Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Green Slumdog and a Ring

A few years back, some friends had recommended Vikas Swarup’s Q&A to be added to my reading list. Vikas had been their colleague but besides their personal acquaintance with the author, my friends had found the book a very interesting read. I remember reviewing the book then as overly predictable although the narrative had a very pleasant lilt and warmth in its motions. A few weeks ago, a friend was raving about a movie she had recently seen. As she went through the plot, it struck me as being rather familiar. On further connecting the dots, I found out that Q&A was now on serious film production –though by another title. Slumdog Millionaire! I came out of the theater quite satisfied that the screenplay proved my earlier review of the book quite wrong. The movie itself is well written and shot. Set largely in Bombay through three phases in the life of the protagonist, the camera was honest in capturing the depraved yet resilient and colorful spirit of wresting oneself from the alleys and backwaters of an Indian metropolis. The casting could have been a tad tighter though. Rather than spill all, a plug for the movie would be a lot more appreciable. So, if you were waiting for that one movie worth your investment, Slumdog Millionaire could be it.

(Click on pix for a fuller view)
Given that one has internalized much of the normative ways of being and parameters of reference, December tends to inflect our senses of not only ourselves but also that of the world around us in ways that remain dormant for much of the rest of the year. Giving takes on a whole new sense of urgency as we plan out our list of stuff to send out from our resources. Beyond the confines of our selves and those within its ambit, we are acutely aware of those beyond who are less privileged than us. A heightened sense of urgency to intervene or “make a difference” for unnamable faces takes on priority levels that upset the balances we plan with. Decorations and cooking bring out our creative best. These photos of a Christmas tableau in our locality exemplify just that dash of ingenuity inflected by sensitivity to world conditions. Hope rings poignantly this year. With a radically new president for the US, and a change in the leadership in Mizoram –a rehash of sorts for some –there is a measure of hope for alternate governance in the coming days. Amidst all these flashes of self consciousness, I happened to mull over the waste we produce as a byproduct of our festivities. The disposable cups, plates, and spoons, leave alone the rather sinful leftovers we eyewash with quixotic senses of abundance and nonchalance, and the toll our foods imply –they all impact us, though not immediately. Beyond our human-centered considerations in planning for the season, I am dreaming of a green Christmas!



Planning for my nuptials has been a little hairier than I bargained for, especially when done remotely by phone or email. There are more black-holes than I could ever throw light on. Minute details become headliners. For instance, my decision to plan the venue at my partner’s place rather than mine provided much fodder for the rumor-mill. The many angles this decision blew up into really tweaked my learning curve. With humility, I have learned to gracefully take their umbrage as sincere familial concern for me. So if you will be in Lunglei around the ides of January, let me know. As a gracious reader who has painfully ploughed through this posting, I can, in the least, invite you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So what?

With communications technology breaking new grounds at a frenetic pace, mobility and portability seem to underline what makes or breaks. Of late, my inbox shows a number of emails which, when opened, have additional taglines such as, "Sent from my IPhone," and "Sent from Blackberry." We've been sending emails and messages all this while and suddenly we need to notate the technology that facilitated the communication. I guess these tags are generated by the service providers and not by the end users. Anyhoo, the tags themselves seem to feed on our human need for self-constitution, with corporatized technology being an all too willing facilitator. That one is not too averse to the tech-enabled image building only seems to underscore the reciprocated complicity. "Sent from my IPhone!" So what?

On a more positive note, autumn-winter transitions remind of beauty around us that often go unnoticed.


Winter lines never fail to transport me back to the days of approaching winters in the Himalayan foothills. With the year's work done and going home just a few weeks away, visual registers of those longing gazes into the evening's horizon remain clearly etched. As I scan the horizons at a place far removed from then, these images re-emerge to let me wander through terrain that seem to transcend time and space, to where the past and present merge in a burst of colour.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scraps from the bin

Occasionally, I end up running through mental images that have been lodged in the recesses of my mind. These images have been lodged there for a while, and more often than not, for the simple reason that they were embarrassing moments. Interiorizing them then only let the flushed-face-inducing memories fester, waiting for that moment to surface as surreal re-enactments so that even in the most private of moments, I still cringe down to my marrow.

