Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yikes! There Goes The Phone!!

I hate chatting on the phone. I have an almost pathological distaste for it which friends or acquaintances don’t seem to quie believe, deep down. So they keep calling at the most unfavourable times, and then wonder why I sound distant or a bit absent, not knowing perhaps that at the very moment they have buzzed me to fill me in on their life history I am surfing the net or writing something or talking to someone else or even just plain meditating on the sea and sky which my bedroom window looks on to.

Once a guy trying to relieve the tedium of his own life happened to call when my computer engineer was busy explaining to me how to synchronise my palmtop with the desktop and was miffed when I actually forgot that he was on the line and even forgot to make the rudimentary “uh-huh, uh-huh” noises on the phone you usually indulge in, to persuade the person at the other end of the line that you are listening with great interest though you are most likely falling asleep and trying not to snore.

It wasn’t always like that of course. There was a time when I used to be obsessed with the phone and was known (much to my mother's disgust) to chat for ages, at least with a handful of bosom pals with whom I never seemed to run out of conversation. One night I broke my own record by yapping on the phone for over two hours until my ear actually began to hurt from prolongued contact with the receiver. Those were the times of course, when regardless for how long you spoke you were charged for just one call. Now I sometimes ask myself if I’m the same person.

Something possibly changed in me the day the phone rang and I rushed to get it. That was incidentally over twenty years ago. I had just come out of the shower, my feet were wet and before I reached the shrieking instrument and before I knew it I’d landed on my ass and cracked my tail bone. Four weeks in bed cured me of any fondness for phones in general.

I love meeting people and I like mailing them or writing to them. Generally I enjoy being in contact with human beings. But NOT ON THE PHONE. Which I use strictly for information purposes. To confirm appointments, to cancel appointments, to communicate good tidings, to communicate bad news and so on, to plan something or other

This, I believe is what a telephone was originally intended for, in the old days. So in those good old fashioned days is no doubt where I still belong!

Group website:

Monday, November 28, 2005

Time, Space and a little Beer

If you're lucky, the ride from central Bombay to Marve (one of the dirty beaches around the city) takes a little over an hour. Rush hour prolongues your travel time by a good hour. Vijay and I, who drove down on Friday evening itself, to get the place ready for the workshop participants who were to arrive on Saturday morning, had average luck. We took a little over an hour and a half to get there, not counting the stops to pick up nourishment for the weekend ranging from bread and tomatoes to tea, sugar, milk and beer.

The best part of the evenings is of course sitting down to watch the night sky, sipping cold beer. As luck would have it the first bottle was flat and we had to pour it down the sink. The second bottle, since we had not stuck it in the freezer, was not cold enough but what the hell. Once we started on it, it drew us into our favourite topics - time, space, reality and the universe.

Away from the cacophony of city life, under a clear black sky filled with stars it becomes easier to plunge into the depths. We talked about how weird it felt to have known each other for ten years. Sometimes it felt like a hundred years and sometimes it felt like we had met yesterday. So what is time, really! And what is reality? And do we really know anything at all about life really, or is it that our need to feel secure persuades us that we have everything in control?

At some point V and I decided that life was a total mystery. All one could do was sit and watch it unfolding. The trick is, that to do that, one needs to feel at least materially and physically secure. One needs a roof over one's head. One' s stomach needs to be be filled. Otherwise, one's attention is concentrated on these basics rather than on anything else. So it is to help each other go deeper into the process of life, that we need to support each other, to take care of each other, to ensure an environment that will make it possible for each of us to enjoy the miracle of life.

The beer helped. The stillness helped. Our understanding and acceptance of each other helped, to bring us a mite closer to something quite indefinable that you could only sense, if you happened to be in a state of alertness. It was one of those moments when I had the feeling: so this is what friendship is really about! Simply, this being together, this watching of life together, this implicit support of each other

Group website:

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Winters Day in Bombay

View of Haji Ali from my bedroom

In terms of the weather Bombay is generally one of the most pleasant places I have lived in. Except for a few weeks in May preceding the monsoon and a few weeks in October following it, it is neither too hot nor too cold. (Of course some people might say that that is so because we live right on the sea and not inland!)

Just now is of course the best time of year as we are getting into “winter” – friends from Europe crack up when I use this word to describe the climate here in the months from December to February. The temperatures drop to a really pleasant 20-25 degrees C and as I sit here at my desk, there is this heavenly breeze blowing in through the window. For a city this is as quiet as it can get, just the purr of a car rolling into or out of the compound and the distant sound of voices.

