Hyd Diaries: 3 - The Lady across the courtyard

When the whole of Hyderabad was steaming under summer sun that April, Spring came to Aeroview apartments, in the guise of our new neighbor's daughter. The apartments had two blocks with flats facing each other with a courtyard in between. The blocks were connected at one end to create a 'U' formation. This new family of three moved into the flat opposite to ours in the other block. She was a beautiful young lass in her mid twenties perhaps, who strongly believed in the principle 'if you have it, you flaunt it'. She was like fresh rain in an otherwise barren desert.

She used to roam around in her room and occasionally in the balcony, generously showing off her toned legs and arms. She used to work as Floor Manager in 'Life Style' and we also found out that she had a boyfriend there. But all this did not matter as long as she believed in circulation of fresh air and kept the window curtains up, while she is in her room. So in the nights, we used to keep the lights switched off and crowd near the window to get a glimpse of the 'lady across the courtyard' grooming her hair, reading a book or simply walking around. There was something about her mannerisms that kept us glued to the windows for hours. We always made it a point to be at home when she is around.. after all what would have Da Vinci felt if nobody loked at Monalisa and appreciated its beauty? Days passed and the show went on and on.

Then one morning we had a surprise visitor. Srini was shocked to see the lady's father at our doorstep. He asked whether he could come in and he did before Srini could say anything at all. We all were standing in line, like the 'usual suspects' attending some Identification parade. He looked around at all the posters on the walls and then smiled. Unlike what we suspected, he had come to offer us some caps. He thought we are youngsters roaming around in the sun as a part of our job and he got few caps from somewhere and wanted to give it us. Though this was his story, none of us believed that. Anyway, he sat with us for a while telling us stories about his college days. Donno whether he was trying to tell us how he can understand all that we were doing, but stay away from his daughter!!

We were a little cautious after the incident but for a short while only. The night show continued and our 'White Mischief' sessions once again got relocated to the kitchen, where mischief was cooking all the time. Unlike others, we used to sit and peacefully sip our drinks without anyone uttering a word. Once we learned about the importance of 'Visibility' in our Marketing class, we decided to put it into practice in real life as well. So every morning, seven of us used to stand in the balcony, brushing our teeth and looking eastwards for the sun to rise and shine. It was during these days that all of us signed up for gym and unsuccessfully tried to make it a routine.

Yes, we had a reality show much before they started showing it on the television. But after quite a few memorable episodes it was taken off the air. I am sure TRP ratings weren't the issue at least in this case!!

Now playing: Deep Purple - Sitting In A Dream

Days of the damned..

Mornings are still mornings
I ache to type a note 'Good day dear'
Senses take a while to show me the light
Mornings are not the same mornings

I see myself in the mirror
All that's same is the mirror alone
Barely recognizing the figure it says is me,
I rub my eyes, look again and still unfamiliar

As the day passes, routine takes over
Every now and then though the pain returns
I can barely hold on and move along
All I want is a short cut to the day's end

Afternoons were times of anticipation
Purely moments of imagination
Now its cloudy and dark, colorless and grey
Breeds angst, anger and disgust galore

Evenings I hope the sun might go back to the East
Or a shower might just make me take a walk
Time used to fly when I was on the phone
Now it croaks only to tell me the battery is running low

Nights have gone cold and cruel, grown fangs
Darkness brings no peace, but dreadful thoughts
Cursing my fate, even sleep keeps a distance
Dreams are now the stuff I read in the books

As I lie there on my bed, I still recall
How we used to talk till we drop
Now its a pain even to close an eye
It only brings memories and tears

In some godless moment in the middle of the night
I slip into a coma, at last for a little peace
Even its short lived, only till the break of light
That's all the luxury I've earned, in an otherwise damned life.

Deceiving reality..

In Nature nothing happens without a reason, just that the real reason might not be the one that is visible from the outside. We get fooled by these visible ones most of the time. Its our nature to believe what we do not know and reject what we do; obviously there is some comfort in believing the things we do not know in a certain convenient way. Its interesting to look at the evolutionary history of things we take for granted, and understand that they are in place to serve an entirely different set of functions, than the ones we generally attribute to them. Society and religion are good examples of this, but nothing drives home the point quite like sex.

We always associate sex with reproduction and consider procreation as its main function. But now we know that its far from the truth. Procreation is just "one of the" functions of sex, not the primary one. From nature's point of way, sexual reproduction is costly and less efficient. Asexual reproduction is definitely a better way to create the next generation. In case of asexual reproduction, every organism can reproduce, there is no need to search for a partner to mate with, to create the next generation. Sexual reproduction also puts the extra burden of maintaining two distinct genders of each species and that is definitely not efficient. So to facilitate propagation of a species, Nature would have definitely chosen Asexual reproduction over this somewhat 'weird' Sexual reproduction.

But then why did Nature allow asexual reproduction found in lower life forms to evolve into sexual reproduction which is the norm among more evolved species? The real reason is to develop 'immunity against diseases'.. or disease causing micro organisms, to be precise. Improving immunity is the primary aim of sexual reproduction... now how weird is that!!

In asexual reproduction, an exact replica of the genetic code of the parent is created and transferred to the child.. this is what happens when a bacteria splits into two. So in this case, a micro organism which can cause a disease in the parent through a loophole in its DNA, can attack the child successfully without any extra effort, because - 'like father like child'. The chances of an entire species being wiped out by a deadly disease in no time, is quite high among asexually reproducing organisms where all generations share the exact genetic code.

In case of sexual reproduction, every time a sperm and egg come together, a reshuffle of DNA material happens and the resulting progeny will have a totally different genetic structure than its parents. Even though all the components were donated by either of the parents, the way in which they are configured in the child DNA will be different. For an attacking micro organism this poses a serious challenge - a new code to break every time it approach a new organism. So even if the pathogen manages to successfully affect one organism, that does not mean the species is at risk; the diversity of the gene pool ensures that the species stand a better chance in surviving the outbreak. So from Nature's point of view, the extra cost and inefficiency involved in sexual reproduction is worth the effort.

This all might sound a little difficult to believe, but experiments done on organisms which can reproduce both sexually and asexually, have confirmed this fact - the generations created by sexual reproduction are much more stubborn against attack and got a better shot at survival.

Now don't be surprised if tomorrow we find out that 'picking nose' is an evolutionary adaptation, the reason being something like - stimulation of some cells in the nose develops the intelligence centre of brain, and those who pick their noses got a better chance of survival in the long run!!

Hyd Diaries: 2 - The Imperial Blue Days..

