Monday, December 20, 2010

About A New Book Project

I am writing a book about Christchurch. I don't know what the title will be, but I am very excited. One of the closest ideas of success to me, whatever the hell the term actually means, is: 


Write A Book. 
I believe that a man has acheived something major in life when his works are made into a book. You have sealed a part of your soul within the bindings and made yourself immortal. 
It is different from doing a record. In the future music players will not be able to hear (because of technological advancements) what you have recorded today unless you are phenomenally good. Songs that you have sung today will be unlistenable in the future. And besides, music is for the shifty minded.
Books are immortal. It doesn't matter what you write about. It could be your daily experiences. It could be a story about a duck. It could be a story of life and death. It could be a book about science. 
I believe the world is divided into two types of people. People who have written a book and people who haven't. And no one knows the disparity that it exists, except for those on the greener side.
(I will let you guess which one is the greener side.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update.

Ah. If only fulfillment or the feeling of fullfillment is the ultimate goal of humanity. Because right now, I have so much art projects and creative stuff going on for me that I feel so fulfilled and just happy. If only the other self inside me stops reminding me that I need to get a job. A frikkin job to pay my bills.

I started on this Virtual City of Christchurch on the Second Floor of Majestic and only when I began realised the magnanimity of the project. Well, basically I had the idea of making use of a big white space right at the entrance of the floor that was lying unused. And draw a whole virtual city in the likes of the computer generated virtual cities that have no perspective but have dimension and depth.

Something like that.

It is going to be a massive project and I almost doubt if I will have time to carry it through. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back in Christchurch

So this is my first post after returning to Christchurch.

What can I say? Christchurch. There is no place quite like it.



Here are a few photos I took on Photo Booth. My hair is quite long by now. But I am still wearing old clothes, as I do.

Jo said I looked Metro when she saw me on Sunday. Haha.. Well.. You can't insult me more than calling me a metro. I dislike everything that a Metro man stands for.

Not that I don't. But if the world was fair and square and I had my way, I won't be found as a Metro guy living in a bustling city life.
*

There is a lot in/on my mind. I am plotting an exhibition as early as I can make it happen. And have a theme already in mind.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekend

1. Hard To Find Book Store

2. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows on IMAX

3. Opshop on Dominion Road

4. Edge

5. LifeFM gig (probably)

6. Dom Fantasy Book

7. Micah's Memoir

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My very Fiddler's Green

I was a little over the niceties. With the formalities and social behaviours. With the how-do-you-do's and what's-for-lunch conversations. With the strain of putting up a freshness when you are drained of all freshness.

It isn't such a wrong thing, trust me. (That is, if you are concerned about the right-ness or wrong-ness of it all.)

So I stole away after buying some lunch. There is this little enclosed garden space that sits next to the roaring motorway. Enclosed by greening trees. With a decrepit wooden table and a plank that serves as chair. It is sparklingly green. And the flowers of many kinds litter the ground, almost uncontrollably.

Fiddler's Green. If such a place existed for travel worn sailors, here was my Fiddler's Green.

I lied on the deep green grass. Slightly moist. And it was the most beautiful view from where my head rested. The glorious blue sky. The light fresh boughs of tree nodding sleepily. Sparrows tottering up and down them.

"It's the most beautiful view," I told myself.
--

And there is something about daisies that I love. They give me life lessons everytime I see one.

How they exist almost effortlessly. Almost living without obligation. Without any strings attached. Just a flower that comes out and dies away when it has reached its time.

As though its only purpose was to exist. And be.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

With every threat to me, I feel proud that I am a bone in the enemy’s throat. When the enemy chases me, threatens me and tries to assassinate me, it makes me feel that I am walking, thanks be to God, on the right path.
Khaled Meshal, Damascus-based leader of Hamas

More Researching on Hipsterdom

Hipsterdom is the first "counterculture" to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion.


Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion.


We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.


(From article Hipsters: The Dead End of Western Civilization that covered in ADBUSTERS written by Douglas Haddow)


Wow. Those are big words. Especially from a magazine like Adbusters that normally are read by hipsters themselves (though they admit in being one or not!) and especially from a magazine like Adbusters that are claimed to be run by hipsters (who don't admit it though, but who fall into the categories that they have listed clearly).


Of course I am not a hipster myself. Haha


But in the defence of these 'counter-culture' that is hardly a counter-culture (as the article in Adbusters say), it is the by product of a frustrated generation who have been brought up in the context of globalization. What do you get when one whole generation is brought up experiencing similar lifestyles, engaging in similar popular culture icons, listening to similar music, and having almost similar food habits (as globalization made possible)?


There is a saying that goes: in the future all humans will be beige. There will be no black. There will be no whites. There will be no brown. And that's where the world is headed. If  you try and stop it, and discourage inter-marriage, you are a savage and hater of humanity. 


And I am saying is: in the future (if it's not yet happened now) all young people will be hipsters - or whatever the term that sociologists are using to define this 'nemesis' of subcultures. I don't think much can be done to avoid it. All subcultures will merge into this thing. Ideas will be shared and agreed upon. And a punk kid will also be a B-boy kid who will also be a nerd who will also be a House music fanatic who will also be a religious Bible believing (or devout Hindu) kid who will also be proud lover of coffee.


There will be no stopping this annoyance which will also be a blessing which will also be a phenomena which will also be a sociological subject which will also be a mockery which will also be a culmination of all good things from cultures past which will also be half hearted which will also be adored.

And lead our lives so.

We lock ourselves in. We think it is smart. We think inside this darkened chapel away from the city lights, away from the beckoning neon glows, we are safe from the lusts. We think no one dares barge in to steal what we have here. The little that we have here.

We check the locks now and then. And are saddened to see that the locks are sometimes jarred. As though someone had tried to escape. Lured by the red and blue and orange glow that permeates the thick holy curtains.

We tell these 'someones', these deluded people off. Tell them that evil lurks outside - at our doorstep, waiting to pounce on the first person to take the step out. That we don't belong there. That we have our own thing happening. Our own thing more tamed and cultured. We will have nothing to do with the distasteful ways that are the norms outside our locked doors.

And we shut ourselves in. And lead our lives so.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frankly, my dear, I wouldn't overdo the damn bicycle thing.

A Stop..

It is an adventure. Sometimes it takes someone else to tell you and help you appreciate the things you have been through and just how epic things have been, and just how epic your journey has been.

That's why sometimes people stop at a roadside tea stall somewhere on the highway and talk to a stranger. And let the stranger marvel at how far you have come. Tell her stories of people you have met and places you have been to.

