Sunday, February 18, 2007

Am I speaking of Death ?

September 30, 2006 | 09:12 PM
Am I speaking of Death ?
Lu asked : You speak of a limbo with no structure and context as frightening. Maybe it is frightening because, as you said, we cannot leave our structures and obligations behind. If we did not have such ties we would have no problem. Then we would find "true happiness"? Are you speaking of death?

Perhaps Lu, I am speaking of Death, but not as Death as an end, for in our mind even death is context by which we view life ...

First, what is 'no structure and context' frightening to ? It is frightening to the mind and to the ego. For the Ego cannot survive without context. And if are able to seperate our selves between 'me the ego' and 'me the observer of my ego' then we can observe how frightened the ego, (or lets give it the name 'mind') is when you take away context and structure. That is the battle though. The battle to be able to seperate the 'I' and the observer of the 'I', both of them being the correlation between your mind and your consciousness. And the understanding of ' who is the observer' of the 'I' ? Is the observer also the mind, or does the observer sit outside the mind ? Is that what we call consciosness.

Death ? I am not talking about the passing away of life. I am speaking of the ability to come out of the mind as an observer within this existence of what we percieve as life . But that is another discussion. For if there is no concept of linear time, then there is no passage of time between Birth and Death. They happen at exactly the same moment in Time and Space. And then if that is true, then they exist not in any particular space or time, but in eternity.

You exist (not existed) before your percieved birth, and after your percieved death, and the perception of your birth and death exist in a continual eternal existence.

True happiness ? That is also a play of the mind and the ego. Perhaps we should be talking about true happiness in context of harmony with the Tandav Dance of Shiva. In my next post I will put forward the ideas of the Tandav dance of Shiva,


Doubt ! part 2

September 26, 2006 | 06:16 AM
Doubt ! part 2
Lu asked me : I do not understand your allusion to courage--why should it take courage to see the suspension of time? I do not see it as frightening or dangerous. What if instead of chaos we find absolute tranquillity?

Lu, everyone has ther own experience, and I have no doubt that you will find tranquility if u can 'live' in the experience of 'no time'. And perhaps you ahve explored much more than I have, though I have explored a bit more in the 5 years since I wrote that piece on Doubt.

I refer to chaos as the first step to giving up living inside structure. Inside contexts. After all we always refer to ourselves in the context of something else. We imagine ourselves always in context of something else, and we mostly are consumed by our lives in the context of time.

I watched as my daughter who is now 6 years old struggle to come to terms with the 'adult' concept of time. And ofcourse we 'adults' imposed it upon her. We celebrated her birthday every year, once a year. and while she thoroughly enjoyed each birthday, she could nto comprehend that the celebrations came only once a year. Why not celebrate everyday ?

More than that, the question in her mind was always " How old was I before I was one ?" How old was I before before I was zero ? These questions to me at first semed those of a mind coming to grips with the real world, till I realized that they were questions trying to come to grips with a world as adults saw it. In terms of linear time.

So back to your question about Chaos. I often see the universe in terms of the Tandav dance of Shiva, which in Hinduism is the random dance of creation and destruction and then creation again. Continious, seamless and eternal. Like the ocean, with countless waves forming and destructing at the same time.

How random is the Dance of Shiva ? I guess so random that it is impossible to find a pattern, a structure to it. It is impossible to learn it. But if you throw out the very idea of structure, throw out the very idea of patterns, and become one with Shiva, you will perhaps be in harmony with the dance.

I guess my struggle has been to drop the idea of stucture, and have the courage to believe that there is no context, no 'given' as it were. A kind of a limbo that can be pretty frightening to an ego driven mind that needs me to believe in contexts by which to define myself.

So that is the first step of 'Chaos' that I speak of - and then to step off into the abyss, into the void, into a space that has nothing to hold on to, that is what needs courage.


Doubt !

September 26, 2006 | 01:15 AM
Doubt !
Here is one of the more frighteniing conversations with the Astrophysicist, Piet Hut (which I am serializing in The Film maker and the Astrophisicist blog ) : From: Shekhar Kapur, Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001, To: Piet Hut : You Said : < Needless to say, IF linear time is not real, then a realization of that fact makes one a more effective player in alleged linear time; just like you can only be an effective film director if you realize that a film is not real -- which doesn't mean it is arbitrary. >>

Dear Peit :

I am going a different way : I still want to see (because I imagine everything as a picture) - time like a little canary in a cage : caged by us - therefore I look and say :

" this is a Canary in the cage - and that is the reality" The cage is my mind - and the canary a way of making time absolute. In my mind I open the cage - and the bird fies away and just in one whoosh disappears - as if there was nothing else.

I have to destroy the cage and throw myself into chaos. I have to understand that I am not caged by time - but time is caged by me interms of a linear concept - I would rather go this left field way because it forces me to completely think chaotically. Like the bird represents a spirit - and time is actuall a free spirit. But gentle and soft and ethereal.

Time is Space : Free flowing like God. Time is God. That is the unknown dimension - GOD/TIME/SPACE - I know that in my bones - but my mind must force itself through the pain of logic - I must put my mind through absolute chaos and put it in self destruct - and the only way is chaotic thinking - not to allow it to to hang it's coat on any peg.

I know that at the end there is light. But the the tunnel is dark and dangerous - and for those without courage may get lost in the tunnel - and destruct everything without understanding.

No, not understanding, but - without experiencing.

A half a Buddha is perhaps worse than someone enclosed in Maya.

Lets keep up these conversations - I do not have to totally understand what u say - nor do you, I guess. But as long as we keep questioning each other - there will be at some points of time a coming together - a synchronization - and then like a wave - disbelief and questioning again.


Is this where my father resided ?

September 18, 2006 | 02:51 AM
Is this where my father resided ?
As I lit my father's funeral pyre and watched the flames consume his body, the priest handed me a long bamboo pole. To puncture the skull. To release his spirit, he said, but also the skull has a tendency to explode..

And then the unthinkable happened. The wood fell away and I watched as the exposed white fatty tissue of the brain began to bubble and melt in the intense heat. I called my sister to watch with me. Is this where my father resided, I asked ? In this piece of tissue ? Is this where his mind existed ? The mind of one of the best known peadraticians in India ? Is this where his passion, compassion and warmth for all the little children who's life he devoted to saving existed ? Excuse me for not using the word soul, though I am so tempted to.

And is this where his love for his own children existed ? For me and you ? And with the brain extinguishing into flames, does that love no longer exist ?

And what about me ? Is that who I oved really ? That brain ? Was that the sum total of my father ?

Or is the truth something else. That the mind does not reside in the brain. That emotions do not reside in the mind. That that which we call love and memory and emotion exists in a realm beyond the physical body. More then just synapses of neurons that express themselves through chemical reactions


Rationalising or fooling yourself ?

September 10, 2006 | 03:17 PM
Rationalising or fooling yourself ?
"Maybe our concept of time is just a method for rationalising things and making it have a point or giving it a meaning... a perspective."

yes absolutely, raviswamy, our five senses in their limitations need to reduce perception to rationalize our understanding of the world we inhabit...

So we give everything a begining, and an end. We see time linearily. And then we spend our lives wondering and being afraid of the event called Death, because we have decided the universe exists in beginings and ends, in events separated in time/space. The question we should be really asking is "if the event of Birth never happened, then how can Death happen ? Or is my Birth and my Death continious even as I write ?

What I keep struggling with is why we need to reduce everything to a point where we need to rationalize it. Why do we need to rationalize ? It seems purposeless, but then of course it is difficult to find any purpose in this world. The only purpose we have ever seem to have found is in imposed 'morality'. But the Universe is neither moral nor immoral. It's amoral.

I do not believe we are born with an addiction to only the 5 senses. We acquire the ability to shut ourselves out of anything that does not fall into the perception of an increasingly limited rationalistic world. That's modernism. Logic.

My daughter at 4 was extremely comfortable with the idea that Angels existed and at the same time did not. She saw no difference between the logical world and the illogical one. To her the connection between what she saw and what she imagined was not contradictory. But now at 6, with her going to school she is already getting trained to ignore that which cannot be touched, seen, heard or smelled,

Consequently she is less and less comfortable with her emotional life, as myth and imagination are played down in schooling. But the do not go away do they ? They bubble up in the most unexpected ways. And sometimes dangerous ways. You and I are coming to terms with our loss of universal percepton by arguing out right now through words.

Buddhism says that at the root of all human suffering is Desire. I do not dispute that. For Desire only arises out of a misunderstanding of Time/Space continuum. How can I desire something unless I see the object of desire as something seperated from me in time/space. But even Quantum Physics now reveal that all such seperation is not real fact, but is assumed fact through the act of observation by the observer.

What i want Buddhism to explain to me is the purpose of Desire, if there is one. Procreation of the species? is that all ?


Time and Event

September 10, 2006 | 03:04 PM
Time and Event
ravi swami : Yes...moment and continuity are contradictions in terms - an 'event 'assumes a "before event and after event" situation - what you are saying is that every "event" exists and is not marked by a start and end point, if it did then "time" as concept has to exist -

as in editing a film, an in point and out point, but outside of the "edit", events and actuality(for want of a better word), continue, despite the film makers division of the continuum to make logical sense and tell a story....

Maybe our concept of time is just a method for rationalising things and making it have a point or giving it a meaning... a perspective.

I sometimes ponder on the idea of dividing time into ever smaller divisions - like you see in "time slice" films - at a certain point time appears to stands still - on a theoretical level this is what is supposed to occur for a viewer if he/she/it approaches the speed of light, time "stands still" and all "events" become simultaneous...

Time and time again

September 10, 2006 | 12:51 PM
Time and time again
rawi swami said : .....time is actually (as we understand the meaning of the word) better described as "moment" or continuity - not an evolution of anything but a constant...within that constant there are "events", supernovas, all instances of "local time"....

I agree, ravi swami, but.....

..... if time is a constant and not an evolution, then we have reconsider our definition of the word 'event', for the word event assumes a moment that is not continous, but singular. But a singularity of an event assumes a past and future where that singularity never existed, right ? And if so then are we not, after having described Time as a constant, contradicting ourselves ? So every event too, in that case must also be'constant'. So it always existed, does exist and will always exist. And is therefore not an event at all, but also a constant.


The Astrophysicist and the Filmmaker 2

September 10, 2006 | 12:51 AM
The Astrophysicist and the Filmmaker 2
I would urge anyone on this blog that is interested in the exploring the areas where mysticism and science collide to click on the blog on top of the page about my conversations with Peit Hut, the astrophysicist.

