What is love? : Anthem #2

I am continuing the #TenAnthemsChallenge that Paul offered, us bloggers. Here’s a quick context about this challenge: Due to an English education, I don’t read/write my mother-tongue very well. English happens to be the language of communication, Hindi, my national language, happens to be the language that I use to think and feel, Marathi, my mother-tongue, unfortunately is the language where struggle, yet find myself.

2525: Garden


I am somewhere in college. It’s vacation time, or teachers have gone on strike. Irrespective, the college is closed. I take of to my Aunt’s place — an industrial town. My aunt’s husband, my uncle, works there. Absolutely nothing beckons. If there was ever a definition of being lazy, this was it. I have absolutely nothing to do. The town I live in revolves around the factory that the town survives on. There are sirens going off; life in the town revolves around the shifts. The factory never closes down, because the furnace never sleeps. Unlike me. I sleep all day long and indulge in laziness.

Except, when I play cassettes of Marathi songs in the hot afternoon.

My aunt has finished her chores for the day. I even help her out, somewhat. in the boombox, I insert a cassette, and play a song. I ask my aunt, what the song means. Some words in that song do not belong to my vocabulary. She explains the meaning. She is smart enough to give me the meaning without context. I build my context. I ask her, did I understand it right? She says to me, you have understood it in your own way.

The one song that I play over and over is a song of love. The kind of love that normal human beings will never experience. I ask my aunt the meaning of each and every word, hoping she will give me a context. She answers all my questions, without ever giving a context. I end up making my meaning for that song.


It is a song that is the epitome of being in love; of the expression of love.

I dare not translate this song, like anything else that I dare not translate. So I Googled the “translation” of this song. I made a few edits, and here is what I can offer you as the essence. But, what follows is so much less than what the song is all about.

All the directions seem foggy on such an evening
As the moon is rising in the sky…
On this lovely moon night my sweetheart is with me
And my emotions are overwhelmed

Both of us are speechless in a sweet puzzlement
Like confluence of rivers, (we have) become one
The air is filled with the fragrance of “Raat-Ranee” flowers
And the flowers of love are blossoming
Can hear the romantic songs play
Even though there are no words in the song

Unknowingly we are tinted with evening glow
By playing the strings in heart …
By singing the duet and by becoming one
Let us show our true love …
By becoming one; let’s show our love
The romantic picture is visible in impressive colour combination
Even though there is no paintbrush.

All the directions seem foggy on such an evening
As the moon is rising in the sky…
On this lovely moon night my sweetheart is with me
And my emotions are overwhelmed

And the only reason I add this translation, is that some of my readers will not understand Marathi. The translation you see above does less than 1% justification to the intent and feel of the song that you heard. Yet, I hope, you all can feel the same sense of pure love that I feel when I listen to this song.

I am proud that I am born into a family that descends from great artists, poets, warriors, and administrators; it is unfortunate that my English education distances me from my heritage. It’s late, but I am making amends.

Paul, I have to thank you for this meme. You are extracting some amazing stories.

Happy Diwali

The great festival is upon us, and I wish you all, all the benefits and graces that may be bestowed upon us during this time.

9422: Light Burst

Diwali at once is a festival for rejoicing, and for activism. And if you indulge in both, try to find a balance. New realities are upon us, and we feel the need to curb traditional activities because of our new-found wisdom. If it is wisdom, let the wisdom prevail. Whatever the traditional stories of the festival may be, it is a time for friends and family to be together. Experience happiness with each other. In your effort to protect your pet from the sounds of the fireworks, do not forget to share, increase, and experience the happiness.

The almanac this year provides for a day each, during this week for us to share our love and gratitude with our wives or husbands, our parents, and our sisters or brothers. If the thought behind the gift really matters, then, a simple hug will suffice. Or a phone call or a message expressing your love will suffice. Expensive gifts bought in an online discount sale will matter much less.

Eat good food, be merry, with those who matter the most.

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and a very Prosperous New Year!

The Sorbet Post: Anthem #1

It has been years since someone started an interesting meme. Paul has started one, and I think it’s a good one — I call it a list with a twist.

Heres the challenge.

Post ten songs that played a major part in your life. Ten Anthems that you love. State the reason you love the song and please post a link to this post so I can listen to your choices and enjoy reading your stories.