And when you hear the marvel and the ooh and aah of that stranger, you start to feel the travel sickness and the blues creep away slowly. And you gain fresh confidence.

And you bid goodbye to that stranger, and wish her godspeed.

And you continue on...

M.I.A.

I like M.I.A. because what she seeks to do with her art is offend and disturb. No back rubs.

'words of wisdom'

'Words of wisdom' spoken out of bitterness is no good. It is not wisdom. It does more harm than good.

Amen brother!

All I have in life is my imagination. (Woody Allen)

Blessings

When God gives, he gives more than you can handle so that you don't get cocky.
When God takes away it is because he doesn't want you depending on what you had received from him.
*
I had to go in a few minutes. The person who would drop me back to city was already starting up her car. And I rushed back into my room to gather my things.

Everything was in a mess. I grabbed my clothes and stuffed them into my bag. I grabbed my guitar. And chained it inside the case.

And then I saw, there was another guitar. An electric guitar. A pastel green electric guitar, the types that I remember having wanted.

And then I saw another guitar.

Now how was I going to get three guitars and my bag on me to go home?

And the woman was starting her car. She probably had left already. And should I have to catch the bus then? With three guitars?

I know I came here with one guitar. Now I had three.

Blessing. And the responsibility that comes with it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

God does not change season or take something away from you and replace it with rubbish.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anberlin

Anberlin is cool. I get over it for a bit and then get back into it. Like I did yesterday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The shiftless go hungry.

The shiftless go hungry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

History Boys

One of my favourite films, History Boys. Found a few quotations from there:

Hector: The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. 
-----
Headmaster: There's a vacancy in history. 
Tom Irwin: [Thoughtfully] That's very true. 
Headmaster: In the school.
Tom Irwin: Ah. 

-----
Mrs. Lintott: History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket. 
-----
Dakin: The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers.
Scripps: No. 
Dakin: It's consolation. All literature is consolation. 
-----
Wilkes: One day it will save your life.
Posner: Nothing saves anyone's life sir. It just postpones their death.
[Wilkes puts his hands on Posner's shoulders]
Wilkes: Jesus Christ will save your life, lad, if you only let him into your heart!
Posner: I'm Jewish, sir.
[Wilkes moves instead to put his hands on Akhtar's shoulders]
Akthar: I'm Muslim, sir. 

-----
Tom Irwin: The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn't want war. Yeah, there's an arms race, but it's Britain who's leading it. So, why does no one admit this?
[approaching a war memorial]
Tom Irwin: That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault cos so many of our people died. And all the mourning's veiled the truth. It's not "lest we forget", it's "lest we remember". That's what all this is about - the memorials, the Cenotaph, the two minutes' silence. Because there is no better way if forgetting something than by commemorating it. 

-----
Hector: [hector during his general studies class with the boys] i'll let you in on a little secret boys. there is no such thing as general studies. general studies is a waste of time. knowledge is not general. it is specific. 
-----
Mrs. Bibby: Our lord and master, having grudgingly conceded that art may have its uses, I gather, I'm supossed, to give your Oxford and Cambridge boys a smattering of art history.
Hector: Not my bag, Hazel. Irwin's your man.
Tom Irwin: It's really just the icing on the cake.
Mrs. Bibby: Is art ever anything else? 



(source IMDb)

I'M

AT MY WIT'S END.

SHORT STORY - In the morning

We've been through this a million times. I can't believe we are doing it again. What do we say? We have run out of excuses and replies. I have run out of smart lines and things to say to appease you. And now we have started again. What do I say? What do I even think about? I have exhausted thoughts and words, I have spent all I could in the past, and I thought we had already solved it.

So let's make this easy for us. Let's just say things will be alright. Everything's going to be just right...

We might have said this before too. It is not a new line we are telling ourselves. But even so, let us hear ourselves out. Everything will be just alright.

And lets keep it at that.

Let us subdue the remorse that creeps up our spine. Let us subdue the fear that stalks us everyday. Let us not give a damn about reality that looms on our path. They have been at it a million times. We have been at it a million times.

We still don't know what tomorrow will bring. Yesterday still shames us. But for now.. For now, we have each other. Let's lean on each other as we watch the sun rise from behind the purple peaks. Hear the surging wind sing across the forest.

We have each other.

*

But I didn't tell you all these. I should have.

We just sat in silence. Until the glory of the morning vanished as easily as it had appeared.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When I survey

All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

Oamaru, Otago

Last weekend was beautiful. It began when I got a text from Dominic in the middle of my Staff Training on Integrity- you know as an attribute and characteristic of a person in the work place and in Parachute Music. So I was disturbed by the buzz of my phone in my pocket and I decided I wanted to see the text immediately just in case it was something important.

I probably shouldn't have, because after reading that text I couldn't concentrate on the training anymore. The text was Dominic asking me if I was ready for the weekend trip! The weekend trip! The Oamaru trip!

I had totally forgotten about it! I had been making plans to do nothing over the weekend and just relax at home... And then this text reminded me: I had to catch the flight that Friday night straight after work and fly to Christchurch to drive to Oamaru.

After a messy series of texts and planning and laughs with Chris and Danny (when I told them I was supposed to be in South Island that very evening) I was on my way to the airport, but not before I grabbed my passport and a few clothes for the weekend.

Dominic and Calvin (and his sister) got me from the airport. Immediately we were well on our way to Oamaru. The drive there was eventless. I can't remember anything about it, except eating some Fried Rice at the back from the plastic boxes.

Oamaru was a very pretty and quaint town with a lot of character. Though I didn't see much of it next day, because we drove straight to the Narnia film site (which was the main reason we were there), the little that I did told me that Oamaru is a town that is not trying to be something else. It has a lot of charm and old buildings and is very much treated like a Victorian English town.

--

The wine farms (wineries?) of Otago struck me speechless. They were green and lavish in their summer-liness. The countryside and farming lands. And the further from the town we went the closer we got to the mountains which began only hazed and grey in the far horizon.

Narnia film site was stunning. Not because it was a film site. In fact people who weren't hard core fans of Narnia like Dominic is, wouldn't even realise that it is a film site. It is just a private farm, with bits of land cordoned off by electric fence, watched by farmers on the four wheel drives and cows and a few horses.

I had a lot of time to explore the place on my own (which I always love doing, if you're asking). I got buzzed by the electric fence two times. Thank goodness the volts weren't high. Else, I kept wondering what it would be like to be found dead somewhere under a bush of trees or in a corner of a countryside, had the electric fences been fatal. But don't you worry: those fences were just to scare cows and livestock from crossing fences. Just enough to give one a rough (and rude) jolt.