Life at 7D was always exciting. One of the inmates in the earlier days was a guy named 'Sulakshan', a guy born in Nigeria, brought up in London and then spat back to India when they got wind of his ways. Its funny how people choose names for their kids and how the kids live up to these names. 'Sulakshan' means 'one who is having ALL the good qualities' while a more suitable name for him would have been 'durlakshan', one with ALL the bad qualities. He did his graduation from some college in Coimbatore and had also acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in 'Hallucinogens', the harmless kinds which you directly inject into your body rather than wasting time by burning, rolling and the like.

Those days, Imperial Blue used to be the standard agent of intoxication at 7D.. affordable and available. We used to sit in the balcony, watching the planes land and take off, sipping IB from glasses made out of half-cut plastic bottles. We used to call them 'cut glasses', a name which the famous glass manufacturers also adopted later!! Sulakshan had some family issues and he used to get sentimental at the end of each of these drinking sessions. But a few times he got violent and even tried to jump off the fourth floor, that eventually we had to shift our sessions from the balcony to the safety of the rooms.

Irrespective of the occasion, IB used to be the preferred brand till we discovered 'White Mischief'. It was probably Sulakshan's departure that put an end to the IB era and I don't remember having IB any time after that. Somehow IB had become synonymous with Sulakshan, and his was an episode everyone wanted to forget as soon as he quit studies and went back home. I remember going with him to meet his regular supplier of 'Mother Jane' once. The supplier turned out to be another batch mate of ours, a guy who 'lived' in a small room above the second floor of his own house. He had 'Enigma' playing 'Age of Innocence' when we reached his room and he used to read Khalil Gibran's works and that's all I remember about the guy now. He also quit studies after a short period.

A true Harry 'Potter', Sulakshan had some interesting traits as well. He was a smooth talker and had a good sense of music. It was our common interests in Jim Reeves, Kenny Rogers and Eagles that made us friends. He was the only guy who would recite nursery rhymes with me during the boring Economics classes, sitting in the back bench. He even got first prize in Mono Act competition, where he enacted the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict. Just that nobody knew it was less of an act and more of real action. Speaking of Economics, it used to be the most dreaded subject for most of us at 7D.. this is what happens when a subject is poorly introduced to you as a student. Sulakshan had a special technique to do well in Economics exams.

He will get up early in the morning at about 2 or 3. He will then roll a few joints, enough numbers to keep him going till 8 or 9 in the morning. For the first time in that semester he will then open the Micro Economics text book and start reading. He would have already smartly prepared a list of 'most probable' questions and read those sections of the book. I am still not sure whether its the pot, or the guy's ability or a combination of the two, he could literally recite paragraphs after paragraphs from the text book. Theories of Marginal Utility and Demand-Supply used to flow out of the guy as if he is the reincarnation of Adam Smith himself. So if there are questions in the exam from topics he read that morning, he will answer them in exactly the same words used in the text book. He always managed to get reasonably good marks in the exams so as to keep the spotlight away from him. Did I tell you that he was smart? Yes he was... a lot.

When he quit studies and left after the first semester - allegedly to take care of an aunt who had the misfortune of a coconut falling on her head-, he took with him something to remember each of us - my HBS case books, some money from Arun, Srini's T Shirt, Ravi Bhayya's cap and so on...

Hyd Diaries: 1 - 7D, the home away from home..

I met a long lost friend this week. As we walked down the memory lane, reliving the 'good old days', I remembered one another day. Few years back sitting in a pub, drinking beer during Happy Hours, another friend of mine asked me 'tell me about the best days of your life'. I was quiet for a while and then he said 'probably your best days are yet to come'. Then I did not realize that I was actually living them. Like many other times in life, I failed to recognize what is just in front of me, and had my eyes set on some magnificent future. This concept of 'tomorrow' blinds us from seeing all the good that's around 'today'. When I ask myself that question now, I can see clearly the best days of my life, spread across the past and the present.

It was a dream that brought me to Hyderabad. A dream to earn my future rather than inherit it by chance, a dream to accomplish, to carve my niche amidst mediocrity - the typical middle class dream recipe. True to the dream, everything was surreal once I landed in the city of Nawabs. Me and my friend Arun got a rented house in a distant corner of the city, a place away from the hurry burry, a small house facing the endless fields. In the evenings we used to watch the sun set in the distant hills and in the nights we used to have candle light dinners on the terrace. The stars and the moon compensated for the plain rice, rotis and daal on the table. Life was cheap, simple and real.

Eventually we ended up in the heart of the city, sharing a flat with 2 other batchmates of ours. Srini's brother used to live in a flat with his friends and when he moved out to Bangalore, Srini inherited it. Flat number '7D'at Aeroview Towers, that was our home for the next two years, the place where we learned to compromise, to push our limits, to celebrate, preparing ourselves to face the future. There were seven permanent residents while a few others did grace the place with their short stints. Aeroview was the closest apartment to the old airport and we had a balcony almost parallel to the runway. It was a great sight to watch all kinds of birds taking off and landing, especially with their lights on in the night. Initially the sound was distrubing but then we got used to it, and even started plannning the daily routine around it - get up with the 6:15 Air India, start for college once the 8:30 Lufthansa takes off, sleep after the Oman Air leaves for Dubai at 10:30 and so on.

We rarely talked to our neighbors except when they had a complaint. Even then they did most of the talking, never caring to give us a chance to speak. There was a reason for not letting us open our mouths. The major complaint used to be something like this, in the words of the Punjabi lady who lived in the adjacent flat - 'Dinna ko bhi baata kartein, raata ko bhi baata kartein, ini log sotha kab?'. But soon they all learned to 'adjust' with the crazy schedules of the 'studious' kids at 7D. The flat was spacious for the seven of us, two huge rooms, a hall bigger than the two rooms put together, a kitchen, two bathrooms and three balconies!! One room was exclusively for Ravi bhayya, the senior-most member of the house, the other six of us used to sleep in the second room. The room was spacious enough for all of us to sleep without rolling on top of the other.

The most frequently bought item in the house was not rice, not sugar, not soap, but the timepiece. Like other disciplined people use to do, we also had the habit of keeping alarm for 6 O'clock in the morning. As soon as the alarm rings, a few hands used to fall simultaneously on top of the timepiece, crushing the life out of it. The poor thing always met with a premature death and some days later we decided that the 6:15 Air India is a better alternative. Atleast we knew we can't squash the bleep out of a 747!!

Somebody said that when your memories start outweighing your dreams, realize that you are getting old... maybe I am !!

Last 3 years..

The last three years have been pretty eventful in my life. I think what happened during those 1,000 odd days had more effect on my life compared to all that happened in the preceding 25 years. If I ever had what they call the 'shaping years' of my life, without no doubt they were the last three. It also had its own share of questions and surprises thrown at me, leaving me puzzled and confused at times.

