Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hind Swaraj

After reading 'My experiments with Truth' - the famous (and of course only) autobiography of M.K. Gandhi, i was dying to read 'Hind Swaraj', to get a view of the real ideologies of the Mahatma before he actually became one. This book is a collection of questions answered by him on Swaraj, concept of civilizations, kind of education and language to be imparted to the Indians and his idea of the India he wished to see.

Industrialization and globalization were more taboo to Gandhiji than anything else. In one way or the other i sensed so much of Communism in Gandhi's ideologies that i tried to differentiate his thoughts with it.
'We have had no system of life-corroding competition.Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage. It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fibre.'

He despised industries on the whole because in his view, machinery has ruined human kind more than anything. Industries have created slaves and reduced happiness and work for all.
'Machinery is like a snake-hole which may contain from one to a hundred snakes.'

He despised railways, doctors, lawyers and of course the complete English approach of the European development.
'It must be manifest to you that, but for the railways, the English could not have such a hold on India as they have. The railways, too, have spread the bubonic plague. Without them, the masses could not move from place to place. They are the carriers of plague germs. Formerly we had natural segregation. Railways have also increased the frequency of famines because, owing to facility of means of locomotion, people sell out their grain and it is sent to the dearest markets.'

Gandhi, who himself was a lawyer and had helped Indians immensely in South Africa, felt derogatory for the profession.
'My firm opinion is that the lawyers have enslaved India, have accentuated Hindu-Mahomedan dissensions and have confirmed English authority.'

About Doctors..
'I have indigestion. I go to a doctor, he gives me medicine, I am cured. I overeat again, I take his pills again. Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishments deserved by me and I would not have overeaten again. The doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself. My body thereby certainly felt more at ease; but my mind became weakened. A continuance of a course of medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control over the mind.'

This book actually was used as a pamphlet to promote Gandhian philosophy to the Indians. This proscribed literature was sold at nominal cost to the proletarians across India to let them know the Gandhian philosophy and make them aware of the concept of 'Hind Swaraj'.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Israel - some other blasting title required?

When Jews were tortured in an affluent corner of this planet, they looked for a place to rehabitat. And they headed towards middle east since there were Jewish colonies in Palestine already. There was a rapid shift of Jewish population from the Christian extremism (if i may say so) to the centre of most insendiary Muslim epicentre.

They were accepted to some extent but with time tensions started to creep in. With the intervention of UN, two states were created out of Palestine. Ever since (the independence of Israel in 1948), it has kept itself engaged for various conflicts with almost all the Muslim countries.

India can not even imagine, the way Israel works or thinks, being so small, trapped amongst umpteen muslim countries (surrounded by Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan) and still fighting all the time. With a population of less than 8million, Israel is one of the highest spending country in terms of intelligence and security.

Many a times, US intervenes and get treaties signed or ceasefires agreed upon in between Arab coutries and Israel. But history is evident, Israel keeps no resolution for long and attacks one of those countries, captures its land and shows the middle finger to all the Arabs and the treaty makers from US, UK and the lame elephant UN.

The reason for the States not taking harsh actions against Israel is that there are myriad of Jews at prominent positions and with enormous wealth in US (Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Larry Elison, Michael Dell and many many more). And also many politicians..


And guess what - Harrison Ford, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Sandra Bullock, Milton Friedman, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Levis Strauss, Ralph Lauren, Henry Kissinger, Mark Spitz, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks are all Jewish.

So, in one way or the other Jews are damn influential when it comes to deciding the policies for US (read UN also). They have enough of green notes, grey cells (ofcourse in brain) and leadership enzymes embedded in themselves. So, world better watch out coz they are looking out for their small community to place bookmarks (they are a lot into literature also) in each and every corner of this world.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Mahatma Gandhi (2nd Oct 1869 to 30th Jan 1948)- Much is already known, said and written about this frail saint. A man with whom you might agree or disagree but can't avoid. A stern follower of his home made policies, medicines, philosophies and attire.

If you have to choose one man for the good or bad or whatever India faced - it has to be Gandhi. He was not liked by most of the Britishers for obvious reasons but many Indians (not necessarily extremists) also disliked him. Anything you might feel about Gandhi, but one thing is for sure, he was a man of immense will power.