The sound of the palms swaying in the breeze. The Haji Ali mosque, which my window looks on to, stands bright and clear in the sunshine, like an ornate slab of wedding cake surrounded by sea and grey black rocks. It is one of those times you forget about the city racket, the chaos, the aggression and allow yourself to be almost lulled to sleep by the idyllic temperature and mood of the environment.

The next couple of days I am most likely to be away conducting a workshop for a friend and former colleague. Back Sunday night. Till then adios.

Group website:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Exotic foods

It was probably natural that Devika and I should end up watching the TV programme we did after dinner last night. Devika is my friend Jyotsna’s daughter (and my goddaughter – I must be the worst godmother in the history of godmothers!) She happens to be spending a few days with us in Bombay to attend a course in Eurythmics. (If you want to know more about that you’ll have to ask her!)

Well all through the meal Devika was describing these mindboggling ice creams and all kinds of exotic food one can get these days in Bombay. I am a glutton for info like this since I rarely eat out except for those age old colonial clubs where everything mostly tastes like socks stewed in mothball gravy. Anyway throughout dinner we discussed things like “chocolate avalanche” and “chilli ice cream” (“It’s cold but also really hot as it goes down your throat” says Devika) and “pepper chocolate” and the next thing I know is we’re sprawled in front of the TV watching National Geographic reveal the delights of peppery insect curries and other outlandish fare.

There was one scrumptious looking dish, with veggies and noodles and fried onions – that is, it looked scrumptious except for one thing – a something sticking out like a cherry on top of the heap of goodies. It looked like a cockroach. It WAS a cockroach. It was meant to be a Thai delicacy as far as I remember. I can’t remember too well because my brain froze at the very sight, at the very moment that a woman sitting next to the man in the TV show, happened to SCREAM with disgust as her husband bit into and crunched up the roach.

This was one of the funnier or you could call it more wacky aspects of food. There was stuff that was truly shocking. And that is the way creatures are treated before they are killed. How snakes (cobras) are hung up with their mouths tied up. How lambs are slaughtered. And the next part – after the break – was supposed to be on roast dog.

“I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT!” screeched Devika. I agreed with her and we decided to switch to another channel. It is not for nothing I suppose that in the last few years I have been on a slow journey to vegetarianism much as I miss the taste of a variety of mouth watering meats.

For group website check out:

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ooops my hand slipped

I don’t know if anyone else has this problem – but my handwriting is a bit chameleon like. That means, it tends to vary according to my mood, the time of day, what I want to say etc. In a way I guess it is not unusual, I’ve heard that to some extent it happens to everybody. (Stardust, you mentioned something about having forty pen pals! Each of whom gets a handwritten letter from you. Wow!)

The varying slant or whatever is not the problem. What gets you into a soup is when the bank refuses to recognise your signature! Recently, a cheque which I had written to the travel agency which managed our Goa trip, bounced. Now that means paying a Five Hundred Rupee fine! If I get fined every time the bank thinks my own signature is forged, I’ll soon go broke. My dad says maybe I should stop signing and switch to giving thumb impressions.

I haven’t yet been struck by Alzheimers (though if I were I suppose I wouldn’t know it!) or palsy or anything like that. It is just that my writing is terribly quirky and I can never get it to behave. Any solutions?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Goa Holiday

A view of the palms

Rodrigues" Bungalow

“John’s Seagull” is where you will probably find me most evenings, when I am in Goa. The restaurant is right on the beach and sitting at one of the open air tables under an inky blue sky, you watch the frothy phosphorescent waves come and go, all through the garlic chilly squid which you invariably end up ordering, no matter what else you are having as a main course. It’s not only a great view but also good food, the fish being the main attraction.


I wouldn’t say Bogmalo had one of the best beaches in Goa – the beach itself is rather small and tends to be a bit crowded in the evenings - but what I like about the place is its village atmosphere and the fact that it is a lot less commercial than the beaches around Candolim in the north or Palolem down south, where every other night is disco night and your ears are blasted out by techno nonsense. (When I was twenty I never imagined I’d be saying things like this but now mid way through my fifties here I am acting like an ancient Auntie!)

After Bombay, Goa seems so incredibly restful! You wake up to the sound of cocks crowing and a multitude of birds whistling and tweeting away in the trees outside your window. All day long squirrels run up and down the trees chattering to themselves. The Rodrigues’ bungalow where I normally stay (this time my friend Jyotsna and cousin Shiv were there too) overlooks the main road, beyond which lies an expansive grove of palm trees bordering the sea.

