Rebels in Waiting

30 09 2005

A whole generation of us, rebels, waiting for a cause. Biding our time on this planet, for something, to kick us into action. Opposing what we find. So, when a worthy cause comes along, we will be prepared … :)


Opposition

In my youth
I was opposed to school.
And now, again,
Im opposed to work.

Above all it is health
And righteousness that I hate the most.
Theres nothing so cruel to man
As health and honesty.

Of course Im opposed to the Japanese spirit
And duty and human feeling make me vomit.
Im against any government anywhere
And show my bum to authors and artists circles.

When Im asked for what I was born,
Without scruple, Ill reply, To oppose.
When Im in the east
I want to go to the west.

I fasten my coat at the left, my shoes right and left.
My hakama I wear back to front and I ride a horse facing its buttocks.
What everyone else hates I like
And my greatest hate of all is people feeling the same.

This I believe: to oppose
Is the only fine thing in life.
To oppose is to live.
To oppose is to get a grip on the very self.

Kaneko Mitsuharu
1895-1975

(Tr. by Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite)


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Its a … its a .. its a $100 laptop

29 09 2005


A laptop for under $100, well atleast in the works at MIT. An interesting feature is a power crank, which would be very useful in place with undependable power supply. Here is article. And here is more information on this project.

Apparently, up to 15 million of these test systems will be distrbuted among children in Brazil, China, Thailand, Egypt and South Africa.

‘He said a goal of the project is to make the low-cost PC idea a grassroots movement that will spread in popularity, like the Linux operating system or the Wikipedia free online encyclopedia. “This is open-source education. It’s a big issue.”‘





The Dance Within

28 09 2005


“Is not most talking
A crazed defence of a crumbling fort? “

A poet on my blog, after a long time. Have been meaning to write about Hafiz and his poetry.But never found the words. Hence the silence.

I have laughed out loud reading some of his poetry in quiet bookstores and fought back a tear or two in the library reading others. What can I say. Just grab a book of his poems, sit back, relax and let the pleasure begin. :)

Silence

A day of Silence
Can be a pilgrimage in itself.

A day of Silence
Can help you listen
To the Soul play
Its marvellous lute and drum.

Is not most talking
A crazed defence of a crumbling fort?

I thought we came here
To surrender in Silence,

To yield to Light and Happiness,

To Dance within
In celebration of Love’s Victory!

From: “I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz: by Daniel Ladinsky.

My first Hafiz poem, you ask? After a long, interesting (and needless to say, absolutely pointless) discussion with a friend. I start questioning the usefulness/uselessness of time spent chatting. My friend smiles, but says nothing. Later that day, I find this in my inbox. Most wonderful!

What Should We Do About That Moon?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.
That night hundred beetles and all their cousins
Gathered
And did some serious binge drinking.
They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.
Then the ‘night candle’ rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument
Said to his friend – for no apparent
Reason,
“What should we do about that moon?”
Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music
Tackling such profoundly useless
Questions.

– Hafiz

(image from http://www.sharadhaksar.com)

I was instantly fascinated. Why worry about the why, when you are having such a good time?

Reminds me of Madhushala by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Bachchan is another poet who can make you, care and yet not care, so easily, that it can hurt.

Let me not forget, the reason (a post by Falstaff), I was reminded of Hafiz today.





Can I have the Time please?

28 09 2005

Cell phones, computers, coffeemakers, cars (or may be even my niece’s fancy new pencil box)… and pretty much everything under the sun, seem to have a clock embedded in them.

Still, there are times, I would really love, to be able to sneak a sly glance at my (nonexistent) wristwatch.

When someone really nice (or important) is boring me (to death). Opening my handbag and scrambling for my cellphone, to check the time, just doesn’t do the trick.

A friend is late for dinner and I decide to sneak in a trip to a wonderful used bookstore. There I find Buddha (!!), right in the middle of all the Astroboys, in the manga comic section (which needless to say, is in the basement-with-no-wall-clocks. Isn’t that the exact place where bookstore owners would want weird comic readers shoved away, while the important looking readers come by, looking for latin/greek classics…?) Just as I am done scanning through the first few volumes, I realize, I have no idea how long I have been in that basement. Of course, my cell phone switched off (I am a civilized person in a bookstore, remember?).

I am on a trail. Many a times, I am drawn to go on, longer than I had intended to. Either by the wonderful little wild flowers or the humming birds. Suddenly, I realize, I have to walk back 6 miles. 6 long miles to civilization (and my car). There is no way of finding out what the time is. How long before the sun will set? Will I be all alone in the wilderness, in the dark.

I am chatting with someone, sipping some awesome hot chocolate, while taking (what was supposed to be) a short 15-minute break. Just about the time, when we have start discussing Gael Garcia Bernal, and both of us have no clue how we got there (considering, the conversation started with Sourav Ganguly and the state of indian cricket). Then, I wish I could check the time.

“To wear a quality watch and feel its weight; to know it is carved out of blocks of steel, not squeezed out of plastic, is deeply reassuring.” Sunday Independent

And I know, I am not alone.





The Clown

26 09 2005

Reading Shalimar the Clown.

Parts of it are classic rushdie,
Some parts are just pompous and fluffy…

Reading the different sections, here was my reaction –

Hated it, loved it, hated it, loved it…

Then, sadly, today, had to return the book, as it was ‘On Hold’.

An affair left incomplete…

Useful reviews can be found here





hmm!!

22 09 2005

200,000 books! A dollar or less!

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library’s 41st Annual Big Book Sale!





Only Three Who Have Real Meaning

21 09 2005

Like Murakami? Check out his short story in this week’s New Yorker.

Murakami is the kind of author I like to read when I feel the need to stop and reflect on my own life and the strange things that happen in it. His stories manage to help me to pause my wandering mind and make me reflect. There are times when life seems busy and I don’t want to stop and reflect. I cannot read him then. But now seems like a time when I need a Murakami fix.

His stories seem to have a lot more going on inside the heads of the protagonists than in the outside world. They always seem to be about a guy and the women are only there as catalysts, that cause changes in the guy’s inside world.

This story starts with an interesting pronouncement by Junpei(the protagonist)’s father –

“Among the women a man meets in his life, there are only three who have real meaning for him. No more, no less,” his father said—or, rather, declared. He spoke coolly but with utter certainty, as he might have in noting that the earth takes a year to revolve around the sun. Junpei listened in silence, partly because his father’s speech was so unexpected; he could think of nothing to say on the spur of the moment.

“You will probably become involved with many women in the future,” his father continued, “but you will be wasting your time if a woman is the wrong one for you. I want you to remember that.”

I find it interesting that someone would say such a thing to a sixteen year old. But what is even more interesting is, how it affects the choices he makes in his life.

I wonder if there were things people told me when I was sixteen, that are still affecting my life?! If I need a – Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day, in my life too.