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.

Maltmarch.org – because drinking is a fundamental right.
Any Questions, Comments? Send an email to bartender @ maltmarch.org.

Mutiny.in -- 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: maltmarch.org. 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 maltmarch.org? 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 maltmarch.org

Copyrights reserved with respected owners. Image Courtesy wikipedia

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February 22, 2007

The Rural Olympics

There are only twenty days left before the ICC World Cup begins. Cricket is religion in India but not for all of them. Few from the northern state of India are more interested in rural games played in the villages of India. This state is obviously Punjab and games are Annual Rural Olympic Games. Kila Raipur is a small village in Punjab where these Rural Olympic Games are held every year since 1933. This is also known as the Kila Raipur Sports Festival. This year also festival was held between 1st and 4th of the February and no national newspaper took any note. At least in the western part of India where I live there was no news of this.

I have never been to Punjab but have seen enough of movies to imagine how it feels or you sense when you are in a Punjabi village. Dull green and yellow maize farms and hand pumps, intoxicating aroma of the motherland and patriotic spirit of Punjab. And most amazing are the people of Punjab. Healthy, strong and beautiful Punjabis never they shy to flex their wrists. When I look around me at the people of Gujarat and meditate over I understand why this Olympics are possible in the village of Punjab only and not in Gujarat or any other state in India.

In his book history of Satyagraha in South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi cried much about the health and physique of Indian workers and black workers and how it differs so visibly even when they are on the same diet and living under same circumstances for years. He said that even cattle in Africa looks much healthier than cattle here in India. I think poor Mahatma was never been to the healthy state of Punjab before he visited and settled in South Africa for years.

Dancing horse display, tent pegging and horse show, para gliding, dog races, loading and unloading tractor trolley, track and field events, cycle races, hockey, tug-of-war, kabaddi and tug-of-war are the major events at this Rural Olympics but the most exciting and thrilling of them all is the Bullock cart race. And price money involved in these games make them even more exciting for the participants. Cash prizes were offered to the athletes who obtain first second and third positions, respectively Rs.5000, Rs.3000 and Rs.2000

In the Bullock Cart Race event the jockey is not allowed to torture or hit his bulls but only can shout to make them run faster. This is the flagship event of the Rural Olympics and attracts crowd in huge numbers. Jockey trains each of his bullocks daily for years so they can triumph at the games. A winner bullock at the games cost around $15000. These games are no less expensive than Olympics I doubt.

Images from these Games can tell things more than I can describe and here are few of them for your pleasure and viewing delight.

You also can read more about this at Rural Olympics, Kila Raipur Games and at Ohmynews.

Copyrights reserved with respected owners. Image Courtesy Ohmynews and © 2007 Munish Nagar. Creative Commons License Text work is licensed under a Creative Commons
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February 21, 2007

Legally Void

Yesterday we preferred to sit outside ISKCON temple and enjoyed a lot of tea outside than going to Gallops Mall and sitting inside. I always prefer to sit outside in open where I can find laaris around and unlimited supply of tea and cigarettes. Yesterday again we meet there at the same place and performed our daily rituals like senseless chattering and roaming around with full enthusiasm.
They all were there before I arrived but the most important character was missing. He is still in Ahmadabad and don’t want to go back to Phursatgunj before Thursday morning. He never attends theory lectures and always arrives late in the practical performance too. He is too old and too good for all this stuff and don’t need laboratory assistants’ advices who were his juniors. Yes, I am talking about the great Nikhil.
Ajay and Sinha were joking and laughing and Midhun also was in jolly mood when we started our discussions focused on Nikhil and his misadventures and also his true love for mobile phones and GPRS services. He told us that he will be there by ten at night. While Ajay and Midhun went to collect Midhun’s new spectacles from a nearby optician’s shop I and Amit had decided to go for a darshan of lord Krishna at ISKCON temple.
Sitting there outside on the edge of the highway and discussing enthusiastically what is and was the status of Christianity and Christ in world religion with Sinha was not as boring as one can imagine. We enjoyed discussions for good one hour and than decided to go to some restaurant named 4 FOOD. Food was good but little bit spicier than usual. It was nine thirty and Nikhil was not yet arrived.
After coming back to home at ISRO we decided to watch the highlights of the third and final ODI between Australia and New Zealand. We have heard in the evening that New Zealand crushed Australia again in this series. Australia’s No.1 position and rule over the world cricket is over now. We were both happy and excited to watch the highlights of the game on the TV.
Whole night I was there at ISRO. First we played snooker online with very little luck and even less skills. We only won one game out of almost ten we played and that too because we played so slowly that our opponent was tired and left the table before we can hand our cue. After that Ajay and Nikhil was not in very conscious state and neither they were asleep. Nikhil tried hard to keep his eyes open so that he can chat on Mig33.
The best thing about my night stay was online internet radio Sahaja-Yoga. Listening to this channel was real fun and I honestly enjoyed Brazilian music a lot on this radio channel. There are few more radio channels online like last.fm and musicindiaonline.com. As I have a real fast internet connection here in Ahmadabad, now I can listen to the online radio and that is something I really missed for quite sometime now.