After reading 'My experiments with Truth' (i would love to call it-'I, ME, MY, MINE by Gandhi' - yes yes i know it was his AUTObiography), you get to know how an underconfident man lifts himself with self proclaimed ups and downs. He faced immense humiliation at the hands of Whites, Hindus, Muslims, and loads of leaders, but life goes on for this kind of guy. For him no praise was small and no humiliation big enough.

He not only had ardent admirers and followers like Mountbatten, Nehru, Patel but also had Jinnah, S.Bose, Churchill and many extremists (Godse, Savarkar to name the influential) on the other side of his spinning wheel.

One can never undermine his achievements, but also can't forget his distinctive personality traits, i would like to elaborate some of them here:

1. His campaigns to raise awareness about sanitary cleanliness in houses is unimaginable. He rushed from vilas to houses to even huts, only because of his willingness to see Indians live a cleaner, healthier life.
2. It is said that no one can ridicule you without your consent. Gandhi is the best example. He just made a note of every disrespect in his mind but never actually felt humiliated.
3. His unbound love for the motherland, mothertongue and culture.
4. His Vegetarianism.
5. His belief in earth and water techniques (and other self experimented remedies).
6. Vocational training to others, so they can live a respectful life.
And above all, his never failing brahmastra- Fasting and that too till death (many a times) proved an aid in making him Mahatma.

Me and most people like me neither have rights nor hold any feasible reason to justify the stands of Gandhi in various struggles of his life, but one thing is for sure - He was a stern being with a lot of guts, will power, dominance streak, truthfulness and leadership skills. Somewhere in his heart he might have a will to be MAHATMA - but as i said i can't and i should not comment on that.
But, someone like Osho certainly can - "If a threat to kill another person is wrong , how can the threat to kill oneself be right? If it is wrong for me to make you accept what i say by pointing gun at you, how can it be right if i make you accept the same thing by pointing gun at myself?"

Freedom at midnight

Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins can be considered amongst the best historians this world has ever seen. They research so thoroughly about a part of history that while reading , you can almost see yourself standing in the midst of the incident, you can actually feel the trauma, the tragedy of those times.

'Freedom at Midnight' is one such piece. It is not only beautiful and exceptionally venerable but also highly informative. It is written in the real times with real dialogues, experiences, tragedies, and whatnot. So much of research, so much of pain taken to create this masterpiece that you almost visualise the real times.

Apart from describing independence and partition with great details, the authors have laid a very good attempt at throwing light on some of the major figures who were critically important in that panorama -- Gandhi, Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah, Extremists (Savarkar, Godse) to name a few.

Authors have tried to collect the feelings of kings, freedom fighters; politicians, bureaucrats (both English and Indian) and the common man. The narrative describing the plight of partition is really heartening. At times, various elaborations appear exaggerated, but there is no proof that no such thing happened.

A must read for all those who wish to get the idea of the times of partition through various eyes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Everything you desire

IIM guys are writing more and more books. But let me tell you the bitter truth - they are not good at it. Their books look like a diary. And that too not very well written.

'Everything You desire' is yet another attempt to join this brigade, written by an IIMB alumnus - Harshdeep Jolly like a memo. If you were given a task of compiling all the events of your college life in 250 pages - you would end up writing something like this.

Though, this was known to me prior to picking up the book. But life at IIM fascinates me and who would like to miss it only because of not so good English or no deep thoughts. Any one calling it a bad book - would be harsh enough to neglect the beauty of IIM life. But i have read much better blogs by IIM guys then this book as a whole.

But also, one must keep in mind that writing a novel is much tougher than writing a tiny article. One can experiment with his article but when it comes to a novel, a small experiment would ruin the essence, the setting, the portrayal and above all the overall charm of the novel.

You might have guessed by now that how confused i am with regards to this novel. I can't say if i can recommend this or a complete NO NO.
Go 4 it if IIM fascinates you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Go Kiss the World

If you have never heard of Subroto Bagchi, you have certainly missed very big life lessons. He is the founder of Mind Tree and likes to be called as GARDENER of MINDTREE. He belonged to a modest Bengali family with very high moral values. In his book 'Go Kiss the World', he has mentioned how he coped up with various problem at various stages of life.

He was elected as the best NCC cadet, and was fecilitated by the President. It would have been very easy for him to enter the military or the civil services (yes i said easy pertaining to his vast knowledge and upbringing).

He is the kind of guy whom you look up to. The way he was brought up. The way he found his own ways, took crucial decisions in major and minor dilemmas of life. The way he adjusted himself with life. The way he grasped leadership traits from his peers (Ashok Soota, Azim Premji and others).