It was when I had what others call a 'steady and promising career', that I decided to leave it all and bet my life on a start-up. The only reason for me to jump tracks was the fact that the new job had something to do with music; an opportunity to make a living around something that I love. I was called a stupid and idiot by many and they were absolutely right as well. Only because it all went well that I am able to look at that decision without regret now. In hindsight though it all might look like a wise plan and strategy, it wasn't even close. It was a real good ride and I for one, is more interested in the journey than the destination.

If real character is what one looks like in the dark, I have undergone a sea change. I am not just referring to those distinguishable love handles alone. From a careless, emotionless, free spirit I have graduated into some kind of a sensitive, irresponsible and confused freak. I am not quite sure whether the phrase 'graduated into' is apt to describe the situation. The rise and fall of a few relationships definitely took their toll. However strong or old or genuine they seem, I realized that relation-ships can sink. But the show must go on!!

I started doing few things in life, breaking and remoulding old entities to follow a new dream. Everything that mattered to me till then were replaced with this new excitement. But once I was done breaking my ties with everything and everyone in the past, I realized the new dream was just an illusion. There was nothing genuine about the dream which I could not gauge then. When you bet everything you had, on one dream, its failure can throw you off balance. I realized that dreams are killing stuff.. they can take you to great heights and part company with you, letting you enjoy the lonely and painful fall from grace.

Its during these days that I finally got convinced that there is much more to life than pursuit of 'yuppiness'. Conforming to the system and leading a 'successful' life are no more items on my priority list. It doesn't mean that I have taken wows of 'unconventionality'. Existence has got new meaning now a days. My outlook towards life is more clear and concise now; its no more a hazy shadow.

I just want to convince myself that I am not a mistake of creation...a tragic waste of skin.

Deluded by Dreams..

I was watching a Tamil movie 'Kancheevaram' the other day. It is the story of a silk fabric weaver who got obsessed with his dreams. A good movie with some excellent frames and colors, written and directed by Priyadarshan. The story takes place in the village of Kancheevaram, a place still renowned for excellent silk saris. The weavers there were too poor to buy their own silk yarn, but created fabulous designs on the saris they made. The landlord used to supply them yarn and pay them peanuts for their work while he made a lot of money selling their works. The irony was that the people who created these exquisite designs never got rich enough to buy a silk fabric.

The most gifted weaver of the village had a dream... to present his daughter a silk sari for her marriage. Everyone in the village ridiculed him for his audacious goal, but the guy had a plan. Dreams are sometimes so powerful that you do all that you can to make them reality. He started saving money even before his daughter was born. He worked hard and saved every penny he could, but ended up losing almost all of it to take care of his responsibilities. Knowing that it will be detrimental to his dreams, he gave all the money to his brother-in-law. He did not wanted to see his sister stranded on the streets. Getting torn between your dreams and responsibilities isn't exactly a pleasant situation.

Dreams can take you across oceans, they are like all consuming fire.. making you do almost anything. It is one of those situations where the creator becomes prisoner to his creation. When the realization dawned on him that he would never be able to save enough to buy a silk sari, he started stealing yarn from his workplace. He started weaving a sari for his daughter in the secrecy of a warehouse behind his house. Though he was well aware of what he was doing, for him that was the only thing to do. His dream wasn't about greed or power, he just wanted something to live for, something to keep reminding him that all his hard work had a purpose. He lived for his daughter and for his dream. Judging right and wrong were not his immediate priorities.

Just like they are a great source of inspiration, dreams also take everything from you, even your life itself. Eventually the weaver was caught and sent to prison. As a symbol of his unfulfilled dream the half-woven sari remained in the warehouse. His daughter was devastated and suffered full body paralysis when she tried to commit suicide. That was the last nail on the coffin for the poor guy. Unable to take it anymore, he lost his mind and killed his daughter. As if to fulfill his dream to see his daughter in a silk sari, he ran to the warehouse and fetched the half-woven fabric. It did not have enough length to even cover his daughter's dead body. The movie ends with a shot where the mentally deranged father frantically pulls the fabric both ways to cover the body completely.

I am not sure what message the director wanted to convey through the movie. But there are quite a few moments which connect to you, talking to you in some strange language which you cannot comprehend, but understand in some mysterious way. Perhaps he just wanted to show life as it is.. plain reality without the usual dash of fantasy. There is a scene when the weaver asks his paralyzed daughter whether he deserves such severe punishment for following a dream... a question I found impossible to answer. Dreams are more dangerous once they are squashed to death. The ghosts can haunt you for ever... insanity might at times seem the only escape.

There is this saying - 'Careful what you wish for.. you might actually get it and regret it for the rest of your life'. But what if the dreams themselves are shattered and you are punished for even trying to follow them?

When things go wrong...

Things go wrong in life, they always do. If it is not happening with you better see a doctor, you might be just some unfulfilled wish trapped inside a corpse and not a real person. When they go wrong, the effect on life can be profound. There are two reasons for things going wrong - unforeseen, unavoidable situations beyond our control and judgmental errors. The first category leaves us disturbed but we learn to take it in the stride as we move along, without much trouble or after effects. It is category two that sucks the "life" out of life most of the times.

When things go wrong as a result of bad judgment, you have nobody else to blame except yourself. Judgments are usually made based on three factors - available information/facts, convictions and beliefs. It is easy to blame "facts" for an err in judgment and it can often be the case too. But there are times when you clearly know that the outcome points a finger right at your convictions and beliefs and that's when it all start to shake and shiver. That's when you realize your dreams and ideas were so full of shit.

If convictions or beliefs lead to one wrong judgment, the chances are that they are inherently faulty. That shows trouble with the way you arrive at conclusions; the way you perceive reality. When you realize so late in life that your convictions and beliefs betrayed you, it is not something you can just ignore and go to sleep. It turns your world upside down, because you lived your life and even planned ahead on the foundations of these convictions. If they don't hold good you have the burden of reconfiguring your entire life. It is easier said than done.

Things you believed in and values you so cherished will suddenly start looking blurred and shaky. They don't give you the comfort and consolation they used to provide before. You suddenly start feeling like this idiot who followed a less traveled path only to find out in the end that it leads nowhere. I am sure that the things I believed in, the ones I cared for in life are true and genuine; probably I got too entangled in their aura that I almost missed out on the rest of the world coming crashing on me.

But I feel none of us have ever had a life lesson from having done something correctly. They really come when we make an error and deal with the consequences of that error. That’s how you learn. So probably its OK to fail and fall down. But deep inside you know some lessons are not worth learning that way, considering the cost attached to it. But that's how life works. It is by default a great tragedy.. all you can do is to mix it up with comedy wherever possible, as Shakespeare did.!!

