Here and Now

Age bhi janena tu.. pichhe bhi janena tu.. jo bhi hai bas yehi ek pal hai. ( You do not know what lies ahead.. nor what happened earlier.. whatever there is, there is only this moment)

I am reminded of this song from the Hindi movie Waqt now that the topic of present moment has come up. Of course we understated that we do not know what will happen in future. But the song says  you do not know the past. In a way, even though we know some events of the past, we do not know how to put it in right perspective. If you tell your story to five people, each may interpret it differently. Some one will say that whatever happened,  happened for good. Someone may say how miserable it was. In a larger context, we are not sure how much myth and propaganda material go into the making of what we officially read as history.

In fact, the concept of present moment is not new. Our ancients were not only familiar with this concept,  but also devised many methods to bring the mind to here and now.

Hindu rituals of worship begin with the customary sankalpa. It starts with something like this: In sweta varah kalpa …. in Jambudwipa (Indian sub-continent) … in the country of Bharatabarsha …. in so and so state, in so and so place, on so and so day, at so and so time ……. It starts with the higher  denomination of place and slowly brings our awareness to the present place. Same way it starts with a bigger expansion of time and brings our awareness to the present. The time and place are put in proper context. If one follows this sankalpa, our awareness is brought from the vastness of time and space to here and now at the end.

sankalpa_mantra

If you have attended any evening arati at any of the temples, especially the Ganga Arati at Varanasi or Haridwar,  you must have experienced that the overall ambiance crated by sights, smells  and sounds act  as a kind of shock therapy to hammer out your wandering mind out of its dwellings in past or future.

You may also read: One life is not enough, yet for now this moment is enough unto itself

It is said that the symbol of Jesus on the Cross indicates the importance of present over past and future. The horizontal line of the cross representing past and future is much shorter than the vertical one representing the present. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness aims at bringing the awareness to here and now. So are many of the meditation techniques and yogic practices.

Since ancient times,  volumes have been written and spoken revolving around the importance of living in the present moment. In spite of all these talks and practices, scientifically speaking, the elusive present moment is just a concept,  like the geometric concept of line or point that have no real existence.  Time is a continuum. The moment I say moment, the moment is already gone.

However, it is a useful concept to rid the mind of the unpleasant feelings that comes from dwelling too much in past or future. To a certain extent, it is good to take the mind to past and learn the lessons it taught. It is equally good to have fixed goals and have a vision and know where one is going. It is only when the mind is too much anxious about the future or obsessed with the regrets of the past that one does a lot of harm to one self.

Here again I am reminded of another old Bollywood hit and let me conclude this post humming it:

Ae bhai ! jara dekh ke chalo.. age hi nahin pichhe bhi.. daen hi nahin baen bhi ….upar hi nahin  niche bhi

Ae bhai! jara dekh ke chalo


Indian Bloggers

om-vyas-1

Maja Hi Kuchh Aur Hai

It was due to a ‘comedy of error’ that I got introduced to Pandit Om Vyas. Someone had shared a youtube link on FB about Arbind Kejriwal’s fiasco about some issue. When I clicked the link it took me to one of the kabi sammelan videos of Late Kavi Om Vyas ji. That time I did not know that the satirist to whom I had taken an instant liking was no more. Subsequently, after watching a number of hilarious videos, when I learnt of his tragic untimely death, it reminded me of the song: haste haste rona sikho ….. rote rote hasna…….  just like his sessions.

In a congregation of poets (Kabi Sammelan) hosted in memory of Haribansh Rai Bachchan, in his inimitable style, he recited a poem whose pet phrase (takiya kalam) was ‘Maja hi kuchh aur hai. Well, Panditji, with due respect to you, here is a rejoinder that I have composed, imitating your style. It follows an English translation which may not be exact but, as close as possible to the Hindi version:

Signal se thik pehle lane change karne ka
Chalti gaadi se bahar thuk-ne ka
Bina matlab zor se zor horn bazane ka
Gaadi khadi karke public view mein mut-ne ka
Footpath mein motor cycle chalane ka
No parking board ke thik samne gaadi park karne ka
Beech raste mein gaadi khadi karke dooosre driver se jhagadne ka
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