at the end of the day bottomline is that I am enjoying my vacation In Ahmedabad, legally void and full of rest and sleep. summer hibernation really worked for me and want to practice this every year for next few years. Amen.

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February 20, 2007

My Days

It was Ajay’s birthday yesterday and we were at Gallops Mall in Ahmadabad. Area around this place is full of malls and all kind of mini and big shopping complexes where people come for food and roaming only. 90 percent of the visitors in the mall never buy anything or they don’t want to buy the same thing at higher prices inside the mall. Though malls in Ahmadabad are not a very costly affair still general tendency is not to buy anything from a mall. In Ahmadabad there are more than 100 malls, small and big and for all kind of buyers, now and they offer stuff at very much discounted rates. Still I see more buyers on the window outside than they actually go inside and buy anything.
Most of buyers out there who pretend as if they are there for actually shopping can not fool others around them who also belong to the same species. They are there only for outing and food and they enjoy it more than ever now. In 70s’ and 80s’ India, public gardens and parks was the in-thing for Indians of the bourgeois. Now malls have malls have replaced those Parks successfully. They are past now almost everywhere in India except in small cities and towns where mall culture not penetrated yet. Parks are now for all those who are ugly and old and can not tolerate noise inside shopping centers or malls.
I was very much busy enjoying subway’s chicken teriyaki and was least bothered about the socio-economic impact of malls on Indian culture and what the ‘blah-blah’ economist so worried about. Food was good and we were there for one hour more just chatting and doing nothing but watching all the deadly plane crashes on national geographic channel.
Ahmadabad is less polluted now than it was before 2 years time. CNG buses and auto rickshaws have improved things a lot and I feel more comfortable on my bike when I drive around Ahmadabad. I usually don’t enjoy riding bikes in such noisy conditions with so much traffic in the labyrinth of Ahmadabad but now as I don’t have any other option I do it half heartedly.
We have planned to meet again today after 5 in the evening. We first will go to IIM and be there till the evening lasts and than we will go to ISRO and will make all kinds of noise there. We play music there as if we are in some discotheque and not in ISRO scientists’ residential colony. Still I enjoy company of Ajay and Nikhil and Sinha and Midhun here in Ahmadabad more than anywhere else. Not in phursatgunj, that is the place for those who are Old not for Zorbas full of energy.
Today we are going to do the same things again. Monotony and stagnancy is life for me in Ahmadabad. I surf till the wee hours and than go to the bed. I wake up late in the afternoon and than enjoy my food and go to bed again. I listen to music and online internet radios. I just enjoy life slowly and deeply and even have reduced my reading a lot. Now I don’t read as much as I used to when I was in Baroda but soon I shall be back to normal and back to Baroda too. There is nothing to do in Phursatgunj but to read books so I think that is one habit or hobby I am going to keep for the life time.
Nikhil called me at 1:30 in the afternoon and plans are not clear yet. It is almost four and still we are not in contact with each other and I think my younger brother is not yet home. Until he will be here it is impossible for me to go out anywhere as I have to rely upon his bike for the movement in Ahmadabad. My phone is out of balance and I can not call anyone so until they call me I am going to enjoy sleep.

