December 24, 2007

What worked for Narendra Modi?

Call him “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) or “vote ka saudagar” (merchant of vote), he is back with a near two-third majority. Following are my reasons, why Narendra Modi clicked in the 2007 Gujarat elections.

1) The Modi magic: Nobody in Gujarat doubts that he is the tallest leader in the state at present. They have not seen their state producing such a strong leader in the last two decades. He is perceived as brash, authoritative, divisive and much more. But, above all he means business and has a no-nonsense attitude. Add to that, he is a leader with a mass appeal. The ordinary Gujaratis think that he has done a good job and the state has progressed in the last five years under his regime. They view him as someone who is aggressively promoting “Brand Gujarat” and wooing investors.

2) The BJP factor: National media thinks that it’s just because of Modi, BJP has won this election. That’s not true. Since the Ayodhya issue in the late nineties, the party has consistently won elections in the state. It has a very strong organization in the state. Even the RSS affiliates like VHP and Bajarang Dal wield enormous clout. There are at least 30-40 seats in Gujarat, where candidates don’t matter. Anybody on the BJP symbol can win elections in those seats.

3) Weak opposition: Unlike many other Indian states, there is not a single regional party in Gujarat. It’s a direct fight between BJP and Congress. The later ruled the state for many years before 1990. But, now it has lost the last five elections. It’s a party with weak organization and without any significant leader. Its secular credentials are extremely doubtful. Increasingly, it’s perceived as a B team of the BJP. Its populist agenda also puts off many young voters.

4) The electorate: The composition of Gujarat electorate favors BJP’s Hindutva ideology. The state has only around 10 percent of Muslims. The cast factor is not working as the BJP has managed to consolidate the Hindu votes. The party has even managed to make a dent in the tribal vote-bank, traditional Congress supporters.

October 18, 2007

Rural vs urban

I think India must not sing in the tune of west. India urban-rural divide is seen in the light of infrastructure development and economic prosperity. And on those parameters rural India can be lagging behind.

There is another method of doing comparision. That is comparision with the index of happiness and satisfaction level. Rural folks are light years ahead in these index to their urban counterpart.
we should not measure happiness with the luxury stuff that prople accumulate in their entire life...but with the state of mind that produce happyness and bliss. Recently, people are gaga about the stock market boom and then fall into the gloom once sensex dips 1000 points.

They feel robbed and reduced to begger. This is all mind game. People in rural areas are only bothered about their crops and cattles , which is basic requirement for survival. Their loss can traslate into loss of life. But what they have to do if BSE or NSE sensex is crashed? Once a wise man said that sensex is not even affecting 3 percent of India's population and still media is frenzy about it. Larger issue are put at bay and the stock market talks and analysis is beamed at primetime and even live telecast is done.

What a farmer in Dhar has to do with the sensex's rise and fall. He is unaware of such things. Does that mean that he is not happy....hello.... he is much contended than the people who are making millions or billons through stock markets. So what is the magnet that pull people towards such futile worldly game.

Desire for misery ...yes true.... this is as real as craving for pleasure and happiness. So every desire has two sides.... if you have lust for wealth ...then there is also desire to give up all your money and assets. That is why many rich people abondoned wealth and property to pursue the spiritual or religious life. So beware,... growing prosperity in urban india may fuel desire for destruction and poverty and misery.

so blessed are those who have no desires...

enough for now

September 21, 2007


ahha... finally i have got an opportunity to meet my friends who are stationed at baroda. I will meet them after a long time. This will be a brief vacation for me but I am going to enjoy the stay. Now since i have to leave tonight i do not feel like working now. (That i always feel so). I also want to see my old buddy who has been detached from me for a long time. Vikash is his name and i want to see him. Baroda is a place where i grew matured spending nearly one decade and got a bachelor and a master degree.

Mehul bhai is a regular visiter there and he comes to baroda twice in a year and stays for one month each time. He is happy and contended with his job and vacations. He says he can sustain only if he gets regular breaks...he is a bachelor and would remain so. He has vouched not to loose his freedom by getting hitched. He is Bhismapitama of our clan. He is revered by all of us. sabu is a great saint- philosopher-social worker-techie, his meditation zone is internet and he has created havoc among content providers by creating 50 websites in a short span of time. He is going to to get offers from global giants like google and yahoo soon.

bus ho gaya

September 10, 2007

hi mitron

dear friends, we are meeting at this platfform after a long time. It is always very nice to talk to you here, because this is a manch where we are speak our mind.. I have to admit that I am now
getting older and my body is tiring slowly. It cannot function the way world demands. When I read mehul's blog i realised that he is also aging fast. I have stopped counting my age as it chills my spine. I dont know how many winters i have spent on earth. Or I dont want to know at all..I hope all my elder brothers are up and running. my best wishes to them..due to the time constraint i cannot proceed futher .....bye

September 04, 2007

Where are they?

There is no pain greater than the pain of separation. Destiny has snatched so many things from me. Friends with whom I have spent years, are gone forever. I don't know where they are. I don't know whether they are alive. They have simply vanished from my life. Where are those beautiful people?

Where are the delicacies I used to eat in my childhood? I haven't eaten them since ages. I have even forgotten how they looked like. Where are those festivals when mother and sister used to make mouth-watering food items? Where are those home-made sweets and farsan? Where are those childhood festivals? Gone forever.

Where is that excitement and passion for life? Where is that easy-going life? Where are those moments of peace and relaxation? where are those days when you never worried about money? Where are those days when you felt like the most happiest person in this world? Where is that careless youth? Where are those moments of intense depression? Probably gone forever.

Where is that passion for watching movies? Where is that passion for reading books? Where is that passion for singing? Where is that passion to live?

September 03, 2007

KISS principle

Life is moving very fast. I'm getting older and older. What have I learned so far? Or have I learned anything at all? I don't know. I know only one thing. I can remain happy if I don't make my life complicated. I don't need to worry about things which are not in my control. I love the KISS principle. It stands for "keep it simple stupid". This was taught to us for writing stories. But, I can apply it to every aspect of my life.

To make one's life simple isn't that simple. You really need to know your priorities in life. There are so many things which can distract you. But, once you are clear about the way you want to live your life, it becomes easy.

Living in a big city has its disadvantages. It makes your life complicated. Especially, in a country like India. You have to struggle for the most basic things. You can't enjoy anything. Still, why do we live in a big city? Because we don't get enough opportunities in our small towns.

Everyday, hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of India come to big cities. Those who are already living there don't like them. They want these people to go back. But, where will they go? They have come to the big city as a last resort. They don't like your big city. They don't want to live in inhuman conditions. But, they are forced to migrate. In their heart, they have a secret desire. They want to go back to their small towns where everything is so simple.

Ah, I have found out the root cause of my misery. Why am I feeling so uncomfortable since last few years? Why has my life become so complicated? It's not because of me. It's because of these big cities. I want to get away from this city life. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen for many years. But, I will not die in a big city. That's for sure.

September 01, 2007

Phursatgunj, here I come

20box rocks. I really love this place. Nobody is interested to post anything. We have Internet connection at home again thanks to Jiggubhai. He has returned from Dubai and searching for a job in Bangalore. It's amazing how he manages to avoid so many job offers. In the last two months, he must have received calls from every nook and corner of Bangalore. But, every time this seasoned campaigner finds a way to avoid them. That's the beauty of lazy friends. No matter how hard the world tries, they manage to remain jobless.

I am again going back to beloved Phursatgunj. Why? Simply to do nothing. There is nothing to do in Phursatgunj. It's a city which has produced masters in spending time. Nobody is in any kind of hurry. People of Phursatgunj have only one thing in abundance and that's time. Especially the youth of the city. They know how to spend hours without moving an inch. I have a great fortune to live and unlearn with those great masters.

June 21, 2007

Notes from PG

It rained here yesterday. The first decent rain of this monsoon season. Things became little difficult for us as Sabu's room got flooded. This new room is just like India. You can experience so many centuries at the same time.

My holidays are getting over. Only 3 days are left. I will have to leave Phursatgunj early on Sunday morning. Suddenly, I realize how good life is when you don't have to go to office. Not that, I don't like my job. But, given a choice, I would prefer not to work and do my own things. Mostly sleeping.

