Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Once, I abandoned myself bathing nude in in the open air in a pristine mountain stream. That was at night and was in the forest out of bounds for Paparazzi even if I had the tag of the prince or any such royalty. But thankfully I'm just a mere commoner and that helped me enjoy the time with a mug of beer in the stillness of the jungle, with the moon throwing her luminance through the canopy of the trees. I had my friend B, for company. This was a few years ago.

But well if I had frolicked in the stream with a consort or even with my wife in the prefect dressing I chose that day, could I fret, fume and cry foul if a paparazzi or a clandestine acquaintance chose to shoot my revelry and splash it to the outside world. Can I be offended and cry hoarse, allege intrusion into my or her privacy if my consort or wife were to be pictured topless or more in public? By demonstrating the will to be free of inhibitions in public will certainly invite scrutiny and publicity, especially if the subject is elite and not a commoner.

And by that yard stick why must the house of Windsor be agonised, offended and sue the French publication “Close” for publishing the would be Queen bathing topless in the open air pool? The comfort of a closed bath is to avoid peeping toms and to enjoy privacy. When one chooses to revel in an act that is generally done away from glares then one must be prepared for a quantum of publicity as well. Don’t you think so? What has the argument based on privacy has to do here?

It is indeed pathetic that some members of the Royalty are hounded by hungry paparazzi and columnist. It reminds me of the fascinating romantic film “Roman Holidays”. How Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) vanishes from the watchful eyes of her attendants and the prying media to see Rome as a commoner and unnoticed.

But the hullabaloo the British Prince William and his wife Princess Kate created is perhaps less understandable. She was photographed bathing topless in an upscale French Vila. Perhaps now with the swirling furor the British Royalty fanned by crying wolf and suing the French magazine, more of the world have come to know and seen the fascinating picture , which would have not deserved a second glance like the many topless sunbathers in European beaches or elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Someone said that there is nothing we can call the right plan or the correct decision and for that matter the wrong plan or the wrong decision. It is the future course of events and how we handle the plan that makes it right or wrong and correct or otherwise. In retrospect it is  pretty easy to pass critical judgment. If we had the sagacity and the vision as to the outcome of our decisions we may have seen a much different life than we live now. Ratan Tata has said that he does not believe in making the right decision, but in making one and then toiling to make it right. Sensible indeed!

The Road not taken and treading the path less travelled makes all the difference! The subject that bothers me is the decision of A, my son. It has not rattled me but a bit apprehensive. He has been harbouring the idea now for some time and he finally after seeing much huffing and puffing from me since I came to know of that from his mother, called me up a few days back and narrated his plan.

He graduated in Visual media and has been into some practical works in a couple of films with a few friends of mine who are in the film industry. He ostensibly has planned to do Master’s in cinematography. And he has been scouring the net for avenues – and institutions where he can go to. Fair enough. But his decision to take time away from the immediate priorities (as I gauge it) is a matter of consternation to me. He wants to be in Bangalore or Chennai for a while and be participating in English theater activities. This is when he has concrete offers to work in films as an apprentice in cinematography and that which will aid in providing him much practical knowledge when he files his resume for the Master’s course where ever he chooses.

However he has his decision made. And though I have my apprehension – the fore most being the possibility of wasting time in something he will not dwell thereafter; ignoring offers to involve him with acclaimed faces in the films, may be construed as rude and indifference.

So finally when he called me and spoke on the matter, I had to shun my reservations and fear to tell him that if he has found his choice of the road, the one that he thinks is right, to go forward and make it right. Can I stand in the way of a young man who must have weighed the pros and cons of his choice and who is tenacious that he has to follow a certain course to reach his destination?

I do not see the idea of something called destiny as Paul Coelho did in his novel “The Alchemist”. I find no reason to believe it as a predetermined city square to where we eventually reach. Each one of us is unique in our own way and we are the only ones responsible for our decisions. If he can be comfortable in his decision, he can exhibit a single minded purpose in reaching the destination which people call in retrospect- destiny, it can then be the treasure which “Santiago” the shepherd boy searched for. If that see him forging the road not taken or less traversed so be it. He needs to be his own alchemist.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”                                                                                                                W.Blake

But as a parent who has had half a century of vicissitudes to remember it is a tad difficult for comfort.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Admonishment On A Birthday Morning

I do not know the origins of celebration of birthdays. Perhaps it came about from Man’s acknowledgement of what he considers special and precious-“life”. When after one is gone, birthdays become observation of birthdays and no more an occasion to celebrate. That may last until one’s near ones are alive. Then “pooh”, all become star dust and vanish without a trace.

It was fun and glowing in warm attention during the birthdays each year when one was little. There was a sense of importance, a satisfaction of being acknowledged and given a pedestal , gifts  being thrust in the hands, kisses planted! 

I did not approve of a luncheon get together of sorts on my fiftieth birthday a few years ago. It was the persistent disobedience of my sister and wife that saw me blow candles, slice a cake, photographs taken and with a few close friends asked to join.

Come again, today- another birthday and I was pleasantly surprised by a text message from my daughter, Radhika. My son spoke to me early this morning and as true to his self he was reticent and matter of fact with his birthday greeting. I often feel that in that sense he is more of a photocopy I managed to create!

The girl was unambiguous and displayed in her text message an admonishing fact it is good , I guess that children have the courage to chastise and gently rebuke the parent. I wonder if I would ever have dared to dream doing that when I was her age .It is good thing that she may have done some thinking and decided that I was in the wrong. But the law of Nature or the law of probability is that eight out of ten the father is in the wrong! 

“The Child is father of the Man”, the Wadsworth ode has much substance, though he sang that reveling in the beauty of the rainbow and Nature.