Sometimes we only live for the here and now
Sometimes we're lonely
Sometimes we feel we need a place to be grounded
Or fly away again
- 'Spiral' , Godsmack

Eclipse Ecstacy

I walked out of the room for my morning jog and immediately noticed that the streets looked unusually empty. I double checked the time and I wasn't early at all. Then I remembered that it is the day of Solar eclipse. People were mostly inside their houses and there were very few vehicles on the road as well. Even the temple by the roadside had a small board hanging outside the gate saying "Today's morning services delayed due to the eclipse". My neighbor was sharing with me yesterday his beliefs about the 'Dos and Don'ts' during an eclipse. According to him we shouldn't even take a piss during an eclipse, forget eating during the time or looking at the sun.

I am not questioning these so called superstitions because I know most of them were introduced into the society for good. In a society where access to information was a privilege of only certain segments of the society, it was necessary to introduce concepts in a little cryptic format. It was useless trying to explain to people about sun's ultra violet rays when most of them worshiped it as a benevolent god. So a story had to be built around the event of an eclipse to prevent people from staring at the sun during that time and getting hurt. The only way to ensure the instructions are followed was to associate them with God and his wrath. Fear has always been the ultimate weapon for controlling masses.

But it is another story when idiots try to interpret and implement these beliefs quite literally, without understanding the real reason behind them. Women are still not allowed to enter a place of worship during her menstrual period. The popular belief even now is that a woman is 'impure' during this time and we don't want her to desecrate the God's abode, do we? In a patriarchal society where polygamy was the norm and women were treated like shit, associating some religious myth was the only way to let her take some rest during this physically exhausting times. That is why the 'wise men' ordered that women should be denied entry inside the kitchen or a place of worship and confined to a room outside the house. The instruction was out of concern for her health and not to imply any impurity on her. But who cares about the reasons.. we are happy following the herd. Probably because that's a more energy efficient and convenient way of life.

Irrespective of how much we have 'supposedly' prospered as a civilization, we still have our soft spots, the ones we keep close to our chest without letting rational or reason touch it.

Quarter Life Crisis

I wake up everyday morning feeling miserable about everything. Irrespective of whether I get up on my right or wrong side, there is this invisible headache that follows me wherever I go, till I hit the bed again in the night. I kind of glide through life like a Moldy Peaches song, blissfully unaware or ignorant of the things around. My relationships had a meteor hit recently and are smashed out of recognition. My parents think I am the dumbest person on the face of this Earth.(I have to actually give it to them!) Girls think I am no marriage material. Friends think I am too crazy to be entertained among them, even for the 'shock value'.

I used to think that I am in some terrible mess till I read an article recently. According to this, I might be having what they call the 'Quarter Life Crisis [QLC], a condition of dissatisfaction, depression and dejection felt by those in their late twenties or early thirties!! So this is something that happens halfway through your journey towards 'Mid Life Crisis'. Thank goodness, I at least belong somewhere, I am really not 'unacceptable'. The article goes on to say the ten ways to get out of this and so on. But who wants to get out of it, after a long time I found something to affiliate myself with. I should rather scout for some 'QLC Anonymous' groups where morons like me congregate.

I for one, never acknowledged the existence of dejection till now. It is unbeleivable to find out what a drag it actually is. As the wise men say 'Nobody can feel things for you, you have to do it yourself'. But looks like there is somebody who thinks I still brings luck... the rickshaw guy near my home. If I ever need a ride and he is around, he will happily volunteer, especially if its in the morning. He once told me 'Aapka savaari mereliye lucky hein', like the dialogue in one of those soap commercials. I used to trust people till they prove otherwise, but no more. So I did not take his remark seriously. But when I saw him denying another person's request as I walked towards the taxi stand, made me realize he probably meant what he said. Its good to know you are not unacceptable to everyone!!!

There is a Nancy Sinatra song which goes something like 'You only live twice, one for your dreams and one for you'. My first life for dreams had a near fatal accident a while ago. It gave birth to a stillborn, a half developed sort-of-child. But however deformed the baby be, what can console the mother who carried the little thing in her womb all this time. Setbacks in life make you learn things the hard way. They are like those 'impositions' I used to get at school for not doing things the right way. If you don't care to understand things the simple way, you get to learn them at a cost.

But every coin has two sides; you come out of every setback a tad stronger, a tad wiser and obviously a tad older as well. You know life will never be the same again, you know the skies won't turn true blue ever again, you notice the wind has toned down its pitch by a half note; but you learn to live with the changes. Who knows, I might even live thrice; one for my fantasies as well.

Something in the air tells me everything's gonna be allright, come September!!

Now playing: Mika - Relax, Take ItEasy

My Bucket List...

Life is like babies - gets messy pretty fast if left unattended. It takes no time for it to start stinking with boredom. Like broiler chicken we recognize/acknowledge only a few activities these days: 9-6 office, television, sleep and an occasional trip to the mall. Anything short of a nuclear war or a first round exit of Federer from Wimbledon amuses or excites us no more. Its always good to have inspirations to push and milestones or destinations to pull life along.

That is why I created my own wish list of things for life, kind of a Bucket List. They are the things I want to accomplish before I kick the bucket. I know most of them are 'Big Hairy Audacious Goals', but as a Latin proverb says 'The eagle does not hunt for flies'. Somebody also said that losers are those who are so scared of failure that they don't even try. I don't want to be a looser. I have already achieved a couple of things in my list as the initial list was put together a few years back. It has been increasing in size ever since. I also had to remove a few from the list, the most recent being 'watching Michael Jackson in concert'. At this point of time, this is how my list looks like.

1 Visit the Serengeti
2 Visit the Galapagos
3 See the Pyramids
4 Visit the Valley of Flowers (DONE)
5 Take a cruise to the Caribbean
6 See the birds of paradise in their natural habitat
7 River trip in the Amazon
8 Watch the Northern lights, Aurora
9 Spend a week in the desert - Rajasthan ? (DONE)
10 Visit Vienna
11 Ride along the highest motorable road @ Ladakh
12 Visit all states in the country
13 Climb the Himalayas beyond 6000 meters
14 Do a beach trek with my kids
15 Chase the monsoon from Cochin to Chirapunji
16 Fall in love & marry the girl
17 Learn to bake bread
18 Live in a farm with own food and power sources
19 Build a natural home
20 Own three Dogs - Spot, Cleo and Dude
21 Create a food forest
22 Create a wild Flowers garden
23 Build a tree house
24 Draw a mural on the wall at home
25 Get a telescope, locate the planets
26 Get a tattoo
27 Observe silence for a week
28 Make love on a running train
29 Make love in the rain
30 Take part in the Kumbhmela
31 Fly in a hot air balloon - African Safari?
32 Watch the Milky Way from a hilltop in the night (DONE)
33 Spot a tiger in the wild
34 Watch a movie all alone in the theater
35 Do snorkeling/ SCUBA diving
36 Participate and complete a Marathon
37 Learn Salsa
38 Resume painting/collage, make 3 a year
39 Build a home for someone in need
40 Read a whole book to someone who likes to listen
41 Watch a symphony orchestra performing
42 Own a Tama/Pearl drum set
43 Learn to play the Guitar properly
44 Compose a song, sing & play with friends & family

Whatever you ardently desire,
Sincerely believe in,
Vividly imagine, and
Enthusiastically act upon,
Must inevitably come to pass.