--

I remember the spot we had lunch at. Under the shade of the trees. A herd of cows came and watched us for a bit, looking very curious. I took a nap in the shade. And as the day progressed the sun started to creep up my feet and then my jeans, til I had to move away.

--

Oamaru as a town is, as I said, very quaint. The markets that open in weekends I think, are full of interesting things. There was a Steampunk exhibition happening in town and there were interesting art pieces of futuristic old robots and cars and trains at the town centre. We saw some people dressed up in futuristic but old fashion too, doing some filming and photography.

Of course Dominic had to do it too. We got dressed up in Victorian clothing and took a couple of photos (officially done by a photo store called Photo Shoppe).

--

I'd like to go back there one day and explore the many stores and even the farms and houses in the countryside. Maybe, meet interesting people around there.

Maybe.

Shillong

Thinking of Shillong. And the blues. The music and the skies.

Something beckons me.

I feel hoodwinked. Or am onto some turn of events.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Self Portraits- Because everyone is allowed to take self portraits once in a while.

Michael Jackson Fridays

At Parachute Music creatives, Fridays are Michael Jackson days. It is treated with fervour and you aren't allowed to play MJ on other days nor are you allowed to play anything else on Fridays.

Michael Jackson=coolness. He is the man.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quotes

My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead I was a painter, and became Picasso.
--
Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names. They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors. (Jim Morrison)
--
Fashion fades, only style remains the same. (Coco Chanel)
--
A hero is someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom. (Bob Dylan)
--
Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. (Confucius)

Cookies by Douglas Adams (author: "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")

Read it. It really is funny!

This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person was me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I'd gotten the time of the train wrong.
I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table.

I want you to picture the scene. It's very important that you get this very clear in your mind.
Here's the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There's a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase.

It didn't look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it.

Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with. There's nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies.

You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles. There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know. . . But in the end, I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do: I ignored it. And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn't do anything, and thought, what am I going to do?

In the end I thought, nothing for it, I'll just have to go for it, and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened. I took out a cookie for myself. I thought, that settled him. But it hadn't because a moment or two later he did it again. He took another cookie.

Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around. "Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice . . ." I mean, it doesn't really work.

We went through the whole packet like this. When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime. He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one. Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away.

Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back. A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies.

The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who's had the same exact story, only he doesn't have the punch line.

(Excerpted from "The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time" by Douglas Adams)

Isaac Asimov's argument on the relativity of wrong

Here's a link to an argument that Isaac Asimov, one of the best authors of Science Fiction works, put up to a mail he received from an English Literature student who said Asimov ought to be wise and admit he doesn't know much; because Socrates said only the wisest know that they knows nothing.

He argues about the idea of the 'wrong' and against the claim that every century scientists have made discoveries and had thought of them to be right, only to be proven 'wrong' by newer discoveries.

Click here to read.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apocalypse Redux Quotes

* We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene! 


* Roxanne: Do you know why you can never step into the same river twice?
Willard: Yeah, 'cause it's always moving. 



* Have you ever considered any real freedoms? Freedoms from the opinion of others... even the opinions of yourself? 


* Well, you see, Willard, in this war, things get confused out there. Power, ideals, the old morality, and practical military necessity. But out there with these natives, it must be a temptation to be God. Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irration, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. 


Quotes from Apocalypse Now Redux that I watched last weekend. Film review coming soon.

I was going

Was it a dream? It felt real. It felt very real. I can even still feel the excited creeped me then. I can still hear my heart thumping as it did when I dreamt. I sit now at my desk and listen to people make plans.

Planning. Planning.

Never have I gained anything by planning. The only thing that planning has ever done for me is make me want to do all the more what I have only been planning.

I have heard it said: Life is what happens when you are busy planning.

In my dream (or what I think now was just a dream), I was going at last. I was going to places I have only ever dreamt of. Places that I had planned to go to, and had been planning to go to for a long long time. And my plans were finally getting played out.

Those whom I loved were there. They were all coming. I was going with them to see the bazaars. The lovely houses that cradled the ledge of the mountain, and from whose open window we would drink tea and stare out at the vast layers of snowy mountains, still a safe distance away to not dampen the sunny skies. The shadowy trees that shelter birds and men and ladies when the clouds open up. The daisies that border the highway that smells like burnt rubber and baked earth in the sun. The shuffling clouds rubbing their wetness against the deep green hills.

I was going. And I had done away with the planning.

I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works 
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.

Away from the sight of the face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.

Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are playing their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.

Now it is time to sit quiet, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.

Rabindranath Tagore

Dalhousie

Dalhousie, the hill station in the Himachal Himalayan foothills, apart from it having the most lovely name has a very interesting history and why it is not so crowded as other foothills are now.

Dalhousie used to be the summer counterpart of Lahore before the Independence of India, much like Shimla was for Delhi, and perhaps Darjeeling and Calcutta. So when the Partition happened and the Muslim areas (apparently) went to Pakistan and the rest to India, Lahore went with Pakistan and left Dalhousie, the pretty little town on its own in India.

Haha.

I want to see Dalhousie so bad now.

The Beckoning

They dropped the bomb on me. And they stunned me.

But not for long. They weren't haters. They were just doing what they do. What they were paid to do.

I laid stunned for a moment. And then on my back as I laid there, I saw the open skies. The deep blue calling. I heard for what seems like after forever, the soft brush of the grass against my face. The smell of moist earth swirling up into my senses.

They say, that a pig can live all its life not seeing the sky ever. Ever. Except on the day it dies.

I feel like that now. Not that I am dead. But that when everything is denied of me and when I am forced to lay back and stop everything I had been doing. I see the skies.

Blue. Pickled with drifts of clouds.

Calling me, beckoning me warmly. Affectionately. The earth vanishes. And all I see is the open sky. Calling me on and on.

I have never felt free than now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Anjum Hasan, poet from Shillong

I discovered a poet Anjum Hasan who was born and brought up in Shillong. Her poems and books echo of nostalgia of Shillong, like this poem called Coming of Age In A Convent School. She has also written two novels called Lunatic In My Head and Neti Neti.

Coming Of Age In A Convent School

The year is 1985
and Phoebe comes to class wearing a golden wig.
A group of girls walk around school with moles
carefully drawn above their lips in blue ballpoint ink.
They're in love with Madonna.

This is the year that Sister Carmel, our English teacher,
will refuse to believe that Boy George is not a woman,
the year she will talk animatedly about Live Aid.
This year everyone loves the sex education class
but pretends not to.