This was what she messaged.
“Achaaaaa!!!!” (Meaning father). Happy Birthday! I hope u make a resolution this year to stop fighting. Losing your temper is no good. Take life as it comes. Even if it is crap that life gives you, take it without fretting. Every end will be a happy one. Happiness is on its way. You just have to be a happy person to feel it and get it."
 "So … A promise you have to make is, NOT to fight with Amma. And not to lose your temper. Be happy. If you do not, I will be like so.......

So keep it. Have a great day “achaaa….” Love U! Ummaaaaa!"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hang Without Further Delay!

 There has been wide endorsement of the Supreme courts upholding of  death sentence for the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist of 9/11.It is claimed that the sentence will sent signals to the terrorists and their bosses across the border that waging war against India will invite severe retribution. A fascinating argument! But has no proof amongst terror perpetrators that they are hounded by the fear of death. But behold, they will suffocate if freedom is denied and are incarcerated. It is not death that they fear but it is the dream of freedom in Paradise that they believe will be theirs if they put to sword  apostates, that drive them to their savagery.

India may have the wherewithal in conventional terms to be in hot pursuit of the terror wings across the border. But such an attempt we all know will be inviting an all out nuclear conflagration between two nuclear armed neighbours. Hence the weak kneed reactions from us.

In my fair bit of reading, I have not in any Indian mythical treatise stumbled upon an instance where a man or a woman was executed, or given capital punishment. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, was not an Indian moral. There have been many wars waged and stories mentioned in Indian mythology, but an execution or taking away life as punishment – NO. Then , on what premises dose the so called custodians of Hindu Dharma and Indian culture the VHP, the Sangh Parivar and the political clan of BJP clamour and cry hoarse for death for Kasab and even for Afsal Guru who we all know was given a kangaroo trial in the Parliament shoot out case? "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", was a Jewish dictum and then followed by Islam. Christ did not preach snuffing life as punishment for misdeeds. It is the archaic fallout from the Semitic faith that hangs on. The mythical heroes of Indian mythology who we see as incarnations of Gods have not spoken in favor of death penalty.

.Our longing for revenge and vengeance will be satiated when Kasab is hanged. But will his death deter potential terrorists who are blinded by fanaticism and indoctrination by extreme religious elements, both from foreign soil and from within from committing terror in future?

No is the answer. We all know that. The clamour for Kasab's death is only the off shoot of our thirst for vengeance-  It is the beastly instinct in Man that drove Kasab and his cahoots to dance the macabre dance of death in Mumbai and it is the same ghastly instinct that we long to quench by putting Kasab to death

Let the lone surviving terrorist be incarcerated for life. And let that be the beginning of a new thinking. Is it not better to convey that we value life than the terrorists who commit barbaric acts in the name of God and for God? When an extreme form of penalty such as taking away life will not be a deterrent, do we have to continue to embrace that barbaric punishment?

Let Kasab spend his life incarcerated and rue the moment he chose to be prey to the fanatic elements who indoctrinated him to commit the horrendous acts. Let his supposed entry into Paradise be delayed by Nature until he withers naturally.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Of Human Bondage

The formative stage in one’s life, experts say, is during the period of one’s adolescence. Some even go farther behind and state character and one’s idiosyncrasies are formed during the life period ensconced in the womb. 

I have known a couple of brats (formerly) in their toddler days and would be horrified at the thought of them coming home with their parents on their evening strolls. They were enfant terrible while awake and in sleep. Two score years have elapsed since and they are now perfect gentlemen; two charming young men and both in respectable positions in life certainly capable of enchanting any potential bride. And loving grateful sons to their parents!

I look back at myself and wonder if there has been any change in me as a person. The temperament and character I have possessed score and five years ago and what it is now. Being wed locked to a woman changed me, my foibles -my outlook, my temperament, my fear, my fads, my obsessions, my hypocrite shadow? Honestly a self-assessment is possible. But I fear that may be understood as conceited and infelicitous.

I feel that one cannot deny that a person with whom one has been associated in life day and night will not have extended his/her influence .Can we deny? The proportion and the depth of the tentacles of influence and ensnaring as we can call it vary from person. From trivial mundane matters to subjective things with deeper resonance, spouse can influence and again it varies from person to person.

The bloke who relished mutton and beef steak or hot spicy veal in Kerala masala suddenly confessed to his greener and vegetarian ways of gastronomic shift. He claimed that his physiological propensity to retain flab around the midriff and the fear of losing battle of the bulge made him forsake the most relished of all viand. The amusing fact was that his physical appearance had not changed an iota horizontally since the teen age while in college. The fact understandably was that after having married a Telugu Brahmin lady he found the going unpleasant with his gastronomic indulgence. He later said in passing his abstinence helped as his spouse was Brahmin. Call it sacrifice, relinquishing, pliability, adaptability and so on. Perhaps to some the latter is the way to extricate from the quagmire.

In a yet male dominated society, I guess that women are far more influenced or forced to adhere to changed ways and habits to suit the fantasies, fallacies and habits of their spouses- their idiosyncrasies in general. But men are pliable and do so to suit to the whims of their spouses. Survival, adaptability, ingenuity and sometimes helplessness ending with biting the bullet to avoid a bitter home! A bondage and bondage is – “subjection to external influences and internal negative thoughts and attitudes”.

Though there may be visible shifts in one’s character, attitude and other characteristics after the alter ego’s influence post wedlock, I guess no one is impervious to change ipso facto. There may be subtle change in one’s self, which may be conscious or otherwise. Some hit the bottle in worse case scenarios. Difficult to pity them but one can be amused.

I wonder what will be the general take on this matter. The cliched argument and supposed platonic statements such as, “give and take or quid pro quo is petty and doses not retain heart and soul.