I will post my ten choices at the rate of one each day, starting today.

You don’t need to do it at this rate, post at your own pace and in your own time frame.

This will be really interesting, as its going to be hard to choose just ten songs from your whole life. It doesn’t mean you have to choose your ten favourite songs of all time, although you could do it that way, it’s simply Ten Anthems. It does not matter how old or from what genre your choices come. Age is no barrier to good music.

Via the Anthem Challenge #1

The meme (or the tag, as we also call it) came at an interesting time.

Last weekend was special. It was spent with people I love, It was fun, I cooked, and we had Karaoke. It has been years since I’ve Karaoked. And I was mighty chuffed to sing-along with folks who have as much fun when they sing-along as much as I do. Without doubt, one of the qualities of a Karaoke singer is not to care about what others think of your singing. In a funny way, it is about singing for yourself; something like blogging, perhaps.

6593: My Own Song

Many years ago, a friend and I were frequent at a Karaoke pub, close to our place of work. The pub, called Merlins  was a magical place for both of us. My friend happens to be a wonderful singer, I not so much. Because it was always two guys, we often sang songs sung (Notice, the S-alliteration) by guys. We stayed away from duets and songs sung by women. Yet, there was one duet.

To all the Girls I’ve Loved Before

Without exception, this is one song that we sang together every night that we were in Merlins. And while I am an average singer, this song is one that I am proud about; I always felt I did a more than decent job, while singing this.

As Anthems go, and as I have understood from Paul’s challenge, I am glad that I am starting with this one. I am going to use the latitude in Paul’s challenge and post the ten anthems at my leisure.

Our Life

There was a time when some folks came and said we’d like to be your friends. They gave a reason: we have no other friends. We are alone in this city. We became their friends. We embraced them unquestionably. As time went by they found other friends, or they found a reason not to be friends with us, or they could live a life they wanted, without us, and we are friends no more.

They live a good life, but that life has no intersection with the life that we live. Years go by, and none of your friends care about your life. One fine day, they realise how much time has gone by. They connect. Ask you to stop by. I’ll go, but what do I say when I meet them? I have to remember how they see me. And I have to list the events of the time in a way that they relate, to me. No one really cares about the reality.

“How’s life?”

What kind of answer, to that question, can you give to a person who did not care a hoot about what actually happened in your life for the “duration” of that question?

You say, “All’s good.”

In your own life, you move on, forget these folks of old, try to create a new life. There are wonderful conversations with these new folks. Your own life starts making meaning. It’s easy, to understand that this life means much more than trying to hold on to your past.

If they have let you go, it’s obvious that you should let go too. They will always come back and claim that they never let go, but the truth is that they never held on. It may take years for you to know this truth. But when you do know, open your palm, let go, and walk your path. If and when they call, try to remember, it is not their love. For, if they ever wanted to express it, it would have shown up many moons ago.

They don’t care, if you haven’t realised by now.

Focus on those who do. You will get hurt.. Let it never be a determinant of new experiences. The ones who care, will show up soon, one fine day. Open your doors and windows to allow that experience.

Our lives are not a state of small limits; they are of multiple experiences. I have experienced those.

I hope you do, too.

Escaping the Lawless Heart

It’s a good thing that we have the rule of law in society. In most instances, an act that violates the ideal is evaluated against predefined and generally accepted norms, some form of punishment is meted out, and we go about living according to the norms.

Not so, when it comes to the matters of the heart.

Lawlessness is rampant in the heart. Emotions do not live by any rules or norms. They express themselves the way they want, in a way they want. They hurt when expressed, they hurt when unexpressed. Neither your heart nor another’s, knows what’s right or wrong. New emotions rise. In your heart, sometimes, in another’s. They hurt when expressed, they hurt when unexpressed. The cycle continues. They care less about belonging and more about being. They have no identity; just a presence. That’s all they care about: to be. And the multi-pronged riot is ongoing and unresolved, without the them and us.

