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Showing posts from August, 2010

words of wisdom

on the World Wide Web
chosen by Lama Surya Das

* * * * * * ** *

"Remember that there is only one important time and that is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life."

Tolstoy, from his story The Emperor's Three Questions

-- Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh quotes this in his famous seminal classic book The Miracle of Mindfulness (1975)

Mitali Saran on Boarding Schools and a return to our atavistic nature

Bombay, meri jawani

Mitali Saran | 2010-08-28 01:10:00

Last weekend, I made a visit to Bombay for the first time in two years, to attend a high school friend’s tenth wedding anniversary. A fair number of alumni from Rishi Valley School (which is in Andhra Pradesh) live in Bombay, and a few of us were coming from out of town to use the occasion as a sort of mini-reunion.

The first thing I’d like to say is that Bombay taxi drivers are great fun to chat with. Not one of them seems to be from Bombay, and they have a lot to say about Raj Thackeray, but they’re really much more interested in why you aren’t married.

"But what will you do in thirty years’ time?" one of them wanted to know.

"And you like being married, do you?" I asked. He conceded that it was a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea and dropped me off at the party at Churchgate.

The best thing about class reunions is the certain knowledge that no matter how much everyone has evolved, we will all immedia…

misty morning with african pillows

adding design elements

aid to artisans Charles Eames


kids collection

dolli dressed up

woodbury apron


brazil sage




birds and other wildlife

pw dakota


nyigf 2010

my angel

geeta with angad and leela

barimama and mira

Words of Wisdom for all the world

on the World Wide Web
chosen by Lama Surya Das

* * * * * * ** *

"May the sun bring you energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,

May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.

May you walk gently through the world
and know its beauty and harmony
all the days of your life. "

-Apache Blessing

thought for today

Never forget that the greater the difficulties, the greater also our possibilities. It is only those who have great capacities and a big future who meet with the great obstacles and hardships.

- The Mother [p-150, White Roses, Sixth Edition, 1999]

Sri Aurobindo

It is a mistake to think that by fearing or being unhappy you can progress. Fear is always a feeling to be rejected, because what you fear is just the thing that is likely to come to you: fear attracts the object of fear. Unhappiness weakens the strength and lays one more open to the causes of unhappiness.

- Sri Aurobindo [SABCL, 24:1416]

thought for today

If in spite of all your efforts the horizon sometimes darkens, if hope and joy fade away, if enthusiasm flags, remember that it is a sign that you have drawn away from your psychic being and lost contact with its ideal. In this way you will avoid making the mistake of throwing the blame on the people and things around you and thus quite needlessly increasing your sufferings and your difficulties.

- The Mother [CWMCE, 12:47]

Agha Shahid Ali

At a certain point I lost track of you.
You needed me. You needed to perfect me:
In your absence you polished me into the Enemy.
Your history gets in the way of my memory.
I am everything you lost. Your perfect enemy.
Your memory gets in the way of my memory: …
There is nothing to forgive. You won’t forgive me.
I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.
There is everything to forgive. You can’t forgive me.
If only somehow you could have been mine, what would not have been possible in the world?

More on Chapati Mystery

Simon Cox on Delhi

There’s Old Delhi, New Delhi—and future Delhi, which is likely to overshadow both. Simon Cox captures life as an expat in a fascinating city ...

From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Summer 2010

I first visited Delhi ten years ago, drawn not by the city but by one of its citizens. I had fallen in love with a Dilliwalli I met at university in America two years before. It was past time I saw her in her “native place”, as Indians put it.

We visited the usual tombs, markets, shrines and gardens, including the domed presidential palace on Raisina Hill that once housed the viceroy. Our trip coincided with a visit by the wives (they were all wives) of the British High Commission. They cooed and fussed, like previous owners checking up on the new landlords. One even looked for dust under the carpet. It was a relief to escape into the palace’s Mughal Gardens, where a tiny Dilliwalla peed on the lawn while his parents smiled helplessly.

Delhi can be grand, but it is rarely solemn. The people can be rude,…

Shy Kids From Babble

Always The Quiet Ones
Does my daughter’s shyness need to be fixed?
by Camille Sweeney | November 9, 2009

Like a lot of babies, when my daughter Roxie was still in her first year she had a certain reticence around strangers. At the time, we chalked it up to separation anxiety otherwise known as "please don't pass me to Granny or Grandpa or I'll scream my head off."

We smiled. We made excuses. But it persisted.
Now, at three and a half, Roxie is certainly stimulated by novel experiences, people and situations. But put her in a peer group setting like, say, preschool circle time, and she goes all Chauncey Gardiner — more content to watch than join in.

Or, so it would seem.

As many of her fellow preschoolers merrily belt out "Little Bunny Foo Foo" animated with hand movements, Roxie, who knows all the words and gestures (and performs them with relish at home in front of the mirror), remains silent, hands in her lap. In a free art class offered at the Metropolitan Mu…

thought for today

Imagination is a power of formation. In fact, people who have no imagination are not formative from the mental point of view, they cannot give a concrete power to their thought. Imagination is a very powerful means of action. For instance, if you have a pain somewhere and if you imagine that you are making the pain disappear or are removing it or destroying it - all kinds of images like that - well, you succeed perfectly.
There's a story of a person who was losing her hair at a fantastic rate, enough to become bald within a few weeks, and then someone told her, "When you brush your hair, imagine that it is growing and will grow very fast." And always, while brushing her hair, she said, "Oh, my hair is growing! Oh, it will grow very fast...." - And it happened! But what people usually do is to tell themselves, "Ah, all my hair is falling again and I shall become bald, that's certain, it's going to happen!"
And of course it happens!