And biggest of all his technique of finding out something positive from an utterly negative situation. Being in Wipro, how he tried every possible business tactic to establish it in on the Global platform (more precisely USA).

I really admire Bagchi for his skill set. He had never been an IT guy but still is amongst the best known faces of IT in India. A very good writer. An equally good orator. His speech 'Go Kiss the World' at IIM B made young turks every where realise his mettle.

I sincerely feel this book is a must read for all who wish to know what it takes to be big. If you would like to get a hint of his immensely beautiful writings, visit--


Thursday, November 6, 2008

World War-1

I have always loved reading and knowing the intricacies of Wars. I have always liked to know what must have been the reasons involved that could lead to humongous wars on the face of this planet. And a war as huge as World War would certainly fascinate any one.
And i would like to share the knowledge i have acquired over the period of time about those times of blood, toil, tears and sweat. This article is about World War-1.

By the year 1913, tensions had been building up in various affluent countries of Europe over myriads of issues like:

-Huge spendings on the warfare.
-UK having large colonies across the globe (Imperialism), made Germany jealous (yes right word).
-France's resentment over its large territories acquired by Germany.
-Many smaller European colonies no longer wanted to be part of their larger counterparts (like Bosnia and Herzegovina no longer wanted to be a part of Austria-Hungary but instead be part of Serbia.)

But one incident that triggered this sleeping Dragon (read war) - The assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Austrian Empire) at Sarajevo (capital of Bosnia). A member of Black Hand Gang (which wanted to rid Bosnia of Austrian rule) shot Franz and his wife. This agitated Austria. Austria suspected Serbia becuase of its closeness to Bosnia and sensing the selfish motive of Serbia taking over Bosnia. This lead to Austria attacking Serbia.

But Serbia was an ally of Russia and hence Russia jumped in to rescue Serbia. Serbia alone could have been an easy prey for Austria but now that Russia was also involved - Germany was called for help. Germany entering war made France angry but Germany was willing to help because of something more dangerous cooking up in its closet. This was the Schlieffen Plan.

Schlieffen being a senior German army officer felt that German army was better than any other army in Europe. But it would be tough for it to fight both France and Russia on the warfronts. However, he felt that the large Russian army would require at least 6weeks to mobilize and this time was enough for diminishing the French front. Hence, after finishing off France, the advanced railway network of Germany would take the army towards east and deal with the Russians.

So, the Schleffen plan was carried out to attack France via Belgium. But Belgium was supported by Britain and hence Britain came into the picture. Later on Italy also jumped in to aid Germany-Austria.
Now there were two clear fronts:

The Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria, Italy) and
The Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia)

All these alliances were solely based on selfish motives. For instance, France aided Britain for the want of the huge fleet of British navy and Britain due to France's modern army. Only aiding each other, they could stand against the mighty Germany - which had the most modern warfare both on land and sea.

Later on almost all the European countries and their colonies got involved in the bloodshed. This all lead to uncountable strategies and alliances all around the globe. But one major event turned out to be very major setback for Germany.

US was unwilling to join the war as an ally to the Britain and party. There were tensions with regards to Germany bombing passenger ships carrying Americans. But, a message decoded by Britain that was sent by Germany to Mexico urged US to roar. Actually, Germany wanted Mexico (with the aid of Japan) to attack US, provided it jumps into the war. In return, Germany would help Mexico get the US acquired states like New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

This stirred up America and hence it actively got involved in the war as an Associated Ally in the year 1917. By then, things had already started getting rough for the Triple Alliance. Russia under smart leadership of Lenin was gaining force. France and Britain aided by their colonies all around were fighting hard. Germany, Japan, Austria started losing the sheen.

By the end of the year 1918 - time for treaties was round the corner. Germany agreed on armistice with the allied powers on 11th of November. And the war completely ceased with Treaty of Versailles (called "Versai") in the mid of 1919. The whole of Europe was redefined as a consequence of war. Central Powers lost a lot of territories and new nations were formulated.
And this also lead to the creation of League of Nations which failed in the years to follow. More about that and WW-2 in some future blog.
I feel good i compiled this :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker-2008. A debut novelist winning an award which every author on this planet aspire to win some day but after substantial exposure to his genre. But here we have an Indian (read NRI) author delivering a piece that bangs it on the first roll. He is witty, humorous (darkly and deeply) and above all not preaching but telling.