Though these conversations happened 6 years ao, I am finding them fascinating all over again. Piet has promised to answer questions - but he is a bit busy for the next 10 days, in the meantime I will continue to serialize the conversations and feel free to post comments and questions to Piet.


Till the rains come.

September 04, 2006 | 12:28 AM
Till the rains come.
Her grandson hung loosely from her hip. Lacking the energy to steady his head lolling from side to side. He was badly in need of food.

Yet as she implored me for some money I knew she had not been doing this for long. For the hundreds of beggars I pass every day have a permanent look carved onto their faces. A look to evoke pity. But her smile is warm. The shine in her eyes real.

Where are u from ?

Sholapur, she said. There were no rains and the fields were dry. No one was hiring labour, and there was no food or water. 20 of her community walked, hitched rides on top of trains and buses to come to Mumbai.

To beg for food, shelter and water. This is after all the city of dreams.

Where do u live ?

Wherever we find the space.

Which means the streets, the shelters under the highways. The narrow spaces on the dividers between the roads. Real Estate is at a premium here, even to put down your head to sleep on the streets

Her grandaughter walked upto me. Hand stretched out to beg, but her heart not in it. Not yet. anyway. It had not yet become a profession. She smiled the most stunning smile, eyes still sparkling with hope and optimism. All of sixteen.

We will go back soon to sholapur, she said to my question.

When ?

When the rains come. When the crops grow. When there is food and shelter.

That I knew, and she knew, would be not till the next monsoons a year from now. Would this community exist together for a year ? Would the warmth in her eyes, and the sparkle in her grandaughter's eyes survive that long ?

Or would this family be indistinguishable from the permanently etched and grimaced faces of al the others.

My daughter's school bus arrived and she stepped out laughing. The old lady laughed too. She asked for her name and blessed her. I gave her some money and she bent to touch my feet. I said no. In the same square mile we existed on different planets. But at this moment I wanted to be her equal. Equal in their hope. Equal in their dignity. Praying that somehow they may be able to survive the onslaught of the city.

I drove home, as Suresh, my driver laughed.

You really got taken in didn't you, sir. Have u not been watching TV ? There has been so much rain in Sholapur that their are floods everywhere !

He is wrong. He must be wrong.


The Astrophysicist and the Filmmaker

August 27, 2006 | 07:49 PM
The Astrophysicist and the Filmmaker
5 yeras ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos I met an amazing mind and soul. Piet Hut is Dutch, married to the beautiful Eiko, who is from Japan. His is Buddhist and a proffesor of at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University. The meeting led to an amazing series of e mail exchanges on the nature of reality ...

I then lost contact with Piet. On a whim I suddenly turned up at his house in NY and discovered he had just survived cancer, and his mind was more alive than ever. To my amazement he had a record of most of our conversations between July 2001 and August 2003.

I now plan to serialize these conversations on this website and then for Piet and I to continue the conversations both on his website and mine. They mostly are in the form of questions on the nature of the Universe I asked Piet from the point of view of an artist, and then he attempts to answered them from the point of theoretical physics. You will soon find a posting on the top of the blog page called 'The Astrophysicist and the Film Maker

For those that are interested in looking at all the correspondence at one go, should go to Peit's website :


Welcome to Eternity, bye bye Big Bang

August 21, 2006 | 05:59 PM
Welcome to Eternity, bye bye Big Bang
Have always struggled with the idea of the Universe actually having a 'begining' with the Big Bang and therefore by inference an 'end' ...

If the principles of Quantum Physics are to hold true, then surely time has absolutely no linear value. The concept of Timelesness is where the the new Quantum Theorists and the Spiritualists are finding common ground. In Eternity !

Now Neil Toruk, proffesor of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at cambridge university has expounded that there was no single Big Bang. But millions of them. But Toruk goes further, as the London Times reported :

"If Toruk and his colleagues are right it would mean that "Time, Matter and Energy have always existed, and always will". There is no singular point in time where we can say that he Universe was born. So there was no begining of Time and no end. Time therefore cannot travel in one straight linear line.

So welcome to Eternity. The search for a 'begining' and an 'end' to all things is just part of our attempt to reduce the universe to something that can be contained within our limited comprehensions. If nothing ever began, then how could it end ?

The Universe is just infinite eternal potential. Where all possibilities exist, have always existed and will forever exist.. and the the non-possibilities to these events also exist. The Universe is an infinite idea, of infinite potential and infinite possibilities.



August 15, 2006 | 07:33 PM
Are we merely ripples created by a universal consciousnes eternally at play ?

And if before the ripple subsides, we have known eternal love and compassion, then the ripple perhaps has had some significance.

The essential element seems to be humility. So much humility tha it can wash away the ego in it's tide.

That then is my battle. But my ego and my sense of Induviduality fights back so hard !

It's exhausting,



August 15, 2006 | 07:33 PM
Are we merely ripples created by a universal consciousnes eternally at play ?

And if before the ripple subsides, we have known eternal love and compassion, then the ripple perhaps has had some significance.

The essential element seems to be humility. So much humility tha it can wash away the ego in it's tide.

That then is my battle. But my ego and my sense of Induviduality fights back so hard !

It's exhausting,



August 15, 2006 | 07:33 PM
Are we merely ripples created by a universal consciousnes eternally at play ?

And if before the ripple subsides, we have known eternal love and compassion, then the ripple perhaps has had some significance.

The essential element seems to be humility. So much humility tha it can wash away the ego in it's tide.

That then is my battle. But my ego and my sense of Induviduality fights back so hard !

It's exhausting,


The Ego and Context

August 05, 2006 | 05:01 PM
The Ego and Context
Can I see myself out of any context ? Can I just exist ? without contextualizing my existence ? I have been battling this question over the last few days and would welcome comments.

I am a father. A film maker. A man. A human being. I am one person for one moment and another the next. I am good and bad in the same moment, indeed good and bad at the same time in the same context ! But every thing that I am, is contextualized by something else. Every thought I have is contextualized by something else. Even a thought cannot exist on it's own.

Try it. Think of yourself and then try and remove all context. Not possible is it ? You always think of yourself in relationship to something else. Even when u say "I love", which are probably the two most powerful words in the universe, there is a context who or what you love, however enormous your love may be.

So when those that have immense Wisdom say "I am". Just those two words "I am", surely they are talking about an existence without context ? Because if Buddha talked about 'formlesness" and 'Shunyata', surely He was talking about an existence without contextualizing that existence. How can infinity have a context ? How could timelesness have a context ? How could shunyata have a context ? Non Infinity ? Non Shunyata ? Non timelesness ? Doesn't make sense.

How weak the Ego is then, how weak our induviduality is then, when we exist only in the imagined context of something else. And we live our whole lives based on imagined contexts ?

How do we get to a life without context ? Is that what consciousness means ?


So I realize how weak the Ego is. It has absolutely no value without Context.

The Void

May 13, 2006 | 02:58 PM
The Void
Those of us that carry
inside us
an immense darkness

are blessed by God
for we have been given the choice
to fill the void
with what we chose

it's an empty vessel
waiting to be filled
with love

do not
deny the need
the craving
the fear
the longing
for love

or else
the void
will be polluted
by immense doubt



April 07, 2006 | 01:14 PM
I struggle with freedom,
I want to be free,
but have no idea what I want to be free of ?

I look for the context to freedom'
and then I want to be free of the context
and if there is no context
what do I want to be free of ?
how can i be free if
my freedom is always tethered to a context ?
even an idea
that may sound as lofty as 'consiousness'
Is freedom ever possible without a context ?
or does the context become the ever shifting cage
I imprison myself in


And you thought you knew me ?

March 27, 2006 | 04:46 PM
And you thought you knew me ?
How limited must your perception be, to say you know me ?
Do you even know what I look like ? When your eye is percieving less than 1 % of the waves/information packets reflected off me, emitted by me, or passing through my body.

How can u say u felt my touch ? When you know there is no physical matter in me. When u know that my body is just massless particles of energetic information packets whizing in space, intermingled with trillions that you don't feel or see.

What would I look like if you could see all those particles, all those packet of information ? Would you be able to even define my physicality ? Or would I have absolutely no contained, induvidual physical form.

How limited must your perception be to be able to define me.

So u think you know me by my emotions, my thoughts ? Knowing that your interpretation of my emotions are only defined through the prejudiced prism of your own judgement of yourself.

So you think you know me by what I do ? By my acts ? Knowing that there is no act so pure that it is fact. That all acts are merel interpretations of events.

Do you think you know me by having observed me ? Knowing that here is no observation so pure that it does not judge the observed. Once again through the imperfect eyes of the observer.

Do you think you know me by sensing the results of my actions ? Knowing that every potential event has as much an induviduality as you and I ?

So here's the paradox. The more u define me, the more you limit and narrow your perception of me, the more real I become to you. So if you stopped defining me, limiting me, would I cease to exist for you ? Or would we see ourselves as pure consciousness ?


Am I dead or alive ?