Sister Monica shows us a film in the library
about an American teenager whom everybody bullies
because he's still a virgin.
The point of the film is that he's a winner nevertheless,
and can't be cowed down.

Next year Prisca will have a baby
but this year she giggles and squirms like everyone else,
and when the girl I sit with stains her overall,
I'm so utterly envious.
I long to be part of this sisterhood.

This is the year of George Michael's stubble,
the year of Stevie Wonder jokes.

This is the year I realise that there are only,
only women in the entire school building
and am astonished at the thought.

Anjum Hasan

About my family

Often times I stop and think about my brother who lives in Delhi now, studying his butt off for MBA exams coming up this December. I also then think about my other brother who lives at the moment in Korea, also studying his butt off for, well, that's because that's what they do. And then I think about how I am here at the bottom of the earth (if you follow the earth as mapped by ancient mappers and has now come to be the general accepted version. Because technically, you see, there is no up or down when you are approaching earth from space. But before I get distracted..) I also start to think about my parents back home in Shillong, tending the vegetable gardens, my mother sitting in front of computer working and my father always the busy man never the one to sit tight and be idle.

I think about how up til I was 20 we were kept home and I was getting restless to get out of Shillong, dreaming of places beyond the borders of the possibles, writing imaginary stories and dreams of places. And then suddenly it all happens. Just when I turn 21 I am whipped away from my century old British holiday house in Shillong to the most unthinkable place in the world in Christchurch.

And one by one after me, my brothers also get whipped away, one to Korea and another to Delhi.

I always marvel about how seemingly scripted it all seems. Nothing happens for a while outwardly and then when it happens, everything else that was going to happen, happens.

Man, it must all be scripted.

Perseverence

Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Researching.

Wow. I am actually free now. Half an hour to go before work ends. I have finished all my jobs lined for me. Done my archiving, checking, then re-checking my files and sent off finished projects.

And I am free. And Danny tells me, sorry man. Do some research or something. Visit some cool websites.

So, yeah here I am. In a very cool website.

Researching.

This post is dedicated to Chegen

Click on image to see enlarged.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Its the time of the day when the sun's turned golden, the tree's turned dark, the cars outside have lessened and you're just waiting for the night to come. You're in transition. The quiet nothing between a completed-something and still-to-come-something.

music

The sound of music coming from a gramophone actually makes me happy.

Writing about death

I set myself a task - to write a story about death. This evening. And I come out of the balcony in the glowing soft evening enveloped by garden trees that spring from the ground beneath me. Feel the soft breeze's kind stroke on my face, brushing my hair, and hear the dance of the leaves...

And the last thing I want to write about at this moment is death. I've never felt more alive than now.

(26 Oct 2010)

Monday, November 1, 2010

What the world needs

Maybe I am becoming too modernist in my thinking. Or whatever the technical term is, if you give a rip about what the actual word is that I am refering to.

Modernist. Post-modernist. Whatever it is. Progressive. Alternative.

My point is, sometimes I feel what the world really needs is love.

(Haha, how stupid I sound.)

Not judgment not critics not justice not human rights not even religion.

Not the lovey-dovey-ing between lovers. Not relationships.

But love for human kind. The kind of love that hippies who crooned the Beatles' song 'All We Need Is Love' totally missed because they thought that making free love and snorting grass were the answers to the problems of the world.

Love for human kind. I don't know what that means though. But I remember one of my friends, when I asked him what according to you is God? said: Love.

If there is an absolute truth on earth that humans have access to, it is love. Love can never be wrong.

Charity done out of love. Discipline done out of love. Teaching done out of love. Words spoken out of love. Songs sung out of love. Work done out of love.

Never Let Me Go and Sahaya the girl at the bookstore

I bought a book last Saturday from New Market and I was highly under the influence of a pretty girl at the store. Anyway, let me narrate the story for you. My housemates were going to meet up with a friend over coffee at McDonald's! (Yuck!) They wanted to talk about their plans to move to Australia. I was having none of that.

Besides I have quitted multi national brands like McDonald's and Starbucks. That is another story in itself that I will write about some other time. For now lets just say I don't like the brutality in their marketing and the image of Westernism that they portray. You have way better indie cafes to go to here anyway.

But as I said, that is another story.

I went to this bookstore, not feeling very impressed with their look but because I had a lot of time to kill while I waited for the McD crew to lavish in their talks and cholesterol. I knew I wanted Kazuo Ishiguro's book and I looked around but had no luck finding it. The bookstore wasn't well planned out as well and it was a mission to get around and know what section you stood at and where you could find what sort of books.

So in time I went to the counter where this girl was there. She must be of Indian origin and she had British accent. I asked her if they had a book by Ishiguro and I didn't expect her to know. In fact I wanted to talk to the other sales lady who was older and who looked like the more knowledgeable type. We all make judgments don't we?

So she surprised me when she nodded and took me to a section that must have been for fiction (which I earlier hadn't really figured out). She looked up and down the stacks and pointed to the shelves at the knee level. There they were: Kazuo Ishiguro.

Had she read them?

Yes. She took one of them from the shelf, "This one is very beautifully well written. It is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people love it, some don't like it.." I think I was slightly impressed by her having read it.

"Ah. I read this one the other day the library," I picked the one called A Pale View of the Hills, "but couldn't finish it.." Because I didn't have membership yet at Auckland Library and it was shutting down for the day. "How was it?"

"Let's see what it says about it." She took A Pale View.. and flipped it over and read the back. "Hm, sounds depressing!"

I took Never Let Me Go from the shelf and said: "Well this was the one I was after. So, you would recommend these?"

"Absolutely. But as I said I loved it but it is not everyone's cup of tea. The one I read was about some kids who grew up in England and about their normal lives.."

"Slow paced.. nice."

"Yeah. And it is interesting how his writing is so much like English style even though he is not.."

"Though he is Japanese." I had done my homework. I knew the story of Kazuo Ishiguro than most people who have even read his books, including Sahaya the book seller, didn't know. (I saw her name on the badge she wore on her blazer). "He was born in Japan but grew up in England. He moved there when he was young."

We went back to the counter and I paid for it.

I was impressed by and attracted to the way Sahaya knew about the book that most people had only 'heard of' and the way she talked about the book in her Brit twang so I had no regrets buying it.

Also after starting to read it, I realised I have no regrets in buying the book because it is one of the more amazing books I have read to date.
*

Never Let Me Go is so beautifully well written. The way it is written is slow paced and narrates seemingly little events in the character's day to day lives but is a real page turner.