I have hated Anita Desai for her hungry-poor-superstitious-India portrayal. Because from the first page of her writing, i felt she is depicting all this to win accolades of the English. And for the same reason i feel good that she never won Booker!! Her writings always appeared to me as if looking for the shit even on sea shore-so that she could write about it. Ohh! I saw so much shit all around the sea shore instead of how beautiful the sunup and sundown!!

But Mr Adiga is certainly different. As i mentioned, his way of style is not at all preaching but narrating the bitter life of poor. So, beatifully he places all the sweets and bitter snacks in the same platter and only after devouring, one can find whether it was a sweet or something else. You need to be a connoisseur of both taste and styling.

And the sole reason behind winning Booker-The work is damn ORIGINAL. Never ever i have read such literature in my life. A style distinct enough to set the rules of writing on fire. And this innovativeness, this novelty made him win the most coveted of all the awards.

Really looking forward to his next book (Between the Assassinations) due to realease in November in India.
And by the way i read this book in one day-so gripping :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lehmann down, y?

I solely feel the reason behind the sad demise of Lehman Brothers is over-smartness of the policy makers, not only in Lehman but also other such banks.

Let me first of all brief you about the kind of work investment banks do. They basically invest the money deposited by the customers-big (companies) or small (individuals). In return they pay them some interest to them. This is a sound business. Since, you get a lot of money to play with. And with highly intellectual strategists (no sarcasm!!), they devise newer plans everyday.

And everything worked out well for them (read Lehman and alike companies). But we all know something hit them real hard. And this something was- Sub prime crisis. Now, what is sub-prime crisis?

Every bank has a set of customers to whom it is going to give loan or provide a particular set of services. Technically, these customers are called Prime customers. So, the banks were giving away loans to them and everything was going their way. But these banks had a lot of money and fewer and fewer prime customers. So, they started looking for Sub-Prime customers. These were the customers to whom the bank was unwilling to pay loans earlier. But now, they were also considered 4 loans.

Even now the ball was rolling well. These customers were paying their installments and the cycle was good. But now comes the twist. The customers (majorly sub-prime) loaned money for buying properties and making profit. The property rates as a consequence were reaching sky. And people found it an easy way to make money. Let's take a scenario to understand the whole stuff.

A customer (name him Sam) took a loan of 10,000 USD to buy a property (with sole purpose of making profit by later on selling it at higher rates.)
He was paying the installments faithfully and things were good. But, the real estate prices have a limit. The real estate prices started plummeting due to certain factors pertaining to global reasons.

So, what happened to customers like Sam? They did not know what to do because their real estate costed less than the amount they had invested. Suppose, Sam's property now costs 6000USD, so what would smart Sam do? He would leave the papers with the bank and would stop paying INSTALLMENTS. Smart Sam as i said!!

Now, bank finds out that Sam is unwilling to pay his installments-So, the bank goes into the market to sell the property and guess what, it finds out that the property against which it had availed a loan of 10,000USD now costs 4500USD. Leave the interest, its principal amount can't be recovered even. So, the bank gets screwed up. And there was not one Sam. There were Sam’s all around. Becoming defaulters and making banks poorer and poorer.

So, why on the first hand banks did this? They could have kept the extra money with themselves instead of risking it with the Sub-primers. But banks never do so. They are always willing to loan it for INTEREST. And if one bank does that, others unwillingly also have to follow the trend in order to stay in the market. And hence, the complete cycle of the downfall of not only Lehman but all the other biggies.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Kalam effect: My years with the President

This coloumn has nothing to do with my respect for Kalam. We all know how generous, intelligent, honest and futuristic person he is.
But this book is not at all upto the mark. You expect a lot more from P M Nair, a man of immense intelligence (obviously being an IAS, he ought to be the best amongst all the learned people in India).
This book contains a very few detailed anecdotes pertaining to the grand tenure of the President. Picked the book with an assumption that i would get to know a lot of new facets of Kalam, but with disappointment. A few excerpts were good but they were mere facts, no credits to the author.
Lastly, i would say this would have been a good Sunday newspaper coloumn or an article in India Today, but certainly not a book.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Tunnel of Time

First things first. I did not know till reading the autobiography of RK Laxman that-RK LAXMAN and RK NARAYAN are brothers.
Narayan being much elder than Laxman had always been a protective and nurturing shield.
The quintessence of the tunnel, in my view is Much early in their lives they realized what their passion was. And never ever deviated from their passion.
For instance, Laxman started sketching very early in his life.
Narayan was writing fables about his daily incidents.
And what a family to talk about. Majority of his autobiography talks about his childhood and why not..
Laxman was a man who knew what he was good at. And always stuck to his plan of becoming a political cartoonist-a field so scarcely employed.
He was refused admission to the coveted JJ College of Arts. But, this is not a guy who gets moved by a small defeat.
I particularly liked the details of his extravagant Europe journey, where he met some of the biggest authors, cartoonists.