March 22, 2006 | 01:15 PM
Am I dead or alive ?
At this moment do you percieve me dead or alive ? If someone tells you I have been in a serious accident. and till your sensory information asks you to percieve my state as one or the other, I could be dead and alive at the same time. So if all existence is imaginary, illusory, then you have effectively put me in a limbo, neither dead nor alive ! This thought was triggerd by Tushar's post included below,

Schroedinger's cat is a quantum paradox posed by austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger in the 1920s. it is what is called a GENDANKENEXPERIMENT - german for a thought experiment.

in this thought experiment schroedinger proposed to einstein that a cat be put in a box. along with the cat, the box also contains a radioactive mineral and a vial of prussic acid (HCN). there is a 50 per cent chance that the radioactive mineral decays in say an hour. if the radioactive mineral decays, it emits a quantum particle which breaks the vial and releases the prussic acid and kills the cat.

so, at the end of the one hour, there is 50-50 chance that the cat is dead or alive.

now, this is where the fun begins.

unless the observer actually opens the box and checks, the cat is neither dead, nor alive… it exists in both states. it is alive as well as dead.

it is the observer who ‘collapses the dead-alive wave function’. he opens the box and finds the cat to be either dead or alive. and that determines the state of the schroedinger’s cat.

the event does not happen till you observe it.

in my post, i have used something i am working on for my script/graphic novel. i have stretched this quantum paradox to a metaphysical supposition.

it is thought that implies existence.

interestingly, while thought experiments are used as probes to speculate on the metaphysical implications of quantum physics, some cultures including our own, have always put a heavy stress on stretching the boundaries of existence through the explorations of the mind. they have a rich trove of tropes - yantras, mantras, koans... the stress has always been on pushing the limits of knowledge and going beyond the percieved reality. rationale... reason... explanation, these cultures have always believed to be superficial... in these cultures, the emphasis has been on freeing the mind of the limitation of senses.

however, since aristotle, reason took centerstage in certain cultures. here, 'scientific' approach was placed over speculation. it culminated in a Deterministic World View of the 19th century... The Age Of Reason was upon us with these cultures spreading thanks to the imperial conquests...

however, in the early decades of 1900, einstien forced the world to take a quantum leap. the special theory of relativity with its implications of time-space continuum and wave-particle duality forced a massive rethink.

it fuzzed up the boundaries between what is and what is not... however, the claims of the quantum world could not be experimentally verified as there were no machines powerful enough to test them. moreover, reason was simply not enough to deal with this paradigm shift.

in such situations, quantum physicists resorted to 'thought experiments'. einstien explained his relativity in the form of a thought experiment where a cyclist comes riding at the speed of light and swerves around another coming in the opposite direction. he suggested shifting of frames of references to understand the implications.

when it came to wave-particle duality, schroedinger proposed this thought experiment to einstien.

curiously enough... there is still a lot of stress being put on the fantastical and 'wow' factor of thought-experiments and the focus is still on resolving a paradox through experimentations and micro and macro extrapolations... this has served as a treasure trove of possibilities for minds on the creative front... from time travel to event-horizons... alternate universes and space-time warps...

the ancient cultures which valued the metaphysical quest however, had a much subtler approach to these quandaries without obsessing with it... its answer to metaphysical dilemmas was simple...

does the dog have a buddha nature?

does brahman intrinsically know 'brahma' or is the one who knows 'brahma' a brahman?

"mu" is the perfect response to a coffy bite situation.. when an argument continues, mu makes its presence felt...

mu is the brahman state of 'being'. neither right, nor wrong... just a probability cloud... a sacrosanct function full of choices that exists beyond the effect of observation... it may collapse in your thought and still stay untouched in mine...

Break a blade of grass, and you alter the Universe.

March 16, 2006 | 03:51 AM
Break a blade of grass, and you alter the Universe.
Su asked me "do you think that being RECEPTIVE is the connection to this potential of coincidences or do you think that every human being is able to CREATE her/his reality with it´s coincidences with conscious thoughts? OR: is it a mixture of both? " But they are both the same thing, are they not Su ?

How receptive Su ? If you are totally receptive then u understand that there are no coincidences. When everything is experienced as formless and interconnected, then where is the coincidence in this matrix ? Where everything is infinite potential and infinite possibility, then the creation of possibility is just the idea of perceived reality jumping events around the matrix to suit your imagination ? Do you get the analogy ?

Quantum Physics reveals that particles cannot be observed independant of the observation. They behave as they are observed to behave. Does that mean they have no independant existence ? How can that happen ? Are they imagined ? Perhaps. But to the observer they are real. Which means that Particles are merely infinite possibilities and realities, and you decide which possibility and potential becomes a percived reality for you. Through your act of observation

Now change the word particle to event. The event as an infinite potential and possibility. You focus, through your experiment, and for the purposes of this argument lets call your experiment desire or passion. Your desire/passion creates the infinite possibility and potential into your reality. So both are true and the same thing. Your receptivity and your creation of your reality.

Break a blade of grass and you alter the Universe. Nothing, not a single thought, no even small or huge, leaves the universe unchanged. That is what the Universe is, right ?


Looking for proof in Coincidence

March 15, 2006 | 02:45 PM
Looking for proof in Coincidence
Cinda wrote : "The number of the new school? 44. Destiny, co~incidence...where do these messages come from?" "The number 44 seems to follow me around", she said.
I have one such number too, It is the time on the clock which says 11.11.

So am I looking for it ? Does my subconscious mind ring an alarm bell each time it should be 11.11 and I happen to look at a clock. But for that one would have to assume that all clocks work in synch. Very few that I look around at actually do.

What is the significance, and why shoud there be one ? Of course as I look for a number consciously I am going to far more aware of it and will start to see patterns in it even if it is random. Like 44.

But it is interesting to see if it is not random. Is this is our subconscious mind drawing us to this number once we have set the whole thing in motion ? Or does it go deeper, that the 'event' of the number has a much greater significance to our lives. So we set off in search of that significance. I would say, though, Cinda, that the search itself may become compulsive and you may destroy that which you were searching for.

There is a difference in the acceptance of a pattern, and the need to find the proof of it. Once you are looking for the proof, as even predicted ny Quantum Physics, you are altering the very subtle existence and perception of the pattern (of 44, in your case). In that case 44 does exist because you search for it.

We as a society are loosing our connection with the mythic sense of our lives. In doing so we ask our logical brains to test what our consciousness percieves. Most of what are consciousness percieves has little desire other than perception. When our mind gets into the act, it looks for analysis and action.

So, Cinda, 44 is probably not the only coincidence that dominates your life. Just the one out of trillions that you are aware of. Is there is a reason for you to be aware of it ? Is your sunconscious telling you something so you may act upon it ? Wait, without looking for it. Trust your subconscious. Your life is a matrix of coincidences, of potential coincidences. In fact many scientist have now strarted to believe that there are no coincidences in life. Not that everything is preordained, but that every potential event is set up proir to our acting upon it.



March 13, 2006 | 03:02 AM
Raviswamy asked me "But then where does the idea of "intuition" figure in all this ? - is it "hard wired" into our genetic code that there are just some things you have to put your trust in, and sort of "know" even if you've never experienced them directly ...??

The battle to 'find' your intuition and then allow it to engulf you so that you can live your life and work
'intuitively' is the greatest battle. It is at the heart of our search for consciousness. And I say 'find' deliberately. For it is there, always, omnipresent, but we have lost the ability too sense it. We have lost our ability to be with it.

People often ask me what I mean when I say my greatest need is to 'keep the child in me alive'. That child is intuition. In the everyday pulls and pushes of live, I try despeately not to let go of that child. And to allow that child to be present in what I do on a day to day basis, I have to :

Allow myself to be completely vulnerabe,
Not protect myself from the possibility of hurt, of anguish
Constantly throw my mind, my surroundings into Chaos, just so I can look beyond, into the world of Intuition.
Not be afraid of the darkness of not knowing, but revel in the lightness of seking the unexpected.
Throw caution to the winds.

I believe that over the years we train ourselves not to be intuitive. We lose the ability to allow intuition to overcome us. How do we get it back ? Be a child again.

Be playful,

So Raviswami, I believe we do 'sort of know' as you put it, and that 'sort of know' seems to me to be the way we tap into something much larger than our genetic code. Instinct is our way to tap into something much larger. Universal Consciousness.


I am not the end game

March 10, 2006 | 05:07 AM
I am not the end game
Continuing with the wonderful discussions that followed my post 'to do or not do' .. sachin asked me a question. Why am I posing all this as question, when sometimes I exhibit to others that maybe I am spiritual.

The answer, Sachin, is that not only do I not know, but that my greatest fear is that one day, in my arrogance and a false belief of my own importance/induviduality, I will believe I do know. That is the death of experience. Knowing.

I think God lies in the questioning. I do not believe that God lies in the finite world of knowing, but in the infinite world of questioning. I believe God lies in the search for God. God lies in spaces that our words have not explored. God lies cosily in the cocoon of questions.

I just hope that I never cease to wonder.


My friend, the wanderer

February 24, 2006 | 03:28 AM
My friend, the wanderer
I met him trekking to Amarnath up in the Himalayas many years ago. A Hindu place of worship, where legend says that the God Shiva met his consort Parvati.

It was night, and snowing. I was making coffee outside my tent clad in my warmest down jacket. I see a man of about my age walking by. Clad only in a flimsy cloth, carrying his begging bowl. Obviously a Sadhu (a holy man). He was limping barefoot, one leg shrivelled by Polio. How did he get here?

“Hey Old Man” I shouted impulsively “ aren’t you feeling cold?”

“I was not” he replied “but now that you mention it, I am”.

That was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted over 30 years. Between an actor/film maker and a holy man. Who owns only the cloth he wears and whatever he can carry in his small wooden begging bowl. Two completely different lives that intersect with the most amazing coincidences.

We often joked together. He was travelling and meditating in search of God. And I promised that when he does, I will find him and build a hut around him to live and meditate for the rest of his life.

I have no idea how to contact him, for does not live anywhere. But he is there, magically at every turn of my life. He appeared when my mother died. He appeared when I made my first film in India.

I was in my first day of studio filming for ‘Elizabeth’, when the security called to say that a man in almost no clothes, barefoot and very long hair was asking for me.

How did he get to London? How does he know when to come? I never ask. He just gets there. Last year when my father died, I waited to light the funeral pyre. Looking around, there he was walking towards me. I knew he would come.

Now, he is a very good-looking man! And whenever he would come to my house, all the young actresses would turn up and flirt with him. He would just smile. But one day he was very agitated. At night he said he was never going to come to my house again.

“Why?” I asked. He mumbled something about how provocative the girls were getting.

“But you are above this” I said. I was the one with all the sexual urges. Surely not him, too. And as we got into an argument, I told him that it was a bit late to go through sexual adolescence at this age!

He looked really upset and he walked away from my house. But he did call the next day to apologise and said some of the most frightening words I have heard. That he was wrong. That he had wasted his life in search of God. That perhaps my ‘decadent’ life was the only reality. And then he just walked out my life.

Why frightening? Because I desperately needed to believe that someone had experienced a life beyond mine. That there was a ‘higher’ plane of living. For if not, then was this all there was?

It was only years later I realized he had deliberately pulled the rug from under my feet. So I could journey on my own.

I did not see him for six years. And one day I walk into shop to buy some cigarettes, and there he is. His hair matted and gone completely grey. He looked a bit wild, but kept laughing. His eyes now piercing, with a strange glow in them. Almost mad.

“So?” I joked, “ You have found God? Time for me to build you a hut?” He laughed even more. Put his arm around me.

“Shekhar, my friend, you’ve not understood anything” He scolded me. “God does not exist at the end of a search, He exists in the search. God lies only in the search for God. The journey is the destination”.

Obviously the hut was not built and never will. But we keep crossing each other’s lives in our unending journeys.

Golden Age Diary

April 14, 2006 | 11:10 PM
Golden Age Diary
Given the level of interest in the Golden Age Diary, I am setting up a sub blog for that. If your scroll up to the top of the page, please click on where it says "Golden Age Diary' next to 'Press Articles'. Thanks everyone.