February 19, 2007

Are you two?

It is unbelievable, may be I am still in my day dreams staring at flowers on the divider of the express-way. I still can not believe what my eyes saw before 12 hours on TV. It is something really miraculous with supernatural powers involved. You just can not get anything shocking than that. It was like ouch! You can not describe thing. Coming back to 21st century after one month of life in barbaric condition was even less shocking that what I actually witnessed on Ten Sports. I still don’t believe my eyes even after I see about all the facts and figures on internet and cricket websites. Yes, Australia lost an ODI series to England. Yes, they lost an ODI series to New Zealand. Yes, they are now world number two team. They slipped past to second position clearing the way for South-Africa with 128 ODI points and Number One position.
How all this happened so early and just before the world cup? Do they have lost their old days charm or they are now an old team with youngsters pushing uncles to get in. when this really happened? They lost a game, game number two against New Zealand in ODI series, and now on number two position. Australia lost both the series and their so proud Number One position. All the equations are now reset for the world cup. Who is going to win the world cup? Australia with her team work, India with her experience, WI with the obvious home advantage, SA with her newly acquired Number One position, England with her experience or Pakistan with her killer instinct. I can not say anything right now, one month before the world cup but I think New Zealand’s chances are better than even SA. But we can not underestimate the power of Sri Lanka also. They do have a chance on shiny and spongy and bouncy Wickets of West Indies.
I don’t care whoever wins but watching the World Cup in West Indies is real fun. Especially if you have a pass or ticket to the lawn and have red rum filled coconut with you by your side. I know Australians surly are going to fight back after this series or at least in the World Cup. We can not underestimate such a powerful team but I doubt their abilities now not because of they are low in skills but because they are old enough now to go to home and watch cricket on TV themselves. New Zealand is also no different; few of her older players are on the verge of retirement. Well, they are better than Australians right now and have pushed them to number two positions after an ODI series loss. This was the fifth loss in sixth matches for injury-stricken Australia. It is the first time since the listings began in 2002 that Australia has not occupied top spot for ODI ratings.
The 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup begins on March 13 with Australia playing their first game the following day against minnow Scotland at St. Kitts while New Zealand open their campaign on March 16 against England at St. Lucia. Now just wait and watch.

Journey to the North

My journey to the north was very exciting and funny. Now I am in north, yes I am in Ahmadabad. Early in the morning yesterday we shifted from our new winter palace to our summer palace. Now we have this facility here, in winter we can go upstairs and in summer we can come downstairs to stay on the ground floor. It was a yet another lazy Sunday for me and I was still fast asleep when Nikhil had started shifting few things from up to the room on the ground. It took us two full hours to shift everything from top to bottom from up to down. It was a roller coaster ride for us. Moving our old pillows and bad bed sheets and dirty beds themselves was a massive task ahead of us but we never ever even gave it a thought of surrender. I was so tired after all this exercise that I enjoyed full one hour of rest and reading magazines inside my toilet there. Masi’s food is easy to digest and light on both my tummy and my pocket. Now early summer days are here and it is time to enjoy chach everyday. I have reduced my smoking a lot and now at home I am not going to smoke at least for next few days I think. These are the preparations before my summer hibernation. But how all this began?
After enjoying masi’s food at one o’clock in the after noon we, I and Nikhil, went to hostel to meet Uttar. He was our companion for the journey up to the entry at express highway, a place known by name borrowed form near by residential society, Amitnagar. From there we got a taxi (Tata Sumo) and were on the express way within next 15 minutes. It was 3:30 in the after noon and sun was high. Though it was not very hot outside, we kept windows closed as the car was flying at almost 100 kilometer per hour speed. That is something supersonic for the people of Phursatgunj and I was in no mood to argue with the driver as I knew it would have not made any difference to him. He was in hurry. It was Sunday yesterday and he was in no mood to come back to Baroda while his boss insisted to go on one more “Chakkar” between Baroda and Ahmadabad while he was talking to him on phone. I was rather lost looking outside the scratchy windows. There are all kinds of and colors of flowers on the express way. Everyone except I and driver was in the midst of their regular afternoon nap when we were about to reach Ahmadabad. Express highway no.1 is really beautiful but not in the sense people say or look at it. to be continued . . . .