Give it a quick read. I finished it in 4 or so hours.

Friday, August 29, 2008

india shud rule

Tradition is something we put forward whenever we don’t try or don’t intend to try our best. Sometimes in life, the protecting shield moreover becomes a burden and not only a burden but also a hindrance in our ventures. And this is what Tradition is doing to us.

We knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally use it as armour against our own prosperity.

Most of us can end up firing a panegyric instead of an argument against our so called tradition.
One can avoid anything but CHANGE.But we Indians have been doing this ever since.
Moghuls reigned, English ruled and who ever came to devour us was welcomed.
That golden bird was butchered many times and was praised as an easy prey by the predators.
And guess what—at the bottom of our hearts we took it as an encomium.
We admired being praised. As we are not Germans. Ok, I would leave that for a later thought.
The English admired Indians being arduous and not archaic.
Our most noble people sang songs in praise of our new self made rulers. (Jan Gan Man by Tagore- a classic example).
Neither I nor anyone on this planet can demean the Queen’s people because it is the human tendency to conquer, to expand their territory.
But it should also be a human tendency to defend your territory. You don’t attack its ok but you don’t defend yourself, your people; you don’t erect a bulwark to safeguard your traditions; you are defying the first and foremost rule of the planet. You are serving yourself in the plates of the predators and when they have devoured the delicacy, you go out lamenting and shouting that the British robbed us. No they did not. Instead we robbed ourselves. We robbed ourselves of our values, of our courage, of our basic human insignia.
We did not spare a single thought about the outcome of all this and now here we are.

Now let me come back to where I started that is CHANGE.
We don’t accept changes. We have become as stagnant as a pond. And that pond is covered too, so no sunlight no fresh air but only smell of our own sweat. So however hard we toil our soil, we still would require fresh air, sunlight and if I may say so global exposure to flourish our lands.

And what is wrong in that. This is the era of globalization. Even the stiff and stern Chinese are changing as according to the need of the hour. They are learning from the States like no one else has ever before yet they don't let anyone interfere in their political matters. It is upto you to erect boundaries or limits.
Leaving tradition apart, consider India as a teen who has just acquired enough maturity to understand tactics of this cruel and harsh world. Now at this time it has to learn as much as possible from the giants around. It has to embellish itself with the smartness of the smart.
This is like garnishing our own pizza with toppings from around the world.
And guess what, we can select the kind of toppings....like:

Sophistication of the French,
Killer instinct/Engineering of the Germans,
Innovativeness of the Japanese,
Market-understanding of the Chinese,
Arduousness of the Koreans,
Diplomacy of the British,
Farsightedness of the Americas,

And whatnot…

So, who would not like this customized pizza? The pizza with our staple and toppings peculiarly selected from around the world as never done before in the history of mankind.
There may be an argument here - why should we learn from them. I say why we should not.
History is full of precedents where pupils have outsmarted their cicerone.
All we need to have is a victory over our narrow-mindedness. As known our bigotry smartly acts as bottleneck for any of our future endeavors.

So, I come to being a rebel. Show rebelliousness against our straw-like mindset.
Osho has very rightly quoted:
विद्रोह नही तो जवानी कैसी!!

Speak out against injustice, malpractice, black-marketing, and chauvinism.
Say your word. Discuss nation instead of discussing mundane sitcom or silly page-3. Our nation needs us more than a cancer patient needs chemo.
And the time is right; if we still delay this cancer would be incurable. So, act before it is too late. Act, don’t think don’t talk.
We Indians have a basic tendency of analyzing things instead of acting upon them. And hence in the process, many times we put our human instinct on bay. And after a thorough analysis which way do we opt—Ahh the safer one, the less tedious one.
We don’t invest in R & D- because America is doing it.
We don’t look after our education system properly, because politics is more important here.
Our politicians are ruined because we’re more ruined and stale.
Think about this, how many times you went for a safer side instead of listening to what your instinct told you to.
In the words of Jonathan Spencer- We never ask ourselves a simple question before foregoing our initial instinct-
"What would you do if you were not afraid?"