Golden Age Diary

April 12, 2006 | 03:55 PM
Golden Age Diary
today is the first day of the shoots with Cate Blanchette who plays Elizabeth of course, and Abbie Cornish, who plays Bess, Elizabeth's lady in waiting, who has an affair with Walter Raleigh.

Of course Elizabeth is also in love with Walter Raleigh, but she is unwilling to explore this, her mosrtal side of her being. This is quite a triangle and I have not really see in it anohter film. In this film, Elizabeth subconciously encourages the affair, so as to protect her own sens eof Mortality.

Have to rush, the actors are on the set - easy day though, we are just doing make up and 'look' tests,


Trying to listen to myself

April 08, 2006 | 11:35 PM
Trying to listen to myself
Film making is so much now about fitting a square peg (a script) into a round hole (a schedule and a budget), that so much of my time on Golden Age gets taken up with production meetings, budget meetings, schedule meetings etc etc. Time now to shut my ears to the organizational noise and listen to myslelf. Get back in touch with myself.

It alsmost makes me feel that the bussiness and organization of the film takes precedence over the creative. But I also know how absolutely neccesary it is. For the last few months we have been planning, budgetting and writing, and then re writing, re budgetting and re planning. I am now two weeks away from the shoot and we are still re-writing,re- budgetting and re-planning !

But something strange has happened to me. A scalm has descended on me. I have switched off from the planning and given into the unknown. At the last production meeting I found myself laughing and smiling, while in all the previous ones I was fretting and exasperated.

Why ? Because I have pushed myslef over the cliff now. I am in the middle of the stormy choppy seas. will I survive ? Will I sink ? Who knows, but now I have to swim like hell !

And therefore the calm. Now what will be will be.

Now is the time not to listen to the financial or the production noise, but to the voice in my own heart. I need to try and listen to myself.

Ofcourse a large part of this has been caused by the arrival in London of Cate Blanchette and Abbie Cornish. The film comes alive when u meet actors. I always have seen actors, especially of the calibre of Cate and Abbie (even though she is new) as collaborators in our joureny to self discovery.

I will write later about Abbie, but Cate also has such a searching soul, matched by a razor sharp intellect and a facility over her physicality that lends her to be such an amazing actress. We have had such great conversations on the meaning of the film, the ideas behind the lines and plots. I think we have both grown through parenthood, and both are searching for life in deeper more meaningful ways. How wonderful if we could bring all that subtext to the screen,

we shall see



April 07, 2006 | 06:06 AM
A lot of people, including pim, ask me when Buddha is going to be made,

Buddha is one of those films that has it's own Destiny, and I found I could not push it along. I just need to let it happen. Just let it go, for it to form itself organically. I tried very hard to make it happen, but then found that in trying hard, in pushing it, I was becoming the biggest obstacle.

I had started developing Buddha not as a script, but as a visual treatment, with music. I wanted to see if I could tell the story of Buddha without words. After all words cannot explain the concept of the infinite, can they ?

But yesterday I was showoing the DVD to Cate Blanchette, and she remarked that the story I was trying to tell in Buddha was so similar to the story I was trying to tell in Golden Age ! So it is true that all directors have only one story to tell. But why not ? The most relevant story I have right now is that which reveberates in my spirit at the moment. Why deny it ? Why not embrace it and keep searching your search in whatever you do, even in your own films ?


Golden Age Diary

April 02, 2006 | 05:18 AM
Golden Age Diary
The Golden Age Diary will be an open thread, in which I will post a diary as comments rather than posts. Viewers are welcome to post comments, and I look forward to haing your feedback.

I met Cate Blanchette today, and after a very long time, we chatted in a relaxed informal atmosphere. She is such an instinctual and probing actress, that it reminded me of why I like to make movies. Till I started to explore the script with her, the lines were just typed words on paper that I fretted about. Suddenly as we discussed the meaning behind the words, the sentences and our attitude to them, the words jumped out at me and became life.

I have a concern though. All my actors are working so much that i am not going to get much rehearsal time. Especially Clive Owen who joins us 4 weeks into the shoot. I have never worked with him before and though he is a terrific actor, he and I need to get to know each other more. For the creation of a film depends much on the trust that is created between the actor and the director. Where the lines between the actor and the director blur.

Raleigh is complicated role. On the surface he is an adventurer. Audacious, charming and fearless. But underneath that, underneath the lines and the fearlessness who is he really ? What is his subtext ? I need to sit down and work that out with Clive.


Golden Age research

March 16, 2006 | 08:23 PM
Golden Age research
Sir Walter Raleigh is commonly known as the man that put the cloak down for Elizabeth and that sparked off a long affair. However Walter Raleigh was also famous for introducing Tobaco and Potatoes to Europe. Guess the origins of the word Potato ?

Batata !

Yes - The earliest reference I have is 1565, from Sp. patata, from the Haitian batata "sweet potato." Ordinary potatoes were known as 'bastard potatoes' or 'Virginia Potatoes' (even though they came from Peru). They were not simply referred to as potatoes until 1597. William Harrison (1534-1593) in his Description Of Elizabethan England of 1577 refers to potatoes (although he may be referring to sweet potatoes. The word is clearly in use by then anyway.

How come the Marathi word and the Haitian word are exactly the same ? From as far back as before 1560, ? What kind of contact did we have then. The Portugese may have brough the Potato to India.


Masturbating in the Tower of London

December 14, 2005 | 03:39 AM
Masturbating in the Tower of London
I apologize for my absence. I am on the road location hunting for Golden Age, the sequel to Elizabeth. Have a lot of my old team back so we share jokes about the previous film. One of the most famous one being that I almost got fired before we even got to shoot the film ..

Well, my fault. The producer and I both agreed that we have to turn the genre' of the British Period Drama on it's head. atleast that's what I wanted to do.

So I was walking with the writer in Hyde Park one day. We spoke about the young Princess Elizabeth's life in the Tower. Terribly in love with Dudley (who was to betray her later), she would spend hours thinking and dreaming about him. Or so we imagined.

Now in a typically period drama, she would have written long love letters that she would try and smuggle out to him. But this was different, was'nt it ? What would she do ?

So I just said jokingly. She would masturbate. And forgot about it.

Now for those of you that have not met me, I have to tell u that I have a pretty silly grin, that is half lopsided, on my face most of the time. So people have a tough time knowing whether I am joking or I am serious. Well, the writer took me seriously.

So, to my horror, the scene went into the film. The script was sent for reading to the producer and to the studio. And there it was in bold type. In the Tower of London, the greatest icon of English history, described simply as .. well. . masturbating.

As you can imagine, I had to beg my way back into the film.

And so to the current film. Golden Age. This is more about an internal struggle. The Queen, older, wiser and far more in control, falls seriously in love with a sea faring, dashing, handsome free spirited privateer called Walter Raliegh (being played by Clive owen).

And she struggles with her passions. Not wanting to give herself to man, and yet every cell in her body desiring him. The battle raging between a great Immortal Monarch and passionate woman.

And there then is the scene. Elizabeth alone at night, looks at her body in the mirror. Wondering how to handle her passions. Someone asked me, but what is she doing ? How do we know her passions are about to explode ?

Well, I thought .. why not play a joke ? I .. used the M word !

I think I have just been fired off this film. Will some one pleeeease write to Universal Studios and say it was just a joke ?


The Golden Age

November 25, 2005 | 12:08 AM
The Golden Age
It seems most likely that my next film is going to be Golden Age, not quite a sequel, but second in the trilogy that I always thought 'Elizabeth' would be. It will star Cate Blanchette once again as Elizabeth.

The film will also star Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton and Micheal Sheen, amongst others.

'Elizabeth' was about Power. It was about survival, innocence, love betrayal and ruthlessness, all in the context of Power.

This second film is about Immortality. It is what happens to people when they are in positions of absolute power. They then aspire to 'Divinity' and feel they are set apart from 'other mortals'. The third, when it is made much later, will be about Mortality. What happens when people have considered themselves Immortal or Divine, face their own mortality.

We are still finishing the Script. This film starts about 10 years after the last one left off. On the larger political level, the film is about Elizabeth's conflict with Phillip the 2nd of Spain, who was the most powerful man in the world then. And who had sworn to turn the world Catholic, whatever the cost.

On a personal level the film deals with one of Elizabeth's greatest romantic involvements in her life, with Sir Walter Raliegh.


The Monk at Rongbuk Monastry

April 23, 2006 | 06:14 PM
The Monk at Rongbuk Monastry
Years and years ago I had trekked to the Rongbuk Monastry, which is the last Monastry on the way to the Everest Base Camp...

...where I met a young Monk that kept laughing. He must have been in his late 20's at that time, and we spent a lot of time talking. He had been at the Monastry since he was a little boy.

I don't remember much of the conversation other than him laughing at my attempts to eat Yak meat that is incredibly tough especiazlly when cooked at those altitudes. But I do remember asking him how long he had been practising meditation.

"15 years, he said"

"And how long can you truly be 'in meditation' ", I asked

"About a minute". He replied, as he laughed.

Buddha's Enlightenment did not just happen, I guess.

The path to the union with the Self is a lifelong journey that involves every step I walk, every breath I breathe and every thought I think. And every word I speak. Knowing that not a single moment must be wasted. It is a torturous, tough, devastating and exhilarating journey.

And not one amongst us can say for sure what lies at the end of it,

Oh, well,



April 07, 2006 | 06:06 AM
A lot of people, including pim, ask me when Buddha is going to be made,

Buddha is one of those films that has it's own Destiny, and I found I could not push it along. I just need to let it happen. Just let it go, for it to form itself organically. I tried very hard to make it happen, but then found that in trying hard, in pushing it, I was becoming the biggest obstacle.

I had started developing Buddha not as a script, but as a visual treatment, with music. I wanted to see if I could tell the story of Buddha without words. After all words cannot explain the concept of the infinite, can they ?

But yesterday I was showoing the DVD to Cate Blanchette, and she remarked that the story I was trying to tell in Buddha was so similar to the story I was trying to tell in Golden Age ! So it is true that all directors have only one story to tell. But why not ? The most relevant story I have right now is that which reveberates in my spirit at the moment. Why deny it ? Why not embrace it and keep searching your search in whatever you do, even in your own films ?


Buddha, hope ....

September 14, 2005 | 08:43 PM
Buddha, hope ....