- Sybil Leek, Diary of a Witch

Now playing: Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

I am going to the valley..

I always crib about 'monotony' in life. But looks like I was wrong all this time, monotony does not necessarily mean 'bad'. I looked up the meaning of the word and the dictionary says - "Monotony is continuation without variation; but not necessarily the extreme of complete stagnation and constancy. The notion of monotony has therefore not exclusively negative connotations, but has also received appreciation...". I should be more respectful when I use the word and hence will start the next paragraph with 'Uneventful' instead of 'monotonous'.

Like rain in the desert, my 'uneventful' life has been blessed with an opportunity; one I have been wishing for quite a few years now. The very first time I read about the Valley of Flowers in Utharanchal, I decided I will go there someday. That was some 4 years ago. This is also the "secret" location for my honeymoon with the woman I love. I am sure if you come across the beautiful pictures of this paradise on earth you will quite understand my decision. Looks like finally I am going to make it this August!!

VoF is this 85 Sq.Km. of protected landscape on the Zanskar range of Himalayas which decorates itself with rare blooms every year during June - August. Frank S. Smythe, the person who first discovered it wrote in his diary "It is impossible to walk even an inch without crushing some beautiful flowers". Locals and even shepherds used to avoid this valley in ancient times; for them this was the playground of fairies and nymphs. Difficulty in accessing this place at 10,000 feet and recognition by UNESCO as an ecologically sensitive area, has helped in maintaining the pristine environment intact here. It is accessible only for five months from June to October once the snow melts and clears out. It takes a 17 km trek from Govinddham to reach valley. We are planning to trek to Hemkund as well, a holy place for the Sikhs and Hindus alike. It is a beautiful glacier lake at an altitude of 14,200 feet. You can also find the flower 'Brahmakamal' in abundance here, which grows only at such high altitudes.

We will go to Rishikesh from Delhi and from there to Joshimath and then to Govinddham. From Govinddham starts the actual trek along the Alakananda river to Ghangaria, our base camp. So the plan is to spend 2 days at the Valley of Flowers and one day at Hemkund. After Hemkund, reach Badrinath and trek to Vasudhara falls, passing through the last Indian village before Chinese border called Mana. It is going to be an 8 day trip off Delhi. Though I have seen the Himalayas once before, I was too young to retain any memories of the experience. So you can imagine the excitement. I even dream of snow and flowers these days, a welcome change from the usual nightmares.

A month's time left to gain some physical fitness and do all the planning. It's the anticipation that is far more exciting at times than the event itself..!!

Now playing: Glass Candy - Beatific

Fear Sellllsss..

I am a big sucker of anything related to the paranormal, the extraterrestrial or in short everything that falls in the category of 'the unexplained'. I always dig for interesting stuff to read, podcasts, event reports etc. Its interesting at times to see some of the marketing tricks employed by people to make money.

I found two kinds of people out there, people who are directly related to these so called mysteries - those like Prophet Yahweh who can allegedly summon the UFOs, Billy Miere, who regularly communicate with the interplanetary beings and so on. Then there is this other group of people who have made a career around these mysteries and mystery men - either supporting or denying these phenomena, or in simple English, doing research. But one thing is common - all of them got something to sell and most of the times the unique selling proposition of their product is the 'fear' generated by their research and theories..!!

I understand people wanting to share with the world the 'uncommon' knowledge they gather from these 'unusual' sources and experiences. I appreciate when they tell us that they have been warned by these "supra-intelligent" extraterrestrials about an imminent third world war.. I get amused when somebody explain about the Illuminati plot to take control over the entire world. But more than explanations, all these theories and phenomena are available as 'products' through the proponents' websites. But more than the curiosity of the subject, its the fear factor that brings in the sales. Consider these... Author of a book called 'Maya', which talks about some secret code which is a part of ancient knowledge, tries telling people how important it is to get hold of his book as soon as possible, to save the world and themselves.. An expert in remote viewing who can foresee a meteor hitting the earth few years from now, packages the info in a DVD and sells it (it even includes a 'list of safest places to be' to escape the effect of the impact).. A proponent of the reptilian conspiracy talks about the reptilians that live amongst us (in the disguise of humans) and the ways you can identify and avoid them in his book. If sex sells, fear selllllsss...!!!

Who wouldn't want to escape the great catastrophe.. who wouldn't want to know what to do when the reptilians start the carnage or when the aliens finally arrive? This is not a new trick .. its been successfully used by many for ages, the best example would be our religious leaders. Fear has always been the best weapon for them to keep the herd with them.. irrespective of the religion. An angry God is the last person anybody wants in their life. Thanks religion for teaching us that HE can be kept happy by bowing before the Pontiffs and priests and paying a decent donation to the congregation...!!

I am getting weird ideas now, for making some quick dough. Let the imagination fly..get abducted by aliens/meet a shape shifting reptilian/establish contact with a ghost.. tell the story to the world.. get a book deal and even a movie deal if the story is colorful enough.. get invited for lectures all over the world.. and obviously appearance in radio and TV shows.

In short, make lot of money and lead an interesting life..!!

Now playing: Guns N' Roses - November Rain

Is there a GOD?

Is there a God? A simple YES or NO can close this debate for ever, but this has remained one of the most perplexing questions ever since we acquired consciousness and imagination. The theist and atheist camps are quite vocal in expressing their opinions, and that is the closest either of the camps have come to solving the puzzle. The question has also swelled immensely in its complexity that we now have to prove the identity of the God as well, if one exists. There are so many of them around us in different names, forms and numbers. For the uninitiated it can't get any complex than this.

From the theist point of view, proof of God's existence has always been a function of his so called 'actions'. These actions vary from the creation of everything to some of the day to day happenings. Anything beyond our understanding and reasoning used to be attributed to the Gods traditionally. There used to be a rain god of sorts in every ancient civilizations till we understood how evaporation, cloud systems, wind and atmospheric pressure creates it. Same is the case with the gods of fire, wind and the ocean. But this understanding has not prevented people from offering prayers to these Gods. So what has happened over time is this reduction in the scope of God's direct actions. HE might still be answering prayers and accepting offerings, but not actively involved in trivial things like rain and rainbows.