At the back is a thicket, where a movie is usually in progress, the main roles being taken up by pigs, dogs, chickens and cats who sleep, play, or quarrel with each other. Once Shiv and I actually saw something like an animal conference take place and I’m not joking. There were a dog, a cat, two pigs, and a goat all sitting together solemnly in a kind of semi circle in the neighbour’s compound. After a round of silent communication they got up and each went his own way. The cutest though, are the piglets which scamper, squealing all day long after their mamas.

Early mornings and late evenings you see toddy tappers shin up the towering palm trees to collect the sap that will eventually be distilled into Feni, which is drunk with limejuice and sometimes with soda with a pinch of salt. Except for the music which occasionally blares from the neighbour’s stereo, or the horrendously noisy air exercises undertaken by the naval establishment in Bogmalo (how I wish they would go and do their stuff elsewhere!) Bogmalo is peaceful. I was amazed at the fact that I hardly thought about Bombay or about work or anything for that matter.

That was a real holiday and now that I’m back I can’t wait to pack my bags and set off for Goa again!

Uma and Jyotsna at John's

Group website:


I used to often think of airports as having an exotic atmosphere, as being a door to the mysterious, the unknown. A single step into that great silvery bird known as a plane would transport you thousands of miles away into strange and wonderful lands you had never even dreamt of.

I think differently now and am beginning to be aware of how very dull and soulless an airport can be. On our way to Goa for example, I watch the people around me in the departure lounge. There is something earthshakingly blank about their expressions. Men and women slump back in upholstered chairs, reading, listlessly playing with their mobiles. I watch a couple - he taking big bites out of a dry looking (typical airport) hamburger, she tucking into a packet of potato chips while their two kids run around the lounge, involved in some sort of chasing game.

A man holds a monologue on his cell phone, another out of sheer boredom toys with his. A foreign woman frowning over a magazine, nibbles at a chocolate bar while her friend, peers over her shoulder and tries to read alongside. An Indian woman deep into a novel by Jeffrey Archer smiles as she reads. An elderly woman, in a blue sari, crinkly white hair and a sensible looking face (whom Jyotsna and I both think looks familiar), settles down on the chair opposite mine, fishes out a paperback from her capacious and sensible looking bag and pores over it. The kids tearing around are the only ones to show any signs of life.

The two foreign women turn out to be German. One of them takes out a couple of foreign looking bottles of some orange drink from her rucksack and they both sip at it. Jyotsna says to me, “Doesn't she (the one on the right) look horrid?” Well I don’t know. I tell Jyotsna that she just looks terribly disapproving and at the same time foxed by her surroundings, as indeed many visitors from abroad tend to do.


As usual there is a stampede to get on and off the aircraft. As if the plane might take off the way a bus does, the moment it is full. Seconds after the aircraft has landed the aisle is crammed with passengers reaching for their bags on the overhead racks and twisting and turning their heads to see if they can spot the quickest way out. The man next to me seeing me lean back impassively in my seat waiting for the rest of the passengers to clear off, impatiently taps his fingers on the back of his seat as if telling me to get off my ass and get going. I continue to sit and watch the rest of the crowd and just wait.

Finally we’re at the baggage section, we collect our luggage and it is a relief to step into the open and to recognise the office driver who has come to meet us, who goes and fetches the car as soon as he sees us trundling our trolley full of bags down the ramp. Our holiday is about to begin!

Group website:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bogmalo Days

Hi Guys,

Greetings from Bogmalo, where we are busy tucking into fish and cheese garlic naan and all the specialities of John's restaurant by the sea, in Bogmalo. Too much into relaxing to write more than this but for some details about our stay here look up

More later!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

“1984” has maybe not quite arrived but we’re getting there. George Orwell’s vision of Big Brother watching the world is a bit off the mark in terms of time, but the idea seems eerily true. I’m still thinking about all those goings on in the suburban cyber cafes. About modern technology. About web cams and the invasiveness of all this junk in our lives.

When web cams first made an appearance I felt the first uneasy nibbles of discomfort just to think of the manner in which they might be used. It looks like those fears were justified. Today it is not hard to see the uses to which modern technology can be put, to simply spy on others, to control the people in our lives, our neighbours, people at work.