◙ While the events of an athletic day were in progress, I found myself setting the bar at a high jump pit to vault over it. Back in the day I had done reasonably well in pole vault. Eight years later then, I was trying to relive those glory days. Only this time, it was at a high jump pit—that too a sand pit! I remember there was some significant someone I wanted to impress and could think of nothing better than a lousy vault to do that. My run up was passable. My body arced surprisingly well as I cleared the bar. Then, my hands just froze on to pole, more like a pole dancer than a vaulter. I came crashing down with the horizontal bar sandwiched by the pole still firmly in my hands. A butt landing on sand could not be harder than when compacted by poles and bars collapsing on to a man’s jewels! And she was not even around to see it were I to have gracefully executed the vault. Dang it!

◙ Some younger folk had arranged an evening of music to raise funds. I had excused myself from any participation with the vaguest of excuses, “I’ll be too busy.” I eventually showed up at the event. Well intentioned though they were, their music was floundering with every other line. “Kids,” I thought to myself. I went backstage and told them in a pep-talk manner that we would try something cool. Very filmi indeed! My supposedly cool idea was to rap-out a very common song. I would be on drums and rapping. The others would follow my lead on whatever instrument they were playing. On stage, I got the experiment going and rapped through the first stanza. It was pathetic. And then I forgot the lines to the second verse and adlibbed my way by repeating the first stanza. Even as we ploughed through the motions, every next second being more painful than the previous, it already dawned on me that I had made quite an ass of myself!

◙ A friend felt compelled to introduce his sermon with a joke. Not the natural comic, he had to cook up a scene to fit his material: a boy had his eyes on a girl but was never sure she felt the same way for him. In class, he scribbled on a piece of paper and passed it to the girl. She opened and saw a cryptic formula: 1+4+3= 3 or 2. Instinctively, the girl ticked the 3. As she was threw it back to the boy, the teacher caught eye of the ball of paper on its trajectory. Pulling up the boy, the teacher asked him to explain what was scribbled on the paper. The boy explained the formula as “I+love+you = yes or no.” The girl had, unawares, reciprocated. My friend then put his introductory piece in perspective. “You can never conceal love if your love is real.” He then went on to wax sermonic on love by excising material in 1 Corinthians 13. Come on!

The cringe in this last one is more vicarious. There are many more of such moments that occasionally re-emerge to remind me that life allows one to sidestep the lines of propriety and make occasional asses of ourselves. Personally, I will have become a little wiser while still nursing my humpty dumpties!

Thus spake the raven…

Monday, October 20, 2008

"...the music of the night"

What is it that music addresses so that we are drawn to it? Consider the variety and genres of music that are out there and it only thickens the speculative layers that one needs to wade through in order to conjure up an answer with even the remotest of persuasiveness. There seems to be something more visceral within us and in our perceptions/constructions of our selves that, somehow, music provides appropriate bridges. Within a wider symbolic world, we perceive ourselves through a detour into an other, and refine that perception in terms of desire for the object that is possessed by the other. This desire for an absent object creates longing, taste, and radical discontent. Maybe, music provides a reference for that which our selves lack, and also the medium by which we quest for a finer redefinition of our selves.

Sometime back, a friend and I went to watch Symphony X in concert. This band is a technically dextrous unit that paces its movements through multiple time-signatures; a treat for the prog-rock connoisseur. Personally, I thought Sym-X’s act was a disappointment. They raced through their set and the guitars drowned the rest of the band. The guitarist and singer hogged the entire limelight. The guitarist had his bottle of bourbon by his side and as the act progressed, he kept racing through the bourbon-induced intro-s so frenetically that, by the time we walked out, it was just noise!

A highlight for me that evening was not the headliner but the relatively unknown opening act. Not very familiar with the European genre of metal (gothic, black, Scandinavian, et al.), it was a learning experience to sit through Epica’s set. Back home, one hears of Nightwish and others often by default, but Epica caught my attention rather markedly. Part of it had to do with the lead singer. Rather well built and tightly packed in a corset top, images of her hair swaying in unison with the chunky riffs of their songs remain visibly etched in my mind. Was it a subliminal clamouring for a white other or was it a Freudian undertow? The songs were syncopated in ways quite unlike standard rock arrangements. Minor modes and alternate scales made the compositions seem to lead me through a detour into a world quite different from the three-chord rock riffs, which I realized had become a default self-position. Additionally, the lyrics were intended to cast surgical strikes on to politics and its underside. Although I never did quite catch the lyrics, I gathered this strain from a rather “aainch” intro to a song: “This song is about extremism; because extremism is not good, whether it is left or right!” “Aainch” in the sense that I thought it was trying to say too much by saying too little; almost pretentiously profound. Or were my own political sensibilities kicking in? Come to think of it, the occasional growls by one of the male guitarists were rather “aainch.” A lot of the younger people will identify with these growls, and label me an oldie for my views on it. And yet, the growls seemed to re-inscribe what Descartes had set as the modern agenda. I exist because I think, even though my thoughts come out in growls. The neglected but rational and unitary self extricates itself from societal repressions and silences to assert its existence. Breaking set meters of lyrical articulations, the growls came across as a politically charged device or gesture. Nonetheless, a discursively embedded gesture such as a growl—that even the entire Epica-package is a product of language, a system of signs—belies, contrary to the Cartesian chutzpah, the potential for self articulation it is perceived to have.

