Monthly Archives: November 2015

The luxury of guilt

Guilt is like scratching
The scabs that have settled to heal
The oozing blood comforts.
It’s really just pretending
That the numbness you feel
Has not forgotten the hurt.

It’s like banging your head
To say hello to pain
With the secret consolation
Of knowing to anaesthise your dread
With the inured bane
Of routine and repetition.


Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Poetry


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Sometimes the soul stiffens
Into long silent screams
And each slice of self is crushed
And each belief wrung out.

Hope cringes back in terror
And recognises itself
In all it’s vulnerability
Too small and weak to shout.


Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Community, Poetry


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The Daily Me

Violence yet again  rocks a European  city . The perpertrators are said to be members of the ISIS . They were heard to be shouting “Allahu Akbar “  and therein lies a tale, narrated by some, thankfully not  all.

According to that story  everyone across the  world who believe in a God as the source of everything  and call that source by the name of Allah become partners or accomplices  or at least are silently acquiesing  and tacitly  approving these deaths.

“Why are the muslims not protesting enough? “

“Why is there no outrage?”

The “terrorism  has no religion “ response on the social media  has become passé , they declare and is too lame .

After reading  very many such posts on the Facebook,  the social media I am a member of,  I was curious enough to find out if this was indeed true.  I just googled using the words “Muslims protest against Paris killings “ and 74,50,000 links showed up at that point of time.

These are a couple of them:

I then googled  “Muslims silent on Paris killings” and 36,10,000 links showed up. A cursory glance at some of the initial pages though, were in fact, those that pointed towards  muslims speaking up against the current attack and the earlier incident of the  Charlie Hebdo attack.

I then remembered reading an article  in the New York Times  written by Nicholos Christoff  titled ,”The daily Me” .

It is  a very, very perceptive way  of looking at the way we search for information  that matches our own line of thoughts, attitudes , beliefs or prejudices and I can often see the truth in that,  in the way I  choose the key words while googling for something whenever I want to quote something that will affirm what I set out to say.

“we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.”

As far as Indian muslims are concerned,  may be they are not as vociferous  perhaps  as their Hindu counterparts when it comes to denouncing dastardly acts committed in the name of religion, going by  the numbers who do so.  But then the Hindu population is far more . I wonder how the numbers who raise their voices reflect in terms of percentage and whether at all,  the voices raised are heard or registered.  Also, Hinduism  has hundreds of years of an inherent tradition of allowing dissent in thinking and giving expression to the same.  Islam , on the other hand , is a relatively new religion and it’s followers who are ordinary citizens , in a country where they are in a minority are perhaps a little diffident of speaking up and choose to go silently with their lives. It would be very far from the truth, however to conclude that they support such violence.

I’ve always felt that the more distance,   both physical and mental , that we keep  from those we perceive as the “others” , the more we are prone to falling prey to our prejudices .  I don’t know if this is absolutely true, but may be most  of us are more comfortable in forging friendships with only those who share  our beliefs, whether it be religious, political or something else. I admit that is largely true in my case.  But may be that is why the distances grow.  May be we need to have sane conversations for a start  , which does not resort to name calling and four-lettered abuses with people  who don’t share our views and without our egos getting in the way.

May be we need to listen more and not immediately think of ways to counter the other.

Although, perhaps, that is precisely what I am doing now 🙂 🙂


Posted by on November 15, 2015 in Community


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“Human”-film by Yann Arthus Bertrand

The film opens with a remarkable aerial view of a line of ant-like figures moving slowly along an incline in a desert, the men and beasts casting shadows that bears no semblance to their shapes or sizes. “Human”, a documentary by Yann-Arthus Bertrand, has many such breath-taking frames. Not surprisingly perhaps, as he is reportedly one of the best in the field of aerial photography. But “Human’ is not about that. It is a peek into one’s own soul, the myriad emotions that have been in play since the beginning of time as we know it, that have driven and depressed us, tweaked our heart-strings and made it sing, flung us into fires and kept us in fetters, darkened our desires , made us love and hate , made us scared and insecure, strong and resilient, weak and vulnerable , ripped us asunder with guilt and made whole again with love. In short, it is precisely about what the title says ; it is about what it means to be human.