A computer specialist I know, who is helping the police to set up new systems, proudly tells me that with the latest device - some kind of extra terrestrial mobile from the sound of it - you can listen to what people are saying within some hundred metres of where you’re sitting. This is supposed to be especially useful in your place of work. How horrible. What all this is leading to, is that you can’t speak, you can’t do anything and soon you wont be able to even think without everyone knowing what is in your mind and exactly what you have been up to.

Sometimes I think, maybe this is what we are meant to learn from the horrors of technology – even if in a rather grotesque fashion. To be more open to each other, to understand each other, not to judge, not to ridicule or control. In short, not to be afraid. In fact to aim for a society in which it wont matter terribly what other people think of us, because we will be able to say what we want to, to anyone, which will make “spying” redundant. If we could live like that, openly and with deep affection for each other there would be nothing to hide, and we would live the truth. We would live in the light of our connectedness, in the light of oneness. We would live, knowing that everything we do and say, has an impact on every other thing - not as we do now, in our own separate boxes in which you simply dont care what happens to anyone outside your box.

If some (or even none!) of this is making sense, maybe it is because a discussion on a subject like this can't be one sided (well a "discussion" by its very nature needs more than one person!!) and anyway, the topic itself can't be adequately dealt with, in a few sentences. There has to be a general sharing of insights and opinions – not of opinions arising from anger and indignation but rather of opinions resulting from really wanting the best for us all. After all, it is only possible to say this much and not more in a short post on a blog.

And now bye for the time being, I am off to Goa for a week with Jyotsna and we are going to be enjoying the sea, sun, and fish there. Not to mention beer and just plain chilling out! If I can get an internet connection I might be able to put in a few words now and then.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Cyber love space

This morning’s papers carried a report on a new trend in cyber cafes in suburban Bombay: to offer “private rooms” to teenagers or young adults who lacked the space to be on their own. These rooms are apparently fitted out with tiny cameras, which record all the goings on in the cubicle (where a couple go ostensibly to surf the net but in fact for “other reasons”). The upshot is, that if you’ve been indulging in any kind of lovemaking or sexual activities it is all recorded, the various shots are put together on a CD and the CD is then circulated among or sold to customers of the cyber café or friends of the café owner, for approximately Rs. 100.

Yes it is shocking. No doubt about that. Infringement of human rights and all that. Translating into a loss of respect for the clients who happen to have had the misfortune of hiring the booth for an hour, or couple of hours. Totally damaging to one’s ego. Loss of face. I would personally not like to be in that position. Aaaarrrrrgggggh!

But then I forced myself to look at the whole thing at a deeper level and this is what I also saw. That one of the reasons that this kind of thing even takes place is that human beings in most parts of the world make such a big deal about sex. Such a big deal about a perfectly human activity, which makes anything to do with sex seem criminal or ridiculous or both. What this story further shows up is the totally screwed up usage of space in cities. The fact that young people who do need privacy don’t get it. What the hell are they supposed to do when nature whistles and hormones start to gush out in an unmanageable fashion!

Also if we could start looking at the whole topic of sex a bit more rationally, a bit more sanely, if the subject began to shake off its current red flag status and to be accepted for what it is, people would generally lose their interest in the kind of voyeurism in which they tend to indulge today. Porn would lose its significance. Maybe you have never noticed this or not thought about it. But men and women who lead genuinely fulfilling sexual lives (you perhaps?) are really not interested any more in the kind cheap thrills that today’s newspaper reported on the front page. I am not suggesting free sex. I am not suggesting the kind of mindless sexual culture which brings with it, its own hard morality and lack of sensitivity and its own pressures which are not much less difficult to cope with than the pressures of a Victorian mentality.

All I think, is that the kind of incident reported in today's papers, gets its shock value from the narrow mindedness of the society we live in. And this in turn suggests that we take the topic of sex from out of the closet and give it a good airing, to begin with! Once that happens each individual will find it easier to decide what he/she wants or is good for him/ herself. We need to rope young people and old people, rich and poor and just about everyone into a really honest dialogue on sex. Because ultimately it is a question that concerns all of society and not just a few “westernised” or “forward” folk.

Group website:

Diary of a laidback Rebel

New Wine in Old Bottle

We’re a family of wine drinkers. Anyone who really knows us, and the fact that we are absolutely not corruptible (ahem!) will also know that at a pinch, they might be able to bribe us with a good red wine. So when guests come in from abroad among the other things they stagger in with, is the usual quota of bottles - without which they are afraid they might not be accommodated in the Ranganathan household. Like vultures we fall on the bounty but then unlike vultures and more like squirrels, we proceed to hoard it, and hoard it and hoard it and once in a while (actually in the “winter” months) we decide to open a bottle and enjoy it sitting on the balcony, watching the sea.