We never think that way- We rationalize things like no one else on this planet.
We never risk things, never risk luxury, never risk comfort and as an outcome have to RISK LIVES.
I once read these beautiful words (sorry I don’t remember where?)

Fight the tendency to quit while you are left behind.
When we trail in a race-we sit back and start enjoying the race. We have been very good admirers which is certainly admired but wont you prefer to be a participant. A watcher does enjoy a game but do you have any idea of the gratification, the gusto of the player actually involved.
So, why not be that player। Make India that player that virtuoso who not only enjoys his game but also keeps in mind that future would come apace than imagined.

Don't compare our state, our problems with the likes of US or any other nation. We have to forget the trembling past and plan for a swift and smooth future. We have to be forgetful of our own people and our own mistakes..
With these beautiful words(again don't remember where i read) i would like to finish my work for a while::::
क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को, जिसके पास गरल हो
उसका क्या जो विषरहित, विनीत और सरल हो


So, i am finished with Sidhhartha. Though using a word like finish is derogatory for this jewel. It invokes you to start an altogether new beginning. A beginning you were always looking for, just like Siddhartha in myriads of trifle thoughts and words stuffing our books and literature.

I can love a stone, Govinda, and also a tree or a piece of bark. This are things,
and things can be loved. But I cannot love words. Therefore, teachings are no good for me,
they have no hardness, no softness, no colours, no edges, no smell, no taste,
they have nothing but words. Perhaps it are these which keep you from finding peace, perhaps it are the many words. Because salvation and virtue as well, Sansara and Nirvana as well, are mere words, Govinda. There is no thing which would be Nirvana; there is just the word Nirvana.

A very sound thought that wisdom can not be taught. It has to be acquired and for that very sake, Siddhartha did not even stayed at the grove of Buddha. He wanted to experience life and hence gain wisdom. Hesse is a master at conveying thoughts simplistically. You almost feel for yourself the sense of veneration towards Sidhhartha. About meditation and prevailing techniques of self healing:

And Siddhartha said quietly, as if he was talking to himself: "What is meditation? What is leaving one's body? What is fasting? What is holding one's breath? It is fleeing from the self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is a short numbing of the senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life. The same escape, the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the inn, drinking a few bowls of rice-wine or fermented coconut-milk. Then he won't feel his self any more, then he won't feel the pains of life any more, then he finds a short numbing of the senses. When he falls asleep over his bowl of rice-wine, he'll find the same what Siddhartha and Govinda find when they escape their bodies through long exercises, staying in the non-self. This is how it is, oh Govinda."

Till my next read bye....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand-the mother of Objectivism, the lady who redefined the whole definition of egoism, selfishness and above all the real human values.
Her foray into the real BEST SELLING work came with 'The Fountainhead'-Story revolving around an architect named Howard Roark. This architect is not only a fictional character depiction of a building architect but instead a society architect. A person, in whose hands we can actually give our society to mould our values, our ideologies and our thoughts.
Seldom in the history of mankind, we find a man who fight for his values, who puts on stake all the luxuries of life to pursue the core belief he has in his values.
Howard Roark is one such guy. You can't make a guy like this do wrong.
Above all the style of Ayn Rand is so gripping that you would complete this large novel in very less time than expected. The scenes she has imagined, the plot, the correlations and corollaries- they are all very fantastic.

Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons--a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything
we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute
of man--the function of his reasoning mind
She feels there are no comprosmises with thoughts. Hence,

But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a
collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement
reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn
upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary
act--the process of reason--must be performed by each man alone. We can
divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach.
No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.

Her definition of Altruism- made her the nail of the eyes of the dogmatic people:
Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for
others and place others above self.
The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to
himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of
others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not
depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative
faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the
gangster, the altruist and the dictator.
Go and read this masterpiece by Rand and i assure you one thing- It would atleast make you think about various aspects of life with an altogether new approach.
You will be Randalized...