Buddha in meditation. A skethch from the designs of the film Buddha.

shekhar kapur

Buddha, hope

August 06, 2005 | 08:00 PM
Buddha, hope
Thanks to friend and co- writer, Deepak Chopra,
the hope for Buddha as a film has been re-ignited
a raging fire in my bieng was dowsed,
but a lamp still burns
reaching out to inflame my passions once again

a director in the middle of a film
is like a pregnant mother

vulnerable, emotional and willing to do anything
to protect the little child in her womb,
even die of hunger herself, as the child feeds on her body
and fight like a tigress if she has to

but also like a protective mother,
I make sure that everything is safe
in anticipation of pregnancy

and when people treat me
with callousness
they dont see that it is not a personal ego that cries out
but the ego of creativity
the fear of a terrible pregnancy
the fear of loosing the baby

and perhaps the decision not to get pregnant

perhaps the only way out for me
is not be so vulnerable
but then,
how can I be the conduit of creativity
and not completely surrender to it ?
How can not be completely vulnerable ?

So in which hands do I put myself
when I am so vulnerable ?
destiny and fate perhaps,

I am not sure


buddha no more

August 05, 2005 | 02:12 AM
buddha no more
Oh, well
I guess it had to happen
I am not doing Buddha any more
I am both very sad and somewhat relieved
Sad because I was looking forward to a personal journey
Relieved because my interpretation was so personal
that I knew I would have had to fight all the way for the creativity of the film


August 01, 2005 | 11:09 PM
All Art is interpretation. Life is interpretation. For what is life but our ever-changing perception of all things. Our ever-changing perception of reality.

Ask a hundred witnesses to a single event, and each will describe that event differently..

So when I am asked if I will be true to the story of Buddha, I have to ask. True to which Buddha ? There are so many interpretations. All I can say is that I will be true to the Buddha in myself. My search for the Buddha in myself. And hopefully the known story of the Buddha as interpreted by my desperate need to find a meaning to my existence, to my life, to the universe that I believe I exist in, but cannot comprehend.

The many masters I read that intellectually excite me, but leave me still in an emotional void that I am desperate to fill. I am hoping in the making of this film I will be able to fill some of that void.

I do not believe I will be able to ‘discover’ the Buddha. I will merely be able to ‘search’ for Him. I will try and interpret cinematically what the moment of enlightenment might be though.

But I believe that “God lies in the search for God’. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The journey is the destination.

With that in mind I will embark on the journey if I am allowed to. Allowed to ? Because a film is a cooperative effort between many individuals. Lets see if the film is in my destiny.

Brad Pitt ???

July 25, 2005 | 01:43 PM
Brad Pitt ???
Today, I had 3 calls from the press asking me if Brad Pitt is acting in Buddha. I assume they are asking if Brad is playing the Buddha ?

I have no idea where this idea comes from. I have heard that Aishwarya Rai also is in the film. That is not far from the truth. I have spoken to Ash about playing either Sujata or Yashodhara.

However, I have heard that the producer, Dr Modi is getting restless and is approaching other Directors. Well, I will ot be the first to fall by the wayside. He had signed Bernardo Bertolluci 17 years ago. That obviously did not work and Bertolluchi went ahead to make his own film "Little Buddha". Dr Modi then went to Mira Nair, who was pretty close to shooting the film when it all fell through.

So if it does not work with me, I will be in great company !

But honestly ? I would love to make this film. Who would'nt ?

Shekhar Kapur

The Gang Rape Scene in Bandit Queen

August 01, 2006 | 04:58 AM
The Gang Rape Scene in Bandit Queen
Udayan asked : When I watched Bandit queen and perticularly the scene where She was being gang raped. I almost throwed up during that scene and took me about a week to get over it. How did you managed to film that scene? I mean the intensity that you put into that scene simply can't be just direction!

Udayan, any film maker that can tell u exactly how he/she planned to execute a scene is either lying or was being completely dishonest about the shooting of the scene. I merely locked myself in a room and tried to imagine what being raped was being liked. I went into myself and realized that the body, the mind and the soul must escape the body to escape the utterly humiliating and defiling act.

So I went for that. To shoot the whole thing in a surreal fashion _ as if it was the mind was trying to escape the body.

If u look carefully though the scene is put together in a series of close ups intercut with the opening and closing fo doors. When I was filming I kept throwing up because I was recalling the emotions that I was experiencing imagining myslef being raped. The crew could not understand - for what they saw was me shooting a lot of close ups and opening and closing of doors.

I wanted to stop filming, and it was ony my DP Ashok Mehta who insited that I kept filming.

I have said this in press before, and got a lot of flak from feminists who ask how I dare say that as a man I can somewhere understand what rape feels like for a woman. I disagree. I am hoping that underneath our sex we are all human. It is a human being that I was experiencing being raped. Morover the making of Bandit Queen made me much more comfortable with my feminine self. As all of us are both feminine and masculine in different degrees.

It was the feminine self in me that felt the force of that violation.


The Editor of Bandit Queen

May 14, 2006 | 05:48 PM
The Editor of Bandit Queen
Renu Saluja, who edited Bandit Queen died a few years after, still very young. She was one of the best editors in India. The Film and Television Institute of India is paying a tribute to her. Here is mine ...

For me it is difficult to separate the person from the work. I have fought all my life to merge who I am with what I am and what I do. So the greatest wrong I could do to Renu is to write words about Renu"s proffesional life without her personal.

The most striking thing about Renu was her compassion. She exuded it. She enveloped you with it. It was like you were walking into a comfortable Aura. That is what I remember about Renu most. How beautiful it was to be in her presence.

She was like an Angel. And in her death she proved to be one. Her last words to me from her hospital bed were not about her pain. She never spoke about that. Her last words to me were about those that would be left behind.

I have always worked better with editors that are women. Although I have a strong sense of my own feminine self, in the battle of making a film, my male side starts to dominate, and it needs to be counteracted by the feminine when it gets into editing. I also believe that the editing process is a 'nurturing' process.And that also is one of my great memories of Renu. Her innate sense of nurturing that she brought to her films.

As you see, beyond a certain standard of professional excellence, what differentiates a great artist from an good one is the nature of the person itself.

I guess every film defines the way the editor ad the director work. Renu and I watched all the rushes together after I finished Bandit Queen. There was little chance to review rushes during the filming. After that Renu and I would look at one reel at a time. She would do the first cut. I would come in and make comments and she would do it again. If there were further things to do after that, she and I would do it together. But I would always ask her to do the first couple of cuts herself. That way the film would get another, and often completely different point of view. There were things in the final version of Bandit Queen that were definitely not in the shooting of it. That was Renu. She was always in empathy with the film and it's characters.

Renu must have found me strange. I would often come in and lock myself in a room. She would hear me shout and scream inside. That was because I wanted to be angry when I saw any cut of the film. Without that, I did not believe I could judge it. We Directors are very very strange sometimes, and we need to have editors who can hold our hand and guide us through our periods of doubt and eccentricities.

Renu was that friend, and she is sorely missed.


Masoom and Naseeruddin Shah

February 11, 2007 | 06:10 PM
Masoom and Naseeruddin Shah
I have so may questions from people that remember Masoom. It was my first film and get surprised that people remember it so much. I must start blogging about my experiences from it. I picked up though, the following extract from a recent interview with Naseeruddin Shah which evoked old memories of old times, old friends ....

The following extract is from 'Times Now' :

AG: I remember ‘Masoom’. I was a child when I was taken for the film. I still don't know why I was taken to see ‘Masoom’ but....

NS: But for some reason everybody showed their children ‘Masoom’... to prepare the ground I guess.

AG: Maybe it was because of Jugal Hansraj?

NS: He was angelic. ‘Masoom’ in fact was after ‘Sparsh’. It was wonderful. I went into it with an attitude of great patronage because Shekhar Kapur at that time was nothing but a failed actor and boy friend of Shabana, you know... and I thought "oh poor Shekhar... he wants to make a movie and let’s help him out".

But with the very first shot that was taken in that movie, I revised my opinion of Shekhar Kapur as a film maker and realised that I was in very safe hands and that this was going to be a very wonderful movie. I felt that from the very first shot that he did. There's a shot of an envelope that's the letter I received, and then there is a tracking shot of my hand with the envelope as I am walking down the office corridor and from that moment onwards ‘Masoom’ was a total joy. And there are very few movies which have been like that,

Thank you Naseer for those kind words.



where, why, what, whom ?

August 13, 2005 | 07:12 PM
where, why, what, whom ?
feeling anxious,
am flying to LA tonight,
always anxious when I go there

LA is a city of temptation
but how can i curse it,
because temptation is only as effective as you are tempted,

but LA conjures a web around you,
makes you revel in illusion
and people live in some illusion of immortality
and i get caught up in that too

and though life in mumbai is so angst ridden
floods, disease, poverty, contradiction
uncomfortable, traffic jams
pollution - u name it

yet it reminds me every moment of the day
that I am mortal
and flawed
and just a particle in the universe

and that my sense of identity
is constantly challenged in mumbai

but inflated in LA

so I am anxious !!

letting go

February 07, 2007 | 03:31 AM
letting go
It's when love turns to need. Its when love becomes more desire than nurture and caring. Its when love turns in into possesion and then into obsession. It's when you say 'you belong to me'. It's the beginings of ownership. It's the beginings of the end of love...

Do I stop loving you when you leave ? Do I stop loving you when you die ? If to leave someone you love is a deciet, then why is death not a deceit ? Just because the first has choice and the next does not ? Then we have to examine the questions of choice and og much deeper into what choices we do have,

Or get into ideas of Destiny and karmic influences that may rule who we meet, how we interact and what we do to each other.

Whether you believe that or not, can ownership ever be love ?



February 06, 2007 | 03:59 AM
if my spirit
nurtured yours
as yours did mine

then the crossing
of our paths
are forever
blessed upon
our seperated journeys


Love and Eternity 2

October 03, 2006 | 04:15 PM
Love and Eternity 2
Pallavi asks : why does (love) have to be irrational and like a drug induced high.... all grand and emphasised through every action and thought... why cant it be allowed to be a little passive... to be allowed to wane a bit at times.... how much energy can be expected from one source and one source only...why cant you just like someone you love sometimes without wanting to jump them and get into their heads.... without expecting them to fire you up everytime without fail.... why does it have to be fireworks... and how sustainable is that kind of effect...