Yesterday was one of those days. My mother decided it was “time” so she brought out this bottle of French wine from our stock which looked so good you would be forgiven for ending up with a shirt front soaking with dribble. So then dad gets out the bottle opener and sticks it into the cork and twists the handle and twists and twists and twists and ... nothing happens. (If you’re getting the feeling by now that this is the story of my life, you might be forgiven – the phrase just seems to describe me and my life so well).

So Dad twists the handle of the bottle opener some more and I watch him with bated breath and cross my fingers and continue to watch and ... nothing happens. He twists some more, some more, some more and ... the cork begins to crumble.

Disaster! A French wine about to go down the drain before our eyes? I scold my dad for using the Rs. 25 bottle opener he bought in Goa, on an expensive bottle of imported wine. “You should have used a proper French bottle opener,” I tell him crossly.

Dad says sadly, “There are two lying in the drawer.” But it is too late. Anyway, Dad is so used to my furious glares, he has learnt to cope with them in an expert fashion (the same way he does with my mother’s constant reprimands about his untidiness, his absent mindedness, his inability to listen and about 687 other major faults) by choosing to ignore it all.

To get back to the bottle. Mum assures us that there is nothing wrong with the Goan bottle opener, she used it on a bottle of Indian red wine recently and it worked just fine. So yes, in fact we do notice now, that the problem has to do with the cork - and conclude that even seemingly good French wines can occasionally be plugged with rotten corks.

By now half the cork is lying in little bits on the table and the rest of it is slowly crumbling into the bottle. It seems most unlikely that we will be able to pull this one out at all, at least not with the conventional method. We are finally forced to somehow wrench out the opener and to use a sharp knife to get at the remnants of the cork. You can guess the rest. The moth-eaten bit of cork which remains in the neck of the bottle quietly disintegrates and sinks in ... And we do the only thing that is possible for us to do. Strain the wine through a square of muslin and store it in an empty bottle of “Old Monk.”

Dad fills up our glasses and a few minutes after this heart rending struggle has come to an end, we sit on the balcony with our wine and take a sip. And we sip on contentedly. Don’t know if it is just that we are tired from our efforts. But the wine tastes good!

Group website:

Memoirs of a laidback Rebel

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another story about technology

I’ve said this before and I don’t mind saying it again. There are times when I am convinced that technology, which is supposed to help us put our lives in order, confuses us far more than it straightens out our crooked little minds.

I became aware of this for the millionth time yesterday when my computer engineer came over to help me synchronise a new gadget with my desktop. (A hand held PC). He took one look at the mess of wires sticking out from behind the computer table and offered to straighten it all out for me. I thought why not, it wont take more than about fifteen minutes. Believe me, the clean up operation took Jamshed more than one and a half hours and Jamshed is QUICK and organised, himself!

When he pulled out the work table and I actually SAW the tangle of black wires I almost fainted. You know how it is. There is what they call the CPU, and various things like the mother board (why not father or Uncle board, actually?) and there is the monitor, and the UPS and the modem and the stereo speakers and and and ... Each of those separate objects comes with its own heap of wires which get tangled up in each other so in the end you have no clue as to where one begins and the other ends, and it all somehow looks like the messed up thoughts in a giant messed up human head.

Well J. began sorting out the wires very patiently, to do which he had to unplug each device, one by one. While he was doing this, I had the eerie and totally mad fantasy (hello paranoia!) of the bloke taking advantage of my dazed status and blinking eyes to quietly and smilingly walk away with the whole damn equipment, leaving me feeling like Dr. Livingstone being caught and dragged off to its den, by a stately lion (though, Dr. L. did manage to shake himself free from the beast’s mouth and crawl off to safety.) I imagined my entire computer and the associated paraphernalia being walked out like an obedient dog, and me sitting there sucking my thumb and robbed of the source of my primary addiction.

Then I went on to more practical things and asked myself the inevitable question – which I have asked myself at least a thousand times before: if something like this impossible scenario were to really unfold, if my comp and all that was associated with it were to disappear overnight due to whatever ... earthquake, floods, theft, what would happen? The answer was – nothing. Nothing would happen. Or then again, left without ANY source of diversion (I have given up the usual people associated diversions for a long time now) maybe I would become truly enlightened.