His claim on creation of life is also on shaky grounds these days as we understand more about origins of matter and life. With advances in evolutionary and molecular biology we are almost capable of discounting the Adam & Eve story of creation now. But what will you tell the creationists who argue that it is God who controls evolution and the 6 day creation story is a metaphor for 6 billion years of evolution? Even if you try to explain the blind and ruthless nature of evolution, it only goes well with God's ways, atleast a few Gods are indeed ruthless and cruel!! So in this debate if anybody has to eventually win, it has to be the theists, because for them every answer becomes the next question with a 'why' appended to the very end.

When this question reaches the Philosophical plain, it gets even more interesting. Science can explain origin of life with the 'primordial soup' theory, but who put those Carbon and Nitrogen atoms there, asks the theist. If you turn the clock backwards and try to explain the origin of those atoms with the 'Big Bang' theory, the next question will be 'Who created the Big Bang' or 'What was there before the Big Bang'. As we still don't have much knowledge about the early universe, science will have to wait a little longer to answer beyond the Big Bang. But the theist argument will still be there - Somebody should have started the thing that caused the Big Bang, how can something start from nothing or nobody? But if the same argument is posed in the context of God, the outcome is different. If there is a God, who created him? There has to be something or someone who created God? This endless regression takes us nowhere.

Another fallacy of this 'who created whom' argument is the assumption that things should always evolve/originate from something that is bigger/more intelligent than itself. The necessity of a God or super intelligence is by virtue of the complexity of things we see around. The theist argument is that how can something so complex and sensitive emerge out of nothing; there has to be some higher intelligence carefully designing all this. Their favorite example is the impossibility of a hurricane blowing through a scrap yard creating a Boeing 747 by sheer chance. This argument might look so credible at the face of it, but how can you ignore the things that happen all around us which disproves this theory? Evolution is the perfect example how larger and more intelligent organisms can evolve from smaller, less complex living things. Evolution is not something that happens in a few minutes or hours like the hurricane. It takes time and every successful, evolved organism also tells the story of a million other variations which failed to survive or evolve.

So, if a million hurricanes can sweep across the said scrapyard one after the other, each of them creating a different scrap combination by chance, and also shares the experience with the following hurricane, it is quite possible for them to create a Boeing 747 eventually. In nature, an adaptation developed by a small organism to make life better, can be considered as the scrap combination created by one hurricane. if the adaptation was a useful one, the organism will survive, passing on this newly acquired feature to its offspring. If the adaptation was harmful, the organism will likely perish before it could procreate, thereby closing further experiments in that direction. In case of the organism with the useful adaptation, it created a next generation of 'more advanced' individuals with this 'additional feature'. The genetic material will carry this acquired information between generations and this is how complex life forms are created from less complex ones. So a superior intelligence is not at all required if we are trying to explain complexity.

The fact is, even with all these arguments in place, believing or disbelieving in God is more a matter of convenience for most of us. Conviction plays a very little role here. Most of us believe in the 'belief in god', as Philosopher Dan Dennet says. Probably there are no true Theists or Atheists.. all are technically Agnostics.. nobody knows for sure that there is or there isn't a God. Those who are practically theists are comforted by the majority and the practicing atheists believe in Fairies and Unicorns as much as they do in a Super human intelligence.

Tribute to MJ..

'If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change. Starting with the man in the mirror and asking him to change his ways..' - great piece of advise even if the one who said it could never follow it.

That's what I feel about Michael Jackson - a man who was a contradiction between his words and his deeds. Though he sang 'it doesn't matter whether you are black or White', he was obsessed with his skin color and looks all his life. But no matter what he was as a person - a freak or child molester or drug addict or whatever, you cannot deny his talent or ignore his music. I think no other solo entertainer ever mesmerized the world like Michael Jackson, with his music and dance moves; not even Elvis. It still feels so different listening to Billie Jean or Beat it or Dirty Diana... nothing else sounds like that, nobody else sings like him. The famous moonwalk is enough to keep him alive in our memories for a long time to come.

To see a Michael Jackson concert was one of my life's ambitions and the chance I missed when he performed in Mumbai will remain one of my greatest disappointments. The larger than life aura he created around him almost made me think that he is immortal. But as he sang in one of his songs - 'Gone too soon'.

I just can't stop loving his music. The world will miss him for sure.

Baba gone Bad...

Baba Ramdev has gone nuts. All that yoga he used to dish out so graciously across numerous television channels couldn't help hammer some common sense into his otherwise empty head. He thinks homosexuality is a curable disease and based on his opinion he wants the law of the country to be rewritten. Celebrities and politicians have strange whims and fancies these days!!

According to him sex between the same gender is not 'natural'. So what is natural? Sex between opposite genders? If we go by that argument, abstaining from sex is equally unnatural, because procreation is the primary objective of any living thing, you like it or not. So when he himself is showing what he calls 'deviant behavior' by observing celibacy (even though this is an assumption!!), how the hell can he argue that homosexuals are going against nature?

Again, how do we classify something as natural or unnatural? I know that if you can find some behavior across different animal species, you can call it natural. But if we start defining 'unnatural' by the same yardstick, even 'Yoga' and 'religion' will end up in that basket as I haven't heard of a theist animal or one who does yoga!! It is a well documented fact that even some animals express homosexual behavior and extending the previous argument makes homosexuality quite natural.

The most misunderstood thing about homosexuality is perhaps the motive. Like baba, most of us still think that 'sex' is the motive behind homosexuality. This goes well with our standard degradation of love to the level of lust. Sex is not the only reason behind love; it is probably the epitome of love when two people become one, but definitely not a replacement of love. I think the same rules should apply for homosexual relationships as well. People like baba Ramdev looks only at the 'sex' element of the relation and carefully ignores the 'love' part of it. He portrays them as sexual perverts whose only intention is to have 'deviant' sex with individuals of the same gender. Now, how funny an argument is that?

I understand the capabilities of Yoga in controlling your body and bringing some discipline to life. But mastery in yoga is no excuse to deject science. It has been proved time and again that homosexuality is an additional feature with which some limited edition human beings are 'made', while the standard models lack them. It is not a biological disorder that can be corrected by medicine or therapy. I should probably say that there is nothing that "needs to be" corrected, nothing is wrong with them !!

I thought a court of law accepts a petition after looking at the subject matter and applying some common sense to the arguments discussed. Now I seriously doubt that. We will see whether the court will order all homosexuals in the country to report to baba Ramdev to get their cure. Does the situation reminds anyone of X-Men: The Last Stand..? Where is Magneto?

Waiting for her return..