Bina padhe whatsapp mein message forward karne ka
Bina samjhe sabhi issues mein apni rai dene ka
Boss ke bhadde se bhadde joke mein pet phadke hasne ka
Junior ke badhia se badhia baton ko nazar andaz karne ka
Bhid ke saath kadam se kadam milaye chalne ka
Karod-on ke lutere ko maaf aur do kaudi ke chor ko saza dene ka 
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

It is so much fun

To change the lane just before the signal
To spit out from a running vehicle
To honk loudly without any need
To urinate on the roadside in full public view
To ride the motorcycle on the footpath
To park the vehicle just below the No-parking sign
To stop the vehicle on the middle of the road to pick a fight
It is so much fun... it is so much fun

To forward on whatsapp without reading the message
To give expert advice without understanding the issue
To laugh out loud at Boss's mediocre jokes
To ignore a brilliant idea because it comes from a junior
To march with the crowd matching step after step
To forgive the looter of a million and punish the one who stole two pence 
It is so much fun..... It is so much fun

Panditji. I am not at all bothered whether you have gone to heaven or hell.
Because, wherever you go you will make it heaven.
May your soul rest in peace.  And have the last laugh.

Indian Bloggers

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #7

Indian Bloggers

The Great Indian Escape

“Which movie are you going to watch today, elder brother?” I would ask quite often in a routine manner to one of my senior fellow boarders. He  was a great movie buff. Or, so I thought that time. I am talking of those  glorious decades of 70s and 80s for the Indian Cinema.   His answer was equally routine, “I do not know. Let me see. Any way I will tell you once I come back.”

It would be in one of those Telugu movies that he would land up most of the time. My home town which has a large Telugu population lies near Andhra border. Odiya movies were few and far between and Bollywood reels of new releases took six months to arrive. So, if you made up your mind that you must see at least twenty movies a month, it had to include a fair dose of Telugu movies, irrespective of whether you understood Telugu or not.

My senior boarder was not alone in such adventures. There were many. Every now and then, we would hear of stories of  so and so who failed for the fourth time in the final year exams. Then, we would hear the town loudmouth’s foregone conclusion: If you substitute the cinema hall for the class room round the year, what better results can you expect?

 If somebody was found in the cinema hall to bunk torturous classes, some one might be there to escape a sadist boss. Or, maybe a father. Or, wife. Or, real life in general.

The majority of the middle class of those days was not moneyed enough to afford escapes of these days like weekend getaways, dinner in a fancy restaurant, day out in an amusement park or such things. Television was not in vogue. Twenty twenty was not conceived of yet.  Nor was an evening in a mall just for the sake of window shopping. Whatever little surplus a lower middle class had, after his roti kapda aur makaan needs, went into buying a few second or third class seats in a movie hall that did not have the basic amenities like  ac, cooler and sometime a toilet. And to cater to the fantasies of this middle class, Indian movies with angry young men or, different types of other larger than life characters became the hallmark of block busters.

Coming to the present times, before I had the opportunity of watching a movie in one of the multiplexes in a posh mall, I had thought, it must be the serious movie buffs who went to watch a movie paying such hefty sums. (And not to speak of the cost of the snacks and cold drinks that remind you of an international airport). But I was proved wrong the very first time I saw a movie in one of those multiplexes. It was some Hollywood block buster 3D movie that I  was watching in an Imax. Even a  slight disturbances in the form of somebody moving in front or lighting up his cellphone caused great annoyance. But my neighbour was not bothered by any of these annoyances. Nor was he aware about the annoyances he  himself was bent upon perpetrating by being engrossed in his whastapp chat through out the length and the breath of the movie.

“So, he has come to the theater because he thought it the best place on earth to carry on an engrossing whatsapp conversation”, I concluded.

Not being born and brought up in an English speaking country, I  strain hard to listen and make out the whispering dialogues of the Hero. It is a crucial moment of the movie. So I strain harder. And how fervently do I wish the  crackle crackle cuddre cuddre, chap chap, ha ha ha, he he he coming from my back seat stopped. But finally I resign it to my fate of the day. As if the whole universe was conspiring to see that I did not enjoy the movie smoothly, in spite of buying the the city’s most expensive cinema ticket of the day.  The sounds have been there, as if these were part of the soundtrack of the movie, intermittently from the first reel to the last reel, with a little respite during the interval when the gobblers went  for replenishment. And to top it all,  a hearty laugh at the most melodramatic moment of the movie.