Although I adamantly refuse to growl, the trace of the night lingered. I later found out that the Epica singer who has so captured my imagination was only a fill-in. The original singer was ill and could not continue the tour. I youtubed around and came up with this clip. It was a bonus of sorts because it has both singers on it; the original singer and the fill-in singer. The fill-in singer is the blonde back-up singer (00:17) and I read that she has been long associated with the band.
video

Epica is just one instance that, for me, outlined the self’s desire for an objective other. I would not risk
dissecting musical tastes anymore as some aesthetics in life just lose their soul if we were to blanket them with the finality of a theoretical reference. Yup, we do categorize them for easy reference. Just step into any music store and guffaw at locating your music in a rather inappropriate category. And yet, music persists beyond such flat categorizations. So does the desire.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Until the sun comes up over..."

I finally got my first experience of working on a collaborative film project. My participation on the project also finally got me to the beach. Personally I prefer the mountains and have never made an effort to hit the ever-so-romanticized beaches that dot these parts. I never quite understood Sheryl Crow's now classic musings on this particular haunt. Given all these caveats, and my low expectations, the day turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise; the experience was even more engaging.

The event that got our project to the beach was an event tagged as a Sacred Music Festival. Religious expressions from groups that are generally considered outside the “mainstream” converged to celebrate their diversity from the fault lines of the religious triage that underscores metropolises like LA.



The groups marched to the beachhead in a procession and then broke off into their own performative spaces, which seemed to comment on their particularities amidst the seeming uniformity of a “religious” expression. The day’s celebration culminated in ritual signifying on the setting sun.

Working with the film crew was more demanding than I had expected. On reaching the site, my friend and I were given a highly condensed form of something close to a “film crew for dummies.” We were to be the boom operators. I could already imagine my name flashing as the credits rolled, sandwiched by the “Dolly grip” or something! By the end of the day, my shoulders were sore in places I never knew I had meat.



We had to extend the boom mic strategically above what the camera was shooting. The placement had to be close enough to pick the sound but high enough and away from the camera’s vision. Even though the mic is rather light, extend it out on a ten feet pole and the weight can multiply exponentially. Add all these and one could be taxing those shoulders rather heavily. But why should I complain. My friend’s take on his experience was that it had been quite a power trip. People moved as if the waters at Moses’ command. Even the mere sight of our equipment had this effect. We got the best ringside-like seats at all the events. We shuffled or stood at will when others were constantly asked not to do so. People also took notice of us. A man inquired whether we were a Filipino TV crew! Ass. All in all, a good day at the beach.




As an afterthought, religion does funny things. Among others, it elevates the mundane aspects and objects to the profound. Hence, even a sunset can evoke heightened emotions and drive people to tears. As the gathering roared in unison to the setting sun, my friend’s comment on this crescendo could not have been more definitively iconoclastic (see clip). And yet, our perfunctory pragmatism could also miss out on the compelling significations of the mundane that the practitioner may have accessed.

video

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Medium is the Message

When Simon ‘says,’ everyone toes his line. Between the lines of what is said, the one who plays Simon maintains a center that decides what the rest do. Invariably, there are the occasional funny ones lagging behind who do not follow what Simon says and as a result get shoved out of the game, away from the center. It is interesting how children’s games such as ‘Simon says’ capture what the not-so-childish often indulge in when it comes to, “Scripture says”. A mode of thought, action or way of being takes on an inflection of authority when introduced by “Scripture says.” More often than not, our embedded-ness in a scriptured world makes us react accordingly.

Scriptures invariably evoke images of written texts along with notions of sanctity and reverence. However, on noting that Jews and Christians shared a common written text but had different scriptures, a keen observant concluded that scriptures are not texts. Rather, scriptures are relational in that they express a subjective perception of one’s relation with an ‘other’ realm—often, this ‘other’ is qualified as transcendent, God, or even the self. If one were to move beyond the written texts, scriptures may include other modes of expressing that relationality. Oral traditions, traditions, performative arts, songs and even iconography could replace the written text as ‘scripture.’ One often hears prescriptions dished out with, “This is the way it has been done” which suggests a paraphrased ‘Simon says.’