The Godfather

Godfather-first and best work of Mario Puzo.Inspiration to umpteen number of other novels, movies, serials and whatnot. The character depiction is so fantastic that you can make a clear picture of the kind of person you are reading about. The Godfather's image, his intelligence, composure, style could not have been better depicted by any other novelist ever. And how can one forget the theatrical brilliance of the movie-Marlon Brando showed all his cards and that too in one movie. Such good dialogue delivery, such classic aura, such grace, that you almost feel Ahh!! how come such perfection....That is Coppola for u but Puzo has left very less scope for modifications or enhancements...

Some of the quotes i would certainly like to share--
A lawyer with a suitcase is stronger than a thousand soldiers with their guns....
Revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is cold.

I can state a whole collection of dialogues or scenes but would like to share a couple here--

Michael had one time asked, “How come you used a guy like Luca Brasi? An animal like that?”The Don had proceeded to instruct him. “There are men in this world,” he said, “who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. I have seen a man, a fool, deliberately infuriate a group of dangerous men, and he himself without any resources. These are people who wander through the world shouting, ‘Kill me. Kill me.’ And there is always somebody ready to oblige them.

and here is one more

Hagen knew he was being mollified. “Maybe I can help,” he said.
Michael shook his head decisively. “You’re out, Tom.”
Tom finished his drink and before he left he gave Michael a mild reproof. “You’re nearly as good as your father,” he told Michael. “But there’s one thing you still have to learn.” “What’s that?” Michael said politely.
“How to say no,” Hagen answered.
Michael nodded gravely. “You’re right,” he said. “I’ll remember that.”
When Hagen had left, Michael said jokingly to his father, “So you’ve taught me everything else. Tell me how to say no to people in a way they’ll like.”
The Don moved to sit behind the big desk. “You cannot say ‘no’ to the people you love, not often. That’s the secret. And then when you do, it has to sound like a ‘yes.’ Or you have to make them say ‘no.’ You have to take time and trouble. But I’m old-fashioned, you’re the new modern generation, don’t listen to me.”

So, at the end i wud suggest-A must watch and a must read --The Godfather (Read it before watching--it wud b fun...)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Journey to the east

A beautifully crafted jewel, by Herman Hesse- A german philosopher, poet, novelist, and painter. Germans are very good philosophers, for instance Marx, Nietzsche, Kant and many more not only devised new ideologies but also sparked fire amongst people. Here i won't give a point favoring any of such stuff because that would be a heavy digression from our cynosure- Herman Hesse. He is so much into Indianism that on reading him it feels as if you are reading a learned NRI guru or some high profile spiritual leader.

Journey to the east is a beautiful course of his description of a league that wanted to go to the East for spiritual enlightenment. This journey could not take place because of some reasons, and all the consequences and relations are mentioned beautifully in this work.

Enjoy this captivating excerpt from Journey to the east:

I asked the servant Leo why it was that artists sometimes appeared to be only half-alive, while their creations seemed so irrefutably alive. Leo looked at me, surprised at my question. Then he released the poodle he was holding in his arms and said: "It is just the same with mothers. When they have borne their children and given them their milk and beauty and strength, they themselves become invisible, and no one asks about them any more."
"But that is sad," I said, without really thinking very much about it.
"I do not think it is sadder than all other things," said Leo. "Perhaps it is sad and yet also beautiful. The law ordains that it shall be so."
"The law?" I asked curiously. "What law is that, Leo?"
"The law of service. He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long."

and how can i miss this beautiful poem-

"He who travels far will often see things
Far removed from what he believed was Truth.
When he talks about it in the fields at home,
He is often accused of lying,
For the obdurate people will not believe
What they do not see and distinctly feel.
Inexperience, I believe,
Will give little credence to my song."

Right now i m reading another masterpiece of Hesse- Siddhartha..
So, expect more from me on Hesse soon....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

As a man thinketh

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass
Environment is but his looking-glass

Such an instigating start to the masterpiece that you can't help yourself but reading it again and again. 'As a man thinketh in his heart so is he' is the foundation on which the beautiful book rests its thought. With beautiful yet simple analogies James Allen has tried to throw light on one of the biggest secrets known to human race ever since (Recent bestseller 'The Secret' talks about this very same secret).

"Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and
growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend
the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and
impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and
fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.
By pursuing this process,
a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his
soul, the director of his life."