February 15, 2007

The Last Dawn

Downloading autobiographies of Charles Darwin and Theodore Roosevelt and reading notes from underground is a vindicating way of rounding off a long boring and rather hectic day. Last night I enjoyed full 12 hour sleep and was in good mood early in the morning. But then after that my day was a total mess. Without knowing where we were going I followed nikhil like a dumb dog. He dragged me into some T-shirt printing press in karelibaug early in the morning. They do some strange activities in the college and celebrate different 'days' like vegetable day and cleanliness day. As part of this scheduled circus today is the group day and for this so-called 'group day' they wanted their T-shirts printed in the noon so that artists in hostels can write their name on the back of their respective T-shirts. T-shirts are ready now but my day was ruined. It is so boring to roam out and to go to the college meaninglessly. Even when I was a regular student I was never very regular and it contributed the most in my growth as a homo sapiens. Swamiji was there in the college even before we had arrived. Within one hour we were at masi's lari enjoying daal bhaji and chawal. No rotis masi said the second setback of the day. Third one was even funnier and hilarious for me. I lost so many games on FICS today and that too against very low rated players like 1500-.i never ever in my short carrier as a chess player lost so many games in a single day. My tournament score was 2.5/7.0 today, worst ever. In the evening swamiji came again and we went to kalubhai agian. Then after an hour or so at eight in the evening we were at mangal bazar in search of a t-shirt so that swamiji can print an image of OSHO on it. One hour in mangal bazar was most painful and annoying of them all, the final setback really made me a dumb dog. I was so annoyed that I was shouting things and was walking in the lanes of mangal-bazar as if I was there for hafta-vasuli. few sindhi shop-keepers with their faces like tandoori legs in curry unsuccessfully tried to convince me that I could easily print with the help of my t-shirt transparency on their low quality t-shirts. Finally we got one "plane white round neck pure cotton t-shirt" from a fatehgunj store at 9:30. I repeated that phrase at least hundred times at mangal-bazar. All the food-joints were closed when nikhil came back at kalubhai's at 10:30 and that was the final nail in my coffin. Finally after eating mahesh bahi's roti and dal-fry I was so tired that I was unable to read more than two chapters from war and peace. May be this is my last post for now and I am going into hibernation again for sometime as I have to finish few things undone. Good night. Amen.


After few years of separation we are together again. I am again engaged with my old love-Russia and Eastern Europe. I again am in contact with my eastern European friends via e-mail. Eastern Europe is really one very interesting place to live. Poor but poetic, people of this region are more interesting than even Russians. Few ICQ friends of mine there in EE share music with me through file-sharing. I have a good collection of Romanian and Bulgarian and Slav songs now. Classic, Romantic, Melodies and Rock, and everything else what they listen I have it in my collection. After experimenting with Russian chess style and listening to Eastern European music and enjoying visual arts for years my new passion is their literature. And Tolstoy is the best one to begin with. All those who have read and understood Russian literature here in the blogger’s world I want your opinion and that too rather through a poll. Tell me who is better and more interesting to read. Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. If you don’t want to vote at least leave your comments so I can better understand the nature of their writing. Bye for now. Best from 20box.

February 13, 2007

Notes from the underground

My interest in Russian literature doubled after reading an article about Tolstoy or Dostoevsky Article was by an English author, translator and critic of Russian Literature. I enjoyed it a lot and have decided to read more and more Russian Classical Literature this summer. so many of the books are in public domain now and i have downloaded all of them. Author of the article says that communists like Stalin and others of his time preferred Tolstoy's work over Dostoevsky's. Tolstoy's work was more philosophical and psychological while Dostoevsky peopled his novels with poor characters and described at length their struggle and social status in his time of Russia. After I finish War and Peace I have decided to read Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. I am also reading a short novel or novella by Dostoevsky titled Notes from the underground. It is considered the world's first existentialist work. After reading first few paragraphs I liked it so much that i decided to read it twice. I hope i would be able to finish War and Peace before Anando Rock will be here in April. Lazyguru I recommend you to read Notes from the underground and hope that you can find few hard copies of Dostoevsky's books in Mumbai. More about Tolstoy and War and Peace in the evening, till than enjoy this quotes.