Friends in Mumbai didn't come this time to PG. I can fully understand their situation. Life in Mumbai is not easy, especially for lazy friends. It pains me to know that my aging friends have to work really hard. How cruel destiny is!

Parents are getting older and older. The more I want mother to get detached, the more she is becoming sentimental. She can't believe I can have so many holidays. She thinks I have left the job. Dear mother, your wish will come true in few years time.

The other day, I tuned into these new FM radio channels. I didn't like any of them. Good old Vividh Bharti is 1000 times better. What would you prefer? Ae Huzoor by Himesh Reshammiya or Din dhal jaye by Mohammed Rafi?

Being in Gujarat has its own advantages. I can eat Gujarati thali and lots of other delicacies. That seems to me the only reason why I want to come back here despite the merciless weather. I am feeling hungry again.

June 17, 2007

End of the road

I am deeply worried. Worried about my own future and for millions of others who are as ignorant as I am. The world is changing very fast. It used to be very simple When I was young.

In those days, Internet for me was yahoo chat rooms and e-mail. I still remember those college days, not very far, 7-8 years ago. My friends used to go for Internet surfing. They used to talk endlessly about having a foreigner online friend, female obviously. They used to boast how many friends they have and stuff like that. In my smugness, I used to look down at them. Poor souls! They are wasting their precious time on some fictitious chick, while I am getting enlightened.

Being a curious fellow, after a while I also decided to know what this Internet chatting is all about. I didn't know the rules of the game. I tried my luck with my most common Gujarati name (I can never forgive my parents for that) and whatever English vocabulary I had. The result was horrible. Chat room after chat room, forget girls, even the most hopeless aunties refused to talk with me. On the other hand, some of my friends were chatting with 3 girls at a time. After few weeks, I learned a few tricks. I started getting responses from some girls as I made use of my palmistry and sun sign knowledge. However, I couldn't make much headway as my typing speed was pathetic. Some of the girls used to think that I am busy chatting with another girl, when I was really struggling to find something on the keyboard.

I got fed up. But, being an intelligent fellow (in those days, not now), I decided to turn my weaknesses into my strengths. I asked myself, "What are my weaknesses in the yahoo chat room?" One I am a male and two my typing speed is horrible. Why not create a nice female id for myself and show those silly boys (my friends), what I am capable of. And the trick worked like a magic. As soon as I entered with a female id, all the boys in the chat room used to approach me. Even though, my typing speed was pathetic, those fools used to wait for minutes for a single sentence from me. It was entertainment at its best. Some of them used to tell their sad stories and even proposed to marry me. Most of them wanted my contact number. After few weeks, I lost interest and ended that silly game. Again, I returned to the comfort of reading great books. This time with even more smugness than before. My temporary affair with Internet ended there. I concluded that most of the stuff on the net is silly. It's only for frustrated boys who have never got a chance to speak with female species in real life.

After I joined journalism, I came to know about the power of Google. I was amazed. You don't need to remember anything. You don't need to think. Just type a few key words and Google will give you whatever you want. For people like me, who are blessed with poor memory, it was a gift from heaven. Once, I finished my course, I realized the power of online job sites. I also came to know about many wonderful things, like how I can listen to an old Hindi film song online and also watch a movie for free. My friends also told me how I can read e-books on the net. But, I don't like that idea even though it's cheap. I still prefer the old way of reading books.

Before coming to Phursatgunj, I was happy thinking I have become well aware about the Internet usage. I know stuff like how to book flight tickets online, Internet banking and online trading. Two weeks with Sabu and I am again feeling downtrodden. Everyday, he tells me something new about Internet which my tired mind refuses to understand. Brother, have mercy on this aging friend!!!

Anyway, I am lucky that I have some smart friends who have abundance of time and patience to explain the changing technology around me. But, I know everything has a limit. What will happen if they will all become very busy and lose patience? Sabu is already showing some signs of that. This can't go on forever. I can clearly imagine myself 10 years down the line. A helpless middle-aged guy whom even a 4-years old child will not respect.

June 06, 2007

Summer holidays

Hot summer night. Five past three. Quiet except sound of some night birds. Nice cool breeze. Can't sleep on the terrace. Mosquitoes. Starry sky. More than a half moon. No ciggies. Bit hungry. Sabu is fast asleep. Don't want to wake him up.

Fourth day in Phursatgunj. Things have changed. Many shops have gone from station road. No Samrat during night. Everything closes at 10:30 p.m. Feeling sad.

Damn hot during daytime. No rain. Can't go anywhere during afternoons. Only saving grace is Masi's food. Good and cheap. Sabu is very busy. Works like a mad man. No time at all. Making some Websites. Umesh comes in the afternoon. Dhavalbhai meets after 9:30 p.m. at Kalubhai. No news from friends in Mumbai. Will call them tomorrow.

Baroda Central has opened. Only footfalls, no real business. Some new FM channels have started. Three according to Dhavalbhai. Nothing much has changed. No vibrancy in sight despite tall claims by Modi government. Still, BJP seems to be favorite to win elections later in the year. Pretty weak Congress. Enough for today.

April 29, 2007


It is 5:30 in the morning and still very hot inside my room. Walls are radiating heat which was accumulated by them all the day. I am in Ahmedabad and now free for sometime to read as much as I want. May be I am going back to phursatgunj tomorrow as today I received a call from Kharchu. Finally he got the job and now he has to join from 8th of next month so he wanted to come back here and also wanted to go home once before he starts working as a network troubleshooter.

Mumbai is a cruel place. I don’t know and can not even make a blind guess now. Shall I ever be able to work there in Mumbai? A city of dreams or a dream city? It is okay to go there as a tourist but to work there is altogether a different thing.

My friends who worked there before and who are working there right now showed me such a wild picture of lifestyle there, especially traveling on Mumbai locals and through heavy traffic on roads and environment at workplace, that I think I am a total misfit for this kind of life.

Those who live there may be never think about this. And it is very easy if they don’t think about it consciously. They don’t meditate over there own condition and start enjoying misery. Even 50 paisa of consciousness can not tolerate such a mad race for doing foolish things at frightening pace.

This is misfortunate. But it is so. Those who live there can live because they never think about this.

And I have total faith in my friends when they say life is not easy in Mumbai. I even can feel it from the outside, far away here. I certainly can not feel the physical pain they bear when they have to fight their guts out to get on board of Mumbai locals, but I still can feel the constant mental agony they go through everyday.

Once I was there in Mumbai with Kharchu and Binny the fool. That was way back in 2002 I think. I don’t remember dates exactly but may be after the riots in Gujarat. And that was one very funny and mind blowing experience as a tourist there. I enjoyed every bit of that journey but my friends were tired of me as I was so slow.

May be I was the slowest guy at that time in Mumbai. Once I missed 4 trains in row from Mumbai central station towards Andheri. My Mumbai Yatra was very funny and was full of comic incidents from the very beginning and I shall write about that some other time.

After reading Shantaram one thing become clear in my mind that Mumbai is for people who are rich and for them who are poor. Mumbai is very cruel to those who dwell somewhere in between. I knew this fact from day one but Shantaram made it more clear and transparent.

Any way best of luck to all my old age friends, who works there and face all this problems. Kharchu is going to join the working middle class of Mumbai very soon and I pray to god that he give kharchu all the supernatural powers so he can get on board of Mumbai locals more easily. May god bless him and give him super-hero like powers so that his old and thin bones can fight and survive the Mumbai Madness.

No kidding, but this hocus pocus was not intended when I started writing about Kharchu, Mumbai and my ancient friends living there. But this is what ground reality is and this is very ugly.

May be Mumbai has everything she wants, a big body and even bigger a heart, and very bright and active mind. She has no soul. It is like America, so many cultures interwoven that they have lost their very identity. They have lost their soul.

They have no roots. Not standing or not going anywhere. They can not enjoy the music and can not enjoy the silence. From the outer it is almost same even in the small towns of India and even in remote villages. But only difference is that they have a little bit of soul left in them.

They are rooted, earthy and life is much more natural and even easy for both body and mind. When our body and mind is in perfect harmony then only we can feel and sense our soul. Then only we can be more natural and can feel ourselves. At least that is like that for me.