Maybe, some come here just to eat, drink and make merry and to laugh at yesterday’s jokes remembered and understood in the typical ambiance of a cinema hall and that to at the most melodramatic moment and in spite of the pricing of snacks reminding one of air travel.

And some say, a large number of flop movies are made so that unofficial romantic couples could have some private space and time for themselves.

My conclusion is that, whatever money the movie made, only fifty percent of it came from people who really wanted to see the movie and enjoy it. That should give a realistic assessment of the popularity of the movie, for the sake of the movie.

Producers, directors and actors please take note.

But there is something one cannot escape from, alive

Of course I am talking of life, from which you cannot escape alive. It was after a long time that I was watching a quality Bollywood movie. That the movie was educative, or rather refreshed my understanding about certain basic fundas of life was an added bonus. At the same time the movie was not preachy.

Never expected such mature acting from Alia Bhatt. Shahrukh is at his as usual best. It seems Gauri Shinde put her heart and soul to make such a wonderful movie- Dear Zindagi. 

You may also read : A few good movies

Previous week, ended up with the Fantastic Beasts, just to accompany my son, whom I had promised to take for this movie long time back. (Actually it was he who made me promise, and it was he who brought my attention to the the movie). I am not much of a Harry Potter fan. But, nevertheless I have watched all the parts. And read maybe, half of one of the books. All the movies had appealed to the child in me. This one was no different. I enjoyed it, if not more, at least as much as my son did. It is a fantastic movie.

Towards the end of the movie,  there is a kind of reversal of time. It is a strange coincidence that this reversal of time occurred towards the end of ‘Dr. Strange‘ as well . Well, this was the movie that I had watched the previous to previous weekend. A strange hotchpotch of Indian concepts of outer body travel, relativity of time, immortality and modern concepts like multiverse. Of course the stunning visuals, and the stray humours thrown in here and there ensured that you were not bored while thinking of the complex scientific (or, seemingly scientific) themes explored in the movie. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Because of the large number of Indian mystic concepts used in the movie, if your are an Indian chauvinist,  you are definitely going to like it man. There may be a slight disappointment because the Hero goes to Nepal and not India to learn all those mystic theories.

So three movies over three consecutive weekends. Each of the movies was great in its own way. Four point nine out of five to each.

And, what better weekends could you ask for.

Note Ban – probable long term impacts

 

Right decision is that which may bring short term misery but benefit in the long run. Wrong decision is that which brings short term pleasure but pain in the long run – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

note ban 3.jpg

In reaction to the government’s demonetization move, the mainstream and the social media are full of pro and anti sentiments. While the government insists that such measures will kill the black money, terror funding  and bring transparency to the financial dealings, the opposition’s hallabol is only about the hassles faced by the people in long queues in front of the Banks. There is hardly any reasoned and in depth debate about the long term impact of such a measure.

No doubt, getting legal tender notes has become a big hassle for the common man.  The troubles to get  back one’s own money parked in the banks are definitely worth taking if,  it ends the era of black money and the parallel economy and heralds a new economic and social order without adversely effecting the economic growth.

Remember the purchasing power is not dependent on the colour of money. Whether black or white, the loss of purchasing power is a loss of purchasing power. So it all depends upon how quickly the purchasing power is restored. If it continues for a long time, the sales of goods and services will be hit, leading to a domino effect. When the sales are hit, it will result in lower production of goods and services, lower GDP, lower employment and ultimately a recession of the economy.

Even at the cost of being politically incorrect, let me explain it this way. Let us say:

Purchasing power before demonetization (P1)= legal tender (x1) money + fake currency or illegal tender money (y1) + plastic money in the form of credit (not debit) cards  or other kind of credit instruments (z1). Here black money is already factored in as either these will be in legal tender or illegal tender.

Purchasing power after demonetization (P2) = x2 + y2

Now when I say the purchasing power should be restored, P2 must be made equal to P1, or x1+y1+z1 must be made equal to x2+z2. In simple terms to restore the health of the economy to its status before demonetization, Govt should replace (with new legal tender) not only the demonetized legal tender money, but also the fake currencies which were in circulation. And the sooner it is done, the better. If the cash crunch position persists for a prolonged period, the sales of goods and services will be adversely effected  leading to long term negative economic consequences.