She promised me the moon, she promised me the sun
she promised even the stars, if I ever care to own

She promised me spring, autumn and winter
will all be the same for us, so will be summer

She said our life and love will survive
all that's there to suffer, surpass and be alive

She saw laughter and rainbows day after day
as long as we stood up and made our way

She was the centre of my life, my world
the one I created with dreams, now so old

She kept me afloat above the raging winds
Upbeat and buoyant, away from the doubting minds

My hopes rested on her and my head in her arms
knowing I'll be safe from all the chaos and the qualms

But why did she go leaving me alone with my dreams
shattered and broken, with a mind echoing dreadful screams

With her by my side I was prince charming
How soon fortunes change, its quite alarming

The sky which once was intact and blue
now looks scattered, mended with glue

But what will I do with a broken heart
I know of no magic or a replacement part

Colors they fade, faces they age
what about memories; to ignore them I am no sage

Every place, every face; every word and every deed
reminds me of her, us, and it is hard indeed

Moments feel like ages, never knew they hurt
choking you with emptiness, fear and regret

I can only wait for her to come back
hoping I hold ground and don't hit the sack

End of Days...

There is no dearth of people who believe that the end of days is closer to us than we think. The reasons might vary from fulfillment of religious prophecies to astronomical events. Below are some of the most interesting possibilities if you make up your mind to join the brigade.

Do you know that our earth will have a major pole shift in 2012 as it crosses the galactic plane? We are not talking about a magnetic polar shift, but a geographical polar shift. In simple English, it means that the angle at which Earth rotates on its own axis will change resulting in the North and South poles being shifted geographically to new locations. The resulting jolt can trigger unimaginable natural catastrophes big enough to challenge life on Earth. People who have studied past catastrophes and pole shifts have found that these are cyclic events, they repeat from time to time. For example, the dinosaurs were wiped out of the planet when some meteors struck our earth while crossing the galactic plane, few million years ago. Some of the ancient civilizations also mysteriously disappeared from earth when this event repeated.

Another interesting thing is that the 2012 December date sited for this crossing coincides with the 'End of time' in the Mayan calender. The Mayans were very knowledgeable in Astronomy and were highly accurate in their predictions of various astronomical events. Their calender is actually more accurate than the one we use now. Unlike us, the Mayans considered time to be finite and not a continuum. According to their calender, time ends in 2012 December and if we have to evaluate this prediction in the light of their other accurate predictions, we are in for some real trouble. They didn't necessarily mean 'destruction' when they said 'end of times', its more like 'end of an age'. But we will have to wait and see what that really means!!!

If you think this isn't plausible enough, try this - have you heard about the Reptilian conspiracy...? if not, go and check out the vast (mostly 'waste) information available on the internet. There is apparently this secret conspiracy happening to take over the world.. by none other than the descendants of the ancient serpent god..! These half-human, half-snake 'Reptilians', possessing excellent powers of 'shape-shifting' are all around us and are just waiting for the right time to unleash their power and conquer mankind. The legend of a Serpent God is common across many ancient civilizations. The Incas who made the city of Machu Pichu in Peru had this mythology incorporated into their architecture and literature. On one of the pyramids there, the sun casts a shadow which resembles a serpent crawling from the skies towards earth. How about this for a good reason to believe that the world as we know it is going to be short lived...?

If even this is not enough, let us talk about the aliens. Why do you think the aliens are constantly visiting our planet in their cute little spaceships..? Not for summer vacations for sure..!! It is because they truly believe what Agent Smith said in The Matrix - "Humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern - A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure." Yup, you heard it.. given this situation, it wont be too long before they decide to put an end to this disease. I know this is little too psychotic to imagine.. but the truth is not always sweet..!!

Aha.. so what if the whole alien and UFO stories are just gossip, right? I suggest you check out the UFO reporting center's website here: http://www.nuforc.org. There are over 200 sightings reported there every month and remember that it takes just one 'real' sighting to prove this all right. Now if you please read this in conjunction with the Crop Circles phenomenon monitored here http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2009/june2009.html, you will realize that there is something happening out there. The fact that you and me have more important things to bother in life, doesn't rule out these possibilities!! Remember I am not even talking about all those weirdos out there who can summon UFOs at will, or the ones who are in constant communication with the space brothers. I also don't want to get into the cattle mutilation or abduction phenomenons. Do check them out if you prefer your soup a little hot.

No discussion on the end of days will be complete without a mention of the religious fanatics who wait for the Rapture or the second coming. Its not just the crazy cults I am talking about, who commit suicide en masse expecting a reservation in the first flight to heaven. A recent survey showed that more than 50% of Americans think that Jesus' second coming will happen in their life time. They are eagerly waiting for that day when the 'chosen ones' will be carried off in clouds to the high heavens while the rest of us will remain here to rot. What a romantic idea to live with and to raise your children to...right?

Now you might ask - what about global warming? the danger of the melting ice caps of Alaska? the widening Ozone holes? nuclear wars? AIDS? Swine Flue? Who want to hear about them when there are much more 'interesting' reasons for kicking the bucket.?

So, repent and make amends, because the clock is ticking. Make sure you don't end up in prison trying to make the best out of the rest of your short life; the closing ceremony might be more interesting to watch from open ground!!

Relation Ships Sinking...

Big miracles are not always necessary to change perspectives. Trivial events are powerful enough to derail your outlook towards life. I remember one such moment that still holds my tongue every time I crib about life or broken dreams. Like raindrops and roses and whiskers of kittens the thought keeps my complaints at bay when the bee stings or the dog bites.

We had this reunion of schoolmates, after about 13 long years since we passed out from high school. It was great to go back to school and that too in the company of old friends. Everything went well and the enthusiasm was strong enough to inspire even the teachers who were present there. We had a nice experience sharing session, followed by a sumptuous lunch. Just like any gathering, we had some dropouts at the last minute which resulted in lot of left-over food. We decided to donate the food to somebody rather than wasting it and paid a visit to this Old Age home nearby. But I never thought the place will have such an effect on me when I started off for this place with a friend of mine.

This home was for the aged and the mentally challenged. When we drove into the premises, even before getting out of the vehicle I could see lot of weary faces through the meshed windows. Towards one end of the long building was the section for the mentally challenged and I could hear loud voices - expressing their anger at being kept inside. As I looked on, there came a beautiful girl from somewhere...she pressed her face onto the wire mesh and stared right at me. She had this helpless feeling written all over her face..very vivid. Her eyes were mesmerising.. piercing right through me. If I say she was beautiful, it would be a terrible under-statement... trust me. But it was not about the beauty.. it was all about the way she affected me, my mind.

There was something about her that made me stare back at her..but only for a few seconds. I couldn't take those probing eyes and the helplessness they were trying to convey. My eyes wandered here and there for few minutes and came back to her.. and there she was, her eyes fixed straight at me. I do not know what was so disturbing about her, but there was some feeling that she was conveying through her posture and looks, that was so disturbing and unsettling. I thought for a moment how such a beautiful lady would have ended up in a place like this, at the mercy of the public, rejected by her own family.