When we were in Mumbai I was the only one who was walking, everybody including my friends were running. Mumbai sucked and over ruled Kharchu’s and Binny’s mind. They were brainwashed. Aroma and air of Mumbai intoxicated both of them. I was spared because I was slow and not the one she liked very much.

Mumbai sucks and than throws you in to the dark corners of the city where no one can claim you back. One feels as if he is manufactured by some moving assembly line in a mammoth human mass production factory. One feels that everybody around him is same as he is. Doing and repeating same things again and again senselessly.

She has a heart but she has no soul.

A very warm welcome to you my friend, she is Mumbai.

April 28, 2007

I play against Kings.

Just the other day i was playing with a Latvian on FICS servers. My game with him was very interesting ended as a draw after 58 moves. If i remember right he was playing black and I played smith-morra gambit, my favourite anti-sicilian system. Game was not a rated one but he was a slightly better player than me. He accepted the gambit and played usual standard moves for black. but after the mid game I managed to pin his rook and we had a draw. I shall give you some idea how smith morra is played.

Game 269: FICS server. White: tuskerking (1917) v/s Black: vilkacis (2023)

Smith-morra is gambit played by white against black's strongest defense: Sicilian. It is an anti sicilian system and works well in speed games. I shall not discuss the whole game here but only the opening and how it works. But the most important and interested part of this drawn game was the conversation after the game between me and vilkacis. I will print it here for you. I don't know why should I publish it here but it may interest you. So start.

Moves: 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3

This is smithmorra gambit accepted and from here there are various lines, almost 8 in all but not a lot of theory and study like sicilian only 8 main lines so I like this very much.

After this how game went in our case: 4...Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 d6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 e5, a vary common mainline of the gambit. There is this figure for you below to have a look at the position.

Than after 58 moves game ended in a usual draw. Statistics on Chess bases says that in smith morra gambit 33% of time white wins. 49% of time black wins and 18% of time it is a draw. So we had a rare draw.

Even our conversations after the game also ended without any conclusion or result. Again we had a draw.
vilkacis: greetings from sunny Latvia
*(after the game, result; 1/2-1/2, a draw)
vilkacis: Thank you for the game
tuskerking: thanks
tuskerking: was a good game
tuskerking: sorry, i was busy calculating moves
tuskerking: didn't reply your greetings
tuskerking: hi from india
vilkacis: i was busier not thinking
tuskerking: ha :-) great.
tuskerking: playing from the work place?
vilkacis: where in India?
vilkacis: i am retired
(I hope not mentally, he plays good chess and is higher rated.)
tuskerking: western part of it
tuskerking: gujarat
vilkacis: the land of the महात्मा !! (Mahatma!!)
tuskerking: and the chess
tuskerking: are you a latvian?
vilkacis: yes
tuskerking: do you know him?
vilkacis: not personally, but i have read some of his writings
tuskerking: his autobiography and his story in south africa, etc.
tuskerking: i guess so…
tuskerking: i personally don’t like much of his ideas and ideologies but i like his non violence movement...
vilkacis: the autobiography of course, but also many of his letters, my nephew has a CD with complete works
tuskerking: do you know he was in touch with leo Tolstoy for quite some time.
tuskerking: he wrote so many letters to him and count replied him very frequently
vilkacis: i would not say constant and frequent.
tuskerking: i think for quite some time they were frequent
tuskerking: it seems you know much more about him than an average indian
vilkacis: there was some correspondence, but Tolstoy died early in Gandhi's life
vilkacis: one of the great men of the 20 century
tuskerking: yeah, he was impressed by his movement. but he also was confused how britons can control such a big country
vilkacis: Gandhi was still in S Africa when Tolstoy died
tuskerking: yes
vilkacis: the Svaraj movement had not yet begun
tuskerking: after he came here in india gandhi was under the infulence of tolstoy's thoughts and ideas
vilkacis: at least he considered himself to be
tuskerking: who do you think was better? gandhi or tolstoy... for me it always is Tolstoy
* (Tolstoy certainly was a much better thinker.)
vilkacis: Gandhi, without any doubt
tuskerking: why?
tuskerking: i mean i just want to know your opinion
*(itching and irritation)
vilkacis: he accomplished much for his people, and for all humanity. He also was able to conquer himself
vilkacis: Tolstoy was just a thinker and an artist
tuskerking: what tolstoy did for his people was much more important than what gandhi did for his people
tuskerking: come and have a look around here in India, ask his people and you will find that 90 out of 100 are against him
vilkacis: Tolstoy achieved nothing
tuskerking: yeah you are right
tuskerking: he achieved nothing
tuskerking: because "nothing" was his goal
vilkacis: Tolstoy also started in a privileged position
tuskerking: that is most difficult thing to achieve... nothing.... that is what we call nirvana, moksha, enlightenment, walking with jesus etc..
tuskerking: gandhi also was a son of an aristocrat
vilkacis: an aristocrat?
tuskerking: i know traditions in kathiyawad, not exactly an aristocrat but son of a very rich man. i live in ahmedabad just few miles away from gandhi ashram...
tuskerking: mehtas, baniyas.... do you know this tradition...
vilkacis: a better than average Vaishya
tuskerking: in old india they worked as collectors
tuskerking: and they used to manipulate everything under their control
vilkacis: that is a businessman or a crook, but not an aristocrat
tuskerking: his forefathers were rich otherwise it was impossible to go to england in those days when even bread was difficult to buy
vilkacis: they certainly were not poor
tuskerking: have you ever been to india sir?? do you know how things used to work here? what is the caste system and how much important a businessman was in indian feudal system?
vilkacis: you are right, i am ignorant
*(I was rude, he was wrong.)
tuskerking: even more important than king himself sometimes if one is a really rich businessman... nothing less than an aristocrat
vilkacis: plutocrat
tuskerking: exactly, that was the case with nehru also.
tuskerking: you are not ignorant, for sure, but just our opinion differs a bit
tuskerking: but ground reality today is much different than what it was before 60 70 years
vilkacis: Gandhi nevertheless had to work as a lawyer, admittedly unsuccessfully
tuskerking: yeah..
tuskerking: because he was more like an or rather one who was listening to Englishman. their mouthpiece.
tuskerking: he always lived his life as an english man... pretending as if working for his own people
vilkacis: it is of course different, but had it not been for Gandhi the British might still rule
tuskerking: no chance !
tuskerking: after world war II london was far behind new york in economic war.
tuskerking: new york was new world economic capital and english was facing all kind of problems to rule not only over india but over more than 50 colonies
vilkacis: of course one can make all the hypotheses one wants, but history will be unchanged
*(Irritated, tired poor old man)
vilkacis: maybe colonialism was falling apart in any case
tuskerking: if you want you can read glimpses of world history by nehru and all will be much clear
tuskerking: gandhi or no gandhi, nehru or no nehru english were forced to leave india...
vilkacis: maybe
tuskerking: Hitler was the key factor for India, i think, he hit the british economic back-bone and also french and new york bankers who did the same. good for india.
vilkacis: but also because of their impoverished state they could have decide to stay and recover their strength through exploitation
tuskerking: 1930s great recession shattered america and to recover from it she needed another world war
tuskerking: american agents were doing their arms business all over europe... one very famous american agent worked with hitler also... i don’t remember his name right now. may be john bright.
vilkacis: that is certainly a unique view
tuskerking: at that time they were not able to stay any more, i tell you, coz indian rupee was even stronger than pound at that time
vilkacis: rupee was probably still gold, no?
tuskerking: yeah rupee was on gold standard while much weaker pound was off gold standard
tuskerking: they maintained this because they wanted to suck gold out of indian market
vilkacis: economics is something of which i have no understanding at all
tuskerking: it is all rosy from outside about the movement. gandhi openly biased for nehru.. Sardar patel was the most powerful candidate for the PM. gandhi was not even a very good human being in my opinon. though he was better than average.
vilkacis: as a primary historical source i am sure they are valuable.
*(nehru’s letters to indira.)
tuskerking: an enforced Mahatma. but still what he did for the poor was good
vilkacis: well there we must differ
tuskerking: what is your age sir?
vilkacis: very old
tuskerking: in your 80s? or 90s? or don’t remember anymore like me?
vilkacis: 80s
tuskerking: you must have seen both the world wars.. or may be second one.
tuskerking: was part of anyone of them? may be second worldwar?
vilkacis: no just one,
tuskerking: World War II
vilkacis: for us second war finished only in 1991
tuskerking: 1991?
tuskerking: civil war in latvia
tuskerking: ?
vilkacis: the end of Soviet occupation
tuskerking: oh yes
tuskerking: i forgot
tuskerking: before that latvia was under polish-german rule i think
vilkacis: Polish?
tuskerking: in distant past
vilkacis: first the Soviets invade, then the Nazis, then the Soviets again, but not the Poles
tuskerking: in 1100s may be
tuskerking: latvia was doing trades with poles
vilkacis: Polish-Lithuanian ruler was 16-18 century
tuskerking: i rather should say through poles with western europeans
vilkacis: Poles used to come as seasonal farm laborers
tuskerking: i am confused where is latvia? in eastern europe or in northen europe... i think it is in northen
vilkacis: between the wars Poland was a bit backward
tuskerking: was not doing trading with western european countries?
tuskerking: just like russia? a barbarian country... for so many centuries
tuskerking: and than suddenly become one of the worlds most technologically advanced country
vilkacis: not so sudden
tuskerking: my 125 year old mother is shouting
tuskerking: my food is ready i have to go
tuskerking: i will be back after sometime
*(and we never talked after that)
tuskerking: sayonara
vilkacis: all the very best
vilkacis: Namaste
tuskerking: same to you
tuskerking: namaste

