Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Naming my Daughter

"In the Uruba tribe of Africa, children are named not only at birth but throughout their lives by their characteristics and the events that befall them."

The one who took hold in the cold night
The one who kicked loudly
The one who slid down quickly in the ice storm
She who came while the doctor was eating dessert
New one held up by heels in the glare
The river between two brothers
Second pot on the stove
Princess of a hundred dolls
Hair like water falling beneath moonlight
Strides into the day
She who runs away with motorcycle club president
Daughter kicked with a boot
Daughter blizzard in the sky
Daughter night-pocket
She who sells sports club memberships
One who loves over and over
She who wants child but lost one.
She who wants marriage but has none
She who never gives up
Diana (Goddess of the Chase)
Doris (for the carrot-top grandmother
she never knew)
Fargnoli (for the father
who drank and left and died)
Peter Pan, Iron Pumper
Tumbleweed who goes mouths without calling
Daughter who is a pillar of light
Daughter mirror, Daughter stands alone
Daughter boomerang who always comes back
Daughter who flies forward into the day
where I will be nameless.

"Naming My Daughter" by Patricia Fargnoli, from Necessary Light. © Utah State University Press, 1999.

Monday, March 29, 2010


This is what I need to do more often - fall down and pass out - Pachak!


My latest OCD music - :) - playing on repeat, ad infinitum :)

Benjamin Collier is a friend's friend, awesome musician.

I especially love Trvrdt and Blep.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chir Batti & Fata Morgana

Chir Batti

Chir Batti, Chhir Batti or Cheer batti (Ghost light) is a yet unexplained strange dancing light phenomena occurring on dark nights reported from the Banni grasslands, its seasonal marshy wetlands and the adjoining desert of the marshy salt flats of the Rann of Kutch near Indo-Pak border in Kutch district, Gujarat State, India.

See the Also see links - apparently this happens in many parts of the world -

Fata Morgana

A fata morgana (after the Italian translation of Morgan le Fay, the fairy shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur) is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion.

Don't miss the video:

A friendly interest

"Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things. ... The kind [of interest in persons] that makes for happiness is the kind that likes to observe people and finds pleasure in their individual traits, that wishes to afford scope for the interests and pleasures of those with whom it is brought into contact without desiring to acquire power over them or to secure their enthusiastic admiration.

The person whose attitude towards others is genuinely of this kind will be a source of happiness and a recipient of reciprocal kindness. ... To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness."

'The Conquest of Happiness', Bertrand Russell

Friday, March 26, 2010

Listen, the Wind!

Windy at 6.30 in the morning, a strange and pleasant awakening, after many months of dull morning stillness. Even the huge wooden Egyptian chimes are making their gurgling-water music. And you can hear the trees again.

All along your morning walk, flower-carpets on the road - yellow, pink, small white buds. Didn't even know that thick-leafed tree had small green flowers in it, until you see them all in a carpet today. Brought back a fallen frangipani, still fragrant.

Heard wind-chimes in houses along the way for the first time. And noticed a lot of houses to whom you would like to gift chimes. And a lot of trees on which you would like to hang chimes, giving them voice. Like in the park at Pondicherry. Subtle music all day, calming, soothing, slowing down the madness inside heads.

I hope this is the start of the windy season. The wind changes everything. Draws you out of your head, says drop everything and just listen to me, feel me. You are not walking alone anymore.

Your favorite element, the wind is an old friend, come back to subtly break into the solitude of your busy-ness, your no-awareness, your living-in-your-headness.

Things sometimes just come to us

"...The neural processes underlying that which we call creativity have nothing to do with rationality. That is to say, if we look at how the brain generates creativity, we will see that it is not a rational process at all, creativity is not born out of reasoning.

Let us think again of our motor tapes in the basal ganglia. I should like to suggest to you that these nuclei do not always wait for a tape to be called up for use by the thalamocortical system, the self....In fact, the activity in the basal ganglia is running all the time, playing motor patterns and snippets of motor patterns amongst and between themselves - and because of the odd, re-entrant inhibitory connectivity amongst and between these nuclei, they seem to act as a continuous, random, motor pattern noise generator.

Here and there, a pattern or portion of a pattern escapes, without its apparent emotional counterpart, into the context of the thalamocortical system.

"And suddenly, " Llinas concludes, "you hear a song in your head or out of seemingly nowhere find yourself anxious to play tennis. Things sometimes just come to us."

Quote from 'I of the Vortex' by Llinas, a neuroscientist at New York University.

From the book 'Musicophilia' by Oliver Sacks, Page 41

Amazon review by my friend Souvik Mitra:

The trees are coming into leaf

More than the flowers of spring, the new leaves, much dearer, little children.

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Philip Larkin


Ondaatje, of the unbelievable expression. So rich and textured, you need to go away at times and then come back to him.

Buried 2. Part iv
What we lost.

The interior love poem
the deeper levels of the self
landscapes of daily life

dates when the abandonment
of certain principles occurred.

The rule of courtesy - how to enter
a temple or forest, how to touch
a master's feet before lesson or performance.

The art of the drum. The art of eye-painting.
How to cut an arrow. Gestures between lovers.
The pattern of her teeth marks on his skin
drawn by a monk from memory.

The limits of betrayal. The five ways
a lover could mock an ex-lover.

Nine finger and eye gestures
to signal key emotions.

The small boats of solitude.

Lyrics that rose
from love
back into the air

naked with guile
and praise.

Our works and days.

We knew how monsoons
(south-west, north-east)
would govern behaviour

and when to discover
the knowledge of the dead

hidden in clouds,
in rivers, in unbroken rock.

All this we burned or traded for power and wealth
from the eight compass points of vengeance

from the two levels of envy.

Michael Ondaatje


Squirrels, why are there no squirrels on the morning-walk-paths? Where have they gone, what happened to them, worrisome. Or they just don't wake up that early?

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.

It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.

Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.

Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch.

How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

"Failing and Flying" by Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2005

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Textng across the steppes...

I happened to meet this guy today at a wedding reception - he's doing a software project for this European mobile phone provider - they are coming up with ways to transmit useful information to the herder nomads across the Mongolian steppes, and allow them to collaborate across distances using the mobile phone, making their lives easier, safer - since many of these herders have started using mobiles.

Here I am, reading a biography of Genghis Khan on one side, and then I hear this.

Wow. My brain wobbles on its heels. There is so much progress quietly happening, while the bad news continues to make headlines more often.

I don't know what makes your day, but this does, for me.

Blog Archive