This institution survives by the donations from the public. For everything from food to medicine they are at the mercy of the society. There is no regular funding or income source for them. These are a bunch of people, most of them probably from well to do families, dumped into one dark corner of the world by their own peole. I later found out that the lady who stared at me had some kind of mental illness for a while, but her family is not ready to accept her back even after she is cured. She had no options but to be a part of this place when the hospital authorities finally declared her all right. She is one among the many there, who have lost faith in life and have said adieu to their dreams.

I am sure that all the women out there were mothers, sisters or wifes at some point of time... all of them had sons, daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters... all of them part of loving families. Some were brought here in their old age so that the family need not take care of them. Some of them were disgrace to their families as they were ill.

How can you severe relations at moments of crisis? The strength of any relation is tested during tough times and not when all is fine and well. It is easy to keep someone around when he or she expects nothing from you. Its during times of despair that you really prove your worth as a dear friend, a close relative or a caring partner. But the 'relations' business seems to work by a different set of rules. How can somebody who was your parent or husband or sibling all your life, suddenly become a burden? How can you cut off your hand or leg just because it had a fracture or a bruise...? I don't understand.

When I get older, loosing my hair, many years from now, will you still be sending me the Valentine, Birthday greetings, bottle of wine ?

If I stay out till quarter to three, Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four ?

- "When I'm 64" , The Beatles

I like power cuts ...

I like power cuts in the night.

It provides a false sense of security and superiority with the all prevailing darkness; much like the confidence of a cat that closes its eyes and drinks the milk. Once the rest of the world is shut out all around, your alert and alarm systems will lower the guard, your response mechanisms will stand down and you start feeling better with just yourself to think about. No more concerns, no more worries; because nothing else exists then.. just you and your world.

On a side note, this is probably what is done in meditation - switch off the chaos around and look inside, be one with one's own self. I am not sure what happens during the process - is it the same false sense of peace and content you get by deliberately ignoring everything other than 'self', or is there something more profound? I am also not sure whether this detachment from reality, this alienation of all that is around, is the right way to attain peace and consciousness. Isn't consciousness the realisation of things as they are, and their subsequent acceptance? What else can set you free more than knowledge? I don't want to comment. But I have read somewhere - 'Silence is not what you get before the music starts and after it stops; it is the very essense of music that makes it music'.

My reasons for liking powercuts is but something else. It sets us free. When I was in school powercuts were a good excuse to run away from homework and books for sometime. I still remember how kids from the neighbourhood used to get together for stargazing or another round of hide and seek. It also forced us to get creative- games had to be deviced to suit the situation. It was also an occasion for the elders to get together and mourn the loss of the television serial telecasted during that hour. Then as I grew older they beacme the right time for me to sit with my Harmonica and try playing some notes. For one thing, I practised regularly, an hour each day without fail. It also helped me in playing by feeling the notes than seeing the position of the holes. Probably the only time I did something with a ceratin amount of discipline and rigour, though it was thrust upon me. Gradually the Harmonica gave way to the Guitar and powercuts again had a big role in me getting the chord progressions right.

These days when our lives are so much dependent on electricity, you will be plugged into some electrical device all day, be it computers, television or the music system. Powercuts are those occasional windows of freedom we get from the clutches of electromagnetics. A good time to get out of the house and see some stars or take a walk or even get that static charges off your body.

But just like any other slight deviation from the 'regular and comfortable' life, we always complain about it.

Homosexuality - the next stage of evolution ?

Why is there still such a hue and cry about gays and lesbians? I was surprised to realize that even now the vast majority think that homosexuality is a medical condition that can be cured by treatment or counseling!! How long will it take for these morons to understand the fact that it is a biological phenomenon just like some people are born left handed while others right handed? Its all about the wiring in one's brain and we have not yet achieved the technological sophistication to even understand brain configuration, forget meddling with it.

I personally feel this is all part of the evolutionary process - homosexuality might just be the next stage in human evolution.

But why? This is why - For ages nature used to control the process of evolution, ensuring that the ecological balance is maintained at a healthy level, all the time. Accordingly, organisms used to adapt themselves to situations and surroundings, undergoing changes and developing adaptations on the way. But once homo sapiens came into being, by virtue of their large brains and the resulting consciousness they started to interfere with the natural process of evolution. We considered ourselves the masters of the earth and the only worthy inhabitants here. Without showing even the slightest respect to the natural process of evolution, we started to multiply exponentially, upsetting the cardinal rule - 'survival of the fittest'. We also started to modify the environment around us to suit us, while every other organism changed themselves to suit the environment. We became a plague that spread across the planet, plundering all that was found on the way, threatening the existence of all other living things and the life of the planet itself.

We got so much out of control that Nature had no choice but to interfere. It was too dangerous to let us multiply like this; something had to be done. Detaching the sexual urge from the individual is too costly a proposition as life itself survives on many a byproducts of this urge. A smart solution obviously is to change the orientation of this urge. If there is a way to allow organisms to have satisfactory sexual relations without procreation, the problem of overpopulation can easily be solved. We tried it with condoms and contraceptives, but Nature did it more effectively with a little re-orientation and re-wiring. I don't see a better explanation for the ever increasing number of gays and lesbians. I don't think all of them were hiding in their closets for fear of persecution.

I feel this is probably not the next 'logical' stage of evolution as procreation is what drives it; but this was the need of the hour. Had we not multiplied uncontrollably and not tampered with the natural process of selection, sexual orientation would not have been a key differentiator in the next stage of evolution. As evolution is mostly guided by the demands of the environment at any given point of time, it is in fact logical to think this was a smart solution; at least an effective stop-gap arrangement of sorts. If we had allowed Nature to take its own course, primary focus of the next stages of evolution would have been better body design or even larger brains.

All I mean to say is that homosexuality can be an adaptation, one acquired or imposed on us to counter some of the imbalances we ourselves created in this planet. Just like none of the evolutionary changes are without advantages, this one also probably serves a bigger purpose. And there is no point in calling it 'unnatural' or 'unethical' or any of that crap.

Elegy on the death of a dream..

When the festival and feast are all over
the lights all blink out and fall over

When the near and dear ones are gone
and you face life eye to eye all alone

Ask yourself who you are, what you want
what you have done and how you feel in the end

Answers will start popping out of nowhere
like stars in the sky come twinkling out of somewhere

Then you realise what went wrong
what you lost, passed you so long

Its too lame to regret, too far to get back
too strong to confront and too late to fight back

Moments once lost will never take you back
treasures are lost once you turn your back

Faces you cared and dreams that you reared
are gone for ever, leaving a mind so scared

Had lot of dreams that never came true
but glad I am for them, never feeling blue

You reap what you sow, weep if you flaw
and scars remain to show what fortunes you let go
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