April 14, 2007

Amish Community of America

It is not easy to maintain a 300 year old tradition in modern America but Amish Community has proved it that if you believe in nature nothing is impossible. Yes I am talking about the great Amish Community of America. They live in the remote regions of North America. They love nature and try to remain as close as possible to her. Just like few of us in phursatgunj they also hate all modern technologies and as far as possible avoid to use modern gadgets. They don’t use motor car or telephone for their conveyance or communication purposes. And they are most famous for that only.
After 1760 they migrated to Lancaster-Pennsylvania in America from Europe (northern parts of Germany) and settled there. They follow Anabaptist beliefs like other sects who arrived with them in America from Europe; they basically are Mennonites and little other similar kind of people. In those days in Europe Anabaptists, whenever found, were severely persecuted, tortured and killed just like old day pagans. So they left Europe and came to America. Jacob Amman become leader of Anabaptist and founded the Amish sect.
They follow certain set of rules described as ‘Ordnung”. There are no such written rules and that’s why may be they follow it with total faith. Here is a glimpse of their lifestyle:
They never use motor car, horse-buggy is only mode of transport they use and encourage their children to walk as much as possible.
They don’t use electricity and modern electric equipments. They just use oil lamps or gas lamps for their luminance purposes at night.
They don’t send their children to schools, they have their own schools where children learn German, English, History, Math and all other subjects but at free will.
They are farmers and they basically dress like farmers only in all circumstances. They don’t use tractors to plough but only horses are allowed.
They don’t have any churches and they pray at their houses turn by turn. They use it for the purpose of social gathering also.
Only thing I don’t like about them is that they say marriage is lord’s command and they always invariably get married between the age of 22 and 25. I don’t think anything divine is anyhow directly related with the system of marriage.
Few Pictures of Amish People:





April 13, 2007

Baul Mystics of bengal

Book the beloved is about Bauls of Bengal. When I was in the second year of college i bought that book from the phursatgunj Osho Library. And from that day it became my Gita, Quran and Bible. A scripture on no scriptures. They wander the countryside, singing their religious songs. Their beliefs are a mixture of many influences and traditions, such as Hinduism, Sufism and Yoga. They break away from many common Indian beliefs, including the age-old caste system, and the separation of Hindu and Muslim communities.

I love Bauls because their rebellion is total. They are just simple human beings. They are like hippies on right path. Osho says that their rebellion is even greater than that of Zen Masters and Sufi mystics simply because they don't belong to anything. They don't belong to any society, religion, philosophy, dogma, creed, institution, organization, university, family, friends, strangers and even fellow Bauls. They totally belong to themselves only.

They don't posses anything but an ektara and a duggi, two musical instruments. Music is their life and their god. A Baul mystic lolan fakir sings: "What form does caste have? I have never seen it, brother, with these eyes of mine!"

They have influenced Bengali folk music for centuries. Their love of music is of the celestial form and they worship sky as a whole. They worship their body as if god is nothing but the body. They dance and sing and move from village to village, always traveling and enjoying whatever situation they come across.

Bauls are true individuals. It is difficult to find two identical Bauls or even two who have few similarities with each other. They are neither Hindus nor Mohammedans nor Christians. They don’t follow any faith and by doing so they follow all the faiths. Lalon fakir the most famous Baul Mystic was inclined towards the Sufi faith (Suphi in Bengali) but he never followed it like Rumi and other Mystics. For them Quran is a formal scripture but for Lalon fakir his body was the only scripture he could read with open heart.
They have inspired so many Indian masters, writers, poets, philosophers and saints. Few of them even have sung more than 1000 songs. They never compose their songs, but just sing it and create it as it comes out of their heart. They are illiterate and don’t write their songs beforehand. They are against all kind of documentation and believe that nothing is permanent in this world but change. So we don’t know much about who created these songs. They just sing and dance and enjoy life.

A baul song:
How does the unknown bird come within the cage and go away from it?
If I could catch hold of it, I could chain it with my mind.
The cage has eight chambers and nine doors are affixed on it.
It is carved here and there, above these there is the main room
- within which there is the hall of mirror.
Oh mind, you remain illusioned with the desire of the cage,
Your own cage is made of tender bamboo,
Who knows when will it collapse?
Lalon says, 'Where does that bird flee by opening the cage?'
You can download these songs from:
Few of them for you to play online:

Baul Song 1:

Baul Song 2:

April 12, 2007

life is just bowl of cherries !!

What is there is there is truth of life. But seldom we do understand this wise saying. Especially life in Mumbai has been pulling me away from the truth and bliss. What is the point in spending life in such way that has no content, forget about bliss. but my past karma was not good enough to find the luxury of leisure time, at least a house to live and free food. Still i believe that i will get emancipation from drudgery of these worldly chores at some point of life. Time is running out of my hands and i am growing old and loosing my vitality. What will happen when old body will have some unfulfilled desires and wishes. There are certain things that I would like to do before i vanish into dark cave of old age, but where is the time for it (and money of course). It would be bad to have unfulfilled desires and unsatisfied body when i enter 2nd innings of life. But what is there is there; we cannot really do much about it. Even though, I hope to sail through river of life steadily with minimum trouble, if not smoothly and happily. With this note i conclude this scrap. Amen. thanks for bearing with me

April 11, 2007

40 Days

It really was a very very long and hot day today. Now temperature constantly remains more than 40 degree Celsius for long hours in the morning and noon. And now summer is here and so I am. I am in Ahmedabad since 1st of this month and busy studying for my exams but what I miss the most here is burning hot furnace like room of phursatgunj.

India was famous for its hot ‘summer and spices’ to the world for centuries before technological growth started ruining here beauty in mid of the 19th century. As I am in Ahmedabad I can enjoy both home made hot spicy food and even hotter summer sun. This is not the right time to visit India but if you want to feel and know and understand real India this is the only time when you should visit. April and May and June are ultimate torture, just like pain before nirvana and July rain is enlightenment. I am waiting for July to come and shower love on mother earth.

April is one third gone and I am here after forty days of gap. What happened with me and my life during those days is a usual story of hopelessness and laziness. I am a very lazy, tired and boring man, just like my 300 year old friends. Nothing of much importance happens to me very often, and I also don’t happen to many things in general. Either I remain aloof and silent or I remain aloof and silent when I talk. I don’t even talk much these days as I don’t have to. My conversations are limited to very few effective, intelligent and useful words. With my mother: where is pickle? ; I don’t feel like it, etc. With my father: how was your day today? (We meet in the evening only); Market was 300 points up today. With my brother: how (well) Bangladesh is doing in super8? ; You look like Bobby-Darling in your new hairstyle.