Additionally, our inv
estments in the construction and maintenance of order at the center activate these various media to function as scripture. Without this investment, Simon could go on issuing empty commands but his relevance lies in the order that the commands construct around the figure of Simon—the center. Ordered and structured, the center determines the uniformity and conformity of its constituent members, which explains why the few who lag behind get shoved away from the center; them ‘funny’ people. In complying with what Simon says, those who do conform invariably consolidate the center. On the other hand, the ‘funny’ people often languish at the margins or occasionally attempt to destabilize the center or even prop up alternate centers. Remember the occasional ‘spoilsport’ who, when eliminated from the game, would try all means to slyly inch her way back or gather a few friends and try to start another game on her terms.

As dissonant as an oil rig is when one thinks about scriptures, a wholly new window opens up when one sees scripture not so much in its contents but in its form. It is one among many other windows into what makes us tick as individuals and as a collective. That we often collapse it into concretized ‘books’ and then re-designate these ‘books’ by the shorthand ‘scriptures’ only sophisticates our fixation with a very human phenomenon. On a stretch, when oil producing bodies sneeze, that the entire world coughs is more intriguing because of the highly scriptured textures of these bodies whether they be located in Texas or the Arabian peninsula. Such sweeping observations definitely need qualification but the point should not be lost. Broadening our understanding of scripture might help us understand ourselves a little more.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Conspicuous Consumption

An evening of enjoyable music is, for me, good enough to make my weekend. We had signed up to watch a current favorite, Ohm, in session and weren’t too dazzled by the slated opening act—a one-man show by someone who for us was till then an unknown. On stage, he looked the reinventing one-time-rocker with hair tied up and goatee still intact but once he got playing, I found myself enrapt in his fret-board gymnastics. Little did I know that a variety of alternate tunings in dexterous hands could produce such intricate syncopations which he deftly interlaced with rhythm patterns tapped out on various sections of his guitar. Tone-wise and in addition to the main piezzo pickup, he had a magnetic pickup and a mic on the bridge position for added texture. The overall effect was that by the end of the act, I still didn’t know nor did it matter who this person was. I did eventually get to speak with him over the break. He was Thomas Leeb.

video video


The main act for the evening was Ohm with Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) on guitars, Rob Pagliari on bass and Frank Briggs on drums. As Rob had introduced the act, the trio planned to make some noise for a little over an hour. Decibel levels were high but so also were the technical and virtuosity levels. I still haven’t got descriptions down pat but the adjectives I can think of are Jazz, fusion, and rock.

video video

Usually scrupulous about what I buy, I came back to realize that I had got myself two of Thomas Leeb’s albums.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Funny Indians

While checking out at a store, we noticed the cashier's name on her tag was an Indian name. We were speculating out loud the vedic-metric connotations of the name when she caught on and asked how we knew about her name. "We're from India," I explained our familiarity. Still unable to home in on a location, she accommodated us with puzzled, "You're different."

Yup. We're different. Apparently, we have also gone underground just to make it evident. On the other hand and beyond discrete progressive spaces, it packages our strangeness and fixes our subjectivity. Somewhere between the claim and the packaging, the self is aware of the other.

ps: Check out the rants of the other in the 'we' at http://myunrest.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bench-warmers

I’ve never been much of a singer. At best, I mimic tunes that I have either internalized over the years or memorized because I simply liked the tunes. The choir director at the church I attend had more fingers on the piano than members and was always on the lookout for another voice. Sitting in the last row, I was simply bellowing my way through “Holy, Holy, Holy” when apparently my Welsh-riffed, un-modulated throaty mimicry transfigured into the stuff of cherubic choirs. From that day on, I would get weekly invitations to join the choir and I would invariably smile a polite declination. It was not that the sudden turn of attention had gotten to my head but rather a quirky angst. A choir was the last place I’d want to stand in when facing people. Part of my hesitance had to do with my limited repertoire (the choir sang a new song practically every week) and also my being musically illiterate. The symbols on the score still remind me of tadpoles that I chase across the octaves.

