November 5, 2007


Did the ancient Indians know evolution and the concept of the movement of life form from the more simple to the more complex? If the Dasavatar is anything to go by, they may as well have known.

  • Matsya - Fish: The basic life form to have developed in the seas. It is well known that the oceans of the world were the birth place of life. And the marine animals were the oldest life forms to have inhabited the world
  • Koorma - Tortoise: The amphibian life form. This is the evolution of the marine form that has come to check the possibility of living on land.
  • Varaha – Boar: A primitive land animal, which was can be likened to the first animals which began moving around the land.
  • Narasimha: Half man, half lion: This would have to be the carnivorous reptiles that roamed the earth, the reason being the fierceness that has been depicted. However, the question that arises is the presence of half man. I would think that it is an allusion to the fact that they are planning to introduce the human, which prompted the change. After all evolution is the slow change of a simpler life to a more complex one
  • Vamana – The pygmy: The pygmy, the man who was yet to develop from the monkey, the monkey that looked like a man, the chimpanzee, the orangutan
  • Parasurama – The truly physical man, likened to the Neanderthal man who was truly the precursor to the modern human being
  • Rama – Cro-Magnon Man. The reason that I call Rama as a Cro-Magnon man is the similarity between them in the use of bow and arrow. If I remember my anthropology right, Cro-Magnon man was the one who started the use of tools as a means of hunting. Thus the prowess of Rama as an archer seems to stem from that.
  • Balarama – The farmer: This is like the well known transition of man from the nomadic hunter to the land based farmer. After all the implement that was carried by Balarama was a plough to signify the farming nature
  • Krishna – The thinking man: Man transcended from being the manual labor that he was being an agriculturist to become one that used his head and began offering services. This is similar to Krishna in the fact that he was a master strategist and throughout the Mahabharata is shown to be offering services, be it a chariot driver, a messenger, a judge, etc. to the Pandavas and the Kauravas
  • Kalki: This is the modern man, the one that brings about destruction of the world, the Kali Yug, where mans greed is punished with extinction. This seems to be the direction we are heading wherein we are destroying the natural resources that are important for our survival on this planet. When the resources run out, this is not a case of if they will, it is a case of when, and human race will be exterminated.

The only bone of contention is the fact that in all of these avatars, there is human form of some sort. There is contact of the avatars with either the gods in human form, or sages, or asuras who have the human form albeit with dark skin, or humans themselves as seen in the last few avatars (starting from Narasimha). The only thing that I can think of that makes some sense is the fact that to introduce a concept as revolutionary as evolution, they had to make some compromises and one of them was to show that man was present forever. Except this one glaring mistake, if discounted, the entire story of Dasavatar shows the process of evolution as scripted by Darwin eons after the Dasavatar was wide spread in the country.

All grown up

You know you have grown up when
  • People start taking your opinion seriously
  • Your father does not have a look of bewilderment when you say that you are taking the car out (he does not even roll over in his sleep, (yes he was asleep))
  • You are not scared of being pulled over by the traffic police for driving (it does not matter, you have a license and you look like you are twice your age which is more than twenty)
  • When you take the wheel of your car, feel the wind in your face, the empty roads ahead of you, your best friends in the seat next to you and behind you, and the music over the speaker and you know this does not get better
  • When your parents are thinking of getting you married (who said that child marriage does not exist? :P)
  • When you can go to the best restaurant in town, have a hearty meal, and not look order from the price list, or think how your father is going to react when you tell him the amount you spent and the fact that you need more money
  • When your friend and you have a fight as to who is going to pay and not vice versa
  • When you are sitting in a car, surrounded by mosquitoes, with the person you trust more than anyone else, talk about things that you never knew you both could talk about
  • When you know that you have to go back to work, come Monday morning and it is work!
  • When one of the people you went to school with is buying a house and he can actually pay for it himself
  • When you start timing your purchases on the basis of the billing cycle of your credit card, rather than the timing of the need or the whim
  • When you wait for the end of the month so that you can see the bank balance burgeon, so that you can start spending again
  • When your father starts telling you on how important it is to save
  • When you want to buy stuff for people, just because they hinted on it sometime ago, because you can
  • When you do not get a peaceful nights sleep at night, things running through your head (not exams, not girls, just things)
  • When people make a big deal out of you coming home and are willing to come to the station, in pouring rain, just to see the look on your face when you arrive
  • When you refer to the word home and people ask, “Which one?”
  • When you start smiling, a memory having just popped in your head
  • When the you run out of fingers and toes and bodily parts before you run out friends you lost
  • When you have no idea where the years till now have rolled
  • When you have no idea what is going on and why, but are glad something is going on

I just realized, I may have just grown up and I hate (to be read as love) it!!!!