Nothing is happening in my life for so long long time that now I can only be good for nothing guy. What I did in last few days? Hum, few movies at our home theaters like Natraj and Raj-shree and few books and novels I finished while everyone around was busy with their final submissions. Nikhil has left phursatgunj and so I also left the room there. You can now find me either at bodhi-baba’s place or at the hostels. Of course I still enjoy masi’s food with chach in the afternoon if I am in phursatgunj. I simply love that place and people around there who do things at their own pace. Nothing changes and no one seems to be in any kind of hurry there.

After three four years gap movies again have become integrated part of my daily schedule in phursatgunj. My visits to cinema halls are now a common occurrence. I don’t give it another though to visit my home theaters in the morning and for matinee shows even if they show movies like ‘parvati ka pati kaun?’ and low budget Hollywood remakes. Very movies with aesthetic appeal and sense of art are released in post-liberal India. Quality of moving making has improved a lot in last decade but still movies are not up to the mark. I still love light weight comedies and they are now vanished from the big screens of Bollywood. But I still enjoy and celebrate third class love stories and forth class action movies.

Few movies I recently watched are nishabd, 300, hat-trick, hanuman, water, one night at museum, the ghost rider, transporter, hum hain rahi pyar ke, and few others. I don’t remember their names as I watch it for time pass only. The best I think was nishabd. Most of them, they say that they are pretty impressed with the concept and theme of the movie but I am much more impressed by Amitabh’s acting. Khan is just above average but not excellent in any sense or way. Historical facts in movie 300 are manipulated and I don’t think there is much truth in the story left. Animation was good. Hat-trick was worst among them all. The ghost rider was a regular Hollywood shit. All other 10-15 new movies I watched in the month of March were on an average one out of five movies.

On the other hand I really enjoyed and celebrated reading books and novels. Shantaram is worth a double read. It is even more gripping and interesting than the Da Vinci code and it took me only a week to finish that off. War and Peace is still going strong and it seems as if it is a never ending novel. I also read biography of Abraham Lincoln in Gujarati by M. Desai and few of Shakespeare and Tolstoy stories and plays. Lincoln’s life was full of senseless struggle and fight against slavery. I don’t like particularly this kind of books. Shantaram was book of the month for me though. Characters like Quasim Ali and Johnny Cigar gave the story more realistic and earthy feel while Lord Abdul khader khan made it a roller coaster ride for the author. Senseless Karla and ruthless Nazeer were partners in crime. Abdullah made the story passionate and Madame Zhou gave it thrill. But the tourist guide cum taxi driver Prabhakar was the juiciest character of them all. I again am going to read this book after sometime.

After all this March celebrations April began with study books and still I am very busy with them all. I have to prepare for three and a half subject in 20 days and it is not a very big task but I still have to work hard for it. I don’t blog or log on to this computer very often even if I read just few meters away from it. Sometimes I play chess online for couple of hours for refreshment. Yesterday afternoon I talked to Gauravbhai on gmail. He told me that it was his last day in front of ‘The Electrical Monitor’ and was going to join jasubhai media group from tomorrow. He even told me about the latest ‘Mr. Jose without josh incident’. I think we don’t have an instrument yet, and science and technology are not so much developed that we can measure the josh effect on any Richter scale. But effects are always more devastating than the deadliest hurricane.

India and Pakistan’s performance in the world cup cricket forced me to stay away from TV even though I can access it any time I want as far as I am in Ahmedabad. This world cup is full of spicy events and shitty stories and hilarious matches but my exams don’t allow me to stick to the TV for long hours. I am not much interested in the matches involving teams like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and West Indies. South Africa even is not as reliable as it was before 5-7 years. England is almost out of the World Cup. Australia New Zealand is a very probable final and I think New Zealand was my favourite from very beginning and I think they will make it big this time. I hope they win the world cup and can give Australia a break.

I am very tired now and don’t feel like writing any more though I have so many other tales to tell. I won’t be able to write again in the near future but I want to write more and more. My laziness and exams are preventing me to do so. I also want to write about Osho and his friends. I was planning this for long and recent comments on our blog forced me to think about that again. I must now have to write about them. I shall try. Amen.

April 07, 2007

Haiku by kojo

Night, and the moon!
My neighbor, playing on his flute -

out of tune!

April celebrated !!

March 05, 2007

Different Shades of Mirza Ghalib.

There is no doubt why so many admire him and look at him as the most wonderful poet both Urdu and India has ever produced. He indeed was the most famous among them all, not only during his own time but even 150 years after his death. I myself don’t understand Urdu a lot but as an UnLearner I am very much interested in his works. My intention is purely academic and that of UnLearning. Pundits of Urdu poetry say that the best way to feel and understand Urdu is to understand Ghalib. A man of great stature he stands out among great Urdu poets like Mir, Rumi and Hafiz. He was even better an expressionist than all of them. Not so elegant or graceful in expression I am unable to express what I feel about his greatness.

Ghalib was his pen name which literally means conqueror in Urdu and without any doubt he conquered uncountable hearts. What Shakespeare is to English literature is Ghalib to Urdu. His contribution not only to Urdu literature but to the world of literature in general is immense.

I am unable to decide what is better in Agra, Taj Mahal or the feeling that Ghalib roamed around those lanes of the city. Faint feeling of his presence must be there in the air of Agra and Delhi. Though his theme style and way of expression was different from Kabir, he was true descendent of him in many senses. Unlike Kabir his path was of love and devotion rather than Bhakti or worship, but the essence or meaning was and is one and the same. Today we can regret that we neither have poets like Ghalib nor Delhi-Darbar Mushairs but ruins of his words with us. Posterity of Urdu literature can never forget these lines from the maestro.

Piyoon sharaab agar khum bhee dekh loon do chaar
yeh sheesha-o-qadah-o-kooza-o-suboo kya hai?

[Khum = wine barrel; qadah = goblet, wine glass; kooza/suboo = wine pitcher]

When you drink look at the empty bottles around you. What is this wine barrel and wine glass?

No translation can express what can be expressed so well in Urdu.

Wine was the other great love of this great poet, besides the beloved. For him beloved were his lover and God alike. God was feminine for him. Urdu language has this beauty of describing things beautifully and more poetically than any other language. For Ghalib, wine was more important than anything else in the real world around him. For him it was an art as important as poetry itself, or may be more than that.

I can see few striking similarities between him and few of the literary giants of his time. He also was an aristocrat like Leo and Oscar. May be there is this strange relation between aristocracy and good writing and poetry. Genuinely I confess that most of the writers or poets I love are either from aristocratic backgrounds or they are very rich. May be only rich can have all the time and patience in the world to write about such things at length and they get admirers too. In last few days I have experienced this personally. They were rich not only in monetary terms but also in their ability of expression of feelings and understanding of human nature. They all were rebels. They never made noise about the social reforms because they knew that nothing much could have been done with the society. Their work just reflects how well they understand life.

Famous American journalist and literary critic Burton Rascoe rightly said, “What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.” Leo experienced this during earlier part of his married life. Just in the beginning of War and Peace he put these words in Prince Andrew’s mouth, "Never, never marry, my dear fellow! That's my advice: never marry till you can say to yourself that you have done all you are capable of, and until you have ceased to love the woman of your choice and have seen her plainly as she is, or else you will make a cruel and irrevocable mistake. Marry when you are old and good for nothing or all that is good and noble in you will be lost. It will all be wasted on trifles. Yes! Yes! Yes! Don't look at me with such surprise. If you marry expecting anything from yourself in the future, you will feel at every step that for you all is ended, all is closed except the drawing room, where you will be ranged side by side with a court lackey and an idiot!... But what's the good..."

Ghalib’s relationship with his wife was even worse than this. Married at the age of 14 he was a true rebel while his wife a god fearing woman in worldly sense. Some of the most popular and the best work he gave the world were created between the age of 13 and 17. By the time he was 17 he said that he was ’through’ the poetry. He was born a wise and old man I imagine. Just like Leo and Oscar he also passed through mental agony during later part of his life. May be, knowing too many things too early in life was a cruse he suffered from throughout his life. Ignorance is really bliss. More and more you know more and more you suffer until you attain the fountainhead of ultimate truth. But that is a process, you have to know more and more in order to UnLearn things you have learned all your life. I think Ghalib failed here. It seems from the incidents in later part of his life as if all his efforts went south and he was unable to hold his frustration. This gaazal by him describes that better.

