Monday, October 11, 2010

To Dogs and their Human Companions

Sitting brooding yesterday, I happened to read some poetry.Not a regular habit though! And this pick posted here is one which I feel has no peer,amongst the many lyrics and poetry written on Dogs.This wonderful piece by   NeftalĂ­ Ricardo Reyes Basoalto is special .
I guess opinions may not differ much.

A Dog has died

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
 that's all there is to it.
                                     Pablo Neruda

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Self Portrait Sunday 10 th Oct 2010

I have been seated by my Lap top since sometime. I had the TV on with the cricket test match, but soon I switched it off. And now after quite a few minutes, is fiddling with the key board. Nothing seems to be coming forward in mind in a coherent manner so that I could put down.

Getting late this morning and after a dash to the fish mongers from whom I bought a kilo of mackerels, I m now seated by the computer. The morning dosas were good. Food has always been, except during the dreary period of viral fever a few weeks ago.

 C has gone out and here I m alone!

I went through the Blogs, and shot off a few comments. But still I cannot stumble into something to put down in words. The mind is either void, or in suspended animation. It is sine die! Know not!
Perhaps it may be incorrect to say that nothing comes into the mind. In fact is it not that mind is too full, weighed with matters?

Mood swings? I was discussing the topic with C and a few other friends.”Well that state of mind happens to women at the threshold of menopause”, was the   vox populii, and laughter ensued. I forced myself to join the jest.

I m now looking out through the window, I cannot see the path way to the gate as there is a bend in the path way down, and now the trees are grown with luxurious foliage, eclipsing the way farther. It struck a chord, seemed to be frighteningly similar, the way forward seems to be incomprehensible.

Now it is almost mid day and nigh impossible to gaze at the stars and dream of the way forward through the undergrowth, the thick dark foliage, through the unknown, the strange and incomprehensible, and into the lands beyond. The later part that life now is,cannot be inhibiting.It should not be a factor to weigh down. And dream one must,the stars would soon be out to lead the way...!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


When the mind is morbid, thoughts that are pleasant seldom occur
The wonder that things around are,are seldom seen.
In fact the wonder that things around are,
were placed for us –
to untangle from the embrace of  morbidity of the mind!
Isn't it so?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The irony and contradictions of life  as noted many times over in  his powerful verses,
The late Tamil lyricist and poet Kannadasan
 Here is one which is quite thought provoking,

( I note this in the traditional Roman letters as this computer dose not help in typing it in Tamil)

"Buddhi ulla manitharellam vetri kanpethille,
Vettri petta manitharellam budhishali allai".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Unique India

So eventually it turned out to be a damp squib, the security beefing and the judgement of the Allahabad High court itself. The anticipated, violence, acrimony, and all the fun and anarchy only India can provide and enact to perfection did not take off. The Gods were unkind it just did not materialise.

But we have few other fascinating facets over the week that can be relished. The Allahabad High court has pronounced a judgement that takes back society to the medieval times, when it was believed that the earth was flat and the sun and stars went round our planet.Our learned legal minds have ensured that a matter of pure legal dispute over the title to a piece of land can been decided by the predominance of faith, theology , belief and myth. Not reason or historical evidence. Archaic in every sense! History has been given a burial. Historical evidence has been superseded by matter of faith. The dispute has been settled like a family court award.

Now our children can rewrite their history lessons. A Hindu mythical god Ram (Raman or Rama) now has been provided a stature and historical sanctity like that has been rightfully given to historical figures like Christ, The Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, or Confuscious.The court has decreed that Ram was born under the dome of the demolished mosque in Ayodhya. They have not specified the year, whether it is in the pre-Christian era or later. The Christian church at least endorses the view that the World was created in BC 4657, they only have to specify which month, week and date.

Such kind of travesty can happen only in India. Where pure belief, faith and obsession with myth can write or rewrite history. Only time can tell, if many of us will have to go back to school and re learn and read the contemporary version of history. Where a Napoleon or a Karl Marx may be myth and the pantheon of Gods would be historical reality.We Indians will have a unique distinction, and it is that, after the Zionists it is we who have deftly used  myth and legend to create legal title and right over a piece of land.

Now that the fascinating judgement has been given out, we can only hope and wish that the archaic Common wealth games will provide further thmasha and fun and can be the icing on the Indian cake.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I had a dream and, I saw it was a mirage!