The canvas is stretched across continents and the painting encompasses all colours and contours of the human race. Faces that beckon you compellingly to look at them , their eyes staring unblinkingly at you from the screen in silent monologues and faces that speak to you making you revel at times in the uniqueness of being alive and the vastness of our potential for goodness and joy and at other times squirm at the degree of defilement that we are capable of.

What brought me to this film was an excerpt posted on the Facebook wall of one of my friends. It was an interview of Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015. This is what he said, “ I am Jose Mujica. I worked in the fields as a farmer to make a living in the first part of my life. Then I dedicated myself to the struggle for change, to improve life in my society and now I am the President and tomorrow , like everyone else, I’ll be just a pile of worms and disappear.” He goes on to tell us what his churnings in life, ten years of which had been spent in solitary confinement (seven years without reading a single book) had led him to conclude. “ This is what I discovered”, he says, “Either you are happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage because you have happiness inside or you don’t get anywhere……we have invented a mountain of superfluous needs, shopping for new, discarding the old. That’s a waste of our lives. When you buy something you’re not paying money for it, you’re paying with the hours of life you had to spend earning that money. The difference is that life is the one thing that money can’t buy”. This and everything else he said made so much sense to me that I just had to find out more about the film from which this excerpt was taken.

I was pleasantly surprised to find all three volumes of this documentary, each stretching on for over an hour, was available for public viewing on the You Tube. And reading more about this film here:
only made me more impressed about this project.

As those interviewed speak, looking into the camera and so straight at us, sharing their experiences about love, loss, death, poverty, war, guilt and redemption , as they pause to control their emotions and check their tears, as they grow silent with the weight of the feelings that overwhelm them , as their eyes light up with joy and the calm of wisdom gained through trauma and tribulations tone their words with gentleness, we experience all of it too…. the proximity that is generated is such.

When Leonard from U.S.A talks about how he finally understood what love means from the woman who was the mother and grandmother of the woman and child he had killed, the tears that start streaming down his cheeks haunt you for a very long time.
When Sylver from Ruanda rakes up his tormented memories of his family members being hacked to death with a matchette, the shudder that runs through your spine doesn’t ease your guilt.
When Crepin from the Central African Republic tells us that he took to arms to avenge his brother’s death and that killing now gives him a sense of calm, you shudder again.
Zoher from Israel , “ One evening, while in the reserves, my unit had to stop a suicide attack by capturing a terrorist in a village near Nablus. I deployed our forces. To flush him out, we shot at the walls as a demonstration of our strength. A woman came out of the house carrying a girl and holding another by the hand. It was 3 A.M. The girl panicked and ran towards us. I was afrais she would blow herself up. I yelled at her in Arabic to stop. She kept on coming. I fired above her head. She stopped. At that moment time stood still. It was the shortest and longest moment of my life. The girl remained alive. So did I. At the same time, something died in us both. When a child is shot at, it kills something inside. I don’t know what. When an adult shoots at a child, it kills something inside. Something dies and something else has to come to life. I was ashamed of shooting at her. A painful shame. And above all this sensation of my finger pressing the trigger and shooting at the girl..from this finger pressing the trigger something had to come to life” and he turns his head away from the camera saying a lot with what he left unsaid.

These are not scripted conversations..they are raw and unrehearsed …naked slices of truth cut out from real experiences . Everything that may have seemed distant and disconnected is brought uncomfortably close to confront and unsettle you . You can no longer delineate yourselves from the other. You become the other and for a short time at least, you are forced to look beyond the shadows and focus your vision on the reality of human existence plodding through the sands of time.

Please watch and share.

Here’s a link of the trailer :

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Posted by on November 13, 2015 in Movies


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