November 3, 2007

Head in the clouds

Disclaimer: This poem and the story to follow on this theme draws inspiration from the post on Nivethitha’s blog, Lost and Found and my recent journey through the clouds in an airplane. .

Sitting on an airplane,
Thousand feet above,
I look down on the squalor
Lying below me.
They call this a city,
They call this a life.
Houses shaped like matchboxes,
Ash, the color all around.

As I rise,
My head in to the clouds,
Bathed in ash, in white and grey,
I look out at a sight,
Shapeless shapes,
Given form, given names
By me.

The blue above,
No limits,
No scars,
No boundaries
Sense of relief,
Sense of life.

The ashen buildings I see,
The populated places I go to,
The varied people I meet,
All constrict,
All limit,
Boundaries they set
I am lost,
Lost am I.

The formless clouds,
The ashen sight,
The endless blue,
All free me,
In the boundless,
In the limitless,
I find myself, with my head,
In the limitless ashen blue.


Love and companionship

This had been an eventful few weeks. There have been many events that individually have caused me joy, which taken together never cease to bring a smile on to my face.

The main theme of these smile-bringing events is that a few of my friends have gone and gotten committed, committed in love. The net result is here I am, sitting on a moving train, with a test coming shortly, writing about something, which has never made sense to me.

I am not sure how I am going to start this piece. I am going to use a line that I heard in a song by Savage Garden. Even though I do not remember the song, the lines remain in my head. The line goes: “Love and other emotions are just chemical reactions in your brain. Feelings of aggression are the absence of the love drug in your veins.”

I have concluded that in the end of the day, love is nothing but that. Love has never been defined well. I am yet to come across a definition that has hung on. However, I can surely say what it is not. It is not the mush that we have come to identify with love. It is not the yearning, the desire to always be with the other person. That is something that has been inserted into our psyche by the movies and the television shows. That is just to increase the yearning in us, thereby increasing the revenues in the theatres and the cards and gift shops. This post is to be more of a thought provoking one, and may be a little thought giving one. It all boils down to what I have seen in people close to me.

The people I am referring to are cases by themselves.

  • One has been committed for nearly eight years now, with his age being twenty three (you do the math)
  • One is not sure if the girl he is with now is the same girl that he fell in love with (Is he in love, was he in love, don’t ask me)
  • One who never believed in the word love, tells me that he/she is desperately in love with a girl/boy (He/she in fact sends me a picture asking, telling, “Ain’t she/he good-looking?”
  • One is candid enough to tell me that he/she can never get past the physical looks of a person (this needs guts, to admit to someone that all you look for is the physical appearance and do not proceed beyond that)
  • One is able to fall in love and out of it in a matter of a week, one has been in love with a girl/boy for ages, and now he/she has finally gotten over her/him and fallen in love with another girl/boy (I hope that this one stays)
  • One is in love with a person for almost six years, gets over her/him (says he/she does) in a week, falls for another person, lets that person go in another week (All in a week's work)
  • One believes that to get over someone, we have to hate them (does this mean that we love them once and then hate them, is this not equivocal?)
  • One wants to be committed so he/she can refrain from having to take decisions (is he looking for a partner or a boss?)
  • And finally, one who is not sure if he/she is in love with a person, or the idea of that person (Hysterical!!!)
The closest I have come to understanding it is this. It is a desire for comfort. It is a desire to be wanted. It is a desire to be needed. It is a desire to know that you are valued and you make someone’s life better. It is a desire to know that no matter what you do, someone is willing to be there for you, 24x7. Ultimately, it is the need for companionship.

If it were easily understood, I guess that there is no charm behind those three words. No one knows what they mean when they utter them. I can never forget the scene in Alaipayuthey when Madhavan’s character tells Shalini’s that he loves her and she retorts by asking what he means and if he would jump of a train for her.

I guess that at the end of the day, everyone comes to the table with a different agenda. The trick is to find someone who wants what we are willing to offer and is offering what we need. It is a barter system folks and let the exchanges begin.