Here are few Quotes from the Dostoevsky's The notes from the underground. This novella is in public domain now and you can read the book by clicking the link below.

Project Gutenberg Public Domain Books - Notes from the under ground

  • I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased.
  • To be acutely conscious is a disease, a real, honest-to-goodness disease.
  • [T]he best definition of man is: a being that goes on two legs and is ungrateful.
    • More punchy translation: If I had to define man it would be: a biped, ungrateful.
  • When… in the course of all these thousands of years has man ever acted in accordance with his own interests?
  • Two plus two equals five is not without its attractions.
  • Yes - you, you alone must pay for everything because you turned up like this, because I'm a scoundrel, because I'm the nastiest, most ridiculous, pettiest, stupidest, and most envious worm of all those living on earth who're no better than me in any way, but who, the devil knows why, never get embarrassed, while all my life I have to endure insults from every louse - that's my fate. What do I care that you don't understand any of this?
  • I could never stand more than three months of dreaming at a time without feeling an irresistible desire to plunge into society. To plunge into society meant to visit my superior, Anton Antonich Syetochkin. He was the the only permanent acquaintance I have had in my life, and I even wonder at the fact myself now. But I even went to see him only when that phase came over me, and when my dreams had reached such a point of bliss that it became essential to embrace my fellows and all mankind immediately. And for that purpose I needed at least one human being at hand who actually existed. I had to call on Anton Antonich, however, on Tuesday - his at-home day; so I always had to adjust my passionate desire to embrace humanity so that it might fall on a Tuesday.
  • Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has others which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But finally there are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself, and every decent man has a considerable number of such things stored away. That is, one can even say that the more decent he is, the greater the number of such things in his mind.
  • The [Russian] romantic is always intelligent, and I only meant to observe that although we have had foolish romantics they don't count, and they were only so because in the flower of their youth they degenerated into Germans, and to preserve their precious jewel more comfortably, settled somewhere out there—by preference in Weimar or the Black Forest.
  • It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything.
  • Granted I am a babbler, a harmless vexatious babbler, like all of us. But what is to be done if the direct and sole vocation of every intelligent man is babble, that is, the intentional pouring of water through a sieve?
  • ...To care only for well-being seems to me positively ill-bred. Whether it’s good or bad, it is sometimes very pleasant, too, to smash things.

 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.

Streets of Phursatgunj - A Glimpse

The Contrast Green

The City Streets

The Antique Dawn

Shattered my winter dreams

Dim consciousness that I had done something wrong yesterday suddenly woke me up from my shattering winter dreams. After sometime, when I came back into my body, I realized that it is power-cut that disturbed my sleep and not my consciousness is the culprit. Indeed, my winter dreams are over now and it is summer here. To have power-cuts in summer in India is like to be in hell with thousand devils dancing over your head. Early summer sun is invading my winter palace dancing through windowpane bouncing back and forth and crushing all resistance with cajoled rays that are trying to glitter the corner wall with the shades of dark yellow quartz of topaz. My room is as dim as my consciousness and dark yellow shades, of coy morning sun, are unable to glow it. The light green walls always provoking me to sleep more and more, they have made the matter worse. Power supply is back now but my windows are still closed. Nikhil is not yet back into his body and usually never go for his lectures if arranged early in the morning. It is 10:00 am and yet he is fast asleep. Phursatgunj is the only place on earth with so many aristocrats at the same place. London’s legacy may be. Lords, dukes, counts and kings this place is all full of them. You can find them everywhere just walking through the streets of phursatgunj, they are omni present here. In modern times they have to engage themselves in different kinds of work but with full dignity. Some of them run laaris and others drive auto rickshaws and few among them the greatest of them all, king among kings don't do anything at all but to sit at masi's laari and read all the local newspapers available for hours enjoying masi's super sweet tea and Lord Bhau's cigarettes. I have few pictures of my new palace and surroundings and will paste them here next time to just give the glimpse of phursatgunj to this blog's foreign visitors. I am also shifting from my winter palace to my summer palace. One room summer palace is on the ground-floor and more comfortable during summer times. Feel like smoke. Sayonara.