Hey Pallavi, how well you have written this, and how searing your words are. Who amongst us have not felt this, so all I can say is :

Welcome, Pallavi to the chaos of love. Welcome to the letting go of structure. Welcome to self discovery, where the other person is an object of absolute obsession, only because the that person is your conduit to the Divine. Welcome to letting go of the illusion of structure and extreme individuality, which we assume is normalcy, welcome to your consciousness reverberating through the 'love induced high' calling you to itself. Welcome to glimpses of Eternity.

Welcome also to the fear of letting go. Welcome to the pain of possibe loss. Welcome then, to the anguish of the loss of connection to your eternal self, if that love does leaves you. What are you really afraid of, the loss of the individual or the loss of your glimpses into your internal self.

Why this particular individual ? Is that person part of your Karmic growth ? Was there a reason that person entered your life ? Is your soul looking to resolve something ?

How sustainable ? The answer lies in your Ego. How much of the fear of loss has to do with the Ego. How comfortable are you with the letting go of control. How easily can you accept that the Chaos you feel is the reality and control and 'normalcy' is the illusion.

Tough, tough, Pallavi. I know. To find a high, and then sublimate it beyond obsession for one individual and seek something far greater.

We are after all, only human.


Love, my friend

April 26, 2006 | 03:47 PM
Love, my friend
What good is your love ?

What good is your love ?
my friend
if it does not mirror
that which I don't know
about myself ?

What good is your love,
my friend
if I cannot prostrate myself
to the God of vulnerability
in your presence ?


Babel and Paradise Now

February 09, 2007 | 02:22 PM
Babel and Paradise Now
Babel is a work of absolute genius, but still stands, in my view, the second best film of last year. The best film is a unquestioningly a Palestinian film called 'Paradise Now', which was not even recognized by any of the awards announced. That is why awards such as the Oscars will always be suspect..

So if you get a chance, see Paradise Now. It is a film about two friends that sign up to go on a suicide bomb attack inside Isreal, and the events that follow. It is riveting, not in the forced 'hollywoodized' way of say United 93, but in an absolutely real and raw way. And the central male lead is far far better than any other performance of the year.

Which does nto detract from the greatness of Babel. On whatever level. However, when I meet the Director of the film, I will ask him what the relavence of the Japanese story was to the two other stories. The japanese story in itself was really engrossing and emotional, but other than a plot device of the Rifle, how were the themes explored in the Moroccon and the Mexican stories related to the Japanese ones ?

Any points of view on this ?


Paradise Now

April 30, 2006 | 12:34 AM
Paradise Now
Just when you had given up hope that the you will be able to see a film about the people that are written about as statistics by the Western Press, comes the brilliant film, Paradise Now ..

It is a moving, incisive and bold and intelligent film about two Palestinian friends that are moved by their lives in the occupied territories to go together on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv. Notice that I did not say 'recruited' as most of the sales blurb on the internet seems to suggest.

It is obvious that the two friends interpret their deaths as the only alternative to the loss of dignity they feel under foreign occupation. We may or may not agree. But the most stunning line in the film is "We don't have planes, the only weapon I have left is my Body".

It potrays people that go to suicide missions as intelligent, loving, caring and the thinking people. Not the demonic ideas we are fed with of people from a totally different mind set. Just a totally diffent envioroment. It will make you wonder whether in a different situation, and at a different time, and under the same pressure, you would have done the same.

The Directing is terrific. As are the performances.

And Kais Nashef as 'Sayeed', has turned out one of the best performances on film I have seen for a long time.

Go see this film,


And the Oscar for the best film goes to ..

March 03, 2006 | 06:31 PM
And the Oscar for the best film goes to ..
Turtles can Fly. Ever heard of it ? Probably not. Is it better than all the nominated films ? Definitely. Far better. So what do the Oscars mean ?

A huge fasion show. A huge celebration of Gossip, a lot of Partying. And all the applause for members of the club. A club called Hollywood. It is definitely a celebration of the glamour of Hollywood. and so it ought to be. It is a club that has for so long suceeded in dominating the culture of the world.

But lets not kid ourselves. This is not the best of Cinema that the world can offer. 90% of the world cinema does not even get seen by any member of the academy. The truth is that the members of the academy have rarely seen the films they vote for either.

Here is information on Turtles Can Fly. It does not push a message down your throat. Just reaches your heart and tears you apart before you even realize it. See it if you can. It is the best film this year.

"Turtles Can Fly" is the third feature from internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi ("A Time For Drunken Horses"). Written, directed and produced by Ghobadi, the film features of cast of local non-actor children.

"Turtles Can Fly" is set in Ghobadi’s native Kurdistan on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq. Thirteen-year-old Soran (Soran Ebrahim) is known as “Satellite,” for his installation of dishes and antennae for local villages looking for news of Saddam. He is the dynamic leader of the children, organizing the dangerous but necessary sweeping and clearing of the minefields. He then arranges trade-ins for the unexploded mines. The industrious Satellite falls for an unlikely orphan (Avaz Latif), a sad-faced girl traveling with her brother Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal), who appears to have the gift of clairvoyance. The siblings are care-taking a three-year-old, whose connection to the pair is discovered as harsh truths are unveiled.

The devastation to this land and its inhabitants is revealed in the matter-of-fact perspective of the children and is equally displayed with every poignant detail of its unbearable nature. The exquisitely haunting mountains play backdrop to violence and tragedy, but at the same time the heart and humor of the children is an undeniable force.

"Turtles Can Fly" won the Golden Shell at San Sebastian and the Silver Bear at Chicago and is the Iranian entry to the Academy for 2004 Foreign Film consideration.


Friday, February 16, 2007


* About Myself
* Business of Entertainment
* Current Events
* Films
* Love
* My Films
o Bandit Queen
o Buddha
o Four Feathers
o Golden Age
o Masoom
o Paani
* Notes to my Daughter
* Ourselves
* Poems
* Point of View
* Short Stories
o My Diary
* Some Humour, please
* The search for the self

Current Events

List of all entries posted in this category

* Feb 10, 2007 - Global Warming and Al Gore
* Feb 9, 2007 - US Missile bases in Eastern Europe. Another Cold War ?
* Feb 1, 2007 - Queen
* Jan 29, 2007 - Shilpa Shetty wins Big Brother !
* Jan 22, 2007 - China's Satellite Busting Missile 2
* Jan 22, 2007 - Chinese Satellite Buster Missile
* Jan 20, 2007 - An Open Thread
* Jan 19, 2007 - Shilpa Shetty in Big Brother 2
* Jan 17, 2007 - Shilpa Shetty in Big Brother
* Jan 16, 2007 - The Indian Constitution and us
* Jan 11, 2007 - Child sex abuse in Goa
* Jan 10, 2007 - Shedding crocodile tears for Saddam
* Jan 9, 2007 - Oprah's School
* Jan 7, 2007 - A mother's letter from Noida
* Dec 29, 2006 - 2006 will be remembered for ....
* Dec 27, 2006 - Amitabh vs Shahrukh
* Dec 20, 2006 - Borat
* Dec 9, 2006 - India the next Super Power ?
* Oct 10, 2006 - North Korea's nuclear test, China is the key.
* Sep 22, 2006 - Prepare to be Bombed !!
* Mar 2, 2006 - Civil War in Iraq
* Mar 1, 2006 - The Indian Budget : Playing for a Draw
* Feb 25, 2006 - Terrorism & masturbation
* Oct 31, 2005 - The Delhi Bomb Blasts

Global Warming and Al Gore

February 10, 2007 | 03:31 PM
Global Warming and Al Gore

Yetserday I attended Al Gore's stunning lecture on Global Warming. I have heard him before. 2 years ago in Puerto Rico. The lecture is different, and that's what is frightening. So much more devastation has taken place in the last two years. Or atleast what we have learnt in the last two years about the devastation we have caused is frightening...

The other day I was having a conversation with my producer of Golden Age. He was talking very intelligently about the irresponsible way we have treated our planet. And about the need to teach India and China, as they will be the next great polluters.

And yet he calmly drove off in his gas guzzling Bentley. As others will fly in their private jets. Or go for cruises in their private yachts. Or aspire to buy bigger and bigger mansions that need larger amounts of energy to keep an incredibly small number of people warm or cool. Indeed as I watched the people at the World Ecnomic Forum making huge statements about Global Warming, I wondered how many had arrived in Davos in their private jets and helicopters.

In the few times I have attended, it was the buzz in the Indian contingent about who had a private jet or a helicopter standing by.

Thats the problem isn't it ? The answer to Global warming often is a statistic that is applied to a mass, rather than taking individual personal action.

So currently every one talks about the next great polluters. India and China. Yet, for all it's population, India still emitts only a tiny tiny fraction of the emissions from the US. Who emitts a staggering 30% of the world's total !! And China ? A stunning fact I discovered at Al Gore's lecture was that China's emission standards for Automobiles in China was far far stricter than those in the US. So American cars would not be allowed on Chinese roads !

One statement that Al Gore made I do disagree with. He stated that global warming was directly linked to population. However I would state that Global Warming is much more linked to how a population behaved. Otherwise how would you account for a country like US that is by no means overpopulated, but for the last 30 years has been by far the greatest polluter in the world. Both at home and through it's corporations overseas by causing destruction fo rain forests.

The solution to Global warming is going to lie in how an individual behaves. Unfortunately aspirations the world over are about consumption. Wealth is associated with the power to consume. Indiividuality is asserted by a show of consumption. You consume, therefore you are. The more you consume, the more you 'are'.

It was not always like that. In my own lifetime I remember being in London in the late 60's and 70's. A show of wealth was looked down upon. In fact one of the greatest car designs was born out of the mood at that time - the Mini. It was small, it was cheap, and people would be rather seen in a small mini rather than a rolls royce !

I guess the goverments too must take far greater stands. I do not believe that 'carbon exchange' is the answer. It just says that if you have the wealth you can pollute as much as you like as long as you pay for it ! That is completely the wrong mindset, isn't it ?

The battle lies in changing the mind of the individual. The battle lies in our education system that must teach young minds about how consumption can become immoral. Yet I wonder if, in a world where economic growth is fueled by the 'propensity to consume' how the goverments will ever allow that to change.

Look at one great 'doom indicators'. That if retail sales over any holiday period were down. Even a 1% drop causes furrows in the brows of the economists. So as long the economic stability of a society depends upon urging the people to consume more and more, how is this going to change ?

That is why I believe that the change must come from within. From the individual. From the parent to the child. From the teacher to the child. From each one of us socially bycotting any overconsumption. By making such consumption 'unfashionable'.

Got to start somewhere !


US Missile bases in Eastern Europe. Another Cold War ?