It describes the human behaviour and emotions by the mood it creates and not necessarily by narrating them in detail. I spent hours and hours reading it yesterday and am more than halfway through it. Maybe I will have finished it in the coming few days.

It is beautiful and still disturbing, slow and yet demanding. So glad I met Sahaya without whom I would have left the hideous bookstore and have missed out on this book.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Glasses

I am thinking of buying new glasses by the end of this year.

I thought about Tim Burton's styled glasses. But my Creative Director Chris wears them already and it would be awkward if I turn up to work one day with glasses just like her's, cool though they may look.

Thick frame square ones would be cool. But I have had enough of people mistaking my style for Korean style - which I repeat, offends me to all ends! - so I will not go for that.

There's Woody Allen style glasses. Not too bad. The risk of being mistaken for Korean influence is there for this one too.

So, I don't know.

The mentalest day ever

The mental-est day ever.

I can't wait to get home, sit at the table on the balcony to watch the sun set, enclosed by garden trees in the evening light.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More about Injustice

I talked to a good friend about the disparity between the rich and the poor, that so much injustice can exist on the planet. Where you would happily spend all your money to eat out and you know that in the same planet, even in the same city, there is someone who wishes for a dollar to get a bite just so he can get through the day.

I talked to my friend and told him things like these start to bother me.

He said, your wealth is given to you. Use it well. (Fair enough)

You might be rich. Be happy with that.. And then he says:

The poor will need to be content too.

It unsettled me that people can be made to (asked to!) be content in extreme lack. You don't say such things to a person starving on the road.

Agreed. You practise discernment when you give to people (or even in your wanting to give to people).

Agreed. Money is not everything, and what you mean by 'rich' and 'poor' is purely subjective. A millionaire feels poor compared to a billionaire. Similarly, I will consider a barber somewhere in an Indian village 'poorer' than me purely on the basis of money earned.

To digress a bit, is that even a right thing to do? To measure other people by your yardstick? What is my definition of better? What is good and what is bad?

Is it hygiene? Money? The amount of people you know? The amount of people who smile at you and are cordial to you?

I think when we judge nations and countries and cultures based on what we think are pointers of 'good' and 'bad' then that in itself becomes injustice.

In this light, people are content with what they have. Atleast to start with, they were. Sometimes most people are happy with what they are until someone else from somewhere else comes along and shows their idea of what is 'good' and 'bad' and how they fare in that standard.

Is it?

I don't know.
*

The most universal example of the most widely accepted version of what is 'good' and 'bad' are the Human Rights. I wouldn't say it is the absolute truth (because I believe that absolute truth is nothing else but the very spoken word and deed of God). Human interpretations of God's word is not truth either because it has been filtered by language, perception and understanding. But we will say that the Human Rights is the closest it comes to absolutes.
*

At the end of the day, Human Rights are just rights. Laws. Written down to make sure that there is a reference when people violate them. Almost like an idol so activists can point to it and take violaters on a guilt trip.

It still misses the mark.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love song

I have just realised.

It is a love song. A rousing poetry.

For people who I loved and hated.

For places that I lived in,

For places I have only passed through, and

For places I wish I could see.

For moments that I wish would stay.

For lives that come and go.

For people I know and

For people I once knew and have forgotten now.

Change my heart

I wouldn't love my neighbour. I couldn't love a stranger on the street.

Change my heart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tumblr

I love my new theme on Tumblr.

I love Tumblr.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Single Man

Mussoorie

of India

Brendan, from Parachute Music, just returned from India on his trip with World Vision. He seems to have been powerfully impacted by India.

He says: 'Chennai (and India) was a circus' and 'India was a sensory experience' that cannot be communicated via photo and conversation. There is the sight and smell and the engagement of the senses, or the morality of where you stand as a human being when you see beauty and ugliness shoulder to shoulder as it is in India.

He gets that bang on.

We went through photos he had taken: beautiful people, kids, holy men, men in their occupation, rivers, temples, streets, homeless people, empowered women in spice business, social workers, chaotic traffic.

It opened the trap door in me again, that trapdoor of my sometimes contradictory, sometimes sensible, affections for this country that I was born in. The India that Brendan talks about isn't of the Taj Mahal or the curry. I think that he somehow gets the essence of the nation.

And like I said, the essence of India cannot be communicated via a blog entry (try as I might!) or a youtube video post or anything else I can do. Trust me I have tried.

I believe..
A nation and its people cannot be afford to be disillusioned for it to rise from the ashes. A good amount of awareness and positive talking will go a long long way to take India out of the rubble it is in at the moment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

About happy memories

Sometimes I don't know what to do with my memories. No, not the bad memories.

But good memories. Sometimes, in fact, all of the time, when I think about it, I realise I don't know what to do with good, beautiful and happy memories.

I know about bad memories. You try and forget them and move on with your life and look forward to what's ahead in the future. They are no good for you. They only disappoint you and make you feel bad about yourself.

But good memories. What do you do with them?

Do you relish in them? Do you revel in happy thoughts about things that happened in the past?

Sometimes you write them down. Sometimes you try and relive them. But they never come back. Happier past is gone as much as the bad past (as they say) is past.

What do you do with them?

Sometimes I try and write stories and make them a little bit less temporary as they are. Sometimes I try to close my eyes and remember things.

But then I am afraid of relishing too much of it too. Because maybe like the sweetness of a candy dissolves the harder you suck on it, the sweetness of happy memories also fades the more we think about them.

Bit by wanderlust

Wow. Imnuk was in Mussoorie and I didn't think much of that until I saw her photos on facebook.

Every cell in me is bit by wanderlust right now. Especially the lust to see that specific place, Mussoorie.

I am bit!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Of visitation

It's like magic. When I play music that sound like they have come out of the gramophone, old and cranky and creaky, very old Hindi film music, strange sounds from the non-mainstream, not from the pretentious alternative; when I hear these sounds there is something in me flicks on.

A part of me that imagines scenes and places and people and hair and tinted glasses and shapely hands and lakes and towering mountains and breezing pines and shop lights and scents and sunlight glinting off windows...

How can I ignore or deny myself such strong visitations? This is either a very beautiful gift or a lifelong curse.

...Sirion.

---

Have I been in the place in my dreams? Have I seen the houses and streets roamed to rubble by students and residents of the little town? Have I breathe the same air that Elijah breathes? Watched the dance of Deirdre's hair flicker against the bright refractions of sunlight off Lake Hira? Felt the cold clouds and mists as they make their march across the face of the mountains, green and silent?

Maybe I have.

I couldn't otherwise explain this constant visitation.