Well, I didn’t get enlightened yesterday evening. J. finished his work like a good boy and three hours after he had arrived, packed his bag and got ready to go, leaving my work table looking spic and span. Not before wishing me Happy Diwali with a firm handshake, though, and offering to bring me home cooked Biryani in the coming week when his family would be celebrating Id.

Group Website:

For those with slightly offbeat views on life check out: Bombay to Eternity, Memoirs of a laidback Rebel

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Why do I write this blog

Keeping this blog has been an interesting experience. At times it feels pretty much like talking to yourself because there is so little response from anyone. So of course one has no clue as to whether others are reading what you write or you are the only one reading your blog (I mean really reading, let's not go by the number of "hits") and finally you get the whole point of keeping the journal. You do it for yourself. Primarily that is. But also with the barely perceptible hope of making contact with “someone out there” in outer space perhaps, who will both, benefit from what you communicate and also help enrich the communication, in whatever way. You write a bit, with the feeling of some extra terrestrial creature looking for its soul mates on a bizarre planet where nobody is listening to anybody else.

So I was glad to see Suresh’s comment on the last piece and I got the feeling that if there is even one person around to look at (not necessarily to agree with or appreciate) what I express, I’m happy. And I guess Suresh must be feeling the same about his blog. (Golden Boy).

It sometimes saddens me to see people so little interested in truly communicating with each other. We get bored very fast with things. Maybe, again, it has to do with the culture we live in, the fast paced “throw away” lives we lead. In a sense, in the same way that we keep throwing away everything - our phones and fax machines and stereos at the drop of a hat - we seem to throw away our lives. People so often talk about “re-making” or “re-inventing” themselves, making a human life sound like some designer product. Like come, let’s get Manish Malhotra to design our spare time a bit. Or decide what frills to put in, into those fifteen minutes we have between meeting Mr. Blab and Ms. Blah.

But finally you get the point. A human life is not about how many other people appreciate what you are doing or how you look. It is about whether you have the intelligence and energy to do what is right for you to do. Regardless of who’s looking and who turns away.

Every now and then (like at this moment) I sit up with a start, with the sober realisation (which invariably hits me like a jet of cold but fresh water). I am the only one responsible for the way I lead my life and for all that I say. That goes for this blog!

Group website:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What does noise communicate?

November 2005. Diwali is a bit more silent than usual this year. Maybe it is those explosions that rocked Delhi three days back. Maybe it is the bomb threats that so many of our public places and temples and mosques have been receiving from a lot of crazy terrorist organisations.

A friend who dropped by on Sunday evening, remarked how at the Siddhi Vinayak temple, there were more policemen around than devotees. Policemen presumably with rifles and sten guns and all the rest. Of course, this lady told us, (we are not temple goers so all this information is interesting for us) that even under normal circumstances, a visit to a temple like Siddhi Vinayak where the main shrine is down some steep steps, is quite an adventure. If there are no policemen to give you a sense of thrill there are always aggressive bulky women in the queue to push you aside, who in their attempt to advance forward themselves, almost succeed in knocking you down the stairs – presumably all the way to heaven.

Or maybe Diwali is more quiet this year because people no longer want to splurge on fireworks. I don’t know. I certainly DO NOT find the thought of the bomb threats very pleasant - but the thought of a quiet Diwali is soooo welcoming. Is this the price one pays for a quiet celebration?

Festivals and celebrations seem to have lost their significance altogether, in the past decades. Ganesh Chaturti, Dassehra or Diwali. They seem to give rise to a certain frequency of madness which you have to tune into yourself, in order to even vaguely enjoy the celebration, whatever it might be, even something as simple as a birthday party.

Noise. Why are Indians so fond of it? Or is it the world? I hate parties for this very reason. Most parties make me feel the madness of our world very intensely. The music (when there is music) is so deafening that all I manage to see the whole evening is the way in which human beings cover up their basic loneliness. Not being able to genuinely face one another, not being able to communicate. And so, having nothing to say to each other, we hide the fact with deafening sounds that blare from huge loudspeakers. And that is supposed to be fun. Ok. It is only my opinion, that this is NOT fun. Maybe plenty of others who have succeeded in tuning in to the general spirit of fun (my euphemism for madness) will tell me at this point how enjoyable such noisy evenings are, and I will keep my mouth shut. Because as I said in my last post, I don’t wish to argue any more!

But if there is anyone apart from me – anyone who appreciates a little silence and wants to, and is able to communicate without the aid of loudspeakers or inane chatter, please please get in touch! Let’s see what comes of our acquaintance!

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