Those faces of death I see sometimes
in the rose and tulip but only a few

Daughters of the sun behind that sweeping dress
what were you thinking coming naked to the night

He is the one for whom sleep has widened
on whose arm your hair is lying

We made breaking the pattern a pattern of living
when friends kept dying faith overtook us

I have wept for all I have seen I am young
these cities should sleep in the dust of desires

Few of his letters have been translated in to English by Ralph Russel. Ghalib also contributed in the development of Urdu prose writing and gave it new directions. Few of his letters translated are also available for online reading.

This Shar best describes his rebellious nature as a lover.

Ragon mein daudte firne ke ham naheen qaayal
jab aankh hee se na tapka to fir lahoo kya hai?

You can listen to all beautiful songs and Gaazals by Ghabil sung by various famous artists here, including famous songs from movie mirza ghalib:

This is one very long Soundtrack, around about 10 hours of Gaazals. Drag-Drop progress bar on player to listen to different songs.


Urdu and Hindi or Hindustani are very similar to each other and evolved side by side for almost 500 years.They are sister languages. They developed from the same indo-european branch of languages and have similar words and grammar. Both of this languages borrowed words from Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Prakrut.

Poet's full name:
Mirza Assad Ullah Khan Ghalib written in urdu as: Image Hosted by

Glossary for non urdu-hindustani speakers.
Sharaab-Wine, Sheesha-Glass, Qaayal-Bound, Ragon-veins, Aankh-eyes, Lahoo-Blood.

© 2007 Creative Commons License 20Box

March 04, 2007

Colors of Life

Holi Celebrations.
Smell the color, feel the color, taste the color.
March Celebrations Continue.

March 03, 2007

Curious about Colors of Life


Holi HallaBaloo

Tomorrow is festival of colours. Usually in my youthful days, I use to enjoy the nuisances of HOLI. But as I am growing older I have uncomfortable feeling of being drenched in water colours and sprayed colours in my body, just because it would entail rigorous scary bath. What shall we do tomorrow is yet to be decided. But it sure we will indulge in liquor and chicken binge in the evening. Great reformer of all ages Dr. R S strongly propounds the consumption of chicken during weekends. We will perhaps get some nice delicacies from landlord or tiffin service. May be some over enthusiastic neighbour may come to play holi with us, but we will not bum around. We would stay at home with Dr.R S reading his DICTIONARY and I may be browsing through Sunday Paper. I hope all my friends in some way would enjoy the colours and feast. Best of luck to them. My dear Dr. saheb is coming to CST, where I work, to buy a DUMB-BELL. He wants to broaden his shoulder and tone up his muscles. He believes power lies in muscles. I will help him to carry the massive 10 kilo bumb-bell to home.
Enough for today…

Holi hain…

March is here and things have started hotting up. Is holi today or was it yesterday? I don’t know. The other day I was invited to play holi. I refused immediately. Reason? Even on normal days I don’t like to take bath and it takes a lot of effort to clean you after playing holi.

The union budget was a disappointment. On the B-day, I woke up early and switched on the television. The finance minister started his speech at 11:00 a.m. Things went on smoothly for about one and a half hour. But, as soon as the FM started talking about taxes, our wise electricityman decided enough is enough. The current went off. When the electricity came again, the speech was over.

However, the railway budget was great fun. The best television entertainment I had in the last one year. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the turnaround hero of Indian Railways, announced the budget in his inimitable style. The opposition was shouting like hell and didn’t allow him to speak. But, he was undeterred. In fact, it seemed he was enjoying it.

Global stock markets are nervous these days and our market is also not immune. Strengthening yen has kick-started global equities sell-off. Investors are turning away from risky assets. Thankfully, the inflation number which came yesterday looks decent. Interest rates are rising and will rise even further if the rate of inflation doesn’t come down to reasonable levels.

My mobile phone has suddenly gone on silent mode without giving any warning. Now it only vibrates. God know what has happened? My guess is it has become tired and wants to take some rest. I respect the decision. Anyway, nobody call me except some telemarketing guys.

March 02, 2007


Taking a break from humdrum life of Mumbai, I have made up mind to blog today. My life here has getting stable day by day. I think I getting accustom to daily work and traveling and weekend binges. I think my life is stuck in a rut. But, there is no time to relax. I have to be on the toes at work and make war-footing effort to meet my ends. How I am doing it..god only know. Energy seems to be floating in the air of Mumbai. I have never worked so hard in my life for any purpose or cause. I have been live life of privileged ones, now I realize. What made me come here sometimes I contemplate. But what is the point in thinking it. Actual point to ponder is what the hell I am doing in this world. Leaving aside the philosophical aspects of life I will discuss worldly matters. Sabu is now a ball of fire. His marathon writing and now what he has started posting colorful images and pictures is laudable. He speaks his mind and his mind speaks what has been written in all archaic books he has been reading all the time. But Blog is quite happening now. Anando Baba who likes to call himself Anando Rocks has gone in hibernation, once he was quite active and forthcoming. I think his LT is sick. It’s good to go on sabbatical when there is nothing worthwhile to write. I am again looking forward go on vacation with my oldies in Baroda. But Anando is silent in this matter. He was supposed to take leave in March but no communication further in this regard. I really don’t have any peg to write, I am drifting from one topic to another. Dr. R S has again rekindled his passion of Dictionary reading. Unlike us he is truly studious and laborious. He has all the qualities to become successful except will power. We are planning to buy a TV to watch the upcoming world cup. If we could get one, I hope till world cup there will be good TP. few days back I got strange news that Rajat ( my ex-classmate) was making fortune in KBC. I immediately rushed to the neighbor’s house to see the episode, but he was not Rajat. It was his brother Rakshit who was sitting on the hot chair. Both are twins and look similar. SRK was pretty impressed by his wealth of knowledge. He picked away 12.5 lakhs. Rajat made Special appearance through phone when Rakshit took his last lifeline(phone to friend option) and Rajat had as usual answered question correctly.

logging out....see u soon.

March Moods

I suffer from this not very common and incurable disease of I have all the time and patience in the world syndrome. I am brainwashed. Don’t you use any advanced search options to find the culprits as I accept I am the only one. I am in such a state for past sometime now that it seems as time doesn’t exist inside my room. I have not moved out of this room for almost a week now and I am not tired of it at all. I am in meditative mood. Reading is my favourite time pass here in Ahmadabad. Clouds of pollution are not as thick as they were before two years still I prefer to stay inside.

For a change I read short stories for quite some time now. Few of them are very old and few even older. From Aristotle to Gogol and Panchtantras to Pushkin they try to preach me things. Funny. They say they know where the sheep are and who the wolves are. I don’t understand these words as I have not learned anything from those stories that had been taught to me during my initial stay on this planet. Since my childhood days, way back in 1007 B.C., I have seen government agencies bombarding this kind of advertisements on Indian Television. They say that mother’s milk and grand mother’s stories are most important for a child’s growth. Even my childish day dreaming can not allow me to imagine I can have either of them now. I don't read those stories for the reasons they describe. They just help me to kill time. That is all.

These stories never impressed me much though I understand their importance in a child’s psychological growth. These are not just fables or ancient stories. These are the initial steps to prepare a child for his first lessons in social and so called moral conditioning. For centuries they have successfully used this shrewd ways to corrupt beautiful minds. Cultures world over have tried this tactics down the centuries to organize and form more and more obedient societies. And for that they need obedient children. These stories just help them to prepare more hypocrites. But rebels have left their trace in all ages.

I have just finished one other not so short story – The Coffee-House of Surat by Leo Tolstoy. It is in no way related to whatever I just have written but the story was not very interesting. Neither the presentation was impressive. I have read and heard thousands of stories, especially of this kind of, since my childhood days (remember my age) and I knew from the very beginning that what could be the end of it or what the moral of the story is. India is the motherland of this kind of stories and may be that is why Leo chooses Surat - a small port city in western part of India as the location for his story.

