Murakami And Synchronicity.

Since about three months back I have been reading about Murakami at various forums and I had even been recommended one particular book by a friend – Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage.  Since I have so much of backlog of books to finish reading, I had not paid much attention to these messages that were coming to me, but I had put this book on two online book sellers’ wishlists.


My friend Anil came for a day’s visit to Pune yesterday and left today.  Strangely enough, he  brought precisely this book for me to read!  He had brought this to finish reading on the plane on his way from Delhi and having finished reading it, left it with me with the recommendation that I read it.

I was first taken aback at the message coming at me again but kept the book aside intending to go to it after Anil left.  Yesterday, after Anil had gone to catch up with some other friends, I just thought that I would  see what the brouhaha about Murakami and the book was all about and before I knew it, I had started reading the book and got totally involved.  I was not able to finish reading it yesterday, but I achieved that earlier this evening.

Murakami tells a story with powerful imagery and flowing structure.  It did not matter that the story takes place almost entirely in Japan.  The characters can be from any country in the world and the story can happen to any person anywhere in the world. Philip Gabriel’s translation is effective in so far as making it appear as though it is not a translation!

I have now decided on two courses of action.  1. To go to reading fiction again, leaving all my non fiction books aside and 2. Get and read all of Murakami’s books.

Mail To The Dead. II

When I posted my Mail To The Dead last year, I thought that the mailer will somehow get to see it and stop sending further mails as I had rung up their office and had requested them to stop sending any more mail and had also completed the paper work asked for by them.

The Indian Public Sector companies march to their own drum beats.  I had posted my experience with them on the telephone immediately following my father’s death which caused quite a lot of amusement then.

Look at this envelope.


And the letter’s first page!


You can click on the images to get an enlarged version of each image.

After the conversation I had with the lady last year, I had followed up with formal communication with copy of the death certificate and also an affidavit confirming that he did not leave behind a grieving widow. Today, when I rang them up again, there was a different lady at the post and she promptly suggested that the mail must be delivered to the widow. When I said that there was no widow she was stumped and said that there is something wrong and that she will rectify the records.

I shall keep you posted on developments as I am sure that something like this happen again.


Matrimony II.

I feel like kicking myself!  This is an aspect that I am aware of but did not cover in my earlier post on Matrimony.

It may not be such a big deal in the West but in India, it is expected that men get married when the time is right to the girl chosen by the parents as are the women.  No one bothers to find out if either is interested or not and many marriages flounder because of this single factor.  There is also a lot of ignorance about homosexuality which translates into further problems as can well be imagined.  I am glad that at least now these matters are being brought out in the open and discussed.  The laws needing to be changed is something that has been agreed on but with the change of government has delayed the process.  I believe that now that the Supreme Court has said it’s for the “competent legislature” to take a call our Parliament should remove Section 377 from the Statutes.


Another new whammy!  I know of a young lady who is a student in the Pune University who eloped with her gym trainer and informed her family after the event that she will continue to live with them at their expense till her now husband can afford to take her to a home and finance her education.  What chutzpah!  But this development was asking to take place too!  With subliminal messages constantly being sent to women to be thin and different from what they are, gyms are flourishing and hormones and testosterone  are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Now to add some mirchmasala (Condiments And Spices, for the clueless) to the whole issue of matrimony here is a news item that is, to say the least amusing!

Maargita Ganesha.


My friends Geeta and Koushik who introduced me to Dakshina Dwaraka sent an invitation separately and another through the group’s bulk mailing system to attend a program called Maargita Ganesha yesterday. As my readers know we are just about to conclude our annual Ganesha festival and this program was arranged as part of the festivities by the relatively new group featured above. I attended the program and came away from it with great admiration for the two artists featured in the program.


Sushruti Santhanam, with who my readers are familiar through my earlier blog post started the program off with an introduction about Maargita Ganesha. I paraphrase her in this blog post as it was a great learning experience for me too. I learnt some very new things about Ganesha, the path and the links to music and worship.