Church Scouting

I have been going around to a lot of churches lately. Here is the list of churches I went to:
. City Church Waitakere
. City Impact Church
. St.Paul's Church
. Church Unlimited
. Faith City Church

It has made me think and remember how different people are. How they are catered to spiritually in different ways, how they worship differently. You see, for example, Faith City and St.Paul's are churches on two extreme poles. They are made up of totally different crowd and different vibe. St.Paul's is artsy, relaxed and chilled Reformed Anglican church while Faith City is more like a Pentecostal South Auckland hard core church, cool in its own way. Awesome music in both places. Faith City has this gospel-choir-R&B-dance vibe (effortlessly cool) and St.Paul's has this Leeland-alternative-acoustic atmosphere and it is set in Auckland's one of oldest church buildings.

They have been enriching experiences. I still plan to visit Edge Kingsland next sunday, and then finally will decide which church I will stick to.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

on Rob Bell.

Sometimes I listen to Rob Bell on iTunes when I work. He is good.

He is popular and well known for a good reason.

The most impressive thing about him is that he knows the Bible. Very well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Followers of this blog.

Thank you, to people who follow my blog. Appreciate it heaps.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Email to my father

I was writing an email to my father just now and it made me think about a few things. About how far I have come. And about how it all began when we started realising how inadequate we all are apart from God.

I remember I used to look forward to receiving stocks from World Vision coming in (we never really did get many of them, because my parents thought there were other people who needed them more). I would watch people get umbrellas and bags and so on, all the way from America, and not that we needed umbrellas and bags but I would wish I could qualify to get just anything from America too. It would be really nice.

Parachute Music partners with World Vision. Now I am on the other end working with the people who are wanting to help nations and peoples and families in India, Rwanda and so on.

Unbelievable.

A thought on a five minute break from designing the Parachute Kids characters

(A thought on a five minute break from designing the Parachute Kids characters.)

So I think I know what I want to be doing. Not in terms of professional job, because I think I am pretty happy where I am at now. I am happy to be a graphic designer, no matter how technical or creative the job gets.

But the more I realise the content of my blogging (in Tumblr, not so much Blogger), the more I am starting to understand what motivates and inspires me more, compared to other things.

Clearly music doesn't move me as much. Art doesn't necessarily stir me. Well, it does, but not to that extent.

So what does? I have an answer, I think.

Oh weekend, come to me.

I wanted to sleep in this morning. But I cheered myself because I can do that tomorrow. Saturday. So good.
I want to do nothing this weekend. Well, except for sunday when I have homies (from Christchurch) coming up and we're hitting Edge (or St.Paul's, depends).
Maybe I'd like a nice road trip into the wild. I mean, as hardcore as that sounds (the wild) New Zealand's wilderness is tame. Very pretty and inviting. Well, South Island was. Can't say I have seen North Island too much to say the same.
--
I am reminded of a shopping I did at Christchurch last weekend. And I knew the girl who was at one of the shops. And I was looking for a new pair of jeans. And I told her my size and all that. We looked around a bit and she also said, you should look at women's jeans too (since I was skinny). I thought she was joking, so I just followed her, unsure whether to laugh or not.
She did take me to the women section.
Are you being serious? I asked her, do people do that? (like, guys buying women's jeans)
She replied with all conviction, yeah! People always do that.
--
I passed no judgment. As an idea it is not impossible. But would I wear a pair that were in actuality jeans made for women?

I went to the guy's section after mumbling some excuse.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A thought

Sometimes I wish I work in Mumbai or Delhi or anywhere in India.

Just so I can take a five minutes break from designing and buy a quick Rs.5 tea from the roadside.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

'Taming a Nazi Sniper With a Trumpet'

"He was no enemy. He was scared and lonely, like me."
says the 90 year-old World War II D-Day veteran.


Watch his interesting story here

How did dinosaurs die?

I always get proven wrong

I have learnt that judging people always leave me in the wrong.

When I know the person and what and why he/she does what he/she does, I only end up regretting the judgment I made in my ignorance.

All humans are good hearted, and there is always a good reason why they do things, no matter how good or evil they are perceived to be by others.


Everyday God proves me wrong when everyday I observe and judge people and the things that they do.

Paul Henry's Remark

It's happened again. A slip of tongue, maybe, on the part of Paul Henry, presenter of a show on national TV in NZ. Maybe a careless remark, thrown in, as presenters tend to do, when they get turned on by the fact that millions are watching and listening to them.

He remarked (to John Keys, the Prime Minister of NZ) if next time NZ is going to appoint a Governor General (yes, NZ still has a GG of the British Monarchy) who looks and sounds more like a New Zealander.

The present GG is Sir Anand, who was born in Fiji and is Fijian Indian origin, but grew up all his life and did his schooling in NZ. In fact, technically he would be more 'New Zealander' than Henry because Henry was born in UK and did his schools there, and only then came after working with BBC to NZ.


"Is he even a New Zealander?" Henry asked. "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time?"


Isn't that amazing. A national TV presenter on national TV saying such a thing. 

Maybe (like TVNZ defend themselves) the show, hosted by the outspoken Henry, has been known to have voiced opinions of people that are not necessarily comfortable spoken out. 

That is actually what TVNZ said to defend themselves. So, what is TVNZ saying? That people of NZ actually think they need a Governor General who looks and sounds like a 'New Zealander' (whatever that would mean) but they are just uncomfortable about speaking it out, and they silently applaud Paul Henry for making it loud and clear on their behalf?

If Paul Henry is not taught a lesson (even sacked), my reputation of NZ will drop. It got front page coverage on the paper today. It was clearly heard by millions of TV viewers. A tech-guy from the TVNZ studio resigned yesterday.

If nothing is done to show that NZ regrets the statement (because it was made on national government run TV channel), its reputation as a liberal and open minded nation will have fallen. If people have heard it said, and still do nothing about it, it will only mean they have agreed.
--
Let me get this straight though. I am not being extremely sensitive. I know lots of people making fun of Indians and Asians, as much as the blond/blondes and Caucasians and Africans are made fun of. Mockery is almost part of human nature.
But you have to be sensible when you are on national television and speaking on behalf of your countrymen. Even if you try and remain human and crack jokes now and then, you need to know your voice is also the voice of the millions who are watching you and who you/your show is labelled after.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Last weekend at Christchurch

So I took the plane down to Christchurch for the weekend. There are some crazy things happening at Christchurch and at Majestic I am proud to say. I was almost envious of things happening there, and to think that I just moved up to Auckland at such a crucial time as this.

