Where is the present gone?

Life … karma… the past and the burden of the present. The joints are stiff, and the backbone shows its aged slouch. Reality is overbearing. Where is the present gone? It hovers around, like a ghost. The child has no past, and the future hasn’t come yet. There is home, and the meals will be ready. Life isn’t a burden yet. Pleasure or pain, the caretaker takes care of it all. There is speed in the steps, and a bounce in the walk. The world is music, and music is the world. Work is far away, and life is a gig. The young man is happy, and so is the TV set. There is a world to conquer, and a might to show. Things to think about, and things to do. Money shows its colours, and money is the world. Compromise or sacrifice. Run away or wallow. The work trains are ready to go. It’s afternoon, go to sleep. Wake up and think of...
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Why Khajuraho temples are overrated

Artistic portrayal of love and belonging in Indian religious sculpture The small village of Khajuraho is located near the historical city of Jhansi, and boasts of its own small airport. A declared protected monument of Unesco, it is part of the popular culture and rhetoric. Talk about sex and its repression in modern India, and the first argument to fly across will contain references to the imagery on this group of temples. No one however knows for sure the purpose of this public display of kamasutra in a religious place. In the heat of the topic and the arguments, the artistic side is often neglected. Let’s cool down and put on the artistic goggles. The artistic and sculptural value of these erotic poses is extremely poor. The shapes of men hovering over, with lopsided proportions and huge heads, look monstrous. Even the ones that are beyond the reach of vandalising attacks. Compare these with the pic shown alongside. There is beauty here shining...
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Little souls In Buddha’s garden – A picture story

Shravasti – Where Buddha walked in person Sravasti, or shravasti is where Buddha is said to have spent many rainy seasons. The monastery where he lived is in the centre of a garden donated by a rich man of his times. The two young girls climbed down from the trees when they saw me, and lured me to their village with a sweet local accent – “Follow us to the village; Mother Ganges has come to visit us.” They were referring to the flood in the local river that had submerged most of this district. To the faithful, a river flood is a visit by the goddess herself.  I followed them to join a group of shepherds led by an old man the girls were travelling with. The remains of the fort seen in the background were probably the palace of the king of this rich and vibrant trading city. Nothing remains of it now, and only grass and trees grow over the...
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Living a dual life

The most famous of all notions about man describes him as a social animal. That is to say, it is a part of his nature, an instinct, to form groups and communities wherever he lives, and that man cannot live without society, and ought to do so. However, the term ‘man’ in the sentence ‘Man is a social animal’ refers to mankind as a whole, and not individual human beings. It is the nature of an individual that needs introspection. The contention arises when the individual is described solely in social terms. Does this notion of man really describe an ‘individual’ in his or her totality? Is it a true reflection of his or her real nature? There are times when an individual wishes to interact with others, and there are times when he or she wishes to be left alone. All of us live a dual existence, as individuals and as members of groups and communities. Individuals in human society seem...
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Living a free life

As an individual grows up, he becomes a free person in his own right, begins to rule his life, makes his own life decisions, and becomes independent. He is the sole guardian of his best interests, his own self-protector, and the sole maker of his decisions. This alone makes him responsible for his actions. It is not a huge price to pay considering the ownership rights of your body, mind and soul that come with it for a lifetime! To govern oneself, be one’s own ruler, is to be free in its real sense. This is how children are distinguished from adults, and the latter considered responsible for their behaviour. Guardianship, paternalism, protectionism, coming from outside, remove this distinction, and reduce adults to a child-like state. The strongest blow that can be delivered to an individual is to consider him or her unfit for freedom, and put them under some form of guardianship or paternalism, undermining their free nature, returning them into...
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Living in a box

When one has lived for long in conditons of limited freedom, as in regulated and heavily censored countries, it conditions the mind in such a way that exposure to greater freedom only produces an instinctive revulsion and dislike. The mind gets so used to living in protected environments where there are no free spirits to be encountered, that any change that appears to produce a free lifestyle seems wicked and corrupting. This is probably the reason why a good part of the world where conservative religions hold sway dislikes much of western culture. They find it difficult to come to terms with the uninhibited show the western media puts up every night. A free and open life, which has only recently come to be seen as good for humans, remains as disliked as it probably always was. The condition is much like those of boys in conservative societies who do not interact with girls, and find the whole idea of a free...
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The play of passions

“As for me, my business was his money. The passive jade thinks of no pleasure but the money.” – Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe Freedom is a basic necessity of man. If there is any worth and dignity to be have in being a human being, it lies in being free. So much so that, for all crimes the simple punishment consists of taking away this vital element of life. Constraints and necessities too rob us of this precious element. Yet, freedom itself brings along with it a mortal enemy which, given a free reign, reduces man to a mere animal governed by his own instincts. The enemy is pleasure. The dersire to be free comes instinctively to every one of us, and its opponents are easily identified too, dictators of all types and anyone in a position of authority over others. The control exercised by them comes from outside. Inside us there are forces at work that can have a similar effect,...
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