palms, and close my eyes. And feel, how the wind actually feels at the very top.

And my friends make fun of me for posing like the Titanic stance, of course.

Err, wouldn't it feel so good to hold your girl, her arms stretched wide, against a vast, very wide, open calm sea, and when she could close her eyes, trusting you.


Night Beetle ...

Friday, July 08, 2005

A little night beetle who visited my bedside in one of the warm nights.

Its such a small, very frail looking thing. But if you look carefully, you will see how exotic and exquisitely adorned it is. With a menacing Voodoo like mask a little above its forehead, and even a tiny white dot on top to go with it. The front wings evolved to thicker shells covering the light and delicate back wings that are folded in and invisible. And on its shells are carved some queer looking Gothic patterns, parts of which have very finely refined and curvy edges. Altogether an epitome of splendid seductive art.

Who sees this beauty?

It should mostly be a male beetle, given that except homo sapiens, in most species the male is the fairer sex. So maybe the female ones. So this, this appearance, the way this looks, should be something attractive to them. And it seems a generally acceptable fact that beauty attracts.

Are there any characteristics of beauty that is independent of how we sense and perceive it?

Say like the golden ratio, the ratio between the length and width of any pleasing looking rectangle, the ratio between the height and the height up to her navel of a beautiful looking woman and so on. You can find this ratio coming up in most normally beautiful looking creatures, things, patterns and all. And like the Fibonacci sequence, which again can be found involved in many natural patterns like leaf patterns, arrangement of seeds on the sunflower, the beehive-like patterns on a pineapple and more.

One is made inclined to believe that there can be found some attributes, or characteristics of beauty that not necessarily lie in the eyes of the beholder. One could at least hypothesize that there are some characteristics of beauty, or being beautiful, that hold with respect to the collective consciousness of life as a whole, life as it exists in this planet.

I have never seen an alien picturized in a normally beautiful looking manner ... :-)

And Calvin to end this :

Why the whys can't/can be answered ...

Thursday, July 07, 2005
Why is the setting sun red ?

Because the atmospheric particles scatter the sun rays. Different colors of the spectrum are scattered differently, the blue end of the spectrum encounters more scattering and the red end encounters lesser.

During daytime, the amount of distance the sun rays have to travel through the atmosphere is significantly lesser than the same when the sun is setting. Thus the scattering effect becomes prominent at sunset and the color tends towards red, gradually becoming very red.

Why are sun rays scattered ?

The rays are scattered by minuscule particles that are suspended in the air. The light waves, as they are traveling through the atmosphere, tend to bounce off these particles in different directions.

Why aren't all colors scattered the same ?

The white sun ray consists of electro-magnetic waves of different wavelengths. The smallest wavelengths perceivable to the human visual system generate the sensation of the color blue and bluish, and the largest wavelengths generate red and the colors near that. Small wavelength light has more chance of encountering particles of size comparable to their wavelengths, and are blocked and scattered away. For large wavelength light the chances of encountering particles able to bounce them off are less since larger particles have less chance of being suspended in the atmosphere. Its similar to how a log floating on water can block a small ripple but would only oscillate along when facing a large wave.

Why do sun rays have lights of different wavelengths ?

Am sure you can explain this. And probably the many whys it will engender further, but eventually you will realize that you are hitting some that you don't know how to explain yet. But my point is that your why would have been answered fully, or should I say to your satisfaction, if you had just accepted this as a fact or as something true or as thats the way it is.

Doesn't the same happen in any answer finding process? You will stop when things are answered to your satisfaction. And it will always imply that somewhere deep in the chain or not so very deep even, you encounter acceptance.

Is it that the why is more correctly answered when the acceptance is very many levels deep? and is not so well answered when the acceptance is not so far deep?

And wouldn't it also mean that enlightenment, whatever way you choose to interpret it, is also just a form of acceptance ?

Quote from Stephen W. Hawking to end this:

A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the Earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy.

At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise."

The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?"

"You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down."

-- Stephen W. Hawking, A brief History of Time.

Date with a Sunset ...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A winter sun sets splendidly at Kalatop, Himachal Pradesh.

I date the sunset often, on each day if I can, from eight floors up in my office building; leaning on to the railing of an open terrace.

Each day, everyday, one sunset is never quite like another. From a tainted red fireball slowly descending behind a thick veil of clouds, to a splendid orange-yellow ballet dancer spinning around to a halt on the dance floor. On a clear day with no clouds at all, like a shining gold coin being dropped into a piggy bank and on a day of razor thin sheet clouds, like a ripe red apple cut into slices and slowly eaten away.

And just when I'm thinking this would be the most beautiful it can get, I look up and around and get simply awestruck at the ineffable beauty of mere sky above. Sometimes a vast blue sky with little pellets of cloud puffs and rivers of soft wispy white streams, sometimes like a huge garden of slowly billowing monster chameleon flowers changing colors from milky-white to molten yellow to dusky red and sad orange.

And mostly as I enter the terrace with a cupful of black Earl Grey tea, a strong gush of wind on my face slaps me out from the work-day to mutate into a serenading lover smiling stupidly at the sight of his sweetheart. I lean on to the railing, sip a mouthful of black tea; The breeze kisses me, musses my hair up murmuring softly in my ears, and I smile. Oh well, and I almost always end up saying Oh dear, I love you.

Fawning a Cat ...

Monday, July 04, 2005

A flashy feline in passing, from my Himalayan winter trek '04.

How tough it is to fawn a cat? ... :-)

It's a daunting task, at the very least. If you go by the popular saying, cat's are not loyal. But I guess its not like that. It's more like they, cat's, are such self absorbed creatures. So it's more like, Did ya say low-yell? How d'ya pronounce it by the way? Well, so the question of whether they are loyal doesn't make much sense as opposed to with a nice lil dogie. Dogs are much more social animals. As a wild pack, they have much elaborate social etiquettes; to display obedience, leadership, territories, submission, protection and all that sort. But cats are more hermetic in nature. There's a certain flimsy air of abandon about cats, if you look at the way they sleep lazily, eyes half-shut. So they don't probably care, unless they have to.

But cat's can love, very much maybe. And obviously it is different from a dog's love. A dog's love is a sure thing, for him and you as well, and both know it, as in you know for sure where you stand with a dog. So may be it's like cruising gently in a sturdy Bullet, The motor cycle, enjoying the breeze, and the majestic grunt of the 350cc engine; stable and sure. But with a cat, I should say it would be like the key maker perched behind Trinity on the Ducati, as it swishes through the freeway traffic at break-neck speeds. Every strand of your hair stands upright, but you never know what you are gonna head into, the next moment. Might be stretching it a bit, probably. But definitely you can love a cat, and its soft purr as you scratch behind its ears is as enjoyable as the tickling sensation of a dog licking you up.

A chance quote to spice this up:

ChrissyCat used to lie lengthwise along my chest as I lay on the couch, her face very close to mine. She'd sniff my breath and then bite my chin very, very gently, purring so loudly I could feel the vibration, the pinpricks of her teeth making my eyes water (or maybe the latter was from allergies). I was genuinely sad when I heard that she had died.

Ok, so maybe I'm not as much of a cat-hater as I try to make myself out to be. Maybe cats just make me feel insecure because they seem to know everything. Maybe it's because they seem to know that they own us, instead of the other way around.