Taking India towards a cashless society will be the final nail in the coffin of the parallel economy which threatens the stability of not only the economy but also the society in the form of terror funding and erosion of the value of the rupee. In a country like India the hurdles will be many considering, the average education level and the large rural population.

Then, the first step has already been taken.

Indian Bloggers

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #6

Random Notes

The times are such that, neither are notes so random nor do they have any  association or destination other than the bank. The whole nation is in queue for a few ‘tukda’ notes. It is Saturday night and as we finalise our plan to visit Chinchi Falls and Mekedatu as part of our weekend getaway, we are reminded, we have forgotten to factor in legal tender notes to our itinerary. So we rush to the nearby ATM. Though there is still a queue, we manage to get some of those extremely rare pieces of paper and come back home by 11:30 P.M.

It is ‘7’ o clock in the morning when we start our trip. However, people have already left home long back for their  ‘Cash’ mission and we notice long queues in front of every ATM or Bank that we pass.

Four days earlier, on my way to office, for every traffic jam at an unexpected place I would hear someone commenting, “There must be a bank ahead”. It also reminded me that  I too have to get some legal tender notes. Nahi to yaar biwi bachon ko kya muh dikhayoge. Somehow bunked it for three days. But on the fourth day ran out of excuses.

While on the queue, I  came across so many conspiracy theories. As usual some were pro M, and others were anti M. A young man in front was describing about the fake currency printing presses in China and Pakistan with such graphic details that I felt he had just landed on the queue, fresh from a first hand experiences of those macabre places.

Now coming to the weekend gate away, details of which I will share in a separate blog post, the road as well as the tourist spots were unexpectedly thinly crowded. Then of course someone made a nasty comment:

bhaiya bhid to bankon ke samne lagi hai. Yahan aaj kaun milega.

While coming back, by the evening, again observed the long queues.

Sunday ka suraj nikla nayi ummeed ke saath, 
subah 6 bajese lambi kataron ke saath. 
Din khatam hogaya, lekin umeed nahin, 
kataron mein koi kamee nahin.

One event, so many memories

Reminded of my days in military training. If one person did a mischief, the whole platoon would be punished. The funny thing was that quite often the mischief monger would escape by reporting sick.

Those were the days prior to the installation of ATMs in India. If it was a pay day, it was only the bank employee who did his official job. For others, it was  a day to be spent in queue either for you salary or for your movie ticket.

Then of course, one is reminded of those never ending queues and drama in front of the ticket windows of cinema halls during those golden decades before the advent of Television.

One may be reminded of a few Bollywoood dialogues as well for easing one’s frustration while queuing up to get back one’s own money parked in the banks.

"Ek tukda note ki kimat tum kya jano Modi Babu"
"Tumhare kale dhan bale noton mein itna chhed karenge, 
confuse hojeyge, kitna bank mein le jayen, kitna mein aag lagaye." 
"Aaj mere paas gadi hai bangla hai. Kya hai tere pass?" 
"Mere pass ek hazar ke chhute hai"

The people who used to do ‘dus ka bees’ in and around the cinema theaters are also back in business bringing the silver lining to those who do not mind paying a little extra for the sake of avoiding the serpentine queues.

Or, to avoid being asked back at home:  “Khali haath laut aye. Kya socha tha… khsuh ho jayega

Swagat nahin karoge hamara

1000-notesWhen the movie ‘Pink’ was released there was so much fanfare and pre-publicity. Even the great Big B wrote a a letter to his grand daughters with his own hands using a Parker pen (for which he is a brand ambassador) and made sure it made into the headlines of national media. (Was he not in talking terms with his grand children? Then why did he need the entire national media to take his message to his own grand daughters?)

But no such pre-publicity for this pink note – the harbinger of a new economic order. Like Lord Krisha, it just took birth, unsung, unnoticed.

The movie ‘Pink’ tried to create awareness about women’s issues. Hope this pink note makes us aware of the dangers of black money and parallel economy.

Indian Bloggers