Category Archives: Musings

Spring, The Season of Love

A Purrfect Love Story

By two_kittehs (Picture by: cvf)

Happy Gudi Padwa, the first day of spring and the New Year. Its time to welcome spring and  the new year by celebrating love. Starting the new year in spring makes much more sense than the dead of winter, isn’t it?

And now a celebration of love.

I heard this today, from the recently released Phillauri. I think I am in love. The very last lines, slay me.

 Tere bin saas be kaanch si kaate re,
Zindagi raakh si laage re


Translation: Without you , every breath cuts like glass
Life feels like ashes.

ETA: Check out Diljit Dosanjh, you won’t be sorry, Anushka Sharma, too looks radiant.

Happy Holi

Happy Holi, the festival of colors, that marks the beginning of spring. Holi is the day to let your hair down and have some fun playing with colors, drinking bhang and eating puranpoli.  A day when adults have the social sanction to act like kids again. Holi is also the favorite of Hindi movie makers, there seem to be more Holi songs in Hindi movies than that of any of other holiday. Here are some of my favorites.

Lahu Munh Lag Gaya from the 2013 Ramleela:  What’s better than seeing Ranveer Singh in a song? Seeing him dance!

Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jate Hai : Hearts blossom on Holi, from Sholay (Embers). This star studded mid 70s feature directed by Ramesh Sippy,  rewrote the rules about how Hindi movies were made. It’s a Western with a masala twist and holds up pretty well after all these years. The look Amitabh’s character gives Jaya’s characters dressed in widow’s whites, watching the festivities from afar just slays me.

Arre Jare Natkhat  Na Chule Mera Gunghat from Navrang (Nine Colors) made in 1959.  Sandhya’s performance, playing both the male and female parts, makes me wish that I could dance like her.

 

There are many more which I haven’t included. If you have any suggestions, or  other favorites that I have missed, leave it in the comments.

Five Questions

Questions that have been on my mind in no particular order.

  • What can Trump do to lose his first place position in the polls for Republican Presidential hopefuls?
  • Are “anti-establishment voters” of this election cycle,  the new tea-partiers?
  • Einstein’s theory of General Relativity celebrates a century and gets all the press while Maxwell’s seminal theory of electromagnetism celebrates 150 years, and barely gets a mention, why no love for Maxwell?
  • WTF does curating a wardrobe (a term favored by fashion and style bloggers) mean? You have clothes, you wear them. Unless you work in a museum you are not curating anything.
  • Best score of the year, Bajirao Mastani or Katyar Kaljat Ghusli?

 

By two_kittehs

Do you have any burning questions of your own? Answers to my questions? I would like to hear them, Kthnx bai.

The Stark Beauty of Early December

Winter is not my favorite season. The short days, the dip in temperatures and most of all the lack of sunlight gets to me. Nature begins its nap in early December not to awaken until the spring thaw comes. As I look out of the window, I see that the oaks and the maples have shed their leaves revealing the stark beauty of the branches underneath. Without the leaves to obstruct the view, I can see the distant mountains that surround me. The grass is still green in patches and there is no snow yet and there are some remnants of withered brown leaves still left on trees.

IMG_5575IMG_5554

Election in Bihar

The third phase of voting in the  Bihar, the thirteenth largest state in India and a part of the Hindi heartland, is coming to a close.  Although, right nowit is known for its intractable corruption and sleaze, even by Indian political standards, it  was once the heart of the Indian civilization. Buddha preached here and Patliputra, now Patna, was the seat of  the  Maurya empire which reached its zenith in Ashoka’s time.

This race hasn’t received much coverage in the major media outlets over here but is being followed with bated breath in India. The incumbent chief minister is Nitish Kumar from Janata Dal, one of the many socialist parties of India.  Many see this as a referendum on the Modi government. Last year Narendra Modi ‘s Bharatiya Janata Party won the national elections decisively and was able to form a government without the help of any other parties.  This was the  first time ever, that  a party other than the Congress had been able to do so at the Center*. Another important figure in Bihar politics is Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal. Laloo was the chief minister of Bihar in the nineties and more recently India’s railway minister.

After a year the shine has worn off Modi and his government. Despite all the talk of economic development, wherever BJP was elected at the state level they pushed through their hobby horse of banning beef and other such reactionary measures, which most voters could care less about.  The polls indicate a tight race. Stay tuned for an update.

Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar and Laloo Prasad Yadav (from left to right)

* Janata Party  defeated the Congress at the hustings in 1977. Technically it was a single party, in reality it was an uneasy coming together of various socialist parties and BJP’s precursor, Jan Sangh.  The party broke-up under the weight of its own contradictions before completing an entire term in office.

Happy New Year

Whoever decided that the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere would be a great time for new beginnings? After the short spell of warm weather (>30 degrees F) we are back in the icebox again, with the temperatures at night and early mornings in the teens and single digits.  On the bright side, it was sunny this morning. Why not begin the new year at the start of spring, after all that’s the time when nature renews itself.  New year’s resolutions would stand a much better chance that way.