February 11, 2007


I am back with the last article in the series. Romanticism. Gothic and romantic novels' time period collide with each other towards the end of the romanticism era. During this period novel writing in English flourished. William Wordsworth played a major role in the growth of the English romanticism. Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) is sometimes referred as the first novel in English language. It was written during this era.

Aestheticism was the by-product of romanticism and neo-classicism. Towards the end of this era especially English writers contributed a lot for its growth. It belongs to the anti-Victorian reaction and was criticised harshly by famous personalities of that time. It took place in the late Victorian period from around 1850 to 1900. Sadly it is considered to have ended with the trial of Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde and Algernon Charles Swinburne, both influenced by the French Symbolists and Artists were the major contributors. At that juncture of time, last few decades of nineteenth century, Oscar Wilde also started a school and taught aestheticism in London. The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1891 and was very much criticised by Critics of that era. They noticed that there existed so many things common between Wilde's life and his book, at the time of his trial his book was used as evidence against Wilde. His sexuality was the talk of the town in London. In his own words "the danger was half the excitement". Oscar was certainly influenced by the aesthetic theories of John Ruskin and Walter Pater while at Oxford, and he adopted the pose of an effete young man. Rebours was imitated by Oscar Wilde in his book The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian reads an untitled book, which has a profound effect on his view. At his trial Wilde said that his aim in life had been self-realisation through pleasure rather than suffering. After that during post-modern era romantics was rather out-of-date. He was the last major contributor in English romantics writing. Fantasy, The Grotesque, Melodrama and Realism thereafter followed.

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February 09, 2007

Romanticism and Neoclassicism

Two contrasting styles, in both arts and literature, Romanticism and Neoclassicism were developed during 1750 to 1900. Neoclassicism in literature was primarily concerned with classic models and culture and civilization while Romanticism dealt with emotions and dreams and opposed Enlightenment.

The Scottish poet James Macpherson ignited and influenced the early development of Romanticism with success of his Ossian cycle of poems published during the earlier part of this era. During the later part of the nineteenth century this two movements together gave birth to the new movement - Neoromanticism in music. In the early 20th century neo-romanticism gradually evolved into expressionism and realism. Anton Antonovich Delvig a Russian poet and journalist and a close friend of Alexander Pushkin is considered as the father of Russian neoclassicism. During the later part of this era, romanticism out ruled neoclassicism. Movement of romanticism was against the idea of Enlightenment. The term neo-romanticism is related with the movement of romanticism in Britain after 1880. This ended two great movements of romanticism and neoclassicism.

Next time will be back with more on romanticism and literary romanticism and its criticism towards the end of this two era and more.

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Time of neoclassicism can be classified into two groups, earlier part of the seventeenth century and later part of the eighteenth century. I am not an expert of English literature but rather studying neoclassicism and romanticism from the critic’s point of view. Neoclassicism in literature is also known as the age of reason because during this period most of the classical and philosophical works of philosophers were translated. It is also known as age of social reform in literature and its concern for social reality. I am also reading translated works of Aristotle these days which help me to better understand criticism of neoclassicism. Giorgio Valla translated Aristotle's Poetics into Latin before the beginning of this era. (Neoclassicism) After that John Dryden (1631-1700) translated most of the classics, becoming known for his aeneid (1697). After him Samuel Johnson (1709-84) also contributed to the growth of neoclassicism by translating classics. During this era Writers turned from coining new words to scientifically regularizing vocabulary and grammar. Complex metaphorical language was clarified and simplified using fewer and more conventional vocabulary. Structures of language become more simple and unified.

Literary criticism during this era was also related with philosophy and its social implications. Matthew Arnold was a major critic during the end of this era. This also gave birth to the new literary criticism--Russian formalism. Scientific study of poetic classic literature became the central theme of neoclassicism during this era. Sharp philosophical wit in writing made this era world's greatest age of comedy and satire.