February 09, 2007 | 02:00 PM
US Missile bases in Eastern Europe. Another Cold War ?

So why has the US decided to acclerate tensions by deploying missile sites in the Czech Republic and in Poland ? Russia has already reacted sharply by increasing it's defense budget, and do you think China will be far behind ?

The US says that these missile basis are defences against possible missile attacks from Tehran and North Korea.

Umm ... woul'dnt the North Korean missiles, if aimed at the US, be fired the other way ?

It is time for the US to realize that it is no longer is Big Brother. Any action like this will give sanction to nations like China, a nation that now sees itself a Global power no less than the US, to do the same. How would the world react if China started to deploy missile bases in Africa ? It might well do that soon as China is never going to allow the US to be militarily or economically as dominant as it used to be 20 years ago.

The US and the rest of the world, especially the West, must now come to terms with the new realities of the distribution of global power. Peace has always been, and will continue to be a negotiation. Or we are back into the days of the Cuban Missile crisis. And there are new players on the negotiating table.




February 01, 2007 | 05:43 AM

Heard on the grapevine that when the producers and distributors of the film 'Queen' saw the final product, they did not think the film good enough to release in the theatres, so initially decided to release the film straight to Video .....

Obviously better sense prevailed and the film was released gaining substantial box office numbers and a great number of awards and Oscar nominations. And this promises to be the year of Helen Mirren.

Just shows how much people who own the production and distribution bussineses are out of touch with audiences and the art of telling stories.

12 Comments Posted. Post your comment

Hmm...that's interesting Shekhar!

But does that mean that Directors do care about their audience as equally as telling stories...I think this is a very important question try to answer it!

1. Posted by Sheetal Peta on February 01, 2007

sheetal, what I do is try and connect to my own inner feelings and subconscious and hope that in doing that I am connected to the subconsciouss and heart of the audience. Thats the only way I know. Otherwise I am analysing the audience and then making the film. If tahtw as a true, a computer can make a film or write a poem !

It's becoming more difficult these days as film makeing is getting more and more corporatiszed. Their is now a heiarchy of judgement over your film before it ever gets to the audience. And so you are somewhere being asked to make a film that will first impress individuals that run the pruduction/distribution companies and the studios,


2. Posted by shekhar on February 01, 2007

Shilpa Shetty wins Big Brother !

January 29, 2007 | 06:29 AM
Shilpa Shetty wins Big Brother !

I for one felt really proud of Shilpa as she emerged as a winner from Big Brother. I got texts from all my 'western' friends - all very excited and asking me to turn on the TV ..

Shilpa was charming and honest. My heart went out to her as she admitted that she had won nothing in her life before. And then I read all those quotes from the Hindi film Industry saying that she was always a 'B' grade actress and most likely to remain so.

Hey ! I am rooting for her. I hope she proves them all wrong. I hope she gets huge contracts in the UK and certainly deserves to make more than the £ 8 million that the awful Jane Goody made from her previous appearance.

If I see Shilpa I am going to give her a big hug and say 'well done Girl ! Full marks to you !" But I have a feeling that now I will have to get through to her through an agent, a publicist and manager.

Good on you, Shilpa and Good Luck ! Play your cards well. This is your big oppertunity,


China's Satellite Busting Missile 2

January 22, 2007 | 01:40 PM
China's Satellite Busting Missile 2

If China decided to take out all the satellites in the Earth's orbit, you would be late for your party. The geosat that gives u directions in your car would fail.You would not be able to call your friends....

.... asall cell phones would go dead. But then you would probably head home as the baby sitter could no longer call u. On the way u would face the most horrendous traffic jams as people would be trying to get home just like yourself. The terrestrial local radio would be issuing broadcasts asking people to calm down.

But panic would spread as the news comes that thousands of aircraft are flying with no navigation pointers left. Airport staff would be unable to communicate with them, and the airports will soon be full of crashed aircraft landing into one another.

A large number of people would settle for a night of sex as their would be no football, as Satellite TV would be off the air. The internet would no longer work anyway.

Large corporations would find their delivery systems and plans going to pieces. Expect your supermarket to run out of supplies as the supply chain breaks down. And as there is panic buying, you will have to walk to the stores as the roads will be clogged with cars that ran out of gas.

Government communication will break down, and most governments in the West will start shoring up for defense against imagined enemies rather than looking after their civilian population.

But for 40% of the Indian rural population nothing will have changed. The only hint they will get is that that the distant orange reflections of the lights from the nearest city on the clouds no longer exist. The power grids have shut down.

And one guy will come from the train station 10 miles away, to say that for some reason the train never came.

"Sheher mein koi lafda chall raha hai". He would say before he settled down for a cup of warm chai.


Chinese Satellite Buster Missile

January 22, 2007 | 01:36 PM
Chinese Satellite Buster Missile

Cannot help admiring the Chinese. By showing their ability to accurately take out a satellite, they have taken the wind out of the Western Power's approach to modern conventional (as against nuclear) warfare ...

For communications through satellite lie at at the heart of the new technological war that the US ( for example) is employing. From unmanned Drones used to bomb targets in Afghanistan, to pinpointing targets for tactical air strikes, to strategic communication to ground forces. The edge of modern convential warfare lies in communication. And therefore cutting the risk to the military personell in the air and on the ground.

The Chinese have now shown that in any such warfare, they can force the US to rely on sheer numbers on the ground and motivations of the soldiers. Something the US soldiers lack. Or just greater firepower.

So what happens if Iraq had these missiles, or if Hamas had them, or now Iran gets them. The tragic truth is that without them the US and Israel would have to depend upon sheer firepower that was far less accurate. That would have led to far more civilian casualties than the horrendous numbers we have already seen in Iraq and Lebanon recently.

It's an interesting deterrent though. No longer perhaps do we have to create nuclear arsenals in the name of defense. Just the ability to knock out communications satellites could through a whole nation into chaos.

On the other hand, when the US bombed the AL Jazeera offices in Kabul, they could have taken out the satellite they use. Knocking them completely off the air. But soon somebody can knock the whole Fox channel off the air. Bet u all the defense strategists all over the world are pouring over this. China has really started something here.

Satellites are quite an old technology. I suspect that nanotechnology will come in with the new satellites, as small as my hand, but capable of reflecting back trillions of bits of information.

And further down, infinitely small nanoparticles that bond together through Dark Matter so barely visible. Spreading like an invisible flexible sheet 10 miles above the Earth.

Stuff of Science fiction, this.


An Open Thread

January 20, 2007 | 03:39 AM
An Open Thread

Take up any topic you wish. Talk to each other if you so desire. Tell me what you wld like me to discuss.

21 Comments Posted. Post your comment

I have a few questions - why depend on speculative knowledge when there is a final solution available ? If it is speculative why be biased when we know we dont know ? why do we use conjectures , quotes , suggestions of other equally blind scientists ? Does questioning and not finding the answers so condition our minds that when the solution does appear in front of us , we still cannot get over this 'perpetual seeking ' - making a virtue out of this ' journey' when actually - if we look properly , there is the solution and the final goal very well defined for us ?

what is scientific ?why does everything that passes the test of 'science' as we knoww it, lend credence? since when did science and religion start differing? is it applicable to all religions -does it apply for the indian condition?

how pure is really the word 'love' ? is it something influenced a lot by the body-nerve complex? is it just a need of the mind and body which we romanticise and extend and keep revisiting endlessly while the body continiously progresses towards incapacity anyway ?

does truth give happiness ? is that why we seek to bury in a bit of welcome ignorance which gives us pleasure and company , however false?

why are we so blind and dont yet see it ?

1. Posted by Rudra on January 20, 2007

poetry -- yours; your visual mind; music; dance; your early years; people cribbing your visual ideas almost verbatim.

love, Heath

2. Posted by heather on January 20, 2007

For quite sometime now I have been intrigued about Faith, Belief, and the extent of asking Shekhar to write about what he felt about always confuses & entertains me that there is something in us and yet so beyond our control that gives us a kind of a meaning to live!

3. Posted by Sheetal Peta on January 20, 2007

Generation gaps..., Why do we grow apart in more ways than one in our relationships?

Is it abnormal for a younger person to seek a balance between the material and
spiritual world and be interested in meditation, philosophy etc, yet have a very normal thought process?

Is it wrong to question what has always been the norm and just speak out your mind against something which one feels is wrong... is this EGO?

Why is there a need to control another person in the name of love ,possessiveness or even affection - isn't this selfishness?

Is there something called ‘destiny’ or is it just ‘choices’ and ‘consequences’.

4. Posted by Riya on January 21, 2007

the recent agitation of the name 'bollywood' given to the indian film industry and why now, when it is a recognised global brand are there reasons, seemingly strong ones, to change it.

5. Posted by A.G. on January 21, 2007

Sheetal , those are indeed , words to feel intrigued about - hope is perhaps the difference between life and death -there are so many people who endure the life's many pains in the hope that tommorow brings a better life , hope in a way is the ray of light for those who are trapped in the dark - ie for those who realise they are in the dark .

hope itself implies faith by definition - there is no hope without faith in something - and when we look around perhaps faith is the singular thing that keep life going . i am not sure if pain and death are the same thing though ?

i think its about having the heart for things - that is the only difference between real life and the state of death - so perhaps its not surprising that this ' meaning of life' we invent and seek is an oxymoron . people who are doing well in life in every way and are happy by definition - perhaps dont feel the need to think about those words ?

6. Posted by Rudra on January 21, 2007

Dear Shekhar,
This is the first time I am writing and I would like to be a regular part of this board. I am 32 and live in TIMES SQUARE, MANHATTAN (yes within the same zip code 10036). I am a business grad from the US and lived most of my life till my undergrad in Delhi.

Things that I'd like to discuss would be the ones I feel really passionate about. I live alone in a very pretty apartment (have mainly American friends, who take me to places like LE CIRQUE and ST.REGIS regularly). Coming from a purely capitalistic mindset I would like you or anyone to comment on the following things:






6. WHAT MATTERS? - I once read a quote (I read thousands) about not taking life too seriously which stuck with me - "NOTHING MATTERS VERY MUCH, AND FEW THINGS MATTER AT ALL" - According to you - WHAT MATTERS IN THIS LIFE - IF ANYTHING AT ALL?

I really respect you so you can choose any of the above 6 topics and tell me what you feel and I will reply with utmost sincerity.