Spring was arriving in the city. The gardens that lined the road going into city from airport were green as ever dotted by new daffodils and rosebushes.. So good.

-Did some opshopping with Nathan where we bumped into a very cool shop on Ferry Road where I bought a $4 Lord of the Rings book, and another $4 Famous Five book. I also bought a 1950's tattered brown leather bag. I love it. And it also has a very badly done calligraphed work that says 'USA' in front of it, that I think is ironic because I don't like USA and the way that this very average skilled person (probably who lived in the 50s!) painted it there is hilarious. Almost a self-mockery. Also bought a new pair of skinny jeans, because I had to get something to wear for the Lunar Lane show I was on that night.

- Lunch at Ancestral was good, though I was too full to eat, after the porridge I had with Andre and Nate at Cafe Dose earlier when I had just come in. Was so good to see friends again.

Christchurch city is very quiet, and the traffic has also lessened. Many places in the city are still cordoned off. Like Bedford Row and few places on High Street from the few I noticed.

My room, as I found out, is occupied by Tony, my old classmate. Funny guy, met him on the street on his way back from buying some Burger King for lunch. Haha. Internet has gone dysfunctional, and Sing hardly lives in our old house anymore. He lives in Han's and Rino's after the earthquake, sharing Rino's room. One wonders why he would stay there when he has his own room and a queen sized bed just a block away anyway. Haha, funny guy.

Went to Majestic for Lunar Lane rehearsal, what a scene the hip hop dancers from our church are! And all the performers. Totally world class. Andre and Elly, as they always do, were running things, screaming and shouting and moving the whole crowd of dancers. They are awesome people.

Did my One Republic song that night at Lunar Lane, flanked by a contemporary dancer (she's of Indian origin I think) Matis, and Nathan.

Anyway, Sunday morning worship leading was the best. I was freaking out inwardly, because the celloist, the flute player and the grand pianist weren't going to turn up. But I had great background vocalists and co-leader Sarah, and then Nate, Brooke, Rosie, all great singers already on their own. So yeah.

It was crazy. Things happened that never did.

It was real sad I had to leave that afternoon straight after church.
--

PS. Joel's sending me two tshirts of C1 this week. And Nate is coming up this weekend. I am going to St.Paul's this sunday with Brooke. And Sarah's coming up too.
--

Majestic was like a dose of goodness again.

I Have Been

All the vanities, they fail me,
They fade like a wisp of smoke,
They are sad memories, not here to stay.
Now that I have tasted something better,

I don't want to return to melancholy,
To stare at the open sky from behind
A closed window.

Set me free.

I have been.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A find

I found a new favourite photographer. His photos (and few videos on his Vimeo) make the woman to look part of a melancholic but happy memory.

He uses 35mm, Polaroid and 6X6 (I have no idea what that in actuality is, frankly). Possibly one of the first few photographers to bring in the dreamy feel/effect to good use in the photos. I found out about him from this Frankie Magazine's The Photo Album:
By the way, the photo on the cover of the book is not shot by him. I just found the guy referred to by one of the artist featured here. The guy's works weren't even in the album.

The mystery photographer is his name for now. I don't want to give his actual name away.

Skinny jeans!!!

Every boy is overdoing the skinny jeans!!!! God save us! Stop before you kill it!!

Like you killed Chucks!

Thoughts in the morning

This morning I read the NZ Herald, as I always do over coffee, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that coverage given to news and feature about India has increased in number -  and more importantly in quality too.

Normally, on any given day, the maximum amount of news you would find in a NZ paper would be one at the most (provided there is no major happening there, like the CWG). Well, pretty much the same way NZ will feature at the most one time on any given day in a national paper in India. I think that India and NZ are more or less two countries that exist on opposite poles. There is nothing (that comes to my mind now) common between us.

Well, thanks to the games and the hype, every nation, yes, even NZ, is watching. It is the right time for India to put on a good show.

True, again and again, we insist, it's not about the show we put up. It is not about the fake celebration we perform under the watchful eye of the world. It is upto India, therefore, to put up a more quality image of itself. Not a mock festivity that Indians are terribly good at. Not in media hullabaloo that Indians are also terribly good at. Not by fighting back the allegations with sharp arguments that Indians are (why, God!?) blessed with.

What India lacks, and in my opinion needs most, is quiet confidence.

Yes, people are right in saying that politics is hell in the country. Poverty reeks like a gaping wound. Population is beyond bursting level, it has skyrocketed already. If cleanliness brings salvation, most Indian cities are heading to damnation. There is no hiding these facts. They are absolute.

What I am saying is, you are terribly wrong if you stop there. That is why I say the media is one sided. They don't look past the obvious.

Even citizens of the country themselves don't look past the obvious. India is a nation of people first before it becomes a republic of politics and democracy. India is a crazy montage of landscape and diversity before it becomes a messy clog of 'metro' cities. When God made nations he did not make countries to be ruled by a candidate who would win votes by being outspoken and proactive. He made nations of peoples. Diverse languages and lifestyles and habits, people who would live their lives every single minute, every single second, not knowing they are walking talking miracles.

The miracle is not in the 'booming' economy or the space programmes or the film industry though I pointed them out in great fervour in my past blog entry.
------

Ah, I don't know. I find it shameful that I have to be writing this.

Somebody's just got to stand up for the things that you love, when its reputation is at stake.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mornings at the cafe

There is a cafe I go to every morning. I don't go there just because its a cool thing to do, or because its what working men do before they hit work. The reason I go there is because I always have an hour to spare when I get dropped into Kingsland till I can get into the office. My house mate Sila goes to work in the morning as well and I think it smart to go with him in the morning instead of troubling to struggle for bus in the morning, even though it means I have to come in an hour early. That one hour makes me go to this cafe where I read the paper and have Long Black, everyday.

I go to Atomic Roasters on New North Road, Kingsland, just a block away from my work.

One hour is quite a long time to spend away and I read a lot of news lately. Getting informed about things happening in NZ as well as the world - like it or not. But it is good because I don't turn up to work half asleep or still with snot in my eyes. I am actually even thinking I might miss this little habit when I move to Kingsland (which I eventually will, seeking a closer place to work) because practically, as much as I want to, what are the chances of me getting out of bed an hour early, when I don't have to, just to go read the paper in the cafe?

Necessity does bring out good habits in us.

Oh well. Work time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a saying

Resistance and pain lets you know you're still alive.

untitled

My father wrote me this email about his trip to Guwahati dropping my youngest brother Pouchun at the airport. Its amazing how much it is a mission to do the simplest thing back home, as simple as dropping someone off to the airport. Don't get me wrong. Shillong is a fabulous place, but there is so much for the North East to catch up.