Maarga in Sanskrit means the path. Many of my readers exposed to Buddhism will connect the word with its Pali equivalent Magga. In this context, the path refers to the path to moksha / liberation. The focus of the event yesterday was on how Indian art uses the path to liberation from form by creating form. Sushruti explained how Ganesha becomes the liberating force and how the created form – music and sculpture become the path. In the music part of the program which I was able to attend fully Sushruti talked about capturing the form and spirit of Ganesha through the exquisite compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar who takes complex metaphysical and mythological ideas and sculpts them deftly with the chisel of language and music grammar to produce aesthetically evocative compositions. Such creativity is what the Maargitha tradition of music represents.

That introduction was follwed by some mindblowing renderings of Dikshitar’s compositions by Sushruti accompanied with great panache by Ms. Sowmya Jayabharadwaj; Shri H. Venkatraman on the mridangam, and Ms. Mahati Venkatraman on the tambura.

Guruji with lamps

The recital was followed by a lecture by Guru Ravindra Sharma, a sculptor, artist and a thinker who shares a very deep connection with the ethos and spirit of the creative communities of India. His talk centered around the aesthetic journey of sculpture, its rules, materiality and metaphysics. He explained how this form of intense creative engagement in connecting physical material to supra-rational significance and the creation of form, Ganesha in this instance, becomes the Maarga in sculpture.

To me, it was a learning experience and I hope to get to know more about the subject from both these remarkable people.



On the 21st of August we received a guest at home and this is what Ranjan had to say about her on his facebook page.

“Meet Brin! She was wandering by in our neighbourhood. Multiple wounds in various places. She appears to be 5 months old, and already with ear docked by an overzealous PMC. Could be operated, could not. Time will tell. Right now recovering and slowly coming back to life – she’s all skin and bones, it doesn’t show up much in the pic. Woof! ”

She was bedded down in our veranda with a lot of comfort after she was taken to a vet and various treatments prescribed for her. Manjiree treated her with medicines, ointments etc, fed her regularly and took her out for walks. For ten days she would not move out of her comfort zone but since the beginning of September, she started to and also started to make her presence felt by crying and howling when she wanted some attention. She had become quite active and had also put on weight sufficient enough for Manjiree and Ranjan to decide that she should go back to her own environment. It was heart breaking to send her off, but she is not meant for confined life in a house and needs more freedom and space. So, she bid us goodbye this morning and went off with them.

As I write this, it has been about eight hours and I miss her as does Chutki who keeps going up to the veranda to see what has happened to her!

Ranjan and Manjiree will keep an eye on her and there is a dog lover who feeds street dogs where she is located who too will keep an eye out for her to see that no harm comes to her.

Teaching Values.


According to Freud, the Id (Instinctual Drives) functions in the irrational and emotional part of the mind, the Ego functions as the rational part of the mind, and the Superego can be thought of as the moral part of the mind, a manifestation of societal or parental values.

Now, there are two elements here. As adults, as all my readers are, we contribute to the instilling of societal and / or parental values on our children and by and large those values are what were instilled in us by our own parents and society of the time when we were growing up.

Obviously, somewhere along the line the values themselves keep changing to suit changing circumstances, like for instance what happened when a predominantly rural society evolved into a predominantly urban one. An inability to change ourselves to comfortably fit into the changed circumstances causes stress and related health problems. Such inability also translates into social strife and problems like racism, casteism, communalism etc, with all of which we are very familiar.

Most of the values by which I live were taught to me in my childhood by my parents, other elders in the family and also teachers. Similarly, the values that my son lives by were taught to him by me, his mother and other elders in the family as well as his teachers in schools. After the formal education was over, we picked up other values through societal influences, sometimes even going against the values held sacrosanct by the family, clan cast etc.

That ability to go against highly held values of the immediate environment to fit into a larger and different framework, is the one single value that I would teach to others. That one value of using one’s thought process (the ego) to overcome the taught values (the superego) despite emotional resistance (Id} would be the making of a stress free life.

To be able to do that, one needs a mindset that is different from most people possess. This is something that all of us instinctively recognise but something I learnt formally from a remarkable book Mindset The New Psychology Of Success by Carol S Dweck.

I strongly recommend this book to all my readers.

This topic has been suggested by Ashok for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently five of us write on the same topic every Friday.  Ashok who has been rather irregular assures me that he will be writing on this topic this week. I hope that you have enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman. It is also very likely that we will see the founder inspiration for the LBC, The Old Fossil, back blogging again.Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!