I'll hope to hear from all of you.
Thank you,
Indian Achiever (for now)

7. Posted by Indian Achiever on January 21, 2007

Riya , interesting poser - choices and consequences actually begin after we are born. what about the choice of birth ? is it made at all? or is it nature that chooses which womb we enter as a soul?

unless that is answered i dont think we can really hit the truth about choices we make. perhaps the law of karma is true then , since it explains that the sum total of our actions of mind and body decide our next birth - and this whole concept of re-incarnation was so simply accepted by our ancestors - so in many ways choices and consequences make our destiny - we dont yet completely know what action has what consequence .

for instance we underestimate the power of good - even the people who are 'obviously' undeserving for some reasons - may in their private lives be doing a lot of good knowingly or unknowingly , i think thats where the mathematical prescision of karma comes in - whether you do an act of mind and body , knowingly or unknowingly , it adds up to the balance sheet of karma.

amazing , if only we knew that was the truth or that karma is the rule book of the universe. perhaps it is , perhaps it isnt -it boild down to faith , which again is an act of mind which itself is a karmic thing...phew.

8. Posted by Rudra on January 21, 2007

Rudra:About truth and happiness
The way I see it, for some truth is almost like a resolve and although they seek the truth all the time, happiness eludes them as it is deemed not practical in the world we live in. Most of the time people revel in ignorance as bliss and proudly accept it.

Even when one tries to educate or impress upon others the need to look around life with 'open' eyes it never works coz, in my opinion the need to, change perspective has to come from within one's self.
It reminds me of little children who are in their little shell which is coated at times with untruths to protect their innocence and, they're so happy! In this case, the happiness is well worth it...
Truth I hear has three versions - 'my','your' and the 'actual'.
I don’t think we are blind – its more looking at something with jaundiced eyes (impressions, prejudices, trust, faith adding colors to it).

9. Posted by Riya on January 21, 2007

Dear Shekhar: I have always believed that genius is an element of innocence. Innocence which believes that everything is possible and everyone is worthy. Innocence which does not fear "God" and becomes one with him. I would love to know how you perceive a "genius" and his perception of world.



10. Posted by jasleen on January 22, 2007

Thanks Rudra,

Yep ...'may be'...people who are doing well in life in every way and are happy by definition perhaps don't feel the need to think about those words!

But 'may be' THESE are the right ones to answer this question... otherwise... there are people who support HOPE, faith and belief... and then there are people like me, who will "believe" that hope is something that should come after all your 'actions' are correct and yet the desired result won't come.

But then if the action is correct then why won't result come? Doesn't that mean that the action itself was performed wrongly...and more than HOPE you will need another 'method' of doing the action!... (of course every action need not be done by a ‘method’, and every action need not have a result)...

I hope you get what I mean...or may be I'm talking nonsense...(or may be I'm not...)

But anyways...I don't know anybody as happy (by definition either because I'm not... and I don't find) the point will come down to...speculative knowledge...without having the final solution (at least for me! -...and if u see I have used n number of 'may be's...'perpetual seeking'???).

But honestly I would want to find...the ONE final answer (and keep adding to that. If necessary)...what are: "faith, hope and belief" and how do they play on our minds?

11. Posted by Sheetal on January 22, 2007

Sheetal , thats a very vital question you posed - 'But then if the action is correct then why won't result come?' - the very thing all kinds of prophets and preahcers tried to take advantage of , in human history .

That is what makes us doubt the work we do - the path of action is quite a mesmerising one - there are so many dependencies we dont or cant foresee - most of the results are effected by whimsical human institutions presided by equally whimsical humans !

but i cant agree that all actions need not have a result - that would violate the fundamentals of physical nature - action , however subtle will lead to a result , wouldnt it ?...

assuming we did find the final answer , would existance be so much more un-interesting thereafter ? or is it just another one of those fears which drive our quest for the answers anyway ?

i could be very wrong , but i cant help thinking that that the One Final asnwer may lie in knwoing more about our human structure - perhaps the final answer lies in this combination of anti-matter and matter that is the human being ?

12. Posted by Rudra on January 22, 2007

Thanks Rudra for rationalizing choices and destiny.
I was reading about neural networks and interpretations of vibrations/aura - as you said the mind thing or brain connection could be karmic.. never know.

13. Posted by Riya on January 22, 2007

There are numerous dilemmas attached to living as a first generation migrant in a foreign country. What started out as a global adventure for us has now left us on the crossroads... Like everyone, we have had our own triumphs and tragedies along the way.
We had our reality-check a year or so ago when my mother met with a near-fatal accident. I would like to share a piece that I wrote soon after that. I wrote it to put things into perspective and to document my pain...
I would like the readers to share their thoughts on coping with a rather difficult subject of "Aging parents living half a world away".

It is very long, so please feel free to skip.

Mum - I Love You...

I wanted to say something the day we got mum from the hospital. The moment was too overwhelming that the words just did not come out. Instead, we heard a light-hearted speech (read gobbledygook) from Arsh my one year old son. May be that was more appropriate!

Now when I slump into my armchair, I still don’t know what to say. The last one month has seen plethora emotions, such as, disbelief, trauma, guilt, despair, anxiety, helplessness, speculation, relief and sometimes even anger.

As a family, on the 22nd of September our world came to a standstill. Some of us who witnessed the horrors on that day would still be recovering from it. Charu, Bobby and Shal, It was your courage, thoughtfulness, ability, and some divine intervention that brought our mother back from the jaws of fatality. I could only imagine what you may have gone through.

On that morning, it was only after many failed attempts to contact Mum, Dad, and Shal that I got through on Bobby’s cell phone. I was expecting a regulation ‘hello’. But what followed were heart-wrenching, hapless cries of a son. I knew something had gone terribly wrong. I just did not know what… My heart and mind went in all directions while I might have cried ‘What happened?’ a zillion times. Shal took over the phone. She was able to speak, but was unusually loud, breathing heavily and stressing at every word while delivering the facts that any son would dread and given a choice, would trade for anything.

Questions sprawled all over my mind. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know it all. What, how, where, extent, recovery. How were the rest of them coping? Papa and Varun? They were the most vulnerable. The oldest and the youngest. I slumped into the ground and made a follow-up phone call to Papa. This was the most distraught dad that I had ever heard in my life. What he said between the sobs and cries was mostly incomprehensible. There was nothing I could do to comfort him. There was nothing he could do to comfort me. As a young kid I had always placed him on a pedestal and made him into a role-model. I knew I could never be like him, but nonetheless tried to emulate everything that I liked about him. I always turned to him in a moment of despair for either support or forgiveness. He never disappointed. This time was different. We were both vulnerable and weak.

After series of messages and phone calls, one thing became very clear. We all had to get together to fight this. But how? It was technically impossible for us to take the next flight to India. Veenu did not have a passport and Arsh’s visa had expired. The people at the Indian consulate were as ruthless and insensitive as ever. They seem to have a script that they follow while handing out visas. Anything outside that script is offered an inconclusive Indian nod. The woman at the counter heard me out and instead of displaying any compassion or making a positive suggestion, repeated what she had already said before: “Submit the completed application forms in the morning. Attach your flight details. It will take 5 working days”. I was too drained and lifeless to even think about protesting.

The next four or five days were full of anxiety and impatience, numerous phone calls, and lots of prayers. Charu and Shal were continuously keeping us in sync with mum’s current state. We were moving from confusion to clarity. As the days progressed, we became clearer about the damage. To picture things from this far was still quite difficult. Meanwhile, the last leg of the journey to Delhi was confirmed just a couple of days before starting out.

We boarded the plane in a totally unfamiliar state of mind. There was a certain filter applied to the mind. We were not thinking the usual things. It was a more philosophical state of mind. We were debating about life in general. How you cannot take a single day for granted. How you must love each other as much as you can each day. More than that, how important it is to sometimes, pause, and say “I love you” to someone you love. I figured that I hadn’t done that enough to mum. I had not done that enough in the last 30 years. I could not remember a single incidence of holding hands and saying to her how important she was to me. Growing up, I concentrated on friends, sports, movies, other fun things and eventually work. I loved mum all along, but, I didn’t think I had to tell her that. I was so wrong! I could have easily missed the train! There were dreadful questions: What if we had lost her? How will I console myself for the rest of my life? It was just so distressing. Veenu and I talked out most of the journey, mostly counseling each other.

14. Posted by Amit on January 23, 2007

I should not be discussing this topic here as its a personal matter but yes i did not like when u split up with suchitra..It broke our hearts, wished if this had not happened.

15. Posted by Dinaz on January 23, 2007

Hey Shekhar,
I always preferred reading your blogs like I would read of any other person's than carrying a baggage of considering u as a celebrity during these discussions. But now, since its an open thread and I am allowed to write what I wish to, then I just wanted to tell u that watching masoom has always been an overwhelming experience for me. You must have made better movies but this one is just a beautiful movie because of its simplicity, maturity and brilliant actors. It just shows how adept the person is in crafting his imagination for the viewers to see. :)
On a lighter note, it would be fun if you could share some light anecdotes in your movie making experience and hence be a fresh change from serious issues that we have been discussing of late :)

16. Posted by Nikita on January 24, 2007

Thank you, Nikita. I have intended to set up a seperate chat room for Masson as so many people seem to remember it. But the blog got much more attention than I anticipated it would. So got caught in the present ratehr than the past. But I do intent to do so, and if I don't, just remind me pl. Shekhar

17. Posted by shekhar on January 25, 2007

Anyday my pleasure Shekhar :)

18. Posted by Nikita on January 25, 2007

I think masoom was released in 1983, & i vidily remember, I was 3 yrs old back then! I grew up on "lakdi ki kaathi..." & Nikita has made a fine request. we need to know more abt masoom. It was indeed a very sensitive topic handled with utmost care. I would also like to compliment you as a very perceptive & approachable writer. why don't u write for timesofindia? I read ur blogs more often than any other TOI editorials?

19. Posted by Vaidehi Dongre on January 26, 2007

Unity in diversity. Humans are all so different, our reasonings, approach, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions etc. Yet we have common needs of acceptance, sharing, team-work, communication, friendship etc. which bring us together. Such diverse unique selves thrown into interdependence ...makes a fascinating fabric.

20. Posted by Neeta on January 29, 2007

Dear Shekhar,
I'm not sure what is the best way to get a hold of you, but I came across your blog and I thought I might as well give it a shot. I work for an South Asian publication in Canada called Mehfil Magazine and we were hoping to feature you in a section where we spotlight famous South Asians from around the world. The interview would be a short Q&A focusing on your current projects and past work, if you could please get back to me when you get a chance it would be much appreciated.

21. Posted by Amrinder on January 31, 2007