Anyway, that wasn't the point of my post here. Read on, first:


That day when i went to drop Pouchun to airport, i engaged a taxi, but because of Bharat bandh, the taxi informed there will be no taxi that day (5th July), fortunately we went with Engam Pamei on his oficial vehicle upto Gauhati, after that worse thing was no taxi at all, so i requested Anna' father to drop us to airport, we reached there by 12 noon, already started checkin, after Pouchun entered i requested him to drop me to Khanapara,
From there i catch up one autorickshaw upto Jorabat, from there another auto upto Burnihat, from there another auto upto Nongpoh, then from Nongpoh local taxi to Shillong, it was a real scouting experience.
Nothing is easy-we have to face hurdles, sometimes unbelievable obstacles, but "where there is a will there is a way" with God's help. Praise the Lord.

-Pa


My father is such a legend. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Auckland

Auckland city has a tendency to be pretty and at the same time quite daunting. I almost feel like there is a sense of competition. When you go to Symonds Street you see the beautiful old buildings and the St.Paul's sort of structures and then you go down Queen Street you see clutter of culturally and diverse scenes and they look metropolitan. And then there is Ponsonby, the habitat of the alternative. Massey and Henderson, of the mixed and middle class.

I mean, its nothing new for a major city. But you know what I mean. Auckland is more of the global city than Christchurch is not. And will not become I hope.

Friday, September 24, 2010

About Commonwealth Games, India and Injustice

India has been in the news in recent times. Yes, I am talking about news in New Zealand too. The Commonwealth Games in Delhi is at the moment at risk of being called off because of security and health reasons. New Zealand sports team has made a lot of fuss on this issue. Every evening you hear reports from Delhi on how crap the facilities are over there, and how sports persons from the 'first world' run the risk of catching a disease or being caught in a terrorist attack.

I couldn't sit back and have my country take all the shame and not say anything about it. Not that my saying would help in any practical way; but it would do me good to speak out.

What the fuss is about
Sensibly, the fuss is not an misplaced one. Countries like NZ have a reason to doubt safety for health and security reasons. They are sending their best athletes (considering the meagre population) to compete and the last thing they want to do is for them to fall into any sort of danger.

Why there shouldn't be too much fuss
But it pisses me off because they are starting to sound like snobbish mothers unwilling to let their kids to school because they might get beaten up or bullied. This is the real world. You might grow up in a peaceful and well nourished lifestyle, but like it or not, if you are considered a world class athlete, start to behave like one. There is a reason why there is a 'world' in 'world-class'. It means you have to learn to compete in places where you don't necessarily have a picturesque backdrop; because believe it or not, there are places like these in the world too..

Which brings me to the next point: the meaning of Commonwealth.
From my history in school, I learnt that the Commonwealth was begun so that there could be equality among the member countries, and so that there could be mutual benefit and co-operation between the countries.

Yesterday I read in the NZ Herald and I quote: The games have rarely strayed outside Britain, Canada, NZ and Australia, but it is desirable to increasingly involve Commonwealth nations in Asia and Africa. As much as the last minute scares in Delhi have wounded India's pride, they have also damaged the whole concept of Commonwealth Games. (Editorial, 23 September, 2010)


Do the media in the so called First World take joy in pointing out and prodding the wounds (though they be healing) of the Third World just because it makes them realize how much more progressed they are?

India and the Third World
(Let me begin by saying I am against using the term First World or Second or Third Worlds. I will write about that somewhere else.) I am sure the First World countries have all the good wishes for the developing countries. They want the best for them. Probably. But maybe that's not enough. Let me cite an example:
Last night I watched an Aussie TV show called The X-Factor. It is basically a talent quest where four judges take on a few artists each and prepare them for a clash to compete for the X-Factor title. In the show the artists put up very impressive performances, and it is always interesting to see how different judges always have something different to say. For example, Guy Sebastian, one of the judges, is normally a nice guy, but when it concerned an artist who didn't belong in his camp he would point out mistakes and make it more glaring than he would otherwise. He claimed he had best intentions and only pointed them out so they could learn from it; but really?

It is like that for First and Third World countries. They always have best intentions, but it is more convenient for them to point out mistakes and flaws and make them feel better about themselves than to be completely honest and constructive.

There are million other reasons why India should be in the news apart from this Commonwealth hype. There are million other reasons why Rwanda should be in the news apart from the history of massacre and its recovery aided by the West. There are million other reasons why Iran should be in the news apart from President Ahmadimejad challenging the USA at world summits and its nuclear proliferation issues. There are million other reasons why Kazakhstan should be in the news apart from that arse Sasha Baron Cohen making idiots out of its people. In fact Pakistan, despite one-thirdth of its population affected by the worst ever flood disaster in its history, is hardly in the news.

To me, the words 'First World' and 'Third World' spell INJUSTICE. I am not saying it is unnecessary, and am not ruling out the primary reason why they were first coined (which I am sure were for noble reasons) but they have been too misused by now to a point where it has become intimidating.

Image
Image is very important for a country. For a long time India's image was of a mystical, oriental and spiritual nation where people come and have an 'experience'. People in NZ (just citing an example) think of India rigged by bullock carts, diseases, Arabian-Nightsy buildings and Indian people. (How far have we progressed from pre-colonial days when they thought the same too?) In the same way people in India don't even know where NZ is. If they do, they think it is rigged by rabbits, kiwis, sheep and open countryside.

For a developing nation like India and China, image is very very important. This is because they are trying to sell themselves to more clients like a starting business would.

The last thing they need is a news reporter from one of the 'First Worlds' who succeeded to smuggle in bomb equipments to the game village in Delhi just to prove to the rest of the world just how stupid and bad the security is. That's just sad behaviour. It could be justified by media rights/law and it might be even legal. But it just is not nice. Just sad.

What bullies.
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PS. I mean, if I want to rub it in I could very much do a show of India's achievements here that pushes the country forward than many others. Haha!
• 60% of all iPhone applications are developed in India
• India has two national Fashion Weeks (last time I checked, two years ago) in Mumbai and Delhi every year
• India produces the cheapest car in the world
• Indian company Tata bought Jaguar and Land Rover and owns them now
• India is one of the few nuclear powers
• India's economy growth rate is +8% and UK's is -4%, USA's is -2%, NZ's is -1.4
• Ruling India (being the Prime Minister) is considered one of the toughest jobs in the world considering the growth that India is going through, the massive population, the diversity of people groups, management of resources, contentions from neighbouring countries, to name just a few.

Take that!