Next time will be back with more on neoclassicism and romanticism.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License. All rights reserved with 20 box. 2007

February 07, 2007


Resurgence of old style or a classic, but with new perspective, in art or literature is known as neoclassicism. With the first academy of art founded in Florence in Italy in the later half of the sixteenth century began the wave of integration of rather new art with old or classic artistic style. Academies founded during this period motivated the movement and also cleared the path for eighteenth and nineteenth century’s Romanticism. Central theme of Romanticism was to subdue and replace the harsh reality and practicality of life with impractical romantic ideals and attitudes. In nineteenth century clubbed with Romanticism Neoclassicism gave birth to great artists and writers. These two movements cleared the road for great future rebel artists and writers like Vincent Van Gogh and Oscar Wilde. Romanticism valued imagination and emotion over rationality. And in my opinion Oscar Wilde’s writings reflected that in the best possible way. I have studied few paintings of Van Gogh and I think he best represents the pictorial perspectives of what Oscar Wilde said. At the end of the nineteenth century this two movements or artistic styles diluted with new-age artistic styles.

What is art is one very old question and answered the most by different people in different manner. But what is appreciation and criticism of art is even more important and less rose questions. Artist’s purpose of self-expression of his imagination is art. To engulf into the sublime beauty of it is appreciation. And to do what I am doing here (to find fault in artist’s (one’s own) imagination) is criticism.

Impressionists who painted outdoor criticised Academic Arts like neoclassicism and romanticism as they preferred to paint or write what they see with their naked eyes. Unlike in academic arts study of anatomy and geometry is not that important in idealism or realist impressionists. Towards the end of the nineteenth century Paris become the world art-hub and home of so many artists. By this time European society was fed up with academic arts and gave a good chance to its legacy Idealism to flourish. The twentieth century movements assembled with new Idealism both in arts and writing had lost much of its charm of romanticism and neoclassicism. Retiring fogs from the face of romanticism revealed rather dry and ugly reality of plain modern art and writing (i.e. blogging) of our times. As far as my knowledge goes and I have read and understood the writers and artists and their works, with few exceptions like saki, since the later half of nineteenth century and earlier part of the last century best reflects the miscarriage of the romanticism's day dreams. We can not give birth to writers and artists like Oscar Wilde again and in his own words that is the fault. (of idealism, I think)

There are legions that need help understanding art, and very few blessed who naturally can understand and appreciate and criticize. Professional art writing is one of the byproduct of modern art and shows us the ugly face of reality. This is one for those who don't understand art but want to know and learn about it from the experts. Fan base of modern art is a comic reality. Professional art writer is one who writes for them. Is this the liberty one can take with modern art or is this the reality of idealism? Only a writer can judge the best or can criticise in the most fascinating manner his own books. Only an artist can understand his own work. No writings can reveal the secrets or can explain anything. After reading few pages of war and peace I conformed my belief. One should practice day dreaming more and more to get closer to self, self-loving and romanticism. No words from the experts can fulfill my heart and can stimulate my higher senses.

Aesthetic sense of my self-love provoked me to write this early in the morning. Listening to the bird’s chirping and feeling the weight of golden rays on my face here I come. Ignite your imagination to criticise me, comment me. Amen.

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The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. This photograph of the work is also in the public domain in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License. All rights reserved with 20 box. 2007