The invitations never flagged. At risk of becoming a pricey ‘star’, I decided to give it a shot. We met a half-hour before we were to actually sing. When the music sheet for that day was handed to me, I instinctively ‘O hell-ed’ on reading a title I had never seen before. Everyone else rehearsed the notes in their heads while I kicked myself for the discomfort zone I had signed up for. The director then got the accompaniment going, the choir harmonized while I improvised rather unsuccessfully. An extra sustain never fails to draw attention. To skip over self-evident details, I let it be known that part of my struggle was primarily because I did not read music. Even though the invitations have stopped since, I continue to enjoy contemplative moments with others in the pews or even the occasional bellow from the last row.

On a side note for those who grew up on the cult kung fu classics, The Forbidden Kingdom is a must watch. Jet Li and Jackie Chan provide action where the drunken master shines in the monkey’s shadow. Except for the opening and penultimate scenes that were densely CGI-d, expect to lose yourself in some of the most breathtaking locations in a movie. The plot is simple without any dense twists. No connecting of contrived dots. Crouching gave us kung fu with strings attached. Forbidden ups the ante by spiking Jackie’s innovation with Jet’s speed. It could get better only if you threw in a Michelle Yeoh or Chow Yun Fat.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Between Lines

This is to continue conversation, post-reading, on the previous post.

Hillel had been consolidating his rhetorical position all along. The final thesis of the book is that the Chhinlung Israel theory is "107%" tenable but the details are a little more nuanced than meets the eye. The key to the thesis is a proto-Kuki mi lui which fellow Lusei readers will recognize as mi hlui or 'old people'. The mi lui were somehow linked to the Samarian populace ousted/exiled in 722 BCE by Shalamaneser. This was when Samaria was the northern kingdom in the line of Saul, David, Solomon and before the infamy Samaria came to be associated with in Judeo-Christian mindsets. The mi lui moved eastward as far as Mongolia and then turned southwest to finally settle down on the edges of Imphal, Manipur. Later migration of the Hmar from the southwest (Mizoram, Burma) led to the melding of traditions and practices but the semitic legacy had been preserved in the exclusive chants and practices of the thempu priests. The thempu tradition in turn informs the seemingly random claims of Jewish ancestry that one hears around the hills; Kuki-Chin groups have Manmasi as an ancestor figure which resonates with Manasseh, one of the northern kingdom tribes exiled by Shalamaneser.

Pivotal to the thesis is the work of Dr. Khuplam who documents the oral traditions and observed practices in The Wonderful Genealogical Tales of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo based on which, along with some subtle linguistic gymnastics, Hillel connects the Chhinlung Israel mipuite to the lost-tribe group. Dr. Khuplam's effort is commendable and yet Hillel seems to uncritically allow too little to over-determine too much. Negotiating the oral-written binaries of recording data and cognizant of truth regimes implied in such epistemic projections, the subject poses a vibrant potential for more research and with the added bonus of a decent preliminary work done in Across the Sabbath River. If one were to consider findings like those of the Genographic project, rather than Israel we should all be clamoring for visas to Ethiopia or one of the countries inhabited by the San people. That one choses however to stop at Israel poses larger psycho-social questions and how people signify some basic existential issues on larger projects such as 'origins'.

Oh yes, my cousin Zohminga showed up again toward the end, this time as a fill in translator in place of a George Lawma whose antics just didn't fly with Hillel. These Hillel-George Lawma parleys were a subplot worth a serious side-read. To taper off what seems like an overdone blog post, Across the Sabbath River should make for an informed reading if not an engaged one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Between Lines

I recently picked up Hillel Halkin’s Across the Sabbath River, an account of his engagement with the 'lost tribes of Israel' phenomenon, partly because his position as outsider on the subject of the Chhinlung Israel mipuite and partly because of my own investment in the topic. The Chhinlung Israel mipuite in its most lay sense refers to the Israel lost-tribe claims of contiguous communities in Mizoram, Manipur and Myanmar. The read has been very educating as I was able to thread the constituent strands in a much more detailed manner than before. It has also been very engaging because of the mental commentaries I am able to conjure up as he builds his narrative. For instance, on page 169, he narrates a visit by Zohminga who, “worked for the ministry of tourism which meant he had a lot of free time. He spent part of it riding around Aizawl on a motorcycle with Israeli flags. He wished to know how he might acquire some Israeli army fatigues.” Hillel’s caricature of my cousin was eerily spot on and yet ambiguous because of the many subtexts that lend themselves to ambivalent inferences. The ethnographic details projected an objective innocence and yet underscored a subtle chutzpah that suggested implied binaries in their descriptive constructions. Hence, to take note of ‘free time’ or an inquiry regarding the procurement of army fatigues does not just figure as a value free predicate but rather seems to indicate a rhetorical position that Hillel progressively sets up for himself.