- The Mother …

Tere bin Laden

This is a really funny, well made movie. The comic timing and the use of Punjabi dialogue makes the jokes even funnier.
A comedy with you-know-who’s name in the title may not be a natural sell in America, but it’s hard to imagine the likable, gently satiric Bollywood film “Tere Bin Laden” (“Without Bin Laden”) ruffling too many feathers.
Written and directed by Abhishek Sharma, the movie is set in Karachi, Pakistan, but was filmed mainly in India. It stars the popular pop singer Ali Zafar as Ali, a journalist whose dream is to go to, yep, America. Ali — he’s “good looking but a jackass,” we’re told in the first song — needs to earn money for a fake passport and hits upon this scheme: to trick an Osama bin Laden look-alike, a goofy fellow he meets at a cock-crowing contest, into making a video that can be sold to the news media.

The video, though, becomes too successful, and the United States panics. Suspecting the video came from Pakistan, it nonetheless attacks Afghanistan because, well…

The Kids Are Allright

Which is fine: Ms. Cholodenko’s film, which she wrote with Stuart Blumberg, is so canny in its insights and so agile in its negotiation of complex emotions that it deserves to stand on its own. It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment.

But its originality — the thrilling, vertiginous sense of never having seen anything quite like it before — also arises from the particular circumstances of the family at its heart. There is undeniable novelty to a movie about a lesbian couple whose two teenage children were conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Families like this are hardly uncommon in the real world, but Ms. Cholodenko (“Laurel Canyon,” “High Art”) and Mr. Blumberg have discovered in this very modern arrangement a way of refreshing the ancient and durable wellsprings of comedy.

“The Kids Are All Right” starts from the premise that gay marriage, an issue of ideological contention and… | How To Live & Die | How To Live & Die

I’ve lived a reasonably contented life. I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happy—what one has to do in order to achieve happiness.

First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness.

Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreation—eating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes.

Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them.

Fourth, an understanding…

Silences- A poem from 2/12/99

I came to college
to suddenly have an identity
thrust upon me

I became an Indian
the "official Indian"
usually the only third world voice in the class

I came here and lost my voice
my earlier voice
cause it didnt belong
just didnt sound so right

I had to adjust to a new identity
and to a person i had to learn and read to became
a voice for the 3rd world - women, children and men

most of whom i never knew
or whose lives i could never lead

my silence became my solitude
my private space
that no questions could probe, dissect or analyze

it became a weapon
that they could not penetrate and hurt
with their racism and ignorance

my silence is my power

Take Back The Street

NEW DELHI — On blogs, Facebook and Twitter last month, hundreds of women across India shared their experiences as “Action Heroes” — facing up to sexual harassment on this country’s sometimes terrifying streets. The event organized by Blank Noise, a community art project that fights the abuse of women in public spaces, focused fresh attention on “eve teasing” — the common euphemism for the hostility and violence women experience on the streets in large parts of India, especially in the more patriarchal north.

In 2006, the then-fledgling Blank Noise, run by Jasmeen Patheja, a young artist, had invited Indian women to emulate the Take Back the Night marches women have staged in other parts of the world to assert their right to walk in public areas without fear. A Reclaim the Night march had been held in 1978 in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, in protest of the rape of a woman on the street, but not repeated. And so, 28 years later, here in the Indian capital, a small group of women…

Birth of a salesman

Amitava Kumar writes in the Guernica about the life of Lakhani and Rahman- the arms smuggler and his informant. Great writing and insightful analysis of both characters.

Rehman: Whenever you see any crime behind it there’s an informant and when someone is arrested. And when any time someone stops the crime behind it there’s an informant. And the whole world respects him. That—when I say respect that’s what I mean.
I was struck by this exchange, mostly because it showed the informant as the mirror image of the defendant: a man of small means, beset with difficulties, projecting himself onto a grand stage. Each one was a failed man in many ways, a failed man, with more than a touch of desperation, dreaming of success. Both were immigrants, afraid of their perceived worthlessness, worried at the ways in which each plan they had devised had proved ineffectual. Each one tried to impress the other about how he was at home in the West. The two had their origins in enemy countries divided by a …

The Perils of partying late into the night.

Amba Batra Bakshi writes about the party scene in Delhi.

The 2 am crowd is certainly serious about their partying. In Delhi, a typical evening would begin at a friend’s house followed by clubbing and rounded off with a drive to Noida or Gurgaon to get alcohol as late as 6 am. The Gurgaon stretch of NH-8 comes alive past midnight when some of its dhabas dole out techno beats, alcohol, cocaine or Ecstasy to send you the high way. South Delhi’s opulent drawing rooms begin to serve the finest single malt as the first hand of poker is dealt. The really rich and influential head for the very lap of luxury, an exclusive nightclub at Hotel Samrat, a stone’s throw away from the prime minister’s house, where membership is over a lakh per year, and all the privileges extend up to the waking hours.

thought for today

I suggest that every one of you should try - oh! not for long, just for one hour a day - to say nothing but the absolutely indispensable words. Not one more, not one less.
Take one hour of your life, the one which is most convenient for you, and during that time observe yourself closely and say only the absolutely indispensable words.
At the outset, the first difficulty will be to know what is absolutely indispensable and what is not. It is already a study in itself and every day you will do better.
Next, you will see that so long as one says nothing, it is not difficult to remain absolutely silent, but as soon as you begin to speak, always or almost always you say two or three or ten or twenty useless words which it was not at all necessary to say.

- The Mother [CWMCE, 3:259]

last one

with pictures

walking down