Bar life – 2

Bombay bars are where tired minds and bodies find rejuvenation. And jokes that would not go down well even in irreverent media columns get their peanut-truth sized worth of appreciation. This conversation happened about two weeks ago with a bar friend – we had met over drinks and he had spilled out his love life. In the spirit of true friendship, many times he had offered to bring his local men to my aid when I happened to mention that someone had been troubling me. I knew his company of friends was into raada making as part of business, and so I put him on hold. There is nothing I can’t handle by myself. His first affair had been a failure, and now he was recently and proudly married. So what was he doing there at an odd hour? Wouldn’t his wife mind? “Not really.” What if she argues? “Let her.” And if she kuestions how much you love her? “I never tell her how much I love...
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Aimless wanderings

Young minds are so much made for it — aimless wanderings! Guiding our everyday actions on the straight lines of aims can bring order to our lives. I’ve never much bothered with holding aims and goals as a guide for living. I thought whatever we do is implicitly so rational, that it couldn’t be otherwise that we did anything that had no purpose built into it. Planning careers and something as full and organic as life wasn’t my idea of living. The straight lines Yet, now in my thirties, I ought to know better. That aims, by acting as invisible straight lines to guide our actions, provide that crucial order to our internal life without which life would cease to have that solidity that it must possess. Aimless drifting, where one pleasure after another makes us whirl around, where one obstacle can make us flinch, can’t just be as sweet in the middle age as it is to the young. The strength of our life ultimately...
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An ordinary man

The thin young guy beamed a smile that ran miles. Cheerfully drunk, he ordered an omelette pao and drew out his shabby wallet.  ‘Look where I come from,’ he flashed his voter ID card. He was obviously far away from his home town, making a living in the big city. ‘I work in the film line,’ he informed the street seller, the smile radiating from his countenance. ‘I drink. But I also send money home,’ he said with a glimmer of pride that comes from duty. ‘Have you got your Aadhar card, that’s important too,” the seller asked. ‘Yup, that coming up as well.’ ‘I haven’t married yet,’ he went on. ‘You will soon. If you are in the film line, that should be easy,’ said the seller and took his money. In the big city, moments of good spirits do not last long, and poverty soon engulfs its hard working classes. The ordinary man survives, bruised, broke, broken. ...
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Our worst enemies

They have already made a conquest by claiming depression as their territory. Kids, schools and colleges are already a fertile ground. Offices, homes and marriage will fall easily, and I guess the last has done so already. Let’s for a moment keep aside the ‘true cases’ of the loose nuts, and think for a moment about why some people, who are a far stretch from the known cases, are ‘taken’ to see the doctor. In the US, it is known as commitment. Forced of course. A real tragedy and affront to the so called ‘patient’. Once dehumanised of their composure and intactness, their families can heave a sigh of relief. Their social obligation, of explaining why some one at home is unemployed, reclusive, aggressive, a runaway or just living one’s own life, is over. This is how ‘troublemakers’ are dealt with in some cases. Not by instruction, not by a careful weaning off, not by good example. It looks like some people...
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The good old art of ‘doing nothing’

Imagine this conversation taking place in the office: Boss: What are you doing? You: Mmmm… nothing. 🙂 The smiley is for real. If you don’t smile at the end, get ready for some more action! Our psychology teacher once informed us during a lecture, that it was impossible for one to be doing nothing. Even during yoga, one does something. I am not going to embark on a discourse on the karma theory here. That for some other day! But it is a fine art, this activity of contradictions. They did say, contrary forces and conflicts move the world. The state of doing nothing often results when you are recuperating from an illness. Let me figure out just some of the salient features of what it involves: – It’s a state of repose. Not indolence. Not inaction. A state of observation and rambling thoughts. – The bed becomes the centre of your day’s work. – You observe things that you never found an inclination to do on other days:...
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India, politics and violence

Nehru was an educated politician If there is one thing that has vitiated our lives and minds in this country, more than any other, it is the communion of violence and politics.  It probably began in the 70s. Not that the mass media (bollywood) was clean, or that the Emergency was a peaceful affair. I was born in that year, so my generation can be called the Emergency generation.  But as one corporate czar observed long time ago, as long as Nehru was alive, there was a semblance of unity. After him, it was the era of the regional parties that broke the short lived post-independence harmony. When religion enters the scene, and it did so in a big way in the 90s, it too relies on the power of brawn – how peaceful can we then consider it? Except for the famous chant, it does nothing much to educate us in non-violent ways. It won’t be an overstatement to say that for many,...
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