The story begins with a conversation between a Persian theologian and his slave, and they discuss about existence of god. This one line description is enough for my very old and wise friends. By now you must have understood how the Chinaman, the student of Confucius, answered all the questions asked by visitors of the café including Italian priest that evening. Or if not than you can download this little short story with few other stories here. It is only less than a half MB and takes few seconds to finish download.

And now. First time in last year or so I have not smoked for the stretch of full ten days. My laziness and meditative reading mood prevented me to go anywhere outside. I have no cigarettes here and am in no mood to go out and purchase. Only once daily I go out of this room and my house and that is when I go for my early morning exercise. Thirty minutes from now I will be riding my bicycle on the shimmering roads of Ahmadabad. My main motive behind all this exercise is not the exercise actually. I am not very health conscious. I am not health conscious at all. I just enjoy dew, mist, fog and fresh air.

Here in Ahmadabad I miss them a lot, morning mist and fog of Phursatgunj, but I don’t miss my old companion. My cigarettes. I have decided not to smoke too regularly for sometime in near future. At least until colors of life celebration ends on the 20box. Unlike it happened in past visits to home my health has not improved this time even though I have quit smoking. I also exercise in the evening. May be I have consumed a lot of energy in reading late nights. My body is not that youthful and not jives anymore. May be I have consumed my body. After all I am not a Youngman any more. I am 3014.

March 01, 2007

March Celebrations

Second in the Series are two colorful posters of summer noon. how wonderfully they describe the subtle nuances of sensuous summer afternoons.

welcome the summer sun

A Sensuous Summer Noon

March Celebrations

I have decided that i am going to celebrate the month of march by posting few bright and brilliant posters here. They say such beautiful things that i am forced to post them all here. First in the series is one COLORFUL poster preaching PEACE. Theme for this March Celebrations is Colors of life. If you have any suggestions about this theme please feel free to comment me.


February 27, 2007

A Letter to a Hindu

Before two days I was sick and tired and was unable to decide what to read and what not as my internet connection was going to remain down for next 48 hours. I have thousands of e-books but to read something on computer is real pain in the wrong place. After much confusion and hours of absentminded exercise I decided to continue with the two books I was reading at that time. But after few hours of struggling I decided to continue with only one book at a time and that was obviously the War and Peace by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. I found the other book, The Google Story by David A. Vise, full of information but very boring and rather chockfull. I had finished about 20 chapters from book I of War and Peace and now I am in no mood to continue with that book for next few days. But I must admit that I have enjoyed this book a lot and it gave me immense pleasure and satisfaction of reading unlike what happened with Dostoevsky’s Idiot. I am also reading few e-books by the same author which are in public domain now and can easily be downloaded from the web or are available for online reading. Few essays by Tolstoy and his letter to the editor of Free Hindustan with introduction by Mohandas K. Gandhi are worth a read. He also enjoyed writing tales and fables for children and was very much impressed by the ancient Indian books like Panchtantras.

In his letter to the editor of free Hindustan Tolstoy writes:
The reason for the astonishing fact that a majority of working people submit to a handful of idlers who control their labour and their very lives is always and everywhere the same - whether the oppressors and oppressed are of one race or whether, as in India and elsewhere, the oppressors are of a different nation.

This phenomenon seems particularly strange in India, for there more than two hundred million people, highly gifted both physically and mentally, find themselves in the power of a small group of people quite alien to them in thought, and immeasurably inferior to them in religious morality.
Further he argues:
What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred million vigorous, clever, capable, and freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?
When the Indians complain that the English have enslaved them it is as if drunkards complained that the spirit-dealers ...have enslaved them. You tell them that they might give up drinking, but they reply ...they cannot abstain, and that they must have alcohol to keep up their energy.
Most memorable line that surely is going to leave a long lasting impression on my mind from this letter was this one:
In the spiritual realm nothing is indifferent: what is not useful is harmful.
Mohandas Gandhi was very much influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and what he says in the introduction to this letter confirms that strongly:

To me, as a humble follower of that great teacher whom I have long looked upon as one of my guides, it is a matter of honour to be connected with the publication of his letter, such especially as the one which is now being given to the world.

He concludes his introduction to the letter with the following lines:

There is no doubt that there is nothing new in what Tolstoy preaches. But his presentation of the old truth is refreshingly forceful. His logic is unassailable. And above all he endeavours to practise what he preaches. He preaches to convince. He is sincere and in earnest. He commands attention.

Now that shows how deeply he was influenced by Tolstoy’s preaching. I don’t know whether or not he was regularly communicating with the editor of Free Hindustan or with Mahatma Gandhi but one thing I am very sure about that he had deeply studied Indian philosophy, culture and literature.

He preferred not to refer his book War and Peace as a novel and said even less it was a history book. In the epilogue II, ch. 1 he says:

History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a single nation, appears impossible.

Probably he understood this after knowing and understanding why Indians don’t write history or why they are against all kind of documentation especially if related to the history. Few of his quotes from this book force me to continue with my reading until I finish it in the near future:

Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.

Words like this constantly encourage me to read more and more from his books and I find myself in meditative state after few hours of constant reading. The Kingdom of God is Within You. This is the book I have planned to read after I am done with the War and Peace. This book, classified by many as a work of existentialism, was written by Tolstoy during later years of his life and is regarded as most important of his religious works.

He truly was a genius. Compared with Dostoevsky his work is much more philosophical and very less complicated and to the point. I only have read two books by Dostoevsky and yesterday had had the third one, crime and punishment by the same author and that too a hard copy. But I have planned to gift it to my father and to continue with my reading of Tolstoy. After six months when I will be done with Tolstoy I will give it a second thought.

He is regarded, by some, as the father of the non-violence movement began during the later part of his life. Tolstoy died in 1910 and before that he formulated a unique Christian philosophy which adopted non-resistance to evil as the proper response to aggression. And the best thing about him was that he opposed the idea of private property and most of all the institution of marriage. Eight years after his death, his wife was heard to say, "I lived with Lev Nikolayevich for forty-eight years, but I never really learned what kind of man he was."


 This work is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago. You are free to read this book online or can download e-book from various sources online and by doing so you are not violating any copy right laws.

February 24, 2007

Mid life crisis

It seems my 3000-years old friend Sabu is busy these days. He is regularly posting something on 20box. The blog looks pretty cool in its new avatar. I also wanted to post something. But, my friend’s laptop is sick these days. It has also become lazy after shifting home like its master. It goes to sleep whenever it wishes and doesn’t open its eyes even if it has some important things to do.

My life in Bangalore is dull. Age is no more on my side. Working in night shifts is taking its toll on my fragile body and even more fragile psyche. There is no more cricket either for another 20 days. I am tired. I want to go home.

I have made my first investment in equities which has been a moderate success. I intend to invest more and more in stocks going forward.

Another thing which is making my life increasingly difficult is the fast changing technology. Everyday I come across something new. I try my best to understand that and after few days that becomes old and in some cases obsolete. There is no respite in sight. Within few years there will be only two classes of people - tech friendly and tech ignorant. It will become very difficult for the second type of people to survive. And no matter how hard I try, I know I belong to the second category. I need to collect some money fast and retire or else I will struggle to survive.

February 23, 2007


After half and hour of very light exercise and stretching in the evening I feel relaxed now and all I miss here is just a chilled can of beer to double my joy of exercising. But wait I am in Mahatma’s Gujarat where I can not get that easily in the bright sunlight. Even those who want and regularly have it can get it after sunset. May be that is the beauty of the ban in Gujarat or may be that is the right time to have it under the soothing glow of moon.

In yesteryears it was written on the dirty and dimly lit walls of my hostel toilet:

Maiykhane se sharab se saki se jam se,
Apani to zindagi suru hoti hai sham se.

After few months I had realized that it was a gazal by famous Indian gazal singer. Sometime later one another kind of music genre added to my collection and I enjoyed gazals for coming years and still am enjoying gazals for years now.

The best way to appreciate a gazal or a piece of music is to have a drink in the distant corner of the room with music system by your side. At least that is the way I feel it should be. For years I enjoy music and I enjoyed drinking too. In Gujarat it is difficult to get that thing but not impossible if you really want to have it. Few of my drunkard friends and connoisseurs of flavors of liquor and wine made it even easier for me to get it at regular intervals. Usually week-ends are the best to have that stuff if you are in Gujarat and are able to arrange it somehow, which is really very easy actually.