Hillel does not hide his own investment in the ‘hunt’ for the lost tribes. On the part of lost-tribe hunters, he finds an innocence in their obsession and futility. This attitude in turn seemed to inform what he perceives as a mimetic impulse in the Chhinlung Israel mipuite and also engenders an overflow of facetious additions that constantly color the otherwise keen observations he records. Two of them that caught my attention were, “In the back, a thin, pretty woman listened intently while rocking back and forth with a nursing baby. It was imbibing a taste for hermeneutics with its mother’s milk.” (168) and, “As we spoke, the house filled up with several generations of Pu Liankeuva’s family. The older offspring occupied the chairs and floor and the younger ones crowded outside the open window and stuck their heads through its bars. Even the children in Mizoram were keen to know their true identity. (164) Then again, without such colorful flags, one might just have bulleted the evidence and relegated the read to nothing more than the perfunctory.

Minor quibbles aside, the Chhinlung Israel mipuite issue finds an ably measured treatment in Across the Sabbath River and as I knock off each page, the engagement forces me to speculate that Hillel might execute a volte-face toward the end. Another part of me thinks he will not.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On a Fool's Day

A local radio station momentarily pulled out their regular fare and replaced it with Mexican mariachi music for the next half an hour. Unsuspecting listeners who were more attuned to the classic rock package that the station is associated with were furious. Their calls to the station were hilarious ranging from near-racial tones on music choices amply splattered with bleeped out expletives to the more resigned 'where have you moved'. Besides the fun of the day in fooling around, it was rather interesting how such candid moments seemed to prise out some of the deeper but also quirkier insecurities that one takes on but sublimates so effortlessly. Needless to say, I had already dialed the radio station and then hung up.

William Dalrymple was in the area later in the evening and I had marked the event as a must-do. I have been following his work over the years but never got to see him in person. Like his prose, his presentation, an engaging one hour summary of his Last Mughal, was erudite, articulate, well-resourced, witty...my adjectives fail me...he was just brilliant. At the book signing, I mentioned having met a Bruce Wannell in Ladakh. Bruce and I were lodging at the same guest house and I had even chipped in my bit for a Ladakhi musica
l soiree he had organized. Over the course of our interaction, Bruce mentioned his work with Simon Digby on some 17th century Urdu manuscripts for a Dalrymple work. I brought out this byte with Dalrymple hoping to segue into a conversation but was taken aback by his rather brusque pshaw on that bit of translation work. Apparently, Bruce and Simon 'were not good influences on each other' and the translation work had to be done by someone else. Nonetheless, Bruce is acknowledged in Last Mughal and Simon remains an expert of 17th and 18th century urdu poetry. I got my copy of Last Mughal signed. Besides this unabashed exercise in name-dropping along with a picture to consign my paw-shaking with Dalrymple to posterity, I joked with my colleague, "When I grow up, I want to be a Dalrymple!" and got pshawed myself.

(Pic 1) Simon Digby, seated at left
(pic2) Bruce Wannell, seated at left

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yet Another Fable

I am a Mizo. Who cares

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Garth Hewitt on my Mind




Southern California has much for the adventure seeker or nature lover. From where I live, it is an hour's drive to the beach. A short drive up north, the San Andreas range opens up many other possibilities for the adrenalinized risk taker or even the faint hearted ease-rider. Seasonal skiing, trekking, trail biking and rock climbing are popular although I haven't yet tried any of them. I'll line them up for another time.

Yesterday's hike through the Claremont trail was planned to be the ease-rider option but it turned out a little more tasking than was planned. Aches aside, being away from concrete and steel for those six hours couldn't have been more refreshing. The spatially removed mind seems to hike through regions below those otherwise saturated with externalities and to open up recesses that delight surprisingly. In one such introspective frame, I was running this song by Garth Hewitt through my head but kept stumbling over the lines. Verses have never been my forte and melodic progressions register better than the deftly crafted word configurations. But for some instinctive reason, the lines rolled on as if rehearsed along with the occasional plugs for gaps that tripped the flow.


My best friends are all poets
and they're livin on the dole,
Where they learn to pay the penalty
of trying to feed the soul.
Observers on a highway
where it doesnt know its rhyme
Wielding words like a weapon
as they walk through space and time.

Water into wine
can be pearls before the swine
In a world that prefers
violence to verse.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Fable

And the ruling party was. Re-instated by a resounding majority.