Not that anyone else cares, one of my bloggy resolutions for this year is to blog more. Last year especially in the latter half of the year, blogging had been sporadic, since other shiny things were vying for my attention.  All said and done, it is hard work being a kitteh of many worlds.

I want it all and I want it now

By two_kittehs

Frost and Winters North of Boston

 

Robert Frost is the quintessential New England poet, his poems evoke the landscape of northern New England with its farmland and its woods.  The ever changing seasons and especially the long harsh winters provide a rich tapestry to of many of his poems.  From The Birches,

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

When icicles melt due to the sun’s direct heat they do indeed sound like breaking glass when they fall.

Dirty and grimy old snow, reminds Frost of a wet newspaper with its newsprint smudged due to rain. From a Patch of Old Snow,

There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I’ve forgotten —
If I ever read it.

To me, the first stanza of My November Guest, evokes the dreaded SAD that many of us who live in the northern climes endure, when the days get shorter and the nights longer and all the leaves are gone but the snow is still not here.

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise

Living in Northern New England definitely gives one a better appreciation of Frost’s poetry. Although I must say, that I was a Frost fan even when I lived nowhere near the North of Boston.

No Rest For the Weary Even on Labor Day

May Day, May Day We Has Run Out of Gooshie Fuds

No holiday for you eben on Labor Day

By two_kittehs

Have we turned a corner with regards to labor being valued compared to capital? One major change I see, is that the issues of income inequality and unfair labor practices are being discussed in the media and not shoved under the rug any more.  New York Times recently covered the practice of treating retail workers like widgets by subjecting them to just in time scheduling. Its not just retail workers whose work is not valued same is true in higher education where University Departments run on the labor of post-docs and adjuncts, while paying them a pittance

I am glad that we are discussing these issues, it is but the first step and we still have a long way to go to before we get an actual change in policy.

Happy Birthday, India

On August 15, 1947,  67 years ago while the world slept, India awoke to a new beginning, or in the immortal words of Jawaharlal Nehru, its tryst with destiny.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries which are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.

The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.

The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

Full speech here

The birth of the Indian nation was traumatic and joyful at the same time and in many ways India is still coping with the PTSD associated with the Partition that followed the independence. 

Were it not for Prime Minister Nehru and his cohorts, India could have easily ended up like Pakistan instead of the democracy it is now.  Unity in  diversity became India’s motto replacing the divide and conquer strategy practiced masterfully by the colonial masters.  There are few countries in the world as diverse as India, in terms of both languages spoken and the religions practiced.  In light of countries splitting across ethnic and religious lines as we speak, the Indian experiment seems almost like an anomaly. 

Stressing what bound Indians together rather than what separated them in those early years is what kept India united and viable. In some ways  its truly a miracle, because the fault lines that divide India are too many to count. Although it is majority Hindu, it has the second largest Muslim population in the world, second only to Indonesia. There are  nineteen languages on an Indian currency note, and for many if not most Indians, their regional and  linguistic identity supersedes the national identity. Focusing on what binds Indians together therefore not just noble but also politic.

Jawaharlal Nehru was not unique though, instead he followed the lead of the previous leaders of the Indian National Congress, Mohandas Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Both Tilak and Gandhi formed alliances beyond narrow regional, caste and religious divides during India’s struggle for Independence.  Here is hoping that this tradition  continues as India navigates the twenty first century.

Cruzing for a Bruising?

Ted Cruz and the crazy threesome ( Representatives Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King)  are driving the GOP immigration policy now.  The  Republican House passed two bills, one to deny due process to the child migrants from Central America and another one to deport the beneficiaries of the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACANate Cohn writing for the Times 538 wannabe, Upshot has piped in to let us know that this declaration of hate is not a big deal at all because only one state with a Senate election  this November has a sizable Hispanic population. Yes, indeed why should anyone except Hispanics be bothered about this latest turn of events because the short sighted mean spiritedness displayed by the current GOP officeholders is not going to affect them at all, right? Wrong, the list of people and groups that are in the GOP cross hairs are numerous and by no means restricted to immigrants legal or otherwise.  In fact, even something as non-controversial as promoting basic science is enough to earn you the ire of the right wing media, these days.

I remember that there was a time not that long ago, when the DREAM act which provided a path to legalization for  out of status individuals who had been brought to the United States as minors had bipartisan support and Republican sponsors.

I think that Cohn is wrong and that GOP will pay a price at the polls, but if it doesn’t, I lay at least part of the blame at the door of the  media including New York Times, which has been asleep at the switch while covering Republican intransigence and its effects.  Focusing instead  on convincing the readers how everything from Russia’s incursion in Ukraine to Israel’s latest actions in Gaza to the Republican clamoring for impeachment, is all President Obama’s  fault.

The Answer is No, unless you are Cuban

border_kittehs

By two_kittehs