For quite sometime now bees from the both ends are buzzing whether to booze or not to booze. Elite of the society and few institutions are trying to fuddle Modi Government to lift almost 50 year old ban on alcohol in the state of Gujarat. And all those who are against this ban easily get liquor and can enjoy it freely in Gujarat but they still want total freedom or ‘Purna Swaraj” as they don’t want to drink in the dark corners inside their house. Excitement to manage and get liquor somehow from local bootleggers is more funny and hilarious an exercise than boozing itself actually. For years, since my hostel days I am enjoying this exercise and still very happy with the same. I am in double mind now whether to support or not to support ‘the elite of the society’ to lift ban.

Since this December both local and national media is reporting and covering stories about this and also have published few editorials. I think they are very much concerned about the fate of the 5 crore Janta of Gujarat, even more than Mr. Narendra Modi himself. For years it is common perception in Gujarat that he is more worried about Janta of Gujarat than Janta itself. But at least he is more worried about the on going debate in Gujarat.

Even bloggers are nowhere behind to criticize what is going on in Gujarat for last two three months. Few of them don’t know where Gujarat is or how do you feel when you don’t have wine-shops in your neighbourhood. But it is their fundamental right to shout and to do whatever they want to do and to do it however they please to do it. Concept of fundamental rights is borrowed in Indian constitution from British and French constitution. But from Japanese constitution we have borrowed one more concept, and I think blogger are not aware about it. Concept of fundamental duties of a citizen towards nation and preamble reflects it in the best possible way. Preserving bloggers rights are as important as they understand their own duty and post anything on their websites responsibly.

These are the links to the bloggers where you can find all the articles related to the malt march and prohibition in Gujarat. They discuss it at length. – because drinking is a fundamental right.
Any Questions, Comments? Send an email to bartender @ -- the great Indian mutiny.

Mundane Musings
India Brew -- Indian Beer and Alcohol Industry Update, Analysis and Policy Watch

Few stories from the newspapers:

The Times of India
Hindustan Times
The Indian Express

No one knows in the wide world who coined this new word or movement ‘The Malt March’ but word of mouth spread it like wild fire in Gujarat and popular media giving it box-stories on the front page made it a hot topic here.

What the think-tank behind this march, Dinesh Hinduja, a business man says about this:
"The Malt March is not aimed at encouraging people to drink alcohol but to urge the government to free the state from prohibition law so that anybody can drink without the fear of breaking the law" he says that age old law is now redundant in Gujarat and we don’t need it but Gandhians want it the same way. Yet again I am confused with whom I should go, with Gandhians and to remain loyal to the last drop of liquor or to act the way Mr. Hinduja want and to participate in the malt march. Anyway I enjoy the way I drink, behind the closed doors, just the way Gandhians want the people of Gujarat to drink.

Minister of state for law, Amit Shah, told a local newspaper here that they have no idea about any such march and they will take further actions if necessary if the actual malt march takes place. I don’t think it is going to happen here. I know the people of Gujarat and they are very happy with the prohibition. They don’t think of it as a trial period but want it forever on the skies of Gujarat. This is my personal opinion about the people of Gujarat and not necessarily this is what they are thinking but I know my people very well.

I totally agree with Dinesh Hinduja when he says that “I believe in freedom of choice. Please explain why it is a crime to drink in Gujarat?” Pro-liquor movement or alcoholic disobedience is only possible way to fight against government to lift band on liquor in Gujarat. But as I am against any kind of movement or rebellion which is a distinct possibility in India I only am a passive supporter of the movement and have decided not to join at least the march. Don’t look at me surprised, this is the way people in almost every part of India acts and I love them the way they are, obedient and always ready for the next laathi. I love the way Mahatma moved them, the only possible way to deal with such people. Very obedient and even more lazy.

National newspaper Hindustan Times, on 30th January 2007, reports that, Supporters, mainly urban professionals, are using Internet blogs to promote the legal sale of liquor and are collecting data to show how the unworkable ban encourages smuggling and bootleggers. Who are these urban professionals and Blogger-Supporters? Most of them up to my knowledge are either Non-Gujaratis or are not in Gujarat. They don’t represent 5 crore Janta of Gujarat, at least their representation is less than that of Mr. Narendra Modi.

They even have started fund raising campaign on their official blog: On this and the other blogs they argue that Gujarat is out of the investment race because of prohibition here. Both I and my father don’t agree with them on this. They are now also dragging Mr. Gandhi in to the whole thing. Now few of them are also against this malt march and they want prohibition should be there for next few years. Among them are few critics who think that this whole thing is a conspiracy of outsiders and a group of post graduate students from Gujarat Vidhyapeeth. They are not ‘modern urban professionals’ so they don’t have their own website obviously. Only the one millionth of total population know anything about blogging and even fewer are interested in movement online. Ban or no ban poor people of Gujarat somehow manage their drinks without intellectual concerns and their foolish consequences.

How many of us know what actually happened back almost 75 years when Gandhiji on March 12, 1930 started The Salt March or the Salt Satyagraha? What I know is that The March was non-violent and was all about the amendment of salt tax without breaking the law. Gandhi never insisted anyone to follow him during the march that lasted on April 6, 1930 and projected it as his personal affair. I am not anyway for or against the malt march but I hope that the movement will be non-violent one, if not than it loses the meaning altogether. I don’t know how Chief Minister is going to act as the date of the malt march is yet undecided. Are they targeting 12th march 2007 for their malt march as way back in 1930 on the same day Mr. Gandhi started The Salt March or Salt Satyagraha. I can’t say so surely but I think that is their in the back of their mind. I hope they do it nonviolently.

I am against any kind of war, including civil being the worst of them all. I don’t want to engage myself discussing philosophy of necessity or avoidance of war in the history of human race but I think all wars are violent. That sounds very funny as we all know wars are always violent but I think that is not the case always.

What do they say at their website What are their memoranda or understanding of the present situation or as they say on the official web-site the inspiration for the malt march? They say that one of the major objectives is to make a case that the context under which Gandhi instituted prohibition is not valid today. Today, alcohol prohibition in Gujarat is an outdated, corruption and crime breeding, short sighted law which must be systematically removed. I don’t know whether it is valid or not valid or unconstitutional, as few of them argue, or not but I know one thing that is surely is outdated and helps only to increase corruption.

Salt march was for the poor and on his letter to the Viceroy Lord Irwin Gandhi wrote that he regarded tax on salt to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man's standpoint. He unified the independence movement of India with the salt march and stated that movement is essentially for the poorest in the land. But now what 20 Feb, 2007 0005hrs IST Times News Network report says on The Times of India website? 'Liquor doesn't make poor poorer' .The story says that the report on the case study of Ahmadabad slums’ was not made public because it was ‘politically incorrect’. Now god knows what they mean and how they define “politically incorrect”. Story further says: the survey showed that the consumption of liquor by poor people was not at the cost of essential items. Now this is really hilarious as I have been their in the slums and they don’t drink what we drink in the comforts of our drawing room’s quiet corner. Price of country wine, popularly known as Potali or Lattha, is same as it was before 10 years and shows no bad effects of inflation. This study conducted by R Radhakrishna, Bhanumati K Parikh and NC Shah of the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research in mid 70s is correct as far as my knowledge goes about the subject. I personally feel that “liquor doesn’t make poor poorer’ and from Gandhiji’s view point not going to affect the poor at all if they don’t extend the prohibition period.

Effects of The Salt March were felt all over India but if The Malt March will happen in the near future the effects will be limited to the state of Gujarat only. March or No-march, hope that we will get some cheap liquor in Gujarat very soon as if they lift the ban major international brewing groups are ready to start their operations in Gujarat also.

And for those who don’t care about all this and just want to make their own beer at home there is this link for you: 4 simple steps to MAKE YOUR OWN BEER at home. Just don’t involve your self in political complexities just chill out and have beer.

Good luck and Three Cheers to drunkards.

* * * * * * * * *
MaltMarch will be holding a Lecture/Debate on 25/02, 6PM at the Ellis Bridge Gymkhana, Ahmedabad. To participate in this event and further details visit

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