February 06, 2007


We never imagined even after drinking beer mixed with whiskey when we were there before a year or so. I am not ready to accept it right now even after reading the news in local daily Gujarat Samachar and more even I not believe it after looking at the picture. They more look like stones than eggs, and why they are there? So old, 650 million year. So called modern man (Homo sapiens) is there for last 5000 years and why no one found anything till now and suddenly they found it there and why there only? And what that white chap is doing there in the picture. He is not an Indian I hope. It is good that we Indians are not interested in any such kind of activity, at least like that white man (shown in the picture- may be an anthropologist or a scientist) who does it to earn money also. Nothing done without pure ‘Academic Interest’ can create anything vital and new. We are lucky as far as this is concerned. I am not against white man or his “race” in general. I neither am interested in playing big brother nor am I a racist.
Human inhabitance in that area never ever revealed anything about that but I think those poor tribes are not interested in such activities. Ignorance is bliss. There is no proper Hindi word for Dinosaur or may be I (and tribes) don’t know the word. When I was a kid I was so fascinated by their size that I was never able to accept it afterwards during my adolescent years that they actually lay EGGS. Yes, I mean how can they? They are so big and their eggs smaller than football. Nature is strange and most difficult thing about it is to understand it. Even to give it a try. But we (I and tribes) don’t care. How all this things can happen in such a beautiful place? I don’t want it to happen again. I pray to god that they don’t find more dinosaur eggs there. Fossils, if found there can worsen the situation. Oh Mother Nature please doesn’t let those scientists ruin the beauty of deep jungles of Madhya-Pradesh. I want to go there again and again in coming years and want to go on Narmada Bhraman also. Oh God please ‘Crack’ all those EGGS found in DHAR.

Phursatgunj !?!

what are they doing with our beloved phursatgunj ? not only phursatgunj but whole of baroda is under their radar. lazy police force of Baroda is super active these days. number of crime incidents are 60% higher than that of yesteryear. what is behind all this?? now at 10 in the evening we almost have a curfew like situation here in phursatgunj... i don't know what is happening around me as rather i am very much confused. i don't know why this changes are happening.

and for last 2 days we barely manage to get tea at night near ST station. to get ciggis at night i roam around baroda on my 1890 vintage bike for half an hour daily. life is not as cool as it was in phursatgunj. my god, what is happening here !!! and as if this is not enough it even rains in the night sometimes. seasons are changing here in phursatgunj.

and worst of all they demolished 150 shops located between punjab mill and railway station. now we have a broad road with footpath towards railway station. work is going on at full speed here. and within two days i think it will be over. now i don't have any place to sit at in the night as our Bhurabhai's open-air restaurant is gone. samrat is closed for last two days.

tomorrow will be back with the pictures of demolition and how railway station looks after demolition. god save the phursatgunj.

February 02, 2007

namaskar mitron

yesterday we had closing so i am relaxed today i think i should write about our beloved friends who are now a days resting in their nests...

welcome back anando good to see that you still carry fire and flair to write goofy stuffs. and of cource you are steady in this blog unlike others. had you shown this sincerity and perseverence in college days , I think untill now you would have became husband of a obedient wife and father of 2-3 notorious kids. but no regrets as baba is not made for the traditional life cycle which our ancestors have imposed on us... he has his own journey. or probably someday he will give us a pleasant shock.

sabu is so wraped up in his new novel war and peace, written by ( leo bhai), and constructing a web site, that he has unintentionally neglected this blog. but he enjoys such chores. for him knowledge is divine and its application sin.
I have learn that kharchoo is in mumbai, but there is no sign of his presence because everthing is quite normal here ...

yes this is official that ranjit is on bride-searching spree. he has now taken vouch that he will ruin a life...sorry he has vouched to begin a new fresh life with a pretty young woman.

i have got a salary hike , may be i can now afford to have some better quality alcohol...

leaving to barge again....

February 01, 2007

Anando is back

Offff!!! Tiring. Too much work. The busy earnings season is on and there is no time to breathe. It seems lazy friends have forgotten this blog.

Even I don’t feel like writing anything. After spending 3 wonderful weeks in beloved Phursatgunj, it’s back to work. Things are as they were. As usual my visit to PG was a big hit. I had an honour to spend my time with two great beings – Sabu and Kharchu. Though it was a bit costly affair, all good things in life comes with a price.

Sabu and kharchu are master of making their life interesting. Though their techniques are different, the end result is same. It was a sheer joy to spend time with these two greats. Kharchu is now in Mumbai and Sabu is working on some website.

Now, some news on friends in Mumbai. Kumar Gaurav has got a salary hike and RJ is searching a bride. Let’s hope, we will get an opportunity to witness a miracle this year if RJ gets married. Signing off.