Feelings are hurt or they die, new ones take their place, more deaths and victories occur in the absence of norms. The heart becomes a terrain of rotting still carcasses and unhinged victory dances.
4025: The Lonely Heart
That’s what makes the heart a place of contradiction, it allows all. Yet it remains a heart and lives on. In hope, that someday there will be a graceful ballet of all the good that it holds dear. It learns to forgive and it forgives, and then forgives some more. With nothing to control the riot, forgiveness and allowance is the only way it knows, how, to subside the riot. Time passes, and the heart forgives some more. Forgiving comes natural to it. It never realises that each time it forgives, it gives away a part of itself. After a while of forgiving, nothing remains of the heart, except the vestige of forgiving. And it continues to forgive.

Neither the one who gives nor the ones who are given, understand the nature of it.

Those who give, lose a sense of themselves every time, those who are given never realise that what they get can never be theirs. Forgiving is always only half a transaction. It can be given; never taken completely. What use, the forgiving by another heart, when it does nothing to check the anarchy within our own? If we were to ask for forgiveness within, we would start losing a bit of ourselves. An unimaginable situation. Therefore we ask that of others; but the mayhem within, forges unabated.

We are better off allowing the violence inside to continue and let the shards of the emotions tear at our tissues. Or, perhaps, we should forgive ourselves. We might lose a bit of ourselves and some of those demonic rioters.

And with that loss, we might allow ourselves to be lighter, so that we may walk.

The Cost of Twitter

Screen Shot 2014 10 01 at 20 32 17

As dedicated bloggers, we have to ask ourselves this question. I know, for sure, I have to ask this question to myself. And while I know the answer is above, I still have to ask myself this question. Did a tool become a medium? Am I mistaking a medium for a tool?

I imagine myself shouting myself hoarse in a bazaar where the preoccupation is about the price of dead fish. Do ideas die in the cacophony of the slur of oneupmanship?

Conversations matter less, in some worlds. What matters, matters less than what matters less. 

Of Mars

India has successfully launched a Mars Mission. Search Google for “MOM” (Mars Orbiter Mission) or “Mangalyaan”, if you do not know what’s going on.

I am proud about the effort of the scientists at ISRO (India’s Space Agency). I do not understand much of the science about it (apart from what is commonsensical). My sense of pride is more national and ISRO-specific, than anything else. Since the success of launching the Orbiter in the Martian orbit, there have been many responses — mostly positive and celebratory. Some, without doubt, cynical.

I have nothing to say to the cynics. Free country and all that.

Yet, at the time when the Orbiter was out of range for 20-odd minutes, not knowing if it was successful, if your heart did not race, you have missed an experience. Imagination has much to do with the reality of our lives. And without any milestones that help mark our imagination, our journeys will be truncated. We will have no markers that guide us to the unmarked futures of where we think we can be.

In my head, this successful space adventure is less about space and science. It is more about the ability of what we are capable of. What did ISRO demonstrate? A low-cost venture? An experimental odyssey? A capability demonstration? Well, all the above, and much more. They demonstrated grit and determination.

One of the most endearing aspect of this launch was the camaraderie between two space agencies on the opposite sides of the world. NASA and ISRO. Progress is the mechanism of push and pull. Scientists will want to push it forward; everyone else will pull it back. And here, the scientist is not the Ph. D. working at ISRO, it is you and me.

We have to extract more from the successful launch of the MOM than the successful launch itself. My meaning won’t make sense to you perhaps, so find out what it means for you.

With due respect I salute all the folks who were involved in the MOM and congratulate them for this wondrous accomplishment. It is unfortunate that the real heroes and heroines are nameless people in labs; yet, to each one of you, I bow with sincere gratitude and respect.


Shibboleth - 1

There’s a lot of not-so-nice-things that happen in this country. That’s reality. It is unfortunate that, when there is a corruption scam, all the news channels seek out all the unsavoury folks for a news bite. Negative reporting = sensationalism. The reporters of these channels now find no excitement in a wondrous event. “What if it fails” was on the top agenda. An achievement that belonged to a scientific institution was usurped by politicians invited by the news channels. That’s how deep their negativity is rooted. Rather than be a source of pride; there were debates of credit. The DNA of our news agencies has been infected by the minus-virus. They are unable to see anything positive or nice. In the garb of objective reporting; they are depressing a powerful nation.

If any politician wants to know why a country of more than a billion automatically thinks of them as villian, there is no better time.


The next time, I say “Jaya he” (a phrase in India’s national anthem); it will also include you, my dear scientists.