Buddha, Mahavir and all the others have always tried to preach the very same idea. Never think bad of others. Never create a universe of ill-will or evil even in thought. Because this thought materializes apace. About criminals:

"A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of
fate or circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and
base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by
stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been
secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its
gathered power. Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him
to himself"

We are actually creating a world around us with our own will but probably unknowingly. So, all what we are required to do is-Do it knowingly, as desired and not merely 'as destined' because we write our own destiny. U conceive a thought in your mind about something like-
I can't reduce weight or how can i get into such a big college or i can never be a successful manager or i have to live this terrible life the way i am living it. In all these cases You are right. Because you have opted for these situations (though unknowingly but yes you have done it...), so what is the solution. As simple as that- Think positive. Think confidently. Think jovially.
And then have a look at the world around. You would be amazed how soon things have changed for you....

"So You will be what you will to be;
Let failure find its false content
In that poor word, 'environment,'
But spirit scorns it, and is free.
"It masters time, it conquers space;
It cowes that boastful trickster, Chance,
And bids the tyrant Circumstance
Uncrown, and fill a servant's place.
"The human Will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless Soul,
Can hew a way to any goal,
Though walls of granite intervene.
"Be not impatient in delays
But wait as one who understands;
When spirit rises and commands
The gods are ready to obey."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Winston Churchill

Came across a biography of Winston Churchill-Prime Minister of UK during 2nd world war. A man of multifarious personality- nobel prize winner author, artist, historian , soldier, journalist and whatnot. He is considered by a few as the best orator ever. Whenever he was to speak on the radio, the announcement would be-"The lion would roar on the radio tonight".
Some of his handsome quotes:
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. "
"In those days he was wiser than he is now; he used to frequently take my advice. "
"Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it. "
"Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it. "
He was initially a conservative and later on became a liberal.
He is the kind of man for whom one can say-"He lived his life to the fullest".
He opposed Indian leaders at the time of Indian independence heavily, about Gandhi, his thoughts:
"It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle-Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace...to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor."
and about Indian Congress leaders:
"Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism."
In one way or the other he hated both Indians and Nazis. But not India and Germany. That is why he was always against the Dominion Status and all the stuff about giving powers in hands of the Indians.
But even big people make mistakes...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

games indians play

Why we are the way we are?

Recently read 'games indians play'. Came across this book in my company library and picked it up.. and more or less liked it. Read such content from an Indian author for the first time , but not to forget Mr. Raghunathan is an IIM professor. This is like in the league of The Blink, Tipping point, Freakonomics etc.. But moreover i would have liked it more had it been more India specific.But still liked the wittiness of Mr. V. The game theory, different dilemma problems and alike stuff remind one of the fact that here is a guy from IIM, who believes in Experimentation. Devises theories only based on practical implementations and researches.

So, give it a go..
Give it a quick read and u wud love it..
If it can make u think over even a couple of things India has to face knowingly or unknowingly bcoz of us (i sincerely mean u and me..) than the book solves its purpose...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book Reading

A man's jewellery-one of my professors used to say so. And certainly why not? What is the purpose of jewellery, the real purpose if you try to dig in comes out to be-- In the old days people used to put their money into jewellery so that in ill times, this could act as a LIFE saver.
And so, books fit pretty well into this definition.
But i have never liked my academic books . That is probably why i am in the IT industry at the moment and doing myriad of mundane stuff. But i wont get into how-bad-IT-is right now.
So, i developed a good reading habit while i was preparing for my mba entrance (as mentioned i m into IT rite now and so not doing MBA but may be in near future).
I read a variety of stuff ranging

from philosophies and ideologies of Ayn Rand to drama and suspense of Sidney Sheldon/ Agatha Christie..
from scientific fiction of Dan Brown to life realities by Kahlil Gibran..
from complex Mein Kampf to simple-yet-beatiful Jonathan Livingston Seagull...
from life inspiring lessons of Robin Sharma/Paulo Coelho/Lance Armstrong to i-hate-life kinds..
from strategic beauties like the goal, the blink, the tipping point, freakonomics, you can win,power/future shock types to over hyped literature of Chetan Bhagat (i hate to use the word literature for this guy--I have always felt my dad writes better diaries than what he does in his so-made bestsellers)...
from beautiful character depiction by Mario Puzo to ideas-are-bigger-than-man writings of OSHO...

So, i recommend all you guys to READ. Read till u can and then read some more...
It wud change your life and there are benefits of outsmarting anyone at any instance whenever u want. But only if u are a voracious reader...

More from me if even one person on this planet likes this article....