I woke up and saw the sunlight and wondered if that was a mirage too.
I walked out and saw the mirage and wondered if that was real.
So I came back in and slid into slumber,
And thence I saw, all that I saw was mirage,
 but yet I refused to accept they were so.
Oh what a fool am I ?

Literary Friends

The late Professor M. Krishnan Nair was perhaps one of those few people whose erudition had no bounds. And of the living, Justice Krishna Iyer is one such.
The profound knowledge and dexterity over language that was/is special to these two cannot be confined into some words.

Professor Krishnan Nair was familiar to all those who would zealously devour his literary reviews and critiques that used to come out every week. I was amazed by the intensity with which he used to read and dissect literary creations, no holds barred. Can a man read with such profligacy? I wondered. So did many. And Professor Krishnan Nair did! A very familiar demure figure on MG Road Thiruvannathapuram, and at the D.C and Current Books , until he became confined to bed and faded away.

There were rude, unkind, tongue in cheek, vulgar comments and opinion that the professor based his reviews on synopsis of the books he critiqued. He did not read as he claimed. And he was a false,haughty literary reviewer and so on. Professor Krishnan Nair ignored these comments,sometimes rubbish has to be dealt as such and left in the confines of the bin.

It is furore and false pride that make these people claim to be scholars in reading a J. Krishnamurthy, a James Joyce, an Osho,  an Albert Camus, a Khalil Gibran and so on.The first name basis with which they refer to these literary giants seems to be funny,impolite and shocking. “Well have you read JK”, will be the intone. And honestly with the very cursory reading I have had of Krishnamurthy it would be embarrassing and unease to comment. As I move on, the glance of derision will follow me. Also I found Krishnamurthy’s video and audio lectures discernible than his books.So, though I have a few books in collection haven't read much.

The pretensions and nature of people who claim to the legacy of thinkers like J. Krishnamurthy was glaringly revealed when I went to a school run by the Krishnamurthy foundation. Just to put forth my point- spirituality if exists in us need not be ostentatiously exhibited or reminded to the world, If true spiritual nature exists in us it tells in the glow of the mind. A well read person has an aura, a halo that can be seen when you are near him. It tells in his gaze, his words. And that is vivid to all. What happened in that school, be it teachers or parents was kind of contrived dazed speech and elevated walking around. They seemed to have the air of zombies. Was Krishnamurthy one such? I felt rubbished.

Then there are people who quote extensively from the classical writers.They may not have read the work, but they capture the catchy parts to flaunt their erudition . It is amazing how they manage to retain awesome memory. And quotes are brought forth during appropriate and inappropriate occasions. They are desperate to convey the message that they are scholars who alone can comment on the literary giants, and great thinkers, men of philosophy and political sciences from whom they think they have bequeathed their philosophy.

 I met this guy who was from Kerala, who also claimed to be an MBA graduate. His English had a deliberate accent - but was pure mallu- english and he seemed to be in desperate mood to convey that he was erudite and a walking encyclopaedia. He claimed to have read poetry. I forced myself and  listened to his monologue. The only poetry he seemed to recite verbatim was “Kunnjunni kavithakal”. What he did not realise was that camouflage is an art that has also to be supplemented by an act as well. To act you need substance, dressing up and attire alone may not help. He began talking about the books he read. He said he was a voracious reader. And he has devoured most of the English writers .I enquired if he liked the books of Graham Green and P.G.Woodehouse. He brushed my question aside and said that he has read world classics; I asked him if he would suggest a few. He said he has read “Hunchback of Notterdam”. I felt like someone slap me in the face. I hurriedly bade him and moved on.

The shallowness of their self can be easily discerned if we care to be in conversation with them for a while. James Joyce, JK ,and the lot would run away in embarrassment.It is apparent that a person has not read a sentence of Hemingway if he is a person who dislikes the wild, and is an armchair explorer.

But why do people fake? What gratuitous pleasure will one achieve if one falsely claim to have read a book of repute? The lie will be seen as soon as the person begins the conversation. Because even if it is rubbish that we have read the dust that catches our persona is there to stay through the life. That is, what I see as the power of literary creation -the power of words, the power of the pen.It is the same with a Enid Blyton,a James Hadley Chase, a Kant, a Neruda,a T. Padmanabhan , a SKP or a Marquez.
Any dispute?